CBS Showcases Rescued Iraqi Surgeon Proclaiming 'Thank You American Military!'

Monday's CBS Evening News featured a recounting, by Lara Logan, of how over the weekend U.S. Army soldiers rescued an Iraqi surgeon and his family who were trapped for eight days on Baghdad's Haifa Street, suffering in dire conditions and in danger of getting killed in fighting between Sunni militias and the Iraqi army. After the rescue, Dr. Quraish Fajir al-Kasir proclaimed on camera: "These are days that I will never forget in my life. Thank you American military, thank you people!" The “Crazyhorse” troops of the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry of the U.S. Army conducted the mission after the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq saw CBS's Friday story on the plight of Dr. al-Kasir, a very prominent Iraqi doctor who once attended a meeting at the White House.

The CBSNews.com online version of the story.

A transcript of Logan's piece from Baghdad as aired on the January 15 CBS Evening News, picking up after Logan re-capped her January 12 report on how al-Kasir's family was trapped, a report she based on a phone call with him:
Lara Logan: “....The famous surgeon, once a guest of President Bush at the White House, was now hiding in a dark bathroom with his wife and three children, shivering from cold and hunger.”

Audio of Dr. Quraish Fajir al-Kasir in phone call with Logan last week: “I have saved so many people in surgery, I have done a lot for the people here. Why I should be killed, why? I don't know why.”

Logan: “The day after our report, and with the help of the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Captain John Gilliam and his men answered the doctor's emotional cry for help.”

Soldier, by a building: “Dr. Quraish al-Kasir ”

Soldier: “He's right there.”

Dr. Quraish Fajir al-Kasir, peering out a doorway: “I'm here!”

Logan: “There was no time to waste.”

Soldier: “Three coming out!”

Logan, over video of the family being guided into the armored vehicle: “The soldiers rushed the family to the safety of a Bradley armored fighting vehicle knowing an attack could come at any moment, the doctor's daughter clutching in her arms her most beloved possession [a dog]. Then the moment of relief and the gesture that said it all [Dr. Quraish Fajir al-Kasir inside Bradley waving kisses]. It took only minutes to reach the safety of the heavily fortified green zone, a short distance away. It will take the family much longer to recover after witnessing executions, neighbors and friends killed.”

Dr. Quraish Fajir al-Kasir, on camera in hard to understand English: “These are days that I will never forget in my life. Thank you American military, thank you people.”

Logan: “For their rescuers, many on their second tour here-”

Dr. Quraish Fajir al-Kasir to a soldier: “It's wonderful, I will never forget it.”

Soldier: “No problem, no problem.”

Logan: “-it was a rare pleasure.”

Sergeant Nicholas Skelton, Crazyhorse Troop, 4-9 Cavalry: “I've seen a lot of people get hurt and it's good to see a family we could save and make sure they didn't get hurt while they were out here.”

Logan: “The next day, the doctor told me the family had decided to stay in Iraq. They believe their duty now is to try to help the families still trapped and terrified on Haifa Street. Lara Logan, CBS News, Baghdad.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center