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@THISHOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Redskins to Appeal Trademark Ruling; Bowe Bergdahl Still Hasn't Spoken to Family; The Sixties and the War in Vietnam; Youngest Pro- Golfer?
Aired June 19, 2014 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PEREIRA: It does make you wonder, and I know this for a fact, within a group, there's not always consensus about issues, especially like this. Is there consensus among the Native American community that you're in that you know of, that the name should go?
SONNY SIXKILLER, FORMER COLLEGE AND PRO FOOTBALL PLAYER: Well, I don't know. I get the sense of that in the northwest where I reside in Seattle and it's -- I think there's a lot of feeling about that. You know, we've had to endure things as a fishing rights and sovereignty and all those issues. And I think this is -- I think it depends on who you're asking about if that name is proud. It -- from my perspective, it's not a pride thing. It's a racial thing. And it's racist to me.
BERMAN: You know, what's interesting, what has been interesting, Sonny, for a long time now is the relative silence among NFL players. We just don't hear much from them and you can juxtapose this -- I know it's a different situation with what just happened in the NBA, when Donald Sterling said what he said, a lot of players, LeBron James, and others came out immediately.
PEREIRA: They're very vocal.
BERMAN: And were very, very vocal and they helped force the change.
Do you think it is that NFL players don't care about this? Do they disagree with the idea that the Redskins' name is offensive? Or are they somehow scared to speak publicly?
SIXKILLER: You know, I don't know if they're afraid to speak publicly. And one thing for me is that the NFL is such a big business, that sometimes players may feel like they don't want to get in trouble or get on the trading block for speaking out against their team. You know that could be part of it. I mean, I don't know. But that's just an opinion I have. Once you get to the NFL, you get cut or traded, all the players say, you know, it's just a business.
And I think that's the way they look at it. They don't really look at the mascot name as much of the city that they're playing in.
PEREIRA: Sonny, I wonder also, too, though, if because, you know, the most of the players -- very few of the players, I don't know how many Native American players there are in the NFL currently, but because, you know, most of the players aren't having a personal connection to it, it isn't something that they feel personally, whereas with the Donald Sterling case, these people that have been affected, the guys on the team, likely have been called that, called some of those names before. Do you think there's a disconnect there?
SIXKILLER: You know, I think so, because, you know, you look at -- you know, the numbers just purely, the numbers of the Native Americans that are playing in the NFL are probably below 1 percent, and, you know, that's tough to get a consensus when you only have a small number that are competing and playing at that level. Whereas in the NBA, obviously, it's quite different situation and so you have a lot of solidarity there as far as an opinion is concerned.
PEREIRA: Well, there's certainly some solidarity among other voices that are supporting a change in the name.
Sonny Sixkiller, thanks for joining us AT THIS HOUR. It's been a delight, my friend.
SIXKILLER: Thank you very much.
PEREIRA: All right. Shall we take a look at some other headlines making news AT THIS HOUR?
We're talking weather. We've seen some bad stretches over the last few days. A tornado hit a town in South Dakota tearing apart homes, fairly trapping some people in rubble. Amazingly only one person was injured.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM JORGENSON, HOME DESTROYED IN TORNADO: It was loud. The wind that kept going, we were hearing glass that was crashing. I mean, we were hearing things that were hitting the house. It was just this loud whirling noises. So eerie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREIRA: The tornado hit just across the street from a hospital. We're told 11 homes, three businesses there, were damaged.
BERMAN: All right. Facebook is back. While most of you were sleeping there was a problem that left users around the globe unable to post to the social media site. It happened between 4:00 Eastern -- I know because I'm awake at that ungodly hour but most of you didn't suffer.
PEREIRA: And (INAUDIBLE).
BERMAN: The site is now back up to 100 percent. Facebook did not specify the cause of the problem or say how many users were affected.
PEREIRA: Got to tell you about an amazing rescue. A German researcher finally saw daylight after he spent, imagine this, 12 harrowing days trapped 3,000 feet underground.
Joehan Vesterhouser was exploring some cave complex in Germany, very deep, deep one, when a rock fell on his head injuring him. It wasn't just dangerous for him. It was also difficult and dangerous for the rescue mission. The rescuers had to pull him through narrow tunnels and lift him up to safety. We're told the researcher's condition is not known but he seems to be faring better than they originally faired.
BERMAN: I'm glad he's doing OK. It's a spelunking miracle.
PEREIRA: How often can you say that?
BERMAN: I almost never can, which is why I insisted on saying it right there.
PEREIRA: Mark this day down.
Ahead AT THIS HOUR, why hasn't Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl spoken with his parents yet? It's been three weeks now since his rescue from the Taliban. Well, I guess you could say in one word it's complicated. We'll have a live report from Texas, next.
