The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ON TV
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TRANSCRIPTS
Return to Transcripts main page

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

War in Iraq: Baghdad Bombed

Aired March 24, 2003 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Daryn Kagan, live in Kuwait City. Let's take a look at the latest headlines.
Baghdad has felt more coalition bombs and missiles. Witnesses say the Iraqi Air Force building was among the targets on Sunday and just 60 miles south of Baghdad, U.S. Apache helicopters attacked a Republic Guard armored division.

The Predator drone has seen its first action in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Pentagon said that a Predator dropped a Hellfire missiles on a mobile antiaircraft gun in Southern Iraq. Predators were used to patrol the old Southern No-Fly Zone in Iraq and they did see action in Afghanistan.

And in Southern Iraq, U.S. Marines are now in control of a regional Baath Party headquarters in the port city of Umm Qasr. The 15th Expeditionary Unit retrieved weapons and munitions in a late- night attack as Iraqis fled through the back of the building.

About 60 miles south of Baghdad, Apache helicopters attacked a Republican Guard armored division. Our Karl Penhaul accompanied the 11th Attack Helicopter Regiment. He says the choppers ran into what he describes as a wall an antiaircraft fire.

The U.S. helicopters targeted Republican Guard tanks and artillery pieces.

Those are the headlines at this hour. Now back to Aaron, in Atlanta.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Daryn, thank you very much.

You mentioned Karl Penhaul and his work, he's had quite a night. The people he's been working with have been involved in some serious activity and have been for the last couple of hours assessing that activity.

Karl, why don't you pick up the story from there.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Aaron.

I've been -- day has now broken here over the airfields where the Apache's have come back here to stage. The pilots are now stirring. They've managed to grab a couple of hours sleep underneath their helicopters. I've been walking around, talking to them, and finding out about their experiences last night, and also seeing some of the damage that has been done to their aircraft.

One of the pilots described what they flew into last night as a hornet's nest. He was describing that antiaircraft fire and small arms fire was coming from all sides.

The area that they flew in to was north of a town called Al Hilal (ph) and to one side of another town called Kabala (ph), both on the southern side of Baghdad. It's a largely urban area, and these pilots have been talking about how civilians or certainly from civilian areas, antiaircraft fire and small arms fire was coming literally from all sides.

The pilot's mission -- the pilots of the 11th Helicopter Attack Task Force, their mission was to hit hard a Republican Guard armored brigade, knock out some tanks, knock out some artillery pieces. But most of them said that they weren't able to achieve those objectives.

The ones that flew into the heavy antiaircraft, really, what they spent nearly a couple of hours in the air doing was defending themselves against that artillery fire and trying to get out of the area.

This morning, walking around, I can only describe the atmosphere as somewhat dazed, somewhat stunned. The pilots, most of them, have said to me, we just didn't expect this. We didn't figure that it was going to be like this. This wasn't what they had planned for, and they're dismayed that they met that kind of resistance from what they believed would be strictly civilian areas -- Aaron.

BROWN: And so the mood there is somber and the men are stunned. I think that's -- it's a disquieting description.

Do you know what their plan is? What's the next step? Any ideas -- we don't mean to give this away in that way. I'm not sure I very eloquently phrased the question. What is the next thing they're going to do?

PENHAUL: Well, many -- talking to many of the pilots, they've done a rudimentary assessment of the problems. Most of them say that they took 15, 20 rounds. 20 rounds could be small arms fire, could be a 30-mm round.

One of the pilots even took some RPG rounds, some rocket rounds, to one of his engines. That totally destroyed the engine and he managed to fly back, he and his pilot, managed to fly that aircraft back with just one engine. He said at one stage they dropped down into an urban area to a height of about 15 or 20 feet, no more, before they managed to regain control and fly that back.

The end result of that, Aaron, is that some of these aircraft are not serviceable in the state that they are at the moment. They have to be checked. Many of them may be able to fly, sure, but certainly they'll have to undergo thorough checks before they even start them up again. So that will obviously be a factor in deciding what the next step of the plan is -- Aaron.

BROWN: Karl, I don't want to lose you yet, but I do want to bring General Clark into this.

You're listening to this. Just a couple of quick thoughts as you listen to Karl's reporting.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, we've been talking about executing an operation like this for a long time. We really bought the Apaches to do this. We were going to do it against the Soviets.

BROWN: This is a deep penetration operation.

CLARK: It's a deep battle mission, core-level, deep battle mission. Go in 60, 80 miles deep.

We developed the Army Tactical Missile System to support it. We've done it in exercises. We've practiced it, we've rehearsed it. It depends on good intelligence. And to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time we've ever done it.

As you know, we did not utilize this kind of a mission -- you may not know this, but during the Gulf War, we tried to do it, but it was at the very end of the war, and it got called off before we could really go after them.

And in that battle, the Republican Guards were retreating. It would have been an ideal target.

This was apparently a dug-in force. And for the Apaches to be effective, they need standoff, and you've got to know precisely where the enemy is.

BROWN: Standoff...

CLARK: Standoff. So you've got a missile that can shoot 7,000 meters, and you want to be away from where he has small arms that can engage the Apaches as you're shooting. You want to come in there, use your radar, locate those enemy vehicles, pop, pop, pop, release a bunch of Hellfire missiles, boop, boop, boop, and back, and you're out of there.

It didn't work that way. But on the other hand, it sounds like we got all, or almost all, the birds back. A lot will be learned from this. We'll make the appropriate adjustments and move on.

BROWN: Karl, if you at any point want to jump in here, you always have the floor, given the circumstances you're working in.

But just, General, let me ask one -- why...

PENHAUL: Sure, yes, and I think, Aaron, just to add in there, I think that one of the points that -- you made the comment there that the A-model Apaches, the first generation of Apaches, weren't used in this manner in the first Gulf War. The Iraqis were drawn out into open territory and then the Apaches were able to standoff, pickoff targets and destroy them.

Here the Apaches, the latest generation, the long-bow, were flying into built-up areas, to urban areas, and to all extent, urban areas, not just one city, but a corridor of urban areas, built-up areas, on either side of this strategic corridor, and that's where they were taking weapons fire from both sides of that.

So very different from the type of role that the Apache fulfilled in the first Gulf War.

BROWN: General, and Karl, you seem pretty smart on this stuff too, I must say, bless you. Why not -- why not go in there with these precise bombs and missiles that we've been talking about.

Why not -- wouldn't that be a whole lot safer to do? Why not do it that way?

CLARK: Well, that's the proverbial argument between the air force and the army on this. And the air force will always tell you, standoff 20,000 feet, 22,000 feet, and get above all of this and then just pick them off piece by piece by piece...

BROWN: If you can put it through a window, as they say, with the cruise missile, why not do it that way?

CLARK: It's a question of target acquisition. Can you see the target as well from up there? Can you -- will you find that enemy tank and can you service -- can you strike enough targets as rapidly as you want to?

The idea between these Apaches would be, if you bring up 10 Apaches, each carrying 10 missiles, with a .98 hit probability once you lock on to that target and shoot it, you'd like to come out with the devastation of that force, and you would like to think that with very high power optics, at night, from a distance, that will show the heat of the Iraqi vehicles, you'd see them and strike them.

So it was an effort.

BROWN: Let me ask you question of both of you, here. Karl, was there any talk, was there any feeling in the reporting you've done that the Iraqis are defending themselves in a way different than the American plan suggested?

PENHAUL: I think the suggestion -- one of the suggestions were is that the Iraqis, certainly this Republican Guard unit, hasn't been tempted to get drawn out into the open and it has very much dug into an urban area like this. And I think that that is really what surprised the pilots.

Having been with this unit now for the best part of two weeks, or more than two weeks now, I've seen how hard the U.S. military intelligence guys are working, the dedication, as well as the pilots themselves.

But what has surprised them is that the fire that they were expecting to come from military emplacement came from civilian areas. They're wondering whether that's civilians firing on them or military emplacement in -- disguised as civilian buildings.

BROWN: General.

CLARK: Well, I mean, so -- we're looking at target posture, dug- in versus moving.

BROWN: Got it.

CLARK: We're looking a the precise knowledge of where the enemy is and we're looking at the requirement to return fire and the consequences of doing so and -- all of which are variables here in trying to bring the enormous U.S. military technological edge to bear against the Iraqis.

So let's say the -- let's say the Apache pilots just turned loose and said, that's it, you know, you're shooting at me from that building, we'll take that one out, we'll take that one out. You don't know who's in those buildings.

If it's a rifleman or a machine-gunner firing from an apartment occupied by 20 or 30 families. And this is part of the -- this is the context in which we're going to have to conduct these operations as we close in around Baghdad.

It's a very challenging military environment.

BROWN: I guess -- you know, maybe I'm just sort of dancing around something here. Does any of this -- is there a broad implication to any of this? What is the -- does it change in any way your view of the way the war has to be carried out? Have they done something totally unexpected? Did they -- I guess that's the question.

CLARK: No. We knew they would dig in. We knew they'd be in built-up areas. We knew they would, you know, put a tank next to a mosque or put an antiaircraft gun on an apartment building roof.

The question is, how are we going to go at them and what will the consequences be when we do that.

In World War II, we would have flattened neighborhoods. We would have brought in the B-17s in something like this and carpet bombed. We'd have killed, you know, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of innocent people. Some of these people are probably being held their against their will, by the way, by the Iraqis, as human shields.

So now we've got more precise weaponry. We've got to find the way to use it. And there is a bit of trial and error in warfare. We'll bring back the high altitude precision strike. You can be sure the air force will be back in there working that area tomorrow morning. And we'll see what we can do with it.

And you can be sure a predator will be over it, or whatever it is it takes to get a look at it, and that unit -- we'll be working against that unit, steadily and consistently.

But one thing, Aaron, that this does show is that when you get in complex terrain like this, it soaks up man power and units, and it takes time to solve these military problems, just as we saw in the little battle of Umm Qasr last night. It's not like fighting in the open desert.

BROWN: Karl, you get the last word if you want it. Otherwise, we'll let you go on your way and do some additional reporting.

PENHAUL: Yes, just quickly, Aaron, yes, what the general is saying seems to be correct, from how we can read it on the ground here.

This particular area, where last night's fight took place, again, very strategic, a number of major highways leading up through that area, a number of major river crossings. I think it is a question that the U.S. Army is looking to reduce the impact on civilians and indeed the pilots, before they set off last night, were told by their commanders.

BROWN: Karl, again, this has been quite a difficult night for you out there. We appreciate your reporting, getting back to us as often as you've been able to. Thank you very much, Karl Penhaul, in what turned into something more than was anticipated and a kind of interesting look at how the Iraqi side, as it gets closer to Baghdad, the Iraqi side intends to fight this.

We talk a lot about Baghdad, we've talked a lot about all of these places. We ought to from time to time at least remind people where all of these places are located, because they're important fights going on, important battles going on. They have importance.

We were in Umm Qasr yesterday, which is to the south, this port city. Basra has always been a key place for the Americans in their strategy to take control of that. The feeling is that the population there will be sympathetic, a Shia population, mostly, no love lost for Saddam Hussein there. It's a good sized city, I believe the 2nd largest city in Iraq, and it's an important city to take. And so the battle there has been going on. The move towards there has been going on. Not to take over the city in entirety, but to make it safe and secure.

There's been some reporting on that by the British pool team, the Battle for Basra, and the correspondent filing it is Juliet Bremner.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JULIET BREMNER, JOURNALIST (voice-over): In the hands of the British Army, but far from safe.

Basra Airport is now secured. The foot patrols know that the ground around could be mined. And the snipers remain a serious threat.

The ultimate goal is the southern port of Basra, but the Iraqis, with their limited weapons, aren't giving up without a fight.

The mortars have been busy all day. Their fire is being directed at Iraqi tanks, dug-in along the main highway. But at one stage, the company commander called for more American air support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris (ph), I'm told we've got a Wild Eagle mission coming in to have a look in depth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you got it yet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

BREMNER: It's tougher going than the British expected. Tanks are being targeted by machine guns mounted on the back of civilian pickup trucks.

With their overwhelming combat power, the coalition are winning. The decimated remains of Iraqi armor litters the road. The strikes are so powerful, it melts the tracks.

Progress is sometimes frustratingly slow. The troops are digging in for a lengthy stay as artillery bursts overhead.

Just how long it will take to reach Basra is still impossible to forecast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Difficult to tell at the moment. The situation is quite confused in Basra itself. We're going to the pockets on the outskirts, which we've also been told are going to try to delay us. They're interfering as we try to cross the bridges, using indirect fire, mortars. So we're expecting some opposition in Basra soon.

BREMNER: Iraqi soldiers who surrendered are brought behind British lines, but all the indications are that many more are still in the city and prepared to fight.

(on camera): The Battle for Basra is still raging along this road. The (UNINTELLIGIBLE) have managed to move up a couple of miles in the face of constant enemy fire, but they are now on the outskirts of this strategically important city.

(voice-over): The battle group is closing in on its target, but taking Iraq's 2nd city is proving to be an uphill struggle.

Juliet Bremner, ITV NEWS, Basra.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: The Battle for Basra, from the American side today, the main storyline remains the deaths of it appears seven Americans and the capturing of five American POWs who were paraded -- that's not -- paraded is not really the right word -- who were interviewed by state- run IRAQI TV, the first American prisoners of war in this. We will update that more as we go along still before we step aside tonight.

A couple of other things we need to take care of. We need to take a short break first.

Our coverage continues in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: It's Monday morning on the East Coast, almost 1:20 on the East Coast. Those of you who have been with us for a while know the major storylines of the day.

That's Baghdad on Monday morning. I guess it would be about 9:20 there, I think that's right. It's been relatively quiet, but if you look on the horizon line -- there we go, thank you. You can still see the lines of smoke -- I don't know, David, if we have and can easily access the explosions that lit up the night sky about six hours or so ago.

But there was a series of explosions. We were on the air at the time. It was just the middle of the night, and it was a quiet middle of the night. It was quite dark -- it was quite dark as night often is, Aaron, thank you. And then all of the sudden the skyline -- we heard these loud...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(EXPLOSION)

BROWN (voice-over): ... loud explosions. And it seemed in just a matter of seconds, perhaps it was longer than that, the sky, which had been so dark, nothing but the city lights, and you started to see then orange that tells you the fire is burning. And then, as you look now, you can see a little tracer, looks like a little antiaircraft fire on the right side of the screen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

But there wasn't a lot of it, and that doesn't answer -- it may or may not answer a question, I suppose, but again, we have a limited number of cameras and Baghdad is a big city, a city of almost 5 million people, and we have four camera locations, fixed camera locations.

But as you look on the horizon line, you can see the smoke still moving across the line.

Anyway, we'll see what today brings. There isn't much activity in that part of Baghdad, not much traffic, no people to speak of. That's going to become the most famous building in the world, I think, because, you know, we're all using the same pool shot of that, broadcasters around the world, and that's one of them, and someday, people are going to say remember that two-story building I Baghdad we looked at for two days.

The most difficult story of the day, I think, for reporters and for Americans, has been the POWs and the ambush that preceded it. The ambush was in southern Iraq. The group of 12 soldiers from the 507th Maintenance Company, Fort Bliss, Texas, was in southern Iraq when they were attacked.

At least five members of that group were captured. Apparently, as many as seven were killed. The circumstances of their deaths is still not precisely clear. Some extraordinarily disquieting, vile, in our view, video of their bodies, was shown around the world. They would show tight shots of faces and the worst sorts of things. Al Jazeera did it. In fairness to Al Jazeera, others did it as well.

Also shown around the world were interviews with the captured Americans. These were shot by state -- Iraqi state TV. And then they were broadcast as well by Al Jazeera.

Secretary of State Rumsfeld (sic) this morning, when this -- Sunday morning, when this first came out, said he believed the interviews and the way they were conducted by Iraqi state TV represented a violation of the Geneva conventions, which say you cannot humiliate a POW. But in any case, they have been widely seen around the world.

This was the subject of a lot of talk in this building today, about how we were going to handle all of this, given that they have been seen around the world. CNN will not air any of the interviews at all until we are certain, of course, that the families of the captured Americans have been formally -- have been notified by the army and then we will only air a very brief clip.

The reason we are going to air the brief clip, and I know some of you will have some problems with this decision -- I understand that -- is, first of all, it's important to see who they are. We're not in the business of sanitizing the news, sanitizing war, but it's also important to show that they are in custody.

As one of the generals that we were talking to earlier today said, simply by showing this to the world, these young soldiers, we help insure their safety, because the responsibility for them, the condition they were taken in and the condition that they ultimately are released in, is now in the hands of the Iraqi government.

Now, we know the family of Joseph Hudson, one of the Americans, is aware of his capture. We talked with his mom earlier. We'll show that again. She came across this in the worst possible way, we admit. She was watching a Filipino satellite TV feed from her home in New Mexico and so, here, briefly, is what it looked like and what Joe Hudson sounded like to her and to the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name?

JOSEPH HUDSON, CAPTURED U.S. SOLDIER: Specialist Joseph Hudson, 58565...

(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: General, that's -- it's a tough shot to look at. As strong as that young man sounded and as difficult a night as he's having, no doubt, and there are four others, and my best guess is that families have been notified. It's been a long time. But it's difficult stuff.

We said when we first played this that he sounded like a strong kid.

CLARK: He does sound like a strong kid to me, and he sounds like he's got the kind of temperament who is going to hold up under this and he's going to, you know, give strong resistance.

BROWN: Now, how he sounds to us, sitting here, is obviously different than how he sounds to his mom. And his mom, Anecita Hudson, lives out in New Mexico. As we said, she found out about this -- there's no easy way to find out about this, but she found out about it in the worst imaginable way. She was watching television and was blindsided by this, and she didn't -- not see just this brief clip, but a longer one.

We talked to Mrs. Hudson earlier tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANECITA HUDSON, MOTHER OF CAPTURED SOLDIER: He's a really good son and a good husband and I know he misses us and we miss him.

BROWN: He has...

A. HUDSON: And...

BROWN: And -- I'm sorry. He has a young child, does he not?

A. HUDSON: Yes, sir. He got a young child, five years old.

BROWN: You have now been contacted formally by the army. What were they able to tell you?

A. HUDSON: No, sir, I have not been contact from the army, but my daughter-in-law is. She was in briefing today in Fort Bliss.

BROWN: At Fort Bliss, in Texas, and what was -- and what were they able to say?

A. HUDSON: According to her, that -- be brave here. That Joe is going to be OK and the government try to get him out of there, where he is right now.

BROWN: When you saw him -- when did you last see or talk to him?

A. HUDSON: When I saw him today, being videoed on the Filipino channel, I was so shocked and I was very confused, and I started crying.

BROWN: Mrs. Hudson, before today, when was the last time you saw Joseph?

A. HUDSON: Three weeks ago, before he got deployed.

BROWN: And when you saw him today and heard his voice, did he sound -- he seemed to sound OK, didn't he?

A. HUDSON: He looks OK, but I can see his face, that he's confused and scared. He's very scared. That's why I start crying, because he looked so scared.

BROWN: Mrs. Hudson, this is so hard for you, and we so appreciate your willingness to give us a much better window into who your son is. I know that not only are you dealing with this, but you are, as we talk, waiting and hoping for a kidney donation. There's a lot going on in your life, and it must be a most difficult time.

General Clark, you've had to make these calls and deal with this. What would you like to say to Mrs. Hudson?

CLARK: Mrs. Hudson, I hope you'll have courage and I hope you'll say your prayers and we want you to know that I'm sure the U.S. Army and the U.S. government are going to do everything they possibly can do to get your son home safe and sound. He has been trained. He's with his comrades in this unit. He is a live right now and the president has said it's the responsibility of the Iraqi government to keep him alive and treat him humanely, in accordance with the Geneva convention.

BROWN: Mrs. Hudson...

A. HUDSON: Yes, sir.

BROWN: Is there anything that -- there must be a million thoughts rolling through your mind, and I suspect a lot of them are just kind of messy. Is there anything you would like to say to us, to all of the people watching, about your son or anything else?

A. HUDSON: Yes, sir. I just would like to -- the president of the United States of America, that will do something about it, to save my son, and I want him to come home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And we said to her right after that, Mrs. Hudson, there are 250 million Americans who also want your son to come home.

I'm not sure what the journalism is in what I'm about to say. Just, when you're doing these interviews, you don't watch the interviews, you just do them, and just, General, you look at her face, and the fear in her face, and the anxiety in her face, and you say, man, this is, for one family, and there are other families that are going through this tonight, but for one family, this is a terrible ordeal that they are now going to have to endure.

CLARK: It is going to be a hard ordeal, but you want to reach out and put your arm around her and say, you know, you've got a great son.

You looked at that young man, there. You looked at the character in his face, and that's her assurance that he's going to make it.

BROWN: David, put up, if we can, the picture of Joseph Hudson again, just so you know who we're talking about. He's -- Mr. Hudson, Specialist Hudson has a 5-year-old son. He's married. Based at Fort Bliss, Texas. His wife got the call from the Army today, and there is a support system in place in Texas to help her deal with it.

There are four other families in the Fort Bliss community, who are also dealing with this. And certainly, by tomorrow, early tomorrow, we will -- you will see their faces, too, and judge for yourself, I suppose. But again, the rules of war, the Geneva Convention is now in play and the president made it clear, tonight -- today that he expects these people, these five Americans to be treated under the rules of the Geneva Convention or those who do not will be held accountable, in the president's words.

Take a break to update you, those of you who might be just joining us on the major headlines of the day. Duty falls on Daryn Kagan, all the way over there in Kuwait City -- Daryn.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning from Kuwait City, Aaron. It's just after 9:30 in the morning here, and here is the latest in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

There is not let up in the battering of Baghdad. Witnesses say that an Iraqi Air Force building was among the targets hit today by coalition bombs. And some buildings hit in previous southeast of the capital were targeted once again.

U.S. Marines have captured a regional BAF Party headquarters building in the southern port city of Umm Qasr. The 15th Expeditionary Unit retrieved weapons and munitions in the late night attack, as Iraqis fled through the back of the building.

There's a search and rescue operation in southern Iraq for two missing British soldiers. The British Defense Ministry says the two were attacked on Sunday. Earlier Sunday, two British pilots were killed when their Tornado GR-4 was downed by U.S. Patriot missiles in Kuwait.

The Pentagon says that U.S. troops have taken a plant in Iraq that may have produced chemical weapons. The plant is in Najaf some 90 miles south of Baghdad. Officials say it's unclear what, if any, materials are still present at the plant. At least one Iraqi general was taken into custody in Najaf, and the U.S. military says he is talking.

And those are the headlines at this hour. Now back to Aaron.

BROWN: Daryn, thank you very much. You want to see if you can get the morning papers in Kuwait. We'll take a look at the headlines there. Do you have the English language papers there?

KAGAN: Got them.

BROWN: You're good. Thank you very much.

There are two English language papers in Kuwait.

KAGAN: Right.

BROWN: How are they leading the day?

KAGAN: We have the "Arab Times," right now. Haven't gotten the "Kuwaiti Times," yet. I'll show you, right now, if I can unfold the headlines. "Marines race for Baghdad. Many dead in Nasiriya battle." Talking about that intense battle.

And the picture. I don't know if you can see the picture well, but I'll describe it for you.

This is a scene from an area near, what they say, is Asbayer (ph). These are a bunch of Iraqi soldiers laying down to surrender.

And this, I'm sure you can't see the small inset picture. Yet, I'd like to describe it for you, if I can, Aaron, because it's interesting. It's a group of Iraqi boys, children signaling and waving to Marines, as they come into their area. And that's in an area very close to Basra.

So those are the pictures you see at the front page. This is the "Arab Times" here in Kuwait City.

Also talking about Iraq (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the dead, the captured. And they also -- and this is appropriate having just (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that interview with Mrs. Hudson -- talking about the POWs and the treatment that President Bush is demanding that they receive under the Geneva Convention. And that is the front page.

BROWN: Thank you. Perhaps look at the other one, too, at some point.

Kuwaitis, many Kuwaitis speak English. English is, clearly, the second language. A lot of, many Kuwaitis also come to the States for higher education, college boys do. It would be more unusual for young women in Kuwait to come to the United States for education. But you can get along, just fine, on English in Kuwait City.

Some of the headlines from newspapers around the United States that'll be landing on front doorsteps, tomorrow, for you -- I keep forgetting which camera you want me to put the headline to. OK. -- This is the "Rocky Mountain News," one of the papers in Denver, Colorado. "Fierce fighting." That picture -- let me get my fingers out of the way -- we've seen in more than one newspaper around the country and around the world.

"The Plain Dealer." That's Cleveland. "The" Cleveland "Plain Dealer" headlines it "Onslaught Meets Resistance." Well, there's the same picture, again. Everybody -- photo editors -- that's one of the great jobs -- their second story -- come back to the picture for me for a second, Chris (ph). "Marines win costly fight" is the sub-headline, there. And just as -- obviously, all the newspapers, all the big and good newspapers are doing a lot of coverage in special sections on the war.

The "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" tomorrow, "U.S. Casualties Mount As Iraq Puts Up A Fight." The thing we noticed, this newspaper has packed its front page with major stories. They have the POW story on the front page. They have a broad story about how the war is going. A story, as you can see, on the president and his reaction. And they even get, all the way at the bottom, a story on their front page dealing with the Camp Pennsylvania incident. Grenade Attack Suspect Shot at fellow soldiers.

So the editors at the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" packed the front page. "The Charlotte Observer" U.S. British Hit Deadly Resistance". Again, the theme of the day is that Sunday, and these are Monday newspapers, of course, surprise attacks, accidents, whipsaw allies is the way the good folks in Charlotte, North Carolina.

We do the "Arkansas Democrat Gazette" because we like the paper and because it's General Clark's hometown paper, there, in Little Rock. Fighting turns fierce" is the way they headline it, and they put big picture on the front page, too.

I guess "USA Today" gets all the credit for putting color in newspapers, so we ought to, at least, show their headline. But there's one other one -- Now, if I can find it, I want to get to, also. Here it is. OK. Here's "USA Today," if you're traveling. Around the country tomorrow, this may very well appear at your hotel room or in a newsstand or at the airport. "Allied troops endure toughest day of fighting". And that picture -- look at that picture. We've seen a lot of those combat pictures and, again, we are great fans of still pictures.

Wrong turn turns -- turn with tragic results. This is the story of the 507th group that was -- took such a heavy hit. The POWs came out of that. Twelve soldiers, there. The POWs came out of there. And it's believed they took a wrong turn.

They were, by the way -- I'm not sure we've said this in a while -- they were a maintenance group. They were, basically, towing a -- what was it, a water...

CLARK: Well, you had one tow truck there pulling a water trailer, and they had some tool trucks with them and their supplies and kit.

BROWN: And we'll end this on "The Tennessean" for just a nice example of why, how newspapers do try and localize. Their lead is the lead. "American soldiers die in ambushes" and "trickery." But you can see, very prominently, on the front page "Suspect in 101st attack opposed to war in Iraq." Their big picture in the newspaper is the picture of that suspect, Asan Akbar, sitting, being guarded, hands behind him. And this is -- "The Tennessean's" in Nashville, Tennessee. It's a great old newspaper. And it's not far from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, where the 101st is based. So this story has particular resonance to that -- to the readers of that newspaper, and so they played it pretty hard on the front page.

Most of these newspapers also mention, in a small box, a very small box, that the Oscars went on last night. And the big storyline out of the Oscars, I suspect, after you get through that "Chicago" won the best picture, and this person won this, and that person won that, is going to be how Hollywood reacted when filmmaker Michael Moore, who won an Academy Award for his documentary, "Bowling for Columbine," I believe is the exact title. He stepped up to make his speech, and this is how it looked, for those of you who were with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: They are here. They are here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction. We like nonfiction, and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons, whether it's the fictition of duct tape or the fictitious of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) alerts. We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush. Shame on you. And any time you've got the Pope and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) against you, your time is up. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Michael Moore was roundly booed. There was some applause, and I suppose some bemusement. These things always seem to happen. There always seems to be one moment at every Academy Award that is memorable for one reason or another that has nothing to do with movies, and I guess this one will be this year's version, or that one will be this year's version.

There were some sirens going off in Baghdad. What a strange counterpoint to the other moment. The Academy Awards, on the one hand, and air raid sirens on the other hand. And if that isn't the range of something, I don't know what is.

About, coming up towards 2:00 in the East. We'll take a short break. Our coverage continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(01:52:10)

BROWN: There was a briefing at the central command in Qatar, earlier today. That's where General Tommy Franks and the top brass, both American and British are running the war, if that isn't too awkward an expression.

Jane Perlez is "The New York Times" correspondent assigned to that or, very probably, one of "The New York Times" correspondents, and Jane joins us from Qatar today.

It's good to see you. Thanks. Are you hearing anything about...

JANE PERLEZ, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Good morning, Aaron, from here.

BROWN: Are you hearing anything about this chemical factory and what it may or may not be?

PERLEZ: No, not yet, but I would expect that we may hear about it this afternoon at the briefing here in the room where you see me standing. It's fairly unusual for the briefers here, whether they be General John (UNINTELLIGIBLE), like last night, or Tommy Franks, on the first night, to come up with something like that, right away. But I'm sure they'll be asked about it, and then, I'm sure we'll get the answers.

BROWN: Is the information only coming out at the briefings or are you able to -- excuse me, Jane -- are you able to get, to do some reporting outside of that?

PERLEZ: I would say that very little comes from outside the briefings. What you see is what you get, on camera. It's very much controlled message, here. The White House has sent out a team of people to make sure that the military people stay on message. And it's the inclination of the military people to stay on message, anyway.

But we are getting information, I would say, from the Arab satellite television stations, one of which is based here, just a few miles from the base. And while it's not information, it is an Arab version of how this war is going. And that is quite interesting because, obviously, Arab viewers are very important for the American effort here. You know, it's the Arab population after all, which is going to have live with the Iraqi occupation.

BROWN: Jane, it's interesting to me -- there are a couple of things that jumped into my mind. One of them is, given how many reporters are embedded out in the field, how many reporters are wandering around on their own in the field, it seems like it's a very tough message to manage for the Pentagon or the White House. Yet, they're still trying to do it, huh?

PERLEZ: Well, I think, actually, the message out in the field is speaking for itself. And I think, in many ways, the Pentagon is loving that. I mean, what more can you ask for than to have Walt Rodgers on the race to Baghdad with the 7th Cav and admiring all the equipment and all the technology. And even General Wes Clark said, yesterday, on CNN that probably the men in the command center have those visuals of Walt with the 7th Cav up there on their own screens. It gives them some clues, as well.

So I think this real time imagery is really good for the Pentagon and, in fact, they may not have to do that much message-managing back here, which may be why we're getting so little.

BROWN: The other side -- well, it's, you know, it's one thing to see Walt and the people he's with racing across the desert, and it makes good pictures, and it certainly was interesting television, but that could come back and bite you in the sense that those -- Walt and all those other guys, if things go badly, are also in position to report it. And that is not something they can manage quite as well.

PERLEZ: Right. Well, I think that when the going gets tougher inside Baghdad, I think that it will become more difficult when we get civilian casualties. And I think that is going to be the point when the message management is going to get very difficult. The question of whether the Americans caused these casualties or whether Saddam Hussein caused these casualties, and we all know that the Iraqis are very good at propaganda, and it'll be very interesting to see how that message is managed because it's a very important moment which will affect the mood of the Arab population in the region.

BROWN: Is -- you're in a wonderful location for that -- is the Arab population getting a view of the war that is dramatically different from what you can tell? I don't know how much coverage you've seen from the American side. Of the view that the American audience and the British audience is getting of the war.

PERLEZ: Well, I think what's interesting is that the Arab population is getting both. I just called a friend of mine, a Palestinian friend of mine, very sophisticated man in Beirut, actually, a journalist. And he said, I'm sitting here flicking through the remote on 80 channels. Half of them are western. Half of them are Arab.

And he said, there's emotion on both sides. The Arab channels are raising the emotion of the Arab population vis-a-vis their antagonism towards this, what they see to be, this unjust invasion or this invasion that they don't quite understand.

And on the other side, my friend in Beirut said, I and my friends are a little bit upset at what they see as the American reporters traveling with the American soldiers being a little bit too gee-whiz.

BROWN: And you had this conversation, when?

PERLEZ: I had this conversation about an hour ago...

BROWN: Is that right?

PERLEZ: ... so he was watching those channels, yes.

BROWN: Even looking at the reporting on Sunday, which obviously was filled with a whole lot less gee-whiz, if you will, than the day before, this person still had that view that it was more light than heavy.

PERLEZ: Well, this person, you know, is -- yes, I think this person is very sophisticated. He spent some time in the States. But I think he's interpreting what less educated people might see. And I think he, himself, was -- took a little pause.

He said to me, you know, you listen to the American reporter at Umm Qasr who says, OK, the Americans brought in some air support, they dropped some bombs, and now, those Iraqi resisters have gone to Heaven. I think for his tastes, I'm sure the American reporters don't mean it that way, but perhaps it comes across as little bit too dismissive. These things can happen.

BROWN: I think that dismissive would be a gentle word for that.

Let me ask you one journalist-to-journalist question. Is it a little frustrating for you, there?

PERLEZ: Sure.

BROWN: Yes.

PERLEZ: Oh, oh, well, I have to tell you, I've been a foreign correspondent for most of my career, and I love being out in the back blocks (ph). I was in Somalia. I was in Kosovo. And I love being really there, there. And I think my colleagues know I'm not great at this kind of bureaucratic reporting. So we'll see. But it's interesting, and it's very good to be with you, Aaron.

BROWN: It's very good to be with you. It's nice to talk to you very much. I apologize for the question. I hope your editors were asleep. Thank you, Jane, very much.

PERLEZ: Oh, they'll understand.

BROWN: Thank you very much.

PERLEZ: Thank you.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




CNN US
On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.