Gar Smith / World Beyond War #NoWar2017
September 22-24 at American University in Washington, DC.
War is humanitys deadliest activity. From 500 BC to AD 2000
history records more than 1000 [1,022] major documented wars. In
the 20th Century, an estimated 165 wars killed as many as 258
million people more than 6 percent of all the people born during
the entire 20th century. WWII claimed the lives of 17 million
soldiers and 34 million civilians. In todays wars, 75 percent of
those killed are civilians mostly women, children, the elderly, and
The US is the worlds leading purveyor of war. Its our biggest
export. According to Navy historians, from 1776 through 2006, US
troops fought in 234 foreign wars. Between 1945 and 2014, the US
launched 81% of the worlds 248 major conflicts. Since the Pentagons
retreat from Vietnam in 1973, US forces have targeted Afghanistan,
Angola, Argentina, Bosnia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Grenada, Haiti,
Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Pakistan,
Panama, the Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and
the former Yugoslavia.
Wars against nature have a long history. The Epic of
Gilgamesh, one of the worlds oldest tales, recounts a
Mesopotamian warriors quest to kill Humbaba a monster who reigned
over a sacred Cedar Forest. The fact that Humbaba was the servant
of Enlil, the god of earth, wind, and air didnt stop Gilgamesh from
killing this protector of Nature and felling the cedars.
The Bible (Judges 15:4-5) relates an unusual scorched-earth
attack on the Philistines when Samson caught three hundred foxes
and tied them tail-to-tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to
every pair of tails . . . and let the foxes loose in the standing
grain of the Philistines.
During the Peloponnesian War, King Archidamus began his attack
on Plataea by felling all the fruit trees surrounding the town.
In 1346, Mongol Tartars employed biological warfare to attack
the Black Sea town of Caffa by catapulting bodies of plague victims
over the fortified walls.
Poisoning water supplies and destroying crops and livestock are a
proven means of subduing a population. Even today, these
scorched-earth tactics remain a preferred way of dealing with
agrarian societies in the Global South.
During the American Revolution, George Washington employed
scorched-earth tactics against Native Americans who allied with
British troops. The fruit orchards and corn crops of the Iroquois
Nation were razed in hopes that their destruction would cause the
Iroquois to perish as well.
The American Civil War featured Gen. Shermans March through
Georgia and Gen. Sheridans campaign in Virginias She...