I think one of the strangest phrases in the English language is “the art of war”. How can we describe war as art? To me art is creative, life giving, soul-baring, and thought-provoking. How can war with its destruction, death, and harm of every kind be described as art? There is nothing of art in war. It cripples people and countries. It leaves nothing but pain and despair in its wake.
The Oxford dictionary defines art as “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”
Art can also be expressed in literature, music and song; It may be a piece of architecture or photography. Art instills a sense of wonder. It can perplex and puzzle us. It can leave us feeling truly touched or amazed and exuberant. I think anything that makes people think or feel on a deeper level might be called “art”. Art moves us, changes us, and ultimately, leaves us better people than we were before the experience.
Not so with war. War is ugly, damaging to the psyche and is the opposite of creativity. War tears down. It does not build up. It is the antithesis of art. War is death-dealing. There is absolutely nothing positive about war. It is nothing but strategic moves to inflict the greatest pain on a group of people or a country. And that may require a level of creativity on the part of generals, etc. but let us not call it art.