“NBC Nightly News” Does Very Optimistic and Uplifting Pre-Election Iraq Story
Richard Engel then showed young boys playing soccer on a street, a fashion show that occurred a month ago, along with a film festival. Then, on to the bastion of capitalism, the Baghdad stock exchange, where “without computers, traders take orders by phone and execute them by hand, an average of $3 million in shares trades here a day, 10 times the amount under Saddam.”
Then, Engel went to “Iraq’s first and only radio station run by women for women,” where “anchor Shaimaa Mohammed says America brought her political freedom. ‘The Americans didn't destroy our country,’ she said, ‘they freed us from a dictator.’"
Engel then shared results of a recent poll in Iraq: “A private Iraqi poll this week found that nearly 100% of Iraqis want U.S.-led coalition troops to leave Iraq. 40% said "immediately," but 60% said foreign troops should stay until Iraq is more stable.”
I asked last evening if the New York Times is beginning to jump on the “Democracy Can Work” bandwagon. Is NBC News climbing aboard?
What follows is a full transcript of this report, and a video link.
Brian Williams: And now to a series of reports we're doing here about Iraq this week about the challenge ahead for that country after tomorrow's election. Tonight, it's all about a phrase that goes back to the Vietnam War, the effort by American forces to win the hearts and minds of the locals. American media often cannot report the good news in Iraq because travel is still so dangerous. But tonight, we do have some extraordinary pictures of life there, and there are signs you'll see of progress. And as NBC’s Richard Engel shows us tonight, there is a lot riding on this election.
Richard Engel: Iraq is in lockdown with a curfew, closed borders, and a traffic ban. In Baghdad today, boys turned empty streets into impromptu soccer fields. With tomorrow's election there is a sense of anticipation here, and emerging signs of a new Iraq. A fashion show this month, and a film festival. On Baghdad’s Wall Street, businessmen say the war has been worth it. Hearts and minds have been won with profits at the stock exchange, bustling with deals and dreams.
Unidentified Iraqi businessman: Amid all this war and lack of security, we are among the rare institutes that are successfully doing business.
Engel: Without computers, traders take orders by phone and execute them by hand, an average of $3 million in shares trades here a day, 10 times the amount under Saddam. Optimism, too, at Iraq’s first and only radio station run by women for women. Anchor Shaimaa Mohammed says America brought her political freedom. "The Americans didn't destroy our country," she said, "they freed us from a dictator." But like many Iraqis, she said U.S. Troops should start to pull out. A private Iraqi poll this week found that nearly 100% of Iraqis want U.S.-led coalition troops to leave Iraq. 40% said "immediately," but 60% said foreign troops should stay until Iraq is more stable. At the Baghdad classic gym, young men complained even they don't stay out after 9:30 at night. 26-year-old Saed Sabbah was unemployed before the war, now he's a security guard. "The only problem is the security," he says. We also asked Iraqis if they blame America, do they resent U.S. Troops? Some do. But more said they're angry with their own government for being ineffective and plan to express those frustrations tomorrow at the ballot boxes. Richard Engel, NBC News, Baghdad.