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“You never ask questions
When God's on your side.”

(Bob Dylan)


"You never ask questions when God's on your side"? Hmm. . . That reminds me of someone, a famous speech of our time concerning those who are "either with us or against us in the fight against -------" [fill in the blank accordingly, does it matter who the fight is against so long as we know God's on our side?]. . . Could it therefore be that, over forty years later, these sentiments still apply? For me the answer is clear: this is a song for all times concerning the hypocrisy of war. No matter who we wage war on, it seems we always arrogantly believe we are in the right and they are in the wrong. Vietnam? Iraq? Afghanistan? Bosnia? Kuwait? Bring it on! Does it really matter who we wage war on, so long as we keep the war machine oiled and the public remain assured that God's on our side? Simon Rees, March 2007


With God on Our Side

Bob Dylan, 1963

Oh my name it ain't nothin' -
My age it means less -
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest.
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that the land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it -
They tell it so well:
The cavalries charged,
The Indians fell -
The cavalries charged,
The Indians died -
Oh the country was young,
With God on its side.

Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away,
And the names of the heroes
I's made to memorize -
With guns in their hands
And God on their side.

Oh the First World War, boys,
It came and it went -
The reason for fighting
I never did get -
But I learned to accept it,
Accept it with pride,
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side.

The Second World War
Came to an end -
We forgave the Germans
And then we were friends -
Though they murdered six million -
In the ovens they fried -
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

I've learned to hate the Russians
All through my whole life -
If another war comes,
It's them we must fight -
To hate them and fear them,
To run and to hide,
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.

But now we've got weapons
Of chemical dust -
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must -
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide -
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.

Through many a dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this:
That Jesus Christ was
Betrayed by a kiss -
But I can't think for you,
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell -
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell -
The words fill my head
And they fall to the floor:
That if God's on our side,
He'll stop the next war.

 

Copyright © 1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

 

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Index of Bob Dylan Songs by Title 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Index of Bob Dylan Lyrics by Extract

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