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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Crisis in the Middle East: Day 27; Presidential Diplomacy; Peacekeeping & Peacemaking; Inside Hezbollah Lines; Strategy Session; The Fight over Iraq; City under Seige

Aired August 7, 2006 - 23:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been walking for a couple of miles now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Up close and personal on the battlefield.

And war and politics. When the votes are counted tomorrow, looking forward to being called Connecticut's comeback kid. Will a Democrat be the first political casualty in the war in Iraq?

This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, "Crisis in the Middle East: Day 27." Reporting tonight from northern Israel, here's Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, thanks very much for joining us. We are in the town of Metullah, pressed hard against the Lebanese border, a town where all night long we have been hearing a lot of outgoing shelling, Israeli artillery shelling.

Literally, you can hear the shells firing over our heads. There's a tractor passing by, some workers going to work. Even though there is constant shelling here, a constant falling of Katyusha rockets, there is some business that continues on. Farmers going to the fields to try to harvest what they can.

A lot to talk about in this hour ahead, it has been a very bloody weekend indeed. A very dirty and terrible day today -- 140 rockets hitting northern Israel today alone and over the weekend in Haifa. Some of the video you're seeing, there was blood on the streets yet again.

Let's get you up to date what happened today, and what happened over this weekend in a 360 "War Bulletin."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Scrambling to rescue survivors, crowds of Lebanese frantically dig through the ruins of a building that collapsed tonight after Israeli airstrikes pummeled the southern Beirut suburb of Shiyah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden there was a boom. And then everything came down on us. We didn't have a chance or anything. COOPER: Day 27 coming to a close, the same ferocity with which it began. Israeli forces started the day with airstrikes throughout Beirut's suburbs in southern Lebanon. Commando forces on the ground battling Hezbollah fighters.

Lebanon's prime minister, before the Arab league today, blasted one particular airstrike in Houla, calling it a horrific massacre. Initially 40 people were thought to have been killed, but later it turned out that 65 people trapped in the attack survived. Only one person is now believed to have died according to Lebanese authorities.

Hezbollah also struck hard today, launching at least 140 rockets into northern Israel, many of them exploding inside cities. Several people were injured.

Yesterday Hezbollah rocket strikes killed three Israeli civilians in Haifa, the worst strike there in a week. And closer to the border, a rocket attack killed 12 army reservists. It was the deadliest day for Israelis since the fighting began.

CAPT. GUY SPIGELMAN, I.D.F. SPOKESMAN: We're seeing today the reasons why Israel is forced to be in this action in the first place. The Hezbollah ruthless terrorist organization.

COOPER: This weekend Israeli forces claimed they had captured one of the militants responsible for abducting two Israeli soldiers last month, a kidnapping that led to the current warfare. Hezbollah denies the claim. But Israel still hopes it may be able to use the capture to get its soldiers back.

SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI VICE PRIME MINISTER: We don't feel that we have to compensate the Hezbollah, because they took hostage two of our soldiers. But if then Lebanon would like to talk about exchange of prisoners, we're always ready to.

COOPER: An exchange might help end the fighting, so may a U.N. resolution being debated now. But in the meantime, hundreds of thousands of people are caught in the crossfire and getting little relief.

The International Red Cross, today saying that Israeli forces were blocking relief efforts. The I.D.F. denies that, saying it has allowed some convoys in to help the needy, but it had to stop others because of the fighting.

For those trapped here, aid can't come fast enough, and neither can peace, which right now seems a long way off.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on camera): It certainly does seem a long way off this morning. But there are a lot of diplomatic efforts being made. The Arab League is getting involved for good or for ill, depending on your perspective, I suppose. Also a lot of efforts going on at the United Nations. Even President Bush who's down on what they call a working vacation in Crawford, Texas, has been holding meetings on the subject. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has some of the diplomatic efforts now happening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a president on vacation, the suit and tie tried to convey the seriousness and urgency that critics say was lacking during the first three weeks of the Middle East crisis.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everyone wants the violence to stop.

MALVEAUX: At a rare formal press conference at his ranch, President Bush explained his plan. Two U.N. Security Council resolutions. The first drafted with the French over the weekend, calls for a halt to the fighting.

BUSH: Hezbollah will be required to immediately stop all attacks. Israel will be required to immediately stop all offensive military operations.

MALVEAUX: It is not a formal cease-fire, as the Lebanese and key Arab allies have been calling for, but rather a so-called cessation of hostilities which allows Israel to continue to fight in self-defense.

HISHAM MELHEM, LEBANESE JOURNALIST: Cessation of hostilities is a loose term. It means that the Israelis have the right, quote unquote, "to defend themselves." Cease-fire would probably be more implementable and more serious.

MALVEAUX: And harder to achieve. The Lebanese government and Hezbollah also object to the fact that there is no call for Israeli troops to immediately withdraw.

Mr. Bush says the fear is if they pull out before the international force arrives, Hezbollah will be able to regain strength and rearm.

BUSH: Whatever happens in the U.N., we must not create a vacuum into which Hezbollah and its sponsors are able to move weapons.

MALVEAUX: To bridge the gap, Lebanon has pledged to send 15,000 of its own troops to the south, to join the small United Nations monitoring force already in the area. So the idea is, as Lebanese troops come in, Israeli troops pull out.

The U.S. envisions a second resolution which the Bush administration says will allow for a permanent cease-fire, including deployment of a bigger international force to the south.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's the Lebanese army with support from an international force that can actually prevent that vacuum from obtaining, again, in the south so that we're not right back here three or four or five months from now in the same situation. MALVEAUX (on camera): Secretary Rice is back in Washington now. The plan is to travel to New York after there's a final draft of the first resolution, perhaps as early as Wednesday.

But the bottom line is these U.N. resolutions may make little difference if the principals in this conflict, Hezbollah and Israel, do not cooperate.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Crawford, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, international peacekeeping forces do not have a great track record inside Lebanon. So what's going to make this peacekeeping force, if that's what actually ends up being in the south Lebanon, different?

We wanted to talk about that with Lee Feinstein. He's the senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, wrote a very interesting Op-Ed in the "Financial Times" today. So we asked him to come in.

Lee, thanks for being with us.

I want to read a line for how you started your Op-Ed in the paper. You said the U.S. and its allies are heading for a debacle in southern Lebanon. Why do you think that?

LEE FEINSTEIN, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, there's a concern that there's an -- that there isn't a lot of lessons being learned from past peacekeeping failures in Lebanon.

If you look at the experience of UNIFIL, which was the U.N. force, it's still in Lebanon. It was deployed originally in 1978. It was unable to fulfill any of its mandate. And if you look at the mandate that's being contemplated for this new U.N. force, it's little more than UNIFIL on steroids, and it's hard to see how it will do any better unless there are really significant changes to the force.

COOPER: So what needs to change? I mean, to learn the lessons of the past, what needs to be done differently now?

FEINSTEIN: Well, you know, there's always a temptation to throw a peacekeeping force at an intractable political problem, and that's the issue we're facing here.

First of all, the peacekeeping operation has to be understood as supporting a larger political goal. By itself, it's not going to be able to nullify Hezbollah. The Israeli defense forces are not able to do that. And unless the international community is prepared to go to war, it's hard to imagine any stabilization force under a blue helmet of operation, a U.N.-run operation, or any other kind really succeeding.

So that's the first and most important point here, which is that the peacekeeping force can buy time, it can create space, but it can't by itself address this problem.

COOPER: Well, that's one of the problems, though, because I mean, the Lebanese government seems unwilling to have sort of this large, massive, you know, 15,000-man international force on the ground. They're talking about UNIFIL just kind of, you know, revamping UNIFIL, which is already on the ground there, and as you point out, has not been very successful on its mission?

FEINSTEIN: Anderson, that's exactly the point. If there's another U.N.-led operation, and this isn't to knock the U.N., this is not what the U.N. does well, and it's probably not what the U.N. wants to do. If there's another U.N.-run operation, it's not going to be in a position to deter attacks or respond to them when the force is tested. And the force will...

COOPER: So who needs to run this operation? I mean, would France? I mean, what kind of a leader needs to run whatever this force becomes?

FEINSTEIN: Right. In the best case scenario, you have a competent military force whose prestige is on the line, run by a lead nation. You mentioned France. France is a good candidate for this. You could even have the force run by a group of nations like the European Union. But you need that kind of leadership and clear command in order to stand any chance of success.

COOPER: But you know, it's interesting too, I was at the U.S. embassy in Beirut a couple weeks ago, and there's a memorial to the Americans killed inside Lebanon. One of them, I think it was Colonel Higgins who was kidnapped, killed by Hezbollah, and you know, there's that famous video of him hanging which appeared about a year, year and a half after his disappearance.

What a lot of people forget is he wasn't here as a Marine officer. He was here as a blue helmeted U.N. observer. Isn't there some concern that Hezbollah has no respect for the U.N.?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I think that that's right. You know, the Lebanese are suggesting that putting in a U.N. force would somehow be seen as more neutral. But if you look, you know, not far away in the neighborhood in Iraq, when the U.N. deployed in Iraq in 2003, Zarqawi did not see the U.N. as a neutral force and he blew up the U.N. compound in August 2003 and basically drove the U.N. out of Iraq for good.

COOPER: I appreciate your perspective, Lee. I really enjoyed your Op-Ed in the "Financial Times." Thank you very much for being with us.

FEINSTEIN: Many thanks.

COOPER: We hope to have you on the program again.

A lot to talk about, including relief supplies being sent down into south Lebanon and points beyond. Let's take a look at the numbers, how much supplies are getting through. Here's the raw data. The U.N.'s relief agency, UNHCR, says it hopes to get six trucks of supplies into Beirut within the next 24 hours. On those trucks, more than 12,000 blankets, 1,300 mattresses, close to 1,900 kitchen sets and 100 tents. It's also sending a plane load of supplies using a C-130. That's the only aircraft capable of landing in Beirut's damaged airport right now. The plane is carrying 3,600 mattresses and 9,000 blankets. A lot of supplies still needed.

When we come back, I wasn't the only one embedded this weekend. CNN's John Roberts had a really fascinating embed on the ground with an Israeli unit operating inside south Lebanon. He'll take you to the front lines, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Some pictures of I.D.F. troops operating along the Lebanese-Israeli border. You know, often a lot of this war seen from afar, you kind of see puffs of smoke on distant hills. You hear rockets, incoming and outgoing. But actually seeing the ground fighting up close is something that is a difficult thing to do.

This weekend CNN's John Roberts was embedded with Israeli forces on the ground inside south Lebanon. And he filed this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Under cover of night an elite army reserve unit prepares to strike out across the border. Their faces painted black, briefed on the battle plan, they put boots on the ground. Destination? A hot zone, some seven miles inside southern Lebanon.

(On camera): We've been walking for a couple of miles now. We stopped to drink a little bit of water. The going has been hard. Up one hill, down another. Very, very dusty. But it's an amazingly clear night here in south Lebanon. The moon was up a little while ago. Now the moon is down. It's much darker than it was before. It's just a sky full of stars. Somewhat at odds with the action on the ground, this peaceful night.

(Voice-over): Before daybreak, the unit enters an abandoned house near the Lebanese town of Rajamin, their base of operations for the next 24 hours.

Richard, last name withheld, is one of the senior officers.

RICHARD: We're using all the forces available to us. Army, tanks and our air force, to fight these fundamentalist terrorists.

ROBERTS: The mission is to identify and suppress possible Hezbollah positions. They scout the hills with powerful binoculars, and cameras that can bring far-off villagers into sharp focus, then dispatch patrols to probe nearby ground and buildings.

Obey (ph) is the fire control officer. He doesn't like this terrain. Hezbollah guerrillas, he says, could hide there. So he calls in artillery. Within moments the hill is ablaze with incoming fire and smoke.

The company is under constant threat from Hezbollah missiles and snipers. So the unit's own sharp-shooters keep a hair trigger alert.

(On camera): Moments ago some intelligence came in that this location may be targeted by Hezbollah. We heard the tanks start opening fire a couple of seconds ago, and now these soldiers have taken a very aggressive defensive posture.

(Voice-over): Commanders evacuate another platoon from the building next door. Not long after, mortars hit close by. The stress of battle weighs on these civilian soldiers.

Oded Norman (ph) is an attorney by trade. Tomer Cohen. He was to have graduated acting school on this day. Instead, he is in the theater of war.

TOMER COHEN, ISRAELI SOLDIER: Lebanon is a cursed country for us.

ROBERTS: Conditions here are extreme. Everyone succumbs to exhaustion. And the mission to route Hezbollah fighters is frustrating. A volley of Katyushas that fly right overhead is proof of that. The Nedad (ph) is the major in command of the platoon that we're embedded with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not to be underestimated.

ROBERTS: The soldiers move constantly. Staying too long in one place invites attacks. They find a new position and fire rockets into the building to make sure it's clear.

As diplomacy moves forward, the mission to degrade Hezbollah's potency becomes more urgent. There is little faith among these soldiers that an expanded U.N. force can provide a barrier to the attacks and they fear they may be in Lebanon for a long time to come.

CAPTAIN RICHARD, ISRAELI SOLDIER: The reality is that the only force that Israel can rely on to protect the citizens of Israel is the Israel Defense Forces. There's not been a great track record of other people protecting the Jewish people and the people of Israel.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: You know, John, you get a real sense from your piece and from your embedding experience of just how difficult this fighting is for these troops. I mean, just sort of marches to nowhere, going through towns, retaking towns that they've already been in, that are then retaken by Hezbollah fighters. Can any side win in this militarily?

ROBERTS (on camera): You know, the Israeli army says it wants to win this war, but it's a war that you can't really play for a win in. You know, it's not military against military, state against state. It's a big traditional military of a state against an ideology, a movement. And it's difficult to say that you can claim victory over that. So it would appear, Anderson, that despite the protestations from Israel that it wants to win this war, the best it can hope to do is win some sort of peace to stop those rockets from coming into Israel, to remove that threat. But certainly, this is not the sort of army that you can crush definitively as it has done in two previous wars.

COOPER: Yes, it certainly seems like that increasingly. John Roberts, appreciate that. Great report. Great embedding.

When we come back, a lot more to cover from this region.

But right now, let's check in with Tom Foreman from the day's other headlines in a "360 Bulletin" -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson. According to testimony today at a U.S. military hearing in Baghdad, one of the U.S. soldiers charged with raping and killing an Iraqi girl and killing her family said that he poured kerosene on her body before going back to his base and grilling chicken wings. The investigator also said the soldiers accused of the crime drank alcohol before the attack. The hearing will determine whether there is a case for court-martial here.

Former Republican Congressman Tom DeLay remains on the ballot in Texas. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia denied an emergency petition from the Texas Republicans to have DeLay, who's facing a money laundering indictment, taken off of the ballot. DeLay resigned from Congress shortly after winning the GOP nomination back in March.

Nine illegal immigrants have been killed in a highway crash in Arizona. At least 12 others were injured when the large SUV carrying up to 22 people swerved to avoid a spike strip which had been put out by Border Patrol agents.

Also in trouble on the road, Former Astronaut and Senator John Glenn and his wife Annie were discharged from an Ohio hospital following a car accident. The Glenns received minor injuries when they were hit by an oncoming car on Friday night. Lucky for them -- Anderson.

COOPER: And they're a very nice couple. We wish them well. Tom, thanks very much for that. We'll check in with you a little bit later for another check of the headlines.

When we come back, our top correspondents in the region, trying to cover all the angles on this story. Diplomatic, military angles, both from Israel and from Lebanon. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That's a hospital in Haifa that has literally had to move underground in order to protect its patients from these constant incoming rain of Katyusha rockets that have just pummeled northern Israel in this conflict.

140-some rockets hitting in the last 24-hour period and a very deadly weekend indeed over the weekend in a number of towns throughout northern Israel.

We convened our top correspondents in the region who have been covering the story now for weeks.

John Roberts is here along the border with me. Michael Ware is in Beirut and John King is in Washington covering the diplomatic efforts.

John King, let me start off with you. What is happening on the diplomatic front? I mean, what should we be looking for in the next 12, the next 24 hours?

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The key question tomorrow, Anderson, is how does the U.N. Security Council respond to the concerns being raised by the government of Lebanon, with the help of the Arab League. And that is the biggest fundamental change in this. Right now what you essentially have is two sides looking at the same crisis and seeing a very different problem.

The Lebanese government, joined by the Arab League, saying the problem is what they call an Israeli occupation. Israel and the United States say no, the problem is Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and started all of this nearly a month ago.

So, you have one crisis, but a very different perspective from the two sides. So the biggest issue right now is the Arabs saying Israel must withdraw immediately as part of any cessation of hostilities. Israel says it won't do that. The United States supports Israel in that, saying Hezbollah will get re-armed. Syria and Iran would win if that's the case. So that's the biggest issue. They're trying to come up with language that says Israel will pull out as soon as conditions allow, to satisfy the Arabs a little bit. But that's the big sticking point.

COOPER: Well, Michael Ware, Lebanon now, Lebanese authorities have come forward today saying essentially look, we'll send 15,000 troops down to the border if and when Israel withdraws. What do they see the timetable as being? What needs to happen for them to do that?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what they're asking for is an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops. I mean, neither the Lebanese government nor Hezbollah say that they can tolerate the presence of a single soldier's boot from Israel on Lebanese soil.

And this is very problematic for the Lebanese army, obviously. It is not strong enough to stand up against Hezbollah, particularly now. Hezbollah is stronger now than before this conflict began. It's got a much broader base now within the Arab world. And it's even consolidated and extended its support here inside Lebanon, as the death toll here rises above 700 Lebanese. A rate of about 10 to one to the casualties in Israel -- Anderson.

COOPER: John Roberts, Michael Ware, saying the Lebanese military isn't strong enough to stand up to the Hezbollah. Is the Israeli military strong enough to stand up to Hezbollah? I'm not questioning their resolve or their capabilities. But as you've seen on the battlefield, Hezbollah is a potent enemy and a very difficult force to fight.

ROBERTS: Absolutely. You know, Israel does have counterinsurgency, counter-guerrilla capabilities with the special forces in a lot of units. But it's still a traditional military. The way that it could get Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon would be to go in there as it has in previous wars, and level the entire battlefield. But you can't do that. Imagine what world opinion would say if they went in there and they leveled every town that they went through to deny Hezbollah's capability.

They're not fighting a traditional military. A traditional military when it's beaten withdraws. Hezbollah soldiers just dig themselves -- or Hezbollah guerrillas just dig themselves in deeper because they love to be able to come out and launch these lightning strikes against Israel. Because the plain and simple fact of it is, they're not afraid to die. In fact, if they do die in this battle, they believe that it makes them heroes for the cause.

So you've got a traditional military fighting this asymmetrical war against a force that's not afraid to die. Very difficult to root them out of those towns and villages, and every time as we've seen that Israel goes into places like Bint Jbeil, when they go into Aita al-Shaab to try to route out Hezbollah fighters who are dug in, they suffer terrible casualties, and so they don't want to do it. What they do then is they take a perimeter sort of bracketing operation, and that doesn't do anything to suppress Hezbollah's capabilities.

Case in point, Anderson, in the ridge top behind me, another night of heavy shelling, that's at least the seventh night that they've been shelling that hill top. Why are they still shelling it. That means that Hezbollah's still there. They haven't got them out of that area.

COOPER: And Michael Ware, why is it the Lebanese authorities do not want a large-scale international force inside south Lebanon? Why is it that they want this UNIFIL, which is this U.N. operation which has been going on on the ground in south Lebanon for quite some time, which has a lot of critics. They seem to want that force to remain and be the ones to monitor the cease-fire?

WARE: I mane, obviously they don't want an international force per se. I mean, there was early talk about it being NATO-led. To many Lebanese, they see that as a front for the United States.

What has been significantly underestimated in this entire conflict is the sense of nationalism among the Lebanese. And that is how Hezbollah is viewed. Not so much, or not primarily as an Islamic militant organization, but as defenders of sovereign Lebanese soil. And that is how Hezbollah self-identifies. Their fight is to liberate Lebanon -- Anderson.

COOPER: It's fascinating the degree to which how Hezbollah sees itself, how more people in Lebanon seem to be seeing Hezbollah in that same light. Suddenly you have Hassan Nasrallah appearing in front of a Lebanese flag, suddenly he becomes the face of Lebanon for a lot of Lebanese. That's probably a surprising turn of events, but it does seem to be increasingly. That is the turn of events.

Michael Ware, thanks for joining us from Beirut. John Roberts, from the border; and John King as well in Washington. We'll check in with all of you throughout the next several days, following these developments very closely, as we have been really since this conflict began.

I spent the last 14 hours embedded with an Israeli unit on the ground operating inside south Lebanon, targeting a Hezbollah position. My report coming up next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The mission for this combat engineering unit is to reach a Hezbollah outpost called Karkum. They received some sniper fire from there. They think there still may be Hezbollah fighters inside. We simply don't know at this point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: When we come back, we'll take you to where the battle lines are drawn.

Also, Joseph Lieberman, could he be the first political casualty of the war in Iraq? All that and more. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, it has been a dramatic political turn of events for Democrat Joseph Lieberman from Connecticut. Once the vice presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, he now faces a tough, tough primary fight tomorrow. Some political observers are saying he could be the first political casualty of the war in Iraq.

CNN's Candy Crowley takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may be that the first political casualty of the war will be a Democrat.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: This is all about the Iraq war, and all about the anger, almost hatred, among a lot of Democrats toward George Bush.

CROWLEY: Supportive of the war, opposed to leaving before the job's done, Joe Lieberman is watching his career flash before him.

NED LAMONT: I think too often Senator Lieberman goes out of his way to undermine the Democratic message.

CROWLEY: Ned Lamont is a political newbie, but his antiwar campaign has caught lightning in a bottle, thunder provided by the fiercely liberal side of the blogosphere. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been following your progress on the web, and you know, reading certain sites and stuff.

CROWLEY: The latest poll has Lamont winning by six points, narrower than the lead he had last week.

LIEBERMAN: When the votes are counted tomorrow, I'm looking forward to being called Connecticut's comeback kid!

CROWLEY: It is the political event of the summer, the first race testing the depth and breadth of antiwar sentiment, watched by politicians running in '06 and '08. A Lamont victory would likely also be read as a the first scalp for liberal Democrats trying to push the party center to the left. Because as much as this race has been about Iraq, it has been about the definition of a Democrat.

DAVID LIGHTMAN, HARTFORD COURANT: People are saying, gee, has he been too close to President Bush on other issues? Has he been too eager to cooperate with the Republicans on a host of issues? They want to know how good a Democrat has Joe Lieberman been?

CROWLEY: This picture has been worth more than a thousand words and who knows how many votes.

LIEBERMAN: The two big lies of Ed Lamont, Joe Lieberman is a cheerleader for George Bush. Ridiculous. I've opposed most of what this president has asked us to do through Congress. Secondly, that somehow I'm not a real Democrat. Outrageous.

CROWLEY: But it has been effective. Lieberman and colleagues traveled the state he has represented for 18 years, listing his Democratic bona fides, no time for nuance.

SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: This is a very good Democrat, too, I'll tell you.

MAX CLELAND (D), FORMER SENATOR: Don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

CROWLEY: In a Sunday night speech he called the closer, Lieberman reached out to his lost voters.

LIEBERMAN: When you get to the truth and the consequences, you will see that I am the same person that I have always been.

CROWLEY: His party's choice for vice president in 2000, a serious presidential contender in 2004, he may get booted in '06. Lieberman may not have changed, but maybe the times have.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Hartford, Connecticut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Maybe so indeed.

We're joined now by David Gergen, former presidential adviser to presidents, both Democrat and Republican. David is now with the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard.

David, thanks very much for joining us. What do you think? Can Joseph Lieberman be the comeback kid for Connecticut?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well, last week he was behind by 13. The same poll today has him down by six. So he appears to be closing, but we'll have to wait and see.

I do think that the race, win or lose by Joe Lieberman, has already sent shock waves through the Democratic Party. That's such a heavyweight in the party, a Senator of some 18 years, a man the party proudly nominated -- Al Gore chose as his running mate only six years ago, to be in this kind of difficulty because he supports the war and because he's been bipartisan with the president, is a real shocker for the Democrats.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, it's incredible when you think about how, you know, the arc of his career, if in fact is his career is in a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right now. What do you think the message is, though, to other Democrats, especially to someone like Hillary Clinton who seems to be sort of triangulating her position, trying to sort of strike a more moderate stance, certainly in terms of foreign policy?

GERGEN: well, I think the message of the Democrats is, if you've been for this war, that makes you suspect. But if you've -- since voting for the war, you've also been supportive of the president, for any way has been close to the president, that could be political suicide.

And Anderson, what that says, and Lincoln Chaffey next door, a Republican, is under a lot of pressure now, too. He's got a very close race for November. He could get knocked out, too.

What it could really say is two things. One, this war has become, as serious as Vietnam, and a tidal wave through politics. But secondly, it could really weaken the center of American politics further. And you know, the weakened center has already led to a poisonous polarization. I must tell you, I'm partial on this. I have written a piece in favor of Joe Lieberman. So please understand, I speak through that lens. I've known and liked him since we went to college together 40 years ago.

But my larger concern here is that the disappearance of the Senators, with Senators like Bill Bradley and Alan Simpson and Jack Danforth, and, you know, so many others, as they've left the Senate, it's been much, much harder to put together bipartisan compromises.

And if the message out of Connecticut is, you work with the other side too closely and we're going to burn you. Just like Lincoln Chaffey, if you work too closely with the Democrats, we're going to burn you. That means that people are going to be afraid to be in the center. And it really, I think, provides a recipe for a very divided, very polarized and very dysfunctional politics.

COOPER: Yes. It helps people get elected. It helps sort of energize the base. It doesn't help actually people govern... GERGEN: Right.

COOPER: ... which should be a great concern to us all.

Do you think Iraq -- does it cut both ways for, I mean, for Democrats, this is a Democratic primary. Obviously it' a big issue for them. Does it cut the same way for Republicans? Is that an issue that gets Republicans out to vote?

GERGEN: Yes, it could. And well, I tell you where it's going to -- if you get more Democrats out to vote against Republican moderates, there are three members of the House of Representatives in Connecticut who are moderate, are Republicans, who are in danger now.

This same antiwar sentiment that conceivably could knock off and may well knock off Joe Lieberman in a primary could come back to sweep out some Republican moderates, further polarizing our politics. So, you know, all the frustration that we've seen, all the frustration we've felt over these last three or four years now, watching Iraq unfold and now Israel and Hezbollah, it really is -- it's erupting into our politics. You know, it's been on television. We've had it in the national dialogue and now people are going to start to vote their frustrations. And that can provide a lot of volatile politics. It can provide a lot of upsets coming into fall.

Who will be -- if Joe Lieberman is not safe, who is safe?

COOPER: Yes. Interesting. Hey, David, thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.

GERGEN: OK, Anderson, thank you.

COOPER: We'll talk to you again soon. And we'll be watching what happens. The primary is tomorrow. It will be a fascinating one indeed.

