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Ask Leila Fadel...

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with Leila Fadel, Baghdad bureau chief for McClatchy, about her experiences on the ground in Iraq.

We thank Leila Fadel for taking time to answer your questions about Iraq and the Middle East. We are no longer taking questions, but you can read Leila Fadel's responses at this link.

Note: To read more from Leila Fadel and her colleagues, visit her "Baghdad Observer" blog and Iraqi journalists' "Inside Iraq" blog.


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According to my own exploration, billions of people on our planet get the from various creditors. Thus, there is good possibilities to receive a financial loan in all countries.

Americans. Don't be afraid all the time. Wave and smile out your "square windows" at one another. Get to the "middle of your rotation" and do what must be done to seek peace and reconcilliation here at home.

We all can see the Middle Eastern debacles, being fought out in ghostly form right here at home. Already words fly like bullets on this blog, because immature minds think war is a sports contest, and that we are going for a high score on the x-box. We need to talk.
Pull out your repetitive buds and buzzing earpieces. Understand that you are paying a minute to minute fee for staying in an imaginary world. Blowing your life away, your finite time.
Whatever you believe right now, question it. Be fully alive like Leila Fadel and turn your next birthday in the real world helping yourself by listening and caring for those around you. This system always dictates a scarcity of time and money and resources, but it can not dictate a scarcity of caring and understanding if you'll only resist. Talk with one another and find the common truths.

Chris Rushlau:
We're not the only ones fooled Chris. We (some of us anyway) are the only ones not listening to the counter propaganda as you are.

Dear Leila,

What a wonderfully compasionate person you are. We need more people like you in this country. People who can look at the human side of things. If we could loose our fear of others we would see that they are just like us...

I would like you to explain how reporting on Iraq has changed your perception of the world.

"I would have liked to have seen the word "oil" come up in this interiew....."

I think this was to be presupposed!

I would have liked to have seen the word "oil" come up in this interiew.....

Respect to Ms Fadel. I have been reading her work for some time and I would never have guess she was just 26! What impressive poise and competence. More power to your pen & best wishes to your team. And now I cannot wait for Bill's interview with Rev Wright! What singular singular you make happen, Mr Moyers. Thank you.

Leila, can you talk a little about the censorship law in Iraq and how well it is -- or isn't -- enforced by the Iraqi government, as well as other constraints journalists face there.

Dear Leila Fadel, you and Bill Moyer made my nite as my husband and I watched your interview with Bill. You are an inspiration to me as a brilliant young woman doing your utmost, having unbelieveable courage, bringing fair unbiased reporting on this debacle and tragedy of human life in Iraq. God Bless you! rose romani thank you from my heart!

Dear Leila,

We, in Lebanon, are so proud of you and of the great humanitarian efforts you exert in such an awkward and hostile environment. Your bravery, self-control, honesty and hard work are crowned with your great integrity. Rarely have I seen a Journalist your age who has the wisdom, courage and non-bias attitude to what is going on in Iraq. Congratulations on the Polk award. You have earned it and deserve a patriot's award recognition too. Please be safe.

Mr. Moyers, thank you for this great interview.

Raouf Hinnawi - Lebanon

Mr. Moyers, thank you for another brilliant program, and Ms. Fadel, thank you for your courageous and inciteful work. Hats off to both of you.

Robert Wilks said:

"Thank you for the fantastic interview with Ms. Fadel. I learned so much - that Sadr was the resistance leader against Sadaam Hussein, then turned his aim at the US whom he saw as invaders, then turned his aim against Sunnis in response to violence against Shia, and then brutally turned his aim against anyone, including Shia, who disagreed with him. And that now, the US-backed Shia government of Iraq has been reaching out to Iran (also Shia), who has successfully brokered the Sadr stand-down order. And now we are complaining about Iranian influence?"

Robert, I think you might be misinterpreting Leila (though hopefully she'll take this up in her responses). Al-Sadr has always been hostile towards the U.S. He's an Iraqi nationalist, and avowedly non-sectarian (though could not say the same about some forces in his militia during 2005/2006). He is also the most popular political leader in Iraq, it seems, by far.

He has not 'turned his aim' against the Sunnis - the Mahdi Army during the 2006 'civil war' (perhaps an inappropriate term) was a highly decentralized and disorderly militia that he, personally, would have been unable to control (thus his recent purge of the organization and its increased centralization). To place the blame on al-Sadr (he is, of course, not totally innocent) would be to ignore the role of the sectarian Badr Brigades - the militia of the SIIC (key U.S. AND Iranian allies in the Iraqi government), who have essentially become the Iraqi police force.

It's also not completely correct to say that al-Sadr has 'turned his aim' on other Shi'a parties. For one thing, he's consistently resisted occupation. So, in a way, you're correct, in that his aim has always been on those parties that have collaborated with the occupation regime. However, the recent attacks by the 'Iraqi forces' (i.e. the Badr Brigade and SIIC) on Basra and Sadr City can only be understood in the context of there being an election coming up in a few months. With the Sadrists being the most popular political force in the country, the ongoing harassment of their rank-and-file, and now the assault on their bases, is almost certainly at attempt to smash them before the election. The Sadrists were, in fact, in a ceasefire (which partially bolstered the 'success' of the 'surge') until very recently, when THEY were attacked by the U.S., British, and 'Iraqi' forces. Their response has been defensive, in this respect.

It should also be pointed out that al-Sadr, though having some historical and family ties with Iran, is not on best terms with them. He is, above all, an Iraqi nationalist. Iran, as Leila said, has money on every party in Iraq - however, right now, their main allies are, ironically, Da'wa and the SIIC, to two parties backed by the U.S. Al-Sadr has publicly denounced Iranian influence in Iraq (which is not to say that he has been completely averse to dealing with them - of course, Iran had helped broker the recent ceasefire deal, as Leila pointed out).

This is the situation as I understand it anyhow. Hopefully Leila will speak on the extremely important role of al-Sadr in Iraq's future =O.

An original and fresh poetess,
Naomi Shahib Nye.
Found the 9/11 cliche',
Stuck to her boot.

Who did all those colorful things,
We now misinterpret?
It was our common grandmothers,
Born centuries ago.

Bloggers proclaim things to
exercise programmed voices.
Where are the Doers of our time?
Words are ephemeral without
Praxis is a faraway land.

My new project includes your children.
I will make Doers of them by my example.
We will not know one another,
When we meet in that great afterlife market,
But you will thank me in the spirit.

This is my poem for Ms. Nye, and in celebration of poetry month. I am back in Dallas this week.

Hi Leila,

I've read Patrick Cockburn of The Independent reporting that Moqtada al-Sadr has, over the last year or so, been attempting to purge the Mahdi Army of sectarian killers and criminals. It seems to me that this is quite an important development, given al-Sadr's continual denunciation of sectarianism and espousal of nationalism (in spite of some viciously sectarian elements in the Mahdi Army) . So, is this accurate? Is the Mahdi Army, as a result, less active in sectarian killings than it was in the previous years? And, is there any chance that this purge might signal at least a minor rapprochement between the Mahdi Army and more moderate Sunni resistance groups (i.e. not the al-Qaeda influenced groups)?

Thank you - your work is truly courageous.

Millions of Iraqi refugees have fled their homes for Syria, Jordan, safer locations within Iraq and a few other countries. Only a very few have found sanctuary in the U.S. Doesn't the U.S. have an obligation to these families? Our military and government have made a shambles of their country, yet Syria and Jordan are somehow responsible for housing and feeding millions while the U.S. does nothing? Our government cheats its own wounded veterans, our media totally ignore the wounded Iraqis - do we have any idea how many? - except for a few poster children. How do we begin to compensate whole civilizations? When do we start? Have the leaders no shame?

I was very impressed with your knowledge of the current situation in Iraq. You do not sugar coat anything and have a very realistic view of what is happening. It was refreshing to hear an unbiased report. I was also impacted by your bravery, humbleness and acceptance of another culture. I wish you safety and victory in your journey through these dangerous lands.

Dear Leila,

Thank you for the reporting you are doing. Congratulations on your award, you are a brave, dedicated, and amazing in what you are reporting. I hope you will be safe and able to continue your important work.

Ms Fadel, I really enjoyed watching your interview. I served in Iraq last year and I totally believe in your cepiction of all the major players in Iraq, each of the major players there are not totally without blame, including the US Military. My question is, is there anything that I can do to help you, your staff, of the people that you see in Iraq? Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and all the others on here.

Dear Mr. Moyers:

Again, you have presented some real news and Leila Fadel was a very impressive journalist in a time when broadcast journalism has become part of the greedy corporate culture that marks this nation. I felt like you are believeable and very able. Moyer's Journal is the only trustworthy source available to me. Everything else must must be carefully filtered and considered to be part of "news" media's corporate agenda. No trust in the rest. The best journalism appears on Bill Moyer's Journal. Been watching for years. Thank You.

Thank you for appearing on Moyers Journal. You are very articulate and much braver than I ever was. Your insights on the present Iraqi situation really helped be understand so much better. The American broadcast media is a joke and an abomination. Please continue your brave work and I will pray that you are never harmed. God bless you. (Retired journalist in SC)

Liela Bill i noticed yu Liela gave bill an opening to ask about the US support for insurgents in Iran
Bill you failed
Leila you should have pushed it

Ms. Fadel,
Please expand upon your interview comment that Iran could establish security in Iraq if the US withdraws its military force.
1. Without considering what the US or al Qaeda in Iraq would be doing in the meantime, what do you think would happen if Iran were in charge of security in Iraq instead of the US?
2. Do you think Iran and al-Sadr would try to eliminate other Shiite sects, Sunni's, or Kurds or would there be less killing?

Thank you for your efforts and being there in Baghdad. Congratulations on your Polk award.
Eric Schlanser
South Haven, MI

Dear Mr. Moyers,

Thank you so much for your wonderful program on Friday with Leila Fadel. What an amazing woman she is. With how bad the media has gotten in the US, it is refreshing and heartening to listen to an intelligent, honest voice. I bet her parents are very proud of her.
It gives me great hope about the young people in our country, and the fact that they are smart, forward thinking, and don't necessarily seem to be driven just by financial gains.
Thank you again for such a wonderful interview, it made me very hopeful about the future of American journalism.

Kind regards,
Melissa Murray

Thank you both for a valuable and informative interview!

Here's my question: Leila, if you were to became the US president today, and could get congress to do your bidding, what would our Iraqi (and Middle Eastern?) policy become? In other words, what would you (have us) do?


Wow. Cool show. Cool blog. Your blog, "Inside Iraq" really takes you places you've never seen on the news (not your mamma's news) very easy to read, cool Blogroll too with Baghdad Burning and Mojo setting the records straight. I knew it was chaos, didn't know how much.

This is actually very hip, and applause to the Mc. Reporters of Iraq, on both the S and S sides.

Interesting. If the USA withdraws, then Iran would come in and take care of the security issues? That makes so much sense, considering the proximity. We'd then best back off on Iran, could SAVE the USA a lot of lives & A LOT OF MONEY!

Peace and Thanks 2 for your contribution, all you do. May all be blessed and the harmony of Life be felt by all. Keep up the good work.

Suddenly, the news from Iraq is Fashionable.

How did Leila Fadel learn to speak conversational Arabic? That capability was practically ignored by Bill Moyers, yet next to no American journalists are even close to being conversational in any foreign language.
I can just imagine if more journalists were either conversational or bilingual in Arabic that the general situation would be quite different.

Ms. Fadel, please allow me to thank you for the valuable information provided during your interview on The Journal with the esteemed Bill Moyers. Your insight and honesty made understanding the situation easier. Why are the American news agencies ignoring the Iranian/Iraqi governmental connection and why has there been no information given to the American audiences regarding Iran's willingness to fill the security needs mounting in Iraq? I must also ask your forgiveness and understanding of the ignorant, ill-educated individuals posting derogatory comments on this post. These same types of individuals exist worldwide creating bias and controversy with their uninformed rhetoric. They seem to be running rampant in the U.S. at the moment.

Thank you for the fantastic interview with Ms. Fadel. I learned so much - that Sadr was the resistance leader against Sadaam Hussein, then turned his aim at the US whom he saw as invaders, then turned his aim against Sunnis in response to violence against Shia, and then brutally turned his aim against anyone, including Shia, who disagreed with him. And that now, the US-backed Shia government of Iraq has been reaching out to Iran (also Shia), who has successfully brokered the Sadr stand-down order. And now we are complaining about Iranian influence? Wow - I never learned that from commercial news media. Nor from my president, who simply calls everyone a "terrorist" and then washes his hands of the matter.

