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How Many U.S. Swine Flu Deaths?; Exit Strategy For Afghanistan?

Aired November 12, 2009 - 20:00   ET



CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight: Here are the questions we want answered.

How did the number of flu deaths triple in one day?

REAR ADMIRAL DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT, SCIENCE AND PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAM, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: We estimate that 3,900 people have died so far. What we are seeing in 2009 is unprecedented.

BROWN: And why did some Wall Street firms get the flu vaccine, while some hospitals and schools are still waiting? Tonight, I will ask the doctor in charge of it all for some answers.

Also, what's the endgame in Afghanistan? That's what President Obama wants to know. Tonight, three things we need to do before the troops can come home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would not wait overly long here. But I think we need to get it right. What kind of partner do we have in Afghanistan?

BROWN: Plus, can we rewire our troops to better handle trauma?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A third of vets returning from Afghanistan are suffering from some type of combat stress injury.

BROWN: I will talk to a general, a former POW, and a mom who launched a groundbreaking program to eliminate PTSD.

And the rumors are true, according to Sarah Palin. Hear what she says now about the McCain campaign in her new book -- and the McCain campaign already denying it.

Plus, our special investigation, "Secret Societies." I will take you inside Yale University's Skull and Bones. What really happens behind the padlocked doors of this windowless building, the tomb of Skull and Bones, Yale's oldest secret society. Its members include some of America's most powerful and privileged elite, all sworn to secrecy.

And tonight's newsmaker: Former President George W. Bush talks for the first time about his retirement.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm pleased to report there is life after the White House.


ANNOUNCER: This is your only source for news. CNN prime time begins now. Here's Campbell Brown.

BROWN: Hi, everybody. We start as always tonight with the "Mash-Up." It is our look at all the stories making an impact right now, the moments you may have missed today. We're watching it all, so you don't have to.

Breaking news to begin tonight: Federal prosecutors move to seize four mosques and a New York skyscraper. Why? Well, prosecutors say the owners have ties to Iran and that they have been sending money back to the Iranian government.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The charge, that the Alavi corporation, which gets money from the properties, is actually a front company for a larger Iranian-owned bank and that the bank channels money to support Iran's nuclear program and parts of its military forces considered terrorist organizations by the U.S.

Now, the four mosques include the Islamic Institute of New York in Queens, New York, the Islamic Education Center in Houston, Texas -- that's what you're looking at right now -- and two other mosques in Maryland and California.

President Obama today extended the national emergency with respect to Iran, because relations, of course, with that country remain strained.


BROWN: Also, today, President Obama renewed longstanding economic sanctions against Iran for another year.

More new numbers from the CDC today -- an estimated 22 million people have become ill with the H1N1 flu. And nearly 4,000 people have died. As we first reported last night, that's a lot more than they had previously announced. Here now is the government's explanation.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It doesn't mean that the virus is more dangerous. Instead, the CDC is now including deaths caused by complications, things like pneumonia and bacterial infections. It is estimated that 22 million Americans have caught the swine flu.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today's numbers are about four times higher than what the CDC reported just six days ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I know. SCHUCHAT: Our estimates, we believe, give us a better estimate of how much disease, hospitalization, and death there is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I make that we are catching up with the numbers. A lot of people in small communities over the summer may have died of pneumonia or organ failure. And it has sort of been hard to keep on top of this, because a lot of people didn't expect flu over the summer. So, I think this is really sort of the first accurate estimate.

DIANE SAWYER, CO-HOST, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": Does it mean that this has peaked now? Does it mean we are on the way to that number they gave us, which was 30,000 to 90,000 possible?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don't think it means either of those. I think it is too soon to say if it has peaked.


BROWN: We are going to have much more on this with the CDC's chief health officer for H1N1 -- that coming up in just a few moments.

New charges in the Fort Hood shooting rampage. Major Nidal Hasan now faces 13 counts of murder. Also today, President Obama ordered an investigation about how information about Hasan was handled or mishandled by government agencies.

