Monday, January 1, 2007

And The Beat Goes On

When a new year turns, our thoughts usually turn with it to contemplation of the future. Some of us resolve to change past behaviors in order to improve that future. A fortunate few can simply pledge to hold the course because the past has demonstrated the value of their strategies.

For nations, signposts that sprung up during the past year sometimes can point the way to a better future, but this year for my nation, for the unfortunate nation we chose to invade, for the entire Mideast and for the well-being of the entire world, the signposts point from a dismal past to a dangerous future.

One terribly unfortunate milestone was passed in the night of our New Year's Eve. The three thousandth American military life was lost in Iraq while American revelers were still blowing their party horns.

We in the USA have very little in our recent past to use as positive guides to the future. We must, instead, identify the negatives that led us to our present position and vow never to repeat them. Primary among them, we should firmly resolve never again to commit the sin of pre-emptive war.

In commemoration of those 3,000 Americans who have given their lives in Iraq, the more than 20,000 who have been wounded, the more than 100,000 whose lives have been permanently and negatively altered, and the multiple hundreds of thousands of Iraqis whose lives have been torn asunder by this war, I decided to post here a copy of the poem I wrote the morning W declared that the invasion would begin. My hope is that it will help someone who did not understand then what was wrong with what we did that day to now see that we cannot allow such a thing to ever again be done in our name.


The darkest day in American history has dawned but there is no light.

For months the distant thunder has warned of coming storms,

Tense air trembled with anticipation,

Warm blood run cold with fear,

And tears fallen swift and hot with grief for the looming loss of
law and lives.

Now comes Apocalypse.

Pre-emptive American missiles

Scythe away the lives of innocents,

Killing innocence and all a once proud country stood for.

Now we will suffer the plague and pestilence of power run amok.

Famine flagged Iraqi faces turn skyward,

Waiting to see what horror might come next from tyrants of all stripes

And stars obscured by the smoke of fires burning honesty’s last vestige

From a land led by money-mongers eager to pound their might

into the minds of a world aghast at their impunity.

For all these months we’ve marched to quench these flames,

But tears are not enough.

Our weeping falls on deaf ears

While America’s honor fades away

Before our reddened eyes.

Bob Ranney
Peace Network
of the Ozarks
March 18, 2003

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