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Something fishy about "soldiers' letters"

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It would be hard to find a newspaper without a Letters to the Editor section. It's an important public service, providing a platform for the community to express their erudite opinions on topics of common interest. It's sort of a legitimate alternative to standing in The Square wearing a tin foil hat berating passersby. It's also nearly as entertaining, particularly when you factor in spelling.

Letters from hometown soldiers describing their success in Iraq have begun appearing in newspapers across the country recently, interestingly at a time when US public opinion on that phase of the Brave New War has begun to deteriorate and also at a time when the Bush Administration has launched an offensive against the Damn Liberal Media for negatively biased reporting. President Bush, VP Cheney and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice all gave speeches last week as part of a White House push to curb growing criticism of US actions in Iraq. There were no reported new internments or torture at Guantanamo Bay, leading one to wonder whether John Ashcroft is really a team player.

The odd thing about the letters is, nearly word for word, they are all the same. The really odd thing is, none of the soldiers who supposedly wrote the letters sent them. A Google.com search on "We entered the country at midnight on the 26th of March" (include double quotes) will find some of the letters. A similar Gannett News Service search reveals identical letters from different soldiers in 11 newspapers. When Gannett contacted some of those soldiers, none said they sent the letters, which read in part: "The quality of life and security for the citizens has been largely restored, and we are a large part of why that has happened . . . I am proud of the work we are doing here in Iraq and I hope all of your readers are as well." The only thing missing is "Thank you, Mr. President, for giving me this opportunity, and my you look good, have you lost weight?"

Now, if it were any other administration, one might find all this somewhat suspicious. But fortunately, George W. Bush has restored integrity to the Presidency. By the way, if you go to the Bush re-election website, it contains a Letters to the Editor generator so you can sing his praises to your paper without having to think about the right words to choose. (To be fair, it doesn't contain anything about Iraq.)

Welcome to the Brave New Bush America, where your opinions matter so much, we go ahead and give them to you.

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