Return to Transcripts main page
CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Novak Zone: Novak is Sky Diving at Air Show; A look at how Oil Prices are Effected by Attacks
Aired May 15, 2004 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. Good to have you with us today. And welcome to CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Thomas Roberts.
SOPHIA CHOI, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Sophia Choi. Good morning, and thanks to all of you for starting your day with us.
We are waiting for a briefing this morning out of Baghdad. We'll be bringing you that live when it happens.
ROBERTS: Well, here's a look at what else is coming up for you this morning right here. Oil prices climb over 40 bucks a barrel. We keep paying for it at the pump. Well, some say terror attacks on oil facilities in the Mideast are part of the problem.
And we're going to take you inside the U.S. military hospital in Germany where wounded warriors from the Iraq conflict go to heal.
And then, free-falling in The Novak Zone. Bob Novak -- look at this! -- flies high with the Army's Golden Knights.
But first, here is what is happening this hour.
CHOI: In Iraq, five soldiers from the U.S. 1st Armored Division have died. Three were killed in separate attacks. One was killed when his vehicle overturned. The fifth soldier was found unconscious and died later in a hospital. We are expecting a coalition news briefing from Baghdad soon. And again, we will bring it to you live when it happens.
Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict are high on the agenda as the World Economic Forum convenes today in Jordan. Fresh off a meeting with G-8 leaders in Washington, Secretary of State Colin Powell joins heads of state and hundreds of business and civic leaders in Jordan.
In Gaza today, Israeli helicopters attacked two Islamic Jihad targets, one of them housing the office of Jihad leader Mohammed al- Hindi (ph). The militant group says al-Hindi was not harmed. The attacks follow the recent deaths of 13 Israeli soldiers in clashes with Palestinian gunmen.
And evangelist Billy Graham is hospitalized in North Carolina after a fall at his home. The 85-year-old Graham had been recovering at home from a partial hip replacement earlier this year. ROBERTS: Our top story this hour, in response to the controversy over Iraqi prisoner abuse, the top commander in Iraq is banning a number of interrogation -- excuse me -- techniques.
Kathleen Koch joins us now live at the Pentagon with more on the changes that are afoot. Kathleen, good morning.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Thomas.
And up until now, interrogators in Iraq had some degree of leeway of the options were, as a matter of fact, actually printed on a sheet of paper on the wall at Abu Ghraib prison. And I'll read some of them for you. Hooding. Sleep deprivation. Keeping prisoners in a stressful position for an extended period of time.
However, after a very extensive review, and obviously in light of the current abuse scandal there at the prison, the top commander in Iraq, General Ricardo Sanchez, has now decided that such tactics will be off limits. The word has gone out to interrogators throughout the country of Iraq.
Now, while these options had been allowed previously, it's very important to point out that it was only with advance approval of the commanding general. The Pentagon said no such approval was ever given in Iraq.
Now, such practices had already been halted, specifically at Abu Ghraib prison, starting at the beginning of May, when a new commander took over there. But, again, now these restrictions apply throughout the entire country.
The Pentagon had believed that these practices, these various techniques, were in keeping with the Geneva Conventions. However, a number of critics said that they violated the conventions and pointed to one of the clauses which read, quote, it prohibited, quote, "physical or moral coercion against prisoners, in particular to obtain information from them or from third parties."
So new rules now of interrogation in place throughout the country.
Back to you, Thomas.
ROBERTS: And Kathleen, what we're learning about these old interrogation techniques is that it really didn't matter the value of the prisoner, whether they were high value or just a low-value prisoner.
KOCH: Certainly, that was one of the criticisms that came forward in the so-called Taguba report, that they really seemed to be applied indiscriminately.
And CNN has spoken over the last few weeks with numerous intelligence experts who really believe that that is a flawed way of getting information. You end up often getting bad information by mistreating people in such a manner. They will tell you basically anything you want to know, often if it's -- even if it's even false.
ROBERTS: Kathleen Koch, live for us at the Pentagon. Kathleen, thanks very much.
And just a quick programming note to everybody. We are continuing to follow the podium there in Baghdad. We are expecting a coalition briefing to start momentarily, and we will take you back there live when it happens.
CHOI: Meantime, the aftermath of the prisoner abuse scandal is playing out in public opinion. Sixty-eight percent of Americans who responded in a new CNN-"TIME" magazine poll say they favor courts- martial for officers in charge of prisons where the abuse took place. Twenty-four percent say they do not support that.
The scandal may be affecting presidential politics as well. Forty-nine percent say they disapprove of how President Bush is handling his job, 46 percent approve.
And 51 percent of likely voters say they would support Senator John Kerry if they were voting for president right now. President Bush gets support from 46 percent.
ROBERTS: Still now on the campaign trail, it was cops for Kerry as a prominent police group announced it is supporting the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. The International Brotherhood of Police Officers backed President Bush in 2000. But the group's president is saying it's time to change course after what he calls President Bush's disappointing leadership.
Well, Senator Kerry may be leading in some of the polls, but he trails the president in big campaign bucks. So far, the president has raised a whopping $203 million for his reelection campaign. That's setting a record. Now, in April alone, Bush raised $709,000 a day, on average. Comparably, John Kerry has raised about $110 million so far for his bid.
CHOI: And we go overseas now. Democratic reform in the Arab world is the focus of a three-day meeting getting underway in Jordan today.
Our senior international correspondent, Walter Rodgers, joins us now live from the Dead Sea coast with details. Good morning, Walter.
WALTER RODGERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Sophia.
Well, reform throughout the Arab world, political reform and attempt toward democratization, is high on the agenda here. But we should give you just a little bit of news first. The American secretary of state, Colin Powell, arrived here a short while ago. He met for an hour and 10 minutes with the Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Koria (ph).
Now, what makes this particularly interesting, you'll recall, is that the Bush administration has largely snubbed the Palestinians for the past three or more years. And now, suddenly, the Palestinian issue is being brought to life again by the Bush administration, perhaps because the American stock has plummeted so badly in recent months in the Arab world after Iraq.
So Secretary Powell met with Palestinian leaders, those with close ties to Yasser Arafat, and assured him that President Bush still stands behind a two-state solution, that is to say, the establishment of a Palestinian state that can live in peace with Israel.
The Palestinians asked the American secretary of state if he could use his influence with the Israelis to halt the Israeli military offensive in Rafa (ph), south of Gaza, and the Israelis -- and the American secretary of state said he would do what he could.
Perhaps most important on the agenda was the Palestinians' wish for so-called disengagement. That is to say, when the Israelis do withdraw from Gaza, the Palestinians want to make sure it's not a unilateral action independent of the rest of the peace process, as the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon has said, but rather that it's a part of the overall road map to peace, Sophia.
CHOI: All right, Walter, thanks for that.
And now we want to take you to a briefing in Iraq with General Mark Kimmitt.
DAN SENOR, SENIOR COALITION ADVISER: Good afternoon. Just a couple of quick items. On Ambassador's Bremer schedule this morning, he participated in the MNF ceremony at Camp Victory. He then participated in a conference for coalition military commanders and coalition CPA coordinators.
Following that, he attended a welcome victory celebration for Iraq's soccer team. And then since then has been holding internal meetings at CPA.
Ambassador Bremer today announced the appointment of the first four members to the board of governors of the public service broadcaster of Iraq, as well as its director general, from a list of names developed after extensive consultation with the Iraqi Governing Council and throughout Iraqi civil society. The appointments are pursuant to order CPA Order 66, which establishes the Iraqi Media Network as the public service broadcaster for Iraq.
In its role as the country's central broadcaster, the mandate of the public service broadcaster shall be to serve the public interest through the provision of diverse and distinct broadcasting services that educate, entertain, and inform the people of Iraq. Furthermore, it shall be an impartial and independent tool for public debate, act as an agent of pluralism and as an instrument of building a constructive national identity accessible to the entire population of Iraq.
The governing structure will comprise a board of governors, a financial committee, a director general, and such advisory boards and other committees as the board of governors may deem necessary. The director general shall serve as the chief executive officer of the public service broadcaster, while the board of governors will guard the public interest, ensuring the provisions of the charter are adhered to.
The board shall serve as a buffer between the public service broadcaster and the government and other external pressures. Mr. Jalal al-Mushta (ph) has been appointed as the public service broadcaster's first director general. And I'll go through the four board members as well. And then we'll have their bios available for you, which we'll be e-mailing out, and they'll be available at the press center.
The four appointed members of the board of governors are Mr. Kinan Makea (ph), Mr. Kamiran Karadarghi (ph), and Ms. Lena Aboud Kareem, and Mrs. Jinan Nastreth al-Kasai (ph). Again, their bios are -- will be available at the press center, and we will be sending them out later on today.
BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY: Thank you.
The coalition continues offensive operations to main stability in Iraq in order to repair infrastructure, stimulate the economy, and transfer sovereignty. To that end, in the past 24 hours, the coalition conducted 1,614 patrols, 19 offensive operations, and captured 38 anticoalition suspects.
In the northern zone of operations today, there was a mortar or rocket-propelled grenade attack in Mosul at 10:40 which targeted an Iraqi armed forces recruiting station. Four recruits were killed and 15 wounded. Coalition and Iraqi police are securing the site and providing care to those injured. And the Iraqi police will lead the investigation.
In the north central zone of operations, coalition forces initiated the first of a series of crop-dusting flights with an Iraqi helicopter to protect a date crop in the Diala (ph) Province. A total of three sorties were flown today.
In Baghdad, there was an incident of Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence when unknown assailants shot seven civilians at a residential location in the al-Rashid district, resulting in six killed and one wounded.
