PAULA ZAHN NOW
What is Cheney's Role in Bush Administration?; Does Watching Violent Movies Empower Girls?
Aired October 13, 2003 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: In focus tonight, identical letters to hometown papers signed by different soldiers painting a rosy picture of the situation in Iraq, but who's writing them? Are they part of the Pentagon's public relations war?
"Kill Bill," it's the No. 1 movie in the nation and maybe the most violent ever made. Our debate tonight, does watching violence empower or damage young girls?
And the flames have already been fanned, and the trial hasn't even started. How much nastier will the Kobe Bryant case get?
Good evening, and welcome. Paula Zahn is on assignment in Rome for the 25th anniversary of Pope Jean-Paul II's papacy.
Ahead tonight, with Vice President Dick Cheney back in the spotlight for his latest statements on Iraq. We'll look at those asking, whether he's steering policy in the White House farther to the right.
The twin boys once connected at the head doing remarkably well today after risky surgery to separate them, but do the dangers outweigh their chance of success?
We go to South Africa, a nation with 1500 new A.I.D.S. infections today, to see how the Vatican's message that condoms don't prevent HIV is playing.
And the Kennedy's the CIA and the Vatican: provocative new revelations about the 1960 campaign that put John Kennedy in the White House.
First here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.
Three U.S. soldiers in Iraq have been killed in a series of attacks that began on Sunday morning. The most recent deaths in today in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. The American was died when his patrol was attacked with rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire.
Is Saddam Hussein lurking just north of Baghdad? The army reports there have been recent credible sightings of the deposed dictator in the area. However, senior Pentagon officials are downplaying the report saying there is no new intelligence on Saddam's whereabouts. And a pair of 2 year-old Egyptian boys are in critical, but stable, condition tonight at a hospital in Dallas. The twins were separated in 34 hours of surgery over the weekend after being joined at the head since birth. The procedure is risky. We'll have a closer look at that dilemma tonight.
It is not a coincidence, but -- is it really a secret Pentagon PR campaign? Several U.S. newspapers have been getting letters from soldiers in Iraq about glowing words about the situation there, but as senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre reports the soldiers say they didn't actually write them. That's in focus tonight.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment parachuted into Iraq back in March. And last month, members of the unit, now based in the relatively peaceful northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk began sending neatly typed letters to home newspapers highlighting progress in Iraq.
"The majority of the city has welcomed our presence with open arms. Children smile and run up to shake hands." read one.
That letter went to a Washington state newspaper, "The Olympian" but when the editorial page editor got a second matching letter, signed by a different soldier, his suspicions were raised.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A couple days letter he got another letter, the second on of the two and remembered the first, went back, compared them and they were identical, except for the signatures.
MCINTYRE: "The Olympian" exposed the form letter after passing the letters to the Gannett News Service, which discovered the same letter published in 11 different U.S. papers.
The Pentagon denies it orchestrated the letter writing scheme. A spokesman telling CNN, "I am unaware of any particular campaign." But the spokesman didn't deny there's widespread frustration from the defense secretary on down that the news coverage doesn't focus on the success stories in Iraq.
DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: What gets carried is the bad news. It gets carried is something that's harmful or unhelpful.
MCINTYRE: Soldiers contacted by the Gannett News Service admitted they didn't write the letter, one soldier said he didn't even sign his letter, but they all stood by the sentiments in them. The Pentagon insists this was not a PR ploy. They think it was begun by someone in the unit -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: All right. Our senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre for us this evening. Jamie, thank you very much. Let's get some reaction to this story. I'm joined now by former Pentagon spokeswoman, and our regular contributor, Victoria Clarke. Welcome, Victoria, nice to see you.
VICTORIA CLARKE, FRM. PENTAGON SPOKESWOMAN: Hi, Soledad. How are you?
O'BRIEN: I'm well thank you. Give me some reaction to the story we just heard Jamie reporting just moments ago.
CLARKE: The first thing I thought when I heard about it, former Defense Secretary Perry once said, and I'm paraphrasing, when you work at the Pentagon, you've got to remember, you have two million people who work around the world, and every minute of every day somebody is doing something wrong.
Somebody out there, I think with the best of intentions, did something wrong. They obviously shouldn't have sent a form letter that wasn't signed. But as Jamie said at the end of the piece, it reflects frustration on a part of the lot of people over there that are doing good work, they're making good progress, yes, there are bad things happening, but good things are happening, too, and they feel badly that is not reflected.
O'BRIEN: At the same time, as we heard from Donald Rumsfeld in Jamie's piece, he said what is carried is bad news. If you hear about the high rate of suicide among U.S. soldiers in Iraq, it seems like it's not a matter of spin, isn't it, beyond just reporting about good news, that there are true problems out of that country?
CLARKE: Oh, there are absolutely problems coming out of that country. There are also good things that are happening in the country. The way I try to characterize it is, not that the news media is completely biased, but it's the balance of that news, and the weight of it, and it is just it's by the way the news business is.
People getting killed -- again on the front page, a good story about schools being build, girls going to school in Iraq without textbooks being written by Saddam gets the back of the paper. It's unfortunate, it's the way it is, but it's the reason the administration wants to focus with an accurate picture of what's going on.
O'BRIEN: Let's talk about some good news for the administration. Some new poll numbers are out and they're looking pretty good for President Bush. The president's approval rating is at 56. It was as low as 50 percent back on September 19. Now, at 50 percent, do you think this orchestrated PR campaign is in fact working?
CLARKE: Boy, I've always been loathe to read too much into one poll. One poll is a snapshot of a moment in time. I think polls are a useful tool to look at in terms of trends.
And I know, again, people like Secretary Rumsfeld and the president aren't looking at the polls to decide what they're doing in Iraq. The president has made it very, very clear decision, a tough decision, but a clear decision that helping Iraq get back up on its feet is good for that country, good for the region and good for the security of this country. So I really believe he's doing if for the right reasons, not because of the impact on the polls might be.
O'BRIEN: Big risk, though, in a PR campaign, to talk about the issues out of Iraq. Is that the problems that are not solved in the short term, and these are problems that no one thinks will be solved in the short term, may not be able to sustain the support after a PR campaign. Isn't that a problem?
CLARKE: Well, it's less about a PR campaign and more about the facts. And these are tough issues and tough circumstances. I'm sure, there are political advisers saying the president shouldn't be focused so hard on these issues, but then you go back to what's the right thing to do, and I happen to believe that at the end of the day, if you do the right thing and you pursue the right policies for this country, then you will ultimately be rewarded with the most important poll, which is next November.
O'BRIEN: The not very public Vice-President Dick Cheney was out and about, making speeches, joining the campaign there. How long do you think it will last and how unusual is this?
CLARKE: I think it is unusual to have this many senior officials from the administration and others out there talking about what's going on, but the circumstances demand it. It's a very unusual time for this country. It's a very unusual time for the world, and people need to deal with these tough issues. So I think you will see it going on for some time and that's a very good thing.
O'BRIEN: Victoria Clarke, as always, nice to see you.
CLARKE: Good to see you.
O'BRIEN: Thank you.
When it comes to Iraq, President Bush today told an interviewer, "the person who is in charge is me." However, a series of recent speeches by top officials have highlighter what "Time" magazine columnist, Joe Klein, calls a gathering dysfunction within the administration.
He joins us this evening to explain what he thinks is wrong and why some people say, in fact it's the Vice-President Dick Cheney's fault. Good evening. Nice to see you.
JOE KLEIN, "TIME": Hi, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Let's react to a little bit of what Dick Cheney has said to the Heritage Foundation. This was on Friday. And we'll talk a bit about the PR campaign that we were discussing with Victoria Clarke. Here is the first thing he had to say. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Saddam Hussein had a lengthy history of reckless and sudden aggression. He cultivated ties to terror hosting the Abu Nadal organization, supporting terrorists, making payments to the families of suicide bombers in Israel.
He also had an established relationship with al Qaeda, providing training to al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons, gases, making conventional bombs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Vice-president providing a clear link in his mind between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, where even the president has backed away from that. Does that surprise you?
KLEIN: Well, first we should point out that everything that Cheney said up to the point where he mentioned al Qaeda was absolutely accurate. However, he's talking about the Ansar al Islam camp which was a terrorist camp in the northern part of the country. The United States professed that that was a -- that's where all the poison training and so on was going on, but I've always wondered why we didn't go in and take it out at that point?
There is no proof that Saddam Hussein had any connection with Ansar al Islam.
O'BRIEN: Another piece from the speech, the Heritage Foundation let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Saddam built, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: OK. Well, David Kay, who in his talks, and after his press conference, his individual one-on-one interviews, seemed to contradict what the vice president said.
KLEIN: Well, he did build, possess and use weapons of mass destruction 10 years ago, but most of the evidence that we've seen is that he did not have an active program going on, you know, during the last five years.
O'BRIEN: Do you -- give me a sense of the tone of this speech. Many people said, after listening to the other top officials in the Bush administration, this one was way out there, this one was much stronger, much less conciliatory, much more strident. Agree?
KLEIN: Well, yeah. This has been Cheney's function throughout. Whenever there was a dust-up about Iraq, and the vice president has come out, he's taken the most extreme position, which is also the position that he's taken inside the White House, and so I think that, once again, we saw Cheney going out on a limb that is pretty easily sawn off. O'BRIEN: Give me a sense of what the reorganization, where it seems as if Condoleezza Rice now has much more power in Iraq, and overseeing what's happening in Iraq. What's the implications of that to Cheney?
KLEIN: Well, you know, I'm not sure there's a reorganization that's actually happened. I mean, a memo was leaked to the "New York Times" that there's going to be a new interagency group run by Condoleezza Rice. I haven't seen any evidence that that's actually taking hold. But if it is, it means that power here is moving from Cheney in the White House to Rice. Up until this point, Cheney has had the role the national security advisers had in previous administrations. He was like Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, or Brent Scowcroft. He was the guy who was conceptualizing the policy. Condi Rice wasn't.
Now, if this means that she's going to be in charge, that may mean that it's over for the hawks in this administration, that the president is determined to move more to the center and try more international sort of strategy.
O'BRIEN: So then, and quickly because we're out of time, do you think then when we hear from Dick Cheney, that is the consensus of the administration, or do you think things are changing?
KLEIN: I think that there's a war going on in this administration right now about what sort of policy we're going to follow in Iraq, and it is a very, very difficult moment. The next couple of months are going to tell us an awful lot about whether this is going to be sustainable.
O'BRIEN: Joe Klein, always nice to see you. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Well, President Bush, as he said, said he's in charge, so what exactly is Dick Cheney's role in the Bush administration? A pair of authors join me now from our New York bureau. Ann Coulter is the author of "Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism," and Joe Conason's book is "Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth." Good evening to both of you. Thanks for joining us.
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR: Thank you.
JOE CONASON, AUTHOR: Hi, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Hi, there. Ann, it has been long said about President Bush that he is uncomfortable in foreign policy, and so surrounded himself with a vice president who was very strong in that arena. Is it fair to say then that it's the vice president in fact who is setting the tone and in control of the administration's foreign policy?
COULTER: Well, that's the Lyndon LaRouche theory which has been picked up by Maureen Dowd at "The New York Times," but no, it's just a variation on the "you stupid" argument that was also used against Ronald Reagan. I don't really understand the theory under which the smart guys, like Dick Cheney, get together and decide, let's run this idiot for president. Wouldn't you think Dick Cheney would like to be president, and you know, Dick Dormond (ph) would have liked to be president under Reagan? The presidents are the presidents, and the Lyndon LaRouche theory notwithstanding, that Cheney is the one who needs to be impeached.
O'BRIEN: Well, let's check in with Joe then. Joe, who do you think is running the Bush administration's foreign policy?
CONASON: I think people have suggested for a while now that Dick Cheney was an important force, as Joe Klein said, in this administration. He was directing it in a certain vector towards the right, which comports completely with his ideology over many years.
That doesn't mean that Ann is wrong, though. The president is still responsible for foreign policy. It's he who decided that Dick Cheney should have this role, and it's he who's followed Cheney's advice. So I don't -- I -- Cheney may or may not still have a lot of influence and be pushing the administration to the right, but the president is still responsible in the end for what his policies achieve or don't achieve.
O'BRIEN: Joe, do you think that Dick Cheney has changed dramatically in the time since he was in the first President Bush's administration?
CONASON: Not to my knowledge. I think he's always been an extreme conservative, going back to when he was a congressman, and I don't think that's changed very much. I think if moderates expected him to be a moderate influence in the administration, they were always betting on the wrong horse with Dick Cheney.
O'BRIEN: And weigh in for me on the latest reorganization, or as Joe Klein says, maybe not reorganization. Condoleezza Rice, new influence over policy in Iraq, what does that mean for Donald Rumsfeld? And then, what does it mean for Dick Cheney who's closely linked to Rumsfeld?
CONASON: I think it's cosmetic.
O'BRIEN: I'm sorry, Joe, I want to get Ann to weigh in on this for me.
COULTER: I really don't think there is a war going on within the administration, as Mr. Klein said. There is a war going on with terrorism, and this administration wants to fight it. The Democratic Party does not. That is the only domestic war, but this reshuffling, the arcana of who said what to whom and who knew about what, there's no policy dispute among anyone, certainly none that I've read of.
O'BRIEN: Ann, when you look at the most recent speech, and Joe and I of course were just talking about it and sort of deconstructing it, when you hear from the vice president, he links Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, he says that -- and seems to contradict what David Kay, the weapons inspector, has to say. Do you think he is, the vice president, out of step with the rest of the administration?
COULTER: No, I think it's completely consistent and completely consistent with what the administration was saying before we went to war. Cheney said we know Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, because he used weapons of mass destruction.
CONASON: Well, he hasn't had them lately.
COULTER: According to Joe Klein's theory, or I guess Joe Conason's theory, that in the past five years, Saddam quickly got rid of all of these weapons of mass destruction, wow, he's going to go down in history as the biggest chump ever. He gave up his administration, his life, his sons' lives, all of this because he refused to let the U.N. weapons inspectors come in and show them I have no weapons of mass destruction.
CONASON: Actually, he did let them in. He did let them in.
CONASON: Yes, he did.
COULTER: That's why we went to war with him.
CONASON: Ann, he let them in.
COULTER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) have them. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) did not show them.
CONASON: They can run tape right -- they can run tape right now.
COULTER: ... look, I've destroyed them, here they are. Condoleezza Rice wrote all about how...
CONASON: He gave them a lot of access.
COULTER: ... the weapons of mass destruction and he wouldn't do it.
CONASON: Ann, conservatives said that Hans Blix was taking too long, and they said give us five months. Charles Krauthammer wrote this back when. Give us five months and we'll definitely find the weapons of mass destruction. Well, it's five months, and very little has been found except for a vial of botox in a guy's refrigerator. So to date...
COULTER: Better than 10 years with the U.N. looking.
CONASON: ... nothing has been found. The U.N. destroyed a lot of weapons there, and there is no doubt about that. They destroyed tons and tons of weapons. And that's one of the reasons that he had a lot less than he had before.
COULTER: Well, Hans Blix remained unconvinced. O'BRIEN: Ann, we're going to give you the final question this evening.
CONASON: Hans Blix thought we should have further inspections.
O'BRIEN: Forgive me, Joe, for interrupting you, but I want to ask this question to Ann. The administration has had a go-it-alone policy, very much dictated by Dick Cheney, saying we don't need a coalition, we will go it alone if we have to. Is it time to think, to say that policy has failed?
COULTER: I don't think that is the policy. I think the policy is we're not going to give France veto power over our self-defense. I mean, we had four of the six largest world's economies. We had dozens of other countries on our side. We didn't have Germany and France. I mean, I suppose you could call them allies, but that's a theory that's never really been tested. We're just not going to let France veto our taking action in our self-defense.
O'BRIEN: Joe Conason, has it failed?
CONASON: First of all, Germany and France and a lot of other countries that were critical of Iraq are our allies right now in Afghanistan, providing troops and weapons and all kinds of assistance in Afghanistan, where the real war on terror is being fought. And yes, the policy has led to big problems, as we saw when the president went to the U.N. and could not get anything that he wanted from the Security Council or other members of the United Nations, whose help we need now, not only in Iraq but around the world.
COULTER: I thought you just said we have their help.
O'BRIEN: Final words this evening, Joe Conason, Ann Coulter. Thank you, guys. Appreciate it.
Turning now, the top movie in the nation, but should parents take the director's advice and send teenage girls to see the very violent "Kill Bill"? That's our debate tonight, just ahead.
Also, the latest on the conjoined twins separated in 34 hours of surgery in Dallas.
And the depth of Jackie Kennedy's despair after JFK's assassination. We'll hear from a journalist, an investigative journalist who says she considered suicide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty years, we've wondered about how this woman, who was incredibly brave and courageous during the whole funeral for her husband, she had lost the baby, and then witnessed her husband being shot before her eyes, how could she have kept this all together?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JAMES THOMAS, CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER: The boys underwent routine follow-up CAT scans of their brains. Both Ahmed and Mohammed's brain scans look good. There is no hemorrhage and minimal residual brain swelling. The neurosurgery team is quite pleased with what they see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So far, the early word is positive for those conjoined Egyptian twins separated over the weekend, but the boys are definitely not out of danger and the operation raises the question, is it worth the risk? Joining me to talk about the ethical implications is Jeffrey Khan. He is the director of the Center of Bioethics at the University of Minnesota. Good evening too you. Thanks for joining us.
JEFFREY KHAN, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: My pleasure. Good to be here.
O'BRIEN: Thank you very much.
Obviously the surgery incredibly risky, and many when we would see the videotape of these boys with their heads attached, lying on their backs. Even their father said he was hoping for a chance at a normal life for these boys. What do you make of that argument?
KHAN: Well, I think we have to weigh a very difficult tension. There's a very high risk in these sorts of surgeries. Where they take many, many hours there's a high chance of not only being not so well after the surgery, having a high risk of morbidity, but also of dying. There's a risk of fatality, and we have to make sure that risk is justified by the benefit to the children of the outcome of the surgery.
So it's a difficult balance, especially when surgeries like this are not life-saving. They obviously will improve the life of these children in dramatic ways, but I think we have to remember they could live attached, as many conjoined twins do, perfectly healthy lives. So it's a difficult balance, and made more difficult by the fact this is not life-saving in this particular case. As it might be in some others.
O'BRIEN: At the same time, parents certainly always make decisions like that for their children. A child with a cleft palate might undergo a surgery, and any surgery is inherently risky, even though it's not a life-threatening kind of injury to the mouth or undergo surgery for damage to the heart valve, so what makes this difference, do you think?
KHAN: I think the risk is much, much greater in a separation surgery like this. This looks like it will be a quite good outcome, and that's a very happy story and maybe a very happy ending if all things go according to plan. But we can think back really a few weeks to the Bejani twins, the 29-year-old women who died in the process of being separated.
So pre-surgery talk about that particular procedure was that there was a 50 percent chance of mortality, and the question is whether a mortality risk of 50 percent, half the cases would end in death is too high a risk to pay, even if the individuals, as they did in that case, wanted to be separated.
Should the medical profession say that's just too great a risk? I think we have to ask when they're two-year-old children and the parents are making that decision, what risk is too great? It looked like it came out very well, and so I think it will all be vindicated, but I think we have to think ahead for other cases that may come next.
O'BRIEN: At the same time, in talking about those Iranian twins, they accomplished so much in their lives, even for people who are not conjoined, and it seemed like their biggest frustration and their greatest hope was to one day be separated. So it almost seems to speak volumes how bad life is for conjoined twins when these twins understanding fully the risk and having accomplished so much in their lives said we really want to be apart. Don't they make that argument for going ahead with the risky surgery?
KHAN: Interestingly, they are the few cases of adults that wanted to be separated --adult conjoined twins. And in fact, many of the studies of conjoined twins show that individuals just think it's part of who they are to be attached to each other, no different than you or I think it's normal to have two legs or two arms attached to our bodies, they think it's normal to be attached to each other.
And so I think the Bejani case was an unusual one in that. And I think that's part of what makes this an interesting case. Is it normal to be attached to each other? Not for most of us, but for children who are born that way, it is normal. It is what they are. So I think we have to think about what's best for them. In this case, it may well be it was the best for them because of the risks of brain damage if they were allowed to continue to grow as they were attached weighed against the brain damage that may result from the separation.
So I think each case will be individual, but that we have to think somewhat differently about conjoined twin cases that it's like a cleft pallet or another disability. It's an unusual case, but they are attached. That's what makes them special, what makes the individuals, it's what makes them who they are.
O'BRIEN: Now these boys are unattached and we hope the very best for their recovery. Jeffrey Kahn, thank you very much.
KHAN: My pleasure.
O'BRIEN: Well the Catholic Church denies that condom use slows the spread of AIDS. We take you to the heart of the epidemic now bracing for the consequences.
And Kobe Bryant is back in court later this week. We're going to take a look at the defense strategy now.
O'BRIEN: When a Roman Catholic cardinal said condoms don't stop the spread of AIDS, he set off a firestorm of criticism around the world and maybe nowhere more than South Africa, which is struggling desperately with the epidemic.
Johannesburg Bureau Chief Charlayne Hunter-Gault reports now on how South Africa is fighting back.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, CNN JOHANNESBURG BUREAU CHIEF (voice- over): Everywhere you look in South Africa, it's get wise condomize.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Always safe to use a condom.
GAULT: Safe sex a mantra on the lips of government officials and AIDS activists.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A condom is only as effective as the person who's putting it on.
GAULT: The message may or may not be hitting home but many insist it's more realistic than abstinence. The Catholic Church opposes condoms insisting people change their behavior but a top Vatican official has taken that opposition to a new level insisting that HIV could even pass through condoms. In a country grappling with some 1,500 new infections every day the statement didn't go down well.
FATHER JOE MOHLELA, S. AFRICAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES: It's well and good to want to adhere to your dogma but the reality dictates differently. The reality says people are dying.
GAULT: Health experts were also quick to argue that condoms are 80 to 90 percent effective in preventing HIV transmission and dismissing as ridiculous the assertion that HIV could pass through microscopic holes in condoms.
DR. DAVID RIND, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: They're also highly effective in preventing pregnancy and that wouldn't be true if sperm could just get through the condoms.
GAULT: South Africans are just barely recovering from a long and costly debate over whether or not HIV causes AIDS, a debate critics say led to confusion and unnecessary loss of life.
(on camera): This latest pronouncement on condoms from the Vatican will almost certainly open a new chapter of confusion and may even cost more lives.
Charlayne Hunter-Gault CNN, Johannesburg, South Africa.
O'BRIEN: All week long, Paula Zahn will be covering the celebration in Rome of Pope John Paul II's 25th anniversary on the papal throne.
And tonight, the controversy over the number one movie in the nation, "Kill Bill" violent exploitation or empowerment for girls? That's our debate ahead.
O'BRIEN: Here are some of the headlines you need to know tonight.
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to expand NATO's peacekeeping role in Afghanistan. There are about 5,000 NATO-led troops in Kabul right now. The resolution authorizes peacekeepers to move into some of Afghanistan's other cities as well.
In the U.S., a strike by unionized grocery store workers might spread tonight. About 900 southern California stores belonging to a number of chains have already been effective. Workers at Kroger stores in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky say they'll walk out at midnight.
And, it was a Columbus Day without controversy here in New York City. For one thing, Mayor Michael Bloomberg took part in the city's big parade. He skipped the parade last year because of a dispute over "The Sopranos" and negative stereotypes of Italians.
Now to the controversy over the number one movie at the box office this weekend. In Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill: Volume 1," Uma Thurman cuts, hacks, stabs, splashes and kicks her way through scores of bad guys before she meets her nemesis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More subordinates for me to kill?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know you feel you must protect your mistress but I beg you walk away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You call that begging?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Well, this isn't exactly the kind of role Hollywood reserves for its leading ladies. To debate whether this is progress for women I'm joined from Chicago by movie critic Richard Roeper and also in New York, a film critic for the "New Yorker," David Denby. Good evening gentlemen.
DAVID DENBY, FILM CRITIC: Hi.
O'BRIEN: Thanks for joining me.
Richard, let's start with you. This is what Quentin Tarantino had to say defending the violence in his film. He said: "I actually want 13-year-old girls to see this movie. I think this will be very empowering for them."
The question is of course then do you think this movie is empowering for 13-year-old girls who, by the way, really aren't supposed to be seeing this movie unless they're with an adult in theaters?
RICHARD ROEPER, MOVIE CRITIC: It will be empowering for Quentin and Miramax if they go because there will be more money in their pockets. You know I think it's an R-rated movie with good cause. It should maybe even be an NC-17 movie. I think Quentin knows how to get publicity.
It's a good thing to say. I don't know if a 13-year-old is going to see this movie and feel empowered as a young lady. I don't know if there are a lot of jobs out there as ninja assassins for young ladies.
O'BRIEN: Certainly not the 13-year-olds. David, at the same time this movie has drawn a ton of criticism but it's not the first Quentin Tarantino film to do so and I want to first watch a clip of "Reservoir Dogs" which many people said was very violent as well. Let's look.
(VIDEO CLIP OF "RESERVOIR DOGS")
O'BRIEN: More criticism this time around because it's more violent or because it's women we're talking about not men?
DENBY: In "Reservoir Dogs" violence wasn't totally disassociated from pain. I saw you flinching during the clip. This movie is totally unreal. I mean what makes me upset about it is how lightweight and trivial and silly the whole thing. I think it's an enormous waste of talent and certainly girls, as Richard said, girls are not going to empowered to go out and slice of arms by seeing it.
There was a great woman warrior, Michelle Yeoh in "Crouching Tiger Sleeping Dragon" a few years ago but she was, you know, a person. Uma Thurman is not a human being, so that she's a woman doesn't really matter.
O'BRIEN: But Quentin Tarantino would argue that actually makes his violence less real and less, you know, important in some ways because it is so goofy. It is such a caricature.
DENBY: It's over the top, right. You'd have to be very literal minded. But I think girls might get upset by it. They're not used to seeing. This is guy stuff. They're not used to seeing it and, you know, it looks like cranberry juice to me, the blood, but they may not take it that way.
O'BRIEN: Richard, other films like "Charlie's Angels" and "Full Throttle" depict women as warriors and there are those beyond that but not as much blood, not so many bodies. I want to first watch a clip of "Charlie's Angels." Take a look.
(VIDEO CLIP OF "CHARLIE'S ANGELS")
O'BRIEN: What's the big difference then, Richard, and I also have to add that in "Charlie's Angels" women are much sexier. I mean they're wearing tighter clothes. They're doing a lot of lingering shots on their breasts and their rear ends. I mean that's a basic fact of this movie, right?
ROEPER: Soledad, I hadn't even noticed that in "Charlie's Angels."
O'BRIEN: You liar.
ROEPER: Actually, you know, "Charlie's Angels" that movie is just offensive to anybody with a brain because it's so stupid and so idiotic. David said that the violence in Tarantino's latest movie in "Kill Bill: Volume 1" is over the top.
It's over the top by 1,000 yards. It's around the top. It's in black and white. It's animated. It's slow motion. Even the decapitated head, it's obviously a fake head. He's doing a movie that exists all within a movie universe. It's a tribute to all those kung fu geek driving classics from the '70s.
So, I don't find any of it offensive. I don't think little girls -- well, I don't think 10-year-olds should see it but I don't think young women or young men are going to be offended by it. You know, these are kids who play video games where the object is to blow people away all the time.
O'BRIEN: Yes, but...
DENBY: What's offensive though is a waste of resources and talent and time. That's what I find offensive. This guy is very talented.
O'BRIEN: But here's what women who star in the movie have to say. Vivica Fox says women are always watching guys save the day. It's great that we were in control of our own world. Uma Thurman says it's a positive thing to show women that can physically take care of themselves. They aren't dependent on somebody else. OK, granted, they've got a stake in the movie.
DENBY: This is cartoon stuff. They're not women, you know, taking care of themselves. It's all cartoon violence. She takes on 88 goons in a nightclub. I mean, you know, it's a play.
ROEPER: She (UNINTELLIGIBLE) women too, you know.
DENBY: Yes and she takes on women also, but I don't think this is in any way an advance. Now Frances McDormand in "Fargo," a woman who used her brains and her body that was an advance for women.
ROEPER: That's empowered.
O'BRIEN: I'm not sure 13-year-old girls are going to see that movie but I would agree with you. That is empowerment. Richard Roeper, thanks for joining us from Chicago this morning. David Denby, nice to have you in New York City, appreciate it.
DENBY: Thanks, Soledad. Thanks.
