May 23, 2007

They All Look Alike to CNN

You would hope that after being in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, that a major news organization such as CNN might be able to tell the difference between U.S. soldiers and their Iraqi counterparts.

You would hope.


The uniform is clearly Iraqi (this is what our Army's uniform looks like), and the weapon is obviously a Soviet-designed variant of the RPD squad automatic weapon (SAW) carried by Iraqi security forces and insurgents alike, but never issued to regular U.S. military forces.

Refusing to identify the nationality of the soldier isn't "wrong," but it is certainly imprecise, and by saying that he "searches for missing comrades," most people would logically infer that he was a U.S. soldier, as it is indeed U.S. soldiers that are missing. He is our ally, but he is clearly not a member of the U.S. Army. CNN is sloppy, but at least they aren't running enemy propaganda as news today.

Meanwhile, AFP has no problem identifying the soldier as Iraqi, but I guess they're simply paying more attention.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 23, 2007 12:52 PM

Of course, the Iraqis are at least in part wearing old US Army BDUs, and the US Army has not completely traded in BDUs for the new ACUs. Thus, the uniform is not such a giveaway as you imply. The weapon is a different story...

Posted by: Anon at May 23, 2007 12:58 PM

You're right that is a old U.S. pattern... it is the six-color "chocolate chip BDU pattern phased out after the First Gulf War in 1991.

The U.S. Army first went into combat with the three-color "coffee stain" DCU in Somalia in 1993, and that desert pattern DCU was standard issue to U.S. Army units for the 2003 invasion. They began to transition over to the ACU in 2005.

This uniform should be a clear giveaway to anyone familiar with American and Iraqi military units, as the BDU was being phased out of the American Army 14 years ago, and was not issued at all to combat units in this war, and all in-theater Army combat units should have transitioned over the to the ACU by now.

CNN is a nearly a full evolution of uniforms behind.

I guess we should be relieved that they don't think we're still issuing tri-corner hats.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 23, 2007 01:24 PM

I think this is, at worst, an imprecise editor writing an imprecise headline. I could make a case that our Iraqi colleagues are also our comrades, but really, this isn't such a big deal.

And for me it was the helmet.

Posted by: David Terrenoire at May 23, 2007 03:11 PM

Mr. Film Noire sayeth "this isn't such a big deal"

No it IS a big deal our Boys DO NOT want to be confused with the terrorists!!!!

Posted by: Karl at May 23, 2007 03:19 PM

Welcome to the Confused News Network. Not exactly their first mistake, probably not their last. I added an excerpt and link to my 2007.05.23 Iraq/Iran Roundup.

Posted by: Bill Faith at May 23, 2007 07:05 PM

The temperate and hot weather battle dress uniforms have not been phased out. Chapter 3 of AR 670-1 (3 February 2005 is the current revision) prescribes its use. I imagine that most of the people wearing it in the middle east are NG or reservists--or Iraqi troops--but it has not gone away.

It certainly didn't go away in 1993--we were issued replacement temparate BDUs when I redeployed from Bosnia in 1996, and it was still being issued in when I retired in 2002.

The weapon may give it away, but I understand that some of our troops have been authorized to use Soviet variant weapons, especially when operating with foriegn troops who use them. This helps logistically, since they can use the same ammunition source.

Besides, this screen shot only says the soldier is looking for "comrades." We are operating alongside Iraqi troops--doesn't this make them our comrades? In that sense, it is quite accurate.

But any little nitpick to slam CNN, right? Since it's CNN, no one wants to assume that the guy on the ground knows more than anyone writing on a blog might know. Looks weird to bloggers, so the liberal media has done it again.

Turns out it's you boneheads who are discussing things you know nothing about.

And before CY can get all self-righteous about the "bonehead" remark and call me uncivil, someone will call me a traitor because I don't have BWS (Bush Worship Syndrome), so I guess it will all come out in the wash.

Posted by: R. Stanton Scott at May 23, 2007 07:34 PM

Wow must be a slow news day or something because your attack on CNN for this article seems like it is grasping.

A person who shares one's interests or activities; a friend or companion.

# A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
# A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
# A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.

I would say that "A soldier searching for missing *friends* in Iraq" is accurate. What is the big deal with that?

Posted by: JW NC at May 23, 2007 08:30 PM

No it IS a big deal our Boys DO NOT want to be confused with the terrorists!!!!

You know, you can always tell when someone's skipped his meds when he uses selective ALL CAPS and a pocketful of exclamation points.

Confused with terrorists? Uh, Karl, that soldier in the picture is one of our allies. You can tell because our allies wear a uniform and the mujahadeen and other insurgents do not. That's what makes them so hard to shoot.

A simple concept, really, but I can understand why you'd find it a difficult one to grasp.

Posted by: David Terrenoire at May 23, 2007 08:57 PM

The reason why some (not pointing fingers) find this to be a big deal is they think the war is between the US and everyone that is Muslim. Which to me just seems ignorant and narrow-minded.

Posted by: JW NC at May 23, 2007 09:17 PM

Faery Pants -- We have had war with Iran since 1979. we are at war in Iraq. The Saudis did 911. Pakistan harbers Al Qaida. We are basicly at war with every muslim country and at peace with all NON-muslim countries what do you call it???

Posted by: Karl at May 23, 2007 10:18 PM

I call it ignorant and narrow-minded, which is the reason we will not accomplish our goals in Iraq. It is hard to try to encourage peace if we view everyone in the country as the bad guy. I guess you don't want to be peace, ever.

Posted by: JW NC at May 23, 2007 10:48 PM

"Faery Pants?"


Posted by: Doc Washboard at May 23, 2007 11:03 PM

I don't believe this is a serious issue ("A soldier," "comrades," both acccurate enough for a photo title), but certainly pointing out an ongoing PATTERN of inaccuracy merits mentioning.

It's not like we don't hear relentless harping from the left every time a Republican belches or farts.

Posted by: DoorHold at May 24, 2007 12:44 PM

So misleadingly labeling a report as inaccurate is one way of "pointing out an ongoing pattern of inaccuracy?"

Only if the "ongoing pattern of inaccuracy" you are pointing out is your own.

Posted by: R. Stanton Scott at May 25, 2007 07:46 AM