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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Southern Strategy in GOP Race; Crackdown in Syria Continues
Aired March 12, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.
And we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with diplomats talking while a dictator keeps killing. As the U.S. and Britain push the U.N. Security Council to get tough on Syria, Russia, which has a veto, warns against assigning blame or acting out of revenge against the Assad regime.
The only signs of revenge we see today in Syria come down from YouTube videos of innocent victims in ordinary neighborhoods targeted by Assad's forces. This is from Homs, where government troops have free rein. Body after body, truck after truck.
According to the opposition, these were women and children stabbed, burned to death late Sunday. Some had their throats slit. You see 22 body bags in all of the 45 who were reported dead. As always, we can't independently verify the claims of the video, but today at least we got a kind of confirmation from Syrian state media.
It, too, broadcast images of the victim in Homs, which is something of a departure for the regime. Normally, state TV limits itself to footage of funerals for police officers and security forces. Now at least it is showing civilian victims, but on Syrian state television, they blame those killings on so-called armed terrorist groups.
It's a narrative we have heard over and over again from the regime. Remember, the Syrian military has once again taken control of all the neighborhoods in Homs. The Assad regime is digging in, not backing down.
The pictures you just saw may, in fact, support that assessment. In his meetings Saturday and Sunday with U.N. Special Envoy Kofi Annan, Syrian's dictator conceded nothing to the U.N., sticking to the story that the violence is being committed by armed terrorist gangs, insisting his regime is not slaughtering civilians.
Despite that, and despite the grim accounts from the U.N.'s own people, people who have seen things up close, Annan somehow found some reason for hope for optimism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOFI ANNAN, FORMER U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Yes, it's going to be tough, it's going to be difficult, but we have to have hope. Almost every Syrian I have met they want peace, they want the violence to stop, they want to move on with their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: But "Keeping Them Honest" Annan's assessment treats the violence as if it came out of nowhere, that it somehow is just happening to the Syrian people. It is not just happening.
The regime is making it happen. The violence being done to the Syrian people, at least to Syrian Sunnis, it's being inflicted on the Syrian people. And not one bit of it stopped, not for even a moment while Kofi Annan and Assad were talking.
Activists say that in addition to the 45 killings in Homs, the videos of which we just showed you, dozens more were killed over the weekend and many more today all across Syria. And with major shelling in Homs, where those bodies you saw were buried in Daraa, where the regime is reportedly doing what it did against Baba Amr, the neighborhood in Homs, pointing antiaircraft artillery at houses and apartment buildings.
And even though the Free Syrian Army is now fighting back as you can see in this new video of an attack on a tank, they're no match for Assad's army, which in any case seems mainly focused on civilian targets, as they did against Baba Amr.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Is it even a war? I mean, is it accurate to call it that?
PAUL CONROY, PHOTOGRAPHER, "THE SUNDAY TIMES": No. I think -- I think it would be wrong to call it a war. This is -- this is I think the old -- you said, medieval siege and slaughter. I would hesitate to use the word war.
CONROY: In Baba Amr.
COOPER: You say it's a slaughter?
CONROY: Absolutely. It's a slaughterhouse in there.
COOPER: Now Syrian forces are free to go house to house, apartment to apartment and seek whatever revenge they want. And there's really no one there anymore to document it. No international correspondents and even locals with access to YouTube cameras and uploading things on YouTube.
CONROY: Absolutely, Anderson. Unfortunately, now, that was a line of defensive point, the fact that this could be documented and maybe, maybe hopefully the presence of photographers and journalists, both Western and Syrian, held a modicum of security, but now that's gone. This will continue in the dark, undocumented.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: In a moment we will hear more from Paul Conroy, a photojournalist who escaped from Homs. We will also talk with Professor Fouad Ajami.
But first, the U.N.'s humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, who is just back from Syria and is back from refugee camps across Syria's border with Turkey.
COOPER: The Syrian government insists and has insisted for nearly a year now that what they call armed terrorist gangs are responsible.
From what you saw, does it make any sense to you that armed terrorist gangs are capable of the wholesale destruction of Baba Amr?
VALERIE AMOS, UNITED NATIONS UNDERSECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: They had clearly been heavy fighting going on. Any kind of opposition or armed gang would have had to have the considerable weapons at their disposal.
COOPER: You met with the foreign minister, other members of the Assad regime. How do they -- in private, do they actually use the same rhetoric of armed terrorist gangs? Do they really seem to believe that?
AMOS: All of the ministers that I met made it clear that the Syrian government was fighting terrorism. They were fighting people who wanted to see regime change in the country, and also made the point that they did not think that there was significant humanitarian needs in the country.
