Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Anderson Cooper Flashback: December 13, 2005 Baquba, Iraq

It's December 13, 2005 and Anderson Cooper is in Iraq in advance of the upcoming election.  He anchored from Baquba, Iraq and here's the report (he mentioned in the video we posted last night) of  his on patrol experience....

And the transcript of the report...

COOPER: Well, it's interesting, here in Baquba, Iraqi police units are actually able to function often on their own. The U.S. military still providing logistical support, as I saw firsthand, when I went out on patrol today. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): Days before Thursday's parliamentary elections, Captain Patrick Moffitt (ph) and the men of 2nd Platoon Alpha Battery Task Force 110 patrol Baquba around the clock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a predominantly Sunni neighborhood right here.

COOPER: They have been in this city for 11 months now, but every day must constantly stay on guard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whenever you start getting to where it is routine, something will happen to remind you that you're in Iraq, and it is still a dangerous place.

COOPER: Captain Moffitt (ph) was reminded of that just two weeks ago, when a suicide bomber tried to blow him up.

(on camera): Was that the vehicle that bomb was in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. This is -- this is what is remaining of it. There wasn't much left.

COOPER: And was there a person inside?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yeah, there was a man inside the vehicle, one guy. I actually think that is still his sandal. Good chunks of him on the hood of our truck. He was on the truck.

COOPER: You actually saw parts of the guy on your truck?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. His small intestines were on the hood. So.

COOPER: He got 11 stitches, but his optimism about Baquba and the U.S. mission wasn't damaged at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see so much more good than you see bad. You see so much more growth than you see problems that it helps you keep your optimism high and helps you get through, going through events like that.

COOPER (voice-over): Baquba was once an unlikely place for optimism. A year ago, it was a hot bed of the insurgency. Now, however, attacks are down 30 to 40 percent. Moffitt (ph) credits U.S. counter-insurgency efforts and better trained Iraqi police for many of the improvements here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Iraqi police and army are a lot more active than they were 10 or 11 months ago. Since we've been here, and what I have seen, they have still their issues. And their growth, there's a lot of growth for them to do but they have improved greatly.

COOPER (on camera): Does it frustrate you that not everyone, seems like everyone in the states, sees the same signs of progress?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is very frustrating. On the news back home, it is always going to be the exciting story. The attack or the bombing. It's not going to be any stories in the news about soldiers and policeman going to school and giving kids new pens and new school books.

COOPER (voice over): In this predominantly Sunni marketplace, however, Captain Moffitt's optimism doesn't seem to be shared by many of the Iraqis we talked to.

There's no security, this man says. Especially in this area because the Americans are here and it's an occupation.

COOPER (on camera): Do you plan to vote on Thursday? Do elections matter?

(voice over): When I asked the crowd if they plan to vote, nearly everyone said no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're part of something way bigger than ourselves. We're affecting change in a whole -- whole nation. As opposed to anything we could do in the United States. Our little piece but it's a whole group affected -- all of Baquba is a different place because we've been here which is an amazing experience.

It's also an amazing responsibility to know that you're -- what you do is going to set this country up for success or failure.

COOPER (on camera): You're proud of what you've done?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. Very. Proud of what these men have done. Not as much what I have done.

COOPER (voice over): Captain Moffitt and his men will return home in one month, his unit replaced by another contingent of U.S. troops. For all the talk of progress and the possibility of withdrawal, none of the Americans we talked in Baquba think U.S. forces can leave for good any time soon.

AC360 Transcript
AC360 Podcast

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