Sunday, April 7, 2019

Further on l'audace

If, as I am doing, you are regretting
anymore, to sort out the chore of dis-
posing of the New American Government,
it's out of respect for the delicacy
as well as the urgency of the task. A
military strategist of his logistical
genius seldom arrives on the field -
General Grant, for example - and sadly
less in literature - Grant, for that,
too. Nowadays, most advisory chins are
being tugged toward confronting the ad-
versary obliquely, desisting from the
shedding of blood in favor of the baring
of souls. We are, after all, siblings
of immaculate non-discrepancy with each
other, bound to project a good example.
Let the laurel fall upon the exemplar
of going high, and the vocalist of the
scariest narrative on our health care.

I mention logistics, however, with the
Napoleonic insight that an army marches
on its innards, more than on its abs.
A svelte conscience is fine for drawing
a crowd, but a feast of firepower is
needed for keeping one. The French did
early and exploited the fog, the fig-
urative if not always the literal con-
text of combat. This meant bringing to
bear a sustainable torrent against im-
provisatory response, and it yielded
the head of the Holy Roman Empire on 
Meissen, paired with wine of Piemonte.

In our happy little springtime
for the solicitations of uncon-
tested candidates, the air is
dizzyingly infused with aller-
gens of piety in political con-
duct, every pretender's person-
al space inviolable. We should
not have to wait for Ypres, but
it seems that protocol demands
this of us. We inoculate our-
selves against stray seeds, to
gas, and has already won con-
sent to break his wind at will.
We shrink from the whirlwind
within our grasp, as if its
vivacity were not strategic,
imagining power does not wither.

John Keegan
Viking, 1987©

Ulysses S. Grant
John F. Marszalek
  David Nolan and
  Louie P. Gallo, editors
Belknap Press, Harvard, 2017©

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