"I never heard of an Iraqi unit that was able to operate on their own," said Aliff, who is now a member of the group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). "The only reason we were replaced by an Iraqi army unit was for publicity."
Aliff said he participated in roughly 300 patrols. "We were hit by so many roadside bombs we became incredibly demoralized, so we decided the only way we wouldn't be blown up was to avoid driving around all the time."
"So we would go find an open field and park, and call our base every hour to tell them we were searching for weapons caches in the fields and doing weapons patrols and everything was going fine," he said, adding, "All our enlisted people became very disenchanted with our chain of command."
OK, let's leave aside the fact that, with modern UAV technology monitoring so much of our activity, it would be rather obvious if a patrol was 'phoning it in.' This piece ran in a real newspaper staffed by real journalists, so we know they checked it out with independent sources, right?
Sure they did. There are several other soldiers mentioned, only one of whom is said to also be an IVAW member. They include:
Eli Wright, not identified as an IVAW member. (Here's his profile at IVAW).
Geoff Millard, identified as an IVAW member. (Here's his profile at IVAW).
Nathan Lewis, not identified as an IVAW member. (Here's an IVAW story noting his membership, and his arrest at Ft. Benning for trespassing.)
That's it. That's the sum total of everyone they interviewed for this story. They thought they'd make this look like a grassroots complaint among military members, when it's really an exclusively IVAW operation.
Oh, hey, you know who was arrested with Mr. Lewis at that protest? Why, the IVAW member who confessed to faking anti-Muslim hate crimes.
What you've got here is an Information Operation by IVAW, who obviously learned some of their military lessons well. Whether Inter Press is actively conspiring to aid this IO against the United States military, or whether they are simply so unprofessional that their journalists don't even do basic fact checking, I leave to others to decide.
UPDATE: Greyhawk points out that the author of this Inter Press piece has a website.
In late 2003, Weary of the overall failure of the US media to accurately report on the realities of the war in Iraq for the Iraqi people and US soldiers, Dahr Jamail went to Iraq to report on the war himself.
His dispatches were quickly recognized as an important media resource. He is now writing for the Inter Press Service, The Asia Times and many other outlets. His reports have also been published with The Nation, The Sunday Herald, Islam Online, the Guardian, Foreign Policy in Focus, and the Independent to name just a few. Dahr's dispatches and hard news stories have been translated into French, Polish, German, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic and Turkish. On radio as well as television, Dahr reports for Democracy Now!, the BBC, and numerous other stations around the globe. Dahr is also special correspondent for Flashpoints.
Dahr has spent a total of 8 months in occupied Iraq as one of only a few independent US journalists in the country.
This little disaster is listed on his "hard news" page. Was the hard part not calling any of their commanders to ask if there was any chance the story might be true, or not Googling their names to see that they were all part of IVAW?