Media watchdogs say as violence drops in Iraq, so does the news coverage of the war. Now, a veterans group wants to bring light to the progress happening there.
"Vets for Freedom" traveled back to Iraq, to see if the streets where they once served, are safer now.
Combat veteran Pete Hegseth served with the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, in both Baghdad and Samarra.
He saw his share of violence.
"I was in Samarra when the Golden Mosque was blown up that triggered a lot of the sectarian violence around the country. So that will always be frozen in my mind," he said.
Hegseth is one of eight veterans embedded in Iraq, who are with the non-partisan organization, Vets For Freedom. They're returning to the same cities and regions where they were deployed, to see how those areas are faring now.
Hegseth told CBN News that progress there can be seen in practical ways.
"I've walked around in a number of patrols in a baseball cap the last couple of days, just meeting with civilians, Iraqis on the street corner, who are telling me that this is the safest it has ever been since 2003," he explained. "It's evidenced by the fact that we're walking around markets that we never would have thought we would walk around, let alone not wear a helmet."
Hegseth adds that people feel safer because the Iraqi people are stepping up.
"Iraqi security forces are all over the city," he said. "They are really taking first and foremost, the responsibility, for securing the city, and you did not see that in 2006."