San Fran State Poetry competition final

BEWARE. These poems are deeply graphic and contain language of great pain and sensitivity brought on by the US invasion of Iraq… Sensitive readers may wish to avoid reading some of these powerful passages…

As a part of the Creative Writing Department curriculum, more than a hundred and fifty SFSU students were forced to attend this collective primary delusion presented as a poetry reading. Unfortunately, the weakness of the poets

It’s all about balance Fred. They are the Cassandras to your Pollyanna. They stuck on means, you on ends.

By the way, when you were in boot camp and they taught you to bayonnet dummies, your instructors never meant that you should only ever attack straw men. :wink:


All right I am a Pollyanna for pointing out that despite the Cassandras frightened cries:

No one’s rights have been lost under the Patriot Act.
The US Constitution is not under threat.
We did not get bogged down in the graveyard of empires in Afghanistan.
We have captured or killed two-thirds of al Qaeda in two years.
We have captured Saddam.
There has been no civil war for a whole year in Iraq.
Our troops did not get bogged down.
There is no quagmire.
The museum was not looted to the degree claimed. Much has been recovered.
The water, power, hospitals, schools have exceed pre-war levels.
The US has not been hit by any new terrorist attacks.
The international order is actually stronger because of the US action.
Russia caved.
Germany caved.
France is marginalized and caving in all but name.
The US$35 billion the US wanted to raise? Got only US$33 billion.
Turkey did not get involved in northern Iraq.
Iran did not invade or get involved in the conflict.
Musharrif is still in power.
Saudi Arabia is reforming.
Saudi Arabia did not collapse.
The Arab Street did not rise.
There were no 7 million to 9 million refugees in Afghanistan. In fact, 2 million refugees returned to the country.
There was no refugee or humanitarian crisis in Iraq.
Chemical, biological and nuclear weapons were not used.
Most of the top Iraqi leadership has been captured.
Iraq’s economy will grow by 35 percent this year according to the World Bank.

So just what am I being Pollyannish about here?

I don’t know about pollyana, but I’m surprised this poem didn’t win a prize at the big contest.


 by George W. Bush 

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It’s a world of madmen and uncertainty
and potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the internet
become more few?

How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the
pantleg of opportunity.

I know that the human being
and the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope,
where our wings take dream.

Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize Society!
Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher!

Pollyanish: a person showing irrepressible optimism, with a tendency to see only the good in things

Your list is worthless Fred - it’s not an argument , or even a position - and I’m not going to get bogged down with it. Besides, I’ve several times countered with my own lists of just what wrong in Iraq and you ignored those.

The problem with your postion Fred is that you are implying that everything has gone according to plan. Gone according to wishes is more like it. Yes, the Arab street didn’t rise up, yes, there was no great humanitarian crises (at least compared to the permanent crises of life under Hussein), but are you telling me that neocons knew all this would happen? Based on what? The same intelligence that lead you to believe there were WMD in Iraq?

You can’t have it both ways Fred. You grease your way out of the troublng WMD issue by saying that most governments around the world believed Iraq had WMD. (Even though, of course, the most current intelligence before the war, by UN inspecters, was suggesting the exact opposite - forgotten that point Fred?) But then when the issue turns to the legitiate fears of many that an invasion of Iraq would create more troubles, you laugh suggesting that neocons knew all along this wouldn’t happen. How did you know? If you based your conclusion on intelligence then you know just how damn lucky you are seeing how bad and unreliable we have seen most Iraqi intelligence to have been.

The point is Fred, you should be wiping your brow rather than gloating that things have gone as well as they have. It could just as easily have gone the other way. There was simply no way of knowing the outcome beforehand. Your government took a huge gamble based on grossly inadequate information. And they won. However, the usual reaction to winning big on pure luck is gratitude not feelings of superiority.


I believe that you have failed to read my postings with any understanding. Where have I ever said that wmds was a major issue for me? We know now that the wmds may never have existed but every agency in the world (not just the US) believed that he had them. This was a side issue for me and not the main reason to invade. It certainly helped. Okay, the wmds are not there but we also know for SURE that he will never again develop them don’t we? Yes, there were problems as there are problems with every plan but you react when you face new variables. Companies and governments do this each and every day with marketing, sales, etc. so why not our plan for Iraq.

I merely point out that the number of Cassandras has far exceeded the number of Polly Annas and I quite frankly do not see why this has failed to capture the attention of the world public. After all, how much credibility does the media have left?

