529. Return (VII)
From the casualty perspective, the worst wars are those that involve hand-to-hand combat—those old tribal wars where you clashed with the village one valley over. Even today, soldiers are taught to use the bayonet; and at some level military theory has faith in a stab to the guts. Proportionally, you are much better off in a war today than in single combat. The technology of war changes the dynamic somewhat: medieval armour all but eliminated casualties among combatants, although not among camp followers; then gunpowder made casualties general again. Nevertheless, the overall trend away from stabby-stabby towards technological warfare represents a move to safer war.
In America’s black ghettos the casualty rate remains high; and that is because the low-level tribal warfare that occurs in those areas is stabby-stabby—it recreates primitive warfare in an urban environment. The casualty rates match, hence the high number of murders inflicted by and upon black men. The cause is the same as in all wars: the bitches. Traditionally, men would raid the village in the next valley over for women—for the chance to push their seed forward; secondarily, there were “economic” goals—yet these were related to the drive to reproduce. The ghetto gangsta who becomes a kingpin gets all the bitches: kill more warriors, push more genetic material forward. Genghis Khan knew.
Today, states fight for economic objectives and strategic advantage: Putin does not want Ukrainian bitches, either for his Khanian self or for his men. However, the genetic angle is not forgotten; the Russian army is unlikely to rape its way through the Ukraine—usually demoralised soldiers put to flight rape—but if Russia wins Russian soldiers will enjoy a boost; the Ukrainian girls will like them more, the winner is fit to reproduce with—and, indeed, when Russian men travel internationally they will have the winner’s halo (garnished by Western propaganda that says they are “evil”, women loving the bad boy). The war is not about access to women, but it still confers an advantage on Russian genes—and those genes, such as the Chechen, associated with the Russian state.
The quantitative improvement in war, the fact that it is proportionally safer to sit through an artillery barrage than to pick up your spear and storm Troy, conceals qualitative degeneration. You go to a Tommy in a trench at Ypres and say: “Statistically this is much safer than some fuzzy-wuzzy in a skirt with a spear; you’re much less likely to die—and there’s modern medicine at hand.” The Tommy would probably look at you as if you were mad.
Statistically, he was better off than the reed-skirted warrior. Yet he faced years amid mud, rats, gangrene, artillery bombardment, burial under mudslide, rain, gas, and machine-gun fire—a period interspersed with the prospect of walking towards the enemy trench, only to be killed with his entire village; and all to gain a quarter of a mile or nothing. The conscript was not trained for war; he was trained to work in a factory or an office—democratic war thrust him into an alien environment and then traumatised him, in many cases for life. Warriors are born not made, yet in democratic war every man can be churned through the machine—his individual qualities count for little, all that is required is that he can hold a rifle.
Qualitatively, a life of dangerous raids in primitive conditions was better; not least because the village warrior at least had agency—whereas the modern mass soldier has very little. This is why there are fewer stories about WWI than WWII: there was no glamour in the former, just a factory that chopped up thousands of men a month. By WWII, technology had advanced to the degree that participants had agency again: tank charges, aircraft wheeling in the sky, advances by truck. Hence WWII makes for good tales, whereas WWI—a bit like the holocaust—has this claustrophobic aspect to it; just a death machine with little individuality.