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A Visit From St. Barack


‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land
Not a creature was stirring in Afghanistan.
The bedrooms were bunkered with piles of hard stones
To protect from attacks by the Predator drones.
The children were huddled, afraid, in their beds
While visions of night raiders danced in their heads.

Mama doffed her hijab and I doffed my hat
And we both settled down for a rest and a chat
When out in the yard their arose such a clatter,
I sprang to the door to see what was the matter.
Away to the entrance I ran ‘cross the floor,
Pulled on the handle and opened the door.

The moon hadn’t risen but up in the air
A chopper was shining a light. Such a glare!
And what to my wondering eyes did appear
But a whole gang of men, armed and dressed in black gear.
With a tall skinny guy who was wearing a pistol,
I knew in a flash: it was General McChrystal.

More rapid than eagles his raiders they rushed
And they grabbed me and trussed me and kicked, hit and pushed.
“Frisk him! Blindfold him! Remove him! Get going!
And tear up his household! See what he’s not showing!”
They frightened my wife and my kids just for kicks,
And slaughtered my goats and a half dozen chicks.

Then away they transported me up in the air
To a far-off location and I still know not where.
They duct-taped my eyes and my arms and my feet,
And left me alone in a room with no heat.

That was a Christmas some four years ago,
And I’ve been in this hellhole so long I don’t know
What my hometown still looks like. I hear it’s all rubble,
From air-raids and car bombs and other such trouble.

But yesterday morning I was told by a guard
That I’m going home soon and should not take it hard.
It was all a mistake, they just had the wrong chap, and
Since my name is Achmed, well, “These things can happen.”
Now I hear that the head of the American nation,
Obama, has ordered an Afghan escalation.
He’s sending another 34,000 men
To ramp up the effort to “help us”…again.

In the spirit of the season, he said, by the way,
That the first of these new troops will arrive Christmas Day!
This Nobel Peace Prize winner thinks it’s just great
To unleash these new killers on that special date.

He and McChrystal both claim this invasion
Is to make us all safer and to build us a nation.
But how can that be when they’re raiding our houses,
and bombing our weddings and scaring our spouses?

You attack us with drones that kill innocents daily
Send out death squads to hunt us, and lock us to jail
Leaving families to worry if we’re even living,
While you torture us, starve us and then want forgiving

When it turns out, as with me, you got the wrong guy.
And meanwhile our families were left there to die
Because no one’s around to earn money for bread.
And you wonder why people want Talibs instead?

You say you have brought us democracy? Right!
If a corrupt drug cartel counts, then maybe you might
Have a point. But I think that Karzai and his kin
Are much closer to gangsters than they are to Abe Lincoln.

Merry Christmas America! Happy New Year!
Enjoy your days off. We’re in hell over here.
But I think you will find, as this old year is ending,
That your President’s “good” war is only beginning.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). He can be reached at

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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