Another Odious Occupation Implodes

This recent January marks the date
When I came home some fifty years ago
From Vietnam to realize my fate:
Forever after I would truly know
How shallow, base, and stupid were the men
And women of my government, how prone
To leap with vain alacrity each time
The siren silhouette of Folly shone,
Its dim outline inviting once again
A blunder? No, much worse: a venal crime.

Enraptured by possession of the keys
To power and the wealth that from it grows
Their Midas minds set out to grasp and seize
Each gainful opportunity that flows
And ebbs with time and tides. Let none pass by
Without some speculator selling short,
Or politician groveling for bribes,
Or lobbyist rewriting laws for sport
Deciding who will live while others die
In wars against the world’s least favored tribes.

Possessed of weaponry and willing hands
To wield it on command, their hubris grows.
Upon benighted, backward, peasant lands
The leaders of the U. S. A. propose
To bomb obedience into the awed
And shocked survivors of explosive love
Administered by lethal robot drones
That target heat and movement from above.
Back home, the body counts our rubes applaud
Whom we have spared the shrieks and cries and moans.

And now once more our vanquished legions leave
In dark of night so none can photograph
Their vanishing: a transient reprieve;
A mound of trash their tawdry epitaph.
Ten years ago, Obama also claimed
To have withdrawn our forces from Iraq,
As Biden promises the Taliban.
Yet in Iraq our troops have wandered back
To pad the totals of the killed and maimed.
A tale not lost upon Afghanistan?

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2021