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9/11 Remembered; Petraeus Before Senate; Florida Hospital Evacuated; Afghanistan: Lifting The Veil; 9/11 Victims Identified
Aired September 11, 2007 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is such a moving sight to see these family members clutching photos of their loved ones, the people who were lost on 9/11 exactly six years ago today. Even in the drenching rain here in New York City, it is a gloomy day, an awful day, but still many, many family members came out.
We should tell you that the ceremony, as you mentioned, is not being held at Ground Zero, but rather at a nearby park just about a block away. That is because it is an active construction site at Ground Zero. They did not want to have a delay in the construction. It is a small, but symbolic difference. And families certainly are taking note of that today.
There are four moments of silence in all. Twice to mark the times that each tower fell. Twice to mark the times that each tower was struck. We've got one more coming up at 10:29 a.m. That will mark the time that the north tower fell.
Also, as you've been hearing throughout the morning, the names of all 2,750 victims are being read today. It is a long process. It often takes four hours. This year, in a departure, the rescue and recovery workers will be reading the names of the victims, not family members. That is a first.
Among the dignitaries here today, the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, the governors of New York and New Jersey, and presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As for the status of rebuilding, a lot of people wondering about that. A lot of people asking the question, why six years later we don't see more at Ground Zero behind and below me. The truth is, if you take a very close look at what is going on there, there are some signs of progress. The Freedom Tower, which is really the center piece. There will be four towers in all. The Freedom Tower is at street level already. There are 600 construction workers who come here each and every day, hundreds of heavy equipment and they are working very hard to meet those deadlines.
But remember, Heidi, this is a $16 billion project on 16 acres. One of the most complex, if not the most complex construction project in U.S. history. And so there are bound to be delays. But again, today is a day not to talk necessarily about rebuilding, but to remember the thousands of lives that were lost exactly six years ago today.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHO, (voice over): While lower Manhattan was in chaos, Lori Winthrop (ph) was in labor, husband Matt by her side, giving birth to twin girls. She was six weeks early. It was not supposed to happen on September 11th.
LORI WINTHROP: That's all the TVs were on (ph). The TVs. All the TVs in all the rooms and everybody was very focused on what was going on.
CHO: Except for the Winthrops.
MATT WINTHROP: All the external things, 9/11 . . .
L. WINTHROP: They just disappear.
M. WINTHROP: The World Trade Center. It just -- it shot out of the camera. But the doctor says, you're all right, you're going to have babies today. And everything went blank.
CHO: That was six years ago. Today Sidney and Jennifer are celebrating their sixth birthday, but there will be no party on this day. Lori and Matt don't think it's appropriate. So the party will be on Sunday. Over the years, the girls, with the birthday no one could forget, have become local celebrities and have grown up in the public eye.
This year they're entering the first grade. Along with reading and writing, they're also beginning to understand what happened the day they were born.
When you guys were born on September 11th . . .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know. An airplane crashed into a building.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The building. And some of mommy's friends died in there.
CHO: Lori says the girls at first thought they were responsible.
L. WINTHROP: So they figured they must have had something to do with it. So they said, did we kill everybody?
CHO: And even now.
L. WINTHROP: Everybody . . .
M. WINTHROP: Born September 11th. Oh, when? '01. And then there's a, "that year." And there's about a three-second pause where -- we already know but their brain -- oh. Oh, wow!
CHO: Lori envisions a day where people will eat cupcakes instead of cry on 9/11. The girls a constant reminder that something good did happen on that horrible day.
L. WINTHROP: That's what they give back. Maybe they give back a little bit of happiness on what's supposed to be a sad day.
CHO: So on this day there is more than sadness for this family, the Winthrops. There is celebration. Lori Winthrop is always mindful of the fact that her twins were born on 9/11, exactly six years ago today. In fact, she says that in order for a soul to come into this world, another soul has to pass. But, Heidi, she says so many souls did not have to pass on that day. There only needed to be room for two.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Boy, you know, that was just a great piece, Alina. It's really, really nice to see something good coming from that day. Thanks so much for sharing that with us.
CHO: You bet.
COLLINS: Alina Cho coming to us live from New York this morning. We'll check back in later with you, Alina.
And, meanwhile, I want to let our viewers know, our Web site is another up to the minute resource for the very latest on today's 9/11 ceremonies, including live coverage of today's events. You can log on to cnn.com for that.
A new message from al Qaeda on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It includes an audio recording purportedly from Osama bin Laden over a photo of him. A voice identified as bin Laden introduces a last testament from one of the 9/11 hijackers. Waleed al-Shehri was on the plane that slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of that video.
This morning, General Petraeus front and center once again. The top military commander in Iraq returns to Capitol Hill. His progress report could shape the future U.S. role there. CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash is on Capitol Hill.
How is the testimony from the Senate going to be different than what we saw yesterday before the House members, Dana?
DANA BASH, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, you know, this has only been going on for about a half an hour and we have already seen a big, big difference. We talked in the last hour about the fact that there are a lot more skeptics, Republican skeptics, on this panel, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, than what we saw yesterday in the House.
And the top Republican on this committee, Senator Richard Lugar, started out directly challenging something that General Petraeus said yesterday, which is that he did not want to talk about a troop level beyond next summer when he said the so-called surge will be over. Senator Lugar made very clear, he said, "we need to lay the groundwork for a sustainable alternatives so that as the president and Congress move to a new plan, it can be implemented effectively and rapidly."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR, (R) FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: The surge must not be an excuse for failing to prepare for the next phase of our involvement, whether that is a partial withdrawal, a gradual redeployment or some other option. We saw in 2003, after the initial invasion of Iraq, disastrous results of failing to plan adequately for contingencies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: There you heard pretty much a direct challenge again to what General Petraeus testified yesterday, that he didn't think it was appropriate to necessarily give plans beyond the surge and when the surge will be complete next summer. That is from a Republican.
Now, we are hearing still from the -- the opening statements from the panel, just two panelists, of course. We are now hearing from the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. And we are still waiting to hear from the general himself. And, of course, then we are going to start to hear the questions. Expect a lot more pointed questions, and that statement from Senator Lugar certainly should be a preview of that -- Heidi.
COLLINS: All right. Dana, thanks so much for that.
Quickly I want to get to something that s happening now. Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We are hearing a moment of silence there. And actually the names of the victims are now being read. Just moments ago, I should say, was the moment of silence. 10:03 was when United Airlines Flight 93 went down in the field where they are holding this memorial today.
You remember, I'm sure, the story of Todd Beamer on board that aircraft inside as the passengers came together to try to overcome their attackers. Those famous words, "are you guys ready? Let's roll." The captain of that aircraft, Jason Dahl from Colorado. And as we hear more names being read and the bells tolling in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Deborah Welsh.
COLLINS: Once again, United Airlines Flight 93 that went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Forty victims there that went down with that aircraft. We will continue to follow these memorials both out of New York and Washington and Shanksville throughout the day here.
Meanwhile, another story that we are following today. T.J. Holmes is working on it for us in the NEWSROOM. A possible bomb threat, T.J. A V.A. hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida?
T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Patients right now being evacuated while they check this out. But a bomb threat was called in there about 7:45 this morning. And right now you have a lot of employees, a lot of patients even scattered about at this campus.
This is the Bay Pines V.A. Health Care System there in St. Petersburg. Not exactly sure how many patients this place does tend to on a day to day basis. But there you see kind of people just sprawled out, just kind of waiting around for the all-clear or hopefully nothing worse than that.
But, yes, a bomb threat called in. Right now some people are having to stay inside the buildings. Some of the essential employees and also some of the critical care patients who cannot be moved right now. No where to take them because of their condition. They are having to stay in the building while authorities, as you see there, some vehicles and authorities gather there to check this thing out.
