Last night Tress and I watched the Four Corners program on ABC. It was a story about a British photographer who was injured on assignment in Afghanistan. He lost 3 limbs – both his legs and his left arm. After a year and a half of rehab he returned to Afghanistan and photographed victims such as himself. Numerous people, including a number of children lost limbs to IED’s – improvised explosive devices.

It was a very touching story. The photographer demonstrated a lot of courage and humanity, in returning to the scene of the carnage and in engaging local victims of similar tragedies. On their faces, the captured emotions ranged from a sense of bewilderment and hopelessness, to a desire to return to their previous lives with families. Some bemoan the inability to continue being breadwinners to large families.

Pictures of open wounds at the end of severed limbs were distressing but they are the realities of all that is ugly about wars. Prosthetics are made in attempts to restore the lives of the victims as much as possible but their resoluteness notwithstanding, the victims face a lifetime of untold miseries. Many of them are children – some very young children – and some of them were blown up while making their ways to schools.  

I’m not sure what can be done about these IED’s that appear to litter war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. They are most likely made by rebels against foreign forces but the civilian collateral damage comes with such a terrible human cost. Lives are literally torn apart and the bloody trail is a terrible reminder war is to be avoided at perhaps all costs.

And yet the usual argument of applying necessary force to prevent worse outcomes is not far away. The reported atrocities of regimes such as the Taliban are far too common to be ignored. War and its bloody consequences, appear to be necessary.

I don’t know… as a mere lay person who reads and listens to such news, I hardly know how to view this intelligently. The bend is almost entirely emotional and by itself, it is such a persuasive argument against waging wars.