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Our political class has been banging their spoons on the table, crying for war all summer. But now that they’ve got one, they’re not sure they like it. On Wednesday, the House approved President Obama’s plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to counter the growing threat of the Islamic State organization. But the vote was 273 to 156, which shows widespread misgivings in both parties about the plan’s chances of success, even among lawmakers who voted in favor of it.
Since our representatives are authorizing the third significant US military operation in Iraq in the past 25 years, today’s music is about war, loss and the last Iraq war.
We start with Michael Franti & Spearhead’s “Light Up Ya Lighter” from their 2006 album “Yell Fire”:
The key lyrics:
Here’s what you get
An M-16 and a Kevlar vest
You might come home
With one less leg
But this thing will surely keep a bullet out of your chest
So come on, come on
Sign up, come on
This one’s nothing like Vietnam
Except for the bullets, except for the bombs
Except for the youth that’s gone
Tell me president, tell if you will
How many people does a smart bomb kill?
How many of em do you think we got?
The general says we never miss a shot
And we never ever ever keep a body count
We killin’ so efficiently we can’t keep count
Next, a song from the Vietnam era that still resonates today. Creedence Clearwater Revivals’ “Fortunate Son”, from their album, “Willy and the Poor Boys” is an anti-war anthem. It criticizes militant patriotic behavior, and those who support the use of military force without having to pay the costs themselves, either financially or by serving in a wartime military. Fortunate Son came out 45 years ago, in September 1969. The Wrongologist was discharged in March of that same year. He wasn’t “no millionaire’s son”.
Which, by the way, was how it worked. And how it still works. Let Congress send their sons and daughters to Iraq to degrade and destroy ISIS. That would be called “leadership”.
Let’s close with “Élegie” by Gabriel Faure´. While this isn’t an anti-war piece, it was written to express sorrow at the death of a friend. This is sad story music. It starts with an angry meditation: the person is angry, and as he mulls what is lost, his anger increases. Thus, the music grows even more intense than at the beginning. But at the very end, there is resignation.
Sort of 5 stages of grief for cello and piano.
The artist is Julian Lloyd Webber, brother of, you know, THAT Lloyd Webber. In April 2014 he announced that he would no longer be performing the cello in public, due to a neck injury: