Our correspondents Jameses, Stanley and Kessler, alerted me months ago to this exchange in the old television show, “M.A.S.H.” In a discussion of the First Battle of Bull Run, we discussed war as hell.
War is worse than hell, they said. Still true.
They pointed to a scene from “M.A.S.H.”
Dialogue borrowed from IMDB:
Hawkeye: War isn’t Hell. War is war, and Hell is Hell. And of the two, war is a lot worse.
Father Mulcahy: How do you figure that, Hawkeye?
Hawkeye: Easy, Father. Tell me, who goes to Hell?
Father Mulcahy: Sinners, I believe.
Hawkeye: Exactly. There are no innocent bystanders in Hell. War is chock full of them — little kids, cripples, old ladies. In fact, except for some of the brass, almost everybody involved is an innocent bystander.
Deep thinking, maybe wisdom, from a mobile operating room filtered through sit-com writers.
M.A.S.H., copyright 20th Century Fox
- Correction and discussion of William Tecumseh Sherman’s original quote, “War is hell.”
- Collateral damage as hell