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America's New War

Aired September 20, 2001 - 06:33   ET


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: A new day is breaking in New York and more streets of lower Manhattan will reopen in the coming hours at the site of the World Trade Center -- rescue operations still under way. Garrick Utley has been updating us from New York. Let's join him again now -- Garrick.

GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Zain, it's interesting to hear this term rescue efforts operations. It's exactly what they are, of course, but the fact is as you pointed out a moment ago, is that no one is being rescued. No survivors have been found in the last couple of days and there's no assurance that they will be found, although hope is still there.

On Friday, a lot of activity continued, as you can see there, at the site. There are also some inspections and visits there. Some federal officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency went to the site to tour, and of course what they've been seeing there, well- dressed as you can see, from top to bottom, and you can also see how it's gotten cooler there and in fact even chilly.

What they're finding, of course, is what everybody else has been working with, not only this horrendous pile of rubble, but the result of seven buildings destroyed totally or partly -- not just the two towers, but seven buildings totally are partly destroyed -- several others damaged, 15 million square feet of office space has been destroyed.

Also we have some new film on -- or videotape I should say, amateur videotape of the disaster scene there. This was taken at the end of the week, and you're just looking, it tells its own story, first along the waterfront there, along the dock area, and there you see some strollers. Obviously, mothers or parents are out with their tiny children. They grabbed the children because it was faster to run than to -- with the child in the arms, than with the strollers there. This is sort of a small park near the World Trade Center.

And as we go along the walkway there, very often where yachts and other boats are tied up, you can see some of the rescue workers taking a brief break. And right there you start to see the destruction and the rubble, and it's going to be there for a long time to come. A month or two, at least, just to get the first stage of that current operation accomplished.

But let's check in right now with Alessio Vinci, who's our correspondent on the scene to get the latest as this Saturday morning breaks here in New York -- Alessio.

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Garrick. Well we're well into the third day of this operation or as you mentioned, rescue operation, without anybody being rescued. Hundreds of rescue workers continue in their effort around the clock and trying to dig somebody out of that big pile of rubble.

It seems to me that looking at these people working so hard, they must have only one goal in their mind and that is to find somebody somewhere underneath that big pile of rubble alive. They are very determined. They know that the chances to find somebody alive are growing dim as the -- as the day and the time goes by. But they also know that there are a lot of mothers, husbands, and family members who have not lost hope and who are counting on them.

They know that America is watching them and indeed the whole world is watching them and certainly, as they go, as they continue their digging operation, they certainly are focused very much in trying to find somebody alive underneath there. Four days after the two towers collapsed and more -- other buildings around it, as you mentioned, there is still a tall white cloud of smoke covering out of the debris.

The iron is still smoldering. Firemen still trying to put out some of the small fires perhaps underneath, and the rescue workers know that they are still 4,700 people missing, and they know that if they continue to dig, perhaps somebody will come out of there alive. This is what the rescue operations want as much as the family members.

But despite the intense and relentless rescue operations, so far only 185 bodies have been recovered. The rest, mostly body parts. The final number of victims, however, is expected to climb in the high thousands, perhaps several thousands, as much as 5,000 some people said. The deadliest terrorist attack, I think, in history has happened.

Rescue workers have been using a mix of heavy equipment, like two large cranes to lift the blocks of -- large block of concrete, but at times also been using their hands and trying to remove slowly some of the debris, perhaps in fear of damaging a dead body.

More than 13,000 tons of debris have been -- has so far -- has so far been removed (UNINTELLIGIBLE) been taken to Staten Island (ph). There the FBI is sifting through it in search of clues, in search of any evidence, and perhaps they can give us more about who exactly those hijackers were.

Back to you, Garrick.

UTLEY: Thank you very much, Alessio.

Well, if this week has been traumatic for those living in the United States, particularly in New York City, it's been doubly so for one specific group. Those are Muslims in the United States. They're not a small group, spread across the entire nation, some native born, here in the United States. Some were integrated from other lands. They, of course, fear that they will be held responsible, at least, for the -- in the eyes of many Americans, for what happened at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon -- held responsible not directly, of course, but perhaps through association. They see troubled times ahead.

Now Richard Blystone visited a mass in Brooklyn.


RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A community rich in immigrants, sharing the time honored aim of making it in America. Still on good terms with their old cultures, still strong in their faith Islam.

Atlantic Avenue, they proudly say, is the oldest Arab community in New York, and is stunned as anyone by Tuesday's carnage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's shocking. It's horrible. You feel very bad, you know.

BLYSTONE: What's different here is fear of taking the blame.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All Arab Americans and Muslims in this country that resides and live and make their living in this country, are as American as anyone else that came from all over the world and they love the American flag just like anyone else, and they had nothing to do -- against this country, and this is one of the reasons we are living in this country.

BLYSTONE: Nonetheless, Atlantic Avenue today is keeping a low profile, less the rash of slurs and slights and insults gets more serious. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is passing out a letter in Arabic from the New York district attorney, telling Arabs and Muslims where to call if harassed or attacked like his own mother on Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was spit at, go back to your country, die, this and all these different slurs and different, you know, and my mother.

BLYSTONE: "Islam is a religion of tolerance," says the Imam of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), "a religion that forbids ignorant wars between nations. Muslims from 22 nations come to pray here. We all feel the pain of what happened," says the Imam, and he asks please give blood, money, whatever you can to help victims of the disaster.

But if the attackers were Muslims pursuing what they saw as a holy war, did Islam attack America?

"Jihad is for defense and defense only," he says, "and anyone who preaches otherwise doesn't know Islam." The Koran says if a man murders another human being, it is as though he killed all humanity.

This Friday service ends with special prayers for all those who were killed including at least 50 Muslims. Richard Blystone, CNN, Brooklyn, New York.


UTLEY: What we're seeing there is the real -- the makings of a real test of understanding and tolerance here in the United States -- Zain.

VERJEE: New York is trying to get back to normal.

UTLEY: Well, each one does it in his or her own way. During the week, people have gone to work, although it's been very hard on the job obviously. This weekend they'll seek some diversions, but I don't think many people are ready yet to go to a comedy and have a good laugh in the -- in the cinema or in a theater.

I suspect it's going to wait until Monday. The stock markets will be open and probably (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a week after the original tragedy to start to get back to normal. But, it's normal after all, particularly here in New York. We're used to a lot of shocks and hardships. This (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is going to come back and that means the people are coming back, but it's going to take time.

VERJEE: Garrick, thanks -- Jonathan.

JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: Across the nation, Friday was a day of prayer and remembrance. People took time from their daily routine to pray for those who perished in the attacks. In the capitol, President George W. Bush joined past presidents, members of Congress and another officials at a midday prayer service at the National Cathedral, and as evening fell, candles began glittering across the country as thousands of people held candlelight vigils.

Flickering lights brightened a small Pennsylvania courthouse near the crash site of hijacked Flight 93. Meanwhile, in the northwest in Seattle, hundreds memorialized lives lost and affected by the attacks, just a few of many such ceremonies across the United States.

VERJEE: And across the world, country after country took a moment to remember the horror of September 11. In Iran and typically towards the United States, was set aside as a Teheran soccer stayed in. Players and more than 60,000 spectators stood still in respect for the dead and grieve stricken in the U.S.

Throughout Britain people showed their solidarity to the American people at work and shopping malls and even in the British Parliament, the country posed for a moment of silence. And to America's north bells (UNINTELLIGIBLE) prayer service. The Canadian flag was lowered to half-staff.

MANN: The mood was also somber at NATO headquarters in Brussels. There, too, a day of mourning, but also a day of hard reflection. The alliance's position is clear. The attacks were an assault against all of its members, but some may not be willing to join the U.S. on the battlefield.

Diana Muriel reports on that.


DIANA MURIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A time for respect and remembrance, the 19 ambassadors to NATO (UNINTELLIGIBLE) observing three minutes of silence at midday on Friday along with millions of other Europeans.

They stand in readiness following Wednesday's acclamation of Article five of the Washington Treaty, the first time a commitment has been given to a collective defense against an attack on an alliance member. Quite what that commitment will involve is less clear.

