A former Baghdad bureau chief for The Washington Post describes the obstacles he faced in war-torn Iraq:
When I arrived in Baghdad on April 10, 2003, the day after U.S. troops toppled Saddam Hussein’s government, I could go anywhere in relative safety, even to Fallujah and Tikrit. No guards. No flak jackets. No convoys. I could talk to almost anyone, even former Baathists. I scrawled “PRESS” on the side of my car and told everyone I met that I worked for the Washington Post. The inevitable response was a smile and a conversation. After decades of repression, everyone wanted to tell their stories.
During the following months, as insurgent attacks became more frequent, the carefree attitude gave way to a growing wariness. At the time, I was less worried about kidnapping than I was about getting caught in crossfire or being mistaken for a private American defense contractor. I convinced my bosses to buy me a $90,000 armored Jeep Cherokee, which I promptly took to Baghdad’s Sadr City slum. Sixty dollars later, the shiny silver paint was sandblasted off and taxi decals were affixed to the sides.
Read more from Rajiv Chandrasekaran here. Or, check out an excerpt from his book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone, here. Finally, if you want to see him speak in person, get the info here.