Crimea

Crimea: (n) a peninsula in SE Ukraine

War.

Old men hear speeches and wave flags.

Young men grab guns and prepare to kill.

Old women have pictures of their sons in dress uniforms.

Young women attend funerals.

There’s nothing noble about war.

Perhaps merely removing the nobility of war—the romantic notion of heroism and bravery—might cause us to settle down and reconsider conflict.

I remember the first time I read Tennyson’s poem, “Charge of the Light Brigade.” It was a brilliant artistic expression of the courage of young soldiers on horseback during the Crimean War, who were asked to attack a battery of cannon with just their swords.

Tennyson meant well.

But he ended up glamorizing what was neither brave nor essential.

It was a foolish decision by a commander who was tired of nothing happening and decided to use human lives to experiment. Because of that it’s very difficult to hear the word “Crimea” without thinking of the Crimean War—which certainly brings to mind the unnecessary sacrifice of soldiers who were bound by duty.

I wonder what would happen if we forced people to commit to love, kindness and tenderness the way we drill murder, mayhem and anger into our infantry. Is it possible that we would no longer need teenage boys charging hills and dying so that old men can prove that they’re powerful?

I don’t know.

Crimea makes me think of war.

And the Crimean War makes me think of the “Charge of the Light Brigade.”

And that ridiculous decision makes me sad over unnecessary loss.

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Cornwallis

Cornwallis: Charles, 1st Marquis, 1738–1805, British general and statesman: surrendered to Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, October 19, 1781.

From time to time I think about Lord Cornwallis.

Fortunately for me, history provides a bird’s eye view of the end result of almost any type of behavior.

If I’m willing to learn what happens in pursuing certain styles and mindsets, I can certainly avoid much stupidity and injustice.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Of course, so can you.

When I mention that I study a British general who’s been dead for well over two hundred and fifty years, you might have chuckled and thought, “What value could that have to my busy scanning of Internet life?”

The value is that Cornwallis had a perfect setup, with perfect conditions, and still managed to bungle it, arriving at an imperfect conclusion. At his disposal was the world’s most powerful and well-trained army—the British Regulars. They carried the best muskets, they manufactured the finest cannon and they certainly had the prettiest uniforms.

Their enemy was ill-prepared, ill-fitted and ill-equipped, and grew up believing that the British could not be defeated.

So at first, Cornwallis just rolled over these local yokels, making them appear to be fools. So sure were the British that they could defeat the American colonists that a decision was made to sub-contract the job out to German mercenary soldiers, called Hessians. “Cocky” would not even begin to describe the thinking of Lord Cornwallis.

But in case you don’t know the story, he lost. Finding out why he lost is what we call “the lesson of history.” It comes in two parts:

  1. Never underestimate an enemy who has more to gain than you do.
  2. Always remember that a battle is a fight, not a conversation over who has supremacy.

The Americans had their freedom to gain, so they had more fight. Cornwallis showed up with an army that had little to prove, and therefore had little fight.

I could learn from that. Matter of fact, I think I will.


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Broad

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Broad: (adj) an ample distance from side to side; wide.

We are a peculiar people.Dictionary B

Every July 3rd in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, we commemorate Pickett’s Charge, where thousands of Southern gentlemen attacked a wall of cannon at the bequest of an aging general who was in the midst of having a minor heart attack due to the summer’s heat.

But for some reason we call that brave.

We paint the picture of humanity with broad strokes.

We weep over acts of patriotism or occasions in which hundreds of thousands of us merge into a common trough.

But I am personally stalled by the warning from a Nazarene from two thousand years ago, who stated, “Broad is the way to destruction.”

It is shoulder-to-shoulder that we march to hell–unaware of our destination, but satisfied that we are right…because we are not alone.

What foolishness.

The best decisions of my life always happen absent human hovering.

When I’m on the “strait and narrow” of my passion, angels of authenticity are prompted to whisper in my ear.

If not, I am inundated by the bad breath of baffled Bohemians.

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