Fogerty wrote this song about the similarities between the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq. He believed the US government was making the same mistakes again. He recalled to American Songwriter magazine: "'Déjà Vu (All Over Again)' I wrote in '04, and I'd been thinking about the sentiment for probably a year. In some sense, I'd been thinking about it for 40 years. When the Vietnam War officially ended, I was driving and listening to the radio, and they said, 'America has declared that we are withdrawing from Vietnam.' I looked at the radio and said, "Let's make damn sure we never do something that stupid again."
"Years later, when George W's government decided we were gonna invade Iraq, I'm shaking my head and going, 'No, no, no, no, no,'" Fogerty added. "The little [alarms] in my head are going back to the Vietnam War, so I gave it a narrative, a cultural and political narrative."
"I had a separate residence that was my songwriting place, and one day I had gone there to write a swamp-rock song, an escapist thing," he continued. "And I was thinking about what was going on in America. We hadn't entered Iraq yet. It was just saber-rattling. As I walked up to the door, this melody entered my head. This sound just grabbed me. It was tapping me and saying, 'Come with me.' What I heard was [sings], 'Did you hear 'em talking about it on the radio? 'And I heard that terrible, mournful sound that tugs at your heartstrings. I went right to my acoustic guitar. Something was pulling me, and it was so overwhelmingly sad. I sensed later it was a mother's mournful cry for her child. I started to write words that were just coming out of the sky. I didn't know what I was writing about until I wrote It's déjà vu all over again. And then I thought, 'My God, is that what this is about?' I was writing about the war that was coming and the unnecessary deaths that were gonna happen all over again. I was overcome with feeling that emotion. I guess I was guided there. I did not create that song. It was handed to me. Probably the only time that's ever happened."