Saddam Statue Toppling (micro blog)

I covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq for the New York Times Magazine and had the strange luck of following the Marine battalion that famously tore down a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad’s Firdos Square. In 2011, I published a lengthy narrative in the New Yorker that examined the toppling and the ways in which the event was shaped by the media. When the story came out (click here to read it), I also published a micro-blog with posts about books that touched on the toppling, photos that hadn’t been published before, and other miscellania from the event. What follows over the next few pages are those posts.


  • Two Days Before Firdos, Another Toppling
    Two days before the statue of Saddam was toppled at Firdos Square, Army troops who had seized control of the Republican Palace were ordered by their commander, Col. David Perkins, to find a statue of Saddam that could be destroyed. Once one was found–Saddam on horseback–the troops were ...  (Read more)
  • The Front Pages
    If you want to see a selection of front pages the day after the toppling, click here.
  • The Mural of Saddam Hussein
    Shortly before heading into central Baghdad on April 9, 2003, Lt. Col. Bryan McCoy joined a handful of his Marines who were taking a sledgehammer to a mural of Saddam Hussein at the military base where they had spent the night. Click here for a slideshow of my photos.
  • Toppled, the Book
    If you have an unlimited appetite for information, photos and trivia about the toppled statues of Saddam Hussein, there’s a website and book just for you — Toppled by Florian Gottke. My favorite photo in the book ...  (Read more)
  • Inside the Palestine Hotel
    Melinda Liu, a Newsweek reporter, was among the several hundred journalists who stayed at the Palestine Hotel during the invasion. She wrote a colorful story for Conde Nast Traveler about her sojourn, including ...  (Read more)
  • Photographer on First Tank Into Firdos
    The Marines who were ordered to seize Firdos Square were not entirely sure how to get there, so they asked a photographer to show them the way. These screen shots, taken from a TV video of the first tank entering Firdos Square, show the photographer, Jan Grarup, on the tank’s turret.Correction: ...  (Read more)
  • The Weightlifter at the Statue
    For the BBC’s story on weightlifter Khadim al-Jubouri, click here.
  • Asking for a Rescue
    Seamus Conlan, a photographer at the Palestine Hotel, asked American troops to come to the rescue of journalists there. Click here for his account of that day. I had been pleading with every American soldier I encountered in the chaos in the surrounding streets to come and protect the international ...  (Read more)
  • Sky News on Marines Entering Firdos
  • ‘Control Room’ On Firdos Square
    The documentary “Control Room” featured several Al Jazeera journalists who said the toppling was planned in advance by the U.S. military, to the extent that people were brought to the square to participate in the event. Click here to view that scene from “Control Room.”