I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’
Whilst in contemplative mood, I would ask ATW readers if, in their opinion, Shelley’s masterpiece has its own echo in this Telegraph article about the Iraqi city once described by an American President as a place where he could “see the outlines of the Iraq we’ve been fighting for”.
I would only comment that if this resembles what all those American lives, as well as the vast amounts of treasure spent upon this ill-conceived and poorly-executed shambles produced, maybe we should have left Saddam Hussein in place, and, once the Taliban were driven from power, left Afghanistan as well.