precept [ˈpriːsɛpt]n 1. a rule or principle for action
2. a guide or rule for morals; maxim
Over the next several months, I am going to write a series of short essays – I call Precepts – explaining the framework that I use in thinking about issues – particularly when it involves war and peace. The United States is currently involved in overt military activity (“kinetic” seems to be the descriptive adjective de jour to apply here) in three different areas of the world. We see images of bombs, fire fights, burned out tanks, and wounded and killed civilians – lots of wounded and killed civilians – wherever we look – in the newspaper, on TV, on the web, on our mobile phones. And yet, we have little understanding of what, why and how we are doing what we are doing. Our leaders seem caught up in endless partisan infighting, spewing political rhetoric like odoriferous spring fertilizer. They cannot explain what our interests are (our Endgame). Instead of being forthright in explaining the importance of energy, raw materials, shipping lanes, stable governments, etc., we get all kinds of wars. Not just military warfare, but Wars on Drugs, Wars on Terror, Wars on Obesity. The term War is used so often that it has lost its true meaning. We are constantly at war – so war no longer seems to be such a terrible thing. (Obviously the best treatise on the concept of constant war was written by George Orwell. I commend you to re-read 1984. I dare say that our current global relationships bear some resemblance to that of Oceania. If you read carefully, although the visions are sometimes a bit more stark and excessive, you will see that much of the framework is recognizable. Telescreens spying on our every move? Between police cameras, security cameras and cellphone cameras, they say that you should act like everything you do is being recorded…)
All of that being said, my hope is to put together some little thought pieces that will pique your interests. Each will likely start out very short, but I reserve the right to update, revise and expand each essay until it turns into a coherent worthy statement.
The first one follows this post. It is a short note about the importance of defining one’s Endgame.