So JP, how’s it feel to tell a lie
and see it surface later as a headline?
How does it feel, as a Christian-Democrat,
to have come down on the side of Herod,

killing hundreds of thousands of children
for just one king? International law?
I know a country that’s ignored a dozen
resolutions for years with our support.

That’s our PM, he reads the morning paper,
sighs, and thinks to himself: what a palaver.
My conscience is clear. No wheat without chaff.

Besides, a lie is always white when patriotic.
Belated season’s greetings from the people of Iraq,
liberated into graves and destroyed en masse.

Note about the poem: January 2010 saw the publication of the Davids Commission report on its enquiry into the Dutch government’s decision to support the Iraq war. Jan Peter Balkenende was the Dutch prime minister both when the report was released and earlier when the Dutch government supported the war.

– Translated from the Dutch by David Colmer