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Iraq behind the cameras: a different reality

By maxwell edison ·
Excerpts from the story:

"What Iraq looks like on TV, and what Iraq is like for the 130,000 troops living here, sometimes feels like two different realities."

"Our stories aren't the sexiest," says the 432nd Civil Affairs Brigade commander, Gary Beard. "But what we do will build the success of this country."

"Welcome, welcome to our school," chants a line of 7-year-old girls in Arabic at the Abu Ghuraib Primary School, which the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion took under its wing to restore after it was badly looted postwar.

The now-bright-blue school has new equipment and new electrical wiring that feeds bright bulbs by the teachers' blackboards.

As each soldier walks through the entrance to the official ribbon-cutting, the girls chant louder in Arabic, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Inside, headmistress Ibistam Mahdi cuts a yellow ribbon, and thanks the men through a translator.

"For the 350 girls here, it is a lot better," Mahdi says.

"I go out every day," says 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion Sgt. Bill Belongea. "I have not had to raise my weapon yet. It's not as bad as the media portrays it."

"We've got a lot of good things going on, but when I went home (on leave), people were just like 'We never hear that stuff,' " said Civil Affairs Pvt. Amy Schroeder. "That's what makes the families worry."

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Tiny Link:

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In the end, the naysayers will eventually have to admit the success of operation Iraqi Freedom.

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First naysayer I suppose?

by Oz_Media In reply to Iraq behind the cameras: ...

I assume you are referring to me as one of the "naysayers".

You have posted similar positive information to prove that Iraq is being liberated with the intent that those who opposed the war will be red faced at the result.

The need for Liberation in Iraq I don't think has EVER been questioned. There was also no doubt that eventually this would be achieved, I have never myself said that Saddam should be left in power. My opposition is to the way that the war was justified by misleading the public and then turned around by misleading the public once again as the whole focus was was never on WMD but Liberation, sorry but that was TB's approach not GWB's.

I still stand firm that GWB was wrong in the way he approached this war and I am dumbfounded that so many Americans would still support him after he has been shown as deceptive.

I don't think I've ever doubted that eventually Liberation would be achieved, I still think it is FAR from over yet and the repercussions against the USA will be unfounded in world history to date, I'd say you all have a VERY big kick in the pants coming, whether from Saddam's regime or the Taliban who are said to be already reforming and planning revenge on the USA.

What I don't see taht is said in this story is that Americans are shown the bad side of the war. From what has been reported on US news stations in Canada has been all prety pictures and flag waving victory speeches. I haven't seen hard reality on US TV stations as it is implied, granted I only get maybe 7 or 8 US stations, other than cable networks that seem to be MOSTLY US channels.

Not to detract too much from the hard work on the rebuilt school but when you invade a country, bomb it's buildings and shut down its infrastructure, would you not expect to hear praise (especially from previously frightened children)when thier life is once again restored and these children can once again attend school with thier friends? It will make them feel as if all is well again.

Now as I said, I don't want to detract from the hard work these soldiers have been putting in to rebuilding this country, they are needed there, they are wanted there, they also helped to destroy what was not already in ruin but have accepted the responsibility for rebuilding the destruction as any army would.

This doesn't detract from the original problem with the war it merely clouds the past to view the future sunshine. We all knew there would be a calm AFTER the storm as opposed to before it.

I just think that it is sad that it was started in the way it was and prematurely executed against allied wishes, this is like saying F-O to your friends if they won't support you jumping a guy who is hassling his girlfriend.

Nobody can say if this would have been more successful with greater allied assistance and noone can say it wouldn't it wasn't an option in the Presidents mind so we can only speculate.

Past objectives have proven the success of using an allied force for invasion and liberation in those specific cases though, I think it should have been persued farther.

I don't know who your intended group of naysayers were,I just assume I was one of them but I don't think anyone really feels that this country would not be better off in the long run, just the way it was approached aand the way the President of the United States manipulated the media and his audience by fear to supoprt his intentions.

This also has no bearing as to the meaning of this war NOT being to control Iraqi oil, as that is the entire underlying problem with the sanction breaches to begin with. It was the Oil-for-food program that brought all of this into our lives not the poor repressed Iraqis.

There are other repressive dictators and downtrodden people that have been ignored for much longer than this, why?

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Ozz - your kidding -where are all the negative GWB comments -

by JimHM In reply to First naysayer I suppose?

Ozz - it was expected - you can't make a blind man see - or a deaf man hear... you are both.. We will never agree - on most of your posts ...

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by Oz_Media In reply to Ozz - your kidding -where ...

"you can't make a blind man see - or a deaf man hear... you are both"

Thanks for the sentiment Jim, having such a great day, that helps me no end.

I have pointed out in detail and in the Report to Congress how GWB has mislead to everyone and clouded the real reasons for war, if you are denying it, read again, I didn't write it I just dug up the facts.

How do you then derive that I am blind and deaf? I am willing to look at ALL angles, you are simplified to a single belief that you will supoprt him no matter what, right or wrong, THAT my friend is being blind and deaf to information.

I know quite well all the ******** you have been fed and you admittedly but it, whether you agree or not. You have said yourself that it is your duty to obey and support Bush regardless of his actions or intent, he's not your field commander he is a freakin politician, man, Canadian politicians would KILL for believers like you.

How does that make ME blind?

At least THINK a little before you go flaming me without reason or a leg to stand on Jim, I've been the one who has always tried to see THROUGH his BS and get the real story, YOU are the one who has admitted to simply supporting him no matter what, again, how does that make ME blind?!? Absolutely NO sense whatsoever Jim, NONE.

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As FogHorn Leg would say - "that was a joke son"

by JimHM In reply to

As one of my favorite toons would say - "That was a joke son"... no flame..

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by Oz_Media In reply to As FogHorn Leg would say ...

You better listen up boy, you might learn somethin', I say you better listen up boy...

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Side comment

by TheChas In reply to Iraq behind the cameras: ...


I find it interesting that the soldiers from my area that were home for Thanksgiving had a significantly more pessimistic view of the situation in Iraq than the US national media does.

Now, this could be selective interviewing by the local press.
Still, not one soldier interviewed thought that things are going well in Iraq.

I suspect that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Yes, there are successes and improvements. But, I doubt that they are as widespread as the military (and the Bush Administration) would like us to believe.

Yes, there is dissent among some sectors of the Iraqi population.
It is less prevalent than the press would have us believe. But, is much more prevalent than the administration cares to admit.


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My guess is 10% - 90% (Both ways)

by maxwell edison In reply to Side comment

I would guess that 90% of what's going on in Iraq is good, while 10% is bad. However, I would further guess that 90% of what's being reported is bad, while only 10% of the coverage is telling the good.

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Half way

by Oz_Media In reply to My guess is 10% - 90% (Bo ...

Ok Max, I'll meet you half ay here. I agree whollt with the first 90% - 10% regarding the actual events in Iraq.

I'm not sure about the media showing bad and no good. I really feel it is the other way around.

From what I've read, heard and seen in the media (including TR, magazines, local junk rags, TV reports and local news)is that the media is making everything look quite pretty as always.

That has also been one of my arguments about wartime censorship, although not as restrictive as in WWI or Vietnam, there is still a lot of pretty pictures and successes shown whereas the dead and destroyed are quite well hidden from public view, perhaps even moreso in the US than other counties.

Now if your relating to the other side of the "anti-war" media that is always just talking of atrocities and injustice with no good news or positive messages to share, this is definitely the 90-10 you had mentioned.

The thing I feel many do is follow only one source or a source from only one country/continent. This would obviously create a bias whether for or against the actions.

I know that you like to view many sides although you do have a bias toward Republican reports especially when they oppose another 'untrusted' source. You know I do the exact same thing on the other side side.

Many people don't see both sides or contrary facts, they haven't had conversations that entail the depth and fact finding that TR discussion often do. They will generally buy into a single news source or find themselves just being like minded with friends with no real idea as to why, (here we go again) "like sheep".

So here's another rare occasion where we agree or at least see some common ground, perhaps there's hope for us yet.

I really do try to make an effort to see your pont of view, but as we've both said before there are good days and there are days where I'd like to eat people, unfortunatly we often gently tap each others sarcasm buttons a bit and see who will bite hardest first.

I'm sure everyone's getting tired of us by now anyhow!


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Logistics ...

by jardinier In reply to Iraq behind the cameras: ...

I was actually considering starting a discussion titled: "Report from Iraq," the theme being that with an area of 170,000 square miles, a population of more than 20 million people, and (from your report) 130,000 occupation troops, how logistically impossible it would be to get a balanced view of what is happening in all of Iraq.

However many reporters there may be in Iraq, each would only get to see small areas, and overall most of the country would receive no covereage whatsoever.

In such a huge and diverse area, reporters would be looking for "a story." Whether it was a nice story or a nasty story would largely depend on where the reporter would happen to be at any given time. Similarly which individual troops, or individual Iraqis might be interviewed, would be on a very random basis.

By the nature of the "beast," I doubt that indivual reporters would be specifically looking for nasty stories. A common term in journalism is "human interest stories," meaning mainly stories about simple events in the lives of ordinary people, as a diversion from the general negativity of actual news events. [Similar to the one you have used as a basis for this discussion].

I would therefore suggest that bias in the media would come from management level. Perhaps some radical media might issue an order: "Make Bush look bad -- make it look as bloody as possible."

Currently I can't see what advantage any mass media would have in focusing mainly on negative reports, unless that is what they thought would appeal most to their viewers (readers).

I am quite convinced that the public in general prefer to see violence, because it gives them an adrenalin rush.

This being said, I would hope very much that the media presentation is biased towards the negative, because this would indicate that the reality is far more positive.

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Regarding public prefer to see violence...

by tr_member In reply to Logistics ...

...not so in my case :-)

In my younger days could watch all that stuff...but as age mellows me, I can barely stand tragedies, car accidents, school shootings, kidnappings....VIOLENCE.

I watch the news part of it, and am not gung-ho about the analysis part of the violence. I will not be glued to the TV entire day watching some poor people being bombed. Come to think of it, I would not like to see some rich people being killed either.

That is when food network or home-garden TV kicks in :-))))

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