Welcome to my seven-part series about the absurdity of modern warfare. We all think about it yet there’s no formal dialog among the hundreds of millions of good Americans who are affected every day. How about we break the ice right here?

Ice pick, C4/det cord/blasting caps, my Camelbak, protein pills, and a first-aid kit in hand, I carry on bravely. . . .

Original watercolor selfie of Dino Garner, by Dino Garner and for Dino Garner. © Dino Garner.
Original watercolor selfie of Dino Garner, by Dino Garner and for Dino Garner. © [You guessed it . . .] Dino Garner.

I think it’s safe to say we’re all disgusted by prolonged war and how it’s presented as gratuitous, melodramatic entertaintment [sic] on mainstream media and news. Whom and what should we believe? The slick, high-production-value presentations of CNN and FoxNews or the NewsMaxs of the Internet, simply because they’re, well, slick and looking like a $50M Hollywood movie?

In analyzing many different aspects of war and conflict, including my own experiences doing overseas missions and hunting bad guys in Africa, I share my professional and personal views with the intent of stimulating you, dear reader. My intent is to piss you off enough to do your own research, learn about the power-masters who control wars, and find some way to counter this demonic war machine that costs the lives of millions of innocent people all over the world. Please consider this an altar call.

As soon as you learn more about this insidious machine and how it affects and controls you and your family, what are you going to do about it?

Leading by actively doing is my method, so permit me share with you what I’m up to: studying it in depth, analyzing it from top to bottom, organizing my thoughts on the results, and presenting those conclusions to a worldwide public. I’m putting my butt on the line, as you will see, because a lot of people in high places don’t like me or what I write and report on. It is disruptive and revealing and it exposes the vulnerable, mincy testicles of this demon that is entirely too impressed with itself.

Ranger Dino Garner, HardRock Charlie, 1st Ranger Battalion, and his Dad, Dr. Bill Garner (Col, ret.) former Air Force fighter pilot and Vietnam veteran.
Ranger Dino Garner just graduated #2 in his RIP class and hangs with his Dad, Dr. Bill Garner (Col, ret.), former Air Force fighter pilot and Vietnam veteran. Photo copyright © Dino Garner.

What qualifies me to be here? For an in-depth biography and additional intel, please see some of my work with SOFREP from 2022. Meantime, below is a brief demo of my qualifications to be chatting with you on this important and delicate subject.

Curiosity is my game, and I play it well, often and with great passion and verve. I look at the world as my playground, and I take great interest in many things, including who runs our beautiful world and how they do it. I’ve written authoritatively on the subject over many years, having witnessed many of the machinations firsthand, have read many hundreds of books and different other primary-source materials, and have done exhaustive analyses that have over the years proven highly accurate. In short, I know what I’m talking about and that’s what makes some people nervous.

Ranger Dino Garner, HardRock Charlie, 1st Ranger Battalion.
37-year-old E-4 Ranger Dino Garner, HardRock Charlie, 1st Ranger Battalion. He was expertly raised and trained by Rangers half his age, hooah. Photo copyright © Dino Garner.

A tiny personal fact about me: much to the chagrin of many people, I make and live by my own rules, morals, and standards, and I say NO a lot. I don’t do as authority tells me, mostly because they have no clue what they’re talking about or are just plain selfish and stupid. I have largely avoided many of the mindless distractions that plague our world today and, instead, opt for reading a lot of books and doing deep research on subjects that stimulate me, plus spending quality time with family and friends and like-minded colleagues.

Science was also my game for 15 years, and I learned the art of doing first-rate research, formulating relevant hypotheses, testing them meticulously and generating good, solid results, and presenting them accurately and concisely so laypeople could understand them. I also taught grades 5 and 6, college, graduate school, and a course in medical school.

Dino Garner and his loyal clan of hyenas in Africa, the scattered bodies of poachers in the foreground.
Dino Garner and his loyal clan of hyenas in Africa, the scattered bodies of poachers in the foreground. Photo copyright © Dino Garner, from an original painting by Sarah Rosetti.

When I was 35 years old, I enlisted in the US Army and became an Airborne Ranger with Charlie Company, 1st Ranger Battalion. I served honorably in special operations for more than four years, then designed and built two international private military firms and conducted more than 220 overseas missions in hostile territories. I also hunted poachers (humans) in Africa on many missions. The lovely painting by Sarah Rosetti depicts me with my homies that protected me from lions and other toothy predators.

