Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Ballad of Staff Sergeant Robert Bales

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales,
I hear you were traumatized,
and they even say
‘apparently deranged’
they’ve called you a rogue soldier,
and you such a decorated one too,
you’ve gone on a rampage,
committed ‘an act of madness’,
so much like your brothers
who ‘went nuts’ in Haditha
or the deranged Baruch Goldstein
whose insanity-count was 25
in Hebron,
but you went postal in Kandahar
and that’s not new, we know
for what’s a dozen-or-so
after Hiroshima and Nagasaki
and the sanity-driven blood-rush
that turned cities into rubble
territories into cemeteries
governments into puppets?
But tell me Bob,
they say you saw a comrade lose his leg
and that was how you lost it all,
is this true?
I heard some numbers, so I’ll share:
32 legs, 32 arms, 32 eyes, 32 ears, 32 lungs, 32 kidneys
16 tongues, hearts, livers,
several hundred intestinal feet
160 toes, 160 fingers
millions of dreams
countless memories
pride, fear, hope and other intangibles
like yours, of course,
but magnified in the necessary arithmetic
of dismissal and justice-extraction;
and that’s still nothing, Bob
for we are talking of continental shifts
movement of arms
the collateral of plunder
 the thunder of spin
no, brother,
you are not as random
as those you killed
you can say that to those who will try
and exonerate
you can tell
‘No Ms Clinton,
You can’t say that I am not who you are,
for I am you
toe for toe, leg for leg, heart for heart
I am Barack and every senator
every congressman
I am every American of the United States,
                            who sees and looks away,
I am US Foreign Policy
I am US Military Strategy
I am the zero-tolerator of terrorism
I am agent and plan,
execution and whitewash
I am Uncle Sam,
through and through.’
And that, brother Bob
is your defense,
not to the friendly court
but the appalled and knowing world. 

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