Lonesome Onry and Mean: War, Still "Hard to Believe"

LOM war 1.jpg
Photos by John Moulder

I'm always looking for good lyrics that make sense of the current military situation. I recently got Slaid Cleaves' fine new album, Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, which contains this wonderful verse in the song "Hard to Believe":

"Here comes another blown up kid from over there

Makin' the whole world safe for the millionaires

Same old swindle hides behind a fresh new coat of lies

This is no time to be naïve, it's hard to believe.

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As we've mentioned a few times in these pages, Lonesome, Onry, and Mean's daughter has been in the Middle East on an Air Force assignment the past six months. She finally got back Saturday, and the homecoming in San Antonio was mighty fine as she reunited with her three-year-old daughter who could barely talk when she left but now seems almost ready for college.

Pretty fine homecoming indeed. You think you know the average soldier? Take a look at the above photos and tell me you know.


LOM war 3.jpgAs Glad as LOM is to have her back finally safe and out of harm's way, he can't let go of his bile over the national leadership that got us into this mess where our precious sons and daughters are sent off to fight for... what?

We're not quite sure: The sanctity of waterboarding? The right of the investment banks to ruin the economy? The right of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and Phil Gramm to insist that their vision was the Way and that they've done nothing wrong? The right of the Bush cronies at AIG to rob the people and the national treasury? The right of idiots like Rush Limbaugh to condemn a new President who inherited the worst domestic situation since the Depression from an outfit that makes the Mafia look like a convention of Sunday School teachers?

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Yeah, I'm still pretty pissed at those arrogant, disingenuous, lying sons of bitches.

Right now, that Slaid Cleaves song is probably my favorite and in heavy rotation. I'm sure with time that will change, but right now it's pretty much stuck in my CD player and my mind.

But a couple of other great songs have also been playing in pretty heavy rotation, especially in the canyons of my mind. The first is Mark Germino's wonderful track, "All Wars Are Cut With Love." Germino is a Vietnam vet with a couple of Purple Hearts, and doesn't take combat or the waste of our children lightly.

"I've lost some eyesight and some recall

And my will to anticipate

I lost my left leg in the A Shau

May the 15th, 1968."

The A Shau valley was a major infiltration route during the Vietnam War. A lot of men lost their limbs and more there. It is essentially forgotten today, except by people like Germino.

The other song that has been looping through my head is the great Steve Earle Copperhead Road track recorded with the Pogues, "Johnny Come Lately." Since my daughter is stationed in San Antonio and a huge Earle fan, the parallels have been burning a hole in my soul.

Thank God for Steve Earle. He grew up in San Antonio around the military and he just gets it.

"When Johnny Come Lately comes marching home

Chest full of medals and a GI Loan

We'll be waiting at the station down in San Antone

When Johnny comes marching home."

If you're a big fan of Earle and the Pogues, here's an interesting video from the studio during the recording of "Johnny Come Lately":

Above are some more photos from the homecoming. They speak for themselves about duty, honor, dignity and family. I don't know what the lesson is for you, but the lesson for me is: let's be more careful about how we let a bunch of arrogant we-know-what's-best-for-everybody pricks spend our children and our money.

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