Peter Maass, The Toppling

January 02, 2011  |  permalink

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 told to wait until an embedded crew from Fox TV arrived. Click here to read an account of this from Jason Conroy, who wrote about it in his memoir, “Heavy Metal: A Tank Company’s Battle to Baghdad.” An amateur video of that toppling has been posted on youtube.


January 02, 2011  |  permalink

The Front Pages

If you want to see a selection of front pages the day after the toppling, click here.


January 02, 2011  |  permalink

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.


January 02, 2011  |  permalink

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 shows James Gandolfini, who during a visit to U.S. troops stood next to a toppled head of Saddam Hussein (not the head from Firdos Square, though).


January 02, 2011  |  permalink

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 her introduction of Lt. Col. Bryan McCoy to the Palestine manager. Click here for the story.


January 02, 2011  |  permalink

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: The photographer was Markus Matzel, a German.


January 02, 2011  |  permalink

The Weightlifter at the Statue


For the BBC’s story on weightlifter Khadim al-Jubouri, click here.


January 02, 2011  |  permalink

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 media at the hotel. We figured it was the least they could do after killing three of us the day before. I was sure that today was going to be the day that we got killed by Saddam’s enraged and retreating militiamen . . . So I’d sounded desperate when talking to the U.S. soldiers down the road, pretending to joke around: “You guy have to get to the Palestine tonight before we are raped and shot, and I don’t know in which order.” A U.S. Marines officer assured me that every journalist in Baghdad was telling him the same thing. I asked if he was doing anything about it. “Yes sir, I have made a phone call every time,” he said.


January 02, 2011  |  permalink

Sky News on Marines Entering Firdos


January 02, 2011  |  permalink

‘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.”



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About The Toppling by Peter Maass

On April 9, 2003, American Marines toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein at Firdos Square in Baghdad. Broadcast across the world, the event symbolized what was thought to be an American victory in Iraq. My reconstruction, written with support from ProPublica and the Shorenstein Center, was published in The New Yorker. This section contains documents, photos, videos and links related to the story.


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