But right now everybody had to be evacuated except for the critical care and essential employees while they check this out. Don't know if it's a credible threat yet, but they're having to certainly take it seriously and checking it out.
We are keeping an eye on this. And as we continue to get details here into the NEWSROOM, we will continue to bring them to you -- Heidi.
COLLINS: All right. T.J., very good. Thanks so much for that.
A bell tolled and tears flow. Six years after 9/11, faces etched still with grief and pain. More live coverage of the anniversary coming your way here in the NEWSROOM.
And lifting the veil. The plight of war widows in Afghanistan. Begging in a fight for survival.
Also, a progress report on Iraq and the top military commander facing a tougher audience today.
Plus, ride with our correspondent down a stretch of dangerous Iraqi asphalt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm told by the senior air men who's driving the Humvee that I am to step forward if she's incapacitated or killed, move her body, get her foot off the accelerator, put the Humvee into neutral and bring it under control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Road warriors. We'll give you a driver's seat view of danger.
COLLINS: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Remembering September 11th. Public opinion changing in the six years since the attacks.
And never forget. Families of the 9/11 victims remembering those who lost their lives six years ago today.
COLLINS: Six years after September 11th, a return to Afghanistan. The first front in the war on terror. CNN's "SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT" lifting the veil on a desperate fight for survival. Here's journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy with a preview.
SHARMEEN OBAID-CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In early 2001, we found a country under Taliban rule decimated by war, poverty and violence. The streets were full of women, like this one, unable to work, forced to beg for change with only animal feed to serve her children.
Today, despite the invasion and promises of aid, things don't look much better. Most of the beggars I see in Kabul are women. There are more than 1 million widows in Afghanistan, the legacy of 20 years of conflict and poverty.
Years of isolation by the Taliban have left many women unskilled and unable to work. Widows without male relatives to help them are often forced to beg.
I noticed one particular woman by the side of the road. She's clearly in distress and crying into her blue burqa.
What is your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
OBAID-CHINOY: How many hours a day do you sit outside begging?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
OBAID-CHINOY: It turns out that Bebe Goul (ph) is also a war widow. To understand how harsh the streets of Kabul are for women, my translator and I follow Bebe Goul as she goes begging that afternoon. I keep my microphone turned on.
Oh, it feels really strange to be under this. Actually, I'm tripping all over myself because it's very difficult to walk in this.
In today's Afghanistan, wearing the burqa is no longer required by law. Most are forced beneath the veil by men and their families or communities. For the Afghan woman, there is little difference.
I can't imagine having to do this every day, day in and day out, for years and years and years, and to have no hope for what the future would hold. This group of young boys who are just sitting in front of us, making fun of us that we are begging. Asking us if we really needed the money and then right when they (INAUDIBLE) .give it to us.
The men here look at us with disdain. I feel angry and invisible under the burqa. For the west, this veil has been a symbol of women's oppression here.
But, you know, let's face it, the issue of the burqa is just the tip of the iceberg. Afghan women face far graver issues than whether to wear the burqa or not.
I leave Bebe Goul where I found her, a lone, blue figure crouching in the mud. Her future and the future of thousands like her uncertain.
COLLINS: Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is joining us now live from London.
Thanks for being with us.
Let me ask you a few more questions about some of the material that we just saw.
That, obviously, was a quite extreme example of a woman in Afghanistan. What is the overall picture? Are they better off?
OBAID-CHINOY: I would say that they are not better off. The promises that were made by the west haven't held fast. There are a lot of women who have fallen through the cracks. Yes, a lot of schools have opened up, but even then women are not going to school because they're intimidated. Schools are being burned down. The maternity/mortality levels are very high. Fifty women die a day because they can't reach medical access. I mean, so things haven't really improved in the last five years.
COLLINS: What about voting? What about women holding political office?
