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Violent Uprisings Yesterday in Iraqi Town of Najaf; 'Paging Dr. Gupta'
Aired April 5, 2004 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back, 8:30 here in New York. Good Monday morning to you. Nice have you with us, along with Heidi Collins, in for Soledad today.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Doesn't feel like a Monday at all, does it?
HEMMER: No? Slightly.
COLLINS: Just kidding.
Stories that we're following this morning. In a few minutes, we will be talking to the Arab League representative to the United Nations, getting reaction to the deteriorating security situation in Iraq. Key question, do the Arab states still believe Iraqis are ready to govern themselves.
HEMMER: Also interesting medical question this half hour with Sanjay Gupta: people who can't escape the most horrible of their memories and the drug that could provide a medically acceptable way to erase the pain. It's intriguing. Sanjay has the story in a matter of moments here.
COLLINS: Yes, he does. For now, though, we have the rest of the news this morning. Secretary of State Colin Powell is expected to meet with leaders of Haiti's interim government today. According to a U.S. official, Powell plans to urge the new leaders not to reward criminals and human rights violators with top government jobs. The secretary is also expected to meet with commanders of the U.S.-led multinational force in Haiti.
Today, President Bush expected to propose a major revamping of federally funded job-training programs. Senior officials say the goal will be to double the number of people trained each year and cut administrative costs by more than half.
Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry returned to the campaign trail yesterday. The Democrat will try to turn the tables by releasing a report of his own, criticizing the Bush administration's spending proposals.
Firefighters are battling blazes in southern parts -- or several parts that is, of Florida, near Jacksonville. Encroaching flames and heavy smoke forced officials to close part of Interstate 95 over the weekend. In south Florida, a fire forced the evacuation of more than 500 homes in southwest Miami, Dade County. Fires near the Everglades are finally under control after consuming about 3,300 acres there.
The boyhood home of former President Bill Clinton in Hot Springs, Arkansas is still standing, despite being gutted by fire last night. Officials say the fire started in a car engine in the garage and spread quickly. Firefighers were called last night around 9:00 p.m. The fire was distinguished a half an hour later.
HEMMER: The violent uprisings yesterday in the Iraqi town of Najaf will not go unpunished according to U.S. officials. A leading Shiite incited the unrest, and the U.S. administrator Paul Bremer now reacting again today to word of that cleric's involvement with the bloodshed there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL BREMER, CIVILIAN ADMIN. IN IRAQ: He is effectively attempting to establish his authority in place of the legitimate authority the Iraqi government (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And as I said yesterday, we will not tolerate this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: Ambassador Bremer from a short time ago. Now Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon live there.
What's the strategy, Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bill, what we are hearing here at the Pentagon this morning is no change in strategy. We are going to hear from General Kimmitt in about 2 1/2 hours from Baghdad. We are told he will make the case that all of this is a, quote, "precise and measured response" to the violence that broke out over the weekend, to the incident in Fallujah last week, that the U.S. military is asserting, quote, "a strong presence." But all of this is very specifically a measured response against specific violent incidents. No change in strategy, no more troops. The June 30th handover date to the Iraqis will stick, and every effort will be made to turn security over to Iraqi security forces.
Although in these recent incidents, they apparently, by all accounts, have not been able to turn back some of those protesters and militia members -- Bill.
HEMMER: So, Barbara, you have the Marines surrounding Fallujah, you've got U.S. forces in Sadr City, just eastern section of Baghdad. Does the U.S. military give the same amount of importance to both those areas?
STARR: Well, they are going to make the case that these -- that's very interesting -- that these are two entirely different incidents. The mission in Fallujah right now is a response to the killing of those four Americans last week, the mob that formed, the desecration of those bodies. They are going in there, they say, to find the perpetrators and, to quote General Kimmitt last week, to pacify Fallujah.
What happened in Baghdad, in Sadr City over the weekend, you just heard ambassador Paul Bremer, was the emergence of a militia movement from Muqtada Al Sadr, the radical Muslim cleric. Militias are illegal in Iraq, and the U.S. military is trying to move very quickly to put down that militia movement. So what we expect to hear today, two different cases, measured response by the U.S. military in both of them.
But a lot of questions, Bill, emerging in Washington over the weekend about whether Iraqi security forces are really ready to take over, whether that June 30th transition date can really hold.
