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October 5, 2005

Unleashing Hell Ironically


The other day, while thinking about the National Guard’s Katrina deployment, I started fantasizing about what other socially worthwhile military applications might possibly be achieved with my tax dollar.  And then I woke up.

One thing I learned from Abu Ghraib is that, if we didn’t occasionally receive direct visual evidence of the mindset inside America’s war machine, that consciousness would just be too inconceivable to be believed.

Yeah, Boeing and Bell (which jointly make that crash-happy death machine known as the Osprey) apologized for this ad they ran a month ago in the Armed Forces Journal showing the aircraft “unleashing hell” on a mosque.  The only thing is, they ran the same damn thing again this week in a Beltway publication called The National Journal.

Of course, of course, all the appropriate explanations were issued in all the contrite press releases kicking out of all the appropriate fax machines.  (Particularly, what assured me was the comment by the Bell Vice President who was quick to explain: “We didn’t actually hover an Osprey over a mosque.” )

But, far worse than the ad itself — if you look into the story — is the defense industry mentality that sees the problem simply and solely as a bad PR move.

(referral and thanks: gleex)

(image via The Council on American-Islamic Relations - link)

  • mugatea

    Since we’ve been at war there have been a lot of these war ads by other companies as well. Who is the target audience?
    Do they want to sell a product, make investors aware of the brand, or just promote war as a way of life?
    The ad says the product is capable of “unleashing hell” and shows our troops dangling into a mosque.
    Are our troops devilish or evil? I thought it was the other side that was evil.
    Black and white photography used? Looks like it was converted to B/W in Photoshop.

  • sammy

    Be fair – the ad is stupid and offensive, but the fact that it ran a second time in TNJ seems to be someone else’s gaffe. From the article you cited:

    By then, five or six placements for the ad had already been booked in other magazines, Cox said. The ad was canceled in all of those publications, including the National Journal, which circulates widely in Congress and among Washington lobbyists.
    But due to an error, the National Journal mistakenly published the ad this week.
    “We had received specific direction from the agency representing Boeing/Bell to not run the ad,” said Elizabeth Baker Keffer, executive vice president of National Journal, in a statement released yesterday to the American-Islamic council. “While the mistake was a simple human one, we accept full responsibility for the error. Moreover, we regret any negative impact on your organization and its members.”

  • Marley

    It’s appalling the ad ran a first time. This absolutely is a peek right inside the minds that believe war is fun, it’s fun to kill Muslims, our soldiers are not there to help but to kill, etc. It’s the psychopathic wing of the military machine speaking here. For this ad to get out there AT ALL means that this thinking is widespread.
    And let me just add that it’s an absolute failure of leadership that people in our military are permitted and perhaps even encouraged to succumb to this mindset.

  • Chris

    I first saw this at Truth about Iraqis and naturally thought of this site, but forgot to send it in. Glad somebody else did, because it’s perfect for this forum.
    There’s a story about it at The Seattle Times that also describes how the picture was constructed from several other sources.
    I think this picture perfectly captures the way a lot of Americans see the war. It’s like the sum of comments I’ve heard from people about Arabs/Muslims/ME all my life, combined with a self-reassuring reveling in our mighty power. This is what it’s all about; it’s just for all those sissies that our manly leaders pretend that it’s about “freedom”.

  • Annoying Old Guy

    Killing people is why you have a military. I think it’s utterly appalling that so much of our citizenry and political class have lost track of that fact. The commentors here prattle on about flattening cities, which simply shows they have a truly profound ignorance of war. When there are cities in Iraq that look like Nagasaki, Dresden or Conventry in WWII, then “flattening” might be appropriate. One can make a strong argument that the absence of such destruction is the primary reason the Caliphascists are so active.
    As for the aftermath, one notes that South Africa has about the same death rate as Iraq, which doesn’t bolster the case for the advantages of a peaceful vs. military change of government.

  • ummabdulla

    Well, this is obviously very offensive to Muslims, and it only confirms what most Muslims already believe – that the war on terrorism is a war on Islam.The mosque, the heaven and hell phrasing…
    The “clerical error” excuse may or may not be true, but how many people – at Boeing, Bell, the advertising agencies, the magazines – reviewed this ad and didn’t see any problem with it? Amazing…
    Besides, these are companies that sell their products to Muslim countries, and whenever a Middle Eastern airline is looking to buy planes, there’s always tight competition between American companies and Airbus. So it’s just stupid to offend those potential customers, whether the people involved actually think it’s wrong or not.

  • Chris

    AOM: A military exists to kill, just as a gun does. It’s the who, when, and why that’s in discussion. Should this gun have been used to kill that person? For the general public, whether we’re going to Kosovo or Iraq, the marketing just leaves the killing out.
    The article you quote compares “terror deaths” in Iraq to the death rate in ZA. Deaths brought about by the coalition are not counted as terror.

  • bob crane

    Annoying Old Guy,
    on an aside, it’s entirely inappropriate and cheap to link to someone’s email address. if you want to confirm your point link to an article, but then again, cheap tactics seem to me your m.o.

  • djangone

    I won’t go to three posts about this one.
    The use of the word ‘ironically’ in the headline is a dumb-down trope that started in copywriting around 1999. All kinds of adverbs fit into that volta slot, ’sadly,’ ‘interestingly,’ ‘amazingly.’ It’s copywriter boilerplate.
    The technique is faux-clever and pat, but what’s worse it tries to manipulate the reader into a conclusion they should be smart enough to reach on their own (‘Hey, heaven, hell, how ironic!’). To me it’s a sign that the copywriter isn’t very smart, and probably that he/she came out of Portfolio Center in Atlanta or learned from watching how they work, though I’m reaching now.

  • Parallel Universe

    To me, the soldiers dangling from the chopper look like plastic toys. In fact, the whole thing looks like some sort of minature toy model, shot from below to make it seem like it might be life-sized. War is a fun game and the soldiers aren’t real, nobody gets hurt, so let’s play on . . . ?

  • Annoying Old Guy

    Yes, attempting to link to actual sources instead of making blanket, unsupported assertions probably would strike you as a “cheap tactic”. On the other hand, some might consider it possible that I was clicking too rapidly and grabbed the e-mail link next to the comment link by mistake. Here’s the correct link.

  • jonst

    annoying old man,
    Killing people is NOT why we have military forces. Grow up. WINNING conflicts is why we have them. This may, at times, include killing people. But at other times and places it may not.
    Do you think this kind of ad helps the US? Simple as that.
    As for cities, to the very, very, very, limited extent I get to see Iraqi cities, they look bad to me. i.e. flattened. See Tel Afar and Fallujh. (SP?)

  • Marley

    AOG, we have a specialized military that kills on our behalf. Yes I get that part. Do you get that WE are responsible, collectively, for what they do? And do you think the soldiers who have been doing our killing for us are going to slide back into society and simply reconnect to their prewar morality? Do you imagine that some of them might be really screwed up now? The military reports to the executive branch, and that asshole is an elected official serving (allegedly) at the pleasure of the American people. So it’s ALL of our problem what the military is doing. They don’t just belong to people who “get” the military culture. They don’t just belong to george w bush and the republican party.
    We are asking a lot of these people, and the fact that **some** of them enjoy it makes no difference whatsoever. We’re just paying our hitmen to do our dirty work. We’re still responsible for the carnage, both physical and psychological, to our soldiers and to anyone they kill. I wonder if the people who “Support Our Troops” with their magnets are going to support them when they come home all fucked up.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    the aviation war effort in IRAQ has not been well-covered by the media. indeed when we talk about ‘boots on the ground’ and hear some number meant to represent “deployment”, that measure does not include considerable AIR and NAVAL forces, all working 24/7 as real combat personnel in a 3-dimensional War Zone.
    that anyone / someone reasonably astute and well-read; eg., AOG here : “commentors… prattle on about flattening cities, which simply shows they have a truly profound ignorance of war. When there are cities in Iraq that look like Nagasaki, Dresden or Conventry in WWII, then “flattening” might be appropriate…”
    …can be unaware of the “flattening” = ~80% destruction of Fallujah, a City the size of Cincinnati ~ this is not simply bias based on parsing the word “flattening” to make some political point on a BAG blog…
    …or denial. Rather, imho it is indicative of the unawareness most Americans have of the effects that their heavy armor seiges + aerial bombardment have on Iraqi Cities and Towns. There aren’t many images (aerial or otherwise) to give Americans any sense of the extent to which IRAQ has been destroyed (not by War = Invasion, but by occupation).
    even here, with this image : the technological war marvel is supposedly “unleashing hell” on sterilized streets, devoid of people, their possessions (cars) and even gutter litter obstacles. there is no opposition un-tidiness here: the “Osprey” is ridiculously vulnerable, entirely inappropriate as an assault vehicle, not unlike the thin-skinned “HumVee”.
    the (sad) truth is that these vehicles, the Osprey and the Hummer are death traps. They are technologically overwrought and practically underthought in both civilian and military contexts. The crime is not just that these boondoggles are being built, but also that feedback from troops and media reporters is so sanitized that Americans are unable to prevent systemic entropy, deterioration of their fighting forces as a result of silly equipment.
    And so we see here that the only combatants being delivered = “descending into hell” in this photo ~ are your own American soldiers :-/

  • Kerstin

    Thank you, MonsieurGonzo. For some reason, I expected more from AOG. We destroyed The City of Mosques. From what I’ve read, Fallujah was a beloved city. Perhaps it should not have been flattened if we were truly interested in winning hearts and minds.
    “Falluja used to be a modern city; now there is nothing. We spend that first day going through the rubble that had been the center of the city; I don’t see a single building that is functioning.”

  • Quentin

    Annoying Old Guy,
    Now please tell me, truthfully, in all honesty, whether you think this add is sensible, honest. The same point could have been made just as ridculously without including a mosque. It could show a bunch of children under the killing contraption, or a church instead, like St. Peter’s Basilica or Cantebury Cathedral, or maybe even a synagoge somewhere in the world, but then I guess you would argue we are not at war with children, christianity or judaism. And you would be right. Are we at war with islamic grown-ups then? Give me a break: when will you stop being so gratuitously confrontational on this site.
    The meaning of ‘ironically’ here escpes me completely. The mention of heaven: god is on our side, only we and god can descend from heaven. People make very good money creating all this hideousness. Also by waging wars of choice.

  • The BAG

    I first saw this at Truth about Iraqis and naturally thought of this site, but forgot to send it in. Glad somebody else did, because it’s perfect for this forum.

    Sorry to break the rhythym here, but I wanted to get this in since I was more than glad to see Chris start his comment this way.
    Besides seeing you as a sounding board and a source of inspiration, I really do see the BAG’s readers as co-analysts and, increasingly, my extended eyes and ears. As someone who also manages to maintain an active family life and a professional life (if, at the expense of a rapidly dwindling sleeping life), I’m really regretting the lack of time I have to more regularly dip below the headlines to survey the fuller spectrum of political imagery. At the mercy of the situation, many of you have become instrumental in helping close the gap. Of course, it can also be a challenge to keep one’s head above the email (especially as I try to answer, if only briefly in many cases, most every message). That said, however, if you do see something “choice,” and the thought strikes you — as it did to Chris — that I should really send this to Michael at the BAG, please do!

  • gleex

    The image and the words are all wrong.
    This ad must have been known to be offensive, and was likely released in part because of that. Its not the type of image and wording that one would look at for a second, and say cool run with it. I mean the ad says lets declare war and hell on over a billion people. Although its own ambiguity trips all over itself intentional or not. Are we the servants of heaven or hell, or are we all, like this picture, painted in shades of gray. And if we are all a shade of gray then perhaps the message is better to be a shade of gray with 500 billion a year for defense spending rather than counting on the foundation of the church/mosque and a tiny minority of its members who see terrorism as a means to an end of “US imperialism”.
    If not for the smoke placed in front of the Mosque it would be the best looking thing in the picture. Although they touched up the clouds right around the osprey with more light.
    In any case that heliplane is not going to destroy that mosque, nor the more than 1,000,000,000 people who would be directly offended by this offensive ad. Many more of the billion dislike US policy and offensive things like this and are to some degree quasi-pundits and potential recruits. I mean if releasing pictures of some of the things that have happened puts troops in harms way the logical conclusion would be that the crusade fantasy that has been drawn up here would do the same thing. Now why the heck would these companies want to endanger a single life, limb, or hair on the head of a troop I don’t know – but that is what they decided to do.
    The ad makes the osprey look serene, floating. The calamity is on the ground (the smoke in front of the mosque, a roadside bombed Bradley?) However the calamity is also tied to the osprey as the (real?) actors repel in military uniform costumes. They look dirty (again war is dirty) attacking a house of worship. Wow…what a metaphor, no sanctuary from this helijet thing.
    Seems this might be a nice treat for some sicko dither head to cut out and put up on their wall next to a picture of Rush the druggie. It would seem that since level two cronies did not get to cut out this picture of the crusades someone ran it again.
    Not to attack AOG, but that is the same tired argument – liberals don’t understand the world, only strong dad-like conservatives do. Well conservatism does not seem to be working out so well, eh!?
    Note: I could be said that liberal arguments are old and re-tread as well. That is to say the reverse of AOG argument. I think it’s all smoke and mirrors though, talk actual policy – not who magically or religiously understands the world. This bickering does one thing, its fills time arguing about the argument and whose ultra-rich silver spoon leaders are better (as if it were a baseball game nyy –v- bos, its not) rather than disseminating and discussing the actual policies and one would hope voting based on them. In the meantime those in power go about their business with barely a word from the media (and through American history the party on top has diminished and the other has risen – then the cycle starts all over again). Lets compromise and say the world is not all peace & roses, nor do we have to stomp roses & kill lots, or prop up un-democratic demon leaders (or fund “rebel/terrorist” who fight democratically elected leaders) who slaughter their people and profit and lie about it (Ex. 700 club ties to thug dictators for personal profit that even the US has cut ties to, Iran Contra & Iraq, Afghanistan & Russia). Neither alone will even put us on the road to a better world.
    I am sure if it was up to Dick or Bush or Rummy they would throw in some indigenous kids throwing flowers at these “mosque liberators”. Actually Bush would probably request that he get in the picture with a special GI Joe uniform, Saddams old revolver, and a bubble saying “Crusade” coming out of his curled lips.
    Perhaps next time they can show the thing descending on an oil pipeline in Iran. (Or a-la Jon Stewart doing Bush flying over the oil rig – “Riggy… what have they done to you Riggy? Oh what a monster aerocopter”)
    PS: All seriousness aside – that fence on the right looks cool.
    PPS: What are they going to do on the top of the mosque? Poke a hole in the dome? Or worse, what if they are acting on faulty intelligence and they are about to unleash hell on the innocent?

  • …now I try to be amused

    Where’s the barrage of RPGs coming up at the Osprey? What they call a “hot” landing zone.
    Who’s unleashing hell on whom anyway?

  • Jeff Huber

    The ultimate purpose of any military is not “to kill people.” The purpose is to achieve national aims. And yes, in war, people get killed, but with very few exceptions, killing people is not war’s aim.

  • Amelopsis

    “But, far worse than the ad itself — if you look into the story — is the defense industry mentality that sees the problem simply and solely as a bad PR move.”
    I think this key point has been missed to some extent.
    Any ad’s purpose is PR – that is a given. How this is best achieved and from what angle is the real problem – in what way does this ad promote the aircraft?
    Rather, the ad appears to glorify the current war and promotes a dogma of war and destruction by its choice of wording (djangone detailed these shortcomings very well in the comment above) and the manner in which the various images were put together.
    This ad promotes ideals, not the aircraft.
    If the fine print at the bottom does in fact provide selling points for the craft, the image nevertheless makes an association with a particular perspective and opinion that does not relate to the purpose of the ad directly enough to promotion of the osprey itself to be anything other than very ill conceived and inconsiderate.
    P.s.: Thanks for the open invitation to email you images of note, Micheal. Your analysis is always a welcome insight into news seen & unseen.

  • Parallel Universe

    I suspect only someone who had never seen war, or even experienced the peacetime death of someone close to them, could create an advertisement for a machine for killing humans that made it sound like a cool new video game.
    This is the problem with the whole war machine, too – it’s run (at the very top, I mean) by people who have nothing whatsoever at stake. (Except, more often than not, the chance to become even wealthier than they already are.)
    Though this tends to be true no matter who’s in power, the people at the top right now are the sort who like to argue that health insurance creates unacceptable moral hazards. But what greater moral hazard is there than the power to have other people slaughtered at will, with zero danger to oneself?
    Madison and others warned about this sort of obscenity when the Republic was just getting started. This bizarre, paradoxical culture of militaristic chest-thumping cowardice (let’s you and him fight!) we’ve developed is an utter perversion of the everything this country was supposed to stand for. But I guess that’s what happens when nobody learns history anymore . . .

  • ummabdulla

    You can see a larger copy of the ad, where you can read the smaller print, here:
    Isn’t there something weird about the position of the helicopter and the men? It looks like it’s in the foreground of the picture, and not above the mosque. The men look like their lines are going in front of the horizontal lines (from the pole), which would put them in front of the mosque, but then they’re shown dropping onto the mosque.
    I find it offensive, but not particularly “hellish” in the way that they mean. I didn’t even notice the burning car until a comment above mentioned the smoke – and I’ve looked at this ad several times since I got in a CAIR e-mail the other day.
    I’m curious about where they got this scene… The sign on the mosque is “Mosque Muhammad”, and there’s a sign next to the car that says “baker” (which often means breadmaker), although that doesn’t look like the kind of place where they make bread. Did they create this scene and put a couple of generic signs in Arabic?

  • djangone

    The answer to that last question is, yes. It’s a photocomposite. It was done in Photoshop. Hence the tonal homogeneity–it’s hard to get differently lit shots to blend, so you desaturate to reduce the problem, just as was done in about 90% of the shots in Lord of the Rings, though that was recolored, and the LOTR team weren’t hacks like these guys. The Photoshopping here isn’t very good-the scale of soldiers-to-mosque is way off–they look to be 12 feet tall, and oddly lacking in detail. The smoke is terribly fake.
    But of more interest is that they ‘dodged’ around the Osprey to ‘pop’ it from the clouds, and what’s more sent out a soft shaft of ‘heavenly’ light from its the bottom right. It’s clearly visible going toward the right building’s right-most window. In other words, the ‘heaven’ aspect was intentionally played up by an art director/creative director/photoshop-monkey team whose heads were, each of them, firmly lodged in their asses.

  • Asta

    djangone beat me to it. But I’m glad because dj’s analyses are far more eloquent than what I was gonna say.
    My simplistic comment: It’s really nice how the shafts of sunlight are placed in the image to appear that they are emminating from the Osprey.
    It says: This is God’s Helicopter. HE has sent this weapon of war. HE is responsible for its Intelligent Design. HE has blessed all the employees of Boeing and Bell, because OUR GOD is bigger and better than THEIR GOD and can beat THEIR GOD up.
    That’s the mentality I see, anyway. You know, the bully on the playground kind of thinking. An attitude our pResident has been fostering for 5 years now.
    And I am afraid it may be contagious.

  • JustZisGuy

    “We didn’t actually hover an Osprey over a mosque.”
    No kidding. If this were an actual image you wouldn’t see the smoke going up like that, and you wouldn’t see the plants looking undisturbed. In fact, you wouldn’t see anything because there would be one hell of a dust storm kicked up by the thrust of those massive props. The downwash is something else – after all, think how quickly a very large volume of air has to be moved to keep that much weight from falling back to earth!
    But it’s “so cool” – why worry about reality? At over $50 billion for 458 aircraft there is a lot of incentive to disregard reality.
    (I could add some commentary on the obscenity of war but others have adequately covered that angle.)

  • George Myers, Jr.

    Interesting the dynamic between what we feel about helicopters (downwash, move around, we’d rather have the Presidential one built by the English and the Italians rather than the “father of helicopter” company, Sirkorsky in Bridgeport, CT) and the photo, lowering troops with precision among power lines. I’m surprized it doesn’t have four engines which is their long-term intent for “air cavalry” after this one. Ospreys have made a return to Long Island, NY (and New England) rebounding from DDT weakening their shells, and many platform nests put up for them. They fly to South America in the winter. Maybe this is surreal, I never have been in the downwash of one, I worked next to Long Island Helicopters in Roosevelt Field, where Lindburgh took off for a solo flight to France, which used to fly into Manhattan, strangely “waved off” by the former Mayor Giuliani and out of business before 9/11/01. I’m not sure why, kerosene vapors?

  • Annoying Old Guy


    unaware of the “flattening” = ~80% destruction of Fallujah, a City the size of Cincinnati ~ this is not simply bias based on parsing the word “flattening” to make some political point on a BAG blog

    Perhaps I’m unaware because it didn’t happen. According to Wikipedia, less than 20% of the buildings were destroyed and I suspect that’s an overestimate that counts building destroyed before the battle. And since you mentioned the lack of images, check out this detailed satellite image taken shortly after the battle (14 Nov 04). That certainly doesn’t look like a flattened city.
    Even the Common Dreams article cited by Kerstin has only a single, unverified quote that speaks only of the downtown area. These is precisely what I meant by “blanket, unsupported assertions”. Thanks for coming through for me.
    Ah, a question about image analysis.
    I find the advertisement … amatuerish. My first impression was that I found it difficult to believe that it was professionally produced. I don’t find anything about it particularly noteworthy. I do find the concept that such advertisements should studiously avoid using imagery pulled from a live war bizarre in the extreme. Go check out advertisements during WWII to see what real jingoism looks like (or watch Bugs Bunny cartoons from that era). I also find the concept that military oriented posters shouldn’t emphasize death and destruction equally bizarre, and that’s what I was originally commenting on.
    But you actually touch on a larger point when you suggest putting some other religion’s holy building there. The implication is that Islam, for some reason, has the special privilege of not being offended in that way, something any other religion would have to just put up with. Why is that?
    To really see my point, one need only compare this episode to the actual seizure and use as a military base of a very significant Christian Church by Islamic forces. Did you even remember it before you clicked the link?
    P.S. For others commenting on the purpose of the military, consider this: The purpose of war may be to bend others to your will, but “war” and “military” are not synonymns. The military is what you use in a war when killing people and breaking stuff seems the best way to get what you want.

