Monday, September 04, 2006

Iraq v. Vietnam

Some have said Iraq has become America’s new Vietnam.
I disagree, if only for the simple fact
that swamps and forests do not compare to the
sand and stone
the caves
the heat
the dust that permeates

the open air oven that is the
cradle of civilization:
this is not a “new” Vietnam


Never forget

This is a war that deserves its own name

Just as we remember the innocent civilians slaughtered in Vietnam,
the images are seared into our collective consciousness
a man grimacing
knowing his life has ended
as he is about to be executed by a single shot

we are desensitised to the images of death
as the video games and movies we consume like crack
leads us through unspeakable horrors
at the speed of the “sound byte”

leading us on a progression of death and dismemberment
accompanied by the latest dance mix
all downloadable
to be enjoyed at your leisure
at the click of your mouse

the slaughter of a village
or the burning of a monk
are mere statistics today
nameless nobody’s
remembered by who?
mourned by … the world

Can we ever forget the viciousness of these crimes?

The moment they are forgotten
the lessons,
the atrocities,
the crimes against humanity,
are lost …

the instant we allow our memories to fail
we loose the ability to rise above our past behaviours

As much as we would like to think
these things are all behind us
one look at the work done in Abu Ghraib and …
the truth is obvious:
nothing has changed

The times are different
weapons are more advanced
but the methods have only been refined

This is the nation that needs democracy …
this is the nation that needs rescuing from America
America: the land of opportunity
America: the home of the brave
the free, the proud,
the blissfully ignorant
… it’s easy to be brave when your victims are tied up
when they can’t fight back

it’s easy to be the bully
when you carry the big stick
an M16A4 makes you
king of the hill in most sandboxes
when everyone knows you have
friends with more bombs to drop on their heads
only a phone call away
you seem to have more of everything …

except, it would seem, the sense to stop
to stop the killing when it isn’t accomplishing
when it isn’t fulfilling your goals …

goals that have now been abandoned
or ignored
by visionless individuals
trying to lead their blind leader
out of the desert

Vietnam was a walk in the park
(these blind prophets might find)
an enemy that was motivated by ideology

but what motivates those who oppose America today?
why do they hate us? the question is asked … could it have
anything to do with the
killing of children?
of those with nothing to do
with war, oil, or WMD’s?

a question with a thousand answers,
none of which would be wrong
… but none are really things to go to war over

That is the real lesson
one that America never seems to learn

every year when they say
“never again” on Memorial Day
remembering the battles past
honouring the heroes of the glorious wars,
the brave souls who died
preserving the freedoms we all enjoy today

they always say, “never again”
never again should we take up
arms against another …

it is said every year,
even as the bombs are falling

let the lessons be learned

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