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Reporters on the Job

Antiwar Protest: While working on today's story about Russian antiwar activists (page 4), correspondent Fred Weir couldn't help but recollect his own teen years. "My family was involved in the anti-Vietnam war movement in Canada. We used to put up American draft dodgers in our home. I felt passionate about that when I was young. And I see the same gleam in the eyes of the picketers here," he says.

"At the same time, they are working under worse conditions. They have real things to fear from the authorities - even though polls show that a majority of Russians agree with the protesters. It's a different atmosphere here than it was in Canada," says Fred. Does that color his reporting? "I'm sympathetic on a personal level, but I try to deal with the issue objectively. We all have a history and political ideas, but that doesn't mean I act unprofessionally as a journalist."

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The Stink of War: What are living conditions really like embedded with the US Marines in Fallujah? "Forget about showers," says staff writer Scott Peterson, who hasn't seen a drop of warm water for bathing in nine days. "Forget about bathrooms, and clean clothes, and beds, and food other than what comes from a military Meal Ready to Eat, or MRE, and what soldiers receive in care packages from home.

"It can get quite disgusting, for everyone," says Scott. "I was joking with the company commander as I took off my stinking flak vest: 'I think I'm redefining the number of times one can sweat through a T-shirt and shirt without changing. Is it 20 times? Or 30, or 40?' "

Every few days, someone has time to break out some baby wipes. "Things must be cooling down - or complaints are rising," says Scott. "I hear they may be rotating platoons out to the rear for a day of real food, sleep, and a shower."

David Clark Scott
World editor


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