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Two popular and long-established collections of  war poetry of the
First World War

Minds at War
A comprehensive
anthology of poetry of the First World War. All the greatest war poems of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon and war poems of over 70 other notable poets. All set in the context of the poets' lives and historical records. With historic photographs and cartoons.  Edited by David Roberts.
 400 pages £15-99 (UK)

Out in the Dark
Anthology of
First World War poetry recommended for students and the general reader.
19 poems by
Wilfred Owen
, 27 by Siegfried Sassoon and over 90 more war poems by 45 significant poets including women writers. Contextual information and basic notes on many poems. Illustrated.  Edited by David Roberts.
185 pages - £10-99 (UK)

Falklands War Poetry cover


The poetry and verse on this website can be taken as reflecting the views, observations and insights of the individual authors or views which they do not hold but want to present for others to consider.

The picture shows Baghdad under US bombardment, March 2003. The UK fired a few missiles, too, in support.

Videos about the Iraq War 2003 - the bombing

Background to the bombing of Iraq including official statements (Videos Page)


WARNING: this page contains ideas and pictures
that some people may find disturbing

From the bleakest times, though it seems impossible,
we must find a space for an abiding charity,
a stretching of the soul into a new skin;
one the best part of us longs for deeply. 

Simon Carroll, February 2003 
(See his poem, The last days of love, below.)
Poem added January 2010.

Note, December 2006. Three years after these poems were written there seems to be nothing that the writers should revise in the light of consequent experience - except perhaps, that things are even worse than they feared. The dishonesty is now apparent to everyone, but the politicians who set out to deceive the world remain in office. The tragedy, stupidity, dishonesty and horror described here remain as an ongoing nightmare for the people of Iraq and as a crime against humanity which continues to appal opinion around the world, including most people in both the US and UK.
Simon Carroll, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada The Last Days of Love

Curtis D Bennet (from US, former pilot in Vietnam war)   
(See Curt's Vietnam poems on this web site. A link can be found in the modern poems section of the main index page of this website.)

Abu Ghraib Coming Home
Iraq Legacy,  Combat Eyes,  Evolution,   Spitting Image 

David Roberts  (UK)

Before the war
Total Security, President of the United States of America,
The war 2003
Home Come Your Sons,   Parents and war, Message from Tony Blair to the People of Iraq, (About this poem: is it fair?)

Cynthia Anderson (UK, Mother of a soldier)

'Twas the Night Before Baghdad

Nick Kollestrom (UK)

 Baghdad 2003

Mclain Pray (from US)

US = us

Poems by "Kaneix"

Samira,  24,  Shock and Awe,  By Dawns Early Light

Raghab   (from Nepal)

Ashamed Sun,  War , the Rich's Play, Save our World 

Roger B Humes

The Feast Of The Holy Innocents

Abu Ghraib

The photos were painfully clear,
In color, and graphically detailed,
In multi-pixel format
From across the world.
From another faraway land
In another place, and time.
They were undeniable, uncompromising,
Painful to look at, hard to accept.

Some photos showed naked men
Wearing black hoods over their heads,
Clustered in a pile on the floor,
As an American girl grinned and pointed at their genitalia,
As if she found it somewhat lacking.
Manacled hands embracing each other
Bare skin on bare skins
In a mangled group of bodies
Lying together in a jangled, confusing heap.
They lay helpless before the Americans.

 One showed a prisoner like a giant moth-man
Standing on boxes with electrodes,
Attached to his fingers.
Still another terrified man,
Backed away, handcuffed,
Cringing against the wall
In total terror as excited dogs,
Eagerly strained and barked for the prize.

Most disturbing in that sinister jail
Known in Iraq as Abu Ghraib
A smiling American soldier,
Looks down at a prisoner,
Laying on the ground like a dog,
She held a leash to his neck
She stood there stoically watching
Her captured prize of Iraqi manhood
Cowering on the cold cement.
Helpless, powerless to resist,
Unable to act, unable to move,
Unable to think, defenseless
Totally submissive and subservient,
Totally at the mercy of the war.
These photos are a metaphor,
Of what America considers Iraq,
What we think of the Iraqi people,
Of our dominance, or our authority,
Of our cruelty, and our brutality,
Our inhumanity and callousness,
With total disregard for other peoples
Except ourselves and our selfish priorities,
Where the Military abuse their power,
Where the strong abuse the weak,
Where Leaders are beyond the law,
Beyond authority, beyond reproach
To unfortunate prisoners of war,
They appear to believe
They are answerable to no one.

A parallel metaphor emerges,
Of guards and prisoners,
Of leashes and hoods
Of the calloused indifference
The brutal treatment to Prisoners of War.
It is Cheney holding the Leash
Of a feckless, hooded naked Congress,
Secretary Rumsfeld dragging the leash
Of the military stumbling blindly behind,

President Bush leads the trio
Down his yellow brick road,
Paved with lies and misrepresentations,
False Fear, terror, deceit,
And fanciful, imagined enemies,
Dragging behind him the hooded,
Unseeing naked American masses
Down his deadly road
Of war and destruction,
All of us, unwilling participants in his War,
All of us…in America
Prisoners of War.

Curtis D. Bennett

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Coming Home

Inside the gray, steel womb of cargo space.
Flag covered caskets quietly lie
In rank and file, line on line in silence.
Bound together in final military formation
Flags of blood reds, cloud whites and ocean blues,
Drape and caress the dull, pewter boxes
Encasing the broken, ashen, hallowed remains
Of dead young boys and girls,
Forced to pay the ultimate price
In this foreign land with strange people,
Where brutal Death forever lurks,
Beneath the surface, around the corner
Watching with cold eyes that never sleep.
Outside, hot desert night winds
Sweep down from the northern mountains
In biting, stinging clouds of dust
Blowing and swirling the tarmac, ruffling flags.
Steel, hydraulic doors whine and close tight

Sealing the precious cargo inside.
Engines come to life and rumble the air,
The huge cargo transport trundles away
Disappearing in the darkness of the taxiway.
Moments later, re-emerging, a roaring shadow
That races and climbs sharply up and away
Into the night air to seek the stars.
Floating suspended between earth and sky
The westbound plane heads for the full moon.
Carrying its sleeping, youthful cargo home.
To the land that gave them birth,
To the parents who loved and raised then
To the government who sent them to fight,
And the politicians who killed them.
In the early morning hours, it touches down
On glistening tarmac of the sleeping base.
To taxi off and away towards the dark distant hanger
Where black hearses wait under tight security.

Once again hydraulics hum the cargo doors open.
The setting moon softly illuminates the caskets.
So quietly they lie, so well they sleep,
With no more promises to keep,
No more miles to go.
Curtis D. Bennett
May 12, 2004

Iraq legacy

One day we will look back and realize,
Our kids all died…. for nothing.
One day, America will be forced to abandon Iraq.
The American people will have enough
Of war, personal sacrifice and waste of treasury.
American voters will make the choice,
Not Congress, not the President, not the military,
But the people paying the taxes and sacrificing their children.
Our military will be forced to pack it up and move out
Leaving behind the hot, dusty, blood stained soil
Where forgotten kids were butchered and maimed,
Were brutally murdered on behalf of America
Children sent there by spineless, cowardly politicians
Condoned by feckless, incompetent, Military Leaders
Who knew better, but said nothing to protect their jobs.
These kids selflessly gave the ultimate sacrifice of their life
In the name of a misguided, confused, fearful country
Whose President claimed to the American people
He sent these kids to die in that savage land
With the blessing and approval of God.
At that point our war with Iraq
Becomes, the ultimate blasphemy.

Curtis D. Bennett

Combat Eyes

It lurks behind their eyes,
Where the soul used to live.
Eyes, which have seen too much
Of war’s bad places
Where reality is too far
Beyond human comprehension,
Beyond human reasoning,
Beyond human sanity.

The nether world of death and carnage,
Flash-burned and sealed in a fixed dimension
Of atrocities bordered by unspeakable horror
That forever scars the psyche,
Everlastingly searing moments
That eternally burns too bright.

The blank vagueness of the eyes
Gazes through you,
Now past and far beyond,
Without judging,
Without emotion,
Without compassion
Without mercy, without humanity.

They stare, dead and blank, unfocused and vague,
Knowing everything, fixed on nothing,
Mirroring the soul.

Welcome Home.

Curtis D. Bennett

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The experience of fighting a war
Changes all men forever.
The experience of taking human life
And being responsible for death,
The ending of life of others
Becomes a, life-altering experience
Of any man who engages in a war,
Who experiences its ugliness, its cruelty,
Comes to know its pornography and savage brutality.

Those who have not been personally involved
In a war as a participant,
Or experienced first hand its aftermaths,
Will never know war’s reality and suffering,
Can never judge war’s validity or worth,
Should ever be involved in any decision
Resulting in a war between nations.
For their imagery of war is fictitious,
Evolving from one’s imagination
Man’s wishful thinking,
Based on movies and books and television,
Nothing more than a fanciful, false myth
Without appropriate context or validation,
Without merit or value.

Most men experiencing war
Become sombrely aware of their own humanity,
And the humanity of all human beings and lifeWho share this earth together.
Who only want to exist in peace, live and let live,
These men emerge from a war as true men,
Evolving from warriors to human beings.

Yet others emerge from war on the dark side,
Down into that murky, deep hole of savage death,
Where they relish and find irresistible the war experience,
The exhilaration of total power and control,
The wanton and cruel destruction of life,
Driven by the primeval exhilaration of survival,
Flourishing on the elixir of adrenalin rush.
Unmindful of any consequence,
Disregarding tenets and precepts of civilization,
To immerse themselves selfishly
In the darkness and ruthlessness
Of the act of war.

War is addicting, all-powerful, all persuasive,
A reason for being, without means, only ends.
Where killing is acceptable and justifiable,
Is undeniably necessary and even honorable,
Despite the human cost and tragedy,
Disregarding the human suffering and agony,
And in some twisted minds
Spurred on by irrational reasoning
And self delusions the act of war
Becomes a sacred mission,
Condoned, approved, and blessed by God.

In war, a man who succumbs to war’s sirens,
Loses himself forever in its terrible beauty,
Embraces its undeniable lure and stimulation of the senses,
Wallows in his perceived power and authority,
To gain other’s approval and attention
This man who truly believes in the act of war
As the ultimate exercise of will, power and personal authority,
Without regard for any human life or consequences,
Is known as a Berserker. (1 )

Curtis D. Bennett

(1) Noun: Berserker

One of the ancient Norse warriors legendary for working themselves into a frenzy before a battle and fighting with reckless savagery and insane fury.

Spitting Image

The Cardinal balances his tree limb,
Magnificent red feathers splendidly flaming
Burning the clear morning sunshine,
Cocking his proud head at the window
He stares intently at the kitchen window.

Without warning he launches
Headfirst into the reflecting glass
With an explosion of feathers
He assaults the window
Attacking viciously with hammering beak.

He bangs, recoiling off and away
Shaken he flutters back to his tree
Safe on his branch, he turns.
Tilts his head glaring at his image  
Quietly watching back from reflecting panes.

Once again, he smashes the window,
Fiercely screaming at the bird within the glass,
For this bird he thinks he sees
Is real and attacking him!
He strikes once more and wobbles back.

He will not acknowledge he cannot win,
Is unable to grasp or comprehend
The real adversary is his imagination,
And all his frenzied energy and attention
Are both fruitless and pointless.

As long as there is imagination,
There will be perceived threats
From an enemy who does not exist,
In a battle that cannot be won.
In efforts futile from the start.

Throughout the day he assaults,
Until darkness falls and he cannot see.
He flaps away exhausted from the battle.
The bird in the window flaps away with him.
But both…will be back tomorrow.

As it is getting dark,
I turn on TV to see President Bush
As he leans forward, cocks his head,
Staring intently at the reflecting camera lens.

Curtis D. Bennett   (Vietnam war veteran. For more of his poetry
see our Vietnam page.)

Vietnam War Poetry

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Two poems which may serve as a prelude to the Iraq war poems

Total Security

By arming themselves
with sufficient bombs
to destroy the world,
and being
the world's number one country
at dropping bombs
America is making enemies
of the entire human race.

If the human race
ever dares to strike back
America will have no alternative
but to destroy the entire world
in self-defence.

David Roberts
13 February 2001


President of the United States of America

The President of the United States of America
is not God.

He is not
the international community.

He is not the ultimate arbiter
of right and wrong.

He is not
the law.

He has no right to allot death
to this or that continent,
this or that country,
this or that man or woman or child.

The true international community,
the five billion people of this earth
who are not the President of the United States of America
could easily resist
his power
and would do
if it had the organised resolve.

And will do
in time.

David Roberts
26 December 2002

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Home Come Your Sons

(Brize Norton 28 March 2003)

On this misty spring day
at an airfield in Oxfordshire
ten hearses wait.

Families in formal lines, bandsmen, 
commanders - the services' top brass, chaplains,
the Duke of York, the Minister of Defence,
here to do their bit, wait
and watch the sky,
searching for a sign
of a returning plane.

Then suddenly with massive roar
the huge transporter touches down.

They wait again,
and how much longer must they wait this awful apparition?

At last
unseen forces lower the huge tail door.

This is the moment.
Home come your sons -
the first to die in this sad war.

One by one,
ten coffins draped in union flags
are carried shoulder high by six young men
walking at a solemn pace.

Fine words are spoken -
words of respect and consolation.
In turn each coffin is borne
to each waiting hearse
and the band plays Handel's mournful march.

You know they did their duty -
good-hearted, keen, they had so much to give.
Yet this is their reward. It makes no sense.
You shake with grief and utter loss.
You are filled with pride
and try to comprehend
the reasons your sons died who should have lived.

Regrettably, the public also has a right to ask,
was fighting in this war a necessary task?

Was it right
that your sons went to bomb and kill
people who bore us no ill?

They were a courageous band of brothers
who went abroad
to risk the lives of others.

It must take guts to drop those bombs
on defenceless people who had no chance.

Was it really necessary to attack
the innocent people of Iraq? - 
Children, half of them,
and over half malnourished.
What had they done to us
to be so punished?

Your boys didn't have to maim and kill
or break the hearts of mothers.
This is the shamefullest of wars.
They could have used their talents in a decent cause.
They could have lived,
and you could see them still.

