tv University of Colorado- Photojournalists in Iraq CSPAN March 4, 2018 1:15am-2:46am EST
of race. just like a dry touch great said -- the center voted in opposition. court's rulingh with the dean of howard university's law school, and an attorney and member of the u.s. commission on several -- civil right. watch this at 9:00 eastern on c-span, c-span.org, or listen with the free c-span radio app. for background on each case, order your copy of the landmark cases book, available for 8:95, shipping and handling, at c-span.org/landmark cases. there's a link on our website to the national constitution center's constitution copy. >> now, a discussion on covering conflict and war. speakers are blue, a photo -- victor blue, who has
focused on human rights as a photojournalist. this is an hour and a half. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] hi everybody. it is good to see you all. i appreciate you coming tonight. i'm encouraged to see such a large number of people on a thursday night. we are very grateful. this is a serious topic. i really appreciate your interest in such a topic. we are really fortunate to have some really talented people some of the most intense situations one can imagine. some time in conflict zones, but not nearly to the degree these two have. they had my deep respect. i am one of the two faculty fellows for the faculty of western civilization policy. i'm excited to be a part of this. i teach in the journalism school. that it start by saying
is my insecurity that some of you might be saying, is he missing part of a front tooth? i got invisible line a few years ago. i started looking like a hockey player from the 70's. i am less shy in front of talking about people. it is about problem-solving. it is about recognizing difficulties and overcoming them. ta-da. what a great segue. of people of your are some the most efficient, effective at problem-solving. that is the nature of so much of what they do. while their work is intense and we have a lot of wonderful insight from them, problem-solving and the ability to work is one of the most in 10 you can imagine are admirable. one is victor blue. he is from brooklyn new york. he is a freelance photojournalist. he has worked in areas such as
iraq, afghanistan, syria, south america, as well as across the united states. his clients include the new york magazine, and the new yorker among many others. his professional accolades pictures of the year international, one of the most prestigious contest and photography. -- in photography. he has won a number of national press photographer awards. it is an internationally recognized award from the best photojournalists in the nation. mitch is a recent graduate of cu boulder. yeah, itfortunate -- is awesome. it warms my heart. nobody tells you the joy of seeing students on the other side and how much of brings you. -- it brings you.
it is amazing to see. retired army special forces lieutenant colonel who recently graduated from cu last year. ofr winter break while many us were relaxing and enjoying the snowfall -- i'm in denver. he said, i am going to go to iraq. over his winter break he went to document the fight for mosul. the fight against isis in mosul. he also documented the same arenas. he let me know that they overlapped for three months. they were in the same city with only a few months between them. i find that remarkable. it will talk later about how i am very honored to
present mitch and thick. we look forward to hearing both of their presentations. i'm going to moderate a brief hesitation. then we will open it up to queue and day from the audience. they're going to have 20 minutes for each. then we will begin. then we will move to mitch. i want to thank you all personally for being here. it means a lot to me. it makes me happy to see you on here. thank you for coming. with that, let us begin with mitch. mitch: i live in brooklyn new york but i'm not from there.
i'm from north carolina. [laughter] i live there now. i'm based there. for the last few years. working as a photojournalist for about 15 years. i got my start in central america, i started out in guatemala. i got my start covering the aftermath of a very long civil war there, one that was underreported in the western press. i worked in california for many years. california,orthern the bay area, and then i lived in stockton, california. it is a perennial hard case. i spent three years as staff photographer in that town. was a good experience. i learned a lot there. while i was a staff photographer there, i went to afghanistan for the first time inserted covering
present-day conflicts. i left there. i went to graduate school at ohio university, got my masters in visual communication. after that i moved to new york city to where i live now. i contribute directly to the new york times locally and around the country. i maintain a documentary photo practice. i do a lot of news photography. i do a lot of enterprise work that i research and propose and then collaborate with outlets to publish. i also have long-term projects that i'm interested in and that i follow for too many years at a time. in guatemalaorking and afghanistan for many years. other ones. i did some personal work about
my family as well. in 2016, i had the opportunity and privilege to cover a rack for the first time in my career. i went to a wrecked twice in 2016 on assignment for the new yorker magazine. i went in the late summer to do a story about the potential collapse of the mosul band. we went and did a couple weeks on a story and then we also did -- we were there. the bus was happening. everyone knew the city was going to go down soon. we were there to look into it a little bit. we did a story about the looming humanitarian crisis that was going to take place. after spending a couple weeks there and getting the lay of the land, i talked to the magazine. my friend was going to be
writing the story. and ied to the magazine got the assignment to work with them. couple of thein a code places. working in afghanistan and syria for a while. it was a good fit for us. we spent several weeks together working on this story. was published in the "new yorker." luke found these guys -- he arrived in iraq. we knew we were going to cover this story. it was a big story and we knew we had to find a way into it. we didn't just want to cover the news. we had to take a slightly different approach. we are not filing daily news dispatches. we are not keeping up with the troop movements. we are trying to find a narrative line through the story and hopefully tell the story
through some characters. he is amazing reporter. he found these guys, the swat team. background, isis took mosul the city in june of 2014 with around 1500 fighters. three divisions of the iraqi army, around 30,000 soldiers and 30,000 police with just 1500 people. they took control of the city moved to syria where they were active and deep into iraq. it was a huge area and they managed it as a modern state. they had license plates. they had local government. it was a country. andook two years to retrain refit the iraqi army and prepare
it to go back in and take mosul. the u.s. pullout from iraq in 2011 had a serious effect on the iraqi army. there was not the same level of advising going on and they were not prepared to stop the threat of isis once they rolled through. mosul wasto reclaim the biggest military engagement in the world and the invasion of iraq. it was the biggest scene of urban warfare since world war ii. fighters000 coalition fought against 20,000 isis fighters. the city was not liberated until july of 2017. it took nearly a year. i arrived in iraq on the day of
the operation starting. there for a couple days reporting and trying to figure out the lay of the land. we had talked about it on the phone a few times, talk to her editors. -- our editors. andt out of the airplane got into a car with a fixer. i was on the front line with isis. about 60 kilometers south of mosul. -- southeast, i guess. introduced into this cast of characters, this motley crew. were aul swat team counterterrorism police unit that had been stood up around 2007, trained by u.s. special forces. their mission was anti-islamist counterterrorist missions.
they were trying to root out counterterror units in mosul. it was at the end of the u.s. surge in iraq. they were an interesting group of guys. we think of isis as a new phenomenon. in heard in the news that iraq and the middle east isis as known by a sort of term -- eight . rdan of -- they had been fighting the same group of guys for the ensuing years. they were as shocked as anyone to have their city overrun. they were one of the last units to be routed. they were the last units to give the city a. they were a tight knit group of guys. a huge a drain. -- a huge age range.
they were a small, small piece of forcesr mosaic that were going to take back muscle. 100 guyse only about on duty at a time. size of aalmost the company. they had about 200 men total. about half at a time were on or off. they were on for two or three weeks. it made it tough to keep up with the same guys over and over again. it was such a small unit that we got to know them very well. said, there was a famous last stand at a hotel in mosul were a group of the last fighters who were still trying to defend the city were holed up. isis drove a massive tanker truck packed with explosives
into the front of the zone. of the iraqind forces ability to defend mosul. everybody left after that. the major was injured. a large part was blown off in that explosion. we would embed with the mosul swat for days at a time. inwould link up with them, bed with them, move along as they moved along towards mosul and eventually into muscle. every once in a while they would have a positive in their operational tempo and we would thee with them, go back to capital, refit and charge batteries. we would get back in the fields and progress with them. theept that tempo up over weeks.
we would get in and continue with them. we were staying in houses that they had taken over. abandoned houses, most iraqi civilians have fled the fighting. interesting tactical move that the iraqi coalition forces decided to take. instead of evacuating the civilians they decided to take the city with civilians in place. it had different coincidence -- affects over the arc of the conflict. the fight was divided into two sections. these side in the westside. the dividing line was new year's. they finished up the east from october to december and then started on the west. they pushed through the city, houston house, very close contact fighting. trying to track down isis
and flushlive or dead them from the city and do what they could to preserve the lives of civilians. the mosul swat had two key differences that distinguish them from other fighting units that were struggling to take back muscle. one ofwoman is that -- them was that they were native sons of mosul. they were all from there. most military units are made up of people who join the military and are from all over the country. they're mixed together into mixed units. these guys, this was their town. one of the requirements of membership was that you had to have suffered personally at the hands of isis. everybody in the unit had lost family members to the islamic state. member of the unit had family still inside mosul that they were fighting to directly -- directly deliberate. i had a personal stake in this.
they were fighting to get back lives, back to their kids that they had not seen in two years. it made a difference. characters, we illuminate them in a way that we might not have been able to otherwise. all of them had a personal story. luke did an amazing job of illustrating the personal stories and weaving them into this larger narrative. here was one guy that we, had a video on his cell phone. was a highly produced isis propaganda videos of his brother being beheaded. he kept it on his phone all the time. in the event that he came face-to-face with an isis militant and was forced to take his life, he was afraid of his
own ability to do so. he kept that video on his phone at all times. to hone his anger and keep himself prepared for. team,ad of the mosul swat isis bombed his wedding and killed his brother. he had been fighting against these guys forever. one of the older guys in the he did not watch the video. his brother was killed. drowned in a case that was lowered into a swimming pool. he looked into the isis camera while it was being lowered. these guys had a personal stake in the fight. that is what made our stories different in engaging for readers. part of the difficulties as journalists is to do more than just create a digest our record. in this kind of work you are trying to engage with the moral imagination of my readers. you, to geto make
you to care about someone who is because language, born in a different country, has a different color skin than you do, totally different background, and try to make you care about their life and understand the parallels between yours and layers. between -- weier feel between arabs, muslims, iraqis. our decision to focus on this one unit. as muchot see quite crazy action as some of the other folks covering other units that were more directly involved in the tip of the spear fighting. that was a compromising made to be able to tell a personal and character driven story. for me, it was an opportunity to find a personal story inside this massive operation. i talked to you about how big
the fight to mosul was and what it meant overall. inas able to find something there that was a little more human in that story. daunting, massive machine that got cranked up. it starts to take on its own momentum. of smaller the kind human drama can get lost in that. i got lucky and away. i was tasked by my photo editors to sell that small personal story about one group of guys. i tried to make the characters and show them as individuals. i did not want them to be standen's for the fight for mosul. for the fight for mosul. be, i wanted to you to know these guys were. this is an argument for the kind
of photojournalism that i really photojournalism that i really value and i admire. i like a character driven, personal photo journalism, where you have that -- that kind of betweenon, that meeting people you would never meet otherwise. and i was fortunate to be would act as a bridge between those two worlds. was an, it was -- it opportunity, it was a cool assignment, i got to work for a magazine i really admired, a great writer, we took a lot of photos, that was fun, but i got to make a case for the kind of journalism i think is the most valuable, is oftentimes these days undervalued, and that is often times pretty difficult to produce. it is hard to make. you have to spend a lot of time with people and have them trust what you are doing. more than that i
admired these guys. it is hard for us to figure out exactly what our posture is, what side we are on, anything like that. those are questions i try not to dwell on too much. i was prepared if these guys ended up being the guys that were violating human rights, executing people without cause, trampling over the lives of civilians, i would've been comfortable and showing the world what they were doing, but we got very lucky. they were a good group of guys who conducted themselves honorably, very dangerous and very difficult context. and i was happy to be able to -- iof follow that and to did not have a tough time, i was honest about it. and not that i would ever have not been honest about it, but i did not have that same kind of crisis. there was one night where things
got weird, they had a prisoner and we were not sure what would go down, i was thinking, these guys are going to be really pissed when i start snapping photos of whatever will go down, but i got lucky, i did not get lucky they were good guys. they did not violate this guy's writes. -- rights. that was a positive thing, a good thing. more than that, i think that we added our story to the coverage anyway that a lot of other news stories about the fight for mosul didn't. our style of telling the story, but the amount of time we spend and in the narrative arc we provided with this group, was distinctive from -- we were every day doing the story, trying to download what is the latest news, what does cnn say, they got ambushed, are they alive? we were as lost as anyone else