In the al-Pawu (ph) district, coalition forces continue to conduct offensive operations to restore stability, resulting in 14 enemy killed and 10 wounded.
This morning, while on patrol, coalition forces were attacked by small-arms fire and RPG fire in western Baghdad. They returned fire, killing seven individuals, and a quick reaction force was sent to assist the unit in contact and also came under fire.
Today at approximately 12:05, a rocket landed in the green zone, injuring one soldier and one civilian. Both have been treated by medical authorities and returned to duty.
In the western zone of operations, the al-Anbar Province remains secure. The reduction in hostilities in Fallujah has had a calming effect across the area as a result of Iraqi police and ICDC operations.
With this trend, there has been an increase in the level of security cooperation as Iraqi security forces have been integrated into the security plans of the Tartar Canal and the Salahwiyah (ph) bridges.
Yesterday coalition forces conducted a cordon and search northeast of al-Karma. The search targeted three houses of individuals suspected of anticoalition activities, and 14 personnel were detained, along with shotguns, one pistol, and Saddam paraphernalia.
In the central zone of operations, central south zone of operations, for the fourth day in a row, Muqtada militia in Karbala continued to attack coalition and Iraqi police forces with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and small-arms fire, vicinity of the former Muqayim (ph) Mosque complex.
Yesterday evening, coalition forces were attacked twice by Muqtada militia, and coalition forces returned fire, killing two enemy.
Today, between 0700 and 1130, coalition forces were attacked with mortars and small-arms fired on four separate occasions. Coalition forces engaged the fort, the Muqtada militia, and killed two enemy snipers.
As a result of these operations, one coalition soldier has been wounded.
An-Najaf was quiet last night, except for one incident where six mortar rounds landed in the vicinity of the governor's building. There were no casualties nor damage to the building.
In the southeastern zone of operation, there were several attacks on coalition forces. South of al-Amara (ph), coalition forces were attacked with three rounds of mortar fire at 1700 hours. From 1900 to 0200, the Sinak (ph) House in al-Amara was attacked by mortar fire three times, with a total of 11 rounds.
At 2030, a coalition patrol in northwest Amara was attacked with RPG and small-arms fire. The patrol returned fire and extracted to the Sinak House.
Enemy forces withdrew later that evening, and there have been no further reported contacts in the city. There were a total of two coalition soldiers wounded and 16 enemy killed in the course of these attacks.
There were also a number of incidents last night in an-Nasiriya. There was a report yesterday at 1600 that approximately 40 personnel carrying weapons had gathered near two of the bridges crossing the Euphrates.
These forces attacked the CPA building and patrols in and around the city, starting at 1930 last night. The CPA building was attacked by mortars, RPGs, and small-arms fire five times between 7:30 p.m. and 0230 in the morning.
Coalition patrols were attacked three times by small-arms fire as they maneuvered to secure the building. Nonetheless, by 0200 reinforcement coalition troops had entered and secured the CPA compound. By 0300, the coalition forces had reestablished control of the city. There were no coalition casualties as a result of these attacks.
SENOR: And with that, we'll be happy to take your questions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Jill Carol (ph) with ENSA (ph). Can you give us a little more information about who the people were in Nasiriya that were attacking the -- And also a little more about Sadr City, what, 14 people were killed today that was in fighting?
KIMMITT: That was over the last 24 hours. In both these cases, our initial estimate is that, based on some of the activities that were broadcast from Najaf last night and yesterday afternoon, it may well have been that Sadr and his militia tried to use as an opportunity to provoke more attacks.
So it is our estimate that in places such as Nasiriya and Amara and to some extent in Sadr City, there was a minor disturbance, a minor uprising, and the coalition forces handled those, and things seem to be much quieter today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaks in foreign language)
KIMMITT: We have been hunting in Bosnia and Kosovo and Serbia for years and years, war criminals such as Karadic (ph) and Miladic (ph). We will bring them to justice eventually, but we have been hunting them since, oh, 1996.
I know that it may have appeared that the way we were very rapidly able to catch many of the deck of cards here in Iraq, and the relatively quick capture of Saddam, there may have been built up an expectation that our intelligence services are so good that they can penetrate any terrorist network. And to many -- and to a great extent, we can.
But there are some terrorists out there who are just very clever about their capability to stay hidden. We have seen war criminals throughout the world for years and years stay hidden. But eventually they will come to justice.
Does he have special capabilities? No. Does he have an ability to evade capture? Yes. Will he be captured one day? Yes. SENOR: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hanna Alem (ph) from Knight-Ridder Newspapers. Speaking of Zarqawi, was there anything in the Nick Berg beheading video that helped in the hunt? Any intelligence gleaned from that you can share with us?
KIMMITT: We wouldn't answer that question, whether the answer was yes or no. The short answer is, we have taken that video, taken all the information from that video, and we're putting it into our intelligence system. And we will -- that will be used to provide the actionable intelligence to go after Zarqawi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patrick MacDonald from "The Los Angeles Times." Hey, could you guys expound a little bit on what exactly your plan is for Najaf and Karbala, presuming there is a plan? And if it's still to kill or capture Muqtada al-Sadr, and if you could churn (ph) it once you kill or capture him, put him in Abu Ghraib or whatever, it would cause greater discontent among his many followers.
SENOR: Pat, our goal has been clear for some time. Muqtada al- Sadr must face justice. Muqtada al-Sadr must disband and disarm his militia. Period, end of issue. We have been saying it from the day the situation unraveled a number of weeks ago. Muqtada al-Sadr must face justice. He must disband and disarm his militia. That is our plan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking in foreign language)
SENOR: On your first question, Najam, we have an investigation underway, or the Harris Corporation has an investigation underway, regarding Mr. Zahir (ph) and his nephew. And we don't want to comment in detail on the investigation until the investigation has run its course.
So let's let that go forward. We obviously are committed. This is -- the Harris Corporation is committed to a thorough and robust investigation. Let's let that play out. Otherwise, we, to my knowledge, and General Kimmitt can speak to this, we have not received any outreach, if you will, from a terrorist group that was holding Mr. Berg. No one contacted us.
And even if they had, as we've said all along, we will -- we dedicate our resources to the safe release of hostages. And we dedicate intelligence resources, military resources, civilian resources. It is obviously an extremely high priority for us.
But we are not open to negotiations with terrorists. That doesn't solve anybody's problem, and certainly doesn't serve the interests of anybody. But we certainly are deeply committed to the safe release of all hostages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Jochi Driesen from "The Wall Street Journal." Several of the Shi'ite political parties said in Najaf, there had been essentially a deal in place which fell apart over coalition insistence that Grand Ayatollah Sistani officially and formally sign that type of deal. I want to know if that is the case, and if so, if the CPA is still involved in ongoing talks now.
SENOR: Jochi, our -- first of all, I, to my knowledge, there is no such agreement or was -- there was no such agreement. But I will say, as I said earlier to Pat, we are committed to a peaceful resolution in Najaf and the surrounding areas. We want to minimize bloodshed.
But two nonnegotiable points are that Mr. al-Sadr has to face justice, and he has to disband and disarm his militia. We appreciate the fact that a number of Iraqi notables have stepped forward and are trying to mediate or trying to reach a peaceful resolution here. We encourage that. Certainly, when the Najaf governor earlier in the week talked about discussions he was having, while we weren't consulted on them, we certainly encourage Iraqi leaders who want to minimize bloodshed and seek a peaceful resolution.
But those two points I stated earlier, that Muqtada al-Sadr must disband, disarm his militia, and that he may -- must face justice remain our two fundamental conditions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say that he must face justice, does that mean that the formal government of Iraq facing -- justice in front of them? Or how about some system where the religious authorities in Najaf were to say, We'll handle the justice ourselves (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? How is that going to take care of this? We can provide justice in our own way that doesn't involve the central authorities in Baghdad.
SENOR: Sure. Look, I don't want to get into a negotiation here with you on this issue, and fleshing out these details. I will say this. There in an Iraqi arrest warrant out for Muqtada al-Sadr. We believe Muqtada al-Sadr has to face justice for the matters addressed in that arrest warrant that deal with the charges related to the murder of Mr. Alkoi (ph). Justice must be served.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking foreign language)
CHOI: You have been listening to senior coalition adviser Dan Senor and General Mark Kimmitt giving a briefing in Baghdad.
Mr. Senor basically giving us a breakdown of how the new Iraqi government will work, and General Kimmitt talking about the violence still going on in Iraq, especially in the areas of Karbala and Najaf, where Muqtada al-Sadr's militia still has a stronghold. And the stated goal for the coalition is to bring Sadr to justice. That was repeated over and over. And to disband his militia.
We'll have more here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING right here after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do I think they're so high? Greed. You know, I think that it's just -- you know, the dependency on Americans for oil, and, you know, I think it's political. And I think it's the issues in the Middle East, and I think it's demand, supply and demand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can be done? I guess to end the war, but that's -- that's out of my control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Talking about gas prices this morning, some of the underlying reasons for the price spike.
You know, some industry analysts see a link between recent attacks on oil facilities in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and the rising gas prices. You know, the price of crude oil surpassed $40 a barrel earlier this week, which raises the question, will we keep paying so much at the pump? And are those terror attacks really linked to those rising oil prices?
James Ockenden is the editor of "Energy Risk" magazine. He's joining us now live from London this morning to help break this down.
James, thanks for being here.
JAMES OCKENDEN, EDITOR, "ENERGY RISK" MAGAZINE: Good morning, Thomas.
ROBERTS: So let's begin talking about this and really trying to establish, is there a link between the terrorists and wanting to go ahead and trying to make these valuable targets of pipelines in Iraq and Saudi Arabia their targets?
OCKENDEN: Well, I think there's no doubt that high oil prices at the moment, as you just said, it's just topped $40, is going to cause a lot of misery for consumers in the U.S., for businesses in the U.S. There's going to be economic downturn, there's going to be layoffs, there's going to be problems. And people are going to find it very expensive to be filling up their cars coming up to the driving season.
And I do think that the Bush administration would very much like us to think (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this is, this high price is down to terrorism, to global terrorism and to specific acts of terrorism within the Middle East.
But I do, I think that really the high -- the high prices at the moment are caused by a number of other factors. Specifically, I believe the OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is losing its control over its members. OPEC manipulates the oil price by telling its member countries how much they can produce.
And for several years now, many of these countries have been cheating on their quotas. They have been overproducing. And so what this means is, now OPEC is trying to reign in the price by telling its countries to produce more. They can't, because they are already producing at their limits.
Also, we have the effect of the weakened dollar, which is really artificially inflating the price of oil. If you look at it in real terms, I think it's nowhere near the high price that it was back in the '90s or the late '70s. The dollar, the weakened, the weakened dollar is really making the oil price look larger than it is.
And finally, there's seasonal variations, which happen every year. It is the driving season in the U.S. And this, every year this does put -- push the price up at this time.
ROBERTS: James, in the broader picture of things, how does Iraq and the fact that the pipeline that they have there is down dramatically in terms of what they're producing, how does that affect the broader picture globally?
OCKENDEN: I think whenever there's an attack, or anything like this, on a pipeline or an oil installation, there is an immediate and significant impact on oil prices. But it is a very short-term impact. What will happen, a trader or the traders globally, will see that these attacks have happened almost instantaneously on their newswires. They will buy oil. They'll be buy, buy, buy. And this will push the price up.
Now, within hours, certainly within by the end of the day, traders will be closing out their positions there, taking the profit that they will have made, and the price will sink back down again. And so by the time that we get home, we see it on the news that there's been an attack on an installation, the whole trading bubble around that, around that attack, has pretty much closed, and the price will have stabilized back to what it was, you know, earlier that day.
ROBERTS: And James, what are we going to see...
ROBERTS: I'm sorry, go ahead.
OCKENDEN: Yes. I was also going to point out the fact that Venezuela last year had a national strike, and none of its oil was reaching the wider world. Now, this is a whole country's oil supply, and Venezuela does supply significant amounts of the world's oil. But the effects on the price that this had wasn't that great, maybe $1 or $2. There were other issues at the time, the Iraqi war.
But the actual effect of Venezuela cutting off it soil supplies from the world didn't really make much difference. So I don't think that one pipeline or one installation that's damaged or destroyed in Iraq or Saudi or wherever is going to have a significant long-term impact on the oil price.
ROBERTS: Well, James, we appreciate your insight this morning. James Ockenden, he's the editor of "Energy Risk" magazine. And we know, James, that you guys are feeling the pain across the pond too, when it comes to the prices at the pump. But we appreciate your time and your insight this morning. Thanks again, very much.
OCKENDEN: Thank you very much.
ROBERTS: Sophia, back to you.
CHOI: All right, Thomas. The Novak Zone straight ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT NOVAK, HOST, THE NOVAK ZONE: Coming up next, at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, you'll see me jump out of an airplane with the U.S. Army Golden Knights. The bad news is, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is, I'll be wearing a parachute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: A mortar attack this morning hit in the coalition green zone in Baghdad. One soldier and one civilian were injured in the attack, but the soldier has since returned to duty.
And at least four Iraqis were killed this morning in a mortar attack on the northern city of Mosul. Fifteen others were injured in the attack. Happened outside an army recruitment center.
CHOI: Well, we've all heard of the Blue Angels, but did you know there's another military precision flight team that does their stunt work outside the plane?
CNN's Robert Novak joins Sergeant First Class Billy Van Soelen of the U.S. Army's Golden Knights in this week's edition of The Novak Zone.
NOVAK: Welcome to The Novak Zone.
We're at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, with the U.S Army's parachute team, the Golden Knights.
We got a briefing, got a little pep talk, saying that I may be killed or die if I take this. And I can't sue the government or the parachute maker. And then I learned how to be airborne in about a 20- minute briefing.
SGT. BILLY VAN SOELEN, U.S. ARMY GOLDEN KNIGHTS PARACHUTE TEAM: I'd like to welcome you to the United States Army parachute team's tandem orientation program. It's an extreme honor for us to have you here today. We're extremely excited to jump with you. I hope you're excited to jump with us also.
The main parachute we are going to be using today is a 395 or 370-square-foot EZ (ph). It's top-of-the-line equipment. Unlike everything else in the military, which is, we get from the lowest bidder, this is top-of-the-line equipment.
It's a semielliptical, high-porosity -- All you got to know, Mr. Novak, is, it will take the suspended weight of both you and I, OK? That's all you really got to know about it, OK?
As these loops go through the grommets and the flaps, the flaps open up. The parachute jumps off our back through a series of rubber band stows (ph). We get line stretch. We continue to fall. The parachute comes out after deployment bag. It fills with air. We grab the toggles. We land on target.
Kiss the babies and sign the autographs.
As a tandem instructor, I want to take you out of the skydive by putting you in the tightest, smoothest-fitting jumpsuit.
The three things you have to remember -- arch, relax, and have a good time.
So anybody you want to say hi to, or maybe even bye to?
NOVAK: Well, I want to say hi to my seven grandchildren.
VAN SOELEN: Seven?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven?
NOVAK: Yes, and maybe we can get them to take a parachute jump sometime.
VAN SOELEN: Hey, sounds good. Are you ready? All right, let's do it, sir.
You want to get the right stuff? Watch.
NOVAK: I was nervous as hell. I kept thinking, though, of the 101st Airborne where they went into France after Normandy. They were going into enemy territory, I was going to Andrews Air Force Base. Of course, they were 19 years old, I'm 73 years old.
I never did this. Closest I came was a close-combat course, an infiltration course. But I was always on the ground. I was a ground soldier.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did they treat you up there?
NOVAK: Beautiful, they're great guys. I wish every American could see their Army and it's go Army and see the parachute team. We jumped out, but that is really scary, man. You are out in the middle of nowhere. You are free falling. I mean, that is a scary situation. I guess when you do it the 2,000th time, like Billy did, it (UNINTELLIGIBLE) isn't scary, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), particularly if you don't know what you're doing. But it's a great feeling when the chute opens and you are floating down. That's beautiful.
What do you do? Do you go around the country?
VAN SOELEN: Yes, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) team (UNINTELLIGIBLE) travels all around the country, performing at airshows, football games, baseball games, in support of Army public relations and recruiting, goodwill ambassadors to the Army. Travel over 290 days a year doing these airshows like you see today here at Andrews Air Force Base.
NOVAK: And what's that for, recruiting purposes?
VAN SOELEN: Recruiting and public relations, spreading -- showing the world what specially selected and well-trained soldiers the Army's have, showing them all aspects, all military occupational skills within the parachute team. We represent everything from your -- we have an air traffic controller, a cook, all the way up to your special forces and your Rangers, as well as a dental hygienist. We even have a dental hygienist on the team.
NOVAK: So you don't necessarily come from the 82nd Airborne, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
VAN SOELEN: Some come from the 82nd. Some come from the special forces group. I came from the Ranger Battalion. Bob came from the special forces community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came from the joint community, actually, down in Florida.
NOVAK: Do you find a lot of young people see you and they say, Boy, I would like to do that, like to get in the Army?
VAN SOELEN: Well, we hope so, we hope so. Because we want to show them that the -- a career in the United States Army is not only one where you are going to be challenged. We have more computers than IBM right now. We need smart soldiers, we need professional soldiers, we need fit soldiers. And that's what we're trying to get.
We are trying to reach out to those people who want to be challenged and are looking for some adventure, some money, some travel, and everything that's associated with the United States military.
NOVAK: How much competition is there to get on the team?
VAN SOELEN: Well, I'll be honest with you. We get about 80 (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from the entire Army. It's open to all active duty military, enlisted. Unlike the jet team, the United States Army parachute team is comprised completely of noncommissioned officers. That's why it runs so well. We take applications from all over the Army...
NOVAK: You can't get in if you're an officer?
VAN SOELEN: Well, our commander, obviously, is an officer, an executive officer and an operations officer. But the actual operators are all enlisted military.
NOVAK: Now, how do you -- how does a civilian get to have the thrill that I just had?
VAN SOELEN: Well, you're Bob Novak. What more can I say? That's all it took, right there, right?
NOVAK: Now, am I little too old for this? I'm 73 years old.
VAN SOELEN: You did an outstanding job. Well, you've got to take a break. But you know what? I enjoyed the break, too. I wish all my tandem students would let me take a break here on the job zone.
NOVAK: Billy, thank you very much.
VAN SOELEN: No, no, thank you, Bob. It was a pleasure just taking you for a jump.
NOVAK: Thank you.
VAN SOELEN: And I got to say, welcome to the sport.
NOVAK: It's terrific.
VAN SOELEN: You're a sky diver. You're a 1-percenter.
NOVAK: It may, it may, it may begin my, begin and end my skydiving career in one day. It was a great experience. I wish everybody could do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you do it again, Bob?
CHOI: I don't think I've seen him smile that big. Well, he was free-falling. My goodness. But I have to say, I don't think yellow is his color.
ROBERTS: You never know.
