Before the bombs fell in a campaign intended to “shock and awe” its recipients, I had completed a book of poems about the business, not “washing my hands of it” (it impossible to do so) but voicing a dissident note; joined, after the bombs fell, by clusters of American citizens here and there who were persistent in showing up to events with “Stop the War” signs and making their views known. (It is not that there was no protest in advance of the campaign, but hardly of a density to make itself felt; and even those who blocked Lake Shore Drive that first evening did not make an impression against the ubiquitous propaganda.)
During the course of the war (if indeed that is the proper terminology for a military movement essentially in one direction), from time to time I posted poems online primarily as a means to vent outrage. These (or at least such of these as I managed to gather) were later assembled into a book of their own, the introduction to which is here. It goes without saying that after the apparent terrorist demolition of the World Trade Center and affiliated attacks, I had issued a book which argued for a peaceful response, not a bellicose one. However a deliberate effort by politicians riled up the populace, and it was that constant process that built up the wellspring of support for the campaign against Iraq, although Iraq had not been a party to those attacks.
With the fifteenth anniversary come and now gone, I realize that has been the major event of my life, if not in all aspects equally certainly in the writing of poetry, which till not long ago had played a dominant part.