"Identical letters claiming to be from different U.S. soldiers describing successes in Iraq were sent to newspapers around the country and soldiers whose names appeared on those letters admit they did not write them and some say they were ordered by their superiors to sign their names.
(Ye olde Nuremburg defence. That and the "I don't want to end up in Camp X-ray" defence.)
Identical letters from different soldiers with the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment have appeared in 11 newspapers so far and have been sent to many more, a check with newspaper editors around the country reveals.
In Olympia, Washington, The Olympian newspaper received two identical letters signed by different hometown soldiers: Spc. Joshua Ackler and Sgt. Alex Marois. The paper decided not to run either after discovering they were form letters.
(Flashback to a day or two ago ... "President Bush accused the media of filtering out the good news stories from Iraq.")
The five-paragraph letter tells glowing stories about soldiers' efforts to re-establish police and fire departments, and build water and sewer plants in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where the unit is based.
It describes people waving at passing troops and children running up to shake their hands and say thank you.
No sign at all, at all of unglowing reports where people are not shaking hands and saying thank you ... "The latest fatality brings to 97 the number of US soldiers killed in attacks in Iraq since President George W Bush declared major combat operations over on May 1."
"The quality of life and security for the citizens has been largely restored, and we are a large part of why that has happened," the letter reads.
Six soldiers reached by Gannett News Service directly or through their families admitted they did not write the letters. One said he didn't even sign the letter that bore his name.
(Excuse me if I am a tad sceptical about any signed confessions that might emanate from Guantanamo Bay.)
Marois, 23, told his family he signed the letter, but Moya Marois, his stepmother. said he was puzzled why it was sent to the newspaper in Olympia. He attended high school in Olympia but no longer considers the city home, she said. Moya Marois and Alex's father, Les, now live near Kooskia, Idaho.
A seventh soldier didn't know about the letter until his father congratulated him for getting it published in the local newspaper in Beckley, W.Va."
Can't say that Joe Goebbels has made an auspicious start to his new job in the Administration. This would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic. Come back Ari Fleischer, all is forgiven.
The parallels with the Tricky Dicky Nixon era keep on rolling out.