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Broadcasting Images of Pows, Distributing Propaganda Leaflets, 'Embedding' Reporters: The Pentagon's Psychological Operations

March 25, 2003


"As the ground and air war plays out in Iraq, another battle, just as crucial, is taking place — the propaganda struggle between the British-US coalition and Baghdad."

This is the opening line of a recent piece by Agence France Press headlined "Propaganda One of the Biggest Weapons for Both Sides in Iraq War."

The article goes on to say:

“The most high-profile pawns in this psychological campaign have been the prisoners of war — the hundreds of Iraqis said to have surrendered in the south and, more dramatically, five US soldiers captured on the weekend and shown alongside Arab broadcasts of dead comrades.

“The apparent downing of at least one US Apache helicopter Monday added to the shock being felt in the United States and Britain.

“But other developments either reported in the news or asserted by officials on both sides sought to exploit the situation and turn it to their advantage.

“Thus US authorities claimed to have located a suspected chemical weapons plant as their forces drove on towards Baghdad, and raised doubts over the health and command of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

“In return, Iraqi officials have accused the Anglo-American coalition of war crimes and of suffering losses against fierce resistance mounted by their troops, militias and even ordinary peasants.

"Washington and London have insisted that their advance is going well and they are on track to start the siege of Baghdad."

To talk about psy-ops of psychological operations we are joined by Chris Simpson. He is professor of communications at American University and author of ??Science of Coercion,/U>, among other books.

  • ??Chris Simpson, Professor of communications at American University and author of several books including ??Science of Coercion.