Gary Jacobson


A “police action,” the bureaucrats called it,
But there sure was a lot of misery
Caused by this little “police action” gambit.
It didn’t seem like a simple, no account in history,
“Police action” to me,
No, not one little bit.
I’m guessin’ that’s ‘cause I was the one gettin’ hit
With a load of Vietcong shi_,
Uh, scrap metal…

I and my buddies were the ones toeing the line,
Even if the line’s constantly moving all the time.
And everywhere you looked people were trying to kill
This Washington combat shill
Who’d gotten himself tangled in deep dished swill
Left with enough heartache a lifetime to fill.

I came to this place
Pride emblazoned on my face,
Glowing with love of God and country
Honoring freedom distilled from patriotic ancestry.

I came for honors glorious precept to fight
For freedom’s star spangled right
For a people oppressed
By an evil enemy possessed.

I came to defend Nam with my all.
I answered the call.
I could have shirked,
Like a hundred other jerks,
but I put life limb and liberty on that blasted line
Saw brave men fall for that bastion of strength shrine.

But some bureaucrat of little mind
Who sure as heck didn’t have his rear in a bind,
Did the efforts of all my combat brothers demean
Might as well through my heart an arrow sling.

They called our efforts in Nam a “police action… “
I hope some administrative official over that one
Had deep and abiding satisfaction.
To see American boys
In this “police action” bleed and die,
Cause a generation of mothers to cry.

While government officials look the other way and sigh,
Thankful that they didn’t have to be the ones
Carrying the guns,
Having to bleed and die.

Washington didn’t even have the guts
Of a bowl of salted nuts,
To call this hellish war, a war…
That’s what I was fighting for,
And for that, 33 years later, I’m still sore.

That Nam conflagration
That rocked a nation
Was no damned “police action.”
It was not a patriotic aberration
Happening in some far away distant civilization.
I say to that callused administration,
Governed by corporate conglomeration.
It happened to us…

We should have received accolades harmonious
For our sacrifices,
Not protesters jeers acrimonious
Certainly not a nation we fought and died for ignoring us.
Our service and sacrifice were not ambiguous.

Naive boys next door, just doing our duty,
Maintaining patriotic accountability
Just want the war we gave our lives for
To be recognized as more
Than a troubled “police action,”
Bearing blame for outcome dissatisfaction…

Not quiet anymore, we stand proud
And loud
Demanding our due
From our beloved red, white, and blue!