Michael's Dispatches

Little Girl


First Published May 14, 2005

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Major Mark Bieger found this little girl after the car bomb that attacked our guys while kids were crowding around. The soldiers here have been angry and sad for two days. They are angry because the terrorists could just as easily have waited a block or two and attacked the patrol away from the kids. Instead, the suicide bomber drove his car and hit the Stryker when about twenty children were jumping up and down and waving at the soldiers. Major Bieger, I had seen him help rescue some of our guys a week earlier during another big attack, took some of our soldiers and rushed this little girl to our hospital. He wanted her to have American surgeons and not to go to the Iraqi hospital. She didn’t make it. I snapped this picture when Major Bieger ran to take her away. He kept stopping to talk with her and hug her.

The soldiers went back to that neighborhood the next day to ask what they could do. The people were very warm and welcomed us into their homes, and many kids were actually running up to say hello and to ask soldiers to shake hands.

Eventually, some insurgents must have realized we were back and started shooting at us. The American soldiers and Iraqi police started engaging the enemy and there was a running gun battle. I saw at least one IP who was shot, but he looked okay and actually smiled at me despite the big bullet hole in his leg. I smiled back.

One thing seems certain; the people in that neighborhood share our feelings about the terrorists. We are going to go back there, and if any terrorists come out, the soldiers hope to find them. Everybody is still very angry that the insurgents attacked us when the kids were around. Their day will come.

[Post Script]
The reaction to my photo of Major Bieger cradling Farah, the little girl who died in his arms, provoked a flood of messages and heartfelt responses from caring people around the world. I have spent the last several days trying to read every message, and respond to as many as possible, but the flow has finally outpaced me, much as the swiftness of a river will finally defeat even the most determined swimmer.

This morning there was a banging on my door. It was “Q,” loaded for battle, weapon in hand, wearing the military radio headphones with the microphone that wrapped around his face. Bang, Bang, Bang! Q hit my door.

“Mike! Where are you?!”
“Hold on,” I said, opening the door.
“Why aren’t you ready! Grab your gear . . . we’re going!” My worn-out boots sat empty in the corner.
“I can’t go today,” I said, glancing in the direction of my laptop.
“Just tell them I can’t go today.”
“Okay!” And Q trotted off back to his Stryker, leaving me behind. The soldiers rolled out on their mission without me.

And now I sit here, answering a few final emails, while the men of Deuce Four patrol in Mosul. My hands may be here, but my head and heart are on the streets in the struggle. I’ve been riding the wave of interest and feedback from that photo, but I need to get back to what I seem best equipped to do–posting dispatches about what is happening here in Iraq. I will continue to read every message, and I offer my sincere thanks in advance for everyone who takes the time to send one, but, alas, with this dispatch, I must swim to shore.



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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 12 years ago
    Any update on the Michael Moore copyright infringement issue?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Stefan · 11 years ago
    I saw this update and reread the description of the Major, and brought me to tears yet again. People always question a camera or a cameraman in a combat zone and why you would even want something like that, but the picture should show the reason why. I will say though, I cannot image buying a copy of that, as it would tear me up every time I would see it as it does even now. I picture my little daughter in his arms.. and just know she was someone's little daughter too.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Randy Stalding · 11 years ago
    Every time I see this photo it brings tears to my eyes and sadness to my heart. This photo speaks more than a thousand words.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kristine Tragesser · 11 years ago
    I think we get so relaxed in our everyday lives, that we forget the sacrifices our soldiers make for us. They see and are involved in the worst of what is going on in our world. I saw a saying recently that said something about- our soldiers dont make the policies of our goverment, they just pay for it. It is time to rally around these brave men and women and do our best to support them, love them, and help them while at war and when they come home.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Malte Damsgaard Hans · 11 years ago
    when i saw this picture i was moved deeply, it brings so many emotions up inside of me. i think this picture is a very special one.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Timothy S. McCoole · 11 years ago
    LTC, (then major) Bieger is, in my eyes, a man above all men. He shows, quite openly, that the American soldier is the best on earth. Having two little girls of my own I cannot fathom what was going through his head at the time, nor what is lingering now. I will ask that may our God bless him and watch over him in all that he does. I will also ask our God to accept this little girl into His arms.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    William Myers · 11 years ago
    This photograph moves me profoundly. I keep returning again & again to view it. I weep for Farah's family!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Manuela · 11 years ago
    It’s not the flag or the rank that makes the difference but a heart
    My prayers are for all of you out there
  • This commment is unpublished.
    kathleen · 11 years ago
    I had seen this now famous picture before. Now that I know who took it and why, it's impact is even greater. Your work is very important, you make people feel the realities, to search their hearts, and to love our soldiers even more. The compassion and grief here, his profound compassion is what is real, the little girl our own. How would we see the face of evil and know to stand against it, if not for people like you? Thank you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mohammad Jawad · 11 years ago
    Michael, you are the best of the best. i don't usually like journalists because of the negative image they produce of man in combat thus far. but thank you for doing this. i am an Afghan who supports the hard work all these man do, to provide safety for others, they never think of themselves, it is always the man beside them, and i am honored to have worked beside them, i know the truth on the ground. you are one of a few who produce the image that should be known to all. I have a daughter, and every time i see this photo, i think Major Mark Beiger saved my Daughter, and that goes for all the man like Major Mark who is out there doing this every day. I think all the men out there, specially Major Mark Beiger for their hard work, and wish them a safe journey back home, to their respective families, from where ever they are. if you ever need anything, please let me know, i will do at the best of my abilities to help you. Thanks again
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tudor Moldovan · 11 years ago
    It`s so touching, even if this was happening 5 years ago... It`s the best photo expression I`ve ever seen. God bless her soul and God bless M. Beiger and his family. Thank you
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Donnette Davis · 11 years ago
    I have spent hours upon hours in this website and reading Michael's updates from various other websites, looking at the pictures, even videos, trying to imagine - not for one moment being able to walk a mile in his or their shoes. Of all, this picture moves me beyond words. Manuela summed it up: "It’s not the flag or the rank that makes the difference but a heart. My prayers are for all of you out there "
  • This commment is unpublished.
    iraqi · 11 years ago
    we are suffereing from this situation , if some iraqi died , we are died also but still alive to carry all this burden and pain in our shoulders and heart
  • This commment is unpublished.
    saliesha · 11 years ago
    wow i so so sorry for her thats sad a little girl diring why the world got to end i whish i can go back in time and save every body in the world but thats how life goes well i whish that little girl the best hope she happy where she is god bless her and every bady eles
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ed Siebold · 11 years ago
    and the story are sooooo powerful. For me this picture does a great job of showing the complex individuals that are US Soldiers. I know the terrain and got to meet and work with some of the Soldiers. I worked in Mosul and the surrounding area.

    Thanks for being there and reporting the truth of what you see.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ed Siebold · 11 years ago
    and the story are so powerful. It does a great job of showing the complex, flexible individuals that are US Soldiers. I know the terrain and was fortunate enough to have the privelege of working with some of them while I was there.
    Thanks for telling the truth as you see it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    lucy · 11 years ago
    wow thank you sooo much for all your work if any soldiers are out there it means so much to me!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kevin · 11 years ago
    Would the attack have occurred and the girl have died had there not been soldiers there??
    It seems like kill one terrorist and create two. This isn't working. Shouldn't we try some other way?
    First, just leave. Admit we shouldn't have come, and just go. Then see what we can do to help people who are willing to help themselves.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dave - DC · 11 years ago
    There are multiple reasons why we became involved in Iraq. First and foremost, Iraq refused to disarm as required from the last war. Second, the Iraqi government and various factions engaged in systematic and gross violations of human rights. The people were ruled through fear and violence. Saddam used chemical weapons on his own people. Dissenters were tortured, killed, and mutilated. Families destroyed, women raped, etc., etc. You get the picture. So YES, there is a significant chance that this little girl would have suffered a similar, if not worse, fate had it not been for the US and NATO intervention.

    To ignore such violence is to be complicit in it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Supavadee · 11 years ago
    Thank you so much for your good work in Bangkok last week. I hope we won't have this kind of tragedy again in Thailand. Actually, i hope we won't any war but it might be too ideal... why people are hating each other enough to do the killing?
    The little girl in this picture is another example that she could have a beautiful life if there is no war over there.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Locke Enlode · 11 years ago
    War is inevitable as the sun rising in the morning. I am not a proponent of war, nothing about it do I find pleasant in any way imaginable. But all of you out there must keep one basic truth in the forefront of your mind - there IS evil in this world extremely intent on raising as much hell as they possibly can, no matter who gets harmed, how many, or where. And evil must be confronted and checked at every corner and those corners are called wars. God Bless the Warriors, the sheepdogs that selflessly protect the unsuspecting sheep and fight the battles that the rest of us are no longer able or willing or knowingly fit to fight. God Bless the children, always and forever.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Locke Enlode · 11 years ago
    Michael, you are the sheepdog protecting the truth of war. I salute you, your efforts, and your courage.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    David · 11 years ago
    For the so clever comment "Would the girl have died if the soldiers weren't there?" Are you not aware that even before the war, Sadam was killing hundreds of thousands of his own people yearly? Don't you know that? Are you so lacking in the basic awareness of what goes in/has gone on in the world? And that his military killed tens of thousands of Iranians and Kuwaitees and Saudies? Wake up and smell the coffee.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    iraqi · 10 years ago
    just want say hi to micheal
  • This commment is unpublished.
    iraqigirl · 10 years ago
    saddam is bad but the invadtion is worse than that at least when saddam was leader i can to baghdad street with out warry about sucide bomber and i donot ;like the usa solider and the iraqi restant and saddam and bush and terriost and evey body want to get money and evey stupid want to look like a hero! thank you
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bangkokian Girl · 10 years ago
    I followed your link from Image Magazine, a Thai fashion and lifestyle magazine. Frankly speaking, as a mother of 2 boys, I never understand for every crutial doing to any children. What's wrong to all those ppl! Don't they have a beloved one, or don't they have never been love before? Picture that little girl as if she was my daughter, it's hurt me deeply..

    Please world, no more WAR!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Norma Hamby · 10 years ago
    I can not tell you how much I admire you young men....I feel like you are mine and i just want to hug you all so close and keep you safe. GOD be with you....And Lord Jesus, protect these little children...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Deborah · 10 years ago
    This is what America is all about, this is why our solders are there . Not only for us but them as well. My heart goes out to all of theme and women who serve .. THANK YOU .. THANK YOU .... WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH. WHEN EVER YOU ARE IN VIRGIINIA MY HOME IS OPEN TO ANY OF YOU ... MAY GOD SPEED..
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve Speer · 10 years ago
    Michael, Whatever words I might express here have surly been said before. I saw the photograph of the little girl in the arms of the major in late 2005 and I'm not sure of the emotions my heart expressed for it was mixed. I do know the overwhelming emotion was that of tragedy, of the death of the innocence who one second may have been playing with her friends and in the next became the image which flooded the world with compassionate tears. But very close behind my second emotion was anger and swift vengeance for this child's untimely death toward the sick cowards who without remorse would ambush any troops in the presence of children.
    When I first saw your photograph I did not know the soldier was a major nor did I know the child was a little girl... neither mattered... the message was clear for all to see who have a heart to see. Had I been in your shoes I would wonder for the rest of my years why God placed me there at that moment in time. Thank you for your eyes.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Evie · 10 years ago
    Michael, I have only been following your dispatches for a short time, and in that time, I have, through your writing and too your photos, been brought to the front lines with our warriors, and also have seen the brutal consequences of war the way I could not see them through our media. I say thank you, Michael, to you and all our warriors. Thank you for your sacrifice and your honor. As for the picture of the little girl dying in the major's arms, that image will likely haunt me for the rest of my life. I may put it deep inside the recesses of my brain so that I don't have to think of it, but it's there, seared into my soul, which will continue to weep for our losses, and for the losses of families and children in Iraq and Afghanistan. God Bless.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pramathesh Zamindar · 10 years ago
    We have grown in a civilsed world learning the humane lessons of morals and ethics for conserving any form of "life". how can people not have consideration for little children?????!!!! Unfortunately the world has evolved into a very dangerous place for our upcoming generations. I hope that someone somewhere understands this and makes these people understand the true meaning of love and kindlness. God bless these brave soldiers who are giving up their "todays" for our "tomorrows". Keep the flame burning.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      MAB · 9 years ago
      GOD'S love is UN-ENDING ABUNDANT. There is a world of people that GOD watches, at the least in our physical and spiritual conseption of this life on this planet. Beware and be watch-full of these days. GOD is LOVE as should we be.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sloane Tittle · 10 years ago
    I have a need to be inspired in my "normal" life, here safe in my world, and when I look at this image something happens to me that I can't control. I have feelings that overtake me, they make me love my safe environment and hate the hell that little girl had to die in; but, the main and most important to me is that it inspires me to be a better person...much like Major Mark Bieger.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael Wader · 9 years ago
    I take a great deal of pride in that I wore the same division patch that the major wears. I served with the 1/27, 25th ID. Our love and compassion for children goes back to WW II when the div. started an orphanage in Japan. Every payday we would donate to help fund our orphanage and once a year the nuns would come to Hawaii with some residents of the orphanage for a day of celebration. It is good to see that the major continues the tradition.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Russel · 9 years ago
    Poor innocent children suffering because of war... How could they involve kids, so weak and vulnerable?

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barris Ahmadi · 8 years ago
    Hope you be fine,

    I think this photos has been announced in lots of magazines, but we have seen many of American soldiers that killed lots of afghan babies. We are witnesses that American Armies killed at least 11 children in Tagab district of Kapisa province of Afghanistan. please see the Israel tyrants in Palestine and other places. then judge
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Tommy Barrios · 7 years ago
      How dare you talk about Americans killing babies when the Muslim Monsters have killed thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children in the name of a vile cult of hate, torture, and death!
      You are despicable for even writing such filth as you have here!
      May you rot in hell!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Colorado Mtn Man · 8 years ago
    I just ran across this page today 25 March 201 . Mr. Ahmadi, look back at the history of the American Soldier. In all wars, the American Soldier has displayed a tremendous amount of compassion and care for children in and out of war zones, as well as civilians and yes,the enemy. And yes, there are atrocities that happen from time to time in war, but to describe the American Soldier as a murdering group is not only discusting, it is totally false. You owe our Soldiers a huge apology.......and you think Afghanistan is better off without us?? Once we are gone, you will truely miss Soldiers that serve with Honor, Dedication,and yes, true compassion. There are about 4 thousand + families that have witnessed that. To this day they are witness when they visit the graves of the best Soldiers in the world, the American Soldier.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill Fletcher · 7 years ago
    God bless everyone caught in the croossfire.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Thanakrit · 7 years ago
    I have a little girl of my own. This picture made me speechless. How could they do such a thing like this to little kids!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark Speno · 7 years ago
    Michael, That photo is as familiar to me today as it was in 2005. It still touches my heart the same. I had no idea the photographer was you. Thank you for showing this side of our soldiers.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lewis · 7 years ago
    This soldier and the DUCE FOUR unit were part of my Brigadecombat and when we were in Mosul these soldiers were amazing and cared very much about not only the mission, but the inocent people that were affected by the war. These men did everything they could to protect those who could not protect themselves. The olny thing they could not do was control the actions of the insurgancey, let us not foeget that insurgents use women abd children as himan shileds and also as pawns to control the people who live in the city. Bless the brave soldiers of Duce Four and the intire 1 Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Judy · 7 years ago
    Tough times. Son was deployed to Shelby 6 and then 16 months of combat in Anbar in Iraq 05-07. Remember when this photo was posted before...sad memories.Unfortunately the people are going through more even now..Prayers.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ray Riehle · 7 years ago
    As painful as it is to see I have the picture framed between two flags my brother sent me. One is from Iraq the other is from Afghanistan. It is there to show the true heart and soul of the American Soldier.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Colin Michaud · 7 years ago
    Michael. Thank you so much for posting this photo back in 2005. My son was with the -21, 1st Brigade in Mosul, while you were there with Duce Four. I recall when you posted this photo, and it reminded me of when my son called me once from Mosul, after you posted the photo, and told me of how many of the kids would run up to their Strykers when on patrol, and how they would try to shoo them away because it was so dangerous for the kids. The kids trusted the soldiers because they treated them very well.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy Barrios · 7 years ago
    I still cannot look at this photo without thinking of my precious little princess when she was that age :cry:

