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Penn pens an Iraq trip explanation

May 31, 2003|Robert W. Welkos

Actor Sean Penn took out a full-page advertisement in Friday's New York Times to defend his trip to Baghdad last winter and to raise questions about America's military intervention in Iraq.

Under the headline "Kilroy's Still Here," Penn's 4,000-word open letter claims that following his trip to Baghdad in December (at the invitation of Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy), the actor was "hit by a tidal wave of media misrepresentation and even accusations of treason," although he had made no comments in Baghdad "against our government."

"I experienced firsthand the repressive condition of public debate in our country, as it prepared for war," Penn wrote.

The actor's spokeswoman, Mara Buxbaum, declined to say how much he paid to have the essay published. A full-page political advertisement in the Times can cost as much as $139,000.

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