Toppling the statue of Saddam Hussein
Toppling the statue of Saddam Hussein was a staged event, by U.S. soldiers, for the media. A Reuters long-shot of Firdos Square where the statue was located (see below) shows that the Square was nearly empty when Saddam was torn down. The Square was sealed off by the U.S. military. The 200 people milling about were U.S. Marines, international press and Iraqis. However, the media portrayed it as an event of the Iraqi people.
An American military vehicle actually pulled down the statue. Marine Corporal Ed Chin, who temporarily placed a U.S. flag over Saddam's face, became an instant media celebrity. His sister, Connie, appeared on the "Today" show and spoke with her brother via a video hook-up.
Military Admits Statue Toppling was a Psyops Stunt
On Point, a US army report on lessons learned from the war, notes that it was a Marine colonel, not Iraqi civilians, who decided to topple the statue. "We moved our [tactical PSYOP team] TPT vehicle forward and started to run around seeing what they needed us to do to facilitate their mission," states a U.S. military officer involved in the operation. "There was a large media circus at this location (I guess the Palestine Hotel was a media center at the time), almost as many reporters as there were Iraqis, as the hotel was right adjacent to the Al-Firdos Square. The Marine Corps colonel in the area saw the Saddam statue as a target of opportunity and decided that the statue must come down." The pyschological team used loudspeakers to encourage Iraqi civilians to assist, packed the scene with Iraqi children, and stepped in to readjust the props when one of the soldiers draped an American flag over the statue. "God bless them, but we were thinking from PSYOP school that this was just bad news," the officer reported. "We didn't want to look like an occupation force, and some of the Iraqis were saying, 'No, we want an Iraqi flag!' So I said 'No problem, somebody get me an Iraqi flag.' " 
- "Pentagon Gets PR Bulls-eye," O'Dwyer's PR Daily, April 11, 2003.
- "Saddam Toppled," a BBC photo sequence, also makes it possible to see the sparse crowd. Another photo sequence, taken a few days later, shows a much larger crowd demanding that U.S.-led troops leave.
- "Toppling Saddam," a photo sequence by the Boston Globe, includes photos that show the empty square as tanks roll in to set up the event. An accompanying story states, "Yesterday's coverage of the 'jubilation' also had a self-conscious and forced quality, as if the media were too eager to capture 'liberation' for its daily news cycle. Whenever the cameras pulled back, they revealed a relatively small crowd at the statue."
- "Pictures with description," Polish language, pointing out the standard size American sledge hammer used by Iraqi man, apparently supplied from army standard issue for the occasion.
- "La fin de quelle guerre ?," the "statue episode" analysed in French by Réseau Voltaire.