Monday, January 3, 2011

David Rovics - Song for Bradley Manning - Updated

Update - Tuesday 3:45 p.m: Kelly Walters has transcribed the lyrics:

A Song for Bradley Manning

By David Rovics

Private Manning was an analyst
if what they say is true
He was paid to read reports
and find the patterns sifting through

As he read the data
the patterns did emerge
Patterns that were clear
both before and since the Surge

Patterns of abuse
of the most horrific kind
Gunning down civilians
out of view and out of mind

Gunning down the opposition
in the middle of the night
Sending off the scholars
to be tortured out of sight

Sometimes you need desperate measures
when you live in desperate times
Private Manning saw he was
looking at war crimes

He wondered what to do
to allow the dead to speak
He finally decided
to contact Wikileaks

Now it’s all out on the table
and everybody knows
The emperor is naked,
he’s not wearing any clothes

Now Adrian Lamo
has to live within his skin
He stabbed Bradley in the back,
called the cops and turned him in

But not before the soldier
took a half a million files
If you printed all the pages
they’d stretch on for miles

Evidence against the state
right from the horse’s mouth
Machinations in the west,
bombings in the south

A treasure trove of details
for all the globe to see
How much they need to lie and kill
for democracy

How many drone strikes have hit villages
leaving everyone to die
They blamed it on someone else
the official line, “Not I”

How many coups have been plotted
by ambassadors who say
That free and fair elections
be the order of the day

Now it’s all out on the table
and everybody knows
The emperor is naked,
he’s not wearing any clothes

Now the Genie’s out of the bottle
and they’re trying to stuff it back
And stop it from illuminating
everything we lack

Such as the rule of law
or playing by the book
Look you can read it, it’s right here,
the ship of state is run by crooks

And they vilify the messengers,
call them every name
For daring to blow the whistle
on the nature of their game

The game of taking lives
and endangering the rest
In order for the wealthy few
to do what they do best

Dominate the world
for the corporate elite
But now their cover’s blown
from their head down to their feet

And now the stars and stripes
is looking much more like a rag
The lid is off the box,
the cat’s out of the bag

Now it’s all out on the table
and everybody knows
The emperor is naked,
he’s not wearing any clothes


Anonymous said...

We are with you, Bradley.

Celia Harrison said...

I love this song! It reminds me of the protest songs from the 60s and 70s.

fromtheidiagonal said...

... wet face... goosebumps all over...
a ballad worth its name...
This needs wide distribution!

Anonymous said...

Bradley Manning is not a hero. Where is the smoking gun? There is none. His foolish breach of trust will land him in Leavenworth for the rest of his life. What a waste and a shame. Julian Assange should be ashamed of himself for corrupting this young man. If Assange were a true man, he'd offer himself up in Manning's place.

Philip Munger said...

Anon @ 6:57 am:

You are basing your statements entirely on hearsay. Manning has made no credible statements. The evidence provided by Lamo through Wired is incomplete. Assange says, perhaps truthfully, that he only found out who Manning was after the latter's arrest.

On the other hand, the evidence which appears to have been released by Manning has uncovered war crimes. Under the international treaties by which our nation conducts military operations with its allies, any service member who intentionally hides war crimes is an accessory to them. By instead naming this man a traitor, you are no better than the average German citizen who stood and let Sophie Scholl and her brother be executed.

Anonymous said...

Melodrama aside, Phil, I did not call Bradley Manning a traitor. I simply stated that he is not a hero. There is a difference. And there exists a mechanism for government whistleblowers to use. Manning bypassed that process in favor of the Assange cult. He is a poor, misguided kid who was sacrificed for nothing. You can thank Julian Assange for that.

I look forward to Assange's former colleague's tell-all on Wikileaks. The pot will then meet the kettle. Popcorn is ready.

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 9:48,

Rovics' song doesn't mention Assange. Like many of his lyrics, he seeks to universalize what Manning felt he had to do.

As I've written here before, I now think less highly of Assange than I did back in July, for instance.