Aired November 12, 2001 - 04:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL MCMANUS, CO-HOST: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael McManus.
SUSAN FREIDMAN, CO-HOST: And I'm Susan Freidman.
Americans celebrate Veteran's Day with parades and memorials, many of which honor both veterans and victims of the September 11 attacks. Coming up, we'll follow a group of kids who spent the holiday weekend at the nation's capital. I'll tell you about the message behind their trip.
MCMANUS: Meanwhile, U.S. President Bush says he's deeply grateful to the future veterans fighting in Afghanistan. Mr. Bush returned to ground zero Sunday for a special memorial. We'll take a look at the service and bring you up to date on America's new war in our team report.
Kelly Wallace has the first of our three stories.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iran. Ireland.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In groups of two, the names of more than 80 country who lost citizens in the World Trade Center tragedy exactly two months ago were read aloud.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dominican Republic.
WALLACE: President Bush returned to the site for the first time since his visit days after the deadly attack. Earlier, more coalition building, meeting with leaders, including President Mbeki of South Africa, while his aides explained why the president wants the Northern Alliance rebels to hold off capturing the capital city of Kabul.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think everybody believes that the future here, a stable Afghanistan, one that has a government that can be representative of the very broad patchwork that is Afghan society, will have to have a Kabul in which all are invested, not just the Northern Alliance.
WALLACE: Meantime, Secretary of State Colin Powell called Osama bin Laden's claim of already having nuclear weapons a "wild boast." COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I have no way of knowing, but I think it unlikely he has any nuclear weapons. I can't say anything about chemical and biological.
WALLACE: In fact, U.S. intelligence officials have said they know bin Laden's group experimented with chemical gas at this camp in Afghanistan. The Defense Secretary said U.S. forces have targeted sites that may be involved in the production of weapons of mass destruction and are looking for others.
RUMSFELD: You can be certain that if we had very good information as to the location of a chemical or biological development area, that we would do something about it.
WALLACE: With this also being Veterans Day, President Bush saluted those who have served.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Americans have seen the terrible harm that an enemy can inflict. And it has left us deeply grateful for the men and women who rise strongly in the defense of our nation.
WALLACE: Aides say Mr. Bush's meetings and speeches here in New York were in part designed to say that there are global stakes to terrorism, that every nation could be a target of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. And back at ground zero, President Bush left in writing his hope that good will triumph over evil.
Kelly Wallace, CNN, New York.
JOEL HOCHMUTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two key players in the current fight against terrorism took center stage at the United Nations Saturday. But before facing reporters together in a show of solidarity, President George W. Bush and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf each addressed the General Assembly separately. For Mr. Bush, this was the first time he had ever addressed the world body. He used the occasion to reenergize international support for the U.S.- led campaign against terrorism and the Taliban rule in Afghanistan, in particular.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I make this promise to all the victims of that regime, the Taliban's days of harboring terrorists and dealing in heroin and brutalizing women are drawing to a close.
And when that regime is gone, the people of Afghanistan will say, with the rest of the world, good riddance.
HOCHMUTH: Naturally, his words were well received by opponents of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.
OMAR SAMAD, AFGHANISTAN INFORMATION CTR.: I think that the people of Afghanistan will be encouraged because the president did talk about the fact that the Taliban's days are over and the fact that the United States and international community is committed to rebuild Afghanistan and to work with the United Nations to create a post- Taliban government.
HOCHMUTH: Many European and Arab governments argue it's impossible to do anything about the threat posed by bin Laden and his al Qaeda network without first doing something about the underlying causes of terrorism, including the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr. Bush promised to do everything he can to get both parties talking again. Still, he says there's no excuse for what happened in the U.S. two months ago.
BUSH: And a murderer is not a martyr, he is just a murderer. Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th.
JAMES STEINBERG, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: But I think that what he's trying to do is turn the focus back on bin Laden, to try to take it away from any justification that he might have by showing that he's an outlaw and trying to make clear that whatever the other issues are, that this is something that's a threat to all countries and therefore we all have to join together to deal with it.
HOCHMUTH: For his part, Musharraf also condemned terrorism but used his comments to move beyond the attacks on the U.S. and turn the discussion to the disputed region of Kashmir.
GENERAL PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: A just and honorable solution for the people of Kashmir and end to the miseries of the people of Palestine are the major burning issues that have to be addressed vigorously, boldly, imaginatively and, may I say, urgently.
HOCHMUTH: India and Pakistan have gone to war three times over control of Kashmir. Musharraf's speech was intended not just for U.N. delegates but for Pakistanis back home, including members of the extremist Mullahs who are still supporting the Taliban and the al Qaeda.
ROBERT OAKLEY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO PAKISTAN: It's such an emotional issue in Pakistan. That's the thing which could cost him support, much more than the Mullahs in the streets is the feeling that somehow it's the Indians who are gaining the upper hand.
HOCHMUTH: Afterwards, Bush and Musharraf appeared together in a remarkable show of friendship between two nations that had been at odds over Pakistan's nuclear weapons testing. Mr. Bush praised Musharraf for his courage and continued support against the Taliban and announced he is requesting $1 billion in economic aid to Pakistan.
The two leaders also agreed that the Northern Alliance forces battling the Taliban in Afghanistan should not try to take the capital city of Kabul. Over the weekend, those forces took effective control of the strategic city of Mazar-e-Sharif and are now claiming victories in several other towns in the region. But Ben Wedeman reports, the Taliban are not giving ground without a fight.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The guns didn't go silent Sunday outside Dashtiqala, where the Northern Alliance is trying to outflank Taliban forces and drive them out of the north. Gunners exchanged fire throughout the day.
A Northern Alliance spotter directs the bombardment of Taliban positions in the valley below, but their enemy was able to fire back.
(on camera): Following the fall of Mazar-e-Sharif, it's clear the Northern Alliance is trying to press its advantage. In some areas, it has made progress. But here, it's running into stiff resistance.
(voice-over): The day before, U.S. warplanes steadily bombed the Taliban in this area, but Alliance troops complain it did to little weaken Taliban resolve.
This Alliance commander says the Taliban soldiers nearby aren't giving any ground. Mostly Arabs, Pakistanis and Chechens, over the radio they've warned they will die before they surrender. Hours later, the Alliance claims they took positions and the Taliban fled.
These battle-hardened Alliance troops don't appear phased by Taliban bravado. After more than 20 years of fighting, war in Afghanistan has almost become a routine affair. The Alliance is sending its antiquated Soviet tanks to the front, one of the few signs of relative modernity one sees here.
Heavily laden with weapons, these troops are set to take part in an offensive Alliance officials claim has already resulted in the capture of two key towns and central Afghanistan. These claims, however, cannot be independently verified.
What is clear: that the Alliance, after years of setbacks in its war against the Taliban, is gaining ground and momentum. Before going into battle, Alliance tank crews prayed for victory. For these soldiers, there's a feeling their prayers are finally being answered.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, outside Dhashtiqala, northern Afghanistan.
MCMANUS: While the Northern Alliance says it's captured several sites, there is one city international leaders say it should be cautious about. If the Afghan capital Kabul falls exclusively to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, many people say a political disaster will result.
Rebecca MacKinnon reports on one group of people on Afghanistan's eastern border who say they should be part of the solution.
REBECCA MACKINNON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A 70-year-old man with scars on his feet. The Taliban, he says, made him stand on hot coals. And for 15 days, he was jailed and tortured.
This man says he narrowly escaped arrest last month.
None of these men seeking refuge in Peshawar, Pakistan would give their names, for fear of reprisals against relatives still in Afghanistan. Their leader, exiled commander Hanji Zaman, knows all about reprisals. He says his uncle and 10 followers are now in a Taliban jail because of his anti-Taliban activities.
HANJI ZAMAN (through translator): The Taliban used force to rule -- we want to win over the heart of the people by giving them the right to speak their mind.
MACKINNON: For the past month, Zaman has been organizing fellow veterans of the anti-Soviet war, known as the Mujahideen, in particular, Pashtuns from East Afghanistan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voice of America....
As they listen to the "Voice of America" for the latest news, Zaman's followers are cheered by the Northern Alliance victory over Mazar-e-Sharif.
ZAMAN (through translator): Now those who want the good of Afghanistan now should focus on the Eastern zone. They should not concentrate on Kabul now.
MACKINNON: He says if the Northern Alliance, comprised mainly of ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks, moves on Kabul without including Pashtun forces from the East and the South, Afghanistan cannot be unified.
(on camera): This courtyard is the brand new headquarters for what's called the Eastern Shurra (ph), representing commanders from four different eastern provinces of Afghanistan. Now that United States has helped the Northern Alliance take Mazar-e-Sharif, the Eastern Shurra is hoping that the United States will help them do the same for their part of Afghanistan.
(voice-over): But unlike Northern Alliance, the Eastern Pashtuns have no standing forces and say they have no weapons, other than a few guards with Kalashnikovs.
(on camera): Where will those guns come from?
ZAMAN (through translator): Anybody. Not really, doesn't matter, Americans who join us. Anybody, international community, who are against terrorism, we expect and hope that they will come and help us.
MACKINNON: So you're looking for military and financial assistance?
ZAMAN (through translator): Of course.
MACKINNON (voice-over): One thing the Eastern Shurra doesn't like, U.S. airstrikes and their civilian casualties. They say it hurts efforts to create political opposition. They say the money spent on bombs would be better spent on them, for arms and training and a bit of helicopter support.
Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN, Peshawar, Pakistan.
MCMANUS: When war erupts, Hollywood usually follows. Over the years, Tinsel Town has done its share of patriotic epics like "Tora, Tora, Tora" and "Saving Private Ryan" to propaganda films staring former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The war on terrorism is no different and over the weekend, Hollywood executives met with a White House adviser to discuss what could be done to help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK VALENTI, MPAA PRESIDENT: But in this meeting there was a seamless web of unity that was really quite affectionate to behold because this was about contributing Hollywood's creative imagination and their persuasion skills to help in this war effort so that one day Americans can lead normal lives again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCMANUS: The president of the Motion Picture Association of America says he welcomed the meeting but added that movie companies would continue to make up their own minds on what kinds of entertainment to produce.
And it is a motion picture in Europe that's become a runaway success since its release in September. It documents life under the Taliban, and the Iranian director plans on using the proceeds to fund an issue discussed in the movie. And now, our own sneak preview.
KASRA NAJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Back home again, one of Iran's best known women filmmakers after spending seven days in Iran's most notorious prison, three of them in solitary confinement. The Islamic Revolutionary Court has taken issue with her latest film, "The Hidden Half." She faces the death penalty if convicted of the charge of waging war against God.
TAHMINEH MILANI, FILM DIRECTOR: I was three days in a single room. After that I was for four days in general prison with more than 250 prisoners.
NAJI: "The Hidden Half," set in the present with flashbacks, is a story of a wife who reveals to her husband had naive involvement with leftist (ph) groups at the time of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Milani is accused of misusing arts in support of counterrevolutionaries.
MILANI: Maybe it was misunderstanding, maybe it was a challenge raised by a political group, maybe it was a lesson to -- it was to teach a lesson to other filmmakers, I don't know.
NAJI: The script of "Hidden Half" had been approved by government censors before shooting began, and the film had received license for screening after it had been finished. So why did she land in trouble? One plausible explanation, the power struggle in Iran -- hard-liners in the government unhappy with the cultural liberalism of the reformists.
OMID ROHAM, FILM CRITIC: Iran is a very political country and the situation is very hard now because the conflict between the parties with two different ways of thinking are very hard now.
NAJI: It took the direct intervention of President Khatami to get her released. Now, the international film community has come to Milani's help. Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh and Mike Leigh are among some of the Hollywood directors who have appealed to Iranian leaders to drop charges against her and guarantee artistic freedom in Iran. No date has been fixed for a trial.
(on camera): In the past few days, "The Hidden Half" has again received license to be screened, and this cinema behind me is the only one showing it here in Tehran. At the same time, the ministry in charge of cultural affairs has let it been known to her that she can again make films, although the Islamic Revolutionary Court has not dropped charges against her yet.
Kasra Naji, CNN, Tehran.
FREIDMAN: November 11 is significant to many nations, it's the anniversary of the end of World War I in 1918. Canada, New Zealand and Australia celebrate the date as Remembrance Day, and in the United States, it's Veteran's Day. This weekend, a group of 400 teachers and students celebrated the holiday in Washington. They traveled there free of charge to send a message that it's safe to visit the capital.
Sheilah Kast followed the group and has their story.
SHEILAH KAST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since September 11, a student tour group is a rare sight in the nation's capital, usually there are hundreds of them. This Veteran's Day weekend, two student tour companies courted potential clientele with a free Washington tour. A diverse group from Chicago, mostly eighth graders, came to town.
JIM NGUYEN, STUDENT: My mother had second thoughts about me going, but after having a conversation with her, she realized that me going to Washington, DC would actually be -- would actually benefit me. KAST: They laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery.
The other group was teachers, 400 of them from around the country, organized by a competing tour company. They heard from the city's mayor.
ANTHONY WILLIAMS, MAYOR OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: It's important that you're standing here today because I know that this means you'll bring students back here in Washington, DC.
KAST: That seemed to be the intention of most teachers as they visited the makeshift memorials at the damaged Pentagon.
DAVE FISCHER, TEACHER: It's affirming for me to be here, and I think I can -- I can share that with the kids at home.
KAST: At the Smithsonian's History Museum, some thought of concerns raised by parents.
CAROLYN LIKINS, RETIRED TEACHER: From what I've seen of the safety precautions, many more things are in force than before. The airport was extremely secure.
KAST: They also cruised down the Potomac to George Washington's Mount Vernon.
LARRY HAROLD, TEACHER: This is a good time to come as well, history is happening right now for them.
KAST (on camera): The trips are fully sponsored by motor coach companies, airlines, hotels, restaurants and other businesses eager for student groups to return to the nation's capital.
(voice-over): Because it all comes back to opening the eyes of kids.
CRAIG PODALAK, STUDENT: All these people died for the freedom of America.
MALIKA BILAL, STUDENT: I want to be involved in decision making of this country. I want to be involved in lawmaking.
KAST: Many people would call a class trip to the capital a good way to start.
Sheilah Kast, CNN, Washington.
ANNOUNCER: Tim West from Pleasant Hill, California asks: What do the colors of the flag represent?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The colors red, white and blue do have specific meaning, but not for the flag. Their meaning comes from the great seal of the United States which was authorized by the founding fathers to be the official symbol of the country. The color red symbolizes heartiness and valor. The country had just won a revolution. White symbolizes purity and innocence. The U.S. was a new country. Blue symbolizes vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Now those colors are assumed to have the same meaning for the flag, although it's not official. Over the years, the flag, more than the seal, has become the real symbol of the United States because for the last 100 years Americans have been pledging allegiance to the flag.
FREIDMAN: For many Americans, Veteran's Day is a time to reflect on the freedom that the U.S. flag represents. But for some young people, that reflection is a daily habit. For them, honoring the flag is a welcome duty.
Kathy Nellis has their story.
KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days, you see the American flag just about everywhere, a sight signaling patriotism and pride. The banner, with its long and deep tradition, has given students new reason to think about what it means in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
CHRIS MCDANIEL, AGE 16: Represents our pride, our integrity. It shows how we have overcome British rule, how we have fought for what we deserve and what we have become known as freedom and independence.
KRYSTEN NICKERSON, AGE 15: The American flag represents all of the people who have fought for our country.
PETER HUGHES, AGE 14: For me, it represents all of those people who fought for our country and were patriots in the World Wars and in Vietnam and the Korean War and in Desert Storm. I really respect it because many people fought and died for the flag.
MAURICE JENKINS, AGE 17: American flag is a sign of freedom, it's a sign of liberty and something I'm very proud of which is why I always try to carry the American flag when I do color guard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Left, right, left.
NELLIS: You might expect these students to have such ready answers, they're part of the color guard at the Junior ROTC at Chamblee High School near Atlanta, Georgia. The color guard is an honor guard for the flag used in military or patriotic organizations. As part of the color guard, these students practice three days a week to learn the moves and the rules.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Left face.
JENKINS: Basically hold it straight and make sure the flag don't touch the ground.
HUGHES: It needs to be on the right hand side.
NELLIS: What inspired them to join?
