Today is a good day to salute another, newly christened Nobel laureate who stood up to the war machine, telling the “Masters of War” that he could “see through [their] masks”;  that “even Jesus would never forgive what you do.” (Song below.)

The song was released in 1963, when the antiwar movement in the US was still very small. But millions would hear it, and along with other songs that he wrote and recorded, it would undoubtedly contribute to that movement and its consciousness.

Probably it won’t get a lot of play in the stories about Dylan winning the Nobel Prize. At the moment, the level of media brainwashing on these issues is rather high, with 80 percent of voters in a recent survey saying they thought terrorism was “very important” to their 2016 vote — second only to the economy, at 84 percent.  Since you are much more likely to get killed by lightning than die at the hands of a terrorist, it is no exaggeration to say that the mass media has managed to create a literally delusional reality for millions of Americans.

It is hard to imagine Dylan or his fans buying into this kind of delusion, any more than they bought the official story that the Vietnam War was about saving the world from Communism.  At the time of the song, however, the majority of the country did buy the official story and supported the war.  This would change considerably in the ensuing years.

The delusions about terrorism, and about America’s current, never-ending wars and foreign policy that are much more the cause of terrorism than a response to it, will also be shattered in the years ahead. “Masters of War” should be part of every broadcast about Dylan’s Nobel Prize.



Masters of War

Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build the big guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you sit back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
While the young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good?
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could?
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
By the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o’er your grave
‘Til I'm sure that you're dead

Masters of War lyrics © 1963 Warner Bros. Incorporated. Copyright renewed 1991, Special Rider Music.