Monday, April 18, 2005

Problems and Progress

Tim Russert and NYT reporter Dexter Filkins on Meet the Press on Sunday, discussing Iraq:

MR. RUSSERT: Dexter, talk about life in Baghdad as opposed to prefall of Saddam. What is the average guy, the average lady--do they get up in the morning? Are they going to work? Is the city functioning? Are kids going school? Are the markets open? What do you see?

MR. FILKINS: All those things. I mean, the truth is, you know, on most days, Baghdad is a very normal, Middle Eastern city. You know, after the fall off Saddam, there was a huge economic boom. They took down all the duties, you know, the amount of car traffic has, you know, quadrupled or possibly more. The traffics--the streets are jammed, the schools are open. There's lots of commerce. So in that sense, it's a very vibrant, bustling place. It's just sort of punctuated by, you know, this terrible violence. But, you know, it's difficult to describe the country because you have these very dramatic moments of violence. But the truth is, you know, most of the time, it's pretty normal.

Telling words from a Times reporter. Granted Filkins and the other MTP guest, NBC News' Jim Miklaszewski, were quick to note the on-going difficulties, but it's encouraging (from a media standpoint) to see these kinds of comments being made.

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