It's been almost a year since THE WEEKLY STANDARD quoted Philip Larkin’s great 1969 poem, “Homage to a Government." Yesterday the Obama administration released its 2015 defense budget, shrinking the Army to its lowest size since 1940 and reducing base defense spending to less than 3 percent of GDP. It's time once again for Larkin.
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,
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.