About “War is not a Game”
“War is not a Game” is a song that I wrote with help from my daughter, Annie, in 2005. As a combat veteran of Vietnam, I was deeply troubled to learn that the U.S. Army was participating in developing video war games marketed for children. The lyrics for “War is not a Game” came quickly, as the song is largely autobiographical. Annie helped me with the melody and chords, and my wife, Diane, also provided inspiration and advice.
My own singing and guitar playing leave much to be desired, so I sent a very rough version of “War is not a Game” to my talented folk musician friends, Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald, in hopes that they would be interested in recording the song themselves. Paul and Eleanore took a liking to it and labored to give the song just the sound and feel that they thought that I was trying, in my own amateurish way, to express. I am extremely pleased with the final product which is on the enclosed CD. Not only did Paul and Eleanore capture my original idea, they added their own hauntingly beautiful reflections on that idea.
When I first asked Paul and Eleanore to record “War is not a Game,” we had no idea how we would get the song out to a broad audience. Then, in February of 2006, as a result of a set of unexpected circumstances, I found myself running for Congress in California. Though some conventional political strategists have advised me that releasing “War is not a Game” during my campaign could lose votes, I decided that we must release it now, as it contains a message which is central to why I am running for Congress, and a message which I believe that the American public desperately needs to hear.
Some veterans and members of the military will undoubtedly take offense to the lyrics of the song. I make no apologies for the lyrics, but I would point out that a song that lasts just over four minutes is not intended to summarize every aspect of military life. During my service in the U.S. Marines, I learned many lessons that are not included in this song, and I developed great respect for many of my fellow service men and women. On the other hand, I, like all recruits in all branches of the military in all countries that ever went to war, was indoctrinated to overcome my basic instincts not to kill other human beings.
I am not a pacifist, but I believe that war becomes necessary as a matter of self defense only when the good people of the attacking country relinquish control of their government to warmongers. I also believe that there is abundant historical evidence that not only is war ineffective in combating terrorism, but that war breeds terrorism, and that war is itself a form of terrorism.
I hope that “War is not a Game” will stimulate serious discussion about the war our country is currently involved in, about military recruiting, and about what we teach our children about war. The song is dedicated to my son, Jeff.
Bill Durston, M.D.
Candidate for House of Representatives
California 3rd Congressional District
P.O. Box 190
Rancho Cordova, Ca. 95741
Note: All profits from the sale of the “War is not a Game” CD will be donated to the Durston for Congress campaign.