Journalists who were present remember when Saddam Hussein’s statue came down in Baghdad’s Firdos Square on April 9, 2003:
The photographer Gary Knight saw more journalists and Marines than actual civilians. And those Iraqis he saw, he said, seemed to be “doing it for the benefit of the cameras” at what amounted to little more than a media event. Just beyond the view of he cameras, the square was mostly empty. Lt. Tim McLaughlin, the Marine tank commander whose American flag ended up briefly atop the statue before it fell, drily observed that it was hardly a turning point, just “an event that for me occurred probably between 4:10 in the afternoon and 4:25 in the afternoon.”
Ten years after the invasion, it is clear that the moment hardly heralded a clean and decisive victory. If anything, the news coverage raises questions about the role the news media played in the run-up to the war and the toll it took on soldiers and civilians.
Related: The Toppling: How the media inflated a minor moment in a long war (The New Yorker)