What’s Worth War?

Nathan Ellis

By Leo Jenkins

In order to answer this question it is necessary to create a suitable definition for war. There are many in circulation, however, for the sake of this inquiry let us say war is; A state of armed conflict between two or more nations, states or groups, whereby violence is the primary method utilized to effectuate change. Allow me to simplify and say:

“War is the final leaf on the dying tree of diplomacy.”


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The reasons for engaging in armed conflict is seemingly different for an individual than it is for a government. A person may note a roiling hate for an opposing belief or aggressive action accosting their patriotic accord as reasons for stepping forth into the abyss and calamity of war. Hate is a powerful instrument in war. It is easily conjured and directed given the proper motivation. Sadly it is not as transitory as it is transferable.

To initiate armed conflict out of hate in an effort to effectuate change is misguided at best and will inevitably birth exponential levels of violence, fear, disdain and hostility.

To hate one’s enemy is the infallible course to ensuring your children need fight their children.  

Jed Conklin Photography

Similarly popular, yet perceivably more altruistic, is the mutual defense of others participating in the fight, often referred to as ‘brothers-in-arms.’ This mindset, however, requires a bit of reverse engineering. To join a group, you must first be outside of said group. It does not stand to reason your decision to join a military and fight war for your “brothers to the right and left.” The prerequisite of belonging is necessary, negating this as the reason for initially joining. Defense of country-men unwilling or incapable of defending themselves is significantly more viable.

A nation-state’s reasoning is often adopted by an individual in an effort to make sense of such a quagmire event. Echoing ethos of national security concerns, regional stability, ally assistance, and  accumulation or protection of resources are merely a few concepts used to convolute and ultimately manipulate a populace into warfare. With these concepts we can justify war is being brought to us, legitimizing our involvement as a r reaction. Historically these otherwise benign issues have been spun to represent a threat to  liberty, thereby facilitating a call to arms.

The inverse relationship between liberty and oppression is what makes this method effective. Oppression, at its root, is a form of violence. In the presence of violence, peace can not exist. Peace is much greater than the absence of war. Peace is a flourishing serenity which must be nurtured and at times defended, preferably by those with the capacity to comprehend its importance.

As contrary as it may seem, peace is the only justifiable reason for war.

Nathan Ellis Photograpy

The degree and scale to which war is brought must coincide directly with the level of threat to peace. In the case of a mass genocide, all out decisive action must be taken against the known perpetrator and their supporters. This action must be swift and brutal to the extent in which future generations considering similar actions are effectively detoured. This should not, however, be done out of hate, rather the logical reaction to the disturbance of peace, similar to that of a professional law-enforcement officer. Smaller scale infractions against equanimity should be met with appropriate levels of conflict.

 The inevitable lasting physical, mental, and emotional scars of war are thereby softened by the collective human understanding which knows they were achieved in the pursuit of serenity, liberty, and ultimately peace. 

Nathan Ellis Photography


If a single man or a million men must die at the hand of war, each should make well with their final breath in a state of perfect tranquility knowing peace is the reason for their sacrifice.


Arlington National Cemetary


Leo Jenkins

Leo Jenkins is a professional wanderer.  Combat Vet, SOF Medic, and author of On Assimilation and Lest We Forget.  

Follow him on Instagram @Leo_Jenkins

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