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Four Blank Slates

This song is by David Rovics and appears on the album Waiting For The Fall (2005) and on the album Halliburton Boardroom Massacre (2006).

Beside an unused union hall
And an abandoned factory
By the Allegheny River
In another rust belt city
You can see the well-dressed families
On Memorial Day
Reading the names on the walls
Of all those who went away

Who went off in a ship
And came back in a bag
Packed into a coffin
Wrapped up in a flag
I saw a war on every stone
I read a name on every line
And when I reached the end
A chill ran down my spine

Four blank slates
For battlefields yet unknown
That soon some will call their own
A wordless message in a frame
Four blank slates
For the dice that aren't yet tossed
For the lives that aren't yet lost
For a war without a name

What will be written on that stone
Will it be on Persian soil
Will they say it was for freedom
Or Venezuelan oil
The only thing that's certain
Is it will be across the sea
And the new names on this rock
Will have died in someone else's country

Four blank slates
For battlefields yet unknown
That soon some will call their own
A wordless message in a frame
Four blank slates
For the dice that aren't yet tossed
For the lives that aren't yet lost
For a war without a name

How many other nations
Are already planning their next war
How many people know
It'll be on someone else's shore
Will there come a time
When all good people are enraged
To see a slate awaiting
A war that's not yet waged

Four blank slates
For battlefields yet unknown
That soon some will call their own
A wordless message in a frame
Four blank slates
For the dice that aren't yet tossed
For the lives that aren't yet lost
For a war without a name

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