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When Will We Ever Learn?

by Editors

When Will We Ever Learn?


Pete Seeger asked the Question Long ago…


Peter, Paul and Mary echoed it…


Bob Dylan answered the question and


Today, DW College Contributor, Brad Clinard


Asks us again…


From Viet Nam to Iraq, how far have we come?


Have we learned anything? And … finally…


Why not?


Preface: By: Dusty Schoch, DW Foreign Policy Editor:


Before you read young Bradford Clinard’s thoughtful and provocative diatribe against the present war in Iraq and those who are sponsoring it,  brought fearfully in focus by his having soon to say his goodbyes to a friend now destined to serve in that “current” theater of American-generated war, let’s all take a look at what might be the only glaring difference between our war “against the Reds” in Nam a half century ago and our present “war on terrorism” in Iraq…


…the music, and our cultural historians who asked the perennial questions with the perennially-obvious answers that,  perennially,  none of us ever seems to heed…


Where Have All the Flowers Gone?


Composer: Pete Seeger

Performers: Peter, Paul and Mary




Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone for husbands everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the husbands gone, long time passing?
Where have all the husbands gone, long time ago?
Where have all the husbands gone?
Gone for soldiers everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?


Bob Dylan Had Two Answers:

The First was:






(Dylan’s Second Answer follows

Brad’s essay…because it Echoes

What Brad says)


Composer: Dylan

Performer: Dylan


How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, n how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, n how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before theyre forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind,
The answer is blowin in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, n how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, n how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind,
The answer is blowin in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist
Before its washed to the sea?
Yes, n how many years can some people exist
Before theyre allowed to be free?
Yes, n how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesnt see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind,
The answer is blowin in the wind.



Brad Clinard’s Take on America’s

Democracy and Its Wars



Make Love, Not War ! This sign held by up a hippie caught my eye and captivated my attention the other day. Thinking about the simplicity but parallel depth of this concept I began to wonder:  The majority of people throughout the world have very similar dreams, desires and needs. One of the most universal desires is for Peace. Why then, in a world in which democracy has “won”,  is this peace not found?


Many of our leaders would like “us” to believe it is because the jihad suicide extremists are going to be on your doorstep to punch you in the face, and thus they must be preemptively thwarted from “evil”. Let me just ask: How many of you have ever seen a terrorist or even anybody being shot for that matter? I would venture that with the exception of media coverage, war veterans, and public police servants,  our society in America has very little exposure to real world-class violence. Granted there are occasional incidents such as 9/11, Virginia Tech, and gang violence, but compared to worldwide death tolls for other inhumane deaths, (i.e. starvation, dehydration, and easily curable diseases) we are very safe and I might  venture, spoiled.


If we are relatively safe then why are we not a more peaceful country as the people want? I propose there are two distinguishing characteristics that have lead to our country’s current sickness: Greed and Fear.


First, a word on democracy. I understand and notice regularly that I am a very small pawn in the chess game our country plays, politically. However, there is something wrong with our Democratic system if the will of the people is not heard. The  muted shout of the people is clearly a desire for universal peace. Since recently reaching voting age, I now feel responsible to hold accountable the people who represent me and subsequently run our country through policy creation or by non-action. Clearly, the people have been misrepresented and we should be mad. The major issues our country and world face should be the prime concern of our politicians. They should not waste their “talents” deciding what office wallpaper should be, what pork barrel project can be passed, whether steroids in baseball are illegal, and every other ridiculous issues they fret over to appear busy until the next election. Exactly how this occurs  is a very complex question, but one that must be addressed before social change can proceed.


As a student of economics I am confronted with a dilemma. Economics teaches us to place a value on everything, even peace. The price of peace or the price of forgoing war may be very costly for some, especially if daddy owns stock in the  military industry (think USA). On the other hand, peace can be equally profitable for a larger group as it creates stability that allows global business and free trade to flourish. Regardless, in a democracy, society’s desire for peace should triumph regardless of economic consequences of a few.


Ironically, it was one of the greatest five star generals our country ever had, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who tried to warn us about the danger of our military growing out of control. He coined the term,  “Military Industrial Complex” to describe the dangerous state we find ourselves in today, wherein corporate special interests groups buy politicians and our country wages war after war after war.


I calculated  our 2008 budget for Military and Homeland Security to be approximately 665 Billion dollars. ( By comparison, the rest of the world combined will spend only slightly over 500 Billion. Our economy as we know it survives on the fact that we are the leading manufacturers, hence purveyors of war.

To discover why we are fighting is relatively simple in theory… Follow The Money. Who is profiting off war in our country? Halliburton and Blackwater come immediately to mind. Trouble is these firms are the most strategically positioned entities  in Washington with lobbyists, congressman, labor unions, and financial investors (not to mention inside fifth-column employees like Dick Cheney) all giving an open ear to imperialistic agendas.


Fear has become a way of life in daily America. The “Fear Culture” we are enslaved to makes us more vulnerable to propaganda and thus the agenda of the greedy. The all-pervasive propaganda that we see today has accomplished  its calculated goal with  anesthetizing the populous into a state of confusion and, from the overuse and abuse of “9/11”, mindlessly championing “freedom and democracy”, the “war on terror” and my personal favorite–the color-coded terror warning levels.


The most dangerous thing I can think of is someone or a country afraid  of everything. This has long been one of the contended bases for why we have one of the highest murder rates in the developed world. The most disturbing part is the results of the propaganda machine. With an at-best ambiguous enemy and No Possibility for “victory” in its Middle Eastern campaign, our incumbent administration  has become unaccountable and can not be challenged. This is a violation of our basic civil liberties.


The anomalously-named “Patriot Act” successfully removes many of the protections we were guaranteed by our founding fathers to ensure our country would remain the land of the free. Maybe there is a reason to be afraid. It has long been said, “People should not fear their governments, governments should fear their people.” It is clear this idea has been lost and I am sure our founding fathers would be appalled—I surely am. It is also perfectly clear this is the time my generation needs an old fashion revolution, at the least a loud protest. Yet the call to action is silenced and pushed to the background by the deafening noise of reality TV and the busy non-relenting quest for an illusion known as success. 


In closing, I must confess the subjective motivation of my ranting.  In three weeks, a good friend of mine will be sent to Iraq—assignment: “road patrol.” (a.k.a. “insurgent target practice”)  While I have the utmost of admiration for the courage he shows in fighting for good old Uncle Sam, I am sad inside for the loss he will certainly face—if not his life then surely his gentle temperament. War is Hell for all it touches, and in today’s global society it touches all.




“Masters Of War”

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion’
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand over your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.





In passing..…


Echoing Brad’s sentiments, Dylan’s and our own, let’s get busy and realize that it’s never too late to start changing these times…..


The Times They Are A Changing

By: Bob Dylan

Come Gather round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.






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