Today, CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked U.S. Counterterrorism Chief Daniel Benjamin about that. Take a look.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Because of the Fort Hood killings, because of the suspicions that there may be something other than just religious fanaticism involved, can you tell me what the United States believes to be the motivation and what you are tracking in that case?

DANIEL BENJAMIN, STATE DEPARTMENT COORDINATOR FOR COUNTERTERRORISM: The various investigating bureaus have said that they have seen these e-mail messages to a radical cleric, but that they were not of sufficient concern to open up an investigation. And there doesn't appear to be any linkage to any outside group in terms of the operation itself.


BROWN: Major Hasan will be tried by a military court. If convicted, he could be put to death.

President Obama on his way to Japan right now, it is his first stop on a trip that takes him to Singapore, China, South Korea, also the big focus, the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Some numbers: an eight-day trip to Asia, 15.7 million unemployed Americans. Think those two are not related?


Before departing for Asia this morning, I would like to make a brief statement about the economy.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's going to Asia, where not only is Asia our banker -- China our banker, in particular -- but Asia is the place where millions of jobs have relocated over the past couple of decades.

CROWLEY: Five-point-six million Americans unemployed for more than six months, six people looking for every one job opening, the worst odds in more than 70 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president today spoke of what he called the bold steps these last 10 months to stabilize the financial system. But the White House knows, for the millions of Americans desperate for work, it does not mean much.

OBAMA: The economic growth that we have seen has not yet led to the job growth that we desperately need.

CROWLEY: Politically, the president really is moving into crunch time. Increasing numbers of Americans again in that poll say, if the economy is still bad next year, they will blame the president and the Democrats.


BROWN: The president made a stopover in Alaska and talked to the troops at the Air Force base there. It was his first time in Alaska. He told the troops he's now visited all 50 states.

Sarah Palin is talking publicly for the first time about her new book. The book, called 'Going Rogue," is Palin's take on the 2008 presidential campaign. It's due out next Tuesday. She talked to Oprah Winfrey. And among the questions, this one about her almost son-in-law, Levi Johnston.


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": One final question about Levi. Will he be invited to Thanksgiving dinner?


SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: You know, that's a great question. And it is lovely to think that he would ever even consider such a thing, because, of course, you want -- he is a part of the family. And you want to bring him in the fold and kind of under your wing. And he needs that, too, Oprah. I think he needs to know that he's loved. And he has the most beautiful child. And this can all work out for good. It really can. We don't have to keep going down this road of controversy and drama all the time.

We are not really into the drama. We don't really like that. We are more productive. We have other things to concentrate on.


BROWN: Palin's interview with Oprah airs on Monday.

And now a "Mash-Up" follow-up. Last night, we told you about an investigative expose by Jon Stewart. He was watching FOX News' coverage of last week's tea party protests on Capitol Hill and noticed their video was a little misleading.

The fair-and-balanced Sean Hannity responded.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "HANNITY": Although it pains me to stay this, Jon Stewart, Comedy Central, he was right. Now, on his program last night, he mentioned that we had played some incorrect video on this program last week while talking about the Republican health care rally on Capitol Hill.

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": That was weird, because, when that clip started, it was a clear fall day in Washington, D.C., not a cloud in the sky. The leaves have changed. It's well-attended, but sparse.

All of a sudden, the trees turn green again.


STEWART: And it is cloudy.


STEWART: It seems Sean Hannity used footage of a bigger crowd from a totally different...


STEWART: ... event to make last year's GOP health care rally appear more heavily attended.

HANNITY: He was correct. We screwed up. We aired some video of a rally in September, along with a video from the actual event. It was an inadvertent mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.

So, Mr. Stewart, you were right. We apologize.


BROWN: There you have it.

Turning now to the case of the girl who can't stop sneezing -- 12-year-old Lauren Johnson said it has gotten so bad she is sneezing up to 16 times a minute. This week, she's trying to talk about it, not so easy. Take a look.


LAUREN JOHNSON, 12 YEARS OLD: I can't stop sneezing. It has been two weeks now. And it is frustrating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lauren's mom says a flurry of doctors visits and medications have done little to solve this sneezing stumper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody really knows how to treat it, what's going to work. And even in cases where it might have worked or turned the sneezing off for a while, a lot of times, it comes back again.


