“How the media inflated the fall of Saddam’s statue” – Pro Publica and the New Yorker

Google image search for: saddam statue taken down

The toppling of Saddam’s statue turned out to be emblematic of primarily one thing: the fact that American troops had taken the center of Baghdad. That was significant, but everything else the toppling was said to represent during repeated replays on television—victory for America, the end of the war, joy throughout Iraq—was a disservice to the truth. Yet the skeptics were wrong in some ways, too, because the event was not planned in advance by the military. –Peter Maass, The Toppling: How the Media Inflated the Fall of Saddam’s Statue in Firdos Square

Peter Maass, writing jointly for the New Yorker and Pro Publica, has just published a fascinating investigation into the toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad’s Firdos Square. I haven’t gotten through the whole article yet, but it’s well worth a read. The piece features interviews and anecdotes from a few photographers on the scene, including Jan Grarup, Gary Knight, Laurent Van der Stockt, Seamus Conlan, and their perceptions of the event as it unfolded.

The American military according to Platon

Platon for the New Yorker - Service, Summer 2008

Just got a look at this great work by Platon for the New Yorker. The usual style, for the portraits, but I’d never really seen his documentary style beyond a few so-so examples on his website. These pictures, though, capture the malaise, exuberance, uncertainty, confidence, and all the other emotions wrapped up in America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The kid in the uniform struck me as overly cutesy and sentimental at first, but the accompanying text discovers the significance of the shot: Sergeant John McKay, a marine whose uncle and grandfather were marines, and whose three-year-old son posed in uniform at the wedding of a cousin, also a marine, said, “He’s just waiting till he’s eighteen.” He went on, “I’m scared for him, but if he wants to do it I’ll support him.” There’s some audio from Platon about the project, too. If you haven’t already, check out Platon talking about his shoot with Putin over at the World Press site. Click on 2008 and then the thumbnail of Putin.

(via APADnews)