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Ready For War - Riffs and Licks
Ready For War
An unpleasant reminder of ongoing horror came in the mail yesterday, in the form of a seven-inch single. It's John Cale's "Mercenaries (Ready For War)," released in 1980, from his punk masterpiece, Sabotage/Live. The A side is a brutal song about the soldiers who are paid "enough to want to kill for you, but not enough to want to die for you." The B-side is the rare "Rosegarden Funeral Of Sores," which is unavailable on CD.

The picture sleeve is the real point, though. It's a threatening photo of Cale, overlaid on a map of a war-torn region of the world that was omnipresent in the news at the time. The map shows eastern Afghanistan, northwest Pakistan, and a bit of Iran. Thirty years later, it's completely up to date, as are the two ugly and violent songs on the record. True, "Ready For War" references the since-renamed Zaire, but the "jolly old Belgian Congo" is still quite the business opportunity for mercenaries.

And this affects me, like most Americans, not at all; it takes a luxury purchase to even bring it to mind. It's sad and shameful.

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From: narode Date: September 11th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Lots more Americans than those who'll hear Cale's "Mercenaries (Ready for War" need to be confronted with the grim realization that in 30 years we've only progressed to outsourcing fighting in Afghanistan & Pakistan to wealthy mercenaries like Blackwater (now Xe--effort at anonymity?), KBR, et al. More disturbing: no matter the name--Belgian Congo, Zaire, Congo--it's remained an area of unrelenting brutality for those cursed to be born there.
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