BROWN: Lauren's sneezing woes are no laughing matter, but that didn't stop Jimmy Kimmel from having a little fun with it. Here's tonight's "Punchline."


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Not only can she not stop sneezing eight or nine times a minute. She has a little brother who can't stop doing this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then when you came home, you came back sneezing.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you have to say about that?











JOHNSON: ... school, so, I have had teachers come out.






KIMMEL: Well, you know, at least he's polite. You don't see that.



BROWN: OK. So, the kid was Photoshopped in. You got that, right?

That is the "Mash-Up" tonight.

When we come back: Today, the number of deaths from swine flu tripled, and there are still many people in the country who cannot get the vaccine. Tonight, we have got some tough questions for the CDC. Did the feds botch the distribution program? We are going to ask about that.

Plus, Skull and Bones, our special investigation into secret societies -- what really goes on at that Yale fraternity?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Skull and Bones' only purpose is to get its members into positions of prominence around the world, so that they can elevate other members to similar positions. That's it.



BROWN: An in-depth look now at one of our top stories today, one of our top stories every day, it seems like. The number of H1N1 flu deaths has tripled now.

And health officials are calling the spread of the disease unprecedented. So, why are millions of people still waiting on the vaccine, while, in other prices, other parts of the country, it is apparently pretty easy to get?

Joining me now, Assistant Surgeon General Dr. Anne Schuchat to try to help us answer some of these questions.

Dr. Schuchat, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

SCHUCHAT: My pleasure.

BROWN: So, given the news today, what do you say to people who are clearly scared and still can't get the vaccine?

SCHUCHAT: You know, it is important to know that H1N1 is a serious virus and that vaccine is on its way. In some communities, it has been a little bit easier to find.

We do think that vaccine is the best protection against the virus. But there are other things people can do to keep themselves and their family healthy and safe.

BROWN: But, clearly, your recommendation is for all of us to get the vaccine. We know there have been problems making it, trying to get the numbers up. But we also know that there's a lot of vaccine out there now.

And, yet, it is still not getting to a lot of people who need it. I mean, I can tell you anecdotally I know people with kids and who can't find the vaccine here in New York, while I know, you know, people in other parts of the country who say that there's plenty of vaccine.

What's gone on? Why has there been this huge failure in the distribution process?

SCHUCHAT: As of today, there are 41.6 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine that are available for the states to order. Every day, the states are ordering and the vaccine is being shipped out and is being delivered. But it is not where we want it to be. We all hoped to have more vaccine by now than we do. Yet, it is more and more each day.


BROWN: So, where's the failure, though? Where is the failure taking place?


The biggest challenge this year with the production of the H1N1 vaccines came through manufacturing. It is very difficult to make flu vaccines day in and day out. What happens is you have to grow the virus in eggs.

BROWN: Right.

SCHUCHAT: And we had a pretty low yield when we were trying to grow the virus in eggs.

(CROSSTALK) BROWN: Not to interrupt you, but that part, we do understand. We have reported on it quite a bit.

But, as I understand it now, there is a lot of vaccine out there. It is just going sort of to differing places. We had our Tom Foreman last tonight do a map of how different communities are trying to distribute it. And, like I said, some communities have more than enough vaccine and don't even know what to do with it, and some don't.

So, where's the breakdown in the distribution process, not the virus-making process?


Let me explain how it works. Each of the states or large cities gets allocated an amount of vaccine that's proportionate to their population. And the state health departments or city health departments are planning where to send that vaccine, whether it is sent to doctors' offices, or hospitals, school clinics, other places.

We are really having the state and cities direct where the vaccine ought to be shipped, because they know their populations. The goal here is to put vaccine in the path of the priority populations, children, pregnant women, health care workers, adults with chronic health problems, and parents or caretakers for newborns under six months of age.

BROWN: Right. So, here, I guess, is my problem, is, if the states and the local governments, if it is their fault that key people are not getting the vaccines -- because I can tell you here in New York I know women who have children who have asthma, I have heard from women who have children with cancer who cannot get vaccinated.

We also know that Goldman Sachs, that Time Warner, my parent company, did get vaccines, and yet these people can't. So, clearly, there has been a major breakdown. And, yes, I get it; it is up to the states and it is up to the localities to address this.

But, at the same time, the president did declare this a national emergency. So, shouldn't the buck stop with you? Shouldn't you guys have come up with a better distribution plan?

SCHUCHAT: I think that states and cities are in the best position to reach their populations. And I think everyone is working very hard each day to try to do better.

We hate the fact that some people are looking for vaccine and can't find it, people are waiting in lines. A good thing is, people who haven't been able to get vaccinated and have tried to tell us that they are planning to continue looking. Nine out of 10 people say they are not giving up, they are going to continue to seek vaccine. And each day, more vaccine is getting out there.

BROWN: I hear you but I -- I guess, you know, what happens when we have -- when we have a really deadly pandemic? Are we going to be having the same conversation, or are you guys trying to learn something from this, so that we can do it better next time?

SCHUCHAT: I am totally committed to learning from our experiences.

And we know that, in the long run, investing in new technologies and ways to more reliably produce large amounts of vaccine quickly will help. One of the biggest challenges here was, we had a virus emerge in April and never go away. And we were trying to prevent it with vaccine that takes at least six to nine months to make. So, while we have got vaccine, it's not as much as we would like.

And we really need those other measures as well, making sure that people who are sick with underlying conditions like asthma or diabetes get prompt treatment with antiviral medicines, making sure that people know to stay home when they are sick, to not send their kids to school when they are sick, to try to slow the spread and buy a little more time for vaccine to become available.

I wish we had more vaccine today. And at least today we have more than we did yesterday.

BROWN: But let me just go back to one other issue. And I'm sure have you have heard the reports of these major corporations like here in New York getting the vaccine.

Can you possibly explain to me how this could be justified, when clearly there are health care workers in New York and children in New York who can't get it?

SCHUCHAT: Absolutely. Let me explain that.

The New York City Health Department prioritized vaccine for schoolchildren, for health care workers, for hospitals and clinics, and sent vaccine to doctors' offices as well.

Their second tier was to direct vaccine to employer-based clinics. Very small amounts went to some employer-based clinics. We do think that priority populations, pregnant women, people , adults with asthma, diabetes are in the workplace, and that employer-based clinics are a reasonable place to vaccinate them.

But the New York City plan was to start with those other areas, large amounts of school-based vaccinations, high-risk patients being reached through hospital clinics, and of course providers in general, obstetricians and gynecologists and so forth.

Now, one key issue is who is signing up to be a provider to receive vaccine. And we do hope that many more obstetricians and gynecologists will request to be vaccinators with their state health departments.

BROWN: All right, Dr. Schuchat, I do appreciate your time.

I fear we are going to be talking to you many, many more times before this is over. But I do hope that we are all learning something from how this process has gone. Thank you so much for talking to us. SCHUCHAT: Again, my pleasure.

BROWN: It is about to get a whole lot harder for banks to slap you with overdraft fees. We have that story coming up in the download.

Plus, a pioneering program to rewire our soldiers to try to prevent PTSD -- we are going to speak to a woman who launched the program. She's a mom. She's a general, also a former POW.


BRIG. GEN. RHONDA CORNUM, U.S. ARMY: And I remember distinctly crashing. And I thought, I'm going to die right here. So, then, when I wasn't dead, when I you know, woke up, then I was -- yes, I was a prisoner of war, but that was the best possible outcome.



BROWN: An exit plan for Afghanistan -- our experts' three-point plan for getting the troops home, that coming up.


BROWN: Coming up tonight: A former POW who also happens to be a mom and a general, she's going to tell us about a pioneering new program to help soldiers handle the trauma of war.

Plus, our special investigation, "Secret Societies," tonight, an in-depth look at Skull and Bones. George Bush and John Kerry belong. There have been a ton of conspiracy theories about this place, this group. Find out what really goes on behind closed doors.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the first activities they participate in is called "Connubial Bliss," or the sexual history. During C.B., as it is called, each member must spend an evening standing in front of the other 14 Bonesmen and recount his or her entire sexual and romantic history.



BROWN: One week after the shooting spree at Fort Hood, the suspect, Major Nidal Hasan, is now charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder. And that means he could get the death penalty.

President Obama ordered an immediate review of the intelligence related to the attack and to Hasan. Several doctors who knew Hasan from his days in medical school tell CNN that he was known for militant Islamic views. One former classmate says he voiced concerns about Hasan to school officials. Now, the building where the shootings took place was full of soldiers, some of them, as we have told you, getting ready to head off to war. The next day, a brigadier general said the troops who weren't wounded should not have their deployments postponed, despite the trauma that they had just been through.

If there is one thing my next guest knows about, it's post- traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum was shot down during the 1991 Gulf War. She was taken prisoner and assaulted. Her resilience led the Army to put her in charge of a new program, comprehensive soldier fitness.

It is a new way of thinking about PTSD. The idea here is, can we rewire our troops to be essentially trauma-proof?

General Cornum is joining me tonight from Philadelphia to talk us through this.

General, welcome to you.

CORNUM: Well, thank you very much.

BROWN: So, you are really pushing a groundbreaking approach here to try to treat soldiers before something happens to make them mentally, to make them emotionally tougher, I guess. How do you do it?

Well, I think you recognize that people respond to stress in various ways. Some of them have really, you know, mature coping skills. Some don't.

And if we can start with people earlier, so they can -- they can sort of gradually improve, just like we -- we don't start off asking someone to be able to run a marathon. We start off with maybe half-a- mile, and then a mile, and then progressively make it more challenging and they become progressively more successful.

So the idea is that really and truly that there are -- there are resilient thinking skills that we can teach that many people just don't have really when they come in the Army, and we'd like to be able to make them able to face whatever challenge it is, whether it's a deployment, whether it's a problem in the family, whether it's school.

BROWN: And the way you do that, as I understand it, I mean, by all means, elaborate, is to teach the idea that soldiers can't change what happens at war but they can change their reactions to these events, right?

CORNUM: Well, absolutely. I mean, an event is what it is, whether it's horrifying or whether it's not so bad. But you really can change how you approach that event. And you can -- it's really -- it's up to you. And you can recognize that a challenge is temporary. You can recognize that a challenge is -- it's localized to one thing. You know, if you get shot in the leg, that doesn't mean you're unlovable. It doesn't mean you're -- you're not going to be successful at something else. It means you will either have a permanent or a temporary problem that needs to be worked on. But it doesn't mean -- you don't need to generalize that to your entire life.

BROWN: So --

CORNUM: And lastly, that there are things you can do about it. That you're not -- you're not just a victim but there's always something that you can do, that you have control over, whether it's just how you approach it or how you get around it, how you improve the situation.

BROWN: So, does it work? Does teaching this kind of therapy really work? Is there evidence to show that?

CORNUM: There is a lot of evidence that teaching these thinking skills of -- of optimistic thinking and problem solving results in many studies in decreased anxiety, decreased depression and improved performance. And that's really what we're about. We're about taking really everybody in the normal distribution of resilience and making them stronger and more successful.

BROWN: You were taken prisoner, as we told people a moment ago, after being shot down in the first Gulf war. Clearly, this type of mental training that we've been talking about wasn't available to you. But how much of your belief in this came from your own experience and how you approached it?

CORNUM: Well, my belief in the -- in the -- in the sort of philosophy that people can control how they think about problem solving and that you have a lot to say about what happens, that I've always believed that. I believe that we can teach it because what I recognized in people who come in the Army or I deal with outside the Army, they really have a wide variety of problem solving and coping skills and -- and it's an opportunity to make people more successful.

I'm convinced now we've already sent 100 people through this training here at the University of Pennsylvania. We have 154 of them here and a satellite group down at Fort Jackson, and the majority of them have already come to us and said this is really, really good. We need do this for the Army. I'm using it already even when I just call home.

BROWN: Right. So, how would you counsel or what would you tell the men and women who were survivors of the Fort Hood shooting? And do you think they should be deployed after all they've been through?