Even before joining the military, I was a military aviation photographer who flew in the backseat of all high-performance fighters and attack aircraft, and published many photos on the covers of and in national and international magazines, newspapers, journals, etc. A cool shot of me was on the Feb/March 1994 issue of Smithsonian Air&Space magazine. Spending quality time with fighter pilots and support personnel was an honor for me, and I learned much about all aspects of military fighter aviation. My time flying with the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard gave me rare insights into the inner workings of the US military and its personnel.

Dino Garner in the backseat of an F-16N Viper from TOPGUN, the US Navy Fighter Weapons School. Dig that rainbow, baby.
Dino Garner in the backseat of an F-16N Viper from TOPGUN, the US Navy Fighter Weapons School, doin’ 7-G loops around the Pacific. Dig that rainbow, baby. Selfie copyright © Dino Garner.

On the literary side, I was a New York Times bestselling ghostwriter and editor of more than 50 books. My latest book is TOPGUN: The Otherworldly Dreams of a Lifelong Ten Year Old, a 600-page coffee-table/story book featuring my military aviation photography. If you’re interested in reviewing a 1.4-GB pdf draft of this book and writing a strong, positive testimonial that I’ll include in the book, please message me here in the comments section for a download link.

I’m a fairly decent writer and a pretty good editor, so I pray you enjoy the articles in this series. If you have comments, concerns, questions, or suggestions, please join the forum and share your thoughts there. I make every effort to respond soonest and with much appreciation and enthusiasm. Happy reading and exploring!

What Truly Is “War” in the 21st Century? 

Dino Garner Has A Death Wish

Read Next: Dino Garner Has A Death Wish

Why study or even concern yourself with war at all, especially when it occurs thousands of miles from your home? War, as a subject, is multifaceted, complex, and evokes a multitude of emotions and perspectives. It’s a topic that has been, and continues to be, a significant part of human history and societal development and, in the end, affects us all.

Historically, war has involved a vast array of elements, including military strategy, weaponry, logistics, diplomacy, and the human experience. It’s a subject that delves into the sociopolitical and economic causes and consequences, as well as the ethical and moral implications of armed conflicts:

Historical: This involves studying past wars, their causes, how they were fought, the outcomes, and their long-term impacts on nations and people. I also look for patterns of actions and behaviors and often discover that the power-players often use the same “plays” over and over again in many different countries and have done so at different times in history.

War, with all its complexities and consequences, is a critical aspect of human history and contemporary international relations. The study of war is multifaceted, involving the examination of military strategy, weaponry, logistics, diplomacy, and the human experience. This includes a deep dive into the sociopolitical and economic causes and consequences of armed conflicts, as well as their ethical and moral implications.

Historically, understanding war involves scrutinizing past wars, their causes, the ways they were fought, their outcomes, and their enduring impacts on nations and people. This historical perspective allows for a deep comprehension of the intricate patterns of actions and behaviors that underpin conflicts.

One poignant realization is that power-players often apply the same tactics and strategies over and over again in various countries at different periods in history. These strategies might involve inciting nationalist sentiment, exploiting socioeconomic disparities, or manipulating international alliances and treaties. The recurrent use of these tactics reflects their historical effectiveness in achieving certain objectives, despite the high human costs. Simply put, if it ain’t broke, then kill again.

In comprehending these power dynamics and the reasons for voluntary submission to authority, two works that I brought back to life and re-published are of paramount importance: Discourse on Voluntary Servitude: Why People Enslave Themselves to Authority by Etienne de La Boétie and The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli. Written centuries ago, these books remain incredibly pertinent in today’s world.

La Boétie’s Discourse delves into the psychological elements behind submission to authority, making a compelling case about how populations often willingly, or unwittingly, enslave themselves to autocratic regimes. The work outlines how fear, manipulation, and control can overshadow the human desire for liberty, a concept as relevant today as it was during the sixteenth century.

Machiavelli’s The Prince, on the other hand, offers an unflinching look at power dynamics from the perspective of those in authority. It provides insights into the machinations of political leadership, revealing that morality often takes a backseat to pragmatism in the pursuit of power and control. The book offers a grim yet realistic view of politics that continues to resonate in the modern geopolitical landscape.

Despite the time gap, these books elucidate patterns of authority, power, and obedience that persist across centuries. They offer invaluable lessons to those who seek to understand the dynamics of power and conflict in the present day.

Studying the historical aspects of war and recognizing these repeating patterns is crucial. It’s not just about learning history, but it’s about comprehending the human tendencies, societal structures, and political maneuvers that lead to conflicts. To prevent the recurrence of the catastrophic effects of war, it is essential to educate ourselves and others about these patterns and the mechanisms of power and obedience they illuminate.

The timeless wisdom found in Discourse on Voluntary Servitude and The Prince makes them recommended readings for anyone interested in exploring the deep-rooted patterns of war, power, and authority. I strongly encourage you to read, study, understand and share both.

Dino Garner's two books about enslavement to authority and power over the people.
Dino Garner’s remakes of two important books: one about enslavement to authority; the other, power over the people.

Political Science/International Relations: Here, I examine war in terms of power dynamics between and among nations, the role of diplomacy, alliances, and treaties, and how war shapes the geopolitical landscape. Since I know that geopolitics is controlled by those same power-mongers, it is imperative that we look deeper into this aspect of war. What we may see on the surface isn’t always the accurate truth, a topic for another conversation.

The study of war within the context of Political Science and International Relations provides profound insights into the complex web of power dynamics, diplomacy, alliances, and treaties that shape our world. War, as a central facet of these studies, reflects the intricate interplay of geopolitical forces and structures that underpin the international system.

Power dynamics between and among nations are at the heart of most wars. These dynamics, underpinned by the pursuit of national interests, territorial expansion, or ideological supremacy, often result in conflicts that redefine geopolitical landscapes. Power-mongers, be they states or influential groups, exploit these dynamics to fulfill their ambitions, subtly maneuvering behind the scenes to instigate or escalate conflicts. Recognizing these hidden forces in action allows for a deeper understanding of wars and the causal mechanisms behind them.

Diplomacy plays a crucial role in the prelude to and aftermath of wars. It’s the primary tool for states to negotiate their interests and avoid conflicts. Diplomacy can defuse tensions, mediate disputes, or create international norms to prevent the escalation of conflicts. However, it can also be used by power-mongers to veil their true intentions, manipulate perceptions, and secure strategic advantages.

Alliances and treaties, meanwhile, significantly influence the course and outcomes of wars. These diplomatic tools can serve to deter aggression, promote collective security, or balance against powerful states. They shape the power relations between nations and often determine their roles and positions in times of war. However, alliances and treaties can also be used for expansionist ambitions, providing a façade of legitimacy for otherwise aggressive actions.

Wars shape the geopolitical landscape, redrawing borders, redefining power structures, and creating new realities on the ground. The outcomes of wars can lead to the rise of new powers, the fall of old ones, or the transformation of international norms and laws. The post-war order often reflects the interests and designs of the victors, demonstrating the integral link between war and geopolitics.

However, what is apparent on the surface may not reveal the full picture. The visible actions of states often conceal deeper intentions and strategies. Behind every diplomatic gesture, alliance formation, or declaration of war lies a matrix of interests, calculations, and machinations. Unearthing these hidden dynamics is crucial for understanding the true nature of wars and the complex geopolitical game in which they unfold.

In the realm of Political Science and International Relations, war is more than a clash of arms; it’s a theater where power is sought, exercised, and contested. War’s capacity to shape and reshape the geopolitical landscape gives it a central place in these studies. To navigate this complex terrain, it’s essential to discern not just the apparent facts but the concealed truths that lie beneath the surface. Hence, it is not only about understanding wars as historical events but comprehending them as intricate processes shaped by underlying power dynamics, diplomatic maneuvers, alliances, treaties, and often hidden ambitions of the power-mongers.

Sociological: This perspective examines the societal impacts of war, including displacement of people, societal structure changes, and the psychological effects on populations. Propaganda plays a large role in shaping public opinion about war and conflicts. The author and social manipulator, Edward Bernays (Sigmund Freud was his “double-uncle), wrote two seminal works on steering public opinion, Crystallizing Public Opinion and Propaganda. I was so taken by Propaganda and wanted the whole world to read it that I re-designed and edited it for a modern audience. Bernays is the guy who, along with George Creel, sold America on WWI, using all the tricks of their trade. Please recall that because of these con men, employed by the power-players who control and fund wars, the world lost millions of good men and women.

From a sociological perspective, war represents more than just a violent conflict between nations; it is a transformative event that profoundly impacts the fabric of societies. It alters the societal structure, displaces people, and leaves psychological scars on populations. Moreover, the role of propaganda and public manipulation in shaping perceptions of war is an element that demands close examination. Edward Bernays, a seminal figure in the realm of propaganda, provides indispensable insights into this topic.

