Skip to main content

Welcome to the DFH Freaky Friday weekly music series
Because Team DFH operates more or less like a herd of cats, we’re here at roughly 9PM Eastern, every week. So take off your shoes, plop down on that beanbag chair over there, let your hair down, and get some groovy on.

Warning: Graphic images.
I got a brief glimpse of war as a kid and saw how it was actually ugly and desperate rather than noble and heroic as the movies of the 50s and 60s tried so hard to make us believe. As a young reader, and ironically the son of a gung ho soldier, I found myself gravitating toward the great pacifist or antiwar writers like Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Kurt Vonnegut, more for the great writing than anything else. It was to some extent accidental or fortuitous that the best and wisest writers, the ones who most appealed to me, were also adamantly against war. All the best authors were against war it seemed. I guess if you are for humanity, as these good people were, you pretty much have to be.
"There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind."

This line from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

I spent many hours reading books like All Quiet on the Western Front, Johnny Got His Gun, Catch-22, A Farewell to Arms, Slaughterhouse Five and The Quiet American. I read all kinds of other books as well but few moved me like the antiwar novels. Part of the reason I'm sure, other than my childhood experience in Laos, was because I was approaching the age where I could be sent to war, and there was a nice one brewing back in Southeast though in wait. People I knew were being sent there. And some of them weren't coming back.

My entire generation was glued to Vietnam whether we liked it or not. Most of us did not. We said it was based on lies and underhanded motives, and we were right. We said it was immoral and without justification, and we were right. We said it was a terrible, tragic and preventable waste of human life. And we were right.


So with that as background, let's kick things off with one of the first antiwar songs I remember from the 60s, the iconic Blowing in the Wind by the great Bob Dylan. (Please, no complaining about Bob's voice. Admittedly it's an acquired taste. You just have to appreciate that this is how Einstein would have sounded as a folk singer.)

Then there is the great Native American artist, Buffy Sainte-Marie of the Canadian Cree tribe, who wrote the wonderful antiwar song, Universal Soldier in 1964 (my son Daniel and I met her at an antiwar march in DC many years later, such a sweet soul and absolutely dedicated to the cause of peace):

The next early antiwar song I remember is The Eve of Destruction, written by P. F. Sloan in 1965 (at age 20), and recorded by Barry McGuire.

We recently lost a legendary photojournalist from the Vietnam era, Horst Faas (h/t frandor55). He passed away at age 79 leaving a legacy of profoundly powerful images of war.




How sad that gifted folk like Horst Faas can communicate the horror of war so eloquently, yet so many of us never get the message.

Perhaps the most iconic antiwar song to come out of the 60s is Edwin Starr's War (What Is It Good For) released in 1969, it rocketh:

Even as we protested this enormous and needless suffering, one could always count on the hippies to bring a little humor to the party. We all cheered ourselves blue in the face at Woodstock in 1969 to this little ditty from Country Joe and the Fish. It's called the I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag, also known as The Fish Cheer:

But no matter how much we laughed, things just kept getting more and more serious. They killed four of us at Kent State on May 4, 1970, and ten days later police opened fire on protesting students at Jackson State University killing two and injuring twelve more.


Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released Ohio shortly following these events:

In the wake of these and other similar events, a strange atmosphere of paranoia, resentment and fear seem to settle over the land, fear and loathing as Hunter S. Thompson put it. It was into this strange environment that the extraordinarily talented Marvin Gaye, whose memory makes me sad like no other, released his wonderful and timely Whats Going On. It was 1971.

People have said to me that there are no parallels between Afghanistan and Vietnam, but I believe that is a grave misunderstanding of history. I believe the parallels are every bit as obvious as the distinctions. And I say the parallels are downright spooky.

It's been nearly 40 years since Daniel Ellsberg supplied The New York Times and other news organizations with the Pentagon Papers, thousands of internal Defense Department documents that detailed how the U.S. became enmeshed in Vietnam.

Today, Ellsberg sees Vietnam parallels in Obama's approach to Afghanistan, bolstered by his reading of Bob Woodward's new book, Obama's Wars.

"Change the names and the place names and you've got the Pentagon Papers of Afghanistan," Ellsberg said of Woodward's book. "It's uncannily similar."


Those who are clueless about their own damned history get what they so unfortunately deserve. I paraphrase.

One of the great peacemakers of our time, ironically enough, was a rock 'n roll star from Liverpool, England by the name of John Lennon. He was sadly and terribly mistreated by our government for daring to speak out in the cause of peace. It's one of the more shameful episodes in American history in my opinion - a blot and an embarrassment to this day.

We should ask ourselves every day, why do they hate the peacemakers?

Kindly give a listen to John's most iconic antiwar song, Give Peace A Chance:

I'd like to follow that with a video tribute to John Lennon written, composed and edited by a very talented old friend who I met right here and of whom I think the world, fellow kossack joeyess and his sad but sweet Sorry, Mister Lennon.

I'd like to close with a truly great antiwar song from more recent times, No Bravery by James Blunt, himself an eyewitness to the carnage and desolation of war. I think it's brilliant and I think it puts a fine cap on the false notion of the glorious war.

We've barely scratched the surface here. Feel free to post your own favorite antiwar songs/vids in the comments section. Thank you, and have a peaceful day life.



It's Freaky Friday!  Bring some tunes, whatever you got! Feel free to comment with just a song-link and your thoughts, or try for the embed, for however long that works for us. Either way, we're just chillin' here, so c'mon and join in.

Here's HOW: To add vids in comments: Click on "share"; then the "embed" button; change the size of the video graphic too, so when it posts, it is smaller. Use 300pixels in the custom parameters (last one on the right) under the embed code. {h/t joanneleon}

Originally posted to One Pissed Off Liberal on Fri May 25, 2012 at 06:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH, Group W: Resisting War, and DKOMA.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site