We love war. We crave the high we get from it. Even the ones who will never have to experience it think it’s a great idea to wage wars. It doesn’t matter which piece of land on this planet we’re going to be bombing into oblivion, but we love that there’ll be bombings. There are a few million people who oppose war; like they did when Bush revealed his plans to reduce Iraq into a festering hellhole. But who’s listening?
America, the champion of Democratic values, viciously ignored the anti-war marches held around the world and demonstrated how real Democracy is. The Iraq war was broadcasted live worldwide; just like the Super Bowl. This wasn’t the first war to be televised, that title goes to Vietnam, but the spectacle here was captivating. We saw large military helicopters and aircrafts fly across the Iraqi airspace; dropping bombs and showering Baghdad with bullets. The explosions were captured on camera and played on repeat. We could see on our television screens the damage being done, but we could never fathom the havoc being wreaked.
The reason we love war is simple; war is a sport. It’s a team sport. And it’s, mostly, restricted to men. There are different sides in this sport, sometimes multiple players, and there are rules. There are umpires and referees too. If you break too many of these rules, like overseeing an ethnic cleansing or using rape as a weapon, you may be tried in the International Court of Justice and then die peacefully at the age of 90 knowing your people remember you as a hero. Regular sports have heroes too. Every sport has its own equipment and gears; in the case of war it’s automatic weapons, tanks, bomber planes. In the end, there’s a winner and a loser, and the winners cheer and gloat and sing with an aggressive fervour.
No sporting event is possible without sponsors. War, too, has its sponsors. These corporations are more powerful than Nike or Adidas could ever hope to be. They pour money into the war-making machine and reap profit. The only difference here is that you don’t see tanks with Lockheed Martin stamped on its side, or men with guns having Halliburton’s logo stitched across their shirt pockets. That surely would bring more truth into this grand sporting culture humanity has spawned over centuries.
The ease with which we scream war isn’t surprising. Wars have contributed greatly to popular culture. It is as much a part of our existence as pop music or McDonald’s, or sports. The depiction of war, even in anti-war movies, has numbed us to the devastation it causes, leaving us to view war as nothing but an act of assertion over the enemy. It provides us with a rare feeling of power trip. We’ve already been fed to the machine, isn’t it better to move forward knowing the truth about where the real interests of wars lie?
The sport is war.