Displacement of people is one of the most immediate and visible consequences of war. Civilians flee their homes to escape violence and destruction, becoming refugees in foreign lands or internally displaced within their own countries. This displacement disrupts social networks and disintegrates communities, leading to severe human suffering and societal instability.

Wars also instigate drastic changes in societal structures. Traditional norms and values can be upended, as war imposes a new social order characterized by militarization, surveillance, and the curtailment of civil liberties. In the long term, war can foster societal divisions, perpetuating cycles of violence and vengeance that outlast the conflict itself.

The psychological effects of war on populations are profound and enduring. The trauma inflicted by war can result in widespread mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. These psychological impacts can span generations, affecting not only those directly involved in the conflict but also their descendants.

In the sociological examination of war, the role of propaganda is crucial. Propaganda shapes public opinion, turning war into a matter of national pride, duty, or survival, and masking its brutal reality. Edward Bernays, considered the father of public relations and a nephew of Sigmund Freud, was instrumental in this process. His works, Crystallizing Public Opinion and Propaganda, provide a lucid understanding of how public opinion can be manipulated to serve specific interests.

Bernays was a key figure in the Committee on Public Information (CPI) during World War I, alongside George Creel. They used innovative propaganda techniques to generate support for America’s participation in the war, selling it as a righteous cause. Their approach involved a potent mix of fear, patriotism, and misinformation, effectively mobilizing the American public for war.

It is important to note that these manipulative practices were not solely the works of Bernays and Creel. They were employed by power-players who fund and control wars. These power-players used propaganda as a tool to legitimize war, obscuring their strategic and economic interests behind the façade of national security and moral duty.

In recalling the role of these figures in instigating war, we remember the millions of lives lost due to their manipulations. Understanding the sociological impacts of war is not just about analyzing the visible changes and effects. It also requires uncovering the hidden mechanisms of power, manipulation, and propaganda that drive conflicts. As societies, it is our responsibility to learn from this history, to scrutinize the narratives presented to us, and to strive for a world where conflicts are resolved not through violence but through peaceful dialogue and mutual understanding.

Dino Garner's remake of Edward Bernays' Propaganda.
Dino Garner’s remake of Edward Bernays’ Propaganda.

Economic: Economists study the financial costs of war, the economic motivations behind wars, and how wars can affect global and national economies. They also delve into the intricate interplay of warfare and economies, evaluating the financial costs, exploring the economic motivations, and assessing the impacts of war on global and national economies. Traditionally, the principle of “follow the money” has been used to uncover the true motives behind wars. However, in a complex and interconnected world, one might argue that power and its subsequent influence often outweigh pure financial considerations.

The financial costs of war are immediate and often staggering. They encompass the direct expenses of military operations such as logistics, weaponry, personnel, and the maintenance and replacement of damaged infrastructure. Indirect costs, such as the care and rehabilitation of veterans, the interest on war debt, and the opportunity costs of resources diverted from productive activities, also add to the total financial burden. These expenses can have a lasting impact on a nation’s fiscal health, leading to increased public debt, higher taxes, and inflation.

Economic motivations behind wars can range from resource acquisition and trade control to the assertion of economic dominance. History is replete with examples of wars instigated due to competition over resources like oil, minerals, or fertile lands. The desire to control trade routes or to protect economic interests can also lead to conflicts. Additionally, economic ideologies, such as capitalism and communism, have been catalysts for many wars.

Wars affect global and national economies in multiple ways. They can disrupt trade, trigger inflation, impede foreign investment, and lead to resource scarcity. However, they can also spur economic activity and technological development through increased government spending, particularly in sectors like defense, technology, and infrastructure.

The modern economic landscape adds another layer of complexity to the equation. With the rise of multinational corporations and international financial institutions, power is not solely represented by state actors. These entities, often with interests spread across the globe, can influence decisions that lead to or prevent conflicts. Therefore, while money might have been the driving force in traditional warfare, power, in its broader sense, has become increasingly influential in contemporary conflicts.

In this context, following the power does not only involve tracing the economic interests but understanding the power dynamics at play. These dynamics can take the form of economic leverage, political influence, or control over resources and critical infrastructure. They reflect the capacity of state and non-state actors to shape outcomes in line with their strategic objectives, which often extend beyond monetary gains.

War’s economic study, therefore, requires an understanding of the motives behind initiating a war, an appreciation of the costs involved, and an assessment of the broader impacts on national and global economies. It necessitates an understanding of the complexity of power dynamics, the capacity to exploit resources, and the ability to command the economic narrative.

Economics provides an indispensable lens through which to study war, shedding light on the intricate nexus of wealth, power, and conflict. It prompts a closer look at the motivations behind wars, shifting the focus from mere financial gain to the broader quest for power and control. By studying war through this lens, we gain valuable insights into the causes and consequences of conflicts and are better equipped to anticipate and prevent future wars.

Psychological: This angle explores the impacts of war on the human psyche, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental-health effects on veterans and civilians. We lose more than 20 veterans of war every single day. Sadly, the power-players have overused our beloved special-operations warriors and worn them to the bone. Don’t get me started on this ugly subject because I am fired up and red-hot angry.

War is an unprecedented ordeal that can have profound and lasting impacts on the human psyche. Among the veterans and civilians alike, the invisible wounds of war, such as PTSD and other mental health issues, often surpass the physical injuries in terms of their enduring torment. The psychological burden of war is a grave subject, underscoring the monumental cost of conflict beyond the battleground. Individuals suffering from PTSD often relive their traumatic experiences through nightmares and flashbacks, leading to severe emotional distress. They may also experience hyperarousal symptoms, such as feeling constantly “on edge,” difficulty sleeping, and impulsive or self-destructive behavior. Such prolonged psychological distress can lead to a vicious cycle of despair, anxiety, and depression, crippling the affected individuals’ ability to lead fulfilling lives.

Original watercolor of US veteran suffering from PTSD, slumped over in anguish. © Dino Garner.
Original watercolor of US veteran suffering from PTSD, slumped over in anguish. © Dino Garner.

Furthermore, the ramifications of war extend beyond the immediate combatants to affect civilians, including children and families. They may experience significant psychological trauma due to the violence, displacement, and loss associated with war. Additionally, the constant fear and insecurity that pervade war zones can lead to long-term mental health issues, including anxiety disorders, depression, and even suicidal tendencies.

The alarming statistic of losing more than 20 war veterans every day to suicide lays bare the scale and gravity of war-induced mental health issues. The weight of combat, multiple deployments, and the high-stress environment can lead to mental exhaustion and a sense of being “worn to the bone.” The power-players, or those in charge of making strategic decisions, must bear responsibility for the dire consequences of their actions on these brave individuals’ mental health.

Regrettably, despite the growing recognition of these psychological impacts, mental-health support for veterans and war-affected civilians often remains inadequate. Barriers such as stigma, lack of access to mental health services, and underdiagnosis contribute to a mental health crisis among those touched by war. As a society, we must advocate for improved mental health support and services for war veterans and civilians alike, acknowledging the invisible scars of war and providing the necessary care to help them heal.

Moreover, it is crucial to recognize the systemic issues contributing to the overuse of military personnel, particularly special-operations forces. The decision-makers must consider the human cost, not just the strategic benefits, when making decisions regarding military deployment. The psychological welfare of the troops should be at the forefront of military strategy, rather than an afterthought.

The toll on the human psyche, evidenced by conditions like PTSD and the tragic loss of veterans’ lives, is a stark reminder of the profound personal costs of war. Society must not only offer support and treatment for these individuals but also hold accountable those power-players responsible for the policies and mandates that place such a burden on them. Ultimately, in understanding and addressing the psychological impacts of war, we pay tribute to the sacrifices made by our veterans and strive for a world where such sacrifices are no longer necessary.

Philosophical/Ethical: Philosophers and ethicists debate the morality of war, the concept of “just war,” and the ethical implications of various acts of war. Their discourses are characterized by a distinct distance from the visceral reality of conflict, conducted as they often are in serene, intellectual environments far removed from the harsh conditions of the battlefield.

Central to philosophical discussions of war is the concept of a “just war.” The Just War Theory, dating back to ancient and medieval philosophical traditions, posits conditions under which war can be morally justifiable. It incorporates criteria like just cause, proportionality, and the use of war as a last resort. These ideas are debated with the objective of providing moral guidance to state actors contemplating or engaged in warfare.

Original watercolor of The Philosopher, contemplating the hidden cost of war. © Dino Garner.
Original watercolor of The Philosopher, contemplating the hidden cost of war. © Dino Garner.

The ethical implications of war are also numerous. War, by its very nature, involves violence, destruction, and loss of life, raising fundamental questions about the value of human life, the balance of power, and the distinction between combatants and non-combatants. Philosophical debates consider these ethical dimensions, exploring the moral limits of wartime conduct and the responsibilities of states and individuals engaged in warfare.

