On the off chance you have not already seen other bloggers urging you to do this, or if you need an extra nudge to convince you, go read Bill Whittle's latest essay, "History," as soon as your browser will take you there. Go on, what are you waiting for?
Need more convincing? How about a couple of excerpts...
What trick of time and memory, what charm or spell does history possess, that can turn such fields of unremitting violence and terror into places of religious awe and wonder? Why are some people called to these places, in America and around the world, to stand in wonder ? not only at the brutality of war, but at the transcendental, ennobling power of them? How does slaughter and death turn into nobility and sacrifice? Why can we recite the names of places like Roanoke, Harrisburg, Phoenixville, Marseille, Kiev, Vanuatu and Johannesburg with no more passion than we muster while reading the ingredients on the back of a cereal box, while names like Antietam, Gettysburg, Valley Forge, Verdun, Stalingrad, Guadalcanal and Rorke’s Drift thunder through time as if the earth itself were being rung like a bell?
"...thunder through time as if the earth itself were being rung like a bell..."
Sheer Poetry. Tearful bliss to read.
We fight wars not to have peace, but to have a peace worth having. Slavery is peace. Tyranny is peace. For that matter, genocide is peace when you get right down to it.
This reminds me of the time I told my father, quite vehemently though I don't recall anything else about the context, that people in the Soviet Union were alive, but not living. Scarily enough, Bill's essay reminds me of some of what I planned to say in the (far shorter, more generalized) one I mentioned I had started recently. Which is all the more reason to ask that people go read; he makes points dear to me for me, better than I could dream of doing.
So go, read it if you haven't. Get outta here.