Simple: It demands the least of us in terms of both compassion and creativity. Rather than sacrifice our time, resources, rights or comfort in an effort to resolve a conflict, violence allows us to foist the total cost of a conflict onto our enemies. Think of it as the fast food of conflict resolution. The path of least resistance. A cacophony of sugar, salt and fat that gives us a momentary shot of euphoria and sanctimony but whose long-term effects are subtle, cumulative and self-destructive.
Of course, even though our enemies bear the brunt of our violence, the residual costs of violence remain, not the least of which is the brutality it elicits in those who deploy it. But such costs are easily mitigated or deferred through technology, which allows us to remain several steps removed from the consequences of our actions, and myth-making, which helps us convince ourselves and others that although the violence of our enemies is brutal, barbaric and unprovoked, ours is surgical, minimal, and, above all, necessary for the greater good.
One might argue that violence also demands a certain level of creativity. After all, an MQ-1 Predator Drone is a far cry from a spear or a club. It is a highly sophisticated piece of technology that required several years, hundreds of millions of dollars and dozens of people to develop. However, the mental framework in which the drone is deployed hasn’t changed since the first murder–a desire to strike a blow from which there can be no reprisal. As Walter Wink says, “Violent revolution fails because it is not revolutionary enough. It changes the rulers but not the rules.”