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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Will House Speaker Dennis Hastert Survive Foley Fallout?; Healing Congo's Wounded; Feeding Darfur's Hungry
Aired October 5, 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: Good evening, everyone. And, to our international viewers, welcome to 360.
We're live again in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Millions have died here. But how many more will it take before the world takes notice?
And, back in Washington, the scandal that is shaking Congress gets even bigger.
ANNOUNCER: Foley fallout -- facing more pressure to resign, the speaker of the House comes out swinging.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: You know, I'm going to run, and presumably win, in this election.
ANNOUNCER: And gets a strong vote of support from the president. Will it backfire for both?
ANNOUNCER: Soldiers shot -- with little medicine, and no protection, doctors and nurses risk their lives to save other lives. Tonight, Anderson is on the front line of the crisis in Congo.
And from movie star to mother -- Angelina Jolie speaks out on the plight of refugees and why it's her most important role ever.
ANNOUNCER: Reporting from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, "The Killing Fields: Africa's Misery, The World's Shame."
COOPER: Thanks for joining us again.
We have spent most of this week in one of the most dangerous and desperate places on Earth. Right now, we're in a town called Rutshuru. It's on the eastern tip of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Congo's civil war killed millions. We are told it's over, but the fighting continues, including skirmishes just north of where I'm standing.
For the last two nights, we have been bringing you stories from the Congo and from neighboring Sudan and Chad, stories that need to be heard about people whose lives literally are hanging in the balance. Right now, their future is uncertain. It could bring hope or it could lead them deeper into the abyss.
We're going to have more in a moment.
But, first, CNN's John Roberts joins us from New York with the latest on the fallout over disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley -- John.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, thanks.
With just 33 days now until the midterm elections, the accusations that Foley sent explicit messages to teenage male pages continues to send shockwaves across the political landscape. And it could have a huge impact on who holds power in Congress -- all the angles tonight.
With the pressure mounting on Dennis Hastert to resign, the speaker of the House says he's sorry, but won't step down. Also, FBI agents interview Foley's former chief of staff, who says he warned senior staff in the GOP about Foley's inappropriate contact with pages. And dozens of lawmakers may soon be called to testify about the scandal.
Plenty to talk about tonight, beginning with CNN's Dana Bash.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a time-tested political tactic. When you're in trouble, do something dramatic.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm deeply sorry that this has happened. And the bottom line is that we're taking responsibility, because, ultimately, as someone has said in Washington before, the buck stops here.
BASH: But the House speaker did not get all the bang for the buck he had hoped for. He had planned to make a high-profile announcement: Former FBI Director Louis Freeh would head a security review of the page program. He didn't, because Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi objected. She says rules to keep pages safe are already in place.
The speaker continued to insist he did nothing wrong and won't resign, despite intense criticism from conservatives for not doing enough to stop Mark Foley's inappropriate conduct with pages. Hastert said again he only learned about Foley's behavior last Friday.
As for others?
HASTERT: I don't know who knew what, when. We know that there are reports of people that knew it and kind of fed it out or leaked it to the press. You know, we -- that's why we've asked for investigation. BASH: Even as Hastert spoke in Chicago, Mark Foley's former chief of staff was in Washington, talking to the FBI. Kirk Fordham says he warned the speaker's office more than two years ago about Foley's inappropriate conduct with pages.
Back in Chicago, Hastert took a swipe at Fordham, questioning his credibility...
HASTERT: Kirk Fordham also said, the latest -- just about three or four days ago, that he worked for this guy for 10 years and he never did anything wrong.
BASH: ... but also said, if his aides did anything wrong, there will be consequences.
HASTERT: If it's members of my staff that didn't do the job, we will act appropriately. If it's somebody else's staff, they ought to act appropriately as well.
BASH: Some answers could come from the House Ethics Committee, which began its investigation of the Foley matter by issuing four dozen subpoenas for documents and witnesses, including lawmakers and staff.
REP. DOC HASTINGS (R-WA), ETHICS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The American people, and especially the parents of all current and former pages, are entitled to know how this situation was handled.
REP. HOWARD BERMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: We are looking at weeks, not months. I want to reemphasize the point that the chairman made, that we will go where the evidence takes us.
BASH (on camera): The speaker got another boost from the president, who called to express his support. And other members of Hastert's leadership team issued fresh statements backing him as well.
Republican strategists call all this a good start, but perhaps not enough to stop the political damage from the scandal in an already tough election year.
Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.
ROBERTS: The Republican leadership is under fire, and not just from Democrats. Conservatives are outraged with the way its party has handled the Foley case. But will their outrage lead to action in November?
CNN's Bill Schneider reports.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Republicans are afraid their base could abandon them, just as it did in the Watergate midterm of 1974. PAUL WEYRICH, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, FREE CONGRESS RESEARCH AND EDUCATION FOUNDATION: Reagan's pollster, Dick Wirthlin, coined the term the embarrassed Republican vote. And he mentioned that because the Democrats won this huge landslide in 1974. Only, the vote for them was the same as it was four years earlier, in 1970 -- the difference being the extraordinary drop-off of Republicans.
SCHNEIDER: This year, conservatives are not just embarrassed. Many of them are angry over government spending, and a big new prescription drug program, and the failure to win a decisive victory in Iraq.
RICHARD VIGUERIE, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN TARGET ADVERTISING: It is certainly appears to be like the final nail in the coffin. For six years, the conservatives have gotten basically lip service from this administration. They've been used and abused.
SCHNEIDER: Republicans are totally dependent on the conservative vote. Here is why.
CNN's polls show liberals voting solidly Democratic. Republicans have lost the middle. Moderates favor Democrats by nearly 2-1. More than 60 percent of conservatives still plan to vote Republican, but nearly a third of them say they will support the Democrat.
And, if conservatives are embarrassed by the congressional scandals, a lot of them could stay home, just as they did after Watergate.
The White House hopes they will put the scandal aside.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Come Election Day, the question is whether people are going to be voting on the basis of disgusting I.M.s between a grown man and a young man, or something that's probably more important to everybody, which is safety, security and prosperity.
SCHNEIDER: Don't know yet, but experts say a lot of new races could be in play that were not in play a week ago.
STUART ROTHENBERG, "THE ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": And I think the biggest question is, could there be a whole set of seats that we haven't been looking at that, because the focus is on Republicans and missteps and misdeeds, suddenly come into play in the next few weeks? And I think -- I think it's likely that there are races that, right now, we can't even identify.
SCHNEIDER (on camera): That rumbling noise you hear may be the political landscape shifting. And those people running for cover, they are Republicans.
Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.
ROBERTS: Well, the Democrats would certainly like to hope that the Republicans are running for cover. But is it just wishful thinking?
Joining me now for more on the Foley fallout is former presidential adviser David Gergen.
And, David, would conservatives really stay home? As Bill Schneider pointed out earlier today, they did after Watergate.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Yes, they could easily stay home. They could also do something else.
The conservatives, especially the social conservatives, the Christian right, they have often been the foot soldiers in campaigns. They are the people who are the volunteers who get out there and get people to the polls. So, they -- they -- it's not only their vote. It's the effort they play in getting people to the polls.
And the Republicans, in the past, they have had a vaunted turn- out-the-vote effort. That's why George W. Bush won in 2004 as much as he did. You know, Kerry had a big, huge rise in -- in vote, Democratic voters. But Bush had an even bigger one, because of the social conservatives...
GERGEN: ... because they really believed him.
So, this discontent is very, very troublesome for Republicans.
ROBERTS: But, David, if they know that, by staying home, they are -- they are basically ceding control of Congress to the Democrats, why would they take that risk?
GERGEN: Because it's -- to the conservatives, principals are more important than the party, many of them.
You know, the conservatives are -- you know, actually took over the Republican Party. This is a movement that believed deeply and genuinely in these issues, such as family values. And they often think it's time that they have to show -- teach people a lesson.
And, if they are going to spend like, you know, drunken sailors in Washington, then -- then send them a message. Send them a message by staying home. If they are -- if they're going to be so negligent about this, about this -- about this Foley deal -- and there are more shoes to drop, apparently, in this -- then, send them a message.
You know, the -- the -- what the -- what Speaker Hastert has done today -- he's a decent man. And I -- and I'm -- there's no evidence that he covered up anything. But, in insisting that he would stay, and not, you know, fall on a sword over this, he really has created a new issue in this campaign, an issue that Democrats can rally about -- around -- and social -- and social conservatives may stay home on.
And that is, do you like what you are seeing in Washington?
ROBERTS: Right. GERGEN: If you do, vote Republican. If you don't, vote for change.
ROBERTS: However, there's the other side of that coin, though.
