Ibn Al Haytham, the man known as the "father of modern optics" believed that a person's perception of reality is shaped by the quality of the images they see.
This native of Basrah, Iraq, may have understood well the goals of a flyover with Iraqi, Italian, French and U.S. Army journalists of some key areas of Muthana Province.
The idea came from a recent conversation during which the Muthana Provincial Investment Commissions chairman, Adel Dahil Mohammed Al Yasiri, approached the U.S. State Department's Muthanna Provincial Reconstruction Team with a request to explore ways of improving their marketing materials.
In Iraq, PICs are organizations composed of elected officials and local businessmen that serve to encourage foreign and local business, much like a chamber of commerce in the U.S.
Yasiri suggested a videotaped flyover of key locations, and explained how providing potential investors with a different view of Muthanna's industry, natural resources and historical sites would present a better visual perception of the province.
A plan was developed to take four PIC cameramen on a bird's-eye tour. The flight took them over the ruins of (Al Warka) Uruk, Sawa Lake, and the East Samawah Industrial Zone, along with the several provincial factories.
None of the cameramen had ever seen these sights from such a perspective, and on the day of the event they showed up eager for the experience.
"[It] provided an opportunity for the PIC's media staff to gain valuable experience," said Kirk Johnson, the senior economic advisor for the Muthanna PRT. "They are now in the process of editing their footage for DVDs and brochures. The footage will greatly improve their marketing materials, enabling them to attract new foreign investors."
Capt. Mike Martin, a company commander supporting civil capacity in Muthanna, described the event as "a great ride and I could see why they had asked for our help to make this happen while flying over the ruins of Uruk. It was nothing short of amazing."
Since mid-2008, the Muthanna PIC has received advice and technical assistance from the PRT. With the arrival of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, the Army's first advise and assist brigade, this partnership has expanded to include the additional support of their Task Force Pathfinder, a unit dedicated to providing military support to civil capacity operations in southern Iraq.
"Encouraging more trade and Foreign Direct Investment is a key way for Iraq to build its economy for tomorrow," Johnson said.
Although the final products have not yet been released, Johnson and the rest of the PRT remain optimistic that the flight will have a positive effect on the PIC's endeavors.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16