January 4, 2009 6:00 AM

U.S. troops returning to Iraq find something new: optimism

The violence of his past deployments in Iraq still haunts Daniel Clemons, a 32-year-old National Guard staff sergeant who's back for his third tour. This time, however, Clemons, like a lot of returning U.S. troops, is encountering something new: political and security improvements so dramatic that he can imagine the war ending and his memories of past bloodshed dimming.

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