PEREIRA: He should be court-martialed. That's what Bowe Bergdahl's former Army roommate says the former POW deserves. Soldiers who served with Bergdahl in Afghanistan testified yesterday at a Capitol Hill hearing. His former roommate blamed Bergdahl for his own capture saying if the soldier hadn't deserted he never would have been taken. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPEC. CODY FULL, U.S. ARMY: Knowing that someone you need to trust deserted you in war and did so on his own free will is the ultimate betrayal. You should not be able to dessert your fellow Americans without consequences. Bowe Bergdahl should not be characterized as having served with honor and distinction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREIRA: Meantime in Texas Bergdahl is staying quiet for now. As far as we know he hasn't asked to speak to his -- to ask to see or rather speak to his parents.
Ed Lavandera has the details.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After Taliban captors handed Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl over to a U.S. Special Forces team in Afghanistan, it seemed like an emotional reunion five years in the making would happen quickly between Bergdahl and his parents.
JANI BERGDAHL, BOWE BERGDAHL'S MOTHER: I love you, Bowe.
LAVANDERA: Looking back on the day after Bergdahl's release when his parents spoke publicly for the last time, there were clues that Bergdahl's homecoming might be a bumpy ride.
BOB BERGDAHL, BOWE BERGDAHL'S FATHER: The recovery and reintegration of Bowe Bergdahl is a work in progress. I want to really convey that. Because it isn't over for us, and in many ways it's just beginning for Jani and I and our family.
LAVANDERA: Bergdahl's mother hinted that her son would need time.
JANI BERGDAHL: Give yourself all of the time you need to recover and decompress. There is no hurry. You have your life ahead of you.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Shortly after Sergeant Bergdahl was freed, various military officials suggested that a reunion with his parents would happen relatively quickly. But almost three weeks later, it still hasn't happened.
COL. BRADLEY POPPEN, U.S. ARMY: It's been five years for Sergeant Bergdahl in captivity. A lot has changed in his life and his mind, a lot has changed in his family's lives and we just need to give them all time to recognize how they can come together and be patiently waiting for each either.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The medical team treating Bergdahl says he can call his parents at any moment and that it's been his choice to delay the reunion. But those around Bergdahl aren't saying exactly why. According to a "Washington Post" report, Bergdahl picked a family friend to receive his remains if he were killed in Afghanistan, not his parents.
After Bergdahl's release, "The Washington Post" reported on a collection of journal entries Bergdahl wrote before his capture and sent to a friend. Bergdahl wrote that he was in an odd place, like, "I'm pulling away from the human world, I want to pull my mind out and drop kick it into a deep gorge." It's a snapshot into the mind of a young soldier struggling to make sense of the world.
Bergdahl will have even more to deal with now that his psychologists are beginning to tell him about the media firestorm surrounding his release, and the scathing criticisms coming from his fellow soldiers like Specialist Cody Full who served in Bergdahl's unit.
CODY: From what I gathered from it, it was always leave no honorable man behind, and not leave no man behind.
STEPHANIE O'NEIL, BERGDAHL FAMILY FRIEND: We were prepared to have "Bowe is Back" and just have one great big party and that's not going to happen.
LAVANDERA: The reality is, any hope of a storybook homecoming evaporated long before Bowe Bergdahl even set foot in the United States.
(END VIDEOTAPE) BERMAN: Wow. It is complicated. Ed Lavandera back with us from Dallas. Ed, you know, we do know what a difficult process this is. Any sense
if Bergdahl has yet spoken with anyone from his past, anyone from his town, friends, family, if not his parents?
LAVANDERA: You know, we've reached out to a series of people who might be kind of in that inner circle. We have not gotten any confirmation that some other phone call to perhaps not just his parents but to old childhood friend. Remember Bowe Bergdahl was home schooled, he was part of a home schooling community there in Hailey, Idaho.
We have not gotten any indication and no confirmation from army officials that any kind of conversation has taken place.
PEREIRA: Well, like we were saying, a really complex situation. All the more complex for the family involved. Sounds like the parents are being very patient. We hope they get to see their son soon.
Ed, thanks so much.
LAVANDERA: You bet.
BERMAN: Ahead for us AT THIS HOUR, we're going to talk about the Vietnam war. Such a time of anger and outrage in the United States for so many. Questions some people asking now especially this week, is Iraq similar? We will ask a man with a deeply, deeply personal connection to both wars.
