"War Is Not a Game..or Is It?"
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"War Is Not a Game..or Is It?"

By Engineer Ghirma
March 05, 2007

All indications are that Ethiopia and Eritrea are poised for another bloody confrontation.

War games (as in electronic) are played in iving rooms and in public places where such games are available to people with the correct change. The payoff is in the form of jubilation and bragging rights for the victor. Well, the loser would just have to practice and practice some more; and wait for the day when he/she will improve his/her game; and thus be able to register revenge. No blood is shed. Except for the occasional agony of defeat and a rare case of depression; otherwise no physical or serious psychological malady is registered. War games (the bloody type) are played in War Rooms. The players in this case are Generals and their brightest support cast. The objective is to kill and maim the military of the opposing side, until the enemy either surrenders or is ultimately destroyed. The winning side would declare victory; and the losing side concedes defeat. In the process people on both sides lose their lives; property and infrastructure is destroyed; and there is sobbing and wailing on both sides for extended period of time. Some wars are waged for political and economic ends (as in Iraq). Others are driven by pride (as in Badme).

War games (the bloody type) are played in War Rooms. The players in this case are Generals and their brightest support cast. The objective is to kill and maim the military of the opposing side, until the enemy either surrenders or is ultimately destroyed. The winning side would declare victory; and the losing side concedes defeat. In the process people on both sides lose their lives; property and infrastructure is destroyed; and there is sobbing and wailing on both sides for extended period of time. Some wars are waged for political and economic ends (as in Iraq). Others are driven by pride (as in Badme).

Now it is time for the Cheerleaders! Just as in electronic war game, where fans on both sides cheer-on their friends; so are there cheerleaders during bloody war; where real blood is shed and real people loose their lives. In war people loose their limbs and eyes; and suffer unspeakable damage to their torsos. Frequently they prefer death rather than live in agony for the rest of their lives. Just ask those who took part in real battles; and you will know about the horrors of war, better than from my characterization of the same. Let’s all beware what we wish for!

If past history is any indicator, more often than not, the side that starts a war goes on to loose it in the long run. Two notable examples are World Wars I and II. In both cases Germany initiated the invasions; only to face eventual defeat and humiliation both times. In a more recent case, Egypt and Syria started the 1967 War; and we all know how that turned out! The Italians invaded Ethiopia in 1896, and were eventually humiliated at the battle of Adwa. We all know about the infamous invasion of Badme, Ethiopia. That one was initiated by Isaias Afwerki; and we all know how it turned out!

All indications are that Ethiopia and Eritrea are poised for another bloody confrontation. Whichever side times it just right will have the moral ground for bragging rights. There is no question as to which side will be the victor in terms of the outcome of such confrontation. That is a no-brainer! It is all about leadership. Isaias has a proven lack of leadership qualities. He believes in shooting first and asking questions later, without regard to consequences. He is sixty years or so old, but exhibits leadership traits of a teenager. The man doesn’t know when to quit. On the other hand PM Meles, a much younger man, analyzes his actions before he delivers them. That is why he is respected by his peers in Africa and throughout the world; unlike Isaias who is perceived as a neighborhood bully.

War between cousins is tough! In a way it is a no-win situation. For every person who falls there is grieving on both sides. Isaias conceded 19,000 lost souls on the Eritrean side. Considering that the Eritrean army which was dug-in at Badme was literally buried alive by the gallant and superior Ethiopian Defense Forces, that number hardly covers casualties on the Eritrean first line of defense alone; and is therefore obviously silly. The routing continued all the way to the outskirts of Keren and Asmara. On the Zala’nbesa front it was the same scenario. The capture of Mt. Amba Soira says everything there is to tell on that front. Casualties on the Ethiopian side were heavy too. There were enough tears to go around. Without mincing words it was a brutal confrontation.

War is definitely a bloody game. Leaders, who must wage war for the right reasons, must play it as a game with deadly consequences; and rightly so. Furthermore, timing means everything. P.M. Meles Zenawi will not rush to war; and he shouldn’t. In the mean time, all options shall remain on the table. This is why I know deep inside, that Meles is the right leader, who will make the right decision at the right time; for the Ethiopian people. Meles believes passionately that the enemy is Isaias Afwerki. It is my sincere hope that at the end of the day, the final and desirable outcome would include a legal and binding treaty; whereby Eritrea would be welcomed back into the fold of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.



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