I do not recall discussion on here on "Puppets" from Leonard's posthumous album.
Some might say the song was a recitation of the poem and not really music, but to me the instrumental and chorus overlays add so, so much and actually make the words that much more chilling. The selection and production of these overlays was pure genious.
I came across an earlier version (circa 2006) of "Puppets" with different musical overlays on Allan Showalter's site and am posting a link here:
The differences between this old version and the final one are vast. Isn't it amazing how different a poem can be with different musical treatments?
If anything, the many discussions on this thread reinforced the idea that Leonard's lyrics lend themselves to (and in my opinion were designed to) allow for listeners to arrive at their own interpretations based on their own life experiences. That being said, it seems somewhat unlikely that anyone could interpret the beginning stanzas as anything but references to Nazi Germany and the holocaust. Based on when the poem was written, the stanzas referencing "presidents" would seem to be references to the Iraq war, but of course those stanzas could apply to any leader who takes his country to war, even a war that history has good things to say about. It is the stanzas about the puppet lovers and the puppet reader that, at least to me, are the most clever and thought-provoking. Until these stanzas, the listener may have been lulled into a complacency of sorts, as he might feel the holocaust and the Iraq war were outside of his responsibility and control. But Cohen seems to be reminding listeners that it is actions such as "shaking one's head" and "turning away from all of this" by ordinary people that ultimately allow very bad things to occur.