PEREIRA: The '60s was a decade of change in the United States in our history. There was of course rock and roll, space race, but also the Vietnam war and the death of thousands of Americans in that country. Take a listen. This is a clip from the CNN special "THE SIXTIES."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNDON B. JOHNSON, U.S. PRESIDENT: I have today ordered to Vietnam certain forces which will raise our fighting strength from 75,000 to 125,000 men almost immediately. This will make it necessary to raise the monthly draft from 17,000 to 35,000 per month. This is the most agonizing and the most painful duty of your president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREIRA: Agonizing for the president at the time, Lyndon B. Johnson. Some see the war in Iraq is similar. Thousands dying for a purpose that is unclear to many since the country has plunged into anarchy.
BERMAN: Want to bring in retired U.S. Army colonel, Andrew Bacevich. A Vietnam veteran who lost his 27-year-old son in the war in Iraq, also a wonderful author of many, many books.
Colonel, you have talked a lot about the comparison between the war in Vietnam and what's gone on in Iraq over the last 10 years or so. It's striking that today we may hear from the president shortly who is said to be considering whether to send 100 military advisors to help the Iraqi military there.
What are the most important lessons when we talk about comparing these two conflicts?
COL. ANDREW BACEVICH, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, they're quite different in many ways. And we need to recall how much larger and more costly the Vietnam war was. We had at the highest extent, well over a half million soldiers deployed to Vietnam. I think in Iraq, the most we got to is about 175,000. More than 10 times more Americans were killed in Vietnam than were killed in Iraq. So there's a difference in scale here. But what I'm struck by is, in retrospect, how little the country, our country, suffered as a consequence of this catastrophic defeat in Vietnam.
I don't mean to ignore the 58,000 Americans who were killed, but in many respects, we tired of the Vietnam war, we walked away from the Vietnam war and virtually none of the predicted strategic consequences actually occurred. Contrast that with where we are now. In Iraq we also walked away from the war when we tired of it. We didn't finish the war, we didn't win the war, but that now we're seeing that the strategic consequences of our failure there are likely to be enormous, as Iraq seemingly disintegrates and as the instability that we unleashed in Iraq by invading that country spreads to neighboring countries as well. We just have a huge problem on our hands.
PEREIRA: We do. And it's interesting, and it really appropriate that we would have you with us. We know that many are calling -- you know, we've heard from Washington leaders, in fact George W. Bush has referred to Nuri al-Maliki as a good guy, but we've heard a lot of Washington leaders saying that it's time for him to go. What are your thoughts on that? Is he the best person to manage that nation?
BACEVICH: Well, I don't know that I'm in a position to judge that. But here again, the Vietnam comparison may be instructive. Back in 1963, when John Kennedy was still in the White House and the war in Vietnam was going badly, Washington's assessment was that the problem was the South Vietnamese leader, President Diem, and Washington concluded that if they could just remove Diem and install some new South Vietnamese leader, that the war would turn around.
And they acted on that impulse, became complicit in a coup in Diem's murder but the leadership that succeeded in South Vietnam turned out to be even more incompetent than Diem himself was. And so anybody who sort of says gosh, let's get rid of Maliki, and maybe things will be better, I think the question I'd ask would be, well, who then will replace him? And how do we know that that person will be more effective at uniting the various Iraqi sects, will be more effective in commanding an army that has performed so poorly over the past couple of weeks?
I don't know who that leader would be.
BERMAN: It is important to know our history.
Andrew Bacevich, retired colonel, thank you so much for being with us. A very, very interesting perspective. PEREIRA: And thank you for your service and also we send our
gratitude to you and for your son's service as well. Thanks so much, sir.
Tonight, don't forget to watch "THE SIXTIES," focusing on the war in Vietnam. JFK didn't want it, LBJ couldn't stop it. See how it began and what it took to end it. Make sure you tune in 9:00 Eastern tonight on CNN.
BERMAN: Set your DVR.
Ahead AT THIS HOUR, this amazing woman, this Olympic swimmer, Amy Van Dyken, is coping with a terrible accident that left her paralyzed. You're going to hear the gold medalist's inspiring words.
PEREIRA: And how can an 11-year-old being set to make history, competing at the U.S. Open? The youngest ever. She's such a pro, though. You'll hear from her.
BERMAN: Talk about a positive attitude. Gold medal Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen was paralyzed from the waist down after an ATV accident.
PEREIRA: Yes, a bad accident that left her spine severed. Injuries were so bad the paramedics actually didn't think she'd make it. While the 41-year-old was told to say her good-byes to her husband as she was rushed to emergency surgery, but she survived. And if her comments at a press conference at the hospital are any indication, this champion plans on thriving.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY VAN DYKEN-ROUEN, FOUR-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL SWIMMER: Yes, this injury sucks, and yes, things hurt, but I'm alive, and I'm so thankful to be alive. And so that's why I can be positive about it, you know. It helps get me through the pain.
