In June, The Observer talked to a number of reporters who’d spent time covering the war in Iraq. While some of their anecdotes sketched out what it’s like to be in a dangerous reporting environment—the mortar attacks, the sandstorms, the numbing repetitiveness of a seemingly endless conflict—nothing in that article could prepare readers for the unflinching account of the war offered by New York Times‘ reporter Dexter Filkins in his book, The Forever War, which The Times Magazine excerpted this week.
Here’s how Mr. Filkins’ describes reporting from Baghdad for The Times: “When I was in Iraq, I might as well have been circling the earth from a space capsule, circling in farthest orbit. Like Laika in Sputnik. A dog in space. Sending signals back to base, unmoored and weightless and no longer marking time.”
There’s so much in the story to make a Sunday Times reader let his or her coffee go cold, but nothing so chilling as Mr. Filkins’ minute-by-minute account of a marine getting shot as he and his photographer, Ashley Gilbertson, attempt to report on and photograph some killed Iraqis. After the shooting, Mr. Filkins concludes: