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Fallout of the ISG Report; Turning Things Around in Iraq

Aired December 7, 2006 - 09:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone.
You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Tony Harris.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Heidi Collins. For the next three hours, watch events happen live on December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day.

Here's what's on the rundown.

War allies face political realities -- President Bush/Prime Minister Blair -- their Iraq summit one day after the Iraq Study Group plan.

HARRIS: War lessons -- the school where American G.I.s are learning to train Iraqi troops to fight their own battles.

COLLINS: And courage couldn't sustain him. The body of a missing father found days after he left his snow-bound family to get help. His story in THE NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Staunch allies in the Iraq War struggling to find new direction. President Bush meets this hour with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Certain to be discussed, the recommendations from the Iraq Study Group.

White House correspondent Elaine Quijano joins us now live -- Elaine, good morning.


And he is one of the Bush administration's staunchest allies when it comes to the war on terror, and specifically in Iraq.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, this hour, will be sitting down in the Oval Office with President Bush.

His visit comes one day, as you noted, after the Iraq Study Group released its very sobering assessment of the situation in Iraq, calling the situation there "grave and deteriorating."

But the White House says that the timing of Prime Minister Blair's visit here is coincidental. Yet the ISG's findings are sure to be a main focus at that meeting today. The prime minister was actually interviewed by the Iraq Study Group last month. And the U.K. has some 7,000 troops in Iraq.

Of course, the prime minister has taken some political heat back home for his steady support of the Bush administration's Iraq policy. There could, however, be a fissure in that united front.

Before leaving for Washington, the prime minister said that he agreed with the incoming secretary of defense Robert Gates' statement that the war in Iraq was not being won. Blair has also signaled that he would like to see more outreach, a more open approach, when it comes to Iran and Syria, something that President Bush, of course, has been very reluctant to do.

The prime minister also believes that the difficulties in Iraq are linked to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that the Baker-Hamilton Commission touched on, as well.

All of that, Tony, on the table. Those two leaders set to meet in about 30 minutes and after their meeting, they'll head out before the cameras and answer some questions from reporters -- Tony.

HARRIS: And that news conference scheduled for 10:55, 10:55 a.m.

Elaine Quijano for us at the White House.

Elaine, thank you.

COLLINS: Iraq under the microscope and on Capitol Hill today, the co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group will discuss their findings before a Senate committee. The grim assessment of their report -- the situation in Iraq is "grave and deteriorating."

The bipartisan panel says most U.S. combat troops should be withdrawn from Iraq by early 2008. And the report urges Washington to reach out to Iran and Syria for help in curbing the violence.

Stay tuned. We will speak with two key members of the Armed Services Committee shortly.

HARRIS: In Iraq, the U.S. death toll is climbing today. The military tells CNN 11 troops have been killed over the last 24 hours. Three of the attacks involved improvised explosive devices. The latest death in the volatile Anbar Province. Just one week into December, the death toll this month stands at 31.

COLLINS: Course correction in Iraq one of the most controversial recommendations from the Iraq Study Group -- talking with Iraq's neighbors, Syria and Iran.

CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look at what it could mean and why it matters.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Undeniably, outsiders have had an influence over the Iraq War, according to U.S. officials, whether providing arms, intelligence or easy access over the border for insurgents.

Now, the Iraq Study Group says those outsiders must be engaged in diplomatic talks aimed at preventing further chaos in Iraq.

LEE HAMILTON, IRAQ STUDY GROUP: We will be criticized, I am sure, for talking with our adversaries. But I do not see how you solve these problems without talking to them.

FOREMAN (on camera): On the western end of the country, the group would like to see Syria close down its 200-mile porous border over which finding and fights are believed to flow to Sunni factions inside Iraq.

In the east, the group says Iran, an emerging powerhouse in the Middle East, must be persuaded to stop providing arms and training to Iraqi Shiites, who bitterly oppose the Sunnis.

And over in Israel, the Study Group says U.S. officials must urgently recommit to resolving an underlying source of friction -- the decades old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

HAMILTON: Everything in the Middle East is connected to everything else. And this diplomatic initiative that we have put forward recognizes that.

FOREMAN (voice-over): But getting other Middle Eastern powers to support the kind of peace the United States wants will certainly involve trade-offs and with Iran in particular still worrying the world community over a suspected nuclear arms program, the White House is clearly hesitant to discuss its next move.

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not, I'm just -- I'm not going to get into the position of characterizing. I'm just, I'm not going to give you an answer to that question today.

QUESTION: So it will be...


SNOW: I'm not going to give you an answer to the question today.


SNOW: I won't. I'll just continue dancing around it.

FOREMAN: But the Iraqi prime minister, who meeting with President Bush recently, is already calling for a regional conference on the future of his country and the invitation list will certainly include Iran, Syria and other Middle Eastern players, whether the White House likes it or not.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEO TAPE)

HARRIS: Boy, this is a story we've been following for the last few days now and we're talking about the deep freeze there, bitter cold temperatures continue to grip the Midwest. Tens of thousands of electric customers in Missouri and Illinois spent another night without power.

Can you imagine it?

It could be some time tomorrow before it is restored. It's been almost a week since an Arctic blast blanketed the area in ice and snow. That storm is blamed now for at least 18 deaths. The frigid temperatures are expected to stick around, well, stick around for how long?

Let's check in now with Chad Myers to find out, or at least get some kind of indication -- good morning, Chad.


You know, long enough, I think, that if you know someone without power, maybe you need to drive over there today and just say hey, why don't you stay at my house today, because I do have power?


COLLINS: New developments this morning in the bizarre poisoning death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko. Russian prosecutors say they are opening their own criminal investigation. That announcement as friends and family gather for funeral services at a London mosque.

Our Jennifer Eccleston is live now in London -- Jennifer, good morning to you.


Well, that's right, you mentioned two things going on today.

First of all, let's talk about the investigation. And the thrust of it really still ongoing in Moscow, where British police are still trying to interview a number of witnesses. The reason why they went out to Moscow is to speak to these people coming up against some issues with the Russian authorities.

They say the British aren't actually able to conduct the interviews themselves. They can be present while Russian prosecutors talk to the various witnesses.

Now, two witnesses of note. First, we know that yesterday authorities were able to speak to Dmitry Kovtun. Now, he's particularly interesting because he was here in London. He met with Mr. Litvinenko before he was diagnosed, before he fell ill. And the Russians are now saying that there has been -- there have been radiation -- traces of radiation now found on him and he will shortly be examined by doctors.

The second person they're interested in talking to is a man by the name of Andrei Lugovoi. Mr. Lugovoi also in London at the time when Mr. Litvinenko was deemed to have been poisoned, met with him on the day he fell ill and also a number of places in London where he visited had also found traces of radiation.

He wants to talk to British police. They've been trying to do so over the last couple of days. But, again, we are being told that they were not able to do so today and they may have the opportunity to do that tomorrow.

So it's quite frustrating for British investigators in Moscow, in trying to determine just who is responsible for the poisoning and the subsequent death of Mr. Litvinenko.

And, as you mentioned, today a little bit of closure for the family. They're able to hold the funeral. A lot of secrecy surrounding this funeral. We do know that it's meant to take place in about an hour's time, that there will be two ceremonies. One will be held in a mosque and then there will be a separate ceremony, a memorial service, held elsewhere -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Jennifer, you know, going back to the investigation, it sounds like the Russians are just running it exactly the way they want to.

How much authority or autonomy, I should say, do the British authorities really have in this investigation at all?

ECCLESTON: Well, it's not dissimilar to other investigations in other countries. When a national police force, in this case it's the British, go to another country to investigate, they certainly do have to take into consideration the wants of the country that is sponsoring them.

So it is not surprising that the Russians want to take the lead in the investigation, although it is frustrating that they won't actually be able to talk to them themselves. So it would give the impression that perhaps there isn't the flexibility that the British were looking for in trying to come to some conclusion or to find some evidence in this case.

But it is impossible to say whether or not it will provide -- it will end up being a huge problem during this investigation and whether or not they will be able to come to some form of conclusion.

But, again, it can be stressed, and I have been told by members of the police force here, that it is frustrating, nonetheless -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right, well, Jennifer Eccleston live from London. We know you'll be watching it for us.

Thanks so much, Jennifer.

HARRIS: And still to come this morning, a crash course for U.S. troops helping Iraqi troops get control of their country.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In this convoy of Humvees, advisers are taught how to train their Iraqi counterparts to watch out for roadside bombs and hostile fire and how to response if they're attacked.


HARRIS: CNN's Brian Todd is on the training field.

COLLINS: Also, the Iraq Study Group -- their report the talk on Capitol Hill this hour. Minutes from now, our talk with two key senators live in THE NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: And a story of survival and loss -- a manhunt in the Oregon wilderness comes to a sad ending. That's straight ahead in THE NEWSROOM.

You are watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


COLLINS: Just about 15 minutes from now, the Iraq Study Group presents its findings to the Senate Armed Services Committee. It's Congress' first hearing on the bleak assessment.

And joining us now, two members of the influential committee.

Senator John Cornyn is a Republican from Texas.

His colleague, Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska.

And Senator Nelson, I'd like to start with you.

What do you think of the recommendations provided by the ISG?

SEN. BEN NELSON (D-NB), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, I think there's a little bit in there for everybody. But I think overall, what that report says is that we have to cut the umbilical cord with Iraq. They do have to stand on their own. They do have to defend, secure and govern themselves. And this is a road map toward doing that.

COLLINS: Senator Cornyn, your thoughts?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, I think the ISG report has been very beneficial so the American people can understand that our road forward is a difficult one. This report does not suggest that there's some magic wand that we can wave and this problem will go away.

Indeed, they point out that the problem is really a regional problem and with very difficult nations, including state sponsors of terrorist organizations, countries like Iran, which obviously are a state sponsor of Hezbollah.

So this continues to be a tough problem, but I am glad that they have presented a -- really, a cafeteria plan, so to speak, of alternatives available to the president.

COLLINS: You know, it has been said that this is not a military problem. This is a political problem in Iraq. And first the policies and the diplomacy must be handled before being able to come to more of a peaceful situation, if you will, certainly along the lines of sectarian violence.

Senator Nelson, your thoughts on that, and particularly the diplomatic offensive and what gains that could make?

NELSON: Well, I think the -- it's pretty clear that the sectarian violence is something that will not be solved with a military solution. It just won't be. Somehow these sectarian differences are going to have to be resolved politically by Prime Minister Maliki and his government.

It's not going to be easy. You've got Al-Sadr on the one side shifting his weight around to make it difficult.

But that's what's going to be required -- a political solution. If they get a political solution, they'll get an economic solution and they'll get a military solution.

But the military solution is not going to really solve the differences between the Sunnis and Shias that have been going on for countless centuries.

COLLINS: Senator Cornyn, how does the United States get Sunnis to quit killing Shiites and vice versa?

CORNYN: Well, it's tough, but I think one of the things that the report left open is the possibility of a temporary surge in forces, particularly in Baghdad, in order to clear, hold and then build on that security.

The problem -- I agree with Senator Nelson, ultimately it's a political problem for the Iraqis. But they're not going to solve their political problems unless there is some minimal law and order established there and the government obtains a monopoly on the legitimate use of force in the country.

So, I think on a temporary basis that that might be one of the best, really, one of the only remaining choices to provide a chance to prevent a failed state in Iraq, which, as Secretary Gates and others have said, would be disastrous.

COLLINS: And you mentioned Secretary Gates now. Obviously, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted unanimously to approve him.

Tell me why you think he's the man for the job, simply because we have heard, even as early as yesterday, a reminder that the defense secretary serves at the pleasure of the president. How much will he be able to do, specifically along the lines of these 79 recommendations, Senator Nelson?

NELSON: Well, I hope he's going to be able to do quite a bit. He said he didn't come here leaving the best job that he's had, the one he's enjoyed the most, at the least, to be a bump on the log, that he wants to be an independent minded person.

I would hope that the president who nominated him would accept his recommendations. Certainly, I don't think the president brought him here to be a bump on the log either.

So I hope that there's a great working relationship not only between the secretary and the president, but between the secretary and Congress. That's what's going to be necessary in order to find what I would hope to be an acceptable solution to the major challenge that we have and the problem we find ourselves in.

COLLINS: Senator Cornyn, we also heard yesterday one of the co- chairs, Lee Hamilton, say that these recommendations need to be implemented urgently. He said not months, more like weeks, and possibly even days.

Your thoughts on that?

CORNYN: Well, I think it's certainly important that we act as quickly as we can. We have a new secretary of defense, as we've noted, and it's going to take him a little bit of time to asses what the Pentagon has been doing.

The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff has been conducting an internal review. The Department of State has, the National Security Council.

