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Joe's Cafe, 24/7 pit stop for ESL learners and teachers | June 2011
Egg's off, bacon's off, bread's off, tea's off. English is on though.

God Bless America. And Its Bombs

By William Blum (http://killinghope.org)

When they bombed Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, El Salvador and Nicaragua I said nothing because I wasn’t a communist.

When they bombed China, Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, and the Congo I said nothing because I didn’t know about it.

When they bombed Lebanon and Grenada I said nothing because I didn’t understand it.

When they bombed Panama I said nothing because I wasn’t a drug dealer.

When they bombed Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen I said nothing because I wasn’t a terrorist.

When they bombed Yugoslavia and Libya for “humanitarian” reasons I said nothing because it sounded so honorable.

Then they bombed my house and there was no one left to speak out for me. But it didn’t really matter. I was dead.

Joe | Saturday, June 4th, 2011 | Filed under Poetry

42 Responses to “God Bless America. And Its Bombs”

  1. ali says:

    in the name of god Amrica is a real crimmer because of killing millions of people around the world. today we hate US and like that the people of Amrica wake up and ask the government why this much of crimming? US has two way poloci for simmiular thing example the government of Libia & Bahrain are doinig the same crime both of them kill their peoples but US attack to Libia & protct from others.

  2. scuba066 says:

    Josef, you forgot to mention when the US entered WWII, bombed the Nazi’s and saved Britain from Hitler’s Blitzkrieg. Why does your history lesson only go back to 1945?

  3. Mary says:

    @scuba Perhaps because then it would have included the USA dropping the atomic bomb on civilians in TWO Japanese cities killing hundreds of thousands of men, women and children at a stroke.

  4. scuba066 says:

    Yes, the atomic bombs were terrible. However, the threat of additional atomic bombings persuaded the Japanese to surrender without an invasion of the Japanese islands. This “early” surrender saved thousands and thousands of allied soldiers lives and many Japanese lives. Prior to the atomic bombings, the Japanese Emperor vowed never to surrender and to fight to the death any invasion. In fact, the elderly Japanese were being organized and armed with wooden spears to fight an invasion. History is not a simply subject. The poem reduces history into a black and white over simplified form. Such an over simplification rationalizes hate towards others, as Ali’s comment demonstrates.

  5. Mary says:

    There’s a fair amount of “rational hatred” at the end of an atomic bomb, or even at the end of a Tomahawk missile. If history is not so simple, as you rightly say, why is it that 1) no other country comes anywhere near the amount of bombing that the USA has done and 2) the USA is the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons in anger?

  6. scuba066 says:

    Valid points Mary. Why don’t you compose a historical poem noting historical tragedies based on race and nationality? For fun, start with English, then, maybe German, lets go far back in history and look at the Turks/Ottomans and the Egyptians. So many tragedies to choose from. And of course, lets add religion to the mix. Lets write poems describing the horrors committed in the name of religions, christians, jews, muslems, hindu. Lets boil each down into a nice self indulgent poem and post it on the web. Does such behavior support or hinder an acceptance for others and other cultures? Does such behavior promote peace or continued hatred?

  7. scuba066 says:

    Yes, “God Bless Americans’ Bombs” is exactly what we need more of. Concise pithy statements that allow others to say “yes!, this is why I hate you!”

  8. George B. says:

    The poem by William Blum, who is I believe American, seems to have irked you Scuba.

  9. Mary says:

    What I don’t understand, Scuba, is why you think such a poem would generate hatred. It suggests that you think there is something wrong with bombing.

  10. seval says:

    I loved this poem.. one day it would be real. somebody in the USA kill their own people for humanitarian reasons or whatever.. somebody in the USA loves killing for any reason ….

  11. omer bilal says:

    Who could dare to discuss the terminology of ” terrorism ” ?

  12. panenka says:

    In my opinion, only the killed people were innocent, the others have been guilty. “the others” include me as well because I couldn’t or can’t or won’t be able to do anything to stop the money war. Where there is terrorism, the money with blood is over there.

  13. Elena says:

    Scuba, a few words about WWII. Some American companies sponsored nazi’s plants before the war and during the war. And US started to bomb the nazi only when became clear who was winner.

    But the poem is not about history. It’s about our apathy. We don’t think and say about some tragedies because it’s not threaten us and our families. But when it happens with us we’ll change our mind. It’s really sad.
    And one more thing. Wars start because of money, gold, oil, territory… And it does not matter who interferes to achieve the goal.

  14. Scuba says:

    Elena, your World War II historical timeline is not accurate.

  15. Elena says:

    Scuba, the first airstrike by US aviation in Western Europe was in august 1942. But really dangerous airstrikes in Europe started just in 1943. And second front was opened in 1944 but planned to open in 1942. What’s wrong? Of couse, I fogot about Pearl Harbor. It was in december 1941, but US declared war on Japan and didn’t begin fighting in Europe. What did I forget again?

  16. Audrey says:

    Bombing never solves problems. They just cause more problems. War is never an answer but a terrible evil. We need to learn to love each other.

  17. Hamideh says:

    Joe I was really touched reading these words,yet I can do nothing about it!

  18. pierre corso says:

    hello Joe and all friends
    The poem is simply great. I personally have nothing against US so far,my house is still in one whole piece and everyone inside is safe and sound.
    However, the poem is worth reflecting on,isn’t it ?

  19. Ana Semtylo says:

    I dunno, but it seems like WORLD HISTORY is full of “bombings”.

