Insanity of War

from Way Station (1963) by Clifford D. SimakRating: 3.9     (34 ratings)

 
He shut his eyes for a second and once again could see that slope below him, with the long lines of men advancing through the drifting smoke, knowing that those men were climbing up the ridge for one purpose only, to kill himself and those others who were atop the ridge.
And that had not been the first time nor had it been the last, but all the years of killing boiled down in essence to that single moment -- not the time that came after, but that long and terrible instant when he had watched the lines of men purposefully striding up the slope to kill him.
It had been in that moment that he had realized the insanity of war, the futile gesture that in time became all but meaningless, the unreasoning rage that must be nursed long beyond the memory of the incident that had caused the rage, the sheer illogic that one man, by death or misery, might prove a right or uphold a principle.
Somewhere, he thought, on the long backtrack of history, the human race had accepted an insanity for a principle and had persisted in it until today that insanity-turned-principle stood ready to wipe out, if not the race itself, at least all of those things, both material and immaterial, that had been fashioned as symbols of humanity through many hard-won centuries.

- Enoch Wallace


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Way Station