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The British Want America To Go to War and Used The Beatles as Ammo

Almost every US ally claims to be a friend because of America’s military. It’s
really not shared values or even interests. Other nations like being defended
by a superpower, so they need not spend much on their militaries.

The result is that America has a couple score spoiled, entitled, and obnoxious
“allies” who under-invest in their militaries, whine if the US looks
anywhere else, demand constant “reassurance” that Washington will
forever protect them even if they do nothing for themselves, and insist that
it is in America’s interest to create a permanent defense dole for the indolent,
disinterested, irresponsible, and greedy among them – which of course is most
of them.

The Europeans tend
to be the worst
. Which ensures endless scheming to retain Uncle Sam as their
consigliere, responsible for
their defense
. Such has been the approach of the United Kingdom, which is
determine to drag Washington into defending Ukraine even though London made
clear that it would
not put its own troops
at risk.

Ben Wallace, the Secretary of State for Defense appears to be most enthused
with the US as global policeman, but Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is the more
accomplished schemer. Reported
The Times of London
: “The Foreign Office hired a tribute act
to the Fab Four called the Cheatles in an effort to woo Antony Blinken, the
US secretary of state, and stiffen the resolve of Britain’s partners against
aggression from Moscow at the G7 summit of foreign ministers in Liverpool this
weekend. Truss and Blinken discovered a shared love of Lennon and McCartney
when they dined together at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow last month.
Truss would like America to take as tough a line as possible to deter Putin
from ordering more than 90,000 troops into Ukraine.”

At least Truss didn’t try to use the Beatles’ music to sell war with Russia.
The Fab Four never went over the top with politics. However, the song Imagine
did have the
lines
: “Imagine there’s no countries; It isn’t hard to do; Nothing
to kill or die for; and no religion, too; Imagine all the people: Living life
in peace.” Sounds essentially anti-war, though it remains pretty ethereal.

Another major hit was American Woman by the Guess Who. Group members disagreed
over its political nature, with Randy
Bachman claiming
that it targeted the draft and Vietnam war. Only one
line explicitly mentions
the military (“I don’t need your war machines”),
but many people perceived it to be critical of the US, with “American woman”
representing the country.

Much more direct was Edwin Starr’s intense, punchy, energetic War. It was
a number one hit and left no one doubting
its meaning
:

War, huh, yeah

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, uhh

War, huh, yeah

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing

Say it again, y’all

War, huh (good God)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, listen to me, oh

War, I despise

‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives

War means tears to thousands of mother’s eyes

When their sons go off to fight

And lose their lives

I said, war, huh (good God, y’all)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, just say it again

War (whoa), huh (oh Lord)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, listen to me

It ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker

(War) Friend only to The Undertaker

Oh, war it’s an enemy to all mankind

The thought of war blows my mind

War has caused unrest

Within the younger generation

Induction then destruction

Who wants to die? Oh

War, huh (good God y’all)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing

Say it, say it, say it

War (uh-huh), huh (yeah, huh)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, listen to me

It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker

(War) It’s got one friend that’s The Undertaker

Oh, war, has shattered many a young man’s dreams

Made him disabled, bitter and mean

Life is much too short and precious

To spend fighting wars each day

War can’t give life

It can only take it away, oh

War, huh (good God y’all)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, say it again

War (whoa), huh (oh Lord)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, listen to me

It ain’t nothing but a heart breaker

(War) Friend only to The Undertaker, woo

Peace, love and understanding, tell me

Is there no place for them today?

They say we must fight to keep our freedom

But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way, oh

War, huh (God y’all)

What is it good for? You tell me (nothing)

Say it, say it, say it, say it

War (good God), huh (now, huh)

What is it good for?

Stand up and shout it (nothing)

The following year Starr released Stop the War Now. It lacked War’s musical
power, but also
was clear in its meaning
.

Alright, yeah

Make the sound of peace sing out

(Stop the war, now)

Everybody, don’t put if off another day

Make your voices roar

(Stop the war, now)

Just like thunder y’all

(Don’t put it off) another day

Sing a song now

(Stop the war, now)

Listen to me, y’all

(Don’t put it off) another day

Listen to me

A knock on the door, there’s a letter from the war

Saying, “Greetings, we want you”

If I refuse to fight they say that that ain’t right

And time you’ll have to do

Somebody please tell me what is war all about?

