Identical soldier letters to US newspapers describe accomplishments in Iraq

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Identical letters signed by different soldiers describing their accomplishments in Iraq (news - web sites) have been appearing in newspapers across the United States.

It was unclear who wrote the letter or organized sending it, USA Today reported. The letter-writing campaign could violate military ethics if it was intended to sway public opinion.

The letter from soldiers in the Kirkuk-based Second Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment said the northern city had become "our home away from home."

"The quality of life and security for the citizens has been largely restored, and we are a large part of why that happened," the letter said. "The majority of the city has welcomed our presence with open arms."

Identical letters have appeared in 11 newspapers, the daily said.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said he was unaware of any coordinated campaign to send letters supportive of the war back to the United States.

But he told the daily he was not surprised by it since many soldiers were discouraged by negative coverage of the war at home.

President George W. Bush’s administration has launched a feisty campaign to boost sagging public support for the war and to present events in Iraq in a positive light.

Six soldiers contacted by USA Today said they did not know who wrote the letter but agreed with its message. A seventh soldier said he only learned of the existence of the letter when his father congratulated him for getting "such a good letter" published in his hometown paper.

Another soldier told the daily his platoon sergeant had distributed the letter and asked soldiers who agreed with it to sign it. The platoon sergeant also asked for the names of soldiers’ hometown newspapers.

"Everything it said is dead accurate," the soldier said of the letter. We’ve done a really good job."

Any bets on this whole story being reported in the major US media? Didn’t think so. The media will probably omit the part about the soldiers saying it is dead accurate and focus exclusively on them being identical.
Posted by: CrazyFool 2003-10-13