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CNN NEWSROOM

Truck Bomb Kills Two U.S. Soldiers in Baghdad; George Clooney Pleads For U.N. Intervention in Sudan; Senators Defy Bush on Detainees; Singletons Condoleezza Rice and Peter MacKay Hit It Off According to Some Journalists

Aired September 14, 2006 - 15:00   ET

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


CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, hello. I'm Carol Lin at the CNN World Headquarters Atlanta. Kyra Phillips is off today.
A self-proclaimed angel of death posing with guns, disappointed with life -- we are learning more about the gunman in the Canadian campus shootings.

And dire in Darfur -- the Sudan crisis at the center of the world stage today. George Clooney shares his experiences in a speech to the United Nations live this hour.

Meantime, we have a developing story out of Iraq. A suicide truck bomb kills two American soldiers. More than two dozen are wounded.

So, let's go straight to Baghdad and CNN's Cal Perry.

Cal, you actually witnessed the aftermath of this. Tell me where you were and what you saw.

CAL PERRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I was actually at the combat hospital when these soldiers came in. And what I saw was really controlled chaos.

The doctors, medics and nurses at this combat hospital did a tremendous job of triaging out the wounded. They took the most wounded first, urgently into the trauma rooms, and started working on them, and did not work on the ones that were lightly wounded until later.

As you said, what we know at this point, two killed, 25 others wounded. It really was a very emotional scene. Much of the unit was there at the combat hospital. And Major General Thurman, who actually commands the 4th I.D., slipped in for a visit.

There was a very emotional moment between him and a U.S. soldier. He tapped the soldier on the shoulder. The soldier was laying in one of the trauma beds. He whispered something in his ear. Then he took a step back and asked a question that, quite frankly, any of us would ask about family members if they had been wounded. He said, is he going to be OK?

The doctors reassured the general. And he said, yes, sir, he is going to be fine -- Carol. LIN: Cal, you have been helping us back here at the World Headquarters compile a lot of the information out of Baghdad, and the -- the totals of the violence just in the last 48 hours, simply shocking -- more than 113 bodies found in the streets of Baghdad alone in the last 48 hours, 24 dead in Iraq, including four soldiers. What is happening?

I mean, the U.S. military spokesperson, Major General William Caldwell, announced that sectarian violence in Baghdad has dropped overall, so, how can he make that claim with any credibility?

PERRY: Well, here in Iraq, as you said, the violence really peaks. It ebbs and it flows. We are seeing, at this point, an uptick in violence.

We should remember Operation Together Forward. This is the prime minister's big plan to secure the capital, putting more than 10,000 security forces on the streets of Baghdad. At least at this point, there has been very little evidence to prove that it's slowing down sectarian violence at all.

We heard the Iraqi government say that last month. Fifteen hundred bodies were found strewn across the capital. That accounts for about half the numbers of people killed in the capital alone last month. So, the violence continues, sectarian violence especially a huge concern, as you said, over 100 bodies found in the last 48 hours.

LIN: Cal, where is the law? I mean, it's a lawless society. If 500 bodies were found, you know, on the streets of Los Angeles, there would be sheer and utter panic. Something would be done. Why can't the coalition forces or the Iraqi forces get control of the violence?

PERRY: Well, this is really the question here on the ground. I mean, you saw today what happens to U.S. troops on their own base. Some of them were caught simply off guard before going out on patrol.

And this is really a guerrilla war. Insurgents are not facing off against U.S. troops head on. They're hitting them with IEDs. They're hitting them with snipers. They're hitting them when they least expect it.

And there's another serious problem here. There's a militia issue. There are two major Shia militias here in Iraq, the Mahdi army and the Badr Brigade. These two militias are blamed for much of the sectarian violence, much of the sectarian killings. And, in certain places around the capital, Sadr City being one of them, they run these areas of the cities.

These, in many places, are no-go areas for the U.S. military. The problem, at some times, days like today, just seems too big for both the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces to handle -- Carol.

LIN: Cal, you managed to make it out of the bureau over to that hospital, where you -- you saw the walking wounded come in. How do you get around? How do you get your food? How do you get your water? How do you get home? PERRY: Well, here, it's really a risk vs. a reward decision- making process on a daily basis. What is the risk vs. the reward of the story?

When it comes to the 10th CSH, it's actually in the Green Zone. So, you, know when you're there, you're relatively well-protected inside the walls of the Green Zone. Of course, these U.S. soldiers that were wounded today, two of them killed, they were behind very last blast walls. And this truck bomb was obviously a massive explosion, taking out 25 of them, killing two.

So, as I said, it's a very, very difficult place to operate. It's a place that you try to keep a low profile. But, of course, as a Westerner, I stick out. So, we are very careful with our movements. We're very careful with our security. And, again, it's really risk vs. reward.

LIN: All right, Cal Perry, thank you very much. Thanks for bringing us that dramatic video, as the -- as the wounded started to arrive just a couple of hours ago. Appreciate the time.

Now, a missed opportunity or a case simply following the rules in the war on terror? Well, the Taliban targeted, and then it was let off the hook.

CNN senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre joins me now with more.

Jamie, it seemed like there was a prime opportunity. You have a picture to show us of Taliban forces all gathered in one location.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the picture is raising questions about the rules of engagement used by U.S. commanders in Afghanistan, and whether those commanders are too concerned about being the good guys, and perhaps not as focused on getting the bad guys.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE (voice-over): The single video frame shows a large gathering of suspected Taliban militants in the crosshairs of a U.S. spy plane, sitting ducks, except that no one pulled the trigger. The picture first surfaced on a Weblog written by NBC News reporter Kerry Sanders in Afghanistan, who says the image was declassified at NBC's request.

According to what Sanders was told, the 190 Taliban members, including top leaders, were at a funeral. And Army officers frustration the group was not attacked. "Why?" he wrote. "Under the rules of engagement, the U.S. cannot bomb a cemetery."

Actually, military experts say, the U.S. can bomb a cemetery in some circumstances.

JAMES CARAFANO, SENIOR FELLOW, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Commanders on the ground usually have a degree of flexibility, in terms of how they operate these rules of engagement. But, again, a rule of engagement which essentially puts cultural and religious sites off limits, that's not unusual.

MCINTYRE: Initially, the U.S. military refused to comment on the photo, saying it should never have been released. But, in a later statement, the military said the picture shows a July gathering of Taliban insurgents that it first considered a tactically viable enemy target, but then decided not to strike, because the group was on the grounds of a cemetery and were likely conducting a funeral for Taliban insurgents killed earlier in the day.

Another reason for caution, credible intelligence can be wrong, such as the time in 2002 when U.S. planes mistakenly bombed a wedding party in Afghanistan, killing several dozen civilians.

MAJOR GENERAL DONALD SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It could be a missed opportunity. It could be a disaster averted. Again, we have had both.

MCINTYRE: The statement noted that a suicide bomber attacked the funeral of an Afghan provincial governor Tuesday, killing innocent civilians, and said the U.S. holds itself to a higher moral and ethical standard than its enemies.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE: And while some people are second-guessing the decision made by this commander, or commanders, the truth is, we don't know all of the factors that they had to take into account. We know that they decided they didn't want to bomb a funeral that was under way. But we also don't know whether they were influenced by the fact that they didn't know exactly who was among the mourners -- Carol.

LIN: All right, Jamie McIntyre, at the Pentagon, interesting story.

All right, one of the big stories today, the situation in Darfur, Sudan. The government there doesn't want U.N. peacekeepers there. And, yet, millions of people are homeless. Hundreds of thousands are dead.

And there, you're seeing the influence of Hollywood, George Clooney, as well as human rights activist Elie Wiesel, addressing the U.N. Security Council.

Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: It's not getting better. It's getting much, much worse.

And it is only the international community that can help us. Now, I know there are members of you here that, for what I'm sure are sensible reasons, have failed to use leverage at times to keep the -- to get the peacekeepers on the ground. Well, we now have a date. The date is September 30. The 1st of October will leave these people with nothing. Whatever the reason, it's not good enough. On October 1, it won't just be the Janjaweed murdering and raping with impunity or Minnawi's SLA slaughtering the Fur tribes.

With no protection, all the aide workers will leave immediately, and the 2.5 million refugees who depend on that aid will die. Jan Egeland estimates 100,000 a month.

So, after September 30, you won't need the U.N. You will simply need men with shovels and bleached white linen and headstones. In many ways, it's unfair, but it is, nevertheless, true that this genocide will be on your watch. How you deal with it will be your legacy, your Rwanda, your Cambodia, your Auschwitz.

We were brought up to believe that the U.N. was formed to ensure that the Holocaust could never happen again. We believe in you so strongly. We need you so badly. We have come so far. We're one yes away from ending this. And, if not the U.N., then who?

Time is of the essence.

I'm going to give this over to Professor Wiesel.

And I'm going to thank you again for your time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, Mr. Clooney.

Professor Wiesel.

ELIE WIESEL, NOBEL LAUREATE: Ambassador Bolton and distinguished delegates, members of the Security Council, friends, I thank you for inviting both of us to address you, to speak with you, to try to answer your questions, and, together, to try to find a solution, a human solution to a human tragedy.

The world capital human suffering, humiliation and despair, that is Sudan's Darfur today. You know that the tragedy there seems endless, as well as senseless. It has all the components of the worst and ugliest crimes of the last century: tribal hatred, vicious brutality, and scandalous behavior of raping women, killing children.

In Darfur, in Sudan, those in power abuse it in order to starve, maim, and kill people, innocent men, innocent women, defenseless children. Why? Because they consider their enemies as such in they -- in those children and their parents and grandparents. And this has been going on for years, too many years, and it will probably continue, unless it's being stopped by you.

Remember Rwanda. I do. From 600,000 to 800,000 human beings were murdered there. And we know now, as we knew then, they could have been saved. And they were not. And we have been asking those who then were in power, why weren't they saved? And there is no answer, except negligence and indifference. The human catastrophe in Darfur has been unmasked and denounced already by governments and international human rights organizations. That speaks for their commitment to human values. If, in other times, people could claim ignorance of terrifying events far away, today, no one can, and no one should. Everything is known, known to anyone willing to listen.

The crimes committed in Sudan have been revealed and debated by intellectual, political and religious human rights leaders here, everywhere. And, again, what was in Rwanda so terrible that the U.N. knew, and the U.N. let it happen. Sudan cannot bring back the dead, but it can restore a sense of honor to the United Nations.

You may wonder why am I here speaking, speaking on behalf of Darfur's victims. I'm a writer and I'm a teacher. That is my profession, my vocation. Why am I involved in tragic events that occur to people I have never met on the other side of oceans and continents? It is because I belong to a traumatized generation haunted by the world's indifference to its plight, to its agony, in Hitler's occupied Europe.

We who survived that dark period have learned the bitter truth: The victim is always doubly cursed and doubly punished, first, by being a victim, and then by being alone.

LIN: All right, we're listening to Elie Wiesel, a human rights activist who is committed to ending genocide around the world.

We also heard Academy Award-winning actor and director George Clooney making a passionate appeal to the members of the U.N. Security Council, saying that hundreds of thousands -- actually, millions of deaths will be at the Security Council's feet, their hands, responsible, if they do not do something to stop the genocide region in the Darfur region in Sudan.

CNN's Richard Roth at the United Nations

Richard, we talked earlier about what can the U.N. Security Council do if Sudan refuses to have U.N. peacekeepers in the country. The clock is ticking, as African Union troops get ready to pull out September 30.