OBAID-CHINOY: You know, women can vote and they can hold political office, but do they really have any power? You know, there is no power. They don't have any freedom. Their men control their lives at home. They even control their lives outside. They may sit in parliament, but they're not able to pass any laws, they're not able to discuss things. The men tell them to be quiet. So really the right to vote does exist but it doesn't hold any sort of power for the women.
COLLINS: Is that a cultural thing though or is that something that has changed the power that the men hold over the women, specifically in the last six years?
OBAID-CHINOY: You know, I would say it is cultural. Afghan society -- the fabric of Afghan society has been torn. It's had so many years of war. You know, two decades of war and women have always been sidelined in society. And in the last so many years, that continues to happen.
COLLINS: Because there's the modern Afghan woman and then there's the woman that we saw in your piece. OBAID-CHINOY: Yes. About 1.5 million women in Afghanistan are widows. And they have fallen through the cracks because the government is not helping them in any way. There's no Social Security. They are not able to help themselves. And if you don't have a man in your life, your life really is not worth living in Afghanistan.
COLLINS: Well, we certainly appreciate your time here today, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Also want to remind everyone to tune in this weekend for the CNN Special Investigations Unit report. It is called "Afghanistan: Lifting The Veil." It premiers Saturday night at 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN. Other viewing times as well to take note of, 11:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday night at 8:00 and 11:00.
Again, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, appreciate your stories here today.
He led others to safety as the towers collapsed on that awful day. A young man, a 9/11 hero, and a beloved son.
COLLINS: Want to go ahead and check the Dow Jones Industrial average. This is a nice thing to see happening today. On the plus side, 105 points, 106 points to the positive. The Dow Jones Industrial average resting at 13,233. The Nasdaq is also, I believe, on positive side. We'll see here in a minute on the bottom right-hand side of your screen. There you go. Up 21 points, almost 22 points.
A little bit earlier though, a very special moment at the opening of the New York Stock Exchange today. A moment of silence. Let's go ahead and look at this just for a moment.
You are watching Tuesday's Children. Those are children of 9/11 victims. They came forward today and rang the bell. Just one ding there, as you heard. And then it was a moment of silence that actually commemorated the day and also the opening of the stock exchange today. A special day for them, I'm sure.
Six years later, nearly half the people who died in the 9/11 attacks have not had their remains identified. But now DNA advances are helping to change that.
Here's CNN's Allan Chernoff.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Carrie Lemack, daughter of a 9/11 victim, got startling news a few months ago. A portion of her mother's remains had finally been identified.
CARRIE LEMACK, DAUGHTER OF 9/11 VICTIM: We were shocked. It's not -- we hadn't woken up that morning and expected to hear that they had found mom.
CHERNOFF: Carrie's mom, Judy Larocque, was a passenger on the American Airlines flight that crashed into the World Trade Center. Investigators had identified Judy's left foot by extracting DNA from her bones.
Did it bring any sense of closure?
LEMACK: No. I don't think we would ever use closure to describe it. I think it brought some sense of being able to do something for mom to bring her home and taking that journey and bringing her back to Boston was really important to us.
CHERNOFF: Did you feel then that at least you were back with her?
LEMACK: A little bit, yes. To be able to hold a part of her felt really complete. It felt like I could be near her again.
CHERNOFF: Judy Larocque's remains were uncovered at Ground Zero only weeks after the terror attack, but only recently could they be identified thanks to a new DNA extraction technique developed here in Virginia at Bode Technology. A process that didn't even exist on September 11, 2001.
Here in two freezers at the biotech firm lie small bone fragments from Trade Center victims. DNA analyst Steve Weitz has the job of retrieving their genetic code. You need to create powder from the bone by using a blender or a drill. He then adds chemicals that pull calcium from the bone and break down cells so the DNA can be filtered out. It's work that is grisly but Weitz says rewarding.
STEVE WEITZ, DNA ANALYST: If you remember what you're working for, then it makes it really easy to keep going.
