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The Daily Nightly began on May 31, 2005. As Brian wrote in his first post it aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News. Brian weighs in every weekday and NBC News correspondents and producers post regularly.

Brian Williams became the seventh anchor and managing editor in the history of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004. Read his full biography.

The Anonymous Caller

I want to begin this weekend by telling you about a recorded phone message I received after last Saturday's broadcast.  The viewer did not identify himself.  But he clearly was angry about what he had heard and seen on Nightly News.

The viewer was upset because we used the phrase "one of the worst attacks since the war began."  In fact, last Saturday a suicide bomber launched what was the deadliest single attack since the war began.  At least 130 Iraqis were killed.

The caller went on... "Can't you come up with a better phrase than this? Aren't you sick and tired of saying this?"

Then he said... "We're tired of hearing about it.  Nobody understands this war.  I wouldn't know a Shiite from an Iraqi. Nobody knows what the fighting is about.  We just want it to end.  Nobody even cares anymore.  We're tired of the same phrases every night."

He ended with this.  "Give it a *&#@!#* rest.!"

The anonymous caller is right about one thing.  Since the war started more than three years ago, we have often led our broadcast with latest news about the war in Iraq... and we have often used words and phrases like "deadly" ... "violence"... "bloody" ... "firefight"... "suicide bombing" ... "death toll"... "explosives"... "devastation" ... "civil war" and "IEDs" (improvised explosive device).  Those words are often accompanied by horrible pictures.

Clearly, many Americans are sick of the war... or sick of hearing about the war... or sick of watching pictures of the war... or sick of the same words and phrases we use to describe the war.

But the anonymous caller is wrong when he says "nobody cares."

He may be tired of hearing about it, but there are plenty of Americans who care.

There are 132,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

As of today, 3,121 of those Americans have died in this war.

Many Iraqis care too.  There is no official number, but there are reports that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died in this war.

News about the war may not be entertaining... or easy to watch.  It may be repetitive.  It may make you want to turn your head or turn the channel.

But as long as the war goes on, we will cover it.

And we will do so tonight, with news of a change in command there.  Gen. David Petraeus took over as head of coalition forces today.  Jane Arraf is there and reports on his plans for American forces.

We'll also have news from the war in Afghanistan.  NBC's Jim Maceda reports on the latest U.S. plan to stop a stronger and more organized Taliban.

Big political news today‚Ķ we are following Senator Barack Obama's announcement that he is an "official" candidate for president.   He made the announcement in Springfield, Ill. NBC's Janet Shamlian is there.  NBC's Andrea Mitchell will give us the view of this upcoming political battle from New Hampshire.

And we'll have more on the mounds of snow covering western New York.

It's all coming up tonight.  We hope you'll join us.

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COMMENTS

>> He may be tired of hearing about it, but there are plenty of Americans who care.

>> There are 132,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

>> As of today, 3,121 of those Americans have died in this war.


Why feel sorry for those Americans when there should not have been a war in the first place. I recognize only those who defend their own country and not have to wash other countries dirty laundry like endorsing the execution of a leader pureley for religious reasons.

Ask an avereage American what Islam is really all about and then go figure as to why there are those that are so eager to help an Islamic country enough to sacrifice their own children for a religious cause they know nothing about.

What a waste of American lives !!!!

Looks like your blog is pretty one sided tilting to the left, so I'm probably wasting my time - but here goes. First off, it's obvious all of the media has a dog in this fight... anyone who thinks the network tv newcasts are "fair and impartial" is living in a fantasy land - to deny the broadcast networks and NPR aren't leaning, and in some cases actually falling over to the left, is like saying FOX doesn't lean to the right! These networks are the same characters who feed us non-stop Anna Nicole Smith stories for hours and hours - shows you where their intellect and priorities are.

NBC and others say "all the troops just want to know when they can come home". Hummm - I have a close friend in the Air Force stationed at a base in Kirkuk. HE TELLS ME the troops there are serious about getting the job done, have great attitudes and are gung ho about their mission - not a cry baby among them. So I ask you, who should I believe, someone I've known for years and trust like a brother, or some talking head on network tv with an agenda??!

Are there serious problems in Iraq - you damn right. There's have a long border with Syria on one side and Iran on the other - and we know where we stand with both of these countries, because they've told us! Problem is, we can't control the Mexican border, so how do we think we can control the Iraq border? And the "WMD"s weren't there - ya, right... like they wouldn't have gone through Syria and ended up in some african country - get real! Where's that good network investigative reporting when you need it - easier to blame Bush - like he personally did all his own investigating and made the decision by himself... you're rewriting history! I know of at least one senator who was "for it before he was against it" or something like that, and he had the same intellegence reports!

And now we have reporters and "contributors" to network tv who call our service men and women are mercenaries, and should be happy if they're not spit on when they return to America! It's absolutely mind-boggling - how do you argue with stupidity like that?

I am tired of hearing about Iraq, but we need to be reminded daily that Americans are dying over there. We also need to have compassion for the Iraq non-combatants caught in this war. Keep on reminding us, but you can forget about Anna Nicole!

I know that sometimes people get tired of hearing about this war in Iraq but most people care about the war and all the lives that are being lost and for what reason it is hard to say. In my opinion if I went to Iraq I would not know the difference from one person to another other than they were Iraqis. The problem in my opinion lies in the fact that there are too many different factions and one takes one side and the other the other side. It could be religion plays a part in all this too and also the fact that if the U.S. was to just leave maybe things would calm down a tiny bit but who knows. Mr. Bush did not stop to think about the fact that all countries have different cultures and that you just do not go in and try to change someones culture and take over and that is what the Iraqis feel is happening to them. What if the Baptists and the Methodists and Presbyterians and all the other religions in this country were to do the very same thing and take sides this country would be in a mess. I care about the war and all the lives that are being lost and probably 10 years from now the war will still be going on. I just hope and pray that some day there will be PEACE ALL OVER THE WORLD and not all the killings and bombings.

Thank You

The comparison or Iraq and Katrina and the lack of resources given during Katrina is appropriate. I was a Katrina relief worker, detailed to FEMA. I volunteered, and left my job and family to help out in South East Alabama for two months.

We gave elderly women and men (mostly minorities) a whopping 3-12K a person to rebuild absoultely shattered lives. I personally worked with THOUSANDS of persons that had an income of less than 7K a year deal with homes that were flooded. I handled the cases of dozens of poor people victimized by major Insurance companies that quick claimed deals, handing 700 dollar checks out to settle claims that wrightly should have cost many thousands of dollars to fix (replacement of rooms, destruction of homes, etc).

It's a national disgrace that we can spend billions on Iraq, and leave our own citizens in squalor.

I was a life long republican before I worked as a relief worker. I'm ashamed of this administration and the party. I'm not sure if the democrats are any better, but anything is better that what I saw down there.

The anonymous caller's frustration regarding Iraq is easy for me to understand (though my language would have been milder). I do care about Iraq, but have developed a severe case of "Iraq fatigue," and here's why: The war there has gotten to be a serious case of misplaced priorities on the part of the Bush Administration.

Back when Katrina hit, Bush had been busy squandering American blood and treasure in Iraq. Following the storm, he had the opportunity to do the right thing and turn national attention to bringing back the Gulf Region. However, instead of being serious about rebuilding New Orleans, he made several vague, empty promises, but underneath it all made the Faustian bargain of choosing Iraq over New Orleans. That city's recovery went on the back burner. Thus he has condemned Louisiana, which lost 80% of New Orleans, and innumerable smaller communities damaged by Katrina and Rita, to slide down the tubes.

Here's a heart-wrenching example of how her situation has been going downhill: New Orleans' murder epidemic, which was briefly mentioned last night in Martin Savidge's report as causing tourists to question safety there, when she needs the tourists Mardi Gras will draw. New Orleans' future is being threatened, not only by the fact that tourists could be scared off, but the fact that anyone mulling over returning could be discouraged from doing so. Last month a film-maker was murdered, which puts the lie to the idea that only people in the drug trade or who are otherwise criminals are being murdered.

While any crime wave will have a complex confluence of causes--prior to Katrina New Orleans had had a violent crime problem and a high murder rate--there are now several post-Katrina factors contributing to the crisis and exacerbating matters. These include a shortage of police officers, a backlogged criminal courts system, large empty areas of vacant, damaged houses where criminals can hide, social services that have been curtailed or are non-existent, and money which ordinarily would be be used towards crime-fighting being diverted towards rebuilding. Also, jails are overcrowded, so murderers are turned loose into the community after short jail terms.

And another part of Louisiana's problem are FEMA trailer parks. To be fair, much of the Katrina survivors in these parks are working people, families with children, the elderly, and other innocent, law-abiding folks. But the fact that on top of losing their homes and the other traumas they'd experienced in the storm and being worn down by day-to-day living in war zone-like conditions, they must deal with the stress of having criminal activity in their midst is heart-breaking. The parks have become painful festering sores of drug dealing, prostitution, and murder, which have been torturing Louisiana by spreading their poison into New Orleans and the communities of surrounding parishes.

Regarding the crime wave, New Orleans and Louisiana have done their part. Last summer, after a request by Mayor Nagin, Gov. Blanco sent in the Louisiana National Guard and state troopers to help keep order. Earlier this year after a new spike in murders (including a week in which the number of Americans murdered in New Orleans (14) was greater than that of Americans who'd died in Iraq (8)) New Orleans set up checkpoints and security cameras, but these measures have not helped.

Instead of working on a "surge" in Iraq, Bush should plan one in New Orleans. Only a massive influx of funds, manpower, and equipment, if not hampered by red tape, will be able to quickly stem the rising tide of crime.

The following will take some time, but be advantageous down the road: Louisiana urgently needs "Katrina cottages" and other more-permanent disaster housing so trailer parks can close down. FEMA trailers had not been intended to serve as permanent housing, to begin with, and they are cramped, uncomfortable, and, in winter, cold places to live. Louisiana needs her fair share of the housing grant FEMA announced last Dec. in which, in spite of the fact that Louisiana had suffered 80% of the storm damage, she was awarded only $75.4 million, when Mississippi had gotten over $280 million.

Since Bush short-sightedly will not do so, Congress needs to act and see that Louisiana gets the help she desperately needs to deal with this crime wave, which darkens her life and threatens New Orleans' future.

Personally, I'm more upset with what the media doesn't say. If you started off your broadcast with "A war with IRAN is 'clearly' the intent of the administration (Keith Oberman style)" I'd feel you were right on the money. Doing so may be the only way to prevent it. I fault the media more for not putting the piece together. Even if you worded it as a question "Could war with Iran have been the administration's intent this whole time?" would at least allow people to get a sense of a possible broader picture. Things do have a context whether the media is willing to put them that way or not. I find it startlingly contemptuous that here we are claiming to be fighting a war against terrorists who killed 3,000 lives when we (yes us) turned around and manipulated it to invade a country on false pretenses, which resulted in 300,000 deaths by conservative estimates. Someone is dropping the ball in the American public's disconnect. Being sick of hearing the numbers of fatalities pales in comparison to the guilt we should be feeling for being sold the biggest d**n bridge in the world: what is IRAQ. If you read the message boards, you hear calls for the mass genocide of all Arab people. Is that who we've become?

Maybe go back a little. Why are there US troops in Iraq? No, really why. Are you covering what really needs to be covered? Is your story selling sensationalism, or is it addressing key news that'll help readers better interpret events? Do keep up the good work, but please keep the bar high.

You will keep up the news, its your job. The soldiers will keep fighting and dying, its their job. Their families will worry, its human nature. The larger part of the American public will still feel mixed emotions about the war. We know we have to support our troops yet we dont understand why we are there. We do know we were not told the truth from the start. But no one in politics really seems to care about that. The media does not care about it, it's old news. Yet the American public cant forget because its in our face daily/nightly and then we also think about our lying, new word inventing, bull-headed president who go us into this quagmire for his own personal and family business reasons.

