NBC Highlights Troops Who Support US Presence in Iraq
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams, reporting from Baghdad, delivered a refreshing end to the show as he showcased several U.S. troops who voiced support for their work in Iraq, and for America continuing its presence there. While Williams did present one soldier who was less than enthusiastic about the mission, other troops, featured in pre-recorded soundbites, spoke of "staying until the job is done," and of feeling "proud" about helping the Iraqis.
As the NBC anchor introduced the story about how the military tries to deliver foods and items to comfort the troops stationed in Iraq, he featured an Army lieutenant colonel who does not feel "trepidation" about going out on patrol, even after the recent loss of American lives. Lieutenant Colonel Quammie Semper commented: "I think we should stay here until the job is done." (Transcript follows)
Williams then turned to Sergeant Tina Neal, on her third tour of duty, who "says she keeps coming back and risking her life for the Iraqi civilians." Neal commented: "I feel very proud to be here helping them. I think that it is a good thing that we're doing for them."
After featuring one soldier showing frustration at the mission, and after delving into some of the comforts troops are supplied with, Williams concluded the story with an exchange with Sergeant Kenneta Nelson, who "thinks America ought to stay in Iraq." Nelson: "It's not possible to just up and go. I mean, there are, with the things that are going on here, it's kind of like we're in the middle of something."
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Tuesday March 6 NBC Nightly News:
Brian Williams: "We are back here in Baghdad tonight at this massive U.S. base they call Camp Victory. And for the thousands of American soldiers now asleep in these tents, it is nothing at all like home. So the military tries to make it at least comfortable, knowing so many have volunteered to serve and are dedicated to their jobs, however dangerous. On the very day when they received word that so many more of their fellow soldiers have been killed, you would forgive the young lieutenant for showing some trepidation about the patrol he's about to lead into Baghdad or the mission overall. But not this lieutenant, and not on this day."
Lieutenant Quammie Semper, U.S. Army: "I think we should stay here until the job is done."
Williams: "You feel you have an investment?"
Semper: "We do. We do. I see that every day, every time I roll out this gate."
Williams: "The sergeant on this same patrol is on her third tour in Iraq. She says she keeps coming back and risking her life for the Iraqi civilians."
Sergeant Tina Neal, U.S. Army: "I feel very proud to be here helping them. I think that it is a good thing that we're doing for them."
Williams: "Not all the solders here are like her. Go to one of the new American outposts in a dangerous, exposed part of Baghdad, and you'll hear this from a staff sergeant also on his third tour."
Staff Sergeant Jason Simmer, U.S. Army: "I've seen too many people get injured and no reason for it, and I've just seen enough."
Williams: "The highest ranking enlisted man on this base, Command Sergeant Major Jeff Mellinger, has been around a long time. He can readily spot the soldiers who have been out in it and badly need a break."
Sergeant Major Jeff Mellinger, U.S. Army: "They'll have the signs and symptoms that they're just, you know, they're dirty, they're tired, you know, they've got wrinkles on their face from staring, you know, down the road at something. Nobody here is riding for free."
Williams: "Camp Victory in Iraq is a stressed out, teeming city of American soldiers and those who support them, who are keeping up a fast tempo in a spotty war. There are victories and defeats, desk jobs and dangerous missions. And for all of them, the military has tried to provide. It is possible in the middle of this 10-square-mile fenced in corner of Baghdad fesert to pretend you're home. There's Popeye's and there's Burger King. There's Cinnabon and some of Seattle's Best. And there's a spot for lunch right up against a concrete blast wall with a canopy of camouflage netting overhead. There are more culinary reminders from home. In this case, Subway, and over here, Pizza Hut. In this case, emphasis on 'hut.' And inside the base PX, it's as if someone airlifted a Wal-Mart from America to Iraq. Everything you could ever want to eat, drink, watch, including watches and wear. A massive attempt to provide. For those just back from the action, this station tries to provide a respite from it, though some aren't looking for any more action than they've already seen. Sergeant Kenneta Nelson thinks America ought to stay in Iraq, even if we later found out she isn't."
Sergeant Kenneta Nelson, U.S. Army: "It's not possible to just up and go. I mean, there are, with the things that are going on here, it's kind of like we're in the middle of something. Even if I was staying longer than Friday-"
Nelson: "Considering I'm going home, my year is done-"
Nelson: "It's still not."
Williams: "You got to be careful."
Williams: "The day so many soldiers live for, the end of the tour. That's our look at Camp Victory tonight, and that's the end of our broadcast for this Tuesday night. Thank you, as always, for being with us. I'm Brian Williams, reporting again tonight from Baghdad. We'll look for you again from here tomorrow night. For Campbell Brown in New York and our team on the ground here, good night."