I traveled to Iraq essentially for two reasons. First, I believed the mainstream media for whatever reason were missing many important stories. Second, I believed you had to see the war to truly understand it. I was fed up with the pompous pontificating pundits who can go to Iraq anytime but prefer the comfort and safety of home. I paid the price for my trip; a part of me will always remain in Iraq ? literally. But I was right on both counts.
I observed that troop morale in even the most hostile areas was better than I would have believed. Unless I identified myself, nobody knew I was a reporter. Troops didn?t hold back antiwar feelings on my account. Yet I heard none. I also carefully fastidiously read the ubiquitous graffiti in the portable toilets and only once found a negative scrawling ? a Bush bash. But three other scrawlings ambushed that first one.
The military has worked doggedly on morale. The food was delicious and varied. It was so hot outside you could barely eat; but don?t blame the chow. The vast majority of troops have hot showers. Toilet facilities were odor-free and fly-free. I was stunned to find living quarters are almost universally air-conditioned.
The ultimate stressor is something about which the military can do nothing; being 9,000 or more miles from home, family, and friends. I pitied the troops for this. But even this blow was softened with discount telephone cards in trailers filled with phones and with Internet cafes.
The only real complaints I?d heard were about ?the kindler, gentler military.? Political sensitivity ? enhanced by shenanigans such as Newsweek?s ? are tying at least part of an arm behind our backs.
Michael Fumento is a, journalist, and attorney specializing in science and health issues as well as author of BioEvolution: How Biotechnology is Changing Our World .
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