CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
America's New War: Dinh Discusses Ashcroft's Policies; McBride, Murphy Debate Their Constitutionality; Rangel, Grassley Discuss Economic Stimulus
Aired December 8, 2001 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATE SNOW, HOST: Capitol Hill clash over how to fight terrorism on the homefront. Our experts debate why new rules are necessary, and at what risk.
Military experts have the latest on the fighting in Afghanistan, and how friendly fire still plagues high-tech war.
And we'll talk about John Walker, the American man captured while fighting for the Taliban. Should we call him "traitor"?
Plus, the lessons of an old war for a current one. After September 11 sends America into war, what can we learn from Pearl Harbor?
All ahead in our special coverage of AMERICA'S NEW WAR.
I'm Kate Snow in Washington.
Over the next two hours we'll tackle the big stories of America's new war: the final military struggle in Afghanistan, the legal and political wrangle back home over civil liberties, and the latest efforts to protect the U.S. from terror attack.
And we want to hear from you. Our experts will answer your phone and e-mail questions. Our address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming up, we'll talk to the Justice Department official instrumental in writing the new rules in the terrorism fight. But first, the latest developments in America's new war.
SNOW: When we come back, different times, different rules in America's new war. We'll talk to a senior government official about protecting lives and constitutional freedoms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIET DINH, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Every one of these detentions, let me assure you, is fully consistent with established constitutional and statutory authority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RUSSELL FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN: I fear that America's beacon of freedom and justice is threatened, as we face almost daily revelations of extraordinary steps by the Justice Department that snub the rule of law and threaten to erode fundamental constitutional rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, slamming the administration this week.
Joining us now, one of the administration officials responsible for rewriting the rules about how the U.S. can round up suspects in the war on terrorism. Viet Dinh is the assistant attorney general, works closely with John Ashcroft. He joins us now here in Washington.
Thanks you for joining us, Mr. Dinh. Appreciate it.
DINH: Thank you for having me here, Kate.
SNOW: Let me start basic here. Is the U.S. government becoming Big Brother?
DINH: No, it is not. We are engaged in a full-frontal war against terrorism, and we are fighting that war in two fronts, obviously. Abroad, our men and women are fighting bravely. But here, we are trying to fight the threat of terrorism by preventing and disrupting future terrorist activity.
We are very careful in targeting our actions, our regulatory enforcement and preventive actions to be directed at terrorists. If you are a terrorist, you have every reason to fear the United States of America. But if you're a law-abiding citizen, you have every reason to be free from fear.
SNOW: Who makes the rules? Who decides right now who you can detain, when you can detain them, how you can question them?
DINH: Well, at the very basic level, the Constitution and the statutes, the laws written by Congress, makes those rules.
Every single one of a person whom we have detained is detained either on an immigration violation, a criminal violation or pursuant to a warrant issued by a judge. So there is no one in custody who is not -- does not have an individualized predicate for a criminal violation or an immigration violation.
SNOW: But certainly, as you know, critics have said -- have accused you and Attorney General Ashcroft of sort of making up the rules now.
One of the criticisms is about access to lawyers, saying that those detained -- I think there are about 600 now detained -- may not have access to lawyers. Do they have access to counsel?
DINH: Yes. Every single one of those person have access to counsel. If you are a criminal defendant or if you are being held on a material witness warrant, you have a right to counsel at government expense.
If you are one of 555 immigration detainees, the law does not permit us to pay for counsel, but we give them access to counsel. We give -- as soon as they come into custody, we give them a list of pro bono lawyers, lawyers for free, whom they can call and access.
Every week we have seminars at the detention centers, whereby lawyers can come in, and those who do not have counsel can talk to these lawyers.
SNOW: Can they talk privately with their lawyers?
DINH: Yes, they can talk privately with...
SNOW; But you're monitoring some of their conversations, are you not?
DINH: We -- in the aftermath of September 11, we promulgated a regulation that permit us to monitor a very limited class of detainees -- currently, 12 out of approximately 200,000 federal prisoners. Twelve detainees are subject to monitoring and if -- only if -- we give notice to them and their lawyers of such monitoring.
SNOW: Let me turn to another issue. The Justice Department is seeking to talk to, interview about 5,000, as we understand it, Middle Eastern young men, mostly, I think, of Muslim faith. Why do you need to do that, and are you overstepping the bounds?
DINH: Let me just correct the premise. They are not Middle Eastern men solely, or of the Muslim faith. We identified the list of 5,000 based on intelligence sources from countries and with criteria that al Qaeda operates. Al Qaeda picked these men, picked the criteria, and we are simply asking these men who may have information relating to terrorist activity to come in voluntarily and answer our questions.
Let me be very clear. They are not suspects, but they are people whom we consider may have information regarding terrorist activity.
SNOW: Some local law enforcement have been a little reluctant about this, though. Detroit, in particular, sent out letters to these people that you want for questioning, rather than going out and getting them and bringing them in. And they've only gotten a fairly weak response at this point.
What happens if people doesn't agree to come in for questioning?
DINH: We leave the discretion up to the local U.S. attorneys, in order to -- how to handle these matters. The Detroit U.S. attorneys said that because of the large number, he sent out the letters. We will further investigate on other avenues to seek to interview these individuals.
Well, let me repeat, they are entirely on a voluntary basis. As a matter of fact, last Sunday attorney general asked some of the Muslim and Arab American activists to sit in on some of these interviews...
DINH: ... and they came out with a very positive response, that it was entirely voluntary.
People do not ask illegitimate questions. And when the questioning is over, the person is free to go -- and as they are free to go during the questioning.
SNOW: I want to touch on one other subject in the time we have left. You, I believe, authored a memo or got involved in a decision about the FBI being able to go back over, dig back into some records on guns. These are records that are kept, background checks on people who want to buy guns. And you advised the FBI that they shouldn't go back and be able to look and see if those detained, those people detained because of September 11, had tried to buy a gun.
Why would -- it seems like that would that be such an obvious thing to do, to use that a resource, go back and look at those records. Why not?
DINH: Let me go back to the underlying regulation and the statute here.
The database that was accessed is not the general criminal data base. It's only the record of approved transactions, of approved gun purchases.
For that, the law and the regulations are very clear. Attorney General Janet Reno issued the regulations in 1998 and again early in January of this year that prohibit the FBI from accessing those records for any reason other than auditing the system. And that's because the Brady Act requires that limitation, and my advice was basically a reading of that regulation verbatim to the FBI.
And let me note that this is not a Justice Department official versus the FBI official issue. FBI lawyers from the line attorney up to the general counsel and all Justice Department officials were consistent in our advice to the underlying actors in this case.
SNOW: Appreciate you coming in on a Saturday...
DINH: Thank you, Kate.
SNOW: ... afternoon. Thank you so much.
Our thanks to Viet Dinh.
Coming up, a debate on what Attorney General Ashcroft calls "saving American lives" while avoiding infringing on constitutional rights. We'll be talking to the ACLU's Laura Murphy and former federal prosecutor Andrew McBride.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're following every hint, every lead, every possibility within the confines of the Constitution. My job is to provide security for the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: "Within the confines of the Constitution," says President Bush.
"Confines," open to interpretation and debate by the likes of Laura Murphy, director of the D.C. national office of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Andrew McBride, former federal prosecutor and law clerk to Judge Robert Bork and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Thanks so much for both of you being here.
ANDREW MCBRIDE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Thank you. Pleasure to be here.
SNOW: You just heard from the Justice Department's Viet Dinh just a few minutes ago, justifying their approach.
Let me start with you, Ms. Murphy. Do you buy that? Do you think that they're justified in the way they're going about going after terrorists?
LAURA MURPHY, ACLU: I think they need to be aggressive, but I think they could go do about their job of operating within the confines of the Constitution.
I think the military tribunals, military order that the president issued was poorly written because at hearings the attorney general said, you know, this will only apply to war -- individuals who engage in war crimes. But it's written in such a way that it could apply to the 20 million immigrants who live within this country and the detainees who, many of whom, are not involved in war crime activity.
SNOW: I know you don't agree on that, Mr. McBride. You think the military tribunals are fully constitutional.
MCBRIDE: I do. And I think the Supreme Court decided that issue pretty definitely in a case in 1942, where they upheld a very similar order that President Roosevelt issued regarding the trial of the Nazi saboteurs. So the -- President Bush is on very on strong presidential ground, in my view.
SNOW: Why is there not a precedent there?
MURPHY: There is a precedent, but that's a very interesting precedent to site, give that two of the seven people were prosecuted were U.S. citizens. And only with a stroke of the pen, the president could extend this military tribunal to American citizens, people like John Walker who've been captured with the Taliban, for example.
So we need to make sure that the administration confers with Congress. Congress does not believe the administration has sufficient congressional authorization to do this.
SNOW: But don't they need protections to make sure that secrets, for example, don't come out in the course of a trial that could help the terrorists?
MURPHY: There's the Classified Information Procedures Act. There are ways to make sure that jurors are protected. There are many mechanisms.
We have effectively stopped and tried terrorists in this country, using our civilian courts. This isn't necessary to try people in order to try them in the United States.
MCBRIDE: Kate, I think that's dead wrong. I was a federal prosecutor for seven years, tried many cases in federal court. I believe that if we brought al Qaeda terrorists back to the United States for trial, we'd be painting a bull's eye on a federal courthouse and we would put jurors and judges at risk.
One of the things about this September 11 attack, from a prosecutor's point of view, that's most interesting is the operational security that al Qaeda practiced. They had sleepers in this country for two years. They didn't use cell phones, they didn't use wire phones. They used the Internet, and they used Internet sites at libraries and places where they couldn't be traced.
How did they learn that? In part, I think they learned that from studying the trials that happened in 1993 after the first bombing.
MURPHY: But nobody's talking about bringing people back from Afghanistan and trying them here. There is a mechanism for using military tribunals with proper congressional authorization and in accordance with the Geneva conventions.
We're talking about making sure that this military tribunal does not apply to people who are not engaged in 9-11-related events. And it's not narrowly drafted that way.
SNOW: So why not make those changes that she's suggesting?
SNOW: Why not have Congress step in and define it?
MCBRIDE: ... I think there are points that I would make there.
One, why should a terrorist who successfully infiltrated the United States, have more rights than the terrorists we find in Afghanistan? If someone has come into the United States to aid in attacks against the United States, I don't understand how they get more rights.
The second point I would make is that right now the president hasn't applied the military tribunals at all, and we don't know what lines he's going to draw. So to criticize the order, at this point, when the president doesn't know who he's going to apply it to and the secretary of defense hasn't yet told us what the procedures are, I think is premature and somewhat unfair.
SNOW: Let me go to an e-mail here, Ms. Murphy, we heard from Kalispell, I think it is pronounced, Montana: "Does the American Civil Liberties Union believe that people who are here illegally and pose a threat to the security of the United States have the same rights as Americans?"
MURPHY: Well, they don't have all of the same rights, but they do have some due process rights. And people who are here illegally and engage in illegal action, once they go through the process of deportation proceedings, should be deported. Or if they cannot be deported and the United States has grounds to convict them, they can be convicted of a crime.
So there are mechanisms in place to rid people who don't belong here, who are here illegally and who engage in criminal activity.
But let me just say this about prosecuting people in our court system. Our federal court system has a 91 percent success rate in prosecuting terrorists and criminals in the United States. And in the Southern District of New York, where most of this activity occurred, they have a 97 percent success rate. Military tribunals only have a 85 percent success rate, so you're more likely to get the convictions that you're seeking of terrorists here in the United States than you are in military tribunals.
SNOW: I don't want to get into a numbers game here, but let me pose that e-mail question to you. I mean, should those who are suspected of terrorism have the same rights as any American?
MCBRIDE: Absolutely not. And I think one of the key points is the rights that the ACLU is arguing that al Qaeda members should have, or terrorists should have, are greater than the rights our own military has.
If our military violates the laws of war, they don't get a jury trial in civilian court. If one of our soldiers was accused of attacking civilians in Afghanistan, they would be tried in a military tribunal, with the rules of military justice. They wouldn't get a jury. They wouldn't get a trial in New York City.
So in that position, a foreign al Qaeda member gets more rights than our own military.
MURPHY: I think that is a complete red herring. The ACLU is not saying that al Qaeda members should have more rights than any other prosecution.
We're talking about effective prosecutions. We're talking about not living in a monarchy where the administration wants to be judge, jury and executioner, have secret trials and not allow people to be tried fairly.
The American people deserve to have these trials to go on right, and if they can't do it within our system, and we are importing the systems used abroad that we have objected to, then we are no better than our enemies.
MCBRIDE: Kate, if I could just say, is Laura saying that President Roosevelt was a monarch when he ordered that this Nazi saboteurs be tried in a secret military tribunal? And Nuremberg itself was a military tribunal. I think no one questions the fairness of...
SNOW: A quick chance to respond. We're almost of time.
MURPHY: OK, but at least President Roosevelt understood that the military tribunals were subjected to Supreme Court review. This president has not stated that. He at least allowed our federal courts to play in role during World War II. This president hasn't stated that.
SNOW: The debate continues. We're going to have to leave it at that. We'll have you back. Thanks so much for coming in on Saturday.
Our thanks to Laura Murphy and Andrew McBride.
Coming up, how safe are we? Nagging questions about the who, what and why of anthrax.
We'll be talking to former New York City public health commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Every day we delay is another day's head start for the terrorists. While we debate, they plan. While we defer, they prepare. And even now, the terrorists may be preparing fresh batches of anthrax for wider and more deadly attacks. We cannot wait until next year to fulfill our constitutional duty to protect the American people from this threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Senator Edward Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, voicing the anxiety of many of the rest of us about health and safety in the time of terrorism.
Joining us now, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, former New York City health commissioner. She's now with the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a charitable organization working to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
Thanks for being with us.
Given your experience as health commissioner, how concerned should people be right now?
MARGARET HAMBURG, NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSIONER: I think right now the situation is really, you know, quite under control. We have learned an enormous amount about anthrax prepared in this way, delivered in this way.
There is still much more we need to learn, but I do not think that people need to be overly concerned each time they get their mail delivery.
I think, as a nation, we do need to be concerned that we learn from this experience and that we put in place the kinds of programs and policies that we really need to be prepared against a similar threat and a broader range of potential biological threats.
SNOW: We haven't seen a new case of anthrax, which I guess is the good news now, for several weeks. There was some contamination found this week, but does that make you, as somebody who specializes in public health, less concerned? Are we done with that threat?
HAMBURG: Well, one hopes that we are coming to the end of what has been a very serious and concerning series of attacks.
But we should not become complacent. We shouldn't say, "Oh, well, we've seen a biological attack. It wasn't so bad. And let's move on." We need to take this as a wake-up call.
SNOW: I think one of the scariest things for Americans is that at least the last two cases appear to maybe have been from cross- contamination. I mean, they didn't receive a letter themselves from Trenton, New Jersey. It looks like maybe their mail got contaminated, and that scares a lot of people. Is that a big concern?
HAMBURG: We need to really study this. We need to really understand what's going on here. I would like to know a lot more, and maybe we have the opportunity to use some of the material in the Leahy letter to do some controlled studies to learn more about cross- contamination and how easy it is to re-aerosolize these particles.
It is still confusing to many of us how tertiary contamination of a letter could cause inhalational life-threatening disease. SNOW: We went out to the streets of Washington seeking questions, including this one, concern that despite all of the country has done in the past three months, vulnerabilities remain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: I would be very curious to know what efforts the government is undertaking to protect our food supply and farm infrastructure from any future terrorist attacks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: What is the government doing to make sure that the food supply is safe? There has been a lot of talk about the number of ports here in the United States and the lack of inspectors.
HAMBURG: Yes, it's a very serious problem, and it's a domestic problem and an international problem.
Here at home, the things we need to do to really ensure the safety of food production and distribution, there are systems that are in place that need to be strengthened to also improve our ability to rapidly detect when there is contamination and disease.
We also do have, as you said, a very open system in terms of imported food. And that's an opportunity both for naturally occurring imported disease and intentionally caused disease.
SNOW: But on the other hand, wouldn't it be -- I mean, wouldn't it be really difficult to get at an enormous amount of food and contaminate it with enough stuff to make people sick? I mean...
HAMBURG: Well, I think that to do a really massive contamination you would have to have, you know, considerable intent. But we know from natural experience that contaminants do get into food and especially when you have mass-production facilities and then the food spreads out to many parts of the country and/or other parts of the globe.
You know, it's a very serious concern. It has to be taken seriously.
SNOW: Anything people can do to guard against that? Should we not be eating from the salad bar anymore? What can you do?
HAMBURG: Well, I think, you know, there are precautions that should be taken.
And the irony is, that in the modern world we live in, the global village, so to speak, I think some precautions are very appropriate that we used to think only applied when you traveled abroad to certain parts of the developing world where you would, you know, make sure that you really washed or peeled your fruits and vegetables before you ate them. Now many of those foods are available in your local grocery store.
SNOW: One other subject we wanted to talk to you about is smallpox.
Again, there's been a lot of press about that and about the threat. How big do you think that threat is? And is it to the extent where people should go out and get vaccinated against smallpox?
HAMBURG: Well, at the present time, smallpox, as a disease, has been eradicated around the world -- one of the great triumphs of public health.
There are two official stocks of smallpox virus, one in this country at the Centers for Disease Control, and one in Russia. But there's reason to be concerned that there could be smallpox outside of those sources and, if introduced, would be a very serious problem.
And so, I think the administration is doing very much the right thing, in terms of expanding our smallpox vaccine supply and developing a plan to mobilize it rapidly, if it's needed, because vaccines...
SNOW: But its not something we need to do right now. It's something...
HAMBURG: Well, right now we don't have -- even if we made a decision today to vaccinate every American, we simply don't have enough vaccine.
But I think that, while more vaccine is being made, we need to really examine the pros and cons, the risks and benefits of smallpox vaccination. It is not a vaccine without risks. It's estimated that if the whole American population was vaccinated, there'd be probably 300, maybe more, deaths simply from taking the vaccine alone and other associated complications.
So we really need to weigh and balance. It should be a dynamic decision making process that reflects the best possible intelligence about how real is the threat. But we should be ready if we need the vaccines.
SNOW: What you just mentioned gets back to sort of, I think, a general question about reaction, because it was mentioned with the drug Cipro -- ciprofloxacin...
SNOW: Ciprofloxacin. It was mentioned with that, in reaction to anthrax, that if everybody starts taking that, you actually could do more harm than good.
HAMBURG: Well, that's right. I mean, I think that drugs and vaccines are, you know, an enormous benefit to health and preventing disease, but they need to be used appropriately.
And you know, throughout all of this, an important message has been not to self-medicate, but to listen to health officials and to be guided by experience and knowledge, in terms of what needs to be done.
SNOW: Dr. Margaret Hamburg, thank you so much for coming in.
SNOW: Appreciate it.
Coming up, commemoration of Pearl Harbor this week. Lessons of a country at war in the 1940s for America's new war 60 years later.
We want to hear from you. E-mail us at email@example.com.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It is certainly right to recall the lessons of Pearl Harbor as we fight the war against terror. In both cases it wasn't that we were not expecting threats; indeed we were, but that we may not have been paying sufficient attention to what then seemed improbable. We now know that the improbable can happen and has.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Helping us identify some lessons, joining us now from New Orleans, historian Douglas Brinkley, and also from New York, professor at New York University and president of Generational Targeted Marketing, Ann Fishman.
Thank you both for being with us this afternoon.
ANN FISHMAN, GENERATIONAL-TARGETED MARKETER: Thank you, Kate.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thanks for having me.
SNOW: There are a lot of similarities between Pearl Harbor and that day and September 11. But there are also a lot of differences. What lessons do you think we can draw?
Let me start with you, Mr. Brinkley.
BRINKLEY: Well, there are many lessons -- duty, honor and sacrifice of two different generations.
Except that I think we have to be careful not to over-exaggerate the analogy between Pearl Harbor -- a sneak attack on a territory of the United States in the Pacific. It was not yet a state, Hawaii. A traditional naval force, the Japanese, attacking a traditional U.S. naval force -- with a very clear enemy. Immediately we were thrust into World War II. We had to start a massive industrial mobilization effort. Our Navy was 19th in the world at that time in power. And we had to really start this great war machine.
Well, this year, September 11, we are the number-one power in the world. We do have this great military apparatus.
And I think the reason they're always connected is the moment when they both were sneak attacks on American soil, property, in which people will always remember where they were at that exact moment.
SNOW: But I guess in the aftermath of it, it seems that Americans aren't quite as involved now as they were back then. I mean, people aren't signing up for -- they're not going off to war.
BRINKLEY: Well, exactly. I mean, what did President Bush tell us to do? Go travel, be normal, do a lot of Christmas shopping; sorry you might have to wait a little bit longer in airport lines.
But it's hardly what happened after Pearl Harbor where the whole country's face changed suddenly. We had to set up military camps, training. If it was Christmas time in 1941, you were getting to send off your son and possibly daughter to a battle zone, knowing that body bags would be coming back.
This year we've had a few deaths, a couple from friendly fire and a CIA operative over there, but it's nothing like the hundreds of thousands of people that died.
Last evening in New Orleans here, we premiered a Spielberg- Ambrose documentary on the Pacific war. When you see the horror of what we were engaged with in places like Okinawa and Terowa (ph) culminating in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the advent of the atomic age, I think World War II is our defining experience.
What happened on September 11 is sort of the opening salvo of a new war on terrorism, but it certainly doesn't carry the magnitude of the Second World War.
SNOW: Ann Fishman, you look at this from the point of view of generations and how generations have reacted.
SNOW: What do you see in the reaction of the World War II generation to September 11?
FISHMAN: The thing that's so remarkable about history, Kate, is that you have the perfect generation -- you had the perfect generation in place to fight World War II. And you had young people who were in the 11th grade on a Friday in boot camp on a Monday.
So consequently, these were people whose generational characteristic was they did what they were told. They were team players. They had probably never been away from home too much, but they had tremendous strength because they had come out of the Depression and they had come out of the Dust Bowl.
So you had the perfect generation in place to fight World War II. And the value of these people today is that if you ever get frightened over this situation, just go talk to one of them, because they have a tremendous amount of expertise that they can share with us that will make you feel better.
Today, with the World Trade Center war, we again have the perfect generational type in place. We have Generation X-ers who are probably America's most misunderstood generation.
Generation X-ers were the firefighters, the bulk of the police people, the young men who brought down the Pennsylvania plane. The military people call them, "daring professionals." They have the right stuff to fight a war where you have to think on their feet. These kids are street savvy survivors, and the harshness of their youth has more than prepared them to fight this very unusual war we are going into.
SNOW: We have a phone call from Honolulu, Hawaii.
Caller, are you there?
SNOW: What's your question?
CALLER: Well, my question is, over the last several weeks I've heard comparisons to Pearl Harbor.
It makes sense, in terms of just the very thin surface of it all, but what we're actually dealing with is warfare. People in the international community have talked about it for at least a decade. The year 2000, two Chinese colonels released a well-reviewed book on that subject.
And yet, we still persist talking about the past, rather than prepare ourselves for the future and current environment. Why?
SNOW: Mr. Brinkley, you want to take that?
BRINKLEY: Yes. I think, first off, of course, I think the military is always looking for the future. I think we can learn some lessons from the past.
I think, unlike -- at Pearl Harbor we were unprepared. I don't think we were that unprepared for the World Trade Center. How could we have stopped that? Yes, we could have had tighter immigration laws; yes, we could have done this and that.
And you know, in 1997, Secretary of Defense Cohen actually went on a Sunday morning show and held up a -- like a pound bag of sugar and said, half that much anthrax will kill half of Washington, D.C.
The term "homeland security" had replaced the term "civil defense" during the Reagan years. And it became a -- in the white papers in the State Department and Defense, we were really starting to grapple with the issues of homeland security and the new future bioterrorism era we're in right now, just about when the World Trade Center happened.
It's easy to say that we could have prevented things, but the truth of the matter is it's -- you never can stop a mad person that wants to commit suicide, as we're learning too often in the Middle East and in Israel right now.
SNOW: At that time...
FISHMAN: And if I could...
SNOW: Go ahead.
FISHMAN: I was going to say, if I could add something, Kate. Gen X is ready for this war. These are kids that have had such a tough upbringing that their perception of normal is ready. This is one more problem that they have to solve, so we don't have to get them ready. They are ready because of the harshness of their youth.
SNOW: When you're talking about Gen X, let's define that. What are you talking...
FISHMAN: Twenty to 40 year...
SNOW: ... what range...
FISHMAN: Ages 20 to 40. These are children of divorce, they are children who've lived with violence in the streets and in their -- on television and in their schools. They are children who have had to grow up in a world where sex can kill you. They are ready. They've been handed a rather raw deal. But instead of getting demoralized, they've already been galvanized from birth to solve other people's problems.
SNOW: What about the younger -- people younger than 20? What about those teenagers who were in junior high or high school when September 11 happened?
FISHMAN: They're called Gen Y, and they're 19 years and younger. And they absolutely mirror the GI generation. They are full of optimism. They've had tremendous parenting and tremendous support system.
Consequently, after Gen X comes and does the dirty deeds that need to be done, you'll have a whole optimistic group of young people who will come about setting things right. They feel empowered. They feel as if they have enough power to not only go on with their lives but to go on with helping the rest of the world.
So you have two young generations here who are absolutely the perfect generations at the right time in history.
SNOW: Douglas Brinkley, Ann Fishman, stay with us.
We're looking for your phone calls and e-mails, when AMERICA'S NEW WAR returns.
Checking editorials from this morning's newspapers, The New York Times writes, "Wars in Afghanistan don't begin and end with clockwork precision, but the American-led campaign to overthrow the Taliban has succeeded. Those skirmishes may continue in the days ahead. Afghanistan's people can now look forward to a new and more hopeful era." And in The Washington Post today, quote, "Attorney General John Ashcroft has said he is prepared to use every means available to track down and confine potential terrorists, but not, it appears, the proceeds of background checks that would help determine whether people detained in the government's anti-terrorism investigation had ever bought guns."
SNOW: An important source of information about the news of the day, the terrorism investigation and America's new war can be found online at CNN.com, the AOL keyword, CNN.
Public opinion seems to feel the more recent surprise attack on the U.S. more deeply. Asked last week in the latest CNN-USA Today Gallup Poll, which had a greater impact on the United States, 72 percent said September 11 had a greater impact, versus 25 percent for December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor.
We're talking about what Pearl Harbor can teach us about fighting the new war against terrorism, and we're talking with our guests, Douglas Brinkley and Ann Fishman. Mr. Brinkley, an historian, and Ann Fishman talking about generations and the divide here.
Let me go back to that poll that we just showed. What does -- how do you take that? Does that mean that this had more impact, or does it mean that those who experienced World War II are no longer with us and that's why those numbers are so high?
BRINKLEY: That's part of it, but also I think it's the media age. Remember, when Pearl Harbor was bombed and we finally got -- the news came over the radio, not that many people even had radios to hear it and eventually some black and white clips appeared in movie theaters, newsreel. September 11 came right into our living rooms immediately on 24-hour news channels.
And it occurred in the heart of our nation's financial and business capital, New York City, and then also Washington, meaning all those people in the New York area actually watched the smoke come out of the building. You had millions of people that sort of personally experienced it through television or in actuality, where Pearl Harbor being such an isolated spot, there wasn't that visceral immediate feeling that came.
So I think that the images of September 11 are going to be seared in the collective imagination of our nation longer than the images of Pearl Harbor. But that does not mean that Pearl Harbor isn't really a more significant historical event.
SNOW: We have a phone call on the line from Florida.
Florida, go ahead. Can you hear us there? Caller from...
CALLER: ... World War II. Those people went from 11th grade right to boot camp. Well, I'm a teacher here in Florida and we had a survey. And 80 percent of our students felt like that the war was necessary, but only 20 percent felt like that they could fight in a war.
Do you feel that goes through all the states? Or are you a little worried about that?
I feel that I am, as a teacher, that I was really saddened that only 20 percent of my students felt like they would fight in this war.
SNOW: In other words, nobody knows -- I guess, what he's saying is nobody knows how to respond to this. There's not a direct way to participate or respond to this.
Is that the case, Ann Fishman?
FISHMAN: No. I would say that this generation, both young generations are prepped and ready. They just have to be called upon, meaning that Gen X-ers are already doing whatever they need to do to get ready. Gen Ys are a little young, and when their turn comes, they will be the optimistic fighters that we had in World War II.
The Gen X-ers are already putting themselves in place. They're doing what needs to be done. It may not be a traditional signing up for the draft or signing up for the war. But Gen X-ers are already getting ready for what they perceive to be a realistically long war. So Gen X-ers are already -- in fact, they're probably 10 steps ahead of us. They think so far out of the box, that I doubt that they ever had a box to think in.
SNOW: But, Douglas Brinkley, if there's no draft, does that make it difficult for people to personalize this, to figure out how we fit in and how to respond?
FISHMAN: Well, first off, I completely agree with Ann. I mean, every generation is the greatest generation in America. It's not -- the fact of the matter was in World War II, it was just that generation was called to do extraordinary things. And I agree, I think Gen X, as she's defining it, will do and can do extraordinary things for the very reason she earlier articulated.
Look, there's a division that occurred at the time, the Vietnam war. More and more of the lower-or middle-class people go into our armed forces. People with advantages, economic advantages, tend to go to college. And so, it creates a kind of schism that's there right now.
And I think that that was different than in World War II, you had the -- you know, the Yale fighting group and the people from Harvard rushing to line up and sign me up. We're asking some of our middle- class and lower-middle-class young people to be our armed forces. And they do a remarkable job.
And I could just add, I think one of the great things that's happening is that Colin Powell, as their secretary of state, somebody who grew up poor in the greater New York area and went through the ROTC programs to become first a five-star general and then our secretary of state leading this coalition diplomacy. I think he's a great symbol for all of the Gen X-ers, as she's defining them, that are in our armed services today.
FISHMAN: And one thing that I might add, Kate, is that X-ers are not younger versions of boomers. Where boomers really sought ways to get out of the fighting, you're going to see X-ers of all economic and social types getting into the war. They may get into it in non- traditional ways, but you will not see people that are backing away.
You will see people who are from, as he says, from Yale, middle class, lower class, all across the board, doing what they can do because these kids are practical. They don't want to live this kind of life, and they certainly don't want their children and grandchilden to walk through the streets afraid.
SNOW: Here is an e-mail that bolsters what you both have just been saying: "My son is 16 years old now and is ready to do whatever is necessary to serve our country. It seems today's American teenagers are ready to take the defense baton even though they were raised in times of unprecedented peace." And that is written by Kim in Oxnard, California.
That seems to be exactly what the two of you were just saying. These teenagers were raised though in times of relative prosperity. How does that shape the response to September 11?
FISHMAN: That's a misconception, Kate, because Gen X-ers, 20 to 40, were raised doing absolutely terrible time. We think they were raised during good times, but these are children of divorce. It's very hard day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute, not knowing whether it's dad's weekend or mom's weekend, not knowing if you're going to be beaten up on the streets and someone is going to take your bike away. These are kids that every day of their life have had to face a very poor social support system.
So normal for them is very tough. They don't even realize how hard a life they've had. They just look at what's presented to them, they say Is there any way we can improve on them?
They are brash. They are politically incorrect. We have raised a whole generation here of "Give 'em Hell Harry Trumans," and they are more than ready. They are not children of -- they are not children who have had it easy.
SNOW: Douglas Brinkley, go back to Pearl Harbor for me very briefly. These were children of the Depression, essentially, who experienced that. How does that compare?
BRINKLEY: Well, yes, they were, and our country wasn't out of the Depression in 1941. And there was a big national debate -- the war in Europe was going on, should we get involved?
These young people grew up in a hard scrabble existence many of them. Many of the soldiers of the Second World War didn't have much, and the ones that did, let's say they lived on a farm. One day they were throwing baseballs in Iowa. The next day we were asking them to throw hand grenades on the beaches of Normandy or Sicily or some fly- speck island in the Pacific.
But what I would argue as an American historian, particularly studying military history, is it seems to be one of the unique things in this country that in time of crisis when the American people speak with one voice, and it doesn't always happen. The bombing may us speak in one voice. Every generation responds and does the job that needs to be done.
And in World War II we had this notion that we're all in this together. And I think right now the sentiment is "united we stand," and the proliferation of American flags that you continue to see all around the country, wherever you look right now, is this sort of just basic primal bit of nationalism, but it's feeling of "we're proud to be an American."
At it's best, we are going to be able to start erasing the hyphenated Americans. A homeland attack does not know race, does not know ethnicity. And in that case, I think it's kind of a unifying factor what's happened September 11.
And it's giving this young generation, Generation X as she's defining it, or the new one, Y, a sense of mission, a sense of something they could do. The previous generation seemed a little bit lost. What was their big moments -- Woodstocks or the failures in Vietnam? This group is looking for a victory.
SNOW: We have to end it on that note. I'm sorry to interrupt, Mr. Brinkley.
BRINKLEY: That's OK.
SNOW: We're running out of time. But thank you so much.
FISHMAN: Thank you, Kate.
SNOW: Our thanks to Douglas Brinkley and to Ann Fishman. An interesting discussion.
FISHMAN: Thank you.
SNOW: Thanks so much.
Coming up in our second hour, President Bush and Democrats in Congress clash over measures to protect the homeland and revive the economy. How close is the U.S. military to an end game in Afghanistan? And what should be done about the American who fought with the Taliban?
Plus, more of your e-mails and phone calls when AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues.
SNOW: Welcome back to AMERICA'S NEW WAR. I'm Kate Snow in Washington.
Over this hour, we'll look at how Congress is working to fight the war on terrorism and to pep up a sluggish economy. We'll talk strategy with two military experts, including author and former Navy secretary James Webb. And we'll tap public opinion on the American man captured while fighting for the Taliban.
But first, let's check in with Catherine Callaway at the CNN Center for a look at the hour's top stories.
SNOW: While President Bush continues to enjoy a bipartisan support in Congress for his handling of the war against terrorism abroad, his initiatives regarding the economy and homeland security are being criticized and questioned by Democrats.
And joining us from Des Moines, Iowa, is Senator Charles Grassley. He is the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. And in New York, Congressman Charles Rangel. He is the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.
Good afternoon to both of you gentlemen. Thanks for being here.
Let's start with the economic stimulus. It's has been nearly three months. Why no economic stimulus yet, Mr. Rangel?
REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: Well, I don't know. The chairman of the committee, Republican Bill Thomas from California, stormed off last Friday, left Washington and left Senator Grassley and I behind.
It seems as though he read something in the local newspaper which indicated that the Democrats wanted to get two-thirds majority in their caucus or something to that effect, but it certainly wasn't confirmed. But he had a fund raiser in California. He was celebrating his birthday and he's gone.
Both Senator Grassley and I and the rest of the group had committed ourselves to working the weekend. So we -- I got the note and it says, "subject to the call of the chair." His office said, we'll get back on Tuesday.
And, you know, Christmas is closing in on the Congress. So I don't know how optimistic I can be about the president's stimulus package.
SNOW: I talked to Mr. Thomas earlier this week and he, too says he's determined to do this.
Senator Grassley, why can't you just get it done? To the outside world, it would seem like you all could you sit down and work out a stimulus plan.
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: There is great deal of agreement. First of all, yesterday there's kind of a subconference dealing with the health insurance part of this stimulus package. And I did have an opportunity to have a bipartisan meeting that involved myself, Senator Rockefeller, Senator Baucus and Congressman Dingell.
But to answer your question, Kate, understand -- and I know you know this -- nothing gets done in the Senate unless it's bipartisan. Remember, contrary to that bipartisan tradition, the Democrats voted a partisan bill out of committee. It was on the floor of the Senate for a couple of weeks. They didn't try to negotiate a bipartisan agreement. And they didn't have the votes to pass their bill. Republicans don't have a chance of passing ours in the Senate. Now we've gone to this conference.
But three weeks were lost because Senator Daschle was playing partisan politics with it.
Now, if Charlie Rangel and I could sit down and do this, we would have a bipartisan agreement, because quite frankly, we both agree that there ought to be some accelerated depreciation. We both agree that there ought to be rebate checks for low-income people to stimulate the economy that way to create jobs, like you do through the investment part.
We all know that there needs to be an increase in the unemployment compensation for an additional several weeks. And we know that there is going to be some accommodation for people that used to have health insurance that have lost that because of unemployment.
Now, we agree on those things -- maybe not exactly how to do it, maybe not on every detail. But I'm telling you, if it hadn't been for this two-thirds rule that the Democrat Caucus has put on, that in turn rightly made Congressman Thomas mad, we would be negotiating right this hour in Washington, D.C., instead of being on this television program with you.
SNOW: Congressman Rangel, go ahead.
RANGEL: I agree with most of what the Senator said. We worked together well over the years. But it just seems to me that it takes very little to make his friend Bill Thomas mad.
This is not the first time he's stormed out of meetings, and I don't know, maybe New Yorkers are different, but if you get mad, you just don't pick up your marbles and go to California. You find out exactly what the problems are and try to work them out.
SNOW: Congressman, get beyond the inside process for me. In terms of the policy, is it necessary at this point, do you think, to have an economic stimulus? The economy, some have said, is going to rebound. Do you need this?
RANGEL: Some economists...
GRASSLEY: I'm sorry.
RANGEL: These economists have said no, that we don't. However, it seemed to me that in time of war -- the recession started before 9/11. And if the president of the United States says he wants one, I think in a bipartisan way that we should do it.
But you know, when Senator Grassley talked about the Senators, where (ph) the Democrats with a partisan bill, the Republicans in the House have passed such obscene tax cuts, $100 billion in the first year, $80 billion -- $800 billion in the next year. And so we have a dramatic difference of opinion from the House bill as to what we should confer with the Senate on.
SNOW: Senator Grassley, go ahead.
GRASSLEY: A stimulus is absolutely needed. Chairman Greenspan said two months ago we needed one to compliment his reduction of interest rates. Several leading Democrats from the previous administration have said that. I think there is an expectation of it.
And even if it were not needed because of the people you quoted, Kate, there still would be an additional boost if we were to do this.
SNOW: Senator, yesterday...
RANGEL: Sunday, Greenspan...
SNOW: I'm sorry, go ahead.
RANGEL: Sunday, Greenspan said that it should be temporary. It should be directly related to the recession, and it should be paid for. None of those criteria has been met in the Republican House- passed bill.
SNOW: Senator Grassley, let me...
GRASSLEY: But they would be that way in the Senate bill.
SNOW: Hold on. Let me move the two of you to a different subject because we have a lot of ground to cover here.
Senator Grassley, yesterday the Senate took up a defense spending bill, and the Democrats wanted to add a lot of money, $15 billion, to that bill for what they call homeland security. They wanted to add money for protection, for security kind of protections on everything from nuclear power plants to railroads.
Why not do something like that? Why did you object -- or why did Republicans object to that?
GRASSLEY: Well, first of all, the fact that all 49 Republicans agreed for once, and we don't -- seldom do that -- ought to tell you something, that it's the right thing to do, because we don't have that unanimity. Secondly, the main reason is we've already appointed -- appropriated $40 billion, and only about $3 billion of that has been allocated. And the president feels that we ought to spend that $40 billion before we appropriate more.
Now I think that it's legitimate to say that there's going to be more needed. But don't you think we ought to wait until we spend the $40 billion that we've already appropriated before we spend more? And we will go home after the holidays, come back. There's always a supplemental appropriations bill -- and we can do it then.
But here again, I think it was an effort -- it was not a bipartisan approach -- it was an effort on the part of Senator Daschle to bring gridlock to the Senate and to be very partisan in his approach.
SNOW: We are going to take a quick break here. We'll hear from Congressman Rangel as soon as we get back. We'll continue our conversation with Senator Grassley and Congressman Charles Rangel.
We also want your phone calls and e-mails, when AMERICA'S NEW WAR returns.
SNOW: Taking a look at a live picture of Ground Zero in New York, where 24-hour recovery efforts continue nearly three months after the September 11 attack.
We're talking about the war on terrorism abroad and on the homefront with Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel of New York.
Congressman Rangel, that was your home city we just saw there, Ground Zero. Is enough money being spent to help New York? We were talking about this before the break, homeland defense.
RANGEL: Not at all. As a matter of fact, when the president promised the $20 billion, the Appropriations Committee authorized it. And then in the present bill, the president said, or at least this Office of Management and Budget director said, they were only giving us $10 billion because that's all we could consume. And our mayor and our governor did not want to get in the fight with the president, and said we will get the rest later.
Well, we'll need a lot more. We probably get it. But our small businesses are really suffering today. We have hundreds of thousands of people that are unemployed without health insurance, kids being pulled out of college.
And so everyone knows we need the money. And that is why it's so important that we direct our attention to doing these things.
When the Republicans asked for $15 billion for the airline industry, we gave it to them. When we asked for money for unemployment compensation and health care, we get nothing. SNOW: We're going to take a phone call from Florida.
Caller from Florida, are you there?
CALLER: Yes, I am.
SNOW: Go ahead.
CALLER: Beginning with the Korean war, the Congress learned that it could send American troops around the world without a declaration of war.
Since we're now looking at an open-ended period of war against nations that harbor or foster terrorism, isn't it about time for the Congress to step up to the plate and enact an actual declaration of war?
SNOW: Senator Grassley?
GRASSLEY: Absolutely not. There's not reason to. We've passed all the authority Congress needs to give their president of the United States to do what he does under the War Powers Act.
And really, in a war on terrorism, it isn't going to be like Pearl Harbor and the surrender at the USS Missouri at the end of World War II. We did have the significant events in New York and the Pentagon. But this war will be -- when it's done and you destroy bin Laden and the networks, it's going to be a policy of containment by cutting off the money supply for the terrorists, stopping their migration around the world.
And we're going to be in a period of cold war against terrorism, like we were in a period of cold war against Soviet communism after World War II.
And we didn't have to have a declaration of war to fight that cold war. And we won't have to have a declaration of war to have a war of containment against terrorists, because you can kill terrorists leaders but you're not going to kill every terrorist, but you're going to contain them.
SNOW: Congressman Rangel, do you agree?
RANGEL: I agree with the caller 100 percent that, when we put American lives in harm's way, we should have the Congress to have the guts and the courage enough to say that a war has been declared, and not just rely on the president to make these determinations and the Congress to support what he said without making it constitutionally clear that only the Congress can do it.
In November 30, 1950, I was shot by a communist Chinese on the northern border of Korea. I received a Bronze star and the Purple Heart. And it bothers me, even today, some 50-odd years later, that all of this happened and my country had not declared war.
SNOW: There is overwhelming public support for the anti- terrorism measures that are being introduced by the Bush administration, but we talked to some people this week, some immigrants who feel they are being targeted unfairly. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: I would want to know why, as non-citizens, we are being singled out for this treatment. We make a major contribution to this country. And as such, this bill should involve everybody, not just non-citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Senator Grassley, is the administration going overboard?
GRASSLEY: The people of this country are leaning over backwards to make sure that our diverse population, including people who are here legally but not citizens of the United States, and particularly people of different religions, are being welcomed.
You can't believe the number of instances in the Midwest here where I've been invited to meetings and to ceremonies and to multi- religious services to express this fact that we're not going to harm anybody.
If the reference is to what the president has done on military tribunals or what the attorney general is doing regard to questioning people, remember that nobody has to answer any question for any policeman or any investigator in the United States that they don't want to answer.
And the other thing is, we're just trying to get as many people to voluntarily give us whatever information they can.
But when it comes to military tribunals, and the fact that everybody except citizens who are involved with terrorists organizations can be subject to that, there is a very good reason for that. And that is that we are in a war environment, and the Supreme Court has upheld the president's power to do that, both after the Civil War and during World War II.
RANGEL: The president of the United States has gone out of his way in order to give direction and guidelines that we protect American citizens and those that are in our country legally.
But I am frightened sometimes when the attorney general tells us that we have tens of thousands of people that are locked up without charges. It's the same type of thing...
SNOW: Well, that's 600, I believe, Congressman.
RANGEL: Well, we got people that are being held, and we don't know what they're being held for. We don't know how -- there's no charges on them.
The military tribunal, it hasn't been outlined to us exactly what they intend to do there.
And so I remember before -- during the Cold War there were members of congressional delegations in South American dictatorships and over there in Eastern Europe, and we used to say, "If people have violated the law, give them -- bring them to court. Let's have open trials. Tell them what they are charged with." And now we have attempted to do the very same thing that we've been critical of other nations of doing.
SNOW: Congressman Rangel, if you have these concerns, then why not have the Congress take some action? Couldn't Congress rein in these powers?
RANGEL: Well, let me tell you, it's during times of war you like to give the commander in chief as much flexibility as you can. I think we should do that.
But this doesn't mean that his Cabinet officials should not come forward, as Attorney General Ashcroft has been very reluctant to do, in explaining exactly what they're doing.
No one wants to contest the commander in chief, but we have to know as a Congress exactly how these laws are being used and not abused.
SNOW: Go ahead.
GRASSLEY: You can't give some terrorist access to our criminal courts the same way as we do it for the average criminal in America, because we would be giving that terrorist more protection that we do our own men in uniform when they're brought before a military court under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And that would just be wrong. We would be treating our own military people less -- with less than we are our terrorists.
RANGEL: You may be right, Senator, but we should know who is being held, why they're being held, and we should not have these secret incarcerations of anybody.
RANGEL: Being in the United States doesn't mean you have no rights. You may not have the rights of a citizen, but under our Constitution and under our moral theories these people have rights. We don't know who they are, where they are, or what they're being held for. And that's morally wrong.
GRASSLEY: Just this week, the attorney general listed -- made public a lot of names and what they're being held for. And he's made it very clear that are having their telephone conversations monitored, that they're being monitored and things of that nature.
So I think he's going out of his way. He's committed to upholding the same Constitution that you and I take an oath to uphold, Charlie.
SNOW: Senator Charles Grassley and Congressman Charlie Rangel, thanks so much for being here. I will see you back on Capital Hill on Monday.
RANGEL: Thank you, Kate.
SNOW: When -- OK...
RANGEL: And if you see Bill Thomas around, tell him to come back to Washington. We're waiting to resume our work.
SNOW: We'll let it go at that.
Thank you, Congressmen.
When AMERICA'S NEW WAR returns, is the military campaign in Afghanistan coming to a close? We'll get some insight from a CNN military analyst and former secretary of the Navy, James Webb.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUMSFELD: We did not start this war. So understand, responsibility for every single casualty in this war, whether they're innocent Afghans or innocent Americans, rest at the feet of the al Qaeda and the Taliban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld this week as the war in Afghanistan claimed the lives of U.S. military personnel, victims of friendly fire.
Still, a main goal of the U.S. military campaign has been accomplished: the fall of the Taliban in at least one key city.
Joining us, CNN military analyst Major General Donald Shepperd, and former Navy Secretary James Webb. He also served as a combat Marine in Vietnam and is the author of the book, "Lost Soldiers."
Thank you both for being here with us today.
Let's start with the last Taliban stronghold. Is it over? How close are we now? Kandahar seems to have fallen.
Go ahead, General.
MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's fallen, but it's not over. It's been a negotiated settlement, and you got a mess going on within Kandahar itself. It's going take several days to sort out.
Gul Agha, the old Pashtun chief from the south, has come in and basically has claimed the governor's palace. Hamid Karzai has the eastern part of the city. Mullah Naqibullah has taken the west part of the city. And that's all got to be sorted out before you can do anything else.
SNOW: Any thoughts on that?
JAMES WEBB, FORMER NAVY SECRETARY: Well, that's all true. I think that from this perspective of using American forces, we have to draw the line -- and it has been drawn very clearly by Secretary Rumsfeld -- between our pursuit of the international terrorist movement and how we are going to operate vis-a-vis the Taliban themselves.
So these sorts of things that are going on inside Kandahar are best sorted out, as much as possible, by Afghanis and not Americans.
SNOW: So we just stand back and let them do the work? Is that the way it works, General?
SHEPPERD: No, we're not standing back at all. The Marines are very actively engaged there and interdicting al Qaeda that may be trying to leave and hide in other areas. The special forces are heavily engaged in all parts of the country, trying to bring, if you will, order and conditions over the country. And people are very, very busy in the Tora Bora area, looking for bin Laden and the al Qaeda there, establishing the things that need to be done before the real hard military work comes, which is digging them out of the caves.
SNOW: But despite that, you just mentioned before we went on the air, Mullah Omar seems to be nowhere to be found. How does that happen?
SHEPPERD: Well, real easy. Got a city in Kandahar the size of the New Orleans and you got a country, Afghanistan, the size of Texas. And right next door, you've got a very porous border where you can escape into Pakistan. Lots of places to hide, lots of place to escape. It's not hard to understand at all. It's going to be while before we can find him.
WEBB: And lots of things going on behind the scenes among the Afghanis. And this is -- you know, there are reports that perhaps he is actually in the custody of one of Afghani factions.
SNOW: Right. It's sketchy, and it's hard to get information.
Another question that we heard on the streets of Washington yesterday, this one about the number-one target for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Given the structure of the caves at Tora Bora and the supposedly invulnerability of these caves, is there a realistic expectation of actually capturing Osama bin Laden?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: This would be the number-one question on peoples' minds. Is there chance of capturing Osama bin Laden?
We'll start with you. What do you think, General?
SHEPPERD: Sure, there's a chance of capturing him. And there may be a chance capturing him if he tries to escape, because he's got "no vacancy" signs all over the world.
On the other hand, these caves are not invulnerable at all. There are weapons that will go into the caves, if we find out what the structure is underneath. There's people who have been in there. We know a lot about them. We paid for a lot of him with CIA money during the Soviet years.
And now you've got the Eastern Alliance Afghans going back. Many of them have been in those caves.
Now, in the end, somebody may have to go in and either drag him out or get him to surrender out of the caves or blow the cave up. But it's not impossible and they're not impregnable.
SNOW: You were a combat Marine in Vietnam. I mean, try to compare that to this situation. If were you a Marine there on the ground, what do you think?
WEBB: Well, first of all, I think it's important for a lot of emotional reasons for to us continue to go after bin Laden and to have some prove of the fact that he has met his demise one way or the other.
But the most important reason that we are in all of this is to take out, to completely eviscerate the international terrorist movement; and to send signals to each one of the countries that has supported international terrorism, that if they do not take responsibility for these sorts of activity inside borders, we are going to come in and do it.
So bin Laden is not a side show; he's important emotionally. But the most important thing is to take out the international terrorist movement per se.
SNOW: But is it a victory if we don't capture bin Laden?
SHEPPERD: Of course, it's a victory, because, as Jim just said, the purpose is to stamp out terrorism worldwide. That's why our president and secretary have said this going to be deep and long and wide. That has not sunk in on the American public yet.
Whether we get bin Laden, whether we know we've got him, Mullah Omar, or whether we don't, the success is not them, but wiping this out worldwide and much more difficult target than just Afghanistan.
SNOW: I want to talk about the friendly fire incident this week. What do you think the reason behind -- I mean, why are we having this? This is the second friendly fire incident.
WEBB: Well, let me... SNOW: Why are we having this trouble?
WEBB: Let me put this into perspective for you...
WEBB: ... because the United States does this as well as anyone in the world, in terms of how we operate close to -- when you start closing with the enemy -- how we operate with our own people.
When I was Vietnam, we had a great success rate against the enemy. I also was mortared, bombed, shot, shot at from helicopters. We had, you know, these sorts of things.
SNOW: U.S. helicopters.
SHEPPERD: Traditionally -- yes. Traditionally, you'll have about a 10 percent friendly fire casualty rate. When the Israelis went into Beirut in 1982, they had a 20 percent friendly fire casualty rate. It's a consequence of war.
So, these things, inevitably, are going to happen. I think that the performance of the American military during this campaign has been absolutely superb.
SHEPPERD: And that's an interesting thing. If you look on the web, the percentage of causalities by friendly fire has gone up as these modern wars have taken place. The reasons is...
SHEPPERD: ... casualties have gone down.
SHEPPERD: That's the good news. The good news is, you know, they were killing less of our own people. The bad news is...
SHEPPERD: ... of course, you always kill some...
SNOW: As a percentage. It's...
SHEPPERD: Indeed, indeed.
SNOW: ... not as bad.
We'll talk more about that in just a moment. Major General Shepperd and James Webb, stay with us here.
Has the fall of the Taliban lessened the chance for more causality that we were just talking about in Afghanistan? We're also looking for your phone calls and e-mails, when AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues.
SNOW: We're talking about the challenges still facing U.S. forces in Afghanistan with our CNN military analyst, Major General Donald Shepperd and with former Navy Secretary James Webb.
Just before we went to the break, we were talking about casualties and friendly fire and the role of -- and also the role of high-tech war.
Does it make it easier or more difficult to have a lot of high- tech gear out there in the field?
SHEPPERD: It makes it tremendously easier. We can use the entire close now, 24 hours, day and night. And we can do things in all kinds of weather.
The real big difference is we can find what we're after and we can hit it. It's not perfect, by any means, and we're always making improvements. But it is much, much easier to do the things we've always wanted to do with war, which is close (ph) with and hit targets on the enemy side.
SNOW: We have a call from Nebraska.
Nebraska caller, are you there?
CALLER: Yes, hi.
SNOW: Go ahead.
CALLER: I'm just wondering, with things seemingly wrapping up in Afghanistan, there has been a lot of talk about going on to Iraq. Why has there been so little talk about Saudi Arabia, the home of bin Laden and 15 of the 19 hijackers?
SNOW: There's been a lot of questions about whether this war should be expanded.
WEBB: Well, not only Saudi Arabia, but one of the questions that a lot of people have, including myself, is why we are giving Iran a free pass here. As of April of this year, according to our own State Department, Iran was the number-one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. And so we have this continual focus on Iraq.
But what I would suggest is that Secretary Rumsfeld and the administration have set out, through this situation in Afghanistan, a very clear prototype as to how we're going to move forward. And that is, we find countries -- we give countries the opportunity to control state-sponsored terrorism inside their countries -- in other words, to do something about it themselves, give them a clear warning. If they don't do it, then we're going to have to go in and do it for them.
And as to which -- the next target should be, we should go after the countries that are clearly sponsoring this sort of terrorism.
SNOW: Back to our man-on-the-street questions, and this links to what you just said, one from a Vietnam veteran, based on his war experience and what followed and what some called a quagmire.
WEBB: Well, this is the...
SNOW: Hold on one second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: My main concern is, is it going to end there in Afghanistan or are we going to continue this in a global hunt throughout the world, spending a lot of, maybe unnecessary, dollars on the hunt for terrorists?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEBB: Well, the most important thing is that we eliminate international terrorism in those countries where the governments will not take responsibility for it themselves.
But the way that we have done this in Afghanistan I think is important to the gentleman's question -- and that is, with the smallest amount of ground forces that you can put in. Once you put in ground forces, you have to develop defensive mechanisms for them, and it becomes a lot easier to get your people out.
So the formula that has been used here, which is aviation, naval assets, special operations and putting ground forces in for very specific targets, is the way that we should do that in the future, and you won't have a quagmire.
SNOW: But is the military prepared for that kind of -- what he's describing as a broader effort? Is the military ready for that? Do they have -- are they equipped for that?
SHEPPERD: Absolutely. I mean, this is, in many cases, a standard military confrontation. You see this being mainly an air war with special forces, and other places you may have conventional forces. In other places, it will be only an air war and other places only a naval war.
But inherent also in that question is, is this going to be worldwide, and is it going to be a quagmire? We are in a quagmire of international terrorism. We have got to get it where it is; we're going to do it.
SNOW: Let's take a call from Georgia.
Georgia caller, are you there?
CALLER: Yes, Kate. CNN is doing an incredible job covering the war. Congratulations.
I would like to ask Secretary Webb, after Afghanistan, should Saddam Hussein be the next target?
WEBB: My view is that we should be very careful in terms of the timing with the situation with Iraq because of the relationships that we have put together in order to combat international terrorism.
And we will need -- wherever we go next, we will need, I think, to apply the same formula that we have applied here in Afghanistan. We will have to find -- a government that clearly sponsors international terrorism, give them the opportunity or a warning to take care of this inside their own borders. If they ignore that warning, then do something about it with the prototype that's developed.
I don't see Iraq at this moment as fitting into that, although I'm right along with everyone in America, wanting to see Saddam Hussein go his own way.
SNOW: You think the military planners are preparing for that eventuality?
SHEPPERD: The military planners are preparing for all eventualities everywhere that they think that they could go, contingency plans.
The crosshairs are on Iraq. It may not be next; it may not be military. What you want is to change their behavior, as Jim said, and basically you want to stop their search for weapons of mass destruction, and you want a regime change. And that maybe able to be done but not militarily. But you have got to have all of those things done if you're serious about terrorism.
SNOW: What do we expect next? Take a look in the crystal ball for me. Do we -- are we looking at more casualties? I mean, it seems almost inevitable that there are going to be more casualties.
SHEPPERD: The more people that you have on the ground, the more missions you fly, the longer this goes on, of course, you are going to have more casualties. There will even be more friendly fire incidents, undoubtedly.
But we should not let that stop us. We have to do what we have to do. You can't stop because you're afraid of something bad happening in this war on terrorism.
WEBB: You mean with respect to Afghanistan, per se?
SNOW: With respect to Afghanistan.
WEBB: I see the use of the American military, to this point, as having been absolutely superb, the strategy that has been used, the tactics that have been used.
We have ground forces now, I think, for some very specific purposes -- interdiction of the attempt of the Taliban people to get out, perhaps even focusing in among other Afghani troops in the final hunt for the leadership and al Qaeda.
Those sorts of things carry the normal risks that combat people face. And when you're on the ground, you take casualties.
SNOW: Talk about those challenges, because you've been there. What kind of -- I mean, particularly in Afghanistan, what kind of challenges are those Marines facing?
WEBB: Well, you know, by inserting the Marines on the ground, they have to defend their own perimeter, their own assets that they put in there, and then also have the ability to conduct offensive operations.
There are two types of offensive operations that they will be conducting. One is in aggressive security of their own defense, and then the other is when they're called upon to do specific tasks. And those tasks are best known by the Pentagon rather than me, but I would assume at some point that they are going to include offensive combat.
SNOW: Our thanks to both of you. Thanks so much to former Navy secretary James Webb and CNN military analyst Major General Don Shepperd, as always.
Coming up, the American who fought on the side of the Taliban. Two radio talk show hosts weigh in on the strange case of James Walker, when AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues.
SNOW: The "New York Post" asks "Poor fellow or traitor?" this week about American John Walker. The Post says, "Looks like a rat, talks like a rat, smells like a rat, hides like a rat, and is a rat."
Our next guests have some strong opinions on the young American who fought for the Taliban. Joining us from Boston is Nancy Skinner. She co-hosts a talk show radio -- radio talk show on Chicago radio station WLS. And here in Washington, nationally syndicated columnist and radio talk show host, Armstrong Williams.
Thank you both for being with us today.
I made a mistake, right before the break, it's John Walker that we're talking about, not James.
Let's talk a little bit more about him. Start with you, Mr. Williams. You have very strong opinions about what ought to happen. What ought to happen to this young man?
ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You know, I have my passport here with me. I brought it for a specific purpose, because I travel overseas a lot. And our passport tells us how we can lose our nationality. And it says, by making a declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or by serving in the armed forces. So he's no longer, in my opinion, an American citizen. He's a traitor.
And obviously, there are many people who have sympathy for what he's done, but our sympathy is not his birth right. His birth right is in the Constitution of the United States, which tells us what happens, it duly lays out to us what happens to us when we trade in our citizenship to a foreign government.
Many people have died on September the 11th. I mean, people have died. Our way of life has changed. Many of us have not flown. Our economy has changed.
For us to try to sympathize with this kid who went over and fought on the side of the Taliban, which was the culprit and responsible for what happened on 9-11, is inexcusable. And he should be tried as a traitor to this nation.
SNOW: In a military tribunal or here in United States or what?
WILLIAMS: Well, the military tribunal is for non-citizens. He has to come back here in America and face prosecution, and he should face prosecution.
SNOW: Nancy Skinner, what do you think? What should happen to John Walker?
NANCY SKINNER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, you know, obviously, what he's done is atrocious. We all agree on that.
But the problem is, it seems to me, there's not a garbage can for this guy. Armstrong pulled out his passport -- and God love Armstrong, I do -- but this is not a foreign state that we recognize, the Taliban. They are not recognized, so he doesn't lose his citizenship over this. So, you can't use a military tribunal, because he is a citizen.
And what is the crime here? If he was shooting at Northern Alliance forces, is that a crime? That's not clear. In terms of treason, you need two eye witnesses. That's the letter of the law in the Constitution.
If we have them, terrific, try him for treason. My concern is, is that we don't throw away the letter of the law and the Constitution in our pursuit to get him.
WILLIAMS: I just think...
SKINNER: Tragically, no one's sympathizing with him, Armstrong, but you cannot walk all over the Constitution.
WILLIAMS: I actually think that your argument is bordering on a level of absurdity and preposterous, by saying to the American people, by insulting their intelligence, by saying we need two eye witnesses, when this guy was arrested, fighting on the side of the Taliban, not only against the United States and its allies but also the Northern Alliance.
SKINNER: Wait a minute. Then, Armstrong, you're saying the Constitution is preposterous because it says that in the Constitution that for treason it requires two eye witnesses. It's not my argument, that's what's in the Constitution. And my concern...
WILLIAMS: He has admittedly said...
SKINNER: ... like anything else, is that we...
WILLIAMS: ... he was fighting on the side of the... SKINNER: ... just keep...
WILLIAMS: ... Taliban, along with his...
SKINNER: ... ripping up the Constitution...
WILLIAMS: ... with his parents.
SKINNER: ... because of whatever reason, because we got to get the Taliban, because of -- we're worried about terrorists at home. The Constitution doesn't change whether we're in war, whether we're not. It is what it is, and we abide by it.
And hopefully, we can find a way to prosecute this guy, but you can't go running around the law and the Constitution.
SNOW: You mean to say that he has told his parents that he...
SNOW: ... that he fought.
SNOW: Well, haven't other Americans fought? I mean, for example, in the Spanish war, there were anti-Franco forces, Americans, who were fighting over there in the revolution. What's wrong with Americans going overseas and being involved?
WILLIAMS: There's much that's wrong with it. It's treason.
Most parents -- the majority of parents in this country raise their children to be productive citizens, to defend the flag, and to build America -- build this country we call America. This guy is destructive to America. He goes against every principle that we believe in.
And you know what else? It would be an affront if this guy is not prosecuted, for those who are in tombs still in the Pentagon and in the World Trade Center for what he has done. It adds insult and injury to those parents and families...
WILLIAMS: ... and to this country that has lost their loved ones.
SKINNER: OK. I admire what you're saying about this country. That is why you don't rip up what makes this country great -- the Constitution, the rule of law, the civil liberties.
That is what we're fighting for here.
And just because we know this guy is scum and something should happen, we don't rip those documents up. We don't forego those civil liberties or look the other way, because that's what this is about. That's what we're fighting for, to keep this country great.
SNOW: We've just been handed a note here, Nancy, that says that CNN has confirmed that the U.S. military says Walker is being held at Camp Rhino for his own protection. He's being held over there in a special place to make sure that he's not harmed.
But I have to tell you, Nancy Skinner, that most of the e-mails we have here are not on your side of this one.
Here's one: "The young man who fought against his country should be prosecuted and receive the maximum possible sentence. What he did is treason, period."
Is there reason for the U.S. to be protecting him at Camp Rhino?
SKINNER: Yes, absolutely. Because obviously he is a traitor. I'm not saying he's not a traitor -- he is -- and that he shouldn't be prosecuted. I'm just saying it's tricky. I hope we follow the law. That's all I'm saying, that there are laws.
If there is a way to prosecute him that does not rip up the Constitution or the laws, fine. As I said, it's just tricky because there doesn't seem to be a garbage can for this guy. And my fear is we've lost so many civil liberties already, that we're looking the other way on so many things. For what? For our security because we want to get all of these terrorists? Whatever the reason is, you can't do that.
SNOW: One more e-mail here, and this one is on the other side. "I think John Walker was there to study and live a Muslim life and got caught up in a war that he couldn't get out of. He's guilty of nothing but being stupid." That's from Carl.
WILLIAMS: We're not talking about a 20-year-old who has a charge of drinking and being reckless. We're talking about a 20-year-old who understands what the Taliban is, understands what their indoctrination is. He chose, he used his personal freedom to fight on the side of the Taliban. He is an adult and should be held accountable as an adult. It's inexcusable.
SNOW: Nancy Skinner, how much anti-war sentiment is there out there? Are there people who sympathize with -- sympathize maybe isn't the right word -- but people who understand why John Walker might have gotten confused and was over there? What are you hearing from your audience?
SKINNER: If there is, I haven't met anyone yet. I think the American public is amazingly united in their support of what we're doing there.
This is self-defense. This isn't like some past excursions in South American and Central America where we questioned what was going on.
And I don't think most people -- I agree that John Walker is a traitor. That's not what I'm saying.
But, you know, that's the concern here, that the emotion and the passion of what's going on does not somehow blind us to what's happening. And then we're going to look back in 10 years and 20 years and say, "What happened? We gave up what made us great -- our civil liberties, you know, the constitutional rights." I think that's -- I think that's what we have to be very vigilant about through this.
SNOW: What should -- where should he -- what should happen next to John Walker? When should he be brought back? Where should he go?
WILLIAMS: As quickly as possible. And I must tell you, you have to be very careful bringing him back to the United States because he could incite a lot of anger and malice from Americans. Because, listen, we're not talking about Muslims, who people would probably understand would probably have some what an allegiance to that Muslim world. We're talking about an American.
If we were talking about an Muslim, I'm sure Nancy's position would be probably different. I wouldn't matter to me if he were Muslim or whatever, he is a traitor, and he committed treason.
SNOW: Pardon me for one second, Armstrong Williams. We're going to go now to Rob Morrison, who is a pool reporter, I understand, at Camp Rhino in Afghanistan.
SNOW: OK, we'll have more to talk about when we come back from this break. Our guests will take your phone calls and e-mails. We'll talk more about John Walker when AMERICA'S NEW WAR continues.
SNOW: We're talking about what should be done with John Walker, the young American who fought for the Taliban, with radio talk show hosts Nancy Skinner and Armstrong Williams.
We're going to continue a lively discussion here.
Let me get to an e-mail here first. It says, "Could John Walker have become involved in the Taliban similar to some of Americans who get involved in a cult and become so desensitized that they are unaware of reality?" From Gary in West Virginia.
This is what essentially his mother has said, that she thinks perhaps he's been brainwashed. And in that case, does he really deserve the ultimate punishment?
WILLIAMS: You know, parents will love their children no matter what they do, and they are blinded by their children. They don't always want to see the truth.
But it's obvious what the truth is. This kid knew exactly what he was doing. Of all the places in the world, he decided to go, he decided to go the Pakistan. They he became involved with the Taliban. Like I said, it was his choice.
Do I have sympathy for this guy? No, I hate to admit it. I have none at all, really I don't.
SKINNER: OK, so we agree on that.
WILLIAMS: Because to me -- to me, he is no different than the terrorists that committed that bloody act on American soil on 9-11 and should be treated as such. He does not deserve our sympathy. Enough people in this country does, but not he. He doesn't deserve it, nor should he get it.
SKINNER: We agree on that, Armstrong. It is his responsibility. He's grown up. Whether it was a cult or whatever, it doesn't matter. He's responsible for his actions. And as parents, of course, love their children.
And in fact, it was reported today that Osama bin Laden's mother said that she's not angry with Osama bin Laden, that she disagrees with some of what he's done, but she is mad at the Western media and loves him and is praying for his safety.
Look at that. To the extent that Osama bin Laden's mother is still on his side, I can see where the parents of this guy, John Walker, feel the way they do. But it does not absolve him of his responsibility for the choices he's made.
In the end, I just want to make sure that we follow the law. If we can charge him, great. It doesn't look -- what's the crime here? If he shot at Northern Alliance forces, what do you charge him with? How is that a crime in the United States?
WILLIAMS: He was carrying an AK-47 when he was caught. Is that enough for you?
SKINNER: In Afghanistan. How is that...
WILLIAMS: An AK-47.
SKINNER: How is that a crime in the United States to be carrying an -- whatever kind of weapon in Afghanistan? Under what U.S....
WILLIAMS: He was fighting on the side of the Taliban.
SKINNER: Well, OK, then you're saying it's treason. So if it's treason, you need two eyewitnesses or a confession. If he confesses, great. If you've got two eye witnesses, great. If you don't, Armstrong, then you have a problem on your hands.
WILLIAMS: You know, I am not sitting here not advocating the fact that this boy is deserving of a hearing. My attitude is that he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I do not want his civil liberties violated. But he should face a court.
That is not the argument here today. The argument is the fact that he is a terrorist, he committed treason, and he should be treated as such.
SKINNER: But I'm saying, get specific here. Yes, OK, get specific. That's the problem. We agree he's a bad guy and something should happen, but the problem comes in when you get more specific with it, Armstrong.
What are you going to charge him with? What's the specific...
SKINNER: OK, treason. And you need...
SNOW: Who are the witnesses?
SKINNER: Then you need the witnesses. OK, the...
WILLIAMS: The soldiers who arrested him. Is that enough?
WILLIAMS: Are they not witnesses?
SKINNER: Did they see him? You need two...
WILLIAMS: Yes, right.
SKINNER: You need two eye-witnesses who saw him in the act of treason.
WILLIAMS: You assume you have all of the information.
SKINNER: It's in the Constitution.
WILLIAMS: He was arrested.
SKINNER: Of course he was arrested. But that -- but being arrested and being tried and convicted are two different things, Armstrong.
WILLIAMS: Why are his parents defending him if he did not commit this act? Why are they not saying, "Well, he did not commit an act. Are there any witnesses?" Why are they not saying what you are saying?
I think what you are saying is bordering -- it's just getting to be ridiculous in here. I don't mean no harm. I have respect for you, but I just think you're just out to lunch on this one. I'm sorry.
SKINNER: Read the Constitution, read the Constitution, Armstrong.
WILLIAMS: I have.
SNOW: Let me stop for one second. For the two of you, one final question just in the time we have remaining. The two of you, what are hearing from your listeners? What are your listeners saying about this? Ten seconds each.
WILLIAMS: Do you really want to know?
WILLIAMS: They said, "Execute him and never allow him back on American soil."
SNOW: Nancy Skinner?
SKINNER: All right. Well, you know what, something has got to be done with this guy. And the thing that they pointed out was that Mike Spann, who was a hero, the CIA agent who died, actually was side by side with guy who was fighting his country and what terrible irony that is.
SNOW: Well, we have to go now. Thank you so much to Nancy Skinner and Armstrong Williams for joining us.
And thank you for watching today. I am Kate Snow in Washington.
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