Iraq? Turkey? Ah, who cares, they're all Ay-rabs anyway...
March 29, 2006 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Baghdad is calm, except it's neither. So this guy Howard Kaloogian is running for Congress in California, and he supports the troops. Thinks they're making all sorts of progress that simply isn't reported by the evil lib'rul mainstream media, so he went to see Baghdad for himself, and posted a picture of a calm Baghdad street - See? No terrorists here! Except that certain sleuthing types found something awfully fishy about that photo...
posted by kgasmart (146 comments total)

 
The kos link is down - Is the conclusion that it's in Turkey then?
posted by mzurer at 9:59 AM on March 29, 2006


The American people enjoy being lied to. The more brash and obvious, the more they love it, it proves they have balls and can handle tough challenges.

On a serious note, I bet that if he really had gone to Iraq, he would have changed his tune, or gotten his head cut off.
posted by delmoi at 10:00 AM on March 29, 2006


Whoops. Forgot to make the lie plausible, even.
posted by jenovus at 10:00 AM on March 29, 2006


Yeah, the the 'types' link points to another pic of the same corner, from a different angle.

According to these bloggers, it's actually in Istanbul.
posted by Malor at 10:05 AM on March 29, 2006


So did he actually go to Iraq? Besides that I don't see how one photo could be very representative of the overall situation in a city of 5.9 million.
posted by furtive at 10:05 AM on March 29, 2006


Side-by-side comparison from tpm
posted by empath at 10:06 AM on March 29, 2006


Democrats' slogan for 2006: We Won't Lie to You.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:06 AM on March 29, 2006


The photo that proves it wasn't from Iraq: The photo from Bakirkoy (a suburb of Istanbul) (found in this forum by others).

Er, what empath said. But I think I'll leave the link to the flickr source in case it goes down.
posted by skynxnex at 10:07 AM on March 29, 2006


Shameful.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:07 AM on March 29, 2006


Pathetic.
posted by interrobang at 10:08 AM on March 29, 2006


Fraud!
posted by R. Mutt at 10:09 AM on March 29, 2006


I'd like to read the views from the Iraq people. Are there any here? I am not sure what pictures can show. They can take pictures from any date, ten years to now; any time, 24/7; I don't think violence is everywhere and everyday.
posted by matthewchen at 10:09 AM on March 29, 2006


I wonder which young staffer he will blame it on.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:10 AM on March 29, 2006


and yet, not at all suprising.
posted by nomisxid at 10:11 AM on March 29, 2006


but... but.. but it was an emotional truth!
posted by edgeways at 10:12 AM on March 29, 2006


Surprise! The relevant parts of Kaloogian's site are down. Thank goodness for the google cache.
posted by The Bellman at 10:13 AM on March 29, 2006


Here's a satisfying parody.

(I wish there was a Falafel Bell near me...)
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:14 AM on March 29, 2006


This guy either deserves to be laughed out of politics, or is the victim a production error, or of a dirty trick. It will be interesting to find out which.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:15 AM on March 29, 2006


If that's supposed to be a taxi in the foreground, it most certainly is not Iraq. All Iraqi taxis are painted red and white (my ex-husband used to own one and did a bunch of research).
posted by jokeefe at 10:16 AM on March 29, 2006


I summarized all the discrepancies, and posted both photos (the one from Kaloogian's site, and the one from the same spot in Istanbul) here.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:16 AM on March 29, 2006


Politician lies! Film at 11!
posted by keswick at 10:17 AM on March 29, 2006


From the cache of his own site, here's the caption to the photo, Paris (emphasis mine):

Downtown Baghdad
We took this photo of dowtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.

posted by interrobang at 10:17 AM on March 29, 2006


What a dumbass, but for that very reason I love stuff like this. Nice detective work. O'course, if this guy wins, I'll want to pull my own head off.
posted by tula at 10:18 AM on March 29, 2006


Ha Ha!
posted by gsb at 10:19 AM on March 29, 2006


Correct me if I'm wrong, but there should be another REALLY obvious giveaway here:

I'm pretty sure that Iraqi's aren't in the habit of using the Roman alphabet for their on-street signs.

Just a thought...
posted by generichuman at 10:19 AM on March 29, 2006


Actually the site is still up and still has the same photo. It's just getting pounded right now.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:21 AM on March 29, 2006


Read, Roman/Latin/Anglo/Western-European alphabet. I can't remember what our set of letters is actually called.
posted by generichuman at 10:22 AM on March 29, 2006


Latin Alphabet, West Germanic language
posted by edgeways at 10:27 AM on March 29, 2006


An Armenian uses a photo of Turkey as an example of shining democracy? No katah for you, pal!
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:30 AM on March 29, 2006


I don't know. Passes the truthiness test for me.
posted by 327.ca at 10:30 AM on March 29, 2006


It's a fake plastic model!


posted by mathowie at 10:31 AM on March 29, 2006


The guy is a complete sleaze.

And it is the Roman alphabet, generichuman. Which can show up in Baghdad, but you'd at least expect to see the occasional bit of Arabic script. Oh, and the fact that a Turkish ice cream shop is visible in the picture, and that one sign has the Turkish word for notary.

This guy is not just a sleaze, he is a frickin' idiot.

But I'll be curious to see if this does him any damage. Unless the regular media picks it up, I don't see this doing major damage to his campaign. Bloggers don't account for that many voters.
posted by teece at 10:32 AM on March 29, 2006


Unfortunately, the asshats that would vote for this guy won't be deterred by a little falsehood. Since the story will get no mainstream media traction, they probably won't even hear about it.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:32 AM on March 29, 2006


Maybe he thought he was in Iraq...but was really secretly flown to Turkey and then told it was Iraq.

It's the little things the goverment does to make us believe that everything is peaceful in Iraq, because they don't want us to hear about all the bad things going on over there.
posted by rand at 10:32 AM on March 29, 2006


We reached Kaloogian by phone moments ago. Here's what he had to say:

[O]n the way back from Baghdad some of the crew stopped in Istanbul as a layover. We turned all the photographs [from the trip] over to the webmaster, and it appears he took one from the stopover and not from Baghdad. If a mistake happened, we'll correct it.

So, that's ok then...
posted by dash_slot- at 10:34 AM on March 29, 2006


Scum. Bag.

That is all.
posted by djeo at 10:37 AM on March 29, 2006


I wonder which young staffer he will blame it on.

One who shall remain nameless, apparently:
We reached Kaloogian by phone moments ago. Here's what he had to say:

[O]n the way back from Baghdad some of the crew stopped in Istanbul as a layover. We turned all the photographs [from the trip] over to the webmaster, and it appears he took one from the stopover and not from Baghdad. If a mistake happened, we'll correct it.

Kaloogian noted that he brought back "hundreds and hundreds" of photographs from the trip. He declined to identify his webmaster's name, saying only that he was "a member of my staff."
Probably "correct it" right down the memory hole, too.
posted by edverb at 10:37 AM on March 29, 2006


Maybe he thought he was in Iraq...but was really secretly flown to Turkey and then told it was Iraq.

I think you may be on to something here, Rand. What if all the dumb asses who've been to Iraq and walked its peaceful streets and spoken of its flowering happiness have all just really been to Turkey?

;)
posted by malaprohibita at 10:40 AM on March 29, 2006


I wish I could find a photo of Baltimore that made it look as calm as that street in Istanbul.
posted by OmieWise at 10:40 AM on March 29, 2006


[O]n the way back from Baghdad some of the crew stopped in Istanbul as a layover. We turned all the photographs [from the trip] over to the webmaster, and it appears he took one from the stopover and not from Baghdad. If a mistake happened, we'll correct it.

B.. but... we still get to blame those America-hating reporters in the Liberal Media, right?
posted by interrobang at 10:42 AM on March 29, 2006


that redundant non-previewed post?
It's the fault of my unnamed staffer :-P

posted by edverb at 10:42 AM on March 29, 2006


I found the perfect photo for you, OmieWise. See how nice and calm Baltimore is?
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:43 AM on March 29, 2006


"We took this photo of dowtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism."

Did the webmaster also write the copy for him, in his voice too?

Is Howard Kaloogian a liar?
posted by dash_slot- at 10:43 AM on March 29, 2006


MATHOWIE:
AWESOME.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 10:44 AM on March 29, 2006


Truth Tour eh?
posted by iamck at 10:47 AM on March 29, 2006


Sounds like a job for the Overzealous Republican Staffer!... pathetic.
posted by anthill at 10:49 AM on March 29, 2006


I think I see some WMDs in that picture.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:51 AM on March 29, 2006


many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.

Sorry. I repeat his words there because they are so incredibly, er, weird. What sort of mental contortions must he be going through, 1) to actually believe that, and 2) to publish those words next to that pic on his own site?

Is it thirst for power, mental illness or is Howard Kaloogian a liar?
posted by dash_slot- at 10:53 AM on March 29, 2006



posted by eddydamascene at 10:54 AM on March 29, 2006


So what if the picture is a fake? the points still stands, Iraq is a lot more peaceful and lively now, and it's true the media never talk about that.

We just went to Baghdad last week with a Ryanair special fee, and it was packed! the tourism is really exploding there! Had a fabulous weekend checking out the local pubs and clubs, nice restaurants too, and then the beach, took a lot of pictures of the pier, lots of couples walking around hand in hand, and hmm fish and chips... You really haven't lived til you tried the fish and chips on the Baghdad pier.
posted by funambulist at 10:55 AM on March 29, 2006


The fraud is absurd for non-fraudulent reasons, too.

In a state of urban civil warfare in a sprawling and heavily populated, one will always find tranquil streets. Ignoring his deception, this man should be disqualified for trying to demonstrate that an entire city is peaceful by posting a photograph of one street in that city.

It is my understanding that American visitors to Baghdad don't really leave the Green Zone ... the only time they do so is when being shuttled to the airport. In all likelihood, this moronic Congressional aspirant used a pic of Istanbul because he had few of Baghdad outside the Green Zone, which undermines his claim of having hundreds of photographs from Baghdad.
posted by Azaadistani at 10:55 AM on March 29, 2006


Sorry. I repeat his words there because they are so incredibly, er, weird. What sort of mental contortions must he be going through, 1) to actually believe that, and 2) to publish those words next to that pic on his own site?

See, he doesn't really believe that. The reason he used the picture is precisely because it's not true.
posted by interrobang at 10:55 AM on March 29, 2006


I'm going to be making new bumper stickers for his campaign:

/------------------------| Koward * * * * * * '06 |
| HOOLIGAAN * US Congress|
\------------------------/

posted by pmbuko at 10:57 AM on March 29, 2006


looked fine in preview....

Koward Hooligaan
US Congress '06
posted by pmbuko at 10:58 AM on March 29, 2006


If this was intentional, he's a total clown. Well, he's probably a clown anyways. But the excuse seems plausible. He really was in Iraq. In all honesty, all of Baghdad is not a constant battleground, I'm certain that at any given time on any given day one can find a calm street and take a photo. I've seen plenty. Daily even, on CNN. There would be no reason to have a street in Turkey stand in for Baghdad, nor does a single photo prove anything about the relative calm or the situation in Iraq. The explanation that photos got mixed up is plausible to me, although the street scene in Turkey likely looks better than any in Baghdad.
posted by loquax at 11:00 AM on March 29, 2006


And what Azaadistani said...
posted by loquax at 11:01 AM on March 29, 2006


During the American Civil War, tourists took trips from Washington to have a picnic while watching the Battle of Bull Run.

Life goes on. It always does.
posted by empath at 11:02 AM on March 29, 2006


I think we jump on this as if it were a serious piece of investigative journalism, and then pat ourselves on the back when we can only confirm that something is amiss. One of the sad things of these blog gotcha tactics is that everyone wants immediate results and everyone wants to be a Woodward and Bernstein, when they just only want an answer they're satisfied with -- minus the real reporting, minus the context. We think we're right when we're just jumping to conclusions.

That explanation that dash_slot posted is pretty plausible, and it came from the other in the other side. If they fail to produce a picture in the next week or so, then maybe we're on to something.

But I agree that a picture alone can't make the argument that Baghdad is calm. There is only so much it can tell.


Did the webmaster also write the copy for him, in his voice too?

Why not? Unless Kaloogian were involved in every aspect of marketing his official image, the extent of his involvement was probably in approving the caption, which most likely was written by someone else.
posted by i8ny3x at 11:02 AM on March 29, 2006


What the fuck was this dude thinking?
posted by AMWKE at 11:05 AM on March 29, 2006


During the American Civil War, tourists took trips from Washington to have a picnic while watching the Battle of Bull Run

Also, earlier in American history --
"The church steeples being of timber were great pyramids of fire above the rest. Behind us the church steeples and heights of our own camp, covered with spectators. The hills around the country covered with spectators. The enemy all in anxious suspense. The roar of cannon, mortars and musketry, the crash of churches, ships upon the stocks and whole streets falling together in ruins to fill the air; the storm of the redoubt . . . filled the eye and the reflection that perhaps defeat was a final loss to the British Empire [of] America to fill the mind, made the whole a picture and a complication of horror and importance beyond anything that ever came to my lot to witness to."

-- General John Burgoyne, British Army, Battle of Bunker Hill, Charlestown, MA (June 17, 1775).
posted by ericb at 11:07 AM on March 29, 2006



The next excuse will be that the webmaster used to work for Clinton.
posted by eriko at 11:07 AM on March 29, 2006


Why are we reading this? Don't you know that the California 50th has ceased to exist?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:11 AM on March 29, 2006


CBS News' Lara Logan smacks down the "negative Iraq War Coverage" charges.

Salon.com's Peter Daou understands that while life goes on in the midst of continuing bloodshed and chaos in Iraq the news is not in fact that "life goes on."
posted by ericb at 11:15 AM on March 29, 2006


Actually empath, that was only the first battle of bull run, and reports say the carnage among the civilians during the Union retreat was pretty bad. Lots of lives not-going-on-at-all kind of bad.
posted by nomisxid at 11:15 AM on March 29, 2006


This reminds me...Has any collected on the Larry Johnson "my money where your mouth is" challenge yet?

IIRC, he challenged some professional troll (Coulter, I think) to pay for their business class airfare to Baghdad and pay $10K upon return if they: took a public cab from the airport, travelled without a security guard/detail of any kind, stayed outside the green zone and had dinner in a different restaurant every night for a week.

Shit, may as well make it $100K or a cool million Larry...no wingnut commentator is gonna try and collect on it. They probably make more than that every day in "Armstrong Williams" money.
posted by edverb at 11:15 AM on March 29, 2006


And here is a photo of Kaloogian in the desert just outside Basra. As you can see, Iraq is a Sea of Tranquility.


posted by qvantamon at 11:16 AM on March 29, 2006


Sorry, if you're excluding the possibility of a mistake, it says more about you than the politician. But gee, isn't it fun to make fun of someone!
posted by ParisParamus at 11:17 AM on March 29, 2006


But gee, isn't it fun to make fun of someone!

It sure is!
posted by edverb at 11:20 AM on March 29, 2006


Now let's not jump the gun here - maybe his staffers told him he WAS in Iraq.
posted by iamck at 11:20 AM on March 29, 2006


But gee, isn't it fun to make fun of someone!

For instance!
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:22 AM on March 29, 2006


*rimshot*
posted by NationalKato at 11:22 AM on March 29, 2006


What?! A politician LIED? And a Republican at that? OMG! Pass the smelling salts!

Still, always good when one of the bastards gets found out.
posted by Decani at 11:23 AM on March 29, 2006


Sorry, if you're excluding the possibility of a mistake, it says more about you than the politician.

Ah, bullshit, Paris. Even if the pic WAS from Baghdad - does it empirically prove that things are better in Iraq than the eeeevil lib'rul MSM is telling us? It wouldn't prove a damned thing.

If Kaloogian - or Brit Hume or anyone else who wants to claim Iraq is not that big a whoop, let's f*cking see them spend a little time OUTSIDE the Green Zone - head on down the highway to the airport without an armed escort, THEN tell me how well our Grand Crusade is going, not before.
posted by kgasmart at 11:25 AM on March 29, 2006


Jack Cafferty, CNN's The Situation Room:
"You know, I just have a question. I mean, the coverage -- they don't like the coverage, maybe, because we were sold a different ending to this story three years ago. We were told we'd be embraced as conquering heroes, flower petals strewn in the soldiers' paths, unity government would be formed, everything would be rosy. This, three years after the fact, the troops would be home. Well, it's not turning out that way. And if somebody came into New York City and blew up St. Patrick's Cathedral and in the resulting days they were finding 50 and 60 dead bodies on the streets in New York, do you suppose the news media would cover it? You're damn right they would. This is nonsense: 'It's the media's fault the news isn't good in Iraq.' The news isn't good in Iraq. There's violence in Iraq. People are found dead every day in the streets of Baghdad. This didn't turn out the way the politicians told us it would. And it's our fault? I beg to differ..."
posted by ericb at 11:26 AM on March 29, 2006


As others have said, it probably was a mixup. Why take the risk of posting a fake when (and this is, of course, assuming he was actually in Iraq) one would probably be able to find a street that looked calm enough for a photo somewhere in the city.
posted by jikel_morten at 11:28 AM on March 29, 2006


The Media and Iraq: What's Wrong With This Picture?
"Mr. Bush wants to know why the media don't publish more 'success stories' about Iraq. I want to know the opposite: why the media don't publish photos and videos that -- in no uncertain terms -- show the blood-drenched truth.

Watching TV news or reading the papers, you'd think this was a war without human faces.

There are no victims, only numbers. '39 Killed.' '50 Dead.'

But where are the bodies? That's right, the mangled, gouged, decapitated, amputated, burned bodies?

I'll tell you where: On File. Locked away in the photo and video archives of the major news organizations. The supposedly "negative" media are deliberately holding back from actually showing us the negative human costs of Bush's war, and that puts the lie to any blather about how negative they really are."
posted by ericb at 11:30 AM on March 29, 2006


Woo-hoo, folks. Good news. Only 8 reported killed in Iraq and 34 in Afganistan today!!!
posted by ericb at 11:32 AM on March 29, 2006


Since the story will get no mainstream media traction, they probably won't even hear about it.

I'm half expecting to see it mentioned on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report.
posted by pax digita at 11:33 AM on March 29, 2006


Ah, bullshit, Paris. Even if the pic WAS from Baghdad - does it empirically prove that things are better in Iraq than the eeeevil lib'rul MSM is telling us? It wouldn't prove a damned thing.

No it wouldn't prove a damn thing, and that was my point. And not only because under Saddam, things were nice and quiet.

On the one hand, it doesn't prove anything; on the other, the relish and seriousness with which people are "analyzing" this "intentional lie" says a lot. About the relishers and analysts.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:35 AM on March 29, 2006


The webmaster excuse is plausible. After all, do we think that Kaloogian is sitting there like some blogger, tending to his own site and making sure that he gets the pictures up just right? He probably doesn't even write the copy.

That said, his claims of "Iraq is a-okay!" are bunk. It was undoubtedly all nice and safe and quiet for him in Iraq. I mean, are we expected to believe that he left the Green Zone without a heavy military escort (assuming he even left the Green Zone or any of the other fortifications the US has built there)? Visiting US VIPs are probably the most secure people in Iraq, with 24-hour a day access to power, fuel, food, clean water, etc. to boot.

I think it's safe to say his own personal experience is hardly representative of daily life Baghdad.
posted by moonbiter at 11:36 AM on March 29, 2006


#jikel_morten: it probably was a mixup.

If it was just a "mixup" then Kaloogian must be really dumb. Most politicians are obsessed with their publicity, so I'm sure Kaloogian has gone over that page many times. Maybe he can't remember or tell that Turkey and Iraq look different.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:37 AM on March 29, 2006


he relish and seriousness with which people are "analyzing" this "intentional lie" says a lot. About the relishers and analysts.

What does it say? Specifically?

It had better be a lot.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:37 AM on March 29, 2006


ericb:
I would even go so far as to say that the constant refrain of lying liberal media is what keeps it all on file.

If the media showed the truth of what is going on, and did go on, in the war against Iraq, the people would not be even as supporting of it (35% and dropping) as they are.
"Here’s what Cohen received, a call from the vice president, Cheney. Here’s what he said, he said that he wanted to see one thing. He did not want to see a tour of the world or all the potential threats to our country, he wanted to get a briefing for the new president, his partner, George W. Bush, on one topic, Iraq. That’s all he wanted.

I talked to Bill Cohen a number of times on this, and he said it was breathtaking. All the vice president wanted to know about, he didn’t care about the world all around the globe, the only thing he cared about was Iraq. He was already honing in on that decision in December of 2000. What does that tell you?"
They lied. They schemed. It's what they do.
posted by dash_slot- at 11:38 AM on March 29, 2006


Link.
posted by dash_slot- at 11:39 AM on March 29, 2006


#jikel_morten: it probably was a mixup.

If it was just a "mixup" then Kaloogian must be really dumb. Most politicians are obsessed with their publicity, so I'm sure Kaloogian has gone over that page many times. Maybe he can't remember or tell that Turkey and Iraq look different.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 2:37 PM EST on March 29 [!]


We are talking about a guy who held up one photo as proof of peace in Baghdad, so I'll go with your former option.
posted by jikel_morten at 11:41 AM on March 29, 2006


Bush blames Iraq's ongoing instability on Hussein, not the U.S. involvement.

You know, I generally think it's not so much about hoodwinking the U.S. and world populace as it is about their own self-deception. Makes sense to keep your inner circle staff from changing...that way, no one else need drink the Kool-Aid.
posted by NationalKato at 11:41 AM on March 29, 2006


Well gee, that's an indictment? Some of us are glad the going to war was a plan from the beginning. Some of believe the the war should have been staged in, say, 1997 or 98. Just when has President Bush said that was not the case?
posted by ParisParamus at 11:42 AM on March 29, 2006


Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. returned from a visit to Baghdad two days ago:
"Even before touching down in Baghdad, Huntsman said he knew he was entering a war zone. 'It became very real that we were in a theater of combat because we all had to don our body armor at that point inside the airplane,' Huntsman said.

The C-130 aircraft approached the airport in a 'corkscrew spiral,' the governor said. He and the rest of the delegation were transported from the airport via low-flying Black Hawk helicopters because the road to the U.S. Embassy compound was too dangerous.

Huntsman said he visited with 'a sense of confidence and courage,' given that some 1,000 Utahns are currently serving in Iraq, but still felt vulnerable, especially when leaving the heavily protected 'green zone' in Baghdad."
posted by ericb at 11:43 AM on March 29, 2006


"if you're excluding the possibility of a mistake, it says more about you than the politician."

Man, you've gone from annoying to just pathetic.

"Some of believe the the war should have been staged in, say, 1997 or 98."

And some actually joined the military to back up that macho talk. And some just talk.
posted by 2sheets at 11:49 AM on March 29, 2006


According to TPM, Kaloogian was for the photo before he was against it. Also note that Kaloogian has been talking to newspaper reporters, so I guess the "mainstream media" is on this after all.
posted by The Bellman at 11:52 AM on March 29, 2006


If that was an error, it's a major whoopsie, but totally correctable. If they knew what they were doing, I'm guessing they didn't expect any of their American readers to know Turkey OR Iraq well enough to recognize that. I think the story of how this error/lie was caught is interesting. Very resourceful.
posted by raedyn at 11:53 AM on March 29, 2006


So, from Bellman's link: " Kaloogian stood by the photo and caption."
posted by ericb at 11:53 AM on March 29, 2006


In 1998, I was 35. I don't think they would have taken me. Also, President Clinton wasn't going to do that, so I didn't try to sign up.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:54 AM on March 29, 2006


Ok, I'll let him skate on the webmaster argument, but if he truly believes Baghdad to be a calm place, I await to see what authentic photo he replaces it with (ideally, he should have an entire gallery of wonderful calm street photos, since he claims the place is much safer than we believe).
posted by mathowie at 11:57 AM on March 29, 2006


Bush blames Iraq's ongoing instability on Hussein, not the U.S. involvement.

From the article: Bush said Iraq's instability "is the legacy of Saddam -- a tyrant who exacerbated ethnic divisions to keep himself in power."

According to the International Crisis Group (in an October 2002 report), the Sunni/Shiite split wasn't that deep prior to the war. What's happening is that the Sunni insurgency is deliberately provoking the Shiites, hoping to spark civil war. This might seem crazy, because the Shiites are a majority; but this would put the US in the position of having to intervene against the Shiite majority. (The goal of the insurgency is to force the US out of Iraq, so that they can claim a major victory. See Benjamin and Simon, The Next Attack.)

ICG: The cautioning, conciliatory words of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the Shiites’ pre-eminent religious leader, increasingly are falling on deaf ears.
posted by russilwvong at 12:07 PM on March 29, 2006


Given that Kaloogian is in the running for Randy "Duke" Cunningham's former slot, vacated because of Cunningham's eight year jail sentence for being brazenly bought to the tune of $2.4 million... well, Kaloogian seems eminently qualified to provide the voters of Southern California the kind of political leadership they've counted on for years.

I, for one, love seeing an incredibly guilty and corrupt man cry like Elmer Fudd after killing da wabbit.

Anyone care for a menu?
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:17 PM on March 29, 2006


This is a totally minor issue and Kaloogian is an easy target, because he is either a dumbass, a kool-aid drinker, or a liar, or all three.

Watch the mainstream media ask this guy the tough questions they're afraid to ask the people (including democrats) who are actually in power.

Just when has President Bush said that was not the case?

In some ways what you say is true, but there was also a constant drumbeat of "let's do everything we can do search for a peaceful outcome" coming from Bush in many speeches, implying that if it were possible to contain Iraq through inspections, etc. he would do that. A lot of people (not blood-thirsty Arab-hating chickenhawks, but ordinary, decent people with consistent morals) believed this was the case.
posted by cell divide at 12:18 PM on March 29, 2006


Yeah, I'm really curious to see what he posts instead. If he can dig up at least one real, call photo I might buy the mix-up. If he can't (and I'm betting he won't) then its obvious that it was a lie.
posted by delmoi at 12:25 PM on March 29, 2006


No, Paris, Clinton just took out Iraq's WMDs without sending 2300+ Americans to their deaths. More efficient and effective, but less masturbation fodder for future war-bloggers. It's a trade-off.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:25 PM on March 29, 2006


Wow, are you telling me that Clinton successfully disarmed the Iraqis of their WMDs? Gee... he must've saved hundreds of US soldier's lives in the 2003 invasion, not to mention all the Iraqi civilians who would've found themselves in the middle of a toxic soup.

So, when is Bush giving him a medal?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:36 PM on March 29, 2006


And when I say that Kaloogian is talking to reporters, I mean that he is absolutely not talking to reporters. Anymore
posted by The Bellman at 12:37 PM on March 29, 2006


Howie, you're doing a heck of job.
posted by Otis at 12:41 PM on March 29, 2006


The photo on the main page of his website with him and Bush looks photoshopped too!

It takes forever, but the page that the photo is on still comes up, and it's still the same photo of Turkey for now, for anyone curious.
posted by loquax at 12:53 PM on March 29, 2006


From The Bellman's most recent link Kaloogian's last visit to Iraq was last July -- "several months before he entered the House race, or created the Web site. Was this an oversight akin to the bad Baghdad pic?"

No wonder he's not talking to the press. He's trying to spin a prior visit and an erroneous photograph as being 'current?' What an idiot.
posted by ericb at 12:54 PM on March 29, 2006


President Bush said Wednesday that Saddam Hussein, not continued U.S. involvement in Iraq, is responsible for ongoing sectarian violence.

In later comments, he blamed Bill Clinton for the ballooning deficit, Nixon for the illegal non-FISA domestic spying and Carter for the Iranian nuclear power crisis. Apparently Lincoln was responsible for the substandard levees....
posted by dash_slot- at 1:00 PM on March 29, 2006


Don't give him ideas, dash_slot-!
posted by NationalKato at 1:15 PM on March 29, 2006


Abraham Lincoln doesn't care about black people.
posted by gigawhat? at 1:16 PM on March 29, 2006


Checking into when Kaloogian was in Iraq, I find that the photos on his campaign website refer to his visit to Iraq as indeed "during the 'Voice of Soldiers' Truth Tour. The website for the tour seems to be down, but the Google cache clearly points out that the trip was in July 2005.

The photo of Kaloogian with soldiers in Iraq which the 'Kaloogian for Congress' website uses on its homepage is identical to the one on the MoveAmericaForward.org which appears to have been involved with the July 2005 trip. On their website Kaloogian authored an article 'Courage plentiful in Iraq' -- dated July 12, 2005.

I can find no reference to any recent visit by Kaloogian to Iraq -- only this one. If he hasn't been there recently, his claims of recent calm and peace can be legitimately claimed as bogus and suspect.
posted by ericb at 1:19 PM on March 29, 2006


This idea that it's a "just " a mistake is disingenuous, at best. If you travel to Baghdad at the expense of others to collect evidence of political stability, then it's your god damn duty to ensure that any "evidence" which you subsequently present to advance your argument is legitimate. Ignoring the flamingly obvious fact that one picture of a calm street proves nothing about daily conditions, you at least owe a duty to ensure that a real picture is of the location is used.

This long, but scarily enlightening, article paints a far better picture of the real conditions in Baghdad.

Blaming it in on the staffers who stopped off in Istanbul is pretty weak sauce, as well. It is the duty of the person presenting photographic evidence to ensure that the correct photos are used. Perhaps one of the staffers lives in Anaheim, would we then be looking at pictures of Disneyland being represented as Baghdad?

This man is no leader that's for sure. Such an appalling lack of attention to detail is precisely the kind of incompetence that started this frikken killing spree in the first place. That Kaloogian traveled to Baghdad and is anything other than appalled at the situation there is representative of either a willfully disattachment from reality, or ( more likely) despicable willingness to achieve power at any cost.

Simply put, the GOP and it's death apologists suffer from a pathological inability to tell the truth because they simply don't care about the truth. The only thing those bastards are concerned with is their own lust for money and power. What's a few thousand dead and maimed peopl, when big proffits stand be made?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:23 PM on March 29, 2006


Google cache for Voice of Soldiers proper link here.
posted by ericb at 1:24 PM on March 29, 2006


Well gee, that's an indictment? Some of us are glad the going to war was a plan from the beginning. Some of believe the the war should have been staged in, say, 1997 or 98. Just when has President Bush said that was not the case?
Q I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet -- your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil -- quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?

THE PRESIDENT: I think your premise -- in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist -- is that -- I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect --

Q Everything --

THE PRESIDENT: Hold on for a second, please.

Q -- everything I've heard --

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. No President wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true. My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We -- when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. Our foreign policy changed on that day, Helen. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I'm never going to forget it. And I'm never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people.

Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that's why I went into Iraq -- hold on for a second --

Q They didn't do anything to you, or to our country.

THE PRESIDENT: Look -- excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where al Qaeda trained --

Q I'm talking about Iraq --

THE PRESIDENT: Helen, excuse me. That's where -- Afghanistan provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where they trained. That's where they plotted. That's where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.

I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council; that's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences --

Q -- go to war --

THE PRESIDENT: -- and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.

Q Thank you.
posted by designbot at 1:25 PM on March 29, 2006


Bush blames Iraq's ongoing instability on Hussein, not the U.S. involvement.

I guess Saddam's capture wasn't "the end of the road for him," as the president said at the time. (Saddam was captured back when the enemy was "Baathist holdouts." Those were the days.)

In his comments today, the president said, "I want the Iraqi people to hear I've got great confidence in their capacity to self govern." As long as he gets to pick who's prime minister.

Also, the government is releasing the Abu Ghraib photos, citing Salon's publications of some of them.

And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him.

Saddam Hussein didn't deny the inspectors, so that's an outright lie that he's said before. And it's pretty ballsy of him to say that Hussein didn't disclose, in light of the undisputed memo that shows that he and Prime Minister Blair knew by January 2003 that there wasn't anything to disclose.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:37 PM on March 29, 2006


Simply put, the GOP and it's death apologists suffer from a pathological inability to tell the truth because they simply don't care about the truth.

No, it's because they operate largely on the level of "emotional truth." In other words, they know what they know even when there's no empirical basis for their "knowledge."

So they "know" Iraq is doing just fine - even though it isn't - because for their worldview to remain valid, Iraq has to be doing fine, the MSM has to be lying. If not, that means they were wrong. And that simply does not compute...
posted by kgasmart at 2:15 PM on March 29, 2006


The picture on his page has been changed to this, with the following text:

We originally posted a photograph not of Baghdad, Iraq but from Istanbul, Turkey where our delegation traveled on the way home to the United States. We apologize for this mistake. We have corrected it with a photograph we took from Baghdad. We took this photo of downtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.

Pretty lame replacement photo, showing not much of anything, and probably taken from a helicopter.
posted by loquax at 2:17 PM on March 29, 2006


Here's a direct link to the new photo.


posted by loquax at 2:20 PM on March 29, 2006


Weak!
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:21 PM on March 29, 2006


Trees=Calm
posted by Otis at 2:23 PM on March 29, 2006


I'd say the contrast between the Turkey fake, and the Iraq real, proves his statements false.
posted by nomisxid at 2:24 PM on March 29, 2006


Is that smoke in the air above Baghdad?
posted by designbot at 2:24 PM on March 29, 2006


Kinda hard to see the dead bodies on the street from that height.
posted by NationalKato at 2:25 PM on March 29, 2006


Actual photos from Iraq taken during Kooligan's visit (not by Kooligan, obviously).
posted by designbot at 2:28 PM on March 29, 2006


But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.

Against the effort to fight terrorism??? What the F? What most journalists are against is the effort to lie about terrorism in such a way that we lose more lives and create more terrorists so that Bush/Cheney cronies in the energy/oil business and in war procurement like Halliburton can make more rich, under-taxed Republicans happy about being born rich. What most journalists are against is the effort to confuse the facts about 9/11 with the Baathist regime in Iraq. What most journalists are against ios the effort to divorce the freedom to be well informed from the One Party State "line" being droned out by party/state supported media like FOX.
posted by zaelic at 3:02 PM on March 29, 2006


To his credit, he admitted the mistake publicly and put up an ostensibly real photo of Iraq. Not that the pic proves anything, but at least they're trying.
posted by raedyn at 3:02 PM on March 29, 2006


Official 'Voice of Soldiers' Truth Tour galleries here and here. (Note the bulletproof vests they wore when they traveled).

This is where Kooligan & his companions actually spent their trip:



Much of the trip in Iraq will be centered in and around Baghdad with the talk show hosts reporting the positive developments in stabilization and rebuilding efforts that Kaloogian contended are largely ignored in mainstream media reports.

"The impression most people have on the streets of San Diego is that car bombs are the norm when in fact they aren't," Kaloogian said. "Detroit is arguably a more dangerous place than Iraq."

posted by designbot at 3:03 PM on March 29, 2006


Kaloogian, not Kooligan, soory.
posted by designbot at 3:06 PM on March 29, 2006


nomisxid writes "I'd say the contrast between the Turkey fake, and the Iraq real, proves his statements false."

Does it ever. The contrast is conspicuous. I'm guessing he never set foot on the street in "downtown Baghdad".
posted by mr_roboto at 3:47 PM on March 29, 2006


Who cares where the lying little prick bunkered? His entire campaign is wholly fabricated or selectively edited Bullshit , it has no basis in any objective reality. The swill on his mendacious web-page isn't aimed at anyone with any critical thinking skills. It's intended to sway the morons who believe that anyone who objects to the slaughter of others in the name of corporate greed must be against combating terrorism.

Stick that strutting little peacock, or any other chickenhawk , next to an IED on Route Irish and watch their despicably filthy false bravado vanish in a flash.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:26 PM on March 29, 2006


Kaloogian, not Kooligan, soory.

I read that as Kahooligan.
posted by ericb at 4:37 PM on March 29, 2006


Who cares where the lying little prick bunkered? His entire campaign is wholly fabricated or selectively edited Bullshit , it has no basis in any objective reality.

That's kind of the whole point. His original image clearly told the story of him walking around with smiling tourists in a perfectly normal city where everything is going fine, "safer than Detroit." And the truth was that his plane spiraled while landing to avoid potential enemy fire, he & his companions had to wear Kevlar vests, and they didn't dare to venture outside of a heavily-fortified military base in the heart of the Green Zone for fear of being blown to pieces.
posted by designbot at 4:41 PM on March 29, 2006


Reminds me of that Laura Ingraham BITCH who spent eight (8) entire days at "Camp Victory" and chided the entire media for not stopping to smell the roses in wonderful, vunderbar, all is well "trust us" Iraq.
posted by rougy at 6:05 PM on March 29, 2006


Of course, nothing happened regarding this fake and of course, if it was a democratic politician making a similar gaff, nobody would hear the end of it.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:26 PM on March 29, 2006


Looks like things are 'peachy-keen' in Iraq today and the l'brul media is aloof!

With Signs of Organized Crime, Attacks on Businesses, War Enters New Phase
"Fourteen shot at a trading company. At least 90 kidnapped at other businesses. Bodies dumped nightly, bound hand and foot, some tortured. A new brand of violence — a deadly mix of organized crime and sectarian murder — is tearing at Iraq.

Its origins are murky. But the savagery has turned March into a pivotal month in the three-year war — a month of gruesome news, mixed with some good. A sharp decline in American deaths appears to be the payoff for handing more duties to the Iraqi army, leaving U.S. forces less exposed to attack."
Nothing to see -- move on.
posted by ericb at 7:27 PM on March 29, 2006


Nailing Kaloogian on this has been a good call because he's acting as the proverbial canary in the coal mine. This is about all the wingers can muster in an effort to "prove" that Iraq is really nothing but good times and smiling faces...
posted by kgasmart at 7:33 PM on March 29, 2006


I think you've misconstrued my point , designbot. It matters not where Kaloogian went, or where he stayed when he went there, or which fake pictures he posted; as he demonstrably has no real intent to present any facts. A picture of a street proves nothing, anyone with more than one operating neuron can discern this. This is why so little attention was paid by his camp to the veracity of the picture. He knows it's entirely meaningless, hence the cavalier attitude to its provenience.

As I pointed out, a picture of Disneyland would be equally relevant from a logical point of view, in that such a picture establishes precisely nothing. He could have posted a picture of his depressed pug's hemorrhoids instead, and death Bush apologists would still be insisting that it proves that the war is going well. He is clearly not interested in any objective analysis of the war effort, but instead in misleading the public into thinking that the war is going well, by simply fucking lying about it. Clearly, he knows the war isn't going well, he was there. He didn't need to go there, the story was already written before the planes wheels touched down in the hot landing that is the norm at Baghdad.

His decision to paint a Pollyannaish picture of Baghdad completely at odds with the truth reveals him as deliberately deceptive. This asshole is completely unworthy of any trust, he epitomizes the moral bankruptcy that characterizes the Republicans in these dark days. A look at his site reveals that he is just the worst kind of political bottom-feeder, exploiting the deaths of others to advance his own cheap-jack political career.

The unwitting American public needs to stop watching American Idol and posting on Web sites and get off their butts and make sure that filthy war-pfofiteers of his ilk are unceremoniously banished to the political wilderness.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:54 PM on March 29, 2006


Inspired by the would-be congressman, I hopped on a commuter flight down to Iraq. I'm a liberal and I hate democracy, our troops, and apple pie but I have to admit he's right; it's incredibly calm there. Business as usual, really. See for yourself -- here's a shot I took from the end of the famous spice market on Rasheed Street in central Baghdad:

Baghdad's famous Al-Rasheed-Strasse
posted by moonbiter at 4:55 AM on March 30, 2006


Now being covered by Newsweek and the San Diego Union Tribune.
posted by Otis at 5:45 AM on March 30, 2006


And the NYT
posted by Otis at 5:47 AM on March 30, 2006


"...To his credit, he admitted the mistake publicly and put up an ostensibly real photo of Iraq. Not that the pic proves anything, but at least they're trying."

Oh, yes, the pic proves a lot. He said they brought back hundreds of pictures, and the webmaster mixed them with a few from Turkey. So, how come out of hundreds of pictures this was the best to correct the "mistake" with? It doesn't really prove his point now, does it? And did you look at the new pic carefully? Damn, a large area but no people to be seen. Maybe a few cars, fences, eerie atmosphere, but no calm street.

Here's how it went:
- What? What shitty pictures are these?
- Sorry sir. These are the best from the photos we brought back from Baghdad. Without, you know, blood and bits of people and all the nasty stuff.
- I don't care about all this shit! Give me a nice picture. What's this here?
- Ahem, this is from Instabul, sir. You know? Turkey?
- Stambul, Baghdad, I don't care! Just put it there! Who's gonna notice the difference anyway? If we tell it's Baghdad, then Baghdad it is!
- Um, yes, sir...

Fucking liars think we are bloody idiots.
posted by acrobat at 6:01 AM on March 30, 2006


Err yeah, that's a possibility. But it's equally possible that the people that were on the trip handed the stack of photos (or the memory card) over to the webmaster who hadn't been on the trip at all, and s/he picked out one photo that seemed to convery the point, wrote up a little caption, and uploaded it. While clearly they should have been more careful to get it right, I don't think you can rightly assume there's nefarious intentions. Sometimes people are just incompetent.
posted by raedyn at 6:17 AM on March 30, 2006


"...picked out one photo that seemed to convery the point, wrote up a little caption..."

To convey what point exactly? A point that should never have been made, because we all know it constitutes a lie. Whoever handled the photos knew they could never support the caption. And do you really think the webmaster wrote the caption?! Come on already! That's how liars get away with it. That's why they keep lying to make their point.
posted by acrobat at 6:38 AM on March 30, 2006


Yeah, the webmaster just picked a photo and posted it on the live site of a congressional candidate during an election campaign without having anyone review or approve it. Bullshit. He lied, and he got busted.

The San Diego Union Tribune that Otis linked to lists a couple of other examples of his webmaster him making claims that turned out to be untrue.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:55 AM on March 30, 2006


Also, the picture of Mr. Kaloogian at the top of this page on his site is a cropped version of a photo on the Move America Forward site. On his site, the implication is the photo was taken in Iraq or Afghanistan, but the Move America Forward site says it was taken at a barbeque in Florida.

It looks like the photo was taken in the Green Zone and one of the buildings may have been blown up.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:16 AM on March 30, 2006


Looks like Kaloogian's website is borked. Maybe bandwidth exceeded? Maybe he's sick of people finding problems? maybe it's a coindidence.

But seeing that image on the Move America forward site saying it's in Florida, when I previously saw the same image Kaloogian's own site claiming to be from a tour of the war zone*... well now I'm more willing to believe that it's willful misrepresentation (aka lying) rather than an error.

*unless something is going on in Florida that I haven't heard about yet.
posted by raedyn at 7:49 AM on March 30, 2006


Yeah, but can you buy Mardi Gras ribbons in Baghdad?
posted by sohcahtoa at 8:29 AM on March 30, 2006


High Bandwidth Server Troubles
We Appologize for the inconvience, but we are currently experiencing Extremly High bandwidth on this server, preventing the site from functioning at its full potental. Be assured we are working as fast as possible to get the site running at full force. You may however still view our contributions .

Thank you for your patience in this matter.
posted by Otis at 9:48 AM on March 30, 2006


If you want to help keep Kaloogian out of public office. Here's your chance.
posted by Otis at 7:10 AM on March 31, 2006


« Older Other loves still breathe deep inside me. This o...  |  Don Pixel... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments