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JOHN KING, USA
New Allegations against DSK; iPod, An Iconic American Product; Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Jury Began Deliberations Today; Homes of Activists Raided in Syria
Aired July 4, 2011 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Happy July Fourth. I'm Hala Gorani sitting in for John King this evening.
We begin tonight with what looks like a new sexual case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn this time not in America, but back in his home country, France. The New York case against the former head of the International Monetary Fund appears to be falling apart.
Prosecutors on Friday revealed that the hotel maid who has accused him of attempted rape has severe credibility issues. But back in his native France, a lawyer for a young woman says he may file a sexuality criminal complaint against Strauss-Kahn as early as tomorrow. CNN's Jim Bitterman has the story from Paris.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dominique Strauss-Khan's legal problems may not be over. Tristane Banon (ph), 32-year-old journalist says that back in 2003, she was sexually assaulted by Strauss-Kahn when she went to interview him.
She says at the time she was talked out of filing charges by her mother who was a mid level Socialist Party member. Strauss-Kahn is a member of the Socialist Party and her mother says now that she regrets talking her daughter out of filing those charges.
Now her lawyers say after the developments in New York, they've decided to go ahead and bring their complaint to the prosecutor. The prosecutor then will look at the evidence and decide whether there is enough evidence to bring charges officially and formally against Dominique Strauss-Kahn here in France.
The lawyer explained to CNN exactly why he waited until developments took place in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID KOUBBI, TRISTANE BANON'S ATTORNYE (through translator): If we had something to say to Mr. Strauss-Kahn legally, we will do it in France. And we will do it when I am able to explain to my client the consequences. Sorry, the exact consequences in the United States of a move made by us and France.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Now for more on the stunning ups and downs of this case, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Thierry Arnaud, our senior political correspondent for the French Network BFM TV. He joins us now live from New York.
So Tristane Banon in Paris, that case might be brought against Dominique Strauss-Kahn as early as tomorrow. So the legal headache for Dominique Strauss-Kahn may not be ending.
THIERRY ARNAUD, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BFM TV: Absolutely, he will be faced with a severe problem when he goes back to Paris, if and when he's in a position the next few days or weeks to walk out a free man out of the court here in Manhattan.
I just wanted to say that what she presses charges for is not sexual assault, but attempted rape. The difference is very significant in this case because while sexual assault statute of limitations in France is three years whereas it is 10 for attempted rape.
As Jim mentioned just a little while ago, the events took place -- the alleged events took place eight years ago.
GORANI: In 2003, let's take a look at what French people are saying about all of this. It may be surprising to some here in the United States.
But there's a poll by a French newspaper, 49 percent say yes Dominique Strauss-Kahn should return to politics into the French political scene, 45 percent say no.
Will this be some sort of Hollywood movie ending where this man who is near the bottom will bounce back, run for the presidency in France or does that appear unlikely?
ARNAUD: It is very difficult to say at this point, Hala because what the big question is and the most important question is what does he want to do? If and when, again, he walks out a free man out of court here in Manhattan the next few days, will he want to come back into French politics?
And if he does, in what position would that be? Will he choose to run for president or will he choose to be kind of the elder statesman if you like in French politics? And that first as an adviser to whoever would be the Socialist candidate and then perhaps become prime minister of something.
As you see, what is interesting about these polls and has been few of them, two or three, is that French people are very ambivalent about it, about half of them wish him to come back. Half of them are not so sure about it.
GORANI: Right. They're split down the middle pretty much, but let me ask you about Tristane Banon. Why -- I'm sure people who haven't followed this case as closely as some of us have, why is she coming out now? Some people might think this is opportunistic because she didn't speak out at the time the alleged attempted rape took place in '03. ARNAUD: It is a very complex story, an interesting one as well. It just so happen that Tristane Banon's mother is a member of the Socialist Party and a friend of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and at the time he was also running for president in the previous political cycle and she was one of his supporters.
And actually Tristane says now she followed her mother's advice not to press charges because then she would only become the girl who Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape and her life would be taken over by this whole story.
So she decided to stay silent for a while even though she then spoke to French television, we should mention his name, which is beat out and then wrote a book basically it was a novel, but making it clear that she had suffered an alleged sexual assault. Why now?
