Friday, March 28, 2008

Observations on wars

There are many definitions of war and causes for a war. No matter the source for an exact definition, or a definition that one accepts it can generally be understood that war is a condition of human existence that is best avoided.

The wars briefly discussed in this blog shall be limited to wars that began and continue to occur in my lifetime. These wars have many traits in common as well. Most had their genesis prior to the birth of most of the people reading this. Many if not most started with a well intentioned government to improve the quality of American Life during the industrial revolution and the population increases of the early 20th century.

What happened along the way?

  • The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was a well intentioned act that provided clearly labeled drugs and food and other products in this time when products were undergoing more durable packaging and transport to further reaches of the country - as well as keeping dubious sellers from selling inferior and counterfeit or tainted products.
  • The Harrison Narcotic Tax Act 1914 a form of control of opium and coca in their various forms and thus possibly provided the beginning of legislative control of what Physicians could provide for their patients.
  • Prohibition of Alcohol 1920-1933 Much of this drive came from religious ideology (temperance).
  • Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 Maybe the most recognizable Act of the 1930's
The sum of these and many more historical steps led President Nixon to officially use the term War On Drugs in 1972.

Another noble idea that most people would agree on would be to eliminate poverty. So, in the State Of The Union Address given by President Johnson on January 8th 1964, he was to declare a War On Poverty.

As legislative evolution does, these ideas, laws, enforcers and the forces of warriors refine and get tougher when wars are not won in a reasonable amount of time. Soon more agencies are established, think tanks and religion adopt the cause and Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition songs are written. Although from a different kind of war this was an actual song from World War II.

When the word war has such a negative connotation one wonders why there cannot be other words to use for these ideas - after all it is the American People and lots of collateral damage and national treasure has not reversed the trend.

How has the War On Drugs gone? Any end in sight?
How has the War On Poverty gone? Any end in sight?
How will the War On Terror go? 100 years?

The war on terror has been with us for some time now and what would be one's next guess as to a war on something?

As an aside, all of the wars mentioned here seem to occur in nations other than America in the same time frame - not always, but enough that it seems odd.

No comments: