Benjamin Lowy

EDITORIAL: IRAQ: Iraq: Before, During, After

The Second Gulf War against Saddam Hussein's Iraq was brief, violent, and possibly the most heavily documented conflict in the history of mankind. After the initial Coalition assault, and a relatively peaceful transitional period, a near-constant succession of bombings unleashed an underlying wave of Iraqi resentment. Public ire with the stalled reconstruction process,incessant late-night Army raids, radical Muslim leaders and terrorist groups have all fueled the fire of sectarian violence. These images are from numerous trips from the start of the war up through 2007. Iraq was my first war, and some of my first work as a professional photojournalist. And I continue to go back; to the conflict, the people, and to the puzzle of occupation and reconstruction.

I was there at the beginning, and I will be there until the end. I only want to show the life and heart that exist around the suicide bombings and roadside deaths, and between the fanatics and soldiers.

Baghdad, as seen from the roof of the Ishtar Sheraton Hotel.
A US soldier, using a gun-mounted infrared targeting laser, marks a landing zone for incoming troop transport helicopters. The soldiers had successfully carried out an air assault, raiding over 30 targeted areas in a large rural area near Iskanderiyah.
While under fire, US soldiers scale a crumbling brick wall during an assault in Najaf.
Immediately following a grenade attack on their commander's tent, soldiers of the 101st Airborne carry away one of the wounded from the scene. The attack was carried out by Sergeant Hasan Akbar of the 326th Engineer Battalion injured 14 soldiers and killed 2.
Wailing members of the Al Musawi family exhume the body of Sayid Abdel Sattar from a numbered grave in a cemetery for executed politcal prisoners near Abu Garib prison.
An Iraqi boy rides a donkey with a bundle of produce near the wreckage of an Iraqi militia vehicle destroyed during a battle with US-led coalition forces, in Wadi al-Salam, or the Valley of Peace, the world's largest cemetery.
An Iraqi man launches himself off a lamppost on the Al Shuhada Bridge and into the Tigris River on a hot Baghdad night.
Left: Iraqi Shia women watch as the male faithful flagellate themselves during a massive pilgrimage to Karbala. After the fall of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Shia made a mass pilgrimage to the holy city of Karbala for the first time in 25 years.Right: An Iraqi man pleads for his freedom as he is restrained following his arrest on a rural road recently secured by soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division.
American soldiers with the 1-22 Infantry Brigade of the 4th ID perform a nighttime raid on suspected Fedayeen staying in a transient hotel in Tikrit. The soldiers arrested 4 men after detaining more than 30.
A man suspected of being a Mosul-based insurgent sympathizer is arrested and secured in his courtyard by American forces. He was later released.
An injured American UN worker waits to be treated at an Iraqi hospital following a devastating bomb attack on the United Nation headquarters in Baghdad.
Iraqi Shia, mostly from Sadr City, protest in front of the Coalition headquarters after rumors spread that American forces took Shia leader Muktada Sadr prisoner in the holy city of Najaf.
After the war, more than 50 functional and fully armed Iraqi tanks remain parked in a small patch of land in a lower class neighborhood of Baghdad. With live ammunition easily available in the abandoned vehicles, playing neighborhood children have detonated a tank, fired live shells, and destroyed a home.
Iraqis in Sadr City protest in support of Anti- US cleric Muktada Sadr.
Children play in an abandoned underpass submerged under thousands of gallons of water after a water main in the Baghdad suburb of Adyhamia became the target of saboteurs.
An off-duty soldier sunbathes against orders, protected by scores of concrete blast walls in Mosul.
The unattended body of an unclaimed Iraqi boy, killed as violence and insecurity lay siege to Baghdad, lies in a Baghdad hospital morgue.
A Kurdish woman on her way to the Hadj looks out a chartered bus window following a massive car bomb explosion nearby.
Standing in the bomb-wrecked remains of a kabob restaurant at ground zero in Kadhimiya, a Shite worker reflects on the insurgent suicide attack that killed about 150 day laborers.
Resistance fighters from the Free Iraq Forces and US Special Forces destroy images of Saddam Hussein found as they occupy a government building in Baghdad.
Soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Assault Division read men's adult magazines at their makeshift barracks in Al-Kufah during the initial ground assault of the war.
Family members of Iraqis missing since the 1991 Shia uprising gather in a small gymnasium to identify and bury the bodies of their relatives. The bodies were uncovered in mass graves around every major southern cityfollowing the fall of Saddam Hussein's government.
US soldiers with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment raid an Iraqi counterfeiter in a run-down section of Sadr City, one of the poorest areas of Baghdad occupied by Shia Muslims. The troops netted over two hundred thousand fake Iraqi Dinars and arrested two men.
A blinded Iraqi man man reaches out for help as he is treated in a Baghdad hospital following a car bombing.
On the road in Baghdad.
The victims of multiple suicide bombings in Iraq are treated at Baghdad's Kadhimiya hospital. Over 152 Iraqis were killed and 542 were injured in one of the bloodiest days in Iraq.
An Iraqi man, the victim of a suicide bombing, screams out when he realizes his leg has been amputated.
A group of women cry as the mass graves of thousands of Iraqi Shias executed after the 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein are uncovered. Thousands of decomposed bodies, many of them soldiers, were exhumed to be claimed by despondent family members.
Iraqis protest near the main gate of the Green Zone in Baghdad.