Combat Rock

Whether it is to psych themselves up or break prisoners down, American troops and law-enforcement agents have a somewhat discordant record of deploying music for martial ends.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Whether it is to psych themselves up or break prisoners down, American troops and law-enforcement agents have a somewhat discordant record of deploying music for martial ends.


SONG OR ARTIST USED BY GOAL RESULT INSIDE DOPE
“Ride of the Valkyries” by Richard Wagner U.S. infantry, Ramidi, Iraq, June 21, 2003 Get pumped up Apocalypse Now-style before a raid Raised specter of Vietnam-type quagmire And we thought only fictional GIs liked the Ring cycle.
Themes to Barney, Sesame Street; “Enter Sandman” by Metallica U.S. Army Psy-Ops Company, Iraq, June 2003 Interrogate prisoners about the whereabouts of WMDs WMDs still MIA It’s not easy being fedayeen.
Celine Dion, Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks U.S.”Commando Solo” planes, broadcasting tunes and propaganda into Iraq, spring 2003 Persuade Iraqis they had “nothing to fear” from U.S. invasion Society unprepared for assault of Titanic theme song devolves into looting “I’m sure she would be happy to do anything to help,” said Dion’s spokesperson. Crow, Chicks less sure.
“Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses, as well as Hendrix, Quiet Riot, etc. 4th Psy-Ops Group, Vatican Embassy, Panama City, December 1989 Force Manuel Noriega to leave Vatican Embassy, where he’d taken refuge A lifelong opera lover, the Pineapple surrenders. “We received a note from the nuncio protesting either the loudness of the music or the quality, I’m not sure which,” a U.S. official said.
“These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” by Nancy Sinatra, “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus FBI, Waco, Texas, March 19, 1993 Get David Koresh and his followers to leave Waco compound FBI later admits sleep-deprived Davidians may actually have been more susceptible to Koresh as a result. Koresh’s own recordings, like “Sheshonahim,” more in singer/songwriter/ megalomaniac mode
“Rock the Casbah” by The Clash U.S. Armed Forces Radio, Saudi Arabia, 1990 Kickoff to Gulf War I GIs proceed to rock Iraq and roll into Kuwait. Still asking ourselves, Should we stay or should we go?

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate