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.

  • Fox News Coverage of the Statue Falling
    Here’s a two-minute clip of Fox’s coverage of the statue being torn down.
  • The Psychological Operations Myth
    In 2004 the Army published a report that credited a psychological operations team with playing a crucial role at Firdos Square. A  ...  (Read more)
  • The Grenade Picture
    From my story… McCoy, who has written a monograph on military leadership, “The Passion of Command,” understood the importance of the media. That was one reason he had agreed to let me and ten other unilateral journalists follow his battalion, which already had four embedded journalists. ...  (Read more)
  • The Map for Invading Baghdad
    The final assault into central Baghdad was planned in a surprisingly ad-hoc manner. I had thought it would have been prepared in depth, with lots of intelligence and surveillance on hand, but instead it was devised on the outskirts of Baghdad, at the Diyala canal, by two majors, John Schaar and ...  (Read more)
  • Journalists Outside the Frame
    The hundreds of journalists at Firdos Square were rarely shown on TV or in photos; their influence on the toppling was obscured. But a Marine who was at Firdos shared with me a series of photos that show the journalist-saturated scene around the statue. The first two photos in the set show the ...  ...
  • Academic Studies of the Firdos Toppling
    There are a number of interesting media studies about the toppling at Firdos Square. The best was done by a George Washington University team led by professor Sean Aday; entitled “As Goes the Statue, So Goes the War: The Emergence of the Victory Frame in Television Coverage of the Iraq War,” ...  (Read more)
  • My Other Stories About the Third Battalion
    The military unit that toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein at Firdos Square was the Third Battalion Fourth Marines, based at Twentynine Palms, California and led by Lt. Col. Bryan McCoy (who is now a full colonel, based in Tampa with Central Command). During the invasion I was what the military called ...  (Read more)
  • ProPublica Video About the Toppling
    My story about the toppling was helped along by two generous and wonderful non-profit institutions. Most of the research was conducted while I was a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein ...  (Read more)
  • The Passion of Command
    Col. Bryan McCoy, who commanded the battalion that toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, has written a fine book about military leadership. It’s called Passion of Command: The Moral Imperative of Leadership, and it has a lot of admirers in the military community.
  • The Toppling
    On April 9, 2003, Lieutenant Colonel Bryan McCoy, commander of the 3rd Battalion 4th Marines, awoke at a military base captured from the Iraqis a few miles from the center of Baghdad, which was still held by the enemy. It had been twenty days since the invasion of Iraq began, and McCoy had some personal ...