Who Ya Gunna Kill?

Intrigued? It's murder!
Intrigued? It’s murder!

Seriously? Would you? I spent a career in the military. Flying B-52s would have removed me from the carnage by five miles, but I never dropped bombs on people. Fly all day, spend a few minutes dropping whatever (normal or ‘conventional’ bombs, various kinds of nuclear bombs or missiles, or mines into water like harbors or ports), then home and to the club for a night of brews and pizza before going out again in a day or so. I just missed out on that fun (not) routine in Viet Nam.

I was trained to shoot three guns: two rifles and one pistol. But I never shot anyone either. I spent a career as a trained killer, but I’ve never killed. I don’t even hunt. And, at least for now, I don’t own a firearm. However, I have no doubt that I would kill. War is different. Self-defense is different. I am not a pacifist.

Per the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the most dangerous regions in the world for murder and other violent crimes are Africa, Caribbean (toss in Brazil), and Central America. Canada comes in at 89th with about 516 murders, and the US at 92nd with 12,253 (both based on rate by population). Australia seems to have virtual love fest going on and is way down the list. But I want to look at this from a personal, more individualized perspective.

murder-3A few days ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek note on Facebook about how I did not whack some guy because my wife would kill me, had I dispatched the fool to his happy hunting ground. The fact remains, people kill people. I cannot imagine doing that except in self-defense or war. Neither of those would be considered murder, even in the biblical sense. Why do humans kill each other? Mental illness aside, why do we do it?

Here’s a little clip from J. D. Robb’s book, Glory in Death, p 138.

“Biblically speaking,” Nadine put in, “murder is the oldest crime.”

“You could say it has a long tradition. We may be able to filter out certain undesirable tendencies through genetics, chemical treatments, beta scans, we deter with penal colonies and the absence of freedom. But human nature remains human nature.”

Those basic motives for violence that science is unable to filter: love, hate, greed, envy, anger.”

“They separate us from the droids, don’t they?”

“And make us susceptible to joy, sorrow, and passion. That’s a debate for the scientists and the intellectuals. But which of those motives killed Cicely Towers and Yvonne Metcalf?”

Later they add thrill as basic human motive for violence.

Can this be for real? Do people kill because it’s fun? Sorry, that can’t be considered normal. But those other emotions can account for a lot of murders. Love, hate, greed, envy, and anger are common human emotions. And yet, people kill strangers for cutting them off in traffic. We call it road rage, but it’s anger. Statistically, murders of women are often done by male mates, partners, or lovers. What’s up with that?

The countries in the high murder-rate areas that I mentioned have significant drug trafficking problems, and many (but not all) have high rates of poverty. Figuring out motives and getting them into the right categories would be a challenge internationally. So, tell us. Who ya gunna kill?murder-4

It can be a dangerous world out there.
Carefully mind any gaps. Look both ways before crossing borders, fences, or red lines. And, watch for droids.

Passionate Disbelief: A Testament to Effort

hemmingway-first-draft

It may be just another from there-to-here story, but it is mine.

Officially, I haven’t written in my memoir for about two weeks. Sure, I typed over 50-thousand words for Nano in November, but so what? This isn’t just the telling of any story, it’s the recording of a part of my life. That first whack during Nano (something less than a 1st draft) is like putting primer on the wall before painting or prepping a canvas.

When I tried to make an outline, I ended up with a list of events somewhat out of order. Each time I had a memory or an idea, I quickly added it to the list. I now have a list of 165 items, memories, or events. There are a few duplicates, some ideas aren’t useable, and for some I still have no idea what I was thinking about or why I added it to the list.

I’ve glossed over a few how to write a memoir books. Now I’m slowly reading Your Life as Story by Tristine Rainer. I just finished Writing is My Drink, a memoir by Theo Pauline Nestor. Giving all this thought to autobiographical writing has enlightened me that I prefer non-fiction to fiction. I prefer autobiography to biography, and specifically memoirs. I like history. In fiction, I prefer real life/real world stories to Sci-Fi or fantasy. It’s complicated. I like them all. Anything done well is better than my favorite genre not so well done.

I’m even considering changing last year’s novel to an autobiographical novel, and rewriting it from third to first person. But that’s for later. For now, I want to keep working on this memoir. While I’ve not recently written much in it, I have been working on it. Organizing both it and meh-self has taken a bit of time.

About 80% of my writing is rewriting, and if you know how Nano goes (thou shalt not edit), that effort will require mooch-o rework. It’ll keep me off the streets, out of the bars, and out of most trouble for a while. I enjoy rewriting, editing, correcting, and improving my own work more than writing the first draft. Maybe that’s cuz I don’t have to create (think) and spell simultaneously.

Writers get it.
Writers get it.

I’ll be right here, in my 11×11 spare room. This is my work-space, set up with folding tables that I can take down to turn it back into a bedroom when we have visitors. While I sometimes find other locations to write, I prefer this one. I got all meh stuff around me. And look at these post-it notes behind me. Each one has one or more of the topics contained in my memoir. Those written in pink or orange highlighter are yet to be written. It’s how I’m organizing the thing until I learn Scribner.

A memoir of post it notes
A memoir of post it notes

Below is my view from the chair at my computer. The sock monkey on top is the kind that rolls around and laughs, in case I need a lift, or someone walks in here and asks me what I’m doing. A couple of windows to my right provide an uninspiring view of my neighbor’s rooftop. But I want to know when it’s raining — pluviophile, remember?

The view from my writing nest
The view from my writing nest

Here is a little snippet from my memoir. I was 17, would soon graduate from high school, and was Air Force bound in a few months. Shirley was my sister and Danny’s meh big brudder.

As a senior in high school, my guide and advisor regarding entrance into the military was Shirley’s husband, Jack M. This hard-core, active-duty, career Marine gave me all the advice he could – more than I could assimilate. Jack was a highly decorated First Sergeant (Sergeant Major to be) and a veteran of both WWII and Korea. He would later complete two tours in Viet Nam, and he would resent being denied a third.

Sergeant Major M. was a true warrior. He was the guy you want on your side in a fight, but not necessarily the man you wanted in any situation requiring sensitivity, grace, or political correctness. Despite this, Jack was a boisterous and friendly Italian-American from Ohio who seemed to be liked by everyone.

Jack and Shirley were both Catholics, but were married by a Justice of the Peace because Jack was divorced. Eventually they were married into to the good graces of the Church, which seems strange because they never practiced their religion, or if they did, not for long.

One day Jack and I were browsing through a hardware store so he could tell me what to buy and what was good stuff. This was back when hardware stores had everything or knew where to get it.

Jack pointed at some hunting knives in a case, “Yer gunna want a good knife. Your own. Not too long, but you want good balance, feel, and steel that won’t break on bone. In the Marine Corps, everyone has a knife.”

I looked at him, “Jack, do you think I should join the Marine Corps and not the Air Force? It’s not too late to change.”

“Oh Jesus, no. First off, yer Mom would hate me, if not kill me. But I gotta tell ya, Billy. Yer Air Force material. The Marine Corps don’t work out fer kids like you. Shit, the Marine Corps is not for you.”

Jack was right. The Corps had not worked out well for Danny. Why would it for me?

Jack picked up a knife and pointed it at me. “But, this knife here looks like a good one. It’s Solingen steel and I can tell ya, the Krauts make good stuff like this. Feel it and see how it fits ya. How’s the balance?”

Jack bought the knife as a gift for me. It had a straight, one-inch wide, thick steel blade. The handle was black plastic inlaid with a red and white diamond symbol, and a black metal sheath. I soon realized that Marines have many more good uses for knives than Airmen do.

Note: My Air Force career spanned over 45 years; 22 active duty, the rest civilian. In my last job before retirement, I worked on Eglin Air Force Base for a Marine Corps Colonel. I enjoyed telling him this story.

Only you can tell your story.
Just mind the gaps and look both ways.

I Want My Tribe

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger

“War feels better than peace.”

tribe1That’s what it says. Not that war is better. It feels better. To put comments like that into context and perspective, you should read the book.

Tribe put me in touch with a part of myself that wants something which I haven’t had in long time–the feeling of belonging to a tribe. When I had it, it was temporary. I’ve lost my tribe, and I feel the void.

I don’t want to think we have a dystopian or apocalyptic world. But I realize that conflict and evil are pervasive in human nature. Also, all nature holds danger, evil threats, and risks to our survival. It has always been so and there is little sign of relief.

Junger’s book is supposed to be about Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and American combat veterans returning to our normal and civilized society. It is about that, but there’s more to it. While vets are the focused subjects of the book, they are examples he uses to make an ultimate point about human nature and American society. I suspect that is why the book is so popular.

