Beyond Baghdad

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Earlier this week, I mentioned an article about Ramadi, published in The Virginia Quarterly Review. I also should have drawn your attention to "Trophy Town," a complementary piece. Its author, David J. Morris, a former Marine, reflects on how much the city has changed.

In the second hour, we'll talk to Morris about his reporting trips to Ramadi, and to Stephen Farrell, a correspondent for The New York Times, based in Iraq. In recent months, he has traveled to Kirkuk and Diyala Province. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) will join us, too. He just got back from his eleventh trip to Iraq.

We're trying to get more insight into how Iraq has changed, and we're turning our attention away from Baghdad. If you have questions for our three guests, leave them here. If you've been to Ramadi, Kirkuk, or Diyala, tell us what they're like — and how they've changed.

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It's obvious that Ramadi has improved greatly and is being touted as an example of America's success in Iraq. Is this an example of America choosing its victories? Are we "giving up" on other regions of the country for the easier tasks that ensure the bolstering of the illusion of an improving situation?

Sent by Jeff form Colorado | 3:14 PM | 1-23-2008

I was in Ramadi as a part of OIF in Fall of 2004 to March of 2005. When I was there I was in a base that was a former Saddam Hussein compound/ palace converted into a military base. During my time there, there was talk about giving the compound back to the Iraqi people. My questions is if the U.S. gave back the compound/palace, what has resulted from the move and if not, what type of problems has this caused with the Iraqi people?

Sent by Derrick Miller | 3:24 PM | 1-23-2008

The Home Team Fallacy. Something that I???ve noticed from years of reading the sports pages is that it???s always all about us. If we win it???s because we???re great, if we lose it???s because we suck. We never score because their defense is awful, but if they don???t score, our defense was fantastic. Something similar is going on with the reportage from Iraq. The ???surge??? is working or the ???surge??? is not working ??? those are the two points of view. What about ???The other side screwed up???? Why isn???t that a point of view? Because it seems to me that the terrorist method has its limitations, and those limitations are becoming evident. You can???t blow up that many hospitals, playgrounds, and people shopping in the street without incurring a backlash against you.

Sent by Stephen Brown | 3:41 PM | 1-23-2008

Morris' cynical view of the success of the Iraqi/American turnaround of Ramadi was disgusting. He sounded like he preferred Ramadi when it was a murderous cesspool and laments it's place now as a safe and prosperous city. I know bad news sells and makes critical reporters appear smarter than anybody else, but let's celebrate where killing stops and living begins. And to mater of factly state that Ramadi will be the center of an ungodly civil war in TEN YEARS is just too absurd. I'm starting to think Rush may be right about NPR.

Sent by Michael D. Moore | 9:25 AM | 1-24-2008

We keep talking about victory, but when you pay your enemy not to shoot at you, that is surrender, and surrender is defeat. Bush, the traitor, has sold our kids out once again.

Sent by Tony | 11:26 AM | 1-25-2008

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