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  • Writer's pictureChristopher McHale

The Human Cost of Conflict: Understanding Civilian Deaths in War

Chrsitopher Mchale hates war, and he will never change.
A walk to the wrong future

Take To the Streets. Again. And Again

Students surge across campus. The emotions are complex from all sides, but the grim reality is never to get in the crosshairs of war. There is no safe place for civilians. Millions have died in the last decade alone as leaders flex their military muscles chasing ill-defined goals wrapped in tribal flags.

On 6 and 9 August 1945, the United States detonated two atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians.

Who wants to write about carnage? Who wants imagine it? Who wants to have it shoved in our media face?

There are no sides. There are no justifications. I’ve heard every argument imaginable, every label slapped carelessly across bloody fields. They did this horror.

What is that? Both sides are always right in war. How can that be? History shows again and again, both sides are always wrong. Don’t fool yourself.

The devastation caused by armed conflicts extends far beyond the battlefield, resulting in the tragic loss of innocent lives. Always. Civilian deaths in war have long been a grim reality. We need to stop. We need to think about this, the cost to our humanity. We need to see it coming years before it explodes. But to that we will to unwrap the scarves in front of our eyes.

Masters of War. Our missiles, bombs, drones, and the bloody tip of the national spear. Men, women, babies---war eat all equally and without emotion. Raise the cardboard slogans and erect the campus tents; it won't make any difference—it never will.

The Looming Shadow of Civilian Casualties

The toll of civilian deaths in war is a reminder of the inherent violence in our human nature. We are a violent people. All of us. Families torn apart, communities shattered, lives forever changed - these are the consequences of our military engagements. Our smart bombs are maybe not so smart at distinguishing between combatants and non-combatants. Oops. Sorry. But you know, they struck first. It gives me the creeps to even write it.

A 1975 US Senate subcommittee estimated around 1.4 million civilian casualties in South Vietnam because of the war, including 415,000 deaths.

The fog of war. Bullshit. The fog of foggy-brained leaders who somehow never pay the cordite price. Tanks crushing babies, mass graves, missile lullabies. Were all on a one-way ticket hell. All of us. to dust by his intelligent weapons. He will not turn back. Ever. His tiny man ego will not let. No matter the price, we’e got a one-way ticket to Hell.

I've been in the streets protesting war my whole life. Do think I care flag I march against? I will not be forced into taking sides with any nation. No sides. No flags. No tribes. No anthems.

Walk through a devastated city, hear the silence of death. Watch the planes fly and the missiles streak across the night sky, stand under them if you dare, and feel the fear, hear the midnight screams, and smell the charred flesh. Then, tell me it's wrong to raise a hand and question the powerful who always find an excuse to kill.


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