A big war was being planned in the name of freedom and patriotism and other sacrosanct and rarely interrogated concepts. In an attempt to prevent this new big war, the ghosts of all those who had died in previous wars decided to manifest, en masse, at various significant locations around the world. The idea was that the ghosts would appear and tell the living that war just isn't worth it and is a bit of a shit idea. 'We'll spook them into coming up with a better option', said one of the ghosts before they all appeared.
So, all the ghosts manifested around the world. They were quite a sight to see. The ghosts ranged from troglodytes who had come a cropper in tribal skirmishes to little kid ghosts who had recently lost their lives after stepping on land mines. Great war heroes of the past were also amongst their number and did most of the talking. The ghosts made their point clearly and then refused to leave until their advice had been adhered to.
The leaders of the living world met and discussed the dead. It was decided that the wishes of the dead were irrelevant because, unlike the wars of the past, this new war was definitely worth having due to freedom and all that. The ghosts were termed 'appeasers from beyond the grave' and it was decided that they would have to be dealt with. 'The ghosts are a threat to freedom', said a great thinker in a newspaper and this sentiment went viral and got lots of 'likes' on politics.ie and other heavyweight intellectual fora.
The militaries of the world joined forces for a time and trained in the new discipline of combative exorcism. The ghosts didn't stand a chance and were sent back to the afterlife. Then, after a global victory celebration, the nations of the world resumed their plan to embark on a big new war and did so and loads of people got killed and new ghosts were made.
Those who were made ghosts in the new war went on to the afterlife and met all the other war dead who had tried to stop them fighting. 'So, was it worth it?' the old ghosts asked the new ghosts. Some of the new ghosts, the spirits of civilian casualties mainly, agreed that the new war was not worth it and that nothing had really changed for the better in the end. Those amongst the new ghosts who had died as members of the military in the various fields of operation pointed out that the conflict may have been worthwhile as they had received posthumous medals and that those medals were shiny. The military ghosts continued in this belief until they looked down on the world of the living and observed their descendants getting their medals appraised on The Antiques Roadshow and selling them off to eccentric war enthusiasts for disappointing profits of around a tenner a piece.
Wars continued after that and they were bitterly recalled by the losers and celebrated by the winers and the medals of all sides continued to be sold for fuck all. The new wars created new ghosts and those new ghosts joined the other ghosts of former wars in the vast borough of the afterlife that is reserved for those who die due to war. 'It's getting crowded here', noted one ghost and all the other ghosts agreed but they also knew that they could do nothing about it. As much as these ghosts would like to prevent the living from prematurely dying, their desire is nothing when compared to the desire of the living to kill.