only the dead have seen the end of war

Commonly misattributed to Plato, this line is originally found in Santayana’s “Soliloquies in England" 

The poetic quote is surrounded by a rainfall of wisdom. 

"These young men are no rustics, they are no fools ; and yet they have passed through the most terrible ordeal, they have seen the mad heart of this world […] and yet they have learned nothing. The young barbarians want to be again at play. […] but they are going to gamble away their lives and their country, […] Yet the poor fellows think they are safe ! They think that the war perhaps the last of all wars is over ! 

Only the dead are safe ; only the dead have seen the end of war. Not that non-existence deserves to be called peace ; it is only by an illusion of contrast and a pathetic fallacy that we are tempted to call it so.”

3

 So a few weeks ago I thought I got rid of all the fire ants that had taken up residence in my backyard; oh boy was I was wrong. 

The fire ants have returned to my backyard in greater numbers and have begun to aggressively expand their hills. I will give them tonight to finish constructing their defenses and will begin my campaign in the morning. I underestimated the tenacity my enemy during my last assault; a mistake I will not make again.

Above on the first image I’ve outlined in red the currently known nests and marked where I believe others could be in blue.

Phase one of my assault is outlined in the second image; I plan to cut off their exits by saturating the lawn in insecticide spray, once they have no way of retreating and their mounds are wet I’ll begin to pick at them via shovel.

The final phase of my plan is outlined in the final image; In the midst of their efforts to rebuild I’ll deploy poisoned ant food to their hills and wait for them to destroy themselves. 

I know not what horrors await me on tomorrows battlefield, it was not my wish for our tentative peace to come to such a violent end. Alas the time for sweet thoughts of pacifism are over now, war is the only answer left.

Wish me luck comrades. 

“A large stack of corpses is cremated in Dresden, Germany, after the British-American air attack between February 13 and 15, 1945. The bombing of Dresden has been questioned in post-war years, with critics claiming the area bombing of the historic city center (as opposed to the industrial suburbs) was not justified militarily.”

(Bundesarchiv)

You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation’s destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.

The long gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.

This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

—  Douglas MacArthur in his farewell speech at West Point

cont. from here.

He’s quiet, still, a vigilant statue amongst the frozen environ of which
they  have  been  ordered to  reside. Hands  forgo gloves,  opting for
heat  in  the  breast  of  his  own  fitted  coat. Nevertheless, he’s truly
grateful  for  minimal  warmth  that  the foxhole  provides,  out of  the
direct  and bone - chilling breeze that  intermittently  sweeps through
the sparse coverage that the wood  provides. His words  are nothing
more than  a dull  stab at  comfort,  fishing  a single from the offered
pack, perching the stick between tiers.

The question, whether  sincere or just out  of impulse in jerk-reaction
to an  officer’s  words,  dawdles  at  the  butt - end  of  the  cigarette.
There's  the flick of  the thumb, charging  to ignite  the  flame  that is
habitually  covered  by his  left hand  as he  inhales deeply, the burn
audible. 

Dark optics  gradually divert  attention from the  previous task,  to the
male  adjacent  to.   Companionship  had   been  sparse,   with   only
himself to  blame.  Purportedly,  a  leader  shouldn't  trouble  himself
with the  babbling of  the lower - enlisted,  or the  tug of  brotherhood
that he so often witnessed in  the most  dire of circumstances.  In the
rarest  of occasions,  though,  there's  a  fleeting glimpse  of  genuine
humanity.

Well, Malarkey, for one – I’m not ready to go out, yet.
& second .. for you. You and every goddamn one of you in Easy.

( malarkeydonald )

eloiseclarke asked:

♮ (there is only one way this may go and it may be bad)

Brows knit together in a subsequent sweep of indignation. Arms
looping at  his   chest  with  palm  rustling  at  5′o’clock  shadow,
assessing  the  result of HIS belated  order.  His shoulders bear
the  additional  weight  of  another  causality  in  unit,  nail  beds 
harbor evidence of  formerly  crimson,  caked  & faded to a dull
brown.

Lips thin with the remaining notes of muted frustrations ( it’s out
of his hands
  reasoning   prevails   ).   A  subtle  frown  tugs  at  
both  corners,  eyes  downcast  as he  steps  back  to  allow  the
medical staff to tend to the deceased.

Contact encourages him to reign  in whatever slackened sense
of  reality he’s  unconsciously  adopted in  the wake of. Slender
arms and  a low hum of missed  words  sharpen dulled senses.
He eases out of arm’s reach, warmth lingering still.

Lieutenant ( breath caught in throat ).
  - I’ll  … need to report back, as soon as possible.

Before making an official departure, in passing, he rests a hand
at   the  brunette’s   shoulder,  rendering  a   gentle  squeeze  &
whispered ‘thank you’.