Thursday, December 30, 2004

Un-American graffiti

It's one of the hottest new weapons in the U.S. military's war arsenal in Iraq. It can fire an almost non-stop barrage at the push of a button. And it's available for a few bucks at Wal-Mart.

You guessed it: It's spray paint.

When they have a spare moment, U.S. soldiers have taken to covering anti-American graffiti that encourages violence against troops or that seeks to intimidate Christians or potential voters or anyone who doesn't want to join the insurgency. The soldiers try to get shopkeepers and area residents to help them identify the graffiti artists, but everyday Iraqis, fearing retribution from their society's more dangerous elements, generally keep quiet.

The spray-paint operation, of course, is part of the much-hyped "battle for hearts and minds" in Iraq. And just like that battle, the graffiti probably isn't going away any time soon.

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