…the cost of peace [DOT 24/9/20]

the price of reason...


…I know these generally come with a liberal helping of links strewn about & all but this one might be a little light on those…because I find myself with kind of a wall of text that might seem a little off the beam in terms of the events of the day

…so…you might be wondering what the deal is with the battered looking type-written letter in the header image…or maybe you’re on a phone & the image isn’t clear enough or big enough to read…or maybe you know all about it & could skip this next bit…or go read this instead…the poem at the end might not be up to Sassoon’s standards but there are Princess Bride clips & who doesn’t love a bit of that?


…I happened to grow up pretty near a museum that is literally all about war so I might have an unusually hard time forgetting how bad that shit really is or how much worse it’s been known to get than a lot of people who were raised to believe their right to shoot someone was somehow given to them by a god who seemed big on “thou shalt not kill” last time I read his bestseller

…so as the list of things we should #neverforget is added to seemingly every day I have to admit that I find myself thinking of the open letter Siegfried Sassoon wrote in July of the year 1917…all too frequently

…because I don’t seem to be able to shake the feeling that…even with the not-inconsiderable number of actual wars the US has been in quite literally non-stop my whole life long…fundamentally the levels of dumbfuckery on display among the people who are variously inducing/inciting/spoiling for opportunities to play let’s-all-burn-our-own-house-down literally couldn’t happen if they had a real sense of how entirely fucked up & terrifying a place to live the world was when the gloves were off all over

…& I don’t mean the folks out there kneeling while they get shelled with teargas or shot with rubber bullets…or real bullets at the hands of some scared kid with no business being there & even less business carrying a lethal weapon all too well suited to turning senseless murder into literal child’s play…because sickening as it is to contemplate that is what he was engaged in

…just like these militia-types that have been taking to the streets of Louisville recently

…there’s a reason they looked familiar
…there’s a whole thread…& a whole lot more than just that one bunch of egregious fucking idiots

…these people are playing at something they don’t understand & would be justly terrified of if they ever had to actually confront…dressing up as what they think a soldier is to agressively defend their right to deny others the very rights they claim…while heavily implying that they reserve the right to shoot the living shit out of anyone & anything that scares them…sorry, I mean “disagrees with their point of view” vis a vis when it’s okay to kill folks you don’t agree with

…so here it is…the response given by a man who fought in “the war to end all wars” when they asked him to return & keep fighting it because it refused to end…from a certain point of view it might be one of the bravest things I’ve ever heard…they shut him up in a mental institution for saying it…on the basis that he had to be some kind of wrong in the head to do such a thing…well, they called it shell shock then…& some say these days we call that PTSD…but in a lot of ways I both buy that anyone who lived through that conflict suffered in that fashion & also that it was mostly because he was too well-known for them to have him shot for desertion or something equally expedient…& even then probably only because copies of it were distributed far & wide until it made its way to places like The Times & the Parliament of the day

Lt. Siegfried Sassoon.
3rd Batt: Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
July, 1917.

I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of agression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them and that had this been done the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation.

I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops and I can no longer be a party to prolonging these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.

On behalf of those who are suffering now, I make this protest against the deception which is being practised upon them; also I believe it may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share and which they have not enough imagination to realise.

…the irony that in the name of “patriotism” & “god & country” people in the US (…& the UK for that matter…& a bunch of places where english isn’t the first language, come to that…but for now let’s stick to the US) have done a better job of destroying the things that made them propserous for as long as most of us have been alive than anyone ever did by invading them is almost too much to believe…despite a litany of evidence laid out each day with the headlines…I keep thinking at some point someone is going to do something that all the people desperate for an outbreak of sanity will rally around & admit that we can’t have politics at the highest level be a matter of empty rhetoric covering for a fundamental deriliction of duty coupled with a destructively short-term partisan self-interest antithetical to the actual fucking job of governing…I’m naive that way…or possibly old-fashioned

On behalf of those who are suffering now, I make this protest against the deception which is being practised upon them; also I believe it may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share and which they have not enough imagination to realise.

…you see, it’s that last bit that really gets to me these days…the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share and which they have not enough imagination to realise

…it’s not news to anyone with half a mind & even a scrap of imagination that war is hell & the butcher’s bill too high a price to pay for the vanity of nations…& the truth is that in the face of a travesty like the death of Breonna Taylor it’s easy to see that majority as mostly white folks unconcerned about waking up early tomorrow to a hail of gunfire tearing through their home courtesy of law enforcement & a no-knock warrant

…but based on that email one of the officers sent to his colleagues it sure seems like for some among law enforcement the belief is that the majority is all the not-members-of-law-enforcement & the agonies are such slings & arrows of outrageous fortune as one might expect to find when the times literally scream out for civil unrest(…& the civil part doesn’t seem to be getting the job done)…& while I don’t for one second agree that any part of what happened to that lady is excusable at any level I can’t deny that to be the embodiment of law on the streets of a Trump-brand knock-off of the (allegedly) once great US of A is surely the very definition of a thankless task

“We have had officers shot tonight,” the spokesman, Sgt. Lamont Washington, said in a statement. The police said at a news conference that both officers were in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries; one of the officers was in surgery.


…& (as was pointed out at length in an article myo linked on yesterday’s DOT) we could still be at the thin end of that wedge…which brings me back to the earlier part of Sassoon’s statement where he speaks of a conflict unjustly prolonged by those with the power to bring an end to it…a conflict in which countless lives were being sacrificed ostensibly to achieve ends which would be better served by honest negotiation than violent destruction…most of all when pursued at the behest of political errors and insincerities which demonstrate that those ostensible ends are nothing but a crudely wrought fig leaf behind which to hide the shameful truth

…truly in the history of human endeavor it may be that never has so much horror been wrought by so many – with such tragically limited understanding – for the benefit of so few…nor that few been more undeserving of the advantages by which they have contrived to have them do so

…we didn’t have time for that shit before the inmates took over the asylum…& letting things go to shit so a bunch of shitty people with shittier ideas can keep making shit worse for everybody because they’re dumb enough to think it’s in their interests is at this point legitimately on the cards as potentially an existential threat to humanity…possibly even within the lifetime of people of who’ve already been born

…that ought to be the worst kind of hyperbole…but shit is literally on fire on one coast on a scale I can barely comprehend…while the other one is half drowned & being blown around like the proverbial shit-hit fan…& instead of dealing with any of that shit “they” want to openly rig & steal the fucking US presidential election so (among other things) they can claim none of that is a problem while actively making it worse every which way they can…possibly unrecoverably so…all so that they can feel like they get to say how the world works…& make damn sure that there are people they know to be worse off than them

…they literally don’t care how the actual world works or how badly we’re breaking it any more than they believe we were all created equal…or in truth…or justice…or anything functionally resembling morality…or even fucking logic…let alone the rule of law or something as abstract as the social contract…it isn’t just the states & it isn’t just recently but it’s getting harder & harder for me not to start seeing people as either team #ivoteformoretomorrows or team #fuckyouimmabedeadbythen

…they clearly don’t love their children so what hope have the rest of us got?

…so…although there seems little to no chance that anyone answering the description is ever going to find themselves reading this…to anyone who thinks they have a dog in this fight that is worth the ante…let alone the pot…& most of all to anyone who might be called upon to enable so much as a sliver of the shit described in that Atlantic piece


…enabling the criminally immoral & knowingly corrupt practices of the currently alleged administration of the US in furtherance of their goal to inflict a further four years of aggravated political, social, financial, medical & moral destruction & devastation upon the world at large & the US in particular is indefensible to the extent that it is utterly, completely & in all ways at odds with the stated principles, precedents & practices that compose the very fabric of that union…let alone the oaths sworn by those whose jobs require that they uphold the laws of the land



  1. I read a book years ago called Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour. It is the story of the last day of World War I.
    Though the Allies knew the war would be ending at 11 AM they still ordered charges up until the very last minute. Eleven thousand soldiers died that day. The Allied commanders wanted to take out as many “Huns” as they could. Senseless savagery, as if WWI weren’t senseless enough. 
    Siegfried Sassoon (no relation to Vidal, the celebrity hairdresser) led an interesting life. He came from a fabulously wealthy Jewish family but his father was disinherited when he married Siegfried’s Catholic mother. He survived the war, unlike some of the other great poets, like Wilfred Owen. He had many affairs with men, among them Philipp, Margrave of Hesse, after whom Prince Philip is named (Prince Philip is descended from Hessians, and his birth name was Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, this is a long and complicated story…)
    Anyway, this is not to take away from the tragedy that was Breonna Taylor’s death and the narrow grand jury finding that an officer fired recklessly but not at Breonna Taylor, at a neighbor’s apartment. I thought I’d show off a little more of my endless trove of trivia since RIP brought up Sassoon, and maybe provide a little diversion so early on a Thursday morning.

    • Top 5 emcees, 1. Sage 2. Sage 3. Sage 4. Sage and 5. Dylon…..kidding, of course it’s mother fucking Sage Francis … In all seriousness, this site is a life saver and the Sage songs only serve to strengthen that. Times is tough, keep fighting mother fuckers!!!

      • …I will admit that most days I have to make a conscious effort not to wind up posting a bunch of sage francis tunes because a good few of them seem evergreen & I am very much a fan of his stuff so it could get repetitive

        …but today seemed like a particularly good time to break a few out so I’m glad they hit the spot

    • …I’d like to argue that maybe some people could take a leaf out of Sassoon’s book & refuse to play a part in enabling the perniciously poisonous strategems by which that sad fate is being forced upon us…& who knows…maybe we could go a better way

      …but I’m sorry to admit there’s a good chance you might be right about that last bit…although I do thank you for the first bit

  2. Thanks for this – it isn’t a wall of text if it is worth reading.

    I just can’t comprehend how so many of my fellow citizens prefer to lock and load, to be willfully ignorant of basic facts, to prefer lies that support a simplistic world view, and to revel in the cruelty towards anyone even marginally “other”.

    It almost seems as if the current administration wants to foment unrest among the people, to use as a reason to declare martial law and stop the election?

    • …the degree of cooperation & coordination that seems to be enjoyed by these groups when it comes to those supposedly upholding the law in a “protect & serve” capacity is beyond chilling to me

      …not only does their presence undoubtedly do more to aggravate the possibility of protests boiling over into tragedy than it does to promote any of the pretextual reasons why their brand of costume party is allegedly an acceptable reason to stroll around areas of heightened tension while conspicuously armed…even during a pandemic scenario

      …but on a truly despicable number of occasions they have been the ones both inciting & engendering the violence & criminal damage they lay claim to being there to protect against

      …that they should continue to do so with the blessing of “law enforcement” who are apparently willing to visit the consequences of such actions on the very people whose protests these god-forsaken hypocrites are so transparently invested in undermining is utterly shameful

      …that the current administration should rely so heavily upon them to carry its fetid & stagnant water is a travesty…& that it might be a successful tactic is a tragedy…that it is both sought & celebrated by the highest authority in the land is as sickening as it is telling

      …but struggling to comprehend what could compel people to act in such a fashion…or even on such pretexts…that bit I’m pretty sure is a natural & healthy response to conspicuous evidence of malignant stupidity in service of incipient tyranny…in fact to me that strongly suggests that you’re still of sound mind despite their best efforts to drive us all as demented as they seem to be

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