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Pentagon propaganda program orders soldiers to promote
Iraq war while home on leave

Publisher, Capitol Hill Blue
Dec 29, 2005, 05:44

Good soldiers follow orders and hundreds of American
military men and women returned to the United States
on holiday leave this month with orders to sell the
Iraq war to a skeptical public.

The program, coordinated through a Pentagon operation
dubbed “Operation Homefront,” ordered military
personnel to give interviews to their hometown
newspapers, television stations and other media
outlets and praise the American war effort in Iraq.

Initial reports back to the Pentagon deem the
operation a success with dozens of front page stories
in daily and weekly newspapers around the country
along with upbeat reports on local television

“We've learned as a military how to do this better,”
Captain David Diaz, a military reservist, told his
hometown paper, The Roanoke (VA) Times. “My worry is
that we have the right military strategy and political
strategies now but the patience of the American public
is wearing thin.”

When pressed by the paper on whether or not his
commanding officers told him to talk to the press,
Diaz admitted he was “encouraged” to do so.  So
reporter Duncan Adams asked:

“Did Diaz return to the U.S. on emergency leave with
an agenda -- to offer a positive spin that could help
counter growing concerns among Americans about the
U.S. exit strategy? How do we know that's not his
strategy, especially after he discloses that superior
officers encouraged him to talk about his experiences
in Iraq?”

Replied Diaz:

“You don't. I can tell you that the direction we've
gotten from on high is that there is a concern about
public opinion out there and they want to set the
record straight.”

Diaz, an intelligence officer, knows how to avoid a
direct answer. Other military personnel, however, tell
Capitol Hill Blue privately that the pressure to “sell
the war” back home is enormous.

“I’ve been promised an early release if I do a good
job promoting the war,” says one reservist who asked
not to be identified.

In interviews with a number of reservists home for the
holidays, a pattern emerges on the Pentagon’s
propaganda effort. Soldiers are encouraged to contact
their local news media outlets to offer interviews
about the war.  A detailed set of talking points
encourages them to:

--Admit initial doubts about the war but claim
conversion to a belief in the American mission;

--Praise military leadership in Iraq and throw in a
few words of support for the Bush administration;

--Claim the mission to turn security of the country
over to the Iraqis is working;

--Reiterate that America must not abandon its mission
and must stay until the “job is finished.”

--Talk about how “things are better” now in Iraq.

“My worry is that we have the right military strategy
and political strategies now but the patience of the
American public is wearing thin,” Diaz told The
Roanoke Times.

“It’s way better now (in Iraq). People are friendlier.
They seem more relaxed, and they say, ’Thank you,
mister,’” Sgt. Christopher Desierto told his hometown
paper, The Maui News.

But soldiers who are home and don’t have to return to
Iraq tell a different story.

“I've just been focused on trying to get the rest of
these guys home,” says Sgt. Major Floyd Dubose of
Jackson, MS, who returned home after 11 months in Iraq
with the  Mississippi Army National Guard's 155th
Combat Brigade.

And the Army is cracking down on soldiers who go on
the record opposing the war.

Specialist Leonard Clark, a National Guardsman, was
demoted to private and fined $1,640 for posting
anti-war statements on an Internet blog
. Clark wrote
entries describing the company's commander as a "glory
seeker" and the battalion sergeant major an "inhuman
monster". His last entry before the blog was shut down
told how his fellow soldiers were becoming
increasingly opposed to the US operation in Iraq.

“The message is clear,” says one reservist who is home
for the holidays but has to return and asked not to be
identified. “If you want to get out of this man’s Army
with an honorable (discharge) and full benefits you
better not tell the truth about what is happening

But Sgt. Johnathan Wilson, a reservist,  got his
honorable discharge after he returned home earlier
this month and he’s not afraid to talk on the record.

“Iraq is a classic FUBAR,” he says. “The country is
out of control and we can’t stop it. Anybody who tries
to sell a good news story about the war is blowing it
out his ass. We don’t win and eventually we will leave
the country in a worse shape than it was when we
© Copyright 2005 by Capitol Hill Blue