New Year Poem - Another Year, Another War

Preamble for New Year 2012

I ended last year's preamble with 'the signs are that Iran may well be next'. Mercifully, there was no war in Iran in 2011, but who could fail to notice that the rhetoric has ramped up? There are evil self-serving pressure groups pushing for a strike or an invasion of Iran. This would be an even greater disaster than Iraq. 2011 was the year of the Arab Spring. Everyone knows that carnage continues in Syria and that Egypt is still a work in progress. But let's not forget Bahrain, where atrocities continue: killings, beatings, torture, forced 'confessions'.

Preamble for New Year 2011

I wish I could write a more upbeat preamble than last year's, but unfortunately, I can't. True, the war in Iraq might be winding down, but the reality of that is simply that for political reasons the 'allies' prefer to withdraw now, taking no responsibility for a million unnecessary deaths, the destruction of the infrastructure and the legacy of enforced regression to tribalism and anarchy (which was, of course, one of the unspoken war aims; in this at least, they can claim success). Meanwhile, Afghanistan grinds on, and the signs are that Iran may well be next.

Preamble for New Year 2010

I wrote this poem on Al Mamzar beach in Dubai, while watching the American gunboats and aircraft carriers sailing up the Arabian Gulf in preparation for the 'shock & awe' assault that was to mark the start of the war in Iraq. The invasion began on March 20, 2003. Nearly seven years later the war continues, while the war in Afghanistan ramps ever upwards.

There is something especially sickening about watching the slow, deliberate and entirely cynical build up to a foul act of international aggression. Some people like to believe that wars flare up quickly. They don't. Evil minds plan for months, even years, how best to amass forces. How best to murder, maim and destroy for their own ends. And how best to persuade the gullible that their attrocities are good and necessary.

as the widow contemplates her loss
as the widow contemplates her loss

Year End Ballade

Make the best of hogmanay -
it's never easy, but we try.
Should we drink the night away
or count the seconds as they fly
towards the bells that signify
the moment we've been waiting for
when we can raise the age-old cry -
another year, another war.

Send your sons into the fray.
No need to worry. We apply
elastic combat rules that say
only civilians have to die.
Geneva's dead and buried. Why
pretend to love the rule of law?
The cynic heart can justify
another year, another war.

Refugees are boring. They
fade from the papers by and by.
If thousands die along the way
we never asked the fools to fly.
Our bombs are clean, our alibi
is ignorance, our metaphor
for death is damage; so, we buy
another year, another war.

Girls and boys, come out to ply
the evil trade we so abhor.
Our actions give our words the lie -
another year, another war.

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Comments 24 comments

Iðunn 9 years ago

marvelous political statement, marvelous poem, a ballade even.  bravo!

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 9 years ago

You're my kind of poet.

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 9 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Thank you! I wrote this one a couple of years ago, sitting on a beach in the Gulf, watching the warships sail up towards Kuwait in preparation for the 'shock & awe' assault on Iraq. We all knew this was the stupidest thing the US had done for years, but there was nothing to do but watch, and dread. And of course, no good came out of it, and none will.

Iðunn 9 years ago

Yeah, at that time even in the media pre-build up before Bush invaded Iraq, most of us (americans) knew it was a horrible and tragic error and tried to say something. Our country is as fascist as any we are trying to export "democracy" to. It's a sad state of affairs and I hope the world realizes most Americans are as appalled as people in other countries what that thing that bought the White House through fraudulant voting machines has done in our name.

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 9 years ago from Sydney

Great poem. One of the reasons Australia has just changed governments is that the previous administration was so pro-Bush (and therefore pro-Iraq war).

Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 9 years ago from Chennai

A powerful poem, Dave, and thanks for giving us the background, too.

Iðunn, in India, many of us know that all Americans are not pro-Bush. Though we didn't expect him to be re-elected!

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 9 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Marisa & Kenny - thanks for the read :)

Here in the Gulf too, most realise that the present US administration is maverick, to say the least. But it does strain relationships somewhat.

Iðunn 9 years ago

Kenny, I didn't either.  I was shocked silly.  And I voted against him twice.  Sadly I'm in Texas which is a very Republican state so my vote was ineffectual.

I worry because the still have the voting machine thing going.  I don't know if you knew this, but one county in Florida last election computed negative 70,000 votes for Kerry.  If that doesn't give you a hint, I don't know what will.

The positive thing this upcoming is that the Republican party is fairly fractured this year by a series of domestic scandals and corruption etc.  The GOP is pushing Giuliani but he can't get the CFRR (christian fundamenalist religious right) because he's pro-abortion.  Those people are liking Huckabee who actually seems like a nice fellow but who comes off as an ineffectual nutcase. Ron Paul seems popular but he won't get the nomination and moreso, if he runs independent he further splits the Republican vote.  Ron Paul, my opinion, would damage our economy even more it has to be, if elected.  He's kind of a numbnutz on macroeconomics.

Marissa, yes I saw Howard go out and I was quite pleased. 

Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 9 years ago from Chennai

Thanks for the extra, Iðunn.

Iðunn 9 years ago

I did mention in my bio I'm a newzhound. :o

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 9 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

What some folk have to remember is that democrat/republican politics is simply parochial. OK, it's a big parish, the US, but the rest of the world couldn't care less. We care only about your foreign policy, in how it impinges on us. We don't object to Bush being republican, if that lights his fire. We just wish he would leave us all alone, as he's patently unintelligent and unworthy to hold high office.

Iðunn 9 years ago

I agree he's unintelligent and unworthy and also that I wish he had left the rest of the world alone rather than use his office to manipulate oil prices for stock profit. It's our children he's killing too who enlisted to fight JUST wars as defense rather than to be used as fodder for war profiteering, not just innocent iraqis.

Like many other countries who have recently booted their right-wing warmongers, that is what the left is trying to do here too. Wish us luck.

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 9 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Left & right mean very little. Neither has a monopoly on honesty; neither is free of corruption. L&R are just labels. Blair went straight in with Bush, yet he led a party (Labour) that is ostensibly leftist. In fact it is supposedly to the left of Liberal, in UK. While in US, Liberal is taken to mean Communist. Party politics is infantile in its lack of reason, and barely worth the attention of thinking people.

Iðunn 9 years ago

I can't argue with that so I won't. :|

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

and the war continues in Afghanistan Dave, another year again in 2010,

nice poem Dave, maybe you are preparing for your coming home to Scottland, write a poem about Snow again and Scottland and your coming home.

TC, Maita

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Maita - let's see how the muse takes me when I get home :) Thanks for all these visits!

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 7 years ago from Australia

I like this one Paraglider! It takes me back to one of my favorite world war one poems "Dulce Et Decorum Est", all about the harsh realities of war challenging the old lie that it is "sweet and fitting to die for your country" - there's nothing sweet about it.

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Marco - yes, WW1 changed everything, because for he first time the public began to hear from the front line writers and not only from the laureates. Thanks for the read :)

JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 7 years ago from Midwest

Very nice poem and sentiment for 2010. We need to be so sick of the wars so as not to have them. Or at least have that as our goal, always.

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

JBeadle - I'll second that. Have a great New Year!

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

Yes indeed! A wonderful poem. So sad that the cynical, cruel and ultimately ridiculous propaganda for war continues, almost unabated. I am sick of wars but don't feel too hopeful that many share my nausea.

Love and peace


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Tony - I think lots of people share the revulsion, but just not the people who stand to profit from them. Keep pegging away!

Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 6 years ago from New York

I thouht this New Year's Eve would be a good time to visit this hub again. Q.

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Thanks Q - Maybe next year I'll be able to write a more optimistic preamble...

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