Now where else have we been wrong? And how have we failed to address those mistaken forecasts or perceptions? We are winning. We always planned to leave 35K to 50K troops in Iraq just like South Korea, Germany and Japan. There, US troops have been stationed for 60 years. What part of this did you not understand when we discussed it before the invasion.

In the meantime, we have to wonder about the reason for the steady drumbeat of outrage and cynicism. Do you want Iraq to fail just to prove George W. was wrong about invading? or would you rather look at how much things have improved despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth? If we were wrong, why have Russia and Germany accommodated us completely now and France is sidelined and silent? Looks like it was they who were wrong not us. Or why do they all have official government policies requiring that they respond pre-emptively to wmd threats now? Why have they quietly given into the realities, especially when Saddam was captured? I really do wish that we could find out a bit more about where Saddam’s oil went and who benefited. We have a long list already but… surely something tying Chirac into this directly would be nice and sweet vindication.

Yes, I am an optimist. Trouble looms ahead. Lots of it, but the overall direction is now positive. Might I add to the list that oil production is set to surpass prewar targets as are exports of oil, that means US$15 billion in revenue next year. Sounds pretty good to me.


The Bush administration’s claims that the US would be greeted as liberators, that Saddam had WMD and we KNEW where they where, are excused. The media’s mistaken prognoces, however, are to be damned. They said things that didn’t turn out to be true. Why how can they have any credibility?

To turn your own rhetoric on you Fred, oh right, where is thy consistency?

It is lovely that WMD and Saddam’s threat to the west, were not major issues for you. But it wasn’t just you paying for the war. And all those millions who believed there was a genuine threat to them, and who only agreed to military action to stop that threat, have a right now to ask if they were cheated. I’m not saying they necessarily were, but it usually takes more than the assurances of the person you have doubts about to ease your doubts.

Oh, right. Where is thy common sense?

That’s very reassuring Fred. Let’s hope that the intelligence they receive about such threats are a little more credible this time.

A little soul searching from the right was in order after the WMD fiasco. Why were we so wrong? If we were so wrong about this what else were we wrong about? What do we really know? Have we pushed the facts too hard or slanted them to fit our goals?

Oh right, where is thy logic?

Cute Muzhaman:

No wmds have been discovered. That does not mean that the perception of a real and growing threat was wrong. Regardless, compare the cooperation that Qadaffi is giving with Saddam’s behavior. I never said that was the main issue with me so take it up with those that did.

Second, the US has been welcomed as a liberator all over Iraq, just not in the Sunni triangle but you knew this right? So 10% of the territory of Iraq is causing problems and that is supposed to mean that we were wrong in our assessments. Not entirely right but all plans are adjusted believe it or not. Perhaps even in your own life Muzhaman, you may occasionally well decide that something in your life needs to be changed. Should we therefore sue you for inconsistency? Look at the overall direction not the day to day fluctuations.

To date, since the start of the war and including all accidents and suicides, the US has lost 550 people in Iraq. How exactly is this a disaster? Compare that with the number of police and firemen’s deaths in say California during the same time and the number is not so shocking. Again, this is not to discount any life etc. nor to say Iraqi life is worth less than American life so spare me the shrill outrage in this area. But by any standards that would be a complete and utter fucking success.

We have spent US$60 billion this year. We raised US$20 billion from other countries. We have nearly 50 countries involved in helping us out. The only major exceptions are Germany, France and Turkey and the latter wanted to help but the Iraqis did not want it. So what exactly went wrong here? Go back and reread the Neocon manifesto published in the Atlantic and other magazines prior to the war. They all claimed that this would be a long term effort similar to South Korea, Germany and Japan, and would cost US$100 billion the first year, but it has been much cheaper. Now perhaps YOUR impressions are different because you have been reading only the mainstream media. Now how can this administration be blamed for the impressions that the media is giving? Look at how much the media has gotten wrong? I do not hear you screaming for the media’s head do I? So the US got the wmds wrong when every intelligence agency in the world believed that Saddam had such weapons. So 10 percent of the population did not welcome us with palm fronds? So what? But the media has been like 80 percent wrong and you give them pass after pass after pass. Why is that?

The IAEA has been wrong about weapons development in North Korea, Pakistan, Iran and Libya but they get pass after pass after pass.

The UN has been unable to deal with such conflicts or prevent such dictators from developing weapons or murdering millions in Rwanda, Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia, Kurdistan, etc etc. but they get pass after pass after pass from you.

Essentially I hear that the US was wrong about one thing and partially wrong about another but crucify the administration because we were wrong wrong wrong 1.2 times? Get a grip.