An increasing number of rock artists are speaking their minds about a possible war with Iraq, with many of them seeing the potential military operation to oust Saddam Hussein as an issue that affects more than just enlisted soldiers and their families. Others, on the other hand, argue that even if Saddam Hussein doesn't pose an immediate threat, he eventually will, and the problem is better solved now than later.
The following are some of the public comments made by various figures in the hard rock/heavy metal world regarding a possible war with Iraq:
Danny Lilker (NUCLEAR ASSAULT):
"George Bush says a lot of shit. It's a lot of bluster. He has to say stuff so all the flag-wavers can go, 'Oh, yeah, we ain't gonna take no shit.' I feel that it would be disastrous for us to — you know. I mean, look, when it came to the Gulf War, we went in there and cleaned up pretty well without having to use any nuclear weapons. It's really hard to say anything about what's happening now, because that Saddam Hussein guy is definitely a megalomaniac dictator who is out of control. But at the same time, with all the shit that happened September 11, I think that George Bush is probably just looking for Arabic scapegoats."
Sully Erna (GODSMACK):
"Unfortunately, there were some really bad things that happened [involving the Middle East], and I think if we don't cut out the cancer while it's still young, then it's gonna grow to be this entity that we may not be able to defend ourselves against. I applaud the government and President Bush for doing what they're doing, and I think our military are some of the bravest souls, much braver than I could ever be."
Chad Kroeger (NICKELBACK):
"I really love my girlfriend, and I really love my country, and I really love everyone who's in my life. And if there are some fucking assholes anywhere with the ability to launch a weapon of mass destruction and hurt any of those things that I love or anybody anywhere, then that's a problem that has to be dealt with.
"Everybody's sitting around going, 'Oh, don't go to war, don't go to war.' Well, we're going to war for a reason: Saddam Hussein is a madman. If there would have been any nuclear capability on any of the Scud missiles he launched [during the Gulf War], do you think he would have not done it? He would have done it in a heartbeat. That absolutely terrifies me."
Tom Morello (AUDIOSLAVE):
"One of the reasons the Bush administration is making so much noise about Iraq is because it has failed to do anything about the Al Qaeda network. When was the last time you heard the word 'Afghanistan' in the news? It was a country the U.S. carpet bombed into a lunar landscape to try to get one dude and didn't do such a good job. They killed 20,000 civilians — men, women and children who had nothing to do with the Taliban or Al Qaeda — and failed to achieve their objectives. Also, going to war is a convenient way to cover up the Enron scandal, the president's horrible vocabulary, the fact that 40 million Americans are living below the poverty line and 50 million don't have any sort of health care.
"This military adventurism could potentially have a horrific boomerang effect and whip up a cycle of violence that no one can see the end to," he said. "If Bush's real goal is to make the world a safer place, the real way to fight terrorism is to deal with the underlying issues of conflict and inequality in the Middle East and around the world, and not carpet bombing any country that doesn't do our bidding."
Ian Mackaye (FUGAZI):
"What are my feelings? Well I am of course completely opposed to all wars so this war would be one of those. I think it's interesting for me as an American or someone born in America to experience what I imagine most totalitarian governments have done in the past. The salesmanship of this particular act is so intense and so almost unmitigated it feels almost. It feels like it's being shoved down our throats. I sort of think about it in terms of, you know, when there's a new movie coming out from Hollywood the stars suddenly start appearing in various news pieces. Weird little pieces in the personality sections of the papers and then suddenly it happens they're in town to talk about this movie. Basically the major media tends to revolve around issues that somehow feed into this movie. If it's a movie about orphans suddenly there's pieces on orphans. I don't know how deliberate it is but it seems incredibly orchestrated. So this particular situation with Iraq it's in the fine tradition of salesmanship of brutality. I can only imagine what was happening, like, in Germany in the thirties when the public was kind of molded into this dreamy state where they thought this was probably the right thing to do you know 'Let's go into these other countries and square the situation up'. I imagine in England, obviously over the years, the English have undertaken really aggressive brutal things too. Certainly the United States has a fine tradition of it. Really it's an incredible experience for me to be old enough to recognize it happening. It's almost like a boat that's starting to flood and it's sinking and there's nothing you can do about it. Do I think there will be a war? No. I don't necessarily think there will be. Because I already think there has been. There's been a continuous war against Iraq for the last few years. British and American planes have been throwing bombs on people over there for the last twelve years. It's never stopped. I don't know what people think a war is but it's never stopped. Do I think a larger conflagration will occur? I don't know. It's hard to say. It doesn't make a difference because the money has been spent already in terms of companies already making money on arms. They're already hooked up. Thousands of troops are already being ferried across. Whether they go through with it or not it's more a question of public opinion now.
"It seems clear that the motivations behind this war are not purely based on concerns of this particular government's possession of arms. It also seems clear to me that it doesn't have much to do with Iraq's governments treatment of its own people. I think the North Korean situation is a clear indication of that. In both cases North Korea do and seeks to create more weapons of mass destruction. They possess them and want to make more of them. They're pretty straight up about it. Clearly in North Korea there are people who are not being treated well. So if that was really the basis of this issue of this particular action then it doesn't make sense that the US is foisting this thing on Iraq, that we would turn a blind eye, it seems odd to me. So who knows, but oil does seem to be clearly connected to this and I'd love to see more of a schematic of the relationships between all these people involved. The Saddam Hussein people, the Bin Ladin family and the Bush family. It's so much like World War I where you know like the Prince of Bulgaria was married to the Princess of Spain or whatever. So maybe royalty is just a different name now."