Why do nations go to war? I don't mean the top guys. Their reasons are straightforward enough: kickbacks from weapons manufacturers and contractors. Even the most conservative Republican can justify government spending when it’s for a righteous cause like war.
I mean why does the rank and file, the average American, so avidly embrace war? The answer is boredom; war relieves the tedium of our everyday lives.
Absent war, "all the news just repeats itself like some forgotten dream." Which, of course, explains why Bush has recently lost the nation's confidence. This many years after the war's start, we no longer find Iraq amusing.
It's easy to see why 18-20 year olds long for war. Just look at their fathers, stooped and graying, tied to the same lathe, the same computer, the same dumb sales meeting for thirty years and what did it get them. War offers an opportunity, perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a little excitement, a chance to travel, to be part of a winning team.
But why would parents risk their 18-20 year investments? Ever sat in the stands at a football game? Or stood embarassed on the sidelines while the kids played soccer and their parents screamed. War is our chance to scream and yell, to unleash the hatreds we store up each day. (No choice but to store up frustrations when so much of our lives is under the control of others.)
War relieves our tensions and provides us with our one chance to excel, if only vicariously. (So what if there were no weapons of mass destruction. We wanted war and no sacrifice was too great.)
The theory that boredom results in war can survive several independent tests. Take the the born agains, self-righteous, smug, (forced to drink and fornicate under the table, to conceal their shame even from themselves), America's Mid-East crusades provide an acceptable outlet for all that ordinarily would be repugnant to a cheek turning, peace-loving Christ.
War offers the opportunity to do so much that cannot be otherwise justified. High school bullies can keep on bullying, even after graduation. And those that were bullied can now torture others.
As for the intellectuals, the peacenicks, always opposed to righteous causes, so out of step with the rest of us, this theory explains them, too. Intellectuals are like new arrivals at a party, two drinks behind. They find their avocations, if not their jobs, completely fulfilling. They solve equations, find cures, build bridges. They even get off on crosswords and sudoku. They're just not bored enough.