Fascinating. Experimenters at Stanford were looking at the difference between "exhilarating" conflict and "exhausting" conflict -- and they found..
In a new paper, three researchers demonstrate that whether conflict is exhausting or exhilarating depends on what is really threatened in the dispute. A threat to a relationship is most likely to leave one exhausted (and susceptible to the temptation of chocolate) while threats to tangible interests such as safety or property, or elements of an individual’s identity (such values or ideologies), energize people to take action and fight back.
It's a little bit on the academic side, but the whole article is worth reading. Don't forget to come back here for the discussion --
At the same time, this is an issue both terrible and important to think about.
B.H. Liddel Hart, in "Scipio Africanus," notes that the majority of causalities, fatalities, and damage don't occur during conflict, but afterwards -- to the losing side.
From Hannibal's defeat at The Battle of Zama -
"...the loss of the Carthaginians and their allies [was] twenty thousand slain and almost as many captured. On the other side, [the estimates range from "1500 Romans" to "2000 of the victors."] The discrepancy is explained by the word "Romans," for Livy's total clearly includes the allied troops. It is a common idea among historians that these figures are an underestimate, and that in ancient battles the tallies given always minimise the losses of the victor. Ardant du Picq, a profound and experienced thinker, has shown the fallacy of these cloistered historians. Even in battle to-day the defeated side suffers its heaviest loss after the issue is decided, in what is practically the massacre of unresisting or disorganised men. How much more must this disproportion have occured when bullets, still less machine-guns, did not exist to take their initial toll of the victors. So long as formations remained unbroken the loss of life was relatively small, but when they were isolated or dissolved the massacre began."
Could there more mercy, more clemency? Well, we would hope so, but then there's the faction/negotiation/diplomacy problem... when the defeated surrender, they only represent one faction who is at possibly the lowest point, most conducive to surrender. Later on, once cleaned-up and re-armed, the war-hawking faction will return, and if the opponent's forces are not reduced in defeat, they will likely be re-deployed and battle will began anew.
In Ramallah, my default was to avoiding talking about heading to Israel. In Israel, I’ve noticed my default state has been to avoid mentioning I was just in Palestine. When it does come up, I continue the conversation very cautiously.
I don’t know how people will respond. Will they be upset? Interested? Offended? Jealous? So far, I’ve seen a range of reactions.
Reactions of individuals in Palestine, on traveling to Israel:In general, no one get upset. At least on the surface.
Overall I’d say there was definitely curiosity, but some people definitely had an undertone of disappointment and jealousy because they could never go there. A few times I started talking about the rest of my trip (travel through Israel for a week, China for two weeks immediately after), and I think that undertone may have gotten stronger.