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Rollins in Mesopotamia

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Muscle-bound former Black Flag singer Henry Rollins is just back from some sort of fact-finding mission in Iran. In an interview with PopMatters, Rollins clarifies that he's "not a fan" of the country's millenarian cult leader and expounds on the sinister mainstream media, who, he thinks, is again cheerleading for war.

I think the Bush Administration really wants a war with Iran or something that ends ultimately with us against them and with America's safety at stake. And the media seems to be going along with that. It very well may be true that Iran has a plan for us all to die. I'm not a fan of [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president], but I know that usually the government is one way and the people are another and the last time Bush said a country-Iraq-was a threat, it turned out not to be true…And this administration is really putting this country-well, at least the media seems to cave into this-and its people on an interesting perception of other countries that is really not very healthy. I just don't think we know the whole story and end up being very insulting, and for America that is very dangerous.

But why are Americans so uninformed, Henry?

It's how much an administration or a president or the media wants to allow you to know. They can give you full disclosure. You can get a film crew into Iran. There's a lot that can be told if the media and the current administration chooses to let the country do so. That's all it really takes. You can get a film crew into almost any country and if you can get a film crew into North Korea you can get into anywhere else.

Rollins pontificates on immigration, Iraq and (channeling Helen Lovejoy ) evil corporate marketers here. I took on the blame-the-media crowd earlier this week.

Nick Gillespie on Rollins' ridiculous propagandizing for the DEA here.

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  1. I rename one of my heavy tanks Rollins in Panzer General. Usually a PzIV.

    Point? Uhhhhhhhh…Henry Rollins is big and tough.

  2. ‘CAUSE I’M A LIAR…

    Rollins is highly amusing if you realize that he’s an idiot who sometimes says things that aren’t that idiotic. But if you listen to his “spoken word” tour albums, you realize how unbelievably fucked up and insecure he is. Then listen to part of one of these albums with one of his fucked up and insecure fans and watch them gibber with awe over how amazing he is.

    I have done this, and it turned my stomach. And I enjoy Black Flag.

  3. You do realize that Mesopotamia is smack in the middle of Iraq, right?

    I know the ‘n’ and the ‘q’ are remarkably close on the keyboard and all…

  4. Rollins ain’t so big, joe.
    Seriously. He’s kind of a little guy. Toned, but sorta short and small framed.
    Name your tank “Choke.” That would be cooler.
    And Boston related, to boot!

  5. I like Rollins best when he’s writing love letters to Ann Coulter and playing a jingo-tard cop in full roid rage.

    And when he’s a liar.

  6. Name your tank “Choke.” That would be cooler.
    And Boston related, to boot!

    Highnumber,
    Did you sleep through 2004? That old saw doesn?t apply anymore.

  7. Name your tank “Choke.” That would be cooler. And Boston related, to boot!

    LOL! or name it ‘Mooninite’!

  8. Timon19-

    Um, ancient Mesopotamia encompassed parts of modern day Iran. Parts of Turkey and Syria too.

  9. highnumber,

    “Choke?” No way!

    “Stars and Stripes” was far and away the dumbest oi music ever recorded. Just let that sink in for a minute. You take all the dumb oi music ever recorded, and Stars and Stripes is way ahead.

    Pinko,

    Choke was the name of a, well, I guess you could call him a singer, who fronted the Boston bands Slapshot and Stars and Stripes.

  10. “””but I know that usually the government is one way and the people are another”””

    Rollins is right about that. Until the bombs fall on Iran. Then it’s possible that the country will support their President no matter how stupid the President may be. They may even elect him a second time.

    The Irainian President is not real popular, we need to keep it that way.

  11. Somebody, anybody, remind me what our foreign policy towards Iran was during the period in the late 90s and just before the Iraq War, when there were hundreds of thousands of protestors in the streets, and the government was so insecure about the popular, pro-American uprising that they convicted and jailed some of their own intel officers for killing protestors.

    Whatever our policy was, we need to do that again.

  12. Actually, I got to meet Henry Rollins when he came over to Afghanistan on a USO tour. He visited our operations center and spent a couple of hours talking to the personnel there about the war in Afghanistan and how we saw things…not really saying much himself but asking a lot of questions and paying attention to the responses and during the short time I met him I found him to be a fairly intelligent and inquisitive person. I may not agree with all of his stances on every issue, but I think he’s got some valid points about Iran and I’ll give him credit for taking the time to try and find answers instead of just buying into what he reads in the papers. It’s more than a lot of us do.

  13. Rollins in Persia

  14. “And Boston related, to boot!”-“Boston, Mass is the rippinest town”…..Wow, Flag and Slappy all in one day here at Hit and Run.

  15. And the Iranian president isn’t really important to the government over there. He’s kind of like Zaphod Beeblebrox in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”…his job is to distract attention away from power, not to wield it himself. That’s why Khatami was never able to accomplish anything towards normalizing relations with us when he was in office…the people who were really in charge (the mullahs, like Khamenei) didn’t want him to, and he had no authority to act on his own, especially when the clerics barred his supporters from office in the parliamentary elections. If Ahmadinejad starts threatening the clerics’ hold on power they’ll turn on him too.

  16. Choke could still kick Rollins’ ass.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve got the world’s dumbest Oi! band’s record:
    The Allegiance – Never Stop the Violence

    Walkin’ down the street
    A couple of kids laughed at me
    Turned around and bopped ’em in the head
    Shoulda seen them f*ggots when they bled

    Never, never
    Never stop the violence
    Never, never
    Oi! Oi! Oi!

    It is damn catchy, though.

  17. I’m not for war with Iran but the fact is goverments start wars.I’m not sure even the regular people of Germany and Japan wanted WW II.I’m positive the average Italians didn’t.But we fought the war against the entire population.Modern warfare is much more civilised, as fought by the US and the British.If we fought by WW II rules there wouldn’t be an insugentce in Iraq.

  18. Oops. The album is called Rough Justice.

  19. Michael,

    If we fought by World War II rules we wouldn’t be in Iraq, because Iraq didn’t attack us. So you’re right…in that case there probably wouldn’t be an insurgency in Iraq either.

  20. And warfare is no more “civilized” now than it’s ever been. The only thing that’s changed about warfare is the technology and the tactics.

  21. I don’t know, highnumber, Stars and Stipes ordered their album so that a song titled We’re Not Criminals appears between Shaved for Battle and Skinheads on the Rampage.

    That’s some Grade A stupidity right there.

  22. Two questions for Henry Rollins:

    1. At what level does he feel the alternative minimum tax rate for high-grade ethanol producers in Iowa and Nebraska should be placed?

    2. Is he a truther like his friend?

  23. Urcrawford-

    When exactly did Germany or Italy attack us before we declared war on them?

  24. Very true and Afganastian would have been wiped clean.

  25. UCrawford:

    re: warfare

    Three words: Dresden. Fire. Bomb.

    Fortunately, we don’t do that shit anymore, but there is something more at work than just a shift in “tactics”

  26. Um, ancient Mesopotamia encompassed parts of modern day Iran. Parts of Turkey and Syria too.

    Way to read the first line of the Wikipedia entry.

    By your logic, we could call this post “Rollins in Greece” if we wanted to or we could call England and Wales “Rome”.

  27. Italy and Germany declared war on us after we went to war with Japan.

  28. It actually mattered to the politicians of the day – even the day after Pearl Harbor – that they get these things right. There was no clear legal case to be made for declaring war on the other axis powers, so we didn’t, even though Roosevelt clearly wanted to.

