Heavy Metal Attack

Rahul Jayaram teaches at the Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities
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One of the famous scenes in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now is when a drone of helicopters swoops down on a suspected Viet-Cong occupied village blasting out Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. It’s a scene that literally speaks volumes about the psyched-out state of American soldiers. In Afghanistan, US forces appeared to have had Coppola in mind. But they have junked western classical for heavy metal. US forces in Marjah, Afghanistan, have hit upon the mindblowing idea of banging out tunes by bands like Metallica, Thin Lizzy and Offspring in the direction of suspected insurgent strongholds to scope out guerillas. Deploying a converted military vehicle attached with powerful speakers, which can make their presence felt up to two miles away, the troops play songs like Offspring’s Pretty Fly For A White Guy. The forces’ justification is simple: the Taliban hate music. And the plight of the locals doesn’t count.