Fierce Pashtuns, over time
Teach us what we should mark well:
All invaders, in their prime
Find Afghanistan is Hell.
Since Alexander and Genghis Khan
Empires laid plans to attack
But a donkey borne to Mecca by divan
Remains a donkey, when it comes back.
Regression, Poverty, Heroin, Despair
Its GDP, after the Great Game;
Until a parochial tribe assumed the care
Of benighted lands, to general shame.
For a very few years the only folks
To be pained by this, were local tribes
Who stood as Shia or told the wrong jokes
Or encouraged girls to read or be scribes.
But on 911, four jet airplanes
Flew into American flesh and soil,
A plot hatched in Afghanistan
Caused all western blood to boil.
So in they went, outraged and seething,
Desperate for al-Qaeda blood,
And via our example, democracy, teething
Would bring enlightenment for their own good.
After bin Laden slipped through fingers
Hiding out in friendly Pakistan,
Several Presidents thought that he who lingers
Wins hearts and minds in Afghanistan.
The finest training, and the fully fit,
The best equipment, all bespoke
Cannot cope with a tactic to attrit
When rigid tribal fanatics meet the woke.
But after a fashion stability arrived,
A kind of peace descended like a stone;
And every vested interest connived
To leave the joint; to leave them on their own.
Evacuations are a tricky proposition,
Not all come-off with success like a Dunkirk
But looking at Kabul, tis the very definition –
Not sloppy or careless; it’s the Devil’s work.
You close an airport, secure and safe,
Pursuant to Satan’s foolproof Plan:
Controlled by US Marines who chafe
To check-mate the Taliban;
And then you also leave behind
A cache of high-grade military gear,
Not booby-trapped but calibrated
For use by those that persevere.
And then you let the enemy go
And have the country really rip,
Content its takeover will be slow
And all stays in your imagined grip.
The President gripped the podium
And staunchly set his jaw:
He poured a stream of odium
And promised to withdraw.
“We planned for all contingencies,”
He slowly, staunchly, said;
“And a myriad exigencies,”
From the autocue he read.
“It won’t look anything like Saigon,”
To the World he did declaim,
In this the President spoke the truth,
It was totally the same.
They aimed to repatriate the troops,
Ticker-tape and White House dances,
So they made no plans for any other groups,
Those folks had to take their chances.
And so catastrophe ensued,
The desperate, pleading, anguished crowd,
Wailing at the roadblocks, who were viewed
As dead – dead meat – without a shroud.
The black hawks hovered overhead,
The airport gates were shut.
In the street, the people bled,
Supply lines were all cut.
People hung on departing planes
And dropped out of the sky,
Passports were torn; peasants took the reigns
And their subjects began to die.
And then bombs took the place apart;
An evil genius
With a brilliant brain and a wooden heart
Could not create this mess.
A plague rat posed as president
Talked tough and seemed upset;
Instructed to bow in embarrassment
He described a marionette.
So they bombed two Afghans in a car
To keep the press agog,
Were they ISIS-K or an avatar?
Was it merely “Wag the Dog”?
Now the entire country is aflame,
It might cauterize the sores,
China, Pakistan, Iran, and same
Have new allies to their cause.
Joe Biden is the man who was never there,
Sulphurous smoke marks where he’s been:
“Joe, why not pass the time with some Solitaire:
And wait for the Red Queen.”
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