Claim: Message from National Guardsman chronicles U.S. accomplishments in rebuilding Iraq.
Example:[Collected on the Internet, 2004]
This is a letter from Ray Reynolds, a medic in the Iowa Army National Guard, serving in Iraq:
As I head off to Baghdad for the final weeks of my stay in Iraq, I wanted to say thanks to all of you who did not believe the media. 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. This is the list of things that has happened in Iraq recently:
(Please share it with your friends and compare it to the version that your paper is producing.)
* Over 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations.
* School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.
* Over 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of the weapons stored there so education can occur.
* The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from ships faster.
* The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.
* Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq.
* The country now receives 2 times the electrical 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.
* Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.
* Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
* Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers.
* Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever.
* Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs.
* An interim constitution has been signed.
* Girls are allowed to attend school.
* Textbooks that don't mention Saddam are in the schools for the first time in 30 years.
Don't believe for one second that these people do not 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"
Origins: Like last year's much-circulated Combat's End piece, this message attempts to highlight what has been characterized as "the buildings that aren't burning" — the positive elements of U.S. military efforts in Iraq that are supposedly overlooked or ignored by a news media more interested in catching their audiences' attention by reporting the negative.
These types of items are generally impossible to categorize with a single truth value because they typically contain a mixture of fact, opinion, subjective statements, inaccuracies, and literally true but often misleading claims. In regards to the question of authorship, it is true that SFC Ray Reynolds, a firefighter in civilian life, is a National Guardsman whose 234th Signal Battalion unit was called up to active duty, and that he wrote this piece. As Sgt. Reynolds responded to inquiries about his message:
I did write it and I am in Kuwait now on my way home. I wrote it while at home because I felt that too many people were exploiting the violence in Iraq to sell papers and gain votes. Sometimes the silent majority need to be awakened to respond to the bad things in our world. I am passionate about our President's decision and support this rebuilding whole heartedly... Yes legit.. I am a fire fighter in Denison, Iowa and to verify, call Mike McKinnon of the Denison Iowa fire department.
As for the rest of the piece, OrwellianTimes.Com presents another point of view regarding its factual content.