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Life Arts    H2'ed 7/18/21

Afghanistan: At Least We're Good Losers

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At the end one thing our worst critics can't say:
We know not to lose in the gentleman's way.
The Afghans farewelled, bases handed over,
Its army more equipped than pigs in clover,
The locals who backed us will get helping hands,
Flown out to mop floors in far foreign lands.
Now of course we might keep a hand in for fun,
A raid here, a snipe there, the odd bombing run,
And plenty of dollars so peace has appeal,
'Cause what good is peace without some nice veal?
The Turks will do handling of baggage and tix,
But don't go to them for an overbook fix.
At home, Americans could not be more sweet:
If it ain't victory it's quiet defeat.
Which in our vaccinated stride we accept:
The econ's coming back, our masks are off-swept,
And the war was always a pain in the butt,
The low point of news, our Marines in a rut.
In the end, our wars have lost their attraction,
Their appeal, audience, warfronts and action,
Played out on dry landscapes the color of bread,
'Gainst enemies that dress like an unmade bed,
Unlike The Rat Patrol, where if in doubt,
Sergeant Troy could change shirt and pass for a kraut.
The Second, yes indeed, now that was a war,
Our enemies shaved and those cool helmets wore,
They flew planes and sailed subs, spied and caught spies,
And when we prevailed, t'was to country-wide highs,
For all had lent shoulder, plumbers had donned wings,
But now war's a sideline, the pastime of kings.

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"A Legacy of Chains and Other Stories" is Philip Kraske's lastest book. It can be found at his website:

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