I will be appearing on Malcolm Burn’s radio show, The Long Way Around, this coming Sunday, September 24, 2023. Malcolm has asked me to prepare a playlist for the show which reflects an anti-war theme. This is my response. Act 1. On April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt, less than a year removed from serving as the President of the United States, delivered a speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. Entitled “Citizenship in a Republic,” the speech has gone down in history as “The Man in the Arena speech,” largely on the weight of the words contained in the following passage:
Well that really made me think about my own life, and to pinpoint issues I have ... thank you Scott, those are some of the most deeply moving words I have ever read from you, and poigniant too. The other day I was thinking about how much I like listening to you talk, this reminds me how much I love to read what you write. You are many things Scott, and gifted orator, and gifted writer are clearly among them, ... as well as, of course, ... dumb Marine (your words), though I've never seen you being dumb ever, but if you ever were, then I am sure the beast would have made you the BEST dumb Marine ever!
That was an outstanding peice, from an outstanding human being, and I just cannot, not Love that. Your words went deep. Love to you and your wonderful family, and thank you for your honesty.
An amazing share of your inner world and challenges. Thank you for sharing. The struggle is real. Something we all come face to face with is the beliefs we hold and how they hold us.
As difficult as all of your struggles with your addiction have been, I suspect writing such an intimate revelation of your emotional journey was the most difficult of all. It takes an enormous amount of courage and self-realization to examine oneself with such honesty and realism. You have my highest admiration for doing so.
Take good care of yourself and stay safe.
Spectacularly well conveyed, Scott. Frankly, I’ve always been on the fence about you. Not on the fence about the vast information/experience you possess, process and articulate so well but the contradictions in you personally that are glaringly evident just watching you on the various podcasts like Redacted, Judge Nap and Danny Haiphong. There’s always a simmering combination of unease, anger, hypocrisy and a yearning for ‘unfinished business’ in your tone. I couldn’t totally put my finger on it all these months I’ve been following your work but, with this essay, it all now makes sense. Your personal mental quandary you’ve expressed here helps me understand the often conflicting messages you espouse in these podcasts. On the one hand, you openly claim to revile war and its atrocities but then often when discussing the granular details of war your excited body language and passion overcomes your being and you appear like a cat who’s crouched, stuck behind a window pane, watching a bird right outside in the bushes that he desperately wants to pounce on but is cruelly kept at bay by the evil window. A visceral, existential need for the cat, that he’s tortured and can never satisfy. Instinctually, due to your unholy marriage with war(the Beast), you’ve become the cat, a helplessly addicted creature attempting to vanquish a challenge(the bird) it can never actualize. Again, thank you for this article as it has helped my own unease with your apparent vacillation on these critical geopolitical issues you discuss. I feel like I ‘get’ you more accurately now. Your voice, along with Col Mac and a just a handful of others, are urgently needed in this arena of evil Uniparty obfuscation and lies. I salute you, Scott!
Thank you for allowing us access into your inner world. Such honesty is very rare!
For the record, I too am an ex-Marine. I served in Vietnam as an 0311. I was only 17 when I volunteered in 1968.
I started lifting weights when I was 13 years to defend myself in a tough neighborhood. Hence, I always prided myself in never taking any shit from anyone...
About 5 years ago I married a Russian lady from Kaliningrad.
It might interest you to know that, in retrospect, the most. important thing that has saved me from my inner demons is a daily practice of meditation. I know it sounds corny but I'm BIG on whatever works!
A beautifully written and contemplative essay.
Damn you , Scott .... thank you ! You are an incredible writer. I'm 77 and was in tears throughout your article as it hit me with your brutal honesty . The Poughkeepsie era of your life describing the tales of yore with the wonderful horses. The obstacle course scenario and marine part of your life was so enlightening in that no one has any idea unless they were there. At one point of your description of war I remember the interview by Bill Moyers of Joseph Campbell where Mr. Campbell was describing his interviews of WW II soldiers in their experience and they summed it up in one word .... sublime. Your out of body experience I have experienced a number of times as a potent reminder to a connection of something greater than me. I have an addiction to alcohol of which I left behind in 1990 when doing a month long retreat for interpersonal work a moment occurred when the hair all over my body stood up and goose bumps appeared on my arms and an epiphany occurred where a realization came to me that drinking alcohol for me meant death and I did not want to choose death anymore and the desire for drink completely evaporated. You are a good man Scott and I am so glad to have found access to the great work you do. Thank you ! And I definitely don't damn you. There's a better place for you , friend.
An article I wish Pat Conroy could have read; it would have provided insights into the demons his father faced and why he behaved the way he did. Things too many, at least most who have never faced what Scott describes, will never fully understand. I among them. I've shared this article with my Citadel classmates, class of 1968, the men I most admire.
Thank you for sharing this Scott. I feel some of this too. Peace brother, where you can find it.
Lou Reed, I saw him live. His monotonous voice is haunting. Transformer was his masterpiece and I had the album, 8-track and later cassette. I ended up speeding listening to Heroin too.
You're deep, Man. Thank you so much for this article. I'm proud to support you.
Painfully honest and courageous, Scott. Thank you for sharing. Deepest respect for you continues.
An amazing insight into your world. Thank you for allowing us in.
Well, facing your own demons, not just you, but anyone who has confronted them knows it requires a lot of courage and perhaps more then you need to fight a battle in some far off country. It's another kind of battle but the reward is your sanity, your life, and finding out who you really are, and most importantly being at peace with yourself.
Let me guess, now you drive listening to "Sweet Jane"; I know I do. That's an excellent album and I about fell out of my chair when I learned you appreciate it too.
Scott, thank you for the powerful moving honesty, showing and proving a lot to me. Your writing underscores the depth of culture your generation is holding for this country. I read it at once with tears in my eyes and then spent a long time just thinking about what just happened. Like an explosion. On the personal side, joining others in wishing you the best. Asking Most Holy Mother of God for help in finding peace and protection from my many beasts worked for me.