Is Starting Wars Really Always Self-Destructive?

By deMause, Lloyd | The Journal of Psychohistory, Winter 2013 | Go to article overview

Is Starting Wars Really Always Self-Destructive?


deMause, Lloyd, The Journal of Psychohistory


WHY WARS ARE SUICIDAL

Although fighting a war can sometimes have a protective policing function, starting a war against another nation rather than negotiating with them always, I believe, has a self-destructive function. The reason why over the centuries billions of men have killed and died in wars is that they are repeating the violent child abuse their parents inflicted upon them. In hellish wars they repeat their hellish childrearing. That soldiers imagine they die "for the love of their country" is just a repetition of being told as children that their abuse was "for the love of their mothers." All wars are fought with little attention to their actual necessity, out of "loyalty to the nation" that is identical to their "loyalty to their mothers" during their childhood. Voters for war leaders have internalized their authoritarian mothers.

Males mainly fight in wars because they are four times as likely1 to commit suicide as females.2 And the reason why men are more suicidal and more wanting to be soldiers than women is that boys are given less care than girls by their unloving mothers. Parents expect boys to "be tough" and "self-sufficient" as they grow up and are more often beaten, so that by the time boys are three they "play war" and girls do not. Imitation guns are the most popular toy for boys; girls don't play with them.3 Since American Republicans have had more child abuse than those on the Left, the Christian Right is racist and fascist and fears "intruders" from abroad.4 American fundamentalists lead the U.S. holy wars against Islamic nations.

U.S. fundamentalists are regularly apocalyptic and warprone. There are 70 million evangelicals in America, most of them hypermasculine and favoring wars, and this explains why the U.S. has more military bases than the rest of the world combined. Indeed, wars everywhere have been fought in the name of one God or another.

The mass rape of women so common in wars is revenge for this early maternal abandonment. Masterson found depressed borderline mothers often told their children they should kill themselves: "You're so selfish! You never think of me! I'd be better off without you."5 And Dorothy Bloch discovered children's nightmares are filled with images of Killer Mothers murdering them.6 Suicidal people suffer from low serotonin levels and high Cortisol levels, making them need to appear "tough," "walking time bombs," from childhood.7 And this leads to voting for warprone political leaders.

Official statements about wars routinely understate their true self-destructive costs. The actual cost of the Iraq war, for instance, is indicated by the title of the book The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Confici,8 while official estimates are stated only in billions of dollars. Historians usually check out the costs of daily military operations, but these never include the huge costs of building up the military bases in earlier decades nor do they include the future lost productivity of all those who fought and died in the wars nor the environmental destruction nor the costs of the millions of mines left over from the conflict nor the costs of environmental destruction nor the costs of famine nor the costs to children of experiencing the conflict.9 A study by the U.S. Senate concluded the majority of children are rendered "mentally retarded" by conflict and by U.S. spread of depleted uranium in Iraq.10 The thousands of bases currently being maintained by the United States add up to many trillions of dollars. Over a million Americans served the U.S. military in Iraq. Closing down the majority of bases around the world whose only purpose is provoking "enemies" would save trillions each year, eliminating the current U.S. deficit problems. The savings would also enable America to help the 1.6 million U.S. children now homeless.11

President Obama carefully understates the huge self-destructive costs of America's five wars, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and North African Civil Wars, all of which have active U. …

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