May 2003 #5

What if They Hadn't Chosen War...

On that fateful sunny September morn

A country’s freedom was re-borne,

Reeling from four crashing planes

Across the world we felt their pains.

On that day their lives were changed

By just a few who seemed deranged.

They asked: "How could it ever be,

In this the land… of the free?"

Then soon came out their reply

Revenge! – and people are going to die.

Soon followed by the "axis" speech

No terror would be out of reach.

They’d picked a trio of those to hate

And set to bring about their fate,

No longer then a middle spot

You’re either with ‘em or you’re not.


They didn’t ask the reasons why

That those hijackers chose to die,

The country in a state of shock,

But their resolve was like a rock.

War on terror would last for years

And help allay the people’s fears.

Their confidence received a blow

Where would they take us who could know.


After using him years ago

This man they said now had to go,

They vowed to get him, Osama

From where he lived in lands afar.

They bombed him in Afghanistan

And chased him towards Pakistan,

They missed this man they thought so bad,

Then changed their sights towards Baghdad.


Propaganda did its part

It gave momentum for a start,

Then the whole thing grows and grows

Just like a snowball ‘cross the snows,

Strong rhetoric quickly took its toll

The war machine got on a roll.

Some in the media did comply

‘Twas hard to know what’s truth or lie.


So from the land of a billion guns

They brought bombs of 1,000 tonnes,

They settled down in the desert there

And cooly planned the whole warfare.

Firing missiles that were so smart

Into Baghdad, Iraq’s heart,

Explosions in both day and night

They gave civilians an awesome fright.


But, why the need to act so fast?

Not learning lessons from the past,

Like the despised Shah of Iran,

Then the horrors of Vietnam.

When they rid of Allende

Replacing him with Pinochet,

And at the end of Gulf War 1

Let down the Shi’ites and homeward run.


Was it impending summer heat

That put their soldiers on their feet?

Before the UN’s job was done,

Ah well they said: "We’re number one!"

So we and our allies won’t be harmed

We’ve got to get Iraq disarmed,

And all the world has got to know

It’ll be us, who runs the show.


Weapons were said the catalyst

For them to show their mighty fist,

But they didn’t give UN’s Dr Blix

The time to do his weapons fix.

Then they stated the time to seek

For weapons won’t just be a week,

Well, they said: "it could be a year"

That span for Blix we did not hear.


They bombed and bombed and bombed Baghdad

Because Saddam he was so bad,

Some payloads though they missed their mark

And hit civilians in the dark.

Destruction, death, all those shattered limbs

While those back home were singing hymns,

Praying and saying that their God

Would soon give them the winning nod.


Coalition soldiers, they fought well

And blew Iraq’s fighters to hell,

With numbers, skill and expertise

With massive arms, they won with ease.

Bush, Blair and Howard praised them high

And boasted only a few did die,

But we scarcely heard a sound

Of 5,000 civilians, dead on the ground.


Not only people had got it bad

Museums too, it was so sad,

More than just people getting killed

Ancient relics, they were spilled,

Stemming from aggressive acts

The smashing of ancient artefacts;

And even looting at Baghdad zoo

The animals, they suffered too.


Did you hear about young Ali,

And the death of all his family?

Bandaged up and lying in bed

Without care he’d soon been dead.

So when embarrassed about his fate

They flew him straight out to Kuwait.

Now this dear 12 year old boy

Alive ‘n struggling to find life’s joy.


Ali Abbas had lost each arm

When all his family came to harm,

Now Ali must face his life

With a mind that’s webbed with strife,

And during all his painful nights

He remembers those dreadful sights.

No mum and dad and siblings dear,

No family now to give him cheer.

And all those children just like Ali

That we will probably never see,

Their lives are just as sad as him

Whether ravaged mind or missing limb.

For near 10 years they’d suffered long

So Iraq could not be strong,

And while the West it just sat back,

Its place in history turning black.


Now let’s say there’d been no Iraq war

And it’s year twenty twenty-four,

The Ba’ath party’s long been shed

And Saddam is long since dead.

His cronies gone or gaoled for life

And in Iraq there is no strife,

Using international law

Saddam’s weapons were no more.


The world’s a more peaceful place

‘Cause they didn’t try to save face,

Evening up after 9 11;

Instead they chose to drop the gun.

As well they looked right deep inside

Their flaws they didn’t try to hide,

They asked all others to do the same

To open up, and show their shame.

9 11 became a terror halt

Not using it to find fault,

It’s a focus for peace and care

And understanding we all now share.

All religions, race and creeds

Countries no more see the needs,

For the automatic choice to kill

Now they show a kindly will.

Power, ego and killing are passed

No more war, we’ve had our last,

The country that was number one

It doesn’t want to use the gun.

They’ve done so much now for change

They’ve led the world to re-arrange,

Consideration… it is so clear

Between cultures there is no fear.


Ali has now reached thirty three

And he has his own family,

There are grandparents for his own

Ali Abbas is not alone.

He has always studied well

And his future he can tell,

An engineer, he has progressed

He can work and he can rest.


Sadly though, it didn’t go that way,

Our precious world was led astray.

Because they choose to have a fight

And bombed civilians in the night,

Ali has needed constant aid,

But Ali’s memories do not fade.

He still hears the cries and screams

His life is just elusive dreams.


Twenty-one years have now gone by

Ali the man still needs to cry,

And after all these passing years

He has machines to wipe his tears.

Still grieves about his family dead

And his body that was shred,

He thinks: "at least I am alive,

So many others did not survive".

Now let’s go back to the 1st Gulf War

When Bush Senior he closed the door,

On the southern Shi’ites stand

To break free from Saddam’s hand.

That US President feared the fate

Of Iraq, an Islamic state;

So he just sent his soldiers home,

And left the Shi’ites all alone.


Saddam’s cruel army then travelled down

To smash the Shi’ites town to town,

Two hundred thousand soon were dead,

All the ground with blood was red.

Saddam’s revenge it was so harsh

He even drained their homeland marsh;

The green became a barren land,

Stunted growth and shifting sand.


Senior Bush sure got it wrong

And after all those twelve years long,

Iraq’s Shi’ites start to feel free

In the year of twenty zero three.

But the US says they’re linked to Iran

To leading Mullahs in Tehran,

They’ve warned that country to stay away

Or they too, might see their day.


Let’s think back five years or so

A leader we began to know,

To the election of President Khatami

And his reforms for all to see.

But the "axis" speech set them back years

And Khatami he suffered jeers,

When Junior Bush he said it strong,

He said Iran was doing wrong.


So Bush turned back the clock 10 years

To all the hatred, untrusting fears,

Stemming from the shah of hate

That led to the Islamic state.

Talks with Iran would have been smart

Instead of threats right from the start.

It’s time to change now – don’t you think?

It’s time to lead, not swim or sink.

Mr Bush, you’ve got a choice

Where your country has a voice,

Though not the world to dominate

Or of the peoples to dictate.

The USA should show the lead

Where no-one ever needs to bleed,

Why not strive for respect and love

Less like a hawk, and more a dove.

This story’s not meant to criticise,

Just to open up some eyes.

Death and destruction are like hell

Over time, not sustainable.

There must be a better way

Where people all can have their say,

And countries living in kind accord,

No need to ever draw the sword.


Let’s take a moment now to see

About this word… democracy.

It means people present their view

And have it truly listened to,

But most important it should be stated

To have these views prop’ly debated,

Next modify for joint consent

Giving an outcome with intent.


But since that sad September day

When people’ve tried to have their say,

And analyse why it did occur;

They’re told be quiet, that’s a slur.

If questioning how it all began

They’re accused: anti-American!

That’s not freedom that people are due,

In a democracy that ‘s true-blue.


But a war on terror Bush has declared,

His enemies to feel scared,

And while he says US is blessed,

There are so many still oppressed.

That just makes them frustrated

And many of them are early dead,

Do something about it for them all

Then you really will stand tall.


Of course the terror must be stopped

The terror branches must be chopped,

But don’t just try to seal their fate

Stop too, the terror of the state;

The style that’s led to many faults

The coups, the killings; electric jolts.

And consider why the suppressed rebel,

Their lives are nothing more than hell.


When you try to set up fake regimes

To satisfy your country’s dreams,

It doesn’t help you in the end

Because attacks you’ll have to fend.

You’ll need to just come back one day

To fix up the resultant fray,

And in the intervening phase

Hope and trust, you will erase.

So the US won’t have to restore

Mistakes it’s made, any more,

Get it right, from right now

A War on Error will show you how.

Not missiles cruel, but smart ideas smart

Try empathy, for a start;

Please not a fight with tank and gun

But just a fair deal… for everyone.


(Chorus – when sung with backing:

What if they hadn’t chosen war

So they could even up the score

What if they hadn’t rendered fear

A lot of lives would still be here.)


© Bob Irwin June 2003