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All Things Considered Home Page30th Anniversary of ATC
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All Things Considered


  • The world watches as the Soviet Union comes to an end, and the 15 separate republics are granted their independence.
  • ATC turns 20.
  • The Gulf War begins in January. In March, Neal Conan, NPR's defense correspondent and former ATC executive producer, disappears on a reporting trip to southern Iraq; he is captured by the Iraqi Republican Guard and freed less than a week later.
  • On the March 9 show, Conan recounts how he and New York Times reporter Chris Hedges were captured, on their way to Basra to report on the uprising there against Saddam Hussein.

    Conan: "An Iraqi Jeep pulled us over, and two guys got out and came over. They didn't ask us any questions, they just stuck AK-47s in our faces... One of them got in the Land Rover and one got in the Jeep and drove us quickly into an army camp that was right near there. And we met this army colonel we were taken to, who came up in a Mercedes and stepped out with his field jacket strap draped around his shoulders and carefully oiled hair and his sidearm, and sat down in a chair and ordered everybody about as if he was some sort of Mafia don. And then he questioned Chris, obviously, who spoke Arabic, and not me, who was just sitting and trying to not look scared and smile and look intelligent. And at some point, they were talking about, you know, how we came up and did we know we were in Iraq and did we know we had violated the border and this is very serious..."

    Hear the broadcast.