Oregon news photo poorly represents Iraq War anniversary

By Jason Williams

The front Page Oregonian online headline photo of the 10th Anniversary Iraq War really doesn’t capture the entire war and what our troops did, just as much as my mock headline below showing the American Revolution can best be represented by a dead soldier and wasteland.


Why not lead with a photo of the people’s toppling of Saddam or just a picture of our soldier coming home.   I am not saying we should avoid pictures of pain and death of the war, but to make the #1 photo of the entire war boil down a low level car bomb is not reflective of the big picture.   Interestingly the Oregonian photos in the link are quite moving and spectacular — even the funeral ones that are hard to see.   Those photos at least show people and not just random carnage.  Those pics would have made a better choice.

— Just a reminder of what happened in the Iraq war.  For his time, Saddam Hussein was the world’s most destructive person.  He started a war in the North (chemical bombed entire villages of Kurds), he started a war in the East (attacked Iran in long bloody struggle), he started a war in the South (invaded, raped & looted Kuwait and mass murdered southern Shiites) and he attacked his neighbors in the West (missiles against Israel).   He also loved terrorists by inviting Al Qaeda to his birthday parties and giving assistance to Palestinian & Sudan terrorists.   His wars & starvation of his own people resulted in millions of deaths.  Millions!   What more did Saddam have to do to be a bad guy nowadays?

Thanks to U.S. troops & Allies, we have replaced decades of repression and torture with a measure of democracy unseen in the entire region.    Who wouldn’t trade one of Saddam’s prisons (filled only with children of his political opponents) for new schools that were built?  Or trade the northern genocide for four million Kurds now experiencing a booming livelihood?

Yes, the imperfect war was riddled with mistakes, bad advice and abuse by too many, but the troops pulled it off.    Our troops pulled off nothing short of bold miracles under extraordinary circumstances.    They deserve more recognition.    Even if you disagree with the war, we should recognize what they accomplished and how difficult it was.

A soldier shared on how Saddam outlawed a historic poetry square in Baghdad and when it was restored it was a huge tearful victory for the city with widespread crowds that came to celebrate.  But no reporter came to the special event (despite U.S. press announcements) as they seemed set on only reporting negative stories.

The one color representation of the Iraq war is pervasive.  Last month we experienced that if you make a movie about U.S. Iraq soldiers as crazy adrenaline junkies (Hurt Locker) you win Best Picture!   But, if you make it about real life stuff with soldiers struggling against terrorism (Zero Dark Thirty) with the same director you get blacklisted and threats of Congressional hearings.