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Leaflets and Radio
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Here's a link to images and text for all the leaflets and radio addresses our Military Psy-Ops people are dropping and broadcasting to Iraqis.

It's pretty interesting. For example, here's one warning Iraqis to not repair fiber optic cables. Below pics of planes bombing fiber optic cables there's a cartoon pic of Saddam Hussein holding a Iraq, depicted as a green glob.

Now then, the CIA World Factbook estimates the literacy of the adult Iraqi population at around 58% (though it's probably lower than that since the estimates were made).

That means that about half of the adult Iraqi population can't read. If so, do you think the images in the leaflets actually transcend the communication barrier? I'm no expert, to be sure...those Psy Ops people do this for a living, but many of the leaflets seem pretty squirrely to me.

Now, there are many that simply show radio towers, while listing frequencies for Iraqis to listen to. We're broadcasting lots of stuff around the country as well, which is probably much more effective (though does anyone know the estimated number of working radios in Iraq? Maybe we should be distributing those as well.)

I just wonder, reflecting on the incident yesterday when 7 women and children were shot by US soldiers at a checkpoint, whether communication was a problem. If the incident actually went down the way it's being reported, they signaled for the van to stop, fired warning shots (which should be a universal mode of communication), shot the engine block, then fired into the interior of the van. Honestly, I think it's too early to tell exactly what happened out there (the soldiers could be much more at fault, for example, than what's being reported...or it could have been deliberate on the part of Iraqis).

But it does raise some interesting communication issues, I think. For example, is the octagonal red stop sign a universal symbol? Is there a universally-recognized symbol for stopping in the Arab world? Are these leaflets really doing any good?

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