Iraq war first-hand: ‘A mess. An absolute mess’

The dwindling few who still, for reasons known only to God or their psychiatrist, support President George W. Bush’s failed invasion if Iraq, continue to claim the situation is not as bad as portrayed by the media.

Which, of course, is nothing more than political wishful thinking. Just ask CNN correspondent John Roberts, who went into Baghdad with the invading U.S. forces three-and-a-half years ago and recently returned to the war-ravaged country for a first-hand look.

"The place is a mess. It’s an absolute mess," Roberts said in an appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources. "There is nowhere you can go in the Baghdad area as a Western journalist without an escort, where you could feel safe from being kidnapped, shot at, whatever. The amount of death that’s on the streets of Baghdad for U.S. forces and for the Iraqi people is at an astronomical level."

The Bush apologists also claim the soldiers actually fighting the war resent the media coverage. Roberts didn’t find resentment.

"You know, they didn’t seem to have too many complaints about the coverage," Roberts said. "They appreciated the fact that we were there, and anytime you’re embedded with U.S. forces, you’re going to see the bad along with the good."

Roberts also found increasing skepticism among soldiers over the purpose of the war.

"They were very optimistic on the unit level about what they were doing," Roberts said.
"When they stepped back, though, and took a look at the larger picture, there were a lot of questions about where the direction was headed, where they were going to go in the future."

Roberts said death is always present on the streets of Baghdad.

"I was out riding with a Stryker unit a couple of days after the election," he said.  "They got the 911 call, an IED attack against an American convoy. This convoy of Humvees had just been driving up the on-ramp on to a highway when one of those formed projectiles hit it. It literally disintegrated the guy in the passenger seat, who was right there where the projectile came through, killed the driver. I watched him die on the roadside."

If anything, Roberts says, the news media is downplaying the level of violence.

"Television can’t — and even print — can’t fully capture the scope of what’s going on in Iraq. And to some degree, too, over the last three-and-a-half years, it’s become the daily traffic report, the daily drumbeat.  When you get there and you see it on a personal level, when you watch somebody die before your eyes, it gives you a much different perspective on it than it does being a half a world away, reading about it or watching it on television. Also, you know, the pictures on television are sanitized compared to what they are on the ground.

"For example, when we came across that IED attack, we did not shoot pictures that we would show on television of the carnage. We showed pictures of people carrying litters, et cetera, because A, it’s too raw for television. B, it’s too personal for the families who were involved, because the fellow who I saw on the ground, he was ripped apart. And that’s just not the sort of thing that you want a family to know.

"If a loved one died in Iraq, they died in Iraq. You don’t need to show them the graphic pictures of it.

"So, to some degree, what we’re seeing is sanitized."

Like Bush says: If you want to know what’s really happening in Iraq, talk to someone who’s been there.

And you just did.

Comments

  1. Miss Grace

    As long as the media keeps “sanitizing” the true conditions, they are failing to do their job — convey the truth to the American people. Some of us remember that during the Vietnam war, the early news coverage was a joke. The only battle scenes aired were those shot from long distances. It wasn’t until we went into Cambodia that the media took the gloves off and began showing the real carnage. Of course, all hell broke loose here at home.

    The cowards we call the news media are no better than Bush and his Evil Axis.

  2. Ted

    With holding (sanitizing) video and/or print of the true carnage in war is a lie by omission and those who engage in the practice are not related to or interested in reality. As long as this tactic is used neither will the citizenry of the USA have a true concept of the reality of war.

    Only when this nation starts dealing with the reality of war rather than the political, military and media fantasies about it will progress and victory prevail.

  3. Why is this always called a “failed invasion”? It’s actually illegal, unconscionable, immoral, and unjustified. Calling it “failed” implies that it was OK to trash Iraq on the basis of lies as long as the trashing was done right. By insisting on “failed,” the media brainwash us into thinking that the invasion itself was OK, but that Bush just didn’t do it right.

  4. Joe Della

    What a disgrace this “war” is to all Americans. God bless those who have died and those ho will carry the scars of battle for the rest of their lives.

    What’s needed is a national effort to reveal the rights media darlings who on a daily basis promote the cause of this President. People like the ultimate phony Sean Hannity need to be revealed for the wrong they do. Their “we’ll hold you jackets while you go fight” approach is indicitive of the wrong approach to the world we live in.

    How much longer can we the people allow this slaughteer of young Americans continue?

  5. Romeo Bravo

    All these posts tell me why this country is RED and will continue to vote Republican for a generation to come (or more.) This election has seen James Webb, RONALD REAGAN’s Secretary of the Navy win and Joe Lieberman who advocates staing in Iraq win!

    What a bunch of snarky little pansies you all are!

  6. J.s. sebastion

    Why can’t you say that people who disagree with you. Why with the words, “.. for reasons known only to God or their psychiatrist”, do you imply that people holding views counter to yours are mental ill? I could call you a fucking asshole for your comments, but that would make me as crude as you.

  7. Gail's Dad

    Gail:
    the description perfectly fits the 31% of Americans who still support the clown in the White House! Unfortunately, my father is in that 31%. I dread his Christmas visit next month and wish that he was not coming.

    Love you too hon.
    Dad

  8. liberpublican

    Iraq is not a failed invasion, it is but one chapter in the war against Islamic Jihad.It would not be near the mess it is if people like you whiners were not traitors to the United States by supporting the vile, evil and fascist jihadiists with your completely juvenile lies and smears. Islam is the most dangerous religion on the planet. They will either kill you or enslave you. They will not tolerate your religion. They will not tolerate homosexuals. They will enslave all women under the rule of men. Is that what you want? Sharia for all? Your ignorance of economics is staggering. The legality of the war is not in question. The UN voted for it and the united states congress voted for it.