However, the critique that such intellectual discourse may be far removed from the realities of war is not unfounded. Philosophers ensconced in their ivory towers, thousands of miles away from the actual battlefield, can fail to grasp the complexity and the stark reality of conflict. This disconnect can sometimes lead to abstract debates that lack relevance to those directly affected by war.

Conversely, a personal philosophy forged in the crucible of real-life experience may offer valuable insights overlooked in traditional philosophical debates. Personal accounts and perspectives often add an experiential dimension, reflecting the lived realities and challenges of war that are hard to grasp from an armchair. They offer lessons grounded in the reality of human suffering and resilience, forcing us to confront the complexities that lie beyond theoretical discourse.

The philosophical and ethical exploration of war must incorporate diverse perspectives, particularly those drawn from personal experiences of war. Such an inclusive approach can help bridge the gap between theoretical discourse and lived realities, thus encouraging a deeper, more nuanced understanding of war’s ethical implications.

Technological: This aspect looks at the role of technology in war, how advancements in weaponry and other technology have changed warfare, and the implications of these changes. Power-masters tell us that war delivers new technologies to the civilian sector. While it is certainly true, it should not be used as a “reason” for starting a war, let alone prolonging it.

The influence of technology on warfare has been profound and far-reaching, shaping the course of conflicts and revolutionizing military strategy. From the rudimentary tools of early combat to the cutting-edge weaponry of today, technology has continuously redefined the parameters of war, giving rise to new possibilities and dilemmas.

The technological evolution in warfare ranges from the development of better weaponry and defense systems to advancements in communication, intelligence, and logistics. In more recent times, drones, cyber warfare, artificial intelligence, and space-based systems have become central to military strategies, signifying a shift from conventional warfare towards more technologically sophisticated forms of combat. These advancements offer unprecedented capabilities, such as remote warfare and precision strikes, but also bring new ethical and legal challenges.

A transformative painting of modern drone warfare (Derivative of a photograph under the Fair Use Act). Derivative artwork © Dino Garner.
A transformative painting of modern drone warfare (Derivative of a photograph under the Fair Use Act). Derivative artwork © 2023 Dino Garner.

Technology’s impact on warfare is not merely confined to the battlefield. Technological advancements in the military sphere often spur innovations that find applications in the civilian sector. For instance, the development of the internet, GPS, and even microwaves can be traced back to military research. While the cross-fertilization between military and civilian technology can lead to significant societal advancements, its origin in conflict contexts cannot be overlooked.

However, the argument that war breeds technological progress, often propagated by those in power, is a contentious one. While it is undeniable that many significant technological leaps have been born out of military necessity, using this as a justification for initiating or prolonging conflict is ethically problematic. It suggests a perverse valuation of innovation over human life and peace, undermining the humanitarian costs of war.

Moreover, it overlooks the possibility of progress through peaceful means. Many innovations can, and do, arise from non-military research in sectors like health, energy, and transportation, among others. The nurturing of peaceful innovation should be the focus, rather than the acceptance of war as a crucible for technological advancement.

The intertwining of technology and warfare is a multifaceted issue with significant implications. While technological advancements have undeniably shaped warfare and have, in many instances, led to innovations benefitting the civilian sector, these benefits should not be used as a pretext for war. The pursuit of progress should never lose sight of the human and moral costs associated with conflict. As we continue to advance technologically, we must ensure that ethical considerations guide our path, prioritizing peaceful innovation over the profits of war.

Cultural/Literary: Wars often significantly impact culture and are a common theme in literature, music, and art. This perspective studies those impacts and how society expresses its views and experiences of war through various forms of media. It’s not a stretch to say that war does change members of society: we are darker, more aggressive and mad as hell. War brings us down to the level of thoughtless animals.

Wars leave an indelible mark on society, not only through the physical destruction and loss of life they entail but also through their deep cultural and psychological impacts. Literature, art, and music often serve as vehicles through which individuals and societies process and articulate their experiences and sentiments related to war. These mediums provide a collective mirror, reflecting the emotional complexities and the societal transformations catalyzed by conflict.

Literature frequently grapples with war, offering poignant narratives that delve into the human experience amidst turmoil. Classics like Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms or contemporary works like The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini capture the brutal realities of war, weaving tales of love, loss, and resilience. These narratives illuminate the psychological and emotional trauma of war, serving as empathetic conduits between readers and the otherwise unfathomable horrors of conflict.

