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Week of 9.14.07

Third Time Around

On the heels of a much-anticipated progress report in Washington, NOW travels to Iraq for an exclusive, hard look at the war through the telling eyes of U.S. soldiers on the ground, and of the families they left behind.

We also examine first-hand the so-called "Anbar Awakening," a controversial partnership between U.S. soldiers and Sunni tribal leaders, many of whom who had previously been fighting the Americans. Some—including President Bush—are calling this a significant step forward in reestablishing peace and order in Iraq. Hear what soldiers on the ground have to say.

We first met the Third Infantry's First Brigade from Georgia's Fort Stewart in a NOW show broadcast last January, only weeks before they headed back to Iraq for the third deployment in four years. As the long months of the "surge" unfold, we see them fighting an elusive enemy that prefers roadside bombs to pitched battles, while back at home their newborns become toddlers, and birthdays and anniversaries come and go.

With the personal and political effects of constant redeployment and re-strategizing apparent everywhere, are we at a turning point or a breaking point?

Voices from "Third Time Around":

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"When you first get here, you hear, like, an explosion. You turn your head ...Now it's kinda like every day life."
—Specialist James Beck, first-time U.S. soldier in Iraq

"I remember holding and kissing him like it was yesterday. And it will always be yesterday."
—Steve Butcher, whose son Steve Jr. was killed in Iraq

"My husband's spent more time in Iraq for the past few years than he has here...he actually says he comes home to visit."
—Jule Obert, wife of Sergeant Mike Obert, a tank mechanic in Iraq.

"I'll reenlist if someone can find me a reason for this s—t. A reason. A reason for this s—t."
—A U.S. soldier in Iraq

Related Links

NOW: Back to the Front

NOW: Hit or Miss

Fort Stewart 3rd Infantry Division homepage

National Military Family Association: "Deployment and You"

Deployment Health Support

NOW Producer's Notebook: A window into the lives of deploying soldiers

Topic Search: Iraq War, Defense/Military, Both