The Notebooks Of War

It began five years ago tonight, and some of our correspondents who've been embedded have shared their experiences – and unique viewpoints on this war – in Reporters Notebooks. A sampling and links:

From CBS News Capitol Hill correspondent Chip Reid:

Exactly five years ago I was with the Third Batallion, Fifth Marines, waiting for the order to cross what they called the Line Of Departure-a pass they'd cut through the giant sandberm that ran along the Iraq/Kuwait border. I was squeezed into the back of an Amphibious Assault Vehicle-an engineering marvel that was built for beach assaults but had no trouble making it all the way to Baghdad, and beyond. We were part of a convoy that stretched as far as I could see forward and back. Amazingly, many of the 19 or so Marines who were squeezed into a space built for about 10, slept. They were smart enough to know they'd need their rest. I was not. I stood and watched through an open hatch as we blasted through the LOD and roared across the Iraqi desert – with no idea of what to expect.

Paging through the journal I kept during those three weeks to Baghdad, it seems (sorry for the cliche, but it really does) like it was just a few months ago. I wrote a lot about the conditions-which were arduous, and dangerous. For example, the night I dug a ditch in the hard desert sand to get a couple hours sleep, then awoke in a cold sweat with a Marine screaming at me to put on my gas mask, that we were under attack. I also wrote a lot about the Marines-so incredibly young (most in my vehicle were were between 18 and 22), and who so astounded me with their maturity and resolve while facing life or death situations.

Read the rest of Chip's Notebook here.

From CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey:

Five years after the invasion of Iraq was launched under the Hollywood-like sobriquet "shock and awe," so many shocking things have happened that almost nothing about the place shocks anyone any more.

"Awe," on the other hand, is an apt description what the statements of U.S. politicians inspire in a correspondent just back from his fourth Baghdad rotation in the past 12 months.

Speaking to American troops, Vice President Dick Cheney, who can claim no small measure of credit for thinking the whole thing up, called the invasion of Iraq "a successful endeavor." His definition of "successful" seemed to be summed up by his attempt at rallying the troops, many of whom are on second and third deployments which now last more than a year.

"We have no intention of abandoning our friends," he said, "or allowing this country of 170,000 square kilometers to become a staging ground for further attacks against Americans."

No mention was made as to whether or not Cheney acknowledges the now well-documented fact that no attacks against America or Americans were ever staged from Iraq before the invasion.

Read the rest of Allen's Notebook here.

Also, check out earlier "Five Years Later" entries from our National Security Correspondent David Martin and our Baghdad Bureau Chief Larry Doyle. And stay tuned for more...