Military turns to YouTube to promote war


The US military is now posting video clips on YouTube showing US troops in combat and insurgents being bombed in a "boots on the ground" perspective of the Iraq war, officials said Monday.

Multi-National Forces Iraq created a "channel" on the popular video sharing website in March to show the clips, which often capture the intensity of combat while generally showing US troops in a positive light.

Pentagon spokesmen were unable to explain what the military hopes to accomplish with the "MNFIRAQ" channel, but it appeared to be part of a push by to find new ways to gain support for a deeply unpopular war.

"This is a specific effort to get information out about Iraq," said Colonel Gary Keck, a Pentagon spokesman.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said he thought airing video clips of combat on YouTube was "a good idea."

"Because it’s important sometimes to be able to get … images out that are going to portray a fuller picture of what’s going on on the battlefield.

The brief, slice-of-life-and-death videos carry titles like "More Fighting in Baqubah," "Battle on Haifa Street," "’Soft Knock’ Search in Baghdad," and "Counter Mortar Operation."

One shows US troops helping the victim of a car bombing, another returning a freed hostage to his family.

Soldiers fire their weapons at unseen combatants in some shots, and run through smoke-filled streets in others. But in most, death remains somewhere beyond the frame.

"MNF-I established this YouTube channel to give viewers around the world a ‘boots on the ground’ perspective of Operation Iraqi Freedom from those who are fighting it," a statement posted on the channel said.

"Video clips document action as it appeared to personnel on the ground and in the air as it was shot," it said. ""We will only edit video clips for time, security reasons and for over disturbing or offensive images."

In "Counter Mortar Operation," viewers are presented with an aerial view of six insurgents who are said to be firing a mortar, then breaking it down, and piling into their car to escape.

They speed down a country road, seemingly unaware they are being watched. A missile is then seen entering the frame, followed by a fiery explosion.

"Coalition air power destroys vehicle, mortar and insurgents," a caption reads.

Typical of the emailed reactions to the clip, which the website says has been viewed more than 39,000 times, was one signed dboy4ever:

"Die terrorists and people who sympathize with them. You messed with the wrong country," he wrote.

Sometimes viewers take away a different message.

"I am sure the Iraqi freedom fighters don’t like that the American terrorists are on their turf. I guess that’s why u’ll never win this war," wrote Lleuwelynn in response to another combat video.


  1. geyser

    The Military using YouTube for enlistment is selling war on the cheap. Instead of hiring a Madison Ave Ad firm, all they needed was a soldier with a Camera Phone. They have to be careful not to release any pictures of Torture, Harrassment, or Joy Killing. Other places to avoid, the comfortable living quarters with ample Water and Electricity, Laundry Service and the Grade A Food being served.
    It’s just about a perfect vacation spot, just ask the 3,300 that have gone home, permanently.

    Taking One Day at a Time

  2. Steve Horn

    Apparently they’re going to try and increase the odds of a soldier getting that money shot – the pentagon has indicated they’re going to send another 35,000 over to Iraq starting this fall –

    So just how many lives are we willing to trade for a gallon of cheap oil??



  3. KayInMaine

    …the military is selling Bush’s illegal occupation by editing footage to make us look like we’re winning this occupation! Sick. Of course, at the same time they’re doing this, the military is actively squashing the voice of their soldiers by not allowing them to form a blog to talk about their experiences. Well, I suppose it’s good propaganda to be telling your soldiers that they’re fighting for American’s right while taking the very rights they’re fighting for away from the soldiers.

    It’s this same irony that has Halliburton setting up shop in Dubai so it can continue to do business with our enemy: Iran. “Look! A birdie! Nice birdie! Isn’t she pretty!”. Yep, a “look over there” charlatan monkey, so Americans (soldier or citizen) can’t see the reality of what is really happening. Disgusting.

  4. Mal Rider

    The military is using You Tube to show what American troops are doing in Iraq?

    How dare they show such propaganda. I mean, the MSM does such a fair & balanced job of it, why would You Tube show U.S. troops engaged in their daily routine when what we need more of is reporting of the American death toll in Iraq.

    Who gives a FVck about what the guys are actually doing on a daily basis. I mean, remembering them in death is one thing, but who wants to acknowledge their bravery in life?


  5. Steve Horn

    I’ve got a friend who was in Iraq for a year – if the goal of YouTube is to show the reality of a war then I’m all for it.

    If they’re going to show the heroism and bravery then perhaps they should establish another show – that shows the body bags and caskets being loaded into aircraft in Iraq and off-loaded at Dover AFB, that shows the families of the fallen as they greet their returning loved ones, that shows the maimed and broken bodies at various hosptials and re-hab facilities, that shows stacks of amputated limbs, that shows the faces wrenched in pain as they await treatment at field hospitals.

    Show 100% of their little war – I for one am all for it.



  6. Ardie

    I don’t think the military can sell this war from the ground up after the Bush Administration, long ago, failed to sell it from the top down.

  7. Rick Fuller

    Don’t you just love it when the U.S. Government jumps on the bandwagon of popular culture? I’ll probably never visit YouTube® ever again now that it’s been soiled…

  8. philodox

    Am I the only one who read that and thought “Monday Night Football Iraq? On Youtube?”

  9. LurkingFromTheLeft

    …the Goodyear Blimp bringing us aerial coverage –

    …and corporate sponsorship – from say – Halliburton –

    …oh I love it when a plan comes together –


  10. Donnat

    Remember when the major news network correspondents covered the war in Vietnam on the groun? Probably the last time we’ll ever see what really goes on in a war.