March 21st, 2008
06:11 PM ET

AC360 Special: SHOCK & AWE – 5 YEARS LATER


This weekend, make sure to watch the AC 360 Special SHOCK & AWE: 5 Years Later.  

CNN's award-winning reporters take an intriguing look back to the start of the Iraq war and where it stands after five years. 
Saturday & Sunday
11PM ET 
Don't miss it!

Filed under: Iraq
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Paris

    God bless our troops.
    Gold bless America.
    War is brutal and dark and ugly, no denying that.
    But just like our founding fathers we must standup for what is right and not just retreat.
    We are in the process of transforming a nation that takes time and patience.
    Freedom and the responsibility that comes with it is something that you must learn and that happens over time.
    That is why we are still in Iraq. I am honored that our troops are taking part in such great cause.

    March 24, 2008 at 12:46 pm |
  2. jimmy velman

    A poignant picture of a wife lying face down on the grave of her fallen husband who died with 4000 others in this senseless Iraq war.
    Amercians want to end this war but are powerless for the rest of this year. America will never again go to war without a clear definition
    and facts on why the country should go to war. Granted, we cannot
    let terrorists threaten our National Security and war on Terrorism must be conducted worldwide. But China and Russia are not doing enough to help fight the war on terror.. Thank GOD for NATO and Interpol.

    March 24, 2008 at 11:52 am |
  3. Ram

    It is the dumbest thing to go & fight an uncalled war, kill innocent people and military men, award decorations & the recipients very proud of it. Work for world peace & enhancements of people. Be smart to elect good & smart people.

    March 24, 2008 at 10:48 am |
  4. Медведев

    I think what we have learned is that War Is Not the Answer! We have lost our 4000th soldier today (3/22/08). What have we lost in these wars we have been in? Money, lives, trust in our government? How many nations choose not to go to war either now, or those who never have? We are an evolved species and don't need to resort to primitive and destructive behavior which ends in the violence such as war. Let this five-year struggle be a lesson for us all and hope we never make this mistake again.

    March 24, 2008 at 1:43 am |
  5. Jeremy, LA

    I just think that it's unfortunate that we could be well on our way to becoming independent of middle east oil for a fraction of what is being spent on the war. The technology is out there. Other people are doing it (South America), why can't we? I witnessed my employer erect a chemical manufacturing facility in a few years with less than a 100MM. I can't even imagine what we could construct with the billions being spent on the war. Let's bring our men and women home to protect our borders and spend our hard earned tax dollars on our own soil, on something that will really make our lives and the lives of our children better.

    March 24, 2008 at 12:20 am |
  6. Olatunde Ekundayo

    That Zarqawi looked too comfortable and well fed in that video. Osama looked worse in his second most recent video. Was he wearing orange or yellow? He looked malnourished and ill,I remember that face, it looked like he was dying. Zarqawi looks healthy and he had a peaceful, calm, happy look on his face. It's probably nothing.

    March 24, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  7. Olatunde Ekundayo

    Everybody knows about war and everything else that comes with war. There so many examples in history. How are these people able to video-tape marines being killed and post it on the internet? I saw them kill a british helicopter pilot on camera. I remember he wore blue. The first time I saw this footage I did not fully comprehend the seriousness of what I was watching. The guy survived a helicopter crash only to be shot to death by some iraqi guy with a long beard and he had on glasses. The person video taping the murder also showed the burned body parts of those who did not survive the helicopter crash. How are these people able to get someone to put their videos on the internet? The site used to be called ogrish.com. Now it's liveleak.com How can anyone expect that support for the war in Iraq would grow. The American people had no choice in this. The trial of Saddam Hussein is a milestone for who? What happened when Saddam Hussein killed all those Kurdish men, women, and children using chemical weapons? Was there an invasion of Iraq at that point in time? I feel like this is a valid question. The only thing I can do right now is talk. The president is not alone in this. Congress approved the war. I live in America and I don't make the rules. All those people that have lost their lives, I hope that they can truly rest in peace. This is all something I want to forget and not think about.

    March 23, 2008 at 11:51 pm |
  8. Ramesh Chugh

    I was listening to CNN news a few minutes ago and noted that 4000 american soldiers dead in 5 years war in Iraq. It is really very very sad. To give more sad truth of this war, CNN should also report the number of soldiers disabled (in legal term) in this war so that we can know as to what is real sad story of the war. Any injury resulting in legal disability of soldier is also big loss to human life and deserves media attention and reporting.

