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Showdown Iran; Talking with Iran; Bush and Blair; Snatch & Grab; Trying Rumsfeld?; War Crimes & Rumsfeld?; Florida Recount; Jobless Veterans; War Songs; Police Brutality?

Aired November 14, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Defiance and diplomacy. Iran says it's willing to talk to the U.S., but only if the U.S. gets a new attitude. So what now?
He lost his job. Now some want him tried for war crimes.


VINCENT WARREN, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Whether Donald Rumsfeld will ultimately go to jail or not, I don't know. But he should be ashamed for the rest of his life.


ANNOUNCER: The case, the evidence, the odds.

And no hanging chads this time, but a major case of deja vu. What went wrong in Florida on election day 2006 and who's to blame? We're keeping them honest.

Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Sitting in tonight for Anderson and reporting from the CNN studios in New York, here's John King.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: We begin with a growing prospect of a nuclear Iran, as well as the emerging reality of a powerful Iran.

Today, Iran's president again boasted about his country's nuclear program. And a U.N. report raised new questions about the peaceful nature of it. The paper points to traces of plutonium and highly enriched uranium found in a waste disposal plant. Either, of course, can be used to make bombs.

One less reason, you might think, for Washington to talk with Tehran. Yet talk they might. Something that hasn't happened, at least not formally, in nearly 30 years.

CNN's Aneesh Raman now explains why.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iran's president was smiling today. His confidence visible as he announced Iran expects to be producing nuclear energy by February, despite protests from the U.S. and around the world. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We will commission some 3,000 centrifuges by this year's end. We are determined.

RAMAN: But Ahmadinejad's confidence goes far beyond nuclear energy. The Iranian president insisted his country will become a nuclear power soon, and that Western nations, especially the U.S., will have to sit down with Iran on its terms.

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): Today, the Iranian nation possesses the full nuclear fuel cycle. And time is completely running in our favor in terms of diplomacy.

RAMAN: Iran's president leaves little doubt, he is looking to dethrone America's dominant influence in the Middle East. And with Iraq's growing sectarian violence, Ahmadinejad is betting the U.S. will have to deal one-on-one with a country it has not had diplomatic relations with since Americans were held hostage there in 1979. But he made it clear, he won't just come to the table because he is asked.

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): If they fix their behavior toward us, we will have a dialogue with them. But they have their own way of thinking. They really think they own the world. They always sort of look down on you.

RAMAN: He says Iran speaks from a position of strength. It has built alliances over the years with groups like Lebanon's Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas. And Iran sits on some of the world's largest oil reserves. It has all built towards this -- a defining moment that could establish Iran instead of the U.S. as the dominant player in Middle Eastern affairs.

That desire is widespread in the country, even among the president's critics. At this reformist newspaper, one question for Americans...

JALAL KHOSHCHERREH, EDITOR, KHARGOVARAN NEWSPAPER: Iran accepts that the U.S. is a superpower, but every time Iran's power is discussed, the U.S. portrays it as a threat.

RAMAN: For the U.S., Iran isn't just a threat. Although Iran denies it, the U.S. says it is a state that sponsors terror by sending weapons to Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. And Iran is still pushing ahead with uranium enrichment, in open defiance of the U.N.

(On camera): That is the new reality in this region, a reality the United States may soon have to acknowledge by dealing directly with a country that would like to proclaim itself the Middle East's new superpower.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Tehran.


KING: Superpower or not, and that's very much open to debate, it's not just Iran saying let's talk.

Reports from inside the president's Iraq study group says it might suggest bringing Iran and Syria into some kind of regional diplomatic process. And just yesterday, Britain's Prime Minister Blair also said words to that effect. Though, there was a great deal of back and forthing today over that.

More on that in a moment. First we're joined for more on this issue by former CIA Officer Gary Berntsen, author of "Jawbreaker."

Let's start with Aneesh Raman's piece. President Ahmadinejad clearly thinks he has leverage here. What is he looking for?

GARY BERNTSEN, FORMER CIA OFFICER: He has significant leverage. He has U.S. forces close to his border, and he believes that they are vulnerable. He believes he can put pressure on us. He believes that in a time where the U.S. has threatened violence against us, he can extract violence equally.

You know, he thinks -- he believes that U.S. forces on the ground are hostage to his ability to conduct violence against them.

KING: And yet listen to Prime Minister Blair or listen to reports about what Secretary Baker, former Secretary of State Jim Baker might recommend as part of this Iraq study group, and they say, look, they might be bad guys, but sometimes you got to talk to the bad guys.

Would you advise sitting down with Iran right now to talk about Iraq and other regional differences?

BERNTSEN: I agree that we should be talking with them. I agree that we should -- if we could establish diplomatic relations with the Iranians, it would reduce the possibility for conflict.

The problem with the U.S. relationship with Iran is that we've allowed them to conduct attacks on us for many, many years, and given a pass on it. They did that during the Reagan administration. They did it during the Clinton administration. So, you know, both political parties are guilty of allowing them do that to us. And they've come to the conclusion that the U.S. will not stand up to them.

KING: But you know how this works. You talk with people you don't necessarily like when your interests overlaps. We did it during the Cold War. We've done it to a degree in the war of terrorism. Do the United States' interests and Iran's interests overlap in Iraq?

BERNTSEN: Unfortunately, they don't. The Iranians want to drive us from Iraq. The Iranians have an interest in the south of Iraq which is more significant than most Americans could imagine. They are key religious sites for Karbala and Najaf.

They want it badly. They sacrificed hundreds of thousands of people during the Iran/Iraq War to seize the South once Saddam had initiated the war. You may recall, you know, the battles in the marshes. So, you know, this is so important to Iran. They feel boxed in by the U.S. We are on their east and their west with military forces, and we have our naval forces in the Persian Gulf. They feel surrounded.

KING: If they feel surrounded, and yet there are recommendations that the president should sit down with them, I mean, dope out one meeting. You can't -- you're not going to give them anything obviously, not if you've listened to President Bush over the past several years. So what is the message?

BERNTSEN: Well, the message is we want them to stop supporting violent terrorist activity around the world, adhere to U.N., you know, the orders of the U.N. to stop producing nuclear material. And we then would reduce our forces in the area and try to come to some accommodation.

KING: Likely to happen, given everything you've seen, including the behavior of a president who not only thumbs his nose at the United Nations, but says as recently again this week, Israel should be wiped from the map?

BERNTEN: It could happen over time. But this is a process, not something that's going to happen overnight. But it's something that we should be looking to work at, and we need to engage them if we're going to avoid conflict. If we don't start to sit down and talk with them, conflict will happen. The Iranians will stumble into this. They will underestimate our willingness to enforce the U.N.'s wishes.

KING: Gary Berntsen, thank you very much for your insight.

BERNTSEN: It's a pleasure.

KING: Thank you.

And it's often true in Washington that what's unthinkable today is headlines tomorrow. Nixon went to China. Ronald Reagan raised taxes. And perhaps one day an American president will turn up in Tehran or vice versa.

For the moment, though, the question seems to be more about Washington and London.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can assure you that when either of us get in a bind, there will be a friend on the other end of the phone.

KING (voice-over): They have stood side by side as friends, allies and partners in the war on terror. But with Iraq spiraling deeper into crisis, the bond between George W. Bush and Tony Blair may be if not breaking, showing some serious signs of wear and tear.

At issue, Iran. The British prime minister says one way of solving the problem in Iraq may be by reaching out to the Islamic Republic.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We offer Iran a clear strategic choice. They help the Middle East peace process, not hinder it. They stop supporting terrorism in Lebanon or Iraq. They abide by, not flout their international obligations. In that case, a new partnership is possible.

KING: While Prime Minister Blair extends an olive branch, Mr. Bush draws a line in the sand. The president's made clear his concerns about a growing nuclear program from a country he deemed a part of the axis of evil.

BUSH: If the Iranians want to have a dialogue with us, we have shown them a way for it, and that is for them to verify (UNINTELLIGIBLE) suspend their enrichment activities.

KING: If you listen closely, the position taken by the two men isn't that different. Like Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair also insists Iran abide by its international obligations. For Mr. Bush, the war has taken its toll, with sinking approval ratings and a crushing defeat for his party interrogation he midterm elections.

For Prime Minister Blair, it's not just the war that's hurting him. It's also his relationship with the president.

BUSH: See, the irony is that what they need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing it.

KING: That encounter at the G8 summit earlier this year made headlines across the U.K.

JOHN PRIDEAUX, THE ECONOMIST: Bush was sitting down, apparently not paying him much attention. And this was written up as a sort of low point in Tony Blair's relationship with the American administration.

KING: Prime Minister Blair will step down next year, and President Bush is in his last term. Both struggling politically, but both, strain or no strain, still facing daunting decisions about Iraq, Iran, and other challenges.


KING (on camera): Next to the United States, Britain has the greatest death toll among coalition forces in Iraq.

Here is the raw data. So far 2,851 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq; 125 British troops have died; and Italy has the third highest casualty rate, reporting 32 military fatalities in Iraq.

And coming up, should the man who planned and executed the war pay a legal price for it? One group's effort to put Donald Rumsfeld on trial as a war criminal.

Also, remember when he said, stuff happens? Up next, the stuff that happened today. A mass kidnapping that has even battle scarred Iraqis shaking their heads.

Then later, you might call it revenge of the chads. Yes, another recount in Florida, six years after the original.

You are watching 360.


KING: It takes a lot to shock when it comes to Baghdad. This is the city, after all, with tens of thousands of troops on patrol. It's also the capitol of a country in turmoil, where dozens, sometimes hundreds die everyday.

But even by such grim standards, today in Baghdad was different and stranger than anything they have seen there yet.

Mass kidnapping in broad daylight. The story, from CNN's Michael Ware.


MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These Iraqi security forces move in to seal off a Baghdad university building, but it was too late.

Just a short time earlier, about 80 gunmen in similar army or police uniforms had also set up a cordon before pouring inside this four-story research institute, claiming to be on official business, segregating men from women, and within 20 minutes, escaping in a convoy of more than 20 vehicles, taking the men hostage. The exact number, unknown.

Police saying as many as 60. A government minister saying it's up to 100. The only ones left behind, the distraught women.

The sophisticated raid executed at 10:00 a.m. just after rush hour was audacious. So many gunmen, so many hostages, possibly the largest mass kidnapping of the war, all within the heart of the capital with more than 60,000 American and Iraqi troops on the streets.

Hours later, the top police commanders in charge of the area where the kidnapping took place were called in for questioning by ministry of interior officials.

Then overnight, a government spokesman revealed that most of the hostages have been released unharmed.

Mystery surrounds the affair. With signs of paramilitary involvement, no claim of responsibility, uncertainty as to the precise number of men taken, and of course, the men's sudden release. An uncommon end to such incidents in Iraq.

Yet, the scale of the kidnapping on the morning after a one-day visit by America's top commander in the region, General John Abizaid, a clear illustration of what still confronts this ailing U.S.-backed government.

Michael Ware, CNN, Baghdad.


KING: So how could this happen with so many American/Iraqi troops in Baghdad?

Earlier tonight, I asked a pair of CNN military analysts, retired Generals David Grange and James "Spider" Marks.


KING: You were just listening to Michael Ware. A convoy comes through. Apparently the kidnappers are wearing some kind of uniforms. How can this happen three and a half plus years into this war in central Baghdad?

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, they could very well in fact be a part of the security force. Or they could just buy uniforms off the street, which is very easy to do.

But it's obviously a result of detailed reconnaissance, casing the target, planning the ingress and egress routes where they are in cahoots with security forces that are manning the checkpoints. These are -- this is secured by Iraqi organization. And it's really kind of done to discredit and embarrass the Iraqi government.

KING: And General Marks, I assume you would agree, embarrass and discredit the United States military as well to have this happen right in the center of Baghdad.

If you or General Casey or General Abizaid tonight, and you were sitting down, saying how did this happen, what is it that you think you need to do tomorrow or the next day to make sure it doesn't happen again?

BRIG. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Clearly, what you need to do is you need to get in the face of the Iraqi ministry of the interior. And clearly, the senior folks that are running the Iraqi security forces and understand, as I know you do, John -- excuse me -- that there are a number of Iraqi security forces that make up the aggregate total.

But you really need to get into the top leadership and say, look, actions like this are unacceptable. You know it. You control the streets.

And as David indicated, clearly these folks could have been Iraqi security forces or they could have been guys that came in off the street.

But most importantly, you need to get down to the noncommissioned officer level, those that actually execute the tasks on the ground, and make sure you can identify those individuals as best you can that are with you and those that are not with you, because the key challenge right now is corruption within the Iraqi security forces. And I would argue, even more broadly within the government.

KING: Well, General Grange, if that is the case and you are the United States of America, trying to decide what to do about this and you are doing that in the middle of a political debate, the Democrats just won big in the elections. Most leading Democrats say start bringing those troops out in four to six months.

You have others like Senator John McCain, saying no, this is exactly a textbook reason why you need more troops, that we still don't have a secure environment in Baghdad, let alone the country at large. What would you recommending, General Grange?

GRANGE: Well, you know, I am not sure I'd pour more troops into places like Baghdad. I think withdrawing would just make it even worse, if you can imagine that, but it will.

And that is exactly the strategy of our opponents. And what has to happen is we are going to have to stand down a little bit against Iran. In other words, their strategy is working. Their influence with the militia is doing these kind of operations at will. It has to be curtailed if there's going to be any kind of success, any kind of a secure environment for prosperity to take place.

But to leave right now would be a tremendous mistake, because it would just verify their belief that the United States is losing resolve and the will and the determination to continue with this mission.

KING: Well, then General Marks, what do you do? Is it the wrong composition of troops? The wrong mix of troops? Should they be in a different place? Should the rules of engagement or their responsibilities be different?

MARKS: John, a number of good questions. I would offer two suggestions. One is I think we need to increase the training of the Iraqi security forces. And you need to get more of those Iraqi security forces through that pipeline.

Now what that's going to cost is a little more money. Certainly -- I have to disagree with David a little bit, in that you've got to uptick your forces a little bit and make sure you've got the right functions aligned toward the training of those Iraqi security forces. And then they have to set for a while.

The second thing is you need to get the forces where they need to be. Right now they are scattered throughout the country. And a number of posts and camps and stations that are in Iraq, and you need to concentrate those with some mass, probably about three or four locations. And that way you achieve some overwhelming presence that allows you to take care of situations like that. And that's a combination of Iraqi and U.S. forces.

KING: General David Grange, General "Spider" Marks, gentlemen, thank you both for your input tonight. Thank you so much.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KING: For those American troops lucky enough to make it home safely from Iraq, new challenges await.

Coming up, the military promised to teach them new skills that would help them to find civilian jobs when they came home. So why are so many young veterans out of work? And is the government doing enough to help them?

Also, Donald Rumsfeld's critics claim to have new evidence tying him to torture programs run by the U.S. military. They want to try him for war crimes. Can they do that? All that and more when 360 continues.


KING: So consider this, outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his reputation already bruised, is facing a new threat tonight.

Some of his critics are pressing to put him on trial for alleged war crimes. They say they have new evidence linking Mr. Rumsfeld to torture programs at Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay. And they want to take their case to Germany, of all places.

Here's CNN's Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not content with his political demise, some of Donald Rumsfeld's antagonists want him to pay a legal price.

VINCENT WARREN, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Whether Donald Rumsfeld will ultimately go to jail or not, I don't know. But he should be ashamed for the rest of his life.

TODD: The U.S.-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which calls itself a progressive human rights group, is asking a German federal prosecutor to investigate Rumsfeld and nearly a dozen other U.S. civilian and military officials for war crimes.

The group says it has uncovered new evidence that Rumsfeld was one of the so called architects of torture programs targeting detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay.

WARREN: That includes torture provisions like using dogs, religious persecution, religious humiliation, sexual humiliation, temperature change, sleep deprivation and things like that.

TODD: One remarkable offer of testimony, from former Army General Janis Karpinski, the one-time commander of U.S. prisons in Iraq, now relieved of that command and demoted to colonel in the wake of Abu Ghraib.

She was with the leader of the Center for Constitutional Rights in Germany when the papers were filed, and still says she knew nothing about the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

COL. JANIS KARPINSKI, U.S. ARMY (RET.): To me, this is just yet one more opportunity, now in the international environment for people to hear of the story from a firsthand account.

TODD: A spokeswoman in Rumsfeld's office says the U.S. government does not condone torture. She says the Pentagon is reviewing the documents in this case, but has no reason to believe this complaint has merit.

From Pentagon Spokesman Brian Whitman (ph), quote, "It's interesting to me that nobody kind of looks at it from the other side in contrasting the way in which the enemy handles individuals and respect for people."

As for why Germany would consider trying a case, legal experts say Germany has sweeping criminal laws, making a party's nationality or location of an alleged offense immaterial. But they say the U.S. has never agreed to recognize those courts, and it's almost certain the U.S. will not play along here.

SCOTT SILLMAN, DUKE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: So my guess is the United States will look at this, take interest in it, but handle it politically and not do anything to try to yield to the German courts.

TODD (on camera): The Center for Constitutional Rights filed a similar complaint two years ago that was dismissed by a German court. Legal experts say they doubt the German government will allow this case to go very far.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


KING: So suffice to say, this case is no slam dunk. It may not even get to court.

Joining me now to discuss the issues involved, CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

A serious lawsuit or a stunt?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: John, it's late, right? It's kind of -- this is ridiculous. Let's -- I mean, this is a totally ridiculous lawsuit.

But, I mean, it shows how the anger against Rumsfeld is so great that, you know, people are seizing on anything they can. But first of all, this is not a -- anything by the German government. This is a request of the German government by an American left-wing public interest law firm. That is all this is. This is not the German government trying to get Don Rumsfeld.

KING: So you say it's a stunt, but does the German legal system allow such stunts? TOOBIN: Well, unlike our legal system, like if I believe a crime is going to be committed, I can't go to the court and say, you know, John King stole my car. The German system does allow private parties to file papers and say, you, the prosecutor, should commence a criminal investigation.

But that doesn't mean they actually have to commence a criminal investigation. And as Brian's story said, they tried this once before. So I assume this will go nowhere, but, I mean, they have succeeded in generating a lot of publicity.

KING: And so if you're Donald Rumsfeld and a few weeks you're out of a job, are you at risk if you go on vacation in Germany?

TOOBIN: No, he's not. I mean, theoretically, if this process were to continue, the only risk he would have is if he were in Germany. But we are so far from that at this point.

And, you know, Donald Rumsfeld has had a bad week, needless to say, he's had a bad few years. And, you know, his reputation may never recover. But I think the place of criminal law in the ultimate evaluation of his tenure will be non-existent. I mean, this is a political check, not a legal check.

KING: Suspend your disbelief for just a second. Is there any precedent? Have any similar cases made their way into the German courts? And how would it be handled? How would it be prosecuted?

TOOBIN: They do have this unusual law in Germany that gives them jurisdiction around the whole world, but they have never used it. The only slightly analogous situation is that a Spanish court, a Spanish investigator a few years ago filed a lawsuit against Augusto Pinochet, the former -- the Chilean dictator, saying that he had masterminded the torture of Spanish civilians. And Pinochet was actually held in custody in London, pursuant to that lawsuit, until they found he was too old and senile to be able to stand trial.

That's the only kind of cross national borders thing that's even remotely analogous. But that case, at least Spain was claiming that Spanish citizens had been tortured. Here, there is no nexus between Germany and this case except the theory of the lawsuit.

KING: Jeffrey Toobin, up late with us and calling this ridiculous, a term they teach first semester law school?

TOOBIN: You know what? You don't even have to go to law school to know the term ridiculous. That's the beauty of it.

KING: Jeff Toobin, thank you very much.

No question about it, some troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are facing their toughest battle right here on the home front.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I spend every day fighting for an opportunity to try to find, at least find an opportunity and fight for it. And then when I find one, I lose I lose the battle every time.


KING: Returning vets say they weren't prepared for the challenge they are facing in the U.S. civilian job market.

Plus, recounts in Florida. This time, the problem wasn't hanging chads. Stay with us. You are watching "360."


KING: Oh, think back six years to 2000 presidential race. You'll remember these images -- hanging chads, pregnant chads, thousands of ballots eyeballs and recounting.

Now a week after this year's midterm elections, at least nine House races nationwide are still undecided, including one -- where else -- in Florida. Sarasota County, to be specific, where a ballot recount is being ordered. But this time, it's not old voting methods, but new voting technology that might be coming to a precinct near you.

CNN's Susan Candiotti reports.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Barbara and Ken Sanderson cast their ballots during early voting on different days.

BARBARA SANDERSON, FLORIDA VOTER: I voted for Christine Jennings. And when the review ballot came up, there was no X next to her name.

CANDIOTTI: Both say electronic touch screen machines did not at first record their votes for a U.S. Congressional seat.

KEN SANDERSON: I know I pressed that button.

CANDIOTTI: Both caught the mistake in time and reported it, but wonder how many others didn't.

K. SANDERSON: Just kind of startled and upset about it and angry.

CANDIOTTI: So is Democratic Christine Jennings' campaign. Unofficially, she lost the election by under 380 votes, less than a quarter of 1 percent.

CHRISTINE JENNINGS, (D), RUNNING FOR CONGRESS: The recount will show that I am going to be the Congresswoman for District 13.

CANDIOTTI: Not so fast, says her Republican opponent. Vern Buchanan says he's the winner, fair and square.

VERN BUCHANAN, GOP CANDIDATE: We won it on election night, and that process needs to play itself out this week.

CANDIOTTI: The race is so close, Florida law requires a recount. At issue, why thousands of people who cast their ballots in Sarasota County did not vote in the Jennings-Buchanan race. When no vote is recorded, that's called an undervote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 205 for Buchanan, 20 for Jennings, and 140 undervotes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 157 undervotes.

CANDIOTTI: In all, 18,000 undervotes in one of five counties involved in the race. Experts say that's at least 10 times higher than normal. Did all those voters ignore the race on purpose? Or did the touch screen machine malfunction? Nonpartisan groups say the problem with Florida machines is no paper trail and no way to decipher a voter's intent.

DAN SELIGSON, ELECTIONLINE.ORG EDITOR: It would be odd that this high number of people, more than 18,000 people, would show up, register, you know, wait in line and then not cast a ballot in the House race.

CANDIOTTI: After 2000's hanging chad debacle, Democrats again crying foul.

KEDALL COFFEY, JENNING'S CAMPAIGN LAWYER: It defies reason that we are back in a critically important election with a submicroscopic margin and a system that went wrong once again.

CANDIOTTI: And whose seat is the prize? Catherine Harris' who Democrats blame for 2000's mess.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It does give you a little bit of the deja vu.

CANDIOTTI: Sarasota elections officials defend their electronic machines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll see it through to the very tend.

CANDIOTTI: Stand by the machines?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, unless proven differently.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): The courts are now involved. Granting an emergency motion that forces all sides to agree on a fair way to test the machines. While once again in Florida, voter's confidence is tested. For

(Voice-over): For now, you will find Congressional hopefuls Buchanan and Jennings both posing with incoming freshmen, each invited, yet keeping their distance, wondering who gets to stay.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Sarasota.


KING: Straight ahead, a troubling sequel to the Los Angeles police beating caught on tape and seen by millions on YouTube. We'll tell you about another tape of another incident.

Then, veterans who counted on the military to give them valuable skills and experience. Why are so many having trouble finding civilian work? Coming up, a 360 investigation.

Plus, a young Marine changed by war. I'm making music out of it. Why he sees things differently after two tours of duty and the songs that helped him get through the toughest of times.


KING: Tonight, a troubling look at some of the challenges some U.S. troops are coming home to. The military often sells itself to young recruits as a path to a better future, a way to earn valuable job skills. And many who enlist do come away with new abilities. But for others, for reasons not entirely clear, their combat experience may not make it easier to get a job. It could in fact make it even harder.

CNN's Dan Simon reports.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Josh Hopper survived two tours in Iraq. When he left the Army in May, little did he know, he was about to throw himself into a different kind of battle, a battle to find a job.

JOSH HOPPER, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: And I spend every day fighting for an opportunity, just trying to find -- at least find an opportunity to even fight for. And then when I find one, I lose the battle every time.

SIMON: Hopper's Army background is in telecommunications. But here in his small hometown of northern California, the 24-year-old says no company will touch him because he is unfamiliar with some of the more modern equipment now in use.

He's even tried applying for low-skill jobs, but to no avail.

HOPPER: It's just failure after failure after failure is piling up on me. It's nothing I ever envisioned that would happen.

SIMON (on camera): Recruiters tell enlistees that the skills they learn in the military will help them land jobs once they get out. But the numbers seem to tell a different story. The unemployment rate for young veterans is much greater than for those who never served.

(Voice-over): In 2005, the unemployment rate among veterans, age 20 to 24 was just over 15 percent, nearly double the rate for non- veterans in the same age group. The most recent statistic suggests the problem may be getting better. The Departments of Veteran Affairs and Labor say two factors contribute to the high jobless rate. Some vets take unemployment benefits once they are out, rather than seek a job immediately.

And the youngest veterans have little experience when it comes to searching for a job.

JIM NICHOLSON, VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY: Employers ought to consider what kind of a young leader are they going to have with their team in their company. They are just ideal candidates for employment. So it befuddles me that more of them are not hired by employers around the country.

SIMON: One man thinks he knows the answer.

LARRY SCOTT, VAWATCHDOG.ORG: It's a dirty little secret. People do not like to talk about it. I am finding actual discrimination out in employers, employers do not want to hire veterans.

SIMON: Larry Scott is founder of the Web site He says in some cases employers are actually frightened to hire veterans, fearing they may have mental illness.

Scott, an Army veteran himself, cites this 2006 report from the Insurance Information Institute, that warns employers, among other things, to be on the lookout for mental health problems.

While the report says the majority of veterans will have no difficulties, it also says, quote, "Hundreds of thousands will carry the psychological wounds of their experience with them for many years after their tour of duty ends."

SCOTT: What happens is, you're painting a negative picture to employers. This report and other reports like it are saying, look, veterans can cause problems and you should stay away from them.

SIMON: The insurance institute disputes that, saying, quote, "The idea that this report somehow creates a problem for returning veterans is bogus. What the article does is it spells out the responsibility of the employers to each and every one of these veterans."

As for Josh Hopper, frustrated by constant rejection, he decided to go back to school, taking classes at the community college. Before joining the Army, he worked at a grocery store.

HOPPER: If I stayed at my previous job, the one I left, I would have been making $19/hour now. So I am not sure how the military helped me out in any way.

SIMON: Even so, Hopper is proud of his military service. But he can't help questioning where it got him.

Dan Simon, CNN, Ukiah, California.


KING: This footnote, the Department of Veteran Affairs says it is working to solve this problem. It's currently studying the trend, along with the Department of Labor, but won't have results until the fall of 2007.

In the meantime, the military offers all outgoing servicemen and women classes to help prepare them for the civilian job market.

A Marine you're about to meet is trying to make a big career change after being in Iraq. Music helped him get through two tours of duty. But over time, his feelings about the war changed, and so did his music.

His remarkable story now, from CNN's Randi Kaye.



RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lyrics like these...


KAYE: ... can only come from experience. Josh Hisle was a marksman with Marine Company Fox 25, out of Camp Pendleton. His unit was one of the first to invade Iraq.

JOSH HISLE, IRAQ VETERAN: We were excited, you know, we were writing a page in history, and we didn't care if we died. The Marine Corps trains you that way.

KAYE: A showman, even in a war zone, Hisle entertained his fellow troops just hours before they crossed the border into Iraq.


KAYE: Winning their talent contest.

HISLE: They have some big spotlights, a small P.A. system (UNINTELLIGIBLE). There's a sea of Marines. And we rocked out a couple of songs and there was screaming. It was really cool.


KAYE: At this point, Hisle had no idea how much he would lean on his guitar as the violence escalated.

Just hours after the talent show, his unit fought its way toward Baghdad.

(On camera): You believed in this mission?

HISLE: Absolutely.

KAYE: Wholeheartedly? HISLE: 100 percent. Yes. I did.

KAYE (voice-over): Hisle returned home from his first tour of duty to marry his high school sweetheart.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: One, two, three, four.

KAYE: They had a son. But just two weeks after Holland was born, Hisle was called back to Iraq. This time, it would be different.

When did it turn for you?

HISLE: I'd say in Ramadi it turn for me. We were getting blown up from roadside bombs. It was insanity and we couldn't control -- stop it. And people there, they wanted us to leave.

KAYE (on camera): Do you know if you ever killed anyone?

HISLE: Absolutely.

KAYE: You did?


KAYE: How did you change while you were there?

HISLE: I guess my change was I just didn't feel the cause anymore. I just didn't see it anymore. And my heart wasn't there. I just wanted to go home.

KAYE (voice-over): Hisle lost himself in his music.

HISLE: I played every day. Every time I got a chance, I'd sit out and play outside alone.

I wrote a lot of great songs over there.

KAYE: So the music was really your outlet?

HISLE: I could complain all day with my guitar and no one had anything to say about it.

KAYE: Freelance Journalist Mike Saray (ph) was embedded with Fox 25 and interviewed Hisle in Ramadi.

HISLE: This time, yes, I'm definitely watching my own ass a little bit more. Just because I want my kid to have a dad.

KAYE: Saray (ph) saw how Hisle and his unit changed from one tour to the next.

MIKE SARAY (ph), FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Once he got into the war, you could see he and the others speaking far more reflective and far more sensitive to the emotional and personal loss involved in a war. And as a result of that, you could see Josh's music change quite dramatically.


KAYE (on camera): Is there an antiwar theme in your music today?

HISLE: There is slightly. I mean, I don't want to be pigeonholed as an antiwar political guy, because, you know, any Marine over there, any soldier over there for that matter at all is in my heart. But it's bring them home music, it's get them back here. Get them back to their families music.

KAYE (voice-over): For Hisle, it's been a musical catharsis of love, of loss, of what he says is regret about what he did in the war.


KAYE: Today, Hisle is trying to launch a music career. He has a lot to say. And he believes if things don't improve in Iraq soon, there will be plenty of people who will want to sing along.



KAYE: Josh Hisle is still on active Reserve. He still has three years left on his Marine contract, so he could be called back to Iraq, John, at any moment.

KING: Could be called back. He says he doesn't want to be pigeonholed holed, but there is a pretty antiwar slant to that music. How is it being received?

KAYE: Actually, he's played it for his Marine buddies. And he says they've really connected with it. And the people that visit the bars that he plays at really seem to like it.

But one of his biggest fans may actually be the singer and songwriter Neil Young, who he got to meet through the filmmaker, Mike Saray (ph), who's working on a documentary on Neil Young.

He introduced them. They got to jam together. They actually played one of Josh Hisle's songs together, really connected sort of on that antiwar theme. He went behind the scenes at his show and his concerts. And so for him, I mean, certainly, a budding musician. That was certainly a moment in his career.

KING: We'll see how the career progresses.

Randi Kaye, fascinating look. Thank you very much.

In Los Angeles, first this arrest called into question. Did police use excessive force to restrain another suspect? What the tape shows and what the man who shot it saw. Next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: It's not the first time a videotape has put the Los Angeles Police Department on the defensive. But tonight, the LAPD is once again facing disturbing allegations after another arrest caught on tape raises questions of unnecessary force.

CNN's Chris Lawrence has more.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This home video captures an LAPD officer pepper spraying a suspect after he is handcuffed inside the patrol car.

We're blurring the face of the suspect, Ben Barker, as part of an agreement with his attorney. But the witness who shot the video could tell Barker was hurting.

CALVIN MOSS, AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER: He was tearing. There was a lot of saliva. He was and he was drooling. And he looked very in pain.

LAWRENCE: The officers arrested him after Barker assaulted a worker in Venice Beach. The videotape shows Barker complaining and yelling.


LAWRENCE: But eventually he voluntarily gets in the car.

JOHN RAPHLING, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: He is subdued. He has submitted to their authority. He's handcuffed, he's helpless, he can't do anything to him.

LAWRENCE (on camera): Attorney John Raphling admits the officers did loosen Barker's handcuffs when he complained they were too tight.

(Voice-over): Chief William Bratton says the officers showed restraint, based on behavior not seen in the videotape.

CHIEF WILLIAM BRATTON, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: He kicked at Officer Thusing (ph), lunged toward Sgt. Barris (ph), and battered Officer Guteman (ph), by spitting on him.

Barker spat inside the police car and then vandalized it during transportation to the jail.

LAWRENCE: This arrest happened last year. The officer who sprayed Barker resigned shortly thereafter. Chief Bratton says, after a full investigation, the prosecutor found the officers did not violate the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pepper spray is here to stay. Make no mistake about that. It is an appropriate tool to deal with uncooperative individuals.

LAWRENCE: Last week the FBI launched an investigation into a separate incident in Hollywood. Police say William Cardenas ran when ordered to stop, and resisted arrest. Cardenas says he struggled because he could not breathe.

Civil Rights Attorney Connie Rice says officers are in a tough position.

CONNIE RICE, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: They've got to make a split second decision that may or may not get them killed. And in hat assessment, does LAPD have a culture that has an overreaction in terms of force?

LAWRENCE: A question investigators and the LAPD are still trying to answer.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Venice, California.


KING: Is global warming literally making us sick? Details next in our 360 bulletin.


KING: With us again, Randi Kaye with a 360 bulletin.

Hi, Randi.

KAYE: Hello again, John. Tomorrow, a small step may actually lead to a big step in diplomacy efforts with North Korean. In Vietnam, for an economic summit, Americans, South Korean and Japanese officials will also meet to coordinate a strategy on nuclear talks with Pyongyang.

South Korea said today the six-party talks that broke down last year could resume next month.

North Korea agreed to return to talks after it tested a nuclear device last month.

Charlottesville, Virginia, a guilty plea in a sexual assault case. More than 20 years after the crime. Today, in Court, William Bee Bee, you'll see him there and on the left with the red tie. In just a moment, he admitted to assaulting a fellow student at University of Virginia fraternity party back in 1984.

Last year, he contacted the woman to try to make amends. She talked to police, and now he'll be sentenced in March.

Around the world, as temperatures rise, so does the number of people fighting diseases. That's according to health experts at a U.N. Climate conference. They point to an increase in Malaria, heart problems and other ailments in Kenya, China and Europe, under warming weather.

To Colorado now, where it is far from hot. A wintry storm has moved across the state, dumping up to 20 inches in higher elevations, a foot in some other places. Skiers, of course, love this. Drivers don't. Interstate 70 is shutdown in both directions in the mountains just west of Denver.

And John, that looks like the perfect snowboarding weather for you and your kids.

KING: Time to break out the boards. Randi Kaye, thank you very much.

Tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," Dr. Sanjay Gupta has some great news for chocolate lovers.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Believe it or not, eating chocolate can actually cut your risk of having a heart attack. Sound good?

Well, the whole thing was discovered by scientists at Johns Hopkins University, purely by accident. I will have that story, as well as other medical news, tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," with Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien, starting at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.



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