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STATE OF THE UNION WITH JOHN KING
"The Last Word": Mikhail Gorbachev
Aired November 8, 2009 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING (voice-over): As the Ft. Hood community grieves, more questions about military security and the stress of combat.
GEN. GEORGE CASEY: This was a kick in the gut.
KING: Army Chief of Staff General George Casey gives us the latest on the massacre and the broader question about wartime stress and readiness.
ROBERT MCDONNELL, GOVERNOR-ELECT (R), VIRGINIA: I pledge to you over the next four years, action and results.
KING: Republicans win major off-year election prizes, but is there a national message? We'll ask Virginia's Governor-elect Bob McDonnell about health care, rising unemployment, and his path to a Republican recovery.
Plus, our "American Dispatch" from Fort Lewis in Washington state. An up-close look at wounded warriors fighting their pain, and a solemn farewell to a fallen soldier.
And as the world marks 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev gets "The Last Word." This is the STATE OF THE UNION report for Sunday, November 8th.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Good morning. It is a busy Sunday morning here in Washington. Late Saturday night, but a narrow 220-215 margin, the House passed a Democratic health care plan that would cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years and create a new government-run insurance option. Just one step, but an important step on the issue that is the president's top first-year domestic priority. In a few moments, we'll get the reaction of a Republican governor-elect who campaigned against that House approach, and analysis from two leading political strategists as the debate now shifts to the Senate.
But we begin this morning with the massacre at Ft. Hood, Texas. Twelve soldiers and one civilian were killed and 38 others wounded in Thursday's mass shooting by an Army psychiatrist. Ft. Hood plans a memorial service on Tuesday, and the White House says the president and the first lady will attend. Also on hand will be our guest this morning, the Army chief of staff, General George Casey, whose job includes managing the severe stress of the force because of eight years of war and repeat deployments.
General Casey, thank you for joining us. One of the big questions people want to know is was Major Hasan acting alone? We understand now that he's off the ventilator and that he is speaking to investigators. What do you know about that question?
CASEY: Well, John, obviously, as you know, there's an ongoing investigation, and I can't speak to the particulars of the investigation or to any motivation of Major Hasan's. But I can tell you, I was at Ft. Hood with the secretary of the Army, John McHugh, on Friday, and it was at once a gut-wrenching and an uplifting experience. Gut-wrenching because the suspect is one of our own and it happened on one of our bases, and uplifting from the stories that I heard of our soldiers rushing to the aid of one another. But it's a kick in the gut.
KING: If you look at the front pages, in the last few days, this is from the "San Antonio Express News," "Iraq vets weren't stunned by spree." Some who knew the suspect doubted his loyalty, stability. What does the Army know about this man in the days and months before this? Because many people say he openly opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are these Internet postings attributed to him saying that a suicide bomber was akin to a soldier diving on a hand grenade to save his comrades.
CASEY: And again, that will be all part of the investigation, and we are encouraging soldiers and leaders who may have information relevant to the information about the suspect to provide that information to the criminal investigation division and to the FBI. But again, that's something -- you know, there's been a lot of speculation going on, and probably the curiosity is a good thing. But we have to be careful. Because we can't jump to conclusions now based on little snippets of information that come out. And frankly, I am worried -- not worried, but I'm concerned that this increased speculation could cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers. And I've asked our Army leaders to be on the lookout for that. It would be a shame -- as great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.
KING: You have about 2,000 -- I mean, it's 1,900-something Muslims...
CASEY: About 3,000 active Guard and reserve.
KING: 3,000 active Guard and reserves. Do you believe there is discrimination against them to some degree now?
CASEY: No, I don't think so. I don't think so. I worry that, again, the speculation could cause things that we don't want to see happen.
KING: This man, Major Hasan, a psychiatrist. He's charged with one of the great missions you have in the Army right now, helping the men and women of the armed services, and in your case the Army to deal with the stress, the constant stress of these deployments and the like. And yet, and I don't want to get into the facts of this investigation, I understand, but if you have someone who was known to openly oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, should somebody like that be counseling somebody who might have PTSD and be coming home wondering about maybe a combat operation where they had to kill people, questioning themselves what they did?
CASEY: Again, I think it's a fair question. It's one that we certainly as an Army want to know the answer to, and we will take a hard look at ourselves to make sure that we properly executed our responsibility to organize and train the Army. But again, wait too soon to get in there and form any hard judgments about that.
KING: One of the -- if you talk to his family members, one of the things they say is that he was very troubled. He had been troubled for some time, but he was about to be deployed, and he was very, very troubled. And they say that he wanted out. That he had tried to get out of the Army, saying that he did not believe he belonged. I know you're short psychiatrists, I know you're short mental health professionals, but is there any record that he actually requested to be let go?
CASEY: John, again, I can't get into anything dealing with the motivations of the suspect. And that will all come out in the course of the investigation. I can tell you that we have put a huge effort into the mental fitness of this force over the last several years. You know, since 2007, we have mounted a major stigma reduction campaign that has greatly reduced the stigma to coming forward, to get help for mental problems. We have a way to go. But what I'll tell you, the stigma against mental health is not necessarily just for the Army. This is a societal problem that we all have to wrestle with.
KING: You mentioned the stigma of mental health. I was out at Ft. Lewis in Washington state, just as this shooting was unfolding at Ft. Hood, your largest installation in Texas. And one of the guys I met is a remarkable hero. His name is Danny Dudek. He is a lieutenant colonel, was in the surge in Iraq, was paralyzed from the waist down. In the old days, he would be sent home from the Army. But he wants to serve, and he now runs the warriors in transition unit out there. They have 500 to 600 soldiers. Some have just sprained an ankle or broken a leg, but others have traumatic brain injuries and PTSD and lost limbs, and many of them are trying to get back on the battlefield.
They have in that unit, one social worker, social worker, not a psychiatrist, for every 50 troops, which they say is great progress. But I want you to listen to Lieutenant Colonel Dudek, who talks about how they could use more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. DANNY DUDEK, COMMANDER, WARRIOR TRANSITION BATTALION: We're all making strides to improve on the great behavior (ph), you know, the traumatic brain injury that we have here, but, you know, to some soldiers, just, we can't get them -- all this to them, and we just don't make it on some of these soldiers. And that's just not acceptable to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We just don't make it on some of these soldiers. What is it that you need? Is it more time, is it more money, is it more studies?
CASEY: No, certainly not more studies. We have hired over -- just in the last two years, over 900 more medical health providers. The tricare regions have hired over 2,800 providers. We've instituted a program with the Department of Defense called military family life consultants, where we get certified behavioral health specialists and resurge them towards the returning brigades. It is a challenge, across the country, in the number of mental health providers that are available, particularly in rural areas. And it's something that we all need to work together.
KING: I want you to hear your own words from about two years ago. This is General Casey testifying at the House Armed Services Committee, September 2007, about this very challenge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASEY: We're also challenged by the lack of availability of mental health specialists, both inside the Army -- I think we're under 80 percent -- and in the civil sector supporting our bases. And we're taking measures to increase the number of mental health specialists that are available to soldiers and families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASEY: I'm consistent.
KING: You said you've made progress since then, but I guess the question is, is it good enough, and what else can be done, in the sense that if you pick up the "Washington Post," they say the Army currently has 408 psychiatrists for its force of 545,000 people. That would be a woefully low number to many, given all the stress these men and women are under.
CASEY: But I mean, psychiatrists aren't the only providers here. There's a range of different providers here in behavioral health specialists. And again, we continue to grow and build a number of providers for our soldiers and family members. And I think that we ought not forget about that. It's not just about the soldiers, it's about the family members and it's about the children who are affected by this.
KING: There was a remarkable woman, police officer, who came to the aid on Ft. Hood. And a question I have faced from women on the staff, if you look on the Internet and look at blog postings, there are many who say if this heroic woman could come and essentially disable this shooter and stop the killing and perform so admirably, why can't women have a more active role in combat operations? It's a question, of course, you have faced.
CASEY: Yes. And I don't think there's any question that women have played a much more active role in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. I mean, there is no front and rear lines in the type of combat that we're fighting today.
CASEY: And then, frankly, if you look at the number of the victims, both killed and wounded, there were a good number of female soldiers who were part of that processing. They were headed off to combat.
KING: If you had five minutes with Major Hasan, what would you ask him?
CASEY: You know, someone asked me that the other day. And I said the same thing. I can't go there right now. We have to let the investigation take its course.
KING: Can't go there because of the investigation, or can't go there because of your own emotions about the incident?
CASEY: No, can't go there because of the investigation. And anything I might say as the leader of the Army could hinder that investigation or prosecution down the road.
KING: Do you believe he'll be prosecuted in the military system or in the civilian system?
CASEY: That is something that is being actively worked between the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice.
KING: Much more to discuss with General George Casey, including whether the troops exist, where would he find them if President Obama decides to send thousands more to Afghanistan.
KING: Some important context before we continue our conversation with the Army chief of staff, General George Casey. Let's take a look here at the stress on the United States military. 188,000 troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 750,000 members of the service have been deployed at least twice in the past eight years. Up to 11 percent of Afghanistan veterans and 20 percent of Iraq veterans experienced post-traumatic stress disorder.
Let me ask you a broader question about the potential impact of this. Ft. Hood is the largest Army installation. It is critical to getting forces overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan and other operations around the world.
Will this incident and the investigation and the potential impact on the soldiers at Ft. Hood affect the decisions you have to make about rotations of troops?
CASEY: Right now, there is no operational impact of this particular incident. That may change over time as we look at the specific impact on some of the units that we're scheduled to deploy. But broadly, across the Army, this will not have an impact on our ability to provide trained and ready forces to Iraq and Afghanistan.
KING: It does happen, though, at a time, the force is under significant strain. I want to go back through some time, just to go through this. This is in August of 2007, you talked about the significant strain Iraq and Afghanistan were placing on your ability and the Army's ability to respond to challenges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASEY: Today's Army is out of balance. We're consumed with meeting the current demands and we're unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as we would like for other contingencies, nor are we able to provide an acceptable tempo of deployments to sustain our soldiers and families for the long haul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's fast forward from 2007 to just last month, October 2009, and it sounds like the situation hasn't improved much.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASEY: We are so weighed down by our current demands, it's difficult to do the things we know we need to do to preserve the all- volunteer force and to prepare to do other things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And at this moment, General Casey, the president of the United States has been meeting with his war council, deciding, should I send 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, maybe 40,000 more troops into Afghanistan. As the president nears that decision, if he says 30,000 troops, 40,000 troops, do you have them? Where do they come from?
CASEY: Back to your question here about the levels of stress. I mean, the Army remains out of balance. But we started in 2007 with a program to get ourselves back in balance by 2011. And since 2007, we have added 40,000 soldiers to the active force, which is a significant step forward, and we're off of 15-month deployments. We're beginning to come off of stop-loss, and we're beginning to gradually increase the time the soldiers spend at home between deployments. So we are making progress, and we're frankly in a better position today than we were two and a half years ago.
We need to continue to make progress toward that goal of one year out, two years back for the active force; one year out, four years back for the Guard and reserve. We have scientific studies that we've just completed that shows that after a year in combat, it takes you about two years to get stress levels back to normal garrison levels. And so we need to continue to make progress towards that goal. KING: Can you continue to make that progress if the president has to send 30,000 or 40,000 more troops, decides to send...
CASEY: You would have to look at the specifics of the president's decision, but again, as I said, we have already made progress, and I would look for that progress to continue.
KING: To what do you attribute the suicide rate? If you look at the charts -- and we have some of the numbers, you can go back to 2004, 67 suicides in the Army. 2005, it was up to 87. Then the numbers jump, 2006, 2007. 2008, 140. So far in 2009, 117. And about a third, about 35 percent of these suicides are from soldiers who have not yet deployed. What does that tell you?
CASEY: What it tells you is that predicting human behavior remains very, very difficult. I mean, as you saw in your chart, since 2004, we've increased our suicides by an average of about 18 a year. Last year, we exceeded the civilian rate.
Unfortunately, the progression will remain about the same this year. We'll exceed the number of suicides last year.
We've had a very aggressive program to get after this, to include a suicide stand-down across the entire Army. One of the things as we looked at the challenges facing the Army was that we felt we were a little light on the preventative measures, in giving soldiers the skills that they need to prevent mental problems and suicides. And so we instituted in October a program called comprehensive soldier fitness, which is a long-term development program designed to build resilience in our soldiers.
