It's hardly a revelation to say that wars are painful and terrible events, but Margaret Bourdeaux's war speech posits that more of the damage inflicted by wars comes after the war itself is over.
Wars do more than just kill and ravage; they leave societies in a state of complete disarray, and in many post-war areas there are no social institutions whatsoever. When Bourdeaux was a medical student, she went to war-stricken Serbia to help the people there. Once her term was complete and as the war came to a close, she was granted leave stay on with a family in the area outside Kosovo. She found that life for this family, and indeed the country as a whole, was rife with danger and uncertainty — even something as simple as visiting a doctor to treat a fever was immensely complex without stable government institutions to provide security.
Thus, even though wars are themselves dangerous, the cessation of basic services like healthcare lead to even more death and harm than during the war that caused it.
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