Contact: David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106
or e-mail

For Release: April 7, 2004


"My Battalion is Right in the Middle of Sadr's Challenge" and the News from Iraq is Good, Soldier Says

The news from inside Iraq is not as depressing as some Americans might be being led to think, says Joe Roche, a soldier with the U.S. Army serving in the 16th Combat Engineer Battalion, a unit that is right in the middle of Sadr's challenge.

Roche has penned an essay "Keep the Faith: A Letter from Iraq," which encourages Americans to "keep the faith" with our soldiers in Iraq.

Roche says, in part: "...Progress is amazing. Many people who knew only repression and terror now have hope in their heart and prosperity in their grasp. Every day the Iraqi people stream out into the streets to cheer and wave at us as we drive by. When I'm on a foot patrol, walking among a crowd, countless people thank us -- repeatedly. I realize the shocking image of a dead soldier or a burning car is more sellable than boring, detailed accounts of our rebuilding efforts. This is why you hear bad news and may be receiving an incorrect picture... The reality is one of an ever-increasing defeat of the enemies we face."

Visit for the complete essay.

Roche also commented April 7 by e-mail on today's events in the region. He says, in part: "...My battalion is right in the middle of Sadr's challenge. I would like to tell you a zillion things, but for the moment allow me to tell you that none of this here is a surprise or unplanned. We've been on these very current events for several months. ...NONE OF THIS is the disaster bad news that you are seeing on CNN and others..."

Visit to read his comments in full.

Roche's essay has been published by The National Center for Public Policy Research and by numerous newspapers nationwide this week, including by the Houston Chronicle, and noted by numerous commentators, websites and blogs, including: Rush Limbaugh,,, and others.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan Capitol Hill think-tank established in 1982.

# # #

20 F Street, NW #700
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 507-6398
Fax (301) 498-1301