WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is taking unusual step of trying to prevent further attacks on its troops by launching a comprehensive media campaign.
The effort will raise awareness among Iraqis about the dangers of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which have become the lethal weapon of choice for the nation's insurgent fighters.
The Defense Department's Joint IED Defeat Task Force is still organizing the $7.7 million campaign and could not say which firm will handle the outreach. But PAO Nicole Vannatter said the campaign "will be an Iraqi-led effort, using an Iraqi company."
Around 50% of the injuries and deaths of US troops in Iraq come from the use of IEDs by insurgents. An even larger number of Iraqis are injured and killed by these devices, which run the gamut from simple wire-detonated roadside bombs to more sophisticated weapons detonated in vehicles by radio control.
"This media campaign is intended to educate Iraqi citizens about IEDs to help them protect themselves and their families, and it will include audio, video, and print materials to communicate this important information," said US Army Brigadier General Joseph Votel, director of the Joint IED Defeat Task Force.
This is the first time that the task force has launched a communications initiative targeted at Iraqis. The task force, which has a communications staff of four, was created in 2003 in response to the growing number of US casualties caused by IEDs.
"The Joint IED Defeat Task Force is charged with leading Department of Defense efforts to combat the IED threat to our forces and the Iraqi people," Votel said.