 

tribe3

Maybe we are not what we think we are. Are we as peace-loving as we claim to be? We’ve certainly done much to create a peaceful society in America and other countries around the world, with varying degrees of success–mostly minor or the opposite of what we intended to do.

tribe7

My favorite sentence in the book is just two words: “And yet.” (p. 109)

We crave peace, comfort, safety, pleasure, privacy, and independence. And yet, when we look at the history of human behavior under dangerous and stressful situations, something strange often happens to us. We are healthier and apparently (oddly?) happier—less depressed, when under stress. It should be the opposite, right?

I’ll not say more about the phenomenon because I don’t want to play spoiler. I want you to read the book. But, don’t use my library. There are now 184+ waits to read it. The word is out.

This book spoke to me. It’s my inner voice. Maybe I’m in denial. While I’m not overtly competitive and I’m so-so on some sports (I prefer playing to watching); I enjoy tension, drama, and mystery more than I like to admit. I have a love-hate relationship with fear and stress. I want them, and I don’t. WTF?

And yet.

tribe2

That voice is saying something. I know what it’s telling me. I know exactly what Junger is talking about—and I agree.

I avoid trouble. I want peace and love in the world. But I am a realist (in my mind, anyway). I enjoy conflict. While I’m unlikely to start trouble, when it’s forced on me, I’m in.

tribe5I despise fighting. I don’t enjoy pain or suffering, especially my own. But when I fight, I don’t want to stop. Something is deep inside me crying for more. Where’s my tribe?

When conflict is forced on me, I feel a change (a charge?) in my being–I feel strangely better. Got a tribe to protect and feed? I’m your man.

Consider the tribe concept in dealing with a crisis. We are all fighting for survival. We need each other. Your struggle is my struggle. We can share everything and overcome adversity for the good the tribe.

My personal paradox is that I’m an introvert and I enjoy my alone time. I value my privacy and a good night’s sleep as much as anyone. But I find the concept of a tribe fascinating, intriguing, and alluring—the challenge. The fight! Combat!

tribe10

Our survival didn’t just happen. When you consider natural human strength, we’re easy prey in the animal kingdom. While we’re most vulnerable alone and we need protection, there’s something comforting and rewarding about the danger out there and what the tribe does for us.

Read the book.

When you find your tribe,
join them and cherish them. But, look both ways.

Bill’s Top Five (No taco today)

Top five3The internet is loaded with lists. Lists are recommended for writing/blogging because we read them. My wife likes to read lists to me. Neither of us have any idea why. This is my personal short list with explanations for why the item is here. In a way, it’s a gratitude list, but that’s not exactly what this is about. It’s about me, not the list. Please comment with your top five. I’d like to know if you share my opinions.

I call this the top five inventions now affecting my life. Back in history, each of these might have been considered magic. In a way, I consider them the magic of science. Many discoveries, inventions, and innovations were necessary predecessors to make these possible, and for those I am also grateful (things like electricity, fire, internet [actually came later], printing press, writing, etc.) Some are closer to my heart than others. Bill’s top five inventions are (random order):

Top five2

The computer. The PC, laptop, and gadget after gadget (smart phone) using the science and technology to make my life better. I sat in front of one of these things for years at work and then spent more time on-line at home. Now in retirement, I use my laptop, smartphone, or iPad more than 8 hours a day. I type/keyboard with all ten fingers, like to write, and can make a mess with a typewriter. (electronic digital computer, 1939, Atanasoff and Berry)

Top five6Global Positioning System (GPS). I was a Master Navigator in the United States Air Force. Navigating was my profession. I was also a bombardier faced with the challenges of dropping things on targets (to put it nicely). 35 years ago, I was delighted to have technology that would tell me how fast I was going and in which direction. I used the sun and stars to determine where on earth we were, errors of miles were not unusual. I actually had mechanical/analog computers, which were also often wrong.

What I would have given for a GPS! Sometimes, we dropped hundreds of bombs hoping one might find the target. Today they use a (as in one) GPS-guided ‘smart bomb’ that can hit someone’s dinner plate. They need only one bomb per target.

Driving home, I can see a map of the roads all around me, traffic conditions, my position, and my arrival time. In 1978, the first satellite was launched and it was Y2K before GPS devices became available for personal use (instead of military only).

