Drowning Pool song has history at base in Cuba
Few MP3 tracks circulated on troops’ playlists overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan more than Drowning Pool’s “Bodies,” a hard-rock song mostly consisting of the throaty, repeated lines of the main chorus: “Let the bodies hit the floor.”
The troop favorite and its past converged when the band played for Freedom Fest, a Fourth of July show for troops stationed at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, home to the high-profile prison that has held detainees from the global war on terror since Sept. 11, 2001.
The song has a dark history in post-9/11 military history: It was used in at least one instance during harsh interrogation of Mohamedou Slahi, a detainee held at Guantanamo in 2003. An interrogator, identified only as Mr. X, “exposed to variable lighting patterns and rock music, to the tune of Drowning Pool’s ‘Let the Bodies Hit (the) Floor,’ ” according to a 2008 Senate Armed Services Committee probe on prisoner abuse at the facility that misstated the name of the song.
Slahi was freed after 14 years in October 2016 and returned to his native Mauritania without charges, The Miami Herald reported.
He recently told the newspaper that his experience with music during his detention was “twisted on so many levels.”
“Music is supposed to make you happy and make you a better person; sometimes,” he told The Herald by email in response to questions about the July 4 concert and Drowning Pool’s involvement.
Slahi told The Herald it was “quite the coincidence” that the band, and its signature song, were on hand for the festivities at the naval station, which houses 1,500 troops.
“It is likely that leadership was not informed of the potential for negative connotations because individuals were more familiar with the song ‘Let the Bodies Hit the Floor’ than the name of the band that performed it or its past history with detainees,” U.S. Southern Command spokeswoman Col. Lisa Garcia said in an emailed statement.
Drowning Pool has gone on tour with the USO at least five times since 2005 to provide entertainment for troops around the globe, including Iraq and Kuwait.
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