When I first began these chapters, I immediately questioned the validity of Slim’s suggestion on how to change the minds of anti-citizen movements. I wondered how long changing the minds of these people would take and if it would be truly effective. If it takes years to change the these warriors’ minds, then will it have any effect on the war and violent acts they are committing right then? Is it simply a lost cause and has no effect on the greater aspects of civilian suffering? Changing the minds of a few people, or even changing the minds of many, just over a long time, will have no effect on those who are suffering right now. Slim brings up the fact that many cultures view the attack of unarmed men, women, and children as cowardly and dishonorable; but it seems as if every culture has committed these atrocities, so obviously a culture’s outlook on civilian killing has little if any effect on the acts of soldiers in the midst of battle. However, I did like that Slim brought up the need to understand civilian ambiguity. Civilians are going to have an opinion on a war, it effects them intimately, but fighters should not hold citizens accountable for their opinions. If a citizen is “rooting for” the government, yet not interfering in the war anymore than going about his daily life, the enemy faction should not harm him for that. I was also happy that Slim mentioned tolerance; many people mercy and identifying with the enemy civilians as caring for them, it’s not, it is simply the act of tolerating them. It’s the same as not liking someone in your class. You’re allowed to hate that person, but you can’t go up and punch them simply for being someone you don’t like. Slim made an important note of mentioning the future as a valuable resource. If a opposing enemy wins in throwing over the government, they are going to want the cooperation of the citizens. It is extremely expensive to maintain an army large enough and powerful enough to control an unruly and angry population. Likewise, no one wants to destroy the population or land too much, or else the economy is going to tank and the winner is not going to be able to enjoy the economic benefits of taxing the population.
In celebration of finishing this book, here is a picture of two cats: