In some ways, “Washington Bullets” is the title track of Sandinista!. Joe Strummer let’s loose politically in the lyrics on the United State’s history of providing weapons to various resistance movements – though he also takes on the Soviet Unionm China and England:
‘N’ if you can find a Afghan rebel
That the Moscow bullets missed
Ask him what he thinks of voting Communist…
…Ask the Dalai Lama in the hills of Tibet
How many monks did the Chinese get?
In a war-torn swamp stop any mercenary
‘N’ check the British bullets in his armoury
While I don’t doubt that Strummer tended to be leftist – perhaps even socialist – I think its important to note here that he’s consistent in his political beliefs. He is on the side of the oppressed, no matter who is doing the oppressing.
I should mention that I think I was a little unclear on a few points of history in my entry on “Up In Heaven (Not Only Here).” Sandinista! was recorded and released in 1980. At that time, the Sandinistas had come to power in Nicaragua via revolution. The elections that confirmed their popularity in that country were a couple of years later. Just FYI.
The song is considered (at least by Wikipedia) to be another Clash reggae experiment, though apparently the main instrument is the marimba. I am not sure I would literally refer to this as reggae, but perhaps my reggae knowledge is too limited to properly identify the genre.