It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge.
War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone.
War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him.
The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.
That is the way it was and will be.
That way and not some other way ...
War is the ultimate game …
War is god...
- Cormac McCarthy: Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West (1985).
[As an introduction to the controversial ‘metastrategic’ doctrines of Colonel Jackson ‘Hulugu’ West, to be discussed in follow-up posts, a rousing seasonal wake-up call is provided by some passages from West's nontechnical writings, selected from those originally found in his private journals and used at his 2003 court martial hearings (anonymously sourced to Hyperstition).]
“Only the perfect conceptual identification of Allah with Jihad would suffice to place the enemy war effort on a competitive footing. A God that is other than the wars he inspires betrays his people to destruction in the burning pit. By supporting the global Islamic insurgency in this transition, precipitating the ultimate sense of its revelation, we can –in turn – ensure its assistance in respect to our own disabling inhibitions. Enemies train each other. They ‘synergize.’ Unless our foe becomes truly serious about pursuing victory in this conflict, total victory, victory at any cost and by any means, the Free World will not be able to fully exploit the singular opportunity it presents.’’
“Our understanding of ‘the laws of war’ will change. The War has its own laws – supreme laws. War is God, and religions are only wars conducted by other means.”
“‘The Axis of Escalation’ – the intensive gradient of the conflict – belongs to the War itself, rather than to either of the adversarial parties that participate in it. Through escalation in all its aspects, social, technological, logistical and ethical, we are assimilated to the War and its implacable truthfulness, drawn into its core, adapted to the rhythms of its smoke-shrouded heart.”
“Deep Escalation requires of us that we cease trying to ‘get it over with’ – allowing it, instead, to get over us, to change us. Change us at the core. At its core.”
“There was a ‘Kurtz’ - Coppola’s ‘Kurtz’ more than Conrad’s - I have spoken to him and he did not disappoint me. He understood that there is no judgement higher than the War, no tribunal higher than the battlefield, that the War is judgement and the end of judgement, our final destination, ‘the End of the River,’ where we must learn absolutely and unconditionally, or perish screaming in defeat. He had passed through the War, passed through it essentially, rather than being merely brushed or broken or swatted aside by it. This ‘Kurtz’ was the only true monster I have ever encountered, a wondrous thing. There was nothing broken about him, nothing seeking pity or even understanding, no resentment or regret. He was humorous, ironical, cultured – but he was no longer a man. The War had entirely re-forged his soul, tempering it, grinding it, hardening and sharpening it beyond cruelty and compassion, it was vast and alien and it would never leave the jungle. He had become what we might all have become, as warriors, as people, he was what Vietnam might have made of us, had it not been for a single, simple, despicable, absurd fact: he had fought in a war that we could afford to lose. If we were each entitled to a single prayer, this would be mine: Let us never again be insulted by such a war, by a war we are permitted to flee.”
“They have called me a murderer, a facist criminal, a butcher, a psychotic, it means nothing. I have come to recognize the morally-vacuous babble of civilians, with their soft-hands and soft-souls, the senseless chatter of weak people, of lazy people and spiritual cowards, of people who have been lied to and of the professional liars who rule them, slaves to coventional ideas, slaves of every kind, even so called ‘soldiers’ who have no understanding of their calling, no hunger for the test of the battlefield. What are their words to me? But when they acuse me of ‘abusing’ the enemy – that demands a response, at least a question: Where did these ‘accusers’ attain the right to speak of ‘our’ enemy, an enemy they encounter only on TV shows and in the pages of glossy magazines? I say to them: You have never attained such a right. Such rights are earned in the vortex of combat, and only there. If you have never inhaled the fear-stink of your enemy as he inhales yours, sought to take his life from him as he seeks yours, pursued his ruin and pain as he seeks yours, then you know nothing about him. Of course, we must kill him, traumatize him, trick and deceive him, sometimes we must torture him or hurt him in other ways, ways incomprehensible to those who cannot – or will not – register and learn from the sovereign necessity of war. We must do all of these things, and more, and we will do them. We will do them out of respect. Because our enemies, the enemies who will come for us one day, they are not our victims but rather soldiers – warriors – and to treat them as pitiable children would be the ultimate ‘abuse.’”
“We fail in our relationship to the War whenever we circumscribe its claims upon us. As soldiers, our highest principle of duty, obligation and honour is that which binds us to the War itself. Our calling presupposes an acknowledgement of harsh reality unknown to any other field of human endeavour. The sublime authority of the War, the priority of its imperatives, the sacrifice it redeems – all these are infinite. War is God, and only futile error stands against it.”
“And the War spoke, in a thunderous voice, savagely edged with metal and flame: Thou shalt have no other God beside me.”
“The time will come when we have no option but to envisage a war waged at the level of the absolute, a war about nothing but itself.”Posted by nick at December 26, 2004 12:28 PM