MARCH 20TH: Newspapers Look At Fifth Year Iraq War Anniversary Coverage

By: Emily Vaughan

This week we will be reviewing coverage in major newspapers related to the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

USA Today compiled a series of reports and profiles of people affected by the war in different ways and describes how their lives have changed. Among them, Charles Levinson tells the story of a soldier in his 30s, who after three deployments in five years to Iraq has lost his gung-ho spirit and, despite love for his job and country, has ?mixed feelings right now.? He then reports of the lives of a family of Iraqis, who only get three hours of electricity today, who until recently didn?t venture across town due to violence, and who lost family members to suicide attacks. Rick Hampson talks to the parents of Lt. Shane Childers, the first fatal casualty of the Iraq war.

The New York Times has a story about the Iraqi army ? how it has rebuilt itself and how it is handling the insurgency, using the forces Mosul as an example of its problems and successes. Solomon Moore points out flaws, there are communication problems between the army and the defense ministry, equipment shortages enfeeble their ability to counter insurgents, and some tactics and less than professional and these hamper the Iraqi army?s effectiveness at managing its country?s security. Still, the army has made progress, even if it?s not enough or fast enough to assume full control.

The L.A. Times looks at war through the eyes of the Pentagon and the conflicts among the leaders as to the direction of the war. Ground Commanders like Gen. David Petraeus argue that they need to keep troops in Iraq to maintain the relative calm that?s been achieved. Others worry that longer and more frequent deployments could discourage soldiers and weaken the army. These differences of strategy have to do with the different duties of these military officials: Petraeus is there to win the war, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other in the Pentagon are responsible for maintaining the strength of the army, Julian E. Barnes says.

The Washington Post published an editorial about the many speeches given about Iraq and the future of the war in light of the five-year anniversary by the president and presidential hopefuls. The Post argues that Bush, Clinton, and Obama haven?t addressed Iraq in a sufficient manner and haven?t outlined any plans for what to do beyond their claims to either emerge victorious or simply end the war. It focuses on the Democrats? plans, and how they aren?t feasible if any of the gains of the last five years, including the recent lull in violence, are to be maintained.

McClatchy?s Washington Bureau looks into the lives of and benefits for veterans when they return to the United States. Chris Adams reports on how the states and non-profit organizations are taking a stronger role to bolster the federal programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs to make sure soldiers suffering from physical and psychological wounds don?t slip through the cracks.

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