Friday, January 12, 2007

Sonnet: The Preppie's Burden; More on Iraq

The Preppie’s Burden

Nowadays it’s hard to know anything at all.
Experts chatter on the radio
(Though slightly more succinct on video)
About the war, America and withdrawal.
What should we think? The Mideast is a call
To sacrifice our sons for liberty?
To give the region new stability?
We need more troops to dance a dying fall?
The President’s sending in six new brigades.
Many will die from bombs, shrapnel and guns.
Many more will live as amputees.
Generals generally earn their brocade.
Not so for their commander and his chums
Who think to rule millions of Iraqis.

I went to pick up a desk for Kathleen today, from an old barn at a bed and breakfast. The trip took over three hours and my poor back feels it. I’m hoping her having a desk will clear the floor of knitting bags, yarn bags, bags of recipes, and the small lamp frosted with thick stacks of paper.

The thought of a force of 160,000 stabilizing such a sectarian nightmare as Iraq beggars credulity. Imagine 160,000 New Yorkers invading California and you get the picture. LA would swallow them up. Gangs would be competing over territory and how many New Yorkers they could snuff. Respectable folks would be so enraged they would join with the gangs against the enemy. And the enemy would be overwhelmed by sheer force of numbers. And don't think Angelenos differ much from Southerners in their love of guns.

It’s plain silly. Silly, silly, silly. Why McCain endorses "the surge of troops" is beyond me, but this certainly can’t help his election chances, which argues he is a man of principle. But principle in the name of illogic can only be admired for its stubbornness. And only stubbornness can keep someone convinced that an additional 21,000 troops will make a difference in a country of 30 million.

It's time for someone to say, "We failed, we give up, good-bye." This is not cowardice but wisdom. We have already lost.

Have a good weekend,



  1. :(

    'tis merely the same old story of american intervention.

    They've never quite got it right have they...

    All those lives wasted, and all that money.
    The people could have been used more productively doing 'good' in america, and the money, well, the list of improvements that could have aided is immense.

    I pity america at the moment, it looks like a big spoilt child spitting it's dummy and smashing it's toys...

    sorry, I was avoiding making comment on these things, and have no real place in the world to say anything about america, as i'm not american.

  2. Oh, I think everyone has a right to criticize America nowadays. Pity that 2/3 of our population want the troops back now while the politicians dither about global balances and the meaning of a vacuum of power. The Mideast must go through throes with or without us to bring itself into the 21st century from feudal times.

    And for the record, I consider this poem verse, not poetry. Too polemic and the end rhyme is awful.

  3. Anonymous1:23 PM PST

    Our total yearly grain, fruit, and vegetable harvest amounts to about $60 billion. We have now spent six years of harvest in Iraq, and have committed more. Considering there were no WMDs and no connection to Al Qaida, how much
    good will could such a huge contribution to the worlds marginalized people have created and how much would it undercut the worlds terrorist recruiters.
    It's true insanity.

  4. Anonymous1:27 PM PST

    Sorry C.E.,
    My rage somerimes gets the better of me.

  5. Your rage is logic to me. But better instruction than gifts of food; the food only sustains for a brief period and we don't want dependence but independence. You know, "Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime." Creating a middle class is the central problem in most subsistent countries, and as long as their governments (as in Africa) hoard gifts from the people and make profit on them, direct gifts, long-term, yield nothing. That's not to say we don't help those starving from war or climate change, as in the sinkhole of Darfur.

  6. If you can find them, go to a library and read similar tales of woe from 1940s American journals. Although the loss and slaughter was much higher, almost mind boggling compared to now.

    My Poetry Thursday uses a a dialect style, then I add my own at the end.

  7. That era is in now way comparable to ours. Back then we wer fighting one of the few righteous wars in the world's history, losing 500,000 men. But except for fringe isolationists, most supported the war as necessary, especially after Pearl Harbor, even though fewer died there than on 9/11. But at least then the enemy was identifiable and had an identifiable geographical base. Now we are chasing ghosts.

  8. The surge in troops is meaningless to all and everyone except as a message to the American people. A declaration of 'ruling class' power. A message to America, 'American elections are meaningless'. That's its only purpose.

    A "Fuck You" America from its gerrymander, patrician, political overlords. A "It's GOOD to be KING" message to all the grandmas without medical insurance and all the poor kids without libraries or adequate lunches at school.

    Our fathers are rolling in their urns. Our sons are looking for areas in the world that truly are democratic. You know, places with a legal right to habeas corpus? Sadly, that's not America anymore. Is it?



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