09/25/2013 06:22 am ET

Featured Fifty Poetry: Justice


Don Thackrey spent his young years on farms and ranches in the Nebraska Sandhills and continues today to write formal verse about his rural life before modern conveniences. He has degrees from the Universities of Nebraska and Michigan and spent many years at the latter teaching and administering. Now in retirement, he lives with his wife in Dexter, Michigan, where he works on becoming the curmudgeonly old man he always dreamed of being. He is the author of a book on Emily Dickinson and of a book of poems forthcoming from the Dakota Institute Press.

My double sonnet "Justice" stems from my observations about the various ways that people use that word these days. With respect to "bringing Osama bin Laden to justice," for example, our government clearly did not mean bringing him before any kind of a justice procedure with due process, but rather "finding and killing him."


[When the youngest wife of the assassinated Osama bin Laden lodged charges with the International Criminal Court against President Obama, the president sent John Yoo to Saudi Arabia to interview her. Obama knew he was in good hands with Yoo, who had proven he could defend anything. As President Bush's Assistant Attorney General, he became well known for his documents justifying the U.S. torture of detainees as lawful. The following transcript of part of the conversation between Amal and Yoo was obtained through WikiLeaks.]

Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada:

"Bring him to justice! He is widely known,
As this world's top unlawful enemy
Combatant who wantonly sends his drone
To kill a suspect and his family.

"He thinks that being U.S. president,
Exempts him from all penalties of law,
He murders using all his armament
In hopes to outdo Bush in Shock and Awe.

"He sneaked his goons into a foreign state,
Against all standards of legality,
To roust from sleep and then assassinate
An unarmed man and dump him in the sea.

"Allah, who stands with martyred Sheik Osama,
Will bring to JUSTICE Terrorist Obama."

John Woo:

"I must insist that 'justice' does not mean
You judge and execute without a trial.
Such savagery, of course, is vile, obscene,
And not the rule of law, our nation's style:

"So bring your charges, lay out evidence
Designed to prove your case beyond a doubt,
Then let his lawyers give a full defense . . .
And that's what 'justice' truly is about."

Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada:

"I'm tired of clichéd legal folderol;
We know what JUSTICE is when we're at war:
It's shoot all terrorists and watch them fall,
And that's the fate Obama has in store.

"You ask for proof that he's a terrorist? . . .
He's at the top of our Imam's kill list."

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