The Art of War – Do We Still Require Warriors?

It is Sunday, and I was reading scripture early this morning. I came to this verse and it shook me up very deeply.

“When that war breaks out, young men seem to be the cordwood in the fires of war”

“Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. 2 It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.”

– Judges 3:1-2 (ESV) – (Keep in mind this was written on about 1300 BC)

A Soldier Protecting a Brother

I wish i could be a pacifist. It sounds right that wars should end. But people driven by greed and evil impulses would go unchecked. This is why we have a law against individual rapists, robbers, or home invaders. Warriors are an extension of the same law, on a mass scale when a whole nation seeks to carry out an injustice on a whole raft of humanity. If we feel we can solve mass injustice without  war, maybe we need to believe we can solve all evil actions of individuals without law “Enforcement” too?  What is the equivalent of a criminal sentence of “Life In Prison” for a whole nation doing an injustice?  I really am asking this question and would love to hear your thoughts.

I’ve written about my struggle with war several times. I am very unsettled. I have an understanding of both Pacifism and the Need for Self Defense.  I am aware of the theological verses used to argue both sides from a Christian Theological sense.  I see truth in both sides. And I am sorry, I am a wishful Pacifist, but I am sitting in a very reserved center realizing that both personal and national self defense from evil, harm, is a human reality.  You decide for yourself if retaliation is an evil or not .

I remember reading years ago (don’t ask me where but see my footnote (1)) that for a nation to survive it had to devote a minimum of ten percent of its population to becoming warriors; devoted to the art of war to protect a nation, and closer to 20% in times of conflict (1). This footnoted statement says that in the middle ages for every fifteen adults (max) there was one trained soldier.

Seems a bit ridiculous? Well this bible verse got to to digging.

I was reading an article that said only a half a percent of the population served actively in the US military  in 2014. However, interestingly enough if you added the current retired veterans still living to the active serving, a total of 7.8% of the current population served in the US Military. Think about that; How many went thought Basic training, but decided not to enter the forces so were never active in the military? Anyway, 7.8% have been through basic training on how to kill an enemy, how to be warriors.

But since only 2 million veterans and about 200,000 current personnel are women, that overall percentage varies a lot by gender — 1.4 percent of all female Americans have ever served in the armed services, compared to 13.4 percent of all male Americans.(link)

I simply am unable to find the information for Canada. What I did find was this.

The Canadian Armed Forces, as of 2018

  • Active personnel: 68,000 (2018)
  • Reserve personnel: 27,000

Basic Army Training: We see 5000 (Footnote (2) )  a year going through Basic Training in Quebec (That number would have been closer to 10,000 in the mid 1980’s) – See Footnote (3). I need to get my C25K (Couch to 5 Km) running app. If War is a reality of self defense (is it?) then should I not maintain a basic health?  See footnote (3).

So how many living Canadians (What %)  have taken Basic Armed Forces training in the last 80 Years? What percentage of living people in Canada have served in any capacity in the Armed Forces from reserves, to cadets, to Basic training? Good Question.

It is not as simply dismissing war on the grounds that our citizenship is in heaven , we serve another kingdom, so why fight the words wars. We can and should reject nationalism. But the our debate is not about stupid nationalism. it is saving people from the suffering of injustice, harm, torture, rape, murder, taking land, starvation. Do we let other nations and people cause harm to other people and stand by with folded arms saying, let the pagans fight their wars? Do we as Christians fold our hands when Hitler is killing six million Jews and say, “Let the secular world fight their own battles – that is Britian’s war, that was Canada’s war, That was the Americans war, but not mine, as a Citizen of heaven and the kingdom of God?   Those battles are not just mere defenses of nationalist pride. That is a red herring. It’s not nationalism, its stopping butchery of humans by evil. the issue transcends our nationalism.

  • All this came from the words I read in scripture this morning. God wanted the new generation to know the skills of war. Why?
  • Is it wise to have a certain percentage of our population skilled in warfare basic use of armed and self defense skills? But those words from the scriptures really got me to thinking today. How does that line up with Jesus?

I am going to live this love hate relationship, probably the rest of my life.

We will probably always require people skilled in warfare. There will always be warriors.  Think about this hard reality? Our families require men and women willing to make the sacrifice to defend in violent and deadly ways. With knives, guns, bullets, bayonets, pistols, and missiles.  When that war breaks out, young men seem to be the cordwood in the fires of war. In these times male aggressiveness becomes a valuable commodity in the face of the bullshit we talk about today. And no feminist will stand up and cry and protest in the streets for equal access and a mandatory 50% women on the battle field in a bloodbath. And no real man would desire it. If they did,  she is not my kind of woman I desire, nor my kind of man I’d respect.  Label this sentiment of mine as you wish!

