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Reporter Looks Back at Key Iraq Battle

ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz talks about her new book, "The Long Road Home," which details the April 4, 2004 battle between U.S. troops and Iraqi militants in Sadr City, widely considered to be the beginning of the violent insurgency in Iraq.

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    There are many stories which unfold in a war: bloody battles, heroic victory, aching defeat. In Iraq, authors have told these stories through the eyes of the generals and the politicians, but less so through the experiences of the people who fight and their loved ones at home.

    Martha Raddatz, who covered the Pentagon and now the White House for ABC News, tells that story in "The Long Road Home," a homefront battlefront account of one skirmish that may have changed the course of the war, the 2004 standoff in the Baghdad slum known as Sadr City.

    I spoke with Martha recently in Washington.

  • MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC News Correspondent:

    This was an area that had been considered safe, Sadr City then. Only one soldier had died the year before. And this day, the first cavalry division had just taken over Sadr City.

    The soldiers had never been in battle. The soldiers were expecting a peacekeeping mission. Their families were expecting a peacekeeping mission. And within two hours of taking over, there were eight soldiers dead and 70 wounded.

    I don't think people understand how profound that would be on a battalion, on a company, on a platoon. A platoon had been pinned down. A gunner had been killed, almost immediately. And the majority of the casualties were when rescue teams tried to go in and save this platoon.

    And this was pivotal militarily, because it was the day that I think the U.S. soldiers and the U.S. military realized that, you know what, things aren't going so well here. Maybe everybody doesn't like us.


    No flowers, no candy.


    No flowers, no candy. Children actually armed and attacking U.S. soldiers, the same children they thought might greet them with candy and flowers. It was a horrendous battle.

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