Pacifist Reporter To Soldier: 'Ever Worry One Day Your Number's Gonna Come Up?'

As Tim Graham reported here earlier this week, NBC reporter Richard Engel, who spends much of his time in Iraq, has declared: "I think war should be illegal...I'm basically a pacifist."

This morning's 'Today' ran a feature Engel had put together focusing on depression among American troops serving in Iraq. Engel spoke with men of the 1st Platoon, 562nd Engineer Company. At one point, Engel asked the soldier pictured here:

"You ever worry one day your number's gonna come up?'"

Replied the soldier, in words echoing those of comrades over the generations: "Yeah, but you try to keep that in the back of your head. You just focus on today and what you've got to do to get it right and bring everybody back home alive."

Later, Engel drew the soldiers out about their fears of the possible unfaithfulness of their women back home. Engel: "They tell us about an enemy the soldiers here all fear but don't talk about: the Jody."

As the second soldier pictured explained: "the Jody is the guy who is back home with your wife or your girlfriend."

Continued Engel: "They worry and tell stories about soldiers going home to empty houses."

Engel would presumably defend his segment as reporting on the reality the soldiers face. At the same time, we now know that Engel is fundamentally opposed to the mission for which these men are sacrificing so much. That could put matters in a different light.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.