CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Showdown Iraq: U.S. Military to Launch Psychological Campaign
Aired September 30, 2002 - 12:08 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. plans a major psychological offensive aimed at Iraqi troops.
For more on that, let's turn to our CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.
What's that all about -- Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Wolf.
Well, the Pentagon here is now planning, as you said, a major psychological operation against the Iraqi military, specifically targeted at trying to convince Iraqi officers not to fire chemical or biological weapons if a war breaks out.
The idea is to try and convince them through a variety of means that they have everything to lose if they were to follow Saddam Hussein's order and launch those weapons, convincing them that if they disobey those orders, they may have a role in a post-Saddam Iraq. But if they were to fire weapons of mass destruction, then all bets are off.
BLITZER: What about, Barbara, the means of distributing those leaflets? I guess they're getting the means out, the message out in other ways as well. This is a rather sophisticated operation.
STARR: Exactly. The Pentagon, of course, as you know, has been down this road before with psychological operations in Kosovo, in Afghanistan, to try and convince Taliban and al Qaeda to give up.
These kind of leaflets that you are seeing here now, these were used in Afghanistan, dropped from C-130 aircraft onto the general population, trying to convince the people of the country that American troops coming were their friends, that they were going to liberate them, that the American troops had no intention of attacking the people of the country themselves.
You can expect to see this sort of thing in Iraq again -- leaflets aimed at saying that the U.S. military is not at war with the people of Iraq, but that they should not fire chemical or biological weapons, that they would have a role to play. Leaflets will be one way.
Expect to see more public statements from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. We are told there will be covert action under the table that we won't see, that the U.S. will begin approaching members of the Iraqi military to try and convince them -- Wolf. BLITZER: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thanks very much.
I am sure those leaflets, by the way, will also be in Arabic, not in English.
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