Michael Kelly

On the anniversary of a great loss
Kelly.jpegTen years ago today Michael Kelly, then the editor of the Atlantic, was killed while serving as an embedded reporter with the Third Infantry Division during the early stages of the invasion of Iraq. 

He and I disagreed about many things, notably including the war in Iraq, of which he was a passionate supporter. His advocacy of that war was based on what he had seen Saddam Hussein do in the aftermath of the first Gulf War, which Michael chronicled in his book Martyrs' Day. As all the elegies and commemorations noted after his death, Michael was a powerful, very talented, enormously big-hearted figure, whose death in Iraq was an almost unimaginable tragedy. He was a wonderful editor of this magazine. Like everyone at the Atlantic and many other people in journalism, I remember exactly where I was -- in my case, on an Amtrak train back from New York to Washington, the morning after I'd done some anti-war TV program -- at the moment I heard this news.

I don't have the heart to include this among the "Ten Years After" reckonings of the decision to go to war in Iraq. His colleagues -- and readers -- reflect on what they lost, the loss being greatest for his wife and sons. 
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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