If you’re a student at Salt Lake Community College, the Iraq War has been going on for almost as long as you’ve been alive. Everyone has been directly or indirectly affected by the events in Iraq, but whether or not Americans are being accurately informed about what’s really happening there is a different story.
Mike Shiley, an eyewitness to the affairs in Iraq, spoke in the Student Event Center of the Student Center at the SLCC Taylorsville Redwood Campus on Wednesday, Oct. 6 to inform and update students on the current status and conditions of Iraq. His presentation was entitled Inside Iraq: Untold Stories, which is also the title of the movie shown at the event.
Shiley is a self appointed journalist and joined the 3rd Armored Regiment as a civilian on the Anaconda Military Base in Iraq. In December of 2003, Shiley “managed to strike a deal with a local ABC-TV station to bring back stories about the troops in Iraq. Armed with a digital video camera…he chronicled a two month journey inside Iraq, interviewing American and Iraqi soldiers [and] talking to local citizens.”
He expressed his views on how the media has not accurately portrayed the activities of the United States Military in Iraq. He clarified that US soldiers have become “the only source of relief from terrorist regimes…but they are not trained and equipped to become diplomats when they just need to be soldiers.”
He believes that the US Government is responsible for the collapse of stability in Iraq.
“Support systems in Iraq need to be non military,” he said.
Rather, at this point the military has taken on the roles of employer, protector, and government official for the Iraqi people.
“Economic development is the key to fighting terrorism,” Shiley said. “But not for soldiers.”
Ed Grant served two eight-month terms in Iraq from 2005 to 2007. Upon attending this event in support of accurately presenting the information from Iraq, this former soldier and current SLCC student said that “For every 10 things we do in Iraq, the media will see one bad thing.”
In contrast to media reports, the military is providing jobs for Iraqi citizens such as cutting down 50 acres of grass to undercover enemy territory, teaching classes to the Iraqi people that discuss anti-war tactics such as demising the use of torture, along with many other humanitarian efforts. All of these efforts are above and beyond what soldiers are called to do in Iraq according to Shiley.
“Soldiers should not be called on to build economies,” Shiley said.
Carlee Beyer is the Chair of Lectures for the Fine Arts and Lectures Board at SLCC. She chooses guests speakers twice a semester to speak to students at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. These speakers are to inform and raise awareness of current events that directly affect students at SLCC.
Upon watching Shiley’s presentation, Beyer said it was, “Unbiased from the point of view of the Iraqis and the US Military. The war has been going on for our entire lives. How can we be the future if we don’t know what it is?”
Bennett Rasmussen who serves as a board member with Beyer feels that fighting terrorism with economic growth is the key to assessing the problems in Iraq.
“Students need to better understand history [and] recognize the role that Iraq plays in securing the economic possibilities for America,” said Shiley.
Shiley believes that the military is the “Economic muscle of the US Government,” but that all the facts from Iraq should be revealed to the public.
For more information about Shiley’s presentation visit his website at insideiraqthemovie.com.