Claim: Photograph shows a U.S. Marine posing with Iraqi kids holding a provocative sign.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2004]
Origins: That anti-American rumors have been consistently prevalent in Iraq since the
This picture, if taken at face value, seemingly confirms the worst of what is rumored about
All we know for sure so far is that the picture does depict
reservist with Headquarters and Service Company,
Several different versions of this picture — each with the sign altered to reflect some other humorous message (e.g., “My country got invaded and all I got was this lousy sign”) — were circulated on the Internet, and that phenomenon increased tremendously after the creation of site that allowed visitors to customize the Boudreaux photograph by putting their own words onto the sign. (That site, www.ryano.net/iraq/, is no longer operational, now imparting the message “gone forever. deal with it.”) Other versions of the picture displayed more positive messages
(Click to enlarge)
Some news accounts have implied that, although the message written on the pictured sign does not reflect anything
During his deployment in Iraq last year, Boudreaux was stationed in
Al Kut,the capital of Wassit Province, which runs southeast of Baghdad to the border with Iran. His duties there with a headquarters unit kept him largely confined to the big concrete hangars at an air base on the outskirts of the city, and he had little contact with locals. The photo, which shows the trio in front of a ramshackle hut, could have been taken at one of tens of thousands of locations in Iraq, including a shed outside the back entrance of the airfield where the Marines would buy soda, tobacco and trinkets such as prayer beads and head scarves from locals.
Boudreaux could not be reached for comment. His commander during the 3/23rd’s Iraq mission,
Lt. Col.David Couvillon, called the photo a sophomoric attempt at humor.
“Look, he didn’t actually do what that sign says,” Couvillon said. “This is stupid, lance corporal stuff that he thought was cute. But it’s not, and I was informed the commandant of the Marine Corps had it and the Marine Corps will deal with this.”
As of 19 April the Marine Forces Reserve has said only that
Maj. Gen. John J. McCarthy, Commanding General, 4th Marine Division has reopened the investigation into the photo of LCpl Corporal
Ted J. Boudreaux Jr.,24, 3rd Battalion 23rd MarineRegiment, taken in Iraq. The investigation will focus on the authenticity of the photograph. We are retaining the assistance of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
Marine Forces Reserve takes this matter very seriously and will conduct a thorough and complete investigation.
This photo is approximately 1 year old and was taken in Iraq when the unit deployed to that region during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
LCpl. Boudreauxmaintains that the photo in question has been altered from the original.
Marine Forces Reserve would ask that media respect this Marine and his family’s privacy.
Because this matter is ongoing we cannot comment further on the investigation. When the investigation is complete we will provide additional information.
Last updated: 27 March 2005
Bailey, Laura. “Marines Informing Soldier of Photo Probe.” Marine Corps Times. 14 April 2004. Bailey, Laura. “Corps Reopens Investigation into Controversial Photo.” Marine Corps Times. 19 April 2004. Pisik, Betsy. “Rumors Become Insidious in Iraq.” The Washington Times. 10 June 2003. Simpson, Doug. “Marines Reopen Probe into Photograph.” Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 19 April 2004. Varney, James. “Photo May Land La. Marine in Trouble.” The [New Orleans] Times-Picayune. 15 April 2004. Associated Press. “Islamic Group Demands Inquiry Into ‘Gag’ Photo.” FOXNews.com. 9 April 2004.