Cry havoc, &c

My views on art, recently over-expressed, extend to the art of war, and I have long appreciated Patton-style generals, though even more the Nelson and Wellington styles. And there are many other ways to be a sterling general, as we learn from the classics, having all in common clear heads and the pleasure they take in their craft. But I have touched on this before (here, for instance).

Too, let me mention that I am enjoying the Trump Transition more than I expected, and best of all the wonderful idea of appointing Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis as Secretary of Defence — straight shooter, and marvellously effective in Afghoon and Eye-raq. (Indeed my enthusiasm for him once got me called before the Ontario Press Council.)

Served under Obama for a stretch, incidentally. Whatever we may say against Obama (quite a lot), he did not appoint girlie-boys to important military positions, at least, not to the degree we feared. A red-meat President on several occasions, with a gift for delivering on what no one wants, I think we might have got along; had only he been a rightwing loon instead of a leftie.

But here I am living in the past. In thinking ahead to the fun we’ll have tomorrow, I should like to share with gentle reader some Mattis quotes, which I have gleaned from the Internet (via Business Insider).

Item: “There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business.”

Item: “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

Item: “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: if you fowk with me, I’ll kill you all.”

Item: “We’ve backed off in good faith to try and give you a chance to straighten this problem out. But I am going to beg with you for a minute. I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for ten thousand years.”

Item: “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a helluva lot of fun to shoot them.”

Item: “PowerPoint makes us stupid.”

Item: “Don’t create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act.”

Item: “Keep your honour clean.”

Item: “Fight with a happy heart.”

I note his alternative nickname, “the Warrior Monk.” This is a category we have sadly neglected, since the glory days of the Crusades. General Mattis has never married. Nor has he left children, anywhere we know of. A studious man (who apparently owns seven thousand books), he has devoted his whole life to the chaste pursuit of war.

The question is not whether priests should marry. It is whether celibacy should be restricted to them. Surely painters, musicians, poets, soldiers and other artists, should be free of the encumbrances of family life, so they may devote all of their attention to their demanding and godly work. And the rest of us should beget more, to offset them.