The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Cogadh No Sìth

Posted on | November 11, 2010 | 116 Comments

by Smitty

Stacy has greased the skids here, but there will be a hiatus in regular blogging activity for the Smitty portion of this blog duo at the close of this post. I hold orders to activate in mid-November and report to Kabul, Afghanistan in time for Christmas. Bandwidth, and latitude for skylarking online will not exist until the end of 2011.

The attentive may recall that I’m a Navy reservist, and Afghanistan hasn’t much coast. Welcome to the modern, double-Jointed world, where Semper Gumby (always flexible) is the watchword.  Have you supported Project Valor-IT yet?

As a staff REMF, it’s unlikely that I’ll be in harm’s way. This is really one year in an isolated locale, supporting the a few doughty Americans.  Should some sort of combat situation come upon me, there in the capital, things shall have gone really awry. Unlikely. Also, as a 40-something ship driver from the Navy, there is no interest in reliving my non-existent Rambo days. Let’s be crystal clear on that. Besides PowerPoint, I’ll be doing staff officer sorts of things.

But don’t thank me; thank Americans, from the Founding Fathers forward to the Tea Parties, to my electrician brother-in-law who just runs around fixing things all day. The exceptional American dedication to individualism, the ideals of the Constitution, and the courageous soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in whose bigger footsteps I follow make it all worth it. I’ve benefitted so much from the American people, educationally and otherwise. Thus, it’s with a sense of gratitude to you that I depart on this set of orders, finishing out my Navy Reserve career in active duty style.

The post title is a bit of Gaelic meaning “War or Peace:”

Probably the best known playing of Cogadh no Sìth was at the Battle of Waterloo when Piper Kenneth MacKay of Tongue played the tune. Kenneth MacKay was a piper with the 79th Cameron Highlanders. As his regiment was forming a square to defend themselves against the charging French Cuirassiers, the proudest cavalry of its day, Kenneth MacKay stepped outside the square and took up his pipe to play Cogadh no Sith. And there outside the square he marched despite the repeated charges of the French cavalry, all the while playing Cogadh no Sìth.

So, the tune is a Piobaireachd, which is either a sort of beautiful tone poem, done correctly, or a regrettable disaster if I’m the one working out on it. But “War or Peace” was also a poem, a tiny fragment of which survives, in its sweet, fatalistic Scottish glory:

Cogadh no sith, cogadh no sith,
‘S coma leam, ‘s coma leam,
Cogadh no sith;
Marbhar sa cogadh,
No crochar an sith mi.

In English:

War or peace, war or peace,
Alike to me, alike to me,
War or peace;
I will be killed in the war
Or hanged in the peace.

The “War or Peace” link concludes:

The words complemented the mindset of the Cameron clan who were accustomed to rally to the cry:

Chlanna nan con thigibh a so’s gheib sibh feail.

Probably that rhymes in Gaelic. In English, it’s:
‘Come, you sons of hounds, and I will give you flesh’.

And that the attitude that must be presented to the enemies of liberty; Taliban in Afghanistan, or  Progressives closer to home. Thinking you stupid, they will continue to say that you ‘vote against your own interest’, and turn down their bread-and-circus substitutes for Liberty.  Liberty ain’t cheap, and rejecting Progressivism may resemble pain for a while. That’s not pain. That’s Socialist weakness leaving the country, and don’t let these liars sell you otherwise.  Stand and deliver, the way a Progressive cannot, for, at heart, modern Progressivism is a synonym for cowardice.

If I’ve done you any favors, I’d ask that you make this the single most linked post in this blog’s history.  I do have one other project that I want to get out, and something for Pearl Harbor day, but the regular features I’ve been doing are in a hangfire for the nonce.

Yes, there is a ‘Dread Post’ positioned in Draft, backdated to November 2009. Pray that Stacy lacks occasion to publish it.

Now, you sunny beaches know how I feel.


116 Responses to “Cogadh No Sìth

  1. Ab
    November 11th, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

    Good luck. Don’t let your Commander-in-Chief down!

  2. Tigg
    November 11th, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

    Good luck. Don’t let your President down!

  3. ewb
    November 11th, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

    Be safe and thank you for your fine work, both here and there. Looking forward to your return.

  4. PMEL-remf
    November 11th, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

    A year in the rear. Hmmmm.

    Us REMF’s make things possible for folks who might be placed in the frightening position of earning medals.The quality of our work may determine if those medals are posthumous or the happy standing up kind. No medals for me, thanks. Well, how about “longevity”, “good behavior”, “overseas tour”, “T.O. Interpretation”, etc.?

    Do your work well and return home safely.

    The webz will be here when you return, with a 5-minute summary of what you missed.

    Best wishes from a 32450/2p051 meter monkey.

  5. Abgg
    November 11th, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

    Just don’t become a Markos 21 freaking years from now!

  6. Amazed
    November 11th, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

    Godspeed, sir!

  7. Richard Mcenroe
    November 11th, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    Oh, and linked.

  8. Pete
    November 11th, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

    Smitty – as a O6 Porkchop retiree (14 active, 19 reserve) I wish yopu fair winds and following seas – come home safe. Thank you for your service.

  9. Sybilll
    November 11th, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

    Godspeed Smitty.

  10. The wondering Jew
    November 11th, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

    Stay safe, Smitty!

    We appreciate everything you are doing for America– and what you have done for this site, in particular.

  11. YankeePhil
    November 11th, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

    Be safe in the rear with the gear. Watch out for them paper cuts.

  12. KennyR
    November 11th, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

    Good luck and God speed!

  13. YankeePhil
    November 11th, 2010 @ 8:44 pm

    And in honor of the Navy……

  14. Agnes B. Bulllock
    November 11th, 2010 @ 9:20 pm

    Go with God, Smitty. You have our prayers and our thanks!

  15. Neomom
    November 11th, 2010 @ 9:43 pm


  16. GoldenEagle4444
    November 11th, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

    Watch yer top-knot, bro. You’ll be in our prayers until your safe return.

  17. Hrexec1
    November 11th, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

    Been there, done that – Just got home in early Sept. after heading out to KAF and FOB Leatherneck for about 10 months – flew from Qalat in the East to Herat in the Northwest and everywhere in between….stay sharp and you should be fine…

    Send me an e-mail if you want more info on what worked & what was not so fun [email protected]


  18. The Conservative Lady
    November 11th, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

    God Bless You and thank you for your service. Be safe.

  19. Crystal Clear Conservative
    November 12th, 2010 @ 10:27 am

    Godspeed, Smitty! Thank you for your service.

  20. Bob Reed
    November 12th, 2010 @ 11:45 am

    Godspeed Smitty, best of luck for your upcoming assignment.

    Fair winds and following seas…

  21. Howard Towt
    November 12th, 2010 @ 2:47 pm


    “Don’t let the bastards get you down!”

    You are linked at Anti-Republican Culture.