Is there anyone who actually likes war?

Today, most people see war as a necessary evil, and as a last resort. I was wondering if anyone actually sees front-line combat as a type of sport, something that they positively enjoy, and would be fighting not as a duty, but for its own sake, as an artist or pure mathematician would do art and mathematics for its own sake.

Would that person be a highly abnormal person in any age? What do you think is more fearful, war in which the only person who can kill you is right in front of you, and your skill as a warrior determines whether you live or die, or war where the individual soldier has little control over his life or death, i.e. in modern warfare where precision munitions controlled via advanced technology can take you out.

I imagine that at a stage of combat where individuals would fight each other in hand-to-hand combat, and where the skill and courage of the individual soldier was the predominant factor in victory or defeat, that war could be something that could be enjoyed. Some examples might be gladiators who voluntary went into the arena, hunter gatherer tribal warfare, the Greek Heroic Age (Achilles’ single combat with Hector for example), and the Spanish Conquistadores.

What do you think?

The military and those that supply them love war. Also anyone who can take advantage of the results. Do you really think wars are started reluctantly?

Of course there have been people who loved war. Robert E. Lee was quoted as saying, “It is well that war is so terrible – lest we should grow too fond of it.” There was the Shakespeare speech in Henry V(?) about “…we happy few…” on St. Crispin’s Day. Patton allegedly said lots of stuff about loving war, though no quote comes immediately to mind. Most of the great “Conquerors” seem to have been war lovers.

It seems to me that, percentage wise, more kings, princes and generals loved war than the poor stiffs making up the phalanxes or lining the trenches.

Maybe the OP intends to ask, “Are there people who publicly claim to love war?” I think there’s a lot fewer of those people now than there used to be.

We certainly seem to love to recreate it in all of our favorite pastimes; books, board games, roll playing games, sports…

Yes, I think that kind of person, who puts his own life on the line knowing that other people are going to be trying very hard to kill him, is very unusual in any age. It is the italicized part which differentiates these people from your typical adrenaline-driven “extreme sports” enthusiasts.

OTOH, even I can see the attraction of planning vast battle and campaign strategies on maps, and training the troops to carry out their duties unflinchingly, and watching a battle through binoculars from a distant hillside – or with today’s technology, real-time overhead imaging.

Didn’t just about practically everyone in America love the first TV war, Iraq I?

Assuming that, yes.

Not those who I’ve known.

I can see a lot of argument about who in the military would or would not like war, but you have a tall task ahead if you want me to believe those who profit from it do not like it.

Mussolini thought war was good because it built character, or something like that. I think he was speaking only for the survivors, though.

Bertram de Born did:

But of course there are people who like war.

Lots of people love war. Thrive in it. As much as most people would be loathe to admit it, there is still glory in war, for those who have the temperament to find it. You mention the ancient era, and still today, there’s that same “me vs all of you” mindset, it’s just that now camouflage, trickery, and shooting people in the back from half a mile away aren’t frowned upon as cowardly. Sniper teams in particular, because they’re usually only two people against a company, or a couple high priority targets. It’s them, their ingenuity and guile against the highest possible stakes. People love war, just like people love hunting. They may not publicly admit it because there’s a stigma against deriving “entertainment” or “pleasure” from killing other people, but that doesn’t stop a person who really enjoys the chaos.

Not to mention there’s still de facto ennoblement through war. Take some second-gen immigrant who joins the military and eventually works his way to being a general. He’s going to get a lot more respect and money. It carries inherent prestige, even today. And being a soldier is great for a lot of resumes; like, say, politics.

The first TV war was Vietnam, which is interesting as an aberration. Before then, we were in the WWII-fueled rosy-glasses stage, where we assumed things about war based on propaganda and such, and hearing stories from WWI about French and German soldiers being friendly to each other, sharing food / playing sports, etc. But seeing destitute villages burning and veritable killing fields with women and children on TV shocked a lot of people, causing a backlash that has since largely died down. Nam still carries that black stain, even though it really wasn’t very different from WWII. Very few people use moral arguments against wars these days, instead we use practical reasons - how we shouldn’t be involved not because war is evil, but because we have no interests there (Iraq), or we’re too worried about the ramifications of war (Iran, North Korea, China). When it was on TV, we personalized it. We saw people lying dead in the rice paddies. People who could’ve been our friends, relatives, or neighbors. We didn’t have the “benefit” of the soldiers who had no choice in the matter, and extensive training to prepare for the mental stresses of seeing, and causing death.

No, many cultural value-systems have admired and exalted that, including classical Greece and Rome, and – despite Christianity – medieval Europe.

“Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base.”

"Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base. All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty. Duty is the essence of manhood. "
-George S. Patton

I’m sure there are plenty of people who, if they don’t actually “like” war, have embraced a sort of warrior’s mentality. In other words, a significant portion of their personal and professional identity is derived from war or the military.

I have to think if you are a Marine, Navy SEAL, Airborne Ranger or some other highly elite soldier, you have to have some extreme level of passion for the trade of making war.

We do it with crime too (especially murder) but that doesn’t mean we love murder.

Can’t speak for suppliers, but I had five years in the army(never in combat thankfully) and no one that I knew liked war. It was something that we would do if we had to because we believed in our job.

What about mercenaries? Do they like war?

A lot of them are in it for money because they know no other skills or their countries are poor (sort of like the Swiss in the past) not for fighting’s sake, after all not everybody likes what they do in their jobs.

War, huh, good God
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me