CHERNOFF: It's gratifying?
WEITZ: Very much so.
CHERNOFF: In the past year and a half, Bode's new DNA extraction technique has identified 12 additional trade center victims, including Judy Larocque. Significant considering that 40 percent of those who perished at Ground Zero, 1,133 people, have never had any remains identified.
LEMACK: The people who are doing this DNA identification are heroes in their own right, in the sense that they are helping to bring home to people parts of their loved ones that otherwise they would never get to have.
CHERNOFF: Allan Chernoff, CNN, Lorton, Virginia.
COLLINS: Want to take you straight back to New York now, another moment of silence when the north tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. Let's just listen for a moment.
Once again, a moment of silence just observed as the north tower of the World Trade Center collapsed, 10:28. Governor George Pataki and New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine we also know are at the ceremony today. The rain beginning to fall on this day, the sixth anniversary of September 11th. We continue to mark these ceremonies from New York, Washington and Pennsylvania today.
The war in Iraq. The military perspective. We'll be hearing from a man who served as the nation's highest ranking officer. Stay tuned for that.
ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am Aneesh Raman live in Baghdad.
A day after testimony kicked off by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, Iraq's government reacts. What did they say? We'll tell you coming up.
COLLINS: General Petreaus back on Capitol Hill today. The Iraq War back under the microscope. Today he's testifying before two Senate hearings. Among the lawmakers attending, five presidential candidates from both parties. Live pictures as you see there. Petraeus is the top military commander in Iraq. He'll be joined by the Chief U.S. Diplomat there, Ryan Crocker.
Both men are expected to face tougher questioning than yesterday's House hearings. Petraeus assured lawmakers that U.S. military goals in Iraq are being met, and that Iraqi security forces are growing more independent. He also outlined plans to bring home up to 30,000 U.S. troops from Iraq by next summer.
U.S. lawmakers, the American public. How about another important audience to the progress report?
CNN's Aneesh Raman is in Baghdad now with the view from there. Always interesting to hear what the view is from the people of Iraq, Aneesh.
RAMAN: Hey, Heidi.
It was literally just hours after General Petreaus and Ambassador Crocker finished their testimony in front of that Joint House Committee that Iraq's National Security Adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie appeared before cameras eager to seize upon the momentum that was described as a success as a result of the surge in U.S. troops.
He admitted that the Iraqi government will need coalition troops here for some time as they build up the capabilities and numbers of Iraq's security forces, but did suggest the role of the U.S. military in Iraq could change soon.
MOWAFFAK AL-RUBAIE, IRAQI NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: With a significant and visible success of the current security operation and the increasing capability of Iraqi forces, we anticipate in the near term a relaxation of the requirement for coalition forces in direct combat operations. (END VIDEO CLIP)
RAMAN: Now we've heard similar statements like this from the National Security Adviser over the past few months, if not years. So, no one will be holding their breath in terms of a time line as to when that will happen. But Heidi, all eyes in terms of any change in the U.S. role will be on the southern city of Basra.
That is where the British troops have essentially done that; pullback out of the city and province, on to the air base, adding on to support the Iraqi security forces and train them. If as some say militias take control of that area and the British government doesn't really have control to hand to the Iraqis, that will caution anyone from having the U.S. military change tactics.
If it is a is success though, that will likely increase calls within the government among the people for a change in tactics by the U.S. military, but it is some time away before that can happen. The National Security Adviser tried to appease concerns at home about the lack of political reconciliation, but really did not provide any specifics as to how or when the Iraqi government would find compromise.
And that still, Heidi, remains the big issue that confronts this country. It is not a military strategy that will end the problems here, according to most people you speak to, but a political strategy. The Iraqi government is yet to come up with one that really works.
COLLINS: CNN's Aneesh Raman reporting to us live from Baghdad today. Aneesh, thanks so much for that.
