Monday, July 07, 2003

Zionists are spreading drugs and prostitution, they say, and Americans -- not Saddam Hussein loyalists -- bombed a procession of U.S.-trained police cadets. U.S. occupiers also are withholding electricity on purpose, the story goes.

Lies and half-truths -- readily believed by a nation of people who learned long ago to be skeptical of rulers' motives -- are complicating America's mission in Iraq, fueling anti-U.S. sentiment as troops struggle to quell a growing uprising...

After an Iraqi newspaper ran a story claiming that U.S. Marines raped a young girl and left her for dead, U.S. officials persuaded the publisher to run a retraction and fire the offending reporter.

When a newspaper reported that American night vision equipment can be used to see through women's clothing, U.S. civil affairs troops visited the editors personally to let them look through the goggles.

Despite these efforts, Iraqis, who grew up on a steady diet of anti-American rhetoric, are being bombarded by a fresh wave of disinformation, much of it coming from an explosion of new newspapers. The country now has about 150 newspapers, up from 14 before the war.

Some of the claims are breathtaking:

* The Assaah newspaper on Saturday claimed that the Israeli government ordered the modification of its export laws to flood Iraqi markets with Israeli goods. The paper urged Iraqis to carefully check Taiwanese or Chinese-made appliances for hidden Stars of David.

* The same paper recently reported that American helicopters swooped down on construction stores in the southern city of Nasiriyah to steal building supplies.

* Word is traveling on Iraqi streets that U.S. patrols are blaring messages from loudspeakers telling people they won't have electricity until attacks on Americans stop.

* A shadowy Iraqi group calling itself "Wakefullness and Holy War" issued a statement on Iranian TV claiming responsibility for recent attacks and announcing that Jews have arrived in Baghdad to spread "sex, prostitution and drugs among young people."

Oh yes, it is those "indigenous pathologies" all over again. See it all here.

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