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Something About Us

I saw the pictures from the prison in Iraq
the man on the box with his hands on the wires and his head in a sack
the man in the hallway with his neck tied to a leash line
the cigarette grins of the soldiers giving up the high sign

well, I wish I could believe it when they said it was an aberration
just a few bad apples in an otherwise smooth operation
but there’s too many cracks in that tired old ruse
and now everybody gets to see that Uncle Sam’s got blood all over his brand new shoes

there’s something about us that we don’t want to have to face
there’s a killer instinct deep in this American race
ask anyone who’s been on the other end of that leash
they’ll tell ya

selective memory loss is like a panacea
big city cops took an immigrant man named Abner Louima
and they brought him downtown and they sodomized him with toilet plunger
never woulda known but somebody talked and the story came out from under

now, I know what you’re thinkin’, cops ain’t soldiers, but sometimes the lines get blurred
and they been scratchin’ each other’s backs for a while now I’ve heard
and when there’s a war around the world, you know that there’s a war at home
and they will do whatever they want to you when they get you alone

there’s something about us that we don’t want to have to face
there’s a killer instinct deep in this American race
ask anyone who’s been on the other end of that leash
they’ll tell ya

you want to understand it you got to go back a ways
back to the founding mythologies of what they call “The Good Old Days”
Indian wars and the wild west, guns in everybody’s hand
the violence was good then, it gave us a motherland

sometimes things got out of control and they crossed that unspeakable line
cuttin’ off body parts and wearin’ ‘em around, I guess soldiers just do that sometimes
well, use your imagination, you know that they were feelin’ good
you know they would have taken pictures if they could

there’s something about us that we don’t want to have to face
there’s a killer instinct deep in this American race
ask anyone who’s been on the other end of that leash
they’ll tell ya

we got 2 million people in prison right now and we’re gonna have more
and I shudder to think about what I’ve heard goes on behind those doors
it’s just the worst kind of sex and violence, and we know it’s a fact
but nobody seems to care about it too much until it shows up in Iraq

and I guess that’s the problem, we don’t seem to be able to make a connection
we think we’re some kind of chosen people waiting for a resurrection
but our savior is a con man and he’s lookin’ out for number one
he’ll give you 24 dollars worth of junk jewelry and take it back at the point of a gun

there’s something about us that we don’t want to have to face
there’s a killer instinct deep in this American race
ask anyone who’s been on the other end of that leash
they’ll tell ya