Saturday, January 22

Talking points in Tikrit

"Now drop, and give me a 20 second sound bite, you maggot!"

Okay, so the training probably isn't that intense, but Editor and Publisher is reporting that U.S. soldiers bound for Iraq are now getting mandatory media training as part of their deployment preparations, since October. (The Marines apparently have required it for years.)

The training consists of one or two hours of briefings by public-affairs specialists (which is a little shorter than the typical Positive Position seminar, by the way.) Once in the field, soldiers are given "talking points" cards, which might be updated as often as once a week. Some highlights:
• The Marine Corps is trained, resourced, and ready to accomplish its missions. We are committed to the cause and will remain in Iraq as long as we are needed.

• The fight in Iraq is tough, but we will remain steadfast and not lose heart.

• We are moving forward together with the Iraqi government as partners in building a future for the sons and daughters of Iraq.

• Coalition forces will help our Iraqi partners as they build their new and independent country and take their rightful place in the world community.

• Our troopers and their families are our greatest and most treasured resource.

• The Corps is a national institution -- it has never failed to do the will of the American people.
I'm not sure about whether the cards have been in use in Iraq since the beginning. My gut tells me that if they were that prevalent, at least one of the embedded reporters would have broken the story earlier.