  • Chris

    Well, amateurish is right. As Abdullah’s Mommy pointed out a few posts ago, it’s kinda MC-Escherish in the positioning of the chopper, the soldiers, and the powerlines.
    Also, is anyone amused that this apparently GIGANTIC helicopter can apparently deliver… are you ready… FIVE soldiers into a battle in no more than, what, half a minute or more for them to slip down the lines (after quite some time for the thing too position itself). In a battle, would any of them arrive alive?
    I’m ready to buy NOW.
    AOG (Sorry; I called you ‘AOM’ earlier) – you have an interesting interpretation of the link you post. Neither the Catholic church at large, nor its people inside the church, seem to share your view, your use of the term “Islamic forces” is a little misleading at best, and it’s a little like arguing that it’s OK to torture and kill random people on the streets of Iraq because “they behead people, man”.

  • forest

    Which is worse, that they didn’t actually hover the Osprey over a mosque, or the fact that they purposefully photo-shopped the Osprey hovering over a mosque, thus implying that the mosque is bad and needs to be hovered over?

  • Simon

    News story ran on SkyNews in Ireland.. absolutly shocking that they allowed this advert to pass at all.

  • Annoying Old Guy

    Re the Church of the Nativity: If that’s how you interpreted my comment, I was unclear. My argument is the interpretation of images and how I find it difficult to take seriously complaints of offense over an image like this when there doesn’t seem to be that much outrage over an actual assault by people are who strongly proclaimed to be central to the politics of the entire Middle East by the same people alledgedly offended by the image.

  • ummabdulla

    Annoying Old Guy, you’re describing that link as reporting an attack by Islamic forces on a church, but what the report actually says is that the Vatican was outraged at the actions of ISRAELI forces towards a Catholic church. Big difference…

  • Parallel Universe

    Nice straw man, Annoying Old Guy.

  • ummabdulla

    I just saw this from an article in the Wall Street Journal: “The photograph of the street scene, featuring a building with Mohammed’s Mosque inscribed in Arabic, was taken at a movie set in Texas. A separate photo of soldiers rappelling off a wall was doctored to look as if they were descending from the new plane.”

  • Michael Wasserman

    The second running was not a mistake. This ad’s getting a lot more bang than the little bucks they’re putting behind it. The target audience–conservative legislators and their staff–doesn’t care about being offensive; they revel in it. Now they’ll see this ad everywhere again, reposted–for free–in dozens of fora. It’ll probably be run again, with the same apologia, next time the Alba–er, Osprey comes up for a funding vote.

  • Grumpy

    The most disturbing thing about the image, to me, is the suggestion that US troops will be in Iraq long enough for experimental aircraft to join the battle.
    Wait til you see the ads for the Cyberdyne Systems hunter-killers ready to “unleash hell” on Ali Baba.

  • ummabdulla

    Well, the ad doesn’t say Iraq specifically, does it? It just suggests a Muslim country, and it certainly seems like Bush is planning to be fighting in the Muslim world for a while. Maybe Syria or Iran next?

  • Jenny Lee

    you mean there’s an osprey that hasn’t crashed yet?

  • Bolo

    Well, I know this is really, really late, but I just clicked this link and read through the comments… AOG, did you even read the Wikipedia link you provided?
    Operation Phantom Fury (the attack on Fallujah) went from November 7th 2004 to sometime in January, 2005. That satellite image from November 14th was only 1 week into a 2-2.5 month operation. The Wikipedia article states varying claims about the damage inflicted: Estimates of local government officials are 36,000 out of 50,000 homes destroyed. US officials estimate 10,000 out of 39,000 destroyed, with more than half damaged. Not sure who to go with, as I suspect the former is inflating while the latter is keeping the numbers down.
    The 20% was mentioned at the top of the article as the percentage of buildings totally destroyed, with 60% damaged. Honestly, this, combined with the numbers I mentioned above, is almost as bad as completely flattening a city. If such a large fraction of homes were destroyed but only 20% of all buildings in the city were destroyed… well, it means that a huge fraction of that 20% consists of residential structures. There are lots of commercial buildings still standing but no homes for the people who would work in them.

  • Asta

    Well, K, if we go down, where are your people going to find a job?
    just asking.

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