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Baghdad Bulletin

Dispatches on the American Occupation

David Enders

Publication Year: 2009

David Enders has a stunning independent streak and the courage to trust his own perceptions as he reports from outside the bubble Americans have created for themselves in Iraq. ---Joe Sacco, author of Safe Area Gorazde "Baghdad Bulletin takes us where mainstream news accounts do not go. Disrupting the easy clichés that dominate U.S. journalism, Enders blows away the media fog of war. The result is a book that challenges Americans to see through double speak and reconsider the warfare being conducted in their names." ---Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death "Journalism at its finest and on a shoestring to boot. David Enders shows that courage and honesty can outshine big-budget mainstream media. Wry but self-critical, Baghdad Bulletin tells a story that a few of us experienced but every journalist, nay every citizen, should read." ---Pratap Chatterjee, Managing Editor and Project Director, CorpWatch "Young and tenacious, Dave Enders went, saw, and wrote it down. Here it is-a well-informed and detailed tale of Iraq's decline under American rule. Baghdad Bulletin offers tragic politics, wacky people, and keen insights about what really matters on the ground in Iraq." ---Christian Parenti "I wrote my first piece for Baghdad Bulletin after visiting the mass graves at Al-Hilla in 2003. The Baghdad Bulletin was essential reading in the first few months after the end of the war. I handed that particular copy to Prime Minister Tony Blair. I am only sorry that I cannot read it anymore. David Enders and his team were brave, enterprising, and idealistic." ---Rt. Hon. Ann Clwyd, member of the British Parliament Baghdad Bulletin is a street-level account of the war and turbulent postwar period as seen through the eyes of the young independent journalist David Enders. The book recounts Enders's story of his decision to go to Iraq, where he opened the only English-language newspaper completely written, printed, and distributed there during the war. Young, courageous, and anti-authoritarian, Enders is the first reporter to cover the war as experienced by ordinary Iraqis. Deprived of the press credentials that gave his embedded colleagues access to press conferences and officially sanitized information, Enders tells the story of a different war, outside the Green Zone. It is a story in which the struggle of everyday life is interspersed with moments of sheer terror and bizarre absurdity: wired American troops train their guns on terrified civilians; Iraqi musicians prepare a recital for Coalition officials who never show; traveling clowns wreak havoc in a Baghdad police station. Orphans and intellectuals, activists and insurgents: Baghdad Bulletin depicts the unseen complexity of Iraqi society and gives us a powerful glimpse of a new kind of warfare, one that coexists with-and sometimes tragically veers into-the everyday rhythms of life.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

In February 2003 I left the University of Michigan to spend my ‹nal semester at the American University of Beirut. I went to Beirut for various reasons, including a desire to locate distant relations (my maternal grandparents are first-generation Lebanese immigrants). I also....

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-

These people, in no particular order, helped me maintain my sanity (and safety) as I lived and wrote this book. Shukran. Mom, Dad, Therese, Stephen, Uncle Larry, Alaa Kamel, Ralph Hassall, Mark Gordon-James, Kathleen McCaul, Catherine Arnold, Seb Walker, Kareem Omer, Rosie Garthwaite, James Brandon, Ali Hamid...

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Prologue

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pp. 1-9

BAGHDAD—A country devastated by war and occupied by U.S. and British troops may seem the least promising place to open an English- language paper, but as the first edition of the Baghdad Bulletin hit the streets Monday its owner-editors were confident of success. The bi-monthly news...

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May 2003

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pp. 10-23

The sun is coming up over the desert, bouncing light off the cars lined up at the border. We’re near the head of the line. Our driver knew the shortcut through Jordan, and we spent last night flying through the desert on a rolling road past the American bases that King Abdullah...

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June 2003

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pp. 24-37

The night before the first issue of the Bulletin is set to print, Mark, Ralph, and I break down. The last month has been the most absurd of my life. The day after Jerry and I came into Baghdad, Mark and Ralph followed, driving the car that Ralph and I had bought...

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July 2003

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pp. 38-50

Sitting in the lounge of Baghdad’s Palestine hotel last week, in the company of six veteran war correspondents, the 24-year-old novice reporter Richard Wild was understandably overawed. “He seemed quite quiet,” recalls Jason...

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August 2003

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pp. 51-65

Despite reassuring platitudes delivered with the studied certainty of the professional spin doctor, nobody believes the Coalition Provisional Authority’s claims that the security situation is getting better; least of all the U.N. U.N. security in...

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September 2003

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pp. 66-76

The people who have walked for three days from Baghdad to Najaf for Ayatollah Mohamed Bakr Al-Hakim’s funeral are finally arriving. The procession numbers in the tens of thousands. The ayatollah was blown up by a massive car bomb while leaving Friday prayers here...

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November 2003

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pp. 77-89

This is it. Last night in Grand Rapids before I go back. I hate good-byes. I went to a party a few nights ago and ended up in front of the house with a girl I knew from high school and a Vietnam vet. He talked about his war, about the killings he saw, about My Lai and the others...

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December 2003

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pp. 90-115

Today is Jesus Suarez’s son Eric’s second birthday. Eric’s grandfather Fernando Suarez del Solar will mark the day by visiting the place where Jesus, a U.S. marine, was killed on March 27 after stepping on a modified bomb, an American DPICM (Dual Purpose Improved Conventional...

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January 2004

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pp. 116-132

It’s three A.M., and Paola and I have been working late, finishing a translation of her report on the claims system. But to prove how safe this place has become, I decide to make the tenminute walk home on my own. Rory and I have been staying out late just because we hate having...

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April 2004

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pp. 133-145

I’ve spent the last couple months in Washington, D.C., trying to take a break from the war zone by freelancing on Capitol Hill. I told my parents I was looking for jobs stateside, but eventually I picked up a couple of freelance assignments in Iraq and got an offer to finish this book. I guess...

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May 2004

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pp. 146-168

I’ve decided to make my ‹rst trip out of Baghdad since returning to Iraq. While waiting at the checkpoint into the city, we met a family who had left during the ‹ghting three weeks ago. They’ve agreed to allow us to follow them to their house. We were duly invited for tea, then lunch...

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June 2004

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pp. 169-175

I’ve come downstairs to make a grocery run this morning and found Dahr in the lobby doing yet another interview on torture. The subject is a middle-aged woman from Baquba who claims to have witnessed some of the worst abuse, including rape. The woman has brought...

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Postscript

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pp. 176-179

For most of the week we’ve been waiting to hear what happened to Tarek, a crazy Canadian-born Palestinian med-student acquaintance who came out here to work in a hospital. When fighting broke out in Faluja on the morning of June 24, Tarek was on a bus from Baghdad...


E-ISBN-13: 9780472023578
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472031696

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2009