Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I have to admit, this surprised me.

Remember these words,

"I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee, we don't wear beads and roman sandals, like the hippies out in San Francisco do... we still fly old Glory down at the courthouse, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA"

Or, "If you don't love it, leave it, .... If you're running down my country boy, you're walking on the fighting side of me."

Those two tunes were released by Merle Haggard, a country singer who had been pardoned by then Gov. Ronald Reagan after serving three years in prison for burglary. During the Vietnam war, those two songs and Haggard became a cultural icon for middle America. And earlier this year, Haggard went on tour with Toby Keith (who himself expressed mixed opinions about the Iraq war in an interview last year in the Tennesseean).

Now, a couple of years ago, the same Haggard defended the Dixie Chicks and questioned the war in Iraq saying, saying,

I don't even know the Dixie chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching. Whether I agree with their comments or not has no bearing.... As a country we need to look inward for the answers to the energy of the future. We need to bring down our demands for oil, rebuild some bridges and highways and allow the farmers to grow something that replenishes the soil. Those who don't know what that is, should do some research. The problem is not in Iraq and the answers are not in Iran. I hope were not buried alive beneath this pending financial collapse if the pipeline doesn't get through. Surely everything doesn't depend on oil!

His song, 'That's the news' had a distinctly anti-Iraq war outlook.

And in an Express interview earlier this year, Haggard said,

What knocked my hat off was the way people attacked (the Dixie Chicks). My response didn't come until some time later. I let it all go down and watched it happen and thought, "Now wait a minute. Is this not America? Are we not at war for freedom?" It disturbs me that this country is so seriously divided over this war. I don't think since the Civil War have we been so divided about something. Since when is it new for grandma to be against war?

So, even a guy who was as pro-war in Vietnam as they came, can see that this war isn't something that he has to defend.

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