When All The Lines Disappear

Before a war starts, the boundaries seem clear. Then things get complicated

A televised satellite photo: Iraq from space. The image is maplike and abstract, with S curves for rivers, blurry grids for cities and no sign of people, although we know they're down there. In the next shot familiar forms emerge, accompanied by a sense of depth and volume. According to the retired American general hired by the network to interpret the war, those shoe-box-shaped structures are enemy barracks and that dark broken line is a convoy of armored vehicles closing in on Baghdad from the south. Now move even closer: an empty airport runway, a damaged tank and there, along the...

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