Psychological Warfare
Waged In Fallujah
US Deploys Loud Music & Insults In Bid To Provoke Gunmen

The Globe and Mail
FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) -- In Fallujah's darkened, empty streets, U.S. troops blast AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" and other rock music full volume from a huge speaker, hoping to grate on the nerves of this Sunni Muslim city's gunmen and give a laugh to marines along the front line.
Unable to advance farther into the city, an Army psychological operations team hopes a mix of heavy metal and insults shouted in Arabic - including, "You shoot like a goat herder" - will draw gunmen to step forward and attack.
The loud music recalls the Army's use of rap and rock to help flush out Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega after the December 1989 invasion on his country, and the FBI's blaring progressively more irritating tunes in an attempt to end a standoff with armed members of the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas in 1993.
The marines' psychological operations came as U.S. negotiators were pressing Fallujah representatives to get gunmen in the city to abide by a cease-fire.
Almost a week after negotiations halted a U.S. offensive against insurgents in the city, the marines continue carving out front line positions and hope for orders to push forward. Many are questioning the value of truce talks with an enemy who continues to launch attacks.
"These guys don't have a centralized leader; they're just here to fight. I don't see what negotiations are going to do," said Captain Shannon Johnson, a company commander. Word of truce talks last week forced his battalion to halt its plunge into the northeast section of the city just hours after arriving to back up other forces.
In the meantime, perhaps the fiercest enemy ó everyone here seems to agree ó is the boredom, and worst of all the flies that pepper this dusty Euphrates River city west of Baghdad. But Fallujah's front lines remain dangerous.
On Friday, insurgents fired several mortars at U.S. forces. One of the shells blasted a chunk out of a house where marines are positioned, filling the building with dust and smoke. No one was injured.
A short time later, an F-16 jet dropped a 2,000-pound bomb on the city, sending up a massive spray of dirt and smoke and destroying a building where marines had spotted gunmen.
At night, the psychological operations unit attached to the Marine battalion here sends out messages from a loudspeaker mounted on an armored Humvee. On Thursday night, the crew and its Arabic-language interpreter taunted fighters, saying, "May all the ambulances in Fallujah have enough fuel to pick up the bodies of the mujahadeen."
The message was specially timed for an attack moments later by an AC-130 gunship that pounded targets in the city.
Later, the team blasted Jimi Hendrix and other rock music, and afterward some sound effects like babies crying, men screaming, a symphony of cats and barking dogs and piercing screeches. They were unable to draw any gunmen to fight, and seemed disappointed.
As he kept watch from a roof, 18-year-old Private James Cathcart said the men were eager to attack.
"Everyone here wants to push forward. Here, you're just a target," he said.
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