In the early part of this century, I wrote a more or less weekly column for Newsweek Online under the rubric "Shadowland." Some of those are still available in the Newsweek archives, but others have to be excavated from old hard drives. And some appear to be lost forever. This draft from an aging drive was for Shadowland 149, raising themes I would come back to frequently over the years.
Book Burning in Baghdad
Al-Mutanabi [also spelled Al-Mutanabbi] was the booksellers’ street. I’d gone there a few times when Saddam Hussein was still in power and it seemed a sad, secretive, paranoid place. But I went there as often as I could in 2003 and 2004, after the American-led invasion that toppled the tyrant, because I thought I could find the spirit of freedom and liberty that our troops were supposed to have brought with them.
Yeah, we got three hundred thousand before they conquered us.
They died of Southern fever and Southern steel and shot,
But I wish they was three million instead of what we got.