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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Marine Massacre?; Politics of Haditha; Crisis in Congo
Aired June 2, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Reports of military misconduct in Iraq -- the allegations, some late new answers, but also growing implications over there and over here.
ANNOUNCER: Haditha and beyond -- some troops cleared, some facing murder charges, the entire mission in Iraq now under fire.
Speaking truth to power.
JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isn't this shameful to see soldiers doing this, sir?
JOSEPH KABILA, PRESIDENT OF CONGO: Yes, it's shameful.
ANNOUNCER: CNN confronts a president about mass rape committed by his soldiers.
And it's time to play, pick the terror target, New York, Washington, L.A. Omaha, Nebraska? Why this guy thinks smaller towns should get bigger terror prevention money and bigger targets should get less. We're "Keeping Them Honest."
ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, sitting in for Anderson, John Roberts.
ROBERTS: And good evening to you.
We begin with the words today of a top Iraqi human rights advocate. It looks, he said, like the killing of Iraqi civilians is becoming a daily phenomenon.
And he's right. Today, a double bombing killed at least five civilians. It happened at a market where people buy house pets. Elsewhere, a cleric was gunned down on his way to Friday prayers. In other words, it's what we have come to expect of insurgents and terrorists.
Sadly, though, this human rights leader was referring to something else, to what Iraqis, right or wrong, are coming to expect of Americans -- so, all the angles tonight on a series of alleged massacres, some troops cleared. Others may face murder charges.
Also, damage control in the field, new training, new oversight, the effects on morale and the larger mission.
Also, the home front -- Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush entering the fray. How does this affect them? All of that to come.
First, though, new developments in the most recent incident to come to light, an alleged massacre in the town of Ishaqi.
CNN's Jamie McIntyre is at the Pentagon for us and joins us live.
Good evening, Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, John.
Last night, at this time, we were telling you about new allegations that civilians may have been killed at the hands of U.S. troops, without provocation, in Ishaqi back on March 15.
Tonight, we can report a fresh denial of that from the Pentagon, one of the top commanders in Iraq saying they have gone back and looked at the investigation that started the very next day, and that they have concluded the ground force commander operated in accordance with the rules of engagement. The commanders say that the allegations that civilians were shot and there was a cover-up is -- quote -- "absolutely false."
And he says that the U.S. troops acted properly in escalating the amount of force they used, including calling in airstrikes, because they were taking hostile fire from somebody who turned out to be a terrorist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, U.S. ARMY: Allegations that the troops executed a family living in this safe house and then hid the alleged crimes by directing an airstrike are absolutely false. The investigating officer ascertained that the ground force commander properly followed the rules of engagement, as he necessarily escalated the use of force, until the threat was eliminated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCINTYRE: General Caldwell says the U.S. military does not tolerate unethical behavior. And he stressed that all allegations of improper loss of civilian life are thoroughly investigated -- John.
ROBERTS: Jamie, thanks for that. And stay right there. We are going to come back to you in just a moment.
First, the view from Iraq on that story -- no reaction yet. The sun is barely up there. But, given what CNN's John Vause found even before the news from Washington broke, it's going to take more than a Pentagon statement to change Iraqi minds.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No one doubts that, on March 15, innocent civilians died in this farmhouse in the town of Ishaqi. But there is not agreement on how they were killed or even how many were killed.
Iraqi police, citing witness accounts, say 11 people, all from the one family, including women and children, were shot dead. And these bullet casings, they say, could have only come from the U.S. military.
Iraqi police say they were told again by witnesses that the family was kept in one room for an hour, before being shot dead by U.S. forces. A resident who did not want to be identified was interviewed on the day and made similar accusations.
"Children were stuck in the room alone, surrounded," he said. "After they handcuffed them, they shot them dead. Later, they struck the house with their planes. They wanted to hide the evidence."
And from the brother of one of the victims, no doubt about who is to blame.
"He and his 11 family members were shot dead by U.S. troops at 2:30 in the morning," he said. "Then the house was blown up by aircraft and artillery."
On the day, this is how CNN's Arwa Damon reported the story...
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It started out as a straightforward mission to route out foreign fighters. But military success came at a terrible human price.
VAUSE (on camera): Whatever the outcome of the investigation in Washington, there is a growing perception here that civilians are being increasingly targeted.
John Vause, CNN, Baghdad.
ROBERTS: Back now to the incident that touched off this entire chain of events, the killing of two dozen civilians in Haditha. That was back in November. Did a squad of Marines commit atrocities? Did other Marines conspire to cover it up? In a week of developments, there were several today.
So, again, here's CNN's Jamie McIntyre.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MCINTYRE (voice-over): Pentagon sources familiar with the investigation say the criminal probe into whether a small number of Marines killed two dozen civilians in Haditha last November may take another six to eight weeks. One official tells CNN, investigators are still interviewing witnesses and are trying to get the families of the victims to allow them to exhume the bodies of some victims to collect more forensic evidence.
Meanwhile, legal sources tell CNN that a number of the members of Kilo Company, the Marine unit believed to have carried out the killings, are in the process of retaining attorneys, including the staff sergeant who was the most senior member of the squad.
CNN has now talked to the Marine officer who paid $38,000 in compensation to families of 15 victims. And while he wouldn't discuss the payments or the alleged massacre, he does say, when he worked with that same unit, their work was first rate.
MAJOR DANA HYATT, U.S. MARINE CORPS: They were good guys. I mean, they -- they did a great job. They -- like I said, I mean, you got these young kids, 18-, 19-, 20-year-old kids, doing things that kids back here that same age would -- would never even dream of doing.
MCINTYRE: Commanders across Iraq are underscoring that the stress of battle does not excuse murder.
BRIGADIER GENERAL DONALD CAMPBELL, MULTINATIONAL CORPS-IRAQ: While we understand the stresses and pressures inherent in combat operations, we cannot and will not accept behavior that is legally, morally or ethically questionable.
MCINTYRE: Three Marine officers were relieved of command, but one tells CNN he's being unfairly tarred by the Haditha scandal. Captain James Kimber says his firing in April was over a dispute with his superiors about media interviews given by his troops that had nothing to do with the Haditha incident.
CAPTAIN JAMES KIMBER, U.S. MARINE CORPS: I'm here to clear my name and let everybody know that I didn't have anything to do with Haditha. I wasn't anywhere near it. My Marines were nowhere near it. And, you know, that's -- that's the bottom line.
ROBERTS: So, Jamie, we have heard from plenty of officials and plenty of analysts on this. What's the Marines' side of this story?
MCINTYRE: Well, you know, it's interesting, because the hardest part of this story is that we're only hearing essentially the prosecution's version of events. And, as you well know, that always makes things look really bad.
But just take one instance, where they encountered the people in a taxicab, who were then shot. One account of that is that they told those people to lie on the ground, but yet they got up and ran away. And, again, that doesn't excuse it, but it -- it sheds a little light on the sort of ambiguity that these Marines are facing, as they're trying to make these combat decisions in a very short period of time.
ROBERTS: And no question, Jamie, we're going to hear a lot more about this. And, as the secretary of defense and other officials have said, 99.9 percent of military men and women in the field conduct themselves accordingly.
Jamie, thanks very much.
Some perspective now on the military justice angle, the training angle, but also the fallout.
With us in Washington, attorney Eugene Fidell, who deals extensively with military law, also, CNN military analyst retired Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks.
General Marks, let me start with you.
Regardless of how this investigation into what happened in Haditha turns out, it seems to me as though the U.S. military has got a real credibility problem here. How do they restore that credibility?
BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: John, I would argue with you.
And I don't mean to argue with you, but I don't think there's a credibility issue at stake here. What we have is aberrant behavior that has taken place. Granted, there are a number of investigations, and these investigations need to be full and open, as they will be. But it's inappropriate to determine, at this point, in advance of any of the findings, that there is credibility at stake.
Ninety-nine percent of those Marines -- and I would tend to agree with the assessment that 99.9 percent of the Marines and the soldiers on the ground are conducting themselves with honor and dignity, and there's goodwill in a lot of corners in Iraq. Clearly, there are challenges. There will be this type of behavior. It's unfortunate.
And I would tell that you there will probably be more of these kinds of incidents. And we pray that there won't be, based on the type of discipline that exists in the leadership, the -- the type of discipline that exists in the units, and the leadership that exists that will be present more visibly and more aggressively.
ROBERTS: And, General Marks, I don't want to argue with you either, but -- but how can you say that they don't have a credibility problem, when Iraqi leaders are being so incredibly critical of them, to say, this is the sort of thing we have come to expect from the Americans?
MARKS: Well, to say that this is what they expect, I think, is an inappropriate characterization. It's certainly hyperbolic.
And the Iraqis, frankly, have -- have the choice right now to ask us to leave. We are there because the Iraqis have asked us to stay the course with them and help make it better. So, you know, if there is a credibility problem -- and, clearly, we need to improve -- the military needs to improve the type of training that's taking place -- I think there are efforts that are ongoing right now.
The core values training that takes place is routine in the military. This isn't something that just happens as a result of problems and incidents that occur in extremis. I mean, this is routine type of training that takes place.
So, the Iraqi leadership certainly can ask the U.S. military and the coalition forces to leave.
ROBERTS: All right.
Gene Fidell, is it important for the U.S. military to quickly clarify what happened in Haditha?
EUGENE FIDELL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MILITARY JUSTICE: Well, I think that's right.
You know, public confidence in the administration of justice and public confidence in the prosecution of the war require a measure of aggressiveness, in terms of getting to the bottom of this, and also requires transparency in the investigative process.
Now, a criminal investigation is ordinarily not conducted in public. Your local police department doesn't conduct criminal investigations, you know, on television.
However, the military justice system does have provision for transparency. If and when this matter proceeds to the pretrial process, what's called an Article 32 investigation, that's going to be open to the public. And the press is going to be able to attend, and people with an interest, including the Iraqis, are going to have an opportunity to watch things and draw their own conclusions.
And what I would...
FIDELL: What I would caution, John, if I may, is that no one should draw any conclusions until the process gets to run its course.
That, by the way, includes Congress. I think it's very important that the legal process not be distorted or truncated in any way.
General Marks, if these allegations turn out to be true, does it represent a failure of leadership or policy? Retired General John Batiste, who has called for Don Rumsfeld's resignation in the past, says that the alleged atrocities are a direct result of Rumsfeld's ineffectiveness.
Should he be held accountable?
MARKS: Well, clearly, the buck stops at the top. I don't know that there's sufficient evidence to draw -- to draw a causal link between an event on the ground in an isolated pocket in Iraq and the secretary of defense.
However, to answer your question, John, yes, there is a breakdown in leadership. When events like this occur, leaders fail to act. And that's what this is all about. It's acting with discipline, and it's acting with honor and courage, but that has to be instilled by leaders.
That's why they're there. The 19- and 18-year-olds are not on their own. They're -- they're embedded in an organization with leadership that is charged with executing that responsibility of leadership.
ROBERTS: And, Gene Fidell, the -- the inevitable comparisons to the Vietnam War and the My Lai massacre are being talked about and being made by -- by many people. It took three years to convict Lieutenant William Calley on charges. And there were 26 people who faced charges in My Lai.
How long do you think this whole process might take?
FIDELL: Well, assuming the matter goes into a trial process, which is -- it's premature to say that -- and, again, nobody should be prosecuted on television -- but, assuming it goes the full distance, it could be several years before all the appeals, for example, are completed.
These cases could potentially go to the Supreme Court. But there are no cases yet. And I -- I must caution that we not jump to any conclusions. I would like to suggest one thing, though, based on something that Spider just said.
ROBERTS: Quickly, if you could.
One of the things that could and should be done is, the president of the United States and the secretary of defense may want to carefully review the maximum punishments for some of the offenses that are at least potentially in the picture here, not to affect this case, but to send a signal.
And, specifically, I'm thinking of the punishment maximum for dereliction of duty. It's in the manual for courts-martial. President Bush could change it tomorrow morning.
ROBERTS: All right. We're certainly going to hear a lot more about this. Gene Fidell and General "Spider" Marks, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.
MARKS: Thanks, John.
FIDELL: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Have a good weekend, gentlemen. FIDELL: Thank you.
ROBERTS: It bears repeating that the investigations involve just a tiny fraction of the armed forces. Here's the "Raw Data" on that.
About 1.4 million men and women are on active duty in the military. About 133,000 of them are currently serving in Iraq. Of that number, nearly 23,000 are Marines.
For the president, it's a whole different numbers game. His poll numbers are low, and much of it is due to Iraq. We are going to take a closer look at the political price for now and what lies ahead. Former presidential adviser David Gergen is our guest.
Also tonight, African atrocities, soldiers raping their own people -- we showed the video to the Congolese president. Wait until you hear what he had to say about it.
And Homeland Security cuts funding to keep New York and Washington safe from terrorists. A lot of people want to know, what were they thinking? We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- when 360 continues.
ROBERTS: The allegations out of Haditha and elsewhere come at a very difficult time for the White House. Support for the war is weak, and so is support for President Bush. But the political implications don't end at the Oval Office. They extend all the way down Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill and out into the country for those upcoming midterm elections.
CNN's Candy Crowley has more.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq governs precariously between uncertain hope and complete chaos. He came to power through a democratic process. He stays in power largely through the security provided by U.S. troops. His fierce comments on alleged U.S. atrocities in Haditha speak directly to the fragile internal politics of Iraq.
NOURI AL-MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This is a phenomenon that has become common among many of the multinational forces, no respect for citizens, driving over vehicles, and killing on suspicion of a hunch. It's unacceptable.
CROWLEY: It is the first and most dangerous political impact of Haditha, backlash on the world stage, something the president tried to temper with his words.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the things that happens in a transparent society like ours, is that there is -- there will be a full and complete investigation. The world will see the full and complete investigation.
CROWLEY: In Iraq and in the Arab world, where U.S. motives are suspect, war atrocities committed by American Marines would be a propaganda tool, a way to fuel hatred in a war less about winning territory than hearts and minds.
In the U.S., with a midterm election in five months, most strategists and politicos think, even assuming the worst in Haditha, it's too early to assess political fallout. Others suggest, it may be too late, that Haditha would only add to the existing Zeitgeist.
Terry Jeffrey is editor "Human Events," a conservative weekly.
TERRY JEFFREY, EDITOR, "HUMAN EVENTS": I mean, I really think we have sort of reached a default level. Everything about the politics of Iraq I think is already discounted into American politics.
CROWLEY: Nonetheless, those who support this now unpopular war brace for another hit.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Things that happen like this are always harmful, and as far as public opinion is concerned, and disappointing to many Americans.
CROWLEY: Still, U.S. military personnel are almost universally honored across the political spectrum. However they feel about the war, said one Democrat, most Americans believe that our guys are the good guys, which may mean that Haditha, used as a purely political issue, may not sit well.
JEFFREY: Any politician who seems to prejudge them or to genuinely besmirch the service of our troops in Iraq I think is going to meet the wrath of the voters.
CROWLEY: For now, Democrats have been cautious about using Haditha as a political weapon. They don't know yet what really happened. And, in any case, they may not need it.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
ROBERTS: For more on what this means for the president, his party in the midterm elections, let's go to Los Angeles, where we find former White House adviser David Gergen.
Good evening to you, David.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Hi, John. How are you?
More bad news about Iraq for the president -- if this turns out to be true, or even if it doesn't, is it time for President Bush to make a symbolic change at the Pentagon? GERGEN: Well, I will tell you this, John. There's going to be a lot of anger and disgust on the part of the American public if these kind of reports -- this is not the only report, but -- that was coming out of Iraq.
But it will not be directed at the troops. I think a lot of Americans think these troops were not killing people before they got into a uniform, went over, got put in these conditions.
I think it will be directed at their superiors. People are going to say, how could -- you put these men into a place where they -- you know, they got the bombs blowing up underneath them. And they are obviously going to lose their temper. Sometimes, they may do things. And, you know, why didn't they go in there with more protection? Why aren't we on the winning side of a war?
So, my sense is that this is going to be directed up the line this time, not like -- like Abu Ghraib, where the people at the bottom paid all the prices.
GERGEN: This time, it's going to be directed more up.
ROBERTS: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was sharply critical of U.S. troops yesterday. Of course, a lot of that is for domestic consumption.
But -- but, in the larger picture, are we losing the battle for hearts and minds in this war?
GERGEN: Absolutely. We're losing the battle for hearts and minds right here in our own country.
You know, the president can't hold a majority in favor of this war. A lot of people think it was a mistake and it's been badly executed. And I think people are going to want, demand some accountability here. What -- how in the world did we get into this situation, where these young men are -- are being held like this?
Now, let's also remember, John, we have got -- the war itself seems to be taking a bad turn. It's not just this incident in Haditha, which goes back to, you know, last year, back last November, when this apparently occurred.
The -- just here in the last few days, what have we -- we have gotten a report that the number of attacks over the last three months, highest level in the last two years, the number of -- what -- we have seen that we have had to put more troops, bring troops in from the outside and go into Anbar.
You know, the prime minister, he's has had to go down to Basra, which we thought was going to be a secure place, because it's a mess in Basra. And, in Baghdad, it's a mess. You have got a sense right now that this -- this -- this looks like it's coming apart. Now, whether it is or not, you know, appearances may be deceptive. But at the very time when -- when we have got these -- these reports of -- of -- of a massacre, you know, it's just like My Lai.
When My Lai occurred, there were a lot -- there were a lot of people in this country who were sympathetic with Lieutenant Calley.
GERGEN: They did not want to see him heavily punished. They wanted to see the punishment go higher up for people who put Lieutenant Calley in the position he was in.
How does the president change the situation on the ground there? Does -- does he need to start talking about -- about timetables, to try to light a fire under the Iraqi leadership, to say, you have got to get your troops up and running here, so we can get ours home?
GERGEN: Well, he's now got a problem, too, of course, with this prime minister, who has -- this -- this -- who lashed out at him yesterday, lashed out at the troops.
I mean, he does not want to get into a situation, I think, where he gets into a public argument with the new prime minister, and the new prime minister loses his temper and says, get the hell out of here. That's not in the prime minister's interest, obviously, but it's not in ours either at this time.
I think he has to deliver some quiet messages, get your act together politically, put a lot of pressure on. He may need to start looking for ways to pull troops back out of harm's way, keep American troops there, but reduce the casualty numbers. You have got to get the American casualty numbers down in this war to be able to -- to maintain American presence, because I -- I -- and I do believe that, as your -- as your own show tonight has demonstrated, there are -- going to be a lot more talk now, if you replace the treasury secretary, why not the defense secretary?
ROBERTS: Right. Right.
GERGEN: I think you're going to hear more talk -- of that talk in the days ahead.
ROBERTS: David Gergen, always good to talk to you.
ROBERTS: Thanks very much.
GERGEN: Thank you, John.
ROBERTS: Have a good weekend out on the West Coast. GERGEN: Thank you.
ROBERTS: In just a moment, we are going to take you all the way across the Atlantic to the Congo, where a war has ended, but rape and murder at the hands of the military goes on. We showed the evidence to Congo's president. Hear what he had to say about it.
Plus, the Big Apple is in a big stew over cuts in funding to prevent terror attacks -- officials citing a shortage of targets? Are they kidding? We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- when 360 continues.
ROBERTS: It's been described as the worst emergency in Africa in recent years. The Democratic Republic of Congo is struggling to recover from a five-year-long conflict in which millions died.
But, even though the war is over, its citizens still have a lot to fear. And, as incredible as it might seem, the threat comes from men in uniform. Soldiers in the central African country rape, abuse, and murder, and nothing appears to get in their way. Even Congo's president didn't seem to know how bad it was, until CNN showed him.
Jeff Koinange reports.
KOINANGE (voice-over): Sunday morning mass in a makeshift church in eastern Congo, this is no ordinary service. It's not only about faith, but also about healing the human spirit.
When you hear this boy's story, you will wonder, is it really possible? Because they are all victims of rape and mutilation, they are all here to console each other and to seek answers from a higher authority.
In this congregation alone, more than half say they have been raped or mutilated, or both, by men in uniform, men of the military. Congo's civil war ended three years ago, but these atrocities continue today. Locals here say soldiers from one ethnic group are systematically raping and mutilating women from another group, with the intention, they say, of destroying their child-bearing capabilities.
The U.N. calls it ethnic cleansing. And it's not just women being violated. As for the boy, he's a teenager. He would only give us his name, Olivier. About a year ago, he tells us, more than 20 soldiers smashed into his home. His parents and four uncles fought back, but they were all slaughtered, as Olivier and his two sisters, 12 and 10 years old, looked on.
The men in uniform then took the two girls outside. Olivier says he heard screams for a long time. Then the soldiers came back into the house and grabbed him, saying his sisters had died without satisfying them. "That's when they tore off my trousers and started sodomizing me," he says. "They raped me until I passed out. And when I woke up, they were still taking turns with me. I have never felt such pain in my life."
The pain would last another six months, as doctors stitched him back together. They say his recovery has been miraculous.
Miracles are one thing, justice, another. Why is no one being prosecuted for these crimes?
We went to ask the man who should be in control, Congo's young president. Five years ago, he was catapulted to power after his father was assassinated in a coup attempt. He was just 29, and the army's chief of staff. Now he's facing elections, Congo's first democratic test in 40 years. He says he'll make public safety a top priority if elected. We wanted to know why his soldiers seemed to be raping at will. We show the young president the story we aired on victims of rape and mutilation by the military. As he watches, he winces every now and then, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. He had just one word to describe what he had seen.
JOSEPH KABILA, CONGOLESE PRESIDENT: It's the shock, the shock that you receive to yourself, the shock that anybody, any human being, would definitely feel when they see such images. My reaction is one of shock, of course.
KOINANGE: Mr. President, you have a 6-year-old daughter. You have a twin sister. You have a mother. If something like this were to happen to you, what would you do sir?
KABILA: You definitely have the answer to that. You definitely have the answer to that.
KOINANGE: In other words, he would hunt down the soldiers and execute them. Isn't this shameful to see soldiers doing this, sir?
KABILA: It's shameful to see anybody in uniform doing anything that is contrary to the reasons why he's, in fact, in uniform, so yes, it's shameful.
KOINANGE: Kabila says more than 300 soldiers have been convicted on rape charges in the last two years. He promises others will be punished. Back at the makeshift church, the congregation knows that many have not been punished. 15-year-old Olivier is now an orphan with little education and an uncertain future. The church's pastor has given him temporary shelter in his home. Some 2 million people died during Congo's civil war. Those who escaped death didn't escape pain. A generation of women and children have been so emotionally scarred, who can make them feel safe again? Jeff Koinange, CNN, Bukavu in Eastern Congo.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ROBERTS: Extraordinarily troubling story and one that's getting a lot of attention on our "360" blog if you want to log on and see what's being sad and add your own comments, log on to cnn.com/360blog.
Back here in the United States, the man in charge of Homeland Security under fire tonight. Did he stiff New York City and Washington when it comes to money to fight terrorism? We're "Keeping them Honest."
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on [ bleep ] I dare you to shoot me.
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ROBERTS: The war in Iraq as you've rarely seen it. U.S. troops videotape their tour of duty. Their war tapes when "360" continues.
ROBERTS: Anger over the federal government's plan to slash anti- terror funding for New York City is running high. Today, republican congressman Peter King asked Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff for a full accounting of how the money is allocated. His demand, a very official version of the question that so many New Yorkers are asking, what were you thinking? CNN's Tom Foreman is "Keeping them Honest."
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New Yorkers are good at getting mad, and they are good and mad about the 40 percent cut in their federal homeland security funds. The big apple's papers and politicians are hurling tomatoes at the White House.
REP. CAROL MALONEY, (D) NEWYORK: There is only one way to describe this administration's approach to homeland security. And that is incompetence.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUME, (D) NEW YORK: Somehow this administration thinks that Georgia peanut farmers are more at risk than the Empire State Building. Something is dramatically wrong.
FOREMAN: D.C. took a hit to its security budget, too, and has joined the protest.
MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS, (D) WASHINGTON, D.C.: I think it's shortsighted for the federal government to cut funds in this way to the district and to the region.
FOREMAN: The White House suggests this is far too much fuss over a reduction that anyone could have seen coming.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Last year was a year in which significant resources were pumped into New York for capital expenses, which were supposed to be one time only expenditures. FOREMAN: New York lawmakers have responded with sarcastic postcards, pointing out their city's landmarks. Homeland Security admits New York is a huge terrorist target.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: But I do think it's fair to ask this question. After a city gets $500 million, more than twice as much as the next largest city, is it correct to assume they should continue to get the same amount of money year after year after year after year with everybody else dividing up what remains?
FOREMAN: Well, "The New York Post" seems to think so, saying the federal tax dollars their city wants are now being wasted on hicks in the sticks. But New York is still getting more than three times as much money as San Francisco. More than twice as much as Chicago. And vastly more than smaller cities like Louisville, Omaha, and Orlando. Many of whom received little or nothing last year aren't too worried about New York's tantrum.
SHERIFF KEVIN BEARY, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: I'm sure glad to be one of those 46 groups that got it. So show me the money.
FOREMAN: Still, some New York politicians are hinting, they may try to push out the Homeland Security chief over all of this. So if they can't get the money, they can at least get even. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ROBERTS: Don't get mad, get even.
What happens when you put a camera in hands that normally tote an automatic weapon? We'll introduce you to three amateur filmmakers. U.S. soldiers with a true-life screenplay.
Plus the latest from Indianapolis where a manhunt is on for those who killed seven family members when 360 continues.
ROBERTS: Every American serving in Iraq has a story to tell. Tonight, you will hear three. In the new documentary "The War Tapes," ten soldiers with the 172nd infantry regiment were given cameras to capture life on the front lines. Three of the soldiers are featured in the film. This is their story. And we warn you, some of the language is quite graphic.
ROBERTS: They deployed on March 16th, 2004.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Iraq gentlemen. Only one year to go.
ROBERTS: One year in Iraq. For Lebanese-born sergeant Zack Bazzi, it's just part of the job. SGT. ZACK BAZZI, "THE WAR TAPES": The average soldier is just somebody like you, you know I'm just a guy like them. I got the call. Yeah, it sucks. Did I really want to go? Probably not. But they're doing it. What else can you ask for from a man?
ROBERTS: And for 24-year-old Sergeant Steven Pink, it may be just the challenge he was looking for.
SGT. STEPHEN PINK, "THE WAR TAPES": It was the time of my life when I needed to kind of test myself and make sure that I could accomplish something.
ROBERTS: After September 11th, Specialist Michael Moriarty, a father of two young children, felt compelled to serve in Iraq.
SPEC. MICHAEL MORIARTY, "THE WAR TAPES": That was like somebody hitting my house to me. I called the recruiter, and I said, "Will you slot me into a unit only if they go into Iraq."
ROBERTS: They were sent to the Sunni triangle, prime targets in an insurgent hot bed.
[ bleep ]. 20 dead, 20 or 30 wounded Iraqis.
Blood. When you walk, you hear the pieces of skin.
ROBERTS: Soldiers in Iraq have their own language. Punctuated with acronyms, RPGs, rocket-propelled grenades, IEDs, improvised explosive devices.
IED! IED! [ bleep ].
ROBERTS: And they make no effort to hide their contempt for the enemy. Tagging them with the ethnic slur "hajjis."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every war has got its own little term to dehumanize the other side. We had gooks in Vietnam and this war has hajjis, the bad guys or the insurgents. I'm sure they have their own derogatory term towards us.
ROBERTS: Their conversations are surreal, sometimes macabre, recorded on camera and in their journals.
PINK: A debate we had earlier in the day over the consistency and texture of a severed limb was not some far-off grotesque assumption. It was a genuine argument between the guy who swears it resembles hamburger ground up but uncooked. And the guy who believes it looks more like a raw pot roast. There is no argument however, that human intestines are pink pork sausage links. If of course you imagine your butcher's block as the background instead of the screaming then some quietly moaning casualty.
ROBERTS: And after a year in Iraq, there is no need for debate on one particular subject. The idea, that they will never be the same. PINK: Every once in a while, as we're driving down the road, creeping along on patrol, I have a reoccurring epiphany. This is happening and will have a lasting impact on me for the rest of my life.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ROBERTS: "The War Tapes" which had debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival opened commercially in New York today. Earlier Anderson Cooper spoke to the three soldier filmmakers.
COOPER: What did you want people to learn from your footage? What do you want them to learn from your story?
BAZZI: Well, you know, I think the footage really speaks for itself in the sense that, you know, soldiers -- its authentic footage. And it shows soldiers in a complex manner. You know, we're three- dimensional. The important thing is we all come from these complex backgrounds, but ultimately we do our mission to the best of our ability, to the highest of standards.
COOPER: Steve, did it affect you knowing the politics going on here at home for or against the war? Does that affect the mission when you're on the ground?
PINK: I always thought the best thing you could do is not be concerned why we're here while we're here because, you know, in my opinion, while we were there, ultimately, that could possibly affect your mission. You don't want that to happen at all. And by just staying focused on the exact mission on what we were doing on a day- to-day basis while we were in Iraq was the safest way, you know, for my guys and everyone -- my squad and platoon to operate.
COOPER: Mike, I want to play something that your wife says in the film. Let's play that.
MIKE MORIARTY'S WIFE: When Mike first went over there, we just told Matthew he was going to go and beat up the bad guys.
There's my school.
MIKE MORIARTY'S WIFE: And then at daycare one day and a little girl there said, "You know, people get killed over there."
MIKE MORIARTY'S WIFE: It just completely freaked him out, like is daddy going to die? You know, it was really, really hard for him.
COOPER: "A," it's got to be hard for you to see that and to hear that. I also read something that people have criticized you for going over, saying you were irresponsible?
MORIARTY: Yeah. It's, you know, it's hard for a soldier to explain his desire, if you will. To go fight for his country or to put himself in harm's way. How do you explain that you want to go risk your life for your country? I mean, when you have a family and two perfect children and a beautiful wife and things going good for you at home, how do you explain that?
It's very difficult as far as that particular scene goes. That does crush me every time I see it, to, you know, to envision somebody telling my son that. But, you know, that is one little boy and one father out of hundreds of thousands of women and men that have gone through those sacrifices as well as many more, to keep this country what it is. That's how I look at it. You know, it is a sacrifice, but that's what Americans do.
COOPER: I read something, Zack, I think that you said. I don't want to misquote it so correct me if I'm wrong. Something like soldiers don't get to -- that you love being a soldier, but soldiers don't get to pick the mission?
BAZZI: Well, you know, the army tells you what to do, and rightly so. I've said this before. Otherwise the system would collapse. You can't cherry pick your war as a soldier. But you know, like I said, we all have our political beliefs about it. Just like I'm sure you have your political beliefs of things. But as a journalist, you stay within certain parameters. And I as well as a soldier, I have my own political beliefs I'd like to explore. But very definite, that being said, when the call of duty comes, you know, I'll do it, as long as I'm in uniform.
COOPER: Would you go back?
PINK: Right now, my enlistment was up. I served six years in the guard, but I do have two more years in the inactive ready reserve, which means you don't have to put a uniform on or go to drill unless you're called to do so. If I get called off of that list then, you know, you're called off that list, you're obligated.
MORIARTY: If you asked me if I want to go back, obviously not. I don't ever want to go back to that place for as long as I live, but I will. I would if my country asked me to. I hope they don't, but as Zack said, it's not my job to decide. You know, I signed up knowing what enlistment entails, and if they needed me, if, you know, other soldiers needed me to be there, I'd be there.
COOPER: Guys, I appreciate your service, and I appreciate you talking about it. Thank you.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ROBERTS: Sticking with Iraq tonight, a CBS correspondent, friend of this reporter's, injured in a roadside bomb has something special by her bedside tonight. A remarkable gift. Kimberly Dozier is at a U.S. military hospital in Germany, and she appears to be making progress. We'll have an update.
And as another hurricane season gears up, we revisit New Orleans and look at what's being done to bring the city back from disaster. "Dispatches from Katrina," a special edition of "360" coming up.
ROBERTS: There's a murderer out there tonight, perhaps more than one. He, she or they gunned down a family of seven. Seven people including three children were shot in the worst mass murder the city of Indianapolis has seen in 20 years. Police say it began as a robbery attempt. They have captured one man alleged to be an accomplice. They are now looking for this man, the prime suspect, 28- year-old Desmond Turner who is an ex-convict.
More headlines now and for that we turn to Erica Hill. Erica?
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: John, British police raided a house in London today and arrested two men on suspicion of terrorism. One of the suspects was shot and wounded in the raid. Police say the raid was not linked to last July's terrorist bombings which killed 52 people.
Kimberly Dozier, the CBS reporter injured in a car bomb in Iraq, has been given a purple heart. A young American soldier visited her in a U.S. military hospital in Germany and gave her his medal, saying she had suffered as much as any soldier. The reporter is in critical but stable condition.
And Wen Ho Lee, the nuclear weapons scientist who was accused of being a spy for China and jailed for nine months, has settled his privacy lawsuit with the government and five news organizations for $1.6 million. Lee said two government departments violated his privacy when they leaked information that he was being investigated as a spy. The news organizations settled with Lee to end contempt of court proceedings for refusing to hand over their sources.
ROBERTS: Big payday for him. Hey Erica, check out tonight's shot. A would-be burglar in Texas. Take a look at this. As a surveillance camera shows, he planned to rob a liquor store, brought down to earth with a bump. That must have hurt when he landed. Now take a look at this. Sometimes even when your day goes this wrong, there's nothing you can do except sit down, beside a keg, have a cigarette.
HILL: There you go. They're coming for me any way, I might as well cooperate. Have a cigarette while I'm waiting.
ROBERTS: There you go. Hey listen, see you next week. Have a great weekend.
HILL: You, too. Thanks John.
ROBERTS: Good night. And coming up in our next hour, "Dispatches From Katrina." With the new hurricane season under way, we'll look back at some remarkable people and extraordinary moments and update you on what's happened to them since. When "360" continues.
COOPER: Good evening from New Orleans. The hurricane season of 2006 has officially begun. Tonight, the threat of what could happen and the reality of what has happened. "Dispatches from the storm," then and now, stories from Katrina.
From the watery rescues --
Rescues are going down. We believe there may be at least two more people in the house.
To the victims who could not be saved.
The smell, it's overwhelming.
The chaos at the convention center.
This is not the way we live.
A hospital under siege.
We have no showers or toilets at all.
And cops under attack.
We just heard a gunshot.
They are the images and the stories we will never forget. Tonight, "Dispatches from Katrina." From New Orleans, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Welcome to this special edition of "360," "Dispatches from Katrina."
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