Also want to tell you about a bomb threat that's forcing tightened security at a U.S. military base in Germany. Cars and trucks entering the Air Force's Spangdahlem Base coming under closer scrutiny today. This, after an anonymous caller threatened to blow up the base. Just last week German police say they foiled terror plot aimed at U.S. military installations in Germany.
This morning one of the world's most wanted now behind bars. Alleged drug lord Diego Montoya busted in Colombia, found hiding in leaves in his underwear. The accused cocaine kingpin wanted by the FBI. A $5 million bounty on his head. Colombia's defense minister says Montoya's gang is behind 70 percent of Colombian cocaine shipments to the U.S. and to Europe.
He is blamed for 1,500 murders. This arrest said to be the biggest strike against the drug trade in more than a decade. Montoya is expected to be extradited to the U.S. soon.
A dangerous endeavor for American troops. Training Iraqi police forces to stand on their own. And a soldier sprang a surprise at his homecoming. A marriage proposal. Mission accomplished.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT; I'm Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange. Six long years. Six short years. Wall Street remembers 9/11 next. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.
GERRI WILLIS, PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Building or modifying your home can be exciting but take a minute and a few steps to make sure you are well prepped for the endeavor. Obtain bids from at least three licensed contractors and make sure you understand the reasons for the variation in price.
Ask for references or better yet, ask to see some of the contractor's previous work. You can also call your local better business bureau to check on disputes or canceled contracts. Speaking of contracts, make sure yours has all the details, including start and end dates, material specs and a payment schedule.
Put just 10 percent down, pay 25 percent when plumbing and electrical work are done, 25 percent after cabinets and windows and 25 percent for flooring and painting. Don't hand over that last 15 percent on the final day. It's called retainage, and you should keep it for an extra 30 days just to make sure everything is working the way it should.
That's this week's saving money now. for more on saving money, watch OPEN HOUSE every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
COLLINS: CNN's Jacqui Jeras is joining us now from the hurricane headquarters. What are we watching here now today, Jacqui?
COLLINS: Traders at the New York Stock Exchange didn't need to look at a calendar to know today is 9/11. Working in lower Manhattan is a constant reminder of that.
Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange this morning with a look at what's happened there in the six years since the terror attacks.
Good morning to you, Susan.
COLLINS: Ride with our correspondent down a stretch of dangerous Iraqi asphalt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm told by the senior airman who's driving the humvee that I am to step forward if she's incapacitated or killed, move her body, get her foot off the accelerator, put the humvee into neutral and bring it under control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Road warrior. We'll give you a driver's seat view of danger.
COLLINS: Want to let you take a look at this picture that we are getting in to us here. Obviously, we have been anticipating a second day of hearings for -- this is Ambassador Ryan Crocker, but also General David Petraeus in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee today.
I've just been listening in for a moment to Ryan Crocker, talking now about federalism and saying that he's starting to see it among the Sunnis, which he believes to be a positive sign. Also talking about the possibility and the hope that there would be more regulated engagement from Iraq's neighbors and also hoping that the U.N. could be more involved and more engaged, as well, as he continues to take questions before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
We'll continue to monitor that and bring you any information should it be warranted.
Meanwhile though, training Iraqi police, a dangerous but necessary task for American troops.
CNN's Gary Tuchman rides along.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The place is Al Alam, Iraq. Just minutes away from Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, residents have scattered because they think police are apprehending a suicide bomber. But this is a drill. The police of Al Alam are being trained by a U.S. Air Force team of security experts. The police chief, formerly a member of the Iraqi army, acknowledges he needs the help.
CHIEF IBHRIM KALAF MUTLAK, AL ALAM POLICE (through translator): Our mission is harder because Saddam was born and raised here.
TUCHMAN: It may be a drill, but the intense security is not. Airmen point rifles at all directions. Local police are often targets of insurgents. The visit here by 10 men and two women from the Air Force is the culmination of an incredibly hazardous journey that began about an hour earlier, when Air Force team members tested their M2 machine guns from the turrets of four armored humvees, which then left a U.S. base near Tikrit for a 35-mile ride through insurgent-filled territory to get to the police station.
