Thursday, August 04, 2005

Where things began to go wrong ... When I was digging through my hard drive just now -- I was trying to find a DoD document on Iraq from two years ago -- I came across an image I'd saved then as well. At the time I hadn't yet begun blogging, but I downloaded it in order to send it out to a few friends.

The image is from a DoD briefing in March or early April 2003, and portrays a leaflet that we dropped over Iraq in advance of our ground assault:

Is there any more telling example of how we lost the proverbial "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people? Never mind the text, which is not exactly what the eye is instinctively drawn too. Just focus on the image alone: at best the narrative it tells is ambiguous about whether American soldiers are the ones who have scorched the earth; at worst it implicates ourselves as the agents of carnage.

I don't know who heads the "PsyOps" program that came up with this image, but he or she clearly doesn't know the first thing about marketing. Long before the hooded inmate of Abu Graib, we deliberately gave Iraqis a thoroughly revolting image by which to viscerally fear us.

Update: My browser didn't load the image very well -- it's difficult to distinguish between the objects at the bottom right. But if you enlarge it on your own, you should see that the far right object is a slab of concrete, and the object just to its left, sadly, a dead infant.


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