On Syria, Puff Daddy, and Flanders Fields






Best Experienced With:     Puff Daddy & The Family;   Victory

(this thing was written while listening to “Victory” precisely eighty times.     P Diddy goes quite nicely with the prose.    Always match the proper wine to the meal and the right music to the message)






Over the past three weeks, while listening to pundits and politicians praise and despise President Obama and his team on decisions, or lack thereof, in Syria, I’ve been rereadingLieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s World War I poem “In Flander’s Fields”.    The poem combines my favorite poetic form, rondeau, with some of the finest emoting words written in recent history on war.   You have a Canadian battlefield surgeon, standing on a 1915 Flemish battlefield in Ypres, writing some of the most powerful words on war in a thirteen-century French lyrical form.     A brilliant and powerful poem.


Whenever we speak about war here in the United States, “In Flander’s Fields” rolls through my head.    First, during “Operation Just Cause” in Panama in 1989.  Again, in 1990 during the weeks before the first Gulf War in Kuwait and Iraq.  Then, in 1992 before Somalia.  They rolled through my head in October, 2001 before Afghanistan started, and again in March, 2003 before we started in Iraq.


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.

It’s not just the poetry or the death.     It’s simple economics and analysis of historical data points.     The chart below shows what has happened to the United States’ economy since 2000, the year we decided to become the world’s police force.   Straight down the tubes.



on war1950-2011-wide


I would submit that those who vociferously condemned our choice not to fight this week in Syria………those who have not committed “In Flander’s Fields” to memory or ever served in the military or had a son or daughter who served….have a very poor understanding of what military actions do to our economy.     Military actions tend of have a chilling effect on the economy, as demonstrated by what many pundits and politicians have a surprisingly poor grasp of……math, statistics, and probability.   And make no mistake about it, lobbing cruise missiles into country is choosing to fight.


Whether it’s poetry, simple economics, the desire to avoid death of our military personnel or sparing innocent civilians on the ground…there is seldom a good reason to go to war.    And those who chose to spend the last week lambasting the compromise agreed upon last weekends are the weakest of the weak and the most ignorant of the ignorant.    I don’t feel any safer from terrorism today than I did in 2001.  Only the criminally insane and the ignorant who chant “’Merica” blindly can raise their hand and agree when asked if the last twelve years of two wars had a positive impact on our standing in the world, our economy, or our future.


Ironically, most who screamed about our Syrian compromise choice last week are those who scream for job creation while posing meager plans to create jobs and complain about the delay in the economic recovery.     Shocking.




Clearly these screamers are neither scholars nor adept researchers.       Great at screaming.   Poor at facts and the fundamentals of applied probability.    Might I suggest a quick read of Nate Silver’s “The Signal and the Noise” along with some WWI poetry.




As Mr. Diddy so eloquently sings in the song above:  “put your money on the table and get your math on…..yadda yadda…..my songs bump Houston, like Scarface produced them.   You ain’t got like me…you’re just mad.”



“Because I tell it like it is……………..and you tell it how it might be.”






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