A Tale of Two Generals

by on January 6, 2020 · 0 comments

in Military, Ocean Beach, War and Peace

By Joni Halpern

Once upon a time there were two generals.  One was a fit-looking guy with gray hair, a handsome older face with a square jaw, wearing a nice-looking uniform trimmed in gold braid, decorated with medals and campaign ribbons.  The other general was a guy with – well, pretty much the same appearance.

One general worked for Country No. 1, a big, brash, rich, well-armed and -equipped place with millions of patriotic people.  The other general worked for Country No. 27 (depending on which Gross Domestic Product (GDP) list you consult).  Country No. 27 was not rich; it had some notable armaments and trained soldiers, but it was brash, and its people were very patriotic.

Both countries were involved militarily in countries outside their borders.  The job of each general was to advance the interest of his country in places where people were angry or confused by wars that began after Country No. 1 invaded Country No. 52.  This invasion was a big step in trying to make that part of the world look more like the great fossil fuel vision residing in the mind of a skinny, balding guy with a bad heart who couldn’t tell a bird from a hunting partner.

Anyway, the General from Country No. 1 found himself mired in conflicts in these foreign countries.  The battles that followed caused thousands of soldiers and civilians to be injured or killed, and resulted in dozens of small-time leaders rising up against the invaders from Country No. 1.  These skirmishes were not confined to Country No. 52, but spread to Countries much farther down the GDP list, like maybe Nos. 78 or 82.  After these battles had gone on for almost 20 years, some of the countries engaged in the conflict didn’t even have numbers on the GDP list anymore, because they didn’t have a GDP.

Somewhere in that period, the General from Country No. 27 took an interest in the blossoming conflict, because his country saw a great advantage in creating a lot of havoc while blaming it on Country No. 1, whom they decided had no business invading in the first place.  The General from Country No. 27 was a very charismatic guy.  Some fighters from other countries followed him wherever he went and did whatever he said.  The General from Country No. 27 figured out that if he got several smaller groups of fighters doing what he wanted in various parts of all the other countries where Country No. 1 was fighting, he could cause a lot of grief to Country No. 1, which then might leave his part of the world.  That would allow his country to take a much bigger leadership role in that area of the world, which would certainly help his country’s standing in “Who’s Who Among Countries 27 through 95?”

The General from Country No. 1 was not so charismatic, but he had a lot of confidence and a very well-trained force under him.  He too was busy recruiting and training groups of fighters to help him in his work.  He had his soldiers train and fight alongside groups that had even been enemies at times during the long conflict.  In one case, the General from Country No. 1 encouraged a group known for their fighting skill to help the General’s own soldiers defeat a very bad enemy.  Those fighters did help, and when they finally pushed back the enemy, Country No. 1’s Perfect Leader told the General to take his soldiers, leave the other fighters high and dry, but be sure to guard the oil fields.  The soldiers from Country No. 1 were not too happy to leave, because they knew that many thousands of fighters who had stood with them would be killed.  And that is precisely what happened to the fighters and thousands of civilians.  But nobody called the General of Country No. 1 “bad,” because they knew he was obeying the Perfect Leader of Country No. 1.

You could say that the Generals from Countries No. 1 and 27 both used small local armies within the other countries to substitute for, or help, the troops from their own countries.  In the process, many people – soldiers, parents, old people, babies, and probably some bad people – died because of what both Generals ordered to be done.

However, as Country No. 1 tells it, the moral of this story is that it was necessary to kill the General from Country No. 27, without specifying any clear reason, except that it would stop a war the Perfect Leader could not actually identify.  But when the General from Country No. 1 carried out the order of the Perfect Leader, and the other General was killed, people in Country No. 27, as well as the small armies the General had led, became angry and upset. They wanted revenge.

The Perfect Leader of Country No. 1 proudly told his people that folks in Country No. 27 should be careful about taking revenge.  He reminded them that Country No. 27 is not Country No. 1, which has the most powerful military in the world.  Also, Country No. 27 does not have the Perfect Leader, because there is only one such leader in the world, and he is the only one who had ever done anything great for Country No. 1, and the only one who has ever been the Perfect Tweeter-in-Chief, Cake-Thrower-in-Chief, and Liar-in-Chief.

The story of the two generals is not finished yet, so we do not know yet what other lessons we will learn from it.

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