The Spell Checker. I often joke that the only thing worse than my handwriting is my spelling. Top five5Actually, I have no idea which is worse. Together, they conspire to make anything I handwrite virtually useless. Even I can’t read it. Professional, highly trained code breakers would never figure it out. It’s like a disability. Fellow writers often proclaim the great value of writing by hand. One page and my hand hurts. My head hurts from trying to make it legible. And my brain is pissed from focusing on scripting and spelling and not on content.

My poor penmanship has been replaced by computer writing software. Part of that software has been written to show me wrongly spelled words, and sometimes it even fixes some of them. Look – I fully understand all the pitfalls and problems of spell checkers. I’ve read the cute little poem (joke) about this. If your handwriting and spelling are adequate, good for you. Mine aren’t. This software has saved my ass from the constant embarrassment of ugly hand writing and atrocious spelling.

Example of coronary artery sents and placement
Example of coronary artery sents and placement

Stents. I am a medical science advocate. I may not agree with every practitioner, but I agree with mine. I inherited several things from my father: fondness for beer, a temper, and a circulatory system that likes to clog-up. It eventually killed him as it probably will do for me one day. But not today.

Several years ago my leg went numb while walking. A doctor said, “I think I know what’s wrong and what we can do about it.” He put three stents into my iliac arteries. They worked. Years later, I was told that coronary bypass surgery was too risky for me due to my calcified aortic arch. A Cath Lab team lead by my doctor inserted four stents to open my clogged/blocked coronary arteries. Six months later, I had two more inserted. Not heart attack required. Stents work immediately and the recovery time is measured in hours. I have a total of nine. Dad had none.

 

Top five1Airplanes. I like to fly. Much of my first career was spent flying or teaching others how. My second career was still associated with teaching others to fly. I like aviation museums. I also like books and movies about flying.

When I moved, I left Florida in the morning and was at my new home in the Pacific Northwest by dinner time. A forty-hour drive flown in seven. Until teleporters are perfected, we can travel to any place on earth during the same day, provided we do it in an airplane.

Beam us up, Scotty. There's no intelligent life down here.
“Beam us up, Scotty. There’s no intelligent life down here.”

I could add things like the internet, automobiles, digital music, and sliced bread. But five’s enough. Right?

Frat Friday (Book Review)

Islam3 bookThis blog is about a book. If you look at my ‘about’ tab, under Frat Friday, think of topics 1, 2, 3, 9, 11, 12, and 13. While I will not include my personal religious or political opinions today, the book I want to talk about is about religion and politics. It is a lot about hate, causes, and it’s certainly in the news. The religion is Islam. The book is Islam and the Future of Tolerance by Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz. It is a dialog (not a debate) and only about 120 to 140 pages long. I preferred the audio version with Sam and Maajid reading their parts, but it’s a good read.

Ratings

On Amazon, 315 reviews awarded an average of 4.5 stars with 92% being either 4 or 5 stars. Most of the low critiques are more personal attacks on the authors with little concern for future readers of the book. I read the book and will read it again.

The writers/talkers

Both men are intelligent, experts in their fields, and well-spoken.

Sam Harris
Sam Harris

Harris is a well-known American atheist, philosopher, neuroscientist, and author of several books.

Maajid Nawaz
Maajid Nawaz

Nawaz is a British Muslim and chairman of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank. He is a former member of the radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which he left in 2007 when he renounced his Islamist past. He now advocates Secular Islam.

“What is Islamism? Islam is a religion; Islamism is the desire to impose any version of that religion on society. It’s the politicization of my own religion. What is Jihadism? The use of force to spread Islamism.” ~ Maajid Nawaz

“The only conclusion I can draw from everything you’ve just said is that the problem of ideology is far worse than most people suppose.” ~ Sam Harris

The essence and differences

While the two people in the dialogue have vastly different views on religion, they each allow a pass for the other in order to have this discussion. What they do agree upon is that there is a significant problem and threat within the Islamic faith regarding danger from some of the members. I’m not sure that they agree on who is dangerous, or how many, or exactly why.

(Not addressing this conversation, but similar ones.) “The people I really worry about when we have this conversation are feminist Muslims, gay Muslims, ex-Muslims – all vulnerable…in many cases violently assaulted or killed….” ~ Maajid Nawaz

It may take more than one pass through to glean their exact positions. Precision of understanding and clear definition of terms are goals of both men, something Harris works to ensure. They agree that the discussion needs to take place, but efforts are confounded by people on both the fundamentalist right (mostly Muslims) and what Nawaz refers to as the regressive left (or liberals).

“…The general picture is of a white, liberal non-Muslim who equates any criticism of Islamic doctrines with bigotry, ‘Islamophobia,’ or even ‘racism.’…they deny any connection between heartfelt religious beliefs and Muslim violence….de facto organs of Islamist apology – The Guardian, Salon, The Nation, Alternet, and so forth. This has made it very difficult to have public conversations of the sort we are having.” ~ Sam Harris

The biggest problem for America, if not the world

Europe currently faces a much greater problem than America in dealing with Islamists. By comparison with Europe, America has 3.3 million Muslims (1%), while France (9.6%), Belgium (6%), and United Kingdom (4.5%) have Muslims as significantly higher percentages of their total population. What Harris and Nawaz agree on is that attempts to discuss how to solve the problems created by Islamic Extremism are taboo topics.

I think they have a point. While Sam points to the fundamentals of Islam as problematic, understanding of his basic premises regarding religion (and the same can be said of virtually any contemporary, well-known atheist) reveals that he gives no religion a pass – especially no Abrahamic religion.

The context of what is said

“One of the problems with religion is that it creates in-group loyalty and out-group hostility, even when members of one’s own group are behaving like psychopaths.” ~ Sam Harris

The best way to follow what these two men are saying is to know the context of what they are saying supported by their beliefs or philosophy. To do this, it would be helpful to read other books, particularly Harris’s The End of Faith.

They’re both attacked continually and called insulting names and threatened. Both spend a good deal of effort justifying their positions and protecting themselves. Both have done TED talks that are worth viewing to understand their positions.

Sam Harris link to TED.

Maajid Nawaz link to TED.

The video is good up to the Q&A part, but kind of long. Link to Youtube discussion at Harvard University (over an hour).

Men in Her Doorway

She was born about a century ago into a society where racism, sexism, and white male superiority were status quo. She and her sister were daughters of a Welsh immigrant coal miner and his Irish-Catholic wife. It was 1920, and she was an eight-year-old little girl with curly red hair. Her early twentieth-century life was made more difficult in that her mother had died two years earlier. Prohibition and Woman’s Suffrage were the topics being discussed in government and social gatherings. Inside the many, soon to be illegal, drinking establishments, these legal or social-issues were bantered about as either evil or redemptive. Few streets were paved, coal was king, and indoor plumbing was a luxury. Their widowed father had enrolled them in a full-time, strict, residential Catholic boarding school. That would happen soon, but not today.

The First Man

Since father usually made a stop or two on his way home, it was hard to judge his arrival time. When the men who worked twelve or more hours in the underground coal mines finished their work-day, they walked home. Their visible skin was black, covered in coal dust. Because eye sockets and the area of their lips were usually wiped clean, they looked like men in the black-face makeup of the vaudeville and minstrel shows of the day. Coal miner cloths were always filthy. Their appearance was distinct.

Old-Miner-Photos~~element13She had been in the kitchen helping her slightly-older, barely-teenage sister prepare dinner, but she knew it was nearly that time. She moved to the living room where she could take her usual position. Soon enough, she heard his familiar cough and the sound of his voice as he acknowledged neighbors. As he grew near and she could tell it was him, her excitement would grow as it had for years. She felt delight and love for this stoic Welshman. After work, he was usually more outgoing, partly due to the social and medicinal nature of his homeward-trek diversions. The front door was never locked, so when he opened it, his familiar frame was encased by the doorway. Each time this happened it was the same—she would jump up and run toward him and he would immediately stop her. “Now Bernie, you mustn’t get your dress dirty. Where is Dee?” The sight of her father set in the doorway after returning home would be fixed in her mind for the rest of her life.

The Second Man

Her first marriage ended in the disaster of desertion. With her baby daughter in tow and no financial help, but technically still married, she moved back in with her family. Her father had long since remarried to a widow with three children. They had two more daughters together. It was a full and busy home. She struggled emotionally and financially, taking whatever work she could find. Her income was from seasonal stints making candy at local candy stores. Back then, most candy stores made what they sold in the store. Now in her thirties, she was seeing a man whose wife had died a year or so earlier. At some point, she became aware of another major life-changing event. During what must have been a traumatic and embarrassing time, she finally divorced her first husband and persuaded the Catholic Church to annul that marriage. After the wedding, she and her teenage daughter moved into his house with him and his two children. She was now stepmother, stepsister, half-sister, remarried, and pregnant. She had married a coal miner, like her father.

