Friday, October 06, 2006

Progress in Iraq?

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is reported to have seen "progress" in Iraq after being militarily escorted in and out of raq earlier this week.

"Progress" despite her missle defense equipped aircraft being forced to circle the Baghdad Airport because of mortar fire or rockets at the airport. And despite the electical power going out during her hand-holding session with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

And "Progress" in a week in which 27 American military personnel have been killed, two from Indiana. With "Progress" like this, maybe the United States Army of Occupation could use a few "setbacks."

In memorium to the dead Indiana Servicemen, the Author reposts the poem "Dulce Et Decorum Est"* written by World War I soldier poet Wilfred Owen. Wilfred Owen died seven days before the "War to End All Wars" ended.

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

*The first words of a Latin saying (taken from an ode by Horace). The words were widely understood and often quoted at the start of the First World War. They mean "It is sweet and right." The full saying ends the poem: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori - it is sweet and right to die for your country. In other words, it is a wonderful and great honour to fight and die for your country.


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