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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Shock & Awe: 10th Anniversary of Still Living With War

As Neil Young has stated: "History is a cruel judge of overconfidence."

It's now been 10 years since the days of "Shock & Awe" and "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.

And. We're. Still. Living. With. War.

So just as Neil Young was right about the Vietnam War being wrong, so he was again by warning of the consequences of reckless war in Iraq.

Leia's Daddy: Find the Cost of Freedom

From Pressing Issues: When Neil Young Hit Bush, and the Media, On Iraq by Greg Mitchell, the former editor of Editor & Publisher (the newspaper for newspaper editors) and author of "So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits and the President Failed on Iraq.":
Neil Young: Rock star as journo? It essentially happened in 2006 when Neil Young, son of a famous Canadian sportswriter, hurriedly wrote and released (only online at first) his ripped-from-the-headlines Living With War CD. He even proposed impeaching the president "for lying" (and "for spying"). In one of the songs in the collection, Young sang repeatedly: "Don't need no more lies."

He emphasized the prohibition against the media showing pictures of coffins with the American dead being returned from Iraq, singing: "Thousands of bodies in the ground/ Brought home in boxes to a trumpet's sound/ No one sees them coming home that way/ Thousands buried in the ground." In another song: "More boxes covered in flags/ but I can't see them on TV."

When Young urged that Americans "Impeach the President," he included audio clips of embarrassing Bush statements ("We'll smoke them out ..."). But a highlight of the collection was the blistering "Shock and Awe," which, along with its antiwar lyrics, included the more philosophical "History is a cruel judge of overconfidence." He also recalled that "back in the days of Mission Accomplished ... the sun was setting on another photo op."

"There's one more kid that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool."

Photo by Chris Hondros -

More on why we're still living with war.

Labels: ,


At 3/26/2013 09:24:00 AM, Blogger SONY said...

War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate.

A government of the people by the people, for the people has unfortunately been cast aside by the politics of power, greed and control.

I can understand the reponse to 911 and the Taliban/Al Quida, but the rest or these war decisions have cast the USA into a quagmire of garbage economically, morally and spiritually. We need to get it together and get representatives in office willing to take a stand for the citizens of this country.

The system can work if the politicians work for the people and not for party.

Living with War I think is one of Neils greatest albums, straight from the heart, mind and soul of someone who gets it and speaks it right out loud. Kicks ya right in the face. It took me over for a long time when it came out.

At 3/26/2013 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Old Black said...

As the years go by, I agree - LWW is a gem - really underestimated when it came out. I still have it in my cd rotation in my car and it holds up well (except, possibly "Let's Impeach the President" and "Looking for a Leader"). IMHO "Families" is one of NY's great songs. And "Roger and Out" makes me cry - same basic chord progression as "Helpless", except in a different key.

FWIW, my 12-year old son's favorite NY song is "Shock and Awe" - come to think of it, it's one of his favorite songs, period. And this is coming from a boy who is SICK OF NY BECAUSE DAD PLAYS HIM ALL THE TIME.

At 3/26/2013 12:42:00 PM, Anonymous KenSA said...

Imagine if some crazy zealots from an extreme christian lunatic fringe bombed a building in China, they invaded and held the entire population of the US to blame for the actions of a small group, resulting in the death of millions. 15 years in Vietnam - for what? 10 years and counting in Iraq and Afghanistan, for what? To free the people from tyranny? To wipe out Al Queda? Run from Pakistan anyway. What about Burma, and the countless other dictatorships ? No oil. 911 was a heinous act, carried out by a handful of educated Saudi Arabians.But a million deaths for 3000? There would have to be thousands more willing to die for Allah now than there ever was. The Russians couldn't tame the Afghans, and they were far more brutal than us, and didnt face media scrutiny. Our western powers had the chance to foster democracy in the middle east by supporting people like Mosadeq 50 years ago, instead of arseholes like the Shah. Bloody oil, and the poor buggers who happen to live above it. Remember Bush snr taking credit for the collapse of communism? Now Europe is run by eastern european mafia. Saddam was a no good son of a bitch, but there were worse people he was holding at bay. Now the evil genie is out of the bottle. We cant go on enforcing our way of life on these places, they gotta work it out for themselves. It took European culture centuries to evolve from monarchy and serfdom to secular democracy and we want to change these places overnight. Fighting Hitler and Tojo was necessary, and we all owed a great debt to the US for saving our arses in what was the last justifiable war. Everything since, by the US and my country Australia, has been hogwash - oil and profit. My home state is now all reliant on the defence industry, when we used to make whitegoods and useful things. We all know the moment we leave the middle east it will be right back to where we started. All the poor western kids dying for nothing, many more than the poor souls who perished in 911. I've spent alot of time in the US, and have met many wonderful people. Our two countries reputations are going down the toilet coz of the actions of the greedy few who control everything. It aint gettin better unless we kick em out. I'm ashamed Rupert Murdoch grew up in my home town. Prick he is.

When your up to your arsehole in alligators, remember who drained the swamp.

LWW is a great album, shame we dont hear him play more of it - coz we aint gettin the message.

At 3/26/2013 01:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Ken - but I have a bit of news for you. There are no extreme Christian lunatic fringe crazy zealots bombing buildings in China or anywhere else - nice try with your analogy.

There is only one particular religion in the modern era whose members are committing mass murder on a global scale - Islam.

The Iraq invasion was not wise I agree - especially with the so-called leadership the USA now has - a clear Islamist sympathizer named Baraka Soetoro.

I do think LWW is a great album though - 'After the Garden' is fucking great in its attitude and driving force of melody.

But if the invasion was all about oil, please explain why the USA has never taken any from Iraq.

At 3/26/2013 01:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never understood why Neil said he didn't want to "waste" good melodies on this album. If you want your music to connect with a lot of people (and thereby have a greater impact), this is precisely the time to use your best melodies.

Personally I think LWW is okay, but in the age of post-punk, Neil's classic rock sound just doesn't carry the force it once did.

I do think his deliberate avoidance of mentioning Bush's name even once in any of the lyrics does give the album a continued relevance that it otherwise might not have had.


At 3/26/2013 03:59:00 PM, Anonymous KenSA said...

Please allow me to respond - It's not the religion of Islam that is creating mass murder on a global scale, its a lunatic fringe claiming to represent Islam that is setting off crude devices to kill random westerners in hotels, buses etc, over perceived injustices in their lands. These people are not Islamists, they just think they are. Does your run of the mill everyday christian consider the branch davidians or the westboro church mob as christians? No, they are wackos masquerading as christians, giving everyday christians a bad name. Which is what the terror cells are doing to Islam. As for "only one religion", I believe you would find that the allies have killed and maimed more innocents in the middle east - collateral damage - than these ramshackle groups could ever do to us. If you were an innocent fellow in the middle east just trying to feed your family, and your village is wiped out to weed out some possible taliban, wouldn't you call that mass murder? Wouldn't you think the murderers were Christian zealots? People in those lands consider us all christians, whether we are or not, my experiences are they don't really understand the concept of not having a religion. How many aust aborigines, american indians etc, were wiped out in the name of christianity? How many innocent SE Asians were killed in the Nam war to save us from the godless commies? The biggest murderers of our time were Hitler and Stalin - I can't recall any Islamists killing on such a scale. Arabs mostly kill arabs in their own lands, over their own internal disputes. How many americans are killed by guns at home each year? many more than the 3000 in 911. How many americans were killed by americans in the civil war? No one else interfered there so why should we interfere elsewhere in the modern era? Let them fight it out themselves. Western companies have been taking oil from the middle east for a long time, and if Iraq was stable, the oil would be flowing again.If not for oil, the CIA would not have bothered unseating Mosadeq. If not for oil we would not have made the Saudis the richest people in the region in a generations.Without oil we would never have gone after saddam in kuwait, to protect saudi oil wealth. With my analogy I am saying that we are making the masses pay for the crimes of a few. Do you want to die for the sins of your neighbour? The christian world treated the heathen world as 'terra nullus' for centuries, carving up the americas, africa, the pacific etc, for their own gain.
Many here were affected by the Bali bombings just as you guys with 911, and the brits have had their share with the london bombings, but that doesnt mean we should invade indonesia as revenge for the bali bombings. Vigilant yes, revengeful no.
I presume you mean Obama - I'm hesitant to comment there, coz that's your own affairs, however I would say he is a sympathiser for all religions and common sense - you got every religion under the sun in the US, and then some. Until we can all respect and tolerate, it will never end. I'm white anglo saxon, agnostic. Christianity & Islam are the flip sides of the same coin, been at it for centuries, and we gotta get along or it will all end in shit.
Anyway, this is a Shakey site not a political one and maybe i've gone too far, but it was albums that embraced politics in my younger days (dead kennedys, dylan, neils ohio etc.) that encouraged me to learn more than what they taught at school.Besides, albums like that are much more interesting than love songs. LWW is such an album, and they are meant to promote and provoke debate.
sorry if i'm a bore and i mean no offense. Roger and out.

