Reporters on the Job

Bagpipes at Dawn: Election day in Iraq began for correspondent Jill Carroll at 4:30 when a US marine armed with a bagpipe walked in among the Iraqi election workers sleeping on cots and played what sounded like the theme song from the movie "Braveheart."

While the poll workers in Husaybah, probably didn't know the story of William Wallace's Scottish resistance to what he saw as an English occupation, the marines reported to Jill that the wailing pipes did a great job of getting everyone out of bed.

Jill says that she managed to turn over and get some more sleep until about 6 a.m. When she walked outside, she saw "mass chaos" with marines and Iraqis setting up tents, getting X-ray machines working, and putting ballot boxes in place.

She saw no security incidents throughout the day in the western Iraqi town, but she was able to mingle with local folks much more than she had been able to during the past four weeks she's been embedded with the Marines.

"I've been on a lot of patrols when I spoke to people surrounded by marines. What they were saying then was very different from today, when I had opportunities to talk to folks away from the marines. Under Saddam they were trained to say they love the leader,'' she says, explaining the far more critical comments of the US that she heard at the polling station.

Jill notes that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are still being found almost every day in the area, so someone has to be planting them. "From my interviews among Iraqis, there's still support for the insurgents here.... People came out to vote because they're angry."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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