That Mason Wright down below needs to be flogged, crippled, then thrown in a closet with two angry badgers. The fact is that she is WHERE all the action is. She talks to the people during battles. She knows the militia men by name. She's performing arguably the most dangerous job in the world today, so people like you & me can understand what is happening on the ground Iraq. She should be treated as a Hero. She has certainly earned her post.

And what do you do Mr. Wright? Stay online all day to criticize others? Are you upset maybe because you didn't follow your dreams like Leila has? Suck Wind, Mason.


After seeing your interview on Bill's show I am moved to write and thank you for your awesome skills to communicate the picture missed by most. You are beautiful and articulate- thank you. As for my question: If America (the Bush part) relaxes its suicidal urge to harm that region can be friends on the governmental level?

That Mason Wright down below needs to be flogged, crippled, then thrown in a closet with two angry badgers. The fact is that she is WHERE all the action is. She talks to the people during battles. She knows the militia men by name. She's performing arguably the most dangerous job in the world today, so people like you & me can understand what is happening on the ground Iraq. She should be treated as a Hero. She has certainly earned her post.

And what do you do Mr. Wright? Stay online all day to criticize others? Are you upset maybe because you didn't follow your dreams like Leila has? Suck Wind, Mason.

Ms Fadel,

I am very impressed by your honesty, integrity and professionalism. I wish there were many more twenty-six year-olds like you.

The interview with Ms. Fadel was one of the best things I've heard or seen in a long time. At last, someone who has solid knowledge to share with us, and no "axe to grind" but learning and telling the truth. I worry about her personal safety, but applaud the great job she's doing.

Ms. Fadel,
I've admired your reporting and was happy to see you on PBS.

Can you tell me how one tells a Shia from a Sunni? Is there a difference in the way they dress? Is there difference in the number of times they practice the Call to Worship? Is there any way you can tell a Shia from a Sunni just by talking to them without asing?

I tried to find some information on this, but cannot.

Thank you so much and keep up the good work.


You were asked if Al Queda were controlled by external forces and you responded by talking about 2003 and prior. Does it matter now if they were not there prior to 2003? Why would you want to make that point at this time?

My dear I am afraid you are very biased and I could smell the rat as Moyers led you through his Q list designed to elicit those very responses.

Bill.. how stupid do you think we are?

Mr Laboto's use of the work "ulterior" I find odd. Webster says for ulterior: going beyond what is openly said or shown and especially what is proper .

At first I thought he did not like what Ms Fadel had to say, but reading on I see that he is for withdrawal now. Confusing!

Big, bad wolf? I think rather fat, greedy pig, greedy for oil resources.

Bad, yes! When a nation formulates policy it shoud first remember to do no harm.

I could not help but feel that Leila Fadel ulterior message is that America is the big bad wolf. Bush, Channey and Rumsfeld may be the original axis of evil that created this war, but do we just up and leave? As an occupying foreign army we are the enemy. Rather than stay where we are not wanted, I say leave and let the cards lie where they fall.
Scott Lbato, Chico CA.

Leila Fadel is my hero of the day. I admire your courage and your understanding.

My question for you is, do you foresee a peaceful Iraq where all these mixed families (Shi'a and Sunni, and others) will again be "practical" and what is the path there?

Leila Fadel,

I am trying to understand the situation in Iraq. It is certainly complicated, but your interview with Bill Moyers helped.

Apparently there are 3 or 4 wars going on all at once. My understanding is that the main conflict is between the Shia and the Sunni, do you agree? The Maliki government is Shia and Muqtada al-Sadr is also Shia, so why are they fighting? You would think that they should be working together against their common enemy, the Sunni. I know al-Sadr wants the American troops out now, does he have any other differences with Maliki?

Who is the leader of the Sunnis in Iraq? I never hear about their leaders. Why?

Don D. Davis

Bread for the world - Apr 4,
and Bread for the world - Apr 11 have different tags.

Presumably, I would think the tags which applied Apr 4th largely also apply Apr 11th especially if as noted it was a "continued" conversation.

When I'm trying to find common topical themes using the same tags across "continued" conversations helps.



Bill Moyers stands taller than any contemporary man I can think of. His contributions are phenomenal and necessary. In Ms. Fadel, we have just been introduced to Mr. Moyer's female equivalent. We can never thank both of you enough, for everything you do.

OK.. this is obvious. Moyers' audience are simply brainwashed by Mr Moyers. If that was an interview I am the Pope. Mr Moyers is NOT CAPABLE of interviewing this young ;journalist' because his agenda was to work her as little as possible knowing full well what her take on it was because it is the same as his. Simple, bad, biased journalism. Now .. on to Mz Fadel. Mam. You need to put a few years on before you can truly be an unbiased reporter. I found your reporting to be very one sided and biased. Comparable to that of many people your age. I can't blame you I thin you are simply too young to hold a post such as you do.

Thank God for all that Iraqi oil eh? Man.. otherwise what.. gas would be $4+ .. and over a hunderd bucks a barrel! Can you imagine that! Good thing we went in for oil (reference to the kool aid drinking viewership of Moyers)

Now.. let's talk about alSadr. This is ONE sick man. Just LOOKING at his face and sunken black eyes .. oh.. that is one sick puppy. And hey. HE IS IN IRAN! D'oh. one hell of a leader that guy eh? He's a big bearded chicken.

I didn't get much from your interview that I haven't heard form ABC, CNN or any of the other limp wristed reporters who go their to fulfill their agenda or that of their respective media.

Mz. Fadel The REASON you are only on Moyers' show is because this is the audience for your form of bias. They love it.

I found it enlightening watching you gloss over the factual realities in Iraq to make your points. I saw you stretch often in order to place the US in the darkest position possible. You downplayed Iran's disruptive role and never even mentioned that the evil fat man Al Sadr is IN IRAN hiding while he sends his killers out to kill Iraqis AND Americans. I was appalled as Moyers simply rode with you in amazement without ever taking you to task on any of your statements. Somehow.. your take on everything is correct and not tainted and clearly purely journalism. Anyone over 30 can see that you are a biased, female, journalist. Seen so many it is like a blur.

This guy AlSadr is one of the most evil, sick, deceptive murderous thugs on the planet. They should have killed him or should kill him soon. His militias should be disbanded or killed post haste. no free country can have two disparate armies and NO country should have armies controlled by religious zealots like AlSadr.

I was sickened by your smugness and very disturbed by Moyers' obvious bias and inability to do the job of a journalist.

Wow, simply Amazing. I notified friends and family members to watch this video. I will read everything I can that was written by Leila. I'm A fan. I applaud you on your courage. Keep up the good work. Peace and Love , Art & Teresa S.

Leila Fadel and Bill Moyers. What a stunning conversation on Iraq and
Iran. An example of truth to power if I ever heard one. You both make
invaluable and vital human contributions to the public good, the shared
commons of our understanding of public affairs. The whole world is
watching and trying to learn the truth of these forces of our future in
war and peace. Please, both of you continue your unique and eloquent
public contributions.

Phil Kessinger, #date
Burns, Oregon

Ms. Fadel,

Thank you for your unfathomable service of reporting the real news in Iraq, to whatever extent you are able. All Americans so desperately need to hear the kind of news reporting done by you and your staff so we can be better informed, and therefore better able to distinguish truth from lies from our own government and the sychophantic reporting of the so-called "mainstream media".

That you are only 26 years old yet leading the McClatchy bureau in Baghdad so courageously and effectively honestly takes my breath away! As a parent of five well-educated and idealistic children in their early twenties, I am stunned at how much you have been able to accomplish at so young an age. But, thinking like a parent, I am also very worried for your safety. Please use the utmost caution as you continue your stellar work in Iraq. Whereas the news you report should be welcomed by most, surely there are factions (perhaps including U.S.-backed factions) in the splintered political landscape that is Iraq who would wish to do you harm for exposing the truth to the light of day through your reporting.

Best wishes and congratulations on your well-deserved award.

Dear Leila,
Honey, do your Mom and Dad know what you're doing?
If you were my daughter, I would be so proud--and probably need to be medicated. I watch the nightly news on PBS and always stay for the pictures and names of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.It seems like the least I can do is see those faces.
Margaret Collinge Britt
Ann Arbor, MI

Thank you for the wonderful interview, but I have two questions.
Three, I have never heard this question asked so here goes. Why are we calling what is happening is Iraq a civil war instead of anarchy. Are we fearful of the A word which would me that for all our efforts would be in vain.
Second, Do you think we will put our own guy in to stabilize the county? If we want to have influence in Iraq does not the US govt have to do it because by its very nature if an Iraq government mirrors the feeling of the people it wuld have to be anti-US.
Lastly, is not the worst outcome of this folly that when all is said and done, Iraq will be worse than before the invasion?

This was a fascinating interview and I hope that I can see a repeat since I missed the first part. Your explanation of the Sunni,Shia relationship and who the militias are was wonderful.I wonder if George Bush was watching.You are incredibly thoughtful for your years.

The reason we invaded Iraq is as old as mankind. Power, greed and elitism.

There is an old "peace" song from the sixties, "One Tin Sodier" based on the poem The Legend of Billy Jack that illustrates the flawed lodgic.

Google, One Tin Soldier.

What a tragedy that the true lessons of Vietnam were ignored by this administration.

May we have the courage to withdraw before we loose yet another generation of young Americans.

Dear Leila,

Do you think the reason behind our invasion and occupation of Iraq is simply 'Texas Tea'?


I hope you become Secretary of State someday! You are surely correct in stating that an exhausted U.S. Army will not invade Iran. But
in light of the comments by Lieberman, Petreus, Bush and Cheney, do you think it possible that the U.S. may widen the war by bombing Iran? Remember Vietnam.
Keep up the good work!

I hope you become Secretary of State someday! As you say, the exhausted U.S. Army simply cannot invade Iran. I have two questions: Considering the comments of Liebermann, Petreus, Bush and Cheney, do you think that Bush might widen the war by bombing Iran's nuclear facilities? Is there a parallel here to the war in Vietnam? I hope not.
Thanks, Leila, for your work.

An interesting, gound-level view of the situation in Iraq! But I find some questions that are rarely addressed regarding the current situation: Why did al-Sadr declare and then extend his cease fire? What has he been up to during this cease fire? Are we seeing the calm before the storm? How is al-Sadr and the cease fire seen by Iraqis?

Thank you, Ms. Fadel, for such intelligent reporting - and many thanks to Bill Moyer for such a literate program!

Brian Finn
Wellesley, MA

What an extraordinary interview! Ms Fadel is nothing short of amazing and brilliant. She tells it like it is rather than trying to give solutions. She is a true reporter and observer. As one who has lived in the middle east and Africa for a total of 18 years, I can assure you very few reporters I have seen or read have the unbiased and humble eloquence and ability to connect with people the way she does. Hopefully we will hear a lot more from Ms Fadel in the future.

A wonderful session. I would appreciate Ms. Fadel's opinion of a complete american withdrawal and the consequences. Thank you.

I think about the war a lot but Ms. Fadel did not hold my interest that much. My subjective take is although her anecdotes were v. good, and I learned a few things (like Iraqis not fighting a rival militia because of moral objection), I prefer if an interviewee, especially a journalist, shows deeper analysis. I didn’t think there was too much hard journalistic evidence and not much new added -- especially for a (Knight Ridder owner) McLatchy Bureau Chief Arabic-speaking woman with a staff of ten (including "fixers") using a network of stringers. This almost had a quality of one of the v. early post-9/11 Frontline pieces on things Mid-Eastern.

Maybe she can’t give opinions (which was disappointing too) but for her assessment of whether things are improving there with “I can move around a bit more,” or “…violence is down” was disappointing. I’d have preferred journalism that investigated whether prisoners who are stating that Iran is involved are being tortured or what’s happening to the dollars or what’s happening with the oil contracts or the military contractors, rather than hear, say, about inter-faith Shia-Sunni marriages. It's hard to believe that even the most seasoned of embedded journalists can get the full, true story, let alone Ms. Fadel.

Mr. Moyers' comforting style almost did not make up for Ms. Fadel's lack of experience and informal manner. From a humanistic and personal side, her outgoing personality was suited to the human interest component, but with the colossal snow job we’ve been receiving from this administration and the media, particularly revolving around Iraq and now Iran, I’d like to see more uncovering of the lies.

Yes, the story of the 7 y/o whose mother was killed was very, very sad, but the American public is inured to the bloodshed, and may not become as enraged about it as say five-dollar-per-gallon gas, so unless we can get some hard hitting from the press both at home and in the field neither President Clinton nor President Obama may find it easy to deliver us from this nightmare. Sorry but I think we need some Chomsky-level fact-finding.

Ms. Fadel, I have not heard such a clear explanation and picture of what is going on in Iraq until now, thank you. My question is about the fluidness of the Iraqi population. At first we heard there was there was a return of exiles when Saddam was captured , then many leave due to the violence, then we hear many returning with the "success" of the "surge"...what is the actual state of the population?

It was very interesting and I could relate to the humanitarian perspective. Too bad the US politicans do not take the advise of their former leaders. If I remember right, Pres Eisenhower and some military leaders said in the 50s to stay out of the ME.

Leila mentioned, "What is the victory?" Let the military and political leaders ask and answer this question.

Leila, you are a Champion. You're doing the most admirable and possibly the most important job in the world right now. You've got huevos.
I'm sure you have family and friends sending you stuff, and other ways of getting supplies that are not easily obtainable in the Baghdad area, maybe through your Bureau, etc. But is there anything I can send you from So. California? A certain kind of soap, or music, dvd, coffee? Anything. I'm serious. It would be fun, and exciting to feel involved.


I teach high school government. A young lady in my class responded to a criticism of the war by stating, "Sure it's hell, but they are a lot better off than with Saddam. I pretty sure that most Iraqis would prefer this to how it was before we took him out."
How does one respond to this?

I honor your courage and commitment. U.S. policy is abetting tribalism and sectarianism and appears to be undermining the possibility of achieving a viable government. Is there concern among Iraqi people that the U.S. is intentionally promoting instability in Iraq and the Middle East out of self interest? How do Iraqi people view the occupation? What is their message for America?

What about the oil??

I appreciate and applaud your candidness about the many ironies involved with the US 'emancipation' of Iraq (particularly the point that the War there has actually strengthened both al Qaeda and Iran's presence and influence in that country).

But what I never hear about from any of the media is what is going on with the oil? (I have heard that the Bush Administration is frustrated that not enough oil revenue is going towards rebuilding - but that's not really so much what I'm concerned about). When I see the images of all the suffering the Iraqi people are going through, -I can't help wondering if it was worth it. And I can't help wondering why we never hear anything about the oil. It seems like the big gorilla in the room, that nobody ever, ever mentions. The topic definitely seems to be taboo.

Are you aware of any serious investigative reporting/journalism occurring on the subject? Is there really no story there? It seems the oil industry is able to go about its business unnoticed in Iraq while we're distracted by all the violence and chaos in the streets. What exactly are they up to? (And who are "they"? Are US oil companies there? Are the Saudi's there?).

Again, I appreciate and laud your depth of understanding/coverage of the human toll of the war (particularly with regard to the Sunnis and Shiites), but I also find myself wondering why we never hear about the coveted oil that must have been somewhat of factor for stirring up the hornets nest.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Stay safe & Peace to the Iraqi People,

(p.s. to Bill, -if you're ever in Portland, OR - we'd love to have you over for dinner!)

Thank you so much for the straight forward talk on what is REALLY going on in Iraq.

Have you had interaction with the young woman who writes the Baghdad Burning blog? She has not posted since last October, from Syria I believe, and I often wonder if we will hear from her again. Her blog was terrific, and her story confirms what I heard you say on Bill Moyers' show.

You are sharp, hot, & have a great heart. We are lucky to have you.

My question: what is your favorite book?

Leila thank you so much for your courage and bravery for going into places most people dare not go, to bring the world a true and objective account of what's really going on in Iraq. We in the West know so little of the subtlties that drive this on-going conflict that it's commendable that someone such as yourself will risk her life to bring us the information we need to know. Thank you for putting a human face to the victims of this conflict, both Iraqi and American.

My question for you is what do you think the ramifacations would be if Maliki were successful in pushing Muqtada al Sadr out of the political process? Surely he holds so much influence with his Mahdi Army that this would be a futile attempt. Was not Basra evidence of this? How much more chaos would there be in Iraq if the Mahdi Army were given free rein? Your thoughts would be most appriciated. Keep up the outstanding job you do and be safe.

Isn't what's happening in Iraq the same basic gang turf wars that have been happening around the world for as long as anyone can find? I know the word "gang" has negative connotations today, & we prefer to call the neighborhood protective societies "militias", but this is just about turf. From what I can see, the government doesn't really have any power, & the US military presence is seen as an intrusion by a bigger & better armed gang. Has anybody who claims to be in control even suggested multilateral negotiations between the various "militias"?

Laila Fidal---I honor your deep courage and dedication to your art. You are a BLESSING to us all in your search for the truth, your respect and humanization of our Iraqi brothers and sisters and your desire to assure that the truth, as objective as possible, gets revealed. You and your colleagues are in my heart and prayer...Continue the GOOD work!

Could you please report on the prostitution in Iraq...rumors of young girls being "forced" into sex with American soldiers for ten dollars a screw. I was told by a US medic that the military cannot keep condoms in stock. Is this true? Are these girls volunteering or raped into a job? Who are these soldiers sleeping with?

Thank you Bill for another great show!
What a privilege to hear Leila talk about the facts of 'what is', meaning the situation in Iraq without all the spin and without the ulterior motives that we hear in the opinions and rhetoric of the news media and politicians.
Thank you Leila for being present with whomever you are with and thus able to be compassionate by seeing we are all humankind. It is sad that we are divided by beliefs and that people are willing to kill and to die for those beliefs.
My question is what is the reaction to the US building the largest Embassy in the world in Baghdad (105 acres, 27 buildings, 619 apartments, restaurants, indoor and outdoor swimming pools,tennis courts,etc.) while so many Iraqi people are without electricity and have been driven out of their homes?
It looks to me like we plan a long stay in order to control their oil.

Hello Leila,
I admire your dedication to your work but I question your common sense and I wonder why you have so little value for your life. Why would anyone put their life in such danger? I cannot think of anything important enough to risk throwing away ones life for it and especially on a mess like Iraq. It's too bad that the chances are you will either be shot or tortured to death and forgotten about. I just wish you would not return to that hell. Stay here where you have a somewhat better chance of not being shot. Take care.

