The American strategy in Iraq requires the population’s trust. And few things underscore the work left to be done in that arena like a persistent rumor that, say, Americans peek through women’s clothing with X-ray sunglasses or that U.S. troops eat children.
“When you hear these you can’t do anything but laugh. They are so far away from the truth,” said 2-82nd Capt. Matthew Kuhn. “You laugh but then you think about it and after the initial shock the soldier has to worry about countering and overcoming these stories.”
Of course, not all Iraqis believe such fanciful tales, U.S. soldiers said. The outrageous stories find the most fertile ground among the uneducated and poor, they said. But with the mass exodus of the Iraqi middle class, an increased percentage of the remaining population is likely to be unschooled and susceptible to the distortions.
Among the stories:
n U.S. troops eat children
n U.S. servicemembers use Â poison-tainted bullets
n Americans peek through womenâ€™s Â clothing with X-ray sunglasses
n Americansâ€™ berets are dyed with blood
n Americans have a â€œcold pillâ€ that they Â take so they do not get too hot in their gear