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MSF President on Impact of Kunduz Hospital Bombing; Reverend Urges Christians to Rethink Gun Stance; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired October 14, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: seeking justice, the head of Doctors without Borders tells me patients at their Kunduz hospital,
quote, "burned in their beds" after a U.S. air raid. Now the wheels have been set in motion for independent investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOANNE LIU, PRESIDENT, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: If we don't give that strong signal, it means everywhere in the world where we have parties at
war it's going to be a free-for-all. We cannot afford that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Plus, the religious case for gun control: meet the evangelical reverend warning Americans against worshipping their weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB SCHENCK, EVANGELICAL MINISTER: Peter thought he was doing good by using his sword against someone. Jesus rebuked him, told him to put his
sword away and told him those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane all this week. It was a surprise offensive
that sent shock waves all the way from Afghanistan to Washington, D.C.
Now two weeks after the Taliban stormed the city of Kunduz, the town is finally back under government control. But the political fallout
The episode shows just how fragile NATO's gains in Afghanistan are and the White House has just now acknowledged that President Obama is, indeed,
rethinking the decision to pull all combat troops out of the country.
Of course America's standing has also been damaged after a U.S. warplane mistakenly bombed a Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz, killing 22
President Obama has apologized to Joanne Liu, the head of Doctors without Borders, but she still demands an independent investigation into the
incident. I spoke to her earlier right after she found out that the process for such an investigation has now been set in motion.
PLEITGEN: Joanne Liu, thank you for joining the program.
LIU: Thank you.
PLEITGEN: First of all, of course, we need to talk about the bombing of the hospital in Kunduz and, above all, it is a tragedy for the
organization, for the people who work for it.
How are people coping within the organization and also, of course, the loved ones of those who are affected?
LIU: We are struggling in coping with the situation. It's a tragic event for the whole organization. Right now, just in Kunduz, our center is
closed. So there's no more access to more health care in this region. This wasn't a little bush hospital. We're talking about a high-tech --
LIU: Yes, exactly. So this is what we're depriving the all northeast (ph) region of Afghanistan. Today it doesn't have a trauma care center. In
terms of our team, our international team has been brought back to the capital and some have come back to their home country or some of them as
well as volunteering in other hospitals to work.
PLEITGEN: -- photos that have just come out, the first photos of the aftermath of the bombing, what do you think when you see something like
I mean, it looks like it was hit by extremely heavy ordnance.
LIU: Those pictures are, I would say, very, very disturbing. When we were seeing the level of violence that happened was real, I think now somehow we
have a mental image of it.
But we know that our patients burned alive in their beds and those pictures somehow are testimony of that.
So the next step is trying to find out what happened, why it happened, what led to the airstrike. And this is why we still strongly ask for
independent and partial investigation.
PLEITGEN: You had the U.S. president call you to apologize for what happened.
What exactly did he have to say and do you think that there's a will on the American side for an independent investigation?
LIU: Well, the reason he called, the president's share his apologies to -- with the organization and with the family and then he has conveyed to me
that he was committed to do an independent, transparent investigation in the U.S.
In response to that I have basically asked him to consider, strongly to consent to an independent, impartial investigation by the international
humanitarian fact-finding commission. So this is where we are right now.
PLEITGEN: So you've been calling for this international investigation by the body of the Geneva Convention. It seems as though that is going to
What is your take on that?
LIU: We have just been told it's a fact that it's going to be activated. It's been activated, meaning that now we basically have done almost 50
percent of the journey because now the next step is to get the consent --
LIU: -- from the two countries, Afghanistan and USA, to consent to carry it on for this fact-finding commission.
PLEITGEN: One of the things that the U.S. military has said in the past years is there are going to be mistakes in efforts like in Afghanistan,
like the ones they had in Iraq but that it's important for the military to be completely open about them and to then investigate them and punish those
who are responsible.
Why don't you think that an investigation done by the U.S. military or the United States is enough?
LIU: They may have to do their internal investigation and I think it's fine. They should do it.
