Leading article: Tintin goes to Baghdad

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The Independent Online

Hats off to Farris Hassan of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While his peers around the world were having the usual difficulty getting up in the morning, let alone finishing their homework, Farris was confronting armed guards on the frontier between Kuwait and Iraq. All of 16, he had set off to complete his school journalism project by travelling to Baghdad to experience the holidays first-hand with the Iraqis.

With persistence that would do any fully-fledged reporter proud, Farris flew to Beirut and tried again. He managed 72 perilous hours in Baghdad, before US officials were alerted to his presence. He was escorted from his hotel by an officer of the 101st Airborne.

Many moons ago, Condoleezza Rice pithily argued against US soldiers taking part in peace-keeping by saying that it was not their job to escort kids to school. Farris Hassan's adventure shows that there are exceptions to every rule.