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Mia Farrow's Offer to Sudan; Vick Admits Helping Kill Dogs; Airman's Web Woes; NFL Suspends Vick Indefinitely; Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith

Aired August 24, 2007 - 17:00   ET


CAFFERTY: And Joseph in Florida: "What the hell do you think this war was all about -- oil, Jack, oil. We will be buying the oil with our blood for a long time to come. Would you please read my comment and then send me a copy of your new book?"
No, Joseph.

I'll read your comment, but the book is not out yet. It doesn't come out for another 10 days or something -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you.

CAFFERTY: That's all I've got.

BLITZER: September 10th, to be precise.

CAFFERTY: Thank you.

BLITZER: The new book coming out.

Stay with us.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, likely no Christmas at home for a few thousand more U.S. troops. After a respected Republican senator suggested that, the top U.S. military commander on the ground in Iraq now saying embracing that idea would be, in his words, a giant step backwards.

Hillary Clinton says if certain terror-related acts were to happen, they'll help Republicans in the presidential election.

What exactly is she getting at?

We're watching this story.

And the woman devoted to her life to God's work often doubted God's existence. We're going to tell you how Mother Teresa's faith deeply tormented her.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


Despite one Republican's wishes, U.S. troops will likely not be home for Christmas. A top U.S. commander in Iraq says beginning troop pullouts by Christmas is a bad idea. The general is blasting that proposal from one of the most respected Republican voices on national security issues.

Let's go to senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre -- Jamie, the commander says embracing this idea that Warner is putting forward would be disastrous.


You know, you would think that withdrawing some U.S. troops in time for the December holidays would be a popular idea, but it's not being met with a groundswell of support, especially from U.S. commanders in Iraq.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): With more than 160,000 troops in Iraq, Senator John Warner believes the mission could spare a few thousand just to make the point the U.S. is not staying indefinitely.

SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: The first redeployment, hopefully, the troops would get home by Christmas.

MCINTYRE: But U.S. commanders in Iraq insist they need every American boot now on the ground to hold onto hard won gains because the Iraqi Army cannot yet fill their shoes.

MAJ. GEN. RICK LYNCH, COMMANDER, MULTI-NATIONAL DIVISION-CENTER: Now, I've got some great Iraqi Army units in my battle space and we're working transitions there. But there's still such a detailed, complicated fight going on, that it's no -- it's no time between now and Christmas to move some coalition forces out.

MCINTYRE: But General Lynch's forces are on the front lines south of Baghdad.

Aren't there any troops anywhere in Iraq that could be sent home?

Sources close to the top commander in Iraq tell CNN that General David Petraeus has not ruled out recommending troop cuts when he reports to Congress in two weeks, but he's playing his cards close to the vest.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is preparing options for next year under the hopeful scenario that deep force cuts can be made then, with as many as 60,000 troops coming home.

"The Los Angeles Times" reports outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman, Peter Pace, favors such a cut, but General Pace issued a written statement calling the report "purely speculative," adding, he will provide his advice privately to the president.

The White House has politely thanked Senator John Warner for his suggestion, but made no promises. GORDON JOHNDROE, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESMAN: And he's certainly a respected senator. But right now the most important thing is to listen to what our generals on the ground have to say.


MCINTYRE: Senator Warner says if the White House rejects his proposal, his conscience is clear. He says: "At least I have spoken out with clarity" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Jamie, for that.

Jamie McIntyre is our senior Pentagon correspondent.

It appears to be a deadly accident. A U.S. aircraft is believed to have dropped a bomb that killed three British soldiers in Southern Afghanistan yesterday. Officials suspect friendly fire. The British soldiers were on patrol when Taliban insurgents attacked. Officials say two U.S. aircraft came to help. A bomb was dropped and officials say they think the explosion killed the British soldiers.

At least 26 people have died in so-called friendly fire incidents in operations in Iraq and as well as in Afghanistan.

And you might remember this recently aired video of an incident back in 2003. It's from the cockpit of a U.S. aircraft. Pilots mistakenly fired on a convoy of British troops, killing one. The incident, by the way, under investigation.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is raising some eyebrows once again. This time it's for comments she made suggesting that Republicans would get a political boost in 2008 from a terrorist assault.

Our Mary Snow is following these controversial comments from Senator Clinton -- what are you there learning, Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Senator Clinton's comment has drawn criticism from one fellow Democrat and some surprise among others in political circles.


SNOW (voice-over): Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton was playing up her experience. But some question her case for being tough on terrorism when she laid out this scenario, saying: "It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself what if -- what if? But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world. So I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that, as well." LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: It's an odd thing for her to say. It doesn't help her. It probably helps Giuliani. It may help some of her opponents. SNOW: Republican Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, for one, has repeatedly tried to paint Democrats as weak on national security. And terrorism, says one Democratic pollster, is an area where Democrats are at a disadvantage.

GEOFF GARIN, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Right now, this is an election where on virtually every issue, the Democrats have the wind at their backs. But terrorism is the one issue that lets the Republicans level the playing field.

SNOW: Echoing that sentiment, former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis was quoted in "The New York Observer" this week saying: "Some crazy guy will blow up a building with three weeks to go, you know, and then we'll be back in Bush land again."

Democratic pollster Geoff Garin says Republicans aren't perceived as being strong on national security, as they once were.


GARIN: Whoever is the Democratic nominee is going to have to show that they're strong, that they're resolute, that they're committed to doing whatever it takes to protect the country.


SNOW: Now, reaction to Senator Clinton's comments yesterday, fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Christopher Dodd came out to say he found it, in his words, "tasteless" to about the political implications of a potential terrorist attack.

A spokesman for Senator Clinton says she was just making clear she has the strength and experience to keep the country safe -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you, Mary.

Mary Snow watching this story for us.

Let's go back to Jack Cafferty in New York for The Cafferty File -- Jack?

CAFFERTY: I don't know about you, but some days these candidates are really a annoying.

BLITZER: Just get used to it, because it's only just starting.

CAFFERTY: Oh. I -- I don't, you know, I'm not sure I can make it all the way to November of 2008.

The year of the civilian -- here we go with more on candidates.

The year of the civilian -- "The Washington Post" is calling the 2008 the presidential crop the year of the civilian because, with the exception of Senator John McCain, none of the frontrunners in either party -- the frontrunners -- have served in the military. And unless the McCain campaign starts to pick up speed, which is highly unlikely at this point, this election could well be the first time since World War II when neither of the major party nominees is a military veteran.

Some consider this trend troubling. They say that people who have actually been to war are a little less inclined to go to war. And until recently there used to be a so-called "veterans premium" in American politics. Our leaders were more likely to have had military experience than the general population. In fact, 31 of our 42 presidents have worn the uniform of the armed forces.

But with the end of the draft in the 1970s, a new group of leaders emerged who didn't have to go through basic training, let alone get shipped out to the front lines. The Veterans of Foreign Wars says what's most important to veterans is leadership that cares about them and supports legislation that will help them.

On a related note, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America came out swinging against President Bush after that speech he made to veterans a few days ago in which he compared Iraq to Vietnam. The said, and I quote here: "The last thing these veterans need is a history lesson. They remember America's wars because they actually fought them."


"Instead of making references to previous conflicts, we need the president to take more seriously the myriad of issues facing veterans and their families right now."

So here's the question -- how much does it matter if presidential candidates are veterans?

E-mail your thoughts to or go to

And don't write me about the second and third tier. We're talking only about the frontrunners. And none of the frontrunners has military experience, at least at this point, except for McCain -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jack.

Thank you.

It involves astronauts, romantic rivalry and an alleged pepper spray attack. But the woman at the center wonders why all the talk.


LISA NOWAK, FORMER ASTRONAUT: I've been both shocked and overwhelmed at the media coverage. I've been dismayed at incidents like those who took photos of my house to publish on the Web.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: The astronaut involved in a so-called love triangle makes her first public statement since the story came out. Stand by for details.

Also, bets were placed and dogs died. NFL player Michael Vick is out with some stunning admissions of his role in a very cruel dogfighting ring.

And a woman who could become a saint frequently doubted if God existed. We're going to tell you about Mother Teresa's crisis of faith.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: Now to a case that's a little out there, the so-called NASA love triangle.

A pretrial hearing began today for Lisa Nowak, the former astronaut accused of stalking a romantic rival.

CNN's John Zarrella was in court for testimony on everything from Nowak's ankle monitor to suspicious diapers.

John Zarrella is joining us now here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

So what happened -- John?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they really ran the gamut of issues today. Six hours of testimony and it's not over yet. The judge saying he's going to need probably another six hours before he can wrap this thing up. So no rulings yet on any of the issues that came up.

But for the first time since her arrest back in February, Lisa Nowak talked publicly.


ZARRELLA (voice-over): Former astronaut Lisa Nowak apologized to the other woman.

NOWAK: I would like her to know how very sorry I am about having frightened her in any way and about the subsequent public harassment that has besieged all of us.

ZARRELLA: Nowak's statement came at the end of a pretrial hearing where Nowak, the accused, and Colleen Shipman, the victim, were both present, seeing each other for the first time since an alleged love triangle between the two women and shuttle astronaut Bill Oefelein came to a head.

Nowak allegedly attacked Shipman with pepper spray at the Orlando airport.

During the hearing, Nowak's attorney argued that the monitoring device his client is forced to wear is unnecessary, that she is not a threat. On the stand, Nowak promised to stay clear of Shipman if the ankle bracelet is removed.

NOWAK: I can absolutely say that I will not go to Brevard County.

ZARRELLA: Next on the stand, Colleen Shipman, saying there is a comfort level knowing Nowak is being monitored, but admitting she traveled to Houston to visit her boyfriend, going to the same city where Nowak lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miss. Shipman, does it still make you feel better that you knew that she couldn't come near you or be around you?

CAPTAIN COLLEEN SHIPMAN, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE: Absolutely. When I'm at home alone and there's nobody with me, it is a comfort.

ZARRELLA: Much of the hearing's testimony came from Police Officer William Beckton. Nowak's attorney, Donald Lykkebak, wants evidence collected -- the B.B. Gun, the mallet and the interview Beckton conducted with Nowak after her arrest thrown out, saying she never really agreed to talk without an attorney.

DONALD LYKKEBAK, NOWAK'S ATTORNEY: And you asked for that commitment of her to speak to you without advising her of her constitutional rights, known as the Miranda warning, isn't that right?

OFFICER WILLIAM BECTON, ORLANDO, FLORIDA POLICE: I wouldn't say that's totally accurate.

ZARRELLA: Lykkebak has maintained that the stories his client wore a diaper when she drove from Houston to Orlando were preposterous.

On the stand, Officer Beckton testified he found three soiled diapers in her car.

BECKTON: She said that she used the diapers in order to pee so that she didn't have to make as many stops.

ZARRELLA: The judge has yet to rule on any of the issues.

Nowak's trial is set to begin next month.


ZARRELLA: Now, while Nowak and Shipman were both in the courtroom at the same time, it didn't appear that either of them ever made eye contact. Shortly after her testimony was concluded, Ms. Shipman left the courtroom. And Bill Oefelein, the astronaut who is at the center of all this, he wasn't in court at all -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So what happens next?

This process is only just starting, I take it.

ZARRELLA: That's right.

Again, we have at least another six hours of testimony in these pretrial hearing and then the judge is going to have to rule on the issues, the suppression of evidence, whether or not to remove the ankle bracelet and then eventually get to trial, scheduled right now for one month from today -- Wolf.

BLITZER: John Zarrella watching it for us.

Thanks, John, very much.

Let's check in with Carol Costello.

She's monitoring some other stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Carol, what do you have?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's start in the Midwest, Wolf.

People in parts of that part of the country already dealing with flooding and storm damage are being drenched with more rain today. This week's heavy rain and severe storms are being blamed for at least 17 deaths. Hundreds of homes in several states are damaged or destroyed. Severe thunderstorms have left more than 450,000 homes and businesses in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana without power.

The sentence is death for the man convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford. Today a judge in Florida agreed with the jury's recommendation and ordered that John Couey be executed. Couey buried the girl alive. Her body was found about three weeks after she disappeared. Couey's lawyers had argued that he couldn't legally be executed because he's mentally retarded, but the judge rejected that claim.

A reputed Ku Klux Klansman faces three life sentences for his role in a 1964 abduction and murder of two African-American teenagers in Southwest Mississippi. James Seale was sentenced today in Mississippi for kidnapping and conspiracy. He was convinced back in June in the deaths of Charles Moore and Henry Dee (ph). They were 19- years-old when they disappeared 43 years ago. Their bodies were found weeks later in the Mississippi River.

An advocacy group representing more than half of New York City's taxi drivers is calling for a two day strike next month. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance is upset about new technology requirements. For one thing, it fears that global positioning system required in cabs starting this fall would be used to track drivers. Other taxi groups oppose the strike.

Back to you -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Carol, for that.

Up next here in THE SITUATION ROOM, a blunt assessment about Iraq.


MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is no government here. And anyone who says there is, is either delusional or trying to spin a line. There's nothing here for America to work with.


BLITZER: CNN's Michael Ware will be here to talk about Iraq's realities. He even says a Republican senator who wants a troop pullout to start around Christmas -- that would be John Warner -- in his words, "is kidding himself about the message that would send."

And she's the actress who says she's willing to sacrifice her own freedom to save others. I'll speak to Mia Farrow about her desperate pleas for Sudanese refugees.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: More bad news for the government of Nuri al-Maliki, the prime minister in Iraq. More members of a major political bloc are simply pulling out of his cabinet. This bloc will keep its seats in parliament, but wants nothing -- nothing to do with this cabinet of Nuri al-Maliki.

Joining us now from Baghdad, our correspondent, Michael Ware -- Michael, at least from this vantage point, it looks like this Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki slowly but surely is falling apart. Some Shia coalition partners are leaving. Sunni partners are leaving.

Big picture -- what's going on?

WARE: Well, Wolf, I mean, really, there's never been an Iraqi government. I mean it's only ever been a so-called entity. It's been an apparition from the beginning, a loose coalition of militias, most of them, according to Western intelligence, backed by Iran, jammed together. So, really, there has never been a functioning government here.

It's certainly not delivering services to its people. I mean it can't even guarantee running water in its capital. It can't provide electricity.

Of Maliki's 37 cabinet ministers, 17 just don't show up for cabinet meetings or are actually boycotting the government. And we now see yet another political bloc, that represented by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, today announcing it, too, has withdrawn.

So, effectively, there's four more ministers gone. Wolf, there is no government here and anyone who says there is either delusional or trying to spin a line. There's nothing here for America to work with.

BLITZER: Yesterday John Warner, the Republican Senator from Virginia, the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. has to send a powerful signal to the Iraqi government and announce its starting to withdraw troops, get some of them home by Christmas, maybe only 5,000.

But on a practical level -- and you've been there four years plus now, Michael -- what happens when U.S. forces move out of an area and say to the Iraqis, you guys take over, you're in charge now?

Practically speaking, what happens?

WARE: Well, that sends a strong signal to the militia factions who own this country in whichever region we're particularly talking about where U.S. forces withdraw that it's game on -- power is yours. I mean that's what's holding this country together are militias. I mean comparisons to Lebanon in the '80s are not that far off base. So, I'm sorry, but with all respect to Senator Warner, he is absolutely kidding himself if, A, withdrawing 5,000 troops is going to send any kind of a message or, B, that American withdrawal without serious penalty -- the strongest message withdrawal like that sends is American defeat. And if you want a clear cut example of both the power of that message and what happens on the ground, just look at Basra in the South. The Brits have all been but forced to abandon Basra.

And what's happened?

Rival, sparring, brawling Iranian-backed militias have taken over and it's turning into an absolute disaster. That's a glimmer of Iraq's future without American forces.

BLITZER: Pretty depressing information.

Michael Ware, thanks very much for joining us.

WARE: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: And I'll speak exclusively with the man Michael just mentioned, the political leader Ayad Allawi, the man who runs that political bloc in Iraq that's leaving the cabinet. Right now, Ayad Allawi will join us, the former interim prime minister of Iraq, exclusively on LATE EDITION. That airs Sunday, 11:00 aamm Eastern.

Up next, the actress Mia Farrow talks about her offer to switch places with a prisoner in Sudan. I'll ask her if she's afraid of dying if she were to go over there and switch places with him.

And what about all of her children?

Plus, quarterback Michael Vick gets specific. Find out exactly what he admits he's guilty of doing.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, a federal judge in Miami says Manuel Noriega can -- repeat, can be extradited to France to serve 10 years for money laundering. Panama also wanted Noriega on murder charges, but will have to wait. The former Panamanian dictator is due to be released from prison in Florida September 9th.

The White House says President and Mrs. Bush will travel to New Orleans and Mississippi, the Gulf Coast, on Wednesday. A spokesman says it will be Mr. Bush's 15th visit to the region since Hurricane Katrina erupted two years ago.

And another rocky week on Wall Street ends in a higher note, giving the market its best week in five months. Surprisingly strong showings in new home sales and factory orders eased investors' concerns. The Dow Jones Average gained just under 143 points, to close the week at 13,378.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


The actress and activist, Mia Farrow, is calling on China to clean up its human rights act before the 2008 Olympic Games next summer. She wants China to withdraw support for Sudan's government.

Farrow, as you know, is a very vocal advocate for Sudanese refugees and is even offering herself in trade for an ailing dissident.

Our State Department correspondent, Zain Verjee, she's here in THE SITUATION ROOM -- Zain, tell our viewers a little background of what's going on.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Mia Farrow is basically making an offer she says Sudan's government can't refuse.


VERJEE (voice-over): Hollywood hostage offer -- Mia Farrow is offering to be taken prisoner by Sudan's government. On one condition -- she wants them to let a sick rebel leader go free.

On her Web site, Farrow pleads with Sudan's president: "Exchange my freedom for his."

He is Suleiman Jamous. He's in a U.N. Hospital, being treated for abdominal problems, afraid to leave, fearful of arrest. Farrow wants him to be allowed out of Sudan safely for better care. He's seen by many as a key player in the wild West Darfur region. Farrow, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, is getting mixed reviews -- A plus for shining a light on Darfur, F for offering to be a hostage.

I'm confused about what good this does aside from putting Mia Farrow back in the limelight.

Farrow told CNN her offer is serious. She says she'd trade places with Jamous in a heartbeat. Why? She says desperate times call for desperate measures. And the people of Darfur are desperate. The state department says Hollywood's attention to causes like Darfur is generally a good thing but Mia Farrow's offer may not go down well with diplomats.

TOM CASEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: I certainly know our counselor officials in Sudan would probably not appreciate having any American citizen prisoners there.

VERJEE: Rights groups say at least 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur. Millions of refugees are running for their lives, trapped in camps in neighboring Chad. Farrow says Americans can't stand by and watch them die and should keep pressing the U.S. government to save them.

More bad news from Darfur today. Amnesty International is saying Sudan is still sending weapons there, and that's a violation of a peace deal as well as a U.N. embargo it made in the region. And Amnesty says, Wolf, that it's released pictures that prove it.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: What a story, heartbreaking story. Zain Verjee, thanks very much.

And joining us now from New York, the actress and activist Mia Farrow. Mia, thanks very much for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

MIA FARROW, ACTOR & ACTIVIST: Thank you for having me.

BLITZER: So what do you say to some of these critics who say that as well-intentioned as your desire to switch places with Suleiman Jamous might be, it could actually backfire as far as the whole effort in Darfur is concerned?

FARROW: You know, I really consulted with some people who truly know and they thought it to be an effective thing to do in that. I mean, first of all, I had to be prepared in my own heart. Am I really willing to take Suleiman Jamous' place? The answer to that is, in a heartbeat.

Why? Because Suleiman Jamous enabled humanitarians, UNICEF and other aid agencies working in Darfur. He brought them through rebel- held territories and provided access to very imperiled population, internally displaced people.

So in the year, 14 months that he has been sidelined, aid agencies have no access to in excess of 1 million human beings. BLITZER: But, Mia, yet you are a mother. You have a lot of children. Aren't you afraid that if they were to take you up on that offer, and it is probably unlikely that they will, but if they would, you could rot in jail. You could die over there.

FARROW: Well, look at three things. One, my children are almost grown up and those children I have that are grown up are well- positioned to take care of those -- the youngest is now 13. But it is very unlikely I, as an American citizen, would be left to languish in a jail as an innocent person.

Suleiman Jamous, on the other hand, does not have an American passport. No one had come to his rescue. And I felt his value as a human being, his innocence, and his value as a humanitarian, just do the math.

So I thought it would -- my own sense is disgust and outrage that a good man is imprisoned for so long. I just felt a desperate measure was required to just highlight the tragedy and ludicrousness of his confinement.

So I think it at least brought it to the fore, and at least the government of Khartoum is now -- they say they are going to release him, I don't know whether that has anything to do with my offer or not. Let's assume not.

BLITZER: Let's hope they do. Let's also...

FARROW: Let's hope they do.

BLITZER: ... talk, Mia, about China, its relationship with the government in Khartoum, in the Sudan, and the Beijing Olympics, which are coming up, because I know you have some strong views on this and I want to make sure that they are precisely explained to our viewers, specifically the notion of boycotting those games.

FARROW: First of all, I have not mentioned the word boycott. You know, at this point that would be premature. For your viewers, China has poured billions of dollars into Sudan. Beijing purchases an overwhelming majority of Sudan's annual oil exports.

And 80 percent -- as much as 80 percent of those oil revenues are used in the expensive business of genocide, the purchase of Antonov bombers, attack helicopters, munitions factories, arming and training the Arab militia now known as Janjaweed, all of this is funded by Chinese money.

So we look at China, one world, one dream. And China wishes to step out of its -- into a post-Tiananmen Square era of -- let us make that the reality. One world, one dream, it is the slogan for their 2008 Olympic Games, but there is one nightmare that China cannot sweep under the rug, and that is Darfur.

So we look where China is positioned, and its immense oil revenues going toward the genocide in Darfur, and we are really saying, please, China, you know, make it one world, one dream. You know, step up and do that thing. Use your unique point of leverage to persuade Khartoum to admit peacekeepers of the sort outlined in U.N. Resolution 1706.

And again, less so but still in the more recent one, let's stop the bombing, let's rein in the Janjaweed, and let's get peace and security.

BLITZER: So you are not ready to call for a boycott now, but you are leaving that option open, is that what I'm hearing down the road, unless China changes its stance towards Sudan?

FARROW: I think that is right. No one wants to harm the athletes. So the idea is that we are asking China to use this moment in time and use its point of leverage to bring an end to the suffering in Darfur.

I think calling for a boycott would close the door on a very valuable interval of time in which behind closed doors presumably China will use its pressure on Khartoum. That is what the hope is.

BLITZER: Mia Farrow, doing important work. Thank you very much for joining us.

FARROW: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: Up next, we have some detailed report about Michael Vick's new deal. Not on the football field but in court. You're going to find out exactly what he's admitting about dog fighting.

And she isn't officially a saint. But for the first time Mother Teresa's own doubts are going public.

We'll tell you what's going on. Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Michael Vick admits he did it. One charge against him. He admits helping to kill dogs. Drew Griffin is joining us from the CNN center in Atlanta. Pretty much of a total reversal on his part.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Wolf, he had nowhere to go in this case. Three co-defendants lined up to testify against him. He will go into federal court on Monday and make this plea. But the case was filed just a couple hours ago in the Eastern District of Virginia. Michael Vick signed a document basically pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy with the admission that Michael Vick, the star quarterback, was running a dog fighting ring.

Michael Vick, who months ago was throwing for touchdowns as the star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, now has thrown himself before the mercy of a federal court, admitting in court papers to dog fighting. The one count plea to be entered by Vick in Richmond, Virginia Monday charges Vick with conspiracy, a charge that could bring as much as a five-year prison term.

The admission could also bring a suspension from the NFL and possibly the end of its football career. Responding to a possible plea deal earlier this week, one of Vick's defense attorneys indicated the agile quarterback he couldn't run from his past.

DANIEL MEACHUM, MICHAEL VICK'S ATTORNEY: He's accepting responsibility for those charges and he's trying to put the pieces of his life back together. And asks that you pray for him and forgive him for any wrongdoing that he may have been involved in.

GRIFFIN: Three co-defendants have already pleaded guilty and all three gave graphic details about how Michael Vick's Virginia property was the headquarters of bad news kennels, that dogs were raised there to fight. That Vick not only financed the operation but took part in gambling and that Michael Vick personally killed underperforming dogs by drowning and electrocution.

In his plea agreement today, Vick's lawyers appeared to be trying to minimize the damage specifically saying while Vick financed the operation, even put up money for purses, he did not bet on the dogs. He did admit, however, to agreeing to the killing of six to eight dogs that did not perform well in so-called testing sessions. The dogs were killed by various methods including hanging and drowning. And the summary states, Vick agrees and stipulates that these dogs all died as a result of the collective efforts of his co-defendants Purnell Peace, Quanis Phillips and himself, Vick.

Neither Vick, nor the prosecution, has anything to say about the plea deal beyond the court filing. Once the plea is entered in court Monday, a federal judge will decide whether to accept it and then set a sentencing date.

A source familiar with the details of the case says prosecutors will ask the judge to send the star quarterback to prison for no less than 18 months.

And Wolf, this may just be the beginning. We got off the phone with the district attorney's office in the Eastern Virginia District. All the evidence in this federal case now gets handed over to local prosecutors in Virginia. And it will be up to them to file criminal charges which could potentially bring even stiffer sentences for this Michael Vick.

BLITZER: It's going to be up to that judge to decide how much a sentence. Even though there's a recommendation, in the end the judge will make the decision, based on all the evidence, his cooperation or lack of cooperation, he's got a lot of discretion.

GRIFFIN: Yes. He does. The maximum sentence here is five years. The prosecutors are asking for 18 months. Of course, Vick's attorneys want him in jail for less than a year. But, again, it's a wide range of discretion. He can go the full five years or he could even bring it down and show leniency down to three years which would basically about end Michael Vick's career.

BLITZER: Drew Griffin, what a story. Thank you very much for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

An assistant and a driver to the top general in the California National Guard is on leave today after a newspaper report of offensive material on his personal website. The name of the site, get this, how to kill Our internet reporter Abbi Tatton is here.

Abbi, what's on this website?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Well Wolf, instructions on how to kill people there aren't. But as a spokesman for the California National Guard put it, there is objectionable contented on there.

The posts senior airman Travis Gruber's website range from humorous to vulgar and offensive, targeting the disabled, overweight people and several elected officials. The site is now down, released by a statement from Gruber apologizing for in any way tarnishing the military and saying he thought he was writing anonymously and never mentioned the relationship with any official organization. Gruber said the site's purpose is political sat tire although he admits it might be dark and distasteful.

Lieutenant Colonel John Seatmen (ph) of the California National Guard said Gruber was placed on administrative leave Wednesday pending an investigation to determine whether any military law was broken. He also said the site was investigated last summer and at that point nothing was found to be legally actionable.


BLITZER: What kind of name is that for a website? What was he thinking? It just raises all sorts of questions.

TATTON: On the site he says -- we pulled up archives. He said that he's had this site for about three years and there were certainly posts going back all that way.

BLITZER: Thank you very much.

Still ahead, Mother Teresa's own words about when she stopped praying and doubted her faith. It's the first time this has ever been made public. You're going to want to hear what's going on.

Plus, your thoughts on Jack Cafferty's question, how much does it matter if presidential candidates are military veterans?

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: This just coming in from the Associated Press. Michael Vick has been indefinitely suspended by the NFL. This on a day where he filed a plea agreement in federal court admitting to conspiracy and dog fighting, helping to kill dogs. He did not admit to betting on them approximately but once again, the NFL, according to the Associated Press, has now indefinitely suspended Michael Vick from playing with the Atlanta Falcons or any other team in the NFL.

Ten years after her death, Mother Teresa still stands as an icon of selflessness. Despite decades of giving to the poorest people in Indian, giving to God, the nun had doubts. We're just learning now about those doubts.

CNN's Carol Costello is joining us once again with more on some letters that Mother Teresa wrote, letters that are just coming out right now. What did she have to say?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Wolf, Mother Teresa never wanted these letters made public, but the church overruled her. They tell of a complicated person who struggled with her faith just as many others do.

Mother Teresa symbolized religious devotion for millions of Christians, but newly released letters reveal she had a crisis of faith and questioned God's presence. The new book, "Come Be My Light," exposes a letter she wrote. She said, "Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear." This from an extraordinary woman who won the Nobel Prize for doing God's work, tending to the poorest of the poor, who often told the world to have faith.

MOTHER TERESA: It is not enough to say for us to say I love God. But I also have to love my neighbor. Saint John said that you are a liar if you say you love God and you don't love your neighbor.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: I don't think she believed that she was lying to the world. On the other hand, I think that she clearly did feel a conflict between presenting herself as a role model of holiness and knowing what was going on inside her own heart and soul.

COSTELLO: According to the author, her doubts began after she had a mystical experience on board a train in 1946. She told friends in one of her letters Jesus came to her. "It was in that train I heard the call to give up all and follow him into the slums, to serve him in the poorest of the poor."

According to catholic organizations, it was that moment that led her to Calcutta, India. But as she sacrificed she said Jesus never visited her again. She felt he left her. Her friend, a priest, asked her to write a letter to Jesus about her feelings. She did that in 1959. "I don't pray any longer. I utter words of community prayers and try my utmost to get out of every word the sweetness it has to give. But my prayer of union is not there any longer. I no longer pray. My soul is not one with you."

