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September 1, 2010

As We Segue Away: The Three Top Images of the Iraq War

Obtained by A.P. - 2003
Obtained by A.P. - 2003
Goran Tomasevic / Reuters. April 9, 2003
Goran Tomasevic / Reuters. April 9, 2003
Chris Hondros/Getty Images - Tal Afar 2005
Chris Hondros/Getty Images - Tal Afar 2005

Between the NYT and the MSNBC slideshows featuring key images of the war, neither offers the prisoner on the box at Abu Ghraib, the signature photo of one of the most misbegotten episodes in American history. Not sure why that is. Could it have anything to do with the shame, and/or the fact the Administration banished the larger set of photos from Abu Ghraib?

The NYT has the incredibly photo by Chris Hondros of the young girl at a checkpoint right after her parents were killed by U.S. forces, but they don’t have the (staged) photo of the statue of Saddam Hussein coming down in Firdos Square. MSNBC has Firdos, but they don’t have the image of the girl from the checkpoint.

I can’t take all that much credit for this grouping, though, as BagReaders pretty much had the list down back in July 2006 in response to a prediction that the U.S. contractors hanging from the bridge in Fallujah would emerge as the war’s defining shot.

What energizes these photo as well as binds them together now that Obama has officially put us on a “post-war” war footing?  It’s our culpability.

  • Ron

    The blood on her clothing at first glance looked like roses to me and she is crying her parent’s blood. What a horrible image. She is still screaming. Is healing even possible at this point?

  • lytom

    So, now Obama speech puts it all behind US… As said, “time to turn the page,” in addition to consulting with bush was a high point of Obama speech. Worthless speech, full of nothing.
    So let US turn now to economy issue… wow… how about miners in Chile, that should occupy msm and its readers for a while… oh I forgot time to move away hurricane Earl… filling pages…

  • black dog barking

    Most of the images in the MSNBC slide show deal with pain, from the relatively mild ache of separation shown by the soldier with his letter from home to the off-the-scale pain in the faces of children who watched a parent get killed. The bullshit pictures — Jessica Lynch, the toppled statue, and the small man crowing Mission Accomplished do not belong in the same space.

    For all the pain and degradation the Hooded Man must feel, I’d choose his pain over that of those children that watched a parent die violently.

    And I still think the color guard image best captures what the Iraq War on Terror Campaign means to most Americans.

  • thomas

    Also missing from the slideshows: any shots of the millions of people that took to the streets all over the world to protest both before the invasion and well after. This was an extraordinarily unpopular war started by an extraordinarily unpopular president. The selection of photos from the theater of war show the uncontrollable and monstrous aspects of war once it is underway, and the massive complications it leaves in its wake, but NYTimes and MSNBC have completely excised from the story the near-global protests against the Bush administration and the near-global rejection of the idea of preemptive war. There were people in the streets from Omaha Nebraska to Madrid, for Christ’s sake. And every government that joined the Coalition of the Willing was eventually punished for it by their own people. You sure wouldn’t know it from these slideshows. Though to be fair, it is difficult to imagine an iconic photo that says “none of this should have happened.”

  • g

    The photo of the child is heartbreaking. It struck me when it was first published and I’ll never forget it.

    the other photo of the war that stays with me is the photo of Ali Abbas, the child whose arms were burned off by bombs targeting the wrong place.

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