I can’t recommend A Terrible Love of War by James Hillman enough. Hillman, though a psychologist, approaches the subject of war–and our mutual attraction and aversion to it–from multiple perspectives, from literature to letters from combatants. In a society that is increasingly using the metaphor of war, even against ideas, the book is an incredibly timely examination of what human characteristics allow us to become inhuman.
A dead enemy, however, leaves an existential gap; no one there to fight. Because the enemy is so essential to war, if one party gives in to defeat, the victor also loses his raison d’etre. He has nothing more to do, no justification for his existence.
War is becoming more normalized every day. Trade war, gender war, Net war, information war. War against cancer, war against crime, against poverty, drugs, and other ills of society have nothing to do with the actuality of war…This way of normalizing war has whitewashed the word and brainwashed us, so that we forget its terrible images. Then, whenever the possibility of actual war approaches…it has been normalized into nothing more than putting more cops on the street…