Appeal To Reason
2008 | Folk
Spotify | Amazon
“He said son, have you seen the world? -- Well, what would you say if I said that you could.”
- A promotional video for the song was released on May 20, 2009 on the bands Myspace. Many considered it the albums third single but it was never released as such.
- Bill Stevensen, drummer and songwriter for the Descendents & ALL produced the album and convinced McIlrath to put it on the record.
- Rise Against is a Chicago based punk band who started out on Fat Mike's Label Fat Wreck Chords.
THE HOT TAKES
Damn. This is what is wrong with war, told as a progressively sadder story. First an eager recruit, sold on a life's worth of propaganda. "See the world," they said. Later, the capturing of someone (soldier? civilian?) in another country. At first resisting the torture, then participating. Finally, gunning down an agent of peace. These lyrics are set against a chorus that stands as a powerful contrast: "I'll carry this flag; To the grave if I must; 'Cause it's a flag that I love; And a flat that I trust." It shows how we are lied into loving the symbolism of the state, and manipulated with these tools to commit evil in the name of "peace," or "freedom," or "democracy."
This song is devastatingly raw and touching. It begins with the illusions of what military “service” is from the point of view of the soldier, and then shatters those illusions with the realities of war. One of the most important themes that this song touches on, is that you can’t take it back. The things you do in the “service” of the political elite will be paid for by you for the rest of your life, if you are unlucky enough to live with what you’ve done. You will feel like no one understands you, an the hero worshipping masses will make you feel even more disconnected from the world by seeing you as the hero you know you’re not. The bottom line is that everyone loses when it comes to war except for the political class who could care less what happens to you or anyone else, as long as they get what they want to advance their ends. As a libertarian it is on the top of my list to help shatter the myth of the military being a hero factory. It may be a factory, but it’s an abattoir, and perpetuates The Military Industrial Complex. We should never remain silent while people sacrifice children to Moloch."
If you can watch this video without bawling your eyes out, you're a significantly more broken person than even I. I've watched the trajectory of this song play out in real time more times than I can count and it's just as sad each time. The narrative behind this song is why I have so much difficulty taking the all soldiers are murderers tack that some have no difficulty with. The old "dogs of war" thing is probably more true than it gets credit for. We take puppies teach them how to kill, make them do it, reward them for burying their conscience and living in instinct, specifically the ones politicians and cronyists like. When the fight goes out of em we pull em back and try to kennel em up with normal dogs and castrate or cage them when they nip at the other animals. Imagine being able to treat an animal this way let alone young men.