We sent soldiers to Iraq
Freedom defenders so we’re told
defending freedom
always at the point of
A gun

We sent soldiers
to where
in Alu Graib
bash, beat, abuse, humiliate
in the name of
protecting us from
terrorists, they say

We sent soldiers
To where
Soldiers kill
Spilling out
On soldiers’ boots
Every which way

We sent soldiers
to where US military rape
14-year-old girls
and kill
their families
and them
shoot and burn them up

We sent soldiers
to where at checkpoints
we’re told
they’re so stressed
stressed out
they rape and kill, these US military
Yet have the time to plan
and sit all day
the day
playing cards and dinking beer

How stressed
stressed out
to plan a rape because
a 14-year-old girl’s
caught your fancy

Fancy that
stressed out
Yet planning rape and playing cards and drinking beer


Our soldiers
in Alu Graib or not
are tainted
by these human rights abuses
Crimes by another name
Geneva conventions breached
as if
they do not count
in war
when war was what they were made for

Our soldiers
stressed out at checkpoints
or not
are tainted
by the rapes committed by
their allies
Our allies
in Iraq

For our soldiers
are not alone of course
we’re tainted, too
every one of us
Every singular last one of us
by the torture, rape, murder, killing
human rights abuses
Geneva conventions breached

every one of them our responsibility too

Yet Prime Ministers and Presidents
take to themselves the right
to send troops in
betray their own humanity
and ours
In war, killing, blatant crimes

Against women, children, civilians all
In our name

We stand responsible for both
for sending soldiers in to kill
for sending soldiers in to war
for sending soldiers in

When what they do
they may never have done at all
at home, here
had we not sent them


Jocelynne A. Scutt
14 August 2006

A poem

Jocelynne A. Scutt