So the Iraq Study Group's recommendations, together with these other recommendations, I think, will lay out the universe of choices for the president to make. And ultimately the constitution gives him the power as commander-in-chief.

But I do believe it's encouraging that he's selected somebody like Bob Gates, somebody who has gotten 95 votes in the United States Senate for his confirmation. That doesn't happen a lot and so I think it bodes well for perhaps a greater working together.

COLLINS: Very quickly from both of you, if you had to rate it on a scale from one to 10, your feeling of encouragement or positive thoughts about what this report will do for the situation in Iraq.

Senator Nelson, you first.

NELSON: Well, I think it's at least a seven. And the only reason that I'm holding back a little bit is to make sure that it's implemented. Because the report by itself really is a road map, but unless it's implemented, it's a road map to nowhere.

COLLINS: Senator Cornyn? CORNYN: Heidi, I'm a little more pessimistic than my friend, Ben Nelson.

I think we're on a bubble in Iraq that could go even further south and create a failed state, which would be disastrous not only for Iraq, but for the United States and the region. But there is an opportunity here. But I think that window of opportunity is closing very quickly.

So we need to act and act decisively to provide basic security with the Iraqis so that the political process can work itself out.

COLLINS: It sounds like you're more like a three to his five.

All right, Senator Cornyn and Senator Ben Nelson, thanks so much for your time here today.

NELSON: Thank you.

HARRIS: And still to come, the Iraq Study Group report buzz in Washington barely registering in Baghdad. The reality on the ground coming up in THE NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Also, diamonds are a warlord's best friend. The diamond industry says reforms have changed that perception, but a new movie could drown out the message.

That's ahead in THE NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: And a story of survival and loss -- a manhunt in the Oregon wilderness comes to a sad ending. That's ahead in THE NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: Tragedy in the snow -- a sad end to a search of the Oregon wilderness after a mom and her two young daughters were brought to safety.

CNN's Thelma Gutierrez has details.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It came on the fifth day in the search for James Kim.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) so we can put the medic in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, the ship just found him.

GUTIERREZ: Two rescuers were lowered to the ground. It wasn't what they had hoped.

UNDER SHERIFF BRIAN ANDERSON, JOSEPHINE COUNTY, OREGON: At 12:03 hours today, the body of James Kim was located down in the Big Windy Creek.

GUTIERREZ: It was almost too much to bear for the man who led the rescue effort. The pilot had spotted his body in the dense woods, just about a mile from the car.

ANDERSON: He was down in that drainage and he was about a half mile from the Rogue River.

GUTIERREZ: The search had been grueling -- 100 teams combed this harsh terrain for five days, searching for clues. First, a pair of gray pants. Then pieces of an Oregon state map -- two gray sweatshirts, a t-shirt, a sock and a girl's blue skirt, all laid out in some sort of a pattern, possibly an effort to help rescuers above.

ANDERSON: He was very motivated.

GUTIERREZ: Motivated by love for his family. James, Kati, Penelope and Sabine, just seven months old, had been headed to the Oregon coast on the day after Thanksgiving. Detectives say the Kims had missed a highway turnoff. They pulled out a map and found a back country road to the coast.

The terrain there is treacherous, with sheer cliffs, sudden drops and freezing snow, and the Kims' station wagon got stuck in the snow.

Rescuers say the Kims found creative ways to stay alive. They ate berries and drank milk and snow. What little they had -- rice crackers and baby food -- they gave to their children. Kati Kim breast fed both of them to keep them alive.

ANDERSON: They ran out of gas. They were running the car during the day and at night to keep warm. Then they started to burn their tires.

GUTIERREZ: When he left to search for help, James Kim took a flashlight, two lighters and an Oregon map. But his ingenuity and love for his family were overcome by cold, wind, hunger and time.

ANDERSON: I'm crushed. Most of us have breathed and lived this for days. And, yes, you did take it personally.

GUTIERREZ: Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Merlin, Oregon.


COLLINS: That's such an awful story.


COLLINS: Meanwhile, cold case, frigid air in the Midwest. Thousands of people there still without electricity. The wintry outlook coming up next. HARRIS: President Bush and Prime Minister Blair discussing changes in their Iraq War strategy. Their news conference 10:55 a.m. Eastern, right here in THE NEWSROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) they've shot the hostage?


COLLINS: American troops learning how to teach Iraqis to be good soldiers. See the drill, in THE NEWSROOM.




COLLINS: Turning things around in Iraq. Among the recommendations, moving more American from the front lines to behind- the-scenes support. That means training Iraqis to take over security for some U.S. troops. That training starts at Fort Riley, Kansas.

CNN's Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A mission to kill. U.S. troops storm a mock Iraqi village at Fort Riley, Kansas, kicking down doors, taking out one insurgent at the top of the stairs and then turning to face a hostage taker.

SGT. SAMUEL SISTARE, U.S. ARMY: You make the call or the guy behind the weapon has to make the call.

TODD: A call tough enough for an American, even tougher for a soldier fighting on his own turf.

MAJ. GEN. CARTER HAM, U.S. ARMY: To help that Iraqi, help that Afghan leader help him make those decisions, instead of the American making the decision.

TODD: This unit training how to help Iraqis deal with a common danger.

This drill is called mounted combat patrol. In this convoy of humvees advisers are taught how to train their Iraqi counterparts to watch out for roadside bombs and hostile fire and how to respond if they're attacked.

Keep your bearings!

TODD: These soldiers badly wounded. Their buddies criticized for leaving them exposed. But how do you escape a disabled vehicle? This is called the humvee assistance trainer, essentially how to get out of a humvee that's hit by an IED and rolls over and catches fire or goes into the water. I'm going to take a run at it.

Flipped over, debris flying around inside. I need help, I might not have survived. That was the toughest part, finding the latch when you're upside down.

(on camera): This program has only been in place since June, but it's intense and very ambitious. Each adviser goes through training of about 60 days, they go through it in teams of 11, and those teams are embedded in Iraqi battalions of about 500 troops. Those are the Iraqis that are going to be on the front lines of this war.

Brian Todd, CNN, Fort Riley, Kansas.



COLLINS: We want to remind you, coming up at 10:55 today we will see a joint press conference between President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, again at 10:55 today. This is the third visit to the White House by Tony Blair this year. We know that he has already conceded the coalition is not winning the war, so it will be interesting to hear them speak about their agenda now, or their response, at least, to the Iraq study group and those 79 recommendations. Prime Minister Blair saying this just cannot be done, the situation will not improve without a good, comprehensive, Middle East strategy. So it will be interesting to see what they have together at the microphones, 10:55 today.

HARRIS: In the meantime, we are "Minding Your Business." Ali Velshi here with a preview.

Ali, good morning.

VELSHI: Good morning, Tony. For anybody who's watching us, this is the weekend that you were going to go out and buy that diamond and propose to your beloved, hold on. There's a new movie you may want to see. And I know, if you don't have time to go to movies, wait, I'm going to come back and tell you all what you need to know. Stay with us right here in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: We want to take a look at this, the Senate Armed Services Committee meeting this morning in just a couple of minutes. The committee will hear from the co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group, taking their seats right now. Just a short time ago, just a photo opportunity, meeting the members of the committee, shaking hands with the co-chairs, Hillary Clinton, Senator Levin, Senator Warner, just a couple of minutes ago. And in just a couple of moments, the questioning of the co-chairs will begin, and we will dip in, monitor and dip in and give you a bit of a flavor of the questioning and the answers coming from the committee chairs and the co-chairs of the Iraq study group. So there you are.

COLLINS: A new movie may have you rethinking whether a diamond really is a girl's best friend.

Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business" on this one.

Good morning, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi. You've seen those add ads from De Beers, the ones that tell you to spend eternally to buy something eternal. Well, De Beers and companies like it are not interested in this movie making (INAUDIBLE) young men think about blood when they should be buying bling.


VELSHI (voice over): You may think it's been there forever, but it hasn't. De Beers flagship store on New York's Fifth Avenue opened just over a year ago. So why does the name sound so familiar. Maybe because for most of the 20th century, De Beers was diamonds.

No other industry has been so dominated by one company, one brand for so long. De Beers was the only place most diamond dealers could buy the rough stones to cut, polish and sell to jewelers around the world. With a virtual monopoly, De Beers controlled how much it sold and how much it charged.

ROSALIND KAINYAH, DIRECTOR, DE BEERS GROUP PUBLIC AFFAIRS: If you're the only man in the village who sells bottled water, then I guess you set the prices because you're the only man in the village who sells the bottled water.

VELSHI: De Beers isn't the only man in the village anymore. Diamond prices are now driven by real supply and demand. But a relentless marketing campaign by De Beers turned a diamond into definitive proof of a young man's devotion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A diamond is forever. De Beers.

MATTHEW HART, AUTHOR, "DIAMOND": The diamond is the hardest natural substance in the world. In that sense, is more or less eternal and De Beers managed to conflate these diamond qualities with the idea of eternal love.

VELSHI: That created demand for value in small packages. And while De Beers didn't intend it, diamonds became the currency of choice for warlords who needed to buy arms.

HART: That great big jet would land on this dirt strip. Off would come a tank. On would go the diamonds.

VELSHI: In places like Angola, conflict diamonds were mined from rivers, often using forced or slave labor. De Beers says it never knowingly traded in those stones.

KAINYAH: De Beers was never involved in conflict or blood diamonds.

VELSHI: Conflict diamonds have prolonged a number of civil wars in Africa. By 2002, public pressure on governments and on the diamond industry led to the establishment of the Kimberly Process. It's a certification of sorts. A passport for rough diamonds. The World Diamond Council says conflict diamond now account for less than 1 percent of the trade. And it's concerned that the movie, "Blood Diamond," could dull the stone's luster.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, ACTRESS, "BLOOD DIAMOND": People back home wouldn't buy a ring if they knew it cost someone else their hand.

VELSHI: Set in Sierra Leon in the late '90s, "Blood Diamond" is a fictionalized account of the very real role that conflict diamonds played in that country's civil war. The diamond industry is bracing for some impact from the movie. They just hope it doesn't last forever.


VELSHI: And, Heidi, the movie opens tomorrow night across America. The industry says it's OK. It's not too worried. It thinks that now after having seeing it, or having understood what's in the movie that it's a fair depiction of what went on.

COLLINS: All right. Ali Velshi, "Minding Your Business." Thanks, Ali.

HARRIS: And once again, the Senate Armed Services Committee is meeting right now with the co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group, Secretary Baker and Congressman Lee Hamilton. The committee chair, John Warner, speaking right now. We will monitor the situation. We will dip in and hear some of the questions from some of the senators in just a bit. You're in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: And also, we are watching this, at 10:55, we will see a press conference with two men at the microphones. There you have it, President George Bush and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair. They will be talking about their reactions to the Iraq Study Group. We will have it for you when it happens.


HARRIS: And once again, the Senate Armed Services Committee meeting with the co-chairs of the Iraq study group. Opening statements have been given by the two co-chairs, the two chairs, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Warner, and the ranking member, Carl Levin, and now we're starting to get a bit of the question-and-answer period. Senator Warner asking questions and getting responses from, as you can see there, Secretary Baker. We will follow the hearing, and we will bring you a bit of it a bit later.

COLLINS: And in direct response to that meeting, or that topic, I should say, the Iraq Study Group recommendations, we will be hearing from President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10:55 today. Of course, on top of their agenda, likely to be a change in direction in the coalition's war strategy. We will hear about that when it happens.

HARRIS: Let's talk about the fallout of the ISG report now. President Bush's critics called it a repudiation of his foreign policy. Is it the end of so-called cowboy diplomacy?

CNN senior national correspondent John King reports.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His is a foreign policy marked by clear lines.

BUSH: I will not wait for events while dangers gather.

KING: Articulated with a sharp tongue.

BUSH: States like these and the their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil.

KING: And anchored on the idea a new Iraq would transform the Middle East and more.

BUSH: So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of Democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

KING: Now, to embrace the gloomy verdict of the Iraq Study Group, Mr. Bush would have to concede he got just about all of it wrong.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: A White House that prided itself on resolve and optimism and staying the course and believing that history was on its side is now being sobered in a way that is even tougher because of the level of confidence verging on arrogance that has always been one of George Bush's characteristics as a politician.

KING: Wrong, the report says, to give Iraq an open-ended troop commitment, wrong to emphasize combat operations over training, wrong not to spend enough time on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and wrong not to sit down with Iran and Syria in an effort to calm the insurgency and sectarian killings.

HAMILTON: If you don't talk to them, we don't see much likelihood of progress being made.

KING: It is a rejection of what critics call Mr. Bush's no regrets cowboy diplomacy and his insistence for more than three years now that his Iraq strategy was working.

BRUCE BUCHANAN, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: Particularly Karl Rove, who was a student of presidential history, has impressed upon President Bush the great importance of sticking to your guns as president and not becoming someone who is perceived as easily changed by either public opinion or political opposition.

