Hearts, Minds, and Lies: Letters from the Front

Saw this developing last night on various blogosphere sites. It would appear that somebody in Iraq has been encouraging soldiers stationed there to write glowing reports to thier local newspapers for the Folks Back Home. How things are just getting so peachy-dandy so fast, local people strewing roses in thier paths and offering thier daughters, just a general outpouring of love of the US.

So that the point would not be lost, the soldiers were supplied with thier sincere missives in advance, only needing signatures before being sped off to thier hometown papers.

But some skeptical soul, no doubt lacking the sincere patriotism our Fearless Misleader embodies, noticed that the letters are identical!

http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20031011/frontpage/121390_Printer.shtml

gives one example of such to the Olympian of Washington state.

I am stunned. Not by the mendacity, nor the underhanded attempt to curry favor Back Home. Nor even the attempt to exploit the soldiers in harms way for political gain. But by the sheer stupidity of the effort.

Can’t these people even lie plausibly anymore?

My local paper printed one of those “Bush Is Showing Real Leadership On The Economy” letters a week after the whole Republican Leadership Council astroturf scandal broke. I wrote a letter taking them to task, saying essentially “Y’all been on vacation or something?”

They didn’t run it, natch.

My favourite quote from the linked article:

Another soldier who purportedly sent one of these letters was informed of the fact as he was recovering in a Baghdad hospital from having his legs blown off. I somehow think that his letter might have had a slightly different tone to it.

Is it me, or is that the smell of desperation in the air?

Yes, on the part of the Loony Left.

That’s stupidity. Unlike desperation, it doesn’t need extreme situations to make screwey shit happen.

Please expound.

Desperation indeed. Tricking our men and women in uniform into acting as low-level political operatives for the Bush Administration is about as slimy and weasely a trick as can be imagined.

When they make the movie about the GWB presidency, it’s too bad they can’t bring Peter Lorre back from the dead to play Shrub.

Ah, the Loony Left is behind these letters, huh?

Do go on, milroy. I’m dying to hear the rest of this.

This episode is definitely in the running for the 2003 Nurse Clavell Award. My regrets to all the U.S. servicemen and women fighting so bravely for their country, for the stupidity and duplicity of the people who took over your government without being, well, elected.

Who’s loony left now, baconhead?

Did we forget to include the money quote in our OP?

"Sgt. Christopher Shelton, who signed a letter that ran in the Snohomish Herald, said Friday that his platoon sergeant had distributed the letter and asked soldiers for the names of their hometown newspapers. Soldiers were asked to sign the letter if they agreed with it, said Shelton, whose shoulder was wounded during an ambush earlier this year.

“Everything it said is dead accurate. We’ve done a really good job,” he said by phone from Italy, where he was preparing to return to Iraq. "

From what I can tell, concensus in the blogosphere is that this may very well be a sincere grassroots effort intended to combat what is perceived as unduly negative press. The clumsiness actually argues for this interpretation.

As opposed to what, milroyj, the Rabid Right?

How old are you, anyways? Why this hard on for anyone who leans even a milimeter to the left?

Problem is, the intent of campaigns like this is to create the impression of a “sincere grassroots effort.” The GOP has been caught doing this before:

http://irregulartimes.com/astroturf.html

Granted, the rest of the linked page is tends toward the histronic, but that quote accurately describes what I noted in my first post in this thread.

Oddly enough, when trying to dig a up a quick cite, I discovered that the first hit in Google for “astroturf economy” is this Bush/Cheney campaign site that encourages people to send pre-fab letters to the editor of their local paper. Hell, you don’t have to do anything but click a few buttons and type in your Zip Code.

Looks like milroyj learned two new words this weekend. Or maybe he’s trying to make “Loony Left” his new catchphrase. Better watch yourself, milroy; I believe it’s already copyrighted by Fox News.

The implication is that you so desperately want to find anything you can to latch on to in order to criticize Bush and/or Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, the whole “cabal” as it were. And that’s more or less true.

The problem with that is that if this is true, you have every right to be critical. writing letters to newspapers on other peoples’ behalfs? Asinine to say the least.

Oh, nobody has to look very hard or look very far to latch on to something to criticize Bush and croneys about. It pretty much just drops into your lap without much effort.

Thanks, by the way, for anything you may have done to minimalize casualties in this venture. :slight_smile:

Well, hell, I used to do this for Amnesty International. We’d draw up a letter, copy about a hundred of them then sit in the student center giving out lollipops for signatures and the money for a stamp.

Think the army got the lollipops donated like we did?

Not a letter writing campaign!

My God, The Fiends!

Scylla, it’s not the letter writing campaign. It’s that some of these guys didn’t even know that their names were being used on some of the letters going home.

If someone were using my name for what could be considered propaganda purposes, I’d be a little cheesed off. In the grand scheme of things, it’s really no big deal, but it betrays trust by no small amount, and when you’re in a combat zone, that’s a Very Bad Thing.

At the minimum, AD…

I’d want a royalty or somesuch for the use of my name.

I’ll respond to Guin’s post because at least she seems to get the point.

Comrade eluicidator has been using the phrase “Tightie Righties” for months (years?) with nary a peep from the SDMB regulars. I use Loony Left three or four times, and all hell breaks loose. Hmmm. What conclusions can we draw from that observation?