OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
Herbert A. Friedman
B-2 Stealth Bomber
On 28 March a U.S.A.F. B-2 batwing Stealth bomber dropped two 4,700-pound "bunker buster" bombs on the al-Alawiya communications tower. The USS Theodore Roosevelt printed PSYOP leaflets at sea. Kurdish rebels slowly advanced to the south as Coalition bombing drove Iraqi forces from forward defensive positions north of the oil capitol of Kirkuk.
The Coalition dropped a mix of five leaflets. The code numbers are IZD002c, IZD036a, IZD7507, IZD7509, and IZD7519. There are no new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.
Missiles hit the Ministry of Information Building
The Ministry of Information in Baghdad was struck by cruise missiles on 29 March. The building was damaged, but not destroyed. The Coalition ordered a 4-6 day "pause" by ground forces to resupply advance elements with food, ammunition and fuel. There are reports that the ground forces started the attack with supplies for a seven-day advance.
The first of the threatened suicide bomber attacks occurred near Al Najaf. Four Coalition soldiers were killed. The number of leaflets dropped on Iraq topped thirty-three million.
There had been a lot of debate about this bombing. The 2005 report Review of Psychological Operations Lessons Learned from Recent Operational Experience adds:
Another incident that raises the importance of coordinated information activities was the decision to try to bomb the Iraqi minister of information (Mohammed Saeed al Sahaf, otherwise known as Baghdad Bob) off the air. One goal of the OIF PSYOP plan was to avoid destruction of PSYOP-relevant facilities. This goal had to be balanced against the value of preventing the regime from communicating with its supporters (inside and outside of Iraq) during the war. Initially, concerns about collateral damage apparently kept the Ministry of Information off the targeting list. However, as the minister of informations disinformation campaigns became more problematic, pressure grew to destroy his broadcast facilities Some experts in the information operations community assert that they knew the minister had mobile broadcasting options and had successfully used them after the ministry was bombed. Moreover, this information was made known to senior officials in Washington, but their preoccupation with getting al Sahaf off the air prevailed, and the decision to bomb was ultimately made. The bombs failed to prevent the minister from broadcasting, but they did succeed in denying communication assets that PSYOP could have used in OIF.
The Coalition dropped a mix of nine leaflets. The code numbers are IZD001a, IZD019a, IZD022, IZD024, IZD027, IZD041, IZD7507, IZD7509 and IZD7519. There are three new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.
IZD001 is the third variation of the horizontal information radio leaflet. It depicts a map of Iraq at the center and radio towers at left and right with text "1800-2300 Daily." The text is:
Information Radio - "756 KHZ AM - 690 KHZ AM - 9715 KHZ SW - 11292 KHZ SW and 100.4 MHZ FM.
The same message appears on both front and back.
IZD027 was dropped a number of times during the no-fly zone operations over
. It depicts school children visiting the Shaheed (Martyrs Monument) at the front-right of the full-color leaflet. This quarter-billion dollar blue-tile monument commemorates the Iraqi dead in the Iraq-Iran war. At the left of the leaflet, Coalition jets are shown firing rockets at Iraqi tanks hiding near the monument. The text on the front of the leaflet is: Iraq
The Coalition will destroy and viable targets.
The Coalition does not wish to destroy your landmarks.
Text on the back of the leaflet is:
Coalition forces do not wish to harm the noble people of
. To insure your safety, avoid areas occupied by military personnel. Iraq
IZD041 depicts Iraqi anti-aircraft guns, missiles and radar on the ground. A Coalition aircraft drops leaflets overhead and the leaflet is shown to be one of the standard warning leaflets. The text is:
You have been warned not to target Coalition aircraft.
The back depicts the scene after the aircraft has bombed the Iraqis and all the vehicles and sites are ablaze. The text is:
If you ignore this warning you will be destroyed! Will this be your fate? Do not target or fire upon Coalition aircraft.
This leaflet uses the same general propaganda to convince the Iraqis not to light up Coalition aircraft. The front depicts Coalition aircraft dropping leaflets on an Iraqi anti-aircraft system, a soldier reading the leaflet and the text:
It says, If you target Coalition aircraft you will be destroyed.
The back depicts Iraqi gun crews that followed the Coalition directions and are not targeted and those that chose not to and are about to be hit by falling bombs. The text is:
I told you they wont harm us if we dont target them This unit targeted Coalition aircraft
British Commando PSYOPs team in Umm Qsar
The Pentagon announced that 180,000 troops were in Iraq on 30 March. The Coalition dropped and fired over 6000 bombs and 600 Tomahawk cruise missiles in the first ten days of the war. The ground war "pause" may be as a long as two weeks. The Coalition targeted the Republican Guard around Baghdad for destruction. The air war took priority with the decision to decimate the RG forces before the eventual ground attack. Coalition aircraft attacked a train loaded with Republic Guard tanks, the Karada military intelligence Complex, the Abu Garayb Presidential Palace, and the main training facility of the Iraqi paramilitary forces. There were reports of British Commando PSYOPs teams at work in Umm Qsar. The PSYOPs team promise support and explain the intent of the British troops. In all, about 46,000 British troops took part in the initial stages of Operation Iraqi freedom.
The Coalition dropped a mix of four leaflets. The code numbers are IZD001a, IZD022, IZD036, and IZD069. There are no new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.
On 31 March, advanced units of the U.S. 3rd Infanty Division battled elements of the Republican Guard Nebuchadnezzar Division in Hindiyah. The 101st Airborne Division was poised to take An Najaf. The Coalition fought artillery battles with units guarding Baghdad. The American death count rose to 37 killed by hostile fire. The Coalition held 8,000 Iraqi EPWs. BG Brooks announced at the regular press briefing that CENTCOM dropped leaflets daily, and has sent an additional Combat Talon airborne broadcasting system to Iraq. CNN reportedly showed a leaflet with a drawing of a British soldier and the text "This time we will not abandon you."
The Coalition dropped a mix of nine leaflets. The code numbers are IZD003, IZD019a, IZD022a, IZD023, IZD024, IZD027a, IZD027b, IZD069 and IZD071. There is one new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.
IZD027b depicts a peaceful scene of an Iraqi city at the right. At the left of the leaflet
fighter-bombers attack tanks and artillery placed near buildings. The text is: U.S.
The Coalition will destroy any viable military targets.
The back is all text:
Coalition forces do not wish to harm the noble people of
. To insure your safety, avoid areas occupied by military personnel. Iraq
Coalition aircraft continued to pound Baghdad and destroyed one of Saddam's palaces, an Iraqi Air Force Officers club, and Saddam's son Uday's Olympic headquarters on 1 April. Most of the Baghdad telephone system is out of service. The British death toll reached 26. A belated report told of U.S. Marines capturing the Ba'ath Party headquarters in Umm Qasr. They found weapons, munitions, and stacks of U.S. propaganda leaflets, apparently collected to keep them out of the public's hands.
The Coalition dropped a mix of three leaflets. The code numbers are IZD001a, IZD002c, and IZD022. There are no new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.
One of the more interesting Coalition propaganda PSYOP leaflets is in the form of a passport. It is an 8-page brochure depicting a Combined Joint Task Force Seven, Operation Iraqi Freedom patch on the front. It has Arabic text throughout, pictures of the Shaheed (Martyrs Monument), Iraqi detainees, a 3rd Infantry Division officer with Iraqi leaders and places for the target audience to fill in needed information. They were airdropped and distributed in
starting in 2003. The passport instructs the finder how to turn himself in, guarantee his personal safety, supply intelligence on the status of the insurgency and request amnesty. Iraq
PSYOP Loudspeaker Team
PSYOP Loudspeaker teams continue to work side by side with combat units. One report told of a US Army loudspeaker team playing "tank" noises as part of a deception operation for the Royal Marine Commandos. In still another action, in the vicinity of Najaf, sixty-four members of the Nebuchennazer Division surrendered to Coalition forces after they heard the PSYOP loudspeaker teams broadcast message calling on them to throw down their arms. The PSYOP loudspeaker team was close enough that an Iraqi rocket propelled grenade (RPG) later struck and blew the loudspeakers off of the teams humvee.
In another similar operation in March of 2004, loudspeaker teams 1496 and 1499 played the sounds of retreating armor. Two Iraqi forces moved forward in an attempt to ambush the armor with rocket propelled grenades and were caught in an ambush prepared by the 5th Marines.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom PSYOP loudspeakers were placed on a great variety of Coalition vehicles on the land, sea, and in the air. For instance, they were found on the M102 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), the M1A1 Main Battle Tank, the M113 Personnel Carrier, the UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter, and in one case a captured Iraqi motorcycle. In addition, some were placed on MK-11 Riverine Patrol boats (Bailey Boats) on the Tigris River.
On the motorcycle: Tactical PSYOP Team 983 April 2003 Iraq: SGT Joey Tetreault (driver), SGT Skip Ewing (side car), PFC Justin Warden (back). This was like a week or two after the team lost their vehicle to an IED. None of the men were seriously injured. The vehicle was riddled with holes from shrapnel and basically blown apart - back hatch blown down and in, doors blown out, and suspension broken.
A Tactical PSYOP Team use a Loudspeaker in the Waterways near Baghdad
Robert W. Jones, Jr., discusses loudspeaker teams in Getting the Message Out: Tactical PSYOP in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Veritas, volume 1, number 1:
Tactical PSYOP companies, including those of the 9th PSYOP Battalion [of the 4th PSYOP Group], provided support to both conventional and special operations units across
. Alpha Company supported Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force North and the 10th Special Forces Group in northern Iraq, while Bravo company, augmented with Reservists from the 301st PSYOP Company supported Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force West and the 5th Special Forces Group in central and western Iraq. Charlie Company supported the 3rd Infantry Division and provided a detachment to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. Iraq
In addition, the 318th PSYOP Company supported the 101st Airborne Division, the 305th PSYOP Company supported the Marines and the 307th PSYOP Company supported the British forces.
NEWSWEEK reported in their April 21st edition that:
Know thine enemy is a cardinal rule of war. Before plunging into Iraq, U.S. psychological-warfare operators studied certain cultural stereotypes. One was that young Arab toughs cannot tolerate insults to their manhood. So, as American armored columns pushed down the road to Baghdad, 400-watt loudspeakers mounted on Humvees would, from time to time, blare out in Arabic that Iraqi men are impotent. The Fedayeen, the fierce but undisciplined and untrained Iraqi irregulars, could not bear to be taunted. Whether they took the bait or saw an opportunity to attack, many Iraqis stormed out of their concealed or dug-in positions, pushing aside their human shields only to be confronted with American tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.
