Paging Armstrong Williams


No good news in Iraq? Hey, let's just write it ourselves:

As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.

Though the articles are basically factual, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi governments, officials said. Records and interviews indicate that the U.S. has paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles, with headlines such as "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism," since the effort began this year.

Propaganda like this is pretty plainly counterproductive; people know when they're being condescended to, resent it, and proceed to assume everything the government says or does is part of the same nefarious conspiracy. But if we're going to play this game, surely we can do better than "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism" (whatever the hell that means)? Headline from today's Korean News: S. Korean Military Authorities Urged to Fulfill Their Responsibility before Times and Nation. From yesterday's New Light of Myanmar: Union Day observed every year with aim of strengthening Union Spirit among national races. With the amount we're spending, can't we afford to stuff a few more words on top of the page?