  29. Churchhill remarked when he heard of the Pearl attack,we just won the war.

  30. ddravot,

    Germany formally declared war on us immediately after Japan bombed us. Iraq, on the other hand, neither bombed us nor declared war on us. A Kipling fan should be better versed in history 🙂

    Dresden was an attack on a railyard in Germany so it was ostensibly a military strike, and was considered at the time reciprocation for German attacks on purely civilian targets in England. Warfare always moves towards reciprocity. Had Afghanistan had targets of strategic importance equal to the World Trade Center and Pentagon, or had the people of Afghanistan been rabidly behind the Taliban and al-Qaeda (which they weren’t) then I’m sure we would have seen much greater degrees of destruction by our forces. We didn’t because there was no reciprocal target to hit, not because we didn’t want to.

    http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0919-02.htm

    Had Iraq had a nuke and launched it at us, I’m sure our response would have been reciprocal if not greater. So if you’re trying to make the argument that the war in Iraq is somehow more “moral” because we’re not simply lining people up in the streets and executing them, or firebombing their houses, it’s because it wouldn’t be a reciprocal action to what’s preceded it…not because we’re not capable of it.

  31. Yawn. Another entertainment industry douche who thinks that they’re profound. The punk rock Bill Maher. I met Rollins in the bathroom at a Rollins Band show in Philly and wow talk about Napoleon complex. Keith Morris was a better singer for Black Flag anyway.

  32. Henry Rollins Laboriously Explains Why Buying Organic Is Punk Rock

    http://www.theonion.com/content/from_print/henry_rollins_laboriously

    Would bombing Iran be punk rock? Nope, you gotta fight “the man”.

  33. Timon19

    re: way to check first line of wikipedia

    Yep. I guess it is easier to just go with snark.

    But, since the post covered Rollins’ musings on both Iran and Iraq, mesopotamia is pretty accurate as a heading. Because it did in fact, you know, straddle both nations.

  34. Other than the link to The Onion, this thread is dumb.

  35. You have forced me to point out that Stars and Stripes was meant to more joke than anything.

    “Keith Morris was a better singer for Black Flag anyway.” Totally disagree. You can’t put anything Keith did next to Damaged and tell me Rollins wasn’t the best Flag singer.

  36. Ucrawford-

    re: history

    I’m actually fairly familiar with the history of WWII. I think I just fell into the general snarkiness that dominates these threads. For that, sorry.

    But, as you know, we did actually nuke a nation in an action that would be hard-pressed to define as reciprocal. So there is more to it than just that.

    And on Dresden, sure the germans had bombed English cities prior to that, but they didn’t do it with phosporus bombs over a 24 hour period. You don’t need fire bombs to knock out a rail yard. people.

  37. ddravot,

    Then it’s resolved. Moynihan needs to call it “Rollins in Greece”, since Alex conquered all areas under discussion.

    Make it so.

  38. I don’t agree with the war in Iraq I’m just pointing out total war has fallen out of favor.Your wrong about WWII,the allied bombing was aimed at both military and civlian targets.Many cities were bombed to ruble that had little military value.We fought on terms set by the enemy.The trade centers were civilian targets and the Afgan goverment at that time was involved yet we spared their populations.If Pakistan is ever taken over by extremest you might see total war again.I’ve always considered them more of a threat than Iraq.

  39. ddravot,

    The nuclear attack on Japan was seen at the time as the more humane long-term approach, since it was estimated that an invasion of the Japanese mainland would kill upwards of a million soldiers (in addition to astronomical civilian deaths) and the rationale was that killing a few hundred thousand early would prevent a bloodbath later. The decision was made in good faith, with the best knowledge available at the time and none of the post-war revisionism since then has seriously disputed that. So I consider the atomic bombs to be justified.

