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America's New War

Aired September 19, 2001 - 22:00   ET


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: It's been a busy and critical day in the life of this tragedy. The military is on the move tonight, the economy is in danger of a dead stop, and the investigation has taken some interesting turns.

We'll also go "Beneath the Veil": a look at the plight of the average Afghani and what it tells us about this crisis. As you know, they are calling it Operation Infinite Justice, a good name for an operation that's supposed to combat the infinite injustice we've witnessed over the past week. Dozens of U.S. aircraft tonight are getting ready, headed for the Middle East. Dozens more will likely follow.

And today, the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt steamed out of Norfolk, Virginia. If this is not war, it certainly feels that way. We'll get a better sense of the mission tomorrow night when the president addresses the Congress and the country.

But maybe the best way for Mr. Bush to win total support from the allies is show them the devastation up close. The French President Jacques Chirac saw it today with Mayor Giuliani, on what was yet another impossibly beautiful day in New York City, no beauty, however, in lower Manhattan. Nothing more now than a ghost world.

And blocks away, investors were glad to hear the sound of the closing bell. Stocks plummeted in the afternoon, then recovered much of it by the end of the trading day. But the economic troubles continue. And the nation's two largest airlines announcing 20,000 job cuts each. It all turned a corner today, it seemed. It's not exactly clear what's around the other side. After days of talk, the Pentagon moved. The aircraft carrier Roosevelt, on the move, headed east, as all the Navy would say. A hundred combat planes being mobilized for destinations secret. Talks shifting to action.

We begin tonight with the Pentagon and correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Norfolk, Virginia, the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt set sail, its destination undisclosed. But it's no secret its sailors are likely steaming into harm's way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uncertainty, I guess. Nobody really knows what we're going to. Just wait and see.

MCINTYRE: Pentagon sources say within days, dozens of combat and support aircraft will also begin to move to forward bases in the Persian Gulf region. And a second wave will push the number of aircraft deployed to more than 100.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The United States is repositioning some of its forces to support the president's goal. I'm not going talk about operational matters or further about troop movements.

MCINTYRE: Sources say most of the planes will move to bases in the Persian Gulf, where the U.S. already has support facilities in place. Among the first planes to go, sources say, U.S. Air Force B-1 and B-52 bombers. Sources say the B-52s, capable of firing air launch cruise missiles, would likely be based at the British island of Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean.

Sources say a second deployment order not yet signed includes F- 15s and F-16s to reinforce land-based planes patrolling Iraq's southern no-fly zone. That could allow the United States to free up an aircraft carrier to give President Bush more firepower off the coast of Pakistan. Already, the United States has two carriers in the region, the Enterprise in the Arabian Sea and the Carl Vinson, last reported in the Persian Gulf.

The Roosevelt, if it goes to the region, could put three carriers within striking distance of targets in Afghanistan. But Pentagon officials say no attack plans have been approved, and no one enemy singled out.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: This is not a problem of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. It is a problem of a number of networks of terrorists that have been active across the globe.

MCINTYRE: In fact, Pentagon sources say some aides to Rumsfeld have been advocating strikes against downtown Baghdad, with the goal of taking out Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, a mission, some in the military feel, has a low probability of success.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


BROWN: This deployment is sure to be a major portion of the president's speech to Congressman in the nation tomorrow night. For more on that, we take a look at the White House with senior White House correspondent John King.

John, what can you tell us about the speech?

JOHN KING, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, as Jamie McIntyre just reported, a large military deployment ordered by the president. White House officials believe Mr. Bush has an obligation to explain that to the American people and to elevate this crisis, if you will, to give it the gravity of a war footing. What better way to do that than a joint address to the Congress and the American people?

Mr. Bush acting on an invitation from the Congress, but make no mistake about it, the White House signalled that it wanted that invitation. We are told the president will not announce any military actions. White House officials say they don't believe any are imminent, but the national security adviser tonight called terrorism a cancer, and she said Mr. Bush wants to go before the American people, lower expectations for any short conflict, make clear to them this is not just isolated to Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan, that this war, as the president calls it, will take a while.

BROWN: John, do you think we'll hear anything new, or will it be much the same but in a grander, and therefore more important, setting?

KING: I think that's the right point, a grander, more important setting. The president wants to connect the dots. The American people outraged over what happened eight days ago. The American people looking for retaliation, very angry. They have been told over and over again, and showed the pictures of Osama bin Laden, that he's the lead suspect. But the president wants to connect the dots, if you will, much like Secretary Rumsfeld was doing in that interview we just heard a few moments ago.

