E-mail Rick!

Nov. 17, 2004 10:44 a.m.

I recently watched a DVD (not sure if it qualifies as a “documentary”) filled with some of the most gruesome images ever captured on tape. There are scenes of Iraqis being tortured, their arms broken or chopped off or their tongues cut out (one after another obediently kneeling, being cut, and moving on for the next guy to take his place). There are public executions, including decapitations, firing squads, and worse. In one scene, two people are wrapped in sheets, buried to their waist, and stoned to death by a crowd.

There’s video of roadside and suicide truck bombs targeting Iraqi and U.S. soldiers, presumably shot by the insurgents who planned the attacks, and footage of the Western aid workers attacked in Fallujah, their charred bodies dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge as people cheered.

And there is extensive footage of beatings handed out by Iraqi guards, reportedly taking place at the now infamous Abu Ghraib prison. In fact, the film first shows the images of the alleged abuses of prisoners by U.S. soldiers, and then contrasts it with the whippings and torture perpetrated by Saddam’s men.

The images are not blurred out. The deaths and mutilations are almost certainly real. The goal, according to the producers of “Buried in the Sand,” is simple: “To bring back the reality of what is happening to our troops and the way these people not only treat their own people, but how they treat Americans and what they want for our society,” Rob Cartee, the Executive Producer of the project, told me. “They would like nothing better than to see an Islamic regime rule the entire world.”

Cartee says this isn’t about exploiting carnage for personal gain. So far, while he says he’s sold tens of thousands of copies, he’s only at the break-even point, and money, he claims, didn’t motivate the movie. Cartee says he was angered by Michael Moore’s portrayal of pre-war Iraq in “Fahrenheit 9/11” as an “Islamic paradise,” and believes the graphic and shocking footage in “Buried in the Sand” will serve as an equalizer.

“It’s time to put this stuff out on the market and let the American people know what our soldiers are going through and what 99% of the people in the Middle East are going through and the way they’ve been treated and the atrocities that have been perpetrated against them for generations,” Cartee told me, saying he hopes the film builds support for our troops and support for democracy to take hold in the region, which he believes will make life better for the people there.

It’s quite possible that this video COULD have that effect on people. The graphic, brutal images will likely make people sick to their stomachs, and very, very angry with the people carrying out the murders and mutilations.

Some stores, including Shell gas stations and the Virgin megastores in New York have pulled the DVD from shelves because of complaints, but it’s available on the Web. If you choose to watch, consider yourself forewarned. It won’t be a pleasant experience.

[Click the video tab in the upper right to watch Leventhal's reports.]

Dear Rick,

As a daughter of a retired Marine and the wife of an active duty Marine, I would like to thank you for paying tribute to some of this country's finest men and women.

— Jackie (Pensacola, FL)

Dear Rick,

Thanks for saying such kind words about the Marine Corps. As a former enlisted Marine (and a third-generation one at that) I have found that most of the so-called "educated classes" fail to share your enthusiasm. I'm a law student in trial advocacy this semester and do you know what the murder suspect in our imagined bench trial and the defendant in our imagined defamation jury trial have in common? Both are former Marines. Coincidence? Hardly -- people in academia hate us, and this antagonism gets a free pass daily. Keep spreading the true word, and while I can't tell my classmates and professors this, obviously my heart and prayers go out for my brothers and sisters fighting in Iraq. Come home safe!

Semper Fi!


Dear Rick,

As a U.S. Marine, I want to say thank you for remembering the Marine Corps on November 10th, 2004-our 229th Birthday. The Marines fighting in Fallujah and throughout the rest of the world deserve all of the recognition and praise they have received.

Semper Fidelis!
SSgt Heather


Your story, was well-written and to the point. It brought back memories of when I served in Vietnam in 1965-1966 with the 3rd Antitank Batallion. For each and every one of the identifiers you use I can see the face of a fellow Marine I served with or I see myself in the mirror. With all the nasty, derogatory stories printed and spoken every day in the media about the U.S. involvement in Iraq, you gave me a breath of fresh air. Our service members don’t get killed or die over there, they give their lives in service to their country.

— Roland


Rick,

As a former Marine Corps Drill Instructor, I can say that you hit the nail on the head. The young men out there are just typical young men. They are motivated, dedicated and well trained. They want to serve their country with Honor and Integrity and get back home. Being an American really means something to these young hard chargers, the National Anthem is more than just a song. I worry about them and pray for them everyday. It breaks my heart every time we lose one, it’s like losing a younger Brother. Once a Marine, Always a Marine is not just a slogan. Thanks for taking the time to say something positive about them on the Birthday of The Marine Corps. Keep your head down and stay safe my friend.

Semper Fi
Ken (Oceanside, CA)


Hi Rick:

I just read your commentary "A Word About U.S. Marines". I, being a former Marine Corporal currently with a reenlistment package at Head Quarters Marine Corps, really appreciate your commentary. Many don't understand the Marine's position on things or why they do what they do. However, you have done a good job at summing it up. Marines in general are angered at injustice, unfairness, and seeing the little guy get knocked down by the big guy. Many times we're the tip of the spear and most wouldn't want it any other way. Marines, as you stated, act big and bad (and are for the most part), but also have a big heart. While I was in Somalia I saw those big bad men kneel down and care for a wounded child. I saw them, myself included, argue face to face with a higher rank when told there weren't enough medical supplies for us and the Somalians too and give up their own medical supplies in their "butt pack" to take care of a child. It was an honor to serve and if HQ gives me a change, to serve again.

Semper Fi
Cpl Niko (Nicholson)


Rick,

Both my husband and I watched you often on Fox, you were always great. You appeared to understand both the mission and those that were there to carry it out.

Currently my husband is serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and now I watch Fox while in the company of our three small children.

Thank you for being so fair and taking the time to understand our Marines.
Semper fi.


Nice tribute. Being a former combat Marine in vietnam 68-69, I still feel the pride (and pain) every time I see or read about a Marine or soldier in this miserable war. Most combat vets feel the same, and do what we were taught, keep it to ourselves.

- JD