David Roberts 

30 March and 6 April 2003.    

Copyright © 2003 David Roberts Free use on the internet/web and small-scale, not for profit publications.
Please acknowledge source:  David Roberts, The War Poetry Website, www.warpoetry.co.uk

Personal note

I feel the deepest sympathy for those parents, relations and friends of soldiers and victims killed and injured in war, in all their grief and pain. This year has seen calamitous and totally avoidable suffering in Iraq.

When young people sign up to serve in the armed forces of their country they do so in the belief that if the worst came to the worst they might be called upon to defend their country against an enemy invader. To find that they are called upon to attack another country is a abuse of their talents and courage.

I would hope that the loss of all the innocent lives would help in some way to make a better world, but I hold the conviction that attempting to "help" a country by first killing thousands of innocent people is an outrage, totally immoral, and illegal under international law. I believe leaders who initiate such crimes should be held personally responsible and tried as war criminals. They are the ones responsible for the deaths of the innocent and defenceless people of Iraq who never planned to do us the slightest harm, and the deaths of our own innocent servicemen who had no complaint against those whose country they were sent to help take over on behalf of America.

Several parents of soldiers killed in the Iraq war have contacted the British press to say how they felt that their sons died in a bad cause or were betrayed by the British government. Clearly, I agree with them.

On 10 November 2004 I watched Channel 4 news. It showed a group of parents of soldiers killed in Iraq laying a wreath on the step of 10 Downing Street. Afterwards there was a press conference. For several seconds the camera stayed on the face of one mother who cried uncontrollably. This to my mind is the essence of what is wrong with war. It causes such immense suffering which will take years if not generations to heal.

Another mother was interviewed outside the Houses of Parliament. She said that the war was wrong. There was no need for it. The Iraqis had never threatened Britain. See my poem Remembrance Day 2004.



A Message from Tony Blair to the People of Iraq
(a week after the start of the attacks by US and UK forces, March 2003)

Look into my honest eyes.
Listen to my honest lies. 
Look into my angel face.
Just hear the sincerity in my voice.

I want you all to understand
the better future we have planned.
We bomb with Christian love, not Christian hate.
We come, 
not to conquer,
but to liberate.

It is essential, and I want to make this very clear, 
that our first aim is to make the world a safer place.
And with precision bombing you need have no fear.
And though you've not actually uttered threatening words
to Britain and America, or indeed the world,
and though you haven’t acted yet,

we believe you pose a threat
a threat that cannot be ignored.

I tell you frankly that so great is the threat 
that act we must, while there is still time, 
or we may live to reap the bitter harvest 
of regret.

I’m sure you will appreciate
that we have the right
to remove regimes
that we dislike.
We have the right to assassinate.
We have the right to decide your fate.

So the purpose of our mission,
now that war has started,
is also perfectly clear:
we come to bring you hope
and take away your fear.

Your army, as you know, is hopelessly outgunned.
Resistance by your soldiers is completely senseless.
We’ll simply massacre. We’ll wipe them out.
They cannot touch us. They’re defenceless.

We wreck your homes, your lives, your infrastructure.
You needed help.

Without it you would have had no future.

Our peace, justice and democracy
you will soon enjoy and celebrate.
Remember, we come, 
not to conquer, 
but to liberate.

Your cities shake and thunder with our bombs.
Tumbling buildings. Plumes of flames.
Roaring jets and shrieking men.
The crash of glass and children's screams.
We see the mushroom clouds again.
Now you can appreciate the genius of our civilisation.
Remember, this isn’t war: 
it’s liberation.

We destroyed your tv station. We cut your phones.
Your power and water supplies we cut.
We destroy public buildings and private homes.
You see billowing smoke and conflagration.
But it isn’t war: 
it’s liberation.

Your hospitals overflow. They cannot cope.
We are killing you softly with our love.
Death and destruction are everywhere.
Your future fills with hope.

And if you cannot comprehend this desecration.
Just try to understand, 
it isn’t war: 
it’s liberation.

Cruise missiles, depleted uranium,
pulse, cluster and bunker buster bombs

may shock you.
And perhaps, you’re just a little awed.
But please understand we come to help
and this is your reward.

Regrettably we can treat nothing as sacred:
it is a fact of war.
No artefact of God or man,
no suffering, no pain, no law
can impede the progress of our plan.

One advantage of our attack
is that we will build for you
a new Iraq.
So don’t worry about the scale of the destruction.
Our companies will make it all as new
and your oil will pay for reconstruction.

Look to the future.
Your children will not easily forget
how we came to help.
Round the clock bombing
may have left them traumatised
and perhaps a little mad,
but soon we are sure they'll realise
just what luck they've had.

Some ask if I'm untouched by human suffering.
I can tell you my sleep is undisturbed,
though I deeply mourn the thousands killed.
I am not shaken,
and I am not stirred.

So finally I say, 
that for a brighter future
a little bombing is a small price to pay.

Ignore the carnage, terror and destruction.
Our purpose
is not
domination or exploitation.
This is not
a war of conquest.
It's a war of liberation.

David Roberts  
28 March-9 April 2003







Copyright © 2003 David Roberts Free use on the internet/web and small-scale, not for profit publications.
Please acknowledge source:  David Roberts, The War Poetry Website, www.warpoetry.co.uk



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Parents and war

No parent
should have to bury a son.

This reverses natural law.

But it is common
for sons who go to war,

and often more so

for those
who are their victims.

David Roberts
21 April 2003.

Copyright © 2003 David Roberts Free use on the internet/web and small-scale not for profit publications. Please acknowledge source: The War Poetry website, www.warpoetry.co.uk

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Written in February, 2003, in the run-up to the Invasion of Iraq.

The Last Days of Love

The sharp-eyed birds circle in the bleak desert heat,
Far below, a mottled array of black and smoking warts

stain the rolling, rippled tissue,

and mark out the coming feast.

‘Hawks’ they call them:

a misnomer and slight on a gracious bird

for such an ignoble pursuit.

It feels like an enormous weight of thoughtlessness,

a great building mass, devoid of empathy

progressing irresistibly to its pitiless terminal.

Is this finally that rough beast

slouching toward its untimely birth?

Beneath the petty squabbles of the older vultures,

in the midst of their high-minded scavengery,

lies a broken body.

Not one being fought over;

a long forgotten figure,

curled up into a lonely, wistful repose,

her alabaster sheen blemished in crimson fissures.

For this sad and fading imago

it has, again, been a slow, slow dying.

As ever, we weep for it too late.

The echo of future lament sounds

as a distant thunder to our ears,

while great men see only the coming of a new tide.

To this faulty vision we must again uphold

the ancient wisdom of the fool and the blind man:

to know the dark secret of desire and where it leads;

for the labyrinthine soul of man is built

on an infinite pile of rotting corpses,

and those passions the worst in us holds

overflow the firm barriers of resolve.

We must remove this curse.

With some lost titanic will, and deep inward promise made,

we begin, first as murmur, a great incantation.

Like a rumbling Prometheus, fire in his eyes,

starting to loosen his bounds.

Let the new emperors hide

behind the uniform of fear and terror;

and let the pantomime warriors

mumble their dank platitudes,

as they lay waste to our language;

a prelude to the more corporeal slaughter.

Let them murder truth casually.

For our voices will be heard:

We will keep our wisdom and endurance,

and in our gentleness and virtue, faith

That hope will indeed create,

a courage to “defy Power, which seems omnipotent”.

From the bleakest times, though it seems impossible,

we must find a space for an abiding charity,

a stretching of the soul into a new skin;

one the best part of us longs for deeply.

Simon Carroll PhD
University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

With apologies to Shelley for borrowing shamelessly from the conclusion of his great dramatic poem.


Nick Kollestrom

Baghdad 2003

The Vampire Elite takes control
We must bomb your ancient capital to save it.
We bring democracy with our tanks.
We first got you as fully disarmed as possible,
Through labyrinthine UN protocols,
Before we struck.
We needed to start the war quickly,
As our case about you having secret
chemical weapons was falling apart -
Our forged documents had become known.
We bring you Starbucks and our pornography
You must be grateful for us re-bombing Baghdad
Your oil will be safe in our hands.

Nick Kollestrom
Copyright © 2003 Nick Kollestrom

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The Feast Of The Holy Innocents
Poem from Roger B Humes 

Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceedingly
angry; and sending forth killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem,
and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to
the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled
that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: A voice in Rama
was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children,
and would not be comforted, because they are not.
[Matthew 2:16-18]

once a crusade has begun
such consequences are inevitable
once the line is placed in the sand
there is no turning back when crossed:

they play upon the dusty street
heedless that tomorrow may never come
for immorality is the greatest ally of youth
until it faces the brutality of the sanctimonious

a quiet pause the eye of storm
before the shrieks of laughter drown
in a crimson flash which melds with the red
that slowly seeps over the dampening soil

lifeless unclosed eyelids
pale cold outstretched hands
flaccid broken limbs
taut silent ashen lips
undone dreams

and the mothers rush in with tear filled eyes
a chorus of voices unable to comprehend
the instant that shattered their hope and lives

they kneel in the sand
kiss the unending horror
stroke the disheveled hair
clutch the limp bodies
which had held the promise
of a future that disappeared quicker
than their sobbing exhaled breath

only women can create the universe of life
and only they truly understand the meaning
when the candle is snuffed
and no more than darkness remains

