Nifty Package


Ultimately, it was a missed opportunity. 

In 1989, Manuel Noriega, the leader of Panama, to avoid capture or death during the US invasion of Panama, sought sanctuary and papal protection at The Apostolic Nunciature. As a result, The United States began “Operation Nifty Package”; Psychological warfare to initiate his surrender. After a period of failed negotiation, The US military played “I fought the law” by The Clash, “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC, “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses, and “Too Old to Rock and Roll: Too Young to Die” by Jethro Tull at deafening volumes. Would it have been too on the nose to play “Panama” by Van Halen? Also, why not play Metallica? The song “One” seems like it would have made sense. “Darkness imprisoning me, all that I see, absolute horror.” Or, how about “Raining Blood” by Slayer? “Trapped in Purgatory, a lifeless object, alive. Awaiting reprisal; death will be acquiescence.” Again, would that have been too on the nose? In psychological warfare, does irony play a more important role? In that case, they could have played “Push The Little Daisies,” by Ween. It is interesting to note this is the second time Jethro Tull was selected instead of Metallica. That same year, Jethro Tull won the inaugural Grammy award for “Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance” for their album “Crest of a Knave.” This beat “…And Justice for All” by Metallica, “Nothing’s Shocking” by Jane’s Addiction, “Blow up Your Video” by AC/DC, and “Cold Metal” by Iggy Pop. I wonder if this would have been a great marketing opportunity for Jethro Tull, or any of the other bands to suggest that their music was excellent in the use of psychological warfare? They did manage to cash in, however, as Tull’s record label took out a full-page ad in Billboard magazine of a flute (Jethro Tull’s lead singer Ian Anderson played the flute in the majority of their songs) in a pile of rebar with the tag “The flute IS a heavy metal instrument.” Metallica also included a sticker on subsequent releases of “…And Justice For All,” which read Grammy Award LOSERS. Concerning Noriega, ultimately, it was The Archbishop who convinced him to surrender to the United States. In the end, perhaps it was better for most of these bands to simply use the warning advisory sticker provided by The Parents Music Resource Center. 

Andrew Davie received an MFA in creative writing from Adelphi University. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant. In June of 2018, he survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. His other work can be found in links on his website: asdavie.wordpress.com

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