The Washington Post has written a fascinating insider’s account of how the U.S. military was able to win control of Iraq despite blinding sandstorms, the fear of imminent chemical weapons attacks and disagreement among top military planners about how to conduct the invasion. According to the Post, some senior military planners believe the invasion might have been successful even earlier if a plan to persuade Iraqi forces to surrender had gotten a chance to get off the ground. Meanwhile, the New York Times weighs in with an analysis of how the war played out in the Oval Office.
Understanding the Arab perspective
Note: I'm filling in for Tom Brown while he takes a few weeks of rest from blogging. To get ready to be a blogger, I've been spending hours Web-surfing to try to get a sense of what's being written about the war in the foreign press. I find the most interesting reading is often found in newspapers I know very little about -- like Al-Ahram, the semi-official voice of the Egyptian government; or the Sydney Morning Herald, which seems to ferret out interesting little stories on the ground in Iraq.
For example --
It’s still hard for us to understand how Arabs could despise Saddam Hussein, yet be outraged by America’s successful toppling of the feared dictator. In weekly English-language version of Al-Ahram, one of Egypt’s oldest newspapers, Iraqi poet Sinan Antoon explains the paradox, arguing that "tyranny is now replaced with colonialism.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Iraqi Muslims came to the aid of Baghdad's tiny Jewish community by chasing out looters over the weekend.
Images of war
Embedded photographers on the front lines have made many dramatic, poignant and sometimes even beautiful still photographs out of the chaos of war. A collection of some of the best work from photographers at Agence France Press, the Associated Press, Newsweek and the New York Times, among others, is posted on Web galleries at digitaljournalist.org – images that are familiar, as well as many that aren’t.
A Marine helicopter passing over a herd of camels in a hazy sunset. Iraqi women mourning over a coffin in a stark graveyard filled with gravestones. Young children and their veiled mothers fleeing the nightmare of a bombing raid.. The bizarre juxtaposition of high-tech American military machinery against a backdrop of poverty and need.
In an essay on the site, Peter Howe argues that the Internet has been good for war photography because it offers "a more complete and compelling photographic coverage of the war."
"Even the mainstream media seemed liberated from conservatism on their own web sites, maybe because they consider them less important," Howe wrote. "For the committed Internet user the opportunity was there to see the war through other eyes and other cultures, and many of the images that were not published in the United States surfaced on foreign sites."
Here are more Internet slide shows:
The New York Times has placed hundreds of its war photographs in a Web slide show.
MSNBC's Images of War is a collection of photographs since the beginning of the war.
The Los Angeles Times' gallery of war photographs.
The Baltimore Sun gallery