What We Know about Iraq

New York Times editorial: "Watching Iraq" (3/23/03):

What most of us know of Iraq we know from just the kind of television we are watching now. It's a nation seen over the correspondent's shoulder, or through the windshield of a fighting vehicle moving into a beige void. But in a way, America knows a great deal about Iraq. We actually know every inch of the country. United Nations inspectors have explored it in the ways that interest us most. Surveillance satellites are constantly watching overhead. We've been making fixed-wing surveillance flights since before the first gulf war. Perhaps in some declassified future, those photographs will serve the same purpose as the aerial photos the Luftwaffe took of England in the late summer of 1940. Now, they provide a clear snapshot of the country as it was, an archeological benchmark against which to measure all future change.

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