A Peaceful Iraq… in Turkey?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Howard Kaloogian, the California congressional candidate who“mistakenly” tried to pass off a photo of a peaceful Turkey street setting as a scene from Baghdad, has now called the blunder a “stupid” web error. Kaloogian is running to fill the space left by Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the Republican congressman who resigned amidst evidence that he accepted at least
$2.4 million
in bribes.

Kaloogian has been touting the accomplishments of Operation Iraqi Freedom for some time, claiming that biased media reports have given Iraq an undeserved reputation as a violent locale. Iraq “is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it–in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort the fight terrorism.” In staying with his message about the true tranquility of Iraq, Kaloogian captioned his now-infamous photo: “we took this photo in downtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq.” Oops.

But these “stupid mistakes” can no longer slip by unnoticed. Within hours, the blogosphere was pointing out the many faulty aspects in the photo, including western tourists and Roman characters, unlikely in Baghdad. The internet is changing the political landscape, as everything is now fair game for questioning.

For added kicks, check out the latest photo on Kaloogian’s site. It was taken from the upper floor of the Rashid hotel in the Green Zone on July 13, 2005—a little out of date—and one of the buildings depicted has now been completely obliterated.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest