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We’re fools to make war on our Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits

This song is one I have listened to on and off for many years. I first encountered it in the late 80’s and remember listening to it in bed at night in my early teens during the Gulf War in 1991 in between news reports and praying that my father who was in the RAF at the time would survive the war and come home safely. I remember at that stage thinking about the futility of war and that there must be a better way of solving international disputes but after my father came home life returned to normal and school and exams dominated my thoughts.

Like most teenage boys, I was destined to be more like my father than I would have been comfortable with at that stage and so it was that I found myself taking part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 while in the Army, an experience which began a long internal thought process about the rights and wrongs of armed conflict.

The song was apparently written during or shortly after the Falklands war and the first lines bring to mind images of battle and the strange dichotomy of war when a soldier is injured to the point that he can no longer fight, his treatment at the hands of his so-called enemy immediately changes from primitive and brutal to humane and caring with provision of medical treatment, food and warmth.

The song goes on to remind us that men facing each other on the battlefield normally have more in common with each other than the self serving politicians and rulers who sent them there and the haunting melody finishes with the line, as true today as it has ever been, ‘We’re fools to make war on our brothers in arms’.

Brothers in Arms

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Someday you’ll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you’ll no longer burn to be
Brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I’ve witnessed your suffering
As the battle raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

There’s so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun’s gone to hell and
The moon’s riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it’s written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We are fools to make war
On our brothers in arms

dire straits

Duncan Parker served with the British Army in Iraq and is a member of VFP UK

  • Gus Hales 17/09/2014, 13:53

    We, the ordinary Peace loving people of this world, must make sure we never let the power hungry greedy psychopaths do this to us again. The choice is ours whether we wake up or stay asleep.