The U.S. Military Used 'Danger Zone' To Annoy An Actual Dictator

'Danger Zone,' and also Rick Astley.
The U.S. Military Used 'Danger Zone' To Annoy An Actual Dictator

For a while in the 1980s, the United States was cool with Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. America wanted a hand in what was going down in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and it was useful to have at least one friend in the region. The CIA gave the guy over $300,000 personally to keep the relationship going. 

The friendship didn't last, however. By the end of the decade, the US invaded Panama—for legitimate reasons, some claimed. Noriega dodged his pursuers for a while using his team of body doubles, then he fled and found sanctuary in the embassy of the Vatican. The US military is always prepared to pull dictators out of holes in the desert, but they could hardly storm the embassy and declare war on the Catholic Church. 

If they wanted to get Noriega, they had to drive him out of the building. They did so using the power of rock

They set up giant speakers, pointing them at the embassy building. Then they blasted loud music at the fugitive, using a playlist that soldiers themselves picked. A highlight was Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone," from the soundtrack to Top Gun. Many people sat they find this song enjoyable and even inspirational, but it is widely theorized that these people are lying. 

The White House did not approve of the musical attack. Possibly, this torture violated international law (but then, possibly, the invasion of Panama also violated international law). The battle started on December 27, 1989, or earlier, and on January 3, Noriega surrendered.

Besides "Danger Zone," he'd suffered through many other hits of the '80s, including The Clash's "I Fought The Law" (just barely an '80s song) and "Never Gonna Give You Up." Some of these songs sound more like anthems for independence rather than anything about surrender, but what can we say. There are only so many pop songs about defeat. 

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Now travel further into the Danger Zone:

The 10 Most Terrifyingly Inspirational '80s Songs

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The 9 Most Insane Vehicles That Are Street Legal

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