HEMMER: Barbara, thanks for that.
Yahya Mahmassani is the Arab League ambassador to the U.N. He's also our guest now live here on AMERICAN MORNING.
Nice to see you, Mr. Ambassador. Welcome back.
Do you believe this is just a bad weekend in Iraq. or do you believe this is the beginning of a whole new phase for this war?
YAHYA MAHMASSANI, ARAB LEAGUE AMB. TO UNITED NATIONS: Well, it's certainly a bad week, but it also depends on the development and what we see is going to happen. If the occupation forces resort to force and violence, this might ignite more violence.
HEMMER: A couple basic questions here. On the June 30th deadline, Richard Lugar, a Republican senator over the weekend, says it's time to start the dialogue as to whether or not this is a date that could come too soon and perhaps it should be extended, the handover. Do you believe at this point that June 30th can still stick?
MAHMASSANI: Well, first of all, let me say that the June 30th is a very important date, because this is the date you hand over sovereignty to the Iraqis. I think all Iraqis are eager to regain their sovereignty, exercise their authority and enjoy their independence.
Now I think it should be stick to as long as all practice to that agreement, the agreement of the 15th of November; our (ph) government are committed to it.
HEMMER: The U.N. at this point, it's been suggesting by some lawmakers, that a commissioner should be appointed for Iraq and oversee it, especially during the time of June 30th and the 1st of July. Is the U.N. prepared for that, and do the Iraqi people want that involvement?
MAHMASSANI: Well, first of all, you know that the Iraqi Governing Council has invited the U.N. to participate and help in the rebuilding of Iraq. Now there is already a representative of the secretary general who arrived yesterday to the Iraq. Now it all depends really on the forthcoming developments in Iraq. HEMMER: And those developments will tell you what?
MAHMASSANI: Well, will tell you what course of action would be taken.
HEMMER: Do you believe it's getting worse before it gets better?
MAHMASSANI: Well, it looks to be worse now. I don't know if it's going to get better. This is only the future can tell.
HEMMER: Yahya Mahmassani, thanks for talking with us today. A situation that drew a lot of attention over the weekend. Thank you again, sir. Nice to see you here on AMERICAN MORNING.
MAHMASSANI: Thank you. Good to see you.
HEMMER: All right, here's Heidi now with more.
COLLINS: Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, post-traumatic stress disorder haunts millions of people. Can a pill help ease the symptoms?
HEMMER: Also, a proud moment for Massachusetts state troopers, the inpatient baby boy they helped bring into the world. That story in a moment.
COLLINS: And in our next hour, what challenges face coalition forces before the handover of the new government? We'll talk about it on AMERICAN MORNING.
COLLINS: It is estimated more than five million American adults suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. But there may be good news now for people who suffer from the condition, which brings back the fear and emotional disability of a traumatic event.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us now from the CNN Center with more details on this.
Good morning, Sanjay.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi.
Yes, we spent a lot of time talking about remembering things, Alzheimer's and dementia, things like that. What if we told you about a pill that would help you forget, or at least not remember as well.
GUPTA: All of us have memories we would rather forget. A life- threatening accident. A terrorist attack. A lost love. But let's say you could erase traumatic memories. Would you? Should you?
Jim Carrey's character in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" tries to erase his memories using a fancy machine. But experts say that it's not forgetting that's important, but reducing the severity of traumatic memories that might lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.
DR. ROGER PITMAN, PSYCHIATRIST, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Too much adrenalin in the aftermath of a traumatic event creates a memory that is overly strong, overly emotional and too deeply engraved. And our goal, through medication, is to try to make the memory more of a normal memory.
GUPTA: So to try and reduce that adrenalin surge, researchers at Harvard gave a blood pressure drug called propanilol (ph) to patients for 19 days after they experienced a traumatic event. Their theory seemed to work. Those who took the medication reported less severe PTSD symptoms than those who received placebo. And three months later, less anxiety.
PITMAN: They showed significantly lower heart rate, sweat gland activity and muscle responses.
GUPTA: Kathleen was such an example. We omitted her last name for privacy.
KATHLEEN, PTSD PATIENT: I had a gun to my head, was made to drive to an abandoned place where I was beat up and other things. It was something that I lived with for a long time and relived nightly in dreams during the day.
GUPTA: And then years later, she was hit by a bike messenger on a busy street. After being bandaged up for cuts and bruises, she was also approached to join the study to treat her mind. And her memories. This time, a little pill helped.
KATHLEEN: Because of the pill, I think I had more sleep, and less nightmares, and less anxiety and was able to function.
GUPTA: Looking back, Kathleen wishes she could have taken the pill after that traumatic carjacking.
KATHLEEN: If a pill could have erased those feelings, that would have been magical.
GUPTA: Still, many will ask, should we be manipulating memories at all? By doing so, do we miss out on the totality of our lives? Good and bad. For Kathleen, the answer is obvious.
GUPTA: And propanilol, the medication that we're talking about here is actually a blood pressure medication. Researchers we spoke to say another target area might be cortisol. That's a stress hormone that's released after times of trauma. Nevertheless, researchers do believe that within the next few years, we may have a medication to prevent PTSD from ever happening -- Heidi.
COLLINS: That's a good question to ask. You know, if people are going to ethically agree with this or not, but tell me a little bit more about what the current treatment is for people who have PTSD.
GUPTA: Well, it's really interesting. There is not a medication per se. A lot of different theories on how to treat PTSD. One of the most controversial is actually slowly exposing the person to the events that caused the trauma in the first place in a more safe setting to try to get them to work through all the physical responses -- the increased blood pressure, heart rate, sweating and all that that goes along with it in a more safe setting.
But really, Heidi, the reason this is exciting, this is The first time this might actually be a medication to prevent the symptoms from ever developing in the first place. So if you went to the emergency room with a traumatic event, you'd get this medication to try and prevent those memories from causing harm -- Heidi.
COLLINS: Do you think people always want to forget?
GUPTA: No, I don't. You know, and it's interesting, we did talk to a lot of ethicist about this. Very interesting, a lot of people believe that it's important to remember, important to have a little bit of the sting as one of the ethicist told us, regarding some of these events. That sting can really influence our lives later on and really create the sort of humanness, as opposed to some animals who just go on and on and forget everything as they go along. So sort of an interesting ethical question as well.
COLLINS: Yes, it certainly is. All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much, Sanjay.
GUPTA: Thank you.
HEMMER: Nice note this morning. Some kids are always in a hurry, even before they're born. Little Colby Legrassa (ph) is one of those kids. Saturday, his parents were racing to the hospital so mom could give birth. Colby was arriving a bit earlier than expected, though. The family had to get help from these guys right here, the Massachusetts state troopers. They pulled over to the side of the road and got some assistance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was probably the scariest thing i've done since I've been on this job. But it was nice to be part of something good for a change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: Those guys see a lot. To say that's the scariest? Interesting commentary. Little Colby and mom said to be doing just fine. They visited with the Legrassa family over the weekend there. Nice stuff.
COLLINS: So cute.
All right, well, still to come this morning. If you shopped at Wal-Mart last week, you may have been triple billed. Bummer. We're going to explain that ahead, right here on AMERICAN MORNING.
HEMMER: All right, welcome back.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wal-mart Has a battle on its hands, this time in California. It's take being its fight to the ballot box. If you shopped there recently, you may want to check your credit card bill.
Andy Serwer is here, "Minding Your Business."
ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Good morning.
Always good to check the credit card bill, right?
Wal-Mart, as you may know, of course, has been battling in California in terms of putting in these supercenters, which are Wal- Mart's plus super markets. And of course, there is a big strike recently in California, because workers in other supermarkets were complaining their wages were getting pushed down because of Wal-Mart coming into the area and depressing wages.
Now a -- voters will take to the polls tomorrow in Inglewood to decide whether or not a supercenter can be built this that city of 112,000 right near L.A. there.
Basically what's going on, there is a proposition called 4-A on the ballot. And Wal-mart seems to be suggesting that it's going to be having its own rules in this little 60-acre barren, concrete piece of property next to Hollywood Park. They're almost creating a city within a city, because they want to be exempt from zoning and environmental regulations.
Now on the other side, though, Jack, are the labor unions, which despise Wal-mart, because Wal-Mart is a nonunion shop. So they're fighting this very, very, very hard. So it's not just, you know, Big Brother versus the people. It's really Big Brother versus the labor unions is what's we've got here.
CAFFERTY: All right, also the credit card problem. What happened?
SERWER: Yes, about 800,000 customers on March 31st were double or even triple billed at Wal-mart. If you shopped there on March 31st, check that credit card.
CAFFERTY: All right, and I had no idea that J.C. Penney had drugstores, but they don't have them any more.
SERWER: No, that's right, they're selling. Eccard drugs was the No. 2 chain, yes, and then they're selling it today, finally. It was a long process going on, $4.5 billion, selling it. Half goes to CVS. "Thank you for shopping at CVS," you know that? The other half goes to Jean Couture (ph), which is one of the larger drugstore chains in Canada.
CAFFERTY: What about the stock market. Now we got all those jobs on Friday. We should be set to soar to the heavens on Wall Street.
SERWER: Well, we did on Friday. But today, look for a bit of a pullback, at least at the opening. See, here's what happened last week, which is just great. We do that every week, and we're just fine. But this morning futures are down, and of course a lot of it has to do with Iraq -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: All right, thanks, Andy.
ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Several high-profile court cases revealing potential problems with the jury system. Friday, the judge in the Tyco case called a mistrial because of outside pressure on juror No. 4. Last week, Martha Stewart's lawyers asked for a new trial, claiming one of the jurors in that case lied about his past. And Scott Peterson's lawyer, Mark Geragos, says he can't find an impartial jury. He wants another change of venue. He's gotten one. Now he's asking for another.
So the question we're asking is, should the jury system be changed in some way? Jeffrey in Jamesville, North Carolina, writes, "In the age of mass media, we should elect a nonpartisan paid jury to serve, at most, two four-year terms. The jury should be made up of lawyers or retired judges, people who understand the law."
Peter in Providence, Rhode Island, "There's nothing wrong with the jury system that the free market system won't cure. Let's have the 'New York Post' pay the cost of the Tyco retrial, including defendant legal fees. Let's see if they want to violate conventions about sitting juror anonymity again." 'The Post' was one of two papers that published the name of juror No. 4.
John in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, "The judicial system would be vastly improved with the jury system were completely eliminated. Using a judicial tribunal would eliminate the system where a group of uninformed people try to interpret laws created by career politicians."
Joe in Natatoches (ph), Louisiana, "The jury system should not be changed at all. I think the American people as a whole are honest and would consider the evidence in each case that is presented to them and give a fair verdict in that case. I would not want just judges or some other official determining guilt or innocence."
And Doug in Stony Creek, Ontario suggests this: "How about bringing back the Salem method? Throw the accused in the water. If they float, they're guilty, so you take them out and hang them. If they drown, they're innocent. Simple."
SERWER: Yes, Salem witch trials, right? We were talking about this a little bit on "IN THE MONEY." And most jury trials in this country, of course, go just fine. It's a lot of these high-profile ones with these high-paid lawyers who dig up trouble and find things that -- where we got these problems, right?
CAFFERTY: Yes, and apparently in this case of juror No. 4, the identifying of her name by the news media was a factor.
SERWER: That was big problem, a huge problem.
CAFFERTY: What did the post call her?
SERWER: A batty blue blood.
CAFFERTY: Batty blue blood, 79-year-old lawyer.
COLLINS: We're going to talk about somebody else who has been in headlines many, many times before, "The Donald" made quite an impression hosting "Saturday Night Live." Trump was a good sport, laughing as cast members spoofed his behavior on the NBC show "The Apprentice."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP: Darryl. I love what you do. It's great. Do that thing. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're fired.
DONALD TRUMP: Do it again, Darryl. I love it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: That's pretty good, I didn't see it.
Each episode of Trump's reality show ends with a young hopeful being sent packing. It has become a breakout hit for NBC. That's pretty good.
HEMMER: Yes, it was very good actually. I liked it.
Let's get a break here. In a moment, the Iraqi town of Fallujah getting a lot of attention from U.S. marines. They've surrounded the town and it's not the only part of Iraq today that is on edge. Back in a moment. That remains our top story today, top of the hour here.
COLLINS: Still to come, can TV have serious consequences for children who watch at a young age? Dr. Sanjay Gupta with the story ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
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