But the purpose of what we're looking for, which is about finding out if there was violation of international humanitarian law, this isn't the
purpose of their investigation. Their investigation is about to find out where the chain of command, how things were decided, did we do the thing
accordingly to our center of operation, which is, for me, two different, I would say, objectives. So it cannot be the same tool and I think that for
me more globally it's really a really strong signal from a nation like the United States with respect to the Geneva Convention, upholding the Geneva
Convention and saying that we somehow, this nation is as well respecting what are called the rules of war, which is the international humanitarian
law, that, somehow in conflict zone, there is what I call the humanitarian medical space that is protected, that allows population living in
conflicts, assessing health care, allows health care workers to care for patients, allows medical facilities to run without being targeted, allows
them then to bring patients to the hospital without being targeted.
This is what we are about. And it's important that this is referred today because otherwise, if we don't give that strong signal, it means everywhere
in the world where we have parties at war it's going to be a free-for-all. We cannot afford that. That's what makes the difference between life and
death at the front line.
PLEITGEN: Do you think that, generally the world, not just in Afghanistan, that it's become more dangerous for aid groups like yours to operate?
Because while you may have the OK from the Taliban and from the government to work, what's it like dealing, for instance, with ISIS, with Boko Haram?
There are groups that seem to have less respect for international aid groups.
Do you think it's become more dangerous?
LIU: I wouldn't use the word "dangerous" but it's quite challenging and I would say that, for each context, we need to talk with the different
parties in conflict at local level, regional level and more international level. And until we get the insurances that we can deploy and then we can
maintain, then we don't go.
PLEITGEN: What are the places right now where you think that help is most necessary and that are not getting that international attention the way
that they should?
LIU: I just returned from South Sudan a few days ago and then for me to say that this is a crisis that is on the media radar right now, that there
have been an increasing, I would say, level of violence since spring. When we are working one of the area in Bentiu, we are working in a displace camp
where there used to be 50,000 people. It doubled over the last few months. So we have 100,000 people in the camp which basically is straining all the
-- I would say the aid services to the population.
They don't have shelter, they don't have enough food, they don't have enough care. And right now we're just at the beginning of the rainy season
and then we are seeing an increasing number of malaria cases.
And basically people today in different, I would say, health care center, they are in shortage of malaria treatment. And now we have children of
dying of a treatable, easily treatable disease because we don't have the line supply for malaria treatment.
That's totally unacceptable. We have, you know, to do all we can do to make sure that it's --
PLEITGEN: You're also quite frustrated about Yemen, aren't you, about the situation?
LIU: It's not about my frustration but it's about the fact that today there's one of the biggest conflicts that is happening right now in terms
of, I would say, the military phase of the conflict. This is one thing. But in addition to that, we have what I call a bit -- a war of attrition,
is basically since we passed the resolution in the U.N. Security Council on the embargo on the military weapon, the other impact it has was on all the
importation of food, fuel and medicine.
And we know that the country is 100 percent dependent on importation for medicine. So right now people are, again, dying of disease that we have
treatment for. They are in renal failure because they don't have the dialysis. They're having hypertensive crisis.
LIU: So the blood bank isn't working anymore because it's been hit. So this is what is going on right now. In Yemen, nobody talks about it.
PLEITGEN: Joanne Liu, thank you for joining the program.
LIU: Thank you very much.
PLEITGEN: Now as America apologizes for the use of its weapons abroad, at home, gun control remains very controversial. This week, several states
have put into motion bills which could allow students to openly carry firearms at universities, believe it or not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN (voice-over): This, of course, comes just two weeks after a campus shooting in Oregon killed nine people. But not all guns will be
protected by those laws. In Texas' largest public university, for instance, students can carry firearms but Nerf toy guns will not be allowed
This is all part of a problem and a debate in which my next guests are fighting to be heard. The documentary putting forward the Christian case
for gun control -- that's next.
PLEITGEN: Welcome back, everyone. And if we look at the U.S. presidential race, we can see that every single U.S. candidate is faced with a very
controversial question: what to do about guns.
Last night it was the Democrats' turn to debate that issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think that we have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence. This has gone
on too long. And it's time the entire country stood up against the NRA.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VT.: I come from a rural state and the views on gun control in rural states are different than in urban states, whether we
like it or not. Our job is to bring people together around strong common sense gun legislation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Well, we've seen over the years that bringing the country together to stand up for gun restrictions certainly is no easy task. But
the movement has gained an unlikely crusader. His name is Reverend Bob Schenck. He is taking on his own folk, religious conservatives and urging
them to view guns as a Christian issue.
For him being pro-life, so against abortion, means being anti-gun. Reverend Schenck's journey is documented in the upcoming film, "The Armor
(VIDEO CLIP, "THE ARMOR OF LIGHT")
SCHENCK: What are your feelings when I say the phrase, "Christians and guns"?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Bible is very plain about a man who don't protect his wife and kids is worse than an infidel.
SCHENCK: Is that a pro-life ethic?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's pray.
Father, we know there's a lot of people in this country that would like to register guns and take them away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But if we take guns away, people are just going to kill people with something else.
SCHENCK: So what we need is Jesus and the Gospel and a sidearm?
This doesn't speak to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: And Reverend Rob Schenck and the film's director, Abigail Disney, joined me earlier from Los Angeles.
PLEITGEN: Abigail Disney and Reverend Rob Schenck, thank you for being on the program today.
ABIGAIL DISNEY, DIRECTOR, "THE ARMOR OF LIGHT": Thank you.
ROB SCHENCK, EVANGELICAL MINISTER: (INAUDIBLE).
PLEITGEN: I want to start with you, Reverend, and you're obviously a man of faith. And in many cases in the U.S., you have people who are pro-life
and it would seem obvious that they would also be pro-guns. But you have a different stance.
How difficult is it for you when you speak to fellow believers for them to comprehend that?
Have you had any backlash?
SCHENCK: Yes. I have had some backlash. The biggest challenge is, of course, people jumping to conclusions, people feel very passionately on
this. And my position is that the question of owning and using a gun for defensive purposes is a moral and ethical question for the Christian.
The question of when someone may use lethal force against whom in what circumstance has a lot to do with what we believe as Christians and what
we're taught in the Gospel.
So bringing that question to the table, I think, sometimes leads people to the wrong conclusion about what I'm actually advocating for. I don't have
a legislative agenda for that.
I think it's a moral, spiritual, even theological agenda. And it's a deep question that Christians ought to ask. And that's all I'm inviting them to
do, is to join that conversation.
PLEITGEN: And you could see some of the very heated exchanges there in the film. And one of the stances that you hear from some people who are pro-
guns, they will tell you the only thing that will stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.
And we heard, for instance, from the governor of the state of Oregon after the last horrible shooting that took place, he was saying, "I would
encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit. Our enemies are armed. We must do
Reverend, what do you say to that?
SCHENCK: Well, there's a little bit of a problem with that because Jesus himself said we're to love our enemies and to do good to them.
Well, that brings into question anytime you put a firearm on your body or you carry it for defensive purposes, you're prepared to kill.
So anytime a Christian considers killing someone, whether it appears justified or not, it is a moral crisis. And so we have to approach that
I disagree with the lieutenant governor. Maybe he was well intentioned.
But I think it was bad moral advice for Christians.
PLEITGEN: Abigail, the thing that really is fascinating about your film is the fact that, after all these shootings, you have people calling for gun
control. You have obviously the NRA on the other side, saying that's not going to happen.
For you to take this faith approach to all of this, why do you think that that's something that could have more an effect?
DISNEY: Oh, because faith trumps everything, doesn't it?
I mean, faith is not a Left-Right issue. So we -- I felt it was really important for us to take a step back from the particulars of the politics
and examine our hearts for what our actual belief systems are telling us about what's right and wrong.
A lot of things stop a bad guy with a gun. Sometimes the bad guy with the gun can be stopped before he gets to where he's going. Sometimes a person
who can tackle well stops a bad guy with a gun.
So we need to take a step back and really examine this from a point of view of what our hearts and our spirits are telling us and then talk about
PLEITGEN: Obviously, next to Reverend Schenck and his journey in this film, there is also Lucy McBath, who is suffering after her son was killed
by someone, her very young son was killed by someone with a gun.
I just want to look at a clip really quick and see the role that she plays in this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUCY MCBATH, MOTHER OF GUN VICTIM: When I would hear about shootings, I would pray for the people. But I never thought it would ever happen to us.
We have replaced God with our guns. It's so important that you help. They will listen to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Abigail, how important was the interaction between Reverend Schenck and Lucy?
DISNEY: I think that it was pivotal to our moving forward in the film.
I mean, I think you can't deny the power of Lucy's testimony, to use a very freighted religious word, because no one understands this the way she
And that she's so deeply rooted in her faith and approaches everything through a faith lens really resonated for Robbie, he just kind of couldn't
resist her testimony.
PLEITGEN: For many people who watches internationally, they can't understand how a society as sophisticated as the United States could have
so many gun deaths.
And it was an issue also yesterday at the Democratic debate.
Abigail, what did you think of how it was handled there, especially by Mr. Sanders and Hillary Clinton?
DISNEY: Only four years ago, you have most Democrats running from their records and running from the NRA and doing everything in their power not to
mention guns or gun control or gun legislation.
The fact that you had four candidates, five candidates bragging about their low scores in the NRA says --
DISNEY: -- something has profoundly changed in the dynamics on this. So you know, I think, going forward, we may be looking at some real change.
PLEITGEN: Reverend Schenck, what do you think?
Do you think that, with your stance and your background, of course, and of course also your persuasion, do you think that you've changed a lot of
I mean, we know that there's been some backlash.
But do you think that you've actually changed some Christians in their minds?
SCHENCK: I think I have. I -- well, I hope my message has. Actually, I'm not in the business of changing hearts or minds. I think there's a much
higher authority and power that can do that.
And really this is just the same message that has been preached and taught in Christianity for 2,000 years and it's consistent with Christian moral
So what's new is a new attitude that's informed by a new source; secular, what we refer to as non-Christian sources, are informing this discussion in
our Christian community.
I think we ought to return to the Bible. We ought to return to what we've always practiced, looking at the model of Christ. And there are some very
definite moments in Scripture, including the arrest in the Garden, where Peter thought he was doing good by using his sword against someone.
Jesus rebuked him, told him to put his sword away and that those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
That's an historic message that's been preached, taught and modeled for 2,000 years. That's what we ought to be going to.
PLEITGEN: But there are Christians, there are so many Christians, the majority, I would say, in America, who do almost have a religious argument
for the complete right to own and to carry guns.
Why do you think that is?
I mean, I know you say it's a secular argument that somehow wove its way in there.
But how could that be?
How did that happen?
SCHENCK: Well, as I say in the film, in "The Armor of Light," we have to be very careful that in respecting the Second Amendment we don't violate
the Second Commandment. In other words, there's only one God. There's only one final authority for the Christian.
DISNEY: I would just add that, you know, what we're trying to address with this film really isn't any specific legislation.
We're trying to address the political dynamics and the tenor of the discourse, which has, at this point, pretty much bullied anybody to the
sidelines who doesn't already have a very strong position. And that includes a lot of religious figures and religious leaders, who've been
silent on this question.
And in their silence, other people have stepped in with advice about how they could -- and I would argue very much to all of our detriment.
PLEITGEN: Do you think the film will make a difference in the debate?
DISNEY: I just -- that's my deepest, deepest wish. If I can just make the smallest dent in the nature of this debate, I think I will have made a huge
PLEITGEN: Abigail Disney and Reverend Rob Schenck, thank you so much for joining us today.
DISNEY: Thank you.
SCHENCK: Thank you.
PLEITGEN: And now from gun control to pest control. Imagine a feral family favorite facing a cull, humanity's intervention in the extinction
crisis caused by Australia's cats. That's coming up.
But first, let's have a look at nature's own selection of the species, illustrated by this powerful image selected as wildlife photograph of the
year. It shows a red fox slaying its Arctic cousin in the struggle for survival. Natural History Museum crowned the winner because of its
stunning vision of understated horror.
PLEITGEN: All right. And finally tonight, imagine a world on the verge of a cat-tastrophe. In Australia indigenous species have been facing one
since 1850, when wild cats started to colonize the nation. Since then, they've killed billions of native animals and contributed to the extinction
of some 27 species there.
Now in a bid to end the extinction crisis the state is proceeding with plans to cull 2 million of the feral felines. When the cat got out of the
bag, most environmental agencies supported the cull but a cast of controversial characters has come out against it.
The Smiths' former frontman, Morrissey, for instance, saying the cull is akin to killing 2 million Cecil the lions -- that, office, was the lion
killed by a rich American hunter in Zimbabwe -- whilst French film icon Brigitte Bardot called it, quote, "an animal genocide."
Well, today, Australia answered in an open letter to Ms. Bardot, "The government called the cull an essential protection of native species, all
of which haven't evolved along the feline predator and so are unable to defend themselves, making Australia turn to unnatural selection in order to
preserve part of their corner of the world as nature intended."
And that's it for our program tonight. And remember you can always see all of our interviews at amanpour.com and follow me on Twitter @FPleitgenCNN.
Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.