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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


All you need to know about Iraq

Who do you work for?

Beyond Baghdad, Grass-Roots Security
U.S. Unit Scours a Village in Effort to Identify Threats Before They Reach the Capital

By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, February 21, 2007; Page A09

This is a large part of the Baghdad security plan because this helps disrupt [al-Qaeda in Iraq] movement and foreign fighter movement into Baghdad," said Maj. Chad Shields, a company commander. "It's about getting to the level of detail where you understand the town that you're operating in, and you know the people you're operating among."

Gaining this understanding is one of the most difficult challenges facing U.S. soldiers operating here. Over two days, more than 350 U.S. troops involved in the operation searched 95 homes, discovered about a dozen roadside bombs -- including two that exploded under their tanks, causing no injuries -- and took scattered small-arms fire. But they failed to capture a single insurgent.

Although the security plan has been cast as an Iraqi-led mission, no Iraqi police operate around Ibrahim bin Ali. And Lt. Col. Kurt Pinkerton, the battalion commander, said he could not persuade Iraqi army commandos to assist.

"They didn't return my calls," he said.

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