They say this is not just about that -- that if we are to root out the evil, it is going to be actions in several countries. Now, military in some, diplomatically and financial in others. This is a very expensive, very lengthy operation. The White House not sure yet that the American people quite understand that, so the president will go before them tomorrow night and try to lay it all out.

BROWN: The president had a very full calendar today. We want to touch on a number of those things a little bit later, if you'll come back and join us.

KING: Certainly will.

BROWN: Thank you, John. Our senior White House correspondent, John King.

Quickly take a look at how we will handle the president's speech tomorrow. The president goes before the Congress at 9:00 Eastern time. I'll be joined by Judy Woodruff and our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, as well. The president speaks at 9:00, and we hope you'll join us for the speech and the analysis afterwards.

The administration has said over and over again that this is a different kind of war, and surely it is that. Do old weapons fight new wars? Do old tactics apply? A couple of questions tonight for CNN military analyst and retired general, Wesley Clark.

General Clark, good evening to you.


BROWN: Anything in this deployment today, either surprise you or tell you anything about the military's plan for the mission? CLARK: I don't think so. I think this is very much standard operating procedure. We're building up the forces in the region. They've got multiple capabilities, they've got long ranges. They could strike at any one of a number of areas, or not strike at all. If we were going to something more, maybe we would do the military -- the air lift part first, with the aircraft moving early, so that later reinforcements could be other elements.

Maybe we would bring these aircraft forward early to put more pressure on, to demonstrate our resolve, or maybe we would strike. I don't think it signals any specific action.

BROWN: You have said to me a number of times on these conversations that, in the end, this is -- what makes this different is it needs to be quite surgical. These weapons aren't surgical, it doesn't seem to me -- you'll tell me if I'm wrong. So there has to be something else, another component here that's not in play yet.

CLARK: Well, I think there's a lot going on behind the scenes in terms of preparing surgical ways to go after the networks of Al Qaeda and the other interlocking groups of terrorists. But remember that there are also very strong reasons to believe that there is state support from one state or more than one state. And if there is state support, and the United States and its coalition of partners follow through on the intent thus far expressed to drain the swamp, then these weapons of war are going to be essential in going after states who harbor and support international terrorism.

BROWN: Put your uniform back on for a second. Your commander in chief says to you, "smoke them out" -- I think that was the phrase you used the other day. How do you go about smoking them out?

CLARK: I think you've got take away their support structure. You've got to take away his ability to handle communications to a number of different channels, to direct funding in there. You've got to take away his hideouts, his -- literally, physical locations where he feels safe and secure. You've got to get him moving...

BROWN: How do you do that?

CLARK: It's a combination of actions: police, intelligence, informational, diplomatic, economic, and maybe some military strikes.

BROWN: How will we know, how will the country know that it has won?

CLARK: We will get indicators, I don't expect anything like a surrender document. And hopefully, we will arrest and bring to justice Osama bin Laden and many of the other ring leaders of these terrorist groups. But if we don't, we will certainly get the information that these groups have suffered casualties, that they've disbanded, that they're ineffective. We'll get those indicators and I'm sure that they'll be made public at the appropriate times.

BROWN: Over the last seven or eight days, sir, we've talked a lot about this. It's been theoretical, in some ways, up to now. This is getting to the point where it's not going to be theoretical. We'll count on your guidance a lot in the days and weeks ahead. Thank you.

CLARK: Thank you.

BROWN: General Wes Clark, joining us this evening.

This new kind of war, we gather, requires a new kind of warrior. To make sure they're ready, the Navy's elite pilots are fine-tuning their skills at Navy and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada.

CNN's Kyra Phillips and crew are the only network team allowed on the base, talk about it, and they join us now.

Kyra, good evening.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Yes, we are at Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, Aaron. And yesterday we showed you how the fighter pilots are training. Well, tonight we're talking Helo (ph). And I can tell you as we stand here live on the flight line, that these helicopters continue their air combat training all through the night.

Something else that caught my attention, and that was the mission statement for the Seahawk training. It seems to be the mantra for every flyer around here, and it's a quote from Henry David Thoreau: "The will to win is useless without the will to prepare."


PHILLIPS (voice-over): Fallon, Nevada is getting a wake-up call. However, the HS-8 helicopter squadron has been wide awake for some time. For these 8-ballers, nothing holds them back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It provides confidence for all the strikers out there, that they know someone is going to come get them if they have a malfunction in the aircraft or if they are shot down.

PHILLIPS: It is the H-60 Seahawk. Lieutenant Commander Mike Horan (ph) is fine-tuning these helicopter pilots for combat search and rescue. Gunners from the inside, pilots in control, special operations out the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are both a delivery and recovery platform for the Seals of a different nature, either just through landing insertions and extracting them from a helicopter that has landed. They can para-drop out of the helicopters, fast-rope rappel, depending upon the mission requirements.

PHILLIPS: Lieutenant Commander Massey Hughes (ph) is leading the day's airborne missions. Two ship tactics, low-level rescues, just a few capabilities on this assault ship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Machine guns, missiles, and a lot of aircraft survivability equipment that will give us indications if people are looking at us.

PHILLIPS: Making sure his squadron can integrate with this air wing if headed for combat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means we're ready to go with CAG-9 and support CAG and the president with whatever tasking we receive, along with the entire battle group.


PHILLIPS: Lieutenant Commander Horan joins us now to tell us specifically about this combat helicopter. The name of it again is the...


PHILLIPS: There we go. We've got a rescue hoist...

HORAN: That's correct. The rescue hoist comes down into the water, or we use it over land. Our crewmen in back operate the machine guns here. Up front, we have a forward-looking infrared imaging system, which we use for a variety of missions, but it's designed to work with our hellfire missile system.

PHILLIPS: Tell us where the hellfire missiles are stored?

HORAN: This is not, in fact, a hellfire, but they would normally be carried on the aircraft on here. This is a training pod that tracks our aircraft within the Fallon range complex.

PHILLIPS: Before we let you go, military readiness, you feeling good?

I'm feeling good. CAG-19 is working hard out here, and after their done with their training, they'll be ready for any contingencies.

PHILLIPS: Lieutenant Commander Mike Horan, thank you so much, sir.

HORAN: Thank you.

BROWN: Kyra, thank you. Thank you very much.

Well, the deployment orders are now in place. Warplanes are on the move, or will be towards the Persian Gulf, we suspect. Sources at the Pentagon say it's just the first stage of the build-up in this long, long war against terrorism.

Two U.S. senators join us now to discuss the deployment and what led up to it. Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana joins us from Washington, D.C., and in Topeka, Kansas, Senator Sam Brownback of the state of Kansas.

Good evening to both of you. Senator Landrieu, let me start with you. From where you sit on the armed services committee, is the military ready for the kind of mission that General Clark talked about a little bit ago, that is, a very surgical mission in the end? SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: Absolutely, Aaron, our military is ready. I believe our nation is ready. I believe that our president has shown a tremendous leadership. And from my perspective here in Washington, let me just say that I have watched an extraordinary week, where our leaders of Congress have worked together in a way that I have never witnessed, and most of us have not, to do what is right for the country at this time. So people need to know that our military is ready. And with our allies, we will be successful in this mission.

BROWN: Senator, let me be gently skeptical here, because it does seem to me that the country's -- that when we try to do, when the country has tried to do these surgical missions, whether it was Desert 1 in Iran or others, it hasn't always worked out very well. What's changed?

LANDRIEU: Well, we've learned a lot, and we have the most sophisticated military in the world. We make a lot of investments in our military, and while it's not perfect and we're going to make some mistakes, I believe that the resolve of the American people is such that this attack, it was not only attack on America, but it was an attack on world order, on civilizations, on constitutions and laws.

And the resolve is going to be tremendous from freedom-loving people. That will give strength to political leaders. We will then give strength to our military forces, to do whatever it takes to try to rid the world. And what the terrorists want is for us to be afraid. They want us to think we can't get them. They want to think that, and that is not true.

Now, it may take a long time. It may take great sacrifice, but the American people have done this before. We will do it again, and with our allies, we will be successful.

BROWN: Senator Brownback, is this -- we've talked a lot about this as a failure of intelligence, a massive intelligence failure. Is it in any sense a failure of foreign policy also?

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R), KANSAS: I think there's plenty of places you can look for difficulties and problems. Clearly, we've had some problems intelligence gathering. And we've had this building in the foreign policy arena for some time. We've been under terrorist attack for 10 years now: embassies in Africa, ships, Khobar Towers. This has been going upon for some period of time.

I think probably our failure actually has been in foreign policy, is that we haven't focused sufficiently on it previously, over the past eight to 10 years. And so now it comes to our soil, and now we focus on it when we probably should have been far more focused and far more intense several years ago.

BROWN: And what would that more focused approach have been, or more intense approach be?

BROWNBACK: I've traveled quite a bit in central Asia in some of the countries, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and this has been a premiere issue for them. And I think they've been ready for some period of time for the United States to really engage on the topic of terrorism. And instead, we've generally lectured them about different issues, or said that we want your democracy further along, and we do. And we do want it further, and it will be coming quicker. But I don't think we've sufficiently worked with them side by side. A number of these countries, on dealing with this problem that they've been facing for several years and that we have, and that recently, then, visited our soil directly.

BROWN: Just one more question to you, sir, and I have one more for Senator Landrieu, too, if we can. First, Senator Brownback, at some point other countries are either going to sign on or they're not. But what they're saying, some of them, is we want kind of absolute proof that bin Laden is the guy. And maybe you can never get that kind of absolute truth.

At some point, does this country go it alone?

BROWNBACK: Well, bin Laden is under indictment for two prior terrorist events already. And these lead -- all roads seem to lead to him on this last event as well, so we have that of the two prior activities. Plus, I think we need to point out to them as well, this isn't just about Osama bin Laden. This is about terrorists, terrorists operating on your soil, and being harbored or allowed to operate there. And now it's either time for you to stand up and stand with us in ridding the world of this terrorism, or you're going to be standing against us, and there are going to be consequences that will flow with that.

I think we provide this as a very stark picture about you're either with us fighting terrorism, or you're against us. And there are consequences that will flow with that.

BROWN: Senator Landrieu, you called it a silent war. What do you mean?

LANDRIEU: Well, let me say first, hello, Sam...


LANDRIEU: ... and I appreciate the leadership that you've shown this week. And let me just agree with Sam about one thing, that we most certainly need our allies with us. America is very strong and our military is the strongest in the world, but we've got to build a coalition. And perhaps we haven't done what we need to in the past, but I think, you know, at this point, pointing fingers and blaming, what I think the American people want us to do is to identify what happened, investigate it.

Today I've called for a select committee, which we've used before, to help marshal the forces of Congress so that all of our other committees can begin to act to protect Americans, to minimize any further loss of life. And I think that that's what our president is doing. So there will be plenty of time to say about what we didn't do, but the fact is, the military is a big operation, so is Congress. We don't turn on a dime, we've been sort of turning slowly. This event has turned our attention and focused us, and that's where we need to be.

BROWN: Senators both, thank you for joining us. I know you'll both be in Washington tomorrow for the president's speech, and hopefully we'll see you there. Thank you very much.

LANDRIEU: Thank you.

BROWNBACK: Thank you, Aaron.

LANDRIEU: Thank you, Sam.

BROWN: It's nothing short of remarkable, how last week's attacks continue to claim victims now. The airline industry has been hammered and is virtually begging the federal government for a multibillion- dollar bailout. Today American Airlines announced it will lay off 20,000 employees, because of reduced flight schedules and fewer passengers. Same announcement came from United Airlines, 20,000 workers there will lose their jobs.

The news comes despite reports that Congress is close now to an agreement to provide $15- to $20 billion in loan grants and tax breaks to keep the airlines operating. When you include layoffs with the aircraft maker Boeing, the total number of job cuts comes to nearly 100,000 in a little more than a week.

There is no doubt that the president is fighting two wars at once: a fight to find and punish those responsible for last week's attacks, and a fight to keep the economy from plunging into a recession. We go back to our senior White House correspondent, John King, on the economic front.

John, what's the president doing?

KING: Well, Aaron, the president tonight, as you mentioned, fighting two wars at once: meeting with his senior advisers to update on military planning, but also today's attention increasingly turning to working with the Congress in a bipartisan fashion on an emergency spending plan, and an emergency plan that could move through the Congress in the next day or two to help the struggling airline industry.


KING (voice-over): The president steered clear of the word recession, but nonetheless, sounded an urgent alarm.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Someone conducted an act of war on us. Our economy has slowed way down, and this is an emergency.

KING: Mr. Bush and bipartisan Congressional leaders agreed at this meeting on a three-pronged approach to dealing with the immediate challenges posed by the crisis. First, an airline industry bailout package, followed by action on new anti-terrorism powers for the Justice Department, and then consideration of an emergency economic stimulus package. The air industry is warning of impending bankruptcy, but raised eyebrows in Congress when it initially asked for $24 billion in aid and loan guarantees. The goal now is to reach agreement this week on an emergency infusion of direct federal aid, $5 billion or so. Congress then would address much more difficult issues, like loan guarantees, whether the government should underwrite airline liability cost and make cash payments to the families of victims.

A rough reopening on Wall Street had some in Congress pushing for quick action on a mix of new spending and tax cuts to prime the economy.

BUSH: The definition of how much is enough to get America going again, as to be able to endure this emergency.

KING: But sources tell CNN the Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan urged a go-slow approach, saying the economic impact of the terrorist strikes will be much more clear two or three weeks from now.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER: What we decided today is to continue our discussions, not to postpone things, but to make sure whatever fix we lay out there is, first of all, bipartisan, that does meet the needs of the American economy, and it's not just a quick fix, it's something that will reach in and really change this economy to the best way possible.

KING: This bipartisan spirit is just one of the startling changes brought about by the twin terrorist strikes.

The president who took so much pride in his big tax cut now acknowledges it likely won't be enough to get the economy going again, and as the cost of the recovery effort and now the military build-up mount, the White House saying tonight it is time for the American people to realize -- quote -- "this is a time of sacrifice." Aaron.

BROWN: John, thanks. Senior White House correspondent John King. The president's concern is not simply with the airline industry. The thing is rippling through the entire economy, and the economy wasn't that strong a week and a half ago.

More on the economy here from CNNFN's Peter Viles.


PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another rough day in the stock market, even after a late rally. The blue chips have now lost 9 percent of their value in three days, an event that by itself would probably damage consumer confidence. But of course, it is not an event by itself. In the past 24 hours, the airline industry has announced 70,000 layoffs. The travel and leisure industries are hobbled, consumers cautious, sales of new cars and trucks down 25 percent since the attacks.

All of this laid on an economy that was teetering on the edge of resection all the way back on September the 10th. LAKSHMAN ACHUTHAN, ECONOMIC CYCLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: We're in the recession that began sometime in the first or second quarter. And I think this is a very important point, because some of the commentary almost gives credit to this terrorist attack for putting us in recession. And that's patently wrong.

VILES: What is not clear is whether the shock of terrorism will change the economy in lasting ways. Will it emerge stronger, just as it did after the four recessions we've had in the past 25 years? Or is this a turning point toward an economy hampered by security concerns, higher costs and general caution? Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Samuelson is on the pessimistic side of that argument.

PAUL SAMUELSON, MIT ECONOMIST: It's like a new disease. Africa is not the same after AIDS as it was before AIDS. Now that we live in an age of vulnerability, because technology can make any small terrorist group extremely harmful, in a way that was never true in the hundred-thousand years of homo sapiens.

VILES: In the meantime, we're beginning to hear an expression of economic patriotism rarely heard during the recent boom. This was Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow today in Detroit.

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: People want to do something. And everywhere I go, I say, after you're done donating blood and making a contribution to the victims and their families, go buy American.


VILES: We should point out, the federal government is uniquely well-situated to fight a recession right now, with inflation nonexistent and the budget in pretty decent shape, even after we've had all this debate about Social Security. The federal government is in a good position now to spend money, which is a way governments have traditionally fought recessions. And the government has also dropped interest rates considerably. It can do more of that, and has cut taxes.

So the federal government response has been faster and can continue. So there is a positive side of this, if you will -- Aaron.

BROWN: Tough to find the positives sides, here. Thank you, Peter. We asked the former commerce secretary, William Daley, to come in and talk about business, or the lack of business.

Mr. Daley, nice to see you.


BROWN: How bad do you think it is out there?

DALEY: I think there is a -- obviously, this is a very difficult period for America. People are uncertain. We were probably pretty close to recession before last Tuesday. The fact of the matter is, we have gone through recessions before. We've come back strong.

I think right now what's really needed is a patience of the American people, as they deal with a whole host of issues, including economic uncertainty. But the foundation and the basics are there, and as pointed out, the federal government is doing a tremendous amount in a very short period, with $40 billion plan passed last week by Congress. Now talk of 15 to 20 billion for the airline industry, rates being cut and spoken of being cut again in October, and other central bankers around the world agreeing that they will step forward and make sure that there's plenty of liquidity.

So I think a lot is being done, but what's needed is a little patience in a whole host of areas, especially the economy.

BROWN: I think President Bush's father might say that the American people aren't necessarily all that patient when the economy turns south. So I'm not sure that patience is something that the administration or anyone else can count on, is it?

DALEY: Well, I think the president has encouraged us to be patient with the fight on terrorism, because it is going to take a long time. And I think right now, with the horrific events that happened and the tremendous hurt and sorrow that is in America, at the same time dealing with some of these issues, there has to be patience.

And I think the American people see this new situation we are in very differently, and I do believe they will have patience.

BROWN: Are you surprised at how almost instantly vulnerable the airline industry turned out to be?

DALEY: Well, I'm not. I think the fact is the airline industry, as they have been saying and showing, over the last number of quarters, were on their way to some very difficult periods. Maybe this has sped up the difficulty, and obviously last week for them has just been eight days that they've never experienced. But they were in pretty tough shape, as of last Monday, and they were all saying that, and I think there was an expectation before last Monday. There's no question, there has to be help. Congress has said it, the administration, President Bush, Secretary Evans, Secretary Mineta are all on the same program with the Congressional leadership. And I think there will be steps taken to help the industry.

But the industry, because of the slowing economy, because of other things that have happened over the last year or two in the industry, were saying quite publicly, and it was being shown in the market, that they were in very difficult shape before last Tuesday.

BROWN: The country, the Congress, in times of foreign policy crisis, are said to come together. We've certainly seen that in the last week, no reason to expect we won't. But on economic matters there are stark differences in the parties and, presumably, there will be differences in how the two sides will approach that? Do you think this will get partisan?

DALEY: No, not at all. I think as both the Speaker and Senator Daschle, Congressman Gephardt, Senator Lott have all said, we are in a very different world, I think, in Washington, and the partisanship that has been there that we have all gotten very comfortable with and used to, I believe it will be a long time before you see that bitterness and that sort of division there.

BROWN: Well, there's partisan in a bad way and partisan in a good way, I would submit here. For example, if the president were to submit a request to dramatically reduce cap capital gains, do you think Democrats would say, terrific, sounds like a great idea?

DALEY: No, I don't think so. But I think he will not submit anything until he knows that he's got some unity on the Hill and I think an economic package that's put forward to the Congress will be one that he knows has been agreed to by both sides of the aisle.

BROWN: Thanks for coming in. Nice to talk to you.

DALEY: Thank you, Aaron.

BROWN: Nice to meet you as well. Thank you. Former commerce secretary William Daley tonight.

On we go. When the Taliban regime took over most of Afghanistan, it promised the people there a better life. But that life now includes public executions of homosexuals, bans on music and women this the workplace. When we come back, a SPECIAL REPORT: BENEATH THE VEIL, in Afghanistan.


BROWN: The Taliban of Afghanistan may be best known, or perhaps we should say most infamous, for two things: their support of Osama bin Laden, and their oppression of many of their own people, especially women.

Just a few weeks ago, CNN broadcast "Beneath the Veil," a film by investigative journalist Saira Shah. It was taped earlier this year and offers an unprecedented look at both the Taliban and the innocent Afghanis who suffer under its rule. And it provides a window into the shadow world that's become intimately involved in this current crisis.


SAIRA SHAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Kaoiper (ph) Pass, gateway to the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan.

I'm trying to find out more about one of the most repressive and mysterious places in the world, Afghanistan.


The country is ruled by the Taliban, an Islamic militia. In 1996 these former religious students seized power and imposed a strict Islamic regime.

For me, this is personal. I was raised in Britain, but my father was an Afghan. And I grew up with a different vision of Afghanistan. He used to tell me stories of my family's homeland. A place called Paghman. He described gardens and fountains, a kind of Eden.

I have never been to Paghman. Now I'm trying to get there. I'm hoping my journey will help me understand what is happening to my father's country.

Arriving in Kabul, in Afghanistan's capitol, is a shock. All this damage was caused by civil war before the Taliban came. When they took over, people hoped life would get better. But four years later, nothing is being repaired. We've come to a city without buildings, without joy.

The Taliban say they have other priorities.

WAKIL MOTAWAKIL, TALIBAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The rest of the world has misunderstood us. There used to be no law. In the past four years, we have brought law and order. Our government has disarmed the population, brought security, improved commerce and created jobs.

We have proved we are a proper government.

SHAH: There is no sign of jobs, but there's plenty of security. Every few hundred meters, we pass road blocks. They're decorated with confiscated cassette tape. Even music has been banned. This is where the Taliban enforce their extreme religious laws. It's the symbol of their repression, the football stadium.

In today's Afghanistan, you could be executed for anything from adultery to murder, even for prostitution or homosexuality.

(on camera): It's an extraordinary feeling, because I have actually seen pictures of women being shot at this penalty area here, that we are just coming up to. And also, I have seen pictures of men being hung from this goal post.

This stadium was actually financed by the international community to try to raise the spirits of the people of Afghanistan after the Taliban took power. Instead of using it for football, this is now their public execution ground.

I was thinking what it must be like when the stands are full of people and they are all shouting and screaming, and the Taliban drive their victims in through the entrance and do a parade around.

And the women who they executed here were not allowed to take off their veils, so they must have had hardly any idea of what was happening. They must have been very confused. They must been hearing the crowd screaming.


They were pushed up onto the penalty line and made to kneel down.

Just the concept, that you can pack a stadium with people baying for the blood of another human being, and then shoot them on the pitch.

(voice-over): The Taliban leadership is proud of the things they do here.

MOTAWAKIL (through translator): The football stadium is a place of leisure. A place for playing games. A place for joy. When justice is done on behalf of a victim, that too is a joyful event which brings order and security to society.

SHAH (on camera): But the international community paid for a football stadium. They wanted the Afghan people to play football there. Instead, you are executing people there.

MOTAWAKIL (through translator): I will make the international community an offer. In Afghanistan, everything has been destroyed. If they help us to us build a separate place suitable for carrying out executions, we have no problem with that.

When they criticize us 10 times, they should at least help us once. They should build a place for executions, and give financial support, so that football with be played at stadium and our work can be done as well.

SHAH (voice-over): Today's Afghanistan is a world away from the liberal Islam I grew up with. So far, I have been an outsider here. Now I want to get inside the world of ordinary Afghans.

It's time to meet up with the secret opposition network of Rawa, the women's group I met in Pakistan.

I'm going under cover. From now on I will live the life of an Afghan woman. I will have to go alone and leave my crew behind.

(on camera): As a foreigner, I do at least have a little bit of protection. As an Afghan, which I will be travel as, I will have no protection at all.

(voice-over): But I can enter the Kabul foreigners don't see. Under the Taliban, the world food program has helped feed up to a third of the city's population. I discover a man selling scraps of bread with mold on them for animal feed. A woman buying a handful at a time, but she is not feeding it to animals. She grinds it up for her seven children.

She has invited me home to film her, to tell me that since the Taliban has stopped women going out to work, she has to beg.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There is nobody in the household who can work, and so there is no money. I give this dry bread to my children to keep them quiet. It's all we have to eat.

SHAH: The Taliban say they encourage women to stay at home for their own protection. But women aren't just forbidden to earn a living. They are deprived of access to basic things, like medical care. Malili (ph) gynecological hospital. A higher percentage of women die in child birth in Afghanistan than almost anywhere in the world. And one in four children die before their fifth birthday. I find filthy wards and lavatories. There is barely a doctor to be seen, few medicines. This is what happens when one-half of society has been shut down.

MARINA, AFGHAN DOCTOR (through translator): The government of Afghanistan is trying to make women redundant. And they don't want women to work in the hospitals at all. In this hospital, there are not enough female doctors, as a large number of them have fled Afghanistan. This has made the condition in the hospital very poor.

SHAH: My escorts, Rawa, are one of the most wanted opposition groups in Afghanistan. Even traveling by taxi could blow my cover. Taxi drivers act as Taliban spies.

Now Rawa are taking me to see their riskiest activity: not a bomb factory or under cover newspaper, just a class for girls.

The Taliban have made no education available to girls over the age of 12. Every woman in the room is breaking the law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): All of our courses have to be secret and underground because of the Taliban. If they find out, they would hang us all.

All of our girls are left uneducated because of their cruelty. I used to be a teacher in a school. I was made redundant after the Taliban stopped woman from teaching.

SHAH: Women trying to keep life normal in a world gone completely mad.



BROWN: We continue now with a look BENEATH THE VEIL, a fascinating look at life under the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. With the rest of the story, investigative reporter Saira Shah.


SHAH: Up until 1996, the Taliban held only a fraction of the country. Now they have almost have all of it. But there are still people opposing them. They're an alliance of different earth groups. They're fighting a last ditch battle for their own culture and identity, and they claim that the Taliban have massacred civilians in this area, away from the eyes of the world.

(on camera): We finally arrived at the northeast corner of Afghanistan. The opposition forces have been pushed right back to here, and the frontline is there, right directly behind me. There are plumes of smoke going up there at the moment because there is an artillery battle going on between the Taliban front and the opposition front. We have to try and get up there because these are where our witnesses are likely to be.


(voice-over): The opposition forces are barely managing to hold these positions.

Their commander points out the Taliban trenches on the far side of the valley. In between lie four villages caught between the frontlines. He tells me that a few weeks ago, the Taliban briefly took these villages before being pushed back.

The commanders heard disturbing rumors that dozens of civilians had been massacred, atrocities that have never been reported to the outside world. To find out the truth, we must get even closer to the Taliban positions, and go down into the valley itself.

The countryside here reminds me of the Afghanistan my father knew. There has never been a single Afghan culture, no one version of Islam. It's a mosaic of different ethnic groups. The peoples in this area have lived peacefully, side by side, for centuries. It's a world the Taliban are intent on destroying.

We decide to try to get to one of the four villages. A place called Malmy (ph). The village is close to no-man's-land. To get there we have to cross the Cocksure (ph) River a mile upstream from the Taliban guns. No reporter from the outside world has been here to report on these massacres.

As soon as we arrive, villagers rush out to the greet us. They take to us see an old woman called Bibijan (ph). When the Taliban came, she was at home with her two sons, both civilians.

BIBIJAN (ph) (through translator): They shot him dead, it was my little boy who I brought up. The other one, they captured and took away. I was standing here, when the Taliban came, my son was standing over there. He couldn't speak their language, and they the shot him.

They shot him here in this place. We took his blood and covered it up. It was here. We covered over the spot where he died.

SHAH: Then the villagers take to us to another house, a place veiled in sorrow. The first person I see is an old man staring into space. Then I see three girls of 9, 12 and 15 years old. Their father says they have been crying for weeks, ever since the Taliban came to their home.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL (through translator): The Taliban told my mother to leave the house because they were going to make it their headquarters. My mother cried and pleaded with them. She said, you have taken my husband prisoner. Where should I take my children in the snow? And then they shot her.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL (through translator): I heard the shot. My younger sister was watching from the doorway. She said they have shot my mother. I run over and found that she was dead.

SHAH: I asked them how long the Taliban stayed in the house while their mother's body lay in the yard.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL (through translator): The Taliban, after shooting my mother, they stayed here for two days.

SHAH: I asked what the men did to her and her sisters in those two days. They won't say.

We found the same pattern of massacres in village after village. In one community, the local wedding photographer captured scene in video. The Taliban say no massacres took place, that their enemies have made up evidence like this.

MOTAWAKIL (through translator): I don't accept this, that except for wars, that Taliban are killing women and children. The reason we don't accept this is because Taliban commanders are religious figures. They know that except for someone who is fighting a war, be it a women or a child or regular folks, that they are human beings. They have livelihoods. We believe in judgment day.

SHAH: The Taliban claim they're bringing peace and uniting the country. But here, they're destroying lives.

Unlike the Afghans I've met, I'm only passing through. But before I leave, I still hope on to visit the place my family is from; my father's home, Paghman.

(on camera): This is the first time I have seen Paghman. It's the place I was told I come from and I was told it is most beautiful place in the world. I was told it was pleasure gardens, there were waterfalls, there were fruit trees. There was a place where people would come up from the capital, Kabul, and have picnic on a Friday afternoon. It was a place of pleasure, these were pleasure gardens.

What I found was bombed out. Any wall or building has been bombed. The mountains are here and it's beautiful, and the view over Kabul is beautiful, but the gardens are gone. Anything made by human beings is gone.

(voice-over): During the Cold War, Afghanistan made headlines across the world. Now, my journey has brought me to land where the government publicly kills its own people...


SHAH: ... where civilians are slaughtered and the outside world no longer seems to care.

But I have found courage where I least expected it, among the poor and the weak, living their lives as best they can, struggling to survive as best they can. This is their daily victory against tyranny.


BROWN: What a riveting piece of television. Take a look at the people who helped Saira Shah make it. And when we come back we will talk to her. She'll join us from London.



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