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America's New War: President Bush Meets With American Muslim Leaders; Administration to Propose Aviation Security Measures

Aired September 26, 2001 - 15:57   ET


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... leaders across America who have risen up and who have not only insisted that America be strong, but that America keep the values intact that have made us so unique and different, the values of respect, values of freedom to worship the way we see fit. And I also appreciate the prayers to the universal god.

And so thank you all for coming.

I don't know if you all remember the imam led the service at the National Cathedral. He did a heck of a good job, and we were proud to have him there.

And I want to thank you very much for the gift you gave me, Imam, the Koran. It's a very thoughtful gift.

I said thank you very much for the gift. He said, "It's the best gift I could give you, Mr. President." And I appreciate that very much.


QUESTION: Senator Shelby this morning had some pretty direct comments about his thinking that somebody needs to be held accountable for what had been characterized by some people as a massive intelligence failure. I'm wondering what you think of his comments. Is he trying to inject politics in this? Does someone need to fall on his sword, if you will, over what happened?

BUSH: The intelligence-gathering capacity of the United States is doing a fine job. These terrorists had burrowed in our country for over two years. They were well organized. They were well planned. They struck in a way that was unimaginable.

And we are a united nation. We're going to go forward with our war against these terrorists. And our nation should have all the confidence that the intelligence-gathering capacity of the United States is doing everything possible to not only keep us informed about what's happening overseas, but to keep us informed about what might happen here at home.

QUESTION: Sir, how would you characterize his comments over the last few days? BUSH: Well, he's a concerned American. I mean, I'm sure other Americans are asking how could this have happened, including the president. But what Americans need to know is that I'm receiving excellent intelligence. The CIA's doing a fine job. The FBI is responding on every single lead we're getting. And that we're doing everything we can to make the homeland safe, as well as everything we can to bring people to justice.

QUESTION: Mr. President, granted the extremism, do you -- and I'd like to ask the imam the same question -- do you consider bin Laden a religious leader or a political leader?

BUSH: I consider bin Laden an evil man. And I don't think there's any religious justification for what he has in mind. Islam is a religion of love, not hate. This is a man who hates.

This is a man who has declared war on innocent people. This is a man who doesn't mind destroying women and children. This is a man who hates freedom. This is an evil man.

QUESTION: But does he have political goals?

BUSH: He has not evil goals, and it's hard to think in conventional terms about a man so dominated by evil that he's willing to do what he thinks he's going to get away with. But he's not going to get away with it.

QUESTION: Sir, there were thousands of layoffs in the airline industry today. What is the administration going to do about it?

BUSH: Come to Chicago tomorrow.


BUSH: Steve asked about the Middle East.

We're encouraged that there are discussions going on that could lead to the implementation of Mitchell. There is the framework for peace. There is the process now available. It's the Mitchell plan which everybody agreed to is the right way to get to a peaceful resolution in the Middle East.

And there was a series of discussions that took place. Hopefully there will be more discussions and that both parties get into Mitchell. And that's going to be good for America and it will be good for the Middle East and good for the world. And so we're hopeful.

I don't know if you remember, but I said out of this crisis, this tragedy that hit America, I do see opportunity. And one of the opportunities will be that there is some sensible thinking that goes into the Middle East, and that people now realize that this violence, this terrible destruction of human life is not the correct path to follow, and that hopefully people will use this example -- the incidents that took place on September 11 -- to bring some reality to the Middle East. And anyway, the discussions are moving on, and I want to thank the secretary of state for staying with it, staying on the phone and encouraging both parties to get to the table, and we'll see what happens.

BUSH: We're hopeful.

QUESTION: Mr. President, have you changed your thinking on Chechnya, in light of what's happened since...

BUSH: Well, first of all, to the extent that there are terrorists in Chechnya, Arab terrorists, you know, associated with the Al Qaeda organization, I believe they ought to be brought to justice. As you heard me say that our initial phase of the war on terrorism is against the Al Qaeda organization, and we do believe there's some Al Qaeda folks in Chechnya.

However, I do believe it's very important for President Putin to deal with the Chechnya minority in his country, with respect -- respect of human rights and respect of difference of opinion about religion, for example. And so, I would hope that the Russian president, while dealing with the Al Qaeda organization, also respects minority rights within his country.

QUESTION: Mr. President, tomorrow you're going to be announcing some new security measures. One of them likely to include some federal role in training uniformed security personnel and monitoring their work as time goes on moving forward?

BUSH: Well, we're going to deal with airport security tomorrow, as well as other measures, to try to convince the American public it is safe to fly. One of my concerns is that this terrible incident has said to many Americans -- convinced many Americans to stay at home. And one of the keys to economic recovery is going to be the vitality of the airline industry.

I presume many of you came to Washington today by flying, and you're here safely. Again, we will announce some confidence-boosting measures and some concrete proposals, and I'll believe we'll be able to work with Congress to get them done in an expeditious way.

QUESTION: Are you going to support arming pilots?

BUSH: Army pilots?


BUSH: Oh, arming. As I said, I look forward to any suggestion that -- there may be better ways to do it than that, but I'm open for any suggestion. And the good news is, is that there is a willingness on Capitol Hill to work with the administration and vice versa to come up with constructive, sound ways to convince the American public it's safe to fly.

QUESTION: How quickly do you think you can put these plans in place? BUSH: Oh, some of them will take a while. Some of them could happen very quickly. Just give me a chance to give my speech. You're trying to jump the gun on me.


You're doing it well, too, my boy.

John, no longer can you say I haven't answered your questions.


QUESTION: One out of three ain't bad.

BUSH: That's right.



BUSH: 333.

All right.

QUESTION: Thank you.

BUSH: (OFF-MIKE), no questions.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush -- President Bush engaging in a little lighthearted banter at the White House, something we haven't seen very much of in the last two weeks.

He met just a short time ago with leaders in the American Muslim community. You can see a few of them seated right next to him at that table in the Roosevelt Room. The president touching on a number of areas, among other things thanking the Muslim leaders for coming, saying that he knows that the Muslim faith is a religion of good, but in contrast, the Al Qaeda, headed by Osama bin Laden, is based on evil.

We saw the religious leaders there giving -- presenting him with the Koran, which, of course, is the Bible of Islam.

Just quickly the president defending the intelligence establishment of the United States, saying the CIA is doing a good job in moving forward. And at one point, asked about Osama bin Laden, whether he's a political leader or a religious leader, he said in no uncertain terms he is a man of evil, an evil man. Anyone who would do what he did is someone who has evil goals.

Our White House correspondent Kelly Wallace joining us. Now, Kelly, the president was asked by a couple -- on a couple of different occasions by the reporters about this speech he's going to give, remarks tomorrow in Chicago on airline security. He didn't bite. He didn't jump to the bait, but it clearly something the administration is looking at -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. He doesn't want to sort of steal the news away from the speech tomorrow, but he did say he would be announcing some confidence-building measures, some concrete proposals.

You heard him say, Judy, that the goal is to encourage the American people that it is safe to fly again. The airline industry is struggling and that industry certainly has ripple effects on the rest of the U.S. economy.

So certainly the president to go to Chicago tomorrow, talking to airline workers.

We do know from administration and congressional sources talking to my colleague John King, revealing a little bit more than the president was willing to reveal about what he is looking at.

We understand he's expected to announce a greater federal role when it comes to airport security screening. Now not a full federal role here, but definitely a greater federal role: federal standards and testing and training for security workers, and a greater federal presence at specifically security checkpoints.

Also air marshals, armed federal marshals on virtually every flight in the United States, and also stronger and more secure security doors on the cockpits.

These proposals not likely to be very controversial. Democrats, Republicans both supporting them. You heard the president say he is hopeful that lawmakers and the white house can work together to move very quickly on these.

The one other issue the president was asked about, which is a very controversial measure -- and that is having pilots carry weapons in the cockpit, again as another security measure. The president sort of saying he is open to any discussions, that there might be a better way to go about this, but again he's open-minded, although some sources again telling CNN that the administration is pretty much against that idea, thinking there are better ways to go.

And one other thing, we understand the administration definitely looking at, and that is to have National Guard troops at airports around the country: again, Judy, to send sort of this visible message that security is being enhanced, and again to get people more comfortable with getting on airplanes -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And Kelly, bottom line is, among other things, we're looking at a larger federal government role in airplane travel.

WALLACE: Absolutely. You know, this is really the -- the real sticking point. Some saying it should be completely federalized and controlled by the federal government. Others very leery of having the federal government play a role here, although, as we're noting, the administration not looking for a full federal role obviously. Private companies, security companies would still be very much involved, but the federal government would have a larger role when it comes to standards for security workers and for security procedures, for background checks particularly, for testing, for training.

So definitely a larger federal role here, but clearly the administration is not looking at a full federal role for airport security -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And Kelly, just quickly, something else the president was asked about in that meeting with American Muslim leaders, about the intelligence-gathering capacity of the United States: the fact that no one knew, or if they did it wasn't reported in time to do anything about it, the terror attacks on September the 11th. The president was specifically asked about a comment today by Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, saying somebody needs to be held accountable, pointing a finger at CIA Director George Tenet, but the president standing by him.

WALLACE: Absolutely. And I thought it was interesting the way the president responded. He did not seem to take much umbrage really by the senator's comments, saying Senator Shelby -- happens to be a Republican from Alabama -- is a concerned American, concerned about how something like this could have happened, how these attacks could have gone undetected. The president saying he's also a concerned American and concerned about that.

But he did say that he has full faith and confidence in the intelligence operations, that he's getting all the right information, that the CIA is following every lead.

We heard and we saw him earlier today when he went over to the CIA to talk to employees, looking very comfortable, and expressing, as he said, he has a lot of confidence in CIA Director George Tenet.

So clearly, the message is the president concerned also about how something like this could happen, but saying he feels fully confident the CIA is doing everything it possibly can to make sure this doesn't happen again -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kelly Wallace at the White House.

Well, as President Bush prepares to announce his administration's new air security proposals, the FAA has begun training exercises for new and existing air marshals. Kelly was just talking about. They would be an integral part of the president's plan.


Now, this is a simulated hijacking that was conducted at the Federal Aviation Administration's air marshal training facility in Atlantic City, New Jersey. We're told that the FAA has been actively recruiting air marshals since September 11th. So far, more than 100,000 people have downloaded applications for air marshal program from the FAA's Web site. We're also told, of course, that the screening for those positions will be much more vigorous than anything we've had heretofore. Well, we've entered a new hour of coverage here on CNN. Of course, I am Judy Woodruff in Washington. In the meantime, I've been joined in Atlanta by my colleague Joie Chen, and I haven't had a chance to say hello to you, Joie. Hello.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon, Judy. Thanks very much.

There are new signs this afternoon of the great challenges now facing the airline industry in the wake of the September 11th attacks.

Delta Airlines says today it is cutting up to 13,000 jobs and trimming its schedules by 15 percent. Delta says the cuts are needed to ensure its survival. The airline says it has lost about $1 billion since September 11th.


LEO MULLIN, CHAIRMAN & CEO, DELTA AIRLINES: On that date, terrorists declared war on our nation using aviation as the instrument of destruction. As a result, the operational and financial outlook for airlines has changed dramatically, and today drastic measures are required if we are to avoid being among the first economic casualties of the war.


CHEN: More than 86,000 job cuts have been announced across the airline industry since the attacks in New York and Washington, and the plane in Pennsylvania as well. American and United Airlines took the biggest hits with about 20,000 job reductions each. Continental and U.S. Airways were among the other airlines trimming jobs with more than 10,000 job cuts each.

CNN's Brian Palmer takes a closer look now at the airlines' financial problems and the workers who are going to be losing their jobs.


BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Airlines say the financial damage caused by September 11th and the national fear of flying that resulted is in the billions. The major passenger carriers may start seeing cash as early as next week from the $15 billion bailout approved by Congress. But that's little consolation to workers being laid off in the wake of the crisis: about 100,000 of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've gotten a double-whammy today. I have not only still as of today, we still have my cousin missing, I'm also losing my job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's devastating. It's very painful for me to lose my job. I love my job here.

PALMER: Ramp service worker Perry Esposito has worked at TWA for 16 years, since he was 18. PERRY ESPOSITO: I see myself now starting over again and maybe even a different trade, maybe even a different industry, starting from the bottom up again.

PALMER: His fiance also works for an airline.

ESPOSITO: She'll walk away with nothing, not even severance pay, no medical, dental.

PALMER: Industry representatives say layoffs are a necessary emergency measure. But many airlines were struggling financially before the attacks.

DAVID TREITEL, AVIATION CONSULTANT: This shock still exacerbated what was already an adverse environment and created really a disaster.

PALMER: The airlines hope the bailout will prevent bankruptcy and buy them time to win back frightened customers. More customers means fewer layoffs.

TREITEL: The bailout helps keep the capacity flying to a greater level than it would without the bailout. That's the benefit that the average worker gets.

PALMER: The average worker who still has a job. The bailout doesn't contain any financial help for those getting laid off.

(on camera): A bill introduced in Congress would set aside close to $4 billion to extend unemployment benefits and fund retraining for these workers.

(voice-over): And some companies, among them U.S. Airways and Continental, have agreed to pay severance. Northwest Airlines and American say they will not. TWA, a subsidiary of American, has yet to make a decision, leaving Perry Esposito on stand-by wondering about his future.

Brian Palmer, CNN, New York.


WOODRUFF: Well, as Brian Palmer mentioned, Congress has approved and President Bush has signed that airline bailout measure. The question is, will lawmakers in any way help laid-off airline employees as well?

Let's check in on that question now with our congressional correspondent Kate Snow. Kate, what about that?

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, on that question last week, when they considered the airline bailout bill, what some call the bailout bill -- the assistance bill for the airline, $15 billion going to the airlines -- but there were many members of Congress, Democrats and also some Republicans, who said, we need to include in this measure measures that would help those employees. It was a big topic of discussion last week. It's lingered into this week. As a matter of fact, Democrats had a very hard time keeping all of their members onboard with passing that airline bill last week, because so many people were concerned about helping the workers.

The way it stands right now the speaker of the House and the president have given assurances that this issue will come up here in Congress, The Democrats have pushed forward with a bill that would provide increased unemployment insurance benefits for those laid off in the airlines and also related to the airlines, anyone related to the airline industry. It would provide unemployment insurance for an additional year. It would also help them with their health care coverage and also help them with retraining and job training.

Democrats want this to be part of the airline security bill that Kelly Wallace was talking about.


SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: We think it has to be only because of the urgency of the situation. There are more and more reports of layoffs and of people that are suffering badly economically, financially as a result of these layoffs that we can't ignore.

We've got to be a compassionate country in times like this. We have to find ways to strengthen working families, and that's all we're trying to do here.


SNOW: Now, in the Senate, where Senator Daschle and the Democrats control things, they, we are told by Democratic aides, have the votes where they could pass this without any Republican support, but they're trying to work along with Republicans. The problem is some Republicans have some very serious concerns about this kind of measure and this kind of broad assistance.

Republicans saying the best plan would be to help the economy overall and help the airline industry, and that in turn helps the workers.


REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX), MAJORITY WHIP: The most important thing right now is airline security and rebuilding confidence in the flying public that the planes are safe. That's what we ought to be focusing on right now. There's a lot of other issues out there that ought to be dealt with, and we ought to go through what we call regular order to make that happen: holding hearings, what is the need.

Sometimes a lot of people jump out too quickly, don't even understand the need, but for political reasons they want to develop an issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SNOW: And one Republican aide saying there may be a way to split the difference here, Judy: Perhaps they could go forward, for example, with health insurance benefits for these unemployed workers from the airline industry and hold back on some of the unemployment insurance measures. That may be a way to please both Democrats and Republicans -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Kate, is part of the reluctance that we're hearing, that you're hearing on the part of Republicans like Congressman DeLay based on the fact that they're concerned if they help air workers laid off in the airline industry, that workers from other industries may come forward and ask for help?

SNOW: That's definitely part of the concern, that there could be sort of a snowball effect. And in fact, Judy, we're already looking at a lot of industries, a lot of union representatives coming up to Capitol Hill, lobbying very hard.

Just to give you an example, Representative Alcee Hastings, a Democrat on the House, already has a $4 billion bill that he's proposing to give out government grants to rental car companies and travel agencies. There's also the hotel and restaurant workers who've come to lobby for Capitol Hill for some of the same kind of benefits for their unemployed employees. They want unemployment insurance benefits to be extended for them.

Senator Harry Reid pushing the White House -- he's from Nevada and he's a Democrat -- he's pushing the White House for some measures for casino workers. So there are clearly other interests, and there is some concern that there will be sort of a jump-on-the-bandwagon effect on Capitol Hill -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kate Snow reporting for us, thanks very much.

Well, losing a job is one thing. It is bad enough losing a colleague, and a friend is quite another.

Thousands gathered in Boston today to remember the 22 pilots and crew members who died onboard the United and airline -- American Airline flights that plowed into the World Trade Center. Singer Bette Midler took part in the ceremony.


BETTE MIDLER, ENTERTAINER (singing): Did I ever tell you, you're my hero? You're everything, everything I wished I could be. And I, I can fly higher than an eagle, for you, you are the wind beneath my wings.

God bless you, you are the wind beneath my wings.

You're the wind beneath my wings. You, you, you are the wind beneath my wings.

Oh, fly! Fly, fly so high. So high I almost touch the sky. Thank you. Thank you.


CHEN: Back now on the investigation into the September 11 attacks, CNN has learned that the FBI is now compiling a list of all companies licensed to handle hazardous materials. It plans to check each company's employee records.

Attorney General John Ashcroft has said that several people who may be linked to the hijackers held or tried to obtain licenses to transport hazardous materials. Increased security concerns also adding to the traffic.

Headaches for commuters in New York City. CNN's Jason Carroll joins us now with more from the Queensboro Bridge on the East River -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good afternoon to you, Joie. You know, New Yorkers know all about bad traffic. But even veteran New Yorkers say this is the worst traffic they've ever seen.

As you said, I'm here in Queens right next to the Queensboro Bridge, where a security checkpoint has been set up. You can take a look. Right out here where you see some of these orange pylons, this is where all the activity has been going on. At this point, most of the traffic now is heading out of the city.

But I want you to take a look at what we saw a little earlier today as trucks were being pulled over and they were being checked for anything that looked suspicious. One officer out here telling us, Joie, that the officers have been briefed in terms of what to look for.

Now, New York City has increased its inspections, which have caused even traffic delays and tie-ups. Some drivers out here telling us that they've had to wait as long as three hours.

The mayor, in order to try to alleviate this traffic nightmare, has announced new commuting rules that will take effect starting tomorrow. Anyone who tries to head into the city of Manhattan will have to carpool if they plan on using any one of the four major bridges on the east side. That also includes the Lincoln Tunnel.

Now, earlier we also had an opportunity to speak to a number of drivers to get their opinions, their feelings about what it's like to be caught in all of these delays.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The city is just taking precautions. Can you blame them? It's just part, part of living right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole thing is messed up, you know. Yesterday we were like two hours in the city, you know.

CARROLL: And today another hour.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No problem with it.

CARROLL: Tell me why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it's for everybody's safety. I mean, I have no problem with it. I'll wait five hours as long as everyone's safe.



CARROLL: How long did you have to wait in traffic this morning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About two hours.

CARROLL: About two hours?


CARROLL: What do you think of the whole process of being stopped and searched?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all right. It's good.

CARROLL: That's all right with you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, it's all right, of course.


CARROLL: This new, these new commuting rules go into effect starting tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. until midnight, the mayor says until further notice.

Also, earlier today, Joie, the mayor had his regular press briefing, and he said that he's just going to see how it goes. We still don't know how this new commuting rule is going to be enforced. For example, will they issue tickets, will they issue warnings, or will they simply turn people around? The mayor says once again he just wants to see how it goes.

Now, in terms of recommendations, he's telling New Yorkers to take mass transit: take a subway, take a train, take a bus. He says that is one of the best ways to alleviate all of the traffic -- Joie.

CHEN: Jason Carroll for us in Queens. Across the river, at the World Trade Center site this hour, the hard work goes on, and some very emotional and difficult for the victims' loved-ones now under way at the family assistance center in New York.

Our Martin Savidge standing by now with the latest from Lower Manhattan -- Marty.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joie, emotional and difficult it is all of that for the search-and-rescue teams that are hard at it again today. Hope has all but vanished as far as finding anybody alive in the rubble. Still that work goes on and it will go on for quite some time.

Another grim task was begun today, that for the family members that wanted to go ahead and start filing for death certificates. The city of New York is trying to expedite that process. There are some 75 attorneys that have volunteered their time for free to help the families go through this.

The mayor admits some families may not be ready at this particular point, because that's an emotional threshold for them to cross over, from hope to reality. Here's what some had to say about the process.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emptiness. How else can I say it? I have two boys and a girl, and my youngest was my girl and she's gone. I'll never see her again. So it's emptiness. How can I tell you any more?

My only goal in life now is to raise my granddaughter right now at this point. She's 3 1/2.


SAVIDGE: Civilians obviously trying to deal with their emotions as are the professionals, obviously, with so many emergency personnel that were lost in New York City trying to rescue those trapped in the building. There was testimony on Capitol Hill as to the psychological damage they still will have to endure.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The catastrophic losses that we have suffered have created a pain so deep because every part of our department is affected by these deaths. There are no safe havens. We have lost family at every level. It is the sense of family that will give our department the strength, but we need additional support for the fallen members and their families. This firefighting family needs the resources to rebuild. The emotional well-being of our department requires intervention to provide stress debriefing, bereavement counseling, and continued psychological support for our members, our families and our children.


SAVIDGE: At ground zero, they are using a lot of heavy equipment today to try to make a dent on that massive pile of debris that they have down there. We wanted to show you some of the new images coming in from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As you know, their cameras are allowed to roam down there. It is considered a crime scene and hazardous, hence why the rest of the media is kept out.

The new figures that are being reported by the city of New York, 300 bodies have now been recovered, 233 have been identified, and 6,347 people are listed as officially missing as they continue to pour water on the debris and the smoldering fires -- Joie.

CHEN: CNN's Martin Savidge for us in Lower Manhattan. And now back to Judy in Washington.

WOODRUFF: Well, Joie, in the midst of all this, we are going to turn our attention overseas when we come back. That will include a live update from Pakistan, the growing number of refugees along the border with Afghanistan.


WOODRUFF: With rising fears of possible U.S. military attack, there are now waves of refugees. They are numbered in the thousands. They are streaming toward Afghanistan's borders with both Pakistan and Iran.

Now, CNN's Nic Robertson is in Quetta, Pakistan at this hour with more on those refugees, as well as today's protests inside the Afghan capital -- Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Government officials here in Pakistan are working with United Nations officials. What they are trying to do is to set up processing points at the border for the refugees coming out of Afghanistan into Pakistan.

Now, at the moment the Pakistani government is not allowing those refugees to cross. They say they will allow in exceptional cases, where women or children are suffering, where their health is being affected. They will allow those people to come across, but others they are refusing entry to.

The U.N. here is really stepping up its efforts to put into place preparations for what it fears could be as many as a million refugees coming into Pakistan. They say perhaps 400,000 could go west towards Iran. They are looking at creating massive campsites here, with water supplies. Perhaps, they say they need as many as 80,000 tents and some additional 700 staff.

But what the U.N. don't have at the moment is real accurate information of exactly how many refugees are building up on the other side of the border in Afghanistan. They estimate at the moment it's between about 10- and 20,000. And again, the U.N. does not at this time either have an accurate fix on just how many people may be moving towards the borders from inside Afghanistan.

In Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, today, demonstrations there turned violent.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Venting their apparent anger at the United States, demonstrators tried tearing down the symbol of American presence in their country. According to local reporters, thousands gathered in what they describe as the biggest anti-American rally since the September 11th terror attacks.

Although the embassy has been empty for almost 13 years, many youngsters and men in black turbans -- the kind traditionally worn by Taliban fighters -- stormed the now defunct compound, setting fire to old cars inside. It's not clear if the demonstration was spontaneous or organized for western eyes, but it's the first visible sign of anti-American sentiment inside Afghanistan.

In recent days, there's been an increase in anti-American rhetoric on the Taliban's national radio broadcasts, as the country's leadership prepares its people for the possibility of war. The broadcasts predict a coming conflict, what they define as a war on Islam, not terrorism. [

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The Americans are fighting so they can live and enjoy the material things in this life. But we are fighting so we can die in the cause of God.

ROBERTSON: Preparing for such a battle, Taliban officials have threatened to have 300,000 fighters ready for combat. But that's a figure questioned by Pakistani officials, who say the Taliban have only 12- to 15,000 fighters. However, a well-placed international military analyst inside Afghanistan recently told CNN the figure was closer to 30- to 40,000.

Many fighters, like these seen training close to the front line a month ago, are not Taliban members, but their tribal elders are allies of the Taliban, and they'll fight on the Taliban side. The Taliban say they owe their military firepower not only to the many tribal alliances they have, but also to weapons left behind by the Soviet army when it withdrew at the end of a 10-year occupation in 1989.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): On their way out, they left a lot of weapons like this one. This was one of the weapons the Soviets left behind. The people of Afghanistan own a lot of these weapons.


ROBERTSON: However many guns they have, more important will be how many fighters will stick with them, and that will depend on whether or not their tribal allies back up their previous commitments during a long conflict -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And, Nic, that brings up a question. A former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan told us just this week that he believes the vast majority of people in Afghanistan really don't necessarily support the Taliban in the long run, that they are supporting them in the short run because they're in power, but they could just as easily shift their allegiance.

ROBERTSON: Absolutely true. There are a lot of tribal commanders who have made alliances with the Taliban in the past, based on money and based on the fact that the Taliban appear to be the ascendancy, therefore there's no point in fighting against them. Perhaps a small tribal area to command, they're figuring he cannot hold that against the Taliban. So, better to go with them. There will be, at this time, a lot of people like that, a lot of tribal commanders, looking to see which way the wind blows, whether or not the Taliban will be knocked down in this conflict. And if they are and if they see that happening, they may well try and join the Northern Alliance, fighting against the Taliban.

The Taliban had heard rumors two weeks ago when Ahmed Shah Massoud, a senior commander in the Northern Alliance was killed, they heard from other commanders within the Northern Alliance that they might want to join the Taliban. That, of course, those calls dried up, they tell us, very soon after the attacks on September the 11th. The commanders there, certainly in the north, figuring it not wise to join the Taliban at this stage. Certainly, other commanders in the country at this time may be thinking along those similar lines -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Nic Robertson reporting from Quetta in Pakistan -- fascinating, about these shifting alliances.

Well, the list of powers that have tried and failed to subdue Afghanistan includes some of the strongest military forces in history. The British empire was crushed there more than once, and the Former Soviet Union's military defeat there, well-documented.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour has more on Afghanistan's military past, and the most recent attempts to mold its future.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Afghanistan -- rugged, treacherous and wild, where great powers fought their great game, but never won. In 1842, only a single British soldier survived, of 16,000 in retreat. In 1989, the Soviet army suffered such heavy losses that it withdrew, and then the empire collapsed.

ABDUL SATTAR, PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER: Those who intervened in Afghanistan and tried to plant their own preferred leaders in Afghanistan paid a very high price for that blunder.

AMANPOUR: A blunder that Pakistan says it, too, made when it imposed its own proxy government in the '90s -- the Taliban. But this blunder was born in the vacuum that was left when the United States lost interest, after the Soviet army pulled out.

To defeat the Soviets, the CIA and Saudi Arabian intelligence had poured billions of dollars in arms through Pakistan's intelligence services to the Afghan Mujahideen, and holy warriors, who had come from all over the Islamic world. It worked, but then Afghanistan was left with weapons, warlords and Islamic zealots. (on camera): So, with U.S. and Saudi approval, Pakistan then installed what it hoped would be a unifying and stabilizing government, the Taliban, from the majority Pashtun ethnic group. Instead, Afghanistan has become the epicenter of instability in this region. Its principal export: Islamic insurrection and terrorism.

(voice-over): Now a new great game may be fought over Afghanistan. The anti-Taliban Northern Alliance is making some military gains, and Pakistan doesn't like it, warning the U.S. and others not to pour in weapons again.

SATTAR: We are concerned to read news that Afghan groups are asking for foreign military assistance. The Northern Alliance has said so.

AMANPOUR: The Northern Alliance is a network of minority groups whose allies include Russia, Iran and Pakistan's great rival, India. Pakistan now knows the Taliban's time is all but up, but it still needs a friendly government on its border, acceptable to its own large Pashtun population.

RIFAAT HUSSEIN, PAKISTAN ANALYST: What Pakistan would like to see is a non-Taliban, but a Pashtun-led government in Afghanistan, in which the Northern Alliance and, in fact, all the other minorities -- Tajik and the Uzbek and the Hazaras -- get an adequate representation. Because now is, I think, the time to push for this idea of this broad- based representative government.

AMANPOUR: A stable Afghanistan could also eventually be a major trading route, enabling Central Asian states on its northern border to export vast oil and gas resources via Pakistan to the world market. Pakistan wants the United States to help reconstruct Afghanistan, wants it to stay engaged this time.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN, Islamabad.


CHEN: Never far from any issue involving Islamic fundamentalists, the Middle East, where today, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met with Israeli foreign minister, Shimon Peres. Afterwards, the two men restated their support for a cease-fire in the region. Negotiators for the two sides agreed to a series of principles. Among them: the creation of a committee to deal with the issues surrounding the Mitchell peace plan, and a resumption of full security cooperation to sustain the cease-fire.

As the two men met in Gaza, though, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian teenager who was among a group throwing stones in an army post just a few miles away.

A White House spokesman said President Bush sees the Peres-Arafat meeting as -- quote -- "an important step forward."

And we'll have more news after a break.


CHEN: An update now on the latest developments in the war against terrorism:




CHEN: This is a simulation, now. The FAA has begun training new and existing air marshals by conducting these simulated, although quite realistic-looking, hijackings, in New Jersey, a facility there. Tomorrow President Bush is expected to propose putting armed federal marshals on virtually all U.S. commercial flights as part of a new airline security package.

New York City is requiring drivers to carpool into Manhattan in the morning beginning tomorrow to ease the traffic gridlock caused in part by police searches of trucks and cars entering. Mayor Rudy Giuliani is urging commuters to use public transport, but as these new pictures show, that we're getting into CNN this afternoon, the subway underneath the ruins of the World Trade Center has been very severely damaged. Can't quite see it from there, but there is, as you see right there, some rather significant damage to the subway line underneath the World Trade Center. The subway ridership overall in the system in New York is about 85 percent of what is normal.

Nationwide, the FBI is starting a massive records check of all truck drivers licensed to carry hazardous materials. That's because Attorney General John Ashcroft has warned that future terrorist attacks might involve dangerous chemicals -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, Joie, among the hardest things that I think Americans have been wrestling with since the attacks of September 11th is trying to understand how these terrorists could hate the United States so much that they could do something as unspeakable as what they did. Lisa Beyer has an article on this subject in the current "TIME" magazine, and she joins us now.

Lisa, first of all, I want you to explain about these concentric circles that you write about, almost circles of hatred.

LISA BEYER, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, I think if you look at the Arab, and more generally, the Muslim world and its attitude toward the United States, you can sort of lay it out in concentric circles, as I wrote in the story. In the white-hot center, you find Osama bin Laden and his loyalists, who, you know, basically think that their role is to destroy us. And they have their reasons for feeling that way.

Beyond it, you have a larger group of Arab radicals, and here you have Islamic fundamentalists, as well as secular nationalists, who despise us, or at least, you know, are hostile toward us because of our foreign policy in the Middle East, and because of a long history of feeling that they have been humiliated at the hands of the West. And then beyond that, you have more temperate Arabs and Muslims, more or less regular people, who wouldn't have necessarily danced in the streets when they heard what happened on September 11th, but sent one another congratulatory messages, were basically pleased, were basically smiling about what happened here, if only because they got to see a super power get knocked done a notch or two.

WOODRUFF: Yes, that really struck me in your writing, Lisa Beyer, when you wrote that these business people and family people were congratulating each other.

Let's talk about the why. Clearly, some of it has to do with the U.S. support for Israel and the U.S. troop presence in Saudi Arabia. How much of it, though, are those two geopolitical facts, though?

BEYER: Well, I think it depends on who you are talking about. I think if you took the 19 hijackers who were involved in the incidents on September 11th, you'll find each one of them has a different list of priorities as to why they hate us. And particular, for Osama bin Laden, it's very clear that his No. 1 complaint is not American support of Israel, but the U.S. troop presence in Saudi Arabia, which he finds to be an absolute sacrilege.

When he came back from the war in Afghanistan and found, within a short matter of time, that Saudi Arabia -- the birthplace of the prophet Mohammed, the home of Islam's two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, which are so holy that nonbelievers aren't even allowed to set foot in those cities -- and suddenly, he finds this country being defended by infidel soldiers, with their Christian and their Jewish troops, with their rock 'n' roll, with their women wearing pants. This was just an abomination for Osama bin Laden.

It was a humiliation to Osama bin Laden, that his government had been reduced to this, and that we were so much as there. Our mere presence, for him, means that we are defiling Islam's holy places.

WOODRUFF: And how much of this strong emotion that they feel toward the United States is what we hear about, that they -- we've heard the president say they hate our way of life, they hate our value system...

BEYER: I think, actually, that that's somewhat of an exaggeration, and it's somewhat of a myth. I think the organizing principle here is that in Islam, the world is divided in two. There is the land of Islam and there is the land of the nonbelievers. And for very, very extreme Islamic radicals -- and certainly, Ayatollah Khomeini would fall into this category -- their view is that the role of Muslims is to make the entire world the Islamic world. In other words, to conquer the rest of the world and make it one world of Islam. That was, again, certainly the view of the Ayatollah Khomeini and many of the people who followed him.

Now, in a second category -- and this is where I would put Osama bin Laden and the people who follow him -- they don't take it quite so far. They just think that it is a sacrilege for the infidel world to interfere in any way with the land of Islam. And by our foreign policy, in their view, that's what we're doing.

WOODRUFF: All right, Lisa Beyer, raising some fascinating ideas and insights into what was behind the events of September 11th. Lisa Beyer, "TIME" magazine, thank you very much.

Just ahead, our Bruce Morton. More thoughts on the events of September the 11th and how they've changed the United States of America.


WOODRUFF: It has been more than two weeks now since the attacks in Washington and New York, and for many of us, what we saw then and what we see today when we look at lower Manhattan are just about impossible to accept.

CNN's Bruce Morton has some thoughts on life before and after the attacks, and how life in America will never be quite the same.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's only been two weeks, but we're different. Remember the superpower with the booming economy?

WILLIAM GALLSTON, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Both our sense of military invulnerability and our sense of economic invulnerability came crashing down on September 11th, and we're now living with the consequences of that.

MORTON: What's changed since the attacks? An outburst of patriotism -- you've seen the flags. And if you're under 50 you've probably never seen anything like this -- a sense of unity, even among politicians. A Democratic senator pulling an amendment the president might not like, Democrat and Republican leaders standing together -- most of us have never seen anything like that, and we have to be wondering: Can it last?

Another change, a newly-tested president whose approval ratings are about 90 percent.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't let terrorism dictate our course of action, and we will not let a terrorist dictate the course of action.

MORTON: Humor is general. They're telling jokes, but not about this president. We have started to make small jokes about the crisis. The nonviolent solution one goes: "Tell Taliban, turn over bin Laden or we'll take all your women and send them to college."

The networks are careful about new programs, Hollywood about new movies, especially if they involve, say, plots against the White House. There's even a TV car ad that's patriotic.


ANNOUNCER: Believe in the dream, believe in each other. Keep America rolling.


MORTON: We are serious as a people, telling pollsters, yes, we'll accept a long war and yes, we'll accept casualties. And yet...

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R), KANSAS: It's a time of also people are fearful, saying, "Should I be going out to major meetings?" "Should I be doing some of the things out and about?"

MORTON: True, of course, empty hotels, airlines begging the government for help.

GALLSTON: So a sense of insecurity at home is one thing we can expect. What we don't know, and a question that fascinates me, is whether this will mean a real turn in the civic awareness, especially of young people, who have been so distant from their country. Are young people going to feel a sense of patriotism that lasts and that translates into real action?

MORTON (on camera): One possibility: attacking government, hating the government may end. The firefighters, the police work for the government. So do the people hunting the terrorists. Our lives have changed, will change. Gallston sees a long struggle because his thinks terror is like crime, you may control it, but you won't eliminate it.

Whatever happens, September 11th is one of those days that changed our lives.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: And my hunch is that it will make young people more patriotic. It's just that it took something terrible for that to happen.

CNN's coverage continues now with Bill Hemmer in New York and Joie Chen at the CNN center in Atlanta. I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington.



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