One insulting loudspeaker harangue in 2005 meant to force the insurgents into the open was mentioned by Sergeant Russell Snyder in Hearts and Mines A Memoir of Psychological Warfare in Iraq, iUniverse, Bloomington, IN, 2011. Russell was a member of a three-man Tactical Psychological Operations Team (TPT) of the United States Army 9th PSYOP Battalion attached to the U.S. Marines in Iraq during the spring of 2005:
Oh Irhabi [terrorist] dogs, why do you run from us? Do you not want martyrdom? Are you too afraid? This is your chance to fight like men so stop hiding like women! Are you afraid that when we kill you, you will be sent to pay for your crimes in Jahannam [Hell]? You have two choices: surrender and live, and we will treat you humanely, or let us kill you, and feel the fire of hell
On the subject of knowing your enemy, I get a lot of mail from students, researchers and PhD candidates asking about the qualifications of the people who write the radio messages and the propaganda leaflets. They always ask about the training and background of the people who help define the PSYOP strategies. During Operation Iraqi Freedom the military assigned psychologists with military tactical experience to help the commanders with enemy personality profiles, analyze prisoner interrogations and assist with PSYOP campaigns. The psychologists assigned to various Joint Special Operations Task Forces prepared profiles of Saddam Hussein, his Baath Party, the Iraqi military leadership, the Kurdish leadership, and the major tribes in
. The psychologists indicated that the PSYOP themes should stress cooperation and recommended various messages that would make the enemy more likely to cease resistance. This is not to imply that PSYOP is entirely based on psychological recommendations, but it does show that they are one of the factors taken into account when the campaigns are planned. Iraq
The New York Times reported that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Army commanders have argued over their belief that he has not sent enough troops to properly fight the war with Iraq. Mr. Rumsfeld initially vowed to transform the military and create an armed force emphasizing combat by long-range, precision strikes. At one point, his advisers proposed cutting two of the Army's ten active divisions to pay for an arsenal of new high-technology weapons. Rumsfeld continued to defend the plan of attack and stated that the Coalition was "right on schedule." After a halt of several days, the Coalition resumed it's relentless movement north towards Baghdad.
Some of the mistakes in planning are mention in the Rand Report, After Saddam Prewar Planning and the Occupation of
Two particular sets of assumptions guided
prewar planning for the postwar period. First, administration officials assumed that the military campaign would have a decisive end, and would produce a stable security situation. They intended to shrink the U.S. military presence down to two divisionsbetween 30,000 and 40,000 troopsby the fall of 2003. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz succinctly expressed this assumption during congressional testimony on February 27, 2003, when he stated, Its hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam U.S. than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddams security forces and his army. Iraq
Second, they assumed that the Iraqi population would welcome
forces. Three days before the war, Vice President Richard Cheney clearly articulated this view by stating, My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. Iraqi exiles supported this belief by emphasizing that the Iraqis would greet U.S. forces with sweets and flowers. U.S.
On 2 April, the Coalition claimed victory in Karbala and Kut. CENTCOM reported the destruction of the Baghdad Division of the Republican Guard. Scout elements of the U.S. Army advanced to just 19 miles south of Baghdad. The Coalition captured Qadisiyah Dam and found it rigged with explosives. The Iraqis planned to flood the landscape, bogging down the U.S. attack. As the Coalition advanced, old allies eased their opposition to the war. Turkey agreed to open supply routes to U.S. forces in Northern Iraq. The French Foreign Minister said that France would stand by the United States and the United Kingdom.
British handbill - "This time we won't abandon you."
British Forces disseminating the new leaflet
The British "Desert Rats" distributed a handbill around Basra. The handbill depicted a British soldier shaking hands with an Iraqi. The text is:
This time we won't abandon you. Be patient - together we will win.
The back is all text:
People of Al Basra, we are here to liberate the people of Iraq. Our enemy is the regime and not the people. We need your help. To identify the enemy. To rebuild Iraq. English speakers please come forward. We will stay as long as it takes. Listen to Radio Nahrain 100-4 FM (94.6 in the evenings) for important news and information.
British Radio Nahrain [Two Rivers Radio], programming is similar to Information Radio, with a mixture of Iraqi songs, job offers, western pop music, and messages to the local population. The handbill was designed by the 15th (UK) PSYOP Group. On 31 March a report on CNN said that the transmissions were being "stepped up".
We should probably mention why the British found it important to use a term such as abandon you in their propaganda.
Storm in 1990-1991 President Bush had allowed the CIA to join in the psychological operations. It authorized the CIA to take part in propaganda and deception campaigns, gave permission for the CIA to work with Army Special Operations forces to support guerrilla fighters, and empowered the CIA to work to destabilize Saddam Hussein's government. The CIA apparently encouraged the Kurds in the North and Shiites in the South to rise up against Saddam and promised support for their rebellion. According to Philip M. Taylor in Munitions of the Mind: A history of Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Present Day, Manchester University Press, UK, 2003, there was an uneasy relationship between white (overt) military PSYOP and black (covert) CIA PSYOP: Operation Desert
The latter consisted of black radio transmitters posing as Iraqi stations manned by internal enemies of Saddam Hussein. Because none could supposedly detect the genuine source of messages broadcast by these stations, they were able to deviate from the official coalition line that desert Storm was about the liberation of Kuwait and not about the overthrow of Saddam Hussein Black radio stations therefore carried messages encouraging an internal revolt within Iraq , but when signs of success in doing this appeared towards the end of the war in the form of Kurdish and Shia uprisings, no actual military support was forthcoming from the West. This was another classic example of the dangers of policy and propaganda getting out of step.
The CIA would do the same thing again during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Central Intelligence Agency set up a deceptive or Black PSYOP radio station called "Radio Tikrit." Radio Tikrit was purported to have been managed by local Iraqis and at first ran news editorials that were loyal to Saddam Hussein. After a few weeks, the radio station grew more and more critical of the dictator. These efforts were designed to undermine the legitimacy of the Hussein regime and to discourage those loyal to it from fighting.
Lieutenant-Colonel Steven Collins adds:
The US Central Intelligence Agency reportedly set up Black PSYOPS stations as early as February 2003. One such station, Radio Tikrit, tried to build up its credibility by claiming to be managed by loyal Iraqis in the Tikrit area and by maintaining an editorial line slavishly supportive of Saddam Hussein. Within a few weeks, however, the tone changed and the station became increasingly critical of Saddam. The hope of Black PSYOPS is that the target audience does not see through the ruse and believes the information is coming from the wrongly attributed source, which it sees as more credible. The risk, of course, is that if the ruse is discovered, the trustworthiness of the entire PSYOPS effort, both White and Black, is damaged.
The Kurds did revolt in March 1991, occupied the towns of Ranya, Sulemaniye, Arbil, Dahuk, Aqra, and
Kirkukand put the under siege. Saddam Hussein counter-attacked with a vengeance and his revamped Republic Guard drove the Kurds into the mountains. The insurgents were slaughtered and this ultimately led to Operation Provide Comfort. The Iraqis did not forget this Coalition abandonment, and it is clear that the British are trying to reassure them that the Allies will not cut and run as they did after provinceof Mosul Storm. Operation Desert
This leaflet depicts Saddam Hussein, one of his palaces in the crosshairs and warns the Republican Guard of impending doom. The text on the front is:
Attention all Special Republican Guards! The Coalition Forces are coming to rid Iraq of Saddam and his regime. You should not have to suffer their fate.
The text on the back is:
Since you are the last line of defense between Saddam and the Coalition forces, you will face a crushing force. Dont share Saddams fate. Dont resist the Coalition Forces. Dont let your fate be bound to the regimes fate.
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.
This front of this leaflet depicts two Iraqi destroyed tanks. The text is:
You are next! Elements of the 2nd al-Medina Armored Division have just been destroyed
The back of the leaflet shows Iraqi troops surrendering as their tanks are being destroyed by Coalition aircraft in the background. The image is the same as found on the front of leaflet IZD-017e. The text is:
Why do you stay and fight when you can leave and live? For your safety, and for the future of your families, return to your homes!
The division was targeted by Coalition forces early in the war due to its perceived status as one of Iraq's best divisions, with the division being equipped with artillery and 270 T-72 tanks; the most advanced tanks used by Iraqi forces. It was claimed at the time that General Franks intended to make an example of the Medina Division, hoping that the destruction of the division would shatter Iraqi morale.
The Coalition continued to attack and decimate the Republican Guard on 3 April. The Pentagon said that Saddam's government was on the verge of collapse. The U.S. Army Third Infantry Division advanced to within 6 miles of Baghdad and prepared to seize Saddam International Airport. The U.S. Marines were 4 miles from the city gates driving down roads littered with black combat boots as Saddam's Army shed their uniforms and switched back to tribal robes hoping to avoid capture. Baghdad was without electrical power. The Coalition total death count was 53, with 41 killed in combat.
Iraqi forces near Karbala used a surface-to-air (SAM) missile to shoot down a F/A 18C Hornet from the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. They also downed a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The Iraqis have disabled as many as five M1-A2 Abrams tanks. They may be using the Kornet-E, a Russian laser-guided missile that can destroy tanks fitted with explosive reactive armor. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry had denied reports that Ukrainian firms had supplied several hundred such anti-tank missiles to Iraq.
The Coalition dropped a mix of thirteen leaflets. The code numbers are IZD001, IZD002, IZD019, IZD019a, IZD022, IZD022a, IZD023, IZD029, IZD036, IZD038, IZD-061, IZD069 and IZD1000. There is one new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.
IZD029 depicts an Iraqi soldier at the right and two more walking away at the left. At the bottom left are abandoned troop carries and armor. The text is:
Saddam is losing support of his military forces.
The back is all text:
Saddams oppressive rule is coming to an end. Many of Saddams supporters are siding with Coalition forces.
's military units are choosing not to fight for Saddam. Soldiers are laying down their weapons and leaving their posts to return to their families. Shortly the people of Iraq will be free from his brutal regime. Iraq
Leaflet IZD029 Drop over Iraq
British researcher Lee Richards found this US Air Force Photograph of a MC-130E Combat Talon loadmaster tying down four boxes of 30,000 leaflets each about to be dropped over Basra, Iraq, telling the Iraqis that the Coalition is here to help, not to get in the way of coalition forces and that Iraqi soldiers need to surrender. Notice that leaflet IZD024 is also being dropped.
On 4 April, the Coalition flew 900 air strikes. Allied troops seized a cache of 56 surface-to-surface missiles south of Basra. 2500 members of the Baghdad Republican Guard Division surrendered to U.S. Marines. The U.S. Army Third Infantry Division occupied Saddam International Airport and renamed it Baghdad International Airport. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said that he hoped that the Coalition victory would be swift.
The U.S. Congress passed a supplementary budget amendment that excluded France, Germany, Russia and Syria from taking part in the rebuilding of Iraq. The Coalition reported that the Medina and Baghdad Republican Guard divisions were crushed and the Nebuchadnezzar and Adnan Republican Guard divisions had been attacked and severely mauled.
Iraqi Information Minister al-Sahhaf
On the PSYOP front, a report stated that the souvenir-collecting Allied troops had gathered so many leaflets that:
The bottom has literally fallen out of the exchange rate for both allied and Iraqi propaganda leaflets. Most have been pressed into service as toilet paper.