When we come back, what is going on in the Lebanese city of Tyre in south Lebanon? A lot of Katyusha rockets still being fired out of there. A lot of civilians desperately in need there. And some major Israeli airstrikes and military activity happening there as well.

A Karl Penhaul report is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: This video from the I.D.F., where they say -- or well I.D.F. hitting what they say are Hezbollah rocket positions in south Lebanon.

The city of Tyre in south Lebanon has been particularly hard hit. It is under siege. It is bracing for the next attack and there have been some very severe attacks there over the last several days.

CNN's Karl Penhaul reports.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Smoke rises as Israeli warplanes and artillery guns pound suspected Hezbollah positions south of Tyre.

Airplane gun camera video, released by the Israeli military, shows explosions hitting targets. But that's not enough to stop Hezbollah firing more Katyusha rockets off to Israel.

Humanitarian aid workers say they fear a two-day Israeli bombardment six miles south of Tyre may be the prelude to a ground attack on the port city.

(On camera): A Lebanese military intelligence officer has told me that Israeli ground troops did reach the outskirts of a Lebanese village on high ground just south of here, but he says they were repelled by Hezbollah fighters.

(Voice-over): And to the north, bridges along the highway to Beirut have been bombed, destroying the only route in for humanitarian supplies.

ROLAND HUGUENIN, ICRC: The roads from Tyre to Sidor (ph) has been damaged by bombing last night. So Tyre is beginning to look like a city under siege.

PENHAUL: No way out either for aid workers to help the thousands of civilians thought to be stranded in outlying villages.

HUGUENIN: And now for two or three days, we are just getting red lights on our security clearances. We aren't able to move out of Tyre.

PENHAUL: In the quarter, the doctors without borders aid group is preparing in case of an all-out ground attack on central Tyre.

What we fear over the next few days is that Tyre is a high-stake target and this could be the theater of a larger military operation, he says.

Ledecq and his team are rushing to refit this operating theater in a Bashar (ph) Hospital that's not been used for the last year.

He says the potential Israeli assault could split Tyre in two, cutting off this hospital in the west of the city from three others in the east.

We're preparing for the worst in the event the fighting spreads into the downtown Tyre so we can tend to the wounded from street battles, he says.

With the bridge on the approach to Tyre blown up, Doctors without Borders volunteers have no choice but to wade into the Litani River Monday. They say they desperately need these boxes of medical supplies for their clinic.

As they stepped up the humanitarian effort, Israel was ratcheting up the war effort.

Planes flattened six apartment blocks in the north of Tyre with bombs and missiles, leaving smoking ruins. Israeli commandos stormed these buildings before dawn Saturday, killing a handful of Hezbollah commanders.

By late Monday shells were exploding on the city outskirts, but no sign yet of Israeli ground troops at Tyre's gates.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Tyre, south Lebanon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, in a moment we'll take you back into south Lebanon with Israeli forces fighting on the ground.

But first, Tom Foreman has the 360 "Business Bulletin" -- Tom.

FOREMAN: Anderson, BP's catch phrase is "beyond petroleum," but tonight it stands for big problem. Oil prices went soaring today, so did gasoline futures. Oil up by about $2 a barrel. This after BP said it could take weeks or even months to get a stretch of pipeline in Alaska back in working order. The problem is corrosion, severe enough that most of the 22-mile length of it will have to be replaced. The line carries about 2.5 percent of the country's daily oil needs and a much bigger chunk of the supply for the West Coast alone.

Rising wages in the land of falling prices. Wal-Mart today announced a bevy of pay raises. Watch this closely. The company says starting pay at about a third of its American locations will rise by about 6 percent. Wal-Mart's average full-time wage is $10.11 an hour. That average, however, includes very high executive salaries, too, meaning the true middle of the pay scale could be quite a bit lower than 10 bucks per.

And a rocky day on Wall Street. All three major indexes closing down. The Federal Reserve board meets tomorrow, and what else? Investors are nervous about it as they always are -- Anderson.

COOPER: They always are. Tom, thanks very much for that.

The guns here have opened up just in the last minute or so while Tom was talking. It's been relatively quiet actually for about 40 minutes. Although, a lot of shelling all throughout the night.

When we come back, we'll take you on my embed inside south Lebanon with Israeli forces.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: They've already formed a perimeter around the outpost. Tonight they plan to move in, kill anyone who's there or take them captive if they can. And then rig the place with explosives and blow it up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: We'll show you what happened when Israeli forces entered south Lebanon. I was with there as they blew up a Hezbollah position. That story coming up next on 360. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The aftermath of an Israeli air strike in a south Beirut street in Beirut. In Beirut, the action comes from the air. Israeli bombs dropping in south Lebanon.

But of course, there is much action happening on the ground. Israeli forces moving town by town, trying to find and kill Hezbollah fighters wherever they can.

Over the last 14 hours, I was able to spend some time with an Israeli unit operating inside south Lebanon. We crossed over the border, was operating inside Lebanon. Their target, a Hezbollah outpost.

Here's the embed I just filed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): As night falls, an Israeli army unit prepares for a secret mission. More than a ton of C-4 explosives lined up on the side of the road.

(On camera): The mission for this combat engineering unit is to reach a Hezbollah outpost called Karkum. They received some sniper fire from there. They think there still may be Hezbollah fighters inside.

Tonight they plan to move in, kill anyone who's there or take them captive if they can and then rig the place with explosives and blow it up.

(Voice-over): Karkum is only about a mile inside south Lebanon. But getting there isn't easy.

We ride in a Puma, an armored vehicle packed with weapons and soldiers. No lights allowed, so this video was shot with a night vision camera. Even though the Puma is armored, that's no guarantee of safety.

(On camera): For these soldiers, the real concern, besides the booby traps on the road, are RPGs, rocket-propelled grenades and antitank weapons. Hezbollah has been very effective with them. In fact, most of the casualties on the part of Israeli forces have been from these types of weapons.

(Voice-over): The journey is supposed to take us an hour or two, but after six hours, we've yet to arrive. Yet to get out of the Puma.

Major Ito (ph), the unit commander, can see the bunkers of Karkum, but isn't taking any chances.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're doing now, we are shooting some rockets to the area, to clean it. Then we will go by to observe -- to do the job. COOPER: A small bunker next to a communications antenna has been hit. But it's not until some three hours later that Major Ito (ph) orders his men out of the Puma to advance on foot towards several concrete buildings.

MAJOR ITO (ph), ISRAELI SOLDIER: This is the object we have been going toward. This one, the close one, and over there.

COOPER: While one unit takes up positions, another group of soldiers begins rigging up the explosives.

(On camera): One of the interesting things about Karkum, is that the Israeli Defense Forces actually occupy this position when Israel occupied Lebanon. They pulled out of here in 2000, and they actually blew up all their fortifications on this top of this mountain. After they left, Hezbollah came, rebuilt the fortifications, and once again, Israel is here, and they plan to blow it up so Hezbollah can never use it again.

(Voice-over): Under a cover of fog, the engineers quickly rig the explosives to a number of buildings and a communications antenna.

(On camera): Are you concerned about the fog?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's very good for us.

COOPER: It's good?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's good because the enemy cannot see us. We hope it stays something like 20 minutes. And we can go out without them seeing us.

COOPER (voice-over): Nearby, the soldiers notice an IED on the main road, rigged to explode by Hezbollah. They also discover a cache of Hezbollah antitank weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are three missiles ready to launch inside their cases. This is the tripod and the launcher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost everything is ready. And I think in something like 15 minutes we'll be outside ready for the bombing.

COOPER: Major Ito (ph) orders everyone into their armored vehicles for the final explosion, an explosion that could be seen from miles away.

When the smoke clears, two Israeli soldiers raise their nation's flag on Karkum, a small symbol, a mark of pride. They will soon depart, however, and Karkum will be abandoned once again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on camera): This story has been on our blog. I blogged a couple of times while I was on the embed. It's been getting a lot of response on the 360 blog. And we appreciate that. We haven't been able to actually even post all the responses it's gotten, and we want to apologize for that.

But some of the responses are on the radar. Tonight, I want to read just some of them.

Christina in Chicago writes in saying, "Why is there no clear-cut reporting that Israel is using precision guided munitions, trying hard to avoid civilian targets, when Hezbollah is specifically targeting civilians? Please make that distinction for the viewers.

Christina, we think we try to do that often as possible. We've said it repeatedly, those Katyusha rockets really cannot be targeted. They're basically point and shoot weapons.

Certainly, Israel though, for all of their talk of precision, guided munitions have killed an awful lot of civilians. Israel, of course, says that is really Hezbollah's fault, Hezbollah is in fact using those civilians as human shields.

Meantime, about our trip in the I.D.F. Puma, Alissa in Royal Oak, Michigan, writes in, "I was just thinking over the weekend, 'I wonder what Anderson does on days his show isn't on the air?'"

Well, now, you know, I was on this embed. Sometimes we try to get a good night's sleep as well. Although, frankly, none of my crew this week have been getting that very much, but I do appreciate their efforts.

A lot more here from the region when we come back. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Thanks very much for watching 360. We'll be in the war zone again tomorrow.

"LARRY KING" is next.

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