RANGER AGAINST WAR: The Constant Gardener <

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Constant Gardener

Flower Garden, Klimt (1905)

A Plowman on his legs is higher

than a gentleman on his knees

--Poor Richard's Almanack

And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins

--At Parting
A.C. Swineburne

Il faut cultiver son jardin

(One needs only cultivate one's garden)


Whose garden was this?

It must have been lovely.

Did it have flowers?
--Whose Garden Was This?,
Tom Paxton

I live on a spread of North Florida dirt and read Mother Earth News. It is a constant struggle to keep my homesite from growing back into a wilderness state. If one wishes to improve and maintain a garden bed, fertilizing and weeding is the name of the game.

Risking sounding like Sellers' pseudo-brilliant Chance the Gardener, Ranger sees a correlate between gardening and Counterinsurgency and nation-building. Yardmen who just mow may keep the level of foliage down, but the mowing is constant and yields no improvement; nothing lovely will be created, and the weeds await takeover.

When leaders and generals function like ordinary yardmen, the terrain may be kept to a certain level of damage, but all of the invasive weeds, seeds and roots are still there, ready to overtake the terrain once the weekly mowing ceases. We wonder how many of today's leaders and generals have hoed a row themselves, for if they did, they would be able to import some very important life lessons.

The only way to create a garden is to follow the farmer's rules.

[1] You must begin with fertile ground, or enrich the soil

[2] The ground must be properly prepared prior to laying in a crop, which includes tilling and elimination of all roots and weeds. Mowing and weeding is futile without root extirpation. You can't cut down a tree without grinding the stump.

[3] The crop must be compatible with the soil in which it is to be sown (siltiness, ph, etc.), and the available sunlight.

[4] The garden must be protected, either by enclosure or other preventative measures

[5] Your neighbors cannot walk or play in your garden

[6] Crops must be watered and fertilized

[7] If seeking to profit, you will have a market for your crop

[8] Not all crops develop and mature (which is why commercial farmers have crop insurance)

[9] You should have all tools in place before breaking ground

[10] You must use quality seed

[11] You must plant within the optimum time frame

These basic farming rules are transferable to the endeavor of nation building, the growing of a society. For what is a culture but an aggregate of individual gardens?

--Mr. Green Jeans

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Anonymous barcalounger said...

I can't remember anyone of recent flag rank who, in their bio, admits to growing up on a farm or a ranch. You might even have to go all the way back to Grant or Jackson. Maybe we should make it a requirement of our top officers to at least plant a flower bed at their quarters. It would be a start.

Monday, July 19, 2010 at 1:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous tw said...

Great analogy. I've been battling willow and alder trying to take over one of my pastures for yrs now. Should probably put cows in it as the horses won't eat it and when I cut it down it just seems to invigorate it's growth, just like killing those insurgents seems to create more insurgents.

Monday, July 19, 2010 at 4:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Bronwyn Bruton of the Council for Foreign Relations has your back: http://www.cfr.org/publication/21619/disengaging_from_somalia.html

Money graf: "Somalia left to itself is in many respects less threatening than a Somalia that is being buffeted by the winds of international ambitions to control the country."

Substitute "Yemen", "Afghanistan" or "Kazakhstan" for "Somalia". Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

When the fuck did we forget the Father of our Country's advice:

"The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?"

Monday, July 19, 2010 at 6:05:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I believe Ike had a country background. I seem to remember he grew up in Kansas etc..

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 9:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I believe Gen Wilson, MOH, USMC was a farmer prior to going on AD for WW2.
These guys are few and far between.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 9:51:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Sir.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 10:03:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

On VT Rte 14 in East Brookfield at the bottom end of Williamstown Gulf a nice stretch of grass is coming up in the middle of the south bound lane. Makes me feel good every time I see it. Some day the state will drown it with hot asphalt. And some day later it will be back.

Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 8:00:00 AM GMT-5  

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