MCDANIEL: I wanted to become part of Koda 1 (ph) because it would help me to gain discipline and respect for this great nation that I plan on future serving in the United State military and to -- just to show respect, to pay respect. My grandfather, he was in the Army.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Forward.
JENKINS: The color guard teaches discipline, teaches responsibility, and I have some family members that were part of the color guard so I kind of want to follow their tradition.
CARLA MOORE, AGE 17: It's fun. It's something to do. It keeps you out of trouble and it's like just that, after school everyday and being with your friends and stuff is fun and then like we get to let -- it's not all serious and stuff. We actually do laugh and joke and play and stuff.
NELLIS: It's also an opportunity to learn about the flag and its history.
(on camera): You probably know that the stripes on the American flag stand for the 13 original colonies and there's one star for each state, but do you know when today's flag took shape?
(voice-over): The positions of the 50 stars were fixed by presidential order in 1960, a relatively recent development. Back in 1777, there was no official arrangement for the stars in the flag and different styles were used. Each one a symbol of a new nation dedicated to liberty. Each an inspiration to those who defended that liberty.
1ST SERGEANT TERRY HORTON, ROTC INSTRUCTOR: I spent 22 years in the military and think about all the patriotic persons that's gone before me that has fought and died for the country so that we could have a free country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Left, left, left, right, right, left (INAUDIBLE). March. Forward march.
NELLIS: The Chamblee Color Guard think all Americans should fly the stars and stripes as a way to show unity during a time of national tension.
HUGHES: To show that they believe in the American ideal, American way of life.
MCDANIEL: To show respect to the United States and what we have gained over the past 225 years.
NELLIS: A legacy centuries old, earned at great cost and these heirs to that legacy hope it endures for centuries more.
Kathy Nellis, CNN, Atlanta, Georgia.
MCMANUS: Finally today, a look at wars old and new. Veteran's Day is upon us, a time to salute and remember our war veterans, those lost and those who made it home, those who survive and those no longer with us.
Bruce Morton now on lessons from wars past and present.
MORTON (voice-over): Veterans Day, Monday sales, and all of that began life as Armistice Day, with a two minute silence at 11:00 a.m. to mark the moment, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the great war, as World War I was then called, ended. The war to end wars, people called it then -- wrong of course.
It was very bloody. At least nine million soldiers, draftees most of them, died. It was very stupid. Most of them died to push a line of trenches 50 yards this way or that. And few probably knew what the war was about. Nowadays, it's hard to think it was about anything. It just happened, like an earthquake.
And of course mankind went on and did much worse. World War II, the history books say, killed at 50 million soldiers and civilians. Although a study, called Facts About the American Wars, says it may have been twice as many.
Civilians died in huge numbers, Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, Jews and Gypsies in the concentration camps, ordinary civilians in cities like London and Coventry and Dresden and Berlin, and finally in the poison glow which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Cold War -- maybe 21 million and then millions more in Stalin's purges, 10 million, maybe, in the famine that came with the collectivization of agriculture in the Ukraine.
So the 20th was a very bloody century. And now here we are in the first war of the 21st, a war which started just two months ago.
Former President Bill Clinton, speaking at Georgetown, his old university, this past week, called this war "a struggle for the soul of the new century. Between those, like Americans," he said, "who believe we don't know everything but are groping, stumbling toward a better world for people, and those like the fanatic Muslims who join the terrorist groups and think the truth has been revealed to them, that those who are not like them ought to die."
You can explain the extremists or try to, of government, with a lot of poverty, poor education, a stagnant economy. May find it easier to point at some outside group -- the Israelis, the Americans and say -- "it's their fault," may find it easier to do that than to improve things at home. Fighting all of that will involve combat, but also Clinton said, an effort to make life better in poor places.
A long struggle surely, but hopefully with less bloodshed in this century than in the last.
I'm Bruce Morton.
MCMANUS: A tribute to our veterans and a tribute to our flag at CNNfyi.com. Susan, there you're going to find out all sorts of fun historical facts about the red, white and blue.
FREIDMAN: That's all we have time for today. We'll see you back here tomorrow. I'm Susan Freidman.
MCMANUS: And I'm Michael McManus. See you tomorrow.
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