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THIS WEEK AT WAR

Encore Presentation: This Week at War

Aired August 27, 2006 - 13:00   ET

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


(NEWSBREAK)
TOM FOREMAN, HOST: It is late August, but war takes no holiday. From the bloody streets of Baghdad, to battle scars in the Mideast, to fresh fighting in Afghanistan, to the global war on terrorism, what did this week tell us about the life-and-death future of United States policy in Iraq?

I'm Tom Foreman, in for John Roberts.

Let's take a look at what our correspondents reported day by day.

Monday, President Bush said the U.S. won't leave Iraq as long as he's president, saying withdrawal would embolden extremists.

Tuesday, U.S. Marines announced plans to call back to active duty 2,500 Marines to fill critical jobs in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wednesday, the U.S. accused Iran of falling short of the United Nations requirement to halt nuclear development.

Thursday, a trio of car bombs around Baghdad killed four Iraqis and two American soldiers.

And Friday, more French troops arrive in Lebanon, beefing up the peacekeeping force along the Israel-Lebanon border.

All in "This Week at War."

First up, who wins the battle for Baghdad?

Joining me now, CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre. And in Iraq, Nancy Youssef, Baghdad bureau chief for McClatchy newspapers, the second largest newspaper company in the United States.

We're getting mixed signals about what is happening in Iraq. Thursday, the top U.S. military man, General John Abizaid, said despite deadly attacks, he's optimistic the situation will stabilize.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: I believe that there is a danger of civil war in Iraq, but only a danger. I think Iraq is far from it. I think that there's been great progress in the security front here recently in Baghdad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Jamie McIntyre, why do they keep saying this? We're so many years into it. I think I've heard the same message over and over again.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: They don't want to call this civil war because it sounds too much like quagmire. But the nuanced answer is, if it is civil war, then the strategy of building up the Iraqi army to fight an insurgency isn't going to work. They have to have a peace -- a power-sharing agreement and then a neutral third party to monitor it. And so the reason that they don't want to call it a civil war is they're reluctant to say they may have the wrong strategy to deal with what's going on in Baghdad.

FOREMAN: Let's take a look at some of the numbers that are thrown out here.

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, wrote this week about the need to give Iraqis this more time you're talking about to win the Battle of Baghdad. Wednesday, in "The Wall Street Journal," he wrote, "Iraq faces an urgent crisis in securing its capital, Baghdad." And look at the numbers he used: 558 violent incidents in July -- that's a 10 percent increase -- the attacks caused 2,100 deaths, and 77 percent of casualties resulted from sectarian violence.

Nancy Youssef, same question to you. Do you agree this is the reason they're so hesitant to call this civil war at this point?

NANCY YOUSSEF, MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS: Well, it's such a volatile term "civil war." And I think most here feel it's a low-intensity civil war, that -- that Sunnis and Shia are fighting each other, that there's a battle for neighborhoods and areas. And I think once it becomes a civil war, in a sense it falls out of the control of the U.S. and out of the control of the Iraqi government, that they -- the Americans and American government pushed so aggressively to put into place.

FOREMAN: You've spent a lot of time on the streets there recently with the Iraqi people. Do they have a sense that it will stabilize or is stabilizing?

YOUSSEF: Not really. I think they think that the -- they don't trust the Iraqi army and they don't trust the Iraqi police. They -- especially among the Sunnis. They feel that they are militias and that the ministry of interior and the ministry of defense are infiltrated, and that militias are an institutional part of those organizations.

FOREMAN: Well, Monday, President Bush renewed his pledge to stay in Iraq, to stick with his policy.

Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're not leaving so long as I'm the president. That would be a huge mistake. It would send an unbelievably, you know, terrible signal to reformers across the region. It would say we've abandoned our desire to change the conditions that create terror.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Jamie McIntyre, are the military people -- he's our commander in chief -- but are they happy to hear that kind of talk?

MCINTYRE: Well, they do want the resolve to stick it out. And this does come down to what has essentially been called the Battle of Baghdad. And there's a realization that if you don't win Baghdad, the future of Iraq is really in jeopardy.

And what we can see is some short-term progress with these additional U.S. troops and Iraqi forces in Baghdad. The real question is, will that last and will the country stabilize? And frankly, a general at the Pentagon briefing this week asked that very question said, "It's too soon to tell."

So that's what the military thinks.

FOREMAN: Nancy Youssef, what is the sense among the Iraqi people as to how this came down to the Battle of Baghdad? For all of us who have watched this from afar, there is very much the sense that Baghdad was the place that it was working for so long.

YOUSSEF: I was in Al-Mariya (ph), a Sunni neighborhood in western Baghdad, and the Iraqis would not open the door for the Iraqi soldiers. They would only open it when they saw the Americans. And they don't really have trust that the Iraqi army and the Iraqi police are capable of standing up on their own, that they really depend on the guidance of American forces.

So I think there's a real sense of nervousness that, as wonderfully as these plans have gone to cordon off neighborhoods and how safe those neighborhoods are now, there doesn't seem very much hope that this can be sustained. To sustain it, they would have to keep cordoning off neighborhoods and banning people from driving in their neighborhoods. And, of course, that can't be sustained.

And I think people think once that collapses, once the U.S. forces can no longer do that, things will -- could go back to the way they were.

FOREMAN: Do people there pay any attention to what George Bush is saying these days?

YOUSSEF: I don't think so. I mean, I watched the press conference that you referred to and I spoke to my Iraqi friends. And nobody seemed to mention it.

I think there are so many immediate problems for Iraqis here that speeches from Washington are not relevant. They're worried about electricity. They're worried about a gas shortage. They're worried about the safety of their children, and they're wondering whether they should stay in their neighborhoods or if it's time for them to leave.

I think the speeches either from George W. Bush or from the prime minister are having less and less impact on people here. There are just more immediate problems.

FOREMAN: Jamie, how much do you hear the military people talking about those issues? Because I remember early on there were military people saying, if we don't address all these issues, water, electricity, all of that, all of the fighting will be no good.

Do they even talk about that anymore?

MCINTYRE: Well, a little bit. I mean, and they also point out that there are some areas of Iraq that are doing well.

Fourteen of the 18 provinces are relatively calm. Great Britain is going to be able to reduce its troops in the south, even though the U.S. can't reduce any troops in the Baghdad area.

So they point to some positive signs. But frankly, the way things are going in Baghdad, the continued violence there, really threatens the future of Iraq, and they really feel that there's about a six-month window to get a handle on that.

FOREMAN: Very shortly, Jamie, and Nancy as well, do you think that the general sense is that there's still progress being made? Or is it a stalemate despite all the words?

MCINTYRE: I think they believe there's progress, but I think the real question is, can it be sustained and will it ultimately achieve the goal?

YOUSSEF: I think so, too, and I think that there's a real hope that they can train the Iraqi forces and get them in a position where they can take over these streets on their own, that they can take advantage of the peace that's been sustained.

FOREMAN: Well, at least encouraging words from you, Nancy Yousself. Thanks for joining us so much from McClatchy newspapers.

Jamie McIntyre, from our Pentagon, giving us some good words and a little hope on what's happening over there right now.

From hot combat in Iraq, to a shaky truce along the Israeli- Lebanese border, we'll check in with our correspondents there in just a moment.

But first, on Tuesday, celebration at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

More than 100 members of the Army's 101st Airborne returned home from Iraq. Week by week, that famed division is pulling out. Dennis and Carl Smail drove five hours to greet their son Jeb (ph).

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS SMAIL, FATHER OF RETURNING SOLDIER: It was worth it, and I'd do it any time, any place, anywhere.

CARLA SMAIL, MOTHER OF RETURNING SOLDIER: It was worth every minute.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Congratulations to that family.

The division's return to Ft. Campbell is expected to be completed by late November.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOREMAN: This week in the Middle East, the rebuilding began. But reconstructing homes may be easier than restoring people's trust in their leaders there.

To discuss this, I'm joined by CNN's Chris Lawrence in Jerusalem, CNN international anchor Jim Clancy from Tyre, in southern Lebanon, via broadband. And in San Diego, Vali Nasr, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of "The Shia Revival."

In a letter to troops, the Israeli army chief publicly acknowledged mistakes during the fighting against Hezbollah. On Thursday he wrote, "During combat we observed failures in certain areas; notably, in the areas of logistics, operations and command. Everyone will be investigated from me down to the last soldier."

Let's go to Chris Lawrence first in Israel.

Chris, what kind of reaction is this provoking on the ground there?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is a tremendous amount of frustration and anger. These reservists are coming off the line and almost walking straight from the battlefield, right into the protest march.

We've seen a growing number of protests by parents of soldiers, of soldiers themselves who are questioning the government all the way up to the highest levels. In fact, a poll released found that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, his approval ratings are probably at an all-time low.

Seventy-one percent of the people polled said he's not fit to hold office. And a lot of that anger has to do with the fact that they feel the war was mismanaged and Israel did not accomplish its two main objectives, which were disarming Hezbollah and bringing the two kidnapped soldiers home safely.

FOREMAN: Well, let's look a little bit north.

A boost for the Mideast cease-fire came late in the week after French president Jacques Chirac said that France will send 2,000 peacekeepers, up from an earlier pledge of only 200. Friday, the French troops arrived in southern Lebanon, an engineering team. Chirac is now questioning whether it will be necessary to expand the United Nations force up to 15,000, as earlier discussed.

Jim Clancy, what is going on with Hezbollah right now? And is the French president reasonable in thinking that maybe they won't have to reach those numbers?

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think when you take a trip through the south, you determine that Jacques Chirac might have a point here. UNIFIL peacekeepers, if they're 15,000, Lebanese army 15,000, they're going to be falling all over each other at some crossroads in the south. It's simply not that big an area.

It would provide, though, a better look at what's going on all the time. Hezbollah today, alongside the road, sitting in cafes, sipping coffee. A UHF, ultrahigh frequency radio on the stand-by listening in. Young men on motorcycles. Hard to tell whether they're Hezbollah or just Hezbollah wannabes reporting on the movements of everyone there.

But, importantly, not a gun in sight. Not a gun in sight. Hezbollah appears to be holding to this.

When you look on the other side, residents in the south telling me just literally 150 yards from the borderline, the border fence, that the Israeli soldiers are coming in every night, they hear their footsteps. "What are they doing?" you ask them, and they say, "We don't know." And there's some fears that could be provoking Hezbollah to maybe take some action.

No one is really certain what's going on. We're pretty early into this.

FOREMAN: The very strange thing about this, Vali Nasr, in some ways it seems as if nothing has changed. A lot of destruction and now we're back to square one.

VALI NASR, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, that's true. That's exactly why Israelis are so frustrated and Hezbollah is so jubilant, because after all of this month of fighting, they're still standing and nothing much on the border has changed.

FOREMAN: And is there any sense of change among the people? There was a lot of talk about the notion that -- that Iran was emboldened by this, that Hezbollah was emboldened by this, that Israel was slapped down by this.

Is that holding up as we get a little further away from the onset of the cease-fire?

NASR: I think so, particularly the farther away you move from Lebanon. In other words, in other Arab countries, clearly the verdict has seemed to be favoring Hezbollah just because it survived the Israeli attack, and that the fear that existed of Israeli invincibility and military might has subsided. Within Lebanon it's a bit more difficult, because now there is tension between communities over whether or not Hezbollah had a right to start this war and bring this -- this result for Lebanon as a whole. FOREMAN: Chris Lawrence, in Israel right now, is it merely frustration at how badly this was prosecuted as a battle, or is there fear that Israel has shown a great Achilles' heel?

LAWRENCE: There is a certain amount of despair, that people had such confidence in their own military and their own superiority. I spoke with one woman who said -- in the northern part of Israel -- who said, "We had always been taught that we had the best, the best tanks, the best soldiers, the best planes, the best bombs." She said, "The best, the best, the best, and Hezbollah only has rockets."

Well, Hezbollah had a little bit more than that. But there's a feeling of, how could this -- this guerrilla group stand up to our army for so long, and a feeling of how could they inflict this destruction? Although, if you take it out over the course of a month, it really -- you have to put it in some perspective. But how could this group stand up to the Israeli army for so long?

That's some of the fear here in Israel right now.

FOREMAN: And Jim Clancy, what about the Lebanese who aren't Hezbollah? How are they feeling about all of this? In the end, are they saying, well, maybe we should cozy up to Hezbollah more because they did fairly well in this fight? Or are they still very comfortable having Hezbollah camped out in their country?

CLANCY: Let me tell you. A woman down along the border line said, "Anybody that holds up the "V" (ph) sign, says we won, they're lying. It's not the truth. We lost."

"I lost my sister," she told me. They lost houses. They lost everything that they had tried to build.

More people are saying that they want to leave. The most important thing that Lebanon lost in all of this was the hope of its own people that they were building a better future. Now they're back to square one.

You know, the battlefield for another regional conflict. The U.N. is coming in once again. They've seen all this before. It's like a rerun of a bad movie.

And a lot of people here are looking at what Hezbollah has done and saying, yes, you can rebuild homes. You can give people cash money that you get from Iran. You can't restore that trust. You can't restore the 850,000 people that left this country. You have done irreparable damage.

And they are angry about it. Hezbollah knows they face a backlash.

FOREMAN: Jim Clancy, you know the region so very well. Thank you for your time.

Chris Lawrence, down in Israel, thank you for your insights. Vali Nasr is going to stay with us, because in a moment, have we moved closer to the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran out of all of this? Is this standoff too dangerous to be left to the diplomats?

That straight ahead on "This Week at War."

But first, a few snapshots from Lebanon this week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOREMAN: This week, Iran dashed hopes of a diplomatic breakthrough by refusing again to curtail its nuclear development. On Tuesday, Tehran gave its response to the incentives package offered by the U.S. and Europe. The bottom line, no to the U.N. demand that Iran cease enriching uranium.

Joining us now via broadband from the Iranian capital, CNN's Aneesh Raman, and from San Diego once again, author and analyst, Vali Nasr.

Aneesh Thursday's sampled public opinion in parts of Tehran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Most people feel immense pride in the country's nuclear program, especially among those in blue collar southern Tehran. Here it's all about making your daily wage and showing no weakness to the West.

"We are not afraid of economic sanctions," says Majid (ph), because this is not the first time they want to impose them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Aneesh, let me ask you something. How much can you get an honest opinion on the streets of Iran, and how much are people saying what they think their own government wants to hear?

RAMAN: Well, undoubtedly, it's a mix of both. You hope for the former, you sort of expect the latter. When we go out, we don't have a minder with us. We don't need permission to interview people on the streets. We only need permission to go inside buildings.

So it's with relative ease that we can go around. But as you say, people know we're a Western camera crew. When they find out it's CNN, they're much more guarded in what they say.

I was here a few months ago, though, and it was all around Tehran, full support, near uniform support for this nuclear program. Now, though, with this U.N. deadline, with the very real threat of sanctions, we are starting to see some division. And again, it depends on where you go in this city.

In the south, where they are more blue color and they support the government, they're saying, "We go with this program no matter what." But the more moderates, the more affluent, those that live in northern Tehran, are saying that they are very worried.

Iran has a huge population of young people, many of whom are unemployed. Ad economic sanctions will make their life even worse. So it is interesting to gauge just by last trip to this trip how much more up front some people are about their fears -- Tom.

FOREMAN: Vali, do you think that Iran actually wants a nuclear weapon at this point, or do they want bargaining power on the world stage and more respect?

NASR: Well, I think some of all. In other words, there has for a long time been desire for a nuclear deterrence that came out of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, when Saddam used to hit Tehran with a lot of scud missiles. But it also is a mark of their regional power claims to be a (INAUDIBLE) in the region.

But Iran is not very close to a nuclear device or to a nuclear bomb. They have to master many technologies before they get there.

What they would like is to be able to use the bargaining position to normalize relations with the West, and at the same time also to show their own population that they are becoming more important internationally by belonging to the nuclear club. If not a nuclear bomb club, at least a nuclear technology club.

FOREMAN: Well, short of reaching nuclear weapons, they were obviously trying to show that regional power that we've been talking about with this display earlier this week showing off their military muscle a bit. In recent days, Iran test-fired a series of missiles, part of large-scale military maneuvers there.

Aneesh, are the people on the street thinking of Iran now as a great military power, or are they nervous that Iran is a pretty good military power that could get them into a lot of trouble if their government acts rationally?

RAMAN: No one here that I spoke to wants war, and everyone I spoke to is afraid of it. They think that if Iran was hit unilaterally by the West on its nuclear sites, Iran would likely respond and this entire region would be engulfed in violence. There's a disconnect, of course, between the people and the government.

They have little clout to really project their opinion on to what their leaders do. And because of that, they are afraid, because as we just heard, Iran is in a position where it wants to be the superpower in the Middle East.

The broader context, of course, when Saddam Hussein got taken out of Iraq the balancing power that existed against Iran was gone. It stepped into that void. It now has an arm against Israel with Hezbollah, an arm against the U.S. in Iraq and its influence there. So they are aware that their government, which is a hard-line government now, is keenly trying to be defiant to the West, establish stature, and that really anything could happen in the weeks to come.

FOREMAN: Vali, obviously a lot of the other nations in the Middle East do not want Iran to become the biggest boy on the block there. What are they doing about this, especially behind the scenes?

NASR: There's very little they can do. They don't have the military capability to contain Iran, and they have lost a great deal of regional influence as a consequence of Lebanon, where they were found to have no influence either on the fightings or the cease-fire. And Iran and its ally, Hezbollah, held all of the cards.

I think they're relying extensively now on the United States to deal with Iran, and they are sort of -- have an attitude of wanting the U.S. to take care of it rather than put them in the forefront.

FOREMAN: You can't help but think that all of it's coming a bit to a head there.

Thanks so much.

Aneesh Raman joining us, and Vali Nasr. Appreciate your time and your expertise.

Coming up, the weekend war in Afghanistan.

But first, one of the fallen in that war.

Army Sergeant Wakkuna Jackson was with the 710th Combat Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division. She was one of three Americans killed August 19th by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Wakkuna is Hawaiian for "princess." Her father is also a veteran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERMAN JACKSON, FATHER OF SPC. JACKSON: I didn't try to talk her out of going in the service. That's what she wanted to do. You know? And me being an ex-serviceman, you know, she knew the danger of it.

And she said, "That's where I want to go, dad." She said, "If something is going to happen to me, it's going to happen."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: One of our many brave military families. Wakkuna Jackson, Jacksonville, Florida. She was 21 years old.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

FOREMAN: THIS WEEK AT WAR saw new combat in Afghanistan, a reminder that the Taliban is still a deadly foe. The country has been a battlefield, of course, for hundreds of years. What is making it so hard to win? Joining me CNN military analyst, retired Brigadier General James Spider Marks. We're going to go to the map here but Afghanistan, everybody thought it was done. What is going on? BRIG. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Tom, first of all, this is a very, very dangerous place in the world, as you indicated. A lot of history of war fighting going on in Afghanistan and nothing but difficulties in terms of trying to control this piece of land.

FOREMAN: Where are the hot spots right now? What are we talking about?

MARKS: Well what we see right now is the hot spots are over in this part of the country, the east part of the country, along the border with Pakistan. Additionally you have got some hot spots that are down here to the south. But what's interesting about this is this is the coalition part of the country. This is where the U.S. has had a presence for some time. Got a bunch of nations that have contributed to this, but this is U.S. led and this is where you see, outside of Kabul, out in the hinterlands, along this border with Pakistan, is where you see the resistance starting to peak up a little bit. But coalition forces know that and they're certainly keeping it out of Kabul as best they can and they're addressing it as far away from the capital city.

Now additionally we have got some NATO forces, as you know, that have come in. This is where ISAF, International Security Afghanistan Forces, that was a couple years ago. These forces out here are the provincial reconstruction teams that NATO put in place over the course of the last few years. Additionally we've had, since October of '04, we've had about three stages of NATO starting to pour into Afghanistan to help relieve some of this burden and to share some of the war fighting. Not only up here, but additionally along this southern portion this past summer.

FOREMAN: And most of this has remained stable?

MARKS: Most of this has been fine up in through here. It's this area and the southern portions down here that are contiguous to Pakistan.

FOREMAN: So what is driving this in this area and what challenges does it present to the military? Why is it so hard to shut down this border?

MARKS: Tom, as you know, it's not a military solution exclusively. The provincial reconstruction teams, how do you provide power? How do you provide solutions to the individual Afghani soldier, I mean the individual Afghani civilian and family on the ground? You've got to be able to meet their needs and where you cannot is where there is an opportunity for resistance and for the Taliban to come back. Now, in a military sense, from a military guy's perspective, the number of forces on the ground right now are about 38,000. You've got about 20,000 with the coalition. And you can see the NATO contribution here. For a country about the size of Texas, with a population of about 31 million and the type of terrain that I'm going to show you in just a second, we're going to fly into a piece of terrain.

FOREMAN: Let's move in there quickly, before we run out of time.

MARKS: Let me show you a piece of terrain. What you need to have is dominance on the ground. You've got to have boots, soldiers, presence on the ground. Just take a look at this terrain. Doesn't take a large imagination to figure out that this is a very tough place to fight and a very easy place to provide resistance.

FOREMAN: Very, very briefly, does the U.S. military, do the coalition forces yet, we've talked so much about the transition to this kind of fighting, do we yet know how to do it and win?

