We regret to inform you that your son,
the little kid who used to break things all the time and poop his pants.
Was killed in action on the following date,
by a horde of guerillas with secret decoder rings.
His death is a loss to all of us,
especially the guy who mops out the toilets now.
We all feel a deep and sad sense of loss at this tragedy,
the new toilet guy really feels it.
There are times when death does not make sense,
nor does the content of these letters, but no one argues with us anyhow.
When a tragedy seems to strike us at our most vulnerable,
or when we had a guy really good at cleaning the bathroom.
Now we must find it in ourselves to continue,
throwing people senselessly into the nothing.
To press on bravely as your son did,
he actually died screaming for his mother.
To fight the good fight,
choked to death when the fire sucked all of the oxygen out of the air.
Help others to see the way to a better world,
one where we can liquefy someone's lungs twice as fast with white hot flame.
A new and more peaceful world,
where political careers are twice as important as a life.
No, your boy did not die in vain,
if we win someone will get re-elected for sure.
He died in the service of his country,
what was that nine digit number we assigned him again?
A nation proud to have men who have parents like you,
who bear forth innumerable numbers of toilet cleaners and meat popsicles.
Who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the good of our nation,
and pay too much attention to the recruiting posters versus reality.
And the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness for all of us,
excluding the ones not bent, folded, spindled or mutilated.
Also not to forget our foreign friends,
whom are at this very minute affixing a limpet mine to this typewriter.
Whose very freedom your son perished so valiantly for,
and will really appreciate it when we bomb their capitol flat next week.
If only we could see such a tragedy coming in advance,
maybe we could figure out how to milk more PR value out of it.
Things like this could be averted,
we lie.
But there is meaning in this tragedy,
we forget what it is, but we'll call you when we remember.
A new hope shall rise like the phoenix from the ashes of despair,
'ashes of despair,' who writes this cornball shit?
Another day shall dawn,
set your secret decoder rings for 4Q my little guerillas.
A day when freedom shall ring true and proud over all the lands of the world,
especially in the cemetery bathrooms.
When the nations of the world shall lay down their arms,
because they're too damn heavy to carry.
The doves of peace shall fly free and high,
and be shot down by hungry people who live in shanty towns.
When tragedies like this one shall be but a noble and tragic memory,
at least until we can find someone else to whup up on.
Thank you again for this, the most noble of all sacrifices,
and for raising him for us, any idea how much that costs?
Sincerely and our condolences,
could you spare the extra nickel, stamp prices are up again.
The undersigned,
the undertaker and the toilet guy too.

original prose, Yurei, 2000
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On War was written by a Prussian general, Carl von Clausewitz, between approximately 1816 and 1818. It is regarded as one of the most important documents for the study of the nature, strategy and theory of War.

The book covers eight volumes:

    1.    On the Nature of War.  This volume sets out the theories that form the framework for subsequent volumes, and includes information on some of the most basic Clausewitzian models.

    2.    On the Theory of War.  This volume consolidates the basic theory in the previous volume, and develops some specific theories on the science behind War. He also includes a chapter on historical evidence to back up his theories.

    3.    On Strategy in General.  This is considered the real "meat" of the book, and its lessons have been employed by many great military leaders (Montgomery, Patton, Rommel and Colin Powell all studied Clausewitz and followed his advice).

    4.    The Engagement. Covering all of the elements of the engagement from political inception to the initial battle, this volume is essential reading for anyone interested in the dynamic effects that end up leading to War.

    5.    Military Forces.  In this volume Clausewitz describes how an Army should be formed, administered, trained and led. Some of the lessons are evident today in the running of some of the world's most powerful military forces.

    6.    Defence.  The largest volume in the book, this concerns the importance of being able to defend oneself against hostile action in order to be able to prosecute the campaign more effectively.

    7.    The Attack.  Having considered all of the essential base elements of War, Clausewitz now proposes strategy and tactics for fighting battles in specific theatres such as encampments, mountains, rivers and fortresses. He also covers some of the theory behind the success of such strategies and tactics.

    8.    War PlansClausewitz finally writes about the importance of preparing for war well in advance.

On War is essential reading for anyone interested in the theory of War, and, as I have intimated, is also of great use to military commanders and planners. It can also be applied to other situations; there is a lucrative trade at the moment in books applying Clausewitz's theories to politics and business.

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