And it's already implemented across the force. Tomorrow, we'll have 150 sergeants and a few family members up at University of Pennsylvania going through the first court to build master resilience trainers. And our goal is, by next year, to have one of these trainers in every battalion in the Army. So we're looking at it both from the preventative side and from the assistance and treatment side.
KING: And when you sit here and you think, you know, long way to go, but you've made considerable progress from where you were, and then something like Ft. Hood happens, do you say, isolated incident, or does it make you rethink, are we really making all this progress I think we're making?
CASEY: Well, we have to -- we have to go back and look at ourselves and ask ourselves the hard questions.
CASEY: Are we doing the right things? But, again, we'll learn from this incident. It's way too early to draw any kind of specific conclusions from it, but we'll ask ourselves the hard questions about what we're doing and about what impact -- what changes we should make as a result of this incident at Ft. Hood.
KING: How does General George Casey deal with stress? These issues that your men and women are facing every day, and perhaps thinking a little bit more about it on this Sunday because of the tragedy last week. How do you deal with it? CASEY: I'll tell you, Friday was, as I said, a gut-wrenching and uplifting day. And my wife and I went home, talked a lot about it. And then yesterday, I went for a long bike ride. And I find that's helpful, just to get a little physical activity.
KING: The president of the United States will be down at Ft. Hood on Tuesday for a big memorial service. I know the brass from the Pentagon will be there as well. What is the message you need to hear from the commander in chief at this moment? CASEY: I think the message the commander in chief will come out with is the same message that he came out with in his Saturday radio address. That as horrific as this incident was and what it showed about the bad side of human nature, the reaction of our soldiers is something to be extremely proud of. And the full -- and I think he'll also let them know, let the people know that the full support of the United States is behind them.
KING: General George Casey is the Army's chief of staff. Sir, thanks very much for being with us.
CASEY: Thanks, John.
KING: When we come back, a shift to politics. Republicans made some inroads in Tuesday's off-year elections and we'll talk with one of the big winners, Governor-elect Bob McDonnell of Virginia about the big issues facing his state and the country -- rising unemployment, health care reform. We'll also ask whether his victory is the start of a Republican comeback. Stay with us.
KING: I'm John King and this is STATE OF THE UNION. Here are stories breaking this Sunday morning. Military investigators say all evidence indicates the suspect in the Ft. Hood shooting spree acted alone. Major Nidal Malik Hasan is accused of opening fire at the Texas Army post Thursday, killing 13 people and wounding dozens more. Hasan, who was injured during a shootout with police, has been taken off a ventilator. Investigators have yet to identify a motive for that attack.
The House of Representatives has passed a sweeping health care reform bill. The more than $1 trillion bill squeaked by on a vote of 220-215. Thirty-nine Democrats bolted from their leadership to vote against the legislation. One Republican defied his and voted for it. The bill restricts insurance companies from denying coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. It also includes a government- run public option. President Obama calls that House bill historic and he says he's confident the Senate will follow suit in passing its own version of health care reform. The president will make a statement about last night's vote a bit later this afternoon. CNN will bring it to you live. It's scheduled for 1 Eastern.
And up next here on STATE OF THE UNION, we get the reaction of a Republican governor-elect who opposes the House approach to health care. Bob McDonnell of Virginia joins us right after the break.
KING: Joining me now from South Bend, Indiana, fresh off his big win Tuesday night as the Republican governor-elect of Virginia, Bob McDonnell.
KING: Mr. McDonnell, thanks so much for joining us. I want to start with the health care debate in the House of Representatives last night. In the campaign, your campaign, a successful campaign in a state that President Obama had won just a year ago, you were very critical of the House Democratic approach.
Can this work as you go to become governor of Virginia, is this workable for you, the way the House approaches this?
MCDONNELL: I haven't read all 2,000 pages of that bill. I did watch a little bit of the debate last night, John. I think there's legitimate issues of cost and access that have got to be addressed at the state and the federal level.
My concern is, just from hearing from Virginians over the last couple of months, is the increase in cost, less choices, perhaps longer waiting lines, and more government control. Families and businesses in Virginia told me they're very concerned about those, taking money from Medicare, maybe $400 billion.
So I need to digest what happened last night. I only saw a little bit of the debate. But the public option does not seem to be something that is going to help us in Virginia.
KING: The public option is in the House bill as they create a national public option to compete with private insurers. On the Senate side, the debate is whether to have an opt-out or an opt-in. Right now Leader Reid's proposal would allow states to opt out. Others have said, why not create an approach where states could opt in? That would be a key choice for a governor.
Do you want -- would you prefer an opt-out or an opt-in, I guess, is the best way to ask the question?
MCDONNELL: Well, either way, my preference would be not to have Virginia participate, from what I know this plan contains. So, however they structure it, if it gives flexibility to states, I think that's a good thing.
We've outlined a number of things I think we can do at our state level, John, that will help our people have more access at a lower cost, but I'm very concerned about turning this significant section of the American economy over to the federal government.
KING: You're in an interesting position, the new Republican governor of a state that voted for President Obama, had had five of the last seven gubernatorial elections won by the Democrats. For the first time in nearly 40 years has two Democratic U.S. senators.
Yet you were clear in your campaign that if you see something happening in Washington that you don't think helps the people of Virginia, you will stand up. I want you to listen to yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCDONNELL: I believe that a governor needs to stand up to Washington. I don't care if they're a Republican or Democrat. If they do things that are bad for Virginia, that are going to kill jobs or raise taxes or create new bureaucracy or hurt small business, I will be a governor that will stand up and say, that's not good for Virginia. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You've made clear health care is one of those issues, especially on the question of the public option. What else? Where else do you see yourself at odds with Washington?
MCDONNELL: Well, first, I look forward to finding the common ground. For instance, charter schools and merit pay. The president was very nice and called me on Wednesday, and we talked a little bit about that. I look for those kind of areas of common ground. It's what I did as attorney general. I want to continue to look for those.
And Senator Warners and Webb called me as well, and we had a very nice chat and pledged to do what's good for Virginia.
But bills like card check, cap-and-trade, some of the unfunded mandates on business and the stimulus bill, some of the other micromanagement of the free enterprise system, significant tax increases, those are the things, John, that I don't think are good for our citizens or good for our business.
