Let's take a little trip down memory lane, back to the year 1971. The sixties were over, and people were chucking their Hendrix records and getting into James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. Richard Nixon was causing a bit of soothing in the tensions with the Communist world via his detente policy. In short, the world seemed to be calming down. In just eleven months, Nixon would destroy a good chunk of what was left of the sixties by utterly destroying George McGovern in the general presidential election of that year.
So there we were. After years of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, McCarthy, and Khrushchev, the West seemed to have no real enemies in the world any longer.
But in the music world, one man saw through all of this. One man knew that the United States' goverment's repeated policy of fear and oppression would soon rear its ugly head again with a new bogeyman as a face for America and the United Kingdom to "fear," due to the miltaristic policies of their respective governments.
That man's name was Pete Townshend.
I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Won't Get Fooled Again, The Who, 1971
Were we finally escaping thirty years of miltarism? Had we finally put World War II and the Cold War behind us? America hoped, America got on its knees and prayed.
But we were fooled again.
Nixon celebrated his re-election in 1972 by bombing the hell out of North Vietnam again, finishing the year with a flourish of red in the Communist world. So much for giving peace a chance.
We stagger through the 1970s. Allende is assassinated by the CIA in Chile because he's part of the great red menace. Pol Pot and Apartheid and trading arms for hostages. America stayed in fear of the red menace. And the cycle continued.
If I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
If I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat
Behind Blue Eyes, The Who, 1971
Just another brick in the wall, indeed. We had the Ayatollah Khomeini as our "great menace" to close out the 1970s, and when Reagan came back to office, we had to find new enemies. And enemies we did find: Moammar Qaddafi and Manuel Noriega. But by 1990, we had beaten them into pacifism or enprisonment, and so we needed a new bogeyman.
And here comes Saddam.
I don't need to fight
To prove I'm right
I don't need to be forgiven
Baba O'Riley, The Who, 1971
Now, the cycle of fresh blood for America to hate is on an annual basis; we've got to trot out someone new every year so that America stays convinced that we are doing the right thing by being the military policemen of the world.
What matters is that we need to increase military funding now, so that corporations such as Lockheed-Martin can earn great deals of money on subcontracts, while children everywhere face increasingly large class sizes and a downward spiral of education.
Is anyone really sure who we are fighting? Is the United States government even bothering to distinguish between their various voodoo dolls at this point? Are we supposed to hate Saddam, or Osama, or Sung? Never mind the face any more, just keep dumping your taxes down the military rat hole while the real problems are inside our own borders: a political system that is unresponsive to the people, an educational system that doesn't serve the public, and laws which repeatedly undermine the Bill of Rights.
Pete Townshend had it right all along.
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
Won't Get Fooled Again, The Who, 1971
Shortly after posting this, I became aware of TheDeadGuy's BRILLIANT Won't Get Fooled Again writeup, which echos almost identical sentiments to this writeup. If you liked this one, you should read his.
And shortly after that, I became aware of Alias Mother Jonez's World War III writeup that echoes similar sentiments. Bravo to all.