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

By Doug Thompson
November 27, 2006

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.

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

  1. Miss Grace

    November 27, 2006 at 9:55 pm

    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

    November 27, 2006 at 11:59 pm

    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. Rice Farmer

    November 28, 2006 at 1:58 am

    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. Gerald Sutliff

    November 28, 2006 at 6:06 am

    Thank you Doug.
    Some things never change “The Big Parade” goes on seemly without end.

  5. Joe Della

    November 28, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    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?

  6. Romeo Bravo

    November 30, 2006 at 1:53 am

    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!

  7. J.s. sebastion

    November 30, 2006 at 3:11 am

    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.

  8. Gail's Dad

    November 30, 2006 at 4:32 am

    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

  9. liberpublican

    November 30, 2006 at 7:09 am

    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.

  10. bryan mcclellan

    November 27, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    Those responsible,the cabal that put us in I-WREAK,should be jambed in an unarmored hummer and set loose in bagdad.How quickly would we hear mission accomplished,with cheney riding shotgun and our fearless leader cowering under the dashboard???Sanitized? Whitewash seems to be a more accurate description of what has taken place the last six years. 3rd/11th/ACR,RVN

  11. Charlie Couser

    November 27, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    Isn’t imperialistic democracy grand?

    Yes sir! Watching your country being destroyed and your family being slaugtered is something every Iraqi is DYING to support!

    Instead of meeting with Prime Minister Maliki in Jordan, why doesn’t the ‘Dumbya’ go to what’s left of Iraq, and let the Iraqi people tell him first hand what they think of his plans for their oil?

    But no, the COWARD-IN-CHIEF would never do that. He knows where he’s not wanted!!

    IMPEACH George W. Bush and Dick Cheney!!

    May God Save the USA!!

  12. angie coder

    November 27, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    Wost president ever his legacy death, destruction ,and debt the man and his administration are all time losers, they have made a mess of this beautifull country

  13. california rick

    November 27, 2006 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks for this RANT Doug. I hope that your message finally opens the eyes of the willingly unseeing and for trying getting us all to see the same thing and getting us all on the same page.

    Your use of a named source in this piece should stop your distractors – whose first complaint about your RANTS is always unnamed sources.

    Your RANT is very important for EVERY AMERICAN to read and absorb, and the time is NOW! to get out of Iraq and let the Bush Administration lick their bruised egos.

  14. John Hanks

    November 27, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    Every war is a perfect example of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. Even our war on Grenada had plenty of right reasons.

    The truth is that wars are never fought for a nation, but rather for a nation within a nation – crooks who want to extend or protect their rackets at the public’s expense.

    Iraq has been and continues to be a tremendous success. The oil companies are flushed with profits. The heroin trade is humming along in afghanistan, weapons are selling to all sides at a brisk pace, and the oldest con of all (construction) is thriving.

    Even our soldiers are happy to have strangers tell them that they are “thankful for their service”.

    The war on terror is our ultimate money pit, and God how we love it so.

  15. anthny

    November 27, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    The thing is we need to stay the course for the oil companys. The big rulers of the UnUnited States are only in it for the money and they have to go for broke. Which means that the price of oil will go up and we as a nation will be going down. They care less for the boys on the front line of this oil war. The bottom line is that if we leave the middle east we leave the oil behind. The oil is to stop the Chinese and Russia’s from getting there hands on it. And being a ten to twenty year program we will not be getting out of Iraq unless someone creates an alternative fuel for us to run our country on.
    The only way out of this delemma is to put a strong Independent or Green party in the run for President. And I’m not sure if this would work either. The whole mess is almost complete and total. And getting rid of the two party dictatorship will not be easy at all. These guys are truly embedded in our system of things from the President on down to local governments.
    I’ve also read that if the private company called the Federal Reserve is terminated from our system, we might have a good chance of stopping the coming FASCIST RULE.
    First the country needs to know they are being ruled from outside sources that have been inside since the Wilson regime. And I call these regime’s because they have run the country for there own benifit.
    So ignorance of our surroundings of a owingship society where we are taxed to death. If what Reagan’s vision of the city on the hill was true he would have gotton rid of his so called advisors and established a true republic. But I’ve gone over the edge here and lost sight of what the orginal article was about. If Iraq survives as a nation I will be surprised.

  16. TRUTH 101

    November 27, 2006 at 6:47 pm

    Imagine; general tommy Franks and civilian Paul Bremer both received the nation’s HIGHEST honor for preaching the Bush / Cheney party line to anyone and everyone that would listen.

    These two self distinguished Americans on the military and civilian front were the first to insure that this UNHOLY MESS was createdto insure that we WOULD have to stay their for as long as it took to secure whatever it was we wanted to control. First it was the oil for the oil companyies, that to largely be managed by Mr. cheney from his “blind trust” position at the White house. Then there was KBR and Halliburton, also connected to the vice president (appropriate name in this case) for receiving unsolicited, (in some cases)non-competitive, no bid sole source contracts that when an honored multi-year employee at GSI and Corps of Engineers said, this is wrong, she was dismissed.

    And the sheepole remained silent. That silence was honored with even more excursions into illegal activities.

    Then katrina struck and Michael brown and Michael Chertoff insured that New orleans and the entire giulf was well taken care of in a complete and utter blitz of red tape and insanity that more than a year later still remains unsolved….and a lot of trash still not picked up.

    A scaprgoat was needed in this diversionary blessing for our MEN in the Big House so Michael youyr doin a heck of a job Brownie had to be sacrificed. Still he remained on the “payroll” as a consultant. Chertoff slinked quietly away to his hole making appearances over Bush’s right shoulder only during necessary photo ops.

    Then just as we thought it might be safe to fly again and enjoy it, along comes the “plot” to blow-up airlines, thrust upon London and soon enough on the American people to further enhance the “hell of a job” everyone in DC was doing.

    Amazing this type attention wasn’t given to the Original much more OBVIOUS plot to come AKA as 9/11.

    HMMM!!

    So for all Americans who have the sense of any limited reason at all…THIS QUESTION !!

    When will you have had enough of this madness and take those really responsible to task for all of it. ????

  17. LesserFool

    November 27, 2006 at 8:27 pm

    And maybe if more of our “leaders” had their children fighting in this war, they would be returning home to tell mommy and daddy about the reality of war; or maybe return in a body bag.

    Bush and all the other blood-lusting warmongers are too detached from the reality of the situation, notwithstanding their claims to the contrary.

    How could Bush sympathize with soldiers? He’s never gotten anywhere near a battle field.

  18. Gail

    November 27, 2006 at 9:40 pm

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

    I love that – 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.