It’s as “If” Kipling was speaking to Bush and Petraeus

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:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

— Rudyard Kipling

And if you can’t do all this, you’re probably working for or influenced by MoveOn.org, right?

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  • T.S.

    Kipling is a fascinating soul. He was a staunch imperialist and even pushed for his son to join the army. Of course when his son went missing, and was eventually declared dead, Kipling changed his tune and was haunted until the end of his days.

    His “Epitaphs of War” is especially touching, paticularly this line:

    “If any question why we died,
    Tell them, because our fathers lied.”

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Kipling is a tool used by you to hurt other people.

    Touching indeed.

    THE REFINED MAN

    I was of delicate mind. I stepped aside for my needs,
    Disdaining the common office. I was seen from afar and killed. . . .
    How is this matter for mirth? Let each man be judged by his deeds.
    I have paid my price to live with myself on the terms that I willed.

    NATIVE WATER-CARRIER (M.E.F.)

    Prometheus brought down fire to men.
    This brought up water.
    The Gods are jealous—now, as then,
    Giving no quarter.

    BOMBED IN LONDON

    On land and sea I strove with anxious care
    To escape conscription. It was in the air!

    THE SLEEPY SENTINEL

    Faithless the watch that I kept: now I have none to keep.
    I was slain because I slept: now I am slain I sleep.
    Let no man reproach me again; whatever watch is unkept—
    I sleep because I am slain. They slew me because I slept.

    BATTERIES OUT OF AMMUNITION

    If any mourn us in the workshop, say
    We died because the shift kept holiday.

    COMMON FORM

    If any question why we died,
    Tell them, because our fathers lied.

    A DEAD STATESMAN

    I could not dig: I dared not rob:
    Therefore I lied to <a href=”http://neoneocon.com/2007/09/13/dissing-the-generals-and-fighting-the-previous-war-the-historical-underpinnings-of-moveons-moves-part-ii/”please the mob.
    Now all my lies are proved untrue
    And I must face the men I slew.
    What tale shall serve me here among
    Mine angry and defrauded young?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    I could not dig: I dared not rob:
    Therefore I lied to please the mob.
    Now all my lies are proved untrue
    And I must face the men I slew.
    What tale shall serve me here among
    Mine angry and defrauded young?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    I could not dig: I dared not rob:
    Therefore I lied to please the mob.

  • http://fareastcyinc.com Skippy-san

    Kipling would scold Bush and company soundly-for taking on the burdens of Empire without assuming any of the perks.

    Furthermore, I can’t help but think that Kipling would have advised to either take the land for your self-or get the hell away from it.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    I blame this on Neo’s trademark long titles.

    Kipling would scold Bush and company soundly-for taking on the burdens of Empire without assuming any of the perks.

    That started with Truman. Can’t go back and change history, regardless of how much you dislike Bush.

    Presidents tend to follow precedence, if only because of historical inertia. Sort of like the historical forces moving the Vietnam and post WWII generation.

  • T.S.

    Kipling is a tool used by you to hurt other people – Ymar

    Um, no I dont think Kipling is a tool. Other people are tools, for sure, but not Kipling.

    He wrote the poem “If” which Bookworm posted, for his son, Jack, but the Epitaphs for War, written after Jack’s loss, is far more haunting.

    Here’s some more background:

    “After {Jack’s} mother, Carrie, waved him off, she wrote in her diary: “There is nothing else to do. The world must be saved from the German … One can’t let one’s friends and neighbours’ sons be killed in order to save us and our son.”

    Yet when it came to it, John’s death was a hammer blow to Kipling, who was working as a war reporter in France at the time. The news was delivered by his friend, the Tory leader Andrew Bonar Law, and the author cried a “curse like the cry of a dying man”.

    The Kiplings were staunch war supporters, too. Until reality kicked them in the teeth.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Different war, T.S., different war. I quoted the poem because it stands on its own, and not to use as an analytic tool for judging Kipling’s life and experiences a hundred or so years ago.

  • T.S.

    Different war, T.S., different war. I quoted the poem because it stands on its own, and not to use as an analytic tool for judging Kipling’s life and experiences a hundred or so years ago.” – Book

    The irony of posting a Kipling poem as a cheer for ANY war is simply too rich to ignore.

    And actually, it’s the same experience.

    War Cheeleaders tend to rah-rah less when their own kids get killed.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Reality kicked them in the tooth? Oh now, you did that to that which you now discard.

    War Cheeleaders tend to rah-rah less when their own kids get killed.

    Do you believe that using such demoralization techniques that you shall arise above the status of a tool to become that which uses others?

    It pleases you to see broken opponents and ironic tragedies, when they are not your own and thus you care little for them, does it not?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    I wonder in the end, who the real cheerleaders for war are. Those that take great satisfaction in the loss and tragedy of others, or those that celebrate the life’s work of those that have gone before.