By David Wood
As a war journalist, my M.O. has always been simple: live with the troops, from privates to generals, and report as accurately as I can. Two goals: 1. Have fun. 2. Give readers an upfront view of the troops and the war so they get a better gut feel for the conflict, and perhaps rethink the conventional wisdom.
But it's an awkward position. Embedded reporters like me inevitably become friends with the troops that we're covering. After all, we share the heat and dust, the sticky MREs, the boredom and the danger. We make them visible to their families and friends back home. Everybody likes to see his picture in the paper. And the troops keep us safe. "Thanks for being with us -- it takes a lot of balls to go out there without a weapon,'' a Marine corporal told me once. "But just remember, we always had your back covered."