was. approach, ihis think that we added something to the overall conversation is that other outlets and other journalists weren't. even though -- did honorable work and strong work, did not quite take the approach we did, so that was a personal victory for us. and part of it too was kind of like, bringing it all together was this -- the, we were able to witness not just kind of relentlessly grim moments, we were able to at one point, we were covering the flight of refugees from a certain area and ahab got a message and asked if we could pause and his aunt and uncle came now, which he had not
seen for two years, so it was not a relentless constant kind of death and destruction, our decision to focus on these people give us an opportunity to see a more well-rounded picture of how the fight for mosul wink. so -- went.so i think that is what i have to say about that . i'm sure we will get to the questions in a minute, now i am super excited to hear from mitch. >> let's give this gentleman a round of applause. [applause] incredible work. while ross prepares to drive the amputer for me, so i
standing here listen to a guy talk whose work i have read to help me with my masters thesis. so it is strange how the world brings people together. we were also, as ross introduced, we were close to the same time in mosul, we saw some of the same places, but when i looked at his photos in the new yorker, and the way that the story was written, i thought, i will write my blog for my masters thesis in this style. so vic, thank you for helping me get through college buddy. [laughter] >> no problem. >> go ahead, ross. >> i will give you a few thoughts on mosul, show you my homework. literally, show you my homework. and let it speak for itself. and have a slide at the end to wrap it up. i went to mosul to document the
fight against islamic state for a masters degree right on this campus. when i told my professors i wanted to do it, they jumped at the opportunity to to support me, somewhat hesitantly in other respects -- how much of a student are you going to be and how much will you tell? i'm a graduate student now and the guys, the guys who are leading the fight against isis, the tip of the spear, the two most elite units fighting in mosul were commanded on the ground by guys i had advised 10 years before. incredible serendipity, the two main generals leading the fight into mosul where both advised by me in 07 and 08. the stories on the blog, i will show you the last slide at the end. i realized some of my best buddies are over there and i'm going to join them. i reached out on social media, i
am a student in journalism now, may i join you to document your fight against dash. sign in iraq -- please come. you will ride in my humvee everyday. you will stay with me. that sounds great. [laughter] soldier deployed four times, i went into an individual, pre-deployment training phase while taking a full load of classes here, and doing an internship for a tv station in denver, i started preparing for my trip studying iraqi arabic specific the conversations i knew i would be happy. taking a refresher in combat trauma. learning how to protect electronic communication from identity thieves all over the world. and interviewing people that we
both know who had just been there. you are lucky i did not sever stock you and bug you, but other people he has worked with i called and spoke with, exactly what i needed to know. what countries should i not transit through and which countries should i go through. many countries in the middle east will stop you and pull you up for secondary screening if you have a gps. a runners gps in your checked bag. and i was traveling with a lot of gear that looked, to me it was journalism gear, but for the rumormongering and is suspicious i was obviously a cia spy. which i'm not. .o, i got to mosul correction, i got there on commercial air out of denver. live tones of flight to frank for, from frank for to vienna, the entity where beale. i purchased the tickets on google flights. how easy did i booked a hotel
bed i do not want to make this a commercial. i booked a hotel using a service i saw on television. if you dolist said, not want to spend a lot of your own money -- i stayed at a hotel in a suburb and i got there, got to the hotel, i spent to seven days. i didn't have somebody to meet me at the airport and get me into mosul. i spent seven days on the phone, a brand-new phone i brought with me, and i purchased a local some card. i was calling and texting every iraqi i knew. i need permission to go through the multiple checkpoints controlled by the kurds, then the iraqi government, get all the way into mosul. they all referred to one general good on the -- one general. finally, one of his soldiers came with a media fixer, who was disappointed i did not need his help. i knew the good guys already. on the eighth day i got to mosul . sident 14 days in mosul,
with the two same iraqi officers and their units i had advised before. i was not on assignment, i was not being paid by anyone, this came out of my own pocket. i was there to do a homework assignment and may to build a dynamite resume real, not seen since the days of anderson cooper going to africa, where one person takes it upon themselves and gets into a dangerous situation to document it. a couple things i have seen, victor said a lot of great stuff, a couple of things you do not see in the news. what you have never seen probably reported is, because it is too graphic to see the brutality of isis against children and families. we, our sensitivity in the west does not allow it, to show this terrible things we have seen. evoke has -- evil has not existed on the earth since the reign of not see germany 1930's and 1940's.
maybe it is not a coincidence that the opening scene of "the iraq, thes filmed in same place that was the isis caliphate. you hear about civilian casualties, how many times have you heard about civilian casualties? four u.s. bomb kills civilians. i pay attention to all of the stories. you rarely, i actually contacted guys from the counterterrorism service after we heard about a big tragedy after i got back. they said, this is isis, isis had a huge weapon in a building and they were using human shields -- they were in the basement, they went out to fire at us, we called in an airstrike and that is why at least 80 people were killed. you really have to dig to find that story. after the investigation came out. what is never reported is, the united states bomb, and american jet, dropped on the orders of an
iraqi who is looking at the target, estimating for himself that i need a bomb on this target. these are not american pilots, they are just dropping bombs because they see bad guys on the screen. iraqis are asking for the bombs from the coalition. and maybe someday the depth of reporting will allow for that information to be put out to the public. i had a small opportunity to tell you here. ross, why don't we show them some of my homework assignments? so, my professor said, take pictures, write stories and issued some video. let's go to the pictures first. -- i will have ross drive. i took all of these with nothing fancy. i cannot afford it, vic. the isis guy killed by a headshot. locale close his hand was to
the trigger. that is how close he was before the iraqis killed him before he could detonate. next slide. i hope you do not get hungry watching these pictures, because they eat good. don't they? wasted on the floor and -- we sit on the floor and we eat with our hands. sunrise before we went into mosul. iraqi soldiers prepping, engines idling, checking machine guns. it felt so familiar, like an old thend, smelling the diesel, soldiers preparing to write into battle as they have for a millennia. next slide. burned oncompletely the inside by isis before they left it, as iraqi forces moved toward where they were, they burned everything. they left nothing could they would kill in -- notinhing.
they would kill and burn everything. one of my favorite things to take a picture of is the troops themselves, the humanity, the similarities we have. i cannot say how many baseball hats i saw on the heads of iraqi troops fighting isis. and how similar they looked to us, especially -- we have trained some of these guys and the branch of those guys in the third row, they look so much like us. they care about their teammate and families, like all of us do. next. that plane did not crash into the home the, it was captured by the emergency response division. isis flies drones, but they also call in every hobbyist, every model airplane hobbyist from the middle east that want to join isis, they are welcomed into the caliphate and told that they will work in the aviation branch. and they built model airplanes,
modified to drop small bombs. go ahead. the troops i was with, myself included, you need to see children every day. the greatest thing to cleanse yourself emotionally from the ors are the children who come out to give the "v" for victory sign. many of us are old enough to know that this means "v" for victory before it meant peace. being a country previously, heavily influenced by great britain, this is "v" for victory. that little boy has only been able to go like this for his whole life. this is the isis salute. one raised finger was raised by it was aneir salute, abbreviation for their declaration of faith. and the little kids were taught this and they had to be taught to hold up two fingers and is spread out. his little sister knew how to do
it. he was emulating her. hand drawn flags. as the good guys got close, they broke into their school paper and a colored an iraqi flag to come out to show the troops liberating their blog for the first time in over two years that they were proud of their country and of their military. go ahead. everywhere, fathers and children came out, take a picture of my child with me. this is a celebration, a victory television probably not seen since the liberation of europe. but they love their families, we all share that and they love their kids and they were grateful their kids were able to go back to school. will have as much as a normal life as they are able to have. snipers, emergency response division, the elite unit of the andrior, 800 meters away snipers in a mosque. shooting at the ground troops as
they moved along and the snipers took position on the roofs, as you have seen from the photos, lots of fighting from rooftops. more children, this little boy is three years old. he said, daddy, did the soldiers leave me any balloons? and we laughed. that is all he wanted was a balloon. we did not leave balloons. we left the house in the condition we found it, but this little boy was so insulated from he knew the that soldiers represented something good and the happiest thing for this little boy was balloons. soldiers, good. balloons, good. did they bring me balloons? you can imagine how many cookies this little kid was showered with. more peace signs. those are victory signs now. chai everywhere, every place you stop, hot chai. chai.ous hot
how do they get water above 212 degrees fahrenheit? somehow they do. we drink a lot of it. this was, this is a still -- photo from my phone. the rebel in the foreground is isis car bomb. a suicide a vehicle borne improvised explosive -- explosive device. detonated against an iraq in response division home thumvee. sadly, the initial reports were incorrect, that there were no casualties. a policeman was killed from the blast wave of the explosion. inspecting the rubble of this explosion, the isis fighter driving the vehicle, not only was he driving a suicide car bomb, he was wearing a suicide folding stockad a
ak-47 with six magazines. his car broke down, he would run out to the good guys and detonate himself and if it did not detonate he had an automatic weapon. he was ready to die. wasll tell you, most of him splattered against the wall in a courtyard. i talked to him for a few minutes. and it was an interesting moment to see the -- you have never been at costco in the meat department and have seen this stuff. what was left of him was there. i asked, what are you seeing now? where are you? what are you experiencing? are you where you thought you would be? he did not answer, he only had half of a face, but it was interesting to be that close to the evil. and how willing he was to die. next. this is the general on the far
left, who i advised 10 years before, who allowed me to spend time with him and his unit. his kernel -- colonel, and the other troops, mourning the loss. they just got the report that we had lost one of our policeman. an i have -- i created, initial report, 50% wrong 100% of the time. that is why when there is breaking news in the u.s. i leave it offer 12 hours, then i will come back to it when it is more accurate. go ahead. this young man will get the iraqi version of the purple heart. he did not want a bandage on his face. it was a badge of honor. next. droneored -- a weaponize commercially bought for $1000, that holds a 40 millimeter rifle grenade, the islamic state guys are smart enough to know that they can fly these drones commercially, with a camera,
then drop a 40 millimeter have a, big enough to bursting radius of five meters. anybody within that we 5'6" could be gravely injured or killed. they flew these all the time. it was like something out of terminator, armed drones trying to kill you, robotic snipers in the sky. next. this is a prisoner that i saw, and i was glad to hear that a unit separate from the one i was with, they saw the same thing. it was an isis fighter responsible for the desecration of seven counterterrorism soldiers' bodies after they were killed. he maimed, mutilated and burned their bodies and filmed it and put it on the internet. he was captured by the same unit from which the guys came. guess what? the iraqis safeguarded the guy, they kept him quiet, and they got him to the rear. and -- they did not know i was
looking. they treated a war criminal, the enemy, with the same doctrinal correctness that we had been preaching to them 10 years before. that is called integrity, when you are doing the right thing when nobody is watching, that is one of the definitions of integrity. i do not want to propagandize what i saw, but that is another thing you do not see in the news, is when the good guys do good things and nobody is watching. go ahead. this is colonel arcand, he will be a movie star, he speaks perfect english and he directs every airstrike against isis, it is directed by this guy. bulldozer, armored plated, bulletproof glass, the first thing that drives against isis positions is a bulldozer. you can see the glass is riddled with bullets, the bravest men in
iraq, an untold story that somebody needs to tell, the bulldozer drivers fighting isis. nothing but them and that blade driving against the bad guys. the tanks are behind the bulldozers. that is how badass the bulldozers are. my friend, this is my other friend, the general, that is a smoke plume from a car bomb. i said, stand there. i will take this picture. it looks like you have a halo. and that is the bulldozer upfront, tanks behind and the homumvee behind. a car bomb a few minutes later. there it is. we will talk more about that in a bit. and she did not want to let go of the guy who had rescued her. go. and sitting on the ground, eating with our hands, just been
suicide car bombs, let's have rice and lamb. this made the international news, a drain model made by the islamic state. i went in. this took a puck of army men right off of the top. go ahead. the commanders after a day in battle talking. up the religious icon in a catholic church. mohammed is a shia, showing respect in a christian church, cleaning up some of the icons desecrated by isis. that is the church, saint george at catholic christian church. they love their country and they love their flag. let's go to the videos. is --fore we start this it sounds like a short documentary for ross taylor's class. do we have audio?
[speaking foreign-language] >> i left iraq in 2008 as a member of the u.s. army. i returned in 2017 as a civilian to mosul, to reunite with a brother in arms. he's waiting 3500 men from the ministry of interior's elite emergency response division as they fight to free mosul from i saw occupation -- from isis occupation. [gunshots] [explosion] hello. >> the combat is daily and intense.
using suicide car bombs constantly. they are using remote-controlled planes modified to drop bombs. and they are using human shields. all day long, civilians flee the fighting and move toward the advancing government troops. the men of the er fight where they can. but the flow of people is constant. citizens remain in their homes, awaiting liberation there. in those neighborhoods, the troops feel happy. they take time to cook dinner. the worst part of the day has now come. isis is targeting those who flee, and men, women and children are killed. ambulanceaken away by to nothing more than a first aid clinic.
thing i had to do for homework, it sounds more like a news piece. that was more of the artsy stuff for ross. yep. maximize. >> iraq emergency response division is using -- to take the fight to isis. an isis sniper in the middle of a mosque. 600 meters away. weapons that the they have, as well as isis. civilians flee the fighting. while isis attacks with car bombs. the erd has a more powerful weapon, the radio. it enhances their commander --
he holds the microphone and the airpower. behind me once stood a house, flattened by an airstrike the day before directed by the general. erd is on the move throughout the day, taking new positions as they clear the city block by block. >> we are about 300 meters from her previous position, we are now near a house that gives the general good observation. he has been using his radio to direct the attack in isis target, as well as using liaisons to attack runs used by coalition jets. he called out when a bomb is launched. from a jet. listen to the sound of the 500 pound bomb on the way to the target. [explosion] strongholds
destroyed with the help of a coalition aircraft. notrooftop location does stay secret for long after the airstrike. [gunshots] citizens show support and provide information on isis positions. and the troops move in that direction. withting from inside mosul the emergency response division, i'm mitch --. say,at is for somebody to he sounded like a news reporter. ok, let's see. i have another video that runs a little long. would you like me to go to my last slide? no, , next slide. [indiscernible] >> from the counterterrorism
service. isis sniper the next block over. you can hear the machine gun. the bulldozers are cleared a path for vehicles. barriers, a car bomb. there is a tank in the front that they will be using as they need to. [indiscernible] it is a vehicle -- [indiscernible] [gunfire] >> so we are just a couple buildings down from the bad guys. [loud explosion] >> the other iraqis --
[indiscernible] he runs the battle by radio and a tablet computer. [gunfire] everybody stays and fights. they will fixound you up and send you back out there. that wasry parlance, called a danger close airstrike, just a couple meters away. we were behind a building. the roads are more flexible for them. try to see, there is a big isis billboard right at the center of the windshield.
and if you want to stay afterwards, i have some war trophies captured by the good guys. we will do some show and tell. the day before, that was the battleground. maybe you didn't see this in the news, every time the iraqi forces have the ability, they will put citizens in their vehicles and drive them to safety. they will stop fighting to take families in their vehicles and drive them down the road where they can be out of the gunfire. this little boy is getting his first ride in a humvee. rarely reported. manufactured in the united states. purchased through military
sales, this tank taking the fight to isis. abrams tank and former soviet t7 it is aside-by-side, cold war alternate reality. those are armored humvees. i have just missed in the money shot of the whole trip. i learned a valuable lesson, find a helmet camera that has continuous playback. i so with my eyes the suicide car bomb, but i did not have a camera on. now it is on. you can see the smoke rising and you see a wounded guy running to the rear. the iraqis are shooting at the isis drone, which is overhead, to deny them the propaganda of filming it and to avoid having a grenade dropped on them. >> a car bomb exploded minutes
ago in front of us. .ere in east mosul [indiscernible] the left front. >> that was my boy, rasul. >> it has been five minutes. [speaking over each other] >> that soft target around the corner. it came around the corner and detonated. and you can see the dust and debris. we are staying out of the way of the debris. isis sent a drone overhead, it is -- well, it was probably there in the first place, following the vehicle and taking footage for propaganda purposes. i think the steering wheel is in front of me. i will look for it. it is the steering wheel from the suicide car bomb that i
actually ducked under. it flew over us. there is a bit of the driver still left on it. [gunfire] [indiscernible] >> can you hear me? just to show you how loud it is, that last clip. it does not make for good sound on the news, so you often do not get a news report of a journalist that close to the noise because it is too much natural sound. what has changed for me since mosul? i decided not to pursue a full-time career in journalism. no one has yet offered me the money i can make doing other things, being able to get myself to about a filled by myself -- field by myself, but maybe my
friend vic knows something. i have been speaking about cross-cultural communication and understanding other cultures, similar to what you heard him talk about, how similar we are and what you learn about other people in other parts of the world when you spend time with them. i've been blessed to do public speaking and there is an opportunity for me to bring something i have learned to a group you are affiliated with. i have also flotilla dated -- facilitated trips to mosul, when a medical unit, i helped them get embedded with the emergency response division, and grateful to know that they saved a couple thousand lives and i was in iraq at the time they needed somebody to help them get established. i helped them get established and that is probably one of the best things i did, was help a medical ngo find the right unit to be with and save lives. i have been doing freelance writing and i am working on a book. writtenno veterans have
about going back on your own to find the same guys you advised 10 years before that were still alive, and write about what it was like to go back into the bravery of the men and what they were facing. disaster response in colorado, i am a member of the county's team, those that manage the response after the fire, the fires throughout the state. and active in emergency management, a great fit for veterans by the way. occasionally doing a little bit of military analysis on television, no politics. i am breaking it down for you if you are watching the news on sunday afternoon, the complicated subject to me you need somebody like me to break it down. that is what i do. if youve business cards, do not want to memorize this. we are all connected in some way, that is something i have
learned from traveling around the world. strangely enough, there is a man sitting here who i picked up hitchhiking yesterday. he flew fighter jets in the national guard. you never know who you will meet. i would like you to keep my contact information, if you would like. the last thing, i bought my own domain name before some but it could rip me off. i do not have a website built said,ut god willing, as i hopefully it will be made someday. thank you for your attention. [applause] >> i wanted to say thank you for your time. and we want to acknowledge c-span, we want to thank them for their efforts in what they are doing here.
i have some questions i want to ask, but i am also interested in questions you may have. i am interested in your questions. i have a couple of quick gin.tions to bie i opened of the talk about problem-solving, i think it is the most, perhaps the most under coverage.ing of this i have a friend who is a leading photographer for the ap, he covers the white house, come campaign -- trump campaign, good friend of mine. we were talking about, at this level it is not just a photojournalist, i am an operator and i solve problems. that is a big part of my job, solving problems. if one of you can tell the audience, when i say the phrase problem-solving i am sure that a host of problems will come to mind that you overcame, can you talk about some of the things you faced and how you worked through them? i think that is a part of
growth, when you see adversity and you overcome it. how does that manifest for both of you? >> well, you know, it is a complicated thing. it is amazing to me like how much work it takes to get shot at. it is so hard to get to a place where somebody is actually going to, we watched people, the application of a violence is difficult. you have to go through checkpoints, you know, we were well taken care of, we had a lot of -- from our guys, but there are logistical problems you have to face. you have to spend the night at random checkpoints. you are going to sleep on the floor. basic logistical stuff. that is the easy stuff, as long as you are reasonably resilient and you are reasonably resourceful, you can get through that stuff. but i think part of the problem is, you know, you understand at
that point that you are to some degree invested with a certain degree of responsibility and what -- what posture am i going to take, how will i tell this story, how can i take pictures to communicate the reality of this, how am i going to take pictures that have secondary and thirdly affects that will evoke in emotional response, but also in intellectual response? i think the way that you solve that is to constantly look at deeper, refine what you are trying to do, questioning yourself and your motivations, and pushing further. as far as picture making goes. >> what do you think? >> my set, we can all solve problems if we do not ortionally left --
emotionally run away when you're try to fix a problem. if you can believe that you are challenged by adversity and he will prevail no matter what is happening around you and to you, you kind of insulate yourself from overreaction or under reaction. resilience is another way of putting it. the mindset, this will work out, no matter what. it will work out and i will get through it. and you keep saying it. it is, you are talking to your inner child when you are being told everything will be ok. if that works, tell yourself everything will be ok. that is my advice for problem-solving. you have known how to do it since you were three years old. thank you for asking. >> i am like the opposite, oh man, we are screwed. that is different from a writer. they have to be positive. i am like, no way, we are totally screwed. forget about it. and they're like, it will work
out. and it normally works out. i like to be a little dramatic at times. i don't have the emotional maturity you are describing. >> i want to share an anecdote. i was in my office one day and absorbed in my own self triviality, all the problems i am facing, and one person was dealing with an issue that would have me and he smiled and said, it is ok, if it is a problem there is a solution. and i was like, hallelujah, b rother. it was amazing. i have another question then i will toss it to the audience. if there are no questions i will keep the conversation going. both of your report in different types of medium. mitch you have worked with fox, and vic you are largely in print media. know thatne -- i
this is a nebulous term -- but how does one obtain objectivity, how does it factor into your work ethic and distribution? >> that is a really complicated question and to me it is an important one. i amt love journalism, super into it and i consume a lot of it. i read widely and i look at a lot of photographs. is, i think it is important to kind of put it in simple terms. my credibility is the most important part of my job, it is the currency and trade in. from diverse backgrounds, diverse political perspectives, life experiences, if people can see something of value in what i do, so i am constantly trying to keep that in perspective. so in some ways, one thing i
usually think about is, what would my grandma think about this story? i want my grandma to care about these people, to understand and be engaged enough to be curious enough, because the photos i take are interesting. but at the same time i think, i am from the united states, i am drama we are linked with, but what would readers from outside of our country, how would they see us? are we always the heroes? are we always the heroes or when are we not? when is it important to point out and when is it not part of the story? if i am covering the u.s. military or people from other places, i have covered it from both sides. the hard thing for us to accept, because we are reflective, it is hard for us to understand how broadly and deeply -- the world
is. we could cover the same brigade, which might be a couple thousand people, and we might have totally distinct experiences, totally distinct commanders, individuals, that was one of my things when i was photographing in afghanistan, i always was won or lost every day by the thousands of interactions, so that cumulative human drama is what makes these bigger trends. i am not much of this great men of history, these higher forces, i think that these are all stitched together by smaller things so i want to be able to be a critic, and my posture is i am a critic of power. that is what i do. i am a critic of power and that is the posture i normally take. and sometimes i have to accept when i am with folks in power doing a good job, i have to call the strikes. i have to be brave enough to call it out when they are not,
and when they are operating this honestly. i think that is an important rubric to use, to judge that sort of thing. with being right at the beginning. i have not really faced -- i was blessed to not see the units i was with doing the wrong things. but i knew that 10 years before i was teaching them the right thing, so it would have appeared in my blog had they committed war crimes or slapped a prisoner around, or looted from one of the homes they were spending the night at. the nickname, if you were taking something not yours, you would be somebody's alibaba. they would say, nobody will be an alibaba. and they walked through when they left. i was there to document the good
guys fighting against isis, i did not have to show the other side. the world had seen enough bad. this school to learn how to be that way and i have had classes and people critique my work, but i was fortunate that my professor said go and when you are writing your blog, you are part of the story. ,ou did not see a selfie of vic because he was following his code. i put myself in it because my professor said, put yourself in it, it is a one-man adventure story and you need to be a potential future employers that you can talk on camera when stuff is blowing up around you. i am just a greenhorn. i will cross the hard bridges when they come and if i am in contact with you, you will hear about it first. >> you would be the first person i talked to, for sure. >> thank you. >> let's open it up to the
audience if there are any questions. raise your hand and we will bring around a microphone. we will start back here. can you say your name and who you are. >> i am very impressed with journalism in your time. take a look at earning pile who did what you wanted to do, bring the grunt to the frontline and show you what it is about. i also am, i have to question the role of journalism as an analyst, would ernie have gotten the battle of the bulge right? did walter cronkite get the 10 offensive right, when he tried to analyze it, did he realize the north had blown the military -- and yet it came out in the news. we are facing confusing issues in the middle east, so what is the role of a journalist as an analyst? >> good question.
>> may i? charlie, thank you. i am a consumer of the news into have participated in events that made world news and watched the next day, or weeks later, to see that they got it mostly wrong. i wrote a paper about the battle march 2008, where there were no embedded journalists. some of the guys use on the video and i were there. it was reported around the world that iraq was not doing well, they were getting their ass kic ked, but nobody there saw it. they were taking their own preconceived notions, or perhaps what the assignment was, and reporting that way. t to not like -- i wan see what he showed us. i am breaking it down, not using jargon, this is how it is going. how many times did you hear at
the beginning, any major military operation, how bad it is going? how many times have you heard the term quagmire thrown out before something is a quagmire, maybe it becomes it, but it was reflects it o earlyn. do not get me started. sorry, you already did. [laughter] >> it is a complicated question. i think in some ways it is an imperfect world. i do not think we have the luxury to wait. butght tweak the numbers, breaking news is oftentimes incorrect and i think at the same time, two things, one -- we live in an imperfect world and the vast majority of journalists do their best to tell it straight, i really do think that. the problem is there are some any layers between us as receivers of information and them as gatherers, and it gets lost in the middle sometimes. but i do not think the answer is
to not know about stuff until we get it perfect and let it out. we need to know about it as it is happening as best we can. at the same time, i think i would draw distention's. not every medium lends itself to the best type of analysis, and not every journalistic outfit holds itself to the same standards. and i think that we have to be responsible consumers of information, we have to recognize the market forces that -- so journalism is a business, i wish it was just public interest but it is not into that is why we are so broke -- but we have to take that into consideration when we understand the environment, the information environment that we are in. and i will work for the media -- i don't work for the media, i am a journalist. media is an umbrella of a lot of things i do not believe in.
journalism i believe in deeply. so i think it is in perfect and we have to be savvy consumers of information. water cronkite, he may have gotten that one wrong. e are ahink that -- ther lot of examples of the folks who have gotten it wrong, even institutions i believe in get it wrong, but the difference is what do they do about it once they do. do they come clean? do they do their best to call it straight? or do you feel that they do not? >> ride on. over here. tell everybody your name. my name is howard. >> thank you. >> having been an eyewitness to mosul, what do you think is preventing 10 other cities from going the same route in iraq or other middle eastern countries?
with bothally -- americans and iraqis, solved it? or is it in ongoing repetition? >> that is a really good question. i think it is hard for us to wrap our minds around the size and scale of what has been accomplished. i think it would be difficult to do so right now, but i am sure that mitch is nervous about it, as well as i, now that the physical state has been conquered, you have two problems. one, the way we did it relying on u.s. air power, that is a whole debate. we have destroyed the country. all thesei, mosul, towns are completely flattened. i do not know who will build the towns back up. i hope the iraqis can afford to do that, but it will be difficult. the islamic state is now in
transition, into being an insurgency. probably just as dangerous and headline grabbing. we do not really have a choice in that matter. from, i-- i shy away agree with mitch that the world did not see a regime that represses them since the not see regime. regime. they have stood out for their brutality and repressive this. i also think, because we do not have a choice, we do not have a choice. we want to pretend that these fights are not our fights. but they are, not just because they might come here and kill us, but because we cannot live in a stable world where we allow festering wounds like that to go on. that is my view. isis is done in iraq. it does not make the news because the u.s. news knows there are not a lot of americans
there, but they are done. they are being rolled up in the euphrates river valley up towards raqqa. now they need a marshall plan. imagine europe after world war ii, that is where iraq is now. like mosul45 looks in '18. that is what they need. our country needs the ability to diplomatically engage with the country and offer help and have it accepted. we left iraq and the iraqis i was with last year said, we are not happy you came and broke our country, but you broke it and you were fixing it, then you left too soon and that gave rise to isis. we want you around, but in a less visible way and we want you to help us. and if anybody in our pentagon or state department can take that simple formula, that is
what they ask. we want to build the capacity within those countries to take care of problems within their own borders, but we have to have a diplomatic ability to be invited there. thank you for the great question. >> about 10 more minutes to take more questions. they will be available afterwards. can you let everybody know your name? >> ok. mary callahan. i know how to start the question, but i do not know how to complete it. so a lot of this, iraq is a country, is it a country? we talk about -- we talk about countries and we have said it is a country, but are we fighting a country, a warlord, and how do we know how to build a country at of something that was a country before? that timmy has always been confusing about these areas were long ago, westerners drew the
boundary lines and said, you are a country. they do not feel that way. it seems like you have to go beyond putting the buildings back up, but figure out who needs to live together and who can be at peace together. that is what is going on now, i think. it is a question. >> go ahead. >> the united states will engage with the legitimate government, and that is as far as we are going to go. we recognize the sectarian and tribal and ethnic differences within a country, but we have them in our own country, so the u.s. government to the iraqi government, we have to engage at that level and that is the simplest answer. other than in kurdistan, the northern part of iraq that wants its own independence, they have a very pretty flag with a son in the center. -- sun in the center.
they tried to get autonomy, it did not work. iraq for the most part feels like a country. all of their vehicles have iraqi flags on them. of all the countries i have been in, two of them stand out for pride in their flag, the united states and iraq. banners on houses. you think you have a lot of flags in the united states, just as many in iraq. they feel like they are a country. afghanistan is a separate issue. let's stick to iraq. the u.s. government will only engage with the legitimate decide thatuntil we we are going to do something to change it. goodthink that is a very point. i also think that pride in flags is something that does cross the sectarian divide in iraq, but i also think -- i hear your
frustration in trying to understand a very complicated and very complex dynamic, right. the one that you described, the drawing of the postcolonial ines wherewing the l europe had to colonize, however while they were doing it, assuring onto a new phase. it demands of us the kind of mental flexibility where we are willing to try to engage with, there is no easy answer, you are right, it is not clear. that is the case in many countries in africa, the middle east, the case in south asia, like with afghanistan. so these are complex issues, and again i just kind of, i think it is important to be savvy citizens of the world and news
consumers and understand that this is how it is, but there is no easy answer is we will hope it goes the best it can. and i think we have to inform that the way that we vote, the way we spend our money, the way we organize, these kinds of things you have to take into consideration in your outlook on the world and i think that we must be more comfortable than we are used to being with a complex worldview, if that makes sense. >> thank you for your question. one more. we have plenty of time, they will be available afterwards. i would love to hear from a student. do we have students? tell everybody your name. again, they will be available after. we encourage you to talk to them about any questions you have. >> i am jack, i am a student. you mentioned credibility is your currency, how did you build that credibility when you broken to the freelancing world, what was the pitch like and how has
it been different for the long-term assignments with magazines? credibility.ned my when i started, i just started putting things together and i did not have any. but i always try to do it with a level of integrity and transparency and i tried to express the value that i appreciate in my work. i try to be open and transparent, i do not have a stage name or hidden bio's. i am very open that way. both in the way that i do with my subjects and in the industry, so it took a long time. i had to take a lot of pictures and do a lot of cruddy assignments and it's great but money to work on the things -- scrape up money to go work on the things i wanted to do. i had not worked for the new yorker before. i had done digital stuff for them, i had done instagram stuff for them, little stuff, but i
will give it to you straight, in a lame way i had a big spread in the new york times magazine in the summer of 2017. the new yorker editor saw that and said, he is working for the new york times, we want him. i think they liked my pictures, they liked my outlook and my practice. somebody say, go talk to the new yorker because they just all your new york times think. there is a lot of industry stuff, that is not always media sacristy. sometimes the good guys win. question, itr takes a long time and a lot of hard work, and a lot of trying to get better and produce work, produce work, there are no shortcuts. there just is no shortcut. >> i do not have any credibility. [laughter] >> but to answer your question
about being a novice at anything, you have to be, you have to work really hard and give the best effort you possibly can and do the best work. staying later and coming in earlier and volunteering, and taking out the trash at the end of the day and bringing coffee in the morning, i am telling you, whatever you do in life the credibility begins by being recognized for your good efforts. then you will be given other opportunities to really establish your credibility but young soldiers that become lieutenant in the military, they got no credibility other than a commission in the military. what do i tell them to do? max your pd test. be able to run your two miles faster than any other lieutenants and he will begin than other opportunities. it boils down to, be really good early and he will get noticed
and you will be given other opportunities to build your credibility from their. it applies to everybody and everything you do. >> good advice. >> excellent advice to end on. [indiscernible] >> let's give them a round of applause. [applause] >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news that impacts you. coming up sunday morning, vanderbilt university dr. discusses mental health and gun violence. then, columnists talks about the trumpves and presidency. also, oral anthony wayne, former u.s. ambassador to mexico, and current fellow at the wilson center's mexico and the two talks about the state, u.s./mexico relations and the disputes about immigration and trade. be sure to watch washington journal each sunday for our
special series on the american in turmoil. starting march 18. we look that 58 years to determine time in 1968, including the vietnam war and the presidential election. monday on c-span's landmark cases, we will explore the civil rights cases of 1883, the supreme court decision that short down the civil rights act of 1875. a federal law that granted all people access to trains and theaters regardless of race. john marshall cast the lone vote in opposition and eclipse the legacy of the majority opinion. explored this case and the high court's
ruling with danielle holli walker, dean of howard university's law school. and peter, a member of the u.s. commissioner on civil rights. watch landmark cases live monday
and then :00 eastern on c-span, c-span.org, our list and with the free c-span radio app. for background on each case, order your copy of the landmark cases companion book. it is available for $8.95 plus shipping and handling at c-span.org/landmark cases. there is a link on our website to the constitutional centers interactive constitution. wednesday morning, we are live in phoenix, arizona for the next up on the c-span bus 50 capitals four. michele reagan will be our guest during washington journal starting at 9:30 a.m. eastern. >> now a discussion
with representative debbie d lowell, congressman john delaney of maryland and south carolina senator tim scott. hosted by georgetown university, this is just under one hour.