#274: Twenty Years of War
On March 20, 2003, the United States invaded Iraq, and shortly thereafter, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad became an accidental journalist. Originally trained as an architect, he fell in as a translator with a group of foreign journalists, then as a photographer and war reporter for The Guardian and The Washington Post. In his new book, A Stranger in Your Own City, Abdul-Ahad documents the devastation of Baghdad, from the sanctions of the 1990s to the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s fall. Punctuating his account are revealing interviews with his fellow Iraqis—Sunni commanders, schoolteachers, old high school friends, insurgents of every stripe—about the war and its effects, which continue to shape life in the region years after the American withdrawal.
Go beyond the episode:
- Ghaith Abdul-Ahad’s A Stranger in Your Own City: Travels in the Middle East’s Long War
- Read the anniversary piece Abdul-Ahad wrote for The Guardian: “Guns, cash, and frozen chicken: the militia boss doling out aid in Baghdad”
- Roughly 2,500 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, twenty years after the invasion
- Some of Abdul-Ahad’s illustrations from the book
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