Friday, December 15, 2006

Two visions of Iraq

'Two visions of Iraq

Charette reflected on two visions of war-torn Iraq: the violent one that left him bleeding on the deck of a boat, and another - one not often heard about.

His unit was stationed next to a large lake in the Al Anbar Province, Lake Qadisiyah. The lake made the news recently when a helicopter crashed into it.

"The lake was crystal clear. [There were] palm trees, yellow sand. In the early morning, you hear from the city ... the prayers. It comes out of nowhere. Sometimes they are singing, sometimes they are talking. But it's kind of peaceful, looking out over the water - the sun just coming up."

The soldier could see a kind of hope in the area's natural beauty. Since being home, he has stopped watching the news because of the constant barrage of negative images from Iraq.

"What I see on TV is not what I saw in Iraq. I saw a lot of positive stuff in Iraq." Schools are being built, he said, and police are being trained.

"There are so many people over there trying to make a difference, trying to help people out," he said. "Luckily, in Iraq, we didn't hear all the politics. We just do our thing.

"All the news shows is the body count."'

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