This is the first mention of Iraqi propaganda leaflets in any publication. Iraqi Information Minister al-Sahhaf said that the Coalition lied and their forces were over 100 miles from Baghdad. Saddam Hussein (or a replica) took to the streets of Baghdad for the first time since the initial attack on Iraq.
The Coalition dropped a mix of seven leaflets. The code numbers are IZD001, IZD002, IZD019a, IZD023, IZD-061, IZD069 and IZD1000. There are no new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.
Saddam's regime appeared ready to collapse on 5 April, day 17 of the war. U.S. Army V Corps advanced elements were probing near the center of Baghdad and meeting sporadic resistance. They reported 2000-3000 Iraqi defenders killed. Coalition forces pummeled the al-Nida Division of the Republican Guard. U.S. troops captured the Medina Division Republican Guard headquarters in Suwayah. The Coalition reportedly fired 725 Tomahawk cruise missiles and dropped 12,000 precision-guided munitions since the start of the war. CENTCOM announced that around 200,000 flyers were dropped over Baghdad urging Iraqi civilians to stay in their homes. The U.S. body count is 57 dead, 16 missing, and 7 captured. The British body count is 27 dead.
In the north, Kurdish Peshmerga (those who face death) attacked Feyadeen Saddam (self-sacrificers for Saddam) near Mankubah. In a friendly fire incident, an F-15 Strike Eagle dropped a bomb on a convoy of Kurdish fighters accompanied by U.S. Special Forces. French President Jacques Chirac apologized for the desecration by anti-war vandals of allied graves of those who had died to liberate France in WW2.
British Post Posters
Surrender Instructions Poster
The Coalition continued to tighten the noose around Baghdad on 6 April. American forces blocked all but one major highway leaving the city. American armor raided parts of Baghdad for a second straight day. An American C-130 Hercules cargo plane was the first aircraft to land at the newly named Baghdad International Airport (BIA). U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said that it might take six months to create a new Government in Iraq. The British distributed propaganda posters around Basra. One depicted three pictures of Iraqi soldiers. In the first, they stack their rifles, in the second, they walk forward with hands in the air, and in the third, they are safely among their comrades. The text is:
Unload your weapons and put them in a pile. Raise your hands and move away from your weapons. Wait for further instructions from Coalition soldiers.
The Pentagon reported on 7 April that Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the opposition Iraqi National Congress (INC) and 700 fighters would assist coalition forces in southern Iraq. Chalabi's father was the president of Iraq's senate in 1958. Coalition forces occupied two of Saddam's palaces within the Baghdad city limits. An Iraqi POW led Coalition troops to an Albu Mahawish site allegedly containing barrels of the nerve gasses sarin and tabun, and the blister agent lewisite. Testing seemed to indicate that the site contained pesticides. There was an unconfirmed National Public Radio report of Coalition troops finding 20 medium-range missiles filled with nerve agents. A B2 bomber dropped four 2000-pound laser-guided GBU-24 bunker-buster bombs on the Al Saa Restaurant in the al Mansour District of Baghdad that Intelligence sources claimed was a meeting place of Saddam Hussein, his two sons, and senior Iraqi regime leaders. The U.S. death count reached 80; the British count is 30.
A Coalition spokesman illustrated a leaflet during a Central Command news briefing at Camp As Sayliyah, in Doha, Qatar. It warns the Iraqi people not to carry weapons. The leaflet depicts an Iraqi carrying a weapon on the front with the prohibited symbol drawn over the individual. The text is:
Iraqi Citizens! For your safety Please don't carry weapons! You may be mistaken for Saddam's military or security forces.
The back depicts an AK-47 assault rifle with the same symbol. The text is:
Coalition Forces do not wish to harm the Iraqi people. For your safety and the safety of others DO NOT CARRY WEAPONS! Remain in your homes!
The code on this leaflet is IZD4541.
The Coalition also disseminated a pair of 5 1/2 x 8 1/2-inch handbills coded IZG4541a and IZG4541c. The images depicted on both the front and back of IZG4541a are similar to the leaflet above but in black and white. Handbill IZG4541c depicts a crowd of Iraqis holding weapons with a red "prohibited" symbol over the photograph. The text for both handbills is the same:
Iraqi Citizens! For your Safety cooperate with Coalition Forces. Please Return to your homes and do not carry weapons! You may be mistaken for Saddam's Forces!
The back of the handout depicts an AK-47 rifle covered by a red "prohibited" symbol. The text is:
Coalition Forces do not wish to harm the Iraqi People. For your safety, and the safety of others, Please return to your homes and do not carry weapons.
It was not only the Prohibited sign that the Coalition used to tell citizens to cease and desist. Many leaflets also carried the international traffic stop sign to inform the reader that he must go no further. This sign could be used on several types of informative leaflets to explain that there was danger ahead, operations were on-going, or that the roads were thought to be mined. We depict two examples here.
This poster features the international stop sign and the text:
Coalition forces are operating in this area.
To avoid injury; Cooperate, be patient, do not interfere, listen to instructions.
This two-sided handbill was disseminated by Task Force 20. The text on the front is:
Coalition forces are conducting a security checkpoint. Turn off your engine.
Follow instructions and you will not be harmed.
The back of the leaflet depicts a Coalition soldier at a checkpoint and tells the reader to inform the soldiers if they have weapons in the car, exit the car slowly and open the glove compartment and trunk.
We should take a moment here to point out that some leaflets bear interesting symbols. We have seen them with an X over a photo, or with a prohibited symbol (a single diagonal slash in a circle). We have seen many leaflets that bear a red stop sign. I add this leaflet because it has something a little different, an exclamation point inside a triangle. This is the universal sign for "Warning." Although we do not know when this leaflet was disseminated, the front depicts a Coalition tank, a mass of armed soldiers and a helicopter, all coming directly at the reader. The leaflet was reportedly found in the vicinity of Baghdad by a U.S. soldier during the initial 2003 invasion. The text is:
Don't place yourself between the coalition forces and those who are still killing on behalf of the regime.
They may mistakenly consider you a target.
The back of the leaflet is all text. At the left and in the background, we see the triangle with an exclamation point inside. The text is:
Oh, people of Iraq!
To ensure your safety, do not use the main highways in and around Baghdad. Coalition forces are conducting military operations to liberate the people of Iraq. Do not force coalition forces to hurt innocent civilians.
This handbill bears the same “Warning” symbol on the front. The back depicts a Coalition truck and helicopter. The text on the front is:
Sons of Iraq....
To ensure your safety, we would like you to be careful while our coalition allies are using highways to secure relief assistance and transport military equipment.
The text on the back is:
For your safety
We appeal to you to stay away from coalition vehicles
On 8 April, the Coalition continued to attack Baghdad from the air. They bombed the Planning and the Information Ministry as well as the headquarters of the Republican Guard and the Special Republican Guard. The U.S. Marines captured Rasheed Military Airport in eastern Baghdad. The Marines also released 100 imprisoned young children jailed for refusing to join Saddam's youth brigades.
Two British newspapers claimed that Saddam and his sons survived the bombing attack on his life and was trying to escape to Syria. Two new British propaganda posters appeared on the streets of Basra. Shown above is an early draft of the first poster. This poster is all text except for a British flag in full color at the top. The text is:
We are here to work with you cooperatively to make things better. Try to get back to your normal routine. Obey the rule of law. Support the new interim administration. Do not carry weapons on the street. Follow the Instructions of Coalition forces. Listen to Radio Nahrain 100.4 FM for important news and information.
The final product deleted the Union Jack flag and replaced the phrase "Obey the rule of law" with "remain peaceful and law abiding citizens". The poster was developed by the 15th (UK) PSYOP Group.
The second poster shows a vertical strip of five cartoons of Iraqis in a car meeting a Coalition soldier. The car cartoon is actually very interesting and represents the stages of government from the beginning of the operation through to Iraqi self government. Again, the poster depicted is an early draft. The final product deleted the British Union Jack flag at the top of the poster. The text is:
Coalition forces steering towards a better future. We are here to work with you cooperatively to make things better. Try to get back to your normal routine. Obey the rule of law. Support the new interim administration. Do not carry weapons on the street. Follow the instructions of Coalition forces. Our stay will be temporary, when we have finished our work we will leave. Listen to Radio Nahrain 100.4 FM for important news and information.
The phrase "Obey the rule of law" was replaced with "remain peaceful and law abiding citizens" in the final published version. The poster was developed by the 15th (UK) PSYOP Group.
Courtesy of Lee Richards
Curiously, the British flag on the printed propaganda caused some friction within the Coalition headquarters. Something similar happened during operation Desert Storm when surrender leaflets showing the U.S. flag were later changed to Saudi and U.N. flags, and U.S. flags on tank barrels were changed to U.S., Saudi, British and French flags. Leaflet J46 was disseminated over
and depicts a British flag and the text: Basra
We are the British Armed Forces. Follow all our orders and you will not be hurt.
The back of the leaflet depicts Iraqis stacking their weapons, then surrendering and seated in a happy group. The picture and text is the same as the British poster we illustrate above.
Unload your weapons and put them in a pile.
Raise your hands and move away from your weapons.
Wait for further instructions from Coalition soldiers.
The above example was discovered in March 2003 in a drainage ditch, south of
by a Regimental Sergeant Major of the Royal Logistics Corps. He stated that at the request of the Basra military the union flag was replaced on later versions of the leaflet so to reflect the multi-national coalition. US
The Iraqis fought back. They shot down a U.S. A-10 Warthog ground attack fighter conducting a close air-support mission at low altitude near Baghdad Airport. The pilot was rescued. The Iraqis also shot down an F-15E Strike Eagle deployed from Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina. In Basra, the citizens looted the Iraqi National Bank. The Coalition government that eventually rules Iraq will likely print a new currency for the country.
Before we leave the leaflets dropped during the shooting segment of the war and start to talk about Consolidation and nation-building leaflets we should mention a few that have not been mentioned previously. These are low-number leaflets that were probably dropped, but that were never mentioned in military briefings. It is also possible that they were not disseminated. We will discuss six that are single or double digit and should have been disseminated during the advance on
This leaflet depicts a television screen at the left with a map of
. The front and back are identical. The text is: Iraq
Daily from 6 am until 11 at night.
Leaflet IZD004b depicts the same TV set and map of
at the left, but has longer text at the right. The front and back are identical. The text is: Iraq
Turn your television antennas to face SSW.
To receive important information from the Coalition Forces.
Daily from 6 am until 11 pm.
On Channel 3.
This leaflet depicting both a radio and a television set was obviously printed much later in the war but since it also shows a TV just as the last two entries do, this seemed like the obvious place to add it. The text on the front is:
Iraqi citizens receive important information from Coalition forces daily from
6 p.m. until 11 p.m. on channel 3.
Set radio devices to "information" radio
Medium wave 756 kHz from 6 p.m. until 12 Noon
Medium wave 690 kHz from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Short wave 9715 kHz 24 hours a day
Short wave 11292 kHz from 6 p.m. until 12 Noon
FM wave 100.4 MHz from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m.
This leaflet depicts an Iraqi tank crew that has deserted their tank and watch as Coalition fighters fly by. The text is:
To maintain your safety obey the Coalition instructions.
The back is all text:
Put a white triangle on your vehicles and turn all turrets toward the back of the vehicles. Dear soldiers; throw your weapons on the ground and stay at your units current location. All air defense artillery will be destroyed at its site. All units have 48 hours to respond. Unit commanders will be punished for failure to respond.
This leaflet depicts Iraqi fighters on the ground facing each other, and Iraqi tanks being attacked with rockets. The text is:
Save your life by obeying the Coalition instructions.
- Park all aircraft in the parking areas, facing the fronts of the aircraft toward each other.
- Dont block the runways.
- Desert your anti-aircraft equipment and artillery as they will be destroyed as soon as seen.
The back is all text:
To maintain your safety show that you do not represent a threat by following the Coalition instructions; move a safe distance from your anti-aircraft and artillery, but dont leave your base area. Throw your weapons away and dont intervene in coalition operations.
It seems that the great majority of Coalition leaflets depicting aircraft featured fighter-bomber aircraft. However, on one occasion the B-52 bomber was depicted. On 12 February 2003, a leaflet was dropped over Iraq which depicted an ominous parked B-52 Stratofortress with a full load of bombs displayed on the ground. Bombs frame the photograph at the left and right. The text is:
Attacking Coalition aircraft invites your destruction.
The back of the full-color leaflet shows a "smart bomb" falling through the air and the text:
Do not fire at Coalition aircraft. If you choose to fire, you will be destroyed. Coalition forces will attack you with overwhelming force. The choice is yours.
The B52 is a 50-year old bomber first flown in 1952. The H model flies current missions. It can carry up to 108 conventional bombs, 84 internally and 24 under the wings.
This leaflet depicts a C-180 Hercules, ejecting flares during a test of an infrared missile warning and self-protection system. At the left and right the aircraft is framed by bombs.
The C-130 was used to drop the BLU-82, the giant Volkswagen-sized bomb. The back door would be opened and the plane would raise its nose, allowing the bomb to slide out the back. The BLU-82 weapon system, nicknamed daisy cutter in Vietnam and in Afghanistan for its ability to flatten a forest into a helicopter landing zone, is a 15,000 pound conventional bomb, delivered from either a C-130 or an MC-130 transport aircraft. The BLU-82 was retired in 2008 and replaced with the more powerful MOAB. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (AKA Mother of all Bombs") is a large-yield 21,000-pound conventional GPS-guided munition with fins and inertial gyro for pitch and roll control. The text on this leaflet is the same as IZD028 above:
Attacking Coalition aircraft invites your destruction.
The back of the leaflet is identical to IZD028 above.
Leaflet IZD039 depicts an American cargo jet bringing tons of supplies to Coalition soldiers and well-supplied soldiers by a helicopter on the front. The text is:
Coalition forces are operating in your area. They are not here to harm you. Instructions for humanitarian assistance will follow shortly.
The back depicts Iraqi civilians living in the open fields or standing in long lines for food. The text is:
Do not become a refugee! This will only create undue hardship for you and your family.
Coalition leaflet IZD-2511 depicts a group of men offloading pallets of supplies for the people of Iraq from a U.S. Air Force cargo plane which appears to be a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. The same photograph appears on leaflet IZD-039 above. On the reverse, there are three pictures of American servicemen securing and handing out supplies, in one case to an Iraqi woman. A small pile of these leaflets were found at Al-Jaber Air Base in Kuwait during the war and I have no record that it was ever disseminated. They do not appear in the list of Leaflets disseminated by 7 April 2003. This is a much later leaflet and actually part of a consolidation campaign. The text is:
Calling [craftsmen] and transportation workers in Iraq. The coalition is re-establishing a food distribution system. Please return to your jobs. Your services are required and necessary.
Do your part to expedite the flow of food to the Iraqi people. It is imperative, Iraqi workers, that you tell the Coalition about your skills, to integrate them into the food and [humanitarian assistance] distribution operation.
This leaflet depicts a long line of
troops marching with four attack helicopters overhead. The text is: US
The Coalition has amassed a formidable fighting force to the north.
The back depicts an American tank near wrecked Iraqi truck with a body in foreground. The text is:
To confront them would bring you certain destruction.
IZD-042 is a variant of this leaflet. It depicts the same long line of Allied troops with helicopters overhead but in addition has a full color 1st Infantry Division patch at left and 4th Infantry Division patch at right. I do not believe this leaflet was disseminated. The text is:
The Coalition has amassed a formidable fighting force to the north.
The back depicts a Helicopter disgorging troops (same as IZD-036) and the text:
<>For your safety do not interfere with Coalition Forces. Coalition Special Operation Forces are here to end the oppressive rule of Saddams regime and liberate the people of Iraq.
I have no record of this leaflet being disseminated. So, it is possible that it was considered too controversial with three dead Iraqi bodies on the back. In general, it is considered inefficient to show enemy dead because it is emotional to the finder and detrimental to the message. The lack of data might also be because this leaflet was printed on the USS Constellation. Perhaps the communication between the Army and the Navy failed to always acknowledge every leaflet that was printed and disseminated from sea. The front of the leaflet depicts an Iraqi father and two small children. The text is:
Return to your families. Help your family to succeed and survive
The back of the leaflet shows an Iraqi grieving over three dead bodies, perhaps his comrades or his sons. The text is:
Why you are still fighting when you are able to depart and live?