CORNUM: Well, I think that I would tell them that if there was anything that I or any other person in the Army could do for them, we would certainly do it. I would say to them that there's nothing you can do to bring the people back that were killed and it's a horrible tragedy.

But if you've been training for something for a long time and you're prepared and you're mentally ready, then I don't see that, you know, that allowing this tragedy to change what you do is kind of like letting the bad guys win.

BROWN: Well -- CORNUM: That -- and so, you know, just like -- just like changing our whole lifestyle in America because of the terrorists would be letting them win.

BROWN: Well, General Cornum, I think the work you're doing is so interesting. I really appreciate your taking a few minutes to tell us about it. Thank you.

CORNUM: Thank you very much, Campbell.

BROWN: And when we come back, President Obama hitting the brakes right now on his decision on Afghanistan troop increases. If it really depends on how soon we can get out of there, then we want to know just what it would take to leave. And we're going to talk to another general about the endgame on that front when we come back.


BROWN: President Obama is now on his way to Asia but still hanging over him right now, the big question of whether to send more men and women to Afghanistan. Today Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that decision would not only include a plan for putting troops in but also for how to get them out. And while some are questioning the president for not moving for quickly on a decision, former Vice President Al Gore is backing him. Take a look at what he said.


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Could the president deploy 40,000 more troops as General McChrystal wants? There are other experts saying don't pull out. Where -- where does Al Gore stand?

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think he's doing the right thing.

KING: By thinking about it?

GORE: And taking the time not just to think about it but to get the best information available, to have his war cabinet involved with him in deep deliberations, and to focus on what the exit strategy will be.


BROWN: And you can see the full interview with Al Gore at the top of the hour on "LARRY KING LIVE." Right now, we want to know exactly what needs to happen, what is that exit strategy before troops can get out of Afghanistan. To help us with this is retired Army General George Joulwan and he's a former NATO supreme allied forces commander.

General, welcome to you.

GEN. GEORGE JOULWAN, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Good evening.

BROWN: So I'm going to try to simplify this as much as we can without oversimplifying it. The president says he wants an exit strategy in Afghanistan. You say there are basically three key things that have to happen before we're able to leave, and I want you to walk us through it.

Number one, security. Meaning some kind of functioning police force on the ground to protect people.

JOULWAN: Yes. And I think this is part of the assessment that needs to be made. Do you agree on these goals? And that is part I believe of McChrystal's counterinsurgency strategy is that you have a police force that can provide safety in the Afghan neighborhoods. You have a functioning military that can protect its borders and sovereignty and prevent the Taliban and other terrorist groups from using that country for training.

And then you have functioning government ministries that can provide the sort of electricity and energy and other services for the people. Now, that part of the counterinsurgency strategy that it's going to take some time to do. You don't want to do that. You can go to a counterterrorist strategy which is just chasing the Taliban and not worrying about capacity building within the Afghan government.

BROWN: OK. But let me stop you there. Because, OK, if these are the three essentials, police force to protect the people, a military to ensure sovereignty in the country, a functioning government, then how far are we from able -- from being able to achieve those three goals? How realistic is it that those goals are achievable given where we are right now?

JOULWAN: We have been involved in Afghanistan for over eight years. If you implement this strategy and that's part of the counterinsurgency, it's going to take years. How many years is up to the Afghan government. You need to have a legitimate partner in all of this that can help provide those goals that we talked about.

BROWN: So, let me stop you, though. If that's the most essential sort of first step, we don't have that according to, you know, our own U.S. ambassador in Kabul right now. There is not a government we can trust that we believe is a partner. That's a huge problem. So does that mean we should hold off on sending any more troops until that problem can be addressed?

JOULWAN: That's why we have this debate going on because we don't have a legitimate partner. And so you have to -- you have to have some clarity here in what is the mission, what is this end state that we want to achieve. And that's -- that's the debate that I think rightfully is going on right now. What do we want the outcome to be? And that is still undecided.

BROWN: OK. And to your -- let me go back and let you finish your point. I interrupted you.

OK. If it's not, if what I laid out is too lofty a goal to have, you know, police, military and a functioning government, then the other option is what you pointed at which is just basically going in and trying to kill as many Al Qaeda and Taliban as we possibly can. Right?

JOULWAN: And that's what needs to be discussed. We're oversimplifying here. But I think the ambassador from Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, has come in with that we don't have a legitimate partner right now, or at least a partner that can provide the outcome where we're heading. There's corruption, there's narco trafficking.

And so there's a political dimension to this. Every bit as important as the military part. We're focusing on 40,000 troops. We're not focusing on the political dimension inside of Afghanistan. And I would urge that we focus on that because that determines what this end state, this outcome we talked about, whether it's achievable or not.

BROWN: And given that the goals are unclear, that probably explains why the president is still deliberating on this and taking his time and doing it.

JOULWAN: And it's very important that we bring our allies into this. NATO is also responsible for Afghanistan. Part of this surge if we're going to call it that, should be NATO forces. So it's a -- it's very complicated but I think it's a very important decision that needs to be made and I think the president is right to take his time in doing it.

BROWN: All right. General Joulwan, with your perspective on this, we appreciate your time tonight. Thank you, sir.

JOULWAN: Thank you.

BROWN: Tonight, our special investigation. Secret societies. We are going to take you behind the scenes of Yale University's Skull and Bones for a look at what really goes on behind closed doors.


BROWN: Tonight, we continue our special investigation of secret societies with a look into Yale University's Skull and Bones. You're about to learn what only a powerful few ever find out what goes on at a club that's been shrouded in mystery for 177 years.


BROWN (voice-over): What really happens behind the padlocked doors of this windowless building? The tomb of Skull and Bones, Yale's oldest secret society. Its members include some of America's most powerful and privileged elite all sworn to secrecy.

ALEXANDRA ROBBINS, AUTHOR, "SECRET OF THE TOMB": Skull and Bones' only purpose is to get its members into positions of prominence around the world so that they can elevate other members to similar positions. That's it.

BROWN: Alexandra Robbins broke through the wall of silence to write "Secrets of the Tomb" based on clandestine interviews with dozens of bonesmen. Only 15 Yalees (ph) get picked each year. The society includes at least three U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices, and too many senators and CEOs to name. In 2004, Bush versus Kerry was the first all-bonesmen presidential election.


TIM RUSSERT, HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": You're both were members of Skull and Bones, a secret society of Yale. What does that tell us?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Not much because it's a secret.


BROWN: And it's that secrecy that has allowed conspiracy theories to run wild on campus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's great for the freshmen when they come and they see across an old campus and nobody really knows what goes on there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are people who think that they run the world, and it's just a giant conspiracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you haven't made a million dollars by the time you hit 35 or something, they give you a million dollars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I imagine is just like a dark room with a lot of people sitting around in hooded capes.

BROWN: No bonesmen has ever publicly revealed the truth, but it's believed the 15 juniors are selected each spring based on a mix of family connections and their accomplishments.

ROBBINS: Initiation is actually pretty silly. Members dressed in costumes. Skeleton costumes, devil costumes, other costumes. Somebody is dressed up as a (INAUDIBLE). The initiates have to do things like drink fake blood out of a skull.

BROWN: And share their deepest, darkest secrets.

ROBBINS: One of the first activities they participate in is called connubial bliss, where the sexual history during C.B., as it's called, each member must spend an evening standing in front of the other 14 bonesmen and recount his or her entire sexual and romantic history.

BROWN: Legend has it true bonesmen have gone to even greater lengths to prove their loyalty. According to one such story, Prescott Bush, George W. Bush's grandfather, was part of a group that broke into the Oklahoma burial place of the Apache chief Geronimo and made off with his skull. Judith Schiff, an archivist at Yale's library, says there is some evidence to support the claim.

JUDITH SCHIFF, CHIEF RESEARCH ARCHIVIST, YALE LIBRARY: There happened to be a letter there amongst the students who were friends from a friend of Prescott Bush who said he and Prescott Bush had, indeed, stolen the skull of Geronimo.

BROWN: While there is no independent information, Geronimo's grave was disturbed back in 1918, there are photos of skulls inside the "Skull and Bones" tomb.

