Herbert A. Friedman

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President Bush on Commando Solo TV Broadcast

Many of the leaflets dropped over Iraq were printed in black and white due to the sheer volume produced. BBC News said that the U.S. intended to distribute leaflets in Baghdad suggesting that Iraqi civilians rise up against any outstanding members of Saddam's regime. The Coalition dropped leaflets over Kirkut advising the inhabitants that Saddam's rule was finished and that they should not die for a dead regime. Leaflets dropped over Tikrit (Saddam's hometown) gave Iraqi troops instructions for surrendering. Hercules C-130 Commando Solo aircraft broadcast President Bush's and Prime Minister Blair's message to the Iraqi people on the new Hahwa Al-Hurrieh (Towards Freedom) TV station. They assured the people of Iraq that Coalition soldiers are "friends and liberators, not your conquerors." The Coalition also distributed the message on radio and printed leaflets throughout Iraq. In addition, the Coalition published a newspaper called "The Times" with an initial circulation of 10,000 copies.  

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Leaflet IZD7007

We know very little about this leaflet, but due to its high number (7007) and the fact that it depicts an Iraqi tank surrendering under a white flag, I suspect it is one of the last leaflets produced during the original fighting phase of the war. The text is:

Iraqi soldiers

Saddam is no longer able to preserve Iraq's future. However, you are able to do so.
To save your lives and to protect your troops, take the following steps:

Stop your vehicles in a square formation, no larger than a battalion.
Raise white flags above your vehicles. Direct the turrets to the rear of the vehicle.
Throw down your weapons and keep portable (mounted) air defense weapons out of sight.
Officers can keep their side arms. Maintain a distance of one kilometer away from your vehicles.
Do not approach coalition forces and wait for additional instructions.

The entire Iraqi Army Fifth Corps surrendered in the northern city of Mosul on 11 April. The citizens immediately looted the government buildings and the banks. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers in civilian clothes, many barefoot, walked south on the highway toward Baghdad and their homes hundreds of miles away. Tikrit is now the only major city still in the hands of the old regime. A B-1B bomber dropped five JDAM "smart bombs" on the home of Saddam's half-brother Barzan al-Tikrit in the region of Ramadi west of Baghdad. Barzan died in the bombing. The U.S. dead number 107, with 10 missing and seven captured. The British death count is 31. More than 300,000 allied troops are in the region, 255,000 Americans, 45,000 British troops, 2,000 Australia troops, 400 Czech and Slovak troops and 200 Polish troops. The Coalition flew 36,275 sorties against Iraq since the start of the war. Aircraft dropped 31 million leaflets on Iraq during the war, 50 million since October 2002. U.S. radio intercepts of Iraqi officials heard “Saddam is dead.” The information could be true or could be Iraqi disinformation.

At least one later after-action review of PSYOP operations during combat in Iraq concluded that the United States and Britain had “considerable success” in developing PSYOP products that caused inaction among the Iraqi military and helped expedite surrenders. The report stated that the PSYOP effort involved 58 EC-130E Commando Solo sorties, 306 broadcast hours of radio, and 304 television hours. Teams prepared approximately 108 radio messages and over 80 different leaflets. During combat operations, coalition forces flew over 150 leaflet missions, dropping nearly 32 million leaflets.

Iraqi Propaganda

The Iraqis never had air superiority and the front lines moved so quickly as the United States implemented the rapid domination policy called “Shock and Awe,” that unlike Desert Storm, there were no Iraqi propaganda leaflets. However, in the years that Saddam held power his nation produced many portraits, paintings, statues and posters as internal propaganda to popularize the leader and his regime. In this section we will illustrate some of the internal propaganda that American troops discovered on their rapid advance.

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An Official Saddam Hussein Portrait

Like all political despots, Saddam believed in a cult of personality. His pictures, photographs and statues were everywhere in Iraq. The portrait of Saddam Hussein above was found by U.S Army Chief Warrant Officer Four (CW4) Max Stecker about 2003. Max mentioned his military career:

I served eight years out of my 23 year career deployed. I served in Desert Shield / Desert Storm with the 82nd airborne division. I fought in five major battles in Iraq during the invasion and lived smack dab in the middle of the Sunni triangle for a year surrounded by 100,000 Saddam Hussein Sunni sympathizers. I did another tour in Iraq later and several tours with Special Forces in Afghanistan.

He told me about the posters he brought back:

This is one of the standard photographs of Saddam Hussein, which were required to be in every classroom throughout Iraq’s school system and apparently in just about every book. The dimensions for this classroom poster are 16.5 inches wide by 23.5 inches tall. There are many others like it in other schools as they were required by the Iraqi Government. This particular copy was captured from a former trade school for high school aged students that was converted into a Fedayeen training camp supported by the Arab socialist Ba'ath party. The inscription on the bottom says:

Mr. Saddam Hussein, the President of the Republic of Iraq.

I found maintenance logs in a motor pool at Talil Air Base and the soldiers had taped pictures of Saddam into regular ledger books and maintenance logs. I found several different small pictures that had been cut out of magazines taped in all the books due to the requirement that all books have some sort of picture of Saddam, just as almost every town had some sort of statue or mural of him due to his megalomania.

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This is how the Americans see victory

Saddam Hussein used anti-American, anti-UN and anti-Jewish propaganda on paintings placed around schools to mold the minds of young Iraqi children. The painting above was found by Max Stecker in Baghdad. The painting depicts the globe at left with “UN” inside a Star of David stuck into a bleeding Mideast. At the center are a pile of Iraqi skulls, killed by the United States as implied by the American flag. At the far right is a burning Baghdad. This image was designed to make young Iraqi children hate the Jews, the United Nations and the Americans. The text is:

This is how the Americans see victory.

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The Destructor

The painting above was also found by Max Stecker in Baghdad. This painting depicts a skull and crossed bones inside the field of the American flag. It clearly implies that the Americans represent “Death.” At the right we see an infidel being beheaded. The text is:

The Destructor

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Iraqi Propaganda Painting

This painting, on display at the JFK Special Warfare Museum at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, was confiscated by U.S. troops in a Kindergarten in the al-Mansur neighborhood of Baghdad. It depicts a little girl crying for her doll that is now behind a stone wall built by America and Israel.

Wanted Posters

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IZ G1301

The United States prepared a great number of wanted posters in Iraq. There were several different types. Some were rather large and showed over 50 wanted Iraqis. As various former members of Saddam’s administration were captured, the posters were reissued, this time with the letter “X” placed over the individual. Posters and leaflets were also prepared that showed small groups of wanted men. For instance, poster IZABO Izaa PS4147bb depicts 12 wanted Iraqis in full color. Many wanted posters just pictured a single individual. I literally have dozens of such posters but will depict just one. Poster IZ G1301 measures 11 x 17-inches, has a blank back that has been “checkered” so the enemy cannot use it for its own propaganda, and has boxes for 55 photographs. In 13 cases the box is blank because no photograph was available. A red “X” indicates that of the 55 wanted Iraqis, 22 are either dead or in custody. Notice at the upper right Saddam Hussein is depicted, indicating that this poster was prepared before his capture. These posters were prepared in both Arabic and English.


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Uncut Deck of Cards of the "Most Wanted" Members of Saddam's Regime

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The 4 Aces of the "Most Wanted" Deck of Cards

The U.S. military issued an illustrated deck of cards depicting the 55 "most wanted" members of the Saddam Hussein regime to thousands of U.S. troops in the field. They printed the same data on posters and leaflets for the Iraqi public. The four aces showed the most wanted fugitives, Saddam Hussein, his sons Uday and Qusay, and the presidential secretary Abid Hamid Mahmud Al-Tikriti. Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz adorns the eight of hearts. The only woman in the pack is Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, AKA "Mrs. Anthrax." Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf did not make the list. The other cards showed lower ranking officials of the regime. The Coalition forces have orders to pursue, capture or kill each of the fugitives.

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Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi Most Wanted Card

On 12 April the shooting war slowed and the major story was the search for fugitives and weapons of mass destruction. The first of the 55 most wanted Iraqi officials surrendered to Coalition forces. Saddam's special scientific advisor Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi (the seven of diamonds) said that he had spent the war in his cellar and emerged after he saw a TV report that he was being sought.

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U.S. Marines Find a Weapons Cache at a junior high school   

U.S. Marines searching a Baghdad elementary school found more than 40 black leather suicide bomber vests packed with C-4 explosive and ball-bearings. Nearby, a junior high school held hundreds of huge crates of weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, surface-to-air missiles and shoulder-launched rockets. Several crates of weapons were marked "GHQ Jordan Armed Forces, director of planning and organization, Amman, Jordan." U.S. Special Forces detained a busload of 59 military-aged men carrying 630,000 U.S. dollars in 100-dollar bills and letters offering rewards for killing U.S. soldiers. Searchers found papers in Iraqi intelligence files that indicated that Russian officers had aided Saddam to plan the defense of Baghdad and that the Russians gave Saddam secret reports of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's talks with other world leaders.

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Saddam's half-brother and presidential advisor

Watban Ibrahim Hasan

On 13 April, Members of the U.S. 1st Marine Expeditionary Force marching north toward Tikrit were met by Iraqi soldiers north of Samarra who turned over seven American POWs. Over 3000 U. S. Marines backed by 250 armored vehicles and attack helicopters entered Saddam's birthplace of Tikrit and met moderate opposition. Meanwhile, the Coalition flew 450 air strikes against Tikrit to soften up the defenses. Saddam's half brother and presidential advisor, Watban Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, was captured planning to cross the border to Syria. President Bush warned Syria about harboring members of Saddam's regime and sending fighters to Iraq.

U.S. Marines overran Saddam loyalists staging a last stand in Tikrit on 14 April. The Pentagon announced that the major combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom is over. During the daily CENTCOM briefing BG Brooks was asked why there was so little resistance at Tikrit. He mentioned several ways that the Coalition dealt with the defenders. One was:

We communicated with them directly by leaflets, telling them that it was in their best interests to not fight for a dying regime...we were successful.

The Coalition announced that they controlled all the oil fields in Iraq. The aircraft carriers USS Kitty Hawk and USS Constellation received orders to depart the Gulf. Three carriers still remain on station. The Air Force announced that four B-2 stealth bombers had already returned to their home base. The White House branded Syria a terrorist state and a rogue nation. It threatened diplomatic, economic or other sanctions in an attempt to force Syria to close its border with Iraq.

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Abul Abbas Captured

General Mohammed Jarawi, commander of the Iraqi army's Anbar sector command, with control extending to the Syrian border, surrendered to US forces on 15 April. Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, a retired American general, flew to Iraq to preside over a meeting of Iraqis and Iraqi exiles in Nasiriyah intended to form the basis of a representative government for Iraq. The U.S. said that it had no plans to attack Syria, but reportedly shut down the illegal Iraq-Syria oil pipeline. U.S. Commandos captured Abul Abbas in Baghdad. He is the terrorist leader who hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 and murdered wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer. U.S. troops distributed leaflets in Baghdad urging Iraqis to stay at home at night because of persisting security threats. It reportedly says:

During this time, terrorist forces associated with the former regime of Saddam Hussein, as well as various criminal elements, are known to move through the area and engage in hostile acts.

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Speaking of Anbar, other leaflets asked for aid in fighting members of Saddam’s government hiding or operating in Anbar. This leaflet depicts a wanted person on one side with a bulls-eye over his face and a silhouette on the other side, so one assumes they had no photograph of the second person. The text on the side with the portrait is:


200,000 U.S. Dollars

Reward after his arrest

Abd-Dawd Soliman

He is responsible for several attacks against the Iraqi people and Coalition Forces and with preventing security progress in the Anbar area. Give any information to the nearest Iraqi Police station or any member of the Coalition Forces.

If you have any information about Abd-Dawd Soliman call Ramadi number 427-232 or the Thuria satellite phone network, mobile number 882-166-666-3132 with any information you have.

The text on the side of the leaflet with the silhouette is identical except that the reward is just $50,000 and the wanted person is Mohammed Khalf al-Olian.

The war continued to wind down on April 16. The Coalition repaired damaged utilities and Baghdad had partial electricity and water.  The U.S. Army and Marines began anti-looting and anti-vandalism patrols alongside Iraqi policemen. President Bush urged the United Nations to lift economic sanctions on Iraq, a move which would clear the way for the country to sell oil to help pay for post-war reconstruction. Television broadcasts are ongoing from airborne broadcast systems. The Coalition continues to drop leaflets to inform the Iraqis that the former regime is gone, and that Iraq is now on a path to the future that they will choose. Leaflets tell of a peaceful return to normal life for the Iraqis. One leaflet illustrated by BG Brooks at the daily CENTCOM briefing discourages looting.

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"Stop Looting" Code # Unknown


The front of the leaflet depicts Iraqi citizens looting. The text is:

STOP LOOTING! Looting and violence prevents the distribution of humanitarian aid - delays the reconstruction of Iraq - steals from the future prosperity of Iraq - ruins the future for generations to come.

The back depicts a group of happy Iraqi children. The text is:

The Choice is yours. You can choose to help rebuild Iraq to a nation of great prosperity for all Iraqis, OR you can condemn future generations to poverty. Do what you know in your heart is right. Stop looting and violence!

The code number of this leaflet is unknown.

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Another new leaflet surfaced. It depicts the open cell door of a prison on the front. The text is:

Saddam’s Regime can no longer hold you prisoner in your own country! Your time of suffering is over! Saddam’s Regime is no longer in power!

The back depicts scenes of Coalition soldiers giving humanitarian aid to Iraqis and the text:

Coalition Forces want to help the Iraqi people! Coalition Forces support a brighter future for Iraq!

This leaflet is coded IZD-073.

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Barzan Ibrahim Hasan Al-Tikriti

Marines and Special Operations forces captured Saddam's half-brother and former chief of Iraqi intelligence Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti (the five of clubs on the most wanted list) on 17 April.

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Samir Abul Aziz al-Najim

On 18 April, tens of thousands of Baghdad protesters calling themselves the Iraqi National United Movement ironically invoked their American protected right of free speech to demand that the Americans leave their country. Shi'ite Muslims called for an Islamic state to be established. Iraqi Kurds captured and handed over Samir Abul Aziz al-Najim, a senior Baghdad official of Saddam's Ba'ath Party. Abu Dhabi television aired footage said to show Saddam and his son Qusay addressing a crowd in Baghdad on April 9. Australian Special Forces found 51 MIG fighter planes hidden at an airfield in western Iraq. The U.S. Military Released 927 Prisoners Captured in Iraq. There are 6,850 Iraqis still in custody.

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Abd al-Khaliq Abd al-Ghafar      Hikmat Mizban Ibrahim al-Azzawi

On 19 AprilCoalition troops arrested Abd al-Khaliq Abd al-Ghafar, Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, (the four of hearts on the most wanted list). The Iraqi police force arrested Saddam Hussein's finance minister Hikmat Mizban Ibrahim al-Azzawi on 19 April. About 400 Iraqi police returned to their posts under U.S. oversight. In Baghdad, U.S. PSYOPS troops handed out leaflets telling the people about a curfew in effect within the city and warning citizens not to touch unexploded ordnance (UXO).

On 20 April, An Australian report said that The United States and its allies will declare victory in the war in Iraq in the next few days. The U.S. military have already started to pull U.S. Marines, who helped seize Baghdad on April 9, out of the capitol and replace them with U.S. Army troops better equipped to tackle the reconstruction and policing of the battered city. U.S. military officials hope to maintain four bases in Iraq; one at Baghdad international airport, one at Tallil in the south, one at airstrip in the western desert, and one at the Bashur air field in the Kurdish north.

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Muhammad Hazmaq al-Zubaydi  

Muhammad Hazmaq al-Zubaydi, a former member of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council and a former prime minister was arrested on 21 April. He was one of the key figures in suppressing the Shi’ite uprising that followed Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Gulf War.

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Jamal Mustafa Abdullah Sultan al Tikriti

Saddam Hussein's son-in-law Jamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti (the nine of clubs on the most wanted list) left the Syrian capital and surrendered to the Iraqi National Congress in Baghdad, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the country would not give asylum to war crimes suspects from Iraq. He was the Deputy Chief of Tribal Affairs and is No. 40 on the U.S. Central Command 'Iraqi Top 55' list.

On 22 April, The U.S. military in Iraq agreed to a cease-fire with the Mujahadeen i-Khalq (People's Mujahadeen), an armed group of Iranian dissidents. A U.S. official said, "We dropped a lot of leaflets telling people how to surrender and that's exactly what they've done. They've put their equipment and themselves in a position that they're clearly not a fighting formation."     In a surprise move, France proposed immediately suspending U.N. sanctions targeting Iraq, an important step toward the goal of ending trade embargoes that have crippled the country's economy.

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Muzahim Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti - Gen. Zuhayr Talib Abd al-Sattar al-Naqib - Muhammad Mahdi al-Salih,

Oil from Iraq's southern fields began flowing through pipelines on 23 April. The Coalition restored electric power to parts of Baghdad. Six Iraqi scientists working at Baghdad research institutions said that they were ordered to destroy bacteria and equipment and hide more before visits from U.N. weapons inspectors in the months leading up to the war. U.S. Intelligence believes that Iranian-trained agents have crossed into southern Iraq and are working in the cities of Najaf, Karbala and Basra to advance Iranian interests. American forces in Iraq captured four top officials of Saddam Hussein's former government. The first is Muzahim Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti, who headed Iraq's air defenses. He also reportedly helped train the paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam forces. He was the queen of diamonds in the military's deck of playing cards. The second is Gen. Zuhayr Talib Abd al-Sattar al-Naqib, the former head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence. The directorate collected intelligence on military forces opposing Iraq. He is the seven of hearts. The third is Muhammad Mahdi al-Salih, the former Iraqi trade minister and the six of hearts in the military's deck. The final captive is Salim Said Khalaf al-Jumayli, a Mukhabarat officer formerly in charge of American operations. He might know the names of Iraqi spies.

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Tariq Aziz

On 24 April, U.S. forces in Iraq took custody of Tariq Aziz (the eight of spades), the former deputy prime minister and the most visible Iraqi leader other than Saddam Hussein. American B-52 bombers began returning to their bases in the Continental United States and the United Kingdom. Russia backed a temporary suspension of sanctions against Iraq.

Aziz had said about the American invasion:

We will receive them with the best music they have ever heard and the best flowers that have ever grown in Iraq. We don’t have candy; we can only offer them bullets.

Aziz was sentenced to death in 2010. Because he was a Catholic, the Vatican pleaded for mercy for him. He survived in prison until 5 June 2015 when he died of a heart attack. He was 79.

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Ali Hassan al-Majid

Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam Hussein's notorious cousin known as “Chemical Ali” was captured in August 2003, five months after U.S. forces invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam. He was first sentenced to hang in June 2007 for his role in a military campaign against ethnic Kurds, codenamed Anfal that lasted from February to August 1988. He received another death sentence in December 2008 for his role in crushing one Shiite revolt after the 1991 Gulf War, and another in March 2009 for his involvement in killing and displacing Shiite Muslims in 1999. His final death sentence came on 17 January 2010 for Halabja, when the Iraqi army used poison gas against Kurds. About 5,000 people were believed to have been killed and another 65,000 were left with severe skin and respiratory diseases, abnormal rates of cancer and birth defects. On 25 January 2010, the Government of Iraq executed by hanging Ali Hassan al-Majid.

There was a report on 25 April that President Bush will declare the shooting phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom over on 1 May when he gives a speech on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. On 1 May 2003 he made the speech while behind him a banner was hung that said “Mission Accomplished.” The banner actually referred to the carrier’s 10-month deployment. Bush did say “Mission Accomplished” during a speech to troops at Camp As Sayliyah on 5 June 2003. He added:

America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people and that mission has been accomplished. 

It was clear that the President meant to imply that the major combat operations were over and that the armed forces would be shifting into a nation building “consolidation” phase soon. Bush's assertion became controversial after guerilla warfare in Iraq increased over the next several years and his political enemies often quoted the term to indicate that the President was out of touch with the military reality.

General Tommy Franks, Commander of the CENTCOM forces in Iraq later took responsibility for Bush’s statement. He said that the British were planning a victory parade for their troops and he asked President Bush to make a statement recognizing the accomplishments of the U.S. troops. That was how the “Mission Accomplished” statement came about.

In Baghdad, unexploded cluster bombs are a major problem and have killed at least three civilians who were trying to clean them up. Unexploded ordnance is everywhere around Mosul too. U.S. forces have printed three leaflets with pictures of the ordnance that litters Mosul and its outskirts, warning citizens not to touch it.

Coloring Books

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Along with the leaflets and posters, the 4th Psychological Operations Group printed and distributed 250,000 copies of a children's coloring book developed to educate Iraqi children on the dangers of unexploded ordnance. The coloring book, drawn by Corporal Edwardo Vargas, features a baby camel.The front depicts a bombed home. On page three of the coloring book the inside of the house is shown and we note two hand grenades at each side of the entrance with a pull-string between them and two mines on the floor. The title of the book is:

The adventures of the young camel

The young camel finds a destroyed building

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The back depicts a puzzle for children to solve and the text:

Help the Young Camel and his Brother Find their Camel Parents

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Coalition Pencil with Patriotic Slogans for Iraqi Children

Of course, if a child wishes to solve the various puzzles in the gift books from the Coalition he needs a pencil. The Coalition PSYOP teams were very happy to oblige with free pencils in Iraqi colors with various patriotic pro-government slogans.

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These coloring books are a wonderful way to teach children about the danger of mines and explosives. During the American occupation of Iraq a number of different books were prepared and distributed. In the photograph above Sergeant Rick Abner, with the 350th PSYOP Company out of Portland, Oregon, attached to Taskforce 1-27 Infantry hands out coloring books to Hawija children during Operation Wolfhound Power in November 2004.

On April 26, the first members of a team of 150 Iraqi exiles designated by the Pentagon to be in charge of the ministries of oil, planning and industry left for Kuwait on their way to Baghdad. By May 7, at least 25 are expected to be in Baghdad.

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Lt. Gen. Hossam Mohammed Amin al-Yasin

Lt. Gen. Hossam Mohammed Amin, chief Iraqi liaison with U.N. weapons inspectors, was arrested on 27 April. Amin, also known as Hossem Mohammed Amin al-Yasin, was the six of clubs on the U.S. deck of cards listing the most wanted figures. The Pentagon stated that a Special Forces reconnaissance team found 14 unmarked barrels of chemicals, a dozen missiles, and 150 gas masks at a site east of Baiji, 112 miles northwest of Baghdad. Initial tests have detected nerve and blistering agents. The chemicals will be sent to Maryland for testing because the military does not have testing equipment in Iraq sophisticated enough to eliminate all pesticides.

About 250 members of Iraq's diverse political and ethnic groups agreed at a U.S.-sponsored meeting on 28 April to hold a national conference within four weeks to choose an interim government. President Bush, speaking in Dearborn, Michigan, stressed that "America has no intention of imposing our form of government or our culture on Iraq. Pentagon planners say a U.S. force of 125,000 soldiers is likely to be needed for at least a year to stabilize Iraq. If postwar Iraq remains generally peaceful and stable, the force could drop to 60,000 troops in a year.

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Amir Rashid Muhammad al-Ubaydi

Amir Rashid Muhammad al-Ubaydi surrendered to Coalition forces on 29 April. He was a Presidential Advisor and Oil Minister and is No. 47 on the U.S. Central Command ‘Iraqi Top 55’ list. His wife is bio-weapons scientist Rehab Tara, widely known as "Dr. Germ." A U.S. cease-fire with the Mujahadeen Khalq allows the terrorist group to keep its weapons to defend itself from attacks by Iranian-backed groups such as the Badr Brigade." The brigade is the military wing of the Iran-based anti-Saddam group, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The United States said that it was ending military operations in Saudi Arabia and removing virtually all its forces from the kingdom by mutual agreement following the Iraq war. U.S. officials said that the Pentagon had begun moving operations of a key combat air control center from Prince Sultan airbase to the neighboring state of Qatar.

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Walid Hamed Tawfiq al-Tikriti

On 30 April, Walid Hamed Tawfiq al-Tikriti, the former governor of Iraq's southern Basra province surrendered to the Iraqi National Congress in Baghdad. He was the eight of clubs in the deck of cards issued to coalition forces to help identify wanted Iraqi officials. EUCOM announced that Operation Northern Watch will officially stand down on 1 May. This inspection of Iraqi airspace spanned the 12 years between Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In Basra, Red Cross team recently found 450 mortars stashed inside a kindergarten. British military there uncovered rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns behind a university's walls. Working with the Iraqi Red Crescent, the Red Cross has fanned into the city to put up posters and hand out leaflets warning people to avoid ordnance.

According to the 30 April 2003 United States Central Command Air Force Assessment and Analysis Division, Operation Iraqi Freedom – by the Numbers, the Coalition dropped 31,800,000 PSYOP leaflets during 158 missions. There were 81 different leaflets messages dropped during 32 A-10 missions, 34 B-52 missions, 24 F-18C missions and 68 F-16CJ missions. There were 58 Commando Solo sorties with 306 broadcast hours consisting of 108 different messages and 204 TV broadcast hours. If you lined up the leaflets end to end they would stretch from Ft. Worth, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska, or make 120,454 rolls of toilet paper.

There were also 125 Compass Call Sorties. The EC-130 Compass Call has been pressed into the fight against Improvised Explosive Devices and terrorist communications. The Compass Call and the Navy's EA-6b Prowler can jam radio and cell phone traffic for miles around, disrupting insurgent communications. The Compass Call can fly overhead, wiping out all radio reception in its path.

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An Iraqi National Police hands a young Iraqi girl a leaflet at the entrance of an Iraqi elementary school during an EId and Adha celebration in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 10, 2008. During the celebration cows are being donated to the community. Iraqi leaders and U.S. Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, attended the Iraqi event to show their support for the community. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Todd Frantom)

Some of the PSYOP units that deployed to the Gulf were the 9th PSYOP Battalion, the 301st PSYOP Company, the 318th PSYOP Company, and the 305th PSYOP Company. Among the units they supported were the 3rd Infantry Division, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 101st Airborne Division and the Marine 1st Expeditionary Force.

The Combined Task Force Operation Northern Watch guidon was encased in a May 1 ceremony at Incirlik Air Base signifying the successful end to its mission of enforcing U.N. Security Council Resolutions above the 36th parallel. President Bush flew to the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in a four-person Navy S-3B Viking anti-submarine aircraft. The aircraft was code-named "Navy One." A former fighter pilot, Mr. Bush playfully joked that he would take the controls and land the plane. During his speech given the same evening, he proclaimed that the major combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom was over. As a result, this article is completed. We will continue to observe activities in Iraq and report on additional psychological operations under the heading of "Allied Consolidation PSYOP in Iraq"

On 15 June Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Ayers, Commander of the 9th PSYOP Battalion was quoted as saying:

The Army’s Psychological Operations force in Iraq is the largest in U.S. history. There are eleven PSYOP companies and almost 1000 PSYOP personnel in the country or in support roles in the United States.

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Tactical PSYOP Team patrols the streets of Baghdad's Karada District countering Muqtada al-Sadr supporters

It is difficult to determine the effectiveness of a PSYOP campaign. I have read numerous studies on the subject and the authors always point out that it is almost impossible to evaluate a psychological warfare campaign since it is hard to determine if an enemy surrenders because of constant bombing and military actions or because of psychological operations. However, the Iraqi general in command of the al-Nida Republican Guard armored division has no doubt about the effectiveness of U.S. PSYOP as he clearly states in the Kevin M. Woods report, Iraqi Perspectives Project - a View of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Saddam’s Senior Leadership. It is worth remembering that the al-Nida division was considered to be the finest division in the Iraqi order of battle. According to the division’s chief of staff, its materiel readiness was the best in the Iraqi military. The division commander said in regard to Coalition PSYOP that Iraq’s inability to stop the United States from flying 8,000 miles to drop its trash (leaflets) on them proved the regime’s incompetence. The Coalition always knew where to drop their leaflets and that made every member of the Republican Guard feel like he was constantly in a sniper’s sights. There was also the psychological effect of precision bombing:

The air attacks were the most effective message. The soldiers who saw the leaflets and then saw the air attacks knew that the leaflets were true. They believed the message after that, if they were still alive. I started the war with 13,000 soldiers. By the time we were ordered to pull back to Baghdad I had less than 2,000. By the time we were in position in BaghdadI had less than 1,000. Every day the desertions increased.

Lieutenant General Majid Husayn Ali Ibrahim Al-Dulaymi, Commander of the Republic Guard 1st Corps said:

Our units were unable to execute anything due to worries induced by psychological warfare…psychological operations were the bullet that hits the heart before entering the body…when it hits, it makes a fearful man; he walks without a brain. Even the lowest soldier knew we could not stop the Americans.

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Iraqi boys read informational leaflets handed out by Iraqi policemen at an humanitarian aide drop in Sowachen, Diyala Province, Iraq, Jan. 26, 2008. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sean Mulligan)

The Coalition took part in three deception campaigns in Iraq. These efforts are mentioned in a monograph by Major Joseph L. Cox entitled Information Operations in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom – What Went Wrong? Cox says that the first was an attempt to convince Iraq that the attack would come from Jordan. Special Forces that attacked Iraqi listening and observation posts along the Jordanian border hoped to convince Saddam that the main attack would come from the Western Desert of Iraq.

The second operation was meant to force Saddam to keep his troops in the north. The Coalition let slip evidence that the Turkish refusal to allow U.S. troops to move through their country was a sham, and the U.S. 4th Division would attack from Turkey. The plan, if believed, would keep the Nebuchadnezzar Republican Guard Division positioned between Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan and unable to move south to help in the defense of Baghdad.

The final deception involved the advance of V Corps through the Karbala Gap. Every effort was made to confuse the Adnam Republican Guard Division about exactly where V Corps would attack.

These deception plans along with the massive psychological operations of the U.S. and its partners led directly to the quick victory of the Allies over the forces of Saddam Hussein.

The American occupation and nation-building phase of the new Iraq will be a difficult one and costly in both lives and U.S. dollars. A quote by the hero of the first Persian Gulf war is fitting here:

From the brief time that we did spend occupying Iraqi territory after the war, I am certain that had we taken all of Iraq, we would have been like the dinosaur in the tar pit – we would still be there, and we, not the United Nations, would be bearing the costs of the occupation. This is a burden I am sure the beleaguered American taxpayer would not have been happy to take on.

Norman Schwarzkopf, from his 1993 autobiography, It Doesn't Take a Hero.

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Leaflet IZD1500

Leaflet IZD1500 depicts Saddam Hussein at the left and at the right a group of Iraqi soldiers. The text is:

Stay where you are and wait for the Coalition’s instructions.  Any movement from your homes will be dealt with aggressively and you may die from a Coalition attack.

The back of the leaflet promises death and destruction. The entire leaflet depicts flames while a face can be seen in the flames at the left and an Iraqi tank at the right. The text is:

If you move from your current position, you will encounter the Coalition Forces’ offensive. In order to remain safe, stay in your homes and wait for the Coalition’s instructions.  The Coalition’s presence here is to root out the tyrannical government of Saddam and his regime.

The Hunt for Saddam Hussein

During the nation-building consolidation phase after "Operation Iraqi Freedom" a great deal of PSYOP material was printed and distributed offering rewards for information leading to the capture of Saddam Hussein. He was featured on leaflets 7507 and 7509 (Translations are found in the section entitled “Task Force 20”). He also appeared on reward posters and matchbooks.

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IZD 7507

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IZD 7509

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Poster IZC173

This is one of the most interesting Saddam wanted posters because it depicts his two dead sons and states that some Iraqi has been paid for the information that led to their death. The text says in part:

The patriotism of one Iraqi man won him 30 million dollars

These two men are no longer a threat to you or your families thanks to the loyalty of one man to his country. That man provided us with information about the location of Oday and Qusay Saddam Hussein.

Your patriotism may win you 25 million dollars. With information that will lead us to Saddam Hussein El-Tikriti, you will protect the future of your country and may be rewarded up to 25 million dollars.

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Reward Posters for Saddam in English and Arabic
The leaflet and the bumper sticker below were handed out by
Coalition soldiers at check points

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Bumper sticker

This bumper sticker features Saddam and his two sons who were killed in the earlier fighting covered by the letter “X”. Tips from Iraqis led the Coalition forces to Uday and Qusay’s hideout and rewards of 15 million dollars was made for each son. This reward poster was first disseminated on 19 August 2003 in Baghdad. The text on this is:


Up to U.S. 25 Million

Phone: 964-813-6666

Email: Tips@orha.centcom.mil

In this article we will show about a half-dozen products with a “tips” line. There are dozens more, but I want to stop and talk about the PSYOP concept of the “tip” here. FM 3-05.301 says in part:

During Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, the 307th Tactical Psychological Operations Company conducted a PSYOP series to influence Baghdad citizens to “increase reporting of insurgent activities.” Prior to the execution of the PSYOP series, the Tips Hotline received only one or two calls per day. The 307th executed a comprehensive PSYOP series informing the population of the Tips Hotline and emphasizing the anonymous nature of the calls. Using billboards, posters, wallet cards, and radio and TV spots, and using local news media to publicize the program’s successes, the Tips Hotline received enormous exposure throughout the Baghdad area. Within the first months of the PSYOP series, the call volume rose from its baseline of 1 or 2 a day to a range of 6 to 8 a day, a 688 percent increase in calls. Post-testing results showed that the Tips Hotline cards, able to be placed into a pocket and easily carried or hidden, were by far the most successful product. Consequently, the initial printing of 400,000 was ultimately increased to more than 1 million.

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Leaflet IZG8957a

Leaflet IZG8957a depicts a dartboard with the faces of Saddam Hussein in the center and his sons Uday and Qusay on either side, both of whom have darts in the forehead. The Arabic is poorly written:

The Joint Forces strikes the criminals of the last regime whose pictures are on the wall.

One after the other, the Forces continues to capture the criminals of the last regime. The Joint Forces will not stop until they free Iraq from those criminals.

The back of the leaflet depicts an open jail cell and the text:

The criminals of the former regime will not escape the Joint Forces.

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Saddam's underground shelter found

Eight months after Baghdad fell, on 13 December 2003, U.S. soldiers found the disheveled former leader of Iraq hiding in a hole in the ground. Saddam had a pistol but was taken into custody without firing it. A number of leaflets and handouts were prepared to show the Iraqi people that Saddam was in custody and no longer to be feared.

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Handbill IZG784

This leaflet shows a bearded and unkempt Saddam Hussein behind bars. The leaflet is smudged because it was picked it up off the ground in Al Kut, Iraq. The text is:

Saddam Hussein was arrested

The arrest of Saddam Hussein is the determining moment for the new Iraq.

This is the future starting from now.

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Handbill IZG785b depicts Saddam Hussein behind bars. The text is:

Saddam Hussein has been captured 

The capture of Saddam Hussein is the decisive moment for the new Iraq.

Now he will face the justice that millions were denied.

Iraq need no longer be afraid of Saddam ruling again  

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Handbill IZG786 depicts Saddam Hussein before and after his capture and features a photograph of his statue being pulled down by the Iraqi people. The text is:

The arrest of Saddam Hussein is the final tribulation for the new Iraq.
Now, we will honor the integrity that was lost causing harm to millions.
Iraq will never have to suffer a second Saddam government.

It is interesting to note that at the time the statue was pulled down in April 2003, American TV viewers were told that it was a spontaneous act by anti-Saddam Iraqis. Seven years later John W. Dower suggests that this may have been an American psychological operations ploy in Cultures of War, W.W. Norton, NYC, 2010:

The square was closed off and almost empty of local people, and the event was stage managed by American PSYOP personnel who supplied the armored vehicle and equipment that was used to pull the statue down.

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Handbill IZG788a depicts Saddam after his capture and a photograph of cheering Iraqi people. All of these leaflets are meant to provide comfort and confidence to the people of Iraq. The text is:

Saddam has been captured. Now is the time for Iraqis to come together and to unite for peace and to help one another  overcome the torment and difficulties that were caused in the tyrannical, destructive past.

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Leaflet IZG196a is a handout that depicts Saddam Hussein in jail on one side and happy Iraqis celebrating on the other. It is meant to show the Iraqis that they no longer have anything to fear from the reign of the dictator Saddam Hussein.

The text on the front to the right of Saddam is:

The rule of the former Iraqi tyrant has finally reached its end and his detention has been realized. The iraqi people need not live in fear after today.

The text on the back above and below the five photographs of smiling Iraqis is:

The coalition is here to aid the Iraqi people.

The time is now for all parties to throw away their weapons and to become an effective part in the progress of Iraq in its reach toward its valuable goals.

Bill Putnam talks about Saddam’s capture and the way different Iraqis reacted to it in Tales from the Tigris, Kindle Edition, 2012:

In the south, the Shi’as celebrated Saddam’s capture, as did the Kurds in the north. The reaction was different in the Sunni areas of Iraq. Some celebrated Saddam’s capture since they had been affected by his rule in some manner. But, in Fallujah, Ramadi, and the Adahimiyah part of Baghdad, people rejected the idea that Saddam had been captured and instead claimed that the man held captive by the U.S. was actually one of Saddam’s doubles. In Adahimiyah that night, insurgents walked the streets, making it clear that they would shoot anyone who celebrated Saddam’s capture. In some Sunni areas, pro-Saddam supporters fired their weapons in the air as rumors began to circulate that Saddam had sent out a message that he was still on the run.

But, despite the celebrations, the Iraqis also experienced a sense of disbelief. How could Saddam, the man with the magic, have been captured? Why didn’t he resist? What happened to the macho man full of pomp and strength?

This emotion was felt by many Iraqis. They were happy to see Saddam in prison, but sad that he had not fought a heroic fight or tried to resist. It was almost inconceivable and embarrassing for them to see their former leader, with all of his rhetorical bravado, look like a beggar that they could throw coins at. It reminded me of the old saying, “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

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British Leaflet Showing Saddam

The British 15th PSYOP Group also printed a leaflet showing the captured Saddam. It uses one of the same photos of Saddam as is depicted on leaflet IZG786, but he in now behind bars. The text on the full-color leaflet is:

Saddam Hussein has been captured. The past is behind us. Now let us look to the future.

Below the picture is a small flower and the words:

New Life – New Iraq.

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This same flower and slogan was used on other British leaflets and posters. The blooming flower was part of a “New Iraq - New Life” campaign. The petals on the flower clockwise from the top are:

Justice – Progress – Education – Freedom – Stability – Peace – Rule of law – Wealth – Employment.


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Your Choice...

The flower also appears on this poster depicting an Iraqi with terrorist gear and an AK-47 on the left, and construction gear and a shovel at the right. British researcher Lee Richards says that poster was distributed in 2005 by the British in Basra during Operation TELIC 5. The text is:

Your choice

The future is in your hands

Matchbook Propaganda

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Front and back of Saddam matchbook

Photo of Saddam Hussein and gold coins on front and text:

You give information about
Saddam Hussein
We will pay a reward

Photo of dead Uday & Qusay on back and text:

Uday Hussein
Qusay Hussein
30 million American Dollars Reward Paid

There is a long message on the inside of the matchbook cover that says in part:

The U.S. Government offers a reward of up to 25 million dollars for information leading to the arrest of Saddam Hussein of information that he is already dead. Those providing information may be eligible for the reward and relocation with their family….

We haven’t mentioned matchbooks much in this article. The matchbook as a medium of propaganda has a long and colorful history. Almost all the combatants in WWII used them to convey propaganda. In particular, General MacArthur used them to keep up the confidence of the people of the Philippines under the occupation of the Empire of Japan.

The 4th PSYOP Group printed a number of matchbook covers with propaganda messages and images for Iraq. The one above pictures Saddam Hussein on the front and his two dead sons on the back. Matchbooks are considered an excellent medium of propaganda because they are in great demand in Iraq. One PSYOP trooper said:

In November 2003, our attached Tactical PSYOP Team (TPT) received cases of these matchbooks. Since his sons were already dead, the U.S. military began an all-out effort to find Saddam.The TPT and Human Intelligence Teams (HUMINT) were supposed to distribute these matchbooks offering a reward for Saddam. However, since Saddam was captured a month later the leftover cases of these books went unused.I kept a case for myself.

Dissemination of the matchbooks has not always been smooth. A civilian Iraqi driver was hired to deliver one million matchbook covers showing the face of the wanted Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The driver, a follower of al-Sadr, waited until he was safely out of sight, and then set fire to the truck.

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Terrorist Bombing matchbook

Matchbooks continued to be printed and disseminated all through the occupation of Iraq. One that was circulating in 2004 shows the result of a terrorist bombing. The front cover shows a bus that has been blown up and the text:

The terrorist's explosives do not differentiate between anybody.

The back cover shows a wounded Iraqi woman and the text:

Call this Ramada phone number: 427-232

A message on the inside flap of the matchbook says:

The terrorist's explosives do not differentiate between anybody, and it is just a matter of time before your family will be a victim of these malicious weapons. Inform about any terrorist or criminal activities to the Central Security Forces. Call to this Ramada phone number: 427-232

The matchbooks seem to work. An article in the Arab News of 26 May 2012 entitled “Reward for Justice (RFJ) Program Helps Capture terrorists…and Save Lives” says in part:

To date, Reward for Justice has paid 60 informants more than $100 million. Knowledge obtained through RFJ has helped law enforcement officials locate many enemies of America, including Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; Edgar Navarro, commander of FARC revolutionary forces in Columbia; and Uday and Qusay Hussein, sons of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

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An Unknown matchbook

I know very little about this matchbook and would love to hear from any readers who can tell me more about it.

It appears that hundreds of boxes of these matchbooks were sent to Iraq during the war. At some point they were apparently ordered destroyed. When a group of veterans discussed them there were comments such as:

I have 2 unopened cases of 10,000 each.
I remember burning entire cases of them!
We gave them to the units and later burned 4 pallets worth.
I picked up the remaining approximately 5 million and burned every damn one of them!

Unexploded Ordnance

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One of the serious problems for United States troops during the consolidation phase was the vast amount of unexploded ordnance in Iraq. Numerous leaflets, handouts and posters were prepared asking the Iraqis to report such explosives so that explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel could disarm them. One example of such a handout is IZC-4005 which depicts an array of mines, grenades, and various artillery shells and the text:

DANGER! Stay away and report all mines and unexploded ordnance to Coalition Forces. They will kill.

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Handout IZG-4630a

This handbill warns against picking up unexploded ordnance. The front of the handbill depicts two forms of cluster bomblets (also known as air-delivered mines or air-delivered grenades) and the text:


If you see this or anything that resemble bombs or military unexploded ordnance anywhere


Inform Coalition Forces immediately if you have found such and stay away until it has been safely removed.

The back of the handbill depicts a young Arab boy whose leg has been blown off. The text is:

Keep away from bomb-like objects and unexploded ordnance


For all parents, teach your children caution and knowledge about bombs and unexploded ordnance!

If you find any unexploded ordnance notify Coalition Forces immediately.

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Cluster Bomblet on Ground

Cluster Munitions or Cluster Bombs are air-dropped or ground-launched munitions that eject a number of smaller sub-munitions or “bomblets.” The most common types are intended to kill enemy personnel and destroy vehicles. After Desert Storm when I was at Ft. Bliss there were about three dozen young American soldiers awaiting punishment due to their picking up and bringing home items such as these bomblets as souvenirs. It got so bad at one stage that the Army assigned some explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) troops to the local post office to check incoming baggage from returning Desert Storm troops. Americans love their souvenirs!

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Leaflets IZG-053 and IZG-053a are similar. Both are full color handouts about 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches. Both depict a chessboard on the front with the faces of smiling Iraqis and various explosives in boxes on the board. The major difference is that IZD-053 shows a mine in the center while IZD-053a depicts two finned rockets. The IZD-053 text is "Danger" at the top of the board. At the left and right are "Do not touch mines!" Text at the bottom is "Land mines are not games." We assume that the text on IZD-053a is similar except that it probably mentions armaments rather than mines.

The back of both leaflets show various explosives on the ground, red and white painted stones, and seven unpainted stones pointing at the unexploded ordnance. The text on IZD-053 is:

Do not touch mines! If you locate a mine: Mark the area from a safe distance with stones painted red and white. If paint is not available, mark the area with stones pointing toward the mine. Remember the location and keep others away. Notify local authorities or Coalition forces.

We assume that leaflet IZD-053a has an identical text, or one with just a few words changed, perhaps saying "armaments" instead of "mines."

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IZG-059 and IZG-059a are both full color handouts about 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches. IZG-059 depicts six different explosives, a child's hand holding a landmine covered by a "prohibited" symbol, and a red triangle with a skull and crossed bones. IZG-059a depicts 10 different explosives and a child's hand holding a landmine covered by a "prohibited" symbol. The text on IZD-059a is:

Unexploded ordnance. Report the locations of mines and other unexploded ammunition to local authorities.

We assume the text of IZD-059 is similar with just a few words changed.

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