Just War

War is the ultimate expression of man's futility,

Using the might of our ability and utility to do what—?

Create a better world? Create a lasting peace? What?

Enduring the pain of a long campaign,

What is there to remove the stain of a battle day,

But rain to wash away the blood?


And worse off all we try to dress warfare up with "justice":

We try to justify a boy mangled by explosion or strangled by gas and dust

With "proportionality;" butchery and torture by "last resort."

Because we all know that boys will loose their fathers; mothers will loose their sons

And daughters; that troops will lose their arms, or their legs—or their sanity.

But rape, murder, and fatality sound much worse than just causality.

Let's not indulge in fantasy. Let's not indulge in "justice"


What justice is there for these poor souls who die as cattle,

In the fiery horrors of chaotic battle,

Beneath the buffet of an A-K's rattle—or the lurking death

A trip wire brings or a sniper bullet sings.

And you say that they may lose a leg, or the use of both their eyes,

But when the smoke begins to rise, and the skirmish slowly dies,

We've accomplished our objective—whatever that may be.


But I ask you at what cost?

What good deed can be better than such dire deaths?

What hymns of praise can we citizens raise louder than

The screaming, haunting din of those demented choirs—

RPG's and mortar rounds—and the dull, rapacious roar of the fires

That war and death inspires, as all this bloodshed now transpires.


Fine have your wars: your bloodbaths in desert sands or foreign lands;

Keep your wartime suicides, and civilian homicides;

I don't want them, but I do want my brothers, and mothers, and fathers, and sisters home again.

And I want them whole, not medicated, not amputated, not life-facilitated—not dead.

For all your technology and strategy, why do you bring these good souls home

In body bags— mutilated and still. What can their death deliver?

What is this "just war" of which you speak, and where is the repayment for the price they paid?


Fine have your damned wars,

But don't dress them up in justice—

I'm tired of it.

These soldiers deserve more praise than your petty victories and phrases could ever give,

But better still, they deserve to live.