Poetry Corner

Ode to Gen. Petraeus

Hail, David H. Petraeus!
Doughty master of the Surge.
Paragon of urban warfare,
Veritable demi-urge.

Even in al-Anbar province
Roadside bombs have ceased to kill.
What’s your secret, from whence comes your
Counter-terroristic skill?

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.


About author View all posts Author website


Numerian is a devoted author and poster on The Agonist, specializing in business, finance, the global economy, and politics. In real life he goes by the non-nom de plume of Garrett Glass and hides out in Oak Park, IL, where he spends time writing novels on early Christianity (and an occasional tract on God and religion). You can follow his writing career on his website, jehoshuathebook.com.

19 CommentsLeave a comment

  • tho I think taunting should make a comeback. How’s this:

    Petraeus, thou art a braggart. Braggart thou art for nought, for in every moral contest thou art defeated. Fighter of weaklings and braggarts like thyself, whensoever a true warrior face thee thou takest refuge behind both walls and government. Yet, in sooth, from this cowardly retreat dost thou make brag. Petraeus, thou art a braggart.

    “I beseech you in the bowels of christ think it possible you may be mistaken.”

  • Petraeus, thou art stupid. Many times hast thou attacked and many times hast thou been thrown back, though thine enemies have but a fraction of thy arms. Thou art unlettered and hath never read of the term “defeat in detail” for, assuredly, but these few letters would require all day and the use of both of your pustulent forefingers. But the veriest simpleton canst understand that thine tactics are those of a school-yard bully held back until his tutors at last release him as a man full grown yet unable to manage fingerpainting. The very fact that thou canst breathe must be by the arts of some homunculi or hob, smarter than thou, who doth sit upon thy shoulder and whisper in thy ear, “breathe in, breathe out” else surely thou wouldst cease in this vital activity for lack of thought. Canst thou walk and chew bubble gum at the same time it is asked and I cry “Nay” for thou hast been found face down, the bubble gum before you upon the ground as proof. Petraeus, thou art stupid.

    “I beseech you in the bowels of christ think it possible you may be mistaken.”

  • Cheney, thou art smelly. Thy breath stinks of rotted blood and crude oil, which, sooth thou dost love as thy morning drink. Thy body reeks with the stench of fear and greed, and the manure of asparagus-eating goats is better than the smell from thy mustache. Cheney, thou art smelly

    “I beseech you in the bowels of christ think it possible you may be mistaken.”

  • Bush, thou art a coward. Sooth doth thou send others before thee and dost refrain from the conflict thyself. Thou strikest the innocent so that none may see thine own guilt. Thy soldiers doth not run forward to the fight, but away from thine own sneering countenance. Sooth, in the history of the ill-favored and shirkers thou art held in high esteem. Bush, thou art a coward.

    “I beseech you in the bowels of christ think it possible you may be mistaken.”

  • to my honey but I will see what I can come up with for later.

    “I beseech you in the bowels of christ think it possible you may be mistaken.”

  • Condi, thou art flatulence embodied. Thy putrid exhalations are matched only by thy obsession with thine own harpy appearance. Sooth, when thou openest thy mouth all sane persons flee lest they be contaminated. The noxious gas thou spewest from thy lips is no less rancid than thy taste in shoes and the stench from thy presence is surpassed only by the callouses of thy feet as they trample truth beneath them. Condi, thou art flatulence embodied.

    “I beseech you in the bowels of christ think it possible you may be mistaken.”

  • to make your day better. Perhaps I should do a “taunt of the day”?

    “I beseech you in the bowels of christ think it possible you may be mistaken.”

  • I will try it and see what kind of response I get. I think tomorrow will be Mitt, I have been giving that one some extra thought.

    “I beseech you in the bowels of christ think it possible you may be mistaken.”

Leave a Reply