Who had the best war song?
Iraq war news themes
by Behrouz Bahmani,
The Iranian


Since no one is going to say it, I will; WORLD WAR IV IS OVER!

The US wins again! Hip Hip Hooray! Let's all go to McDonalds, they have a 4 for 1 deal, after that let's go over and buy some jeans on sale at Old Navy! The Slurrrpies are on me! But let's take your car -- mine's an SUV and I'm out of gas (for now!).


Now that the war is over, I thought as a way to move on from all this craziness, we should go right into reviewing the TV news theme songs and see which one was the best.

Although there were many, I have limited the songs to those that showed exceptional production and effort. For example, I excluded some local stations in the San Francisco Bay Area, such as channel 427 the Stockton public access student news program "War Dudes", which was put together by the "Metal" clique at Richard "Dick" Johnson High School, because it used "Enter Night" by Metallica.

Alternately, I also rejected the use of "Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leppard, by local UPN affiliate KWIZ in Laguna Niguel. Not because it wasn't appropriate, I just hate that song.

So here are my picks;


Proud and pompous every bit as over achieving as the "Billy the Kid" Ballet by Aaron Copeland- that it draws inspiration (and a lot more) from. Nothing says America more than a heaping helping of Copeland. Brilliantly captured by CNN. I was shocked then awed, over and over again.

CNN's news story theme composer Garth Henneman, works on a few ideas for CNN's next breaking news stories. Although he does not have any idea when or what it will be, Henneman is one of several young composers on staff at CNN who work around the clock developing new themes. "I just whip out a few chords, MP3 it, and upload it to CNN and they use it.", "Sweet." Hennemen quipped.

Fox News: "Operation: IRAQI FREEDOM"

Wonderfully reminiscent of the CNN theme, but this time a la the "Rodeo" ballet, once again courtesy of Aaron Copeland (who is now officially turning over in his grave) but with just the right amount of the theme from "Dances with Wolves" to give it a bit of a cowboy-Indian feel to it. A bit of a rip-off but nicely swiped nonetheless. I love the recurrent use of the lament of the strings mixed in with the timpani drums. It almost has a Japanese-Saipan-Death-March-Taiko-esque sound to it. Wonderful.

ABC: "WAR with IRAQ"

Closely resembles the main ABC news theme, a brilliant move to reinforce their brand and cost effective. And I personally never tire of the ABC News theme. I love that tune. Dah-Dah-Didah! Dah-Dah-Dah, Dah-Didah!

NBC: "Target: IRAQ" (See also "SQUEEZING SYRIA")

A little sad and weakly romantic, it's one way to do it, but I mean come on, we're winning this thing! How about at least a variation on Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man", even I could have come up with a techno version of "2001: A Space Odyssey"! I'll give them props for at least departing from the worn out Dang! Ding! Dong! NBC theme. Let's hope they can eke out a win if we go to war with Syria.

AL Jazeera: "Al Marines Al Amaliyat Al Hamleh-at-Al-Araaaagh"

Although this wasn't the absolute worst one, I have to give them credit for trying. They are new at the tabloid journalism game after all. I mean what idiot keeps his camera rolling after he gets caught standing behind the guy firing a machine gun from a hotel balcony at the American army? Look, maybe the use of the theme to "Shaft" might have sounded like a good idea when this all started, and maybe it would have even been on my brainstorming short list, but come on! Also am I the only one who wonders why they're called Al Jazeera when the only island in the Arab world occupied by humans is Kish?

CBS: "America at War"

A little too ragtimey if you ask me. These things need to have a lot of initial punch to them, and this one is like an Iraqi tank that won't start. A good theme must evoke the patriotic tear when played behind a close up shot of a sweat and dirt caked GI from Kansas. And I'm sorry, but playing the Polka Ooompah Ooompah song while showing an injured US soldier being airlifted to Germany is just wrong. This effort was way too weak, and a little too cabaret for my taste. This is an example of precisely why CBS is in big trouble.

Honorable Mention:

Univision: "Ataque a Irak" (see also Cayo Tikrit: el pueblo natal de Hussein"

I'm not sure that the use of a Merengue was a good choice here, I would have thought Tango maybe, but give them credit for taking a chance and going for it. But it's kind of hard to notice anything when the tight dress and spiked heel wearing news "Anchor-isitas" seated oh-so-precariously high on those barstools say anything in Spanish!

In Conclusion:

This war produced some pretty awful music when I stop to reflect on it for the minute it takes me to re-charge my Starbucks card. But I'll raise my latte to them; here's to all the networks and the wonderful creative spirit they bring to the table. Just like those zooming in satellite maps of Baghdad. I mean that was awesome. And I loved the addition in this war of the weather reports with the weatherman standing in front of the map of Iraq as he showed how "the dust storms are going to be coming in from here and moving out to there by Wednesday, clearing up and sunny for the weekend."

But the next time we sit and watch the field of battle from our La-Z-Boys, I hope they can do something to fix that awful pixelation and delay from those horrible satellite phones. I mean what's up with that? I mean how do they expect anyone to see what's really happening?

Oh wait... never mind. Click.