History is replete with wars. War is an organized and often prolonged conflict carried out by states and/or non-state actors. It is characterized by extreme violence, killings and waste, human suffering, social and economic destructions. Wars are intentional political violence and widespread armed conflict between political communities. In a seminal study, On War (1832), Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian military general and theoretician, defines war as “an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will” and as “an extension of policy by other means”. A state thus hope to attain by war what it cannot attain through diplomacy. Techniques used to carry out war are known as “warfare”.
Wars are arguably among the most dramatic of human dramas. While the decision to go to war are limited to top government officials responsible for the conduct of national policies, the ravages and consequences of wars are unmistakable: the destructions and waste; violent deaths and human sufferings; deserted towns and villages; destroyed buildings and structures; starvation and shortages of food, and the look of deprivation and fear on the peoples’ face. Despite some romanticists’ views, war is certainly no picnic. Indeed, people who have fought in wars or witnessed battles often describe war as “hell”.
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