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Poetry Page 9

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Debate

An ambition of mine, when I’ve drunk too much wine,
Is to get on a plane to DC
And there, in the realm of the fool at the helm,
We would argue the toss, him and me.

I would take him to task; “why Iraq?” I would ask;
“Some folk would say it’s a crime.”
“So that they, when it’s done, have democracy, son.”
“That’s not what you said at the time.

“If I may beg your pardon, it was links with Bin Laden;
It was yellow cake from Niger.
It was WMDs; it was all three of these,”
I said, “none of which seemed to be there.”

“You imply that we lie,” said George, “Tony and I,
But we knew that the weapons were there.”
“You didn’t,” said I, to which George’s reply
Was: “We did.” “You did not.”  “We don’t care;”

“He had bombs, germs and gas at some point in the past;
He bought ‘em like others buy sweets.
Rumsfeld shook his hand; we delivered them and
Dick Cheney’s still got the receipts.

“Freedom... oh yeah, that’s the reason we’re there.”
And he stopped for a moment to muse;
“I can fall off my bike; they can choose who they like
Just as long as we like who they choose.

“And those we don’t kill, we will help them rebuild.”
“It’s just work for your friends, George,” I said.
He said: “Are you certain?” I said: “Halliburton.”
He said nothing but went rather red.

“You and Tony complain about Saddam Hussain,
And I’ve listened to all that,” I said;
“May I grasp the nettle? The words ‘pot’ and ‘kettle’
Spring frequently into my head.”

“You’ve got nukes in bases in dozens of places;
Anthrax; nerve gases too.”
“What, me?” he said. “Yes,” I said: “Time to confess.”
He said: “Me?” I said: “Yes,” I said: “You.

“Terrorists, too; haven’t you trained a few?”
He said: “Who?” I said: “You.” He said not.
“Isn’t that what you do at Fort Benning?” I said;
“Oh, Fort Benning,” he said. “I forgot.”

Then, after a pause, “That Saddam,” added George,
“Locked folk up, and without a trial too;
They were tortured as well.” “You do that.” “Do I hell!”
He said: “Me?” I said: “Yes,” I said: “You.”

“Abu Ghraib, so they say, and Guantanamo Bay;
Did you try ‘em all first?” He said: ”No;
That wouldn’t make sense; we’ve got no evidence;
If we did we’d be letting ‘em go.

“Due process of law? We don’t do that no more;
That’s no way to protect liberty.
Extraordinary rendition is far more efficien’.
We’ll take you,” he said. “Who?” I said: “Me?”

“Yes, you in a plane.” I said: “Who? Come again?”
He said: “You; fly in big silver bird.”
“Me and the CIA? Is it my lucky day?”
He said: “No,” and I quickly concurred.

With a bag on my face and the jump leads in place,
A man pressed a switch; I said: “Oooh!”
He said: “Do you confess?” I said: “Certainly; yes.”
He said: “Splendid! We thought it was you.

“You people are bad; it’s as well that George had
A plan for bad times such as these;
While we torture for proof, George is lying for truth
And the army’s off killing for peace.”

I wake up next day and the drink’s gone away
And the world is still in this mess.
Who put us there, Mr Bush, Mr Blair?
I say: “You.”  You say: “No.”  I say: “Yes.”

Les Barker

You can find out more about Les Barker by visting his web site www.mrsackroyd.com

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