gangs of iraq [home page]
photo of a sniperphoto of a prisoner

Join the discussion: What do you make of this report? Can the effort to build a loyal national Iraqi security force work?

Dear FRONTLINE,

I found your report "Gangs of Iraq" to be an amazing portrayal of the difficulties that face those attempting to bring law and order to Iraq. Several of the videos shown were so raw and disturbing that it shocked me. I thought to myself "I can't believe they are showing these videos. Have they ever showed footage like this in the mainstream media?" And then I remembered the footage and photos from the Vietnam War and how damaging those were to public support for the conflict. It seems that the media today is coerced into censoring images that they feel will erode public support for military action. In doing so they censor reality. The American people should be exposed to footage such as this to give them a realistic picture of what war entails. Sadly, this view is not shared by the majority of mainstram media sources. Thank you, Frontline, for having the integrity to display images and footage of the reality of this conflict. It may not be pleasant. It may be disturbing. However, it is the reality of the situation.

Phillip Murray
Grapevine, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for providing me a view of America's actions in Iraq. I'm a 54 year old retired Air Force officer, and I have never been angrier in my life about national events than I have been at the incompetence of President Bush and his appointed officials. I was drafted in 1972 and I followed orders, though I believed that the war in Vietnam was wrong. If my 17 year old daughter were drafted today, I would do everything in my power to prevent her from being herded to this senseless slaughter.

Frank Morales
Honolulu, Hawaii

Dear FRONTLINE,

I enjoyed watching the Frontline episode "Gangs of Iraq" ... I had to watch it online at Frontline's web site the next day (because WGTV failed to air it on TV). I'm not sure what happened at WGTV (or WPBA), but I am concerned and hope it was not a political decision not to air the Frontline episode "Gangs of Iraq." I want to trust that they are both unbiased and apolitical in presenting informative programs that other commerical stations are afraid to show.

Thank you Frontline for being brave and showing us the reality of the Iraq war for what it is: a quagmire of a mess that now appears unfixable by the US (regardless of what the politicians say in Washington).

The "Gangs of Iraq" is also a documentary that commercial TV in America is not allowed to show from fear of political reprisals.

James Owen
Conyers, GA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Having served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I find Martin Smith's perspective absolutely correct. The statement made during the program in which the likelyhood the US is arming the military and police to eventually perpetrate a higher intensity civil war is also correct.

Today's (18 April 2007) bombings in Iraq with more than 200 dead and perhaps hundreds more wounded will intensify the sectarian violence which will be impossible to stop. We all know the strategic mistakes made during the post Saddam fall-the disbanding of the military and police, no Phase IV plan and few troops to maintain order all contributed to the current state of affairs.

In closing, Mr. Smith-you are tribute to the highest standards of journalism and we thank you for your contribution to this ongoing story-Iraq.Haiti/Bosnia/Africa/Afghanistan/Iraq

Randy Hampton

Dear FRONTLINE,

As a former American soldier, having seen our wounded at Walter Reed; I think that it is absolutely disgusting that our young men and women are dying in Iraq because the Sh'ia and Sunni were simply not ready for freedom. If I was willing to risk my life for my country, the iraqi's should very well be willing to risk their life for theirs. Anything less than that should not require our never-ending support.

Oscar Galvan
Phoenix, AZ

Dear FRONTLINE,

I watched with interest both Gangs of Iraq and The Case For War. It became quite clear what the major fault of the NeoCon agenda is: A lack of understanding of the culture, religion nd history of the countries they want to bring "Freedom" to. Before we invaded Iraq, we never heard one mention of the potential for problems between the Sunni and Shia. It seems that the fact that the modern concept of Iraq was formed less than 100 years ago, and the only way to keep the concept intact was with strong foreign intervention or a ruthless dictator. The religious and culture ties of most Iraqis go back many more 100s of years and can not easily be broken. If we had understood this before the invasion, perhaps we would have had a chance to create a stable Iraq, although it might not have been as democratic and many would have hoped.

Alan Renga
San Diego, Ca

Dear FRONTLINE,

you could've stopped the cast right at the point where you point out months later that the Iraqi troops standing by a found car bomb and weapons cache were saying to each other this is kids stuff not where the real cache is; it's with my Imam etc. That is enough to explain this gov'ts failure as it does not have enough American Assets than can speak Farsi,Arabic.So just like in Vietnam we again find we are working with people who's motives we are clueless about and have not the resources setup to find that out in realtime. So we are being played by all sides who'll unite only in their hatred of our occupation which is what's already happening. I find Perle's use of the Kennedy Inauguration Speech and his one time association with JFK's campaign as pure cynical theatre and disgusting considering the loss of life done by Perle's Plan. He also claims no credit as architect later on in the Charlie Rose show which proves the point that failure is an Orphan while success has many fathers. Where was his public denouncement of the lack troops or planning for the day after Saddam fell? Why did'nt he use his leaving the WH as a means for publicly stating what he now says was his difference on the post war planning back then? The only thing worse than screaming fire in a crowded theatre is leaving after you said Nothing when you see flames and smell the smoke. All that proves is that unlike Robert MacNamara Richard Perle has no conscience. Too many here in the US have No Idea what a danger he and those who think like him really are. If this thingspins out of control you can bet your ass he won't have any of his relatives on thefront line walking point on the Airport Road in Baghdad.

Anthony Martin Dambrosi
Middletown, NY

FRONTLINE's editors respond:

The program with Richard Perle that followed was a completely separate report. It was not produced by FRONTLINE. It was, along with FRONTLINE's report, one of the documentaries aired as part of the umbrella series, "America at a Crossroads."

home + introduction + watch online + interviews + join the discussion + reporters' notebooks + baghdad video diaries
site mapreadings & links + dvd/vhs & transcript + press reaction + credits + privacy policy + journalistic guidelines
FRONTLINE series home + wgbh + pbs

posted april 17, 2007

FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of wgbh educational foundation.
photo copyright © corbis
web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation