- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2003

With war in Iraq imminent, the Pentagon is stepping up efforts to convince that country's military commanders and soldiers not to fight.
The message to the 350,000-strong Iraqi army from leaflet bombs dropped by aircraft and airborne radio broadcasts is simple: Surrender or die.
The propaganda effort may pay off once war starts, but the Iraqi army already is demoralized, U.S. officials said.
"There are signs of plummeting morale. It is low throughout the Iraqi military," a U.S. official said.
There also are uncorroborated intelligence reports that handfuls of Iraqi soldiers have begun surrendering in parts of northern Iraq, one official said.
Leaflets dropped near Iraqi military emplacements have provided instructions for troops to aim the barrels of tanks toward the back of their armored vehicles to avoid destruction by precision-guided bombs and missiles.
U.S. Navy and Air Force jets drop the leaflets from bombs that can be used for paper leaflets as well as cluster munitions small bomblets contained in a larger bomb.
"Take an offensive posture and you will be destroyed," says one leaflet showing a tank being bombed by two U.S. planes. "Do not take an offensive posture and you will not be destroyed."
The leaflet directs tank drivers to turn their cannons rearward and down to avoid being blown up.
The propaganda leaflet effort peaked Monday, when more than 1.4 million fliers were dropped on western and southern Iraq. It was the largest leaflet drop since the military began the campaign several months ago.
"If you are a tanker, you are going to know the difference in the posture," Maj. Rumi Nielson-Green, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Central Command at its regional headquarters in Qatar, told the Associated Press. "They put things in the messages that would be known to a military person who handles that equipment."
Another soldier, identified only as Lt. Col. Mike, told reporters: "We call ourselves the weapons of mass persuasion."
Pentagon planners hope the Iraqi military will not only surrender, but also form an opposition military force against troops loyal to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The U.S. government has covertly contacted Iraqi Republican Guard commanders via e-mail and cellular phone to persuade them to give up or to avoid fighting an allied drive to Baghdad, according to American officials.
U.S. Air Force Commando Solo airborne radio broadcasts also have been flying over Iraq. The Arabic broadcasts urge the Iraqi military to put down their arms as U.S. forces advance.
One recent radio message to "soldiers of Iraq" said Saddam had "tarnished" the reputation of professional soldiers by using troops as his personal bodyguards and by directing "the military to persecute those who don't agree with his unjust agenda."
Another broadcast directed at soldiers said, "Saddam does not care for the military of Iraq."
The broadcast stated that during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, "Saddam put his own soldiers out in the desert without supplies or support to stop the coalition forces who had expelled the Iraqi military from their illegal occupation of Kuwait."
The broadcast also stated that Saddam planted land mines behind the lines of his forces to kill any retreating troops. "Not only did Saddam needlessly put you in harm's way against the coalition forces, he also prevented your safe return," it said.
The radio broadcast also said Saddam ordered the ears cut off of Iraqi prisoners of war upon their return from the Iran-Iraq war.
Other leaflets tell Iraqi forces not to use the weapons of mass destruction that their country is believed to have stockpiled. A leaflet showing a spy satellite over Iraq states that "we can see everything."
"Do not use nuclear, biological or chemical weapons."
"Any unit that chooses to use weapons of mass destruction will face swift and severe retribution by coalition forces," the leaflet states.
Another flier warns that U.S. and allied military forces "will destroy any viable military targets." It shows a tank near an Islamic religious site being targeted. The leaflet also warns civilians to avoid areas occupied by military forces.
There is a similar message for Iraqi air defense troops. Any attack on U.S. and allied aircraft "invites your destruction," a leaflet states.

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