Another Commander-in-Brief

The Sacred Symbol Soldiers (or, in other words: "The Troops")
Provide a prophylaxis that prevents
The slightest doubt about our military nincompoops
Who decorate themselves with vain pretense
On cue, at each new bungle, after which they mumble: "Oops!"
(Just don't touch their career entitlements.)

Another Brief Commander has intruded on the scene
To chiefly "toe the line" (by custom, red)
Announcing his addiction to the vicious and obscene
Which always seems to end with millions dead.
Unfortunate, perhaps, but not intentionally mean
(Just don't cut the "war" budget — his real dread.)

His generals, he claims, can do whatever they decide
About the number of enlisted men
That they'll get killed or wounded to assuage their punctured pride
At having lost another war — again —
To barely armed "insurgents" who know how to wait and hide
(Until the GI comes along, and then ...)

So after sixteen years of kicking cans down dreary roads
With each year looking like the one before
That old Vietnam Syndrome with its bitter, heavy loads
Of irony explains the present score:
The ever-promised "strategy" predictably implodes
(Then come excuses and demands for more ...)

Hyperbole so hyperbolic that it hurts the ear.
Superlatives so super that they stink.
And repetition so repetitive that now we fear
The paper paid-off pundits stain with ink.
Exaggeration so erratic that no thing seems clear
(The PURPOSE, after all: No way to think.)

Once more the cunning candidate will preach of Peace on Earth
And voters will make clear their wishes plain:
To have an end to fighting for the few who from their birth
Have seen no war from which they couldn't gain.
In office and saluting, though, "Commander" sees no dearth
Of "reasons" to spill blood, inflicting pain.

So 'round and 'round and 'round and 'round and 'round and 'round it goes:
The Carousel of Cruelty revolves,
As each new Brief Commander lifts his chin and strikes a pose,
Producing problems no one ever solves,
While Time and Tide continue in their ceaseless ebbs and flows
Till Life itself surrenders and dissolves.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2018