I started the Iraq War as a fresh-faced and starry-eyed liberal, certain of my political views and opinions. As the months wore on and the war seemed endless, I began to notice just how much I hated so many other liberals. No, I didn’t agree with the alternative viewpoint, I was just embarrassed and disgusted by idiots like Cindy Sheehan who blame the war on the J-E-W-S. Every political group will have its outliers and extremists and those people will just plain wear you out on caring.
The Internet, great bastion of pointless arguments, seemed stale and lifeless to me when it came to debate on the Iraq War. Every discussion or argument seemed to simply retread the same territory and devolve into the same screaming matches. The media could have stirred things up, because there is certainly plenty going on over in Iraq, but the media is lazy, flighty and cowardly. I needed something raw and stirring, something to stoke the fires of debate. I needed to heat up the leftovers.
I did the only thing I could think of at that point. I turned to YouTube for my Iraq War media. Here the truth was either twisted into a pretzel by blatant propaganda or brutally honest, with no commentary or censorship whatsoever. I watched a few videos and found myself stunned as much by the hilarious arguments going on in the comments sections as I was by the videos. I felt that spark beginning to grow. No more would I have to rely on CNN or Fox News to tell me what to think, I could get my war directly from the people on the frontlines: the YouTube comment posters.
"british beating clip in iraq"[link]
Disturbing Imagery: Despite the "ogrish.com" tag on the video there is no gore, but the video manages to be fairly disturbing all the same.
Description: Pitch black humor from a British soldier behind the camera as his fellow men beat teenage Iraqis rounded up for throwing rocks at the British. "Naughty little boys," the cameraman comments with glee. It's like something out of a Pink Floyd video gone to war in the 21st century and it's probably the most dimwitted instance of "caught on tape" to come from our brothers on the other side of the Atlantic.
Bad Point: Caps lock loving nartin86 is quick to bring Nazis into the discussion: "BUSH IS RE-ELECTED BY AMERICANS, DOES THIS MEAN MAJORITY OF AMERICAN SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE? THOSE TROOPS ARE AMERICAN. THE POINT FOR HAVING DEMOCRACY IS FOR ITS CITYZENS TO FIGURE OUT WHO'S A GOOD LEADER AND HAVE CONTROL OVER HIM. HAVE AMERICANS DONE THEIR JOBS IN DETERMINING WHETHER BUSH IS A REAL LEADER? HITLER'S TROOPS HAD DONE THEIR JOBS AS SOLDERS TOO."
Worse Point: NWA still misses easyease and his inspired methods of justifying beating teenagers: "thanks shorty. seeing this im proud to be british. have you seen the vids of western civilians being beheaded by dirty terrorists?have you remembered those poor americans having to jump from the world trade centre because it was a quicker less painful death?"
Insight: Even when confronted with video evidence of the wrongness of aspects of the war in Iraq, people still somehow find a way to come off looking like idiots with their anti-war stance. People also still love moral relativism, where Al Qaeda crashing planes into the World Trade Center provides justification for soldiers in Iraq to beat teenagers and laugh about it. It's the same sort of logic a man who has a bad day at work uses to rationalize beating his wife and kids when he gets home.
Disturbing Imagery: Some particularly loopy liberals might become enraged by footage of soldiers daring to have a good time in Iraq, even though the video is totally politically neutral. There is no violence.
Description: Scenes of tedium and desolation in Iraq interspersed with military personnel goofing off and having fun. There is nothing mean-spirited in this video and it ends on the politically ambiguous note "Iraq sucks," a sentiment just about everyone (including Iraqis) should be able to agree with at this point.
Bad Point: hawtrey wins the hyper-sensitive little baby award with: "watching this video made me feel physically sick...I;m not joking....it's terrifying that people can view this despicable murderous escapade like they were in a David Lee Roth video....unbelievable"
Worse Point: darksidez81 offers this cogent rejoinder to all of those who find fault in the video: "you know what...Im in the army...11 Brovo...I never had this much fun when I was there...lol love the video..and TO ALL YOU ANTI SOLDERS ANTI US CAN LICK SUX MY INSIPED DICK......FUCK ALL YOU MOTHER FUCKERS YOU SORRY EXCUES FOR A HUMEN"
Insight: The Iraq War sucks, but soldiers and marines, like any other sort of human beings, can find a way to have fun. Certain liberals and foreigners will jump at any opportunity to get their panties in a twist and certain conservatives will shift gears into murderous blood rage mode at the drop of a hat. This is pretty much the feel good video of the bunch, making the heated debate going on in the enormous comments section all the more ridiculous.
"US soldier survives sniper attack in Iraq."[link]
Disturbing Imagery: It's pretty disturbing watching any sniper footage, regardless of the people doing the sniping. This one is tempered by the fact that the soldier shot in the video is obviously not badly injured. If you would like to further allay your fears about his condition, you can read the 256th Brigade Combat Team's official report on the incident.
Description: Footage taken by an insurgent sniper team in Iraq as they snipe an American soldier from a range of 75 yards. This is pretty much my favorite video clip to come out of Iraq, because it highlights the sudden lethality of the war there, but we get to see one lucky (and courageous if you read the AAR) man avoid the fate that has claimed many others. Plus it just makes me feel good to see an American soldier react so professionally to such a terrifying incident. It beats the pants off the many clips of soldiers screaming "yeah motherfuckers!" as they shoot 50 caliber machineguns wildly into houses.
Bad Point: Wiseacre Glanecia takes umbrage with the sounds the Iraqi snipers are making: "Umm, whoever is filming this sounds like a chicken CLUCKING... :|"
Worse Point: In a show of cultural understanding Killu610 explains the logic behind Glanecia's contempt: "thats how they talk man,A degenerate form of language".
Even Worse Point: Irredeemable moron merseyside is a good example of the sort of attitudes in the West that stimulate similar attitudes in the Islamic world: "mohammed sucks cocks in hell! how about that then you cunts,go on declare a fatwah against me,but hey make sure you bring your mates with you!"
Insight: Much like some liberals will leap at any opportunity to embarrass themselves by stamping their anti-war feet, some conservatives will seize any chance to pound their chests and make themselves look like hateful little racist goblins who want to destroy all of the Middle East. This video, to me, is about one guy being a badass and one insurgent sniper getting egg on his face. There is some comedy to be found in chanting "Allahu Ackbar" as a sniper bullet fails to even injure the target, but to use that as a platform for racist attacks on Muslims is idiocy.
Disturbing Imagery: This video contains intense scenes of small arms attacks. There is no physical harm depicted on screen, but the videos are still very disturbing.
Description: The first minute or so of this video is of an attack on an apparently unarmed convoy of American contractors. In the video, shot from within one of the contractor's vehicles, bullets rattle all around. There is a brief cut and then the vehicle is immobilized and the driver is terrified of being killed as he yells frantically for help on the radio. The second half of the video is an attack against well-armed contractors, probably mercenaries, who respond to an ambush with heavy return fire. I'm not going to try to hide my disdain for the vultures and war-junkies that sign up for jobs like this. Some are probably good people, but they're working for the worst sort of companies. That doesn't mean I want them to die and you can't help but feel sympathy for them as they shout desperately for help.
Bad Point: The master of subtlety, Truepeople, has a problem with the Americans depicted in the video: "That was a cool video. The Americans deserved it.You will all die, serves you right for going into another country staring a war for no reason, You US LIARS".
Worse Point: Wordsmith sdericmonty believes he has found the reason behind Truepeople's venom: "you all r just jelious that u live in a shit hole!..die sand niggers!"
Insight: I couldn't make up better quotes than those and they're just the tip of the iceberg for this video. From lectures on intelligence in which half of the words are misspelled to cries of Zionist oppression, this video seems to bring out the worst and the stupidest in YouTube visitors.
Disturbing Imagery: If sped up footage of jet planes and helicopters shooting missiles is your idea of gross then prepare to vomit your heart out. Almost all of the footage is just test/training footage since this video was created at the very beginning of the Iraq War.
Description: Although Drowning Pool's "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" is practically a universal anthem of shitty Iraq war montages, and despite this video's title, the music played in the background is actually Outkast's excellent "Bombs Over Baghdad". Other versions of the video correctly label the song, but I had to pick this one because the title of "drowning pool" and the description being "bodies in the floor" is just so adorable. The footage used is well-edited and well-synchronized war porn. Jets and helicopters scream over rocky canyons. Flares, missiles and machineguns blast targets. It's the most technologically advanced military in human history being displayed, and even hardened liberals such as myself find the lure of science-fictiony destruction removed from the gruesome consequences a bit exciting.
Bad Point: Taking time out from sipping absinthe, GothPig81 ruminates: "Screw all american men and women in iraq, the war was illegal, filthy white pigs"
Worse Point: True Patriot baronvonvoe counters with the hilarious "defending your freedom" line: "Oh yeah GothThug81 you are a fuckin' moron. It was the blood of soldiers that secured your freedom to say idiotic comments like that."
Insight: This video is intended to get people totally pumped about blowing up Iraq, and it's the sort of propaganda that really works. I don't know if non-Americans can empathize with this, but there is a certain sickness when your country is the most powerful in the world. You see a video like this and, even if you hate the idea of invading other countries, you feel a certain thrill that your nation CAN invade other countries. No military force can stand before your nation's might. It's a dangerous line of thinking that gets us mired in nightmares like Iraq, where the reality is dirt poor jerks with cell phones randomly ending the lives of young men and women on a daily basis.
"Iraq...IED Attack Compilation 2005"[link]
Disturbing Imagery: This is pure violent propaganda consisting of insurgents blowing up Humvees with IEDs. There is no bodily harm shown, but a number of American soldiers and marines probably died in the filming of this video.
Description: This is the more somber flipside of that idiotic "drowning pool" video. It is propaganda intended to get insurgent groups and anti-American groups "totally pumped" about planting old rusty mortar rounds under corncobs along the side of a road. Planting IEDs is a sort of warfare that takes virtually no courage or honor. Planting IEDs is also the only way the insurgents can effectively attack the United States without a 99.99% chance of being killed. Overall, the video sickens me. I hate to see Americans buying the farm and I hate that goddamn annoying "Allahu Ackbar" chant and the shitty 1980s regional news TV production values.
Bad Point: American hero alwaysbeencrazy plays the infamous "Saddam was trying to destroy the First Amendment" card: "Yeah, Nice..... I am sure glad you have got the freedom to speak your mind like that. Just remember you have that right because we were over there keeping the bastards on their own playing field. "wink"."
Worse Point: hassin6 manages to slide the stick out of his ass long enough to spew out some incoherent anger: "haaa whis your dady imerican motherfuckers where is your bush so he can save them haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa god damn and god is great allah kaber .. god willing more to come stpid asshole haaaa viva la france"
Insight: Insurgents have poor production values and people who ate paint chips as kids tend to hate America and love France.
"I get blown up!"[link]
Disturbing Imagery: There is no bodily harm seen in the video, but it is pretty terrifying and also hilarious.
Description: Unless you actually want to see marines die, here is your feel-good video of the day. This one is shot from the back seat of an up-armored Humvee being driven on a marine patrol. As you might expect from the title, the Humvee encounters an IED and the occupants live to tell the tale. It's such a happy clip in some ways that I almost feel guilty sharing a couple of the boneheaded comments from YouTube.
Bad Point: I can only hope that wkh88 was being sarcastic: "could you marines go kill some sand niggers? nearly all of them are insurgents or sympathizers, just kill some randomly."
Worse Point: You can almost hear the "Allahu Ackbars" dripping from macpeace's sweaty upper lip: "they(animal troop) deserve to death...why they attack that country? all citizen over there just defend their country,home,family,..not like bush..suck their oil,create story september 11,to attack middle east,.1st..we just want sell our bullets,gun,weapon, make war like game let they dieeeee.!!!!!burn in hell with bush and the gang...die you all fuckerrrrr..hahhahahahah.god bles u freedom fighter..defend your country,home,family..we are no 1 terorist"
Insight: After you nearly get blown up by an IED your sense of humor is the first thing to make a recovery. After you see a video of someone else nearly getting blown up by an IED your "I'm a huge fucking dick" reflex is the first thing to kick in.
I learned a number of things from this exercise. All foreigners hate America, for example. US soldiers tend to be very hostile on the Internet, for another example. Also, there are bodies, and they are in the floor.
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The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.