Richard Engel

  • Aired:  08/26/10
  •  | Views: 29,743

Richard Engel explains how he got to be the journalist who told the world that Operation Iraqi Freedom was over. (7:35)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT JUST ANNOUNCED

THE END OF THE IRAQ WAR.

I SAY WE GET THIS GUY TO

AFGHANISTAN.

PLEASE WELCOME RICHARD ENGLE.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

SIR, NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

>> GOOD TO SEE YOU.

>> PLEASE SIT DOWN.

>> IT'S A PLEASURE.

>> Stephen: IT'S WONDERFUL.

I'VE HAD YOU ON BEFORE OVER AT

THE KIDS' TABLE OVER HERE.

NOW WE'RE THE BIG BOYS.

>> I GUESS I'VE MOVED UP.

>> Stephen: ABSOLUTELY.

HAVEN'T WE ALL.

YOU HAVE MOVED UP AND PROVED ON.

SO ARE OUR TROOPS.

YOU REPORTED SOMETHING THE OTHER

DAY THAT MADE A LOT OF NEWS,

THAT IT WAS REPORTED, NOT JUST

WHAT YOU REPORTED.

WE HAVE A CLIP OF IT HERE.

JIM, CAN YOU ROLL FOR THE GOOD

PEOPLE WHAT THIS MAN REPORTED.

>> RICHARD, I UNDERSTAND YOUR

REPORTING OF THIS AT THIS HOUR

TONIGHT CONSTITUTES THE OFFICIAL

PENTAGON ANNOUNCEMENT, CORRECT?

>> YES, IT IS.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

>> CAN I SET THAT UP.

>> Stephen: YOU CAN SET IT UP

AND YOU CAN SET IT OUT.

GIVE US THE CONTEXT FOR WHAT

THAT WAS.

HOW DID YOU GET THAT REPORT?

WHY ARE YOU THE ONE WHO TOLD THE

WORLD THAT OPERATION IRAQI

FREEDOM WAS DONE?

>> OKAY.

WHAT HAPPENED WAS THIS.

THE LAST AMERICAN COMBAT TROOPS

WERE LEAVING IRAQ.

AND THIS WAS THE LAST COMBAT

BRIGADE.

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM IS A

COMBAT MISSION.

IT BEGAN IN 2003, SHOCK AND AWE,

AND LASTED UNTIL...

>> Stephen: SHOCK AND AWE,

BOOTS ON THE GROUND.

>> WHEN YOU THINK OF COMBAT,

TROOPS, TANKS GOING INTO BATTLE

FORMATION, FALLUJAH.

>> Stephen: ALL OF THAT STUFF.

I REMEMBER.

>> OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM IS A

COMBAT MISSION.

SO WHEN THE LAST COMBAT TROOPS

LEAVE, THE COMBAT MISSION IS

OVER.

>> Stephen: SO IF THE COMBAT

TROOPS ARE GONE, WHAT TROOPS ARE

LEFT, LIKE IMPROV TROOPS?

>> NO, THERE IS A TRAINING

MISSION NOW.

THESE ARE ADVISE AND ASSIST

BRIGADES.

THEY ARE STILL ON.

THEY CAN STILL GET INTO FIGHTS.

>> Stephen: NO MORE BOOTS ON

THE GROUND?

>> THEY'RE IN IRAQ.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

ARE THEY WEARING BOOTS?

>> THEY'RE WEARING BOOTS.

>> Stephen: AND THEY'RE NOT

HOVERING ON BALLOONS?

>> NO, BUT THEY'RE NOT ON A

COMBAT MISSION PER SE.

THESE COMBAT BRIGADES ARE

SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED AND

EQUIPPED TO DO OFFENSIVE

OPERATIONS, TO SURROUND A TOWN

TO, GO IN, KNOCK DOWN PEOPLE'S

HOUSES OR KNOCK DOWN THE DOORS

AT LEAST, KICKING IN DOORS.

>> Stephen: OR SOMETIMES YOU

JUST BLOW A HOLE IN THE WALL.

>> IT REALLY DEPENDS ON THE

OPERATION, BUT THOSE ARE COMBAT

OPERATIONS.

WE'VE SEEN A LOT OF THEM IN

IRAQ.

WITH THE LAST COMBAT BRIGADE

LEAVING, THAT PHASE IS OVER.

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM ENDED

WHEN IRAQI... WHEN AMERICAN

COMBAT TROOPS LEFT.

>> Stephen: WHAT'S IT CALLED

NOW?

IT'S GOT TO HAVE A NAME, RIGHT?

>> YES, OPERATION NEW DAWN.

THAT'S WHAT IT'S CALLED.

>> Stephen: THAT'S NICE.

ISN'T THAT...

>> THAT MISSION OFFICIALLY

BEGINS ON SEPTEMBER 1st.

THAT'S WHEN THERE WILL BE A

CEREMONY AND NEW DAWN BEGINS AT

NEW DAWN.

IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE THIS TRADING

MISSION WHERE AMERICAN TROOPS

ARE ON THEIR BASES WORKING AS

ADVISERS, HELPING THE IRAQIS

FIGHT.

>> Stephen: IS T PRESIDENT IS

GIVING A SPEECH ON ALL THIS

TUESDAY.

GIVE US A PREVIEW OF WHAT YOU

THINK HE'S GOING TO SAY.

>> HE'S GOING TO SAY HE KEPT HIS

PROMISE AND ALL COMBAT TROOPS

ARE OUT BECAUSE THEY HAD UNTIL

THE 31st.

>> I REMEMBER.

THEY TOTALLY JUMPED THE GUN.

>> WELL, THAT'S LOGICAL.

LET'S SAY YOU GAVE ME THE

OPERATION.

RICHARD, I WANT YOU TO REMOVE

THE AUDIENCE.

YOU HAVE UNTIL THE END OF THE

MONTH.

>> Stephen: I WOULD NEVER DO

THAT.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

>> Jerry: MILITARILY SPEAKING,

LET'S SAY YOU SAID, RICHARD,

EVERYONE HAS TO LEAVE THIS

BUILDING BY THE END OF THE

MONTH.

AND THERE'S SOMEONE THAT WANTS

TO DO HARM TO THEM, THERE'S

SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO ATTACK YOUR

AUDIENCE.

THERE MIGHT BE PEOPLE WHO WANT

TO.

I CERTAINLY WOULDN'T WAIT UNTIL

THE LAST DAY.

YOU WANT THE KEEP THE ELEMENT OF

SURPRISE.

GOING BACK TO THE PRESIDENT.

>> Stephen: WHAT DID HE SAY?

>> THE PRESIDENT SAID HE'S GOING

TO KEEP HIS PROMISE.

>> Stephen: DID HE?

>> COMBAT TROOPS ARE OUT.

HE CERTAINLY DID.

HE'S GOING TO SAY THAT.

>> Stephen: DUDS HE GET TO

DEFINE WHAT COMBAT TROOP MEANS?

>> WELL, THAT THE COMBAT MISSION

IS OVER.

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM IS OVER

AS HE SAID IT WOULD BE WHEN THE

COMBAT MISSION IS UP.

SO THAT'S PART OF THE SPEECH.

THE OTHER PART OF HIS SPEECH IS

GOING TO BE MUCH MORE DIFFICULT,

WHICH IS GOING TO SAY, THERE'S

STILL A LONG ROAD AHEAD.

THERE ARE A LOT OF BOMBINGS IN

BAGHDAD AND OTHER PARTS.

>> Stephen: JUST THE OTHER DAY

46 PEOPLE DIED.

>> MORE THAN THAT.

ANOTHER SIX WERE KILLED TODAY.

SO HE WILL ALSO HAVE TO SAY,

YES, THE COMBAT MISSION IS OVER,

BUT AMERICA DON'T THINK THAT

IRAQ IS... THAT THE PROBLEM OF

IRAQ IS SOLVED.

>> WHAT ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT

THERE.

