Johnson and Menzies 1966 The Wall 1990 Bush and Howard 2002
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Peace never ’twas static,
With Hitler’s clone, a fanatic,
Saddam Hussein in power, in lieu;
A dreadful foreboding,
Old treaties corroding,
It appeared once again ‘déjà vu’.
Rumbling thunder ’twas heard,
His claims quite absurd,
A tyrant from a far-distant shore;
A man full of hate,
Iraq invaded Kuwait;
Once again it was leading to war.
We’d lent him a hand,
Against the Ayatollah’s Iran,
The CIA had sent arms and supplies;
’Twas another ‘just cause’,
In an excuse to fight wars,
Truth blurred by all of the lies.
This ‘Butcher of Baghdad’,
Having clearly gone mad,
Wanted control of all oil, worldwide;
Concern for hip-pockets,
We sent men, guns and rockets,
God again would be there on our side.
Many countries combined,
As the U.N. aligned,
Whilst Iraq’s allies stayed neutral instead;
Though resolve went astray,
Politics again in the way,
The Gulf War, as planned, went ahead.
Oil wells set ablaze,
In ‘Desert Storm’s’ final phase,
Escalation was then a real threat;
A country damaged, war-torn,
U.N. troops withdrawn,
A decision we’d all later regret.
World leaders on screen,
(What actors they’d been!)
Urged Iraqis to rise up in revolt;
Naïve, they complied,
Yet freedom denied,
The advance suddenly screeched to a halt.
On that former occasion,
After the initial invasion,
Allies retreated for reasons unknown;
On the eve of success,
Troops pulled back by the West,
Leaving the tyrant ‘embedded’ on his throne.
A police state re-imposed,
Borders sealed tighter, then closed,
Kurds slaughtered, opponents vanished, no trace;
Under Saddam’s tight reign,
Terror ruled once again,
And Iraqis punished by sanctions in place.
Destroyed or removed?
Non-existent? ... Or maybe concealed?
As sample collectors,
The U.N’s team of inspectors,
Expelled and yet none were revealed.
A decade had rolled by,
Then a second re-try,
The Allies now numbered just a few;
Protests swelling worldwide,
‘Thinkers’ couldn’t abide,
Reasons for invasion that didn’t ring true.
An attack on the West,
Targeting mainly the U.S.,
Twin towers totally destroyed;
Al-Qu’eda to blame,
Vague links to Saddam Hussein,
A ‘Coalition of the Willing’ deployed.
So we bombarded Baghdad,
And searched for phantoms it had,
Capable of mass destruction;
We levelled towns like that one,
And claim that we’d won,
And now pay for their re-construction.
As the body-count rose,
Civilian deaths now no-one knows,
A quagmire again it would seem;
Those ‘Stars and Bars’ now in rags,
As ‘boys’ came home, draped in flags,
Totally shattering the American Dream.
And as good friends from Down Under,
Full support ‘Right’? ... Or a blunder?
In war-games, they’re eager to play!
Yet, when back in their prime,
As three ‘Young Liberals’ that time,
All ‘shirked’ and didn’t go ‘all the way’.
Guerrillas termed ‘terrorists’,
Replace those called ‘communists’,
As the rhetoric continues to spew;
“Evil must be contained!”
By the West, who’s ordained,
‘Bring it on!’, once again, ‘déjà vu’ !
Déjà Vu is a French expression which literally means ‘already seen’. It is that feeling one gets when an event generates a sensation that that event has already been experienced sometime previously.
At the time of writing this particular poem (2004), one year has elapsed since the war in Iraq commenced. As the death toll rises and the new tactic of kidnapping foreign civilian aid workers is increasingly employed, Vietnam looms ominously clear in the minds of those who experienced that horror. Despite the popular rejection (in some quarters) of any link, there are nevertheless striking similarities. A hated western power and its allies have been stalemated in subjecting the insurgents (guerrillas) who fight without uniforms, using the city slums as their equivalent jungle hide, employing mines as an effective psychological tool.
Language and cultural ignorance, mixed with religious dogmatism, shed little light in the search for a solution in both Iraq and Afghanistan. More worrying was the fact that the allies had adopted no clear strategy for success or exit, the absence of which were regarded as key factors in the quagmire and ultimate failure in Vietnam.
♪♪ Day by day ... I hear their voices risin’ …
It started with a whisper ... like it did ... before.
Day by day ... we count the dead and dyin’ …
Shiftin’ bodies home ... whilst the networks all keep score!
Did ya hear them talk about it ... on the radio?
Could your eyes believe the writing ... on The Wall?
Did that voice inside you say? …
I’ve heard it all ... before !’
It’s like ‘Déjà vu’ ... all over again! ♪♪
- from the song Déjà Vu (All Over Again) by John Fogerty, 2006.
“In his office at the State Department Richard Armitage looked over the data [on Iraq].
He felt he had already seen this ‘movie’ during his three tours of Vietnam.
He didn’t like the ending!”
- Bob Woodward in State of Denial, 2006.