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Matthews, Shakira on the War

Tom Morello, Peter Buck and more speak out on Iraq

March 7, 2003 12:00 AM ET

As President Bush leads us toward what seems like an inevitable war with Iraq, many musicians are doing their best to resist. During a recent Pearl Jam show in Australia, Eddie Vedder ad-libbed, "I wish I was president. Keep us out of war -- that's what friends are for." In England, Coldplay's Chris Martin was even more blunt: "We are all going to die when George Bush gets his way." Here, six more of the biggest names in rock air their views on the possibility of war with Iraq.

Dave Matthews:

"I'm very scared at this point in our history. There's this idea going on in our administration that one plus one equals ten. Or five times two equals one. I have no idea how they've come up with the concept that if we get into a conflict with Iraq that any of the results that they're anticipating will come to pass. I think, in fact, it's so obvious to me that I think they have to know that fighting Iraq will make al Qaeda stronger. And that turmoil is somehow, sinisterly something that they want. That unbalance. I don't see how you can look at the world right now and say destroying Iraq, what's left there to destroy, is going to in any way strengthen our position in the Middle East."

Shakira:

"We forget that bombs and missiles don't fall on top of cardboard dummies, they fall on people -- children and mothers. The leaders are lacking love, and love is lacking leaders . . . The values of the world are twisted and we need to go back to principles of love and forgiveness. That's the only way to survive. New leaders have to emerge, leaders who talk about love. Like Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Where are they? The thinkers, the journalists, the artists of this generation are the ones who determine the thoughts of a generation, and we have to pronounce those thoughts so people wake up, so we prevent future disasters . . . If we don't demand from our leaders a peaceful solution to the conflict, then we aren't even going to be alive to regret it."

Peter Buck of R.E.M.:

"It certainly seems that if we're gonna have a war, Vietnam would have taught us that you should figure out why you're having it and who you're fighting. And I haven't seen that anyone's figured that out yet. I especially don't want to see any young people die so that we can continue to have cheap oil."

Stephen Malkmus

"I don't think it's as clear cut as peace advocates -- who say war is automatically bad -- say it is. People are dying there because of [Hussein]. It's not only our interests, although that's why we're going in. I'm not saying for a minute we're going in to save Iraqi people. People have been tortured . . . It's not so easy to say we shouldn't be there."

John Mellencamp

"Thou shalt not kill. God said that, not me. It's hard for musicians to know where to they stand. We haven't dealt with the threat of war for a long time. Everybody was preoccupied with young girls in stretch dresses. There has to be more to music than that."

Tom Morello

"Clearly, there is no credible reason to wage war and inflict tremendous civilian casualties, in the name of some empty canister shells -- which is all the inspectors have found so far. The aim of practical politics, and of this war on Iraq, is to keep the public alarmed. The Bush administration is carrying out an assault against the general population, and future generations, in the interests of narrow sectors of wealth and power. And Saddam Hussein's just the latest one in a long series of hobgoblins."

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