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U.S. military in Tal'Afar, a town in Iraq near the Syrian border that was terrorized by Zarqawi's Al Qaeda forces for over a year.

What are your reactions to this report about the enemy that coalition forces face in Iraq? Can the U.S. strategy succeed?

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am home on leave from Iraq for two weeks and stumbled across this program. Since I have been home I have been blown away by the poor understanding here of what is actually going on in Iraq. Your program was the best presentation of what we actually see and do in Iraq, that I have seen since being home. It has been quite disconcerting to listen to the half-truths and pessimism that takes the place of reporting on the war.

This program was a happy exception to that, and a reminder of how wise my parents were to raise a "PBS kid" Keep up the good work.

Jeffrey Mills, SFC USA
Boston, Massachusetts

Dear FRONTLINE,

I have done two year long tours in Iraq. I have been to almost every major city. The second tour was as a sniper team leader in western Baghdad. I was relieved to see such good jorunalism and excited to share it with my girlfriend. It was as if by watching this film, I was able to bring her back to our old sector and she was able to see what every day is like over there. Most nights I can't sleep, nightmares and paranoia, but hopefuly with watching this she can come closer to understanding why I am the way I am.

Great work,

SGT Ryan Cataline Infantry, 10th Mountain Division

Ryan Cataline
Columbus, Ohio

Dear FRONTLINE,

I found myself, the night you aired this on TV, caught in amazement. Excited to see what I, an American soldier, has fought against while I was over seas. This video is perhaps the most accurate video about the insurgency and what the American forces have been doing. I thank all soldiers and non-soldiers in all their actions that brought forth the death of zaqawi (sp).

Jeremiah Rapmund, SGT

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for your show. I have had my doubts about the war but after seeing this show I do believe we are making a difference and to be honest I think the president probably is doing the right thing even though it sure looked like maybe it was at first.

Thank you.

Charles Nielsen
Clovis, Ca

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your documentary on the real reasons behind the insurgency are a welcome reprieve from the daily sound bites which guide most Americans perception of the the Iraq conflict. Your re-broadcast is even more timely given the recent killing of Al-Zarqawi and the reality that the roots of this insurgency go well beyond the death of one man. We must leave the fate of the Iraqi people to the Iraqi's and remove ourselves from the real fuel that fires the insurgency! We left Vietnam in chaos in 1975 and they seem to have rebounded from our folly!

Joe McKinley
Warrington, Pa

Dear FRONTLINE,

This program had the unmistakable air of "coalition" propaganda. While some of your footage (from Michael Ware) was interesting to see, the commentary was amazingly one-sided. I found it amazing that in an entire hour dedicated to the insurgency, you failed to highlight the very real grievances they have against the occupying armies. You could have mentioned the conscious disregard for Iraqi civilian life, which is calculated to reduce near zero all potential risks (and all Iraqis are potential risks as all occupied peoples are to the invaders) to occupying soldiers, thereby minimizing discontent at home. Or the simple fact that foreign governments have stripped Iraqis from all self-determination. No mention of clear war crimes, from Abu Ghraib to Fallujah to the invasion itself to everyday practice, was made.

Neither did you mention any of the many opinion polls or election results demonstrating that the vast majority of Iraqis agree with the insurgents that all occupiers should leave. ...

Patrick McElwee
Melbourne, FL

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am a 17 year old living in Utah. I am an avid history buff and I am planning on joing the U.S. Army when I am old enough and out of high school. I was recently watching the Frontline: Insurgency program. I was fascinated by the thoughts of these insurgents and was interested in the reasonings behind these insurgents violence. I have never really figured out why the insurgents hate America so much but after watching this program, I was exposed to the brutality and the fundamental structure of these terrorist cells. This program was very well written and filmed.

Stuart Combs
Highland, Utah

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you FRONTLINE for opening up my eyes to the challenges and duties that other Americans face as they go to work each day. Tomorrow I will face my own work frustrations with more humility and remember the admiration that I have for those U.S. soldiers in Iraq. ...

marianne burns

Dear FRONTLINE,

Watching this on televison now, tonight, was such a moving experience. I thank you for reporting this information in a truthful, objective and professional manner that allows the humanism on all sides of this pointless, dark pit of a war!! I am even more convinced after watching that this war in an unjust and senseless war brought on by a president who does not belong in the White House and has brought so much violence to the families of the United States and the Middle East. Thank you PBS for bringing us the truth that no other news agency will tell us!!

janine Dixon-Mehany
jersey city, New Jersey

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am a proud Soldier of the U.S. Army who was recently stationed in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. Let me complement you on your work. THE INSURGENCY captured both sides of the fight in a way that I have not seen reflected since I sat through intelligence briefings in country. Unbiased reporting, stunning visual imagery and timely information. I was very impressed, and I thank you for providing our nation's people (and the people of the world) with a truly unique program.

Michael Ware, while providing his unique perspective on the subject at hand, introduces truly stunning insight. As I read in another viewers comments he is truly "insane" and "brilliant" at the same time. He alse gives us that outside view of U.S. policy and strategy. Better, he gives it through this FRONTLINE exclusive- a report free from partisanship and opinion.

I will definitely suggest this program to my peers and leadership. Please continue your good work and efforts to keep us informed. This is probably the best piece I have seen of yours, all of which are rare in this age of Gallop polls and election day hype.

