What’s a War Junkie? Che v Zapata

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What’s a War Junkie? Che v Zapata

I’ve taken some flak over my inclusion of Che Guevara in the poem War-Junkie Worshipers. My purpose here is not to verify whether or not Guevara fantasized about blowing up New York City, or if he wanted to ban the saxophone because it was too bourgeoisie. And I really don’t care if he actually had a medical degree. Separating this particular man from his myth is nearly impossible because he has become such a totemic figure for both his followers and his detractors.

But by the mere facts of his existence upon which we all can agree, Guevara was clearly a War Junkie. Instead of working to make his homeland a more just society, he went to three different countries in search of military glory. Even when he had the opportunity to build a New Society in Cuba, Guevara chose instead to go gallivanting across the globe looking for more people to shoot.

By way of contrast, let’s compare Che to that great Mexican Cincinnatus figure, Emiliano Zapata. Zapata was an highly respected and extremely gifted horseman who certainly would have achieved a comfortable existence had his life not been interrupted by the Mexican Revolution. Zapata, a natural leader of men, reluctantly came to fight for his own people only after it became clear that war was inevitable. Sadly, Zapata’s visage is simply no match for Guevara’s in the minds of so many silkscreen warriors.

Most soldiers are not War Junkies, and some War Junkies aren’t even soldiers. Generals George Washington, George Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Colin Powell, and Colonel Andrew Bacevich are just a few obvious examples of men whose exploits included both the Sword and the Ploughshare, so to speak. And millions of American soldiers returned home after serving admirably in our many wars without the slightest desire to ever return to the battlefield. Many (probably most) of them never even wanted to study war no more in any way.

btw, Please keep the emails coming, whether you agree with me or not.


by Richard W. Bray

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One Response to “What’s a War Junkie? Che v Zapata”

  1. An Effective Title-Writing Strategy for Academic Papers « Laughter hope sock in the eye's Blog Says:

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