The Star Trek episode, “A Taste of Armageddon” was set in a solar system where two planets had been at war for centuries. The war was fought by computer, with virtual attacks being launched, and if they virtually succeeded, the casualties were tallied and identified by computer.
Listed casualties then reported to disintegration chambers where they were cleanly and painlessly killed.
When Kirk, for whom the Prime Directive was frequently a guideline, blew up the planet’s wargaming computer, both planets were faced with plan B — a messy war with real weapons, and destroyed buildings and nasty injuries and deaths. This proved terrifying enough to bring both sides to the table for peace talks.
Maybe war needs to be messy enough to be scary.
On the evening of March 9, 1945, the United States sent an armada of B-29 Superfortresses toward Japan, which for months had resisted surrender, even as a naval blockade brought much of the population to the brink of starvation. The B-29s were headed for Tokyo, and carried napalm, chosen for the mission because so many of the city’s inhabitants lived in houses made of wood.