COOPER: How can they say that there's not, you know, significant humanitarian needs in the country? We have seen with our own eyes in countless videos the shelling of Baba Amr. We have seen what other -- what independent reporters who I have talked to have called the wholesale slaughter of people there.
AMOS: I'm really worried about what has happened to the people of Baba Amr, because there was no one around. It was pretty much deserted.
Thousands of people have been displaced. We don't know how many people have been wounded. We don't know where those people have gone or indeed what their needs are. So, my view is that there are humanitarian needs in Syria and I would like us to be able to find out more about exactly what those needs are and how we can help.
COOPER: As you know, the Syrians, there are a lot of Syrians who watch this program who will say the Assad regime is basically just buying time. They are just using you, they are using Kofi Annan, they're using the U.N., they will have meetings, they will make pronouncements. What they want is basically just buying time to slaughter people on the ground. What do you need to see? What is your timetable for action by the Syrian regime in order to prove that they are serious about meeting the humanitarian needs of the people?
AMOS: Well, what I heard from the Syrian government in terms of their proposal to me to conduct these assessments is that they should start within a week of my visit. That means Thursday of this week. That is what we are planning for.
COOPER: I know you are in a difficult position. You have to deal with these people and meet with these people.
But I guess from an outsider's perspective, if they don't allow the Red Crescent into Baba Amr in the days after they have been shelling it for weeks and weeks and weeks -- and we know there are desperately injured people there who are afraid to go to government- run hospitals, there's little medicine and there's been little food getting in. If the Syrian regime refuses to allow the Red Crescent in immediately to bring in humanitarian supplies, why should anyone believe that a week from now or two weeks from now they're going to kind of help you do an assessment of the needs of the people?
Won't a lot of the people already be dead?
AMOS: My job is to keep trying. My job is to try as hard as we can to get the help to the people who need it. My job is not to give up.
COOPER: Valerie Amos, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
AMOS: Thank you very much.
COOPER: I want to bring in photojournalist Paul Conroy, who was wounded in the siege of Baba Amr in the same attack that took the lives of his colleague Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik. He joins us by phone, also Fouad Ajami, senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
Fouad, Valerie Amos is obviously in a difficult position. Seems like a nice person, but it's kind of ridiculous to be going through this facade where she's saying, well, there's this timetable we want them to bring in humanitarian relief. They have been shelling the city for a month now killing countless numbers of people, and then they won't even allow in the Red Crescent society to bring in humanitarian relief when it's most needed.
FOUAD AJAMI, PROFESSOR OF MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: What's interesting is, I think I was listening carefully to you and you said all this is buying time, which is very interesting and very compelling.
There's a 22-year-old protester in Syria who was quoted in "The New York Times" saying the world is buying time by sending more delegations and envoys. Kofi Annan will do nothing and Valerie Amos will do nothing.
And these are very weak people. They understand the brief they are given by the United Nations. They understand the abdication at the United Nations and they understand the abdication of American power which is hiding behind the Russian veto, to be honest with you. We keep going to the U.N. and we send in Kofi Annan, one of most morally compromised bureaucrats in the international order, with his reputation solid in Rwanda, with his reputation questioned in Bosnia, with his reputation again questioned in the oil-for-food program over Iraq.
And he walks in like this innocent man, thinking that there's peace and love to be dispensed around in Syria.
COOPER: Paul, last time we spoke, you had just made it out of Syria and you very plainly called what happened in Homs a slaughterhouse, what was going on there.
The idea that the Syrian regime is claiming it's armed gangs who slit the throats of women and children in a neighborhood, in Homs, now that they control those neighborhoods once again, when you hear that, what do you think?
I'm being told we're not hearing you on the air. I'm actually hearing Paul in my ear. I apologize for that. We will try to get that technical problem fixed.
But, Fouad, for the U.N. to kind of still be paying lip service to the Syrian regime's claims of armed terrorist gangs just seems absurd to me.
AJAMI: Look, the U.N. is really irrelevant. When we talk about the U.N. we are focusing on the wrong player.
It's the power, it's the democracies, the so-called friends of Syria. It's basically what will the U.S. do? What will Britain do? What will France do? What will the moderate Arab governments with their money and alleged support for the Syrian people, what will they do?
We go to the United Nations. It's a cul-de-sac. When you go to the U.N. you're going already are going to face these obstacles at the U.N., the Russians, the Chinese, the other powers. I think the Syrian people are right to conclude they live alone and dwell alone and die alone in this fight.
COOPER: Also, for the Syrian regime to claim that, well, it's armed terrorist gangs who are slitting the throats of children and women, it does not make sense. They claim they are trying to kill all these people in order to make it look like the regime is killing these people.
Activists are saying it's in fact the militias that are pro- Syrian government militias, the Shahib (ph), who are doing this.
AJAMI: I think one of your colleagues, Arwa Damon did some amazing reporting from Syria. She put the lie to all the claims of the regime.
The regime is committing barbarous deeds. We're talking about skinning people. We're talking about killing people. We're talking about slitting the throats of children. We go back to where we started 14 months ago when you started doing this Arab spring. The theme of this broadcast as I understood it then and it remains the essential theme is fear has been defeated.
What Bashar al-Assad now wants to do in Baba Amr and Idlib and other places is to recreate the culture of fear, to frighten the Syrian people into submission. And you know what? If the rest of the world doesn't come to the rescue, he may yet succeed.
COOPER: I want to see if we have Paul.
Paul, are you there? Can you hear me?
CONROY: I'm here, Anderson.
COOPER: Sorry about that, Paul.
When you hear the Syrian regime claiming it's still these armed terrorist gangs and when you hear of the slaughter that happened over the weekend of women and children in Homs, you said it's like you are in "Alice in Wonderland."
CONROY: Absolutely. The rhetoric coming from the U.N., from Kofi Annan, from Amos, there is absolutely no connection to what is happening on the ground in Syria at the moment.
The slaughter continues to take place while they have tea and biscuits, and then we hear rumors that there's room for optimism. One thing I also had was Kofi Annan saying we should not arm or supply bullets and ammunition to the Free Syrian Army because it may increase the level of bloodshed.
It's impossible to raise the level of bloodshed anymore. How bad does it have to be to stop this? I mean, if they don't get these people what they need purely to defend themselves, then it's morally corrupt what's happening now. It's being said that we are hiding behind the fact that Russia will veto.
I think people at the U.N. are happy that Russia is vetoing. It's an excuse for inaction. It's reprehensible corruption. The people who are suffering are the women, the men and children they're slaughtering. They didn't stop for a moment while Kofi and crews sat there and had bourbon creams and cups of tea. They carried on as if nothing is happening. They will continue to carry on and they will blame armed terrorist gangs.
Fantasy to the nth degree, hence the analogy with "Alice in Wonderland." This is a very corrupt and dangerous game that's being played.
COOPER: Paul, Ms. Amos from the U.N., who is in charge of humanitarian and assessing the needs, she says, well, we need a schedule and we need to see if the Syrians are serious about meeting the humanitarian needs of the people.
It's a tough sentence to even listen to given that they have been shelling their own people now for months. And then again I keep coming back they would not allow the Red Crescent in with immediate humanitarian assistance, food and medical assistance, after getting a victory in Homs.
CONROY: Absolutely. Anybody who sits there -- I find it difficult to wait a minute. To sit there and think we're going to rely on the regime that has done what it has done, that we witnessed, we -- we know it's happening. To sit there and say we will give it a week, we will see what can be done, I mean, are we living in -- we are not that naive.
I can't describe it. Before, I have managed to keep my cool. Now I'm furious that we're playing this sick and corrupt game of waiting for aid to go in. It's nonsense. The problem is we are about eight months too late on this. We are trying to play catchup and the U.S. is not going to move in a military -- what it needs now is safe areas, safe corridors controlled by the military to get the people safe.
All of this nonsense about armed terrorist gangs are the problem, we know the problem. We have all sat and listened with revulsion to this regime, its lies, its pathetic attempts to cover up what's happened. I must say that the horror I feel when I see Kofi Annan and crew going in and paying lip service to a regime that has annihilated a large part of its own citizens, it's almost too much to bear.
CONROY: Thankfully, there are people who are aware of this. And good God. Are we going to play this game? It's a horrible game to see being played at these people.
COOPER: It is.
CONROY: I'm sorry I'm so angry.
COOPER: No, I understand the anger.
CONROY: I wish I was a bit more subtle. But, no, I'm angry. I hope somebody wakes up and says get them people out of there and let's stop this nonsense.
COOPER: Paul Conroy, I appreciate you being on. I know it's -- you saw it with your own eyes, so I understand the anger. Paul, appreciate it. Fouad Ajami as well.
We should also point out, a funeral was held today I New York's Long Island, family and colleagues and friends paying respects to Marie Colvin. Her mother's fear that her body would never make it back from Syria nearly came to pass. It took days, many days of diplomacy just to bring her home from Baba Amr. Tonight, she is home. We say it with heavy hearts and the deepest respect for the work she did. Marie Colvin was just 56 years old and was truly a remarkable lady.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, Google+. You can follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I'm tweeting tonight.
Ahead on the program, what we're learning about the American soldier who is accused of massacring 16 men, women and children in Afghanistan, killing the very people American forces are there to protect.
Up next, a tight race in two Southern states tomorrow that could give Newt Gingrich's campaign some new political life or start Mitt Romney on a roll that could be tough to stop. Details ahead.
COOPER: "Raw Politics" now. The night before two crucial primaries, Mississippi and Alabama, late polling shows a tight race in both states between Newt Gingrich who is running as a son of the South and Mitt Romney, who seems to be putting himself up for adoption.
According to ARG, 34 percent of likely Mississippi voters choose Romney with 32 percent for Gingrich, effectively a tie. Same goes for Alabama with Gingrich slightly ahead, but again within the margin of error. Rick Santorum is third in each.
This raises something of a Romney surge in two states Gingrich seemed to predict victory in as recently as yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we will win both and I think we're probably pulling ahead in both states right now. We have great organizations in both states.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Today though he appeared to backpedal a bit telling the Associated Press -- quote -- "I think there's a fair chance we will win," which is something most politicians do, given how big a role expectations can play.
But few campaigns that end up lowering expectations are quite as bold as the former speaker's in initially raising them. Days before the Arizona primary, his campaign described it as "an early benchmark where victory is vital." Yet as his chances of victory slipped away, that statement disappeared from the campaign Web site.
Another example, here's Speaker Gingrich weeks before the Iowa caucuses before the first votes had been held anyone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GINGRICH: I'm going to be the nominee. It's hard not to look at the polls and think that the odds are very high I'm going to be the nominee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, in the following weeks, of course, the campaign went from predicting a win in Iowa to saying second place would be fine, then third, then fourth. Gingrich finished fourth.
We should mention that every candidate since the beginning of time has tried to play down the expectations game to perfection. Mitt Romney is, too. But another big part of his Southern strategy going into tomorrow's races is to sound more Southern. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Morning, y'all.
I got started right this morning with a biscuit and some cheesy grits.
See some of your fine wares here. A nice little John Deere tractor from awhile ago. I'm learning to say you all. And I like grits. And things are -- strange things are happening to me.
Wouldn't you love to hear him sing "Sweet Home Alabama? Wouldn't that be wonderful. Yes, see.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: I have been getting hugs from these Southern girls today. And I mean from 12 to -- well, a lot more than 12.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Romney calls the South his away game. Santorum says for himself there's no such thing as an away game.
Joining us now is chief national correspondent John King, who will be working the magic wall tomorrow night, also Rick Santorum spokeswoman Alice Stewart, and Kellyanne, pollster and senior adviser to the Gingrich campaign.
Alice, your campaign put out a memo today making the case the senator is in a better position on delegates than Mitt Romney is. Romney has more than twice the delegates you do. It does seem like he's struggling on that front, doesn't it?
ALICE STEWART, SANTORUM CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: Well, you have to wonder why someone like Mitt Romney, after Super Tuesday comes out with the inspiring message about math.
That's not very inspiring. What he is doing is they have put out memos and talked about the fact it would be mathematically impossible for Rick Santorum to come out ahead in this fight, when the truth is that's nothing more than a smokescreen to demonstrate the fact that he is not inspiring the base. He is not in touch with conservatives.
We are letting folks know today is the math is still a long way out. Rick is the true conservative in this race. He is inspiring the base. And that's why he has got Mitt Romney up against the ropes.
COOPER: You're saying your candidate is in a better position on delegates than Mitt Romney is. How is that possible?
STEWART: Well, it certainly is. A lot of these delegates out there are still unbound. And typically the unbound delegates are going to swing more toward a conservative candidate like Rick Santorum.
COOPER: You are saying it's better for your candidate to be so far behind in delegates than the front-runner is? Just logically, does that make sense?
STEWART: What I'm saying is the Romney campaign is using the delegate math as a smokescreen to say he is not inspiring the base, whereas the delegates that are left to be decided many of them are in states that are better suited for Rick Santorum.
As I said, a lot of the unbound delegates are typically going to go to a conservative candidate, and not a moderate like Mitt Romney.
COOPER: Kellyanne, the speaker is obviously being very cautious calling any state a must win. Wasn't his whole Southern strategy, wasn't it dependent on winning someplace in the South? If he can't win there, where can he win?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, GINGRICH POLLSTER: He won in Georgia big, almost a majority of the vote last week, and he won in South Carolina, which really stopped the Romney machine, because the day before Newt Gingrich won in South Carolina, Rick Santorum was actually declared the winner by -- if you remember. So all of a sudden, everybody, all the pundits were saying Mitt Romney made history, he won Iowa and New Hampshire. Now here's going to win South Carolina and put it away in Florida.