    Dresden was admittedly less so. Was it a war crime? I’d say no, and even the thinking at the time seemed to indicate that it was excessive. The commander responsible was largely shunned by his peers for his actions and was one of the few flag officers not to receive commendation for his actions during the war. Would I consider it criminal? Not really…the goal at that point of the war was to force capitulation, targeting the civilian population was one tool for doing it, and it was a tactic exercised by both sides (reciprocity). The Germans may not have used phosphorus bombs, but they did try to terror bomb the population (the city of Coventry was almost completely destroyed, as were large chunks of London that had nothing to do with military production). So while I’d agree Dresden was excessive, I’d stop short of calling it immoral, and there wasn’t anything comparable to that sort of attack again except for the atomic bombing (which, as I’ve said, was justifiable based on the information they had at the time) so I find the idea of it exemplifying an excessively immoral character to our tactics in that war rather short-sighted. WWII was about reciprocity…same as almost every other war.

  40. Michael,

    I agree with you about Pakistan, actually. I always thought that if we really needed to expand the War on Terror to invade another country, Pakistan was the only justifiable target…since that’s where bin Laden escaped to. Of course, Pakistan’s nuclear arms combined with Bush’s utter lack of ability to recognize bad allies (and his obsession with Iraq) pretty much scuttled that.

  41. Well,if Pakistan ever goes rogue the problem will be India.They just won’t stand for it.of course we might be in it togeatger and have an allie we don’t have to carry for a change.

  42. You’re dumb.

    I’m not disputing that, but you’re just trying for a distraction with that, instead of addressing the actual problem with this thread: aka the dumbocity it contains.

  43. I’d argue that Pakistan’s been rogue ever since the days of Zia ul-Haq. Hell, their ISID built the Taliban and basically funded their takeover of Afghanistan. They also dealt nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea…largely under Bush’s watch…and they won’t give us access to the guy brokering the deals (AQ Khan). And yet Bush still calls them our “ally”.

  44. Timon 19, Alexander the Great was actually Macedonian.

  45. Would bombing Iran be punk rock? Nope, you gotta fight “the man”.

    No. It’d be totally metal.

  46. You contain dumbocity.

  47. Yup. I’m with Murderface. It’s not punk, it’s metal.

  48. “Keith Morris was a better singer for Black Flag anyway.”

    I’ll second that
    I bet he never ripped off fans with crappy spoken word tours either.

  49. Iran is not in messopotamia you genius. (mesopotamia means the land between two rivers which are Tigris and Euphrates both pretty much entirely in Iraq)

    Mr. Michael C. Moynihan perhaps you could spend 15 minutes on Wikipedia on the topic you’re about to write about, otherwise your critism of Tony Rollins ignorance becomes awfully hypocritical.

    This is precisely why the media doesn’t bother to do journalistic reporting. Even our brightest (reason magazine readers and editors) seem to bungle the basics.

    I hope they don’t send Arab speaking translators to Iran since almost nobody in Iran speaks Arabic. With scholars like this, we’ll be a superpower forever!!

  50. To be accurate it’s Persia,and yes they spesk Farsi.

  51. Iran is not in messopotamia you genius. (mesopotamia means the land between two rivers which are Tigris and Euphrates both pretty much entirely in Iraq)

    Mr. Michael C. Moynihan perhaps you could spend 15 minutes on Wikipedia on the topic you’re about to write about, otherwise your critism of Tony Rollins ignorance becomes awfully hypocritical.

    Who’s “Tony Rollins”?

    P.S. to Michael: I got the B52s reference, even if no one else did.

  52. Dresden was an attack on a railyard in Germany so it was ostensibly a military strike, and was considered at the time reciprocation for German attacks on purely civilian targets in England.

    It’s an attack on a military target AND retribution for attacks on civilians!

    I didn’t do nuffin. And if I did, it was self-defense.

  53. “Personally, I am pro-nuclear war. I want to destroy the earth, ’cause it will get rid of everyone. All the mafia, all the clubowners, all the neurotic cocaine-sniffing wenches, all the fucking scumbags. I want to start clean and after the bomb drops, there will be nothing left but big old roaches, mutants and stuff like that.” — Henry Rollins, 1984

    What gives?!

  54. I’ve mostly skimmed this topic, but I will declare the following:

    1) the Negative FX s/t LP is essential 80s hardcore, Boston or beyond.

    2) Although I undeniably enjoy the Rollins years, I must insist that Dez was a better fit.

    3) Hank is a talented oral storyteller but should cut out the political hyperbole, as it makes his amusing “William Shatner meets Adrian Belew” anecdotes seem all the more rare.

  55. Has anyone else here bothered with Rollins’ published work? I read Solipsist a few years ago and noticed a few reoccurring themes: dark streets, solitude, not recognizing yourself in the mirror.

    I’d recommend thirty pages of it?

  56. Jesse,

    When a band sucks as bad as the B-52s, it’s no wonder no one got the reference.

    Now the whole Geographical Pedant thing seems quite silly indeed.

  57. SxCx,

    I’ve got the Negative FX lp (blue vinyl, IIRC). I like the first two Slapshot albums more. It is good though. Rock on. Dez ruled.

  58. Speaking of WWII:

    Even if Germany and/or Italy never declared war on us, it would still be very right and very sensible to take them out, since A. they were allied with the country that actually did attack us, B. they invaded France and bombed England, our allies and trading partners (in other words, “nonintervention” does NOT apply when your friends are being raped), and C. there was no reason not to consider the possibility of a united Axis strike against the United States once Europe was engulfed. After all, the Axis were united in that their ruling ideologies were antithetical to everything America was founded on, so why not try and take the Grand Prize?

    So in conclusion, we should’ve sent the big guns to Europe the moment the Nazis set foot in Paris.

  59. Actually, I want to be Henry Rollins.

    Except for the brains.

  60. But then I guess that would make me a buff and chiseled dork.

  61. But chicks would dig me!

  62. … at least at first …

  63. Okay, screw the Henry Rollins body transplant.

    If only life’s problems could be solved that easily …

  64. UCrawford,
    I consider an al Quaeda nuclear bomb taking out Manhattan, very sadly, justified. It is a decision made in good faith, with the best possible information available at the time. True, innocent civilians were harmed. But it prevented a far greater loss of life that a full-fledged invasion of the United States would have required.

  65. So horrible military bombing campaigns can be justified by calling them ‘reciprocity’ and shrugging?
    Maybe I’m becoming more of a pacifist in my old age, but try telling that to the folks whose skin sizzled off their bones in Dresden or Nagasaki.

  66. There’s a lot of ruins in Mesopotamia.

  67. So horrible military bombing campaigns can be justified by calling them ‘reciprocity’ and shrugging?
    Maybe I’m becoming more of a pacifist in my old age, but try telling that to the folks whose skin sizzled off their bones in Dresden or Nagasaki.

    American logic has always been that if you kill innocents by shooting them it’s a war crime, if you kill them by dropping bombs on them, it’s not.

  68. “I consider an al Quaeda nuclear bomb taking out Manhattan, very sadly, justified. It is a decision made in good faith, with the best possible information available at the time. True, innocent civilians were harmed. But it prevented a far greater loss of life that a full-fledged invasion of the United States would have required.”

    This is without a doubt the stupidest thing I have ever read on these message boards. Evidently, a democracy waging war against an aggressor that had massacred its way across Asia is morally equivalent to a terrorist organization that deliberately murdered thousands of American citizens.
    I have always wondered why I found the “foreign policy” of libertarians so distasteful. The moral equivalence in place of legitimate argument is the primary reason; thanks for the clarification.

  69. the “foreign policy” of libertarians

    What foreign policy? Is isolationism a policy? Or the lack of one?

  70. “Evidently, a democracy waging war against an aggressor that had massacred its way across Asia is morally equivalent to a terrorist organization that deliberately murdered thousands of American citizens.”

    So you’d be ok with nuclear retaliation against American civilians if, hypothetically speaking, the US Government invaded Asian countries and committed massacres in them? Or is it that our massacres haven’t risen to the standard of punitive justice that was meted out on Hiroshima? Maybe our massacres only deserve, say, a Oklahoma City-sized truck bomb.

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