Two contrasting reminders of the beginning of the Iraq War surfaced this week.
First, John Bolton, one of the architects of the Iraq invasion, who relentlessly pushed rumors of weapons of mass destruction and ushered in a new era of destruction, was appointed President Trump’s latest national security advisor.
Second, The New York Times announced it would resurrect its popular blog At War to commemorate the 15 years that have passed since the United States invaded the country in 2003.
The blog was launched in 2008, following the troop surge in Iraq. It was originally called Baghdad Bureau and quickly became a chorus of voices from the war. As the U.S. turned attention from Iraq to Afghanistan, the blog was renamed to encompass a wider scope.
Lara Takenaga states in a post introducing the new iteration of At War: Baghdad Bureau began as an experimental multimedia platform for the voices of Iraqis — a deliberate contrast to the drumbeat of print headlines blaring death tolls — and a place where correspondents could empty their overflowing notebooks.”
As the blog widened its view, stories from Marines, veterans' parents and social workers were featured.
“As the golden age of blogs waned, At War persisted, becoming one of The Times’s most enduring, active and robust digital endeavors,” Takenaga writes.
“At War” continued until 2016, when it quietly went dormant.
With the new iteration, which is now a part of The New York Times Magazine, Lauren Katzenberg, a cofounder of the military blog Task & Purpose will become At War's first dedicated editor. She will supervise C.J. Chivers, John Ismay and Thomas Gibbons-Neff; all wrote for the original blog, Takenaga notes.
The first essay titled “15 Years Ago, I Helped Start a War That Hasn’t Ended” was published this week and is written by a veteran Marine lieutenant looking back at the invasion in March 2003.
At War anticipates publishing two to three articles a week, with some appearing in The New York Times Magazine and a dedicated newsletter to appear soon.