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War on ISIS; New Details in Peterson Abuse Case; Ray Rice to Appeal Suspension; Did Rice Get Celebrity Justice?; U.S. Strikes ISIS Target Near Baghdad; New U.S. Offensive Begins In Iraq; Advocating Corporal Punishment

Aired September 15, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks very much for joining us. We begin tonight with breaking news. The start of offensive operations against ISIS and the surprising location for this first airstrike. Not in northern Iraq, but surprisingly close to Baghdad.

Chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is monitoring developments. He joins us with the latest.

What do you know about these strikes? Where were they?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, there were two strikes, one just southwest of Baghdad. This was in support of Iraqi forces that came under fire from ISIS militants. The second one in Sinjar also in northern Iraq where other strikes have taken place. But striking an ISIL convoy, an ISIS convoy up there.

These are the first two strikes we've seen that have come outside the original two categories of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq which were to protect U.S. personnel and to protect minorities under threat from ISIS and, therefore, the first ones to follow the president's speech when he announced a couple of weeks ago saying they were going on offense, no longer on defense.

COOPER: And do we know -- the ISIS forces, they were the ones on the offensive against these Iraqi forces in southwest of Baghdad?

SCIUTTO: Well, they were fighting. These were Iraqi operations under way against ISIS forces that we've known for some time have been within proximity of Baghdad, but I think, you know, that is important that it was near the capital because this is -- it's a vulnerable point. The fact that ISIS can carry out operations even close to there is a real worry. So you see the Iraqi forces on the ground pushing back and U.S. war planes supporting them from the air.

COOPER: All right, Jim, we're going to have more with you later on in the program. We're going to check back shortly.

Now a story that touches two absolutely basics for tens if not hundreds of millions of Americans, parenthood and pro-football. People have been talking ever since a Texas grand jury indicted Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson last week on a felony child abuse charge.

Now to remind you this is what he did to his son with a switch, a tree branch. The child is 4 years old. The injuries included cuts on his thighs, buttocks and scrotum. Today, three days after benching him and less than 24 hours after that, without his services, losing a game to New England, the Vikings cleared him to play next weekend. Now at the same time Peterson, through his lawyer, released a statement which we'll read more fully in a moment.

In a key passage, though, Peterson says he did what he did out of love and according to the way he himself was raised.

"I've always believed," he writes, "that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man."

He's talking about a style of parenting that millions of Americans will recognize and in many cases endorse. And that many others call out an out brutality no matter what the intention. We'll have that debate in a moment but first the latest from Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The pictures are startling, skin lacerations inflicted by Adrian Peterson on his 4- year-old son. The professional football star called it a whooping, using a thin tree branch 10 to 15 times.

Texas prosecutors say it is child abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A grand jury having indicted this case looked at the injuries that were inflicted upon this child and determined that that discipline was not reasonable, and did not reflect the community standard of what was reasonable discipline.

LAVANDERA: We've also learned new details of text messages Peterson allegedly sent the boy's mother in Minnesota after the lashing. Peterson wrote he felt bad after the fact, "when I noticed the switch was wrapping around hitting thigh." Another text was more graphic. "Got him in the nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad. I'm all tearing that butt up when needed. I start putting them in time-out. And save the whooping for needed memories."

And in a later message, Peterson wrote, "Never do I go overboard but all my kids will know hey, daddy, has the biggie heart but don't play no games when it comes to acting right."

Nick Wright is a sports radio talk show host in Houston where Adrian Peterson lives part of the year. He's familiar with the new and extensive details in the Peterson police report. According to Wright, the incident happened after the little boy had pushed another of Peterson's children off of a motorcycle video game.

NICK WRIGHT, SPORTS RADIO 610: He called it a standard whooping. He said the only parts of this that were different from usual were when the -- when the switch wrapped around the child's leg and cut the front of his leg, and the one that hit the child on the genitals like he said, aside from that, he was asked by police, are the marks on the child, you know, worse than usual? And he said on his butt, no. He said on his butt, that's -- you know, that's what a whooping is.

LAVANDERA: Wright says the little boy also told police he was scared of his father, that he was often punished in what the boy described as the whooping room. And that Peterson had lots of belts. The boy talked about his father putting leaves in his mouth while he was lashed. Wright also says Peterson spoke with investigators in a 40- minute phone conversation where he justified disciplining his son with this kind of force.

WRIGHT: You listen to the audio of Adrian Peterson with the police, and he comes across honestly as a loving parent who truly believes he was doing what was right for his son, who feels badly about two specific unintentional injuries.

Adrian Peterson is very self-assured that he not only loves his children but that this type of discipline -- at least he sounded self- assured at the time that this type of discipline was necessary and this type of discipline was more mild than the discipline he received that helped turn him into the man that he is today.

LAVANDERA: In a statement Adrian Peterson wrote that after meeting with a psychologist there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.

"I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser." And after missing only one game, the Minnesota Vikings announced that Adrian Peterson will be back on the football field this coming weekend.


COOPER: Ed, what else did he say when he spoke to investigators on the phone?

LAVANDERA: Well, that was kind of interesting according to Nick Wright after we spoke with him and from what he was able to see is that Adrian Peterson admitted to police that -- this wasn't the only time during this boy's visit with him back in May at his Houston home that he had been punished in this way.

And according to Nick Wright, he said that it didn't seem like police, from what he was able to hear, didn't seem like police understood -- knew that that -- that there had been a second incident. What police are doing with that we're not being told at this point. But it was an interesting revelation nonetheless.

COOPER: All right. Ed Lavandera, appreciate it.

Again millions have been talking about this and the Ray Rice story with one another online and on Gameday Television. Here's NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley on CBS' "NFL Today with Jim Rome," defending Peterson. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES BARKLEY, SPORTS ANALYST: I'm from the south. Whooping is -- we do that all the time. Every black parent in the south is going to be in jail under those circumstances.

I think we have to be careful letting people how we -- they dictate how they, you know, treat their children.

JIM ROME, NFL TODAY: Doesn't matter where you're from. Right is right and wrong is wrong.


ROME: Doesn't matter where you're from.

BARKLEY: I don't believe that because, listen, we spank kids in the south. I think the question about it, did Adrian Peterson go overboard? But listen, Jim, we all grew up in different environments. Listen, every black parent in my neighborhood in the south would be in trouble or in jail under those circumstances.


COOPER: Joining us is attorney and children's advocate Areva Martin, "New York Times" columnist Charles Blow and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Charles, what about that? I mean, Charles Barkley essentially saying, look, if you talk to African-Americans from the south, you're going to hear this story a lot.

CHARLES BLOW, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Well, I think that in general what the data tell us is that American parents spank. African- Americans spank slightly more than other parents, but it's statistically significant. But it is not --

COOPER: But spanking is a lot different than taking a tree branch.

BLOW: That's right. And that is the point where I completely disagree with Charles Barkley and where I find Adrian Peterson's explanation to be incredibly sad, which is that he probably genuinely believes that drawing blood is an expression of love. And that is a sad kind of testament to what -- to what he believes parenting should be.

The idea that you believe that you, as a 6'1", nearly 220-pound man, should beat a child who is 4 years old until he has lacerations on his body, that is not love. He may believe that it's love. He may believe that he -- you know, he didn't plan to abuse a child. He may not believe that he is an abuser. But that is not what an expression of love is.

I am so happy that he said that he saw a -- a child psychiatrist and now he knows that there are alternate ways. Spanking and particularly that kind of brutal spanking is always the easy way out. It takes 30 seconds.

COOPER: Jeff --


BLOW: Punishing a child --


COOPER: In court, how does this play out? I mean, can you say, well, look, this is the way I was raised. My father put leaves in my mouth and had a whipping room.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Texas law is actually quite clear on this. That basically -- that Texas law says if your behavior is reasonable under community standards, then it's not a crime. So if the jury were to decide, if this case goes to trial, that this sort of whooping is reasonable in the community, then it wouldn't be a crime.

I can't conceive of any circumstances in which a jury would find that. This is -- you know, he can call it an expression of love. There are very religious families who love their children and say, we're going to withhold medical treatment because our religion demands it. That's not an excuse. Just because you think it's the right thing to do, that's not -- that's not an excuse. And this is not --

COOPER: Areva, this point that Peterson made that he believes this type of discipline prevented him from being lost in the streets and contributed to his success.

AREVA MARTIN, LEGAL AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Well, he may have been not lost in the street, Anderson, but clearly he's repeating the cycle of violence. And what we now know is that parents who are hit and, you know, treat their kids with abusive behavior likely have been abused themselves as kids. And you know, the reality is all things lawful not expedient. So the fact that it may be lawful in the state of Texas to use corporal punishment, it doesn't make it the right thing to do.

And everyone is talking about Adrian Peterson. I want to stand up for that 4-year-old child. I was hit as a child. For Adrian to say he was hit and somehow that's right, it was wrong when my mom hit me, my dad hit me, when Adrian's parents hit him, and it's wrong today. To hit a child, to use corporal punishment in any form is abusive.

TOOBIN: Well --

MARTIN: And long-term scars --


TOOBIN: We can have an interesting discussion about corporal punishment and spanking. And that's really an issue for parents to decide. When it gets to these sorts of wounds, this is not an issue for parents. This is an issue for law enforcement. And, you know, so I think we really need to draw a distinction here. This is not a case about spanking. This is a case about a kid with serious injuries.

BLOW: And -- and I think there's also a dangerous message being sent if we start to attribute success and staying out the streets to being violently attacked by your parents.

COOPER: Also if you are repeatedly doing this to your child over the course of a weekend, doesn't seem to be working very well.

BLOW: Right. Right. It's -- like I said, it's the lazy way. Right. So if you -- you say you were punished for a week and you can't have the Nintendo or whatever you're playing, that actually takes you as the parent engaging for the entire length of the punishment. This kind of spanking, brutal kind of whipping, takes 30 seconds to a minute and you're done. So it's a kind of a lazy, easy way out. And you may choose it but that is not --

COOPER: I read -- there was a columnist for the Grio who said that it's a longstanding African-American institution, quote, "both feared and revered." Basically, I think making sort of a reference back to slavery.

BLOW: I think there are a lot of people who believe that that's true.

MARTIN: You know -- OK.

MARTIN: And I think that -- and that is also a part of the sadness of it. That for, you know, for so many years there's been a tremendous amount, disproportionate amount of violence visited on black bodies. And for us to then internalize that and take that into our homes and then say that that is the way -- the only way that we can succeed, that's the only way that we can be made to behave, that's not the signal you want to make.

COOPER: Areva, what do you think?

MARTIN: Yes. I also want to say, Anderson, you know, we used to not wear helmets when we rode bike. Women used to smoke when they were pregnant. We used to send our kids to segregated schools. So there are a lot of things we did 20 and 30 years ago that we now know are hurtful and harmful to kids that are no longer acceptable. So as we've evolved this as a society, we know more so we're taught upon to do better with respect to how we raise our children.

COOPER: So you don't buy that well my parents --

MARTIN: And I just can't stress enough.

COOPER: My parents did that, this is the way I was brought up, it worked for me.

MARTIN: No. My parents put me on a bike without a helmet. That was dangerous then, it's dangerous now. They didn't know any better. But we know better. We have the data, we have the statistics, we have the studies that confirm that there are long-term psychological emotional scars from hitting children. So we can't bury our heads in the sand on this. But we have to accept that data, accept the harm it's done to kids, and just stop hitting.

We tell 5-year-olds no hitting. We criminalize assaults by adults on other adults. So we can't accept an adult hitting a child when we don't accept an adult hitting an adult.

COOPER: So -- so, Jeff, how does the law draw the line? Because I mean -- spanking is OK but using a switch that causes a bloody wound, that's not?

TOOBIN: That's right. And ultimately these are jury questions. And under Texas law, this is a classic jury question. What does the community regard as reasonable? That question doesn't have an obvious answer, but it's placed in the hands of juries to decide. And you know, I -- I'm not on the jury in this case, we have to see all the evidence. But I can easily believe that an integrated jury, any racially composed jury would say, you know what? This kid was 4 years old. You can't do that to a 4-year-old. And, you know, that's what the law says.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, appreciate it, Charles Blow, Areva Martin.

Jeff is also going to stick around.

There are several new developments in the Ray Rice domestic violence story. He's got until tomorrow night to appeal his indefinite suspension for punching out his wife, knocking her unconscious.

Meantime, we are learning just how unevenly the league and the legal system punishes people in this situation.

As always, a quick reminder. Make sure you set your DVR so you can watch 360 whenever you want. We'll be right back with more on that.


COOPER: Deadline is tomorrow night for Ray Rice to appeal his indefinite suspension for punching and knocking out his fiancee in an Atlantic City casino back in February. He is expected to appeal. He made his first public appearance over the weekend in his New York hometown. His supporters meantime have begun speaking out against the suspension and against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

More from Miguel Marquez who joins us now.

So it looks like this could very well come down to Ray Rice's claims against the NFL commissioner's.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly where it seems to be headed. And interestingly Roger Goodell was supposed to be at a San Francisco game this weekend and he didn't show up. And it seems that Mr. Rice is getting out there, going to New Rochelle to a high school football game there, back to the beginning basically, and starting to get back out there into public life.

