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)
James Estrin, The New York Times
NBC’s Richard Engel describes being kidnapped in Syria:
A group of about 15 armed men were fanning out around us. Three or four of them stood in the middle of the road blocking our vehicles. The others went for the doors. They wore black jackets, black boots, and black ski masks. They were professionals and used hand signals to communicate. A balled fist meant stop. A pointed finger meant advance. Each man carried an AK-47. Several of the gunmen began hitting the windows of our car and minivan with the stocks of their weapons. When they got the doors open, they leveled their guns at our chests.
Time was slowing down as if I’d been hit in the head. Time was slowing down as if I were drowning.
This can’t be happening. I know what this is. This can’t be happening. These are the shabiha. They’re fucking kidnapping us. …
NBC correspondent Richard Engel, writing for Vanity Fair