Friday, November 27, 2009

The Iraq Inquiry

The British government has begun an inquiry into its involvement in the Iraq war. Former Prime Minister Tony Brown will be questioned, among others. The general tenor of the inquiry is curiously accusatory, as if it is admitting the war was lost, or at least not worth the expense of men and money. It reminded me of Philip Larkin's poem, "Homage to a Government":

Next year we are to bring the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
Must guard themselves, and keep themselves orderly.
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.

It’s hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it’s been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.

Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it’s a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.

10 January 1969

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