The NY Times promotes their long look at the collapse of the Arab World:
Fractured Lands: How The Arab World Came Apart
By Scott Anderson
Photographs by Paulo Pellegrin
This is a story unlike any we have previously published. It is much longer than the typical New York Times Magazine feature story; in print, it occupies an entire issue. The product of some 18 months of reporting, it tells the story of the catastrophe that has fractured the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq 13 years ago, leading to the rise of ISIS and the global refugee crisis. The geography of this catastrophe is broad and its causes are many, but its consequences — war and uncertainty throughout the world — are familiar to us all. Scott Anderson’s story gives the reader a visceral sense of how it all unfolded, through the eyes of six characters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Accompanying Anderson’s text are 10 portfolios by the photographer Paolo Pellegrin, drawn from his extensive travels across the region over the last 14 years, as well as a landmark virtual-reality experience that embeds the viewer with the Iraqi fighting forces during the battle to retake Falluja.
It is unprecedented for us to focus so much energy and attention on a single story, and to ask our readers to do the same. We would not do so were we not convinced that what follows is one of the most clear-eyed, powerful and human explanations of what has gone wrong in this region that you will ever read.
So this story is a BFD and the result of a major editorial effort. And here we go, first paragraph - I exhort the gun enthusiasts to strap themselves in and swallow any coffee. Or if you're hitting the hard stuff, that too:
Before driving into northern Iraq, Dr. Azar Mirkhan changed from his Western clothes into the traditional dress of a Kurdish pesh merga warrior: a tightfitting short woolen jacket over his shirt, baggy pantaloons and a wide cummerbund. He also thought to bring along certain accessories. These included a combat knife, tucked neatly into the waist of his cummerbund, as well as sniper binoculars and a loaded .45 semiautomatic. Should matters turn particularly ticklish, an M-4 assault rifle lay within easy reach on the back seat, with extra clips in the foot well. The doctor shrugged. “It’s a bad neighborhood.”
OK, it is a silly thing to get hung up on and it is entirely likely that George W. Bush or Condi Rice, who surely are familiar with the Middle East but don't seem to be ex-military or gun-oriented, might make the magazine/clip mistake (Readers with a long memory will recall my very own Getting Up To Standard moment on that point).
But at some point, one does wonder. Does anyone think that if a NY Times food critic submitted a review lauding a SoHo restaurant on West 8th St that the editors would not find their red pens?
And since most of the editors are determined to learn nothing about icky, scary guns, why can't they let Capt. C.J. Chivers (ret.) glance at these pieces for a reality check?