This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War. Though YouTube did not even exist when American missiles first struck Baghdad five years ago today, it has since been used by hundreds of thousands of people to document, discuss, and debate the most controversial war of this century.
U.S. soldiers have used YouTube in unique ways. Some have filmed holiday greetings to send back home to family members. Others have documented what life is like on the ground, and a more creative lot have filmed music videos or raps like "Lazy Ramadi", which has gained hundreds of thousands of views.
Still others have posted videos taking a more poignant look at what's taken place in the Middle East, like this video reflection posted by a defense contractor who shares pictures of his experience in Iraq. Protest videos have of course been popular, too, as regular people who wouldn't otherwise have a voice have used YouTube as their personal soapbox. And not to be outdone, the coalition forces have their own YouTube channel, where they've gotten great attention for the riveting pieces they've uploaded straight from the battlefield, like this one on Baghdad's Haifa Street that has over 2 million views.
Perhaps the most touching video we've seen came in a very unlikely form: an opera. For seven full minutes in this must-see clip, Baritone Andrew Garland softly sings the words from the last letter that Private Jesse Givens ever wrote to his wife Melissa, his five-year-old daughter Dakota, and his unborn child Carson.
There are more videos than we can acknowledge here, but check out this playlist for a look at more of the best.