Thursday, June 19, 2014

Call to Duty

image borrowed from bing

Call to Duty

“War does not determine who is right,
only who is left.”--Bertrand Russell.

When your Country calls,
you kiss your loved ones farewell,
train hard to handle weapons efficiently,
deploy to a foreign land
& kill the fucking enemy--
as directed. 

Our grandfathers took part
                 in Operation Overlord,
                             just as many of us were being born
in 1944;                most of them departed from Portsmouth,
England, & took part in the largest amphibious invasion in history,
                             hitting the bloody beaches of
Juno, Gold, Omaha, Utah, & Sword.
Over a million of our grandfathers did not come home.

When your Country calls,
you kiss your loved ones farewell,
train hard to handle weapons efficiently,
deploy to a foreign land,
& kill the fucking enemy--
as directed.

In 1951 our uncles took part
                              in the Korean War (Conflict),
                                        part of the aftermath of WWII,
                                        when the Japanese no longer controlled
the country, & the Soviet Union occupied the north,
                              above the 38th parallel,
                                         where Communism thrived like a pandemic.
Many of our uncles came in amphibiously at Inchon,
and pushed back the North Korean Army 
                              to above the Yalu river,
                              with their backs to the Chinese border--
until hundreds of thousands of fresh Chinese troops,
outfitted by the Soviet Union,
                              flooded into Korea, pushing our uncles
into a stalemate that lasted several more years.
33,686 uncles did not come home. 

When your Country calls,
you kiss your loved ones farewell,
train hard to handle weapons efficiently,
deploy to a foreign land,
& kill the fucking enemy--
as directed.

Coincidently in 1950,
                    the turmoil in French Indochina,
required us to send in military advisors, 
                    & of course in 1964, without
JFK to prevent it, many of us were pulled out of college,
or our civilian jobs, & sent to the delta, jungles, & tiger pits
as the Viet Nam War raged on for 9 more years.
                    In 1968 we were caught off guard
by the Tet Offensive, & it became obvious,
even to the hawk knuckleheads,
                    that the war was beyond any dreams of victory, so
we pulled out with our tail between our legs in 1975.
58,300 of us did not come home. 

When your Country calls,
you kiss your loved ones farewell,
train hard to handle weapons efficiently,
deploy to foreign lands,
& kill the fucking enemy--
as directed.

In 2003 the Bush Administration,
                   through lies & deception,
pushed us into the Iraq War, 
                   as many of our sons became
part of the American-led Coalition Forces
                   who conducted a surprise military invasion of Iraq
without declaring War. We fought in that sand-flea infested shit hole
for 9 years--until Obama, fulfilling his campaign promise,
pulled us out.
                   4,487 of our sons did not come home.

Even earlier, in 2001, after 9/11,
                    many of our nephews were sent
to Afghanistan in pursuit of Bin Laden,
                   even though as we concentrated our forces
in Iraq, we had less soldiers there than NYC had policemen.
13 years later,
                  we are still there, and already
2,313 of our nephews did not come home.

Today, this minute,
            President Obama is considering sending
the cream of our fighting men,
            Delta Force, Seals, Army Rangers, & Green Berets,
BACK INTO that camel shit-smeared quagmire
in Iraq, to mediate between
            the Sunni & Shea factions,
& to advise them how to face down
the blood-thirsty Isis fighters;
how many of these boys & men
will never come home again?

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets MTB

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


rumoursofrhyme said...

Powerful, passionate writing, Glenn - and your refrain serves to keep pulling your readers back to the central point that you want make.

Brian Miller said...

it is sad the fodder we create of our sons (& daughters)...i have the greatest respect for those that place of many that stay home secure...i am not for tossing them away lightly though...perhaps our leaders should be forced to lead from the front...

Victoria said...

Another great forage into a tragic part of our history. The refrain works so well. Although I support our vets, I'm so inclined to want to adapt isolationist policies--but I suppose that's a pipedream in this world of global economy and terrorism.

Mary said...

I appreciated the history you shared, Glenn. So many soldiers in so many wars didn't come home. I don't know what the answer is to the present Iraq situation, but somehow I don't think it is sending in our troops. It seems a futile thing to try to bring a peaceful solution to people who (pessimistically) will never get along.

Claudia said...

what bri says is interesting - probably our leaders should be forced to lead from the front - many good leaders and kings did - and they knew about the price better than someone who just pushed buttons and made decisions on a round table... it's sad how those war stories repeat and repeat and repeat...

Gabriella said...

Fascinating poem, Glenn! I liked the way you used the refrain and how it worked with each of the wars you mention.
I tend to agree that sending troops in Iraq in 2003 triggered off more problems than it solved, hence the present situation. Yet is sending more troops in now the answer? Probably not.

annotating60 said...

Glenn an insistant historical drive underlined by your use of the repeating stanza. Very interesting.

annell said...

Oh, it's sad, and it seems we never learn....

Anthony Desmond said...

War solves nothing... just takes family away and drains money on weapons that could be used to feed/house the hungry & homeless... More and more problems are what we get and we start more wars because of it. A deadly circle... said...

Agh, don't get me started. Wars solve nothing (as Anthony said), just create more problems to deal with afterwards... I know of no country where those who served are ever treated properly afterwards. It has always been this way. A very strong, passionate write.

Heaven said...

It is never ending,sadly ~ I appreciate the details of the war ~ Effective use of repetitive verses Glenn ~

Thanks kindly for your comments on my work ~ Have a lovely week ~


The Bizza said...

I hear your voice clearly resonating for those who made the ultimate sacrifice; for those who no longer have a voice to share.

Polly said...

Most effective use of repetition.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh my God. Thank you for writing those numbers so we can tote up the senselessness of it all. Powerfully written, Glenn....the repeated refrain drives the point home. Sigh. Will this cycle ever end?

dkirkstokes said...

I watched our President make his announcement today- very disheartening. There is no win.

Beachanny said...

You said it and I concur - "Where have all the flowers gone, gone to graveyards everyone..when When WHEN will they ever learn?" Great piece Glenn. You do this so well. Loved the repeating refrain!

Sumana Roy said...

I don't understand one thing why do people leave one's own land and bully with a gun in other places...can't other countries solve their own problems..even if they didn't what right have others to intervene?..very thought provoking lines...refrains are so poignant....

Vandana Sharma said...

war is always devastating, world knows this but still fights.

Walt Wojtanik said...

Glenn, love the history lesson and the repetition worked wonderfully. Thanks for both!

Arathi Harihar said...

why cant we have peace in this world and let the world be one big many people suffer...
very powerful poem :)

Susan said...

Your poem is perfect, You might put women in and the view from other countries, but how much can one poem do? You've made your point vividly and I am walking away singing your refrain.

CreativeLF said...

I read this last night from the road and was moved as much then as when I read it again today. I have been thinking about how we incorporate the preponderance of negative energy that exists in our creative work - because surely we need the polarity of positive and negative to create that third, 'something new' thing - perhaps the very thing we desire.

So, in honor the light and dark, especially of Summer Solstice I posted links on my Facebook page to both the poem Scarlet Letters put up, and this one here. Both speak with profound heat to my heart - from entirely 'different-but-tied-through-love' topics.

Thank you for this.

quest4peas said...

Wow. Gut punchingly powerful.

Björn Rudberg said...

The thought that war solves anything is something I have ceased to believe... no matter how it's done it rarely create the peace that's needed... and despite all this the western forces have missed to quench bloodbaths in Rwanda and are missing it today in South Sudan... and I'm started to question the role of newspapers and election results in all this... How come we close our eyes in some places and demand the armies to intervene in others...