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April 22, 2004
Spirit Of America

Rather than rewrite the moving explanation of Spirit of America, I'm going to just repost it here. You can donate here. I already have!

US Marines seek to equip seven (7) television stations serving local communities within Al Anbar Province, Iraq. The Province includes the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. These stations will offer information that is more accurate and balanced than existing alternatives. The goal is to improve understanding between Americans and Iraqis, build trust and reduce tensions.

Current TV news in Iraq often carries negative, highly-biased accounts of the U.S. presence. Unanswered, its effect is to stoke resentment and encourage conflict. The Marines seek to ensure the Iraqi people have access to better, more balanced information. By equipping local television stations and providing the ability to generate news and programming, the Marines will create a viable news alternative - one owned and operated by local Iraqi citizens.

The donated equipment will be the property of the Iraqi stations. The stations can create their own news and choose their own programming with the agreement that they will prohibit airing of anti-coalition messages that incite the local population. The stations also agree to sell airtime at a fair market price so that the Marines can communicate their information efficiently and quickly when needed.

For example, images were recently broadcast of a mosque in Fallujah damaged during fighting. With these stations the Marines could have provided the full picture by airing video of combatants firing on them from the mosque grounds. These stations would have enabled Iraqis to understand the complete picture. News of reconstruction projects and humanitarian assistance that balances the news of conflict will also be provided on these stations. The stations will be free to criticize the Coalition.

The Marines say, "this was started with the idea that information is key to success. It builds greater knowledge, understanding and ultimately, trust." They add, "As Operation Iraqi Freedom carries on, this venture becomes more and more important. The lack of accurate news reports during this rebuilding phase undercuts the good work being performed throughout the majority of Iraq. Instead, news is being passed by word of mouth and becomes more and more distorted as the tales are retold. It is essential to success of the Marine Corps' mission in Iraq that the Iraqi people understand our sincerest desires to help them rebuild their country and lay the foundation for a viable and free democratic society."

Use of Donations, 100% Goes to Requests

We are a 501c3 nonprofit and your donation is tax deductible. 100% of all donations for this request, net of credit card processing fees (approx. 3%) will be used for the purchase and shipping of the television studio equipment and programming requested by the Marines including digital camcorders, personal computers, video editing software and related gear (click here for a complete list) Spirit of America does not deduct any fees for overhead or administration - those expenses are funded separately. Any funds donated in excess of those needed to buy the requested equipment will be used to support expansion of this request (i.e., buy equipment for other stations) or to directly support other requests made by Americans serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Project accounting on this request will be posted on our blog within two weeks after any substantial shipping of goods to Iraq. Click here for an example of past project accounting.

I've added Spirit of America to my blogroll -- make sure you visit often and donate when you can! Via Bill from INDC Journal, who joined via Dean Esmay. Nice work, guys.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 22, 2004 6:04 PM

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