By: Emily Vaughan
This week we will be reviewing coverage in major newspapers related to the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.
Today, The New York Times looks into one of the most controversial decisions of the war that critics argue laid the grounds for the violent insurgency. Michael R. Gordon reports on a May 22, 2003 meeting where President Bush endorsed a plan outlined by the special envoy to Iraq and presented in a video by L. Paul Bremer III issuing a formal order to dismantle the Iraqi army. This decision was made without input from many within the government at the time including Secretary of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, the National
Security Adviser at the time.
The McClatchy Washington Bureau reports on terrible living conditions in Iraq. Hannah Allam reports anger that five years after the U.S.-led
invasion, basic amenities like electricity, food rations, trash collection,
and clean water are still scare in the country, and for many the quality of life has declined as necessities become harder to find and more expensive to buy. Iraqis express doubt that 2008 really will be ?the year of services? as the Iraqi government has promised.
It has been widely reported that the 2007 surge has lowered violence in Iraq, but the Boston Globe questions where to go next and what will happen after American troops leave the country. Charles M. Sennott reports on action toward political reconciliation, what Gen. David Petraeus says has ?a long way to go.? At a meeting at Reconciliation Hall in Baghdad both Sunni and Shi?ite tribal leaders said that the relative calm achieved by the surge would not outlive American withdrawal.
The Los Angeles Times put together a feature showing their front pages during the Iraq invasion in 2003, from the first headline ?U.S. Attacks Iraq,? to the May 2, 2003 headline ?Bush Hails Victory in Iraq.? They also created a photo gallery of images from the first month of war in 2003 including shots of Baghdad under siege in late March, celebrations of Saddam Hussein?s fall, and dead and injured Iraqis and soldiers and in April.
Steve Mufson writes an opinion piece for The Washington Post about the connection between oil and the invasion of Iraq. He discusses the various theories and accusations by people who suspect an oil conspiracy at the center of the invasion, including President Bush?s predisposition toward Halliburton. Ultimately, evidence shows that oil was an important factor of the war, but has not played out in the way the Bush administration planned or wanted, Mufson says.
USA Today reports that the 4,000th American death is drawing near. The 1,000th death came in September 2004, the 2,000th on the verge of the Iraqi elections in October 2005, and 3,000th at the end of 2006. The article warns that the 4,000th death could inject Iraq back into political conversation. USA Today also reports on Vice President Dick Cheney?s visit to Iraq to mark the five-year anniversary, and warned against the danger large troop withdrawals could cause by jeopardizing security.
E&P Editor Greg Mitchell’s new book, the first probe of five years of the year, is titled “So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits — and the President — Failed on Iraq.” To learn more or order, go to blog