Jason Wood

Dear FRONTLINE,

As a Vietnam veteran I have to commend the reporting done in this program. War is a wasteful endeavor though sometimes unavoidable. Our country will debate this war for a long time. Our soldiers, sailors and airmen will pay pay a huge price. The people of Iraq will be a mix of those that hate us and those that used us. What troubles me the most is that there seems to be a sense that "we" the Americans could fix Iraq. In truth all we have done is let lose the dogs of war and sqaundered an opportunity to rally the nation behind getting off oil as our major source of energy and thereby drying up the oil revenues of the dictatorships in the Middleeast that kept, and still keep, people like Saddam in power in the first place. Every American bares that burden by their own buying habits and unwillingness to "bit our own bullet" and lead the world into a more peaceful world.

Jeffrey Staffe
Whitehouse, Ohio

Dear FRONTLINE,

This was an excellent documentary. Well done. I've only seen it on-line and am hoping one of the networks in Australia broadcasts it.

It really showed the complex nature of the insurgency and actually did make sense of the chaos in Iraq. In an interview in Australia a year or so ago Michael Ware referred to Iraq as 'pandora's box'. From what your program showed, he's spot on.Good on you for securing his footage and his time as he is an awesome reporter, a journalist that looks at the bigger picture not his own fame and glory.Hope your government watches this, I wouldn't be Mr Bush for all the world.Great work.

Suzanne Blain
Sydney, New South Wales

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank You for your (as always) perceptive and illuminating look at this complex subject.

What bothers me is that feeling of "if only" I get every day now after wishing inside (against all my knowledge to the contrary) that the failed and failing policies of the Bush administration would somehow work out. I would tell myself they know something more than I do, or that I am too gunshy about the proper use of force in a dangerous world.

But now, as the nation dissolves into civil war, and the spectre of a Lebanonized Iraq controlled block to block with the Americans helpless to stop it and pinned down in the middle rears up, I feel that there are no more "If only's" left to hope for.

The arrogance, the deceit, the ignorance, the denial, and above all, the callous disregard for human lives of George Bush and his cronies is unforgivable. To watch our soldiers have their eyes opened as their comrades die, and then courageously try to piece together a real truth to find realistic solutions is heartbreaking.

What hurts most is feeling that we will leave this war in Iraq just as we did in Vietnam, with wounds that won't heal, rancor that spans generations, and more divided than ever as a nation.

I wish I had more hope, but you reap what you sow. Wars of conquest and arrogance by corrupt leaders are doomed from the start to fail in defeat and humiliation. It's a lesson from our own insurgency against King George.

How our nation conscience recovers will determine our willingness as a nation to learn from these mistakes and go foward with new and better plans for our place in the world.

Chris Cooley
Wheeling, IL

Dear FRONTLINE,

What I found most striking, while watching your program on the insurgency, was the cold professionalism displayed be all the parties involved in this conflict; the way these men-of-war spell out their objectives of defeating the enemy, whether one talks about the insurgents or coalition military commanders. Frontline chose to present their fight devoid but the least hint of humanity, almost in an air of surgically sterility. Whereas a war never is. I invite every one to view this program once again without the sounds on. Observe the actors. Look at the eyes. View the destruction. Reflect on the cost of over 100 thousand dead Iraqi civilians, more than 2000 US military casualties, the trauma of foreign occupation, the destroyed towns and villages. Think of the suspects being lead away hobbling to what is most likely will be extensive, humiliating and torturous interrogations either by their American or Iraqi captors.

Even though you did an admirable job, I find no solace and no explanation of why are we doing these thinks to each other. But, I guess, such as life and human nature.

Attila Meszaros
Arcadia, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Vindicated! Absolute vindication. I told you so. Goodwill that the United States has built throughtout the world, Muslim countries included is gone. For over 85 years, from the Bolshevik Revolution to Stalinist era and the totalitarianism of the Soviets, US was a symbol of self-determination and freedom; this administration came blew it in just five years. What a waste, not even the Europeans believe this admnistration anymore much less the Muslim world. As Colin Powell told Bush: Sir, you break it, you own it. Forever,Iraq is for Bush, as a legacy.

Saeed Ibrahim
San Francisco, CA.

Dear FRONTLINE,

Bravo! Rather than repeat what so many have said, I need to tell you how much we need journalism to be what our "framers" set it up to be... another check and balance. Public Broadcasting is our only hope to do it in a way that will be accepted in todays' political world.

PBS MUST find a way to do it in a balanced, politically correct way. You took the first step. We heard from experts; journalists, military, terrorists, etc. while avoiding bias. Now the Public wants and needs to learn more so we can make the right decisions going forward.

Good discussions are one way but I'd like to see PBS re-introduce "real" debating. (Many people under 40 think what we see is "debating.") Do not use politicians or people with an agenda, just use people who have the credentials to have a reasoned point of view debating with others with equal credentials and another point of view. I could see that kind of programming becoming popular with fans like in sports or American Idol (Let the contest begin!) With time and good programing, we could get teens and young adults involved. If our culture is going to change, PBS must lead the way.

Arlene Schwartz
Long Beach, NY

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posted feb. 21, 2006

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