Bloghdad.com/The_War_Tapes

Deborah Scranton got embedded reporter credentials, but her documentary, The War Tapes was largely shot by US soldiers in Iraq using camera equipment she provided. She did much of her directing remotely via IM and email reviews of Quicktime dailies. Here’s ‘s a portion of ‘s discussion of a typical scene, where the troops guard a convoy of supplies being operated by Halliburton subsidiary KBR. The scene provides an indelible insight into the day-to-day situation the troops face, and the complexities that underlie every passing mention in the news about “IED’s” and “convoys”:

KBR sells the swag to the government (meals, haircuts, styrofoam plates for $20+ bucks a pop) and to the troops. There’s a great scene of soldiers packed into KBR’s amply stocked commissary after a hard day of escorting. They’re there to buy DVDs, Pringles, Becks beer, and soft drinks from KBR. Suddenly, you realize that every copy of “Armageddon” and every bottle of Mountain Dew was trucked in through the same hellish corridor as the cheese.
“The War Tapes” doesn’t tell us how the war is going, or speculate about the probability of success. Instead, it shows us how much blood and treasure is spent to deliver a single convoy of cheese to an American camp just a few miles outside of Baghdad. The implication is clear but unspoken: The Americans don’t control the main roads around key bases. The fight to keep Camp Anaconda supplied is a war unto itself.

Citizen soldiers, citizen media: The War Tapes [majikthise via robotwisdom]
Two of the soldiers, Sgts Jack Bazzi and Stephen Pink, were on Fresh Air last Thursday [whyy.org]

Somehow Less Implausible Than ‘South Park Conservatives’

saudi_park_airarabia.jpg

How stoked are you that AirArabia, the JetBlue of Sharjah, UAE–best known to real estate brokers as “Dubai Adjacent”–used the South Park Character Generator for the little characters on their website?
Each time you reload the site, you get a new one, so collect’em all!
AirArabia.com [via gridskipper, who went to Dubai, and all he didn’t get was this lousy t-shirt]

Bloghdad.com/Really??

First, I’m trying to imagine what kind of fundraiser one would find both David O. Russell and George W. Bush. But allowing for that possibility, I have to say I was surprised to hear this anecdote:

[Three Kings] director Russell ran into candidate George W. Bush at a Hollywood fundraiser in the summer of 1999 and told him that he was making a movie critical of his father’s Gulf War legacy. “Then I guess I’m going to have to go finish the job, aren’t I?” the younger Bush replied.

From J. Hoberman’s review of Jarhead in the Village Voice
According to an LA City Beat interview last year around the time of I Heart Huckabees, Russell met GWB at Terry Semel’s house in July 1999. DOR called Semel “an opportunist who was jumping off Clinton and onto the Bush bandwagon at the time.” Of course, now we call him the CEO of Yahoo.

As If You Didn’t Have Enough Reasons To Evacuate New Orleans

“Not an hour goes by that we do not spend a lot of time thinking about the people who are actively suffering.”
– Michael Chertoff, DHS Secretary, in the aptly names White House Rose Garden. [As NYT: White House Anxiety Grows, Bush Tries to Quell Political Crisis]
“We’re making progress.”
-GWB, a million times on The Daily Show [blogcritics.org, anyone have the video?]
“I think about Iraq every day. Every. Single. Day.”
– GWB, a US-EU press conference. [transcript, whitehouse.gov]
“I want them to know that there’s a flow of progress. We’re making progress.”
GWB yesterday at NO airport [whitehouse.gov]

Bloghdad.com/Remove_Your_Hairpiece

iraq_vlsg.jpgKwikpoint specializes in visual language guides, laminated pictograph cards to help bridge language barriers in hospitals, foreign countries, in daily deaf life–and for law enforcement and the military.
An Army captain with his boots on the ground calls their fold-out Iraq Visual Language Survival Guide “a hot commodity.” It includes point-and-don’t-shoot instructions for locating snipers, identifying the nationality of foreign terrorists, and, as pictured here, conducting a hairpiece-to-shoelaces strip search.
BoingBoing links to a couple of partial scans, but you can buy the whole thing for $11 directly from Kwikpoint. This is cooler than any deck of cards.
[via BoingBoing, Xeni, all is forgiven.]

Bloghdad.com/Gunner_Palace

Tony Scott’s first report from Toronto really gives you a feel for the festival’s sprawl and cinematic frenzy, where you feel like you’re missing movies more than watching them. Meanwhile, he only mentions one film, and he mentions the hell out of it: Gunner Palace, Mike Tucker and Petra Epperlein’s documentary about US soldiers’ lives in Baghad. Here’s a taste:

Gunner Palace is so startling because it suggests – it shows – just how complicated the reality of this war has been. It may not change your mind, but it will certainly deepen your perception and challenge your assumptions, whatever they may be. I hope “Gunner Palace” makes its way quickly from this festival to American theaters, because it is not a movie anyone should miss.

Sure, but did you like it?
Sex, War, and Hype at Toronto Festival of Films [A.O. Scott, NYT]
See a trailer and clips at GunnerPalace.com

Bloghdad.com/Echo_Company

Philadelphia Enquirer photographer David Swanson and reporter Joe Galloway have created a powerful report on the Marines of Echo Company, which has lost more soldiers in the Iraq War than any other unit so far.
Swanson accompanied the Marines, part of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Company, on many of their battles in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi. The report is based on his journal, and interviews with the “families, friends, teachers, girlfriends, and ministers” of the fallen Marines.
Echo Company, a Special Report from the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau
Knight Ridder was “almost alone” in pre-war reporting of official and expert skepticism on WMD [AJR]
“Now They Tell Us,” Michael Massing’s scathing review of pre-war news in the NY Review of Books

Bloghdad.com/Party_Zone

from an AP report, Coalition’s sealed compound includes a brisk bar scene:

The plushest tavern is the CIA’s rattan furnished watering hole, known as the ”OGA bar.” OGA stands for ”Other Government Agency,” the CIA’s low-key moniker.
The OGA bar has a dance floor with a revolving mirrored disco ball and a game room. It is open to outsiders by invitation only. Disgruntled CPA employees who haven’t wangled invites complain that the CIA favors women guests.

Bloghdad.com/Neighborhood_Thai

Apparently, Paul Wolfowitz and I have something in common: our neighborhood Thai restaurant. We’re in DC for the weekend, eating at Sala Thai, and he walks in alone, with a newspaper under his arm. Makes a beeline for the bar, where he orders, reads his paper–in far more peace than he’s brought on the world–gets his takeout, and leaves.
Related: Al Gore calls for wholesale resignations of the dangerous architects of disgraceful Iraq and terrorism fiascos, including our neighbor, Paul Wolfowitz. Read the transcript, or watch the video.

Bloghdad.com/Neighborhood_Thai

Apparently, Paul Wolfowitz and I have something in common: our neighborhood Thai restaurant. We’re in DC for the weekend, eating at Sala Thai, and he walks in alone, with a newspaper under his arm. Makes a beeline for the bar, where he orders, reads his paper–in far more peace than he’s brought on the world–gets his takeout, and leaves.
Related: Al Gore calls for wholesale resignations of the dangerous architects of disgraceful Iraq and terrorism fiascos, including our neighbor, Paul Wolfowitz. Read the transcript, or watch the video.

Bloghdad.com/File_Sharing

[via kottke] Soldiers in Iraq: fighting to protect our–and their–right to share music and buy bootlegged DVD’s.
Also noted: Troops greet each other with, “Who’s your Baghdaddy?” No mention made of Hajji. Ancient “Stairway to Heaven” still inexplicably popular.
Line the reporter, Thom Shanker, is most pleased to see make the editor’s cut: “Let it be recorded: Soldiers assigned to civilization’s cradle will rock.”
Related: Psyops playlists for Saddam, Noriega, Branch Davidians