Wars have always played a dominant role in human societies, if not positive all the times. There are many people in the world who consider that wars are necessary, though wars bring a lot of miseries with them. They even go to the extreme by calling them as a precondition to peace. But, on the other hand, there are many people who believe that wars are destructive and they destroy human civilization and annihilate human race.
Therefore, human beings must not pursue wars; rather they have to run after the opportunities that can lead them towards peace and tranquility. However, such thinking is considered very much ideal; the desire that wars should not happen is a dream, while the fact that wars happen is very much a reality. Therefore, it is necessary to understand wars, their objectives, reasons and their effects, so as to have a proper understanding of politics and human societies.
Wars are basically launched to coerce wills. The Prussian military general and theoretician Carl Von Cluasewitz defined war as follows: "War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will." Thus, wars are basically launched when wills are not attained or they are not agreed upon by the opposing party. Most of the times, wars are followed by failed political or diplomatic endeavors. Finding no compromise or agreement, the parties jump in the war and try to solve the issues through force.
War is not a new concept in human societies; rather they have been parts of different phases of history. But in the modern world of ours it has become more lethal. Earlier human societies were not very complex and even their interactions were not very much often.
Today human societies are very much complex and they have very frequent interactions; further, unlike past, today the resources are getting scarce with each passing day while the number of people living on earth are increasing.
Moreover, with the development in science and technology, there has been advancement in the field of modern weaponry, making wars more possible and more lethal. There are possibilities that the modern wars can well end in nuclear wars which if not controlled properly can really lead to the extinction of human race.
The reasons and motivations for wars are different. It should be noted that the motivation for war may be different for those ordering the war than for those undertaking the war. The people ordering the war form leadership, while the people undertaking the war form the military and even the people.
It is quite possible that the leadership may be pursuing the war with the motivation of exerting its dominance over the enemy, while the soldiers forming the military may be fighting the war just because they are more motivated towards the money they are getting for the war.
Nonetheless, it is necessary for a state to have the will of its leadership, its military and its people behind a war otherwise it may result into a failure (that is what happening in the war against terrorism). The motivations may differ, but there should be motivation. War uses force and force requires energy, which is provided by leadership, military and people, once that energy ends, the war cannot coerce its objectives.
The reasons of the war may differ on different occasions. According to Jewish Talmud, described in the BeReshit Rabbah, there are three universal reasons for wars; 1). Economic, 2). Ideological/religious and 3). Power/pride/love (personal). The reasons described by him are really one of the basic reasons but not the only reasons.
Today with the development of the states and the growing importance of politics in them, political reason is one of the most dominant reasons. And it should be mentioned as well that it is not necessary that a particular war should have only a single reason.
There can be different reasons for a single war and because of a single reason there can be various wars. John G. Stoessinger, in his Why Nations Go to War says that the parties who go for the war claim that morality justifies their fight.
He further mentions that the rationale for beginning a war depends on an overly optimistic assessment of the outcome of hostilities (casualties and costs), and on misperceptions of the enemy's intentions. In short, there are different theories describing different reasons for war. These theories include psychological theories, economic theory, demographic theory and many others. They talk about the different reasons of war but none can be considered as a universal theory.
As there is no constant and universal reason for war, in the same way the strategic and tactical aspects of war keep on changing with the changing nature of human societies. According to Carl Von Clausewitz, "Every age had its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions, and its own peculiar preconceptions."
The single factor that has always been constant is war's employment of organized violence and the resultant destruction of property and lives. The conducts of wars have changed with the changing societies as well.
In the words of Ralph Peters, "The nature of warfare never changes, only its superficial manifestations. Joshua and David, Hector and Achilles would recognize the combats that our soldiers and marines have waged in Somalia and Iraq. The uniforms evolve, bronze gives way to titanium, arrows may be replaced by laser-guided bombs, but the heart of the matter is still killing your enemies until any survivors surrender and do your will."
The effect of the wars is the most tragic aspect of war and it can be measured by the amount of losses incurred by the involved parties. The losses of the war can be in the form of property and valuable human life.
The result of the war can be measured by the outcomes of the war. The difference between the conditions before the war and after the war basically constitutes the outcomes. Sometimes the outcomes are in the favor of a particular party in the war, but on most of the occasions the outcomes are in the favor of none of the parties.
The ongoing war against terrorism in Afghanistan may become one of the same types of war that ends in the favor of none of the parties in the war. Ten years after the war, as the war is being concluded, none of the parties, US authorities and people, Afghan authorities and people, Pakistani authorities and people and Taliban, seems to be contended with the result of the war and each one finds its objectives not achieved. If not pursued properly from now onwards, this war is going to result in nothing more than a share tragedy.