"If I Had a Rocket Launcher" is a song by Bruce Cockburn, from his 1984 album Stealing Fire.
The song was inspired by Cockburn's visit, sponsored by OXFAM, to Guatemalan refugee camps in Mexico following the counterinsurgency campaign of dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. Although Cockburn had occasionally touched on political themes in his earlier songs, "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" was his first explicitly political song to be released as a single, and earned him a new reputation as an outspoken musical activist.
In the song, Cockburn despairs of waiting for a political solution to the crisis, and expresses the desire to take matters into his own hands. Each verse ends with a line stating what Cockburn would do if he had a rocket launcher: in the first verse, I'd make somebody pay. In the second, I would retaliate. In the third, I would not hesitate.
The fourth and final verse ends with the song's most famous and controversial lyric: If I had a rocket launcher, some son-of-a-bitch would die.
In a later interview, Cockburn stated that the song "is not a call to arms; this is a cry."