Anniversary Post: Battle of Castagnaro

War Made Easy - Battle of CastagnaroBecause of our good friend 13-year-old porch pisser Dzz, we had no anniversary post yesterday, so let me double up. Yesterday in 241 BC, the Roman Republic defeated Carthage at the Battle of the Aegates Islands — thus ending the First Punic War (thus named because it wasn’t the last — there were three of them). And then, on this day in 1387, Padua defeated Verona at the Battle of Castagnaro. None of it really matters to me in any personal way. I could do military battles every day for ten years without repeating myself. There’s always a war, always a battle.

What stuns me is that roughly 10,000 years ago, humans settled down and invented agriculture. In many ways, since that time, we have become far more civilized. Yet the wars just keep on coming. The United States is now on a constant military campaign. It’s absurd to talk about Congress declaring war because we don’t start wars; we just have a single war, it is global, and it will never end — at least until the American empire falls (which is coming).

But all this time! Thousands of years and we keep thinking that war is the way to solve our problems. And it always turns out the same. People think wars are a good idea to start with and then afterward, it is never clear what everyone was in such a big rush for? I’m very fond of Norman Soloman’s documentary, War Made Easy. The subtitle of it is, “How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” That really is what it’s all about. In general, I am convinced that people just want to go to their jobs, raise their kids, have the occasional barbecue, and that’s about it. But there are always powerful people around who have “bigger” ideas.

The following table from War Made Easy is sobering:

Civilian Casualties

If you want to put it in the most basic of terms: it seems that war is becoming more dangerous for children. You would think after all these thousands of years, we would have figured out how not to fight wars. But maybe it is just too basic. I do think of humans as just machines. What are we to do but what we are programmed for? So the Battle of Castagnaro or the Battle of the Aegates Islands. It doesn’t matter. Humans just like to kill each other.

2 thoughts on “Anniversary Post: Battle of Castagnaro

  1. Just my 2 cents: I’d be interested to see that graphic extended back in time – WWI was an unusually cushy war for civilians, simply because the front (in the west at least) didn’t move much and so spared them soldiers looting. I bet if you extended it back you’d see the percentages at their lowest in the 19th and 18th Centuries, then climb again once you reached the 30 Years War (I bet that hit 90% civilian casualties in some areas). The other factor of course is that Vietnam and Iraq were both insurgency-type wars, where the line between civilian and combatant isn’t thin, it’s not even there (please note I’m not making a moral argument here). There’s also the fact that, believe it or not, the Noughties were the safest decade ever recorded for battle deaths. If you ever wanted to reach Valhalla, the Noughties was the worst decade to reach military age ever.

    • Yes, I was careful not to say that the world has become more violent. What’s interesting is genocide today actually stands out as opposed to just being a normal thing. What I think has happened is that the nature of warfare has changed. Civilians support the war effort, thus Sherman’s march to the sea.

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