Watson, Don: Over the top

Watson, Don

Lest we go over the top‘, The Monthly, February 2014

‘The experience of war very much depends’, the author says, ‘on where one happens to be standing at the time.’ Front line soldiers, generals, writers and politicians all have different views. ‘And then there are we citizens, ever willing to sun ourselves in a myth’s reflected glory. War is horrible: so horrible, without it we would not know ourselves.’

The ‘annihilation of millions’ should not be turned into another episode of the history wars yet we tend to limit our remembrance, the numbers of military dead being far greater than Australia’s dead, let alone the numbers of civilian dead. As for remembrance, ‘something might be learnt from the Anzacs of old who commemorated their war by shedding a few tears at a dawn service and getting drunk for the rest of the day’.

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