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The Thousand-Yard Stare

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
The death toll of U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq is nearing 2000. Kimberly Dozier of CBS News who has spent an awful lot of time there since the war began told us today that the time and the death and danger is starting to take its toll on American troops. One commander she spoke with said his guys were starting to develop that thousand-yard stare. That's war lingo "for dead in the eyes" — for people who have seen too much and have little stomach to see much more.

A front page article in today's USA Today tells how the insurgents in Iraq are using the latest technology to perfect their bomb making techniques. "IEDs" as they're called are now going off at a rate of one thousand a month. Imagine fighting a war in which the easiest way to get killed is driving from Point A to Point B.

Some reports say that one is six soldiers returning from Iraq show signs of post traumatic stress. The thousand-yard stare should be no surprise.


Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
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