CAPT. GREG BODENSTEIN, TIKRIT POLICE TRANSITION TEAM: We're going to go north right into the downtown heart of the city of Tikrit and across the Tikrit Bridge which crosses the Tigress River. It's the only bridge in the area. TUCHMAN: The convoy whips across the bridge at breakneck speeds. The bridge is known to be a tempting insurgent target, and Air Force personnel want off it as soon as possible. They have been training local police for about four months, and in that time, have been hit by several improvised explosive devices.
(on camera): Before we go on this journey, we're given warnings about what to do if we're hit by an IED, by grenades, or by small arms fire. I'm told by the senior airman who's driving the humvee that I am to step forward if she's incapacitated or killed, move her body, get her foot off the accelerator, put the humvee into neutral and bring it under control.
(voice-over): Working above our driver is Joselo Machuca, a gunner, doing 360-degree rotations with his machine gun. This summer, his colleague, another gunner, was hit by an IED right outside of downtown Tikrit while he was coming back from the very same mission. Senior airman Jason Nathan (ph) was killed.
JOSELO MACHUCA, U.S. AIR FORCE HUMVEE GUNNER: Yes, he was my roommate, he was my roommate. (INAUDIBLE) Nathan, he was my roommate.
TUCHMAN (on camera): Is it hard for to you go back to work, go back to your duty after that?
MACHUCA: Yes, it was hard to go back to my room.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The group took a couple of days off, but then went back to work. They scoured the potholes in the roads for IEDs, hoping the drivers sitting on the sides of the streets aren't about to throw grenades. Wondering if the same thing that happened to Senior Airman Nathan could happen to them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm nervous all the time. From the time I'm prepping for a mission until we get back, I'm nervous the entire time.
TUCHMAN: What makes this particular mission especially dangerous is its predictability.
BODENSTEIN: When we went out there, our time was random. Nobody knew when we were going out. But any enemy force that would have seen us go out, knew that we had to go back that way because there's only one bridge in Tikrit.
TUCHMAN: They make it to the police station safely and finish up this day's tutorial on how to subdue suicide bombers. Fallah Hassan is a local cop in this predominantly Sunni area. He says he's learned to be tolerant towards all citizens.
FALLAH HASSAN, AL ALAM POLICE OFFICER (through translator): These are our brothers and we don't make any difference between Sunni and Shia.
TUCHMAN: A view certainly not shared by all Iraqis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still got a few miles to go, though.
TUCHMAN: The airmen begin their tense hour drive back to the base. They get their safely, ready for another mission to another police station tomorrow.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Tikrit, Iraq.
COLLINS: The war in Iraq, the military perspective. We'll hear from the man who served as the nation's highest ranking officer.
JUDY FORTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One more reason to kick the habit. Researchers in Holland who followed nearly 7,000 people for more than seven years found smoking leads to increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in people 55 years and older. Their study published in the journal "Neurology" found that current smokers are 50 percent more likely to develop the conditions compared to those who have never smoked and people who have quit.
An estimated 2.4 million children in the U.S. could have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, but fewer than half receive treatment, new research finds. A study of more than 3,000 children shows only 32 percent of those who meet the diagnostic criteria received medication, although treatment is more likely in older children. ADHD is marked by inattention and hyperactivity inappropriate for one's age. Study authors say the condition is underdiagnosed.
September is National Pain Awareness Month. According to the National Pain Foundation, chronic pain is a public health issue affecting 75 million Americans and 20 percent of people living with chronic pain have never consulted a doctor. Find links for online pain resources at CNN.com/house call.
Judy Fortin, CNN.
COLLINS: You're with CNN, you're informed.
I'm Heidi Collins. Tony Harris is back tomorrow.
Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on Tuesday, September 11th, 2007. Here's what's on the rundown.
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