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This site gets much traffic from all around the world, from people searching for news from Iraq, making it an ideal place to host stories from deployed forces in harm’s way.  In my travels I’ve met many budding writers who are now wearing boots and carrying rifles, and I found their stories so compelling that I want the world to see.

Paul McLeary brings it home

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On the Ground: The Grunts and The Press

 

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. For many of the journalists who have covered it, it has been the story of their lifetime, but we’ve nevertheless seen coverage of the war slip off the front pages over the last few months. While there are still plenty of reporters risking their lives doing great work in Iraq, much of the political, social, and economic complexity of today’s war seems to be getting lost in the election-year crush..........

Read more: Paul McLeary brings it home

Important Words: General McCaffrey

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Barry McCaffrey, a retired U.S. army general and adjunct professor of international affairs at West Point, discusses past failings and future options for success in Iraq five years after the war began.

Please click here to read some important words from General McCaffrey.

Stranded then Upgraded

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Deborah Haynes is a writer paying her dues in Iraq. I’ve talked with Deborah on various occasions, and have added her voice to those I listen to about Iraq.

Ms Haynes writes for the Times of London, but also keeps a more informal account of her Iraq experiences here: Please click here to read Ms Haynes’ latest in the Times Online.

America’s Favorite Mom Contest

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From Soldier’s Angels

Soldiers’ Angels is recruiting all members and friends to go to America’s Favorite Mom contest and vote for Patti Patton Bader. Registered members may vote once a day in the Most Inspiring Mom online contest. This contest ends March 31, 2008.

Why is it so important for Patti Patton Bader to win? The obvious reason is, she deserves it. The secondary reason is the funds go to the favorite charity of the winner, ah you guessed it, Soldiers’ Angels! Also, it provides another level of public awareness for Soldiers’ Angels in drawing the attention of more angels and donors.

Don’t delay, sign up and VOTE FOR PATTI! Soldiers’ Angels is now 200,000 angels strong globally and celebrates its’ 5th anniversary in the month of March. What a great gift this would be.

Soldiers’ Angels (www.soldiersangels.org) was started by a self-described “ordinary mother” of an ordinary young man turned hero, Sgt. Brandon Varn. Brandon was deployed in Iraq and has since honorably completed his mission and has returned back to his proud and loving family.

In the summer of 2003, he wrote home expressing his concern that some soldiers did not receive any mail or support from home. Being a caring and loving mother, she decided not to allow a situation like that to continue. She contacted a few friends and extended family to ask if they would write to a soldier or two. Within a few short months, Soldiers’ Angels went from a mother writing a few extra letters to an Internet Community with thousands of angels worldwide.

With more and more merchants donating services, money and items for packages, the Angels reorganized as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit so all donations would be tax deductible. Soldiers’ Angels currently supports tens of thousands of American Service Members stationed wherever we raise our nation’s flag, and that number continues to grow daily. Soldiers’ Angels are dedicated in supporting our military during and after their deployment.

Now this ordinary mother’s youngest son, Bretton Varn, is serving his country in Iraq as he continues his family’s legacy of bravery, honor and commitment. As with all of our brave men and women in the United States Armed Forces, our thoughts and prayers are with Brett and his family as he begins his tour in service to his nation.

May God Bless Our Troops

Friday with Ambassador

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From Dr. Moayad, an Iraqi cardiologist in South Baghdad:

Many people in South Baghdad and other Sunni areas were upset when the Iraqi Prime Minster Nuri al-Maliki returned directly from London to Karbala, Iraq to participate in the Shiite memorial of Arbaeen (the end of the annual mourning period of Imam Hussein, a Shiite saint). The Sunnis believe that Mailiki is the Shiite prime minister, not the Iraqi prime minister.

But on the early morning of Friday February 29, the South Baghdad neighborhood of Dora received the American Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Everyone in Dora welcomed his visit. It was the first time I met Ambassador Crocker. On TV he looks younger, but he is very active and smart.

We walked along 60th Street where reconstruction work has started. We also walked Mulhallah [neighborhood] 840, where he met with the kids and old women, and visited the shops. Crocker speaks very good Arabic. He asked the same questions of everyone he met. ( How is the security situation? What’s the most important problem after security is established?) The answers were always the same: The security situation is very good and we are looking for jobs and more hours of national electricity.

Then we walked the streets of Mulhallah 838. I felt tired while the ambassador kept walking. General Jeffery Hammond and Colonel Rick Gibbs were with him. My mother cooked all the night before for lunch (which was enough for a minimum three hundred soldiers) but after six hours of touring Dora, Ambassador Crocker received a call and left without having lunch.

It’s wonderful that the American officials take care of us, while the Iraqi government only takes care of their Shiite sect. We can say the Sunni sect has become the American sect because only the American forces and embassy visit us. It was true when one of the local citizens of Dora told the ambassador that Colonel Gibbs is our president, because he supplied more than nine thousand jobs and paid for all the services and the Sons of Iraq in our area. The ambassador smiled at that. Another citizen told the ambassador that the next battle is against the elected Iraqi government to take on their responsibility as the government for all Iraq.
Both American and British ambassadors have visited our area, as well as General Petraeus and more than ten other generals. Meanwhile, we are still waiting an official from the Iraqi government to visit us in Dora without invitations from the U.S.Army.
Thank you very much Ambassador Crocker for your visit, which helped us forget the government deficiency syndrome in Sunni areas.
I had a great time with the ambassador. You can learn a lot from this great man within few hours.

Dr. Moayad
Baghdad

Bright Idea–Iraqi Electricity

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Bright Idea–Iraqi Electricity

By Matt Sanchez

Most of us expect something to happen when we plug in an appliance or flip a switch, but in Iraq flipping a switch to get power is a key part of fighting terrorism.

The strategy to combat a counter-insurgency consists mainly of improving the living conditions; that means bringing a national infrastructure neglected by dictatorial socialism and asphyxiated by a decade of sanctions to a functional level for a growing population with an increasing appetite for energy.

Read more: Bright Idea–Iraqi Electricity

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