I was talking with a senior Republican strategist today, who said that, by losing people like Lott and DeLay and Newt Gingrich, the party is weaker today than it was back in the day when -- when they had them in, and that the party gets no credit for sacrifice. And that's why they want Hastert to stay, because they think, if he goes, they are not going to get any credit for it. They're just -- it's going to be a lose-lose situation.
GERGEN: Well, I -- there's an argument for staying on that basis.
And that is, you don't -- you -- you don't get a lot of credit. What I do think happens, John, if he -- if he had fallen on his sword today, this story would have diminished in -- in importance.
You know, once the -- once the head -- the head -- the -- the top person falls from -- from grace, falls from power, the press tends to turn on -- move on to other issues. And, so, when more shoes drop, more pieces of this come out, it would have been a diminishing story. It would have been going away, not still coming.
As it is now, this story, this -- this controversy is likely to dominate the conversation for at least another 10 days, and -- and I think probably is going to be a major element right through the elections. That's the high-risk gamble that Speaker Hastert took today. He may be right. Maybe it will turn out well for them. But it's a big gamble.
They have bet the house on the decision he made today.
ROBERTS: Well, that's giving us a lot of credit for attention span, David.
ROBERTS: What -- what Tony Snow said today...
GERGEN: It sure is.
ROBERTS: ... where he said, come Election Day, the question is going to be, are people going to be voting on the basis of these -- these lurid I.M. messages or issues that really matter to them?
What do you think? Are they going to be voting on -- on -- on this sex scandal, or are they going to be voting on things that they really care about, that -- that really will matter to the future of this country?
GERGEN: Well, for a lot of conservatives, the culture does matter, the -- the quality of the culture, or the corruption of the culture, as they see it. So, you know, this has been a long fight for conservatives.
And -- and this is one of several issues that matters. I imagine, by Election Day, we will have a more balanced set of conversations about Iraq, about the tough decisions that are coming up in Iraq and Iran and North Korea, as well as the war on terror, as well as the economy, and this scandal.
But, you know what the Republicans -- the -- the Republicans -- let me give you an example of this, John. This week, the Republicans were going to devote to national security. That was going to be the dominant theme of the campaign. That was what was going to rally their base. Instead, the focus has shifted over. They have lost a precious week, lost momentum.
They go into next week with a continuing story about Foley. And, of course, other things may happen. But it's going to be a continuing saga now.
GERGEN: And they have created -- they have allowed a new issue to be created that they do not want.
ROBERTS: Well, certainly, David, the president was trying to get above the noise on Foley with national security this week. But he didn't do it.
David, as always, thanks very much.
ROBERTS: Appreciate it.
GERGEN: OK, John. Take care. Thanks.
ROBERTS: Thank you.
We are going to find out on Election Day if the Foley scandal is -- will effect votes, and possibly shift the balance of power in Congress. Here's the "Raw Data" on what's up for grabs.
According to CNN's analysis, 21 House seats are at risk of changing parties, all of them held by Republicans, by the way. Democrats need a net gain of 15 seats to take control, and not lose any that they have now. In the Senate, six races at risk of changing parties, five GOP-held seats and one Democratic-held seat. Democrats need to gain six seats next month and keep what they already have.
We are going to have more on the Foley scandal coming up on 360.
Right now, though, let's go back to Anderson Cooper in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- Anderson. COOPER: Hey, John. Hey, John. Thanks very much.
You know, the war in the Congo ended three years ago, but the fighting continues -- coming up, caring for the wounded in a place where supplies and doctors are scarce, and just getting to a hospital impossible for many of the injured.
Plus: Sudan is the World Food Program's biggest undertaking. There is plenty of food to deliver. The challenge is delivering it to the millions of refugees desperately in need.
This is a special edition of 360, "The Killing Fields."
COOPER: We are in Rutshuru again tonight, a town in the most dangerous part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The war here is technically over, but the fighting, of course, hasn't stopped. It's especially bad here in the eastern provinces. Caring for the wounded has become an overwhelming challenge. The health system here is pretty much collapsed. And medical relief groups struggle to deliver care in the middle of the chaos.
COOPER (voice-over): In a small clinic in the Congo's countryside, a wounded soldier waits for help. His hand has been ripped apart by a gunshot wound. The clinic, however, is poorly equipped. They don't even have painkillers. Luckily, for the soldier, a French medical group, Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF, runs a nearby hospital. They already have an ambulance on the way.
(on camera): The war here officially ended in 2003, but there has been sporadic fighting ever since. There's a number of militia groups refusing to give up their weapons. There's bandits who are armed and looking to make a few bucks. And there's government soldiers, who are poorly trained, poorly educated, and, in many cases, haven't been paid a regular salary for months.
(voice-over): It is a dangerous combination. And bloodshed is common.
GUILLAUME LE DUC, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: We see about 10 to 20 gunshot wounds every month.
COOPER: The team from MSF gets to work as soon as they arrive.
"I'm dying. I'm dying," he shouts.
LE DUC: And here, in the Congo, a lot of people die. You see the big numbers. It's -- some people die from the fighting, but a lot of people die from the consequences of fighting. People don't have a lot of access to care because of that, because they have to -- they have to pay about $1 for a basic consultation, which is a lot of money.
COOPER: MSF doesn't charge patients for treatment, but this clinic is too crude. They need to get them to their hospital as quickly as possible.
(on camera): It's not clear exactly what happened to this soldier. He says he got into an argument with another soldier over a tire, ended up getting shot by that soldier in the hand. He's obviously in a lot of pain. The wound is very severe on his hand. There's a good chance he will lose it.
(voice-over): The medical team makes sure the soldier changes into civilian clothes and leaves his weapon behind. They don't want the local population to see a soldier in their ambulance and think they are taking sides in the Congo's conflict. MSF will treat anyone, but they insist on remaining strictly neutral.
When they arrive at the hospital, things move quickly.
(on camera): The soldier has only been in the hospital for about five minutes, but he has already been brought into the operating room. He's been put under anesthesia. And now doctors are going to examine his hand closely to see if they have to amputate, or if they will be able to save it.
(voice-over): For doctors, it's a constant battle to keep the operating room sterile. Surgeon Jean Reesh (ph) cleans the soldier's lifeless hand and decides it's time to operate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a -- a good look. And to -- I will try to keep the -- the thumb and maybe one or two fingers. And if it's not possible, we will have to amputate.
COOPER: This is just one of many operations Dr. Reesh (ph) has performed this week. For doctors in the Congo, there is always plenty of work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of the violence, because of displacements, because of the armed groups here, you -- you just have a lot of conditions that create complicated cases.
COOPER: The soldier's case turned out to be more complicated than Dr. Reesh (ph) thought. After an hour-and-a-half of surgery, he had to amputate his entire hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are here to target mortality and try and reduce that as much as we can. But -- but we are just only a drop in the middle of this ocean of pain and suffering.
COOPER: Well, that group, MSF, Medecins Sans Frontieres, is one of the few relief groups doing work in this area. Extraordinarily dangerous work, it is. And they are very dedicated doctors and nurses. As you can see, violent death and injury is, sadly, common here, while living and thriving is nothing short of a miracle. Young girls traumatized by war and rape are learning to cope with the past and look to the future -- their stories next.
And aid workers have trucks full of food needed to feed the millions of Darfur refugees. So, why is it so hard to make the deliveries? We will show you, when this special edition of 360, "The Killings Fields," continues.
COOPER: In Sudan's Darfur, every morsel of food is desperately needed. So, why can't relief workers get the food to those who need it?
Find out next on 360.
COOPER: You may not know this, but Sudan is the largest country in Africa. It's also the World Food Program's largest operation, worth $1 billion a year. In Darfur, aid workers have enough supplies to feed more than 2.5 million refugees every month.
But, in a place where armed militants rampage and pillage at will, getting the food to the people who need it most can be a Herculean challenge, where failure, of course, has deadly consequences.
CNN's Jeff Koinange reports.
SIMON CRITTLE, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Yes. This is one of the trucks that was taken. It was stopped by an armed group last month.
JEFF KOINANGE, CNN AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Simon Crittle is one angry and frustrated relief worker. Last month, his organization wasn't able to deliver food to more than 100,000 starving refugees in north Darfur, because its trucks have become the latest target of the Arab militia roaming and terrorizing this lawless land.
CRITTLE: When we got it back, the entire thing was painted gray. They actually smashed out these wind screens, so that they can use it, you know, to -- to fire guns straight out of it.
KOINANGE: In a land where every morsel of food is desperately needed, these food trucks may as well have been carrying gold bars.
CRITTLE: This truck is carrying 15 tons worth of grain. That's a lot of money to the -- to -- to those armed groups sitting out there. You know, they can take that. They can feed their soldiers. And then they can use this vehicle as a tactical. They can carry troops. They can carry fuel. That's what they need. So, we are sitting ducks, absolutely. KOINANGE: Abubakar Badikt feels like a sitting duck every time he makes deliveries along Darfur's dangerous highways.
He says he's been hijacked more than a dozen times and knows who the bandits are.
"The janjaweed, of course," he says. "They have made our lives miserable. I have been shot at so many times, I have lost count. The only thing I know how to do is drive. And all I can hope is that Allah guides me every time I'm on the road."
At a nearby WFP warehouse, it's food, food everywhere, sorghum, vegetable oil, and corn soy blend from the United States, and dried beans from the European Union, hundreds of millions of dollars in aid just sitting here.
(on camera): Now, it's not that there's a food deficiency in Darfur. There's plenty of grain in these warehouses and plenty more being loaded on to awaiting trucks for the onward journey. The only problem is getting it to those who need it most.
CRITTLE: Insecurity is the biggest problem that we face. In July, 500,000 people went without food, because it was just too dangerous for those truck convoys to get through.
KOINANGE (voice-over): So, Crittle has decided he needs to go directly to the janjaweed to try to work out a way to get food to starving people here.
Along the way, he points out to us evidence of what's considered the janjaweed's calling card, burned-out village after village across this huge swathe of land.
And this is what they use for air support, helicopter gunships, courtesy, according to international groups, of the Sudanese government. We make it to Khartoum, where janjaweed attacks on rebel groups controlling the town stopped only after these African Union peacekeepers arrived.
But the peacekeepers don't have enough troops or firepower to protect the aid convoys.
CRITTLE: In the month of September, we could not reach 155,000 people. The thing is, those people have not had food for four months.
KOINANGE: We continue our journey toward the rebel stronghold of Kebkabiya, deep in north Darfur. We soon found out we would not get past the makeshift airport.
(on camera): Now, Kebkabiya is the capital of the janjaweed Arab militia. They must have known we were coming, because, as soon as we landed, they seized our paperwork, told us to get back in the helicopter, and head back to where we came from.
(voice-over): Crittle, too, is denied access to the janjaweed stronghold. We are forced to head back to El Fasher, passing more burnt-out villages dotting the landscape.
Crittle has little optimism left for Darfur's 2.5 million displaced people.
CRITTLE: We are staring at a catastrophe. We are staring at a human disaster. Darfur, right now, is one of the biggest problems that this world faces. And this food is the only thing that stands between them and disaster. We have to get it to them. If we can't, I don't even want to think what that means.
KOINANGE: Even with airplanes, relief workers have trouble easing what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
And, in their convoys, they are easy targets, still unable to reach the people who so badly need their help.
COOPER: Jeff Koinange joins us now via broadband.
Jeff, it seems like the janjaweed have -- have impunity in that area.
We just lost the -- we lost the feed on broadband. We will try to get back in touch with Jeff a little bit later on.
When we return, Angelina Jolie's personal mission to help the women in Africa brutalized by war and rape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: How do you make sense of any of that? They're -- it doesn't make any sense. It's disgusting and it's horrible. And it -- and it needs -- you start to wonder, with all of these things, you know, when -- when -- when does it take us, as an international community, to just get together and say, OK, that just has to stop?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: My exclusive interview with Angelina Jolie -- coming up.
COOPER: We've met a lot of children since we arrived here in the Congo. Almost half the population in the country younger than 15. Being a child, however, in the Congo may be the hardest thing on earth. One in five children die before they reach the age of 5, one in five. The rate is even higher here in the eastern provinces.
Those who do survive, they get no breaks at all. Four million have been orphaned. Tens of thousands have been forced to join militias.
So many of the children here have suffered unimaginable losses and abuse. They've seen things that, well, that no child should ever see. Their scars are deep, and you have to wonder, can they ever be healed?
360 M.D, Sanjay Gupta, reports.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You're looking at a secret compound in a remote village. Safe refuge for these girls who can now sing their power and peace.
Not long ago, they were outcasts, most left for dead. They were part of rebel militia groups, recruited involuntarily. As fighters, couriers, mostly as sex slaves. They are now recovering.
We film them in the most unobtrusive way possible. They don't want their faces to be shown.
(on camera) What is the worst thing that you saw happen either to yourself or to somebody that you knew?
(voice-over) Seeing the dead bodies of her friends, she tells us. This girl says she was a human shield, sent to the front lines of a war. Another girl tells me that she was raped by several men, and that her boyfriend was killed. Another adds, "We were all raped. Every single one of us," she says.
When they sat down with me, all five say this is the first time they have spoken openly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): After I was kidnapped one week later, I was sent to the front with a weapon. I fought for four years.
GUPTA: Talking, they believe will help work through their demons. The staff at the center encourages it. But they take it even one step further.
Take a look at this. It's almost incredible. These girls are actually acting out what happened to them. Girls shot at point-blank range, crackling water bottles flying through the air. I'm told they represent bombs or grenades. And lots and lots of dead bodies, all tossed in a heap.
(on camera) How do we not...
JENNIFER MELTON, SOCIAL WORKER: Retraumatize.
GUPTA: ... retraumatize?
MELTON: I think it, again. That's another thing that's very individually based, that you allow them the time. You allow the opportunity. Each person does that at their own -- at their own timing.
And for some people, they want to talk about it immediately. For other people, you might sit and visit with them on 10 visits at their home. And then that's when it will start coming out. So I think it's about having patience and perseverance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I had been kidnapped and felt hopeless. Then I heard about a center like this and wanted to find it. I wanted to restart my life. I wanted hope.
GUPTA (voice-over): So how do you offer any sort of hope to outcasts, girls who are so unimaginably damaged?
Jill Maguni (ph) is a social worker at the center. To her, the answer is even more simple. Yes, it is important to share their pain and offer support. But in Congo, you can't survive unless you have some sort of training, a skill set.
For some, a sewing machine could mean a bright new future. Learning to sew, pure delight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I am happy to move on and forget what happened. I'm very happy to be here and receive the training in activities like sewing.
GUPTA: The center has learned that teaching girls to sew and then taking those goods to markets like this are crucial steps to rebuilding hope and confidence in getting the girls safely out on their own.
But that, too, takes time and patience. For now, the lost girls will talk and talk and act out their past. Until sewing and singing lets them find themselves again.
COOPER: Sanjay joins us now. Great piece.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: Does the therapy work?
GUPTA: Well, it's hard to say, you know. For a long time, girls were -- absolutely were ignored. If there was camps at all, it was for boys and girls. So just a couple of years starting to see these programs. They say it helps to reintegrate. They really need 10 years from that to be able to tell whether it really works.
COOPER: And you know, are these girls safe? Can they go home? Are they safe in this village?
GUPTA: It was actually interesting that you asked that, because the compound itself is sort of a secret compound. But it's been attacked a few times. A couple of reasons...
COOPER: The actual compound has been attacked?
GUPTA: It has barbed wire around the top. It has guards at the doors, but still attacked. Turns out a lot of these girls actually became close to some militia commanders during the time that they were forced into service. And they had secrets. And a lot of times these commanders want to come back and find those girls.
Also a lot of people just think, you know, women who are raped are unwanted, as you know, and they want to rid them once and for all.
COOPER: There's such a stigma about rape here. And yet, I mean, so many people, people's mothers and grandmothers and their children have been raped. It's -- frankly, it's hard to believe.
GUPTA: A young age, people who have been raped. It's just remarkable.
COOPER: Yes. Three years old, we saw a girl yesterday.
Sanjay, appreciate it. Thanks for the report.
Considering all the Congo has been through, you might expect to find a sense of hopelessness here. But remarkably, that is not the case at all. The Congolese have not given up. I recently talked to that with Angelina Jolie, a Goodwill ambassador for the refugee agency. Here's part of that 360 exclusive interview.
ANGELINA JOLIE, U.N. GOODWILL AMBASSADOR: You go to a place like Congo, and you expect it to just be barren and empty and soulless. And you see that the Congo is bigger than any war that's ever hit the Congo. The Congo is lush and it's amazing.
COOPER: It's throbbing with life.
JOLIE: And all the people and they're so different. And they're passionate and they're tough. And they're -- and they're vibrant. And they're ready to live. And the Congo itself is just magnificent.
So you see that, and you realize, you know, that it does have. There is that hope. You suddenly get kind of inspired that God, it just hasn't even taken a piece out of it.
COOPER: It's also so often women and children who are the ones bearing the brunt of all of this. The Congo, women being raped. Tens of thousands of women. And read that you saw children who had been machete-ied. And what is that like to see that? To see that being done to kids?
JOLIE: What kind of a person could do that? And so, and the rapes in the Congo are so brutal. The people that don't know about it, it's so -- there's so much.
And even -- I recently had a baby in Africa. And people talking about the surgeries and the type of surgeries. But they talk so much about Congo having to sew the kids back together, because they've been just ripped completely open.
And you know, that's -- how do you make sense of any of that? It doesn't make any sense. It's disgusting, and it's horrible. And it needs, you start to wonder with all of these things. You know, when does it take us as an international community to just get together and say, OK, that just has to stop.
You can get angry about the situation in one country, or the people doing it. But then there's that broader picture of we need to -- we need to do something stronger.
COOPER: And so many people here are trying to do something stronger. There are those helping the women and the girls. Facing the worst here in Africa. We'll talk about their hardships with "New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof, who has traveled extensively through Africa. That's next on 360.
COOPER: As if it's not bad enough to be forced out of your country to live scared and hungry in refugee camps, as we've been reporting, women here also face the likelihood of rape. And even the most natural act like marriage and childbirth can be life threatening.
Nicholas Kristof is a columnist for "The New York Times", a Pulitzer Prize winner who's traveled a lot in Africa. I spoke to him earlier tonight about the plight of women here.
COOPER: The thing I can't stop thinking about in traveling here, and I know you've traveled this region extensively is just the plight of women here, you know, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of women have been raped, most of them gang raped, in the last 10 years. And it's still going on. And it seems like no one ever gets punished.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, and that's happening really all over in many parts of the region. And it's true, because local governments don't pay any attention to these women. They're absolutely the most voiceless people in the society. And donor countries in the west really don't make them a priority either. And since nobody is paying attention, it just goes on and on and on.
COOPER: What is causing these rapes? I mean, why -- what is the breakdown? I mean, African societies are traditionally very moral and very strict.
KRISTOF: Well, I mean these -- I think it's a mistake to think of these kinds of rapes as incidental. Or this is a consequence of chaos and disorder. They're not. They're really raped as policy. Or whether they have been in DRC or in Darfur or other places. And they're an instrument to terrorize people. And indeed to drive them out. And partly because of the stigma and the reluctance for people to talk about it, it's very effective.
COOPER: You wrote about a woman named Prudence who you saw in the hospital. She hadn't been raped. She had just given birth. But because of that, basically it was a death sentence.
KRISTOF: Yes, I mean, in Africa, in most of Africa, the most dangerous thing a woman can do is to get pregnant. In the U.S., American woman has a lifetime risk of dying in childbirth, about one in 2,500. In Africa it's about one in 20.
And so all over Africa, you have these women who end up with obstructed labor and just die. And you know, I know this intellectually, and I was in a hospital talking to the doctor about maternal mortality.
And then what just blew me away was there in the next room was Prudence, dying, completely needlessly, you know, as the doctor was talking in that sort of highbrow way about the larger problem.
COOPER: And that same doctor who was talking in a highbrow way about the larger problem, you know, said he would operate, but there was no blood. You actually donated your own blood to save this woman's life. And the doctor still basically took off and abandoned her?
KRISTOF: Yes. You know, to be poor and rural and female is to be born with three strikes against you. And these women who end up dying in childbirth like Prudence, they're invariably, you know, poor and from villages. And doctors don't care about them. The local governments don't care about them. And donor governments in the west really cannot care about them either. And so they just die forgotten all over the continent.
COOPER: A lot of these problems seem to just go on and on. And money is thrown at it. And it seems like a drop in the bucket. Are there solutions?
KRISTOF: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I think that that's one of the things that draws me to Africa and its problems, that these are not insoluble problems. And there are a lot of issues we've seen tremendous strides on.
But to take, you know, Prudence and maternal mortality, for example, he figure of 500,000 dying a year, that's been stuck for the last 30 years. And that's because it's not something that the U.S. has made a real effort on or the international community has.
And Darfur, the same way. You know, we can solve the mess in Darfur, I'm convinced, if we made a huge effort to do so. But again, it's just not a priority.
COOPER: Nick, appreciate your reporting and appreciate you talking with us tonight. Thanks.
KRISTOF: Thanks for going out there.
COOPER: There are a lot of groups trying to help, Medicins San Frontiers, Doctors Without Borders, the International Rescue Committee, Heal Africa. You can find information on how to help the people of the Congo and Sudan on the 360 blog. Go to CNN.com/360blog. It has been a remarkable trip here. The images from the Congo, the pictures that will last a lifetime and putting words to the unspeakable. My reporter's notebook next on 360.
COOPER: For decades the catastrophe here in the Congo has been hiding in plain sight. The crisis, the deadliest anywhere since World War II. Think about that. Some four million people died in the last 10 years here.
We came bracing ourselves for what we'd find. But truth is, nothing really can prepare you. What you're about to see is my reporter's notebook. The pictures are by Getty Images photographer Piers Anders Peterson (Ph).
COOPER (voice-over): There are moments in the Congo when you find it hard to believe that a place like this really exists. In the Congo, you can feel the earth. You can smell it, the rawness, the thin line between life and death.
There's some things you see, some things you hear that simply are unbelievable. Women gang raped, who now have to hide because of the stigma they face. You look in their eyes, there's nothing you can say. "I'm sorry" sounds so small.
Everywhere you go you're surrounded. Curious kids, smiling stares. They run alongside your car yelling "Muzungu, Muzungu (ph)", "white guy," "white guy." You can't help but laugh.
There is corruption. There's fighting, rebel armies that rape and loot. Decades of rulers here have failed the people. But the people are the strength of this land: the burdens they bear every day, uphill and down. I know I'm not as strong as them. Men, women, children, here, no one gets a break.
It is unconscionable when you think about it that this land which is so rich, remains so poor. In the ground, there's gold, there's diamonds, tin and coal. You can chisel it out with simple tools, sometimes even with your bear hands. But the riches, they're squandered; they're siphoned off, lost for good. They have been for generations.
The mountains, the forests, lush, green but threatened. The mountain gorillas, their best hope for a future. You can sit within feet of them. They're as curious about us as we are of them.
There is something about the Congo that gets under your skin. This pulse of life, the throb of pain. Millions have died here, though few seem to have noticed. How many more millions will it take before something is done?
COOPER: And we'll have more from the Congo coming up. Stay tuned.
John Roberts is next -- John.
ROBERTS: Thanks, Anderson. And here's a 360 bulletin.
We start off in Iraq where Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had a tough time landing for her unannounced visit to Baghdad today. Her flight was delayed by about 30 minutes because of mortar or rocket fire at the Baghdad airport.
Meanwhile, the military announced today that two more U.S. Marines have died from enemy action in Anbar province.
Here in the United States, trouble for Goodyear. More than 12,000 union workers are on strike in 12 states. That's after the tire company and the United Steel Workers of America failed to agree on a new contract. The old one expired back in July. The sticking point in talks has been Goodyear's plan to close two plants.
And on Wall Street, the Dow scored another record high, the third day in the row. The blue chips gained 16 points to close at 11,866. The S&P hit a new 5 1/2 year high, closing up three points, and the NASDAQ gained 15.
On Capitol Hill today, the speaker of the House said he's sorry, but he also said he won't resign. That's just the tip of the iceberg in a growing scandal involving a former lawmaker's relationship with teenage boys.
Also tonight, a big handover. The U.S. gives control of Afghanistan to NATO. Will it make the country safer?
And we'll have much more from Anderson in Africa, including how children of war are put in their pain on paper. This is a special edition of 360.
COOPER: Good evening. To our international viewers just joining us this hour, we are live from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a region on the brink. Tonight, the stories that must be told so the world knows what is happening here.
And in Washington, Dennis Hastert hangs tough as the scandal rocking his party gets bigger.
ANNOUNCER: The speaker holds his ground.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm going to run and presumably win in this election. And when we do, I expect to run for speaker.
ANNOUNCER: He's confident he'll survive the scandal, but what about the rest of his party? A grim prediction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Afghanistan will not be resolved by military means.
ANNOUNCER: What it will take to crush the Taliban.
In the killing fields of the Congo, he's wanted for war crimes.
COOPER: We're on our way to see General Warren Tecunda (ph). He's a rebel commander with several thousand troops. So far he's been unwilling to give up his weapons.
ANNOUNCER: 360 found him, so why hasn't the Congolese government?
Reporting from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this is a special edition of Anderson Cooper 36: "The Killing Fields: Africa's Misery, the World's Shame".
Here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: We're here in Rishuru (ph) on the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country desperately trying to find peace after decades of war.
Nearly four million Congolese have died in the last eight years alone. Those who survived are now part of the largest humanitarian crisis in history. An estimated 1,200 people here die every day, mostly from disease and malnutrition.
Right next door is Darfur and Sudan, a crisis just as big, if not bigger in some ways, just as horrifying. It is unfolding.
These two countries in the center of this massive continent are literally hanging in the balance.
Much more ahead this hour from the Congo and Sudan. But first, John Roberts is in New York with new developments in the congressional page scandal -- John.
ROBERTS: Thanks, Anderson.
Six days after the scandal broke, Congress shifted from words to action today. Investigations were launched, subpoenas issued and an apology made by the man that a growing pressure to resign, House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Here's what he said.
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