So It Turns Out I’m a Warmonger


Categorie: David Axe, Reporters |
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Jeremy Aaron photo.

Jeremy Aaron photo.


I gave a speech at the University of South Carolina. This is what the student newspaper said:

Conflict correspondent David Axe left a full room of journalism students and faculty staff stunned after saying if he had God’s power then he would not stop wars — simply because he likes covering them.

“War is dramatic. The stakes are high,” he said. “I would be terrified if there were no more wars.”

Axe, a former Free Times staff writer, came to USC Tuesday for its I-Comm week to discuss war, self-censorship and selling war. Traveling quite a distance for his passion, Axe has reported on conflict zones in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Chad, Congo, Lebanon and East Timor for outlets including Wired, C-SPAN and Voice of America.

He talked about who can be blamed for exaggerating today’s wars in the public eye. He invited the audience to jump at him with questions at anytime, which is exactly what third-year broadcast journalism student Amit Kumar did when Axe made his controversial remark.

“There are a lot of other things wrong besides war. There are a lot things wrong with government in general,” Kumar said. “If you really had the option — yes or no — to end war right at this moment and you just said you wouldn’t, then I think you’re to blame.”

Echoes of my infamous “screw Darfur” comment from a couple years back.


6 Responses to “So It Turns Out I’m a Warmonger”

  1. Essjay says:

    Yes, damn you for not being an omnipotent being and ending all war… It sounds like people at USC need to realise that real journalism does more to obstruct war than IR majors ever have.

  2. Sailon says:

    This “peace at any price” concept is really getting annoying. People need to understand the world is full of sons of bitches, and not of the kind that scratch your car in the parking lot and don’t leave a note, but of the kind that would cut your throat for half a reason.
    Wars suck, but they are a reality that has been with the human race since prehistoric times. Wishful thinking will not end them. Magically ending a war will only lead to it flaring up again, for the same cause (or for a different one, some people aren’t very picky when it comes to killing)

  3. Brant says:

    Makes me wish I was still there (I’m a 2004 MMC grad) just so I could point out to the idealists in the room that some people just need perforating, and no amount of idealism can change that. Maybe next year I’ll coordinate with Lisa to come down there for a day or two.

  4. eggyknap says:

    I sorta suspect that blithely fiddling with omnipotence, even with peaceful or otherwise “good” intentions, just might have its own set of unforeseen consequences. It’s only an academic argument, of course, but I’d prefer to live in a world where everyone is allowed complete agency to control their own actions rather than one where people are somehow forced into behaving according to some predefined set of constraints. Even if those constraints are kind, peaceful, happy, friendly, etc., without the ability to choose, we mortals don’t progress much in our mortal existence.

  5. Joe says:

    Conflict is part of the human condition so people better just get used to it.

  6. [...] At a talk at my university last month, a fellow student opined that the media, and in fact we as a society, don’t focus on peace enough. This sentiment begs the question of whether there’s such thing as peace without war. Certainly neither is as black and white as it used to be. Wars are smaller and more dispersed. And probably longer. The only thing for sure about them these days is their ambiguity. If “war is the continuation of politics by other means,” then war and peace seem to exist not as opposites, but in a cycle. What’s more, our current conflicts are completely obscuring any boundaries in that cycle. Sociologist Martin Shaw wrote of 21st century warfare: The key understanding, therefore, is that war fighting must be carried on simultaneously with ‘normal’ economics, politics and social life in the West. It is imperative it does not impact negatively on these. [...]

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