And here we are.
COOPER: But South Carolina is history. Tomorrow...
CONWAY: But you asked about the South. Frankly, no, we are doing well in Mississippi and Alabama. Newt, the day after Super Tuesday, decided to stay there through the Alabama and Mississippi primaries. He's literally been there the entire time.
COOPER: But you are not predicting a victory there?
CONWAY: We are very competitive in both states. We have actually been in the field in the campaign. We are very competitive in both states.
I do know that today, Senator Santorum is dampening down expectations. But let me say this. There's no must win-state, there's a must win election this year. And the place that Newt can really win and we see it in our polling also is on the debate stage with Barack Obama.
Voters in the Republican primaries believe to beat Obama in the fall you first have to beat him in the debate. Three are already scheduled. There's one guy who is peerless and fearless when it comes to that.
Mitt Romney is no more convincing these Southerners that he's one of them than he's convinced conservatives. It was never part of the Romney campaign plan for you to have a Gingrich spokeswoman and a Santorum spokeswoman a week after Super Tuesday. They had rigged the system. We weren't supposed to be here. So it shows you inevitability doesn't matter.
COOPER: John, let me bring you in.
How important are tomorrow's votes for the Gingrich campaign? Are they a must win for him?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, he is on the record himself saying they are both must win states. I understand why he's moderating that a bit.
And his spokesman is on the record saying they have to win from Spartanburg all the way over to Texas. That would include Alabama, Mississippi tomorrow and then Louisiana, and then Texas and maybe Arkansas. Look, this is what happens when you see polling. The fact you have a too close to call in both Alabama and Mississippi, Anderson, reminds us yet again this is a wacky, incredible volatile Republican race.
When you have campaigns putting out their polling memos and the like, they are driving this blog culture, where we keep score now by the minute, not even by the hour, let alone by the day. They are trying to get on the conservative blogs saying Santorum is still in it and Gingrich is still in it. The Romney people do it, too.
I'm not picking on Alice and Kellyanne here.
You just had a segment about Syria. We had a horrible murder in Afghanistan. What about gas prices and what about taxes and spending? The Republican campaign, in part because it's so close and so volatile has become about petty things at the moment. And I think it's a shame.
COOPER: What about Santorum? How well do you think he needs to do?
KING: If he could get a win, it would be great. If you look at the polling numbers, he's down in the 20s. This will be tough for him. He's won in the Midwest. Coming out, if he does not get a win, it's harder.
He can say Speaker Gingrich is strong in the South. If Gingrich wins in both, Santorum can say Newt is back, I'm strong, Romney is still in it. On we go. If Romney gets a win tomorrow and runs very competitive in the other state in the South, the two campaign people you have with you right now are going to have a tougher day, even if it's close.
If Romney can win, one of the biggest arguments has been the Massachusetts moderate as they call him can't win in a geographic base of the Republican Party. That's the Deep South. If Governor Romney comes out with a win tomorrow night, it gets very hard for the Santorum and Gingrich campaign to spin that away.
COOPER: We have to leave it there.
Alice Stewart, thank you. Kellyanne Conway, thank you. John King, thanks as well. We will see you tomorrow night.
Stay with CNN for complete coverage of tomorrow night's primaries and caucuses. "ERIN BURNETT" starts at 7:00 p.m. Eastern -- 8:00, I will join Wolf Blitzer and the entire CNN political team as the votes for Alabama and Mississippi start to come in. We will continue the coverage a full hour of 360 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, a full wrap-up.
Still ahead, new details tonight about the U.S. soldier who allegedly gunned down 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children in the middle of the night.
Also, Bobbi Kristina Brown's first interview about losing her mom, Whitney Houston. Are there any clues about what actually happened? We will talk to Dr. Drew Pinsky on that.
COOPER: Tonight, the Taliban in Afghanistan are vowing revenge for the massacre of 16 civilians -- women, children and men -- who were pulled from their beds in the middle of the night and shot dead, allegedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant. The killings have enraged Afghans. President Hamid Karzai called the attack an unforgivable crime.
The White House released this picture of President Obama talking on the phone to Karzai yesterday on his way to his daughter, Sasha's, basketball game. Here is what President Obama said today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've talked to President Karzai and expressed my deep condolences. This is a situation where, although we're still doing an investigation, it appears that you have a lone gunman who acted on his own in just a tragic, tragic way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The Pentagon is calling the attack an isolated incident, the work of one troubled soldier. They have not released the suspect's name. He's stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.
