The “sawbones” was an American Civil War “surgeon” who sawed off the legs and/or arms of wounded soldiers. This was done to prevent gangrene. For years afterward, these Civil War amputees were like a persistently limping negative advertisement for war. “Look what war did for me.”
Clearly, the war system would have to do better by these men. And so we see how it is that an under-recognized function of the permanent war system is to advance science and technology. This was one of the findings of the controversial “Report From Iron Mountain.” (Background: “Findings Of Iron Mountain”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of July 27, 2013)
The movie, Chariots of Fire, has at least one scene showing a maimed veteran of the First World War. By then things had advanced to use of crude devices as cosmetic replacement for damaged portions of the body.
The Vietnam War led to “spectacular improvements in amputation procedures, blood-handling techniques, and surgical logistics,” according to the Report From Iron Mountain. By then the repertoire of the “sawbones” had advanced considerably. And this advance of the sawbones had been largely dependent upon the war system.
This may partly explain the general euphoria which accompanies the start of war. In some way we realize the “sawbones” are about to make further advances. The typical war euphoria was depicted in the Marx Brothers’ film, Duck Soup. (“To war, to war, this country’s going to war. Oh hidee-hidee hidee-hidee hidee-hidee ho.) At the start of the U.S. Civil War there was great enthusiasm on both sides. This usual war euphoria serves a “psychosocial function” according to Report From Iron Mountain. It is like a mass celebration which dissipates “general boredom, one of the most consistently undervalued and unrecognized of social phenomena.”
War also functions as a way to improve inter-national understanding. What better way to get to know the Arabs than by fighting them? It would be too scary to just travel to Iran or some such place, introduce yourself, and say, “I would like to get to know you better.” No real he-man would do such a thing. The he-man way is to first show the other fellow how tough you are.
There are many other little-known functions served by the permanent war system, all carefully explained in Report From Iron Mountain. The two main functions are gigantic economic engine and population control. If an “enemy” does not exist, they will be conjured up in order to perpetuate the war system. When the Soviet Union collapsed, there was a “peace scare” – but not for long. Luckily “the terrorists” came along to replace the commies, or otherwise the permanent war economy might have faced a crisis.