Marcus Aurelius: Invictus for the Army Staff

Cultural Intelligence
Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius

Below  written by one of the better officers I’ve been privileged to know.  He’s now in three months predeployment training for the very high threat diplomatic assignment he volunteered for in order to escape our command climate.  While his performance while with us probably merited a Legion of Merit, insofar as I know, he left with nothing and without “signing out” on our traditional “tablecloth,” which dates back about 50 years and carries the signatures of most/all who have served in the Army War Plans Division.  That speaks volumes.  He left right at about the same time my closest civil service colleague retired.  They were the best men we had.

PDF (1 Page): (U) InvictusfortheArmyStaff


Out of the blackness it comes for me
Wrought by a system without a soul
Yet another tasking that comes persistently
To quash yet another part of MY soul

A struggling victim of circumstance,
I cannot flinch, nor cry aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
This staffer is bloody, yet unbowed

Beyond this place of wrath and tears,
looms but the horror of the shade,
shackled to a desk these many years,
I remain doomed, but unafraid.

It matters not how you hit the gate
Or escape from ARSTAFF’s roll,
The only way to change your fare
is to row, baby  row!

Phi Beta Iota: The US Government generally, and the Department of Defense more specifically, has been deaf to its best and brightest since at least 1992.  From the most brilliant field grade officers laboring in frustration or depasrting at the 12 mark, to the young captains choosing to leave despite having great promise, to the civilians and contractors resigned to spinning their wheels in a system that now lacks intelligence and integrity as never before, what we have is a tragedy of cosmic proportions.  It need not be this way.  There is nothing wrong with America the Beautiful that cannot be fixed, and fixed quickly and inexpensively, simply by restoring honor at every level.  Intelligence with integrity is the soul of statecraft.  Duty, honor, country.  Words that no longer have meaning when we are led by clerks who have prostituted themselves to politicians that are themselves corrupt to the bone and in betrayal of the public trust every single day.

See Also:

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