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Lawrence R. Velvel: Let Us Now Praise Honest Men

Re: Let Us Now Praise Honest Men.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
March 6, 2007

It is often said that truth is dead
When “the guns begin to shoot.”
Truth is mute, maybe moot,
When the important point
Is to anoint
Those who face mortuary or reliquary;
Who must shoot and wound and maybe kill
Arabs -- who pay the butcher’s bill;
Or bomb a village --
Which we would never, never pillage;
And may lose an arm, a leg, or more,
Or leave bits of brain on an Iraqi floor.
No, when this is what we face
All must salute who are in our place,
And cheer the leaders Bush and Cheney
And ignore their many lies profaning
What once was hoped a nation moral
Or at least partially,
What once was hoped a nation honest,
Or at least passably;
Where torture was thought beyond the pale
Of what could be done in Iraq or jail;
And lies from government might excite
Immediate obloquy as a blight
On the escutcheon of what we thought was right,
Where the lies of Johnson inspired hate,
The lies of Nixon, Watergate,
And the lies of Clinton plain contempt
For one of tongue so strangely bent.

Thank God we’re now sophisticated
And have learned to love a war we hated.
One that will not be abated,
Or mitigated,
Or terminated
By Congress --
Not because it lacks the guts --
Oh no. Rather because it’s seen the light:
Protect the troops by making them fight --
By making them face the improvised shell
Designed to blow them all to hell
In trucks and Humvees with armor lacking,
Or on foot patrols without the backing
Of Iraqi soldiers worth a damn,
Who won’t in a fight go on the lam;
While our troops know the next stop’s Iran.
As once it was Viet Nam,
And before the Bomb, imperial Japan.

This Congress of our admiration,
The best we can buy in this whole nation,
Gives us candidates for President
Who must be from heaven sent
In the sense that Lincoln meant
In March, 1865: that is, as punishment
Visited upon the guilty.
There is John McCain,
Now of Letterman fame.
Of two admirals a descendant,
A warrior transcendent(?)
Who hasn’t met a war he didn’t like,
And the number of troops wants to hike.
To what? 200,000? 300,000? Still more?
The theory being: more deaths till we win the war;
Who regrets nothing that he’s done, I’m guessing,
Except for being bought by Charles Keating.
And then, of course, there’s Hillary.
Whose tongue makes Bill’s look straight;
With major liars she does rate
(According to Geffen).
Ah, a perfect type to nominate
Since experience with liars is so great,
And we would hardly know what to do
With a leader who feels what she says should be true.
Make no mistake: Hillary made none,
And does not regret what she has done,
When she voted for war
On the basis of what she knew then,
Of what she was told by lying men,
The type with whom she had much experience,
Yet to whom she gave great deference,
And of whom she asked few questions
Though they’d order thousands of deaths in a forlorn cause
Unless the vote of Congress forced a pause,
If not an outright stop;
Thus showing yet again,
As so often before on her long ascent,
That she would do anything to be the wife of,
And then be, the President.
This is the kind of person we should want --
Would you rather we were honesty’s haunt?
Or the kind of people who won’t lie to advance --
To become king or queen of whatever their dance? *


This posting represents the personal views of Lawrence R. Velvel. If you wish to comment on the post, on the general topic of the post, or on the comments of others, you can, if you wish, post your comment on my website, All comments, of course, represent the views of their writers, not the views of Lawrence R. Velvel or of the Massachusetts School of Law. If you wish your comment to remain private, you can email me at

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