Staring at the Pointed Star

I’ve stared at many walls in my lifetime.

In fact, I do believe that I’ve also written a blog post that opened with a scene of myself staring at a wall.

It’s not that I’m fresh out of ideas – those come to me like water down a drain pipe. And so do the words to equivocate them upon people like you. I’m not in trouble as a writer.

I just realized that I have spent more time in my life staring at shit than I have done doing shit. Random, lifeless and inanimate objects.

Not the Television screen, albeit Ray Bradburry, in Fahrenheit 451, alludes to it as a giant talking wall – which it essentially is.

A chair on the side of the road. A desk in an empty office. The floor of a hotel lobby. The ceiling of my bedroom. An empty podium.

In this instance, I’m staring at another wall. This time, however, the wall is slightly different. There are words on this wall. Government words. Secret words.

And that fucking eagle.

I swear, if I ever see that Eagle in the next plain of existence – we will be having serious words. Until then, I have to sit here and wait.

Wait. Wait. Wait.

Did that Eagle just laugh at me? I swear that eagle just tilted back its head and laughed. It laughed so hard the freaking aliens must’ve heard it.

I do sense a great lack of giant alien space rays and teleportation in this room though.

Maybe the Eagle didn’t laugh at all. Maybe that was just my imagination. Maybe deep within my consciousness I created a scene to help stave off the boredom of government that seems to have accrued within my psyche over the last seven years – if only for a brief and terrifying moment of excitement.

Anyways.

Check my watch. Has it already been 15 seconds? Man, time sure flies around here!

Check the magazines littered across the coffee table; VICE, GQ, Time, and Life. All wonderful magazines. Oh, look at that! They’ve even got a copy of Ranger Joe’s catalogue here.

15 minutes.

I’ve been thinking about getting that pair of sunglasses for the field. Oakleys are just too expensive for my paycheck.

1 hour.

VICE always has something interesting to say about the absurdity of the modern human condition. I wish they’d just hire me already.

1 hour, 45 minutes.

As the analogue clock on the wall slowly revolves in its infinite loop of nuclear weight measurements, so does my knowledge gained from popular waiting room magazines.

Eventually, I’ve read every interesting article in the bloody place. No cell phone in this place. No laptop. They took those at the door.

At this point, I’ve given up on waisting my time with keeping the time. Time after all, when stuck in a windowless box, is relative and entirely irrelevant. If it weren’t for that rotating wheel of fortune – made by the blind – on the wall above the door, I wouldn’t even know what time it was.

As for my sanity – well who’s really sane in this world anyways? I bide my time by ripping off the back pages of Men’s Health – a magazine I know that no one in this office will ever read, and drawing caricatures and playing tic-tac-toe with imaginary people.

Damn.

So, this is boredom? Complete and utter inanity of activity.

The time passes. Oragami cranes are constructed. Paper planes are flung.

Hmm… there are thirteen points in that star, right? There’s a name for each one of those too. I think.

Snow falls. Icicles form.

Scenes from my past pass through my mind like gallstones through my bladder.

Snow melts. Flowers bloom.

Finally, after a sorted amount of time fading in and out of dream state, my eyes begin to droop closed. My head begins to fall.

“Excuse me?” a voice asks.

My head pops back up. I glare at this woman dressed in all black who has come into my world and totally turned it upside down. Again. I feel hung nearly over.

“He will see you now.”

Finally.

Into the Fire

HEY GUYS! Sorry it’s been awhile since my last post. My laptop has been in the shop getting some much needed repairs. I hope to publish a few posts this week. This post, as it is Memorial Day here in the United States, will be dedicated to those fallen men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

Rising heat encompasses my soul as I stare deeply into the pits of amber and grey that are a lonely bonfire on this Saturday night. I am awestricken by the superior force – the almighty power – and the destructiveness of flame and ember. I stand there in the classical pose; generation after generation contemplating upon the state of human nature.

We are fragile creatures. A single ball-and-cap of no more width than the nail to my little finger can end a man’s life just as quickly as an asteroid or nuclear explosion. A single swipe of a blade not much wider than a paper’s edge can empty his blood.

In the face of an extraordinary death, the men and women of the US Armed Forces still stand firm. Not for glory or fame, but for freedom. Your freedom, my freedom.

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Today I stand as well. I salute all of my brothers in arms who are now forever buried in the leaning rest.

148.

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There are 148 American flags on the Old Main lawn right now. That’s how many American service members from Washington State have sacrificed their lives in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Many more than that have sacrificed themselves during the Global War on Terror.

It is not my place to question why. That’s your job. My place is to follow the orders of those appointed over me to the best of my ability. Your job – neigh, your DUTY – is to make sure that my orders are appropriate. This is your country. The United States of America is the world’s great Democratic experiment. It’s yours to do with as you please. Use it well.

Just understand that my life is in your hands. As are the lives of so many of my brothers and sisters.

Surf’s up in Paradise, and so are the hookers.

Oahu. Paradise. That’s what they call it. The brochures. The television documentaries.
I say that if you are not too careful, Oahu can be a living Hell.

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January 13-14, 2014
The neighborhood of Waikiki that I’ve managed to superimpose my adventurous self upon at the Monday night kick over into Tuesday morning is far less than respectable and does little to soothe my precarious mental state.

If this place has a Red Light District, I’m sure that I have aimlessly wandered into it.

Unfortunately.

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“Hey there handsome,” declares a young woman as she walks past.

I walk past and laugh at the absurdity. I can count on this little stretch of pavement a total of seven girls, all pacing their corners like wild cats of the Savannah stalking their prey before a kill.

Sure, honey. Yes, you do have a rather large pair of tits. But I am saving myself for someone special.

With the added incentive of the three uniformed Honolulu police cars parked just down the street, outside the Waikiki Trade Center, I’m sure that any wayward traveler stupid enough to accept your offer of “a good time,” isn’t going to be spending the night where they thought they would.

And so. I find myself at 2am on the East side of K¯uhi¯o Avenue in the only reputable all-night establishment for miles in any direction: McDonald’s. Scarfing down a bacon cheeseburger.

If Oahu is supposed to be Paradise, I wonder if this is what paradise looks like at 2am every night. The only discernible difference between this place and Pioneer Square back home – aside from the climate – is that back home the ho-hos are all wearing fur jackets and drinking hot cocoa right now.

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A uniformed security guard stands outside Playbar, a late night bar. He does not wear a name tag.

“I’ve only been working here for two weeks,” says the security guard who gives the name of John. He patrols the section of K¯uhi¯o Avenue which includes Playbar nightclub. John’s voice has an aura of fear built into it during our entire conversation. He won’t give me his last name, because he does not want to loose his job.

“Sometimes, I see girls grab men by the hands, speak to them for a while, and take them into the apartments there.” He points to the stack of apartments next to the club.

“My job is to make sure that these seven buildings are secure. I might have my doubts about those girls, but if they have a key than I am to treat them as a resident. I am finding it harder and harder to tell the difference between normal girls and sex workers.”

Certainly, girls in Hawaii are allowed to dress provocatively. Once or twice while I’ve been here, I’ve also been accused of showing a little skin, and unfastening one more button than usual. It’s hot out.

But when a girl twirls her purse and walks around in a circle on the street corner, one can assume that she is looking to make some fresh dough.

“They just stand out,” says a young (woman?) named Persia who came up to me to accost my recently shaved chest and my hairy legs before she realized what I was really doing there. She laughed when I told her that I was going to try to sell an article to Vice.

“When a girl’s looking for something – if you know what I mean – she just sticks out.”

Outside Playbar, a crew of about five men dressed in all-black clothing now guards the entrance. The Asian security guard I spoke to earlier is still there, but I wonder how much of a job he actually performs, other than to look pretty for the tourists and inquisitive minds that happen to wander down this street this late at night.

A fairly large Hawaiian man wearing a black button-up shirt and black pants, with a jet-black beard and an interesting style of hair that matches the hue of his beard, speaks in a voice that demands attention.

He asks not to be named. The whole damned crew asks not to be named. I tell them that it really cramps my style if I have a bunch of quotes from a guy who doesn’t exist. Editors don’t really dig it when you come up with mostly fluff.

“This side is stronger. No one fucks with us on this side of the street,” he replies, stern but jovial in that classic Aloha gangster fashion that I have come to appreciate, or at least pretend to.

This side of the street. This guy must be a gangster. A large group of men wearing red nike products exits the nightclub behind the guard. A few of them shake hands with the black-shirted men as they prepare to leave. I can’t help but shaking the feeling that this looks oddly similar to Blood gang territory. A man in a black Cadilac Escalade with a red baseball cap drives past, one hand on the steering wheel, one hand somewhere unseen.

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Two men come walking down the street. Their extremely muscular arms are all tatted up, they walk the same way that I do – fists clenched, chests thrown out, shoulders broad and wide. These guys are off-duty soldiers here for the pickings just like everyone else in this sluthole. They enter the club and disappear into its murky depths.

Persia and those gangbangers told me that the majority of customers are US service members of some capacity. Even though it is against the UCMJ for service members to participate in activities involving prostitutes – they are the biggest offenders.

I can’t do this story anymore. Someone told me when I started out, that I wouldn’t like what I found when I started digging into this story.

I don’t want to be one of the perpetrators. If I had any balls at all, I would tail those two bald fucks back to their barracks and inform their superior officers that they are involved in nasty businesses.

Instead, I’m going to tail the Escalade. I find it’s much safer to deal with gangsters than it is to deal with JAG. After all, these gangsters are small-frys compared to the biggest gang in the world: the US Army.

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The Escalade takes its time strolling around the city.

Turns out there are little pockets of prostitution and narcotics traffic all over the city, and the piece of action I saw in Waikiki wasn’t even the biggest slice of the pie. Whoever this guy is, he must be involved in something huge. He’s certainly recognized by everyone who sees him.

Drug dealers, gagsters, bouncers, hookers, cops – they are all a part of some crazy giant picture that just gets more confusing as time goes on.

The Escalade – finally – pulls into a parking space in a very rich part of town on the way out to Diamond Head. This is where the millionaires live.

 

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I get out to take a peek at the vehicle. Shiny. Sparkly. With US Government plates.

What. The. Fuck.?

This whole situation has just gone from bizarre to fucked-up in a heartbeat. This is it. I’m done with this story – I don’t want to wind up cannibal meat for some crazy all-seeing Hawaiian gang.

After all, I’m on vacation.

Spooky City

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NOTE: These photographs were taken by a real photographer! His name is Paul Arps.

This city. This youthful vibrance. This aged decrepitating filth.

In the summertime the mosquitoes come out in force and devour the flesh right off the bones of dead politicians and expensive call girls. In winter the wolves come out and hunt. Spies, assassins, terrorists, world leaders, CEOs, journalists, and gangsters all make this city their playground. With so much raw energy converging in one city, the world tends to hang on the threads of a delicate chess game played out behind closed doors in smoke-filled rooms and penthouse apartments all across this city. One false move and the world could be facing the next nuclear war, or worse. The only time of year this city isn’t teeming on the brink of an apocalypse is during the Christmas season and in the event of a government shutdown. Welcome to Washington D.C. – where good men get screwed. All around fun for the whole family… all year long.

I hate this city. Not for what it stands for, but for what it has become. Every time I come out here I get obliterated by the force of human consumption and independence that hangs around its freshman halls like the Devil in disguise. Sore losers and sour winners make up the dominant demographic here; and not just on the Hill. Take a walk across the Mall and you’ll see them in the White House too. Dickless hound dogs and over encumbered desk jockeys duke it out for Top Gun.

The only decent place in this whole damned city is the Smithsonian.

For what it’s worth, though, this city can also be a really cool place. It’s fun to sit at the feet of Abraham Lincoln and wonder if there are any great men left in this world, or if chivalry and patriotism are truly dead.

I hate spies. They’re jumpy and paranoid little fucks who think that the whole world will implode if they don’t accomplish their mission. What they fail to realize, in the brains they hide behind aviator sunglasses and poker faces, is that the world spins ever more. There will always be bad guys, and there will always be good guys.

I’m in DC to meet up with an individual who claims to have information on an HVT that I might run across while I’m in AO HoA on vacation. If I do happen to run across this “dog-hating, bacon-fearing sonofabitch,” while I’m on vacation, my local PMC contacts say that I’ll wish I had been “born on another planet.”

Ball security is job security, so they say.

So, here’s the thing about spies: I mentioned before they’re all paranoid, right? Well, this motherfucker has me wait outside in the cold in the middle of the ghetto at 2am to avoid wandering eyes.

Wandering eyes?

I’m a white man rubbing my hands to keep warm, leaning with my foot against a wall plastered with MS13 tags. I’m pretty sure I stand out anywhere I walk in this friggin hood. This is DC we’re talking about here, not an easy place to walk around at 2am. This stench is unbearable. I hate this city.

Where is this guy? Taking his time looks like. Paranoid fuck is probably scoping the area for potential threats. If he has me wait out here any longer my fist is gonna be a potential threat with his face.

I hear something off to my left. Nothing. Just a bunch of drunken Latinos stumbling out of a bar onto the sidewalk. So cliché.

I look to the right. Nothing but a bunch of dumpsters. The monotone nature of the world is killing me inside.

I look back to the left. HOW THE FUCK DOES HE DO THAT?

He’s standing there, leaning against the wall looking like he’s been there the whole time. He looks at me and asks me what’s wrong have I seen a ghost.

I fucking hate spies.

We get in his car and go to my hotel. In the restaurant in the lobby we talk about things. Mostly, we play I spy.

“How’s life in the spooky world of yours?” I ask.

“The damn coffee machine is broken again. Sprays the coffee like an uncontrollable fire hose. I’ve had to change my shirt three times today. I fucking hate contractors. And that’s all you need to know,” he replies.

That’s about the extent of his conversational skill. That’s alright – he spends the majority of every day playing smoke and mirrors with foreign nationals. And none of it really concerns me at all.

I tell him about my new niece and other things. He looks at me and tells me I need to work out more.

Double Bubble Trouble by M.I.A. comes on the radio, and as if on cue he reaches into the folds of his suit jacket and pulls out a USB stick. He sets it on the glass bar and slides it over to me.

I reach out to grab it. He puts his hand on top of mine and in a slow whisper says to me:

“Somalia is a dangerous fucking place dude. I hope you know what you’re doing. I really hope you know what you’re doing.”

I look straight into his eyes: “Don’t worry, my spooky friend. I have no idea what I’m doing.” I stick out my tongue, grab the stick, and walk away as the beat starts to drop.

I fucking hate spies.

At Pearl Harbor

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The wind ripples across the surface of the water.

Part of the ship is just barely visible in the illumination of this Oahu sun.

I know they’re down there. All of them. Waiting for me to join them in their watery grave.

What is the sound of the dead? Is it silence? Do the dead really have anything to say to me?

Are they giving me a reason to fight, or are they trying to tell me to quit my post? I didn’t realize the full extent of what this was until just a few moments ago, standing over the USS Arizona, looking down at the deck.

I’ve wandered into a tomb.

A place where the dead will never be at peace. A place where the dead are screaming out at me in indiscernible shouts of silence.

FREEDOM.

Every so often, I have to remind myself that this is what I am fighting for. I so often use this word in my everyday, that I have become quite calloused to the idea of it.

Freedom…

What does that word even mean?

In the Political Science 270: Intro to International Relations course at my University, I was taught that freedom requires three variables. A, B, and C. If A = you, B = where or what you are trying to reach, and C = the obstacle that is limiting your ability of achieving B, then B = A – C.

In short, only in overcoming your obstacles are you truly free.

Aside from the clinical description of freedom that I was taught, I do not know that I truly know what the word means. I think, probably, that the word freedom describes a feeling. A feeling that there is absolutely nothing in the world that can remove a human being from their present state of happiness.

The only way, I think, that I can truly understand what freedom is, is to learn more about those peoples around the world who do not have freedom.

When I was in jungles, I got a small taste of what it means to not be free. But I was so busy administering freedom that I still wasn’t able to define the phenomenon of freedom.

So, I live in the free world. I am a free man. I fight for freedom. I will die a free man. But I’m just not quite sure what that all means. It’s going to be interesting to find out for myself.

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Rest in peace my brothers.

And The Dragon Goes To Sleep Again: the character and nature of the USA as a warfighting nation in turbulent times.

Bald Eagle

It is when your breath fogs in front of your face, when icicles form at the end of your beard, and when your nostrils feel dry and caked. It is when your adrenaline is pumping, and your hands are shaking. It is when the sweat beads in drones off the surface of your face. It is when your way is lit by the mechanical eyes of your infrared night vision.

This is no excursion into the wastelands of the standard alpine ski resort. This is the here, and the now. This is where good men go to keep bad men from killing them, and where bad men go to kill good men. This is 3am in the mountains of Afghanistan, and four marines low crawling through God‘s own shit and piss to face on an army of Taliban fighters a thousand strong. This is high noon in the arid plateaus of the Sudan, where the African Union stands out manned and outgunned by the ever-powerful Joseph Kony and his army of child soldiers. This is the lonely and desolate streets of Northern Colombia, where a few powerful rebels are fighting tyranny both in the government and in the drug cartels.

What I am describing is the destination called the warzone.

There is a certain type of person who is bread for war. His skin is made of steel, and his bones are unbreakable. And his heart is indelible. He raises his head to the clouds and shouts out to his maker, I am invincible!

It has been over a decade since the start of the American invasion into Afghanistan. The reasons that they gave us for this war, as always throughout history, seemed good enough to us at the time but are now viewed as bullshit by the majority of the insane. I read a speech by Howard Zinn that was addressed to the Boston College in 1999 that lays out every reason that we should never go to war, and that patriotism is not synonymous with the military. First time I’ve ever heard it put quite like that. I have always operated under the base assumption that they went hand-in-hand. Again in 2001, shortly after the fall of the Twin Towers Howard Zinn was back at Boston College again telling us that war isn’t the answer and that people needed to leave aside their base emotions and look at things from a logical perspective. That we didn’t have to fight in this war if we didn’t want to, because we don’t have to do what we’ve always done. I’ve been thinking these insurrectionist thoughts myself many times over the past few years. But I’ve come to understand that war is engraved into human beings by their nature, and that gives me the ability to be a soldier.

Carry a man on a boat. Get pushed out of a perfectly good airplane. Always roll into the suck with your barrel pointed forward. These are the aspirations of the combat soldier. To be able to be a man who never needs sleep, a man who can kill without making a single sound.

America has always (always being besides the Franklinian Turkey-lovers) represented itself via the image of the Bald Eagle. This majestic animal is extremely territorial. It has an eyesight that can spot a salmon in the current from 600 feet in the sky. In the Gaulic Wars, Ceaser was represented by the ferocious Eagle. It was a symbol of his power and his might. A large golden eagle was the statue that led Ceaser into Rome to take over the city for himself.

When you look at a topographic map of the same area, a warzone really doesn’t look like anything but what it is – the middle of nowhere, or the center of the world. It’s when you add people into the equation; oh, people. They kill others and make maps and talk about culture and talk about national pride. There is no such thing. There is the topography, everything else is simply an idea created by human beings. It is those ideas that we fight for, it is those ideas that we die for, and it is those ideas that we kill for.

Ideas built the Vatican. Ideas started the American Revolution. Ideas led to men landing on the moon, and the construction of the Panama Canal. Ideas can bring human beings to their greatest heights.

But they can also bring us to our deepest lows. Ideas invented the coal mine. Ideas invented the strip mine. Ideas invented the oil refinery. Ideas invented Standard Oil, and Sanford Dole. Ideas brought James Cook to Hawaii. And the English to Ireland. Ideas, aside from monies, are our greatest curse and our greatest gift.

The question that stands before us is one of a hefty consequence, and the deliberation will take its toll. I’m not exactly sure I’ve figured it out yet, which is rare for me in a blog post. We ask ourselves today “What is the nature of America?”

Is America like that of an Eagle? A ferocious predator of the sky of whom fear is non-existent. Is that us? The Great White of the skies? Are people looking to the heavens because they see our drones coming for them, or are they looking to the sky because they see America coming for them? I can not hardly predict the answer, but I can always ask more questions.

What Is It Good For?

The way street light plays off shadow in the dark is like any army fighting in a land unknown. Does a street lamp cast a gaze that can see into the soul of an individual? Or does it simply gaze upon its surface, illuminating its physical fallacies?

In the world of war, there is a damned hard line between scanning your sector and turn-and-burn. As if anyone but a true patriot were to know the difference, Washington likes to pretend in all its CSPAN glory that there are no consequences for their actions. These are not the men and women in the shit hole thousands of miles away. They do not understand until they’ve been to the Sandbox and have seen death up close. But I shall not argue. A wise man once told me that a bystander would not know the difference between the wise and the foolish when they are in the heat of argument. This story, however, is one not uncommon to the way of modern man.

Fuck.

Deal me my cards as they’ve been dealt and let me go sorting. Sometimes I feel like a smashed bag of rotten carrots – food for the fodder. As if my intangible value flew out the window the second I was stabbed by Satan at birth. My realism gives your liberalism an erection.

War is good for nothing. I say this with all of the fibers of belief in my body. War is a horrible institution. War kills so much. War bleeds dry even the poorest of the pilgrims, and sends forth children to die.

We are facing an enemy today that is widely accepted. They are well equipped, ready to die, and tough as fuck. The thing is though, this is their literal backyard. They will fight to defend themselves and their livelihoods into infinity. Just as we in America have in our history.

In the 1700s we were extremely disenfranchised as a peoples with the system of tyranny that had been served upon us by our English overlords. We fought back – one last final medieval war for honor. America, it might be said among scholars, is the world’s democratic experiment. But we are using it incorrectly. The victims have become the victors. The oppressed have become the oppressors.

And yet even through all of that haze I still have to follow my orders to the best of my ability. I shoot when they say shoot. I jump when they say jump. I break shit when they say break shit. I am a bad ass motherfucker. Combat engineers hooah!

Have you ever heard the words “shoot to kill?” Do you know why we have used these words since the dawn of time? It’s because an injured person now becomes our patient, our responsibility. It doesn’t matter who they were in their life. Our primary duty becomes their safety and security. We leave NO ONE behind, not even the enemy. This is why we shoot to kill.

Treating war in this manner; like it is some kind of gentlemen’s sport instead of the shitty fucking thing it truly is – its like paying a whore just to go to the movies with you. War is hell, and the more we realize this, the easier it will be to end war. Because as any good moral person should know – hell on earth is a bad idea. What is war good for? Nothing.

Esprit de Corps

Cover of "Platoon (Special Edition)"
Cover of Platoon (Special Edition)

Opposing orders. First Sergeant, in the spirit of hating Christmas, wants his privates to take the star off of the top of the Christmas tree and to deliver it to his office. Sergeant First Class stands in front of the tree, in the love of Christmas, turning back the soldiers as they go for the star. This situation may seem simple, and yet it represents something far more complicated than is imaginable.

Esprit de corps. The spirit of the core. How a unit’s superiors handle difficult situations in stressful times can often have a direct impact on how the unit performs cohesively.