>> I NEVER ANSWERED YOUR

QUESTION.

YOU ASKED ME HOW IS IT THAT I

REPORTED THIS INITIAL REPORT.

HOW DID WE GET TO DO THAT.

>> Stephen: YOU'RE DIGGING

INTO THIS RICHARD ENGLE GUY

PRETTY STRONGLY RIGHT HERE.

I'LL LET YOU FINISH THE

QUESTION.

ASK YOURSELF AGAIN.

>> YOU ASKED ME THE QUESTION.

>> Stephen: YOU'RE BACKING ME

UP IN WAYS THAT I NEVER WOULD.

SO HOW DID YOU GET THE SCOOP?

HOW?

>> IT WAS AMAZINGLY EASY AND

THIS IS WHAT'S SHOCKING.

THERE WERE SO MANY REPORTERS

THAT WENT IN AND COVERED IRAQ

WHEN IT FIRST BEGAN, HUNDREDS OF

REPORTERS.

THEY SPENT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

TO COVER THIS WAR WHEN IT BEGAN.

MOST PEOPLE TURNED DOWN THIS

EVENT.

MOST REPORTERS DIDN'T WANT TO DO

IT.

AND WE JUST HAPPENED TO BE

THERE.

THERE WERE TWO AMERICAN SOLDIERS

STANDING THERE TO SALUTE THE

LAST COMBAT TROOPS AS THEY

CROSSED THE BORDER IN KUWAIT,

AND HANDFUL OF CAMERAS.

WE HAPPENED TO BE ONE OF THEM.

>> Stephen: LET'S TALK ABOUT

THAT LITTLE TRUCK YOU WERE ON AS

YOU WERE DRIVING OUT.

>> VERY COOL PIECE OF EQUIP.

>> Stephen: VERY COOL PIECE OF

EQUIPMENT.

I IMAGINE THEY HAD A

BUMPERSTICKER THAT SAID, "MY

OTHER WAR IS AFGHANISTAN."

LET'S MOVE ON THE AFGHANISTAN

FOR A SECOND, WHICH I'M SURE

SOME OF OUR TROOPS ARE GOING TO

DO, AS WELL.

140,000 PEOPLE IN AFGHANISTAN

RIGHT NOW, JUST US, NOT EVEN

COALITION.

>> WELL, THE NUMBERS CONTINUE TO

GROW.

THAT'S ABOUT RIGHT.

>> Stephen: THAT'S THE CIRCLE

OF LIFE.

SO IS AFGHANISTAN... THERE IS A

TIMETABLE.

YOU GO TO AFGHANISTAN ALL THE

TIME.

>> ALL THE TIME.

>> Stephen: AFGHANISTAN THE

PRESIDENT ALSO HAS A TIMETABLE

THERE.

THAT'S FOR THE NEXT AUGUST,

RIGHT, A YEAR?

>> BUT THAT'S A MUCH MORE FLUID

TIMETABLE.

THIS TIMETABLE IN IRAQ WAS VERY,

VERY STRICT.

HE SAID AUGUST OF 2011 FOR

AFGHANISTAN.

>> IS THE START OF A DRAWDOWN.

SO THAT'S A MUCH MORE FLUID

THING.

>> Stephen: I'M BEGINNING MY

DIET.

>> I'M BEGINNING MY DIET.

IN IRAQ IT WAS ALL COMBAT TROOPS

HAVE TO BE OUT BY THE END OF

THIS MONTH, AND WE WERE WITH

THEM WHEN THE LAST GUYS LEFT.

HENCE ENDING OPERATION IRAQI

FREEDOM, WHICH HE'S GOING TO

ANNOUNCE ON TUESDAY.

AFGHANISTAN, THE DEADLINE IS A

LITTLE BIT MORE FLEXIBLE.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

MY LAST QUESTION, RICHARD, IS

WOULD YOU DO ME THE HONOR OF

OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCING THE END OF

THIS INTERVIEW?

>> ABSOLUTELY.

OPERATION COLBERT REPORT IS NOW

OVER.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU.

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