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Bush: Iraqi Elections Will Go On As Scheduled

Aired December 2, 2004 - 22:00   ET


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again.
Truth, somehow, has become a theme of the week. Last night we looked at truths and untruths and exaggerations coming from the Pentagon in a time of war.

Tonight we look at truths and untruths and exaggeration coming from teachers to kids on the subject of sex. Sex, however, will have to wait, which is not bad advice for kids, frankly.

We begin again with the challenges of other young men and women and what they face in an effort to bring peace to Iraq.

And tonight, the story boils down to determination, determination on the ground and at the highest level, and what it takes on the ground to see it through.

The president underscored that determination today. Elections in Iraq must take place as planned, on schedule, that despite the many obstacles, and there are many indeed. Also despite the calls from more than a dozen Iraqi political parties that the elections be delayed.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The elections should not be postponed. It's time for the Iraqi citizens to go to the polls. And that's why we were very firm on the January 30 date.


BROWN: To provide security, troop levels will reach 150,000. Some of those troops will be assigned to rapid reaction squads near potential hot spots, a development that visiting senators from both parties called welcome, but one senator, Democrat Joe Biden of Delaware, also called long overdue.

The president, he said, as he has said many times before, should have leveled with the American people long ago about what it would take and what it will take.

Meanwhile, mortar shells again rained down on Baghdad today, at least five of them landing, at the phone company, at technical college, a restaurant, and elsewhere. At least one person killed in the city. An American soldier died today in Mosul. And back in Baghdad, the American embassy has barred personnel from traveling the main road from the green zone to the airport in Baghdad because of the ambushes lately. The road to the airport has become one of the most dangerous in and around the capital.

The airport road is what the defense secretary would call a known known. Falluja, on the other hand, is a known unknown. Troops now patrol the city. Only a few thousand residents have been allowed to return. There are plans to help them rebuild when they do, and plans to reimburse them for their losses, and more besides.

There is that, and it's a lot. There is also the unknown, and for now that may be the greater concern.

Reporting tonight, CNN's Jane Arraf.


JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Flags normally mean peaceful intentions. But for U.S. Marines in Falluja, they're a warning sign. In this new, more complicated phase of the battle, gunmen carrying white flags have killed Marines here, they say.

COL. CRAIG TUCKER, U.S. MARINE CORPS: An enemy who's willing to murder under the guise of a white flag, willing to shoot, as we've had happen two times here, civilians waiting in line to receive food, enemies willing to shoot RPGs at a mosque, we're handing out humanitarian assistance, who's willing to blow up or -- and place suicide bombers against crowded civilian areas, is a, is certainly going to probably to use the people of Falluja when they come back in the cities, both targets and as his own protection.

ARRAF: For the Marines, even though the intense fighting is over, a day with no one killed here is a good day.

In a 72-hour sweep this week in central Falluja, the 1st Battalion, 3rd Regiment's Bravo Company found foreign fighters and masses of weapons, including guns, over 300 tank mines, and 3,000 rockets.

CAPT. READ MOHANDRO, U.S. MARINE CORPS: They've been hiding a lot of weapons inside the houses. We've even found weapons sewn into the couches that we've had to pull out. Ventilation systems, sewage systems. They've been using a lot of the septic tank systems to stockpile weapons.

ARRAF: With civilians set to come back to a nearly empty city, it will be even easier for insurgents to hide.

After continued attacks, authorities last week reimposed a complete curfew all over Falluja. They've been rounding up military- age men for questioning, like this 13-year-old's dad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he ask about his father (UNINTELLIGIBLE), where is his father? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His father is still in the detention facility.

ARRAF: These young men, found outside their homes during curfew, are being held at this Red Crescent office until the Marines figure out whether they're a threat.

LT. COL. MIKE RAMOE, U.S. MARINE CORPS: We're trying to identify who's good and who's bad. But sometimes the answers are a little bit elusive.

ARRAF: To try to weed out the enemy, the Marines and their Iraqi counterparts are questioning men between the age of 15 and 55 found breaking curfew. These ones are undergoing an iris exam, fingerprints, and being checked against a database. Those released are given the choice of being taken home or escorted outside the city.

"Anywhere," says this young man, when we asked him where he wants to go. "Anywhere outside Falluja."

It could be weeks before water and electricity are restored and the city is safe enough for civilians to return to Falluja. When they do, maintaining security here will become even more complicated.


ARRAF: This is the most difficult kind of war to fight, in this urban environment. There are no front lines. The enemy fighting against U.S. forces doesn't wear a uniform. And Marine officials are worried that, as civilians start to come back, insurgents will come back with them as well, Aaron.

BROWN: Is there is a process, or what will the process be, deciding who gets to come back, and when they get to come back?

ARRAF: When they get to come back is kind of a complicated decision. Officially, it's the Iraqi government. But the military obviously has a big say in that.

And right now, what they're worried about, Aaron, is not just safety, the fact that there are still scattered attacks going on in some neighborhoods. It's health issues as well. There are huge areas of standing water here. They're worried about disease. The running water isn't back up yet. The electricity isn't back up. We met one family that said they wanted to leave simply because they hadn't bathed in a week, and they couldn't stand it anymore.

So until all that's restored, we won't see civilians coming back here in any big numbers, Aaron.

BROWN: Jane, thank you. Jane Arraf, Falluja.

Excuse me.

Once again tonight, many of the young Americans fighting in Iraq are also students, called up from their studies to face the unknowns of war. National Guard estimates that college students make up about 20 percent of its ranks.

War changes soldiers, it is famously said. This is the story at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, where 200 students have been deployed to Iraq, and some have now come home.


SGT. BRANDON ERICKSON, NORTH DAKOTA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: It's so weird to come back here to Grand Forks after leaving Iraq. I still was in a military mindset. But then to come back here to campus, you know, where everything's just kind of free going, the only thing you got to plan for the weekend is where the big party's at, you know, and when midterms are in.

SGT. JOE BLAKER, NORTH DAKOTA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: It's really just -- My first semester was tough. Everybody in your unit, you were good friends with. You could talk to anybody. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you walk through the halls here, you walk down the streets here, and everybody's a stranger. And Brandon is just, I mean, it's fantastic having him here. He kind of fulfills what I lost when I originally got back. The closeness that I had with a few of the guys over there in particular, he makes up for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the guys who's an ex-budsman in your unit.

ERICKSON: There is no way that I'd ever thought that we'd be 23 years old, sharing war stories about what we did in the foreign war. We were en route from Balad to Ramadi, and we were ambushed, one side of the road was IED and RPGs from some insurgents, and I took an RPGE in the side of the door. And when that RPG hit the door, it, you know, they're guessing it hit my elbow perfectly on and smashed it.

So I lost my arm. And my driver, John Fedeg (ph), was killed. That's the one hard part of that about that day. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) two of us were in that truck, only one walked way from it.

BOB BOYD, VICE PRESIDENT, STUDENT SERVICES, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA: This is not something we just see on television, but this actually happened to one of our own.

The University of North Dakota has approximately 200 students that have been deployed to Iraq. Most of them have been put in harm's way, in ways that most of us will never have to experience. It comes home to our students that part of our community is in Iraq, helping all of us stay safe. All we can do is be supportive of it, welcome them back. And we work really hard to make that happen.


ERICKSON: People's reaction to me has been really good. I've never had anybody ask me, Well, did you think you did the right thing? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) every person, the first thing they say is, Thank you. It's so great. Because it's like, Oh, my God, you lost your arm in Iraq? Oh, well, thank you, you know, and I'll get, you know, a thousand thank-yous. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, does everybody have a copy of the take-home midterm?

ERICKSON: Some days are tougher, though. And I noticed I had a little a tougher spell than the summer, you know, when school was starting back up, you know, writing, handwriting is just tough. Because, you know, you -- took me 23 years to learn how to write with my right hand, and I was finally getting it to be legible. And here now I got to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) my left hand.

But it's -- definitely, it's tough emotionally. You know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just not the same person, and my life will be different. Physically, I'm, you know, wearing my prosthesis, people really can't tell.

I think the experience has aged me. In my own way, I've learned that what's important and what's not, and where I'm going to go in life. I feel lucky. Yes, I lost an arm, but I'm still here. I mean, you know, there's John, you know, and he's not here anymore. And he had a wife.

And, you know, I just don't understand, when the attack came from my side, why I was allowed to survive it and he wasn't. You know, I just, I don't think it's fair, you know. But I think about it a lot. It's always there. It's not something I don't ever want to ever forget it either, because it's changed my life.


BROWN: Soldier's story out of Grand Forks, North Dakota, tonight.

Ahead on the program, in a word, sex. Nothing simple about that. Never was, never will be. First, a patch that could make a world of difference to a lot of women.


ROSLYN WASHINGTON, SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND: It was a notable, noticeable increase in, you know, my sexual desire. Just physically and mentally, I just felt great.


BROWN: Feeling good may not be enough. The FDA with questions about safety. And it says the patch's maker doesn't yet have all the answers. Take a look at that.

And later, sex education. Are federally funded programs spreading unjustified fears just to get kids to say no to sex?

A break first from New York. This is NEWSNIGHT.


BROWN: In a unanimous opinion today, an FDA advisory committee said a testosterone patch for women designed to restore libido should not be approved until more studies are done on the risks of it. If approved, the patch would be the first drug to treat the loss of sex drive in women. But how well the drug actually works is the matter of considerable debate.

Here's CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roslyn Washington is convinced that the solution to her less-than-satisfying sex life was a testosterone patch. She was part of a study on the patch in women with sexual dysfunction.

ROSLYN WASHINGTON, SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND: It was a notable -- noticeable increase in, you know, my sexual desire. Just physically and mentally, I just felt great.

COHEN: But others don't appear to be quite so impressed. Thursday, an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration said more safety data should be required before the patch is allowed on the market.

The manufacturer, Procter and Gamble, says it's not aware of any safety problems. The panel raised concerns that other hormones given to postmenopausal women like Washington have been associated with higher rates of heart disease and cancer. Also, it appears the FDA isn't so sure how well the patch works.

In a memo, the agency stated, "It's not clear that the differences between the patch and a placebo are clinically meaningful." Specifically, the FDA noted that in a four-week period, women who used the testosterone patch had just one more satisfying sexual event compared to women not using the patch.

But a researcher who worked on a study on the Intrinsa patch says numbers aren't what counts, it's how a woman feels.

DR. JIM SIMON, WOMEN'S HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER: In the studies, it's very clear that women using the testosterone patches felt sexier, felt better about their sexual life, felt better about themselves in general, and about their relationships.

COHEN: If the FDA does end up approving Intrinsa, it will only be for women who have had their ovaries removed. Women who aren't in that category may need to look elsewhere for other solutions.


COHEN: There's another concern that women and possibly their doctors would see this patch as the female Viagra. It would become overprescribed, potentially causing even more safety concerns, Aaron.

BROWN: What are the safety issues, then?

COHEN: Well, the safety issues that the FDA talked about mostly were long-term issues. If you remember, the hormone replacement therapy for women, that got a lot of attention, because long term it really hadn't been studied as it should have been, and it turns out that it seemed to be causing heart problems and cancer. So the FDA was saying, Whoa, let's hold on a second. What does this stuff do long term?

BROWN: That was estrogen, right?

COHEN: That was estrogen and estrogen and progestin combined.

BROWN: And are they similar enough that the concerns would be similar enough?

COHEN: It's not so much that they're similar enough, it's just that they're both hormone therapies. And women would be taking this, they'd be taking it postmenopausally. They could be using this patch for years and years. And it's just unknown where all of that can go.

Also, I alluded to the fact that this could be overprescribed. The women who had their ovaries removed, they have very low testosterone levels. So they're taking the patch to kind of get it up to normal. What if a woman with normal testosterone levels walked into a doctor's office and said, Hey, I want to try this patch too, I'm not happy with my sex life, and convinces the doctor to prescribe it?

You've then taken a woman with normal testosterone levels and upped those levels. What does that do to her? Well, that's kind of unknown territory at this point.

BROWN: The next thing, people will be doing recreational Viagra.

Thank you, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks.

