One major human problem, learned, genetic or both, is the corruption of power that causes / allows leaders of all kinds to commit self destructive, immoral and too often, atrocious acts. What does fame, power or money do to us to turn us into at least jerks and at the worst, tyrants and mass murderers?
Is it just the position and perks of power that corrupts us? Can we even see ourselves becoming evil when we become powerful? I am not sure. Along with power, we must develop a pretty good set of rationalizations that allow us to sleep at night.
Freed from the confines of civilization, warriors carefully trained to hate and kill the enemy, end up raping, pillaging and murdering unless restrained by their leaders. Would these warriors act the same as individuals, or does the gang / combat buddy atmosphere help escalate the violence? I remember as a kid the amount of damage that we did was proportional to the size of the gang.
Upon returning to civilization, most warriors having experienced combat are full of remorse and conflict. We call it PTSD today. This is nothing new. Homer talked about the trauma of war in the Iliad and Odyssey. Tribal warriors were cleansed after battle before being allowed back into the civilization of the tribe.
So how do we reduce violence and war? I say reduce, because maybe the elimination of war and violence is too lofty and distant a goal. I think that most people looking at history and the happenings around them are resigned to accepting some kinds of violence. Changing that belief will be more difficult than working for a reduction of violence.
As a start, how about addressing some the costs of war to each one of us and to our nation?