Gone are, however, the days when a war used to remain confined only to the fighting armies. It has now become an instrument of total destruction of a civilization. It kills and maims innocent people, who are in no way linked with the causes of war. Invading armies target women and children, the sick and the old. Senseless firing and bombardments reduce to rubble hospitals, blood banks, schools, colleges, orphanages and residential areas.
Instead of a fight on the battlefield, war is today fought in the street of cities and towns. Tanks and artillery move as independent units inside the city and thus destroy all that comes in their way. Soldiers fight from rooftops and behind the windows and not while charging straight at the enemy.
Bombardment exercises from fighter planes are not carried out on the enemy tanks and cannons, as done previously. Instead they target civilian, residential areas, thus killing children and other innocent people.
They destroy homes and separate people from each other. Moving armies rob and plunder homes, shops, business establishments and banks as was done by the Iraqi army during its invasion of Kuwait. The tragic history was repeated by the British and the U.S. forces during their onslaught in Afghanistan and, later on, in Iraq in March 2003.
The universally accepted, old policy, prohibiting a victorious army from firing on a retreating enemy is now no longer followed. The allied forces had, virtually, a house-to- house search to wipe off the retreating Iraqi soldiers during the Gulf war. They did not spare even innocent civilians. The cowardly act was justified by clever media publicity.
And lastly, ethnic or racial conflicts and selective killings of a particular race have also become quite common these days. Be it they then the Tamils or Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, or the Bosnian Muslims in Serbia, or the Palestinians in Israel, the cruel acts are visible everywhere, in addition to killing or maiming of innumerable, innocent civilians.
Unlike yesteryears, wars are more violent and shed more blood of innocent people. They leave behind unimaginable unhappiness and tears. And, don’t forget that it takes a nation many years to rebuild its economy and infrastructure, destroyed during the war.
Isn’t it sad enough that countries like North Vietnam, Iraq, Sri Lanka Afghanistan, and Iraq are still groaning from, the after-effects of brutal use of force and would require long periods to recover from the wounds of war?