Saturday, September 4, 2021

For R who was devastated as he watched the beginning of the war in Afghanistan 30 years after he returned, broken, from Vietnam / For wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and friends of soldiers throughout history


"The fact that these 3 brave souls can disagree and not feel like killing each other - MAN O MAN. How I wish this spirit would be in us."

(Comment on YouTube video "Purple Heart Veterans React to the US Withdrawal from Afghanistan")


One of the three Purple Heart Veterans says, "Why would I want my children to join the military?"


More comments on the above YouTube video:

"I listened to Dire Straits throughout my time in Afghanistan.  Played out of a communication laptop attached to our armoured vehicle.  Kept me going.  👍👍"


"This song has always been emotional to me, but it hits much harder after this past week. Thank you for this heart felt performance Mark. Thinking about everyone I served with in Afghanistan."


"I'm a Vietnam Vet. When I heard this the first time I cried the tears of a baby. Only a combat vet can understand how much this song is true in every word. Don't think for one second that I believe any of you don't feel the words. I know you do. I'm talking of a visceral, deep in the bones, feeling. One that goes far beyond just feeling the song. Now it's so many years since this was released and still I cry when I hear it. Thank you Mark for writing this and for giving such a heartfelt performance each and every time. I love your work."

"This is a song that kids should be taught in schools all over the world. Look after each other. Look after our world. Beautiful."



These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home was the lowlands
And always will be
Someday you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn to be
Brothers in arms
Through these fields of destruction
Baptism of fire
I've watched all your suffering
As a battle raged high
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms
So many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones
Now the sun's gone to hell
And the moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We are fools to make war
On our brothers in arms


I want to make it clear, however, that although I am deeply opposed to war, I am not advocating appeasement. It is often necessary to take a strong stand to counter unjust aggression. For instance, it is plain to all of us that the Second World War was entirely justified. It "saved civilization" from the tyranny of Nazi Germany, as Winston Churchill so aptly put it. In my view, the Korean War was also just, since it gave South Korea the chance of gradually developing democracy. But we can only judge whether or not a conflict was vindicated on moral grounds with hindsight. For example, we can now see that during the Cold War, the principle of nuclear deterrence had a certain value. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to assess al such matters with any degree of accuracy. War is violence and violence is unpredictable. Therefore, it is better to avoid it if possible, and never to presume that we know beforehand whether the outcome of a particular war will be beneficial or not.

From Ursula K. Le Guin's translation of the Tao Te Ching:


Even the best weapon
is an unhappy tool,
hateful to living things.
So the follower of the Way
stays away from it.

Weapons are unhappy tools,
not chosen by thoughtful people,
to be used only when there is no choice,
and with a calm, still mind,
without enjoyment.
To enjoy using weapons
is to enjoy killing people,
and to enjoy killing people
is to lose your share in the common good.

It is right that the murder of many people
be mourned and lamented.
It is right that a victor in war
be received with funeral ceremonies.


Let every voice be heard.  

"... Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late ..."


Pixie said...

What a haunting, beautiful song.

Thank you for your thoughful comment.

My speciality has always been alcoholics, including the big guy. He stopped drinking seven years ago but he struggles with dealing his emotions, as do I:) I can see why he drank, to stop thinking and feeling, but he now has to find another way to do this. His father is not doing well and between that and his sore knee, he was grumpy as hell but denied it until he finally told me what was bothering him. Baby steps.

Anonymous said...

We listen to Mark Knopfler's "Brothers In Arms" often. It is the perfect song for this era, these times we are living in. I so wish there would be a global epiphany, an awakening... we're all one species on our one and only aching planet. But I know it will never happen, but fear that it will only get worse.

Colette said...

So much to think about and consider. I'll be returning to this post for a long time.

ellen abbott said...

I'm trying to think of something to write but there are just no words.

Heather said...

'Brothers in Arms' reminds me of the Falklands War, my husband was serving on a hospital shop and our son was born during his time away. Our neighbour recently died and they had this song at his cremation. Not many dry eyes.

am said...

Thank you Everyone for your comments. Thank you for visiting my post and commenting about that song and your experience with it, Heather.