Tonight, there are new details about him. Here's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three o'clock Sunday morning, deep in Taliban territory, and Afghan troops spot an American soldier leaving his combat outpost all alone. They alert U.S. commanders, who determine it is an Army sergeant in his mid-30s with a wife and kids, who deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in December.
They will soon learn, although he is now working security, he is a qualified sniper. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in a vehicle accident in 2010 but was found fit for duty. He's been to Iraq three times.
As they organize a search, they apparently have no idea where he is headed. But a short while later, less than a mile away, witnesses say the night erupts.
"One guy came in, and he pulled a boy from his sleep and shot him in this doorway," this woman says. "Then he came back inside the room and put a gun in the mouth of one child and stomped on another."
According to residents, the uniformed gunman moved from house to house in two small villages, shooting into some, entering others. Several people were wounded and survived. Sixteen people did not. Four men, three women and nine children -- at least one of them just a toddler -- were killed. Most of the dead were related to each other.
"Look at this, the bodies," this man says, "they all belong to one family."
(on camera) Witnesses say the gunman also set fire to some of the bodies before he finally retreated into the night.
Military officials say the first they knew of all of this was when some wounded Afghans showed up at their base, telling tales of a vicious attack.
(voice-over) Officials say the search party found the missing sergeant heading back to his post, where he immediately turned himself in. What they are looking for now is any explanation of what happened in the horrifying hours while he was gone.
COOPER: Tom, what are we learning about other similar incidents coming from the base in Washington state where the soldier was from? According to "Stars and Stripes" magazine, this base is known as the most troubled base.
FOREMAN: Yes. Well, certainly there's nothing quite similar to this, Anderson. As you know, this is one of the most horrific things we've seen over there.
But this base, joint base, Lewis-McCord, is a huge, sprawling base of 100,000 civilians and military personnel there. It was an Army base and an Air Force base joined together. And it really has been, for some time, sort of sitting at an intersection here between concern in the military about various disorders, PTSD, whether or not it's being treated properly, whether or not people are being pushed back into battle.
Some of the families have been pushing there to say we need better investigation. There has been an investigation. There have been other problems there. Big suicide rate there a couple of years back. We had a problem from another troop from that base who was convicted last November of murdering Afghan civilians.
So the problem for the base, having been there, Anderson, is knowing there are many, many great leaders there and great soldiers there. Men and women and their families who want to serve, who want to have a record of going the extra mile. And yet, this concern that maybe some people are being pushed too far. We don't know if that's the case in this case, but that's where the concern is, Anderson.
COOPER: Right. Well, if these allegations are true, what happened in Afghanistan, it makes it that much harder for all the other soldiers and marines who are serving there honorably to get their jobs done and complete their missions.
Tom, appreciate it. Thanks.
We're following a number of other stories tonight. Isha is here with a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a short time ago, an Egyptian official told CNN that a truce has been reached between Israel and the Palestinians to end days of violence and bloodshed.
At least seven people were killed today in the Gaza Strip, and more than three dozen rockets were fired into Israel to Gaza. This is the worst outbreak of violence in months. At least 23 people in Gaza have been killed since Friday.
The head of the organization that produced the documentary "Kony 2012" released a new video today that he hopes will answer questions from critics. Invisible Children's "Kony 2012" has been viewed more than 17 million times on YouTube. It reveals atrocities committed by African warlord Joseph Kony, but some have questioned Invisible Children's transparency.
And Anderson, check this out. A shark feeding frenzy off the coast of Perth, Australia. More than 50 sharks you see there, feasting on a massive school of tuna. Animal experts say an event like this is rare. Birds were flying around to snap up the leftovers.
COOPER: Wow. Incredible.
SESAY: I knew you're a shark boy. I knew you'd like that.
COOPER: Shark boy.
Isha, thanks. Still ahead, Whitney Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina, talking to Oprah Winfrey about losing her mom and how she's handling her grief. We'll talk to Dr. Drew Pinsky about his thoughts, ahead.
COOPER: On the four weeks since Whitney Houston's death, there's been a lot of speculation about the role that drugs and alcohol may have played. They expect the toxicology report on Whitney Houston to be complete later this month.
Meantime, Bobbi Kristina, Houston's teenage daughter with Bobby Brown, has given her first public interview since her mom's death. Here's some of what she told Oprah Winfrey this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBI KRISTINA BROWN, WHITNEY HOUSTON'S DAUGHTER: I can sing her music, but to hear it right now...
OPRAH WINFREY, OWN: You can't.
BROWN: I can't. You know, to hear it, I can hear her voice, you know, in spirit talking to me and telling me, you know, "Keep moving, baby. You know, I'm right here, I got you."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Bobbi Kristina was Houston's only child. They were very close. Hours after Houston died, Bobbi Kristina was hospitalized, reportedly for stress and anxiety.
Kristina is very poised in the interview, but some are wondering was it too soon? I spoke earlier with Dr. Drew Pinsky.
COOPER: Dr. Drew, Bobbi Kristina is not just a daughter who lost a mom, but a daughter who lost a very famous mom. It's interesting to me that she would want to do an interview so soon after her mom died. DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN: That's absolutely true. That's something that I wondered myself. And there's a couple of hints there that it is actually too soon.
One is, if you notice, she didn't actually sit down with Oprah, probably because that level of intimacy would trigger such intense emotion that, reasonably, she did not want to go through that. That's one thing.
The other issue is she seems very contained about all this. And it's only been -- it's less than a month. I mean, she can't be feeling OK about it. It's just not possible. So this poor kid is sort of keeping it held together.
COOPER: I mean, people, you know, in grief react in different ways. I want to play more sound from last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WINFREY: I'm sure that, like, with everybody who loses a loved one, it comes in waves, that you can be perfectly fine one day, and then the slightest thing puts you back there. Right?
BROWN: Yes. It does. It comes in waves. One minute, you know, I could be laughing and happy and this and that. But then it will come over me like, you know, it's my mom. I've got to, you know, start crying, deal with it. And I hear again, I hear it again, "Come on, keep moving."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean, I guess perhaps one of the reasons she wanted to do this was to try to kind of change the narrative about Whitney Houston's death or -- I'm always mystified by some people, especially in the midst of grief, talk. And I guess, I don't know, I didn't get many answers in this.
PINSKY: No, no, I'm with you; I didn't either. The one interesting thing she does talk about, though, is you saw a little hint of in that little tape, was that she was talking about feeling her mother's spirit, hearing her mother's voice. And she wasn't explicit about this, but sometimes it can actually be normal for people to have hallucinatory experiences for up to 60 to 90 days after a major loss like this, where they really feel like they're actually talking to that person. And I think that's what she was talking about.
She buffered it by saying, "Well, it's just her spirit I feel." But as she talked about it with a certain kind of vividness that lead me to believe that she's actually -- feels like she's talking to her. And that is not necessarily abnormal at this stage of the game.
COOPER: Actually, there was another thing she said about that, about kind of feeling her in dreams. Let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WINFREY: Have you had the visitation? I know some people might think we're crazy.
BROWN: Yes. Oh, yes.
WINFREY: But a lot of people have, where they come to you in your dreams.
BROWN: Oh, yes. Yes, and especially throughout the house. Throughout the house, the lights turn on and off. And I'm like, "Mom, what are you doing?" You know?
BROWN: Yes. You know, we still like -- I can still sit there and I can still laugh with her. You know, I can still -- I can still sit there and I can still talk to her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That, I mean, that -- you know, feeling somebody in dreams, that goes on for a long time after a loss.
PINSKY: For sure. But again, I think she's actually talking about interacting with her as she goes through the house. She talks to her. She -- you know, again, she buffers it by saying, well, it's just signs of her being present. But I think she really actually has these experiences where she feels as though she's talking to her.
And again, I want to caution people that that's normal. That's what your brain does when it can't handle these kinds of overwhelming losses. It's a way of sort of buffering it and getting used to the idea of this patient, this person being gone.
COOPER: It's interesting. And I've learned a lot just from listening to you just in the last couple of weeks on this subject. But subsequently, I was talking to some friends who had had addiction issues and still consider themselves addicts, as I think most people who have addiction issues do.
And they said that, even when getting drugs from their doctor, prescribed drugs, they -- they don't want to take anything that has any mood-altering effects, lest it kind of trigger something back.
PINSKY: Right. That's exactly right. What it does is it reawakens the biology of addiction. There are certain drugs that trigger that biology. And these are the drugs that people are dying of these days, having been prescribed by doctors.
And again, let's remind ourselves that, just because they're prescribed, if they're prescribed to an addict, doesn't make them safer. Sorry, Anderson, about your Ambien. I know that really troubles you whenever I bring that up. But I know it's not a problem in your case, of course.
COOPER: Well, I -- to be honest, I have not had Ambien since -- since we had that discussion because it still kind of concerns me.
PINSKY: Well, it should. I mean, again, these are -- the other thing I want to get out of people's mind is the idea that there's good drugs and bad drugs. Ambien is an excellent drug. Morphine and codeine, and these are excellent drugs if you have cancer, if you actually need to take them.
But if you have addiction, if you have a history of addiction or you may have addiction triggered, these are the chemicals that can kill you.
COOPER: All right. Dr. Drew, thanks.
COOPER: Dr. Drew Pinsky.
Still ahead, she's accused of running a high-end escort service. But the attorney for the accused Manhattan madam says the mother of four, quote, "doesn't have two nickels to rub together." We'll tell you what he offered up for bail. Details ahead.
SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."
A lawyer for a suburban mom accused of running a high-end brothel out of a New York City apartment is asking that she be released into his custody and is offering his own loft as security. Anna Gristina is behind bars with bail set at $2 million. The lawyer says she's broke and says she should be allowed to say in his apartment and wear an electronic ankle bracelet. A hearing is set for Thursday.
The defense has rested in the trial of a former Rutgers student accused of using a Web cam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, who later killed himself. Dharun Ravi did not take the stand to testify. Closing arguments are set for tomorrow.
A report on the firing of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was posted online today. Paterno was fired over child sex abuse allegations involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. In the report, the university's board of trustees say Paterno did his legal duty but failed as a leader by not following up.
In California, Pacific Gas and Electric will pay $17 million in restitution for a pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people. Dozens of homes were destroyed in the incident in December, 2010.
And a Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece lost since the 16th Century may have been found. Italian officials say the mural, called "The Battle of Anghiari," might be hidden behind a newer work by another artist. Researchers drilled holes through the new mural and found paint that apparently matches pigment from Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" -- Anderson.
COOPER: Let's check in with Erin Burnett and see what she's covering at 11 -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Well, Anderson, an incredible story about a woman who was forced into a marriage. She ended up fleeing her family. She still lives under police protection and spent 11 years on the run and has now dedicated herself to helping other women.
There are women in the United States that suffer from this problem right now. Her name is Sabatini (ph) James, and she comes "OUTFRONT" to tell her incredibly moving story tonight.
Also, Anderson, a couple out West has a child, 4 years old. The child has Down Syndrome. They are now suing and saying that it was a wrongful birth, that the people who gave the test for Down Syndrome are now responsible. They want monetary remuneration.
There are only 10 wrongful birth cases a year in this country, Anderson. This could be an incredible precedent. It's going to be a case we're going to be following. We're going to give you the story tonight.
Back to you.
COOPER: Erin, thanks.
Coming up, how many times must we remind teenagers not to shoot bottle rockets from their rears? The "RidicuList" is next.
COOPER: Time now for the "RidicuList." And tonight, we're adding a little incident involving a bottle rocket that has led to a lawsuit.
A college student in West Virginia is suing the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and one of its members. Apparently, last May at an ATO party, everyone is just, you know, outside chilling on the deck at 1:30 in the morning when a guy apparently decided to shoot a bottle rocket out of his rear end. Eww.
Now, another guy who was at the party was so startled by said bottle rocket that he fell off the deck, and now he's suing for pain and suffering, et cetera.
The lawsuit says that rocket man was, you guessed it, in a drunken stupor and, quote, "Plaintiff asserts that the activity of underage drinking and firing a bottle rocket out of one's own anus constitutes an ultra-hazardous activity." Oddly, there's no video of this incident itself, which I think pretty much makes it the only time someone has fired a bottle rocket out of that particular area and did not post it on YouTube.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rocket butt. Rocket butt. People shoot rockets out of their butt. Rocket butt. Rocket butt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: There are many, many, many more of those videos. But we don't want to glorify something that's so quintessentially asinine. So let's just pause here and remember that any kind of fireworks, rear fired or otherwise, can be really, really dangerous, especially to mannequins.
Now, the Consumer Products Safety Commission puts on those warning demonstrations every year, and yet every year, some dude named Travis decides to try to impress his frat brothers by, you know, putting the rocket not in his pocket.
Now, I guess fraternities don't have a lot of time to look up Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines, you know, what with all the food fights, the toga parties, the singing of "Louie Louie" en masse, the attempts to outsmart Dean Wormer. And yes, everything I know about fraternities does come from "Animal House."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I, state your name...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I, state your name...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do hereby pledge allegiance to the frat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do hereby pledge allegiance to the frat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With liberty and fraternity for all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So who knows what's going to happen with this rear rocket lawsuit. Perhaps it's going to set a precedent. Perhaps the Alpha Tau Omega house will be put on double secret probation. Perhaps the guy will be awarded a ton of money, and the whole darn fraternity will be end up in arrears. It remains to be seen.
But if this cautionary tale can make just one drunk frat dude on a porch somewhere think twice about launching a rocket out of his arse, this "RidicuList" will have been worth it.
OK, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.