Two good reasons to believe it’s real:
1. I’m the guy who worked on it and I’m telling you — it’s real. As mentioned in her post, I adjusted the lighting (by moving the Shadows/Highlights settings) and eliminated some of the grain (with the “Reduce Noise” filter). In fact, I wanted to eliminate more around his right eye but thought that might interfere with the reality of the shot by eliminating the dirt on his face too, so I only used a low setting. That’s all that was done to the photo. WYSIWYG.
2. Michelle doesn’t have photoshop (and doesn’t know photoshop) so she couldn’t have worked on it before it got to me. In fact, the reason she asked for my help on this in the first place was to add copyright text to the images. That’s the simplest task you could perform with PS, so if she’d had the software, she could have and would have done it herself.
Some of the smarter DUers are trying to talk the more excitable ones down from the ledge over there. Go, enjoy.
Update: And so it’s come to this: the commenters at Democratic Underground are actually more astute than the diarists at Daily Kos, a site which once published a technical analysis of the Rathergate memos that “proved” they were authentic.
Slackjawed nitwit “Little” writes:
The photo, which i thought was of a mannequin because it so messed-with looking, carries this caption:
As an Army convoy prepared to depart after dropping off blankets, an Iraqi boy came out to say goodbye clutching a stuffed toy–and an American flag. [Update (from Allahpundit): The subject was backlit in the original photo so I used Photoshop to adjust the lighting and remove a small amount of grain.]
Notice it’s an update. As in, the fact that she has a photoshopped photo on her blog (wipe wipe; there, now I can see my monitor again), was not disclosed when it was put up. Oh god, that’s funny.
The anti-Michelle: I suppose we just supposed to trust her now that the kid actually wasn’t a model? That he didn’t pose for the shot? (Er…) That the flag wasn’t photoshopped in also? Yeah, right.
The photo that was first posted was the original one — so dark that you could barely discern the kid’s features. That’s when Michelle e-mailed me and asked me to lighten it and add the copyright text. It was replaced with the new photo, thereby necessitating an update to her original caption.
He’s right about the funny part, though. “Messed-with looking”? Poetry.