YOU may have a speed-inducing iPod playlist for getting pumped while running and then just hit shuffle to tune out on the D train home from work.

Well, the soldiers in Iraq are no different, using music to help them get through everything from combat missions to a good night’s sleep.

Due to advances in audio technology — i.e., the iPod — for the first time ever war has a personal and portable soundtrack. Jonathan Pieslak, a composer and associate professor of music at CUNY, wrote about the new way of war in “Sound Targets: American Soldiers and Music in the Iraq War.”

Pieslak first became interested in the subject when he was sending care packages to family members stationed in Iraq and discovered CDs were a hot commodity. After sending more CDs to an Air National Guard unit, he got a thank-you note from a major who said the CDs would be added to the library the troops share.

File sharing knows no bounds in a war zone. Songs are passed from PC to PC and played on personal MP3 and CD players, or even speakers wired into military vehicles.

“People can put [iPod] nanos in their flak jackets and they are ready to go,” Pieslak tells The Post.

His biggest surprise? The musical diversity. “Civilians have a notion that members of the military are uniform in beliefs — they are all lined up in rows, wear the same clothes and have the same haircut,” Pieslak says. That uniformity might be true on a mission, but back on base, music runs wild.

Soldiers might listen to rap and metal by Eminem, Metallica and Slayer to get psyched while heading out in their Humvees, but during downtime, they add country, gospel, punk and new wave, for example, to the mix.

Even the soldiers were startled by the variety. “I had no idea people listened to country music until I joined the Army,” says Spc. Colby Buzzell, who served a yearlong tour in Iraq in 2003. Buzzell would clean his guns to the Cure and the Smiths — but listen to Slayer before missions, he told Pieslak.

Jazz was a sleep aid for Sgt. 1st Class Ronald Botelho, who was deployed to Iraq three times, and an interview Pliesak posted on his site, says he bought more than 700 CDs there, many on the black market.

With stereo-ready vehicles, music can sometimes be unavoidable — not always a good thing.

Buzzell recalls when a soldier put on the Chipmunks’ Christmas CD while on patrol in Samarra. “We’d be listening to it for hours,” he says. “You are screwed if you don’t like what is playing.”

In writing the book, Pieslak hopes to shift the conversation beyond the Michael Moore documentary “Fahrenheit 911,” where, in one memorable scene, the soldiers discuss listening to Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” while in their tanks. (It’s actually an excerpt from George Gittoes’ documentary “Soundtrack to War.”)

“The scenes . . . leave one with the impression that the soldiers are going out and mindlessly killing people,” Pieslak says. “These soldiers know they are using music to create a heightened sense of awareness to put them in a psychological state where they have to go and deal with the possibility of engaging in combat.”

Buzzell, for one, says music helps when his motivation is down: “Sometimes . . . you’re like, ‘I don’t want to play soldier today.’ But then you hear ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ theme song and you’re like ‘F – – – , yeah, hell yeah, I’ll go out on a mission today.’ ”

To hear some interviews with troops, visit his site, soundtargets.com.

Source

One Response to “SOLDIERS TUNE IN TO THE IRAQ WAR”

  1. #1 Dr.Steven Fisher says:

    Hey, I’ve seen something like this before.

Leave a Reply