Ky and Thieu - South Vietnamese heads of government during the Vietnam War. Both 'deserted' in 1975 - 'pockets lined with gold'.
(modified from Internet photos)
Most soldiers at some stage question the reasons for war, trying to come to terms with their personal involvement. They do this through a combination of introspection, confusion, rejection or justification. The hackneyed expression of ‘God's on Our Side!’ wears a little thin when one considers that both sides usually adopt that slogan in most wars. Perhaps we need to look deeper into our motives. Yet, pessimistically (and realistically) if the soldier in this poem is correct, then there seems little hope for peaceful solutions to many of the major world problems that confront us.
♪♪ This confusion ... I’m feel-ing ... , these words are hard to ignore;
If God’s on our side ... then ... , can’t he please ... stop ... this ... war? ♪♪ - Manfred Mann from the song If God’s On Our Side (modified), 1968.
♪♪ Grandpa had ... to go to war ... it was a war to end all wars!
Dad went off ... to do his bit ... but we had to go once more!
You really got no say in it ... you gotta fight ... and that’s the law!
You gotta go and be a .... HE-RO!
They made a law ... you had to go and fight! One more crazy war!
Com-puls-ory ... HER-OES!
Just tryin’ to make it home! …
They’re dying to make it home! ♪♪
- from the song Compulsory Heroes, (2002), by the band ‘1927 ’.
Greed of Mankind
Greed of Mankind
With a beautiful girl,
'Twas another world,
Strolling on some childhood beach;
Perhaps prone on white sands,
Or just holding hands,
Dreaming dreams, way out of reach.
A mere instant in time,
A flash in my mind,
Cruising Life's innocent first stage;
Lost youth I'm regretting,
In this primeval setting,
Abruptly ending, now as I age.
An ambush again,
And again falls the rain
Wet leaves and mud form my bed;
A dirty job to be done,
Lining up sights on my gun
Aimed at a track, just up ahead.
Reasons offered unclear,
As to why I am here,
Confusion, with the truth in disguise;
Both sides pushing their cause,
Yet each with their flaws,
So who's telling most of the lies?
Yet we're all just the same,
We live Life like a game,
Yet play it as if each never ends;
Slamming alternative doors,
We wage and fight wars,
Even declare it, on those once our friends.
Many questions remain,
Answers hard to explain,
Just who is right, or who's in the wrong?
Another query I raise,
Since a sword cuts both ways,
Is: "Why can't Mankind, just get along?"
Each generation I suppose,
New armies, new clothes,
Resorts to the battlefield, to fight;
Our grandfathers before,
Anzacs splashing ashore,
Perceived vague wrongs, that soon’d be right.
Off to Flanders soon after,
Rotting bodies and eternal stench;
Spent years in the mud,
Amongst gore, death and blood,
Home ’twas a grave, in some earthen trench.
Not long to re-enter,
This cycle’s epicentre,
Their sons fought Japan and the ‘Hun’;
Yet peace promised, as before,
At the close of that war,
Proved an illusion, a prize never won.
Today’s parade has a goal,
Just the same as the old,
Though some now forced, here, in our turn;
Handicapped by restriction,
To stop phantoms of fiction,
When will we ever take notice and learn?
Confusing wants with our needs,
Claiming ‘Right’, in each righteous cause;
To ourselves we have lied,
Having God on our side,
In all of our faultless, justified wars.
And we can’t exit this maze,
See through this haze,
As mere mortals, we behave as if blind;
’Tis time to open our eyes,
Realise blame clearly lies,
Embedded deep in the greed of Mankind.