Total War Might Not Save the World

If I were a head of state, I would definitely have voted against the US President’s proposal in the Honolulu Conference. With every single concern from the aspects of ethics and tactics, waging a total war against the undead is clearly not a cost-efficient decision, which can give rise to serious social ramifications in the post-war era.

First and foremost, the president’s argument and the proposal he brought up contradicts each other from an ethical standpoint, judging from his interpretation of “human spirit”. He believes that without the support of “the human spirit”, we can never build a real future. We need to prove that we are capable of being offensive as the dominant life-form on earth, and rid ourselves of anxiety and self-doubt thus: “we had to prove to ourselves that we could do it, and leave that proof as the war’s greatest monument.” (267) The reclamation of the planet represents reclamation of our dignity as humans – the confidence and power lost in the year-long defensive strategies. I agree on the importance of “human spirit”, as the greatest difference between humans and the zombies is the ability to feel, reason and think, and these are the qualities that set us apart from any other species and make us superior. However, it should encompass much more than our pride as an intelligent and rational being: how about empathy and compassion to other members of the same species? “I’ll only be sending others out to die, and here’s what I’d be sending them up against…Two hundred million zombies…a very gloomy prospect for victory.” (271) At the very moment of time, nobody knows how long the war will last, or whether the human beings can survive or not. But we know that we are outnumbered by far, and we can’t take responsibility for the future of the country when we can’t even take responsibility for the safety of the ones who serve their country with their lives. When the cold, hard facts of the zombies are presented – “…all the experience, all the data we’d compiled on their origin, their physiology, their strengths, their weaknesses, their motives, and their mentality” (271) – I can’t help thinking, is sending young soldiers to a fully committed, all in total war that we have little hope to win a part of “human spirit”? Are they sent out only to prove that the abstract notion of “human spirit” still exists, as it will be “the greatest monument”? Are we trying to save the humanity by diminishing humanity? With all the information given at that point, I cannot reason my way to justify this act, which is basically slaying humans for the sake of humanity.

When we think about this plan from a tactical standpoint, it still cannot offer a promising outlook for us or the next generations. Different from that in a conventional war, our enemy grows as we lose our fighters. “Infect a human, he becomes a zombie. Kill a zombie, he becomes a corpse. We could only get weaker, while they might actually get stronger.” (272) One may argue with this statement with the presence of science and technology, but the saddening fact is, “we weren’t mechanized anymore” (273). We can see the aftermath in China. The huge population was once the origin of the military’s confidence, but it was actually the Achilles’ heel and “the most populous nation on earth … [is] fatally outnumbered”, as “every dead soldier was now a live zombie”(235). When we are sending soldiers to the battlefield with an unreliable supply of ammunition and all the speculations and uncertainty, we are actually sending ourselves to the end. The situation will only worsen unless there are a deliberated plan and a steady supply of goods and materials. But I can’t see either of them at the Honolulu Conference.

We cannot simply rely on unrealistic optimism or a vehement speech when making this life or death decision for the entire human race. Being defensive doesn’t necessarily mean being a coward, and being offensive doesn’t necessarily represent valor. We need to calculate meticulously and use our best judgement, and there must be a better way other than a total war to end this nightmare.


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