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David Pratt on reporting Iraq

David Pratt remembers working as a journalist in Iraq, the toll on reporters like Caroline Hawley who we blogged about earlier today, and the camaraderie that builds up when working on the frontline of history and conflict,
More than anything I'll remember the Iraq war in this way: a series of cameo moments and lives lived - and sometimes lost - in extremis. The intensity of such a shared experience inevitably bonds people quickly and powerfully. Like those Iraqi civilians under siege, and soldiers under arms, the foreign press corps too found its own sense of camaraderie and self purpose. Today, one of my closest friends is a photographer I first met in those dangerous days. Others I knew never came home, or returned very different people mentally and physically from when they left. Reporters such as Caroline Hawley of the BBC who has since been diagnosed, along with many other reporters, as suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Then there was Gaby Rado the Channel 4 television journalist with whom I had a drink in the city of Erbil the night before he was found dead outside his hotel. Or Abdullah, a larger-than-life Afghan photographer who went home with a chunk of American shrapnel lodged in his neck after the worst "friendly fire" incident of the war when a convoy of Kurdish fighters and American special forces along with accompanying reporters was attacked by US warplane. link