Iraqi Mountain High

 Music copyright © 1972 by John Denver
Words Creative Commons License 1991 by Jim Bearden

I first got the idea for “Iraqi Mountain High” when I saw George Bush’s reaction to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August of 1990. There was, of course, a lot of righteous indignation that Saddam Hussein (whom he and Ronald Reagan had armed and, in effect, given a green light to do whatever he wanted to in the Middle East), had apparently taken him too much at his word, and actually done something serious. But there also seemed to be a sense of excitement, almost elation, at being able to teach this guy a lesson and really show what our military forces could do – and maybe show everyone that he wasn’t such a “wimp” after all. Most of the words for the song came several months later, just before the ground invasion of Iraq was launched. The song itself might seem dated now, since that war is long over, and Bush is no longer President — except that 12 years later, with another Bush in the White House, and another war in Iraq—this song, written in 1991 seemed to fit that situation, as well. It seems that we didn’t learn much at all from the previous experience, and from all the people that have died, then or now.

Verse 1:
He was born in the summer of his sixty‑seventh year
Coming home to a war he’d never known before.
He left the “wimp” image behind him, you might say he was born again,
You might say he found the key there in that war.

Verse 2:
When he first came to the White House, well, peace was really a threat;
Looked like the old Cold War thinking was finally gone.
But the “peace dividend” is gone now, before it ever had a chance ‑‑
The reasons keep changing fast, and they don’t last for long.

Chorus 1:
It’s the Kennebunkport Iraqi Mountain High;
I’ve seen it raining smart bombs in the sky.
The voice of peace in our land now is softer than a lullaby …
Iraqi Mountain High … in Kennebunkport …

Verse 3:
He roared off in his speedboat, in a cloud of gas and smoke;
We owned all the oil, as far as he could see.
And they say that he got crazy once, said we’ll drill everything in sight;
So we lost the earth, and we burned its memory.

Verse 4:
Now he walks in regal solitude ‑‑ no questions, no dissents ‑‑
Seeking higher polls in every step he takes.
His sight has turned outside himself, no need to understand
Domestic problems, human needs, or future stakes.

Chorus 2:
And the Kennebunkport Iraqi Mountain High;
I’ve seen “Nintendo wars” in the sky.
Ask about civilians, and hear the casual reply …
Iraqi Mountain High … in Kennebunkport …

Verse 5:
Now his life is full of glory, but his heart still knows some fear
Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend:
Why they’d talk of peace before he’d had his chance for victory —
More glory, more bodies on the ground.

Chorus 3:
And the Kennebunkport Iraqi Mountain High;
We’ll bring that fire right down from the sky.
You know we’ll all be poorer when we find how many had to die …
Iraqi Mountain High … in Kennebunkport …

Chorus 4:
It’s the Kennebunkport Iraqi Mountain High;
I’ve seen those future wars up in the sky.
Sign up for the “New World Order” now, while everybody’s high …
Iraqi Mountain High … all the way to Basra …
Iraqi Mountain High … all the way to Baghdad …
Iraqi Mountain High … all the way to Turkey …
Iraqi Mountain High … well, let’s go on to Moscow …
Iraqi Mountain High … we’re gonna rule the whole world …
Iraqi Mountain High.

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