Morality is contraband in war.
The devastating aftermath of war is that it erodes every shred of human benevolence and coerces us into renouncing and breaching our values, doctrines, standards, virtues, and faith. The notion that “Morality is contraband in war” implies that revered ethical values, principles, and spiritual tenets are abandoned in warfare and substituted with base animalistic impulses. In essence, during times of conflict and combat, ethical deliberations are frequently cast aside or disregarded in the quest for triumph.
This idea is rooted in the notion that war is inherently violent and brutal, and that the demands of conflict often summon extreme and even unethical behaviour. For example, soldiers may be required to kill enemy combatants, destroy property, or engage in acts of deception or sabotage. These actions may be reprehensible and problematic in peacetime, but in the context of war, they are often deemed necessary or justifiable.
At the same time, the phrase “Morality is contraband in war” is not an endorsement of amoral behaviour or a dismissal of ethical concerns. Rather, it reflects the grim reality that war often requires individuals and nations to make difficult choices and trade-offs between competing values, including the value of human life.
Ultimately, the phrase highlights the complex ethical dilemmas that arise in times of conflict and the need for leaders to balance strategic objectives with moral considerations. While morality may be difficult to apply in the context of war, it remains a crucial element of leadership and decision-making and one that cannot be ignored or abandoned altogether.
An ignoble consequence of any war is not the attainment of victory or peace, but the erosion of trust and respect towards leaders, be it at personal or political levels. This may cause a rational mind to doubt the veracity, effectiveness, and durability of the timeless wisdom contained in and passed down through divine scriptures, or even The Maker.
Anil Kumar (at war with his soul)