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The Daily Nightly began on May 31, 2005. As Brian wrote in his first post it aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News. Brian weighs in every weekday and NBC News correspondents and producers post regularly.

Brian Williams became the seventh anchor and managing editor in the history of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004. Read his full biography.

Peace on earth?

Christmas is in the air here at the White House. There is no gaggle today, there is no briefing. All is calm, all is bright. President Bush has an empty public schedule, which would give the outward appearance that there is hardly a soul stirring. But nothing could be further from the truth.

With decisions soon to be made by the President on what direction to take the war in Iraq and whether to expand the Army and Marine Corps, there is very much happening here. But it's all very private as the President attempts to map out a strategy for victory that will play out well with his generals, the Congress and the American public. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will soon be back from Iraq to give the President his candid assessment on what needs to be done to get the job done.

Also in the not so distant future is the trial of Vice President Dick Cheney's former aide Scooter Libby -- scheduled to start in the middle of January. Libby, you might remember, is charged with perjury and obstruction after allegedly lying to an FBI agent and a grand jury investigating who outed Valerie Plame as a CIA agent.

And tomorrow, Friday, before the President and first lady depart for a Christmas holiday at Camp David -- a somber visit by them to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Silver Spring, Md., to visit veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's always an emotional visit for the First Family and a reminder of wars not finished.

The serenity of Camp David, with logs crackling away in its fireplaces and gentle walks in the woods, is a perfect Currier & Ives illustration for the front of a Christmas card. But what to write inside is a little more complicated.   

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Oh, Les, the title of the poem is the first line: We Thought War Was Good For Us. Thanks, RCG

Dear Les:

I enjoy your thoughtful, often poetic essays. You struck me as someone who might be interested in this poem. Mr. Williams has run several of my letters before. I don't know the policy on poetry, but I believe it is at least worth a glance. Happy New Year, R.C. Gray

We thought war
Was good for us —
It gave us chance to cheer;
The thought of death
Being done on our behalf
Gave comfort to our fears.
There are, of course,
The bad guys,
Who want to rule the earth;
Our men would do
The best they could
Until Immanuel’s birth.

One nation
Under God —
Surely, we will have a part;
We hate
The atheist countries,
Their leaders’ cruel black hearts.
The bear
From the north,
Tubal, Rosh, Meshech and that
Told us all
We needed to know:
We had prophecy down pat.

And when
We envisioned
The devil’s grasp on our society …
Our parents said
His clutches
Lunged from sex, drugs, rock, TV.
But the pull
For us to be unique
And to grow past greed and war …
Kept us kids,
“The devil’s children,”
From trying to be anything more.

I waited for
The New Age kooks,
With all their crystal balls …
And herbs,
And music and candles,
Who hung posters on their walls …
I waited for them
And for myself
To grow sharp claws and fangs
To dress in black
With capes in back
To make our victims hang.

But we grew up
And fell in love
And settled down, had kids …
And we forgot
The evil plot,
Regretting what we did.
We tried to raise
Our children
To love and be more wise;
We made our kids
Our best friends,
And gave them all money buys.

At church,
At temples, mosques …
We slowly limped along —
Wracked by guilt
And broken hearts,
Humming all our anthems, songs.
And in our quiet moments
We wondered
How the pieces fit …
Was there still
A growing evil,
A fulfillment of the holy writ?

From where would come
The sinister,
The wicked rulers, beasts?
From whose ranks
Or which nations
Would evil be increased?
The Nazis and the Fascists
Most certainly
Fit the bill;
But America’s men
Had met them …
And Hitler had been killed.

And then
Everything changed;
And when the dust had cleared …
We recalled
The trappings of the Apocalypse …
And found new hate to fear.
Ragtag groups,
With oil money,
Who spit venom at the West …
They emerged and shook
Their fists at us …
But some had been our guests.

Some had met
And traded with us;
Some we’d wined and dined;
We’d held their hands
And sold them land
And investment ties that bind.
And of all
Those nineteen faces
We learned that some weren’t dead.
Some, we learned,
Had never left home …
And some even yet we fed.

Perplexed,
Dazed and confused,
We pondered life anew,
The nature
Of true evil
And all that it can do.
We pondered
Halls of power
And pockets of true clout;
We searched
Exclusive associations
And who had helped who out.

We made
Some new connections,
Researching ancient powers;
We traced the rise
Of lodges and guilds
And ivy-covered bowers.
And looked
Back into history
To ancient Babylon
To Sumeria, Tibet,
Europe and Rome
And ancient tablets with markings on.

And we made
A study of presidents,
Of corporations and their ties
To U.S. banks
That funded Hitler
Right before our eyes.
And we studied
World War II
And myths, alien tales, reports
And the real reason for which,
Under Truman,
The CIA was formed.

And with good sense
We concluded at last
That the system we’d once suspected to be wrong,
That we thought
To be oppressive,
Making us work so hard and long …
Is in fact the enemy, after all,
Which lives and means to exploit
God’s beautiful, once simple creation —
Taking marching orders
From evil itself
A fallen race, awaiting condemnation.

It only stands
To reason
That those most prone to exploitation,
That the guards
In the halls of power
That these, the Godless, would be victims of deception.
Is it fear or bloodlust
Or greed or a deathwish
That drives them to their one-world goal?
To play their tragic parts
In an ironic cosmic drama
Foretold in days of old?

We thought riches
Were good for us,
Our patriotic prosperity;
But in the end
We’ve been betrayed
By those taking oaths to protect you and me.
One consolation is ours …
One hope to which we cling …
Though our betrayers all ignore us:
The precision with which
This ancient tale has come to pass …
Suggests our victory will indeed be glorious.

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