No other site reviews and critiques news images as well as publishes original photography — all in the name of helping you become a sharper “visual consumer.” Are you bombarded by powerful images from the world of news, culture and social media? Sign up for our “Week in Re-View” and let us help unpack them for you. Other sites read the words. We read the pictures.

Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy & the analysis of news images.
April 15, 2007

Iraq: The Real Story


This eight-minute documentary video, from the Guardian, is promoted this way:

Iraq: The Real Story:  Sean Smith spent nearly six weeks with the 101st Division of the US army in Iraq. Watch his film about the battallion where four soldiers to be court martialled for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl served.

Much of what Smith offers is not new exactly — including scenes of prisoners with bags on their heads, or numbers penned to their foreheads for tracking purposes — although these practices are hardly conveyed in the press with regularity.

What Smith offers that is unique, however, is outright trouble — in the field, in real time — between U.S. and Iraqi forces.  What we get to witness, and not just read about, is open tension — and in this case, open defiance — between American and Iraq forces.  Which leads to the shot above, an image from Iraq I don’t remember having seen before.  In this instance, it’s the scene  of U.S. forces apprehending active Iraqi forces, before carting them away.

What the video doesn’t answer, however, is how much of what it presents is specific to a renegade battalion, and how much is customary.

View Iraq: The Real Story here.

(screen shot: Sean Smith/Guardian.  2006/7. Iraq. via

Comments Powered by Disqus