Because she says she wants to take her life over. She wants to be able to be in control. And as long as she has not been able to take that off her chest, then she feels like she won't be able to look forward to whatever comes next in her life.
GORANI: Right. One of the other things I read about her is that she felt with the case in New York that perhaps she'd be taken seriously. You know, I was in France last, I was surprised.
I was actually taken aback at how much this one individual case has almost provoked an identity crisis in France. That this laissez faire, do anything you like if you're powerful man with women.
This kind of aspect of French culture that has been sometimes accepted, sometimes overlooked that this is now being questioned in France.
ARNAUD: Yes, you're absolutely right. There have been many statements that were very interesting to that effect, both by male and female politicians saying that their behavior had to change.
You know, in the media as well, a lot of comments about it as to what would be the long term impact of this DSK situation and it's too early to say, of course. But it's going to be very interesting to see whether within the next few weeks or month.
Whether it be the French parliament, for example, or even within large French companies, for example all this promises and all these questions that have been raised as to whether French men to behave differently or whether that will all be, you know, a little more than wishful thinking.
GORANI: And there is a love-hate relationship between France and the United States. Is it possible that French politicians, male politicians, are now going to be held accountable for the things they do in their private lives because there's always this unwritten contract between the French public and politicians.
What they do behind closed doors is their own business, but is that going to change? Are French politics being Americanized? ARNAUD: Well, it has changed already. It's clear that Sarkozy, for example, cannot get away with whatever it was that happened before him.
All of those who came before him could get away with in terms of their private lives, whether they had affairs, whether they took free time, whatever it was they did on their holidays because there is around the clock TV cable coverage.
There is Twitter and Facebook and it's much more transparent today. The change already started to a large extent and it will continue.
GORANI: All right, speaking of globalization, because this is the globalization perhaps of politics. Thierry Arnaud, thanks very much in New York.
Straight ahead, the globalization of the economy. What about the iPod? What does it say about globalization? And is it killing American jobs on this Fourth of July, we'll examine where the jobs are going and why.
And later this hour, the jury in the Casey Anthony trial wraps up deliberations for the day. We have details on what you should expect tomorrow. Stay with us.
GORANI: The iPod, many of us have an iPod and it is a great example of American ingenuity and creativity, an iconic product designed and created in this country. But if it's an American invention, why have so many jobs created by its creation gone overseas?
Let's get some answers from Chrystia Freeland, global editor at large at Reuters and a former managing editor at "The Financial Times." Chrystia before we get to our chat, I want to put up a map of how many of the jobs related to the iPod are outside of the United States.
In the United States, almost 14,000 jobs created, but in China, 12,000 and in the Philippines, almost 5,000. So the total is 41. But of that total, only 14,000 in the U.S. why is that? What does that say about globalization? What does that say about the iPod economy?
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, FORMER MANAGING EDITOR, FINANCIAL TIMES: Well, I think probably intuitively, most of us would expect that because I think most of us understand that actual manufacturing, even of products invented in the United States, it's mostly not happening in the U.S. and, in fact, when it comes to the iPod, almost none of the actual production of the iPod is done in the U.S. Why this I think is really important finding.
And the column I wrote about it is based on a paper written by three U.S. scholars, California based. A lot people are talking about how you get U.S. jobs. And one of the answers that you hear a lot is innovation.
As long as we have innovation in the economy, we'll have more innovation and there will be jobs. This study of the iPod economy is a little bit worrying.
I think it shows us that innovation alone is not going to be enough because the places at the cutting edge of innovation, and Apple, the company, certainly is producing a great product, lots of great value, but not really that many American jobs.
GORANI: Right. But here's the thing, does the U.S. really want to compete for these low added value manufacturing jobs whether they really should be focusing in the United States according to many economists on keeping the competitive and innovative edge that leads to the invention of the iPod, the iPad and that kind of thing? Where should the competition be here?
FREELAND: Look, I totally agree with you. And the reason that those jobs aren't in the U.S. is because they're very, very low paying. So the other really interesting result of this study was that even though most of the jobs are outside the U.S. and you just cited the figures, most of the money, most of the wages are paid in the U.S.
So those 14,000 Americans are earning more than all the rest of the overseas workers. So, you know, really what you're seeing happening is if you're lucky enough to be one of the engineers or one of the professional workers involved in the iPod economy, you're doing remarkably well.
You know, you can even turn the story on its head and say, you know, those poor Chinese workers earning very, very little ultimately to fatten the profits of Apple and make it possible for Apple to pay the top engineers.
The problem really is one of bulk and of numbers. And whether you look at the U.S. unemployment rate of above 9 percent, you know, the worrying take away, I think, is that high-tech innovation, fantastic. But it's just not going to be enough to employ the 14 million unemployed Americans.
GORANI: OK. So what will be enough then? What needs to be done beyond innovation to put Americans back to work and bring this very high and sustainably high unemployment rate down?
FREELAND: Well, I have a few thoughts on that. But before I get to that, I think there is just one other element of the U.S. part of the iPod economy that's worth mentioning and that is you really see -- and this study really underscores that there are kind of two Americas in terms of the jobs created so about half of the jobs are to engineers and professionals.
And they're earning really a lot. The other half are the retail and nonprofessional workers and they are earning much, much less. So even, you know, within the employment, the picture is really a story of two Americas.
In terms of what kind of jobs it takes, I guess the answer has to be that innovation will do a really good job at creating terrific jobs for a very narrow layer at the professional class. But you have to come up with jobs for the people in the middle. And I think the answer there is probably infrastructure. You travel a lot. What do you think about American infrastructure compared to European or Asian?
GORANI: Well, it's a bigger geographic area. But, yes, you travel by train a lot more, you use the metro, public transportation a lot more. So there could be --
GORANI: There is a different way of looking at it. It's a different way of looking at restarting the American economy, but many economists agree that's the way to go at this stage.
FREELAND: Yes. I think in the short term I think there is a pretty broad consensus among economists including economist that are more on the right that the particular crisis right now is a demand.
There is just not enough demand in the economy and the answer there is cansian, which means the government has to put people to work as did it during the great depression.
But I think, you know, the longer term story, which if you study successful innovative companies closely as these scholars did is you're going to have to think about a new structure for the U.S. economy and for the highly developed western economies.
Just because, you know, the -- what has been the engine of U.S. employment really since the industrial revolution, which is brilliant invention is just no longer working to employ a lot of people.
GORANI: Right. So it's a new age, finding new ways to put fuel in the economy and lower this unemployment rate. Chrystia Freeland, thanks very much for joining us on CNN.
GORANI: Coming up next, the hours top headlines including one infamous defendant on trial for mass murder who refused to enter a plea in court today.
GORANI: Welcome back. If you're just joining us, here's the latest news you need to know right now.
Tonight, President Obama and the first lady are hosting members of the military and their families at a Fourth of July barbecue and fireworks on the south lawn of the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You're the reason why America and our arms forces remain the greatest force for peace and security that world has ever known. And together you're standing with all of those around the world who are reaching for the same freedoms and the same liberties that we celebrate today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Thailand is about to get its first female prime minister. Yingluck Shinawatra party won a majority in parliamentary elections yesterday.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned to his county this morning. He spent weeks in Cuba where he says he had a cancerous tumor removed.
Former Bosnian General Ratko Mladic was removed from his war crimes tribunal in Netherlands today after disrupting proceedings. He's accused of conducting a campaign of genocide during the civil war in Bosnia in the 1990s.
Up next, the jury in the Casey Anthony murder trial has wrapped its first day of deliberations. CNN was inside the courtroom and we'll have a live report straight ahead.
GORANI: Most Americans enjoyed a day off on this Fourth of July, jurors in Orlando, Florida, began deliberations in the case against Casey Anthony. She's accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee three years ago.
CNN's Martin Savidge was in the courtroom today. He's been in the courtroom for the last several days. What was the demeanor, Martin, of the jury when they officially received this case today?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was pretty interesting. First of all, of course, it is a federal holiday. The fact that you have a courthouse that's open and actively being worked is pretty unusual.
When you watch the jury, it was two presentations made by the prosecution today. You had Jeff Ashton who started speaking. He got into very technical details. He was reviewing basically previous scientific evidence.
And there was a little bit of an indication that they grew restless. Many people were not necessarily zeroed in on him. But then afterwards, we had Linda Drain who began to speak very passionately.
You could see that that jury was just literally focused to the point where they were moving in their seats and taking no notes at all and so they clearly listened to everything she had to say.
And finally, when the judge read them the rules and discharged them and sent them off into deliberation, you could tell that they were ready.
They waited a long time for this moment. It's been over six weeks and now it seemed that they were fully prepared to go in there and deliberate this case.
GORANI: And any sense on how long these deliberations might actually last at this stage or is it too hard to tell?
SAVIDGE: You know what? It's the favorite guessing game of everybody who is either watching or covering this story. How long is this jury going to be out?
Most people felt they certainly would have to get through today. They did. They were 5:49 of deliberations. No one anticipated there was going to be some sort of verdict because there is just too much evidence and too much at stake here.
And everyone knows, even the jury, that this is a huge high profile case. So many are now saying that tomorrow could be a possibility. Others say maybe two, three days.
But they do not see this going on for a long, long period. The final answer is who knows? That's what makes the story so interesting.
GORANI: Yes. And I was going to ask you whether you're interested in the Casey Anthony case or not. There comes a time when these stories become impossible to ignore. I mean, I imagine in the United States there are very few people who don't know at least something about this, this legal case.
But what are people in Orlando saying about why this is captured the attention of an entire nation? And what are they saying about being this center of attention in the United States for the coming days?
SAVIDGE: Well, of course, you know, Orlando is accustomed to being a focal point for many people around the world. They come for the amusement parks. This is totally opposite kind of attraction.
But nonetheless, it is become a huge tourist attraction. There are people he'll meet on the courtyard in front of the courthouse that come from all over the world, from England, from Canada. They've come from Germany, the Netherlands.
Many say they came specifically because of this case. They wanted to be here. They wanted to see it in person. So it's truly drawn people in. Why? Run the whole gamut. Of course, it's a very heartfelt case.
A beautiful little child whose life has lost, you have a young mother and people are questioning why would she wait so long has been alleged before she would do anything. And then you have family that appears to have all sorts of drama connected to it.
Then you had these witnesses and every one of them seems to have an either unique appeal or dislike depending on your point of view. You could not cast this better if you were trying to make this a Hollywood production.
But at the end of the day, these are real people. This is a real life lost. And tragically, somewhere along the line many people believe that has been lost that the focus is no longer on 2-year-old Caylee.
HALA GORANI, GUEST HOST: Yes. Frankly, if you were to turn this into a movie, maybe some aspects of it would be almost too hard to believe if it were fiction. It's had so many twists and turns.
Thanks very much, Martin Savidge. He's live in Orlando.
Let's get more perspective now.
Holly Hughes, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor joins me now live with her analysis.
So I have in my hand the printout there of what each juror was given. And there are several counts as to count one which I imagine is sort of the -- this is the essential one here, count one, first-degree murder. Count two, aggravated child abuse. Count three, aggravated manslaughter of a child. So, you have one through three.
What are the jurors doing right now, Holly?
HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hala, what they are doing right now is they are taking that packet of jury instructions. That is going to be their guide book. It's the instruction manual on how to build this case. They're going to take each one of those crimes.
And every crime that's charged in America has what we call elements. And you have to prove the elements as the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt. You know, anybody who's seen "Law & Order" knows that's the prosecution's burden.
So, they're taking the instructions and they're saying, OK, step one is. If it's premeditated murder, was there evidence of premeditation? Was there evidence of intent? Do we believe based on the testimony in the action that we heard testified about that she intended to kill her child?
So, they are measuring up the facts in the testimony with what the law says. And they're trying to figure out -- did the prosecution indeed meet their burden of proving these elements?
If they get hung up and they say, you know what? We don't think they proved intent or premeditation, one of the elements, they can then start considering those lesser included offenses where maybe if it's not premeditated, then maybe it's felony murder where you don't need intent, Hala. So what they're doing is piece by piece.
You saw them. They have note books. They've been taking notes for weeks now. They're going back through those notes and they are seeing what part of the evidence lines up with what part of the charge to determine if, in fact, Casey Anthony is guilty of anything that was charged in the indictment.
GORANI: Right. And the defense put forward so many scenarios and told so many stories, I imagine that was designed as a strategy in your opinion to put reasonable doubt out there and perhaps encourage the jury to find Casey Anthony guilty on a lesser charge? Is that a possible strategy for the defense?
HUGHES: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, we all know in American courtrooms, the defense has no burden of proof, Hala. They don't have to do anything. They can sit there silent.
You know, they don't even have to put up any witnesses or any evidence because the burden rests solely on the state.
What the defense did here, though, they came out with this blockbuster opening, lead counsel for Casey Anthony, Jose Baez, stood up and he said, we're going to prove this and we're going to prove that. And there is definite evidence this was a drowning and she's a sexually abused child. And he kind of shifted the burden to himself a little bit, which I think was too quick out of the gate, a little too soon. He shouldn't have taken that onus on.
So, what we saw when Judge Perry gave the final instructions to the lawyers before closing was he went through it. He said, hey, if there is not evidence and there's not testimony about it entered in, you can't argue it to the jury.
So, Jose Baez was stuck with couldn't argue sexual abuse by the father George, couldn't argue sexual abuse by the brother Lee. But what he did do was a good job of working with what he had left and, Hala, he put all his points upon a board. And he said, look, you know, they're saying that dead body was in the car because somebody smelled it. Well, look at all the people that didn't smell it. And he hammered home for the jury what he believes proves reasonable doubt.
GORANI: Right. And, Holly, do you think he did a good job? I mean, in other words, did he plant that seed of reasonable doubt in your opinion in the jury enough to get Casey Anthony -- to help Casey Anthony not receive a first degree with premeditation capital murder conviction?
HUGHES: Well, I think -- if you asked me that last night, I would have said, yes, he got there. But then after we watched the final closings by the prosecutors today, they really sort of stitched up those holes, addressed very specifically why those arguments would not hold water in this case.
But I will say that I think Jose Baez did the best he could. And I'm not a fan, Hala, you know, I haven't been through this whole trial. But I'll give credit where credit is due. And I think he did the very best he could with what he had to work with.
He poked holes at the science because it's new. It's cutting edge. And so far, it's never been admitted in a court of law, this human decomposition, this air sniffer machine.
So he did. He worked with what he had.
And if there is a juror who is looking for a way to not make it first degree, he definitely gave them something to hang their hat on.
GORANI: All right. Well, we'll know soon enough. And this is what the jurors have, this little packet there. We, the jury find the defendant guilty of a lesser included offense or guilty of first- degree murder as charged. There you have it. That list.
But it's really as simple this, is what looks like a photocopy. You just sort of tick the box. And that's what it all rests on.
Holly Hughes, thanks very much. Great talking to you.
HUGHES: Thanks, Hala. You, too.
GORANI: Coming up, what it's like on the front lines of a fire fight. Nick Paton Walsh joins us live from Afghanistan. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After days of nothing, the insurgents have finally amassed around the compound and they're getting attacked from all sides.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, hustle up, grab it and be ready.
WALSH (voice-over): They use mortars first aiming for Taliban dug into the hills, but the incoming fire is very accurate here. They arrange cover from heavy machine guns.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as they go, go quick.
WALSH: But the bullets are too close.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: That was the dangerous scene last week in an isolated American military outpost in Afghanistan's Kunar Province. Troops were assaulted by Taliban insurgents hiding in the hills above.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh was there, and covered the firefight at Combat Outpost Pirtle King. Tonight, he joins us from another combat outpost in Kunar province.
So, Nick, the obvious question is what is it like? You were there with the servicemen in that outpost. What is it like to come under siege like this day in, day out in Afghanistan?
WALSH: Well, I think for us personally, I was behind a very large physical barrier. So, for me, it was fairly sedentary. But for the troops themselves, yes, it's a fairly harrowing ordeal to have this constant potential threat of large attack.
In the back of their minds, there's always the possibility that the post could get overrun. I mean, there have been two serious instances in the past three or four years in which outposts like that surrounded in both sides by valleys of Taliban and they've been attacked and overwhelmed.
They do have overwhelming firepower. And they had mortars and even air strikes at their availability to fend any attack off. But there is that real possibility in the back of their minds that if there were hundreds of Taliban around, they could perhaps see some very nasty consequences that day, Hala.
GORANI: All right. Well, are they basically the troops when you look at it sort of perhaps in a cold way, are they making headway or are they just trying to keep things to stay alive in these hills full of Taliban?
WALSH: It's such a strange coming into that kind of intense environment as an outsider because what you hear from the troops on a day to day basis is they kind of construct in their heads their own sort of narrative as to why what they're doing there is making progress, why it makes sense being in that particular valley. They talk about how they want to push the road further south and they want to build and reach out to the community.
But I think in the back of their minds, there is this growing recognition that there's an element (INAUDIBLE) of their presence there. I mean, they have to be there in that particular base. They have to secure the main road running through that. It's very important valley.
And without being there, definitely that's strong risk it could become a key transit point for insurgents coming in from Pakistan. But in terms of day to day, they have seen progress. So, they think to themselves, yes, we're absolutely changing the way this valley operates. I think there's a feeling that it's not the same day to day progress -- Hala.
GORANI: Well, you also joined, Nick, the troops when they were unwinding at night after their day's mission. Let's take a listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: Because the Americans have superior night vision, the Taliban rarely attack at night. So, after dark, it's time for maintenance, for hanging out and often just talking about the experiences they've had.
U.S. SOLDIER: Because I ran over there because we were going to go pick him up and then whether I got down there, I looked and seen he had his hand inside his throat. I was like, all right, he's got him. And then what I just jumped (EXPLETIVE DELETED) on the 240 and started rocking that.
Then everybody showed up. They're like, yes, we're going to take him. I was all right, let me know when you want me to fire. They're like go cycle. Fine. Challenge accepted. Fireworks display on the Fourth of July.
U.S. SOLDIER: That was a preplanned fireworks display of Fourth of July. I figured we would get it started early.
(END VIDEO CLIP) GORANI: Well, you spent some time with these soldiers before the Fourth of July. What do they say about this drawdown by -- President Obama's drawdown plan, reducing basically the number of troops in Afghanistan to pre-surge levels? Are they hopeful that some of them will return home in the coming months?
WALSH: They all know that for a certain amount of time left to spend and those troops have definite outpouring sometime next year. So, those guys know what their timetable is personally in terms of the gamut of emotion that's the U.S. soldiers really encounter, fear about the drawdown plan, well, some show anxiety. They think the job is going to be unfinished. The Taliban could come back.
Others feel the job is done. They've done as much as they can here. And they feel perhaps losing more guys when perhaps the Obama administration decided they're going to put them out might be futile in some ways.
So, there is a lot of mixed motions amongst the guys we spent time with. I think that's really down to I think the duration of this particular war. I think there's a feeling amongst some of them that more time may not really have extra impact. And it's a very tough psychological situation for them, Hala.
GORANI: Nick Paton Walsh, at a combat outpost in Kunar province in Afghanistan, just past 4:00 a.m. there. Thanks very much, Nick.
Let's get analysis on the situation in Afghanistan in this July 4th. Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst, and Fran Townsend, CNN national security contributor. She was a homeland security adviser for President George W. Bush and she's a member of the CIA and DHS external advisory committees.
Thanks to you both.
Let's start asking you about Afghanistan 10 years on, 10 years on from 9/11.
Peter, what's the mission now in Afghanistan?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, the mission remain the same from the beginning, which is essentially a sanctuary strategy to make sure that Taliban can't come back and their allies can't come back. And, you know, to some degree they succeed. I mean, the al Qaeda has a small presence there. But if we left tomorrow, you know, the Taliban and al Qaeda are embedded on the other side of the border in Pakistan.
BERGEN: Clearly -- and we've seen this, by the way, in areas where the United States drew down recently in northeastern Afghanistan. Members of al Qaeda kind of went and moved into the vacuum.
So, it's not sort of an artificial construct this notion that we're, you know, preventing a sanctuary for these groups. GORANI: But is the prevention of a sanctuary in Afghanistan and even on the other side of the border, in Pakistan, should it be a large- scale military operation or does the administration need to rethink its approach?
BERGEN: Well, I mean, I think the administration is constantly rethinking its approach. And one of those answers to that question --
GORANI: They stayed pretty stable though -- 100,000 level troops on the ground. In the end, it was a tactical mission that brought down Osama bin Laden.
BERGEN: Yes. But the tactical mission was supported by about a -- you know, the factor of -- you know, orders of magnitude of other people supported that mission. So, it's not like you just get 25 people and kill bin Laden.
BERGEN: You know, the president said there will be 33,000 fewer troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2012, which is a significant drawdown. And zero combat troops in 2014. Sixty-eight thousand will be withdrawn between 2012 and 2014.
So, I mean, to phase withdrawal I think is good not to do it precipitous withdrawal.
And, Fran Townsend, what is your take on the phased withdrawal with an announced -- a pre-announcement timetable for Afghanistan? That's the administration's strategy right now. Will it succeed?
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Hala, it does concern me. A pre -- there's a great saying among the Taliban in Afghanistan that is, you know, you have watches. We have millennia, right?
They don't -- they don't really -- aren't going to work on our timetable. Once you preannounce which -- how many troops you're drawing down and what time frame, of course, they understand all they have to do is wait us out. And most recently they responded. We saw both before and after the president's announcements of the drawdown suicide attacks inside Kabul.
You know, protecting the perimeter around Kabul whose coalition forces, it was sort of the last bastion. I was there in September of last year and it was unthinkable to permit them that operational capability. And now, we've seen it twice.
And so, this really is concerning. You know, these withdrawals have to be conditions based on the advice of our military commanders on the ground. So, I -- it worries me the time line.
GORANI: But, Fran, what's the option? What's the option? It's been a decade. I mean, is the option to stay indefinitely open-endedly in Afghanistan?
TOWNSEND: No. Absolutely not. Look, I agree with very to have a plan for drawdown. And General Caldwell, who is responsible, the U.S. general responsible for training in Afghanistan, has said, we have to -- we have to get these Afghans trained and capable.
But, you know, you can't do that too precipitously. We tried that in Iraq. Their first contact with the enemy in Iraq that, you know, Iraqi forces fled. So, we went back and we had to recommit ourselves there until we could get their capability up to an operational level where they could sustain themselves.
I think that's what we have to do in Afghanistan. We have ensure that those many troops that have been recruited and trained are up to the operational capability to sustain themselves with very little U.S. support.
GORANI: Let's listen to Senator McCain. He spoke to CNN's Candy Crowley about -- yesterday about Afghanistan. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: What I've seen and heard here both from Afghans as well as a number of Americans is that it is an unnecessary risk. It's not recommended by any of the military. I hope that it will work out. But it certainly deprives us of the necessary troops that we needed for the second fighting season.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. So, Peter, I'd like to ask you that. This is an unnecessary risk according to Senator McCain. Do you agree with that?
BERGEN: Look, I'm not a military expert. Let me just make sort a factual --
GORANI: Strategically speaking?
BERGEN: When George W. Bush left office, there were about 30,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan. There have been about 100,000, as you pointed, under President Obama. Now, the fact is that the mission has been much more highly resourced.
But every war is a political decision. And, you know, the president has to balance the fact that his military -- no military officer in history said, by the way, I want fewer troops. I mean that is a very unusual piece of military advice.
So, he has to balance that with the $118 billion the war is costing, the fact that most Americans have turned against the war and these are very -- so at the end of the day, he came up with something that may not satisfy everybody. But the fact is, the liberal side of the Democratic Party would want something much smaller. GORANI: Yes.
BERGEN: And, you know, people like John McCain would want something much longer and bigger.
GORANI: Without talking specifically about military strategy, how do you -- how do you qualify -- I mean, I supposed quantify success in Afghanistan? I don't even want to use the word victory.
BERGEN: Well, success is I think that would be easy -- a country that's at peace with itself and its neighbors. And this is not dreamy vision. In the 1970s, Afghanistan was a tourist destination. Within living memory, there is a sort of model of something that was quasi successful. It wasn't -- you know --
GORANI: But is it the U.S. -- not responsibility -- but is it within its civility to intervene within Afghanistan to achieve that goal?
