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27 March 2015


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Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang,

Here is the entire statement from Tacitus in Vita Agricolae ~98 b.C:

"Raptores orbis, postquam cuncta vastantibus defuere terrae, mare scrutantur:
si locupes hostis est, avari, si pauper, ambitiosi, quos non oriens, non occidens satiaverit; soli omnium opes atque inopiam pari adfectu concupiscunt. Auferre trucidare rapere falsis nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.

The last sentence you paraphrase is the key: "To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a solitude (desert?), they call it peace."

Pax vobis

Ishmael Zechariah

Charles I

This pagan human thanks you for all you've done and do. How far can it be from Yemen to Nigeria anyway?


Col: "Iraq, she of the two rivers, what a place of sorrows we have made you, a piece of bone wrapped in rags and fought over by pariah dogs."

Powerful writing.



Thank you!

You are the lodestar. I only wish you would be an independent candidate for President. I sure will vote for you. We need erudite intellectual giants in office not the self-serving carnival barkers who have no appreciation nor understanding of the debate and thought that went into the writing of our Constitution. But, that is not a reflection on them, they are merely taking advantage of the proclivity of us as citizens to want someone to remove all risk and personal accountability from our lives. Consequently, leviathan government and the spoils that it entails have permeated our entire social and economic fabric.

These utopian ideas you note are not only restricted to foreign affairs but extend also to our economic and financial affairs. The free lunch has become an entitlement. After all, we owe all these financial claims to ourselves, say those that determine financial policy! Financial speculation has become the highest calling in terms of personal status and wealth. The brightest join the speculating class. Even those that gain the highest political offices make their fortunes there. We are certainly through the looking glass when money printing by central banks has become the much lauded panacea and policy du jour. A century ago these charlatans who masquerade as economists would have been laughed out of town. I don't know where all this leads but I do know we are living in a period of mass delusions.

FB Ali

Col Lang,

A powerful and extremely well-articulated cri de couer, mourning the country that was supposed to be, but instead has become a monster.

To the rest of the world, especially those who are at the receiving end of its mission, it is just the Lord of Destruction. For them there is no Renewal in sight.

We, Americans and others alike, can only cling to the desperate hope that this relentless mission will not end in one gigantic fireball.


Charles I

Marcus Aurelius was a pagan. pl

Patrick Bahzad

Pat, a great piece, agreed with it from start to finish ! The strangest part about the sad state of affairs you describe is that there is nothing new about the phenomena at work here ... Same old "perpetual war for perpetual peace" !
I still remember when we warned the U.S. military about the UN intervention in Somalia in the 1990s, the idea being that if you liked the Balkans you would love Somalia. That example unfortunately has been replicated time and again over the years ever since !


It seems to me we must do something more than hope, FB Ali.

The men who wrote the principles Col. Lang enunciated pledged Their Lives, Their Fortunes, Their Sacred Honor.

And they signed their names, as does Col. Lang.

Not me.
I do not have that courage.
I hide behind Croesus.
The people who destroyed or seek to destroy all those nations "over there" can break me and destroy my children "over here."

The conundrum I face every day: Do I speak out to try to correct the course the USA is on so that my children's future will not be impaired, or do I remain silent because if I speak out my children's future may be destroyed?



I suppose that your cognomen means that you are rich. You fear that resistance will prevent your children from being rich? I wish that my 4th great grandfather, Amos Hall, who froze his ass off at Valley Forge could be here so that you could explain that to him. He became a wealthy man after the war when he was no longer a color sergeant in the 7th Connecticut Line. pl



Wonderful writing.

All of the Middle East is at war; re-fighting old hatreds; spawning more true believers, and making lots of money for a few outsiders. NATO is again in a Cold War with Russia that risks going hot. Greeks are being pillaged to pay back bad loans that Germany and France refuse to write-off.

America will not be at peace or prosperous once again in our lifetimes.

Babak Makkinejad

You flatter yourself Sir.

None of us are that important.


no no no no no

The more important tale about Croesus is the one I discovered as I read to my children from Children's Tales from Herodotus.

Croesus wanted to know if he should wage war on Persia. He asked the Delphic oracle who replied, "If you go to war with Persia you will destroy a mighty empire."

Croesus thought that was a green light to wage war, so he did.

And he lost a mighty empire: he lost Lydia, his own state.

The lesson of Croesus is you have got to get the oracle -- or history -- right or bad things will happen.

Another lesson from Croesus's tragic experience, however, is that after being defeated by the Persians, he counseled the Persian king on how to manage his army as they came into possession of the wealth of Lydia. Croesus told the Persian to tell his men to pledge the loot as tribute to the gods (or something like that.)


PS I'm a first generation American. Neither froze at Valley Forge nor became wealthy.

However, my children do have ancestors on the other side of the family who sketched the battlefield at Antietam from the family's Mennonite farmer's field.

ex-PFC Chuck

Thank you, Colonel, for how well you describe the depths to which our country has sunk in its conduct of foreign affairs. The deep irony is that while we throw our weight around with such devastating, unintended consequences, all the while pounding our chests proclaiming the supposed superiority of our neo-liberal ways, the shadow elites behind those policies are also busily doing all they can to dismantle what had been a reasonably well functioning domestic economy and society for three or four decades in the middle of the 20th century. Just this week these efforts have gone on steroids as the elites' pawns push the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) treaty on to the Congressional agenda, demanding that it be granted Fast Track status. Fast Track limits the time of debate and proscribes the introduction of amendments. A bill given this status must be reported out of committee in 45 days and voted up or down as a package on the Senate floor in 15 days. In the TTP case, senators and representatives who are not on the pertinent commiittees are so severely constrained by the conditions under which they are allowed to review the text that it will be virtually impossible for them to acquire adequate knowledge about it to fulfill their Constitutional responsibilities.

This treaty, and its soon-to-follow companions (the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP] and the Trade In Services Agreement [TISA]) are maliciously misnamed "trade" agreements. They are in reality surrenders of the sovereignty of all federal, state and local government entities. They are all being considered behind secrecy curtains that one would expect to apply to nuclear weapons design. If these treaties acquire the force of law, the signatory countries will all descend into frantic races to the bottom as they lose their abilities to enforce policies affecting labor compensation, working conditions, environmental, financial and human rights policies..

I urge all readers of SST who are US citizens to familiarize yourselves with these treaties and if you come to see them as pernicious as I do, contact your representatives and senators to demand that they vote against granting the TPP Fast Track status. And while you're at it suggest that they stop acting like sheep and demand of the administration that each of them be given enough copies of the entire text so that they and their key staff supporters can fully inform themselves about the agreement.



1st generation is good. Perhaps you fear them more than they deserve. I visited Croesus home town in Lydia in Anatolia. I bought a three footed gry ceramic jug from a Turkish gent. It was grave goods. Who knows . It is still around here somewhere. Don't let us grind you down. we are all a little desperate. pl

ex-PFC Chuck

Here are some links to get you started:


Col Lang, now that was one sensible summary. Over the course of my life I have met a number of retired colonels and navy commanders (captains) that have made so much sense to me in their description of what is going in the world of defense and national policy. Why are these people not promoted to be generals and admirals? Of course if we go back in history there have been a few -- Butler, Dewey, Marshall, Eisenhower, and more but somehow in current times what we see are the retired generals and admirals that appear on CNN or Fox news. Something seems to be broken.



It's a club and you have to have a sponsor to get in. Marshall promoted all the good Army guys you are talking about and FDR promoted him by intervening in the system personally. pl



It seems to me that a point will arrive when the rest of the world will conclude that an intervention is required since our behavior is so erratic and crazy. What treatment center can they send us to?

Sir, do you believe that the we the American people are out to lunch or are we fully complicit in this lunacy? Implying there is no chance for course correction and we will hit the wall at high speed.


I share your gloomy outlook.

It's as if David Frum and Richard Perle have crept from their respective caves to be made heads of foreign policy.

The US now, under Obama, do target for regime change or war all those countries he singled out for treatment in their epic laundry list in 'An End To Evil' - North Korea, Iran, Syria, Libya and 'the dark places' - Somalia, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Venezuela, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Gaza (Hamas), Afghanistan, Phillipines. And Saudi Arabia.

These two strategic giants didn't see Nigeria and Mali back then, nor Russia or China (who, I suppose, are on their long bench), and the US yet have to attack North Korea. But except for that?

So, just wait. The new SefcDef is on the record as being in favour of bombing North Korea. Is not Seoul worth a better tomorrow? Or the prospect of a better tomorrow? Unless, of course, you live there and own property, but such petty, selfish concerns must not stand in the way of Freedom ™.

Likewise, Perle and Frum glibly assert, falsely, that national sovereignty is not an absolute right, but an obligation, that the US as the leader of the free world has the right to rescind. That's basically what the R2Pers say.

Take that for bibartisan consensus. There is no disagreement in the in crowd in DC about hegemony or the need for targeting Russia, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen etc. pp. - disagreement is only about how to do that.

Obama style i.e. clever and smart drone strikes, NED subversion and support of proxies and duplicitous aggressive diplomacy? Or Bush style? With the heavy hand of an armoured division and a wing of bombers and overtly hostile diplomacy?

So I disagree with your metaphor.

IMO John Brown is in charge of foreign policy, with his bible of US civil religion in one hand and a flaming sword in the other. That IMO more properly reflects the zealotry that characterises US foreign policy these days.

They don't want to create a desert and call it peace (that's only the outcome), the emphasis and motivation is that they want to cleanse it in order to redeem it.

If this goes on, the world will end up comparing the Bush years favourably with Obama's rule as serene and predictable. That is - if this does not end in a worldwide thermonuclear exchange at some point.

In a sense, it is as with Likud and Labour in Israel. They're by and large all the same, as far as policy goes, but Labour is better at PR and thus more pernicious whereas Likud is so obnoxious as to generate opposition by default.


A minor nit, the article pic is of Kali, the canonical pix of Shiva as the destroyer AND creator is actually this one.


Mark Logan


Re: "Mantle of villainy". Thanks. It so perfectly captures my thoughts while watching the tremendous effort to undermine ANY agreement on the basis that Iran is...well...just IRAN!!



Hear, hear, ToivoS.



You might be interested in this; at least, your historian wife might be.

Scroll down to "The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations, circa 1390." I don't know who the writer is but he copied a document "prepared by Arthur C. Parker, Archeologist of the State Museum in New York in 1915, and published by the University of the State of New York as Bulletin 184 on April 1, 1916." I have retained this for 20 years.

He quotes an historical group that alleges the iroquois constitution, written 500 years before ours, starts out, "We the people, to form a union. . ."

Here is another perspective, from an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, who received a Ph.D. in Colonial and Revolutionary American History from Johns Hopkins University. This is not to say that she ever saw the NYS documents referenced in the link above;not everyone dos their homework.

The Tyendinaga Mohawk (owners of what was once the entirety of NY State before the Brit/Yankee wars and still aligned with the Queen of England after 400 years) Indian Museum in Southern Ontario, Canada, claims to have formative documents used in writing the US Constitution.


BTW, I really liked piece of yours.

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