Media don't share Marines' view of Iraq
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  1. #1

    Cool Media don't share Marines' view of Iraq

    Media don't share Marines' view of Iraq

    One does not sense that members of the military share the belief so widespread in the press and Congress that the Iraq war is going very badly.
    By Mona Charen

    I don't know if the war in Iraq is ultimately unwinnable, but what I do know makes me skeptical of those who say so.

    I do know that since Vietnam, liberals have viewed every exercise of American military power (with the exception of those undertaken by Bill Clinton) as preludes to disaster. The very first question Ronald Reagan was asked at his first presidential press conference concerned El Salvador. The question: Did he think it was going to turn into another Vietnam? Democrats invoked Vietnam with every other sentence during the controversy about aiding the resistance in Nicaragua. More recently, just days into the Afghanistan war, The New York Times ran a front-page lament calling that conflict a new "quagmire."

    Liberals seem always to believe that America will lose its wars, and when it doesn't, that it should.

    It is obviously deeply painful to contemplate the more than 2,000 American dead, and many others gravely injured in Iraq. And charities like Fisher House ( welcome concrete demonstrations of Americans' concern for military families. But one does not sense that members of the military share the belief so widespread in the press and Congress that the Iraq war is going very badly and that the original decision to fight was a mistake.

    One Marine, Sgt. Todd Bowers, who did two tours in Iraq, described the attitude of many press types. "They didn't want to talk to us." Why? I asked. "Because we were gung-ho for the mission."

    In his first tour, he noticed that members of the press were reluctant to photograph Iraqis laughing, giving the thumbs up sign, or cheering. Yet Bowers saw plenty that would have made fine snapshots. In Baghdad, Al Kut and Al-Nasiriyah, Bowers reported no signs of anti-American feeling at all among Iraqis.

    Fallujah, of course, was different, as the city was a hotbed of terrorism, and the battle of Fallujah was one of the fiercest engagements of the war. He was asked what he thought of the destruction. Bowers responded that it was "Incredible, overwhelming. But it definitely had to be done." He also stressed that because the enemy had fought so dirty, tough calls had to be made. Later, he saw himself quoted in newspapers around the country to the effect that the destruction was "overwhelming" as if he could not cope.

    There was plenty of progress to report, if the press had been interested. When the battle of Fallujah was over, the Marines set up a humanitarian relief station in an abandoned amusement park. Together with Iraqis locally hired and trained for the purpose and with an assist from the Iraqi ministry of the interior, they distributed rice, flour, medical supplies, baby formula, and other necessities to thousands of Iraqis. For six weeks, Bowers reports, the distribution went beautifully, "like a well-oiled machine." Not worth a story, apparently. Only when something went wrong did the press see something worth reporting. A small group of Iraqis were turned away from the food distribution point, though they had been waiting in line for hours. They were given vouchers and told they could come to the front of the line the next morning when supplies would be replenished. These few unhappy souls were then besieged by press types eager to tell their story.

    At the same site, the Marines had repaired an old Ferris wheel. The motor was dead, but when two Marines pushed and pulled by hand they could get the thing turning to give rides to the children of the Iraqi employees. A U.S. photographer watched impassively. "Why don't you take a picture of this?" demanded one Marine. The photographer snorted, "That's not my job."

    Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C. Her e-mail address is


  2. #2
    Guest Free Member
    A U.S. photographer watched impassively. "Why don't you take a picture of this?" demanded one Marine. The photographer snorted, "That's not my job."
    There was television media coverage of the ferris wheel repairs. I don't know if it was on the same day as what the article desribed.

    From the Associated Press Television News archives:
    Wide shot of children riding in ferris wheel
    Close up of children in ferris wheel
    Various of children waiting to go on ride
    US Marines walking though park, children on ride in background
    Mid shot of children on ride
    Marine playing with children
    Various of children on park rides
    Marine talking to children and showing them photos of his own children
    Close up of photos of his children
    SOUNDBITE: Lieutenant Buster O'Brien, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines:
    "When we first got here there was anti-aircraft gun here, there was some grenades here and the park was pretty much in disarray, just been kind of left to be during the thirty days or longer that the war was going on. So we came here and we took the weapons out of the area, the Seabees (Navy Construction Brigade) came in, did a great job painting things, working on it. We had some guys come over and give them security for it. And we did it because we wanted to bring this place back to normalcy, get the people involved, try and get some fun, bring some smiles back to the kids and it has been a big hit the past couple of Fridays."
    Park owner giving candy to children as they enter park
    SOUNDBITE: (Arabic) Jamal Fadil, Park Owner:
    ''In truth, everything was very expensive at that time because the citizens could not afford entertainment. Added to that, the previous government did not take care of the amusement parks and public gardens to let children be happy as we see now.''
    Mothers and children sitting on bench in park
    Mothers seen on other side of park ride watching children enjoying themselves
    Children riding park ride
    Wide shot of children on ride

  3. #3

    again noted

    I have seen these types of goings on personally. The Iraqi people showing the military respect and very happy that we were there. Welcoming us into theior towns and lending a hand towards the relief efforts that went on. The smiles of the childern when recieving candy and drinks from the Marine around me and myself getting bags of candy sent from the States for this purpose. The conversations that was held between myself and teh Iraqi workers duiring the hot daylight hours will remain priceless. Yet none of this was ever reported or photographed because it " wasn't " news worthy. Even though there was News cameras everwhere this never hit the HEADLINES but when a Military member had made a mistake, no matter how small, it was printed. If a Marine said something it was " misinterpitated " or deliberately written to suit those writng the story. So many days went by when the smiles never faded, even during mortar attacks while working with the Iraqi people. I can't begin to tell you how many attacks I lived through because of an Iraqi pointing out that something blew up or thought that he heard something. The help we gave them was returned by the help they gave us and the respect was mutual. most of the Iraqi I worked with had served in the Iraqi Army, forced labor, and I found out about the torure that they went through and was shown the scares that were left behind so that they could remember it as well. I even talked to a News reporter about it and the Iraqi, Ali and Udia, even got interviewed. But when he stated how happy he was that America was there, and was dealing with the Government and the insurgents left there, doing what was the right thing to do for the Iraqi never got printed nor did it get ran on any station. Instead the News was reported that we were knee deep in S#%$ and wanted to leave. We lived through attacks of all kinds. We were there helping the Iraqi. Some were Friends and others were just well intending people of Iraq. There is a great indebtness that I found from the Iraqi that was there towards America.

    So eat S#$& to the Michael Moores' and Cindy S. s' of America. The CNN networks and all the News stations that boldly lie to the American Public. To the reporters only looking for the negative and looking over the positive can have a handful of S$%^ as well. The lives lost over there were worth the cost of the freedom to the Iraqi, and they lost much more lives than we did.

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