From Warren Berger’s blog in the USA, a new version of this original:
Twas the Night…
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Iraq
Not a creature was stirring; no sign of attack.
The soldiers were sleeping; their dreams filled the air.
They envisioned their homes, and saw themselves there.
Whilst I was on watch, trying hard not to doze;
But losing that battle, my lids started to close.
Then out in the desert, there arose such a clatter;
I sprang up prepared, to deal with the matter.
And what, to my wondering eyes, should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, with eight tiny reindeer.
The driver had white hair, his cheeks plump and ruddy;
And soon I did know him — an old and trusted buddy.
“Murtha!” I cried out in shock, “what brings thee to I-raq?”
He said to me, “It’s Christmas — and I’ve come to bring you back.”
This welcome news did fill me, with a great and joyous urge;
Though I wondered about my mission, and about that final “surge.”
He said to me, “Your mission’s done; you served it well and true.
You’ve followed every order, and done all you can do.
And now it’s time to come on home, and get back to your life.
You cannot end the bloodshed here, you cannot quell the strife.”
I had to nod at good old John; I knew that he was right;
And in my heart, I also knew: I’d no more wish to fight.
“But how will you take us all?” I asked. “You’ve only one small sleigh.”
He laughed “ho-ho” and pointed — to the others on the way.
He waved at all those drivers, and called out loud and clear:
“Come Harry and come Nancy. Come Hillary — have no fear!”
They all drove up, in their sleighs, still tentative yet cheerful.
But I noticed some faces missing, and it made me a bit fearful.
“Where’s Cheney, and where’s Rummy? And where’s our old pal Joe?”
John smiled soon as he heard this, and answered, “Don’t you know?
They’re safe at home in their comfy beds, with nary a thought of you.
They’re dreaming up new half-baked plans — for things we must never do.”
I summoned all my sleeping mates, who rubbed their tired eyes;
We climbed into those little sleighs, and rode into the skies.
Murtha led the whole way back, with stops at many a door;
Where each soldier was left off at home, to stay forever more.
I was brought home last of all, to join my wife and son;
I hugged them for a good long time, and then I turned to John.
But he’d already left my door, and was sailing in mid-flight;
I heard him cry, “Merry Christmas to all — and to all, good night.”
And after that came peace on earth, until I heard the crack
Of a fresh new round of gunfire — I awoke, still in Iraq.
From the Stop the War Coalition (Britain):
NOT ONE MORE DEATH
TODAY – Tuesday 31 January 2006 a British soldier was killed in Iraq.
This is the 100th British soldier to die in Iraq.
5 PM TODAY – Parliament Square – to name the dead
WEDNESDAY evening – every town and city in the UK – protests and vigils
100 – a sadly significant statistic for this country, to be added to the many tens of thousands of other victims of Tony Blair’s ‘blood price’ – Iraqis, Americans, British and others.
We must stop this madness now before these Bush / Blair wars spread any further.
Londoners come to Parliament Square this evening to ‘name the dead’ and tomorrow attend demonstrations and vigils across the country.
Message from Rose Gentle (mother of Fusilier Gordon Gentle, killed in Basra on 28 June 2004):
“Soldiers in Iraq have told me they don’t want to be there. They want to come home.
They have told us to step up our campaign of resistance to this government’s war policies.
We must act now, bring the troops home and end this illegal occupation.”
See also here.
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