CBS News’ Dick Meyer reflects on watching history unfold on live television. Such a moment came today:

The whole world watched today as Iraqis and American Marines lynched and toppled the most prominent of Baghdad̢۪s many giant Saddam Hussein statues.

It symbolized so much. The Iraqis couldn̢۪t do it by themselves; they needed help from foreign troops and their machines. The Giant Saddam didn̢۪t fall down all at once. And there was fighting just a few miles away.

But the live televised fall of that massive statue will be The Image.

It may not yet be entirely clear whether The Image marked the fall of Baghdad, the vanquishing of Saddam or something far more complicated.

It doesn̢۪t much matter. It is indelible.

There may be much more fighting ahead. Saddam may join the ranks of Osama bin Laden and Eric Rudolph as an uncatchable villain. Or it could all be over by the weekend.

The next phase of Iraqi history may be a prolonged foreign occupation marked by terrorism and violence. Or it may be the beginning of Iraq̢۪s transition into being an open society, an inspiration to other Arab countries.

Whatever the eventual outcome, today̢۪s image is indelible.

Already The Image means different things to different people. Of course it does. Every viewer, from every place, has a unique perspective. And the thing about most people̢۪s perspectives on the news and history is that they think they are objective. None are.

Indeed. I was at the office all day so didn’t see this unfold live. All I know is that Chirac and those who actively opposed this war are looking sillier by the moment.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Lemon says:

    “Indelible.” What a cool word. I just wish I had half the brain right now to figure out what that means.

  2. John Lemon says:

    P.S. To put that last quote in context, John Lemon may have been doing a bit of VodkaPundit, but without the punditry part.