Just Back From Iraq: Anderson Cooper
Published: April 2009
'I would love to be based in Iraq. It's one of the most important stories in the world right now. I'd go back in a heartbeat'
OCCUPATION Host of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360°
HOME BASE New York City
EYEWITNESS Cooper headed to Iraq to report on the United States' handover of sovereignty. He visited five cities in two weeks, devoting as much live airtime as he could to stories of the Iraqi people. One highlight was exploring Baghdad by taxi: "My driver said his beat-up cab was like Iraq—despite all the violence that has been inflicted upon it, somehow it's holding itself together and moving forward."
HOT STUFF "Summers in Iraq are soul-crushingly, mind-numbingly hot. (It can reach one hundred twenty degrees.) I watched a soldier cook his meal by placing it on top of the Humvee for a few minutes."
FALSE SECURITY "I expected Iraq to feel more like Sarajevo during the war—with a sense of omnipresent danger. But the attacks were more targeted. You could go for days thinking that it didn't seem so bad, and then within a split second, the situation would change. The morning we left, insurgents hit the hotel where we were staying, and as I was getting on the airplane, they shelled the airport. I hesitate to talk about the dangers journalists encounter, though, because a lot of people over there are facing much worse."