In a fucked up and mean world where does a non flip flop wearing, non bearded liberal anti war warrior stand?

With Iraq being overrun by crazy zealots frothing with the toxic high of high octane belief of god told me to do it and massacres are being reported on a daily basis on the news can ‘War Is Over’ strummed on a battered acoustic guitar make any sense any more?

We could be on the verge of a third Iraq war and all the questions still remain unanswered and the cosy black and white being anti war is more blurred than ever with citizens being massacred by a new uprising in the beleaguered nation but further proof of the futility of intervention.

Even when we marched in the streets behind the anti war banner it was with an air of pessimism. Millions marched against Blair’s international stage strutting shouting into his sticky out ears that this was going to be a doomed exercise- we were right on that one. We claimed the west would be mired in an un-winnable war and that history pointed to a composite country like Iraq falling apart at the seams as the ethnic, religious and tribal tensions exploded to the surface.

As the debate raged the brave boys from the Thames, Mersey and the Tyne were pitted on the front line by the cowards who would never spill a drop of their own blood despite frothing at the mouth with war fever.

Of course no-one was marching for Saddam but we were baffled with the neo cons shaking his hands a few years before and now bombing his people back to the Stone Age. It was a crash course in the ugly world of International politics when the agendas are at best smudgy and at worst downright dishonest.

Now that the West has pulled out claiming a fuzzy victory it was only matter of time before the whole fragile affair would collapse and this was sparked by the sudden appearance of ISIS- a radical islam movement rejecting the west and everything it stands for and raising the flag of Sharia law over a weary population.

There have been calls for action and for another invasion but the west is running on broke. There all sorts of debates raging about the pros and cons of what to do. Some keyboard warriors are calling for action from the comfort of their own homes safe in the knowledge that they will never have to get their hands dirty in the appalling and poisonous mess of modern warfare- that’s for the young folks I guess.

But there is also hand wringing from the anti war liberals and the anti war warriors and the knowledge that the world is careering into a dark hole of madness whether we like it or not- this has always been the way I’m afraid. You can’t fight war with war and you can’t tell people to stop fighting because you don’t like it. The blood lust of the human race has never been higher and pain in the name of god is very much part of the 21st century agenda.

We may have been right to oppose the war in the first place and no-one listened then but what we now truly know in our heart of hearts is that no-one is listening any more and that agendas that stretch back over centuries are very much the order of these chaotic times but does that stop us believing?

In the modern world it’s far harder to stand for something no matter how noble and pure but that doesn’t mean it’s time to hide away.

Fight war, not wars as someone once sung is still a potent and powerful phrase and even if the grinding neo con greed of the west’s real agenda or the wild eyed fundamentalist on the other clash endlessly over their differing agendas we just have to oppose both their madness. Of course it’s probably futile but our voices must be heard…

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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