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Homage to a Government (once again)

7:13 PM, Jan 6, 2011 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Defense Secretary Robert Gates today tried to put the best face on the White House’s decision to enforce on the military additional cuts beyond an already stringent defense budget, and beyond the reductions Gates had already volunteered. So the military, having uniquely in the government received almost no stimulus funds, and having uniquely already volunteered some spending cuts, now faces a reduction in the end strength of the Army and the Marine Corps, among other things. 

Well, hey, it’s a peace dividend. Only we’re not at peace.

Perhaps I can, as I did once before at a low point during this administration, invoke the brilliant, and mordant, 1969 Philip Larkin poem, "Homage to A Government:

Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
Must guard themselves, and keep themselves orderly.
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.

It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.

Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it's a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.

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