Saturday Poem: 'The Homeland Defenders'

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"We're fighting them there so that we don't have to fight them here." -- A Homelander's Motto

"An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanstan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year -- more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since the war began." -- New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof

They tortured or killed the disrupters
of makeover plans they had made.
They pledged they had come to bring freedom.
They promised to leave, but they stayed.

They censored reports on the wounded.
They zippered the dead into bags.
They flew back the bodies like cargo
and sheeted their caskets with flags.

Of those who had backed the invasion,
not one ever served in a war.
Evasion was more to their liking,
and that's what they opted for.

For them all that mattered was power,
and power meant bullets and guns.
But those whom they ordered to use them
were somebody else's sons.

With book deals and medals and pardons
they never looked back but ahead.
They swore to a man it was worth it,
and nobody mentioned the dead.

Samuel Hazo is McAnulty Distinguished Professor of English emeritus at Duquesne University and director of the International Poetry Forum ( His most recent book is "Like a Man Gone Mad: Poems in a New Century."

books - opinion_commentary

First Published April 28, 2012 12:45 AM


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