And why must I kill against my will?

I just can’t figure it out

Ow

Good God, hear me say

(Don’t put it off) another day

Everybody sing

(Stop the war, now) now, now, now

(Don’t put it off) another day

All we got to do is, listen

(Give peace a chance)

Aww, don’t throw another life away

Listen to me now

Think about all the soldiers

That are dead and gone today

If you’d ask them to fight again

What do you think they’d say?

I’m not trying to be funny

Just trying to get my point across

War is world’s enemy number one

It’s that time that we called it off

Good god, hear me say

(Don’t put it off) another day

Everybody’s singing

(Stop the war, now) now, now, now

(Don’t put it off) another day

All we got to do is, Lord

Give peace a chance

Don’t, don’t throw another life away

Casualties pile up each day

Cemeteries are overflowing

Leaders of the world (?)

But the death list keeps right on growin’

And what does a mother get in return

For the life of the son she’s lost?

A few measly pennies a month

A medal, a babe, and a doggone cost

Good God, hear me say

(Don’t put it off) another day

Everybody sing

(Stop the war, now) now, now, now

(Don’t put it off) another day

Why can’t we just

(Give peace a chance)

Please

Don’t throw another life away

Can’t you see?

Enough blood has been shed by the wounded and the dead

Enough blood has been shed by the wounded and the dead

Ow

Enough blood has been shed by the wounded and the dead

Ow

Listen

(Stop the war, now)

Good God, everybody

(Don’t put it off) another day

(Stop the war, now) now, now, now

(Don’t put it off) another day

This is a message to the leaders of the world

(Give peace a chance)

Aww

There have been numerous other antiwar songs over the years. One of the most
modern and appropriate yet obscure came from the Rolling Stones in 2005. Although
not one of the singles released from its album, Sweet Neo Con was a brutal take
down of the George W. Bush administration. Mick
Jagger said
the song was not limited to Bush, but more broadly applied to
America’s war-happy Neoconservatives who had caused such materiel destruction
and human suffering. No surprise, members of Washington’s right-wing War Party
were less than pleased at the criticism.

It might not be the
most inspiring music, but the
lyrics’
meaning are unambiguous:

You call yourself a Christian

I think that you’re a hypocrite

You say you are a patriot

I think that you’re a crock of shit

And listen now, the gasoline

I drink it every day

But it’s getting very pricey

And who is going to pay

How come you’re so wrong

My sweet neo con…. Yeah

It’s liberty for all

‘Cause democracy’s our style

Unless you are against us

Then it’s prison without trial

But one thing that is certain

Life is good at Haliburton

If you’re really so astute

You should invest at Brown & Root…. Yeah

How come you’re so wrong

My sweet neo con

If you turn out right

I’ll eat my hat tonight

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah….

It’s getting very scary

Yes, I’m frightened out of my wits

There’s bombers in my bedroom

Yeah and it’s giving me the shits

We must have lots more bases

To protect us from our foes

Who needs these foolish friendships

We’re going it alone

How come you’re so wrong

My sweet neo con

Where’s the money gone

In the Pentagon

Yeah ha ha ha

Yeah, well, well

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…

Neo con

Perhaps antiwar activists need an album. Include some classics. Add some covers
of strong, but more obscure songs. Conclude with some new works, targeting the
latest atrocities – aiding Saudi Arabia in Yemen, contemplating war with nuclear
powers China and Russia, issuing new threats atop past threats to bomb Iran,
starving Afghans after two decades of war, and more. That album could be handed
out at the next NATO meeting, G-7 summit, European Union conclave, and any other
gathering at which use of the American military might be discussed.

Every Christmas public officials ritualistically intone “peace on earth
and goodwill to all men,” but do nothing to achieve that state. Peace activists
should do a better job of putting music to work against the perpetual war lobby.

If there is any question where to start, try War. It’s opening lines capture
the issue perfectly:

War, huh, yeah

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant
to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of
Foreign Follies: America’s New
Global Empire.

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