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“We Are Going To Have Some Lingering Psychological Effects From This Conflict”

On Sunday, Reliable Sources talked about the dangers of reporting from Iraq. NBC News correspondent Richard Engel‘s response to this question is worth reading in full:

  KURTZ: Right. But in terms of the toll on you personally, when you see something happen to a Kimberly Dozier, to a Bob Woodruff, to the people that you know or have worked with or presumably you have some relationship with, it kind of raises the question for me, why do you stay there? You’ve been there for three long and bloody years. Doesn’t this weigh on your mind?

ENGEL: It certainly does. It weighs on your mind. It weighs on your conscience. It chips away at your ability to feel and to empathize. I mean, just today I was reading reports that eight Iraqi heads were found severed in fruit baskets in Baquba with a note saying that this was revenge for a killing of Shiites that had happened two years ago. When I heard it, I’ve heard so many reports like this, I didn’t even bat an eye.

As Jane was saying earlier, when you’re in a car and you are cowering behind another vehicle that’s pointing guns at you, it’s not even something that you would tell other people about because it happens so frequently.

So it certainly does weigh on you, and you build up a certain immunity to it, and I think over time we are going to have some lingering psychological effects from this conflict.

But why do we do it? I think the small group of reporters that remains here and consistently come here are doing it because they enjoy it. They like being at the forefront of the news, being part of an important story, being able to bring back the events to people back home.

I think that I’m very lucky to have this job. I love it, and I think I’m one of the few people who can say that about their careers, that they get up every morning and really are interested and excited to try and bring the story to people.

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