Take Up Obama’s Burden
News Report: Obama Stops Afghan Withdrawal; Troops Will Stay — October 15, 2015
(Originally written in 2009, with apologies to Kipling —
But This Doggerel Will Still Hunt)
No more the White Man’s Burden,
That phrase won’t fly today.
It has to be re-packaged
If we’re to make it play.
Let’s speak of “the Imperative,”
And “nation-building” too,
A bow to Nine-Eleven
Should help to push it through.
Be sure to mention brand-new schools,
Young girls who shed the veil;
The sacred war for “hearts and minds’ —
How could we let that fail?
The Afghans, they can’t help themselves,
Else they’d be done by now.
But Bagram and Guantanamo,
Still help to show them how.
So take up Obama’s burden,
Send our best of every hue
To an endless war in a distant land —
They’ll die for me and you.
The drone strikes here, the rockets there,
The Rangers’ slashing blade;
Pile bodies in the village squares
To mark the progress made.
What if it takes a score of years,
A flood of casualties?
At tunnel’s end a light will show
Our exit strategies.
We’re sure to win this Afghan war,
Our generals know it well.
But what’s the toll, the price-tag there?
Of that, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
We’ll hunt the poppy-growing warlord,
The scheming Taliban.
Where Britain stumbled, Russia failed–
We’ll triumph: Yes, we can.
— Chuck Fager
PS. If you’re unfamiliar with Kipling’s original, read it here.