Now the GOP wants to use medi-care/cade money to pay for the war. Too bad dubya wont ever have sub-standard medical care or wonder how he will pay for it. The sad part is that dubya is so egotistical that he has no idea just how poorly the public really thinks of him, what we say behind closed doors for fear the secret service will break our door down. I think he is the only US president that is truly hated by the majority public. Not disliked or considered an idiot, which he is, but truly malevolently hated.

John I know it's hard for people to listen all the time to such sad news about Iraq and the civil war. As for me a parent of an active soldier I need to know because my child is giving her life for our country not sitting at home watching TV and turning the channel. Most Americans would rather forget all the bad news and more on. But for the troops and their families we need to know everything and not the lies the President has be saying. Those who don't have a family member in harms way I say if it hurts to hear the truth call your Congressperson and Senator and ask them to bring our troops home. The media is only to give the news of what the truth is and about what's happening to our kids. I pray every second and call/write my elected officials to stop this maddness. So get off the couch and pick up the phone and make that call then John might have some good news to report.

I have to say I agree with the caller, although NBC and the rest of the media are merely the messengers so any anger at them is misplaced.

I am also sick of this war. The neocons told us it would be cheap and easy (look back at the pre-war statements of Wolfowitz and Cheney about how we would be greeted as liberators, and how the oil would pay for the war costs - what a pack of lies). It has not been worth the cost to date and frankly Congress should cut off all funding except that required to get our people and equipment out of there.

Leaving would tell both the Iraqis and the world that we did not come to control the country and oil and install a compliant puppet government (though right now it appears that was the goal). If the Iraqis decide to slaughter each other once we leave, that is their choice. Good luck to them.

Hello Dear John,
This viewer is not ignorant. People have been able to obtain full information about the war in Iraq, and the election of last November was the signal for the required change in course of action. The war is about the Iraqi oil reserve. Iraq has more than 240 billion barrels of oil, an amount that has been discounted to 110 billion barrels by the Bush administration. President Bush has indicated several times that the war is about energy security, and VP Cheney has echoed the same line of thinking. (Other causes provided for the war are just nothing.) Fighting for oil will provide huge profits for oil corporations. Bombing in Iraq will require better bombs and weapons, a need that will generate huge profits for the military complex. Ignorant people in the Middle East have realized these facts more than three years ago. In fact, for this reviewer we are still not obtaining the full story about Iraq: the destruction of the country, the more than half million Iraqis killed, the more than one million Iraqi died under the embargo, the looting of the Iraqi oil, the looting of the American public funds, the looting of the Iraqi archeological materials, the thousands of Americans killed and wounded for the oil corporations and the military complex to make huge profits, the Iraqis who have been forced to leave their countries daily, the dehospitalization and deeducation of the Iraqi people; the delectrification of Iraq, the destruction of Iraqi public industrial firms, the women who were raped and killed under the system of Abu Ghraib democracy, the tarnished global image of our country, the national insecurity, and finally the story of our economy which has not been able to finance the two ongoing wars, a condition that has forced the Bush administration to depend on the savings of foreign nations such as China and India, to mention a few. The viewer has the same line as our President who has been in search for progress and liberty but has found neither. Some people try to pressure the NBC to disinform the public, but I do know one fact that honesty has been the trade-mark of NBC. Many thanks for bringing these tragic seen and honest news to understand the exported version of democracy and its lethal price on people

"Mounds of snow covering western New York"? Hardly. The snow is north & east of Syracuse, which is in an area known as central New York, bordering on the North Country. Wikipedia describes the distinctions clearly, and anybody from upstate New York would correct you. You'll note that Brian Williams doesn't write about this taking place in western New York. Please stop perpetuating this inaccurate meme.

Genuine feelings from the Heartland, no doubt. I second the sentiment, minus the obscenity.

"But as long as the war goes on, we will cover it."

Couldn't have said it better myself. Keep up the great work, and don't stop doing what you're doing.

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