1. Entertainment

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

SFC Ray Reynolds: The Rest of the Story in Iraq
Netlore Archive:  Emailed letter written by Army National Guard SFC Ray Reynolds while on leave from duty in Iraq notes positive developments in that country since the start of the war

Description:  Email flier
Circulating since:  April 2004
Status:  Partly true
Analysis:  See below

Email example contributed by DRB, 14 April 2004:

Subject: The REST of the story in Iraq

This is a letter from Ray Reynolds, a medic in the Iowa Army National Guard, serving in Iraq:

As I head off to Baghdad for the final weeks of my stay in Iraq, I wanted to say thanks to all of you who did not believe the media. They have done a very poor job of covering everything that has happened. I am sorry that I have not been able to visit all of you during my two week leave back home. And just so you can rest at night knowing something is happening in Iraq that is noteworthy, I thought I would pass this on to you. This is the list of things that has happened in Iraq recently: (Please share it with your friends and compare it to the version that your paper is producing.)

* Over 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations.
* School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.
* Over 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of the weapons stored there so education can occur.
* The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from ships faster.
* The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.
* Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq.
* The country now receives 2 times the electrical power it did before the war.
* 100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35% before the war.
* Elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are in place.
* Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.
* Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.
* Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
* Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers.
* Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever.
* Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs.
* An interim constitution has been signed.
* Girls are allowed to attend school.
* Textbooks that don't mention Saddam are in the schools for the first time in 30 years.

Don't believe for one second that these people do not want us there. I have met many, many people from Iraq that want us there, and in a bad way. They say they will never see the freedoms we talk about but they hope their children will. We are doing a good job in Iraq and I challenge anyone, anywhere to dispute me on these facts. So If you happen to run into John Kerry, be sure to give him my email address and send him to Denison, Iowa. This soldier will set him straight. If you are like me and very disgusted with how this period of rebuilding has been portrayed, email this to a friend and let them know there are good things happening.

Ray Reynolds, SFC
Iowa Army National Guard
234th Signal Battalion

Comments:  The Associated Press has confirmed that this letter was indeed written by Sgt. First Class Ray Reynolds of Iowa, who is not a medic but does communications work in the Army National Guard. Reynolds originally sent it out to 13 friends and family members with instructions to pass it on. It proved to be one of the more popular email forwards in April and May 2004.

Authentic though it may be, Ray Reynolds' letter has been criticized for certain inaccuracies. The information appears to have come in part from a USAID fact sheet but doesn't always jibe with what was reported there. Some statements, such as "Elections are taking place in every major city," are blatantly false. Others, such as "Girls are allowed to attend school," are true but misleading, given that girls were allowed to attend school during Saddam Hussein's rule. A thorough debunking can be found on OrwellianTimes.com, a left-leaning Weblog.

Email This Article

Sources and further reading:

Iowa Soldier Gains Fame for Sending Positive Iraq Email
Associated Press, 15 May 2004

Soldier's Email Says There's Good in Iraq
WHO-TV News, 13 May 2004

USAID Accomplishments in Iraq
U.S. Agency for International Development, 18 March 2004

Pro-War Propaganda from Iraq Soldier
OrwellianTimes.com, 26 April 2004

Last updated: 05/18/04

Current Netlore
The Urban Legends Top 25

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.