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November 5, 2006

The War is Over!
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:26 PM *

O happy day!

Bush’s war in Iraq is over: Army recruiters are telling kids so.

Nov. 3, 2006 — An ABC News undercover investigation showed Army recruiters telling students that the war in Iraq was over, in an effort to get them to enlist.

ABC News and New York affiliate WABC equipped students with hidden video cameras before they visited 10 Army recruitment offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“Nobody is going over to Iraq anymore?” one student asks a recruiter.

“No, we’re bringing people back,” he replies.

“We’re not at war. War ended a long time ago,” another recruiter says.

Isn’t that ducky? And you thought that 105 troopers died in Iraq last month. Wow, the liberal media sure has you fooled, don’t they?

Come and be a soldier, lads, come lads, come,
Hark don’t you hear the fife and the drum?
March to the battle-field, march, march away,
Come and lose your eyes and limbs for thirteen pence a day.

Come and take a shilling lads, come lads drink,
And drive dull care away, but never care to think;
Break your mammie’s heart and bid good bye to Dad
Sure you’ll be a general or private, if you’ll only be a swad.

When you are a solider, if you do not limp,
Sure you’ll go recruiting, boys, and then you’ll be a crimp.
Perhaps a yokle takes your money, when drinking he gets fresh.
You know it’s quite respectable to kidnap human flesh;

Joining the Army now means going to Iraq. And in Iraq there aren’t any non-combat zones.

Comments on The War is Over!:
#1 ::: Writerious ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 01:17 PM:

Well, darn that reality-based liberal media, telling us that troops are getting blown to bits in Iraq. Don't they understand that The Decider makes reality for us?

And as for those troops getting blown up -- um, er, well, must be Clinton's fault. Yeah, that's it.

#2 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 01:26 PM:

If I told someone, anyone,that "The war in Iraq is over," and they said "Really?", I would assume that:

1) They were profoundly retarded.

2) They were WAY-Y-Y-Y messed up on drugs.

3) They had just stumbled out of the deep woods where they had been raised since infancy by squirrels.

Or 4) All of the above.

#3 ::: dee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 01:30 PM:

So was Kerry's slip of the tongue right? If you're ignorant, and believe the recruiters instead of, I dunno, googling the news sites, you get stuck in Iraq.

#4 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 01:36 PM:

...The Decider makes reality for us...

Writerious, I thought that was George Orr's job, not George Bush's.

#5 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 01:41 PM:

I'm going to finish up transcribing "Come and Be a Soldier," since, to my surprise, no full text appears to exist on the Google-indexed web.

So come and be a soldier, the bravest of the brave.
Come and be a soldier, and then you'll be a slave;
Come to Colonel White, my lads, but don't pretend to cry,
For if you are not happy we can flog you till you die.

If you strike your officer, you must die against your will,
Or come in drunk at night, lads, you get six hours extra drill.
Or perhaps you go to the battle-field where soon you will get warm,
By shooting men you never saw, nor did you any harm.

Perhaps you will get killed, my lads, but never mind that there
You will die with honour, lads, then be free from care.
Perhaps leave a wife and children, but they'll soon be forgotten,
What's wife and family to you when you are dead and rotten.

Did you ever think, my lads, or ever go to school,
He who is a soldier must be a silly fool.
Talk of honour, that is nonsense, it is an idle story,
Live like honest men, my lads, and that's real glory.

Never be so silly, lads, to fight for kings and queens,
For none of them is half so good as half a bunch of greens,
Shooting at your fellow-man it is a curious thing,
The Almighty made the human race, but never made a king.

#6 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 02:01 PM:

Serge, maybe, if we're lucky, everyone will wake up grey tomorrow.

#7 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 02:09 PM:

It COULD also mean being sent somewhere else, especially when the next quick-distract-the-public crisis comes up. Say, North Korea.

#8 ::: Jean ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 02:11 PM:

So do your duty, boys, and join with pride
Serve your country in her suicide
Find the flags so you can wave goodbye
But just before the end even treason might be worth a try
This country is to young to die

I declare the war is over
It's over, it's over...

Phil Ochs, War is Over.

#9 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 02:16 PM:

See also Press Gang (trad.):

As I walked out on London Street
A press gang there I chanced to meet
They asked me if I'd join the fleet
On board of a man-o-war, boys

Come brother shipmates tell to me
What kind of treatment they give you
That I may know before I go
On board of a man-o-war, boys

When I got there to my surprise
All they had told me was shocking lies...

#10 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 02:19 PM:

Maybe, JESR. Maybe alien turtles will land on Earth and will turn out to be not invaders but nice guys who like the Beatles.

#11 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 02:20 PM:

All I can say is: Thank Goodness! That war thing was really troubling me for a while--so much so that I stopped listening to NPR, reading newspapers or looking at anything online but pictures of cute little kitties.

Anyway, I'm glad the Iraq War is all finished up now. I guess I'll go online to see who won.

#12 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 02:49 PM:

James D. Macdonald -- Sorry, but my inner proofreader took over when you said you were getting together a complete version of "Come and Be a Soldier" -- "yokle" should be "yokel." Otherwise, great job.

#13 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 02:56 PM:
2) They were WAY-Y-Y-Y messed up on drugs.
Funny you should say that. Also in the article:
One Colorado student taped a recruiting session posing as a drug-addicted dropout. "You mean I'm not going to get in trouble?" the student asked. The recruiters told him no, and helped him cheat to sign up.
#14 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 02:57 PM:

"Yokle" is how it's spelled in the facsimile text I'm taking this from. (So too the sometimes-bizarre punctuation.)

#15 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 02:58 PM:

Kids are inclined to accept what people in positions of perceived authority tell them.

This makes me so angry I can hardly stand it.

#16 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 04:35 PM:

"Kids are inclined to accept what people in positions of perceived authority tell them."

They are? Wow, teenagers sure have changed since I was one. Teenage boys, esp., I don't recall being particularly submissive to authority.

Seriously, someone showing up at a recruiting office who doesn't know we're still at war in Iraq is... not someone I'd want to hand a gun to.

#17 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 04:57 PM:

This is stunningly dishonorable. Isn't this lying a violation of the officer's oath?

#18 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 05:17 PM:

O'er the hills and o'er the main
Through Flanders, Portugal and Spain.
King George commands and we obey
Over the hills and far away.

#19 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 06:33 PM:

Randolph Fritz wrote -
This is stunningly dishonorable. Isn't this lying a violation of the officer's oath?

Recruiters - at least in the Army, and I believe all branches - are rarely if ever commissioned officers - they are normally NCOs - staff sargeants, typically. Worse, they are often operating without direct supervision by an officer - many recruiting offices are small hole-in-the-wall kind of places (even if well-placed and not-cheap in rent), usually with little more than enough room for a handful of desks with computers, some filing cabinets holding paperwork and recruiting materials, and a closet and maybe a W/C. There are rarely more than a handful of personnel assigned to each.

This does not excuse such behavior - and it would in fact be "behavior unbecoming an officer", imho - but it can help explain how such things can happen. As can the fact that these NCOs (and the officers above them) have quotas to fill - and failure to fill quota can result in a bad review (at best).

#20 ::: Velma deSelby Bowen ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 06:52 PM:

I am disgusted, angry, and unsurprised. My oldest great-nephews are about 15-18; I think I'm going to call them up and ask them what they've been told.

#21 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 07:08 PM:

This takes dying for a lie one nasty step further.

#22 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 07:42 PM:

While we're collecting anti-recruiting songs...

I had a first cousin called Arthur McBride
He and I took a stroll down by the seaside;
Seeking good fortune and what might betide
It was just as the day was a'dawnin'

After restin' we both took a tramp
We met Sergeant Harper and Corporal Cramp
Besides the wee drummer who beat up the camp
With his row-dee-dow-dow in the morning

He says my young fellows if you will enlist
A guinea you quickly will have in your fist
Besides a crown for to kick up the dust
And drink the King's health in the morning

For a soldier he leads a very fine life
He always is blessed with a charming young wife
And he pays all his debts without sorrow or strife
And always lives happy and charming

And a soldier he always is decent and clean
In the finest of garments he's constantly seen
While other poor fellows go dirty and mean
And sup on thin gruel in the morning

Says Arthur, I wouldn't be proud of your clothes
You've only the lend of them as I suppose
And you dare not change them one night or you know
If you do you'll be flogged in the morning

And although we are single and free
We take great delight in our own company
And we have no desire strange countries to see
Although your offer is charming

And we have no desire to take your advance
All hazards and danger we barter on chance
and you'd have no scruples to send us to France
Where we would be shot without warning

And now says the sergeant, if I hear but one word
I'll instantly now will out with my sword
And into your bodies as strength will afford
So now my gay devils take warning

But Arthur and I we took the odds
We gave them no chance to launch out their swords
Whacking shillelaghs came over their heads
And paid them right smart in the morning

As for the wee drummer, we rifled his pow
And made a football of his row-do-dow-dow
Into the ocean to rock and to roll
And bade it a tedious returnin'

As for the old rapier that hung by his side
We flung it as far as we could in the tide
To the Devil I pitch you, says Arthur McBride
To temper your steel in the morning

#23 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 08:09 PM:

James D. Macdonald @ 14 -- Y'know, I realized that was probably the reason just after I hit Post.

#24 ::: Janet Lafler ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 09:26 PM:

One thing I've been thinking about a lot the last couple of months -- the draft. Of course, with the election coming up, nobody in either party will mention it, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's on the agenda when the next session of Congress begins. Then again, maybe not -- neither party wants to be the one to take the political heat for it.

#25 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 09:31 PM:

Came to talk about the draft.

They got a building down New York City, it's called Whitehall Street,
where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected,
neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one
day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so
I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to
look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted
to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York,
and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all
kinds o' mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave
me a piece of paper, said, "Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604."

And I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I
wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and
guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
KILL, KILL." And I started jumpin up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and
he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down
yelling, "KILL, KILL." And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."

Didn't feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall gettin more injections, inspections,
detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they was doin' to me
at the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four
hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty
ugly things and I was just having a tough time there, and they was
inspecting, injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving no
part untouched. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the
last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big thing there,
and I walked up and said, "What do you want?" He said, "Kid, we only got
one question. Have you ever been arrested?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice's Restaurant Massacre,
with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and all
the phenome... - and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, did you ever
go to court?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten
colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on
the back of each one, and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, I want
you to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W .... NOW kid!!"

And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W's
where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after
committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly
looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father
rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And
they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the
bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest
father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly
'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me
and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?" I said, "I didn't get nothing, I had to pay
$50 and pick up the garbage." He said, "What were you arrested for, kid?"
And I said, "Littering." And they all moved away from me on the bench
there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I
said, "And creating a nuisance." And they all came back, shook my hand,
and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing,
father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the
bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of
things, until the Sargeant came over, had some paper in his hand, held it
up and said.

"Kids, this-piece-of-paper's-got-47-words-37-sentences-58-words-we-wanna-
officer's-name-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say", and talked for
forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had
fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there,
and I filled out the massacre with the four part harmony, and wrote it
down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the
pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the
other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on
the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the
following words:


I went over to the sargent, said, "Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to
ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm
sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench
'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women,
kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug." He looked at me and
said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send you fingerprints
off to Washington."

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a
study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I'm
singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar
situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a
situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into
the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say "Shrink, You can get
anything you want, at Alice's restaurant.". And walk out. You know, if
one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and
they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and
walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

And that's what it is , the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and
all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the

With feeling. So we'll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and
sing it when it does. Here it comes.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant

That was horrible. If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.
I've been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing it
for another twenty five minutes. I'm not proud... or tired.

So we'll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part
harmony and feeling.

We're just waitin' for it to come around is what we're doing.

All right now.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant

Da da da da da da da dum
At Alice's Restaurant

-Arlo Guthrie

#26 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 09:44 PM:

#19 Scott Taylor, it's also why every couple of years they charge recruiters with violating the standards.

An Army recuiter come to my nephew's school two years ago (thank you federal recuitment requirements). He then wanted to become an Army Sniper. While I think the military could be a good place for him, I went overboard trying to convince him otherwise. He's about to graduate from high-school. Hopefully I can talk to him this Xmas and explain some things about the recruitment process so if he still has that idea (even though he hasn't talked about it) that he'll get what he wants and won't get shafted.

Yeah, kids that age will believe the uniform more than their own relations. So I can see these kids being sucked in with the talk of "no more war."

#27 ::: Kristin B ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 11:41 PM:

long time lurker, delurking (and a little nervous about it--you people are so damn smart, you intimidate the hell outta me...) to share a song...

Could be construed as anti-war or anti-recruiting, I like to think of it as a little of both.

