• WITH THE TROOPS IN IRAQ: The Monitor's Ann Scott Tyson spent a month as an embedded journalist with the 3rd Infantry Division during the Iraq war. She returned to Iraq and spent the past three weeks traveling in the country and seeing US soldiers for the first time since the war's end. Tuesday's story about an ambushed US Army unit, and the attack's effects on the soldiers, was prompted in part by the news coverage of the war that she had seen in the US. "It bothered me that the coverage of the daily attacks on US troops was mostly superficial, and that some papers were running daily tallies of the deaths, which are so impersonal."
Ann reported on the capture of Saddam Hussein's two sons in Mosul. The next day, she discovered that some members of the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul weren't upbeat about what many in Washington trumpeted as a success. "They weren't relieved. They expected to bear the brunt of any revenge attacks, and the death of Spc. Brett Christian confirmed their fears."
As the soldiers on this mission described what happened, Ann was reminded of an enduring truth she had seen while embedded with the troops months earlier. "Most warfare is a bolt-of-lightning event. Long periods of ordinary, even mundane, activity are punctuated by short bursts of intense fighting or chaos. That's the nature of conflict."
• OUT OF PRAGUE: As a resident of Prague, reporter Arie Farnam is grateful for the economic progress she's witnessed in the Czech Republic. But from where she lives in the city, it's a mixed blessing. "There are more cars on the road, so while the pollution from burning coal has ebbed, it's been replaced by Western-style smog," she says. "We live in a valley where the smog collects." That's one reason she and her husband are building a house outside the city. "We might even get to see the stars again," she notes.
David Clark Scott