This is headed down that road, it appears. Roger Goodell saying that he was either led astray or misled or lied to by Mr. Rice during that June 16th meeting. He has been saying that now several times over the last week while Rice, at least his side of the camp, saying that it was Goodell that was told everything by Ray Rice, and that he didn't hear it and made his decision on the two-game suspension, and only changed his mind once that TMZ Sports video came out showing the inside of the elevator in that Atlantic City casino.

COOPER: And Miguel, what happens when Rice actually appeals the suspension assuming he does that? How does that work?

MARQUEZ: It's -- we're hoping to find out more about the NFL on what exactly -- under what article of the collective bargaining agreement they brought it under. We believe it's Article 46, which if that is the case there's a couple of things in here that are fairly interesting. One is that you can't punish the same player twice for the same thing. He was dismissed by the Ravens and that the league put an indefinite suspension on him.

Now Goodell is saying that he -- the suspension because he was led astray not for the beating of Janay Palmer back in February. So it's unclear where it goes from here, but once that appeal is made, then it will kick into a process where there will literally be sort of a court hearing inside the NFL where outside experts will be brought in. Rice will be able to bring in people to talk on his side, the NFL will be able to present its own evidence and then perhaps a body outside of Roger Goodell will make the final call -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Miguel, thanks for the update.

Let's dig deeper now on Ray Rice's punishment, allegations and hypocrisy and the outside covering by the NFL. Jeff Toobin is back, joins us now. Legal analyst and a fellow former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin as well.

I mean, Jeff, the argument made by Rice that basically he's getting punished twice. Originally he was, you know, told to have a two-game suspension and then this new thing and that's unfair.

TOOBIN: Right. Article 46 appears to say that if you're punished by the team, you can't be punished by the league. If you're punished by the league, you can't be punished by the team. However, the one thing I really want to caution everybody, this is really complicated. And you have the intersection of the union agreement, the players contract, the NFL's own rules and these things take a long time.

I am not in any position to predict with certainty how this will be resolved. But once these appeals start the lawyers take over. And this could get complicated and the resolution is -- is uncertain.

COOPER: It's -- I mean, it's interesting now Miguel saying that Roger Goodell had been saying well, I was kind of misled. That's not what we heard from the coach of the team in that press conference who said well, no, nothing Ray Rice said was any different -- you know, everything that's come out is pretty much what he told us. And there must have been a roomful of attorneys in that meeting between Roger Goodell and Ray Rice. I mean, at least Ray Rice's attorney is there.


TOOBIN: It must be pretty clear what was actually said.

HOSTIN: Well, no question about it. I mean, we know that the meeting took place and we know that there were representatives for Ray Rice and representatives for the NFL. But I think that the larger question is, how could Goodell and the NFL have screwed this up, have botched this up so much that Ray Rice now has the ability to appeal?

And I think, Jeff, that he has solid ground. I think he's standing on solid ground, quite frankly, because we know that he was suspended for two games, if he indeed told the truth and there was a video showing the aftermath of the knockout --

COOPER: And a police report.

HOSTIN: And a police report that clearly says he hit her and rendered her unconscious, I looked at the police report today. There was really nothing different that occurred other than the fact that this videotape was shown to the public.

COOPER: Right. The only -- the only thing that's different now, Jeff, is that --

HOSTIN: What did they think domestic violence looks like?

COOPER: A second video has come out and there's been a public outcry.

TOOBIN: And the NFL is embarrassed.


COOPER: Bigger than before. Right.

TOOBIN: Yes. And remember, it may be that the NFL had the elevator video as well because the AP report.

HOSTIN: Right.

TOOBIN: So the NFL is not on the strongest legal grounds here basically saying well, we increased the punishment because we were embarrassed. That's not a strong argument. However, the league has a lot of power under these agreements. And so I just don't think -- I know the law well enough to be able to predict how this will come out.

COOPER: I want to play something that Chris Carter, a former player and an ESPN analyst, said over the weekend.


Take him off the doggone field because you know what? As a man that's the only thing we really respect. We don't respect no women. We don't respect no kids. The only thing Roger and them can do is take them off the field because they respect that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS CARTER, ESPN ANALYST: I mean, to his point, does the NFL have a problem here? I mean, this is now, you know, Ray Rice is not the only guy out there who's done this and, frankly, others have been convicted of it and still play.

HOSTIN: I mean, it's a significant problem. It's a crisis in my view. I mean, we're now seeing this incident. We're talking about Adrian Peterson and child abuse. He's going to suit up and play again. You know, what message is that sending to me as a woman? What message is that saying to children? Domestic violence is OK, child beating is OK. The NFL is just --

COOPER: You're putting them in the same -- in the same category.

HOSTIN: I think -- I think it's exactly the same category. I think it's about abuse against women and children and that abuse being condoned, quite frankly, by the NFL's actions.

TOOBIN: Now the NFL, I think to its credit, just hired four very prominent domestic violence experts to try to articulate and help them formulate a policy. One of the many problems of the NFL's response here is that the rules were very unclear. And basically dumped it all in Goodell's lap and he could be the emperor who decided, you know, how each case was resolved on its own merits.

The problem with that is, you don't have clear rules so that you have somebody people who've been convicted of domestic violence playing. You have some people who have been suspended. The length of the suspension is up for grabs. So the fact that they've hired these good people and at least in the future, I hope, we'll have --


HOSTIN: I have to completely disagree with you, Jeff. And that is because we know after the scandal erupted, what did Goodell do? He did implement a policy, right? He implemented this two-game suspension and then -- I guess lifetime ban from the league for a second offense, for domestic violence.

He is playing catch-up. The NFL's playing catch-up. So to name these four women as domestic violence experts on his team at this point, I think, is too little, I think it's too late, and I think it's tone deaf.

COOPER: Although --

HOSTIN: It goes to show you they don't mean what they're doing --


COOPER: And we've reported on last week compared to other major league sports franchises, the NFL actually is more out in front than anyone else. I'm not saying -- I'm not saying that says anything, but it is kind of -- it was surprising to me to learn, like, well, they actually now at least have a policy on the books. A lot of the others don't even have policies. TOOBIN: You know, when you're behind you play catch-up. And they are

playing catch-up now. And more power to them. I mean, the NFL should have a clear policy on this. They've hired some experts to do it. The other league should do it as well. But I don't think that's a bad thing. I think that's a good thing.

COOPER: The players association of the NFL saying Ray Rice should get a second chance. Do you believe in second chances?

HOSTIN: You know, I thing I believe in zero tolerance for domestic violence.

COOPER: First time -- I mean, this is the first time he's ever been --


COOPER: -- charged, you know, allegations have been made against him, this is first time.


COOPER: It's not as if there's a record here.

HOSTIN: I think so. I believe in zero tolerance for domestic violence, violence against children, violence against women. And you know, more often than not there's this recidivism when it comes to domestic violence. People don't really learn. And so to give -- I think playing in the NFL is a privilege. It's not a right.

And to behave so casually after he struck his wife and knocked her unconscious, I think the way Peterson is behaving casually and coming out with a statement saying, I am not a child abuser when in fact Mr. Peterson is a child abuser, I think, you know, those incidents, you don't get a second chance in my view.

TOOBIN: I think we would be a better society if we gave everybody who went to prison the right to vote and the chance to re-establish their lives, and I think people should have second chances.

COOPER: All right. Jeff Toobin, Sunny Hostin. Thank you very much. Good discussion.

Probably on fairness and hypocrisy that Rice supporters blame on the NFL, it's the legal system that touches many more people specifically diversion programs like the one Ray Rice took advantage of. And the woman you're about to meet would also seem to be perfectly suited for, for a diversion program. With the same jurisdiction, same prosecutor, very different outcome.

Randi Kaye tonight explains.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shaneen Allen was driving in New Jersey when she was stopped by police for a simple traffic violation. In the car with her, her brand new handgun.

SHANEEN ALLEN, ARRESTED FOR BRINGING GUN ACROSS STATE LINES: When I went into -- when I went to my purse to give them my license and my registration, I also gave him my license to carry with it. That's why I told him I have my firearm on me.

KAYE: Trouble is, Shaneen's license to carry was for her home state of Pennsylvania. Just across state lines from where she was pulled over in New Jersey. She says she had no idea it didn't transfer state to state.

She had just bought the gun a week earlier after being mugged. Still, this single mother of two was handcuffed and arrested on the spot. Charged with both illegal possession of a firearm and possession of hollow-point ammunition. She's now facing more than 11 years in prison.

(On camera): How worried are you about going to prison?

ALLEN: Very worried. I'm worried every minute, every day. I have to -- I have to worry about where my kids are going to go, what's going to happen to them.

KAYE: This is the man looking to put Shaneen in prison, Atlantic County prosecutor, Jim McClain. The very same man who chose not to prosecute Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice. Rice was charged in the same county with aggravated assault. He pleaded not guilty and applied for a special intervention program that gives arrestees a chance to wipe their record clean.

In May, Prosecutor McClain approved Rice for that program.

(On camera): The pretrial intervention program or PTI as it's called allows first-time offenders to avoid prison and probation. Those accepted into the program have to get counseling, do community service and stay out of trouble. Once the program is complete, all charges are dropped.

(Voice-over): Rice was facing up to five years in prison when he got into the PTI program. Shaneen is facing more than double that. Yet a month before clearing Ray Rice for the PTI program, Prosecutor McClain refused Shaneen's request to enter the same program.

(On camera): Why do you think the prosecutor denied you access into the program?

ALLEN: He's trying to be tough on guns. He's using me as an example. The PTI program was for (INAUDIBLE) for me and that's what I should have got.

KAYE (voice-over): Prosecutor McClain declined our request for an interview. But his office gave us this statement.

"Mr. Rice received the same treatment by the criminal justice system in Atlantic County that any first-time offender has in similar circumstances." Adding, "The decision was correct." (On camera): Are you angry?

ALLEN: Very, very angry. I'm frustrated. I think that our situation should be switched. I should have got PTI and he should have got years in prison. So he definitely got a pass.


COOPER: It's kind of an amazing case, Randi. Where does her case stand now?

KAYE: Well, Anderson, tonight we're learning the prosecutor is actually going to take another look suddenly at Shaneen's case. He sent this letter which is dated September 12th, which just Friday, addressed to the superior court judge telling him that he, the prosecutor is, quote, "Reviewing our office's position on the appropriate resolution of this matter."

The prosecutor, Anderson, is asking for three weeks' time to review everything and for the court to delay the start of the trial and the pre-trial hearing. The trial was supposed to start in October.

Maybe he's caving to all the attention and the pressure this case is getting due to the Ray Rice connection, or maybe not. But Anderson, Shaneen Allen has certainly found hope for the first time in nearly a year.

COOPER: Let's just reiterate here. She was just over the state line. It was illegal. She had a permit. She voluntarily told a police officer she had a permit. It wasn't like she was hiding this gun in her car. It's really stunning.

KAYE: Yes, she had it in her purse when she was going for her license and her registration. She saw the gun. She immediately told the police officer. He grabbed her purse and immediately she said he called for backup and arrested her on the spot.

COOPER: All right, Randi, we're going to talk more about this in the next hour because this is just a stunning case. Juxtaposed with the same prosecutor who treated Ray Rice to a diversion program.

As U.S. airstrikes ramp up against ISIS and offensive operations begin, ISIS murders another western captive. The question is, though, what kind of threat does ISIS really present to people in the United States right now? That's next.


COOPER: Breaking news tonight, the U.S. military has conducted airstrikes against an ISIS position near Baghdad. A senior military official telling CNN, they are the closest strikes to the capital since the start of the campaign.

This comes as the U.S. is building a coalition to fight ISIS terrorists, but which countries will be involved and exactly what way, that has not become clear. Secretary of State John Kerry has wrapped up a trip to the Middle East to try to get support.

He says countries are willing to help with strikes, but he also said on "Face the Nation" that it isn't appropriate to start talking about which countries specifically and what their role is going to be.

Our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, joins us now. So what do we know about this coalition? Is any country publicly involved?

SCIUTTO: You do have public commitments and you have some private commitments. The public commitments involving mostly western nations. You have, for instance, France that says it will carry out not only surveillance flights over Iraq but also air strikes over Iraq.

You have Australia sending eight F/A-18 military aircraft to the region to take part in strikes. They're also sending 200 advisers. Canada is sending 50 military advisers. You have those kinds of public commitments from western nations.

You do have private commitments from Arab nations. I was told today by a senior U.S. military official that more than one Arab nation has agreed to take part in airstrikes, so called kinetic activity.

But typically it is unlikely for these countries to advertise their support because they face very critical populations at home from those countries. It's more likely to be on the down low and private from many counties in Europe and the west.

COOPER: And there is it seems like at least publicly a significant difference in terms of commitment to actually strike inside Iraq as opposed to strike inside Syria, right?

SCIUTTO: There is. You see that, for instance, with France. It's agreeing to fly to pose surveillance and airstrikes over Iraq not in Syria. Even the U.S. we've seen it's carried out nearly 200 strikes inside Iraq. Still waiting for that first airstrike inside Syria.

I'm told that's not going to happen necessarily any time soon. There are a few reasons for that. One, in Iraq, you have a ground force there to back up with airstrikes. You've got the Kurdish forces. You have the Iraqi military. You don't have that yet in Syria.

In fact I'm told it will take about a year to train just 5,000 moderate Syrian rebels to fight against ISIS. It's going to take a long time, plus just the intelligence picture that much worse in Syria than it is in Iraq.

COOPER: You know, you hear from John McCain who was on our air last week saying these people have been vetted. We know who these people are. Is that really true? I mean, you look at the map of the different groups that are fighting, the changing lines. It seems like they're all over the place.

SCUITTO: There's a thousand different groups, a thousand different allegiances there. It's hard to divine that. Now the administration says that it's much more knowledgeable today than it was even six months or 12 months ago about who they can trust on the ground.

But even with that, you know, it's going to take a number of months to train the folks that they trust and to arm them, et cetera, to make them into something of a capable fighting force, but even at the end of the year, you're only talking about 5,000 fighters.

On Iraq you've got hundreds of thousands of ground forces including the Iraqi military and Kurdish military. It's an entirely different calculus.

COOPER: And also by the way, you know, huge numbers of Iraqi military who have been training for years and years and years with huge amounts of money and we see what they're able to do so far on the battlefield. Jim, appreciate it.

The major questions are how big of a threat does ISIS actually pose to the United States and what's it going to do to defeat them? Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says the idea that the United States will never have boots on the ground in Syria is a fantasy.

Listen to what he said on Fox News Sunday particularly the last sentence of what he said.


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This is a war we're fighting. It is not a counterterrorism operation. This is not Somalia. This is not Yemen. This is a turning point in the war on terror. Our strategy will fail yet again. This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.


COOPER: Before we all get killed back here at a home. Joining us now CNN political commentator, Peter Beinart, a contributing editor at "Atlantic Media" and senior fellow at the New America Foundation, and also Retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, who is commander of the U.S. forces in Iraq from 2007 to 2009.

Peter, when you hear Lindsey Graham saying we might all get killed here at home, is that just hysteria? It does seem like there have been few publicly kind of saying, wait a minute, is ISIS really as big a threat to the United States right now as some have been claiming?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think it is hysteria and it's typical of the hysteria coming from some of the Republicans on Capitol Hill. I think if you listen to the terrorism experts that study this, what they will say is there's a significant potential threat from ISIS because they control all this territory.

They have money, there are a lot of westerners who may go back and commit acts of terror, although it's more likely at this point to be the kind of lone wolf attacks that you saw, for instance, with the underwear bomber than the kind of large scale plot that al Qaeda did.

But that's a potential threat. It's different than saying they are a greater threat today than al Qaeda was on the eve of 9/11 as some Republicans have said. I think to his credit, Lindsey Graham rightfully said that if you think ISIS is that big a threat, you should support American troops on the ground.

But I think the Obama administration's assessment that it is not that great of a threat now, which is why they are pursuing this different strategies.

COOPER: General Hertling, do you believe it's a great threat to the United States. When Lindsey Graham says we could all get killed here at home. Are you that concerned right now?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES IN IRAQ 2007-2009: I'm not concerned right now, Anderson. It's a potential threat in the future, but I also think right now ISIS is probably re-evaluating based on the eventual coalescence of a coalition against them.

I mean, they have tried to consolidate their territory. They're doing things to establish an Islamic State in the area between Syria and Iraq and perhaps in other places. But that's their major concern right now.

And if I were the enemy commander, I'd be thinking to myself, holy smokes, the rest of the world is getting ready to coalesce against me and bring a coalition. I better start not being concerned about taking attacks outside of this area.

Now as Peter said, there's certainly the potential for a lone wolf. But I don't think that's a great potential right now today. Could be in the future, but not today.

COOPER: General, from a military standpoint, ISIS really has not faced a capable military enemy on the ground or even from the air. The Iraqi forces they face were badly led by generals who really had no battlefield experience and were put in there by Nuri Al-Maliki for political reasons basically.

So they had no leadership and a lot of the Peshmerga forces were young and also their lines were stretched thin. So they haven't really been all that battle tested against real troops, correct?

HERTLING: I would agree with you there, Anderson. The other thing I would suggest to you what they also haven't had either for or against them is air power. I'm not suggesting that air power is the only way to strike ISIS. There has to be forces on the ground to counter their offensive.

But it's critical to note if you're a historian, that any time you conduct warfare in the desert, the side that has the air power is going to win because it is a flat table top. It's a flat surface. You can go after targets a lot easier than you can in wooded terrain or mountainous terrain.

That's going to be critical. But the combination of air power with ground forces and perhaps the build-up of both the Peshmerga, the Iraqi security forces are going to trip ISIS in a great degree. And I agree with you. They've not been encountered yet by a significant force.

COOPER: Peter, I don't want people to think that I'm discounting the possible threat from ISIS or as you said the very real threat of lone wolves here who are ideologically motivated to see their videos and say I'm a part of ISIS.

But I do think there's a danger in making them seem ten-feet tall and invincible. It seems to play into the propaganda that they want us to believe.

BEINART: Right. This is in many ways, you know, not surprisingly by people like Lindsey Graham and John McCain, a return to what we saw with George W. Bush, who continually compared al Qaeda to the Nazis and to the Soviets.

And in that way I think exaggerated the threat. Not to say there was not a threat. There was a threat. A terrible attack on the United States on 9/11, but there's not been no threat anywhere near that in the more than decade since then.

I think the challenge for policymakers is to recognize that yes, there was a threat. Yes, the U.S. needs to be vigilant. Yes, the U.S. needs -- have probably airstrikes at least in Iraq against ISIS, but not to so overreact that you do things that are counterproductive.

When I hear people like Lindsey Graham again talking about sending boots on the ground that would be the best thing in the world for ISIS to be in trap of on another ground war.

COOPER: To Americanize that situation. Peter Beinart, thank you. General Hertling, great to have you on the program again.

Just ahead, we're going to return to the Adrian Peterson story. His indictment has put a spotlight back on corporal punishment. Gary Tuchman tonight takes us inside the controversy over a book written by two devout Christians who say using a switch against a child is God's will.


COOPER: We talked at the top about Adrian Peterson and allegations he crossed the line between parental love and rights and child abuse. The difference, as Jeffrey Toobin said, between a spanking and serious injuries.

As we said though, the practice of taking a switch to a child is neither unusual nor some say even cruel. Gary Tuchman met one such advocate for what many call extreme corporal punishment in the name of God.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Pearl is a competitive knife and tomahawk thrower. He never misses the target. But it's just a hobby. His life's work is preaching. He targets what some might call extreme discipline of children. MICHAEL PEARL, AUTHOR, "TO TRAIN UP A CHILD": I've never met any well-trained emotionally secure, happy, creative children that weren't spanked.

TUCHMAN: Pearl is a minister of the gospel, a devout Christian. He and his wife are best-selling authors who have written many religiously themed books. But their most popular and most controversial is a book called "Train Up A Child" in which they write about to need to inflict physical pain.

M. PEARL: I don't use the term "hitting."

TUCHMAN (on camera): What's the word?

M. PEARL: Spanking.

TUCHMAN: Is there a difference?

M. PEARL: Absolutely. A hand is hitting, a wooden spoon or spatula, that's spanking.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): In the book, the Pearls who live in rural Tennessee declare the rod is a gift from God, use it as the hand of God to train your children. They say any spanking to effectively reinforce instruction must cause pain.

M. PEARL: I'm going to spank the CNN man.

TUCHMAN: To show how they believe God wants parents to spank.

M. PEARL: Rubbing the spaghetti all over your head. You shouldn't have done that at 7 years of age.

TUCHMAN (on camera): OK. And that hurts and I'm 50. I mean --

M. PEARL: Are there any marks on you?

TUCHMAN: No, but you would hit a 5-year-old like that?

M. PEARL: Yes, sure.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The Pearls say you can never be too young for some physical pain. For example, when a baby bites during breastfeeding.

DEBI PEARL, CO-AUTHOR, "TO TRAIN UP A CHILD": I would gently pull their hair, very gently. Enough to make them let go.

TUCHMAN: The spankings with various objects say the Pearls are actually done out of love. They say it worked for their children and most importantly this is what God wants.

M. PEARL: We don't punish our children, but we sometimes need to get their attention.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Paradise, California. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Now, of course, the Adrian Peterson case did leave marks on the child. You have seen those photographs.

Coming up a hurricane making landfall in Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. We'll tell you where it's heading and how strong it is, next.


COOPER: A quick update on the other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks has a 360 Bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the FBI is helping investigators in Pennsylvania find who is responsible for a shooting outside a police barracks in Blooming Grove. One state trooper was killed. Another seriously injured. The father of two young boys on the left, Bryon Dickson was killed in that ambush and Alex Douglass survived. He has undergone surgery.

Hurricane Odile has been downgraded to Category 1 after making landfall on Mexico's Baja California Peninsula at a Category 3. In Cabo San Lukas palm trees were knocked down and the streets were drenched. The storm is heading north east with torrential rains in the forecast.

Sergeant Major Benny Atkins received the Medal of Honor from President Obama at the White House today. Honored for his actions in Vietnam. He was wounded 18 times from enemy fire during a 38-hour battle in 1966, but pressed on to carry wounded comrades to safety.

COOPER: That's incredible, 18 comrades. Susan, thanks.

Just ahead in our next hour, the GM recall story widens while a woman at the center of it lives a nightmare.