I first wrote this poem back in April of 2007 when it became clear that the mal-administration of Chancellor Dick Cheney and Deputy Dubya Bush had concocted a neologism for Vietnam-era "incremental escalation," or "mission creep," calling the misnomer: "The Surge." The supine American media avidly bought the duplicitous dodge and America then proceeded to suffer more dead soldiers in the coming year of "surging" than it had in any of the previous four years of not-surging. "Violence has decreased," the headlines continued to read.

So, with year five of Vietnam II in Iraq having passed and year six now beginning -- with the death toll among Iraqis unknown but horrific and American dead now hitting the 4,000 mark -- I thought I would update the poem. I'll probably have to do this again next year, although I don't yet know what new euphemism for galactic stupidity I'll have to substitute for the same old incremental escalation and mission creep. Anyway, the updated (2008) version of ...

Escalating Sacrifice
(in the Gaelic Bardic verse style)

"Slow-ramp," "peak," and "spike," and "surge "
Sell the urge to escalate
Great Success just needs more stuff
Not enough has worked to date

Keep repeating what has failed:
Plan derailed by what it lacks
Just deny the evidence
Talk in senseless Duckspeak quacks

If at first you don't succeed
Pay no heed to reasons why
Keep on doing what you did
Count on kidding those who die

Keep on getting what you've got
One more blot of reddish hue
Like the sunset-staining clouds,
Bloody shrouds, and corpses, too

Toss the dice in reckless glee
Play for free with others' stash
Then demand a subsidy
One last spree to burn some cash

Someone else will save the day
You just pray for time to stall
Later when we all have died
Your vain pride will seem so small

Unforced errors in a game
With no name or published rules
Made-up reasons for some wars
Work for whores and pimps and tools

Focus-group some soothing noise
Salesmen's toys to wrap and shrink
Alice plays the willing chump
Humpty Dumpty knows to think

Anything to drag the feet
Win the treat through tricks enhanced
Races into journeys morph
Backwards Orpheus has glanced

Who is master? Who is slave?
Which cold grave contains the price?
Scapegoat? Hostage? Martyr? Whom
Shall we groom and sacrifice?

Missions into quagmires creep
Fast asleep, the folks back home:
Trained to cringe at any slur;
Mumbling, “sir;” saluting Rome

Any ruse to dodge the fates
Dante’s gates inscribed with gloom
"Enter here! Abandon hope!"
Learn to cope with your own doom

Right around the corner you'll
Find a fool with time to kill
Turning one more corner 'round
Which he’s found another still

In a circle now we go
Never noticing the pain
"Leaders" at us clichés hurl
As we swirl on down the drain

Just how stupid do we look?
Why have lying gamblers scored?
How can they keep stealing while
We keep smiling, mute and bored?

"Just another century!"
Cheer the senile John McCains
Where our soldier plants his boot
There, the loot with us remains

Pity poor Prince Dubya’s load
Praise his goad to “Bring ‘em on!”
Consequences of his jest
Laid to rest beneath the lawn

Vast, the vacuum in his head
Brain cells dead from lack of use
Sheriff Cheney’s deputy
Shills his free-lunch-war abuse

Five long years without a plan
Still the man-boy says he wants
More, so he procrastinates
"No set dates," he stalls and taunts

Waiting to unload the mess,
Ever stressing things not done
Escalating years and cost:
Life has lost and Death has won

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2008