POLITICS
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Marine's Order: Feed The Hand That Bit You

CAPT. SEAN MILLER shook his head like a big brother. He and his marines had just walked by a cluster of large orange garbage bins, American-bought, from which thieves had ripped the wheels, and now they confronted a cemetery entrance that Captain Miller had paid an Iraqi contractor to fix. It was still broken.

He snapped a photograph and moved on.

It was one more day on the job here in Anbar Province, where fighting has given way to fixing. But reconstruction was hardly the only thing on the captain's mind. Falluja's past as the epicenter of the Sunni rebellion was with him too.

"The road we just walked down, I lost three marines on that road," said the captain, a compact 32-year-old company commander from Virginia. "I was wounded in Falluja too, so walking down these streets -- it's not easy."

"Reconciliation," he said, eyeing some Iraqi policemen nearby. "It's a hard pill to swallow."

Since long before this war, forgiveness has been Iraq's greatest challenge. What does it take for an abused, angry population to move on after so much suffering? Can they ever learn to trust one another?

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