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Lines on the Resignation of Director Petraeus

Being a meditation on recent goings-on in Washington and Tampa, with acknowledgements to E. E. Cummings, Walt Whitman, Ford Madox Ford, and the King James Bible So Farewell – for now – David Howells Petraeus General, US Army (retired), late Director of the CIA, Son of Sixtus, sea captain who commanded a Liberty ship for FDR. I always thought Your name sounded Latin But it turns out your Daddy was Dutch, From Friesland Where the people have fair hair and ruddy cheeks, Which gave you one of your many names, ‘Peaches’ You took him at his word When he said “Results, boy, results!’ That took you from West Point to the ends of the earth From the Hudson river to the hotbeds of terrorism Thence to the hotbeds of intrigue With a PhD and medals in between. Whenever we saw you on TV All those badges seemed to weigh you down Amongst others, they gave you The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal And the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Both created by executive order of George W. Bush, the misunderestimated president. In Mosul in Iraq They called you ‘King David’ When you became a four-star general They started calling you ‘P4’ But to your friends I guess you must always have been Just plain Dave When you came back from the wars Some saw you as presidential timber, called on the ghosts of Grant, Marshall, Eisenhower and the inconsolable Pershing (‘Black Jack’) Who lost his wife and daughters in a fire But became six-star General of the Armies of the United States O General! My General! The parades are over now Maybe staying fit to fight the phantoms wore you down Maybe you took off the rear-view mirror once too often Maybe you needed to share more than you needed to know Maybe you mixed too much intelligence Maybe it was the eighty percent solution Who knows (the rules for living)? King David saw another man’s wife in the bath And had to have her, So the good book says. ‘All feminine claws are sheathed in velvet But they can still hurt a good deal if they touch you on the sore places of the defects of your qualities’ She was a member of his tribe They spoke a common language Yours is Milspeak: SOP and ROE, IED and HME, – and ABT: Please, now, Anywhere But Tampa. You sing the body athletic You run and run and run and run Your body, we learn in your rule number ten, is your ultimate weapons system But Whitman, he sang the body electric The embrace of love and resistance No spring fighting season for him Or winter or summer or fall They say when you went to the CIA You were depressed, you were vulnerable. Senator Feinstein said Transitioning is a tremendous adjustment all of a sudden You had no entourage, no driver, and had to wash the dishes. You were now just a man in a blue suit. General, they’ll say at Langley, We hardly knew you. So long, Dave!  

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