Swamp Rabbit examined the playlist of protest songs I compiled to acknowledge the 20th anniversary of the Second Persian Gulf War. He played “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and started laughing. “That song came out in 1971, during the Vietnam War,” he said. “How many times the peeps been fooled since then?”
I wasn’t sure how to answer. Americans are easily fooled because they’re good at forgetting. But how many times can you be fooled without catching on? How can you forget a whole war?
“It ain’t like you actually forget,” Swamp Rabbit explained. “You just pretend it never happened.”
He’s right, I guess. The Iraq war — conceived by Dubya’s rat’s nest of advisors, supported by big-name politicians in both major parties, endorsed by the compliant mainstream media — was commemorated with a national shrug last week. While in progress (2003-2011), the war lingered in the news but never sparked as much outrage as the Vietnam debacle.
“That’s because there wasn’t no draft,” Swamp Rabbit said. “Most young peeps didn’t have to worry about getting their asses shot off, so they put the Iraq war outta mind. They didn’t even write no protest songs.”
Right again. No reason to write and record songs like “Draft Morning” and “Fortunate Son.” No fear of being turned into a “Tin Soldier Man” and shipped overseas. No need for anti-war anthems like “What’s Going On” and “War” — Good God, y’all/What is it good for? — or prophetic warnings like “All Along the Watchtower.”
“That song ain’t about Vietnam, Odd Man.”
“It’s about the apocalypse. Same thing.”
Instead of protest songs about Iraq we got slammed with those stupid catchphrases dreamed up by Dubya’s propaganda team. Weapons of mass destruction, used to justify heightening the war on terror. Shock and Awe, to trick the public into thinking the war would end quickly. Mission accomplished, shorthand for Bush’s biggest lie. And so on.
Hundreds of thousands of people were killed and two trillion dollars wasted, but popular anti-war songs never appeared. “It can’t just be because there was no military draft,” I said.
Swamp Rabbit shrugged. “Maybe it’s on account of social media. Music ain’t a big deal to most young peeps in this century. They’d rather get strung out on video games or exchange jerky messages on TikTok. They’re numbed down to where they wouldn’t notice a good song even if it ran up and bit ’em on the ass.”
“Or maybe they’re already wise to the facts behind the lies,” I said. “To the fact that the Iraq war was really fought to ensure continued non-stop Western access to Middle Eastern oil reserves.”
“Maybe,” Swamp Rabbit replied. “It’s like Dubya said. ‘Fool me once — shame on… shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.'”
“Exactly,” I said. “I couldn’t have put it any better myself.”
I was one of the ones who was fooled. Though I didn’t support the invasion, I thought Sec’t of State Powell was truthful. Afterward he claimed that he himself was fooled. Or did he lie?
He pretended to know for sure that the administration had solid evidence regarding WMD. The best you can say about him is that he chose to trust Bush rather than check the “evidence” before he addressed the U.N. Security Council.
I wasn’t fooled. I remember being outraged about the coverage provided by the New York Times. That was when I stopped trusting that publication. But you’re right. Most people I know bought the whole weapons of mass destruction lie wholeheartedly.
A lot of people believed an attack on Iraq in 2003 was OK because they were angry about 9/11. It didn’t occur to them that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Bush and his cronies were counting on this.