    March 23, 2008 at 11:47 pm |
  9. Olatunde Ekundayo

    Politics is a very nasty business. I have seen very graphic videos of people(marines and Iraqis) killed in Iraq. Mangled body parts and mutilated bodies. Who is going to account for all these people? How did those who beheaded Nick Berg get their video posted on the internet? This is utter chaos. Nobody is controlling anything out there.

    March 23, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  10. Lesley Barnes

    As a 20-year veteran who retired in 2004, I am concerned with the continued declaration of the number of those who have died in Iraq.

    I would ask are these the numbers of the soldiers who were killed in action only or does it also include those soldiers who died within one hour (the golden hour, as reported in military terms) of being wounded.

    In addition, does this total cover subsequent deaths of soldiers who were transported to medical facilities and eventually lose their lives due to injuries sustained while in conflict or on the battlefield?

    Unfortunately, there has often been a play on statics to make stats send the message desired by the narrator. Actually, it reminds me of the lingo that was used to get Americans and Congress to believe there was a need for us to go to Iraq in the first place.

    Something in me says that the numbers may actually be higher than we have been lead to believe because of reporting procedures. I don't have any proof of a play on stats, but believe that this is worth looking into.

    Over this past week we have been able to see that we can report one thing and then later on realize there was more to the story. Remember we are dealing with these totals because we were led to believe there were WMDs in Iraq!

    Lesley Barnes
    Atlanta, GA

    March 23, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  11. theresa denton

    I am just now watching this on AC 360 sunday night. I feel as though IF we make the grave mistake to elect Senator McCain OR Senator Clinton we are only going to see many many more years of war!! If you want what you saw in this special on the war to end, please make the only vote that can possibly save us from this war, by voting for Barack Obama for President 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 23, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  12. Barry, IL

    If we step out of party politics and think as citizens, we can clearly see the mess we are in in Iraq without political bias. Of course, invading Iraq was a mistake. But it's difficult to buy into some of both sides arguments, given the current scenario in Iraq. First, "instant" withdrawal will lead to a disaster in Iraq. Seond, "We will win this war" is also just feeding us false hope. Our brave men and women in unifoms won the conventional war back in 2003. There is no conventional war to be won now. Yes, Al Qaida has established its base in Iraq after we entered Iraq. They must be fought and defeated. But the genuine picture of the crisis is much larger than that. We are caught in between anatagonistic Iraq political groups. It's not US or other outsiders that can bring sustainable peace but Iraqis themselves. They are the only ones who can win the current internal war in Iraq. It's their war Of course, we can contribute to such endeavors by pressuring the interest groups. Most of what ensues in Iraq today internal power struggle among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. The war is their war. How can we win the war that's not even our war in the first place? Solutions to civil wars lie with citizens of the feuding interest groups in the country. As stands now, instead of organizing to arrive at a middle ground for compromise, Iraq interest groups spent most of the last 5 years organizing themselves in their enclaves for potential civil wars. All sides have effectively prepared themselves for the possible show-downs.

    And the other sad part, Taliban in Afghanistan has become the strongest ever since 2001. The crazy man is still cursing us hiding in Tora Bora mountains or wherever.

    March 23, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  13. andy

    I do believe that after 5 years the War plan is on the schedule. To understand this we have to analyze
    1-Why we went to war.
    2-What is the purpose of us being in Iraq.
    There are two sites on this story. The first is the human loss factor and the standing of the us in the world, and the second is the business factor. If we look at this issue from the "We went there to liberate the Iraqis" angle, than no, we have not reached our goal, but if we look at the real reason why we went in Iraq than we will understand that everything is going just as planed. Given the fact that The President is just a salesman that is trying to sell us the policies that favor the special interests of the companies that donated the money to place him there to begin with The President is doing a mighty fine job including the war on Iraq. I would like to analyze the situation a bit. Since the war started the stocks of companies that deal with supplying the military or "the War machine" have gone through the roof. Also the oil and gas companies have reported record gains and profits year after year. If we look closer we will see that these 2 industries have contributed tons of money to The Presidents campaign's on 2000 and 2004. So The President is doing a mighty fine job when it comes to keeping the promises and as the commander and chief in directing and managing the war. As far as the other side of the medallion the human factor The US army is celebrating the 5 year mark in the war and has only lost almost 4000 troops. Now for some this is 4000 too many but to be realistic compare that to the previous wars and you will find out that 5 years in Vietnam or for the same purpose 5 years in WW2 and the number of casualties was tens hundreds of times higher. To conclude this i would not blame the president for the war and to tell the truth I would congratulate him on his awesome job he is doing. The only one that is to blame is the American voter. They voted twice for this guy without even knowing his agenda. without knowing who supported him. They saw this "looks like the guy next door" type and voted for him. Don't blame the president blame yourself. Please don't vote without educating yourself on the issues they are telling you they stand for. If you cant than please don't vote at all. I strongly believe that voting is a privilege and not all the people are fit to vote. Don't ruin a great ,maybe the greatest country in the world with your vote if you cant tell what you or your candidate stands for. This year we got an even more important election going on. So let's see who will do the best sales presentation and win the election.

    March 23, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  14. John

    You know, at times I will watch the news and see all of this killing, bombs and other chaos going on over there, and I wonder if it is all worth it. Well, I think that it is. My brother is going to be stationed over there for a year, along with that message from my brother, he also said that what you see on the news isn't actually going on. My brother informed me that he is signing up to be over there for another 3 years and cannot wait to head over there. Another friend of mine was already stationed over there for 2 years and came back said he had a blast. He informed he that they did a ton of work while over there but it was nothing even over there like what you see on the news. The people over there are really nice, and they are glad that we are over there. He is also getting ready to go back, not that the military is making him, but that he wants to go back over there. So I am just wondering why the news has everything over there looking so differently dangerous and deadly, when in fact it is just a group or two doing random acts. For that case, we still have the same things going on over here. We, as American's should and need to take care of our country as well as help the other countries. I am proud to have friends and family over there fighting to make the world a better place for all of us. Whether the war is right or it is wrong, should not be up to one person. But why not help that country out, build thier military forces up, police forces, and then get focused back on us. This is really making me sick watching the news seeing all of these killing, rapes, bombs, and ect going on in this country. In my opinion, we as a country should instead of looking at the 5 years of being in the Middle East, why not look at America in the past 5 years and look where we have gotten. In my eye's it is almost the same picture. We as a country need to change.

    March 23, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  15. Daniel from Michigan

    I hope we can learn from the mistake of going into Iraq. May all of the people who lost their lives in this campaign, both American and Iraqi, rest in peace. We should learn from history to show us how we all let fear get the better of us.

    March 23, 2008 at 9:17 am |
  16. Art Vigil

    Under Bush we have gone from "Shock and Awe to Awe Shucks" what have we gotten into and with McCaine, we can look forward to another 95 years, 40,000 lives and over 120,000 maimed servicemen for factions he doesn't even understand and I'm sure he will want to bomb,bomb bomb Iran. I say let Bush, Cheney and McCaine go to Iraq its obvious they would rather be their president, so that we can get someone to lead our country out of the mess they have put us in.


    March 23, 2008 at 12:10 am |
  17. Maxwell

    I have been waiting for Michael Ware to write a book about Iraq which I think it will sell very well. I would like to read his book.



    March 23, 2008 at 12:03 am |
  18. Gwen of NJ

    Thanks for moving along to the real issues. The war and the economy. The next Commander in Chief is going to have an international disaster to clean up. My prayers will be with him or her. We all have to do our part to help. No time for the media focus on nonsense.

    Many of my friends and colleagues believe that if Colin Powell had been allowed to work towards peace in the Middle East, it is highly probable that 911 would not have happened. I think most folks don't think about that.

    March 22, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  19. deb in az

    i had the fortunate pleasure of meeting someone who went to iraq....a civilian worker transferred by her employer.....did she want to go ? not really.....we talked about the country and what is going on......this woman finally got to come home after being shot and almost killed.....when i asked her views and what she thought ........she told me that these people dont want us there......they want us to leave....we as americans can be told that oh the war is working, we are making progress.......the only progress that is going on is the stealing of oil......people being hurt and killed.....the iraqes need to take control of their country and we need to leave....these people have been at war forever and will continue to be at war when we leave.... if george bush wants to protect his oil interests in iraq , he needs to hire some people that are willing to do that for him.....i am tired of him putting american lives in harms way........geroge bush and sadam have about the same regard for human life.......

    March 22, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  20. Darryl Hall

    See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both amoung yourselves, and to all men. 1Thessalonians 5: 15

    March 22, 2008 at 10:56 am |
  21. Barry, IL

    I do not think it's rational to compare the current situation in Iraq with that of Germany and Japan, not even South Korea. Iraq is a whole different kind of ball-game. Japan and Germany, after the war was won, did not suffer from internal political crisis like Iraq of today. The source of the problem was by and large about dominating the rest of the world than internal political crisis that could easily brew into civil wars. Once the war was won, winning the peace was much easier there.

    Iraq's biggest problem is the lack of internal cohesion. Iraq is formed as a unity of unequals. Sunnis dominated and dictated the politics of the land for decades. Shiites and kurds suffered under Sunnis dictatorship. The BIGGEST change USA and others intervention brought about in the last 5 years is empowering Kurds and Shiites. Shiites and Kurds have empowered themselves, both militarily and grass-root level organizations, more than ever before. The two groups utilized US and others presence in Iraq very effectively to their advantage. Thus, unless there is some middle ground political solution, all the three sides have enough power to fight it out in civil wars. No group can have sustained domination over others any more. Our involvement in Iraq has changed the power balance for good.
    Thus, if US forces withdraw before political compromise is reached among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, Iraq will be back to 1980s. Maybe even much worse. It will be Iraq-Iran war once again-war by poxy. Iran will stand by and empower Shiites. Syria and other Sunni Arabs (+ Al Qaida) will support Sunnis. Sunni-Shiite war once again. Turkey will enter to control the Kurds and Kurds will fight back. No matter how long US continues the expensive war in Iraq, there will be no end to potential civil wars unless the three groups, Sunnis, Shiites, and Kuds, effectvely work out sustainable politcal unity. If this is not the case, we will be caught in between power struggles, worse slowly burning civil wars.

    March 22, 2008 at 10:49 am |
  22. Peter Holmes (London)

    A good, brave piece of journalism. It could well – and, maybe, should – have been twice as long.

    March 22, 2008 at 9:58 am |
  23. dr james aubrey

    we won the war.. easily. anybody want to dispute that?
    if youll remember, the president offerred sadam a chance to leave with his family and billions of hidden money.

    nobody wants to go to war, i didnt and nobody else does either..and that includes the pres.

    now we are trying to help win the peace....not so easy.
    it never is. and for you future generations of politicians..it never will be.
    im truly sorry its so expensive in lives and treasure.

    we were in germany for..well...er...60..70 years..oh i forgot..we are still there. and that war cost a thousand times more in lives and material...we actually had to ration food over that one.

    we were in japan for...well...er... well ...we are still there too.
    we were in korea for only....50 ..60 years...oops. we are still there.

    we were in turkey and africa and south america for only....whoops..still there.

    phillipines...THERES ONE..we just left after...what... 60 years.

    let see, middle east...well weve been there since...well...since we discovered oil for them and the world. 70 years.

    iraq, afghanistan....5 years....give me a break.

    with all due respect and condolences to our wonderful men and women in the armed forces and their families( who mostly think we are winning)....

    if you, american citizen, dont want to fight, dont join the military.
    not for the college money, not the reserves, not the national guard and definitely not the special forces and marines.

    these fine men and women serve the president and the country admirably and sacrificially..

    dr james aubrey

    March 22, 2008 at 1:59 am |
  24. Barry, IL

    The only sustainable solution for the crisis in Iraq is a political compromise that involves all interest groups: Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. Unless some workable political compromise is reahed among the three interest groups, it will end up in some civil war down the road. External forces, like the USA army, cannot enforce sustainable peace unless such actions are accompanied by genuine political compromises by all sides. As it stands today, there is no solid ground to stand on to celebrate political victory that effectively accommodates all interest groups. The rooad to civil war in Iraq is still very wide open. What goes on today is a small part of the ensuing ravaging civil war.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:57 am |
  25. frah * ottawa*

    I was definitely in shock and awe after this special. Ive got new found respect for those who were/are in this war!

    March 22, 2008 at 12:01 am |
  26. Denos Christofi

    Anderson, spare us the Shock and Awe. We still deserve an apology from you and the rest of CNN for bringing us Shock and Awe 5 years ago. You are as guilty as this president who started the war. You supported this war during those times as much as this president did. It was sickening me to hear you every day talk about Shock and Awe then, it sickens me even more now. You brought us Shock and Awe then, you brings us obamamania now. You were wrong then, you are wrong now. You could not see beyond your nose then, you cannot now. You bought the lies (put mildly) from an unintelligent person then, you are buying it from an intelligent one this time. Wrong then, wrong now. I wish you would just report the facts and let the people decide. Otherwise, you are guilty for the results as much as you are for the war in iraq. You could not get the facts then, you cannot present the facts now. How about a bit of the truth about the issues that Obama voted "present" instead of Yes or No for the past couple of years. Why don't you cover that at all. How about drilling a bit more into the conversations that his campaign had with the Canadians. Wrong then, wrong now. I just hope that there are more intelligent people to see beyond your immature infatuation with Obama and can actually see what he stands for, or rather what he does not.

