It’s often said that the first casualty of war is truth. This is not true.  The first casualty of war is far more likely to be a six-year-old shot at random while playing on the street or a family buried beneath the rubble of their home when a bomb falls unbidden from the sky.

Almost without exception, there is no rational justification for any war, yet armed conflict remains as popular today as it’s ever been. Most wars are started by a handful of middle-aged men (and a shamefully high number of pensioners), and once begun are allowed to drift aimlessly on till no-one can remember why they’re fighting and the number of fatalities is as empty and meaningless as the callous bile spouted continuously by the self-serving autocrats responsible for the carnage.

The shortest war in history was the Anglo-Zanzibar conflict of 1896, which lasted about 38 minutes. Even that was about 38 minutes too long.