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Aug-28-2008 09:36TweetFollow @OregonNews
One Day in Baghdad: Part 1 (VIDEO)Tim King Salem-News.com
Iraqi Special Forces kill terrorists at Dora and record the aftermath on a cell phone camera.
(BAGHDAD, Iraq) - An embedded reporter in Iraq can travel through the country a couple of different ways. The top choice is to catch a ride aboard military aircraft. On this particular day, I needed to reach the Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad to receive reporter's credentials. My day started at 4:30 AM by boarding a twin engine Army plane for the flight to Iraq's capitol.
Arriving at Baghdad International Airport, another photographer and I found a group of Iraqi soldiers in HUMVEE's that have been provided to their Army by the U.S. government. The soldiers were extremely proud of the armored vehicles and it is easy to understand why. While this is my first time visiting Iraq, I did spend the winter of 2006/2007 in Afghanistan.
There, Afghan Army soldiers were relegated to driving the small, unarmored Ford Ranger pick-up's. The HUMVEE is far from perfect, but it is remarkably safer than a small unarmored pick-up, and the HUMVEE's undoubtedly go a long way toward saving lives.
Many of Baghdad's sites remain unchanged- in spite of the war here. That seems interesting to note with respect to the duration of the fighting that has taken place. Other parts of Iraq are not in the same state; areas like the Diyala Province and Dora, where a group of Iraqi Special Forces soldiers that I met had reportedly killed two terrorists earlier in the day.
This group of Iraqi soldiers in Baghdad had no problem talking on camera. They recorded the bodies of the men they said were terrorists on a cell phone camera. I, like many reporters, have been very critical of the war here in Iraq and that is one of the reasons I am here right now. I wanted to see first-hand what is taking place and it seems that the most valuable opinion comes from the Iraqi soldiers themselves.
Terrorists in this country will kill their own and that obviously represents a degraded standard at best. It is one thing for American politicians and even servicemen to discuss the war on terror, but when the words come from the very people who live here, it gives reason to pause and consider the more positive ramifications of this war.
One officer, Lt. Col. Jerry Brooks who is stationed at Camp Victory at Baghdad, told me that while the disbanding of Saddam Hussein's Army has been heavily disputed, it was necessary.
"They amounted to a band of thugs," Brooks said. "Try to imagine a gang from LA wearing uniforms and calling the shots for a society. It is a bad idea no matter how you look at it."
The Iraqi Special Forces soldiers expressed a great deal of pride in their success on this day, and they attribute that in part to the work they have done with U.S. forces. It is a lot to take in, but it reminds me that the heart of most Americans is in the right place and that the entire world is fortunate that Iraq is seeing the degree of peace that is now at hand.
Let's hope it stays that way and branches out to other parts of the country still mired in violence and death.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.
Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org