Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Forever Wars

written for California Democratic Congressmember, Barbara Lee, who cast the sole vote after 9/11 against “Forever Wars, ” now on the need for the Afghan War Inquiry, Democracy Now Interview, September 10

rainwashed slogans
on the fortified wall
empty embassy

last Americans
a teen points his finger gun
at the moving plane 

a man shifts body bags
from shoulder to shoulder
smoky night

9/11 on TV
a veteran murmurs 
never forgive, never forget ...

FYI: Congressmember Barbara Lee closed her historic 9/11 speech with a plea for peace and diplomacy we all should remember:

"I have agonized over this vote. I came to grips with opposing this resolution during the very painful yet very beautiful memorial service. As a member of the clergy so eloquently said, 'As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.'" 

Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.

George W. Bush, Ground Zero Speech

We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side,...That’s the world these folks [terrorists] operate in, and so it’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal.

Dick Cheney, NBC’s Meet the Press, two days after George W. Bush's " Ground Zero Speech"

For more about this courageous and insightful Congresswoman, see my 9/11 "Special Feature" post, In the Shadow of 9/11, the Lone Vote/Voice against the War on Terror and for more about "forever wars," "Sunday Reading: Casualties of the Forever Wars," The New YorkerSeptember 12 and and "After 9/11, the U.S. Got Almost Everything Wrong: A mission to rid the world of “terror” and “evil” led America in tragic directions," Garrett M. Graff, The Atlantic, September 8

The Global War on Terrorism yielded two crucial triumphs: The core al-Qaeda group never again attacked the American homeland, and bin Laden, its leader, was hunted down and killed in a stunningly successful secret mission a decade after the attacks. But the U.S. defined its goals far more expansively, and by almost any other measure, the War on Terror has weakened the nation — leaving Americans more afraid, less free, more morally compromised, and more alone in the world. A day that initially created an unparalleled sense of unity among Americans has become the backdrop for ever-widening political polarization...

... the journalist Robert Draper writes in To Start a War, his new history of the Bush administration’s lies, obfuscations, and self-delusions that led from Afghanistan into Iraq, “In the after-shocks of 9/11, a reeling America found itself steadied by blunt-talking alpha males whose unflappable, crinkly-eyed certitude seemed the only antidote to nationwide panic.”

Added: This Brave New World, XXI

the Peace Bell tolls 
in remembrance of lives lost
on September 11
the Taliban flag flutters
over the presidential palace