BBC correspondents join forces for book on Iraq war

Journalists at BBC News have written a book of essays analysing the crisis and eventual war in Iraq.

The Battle For Iraq: BBC News Correspondents on the War Against Saddam and a New World Agenda, is a collection of contributions from 19 of the corporation’s high-profile journalists who reported from Iraq in the run-up to the conflict and during the war itself. They include Africa correspondent Rageh Omaar, diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall, world affairs correspondents Fergal Keane and Allan Little, and world affairs editor John Simpson.

Journalists attached to the British and US armed forces, such as Clive Myrie, Gavin Hewitt, Adam Mynott, Ben Brown and David Willis, also contributed their front line stories.

The effects of the war on the career of Tony Blair are examined by Newsnight political editor Martha Kearney; BBC economics editor Evan Davis looks at the impact on the global economy, and Europe correspondent Stephen Sackur analyses the fate of the United Nations in the wake of the conflict.

A foreword written by Richard Sambrook, director of BBC News, outlines the challenges the corporation faced as it covered “the first 24-hour TV war”.

“It was the most reported war in history, with nearly 1,000 journalists ’embedded’ with the armed forces and twice as many working independently in Kuwait, Qatar, Northern Iraq and Baghdad. By any standards, the war was a remarkable military achievement. But it was also controversial, dividing Europe, the United Nations and world opinion… Yet for US President George Bush and Tony Blair the threat of weapons of mass destruction and the history of repression in Iraq provided a moral case for military action. The question for the BBC was not simply how to cover the fighting in Iraq, but also how to reflect the range of opinion about the conflict in a fair and objective way. With strong feelings and divided views, that could never be straightforward.”

The book is published on 12 June by BBC Worldwide, priced £7.99

By Wale Azeez

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