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America's New War: Military Readies a Response; New York Continues Rescue and Recovery Effort

Aired September 19, 2001 - 15:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our coverage of "America's New War" on Day Eight since last week's attack. Just moments ago, you heard our military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre bringing us important, new information about decisions being made by the administration to move American air power.

Jamie, you're joining us on television. A moment ago, we were talking to you on the phone. You've now had time to get in front of the TV cameras, so we want to see your face while you're doing this reporting.

You called it "Infinite Justice," and tell us, again, what this will accomplish in the eyes of the administration?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pentagon sources tell us that "Infinite Justice" is the name that has tentatively been picked out for the U.S. What we've been calling "The New War Against Terrorism" will be called "Operation Infinite Justice" assuming everybody at the White House signs off on that name. You may recall or you may not recall that in 1998 when the United States went after terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, that operation was code-named "Infinite Reach."

But what's important today in the developments is that Pentagon sources tell us deployment orders have gone out for a major movement of combat and support aircraft into the Persian Gulf region, in order to support whatever military action may be coming. Sources say more than a 100 aircraft will move from bases primarily in the United States to forward bases. The Pentagon is not saying where the aircraft are going, but it is a good bet that they will go to the kind of bases where they've operated out of before because there are facilities there to support them -- places like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, where U.S. planes have gone.

Some of the planes that are being sent include F-15 strike eagles. These are planes that are the ground attack planes. F-16s, both the kind that is used for suppression of enemy air defenses and those that are used for attack as well. Also, B-1 bombers may be forward deployed according to sources and also other support planes such as AWAC surveillance planes and J-star ground surveillance planes will be moved into the region along with more surveillance assets like U-2s. In addition, refueling planes also need to be forward deployed in order to build an air bridge, it's called, to allow these combat planes to fly from the United States to bases in the region. Those deployment orders have gone out. That means people at the bases where these planes are located, such as, for instance Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina where the F-15s are based. They'll be getting their orders today and they'll be able to acknowledge -- Pentagon sources say they'll be to acknowledge that they've received those deployment orders and that they are moving, but they will not be able to say where they're going. They'll just be saying they're being forward deployed to support the president's war against terrorism. And that's all they'll be able to say.

Now, obviously, this means that there will be a buildup of aircraft in the area near Afghanistan. And when you combine that with the fact there are already two aircraft carriers in the region, with 75 aircraft apiece and another aircraft carrier, a third one, the Teddy Roosevelt left today for Norfolk and may be heading to the region as well. That's an awful lot of combat firepower that's going to be building up in the region there, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Just a quick question, Jamie. Today, we're reading - I know I saw in the "Washington Post" reports quoting Russian generals who were involved in the Soviet war against Afghanistan 10 years ago. The thrust of their comments was no matter how many airplane, warplanes the United States sends; Afghanistan is a very tough nut to crack. This is a country that will not succumb even to the overwhelming air power of the United States. Surely, Pentagon officials have considered this.

MCINTYRE: Absolutely and one of the things they say is that this will not be old Soviet-style attempt to occupy Afghanistan. If the United States decides that Osama Bin Laden is the one responsible for these terrorist acts and wants to take action against him, what you're likely to see is in and out-style commando raid. And these air forces that we're talking about, that are built up both on Navy warships and on the land, they would be used in support of that in and out operation. They're not going to be trying to take and hold hostile territory. They're going to be trying to target terrorist networks and their leaders in quick strike operations. And the United States is confident that it is not going to get entrenched in the kind of land warfare that was so wearing against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jamie McIntyre again with very important reporting on the deployment of U.S. airplanes, air power in the next days ahead. Jamie, thank you very much.

While we're talking about the movement of American military forces, let's go to one of America's premiere Army bases. That is at Fort Bragg, North Caroling. Our Brian Nelson is there.

Brian, this news must be received with great interest?

BRIAN NELSON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it certainly is, Judy. We heard the news and we're here at Fort Bragg and of course, nearby Pope Air Force Base, where we'd expect to see a lot of action, given what Jamie has just reported. But so far, the day has remained relatively quiet. Yesterday, the order had come down to bar the press from the base. And while that order has been rescinded, the base access points have been more severely restricted and so there is the potential of a buildup. But we haven't seen signs of it just yet.

With me now is Colonel Roger King. Colonel King, you've - I just relayed to you what Jamie McIntyre reported from the Pentagon. It is "Operation Infinite Justice," and within a day, planes moving out to bases in the Middle East. Do you - can you -- can tell us anymore?

COLONEL ROGER KING, FORT BRAGG PUBLIC AFFAIRS: No, I'm primarily affected by Army movements. And as far as I know, we have had no movement orders.

NELSON: Has this base received any alert, any warning that troops are about to move out?

KING: No, we're still operating under our normal training schedules. The only change that we've had, as far as alerts, has of course been the increased security status of the post in order to protect the people who live and work here.

NELSON: Now, this is the home to the 82nd Airborne and also some Special Ops units. If there was any action in Afghanistan, as most people are speculating, which of these units would likely be called into action? And what might their duties be?

KING: Well, first of all, I wouldn't speculate as to where anybody might go. We have a wide variety of options in front of us. But of course, the 82nd airborne division is known as America's premiere response force. They're the folks that we have -- the ground troops that we have who are the quickest - more quickly able to respond than others. They have an 18-hour deployment sequence that they normally go through in order to be in the air en route to any location in the world. And Special Operations has their unique capabilities.

NELSON: Are there any special scenarios being worked on in the aftermath of last week?

KING: Not to my knowledge, we're trying to go back to routine training. But our training is geared toward performing those missions that might be called upon in virtually any scenario.

NELSON: And once again, you've heard nothing about any movement of planes out of nearby Pope Air Force Base or any troops coming out of Fort Bragg as of yet?

KING: No, I haven't.

NELSON: OK, thank you very much, Colonel King. And we'll continue to follow the situation from here, at Fort Bragg and nearby Pope Air Force Base where 42,000 soldiers, at least here at Fort Bragg, are awaiting their call to duty.

Back to you Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Brian Nelson, 45,000 soldiers and many more at other bases around the nation -- Aaron.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: In just the last 10 minutes, 15 minutes or so, the market has had a considerable bounce off its lows. It was down about 420 points about 20 minutes ago. It's down about 305 points now. The Nasdaq has made a similar bounce. Obviously as we -- and we've been saying this a bunch, you have to watch this last hour of trading -- things do happen. It's no guarantee that this bounce will be sustained. But things are about 25 percent brighter than they were 20 minutes ago.

The wait on the market, what somebody described earlier as this weight of gravity pushing the market down, all these layoffs that are being announced, the airline industry layoffs, Boeing has announced significant layoffs in its manufacturing facilities, many of them -- two major ones at least located in the Seattle area, one just south of Seattle in Renton, Washington. That's where Katharine Barrett is now and she joins us with more on that.

KATHERINE BARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Aaron. Well, we're here, a continent away from last week's carnage in New York and Washington, D.C. But now terrorism's fallout is robbing jobs here from 20 to 30,000 workers who make Boeing planes.

Boeing Aircraft's chief executive, Alan Mullally said in a press conference here late last night that he made this downsizing decision with great sadness. But with airlines losing billions of dollars, cutting their own flight schedules and jobs of their own, Boeing sees demand for its planes dropping 10 percent this year -- or eight to 10 percent this year, as much as 20 percent perhaps next year. And it simply won't need as many as a quarter to a third of its aircraft assembly workers.

Here with me now is the executive director of the union that represents Boeing's engineers and technical workers. It's called the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. Charles Bofferding is its executive director.

Now, Mr. Bofferding, Boeing's workers certainly are no strangers to large layoffs. We've had a number of boom and bust cycles before. How is this time different?

CHARLES BOFFERDING, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SPEEA: This is different. In the past, it was the mark in business that was pushing us down. This in direct response to terrorist acts.

BARRETT: And does that make it easier or harder for workers to bear?

BOFFERDING: From an individual if they're losing their job, I don't think it matters, the reason. It's still a tough thing to overcome. I think we're creating more innocent victims.

BARRETT: Now, the impact on engineers versus the impact on assembly line machinist types, how does that weight?

BOFFERDING: We would expect predominately this to affect production workers because this is a production problem in response to that and however, we have a number of people in production. Also, the cash flow can affect the company's ability to do the development that we're heavily involved.

BARRETT: In terms of future programs...

