Way to win over the local population – not.
The more I read the news this week the more I think the US military has a bit of a Lord of the Flies problem going on out there in the field. This isn’t as significant or awful as other things that have come to light recently, but still…
When insurgents open fire in Marjah, an armoured vehicle wired up to powerful speakers blasts out country, heavy metal and rock music so loudly it can be heard up to two kilometres (one mile) away.
The playlist has been hand-selected to “piss off the Taliban”, according to one US special forces officer.
“Taliban hate that music,” said the sergeant involved in covert psychological operations, or “psy ops”, in the area in Helmand province.
“Some locals complain but it’s a way to push them to choose. It’s motivating Marines as well,” he added after one deafening round of several hours including tracks from The Offspring, Metallica and Thin Lizzy.
The officer said they also broadcast messages from the Afghan government, as well as threats to the Taliban – there are no obscenities, “but we tell them they’re gonna die”, he smiled.
How effective the method is in sending the Taliban running for cover is difficult to tell, but local children certainly don’t like it – many of them cover their ears from the onslaught of loud bass guitars and drums.
Lieutenant Colonel Brian Christmas – the commander of US Marines in northern Marjah – said he was unaware of the musical psy ops.
“It’s inappropriate,” he told AFP, mindful that a major part of the counter-insurgency plan is focused on winning over Afghans from the insurgents.
“I’m going to ask this to stop right now.”