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The Man Who Killed Osama Bin Laden Revealed That Metallica Asked Navy Seals To Stop Using Their Music

Osama Bin Laden is in the news again now that we kind of know who was the Navy Seal who killed him. In a very long interview with Esquire magazine called, ‘The Shooter’, he explains about everything about the operation, and an interesting aspect of all this is the heavy use of music by the US army,… but not any music:

‘When we first started the war in Iraq, we were using Metallica music to soften people up before we interrogated them, he explained, ‘Metallica got wind of this and they said, 'Hey, please don't use our music because we don't want to promote violence.' I thought, Dude, you have an album called Kill 'Em All.’

It’s quite interesting that Metallica intervened and clearly made the distinction between real life and action and lyrics of a song,… any first-level-reading of any form of art can be really pernicious and it’s very important to make this distinction, it’s not because you like Tarantino’s movies that you’re gonna shoot and torture people, right? Alas, not everyone can make the distinction as the rest of the Navy Seal’s answer tells:

But we stopped using their music, and then a band called Demon Hunter got in touch and said, 'We're all about promoting what you do.' They sent us CDs and patches. I wore my Demon Hunter patch on every mission. I wore it when I blasted bin Laden.’

Interestingly (but this actually doesn’t surprise me) Demon Hunter is a Christian heavy metal band and they couldn’t make this distinction and did a very Christian thing by endorsing violence. Whether you agree or not about the American operation, making your music fuel the violence and becoming the soundtrack of what was certainly a massacre, is some strong statement about your said music.

So should I say I agree with Metallica? I agree with their move, but they nevertheless may have done it for the wrong reason. According to Spin, Metallica’s James Hetfield declared the following about the use of his band’s music to break down Guantanamo Bay prisoners in 2008:

‘Part of me is proud because they chose Metallica and then part of me is kind of bummed about it that people worry about us being attached to some political statement because of that. We've got nothing to do with this and we're trying to be as apolitical as possible, 'cause I think politics and music, at least for us, don't mix.’


And I have many problems with his declaration. First of all, it was not the association of his music with torture that bothered him, but the politics? Metallica may consider their music apolitical but can’t Hetfield see that his disapproval of the use of his band’s music for one of the biggest army operations in the US history, will be interpreted as very political?

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