Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the Civil War.
First of all, it is a misnomer. It was ANYTHING but Civil.
Second, it was MAD!! War in general is MAD - why would somebody agree to risk life and limb at the behest of some lunatic who for whatever odd reason was declared "King" or "Emperor" or "Prime Minister" or "President"? Is this guy's wishes and whims based on his desire for power and prestige worth your life? Of course not!! Yet people follow him.
But the Civil War was unique in that it wasn't even against an opposing country but against ourselves!!! We were all part of the same country!! You have an argument? Talk about it!! Find solutions. You can't find solutions diplomatically? Are hundreds of thousands of deaths worth more than what you gained from the battle? Debatable!
Ahhh, one may claim that the Union won and ended the cruel treatment of the slaves so it was worth it.
DID they really win?
Let us see the numbers....
Union Enlistment 2,893,304
Confederate Enlistment 1,317,035
Union Battle Deaths 110,070
Confederate Battle Deaths 94,000
Union Deaths from Disease 224,586
Confederate Deaths From Disease 164,000
Union Deaths From Other Causes 24,872
Union Total Deaths 359,528
Confederate Total Deaths 258,000
Lincoln himself lost. His assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth, shouted, “Sic semper tyrannis! (Ever thus to tyrants!) The South is avenged,” as he jumped onto the stage and fled on horseback.
So even Lincoln was killed because of the war.
EVERYBODY loses EVERY war. It is just a question of who loses more.
In general, the way war works is as follows: People wage war, loads of people are killed and maimed, territory is captured, until the next war when more people are killed and maimed and the territory is recaptured by the other side or by a different country altogether.
Ayyyyyyy - but the Torah is filled with wars. Are we pacifists? Certainly not!!
Hopefully more about the Torah's attitude towards war in a future post.