BERGEN: I think the short answer is yes.
GORANI: OK. Fran, what do you think? How do you -- how do you define success in Afghanistan for America, for the United States?
TOWNSEND: Well, I agree with Peter. It's at peace with itself and its neighbors and it has a basic capability to protect its own people and deny safe haven to, you know, terrorist groups.
GORANI: OK. Fran Townsend and Peter Bergen, thanks very much to both of you.
Up next, what it was like to witness firsthand the anti-government uprising taking place in Syria. My report coming up.
Stay with us.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
GORANI: The latest from Syria now in the Middle East.
Forces staged a series of raids this morning on homes in the city of Hama, according to activists. Anti-government leaders say that at least 30 activists were arrested but rather than run away in fear, local residents took to the streets the attacking security personnel with stones.
CNN is the only American network to be on the ground in Syria. It's difficult to authenticate this video as the movements of the CNN team are still limited. We witnessed the protest against President Bashar al-Assad's government, though, firsthand.
Take a look.
GORANI (voice-over): The Damascus suburb of Douma, amateur video from last April. Tear gas in the air, the sound of gunshots.
A man injured carried down the street.
A few weeks later, this scene. CNN was taken to the same street with government minders.
"There were armed gangs," people told us, "vandals. Not peaceful demonstrators."
Then away from the camera, a young man sweeps past me, slips a folded piece of paper in my hand. "It's my e-mail," he says. "They're lying to you. They cleared the neighborhood for your benefit." He then disappears.
For the next few days, we e-mailed him. We will call him "Ziad," not his real name. He's too afraid to meet us for no now. He wants to be sure we're not being followed.
Days later, we agreed to speak in person in a public place. We're not showing his face for his own security.
"ZIAD," SYRIAN PROTESTER: Every Friday, there is more than 5,000 security guys, not just the security guys, it's guns, regime guns and army. They are -- all of them are armed. They have guns. And every Friday, they are ready to shoot at us if the demonstration becomes big.
GORANI: Ziad says three of his friends have been shot in Douma. This is the often underground opposition in Syria. Those who say in secret they want the security forces to stop harassing them, who want to be free.
But if they want to show their faces on camera, for now, this is how they're doing it. A gathering in a park in central Damascus -- it took two months to get a permit and they had to promise no posters, no slogans.
The singing of Syria's national anthem -- a minute of silence for the dead.
(on camera): This is officially a vigil in honor of the hundreds of people who have died in the uprising in this country since mid-March. It's billed as apolitical. But when people know you're a journalist, they come up to you and whisper things that they say they still don't dare say on camera.
(voice-over): But outside the vigil, pro-regime elements appeared, praising the Syrian president and selling souvenirs.
In a Damascus hotel that week, prominent dissidents and intellectuals met for the first time in public in Syria. The government didn't object. Not the young people. These are the older generation. Like Loay Hussein, men who spent years in prison for advocating democracy.
The meeting was controversial. Some said it legitimized the regime while killings continue. Aref Dalila spent seven years in prison for giving a university lecture that irked authorities in 2001. He didn't attend the opposition meeting because he says it wasn't the right forum to express dissent.
AREF DALILA, SYRIAN DISSIDENT (through translator): We cannot go back and remain under the current situation. Even those in power must start speaking in a new language. Even though we still don't believe what they are saying.
GORANI: The men of Dalila's age could be the grandfathers of the young protesters on the street who say they want change. Today it is a new generation's turn.
Ziad, whom we met in secret, says he wants to make his own children proud one day, but still can't show his face.
(on camera): You are afraid to show your face on camera. Why? Why? What do you think would happen to you if we filmed your face on put it on CNN?
ZIAD: Put it on CNN? I will disappear, maybe for one day, week, month, year, I don't know. But will disappear I am sure.
GORANI: But whether they show their faces or prefer to remain nameless, for the opposition in Syria, this could be their defining moment.
GORANI: That's all from us tonight. I'm Hala Gorani, sitting in for John King.
CNN Present's "The Atlanta Child Murders" starts right now.