The Tunnel at the End of the Light

See the light at the end of the tunnel
Look at all of the progress we've made
So then why, if we've made so much headway,
Do our bright hopes continue to fade?

See the light at the end of the tunnel
See the end of the grief and the pain
So then why, when we take one step forward,
Do we take two steps backwards again?

See the light at the end of the tunnel
See the end of the shadow and doubt
Sure was easy to find our way in here
So then why can't we find our way out?

"Stay the course," says the fool in the White House
"See how much like a captain I look!
Oh, that's right, I just pose in a flight suit
And I've only seen ships in a book."

"None the less, I will steer the ship wisely.
See how manly and brave I appear.
If the bad guys would only stop winning
I could win some myself, never fear."

"Last night I heard voices from Heaven
Saying `Smite them!' so smite them I did.
But those people with homes in Fallujah
Spoiled my plans when they ran off and hid."

"I have knowledge of Good and of Evil
And can tell them apart if I must.
Just because I've not done so means nothing.
So you'll just have to take me on trust.

"Get a life and start smirking like I do.
Why so sulky, and solemn, and sad?
Get some money like I've got behind me
And you'll never say `Sorry, my bad!"'

We must stop this analogy bullshit!
`Cause us new guys got knowledge to burn.
Why should we look at former disasters
And suppose we've got something to learn?

Vietnam and Iraq look so different
As any deep thinker can see
Why, Iraq begins with the letter "I;"
Vietnam, with the letter "V."

And these differences go even deeper
As any sage pundit will say.
Vietnam has its jungles so shiny and green
And Iraq has it deserts of gray.

And the ex-pats who've hijacked the nation
Have such different names don't you see?
In Vietnam we had us a Ngo Dinh Diem
In Iraq, it's Ahmed Chalabi.

And the Asians don't look like the Arabs,
And the Buddhists don't look like Imams.
Yet the loathsome invader looks strangely the same
Flying over and dropping his bombs.

And the generals keep winning battles
Though the war keeps on slipping away
Yet it seems that in spite of their training and rank
They still can't tell nighttime from day.

So the soldiers they keep getting slaughtered
In the fights that we always have won
But like Pyrrhus once said as he tallied a win:
"If we do this again, we're undone!"

If you keep doing what you've been doing
You will keep getting what you have got.
But let's not let intelligence get in the way
When we're so busy talking rot.

If we shoot our own selves in the head, so they say,
Blood will splatter all over the floor;
But we'd rather keep shooting ourselves in the face
Than exit the open door.

Like the man who consulted his doctor
Having every remedy tried;
Saying, "Doctor, it hurts when I do this."
"Then, don't do that," the doctor replied.

For to stop acting dumb would not wash and not wear
And would leave our admirers bereft.
All our friends would lose faith, so the story line goes,
If we got smart and simply left.

Yes, you may think it strange that our allies would feel
Such respect for the clown of our age.
And would much rather trust to a stupid fool
Than a wise and prudent sage.

The analysis sure can get complex
With excuses so long and so lame.
So how come when we find so much difference
The result keeps on looking the same?

See the light at the end of the tunnel.
See the Brave New World under the gun.
Vietnam taught us so many lessons.
Let's not learn them, though. Why spoil the fun?

But the boy in the White House keeps thumping his chest
Trying so hard to look fierce and wild,
While a war-weary world goes on shaking its head
At the spoiled and petulant child.

For this war stuff has gotten real ugly
When it started as so much fun!
What began as a romp in Grenada
Has turned into cut and run.

You can easily make a fire bigger;
But to make one grow smaller -- not so!
When you feel the flames lighting the hairs on your head
Then it's past time to pack up and go.

But the tunnel and darkness keep calling
Who can sail past that siren song?
When America heads for a hole in the ground
Why do others not just go along?

See the light at the end of the tunnel
Hear the end of the bitter refrain.
Let's just hope that the bright light approaching
Doesn't herald an oncoming train.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2005