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writing for godot

Waiting for Afghan McNamara

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Written by Philip Kraske   
Saturday, 10 June 2017 00:12

Remember what Robert McNamara said,
'bout 'Nam -- "we were wrong"* -- then a tear shed?
Nowadays I'm mulling the matter Afghan,
And wondering who of our suave poli-clan
Will someday step up and say, "Sorry, folks,"
And admit we've spent a few trill on a hoax.

Looking around at the mighty Bush lot, 
Cred and breast-beating don't stand out a lot, 
Not near so much as their airy complacence, 
And con-man's pride in our soldiers' obeisance. 
To a man they defend the Asian attacks, 
So don't expect Rummy to back on his tracks.

Such is the difference 'tween rulers now and then: 
The 90s produced mice, the 50s real men. 
From the Times on down they beat on Mac hard, 
Though clear you could see he'd deeply been scarred, 
Yet felt bound to warn the new generation, 
And make some amends to our angry nation.

The warning, however, hasn't made a big dent, 
The powers-that-be being on conquest bent, 
Ever-less picky 'bout the excuses they use, 
Whether Osama or Assads or Islamic crews. 
At least North Vietnam posed a true foe to beat, 
Not ten bearded guys doing GoPro and tweet.

But such is the measure of how things have shifted: 
A racist prez and the wealthy well-gifted, 
Gifted enough to buy out reporters, 
Who butter their bread and ignore retorters, 
Focusing rather on the neocon crew, 
Who gave us this mess and cry "Charge!" anew. 

*"We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why." - Robert McNamara, writing in his 1995 memoir, In Retrospect , on the management of the Vietnam War

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