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EXCEPTIONALISM

The Japanese Imperial Army’s

mistreatment of POWs

during World War II was a war crime.

The killing of Japanese civilians

in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

by the United States Army Air Force

was a geopolitical strategy.

 

Daily, on the tv screen, out of the sky

suffering comes: dust, flames, detritus,

outcries – and the living burdened, fleeing…

 

…Myanmar, Baghdad, Grozny, the fall

of Paris – long lines of people south

on the roads through the fields of the Beauce,

trying to scatter at the siren sound

of a Stuka bomber beginning its dive…

 

…as armies retreat or advance, casual

atrocities, private massacres

randomly uncovered, indicted,

transmogrified if necessary

by statecraft’s convenient amnesia…

 

I used to believe that if there had been

24/7 Live Updates from

No-Man’s-Land on the Western Front

or the VC tunnels in the forests

of Vietnam those conflicts would not have

lasted a week – but now I am not so sure

for someone, somewhere is gaining glory,

telling lies, making money out of this

the simple immorality of war.

 

© Copyright David Selzer
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