Roger Humes

'Twas the night before Baghdad

Twas the night before Baghdad
And all through the base
Not a heartbeat was silent
Not a smile on one face
The soldiers at attention
Fists raised in the air
Saddam is a monster!
We must all go there!
So we loaded our planes
With our guns and our tanks
And we sent all the soldiers
To Kuwaits outer banks
From Kuwait, from Turkey
From Saudi and more
With battering rams
We knocked on his door
The Fedayin heard
All the military clatter
And ran to Saddam
To ask what was the matter
Don't worry he said
With a heartening ring
They financed my reign
They won't do this thing

We bombed all the buildings
Til the fires were glowing
While Baby Bush yelled
Keep the oil pipes flowing!
He should be a magician
Our Baby Bush, cuz you see
He created the biggest illusion
The WMD's
He lied to us all
About terror and pain
When all that he's after
Is monetary gain
For Daddy, and Barbara
And Baby Bush too
There is no such thing
As too much oil revenue
Some people believe
That it's for our own good
To bomb and to kill
To shed innocent blood
They sleep in their beds
Oblivious to lies
While we who have wakened
Hear bloodcurdling cries
Cries of our fathers,

Our brothers and sons
Sent to fight in a war
That cannot be won
We liberated them!
Our Baby Bush chimes
That is why they attack us
Time after time
With Christmas upon us
He steps up his work
Of campaigning again
The self serving jerk!
He’ll don his flight suit
He’ll have all his fun
Wishing “Merry Christmas! Keep fighting!”
And to all....Duck and Run!

Cynthia Anderson
Mother of a soldier

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Mclain Pray (American, age 17) 


 Massive protest blowing like sand,
To the recent outstretch of our hand
Clutters the capitals of the land. 

US, whose lives lack,
The treachery and suffering of those in Iraq,
Fail to see the aim of our attack. 

US only sees death and pain,
And to our steady government complain
Not realizing that which the world has to gain. 

Oil flows there once again,
But does not reward US for the win,
It gives hope to those there, within. 

A new country, patriotic, free, and pure,
Seeded in land once controlled by an evil ruler,
Is reborn….with a promising future. 

Let US regain the patriotism and purity which made US so grand,
And together in hope and love let US stand,
With a new free nation hand in hand. 

Poems from "Kaniex"


Her name is Samira
She is five

She sees the silver bird flying through a clear blue sky
It glints in the sun and catches her eye

Fifteen seconds pass slowly...

The sight brings happy memories to her mind
Little tinsel squares thrown at a joyous wedding
The tiny silver horse she had loved so much
in the bazaar
A sparkle of water in the market square

Ten seconds pass, a leaf falls gently...

She smiles and squints in the sun
and closes one beautiful brown eye
The better to see her silver bird fly

The bird makes a long slow arc
She loves the shape of the curve it makes
Like the curve of her arm shielding her eyes
Her thoughts go to her very own tree
And the soft shapes of its lovely limbs
And she thinks of the sound
Of the leaves at night
How they take her off to sleep

Five seconds of love and light remain...

The sun has warmed her to sleepy dreaming
Creeping under the shade of her protecting arm
And in playful loving and new thoughts waking
She touches her cheek
And runs to tell....

Copyright © Kaneix 2003


On the side of the 'bird' in large letters:
'From Uncle Sam' and a grin
The missile cost so many dollars
So many gifts that could have been...
Perhaps for ten thousand children
And two worlds so much nearer
But death from the sky could never bring
A tiny horse to our Samira

Having lost its track and trajectory
The maps of its mind don't work
And who will ever know why
It saw the house as a target
Was it lost and dreaming too?
And through a fever of confusion
A little village house
Seemed a better place to die
Than its sad mechanical mind
Too cold and lonely in the sky

Ten days go by in a fiery heat
before a GI passes by
Thinking of his lovely daughter
The apple of his eye
The bloody bones he tidies up
And throws them in the sewer
'Some damned unlucky Iraqi cat or dog'
Our world is now one fewer

Copyright © Kaneix 2003

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History mimicking art
That's all there is
There is no more
The clock is ticking down
Inexorably to war

Bush at his desk, fingers drumming
Blair with his kids, stares at the floor
The world watches the clock
Ticking down through 24

The time of slaughter
grows ever closer
To heart-rending screams
Of dying sons
And disfigured daughters

This time it’s for real
But in real time it’s not the president
But innocents who are in danger
In the cradle of civilization
Death comes from the sky
And the brutal stranger

24 hours
And the deadline looms
In every Bagdhad doorway
In 5 million rooms
The roulette wheel spins their fate
While the world holds its breath
And death can’t wait

The Amerikan smiles to think of killing
Such arrogance is its own fate
In the coalition of the willing
Willing partners forward hate

These 24 hours
are a deadline in the sand
Like the lines of dead
on the Basra road
The ghosts will return
ever more
To haunt America

Copyright © Kaneix 2003

Shock and Awe

Is it shock and awe we want?
To terrify those who have done us no wrong?
Almost half of Iraq's population
are aged 14 and under
Is it really our goal to horrify
and terrorise them?