SCHIFF: If you saw some of the earlier photographs of the society, their annual picture was always taken around a table in which there was at least one skull that they owned.

BROWN: So what's the payoff for all the secrecy? All the elaborate rituals? Well, here's the thing. Skull and Bones has a reputation of taking care of its own no matter the cost.

SCHIFF: They will come to the aid of families if a man dies unexpectedly without money. They will assist the widow and the children.

BROWN: Not only that, Schiff says, but they have their own private retreat. Deer Island off the coast of New York. And a world of ready investors and political contacts in the highest echelons of American society.

ROBBINS: Each member gets a catalog of the members of the society, where they live, what they do, a little bit about their resume, how you can contact them.

BROWN: But the biggest mystery of all, what exactly is the point? Setting aside all the legend and myth, what has kept the secret society alive for all these years? Good old fashioned networking for the super elite.


BROWN: And for a little more on members of "Skull and Bones, we're going to talk about tonight's newsmaker, George W. Bush. Hear for the first time his take on what life is really like for him after the White House.


BUSH: Over the past months, I've had a little time to reflect on my years in office. There were some good days, and there were some tough days. But every day I was honored to represent a nation I love. I gave the job my all. I always did what I believed was in the best interests of our country. And I came home to Texas with my values intact.



BROWN: Tonight's newsmaker, former President George W. Bush talking for the first time on camera and in public about his retirement. It happened this afternoon at Southern Methodist University, the site of his future presidential library and institute. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I'm pleased to report there is life after the White House. Laura and I are happy, healthy and home right here in the promised land.

I think she's the best former first lady in the nation's history. Although, I better be a little careful. Some competition in the family. You know, one of the joys of my time in public service has been watching our girls grow into professional women who are making a contribution to our society. Barbara has started a health NGO, and Jenna is a teacher. As you may have heard, she's also a correspondent for the "Today Show," thus continuing the Bush family tradition of warm relations with the press.

Over the past months, I've had a little time to reflect on my years in office. There were some good days, and there were some tough days. But every day I was honored to represent a nation I love. I gave the job my all. I always did what I believed was in the best interests of our country. And I came home to Texas with my values intact.


BROWN: President George W. Bush.

At the top of the hour, former Vice President Al Gore. He is Larry King's live guest at the top of the hour. Up next, tonight's "Guilty Pleasure. The video we just can't resist from a former beauty queen who just won't go away.


BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few moments. Larry also play as part in tonight's "Guilty Pleasure." Mike Galanos with the video we just can't resist -- Mike.

MIKE GALANOS, HLN PRIME NEWS: All right, Campbell. Larry's guest last night as we know, Carrie Prejean, the one-time Miss California USA. And she was not talking about why she just settled an ugly lawsuit with pageant officials. Let's watch.


KING: The agreement discusses the motive behind why each party agreed?

CARRIE PREJEAN, FORMER MISS CALIFORNIA USA: Larry, you're being inappropriate. You really are.

KING: What?

PREJEAN: So, I'm not going to talk about it.

KING: I'm asking the question. PREJEAN: I'm not going to talk about anything that was discussed in mediation. It's completely confidential and it was a confidential settlement.

KING: All I'm asking -- so, all right. So what you're saying is in mediation, it was discussed why you were mediating?

PREJEAN: Larry, it's completely confidential.

KING: It was discussed.

PREJEAN: And you're being inappropriate.



KING: All right.

PREJEAN: You're being inappropriate.

KING: Inappropriate king live continues.


KING: Detroit, hello.



GALANOS: There you have it now. She began to take the microphone off. I guess there was an agreement that she was not going to take phone calls, but Larry apologized. She did return to the show. So awkward moments there, Campbell.

BROWN: All right. I have one thing to say about this.

GALANOS: Go ahead.

GALANOS: You make a sex tape, you don't get to call anybody inappropriate. Nobody. Not Larry, nobody.

That is it for us. Mike Galanos, thanks for sharing, Mike.

GALANOS: Thanks. Yes.

BROWN: We'll see you tomorrow. Have a good one.

Larry starts right now.