BOFFERDING: In terms of futures for the sonic cruiser and also JSF coming on line is something we're looking forward now to help us.

BARRETT: The Joint Strike Force Fighter.

BOFFERDING: Joint Strike Fighter, right.

BARRETT: Now, there was skepticism among workers that we spoke to outside the plant this morning, that perhaps terrorism and last week's events weren't the only cause of this layoff that they may have been coming anyway because of weakening economy. Is that true? What do you think?

BOFFERDING: Frankly, I shared that skepticism. It was until I had direct conversation with Hank Queen (ph), the vice president of engineering and then also Alan Mullally of the company.

One of the facts that I now know that makes me believe this more is, during the Gulf War, airline production fell now off 20 percent, took 15 months to come back. This is certainly going to be worse than that. Twenty percent seems about right.

BARRETT: And yet, this may, in fact, as you said to me earlier, be a worst-case scenario. What could improve it?

BOFFERDING: The thing that could improve it is people regaining their confidence in flying and the airline industry picks back up.

BARRETT: And that is certainly the hope here at the headquarters of Boeing's Commercial Aircraft Group. I'm Katharine Barrett in Renton, Washington. Back to you Aaron.

BROWN: Katharine, thank you. One thing to keep in mind about Boeing, for every Boeing job in the Seattle area, there are two or three other jobs tied to the airline industry in the area, people who make the seats or the ashtrays or whatever that go in the plane. So if Boeing lays off 20,000 workers, it ripples through the economy and ripples very quickly.

Down to Ground Zero where correspondent Gary Tuchman joins us again - Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, the mayor of New York City is preparing to tour Ground Zero by air with the former mayor of Paris. That former mayor is now the president of France, Jacques Chirac. They will see the mountains of rubble that we've been seeing over the past eight days, mountains that have gone down a little bit because about five percent of the wreckage has been cleared but that are still enormous. Small fires continue to burn and the smoke continues to billow on the scene. There are still more than 5,400 people missing, five survivors have been found but they were all found more than a week ago. However, the search still officially continues.

The president of France spoke to us a short time ago.


JACQUES CHIRAC, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: Mayor -- what I wanted to say to the mayor of New York -- all our concern, our admiration for what has been done after this drama, with such an efficiency, very full of clever and heart.


TUCHMAN: France's support is appreciated and expected. France and the United States haven't always seen eye-to-eye. France is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. France along with Russia and China have supported watering down sanctions in the past against Iraq, while the United States and the United Kingdom have strongly supported strong sanctions. So there have been some problems in the past. But as I said, they expect strong support from countries like France and they certainly are getting it from President Chirac.

All over New York City, we've been telling you this for the past eight days, there are posters on wall, posters on buses, even posters on the CNN satellite trucks all over the city with people's faces, haunting pictures of smiling faces, people who are missing and their loved once are putting up these posters in an effort to find them. So I just wanted to show you two of them because they are so sad and pitiful.

One of them are these two men who are golfing buddies. And both of them are missing. This man is Sam Salvo (ph), his friend Nick Massa (ph). It says he's 5 foot 7, 163 pounds. And you see these people smiling and you just feel so badly for families.

And then there's this one, Margaret Etcherman (ph) missing. Her mother, Heidi Etcherman (ph) put this poster up throughout the city, said she was in World Trade Center No. 2 on the 93rd floor said she's five foot six, blond hair and brown eyes. And then here, I thought this was very noteworthy, it says, large brown birthmark upper left or right thigh under buttocks. And you read that and you feel so sad for this family because they're forced to put such personal information on posters in an effort to have -- feel like they have any chance of finding her whatsoever. And you see that a lot -- personal information on posters all over New York City with these smiling faces, knowing that there's very little chance they'll be found but hoping this gives them some chance to be found.

Aaron, back to you.

BROWN: Gary, thank you. I assume you can hear in the background, the sirens that are going -- in a city like New York, you hear sirens all the time and you don't really notice them. And now every time we hear them, we jump a little bit.

The market has drifted back down again. Whatever rally was in place, seems to have found its level. We'll keep an eye on that for the 44 minutes left in the trading day.

When we come back, a special edition of "TALKBACK LIVE." CNN's continuing coverage of "America's New War" continues in a moment.



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