A Peaceful Iraq… in Turkey?

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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 It was taken from the upper floor of the Rashid hotel in the Green Zone on July 13, 2005—a little out of date—and one of the buildings depicted has now been completely obliterated.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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