There was a decorated General with a heart of gold
That likened him to all the stories he told,
Of past battles won and lost
And legends of old
A seasoned veteran in his own time

On the battlefield he gained respectful fame
With many medals of bravery and stripes to his name
He grew a beard as soon as he could to cover the scars on his face
And always urged his men on

But on the eve of great battle with the infantry in dream
The Old General tossed in his sleep and wrestled with its meaning
He awoke from the night to tell what he had seen
And walked slowly out of his tent

All the men held tall with their chests in the air
With courage in their blood and a fire in their stare
It was a gray morning and they were all wondering how they would fare
Till the old general told them to go home

He said: I have seen the others
And I have discovered
That this fight is not worth fighting
And I have seen their mothers
And I will no other to follow me where I'm going

Take a shower, shine your shoes
You got no time to lose
You are young men, you must be living so
Take a shower, shine your shoes
You got no time to lose
You are young men, you must be living
Go now you are forgiven

But the men stood fast with their guns on their shoulders
Not knowing what to do with the contradicting orders
The General said he would do his own duty but he would extend it no further
The men could go as they please

Not a man moved, their eyes gazed straight ahead,
Till one by one they stepped back and not a word was said
And the old general was left with his own words echoing in his head
He then prepared to fight

He said: I have seen the others
And I have discovered
That this fight is not worth fighting
No, and I see their mothers
And I will no other
to follow me where I'm going
Take a shower shine your shoes
You got no time to lose
You are young men you must be living
Take a shower shine your shoes
You got no time to lose
You are young men you must be living
Go now you are forgiven.


Also, my brother was stalked for quite a long time by an Army recruiter. He (my brother) had once expressed interest, but after he eventually decided to go another way...the man was everywhere he went. He was literally followed down the street by the man. And I can cite several instances of people I know being allowed to "cheat" to get into the armed services (didn't pass your piss test? You had the flu. Come back in a month, etc.).

Sorry my first post was such a long one.

/lurking back to my happy place

#28 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 12:07 AM:

When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murrays green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
It's time to stop rambling 'cause there's work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
We sailed off to Gallipoli

#29 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 12:23 AM:

If you want to end war an' stuff you gotta sing loud...

"It's always the old who lead us to the war;
Always the young who fall.
Look at all we've won with the sabre and the gun,
And tell me is it worth it all..."

The ghost of Phil Ochs haunts my dreams.

"I must have killed a million men
And now they want me back again;
But I ain't marchin' any more."

Nearly 3000 American men and women and God only knows how many Iraqis have died so that Saddam Hussein could be found guilty of crimes against humanity.

But as Jim has pointed out elsewhere -- Bush is breaking the military with this war. We won't be able to stay in Iraq without a draft, and I believe to the root of my soul that the American public will not stand for a draft.

#30 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 12:29 AM:

"War is over if you want it."

Damn, I wish that were true.

One of my nephews turns 21 next month. He dropped out of high school, got his GED and has been working a bunch of odd jobs. Kid has a lot of brains but not a whole lot of discipline. About a year ago his mom, my sister, said that in normal times she thought joining the Army would be good for him -- I'd been thinking Marines actually; he's tall and blond and would look great in that dress uniform -- but not now. Not this war, and this administration. Not her son, her only child. Not my favorite nephew.

At least, I'm pretty sure Tommy's too smart and too politically aware, and not desperate enough for work, to fall for "the war is over".

#31 ::: Ruhgozler ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 02:13 AM:

I'm over here in Iraq. Believe me, they aren't sending any extra people home. We have a guy here who is reenlisting in the Army. His recruiter made the mistake of telling him that same crap about the war being over.

#32 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 02:36 AM:

Velma@20 and anyone else with access to teens: parents can opt out of high school registries. That makes it (a little) harder for recruiters to get at them.

#33 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 03:23 AM:

Reviewing the current political and military scene in the USA, it seems to me that the country is missing a sense of unified purpose. To that end, I am preparing a merry little song, which ectols the benefits of National Unity, and which, incidentally, proposes a method by which we may all share in the trials and tribulations of the nation.

Although this is, in a manner of speaking, a first draft...

When they're playing Taps or Last Post
For another of the vast host
Who have given all they have for Uncle Sam,
They'll tell your kids the war is over,
And Army Life is clover,
And they'd better join before that door will slam.
(But don't you worry.)

No more hoodies, no more bright cloth,
No more skimpy tees or black Goth,
No more heavy metal slogans on a sleeve.
For if the mail that comes for you
Drafts your friends and neighbors too
There'll be nobody left behind to grieve.

And we will all go together when we go,
When we're drafted off to fight in Mexico.
A fashionable green suit
Will be worn by every re-cruit
Yes, we all will shop together when we go.


(Do I need to tell anyone whose voice they should have been hearing?)

#34 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 03:59 AM:

#16, CaseyL: IME teens may be quite rebellious when they sense that someone wants them to do (or not do) something, yet rarely analyze information they recieve versus the source and try to verify it independently. And why should they -- adults aren't too good at that, either.

And I've got a song, too:

Well as I was going along the road
A-feeling fine and larky,
A recruiting sergeant says to me
"You'd look fine in khaki,
Our king he is in need of men
Come read his proclamation
Live in Flanders now me boys
Would make a fine vacation"

Well I turned around and I says to him,
"Now tell me sergeant dearie,
If I'd a pack stuck on me back,
Do you think I'd look cheery?
You'd make me drill and train
Until I'd damn near lost me senses.
It may be warm in Flanders,
It's draughty in the trenches."

Well he turned around his wee bit cane
And he looked most provokin'
He twisted and twisted his wee moustache,
Says he, "You must be jokin'.
Them sandbags are so nice and warm,
The wind it won't be blowin'.
The cailins will take a shine to you,"
Says I, "What if it's snowin'?"

"Come rain or hail or wind or shine,
I'm not going out to Flanders.
There's fightin' in Dublin to be done
With your Captains and Commanders.
Let Englishmen fight English wars,
It's nearly time they started."
So I tipped me hat to the sergeant bold
And then I fondly parted.

(There are "-o"s at the end of every other line, but transcribing them looks stupid.)

#35 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 05:00 AM:

Geordie he's a man, there's little doubt about it
He's done all he can; wha' can do without it?
Down there cam a blad, linkin' like my lordie;
He wad drive a trade at the loom of Geordie.

(Cam'ye o'er frae France)

#36 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 05:40 AM:

Bruce @ #2

"And a general came in, slapped a medal on me and said, 'Kid, your our boy'

"That's what he did."

Alice's Restaurant, Arlo Guthrie

#37 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 05:43 AM:

Grr, serves me right for posting before finishing the htread...

#38 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 06:06 AM:

Bruce, I'm not sure if that's the point. Even if a lie is the most pathetic and ridiculous thing you've ever heard ("I didn't break the window, a big boy did it and ran away"), it's still a lie, and it's still being told by someone who wants the listener to believe it.

Recruiting Drive

Under the willow the willow
I heard the butcher-bird sing,
Come out you fine young fellow
From under your mother's wing.
I'll show you the magic garden
That hangs in the beamy air,
The way of the lynx and the angry Sphinx
And the fun of the freezing fair.

Lie down lie down with my daughter
Beneath the Arabian tree,
Gaze on your face in the water
Forget the scribbling sea.
Your pillow the nine bright shiners
Your bed the spilling sand,
But the terrible toy of my lily-white boy
Is the gun in his innocent hand.

You must take off your clothes for the doctor
And stand as straight as a pin,
His hand of stone on your white breast-bone
Where the bullets all go in.
They'll dress you in lawn and linen
And fill you with Plymouth gin,
O the devil may wear a rose in his hair
I'll wear my fine doe-skin.

My mother weeps as I leave her
But I tell her it won't be long,
The murderers wail in Wandsworth Gaol
But I shoot a more popular song.
Down in the enemy country
Under the enemy tree
There lies a lad whose heart has gone bad
Waiting for me, for me.

He says I have no culture
And that when I've stormed the pass
I shall fall on the farm with a smoking arm
And ravish his bonny lass.
Under the willow the willow
Death spreads her dripping wings
And caught in the snare of the bleeding air
The butcher-bird sings, sings, sings.

- Charles Causley

Preliminary research while waiting for the kettle to boil suggests that the above can be sang to the tune of The Mexican Hat Dance.

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 07:27 AM:

"The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
-- Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

#40 ::: Dave Luckett sees comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 07:45 AM:

Yes, they do. So does every path.

"To every man upon the earth, death cometh, soon or late,
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods?"

#41 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 07:50 AM:

No he doesn't. Dave has to remember to change his name back after doing that, and that it doesn't change until the next actual post.

#42 ::: Rebecca Price ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 08:37 AM:

"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.*"

-Wilfred Owen, 1893-1918

#43 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 09:10 AM:

I have a problem with how easily "Don't fight in unjust wars where they lie to you" seems to slide over into total pacifism where any fighting for any reason is inherently a bad thing.

Because sometimes you do have to go
And sometimes you're needed to fight
You have won when you standing up tall with a gun
Is what keeps off that knock in the night.

Never fight for the fast easy lie,
But be ready to fight when you must
If you want to be free and protect liberty
You will fight for a cause that is just.

What you want -- what we all want -- is peace
If you won't fight you won't always get it.
Reject stupid wars that are fought for no cause...
But fight when you must, or regret it!

#44 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 09:11 AM:

The War Prayer

Napalm Sticks To Kids

I've got to stop reading stufz on the internets in the middle of the night about war and genocide and torture. It's after 8am and I didn't get any sleep at all last night.

#45 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 09:27 AM:

I have a problem with how easily "Don't fight in unjust wars where they lie to you" seems to slide over into total pacifism where any fighting for any reason is inherently a bad thing.

Maybe it does, for some people. I decided a long time ago that killing is indefensible, and that does not make me a person who just 'slid easily' into a position of which you disapprove. It makes me a person who holds an opinion which differs from yours. Please note that this is not an easy position, morally or socially, at all.

#46 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 09:39 AM:

Lalouve, sorry I didn't mean your position did that, nor certainly that it was easy for you or others to hold to it; I meant that this thread seemed to be sliding that way.

#47 ::: Suzanne M ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 10:01 AM:

My true love, he is handsome and comely for to see,
and by a sad misfortune a soldier now is he.
I wish the man that listed him might prosper night nor day
and I wish that, and I wish that the Hollanders
might sink him in the sea.

Oh, may he never prosper and may he never thrive,
nor anything he turns his hand as long as he's alive.
May the very ground he treads upon the grass refuse to grow,
for he's been the, for he's been the only cause of
my sorrow, grief and woe.

As the girlfriend of a soldier who will find out in a week whether his stop-loss orders have come through (which will keep him in the army for approximately 15 extra months, 12 of them in Afghanistan), that one seemed appropriate. I am sick with fury.

#48 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 10:11 AM:

What a thing to wake up to!

Jo, were there any 20th-century wars that could not have been greatly reduced, if not prevented entirely, by thoughtful policy-making? The truth of the matter, I've decided, is we don't resolve our conflicts until there's someone ready to go to war. Sometimes we even start new conflicts. Then our we lie to ourselves and say war was unavoidable. And if we don't start resolving conflicts before the wars start, now, we are going to be utterly miserable, planetwide. It's too easy to mobilize now, the weapons have gotten too good, we are too dependent on a widespread interdependent technical infrastructure, and will be for at least a century, probably two centuries.

#49 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 10:34 AM:

Jo, no offense taken. I just get so tired of having to defend my pacifism - especially since I am a pacifist by conviction and not inclination (I tend to do the 'the good book says things about killing but it's vague on kneecaps').

#48 - I think the Versailles treaty was the right time to prevent WWII. Conflicts always start much earlier than people think.

#50 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 10:39 AM:

The right time to prevent WWII was sometime around 1870, but never mind that.

#51 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 10:52 AM:

"And it's 1, 2, 3, what are we fighting for?
And it's 5, 6, 7, open up the Pearly Gates.
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam."

[Country Joe and the Fish.]

That's part of it, I think: know what you're fighting for.

The moral to one of James Thurber's "Fables for Our Time" is "All men should strive to learn, before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why."

Also, "No pasarán!" But there needs to be a better reason than what Simonides wrote for Leonidas's three hundred.

#52 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 11:08 AM:

OK, James, let me refine the comment - I think Versailles was the last chance to prevent WWII. There were numerous missed opportunities before - as there always are.

#53 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 11:34 AM:

various: "Don't fight in unjust wars where they lie to you"

Thoreau took one path; others took another path:
For Americans of the generation who fought the Mexican-American War, the "San Patricios" were the vilest, most despicable of traitors and cowards. For Mexicans of that same generation, the San Patricios were heroes who selflessly came to the aid of fellow Catholics in great need. Wikipedia

Green Grow the Lilacs/Laurel

And the American trainers in Vietnam today train the (N)VA.

#54 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 11:41 AM:

Dena Shunra @ #32:

You can opt-out of the school releasing your student's name, but recruiters can re-acquire your teenagers' names from other sources; we started getting calls for my daughter after her name was published in an article about National Merit Scholars.

#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 11:46 AM:

People killing other people is always a bad thing. No matter what.

But sometimes it's better than the alternative. Sometimes you cannot completely prevent the killing of humans by humans, but only reduce it by killing some humans before they kill a vast number of others. It's bad when that happens (see my first paragraph), but sometimes harm reduction is the best you can do.

Better, as more than one person has said, to prevent it whenever possible. But if the time comes to you, you have to fight. My boyfriend stuck a knife in someone recently. That's bad, but as the guy had his hands around my boyfriend's throat and had stated his intention to kill, entirely justified, and I'm very glad my bf had the knife at the time.

Btw, all parties are agreed that it was a good thing that the guy a) let go at once and b) wasn't seriously injured. A better result than most wars.

#56 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 12:04 PM:

More Phil Ochs:

Is There Anybody Here

Is there anybody here who'd like to change his clothes into a uniform,
Is there anybody here who thinks they're only serving in a raging storm.
Is there anybody here with glory in their eyes, loyal to the end, whose duty is to die,
I want to see him, I want to wish him luck,
I wanna shake his hand, wanna call his name,
Pin a medal on the man.

Is there anybody here who'd like to wrap a flag around an early grave,
Is there anybody here who thinks they're standing taller on a battle wave.
Is there anybody here like to do his part, soldier to the world and a hero to his heart,
I want to see him, I want to wish him luck,
I wanna shake his hand, wanna call his name,
Pin a medal on the man.

Is there anybody here proud of the parade, who'd like to give a cheer and show they're not afraid.
I'd like like to ask him what he's trying to defend,
I'd like to ask him what he thinks he's gonna win.
Is there anybody here who thinks that following orders takes away the blame
Is there anybody here who'd wouldn't mind a murder by another name
Is there anybody here whose pride is on the line, with the honor of the brave and the courage of the blind,
I want to see him, I want to wish him luck,
I wanna shake his hand, gonna call his name,
Pin a medal on the man.
Medal on the man.

#57 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 12:45 PM:

'Good morning; good morning' the General said,
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
'He's a cheery old card,' grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack...
But he did for them both with his plan of attack.

Siegfried Sassoon

#58 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 01:54 PM:

A few days ago, I woke up with that Phil Ochs song ("Is There Anybody Here") on the radio. I'm familiar with some of his work, but hadn't heard that song before. I recognized it as Ochs' almost at once, even half asleep. It was shocking in its own right, as a powerful song. It was even more shocking to realize that I was concerned about the radio station -- would they get in trouble for insulting the troops, or didn't anyone care at this hour? When did I start thinking that way?

#59 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 04:15 PM:

#46, Jo Walton: It seems to me that the reason many, if not most of the postings here seem to "to slide over into total pacifism" is that "they" (the folk songs' recruiting seargeants, at least) always lie to you, have always lied to you and will always lie to you. At best it's an archetype, at worst it's true (or vice versa).

#60 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 06:54 PM:

If the Republicans do not lose the House; i.e. if they retain control of the US government, Bush will trumpet from the rooftops that he has received a mandate to do whatever the fuck he wants to do to the country -- this one, Iraq, Iran, any country -- until we finally get rid of him in 2008. And he will do his best to do it.

Tomorrow is the day. Organize, vote, pray if the Spirit moves you, work the phones, work the polls... There's no guarantee that things will improve if we win, but it's dead sure solid guarandamnteed that they won't, if we lose.

#61 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 07:45 PM:

I think there were, up until the Nazi takeover of Germany and the Japanese invasion of China, many relatively easy opportunities to prevent World War II. Even after, there were opportunities to reduce the violence--there was no reason to permit Germany to re-arm, for instance. For those of you who object that these would have been costly and destructive I say, more costly and destructive than World War II?

What we lacked--and are still only developing--is the will to prevent wars, to resolve conflicts before all the choices involve violence. But "I do know with what weapons World War III will be fought with, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." I think this is pacificism, too; not the opposition to all violence, but the recognition that war has turned into an abysmal failure for any reasonable human goal, and was never as much of a success as it was in fiction and propaganda.

