9 Shocking Times Music Was Used As A Military Weapon
9. Sieges In Iraq And Afghanistan
Probably the most famous examples of musical weaponry being employed occurred during the American occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan throughout the 2000s. When laying siege to various Iraqi and Afghani encampments, the US army would endlessly loop certain songs at ridiculously high volumes. The tracks would play day and night, blasting out of huge speakers, until those under siege eventually caved in and surrendered. This is referenced in Apocalypse Now, when the helicopters blast Wagner's Ride Of The Valkyries into the Vietnamese landscape. Unsurprisingly, many of the most frequently played tracks on the playlists are by metal bands. The heaviness, distortion and aggression are unbearable for the average listener at the best of times, let alone for a non-western culture exposed them 24/7 at extreme volumes. Reportedly, death metal band Deicide's F*ck Your God is used most often, but tracks by Metallica (Enter Sandman), AC/DC (You Shook Me All Night Long), Black Sabbath (Paranoid), Drowning Pool (Bodies), Alice Cooper (No More Mister Nice Guy) and a vast quantity of death and black metal acts can also be located on the playlists. Metallica's James Hetfield has been particularly vocal in his support for the use of the band's music in war zones. Bizarrely, however, it's not just metal bands that are used. Apparently the theme songs from the children's television series Sesame Street and Barney & Friends are used all of the time too. Their repetitive nature and simplistic tunes cause severe irritation and mental torture. Jon Ronson, author of The Men Who Stare At Goats, writes that he has seen people subjected to the Barney & Friends theme "screaming so hard it looks as if laughing".