On Oct. 23, 2006, I wrote to The Pilot and asked the editor at the time to publish my haiku, a protest against the war in Iraq. Fortunately, for those who love the sophisticated poetic arts, it was not printed.
From that time to this, I abandoned such “dangling conversations.” Creating “couplets out of rhyme” did not appear to be my best asset. I decided instead to employ annoying alliteration and paradoxical prose to confound my readers. But — just for today — I changed my mind.
This past week our government confirmed that it would soon draw down its troop commitment to Afghanistan. A “peace plan,” coded Washington talk for “surrender,” was almost ready for acceptance. On July 29, Reuters reported a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the withdrawal would be timed to be completed prior to the next presidential election.
I should not have been surprised. It was consistent with President Trump’s belief that our two-
decade War Against Terrorism has killed many more Americans than did Osama Bin Laden. It has done little to keep us safe. And its major accomplishment, a secret court known as the FISA Court, did little more than support a deep state coup against Trump himself.
When I heard the news, it jolted my aging, but still functional long-term memory. It revived anxiety and perhaps a little dismay that my haiku was never printed. So, I decided to place it here, hoping my editor would have mercy on my lack of poetic talent.
A Haiku of War — American Style
What is the next “Decent Interval”?
For those too young to understand, “Vietnamization” was the American plan to draw down our Southeast Asian commitment to combat. The plan was to train South Vietnamese soldiers to take over the American role of keeping the North Vietnamese communists from winning the Vietnam War. The term “Decent Interval” came from a 1977 book by Frank Snepp, the CIA’s chief strategy analyst on the scene when Saigon fell. The term referred to the time between our peace agreement with North Vietnam and the eventual, inevitable victory of the Vietnamese communists. It referred to the passage of time that was supposed to shield American politicians from blame for defeat. All of that could now be blamed on the corrupt government and ineffective army of South Vietnam.
Snepp’s thesis was that everyone (at least those below ranks at CIA) knew that the war was lost. Henry Kissinger’s peace plan was designed only to “save face” and create a ‘decent interval” for plausible denial.
In 2006, I predicted (and others did too) that the United States would eventually get kicked out of Iraq by an Islamic State. Of course, I was not predicting ISIS. I wasn’t that smart. Instead, I thought that the Shia in Iraq would join the Shia in Iran to make the U.S. exit painful. As it turned out, history did not repeat itself … exactly. But, it was “close enough for government work.”
Similar to Vietnam, we “Iraqi-ized” the war. We trained the Iraqis to defend themselves with the best of American weaponry. And, similar to Vietnam, when the American trained troops were confronted with enemy soldiers, they collapsed, leaving much of their armament in the field.
Unlike its capitulation in Vietnam, the United States re-entered the Iraq war. Americans beat back the Islamic State but did nothing to stop the Iranian take-over of the Iraqi government. The United States still lost the Iraqi War to Iran in the decent interval after the ouster of Saddam Hussein and subsequent to the declaration of peace.
Now, again, we are about to lose another war, the Afghan War. President Trump is about to withdraw and declare peace. There will again be a “decent interval” between the pact with the Taliban and the opening of Islamic re-education camps. As before, the planting of new killing fields will not be far behind.
So, I created new somewhat longer, revised verse and corrected some grammar. It probably no longer qualifies as a haiku, but still has meaning. Think about it.
Dien Bien Phu, Americanization
Tet Offensive, Vietnamization
Ho Chi Minh City, Iraqi-ization
Islamic Republic, Afghan-ization
Take it back Taliban
When is the next “Decent Interval”?
Contact Robert M. Levy at Law52@Prodigy.net.