Bertrand Russell, in his preface to Wittgenstein's "Tractatus," writes that, although a language cannot describe its own form, its form can be described in another language. Indeed, a language as an attempt at communication is put to its most severe test in a war. When differences between classes or states reach a stage where they are prepared to raise the level of violence to the absolute, language ceases to exist. However, it is still needed to carry the whole of the class or the entire population of the state in support of the war to the extent where the ordinary person would be prepared to risk his life or, at least, not to find that demand unacceptable. The Good War by Studs Terkel, Phoenix Press, (1984), is what it calls "an oral history of the Second World War." Here soldiers or members of their families remember their experiences of the war, with which the mankind made a transition from the age of the gun-powder to that of the nuclear bomb. These ordinary people, in recalling the war, do not speak of the "Atlantic Charter," the "right of the Germans to greater living space," or to the "greater co-prosperity sphere." Neither do they speculate how the "imperialist war" became the "people's war." Their comments are of those who smelled the gun-powder, who saw comrades next to them killed; the comments of those who were informed of the deaths of their dear ones. Here, there is the story of Rasmus. His platoon was so panicky in the field that they massacred the German soldiers waiting to surrender. Later, during the Vietnamese war, when he was more mature, he thought the Americans supported a war only as long as the going was not tough. Sledge, in the Pacific Theatre, says there was nothing macho about the war. "We were a bunch of scared kids." The difficulty was that the Japanese, unlike the Germans and others, always fought till death. No surrender. This made the American soldiers bitter. A nice young man, as a result, became a savage. Another veteran complains that, in writing of the war, no one writes how the soldiers feel. (The French diplomat, Giraudoux, writes in his play about the Trojan War that when a soldier advances to meet the enemy, he looks ferocious. But actually he is thinking of his olive grove, of his son in the arms of his wife as she stood there in tears to say good-bye. But, of course, Giraudoux was writing a play.) A woman tells of her husband, who never drank. He became a paratrooper and jumped twenty-six times in France. When he returned, he was a drunkard. She added that the US had started the Cold War because the American homeland had not been touched in the Second World War. Another young American was sent to fight in Korea, to save its freedom. But he saw the Koreans being beaten to death by the Korean police. Another soldier, in Germany, entered the concentration camp in Dachau where he saw lamp-shades made from human skin. Outside, he saw well-behaved, ordinary Germans like himself. He was unable to connect the two. It appears that there is no link between the view of the war from the angle of the state leadership and as seen by the ordinary citizens. Yet the citizens glorify the war leaders. A school child would have heard of Alexander but not of Diogenes. He would have read about Napoleon but not about Romaine Rolland. One imagines there must be something rational about two normal persons murdering each other even though they never met before. Perhaps each invests the violence thus committed with his own sufferings. So the dead-body of his enemy carries the days of deprivation of the killer with him, leaving a prospect of plenty behind. Anatole France is right. The only legitimate war is the civil war, where the combatant goes happily for the throat of someone he has long loathed. The writer is a former ambassador