Is it shock and awe we want?
To fill our hearts with hate
and lust for blood?
Do we want military songs
full of bravado, jingoism
and pride in killing?

Do we want to hear military men
talk of hammering the enemy
to screams of delight?
Is that what we want
raw hatred and desire to kill
and kill again?

Is that what you want in your heart?
If it is...

Are you any better than them?

Copyright © Kaneix 2003

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 By Dawns Early Light

By starlight
the skull flies off
spinning, crashing
by the tree bough
a rainbow of blood
like a peacock fan
lashes the sky

By moonlight
doves coo
side by side
warmed in down
in sleepy bliss

By headlight
a tiny body
makes an arc of grey
smashed by steel
broken bones
splinter in silence

By limelight
players create peace
men's hearts
softened by wit
and dreamy jest
long for what's right

By flarelight
broken bodies
lie mangled
legs butchered
and ragged
coils of colon
slick and gleaming

By candlelight
lovers stroke
warm skin alive
kissing warm dampness
moist in their passion
electric with feeling
soaring and blissful

By streetlight
a young man
scared almost witless
surrounded by hatred
is carved by a devil
tortured in cruelty
and knifed to numb coldness

By firelight
two friends
watch evening falling
dreaming of old times
awaiting the dawning

By gaslight
the ovens
are crawling with dying
herded to slaughter
from their loved ones
heaped like some debris
and buried like cattle

By dawnlight
the sun shines
on all that is human
the saint and the sinner
the thug and the saviour
by each ugly scarface
and each selfless martyr
a world that is waiting
each day
to be born

Copyright © Kaneix 2003

If you like you will find most if not all of the others under the name KANEIX at the following site:

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Poems from Raghab in Nepal

Ashamed Sun

Early morning when the sun comes up
And to it's misery finds the burning earth,
Hears the news of bomb-blast last night
Sun feels ashamed and tries to hide.
It calls the cloud to cover it through
And remembers the earth which used to be good.
Hiding from a corner, moon calls the sun
Tells the horrifying killings that went before the dawn.
Sun melts in tears but the truth is truth
It loves not to shine today and it seems to brood
The blame is on us my brothers, I say
Love and peace lies only on few prayers today.


War, The Riches Play

War, the fire, rich have lit
I see burning slums, burning streets.
Poor see themselves fry when they are alive.

What more to regret, how more to cry?
O ye human, O mighty big
Nay, never has war changed other's creed.
To love and live is what you declare
And throw few bombs but are you insane?
All are one and same, ye non the small
O ye fools don't use your intellect at all.
Deities are scared to see these battles
For they believed their creation would be kind and humble.
I hither and dither and find no ease
These hoary news sets my blood to freeze.
When shall sun enlighten these fools?
When shall god bestow us with his peace rule?

Save Our World

Beyond the horizon,
I can see the dusk
About to cover my pious world.
From all the lights my world
Passed by, hey people drag
Not my mother to darkness.
Where marriage crackers were nice
To be heard, blowing missiles and bombs
Is just a nerve-breaking affair.
Stop my brothers wherever
You live. Our mother is same,
The same breast we suckle,
On the same lap we sleep

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Notes on the subject of  A Message from Tony Blair to the People of Iraq , early June 2004.


The main purposes of this war were always clear to people who had read about what has happened in Iraq over the last fifteen years and have studied American foreign policy. They were not the policies announced to the British and American people by George Bush and Tony Blair. They were to take control of Iraq's oil. Privatise Iraq's state industries, install a puppet government, build American military bases, and hold the whole of the middle east under the American threat so that the oil will flow and no-one dare challenge the US. This can be read in American defence planning documents, but events show this to be entirely true.

Was the war against Iraq a success?

The first thing that needs saying about this war is that it was an unprovoked attack against a sovereign country. No threat was ever made by Iraq to either America or Britain. The war was a war of aggression and as such it was the most serious crime in international law. Those who planned it and justified it are war criminals.

The Judgement of the Nuremberg International War Crimes Tribunal (1945) stated, "To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime it is the supreme international crime." And, "To initiate a war of aggression is a crime that no political or economic situation can justify."  Even if Iraq possessed abundant quantities of weapons of mass destruction this would not have amounted to a justification for the war. Mass murder and mass mutilation cannot be justified morally or legally.

Iraq was not a threat to the west. In fact it was an extremely weak country and for all practical purposes it was defenceless.

From the point of view of Bush and Blair, so long as they escape arrest, yes, the Iraq war now appears to be a success. The main objectives appear to have been achieved.

    Following the bombing of Iraq by British and US planes in 1998 Saddam Hussein decided he would sell no more oil to America and Britain and he would trade oil in euros and not American dollars. Objective one of the war was to take control of Iraqi oil fields. This was done within days of the start of the attack. Oil is traded in US dollars. The oil industry in Iraq is run by US firm Haliburton. Iraq's contracts to supply oil to France, Russia, China, Germany and others were effectively terminated by the war.