And I believe in our federal system that the governors, Republican and Democrat around the country, closer to the people can make some of these decisions better.
KING: Your Democratic opponent and Democratic critics tried to campaign against you as someone who was captive to the far right, who would advance the far right social agenda. You smartly and strategically focused on jobs. I want you to listen to a snippet of one of your campaign ads, one of your signature promises.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCDONNELL: I grew up here in Northern Virginia, so I understand how vital transportation is to growing our economy and creating jobs. My plan: new money for transportation, while protecting education funding and not raising taxes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Not raising taxes, sir, that last line.
Thirty states have had to raise taxes or fees or other revenue- increasing measures in the wake of this painful national recession.
Are you convinced, with national unemployment at 10.2 percent; Virginia's unemployment is 6.7 percent -- can you restate that promise that you will be a four-year governor who does not raise any taxes in Virginia?
MCDONNELL: Yes. I think that's the worst thing you do in a recession is to raise taxes on -- on the citizens. We're going to have hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes at the federal level with this health care bill. When the tax cuts expire in 2011, it's going to be a crushing increase in new taxes. People told me everywhere I went, John, they wanted government to work better, be more accountable, be more user-friendly, be more transparent. So I've promised audits of our state agencies, finding ways to innovate, to consolidate, to privatize. People want a better bang for their buck out of their government and don't want to have a tax increase every time we have an economic downturn.
We had one about every decade since the Great Depression. And if the tax increase is the only resolution, we're never going to control government spending.
KING: Republicans were thumped in 2006, thumped again in 2008, and they now have a governor-elect in a state that President Obama had carried and said was convincing evidence of a turning Democratic tide. What is Bob McDonnell's message to a Republican party as it prepares to head into a midterm election season looking for a road to recovery?
MCDONNELL: Well, I think one of the reasons we were very fortunate to win is we stuck to our conservative principles. We translated those into common sense, practical solutions.
You played the clip. We talked about job creation and transportation, economic development, energy, government efficiency, keeping taxes low. All these are kitchen-table, bread-and-butter issues, John, that citizens all over the state told me, this is what we are concerned about right now.
Secondly, be positive. I think that's one of the reasons we were fortunate, the message, overwhelmingly, on TV, was an uplifting, positive message about how we can improve Virginia economic development.
And three is just stick to your word. I've said things that I'm going to do. I'm going to bring people together on both sides of the aisle, find those common solutions and get people to work together for the good of Virginia. I think, if we do that, Republicans have bright days ahead.
KING: And what about on the social issues on a state level?
Does a McDonnell administration wants to advance any new initiatives on abortion, any new initiatives governing or regulating same-sex marriage? MCDONNELL: We've already passed the constitutional amendment on the marriage issue. I've made no secret, throughout my career, I'm pro-life. I believe we need to defend the sanctity of innocent human life.
But I do think we need to find those areas like adoption, improvement in the adoption laws, the fatherhood initiative. President Obama's been -- been a leader on that. I'm looking for ways to implement that. Because people on both sides of that issue think we need to find ways to reduce the number of abortions.
But, overwhelmingly, John, I've got to focus on creating jobs, improving the economy, and managing this budget. That's what people, I think, overwhelmingly elected me to do and that will be my focus. KING: Bob McDonnell is the Republican governor-elect of Virginia. And, Governor, when you have that title full-time, come up from Richmond and visit us some day. We'll check in how you're doing.
MCDONNELL: Hey, that's a great offer, John. Thanks a lot.
KING: Next, he was part of one of the most iconic moments in the past century. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev shares his memories of what it meant to him and to the world. Mikhail Gorbachev gets the last word, next.
KING: Seventeen newsmakers, analysts and reporters were out on the Sunday morning talk shows, but only one gets "The Last Word," and that honor today goes to a man who helped make history, the former president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev.
Mr. President, thank you for joining us on the eve of this historic moment. In an American classroom today, a student who has no memory of the Berlin Wall falling is taught this, that it was the end of what Ronald Reagan called the evil empire, the collapse of communism and a victory for freedom and democracy. Twenty years later, sir, how do you see the lesson? How would you teach the moment of the wall falling?
MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE SOVIET UNION (through translator): Well, a lot happened. A great deal happened 20 years ago. And during those 20 years.
First of all, a very important event happened in the Soviet Union in 1989, and that was free elections, the first free elections in the history of Russia. For the first time, the voters could vote in a competitive elections, in an open way. They elected the parliament of the state, and the parliamentary system was launched, as well as separation of powers, and that was a big breakthrough in the country's development. It was the creation of a new state, in effect. Glasnost, pluralism. Political, economic pluralism -- all of that was testimony that our country was moving along the path of democracy.
At the same time, this affected, even though we did not interfere in other countries, but our process affected and influenced the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. And here, again, we did not interfere. The citizens of those countries decided what kind of regime they wanted to have, who they wanted to be president, what kind of government. All of that was part of the velvet revolutions -- you called them velvet -- and not velvet revolutions, but it was profound change.
And add to this, the fact that we were at that time successfully improving relations with the United States. We signed a treaty that eliminated two classes of nuclear missiles. So all of that showed that important fundamental changes were under way.
KING: Let me follow with this question -- if you look at the early history, you see Gorbachev, Reagan, Thatcher, transformational figures in history. The United States has a new president now that the world is just getting to know in Barack Obama. Do you view him, sir, as a transformational figure in history? GORBACHEV (through translator): Well, I do believe that the president, the new president, Barack Obama, really is facing a very difficult challenge. He needs to express, to give expression, in his policies to the changes that are expected today.
Three years ago, I was giving a lecture in someplace in the Midwest of the United States, and there were more than 10,000 people in the audience. And one person, when they started asking questions, one person was particularly insistent, asking, what is my advice to Americans? He said, things are not going right in America, what's your advice? What should we do?
I said, well, I don't think we should give advice to Americans because no one should impose one's views. It's for you Americans to decide what you need. And I said that soon, you will have elections and you will decide.
Nevertheless, he insisted. And then I said, I cannot give you a prescription, a recipe for change, but I believe, I said, that Americans need their own perestroika. And the 12,000 persons who were in that arena rose and gave me an ovation.
And I said to my interpreter, Pavel, who's still working with me, I said to him that, "well, America is on the brink of big change."
And therefore, yes, President Obama is a president of whom a lot is expected, a lot of change is expected. Had there not been this kind of hope, I don't think that he would have been elected.
Yes, a lot is expected of him. His -- the other candidates, they -- the others were too much associated with the previous period, and people, therefore, did not trust them.
I believe that the election campaign in the U.S. was unique. It was unprecedented. The whole world was watching, and a great deal became clear to everyone, including the Americans. And the fact that so many people voted, the turnout which was unprecedented in many years, meant that people understood that a lot depended on their choice, and that's why they decided to take a stand.
I learned today that Congress, the House of Representatives, has approved the reform of the health care system, and I'm glad that this happened. It means that he is leading and people are following. And a lot, of course, is still ahead of us. The Senate will consider this. But, still, the fact that this process is under way on an issue on which President Clinton slipped and could not achieve it, today this is under way and I think this is very important.
So when I speak about Obama, well, of course, it's a big theme, and I want him to have enough strength for all of those reforms. I know from my own experience how difficult it is to conduct reforms in countries like Russia and America.
KING: Mr. President, you made the historic decision to withdraw Soviet troops from Afghanistan. The president of the United States is now facing recommendations that he sends maybe 20,000, maybe 30,000, maybe 40,000 more American troops to Afghanistan. Should he send more troops, or should he get out?
GORBACHEV (through translator): I think that what's needed is not additional forces. This is something we discussed, too, years ago, but we decided not to do it. And I think that our experience deserves attention.
We decided to emphasize the domestic developments in Afghanistan, national reconciliation. We gave a chance to return to participate in the country's affairs the various clients that affected the situation. We addressed also this issue through an international conference, and we were in consultation with Americans, with the Iranians, with Pakistan and with India. And I think that such an issue should be addressed in this way.
Of course, when we are facing a dangerous concentration of terrorism, and we see that in this situation, certainly, terrorists must be defeated. But the overall emphasis must be on the dialogue, on the revival of Iraq, probably Afghanistan, of the long-suffering people of that country.
Yes, the withdrawal from Afghanistan should be the goal.
KING: The former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev there. And for more coverage of international affairs, "Fareed Zakaria: GPS" is coming up following President Obama's remarks from the Rose Garden, live at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. This week, Fareed speaks with the former Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, FORMER PRESIDENT, PAKISTAN: Anyone who is talking of quitting doesn't understand the ramifications of quitting. He must sit down and analyze what will happen if he were to quit there without a solution.
We have to defeat Al Qaida. We have to dominate the Taliban. And we have to introduce a credible, legitimate government in Afghanistan. When we do this, they need to quit. After that, whatever time it takes, but we cannot leave before that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Stay tuned for "Fareed Zakaria: GPS." The program will run in its entirety following the president's remarks.
And up next, we take you out to Washington state, to Ft. Lewis, where soldiers and their families are valiantly fighting the physical and the mental strains of eight years of war.
KING: Earlier in the program, we heard from General George Casey with about the stress and the strain on the military and the investigation into the massacre at Ft. Hood, Texas. Well, I was out at Ft. Lewis, Washington, as all that played out, way out here on the West Coast on this army post just as they heard about the tragedy at the base in Texas. At Ft. Lewis, 30,000 military personnel are based there, 18,000 are currently overseas serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Stryker brigades are the specialty of Ft. Lewis. It has been a terrible, tough few years for the base, 230 soldiers from Ft. Lewis killed since 2001. It's a remarkable place. And as they were dealing with the tragedy unfolding at Ft. Lewis, trying to find out what was happening to their colleagues in arms, they also were burying one of their own. And as you go across the base, you see wounded warriors trying to fight their way back to good health and back to the battlefield.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on.
KING (voice-over): The pain is excruciating.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't lock your right knee. There you go.
KING: But to Specialist Michael Ballard, pain is the price of progress.
SPC. MICHAEL BALLARD, FIFTH STRYKER BRIGADE, FT. LEWIS: We ran over an IED in Afghanistan. I broke the top of my femur with the plate and screws. Now actually two months later, I'm actually able to walk, do some walking on my own. Physical therapy is coming along every well.
KING: Once the hip heals, Ballard will need knee surgery. His mission, all this struggle is about more than just walking pain-free.
(on camera): What's your ultimate goal?
BALLARD: To get back out in the fight, return to duty.
KING (voice-over): Eight-plus years of war have taken a heavy toll on the army and its major installations, communities like Fort Lewis. As it said farewell to one of its men this past week, Private First Class Brian Russell Baits (ph) was killed in an IED attack in Afghanistan, Fort Lewis buzzed with news of the horrific shooting underway in Fort Hood.
COL. KERRY HAYNES, CHAPLAIN, FT. LEWIS: We are a community of brothers and sisters at arms and an event like this affects us all.
KING: All the more shocking here because the post is a soldier safety net, a place to be with others who understand, a place to train, a place to honor and remember and now, more than ever, a place to repair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five, six --
KING: Many like Specialist Ballard have physical wounds.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's 10 pounds more than you did last time. Keep going.
KING: Other wounds are harder to detect. At the Fort Lewis Warrior Transition Battalion, twice a month on average, a soldier either attempts suicide or tells counselors of suicidal plans.
BRIG. GEN. JEFF MATHIS, FT. LEWIS: What we now understand more than anything else is that there is a cumulative effect. We understand this not only from multiple deployments, but from multiple -- as you said, explosions or incidents that take place.
KING: Two-thirds of Fort Lewis' combat troops are already overseas. Brigadier General Jeff Mathis says troops and their families know the debate about sending more troops to Afghanistan could mean more deployment cycles.
MATHIS: If we continue to see these kinds of deployments, will there be stress on the force? Absolutely. I meet with families. We have consultants that meet with families, trying to do everything we can to ensure that we're alleviating that stress in every way. So I would like to see longer dwell times, but we're going to do what our nation asks us to do.
KING: Lieutenant Colonel Danny Dudek went to Iraq after the last big political debate after sending more troops.
LT. COL. DANNY DUDEK, FT. LEWIS: I was a unit, I was part of the surge. I was the fourth striker brigade.
KING: On his office wall, constant reminders.
DUDEK: July 2007 and an explosive form projectile which is a pretty vicious type of an IED came through the back of the striker. It killed the kid next to me and hit me in the back. It damaged my plate and hit my spine and immediately, I couldn't use my legs.
KING: On his wrist, a reminder of the comrade killed in the attack and his experience now shapes Colonel Dudek's command of the Warrior Transition Battalion.
As many as 600 soldiers at a time, with issues ranging from ankle sprains to post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
DUDEK: I don't think we've really cracked a nut on how to really get at PTSD and TBI. This is the most complex job I've ever had, being in a battalion where people are going through the most difficult thing they've-to deal with.
KING: Specialist Ballard's goal is to get back on the battlefield. Colonel Dudek's injuries are too serious for that, but he's in the army to stay.
DUDEK: Having to separate from the uniform is really the heartbreaking piece of it. That's the hardest thing I can't imagine is not being a soldier. Taking the uniform off is something I dread. I have to be honest with you. I really want to be a soldier and have the uniform on until they make me take it off.
KING: Colonel Dudek and Specialist Ballard, two of the remarkable heroes we met during a visit to Ft. Lewis. Remember them in your thoughts and prayers.
As you know, one of our goals is to get out of Washington, this Washington, D.C., as often as we can. We've made it our pledge on "State of the Union" to travel to all 50 states in our first year. So far, 43 weeks, 43 states, including Washington, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Check out CNN.com/StateoftheUnion and you can find out what we've learned when with we visited your state.
Remember we'll be here again next Sunday and every Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Eastern for the first and last word in Sunday talk. If you missed any part of our program today, tune in 8:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll showcase the best of today's STATE OF THE UNION.
We want to tell you now, "Fareed Zakaria: GPS" will be shown in its entirety, but we're standing at CNN for two live events, an update on the investigation of that massacre last Thursday at Ft. Hood in Texas and also a statement from the president of the United States in the Rose Garden highlighting passage last night in the House of Representatives of sweeping health care reform. We will take you to both of those events as they unfold. And again, "Fareed Zakaria: GPS" will be shown in its entirety once our live coverage of this breaking news unfolds.
As we wait for the Ft. Hood news conference and for the president, let's check in over at the White House. Our Elaine Quijano is standing by. And Elaine, the president is back from Camp David, clearly wants to make a public statement, try to capture and build on the momentum of last night.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, John. In fact, a senior aide tells me that the president's message will be basically that progress is being made on this health care issue, that his administration and Democrats in the House are making progress on this. At the same time, the president is going to echo many of the themes that we saw in the written statement last night that was issued shortly after that House vote, again, a huge victory for President Obama. That statement also, though, alluded to some of the political challenges ahead.
As you know, obviously, this still has quite a long way to go before it eventually, as the president would hope, actually gets to the president's desk. So what the president will say, he will talk about how the Senate must follow suit and go ahead and pass its version of the legislation. Interestingly, the statement that the president issued last night, John, also talked about being absolutely confident that he would, in fact, get a comprehensive health care bill on his desk before the end of the year. John?
KING: Elaine, stand by for a second. As you mentioned, the president's confidence. Just last week Leader Reid, Harry Reid in the Senate had said this could slip to 2010. They do believe now with the House passage they will have Senate action, Senator Reid saying perhaps will be there Christmas week, but they will try to get it done this week.
I want to show our viewers specifically what is in the House bill last night because it is different from the Senate bill. Here's where we start. The House passed last night legislation that would cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years, including some big Medicare changes. It would extend coverage to 36 million Americans. That means if successful, 96 percent of Americans would have health coverage when the bill was fully implemented.
It would cut the deficit it sponsors say and the Congressional Budget Office says by $104 billion over that 10-year period and it would pay for, and this is the rather controversial part, as we go forward to the Senate, through increases in taxes and by squeezing savings out of Medicare and Medicaid.
Elaine Quijano, you know full well that as this debate moves to the Senate, the House financing proposal, especially higher taxes on wealthy Americans, a tougher sell in the Senate. Do we know just yet how detailed and how involved the president will be in the negotiations in the Senate, or will he keep his distance until they actually vote on a bill?
QUIJANO: That's very much an open question right now, John. As you know full well, this president was sharply criticized for not being more active in the eyes of some in terms of making this legislation happen. Whether or not that kind of criticism actually shapes how he approaches the Senate, we'll have to wait and see. I can tell you the president, John, over my shoulder walking up to the podium. I'm sorry, he is walking to the Oval Office. That was a false warning there.
But the president is slated to speak here shortly. The president a little bit behind schedule when he was returning from Camp David. Originally slated to get here around 12:30. But now walking into the Oval Office.
But yes, that is very much, getting back to your question, John, still remains to be seen, how active, how visible he will be when it comes to getting some lawmakers in the Senate on his side. It was interesting to watch yesterday that rare appearance, rare Saturday appearance, on Capitol Hill, as the president made that personal appeal to House Democrats and then not just doing that but coming out in the Rose Garden, some saying perhaps that was premature for him to come out before the House even voted.
But obviously expending a tremendous amount of political capital at the last minute there. It will be interesting, one point that was noticeably absent in the statement yesterday, no mention of the word "bipartisanship," in the written statement, correct me if I'm wrong. So it will be interesting to see how the president describes or characterizes this today.
As you know, that was a point as well that the White House very much would have liked to have some Republican support, but it became clear early on that was not going to happen. Whether or not that single vote by Congressman Cao is enough for the president to call this a bipartisan piece of legislation remains to be seen, John.
KING: Elaine Quijano dealing with the difficult geography of the president, walking. For our viewers there, that's the colonnade. The president coming out of the White House residence, making his way into the Oval Office. In my many years there, I've seen that, a delay and the president walking by and sneaking his way into the Oval Office.
Let me ask you, today's focus will be on health care, but the president will make a trip Tuesday down to Ft. Hood, Texas. And we're not only waiting to hear from the president, we're waiting to hear on the investigation and this is one of those moments for the president. We have the killed, we have the wounded, and we have the big, giant question, why would a member of the United States Army, an officer in the United States, lash out and kill and wound his fellow service members? The communications challenge for the president as he travels to Ft. Hood.
QUIJANO: Yes, obviously the president urging people to not draw any kind of conclusions here about what might have precipitated that attack, what might have led up to it, motivations. As commander-in- chief, he knows that a lot of people will be looking to him not only to hear the expressions of condolences but also to see how he leads at this very difficult time with the United States involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. And now cultural questions, too, that some are raising with this shooting at Ft. Hood about whether or not Muslim-American soldiers may somehow be suffering a backlash, whether they may be subject to a backlash because of what happened. So a lot on the president's plate at this time. I believe he is now walking up to the podium, John.
KING: Elaine Quijano at the White House. And let's listen in to the president of the United States.
OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. I just want to say a few words about two milestones that have passed in the last few hours that represent encouraging progress for our country.
The first was the historic vote the House took last night on health insurance reform. For years, we've been told that this couldn't be done. After all, neither chamber of Congress has been able to pass a comprehensive health insurance reform bill for generations. But last night, the House proved differently. The Affordable Health Care for America Act is a piece of legislation that will provide stability and security for Americans who have insurance, quality, affordable options for those who don't, and bring down the cost of health care for families, businesses, and our government, while strengthening the financial health of Medicare.
It is legislation that is fully paid for and it will reduce our long-term federal deficit. Given the heated and often misleading rhetoric surrounding this legislation, I know that this was with a courageous vote for many members of Congress, and I'm grateful to them and for the rest of their colleagues for taking us this far. But, more importantly, so are the millions of Americans whose lives will change when we achieve insurance reform. Families with pre-existing conditions who will finally have insurance coverage, parents who will be protected from annual and lifetime limits that can force them to pay exorbitant out-of-pocket costs for a child's illnesses. Small businesses that will be able to cover their employees and working folks that will finally be able to afford health insurance for the very first time.
Americans like Katie Gibson, cancer survivor from Bozeman, Montana, who shared her story with me this summer. Because of a medical condition, Katie's insurance policy was suddenly revoked when she need it most, even though she was paying her premiums. I called Katie this morning and I told her that when the bill that passed last night becomes law, we'll be able to protect Americans just like her from the kinds of insurance company abuses she had to endure.
And I told her that it was because of her willingness to share her story and the extraordinary activism that she and people like her all across the country displayed not just this year but over the last several years that we are finally this close to getting reform done.
Their lives are what's at stake in this debate. And moments like this are why they sent us here, to finally meet the challenges that Washington has put off for decades, to make their lives better and this nation stronger, to move America forward.
That's what the House did last night when it brought us closer than we have ever been to comprehensive health insurance reform in America.
Now it falls on the United States Senate to take the baton and bring this effort to the finish line on behalf of the American people. And I'm absolutely confident that they will. I'm equally convinced that on the day that we gather here at the White House and I sign comprehensive health insurance reform legislation into law, they'll be able to join their House colleagues and say that this was their finest moment in public service, the moment we delivered change we promised to the American people and did something to leave this country stronger than we found it.
The second development I want to mention is a significant breakthrough in Iraq where Iraq's parliament has approved a new election law that paves the way for national elections early next year. This is an important milestone as the Iraqi people continue to take responsibility for their future.
I want to congratulate Iraq's leaders for reaching this agreement. Their flexibility and commitment to their country sends an important signal to the world about Iraq's democracy and national unity and I look forward to prompt approval of this law by Iraq's presidency council.
Iraq has known many challenges, and in the past several weeks, we've seen that there are still those who would kill innocent men, women and children to deny the Iraqi people the future they deserve. Today's step forward is another reminder that these enemies of the Iraqi people will fail. The United States will continue to stand with Iraq as a strong partner and as a friend.
Tough challenges remain, and I'm sure that there will be difficult days to come. But this agreement advances the political progress that can bring lasting peace and unity to Iraq and allow for the orderly and responsible transition of American combat troops out of Iraq by next September.
So I want to congratulate our troops and civilians who are serving so capably in Iraq, and I want to congratulate the Iraqi people who have taken an important step forward in pursuit of a better future. There's much more work to be done, but with today's news, we're continuing to move in the right direction as we continue to look forward to Iraqi elections early next year.
Thank you very much.
KING: The president of the United States, Barack Obama, making his way back into the Oval Office from the Rose Garden at the White House. No questions from reporters but a statement from the president of the United States on two developments he calls dramatic and noteworthy.
Let's take them in order. The president first talking about that vote in the House of Representatives last night to pass health care reform, a $1 trillion 10-year plan passed by a narrow margin of 220- 215. The president of the United States now saying the challenges for the United States Senate to "keep our promises, promises we made to the American people" he said, clearly trying to put pressure on Democrats in the Senate to advance legislation in that chamber as soon as possible.
Noteworthy also, the president paying tribute to lawmakers in Iraq for finally after months and months of struggle, agreeing on an election law. That law not only critical to the elections in Iraq scheduled for early next year, but also one of the many obstacles to keeping the United States on its timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
I want to quickly reset for our viewers. I'm John King in Washington. If you're tuned in to see "Fareed Zakaria: GPS," it will be seen in its entirety once we're done with some breaking news coverage. The president just spoke at the White House. We're also waiting for a news conference at Ft. Hood, Texas, an update on the investigation into last Thursday's deadly massacre there.
Let's bring our Elaine Quijano in. She's at the White House. Elaine, the president obviously celebrating the vote last night. But what struck me most is his call on Democrats in the Senate to keep the promise we made to the American people, clearly trying to keep the momentum will alive and keep pressure on Democrats, some of whom have said this debate could slip into next year.
QUIJANO: That's right. The president obviously very much wants to capitalize on the opportunity that he feels may not be around again if Democrats don't seize it right now.
One interesting point I should tell you that as the president was walking away he was asked, Mr. President, can you call this vote last night bipartisan? He did not answer that. It was a clear question to him.
But in any case, the president has tried to cast this vote, even before it was taken, in historic terms. That was part of his appeal to House Democrats yesterday, that this is about something bigger, it was about beginning to tackle the very difficult challenges facing America's health care system, that it was not something that should get bogged down here and despite whatever political difficulties Democrats might be facing, that they had once in a generation opportunity, he essentially called it, to try and make a difference here.
Critics obviously contend that it is not the time, that America's battered and bruised economy simply cannot take a costly health care overhaul like the one the president and Democrats are proposing. So those objections we'll likely hear more about as this debate continues, John.
KING: Elaine Quijano for us at the White House tracking the president of the United States. We want to take you to Ft. Hood, Texas. Colonel Bill Hill (sic) is the garrison commander talking about the massacre on base last Thursday.
COL JOHN ROSSI, DEPUTY COMMANDER, FT. HOOD: ... I'd like to highlight is care and well-being of those affected by this incident. There are 16 gunshot wounded victims still in local hospitals, seven are in ICU, nine are in wards. We continue critical incident stress debriefs of which over 200 have been conducted so far.
We encourage all of our soldiers, civilians and family members impacted by this tragic event to see assistance, even those who may have not been directly involved. We're expanding our capacity to meet the needs of all.
This afternoon we expect the arrival of two specialists in child psychiatry and disaster management who are already in coordination with the local school districts and the Military Child Education Coalition to expand services to those indirectly affected.
Lieutenant General Cone, senior leadership, have visited and conversed with the wounded, family members, civilians and unit personnel almost around the clock. I'd highlight that I had the distinct privilege last night of going to visit Sergeant Munley and some of the other soldiers at a local hospital and truthfully it was an honor just to be in her presence. If I could use two words to describe her and the other young man that I got to meet, it's strong. The term army strong is not just a motto. It's them. Their families are strong. Their families are there with them. And it was a wonderful experience just to see them and get the opportunity to talk to them.
The second word I would use to describe them is selfless. I cannot tell you how many times they reiterated to me that this is not about them. They're not interested in notoriety. All they could ask about was, how are the others doing? Express grief for those that were lost, and just want to move on and they're so proud of their teammates and their comrades for how they responded and reacted. And again, it was just an honor to get an opportunity to spend a little bit of time with them. And I'd also highlight their families, strong families, loving families that have come in under short notice that are there caring with them, around the clock, staying with them and they also expressed gratitude to the local hospital for its great care for them while I was there last night with them also.
We've worked diligently to reunite families and loved ones with their soldiers. In fact, Sergeant Munley's husband was there last night from Ft. Bragg. It was a great opportunity to see him as he stood by her side.
We'd again like to mention that survival outreach services are available for support on Ft. Hood as well as other areas of support, spiritual, emotional, physical support at our resiliency campus and across the installation for those who seek and need it. We want to stress this is again not just for those directly affected by this tragedy, as many can recall past trauma and be affected by it even if they were not directly involved with the incident. It can be brought to light at a later date. So we're offering and encouraging anyone who thinks they might need any kind of help to please seek it. And we will find a way to assist.
Second area I want to address is memorializing and honoring the victims. Remains of the deceased are at Dover, Delaware, as I mentioned yesterday, and are going through the same process as those soldiers that would be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. There's a medical examiner piece of it obviously and then mortuary affairs. The dignified return of remains to the families cannot be understated or shortcutted as it's such a critical process. There is ongoing planning for memorial ceremony to honor our fallen here on Tuesday, to honor our fallen, our wounded and our loved ones. We are in full support of the White House, the presidential portion of the ceremony.
Third thing I want to highlight is appreciation for support. We, again, express our appreciation for the outstanding support of the medical community in central Texas area and we are also confident that the wounded are receiving the absolute best care and concern. And again, that was highlighted to me last evening.
We, again, wish to acknowledge the businesses in the local area that have offered food, lodging and other support to help care for our soldiers and their families. And likewise, we express our gratitude to the local clergy which Ft. Hood has always had a close relationship with and has really proven beneficial in the wake of this event. I would highlight about this community, the Ft. Hood community, this is not something new because of this event. This relationship is enduring. It has been there. It continues now through this tragedy and it will continue in the future.
Lastly, we'd like to thank Congressman John Carter for his initiative in introducing House Resolution 895 which honors the victims of the tragedy of Ft. Hood. I'd like to conclude by emphasizing that Ft. Hood is a community and family, continues to focus on healing while continuing to prepare for our missions at hand. At this time, I'll take a few questions. Sir?
ROSSI: Well, at Ft. Hood, again, we've -- we're assessing security measures as would be expected, and you'll see some enhanced security that initially was pretty heavy as we had gates closed. Eventually scaled it down and we're continuing to monitor our vulnerabilities, do an assessment to do what's right for the installation.
But you'll see there's a lot of routine activity still happening. As I mentioned, there's units that are still training for their missions, preparation for deployment, the readiness processing site where this took place, which is now a crime scene. We simply had to pick it up and move it to another location to keep soldiers processing to keep that cycle ongoing.
Again, from the second part, I believe was the psychological aspect of it, what I'd highlight there is soldiers and families, I don't want to say are used to this, but soldiers are trained to respond with their combat preparations to some of the violence that we saw here on Thursday. There's gunshots, there's wounded. Soldiers are trained to respond, to care for wounded, to move wounded, to control the environment, secure the environment, and then move on from that point. So their training kicks in.
And that's what we saw, the training of the soldiers and the training of our DES agents who contributed to that. Obviously the unique aspect of it, the surprising aspect and concerning one is that it didn't happen in Iraq or Afghanistan. The troubling part of it is it happened here in our own house. And that's the piece that most are troubled with right now, is -- is the location of where it happened and how could that happen.
So we're doing our best to move forward on that. All resources that can be brought to this location are still coming in to assist in the behavioral piece of this. Again, our concern is not just the immediate. We're focusing on that right now, but we know that sometimes problems take a while to manifest themselves in individuals and might come up at a later time period. So we're looking to now for immediate response, and we're also working the long-term activities even, again, for the children off the installation that could be affected by this indirectly.
QUESTION: Colonel, for the victims who passed away, will they be getting the same type of honors if they were, say, killed in action? (inaudible), flag presentation to the families (inaudible)?
ROSSI: Again, after the medical piece of it, again, goes to the mortuary affairs, at that point they'll work for the return, the dignified return of the remains to the family. That's in the process right now, at which point they will work at their location with families for funerals and those kind of activities. And these heroes are being treated the same way.
KING: You've been listening to Colonel John Rossi there at Ft. Hood, Texas, explaining the investigation, also explaining the preparations being made for the proper burials and the honor for those killed in last Thursday's massacre at Ft. Hood, Texas. We'll continue to monitor this news conference and developments as they warrant. At the moment, for now, I'm John King in Washington. I'd like to thank you for being with us during this breaking coverage, and we now bring you "Fareed Zakaria: GPS" in its entirety.