Anti-war playlist

Foreign policy wonk and fellow podcaster Keith Boyea just posted his anti-war playlist.

Even though I indulge in it, the COINdanista vs. COINtra debate always depresses me because it fights over HOW the war should be fought instead of asking the far more important question: “Why should we fight?” I wish we’d have spent a lot more time pondering the why rather than the how. I have my anti-war playlist ready for when the COIN debate heats up.

I would add to his list the anthem of the Vietnam war protests, “Fixin’ to Die” by Country Joe and the Fish and and timeless “Sky Pilot” by Eric Burdon and the Animals (“Sky pilot” is military slang for the chaplain)

“As the young men move out into the battle zone
He feels good, with God you’re never alone
He feels tired and he lays on his bed
Hopes the men will find courage
in the words that he said

In the morning they return
With tears in their eyes
The stench of death drifts up to the skies
A soldier so ill looks at the sky pilot
Remembers the words
“Thou shalt not kill.”
Sky pilot,
Sky pilot,
How high can you fly?
You’ll never, never, never reach the sky.”

I’m not a pacifist. Some battles have to be fought. But no one has ever been able to give a coherent reason why we were in Vietnam and why that was worth the lives of 58,000 Americans. We invaded Iraq under false pretenses. Sure, a thug dictator is gone, but is Iraq all that much better off now?

What are your favorite anti-war songs?


  1. Funny that my parents both told me that the Country Joe song was influential in their lives. (They were both hippies.) I just never liked it all that much, but I do like the sentiment.

  2. If you can listen to Eric Bogle’s songs “The Band Played Walzing Matilda” or “The Green Fields of France” without losing it you have a heart of stone.

  3. As I wrote on Keith’s blog, here are my additional picks (And “Fixin to Die Rag” must be included):

    Dispatch’s “The General”, U2’s “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”, Elton John’s “Daniel.” “Eve of Destruction” “Candles in the Wind” “Get Together” and “United We Stand”

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