"I used to think Rudyard Kipling was an American," reveals Tuck, whose most memorable encounter with the Indian-born Brit was his house Naulakha (above) in Brattleboro, Vermont. Who knew? According to Wikipedia, Kipling "built the house and lived in it from 1892-1897 and wrote the Jungle Books and Captains Courageous while there." You're a better home builder than I am, Gunga Din. "I used to drive out there when I was in Brattleboro doing errands, and I just used to think that was the most beautiful house I'd ever seen," says Tuck.
"Several Northern Ireland veterans who worked with him in Baghdad this year came away with the opinion that it is now America, not Britain, that is the world leader in counter-insurgency," reports The [London] Sunday Telegram [via Instapundit], whose editors -- unlike Time Mag's BDS-wracked opinionators -- named General David "Hard is not hopeless" Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, "Person of the Year, a new annual accolade to recognise outstanding individual achievement." Their citation reiterates how Petraeus's success on the ground fits into the larger picture of the War on Terror. We suppose that Hillary & Company's suspension of disbelief is still hanging in the wind, so don't try confusing them with the facts. For the rest of us, a concise reminder of why we're "over there" [Be sure to savor the whole thing]:
He has been the man behind the US troop surge over the past 10 months, the last-ditch effort to end Iraq's escalating civil war by putting an extra 28,000 American troops on the ground.
So far, it has achieved what many feared was impossible . . . Iraq, whatever the current crises in Afghanistan and Pakistan, remains the West's biggest foreign policy challenge of this decade, and if he can halt its slide into all-out anarchy, Gen Petraeus may save more than Iraqi lives.
A failed Iraq would not just be a second Vietnam, nor would it just be America's problem.
It would be a symbolic victory for al-Qaeda, a safe haven for jihadists to plot future September 11s and July 7s.
"King David: What a guy!!!!" comments our imail correspondent as we free associate connections among "the Army's own Lawrence of Arabia," the victorious New England Patriots, birthday boy Rudyard Kipling's "If . . ." and The Dangerous Book for Boys:
She: Did you watch the game live?
We: I'm just catching highlights now.
She: I'll bet there are a lot of proud mothers out there. At least 11. Dangerous Boys happen, thank God. Boys need an arena. Without the gladiator thing, they end up shooting their classmates and teachers. I think the problem started in the 70's, when boys and girls had to have gender-neutral toys.
We: It started when Marxism infiltrated feminism. They turned it into yet one more futile and destructive attempt to deny human nature.
She: I always let my sons have guns because if you don't, they'll just pick up a stick, and go "Bang, Bang, you're dead".
We: And shoot their eye out, the way I almost did yours.
She: I'll bet [Petraeus's] mother is mighty proud. Re Rudyard [who would have been 142 today], one of his quotes from "If . . ." is frequently used on cards for the birth of baby boys. I think Matt has always followed it.
"Kipling said that he had the traits of Leander Starr Jameson in mind when he wrote of what it takes to be a man" in "If . . ." says Answers.com. "I wonder if Leander Jameson was a relative," ponders Goomp -- AKA A.C. Jameson (our maiden name, Jameson). "I understand the Jamesons came from Edinburgh before they moved to Liverpool." Gotta get our genealogist-in-residence, sis-in-law Ellen, on the case. Leander Starr Jameson -- above center, we assume, (Photo from Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Dr. Helen introduced us to TDBFB with her post "Boys Just Want to Have Fun" last February. It's been the talk of the sphere ever since and showed up under many a Christmas tree -- including our own -- last week. 'Course in Tuck's case, he probably could have written 99 percent of the book himself. So could "King David" General Petraeus, who pinned down the problem a year or so ago in response to a well-meaning but clueless journalist's earnest if condescending concern that for some losers "the Army may be the only option":
"That's the problem," [Petraeus] says. "It may not be an option for [a loser cited by the journalist]. We have a profile we're looking for; we need high school graduates who are physically fit and driven by the desire for self-improvement. We need men who are prepared to be better soldiers.
"They need direction to stay on the straight and narrow, a push to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities, help to pursue a healthy lifestyle, recognition that they must be accountable for their actions, and reinforcement of good performance."
Kipling would understand. A few stanzas from "If . . ," voted Britain's most popular poem in a 1995 BBC poll according to Answers.com ['Wonder what they'd choose nowadays with the creeping Dhimmitude that seems to be turning the Old Sod into a Nouveau Saudi Arabia?]
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise . . .
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man my son!
Despite the Marx-lite community's best efforts, we've still got a few good men out there making the world safe for democracy.
Update: Instalanche! Talk about a few good men.
Update II: Meanwhile, Dr. Sanity is making the world safe for lunacy in her latest Carnival of the Insanities.