Monday, July 28, 2008

War is normative. Peace is incidental.

Almost 25 years later, I find Rudyard Kipling still echoes in my brain; a reverberation from time in solitary at SERE School. "Boots, Boots, Boots...There's no discharge in the war!"

Maybe it's the current adminstration in Iran and the looming uncertainty of this year's US presidential election. My 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice candidates have long since left the field.

After grumbling to myself about the remaining choices next November, it comes down to the $64,000 question "Which candidate is least/most likely to get me and my kids killed?"

I hear talk of "change" and "hope" from one camp. It's all very non-specific and utopian.

I see the bumper stickers proclaiming "Give Peace a Chance." The person sporting that slogan likely isn't from my tribe. Wonderful sentiment to be sure, but, it's out of sync with nature and history as I understand it. Does that make me a warmonger? Hardly.

Don't get me wrong. I love peace. I long for peace. I served in uniform to establish and maintain peace. However, I do not love peace at the expense of liberty -- mine or anyone else's.

Maybe I shouldn't have read the "The Sea Wolf" when I was younger. Maybe Jack London warped my world view. It really IS a jungle out there.

It strikes me that another bumpersticker I saw is more grounded in the reality of mankind, "War is normative. Peace is incidental." Well, at least until the final battle and the coming of the King...

In the meantime I wish it could be otherwise.

We're foot-slog-slog-slog-sloggin' over Africa -
Foot-foot-foot-foot-sloggin' over Africa -
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again!)
There's no discharge in the war!

Seven-six-eleven-five-nine-an'-twenty mile to-day -
Four-eleven-seventeen-thirty-two the day before -
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again!)
There's no discharge in the war!

Don't-don't-don't-don't-look at what's in front of you.
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again)
Men-men-men-men-men go mad with watchin' em,
An' there's no discharge in the war!

Try-try-try-try-to think o' something different -
Oh-my-God-keep-me from goin' lunatic!
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again!)
There's no discharge in the war!

Count-count-count-count-the bullets in the bandoliers.
If-your-eyes-drop-they will get atop o' you!
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again) -
There's no discharge in the war!

We-can-stick-out-'unger, thirst, an' weariness,
But-not-not-not-not the chronic sight of 'em -
Boot-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again,
An' there's no discharge in the war!

'Taint-so-bad-by-day because o' company,
But night-brings-long-strings-o' forty thousand million
Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again.
There's no discharge in the war!

I-'ave-marched-six-weeks in 'Ell an' certify
It-is-not-fire-devils, dark, or anything,
But boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again,
An' there's no discharge in the war!

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