The American Bear


And for those to whom war presented itself as a random disaster? It was not random at all. That shelling that killed your mother and the militia that raped your sister were intended to terrify the population and make them governable again. Rounding up and torturing your father was a way to ensure he would think only of survival for his family and himself, not of ‘politics’. Your brother joining the rebels? Well, that was an unintended consequence of planned actions.

Tarak Barkawi, Syria: War from the inside out

What war is really good at is resisting any consistent meaning we try to find in it. It inverts our purposes. It mocks our high-mindedness. It denies any possibility of adequately answering the question: “Why did our sons and daughters have to die?”