National_Coal_Co__-_National__UTWhen this man returned home from work, he wore the same drab trappings of men who worked long days underground in a dark, dirty, and dangerous world. He would arrive home from the alley at the back and enter directly into the kitchen. When she looked up, his black silhouette was framed by the kitchen doorway. Her 1920s childhood had been replaced by post-WWII drudgery and insecurity. Their son was born seven months into the marriage. She named him after her father, who died a year earlier. Each day, she was relieved to see her husband return safely home. Funerals and memorial services for coal miners killed in mine disasters were common. Eventually, in the 1950s, the anthracite coal industry would be undermined and replaced by oil.

Coal was not only king, it was the only real industry in the region and the workers knew nothing else. Her husband, and eventually all other coal miners would lose their jobs. The region became disastrously economically depressed. She would end up working in a shoe factory because her husband was unable to find a job; and when he did, it paid little. To support the family, she would spend years working in the shoe factory. The family struggled, but managed. And eventually, by the 1970s, each of the four children moved on to marriages and families of their own. But, when her husband became ill, she neglected her health for his. Following his death, she finally got the lump in her breast seen about—more bad news.

The Third Man

The cancer had taken its toll, but she’d survived almost ten years. Mastectomy and radiation treatments where long past, but a spot on her lung was determined to be metastasized breast cancer. It was back. While in the hospital following surgery, she was sitting on a window sill looking outside at what she thought was a beautiful day. She had a positive attitude and was looking forward to better times. It was a nice day and soon he would be with her.

Third ManShe heard footsteps, a familiar cough, and his voice speaking to nurses. She had turned and was looking up just as he stepped on the threshold into her room. She loved the way he looked in his uniform and was delighted to see this man standing there, framed by the hospital-room doorway. She jumped up and ran to him as only a woman in her seventies could. Unlike the days with her stoic father and distant husbands, this man embraced her. They hugged and kissed for a while. She looked up at him and said, “I am so happy to see you.” He smiled and looking down at her asked, “Mom, didn’t you just have surgery?” “I don’t care,” she said. “You are here now.”

c’est la guerre

C

When you ask most Americans if they know any French expressions they will say, “C’est la vie.” It may mean such is life, but it also implies a certain amount of fatalistic acceptance like “sh*t happens.” My favorite acceptance phrase in English is It is what it is. The title French phrase for this blog is different in that it points to cause – the reason things are wrong or out of whack. C’est la guerre, or it is the war, is an acknowledgement that while there is a problem, it is that way because of the war. As with many foreign phrases used in English, especially by Americans, the meaning is morphed slightly into aspects of life that don’t involve war or combat; such as work or sports competitions. The phrase was common and true in occupied France during World War II.

French cry at fall of FranceWhen I ponder c’est la guerre, my thinking goes more toward the conditions or philosophy of war, or the way of life during times of war. As an American, the concept is a little foreign to me (like our wars), since the only ground war we experienced was our war with ourselves: The Civil War. Ironically, it may have been the most destructive of our history in terms of loss of life and property. For at least the past 100 years, we have considered war as something that happens over there. Lucky us.

“It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.” ~ Sun Tzu

 

In the 21st century, what are the things that happen and are explained with c’est la guerre? The first casualty of war is always truth. This is usually followed by destruction, death and maiming, rape, humiliation, and man’s inhumanity to man (torture). We have travel restrictions, airport body scanners, and a plethora of personal armament. And those are purely defensive precautions for dealing with domestic terrorism.

On War ClausewitzWhile there are many good books regarding the philosophy of war, the classic gold standard is On War by Carl Von Clausewitz – required reading for virtually every military officer. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy may be the preeminent novel on the subject. And the classic for weaponry and strategy is The Art of War by Sun Tzu; more required reading, if not necessarily the best reading entertainment.

The Art of War Sun Tzu

“There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.” ~ Sun Tzu

 

So the rhyming tongue-in-cheek variation of the French fatalistic terms (which are not so fatalistic in French) used in English go like this: c’est la vie, c’est guerre, c’est la pomme de terre (such is life, such is war, that’s a potato). Get it? It is what it is. Accept it.