I like to torment my children by reading poetry to them. While perusing Hillaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales For Children, (1907) I found the following, which I have brought up to date by adding one letter to the title.
WHO PLAYED WITH A DANGEROUS TOY, AND SUFFERED A CATASTROPHE OF CONSIDERABLE DIMENSIONS.
(upon the dangerous toy exploding…)
The Lights went out! The windows broke!
The Room was filled with reeking smoke.
And in the darkness shrieks and yells
Were mingled with Electric Bells,
And falling masonry and groans,
And crunching, as of broken bones,
And dreadful shrieks, when, worst of all,
The House itself began to fall!
It tottered, shuddering to and fro,
Then crashed into the street below –
Belloc ends the poem by simply stating “The moral is that little Boys should not be given dangerous toys.”
We are the company we keep. Our PM is fraternising with a man who led his nation, and ours, to war based on five falsehoods. Weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist, links between Saddam Hussein and Al Quaeda when one was secular and the other fundamentalist, Iraq, he said, posed a threat to its neighbours, each of whom had superior military powers, Saddam Hussein, we were told, with his antiquated and exhausted military, posed a real and present danger to the juggernaut United States and finally, altruistically, George W wanted "liberate" the Iraqi people.
But all of that is old news and I am merely joining the long queue of Bush Bashers.
As John Howard and George W approached the media throng last week, their dual images beamed into my lounge room on the six o’clock news, I couldn’t help but notice the matching blazers, the twin pale-blue shirts, their button down collars jauntily askew – the absence of a necktie on both of them seemed to say, “We do more than just business, we’re pals.” And while giving our PM a verbal pat on his bald pate, George W declared their hair to be their only difference.
In the daily deluge of stories from Iraq it’s easy to forget this started (sort of) in 2001, as one plane and then another crashed into the twin towers when with dreadful shrieks and worst of all, the House of George began to fall.
At tables lit by 19th century candelabra and dressed in pistachio-coloured silk cloth, feasting on squash soup and barramundi, our PM toasted the President “a world without a dedicated, involved America will be a lesser world, a less safe world, a more precarious world."
Elsewhere, in our precarious world, in the darkness shrieks and yells were mingled with electric bells, and falling masonry and groans, and crunching, as of broken bones as another 36 liberated Iraqis were added to the daily body count.