Absurdity of war

The bombing of Dreseden produced the largest casualties of WWII and was kept secret from the American public because in Rumfoord words


“fear that a lot of bleeding hears might not think it was such a wonderful thing to do.” 


            Today the death tolls are never as high as they were back then because of nuclear weapons and conventional war fair is supposed to have largely ended.  Yet how can we reconcile that statement with the large death tolls in Israel’s latest excursion into the West Bank.  In a recent report the U.N. special rapporteur for the Palestine on human rights Richard Falk has labeled the 22-day conflict a


“massive assault on a densely populated urbanise setting.”


Falk went on to say the attacks were unlawful because they were launched on targets that could not be distinguished as military or civilian.  Falk states that Israel specificly targeted

            “schools, masques, and ambulances.”


The death toll in Palestine was put at around 1400 most of which were women and children.  Whether it is Dresden of Palestine or the body count is 1400 or 140,000 the absurdity of the matter is as real as it was in Vonnegut’s day.  In all the dialogue between Rumfoord and Billy not much is said.  The culmination of the Dresden story was a few lines

“It had to be done,” said Rumfoord

“I know” said Billy

“That’s war”

“I know. I’m not complaining”

“It must have been hell on the ground.”

“It was” said Billy

“Pity the men who had to do it.”

“I do.”

“You must have had mixed feelings, there on the ground.”

“It was all right,” said Billy. “Everything is all right, and everybody had to do exactly what he does.”


Although nothing is really said in the conversation they destroyed a city of no military significance; killed virtually only civilians yet it “had to be done,” absurd.  This is very similar to what happened in Palestine.  A totally of 13 Israelis were killed and they responded by leveling a city, murdering 940 civilians, and sending Palestine back to the stone ages, absurd.  The BBC had a story that fully spoke to the absurdity of this conflict.  In the article it cites a U.N. report that accuses the Israelis of using children as human shields.  Allegedly having the children go first in to buildings and open packages.  Israel has denied these allegations but the mere fact that they are present just speaks to how ridiculous all of these nations and people have acted through-out history and Vonnegut did a masterful job of portraying this.  The conversation and the way Slaughter House was written all speak to the absurdity of war.  Although i doubt it will every end…..So it goes.

BBC article

Al Jazeera article



2 Responses to “Absurdity of war”

  1. Aaron Musk Says:

    The war fare that is going on between Israel and Palestine, to us, seems quite foolish and rightfully so. To them it has become more of a religious battle from when it first started as a battle of land lost. I cant help but take the side of the Israelis because of the fact that they are at least trying to fight a conventional war, which says a lot about a cause and the country fighting it. The palestinians seem to be doing the typical “no one will listen to me so i will blow myself up and kill innocent people” thing. It is frustrating day after day hearing them whine about how no one will give them the time of day as a legitimate organization. How could you possibly think you will be recognized as a legitimate force when you hide among innocent civilians, and hide in caves, and kill with complete disregard for human life? Also a big deal why the palestinians are crying is because israel is on the process of building a large wall to keep the palestinians from suicide bombing. And all we hear from them is, we cant get in and go to some of our jobs, or hey “we want to come in too, we arent all terrorists”. but that may be too much to ask when the civilan population of palestine is not doing anything to stop the acts that are being committed, they do nothing, which in turn is helping the terrorist cause. This is sad and it will never end in my eyes.

  2. Comments Yo! « Been there…done that Says:

    […] Comment #4 […]

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