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How low can they go ? That's the question everyone should be asking about this administration.

Drift3r

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Jun 3, 2003
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http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20031011/frontpage/121390.shtml

Many soldiers, same letter
Newspapers around U.S. get identical missives from Iraq



WASHINGTON -- 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.

The Olympian received two identical letters signed by different hometown soldiers: Spc. Joshua Ackler and Spc. Alex Marois, who is now a sergeant. The paper declined to run either because of a policy not to publish form letters.

The five-paragraph letter talks about the soldiers' efforts to re-establish police and fire departments, and build water and sewer plants in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where the unit is based.

"The quality of life and security for the citizens has been largely restored, and we are a large part of why that has happened," the letter reads.

It describes people waving at passing troops and children running up to shake their hands and say thank you.

It's not clear who wrote the letter or organized sending it to soldiers' hometown papers.

Six soldiers reached by GNS directly or through their families said they agreed with the letter's thrust. But none of the soldiers said he wrote it, and one said he didn't even sign it.

Marois, 23, told his family he signed the letter, said Moya Marois, his stepmother. But she said he was puzzled why it was sent to the newspaper in Olympia. He attended high school in Olympia but no longer considers the city home, she said. Moya Marois and Alex's father, Les, now live near Kooskia, Idaho.

A seventh soldier didn't know about the letter until his father congratulated him for getting it published in the local newspaper in Beckley, W.Va.

"When I told him he wrote such a good letter, he said: 'What letter?' " Timothy Deaconson said Friday, recalling the phone conversation he had with his son, Nick. "This is just not his (writing) style."

He spoke to his son, Pfc. Nick Deaconson, at a hospital where he was recovering from a grenade explosion that left shrapnel in both his legs.

Sgt. Christopher Shelton, who signed a letter that ran in the Snohomish Herald, said Friday that 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, said Shelton, whose shoulder was wounded during an ambush earlier this year.

"Everything it said is dead accurate. We've done a really good job," he said by phone from Italy, where he was preparing to return to Iraq.

Sgt. Todd Oliver, a spokesman for the 173rd Airborne Brigade, which counts the 503rd as one of its units, said he was told a soldier wrote the letter, but he didn't know who. He said the brigade's public affairs unit was not involved.

"When he asked other soldiers in his unit to sign it, they did," Oliver explained in an e-mail response to a GNS inquiry. "Someone, somewhere along the way, took it upon themselves to mail it to the various editors of newspapers across the country."

Lt. Col. Bill MacDonald, a spokesman for the 4th infantry Division that is heading operations in north-central Iraq, said he had not heard about the letter-writing campaign.

Neither had Lt. Cmdr. Nick Balice, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla.

A recent poll suggests that Americans are increasingly skeptical of America's prolonged involvement in Iraq. A USA Today-CNN-Gallup Poll released Sept. 23 found 50 percent believe that the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over, down from 73 percent in April.

The letter talks about the soldiers' mission, saying, "one thousand of my fellow soldiers and I parachuted from ten jumbo jets." It describes Kirkuk as "a hot and dusty city of just over a million people." It tells about the progress they have made.

"The fruits of all our soldiers' efforts are clearly visible in the streets of Kirkuk today. There is very little trash in the streets, many more people in the markets and shops, and children have returned to school," the letter reads. "I am proud of the work we are doing here in Iraq and I hope all of your readers are as well."

Sgt. Shawn Grueser of Poca, W.Va., said he spoke to a military public affairs officer whose name he couldn't remember about his accomplishments in Iraq for what he thought was a news release to be sent to his hometown paper in Charleston, W.Va. But the 2nd Battalion soldier said he did not sign any letter.

Although Grueser said he agrees with the letter's sentiments, he was uncomfortable that a letter with his signature did not contain his own words or spell out his own accomplishments.

"It makes it look like you cheated on a test, and everybody got the same grade," Grueser said by phone from a base in Italy where he had just arrived from Iraq.

Moya Marois said she is proud of her stepson Alex, the former Olympia resident. But she worries that the letter tries to give legitimacy to a war she doesn't think was justified.

"We're going to support our son," she said. But "there are a lot of Americans that are not in support of this war that would like to see them returned home, and think it's going to get worse."
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,157
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If everybody just believed in Bush we would win. Believe is everthing. Faith can move mountains and turn a quagmire into victory. Go Scrub go.
 

rchiu

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2002
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Yeah...you should've see the mass campaign Fox is doing right now attacking news outlet like Times for reporting bad news in Iraq.

US under current admin is turning into one of those Arab nation with all the media brain washing going on.
 

Zebo

Elite Member
Jul 29, 2001
39,408
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Soldiers were asked to sign the letter if they agreed with it, said Shelton,
;) Sure bud where do I sign. Does one or two chevrons come with that?
 

Zebo

Elite Member
Jul 29, 2001
39,408
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I think I found one of the form letters that Scumbag is using. Text

I'm sure some here will join the bullsh1t bonanza in progress.
 

Zebo

Elite Member
Jul 29, 2001
39,408
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81
Lt. Col. Bill MacDonald, a spokesman for the 4th infantry Division that is heading operations in north-central Iraq, said he had not heard about the letter-writing campaign.

Neither had Lt. Cmdr. Nick Balice, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla.
Bullsh1t.

When one proud father congratulated his son on getting a letter published in the local newspaper, the soldier said: "What letter?"
So who mailed it out to all the hometown papers of the unit? Whoever did it had access to the soldiers records. Because they sure did'nt now about it. This is also coercion plain and simple. Sickening what this nazi regime will do to dupe the gullible Americans.
 

chess9

Elite member
Apr 15, 2000
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Isn't it sad that this administration must use people in this way? I'm sure the stories are generally true, but pushing an agenda through our soldiers is pretty low.

Obviously, the White House is very, very worried about the way this war is going....Unfortunately, Americans are so easily manipulated. <sigh>

-Robert
 

burnedout

Diamond Member
Oct 12, 1999
6,249
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From a post I made in another thread on the subject:

"This practice has been in effect since at least the 80s. You'll have to ask Happy Puppy, Tripleshot or CaptKirk if they also had scripted releases during 'Nam. I've participated twice in scripted news releases while deployed. One was a Video News Release. Also was interviewed 4x; once by the Wall Street Journal. G-5 made sure I said the "correct" things on all but one of them.

Is the practice correct? No, it is a form of propaganda, and I'll leave it at that."
 

Gaard

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
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Just curious, why did you participate? At the time you didn't think it was propaganda?
 

burnedout

Diamond Member
Oct 12, 1999
6,249
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Originally posted by: Gaard
Just curious, why did you participate? At the time you didn't think it was propaganda?
For a variety of reasons. Bandwagon (all my buds were filling the HNRs out), have my name printed in the newspaper back home with an actual story, give the then-wife something to be proud of, compelled to display and present a positive image of the U.S. Army, 5-minute break from filling sand bags.

One neatly-printed HNR I filled my name in and signed was clearly glorified horsecrap along with my own realization thereof. Nevertheless, participation in such a utilitarian endeavor seemed the correct action at the time.
 

CaptnKirk

Lifer
Jul 25, 2002
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I don't recall scripted letters per se, but we were encouraged to be positive with our responses home.
I was there in the early days (Ought '66) before the anti-war movement had really taken hold, and we
were doing whatever we could to be civil and friendly to the local population, I guess in retrospect we
were kind of thinking we would demonstrate how accomodating our culture was to them and their culture.

What we just didn't see at the time was that after being an occupied country for so long, the French had
colonized Indo China, the Japanese had brutally held the country in the early WW II days - was that they just
wanted everyone out and to be left alone. We got caught in a civil war between bloodrelatives in the
North and the South that each wanted to impose their leadership on the countries population, 98 % rural.

Elements of the war that were outside the scope of our knowledge at the time was that Viet Nam was
a major food producer (rice) and supplied that part of the world with over 1/3 of all rice production.
Whoever controls the food supply controls the population. And they told us it was the 'Domino Effect'
The French held the most rubber plantations - Michelin, and also huge tea plantations, major economics.
Standard Oil had discovered large oil reserves, which they kept quiet about, but encouraged our investment
in the future products that would be forthcoming when our appointed Government was in charge.

But I digress, the question was about letters and contents. Be positive, write what you want, but it was
reviewed by commanders, who could black out anything that they felt was inappropriate, like troop strengths
manovers, deployments, equipment storage - anything that may be useful against us as targeting data.
But they hit us anyway - your Barber or HoochGirl by day was the Mortar Platoon, Sniper, or Sapper by night.
We could count on getting hit by Mortar or Rocket at least twice a week at night, any time after dark til dawn.
After a while you just became mechanical in response, and numb to the inconvienence it became.

But we did get to write home free - just tear of the end flap of a C-Rats box and scribble something down
write 'FREE' in the corner and turn it in, you made do with what you had.

God, I miss the freedom to kill those that disagree with me.

 

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