Reporters on the Job
• US Troops Coming and Going: Correspondent William Boston explores the yin and yang of the US announcement of troop reductions in Europe (this page). In Poland, he visited Drawsko Pomorskie, a town near where US and NATO troops have trained. "I was struck by the fact that although there's been no announcement that the Americans are coming, there's a sense among residents that they're on their way," says Bill. He went to visit another town near the training area and stumbled across a sign in English already advertising a room for rent. "I called the number and the guy spoke German so we had a common language."
In Germany, Bill visited Baumholder, where US forces have been based since World War II. He spoke with a German woman who's been sending care packages to US soldiers in Iraq. "Baumholder was a German garrison town before the Americans came. Places like this have more of an affinity with the military than other parts of Germany," he says. For decades, German women there have married US soldiers and moved to the US, and vice versa. Bill was struck by this woman's sense of hurt and offense over being cast aside because "her boys" no longer fit into the US global deployment strategy. "There's not just an economic relationship with the locals. They feel the Americans belong here and are a part of the fabric of the community."
David Clark Scott