Some alliance members like Britain have promised strong support for any NATO effort. Even Norway reported to be less enthusiastic, says its commitment is firm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our resources are more limited, of course, than the United States' resources, but we will certainly put NATO resources at the disposal of any operation that the alliance would decide. There should be no doubt about that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the situation.

MURIEL: The British and the French could also provide elite troops to any operation it required, but support from others like the Netherlands, appears more muted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will be with you (UNINTELLIGIBLE) morally and possibly also in concrete terms. But what it will be at that stage, I can't answer today.

MURIEL: Former NATO Chief Billy Clouts (ph) believe some members of the NATO alliance would be unwilling to participate in direct military action, particularly if that involves attacks on countries that have shown to have harbored or supported the terrorists responsible for Tuesday's act of terror.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It depends what countries and what will be -- what could be any consequences of the military actions against those countries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we speaking about countries controlling nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons -- yes or no, is a big -- is a big difference you know.

MURIEL: Until a terrorist target is identified, NATO allies are understood to be providing military intelligence to assist the United States in their investigation.

As the 19 national flags at the NATO alliance fly at half-staff, the time for action could be approaching. The United States has yet to make specific demands for NATO assistance. But that is expected here in the coming days and weeks.

Diana Muriel, CNN, at NATO headquarters in Brussels.


MANN: Ireland closed all its public offices, schools, and businesses Friday in the national day of mourning for the victims of the attack in the U.S. Next month Ireland will assume the presidency of the United Nations Security Council.

Bertie Ahern is the prime minister of Ireland and he joins us now. Mr. Prime Minister, thank you so much for being with us. There are many Irish men and women in the United States, many Irish Americans at work in those twin towers that went down.

Does your country -- do your people know how many they are mourning? How many people are still missing of Irish descent?

BERTIE AHERN, PRIME MINISTER OF IRELAND: I think people of Irish descent, there are probably hundreds and we have heard it last night, just a full list of the fire brigade men and the policemen, and most of the names are Irish and of course, the chaplain who (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is Irish.

And the people born in Ireland, I think the numbers will be smaller than that. But I think we're looking at here Irish descent, we have since the famine times (UNINTELLIGIBLE) enormous and close bond with the United States and it's for that reason, like the rest of the world, but particularly in Ireland yesterday that just everything closed.

It was a national day of mourning and that was subscribed to by everybody and the entire country just stopped for the day to show our sympathy and solidarity with all of the people and the families of the people and particularly those of Irish descent.

MANN: The Irish have a sad familiarity with terrorism, and so let me ask you about that. U.S. President Bush says he wants to fight a war to end terrorism in many countries. Will a military solution solve this kind of problem do you think? Has it worked in your experience?

AHERN: Well he -- you know, we have had in Turkey years of terrorism. Turkey had difficult years of terrorism and I suppose some would argue that somewhat the military operations have assisted in that. But, you know, I think the Irish position and that of the United Nations is we abhor terrorism. I understand totally what the president of the American people feel at this time.

Any democrat has to be against terrorism and international terrorism is a complicated issue because it goes across so many countries, so many boundaries and so hard to (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And I think the reflection and the efforts of the terrorists is to try to work out how best they attack this. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) expense because I think we've all seen that if you just go after a few you can get into a very lengthy campaign, that is hard to squash and that's what's happened in Ireland through the years.

And -- but there are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of obviously international terrorism and as a U.N. Security Council Resolution this week said that they have to dealt with and those who perpetuated, those who organized, those who aided, those who harbored, and just have to be condemned and have to be brought to the rule of law.

MANN: Well the question is how and so I put it to you. There's an enormous appetite, I don't have to tell you, for retribution in the United States right now. There has been a similar appetite closer to home for you.

What's the right thing to do? Is it to respond with massive military force or is it something else?

AHERN: Well, I think massive military force, if you know where your target is and if you know who you're trying to apprehend, I think the laws against of anti terrorism or the conventions of the U.N., laws of anti terrorism are there.

But if I understand what the president was saying last night, what he said in a number of statements over the last few days is that they must, with their four or 5,000 officers he's now engaged in trying to find out precisely who's behind this, where they are and how they can apprehend them, that is where the targets are.

I think if we're just to go into Afghanistan or elsewhere, just on a hit and miss, that's not going to resolve anything because it's not going to get the people involved. But clearly the intelligence is far greater than that, and what the president is correctly doing, at least from this side of the world, is to gather his intelligence and these people and then to move on target stuff he clearly believes are the ones -- are the perpetuators and the organizers and those who have harbored and that is not an easy task.

There's no doubt about that. But I think the United States has acted very responsibly in the last (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


MANN: Let me jump in and ask you about something else that the president (UNINTELLIGIBLE) doing.

The president is essentially asking nations around the world to choose sides. You're either with the United States and its campaign against terrorism or you're against the United States.

Ireland has a long and proud history of neutrality in international matters. Where are you going to stand now?

AHERN: Well, Ireland has always stood with the United States. Ireland has a special relationship with the United States. America has always been a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to Ireland and just -- and when last Tuesday afternoon when -- and we heard of the target tragedy events, I was with Ambassador Haas (ph) who is helping us on Northern Ireland.

And so I think Ireland's position is clear on that. Yes, we are a military neutral nation, but we (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a very significant position in the United Nations and we'll continue to do that. And as you said, at the -- at the outset, we will be taking over the presidency on the first of October on this two-year term that we have and we look forward to paying that, a support of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to the United Nations honoring the U.N. conventions and honoring the strong anti terrorism conventions that have been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) particularly (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of October 1999, which is extremely strong on anti terrorist activities.

MANN: The United Nations is an institution devoted to diplomacy, devoted to dialogue and negotiation. Right now the United States wants revenge. No one is talking about negotiation here. No one in Afghanistan, we've been hearing from our correspondent there, is talking about negotiation either.

Ireland is taking on a new and important role in the U.N. very shortly. Is negotiation necessary now or is the time, as the United States seems to feel, for action?

AHERN: Well, it will seem bin Laden and others will not be (UNINTELLIGIBLE) into negotiation and never were. And obviously, if the president on its assessment and those of his advisers are that these are the perpetuators, these are the organizers, the U.N. resolution of this week is very clear in that matter.

And I'm sure that that is what the United Nations is going to follow with to support, I think of the democratic ways and hopefully -- and hopefully the decisions to be taken and they are enormous decisions. But, what has happened has been an attack on human dignity. It's been an attack on the civilization of the world. It's been an attack among those people who believe in peace and justice.

And obviously the United States and I think everybody else will understand the actions that have to be taken.

MANN: One last question for you, sir. You know better than anyone about what happens when a fight against terrorism doesn't succeed. Is it the right time to sound a note of caution? Should the United States be warned by you and other leaders that things can go very much worse, perhaps, if they aren't successful?

AHERN: Well, as I understand, what the president has done is not to rush, to reflect, and as you said, this is not going to be short. This is going to be long term, and I think as we all know, and we know in Ireland that terrorist act, it can go on for a considerable amount of time, if you're trying to chase the leaders who hide in caves and hide in mountains.

It's very hard to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) full efforts, but that does not mean that you do nothing. And clearly action has to be taken, but I think the president and his advisers must carefully calculate and how they can -- it's very hard to eliminate it totally, but how they can go a long way towards dealing with these terrible murders.

MANN: Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of Ireland. Thank you so much for speaking with us.

AHERN: Thank you very much. VERJEE: Well, India's leader is also extending support to the United States. Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee offered condolences to the victims of Tuesday's attacks and made this prediction.


SHRI ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE, PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA: As you know, terrorists have struck (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of America, at humanity, at the civilized way of life. I have not the slightest doubt (UNINTELLIGIBLE) democracies open free (UNINTELLIGIBLE) societies shall prevail. Our prayers rise for those who have been killed. Our hearts go out to those who have lost their loved ones. Every Indian prays for them.


VERJEE: Mr. Vajpayee addressed his country on Friday, a day also India decided to allow U.S. military forces to use its facilities if needed.

Among the many countries holding memorial services for the victims is South Africa. It lost at least nine of its citizens in the tragedy. Here's our bureau chief in Johannesburg, Charlayne Hunter- Gault.


CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A somber service, no singing. Highly unusual in a country where singing is a staple of any gathering, but on this day only words -- sad words from Christians.

PAUL VERRYN: ... humanity lies in dust and ashes around us.

HUNTER-GAULT: Words of reconciliation from Muslims.

EBRAHIM BAHM: He who forgives and makes reconciliation his reward is due from the Almighty.

HUNTER-GAULT: Words of condolence from Christians, Muslims and Jews, after words from the worried.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am a Christian woman married to a Muslim husband. And the need for the world to unite is for me the most important thing right now. Force could lead to war, intolerance of each other -- it could destroy families, it could destroy nations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do feel that it might spread to the whole world, the evil that is taking place.

HUNTER-GAULT: Words of hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I wish that the rest of the world would follow the South Africans position with dialogue with the chief peacemakers (UNINTELLIGIBLE). HUNTER-GAULT: Not far away at the US Consulate, South African visitors bearing gifts and more words.

LULU MORTOU: ... the American people that are here that I love, that the day ends and just hopefully (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm from Morocco, you know, and it does not matter (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Jewish, doesn't make a difference (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

HUNTER-GAULT: At the airport where flights to America remain on hold, words of frustration.

HEIDE DUCKETT: Like I'm a nurse so you just hear like, "Oh, you could help out in some way." But your hands are tied stuck here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We stand ready to extend such humanitarian assistance as may be requested to extend. This is the least we can do.

HUNTER-GAULT: South Africa's political history as diplomatic friend to all, and most recently host to the world racism conference where it insisted the Palestinian issue deserved a hearing, raised concerns as the US contemplates its response.

BOY GULDENHUYS: Hopefully, South Africa will end up on the right side of the fence, even it means that we will have to say goodbye to many of the rogue states we are currently embracing.

JACOB ZUMA, S. AFRICAN DEPUTY PRESIDENT: And we are part of the world that is saying perpetrators of this must be found and must face the weight of the law.

EBRAHM EBRAHIM, AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS: We must implore the United States in order to avoid the same level of indiscriminate action when meting punishment to the guilty parties.

HUNTER-GAULT: No one is sure exactly how long the American flag will fly at half staff here, but as long as it does, South Africans say they want Americans to know they're with them in their hour of sorrow and grief.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, CNN, Johannesburg.


MANN: We take a moment now to look at the human face of this tragedy, with the recollection of seven lives cut short Tuesday.

Here's Frank Sesno.


FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lost on United Flight 175 from Boston headed to Los Angeles, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a Stanley Cup champion, the director of pro scouting for the LA teams. It would have been his 32nd season working in the NHL.

Mark Davis (ph) was flying with him, a young King scout who had played hockey for Boston University where his twin brother is now assistant coach.

Lisa Frost (ph) was a star student, graduating first in her class from Boston University this year. She was headed to see her parents, Tom and Melanie and getting ready to start a new job next week in San Francisco.

Sean Nasaney (ph) and his girlfriend, Lynn Goodchild (ph), took off for a vacation in Hawaii. They were active and athletic. He especially loved to run and ski.

Ronald Gamboa (ph) managed a Gap store in Santa Monica. He and his long-time partner, Daniel Brandhorse (ph) were headed back to California. With them, the son they had adopted together, David Brandhorse (ph).

United Airlines 175 crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 at 9:03 a.m. Eastern Time.


MANN: We want to update you now on some late developments. As we look at pictures of the search and rescue effort in New York, two men taken from an Amtrak train Wednesday in Fort Worth, Texas were flown to New York last night for questioning.

They are believed to have important information about the terrorist network behind Tuesday's attacks.

VERJEE: In his visit to New York, President George W. Bush told firefighters and rescuers that he's determined to eradicate terrorism. Mr. Bush is now at Camp David talking with his National Security Council about how to respond to the attacks.

And the so-called black box from the wreckage of United Flight 93 in western Pennsylvania is being analyzed. Investigators say the cockpit voice recorder appeared to be in relatively good shape.

Washington has heightened security across the nation considerably since Tuesday's attacks, but President Bush is calling for more. He's authorize the call-up of as many as 50,000 reservists.



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