Has the Bombing Begun?

The president’s speaking, fifty years to the day
If the great man were here now, what would he say
With all the people in prison, and all the kids in the street
With the Navy sending in the Fifth Fleet
The president’s speaking, oh how things change
Now it’s Syria, not Vietnam, in the firing range
Every hour or so I look at my phone
To see if we’ve sent in the cruise missiles and drones

Has the bombing begun, have we failed again
To stop the war machine from killing more innocent children

The president’s speaking, in the August sunshine
Turn on the TV you won’t find a sign
That there’s something slightly ironic that it should be now
That we’re waiting to find out precisely how
The buildings will fall and the people will die
The fathers will hold their lifeless children and cry
How could they do this, did they accomplish their task
So, at the top of each hour I ask


See the refugees streaming, even more than last week
Kids too traumatized even to speak
Hoping to find somewhere, maybe a tent
Wondering where their hopes and dreams all went
There’s a demo this evening, as the missiles rain down
I and some others will head into the center of town
Bear witness again to unspeakable crime
And ask the terrible question one more time


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“Has the Bombing Begun” originally appeared on the 2013 Bandcamp album, Spies Are Reading My Blog.

I was on the outskirts of Adelaide, Australia, listening on the internet to President Obama give a speech at the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March On Washington. On the same day, he and his staff were making plans to bomb Syria. Which they did not carry out quite yet.