Union Songs

Didn't They Lie? [aka Ellsberg’s Lament]

A song by Jack Warshaw©Jack Warshaw 2010
[tune: How can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live? – Alfred Reed, 1929]

They said good times are a-comin’ didn’t they lie?
No depression, no more bummin’, didn’t they lie?
So easy were we led, didn’t question what they said
And we nearly died instead, didn’t they lie?

They said Hitler was sincere, didn’t they lie?
We have nothing more to fear, didn’t they lie?
Don’t you worry anymore, we won’t have to go to war
Like so many times before, didn’t they lie?

“It’s our fight” Truman said,” didn’t he lie?
Save Korea from the Reds, didn’t he lie?
If we don’t fight over there, they’ll soon be over here
Within another year, didn’t he lie?

Johnson told us a new story, didn’t he lie?
“Vietnam will be our glory,” didn’t he lie?
“Ho Chi Minh don’t trouble me, our bombs will set them free
Just you wait and see,” didn’t he lie?

Tricky Dick was such a louse, didn’t he lie?
“No whitewash at the White House” didn’t he lie?
“Those fuckers want me out, but there can be no doubt
That I will tough it out.” Didn’t he lie?

George Bush was stupid too, didn’t he lie?
“WMDs are aimed at you” didn’t he lie?
“Saddam’s army we will foil, do our bit for Standard Oil
Tony Blair can share the spoils,” didn’t he lie?

Now there’s crisis in the banks, don’t they lie?
We have Gordon Brown to thank, don’t they lie?
We work ‘til we fall ill, just to pay the bankers’ bills
While they cheat and loot the tills, don’t they lie?

They’ll swear that they’re your friend, won’t they lie?
They’ll swear to make amends, won’t they lie?
It’s no use to complain, if you trust them ever again
You’d have to be insane, won’t they lie?

Now election time’s upon us, don’t they lie?
Every day another promise, don’t they lie?
Their slogans on TV all sound the same to me
Why can’t they let me be? Don’t they lie


Many thanks to Jack Warshaw for permission to add this song to the Union Songs collection

Jack writes:
'Historical note: Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whisleblower, revealed in 1971 that every US President before and during the Vietnam War deliberately lied to the people about almost every important aspect, including who started it and why. This song is dedicated to his bravery.'

See more of Jack Warshaw's work in this collection.

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