    We go into a country with the intention of creating a better life for oppressed people and then filthy stinking Muslim Murderers have to come along and show their ignorance and criminal nature by blowing up innocents!

    We are the righteous and the good!

    We are world wide symbol of freedom and democratic principles!

    We will consistently strive to bring murdering thugs and and tyrants to justice! (as soon we get rid of the Obomination)

    The Sword of Gideon will smite the wicked and the righteous shall prevail!!

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kelly Laramore · 7 years ago
    How well I remember when this happened...following your posts. It shows the character of our guys
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dave Cottrell · 6 years ago
    Hope you are doing well, Michael. The world needs more of you!
    I just got an email that is being widely shared and circulated, today, that has once again included this moving photo, but without the copyright information. I informed the friend who sent it to me and gave him the link to this page.
    I hope these shares, even though unauthorized, will make people think.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Freddie · 6 years ago
    I was looking for pics to use in a lecture about being brave for God and your picture caught my attention. I did a Google search but came across a pic of a different soldier holding an Iraqi girl...but she seem to have the same blanket/jacket as your soldier pic. Can you shed light for me on this. I know it is not the same child or soldier. Hair gloves area ect.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    donna · 6 years ago
    My grandfather was a flight nurse in wwl and something similar happened to him .but when they went back they were ambushed and that very childs family hide him for week the got him back to his troops..he gave her something very special to him a necklace and he kiss her good by asking her parents could he come back for her and take her to america for her to live with him and his family ..after the war grandfather went back for her to find out the family had been kill just days before...my dad was in same war and was hit and a little boy helped him to safety and gave him bread and water to keep him alive..thank god for that child as I had my dad for many yes to come....I pray for those families and for those presious children's lives for my freedom today rip all of you for you are all part of gods army now...with deepest appreciation .....freedom5 67@yahoo.com
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tyler Garff · 5 years ago
    Michael. Your picture was gut wrenching. It's hard to imagine, that's your everyday reality. You live on a razor's edge. You stare down bullets and, sometimes survive by inches. On this earth, there is none, or anything so Courageous as a US soldier. Protectors of the homeland and the millions who love it and you as well. Your Bravery is of Historic proportions. Each one of you , willing, God forbid, to give all that is precious, say even your soul up to God's grace. Your service is valued above that of rubies and gems. Each one of you a hero in his own rite. You fight for the right. You are all heroes the greatest of men. Women and children count the days until you come home. So come home quickly, soon as your job is done. Stay safe my Heroes. God bless you everyone
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tyler Garff · 5 years ago
    Michael. Your picture was gut wrenching. It's hard to imagine, that's your everyday reality. You live on a razor's edge. You stare down bullets and, sometimes survive by inches. On this earth, there is none, or anything so Courageous as a US soldier. Protectors of the homeland and the millions who love it and you as well. Your Bravery is of Historic proportions. Each one of you , willing, God forbid, to give all that is precious, say even your soul up to God's grace. Your service is valued above that of rubies and gems. Each one of you a hero in his own rite. You fight for the right. You are all heroes the greatest of men. Women and children count the days until you come home. So come home quickly, soon as your job is done. Stay safe my Heroes. God bless you everyone

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