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Gates Says U.S. Not Leaving Afghanistan; Petraeus Undergoes Cancer Treatment; Letterman Apologizes to Wife and Staffers; Concerns Over Increase in Workplace Violence; Experts Debate Proper Strategy in Afghanistan; Behind the Curtain of the Freemasons
Aired October 6, 2009 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: That brings us around to the top of the hour. It's 8:00 Eastern on this Tuesday, the 6th of October. Thanks for being with us. I'm John Roberts.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. We have a lot of big stories we're going to be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes. President Obama meeting with top-ranking members of Congress from both parties this afternoon, trying to talk about and perhaps nail down a troop strategy for the war in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the president's Defense Secretary tells CNN in an exclusive interview we are not leaving Afghanistan. Barbara Starr with the latest developments from the Pentagon.
ROBERTS: Dramatic news this morning about America's top military commander in the Middle East. General David Petraeus has undergone radiation treatment for early stage prostate cancer. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta on what this diagnosis means for the general.
CHETRY: And Dave Letterman back at Ed Sullivan Theater for the first time since he admitted he had sex with women on his staff. What the "Late Night" host had to say about his wife and his coworkers and the fallout -- all of that ahead.
We begin, though, with a CNN exclusive. Two White House cabinet members are sounding one clear theme: Our troops are not leaving Afghanistan.
At the invitation of CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared together for a rare joint interview. Secretary Gates is calling the situation in Afghanistan too critical to abandon because of recent gains by the Taliban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: And the reality is, that because of our inability and the inability, frankly, of our allies, to put enough troops into Afghanistan, the Taliban do have the momentum right now, it seems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Barbara Starr is live from the Pentagon this morning.
And so, Barbara, based on what we heard from both from Secretary Clinton as well as Secretary Gates, do we have a clearer indication of what the White House may be planning to do in Afghanistan moving forward?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, not so sure that there's an indication of the White House's plans, Kiran, but clearly, Defense Secretary Gates sounding very dire concerns about Afghanistan in a not-so-veiled reference to the Soviet defeat years ago in that country, he talked about what would happen to the United States if the same thing happened again.
ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: They now have the opportunity to defeat a second superpower which more than anything would empower their message and the opportunity to recruit, to fund raise, and to plan operations.
STARR (voice-over): The secretary of defense making it clear the U.S. will maintain a strong presence in a region that he calls the epicenter of jihad.
GATES: We are not leaving Afghanistan.
STARR: General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, says he needs more boots on the ground if the U.S. is serious about stopping the Taliban and terrorism. It's a critical decision -- one that has to be made by a deliberate president according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: It is difficult enough to deal with the challenges emanating from Afghanistan and Pakistan and the continuing threat from al Qaeda. But to do it when there's so much pressure to make a snap decision, never to ask the hard questions, is really counterproductive.
STARR: Secretary Clinton insisting any strategy in Afghanistan must include developing Afghanistan economically and socially.
CLINTON: It is kind of chicken and egg issue. We want to focus on development, but in order to operate in many of the places in Afghanistan, you have to have a level of security.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But I want to know what you think about the momentum of the Taliban, their long-term prospects.
GATES: Because of our inability and the inability, frankly, of our allies to put enough troops into Afghanistan, the Taliban do have the momentum right now, it seems.
STARR: Very stark words from Secretary Gates. The Taliban have the momentum. You know, you'll recall, Kiran, back in Iraq, they were saying, "If you're not winning, then you're losing." It was just a few weeks ago that the secretary was saying everybody should take a deep breath. Now, he's saying about Afghanistan, the Taliban have the momentum -- Kiran?
CHETRY: Yes. And, you know, people are doing their best to read into some of the things that both of them said yesterday. But again, as you said, it's still up to the administration to decide what the final verdict is about troop levels there. So, anyway, meanwhile, thanks, Barbara.
And you can watch the entire interview with Secretaries Gates and Clinton, 3:00 p.m. Eastern, 12:00 Pacific, it's a special edition of "AMANPOUR" only on CNN.
ROBERTS: Dramatic news this morning about General David Petraeus. The general says that he has undergone radiation treatment for early stage prostate cancer. So, what kind of battle is in store for the man in charge of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now.
And, Sanjay, General Petraeus says that the treatment was, quote, "successful." What does success mean in this case here and what's the prognosis going forward?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, what we know, John, is that he was diagnosed by it back in early February. This is from the statement that he released. It was pretty hush-hush, as you know.
When someone is diagnosed with prostate cancer, early stage in this case, they're really given a few different options. They can do what's called watchful waiting, which means that you sort of keep an eye on things. They can have radiation, which comes in two types, either external or internal radiation. And finally, surgery, it's sort of the third option.
For him, he chose the radiation option. And what successful probably really means is as they keep eye on some of the blood levels that indicate whether or not his -- what's known as his PSA, prostate specific antigen, is high or not. And they just keep an eye on that. And if those numbers come down, that's how they sort of monitor it, John.
ROBERTS: So, what about the treatments going forward, Sanjay? And typically, you catch prostate cancer in the early stages that was caught with the general, what's the recurrence rate?
GUPTA: Well, you know, it's interesting. He's a little bit younger than most people who get this. Two out of three people are in their 60s when they develop prostate cancer. So, what they're going to likely do is check these PS tests over, you know, every three to six months over the next few years and make sure they stay stable. If they do, then he's really going to need no further treatment.
If it comes back, then it's a decision process again. And, John, it's worth pointing out that PSA tests are controversial within medicine. When you get the test, if it's high, it gives you no indication whether the cancer is going to be aggressive or if it's going to be rather mild. And, you know, and that would change your decision process if you had that information.
The American Cancer Society and the Preventative Task Force don't recommend these tests as a routine screening anymore. So, you know, as far as him, if the levels stay normal, there's really nothing more for him to do.
ROBERTS: And as we heard from former Senator Bill Frist last hour, he was shot through the chest back in 1991 and he was back doing push-ups five days later. So, he's a -- he's a tough guy. He could probably deal with this.
GUPTA: Yes. I mean, that was a much bigger battle in many ways. That's a remarkable story. I hadn't heard that story either, John.
ROBERTS: Yes, pretty incredible. Sanjay Gupta for us this morning -- Doc, thanks so much.
GUPTA: Thanks, John.
CHETRY: Also new this morning, only 79 shopping days left, people, and already, analysts say it's not looking good for the holiday season. The National Retail Federation is predicting a 1 percent drop in total sales to just under $43 billion for November and December combined. Job security a key factor in coming up with that number. Other predictions have been a little bit more optimistic so far.
ROBERTS: And talk about a natural high. A new study out of Spain says the Mediterranean diet may actually prevent depression. That's due to what researchers are calling a synergistic combination of good fats from olive oil and nuts, antioxidants from fruits and even B vitamins from a glass of red wine. The diet is already thought to protect against heart disease and cancer.
CHETRY: Well, Brett Favre says it wasn't about revenge, but the morning after, it sure feels like it. Favre threw three touchdown passes as his new team, the Minnesota Vikings, beat his old team, the Green Bay Packers, 30-22. Favre spent 16 seasons with the Packers, and by beating them, he became the only quarterback to beat all 32 NFL teams. Favre's Vikings are still undefeated, 4-0.
ROBERTS: Well, David Letterman continues the apology tour. Of course, it's the tour on his own program...
CHETRY: Right. He's on a tour, never has to leave Ed Sullivan Theater.
So, what did he say last night and what's it going to mean for him going forward? Our Alina Cho rings in, coming right up.
Eight minutes after the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: Don't kid yourself. Things are still pretty bad. There's a possibility that I'll be the first talk show host impeached. So...
LETTERMAN: Not where you want to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: No, not where you want to be, I'm sure, not for Dave Letterman.
Well, welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning."
For the first time since he became the punch line, David Letterman was back on stage at Ed Sullivan Theater last night.
ROBERTS: The "Late Show" host publicly apologized to everyone he possibly could, his wife, his staff, the ushers, for having sex with women who've worked on his show.
Alina Cho is following developments for us this morning and...
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pretty much covered it.
ROBERTS: He does seem to be handling this pretty adeptly.
CHO: You know, the people closest to him say he's been handling it like a pro, and certainly, the fans agree. We spoke to fans outside the show afterwards. You know, remember, on Thursday night when David Letterman first made that bombshell admission about his sex scandal, he said he was done talking about it.
But last night, well, it seems he said that people want to talk about it some more, so that's exactly what he did. And once again, he made jokes about his favorite target: himself.
CHO (voice-over): He's become the butt of the late-night laughs over the past few days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was reported that the blackmailer Joe Halderman was threatening to reveal embarrassing details of Letterman's personal life. For example, after sex, he would always say, "Stay tuned for Craig Ferguson."
CHO: If you can't beat 'em, then, well...
LETTERMAN: Did your weekend just fly by?
LETTERMAN: I'll be honest with you, folks. Right now, I would give anything to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
CHO: Fans at Monday night's taping said Letterman handled the situation like a pro.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very into it, very energized. It was a lot of fun and I think people really generally support him.
CHO: It did get serious for a few minutes when Letterman, a very private person, again used his very public forum, speaking directly to his staff, and then his wife, Regina Lasko.
LETTERMAN: She has been horribly hurt by my behavior, and when something happens like that, if you hurt a person, then it's your responsibility, you try to fix it. And at that point, there's only two things that can happen, either you're going to make some progress and get it fixed or you're going to fall short and perhaps not get it fixed.
CHO: Letterman also stressed, those sexual relationships are over.
LETTERMAN: I would just like to set the record straight, no, I'm not having sex with these women. Those episodes are in the past.
CHO: Meanwhile, the 27-year CBS veteran accused of demanding $2 million from Letterman to keep quiet about his sexual pass is firing back. Joe Halderman's lawyer says Letterman is a master at manipulation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wanted to get out ahead of the story and that's exactly what he did.
CHO: Halderman has pleaded not guilty to attempted grand larceny. He's been suspended from his job at CBS News, and if convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.
For his part, Letterman added, as you heard a moment ago, he could be the first talk show host impeached, but he spent the weekend raking his hate mail and when he got into his car, well, even the navigation lady wouldn't talk to him.
But you could imagine guys, I mean, you know, Letterman, as I've said before, over the years, because he so rarely gives interviews, has really used his show as a vehicle to make major announcements about his life, but certainly never anything like this. And you can just imagine how uncomfortable it must be for him to do this now.
ROBERTS: Well, also, it's beginning to get uncomfortable for people who are watching too. It's kind of like -- remember when David Paterson first became governor of New York?
ROBERTS: And he and his wife admitted to all of this stuff. And it's kind of like, OK, that's enough information. We don't need anymore. There's potentially a strategy here that if he puts it all out there, people won't want to hear anymore about it.
CHO: Well, that could be the case. I mean, and maybe he's done talking about it. My sense is that he may not talk about it again for a long time.
ROBERTS: We'll see.
CHETRY: We'll see. We'll have to see. You'll hear about the taping tonight, right?
CHO: Yes. Of course.
ROBERTS: You do remember that Paterson press conference? Does anybody have anymore questions? No! That's enough. OK. Can we just go now?
CHETRY: You know, that was a brilliant strategy, for a time.
ROBERTS: It was. Well, for a time a now.
CHETRY: For a time.
ROBERTS: It's not working too well for him now.
CHETRY: All right. Alina Cho, thanks so much.
Well, still ahead, we're going to be talking about the health care debate and one columnist with "The New York Times" wrote a very interesting article...
ROBERTS: Nick Kristof, yes.
CHETRY: Yes, Kristof -- wrote a very interesting article about a woman faced with the possibility of -- or recommendation of her husband who was suffering from Alzheimer's, "Hey, divorce him to protect your money." And this is one example of some of the choices people are being forced to make because they can't afford to take care of themselves and their family.
Anyway, so Nick Kristof ended up finding out from writing this column another family's heart-wrenching story. They're going to join us right now as well as Nick in just a couple of minutes. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
It's 15 minutes after the hour.
CHETRY: Her husband, who was suffering from Alzheimer's, hey, divorce him to protect your money and this is one example of some of the choices people are being forced to make because they can't afford to take care of themselves or their family. Anyway, so Nick Kristof ended up finding out from writing this column about another family's heart wrenching story -- they're going to join us right now as well as Nick in a couple of minutes. We're going to take a quick break, we'll be right back, its 15 minutes after the hour.
CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. It's 18 minutes past the hour right now as we take a look at Washington, D.C., and the nation's capital today. It's cloudy, 54 degrees, but a little bit later, it's suppose to be mostly sunny and a high up to 71.
And welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. As the health care debate heats up on Capitol Hill this week, every day people are faced with real-life implications of a fractured system that we have today.
"New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof brought us one of those life or death decisions in a powerful column titled "Dad's Life Or Yours." it's the story of a father who desperately need a kidney and a son who wanted to save dad and a system that they claimed prevented that from happening. Joining us is now is Nicholas Kristof along with one of the subjects of that column, Travis and David Waddington your father is also going to be joining us, there he is.
Welcome, all of you, thanks so much for being with us. Nicholas Kristof by the way is also the author of the new book, "Half the Sky." about the oppression of women in a developing world -- great to have all of you with us this morning. Let me just start off with you Nicholas because you've been writing these columns about people's heartbreaking story as they struggle, as we say to make these decisions about their health, needing to weigh the financial implications, the costs, the lack of insurance. What have you learned from writing these columns?
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" COLUMNIST: Well, I mean, at the end of the day, we know that our present health system costs about twice as much as those in other countries and underperforms, there are way worse health statistics that other countries do. And about 45, 000 people die a year because they don't have health insurance. But all of that people kind of glaze over. I think what really matters and moves people is these individual stories. People like the Waddingtons who were forced into these impossible situations because of the existing health insurance situation.
CHETRY: And let's talk a little about this situation that you were in. David, I want to ask you about it. You have what's called PKD, which is known as polycystic kidney disease. It's a genetic condition that caused both of your kidneys to fail. So when your doctor told you that the best match would be a family member, you have two sons, one of whom is with us today, Travis, what went on in those discussions in your households?
DAVID WADDINGTON: (INAUDIBLE) The doctor were looking at the side effect, whether -- how does it impact the sons? The position was always then that you're better off not knowing. Since it's an untreatable disease, you look out for the symptoms, the worst that can, it can cause problems, obtaining insurance. I've been denied for supplemental insurance and there's a lot of respondees to Mr. Kristof's column, who had problems and concerns with insurance as well. Since it's untreatable, you treat the symptoms and which is high blood pressure and pain as it occurs.
CHETRY: Right and we should point out that I mean thank goodness in the end, you did get a donor kidney, it was not from somebody in your family but your son's here with us. And Travis, when you found out that your dad have this and you and your brother, Michael, have a 50/50 shot of also having PKD, what was the biggest debate. What were the biggest challenges in trying to find out if you could even donate to your dad? And whether you were able to do that?
TRAVIS WADDINGTON, SON: Well, when we had this discussion, when we first learned about it, you know, the whole family was there and mom and dad explained the situation to me and Michael. But I was surprised that there wasn't really talk about the possibility of donation. I figured, all right, maybe, you know, our parents don't want us to, you know; don't want to ask this of us or whatever.
But my brother and I sat down and had a conference, just between ourselves, and decided that the only possible thing to do was for us both to get tested and hopefully, you know, 25 percent shot, neither of us would have it and then there would be no question that we'd be able to donate to our father. And we presented this plan to our parents and my memory of it; actually, that mom was kind of angry. They firmly shot it down. I think they were upset that we were not seeing the big picture.
CHETRY: Wait because they -- and Nicholas, you can explain this to, if either one of them got tested and it was on record that they had this pre-existing condition, they would either be dropped or couldn't get insurance.
KRISTOF: Then they might forever be unable to get insurance. And so I think the parents, to their credit, were alarmed that Travis and Michael might, by trying to help their dad, lose the possibility of getting insurance.
CHETRY: And so where it stands now is that you did not get tested.
T. WADDINGTON: I have still not gotten tested.
CHETRY: And this is not because of your own health, it's because...
T. WADDINGTON: No! It's clearly irresponsible from a health point of view, right? I'm not medically capable of really monitoring my kidney's health. I'm just sort of waiting to see side effects. Which, without a doctor, is kind of stupid, but it's what the doctors in the field who treat PKD strongly recommend, is that I do this, which
KRISTOF: I mean, it would make so much sense for Travis to get tested from a medical point of view, it might help save his life, but if he does get tested and finds that he is carrying PKD, then he will be unable to get insurance to get that coverage because he needs it. And that is precisely the problem with the existing health insurance system.
CHETRY: I think a lot of people agree that it's broken. This is an example of where people slip through the cracks. And, you know, its -- they're not alone. As we've said before, there are 45,000 people who die each year, not because they don't know that they're ill, but because they can't get help. But as this big debate goes on in Washington, it's not a no-brainer, for a varying number of reasons, people disagree that we can afford it. So what do we do about the cost?
KRISTOF: Well, you know, I think that one of the mistakes that advocates of universal health coverage have made is they focused on the technical issues, they focused on the question of productivity, the economic impact, the economic cost, and fundamentally, this is a moral decision.
And those other countries that have embraced this policy, it has been because it's been a starting point, that we don't want people to slip through the cracks and die because they can't get insurance under the existing system. So I think that is the starting point. This is something we cannot tolerate, morally.
CHETRY: One of the criticisms I've heard, 90% that everybody agrees with that you shouldn't be dropped for pre-existing conditions. That you should, people who are uninsured should have the option of getting some sort of basic coverage to help out. That we should electronically make the medical records easier and streamline them. But because of the larger debates on certain issues that no one's going to eventually agree on, no health care's getting passed.
KRISTOF: And that has happened, you know for decades now. I mean this is something the FDR initially wanted to have as part of social security. I just came across a 1919 magazine article that was complaining about the lack of universal health coverage in the United States. Hopefully, this will end this year.
CHETRY: All right. You're optimistic?
KRISTOF: I am. I really am.
CHETRY: We'll see wants. But meanwhile, we wish you the best of luck. And David, how are you doing, by the way? As we said, you did get a transplant, a kidney transplant from a donor. How are you?
D. WADDINGTON: My health is the best it's been in a great number of years. And organ donation, is one of the, transportation and even dialysis itself are gifts of life. They're truly modern miracles.
CHETRY: You're absolutely right. Well, we wish you the best of luck and we also wish you luck, Travis, as well as your brother, who was, by the way, tested and diagnosed with PKD.
T. WADDINGTON: Right, just recently.
CHETRY: All right. Well thanks so much for joining us this morning. Nicholas, your columns are great and you have a very, very good perspective I'm glad you had a chance to talk to real-life people. It's a big week in Washington as the Obama administration tries to pave the way forward in Afghanistan. What is the right strategy to pursue? We'll get some opinions coming up next.
CHETRY: Twenty-nine minutes past the hour right now. Raymond Clark, the man accused in a brutal murder of Yale grad student Anne Le is back in court later today and the case is bringing the issue of violence at work to the front of many people's minds.
So how do you know if you're safe in the office? It's something that a lot of us take for granted. Our Carol Costello joins us now. She's live in Washington with part two of our series, "When Co-workers Kill." good morning, Carol.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Five hundred and seventeen people were murdered at work last year. That number is down, but a survey found things like bullying, harassment, and even physical altercations are way up. So how can you protect yourself at work? Listen to your gut.
COSTELLO: We hear it often after a crime is committed. A man or woman just snaps and becomes a killer. It's a theory experts say that's rarely true, especially in the workplace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've studied literally thousands of cases of persons at risk at work. About 82% of the time, there are signals that a person is having difficulty.
COSTELLO: Subtle things like an overreaction to criticism, anger directed at coworkers on blogs or in letters, obsession with people or work policy, or bullying others to do things a certain way, subtle, but obvious signs that are often overlooked.
In 2005, Erin Sperrey, a 20-year-old supervisor at a fast food restaurant, was beaten to death by a coworker. Her mother, Johna Lovely, says there were plenty of signs her daughter's killer exhibited obsessive bullying behavior.
JOHNA LOVELY, DAUGHTER MURDERED BY COWORKER: Their supervisors complained that he would rub up against them and made them feel bad. And I don't think, really, anyone took it seriously or said anything.
COSTELLO (on camera): Why do you think they didn't?
I don't think people are trained in doing that. I don't think they know to do that.
COSTELLO (voice-over): At the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, or NOAA, near Washington, D.C., they're trying to make sure employees know how to read the signs.
BAKER: We have a new program, which is called Respect.
COSTELLO: The program is just a month old. It spells out if a coworker's behavior should concern you on its Web site. And if employees still aren't sure, NOAA has set up a hotline to take complaint anonymously or to offer guidance.
It's actually one of the few companies taking steps to identify potentially violent employees before it's too late.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2005, only 30 percent of employers had formal programs that addressed workplace violence.
COSTELLO (on camera): Why do you think more employers aren't doing something like this?
CHARLES BAKER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NOAA SATELLITE AND INFORMATION SERVICES: I think there is initially a fear in embarking upon a new program that it will cost money, it will suck up people's time and will become a burden to the organization.
COSTELLO: NOAA says its program costs very little. Its hotline is manned by one of its human resources employees trained in workplace violence.
And in case you're wondering, NOAA does not believe employees just snap. There are always signs. You just need to know how to read them.
COSTELLO: And again, what are those signs? They can be as simple as a coworker doing something that makes you uncomfortable, say, rearranging your desk while you're away, or bullying you in a meeting.
The key is this, if the behavior is an ongoing pattern, tell your supervisor, trust your gut. If it doesn't feel right, if it makes you feel uncomfortable, act. It could save your life -- Kiran?
CHETRY: Wow. I mean, it's true. And boy, we saw just some of the most extreme examples. But as you said, it happens a lot more often than you think.
And tomorrow Carol's going to be taking a look at some things you can do to keep yourself safe at work. Also, our Alina Cho has the latest installment in our series "When Coworkers Kill."
Checking our top stories now, more mixed messages from North Korea. A South Korean report says that the north is now in the final stages of restoring nuclear activities. That's something it promised it would do back in April.
This comes at North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il reportedly told China that he's willing to come back to the table if relations improve with the United States.
General David Petraeus has been treated for early-stage prostate cancer. The top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East was diagnosed with the illness back in February. He tells CNN that his cancer was caught early, but he's had two tests since completing radiation treatment and that they have both been OK.
He also says surgery to remove the prostate was not an option because of plates used to repair his pelvis after he fractured it in 2000 during a parachuting action.
Addiction is considered a disease. Now there may be a vaccine to help drug users kick their cocaine habits. Doctors at Baylor College of Medicine say that a shot has been able to reduce cocaine use in close to 40 percent of addicts.
This news comes just days after the federal government announced it would fund a large clinical trial of nicotine vaccine -- John?
ROBERTS: Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the United States is committed to a long-term strategy in Afghanistan. So does that mean that we are in store for a surge of troops? Gates sat down exclusively with our Christiane Amanpour yesterday and had this to say about the current situation in Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: And the reality is that because of our inability and the inability, frankly, of our allies to put enough troops into Afghanistan, the Taliban do have the momentum right now, it seems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: So how can we gain back that momentum? My next guests have some ideas of their own, and they shared them along with eight other experts in "The 10 Steps to Victory in Afghanistan" series that was published Monday in "The New York Times."
Robert Pape is a professor at the University of Chicago, also the author of "Dying to Win, the strategic logic of suicide terrorism." He joins us this morning from Chicago. And Andrew Exum is a fellow at the Center for New American Security and served on General McChrystal's review team in Afghanistan. He's live in Washington this morning.
Gentleman, great to see you. Bob, let's start with you. In your op-ed piece, you stress the need to try to end suicide attacks against American forces, NATO forces in Afghanistan.
And I'm wondering, how do you do that? Do you adopt General McChrystal's strategy for a broader insurgency in Afghanistan, or do you adopt the vice president's strategy of pulling troops out of Afghanistan and relying more on targeted anti-terrorist activities?
ROBERT PAPE, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Well, our choices are not simply between stay and die, that is, just continue with the current strategy, or cut and run.
What we need is a new strategy, a new approach, one that I call "offshore balancing" that relies on air and naval forces stationed over the horizon. and using political and economic means to empower local groups that together can defeat the terrorists.
You see, to win in Afghanistan, the United States and its allies have to prevent the rise of a new generation of anti-American terrorists, particularly suicide terrorists. These individuals are motivated not by the existence of a terrorist sanctuary, but by deep anger at the presence of foreign combat forces on land that they prize.
This is why suicide terrorism has skyrocketed in Afghanistan from 2006 on as the United States and NATO has increasingly occupied that country. We had only nine suicide attacks in Afghanistan in 2005. This increased to 97 in 2006, 142 in 2007, 148 in 2008, and over 60 in just the first six months of 2009.
It's imperative to reduce the number of anti-American suicide attacks in Afghanistan, and offshore balancing, especially if we move to it over a period of one or two years, is our best way forward.
ROBERTS: And Andrew Exum, what do you think of that idea? Because you write in your op-ed, quote, "While in Afghanistan last summer, I found many American and other international units more focused on protecting themselves than protecting the Afghan population.
If you go to this offshore balancing, you're not going to be there in the towns and villages to the degree that you need to be to protect the Afghan population."
ANDREW EXUM, FELLOW, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: Yes, first off, I've got nothing but respect for Professor Pape. His thesis on what causes suicide terror has been one that's been highly influential. I think that offshore balancing probably works better in the textbooks than it does on the ground in Afghanistan.
What we're seeing in Afghanistan is not necessarily suicide terror as being the primary target, but really what we're seeing, the biggest threat is a campaign of fear and intimidation that the Taliban and Hakani network are waging not so much against U.S. forces or against allied forces, but against the afghan people themselves.
The problem is we don't really have a good way to measure that. There's no place in Afghanistan where we're in persistent contact with the population.
So what we need to do is we need to get out of our armored vehicle, we need to abandon a lot of our force protection measures that keep us safe from the Taliban but don't necessarily allow us to win in Afghanistan.
And it involves taking more risk, and that's one of the things I'm arguing for. And that's a tough thing for Americans to hear after eight years of combat.
Again, I served in Afghanistan in 2002, again in 2004. I returned in 2009 to work for General McChrystal. Believe me, I've lived this conflict, I've had several friends that have passed away in this conflict.
But the reality is that in 2009 the best way forward is to assume more risk in Afghanistan that will allow us to better protect the Afghan people.
ROBERTS: Bob, let me throw this at you here. If you go to your model of offshore balancing, not necessarily cut and run, but, obviously, it would require a drawdown in forces, General McChrystal warns that if Afghanistan is lost to the Taliban, it could become again a base for terrorism, if you draw down troops, particularly in the southwest there, where the Taliban is so strong.
Do you run the risk of basically handing the country back over to them, or at least a portion of that country?
PAPE: No, I don't think, first of all, you run the risk of the entire country falling to the Taliban. Because, remember, we have the northern alliance.
ROBERTS: Right. That's why I said, even a portion of the country.
PAPE: But in order to prevent even a portion of the country falling to the Taliban, it's important to change strategies. Right now, over the last several years, we have lost a portion, at least 10, 20 percent if you follow our intelligence reports, of the country to the Taliban.
And this is as we've been pursuing COIN, this counterinsurgency strategy. This is causing us to lose territory to the Taliban.
Instead, what we should do is shift gears and empower local groups. It's particularly important to empower local Pashtuns. And the reason is because the Pashtuns right now have no confidence in the central government. They believe it's corrupt and they believe what American forces are doing is actually helping a corrupt government occupy them.
What we need to do is empower the local groups directly, similar to what we did in Anbar province in Iraq, and this will substantially increase their autonomy and give them a choice between Taliban domination and American domination.
ROBERTS: Andrew, these problems with the Afghan government are well known. David Kilcullen, of course, was a member -- wasn't a member of the assessment team, but he was one of General Petraeus' top advisers in the region, says the same thing about the government needing to be credible for Afghans to be able to believe in it.
But do you agree that you can, effectively, I guess it was done in Iraq in the Sunni provinces there, out in Anbar, recruit local Pashtun tribal leaders to provide enough security that you keep the Taliban at bay in southwestern provinces like Kandahar, like Helmand province?
EXUM: I think that I direct Professor Pape to some of the things that we're already doing in Afghanistan. We're building up Afghan national security forces at the national level. We're also starting pilot programs, such as the AP-3 program in Wardak province that are designed to build up local security forces to secure these areas.
Again, the big problem is, if we want to get all social science theory, it's a matter of control versus collaboration. There's no way -- you can't just simply buy off the Taliban. You can't seek to get collaboration from them without exerting some degree of control over the area.
We've tried to bring these people -- we've tried to bring local Taliban into the fold for the past eight years. It hasn't worked.
We've got to do something different, and that includes both building up local security forces as well as national security forces, and it also requires more boots on the ground to protect afghan civilians and to create the conditions for reconciliation to take place.
ROBERTS: I think you gentleman have just demonstrated the breadth of the debate and the difficulty in making the appropriate decision going forward. It's great to see you both. Bob Pape, Andrew Exum, thanks for being with us this morning, appreciate it.
EXUM: Sure, thanks.
ROBERTS: By the way, you can watch the entire interview with Secretaries Gates and Clinton. That will be at 3:00 p.m. eastern today, 12:00 pacific, in a special edition of "AMANPOUR."
In addition to Afghanistan, Gates and Clinton weigh in on Iran and its nuclear ambitions and how we should deal with Tehran going forward. It's only on CNN today, the worldwide leader in news -- Kiran? CHETRY: All right, well, we're following some extreme weather for you as well. Jacqui Jeras in the extreme weather center with flight delays in the Midwest and the south. Will it affect your commute? She's going to tell us in just a minute.
It's 42 minutes after the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE JAY LENO SHOW": Well, I saw something odd on CNN's AMERICAN MORNING News Show with John Roberts. John what -- you know, I like John -- I think he might have some kind of foot fetish or something. He kept talking about his co-anchor's shoes.
Just take a look, when I'm talking about him.
ROBERTS: And now that nobody's seeing your feet, you're perfect.
LENO: Now look.
ROBERTS: Can we at least take a shot of her feet.
LENO: Now, Liz, can we see his feet. Look at his feet. See what I'm saying? So weird.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: You want to know where I got those shoes, don't you?
CHETRY: I just love them. The loose sight, the sparkling...
ROBERTS: Just with the little lights in there.
CHETRY: Yes, anyway so we were joking, because we said, you never really want to know what's under a news desk, do you? Those were not John Roberts' feet. Here's under our news desk right now. He does wear regular guy shoes.
ROBERTS: There we are.
CHETRY: Wait along, leave mine, there's John's. And also under the desk, we keep Phil. He's our -- he's one of our stage -- one of our stage managers. Always there in case something goes wrong.
ROBERTS: Some technicians are up in the rigging. We keep Phil under the desk. So we're going to play this game every day of what's under the desk. What do you think? Phil's under the desk today.
CHETRY: I love it, just going to come up with new things.
Jacqui Jeras meanwhile, following extreme weather for us this morning. Hey, Jacqui.
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, guys, you can't see below my knees, by the way notice.
CHETRY: Don't get her started now they're in the land of two now you never know when...
ROBERTS: Yes, you never know what they're capable of.
JERAS: Right I keep my IFB can you see us right there it's my IFB and my microphone.
ROBERTS: No come on that's just one of those bracelets that you have to wear where you're home monitoring, right? IFB, yes sure. Good try Jacqui.
JERAS: All right, anyway just trying to fool you.
Hey, showers and thunderstorms, is a big story today across the nation's midsection. Some of these are severe in bringing down some very heavy rainfall. A severe thunderstorm watch in effect across southern parts of Oklahoma. We'll see if this holds together as it moves into parts of Arkansas, but the main threat here is going to be strong hail, a very large hail and maybe some gusty winds as well.
We're also seeing some nasty storms moving across parts of Missouri. That's going to be heading into parts of Kentucky. And the upcoming hours, wet weather in the Chicago area too. Not strong storms here, but enough that we're expecting to see some airport delays there.
We already have delays in Minneapolis of almost two hours. And then some delays in the Atlanta area. So rough for travelers, and that's going to move into the east late tonight.
John and Kiran back to you.
ROBERTS: Jacqui Jeras for us this morning, thanks, Jacqui. And good luck with that home monitoring thing by the way.
JERAS: Thank you John.
CHETRY: Your parole officer is on the phone. Just kidding, it's your IFB. That's our link from the control room to our ears. And what they're usually normally saying is, wrap.
ROBERTS: Yes exactly.
CHETRY: Wrap it up.
ROBERTS: OK, enough, shut up get up we're going to break.
And before we go to break this morning though Dan Brown's new book, "The Lost Symbol," has sort of rekindled a lot of interest in the role of the Freemasons, not only in founding this country, but in many of the important architectural -- what's the word I'm looking for? Architectural sites.
CHETRY: They have mind control over you. ROBERTS: In Washington they do. They don't want you to say it.
CHETRY: They don't want you to say it.
ROBERTS: George Washington, for example, was a Freemason. Who are the Freemasons currently running the country? We're going to find out, coming up next.
Forty-eight and a half minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: Architectural landmarks. That's the word I was looking for. Oh, my goodness. Sleep deprivation is a scary thing.
Good morning, Atlanta, where you've got fog, obviously and 60 degrees later on today. Drizzle with a high of just 69. Yes, not a very nice day there down in the southland.
You've never seen a sports tournament quite like this because these are not your typical athletes. But, still, the competition was fierce.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now with a "Fit Nation" report where the remote rules. And I've got to tell you, Sanjay, it doesn't sound particularly active.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well and that's sort of the interesting point about this. They're not your typical athletes. And really, it's not all about the remote. It's a different sort of fitness that's really catching on.
We wanted to learn more about it. Take a look.
GUPTA: Team shirts, commentators, cheerleaders, trophies, fierce opposition. It has all the makings of a championship event. But this is no ordinary competition.
TED CARPENTER, CEO, TEXANPLUS: What's going on here today is the largest WII bowling senior championship ever held.
GUPTA: TexanPlus, one of the Houston area's largest Medicare HMOS came together with "Nifty after 50." That's a senior only fitness program to get these seniors moving in a high-tech way, using Nintendo's WII video game bowling system.
CARPENTER: We have 600 participants who are bowling and they brought with them another 1,500 family and friends.
GUPTA: But it's more than just a fun way to stay in shape. These seniors could also be saving themselves from a major medical concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury and death among seniors, costing American nearly $20 billion a year. Those are the statistics that Dr. Sheldon Zinberg says could be improved simply by exercising.
DR. SHELDON ZINBERG, FOUNDER, "NIFTY AFTER FIFTY": Proper exercise can improve bone mineral density, improve balance, joint stability and result in a decrease in falls by almost 89 percent.
GUPTA: Improvements that are good for the seniors and good for insurance companies.
CARPENTER: The healthier our seniors are, quite frankly, the better the plan works.
GUPTA: But saving money isn't what brought these elderly athletes here today.
SARAH PILGREEN, WII BOWLER: It was great and we all did good.
GUPTA: For Sarah and the NCI West End Bowlers, it's about making friends, having fun, staying active.
PILGREEN: I think it's very important for us that as you get older, to stay in sports and whatever we can do.
GUPTA: And you know, as part of all that, they also did blood pressure checks, they did flu shots, they even taught something known as cane fu fighting. Actually using your cane to ward off would be attackers, but WII bowling, John it's kind of interesting. Have you ever tried that?
ROBERTS: No, no I haven't. But if the woman just to your left here is any indication, it works pretty well. She's 75 years old...
GUPTA: That's right.
ROBERTS: ...and looks terrific. No, I'm kidding. Not 75 years old. What other health tips do you have for seniors this morning, Sanjay?
GUPTA: Two things I think are really important. If you're watching this and you're worried about your parent or things just seem a little bit different in terms of their risk for falls, get their vision checked. There are a lot of seniors will sort of put that off because they don't want to get their vision checked or concede that they may be having troubles with their visions.
Also medications, any new medications can cause changes in blood pressure and that can possibly lead to falls as well. But again, keeping an eye on your parents' falls, a major concern.
ROBERTS: Yes definitely so, I mean, hip fractures and they go to bed and they develop pneumonia and it can just be a long slow decline.
Sanjay Gupta for us this morning, Doc great to see you. I'm glad you got the time out.
CHETRY: What was the memo? Wear one?
ROBERTS: No this color, gone. Same color.
CHETRY: I think this looks a little more purple.
Same color scheme, there you go.
ROBERTS: At least I got a tie on today.
CHETRY: That's right. We don't have to hear it through the emails.
Well, meanwhile, we're talking about the Freemasons in Washington, right? Dan Brown's new book, "The Lost Symbol," raising a lot of interest again about what the secret society really is; who's in, who's out. Elaine Quijano does some digging on the Hill.
Its 56 minutes after the hour.
CHETRY: Coming up on two minutes before the top of the hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning.
You know, the best-selling thriller from "Da Vinci Code" author Dan Brown, the new one is called -- what is it called - "Lost Symbol" right?
ROBERTS: "The Lost Symbol."
CHETRY: It's set in the nation's capital and it's centered on the world's oldest and largest fraternity.
ROBERTS: Brown's book has renewed interest in the Freemasons. And as Elaine Quijano tells us this morning, it is a secret society that is still very well represented in Washington.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, for all the conspiracy theories about Freemasons, this much is true. They can still be found at the highest levels of American government.
QUIJANO: From the Capitol to the White House, Freemasons throughout history have freely roamed the halls of power in Washington. Nine of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons. As were more than a dozen U.S. Presidents, including George Washington, who famously laid the cornerstone of the Capitol building, clad in his ceremonial Masonic apron.
These days, masons can still be found in powerful government positions.
Masonic historian Arturo de Joya (ph).
ARTURO DE JOYA, MASONIC HISTORIAN: We have (INAUDIBLE) ideas, we believe that people should rule themselves, that they should elect their own leaders, that they should be governed by constitutions, have separations of powers.
QUIJANO: Senator Chuck Grassley's a mason, so is Senator Jon Tester. But getting someone to chat about it can sometimes be tricky.
SEN. MIKE ENZI: I'm doing health care.
QUIJANO: Senator Mike Enzi didn't break stride while explaining why he's part of the secretive society.
ENZI: It's a brotherhood built on constructing good men.
QUIJANO: Yet behind these closed doors --
REP. SEN NICK RAHALL (D) WEST VIRGINIA: I became a mason in my local lodge in Beckley, West Virginia.
QUIJANO: Secrets revealed.
RAHALL: This was his 32nd degree.
QUIJANO: Congressman Nick Rahall, a mason for almost four decades, decoded masonry's most prolific symbol.
RAHALL: You may see the compass in the square as symbols of Masonic training. We live by the square, we're upright individuals.
QUIJANO: The Congressman describes masonry as a fraternity. He says his mentor and fellow Mason, West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd nominated him for membership.
As a 33rd degree mason, the highest level in the Scottish rite of Freemasonry, Congressman Rahall acknowledges there are a lot of secrets and codes, but he says they're not sinister.
So are you trying to rule the world?
RAHALL: Well, no. But if we were, would I tell you? No.
QUIJANO: Congressman Rahall says Freemasonry today is more of a social organization and despite the prominent positions of some members is not a forum to discuss power politics -- John, Kiran?
ROBERTS: Elaine Quijano this morning. Elaine thanks. We should also mention too that they raise millions upon millions of dollars every year for charities.
CHETREY: And he wouldn't tell you if they ruled the world. ROBERTS: I like that.
Continue the conversation on today's stories, go to our blog at cnn.com/amfix. That's going to wrap it up for us. Thanks so much for joining us.
We'll see you again bright and early tomorrow.
CHETRY: Meanwhile, the news continues now. Here's CNN NEWSROOM with Heidi Collins.