Mangala God of War & Empire


Second Thoughts at Night

Mangala glanced down at the ruins of a market in Baghdad, the gutted buildings amid the midday bustle of the living city. His gaze slid along to a checkpoint where five had died, four young Americans armed with rifles and a young Iraqi armed with a bomb, and further to a place in Kuwait City where a missile had struck, and at Basra, where Iraqi men with guns in the name of Saddam had shot dead Iraqi civilians without guns trying to escape the city in the name of survival.

A sudden presence tugged at Mangala's consciousness. He expanded his mind, past the boundary of sunlight to the darkness one third a world away, and into a bedroom where a man lay in bed at 3 a.m., eyes wide open, muttering, "Why are we doing this?"

Mangala's gaze slid sadly back to the busyness of war before him. "War once begun has its own momentum," Mangala said. "Once war has begun, one should never ask why, but only how."

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