At 3/26/2013 07:29:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Thanks for the posts Ken, I gotta roll that second one around a bit. Very well put. I'ts sometimes hard to see the clear sky in the midst of the darkness.

At 3/26/2013 07:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Anyway, this is a Shakey site not a political one' ..ha ha

At 3/26/2013 08:53:00 PM, Blogger TonyACT said...

Love the CD, the documentary DVD and the 'In the Beginning' special edition set. The clips on the latter showing the recording sessions are great, even if Chad needs to tone down his admiration for Neil a notch :)

The clips with the choir recording sessions really show the impact this music was having on them.

At 3/26/2013 11:33:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

I found the March 21, 2003-May 4, 2003 newpapers from in my basement tonight, they are from time nearly long ago like the two weeks of papers from 911 I still have, and remind me of the JFK newpapers my folks still have from one of those other terrible days.

It is confounding how these crys of toil and trouble have faded in our individual and collective phsychi and will we ever learn that strong arms are never a substitute for strong truth, love, diplomacy and peaceful ideas of solving differecnces and an acknowlegement that different doeesn't always mean wrong. Hostility has the root of the host in its action.

Thanks for the reminder on this Thrasher and those days(these days) of conflict dis(res)olution.

At 3/26/2013 11:35:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

I agree with a lot of what you say KenSA, but not everything, starting with the fact that Arabs did not attack the US on 9/11. It was then, and is still now, a massive lie, a lie that had more than one rationale, on several different levels. It's too complicated to get into now, but suffice to say that the perpetrators got what they wanted, starting with a US presence in the Mideast, for geopolitical reasons, but there are far darker reasons for it all than even this.

Regardless, even in the best case scenario, our response has been grossly disproportionate, and as a nation we will answer for it. I wonder how Americans would respond to doctors advising them not to have babies, due to the effect of depleted uranium weaponry, as young parents throughout the near east have been advised?

In any event, there is no dispute that we entered Iraq on the back of lies, lies Bush and his minions were fully aware of, but then he was not installed to represent the American people, he was the water boy installed to keep his masters thirst quenched. It's not an easy thing to do, either. Blood lust is insatiable. Ahh, but here I need to stop, this isn't the place for it. Suffice to say that the reasons given by history for the basis of war, all wars- even WWII, have nothing to do with real causation.

The truth is that there is very little we can do in the face of power and madness, except to call it out when it rears its ugly head, and make it known that in spite it all, at least someone is not deceived. For this the whole world owes Neil a debt of gratitude: those deceived into swallowing spoon fed lies, yes, but most especially the growing number of us who Neil spoke up for so beautifully. He had the platform, and the gift of music, but more importantly, the heart. Thanks, Neil.

A Friend Of Yours

At 3/27/2013 11:29:00 AM, Anonymous KenSA said...

Cheers Greg, I hear ya, I just wanted to keep the argument at a mainstream media level, and not get too heavy....(coz shhh, their listening)
Hey, maybe Neil's really Hagbard Celine - he is one justified and ancient dude..

the only good fnord is a dead fnord

At 3/27/2013 12:06:00 PM, Anonymous Captain Nemo said...

One has to assume that Neil is Hagbard Celine incarnate.

Afterall, didn't Hagbard design the supercomputer program called FUCKUP (First Universal Cybernetic Kynetic Ultramicro-Programmer)?

what lyric is chanted repeatedly over & over again my friend during the Alchemy tour?

you're such a fuck up...

At 3/27/2013 12:17:00 PM, Anonymous KenSA said...

Sigismundo my friend, I knew you were out there listening...


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