Tuesday, April 03, 2007
A MIDNIGHT VISIT IN BAGHDAD
y now, nearly everyone must have a clear picture in mind of what transpires when US forces go on patrol in Baghdad doing house-to-house searches for jihadis, explosives, militia members, exploding jihadis, and so on. The pop television news spots and pop newspaper stories have made sure our mental pictures are crystal clear: boot down the door, point weapons at frightened women and children, lots of screaming and overturning the furniture, stealing valuables, etc. -- if not simply wasting everybody inside.
Now of course, there have been some very bad incidents. In those cases that are known about, those who did wrong were held to account by the vigilance of their own comrades, and have been / are being prosecuted for crimes under the military code. Yet I suspect that the average pop-media consumer (those who don't actively search out detailed and varied sources but rely on a casual diet of headlines and dinner-hour newsbites) believes this rough stuff is all standard operating procedure.
One of these late night raids happened to our friends in Baghdad a few nights ago, and Omar writes about it here. We at the Gecko have been citing the writings of the Fadhil brothers since the very first month of the blog's existence, coming up on three years now. And here is another example of the kind of experiences a blog-reader might share, which would be impossible to expect from a foreign journalist.
The family was having a social evening and backyard barbeque with a group of friends, when the Humvee patrol pulled up around midnight. It would be an excellent idea to click the link right now, and read Omar's account of the visit. There are pictures, and wow does that bbq fish look good!
Little did those soldiers know at the time, that they were encountering the family of a couple of young bloggers with a very wide readership across the English-speaking world, nor that their own president had even quoted them in his public comments just a day or two earlier.
And here's a short video which seems to fit well with this story, courtesy of MNF-Iraq on YouTube. Another night raid rescues a captive Iraqi man from a terrorist hideout -- but the gold comes when they inform his family that he'd been found. Who says Muslim women are not allowed to touch infidels?
Wai AP for the video.
And on that quote by President Bush a few days ago. He was castigated in the press for quoting "unnamed" sources (which the press never does, of course), while bloggers were castigated in general for their "niche" audiences, "narrow" fields of interest and overall untrustworthiness by one of the big "papers of record." The President had actually been quoting from an opinion piece the brothers had written for the Wall Street Journal. Keep in mind that the Fadhil brothers have been previously condemned by such luminaries as the creepy Juan Cole (who also slandered journalist Steven Vincent, after he was killed by thugs in Basra) as a suspected CIA operation.
Predictably, the brothers were further criticised by "progressive" websites after the Bush quote made the news. Mohammed had a great response to this on ITM: Quoted and Proud!
We speak the language of facts, supported by images and statistics and more important, we live here while they don't. We write about the good days as well as the bad days in Iraq's journey to a better future.You guys have every reason to be quoted, and proud of it.
You don't even have to search in this blog's archives, just scroll down this page and you'll see both good and bad news—we witness an explosion and we write about it and we see progress and we write about it.
If they can't see that it's their problem, not ours.