Friday, July 29, 2005

new pictures and video

I have posted two video clips at Boots In Baghdad Films and am working on getting more up.

New pictures have been posted at Boots In Baghdad Photographs.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thursday, July 14, 2005

thoughts on the press

We went out this morning and did school assessments. School assessments consist of going to the schools in our area and seeing what they need, whether it be supplies or increased security. We have been joined by an Iraqi television journalist. He is a nice guy and will be with us for a few days. A couple of days ago we went into some of the poorer parts of our area and handed out several hundred chickens. There are pictures at Boots In Baghdad Photographs.

I have a program on this web page that allows me to see which links direct traffic to my site. When I have the time I like to browse through them. A lot of them are forums discussing various topics in and around the war on terror and the situation in Iraq. A few days ago I came across an online forum hosted by an American university that was discussing the role of American journalists in Iraq.

There were many differing opinions offered. One was that for a journalist to be objective when reporting international events, they couldn’t regard themselves as American citizens, only as citizens of the world. That may very well be the case. I don’t necessarily think that to be objective you need to go quite that far.

I can be very critical of the United States when it is deserved. However, I love America. While it isn’t perfect, I believe it is closer to perfection than any other nation or civilization has been or will ever be. In all that I do, the best for the American people and the United States is my primary concern. This holds true in my thoughts and opinions regarding Iraq. I think in this instance it just so happens that what is good for America is good for Iraq. That, however, is a whole other post.

I don’t have a problem with how a journalist chooses to regard, or disregard for that matter, their nation and their countrymen. I do however feel that there is a HUGE void in western journalism. Bad things happen here. There isn’t any denying that. However, good things, great and incredible things, are happening every day. If objectivity were the goal, why is there so little mention of the good? Now, I am by no means an expert in journalism, but I would think that reporting the good in proportion with the bad would be the key to objectivity.

By only reporting the bad, an entirely different picture of the situation is created. The disservice isn’t so much to the United States as it is to the people of Iraq and the rest of the world. Perhaps a journalist's loyalty to the U.S. isn’t where objectivity is threatened, maybe it is the loyalty to better ratings and career advancement that are the problems.

So, I guess I hope that as the Iraqi media follows the path of the western press, they don’t follow step by step.

Just a thought.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


We have been doing a lot of the same old stuff lately. Patrols, Guard Shifts and QRF (quick reactionary force) shifts. As we near the end of our tour, less than eighty days now, I am doing more and more self reflecting on what I am going to do when I get home as well as what we have accomplished thus far. I think there are several things that need to change and many things that can’t change in order for there to be success here in Iraq. I continue to passionately believe that the successful implementation of democracy in Iraq is absolutely necessary for the preservation of freedom and democracy in the United States. In the coming weeks I will dabble into various issues and plan on releasing more in-depth opinion on the matter once I return home. My reasons for waiting are obvious.

I have been working with the Iraqi soldiers consistently at one of their gates which secures the outer perimeter of our base. It is an incredible opportunity to get to know the Iraqi soldiers and what life is like for them. The other night, SGT Hawker and I had a long and insightful conversation with one of our translators. This translator speaks excellent English and is extremely well schooled in western literature and politics.

In our discussion I brought up the talks going on between the U.S. and Iraqi governments regarding amnesty for insurgents. He brought to our attention that the The Iraq Observer, a nationwide newspaper here in Iraq, reported a little over a week ago that somewhere around seventy-five insurgents who had confessed to killing Iraqi soldiers and civilians as well as American soldiers were released and set free. I have been unable to find any coverage of this in western media. If any of you have seen any coverage of this please post any information you may have as well as thoughts or insights on the comment board.

In the right sidebar I have posted a couple of news articles that provide further information on issues I have discussed, specifically Syria’s support for terrorism in Iraq. Also, there is a link to an article by Kenneth Pollack, who I regard as THE expert on Mid East policy. I encourage you to check out the articles as well as the Saban Center for Middle East Policy web page for further information. The link is also located in the right sidebar.

Tonight I was sitting with an Iraqi soldier when he began telling me about getting shot by an insurgent. He remembered laying on the operating table and the doctor telling him, “When you wake up, you might not have your leg.” He said when he woke up and saw he still had his leg he began to cry. The doctor and the nurse joined him in tears of relief.

By the time he had finished another soldier had joined us. They discussed the loved ones they had lost to the insurgency and told me of a more recent attack on some Iraqi soldiers. Then he looked at me and said, “these insurgents worship the same God that I do, they speak the same language that I do. You worship a different God, speak a different language, and come from the other side of the world. Yet, despite our differences you and your friends are here to help me and my family, while these insurgents try to kill me and my family.”

We all sat there silently pondering his statement. I thought of how in a couple months I would be leaving here, traveling thousands of miles away and decades ahead, to a place where freedom and comfort are so constant they are seldom acknowledged. These soldiers and the people they protect will remain here. For them this fight will last many more years. They will all make many more sacrifices. Their faces, their personalities, their stories and their families will stay with me forever.

I am going to post more frequently from now on. I will be commenting more and more on policy issues regarding Iraq and will continue to share personal experiences. There are some new pictures at Boots in Baghdad Photographs. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to post any video to Boots in Baghdad Films anytime soon. I have tried several times, however, with the state of our internet connections it just isn’t practical. Once I return home I will post dozens of video clips.

As always, thank you for your endless support.