    Business opportunities for US firms.

    On 19 September 2003. Paul Bremer, the US Governor of Iraq, announced in his order number 39 that 200 of Iraq's state industries and services including banks were to be privatised and sold to mainly foreign investors. They could buy from a war-torn country at bargain prices. There would be no requirement to invest profits back in Iraq. And corporation tax would be reduced from 40% to 15%. This move was undemocratic, totally against international law, and something very close to extreme robbery with extreme violence.

    More business opportunities for US firms.

    Bush's corporate sponsors have been given a great trade boost. It has been boom time for US weapons manufacturers, and for oil, construction and security firms who have been given huge contracts in Iraq.

    America has sent a message to governments in the region: co-operate with us or expect violent treatment. America has established new military bases in Iraq.

But aren't the Iraqi people now free?

Mass murder, gross abuse and theft. Having taken away the right to life of about 30,000 Iraqis in 2003 and 1.7 million by the imposition of sanctions 1991 to 2003, and having caused untold destruction in this period, and having maimed fifty thousand more, and having imprisoned over ten thousand Iraqis who were free under Saddam Hussein, and having used torture on a wide scale to crush opposition and perhaps even for the sadistic pleasure of it, and having increased unemployment from 50% to 70%, and having taken control of Iraq's key national asset plus many of Iraq's most important businesses and services you could say, that in a sense, Iraq is now free. But not free to control its economic destiny nor is it free to stop any military action the British and Americans choose to embark upon in Iraq. These are still in the hands of the American government. Iraq is now free to try to revive one of the most devastated and abused countries on the planet. It has not got a choice about whether or not it wants the American conquerors to have the contracts for rebuilding the country. It cannot stop the Americans taking Iraqi oil, not yet any way.

We could have helped and behaved decently

If we had wanted to help Iraq we could have done it years ago by ending the sanctions which killed hugely more people than Saddam Hussein ever did. Sanctions were a British and American crime committed in the name of the United Nations. I feel deeply ashamed of what we and our American allies have done to persecute the people of Iraq. Can we be surprised that there is intense anger against the British and American people when we condone behaviour which is in defiance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, and international law?

Rising death toll

The above was written in early June 2004. This month (November 2004) the death toll in Iraq has been estimated to be over 100,000. Today (Saturday 13 November) at the end of a week of bombing and blasting with tanks and machine gun fire the city of Falluja is in ruins. Water and electricity supplies were cut off at the beginning of the week. No food has entered the city since then. All medical facilities have been put out of action. Today's one o'clock news announced that 1600 insurgents had been killed. Who are these insurgents? They are men who are fighting to get rid of an enemy invader. In France in the Second World War such people were called the resistance and they were greatly admired for the risks they took and the way they fought against Hitler.

The US action today is building the resistance to their presence to greater and greater strength. They are at risk of incurring the anger of the entire Iraqi population. Even now, although we are told how grateful the Iraqi people are for bringing the end of Saddam Hussein. It is hard to see how they could be grateful for so much destruction of their country, so many deaths and so much suffering.

In September I went to a public meeting in Brighton. It was addressed by a ten year old Iraqi girl who had had a leg blown off by a British or American bomb. Eleven members of her family had been killed in the war. Fifteen hundred other children in Iraq are awaiting artificial limbs.

My member of parliament wrote to me when I complained about the war. He said, "I still believe it was the right thing to do."

David Roberts

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If you would like to know more about what has really been happening in Iraq over the past fourteen years UK readers might be interested in the 24 page pamphlet I wrote for Action for UN Renewal .

Pamphlet from Action for UN Renewal



Lessons from Iraq

The UN must be reformed

David Roberts

The UN has profound problems, but it can and must be reformed and saved

The task of the United Nations

Even Kofi Annan admits that the UN body set up "to maintain the peace and security of the world," the Security Council, lacks credibility. It cannot function effectively because, in spite of the noble efforts of many members its work is viewed around the world with sadness, or even contempt, anger or hostility.

The UN has failed Iraq

This pamphlet examines the astonishing failures of the UN Security Council in its dealings with Iraq and suggests reforms and remedies which may enable the Security Council to gain respect and fulfil its mission. Crimes against Iraq cannot be ignored and rogue members of the UN must be brought into line with UN principles.

There are tasks which both the UN itself and ordinary citizens everywhere can carry out in order to return the United Nations to its founding principles and help to ensure the survival and well-being of the human race.

See Action for UN Renewal website for modest cost and how to buy.


For even more detail about what has been done to Iraq read an outstanding book,

Behind the War on Terror, the Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq by Nafeez Ahmed, publishied by Clairview at £11-95

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First World War Poetry


Copyright, the authors©2003