I was careful in that song [Story of Isaac] to try and put it beyond the pure, beyond the simple, anti-war protest, that it also is. Because it says at the end there the man of war, the man of peace, the peacock spreads his deadly fan. In other words it isn’t necessarily for war that we’re willing to sacrifice each other. We’ll get some idea – some magnificent idea – that we’re willing to sacrifice each other for; it doesn’t necessarily have to involve an opponent or an ideology, but human beings being what they are we’re always going to set up people to die for some absurd situation that we define as important.
From How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns – Interview With Leonard Cohen by John McKenna. RTE Ireland, May 9 & 12, 1988. Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. Originally posted Nov 30, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Credit Due Department: Photo atop post by Roland Godefroy – Own work, CC BY 3.0, via Wikipedia