Leila Fadel is the bravest.

Best insight into what is going on the ground in Iraq that I have heard. Outstanding interview.

Also such with Dr. Nussbaum, whom I have studied but never heard speak. However, I am aware of nothing important that would be lost if there were an absolute separation of church and state. Since that is not possible, I believe every effort should be directed toward less entanglement rather than more. The court is wrong to allow public funds for sectarian projects.

Leila, Thank are an intelligent and courageous reporter. I am so pleased to have seen your interview with Bill Moyers; I will be following your blog in the future.
My question is, you mentioned when hiring local people you ask them if they are Shia or Sunni which is understandable and necessary. How do the locals, particularly the insurgents, identify individuals as Shia or Sunni? Who do they know to attack in a mixed neighborhood? How do the American soldiers differentiate? Thank you.

Thank you, Leila and Bill, for deepening my understanding of the quagmire we've created in a culture very foreign to most of us, while being at the same time one that's full of humans just like us.

My thoughts and prayers are with you. May you be always safe and free to continue your important work.

I hesitated to tune in to begin with because I was afraid I'd get even more depressed and angry. I was very glad I did, however, even though I had to step outside for a moment to weep a little over the insanity we've created for so many people.

Your courage, Leila, is greatly appreciated. It's so important for us to have the unadulterated and balanced truth coming to us. I think the TRUE freedom of the press is one of the most essential elements in maintaining freedom. We just don't get nearly enough of that lately. And that terrifies me.

I would love to hear your opinion about what will happen to the Iraqi people when we do leave, which I fervently hope will happen no later than the beginning of 2009. This war seems to be the perfect example of the idea that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Did the withdrawl from Basra (southern Iraq zone)by British military allow/cause/or otherwise contribute to that area's conflicts recently? Are there any U.S./ Iraqi plans--now--because those troops left and this seems to have been a result? 2.Is there a belief among most Iraqi people in the cities, towns and rural areas that they want/can take controls and rule themselves without the U.S. forces? From your experience what would you predict will be Iraq's ability to exist with "success" if we got our military out of there in 2 years?

The interview was wonderful; the human connection to what's happening to Iraq powerful. Both of you, keep up the good work. Along the lines of another blog: As much as I disagree (always disagreed) with this war and want out of Iraq as soon as possible, I just don't see a way that the US can or should leave anytime soon, given the chaos that I assume would follow. Ms. Fadel, do you think that a withdrawal (over the next two or three years) would create anything else but havoc? What would your "benchmarks" for withdrawal be?

This week's Pentagon report called the Iraqi occupation a debacle. If three hundred thousand Iraq veterans, beyond the wounded and several hundred thousand head trauma sufferers, are seeking help for PTSD (especially female personnel) and many others are huding their condition (Rand Report) they must have seen unbearable things and realize the U.S. shouldn't be there. Let's spend as much on alternative energy as we do on war for profit (A goldrush at gunpoint for defense contractors) and then we'll have something to offer the world besides puppet government and sham democracy. First we have to overcome puppet government and sham democravy at home.
Big media will kick and sdream the whole way, while censoring the Leila Fadels.

Hello Leila,

Thanks for your intelligent and experience-filled insights into the current situation in Iraq. I have a question which I will try to keep straightforward:

What would happen in Iraq if the U.S. pulled out all its troops within the next year? Assuming there is a violent civil war going on in Iraq now, would it get even more violent and end only when either the Shia or the Sunnis prevail? Would Iran try to take over Iraq? Or would some combination of the above occur, or even something else entirely?

I realize forecasting such an event is fraught with difficulty, but I am anxious to hear your idea of what a "most likely" scenario would be.

Thank you and good luck,

Jim Sullivan
Ventura, CA

Thanks, Leila, for telling us the truth.

Thank you for your refreshing and beautiful expression. You are beautiful and wise way beyond your years. Keep the wonderful attitude.

Leila Fadel - thank you for your strength and courage to bring us the unvarnished reality of Iraq. I started to say truth - but that is a purely subjective opinion. The Iraqis have it right - WE ARE THE BAD GUYS, occupying their country and stealing their oil. That's why there is no exit plan - there is no intention to leave like McCain said '...for a hundred years...'. Thank you so much for giving me an understanding of the religiously based Hatfields and McCoys family tribal warfare. Now the Sunis and Shias make complete sense to me - revenge, revenge, revenge - just like the Catholics and Protestants in Northersn Ireland; different players - same game; My Dogs Bigger Than Your Dog and I've got a gun to prove it if you want to argue. Hard to accept USA as the Bad Guys but after eight years of Cheney/Bush anything is possible. Bless you for your courage. After this report your life won't be worth a plug nickle in Iraq. Cover your back lady. You're only as good as your usefulness to the tribe you're reporting on at that moment. They killed that other Arabic woman reporter who told 'the truth'...

Thank you so much Leilia Fadel for telling the realities of Iraq. As a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Panama X, 1966-1967) I think I comprehend why it is so important to speak the local language to be able to communicate with the nationals of your country both conceptually and evocatively.

You gave me a lot to think about tonight. Thank you.

Ms. Fadel, thank you for your work. I have become not only an everyday reader of McClatchy but also of your blog. I pass it often to my friends both "right and left".

Do you believe in the end Iraq will end up as three or more independent countries? Perhaps sharing oil revenue.

I am so glad I caught your fascinating interview. Congratulations on your award - and on your courage. The stories about fathers not being able to visit their daughters because of the shia/sunni separation is very sad. My question is: given that it is a difference of believe in who should have carried on after Mohammed's death, how do strangers recognize people like the visiting father as not being sunni (or shia) in the first place?

Leila Fadel, you are a refreshing glance at what a true journalist should be. I love Bill Moyers and his conviction to tell the whole story. Perhaps one day you can return to join forces with him to continue this much needed venue for some salvation of the truth of matters that affect all of us.

I find it very difficult to intellectualize the insanity and suffering you report so well. I believe your intelligent and humane coverage is a crucial truth telling. How much more tragic if the world did not know what is really going on in Iraq! Thank you for your courage and dedication. May you live a long and satisfying life!