    March 21, 2008 at 11:42 pm |
  27. Istiaq Chowdhury

    Anderson I love your show AC 360 so much .You are strong, your program is sharp and you run the show with strong politicians ! and I enjoy it always .So unlike myself I believe all Americans love your show and so proud to have you with CNN and hope you wont stop!!!.Thanks a lot and may god bless you.

    March 21, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  28. Buckly, NYC

    I watched this special last night and found it very informative. I thought it was a fair, non-biased look at the mistakes that have plagued Iraq war. Some of the footage was quite shocking (especially when the Humvee was pushing the other car off the road and they both exploded). It really gives a powerful image to the actual reality of the situation, and it is a welcome change from the talking heads that I am used to.

    March 21, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  29. Jolene

    Watching this special brought back so many memories of following this war. The shots were breathtaking, especially the "shock and awe" part. Plus, hearing the different perspectives from the reporters always proves to be very educational for me. Thanks.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    March 21, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  30. Jay

    Great show last night!

    But it'll have to turn into a mini-series after we withdraw in 2103!!

    March 21, 2008 at 9:15 pm |
  31. jimmy velman

    The Iraq war is the longest and most costly war America has fought
    and there is no end in sight , no victory (despite Bush-Cheney-Mccain
    xlaims) .Five years of a war which cannot be won miliyarily.
    Worse, America has lost 4000 american lives and many more times that number wounded and maimed physcially and mentally.
    Bush and far be it ,Mccain would continue this war that is also costing
    us half a trillion dollars and causing untold losses for the economy and the american people losing homes, jobs, not being able to afford gas, food, health care etc.etc.
    Worse Still, there will not be a change in this ruinous policy until January . We are all feeling the really bad effects of the Iraq war.

    March 21, 2008 at 9:07 pm |
  32. edmond

    shock and who?

    March 21, 2008 at 8:23 pm |
  33. Tammy

    Thanks for airing the program. I think the truth of Iraq needs to be told. Personally, I watched until I saw an explosion, I thought of the hell my friend Mike must have endured in the IED explosion over there that ended up taking his life, and then I turned the TV off because it hurt too much to watch anymore. You need to keep being the voices of those who can no longer speak from all sides of this conflict. They have earned the right to the truth being told in their honor.

    March 21, 2008 at 8:04 pm |
  34. Jan from Wood Dale, IL

    Very simply, thank you for putting together an excellent special.

    March 21, 2008 at 8:01 pm |
  35. Michael, NC

    Annie and Cindy-
    Same...it was extremely well put together. Ware and others did a superb job with their views and coverage. Once again, the 360 team throws nothing but the best out there for their viewers. I would love to see Anderson or another rep go and get some new footage for viewers. Everyone has so much respect for you guys at CNN, always great stuff.

    March 21, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  36. Minou, New York City

    I saw it yesterday, and I am sure to watch it again!
    That was one of the best documentaries CNN has done!
    It' s so interesting to hear the reporters that were/are there!
    To hear Michael Ware, Nic Robertson, Christane Amanpour and John King talk about the "evolution" of the war, was truly intriguing.
    I only wish, CNN would have dedicated 2 hours and not just one, which minus the commercial breaks is really only about 40 minutes.

    Great work!

    March 21, 2008 at 7:33 pm |
  37. Fay, CA

    Thanks to CNN/AC360 for producing another excellent special. Shock and Awe wasn't easy to watch considering the massive disaster the Iraq war has turned into, but it gave a thorough overview of how we got into this mess and why it will be so difficult to get out of it. Hearing the perspectives from the reporters who covered and continue to cover the events in Iraq was another plus.

    March 21, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  38. Cindy

    I watched the special last night and I thought that it was awesome!! I loved how it just flowed from story to story from the beginning of the war until today. I also loved hearing from all of the reporters and their views of what they have done and seen during this time. And I always love hearing from Mic Ware. He is the best when it comes to Iraq. I hope that you all do more things like this. Great job Anderson and 360!!

    Cynthia, Covington, Ga.

    March 21, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  39. Ayse

    When will it be aired in Europe?

    March 21, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  40. Annie Kate

    I saw this last night and it was wonderful. I'm glad I'm going to have a chance to see it again. Thanks!!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 21, 2008 at 6:19 pm |