Thursday, September 30, 2004

Pentagon Curtails Bad News On Iraq 


WASHINGTON - The Bush administration, battling negative perceptions of the Iraq war, is sending Iraqi Americans to deliver what the Pentagon calls "good news"about Iraq to U.S. military bases and has curtailed distribution of reports showing increasing violence in that country.

The unusual public relations effort by the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development comes as details have emerged showing the U.S. government and a representative of President Bush's re-election campaign had been heavily involved in drafting the speech given to Congress last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Combined, they indicate that the federal government is working assiduously to improve Americans' opinions about the Iraq conflict - a key element of Bush's re-election message.

USAID said this week that it will restrict distribution of reports by contractor Kroll Security International showing that the number of daily attacks by insurgents in Iraq has increased. On Monday, a day after the Washington Post published a front-page story saying "the Kroll reports suggest a broad and intensifying campaign of insurgent violence," a USAID official sent an e-mail to congressional aides stating: "This is the last Kroll report to come in. After the Washington Post story, they shut it down in order to regroup. I'll let you know when it restarts."

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