I'm going to get the best wheelchair ever. I am going to make it so cool. I am going to put skulls and crossbones on it because that's my thing, make it purple. I'm going to do my hair to match my chair, and I'm going to rock it out. That's my prognosis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREIRA: She's going to rock it out, what an attitude. She admits she does have bad days but is calling what happened to her a rebirth. Her father apparently is also in a wheelchair and she says she hopes one day they can race together.
BERMAN: What a story that is.
PEREIRA: How about that?
BERMAN: All right. We have another amazing story in golf. The youngest girl ever to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open.
PEREIRA: Wow. Lucy Li, sixth grader from Redwood Shores, California, in the bay area. She's playing in the biggest event in women's golf. Only 5 feet tall, wearing braces, but guess what? She handles it all like a pro.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUCY LI, U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN CONTESTANT: I mean, Pinehurst and Augusta National, like, two months, I mean, that's just amazing. It's mind blowing for me.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can your dad beat you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Laughing about qualifying for the U.S. Open at 11 years old. Thank you for making me feel inadequate.
Andy Scholes joins us now.
How does an 11-year-old qualify for the Open?
ANDY SCHOOLS, BLEACHER REPORT: Well, that's something that most people don't know. Like John, you could qualify for U.S. Open. Michaela, you could qualify for U.S. Open. I could qualify for U.S. Open. All you have to do is go to one of those smaller qualifying tournaments around the country and win. And that's exactly what Lucy Li did. She went to the tournament in Half Moon Bay, California. And she won.
She didn't just win. She won by seven strokes. And now she's competing in the Women's U.S. Open. Just an incredible feat even to get there. She's not having the best round today, and making the cut's probably not going to happen for her, but just the experience of playing in this tournament's got to be incredible.
PEREIRA: What's the reaction from other golfers? Are they supportive?
SCHOLES: There are actually some mixed reviews.
SCHOLES: From other golfers. The number one player -- golfer in the world, Stacy Lewis, she thought that I'm not a big fan of it. She said, you know, she qualified so she can't say anything about it. But she said, quote, "If it was my kid, I wouldn't let her play in the U.S. Open qualifier at 11. That's just me."
Now Lexy Thompson, she played in a tournament when she was 12 years old. She was much more encouraging to Lucy Li. She said she goes out there and just has a great learning experience. So some mixed reviews. Pretty surprising that the number one golfer in the world, Stacy Lewis, would come out and say she's not a big fan of it.
BERMAN: I smell fear. I smell fear.
PEREIRA: I wonder if that's what it is, or just hateration.
SCHOLES: I don't know if she's smelling much fear because right now Stacy Lewis is in first place halfway through her round in day one.
PEREIRA: Well, OK.
Andy Scholes, live with us AT THIS HOUR on the U.S. Open. Appreciate it.
BERMAN: The scent of fear may be fading.
I would like to leave you now all with some World Cup cable outrage.
PEREIRA: That one.
BERMAN: Like billions of people, I love the World Cup. And like millions of people, I enjoy tweeting about the World Cup. So imagine my outrage when people on Twitter complained that they are sick of reading tweets about the World Cup. There's even an app now that lets you block all World Cup tweets.
PEREIRA: No way. Come on.
BERMAN: Really? You'd rather read tweets about the grilled cheese someone had for lunch or the cable anchor who's too conservative or too liberal or both -- too conservative and too liberal. You'd rather see that, than tweets about a beautiful game played by beautiful people.
Let's face it, they are hot. They play in front of beautiful fans in a beautiful country.
PEREIRA: I don't think she's playing soccer.
BERMAN: Now even if the answer to that question is yes, even if you don't want to read about that, you're missing a huge opportunity. Do you know how easy it is to infuriate Europeans? Just call the game soccer instead of football or football or futbol. Watch this.
Soccer, soccer, soccer, soccer, soccer, soccer, soccer, soccer. You hear that? That's the sound of 1800 Dutch people throwing wooden shoes at the TV.
BERMAN: Or 500 Brits grunting at a language they claim to be English.
All right. You can call me when you win a game, Beckham. Why would you pass up the chance to ridicule these people on Twitter?
Why would you pass up the chance to share these experiences?
So for all of you who don't want to be part of this, who don't want to play in this great social conversation, why don't you just lock the doors, shut the windows and play with yourselves.
PEREIRA: At Johnberman on Twitter. I have no part of this. I can't defend you. I cannot defend you on that one. You are on your own, my friend. You did not. He said wooden shoe.
Thanks for joining us AT THIS HOUR. I can't. I can't. I'm sitting over here.
BERMAN: I'm John Berman. That's Michaela Pereira. "LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD" starts right now.