Monica Davey's "The New Military Life: Heading Back to War" (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/20/national/20riley.html?hp&ex=1103605200&en=1607d8fff5d84984&ei=5094&partner=homepage) does a strong job presenting the situation and giving voice to the feelings of the families and soldiers who are coping with a trip back to Iraq:
Nearly a third of the 950,000 people from all branches of the armed forces who have been sent to Iraq or Afghanistan since those conflicts began have already been sent a second time. Part-time soldiers - Army national guardsmen and reservists - who often have handled support roles, not frontline combat roles, are slightly more likely to have served more than one deployment to the conflict zones than regular Army members.
. . .
The change is leaving its emotional mark on thousands of military families. Some family members say the repeated separations have been like some awful waking dream, holding their breath for their soldiers to make it home safely, only to watch them leave once more. Some families who have lost loved ones on repeat tours of duty said they felt a particular ache - a sense that the second trip pushed fate too hard.
Among some of the soldiers themselves, the thought of returning to Iraq carries one puzzling quality: Unlike so many parts of life, in which the second try at anything feels easier than the first, these soldiers say that heading to Iraq is actually more overwhelming the second time around.
Remember on Saturday when the Times chose to bury John F. Burns' story on the situation on the ground in Iraq as the January 30th election looms? Burns outlined various situations and potential problems but the story was relegated to inside the paper. [See http://thecommonills.blogspot.com/2004/12/whats-news-new-york-times-seems.html for comments on that.]
Well today the Times decides it is front page news. Burns' observations Saturday appear even more valid judging by "At Least 64 Dead as Rebels Strike in 3 Iraqi Cities" (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/20/international/middleeast/20iraq.html?hp&ex=1103605200&en=be7652a7b39b2dc8&ei=5094&partner=homepage).
Car bombers struck crowds in Najaf and Karbala on Sunday, killing at least 61 people and wounding about 120 in those two holy Shiite cities only dyas into Iraq's six-week election campaign. In the heart of Baghdad, about 30 insurgents hurling grenades and firing machine guns pulled three election officials from their car in the midst of morning traffic and killed them with shots to the head.
Taken together, the attacks represented the second-worst daily civilian death toll from insurgent mayhem in Iraq since the American military occupation transferred formal sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government nearly six months ago.
"An All-but-Unknown Company Wins a Rich Russian Oil Stake" (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/20/business/worldbusiness/20russia.html) by Erin E. Arvedlund and Steven Lee Myers updates us on the Yukos situation.
n the auction, Baikal Finans Group swept in from out of nowhere to place the winning bid leading some to speculate that it was a front group for Gazprom "the country's natural gas monopoly and the Kremlin-favored front-runner to buy the Yukos property, [which] did not even make a bid."
For Krista, here's a section on from the article on Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky:
The company founder, Mr. Khodorkovsky, was arrested in October 2003 and has been held in jail ever since on charges of personal tax evasion, fraud and embezzlement in a separate privatization deal. There has been wide speculation that Mr. Khodorkovsky's real transgression was raising political opposition to Mr. Putin's government.
Amy Harmon explores alternative approaches to living with autism in "How about Not 'Curing' Us, Some Autistic Are Pleading" (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/20/health/20autism.html).
In Harmon's article you'll meet some people that may challenge your view of autism. I'm interested in what your reactions are to the voices that are represented. (I think Harmon's written a strong front page story but if you disagree feel free to comment on that too.)
Lastly, C.J. Chivers weighs in on the Ukraine in "A Dinner in Ukraine Made for Agatha Christie."
Which has resulted in Kara's morning e-mail, "Now is the Ukraine the fifty-first state or the fifty-second?" Ben also e-mailed: "I wouldn't mind the Ukraine coverage so much if the paper had ever covered the Ohio events. But now we've got time to speculate about a dinner when we never heard word one about the protests, the testimony at public hearings or anything else that went on in Ohio in the last two months. Journalistic malpractice."
At one point Chivers writes, "This much is known." Here's what's known here, Democracy Now! viewers/listeners/readers have been aware of the posioning and all Chivers speculation for many weeks now. This much is known: the Times has front paged this story over and over so why is it that Democracy Now! has done a better job of informing? This much is know: headline writers who play cute detract from stories they are supposed to highlight.