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US Military: "We Thought We Were Placing Want Ads"

(Washington) The US military acknowledged Friday that it has been using third parties to buy space in Iraqi newspapers for articles designed to counter enemy propaganda.

"We thought we were placing want ads," said a military spokesman. "Jesus, the contracts were in fucking Arabic. You think any of us actually read those little squiggles they call letters?"

The paid-for news stories and allegations that the U.S. Army has been paying Iraqi journalists to produce upbeat accounts about the US effort to crush the Sunni Muslim insurgency have ignited concerns in Washington about possible harm to US credibility. American efforts to create democracy in Iraq include the evolution of an independent free press.

"Hey, what better route to American-style democracy than lining some Iraqi pockets with a little green," said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "It's not like you American hacks haven't sold your souls for a little payola."

US Senator John Warner (R-VA) said that while he still has "grave concerns" about the reports of payments to journalists, the United States must fight what he described as "plain factually wrong" information that's "being fed to the Iraqi press" by enemies.

"The disinformation going out in that country is really affecting the effectiveness of what we're achieving," he said. "Those dead Iraqi children keep showing up in every media outlet, and these Iraqi bastards are always whining about food shortages and stupid bullshit like that."

Maybe if the Iraqis read the want-ads backwards.

Oh, they already read backwards.

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