A letter from Iraq by Iowa Army National Guard Medic Ray Reynolds
Forwarded to Keeping Apace by MSgt Spencer Eggleston, USAF (Ret)

As I head off to Baghdad for the final weeks of my stay in Iraq, I wanted to say to all of you who did not believe the media that they have done a very poor job of covering everything that has happened. I am sorry that I have not been able to visit all of you during my two week leave back home. And just so you can rest at night knowing something is happening in Iraq that is noteworthy, I thought I would pass this on to you. (Please share it with your friends and compare it to the version that your paper is producing.)

This is the list of things that has happened in Iraq recently:

*   More than 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations.
“   School attendance is up 80% from levels BEFORE THE WAR.
*   More than 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of weapons stored there so that education can occur.
*   The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from ships faster.
*   The country had it first 2-billion barrel export of oil in August.
*   Some 4.5 million people have clean drinking water FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER in Iraq.
*   The country now receives 2 times the electric power it did BEFORE THE WAR.
*   100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35% BEFORE THE WAR.
*   Elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are in place.
*   Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.
*   60,000 or more police are patrolling Iraq streets.
*   100,000 or more Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
*   Some 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers.
*   More than 400,000 people have telephones FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.
*   Students are learning field sanitation and hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs.
*   An interim constitution has been signed.
*   Girls are allowed to attend school.
*   School textbooks don't mention Saddam for the first time in 30 years.

Don't believe for one second that these people do no want us there. I have met many, many people from Iraq that want us there, and in a bad way. They say they will never see the freedoms we talk about but they hope their children will. We are doing a good job in Iraq and I challenge anyone, anywhere to dispute me on these facts.

So, if you happen to run into John Kerry, be sure to give him my email address and send him to Denison, Iowa. This soldier will set him straight. If you are like me and very disgusted with how this period of rebuilding has been portrayed, e-mail this to a friend and let them know there are good things happening.

Ray Reynolds, SFC
Iowa Army National Guard
234th Signal Battalion