A digital download before being on the band’s 2006 eponymous album, the song was a #1 on Billboard’s modern rock chart for a few weeks.
A protest song using the notion of suicide for all as the consequence of war, it is thought to refer to the Iraq War, given the release date. Singer Eddie Vedder has said it is also more specifically about Pat Tillman, an NFL player turned soldier, who died in Afghanistan. Except, after a cover up was investigated, we learned Tillman was killed by friendly fire. The song laments that a President can’t really care.
“Friendly fire” is a U.S. military term, meaning mistaken firing upon one’s one side in a battle. It may be seen as an unavoidable byproduct of the “fog of war,” but a tragedy still.