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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Israeli Forces Enter Lebanon; President Bush's Foreign Policy Failing?; Wildfires Blaze Across Western United States; Arizona Prosecutors Target Polygamists; Rumsfeld Visits Iraq for Inside View of War

Aired July 12, 2006 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: First came the terrorism, now the war -- a fight on two fronts in a battle that could ignite the entire Middle East.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Tanks rolling, bombs falling, Israel moving into Lebanon, the White House putting Iran and Syria on notice -- with 130,000 American troops in the region, we're covering the fighting and the possibility of a much wider war.

Western wildfires -- state after state fighting the flames, but not always winning.

And blowing the whistle on Warren.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An extreme religious zealot that includes being a pervert.

ANNOUNCER: He's an ex-follower of fugitive Warren Jeffs now helping put polygamists behind bars.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Tonight, reporting from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Thanks for joining us.

We begin with two developing stories, really, a massive wildfire burning out of control in California -- the pictures tell the story and the sheer scope of it. This is in the Yucca Valley, about 120 miles east of San Bernardino. Look at those flames and the firefighters trying to beat them back.

The fire has destroyed 30 buildings, burned at least 36,000 acres. There are also evacuations. We will take you to the front lines in a moment.

But tonight's top story: Israel on the brink of another war, a new war that, in one way or another, we are a player in. America's closest ally in the Middle East, Israel, invaded Lebanon today, after the radical Islamic group Hezbollah crossed the border into Israel, killing a number of Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two of them.

In the last several hours, there have been dramatic developments further south. In Palestinian-controlled Gaza, Israeli forces are fighting Palestinian militants there. And today alone, at least 19 Palestinians were killed -- all the angles tonight, including the one that hits home, the White House holding Iran and Syria directly responsible for what it calls today's terrorist operations.

Should America get involved, and, if so, how? And there is a larger issue. With Iran, Iraq, North Korea and now the Middle East, is the president's foreign policy failing?

And a history of violence -- a timetable we will give you of the latest wave of bloodshed, how it began, with the brazen ambush today. We have two correspondents covering the story for us, one on each front of today's battle.

Ben Wedeman is in Gaza.

CNN's John Vause is on the Israeli-Lebanon border. And that is where we begin -- John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, there have been more than 100 Israeli airstrikes today, mostly in southern Lebanon, targeting Hezbollah training camps and buildings. Also, roads and bridges have been bombed.

This assault is by air, sea and land. The head of Israel's Northern Command now says all of Lebanon is a legitimate target. Eight Israeli soldiers have been killed so far, three in the initial attack by Hezbollah guerrillas, in which two Israeli soldiers were taken hostage. Four others were killed when their tank hit an explosive just inside Lebanese territory. Another died by gunfire when he went to their rescue.

Residents here in northern Israel have been forced to take cover inside bomb shelters, after Hezbollah fired dozens of Katyusha rockets and mortars, injuring at least four people. The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, says responsibility for all of this goes way beyond Hezbollah and rests with the Lebanese government, who, he says, has committed an act of war.

And the Israeli cabinet has approved a severe response to punish those responsible for the attacks and the kidnappings -- Anderson.

COOPER: John Vause, thanks for that.

Ben Wedeman is standing by in the other hot spot right now in Gaza.

Ben, what's the latest?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CAIRO BUREAU CHIEF: Well, the latest is, just about three-and-a-half-hours ago, Anderson, we heard a huge blast. This building shook. The power went off. It was an Israeli missile making a direct hit on the Palestinian Foreign Ministry.

That ended Wednesday, which was the bloodiest day in Gaza in more than two years. Now, I have been coming to Gaza for more than 15 years, and I have really never seen things so bad.

At the end of June, the Israelis took out Gaza's only power plant, so there is no electricity most of the time. Without electricity, the water pumps don't run. So, many of the taps are dry. Meanwhile, the Hamas-led government has run out of money, and, therefore, doesn't have enough money, rather, to collect the garbage, which is burning in the street.

Now, opinion here in Gaza is pretty much divided between two schools of thought. There are the hard-liners, who want to continue the confrontation with Israel. Today, some of them were handing out sweets to celebrate news that Hezbollah had captured two Israeli soldiers on the Israel-Lebanon border.

There is another school of thought here that is simply exhausted by years and death and destruction, pandemonium, and hopelessness. Many of them would simply like to move away from here to the other side of the world and don't want to hear the name Gaza again -- Anderson.

COOPER: Hmm, battles within the Palestinian camp and battles between Israelis and Palestinians.

Ben Wedeman, John Vause, we will continue to check in with you throughout the two hours.

It is a fast-developing story here. And no one, frankly, knows how it is going to get resolved. Both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories, of course, are bitter enemies of Israel. Both want to create Muslim Islamic states. Here's the "Raw Data."

The military wing of Hamas is believed to have more than 1,000 active members. Thousands of other Palestinians are supporters and sympathizers. Since 1993, Hamas is believed to have killed more than 500 people in more than 350 attacks. The group also maintains an extensive network of social services in the Palestinian territories.

Hezbollah was founded in 1982, after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Its core consists of several thousand militants and activists. Hezbollah is believed responsible for nearly 200 attacks that have killed more than 800 people. Like Hamas, it operates an extensive network of social services in Lebanon.

Now, we have seen fighting like this before in the Middle East, no doubt about it. But it rarely builds up this quickly. And you heard Ben Wedeman saying he has been going to Gaza for 15 years and has never seen it as bad as this.

Just a few weeks ago, we heard talk of negotiations. That is the irony. Tonight, you can forget about that. And, if there is war, we may know exactly how it was triggered. CNN's Paula Hancocks now has the recent history of violence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): June 25: One Israeli soldier is kidnapped by fighters of the radical Palestinian group Hamas and taken into Gaza. Eighteen days later, two more soldiers are abducted on the Lebanese border by Hezbollah, the Islamic group that controls much of southern Lebanon, eight other soldiers killed.

Suddenly, Israel faces war on two fronts, and maybe more. Even by the standards of the Middle East, the speed of this escalation is startling.

DAN GILLERMAN, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: We certainly consider this as an act of war, as a declaration of war by the Lebanese government on a sovereign state. Israel has totally withdrawn from Lebanon over six years ago. There is absolutely no reason for forces from Lebanon, whoever they are, to make incursions into Israel, to attack Israel, and to kidnap our soldiers.

HANCOCKS: In both Gaza and Lebanon, Israel's reaction to the killing and abduction of its soldiers has been to hit back, hard.

Since Corporal Gilad Shalit was seized, and two Israeli soldiers killed on the border with Gaza in late June, at least 80 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli incursions and airstrikes, police, militants and civilians. Lebanon may now face the same overwhelming violence, though it says it has no control over events on its southern border.

Israel's chief of staff, Dan Halutz, has threatened to turn the country back 20 years, destroying its infrastructure and targeting Hezbollah camps.

EHUD OLMERT, ISRAELI VICE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): There are elements from the south and north who are threatening our stability and who are trying to test our resolve. They will fail and all pay a heavy price for their actions.

HANCOCKS: The soldier is sacrosanct in Israeli society. Military service is obligatory. Every Israeli knows someone in the army. The government has pledged to do whatever it takes to bring their own home, short of negotiating a prisoner swap. But both Hamas and Hezbollah seem determined to achieve just that.

HASSAN NASRALLAH, HEZBOLLAH LEADER (through translator): No one in the whole universe can get them home without indirect negotiation and prisoner swap. If the Israelis think that, through military action, they will get the prisoners, then they are delusional.

HANCOCKS: Raising the stakes, Israel holds the governments of Lebanon, Syria and Iran responsible for the militants' actions.

GIDEON MEIR, ISRAELI SENIOR FOREIGN MINISTER OFFICIAL: We're witnessing two terror -- or three terror organizations, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah, actually cooperating, with the -- with the blessing of Damascus and Tehran. Actually, what we are witnessing is the "Hezbollization" of the Gaza Strip.

HANCOCKS: Amid the fighting, it is unclear whether there are any talks ongoing behind the scenes.

(on camera): Israel insists it will not negotiate with either Hamas or Hezbollah. But, in this region, back channels are always open -- the challenge for both sides, to find a formula that lets each save face, before the violence spirals out of control.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And it could be already spiraling -- spiraling out of control.

I spoke to two experts, Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel. He's the director of the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. I also spoke with Bob Baer, a former CIA officer based in Lebanon, author of the book "Blow the House Down."

Both joined me earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Bob, why do you think Hezbollah has acted now?

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: I think it is at the behest of Iran. We can't be certain about that, but this -- it was such a provocation against the Israelis, crossing the border -- they had to have done it in force -- taking two guys, killing seven other guys, soldiers.

They did this on purpose. And I think they were counting on the Israelis coming in, hoping to get them bogged down in southern Lebanon once again.

COOPER: Ambassador Indyk, I mean, Bob is basically saying that Hezbollah does nothing without Iran.

MARTIN INDYK, DIRECTOR, SABAN CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY AT BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Bob is right on this.

I think that -- that the Iranians will find it very convenient to shift the focus from their nuclear program in the run-up to the G8 Summit to -- in Russia to this crisis -- escalating crisis. So, I think it serves their purpose very well.

Hezbollah also has its own motivations here. They have actually been trying to kidnap Israeli soldiers for more than 18 months. They had three other unsuccessful efforts at it. With Hamas succeeding, I think Hezbollah is probably under a bit of pressure from their own families to do something to try to get the Hezbollah prisoners out of Israel, which they haven't been successful at doing in the past.

COOPER: So, there is sort of this -- this race to kidnap Israeli soldiers?

INDYK: Exactly.

And that is why it is so complicated for the Israelis. You will know that the Israelis have, in the past, swapped prisoners for soldiers.

COOPER: Right. January 2004, there was a -- a big swap.

INDYK: Right.

But now, in these circumstances, to -- to do that kind of deal will only encourage further kidnappings. So, they have to try to find a way to reestablish the deterrence, make the Hezbollah and Hamas militants understand that they will pay a very high price for kidnapping the soldiers, before they can do a deal.

COOPER: I mean, the Israeli prime minister is holding the -- says he's holding the Lebanese government responsible. But, frankly, it doesn't seem like the Lebanese government is capable, militarily, of acting against Hezbollah, even if they wanted to.

INDYK: Well, Lebanese government is supposed to be sovereign in Lebanon. There is a U.N. resolution which requires the disarmament of Hezbollah. That is U.N. Resolution 1559.

And -- and, so, the -- I think the Israelis would also like to get both international pressure and Lebanese pressure, Lebanese government pressure, on Hezbollah. And that's why they're talking -- telling the Lebanese government: You're going to pay a price, too, unless you bring this under control.

The other problem here is because -- and irony -- is that, when I was in government, in the Clinton administration, we would always go to the Syrians to get them to put the brakes on Hezbollah or, in this case, hand over the kidnapped soldiers.

But, because we have managed to liberate Lebanon from Syria's grip, the Syrians will say: Well, we can't do anything about this situation. We're not there anymore.

So, we don't -- the United States doesn't have a lot of levers to try to contain this crisis.

COOPER: But -- but don't the Syrians -- and maybe I will ask this to Bob -- I mean, don't the Syrians still have influence with Hezbollah?

BAER: The Syrians have very much taken a back seat in this whole conflict. They're saying: Hey, we didn't do this. You forced us out of Lebanon.

And the Iranians have stepped into the void, which makes the situation more dangerous.

COOPER: Ambassador Indyk, I mean, the U.S., what can they do, other than, you know, condemning this?

INDYK: Well, you know, the -- the unfortunate situation is that the -- the influence we have here is on Israel, our ally. And we can urge restraint on Israel.

I'm sure that is what the State Department is doing today. But Israel has been provoked in a -- in a -- a clear aggressive act by Hezbollah across the border. Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon back in 1996. So, there is no justification for this. And, so, you know, Washington is not inclined to -- to pressure Israel to back off in these circumstances.

COOPER: It is sobering times, a really interesting discussion.

Ambassador Martin Indyk, appreciate it.

And, Bob Baer, thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The latest on the 23 major fires that are burning across the West tonight -- California is worst hit, but parts of Texas, Wyoming, and Nevada are also ablaze. We are going to bring you the dramatic pictures live.

Also tonight: Donald Rumsfeld surprises U.S. troops and the new Iraqi prime minister in a visit to Baghdad today -- a look at whether it means U.S. forces will be drawing down any time soon.

And polygamists go on trial in Arizona, prosecuted for marriages to underage girls, the first concerted effort in 50 years to make polygamists legally accountable. Why has it taken so long? -- that question answered when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Travel west of the Mississippi tonight and there is a good chance you will see the glow or smell the smoke -- 23 major wildfires burning right now in Texas, in Wyoming, and in Nevada, seven fires in California alone, including a big one threatening both modern homes and the true Old West of billions of moviegoers.

Three reports tonight, all the angles, including new research on the link between global warming and all these fires.

First, from the California desert near the back -- near the backdrop of hundreds of old movie Westerns, CNN's Chris Lawrence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two hours east of Los Angeles, the fire swept through Pioneertown, a tourist area where several old Western movies and TV shows have been shot. Built in 1946, Gene Autry filmed movies here, but dozens of structures around the area were lost. The fires also killed some smaller animals and scared a lot of family into evacuating their larger ones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The vegetation is gone, you know, that you can actually see the -- what's out there now, whereas, before, it was actually a pretty lush area for the desert. But, with all of this -- this ash in the air and the -- it's -- it's very unsettling.

LAWRENCE: It's bone-dry. And the day topped out around 100 degrees. The winds are whipping through the canyons, rough and rocky areas, where it's too steep to bring some equipment into use.

(on camera): Even in the areas that were missed by the main part of the fire, you have still got pockets, like this one, where the flames can jump up at any moment.

(voice-over): Thirty-seven thousand acres burned, more than 1,000 residents evacuated, and, as Wednesday ends, a wildfire only 16 percent contained.

But when you consider they started the day at zero containment, it shows firefighters are making some progress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been in this desert since the early '60s, and I have never seen nothing like that, as far as -- I have seen a lot of fires in the -- in the surrounding mountains, but it's ominous.

LAWRENCE: At least six communities have been ordered to evacuate, and up to 1,000 homes could potentially be at risk.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE: And as we are back here now live, right here on the side of this mountain, you can pull out and take a look at where we are right here.

The fire was going pretty well in certain spots here, even up to like an hour or so ago. Now you can see a few pockets in front of me and back behind me, where the fire literally moved out. But, as I said, even when they clear an area, you have still got these small pockets that can spring up at any time -- Anderson.

COOPER: Chris, the area you're in now, was the fire moving uphill, and how fast?

LAWRENCE: Right now -- yes, what we're being told is, the fire is still moving pretty quickly.

And a lot of that has to do with the fact that there is so little humidity in the air. When they got up this morning, it was about 2 percent. We used one of the -- one of the firefighters' pieces of equipment just about half-an-hour ago. He took a reading. Humidity is only at 9 percent right now here in the area we are at. So, that is not a lot. They are hoping that increases overnight, maybe give them a chance to get a better handle on the fire.

COOPER: And -- and, Chris, how have they been battling the fire there? I mean, are they digging fire lines, or -- or is it water, or what -- what kind of efforts are they doing? How many firefighters, too?

LAWRENCE: Yes. Just, I -- I'm not sure on the number. I don't want to say an exact number, because I'm not sure.

What I can do -- Tommy (ph), if you could just swing over just a little bit, I can show you the road there. The road that we're standing -- set up on, right to the edge of it, that is one of the fire lines. They count that as one of the containment lines. And they are using a lot of the road as kind of already built containment lines to kind of slow this fire down.

Again, it's in some pretty steep terrain. So, they aren't able to get some of the bulldozers and some of the big equipment that they could normally put to good use. Some of that equipment just can't get into some of these areas.

COOPER: And, I mean, what -- the conditions, working there, I mean, it's -- you're in Palm Springs. It's got to be more than 100 degrees. Battling a fire in -- with that kind of heat, it has got to be extraordinarily difficult.

LAWRENCE: Yes, I can't even imagine.

I mean, when we were there, you saw earlier, when we were right next to a pretty -- a small, good-sized fire going there, and it -- and it was unbearable, just being that close to it. I can't imagine what it's like for the guys right on the front lines, who are literally battling this, the biggest part of the blaze.

COOPER: Well, thank God they are doing that.

Chris Lawrence, appreciate that report.

The fires are being fought on the ground and from the air, as you have been seeing, on a lot of different fronts.

For -- for another angle on the story on that particular fire, we turn now to CNN's Gary Tuchman in Palm Springs.

Gary, what is the latest?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we're at the airport in Palm Springs, because we are about to go up in a chopper to get a bird's-eye view of what is going on.

But what's amazing is this. We are 20 miles north of the fires. You see those clouds? Those are not clouds. That's the fire 20 miles to our north. It is raging. It is dramatic. And it is dangerous. We were in the car for several hours today going all over to the communities of Rimrock, and Gamma Gulch, and Flamingo Heights, and Burns Canyon, the inappropriately named Burns Canyon, I might add.

And it is a very dangerous fire. It has increased in size by more than 50 percent today, from 26,000 acres to 38,000 acres. And the fear is that it will go to about 100,000 acres.

There are 2,500 firefighters. That is the estimate. And they are even using prisoners from a nearby jail to try to put out the flames. In the town of Yucca Canyon, which is just north of the Joshua Tree National Park, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, you go into the center of town, and it looks like there is a mushroom cloud there. If you didn't know there was a fire, it would be very scary.

It is a very dramatic sight to see that -- lots of planes flying around, dropping red retardant on the fire. They drop retardant. They drop water. The retardant is dropped in front of the fire to stop its advance. The water is dropped on the fire to try to put out the flames.

One thing we saw today were helicopters going to a nearby golf course. They were lowering snorkels and buckets into a water hole at the golf course to get hundreds of gallons of water to fight the fires. We imagine they are probably getting golf balls from that lake, too, and dropping golf balls and water on the fire. But they are not concerned about that right now. They are just trying to put out the flames.

And, as you were talking about, Anderson, the temperature in Palm Springs today, 108 degrees. And that is not on the Kelvin scale. That's on the Fahrenheit scale -- humidity very low. The winds have been picking up, although not as bad as yesterday.

But they are hoping, as Chris Lawrence just said, with the 16 percent containment -- and it is amazing how they use those exact numbers. That means it's 84 percent uncontained. But that is certainly a lot better than the zero percent this morning.

Also good news, nobody has been killed. But 10 people have been hurt from smoke inhalation and from some burns -- Anderson.

COOPER: One hundred and eight degrees, fighting these kind of flames, I mean, that is -- that is just incredible, the amount of effort that -- that is required.

TUCHMAN: There is no question about it. I mean, you -- you see these firemen. They are wearing masks, and they are wearing the suits. It is incredibly hot, but they train for this.

COOPER: Gary Tuchman is going up. As he said, he's at the Palm Springs Airport right now. He will be going up over the next hour- and-a-half or so, while we're on the air. We will bring you his reports throughout the next two hours.

Gary, thank you. Stay safe. You know, if it seems like you're seeing more and more big wildfires lately, science backs you up. A new study led by researchers at the University of California in San Diego shows an upsurge in fires over the last decade-and-a-half. It also points to a culprit sure to cause a fire stone -- firestorm of its own, global warming, they say.

More from CNN's Kareen Wynter.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fires raging across the American West, it's seen as a familiar sight. And researchers say it's becoming more common every year.

THOMAS SWETNAM, LABORATORY OF TREE-RING RESEARCH DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA: We see that this increase in fire frequency is well correlated with warming temperatures, and the arrival of earlier springs in the last 16 or 17 years, as compared with the previous couple of decades.

WYNTER: Scientists Thomas Swetnam and Anthony Westerling are two of the researchers behind this new study.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK. Now back up here. Watch out.

WYNTER: It examined more than 1,100 wildfires between 1970 and 2003 in the western mountain forest region. They compared climate- related data, like temperature trends, wildfire levels, and snowmelt variables.

ANTHONY WESTERLING, SCRIPPS INSTITUTE: What we saw was that fires occurred in pulses, in -- not a gradual increase, but in pulses in specific years. And those years were all warmer years, warmer springs. And the greatest increase in wildfire was in the Northern Rockies.

WYNTER: Researchers claim, this new evidence shows climate change, not forest management and logging, as the main factor behind recent spikes in wildfires.

SWETNAM: The increased occurrence of -- of large fires is pretty -- pretty striking, and the length of time that it's taken to put out fires has also increased. So, the typical fire would take about a week from 1970 until the mid-1980s to put out, about a week to extinguish. Now it's taking almost a month.

WYNTER: Swetnam says, the study also shows evidence in the Western region of a link between global warming and climate change, no direct effect, but some correlation.

For now, scientists say they're focused on the future, how to stay steps ahead of potent wildfires that cost billions to fight each year.

Kareen Wynter, CNN, Los Angeles. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, the trouble in the world are -- piling up, the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, a lot for President Bush to deal with all at once. We are going to look at what he is up against and how he's handling all these crises coming up.

We are going to also have, of course, more on the fires.

And, for the first time in 50 years, prosecutors in Arizona are going full-force after polygamists, charging them with having sex with minors. The question is, will their efforts lead to the elusive polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, who is still on the FBI's most-wanted list?

The latest on that -- next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Investigators in India have found timers hidden in pencils in some of the sites of yesterday's deadly bombings in Mumbai -- the three timers found so far believed to have detonated bombs made of RDX, which is a powerful military explosive.

Seven blasts killed 185 people who were jammed onto the city's suburban trains on Tuesday night. More than 700 people were injured. Nobody so far has claimed responsibility. That's not uncommon. U.S. authorities say they suspect two Islamic terrorist groups, though, linked to the disputed territory of Kashmir were involved.

As you heard before the break, with so much going so wrong in the world, President Bush's foreign policy has acquired the dimensions of a juggling act. Iraq, Iran, North Korea and the Middle East all at boiling points.

CNN's John Roberts now takes a look now at the White House strategy to try to deal with it all.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As if the world couldn't seem any more dangerous, Israel all but declaring war on Lebanon today, drew President Bush into yet another urgent foreign policy crisis.

The White House lashed out at Syria and Iran for the Hezbollah kidnappings of two Israeli soldiers, holding them responsible for "an unprovoked act of terrorism."

At the same time the U.S. was moving to take a defiant Iran back to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program.

Could the president possibly have any more on his mind as he heads to the economic summit in Russia?

Wendy Sherman with the State Department under President Clinton. WENDY SHERMAN, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT COUNSELOR: President Bush finds himself in a very difficult place. There has rarely been a time where there have been so many difficult challenges in front of not only the United States but the world community.

ROBERTS: Almost everywhere the president turns there are huge challenges. Iraq on the brink of civil war with a new round of brutal, religious violence. Setbacks in Afghanistan with the resurgent Taliban. North Korea's rocket-fueled temper tantrum. New violence in Gaza. Who's to blame?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many would say that the administration sort of is reaping what it sowed in terms of the tough line it took for a number of years, and now many of those problems are bubbling forward.

ROBERTS: Problems the president is now trying to solve through diplomacy. But even that's drawing fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's now viewed in light of his previous record and his previous rhetoric, as being a sign of weakness.

ROBERTS: It also doesn't help when your allies are miffed. Listen to what Russia's Vladimir Putin said about Dick Cheney's criticisms that Russia was backsliding on democracy.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I think your vice president's expression there is like his bad shot on his hunting trip.

ROBERTS: While his approach is evolving, President Bush's overall goal hasn't changed.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

ROBERTS: In his view of his legacy, Trumanesque as he told Larry King recently.

BUSH: When history looks back I'd rather be judged as solving problems and being correct rather than being popular.

SHERMAN: He might be Harry Truman -- unpopular but right. But it's also possible that George Bush is Herbert Hoover, unpopular and wrong, and only history is going to tell us which it is.

ROBERTS (on camera): President Bush is always talking up his personal relationship with world leaders. With so much out there now that he needs help on, this weekend's G-8 summit will be a real test of whether those relationships can pay dividends.

John Roberts, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, as for Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited there today. It wasn't entirely pleasant. He heard one soldier complain about outdated armor and he flew to avoid deadline IEDs. So what's his take on the war? Well, that story is coming up.

And polygamist fugitive Warren Jeffs, authorities are turning up the heat on the hunt to get him. Now one of his flock is convicted of a sex crime. Others could be next, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That was the scene in Baghdad today, well, a very small part of Baghdad. Donald Rumsfeld talking about one of the obstacles to getting U.S. troops out of Iraq. The defense secretary acknowledged that Iraq's new army is developing faster than its new police force, in part because U.S. troops were not allowed to embed themselves with police until just recently.

CNN's Nic Robertson tracked the secretary as he sort of moved about.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Rumsfeld's day began well, amid tight security and a cheer from exactly the type of troops any commander would like to lead in war.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I am delighted to be able to be here and have a chance to thank each of you personally for your service.

ROBERTSON: But, as on previous visits to this conflict, he was dogged by soldiers' frustrations. They don't have the equipment they need in war. This soldier was complaining about armored vehicles.

CPL. ARTHUR KING, U.S. ARMY: Our company, we go out and look for IEDs, and right now we have one of the oldest pieces of equipment in country. It's called the "Buffalo." And ours is the oldest. And we -- the other day, two weeks ago, we saw a brand new one in downtown New York City.

ROBERTSON: For many soldiers gathered for Rumsfeld at the massive U.S. air base in Balad, IEDs or roadside bombs, are the biggest concern. They are the biggest killers.

RUMSFELD: We've got $3.6 billion that dwarfs anything New York City does just for IED work.

ROBERTSON: Rumsfeld flew the roughly 45 miles to his next meeting in Baghdad. The roads, booby-trapped with explosives deemed too dangerous to drive.

He met with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who only hours earlier was being grilled by his parliament over his handling of insurgent sectarian violence over the weekend. More than 140 people have been killed since last Friday. And there are fears Iraq may be slipping towards civil war.

In the short time Secretary Rumsfeld was in town, a suicide bomber killed seven and wounded 20 in a Baghdad restaurant; a car bomber killed two and wounded two others; and north of the capital 20 people kidnapped earlier in the day were later found dead.

The U.S. commanding general suggested more troops may have to be deployed in Baghdad to control the violence. And Rumsfeld said it was too early to estimate when troop pullouts from Iraq might begin.

RUMSFELD: The Iraqi security force has improved in experience, in training, in equipment, in professionalism and have, in my view, has been performing a great service for the Iraqi people.

ROBERTSON: Amid the same secrecy that cloaked his arrival in Iraq, Rumsfeld was whisked away quietly, better informed, albeit from inside a very tight and exclusive security bubble.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: In this country, in the southwest, new developments in the effort to bring in fugitive polygamist Warren Jeffs. While Jeffs' location remains a mystery tonight, some of his followers face possible charges for sex crimes. One already has been convicted. We'll have the details ahead.

Also emerging in all of this, a lost history of a 1950s era crackdown on polygamy in Arizona. The fallout, believe it or not, of that event is still being felt today and may explain why authorities haven't moved against fugitive polygamists sooner. That and more when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

COOPER: Stop playing that. It's the creepiest thing ever (ph). That's fugitive polygamist Warren Jeffs singing, I guess, a ballad of his own composition.

Tonight the fugitive who's no stranger to 360 is still on the run, still controlling thousands of people. Warren Jeffs, the leader of the polygamist cult or sect, I should say, a man who believes he's a prophet of God remains on the FBI's most wanted list.

Authorities are determined to find him. One way, however, right now is by tightening the noose around his followers. And that's what we've been seeing the last several days.

Several of them, all polygamists, are on trial. One was just convicted. It's the first time in half a century that such a concerted effort is being made to prosecute polygamists, and in so doing, catch their elusive master.

CNN's Gary Tuchman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this courthouse in Mohave County, Arizona, this supporter of Warren Jeffs just heard a jury utter to him the word "guilty".

MATT SMITH, MOHAVE COUNTY ATTORNEY: I was ecstatic.

TUCHMAN: The county authority here, where thousands of fundamentalist Mormons regard Jeffs as a prophet, has begun the first concerted effort in the country in more than five decades to prosecute polygamists but only polygamists like Kelly Fisher, who have had sex with minors.

SMITH: If you're going to engage in this practice of polygamy then leave the girls alone until they're 18 years of age.

TUCHMAN: As Matthew Smith continues to investigate the whereabouts of Warren Jeffs, he's also getting ready for seven more trials of Jeffs' supporters on charges of sexual conduct with a minor.

GARY ENGELS, MOHAVE COUNTY INVESTIGATOR: I hope that it will empower some of the women there who may be thinking about wanting to get out, to go ahead and get out.

TUCHMAN: The irony of these prosecutions taking place here is hard to ignore. In 1953, dozens of polygamist men and women were arrested and brought to the same courthouse after a raid in the same community of Colorado City, Arizona, which was then known as Short Creek.

Many of the men went to jail. Families were split for years. Jeffs' supporters think the latest prosecution campaign is driven by more prejudice against polygamists and that they are following God's word.

(on camera) Can I ask you a quick question?

(voice-over) They're told not to talk to outsiders like us, and when they do it's often not cordial.

(on camera) Do you know where Warren Jeffs is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. Ain't nobody seen him in two or three years that I know of.

TUCHMAN: What do you think of him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a great prophet, and you're damn fools for bothering him. Because you ass is going to get hung one of these days when you look up from hell and look at him in the face.

TUCHMAN: Richard Holm used to be in the same church. He's now a witness for the prosecution in its cases, and this is how he describes Jeffs. RICHARD HOLM, FORMER JEFFS FOLLOWER: An extreme religious zealot that includes being a pervert.

TUCHMAN: Holm had three wives and 18 children. Some of his children were taken away from him by Jeffs. Two of his wives were given to his brother. He testified in court about how Jeffs arranged marriages to minors.

HOLM: He says it's OK because he says the Lord tells him to do it, and anybody that says otherwise is trying to challenge what God says.

TUCHMAN: But the jury took one hour to find Kelly Fisher guilty, and now he faces the possibility of four years in prison.

(voice-over) This courthouse, where the polygamist trials are taking place, where their fathers and grandfathers were brought more than a half century ago, is also where Warren Jeffs will be brought if he's captured. The search for Jeffs goes on, while some of his loyal followers stand in judgment.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Kingman, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, now from polygamists on trial to the lost children of polygamy forced from their homes more than 50 years ago, ripped literally sometimes from their parents' arms, a raid that changed their lives and led many back to the world they left behind.

And later wall of flames. A huge wildfire burning thousands of acres in California right now. It has already destroyed dozens of structures. We'll take you live to the front lines of the fight against the fire, ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: They're called the lost children of polygamy. More than half a century ago, dozens of polygamists, men and women, were arrested in Colorado City, Arizona. Their sons and daughters were forcibly removed from the community and placed in mainstream families.

Now, the hope was to give those kids a better life, but as you're going to see, that plan backfired, and many of them found their way back home. And we're still feeling the effects of those decisions, that raid today.

Once again, here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Her name is Susie. She was 6 years old in 1953, when her world changed.

SUSIE, CHILD OF POLYGAMY: I was literally ripped from the arms of my father and my family. TUCHMAN: Ripped from her family in a raid conducted by Arizona law enforcement over a half century ago. Susie's father was one of more than 100 husbands and wives arrested in an effort to eliminate polygamy from the state. It happened in the town of Colorado City, which was then known as Short Creek.

(on camera) Were you scared?

SUSIE: Terrified. Terrified. Terrified.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Little known to many Americans, that raid still affects the lives of polygamist families. Dozens of women and more than 260 children were placed in state custody. Susie and these friends, all polygamists today, were some of those children.

Juanita had four mothers and 22 brothers and sisters when her father was taken away.

JUANITA, CHILD OF POLYGAMY: We knew that the object was to take us away, adopt us out, and that we would never be back to our homes.

TUCHMAN: The July, 1953 raid, was reenacted in a made-for-TV movie called "Child Bride of Short Creek".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay where you are. We are here on special orders from Attorney General Ross (ph) and the governor of Arizona. We have warrants for your arrest on charges of unlawful cohabitation.

TUCHMAN: The children of the raid said they did not know what the police were going to do. Neither, apparently, did many of the adults, including Juanita's elderly great-grandfather.

JUANITA: He stepped forward and said, "If it's blood you want take mine."

TUCHMAN: But what police wanted was to take the polygamists to jail. Juanita went to say good-bye to her father as he was taken into custody.

JUANITA: And so I went over to try and talk to him. And the guard pointed his gun at me and told me to go away.

TUCHMAN (on camera): You were a 7-year-old girl.

JUANITA: Yes. I said, "I just want to talk to my dad."

He said, "Well, you can't so go away."

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Most of the polygamists stayed in jail a short time but had to promise never to see their families again.

Edson, like many of the father, would secretly visit his family, though. His wife became pregnant during one of his visits. The baby was Priscilla.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Your mother had to hide her pregnancy. PRISCILLA, CHILD OF POLYGAMY: Absolutely.

TUCHMAN: No one could know she was pregnant.

PRISCILLA: No one could know.

TUCHMAN: Because they would know that your father was around.

PRISCILLA: She could have nothing to do with my father and obviously she had something to do with my father.

TUCHMAN: Obviously.

TUCHMAN: Marlene's mother also gave birth to a baby when her father wasn't supposed to be around. If her mother was seen with the baby, it could mean being arrested. So...

MARLENE, CHILD OF POLYGAMY: They put the baby sister in a suitcase and took her out to the car, because she was definitely evidence.

TUCHMAN: The raid led to bad publicity, but it still took years before most of the families got back together.

(on camera) Was there ever a time where your mothers said, "You know what? It's time to have a marriage with one person, find a new person, start a new life, make it a lot easier for ourselves"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, never.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Most of the children had fake birth certificates to protect their families. Susie did not get a real one until well into adulthood.

SUSIE: I remember sitting in the car looking at my real name on a birth certificate, and I wept. I wept. Because for the first time, I saw my identity as it really was.

TUCHMAN: These women lived next to Colorado City, today the power center of FBI fugitive Warren Jeffs. They are not followers of Jeffs and do not support him. But they vow to continue the polygamist tradition of their families. They remain paranoid and feel the publicity surrounding the search for Jeffs increases the chances of bad things happening to them now.

(on camera) Do you feel the same thing that happened to your father in the 1950s could happen to your husband today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that's a possibility.

TUCHMAN: A half century has gone by, but the children of the raid have never stopped looking over their shoulders.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Colorado City, Arizona. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, straight ahead a young man's coming of age story thankfully doesn't involve Vladimir Putin touching him like a kitten. First, though, Erica Hill has the business headlines -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, we start off on Wall Street. Markets getting pounded by rising oil prices, falling profits at Dell and jitters about a slowing economy. Investors were in a selling mood, knocking 121 points off the Dow, slicing the S&P by nearly 14 and nicking close to 39 for the NASDAQ.

It turns out you don't need a phone company to be happy with your phone service. A new JD Power survey shows cable companies delivering higher satisfaction than the baby Bells. According to that story, traditional and cable service deliver equal quality in the eyes of consumers, but cable companies pulled ahead when it came to price.

And Las Vegas feeling the pinch from the rising price of gasoline. New research shows falling game play in casinos on the strip and fewer people, as well. According to a leading Wall Street Vegas watcher, lower income betters are leaving less money at the tables and more at the pump, Anderson.

COOPER: I did not know that.

Erica, you know, we have a never ending quest to find the best in Japanese TV, as you well know, as you've taken part in. And time for "The Shot" today, which is -- it's a video that's making the rounds on the Internet. It's a potty training cartoon for children in Japan, complete with music, singing, confetti, even dazzling underwear. They animate the No. 1 and even the No. 2s. Take a look and enjoy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Push it, push it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Ew.

Sing along, Erica.

HILL: Was that toilet training or constipation?

COOPER: Toilet training I understand from my limited knowledge of Japanese. It doesn't hold a candle, though, to you know what.

HILL: I'd guess, but I'm not allowed to talk during it.

COOPER: That's right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: All right. That's it. Enough of Seamanship.

Erica, thanks.

HILL: There's never enough Seamanship. Come on.

Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Oh, yes there is.

Moving on, we're continuing to monitor fast-moving wildfires out west. CNN correspondents are on the ground now and in the air. We'll check in with them in just a moment.

Also later, the growing hunt for a pair of what police believe are serial killers on the loose and a major American city is on edge.

And all across the country, in cities large and small, serial killers hiding and killing in plain sight. The hard job of trying to track and catch them, next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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