5406, War Crimes

written by Rick Minogue Published: June 3, 2018 Created: 10/20/1978 Entry: 5406
Rick Minogue, War Crimes

5406,  War Crimes

Want to hear it?  Here’s the YouTube Link: War Crimes

I grew up with the draft, fully expecting to end up in Viet Nam.  I remember Richard Nixon’s Secret Plan and diplomatic arguments about the shape of the Paris peace table while others died.

Later, those issues resurfaced when I wrote this song in the mid-late 70’s after another conflict in the Middle East. The song is about respect for Service Members and America.  Nebulous objectives, poorly thought-through strategy, lack of clear progress markers, and someone else’s children being used for political objectives were questions on my mind.

It’s meant to shine a light on politicians, and how herd mentality, demagoguery, and crisis-of-the-moment-decision-making impacts peoples’ lives decades beyond armed conflict.

Notes:  The original recording was a full band, fully finished, mixed track.  There were two problems:

  • The opening accapella chorus was slightly off key from the rest of the song
  • The track lacked energy.  By the time the session was booked, all of us were tired and the tape didn’t lie

Later, I took the reel to another studio.  I tuned my favorite guitar to the accapella chorus and re-sang the song as a solo.  Then, we doubled the opening voice tracks and set them a few milliseconds off to give them more impact, making it sound as though there were more voices than there actually were.  Finally, we compressed the sound and punched the volume.

The studio engineer and I were of the same vintage and while he worked magic on the board, we talked about Viet Nam and friends who got there ahead of us.  He had a sampled-sound of the signature Huey chopper, and after listening to it a few times, we agreed to splice it in as the remix intro.

Cheers, Listener.  Hope you like it.

War Crimes

I drept last night I enlisted

The dollar was in danger again

War wheels turning in the Middle East

How may lives could send


Everyone walked like a hero

Although no one followed me there

I started to have some misgivings

Another committee affair


War Crimes

In the name of the nation

Give us your time


Some of us went for the glory

And some of us went just to see

We floated our gunboats down the gutter

And we fought to keep the media free


Thirteen years in a wasteland

I awoke on a ship coming home

The issue we used was forgotten

And the newspapers left us alone


War Crimes

In the name of the nation

Give us your time


The pickup was where I had left it

Though the fenders were ravaged by rust

A close friend had two children

And another had died in a bust


I needed a wife and a family

A career and an acre of ground

I got minimum wage and family of rats

In my room in the center of town


War Crimes

In the name of the nation

Give us your time


I fought to keep the bitterness hidden

Though the battle had only begun

Thirteen years of nothing to show

I don’t know how fast I can run


I drept last night I enlisted

I thank God it was only a dream

Tonight I’ll go out and party

Pretending things aren’t as bad as they seem


War Crimes

In the name of the nation

Give us your time


War Crimes

In the name of the nation

Give us your lives

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