#62 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 07:56 PM:

Sergeant William Bailey was a man of high renown,
Tooral looral looral looral loo,
In search of gallant young recruits he used to scour the town,
Tooral looral looral looral loo,
His face was full and swarthy, of medals he had forty,
And ribbons on his chest red white and blue,
It was he that looked the hero as he made the people stare O,
As he stood on Dunphy's corner tooral loo.

But alas for human greatness every dog he has his day,
Tooral looral looral looral loo,
And Sergeant William Bailey he is getting old and grey,
Tooral looral looral looral loo,
No longer youths are willing to take his dirty shilling,
And things for him are looking mighty blue,
In spite of fife and drumming no more recruits are coming,
For Sergeant William Bailey tooral loo.

Sergeant William Bailey what a wretched sight to see,
Tooral looral looral looral loo,
His back that once was firm and straight is almost bent in three,
Tooral looral looral looral loo,
Some rebel youths with placards have called his army blackguards,
And told the Irish youth just what to do,
He has lost his occupation let's sing in jubilation,
For Sergeant William Bailey tooral loo.

#63 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:40 AM:

re #28

Just for the sake of clarification (since I own the Pogues album that the tune's taken from): the actual song "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" was written by another Eric - Eric Bogle, an emigrant to Australia.

Oh, and my token bit of anti-war (well, anti-bad-leadership) songsmanship - this one has words by one William Schwenk Gilbert, and a tune by Sir Arthur Sullivan.

In enterprise of martial kind,
When there was any fighting,
He led his regiment from behind
(He found it less exciting).
But when away his regiment ran,
His place was at the fore, O-
That celebrated, cultivated, underrated nobleman,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!

In the first and foremost flight, ha, ha!
You always found that knight, ha, ha!
That celebrated, cultivated, underrated nobleman,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!

When, to evade Destruction's hand,
To hide they all proceeded,
No soldier in that gallant band
Hid half as well as he did.
He lay concealed throughout the war,
And so preserved his gore, O!
That unaffected, undetected, well-connected Warrior,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!

In every doughty deed, ha, ha!
He always took the lead, ha, ha!
That unaffected, undetected, well-connected Warrior,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!

When told that they would all be shot
Unless they left the service,
Our hero hesitated not,
So marvellous his nerve is.
He sent his resignation in,
The first of all his corps, O!
That very knowing, overflowing, easy-going paladin,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!

To men of grosser clay, ha, ha!
He always showed the way, ha, ha!
That very knowing, overflowing, easy-going paladin,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!

#64 ::: ptrt ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2006, 11:19 AM:

hy jm Mcdnld yr stpd fg th wr sn't vr yt th rsn w r vr thr s t hlp. Y dn't hv t fght bt fr th sldrs vr thr fght ng thy wnt t hlp s y shld sht yr fckng mth y stpd cnt nlss yr th n vr thr fghtng jst sht yr fckng mth! Jst by th wy y tlk cn lrdy tll tht yr prnts r ttl fgs nd s r y hp y gt sht. S jst g nd d y dmbss mthr fckr!

#66 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2006, 11:43 AM:

I clutch my pearls in shock. In my day, middle schoolers were clever enough not to sign their names when they wrote naughty words on the bathroom wall.

#67 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2006, 11:54 AM:

He can't get the school district's URL right either.

#68 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2006, 12:13 PM:

It's so good to hear from the Republican core.

Bush supporters these days seem to be limited to folks with serious reading comprehension problems. Oh, yes, and the war profiteers.

But tell me, "Patriot," how did you come to find this post? What strange pathways did you follow to reach a place where you could put your intellectual gifts on display?

#69 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 09:57 AM:

Just in case "Simple Soldier" (#68 in this thread) drops by:

Tell me: Is an E5 over six with three dependents still eligible for Food Stamps?

#70 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2007, 10:32 AM:

James Macdonald: I am reminded of Oscar Wilde's comment that 'if this is how Queen Victoria treats her prisoners she doesn't deserve any'.* Soldiers do a difficult and dangerous job, if their reward is the kind of neglect that's been reported over and over, their putative masters deserve the severest condemnation.

* I think that's more relevant, too, than Kipling's 'It's Tommy this, and Tommy that'.

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