I wrote these lyrics in the waning months of the George W. Bush presidency. Ricky Riot composed a tune and performed it in a few venues around NYC. In light of the so-called reluctant warrior’s new crusade against the latest great satan (I refer, of course, to the Islamic State, i.e. the entity formerly and indeed currently known also as ISIS, or ISIL), I think it’s time for a reprise.
If Peace Breaks Out
What will we do warless with our warriors?
What will we do warless with our ghosts?
Warless, how will we fill up the hours?
Self-medicate, recite old threadbare boasts?
And what will we do warless for employment?
Can killers just go out and land a job?
In peacetime, when we get an itch for plunder,
what warrant do we have to loot and rob?
What will we do warless for adventure?
How will we obtain pacific kicks?
We like our slice of meat a little rarer.
We crave a spot of danger in the mix.
Warless, how will kings command allegiance?
Warless, thieves fall out with brother thieves.
Our industries would lose their purring engine,
their profits thinning like November leaves.
What will we do warless for a future?
What will we do warless with the past?
A well-made plot requires a raging conflict
to earn sweet resolution, home at last.
What will we do warless for a compass?
Relaxed, we’d likely party with the proles.
Unfocused, we might waver with the women.
Thank God for discipline and clearcut goals!
Warless, how can guys shore up their manhood?
Civilians never sport the stiffest pricks.
Tall tales of concubines and hunky heroes
get lots of us excited. Even chicks.
And what will we do warless with our anger?
What reason will we find to rape and slay?
Too bad to see our talents going begging;
we got so good at blowing enemies away.
Oh, how will we secure the wealth of nations?
How will we corral unruly slaves?
From time to time, a fine old-fashioned bloodbath
instructs the lower orders to behave.
What will we do warless with our empire,
just suck our thumbs, await the reckoning?
The blowback from all corners of the planet,
our ’hood we trashed like gangsters bickering?
Who’d mothball noble words like “duty,” “honor,”
then look our fading country in the face?
Say what to God, if not “protect our fighters”?
Invoke limp-wristed love and girly grace?
What will we do warless for our glamour?
What will we do warless with our grief?
How will we fare warless in the rubble,
tread lightly on the millions crushed beneath?
Warless, how could we support our warlords?
Torturers and goons might have to hide.
If peace breaks out, our way of life is done for.
We’d rather flirt with species suicide.
We’d rather court a final conflagration.
Bereft of strife, we won’t know what to do.
Great Moloch, grant us what we need to function:
a small world war, a genocide or two.