Interestingly enough on the Canadian Coast of Arms, as well as the  Canadian Army, Navy, and Airforce Insignias all have the words.

A Mari Usque Ad Mare  – From Sea to Sea.

It is taken from the Latin Vulgate translation of Psalm 72:8 “may he have dominion from sea to sea

In March 2007, the premiers of Canada’s three territories called for the amendment of the motto to reflect the vast geographic nature of Canada’s territory, as Canada has coastlines on the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. Two suggestions for a new motto are A mari ad mare ad mare (from sea to sea to sea) and A mari usque ad maria (from the sea to the other seas). The expanded informal version of the motto (“From Sea to Sea to Sea”) is used in speeches and writings about Canada, representing inclusiveness toward northern residents and the growing significance of the Arctic in Canada’s political and economic future. (link)

Did you know you can write to Canadian Armed Forces personnel?

Write A General Letter Or Postcard.

1. Send Open messages to CAF members serving overseas can be posted electronically through our website. Please look for the Canadian Forces Message Board.

2. To read Messages sent To Armed Forces Click Here

3. Snail Mail – To send a letter to a general address (addressed to “Any Soldier”, “Any Sailor” or “Any Air Force Member”), use a postcard and one of the addresses on the Canadian Forces Message Board on our website. (footnote 4 has Mailing addresses)

_____________

Footnotes

(1) What percentage of a population can be part of a medieval military

Based on historical data, the adult population in a typical polity in the Middle Ages could support one fighting man for every 15 adults maximum.

As noted, fighting men didn’t exclusively “fight”, but were generally higher ranking Feudatories, who acted in administrative roles for those of higher feudal rank to whom they owed alligence. Since the web of relationships was often theoretical above a certain point (certainly too difficult to enforce effectively), much of Europe during the Middle Ages (or Japan during the period before the Tokugawa Shogunate or China during the Warring States periods) was divided into much smaller polities run by minor or “mid level” nobility. So in addition to being able to fight and supply a set amount of fighting material (coming with horses, armour and weapons), they also adjudicated disputes, supervised the harvesting of corn (wheat), the milling and distribution of flour, ensured markets ran (with their percentage of the cut) and so on.

The other reason the ratio of fighting men to the others included the high demands of time for training for war, and the resource bill for the man, armour, weapons, horses etc. This could be made up in partby a levy of the peasants to provide foot soldiers, hiring of mercenaries and the arrival of brigands who would be happy to serve for a share of the loot.

This relationship ended with the start of the Infantry Revolution, when simple to use weapons and tactics (crossbows, pike formations, pole arms) were introduced, allowing a mass of peasants or yeomen to take to the field and effectively fight against mounted knights, so if your setting is in the mid 1400’s or beyond, then the percentage of effective armed manpower increases, although the amount of time that they could take to the field will decease (since they still need to carry out farming, crafts and other daily tasks to stay alive and prosperous).

–Thucydides

(2) “The Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS) . The School’s activities take place at the Saint-Jean Garrison located in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. Every year, more than 5000 people start their military career at CFLRS, while 3000 military members train via Distance Learning. CFLRS employs more than 600 military and civilian employees.”

(3) Basic Army Training: Basic Health. One will run 6 km by end if basic training.  50-54 yr old should be able to run 2.4km in under 14.5 minutes before entering Basic Canadian Armed Forces Training.  I’m dusting off my Couch To five Kilometer (C25K) app. Would it not be fair that should I need to defend my family, or my country that I should maintain sufficient health to meet the Basic requirement of an Average female or male trained as a the most basic warrior?  scroll down and and watch the the videos.  This was something I was keenly aware of and spoke about with a fellow International worker when we worked in West Africa (I have lived in several countries with extremest). We felt we needed to have a basic level of health to have the strength and stamina to defend ourselves and our family if called to do so..

(4) Letters or PostCards Mailed to  “Any Soldier”, “Any Sailor” or “Any Air Force Member” C/O

National Defence Headquarters
MGen George R. Pearkes Bldg 11 ST
101 Colonel By Dr
Ottawa ON K1A 0K2

Royal Canadian Navy Headquarters (RCN)

National Defence Headquarters
MGen George R. Pearkes Bldg 11 ST
101 Colonel By Dr
Ottawa ON  K1A 0K2

Canadian Army Headquarters

Public Affairs Officer
110 O’Connor St Suite 908
Ottawa ON  K1A 0K2

Chief of the Air Staff

Director Air Force Public Affairs
National Defence Headquarters
MGen George R. Pearkes Bldg 11 NT
101 Colonel By Dr
Ottawa ON  K1A 0K2

 

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