Preventing War

Saracci, Rodolfo
September 1991
Journal of Public Health Policy;Autumn1991, Vol. 12 Issue 3, p265
Academic Journal
This article presents information related to Gulf war. Just during the first, essentially aerial, phase of the war, from January 17 to February 23, 1991, some 90,000 sorties were made by the allied air forces. Taking this as a crude overall marker of war activities and speculating that, unless the bombs were sent to deserted areas, one major casualty, i.e., a death or severe injury, could result from anything between one and ten sorties, the casualty toll for the first phase alone might run in the tens of thousands. The casualty toll demonstrates once more that, irrespective of how much a war can be seen, from one's own viewpoint, as ethically and legally just or politically and economically justifiable, a major result is loss of human lives and permanent or transient injury, physical or psychological, to the lives of others. In war no consensus solutions exist. Even within each of the battling sides open analyses of the relative values of the lives at stake are eschewed, lest too much light is focused on the kind of choices implicit and actually made in war, often in an expeditious, oversimplified way, with little, if any, room for consultation: choices between, say, the risk of sacrificing some of the enemy civilians, including children, through bombing a military position installed in a village, and the risk of exposing advancing soldiers to the position's fire.


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