One theme of “The Destroyers” is that a person’s way of life is just as important as his life. Another is that you should not assume you know what is best for others. Finally, sometimes the simple life is the happy one.
Any war is made up of a horde of personal tragedies--but the greater picture is the tragedy of the death of a way of life.
The story opens with these ominous lines. We know that the theme of the story will be related to the death of a way of life. The theme of a story is its moral or lesson. In this story, Anketam is happy with his life as a farmer. Most of the others seem happy with their simple lives too, until a distant planet decides to reform “the most backward planet in the galaxy.”
The war starts because the Chiefs of the planet Xedii do not want an embassy at Chromdin. Anketam is annoyed that outsiders want to tell them what to do. Since Xedii is an “agricultural planet” it is difficult for them to fight the advanced weapons of the outsiders. In the end, they succumb.
Anketam just stood there, his mind glazed. He had worked hard all his life for the security of retirement, and now all that was gone.
The story is a reminder that we do not always know what is best for others. The invaders thought that Xedii was backward, but the people there were quite happy. It was not just the people that died in that war, it was their way of life. Sometimes that is worse.