A key senator and the country's top military commander said Friday that a Pentagon propaganda program was part of an effort to "get the truth out" in Iraq. ...
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that, "We want to get the facts out. We want to get the truth out." ...
"The purpose of this program is to ensure factual information is provided to the Iraqi public," Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman, said in Iraq.
To illustrate the ridiculousness of this explanation, let's not forget (as the AP apparently did) that the Department of Defense did not just pay press outlets to run stories without disclosing the military's role; the stories also contained LIES about who was writing them. For example:
Titled "The Sands Are Blowing Toward a Democratic Iraq," an article written this week for publication in the Iraqi press was scornful of outsiders' pessimism about the country's future.So this is how the DoD gets the truth out? By lying!?
"Western press and frequently those self-styled 'objective' observers of Iraq are often critics of how we, the people of Iraq, are proceeding down the path in determining what is best for our nation," the article began. Quoting the Prophet Muhammad, it pleaded for unity and nonviolence.
But far from being the heartfelt opinion of an Iraqi writer, as its language implied, the article was prepared by the United States military as part of a multimillion-dollar covert campaign to plant paid propaganda in the Iraqi news media and pay friendly Iraqi journalists monthly stipends, military contractors and officials said.
Since the Pentagon is so eager to spread the truth, maybe they should start telling the Iraqi people about their efforts to manipulate them into believing they live in a democracy, while destroying freedom of the press in the process.
And despite the ongoing propaganda campaign, a recent Ministry of Defence poll showed that 82% of the Iraqi population is "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops, which raises an obvious question: If Iraq is a democracy, then who represents the 82% who want us out?
And of course, instead of doing some actual investigating, all the US news networks are sitting around waiting for the DoD to get their story straight so they can report their own propaganda. In the meantime, they're running segments about insurgent propaganda, basically trying to give the Pentagon partial justification for their actions...as if our standards should be determined by the "evil-doers."
In other Iraq news, the white phosphorous issue seems to be tip-toeing its way out of the public spotlight. The “not a chemical weapon” excuse seems to have pacified the press. However this doesn’t play. As noted on page 42 of this military bulletin:
Incendiaries, which include napalm, flame throwers, tracer rounds and white phosphorus, are not illegal, per se, but must be monitored for their use to prevent “unnecessary suffering.” For instance white phosphorus is not banned as a method for marking targets or for igniting flammable targets, but it should not be used as an anti-personnel munition unless other types of conventional anti-personnel ordnance are unavailable. Air-delivered incendiaries have been banned in areas of civilian concentration under a protocol to the 1980 Conventional, Weapons Treaty, but theThis certainly indicates that the use of white phosphorous in Fallujah was not justified.
has not ratified this protocol. The US position is that air-delivered incendiaries may be proper against targets in areas of civilian concentration if their usage would reduce civilian deaths, e.g., to destroy a chemical weapons factory in which the incendiary device burns the chemicals rather than disperses them. US
Furthermore, as Think Progress pointed out, the Pentagon described white phosphorous as a chemical weapon in a 1995 document regarding Iraqi weapons during the first Gulf War. The military has also described white phosphorous as a chemical weapon here, here, here, here, and here. Of course these are just words, but as Think Progress stated, this is an issue of right and wrong; and as pointed out above, by the military's own standards, the use of WP was not justified in Fallujah.