Small Wars Journal

Why We Fight: Now and 10,000 Years Ago

Why We Fight: Now and 10,000 Years Ago by Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

Is there a fundamental difference between war fought for reasons of belief and war fought out of self-interest? Is one more primitive than the other, or morally superior?

These deep questions are raised by the finding of a mass grave from 10,000 years ago by the shores of Kenya’s Lake Turkana, now the earliest such site known.

They also resonate in the debate about how seriously to engage Islamic State, and whether to employ means of warfare that would actually eliminate the group instead of just contain it. In particular, the fight against Islamic State involves the question of whether it’s good or right to go to war because the enemy is morally so bad.

Taken together, the battles of 10,000 years ago and today can help us clarify our answers…

Read on.