REV. DAVID O'CONNELL, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: I don't think the letters are any negative at all. In fact, if anything, I think there's a strengthening of this case for her because mother, despite her struggles with faith and the concerns about faith, she was able to accomplish so much good in the name of Christ. COSTELLO: It is still likely Mother Teresa will become a saint. This likely will not affect that. Also, Father O'Connell said it is not unusual for someone like Mother Teresa to have doubts especially when you work in the most desperate place, as Mother Teresa had and wondered why there had to be so much suffering.


BLITZER: Carol, thank you.

Despite her long crisis of faith, Mother Teresa is only one step away from sainthood. The process usually starts five years after death. Mother Teresa's process was expedited by the Pope John Paul II. Less than two years after her death she was named a servant of God as the church was given permission into an investigation into her virtues. Mother Teresa was declared venerable in December 2002 when enough information was gathered for the pope to proclaim her heroic virtue. After one miracle was attributed to Mother Teresa, she became blessed and beatified in 2005. Now at least one more miracle by Mother Teresa must be proven and then the pope can declare her a saint.

There's a chance that neither party's in the 2008 campaign will have military experience. How much does it matter if the presidential candidates are veterans? That's Jack Cafferty's question. That's coming up next. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the Hot Shots coming in from our friends at the Associated Press, pictures likely to be in your newspapers tomorrow.

In Japan, performers for the opening ceremony of the world athletics championship cooled down after rehearsal.

Ohio, that is, residents take caution on Main Street which flooded after several days of rain. That's Ottawa, Ohio.

In New York, a taxicab sits half in and half out of a laundry mat after crashing through its front window.

And in New Hampshire, a revolutionary war reenactment company fires off a cannon to start a support the troops rally in Concord.

Some of this hour's Hot Shots, pictures are worth a thousand words.

Nice pictures, Jack. Good setup for the Cafferty File.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They weren't very good today.

BLITZER: You didn't like taxicab half in and half out?

CAFFERTY: You see that stuff every day. Those are like lukewarm shots. The question this hour, how much does it matter if presidential candidates are veterans?

Sue in Houston is an Iraq war veteran. "I would like to see more veterans involved in the political process. If more veterans were involved in the process they would send us to Iraq and we would have a realistic achievable goal in mission."

Mary in Petoskey, Michigan, "How important is it for presidential candidates to have military experience? John McCain, the only veteran who's a frontrunner, has been rabidly supporting Bush's position on Iraq. I rest my case."

Paul in Brooklyn, "You don't have to be a war veteran to be president. If you have a key electoral state controlled by your brother, key Supreme Court justices beholden to your father, and you sell your soul to the companies that make voting machines that can be rigged, you can get enough people to vote for you to make the election look legitimate even if you and your vice president are draft dodgers."

John writes, "In this war, military experience doesn't really matter as that is what the generals are for. What we need is someone who understands the threat against us and is willing to do whatever is necessary to stop them."

Tom in Des Moines, "I don't know. How much does it matter if the leading candidates have had an abortion? Have worked for an insurance company? Have balanced a budget? Have spent time in Europe?"

And John writes from California, "Intellect, real moral compass and sound judgment are more important. Both George Bush and LBJ had little military experience and led us into unpopular wars shrouded in lies and misinformation. Perhaps the real lesson is never again elect a Texan."

If you didn't see your email here, you can go to We post more of them online along with video clips of the Cafferty File.


BLITZER: Jack, I'm going to show our viewers the picture of that taxicab in New York, half in, half out. There it is. Let's bring it up there. There it is right there and I'm going to say these words, "It's Getting Ugly Out There." I don't think you had that necessarily in mind when you wrote your new book.

CAFFERTY: No but that's just one of the risks you assume when you live in New York City. Those guys that drive those cabs are - I saw a yellow cab one day jump the curb on Fifth Avenue and hit one of those blind guy with a seeing eye dog sitting 25 feet back from the street with his tin cup, almost ran over the blind guy and hit the wall right next to him and people on Fifth Avenue didn't even pay any attention.

BLITZER: See you back here in an hour Lou. That's very much. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now. Lisa Sylvester is sitting in.