Reporters on the Job

CHINSTRAP CHECK: Soldiers in China's People's Liberation Army prepped for Wednesday's celebration marking the start of a 100-day countdown for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Pssst! Are You Hiring? While reporting today's story about the Iraqi Army, staff writer Howard LaFranchi visited a few Iraqi Army posts. At one of them, an Iraqi Army interpreter apparently noticed the civilian Iraqi interpreter accompanying Howard.

When Howard was leaving the post, the Army interpreter came running up smiling, but spoke in low voice.

"Excuse me, sir: Can you tell me how much you pay your interpreter? I like my Army work OK, but the pay is crazy low," he said in American-accented English.

When Howard told him that he didn't have a need for a second interpreter and he'd better keep his job, the Iraqi said, "That's OK, I'm leaving to visit a sister in the States, and maybe I'll stay there. I think I can get a job as an Arabic interpreter, no?"

Canadian Perspective: Pentagon correspondent Gordon Lubold was "thrilled" to spend five days with a non-US military force in Afghanistan. He saw it as an opportunity to see a different military in action.

"In one operation that we saw, the Canadian advisers called in a US airstrike on an insurgent safe house. We wanted to go see the results. But they seemed uncomfortable with that and told us they were concerned about land mines," says Gordon.

He was accompanied by staff photographer Andy Nelson, who shot the "Mission Possible" video at

Gordon contrasts that with his experience embedded with American military in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Americans are more eager to exploit their victories," he says. "The Canadians were very welcoming and gracious hosts but seemed a little more gun-shy when talking to reporters. On the other hand, I understand that they have more political concerns at home and may not be as eager to show the world what they're up against here."

David Clark Scott

World editor

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