KING: This highly-critical Iraq report comes just a month after mid-term election voters also delivered a rebuke. And some allies say the president has no choice at home and abroad to learn a lesson.

KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER REAGAN CHIEF OF STAFF: One of the things I think President Bush is about to understand is that compromise is not a four-letter word.

KING: Loyalistic knowledge some changes are necessary, but insist 20 or more years from now, a stubborn streak critics call dangerous will be viewed more favorably.

MARY MATALIN, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, you have to look through the lenses of history. If it's '41 or it's President Reagan or it's Truman or it's F.D.R., or it's Churchill or it's Lincoln. No wartime president was ever acknowledged for his successes during his lifetime.

KING: Perhaps, but at the moment success in Iraq is a distant hope. This president's immediate challenge, fixing a policy the new report suggests is perilously close to catastrophic failure.

John King, CNN, Washington.


COLLINS: The funeral for a Russian spy. Scotland Yard trying to unearth answers in Moscow. Alexander Litvinenko's murder by radiation in NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: A day of infamy began like any other day in paradise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then we saw the torpedoes being dropped, you know. And then you had to look up and I saw the rising sun on the wing you know.

HARRIS: Remembering Pearl Harbor in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: But first, your health could become your biggest concern no matter what your age. Our medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has a closer look at thyroid disorders, whether in your 30s, 40s or 50s.


ELIZABETH COHEN. CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Working on Capitol Hill takes a lot of energy. So when lobbyist Susan Stout suddenly began to feel rundown and her hair began to fall out, she knew something was very wrong.

SUSAN STOUT, THYROID PATIENT: You can't sleep. Your fingernails come off at the beds. You have tremors and you have the shaky hands all the time.

COHEN: She was diagnosed with a thyroid condition. DR. PAUL LADENSON, JOHNS HOPKINS: In thyroid diseases, the immune system has a blind spot and it turns against a person's own thyroid gland, either stimulating it to become overactive or damaging it so it can't make sufficient hormone.

COHEN: The thyroid is the gland located in front of the wind pipe. It secrets hormones that regulate the body's metabolism. When something goes wrong with the thyroid, hormones become unbalanced, causing problems.

People can suffer from thyroid problems at any age. However, most patients, especially women, first develop thyroid problems in their 30s and 40s.

LADENSON: Women in their 30s, one out of every dozen will have some degree of thyroid underactivity.

COHEN: Pregnancy can sometimes be to blame. Nearly one in 50 women are diagnosed with hypothyroidism during pregnancy, and nearly twice as many have post-partum thyroid problems, which are usually temporary.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism, where the thyroid is underactive, include weight gain, a slow heart rate, dry, itchy skin, and a low tolerance of cold temperature. Hyperthyroidism is too much thyroid hormone.

Graves disease is a common form it takes. The president's parents, George and Barbara Bush, have it. Symptoms include weight loss, rapid heartbeat and intolerance to heat. According to the American Thyroid Association, a simple blood test called a TSH can determine whether you have a thyroid disorder

LADENSON: Patients often ignore these symptoms or chalk them up to something else when, in fact, it could be a thyroid disease that could be diagnosed and treated.

COHEN: Susan, who's in her 50s, is being treated for graves disease. Also when you are in your 50s, the chances of developing thyroid nodules increases. Most aren't cancerous, but some like film critic Roger Ebert's turn out to be malignant and must be treated immediately.

Most thyroid diseases can be treated with medication. However, if the condition persists, the thyroid may have to be surgically removed, and you can live without a thyroid as long as you take synthetic hormones regularly.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.



VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: NASA plans its first nighttime launch in four years with the space shuttle Discovery. Seven astronauts, five who have never traveled to space, are to embark on a 12-day mission. You can get more at

It's a mission to revamp the international space station's electrical system. Crew members will add an $11 million segment and also rewire the space station, allowing it to move from a temporary power source to a permanent one.

The space station has been running on its temporary electrical system since it went into orbit, but after two more solar panels were installed in September by the crew of the Atlantis, everything is set for a permanent electrical system.

Dozens of experiments will take place in between the mission's major task. Some will involve testing shuttle systems or proposed improvements to the shuttle or the space station. Others will be medically based. Get more at For the dotcom desk, I'm Veronica de la Cruz.


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