tv NBC Nightly News NBC August 18, 2010 4:30pm-4:47pm PST
you are looking live at the pullout. u.s. combat forces driving out of iraq tonight and our own richard engel, from a moving convoy, has an "nightly news" exclusive. also tonight, the rising tide of anger in pakistan. our own ann curry is there as this flooding disaster spirals out of control. d eggs are making hundreds of people sick. there's a massive recall to report tonight. then and now. five years after the horrors of katrina, spike lee takes his cameras back to new orleans. also, what it looks like to make sure someone's dream comes true. make sure someone's dream comes true. "nightly news" begins now.
captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. it's gone on longer than the civil war, longer than world war ii. tonight, u.s. combat troops are pulling out of iraq. it's been about seven and a half years since that first late-night air strike decimated the iraqi government and lit up american television screens. saddam hussein is now dead. the new iraqi government is still taking tentative steps, and the toll on the united states has been substantial. 4,415 american service members died in iraq. close to 32,000 americans wounded. we watched the invasion happen on live television thanks to some brand new, at the time, exclusive technology. and tonight, once again, we watch the pullout of these combat troops the very same way. though as you watch, remember, 50,000 americans in uniform will
remain behind in iraq in what's being called a noncombat role. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel has covered this war for so many years for us, with us from a moving convoy in the iraqi desert tonight. and, richard, i understand your reporting of this at this hour tonight constitutes the official pentagon announcement, correct? >> reporter: yes, it is. right now we are with the last american combat troops and they are in the process of leaving this country right now. we are with the 42 stryker brigade. i'm broadcasting right now live from the top of a stryker fighting vehicle. there are 440 american troops in this convoy traveling in 60 -- as soon as they cross the border into kuwait and it is not far to the border -- just about 30 miles from here. as soon as all these soldiers leave iraq, operation iraqi freedom, the combat mission in iraq, will be over.
combat soldiers from the 4th stryker brigade suit up tonight for their final mission. their vehicles are all pointing south to kuwait. they head out in darkness. the soldiers have just left camp liberty in baghdad. it's about 2:00 in the morning. they will be driving for seven hours in the night, then take a break before pushing on to the border. the troops scan the roads, but it's mostly a precaution. the threat of attack is considered low. sunrise comes early here, just 5:00 a.m. they have been driving through the night. daylight gives us our first clear view of the road. the strykers are traveling on iraq's main north-south highway -- smooth, wide blacktop. what a difference to how american troops entered iraq. in 2003, american forces crashed through the desert to stay unpredictable to the iraqi army. also different today, the
helicopters over the convoy aren't there to provide overwatch. they're carrying reporters, flying low to take pictures. our own video is broadcast by a satellite truck we affectionately call the bloom mobile. >> because it's an armored vehicle -- >> reporter: it was named after nbc correspondent david bloom. in 2003 bloom used it to do the first live television reports ever from a moving battlefield. sadly, bloom died of a blood clot before reaching baghdad. on the convoy today, lieutenant steven dewitt from san jose, california, knows he's taking part in a turning point for american troops and the united states. >> when they told us we were going to do this, you didn't really grasp how important it was. you know, how big a deal this actually was to be driving out of here, you know, as the last combat battalion in iraq. it feels pretty good to be a part of it right now. >> reporter: we're driving down a main highway in and amongst
traffic. >> exactly. you see, you know, even a year and a half ago, two years ago you wouldn't have had traffic passing a convoy. >> reporter: for the last few days, the lights of stryker vehicles have been breaking the darkness as they cross into kuwait. a brigadier general standing to salute every arriving soldier. >> good job, guys! >> we're going home! >> to be able to cross that border and know that i have made it with all of my guys, which i could not say before, is a tremendously good feeling. >> reporter: some second thoughts from private first class joshua ablar who just became a u.s. citizen while serving in baghdad. >> i feel kind of sad because we've got a bond between the people in iraq. >> reporter: finally, time to take off their flak jackets and break down their weapons and pause to take in a moment of history. we are traveling quite quickly
to the border, brian. we're moving around 45 miles an hour. so this vehicle and the rest of the convoy should be through into kuwait in just a couple of hours and quite appropriately, brian, this mission is code named "the last patrol." >> richard, we realize your signal is dicey. it's a lot to ask technically, but we'll try to keep it going while we can. what about those left behind and the situation now in your rear-view mirror back in iraq? a lot of americans will be asking, "under what possible conditions would american soldiers ever go back in?" >> reporter: the soldiers that are staying behind are on a training mission, and the difference is these soldiers right now are on a combat mission. they have combat power. if the orders came -- and they would have to come very quickly now -- to send these troops to go take an objective, to take a town, they would do that. that is what they are in iraq to do. the 50,000 that will remain will
be working mostly in offices, teaching basic skills to the iraqi army and police. they don't have the mandate to go out into a fight. sure, there might still be some fighting if american trainers do get shot at. they will fight back, but they will not be doing combat missions, trying to take objectives. that's what these soldiers do, and they're leaving. >> and, richard, of course, as you pointed out, iraq has always had two-lane paved highways with painted markers and road signs, but it's not the way the u.s. came in. it must be an eerie feeling to be the way the combat forces are leaving. >> reporter: it is a very strange experience, particularly when we were driving earlier in the daylight hours and vehicles were moving in and around the convoy. when the invasion began in '03 there was so much secrecy. they were going through the desert -- that left hook to baghdad -- to make sure that no one knew where they were going to be going. now, we are getting waved at by
iraqi police. there were people sometimes lined up along -- around the convoy. a completely different experience. it almost felt like we were a line of taxis heading out of iraq. >> richard engel reporting from a moving convoy as it leaves the iraqi desert into kuwait. let's bring into the conversation retired u.s. army colonel jack jacobs. he's a decorated combat veteran, a recipient of the medal of honor and, of course, an nbc news military analyst. at this point, people like me always ask people like you, "what have we learned?" critics of the war will look at it as an elective. they will always say the 9/11 pilots weren't iraqis and they will say we never found weapons of mass destruction. so as an analyst, a civilian now, but a veteran military man, what do you think we have learned? >> well, three things. we have learned a lot of things but three come immediately to mind. the first is whatever you're trying to do in the international community, do not rely on the military instrument of power as the default
instrument of power. second, you can't fight successfully an insurgency using conventional troops alone. maybe the most important lesson is that it always takes more resources to hold onto an objective than it does to take it in the first place. always. >> people will debate democracy or anything close to it taking hold in the rear-view mirror, but, jack, these combat troops pull out tonight. 50,000 americans in uniform back there in this training and advisory role. what happens to them now? >> well, i hope they would have a better time of it than i did. when i got to vietnam for my second tour, i was an adviser to the vietnamese airborne battalion -- the airborne division. all of the combat troops -- american combat troops had already been withdrawn. yet i and my fellow advisers were engaged in combat every single day for the next six months. we hope it will be quieter for these guys who are left behind. at some juncture we have to decide when to pull them out, too.
we hope it's not under duress. >> while you have been speaking we still see the live picture of the headlights of the vehicle in front of the vehicle carrying richard engel. this is the very same vehicle, the same technology that allowed our late great colleague david bloom to report live from the desert from a moving convoy as the invasion started. we'll check back in, but, of course, throughout the evening there will be more of richard's reporting from iraq on our website, nightly.msnbc.com, as there will be on msnbc on cable as well. we turn now to things domestic. an important story today regarding health. there is a massive nationwide recall of over 200 million eggs tonight after hundreds of people came down with salmonella poisoning. this is a serious business and a country where the average american consumes about 250 eggs a year.
our report on this tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: federal investigators at these massive henhouses in iowa believe salmonella has somehow made its way inside. now, some 228 million eggs are being recalled after several hundred people became sick in california, colorado, and minnesota. and it looks as if the hens themselves have been infected. >> what it does is it gets into the ovaries of the hen and can infect not only the external part of the egg but the internal part of the egg. >> reporter: the eggs were packaged between may 16 and august 13th and stamped p-1026, p-1413 or p-1946. from iowa, the eggs were sent across the midwest and west to california and sold under 13 brand names including lucerne, albertson's, mountain dairy, and dutch farms. in a statement, wright county eggs urges customers to return the eggs saying, "our primary concern is keeping salmonella
out of the food supply and away from consumers." the fear is that thousands of people could become ill. the most common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. in some cases it can be far more severe. >> it can go from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream. and then those people who are frail, elderly or very young can have very serious, even life-threatening infection. >> reporter: for five years, arlene delaney has suffered from flares of debilitating stomach and colon problems after she ate contaminated eggs. we talked to her via skype. >> when i'm in a bad flare, i can't leave the house. i become housebound. and a bad flare with me can last up to a month until we get it under control. >> reporter: so far, no reported deaths from this outbreak, but health experts worry many people still have the eggs in their refrigerators. if you have the eggs in your refrigerators, throw them out or return them. it's difficult to tell if an egg is contaminated by looking at its shell.
but doctors say thoroughly cooking an egg until the white and the yolk are solid should ensure it's safe to eat. we have much more on all of this on the website, the recall, the carton numbers, and the names of the companies. that's at nightly.msnbc.com. brian? >> this is a big one tonight. tom costello in our washington newsroom. tom, thanks for your reporting. and up next, as our broadcast continues on a wednesday night, as we mentioned, ann curry is in pakistan tonight where people are getting angry about the struggle for survival. they are facing one of the worst disasters ever. and later, a well known director with a sharp eye takes his cameras back to a place that has shown the world its struggle and its resilience. [ woman ] i had this deep, radiating pain everywhere...
aren't absorbed properly unless taken with food. he recommended citracal. it's different -- it's calcium citrate, so it can be absorbed with or without food. also available in small, easy-to-swallow petites. citracal. the state department warned today this flooding crisis going on in pakistan is actually going to get worse before it gets better. the scope of it dramatically illustrated by a series of satellite photos here, shows a
section of the indus river a year ago and then about three weeks ago. as the flooding started, you can see the territory the water just eats up. finally, 24 hours ago is the last frame. the dark blue shows just how bad that flooding is now. our own ann curry is in islamabad tonight with the very latest from that zone. ann, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, brian. tonight, as you can see, the monsoon rains have begun yet again. imagine being flooded for 21 days and having no one come to your help. that is a fact of life for millions of people here, and many are losing patience. [ shouting, chanting ] >> reporter: fury now floods pakistan with millions without help three weeks after the epic floods began. today, protesters carrying sticks and stones set fires, stopped traffic. some even surrounded our car for a time. the unrest threatening to further destabilize the government of president zardari.