February 2, 2005


Alleged Kidnapping of Soldier May Be a Hoax: A California firm says a photo posted on an insurgent website looks like one of its dolls. The military says no one is missing. (Monte Morin, February 2, 2005, LA Times)

U.S. military authorities said aspects of the photograph had raised doubts. The soldier's vest, for instance, resembled no such equipment issued by the Army.

Nevertheless, they asked for a full accounting of military personnel in Iraq.

"No units have reported anyone missing," Staff Sgt. Nick Minecci of the military's media office in Baghdad told Associated Press.

In the grainy photograph, the figure appears dressed in desert camouflage, his hands behind him, and leans stiffly against a concrete wall. He wears a bulky vest and green kneepads. The barrel of an American automatic rifle is pointed at his head, but no one is pictured holding the weapon.

An executive for City of Industry-based Dragon Models USA Inc. said the soldier looked remarkably like a foot-tall GI Joe-type doll the company manufactures for sale at U.S. bases in Kuwait.

Toy Soldiers (Douglas Kern, 02/02/2005, Tech Central Station)

The Slinky betrayed us. I should have known. I never trusted him. He was an unstable character, always going back and forth, back and forth, never showing a shred of backbone. "Come, senor, I know the way to the insurgents' headquarters," he rasped. The fact that he was an Arab toy speaking with a stereotypical Spanish accent should have tipped me off. But hindsight is always 20/20. Literally. I can turn my head 360 degrees.

I only knew my men by their code names, but even in that short space of time we shared a bond that only six-inch plastic combatants can truly understand. They were my family, my brothers in petroleum-based products. One night we all melted the tips of our fingers and became plastic brothers.

And I led those brave action figures into the trap.

"My spider-sense is tingling," muttered "Peter Parker," as he flexed his fingers on his M16. We were all on edge, and our quirks were coming to the fore. "Prince Adam" kept waving his weapon in the air, hollering "By the power of Grayskull!" Damn Wiccans. "Hugh Jackman" had huddled deeply into his trenchcoat, whispering "Am I Wolverine or Van Helsing?" to anyone who made the mistake of standing next to him. And "Elmo" kept singing his goofy song. "Elmo loves his rifle/His bullets, too…"

The insurgents caught us by surprise in that deserted Iraqi backyard. BBs perforated the sullen quiet of the hot Iraqi afternoon. Firecrackers sizzled and roared around us in a symphony of extremity-disintegrating horror. Mean little kids stomped us with the hard soles of their brand-new Keds -- weapons of mass destruction. And the gentlest one of us all lost it completely. "Elmo is thinking about genocide!" he screamed, as he unleashed a hail of foam darts upon our adversaries. "Elmo is Death, destroyer of worlds!" War does awful things to toys.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 2, 2005 8:07 AM

Lifelike hair and beard.

Posted by: David Hill, The Bronx at February 2, 2005 8:24 AM

In related news, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has threatened to behead Buzz Lightyear unless Star Command withdraws all troops from the Middle East.

Posted by: The Other Brother at February 2, 2005 8:36 AM

The blog 'A Small Victory' had the best headline: "You'll Find This on Snopes Eventually."

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at February 2, 2005 8:41 AM

Top Ten Jihadi Terror Threats Against Action Figures.

10. Release our brave fighters from prison or we will put a firecracker in GI Joe and twist his feet backwards.

9. Remove all infidels from Iraq or else you see will what a Bic will do to Elmo.

Posted by: Gideon at February 2, 2005 9:02 AM

Whoever sent this out does have pretty good instincts about big media's mindset, as far as what they will and won't run with. For several reporters and/or editors -- like the ones working for the Associated Press and CNN who "broke" the story -- coming after the success of Sunday's election, a report of a U.S. soldier being taken hostage (The Quagmire Continues!) was just too good to fact-check to assure it was accurate before sending it out acrooss the wires and over the airwaves.

Posted by: John at February 2, 2005 9:08 AM

Check his pockets! I'm sure he's got the real letter proving Bush was AWOL during his National Guard stint.

Posted by: Friday at February 2, 2005 9:11 AM

Whoever dreamed this up at Langley deserves a raise.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 2, 2005 9:29 AM

In further news, during hearings today, Michael Chertoff, Bush's designee to be Secretary for Homeland Security, in response to intense questioning from concerned Democratic senators like Barbara Boxer and Joe Biden, has assured Americans that 'we will spare no expense to keep the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Kermit the Frog out of harm's way.' When pressed by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Hartford Home for the Bewildered) about heightened security for Barney the Purple Dinosaur, all Chertoff could say was a terse 'No comment.'

Posted by: Bart at February 2, 2005 9:37 AM

I think Roger Simon has it right: this was done by someone (either the U.S. government or one of its allies or some other, jihadi-hating free agents) in order to discredit the terrorists. And I gotta say it's brilliant if that in fact is the case.

Derka derka jihad jihad.

Posted by: Ted Welter at February 2, 2005 10:06 AM

In GI Joe's own words:


Posted by: Rick T. at February 2, 2005 11:00 AM

Mr. Welter;

It's even better than that, since it discredits Old Media at the same time.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 2, 2005 12:13 PM

Send in the Transformers on a secret rescue mission!

Posted by: Dave W. at February 2, 2005 12:22 PM

AOG: Indeed, the trifecta. Ya just gotta love it.

Posted by: John Resnick at February 2, 2005 2:42 PM

It's the message that's important, not the validity of the story.

Posted by: D.R. at February 5, 2005 11:42 AM