In Flanders Fields

Given that 100 years ago men were fighting and dying in the opening months of what they would come to call the Great War and we call WWI, I decided to post one of the most famous and memorable poems to come out of that war.  This poem is one of the reasons that the VFW sells Poppies today in their fundraisers.  It really is true that the fields of Flanders are covered with Poppies in spring and summer.  Every time I visit Flanders the poppies serve as a reminder of the slaughter that took place there.

In Flanders Fields
By John McRae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Some backstory on the Poem and Remembrance Poppies can be found on the In Flanders Fields page of GreatWar.co.uk

Periodic World Craziness Update # 32

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.   Iraqi Military Makes Gains North of Baghdad in Conflict With ISIS:  It will be interesting to see how the response to the ISIS offensive plays out both in Iraq and in the wider world.  The INA is a broken reed and any gains they make will be fleeting.  I fully expect a stalemate to ensue shortly wherein Iraq is effectively partitioned.  We are saying the beginning of bloody fighting.  Think of it as Sunni Triangle II. Ukraine Says Russia Has 38,000 Troops on Border Amid ‘Invasion’:  The biggest news out of this story is not that … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 31

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Ukraine battles militants, Russia demands cash for gas:  The hijinks continue.  I am very curious to see what happens in the Elections on 25 May.  If the current regime is selected they gain instant credibility and legitimacy and I would expect them to double down on their efforts to crush the eastern separatists. Hard for NATO to defend Baltic states from Russia – Spiegel:  This should not be news for anyone who has paid attention to the anemic state of the militaries of mos NATO countries.  The question is will Russia even go after the Baltic states? … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 30

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Ukraine Falters in Drive to Curb Unrest in East:  Perhaps the biggest mistake the Kiev government could make right now is to make threats they are unwilling or incapable of following through on.   Nothing could damage their credibility and legitimacy more than doing so.  It would seem they have done just that in regards to the protester seizure of government buildings in the eastern part of the country. Fragile Europe Weakens U.S. Push for Russia Sanctions:  Who would have thought the current US admin could demonstrate more resolve than the EU right now?  Of course, Obama must follow through or he shows himself … Read more…

The Best Military Poem Ever

Simply the best military poem ever written.  Any soldier that does not know their Kipling should be ashamed of themselves and endeavour to correct that failure as soon as possible.

Tommy
By Rudyard Kipling

I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!

Periodic World Craziness Update # 29

Russian Troops Ukraine

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Crimea referendum: Voters ‘back Russia union’:  Yep, That had to be a fair election.  It’s not like the Russians don’t have armed troops all over the place there.  I stand by my prediction that the US and EU will meekly submit to whatever Russia wants and go no farther than sanctions despite the Western Guarantee of Ukrainian sovereignty from the 90’s.  Ukraine will probably continue to dominate the news this month as well. NATO general warns of further Russian aggression:  So, what led NATO’s commander to just now acknowledge the danger that the Crimea will not be … Read more…

Glossary of Modern Military Terms

Engage the Enemy means “to blow something up.”
Surgical Strike means “to blow up something small.”
Decapitate means “to blow up their leaders.”
Collateral Damage means “to accidentally blow up something of theirs.”
Friendly Fire means “to accidentally blow up something of ours.”
Target of Opportunity means “to blow something up on a whim”
Kinetic Targeting means “to blow up something that’s moving”
Ordnance is “something that that does the blowing up”
An Asset is “something that can be blown up”
Embedded Media means “a report that’s blown out of proportion”

 

Periodic World Craziness Update # 28

Ukraine

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Ukraine crisis: Police storm main Kiev ‘Maidan’ protest camp:  The question on everyone’s mind: Is this the start of the Ukrainian Civil War?  I would guess no but still put the likelihood of Ukraine descending into civil war around 50%.  It would appear that the president is hoping he can wait the protesters out.  A hope that appears misplaced since the coldest part of the winter is about over and warmer weather is on the horizon.  The return of warm weather will actually bring out more protesters and if eh fails to dislodge the protesters now he … Read more…

One Smart Private

As a platoon of trainees stood in formation at an Army Base, the Drill Sergeant walked up and said, “All right! All you retards fall out.”
As the rest of the platoon wandered away, one soldier remained at attention.
The Drill Sergeant walked over until he was eye-to-eye with him, and then raised a single eyebrow.
The soldier smiled and said, “Sure was a lot of ’em, huh, Drill Sergeant?”

Periodic World Craziness Update # 27

Remains of a prematurely detonated Car Bomb (VCIED) outside of Ad-Daw, Iraq in January 2005

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Suicide Bomb Instructor Accidentally Detonates, Kills 21 Students In Iraq:  I just about fell out of my chair laughing when I read this story.  I was reminded of the moron one afternoon in January 2005 who came out of a side road racing towards me and my wingman’s Bradley’s as we were driving into Ad Dawr, Iraq.  As he got to about 300m from our two vehicles his car suddenly disintegrated.  Stuff like this is why Arabs make horrible fighters.   North Korea warns South and U.S. over “provocative” drills:  I start to get the feeling that … Read more…

The Difference between Officers and NCO’s

A Platoon Sergeant and his Platoon Leader are racking out in the field for
the night. The Platoon Sergeant looks up and says, “When you see all the
stars in the sky, what do you think, LT?”

The LT replies, “Well, I think of how insignificant we really are in the
universe; how small a piece of such a grand design. I can’t help but wonder
if what we do truly means anything or makes any difference. Why? What do
you think of, Sergeant?”

“I think somebody stole the freakin’ tent.”

Periodic World Craziness Update # 26

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  China’s State Media Blame U.S. for Near Collision of Warships:  I start to wonder how far and how fast China is willing to ratchet up tensions over the Senkaku’s?  It seems that China is not unwilling to provoke an incident.  What happens if they pull something like this in the future and the US retaliates by sinking a Chinese ship, maybe even their beloved waste of a carrier?  Never mind that this whole incident is akin to Hitler blaming Poland for WWII. India-US row over arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York escalates:  though this piece … Read more…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 25

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.   Syrian Regime Chokes Off Food to Town That Was Gassed:  What is the point of a siege if food is allowed through the siege lines? I will never understand modern bleeding hearts.  They should be happy the government forces are not catapulting disease ridden corpses into the besieged area or trying to poison the water supply.  Since when is war supposed to bloodless and not affect non-combatants? Update: Starving rebels eat lion from a Damascus zoo – Apparently the siege is doing what a siege is intended to do.  I am not shocked.  Further, the guys … Read more…