O'BRIEN: Kobe Bryant's preliminary hearing continues this week after the opening day's fireworks. We're going to take a look at where the defense goes now.
And, in an age of instant gratification is it any wonder that California gets an instant governor? We'll check out what could be the new thing, democracy on demand.
O'BRIEN: How aggressive will Kobe Bryant's defense team be this week? That is the question on the minds of court watchers ahead of his continued preliminary hearing Wednesday on sexual assault charges.
During last week's testimony, defense attorney Pamela Mackey mentioned the accuser's name six times and she implied that the alleged victim may have had sex with three different men over three days. Just how risky is that strategy? Let's send in the truth squad.
I'm joined from Denver by criminal defense attorney Craig Silverman. Silverman is also a former state prosecutor in Colorado. Good evening, nice to see you, Craig.
CRAIG SILVERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nice to see you.
O'BRIEN: Thank you very much. OK, the big shocker of last week has sort of calmed down. I guess it's fair to say the dust has settled. What do you think everybody remembers from that hearing now? What's the takeaway?
SILVERMAN: Well, I think that last question about three consecutive men in three days that's the bombshell and there was some serious mud being thrown at this accuser. We will have to wait and see if it actually sticks.
O'BRIEN: So then give me a sense or your best guess about what the defense strategy was in raising that. That, of course, is what shut down the preliminary hearing and everybody was sent home basically.
SILVERMAN: Well, I think that was part of it. I think they wanted to grab that headline. I think Pam Mackey realized there would be an objection, a conference in chambers, probably the end of the preliminary hearing.
We were all sitting in that courtroom for quite a long time on Thursday afternoon. It was getting late and I think they really expected that it would shut down the hearing for the day. I think they have more bombshells for Wednesday. The question is whether or not the public and the media will be able to observe those bombs go off in the courtroom. O'BRIEN: In the aftermath some people said this was a disaster for the defense. Other people took the other side of that but most people say Pamela Mackey is certainly a smart person and that none of this was done without some kind of intention. Do you think she slipped when she mentioned the alleged victim's name or do you think that there was some kind of intention behind it?
SILVERMAN: I was fortunate enough to be sitting about five steps behind Pam Mackey. I know her. She wrote out her questions. I think she had prepared those questions with the victim's name written out. The rules changed right before the hearing.
I've never been in a Colorado court case where an adult victim's name could not be said. I think what she did was wrong. I think it was stupid but I think it was accidental and if you were in that courtroom you could see her body language. She recoiled when she said it like, oh, I can't believe I just said that.
O'BRIEN: The question about the injuries sustained by the alleged victim, would they be consistent with somebody having sex with three men in three days, has she gone ahead potentially and tainted the jury pool do you think?
SILVERMAN: Well, I -- sure. I mean that's going to be a lingering memory. There's no doubt that part of their defense is that this is an exceptionally promiscuous woman. Whether or not they have the evidence to back that up and, more significantly, whether or not the trial court will allow them to produce that evidence those are the big questions for Kobe Bryant.
O'BRIEN: Craig Silverman nice to have you. Thanks so much.
SILVERMAN: Nice to see you.
O'BRIEN: Appreciate it.
We're going to hear from the investigative journalist who says that he has uncovered a Kennedy-Vatican-CIA link that could have influenced the 1960 presidential campaign. That's just ahead.
O'BRIEN: We're coming up on the 40th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A new book about the Kennedys recapture some of the grief, shock, and even the despair caused by the killing.
"The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings" also contains some surprising revelations. Paula Zahn talked with the author Thomas Maier.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: The Kennedys, the CIA and the Vatican, connect the dots for us tonight. THOMAS MAIER, AUTHOR: In many ways it's the big secret that the Kennedys never let known. It's the relationship between the Kennedys and the Vatican, particularly Joe Kennedy, the patriarch of the family and it went on for about 30 years.
ZAHN: What was the most revealing example of one of the secret dealings that you confirmed took place between the Vatican, the Kennedys, and the CIA?
MAIER: Well, there's a number of different letters but the one that really caught my eye was a letter that Joe Kennedy writes from Florida to the right-hand man, Galeazzi, the right hand man of the Pope Count Galeazzi in Rome.
And basically he says it's 1958 and he says I just got a visit, I just had a visit from Allen Dulles who was then the CIA director and he thinks that Jack, my boy Jack, is going to be the next president of the United States and he's very interested in helping us out or, you know, being interested in this.
And what Joe Kennedy does is offer to the liaison between the CIA and the Vatican. Had that type of letter been known by somebody like Richard Nixon, Jack Kennedy's opponent in 1960, I think...
ZAHN: Jack Kennedy never would have become president.
ZAHN: In one of the more explosive parts of the book you recite that a priest, who we all think should protect the confidentiality of what he hears...
ZAHN: ...actually told you on the record that Jackie Kennedy came to him and told him she was contemplating suicide. How did you get that information?
