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… 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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