Christmas In Fallujah

December 8, 2007

After listening to the newset song written by Billy Joel, I must say I’m very disappointed. While the song sounds good, the words instantly make it very clear that when Billy Joel wrote this song, he was allowing his personal politics to get in the way. Instead of writing a song honoring our Troops, in my point of view and that of others that I’ve spoken to, he instead insulted our Troops. The sentiment that is throughout the song, makes it obvious how Joel feels about our Troops presence in Iraq and from the Troops I’ve spoken with, which has been many over the years since the war in Iraq started, very few of them share that sentiment with him. After listening to the song, I can honestly say, it’s one that I won’t be purchasing. I’ll include a video of a recent performance of Christmas in Fallujah that was recently done in Chicago, and let you judge for yourself. My advice to Billy Joel, however is this… Please, please, do yourself and us a favor and go back into retirement. Our Troops don’t need people like yourself, attempting to represent (misrepresent) their thoughts and feelings. They’re quite capable of voicing their opinions on the war in Iraq, and most of them, by far, believe in the mission, can see the tangible results they’re getting and want to finish their mission.

The last time that Billy Joel released an album was his 1993 River of Dreams album. After the release of that album, he went into a self-imposed retirement. This past year however, Billy Joel has picked up a pen and written very little in the way of music. Recently, he penned a new single in honor of the Troops, a song which is far different from the signature songs we’ve heard from Billy Joel over the years. Christmas in Fallujah won’t have his signature piano in it, and you’ll barely hear any of Billy Joel’s voice either.

For what he says is the very first time, Billy Joel wrote a song for another singer, one who is relatively unknown, 21 year old Cass Dillon. According to Joel, the inspiration for his new song, Christmas in Fallujah, was inspired partly from the letters he has received from service members, but also from the realities of war. Joel said that the music came to him quickly, but he knoew that he wasn’t the right person to sing it.

“I thought someone with a young voice should be singing this, someone just starting out in life,” he said. “Plus, you know I’m 58 years old. My voice isn’t the voice I was thinking of when I was writing; I was thinking of a Soldier, someone of that age.”

Cass Dillon, the artist who was chosen to sing the new song, is a young man who worked under the wing of Tommy Byrnes, who has been Billy Joel’s musical director for many years. Two years ago, Dillon was attending college, when he left to pursue a career in music. The past two years, he’s played in numerous coffee-shops and bars. Byrnes has played some of Dillon’s music in the past for Billy Joel, so when it came time to decide who he wanted to sing Christmas in Fallujah, Cass Dillion just popped in to Joel’s head.

While Cass Dillion appears to be a talented performer, I feel that Billy Joel and his musical director exploited this young man, when they chose him to sing this song. The song is a travesty and an insult to the brave men and women who proudly serve our country in the battlefields of Iraq. Unfortunately Cass Dillon will become the brunt of people’s anger about this song. Sure, there will be some who will proclaim it to be a “great statement” but in all honesty, it doesn’t represent the majority of our Troops serving in Iraq. This song receives a BIG thumbs down from me.



5 Responses to “Christmas In Fallujah”

  1. Jim Baxter on December 8th, 2007 9:44 am

    Every September, I recall that is more than half a century (62 years) since I landed at Nagasaki with the 2nd Marine Division in the original occupation of Japan following World War II. This time every year, I have watched and listened to the light-hearted “peaceniks” and their light-headed symbolism-without-substance of ringing bells, flying pigeons, floating candles, and sonorous chanting and I recall again that “Peace is not a cause - it is an effect.”

    In July, 1945, my fellow 8th RCT Marines [I was a BARman] and I returned to Saipan following the successful conclusion of the Battle of Okinawa. We were issued new equipment and replacements joined each outfit in preparation for our coming amphibious assault on the home islands of Japan.

    B-29 bombing had leveled the major cities of Japan, including Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Yokosuka, and Tokyo.

    We were informed we would land three Marine divisions and six Army divisions, perhaps abreast, with large reserves following us in. It was estimated that it would cost half a million casualties to subdue the Japanese homeland.

    In August, the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima but the Japanese government refused to surrender. Three days later a second A-bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. The Imperial Japanese government finally surrendered.