What effect do you think these impassioned pleas by these two very famous people will have on the council members?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to read it. It may not have that much impact, because it may come down to heavy lobbying and pressure from countries such as China, which seems to grudgingly be coming around to the side of the U.N. peacekeepers must go in now, and Sudan can't just refuse to give its consent.

President Bush's White House sent an emissary to China recently. Yesterday, the State Department said the message was not well- received. Sudan is certainly going to hear it, when the high-level General Assembly takes place next week here, from a lot of world leaders. But, as George Clooney said shortly before we joined him live, you all know this, to the Security Council. Everyone is aware of the story.

The Chinese ambassador today said he was going to put in another pitch and plea with the Sudanese government. They have a deadline coming up. George Clooney told the council, this is going to be on your watch, another Rwanda -- Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor.

But, Carol, look, it took the U.N. nearly 60 years to give and recognize the Holocaust remembrance with a special day. So, we're -- they're not really counting on the council that much. It's going to take pressure from others. The Security Council has passed resolutions authorizing 20,000 peacekeepers to go to Darfur and help out and relieve the African Union.

LIN: So, what does Sudan care about that the United Nations can give or take away?

ROTH: Well, every member country holds on to its turf. They feel that its leadership might be indicted for war crimes. And they fear the war crime -- the peacekeepers coming in and going after senior leadership.

China gets a lot of oil and business from Sudan. This is where probably it may have more impact, the economic tie, because, certainly, 200,000, at least, have died, and two million displaced. And the Security Council has heard it all. It's rare for an actor to make an appearance like this. And it's not even clear how high level the countries are represented inside that room at this moment, and whether they have just tuned it out.

LIN: Yes.

ROTH: So, they're -- the pressure will keep escalating. They had an agreement a few months ago. The government has been very clever in when it bends and when it doesn't.

LIN: Mmm-hmm. Well, and there are reports coming out of the Darfur region that, even with the African Union troops there, that the Janjaweed ride in. They wave their guns. And they go on and pillage and rape.

ROTH: Well, that's because the Security Council did not give it a firm mandate. They didn't give them powers to -- the same powers that those troops in southern Lebanon are going to have.

And they are outmanned. They don't have enough money. And they are not going to intervene in many cases. And I'm sure you have read those reports. Rapes, violence occurs just around the corner from the monitors. It's a large expanse of land. And it has been going on now for years. And the U.S. has called it a genocide.

And, yet, the U.N., as an institution, cannot get together to put the force -- Kofi Annan yesterday told me the world has changed since 1999, when he said, sometimes, we're going to have to intervene in countries, against its wishes, on a humanitarian basis.

LIN: All right. The clock is ticking, September 30, as what few peacekeepers are there, not U.N. peacekeepers, but African troops from different African countries, are planning to pull out of the Darfur region.

Richard Roth, thank you very much.

Now, later tonight, George Clooney goes one on one with Anderson Cooper. He is going to talk about his personal plea to the United Nations to stop the killing in Darfur. That's "A.C. 360," 10:00 Eastern.

We're also following another developing story -- more on a ship that has run aground off the coast of Florida -- next.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LIN: Straight to the newsroom now -- Fredricka Whitfield working more details on a developing story, a ship aground off the coast of Florida -- Fred.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And it is still stuck there off Port Everglades, 500-foot ship called the Clipper Lasco.

We are learning a little bit more about it and the predicament that it is in. It is a Bohemian -- it has Bohemian flags on it. But, apparently, the Coast Guard noticed, as it was approaching the Port Everglades area -- they had been tracking it on radar. They noticed that it was in trouble and possibly could run aground.

The Coast Guard did try to direct the vessel to alter that from happening, but to no avail. So, what happened?

To help us get a better idea, Lieutenant Commander Chris O'Neil of the U.S. Coast Guard out of the Miami is on the phone with us.

And what is your best guess as to why something went wrong here?

LIEUTENANT COMMANDER CHRIS O'NEIL, U.S. COAST GUARD: Well, the incident is going to be under investigation. So, the mechanics of how this accident occurred remain to be seen.

But you did encapsulate what happened pretty accurately. We had been in contact with the vessel as early as 12:45 today, again, noticing the vessel's track by radar, and visually, using a video system that we have to monitor the ports. We tried to get the vessel to alter its course, to no avail. And, at about 1:19 today, we received a report that the vessel believed it had run aground.

WHITFIELD: Now, was that communication not received on that vessel? Because I understand, through your press release, that there was no pilot on board. How does that work? O'NEIL: Well, a pilot is just a requirement for entrance into the Port of Everglades. So, a vessel entering into the port would be required to have a pilot on board, someone who is very intimately familiar with the waters and guides the master in the transit of the vessel into the port.

In this case, the vessel was destined for the Anchorage, basically a maritime parking lot for cargo ships, outside the port, so, no pilot, local pilot, was required to be aboard the vessel at the time. The vessel was under control of the master, obviously. Why there was no action taken on our radio calls to the vessel, that remains to be seen yet.

WHITFIELD: Now, apparently, there is an aluminum ore or called bauxite that is on board this cargo. Does that pose any danger in any way while it is stuck there off the coast?

O'NEIL: Well, we haven't received any reports of pollution or injuries in conjunction with this incident. So, there is no indication that any of the cargo has -- has entered the water at this time.

Bauxite is an aluminum ore, so it's not a -- it's not as immediately dangerous to the water as, say, a petroleum product would be.

WHITFIELD: And what about the people on board? How many?

O'NEIL: I don't have that figure yet.

WHITFIELD: OK.

And what will you, the Coast Guard, be able to do to try to dislodge it, get it moving again, try to pull it into port, what?

O'NEIL: Sure.

Well, our first priority is to ensure that the scene is stable, that the vessel isn't taking on water, and that we have good haul integrity and structural integrity of the vessel. And then, once that is determined, there's a number of things we will look a. But, basically, we will look to get a salvage plan from the operators of the vessel to determine what is the best method to get it back up...

WHITFIELD: All right.

O'NEIL: ... off the bottom.

WHITFIELD: So, it doesn't appear that anyone is in imminent danger?

O'NEIL: No. No. We have not received any reports of the vessel taking on water. We haven't received any reports of injuries or pollution at this time. So, it just appears that the vessel is aground. And -- and we will monitor this situation and determine what the causes were. WHITFIELD: All right. Lieutenant Commander Chris O'Neil of the U.S. Coast Guard, thanks so much.

O'NEIL: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Carol.

LIN: All right, Fred, just as you were doing that interview, we got a bulletin on the Associated Press saying that a Senate committee has defied President Bush, passes by a 15-9 vote the terrorism tribunal bill which protects foreign suspects' rights -- the Bush administration wanting to legally define certain portions of the Geneva Convention that protect prisoner rights and forms of interrogation.

All right, online and his own words -- a disturbing self-portrait of the gunman in yesterday's shoot-out at a Canadian college campus.

We're back in the NEWSROOM after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LIN: All right, this just in to CNN, that the Senate Armed Services Committee just voted 15-9 to recommend a bill that would protect the rights of terror suspects.

This is right in the face of President Bush, who traveled to Capitol Hill to try to pitch this notion of legal clarification of some Geneva Convention doctrine that protects the rights of prisoners, protects them from degrading treatment and humiliation, cruel treatment and torture, redefining, wanting a legal definition, because that, in this day and age, in the war on terror, allowing more flexibility for American forces to deal with terror suspects.

But, so far, the Senate Armed Services defied President Bush, voted for a bill to support the rights of terror suspects -- more on this story as it's developing.

In the meantime, we have got some business news. Individual health insurance, you know, it is often bragged as an alternative to group coverage.

But as Susan Lisovicz tells us from the New York Stock Exchange, it's not a realistic option for most people. Susan?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That is right. This is the result of a new study, Carol, which finds the overwhelming majority of working age adults who shopped for individual health policies could not get coverage. According to the Commonwealth Fund 58 percent of the applicants could not afford individual insurance. Another 21 percent were turned down, charged a higher premium or sold a policy that excluded coverage of an existing health problem.

The option of buying individual insurance is seen as more important than ever as a growing number of employers drop health benefits for workers and their families. Critics say that it's only an option for the healthiest and wealthiest people, Carol.

LIN: So how are the insurance industry reacting to those charges?

LISOVICZ: It has a different view, Carol. One industry trade group says its own survey found that individual plans were more affordable than this study alleges and that they offer better benefits than the group plans. But several lawsuits in California accused Blue Cross and Blue Shield of looking for any excuse to dump people with costly medical problems, to escape the obligation to pay the bills.

Companies claim they canceled the policies because policy holders did not make full disclosure of prior health problems and that brings up one of the major complaints about individual plans. They can deny coverage based on preexisting conditions while group plans must accept everyone, Carol.

LIN: Hey Susan, the markets today, pretty quiet overall?

(MARKET REPORT)

LIN: Sounds good, thanks Susan.

Well the school year began in Detroit today, some three weeks late. Public school teachers struck for 16 days but agreed to end the strike last night. The teachers last raise came back in 2003. So what did the city offer? Two years of cuts to help trim the city's deficit. The way it worked out, it's a pay freeze this year, a one percent raise next year and a little bit more the year after, combined with new teacher contributions to health care premiums.

Well the gunman in yesterday's shooting at a Canadian college left an Internet trail for the investigators to following. Twenty five year old Kimveer Gill, the self professed Angel of Death on his online blog, posted these chilling pictures of himself. CNN's Allan Chernoff is in Montreal with the very latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Police have identified Kimveer Gill as the gunman in this shooting, 25 years old from the northern suburbs of Montreal. What is particularly interesting here is that the police say he has no apparent connection whatsoever to Dawson College. They say that Mr. Gill may have selected Dawson College entirely randomly. What did happen yesterday, witnesses say, is that Mr. Gill was standing outside of the college when he calmly began shooting a gun, not apparently aiming at anyone in particular.

He then continued inside of the college, the police pursued him. There was a gun battle in the cafeteria and while that was going on, students were trying to get away, sliding on their behinds on the floor to try to get away from the gunman. The police encouraged them to do so and at that point, witnesses say the gunman turned on some of those students.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's when I think the guy clicked because five seconds later that's when he started spraying like 78 rounds at us. And like my friend, who was literally at my feet, got shot twice, once in the arm and once in the leg and I tried to help. I had to drag her all the way through the cafeteria. I didn't care anymore what was happening. I just dragged her with my friend. We just both dragged her to the back and then I started taking care of her.

CHERNOFF: That woman was brought here to Montreal General Hospital, along with ten other victims. Six of them were injured quite severely and were operated on last night. They remain in intensive care today.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, Montreal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LIN: We are going to take you overseas and show you some images of Afghanistan and a reporter's reflection straight ahead in THE NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LIN: Well a short time ago we told you that the Senate Armed Services Committee has flown in the face of President Bush, who traveled to Capitol Hill to make his own plea. They have supported, recommended a bill that actually protects the rights of terror suspects.

So let's get more reaction from Kathleen Koch. She's standing by at the White House right now. Kathleen, have you heard from the president, the administration yet?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No reaction to this vote, no Carol, because it just occurred while we were in the briefing, actually, not too long ago with Press Secretary Tony Snow. But it's certainly an indication of how difficult it's going to be for the president to get through Congress his anti-terrorism legislation in this election year with less than eight weeks away, eight weeks to go before the midterm elections.

The president, there you see him on Capitol Hill, he did go up to the Hill to push a number of pieces of legislation which, certainly, all of them still have a chance. This is just one bill coming out of one committee. He was trying to get the Congress to pass a measure legalizing his domestic surveillance program, one setting up these military commissions to try the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. That one would also continue the once secret overseas CIA prison program and that's the one that has caused so much consternation.

Many powerful members of the president's own party very much opposed to it and concerned that it's a dangerous reinterpretation of the Geneva Conventions, that could leave the U.S. service members vulnerable to mistreatment if they were ever taken captive. Even former Secretary of State Colin Powell made that argument in a letter that he sent today to senator John McCain.

But the president as he was meeting there, you see him with South Korean leader, President Moo-hyun, he insisted that his proposals seek not to redefine, but to re-clarify the current rules on the treatment and interrogation of prisoners.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have proposed legislation that will enable the Central Intelligence Agency to be able to conduct a program to get information from high value detainees in a lawful way and that idea was approved yesterday by a House committee in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion. It is very important for the American people to understand that in order to protect this country, we must be able to interrogate people who have information about future attacks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOCH: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did herself send a letter to Senator John Warner, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, explaining the administration's position, insisting that they were not rewriting the Geneva Conventions but clarifying them. Obviously, that was not something that was persuasive to the senator and the other members of the committee.

They had a lot of concerns about some of the restrictions that the president wanted for these military commissions to try detainees. One would have prevented them from seeing secret evidence that was being used against them, and another one would have allowed the admission of testimony to be used against them, and that was obtained through coercion or methods that some critics say were really tantamount to torture. So a tough road ahead on the Hill for President Bush's anti-terror measures.

LIN: All right, Kathleen, thanks for the very latest from the White House.

KOCH: You bet.

LIN: Afghanistan: where the war on terror began, where it's still being fought today. A "Reporter's Notebook" from CNN's Anderson Cooper.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's easy to get lost in Afghanistan. In Kabul's crowded streets you hear mullahs and music. Horns honk; people pass you by.

A car bomb goes off. The casualties are counted. They wash the charred flesh, the broken bones off the street. Kabul doesn't stop for long.

Out in the country, you get lost in the silence. The mountains, the desert, mile after mile. You're an outsider, a stranger, and every day you feel it. A furtive glance, a quick laugh. More often than not what you get is a silent stare. Every day U.S. soldiers go out in the heat and the dust, in crowded Humvees, on foot, in the mountains, 70 pounds on their backs, guns, locked and loaded. It is an uphill climb.

Progress is slow in the mountains, in the mission. But the soldiers are motivated, perhaps the most I've ever met. They build schools; the Taliban blows them up. They get fired on, but they give as good as they get.

America paused this week to remember what happened five years ago. The truth is, these soldiers remember it each and every day. Al Qaeda, the Taliban. The past here is the present. The enemy is all around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're out here fighting so that we don't have to do this at home, so that our families can stay safe.

COOPER: It may be easy to get lost in Afghanistan. But it's important to remember our soldiers are still here.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LIN: Anderson Cooper is on the frontlines of the war on terror. You can watch him on "AC 360" tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Wildfires grow and engulf Western states. And where is the latest tropical storm moving? Reynolds Wolf has details from the CNN Weather Center. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LIN: Well, obviously, weather may play a big part in containing a southern California wildfire. Strong, dry Santa Ana winds this weekend could reenergize the so-called day fire north of Los Angeles. Crews say cooler temperatures and higher humidity in the past few days have helped them. The blaze is now 30 percent contained, and nearby Interstate 5 has partially reopened.

Now wildfires are also burning in parts of central Washington, northeast Nevada and south central Montana. The jungle fire is forcing evacuations of 325 homes in Park County. Now, it's doubled in size since Tuesday, burning some 27,000 acres.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LIN: She's smart, she's powerful and she's single. Ditto for him. So are they interested in becoming a diplomatic duo? Rumor and reality, straight ahead on the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LIN: Fredricka Whitfield in the newsroom now with another developing story -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: This time some information coming from Capitol Hill. The House has passed a Bill to authorize a 700-mile fence along the U.S. border with Mexico. The vote 283-138. The bill had asked for 700 miles of double-layered fencing along the 2000-mile border with Mexico. Now, the full Senate must still approve of this.

Now, as you recall, however, Carol, back in May, the Senate had already approved a similar bill, a more broader immigration bill, that called for 370 miles of fencing so perhaps that's some indication as to whether the Senate would approve of this 700-mile fencing now that the House has approved -- Carol.

LIN: All right. Thanks, Fred.

Well, the secretary of state's trip to Canada is putting a brand new spin on the term diplomatic relations.

CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She calls him by his first name.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: This has been a lovely trip, Peter.

MOOS: He calls her ...

PETER MACKAY, CANADIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Secretary Rice.

MOOS: Relations between Canada and the U.S. are heating up, at least in the imagination of the press.

MACKAY: Please come back again.

MOOS: This is what you'd call a wishful thinking story on our part. Two singletons, the U.S. secretary of state and Canada's foreign minister, seemed to hit it off. It doesn't hurt that Peter MacKay is considered a hunk by diplomatic standards. Suddenly, their harborside stroll seems enchanting, as enchanting as a walk trailed by cameras and noisy boom mics can be.

Even a visit to the doughnut shop felt personally revealing.

MACKAY: I just have tea. I don't drink coffee.

RICE: You don't drink coffee? That's right. You told me that.

MOOS: Almost like a date.

MACKAY: Oh, no, no, no.

RICE: I'll treat you.

MACKAY: You're going treat me. Are you sure?

RICE: A thousand times, don't worry about it.

MOOS: Ever since Canada's foreign minister first visited Washington ...

MACKAY: I have always been a fan of yours.

MOOS: ...his respect for the secretary of state has been anything but understated, noted on Web sites and categorized as hot by a "Toronto Globe and Mail" columnist.

RICE: I also last night had a chance to meet some of the members of Peter's family.

MOOS: Well, no wonder the "New York Times" did a tongue in cheek article. Questions about the duo elicited a winced from the State Department spokesman. Note the single raised eyebrow.

QUESTION: How does she feel about this admiration?

SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: She had a good laugh when she read it.

MOOS (on camera): All right, so maybe we're making something out of nothing. OK, we're almost definitely making something out of nothing, but at least we didn't do what the "Globe" did, "Bush & Condi, Like Lovers!"

MOOS (voice-over): The supermarket tabloid took innocent photos of Secretary Rice and the president and had a body language expert analyze them in not so innocent ways. We'd never do anything like that with video of Secretary Rice and Canada's foreign minister. He finally did touch her. Must be something in the air.

RICE: I slept so well, you know, the air is so great. Terrific air to sleep.

MACKAY: She loves the cool Atlantic breezes here in Atlantic Canada. She left her window open last night.

RICE: Peter's right. I do love the cool, ocean breezes.

MOOS: All of this talk of cool breezes ...

MACKAY: Cheers.

RICE: Cheers.

MOOS: ...is making us hot.

Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LIN: Love it.

All right. Time to check in with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. He is standing by in "THE SITUATION ROOM" to tell us what is coming up at the top of the hour -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Carol.

Colin Powell squaring off with President Bush over the treatment of terror suspects.

Plus Senator Barak Obama here in "THE SITUATION ROOM." I will ask him about his presidential prospects for 2008.

Also, nuclear fight -- U.N. inspectors call U.S. claims on Iran's uranium enrichment program outrageous and dishonest. We've got a House Intelligence Committee Report. Find out why they say this is looking like pre-Iraq war intelligence all over again.

And the Teflon governor. Arnold Schwarzenegger may have been the one caught on tape, but now his opponents are paying the political price.

All that, coming up, Carol, at the top of the hour.

LIN: Thanks, Wolf.

Also, the "Closing Bell" straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LIN: All right. Let's go to Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange. Susan, Ford shares moving? Do you know anything about the announcement tomorrow?

(MARKET REPORT)

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