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01 June 2008

Crummy Old Wine Dept.: Bob's Iraq War poem / Phase 1 of McCain's 100-Year Victory in Iraq

Click for more pissed off.

Anti-war protest, Washington DC, 17 or 18 March 2007 -- marking the 4th anniversary of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor: 7 December 1941
USA declares war on Japan: 8 December 1941
Germany and Italy declare war on USA: 11 December 1941
Germany surrenders to Allies (VE Day): 7 May 1945
Japanese unconditional surrender (VJ Day): 15 August 1945
USA achieves victory against all enemies: 1322 days

USA invades Iraq: 20 March 2003
Today's date: 1 June 2008
USA combat in Iraq: 1461 days

* * * * * * *
originally posted 20 March 2007

old guy's anniversary poem

If this long after, I got my motorcycle back
and the hippie communes and the parties all weekend long came back
and really great music started coming over the radio again
that would be just dandy

If this long after, the drug dealer was packing
an acoustic guitar
and forced me to harmonize with him
while he played folksongs
that would be really cool

If this long after, the President had to vamoose on the helicopter
and go away forever
the Attorney General went to federal prison
and 20 assorted White House dickheads went to federal prison
that would be totally awesome

If this long after, LSD came back
and sitar music while I stumbled around
and Time got all stretchy like a rubber band
and insights into What It's All About
flashed like the brilliance of a thousand suns
inside my head
and I routinely forgot them all the next morning

If this long after, embroidered bellbottoms came back
and paisley came back
and tie-dye came back
and long long hair came back
and smiles all day long came back
and laughing all night long
until the sun came up came back
and bras went away

If this long after, the city was as much fun
as the country and the woods and the mountains and the seashore again
that would be rad phat bitchin

But it's this long after, and all that's back
is this war

4th anniversary of start of Iraq War
Copyright (c) 2007-2008 by Robert Merkin, All Rights Reserved


patfromch said...

Nice poetry there, someone should write music to that (iI will ever find out how Audacity works, who knows ?)

Actually germans associate the end of the war with May 8th, not the 7th, but let us not split hairs. One could also argue that the use of the Atom Bomb shortened the war in the pacific significantly and that the US never officialy has declared a war ever since.

in any case: This thing in Iraq is a monstrous desaster, chaos, disorder, fear, death and sorrow instead of a Marshall Plan and general good ideas for the region. Shame, really. Oh, what will Hitlary, O'Bandana or McCan do ?

One other thing that is very strange. Even in Europe the war has dissapeared from the radar of the media, i have not heard anything in ages. Strange, innit ?

(In other unrelated news taling about Germany: I am going there for 3 weeks)

Vleeptron Dude said...

You will have had no previous hint that I am vulnerable to Flattery, but ...... danke! :-)

Yes, dropping atomic bombs on enemy cities does seem to have a track record of shortening wars. Fortunately we have only 1 instance of this (and 2 bombs) to draw conclusions from.

Dropping conventional bombs on enemy cities -- this remains to this day a controversy. Does it destroy citizen moral on the ground and hasten the enemy's desire to surrender? Or does it stiffen the enemy's outrage and resolve to fight on? You can draw either conclusion or argue either side from World War 2.

The Iraq War began with a bombing campaign against Baghdad called "shock and awe," a vastly "improved" bombing technology over the Allied bombing of Europe and the American conventional bombing of Japan. The USA is still neck-deep in combat in Iraq.

I don't know what conclusion Europeans draw about the NATO bombing of Belgrade, but Belgrade "fulfilled our will" (in Clausewitz's definition of Krieg/War) fairly promptly. There is the possibility that the Milošević government never had very strong support among the people of Serbia and Yugoslavia for its policies, so the bombing campaign pushed people in the direction they were already headed before the bombing.

The European refugees at the center of the development of the atomic bomb were terrified the Germans would build an A-bomb first (they were intimately familiar with Heisenberg and his genius), and always assumed the bomb would be dropped on Germany. After the German surrender, many of these scientists were horrified to realize the bomb would now be dropped on Japan, and tried to petition Truman not to use the bomb on Japan. Oppenheimer and General Groves saw to it that the scientists' petition never got very far.

It took 15 or 20 years for Americans to develop a widespread political abhorrance of any future use of atomic weapons, through the lonely work of people like Nobel chemist Linus Pauling.

Truman's decision to drop the bombs on Japan in 1945 did not prevent Americans from re-electing him in 1948. (He knew nothing about the bomb when he took office on Roosevelt's death in April 1945.)

As you said, the bombs' shortening of the Pacific War was almost unversally viewed as a good and popular thing -- especially with recent harrowing memories of the Allied invasion of the Normandy beaches. After the ferociously resisted "island hopping" campaign in the Pacific, it was accepted as fact that invading the Home Islands of Japan would have been worse than the D-Day landings. Americans wanted unconditional victory, but their patience with how long it was taking and how many American lives were being lost was growing thin.

Despite the A-bomb decision, Truman remains a very popular president to most Americans -- trusted, respected, a devoted husband and father, an embodiment of American "heartland" values.

There's a more general lesson here. The A-bomb project was the largest and most expensive government project in our history. Politically, it's probably impossible in a democracy to spend so much and work so hard on a weapon that ultimately works, and then decide not to use it while a war is still going on.

When told about the Hiroshima bomb, Einstein reportedly said, "Weg."

Jim Olson said...

I'm not sure I can speak to military chaplaincy today; my understanding is that like much of the rest of the military, a very conservative Evangelical Christianity has taken hold within the ranks of enlisted and officers, as well as within the Chaplains corps itself. This comes I think from what has been happening in America itself for the last decade and a half; a confusion between American civil religion and patriotism, and a very conservative, even fundamentalist Christianity that has itself confused the separation between church and state, promoted by the conservative wing of the Republican can't be a good American and a good soldier or sailor unless you are also a good (tr. the right kiind) of Christian. Reports from some of my students who are military Chaplains now bear this out...young men and women, who volunteer for what they now know is very difficult service, or worse, are stop-lossed from leaving, go looking for answers and justification for what they are doing, and the military and sadly, the Chaplain corps, provides easy answers through an un-examined, un-reflective, un-questioned and un-questioning faith.

Not all Chaplains are like this, of course, but in theater, there is not a lot of time or interest in discussing the finer points of theology.

Myself, I have become a pacifist. Some of you might know that I wore a uniform for a bit, and still cannot really discuss what I was actually doing in the service, despite the public information available. I wasn't baking cookies, thats for sure. I went to do what I thought was the right thing at the time, and for the most part, it was. (Think back to the early days of Gulf War I). But, mistakes were made, and choices were made, and I am not sure that the Chaplains were the ones at the time I would have gone to first.

Truth is, now, I would not have been allowed to remain in the military for a variety of reasons. One of them, is that I began to question the validity of the orders we were being given. (I don't think that the Navy would have liked to discover in those days that one of its officer candidates also preferred to date men, but that is another discussion that the Chaplains were not helpful with...)

My colleagues who serve as Chaplains have a miserable job, without enough money or resources, in an activity that is fundamentally against what I think most of the worlds major religions think is right. Most flavors of Jew, Christian or Muslim would, should, and do condemn any sort of systemic nationalist violence one against another. Don't misunderstand what is currently going on though...this ongoing mess in Iraq is not just about the oil...there is an underlying and not so well hidden animus against the is the Crusades all over again, except the prize is not the Holy City, but the Holy Oil Wells.

Rambling thoughs, I will respond to more comments. Perhaps Bob will edit and let this response be a guest post of its own to Vleeptron, rather than a message response.

patfromch said...

Oh Chaplains ! Here is one at around 4:30

Propaganda works different nowdays, wonder if future historians will have as much fun with the propaganda of our days than we had with the one of the past decades