MAIER: Well, I was told that Father Richard McSorley (ph) who was a Georgetown priest, he was a theology professor there, had been a priest who had been friendly for years with Bobby Kennedy's family.
I interviewed him and in the course of that interview he told me that he had counseled Jackie Kennedy and said that he kept very careful notes about the time period that he counseled her after the assassination.
You know, bear in mind for 40 years we've wondered about how this woman who was incredibly brave and courageous during the whole funeral for her husband, she had lost a baby and then witnesses her husband being shot before her eyes, how could she have kept this all together?
ZAHN: You brought along with you tonight an audio tape of your interview with Father McSorley where you can hear the pain and almost feel the pain she must have been feeling at that moment in her life. Let's listen to a small part of that conversation now. (BEGIN AUDIO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She asked: Does God know everything? I said, yes, God knows everything. Well, did God know that my husband was going to be killed when he was killed and I said, yes, God knew ahead of time.
She said well then why did he take my son Patrick in February if he knew my husband was going to be killed at the end of the year?
(END AUDIO TAPE)
ZAHN: Thomas, do you believe that Father McSorley betrayed Jackie Kennedy by telling you this story?
MAIER: Well, clearly Jackie Kennedy would never have wanted this known and he wouldn't have been -- McSorley would not have been in that position with the Kennedys if they didn't feel he would keep the secrets.
He did for 40 years and I think the reason why he allowed me access to this is because he recognized that this was part of American history. This was an extraordinary part of American history.
O'BRIEN: Paula Zahn with author Thomas Maier.
And, a quick reminder, Paula will be reporting from the Vatican this week. The Roman Catholic Church is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's elevation to the papacy.
Straight ahead, what do these three things have in common, "The Bachelor", TIVO, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's victory? You'll find out next.
O'BRIEN: More and more these days we live in a society of instant gratification, instant messenger, instant winners, instant coffee, but is it carrying over to politics, democracy on demand so to speak?
I spoke with Donny Deutsch. He's the chairman and CEO of the advertising firm Deutsch, Incorporated and he has a theory. TIVO, "The Bachelor" and Arnold Schwarzenegger all have something in common.
DONNY DEUTSCH, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, DEUTSCH, INC.: It's interesting. We've become a country on demand. If you think about it with Schwarzenegger and this was kind of the pinnacle of it, the American public has decided what a politician is going to look like.
With TIVO, we decide what our TV programming is. Even with "The Bachelor" or any reality TV program we're choosing celebrities now. America is saying no, no, that's what I want my celebrity to be like and this is...
O'BRIEN: Why do you think this is?
DEUTSCH: I think it's a combination of two things. I think it's the generation, particularly the younger generation coming up is a very entitled generation. You know they're going to dictate the way things are. It's also a generation born on the Internet of instant gratification. I think it's a combination of those two things.
O'BRIEN: So then is it a good thing or a bad thing in your mind?
DEUTSCH: It's a thing. I mean it's basically where the world...
O'BRIEN: I mean maybe we're just so busy.
DEUTSCH: I don't think it's busy. I think it's more of an entitlement thing and I think it has tremendous implication for politics going forward, for consumer goods going forward, for who we are as a society.
I mean you even see speed dating now. You know, people don't want to look for a husband or a wife in a traditional way. They're going to go on these eight minute little mini things and then they're going to find love that way. So, we're living in a little bit of a very entitled crazy world.
O'BRIEN: What kind of implications down the road do you think for politics?
DEUTSCH: I think for politics, a politician as we know it the way a politician is supposed to look like, what he or she is supposed to look like is going to change. You know, once again, it can look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. It doesn't necessarily look traditionally and I think that basically the box has blown off a lot of things.
O'BRIEN: Why do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger fits the bill when it comes to an appealing instant gratification candidate in your words?
DEUTSCH: Well, you take it literally. You know this is a guy who can kill terrorists himself. I mean you know people get -- basically he's a fantasy but you know people were not necessarily voting for him.
They were voting for something different, something new, something to believe in and this is this kind of instant in a flip, in a switch we can fix California's problems with a super hero. I mean that's literally what happened there.
O'BRIEN: TIVO on to Internet dating on to a recall election, draw out the graph for me. Where does it end do you think?
DEUTSCH: I don't know. I go back to the...
O'BRIEN: What's the end scenario that you predict?
DEUTSCH: I go back to the Woody Allen movie "Sleeper" with the orgasmitron (ph), you know the instant orgasm. I mean I don't know where we're going but it's crazy stuff.
O'BRIEN: Donny Deutsch, interesting predictions. We shall see. Thanks so much.
DEUTSCH: Great to be here Soledad.
O'BRIEN: And thanks to all of you for being with us tonight.
I'll see you on "AMERICAN MORNING" tomorrow morning beginning at 7:00 a.m. Eastern time. We'll bring you the very latest on the start of accused sniper John Allen Mohammed's trial in Virginia Beach.
"LARRY KING LIVE" is up next with Ms. Della Reese. Have a great night everybody.
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