Original watercolor of Ernest Hemingway writing in Africa, surrounded by hungry, ferocious creatures. © Dino Garner
Original watercolor of Ernest Hemingway writing in Africa, surrounded by hungry, ferocious creatures. © Dino Garner

Similarly, the visual arts and music provide potent, emotive reflections of war. Picasso’s Guernica, for instance, is a powerful portrayal of the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War, while folk and rock music of the 1960s and ’70s became anthems of protest against the Vietnam War. These creative expressions reveal the societal zeitgeist, often challenging prevailing narratives and provoking critical reflections on the nature of war.

However, the cultural impact of war is not confined to artistic expressions. War changes the societal fabric, influencing collective identities, values, and attitudes. It often engenders a darker, more aggressive societal temperament, as individuals grapple with the atrocities of conflict. This psychological transformation is reflected in the shift in societal discourse, norms, and behaviors, which can be seen in everything from popular culture to political rhetoric.

Nonetheless, reducing war’s impact to a process of dehumanization, a descent into “thoughtless animals,” risks overlooking the potential for resilience, growth, and positive change. Indeed, while war undeniably provokes darkness and aggression, it can also inspire unity, empathy, and a renewed commitment to peace. This dual nature of war’s societal impact is reflected in the breadth of war’s cultural representation, encompassing not only tales of despair and destruction but also narratives of resilience, redemption, and hope.

Without a doubt, war’s imprint on culture is deep and multifaceted. It profoundly influences literary and artistic expressions and fundamentally transforms societies. Recognizing this complexity is vital for understanding the full implications of war and for striving towards a world where conflicts can be resolved without recourse to violence.

It’s also important to note that war is inherently tragic, marked by destruction, loss, and suffering. Its study is crucial to understanding human behavior, power dynamics, and hopefully, to seek ways to prevent future conflicts and maintain peace. Beyond this simplistic approach I share here, we must actually study the power-masters behind war and how to counter them.

On the bright side, war is a centuries-old racket involving a highly malleable, weak and unprincipled military leadership gorilla-glued to a voracious civilian industrial-defense organ. Mainstream media and academic eggheads put a factory spin on the whole thing and call it a well-oiled machine that wins wars, saves lives, and generates billions of new dollars via technology transfer to the civilian sector.


The Infamous ‘Ndrangheta

C’mon, let’s call the war machine what it really is: a corrupt ‘Ndrangheta of death and destruction, lacking rectitude and proper standards and ethics. This racket, I mean “well-oiled machine,” generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. Some say 1-3 trillion dollars, regardless of whether there’s a large-scale war. Of course, lengthy wars generate even more earnings, so they are preferred by the racket-masters and, of course, the international piggy bank that funds them.

Sometimes it’s difficult to visualize a corporate monster, so how about we view this impressive, “well-oiled machine” as if it were human or even a subspecies? It would surely be registered in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision, as a low-thinking, double-digit-IQ, narcissistic, psychopathic, knuckle-dragging meathead. Seemingly inarticulate a definition, you say? Highly accurate description, I counter.

The courts in the last couple of years forced Fox News lawyers to admit that Tucker Carlson, formerly of Fox News, does not report accurately on the “news,” so he should not be taken seriously but only as entertainment.

The unfortunate result is that this psycho-machine kills and maims innocents, destroys civilian infrastructure that further harms private citizens, and perpetuates the cycle of war well beyond the half-life of a “real” war, i.e., one not manipulated by a hidden hand. And, ironically, this massive meathead-of-a-machine still adheres to certain rules of engagement (ROE), if you can believe that. Its purpose is to prolong war and conflict, make a few people a lot of money, give them untold power and, if that wasn’t enough, allow them to strategically redraw lines on a map.

War is Often Reported By the Inexperienced Loudmouth Who’s Never Even Been In a Fistfight

I’ve read what some others say and write about war, as if they’ve actually been involved in it. [ME, LAUGHING IN BACKGROUND.] Even some of the flag officers who served well behind the front lines and now pen books of questionable authority and accuracy. We see them paraded in front of the cameras at CNN and FoxNews studios, and in front of green screens at smaller production houses, all puppeting the same rhetoric that was handed to them by their power-handler and racket-master. Take Tucker Carlson, a puppet a lot of Americans love and admire. This guy is nothing more than an entertainer, masquerading as a news presenter. Baloney.

“[Carlson] is not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary.’ “

Ignorant and inexperienced souls absorb this crap and pass on the inaccurate intel to their families, friends, colleagues and acquaintances, thus continuing the cycle of deliberate and misleading information and harmful propaganda, not unlike Hollywood’s directing its fake dramas and action-adventure shows to the unsuspecting little old lady and her husband in Kansas.

