01/06/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Iraq Reporter Reflects: Are We Winning? Do They Want Us There?

It was hard to see exactly what was happening from the back seat of the beat-up armored Mercedes that was taking me to Baghdad International Airport. Through the dirty, 2-inch-thick windows I could make out four Iraqi soldiers standing on the side of the road, locked together in one big hug. I'd been watching them for a few minutes, along with my driver, Suhaib, and McClatchy's British security adviser, Kevin. Why are they hugging? I wondered.

After seven weeks in Iraq, I was less than two hours from leaving the country. Whatever was happening outside had stopped traffic, and I was wondering whether it would make me miss my flight to Amman, Jordan.

One of the soldiers broke from the hug and turned toward the traffic. He was crying. They were all crying. Kevin phoned a friend who runs the airport's security.

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