It is interesting how a banknote was used as a propaganda tool (also known as PSYOP – Psychological Operations). I began to wonder if something like this did make a difference to the Iraqi soldiers as it seems this propaganda note and others with different messages were extensively used and dropped in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.
Based on the research I have done it seems they did have a big impact.
I understand approximately 29 million leaflets (29 tons) were dropped in Kuwaiti Theater of Operations by balloon and into Ariel leaflet bombs.
Along with this note (see approximate translation below – albeit I have 2 different versions, so I am giving both as my Iraqi is very rusty!)
The basic leaflet themes were surrender (12.4 million), inevitability of defeat (6.6 million) abandon equipment and flee(1.9 million) Saddam is to blame (4.7) and other (3.5 million).
From what I understand and learnt – 98% of enemy prisoners of war interviewed had seen Coalition leaflets. 88% believed the leaflet message. 70% said that the leaflet message influenced their decision to defect.
I also learnt that of the several different notes printed with the writing (or cartoon parodies on the back) that they were actually printed in 2 different countries. It appears that Saudi Arabia who printed some of the notes were not comfortable with making high quality notes and making them too clear, so they printed all their notes a little fuzzy. However, the other notes were printed in Turkey and it seems that some of the notes they printed were fuzzy, but not all. The notes I have do seem a little fuzzy to me (or maybe I am doing this too early in the morning) so I can conclude (not comprehensively that these notes were printed in Saudi Arabia).
Some of the notes issued for this PYSOP were clearly written as Safe Conduct Passes and others were strictly as propaganda. What I could not ascertain was whether the propaganda notes also could/were used as Safe Conduct Passes too. My thought and research I believe they probably were, so one could also categorize these as Safe Conduct Passes as well.
For me, banknotes are just so interesting and there are so many aspects to them. Whilst one can state “this note is not a real banknote,” I think it is an amazing piece of history and an interesting use of a banknote to spread propaganda and to “encourage” the enemy to surrender.
One translation I found:
There is no difference between your money and this piece of paper. Worthless money is plentiful in the land and the deprivation is spreading. No remedy is in sight. The suffering is spreading. There is no nourishment, but there is filth. There is no water or soap to be found. The darkness has settled. The electricity is out. You are in distress. You have needs but your wife is not with you. You are afraid of Saddam but you do not disobey. You are in imminent danger of death but have no plan to change it. Oh people of Iraq, you still have the power to do something but you are sitting in your houses. Oh soldiers, Oh civilians, Oh elders, Oh youth, Oh women, Oh men! The time has come for you to respond to the call of duty. Rise up and flood the streets and alleys for the overthrow of Saddam and supporters.
Second translation I was told about:
IRAQIS! There is no difference between your currency and this piece of paper. Worthless money abounds in your land and the depravity increasing, with no remedy in sight. The suffering continues, there is no food, but dirt is all over. There is no soap or water. The darkness surrounds all. The electrical power is cut off, you are in dire straits, you have sexual urges and needs, but your women are not with you. You fear Saddam, but do not disobey. Death can be immediate and you can do nothing. WOE the Iraqis … soldiers, civilians, old people, youth, women and men. The time has come for you to rise up and come into the streets and alleyways for the overthrow of Saddam and his patrons.
I will let you decide or read and translate for yourself.