In order to maintain your safety and for the future of your families return to your homes
I can find no record of IZD-094 being disseminated by the Coalition, but if it was I would think it would have been just about this time as the Iraqis broke and ran. The image on the front is very threatening with a Coalition tank at the left, attack helicopter at the right and troops in the center; all in a bright red that the Iraqis believe is an omen of bad luck. The text is:
The time has arrived.
Coalition forces are coming.
The back is covered with Iraqi coffins and the text:
Saddam has abandoned you and your comrades. Your unit stands alone to face Coalition forces. Why fight for those who have abandoned you?
This entire leaflet is dark and hazy, and I cannot help but think it could not have been very effective. The front depicts two Coalition soldiers in a crouching position firing their rifles. The back depicts a truck or perhaps a convoy moving forward. The text is:
The dark of night will not protect you from coalition forces
Members of the paramilitary forces loyal to the tyrannical oppressive regime,
Coalition forces are coming for you.
A second dark leaflet that mentions paramilitary forces depicts an armed terrorist on the front along with the tattoo of the Saddam Hussein’s Fedayeen martyr suicide bombers. The Iraqis called them “Ghosts” according to their impending martyrdom. The back feature four terrorists with their hands on their heads surrounded by razor wire seen through a starlight scope. The text on the front is:
The brutal Iraqi regime has collapsed and fallen.
Paramilitary forces terrorists who continue to fight will be treated as war criminals.
The text on the back is:
People of Iraq,
Inform coalition forces of any information pertaining to these criminals.
They will be held accountable for their crimes.
Now that the Coalition had Saddam Hussein on the run and in hiding the Iraqi people rose up in celebration. In this leaflet a Coalition soldier tears down a poster of Saddam Hussein in front of happy Iraqis. The text is:
The regime of terror is over
On the back of the leaflet, a Coalition tank at left seem ready to knock down a wall bearing a Saddam Hussein poster at right. The text is:
The tyrant has fallen
Order broke down in Baghdad on April 9. The military and paramilitary forces fled the city or threw away their uniforms and attempted to blend in with the population. The foreign "martyrs" who had entered Iraq to fight for Saddam fled to the Palestine Hotel where they could mingle with the International press in safety.
This handout depicts Saddam’s “foreign fighters” at the left and weapons at the right over a map of Iraq. The text on the front is:
Foreign terrorist groups are operating in your free country. They serve their personal purposes
and bring chaos and instability to Iraq, causing troubles for Iraqi families
Do not allow these criminals to destroy the freedom and peace your families deserve
Report any terrorist acts any place, and the location of their weapons to Coalition Forces Thank you for your cooperation with us
This anti-looting leaflet depicts thieve kicking in a store window at the right and an arrow that shows that they go straight to a jail cell. The text on the front is:
Do not get involved in violence or theft
Those caught will be held accountable for their actions
The back is all text over a silhouette of Iraq:
For the safety and security of Iraqi people and the coalition forces and to impose of public order, the following are prohibited:
Any threat of violence against the coalition forces is prohibited.
Any violent activities against your neighbors or against Iraqi people or the coalition forces, that include violence or theft of public or private properties is prohibited.
There was widespread looting of government buildings. For the first time the citizens took to the street and cheered Coalition troops and identified Republican Guard strong points. The grip of the Saddam regime was broken. Mohammed al-Douri, Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations seemed to agree, "The game is over...I hope for a peaceful life for all Iraqis." The Swiss government said that it was freezing all Iraqi funds in Swiss banks. The 21,000-pound Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb arrived in Iraq for possible use against diehard holdouts in the north.
The government quickly tried to calm things down and consolidate the gains of the new Iraqi without Saddam. In this leaflet the front depicts over a dozen photographs of happy Iraqi children. The back is very simple; just a white dove of peace and the text:
Peace and stability are in the hands of all Iraqis
This full-color leaflet also mentions peace and depicts an Iraqi receiving what may be a leaflet or newspaper at the right, and a gift of some kind at the left. The text on the front is:
The Iraqi people deserve peace
The back is all text:
The Coalition forces are here to give freedom to the Iraqis!
Open your arms and welcome them as friends of the Iraqis
Looters Empty Government Buildings
The Iraqi people continued to loot and burn government buildings on 10 April. There were reports of an uprising in Mosul, Iraq's largest northern city. American troops continued to protect Saddam's foreign volunteers from the vengeful Iraqi people. Fighters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan took the northern oil city of Kirkuk after U.S.A.F B-52 bombers pounded it. The U.S. Marines reported that they had found a refrigerated truck that could be a bio-lab on wheels. There was an unconfirmed report of traces of weapons-grade plutonium found near al-Tuwaitha.
The Oil Industry is Your Livelihood! Your Family depends on your Livelihood
If the Oil Industry is destroyed, your livelihood will be destroyed!
Help to prevent the sabotage of the Iraqi Oil Industry.
Your family depends on it!
The 22nd day of the war was perhaps the busiest day of PSYOP activity. MG Victor Renuart said that Iraqi oil workers read the Coalition leaflets warning and spared the oil wells wired for destruction. The leaflets told them that to destroy the oil wells would be to destroy their own economy and future. He also said that the reason the Coalition had 7,300 POWs instead of the 50,000 expected was that the leaflets did not ask them to surrender. The leaflets told them to leave their weapons and go home. Apparently, they read the leaflets and followed directions. He stated that the Coalition dropped 40 million leaflets since the start of the war.