CIVILIZED WAR: A POEM

CIVILIZED WAR: A POEM  

We’ve not become so civilized as to end war:
But we’ve become too civilized to win war.
We decry the necessary brutality that war summons
taking pains to avert another Dresden,
While our enemies lop off heads;
and, laugh at our Geneva Convention vanity,
from urban redoubts behind civilian kryptonite.

They are not hypocrites like us,
who pretend that war has rules,
lest we not feel good about ourselves.
Perhaps it is that the wars we have
chosen to fight of late, are not of survival.
Perhaps they have been mechanisms
of greed to oil the economic wheels.

Perhaps we would recover the strength of will
to see war clearly, if the threat were existential.
Perhaps we would then deploy at war
the fullest, most brutal measure of our power
adhering only to the one honest rule of war,
should we be dragged into its madness –
that immoral slaughterhouse –
“Win by whatever device necessary.”

Knowing that afterwards, it is the victors
who will order rules, the vanquished
will be charged to have violated.

© 2014 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

WHO’S FIGHTING WHO?

Tracking who is fighting who in Syria and Iraq can become pretty confusing. President Obama has vowed to degrade and destroy the Islamic State (IS).  IS seeks to overthrow Syrian President Assad.  Other Syrian rebels also want to overthrow Assad but simultaneously fight IS.  The Nusra Front, an offshoot of al Qaeda, likewise fights against Assad, but seeks to attack the West as well.  Turkey fears IS but fears the Kurds obtaining a state more; so, it refuses to help the PKK (Kurdish separatists in Turkey labeled by the West as terrorists) fight IS or to offer help that would strengthen the Kurdish position.  Iran’s proxy Hezbollah and some of its own forces are fighting in Iraq against IS to protect Shiite interests and Holly sites.  Saudi Arabia has funded Sunni terrorists (even being linked to helping the 9/11 perpetrators) but wants no part of Sunni IS, but also does not want to help grow the Shia influence in the region.  All is all, the war, seems more like a drunken bar brawl, in which onlookers cannot easily decipher who is fighting who.

WHO’S FIGHTING WHO?
(To tune of, “Who’s Sorry Now?” (1923) by, Ted Snyder, Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby)

 

Who’s fighting who?
I wish I knew.
Seems like our friends
are our enemies too.

An Islamic State,
the Shia would hate.
Assad also hates them, that’s great!
Turkey’s afraid
Kurdistan will be made.
I wonder who’s fighting who?

Reprise

Our warplanes hunt
the Nusra Front,
friends of our rebel friends, to be blunt.
The Saudi’s play
all sides all the way.
I wonder who’s fighting who?

 

Lyric © 2014 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

WAR IN THE DESERT

WAR IN THE DESERT
(To the tune of, “A Horse with No Name,” by Dewey Bunnell,, recorded by America in 1971)

The first time in the desert
We were eager to save Kuwait
From the clutches of a madman
Cause they had oil in that state
So we rolled some tanks and we dropped some bombs
And we chased him back to Bagdad
Then Papa Bush said, “Let’s go home.
Cause we’ve done enough to that cad”

First we went to the desert in defense of Kuwait
Cause they had oil in that state
When we went there, there wasn’t debate
For Saddam was someone, we could all hate

But war begets only war (To: la, la, la, la, la, la)
Of that you can be sure
A fool once said there would never be more
So they wrote,  Mr. President” on his door

The second time in the desert
We were chasing the Taliban
Cause they’d let Osama bin Laden train there
And he was a nasty man
So the CIA rode horses around
Nation building for miles and miles
But as always, our soldiers left town
Now the Taliban are all smiles

So we went to the desert in Afghanistan
|To get rid of the Taliban
And to the mountains that border Iran
Cause that’s where 9/11 began

But war begets only war
Of that you can be sure
A fool once said there would never be more
So they wrote “Mr. President” on his door

The third time in the desert
We were looking for weapons they had
Cheney said those evil weapons were there
So we fought our way to Bagdad
But the son of Bush wasn’t up to par
Wasn’t quite up to his dad
And bravado outpaced wisdom there
Only Halliburton felt glad

So we went to the desert once more in Iraq
Searching for a weapons stack
But those weapons were a desert mirage
A ruse made up for camouflage.

And war begets only war
Of that you can be sure
A fool once said there would never be more
So they wrote, “Mr. President” on his door

And this time in the desert
We’re back on the attack
Bombing ISIS weapons we’d left
To resuscitate Iraq
But Iraq never was a state
Just lines drawn in the sand
By the allies after WW I
But the Arabs never bought their plan

So we’re back in the desert, back in sandy Iraq
Like moths drawn to a flame
Into the desert, we’ll always go back
How to stay out of war? We haven’t the knack

And war begets only war
Of that you can be sure
A fool once said there would never be more
So they wrote “Mr. President” on his door.

Lyric © 2014 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved