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                        October 13, 2003

                        FAKE 'GOOD NEWS' FROM IRAQ
                        War Party using the troops for propaganda
                        by Justin Raimondo

                  The lying cretins who gave us the Iraq war aren't content
that our soldiers are sitting ducks for terrorists throughout the Middle
East - now they're using them as props in a propaganda campaign designed to
convince the American people that "progress" is being made. As the
[Washington] Olympian reports:

                  "Letters from hometown soldiers describing their successes
rebuilding Iraq have been appearing in newspapers across the country as U.S.
public opinion on the mission sours.

                  "And all the letters are the same.

                  "A Gannett News Service search found identical letters
from different soldiers with the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne
Infantry Regiment, also known as 'The Rock,' in 11 newspapers, including
Snohomish, Wash."

                  Just a few minutes of googling brings forth at least two
identical letters attributed to two different soldiers: Oh, and here's
another. Gannett News counts at least 11. Capitol Hill Blue reports "some
say they were ordered by their superiors to sign their names."

                  According to the phony letter, everything is hunky-dory
over in "liberated" Iraq:

                  "Kirkuk is a hot and dusty city of just over a million
people. The majority of the city has welcomed our presence with open arms.
After nearly five months here, the people still come running from their
homes into the 110-degree heat, waving to us as our troops drive by on daily
patrols of the city. "

                  It figures that these fake letters appeared in newspapers
just as relatively trouble-free Kirkuk appears to be going off the deep end,
along with the entire northern part of the country. Is this the kind of war
propaganda we're paying for? I demand a congressional investigation! Why
don't they hire Glenn Reynolds - if they already haven't, that is. Here is
the Pontifcating Professor as he tries to explain that the bogus letter
isn't a bogus letter, you see, because it's a "form letter." Only a law
professor could argue that so labeling it ameliorates the essential fraud of
misrepresenting both the author and his intent.

                  Clearly, those who did agree to sign (when asked to do so
by their military superiors) had no idea that their names would soon be in
print. When one proud father congratulated his son on getting a letter
published in the local newspaper, the soldier said: "What letter?"

                  The Official Story is that some anonymous GI wrote the
letter, the military public relations team had nothing to do with it, the
high command had nothing to do with it, and somebody - nobody knows who -
mailed it out to all the hometown papers of the unit. Whoever did it had
access to the soldiers' records, because in at least one case a letter was
sent to the Olympian, published in Washington state, when the soldier and
his family had long since moved to Idaho.

                  Aside from that, however, there is the problem of implied
coercion. As reported on Capitol Hill Blue:

                  "One soldier, who asked not to be identified, said he was
reluctant to sign the letter because he did not agree with the comments in
the letter but said he was ordered by a superior officer to sign. 'When I'm
given an order, I obey it,' he said."

                  The Olympian quotes Sgt. Christopher Shelton, signer of a
letter that was published in the Snohomish Herald, saying "his platoon
sergeant had distributed the letter and asked soldiers for the names of
their hometown newspapers. Soldiers were asked to sign the letter if they
agreed with it."

                  Shelton, it appears, did agree with it, but can anyone
honestly imagine a soldier refusing to sign it when asked to do so by a
superior officer?

                  It isn't enough that our soldiers are being put in harm's
way in an increasingly ugly and pointless war: now they are being used as
political pawns, forced to lie on behalf of the Liar-in-chief and his fellow
fibbers in the War Party.

                  The story that this was a spontaneous campaign initiated
by an anonymous soldier just doesn't wash. This has all the earmarks of a
more than typically clumsy effort by some government agency or other to
fight the "war on terrorism" on the home front. As such, it underscores the
character of those who lied about the real reasons we went into Iraq, and
are lying as hard as they can, as often as they can, to keep us there.

                  I suppose there are some good aspects of the U.S. invasion
and conquest of Iraq. Someone in Iraq, somehow - if only by accident - is
going to benefit from the infusion of all that money. And we are not just
talking about material benefits. the proliferation of newly-minted Iraqi
newspapers is proof enough of that.

                  The great irony, however, is that the Coalition
"Provisional" Authority is unsettled by all this ideological diversity, and
has responded by banning two television outlets, including Al Jazeera, and a
number of newspapers, for "incitement." An even greater irony is that we,
the American people, derive no benefits from this "liberation." Lives are
lost, bodies maimed, but who gains, aside from politically-connected
government contractors and lobbyists?

                  Ordinary Americans will have their tax dollars "liberated"
from their wallets and transferred overseas, along with all too many of
their sons and daughters - more than a few of whom will be making a one-way
trip. Now I think I fully understand why Ayn Rand hated altruism. If that's
what this is, then so do I.

                  No matter what briefly enduring short-term good comes of
the American occupation of Iraq, I'm sure the professional apologists for U.
S. policy would be incapable of discovering it, or even of telling anyone
about it. These people are incapable of telling the truth, even if it is to
their advantage. They prefer prevarication. That's why the art of lying has
attained cult status among the more exalted neocon intellectuals, who
celebrate Leo Strauss's concept of the "noble lie" - fibs fed to the masses
for their own good by geniuses like themselves.

                  It's a depressing scenario, alright, but let's try to end
this on a lighter note. Hey, I hear that the USO is sending a group of
comedians to entertain the troops in Iraq: I'm sure, at this point, they
could use a few laughs. But, uh, look who they're sending over there..

                  I'm not exactly an encyclopedia of popular culture, but
this was the first I'd heard of Ralphie May. Judging from his website,
however, I'm not sure I want to know much more. And what about Butch
Bradley? Oh wait, you mean this guy? I never even heard of the people he's
opened for, never mind him. I'm suuuuuure the troops will be thrilled to
know that, along with these worthies, Lahna Turner will be paying them a
visit - no, not that one - this one.

                  Aside from being Ralphie's main squeeze, I'm not sure why
she'd be better than, say, Janeane Garofalo. Can anyone speculate as to why
Robin Williams was passed over (after he was a big hit in Afghanistan) for a
bunch of nobodies? Hey, what about Whoopi Goldberg? I'd love to hear the
Pentagon explain why not. If our vocally antiwar Hollywood celebs had any
political - or PR - sense, they'd volunteer for the Iraq gig and offer to
donate the money to the families of the dead and wounded.

                  Better yet, why not fire Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz,
Douglas Feith, Richard Perle - the whole neocon gang that lied us into war -
and send them over there as a comedy act. They could specialize in goofball
slapstick, and bill themselves as the Gang that Couldn't Keep Their Lies

                  That's my solution to the Iraq disaster: send in the

                  - Justin Raimo

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