Filmmaker tells of Iraq trip

Mitch Leclair

Mitch Leclair

People require truth. Many feel that major news networks or national periodicals, operating under clouds of bias, rarely present the absolute truth to the American public. Because of this, individuals can become fed up and investigate on their own what is happening-individuals like Mike Shiley.

Shiley traveled overseas on his own to discover the facts about the war in Iraq. In coordination with the University Program Council, this photojournalist presented his documentary, “Inside Iraq,” at SDSU on Oct. 4 in the Volstorff Ballroom.

Over the course of two months, December 2003 to January 2004, Shiley became a resident of Baghdad, a member of the U.S. military and an employee of ABC News.

Shiley devised quite a devious plan in order to get to Iraq. He made a fake press pass at Kinko’s, used some frequent-flyer miles for a plane ticket and ended up in the Middle East. Once he arrived, he and his one bag set off for Baghdad.

During his stay, Shiley documented numerous troubling events and hopeful images that most of his fellow Americans would never have otherwise seen. Throughout the film, information was delivered, not opinions. Shiley assumed the role of narrator for the film, but didn’t share his own personal views. For this reason, “Inside Iraq” is a film that can be appreciated by someone on either end of the political spectrum.

Whether or not everyone did appreciate the film last Wednesday is debatable. Some students thoroughly enjoyed the presentation, while others thought the film was somewhat political.

“It seemed like he went with the facts … and he answered questions [about the war] with facts, not opinions,” said Brady Mallory, a psychology sophomore.

Kyle Jameson also enjoyed the documentary.

“[The film] contained images we don’t see. We don’t see the people normally, just cities,” he said. “The way he [Shiley] went about it was the only way to get there and write un-slanted.”

Some students disagreed, and thought Shiley had the wrong intentions with his film. One student in particular was upset with Shiley and confronted him during the question-and-answer session that followed the film.

Afterward, this student, who provided only his first name, Tim, said the film portrayed an image, and it depicted U.S. soldiers as “slimy and under-funded.” Tim was also concerned about the film’s revelation about Iraqi soldiers’ plastic helmets. He said U.S. soldiers also wear plastic helmets, and even they aren’t bulletproof.

Mike Shiley’s documentary revealed many aspects of the Iraq war-both good and bad. His film showed U.S. soldiers wasting unopened food by tossing it into the dump at Base Anaconda and other soldiers complaining quite profanely about how they couldn’t shoot Iraqis before being shot at. However, the film also showed members of Army providing work for hundreds of local Iraqi citizens in the cane fields surrounding Anaconda, and during the training of volunteers for the Iraqi defense, explaining how torture is wrong-no matter the situation.

In order to find the truth, one must do research. Mike Shiley did his research and found an enormous amount of facts in the country of Iraq. In his documentary, he presents these facts for anyone to interpret however they see fit.

#1.884156:1537314852.JPG:Shiley01.JPG:Shiley pretended to be a journalist in the country. He presented his finished documentary to SDSU Oct. 4.: