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



David Fromkin, in his book, “A Peace to End all Peace – The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and Creation of the Modern Middle Ease (1989), attributes much of the troubles in the Middle East today to the Sikes-Picot Agreements (incorporated into the Treaty of Serves) in which the European Allies, following WW I, carved up the Ottoman Empire into spheres of influence that later became nation states.  Basically, they drew lines in the sand without regard to the ethnic or religious composition of the populations. Fromkin’s book begins with a quotation that I paraphrase, “After fighting the War to End all Wars, the allies commenced making a Peace to End all Peace.”

(To tune of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” by Bob Crewe & Bob Gaudio, and made popular by Frankie Valli)
Sounded too good to be true
“Our troops will go marching through
Once we get rid of Saddam
Democracy will be grand
Shia and Sunni won’t hate
The Kurds won’t build their own state”
What Cheney said we would do
Still sounds too good to be true

The secret weapons we’d sought
Of mass destruction proved naught
One great deception so nice
And now we’re paying the price
National debt is a scare
Veterans needing more care
McCain: “there’s still more to do.”
Still Sounds too good to be true

We should have known that
We’d have the mess we’ve got
We should have known that
Thank Sikes and thank Picot
We should have known that
Iraq is lines in the sand

And time has shown that
You reap the wheat you sow
Yes time has shown that
So much we didn’t know
Now, time has shown that
We still don’t understand

And so we’ll work with Iran
Jump in the fire from the pan
Get in between man and God
Giving the Shiites the nod
The Saudi’s making a fuss
And both sides still hating us
Because we haven’t a clue
Still sounds too good to be true

Repeat chorus

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