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How to try to spin the news (updated)
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, July 15, 2008


US soldiers secure the area at a newly installed check-point at the Babadag training facility in Tulcea, Iraq. At least 28 people were killed when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowd of recruits on an Iraqi army base in an area known to be a stronghold of Al-Qaeda fighters.
(AFP/Daniel Mihailescu)

Look very carefully at the US soldiers. See anything strange on the weapon of the soldier on the right?

Yes, that red thing at the end of the barrel is a blank adapter. Blank adapters are used in training exercises. If you look closely at the weapon of the soldier in the Humvee's turret, you'll see the ring of his blank adapter as well. What a blank adapter does is enable the weapon to function as it would when you are using real ammo even while you use blank ammo - thus the name.

Now look at the helmets. See the cross strap and the little bumps near the rim (best seen on the soldier on the right). Those are from the MILES system. That's short for "Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System". And if you look real closely behind the front site of the soldier's weapon on the right, you'll see the laser which is attached and fires when he pulls the trigger.

Even Wikipedia knows what a MILES system is for:
The Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System or MILES is used by the United States Armed Forces and other armed forces around the world for training purposes. It uses lasers and blank cartridges to simulate actual battle.

Individual soldiers carry small laser receivers scattered over their bodies, which detect when the soldier has been shined by a firearm's laser. Each laser transmitter is set to mimic the effective range of the weapon on which it is used. When a person is "hit," a medic can use the digital readout to determine which first aid method to practice.
Apparently, however, AFP doesn't. If this photo was taken anywhere near Iraq, I'd be surprised. But hey, they have those vaunted three layers of editors, so they have to be right, no?

(HT: Bob Owens)

UPDATE: Welcome Hot Air readers and thanks to Ed Morrisey for the link.

UPDATE II: This gets even funnier. "A Fine Scotch", one of our intrepid commenter sends us this link of the same picture. The caption, however, puts the soldiers in Romania:
US soldiers secure the area at a new installed check-point at Babadag training facility in the county of Tulcea, during a joint task force-east rotation 2008 training exercise, on July 14, 2008. Over 900 US military personnel participates at the training exercise meant to train US and Romanian soldiers in simulated combat situations as well as improving the mixt team working capabilities on the war fields like Iraq and Afganistan. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL MIHAILESCU
I've highlighted the portion of the original caption which was lifted, and after which "Iraq" was inserted plus the bit about the two bombers there.

The photo is dated with yesterday's date and entitled "ROMANIA-US-ARMY-TRAINING".

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Previous Comments to this Post 

Actually, the first thing I noticed could be summed up in the sentence "whole lotta deciduous trees in the background..."

Makes me think that maybe these guys ain’t in Iraq.
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
There is also the issue of the camo pattern on both men and machine being obsolete, and the hummer not being up-armored. I’m guess this picture is at least tow years old, and probably taken stateside.
Written By: Bob Owens
I thought the camo looked odd, but just chalked it up to my being so used to the desert pattern we’ve been seeing for so long...
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Wow! I am not in anyway associated with the military, yet I spotted the red blank adapter and recognized it as a training mision. Time to hoist the where is that petard?
Written By: Tim M
URL: http://
Make sure the petard doesn’t have a blank adapter on it.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
It’s not like AFP hasn’t been shown- in courts- to have deliberately and knowingly run false or misleading pictures.

So to attribute this to ignorance may be too kind actually.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The soldiers in question are in Tulcea, Romania.

According to, the distance between Tulcea, Romania and Baghdad, Iraq is about 1160 miles.

That’s about the same distance as Denver, CO to Houston, TX, Boston, MA to St. Louis, MO, Seattle, WA to LAX, or London to Rome.

As Maxwell Smart used to say, "Missed it by that much!"
Written By: A fine scotch
URL: http://
Source for the Tulcea, Romania, info.

Written By: A fine scotch
URL: http://
Well it’s still close enough to have soldiers deploy into Iraq according to Murtha.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
You stupid neo-cons and your slavish adherence to "facts."

It’s not the accuracy of any one picture or story that’s important, you retards, it’s the effect it has on the meta-narrative: does it advance the meta-narrative? Run it.
Written By: JB
URL: http://
They most certainly did check their facts. The word "Babadag" looks a lot like "Bagdad" at first glance. Thats a fact!
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://

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