"Rich Man’s War" as written by and Steve Earle....
Jimmy joined the army â??cause he had no place to go
There ain't nobody hirin'
'Round here since all the jobs went
Down to Mexico
Reckoned that he'd learn himself a trade maybe see the world
Move to the city someday and marry a black haired girl
Somebody somewhere had another plan
Now he's got a rifle in his hand
Rollin' into Baghdad wonderin' how he got this far
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man's war

Bobby had an eagle and a flag tattooed on his arm
Red white and blue to the bone when he landed in Kandahar
Left behind a pretty young wife and a baby girl
A stack of overdue bills and went off to save the world
Been a year now and he's still there
Chasin' ghosts in the thin dry air
Meanwhile back at home the finance company took his car
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man's war

When will we ever learn
When will we ever see
We stand up and take our turn
And keep tellin' ourselves we're free

Ali was the second son of a second son
Grew up in Gaza throwing bottles and rocks when the tanks would come
Ain't nothin' else to do around here just a game children play
Somethin' 'bout livin' in fear all your life makes you hard that way

He answered when he got the call
Wrapped himself in death and praised Allah
A fat man in a new Mercedes drove him to the door
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man's war


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"Rich Man's War" as written by Stephen F. (fain) Earle

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Rich Man's War song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is so insightful. It sympathizes with those Americans going to war against their real ethics, but also points out that the SAME EXACT SITUATION is going on in the Middle-East.

    Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man's war...
    Buddha of Suburbiaon March 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWars have been started by the rich and fought by the poor sine time out of mind. The title refers to the War Between the States. Rich Southern plantation owners who owned 20 slaves or more were exempt from the draft. Poor white Southerners had the saying "Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight."
    The situation was similar in the Union states. A rich man could pay a substitute to take his place in the army. Many Union soldiers were either working class men or new immigrants, especially Irish or German.
    amymonkeyon June 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationOne of the Duke's saddest songs, Steve Earle truly knows what it means to be an American Rabbit. In Rich Man's War, Rabbit Leopold goes off to fight a war he doesn't want or need and he feels unconscionable and violated! That's what Earle does best as a writer-He puts a Brave Face on the Human Cost of war! When will America ever learn her shameful history? The time to fight is right and study war no more! Thanks Steve for telling the truth!
    rabbitbunnyon January 21, 2013   Link

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