Ode to Gen. Petraeus
Hail, David H. Petraeus!
Doughty master of the Surge.
Paragon of urban warfare,
Even in al-Anbar province
Roadside bombs have ceased to kill.
What’s your secret, from whence comes your
Could it be those tough Israelis,
And their miles of settlement wall,
With their checkpoints and their searchlights
Keeping terrorists in thrall?
Is that how you conquered Baghdad,
Smothering with concrete block,
Ghettoizing all who live there –
Martial law around the clock?
Was it kinder, gentler tactics?
Now you knock upon the door.
No more Odierno antics,
Shoving people on the floor.
Certainly it helped you that the
Shi’ites cleansed the city first.
Far less Sunnis to confront you,
They’ve been ethnically dispersed.
How surprised you must have been that
Violence just one day ceased.
Bribing sheiks with arms and money
Turned them into men of peace.
Sometimes threats don’t work as well as
Millions in some bank accounts.
No one cares how much you dole out
If you stop those body counts.
When you met those tribal chieftains,
Promising them what they sought,
Did you scrutinize their faces,
Did you think, ”œWhat have I wrought?”
Yes, you knew those Sunni warlords
Were insurgents in the past.
Yes, you knew the harm they did us,
What a record they’ve amassed!
As you shook their hands when leaving
Did you look upon your own?
Did you see the stains you carry,
Did the pain reach to your bones?
That’s American blood upon you,
It’s indelible they say.
When you traffic with those killers,
That’s the price that you must pay.
In the calculus of warfare
Maybe what you did was just.
Maybe these are men of honor,
Men to value, men to trust.
Pardon me if I must doubt you.
History’s not on your side.
These are men who’ve killed and injured,
These are men who’ve always lied.
Now they have our fancy weapons,
Millions of our dollars too.
Their militia’s getting stronger,
What will happen when they’re through?
Underneath Iraqi sand lies
Wealth enough to make men gasp.
None of it unfortunately
Is within the Sunni grasp.
They will turn upon the Shi’ites
Civil war will come anew.
As Bin Laden once was our friend,
Vanquisher will turn on you.
Quickly will the end game play out,
We’ll depart Iraq in haste.
No more troops will come to aid you,
Money spent will go to waste.
When that time comes you will wonder,
Was your bargain worth it all?
Did the temporary respite
Justify our sudden fall?
In retirement you’ll look at
All the dead, the shocked, the lame.
All those men whose awful suffering
Dwarfs your military fame.
Can repentance make atonement,
Will remorse redeem your name?
Even with more brilliant tactics
Would the end have been the same?
Who could win a war like this one?
Everyone’s both friend and foe.
One thing, though, they all agreed on ”“
Occupiers have to go.
Ultimately we weren’t welcome
All that oil was never ours.
Our attempts to colonize were
Well beyond our greatest powers.
Hail to you then, valiant leader,
Though you failed when all was done.
Other men share just as much blame
For an effort ill-begun.
But you, dear General Petraeus
Have a special mark to bear.
Unlike those in homeland comfort,
You saw firsthand what was there.
You have met the evil-doers,
You knew well the crimes they plied.
Yet you chose to turn a blind eye
And dishonor those who died.