MARKS: We do. Coalition forces know how to do it. We are an adaptive army, Marine Corps service.

FOREMAN: But we still have some progress to make, obviously.

MARKS: Of course we do. One of the key issues, I would continue to say, is the number of forces on the ground in order to actually put a hold on to this challenge.

FOREMAN: We'll have to leave it at that. General Spider Marks, thanks again. Looking at Afghanistan, thought it was over, hoped it was over. Clearly not.

This week, another terrorist plot apparently disrupted, this time in Germany. And the British probe of the airliner plot moves forward. A look at these changing tactics of terror on THIS WEEK AT WAR, coming up.

But first, a look at some who gave their lives in battle.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

This is a WEEK AT WAR, from Baghdad to the Mideast to the global war on terror. Can authorities keep on top of all these new techniques and new plots people keep coming up with? Returning to THIS WEEK AT WAR, Iraqi blogger Raed Jarrar in San Francisco. His blog, "Raed In the Middle," gives a fresh look at how friends and family are coping in Iraq.

And Cal Temple, vice president for intelligence and analysis at the Terrorism Research Center, a private institute here in Washington. Cal, let's start with that big question. Major governments of the world, are they doing a good job of keeping up with the shifting sands of terrorist attacks?

CALEB TEMPLE, TERRORISM RESEARCH CENTER: Tom, I think they are doing a good job of keeping up. In other words, they're doing what they know how to do and they're adapting as the terrorist adversary adapts. I think it's fair to say, though, that that is really not all we need to be doing right now. It's more than simply adapting. It's actually getting out ahead of the enemy and making sure that you have the capability to stop him or her or them before they attack.

FOREMAN: Which absolutely brings up a lot of questions about culture and how we get involved with different cultures, doesn't it? TEMPLE: Sure does, Tom. That culture is a pretty important part to all of this, as we kind of look at all the tools that are available.

FOREMAN: Not normally a military thing we talk about, CNN's Robin Oakley reported Thursday on a fresh example of nervous passengers and ethnic profiling and culture clashing on a European flight. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So nervous were some Monarch Airlines holiday passengers, waiting to fly back to Britain from Malaga in Spain, that when they saw two young Asian men looking at their watches and speaking Arabic, they walked off the plane, refusing to depart with them aboard. The two men, Khurram Zee and Sohair Ashraf (ph) were told by airline staff they couldn't fly.

KHURRAM ZEE, AIRLINE PASSENGER: They had a piece of paper in his hand and said the crew and the captain were are suspicion and right then I knew that they think we could be potential terrorists.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: The flight was delayed for three hours after Spanish police removed those two British men and searched the aircraft and luggage for explosives. They eventually flew home to Manchester on a later flight. Raed, you were flying, you were wearing a t-shirt that said something in Arabic. Very briefly what happened?

RAED JARRAR, RAEDINTHEMIDDLE.BLOGSPOT.COM: What happened is that I was stopped by four officers and I was asked to change my t-shirt or take it off because they said that wearing a t-shirt with Arabic script and going to airports in this time is like wearing a t-shirt that reads I'm a robber and going to a bank. So I was really shocked because of this, you know, comment and treatment. I was made to cover my t-shirt and I was made to change my seat on the airplane. Instead of sitting in the front of the airplane, I was sent to the last couple of seats. So I started feeling that, you know, like there is some pressure that is happening against Arabs and Muslims just because they're Arabs and Muslims. And this will make me even more nervous next time I go to the airport.

FOREMAN: Cal, let me ask you about this, though. What we're talking about here fundamentally is profiling. Looking at people and saying, young, Arabic looking man, we should look at him very hard. With all respect to rights, is that a good idea, bad idea?

TEMPLE: Tom, it is an idea. And, frankly, profiling goes on. It's something that people get trained to do and frankly, it's something that many people in the security industry do simply out of instinct. If you look around and look at a lot of the major acts of terrorism around the world, you take a look at the perpetrators and so on and many of them, clearly not all, but many of them we've got a certain kind of person that is conducting that act of terrorism.

FOREMAN: And that certain kind of person is very often an Arabic or young Muslim man. Would you agree with that Raed?

JARRAR: No, I don't agree with that at all and I think it's a shame.

FOREMAN: Hold on. You don't agree that many of the terrorist acts in the world right now are being committed by young Muslim and Arabic men?

JARRAR: I mean, it depends on the definition of terrorism. Maybe if it was the U.S. definition of that, it is forecast against Arab and Muslim young men. But there are so many acts of attacking civilians around the world, including civilians in war zones and many people count other people, Christians and white people as terrorists in other areas of the world.

FOREMAN: Let me ask you this. In this country, in this time though, you're running a website, you're a smart man, you're an educated man, you know many things. Why would you wear a t-shirt that's potentially going to cause problems for you at the airport? I don't drink but when I hit a roadblock to check for drunk drivers, I don't do anything that would make me look drunk.

JARRAR: Until this moment, I didn't know that wearing an Arabic t-shirt would be a problem. I just wore the t-shirt, not trying to catch a fight. It's one of the t-shirts that I got in D.C. and I wear it periodically and I just put it on because it was the only clean t- shirt that I had that morning. So I didn't even have in my mind that I would be asked about my t-shirt in the United States. I have been asked about my outfit or the way that I look in so many other countries, because I grew in countries that have authoritarian regimes, in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq. And I know how these things look like. But I wasn't expecting that this thing would happen to me in New York.

FOREMAN: Let me ask you this very quickly, Raed. What do you think, if one of the sensitivities here is other cultures looking at young Arabic or Muslim men and say we need to look at them closely, if that's a sensitivity, what more should the Muslim community be doing to police its own ranks of people so that maybe the outside world doesn't have to do it so hard?

JARRAR: The Muslim and Arab community have a big responsibility to be working against extremism. But these acts of the U.S. government are not making it easier. When people like me, secular, you know, anti-extremist people, get treated in this way and profiled because of their color or their language, it makes it easier, I mean, more harder for the Muslim and Arab community, in general, to fight against extremism and try to create a more moderate generation, especially generations that are living abroad.

FOREMAN: We don't want to create more enemies out of people like Raed who would want to help.

TEMPLE: Tom, that's exactly right. That's why in our prior discussion we talked about profiling as a potential tool, as something we can't ignore, but not an only tool. So, in terms of civil aviation, in terms of passenger aircraft and trains and so on, these are where all communities all societies, all civilizations, all cities and son on, come together and get where they need to go. It's a daily rhythm. It's a daily part of everybody's life. So it's not just profiling, it's also things like the Orlando Airports do, where you have pre-screening as ways to make sure these kinds of public transportation systems are safe.

FOREMAN: It seems to so often be coming around to that notion of cultural bridges, where we all say our first allegiance is to the well being and safety of all of us, no matter what our stripe is, if we're concerned about the safety of our world. Thank you very much, Raed, for joining us out in San Francisco. We appreciate it. Thanks Cal, here, good insights.

How does the war on terrorism and the latest news from Iraq and Afghanistan hit home in this U.S. election year? War and politics coming up on THIS WEEK AT WAR.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These challenging times and they are difficult times and they are straining the psyche of our country. I understand that. You know, nobody likes to see innocent people die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Monday President Bush facing the cameras and the questions about his Iraq policy. Are we seeing the early signs of how the president and his political friends and foes will confront the Iraq issue during the Fall congressional campaign, joining us now Ed Henry, CNN White House correspondent, also Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, also a CNN contributor.

Ed, let me start with you. The president is sounding brittle about this.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Straining the psyche of the American people is a pretty bold statement from the president, acknowledging that the war is not going very well right now. As the "Washington Post" reported, in that long press conference, there's one word the president didn't use, progress. He had repeatedly saying that for months and months and months, progress, stay to it, stay the course. And I think he's realizing, in part because of pressure from fellow Republicans. This week Senator John McCain, a Republican congressman Chris Shays raising sharp questions. It used to mostly be just Democrats but now more and more Republicans are raising questions about how this war is going.

FOREMAN: Amy, on the ear side of the aisle, are Democrats, while sad about the war, delighted about this or do they yet know what to do with this issue?

AMY WALTER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, they do know what to do with this issue and that is to try to make this a campaign issue. To really look at where the public is coming on their frustration, the overall disapproval of the president, the frustration that voters feel about the direction of the country, even with what's going on in Washington. I think we can directly relate to their feelings about Iraq. So this is what's dragging down so many Republicans right now.

FOREMAN: Can they make this pay off though? Look at these numbers, CNN poll, August 18 through 20th, which party would do a better job in Iraq? Democrats 47 percent. Republicans 41 percent. I would think that on both sides of the aisle, there would be people who might think those numbers should be even worse for the Republicans now.

WALTER: This is where the Democrats and you asked the question earlier, can they do something with this. This is why you're not going to hear a lot from Democrats about let's have specific plans and let's talk about really specific, you know, let's put a five point, six point plan together to handout to voters before the election. The case they want to make is the direction of the country is wrong. We are headed on the wrong path, that Republicans are responsible for this, the president is responsible for this. You as voters have a chance. This is a referendum on this president and on this Congress. Here's your chance to vote.

HENRY: And the president's strategy is to try keep shifting this. If it's a referendum on the war in Iraq, based on that number you just noted, Republicans are going to have a long night on election night. So the president, at that press conference and in other settings, keeps trying to, as he's done for a long time, lump Iraq in with the broader war on terror and say it's not just about Iraq, it's a referendum, this election will be, on the broader war on terror. But there was another number in that CNN poll this week suggesting that a majority of Americans might not be buying that. A majority of Americans now saying they think Iraq has been a distraction from the broader war on terror. That's very worrisome to Republicans because the Karl Rove playbook that won in '02, won in '04, might not be there for them again this time.

FOREMAN: Let's take a look at what Howard Dean on the Democratic side said about what's been going on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD DEAN, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATL. COMTE.: The job was finished. We went in there to get rid of Saddam Hussein. We got rid of him. Then we decided we were going to occupy the country. Then we decided that we would try to mitigate a civil war, which we're now in. The problem is the job, as far as the president keeps defining it, is a moving target. He doesn't know what the job is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Polls still say, though, despite all that, that Republicans are still getting better marks than Democrats in the war on terror. Is that encouraging to Republican or do they just fear this is a big slippery slope and they can't count on that now?

HENRY: Somewhat encouraging, but I think the bottom line is the president has been framing this as it's a clear choice. It's either you withdraw troops quickly, as he says Democrats want to do, and you don't finish the job, or you stay the course and finish the job. Clearly, there could be a third way, somewhere in the middle there, where you don't just pull out quickly, but you also don't just stay the course when things may not been working. A third way and I think these polls are showing the American people are hungry, as Amy was saying a moment ago, for some sort of change, something new, whether the Republicans or Democrats do it.

FOREMAN: One more time, very quickly here. Let me ask you this. The Democrats, if they have take the soft, sort of big brush approach, seems to me that's the thing Republicans pick them off on every time, because they say, you got no plan. Here is our plan.

WALTER: This is going back to Ed's plan. Which is that was fine in '02, that was fine in '04 and again, I think especially in a presidential election year, when you're talking about two people running for commander in chief. This is not a presidential election where two people are running for commander in chief. This is an election where you have voters who are much more pessimistic about the direction of the country than they were two years ago, much more pessimistic about Iraq than they were two years ago, about the president.

FOREMAN: Everybody reading the tea leaves and it is so far away until the tea is brewed on this. Appreciate it.

WALTER: Thanks.

FOREMAN: Coming up, farewell for military families in Arizona this week. And what's on the calendar for next week?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRYSTAL COLEMAN, WIFE OF SGT. JUSTIN COLEMAN: We're newly weds and we just had a baby. So, you know, I'm really nervous about how I'm going to maintain on my own.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Crystal Coleman says goodbye to her husband on Tuesday, as he and members of the 86th Signal Battalion took off before dawn for Iraq. Soldiers from Fort Huachuca, Arizona will provide communications support during their year long tour.

Here are some of the stories we'll be watching next week. On Monday U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan continues his Mideast mission, persuading warring bodies to abide by the cease-fire. Thursday, the deadline for Iran to give up its nuclear enrichment program or face United Nations sanctions and Friday, European foreign ministers will meet in Finland, more talk of contributing to the U.N. force in Lebanon.

As we watch all of these soldiers and the U.N. peace keeping forces converge, it's worth remembering there's nothing more difficult than the decision to send off a member of your family to fight somewhere in the world and perhaps no job more noble or difficult than putting your life on the line, ultimately to put yourself out of work by securing peace somewhere in the world. The best of luck to all the soldiers everywhere.

Thanks for joining us on THIS WEEK AT WAR. I'm Tom Foreman filling in for John Roberts. Straight ahead, a check of the headlines and then "CNN PRESENTS" a special encore presentation of "In the Footsteps of bin Laden."

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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