My wife got me 2 books for fathers day by Karl Zinsmeister. Karl is a fair and balanced reporter who obviously respects his country and is involved in politics to a certain degree.
The books, Boots on the ground and Dawn over Baghdad are very eye opening. They show a much different situation in Iraq than the media reports and even Fox news needs to get their asses in gear on that matter.
Boots, was the first book that he published after he embedded with the 82nd Airborne going into Iraq the first days. The book shows how utterly professional our armed forces are and how much restraint they showed while in combat. They made every effort they could to spare innocent lives while combatting Saddams loyalist. It blows my mind how often he makes reference to the soldiers pulling back in last second decisions as the sick animals would take women and children hostage to shoot from behind. The other thing it outlines is the fact that the loyalist and jihadies don't stand an ice cube's chance in hell againt the personnel in our forces due to the training, technology, and planning of the US forces. I couldn't put the book down and read it in 2 days (it's 200 pages and large print though.) He also outlines many things that were falsely reported, but the major media never followed up to straighten things out which left the US looking bad.
In Dawn he goes back to the 82nd after they have taken over the security and rebuilding of Iraq. The situation is quite unique how soldiers are being used to allocate money in small chunks to get vital infrastructure back up and running. Schools, water, sewage, roads, and power are all handled by local commaders who doll out small amounts of money from Iraqi oil sales and contributions from other countries. The local commanders put local people to work clearing irrigation ditches, roads, factories, and schools. It helps the Iraqi's have a sense of self worth in their community and they see that the Americans really do care.
The book also shows polls where the Iraqi's were asked about things like what kind of government they wish to have and how they like US involvement. The studies were done by Lebanese pollers using hired Iraqi citizens. All was confidential and no us personnel talked with Iraqis to influence answers. The answers were way in our favor and democracy was the choice government. It also turns out the Shiites are not the religious zealots or extremist we are being told they are. The Shia are more willing to have a non-religious government than other parties (beside the Kurds) and they tend to be very paitient people with more consideration towards peace to Chritians, Jews, and others.
The Sunni's on the other hand are more towards hardline Wahabbism and Taliban like regime. They are the minority in the country though and can be kept in check. The amount of terrorists pulling off the ghastly attacks are not welcome in the country and number very few. All in all the message he conveys is one of optismism at a country desperate for freedom from their past.
He also conveys an awesome messgae about the men and women of our armed forces. Countless times he gives examples of the caliber of people serving. There are people with MBA's serving as enlisted men in the 82nd. There are trust fund babies who decided they wanted to serve their country after 9-11 and put their wealth aside. Doctors, lawyers, CPA's, philosophers, and list goes on. It was shocking and prideful to read where these people come from. Being average Joe myself I've often thought of all the enlisted men as guys out of highschool. It just isn't true, but then again the 82nd is no run of the mill infantry divison by any means.
I "HIGHLY" recommend these books to anyone who has been nervous about what is really going on over there. It will make you damn proud of your country, but be warned it will make you mad to find out what lies you are being told by the left too.
Sorry for the long post. These 2 books are having a life changing effect on me and I had to share because I know many of you are in the dark or on the fence as I have been about the occupation and reconstruction.