<em>"The hour is coming when America will act" - George W Bush (With apologies to Bob Dylan)</em>

"There must be some way into there," said the General to the Chief,

"There's too much effusion, there's anger and there's grief.

Newspapers, they print the lines, they circle round the earth.

None of them can quite define what human lives are worth."

"No reason to be affrighted," the Chief he boldly spoke,

"There are many here among us who see the world through clouds of smoke.

And you and I are on the brink, and there's no time for tact,

The hour is coming quickly, when America will act."

All across the satellites, pundits gave decrees,

While all the warships came and went, like barefoot refugees.

Outside with insistence the generals did prowl,

The Reaper took his scythe up, and tugged his ancient cowl.

This article first appeared in the 01 October 2001 issue of the New Statesman, What would you do?