Since returning from my embed in the wild west Iraqi city of
First some background. Despite the constant flow of news out of
Four minarets stand within sniping distance of the camp and the gentlemen in these erstwhile places of worship regularly shoot at the observation posts and often into the camp itself. Huge 122-millimeter mortars explode in
Because of the constant attacks, body armor is required whenever outside a protected building — something I’ve seen nowhere else in
One chilling statistic: Charlie Company arrived in January with 132 men. By late April it was down to about 100 from deaths, wounds, and injuries.
These horrors I described and photographed for my blogs from the camp, which many family members read. I discovered from their letters that ignorance is not always bliss. Here are excerpts from two:
Thank you so much for the excellent pictures of Ramadi. My son is in
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My son is there at
Another told me:
It’s hard to talk [to my husband in 1st Battalion] on the phone and not be able to know what he is doing or what all is happening. It always makes me feel better when I know what’s happened even if it is good new or somewhat scary news. So what I am getting at is that I enjoyed reading your articles and seeing the pictures. Just hearing what they are going through for our country makes me so proud that I married into the military!
So “No news is bad news.” Repeatedly I found troops were trying to spare their parents, but the parents didn’t want to be spared. One wrote: “As a mother, I need to know what he’s going through — not to torment myself but to better prepare for his state of mind when he returns.” Another: “[My son] can not say what he does. All I get is ‘I am good’ but he sounds tired. You gave me some insight into his life.” It was signed, “Scared mom of Spc. [omitted].”
Others were grateful the world was hearing of the men’s sacrifice. Predictably, not many reporters go to