- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2003

WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) — Just hours before the threatened start of war, U.S. and coalition aircraft dropped almost 2 million more leaflets over southern Iraq Wednesday, bringing the total to more than 17 million this year, according to U.S. Central Command.

Wednesday's message was pointed: how to surrender to coalition forces. It instructs Iraqi forces that want to surrender to park their vehicles in squares, no more than a battalion-size at a time; to stow their artillery; display white flags on the vehicles; stow man-portable air defense systems, gather in groups a minimum of one kilometer from their vehicles; and disarm, although officers may keep personal pistols.

The four-color leaflet is intended to keep mass numbers of Iraqi prisoners from surrendering and slowing forces trying to move quickly toward Baghdad.

More than 71,000 Iraqi soldiers surrendered or were captured during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, putting a significant strain on manpower and resources.

Aircraft dropped the leaflets over 29 locations across southeastern Iraq.

The propaganda leaflets are intended to ease the way for U.S. forces with Iraqi civilians if there is an invasion, and to warn Iraqi soldiers against using chemical or biological weapons. Another message warned that Iraqi civilians are the likely victims if chemical weapons are used.

Coalition forces also provide "daily uncensored news and information" via radio broadcasts to Iraq from airborne transmitters.

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