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COVER STORYCelebration, trepidation as U.S. troops leave Iraqi townsBrightly colored tinsel adorned a large tent seating dozens of dignitaries, a canned version of the Iraqi national anthem blared, and local leaders gave fiery speeches about Iraqi sovereignty during a celebration of Tuesday’s deadline for U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities. Across the country, though, there is deep concern about the readiness of Iraqi forces to confront an active insurgency that still wreaks violence, including a string of bombings concentrated in Baghdad recently. • Story

Kids encouraged to use story to talk about deploymentFour-year-old Maggie Stalter was not overly impressed that the commander of the 2nd Infantry Division had gotten down on the floor to talk to her Wednesday. Only minutes earlier, Maggie had been in tears as Morgan read a book about military families being apart — “While You Are Away” — to a group of about 30 children at the Camp Red Cloud Library. • Story

While soldier fights for his country, his wife struggles to stay in the U.S.’Spc. Moonsammy Narinesammy isn’t worried about dying in Iraq. He’s worried about spending the rest of his life in Guyana. Narinesammy, 31, who has months left on his deployment, spends all of his free time between missions trying to solve his wife’s citizenship problems. Immigration and Naturalization Services officials are finalizing deportation paperwork for Ratashwarie, while she waits nervously in New York • Story

Military uses virtual therapy to help troops heal woundsThe military is turning to the virtual world to treat traumatized veterans of the Iraq war, giving troops a high-tech way to confront and overcome mental war wounds. Virtual Iraq uses electronically re-created Iraqi environs that look like a video game, as well as the sounds and smells of deployment, to help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder revisit the events that affected them so profoundly. • Story

Projects reveal high cost of poor coordinationThe empty health clinic in a remote part of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania is a legacy of what sometimes goes wrong when the military takes the lead on civil affairs projects, despite good intentions. • Story

Spouse CallsA weekly column in Stripes' Scene magazine by Terri Barnes, a military wife and mother of three who lives and writes in Germany. • This week's column • Terri Barnes' blog

About the U.S. editionFor the first time since the Civil War, Stars and Stripes is returning stateside. The U.S. edition, available to local newspapers as a supplement, features some of the best content from the week’s daily overseas editions ... the top military stories from several news bureaus within Stars and Stripes’ three theaters — Europe, Pacific and Middle East — as well as coverage of military issues from the Pentagon and Capitol Hill.

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