War is armed conflict between at least two factions of people that results in death and destruction and makes life much harder for those living in affected areas. Why do we do it? For some, war is simply the absence of peace and must be fought to re-balance the scales towards peace. The oldest found evidence of warfare is at Jebel Sahaba (Site 117), a cemetery in the Nile Valley that is 12,000 to 14,000 years old; at least 45% of the 61 skeletons found died of violent wounds. Today, there are multiple armed conflicts going on, including the War in Afghanistan (beginning in 2001), the Iraqi Civil War (beginning in 2014), the Syrian Civil War (beginning in 2011), and the War in Darfur (beginning in 2003). These long battles make it seem that peace will never be found, so then why do we fight? For what goal? As Sun Tzu stated in his Art of War, "victory is the main object". What is victory, what is the object? What is the point? The point is often determined by politics and those in charge as the common man doesn't want to fight. Two theories in political science circles are the “balance of power theory” which suggests that war is the result of a possible dominant state trying to gain more power and the “power transition theory” which happens when a dominant state is declining and challenged by a new state. There is also the “diversionary theory” which is known as the self-explanatory scapegoat hypothesis which occurs when those in power use war as a diversion or rallying point by creating an us vs. them dichotomy. There are a plethora of reasons to justify wars, but the psychological reasons are much more difficult to understand. The argument often goes one of two ways: that people are inherently violent or that the structure of societies leads to violence. There is an effervescent question surrounding those who go to war and the willingness of fighters to fight. In his famous Men Against Fire, S.L.A Marshall discovered that up to 75% of men in World War II did not discharge their weapon. While the statistic is quite controversial, the damaging effects of war and of making the conscious decision to kill another person are found in multiple records.
Gods In The Iliad, the gods appear and intervene in combat. In fact, the war began due to a divine argument. Indeed, the relationship between gods and war is long and well documented with constant battles being fought in the name of religion with one group attempting to impose rules in the name of their gods on the other. This, along with political structure and attempts and domination, are major reasons for war and have been since war began appearing in societies in Sumer.