Say, for a fleeting instance in time, you are a real life character in the movie “Platoon.” You are just a private with hardly any leadership experience and no plans for promotion any time soon. You are simply there, a soldier thrown into the heat of the jungle moon.

Esprit de Corps defines how Sgt Elias and Sgt Barnes can both be NCOs, but maintain different leadership styles, attracting the favor of two different types of people. In the regular army (non Hollywood) the best way to go about settling the division is not to kill the other guy, but to turn the schism that had been created into a non issue. Divisions at the top of any organization will create uncontrollable riffs in its core structure. Esprit de corps in this movie had to do with how loyal the fan base of both sergeants was among the privates.

The general consensus is that you always go with the decisions made by the lower ranking NCO, even if the orders that they have given you directly conflict with the orders given to you by a higher ranking NCO or officer. This means that that NCO stands by his decision, and will take the first punches with an exposed hind quarters. You will not be punished for following the orders of your direct supervisor. This is Esprit de Corps.

Let’s take this even further.

Iraq, earlier this decade: an SOP was issued to certain brigades ordering any soldier to shoot on sight anybody flying a kite in certain residential areas. The Esprit de Corps in this essence would be extremely against the orders, but the orders will be carried out. Kite-flyers, as they came to be known, were a perplexing enigma to certain commanders. The commanders of some units choose to “neglect” their duties and avoid areas where these kite flyers were to be seen. This made the soldiers in their units respect their decisions, and eventually not second-guess them when the shit really hit the fan. This is Esprit de Corps.

Who did finally wind up grabbing the star from the top of the tree? A specialist with a philosophy major. The lower-ranking Sergeant asked him why he wanted to destroy Christmas. He replied “I’m Jewish.” He still had to hold up the floor for quite a while, but First Sergeant gave him an award. When it was presented at the end of the weekend, he told the unit “… his balls are the size of a large boulder.” Everyone laughed. That was a good day for the Esprit de Corps.

More Bloody Days To Come

Rising from the proverbial ashes of war and conflict a new Phoenix that is Arabia learns how to breathe. So many days of violence. So many bodies litter the streets. So much blood.

Nay, it may never stop. Man is inherently evil. Man might truly be the only creature on Earth that kills for fun.

This is one area of my international relations methodology of where I more closely align myself with liberalism rather than realism. I do not appreciate war, and I do not believe that military power and military might dictate the level of influence global actors do have.

Nelson Mandella, Ghandi, and Tsapatero are great examples to live by in this behavior.

And at the same time, peace is a learned trait. We are all born with both love and hate inside of us, but pure love and pure hate are much harder to come by.

What the Arab world needs now is a beacon of light. A light that can guide them through troubling times. Not one single nation or state, but a person who can spark the minds of many. The place has quite simply seen its share of dictators.

And the forecast for the region? More bloody days to come.

I know this, because I have seen the troubles of my own people, and I have known their peace. I do not think that any sane human being wants war, but war is what there has been in Arabia for many years.

My people are the people of Ireland. My people are the people of the Basque Country. My people are the poor. My people are the hungry. My people are the naked and cold. These have always been my people, but through it all I have held a smile upon my face. Yeah I’m mostly a realist, but not all realists have to be pessimists.

Good Fridays do come to many. The war in Ireland had raged for thousands of years before people like my father and mother and those of their generation got tired of it. The Good Friday agreement was signed in 1995, and though I can not remember it, it was one of the happiest moments in my life. War was over. My people would not have to suffer the grim ties of oppression any longer. My ancestral homeland was free.

Now much of the same pre agreement attitudes toward the world exist in many parts of the Arab world. The citizens of Arabia are in a constant and tumultuous revolt. It’s the Arabian Generation X. As my US History teacher likes to call it, Generation “fuck the world.” Fuck the Sha. Fuck the Dear Leader. Fuck the Kurds. Fuck the jews. Fuck the Americans. Fuck the Turks. Fuck everything, I just really kind of want to be employed. I want to make some money and just live my life.

My friends, this is never the right way to go about reformation. Life is to short to shut out those who love you. Your actions effect the lives of others.

The Blow

The BLOW! What is the blow?

Who shall teach thee what the Blow is?

The day when men shall be like scattered moths,

And the mountains shall be like flocks of carded wool,

Then as to him, whose balances are heavy – his shall be a life that shall please him well:

And as to him whose balances are light – his dwelling place shall be the pit

And who shall teach thee what the pit is?

A raging fire!”

~ The Holy Koran

Comparatively, there are many similarities between the Christian Bible and the Muslim Koran. [#yummygoatfood] One of the greatest of which describes the wrath of God. In the bible, this is known as the Apocalypse, the Revelation, or Armageddon. In the Muslim Holy Book, also known as the Koran, there are also many descriptions as to the end of all things. And though the names are different, and the language is foreign – the concepts are quite similar.

I was presented with an interesting query today. The question was based off of the trendy theory that the world is going to end this year, and it had to do with the basic fundamentals of humanity. “Are you going to any mad parties the night before the world ends?”

The inexorability of common folk to think of the question in a particular light – that it is a simple question – is rank, but the concept of human originality is one that I have been closely aligned with for many years. The question is implicating something about the very nature of humankind that few people like to discuss openly.

Let me ask this question in a different way. “List everything that you are going to do the night before the world ends. Are you going to fuck somebody? Are you going to punch somebody in the face, or smash a building with a baseball bat? The world is ending, are you content with yourself right now, or are you going to do something you’ve never done before?”

The underlying question has to do with the violence that seems to have spread all over the world in this age. Wars in the World is a great site for keeping a breadth of conflicts that plague our world community. Right now, as you read, there are probably people being displaced from their homes due to violence in Syria, Colombia, Turkey, and Russia. In some places, on some days, roads will be littered with bodies. The firing of mortar rounds is considered a pastime activity in places like Aleppo. Terrorist groups like Hamas have figured out how to build spy drones all on their own. Drug runners in South America have so much money that they have been able to pay for the research and development of semi-submersibles that can house tons of illegal merchandise. Want to keep track of daily activities? Try the Daily Beast’s Cheat Sheet. It gives the most read daily events in a numbered format, so you can keep track of Syria in the comfort and delights of your very own first class Amtrak cabin.

That’s just the thing, isn’t it? Human beings are so callused to violence today that when a pistol goes off in the ghetto, it’s kind of like a bear shitting in the woods. A recent article in the New York Times said that children in Syria have become so callused to the sound of gunfire that they no longer react to it. This phenomena could be considered common most everywhere today.

Many different philosophers, economists, academics, and politicians have attempted to define the nature of violence in today’s society. Morgan Spurlock, Henry Kissinger, Kennith Waltz, Craig Venter, and Tom Cruise all believe in vastly different ideas as to how humans operate emotionally due to heredity.

In most essences, I would describe myself as a Realist. I operate on the notion that people are genonmically violent. This might seem like some pessimistic view of the universe perspectively, and yet it is to me that a river flows one way. There is idealism, and then there is simple physics.

Much like it is quite utterably impossible to make a river flow back in on itself, it is quite equally impossible to irradiate the world of all evil. The task is quite simply impossible. Attempts have been made: the league of nations was designed for this ultimatum. To no avail. War still rages widely everywhere in the world today.

As most of you are aware by now, I have chosen a quite great deal of antonyms to my own identity. One could make a leap of semantics and say that it is a list of my enemies. In the fact that I have no mortal enemies this is untrue. It is simply a list of people, as George Carlin would say, I believe should be tied to a chair and hit repeatedly with a hammer. Today I am administering a proclamation. The newest bad guy on my list is not a single person, or a group of people. It is a phenomena. It is an enigma.

It is war. War is the greatest threat to the sanctity of the human spirit ever. War is a way to remove morality from a populous, and to make a people conformists. Submission to a system of strength comes from war. The strong survive. The weak fall very low, and it is as if they are undead. War is quite possibly the gateway opiut into all evil. The root, so they say, of all evil.