December 21, 2009

Best of the Bag Decade: BAG Looks at the Iraq War

(The Best of the Bag Decade is our end of the year, end of the decade look at some of the best BAGnews posts and analysis.)

The Iraq War has been (and still is) a frequent subject on
BAGnews and, frankly, such a topic of government and media spin that I find it
impossible to highlight the best posts in a single entry.  This is particularly true when I read through
the sharp analytic comments posted by our readership over the years.  To encapsulate the coverage, I’ve restricted
myself to the year and a half following the 2004 election, a time when the Bag moved to consistent posting of photographs instead of political cartoons.  It was also a time in which the war
propaganda machine played at full power to a usually compliant media. 

We begin with the 2005 White House photo release of a 2003 image showing staged strategery
of the Bush Administration's “war planning” in Pizza II,

BOB strategery 1.

pro-war iconography of the Iraq “Marlboro
, and propaganda aspects of Michael Yon’s
of a US soldier and a dying Iraqi child.

BOB War icon 2., 3.

aftermath of the election saw further examples of the government and media spin
on Abu Ghraib, noted in BAG’s The Most
Obscene Pictures Taken at Abu Ghraib
and the “framing” of low-level
soldiers in Lynndie Comes
Up Short


post-US election time period also marked the first
photograph by Alan Chin
posted on the site (which brought about a fascinating discussion of the embed process) and the posting of the equally
uncomfortable imagery of War As Child's

BOB IRAQI1 6., 7.

BAG posts covered the capture and trial of Saddam Hussein
and the media (read Murdoch's) need to denigrate and glamorize the Iraqi dictator in Bottom Drawer
and Portrait of
Evil vs. Evil Portrait

BOB Sadaam 8., 9.

BAG readers took a sharp look at the military industrial complex’s visual
stake with Unleashing
Hell, Ironically
and Flare for the

BOB Irony 10, 11.

course, BAG caught the unintentional tragicomedy of the Bush Administration’s ready
at the helm images in I know These
Guys Love Uniforms, But…
and  Bush's Rainbow

BOB comedy 12, 13.

Finally, we end this era of BAG Iraq War coverage with the
haunting and emotional World Press Photo contest award winner Above the Hold,
a photo taken in a time when the American public rarely saw coffins returning
from the war they supported.  

BOB war dead 14.

–Karen Hull

For more BAG posts on
the Iraq war (before and after the 2004 election), click on the following

Uniform Response

Bush's Crusade

Your House Is My House

Who's Watching Who?

For the first in our
series, Best Bag Posts of the Decade, click here.

credits: 1. Eric Draper, White House/AP, 2. Luis Sinco/LA Times, 3. Michael
Yon/, 4. Unattributed. September 2003, 5.
Paul Buck/European Pressphoto
6. Alan
Chin/The New York Times, 7. Cris Bouroncle/AFP, 8., 9.
. The
Council on American-Islamic Relations, 11.
Corps Combat Camera Management and Imagery Management Unit/United States
Department of Defense, 12. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP, 13. Gerald Herbert/AP,
14. Todd Heisler/The Rocky Mountain News/Polaris,

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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