Filter's singer Richard Patrick
described this soaring anthem on their record label's website as a "sardonic anti-war/pro-troops song."
The first-person narrative was inspired by a letter from a Filter fan Sgt. Justin Eyerly, who had enlisted in the Army reserves to get his college tuition paid. In his final year of college, he was shipped off to Iraq where he died from a rocket attack and small arms fire after just a few days of duty.
Richard Patrick wrote this song three years before he recorded it. In an interview with Artist Direct, Patrick recalled how producer Josh Abraham got him to sing this in a higher key: "Josh Abraham said, 'Do you still have that song 'Soldiers of Misfortune?' You should sing that an octave higher.' So I did, and I was like, 'That was a great idea.' It scared me that I overlooked something like that. I had my reasons why I sang it low. I wanted it to be like a My Bloody Valentine song, where the vocals are almost buried. He goes, 'Dude, you have this amazing voice, and you're hiding behind all this distortion. Why? Use that s--t!" So I did. It was just little things like that. I remember thinking that was the best idea I could've gotten."
Towards the end of the song's video, an American flag is depicted engulfed in a pool of oil. Richard Patrick told MTV News about the clip: "We used imagery to support our view that maybe the Iraq war wasn't about freedom and democracy, but oil and greed, and the people involved in that - the soldiers over there - they're actually the soldiers of misfortune. Frank Cavanagh, Filter's former bass player, is in Iraq now, and he's found himself in this situation where he's doing what he's told, because he's a soldier - but I don't know if he necessarily agrees with why he's over there. So, the video is about that phenomenon, of being caught up in something that's bigger than you."