NBC's Ann Curry in Baghdad: 'U.S. Brings Its Divisive Eight-Year War in Iraq to an End'

In a live report from Baghdad on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry described her arrival to the country with Vice President Biden: "Security is heavy amid an uptick in violence as the U.S. brings its divisive eight-year war in Iraq to an end. The Vice President timed his trip to the last days of America's war in Iraq."

Later in the report, Curry listed the cost of the war: "Eight years after 'shock and awe,' after the toppling and death of Saddam Hussein, after at least 4,473 American lives lost, and 32,226 wounded in action, and a roughly estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, America leaves a significantly less violent but not completely stable Iraq."

Curry touted one Iraqi family that claimed no ethnic violence existed in Iraq before the war: "Having survived bombings and hunger, the Madawi family keeps weapons, fearing new attacks on anyone who helped the Americans and on religious groups. Sahara is saying, 'We did not have sectarianism before the invasion.'" In reality, Saddam Hussein was charged with multiple acts of "ethnic cleansing" and genocide in the trial following his capture.

Curry portrayed Joe Biden as the hero of the story, proclaiming: "Helping Iraq rebuild is part of the Vice President's mission." In 2006, then-Senator Biden proposed splitting Iraq into three parts.

Concluding her report, Curry teased one of her questions to Biden in an upcoming interview: "The real question now is, how warmly America will receive these Iraq war veterans?...is the United States really doing enough to give them access to higher education, to jobs, to encourage even preferential mortgages, as our nation did after World War II? Which then and could now again help lift our nation's economy."


Here is a full transcript of the November 30 report:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

MATT LAUER: Surprise visit. Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Iraq overnight as the U.S. military gets set to withdraw from that country over the next few weeks. This morning, Ann Curry is live in Baghdad.

7:09AM ET SEGMENT:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: As we mentioned, Ann is on assignment this morning. She traveled with Vice President Joe Biden to Iraq, where U.S. forces are packing up to leave the country in just a few weeks. Ann, good morning to you.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Ann Curry Reports; Biden In Iraq As U.S. Troops Begin Withdrawal]

ANN CURRY: Good morning to you, Savannah. That's right, the Vice President's C-17 landed in darkness. The pilots wearing infrared goggles. Security is heavy amid an uptick in violence as the U.S. brings its divisive eight-year war in Iraq to an end. The Vice President timed his trip to the last days of America's war in Iraq. From 170,000 troops deployed at the height of the war, now less than 13,000 are packing up for good. General Jeffrey Buchanan says this largest movement of military equipment since World War II sparks emotions.

JEFFREY BUCHANAN: I think all of us have lost a lot of friends, and that's tough. We want to honor that commitment and honor their sacrifice. My greatest hope is that the Iraqis take advantage of the opportunities that they have.

CURRY: Captain Lester Minges and Staff Sergeant Donald Whitesman ending third deployments here.

LESTER MINGES: I want to see the nation of Iraq succeed, I really do. And what I don't want to see is it crumble.

DONALD WHITESMAN: I've noticed a lot, that the Iraqi people over here have pretty much the same beliefs and they want the same things and I'm going to miss that.

CURRY: Eight years after "shock and awe," after the toppling and death of Saddam Hussein, after at least 4,473 American lives lost, and 32,226 wounded in action, and a roughly estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, America leaves a significantly less violent but not completely stable Iraq. This attack in Baghdad in recent days.

Having survived bombings and hunger, the Madawi family keeps weapons, fearing new attacks on anyone who helped the Americans and on religious groups. Sahara is saying, "We did not have sectarianism before the invasion." Helping Iraq rebuild is part of the Vice President's mission.

JOE BIDEN: It's good to be back for this purpose.

CURRY: After U.S. troops withdraw by December 31st, or even sooner.

BARACK OBAMA: Our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.

CURRY: Sergeant Brian James O'Driscoll of Tyler, Texas, can hardly wait.

BRIAN JAMES O'DRISCOLL: First thing I'm going to do when I get home, see my family, hug my wife. Hug my kids.

CURRY: The real question now is, how warmly America will receive these Iraq war veterans? Who have the proven resilience, courage and leadership skills to potentially become our next greatest generation. Beyond our gratitude to these young men and women who answer the call of duty, is the United States really doing enough to give them access to higher education, to jobs, to encourage even preferential mortgages, as our nation did after World War II? Which then and could now again help lift our nation's economy. That will be among the questions we ask the Vice President in our interview here in Baghdad which we will bring you tomorrow. Savannah.

GUTHRIE: Alright, Ann Curry with the Vice President in Baghdad. Thank you, Ann.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC