1. #1
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    Default A letter from a soldier... The real deal

    This is a letter from Ray Reynolds, a medic in the Iowa Army National Guard, serving in Iraq:

    As I head off to Baghdad for the final weeks of my stay in Iraq, I wanted to say thanks to all of you who did not believe the media. They have done a very poor job of covering everything that has happened. I am sorry that I have not been able to visit all of you during my two week leave back home. And just so you can rest at night knowing something is happening in Iraq that is noteworthy, I thought I would pass this on to you. This is the list of things that has happened in Iraq recently: (Please share it with your friends and compare it to the version that your paper is producing.)

    * Over 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations.
    * School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.
    * Over 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of the weapons stored there so education can occur.
    * The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from ships faster.
    * The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.
    * Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq.
    * The country now receives 2 times the electrical power it did before the war.
    * 100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35% before the war.
    * Elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are in place.
    * Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.
    * Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.
    * Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
    * Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers.
    * Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever.
    * Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs.
    * An interim constitution has been signed.
    * Girls are allowed to attend school.
    * Textbooks that don't mention Saddam are in the schools for the first time in 30 years.

    Don't believe for one second that these people do not want us there. I have met many, many people from Iraq that want us there, and in a bad way. They say they will never see the freedoms we talk about but they hope their children will. We are doing a good job in Iraq and I challenge anyone, anywhere to dispute me on these facts. So If you happen to run into John Kerry, be sure to give him my email address and send him to Denison, Iowa. This soldier will set him straight. If you are like me and very disgusted with how this period of rebuilding has been portrayed, email this to a friend and let them know there are good things happening.

    Ray Reynolds, SFC
    Iowa Army National Guard
    234th Signal Battalion

    Keep ya head down Ray!
    In memory of Bob Compton. Rest In Peace My Friend.

    PROUD TO BE I.A.C.O.J.

  2. #2
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    Thank you for sharing this letter. I will be posting
    it around California...Bou

  3. #3
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    NCMEDIC749, I second your views. Having been home only a couple weeks I can't believe how the media portrays what happens in Iraq vs. what is really going on. No wonder my wife was sweating so much while I was there. It has gotten to the point I don't even watch because it is so one sided. Not saying it is a real joy over there but the media hypes what it wants and doesn't do justice to the real story, how Iraq has improved.
    MCMEDIC749, who are you with and where have you been (primarily and otherwise)?
    Hope to see you home soon.
    Walt.
    Train like you want to fight.
    www.kvfd.net

  4. #4
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    * USAID Fact Sheet

    While the email appears to provide some truthful information, it is replete with misinformation. I don't have time to check each representation in the email, but here's an overview:

    * Over 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations

    This is interesting. A lot of kids have been immunized in Iraq. In fact, last year the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) "25 million doses of vaccines to Iraq to help prevent the spread of polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, and tuberculosis -- considered the main killers of children in developing countries."[*] At the time, UNICEF spokesman Gordon Weiss explained that the children of Iraq would need several stages of repeated immunizations for the immunizations to be effective:

    "Iraq is in a particularly delicate stage at the moment -- postwar, with a lot of the health system having broken down and a lot of the water systems having broken down, as well. So children are more than ever this year vulnerable to water-borne diseases. Usually you don't vaccinate just once, you vaccinate a number of times in order to have the vaccinations work."[*]

    Here's what the Fact Sheet says:

    "USAID has partnered with UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Abt Associates to support health program in Iraq. Since the end of the war, USAID has vaccinated three million Iraqi children under the age of five, administered tetanus vaccine to more than 700,000 pregnant women, and by April 30, 2004 the USAID mission will have provided updated vaccinations to 90 percent of pregnant women and children under five years of age."

    Hmmm. UNICEF said that 3 1/2 million Iraqi children were vaccinated last year. Does this mean that the vaccination program is not being pursued as much as last year? I don't know.

    I also don't know where the 400,000 number came from. Last year, Iraq had approximately 4.2 million children in Iraq under the age of five. If fewer than 10% of young Iraqi children have up-to-date immunizations out of the millions who have been on an immunization schedule and are exposed, that would seem to be a serious failure.

    That being said, hundred of thousands of immunized children has got to be a good thing.

    * The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.

    Nonsense. First, there's nothing in the Fact Sheet about oil. Iraq is presently exporting approximately 1.9 million barrels of oil a day, or under 60 million barrels per month. And that's going to be difficult to maintain. You probably already know that insurgent attacks have been limiting the exports.[*] In August -- the supposed 2 billion barrel month -- Iraq was expecting to export fewer than 1.2 million barrels a day, about 37 million barrels for the month.[*]

    * Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time
    ever in Iraq.

    Here's what the Fact Sheet says:

    "Iraq has 13 major wastewater facilities. Baghdad's three facilities are currently inoperable and comprise three quarters of the nation's sewage treatment capacity. Raw waste flows directly into the Tigris River. In the rest of the country, most wastewater treatment facilities were only partly operational before the conflict, and a shortage of electricity, parts, and chemicals has exacerbated the situation and only a few wastewater treatment plants are operational. Iraq's 140 major water treatment facilities operate at about 65 percent of the pre-war level of three billion liters a day."

    Water does appear to be getting to a lot more people. But, apparently, at a price. A witness from Basra last month claimed:

    "The [water] plant seems to be working well . . . This plant is up and going and provides water for a huge number of people. Someone is constructing a new plant to expand so that there is drinking water. I have not met anyone here yet despite the poverty who is not buying drinking water."[*]

    * The country now receives 2 times the electrical power it did before the war.

    Not true. According to the Fact Sheet, on March 11, 2004, power peaked at approximately 92% of "the pre-conflict generating level". ABC reports that power generation is off since last October and is averaging somewhere around pre-conflict generation.[*]

    * 100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35% before the war.

    Not true. The Fact Sheet provides no information about this. But, the Washington Post on March 5, 2004 reported[*]:

    "Health Minister Khudair Fadhil Abbas said about 90 percent of the hospitals and clinics have been brought back to the same poor conditions as before the war but that the others will take more time to reach even that low level."

    Here are the first few paragraphs from the article:

    "The stout woman, covered from head to toe in a black abaya, shuffled into the crowded hospital. She went straight to the emergency room and opened her robe to reveal a tiny baby wrapped in fuzzy blankets. The boy had been born prematurely, and the family was afraid he was going to die.

    Uday Abdul Ridha took a quick look and shook his head. The physician put his hands on the woman's shoulders in sympathy, but his words were blunt. "I'm sorry," he said. "We cannot help you. We don't have an incubator, and even if we did, we are short on oxygen. Please try another hospital."

    Scenes like this one at the Pediatric Teaching Hospital in Baghdad's Iskan neighborhood have become common in Iraq in recent months, as the health care system has been hit by a critical shortage of basic medications and equipment. Babies die of simple infections because they can't get the proper antibiotics. Surgeries are delayed because there is no oxygen. And patients in critical condition are turned away because there isn't enough equipment."

    * Elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are in place.

    False. In June, 2003, US authorities put a halt to local elections. We installed mayors and administrators of our choosing.[*]

    * Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.

    I don't know how many Iraqi police are on duty, given widespread desertions.[*] But, we know how many police are in the New York Police Department -- 39,110.[*] According to the 2000 Census, NY City had a population of more than 8 million and covered an area of 320 square miles.[*] According to 1993 estimates, the population of Iraq is about 19,435,000.[*] Iraq is about the size of California, approximately 171,000 square miles.[*]

    Though New York, like any other big city, can be dangerous at times, armed insurgents aren't blowing people up daily. New York has about 1 police officer for every 205 residents. Iraq -- which does have armed insurgents blowing people up daily -- has about 1 police officer for every 324 citizens.

    * Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever.

    Not true. The Fact Sheet says that before we invaded 1.2 million Iraqis had "subscribed to landline telephone service." As of March 9, 2004, "104,680 subscribers to the Iraqi landline phone network were reconnected." Repairs have reconnected some form of telephone service between Baghdad and 20 other cities.

    * Girls are allowed to attend school.

    True, but not because of the invasion. Girls were allowed to attend school during Saddam's rule. Between 1997-2000 82% as many girls attended primary school as did boys. 62% as many girls attended high school as did boys, during the same period.[*]

  5. #5
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    I could care less about a fact sheet. I'll listen to the boys and girls putting their asses on the line. Way to go troops, get home soon.

  6. #6
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    Fact : Soldiers put there life on the line for others and get there ***** kicked by the media.
    Fact : People don't wanna know about the good things soldiers do, they just wanna be able to point the finger at them for the things that went wrong.

    ShuswapFireF, get your factsheets and a ticket to Belgium, join the belgian media, and you'll be the rising newsancker in no time.
    *The BOSS rules*

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