Strykers seen from the other side

While searching for pics and info on the Stryker Brigade’s deployment to Iraq, I’ve come across a lot of stuff written with, shall we say, “questionable” objectivity. While I’ll admit that a lot of the US journalists in Iraq are definitely pro-soldier, most of the US media in general is biased against the Bush administration and certainly hypes our problems and failures while usually paying scant attention to our progress.

But I’m not talking about them.

I’m talking about the writers who are openly opposed to our actions in Iraq and who distrust America and take the words of our enemies at face value. The writers who purposefully slant their stories to show the bad side of America’s action without acknowledging all the good that has been accomplished.

Electronic Iraq, which apparently has been banned from some military internet systems in Iraq, has an ongoing series of articles written by Dahr Jamail,

a freelance journalist and political activist from Anchorage, Alaska. He has come to Iraq to bear witness and write about how the US occupation is affecting the people of Iraq, since the media in the US has in large part, he believes, failed to do so.

He posts this picture in a recent story called Samarra: Plenty of occupation troops, still no basic infrastructure, and captions it “US occupation soldiers sealing a neighbourhood.”

strykermed.jpg First of all, if he would have cropped the picture a bit more on the right, he would have eliminated all of the red cross marking that identifies the Stryker as a Medical Evacuation Vehicle variant, which isn’t nearly as threatening as the Muslim People Smasher variant. Second of all, “sealing the neighborhood” is probably what is called for in many cases, since it is predominantly Baathist dead-enders and non-Iraqi terrorists who are doing nearly all the killing in Iraq, and it’s mostly Iraqis that they’re killing. If the Americans would have just let the old regime kill Iraqis in their quiet, private manner, maybe this fighting wouldn’t be necessary. In any event, the pic gives us another good look at the Stryker Brigade men and equipment.

Here’s another pic from the same article.

strykerboy.jpgThe caption reads “An Iraqi boy in a US military-sealed neighbourhood in Sumarra.” (I think he meant Samarra.) Is it me, or does the boy appear to be dropped into that image? I know that zoom lenses can often distort things and make some parts of photos appear unnatural, but compared to the other pictures from that source, I don’t know if I’m buying this one. Anyway, the boy looks healthy and well-dressed to me.

He interviews several Iraqis in Samarra.

A man named Kamel Rashid Abrahim tells of how the gate to his home was bombed, injuring some of his family. His home was searched, then the just soldiers left.

Oops. “The just soldiers left?” While I might agree with what he wrote (that our soldiers are “just”), I think he meant “the soldiers just left.” A couple of paragraphs later

While walking to the mini-van, a man says to me,

“If anyone hits the US in the streets here, they arrest everyone around. No questions asked. How can we live like this? Where are our human rights?”

Well, which is it? Are we evil because we search a home and then just leave, or are we evil because we arrest “everyone around”? It can’t be both. Then he writes

We ask if it is possible to see a home that has been demolished, the new form of collective punishment the Americans are practicing here in Iraq.

(Emphasis mine.) He talks to the brother of the man who’s home was demolished after an improvised explosive device destroyed a Stryker “in the early afternoon of 18 December.” (The story says the 18th, but everything written seems to indicate that this is the incident which took place on the 13th. Facts like that are really tough to nail down, but I’m sure he got all the opinions and feelings correct.)

Four days later tanks and bulldozers arrived, with the tanks sealing off the area, and the bulldozers demolished the home near the IED which was under construction.

The neighbors asked them why they were doing this to an empty home. The soldiers told them, “We are just following orders.”

Another home a little ways down the road was demolished as well by the bulldozer, after the family was forced outside, carrying the few valuables they could.

The writer doesn’t mention that wires led from the IED crater to the roof of the first house. Why would destroying the source of an attack be “collective punishment”? Nor does he mention this little tidbit, as reported by Michael Gilbert:

A postscript on Saturday’s bulldozing in Samarra: The 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment sent in a giant armored bulldozer to level the home where insurgents set off a roadside bomb that destroyed a Stryker vehicle Dec. 13.

Battalion officials said all the neighbors gave troops the thumbs-up sign as the dozer made short work of the two-story brick house.

“People in the neighborhood came out and applauded. They said, ‘Thank you,'” said Lt. Col. Buck James, the 1-23rd commander.

For good measure, he said, his troops filled the large crater that was left after the bomb destroyed the Stryker.

Applauded? Perhaps the house’s owner wasn’t too popular in the neighborhood for some reason? There’s no mention of demolishing a second house, so I don’t know what to say about that.

Another mention of the event made’s Iraqi Resistance Log for December 20:

A Stryker from the Stryker Brigade near Samarra’ was hit by a roadside bomb. The “indestructible” Stryker was somehow damaged in the blast.

Source: Free Palestine Information Agency.

Who ever said that the Stryker was “indestructible”? The main complaint by critics is that it doesn’t provide enough protection. And remember, that Stryker kept on driving after losing a tire and was getting fixed the next day. But then I wouldn’t expect the Free Palestine Information Agency to be on top of things.

I’ll agree that different opinions can be valuable things to consider, but this coverage seems to be slanted pretty sharply. Well, I’ll keep checking if it means we might get more pics of the Stryker Brigade.


  1. Thanks, for the good reports and great pictures on your web site. I’m an army mom and enjoy reading and seeing how wonderful our Stryker Brigade is doing. Again, thanks for keeping us informed.

  2. thank goodness. another person that sees the hypocrisy in journalist. i’m so sick of turning on the tv and seeing everything america is doing wrong in iraq when there is so much good being overlooked. i was so mad when i read this piece. he should thank his lucky stars our soldiers are ensuring his freedom to write such trash.