AOLer goes to war. LOL.
October 7, 2004 4:28 PM   Subscribe

these tombstones looked really neat. Moocow's photos show what life is like on the ground in Iraq as a US liberator in the air force. It's always great to see an insider's view, but I must admit some of the captions come off as a bit weird/disrespectful. Otherwise, interesting stuff you don't see everyday.
posted by mathowie (30 comments total)
I just want to be clear that I'm posting this because these are interesting everyday photos of life on a base, but the captions certainly come off as a bit weird. Not mocking the LOL style or anything, but it's a side of life in Iraq I've never seen before: the soldier plopped into the middle of it.
posted by mathowie at 4:36 PM on October 7, 2004

Oh, I thought the pictures were from some college dorm.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 4:50 PM on October 7, 2004

har har.
posted by keswick at 4:55 PM on October 7, 2004

Not mocking the LOL style or anything,

I actually think the LOL style is more interesting than the photos. Just reminds me that those really are a bunch of dumb kids over there, armed to the teeth, blowing shit up and then text-messaging their friends back at the base.

LOL! OMG i totaly kiled teh dud in the store!!!!! he didnt have ne nIkes and iw as lik YOU SUCK, HAHAHAHAHA!!

Frankly, I'm surprised more of them aren't getting killed each day. Just goes to show how technologically advanced our weapons and armor are that these dildos aren't littering their streets with their entrails.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:00 PM on October 7, 2004

C_D, your characterization of the average solider is inaccurate, unfair, and untrue. But then, you knew that. You should be ashamed.
posted by keswick at 5:11 PM on October 7, 2004

yeah Civil_Disobedient, that's a pretty lame way to mock one person and equate them with the entire military.

The captions are what make these. Of course I've said "I think graveyards are cool" before, but in reference to New Orleans, not a country I was at war with, so I find that first one a bit off-putting. I've kind of come around on all the LOLs and jokes. I know if I was over there, my only solace would be finding humor in a strange world but it is kind of depressing when you see the photos of the author and she doesn't look older than 19 or so. We are sending kids over there to possibly die. I also wish she was more respectful of "everyone named Muhammed," but she's a kid and I can cut her some slack.
posted by mathowie at 5:27 PM on October 7, 2004

/me hangs his head in shame.

And who said I was characterizing the average soldier? I was specifically referring to "those dumb kids". Perhaps I should have emphasized those -- naturally not all of our country's soldiers are this vapid.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:28 PM on October 7, 2004

Just reminds me that those really are a bunch of dumb kids over there,

My dad, who is 56, was in Iraq for five months last year. He graduated with honors from a world-class medical school and is chief of staff at his current Naval hospital. He is far from a "dumb kid", and same goes for a lot of the other soldiers there. He also saved a lot of lives, both American and Iraqi, despite not agreeing with the war, and he chased away psyops on more than one occasion who came to harass & interrogate his patients in the middle of the night. I'm tempted to admonish you for your ignorance, c_d, without sinking to your level.
posted by dhoyt at 5:29 PM on October 7, 2004

Also, if anyone can speak the crazy AIM language, what in the hell does XD and XDD and X3 mean? Are those some sort of super-smiley I'm not seeing? All her friends from back home are posting them in the comments.
posted by mathowie at 5:29 PM on October 7, 2004

I think the way she speaks is fairly typical of a nice American teenager, fairly clueless about where she is, just how most of us would be at that age.
posted by cell divide at 5:32 PM on October 7, 2004

what is a clearing barrel?
(captions seem pretty normal to me, what i understand of them - i'm surprised it's ok to take pictures of military buildings, though).
posted by andrew cooke at 5:36 PM on October 7, 2004

What, you mean to imply that it isn't just a bunch of dumb kids we put on the front lines? I thought it was well established that war sends the young and stupid (or at least very desperate) to die in place of the old and rich. Granted, I prefer to believe the subset that might text-message their kills is small, but we know well from Abu Ghraib and a couple of choice Fahrenheit 911 interviews that they're out there...

Unfair? maybe. But not entirely untrue...

Sure, we have surgeons to sew the soldiers back together and keep the official death-count lower, but I doubt that's any better a characterization of the average soldier.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:37 PM on October 7, 2004

ok, ignore that - answer from google:
posted by andrew cooke at 5:37 PM on October 7, 2004

Stupid/dumb is a really unfair characterization though. Generally from lower middle class/poorer homes? Yes, but there isn't much else I'd be willing to generalize. Abu Ghraib, in my opinion, had fuckall to do with the actions of some 'dumb kids'.

Also, let's not forget a lot of the people over there are senior in high school/college freshmen age. IRCspeak is how they talk. Learn to love it, it'll be proper english in another 50 years. LOLers!!!!!

I've never seen those matt -- X3 might mean "cross my heart" since <3 is "heart/love", no idea on those others.
posted by malphigian at 5:42 PM on October 7, 2004

I think that XD means that they're laughing really hard; so hard that their eyes are closed. Same with X3 for smiling.

What's most interesting about these photos for me is the reason why people like this were compelled to join the military. Is the gov't paying for college that much of a reason to enlist?
posted by bitpart at 6:09 PM on October 7, 2004

im in yr base killin yr d00dz.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:09 PM on October 7, 2004

The only upside of the Counterstrike generation going to war is that we might see 'friendly fire' replaced with 'TK, fuckr!'

This would be an improvement, I think.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:13 PM on October 7, 2004

Man, I always thought those AF REMFs had it good, but wow. Luxury! </armySnark>

Interesting to see, but she's totally blowing OpSec what with first and last names, pictures, and descriptions. The Internet has many dark alleys and she's just walking down them with twenties hanging out of her pockets.
posted by Fezboy! at 6:15 PM on October 7, 2004

Are those some sort of super-smiley I'm not seeing?

Some Japanese emoticons.
Some Korean emoticons.

I don't see the ones you mention, but there has been significant leakage in recent times from Asian emoticonography (I just made that word up) into the Euro/NAmerican, so perhaps that's the provenance.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:24 PM on October 7, 2004

Astonishing . . . they're just kids. Not stupid by any stretch (Who wouldn't mug for the camera and goof off at 18 or 19?) just incredibly young to be in such a situation. Of course, I suppose that's said of all soldiers in all wars.

I'm afraid I can't articulate it very well at the moment, but something about these photos makes me profoundly sad.
posted by aladfar at 7:47 PM on October 7, 2004

I actually kind of liked seeing the very human side of the war. Kids being kids amid war. I don't think she's stupid or vapid or whatever else you wish to label her.

So she's not discussing how the gravestones made her wonder if she was going to get shot to death in the stupid desert for no reason. More power to her for not dwelling on the very real possibility of her "littering their streets with their entrails." (nice, C_D, very, very nice).
posted by fenriq at 7:54 PM on October 7, 2004

Well, her captions imply she won't be leaving the base in the course of her duties. If that's the case, she's probably pretty safe. Besides, when you're kid, you think you're invunerable. I doubt this excludes soldiers, at least until they've been in combat and witness casualties first hand.
posted by keswick at 8:11 PM on October 7, 2004

The scariest thing was seeing them pose with the Big Gun. None of them gave me the impression they knew how to use it.
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:36 AM on October 8, 2004

"Well, her captions imply she won't be leaving the base in the course of her duties. If that's the case, she's probably pretty safe."

I'm coming into this thread pretty late, but when I was last in Kirkuk, which was March, they were getting mortar and rocket attacks every day, usually more than one. She showed pics of the bunkers because she spends considerable amounts of time in them. Whether or not one leaves their base, Iraq is not a safe place to be.
posted by tcobretti at 3:46 AM on October 8, 2004

She's 20? she looks about 12.

Still, these *** are pretty cool pictures, but not for the reason she took them... ;)
posted by twine42 at 4:20 AM on October 8, 2004

emoticonography emoticonography emoticonography
posted by grateful at 6:41 AM on October 8, 2004

I mean comparatively, naturally.
posted by keswick at 8:52 AM on October 8, 2004

fenrig: "I actually kind of liked seeing the very human side of the war. Kids being kids amid war."

This sentence is profoundly sad. Myself, I'd rather see the kids being kids at home, school or someplace people weren't trying to kill them on a daily basis.

Glad their having fun but keep in mind that for the next photo op they may be missing a limb or two -- oh wait, I forget we aren't allowed to see those pictures -- you know, the inhuman side of the war
posted by cedar at 10:04 AM on October 8, 2004

mat - the "Muhamad" thing isn't even something you need to cut slack for. It's true. Alot of Arabs are named Muhamad. Just like alot of Americans are named "Justin" or Mike" or, uh, "Matt". Some names are more popular than others. Why you'd be distressed at someone going "hey they're like us" is something I find mysterious.
posted by kavasa at 10:19 AM on October 8, 2004

cedar, I didn't intend the sentence in that way but I see your meaning. I meant it in the "wow, she's still a kid even though she's in a warzone" not in the "This is neat to see a girl who could die tomorrow" sense.

Yes, I'd prefer she was home and her Flickr account was filled with pictures of local graveyards that she likes. But her pics put a human face on the numbers we see in the news everyday. That brought alot of it home to me. Not in a good way but very much in a humanizing way.
posted by fenriq at 11:07 AM on October 8, 2004

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