COMMENTS: Rug Merchants

ABC and CBS took contrasting looks the relative calm in the neighborhoods of Baghdad. CBS' Martin Seemungal investigated the claims by a Republican Congressional delegation, led by Sen John McCain and Rep Mike Pence, that the security crackdown led by the US military had succeeded in making wartorn markets safe once more. Seemungal pointed out that the visit the politicians made over the weekend was enabled by a "massive military operation, dozens of US soldiers, snipers, helicopters hovering overhead." The carpet store where the politicians were so proud to have haggled was "closed and shuttered well before dark."

As the Iraqi government eases its Baghdad curfew, allowing residents to stay out two hours later, until 10pm each night, ABC's Terry McCarthy (subscription required) visited five separate central-city neighborhoods and was generally encouraged: "Children have come out to play again. Shoppers are back in markets." Haifa Street is no longer "Sniper Street." Ice cream is on sale in Zadriyah ready for peak summer business. A clothing store has reopened in Karada. Worshippers are praying once more at a firebombed mosque in Zayouna. And the fair is open in Zawraa Park: "It is really great to see people in Baghdad having fun," McCarthy grinned from his carousel horse.


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