    Is there any nation on earth who never did anything wrong ?

    Should we play “chess” with the other humans on this globe who are not peace loving and who don’t have the benefit of our representative and peaceful form of government ? Or should we be isolationists.

    Can the U.N. or any other gov’t body REFORM HUMAN NATURE BY FORCE ? Isn’t that like ANIMAL FARM ??

    Wouldnot it be better to work concretely for good things than to write poems lumping together a whole bunch of disparate items in a childish way in order to complain about this country ?

    When I was 14 I would have cried over this poem.

    Things aren’t that simple any more. And I’m less manipulable.

    Sure we should get out of ALL foreign wars….or should we ?
    If we were VERY busy building THIS country up , and that includes DEFENSE and maintaining our chess position in the world, then we would not worry about our houses being bombed in the future.

    Oh, and then there’s that tiny new problem, the coming “Caliphate”.
    Hmm, North Korea, Egyptian virginity tests, Africans killing Africans, Churches bombed, lessee…
    But the problem is always America. Somehow everybody wants to come here, wonder WHY.

  20. Hishyar says:

    A real poet when tries to write a poem must watch what he or she composes in that poem,like mentioned when America bombed iraq he did not say anything because he was not a terrorist !are all Iraqian people terrorists?ok even if if their grown ups are,but what do you expect from infants,old people and and and,,,? Terror?fine if yot think so mr.poet.

  21. Patricia says:

    I think the poem wants to reflect what people generally do all over the world “It’s not my business so I donĀ“t say or do anything” until it happens to them and by that time it’s too late to do anything.
    So I belive the writer wants people to be aware of that situation and he wants us to change our minds.

  22. Roger says:

    I agree with #21. And like someone else said, it is not that simple anymore. War is more and more the solution but why? I think it is something that the cave man had to resort to but we are supposedly an advance society now. We are really just killing off ourselves more and more. As a volunteer in many different parts of the world, people really appreciate people in every country but not their gov’ts. So what is the direction for peace.. Probably not attainable..

  23. Nadira says:

    The poet highlights the hypocrisy of it

  24. dalida says:

    When I read the title, I thought you were one of those hypocritic ones who were born to clap hands for the tough; but then I relized that your thoughts Sir were so deep, so real and convincing except when you thought that bombing Iraq was to fight terrorism……for your own information we do consider SADDAM HUSSEIN as a martyr…by the way I’m not Iraqi

  25. Joe says:

    @Hishyar and @Dalida: I think that the poet understands that “terrorism” was just the excuse to bomb.

  26. miguel says:

    hi

  27. miguel says:

    im from colombia

  28. Henri says:

    Really dont like the poem. It sholdnt be posted here. very provocative!

  29. eladouany driss says:

    I do appreciate this poem .Words cannot convey what I feel. It is beyond analisis. You just read it and feel it.

  30. Alia says:

    Thanks, I feel good that someone can notice, understand, and feel the mistakes which are done by US government.

    This poem is not provocative as someone said. At least, I feel that some american people has open mind, pure heart, and could make change to stop this stupid actions from US government.

    Thanks again ..

  31. Zelalem says:

    Do you mean that if you had all the military might and get something that is against your economic or political benefits you would keep quite or rather get involved in a prolonged diplomacy which would finally end up with the same war? I know America had a lot of wars in many countries for many reasons. However, I don’t believe that any other country if got the same might would differ in its response, if not more.

  32. mariana says:

    What i would like to say, that USA is governing countries one after one not for honourable reasons as no one of them is reasonable or logic , but because it seeks to keep at the higher rank , to be the powerful country and controlling whole nations.
    “Oil” is what Usa aiming for . not the terrorists , neither any other big lie reason. and as it is known that the biggest quantity of oil exists in Gulf countries( Saudi Arabia, Iraq, yemen, Libya) and i don’t believe that now it is supporting the protestors over there because it is a democratic nation , but to find an excuse, a pretext to enter these countries under the title of” reforms”

  33. mariana says:

    briefly ” USA seeks to renforce the world to be governed under its waves by the help of the israeli ally”

  34. tony d says:

    The statement was published in a 1955 book by Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free.

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came%E2%80%A6

    The ripoff poem about “America’s Bombs” doesn’t incite as much reflection as the original, but does stir quite a bit of hatred, and purposely skews the facts in order to do so.

    By the way, the biggest exporters of oil to the US are Canada and Russia. It’s not about oil, it’s about security and stability. Hopefully the US will no longer have to act as “World Police”, and the UN will get some teeth. If they would have backed UN resolution 111, the world would be a better place, but left it to George W. Bush, and he did what he thought was right. Was he right? I don’t know, but I’m certain Saddam kicked UN weapons inspectors out of Iraq with evil intent.

  35. tony d says:

    Another thought about America’s bombs: Consider what would have happened if Japan had beat the US and created the first nuclear bomb. Would the world be a better place today? How about if the Nazis got it first?

    GOD BLESS AMERICA!

  36. tony d says:

    Also - please pardon my previous typo - it was UN security council resolution 1511 that the UN failed to uphold (not 111).

  37. Olga says:

    hell is paved with good intentions….
    unfortunately((

  38. yos ratha says:

    i love piece friendly

  39. yos pich says:

    i want to be a good teacher, because i like everyone.

  40. liv says:

    hey, you blum, it’s a rubish.

  41. SHIHA says:

    it is what the whole human world had to say…

  42. Vld says:

    Thanks. This is my story.

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