Britney Spears Songs Repel Somali Pirates

Because of course they do

Britney Spears Songs Repel Somali Pirates Britney Spears Songs Repel Somali Pirates

Uncategorized October 30, 2013 0

Britney Spears. wikipedia photo Britney Spears Songs Repel Somali Pirates Because of course they do Those who bemoan Britney Spears’ war on good music... Britney Spears Songs Repel Somali Pirates
Britney Spears. wikipedia photo

Britney Spears Songs Repel Somali Pirates

Because of course they do

Those who bemoan Britney Spears’ war on good music will be heartened to know that she has found a new target. Merchant ships sailing the pirate-infested waters off Somalia are using her music to repel pirates.

“Spears’s chart-toppers ‘Oops! I Did It Again’ and ‘Baby One More’ Time have proved to be the most effective at keeping the bandits at bay,” reported British newspaper Metro.

“These guys can’t stand Western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect,” commented Rachel Owens, a British merchant officer on supertankers plying the waters off Somalia.

Owens said that broadcasting Britney’s tunes is so effective that there is no need to fire guns. “As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can,” she told Metro.

The U.S. military has used music as a psychological weapon in Vietnam, Haiti and Afghanistan. But the most infamous example of musical warfare was when U.S. forces deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega in December 1989. Noriega, who reportedly loved opera and hated rock music, sought asylum in the Vatican embassy. U.S. psychological operations troops then blared rock music at the embassy to drive Noriega out. Noriega reportedly loved opera and hated rock.

According to Herbert Friedman, a retired psyops sergeant major who has written on the history of music in psyops, Noriega was initially bombarded by songs requested by U.S. troops: “The Marines asked for ‘Welcome to the Jungle,’ the canine handlers requested Billy Idol’s ‘Flesh for Fantasy,’ and the Special Forces wanted the Door’s ‘Strange Days.’ Other calls were for patriotic songs like Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless the USA.’ and hard rock songs like ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ by Twisted Sister.”

The loudspeakers then shifted to Christmas music on Christmas Day, before returning to more troop requests, Friedman writes. “The requested playlist is at least 95 songs long and contains such favorites as: ‘Born to Run,’ ‘Bring down the Hammer,’ ‘Dancing in the Streets,’ ‘Hang ‘Em High,’ ‘I Fought the Law and the Law Won,’ ‘Judgment Day,’ ‘Nowhere to Run,’ ‘Run Like Hell,’ ‘The Party’s Over,’ ‘They’re Coming to Take Me Away,’ ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ and ‘Your Time is Gonna Come.’”

Many of these songs were poetic justice for a dictator like Noriega. But one wonders who would be the most effective musician to repel pirates? Bob Dylan and Neil Young don’t have pleasant voices, but hardly so unpleasant as to induce Somali pirates to pass up a fat ransom for a supertanker. Perhaps Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound using the music of Ozzie Osborne?

Or the worst fate of all. Bombarding the pirates with Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” In stereo.

Michael Peck is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy Magazine and writes the War Games blog at Forbes.com. His Twitter is @Mipeck1.