Hank's Think Tank

What's the Henry Rollins alternative to war? Talk. And more talk.

Q: We're not addressing those problems enough, in your opinion?

A: I think those kind of problems are so woven into the American fabric. We smoke, we drink, we eat a lot. Yeah? Tell me something I don't already know. Well, it kills you. Oh, whatever, whatever. I'm fine. I'm just saying this country needs to straighten up, straighten its shirt a little, stand up a little straighter, watch what you eat, watch what you say, and wake up a little. That's what I say.

Q: What does the country need to do now?

A: We need to look globally and realize we're not the only country in the world. And how you live offends other cultures for right or wrong. We're seen as the Great Satan for everything from Britney Spears to letting women be educated. So there's a lot of people with a bone to pick with us, rightly and wrongly, and you should investigate that. You should look into other cultures and see why they feel this way about this, and not just go, "Oh, they're rag-headed bastards." It's a lot more than that. We are the world. If you travel, you see America everywhere. Almost as much as you see the culture you flew 30 hours to go to. You're in one of the many branches of America Inc.

Q: Is it any wonder people hate us then?

A: Right. When you travel abroad and you see what we do to other countries, how we just walk in and go, "Great. Hi. Can you move? Thanks. Put that one there, that one over there. It's OK -- we worked it out with your king. He gets ten percent. Your culture? Oh, love it. Love those little papier-mâché things you make. I just bought 50 of 'em for my son. He likes to burn them." The way we just marginalize other cultures and say, "Aren't they cute?They can do so many things with string!" These are cultures that are hundreds or thousands of years old that have withstood wars and purges and pogroms, and we just walk in and go, "OK, so... Starbucks. One there, one there, one there." And other cultures go, "Hey, fuck you, man. You're pushing us to the side to put a Mariah Carey poster up?" That's how we come off to some cultures. And I'm not anti-American; I'm telling you I've seen it. Wow, are we crass. No doubt. I still think we live in the greatest country in the world, but I think the greatest is yet to come.

Q: The next generation will have a better outlook on the world?

A: Most certainly. To think that at one point we backed Taliban members because they were taking potshots at Russia. So how can you say you're righteous in all of this? The only way to be righteous is to steadfastly keep dragging everybody kicking and screaming back to the negotiation table, not doing this war thing. This thick-skulled, laconic, Hemingway march to war. We're talking about human beings here. I don't care if it's Iraqi or American. I don't want anybody dead. I don't want Saddam Hussein dead. I'd like him not in power, but I don't want him dead. What does that make me? I just wish there'd be more sanity. And it seems as if Bush doesn't care what the U.N. is saying. He wants a war, and by God, he's gonna have it. It trips me out. If you go to war, you should be cursing your weakness. You should be thinking, "I got it wrong. We're going to war. I must have fucked up. There was a peaceful solution, but I couldn't find it." The president should say, "I'm sorry. I failed you as a nation. We have to go to war now."

Q: But according to Bush, there really is nothing else to be done.

A: He hasn't shown me he's found the needle in the haystack. I want to see every piece of hay out of that barn so you can tell me there's no needle in there. I think men of that great height should be a little more methodical. And I'm no peacenik softy. It's just that we're talking about good American boys coming home unrecognizable. And I'm sure Bush isn't into that. He'd be horrified to have to call that guy's mother. But he's asking for it. The mission to me is that everyone stays alive. How do you do it? I don't know. I'm just a guy in a rock 'n' roll band.

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