    Following the 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese admiral said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant…” Indeed, they had. Not surprisingly, the atomic bomb was produced by a free people functioning in a free environment. Not surprisingly because the creative process is a natural human choice-making process and inventiveness occurs most readily where choice-making opportunities abound. America!

    Tamper with a giant, indeed! Tyrants, beware: Free men are nature’s pit bulls of Liberty! The Japanese learned the hard way what tyrants of any generation should know: Never start a war with a free people - you never know what they may invent!

    As a newly assigned member of a U.S. Marine intelligence section, I had a unique opportunity to visit many major cities of Japan, including Tokyo and Hiroshima, within weeks of their destruction. For a full year I observed the beaches, weapons, and troops we would have assaulted had the A-bombs not been dropped. Yes, it would have been very destructive for all, but especially for the people of Japan.

    When we landed in Japan, for what came to be the finest and most humane occupation of a defeated enemy in recorded history, it was with great appreciation, thanksgiving, and praise for the atomic bomb team, including the aircrew of the Enola Gay. A half million American homes had been spared the Gold Star flag, including, I’m sure, my own.

    Whenever I hear the apologists expressing guilt and shame for A-bombing and ending the war Japan had started (they ignore the cause-effect relation between Pearl Harbor and Nagasaki), I have noted that neither the effete critics nor the puff-adder politicians are among us in the assault landing-craft or the stinking rice paddies of their suggested alternative, “conventional” warfare. Stammering reluctance is obvious and continuous, but they do love to pontificate about the Rights that others, and the Bomb, have bought and preserved for them.

    The vanities of ignorance and camouflaged cowardice abound as license for the assertion of virtuous “rights” purchased by the blood of others - those others who have borne the burden and physical expense of Rights whining apologists so casually and self-righteously claim.

    At best, these fakers manifest a profound and cryptic ignorance of causal relations, myopic perception, and dull I.Q. At worst, there is a word and description in The Constitution defining those who love the enemy more than they love their own countrymen and their own posterity. Every Yankee Doodle Dandy knows what that word is.

    In 1945, America was the only nation in the world with the Bomb and it behaved responsibly and respectfully. It remained so until two among us betrayed it to the Kremlin. Still, this American weapon system has been the prime deterrent to earth’s latest model world- tyranny: Seventy years of Soviet collectivist definition, coercion, and domination of individual human beings.

    The message is this: Trust Freedom. Remember, tyrants never learn. The restriction of Freedom is the limitation of human choice, and choice is the fulcrum-point of the creative process in human affairs. As earth’s choicemaker, it is our human identity on nature’s beautiful blue planet and the natural premise of man’s free institutions, environments, and respectful relations with one another. Made in the image of our Creator, free men choose, create, and progress - or die.

    Free men should not fear the moon-god-crowd oppressor nor choose any of his ways. Recall with a confident Job and a victorious David, “Know ye not that you are in league with the stones of the field?”

    Semper Fidelis
    Jim Baxter
    Sgt. USMC
    WW II and Korean War

    Job 5:23 Proverbs 3:31 I Samuel 17:40

  2. Terri on December 8th, 2007 10:33 am

    Mr Baxter, thank you Sir for your service to our Country. Thank you as well for visiting us here at A Soldier’s Mind. Thank you as well for your understanding of my frustration and yes anger at people such as Billy Joel, who loudly scream their protests, yet have never walked a mile in the boots of our Heroic Troops.

  3. Karen on December 8th, 2007 4:37 pm

    I can’t say that I did not like the whole song because to be honest, I stopped listening to it when he got to the part about the letter. I had already taken issue with it when he sang “I am just a soldier” JUST???? Time to hang up the pen Mr. Joel.

  4. Leta on December 8th, 2007 10:35 pm

    Oh Karen - ME too, well the part about “just a Soldier”. I am SO ticked off. Better leave it at that right now. More later….

  5. Ruth Etters on December 9th, 2007 6:01 pm

    Terribly interesting coincidence. Jefferson Pepper wrote a song called “Christmas in Fallujah” three years ago. Like Joel’s song, it’s also an anti-war ballad from the perspective of the soldier.

    But don’t believe me, check it out for yourself:

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