Late Nite: Universal Soldier

With all the war going on in the world tonight.....here's Buffy Saint Marie's 1970 live television performance of Universal Soldier, which she says she wrote to express "individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all."

It starts about 1 minute, 15 seconds in, but the first minute gives a good glimpse into what live tv music shows looked like in the pre-MTV age.

This was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar in the late 60's and I played it so many times I can still recite the words. But for those of you who can't, here they are:

He's five feet two and he's six feet four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He's all of 31 and he's only 17
He's been a soldier for a thousand years

He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain,
a Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew
and he knows he shouldn't kill
and he knows he always will
kill you for me my friend and me for you

And he's fighting for Canada,
he's fighting for France,
he's fighting for the USA,
and he's fighting for the Russians
and he's fighting for Japan,
and he thinks we'll put an end to war this way

And he's fighting for Democracy
and fighting for the Reds
He says it's for the peace of all
He's the one who must decide
who's to live and who's to die
and he never sees the writing on the walls

But without him how would Hitler have
condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would have stood alone
He's the one who gives his body
as a weapon to a war
and without him all this killing can't go on

He's the universal soldier and he
really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him, and you, and me
and brothers can't you see
this is not the way we put an end to war.

< Sentencing Michael Martin | Novak on Meet the Press: Retract and Spin >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Late Nite: Universal Soldier (none / 0) (#1)
    by aw on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 09:52:52 AM EST
    Meanwhile, the Freep are celebrating the deaths of Lebanese children. (Sample comments: "Hold up those babies up.....and cry to the sky!"; "boo friggin hoo. just eliminating future terrorists IMO") This is evil, people. Ain't nothin' else but evil. Whatever the cause, the provocation, the goal, the excuse -- the deaths of children are always regrettable. Anyone who celebrates in the deaths of children, any children, is evil. People who rejoice in the deaths of children are no better than terrorists. And as long as our foreign policy caters to these creatures, the whole world suffers.
    Re: Late Nite: Universal Soldier (none / 0) (#2)
    by aw on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 09:55:08 AM EST
    link Hope this link goes to the right place.

    Re: Late Nite: Universal Soldier (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 10:15:27 AM EST
    "So. Are we going to hear the same outrage from the right as we heard recently about supposed threats to a child?" Only if "God is alive..." may he smite them all.

    Re: Late Nite: Universal Soldier (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 01:45:45 PM EST
    Nice and very apt post. It makes me smile to imagine you wearing out the strings of your guitar from playing this song so many times.

    Re: Late Nite: Universal Soldier (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 02:45:07 PM EST
    Thanks, Squeaky. Yes, that was me, sitting cross-legged on the grass in my bell bottom jeans with very straight dark hair down to the middle of my back. Wish I looked like that now.

    Re: Late Nite: Universal Soldier (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 03:56:39 PM EST
    And I always thought Donovan wrote this song. With all the Mideast wahalla this week, this is an appropriate song. Thanks for the link to Buffy's site! She is a real inspiration on this Sunday. Cheers