I think Bob Guzauskas has it wrong. He compares the Pearl Harbor attack to 9/11 and Japan to Iraq. Iraq didn't attack us. An un-allied self-funded terrorist group centered in Afghanistan attacked us. Once we accept that's what happened we may begin to realize that no level of violence is 'acceptable'. Invading Iraq made us become that which we despise.

Now for my question, Leila indicated Iran felt it might be able to handle the security vacuum were the U.S. to leave Iraq. Would Iraqi's accept Iran stepping in? Would they see them as a foreign occupying force? Or would Iraqi's be more willing to accept Iran's role as 'peace-keepers' in Iraq? I would love to see the U.N. and State Dept. and Iran work out a peace agreement like this if there was any possibility of success.

just a wonderful broadcast this evening. i was mesmerized by both guests. thank you

A question that may be forgiven because no one has come close to answering: Is there still in Iraq a remnant of the ancient Jewish community, from the Babylonian Captivity, which authored the Babylonian Talmud? and how do they fare?

One of if not THE most interesting and courageous person that I have ever seen. I look forward to following your writings in the future. Thank you so much for the enlightenment...

The ordinary news viewer is left speechless! Ms Fadel MUST do a book, and keep out of such ovefrwhelming danger for long enough to finish it.

Congratulations to her and to Moyers
- H. Box, UU Minister

Leila Fadel - what a super interview! Mature way beyond 26, so perceptive, so caring and just all around brilliant. Being able to integrate into the sunni, shia and american landscape as necessary, and understanding the language, without translation, just brings a much superior understanding of what's going on that is hard, if not impossible, to acquire through translation. I hope you invite her back soon and often.

As a former war correspondent of sorts I wish you continued good fortune, and my thanks for doing the kind of job that nearly never gets done, but I hope you are planning plastic surgery or at least a hair dye job before you return.

Ms Fadel, I compliment you on your dedication and courage to report in a dangerous and confusing but important area of our world. However, I do hope that you can distinguish between how the U.S. military acts and how the terrorists operate (by the way, what is the word for "unholy" war?). The U.S. military does not clothe mentally handicapped women in suicide vests and detonate them in marketplaces or send truck bombs into funerals. I know the Iraqi civilians can distinguish these differences. My husband's unit was in Iraq for a year and will be returning shortly. In 2005 one of the mother's of their interpreters would send them food weekly. One of their shared meals was just after a conflict in a village between US forces and "others". The interpreter was asked if he knew any of the Iraqi casualties and he replied that his uncle had been killed. The US soldiers said they were sorry to which the Iraqi replied, "Oh, no. He was a very bad man." It would be nice to think that everyone is the same and wants good things for all but that just isn't true. To me what the Iraqis and a lot of the rest of the world knows but we would like to ignore is that a fight between good and evil is a fight for life and death. I will be interested in reading your blog and thank you for continuing to report. May you be covered in safety and kept from harm. For those interested in background reading may I suggest The Foreigners Gift and the Looming Tower.

Ms. Fadel, I was truly impressed with your comprehensive understanding of this sad and confusing war. You helped me understand things about the situation that I actually didn't realize were occurring. That is good jounalism. To boot I will be looking for your byline and your bureau reports.

My question is this. The Sunni and Shia have had this long running religious dispute which often times turns deadly. Have there been times and ways when they have been able to get along and not try to subjugate each other? What were the essential elements for them to live in peace?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and I look forward to reading your reports.

I think Leila Fadel is very brave for being in such a terrible place, but I also thank her for being there. I wish America would leave the muslims alone, and remove our forces from there especially since they don't know what they are doing there.

I'm so glad I caught your interview. Congratulations on your award. I learned more about what is going on in Iraq from how you explained it. Since you have been working with Iraqis and Americans, what do you tell the other group about each other? One example you gave was of how the US Soldiers would defend their houses had they been taken over. Do you have more examples of trying to get the Iraqis and Americans to empathize with each other?

Dear Leila,
You are obviously a very brave, caring and intelligent reporter. As a Catholic I believe what we have witnessd is exacatly what Pope John Paul II warned against. He was very strong on his belief that it was an unjust war and the United States should not intervene militarily. We have destroyed a nation and it will never be the same. Unjust as his administration was the Pope that through pressure and diplomacy we could have achieved the desired results. What is your belief from your experience? Peace, FrBrian

Ignatio can type faster than I can. Please tell the people of Iraq a lot of us here have fought to stop the war from starting,fought to have our soldiers come home and leave you in peace knowing we had no reason to be there....
i am sorry and sad about the death and distruction we could not stop. All but your newspaper ignored war critics, sorry Laura

Ms. Fadel and Mr. Moyers: I was captivated by your conversation. Ms. Fadel, a simple question, what do you think may be the destiny of Iraq if the US/coalition forces stay, or if the US/coalition forces leave sooner than later?

Thank you, Bill, for inviting Leila. We need to hear more reporting like this and we need to insist that our leaders listen.

I was very surprised when you said you were 26 years old! Obviously you are an "old soul" as they say. For the wisdom and understanding you have for the Iraq situation, shows a knowledge far beyond your years.
How do you keep from being angry at what you see everyday?

I wish that those in our government had half the wisdom, understanding, and patience you do. And that they spoke truth as you do.
THANK YOU and may continue your work for the sake of us and more importantly for the people in Iraq who are suffering so terribly

Thank you for your interview with Leila Fadel. Such an intelligent discussion of what's going on in Iraq is rare. She is an amazing reporter and role model.

If I believed in a god I would thank him/her for creating you. As it is, I'm a devout atheist and can only give you my sincere and deepest thanks for your journalism.

Can you talk a bit about how how the extent to which Americans--reporters, military--have any facility with Arabic and how that affects both the reporting and the fighting?

Wow, truly a caring person whose concern for others is obvious and inspiring. Thank you.

what do you think would happen if the united states pulled out of iraq

Ms. Fadel and Mr. Moyers, thank you so much for you insightful and objective dialogue. Both my husband and myself were very impressed and excited by your responses and demeanor. Our only regret from tonight's episode is that we learned you are not old enough to be President. Would that we had a soft-spoken, intelligent, dedicated person as president instead of the loud snipping of politics as usual. Thanks again for an exciting and insightful episode!

In the genetic code of life-tree and the animal world lies a deep rooted, single action event that can identify the human branch from all others in the behavioral activity and doctrine from the infancy of life in our planet.
In all of nature, different species have disputed territorial boundaries and regions. We human do by a single act can obliterate all that has evolved in this planet from day one in matter of seconds. There are millions of species covering our planet, each with its own intelligence and beauty. All descendents of the same life-form that evolved back in time and place, some many millenniums ago. Yet we are negligently unable to search our own deep intelligence and subconscious world to begin to learn and find at least an understanding of our mantra which is to protect this Earth so that future generations can enjoy it in their own time. For millions of years we have developed and redefined ways to harm our world, ourselves and everything else that share our planet. We are unthinkably not the best suited species to prolong and protect the environment so cherished by all the species living and sharing our planet among the rest of the living world. Eventually it is going to cause us to destroy ourselves and the planet itself. Instead of learning like the other millions and millions of species to just live, survive and be fruitful in each way to reproduce so we may ensure a path to our species continuation and future for generations to come. It is a mandate by our own ability to think and use our so called larger intelligent brains to begin in a timely faction, to just look back at our pointly difference between us and the rest of all inhabitants of our planet. There is definitely something genetically unequivocally wrong with our species; while we lost our innocence the rest of the animal world has been able to keep theirs. If we look back at the time of earlier humans, we can trace a path that it’s been laden with natural inability to recognize a world where we have a natural responsibility to ensure its survival for millenniums to come. But most importantly we owed to the millions and millions who have died in humanly inflicted deaths that have plagued this planet for so long. There have been many geniuses, almost God like figures that have by their own wisdom, genuitty and clear ability to understand the nature of our world, and in some ways we can just trace their ability so we can work in the necessary knowledge and path to find or at least try to understand our wicked behavior.
Should we be able some day to just honor the millions and millions of skeletons, ghosts, memories and sprits of those innocent people who have died unnecessarily and prematurely by means of force? We can better represent humanity in the process and the planet itself can begin a process to heal itself, scars that have ravaged our world can begin a cleansing and healing process that is rooted in the deep canyons of the world and humanity. We are owed to everything we are and believe in, to recognize and teach a peaceful doctrine so that we lift our spirits and future generations. By doing so we can save a world that is tilted toward an untimely destruction. As a world so horridly moved on sometimes it seems in light speed, and generations of humans more acutely aware of its own time and advancement so there can come to an awakening of sorts and start a new movement of forceful peace, equality, and disarmament in the future before we find ourselves in a tunnel with no exit. By now one must think we would have found a way to think rationally all the benefits our whole system can enjoy by eliminating all arms and conflicts; nature and God could not have imagine of us dropping bombs out of the sky to destroy all that exists. Attacking other countries as a form of sport without regard for any living organism instead of working hand in hand like we ought to in helping poor countries do better farming and better schooling for all the children so they too can improve their chances of a life as a whole instead of sorrows and misery. Borders were meant to be none; we are the single creators and keepers of such narrow minded deeds and it started because we have the wiliness and greed to amass materials and wealth and knowingly, can’t think about the future millenniums or should this planet and its inhabitants will survive and relatively speaking, we only have a minute lifespan where we should just make an effort to better our world for the future generations so they too can enjoy similar privilege. But unfortunately, the machinery that took full control of humanity is closing in on its first centennial; one just have to go back to the first World War up to know and the evidence of the manipulation of conflict to benefit international monetary centers around the world is far from transparent and more devastating than humanity is capable to learn. Today every human being is wrapped by a religious, governmental, monetary and media web that is impossible to overcome. One can only hope that the next generations can somehow find the knowledge and the wisdom to accept and conquer the truth and be willing to do the necessary to control or put an end to the slavery. And only then will be the cleansing in to the cornerstone to make or break this century which base on the first eight years, history is going to show that we were more blinded and tame as dead wood. It seems they are already in pain.
Ignacio D. Molina

Leila Fadel you are an astonishingly brave and mature young woman. I salute you and the work you are doing, the work you have done.

It seems to me that statments in the US conflate resistance to occupation, political struggle for post-invasion influence, geopolitical anti-americanism in the region and terrorist revenge, renown and reaction goals directed against US lives and property in a global scope. It seems that al Queda in Iraq is in the main a group that adopted the al Queda "brand" because it was useful in recruiting and fund raising. In your view, who is al Queda in Iraq?

What would Ernie Pyle think of Leila Fadel and you, Bill? After all there were only a few more Americans killed on December 7, 1941 than on 9/11. How would you, Bill, and Leila characterize our response to Germany, Italy and Japan? Was it, " acceptable level of violence."?

Ms. Fadel, have you had any opportunities to talk directly with any of the groups who are (or were) fighting against the US occupation? I would like to see footage (with translation) of what the resistance fighters believe: all points of perspective, please.

I can't remember ever hearing any interview of these people, either from the mainstream media or the progressive media. Is it too dangerous? There always are intermediaries who can act as go-betweens. Why do we not get to see and hear them directly?

Thank you.

Robert May
Hillsboro, Oregon

Your email notice today, Thursday, April 17, said we can ask Leila Fadel
of McClatchy our questions. Here's mine. I'll quote two Iraqi Kurdish interpreters employed by the US Army in conversation with me in late 2004, in separate conversations, different places, different months,
different kinds of person: the first, a collegiate-type, said, "If you ask any Iraqi, any Iraqi, what the US is doing in Iraq, they will say it is two things: oil, and the US likes to control things"; the second, who'd spent years with the US military, said, "The US objective in Iraq is a weakened state."
They sound a lot more realistic that any of us in describing what's
happening. It suggests that Iraqis in general are not fooled by any of
this "they hate our freedom" or "we're giving them freedom" talk. What
do you think? Are we the only people fooled by our propaganda?

I'll quote two Iraqi Kurdish interpreters employed by the US Army in conversation with me in late 2004, in separate conversations, different places, different months,
different kinds of persons: the first, a collegiate-type, said, "If you ask any Iraqi, any Iraqi, what the US is doing in Iraq, they will say it is two things: oil, and the US likes to control things"; the second, who'd spent years with the US military, said, "The US objective in Iraq is a weakened state."
They sound a lot more realistic that any of us in describing what's
happening. It suggests that Iraqis in general are not fooled by any of
this "they hate our freedom" or "we're giving them freedom" talk. What
do you think? Are we the only people fooled by our propaganda?

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