"The War Is Over" as written by and Phil Ochs....
Silent Soldiers on a silver screen
A F#m E A F#m
Framed in fantasies and dragged in dream
Bm E7 A
Unpaid actors of the mystery
Bm E F#m E
The mad director knows that freedom will not make you free
F#m E
And what's this got to do with me
G D
I declare the war is over
A E E A E C#m
It's over, it's over

Drums are drizzling on a grain of sand
Fading rhythms of a fading land
Prove your courage in the proud parade
Trust your leaders where mistakes are almost never made
And they're afraid that I'm afraid

I'm afraid the war is over
It's over, it's over

Angry artists painting angry signs
Use their vision just to blind the blind
Poisoned players of a grizzly game
One is guilty and the other gets the point to blame
Pardon me if I refrain

I declare the war is over
It's over, it's over

So do your duty, boys, and join with pride
Serve your country in her suicide
Find the flags so you can wave goodbye
But just before the end even treason might be worth a try
This country is too young to die

I declare the war is over
It's over, it's over

One-legged veterans will greet the dawn
And they're whistling marches as they mow the lawn
And the gargoyles only sit and grieve
The gypsy fortune teller told me that we'd been deceived
You only are what you believe

I believe the war is over
It's over, it's over



Lyrics submitted by weezerific:cutlery

"The War Is Over" as written by Phil Ochs

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The War Is Over song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThis is such a beautiful song, such an eloquent statement of non-compliance with war...
    Tuckeron November 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe fourth verse is one of the greatest in music history. The language is so deliberately harsh that it grabs the attention and doesn't let go. I was honestly shocked the first time I heard it.
    AlmightyTimon November 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Even treason might be worth a try" was censored out in a version I downloaded. Interesting.

    I love this song.
    teiladnamon October 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEight months after the Tet Offensive, The album, "The War is Over" was released and it seems like a direct response to the continuous nature of the war. The song directly stems from a comment made in the Los Angeles Free Press by Allan Ginsburg. Ginsburg was feeling disfranchised by the protest movement (as many people were) and he told a reporter for the newspaper to do what he did, and declare the war over. Ginsburg wanted to disturb America’s complacency, which allowed them to live with an almost never-ending war. Ochs used this idea in formulating his song, and then took it a step further. Again appealing to the American Dream and American Values, the song poses the question: what is more patriotic, agreeing with an unjust war because American political leaders say so, or declare the war is over and refusing to comply with a wrongful government? Accompanying the release of the single were protest rallies put together by Ochs himself, also entitled “The War Is Over.” Ochs published articles in leftist publications like The Los Angeles Free Press and the Village Voice publicizing these rallies. He told Village Voice readers, “Do what I and thousands of other Americans have done—declare the war over…After all, this is our country, our taxes, our war. We pay for it, we die for it…we should at least have the right to end it…Ludicrous as this may appear, it is certainly far less so than the war itself.” He felt the war was unjust and since America prides itself in being a country of democracy, run for the people and by the people; he was giving the people a chance to end the war. This approach to protesting the war resonates throughout the entire song. He draws upon American patriotic values to create action within the public.
    Three3Dayson July 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe entire song really can be heard in terms of one of the last lines: 'You only are what you believe' Maybe part of the frustration for people like Ochs is that too many Americans believe themselves powerless next to their leaders. When we realize that we can declare the war over without the permission of a few hundred rich guys then we will discover the power we have. That is the freedom that WILL make us free.
    bloodydoorson April 11, 2012   Link

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