BROWN: Elizabeth Cohen in Atlanta tonight.

BROWN: The other end of the sex line, if you will, there is this. Since 2001, Congress has spent roughly $900 million on teaching kids to say no to sex before marriage. Abstinence is the only message the federal government will pay for, which is a story unto itself.

The story here, though, involves something else. Are kids, in an effort to keep them from having have sex at a young age, a worthy goal, to be sure, being told the truth about the consequences?

A report by congressional Democrats finds some kids are not in more than two dozen states.

Here's CNN's Joe Johns.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats looked at 11 curricula used in 25 states, and found, quote, "false, misleading, or distorted information."

Among the alleged errors cited, repeated use of a disputed study showing condoms failed to prevent HIV 31 percent of the time in heterosexual sex, which government researchers have shot down, a claim that mutual masturbation can lead to pregnancy, a theoretical possibility at best, and a claim that up to 10 percent of women who have abortions will be sterile. There's no evidence for that.

WILLIAM SMITH, SEXUALITY INFORMATION AND EDUCATION COUNCIL: These programs are completely out of control. They're using millions of taxpayer dollars to provide medical misinformation, to use fear and shame-based messages, in an effort to convince young people to change their behavior...

JOHNS: Abstinence-only education programs teach kids and teens that the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and avoid catching diseases is not to have sex. Some kids who are in the programs, like these Washington, D.C., students, say they work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This program helps us to make the right decisions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It also teaches us how to be a man.

JOHNS: One publisher of abstinence-only material says the congressional report is misleading and full of inaccuracies and gross generalizations.

BRUCE COOK, PUBLISHER, "CHOOSING THE BEST": He totally ignored studies that show abstinence education truly works and reduces the initiation of teen sex.

JOHNS: But the president of a 22-city abstinence program says she wishes other groups had been more careful.

ELAYNE BENNETT, PRESIDENT, BEST FRIENDS: You really don't need to indulge in some of this -- in some of these scare tactics. It's not necessary. There's enough very solid information out there.

JOHNS (on camera): The Democrats claim many of the programs are run by religious organizations with a conservative moral agenda. The report says that in some cases, the groups offered moral judgments and religious teachings as scientific fact.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


BROWN: We're joined from Austin, Texas, tonight by Dr. Patsy Sulak. Dr. Sulak is an OB-GYN, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M's College of Medicine. She's also the founder of an abstinence program directed at middle and high school students.

We're glad to see you, doctor, thank you.

DR. PATSY SULAK, TEXAS A&M COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: It's good to be here, Aaron.

BROWN: You know, part of the -- there are so many, I think, as a parent, complications in all of this. But can I offer a thought here, which is that no matter what you guys teach or those guys teach, what I teach and my wife teach to my kids probably more important than any of it?

SULAK: Aaron, there's 100 percent fact in what you said. Parents are the biggest and the most important educators of children as far as sex education.

BROWN: And so, perhaps as a guide to parents, do we know what works and what doesn't work? Or do we even know what it means to say what works?

SULAK: Well, a lot of studies have been done on sex education programs. And, you know, getting, you know, why this is a hot topic today, of course, is because of the paper that came out by Representative Waxman. And I did review that report. And while there were some inaccuracies, definite inaccuracies that they found in some of the abstinence sex education programs, accuracies which we would make sure were not ever in our program, there were several points to make from the report.

First of all, there were -- I was impressed how a lot of things were taken out of context in that report. We actually checked on some of the, quote, "facts" that they had, and they were totally taken out of context. And some of the things that they had in there were very debatable. Some of these things we're debating in medicine right now, on how effective condoms are in preventing HPV.

But what struck me the most was the limited inaccuracies that they found after reviewing thousands of pages of abstinence sex education curriculum. They came up with this one little report. And as a contraceptive researcher who has also reviewed comprehensive sex education programs, I found many more accuracies.

BROWN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just focus a little bit on a couple of things. Maybe this is self-evident, but the -- whether you're lying a little or exaggerating a little or lying a lot and whether both sides do it both sides do it or both sides don't do it is neither here nor there. There is a danger to lying to kids, because, it seems to me, because kids aren't dumb. They figure it out.

SULAK: You're exactly right. And I think for in, what's important for all sex education programs to do, abstinence and comprehensive sex education programs, is to make sure that adolescents understand that having sex is not a healthy behavior, it's a health risk behavior. And that's clearly defined by the Center for Disease Control, and it's supported in all of the medical literature.

So all programs should be clearly defining adolescents having sex as a health risk behavior. And this is coming from a contraceptive researcher, which is really where I spend most of my time. And while abstinence sex programs, I think, make that clearly by support the facts, sometimes safe sex is almost offered as an equal alternative to abstinence in some programs.

BROWN: You know, I, I, I, I suspect that all -- virtually all parents, and you can always find an exception, so I can never say all parents, but for the most part, parents want their kids to delay sexual activities as long as they can, until they can deal with it, and we can argue about it, I suppose, what deal with it means.

SULAK: Oh, Aaron...

BROWN: Is it not reasonable that both an abstinence program and a (UNINTELLIGIBLE), well, you describe it as a comprehensive program, can teach the kids the skills they need to say no, if that's the simple way to put it?

SULAK: Well, Aaron, I think you're right. I have no problem with talking to kids about contraception. I want both of my boys to know about everything, what birth control pills are, know about nuclear science, to know about these things. The problem I have with some sex education programs is, they present information about contraception that's not factual.

Oftentimes the efficacy rates of these contraceptive methods are overexaggerated, and the teens are given, like, say a quote of oral contraceptives, birth control pills, as being 99 percent effective. I don't know of any study in teenager that ever found birth control pills to be 99 percent effective in teenagers.

Plus, what really bothers me is that they really don't state some of the facts about contraceptives, like birth control pills, the injections, and the birth control pill patch. They provide zero protection from STDs. So if you're going to talk to kids about contraception, you need to say, By the way, here is the failure rate, if used perfectly, used typically, and here's the failure rate in most studies of teenagers. And by the way, here's what birth control pills don't do.


SULAK: Here's what the patch doesn't do. And that's what the problem I have is, that even comprehensive programs seem to leave out a lot of facts.

BROWN: Doctor, good to have you with us tonight. Nicely presented, thank you.

SULAK: Oh, it's nice to be here. Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you.

Still to come on the program tonight, the steroid scandal and what a big-name baseball player, the Yankees' Jason Giambi, reportedly told a federal grand jury in San Francisco about what he took and where he got it.

And later, the people living with what for us may be only a distant memory, if that, by now. Tonight we remember Bhopal 20 years later.



BROWN: An editorial the other day called Tom Ridge the country's best secretary of Homeland Security, until the next one comes along.

Well, tonight, the next one has. And his job may be even tougher, not just because of what this editorial or that may say about him when he moves on.

From the White House tonight, correspondent Elaine Quijano.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was the face of the New York City Police force on September 11 and in the days after.

Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik will be President Bush's nominee to head up the home Homeland Security Department. A White House official calls Kerik a proven crisis manager with credibility and a firsthand understanding of the war on terror. In Kerik, the president finds a strong supporter of the administration's strategy in fighting terrorism.

BERNARD KERIK, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: We must stand firm, stay preemptive and never believe for one minute that this war is over.

QUIJANO: Kerik lent his support to the president's reelection bid, briefly joining Mr. Bush on the campaign trail in New Jersey.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm proud to have been standing on the stage with Bernie Kerik.


BUSH: He knows something about security. He's lived security all his life.

QUIJANO: If confirmed by the Senate, Kerik will face a daunting task, to protect the homeland by overseeing and coordinating more than 180,000 federal employees, responsible for everything from border security to immigration to airline screening.

This will not be the first time the White House has asked Kerik to serve. Last year, at the president's request, Kerik traveled to Iraq to help train the new Iraqi police force. Despite his loyalty to the White House, some Democrats are already praising the president's choice.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: He will make a strong argument, I believe, that we need to do more on homeland security. And I think he won't win every argument, but he'll succeed in a lot of them.

QUIJANO (on camera): A senior administration official says former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, on two separate occasions, made pitches to the White House on Kerik's behalf. The president is expected to formally announce Kerik's nomination tomorrow.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, the White House.


BROWN: Other changes to mention tonight. John Danforth today said he's resigning as the ambassador to the United Nations. Mr. Danforth said he wants to spend more time with his wife back home in Saint Louis. He'll leave his post on the 20th of next month after only about seven months on the job.

Separately, the president today sidestepped the question of whether Kofi Annan should step down as secretary-general in connection with the U.N. oil-for-food scandal. Norm Coleman, the Republican senator from Minnesota, says Secretary Annan should quit because the most excessive fraud in U.N. history took place on his watch, according to Senator Coleman.

A quick look at a few other stories that made news around the country today. Updating the story we reported last night, Reverend Irene Elizabeth Stroud lost her fight with the United Methodist Church today, the church finding her guilty of violating church laws that prohibit homosexuals from being ministers. Reverend Stroud has been defrocked, but can stay and work at her church as a layperson.

Six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is trying to stop people from selling the replicas of now his famous "Live Strong" yellow bracelets. Several counterfeits have reportedly been found in stores in Boston. They're all over the Internet, too. Money from the real bracelets go to a charity for cancer survivors.

And the curse of the Bambino may be over, but he's still hitting them out of the park. At least, his bat is. This piece of lumber Babe Ruth used to swat his first home run at Yankee Stadium 81 years ago was auctioned off in New York City. It sold for $1.3 million.

Consider this about the first man to break the Babe's record of 60 home runs in a season. Roger Maris hit 61, but in a season eight games longer. So Maris is remembered for the but, for the asterisk, almost a mark of honor in a game so steeped in numbers it would count the blades of grass in an outfield if it could, honorable, though not always.

Ask Pete Rose or any number of athletes now caught up in a criminal investigation of steroid use. Today, the grand jury testimony of a pretty big name hit the papers.

The story from CNN's Frank Buckley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jason Giambi reportedly told a San Francisco grand jury that, prior to and during the 2000 season, he took several different steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. "The San Francisco Chronicle," which reviewed Giambi's secret testimony, said Giambi was granted immunity, and he identified Greg Anderson as his alleged steroid source.

Anderson is currently charged, along with three other men, with conspiracy, money laundering and illegally distributing steroids as part of the federal investigation into BALCO, a firm that provided nutritional help to top athletes. Anderson was a weight trainer who worked with home run hitter Barry Bonds. And Giambi told the grand jury that's what attracted him to Anderson.

"So I started to ask him, hey, what are things you're doing with Barry?" Bonds has consistently denied using steroids. And trainer Greg Anderson's attorney told CNN that his client never knowingly provided illegal substances to anyone. Giambi has also denied using steroids. Now Giambi's apparent admission is sure to inspire critics of Major League Baseball's drug policy, which they say is easy to thwart.

MARK FAINARU-WADA, "THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE": One expert in the area called the testing program last year an I.Q. test, as opposed to a steroids test.

BUCKLEY: Baseball commissioner Bud Selig plans to speak with Giambi as he pushes for tougher steroid penalties.

BUD SELIG, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COMMISSIONER: I'm going to leave no stone unturned until we have that policy in place by spring training of next year.

BUCKLEY: A representative for Jason Giambi said the slugger had no comment.

Frank Buckley, CNN, Los Angeles.


BROWN: Still to come tonight, perceptions of war, how a photograph can change the way people think and feel about what soldiers do sometimes.

And perceptions of tomorrow tonight -- morning papers, of course.

Break first. This is NEWSNIGHT.


BROWN: It never ceases to amaze us how a still photo can move people. Those of you old enough to remember Vietnam no doubt remember the shot of a child running down the road, burned in a napalm drop, or the Vietnamese police officer executing a Viet Cong suspect.

Those shots made us look at our war differently. The same thing is happening in Israel today, forcing many in that nation to ask, what is happening to us? What are we becoming?

Here's CNN's Guy Raz.


GUY RAZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An image that shocked a nation, a Palestinian man playing his violin for an Israeli soldier.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This picture of the violin player, the Palestinian playing the violin at the checkpoint, as mild a picture as it is by the standards of -- I mean, compared to the abuses that human rights organizations have documented, has created a crack in the defense mechanisms of Israeli society.

RAZ: The Israeli army and eyewitnesses say the man played the instrument voluntarily. But a member of the Israeli human rights group that filmed the incident said it reminded her of Jews playing violins for German soldiers during World War II.

ANGELA GODFREY GOLDSTEIN, CHECKPOINT WATCH: It reminds me of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in a certain way, people having to perform.

RAZ: The same week, an Israeli newspaper publishes pictures of soldiers posing with the mutilated body of a dead Palestinian militant and the trial begins for an officer charged with unloading his weapon into the corpse of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl.

Israeli human rights activists say the painful images are prompting a sort of national soul searching.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's clear that certain cases resonate with Jewish history, with the collective memory of Israelis and Jews, and for that reason strike a nerve with the Israeli public.

RAZ: A nerve that's prompted outraged headlines and a military clampdown on undisciplined soldiers, including jail time. Now the army is struggling to reiterate its self-defined mission.

CAPT. JACOB DALLAL, IDF SPOKESMAN: It's not only to fight the terrorists. It's also to fight the terrorists in a way in which we retain our purity of arms. And that's an ongoing challenge. And we are facing that challenge with the same determination that we face the challenges of war.

RAZ: Nearly every Israeli citizen is obliged to serve in the army. The army is regarded as the society's backbone and a fighting force which views itself as a moral one.

DALLAL: In the end of the day, when these things happen, the most damage is done to the soldiers and to the Israeli society, because in the end of the day, it's us.

RAZ (on camera): Israelis are taking these incidents very seriously. The army is a mirror of the society. Lately, many Israelis don't like the reflection they're seeing.

Guy Raz, CNN, Jerusalem.



BROWN: Twenty years ago tomorrow, the word Bhopal entered the world's vocabulary. You remember Bhopal, don't you? Maybe not; 20 years is a long time, Bhopal a long ways away. And a lot has happened in those 20 years. It's easy to forget, unless of course you live with it each and every day.

Bhopal 20 years later reported tonight by CNN's Satinder Bindra.


SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're called Bhopal's living dead, people like 21-year-old Ansar Hamed (ph). He can't walk or talk and is completely dependent on his mother.

JABEEN KAUSAR, MOTHER (through translator): I can't say what I feel. I feel that God should take me away right now. Either make my son all right or just kill us all.

BINDRA: Ansar Hamed was just a few months old when tons of highly poisonous methyl isocyanate gas leaked from this Union Carbide- owned fertilizer plant.

Within minutes, thousands died, gasping for breath, screaming for care. Ansar's mother now says those who died were the lucky ones. She shows me pictures from when Ansar was 5. He could stand then. But five years ago, she says he started losing his mental faculties, dropped out of school, and has not said a wore since.

(on camera): Twenty years on, this plant from where the gas leaked has still not been cleaned up. Tons of poisonous chemicals are still lying around, exposed to the environment. And soil samples show other toxic materials have leeched underground, contaminating the water supply.

(voice-over): The government now trucks in fresh water every day. Environmental groups estimate it will cost $30 million to make the site safe again. But Union Carbide says it has no liability to clean up after it paid victims $470 million in an out-of-court settlement in 1989. The company also says what happened here was not an accident, but a deliberate act of sabotage.

TOMM F. SPRICK, UNION CARBIDE: The disgruntled employee who introduced an unusually large amount of water into the tank of methyl isocyanate was responsible for causing the runaway reaction.

BINDRA: A claim the Indian government say is irrelevant. The local government now says it will remove all hazardous waste within a year. Environmentalists complain, it's already too late.

VINUTA GOPAL, GREENPEACE: Something that poisoned and killed so many people continues to poison lives and nobody seems to care is the biggest tragedy.

BINDRA: Ansar Hamed's family says, what's worse is that, despite outstanding criminal warrants, Union Carbide's management still hasn't been brought to trial because the U.S. turned down extradition attempts. If justice isn't delivered, the family says the world may soon have to deal with another Bhopal.

Satinder Bindra, CNN, Bhopal, India.


BROWN: Postscript: In a statement today, Union Carbide defended its actions in the months and years after Bhopal. In it, the company says that all claims were settled 15 years ago with the approval of the Supreme Court of India.

And, in 1994, the plant was sold to another company. Proceeds from that sale, Union Carbide says, are being used to fund a hospital for victims of the tragedy.

Morning papers after the break.



BROWN: OK, there you are. Time to check morning papers from around the country and around the world. Usually, I'm fully prepared to do this segment -- not necessarily tonight.

"The Christian Science Monitor" leads with Iraq. Well, we could argue about that. "Ukraine Awaits Election Deal Details." I'm just fascinated by this story. The Iraq story, "In Iraq, Preelection Power Plays as Parties Haggle Over Candidate Lists. Radical Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr" -- we almost forgot you -- "Fights For a Top Spot." Also, this is a good story. I like this story. "Texas DA Pitted Against the Power of Tom DeLay." This is the guy, Ronnie Earle, who is pressing charges, would like to press charges against one of the most powerful people in the Congress, Tom DeLay of Texas.

"Herald Tribune." New Ukraine Vote Rejected By Putin." Somebody has got to tell him he doesn't get a vote on this, does he? I don't think so. "Annan is Teetering on His Pedestal." Kofi Annan having a lot of issues over there at the U.N. on the East Side of New York. Gets kind of nasty.

Now, "San Antonio Express-News" leads local. "Baghdad Bombardments Continue. Corpus Christi Marine Falls Prey to Iraq Death Blast."

"The Des Moines Register" leads local, too, but kind of had to stretch a bit to do it. "Ex-Iowan Chosen as Agriculture Secretary." This is the governor of Nebraska. We love the paper, anyway. Let's lead local. We'll lead with the Nebraska guy.

"The Atlanta-Journal Constitution." Down here, "Triple Whammy Squeezes Tomatoes." I thought that was pretty clever, too. There's a tomato shortage out there. And if I read the whole article, instead of just the headline, I'll know why that is. "Water on Mars Hints It Has Life," or at least had. That would be cool.

Couple of small-towners. How we doing on time? Thank you.

"Santa Rosa News" out in New Mexico. If you're in the area, you're invited to discuss the proposed zoning changes. That's the big story out there.

"The Lovely County Citizen." It just done get better than that name, and it's a pretty good story. "Stolen Baby Jesus Miraculously Returns." So there you go.

Where to go? Here, at "The Chicago Sun-Times," a very good story on the front page. "Wounded Illinois Veterans at Bottom in U.S. For Benefits. More Injured Soldiers Are Surviving Iraq, But When They Return, They Can Expect to Battle One of the Stingiest V.A. Offices in the Nation," a special report by "The Sun-Times." Good job, you guys. That's a good story.

By the way, the weather in Chicago tomorrow is "pouty."

We'll wrap it up in a moment.


BROWN: Tomorrow night, the author Stephen King joins us. Mr. King doesn't do a lot of television, so it's pretty cool.

Like a lot of New Englanders, Mr. King is a die-hard Red Sox fan. And this past season was magical for him. Unlike most, of course, he can write a great story and, along with co-author Stewart O'Nan, has written about the Sox's magical season in a magical way. The book is called "Faithful."

And Mr. King will be the first of our Friday night conversations.


STEPHEN KING, AUTHOR: Stewart and I heard a lot of stories from a lot of New Englanders, particularly as the season wound up and the Red Sox went to the series and afterward, after the Red Sox had won the series, from New England fans who said: I had this relative who didn't quite live to see it. My mother didn't quite live to see it.

We had a story from a guy who said that he sat in the last game of the World Series with his father's picture because his father died on Christmas Day, a lifelong Red Sox fan who died at the age of 75 and had never seen them win it. So he wanted his father to see it, so he sat there with his dad's picture in the fourth game of the World Series.

And then you realize what it meant to a lot of people to just finally get that monkey off your back. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: So a couple sections with Stephen King in conversation tomorrow and who knows what else as we wind up another week here.

Good to have you with us tonight. We'll see you tomorrow. Good night for all of us at NEWSNIGHT.


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