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I heard a song this week that happened to be in my music library on my computer that seems to fit so well with my interest and examination of our societal addiction to aggression and war.

I was surprised by the song as I had no previous knowledge of it even though I am familiar with the works of the artist & author of the lyrics. I was also somewhat amused by the lyrics. That is if one can actually be at all amused by anything related to war. Perhaps it was more amazement than amusement that I felt. This came from the fact that the lyrics could very easily have been written today but were actually written by a 21 year old in 1962. Apparently not much has changed in the last fifty years.

The artist is a young Bob Dylan and the song is entitled: Masters of War. No commentary needed from me as the lyrics say it all.

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

 

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

 

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water 
That runs down my drain

 

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death counts gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

 

You’ve thrown the worst fear 
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children 
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

 

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Thought I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

 

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

 

I have purposely left out the last stanza for reasons you will understand. These words remind us of the futility and corrupt nation of war and reinforce the importance of the choices that we make that move us towards peace. These choices are so very important for our health and the health and well-being of the world.

 

Irene McDermott © 2012

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