Syndrome's Revenge
(From The Triumph of Strife: an homage to Dante Alighieri and Percy Shelley)

See how the generals begin to quake
As history, ironic and perverse,
Reveals the rank careerism at stake:

As yes-men officers salute and nurse
The dreams of them not frightened by a whale:
A Starbuck’s Syndrome written in reverse;

Succeeding after decades to derail
The bitter train of Southeast Asian guides
Who warned that wanton willfulness will wail

If sent to fight for him who fear derides
A legion built for one who says, “I am,”
When asked who is the leader that decides

A force forecast to fail at Whack-and-Wham:
An army unafraid of Vietnam.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright 2006-2010