Minds Still Asleep
As the curtain falls on this stage,
A tragic play, another time,
Let’s turn now to those actors,
‘Boys’ cut down in their prime!
Lives snuffed out, by whose hands?
‘Old men’ skimmed the cream of our youth!
Light up our minds’ darkened corners!
Let’s come to terms with the truth!
Glance at each of those faces,
Innocent young men staring back;
Envisage members of families,
Lost in grief, wearing black!
Australian blood that was spilt,
About 500 of these,
And millions of others,
Of course mostly, Vietnamese.
Concerning those ‘hawkish’ old men;
Hidden agendas disguised,
By those in power back then.
Most wars waged or declared,
By nations who throw in their lot,
When economies were failing,
Coincidence? Or what?
J.F.K., Johnson or Nixon?
Menzies, McMahon, Harold Holt?
Cabot Lodge, Gorton, McNamara?
Peacock or Fraser? ... Whose fault?
Too many advisers, just ‘fat cats’,
To list here, share the blame;
Are their dreams ever haunted?
Do their heads hang down in shame?
Though those young faces, mere memories,
With each year never age;
Unlike those guilty still living,
Some still strut the world’s stage.
Past deeds unveiled by time,
Yet, each can’t admit their mistake;
Denial eases their conscience,
In minds of old men not awake.
With the passage of years,
Eternal souls they can’t save;
Some seek peace with their Maker,
Each on their way to their grave.
Well I hope when they go,
They’ll tell the truth, not ignore,
And explain to these faces,
What their sacrifice was all for.
Ancients spewed out their rhetoric,
In Rome’s forum, long long before;
Their clones still scan for targets,
Offer vague excuses for war.
‘Pre-emptive strikes’ now to counter,
An ‘axis of evil’ we’re told,
By ‘chicken-hawks’ self-injected,
With testosterone now they’re old.
And what of us here, back at home,
Just what part did we play?
Who turned their backs on these ‘boys’?
Or did silence make it O.K.?
Perhaps we avoided any role?
Then that too’s a disgrace!
In refusing to take any part,
Did someone else fill our place?
And what efforts with our vote?
Perhaps employed, to stop that war?
Or did we squander our chances,
And elect the ‘hawks’ in once more?
Some now write down their memoirs,
Futile attempts to atone,
And claim it was all a mistake,
Squeezing more blood from the stone.
So what now is our future?
Will it ever happen again?
Will more young faces soon haunt us,
Because their death was in vain?
Let's pray this new generation,
Let their memories run long and deep,
And never follow in the footsteps,
Of those with minds still asleep.
Members of 5RAR ('The Tigers') - Deaths in Vietnam
I guess the Iraqi War proved that we voters, who hold the power, have short memories!
It’s happened again … ‘déjà vu’!
♪♪ Yes, it seems as though fortune ... has smiled upon me;
But now it’s too late ... I’m beginning to see,
I’ve spent my life searching ... but no peace I find …
And it’s left me with no time ... to wake up my mind. ♪♪
- The Uglys from the song Wake Up My Mind, 1968.
“To the soldier, the civilian is the man who employed him to kill, who includes the guilt of murder in the pay envelope and escapes responsibility!”
- Graham Greene in The Quiet American, 1955.
Old 'Hawks' New 'Hawks'
Johnson embellished his WW2 Service to gain access into the U.S. Senate ; Bush avoided military service by joining the National Guard; Howard failed to volunteer for military service though he and his Party endorsed it. All four sanctioned military service for thousands of other young men.
Minds Still Asleep