In order to describe what war is one has to define it. According to
The Collins Dictionary war is
1. open armed conflict between two or more parties, nations or states…
2. a particular armed conflict: the 1973 war in Middle East. 3. the
techniques of armed conflict as a study, science, or profession. 4.
and conflict or contest: the war against crime. 5. (modifier) of,
resulting from a characteristic of war: war damage; war history.
This is obviously straight to the point, but does not go into enough
detail to fully describe what war is. Clausewitz chooses not to follow
the definitions put forward by, what he calls, “publicists”, ...view middle of the document...
Here, force is everything that the attacking group can
muster together in order to destroy the other group’s will to fight
and bring a quick, decisive victory, and can involve killing soldiers
as well as destroying important buildings.
Wars are not always like this, and with the introduction of nuclear
weapons, Van Creveld believes that ‘conventional war’ is effectively
at its end. Also, if this ‘Total War’ was true then more groups would
use nuclear weapons in order to win the war, but they do not. This is
due to mutually assured destruction and the risk of a backlash from
other nuclear powers. There has been plans to try and incorporate
nuclear weapons into conventional war, but this was unsuccessful.
When considering what is war, it is not simply a case of the use of
force by the attacking party, but one has to take in account the
opposed force. Without this opposed force it would not be war, it
would simply be a massacre or perhaps genocide. The form of opposition
force, like an attackers force, can vary, whether they respond in an
offensive or defensive manner. If they are defending the war will be
restricted to their own turf and their forces concentrated on
preventing attack and protecting certain people or buildings. However,
the offensive force of the attacking party can be met with similar
offensive force. The war will ultimately begin on their turf as they
are being attacked, but they will attempt to remove the threat and
then attempt to destroy them as in Clausewitz’ ‘Total War’.
If force is indeed the use of weapons, then one has to consider what
sort of weapons are used in war. Weapons have changed through time,
becoming increasingly high-tech to the point of nuclear weapons that
could remove all humans off the face of the earth, but they have not
been used to their full extent as of yet. The larger powers tend to
use weapons such as aircrafts with bombing and firing capabilities,
tanks and battleships, whilst the soldiers involved will carry such
things as guns and grenades. Martin van Creveld puts forward his
thesis that in future wars weapons will become less sophisticated due
to the types of groups involved. With this, he believes the production
of high-tech weapons will stop and cheaper, but still effective
weapons, will be used. This is already happening in the war between
Al-Qaeda and the West, where they are trying to bring down the US and
the whole western system. They did not kill people with high-tech
weapons in their most devastating strike against the US, which killed
thousands of people, but took over two aeroplanes around New York and
flew them into two buildings, which were among the most important in
the West, showing it does not have to be all guns and bombs in wars.
Another important part of war is the agents involved in it. In today’s