"What we've got here is failure to communicate.
Some men you just can't reach...
So, you get what we had here last week
Which is the way he wants it!
Well, he gets it!
And I don't like it any more than you men."*

Look at your young men fighting
Look at your women crying
Look at your young men dying
The way they've always done before

Look at the hate we're breeding
Look at the fear we're feeding
Look at the lives we're leading
The way we've always done before

My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights
And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can't deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars

D'you wear a black armband
When they shot the man
Who said "Peace could last forever"

And in my first memories
They shot Kennedy
An I went numb when I learned to see

So I never fell for Vietnam
We got the wall of D.C. to remind us all
That you can't trust freedom
when it's not in your hands
When everybody's fightin'
for their promised land

And I don't need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh
I don't need your civil war

Look at the shoes you're filling
Look at the blood we're spilling
Look at the world we're killing
The way we've always done before

Look in the doubt we've wallowed
Look at the leaders we've followed
Look at the lies we've swallowed
And I don't want to hear no more

My hands are tied
For all I've seen has changed my mind
But still the wars go on as the years go by
With no love of God or human rights

'Cause all these dreams are swept aside
By bloody hands of the hypnotized
Who carry the cross of homicide
And history bears the scars of our civil wars

"We practice selective annihilation of mayors
and government officials
for example to create a vacuum
Then we fill that vacuum
as popular war advances.
Peace is closer"**

I don't need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh

I don't need your civil war
I don't need your civil war
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh

I don't need your civil war
I don't need one more war
I don't need one more war

What's so civil about war anyway?

* Excerpt from "Cool Hand Luke"
** Taken from a speech given by a 20th century Peruvian General


Lyrics submitted by mike, edited by DeanGuitars

Civil War song meanings
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96 Comments

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  • +9
    General Commentcivil war is a metaphor , he sees the world as one not drivided into countrys, states, cities, and providences and all the wars and conflict that take place on planet earth, is a civil war
    slickvicon March 18, 2003   Link
  • +8
    General CommentMy take on this song is that while the rich use wars to make themselves richer, the victims are those sent out to die. They are often led to believe that they are on a holy crusade, when all they are really doing is fighting to allow those in power to become more powerful. Their cause is never realized, and in the end, they die for nothing.
    nemisis58on September 28, 2002   Link
  • +5
    My InterpretationDefinitely the most underrated Guns 'n' Roses song! Here's what I think.


    Look at your young men fighting
    Look at your women crying
    Look at your young men dying
    The way they've always done before
    Look at the hate we're breeding
    Look at the fear we're feeding
    Look at the lives we're leading
    The way we've always done before

    - A plea to the people in power to realize what war does to people, and how history continually repeats itself all the time and how some people never seem to to realize it.

    My hands are tied
    The billions shift from side to side

    - my favorite line. He is helpless as a simple citizen to change the world, and watches as "the billions shift from side to side" - meaning that (in my opinion) each party (republican/democrat) comes into enormous power as the years go by, and changes things for better/worse.

    And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
    For the love of God and our human rights

    - "brainwashed pride"- other citizens around him happy to make war, to kill communists (Vietnam), and think America is doing a "good thing". "For the love of God" - says how religion often controls the government's motives, including whether to go to war.

    And all these things are swept aside
    By bloody hands time can't deny

    - Says how his protests and other's protests are ignored by those with blood on their hands (president), and how the facts are denied by those in power.

    And are washed away by your genocide
    And history hides the lies of our civil wars

    - Media glosses over crucial facts of war, makes it seem like "right" thing to do.

    D'you wear a black armband
    When they shot the man
    Who said "Peace could last forever"

    - A likely reference to MLK here, but I'm not really sure where the quote originated.

    And in my first memories
    They shot Kennedy

    - growing up, he saw nothing but destruction on television, and that shaped how he feels later in life.

    An I went numb when I learned to see
    So I never fell for Vietnam

    - Realizes that much of what government says are lies, so he doesn't "fall" for Vietnam, and believes it to be another lie.

    We got the wall of D.C. to remind us all
    That you can't trust freedom
    when it's not in your hands

    - Speaks about all the names on the D.C wall, and that freedom is a lie, and how the media never tells about the all those that have lost their lives.

    When everybody's fightin'
    for their promised land

    - more religous references here, how countries (including America) fight because of intolerance. Can also be reference to Jerusalem.

    I don't need your civil war
    It feeds the rich while it buries the poor

    - "feeds the rich" - government making money from war. "buries the poor" - all the soldiers and civilians that have died in pursuit of war.

    Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
    In a human grocery store
    Ain't that fresh

    - government sends off soldiers to fight their wars for them, like puppets.

    Look at the shoes you're filling
    Look at the blood we're spilling
    Look at the world we're killing
    The way we've always done before

    - as presidents step in and out of office, they continue to make war and destruction on the planet, and history repeats itself again and again.

    Look in the doubt we've wallowed
    Look at the leaders we've followed
    Look at the lies we've swallowed
    And I don't want to hear no more

    - He's tired of the years of war and just wants it to stop, and he's tired of all the other people that don't see it the way he does.

    My hands are tied
    For all I've seen has changed my mind

    - Not sure about the second line, does he stop his protests because he knows that they're in vain? or does he turn apathetic? or maybe he starts to believe war is the right idea because he just doesn't care anymore? hard to say.

    But still the wars go on as the years go by
    With no love of God or human rights

    - wars continue, and he feels the rights of people are being violated.

    'Cause all these dreams are swept aside
    By bloody hands of the hypnotized
    Who carry the cross of homicide
    And history bears the scars of our civil wars

    - here it's about how the people (americans) instead of just the government are to blame as well, because they are "brainwashed" by the media to believe so. "carry the cross of homicide" - yet another religious reference, about how America often goes to war for religious purposes.


    I don't need one more war
    I don't need one more war
    Whaz so civil 'bout war anyway

    - Great, simple, ending line about the terrible oxymoron of "civil war".
    Jetta1000on January 23, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"Peace could last forever"
    John Lennon said that.
    Alston11on October 30, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment an ass kicking song, that is about all the wars in the past and in the future, and how we are killing off the human race for a peice of land that doesn't even belong to us. peace would be much eaier o express. deffinately one of guns 'n' roses great songs. DEFFINATELY THEIR NUMBER 1.
    njrockstarbanditon May 30, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commentyea, well, everyone has a different no 1 song of gnr. but hey we both agree that gnr kicks monster ass. right?
    njrockstarbanditon June 06, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think the meaning is that every war is a civil war because we are one human race fighting between ourselves.
    wedgee20on March 30, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti don't know if i'd name it no. 1, but definitely a killer song. personally i prefer don't damn me
    GNRTOMon June 04, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAgread starbandit, This song demonstrates our complete failure as a human race. We lived We suffered can't hide that. But than we die and nothing else matters cause what we think doesn't mean shit.
    seaked1on June 11, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is an amazing song saying that war does no good for the sake of humans, and "Whaz so civil 'bout war anyway" is saying that war teaches a human that civil is war. Even though the civil war was about civil rights, but still, the song is saying war does no good.
    C3DR1CKK1Mon October 25, 2011   Link

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