There's always been war and conflict I suppose, since the first cavemen squabbled over who had the nicest cave ganged up with their friends to bop rival cavemen over the head...and then took his nice cave as loot.
War in Mediaeval times was certainly bloodthirsty...the weapons used made it so. Pikes with curved blades and lethal long-bows and arrows...small razor sharp knives and heavy swords meant that it was unlikely you'd survive a head wound for instance. But those battles were fought at prearranged locations and lasted for a prearranged length of time...often very brief...twenty minutes and the winning side had won and most of the opposition were either dead or had run away...
There was almost a gentlemen's honour ...it wasn't done to loot the bodies of your enemies for instance...anyone of high rank who'd died was returned to his family...foot soldiers were given a proper burial and so on. And one of the notable differences in a Mediaeval battle and those which came later, was that the King and his court were at the frontline...not lurking behind a bush or sitting at a comfy desk in an office in another country...
Of course the rules were not always followed and bodies were looted for their clothing and finger rings...weapons were picked up and stashed away and any horses still left alive would have been taken...
Mediaeval times also saw sieges...and they could, and did, sometimes last for weeks. The occupants of the castle...it was usually a castle...under siege, responded by pouring boiling oil onto the enemy trying to climb the walls...the enemy poisoned water courses which ran into the castle and prevented deliveries of food...towns were held to siege as well...remember towns had outside walls in those days.
Gradually the rules began to shift...guns became the weapon of choice...swordsmen were made obsolete...you can't fight a bullet with a broadsword...the King himself stayed at home and sent high ranking members of his court in his place to fight in the front line...there was no longer a vaguely set time limit on a battle...now they could go on for hours until all the combatants were exhausted. Corpses laid where they'd fallen, to be retrieved by local people and buried in mass graves rather than returned to their families.
By the time the First World War broke out the rules had changed again...now the men fighting in the battlefields had no experience...they'd come from farms and shops and factories and had no expectation of what it was they were supposed to do. Mediaeval battles were fought by men who'd trained since they were small boys with swords and long-bows...the lads in the First World War only knew how to milk cows and run errands for shopkeepers.
At the last count my English family lost thirty-three young men in the First War...and they are, or were, immediate family...the youngest was seventeen and the oldest was twenty-four.
Some described them as nothing but 'cannon fodder'...the battles they fought went on for days and weeks and if they returned home they were never quite the same...
I'll skip the Second War...and the Vietnam War...and end up in the here and now. There is no respect for one's enemy...not now. We use drones to kill so no-one needs to get up close and personal with another young man from different culture...people lay mines to blow each other to smithereens...suicide bombers are pitiful brainwashed creatures stuffed with opiates...and boys return home with one arm...or one leg...or brain damaged beyond hope or repair.
It is mostly the politicians who sit behind big desks in comfy offices and decide who fights where and for how long...Kings don't get involved anymore because we only have figureheads for Royalty now...
We don't even bother to protest anymore...
If we happen to be canny about economics and world trade and so on we can read that the guns used by the Afghans have been manufactured in America...we know that the rules of the Geneva Convention simply don't apply if you find yourself in Guantanamo Bay...classed as a non-human if you end up there.
There was a time when going to war was pretty straight forward...we dived in all guns blazing for a cause, or so we thought. Now war is insidious...and probably far more bloody than those old battles fought so long ago when Knights-At-Arms were proud to serve their King...
We squabble and argue and can't let anyone be...we invent weapons of mass destruction and think we're so clever... we're terrified of the Bogeyman of Muslim hood but stand back with our countries gates wide open...
There is no romance in war...no-one ever gains nor do they actually win...we are left bewildered and appalled by the endless loss of life...and we sit back and do nothing.