Tuesday's World News with Charles Gibson highlighted signs of improvement in parts of Baghdad in the aftermath of the U.S. troop surge. ABC's Gibson introduced the story relaying that correspondent Terry McCarthy, after traveling to several Baghdad neighborhoods, "has found definite improvement." Among other developments, McCarthy reported on families feeling safe enough to take their children to the city's largest amusement park: "People feel safe to bring their kids here and have fun on a Friday afternoon. For us, it's really great to see people in Baghdad having fun."
McCarthy introduced his story recounting that although there are still daily bombings in Baghdad, "a small area of relative calm is starting to grow," relaying his visit to several neighborhoods where residents reported that "life is slowly coming back to normal." (Transcript follows)
Among other areas, McCarthy discussed the once-infamous Haifa Street that is no longer as dangerous as it once was, where men at a tea shop asked McCarthy's crew to film them "to show things are getting better." After mentioning positive developments in other neighborhoods, the ABC correspondent pointed out the increased number of families visiting the amusement park in the Zawra area. McCarthy: "People feel safe to bring their kids here and have fun on a Friday afternoon. For us, it's really great to see people in Baghdad having fun." After wondering if the relative safety would continue, he concluded: "For the time being, though, people here are happy to enjoy a life that looks almost normal."
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Tuesday April 3 World News with Charles Gibson:
Charles Gibson: "Meanwhile, Iraq's government announced today that the security situation in Baghdad has improved in recent weeks -- enough that the city's curfew can be relaxed. Until now, the curfew has been 8 PM till 5 AM. Now, Baghdad residents will be allowed on the street until 10 PM. ABC's Terry McCarthy has been checking out conditions in some of the city's neighborhoods, and has found definite improvement."
Terry McCarthy: "Children have come out to play again. Shoppers are back in markets. A few devout souls even venture past the barbed wire to pray. Baghdad is still rocked by car bombs every day. But right in the center of the city, a small area of relative calm is starting to grow, thanks to stepped up U.S. patrols and increased Iraqi checkpoints. Nowhere is safe for westerners to linger, but over the past week we visited five different neighborhoods where the locals told us life is slowly coming back to normal. We started in what used to be one of the most dangerous parts of the city. This is Haifa Street, otherwise known as 'Sniper Street,' until two months ago a major battleground between U.S. troops and insurgents. Today, people who live on Haifa Street tell us it's quiet, or at least quiet enough for them to venture back out onto the street. At a tea shop, these men actually asked us to film them to show things are getting better. In Babil, we stopped for ice cream -- 20 cents a scoop. The owner here, Mohammed Hassan, tells us security is improving in this part of Baghdad just in time for the summer, which is, of course, when they make most of their money. Hussein Jihad has a clothing store in Karada. 'When people heard that it was safe,' says Hussein, 'they started coming out and spending money again.' We found a mosque in Zayouna that had been fire-bombed. Now, open for prayer. And in Zawra, Baghdad's biggest amusement park is running again. People feel safe to bring their kids here and have fun on a Friday afternoon. For us, it's really great to see people in Baghdad having fun. 'It's safe here,' says 12-year-old Abdullah. 'There used to be some bullets, but not anymore.' Nobody knows if this small safe zone will expand or get swallowed up again by violence. For the time being, though, people here are happy to enjoy a life that looks almost normal. Terry McCarthy, ABC News, Baghdad."