October 11, 2007

On Patrol in Ramadi

Join me and Army Captain Phil Messer on a walking tour of Ramadi, Iraq, in a 20 minute video shot during a dismounted foot patrol in early August, 2007.

If you enjoy this movie, please consider a donation through Blog Patron or Pay Pal. I will return to Iraq shortly, and if I can raise money from shooting and editing video, I’ll make a lot more of them.


“Blog

If you would like to donate for travel and equipment expenses and you don't want to send money over the Internet, please consider sending a check or money order to:

Michael Totten
P.O. Box 312
Portland, OR 97207-0312

Many thanks in advance.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 11, 2007 02:41 AM
Comments

Thanks for the video of baby brother!!! Appreciate it more than you can imagine. Good to see reporting that the US military is doing such good work, and that the Iraqi people, when given the chance, and doing good work, even with their limited resources.

Posted by: David at October 11, 2007 07:04 AM

Nothing says liberation like barbwire really.
I see you are exploiting children again, I have an idea: you should hand out cheap candy to keep bombers away from occupation vehicles.

Oh wait, you are already doing that.

I would call you nazis but that would only ruin the original Nazis' reputation.
They killed, but they didn't lie about their project

My favorite part of the video is when the Crusader says "Insha' Allah" and the kid asks "Are you a muslim?" and then we cut to the next scene.
It's like dude, why are you using islamic phraseology if you are not a muslim?

These soldiers were sent to Iraq in the name of islamophobe bloggers who believe Allah is Satan, and now they try to make friends with kids who say "Allahu akbar," think about how fake that is.

Posted by: Dolly Buster at October 11, 2007 08:04 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 10/11/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by: David M at October 11, 2007 08:31 AM

Dolly Buster - You are a cowardly, worthless fool. You hide behind a fake email address to come and be disrespectful to someone's work at their own site. Not everyone agrees with Mr. Totten all the time here and other places that he cross-posts BUT the ones who are HUMAN have the good graces to stand behind their words. You do not.

Begone, you useless nitwit. Trouble the company of reasonable men no more. Go join your brothers back in the caves, you neanderthal (with apologies to the cavemen).

The Hobo

Posted by: Robohobo at October 11, 2007 08:46 AM

Michael -

I am sure the video is good. I cannot view it from here. Firewalls and all. I travel back home this afternoon and will come back to view tonight.

Keep up all you do. I apologize for busting on the troll above but someone had to do it. The fool caused a momentary lapse of reason.

Thanks

Posted by: Robohobo at October 11, 2007 08:49 AM

Is "Dolly Buster" one who used to call self "Truth"?

Just wondering.

Posted by: leo at October 11, 2007 08:50 AM

Dolly Buster, the soldiers and administration didn't go to Iraq over religion. The insurgents did, pushed on by their AQI leaders who claimed religion as the reason, but just had their own ends in mind. You're a total disgrace, and you clearly have no clue about the nobility of soldiers like these in being willing to accept other's beliefs, something AQI and the insurgents refuse to do.

This video was very insightful. I can't afford to donate at the moment, but I will as soon as I can. It's good to get a real look into what's going on, since obviously the Mainstream Media has no interest in showing such things. I do envy the troops in that it's quite evident that this is one of those opportunities for people to know that they truly helped make a difference for others.

Not a Christian man myself, but God bless you all.

Posted by: Madison Conservative at October 11, 2007 09:03 AM

Dolly Buster is banned. Do not respond to him/her/it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 11, 2007 09:28 AM

Dolly: I see you are exploiting children again, I have an idea: you should hand out cheap candy to keep bombers away from occupation vehicles.

It's a good idea. I tried it myself in Fallujah, only with a little twist. I looked for poison recipes on the internet and cooked up some really nasty stuff. Then I bought a bulk package of Rolos at Costco. It cost me only about five bucks.

I did a fairly good job of putting it in, but quite honestly, you can still taste the ricin in them. The caramel in the Rolos is the best mask for that particular poison, though. Tial and error was not fun, I assure you. I had to read up on all the lethal doses for all the poisons, then take only 1/10th of that. Almost screwed it up once. Scary.

Anyway, the only problem I had was with the kids. I wanted to poison the bombers, not the innocent children, of course. But they kept mobbing me for the candy. It was really hard to keep their greedy paws away from it. And I seemed like an incredibly mean prick when I handed them out to adults only. I don't think the kids will ever forgive me.

I was actually worried at first that the Jihadis would pass them to the kids themselves. But you'd be surprised how greedy those bastards were. Never even considered it. Plus, the chocolate melted so fast in the heat they had to inhale the whole thing within minutes.

Mike, I can send you the recipe if you want.

Posted by: Edgar at October 11, 2007 09:41 AM

MJT, cannot understand why Edgar is still allowed to post. Even if his comment is sarcasm, and I've no reason to believe it is, I am unable to perceive his value to your efforts.

Perhaps he is a nice guy, smart, reasonable, intelligent and can offer an increase in our knowledge of the ME. If so, he hides it quite well.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at October 11, 2007 10:25 AM

Great work! Thanks for your excellent blog. As you have no doubt heard many times without this kind of reporting by you and others those of us who wish to know what is really going on would have to rely on the MSM, and would only get one aspect of the whole story.

It certainly appears that Petraeus' counterinsurgency strategy is paying off. If the trend continues I can only imagine what things might be like a year from now.

Posted by: Leonidas Hoplite at October 11, 2007 10:26 AM

Great Job Michael.

Posted by: Dustoff-57 at October 11, 2007 10:31 AM

Ron,

Edgar is making fun of the troll. I asked everyone to ignore the troll, but I can tell he and I posted our commments at the same time.

He himself is not a troll.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 11, 2007 10:32 AM

Is the Paypal thing working? Didn't work for me ... what is your paypal email?

Michael, please feel free to share this tribute with your military guys ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG8Mt14PBzk

Can be downloaded (free) at
http://csoon0.tripod.com/

Posted by: Cliff S at October 11, 2007 10:32 AM

Ron Snyder: Even if his comment is sarcasm, and I've no reason to believe it is, I am unable to perceive his value to your efforts.

Yeah, you're right. By contrast, without your intelligent and penetrating analysis of the Iraq war, MJT wouldn't understand anything about the ME.

He owes a debt of gratitude to you.

I've got a question of my own. Why are so many grown men on this blog whining to MJT all the time?

Posted by: Edgar at October 11, 2007 10:33 AM

Cliff S,

Pay Pal is having problems today. Michael Yon's button isn't working either.

You can plug in my email address directly: michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com

Or you can use Blog Patron.

Thanks for trying!

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 11, 2007 10:38 AM

Ok, time to put a stop to this "troll" libel.

Mike, if you ever visit my undisclosed location, I'll buy you a whey protein smoothie.

Edgar is not a troll. Trolls don't offer to buy MJT a whey protein smoothie.

Posted by: Edgar at October 11, 2007 10:55 AM

I ain't eatin' no whey protein smoothie! Do such things even exist?

Can't we just have a beer?

I appreciate the non-trollness of the offer, though.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 11, 2007 11:25 AM

Great to see Phil again. I had the pleasure of working with him back in 2005, at another location in the AOR.

Posted by: Mark at October 11, 2007 11:30 AM

"Edgar is not a troll. Trolls don't offer to buy MJT a whey protein smoothie."

Unless ... there is ricin involved.

Posted by: leo at October 11, 2007 11:33 AM

Mike,

I've just sent you enough to buy yourself and Patrick a beer.

Cheers ;-)

Posted by: Edgar at October 11, 2007 11:41 AM

Just as a note to the stupid comment above by Dolly Buster :

"It's like dude, why are you using islamic phraseology if you are not a muslim?"

Referring to Inshallah. Inshallah is not mulsim phraseology. It means "God willing" and is used in arabic by Muslims or Christians or most anyone else who believes in god. The kids asked simply because they are kids and still need a lot to learn.

Posted by: burger at October 11, 2007 11:43 AM

Edgar: Thanks for the beer. :)

burger: It means "God willing" and is used in arabic by Muslims or Christians or most anyone else who believes in god.

Yes. Further, it is used by anyone who speaks Arabic whether they believe in god or not.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 11, 2007 11:59 AM

Juxtapose this stuff with the scenes in Farenheit 9/11 of the kids playing for some true irony.

Once again Michael, you manage to put a human face on journalism.

BTW, was it Yom Kippur in Ramadi that day? No cars?

Posted by: jonorose at October 11, 2007 12:05 PM

jonorose: BTW, was it Yom Kippur in Ramadi that day? No cars?

Yeah. Ramadi has a significant population of ultra-orthodox Jews and they block off the streets .They even throw rocks at motorists sometimes.

I don't understand why the Iraqi government is giving them so much money. They don't even serve in the Iraqi police!

Posted by: Edgar at October 11, 2007 12:25 PM

Michael, have you considered making people register to make comments and hold new registrants in queue for approval before posting the comment?

The garbage some people leave really does do a disservice to the good work you do.

Posted by: Herschel Smith at October 11, 2007 01:08 PM

H. Smith: Michael, have you considered making people register to make comments and hold new registrants in queue for approval before posting the comment?

Or maybe he could have one comments section for regular people and another one for tight-asses?

Or what about a special form that lets people tell MJT how to run his own blog?

Posted by: Edgar at October 11, 2007 01:20 PM

Good job Michael. You just out-reported the entire mainstream media. I am sending all the money I would be spending on newspapers and magazines to you.

Posted by: Keith at October 11, 2007 01:59 PM

Michael,
As a contractor here in Ramadi, it is good to see the troops getting the recognition they deserve. They are a wonderful bunch and I have enjoyed meeting them. It pains me to see people believing that our troops are the bad guys here. They are doing their time here as a service to their country. They did not get a say so in whether or not we should be here, why take it out on them? Keep up the good work, let the people back home know what these guys deal with on a daily basis.

Al Stroh
IT/Communications Tech
Camp Junction City
Ramadi, Iraq

Posted by: A Stroh at October 11, 2007 03:56 PM

I've never been one to kiss Michael's ass, but this blog is truly an American jewel. Excellent work. Only a truly sick individual could find something wrong to say about this video.

Posted by: David at October 11, 2007 05:55 PM

Thanks, Michael. It really counts to see how people react to our troops on patrol. The off-hand gestures and words are priceless. Nothing tells the truth like candid, unscripted video. I think those piles of sand and gaggles of kids say everything about the future.

Posted by: John Piper at October 11, 2007 08:18 PM

Keep up the work. I might see you there my next deployment.

Posted by: Custer's Ghost at October 11, 2007 11:23 PM

Firstly, thank you Michael for not only this piece but everything else you do. I found your site through your Suicide Girls contributions, and I think we need more journalists like yourself if we're to ever find our way out of this quagmire.

I was against the war from the start, and am astonished at the way its been handled by the leadership from the start. That said, as a third generation veteran, I am so proud of the work that our soldiers are doing. I am unsure about the way we should proceed now, but to all of my friends who were also against the war, I have urged them to check out this blog, if only to realize the issue isn't as black and white as anyone would like to believe. Bad leadership does not prevent good people from doing good work. Your dispatches, and this one in particular show that. Thank you again, and as soon as I'm able, I'm going to hit the hell out of that tip jar.

Posted by: Astroninja at October 11, 2007 11:59 PM

Very insightful video. Thanks, as always, Michael. Stay safe.

Posted by: ncghost at October 12, 2007 05:18 AM

Inshallah is not mulsim phraseology. It means "God willing"

In Spanish it became "Ojala" (o allah), a leftover from the Islamic period.

Posted by: Xylo at October 12, 2007 09:32 AM

7:35+
guy in red opel branded shirt hiding face (plus the other two also in red in background) are definitely "insurgents". I'm curious: did the soldiers you were with know this and just ignored them or did they just not care?

Posted by: Dean at October 12, 2007 02:46 PM

Dean: guy in red opel branded shirt hiding face (plus the other two also in red in background) are definitely "insurgents".

I had the same thought. However, earlier this year locals would be killed by Al Qaeda for even making eye contact with Americans. Some of them are still very paranoid.

Notice that Captain Messer wasn't fazed at all by the fact that this guy was hiding his face from me camera.

I'm not sure what that was about, but it certainly stands out, doesn't it?

Many Iraqi civilians in Baghdad who cooperated with Americans did not want me to take their picture. This guy, though, was the only person in Anbar Province to do that.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 12, 2007 03:40 PM

In Spanish it became "Ojala" (o allah), a leftover from the Islamic period.

I've been using that word all my life and I had no idea. But it makes perfect sense. Though in Spain they would probably deny it (my father is a spaniard). They don't like it when you tell them their culture has Arab influences.

Posted by: Carlos at October 12, 2007 03:59 PM

I don't do videos, although cheers if other people are up for them. Just don't like em.

In other news:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/11/AR2007101102138.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: glasnost at October 12, 2007 04:18 PM

Michael: well if I hadn't known you were safe and had posted the video yourself, I would've had a heart attack watching as the captain lifted that blanket. Still I'm sure if it was obvious to me that the color coordination was no accident, it was obvious to the captain. The man must have balls of steel. And so do you. Thanks for the reporting!

Posted by: Dean at October 12, 2007 04:25 PM

Dean,

The captain knows "ice guy" and his friends personally.

If there were a bomb under the blanket (a possibility) and they wanted to martyr themselves and us by exploding it, the guy in the chair would not have bothered to cover his face since we would all die anyway.

But if it were, say, a cache of unwired explosives, I could see why he would want to cover his face.

But it was ice (or the melted remnants of ice), as the captain knew it would be.

Like I said, I had the same thought you did, even more vividly after I watched the video, but when soldiers are relaxed, I am relaxed. They know what to watch for.

I only saw a soldier tense up once in Ramadi, but it happened in Baghdad quite a lot.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 12, 2007 04:31 PM

Glasnost,

Note that the UN report covered the three months ending June 30th. The Coalition offensive against AQI began mid-June. In fact, Michael Yon filed his first dispatch from the offensive on June 20th.

While I'm sure there are a few nuggets of wisdom in the UN report, the fact is it was out of date before it was even finished, let alone published.

Posted by: Dogwood at October 12, 2007 04:47 PM

Michael,
Now that the war is over, what sectors of the economy are bouncing back the fastest? I can't do real estate, bit is there any way for a foreigner to buy stocks on their stock market?

Posted by: Keith at October 12, 2007 09:12 PM

Keith: Now that the war is over...is there any way for a foreigner to buy stocks on their stock market?

I have no idea. But the war isn't over in Baghdad, which is what matters most if you want to buy stock in that country.

You can buy property in Kurdistan (this I know for a fact), but I don't know about the rest of Iraq.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 12, 2007 10:05 PM

I'm sorry, Dean and Michael, I don't understand what you are referring to by the color coordination and potential threat of those guys standing in the street by those blankets.

Posted by: Dan W. at October 13, 2007 10:43 AM

Dan W.,

Insurgents often wear, say, red one day and blue the next day as a sort of secret "uniform" so they can identity themselves to each other while not being identified by American soldiers.

When Captain Messer pulled the blanket off the ice crate, one of the men sitting next to the crate -- wearing red like some of the others -- hid his face from my camera twice.

My point is that he could have been afraid of insurgents just as easily as he could have been afraid of Americans, and that the red colors could have been coincidental.

To my knowledge, everyone who hid their face from my camera in Baghdad feared insurgents, not the military. Everyone I spoke to who did this was giving us intelligence on insurgents.

The man in my video could easily have worried that his friends were about to give Captain Messer some intel. Messer has a good relationship with those people, so that is what I assume was going on. But I do not know that for sure.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 13, 2007 10:57 AM

MJT: Insurgents often wear, say, red one day and blue the next day as a sort of secret "uniform" so they can identity themselves to each other while not being identified by American soldiers.

Smart. But it may backfire on them. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, U.S. street gangs are operating in Iraq:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4155/is_20060501/ai_n16216499

This might lead to some really nasty shootouts if the insurgents wear the wrong colors--and give the wrong signs--when some of these gangbangers are around.

Posted by: Edgar at October 13, 2007 12:26 PM

Michael, many thanks for the video and I hope Capt. Messer's big brother enjoyed it as much as I have.

Der Alte

Posted by: Al Messer at October 13, 2007 06:50 PM

Noted.

Posted by: glasnost at October 14, 2007 09:36 AM

While we're on the bright side, nothing in here is from Anbar that I noticed.

Posted by: glasnost at October 14, 2007 09:42 AM

I know this is off-topic to the thread, but I'd really like your take on this article, posted at Rantburg.

I know you're being bombarded with requests--and still think it a shame that you're not pulling the big check from the "O", but if you'd take a look and share your read of the current sitch in Lebanon, I'd be grateful.

A dedicated reader. Thank you.

http://www.rantburg.com/poparticle.php?D=2007-10-14&ID=202425&HC=1

Posted by: OregonGuy at October 14, 2007 12:14 PM

That was realy great . A real look at whats going on and all the good thats happening. Yes I noticed the guns ,the alert way the guards were checking around each corner ,but also the new buildings the work being done on their own behalf . Thanks again B.S.M.

Posted by: D'Lorah at October 14, 2007 02:36 PM

I'm finding a lot of good Iraq material today, for no obvious reason.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-anbar_janegaoct09,1,6402263.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Leave it to others to sort out insurgent spin, newspaper spin and genuine good news/bad news.

Posted by: glasnost at October 14, 2007 03:31 PM

Michael:

I really liked the video; it motivated me to send in another contribution via blog patron.

I have come to view your site as the best source of straight forward factual reporting from the Middle East. I plan to continue to contribute periodically (via blog patron) at levels that are at least on par with what I expect to pay for a high-quality magazine or newspaper subscription.

My question is this. Assuming that other regular readers adopt such a habit, does such a business/contribution model generate enough cash so that you can continue your work? If not, what level of support will be needed from regular readers? I think this is something that many of us want to know since I believe that many of your regular readers want to make sure they are contributing their fair share to ensure your continued success.

Posted by: Mark-In-Chi-Town at October 15, 2007 02:07 PM

Michael, 3 things....

1) I grew up with Phil so it was neat to him in action. Thanks for that.

2) I recently spent a humanitarian year in Northern Iraq among the Kurds...and your video has sparked the emotional places in my heart for the people there....as the South is so culturally similar to the North.

3) It's nice to see some true progress there among the people of a land that I care deeply for. May God Bless these children. And may we not enter a country, remove its horrific leader, cause suffering, and then leave the premises. May we continue to help the people of Iraq. They need it....and they want it. May the politics of the Middle East be dealt with delicately and wisely. It's not an easy situation at all.

Thanks for all you do. Keep up the good work. We're passing this video around.

T

Posted by: NashBash at October 15, 2007 02:15 PM

Mark in Chi Town: Assuming that other regular readers adopt such a habit, does such a business/contribution model generate enough cash so that you can continue your work?

As long as I can continue earning some money for selling articles -- like those I recently sold to Reason and Azure-- yes. The blog doesn't quite cover everything, and it would be nice if it did, but I'm not going broke doing this.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 03:17 PM

Excellent work, Mike. I'm catching up with your work this week. Keep up the video, as you can! This adds a whole other layer to the story that writing can't provide (of course, the opposite is true, as well).

I loved the kid trying to get you to give him your video camera. Classic. You never know, right?

Mister! Mister! Picture!

Posted by: Jason Holliston at October 22, 2007 01:27 PM
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