Posted by: davepidgeon | December 2, 2009

TRAIL TUNES: What Peter said to Paul

Lake Band-e-Amir, Afghanistan

A crystal blue lake rests in the Band-e-Amir region of Afghanistan. (Carl Montgomery / flickr) / CC BY 2.0

The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq never quite inspired the sort of anti-establishment music the way Vietnam did during the 1960s and 1970s. I suppose that’s due in part to how our involvement in Afghanistan was prompted by a horrific attack on thie homeland, which justified a war. But Iraq in 2003? Not so much. Still, while there was plenty of outrage about the Iraq War, that upswell of protest never really took on the same intensity as was seen in a previous generation.

This week’s TRAIL TUNES is inspired by two events, one momentous and the other significant maybe only to me – President Barack Obama delivered at West Point a fascinating case for a troop surge in Afghanistan; and tonight, I’ll be attending the Josh Ritter concert in Philadelphia.

Josh Ritter, the 33-year-old bard from Idaho, penned in 2006 what I thought was the best war song of our generation, full of religious innuendo and angst against the corrupted message of Christianity:

Peter said to Paul

“You know all those words we wrote?

“They’re just the rules of the game

“And the rules are the first to go.”

“Girl In the War” came off Ritter’s Animal Years album at a time Iraq was spiraling into a hellish cauldron of civil war with us both the instigator and the ones trying to prevent the bloodshed. Meanwhile, Afghanistan also began slipping far away from U.S. objectives to establish a trustworthy democracy free of tyranny and terrorism.

When he performs “Girl In the War” tonight, that song will drip thick with more pathos than ever before.


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