All right, treating those wounded in war. Ahead, a rare look inside Landstuhl Hospital, where the mission is to repair injuries and renew spirit, when CNN SATURDAY MORNING continues.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: You know, Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Brown versus the Board of Education ruling making it illegal to segregate schools.
But now, five decades later, many African-Americans are choosing to live in separate neighborhoods with separate schools.
Tomorrow on CNN SUNDAY, we're going to talk to people who made that decision and ask them if they would do it again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted my kids to get this African-American experience. And it was worth that, that I did that, because they had never experienced it. But at the same time, they needed it. But if I had to do it over again, I would rather them to be -- live in diversified community.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I wouldn't change a thing. I think it's important that you recognize what your children are lacking, and then, as a parent, you make sure that they have those experiences and exposures that prepare them to be productive citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
ROBERTS: Some differences of opinion in a thought-provoking discussion. That's tomorrow on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
CHOI: Many U.S. service men and women wounded in Iraq are airlifted to a U.S. hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. With the recent surge in violence, it has been overwhelming for the medical staff there.
CNN's Beth Nissen with more on how the staff and the troops are coping.
BETH NISSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The number of sick and wounded troops arriving at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is at a six-month high. In the month of April alone, more than a thousand were medevaced here from downrange in Iraq.
COL. RHONDA CORNUM, COMMANDER, LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: We are busy. We're very busy. This is the new normal. So being very is the new normal here.
NISSEN: Part of the new normal, a sharp increase in the number of medevaced troops with battle injuries, from 20 percent to more than 50 percent.
LT. COL. RONALD PLACE, CHIEF OF SURGERY, LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: We're seeing a large increase in improvised explosive device-type wounds, fragment wounds, that are just open, jagged, ragged wounds.
MAJ. GEN. JIM MILBURN, CHAPLAIN: We have seen amputees, we've seen lots of burn patients, badly burned patients.
1ST LT. TINA HALL, POST-ANESTHESIA CARE UNIT: Lots of broken bones. Sometimes both legs are broken, sometime one leg may be broken and may have suffered an amputation on the other leg.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ICU.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ICU.
NISSEN: The surge in serious injuries reflects the escalation in fighting in Fallujah and Najaf, and what seems to be a change in insurgents' tactics.
CORNUM: Unfortunately, the enemy has recognized that our body armor is really quite good, and I think they're, instead of aiming for the chest or the torso, where they know they can't be very effective, they're probably aiming at the head and neck.
NISSEN: Many patients have head injuries, eye injuries. Shrapnel from a grenade blast damaged Corporal Joshua Carpenter's right eyeball.
CPL. JOSHUA CARPENTER: Best case is, I'll be back to 20/20. Worst case is, I won't be able to see.
NISSEN: Shrapnel from the same grenade blast also hit Lance Corporal Brian Kernut (ph) in the legs and chest, cut nerves in his face, sliced into his neck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very close to my jugular vein (UNINTELLIGIBLE). At the time, I thought it did, because I had my hand on my neck, and it was squirting through my fingers.
NISSEN: Like most of the seriously injured, he has vivid flashbacks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can remember the screaming, you know. I remember seeing what I saw when I first opened my eyes.
NISSEN (on camera): What was that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw another Marine looking at his arm, screaming really loud.
NISSEN (voice-over): That Marine was Lance Corporal Zack Kincannon (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a loud pop. And I looked over to my left and seen that my arm was dangling. I didn't think I was going to make it.
NISSEN: He made it to Landstuhl, but his lower arm was too mangled to reattach. Surgeons here had to amputate just below the elbow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a convoy that got hit?
NISSEN: It is hard for Landstuhl's corps of doctors and nurses to see so many, so young, with such serious injuries.
PLACE: While they are still here, while things are still fresh, typically, the reality of the situation hasn't set in yet. They are so young, many of them don't really get it that they are hurt this bad.
NISSEN: It is hard for nonmedical staff too, for the orderlies and the chaplains who meet every group of new patients bused from medevac flights that land at nearby Ramstein Air Force Base.
(on camera): What has been the hardest for you personally?
MILBURN: Probably unplugging machines with some of the young men when they are not going to make it, and to sit there with Mom and Dad or a wife while they pass away. That's very difficult, heart- wrenching. Heart-wrenching.
NISSEN (voice-over): Those heart-wrenchings are rare. More than 14,000 troops, the injured and the sick, have been treated at Landstuhl since the start of the war. Only eight have died here.
Doctors say the high survival rate is due in large part to the patients themselves, their resilience, their dedication.
CORNUM: We have a generally young population who can tolerate an unbelievable amount of trauma and still will just fight to make it.
NISSEN: For hospital staff, the mission is clear. Stay ready for incoming wounded in any number, with any injuries. Stay ready for the next six weeks, six months, two years -- the new normal.
Beth Nissen, CNN, Landstuhl, Germany.
ROBERTS: Welcome back, everybody. One last check of the weather before we take off today.
CHOI: And here is Miss Jacqui Jeras with that. Hi, Jacqui.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi.
We've got some changes on the way across parts of the West, first time in a long time you see our storm system here already moving onshore, bringing in some scattered cloudiness, but it looks like the rain is going to hold off until late this afternoon and into tonight.
Marine layer settling in a little bit across the southern coast of California. We have a live picture for you from downtown Los, the Angeles. Look between those buildings and you can see a little bit of that low-level clouds and fogginess.
It's 63 and 63 for your temperature and dew point, so you know you've got a little fog across the area, kind of patchy. Should be breaking up. Looking for a high around 80 degrees, we think, downtown, and about 73 at LAX, at the airport.
Across the rest of the nation for today, we're going to see some pretty nice weather overall, not really anticipating anything severe. But we will see some showers and isolated thunderstorms across the lower Mississippi River Valley, heading up toward the Great Lakes, and some of the rain down here is going to be kind of heavy, two to four inches possible into southeastern parts of Louisiana.
Forecast, then, for today if you are traveling should be great across much of Florida. Threat of rip currents, though, especially along the Atlantic beaches.
Fog this morning in New York, breaking away to some sunshine in the afternoon, with the high around 86 degrees. Kind of a washout for you, unfortunately, in Cincinnati, 61 degrees with rain also across Nashville. Should be drying up this afternoon for you in Memphis.
Nice day in Denver, 70 degrees, and mostly sunny skies. Here's that afternoon rain into the Pacific Northwest. Nothing but sunshine across the Southwest. Seventy-three degrees in San Diego and across the southern Plains states.
Of course, we've been dealing with a flooding problem here leer the last couple of days. Looking a lot better, much dryer weather for you. But all that flooding rain, unfortunately, pushing eastward, so use a lot of caution in traveling across the South for today. Don't drive over any water-covered roads.
Sophia, Thomas, back to you guys.
ROBERTS: OK, Jacqui, thanks so much. We'll talk again soon.
CHOI: Thanks, Jacqui.
And checking the headlines now, out of Iraq, a rocket attack inside Baghdad's green zone today slightly wounded one soldier and one civilian. The green zone, by the way, is the high-security area of the capital, where the Coalition Authority has its headquarters.
And in Mosul, a rocket or a mortar hit a group of Iraqis outside an army recruiting station. At least four recruits were killed, and 15 others wounded.
Well, are you fuming over the price of gas? If so, you are not alone. Here's what some of you think.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that there's a lot of political reasons, I think, right now in the Middle East. There's a natural scaredness about the prices and the supply, and I think there's a lot of politics going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I definitely agree. The war definitely has something to do with it. You know, it's a presidential election year. The war is going on. Prices are going up. And people are going to be making decisions on the future of this company -- or country, excuse me, by, you know, what is going on with gas prices and the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
ROBERTS: OK, so all morning long, you know, we have been asking for your thoughts about our e-mail question of the day, What do you think is driving the high price of oil and gas?
CHOI: And John B. says, "You're asking the wrong question if you want to learn what is driving up the price of gasoline, you need to ask, Who is making the unwarranted huge profits from the high cost of gasoline? Hint -- it is not the Saudis."
ROBERTS: OK, another one coming in to us today, this one saying, "Although we want to blame the high prices on government or OPEC or some big, bad group, just look at the cars on the road. All of those SUVs" -- we'll have to bleep out the thing before "SUVs" -- "are guzzling so much, it drives up demand. And many of them are commuter cars for one person. Let's look in the mirror before blaming everyone else."
That's coming to us from Ken in New Jersey.
CHOI: He makes a good point, with Humvee sales going out the roof these days, you know?
ROBERTS: Absolutely. And I think, was it before, it's about the national average is going to be over $2 coming up next month for everybody.
CHOI: Yes, and already...
ROBERTS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Southern California feeling that.
CHOI: Yes, premium prices in California, over $4. Unbelievable, unbelievable.
ROBERTS: We appreciate everybody taking time to e-mail us today. And everybody stay with us. You know, there's still plenty more ahead right here on CNN.
Up next is "ON THE STORY." Barbara Starr has more on the fallout from the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. And Kelly Wallace is going to bring us up to speed on the campaign trail.
Then at 11:00 a.m., "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS" has a special profile of your favorite shock jock, Howard Stern. See what drives the radio star to push the envelope. And then "CNN LIVE SATURDAY," that comes your way at high noon with a look at the training given to military police and their rules for engagement.
So stay with us for that. Little outlook for you today on CNN.
CHOI: But for us it's goodbye. We are through...
ROBERTS: It is goodbye.
CHOI: ... for the day. We sure do appreciate you stopping by and checking in on us.
ROBERTS: We do. I'm Thomas Roberts. See everybody tomorrow morning. We'll be back.
CHOI: I'm Sophia Choi. See you then. Bye-bye. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com