The surly entertainer known as Tucker Carlson.
The surly entertainer known as Tucker Carlson. YouTube screen grab.

Mainstream media, including news and entertainment outlets, play a significant role in shaping public perception about war and military conflicts. When the information disseminated is incorrect or skewed, it can lead to a misinformed public. Moreover, when people in positions of authority or influence, like those retired military officers or politicians, spread this misinformation, it can further perpetuate these inaccurate narratives. I’ve seen guys get into bar fights over sensitive topics they learned about from CNN “subject-matter experts.”

Three years ago, a judge forced Fox News defense lawyers to admit that Tucker Carlson, formerly of Fox News, does not report accurately on the “news,” so he should not be taken seriously but only as entertainment.

U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil’s opinion: The ” ‘general tenor’ of the show should then inform a viewer that [Carlson] is not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary.’ ”

How many other journalists and reporters and presenters that you love and admire are here merely to “entertaint” us with false information and hyperbole?

Consider The Source(s)

Technology and social media are actively involved in spreading misinformation about war and military conflicts. These platforms have fundamentally changed how we consume and share news, including information about war. While these technologies can provide valuable tools for disseminating firsthand accounts from those on the front lines, they also can spread misinformation rapidly and widely. Often, these platforms operate on algorithms that prioritize engagement, meaning that sensational or controversial content, which may not be accurate, can get more visibility and thus influence and manipulate the thoughts, ideas, beliefs and opinions of Americans.

Vietnam battle buddies comforting each other after a firefight. PTSD was rampant during and after the war.
Vietnam battle buddies comforting each other after a firefight. PTSD was rampant during and after the war. Public-domain photograph.

As consumers of information, we need to be aware of these dynamics and take steps to verify the information we consume. This might involve cross-referencing information from different sources, checking the credibility of the source, and considering the context in which the information is being shared. I know it’s a chore to do so, but in this age of bullshit propaganda and fake news, it’s imperative that we learn to do our own research and generate accurate results and conclusions.

What choice do we have? Disinformation or accurate truth-telling?

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that war is a deeply complex and traumatic experience. It involves not only physical violence, but also psychological and emotional trauma, societal disruption, and often lasting impacts on infrastructure and environment. Therefore, any attempt to understand or discuss war should take into account its multifaceted nature and sometimes forever-impacts, beyond the immediate events and actions on the battlefield.

Ultimately, the responsibility lies with each of us to take the time to seek out accurate information, listen to a variety of voices and perspectives, and engage in informed, thoughtful conversations about these critical issues. It’s vital for each of us to take responsibility in evaluating the information we consume.

Here’re a few items to consider:

Source Verification: Always check the source of the information. Reliable sources are usually backed by rigorous editorial standards and a reputation for accuracy. These include reputable news organizations, government websites, and academic institutions. This said, be aware that some sites disseminate propaganda so it’s best to get third-party evaluations of each site before committing to its content.

Cross-Check Information: Don’t rely on a single source for information, especially for critical issues. Cross-check facts with multiple reliable sources to get a well-rounded perspective. Yes, this takes time but once you do your background check, you may be able to rely on that site for accurate information for some time.

Beware of Biases: Everyone, including news sources and individuals, can have biases. Be aware of these and seek out a variety of voices and perspectives to get a balanced view. There are many personal sites that have evaluated the veracity of mainstream sites that have obvious biases. Please consult those for up-to-date information.

Critical Thinking: Use your critical-thinking skills to analyze information. Ask questions like: Who benefits from this information? What’s the evidence? Is this a balanced view or is it one-sided?

Fact-checking Websites: Utilize fact-checking websites to verify the veracity of claims. Websites like Snopes, FactCheck.org, and PolitiFact are dedicated to debunking misinformation and checking facts. Normally, I don’t use fact-checking sites unless I can also cross-reference their conclusions with other sites. These sites also appear to be controlled by the same power-masters who host all wars so please beware.

Dialogue and Discussion: Engage in informed, thoughtful conversations with others about these issues. This can help you understand different perspectives and challenge your own beliefs.

By taking these steps and considering what I’ve shared above, we can contribute to a more informed and discerning society. Remember, it’s not just about consuming information, but also about understanding, questioning and discussing it, hopefully without getting into a bar fight.

Please stay tuned for Part Two next week. . . .

** To check out the writing of another soldier who thought war was a racket, click here