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Reporters on the Job

Flowers from Fallujah: Working within Fallujah, Iraq for a month gave staff writer Scott Peterson ample time to learn about what US Marines can do (page 1) - and what they can't. "During combat operations, they have almost no way of communicating with the outside world," says Scott.

Like most correspondents, he travels with two compact satellite phones, and a satellite Internet connection - a lifeline to a different reality. Soldiers know journalists have these links. Once, while still at base camp, officers asked him for copies of NFL and college football results, to share with the battalion. Once Scott e-mailed the parents of a wounded marine to warn them that a dramatic photo of their son would appear on the Internet (later it also ran in their local paper) but that the wound was minor.

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The Marines and Scott were careful not to abuse the arrangement. But sometimes matters of the heart take precedence. Take the case of Lance Corporal Jason Canellis, a rifleman from Bandera, Texas. "We stayed up very late, using the Internet to send flowers to his fiancée on her birthday," says Scott. "He signed off: 'Not even war, nor my being halfway around the world can keep me from showing my endless love.... I love you, I adore you, I miss you.' "

David Clark Scott
World editor