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H1N1 Proves Nearly Deadly for Teen; The Afghan Government: Help or Hindrance?; Disabled Vet Sues McDonald's

Aired November 30, 2009 - 14:02   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: OK. That is heart-wrenching and it's outrageous. I mean, talk about a bonding moment for mother and daughter. They'll never forget this.

But what do you do, I mean, if you're in that position and you've got a doctor saying, go home, go home, but your gut tells you, no, something is horribly wrong? What do you do?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What you have to do is you have to get very specific with the doctors and advocate for your child. You have to say, look, I've been watching my child for days, I know my child best. I am seeing signs that tell me she is going downhill.

And I want to give you some of the signs that you should look for when your child has H1N1. Most kids are fine, but if you see any of these signs -- fast breathing; their skin, especially around their toes or fingers turns blue; they develop a fever with a rash; or if they get better and then worse, those are signs you need to hightail it to the doctors or to the hospital. And again, keep repeating to yourself this mantra: "I know my child best."

Because you really do. And she really needed it.

PHILLIPS: Well, and case in point right there.

COHEN: Yes, exactly.

PHILLIPS: Wow. Elizabeth Cohen, good advice. Appreciate it so much.

COHEN: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: All right. We're going to check our top stories right now as we hit the top of the hour.

Manhunt for a cop killer. Seattle's on high alert after an all- night SWAT standoff comes up empty. Police thought they had their guy, but now confirm the shooter who allegedly ambushed four officers is still on the loose this hour.

Congress coming back from Thanksgiving break to a pretty full plate. The Senate is debating the health care reform bill today. Abortion coverage and the public option, still the big hurdles for Democratic leaders seeking those crucial 60 votes. And we're in the final countdown to President Obama's big decision on Afghanistan. His announcement about troop levels will come tomorrow night at West Point.

CNN's special coverage starts at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

After all the high-level meetings, late nights and months of speculation, tomorrow night we finally learn how President Obama will make the eight-year-old Afghan War his war. Right now, though, questions aplenty.

How many troops? How much money? How much help from the Afghans and our allies? And how long before we're out of there?

Here's a question that we asked minutes ago at the White House.

All right. We apologize for that. We'll try and bring that back to you in just a little bit.

Meanwhile, the president's speech, tomorrow night, 7:00 Eastern, live, right here on CNN.

Now, at some point, the Afghans will have to take over, push forward and keep their own peace. But you've got to wonder, are President Karzai and company up to the task?

Here's CNN's Atia Abawi.


ATIA ABAWI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A symbol of corruption, what people here call narco mansions lining the streets of Kabul, many of the houses built in the last eight years with illicit money from the drug trade and corrupt government officials, officials alleged to have squandered billion of dollars in foreign aid. Aid that most Afghans say they have yet to see.

WILLIAM CROSBIE, CANADIAN AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN: There will be a much closer watch on how money is being spent. There is a responsibility upon the part of the international community.

ABAWI: Canadian Ambassador William Crosbie knows that the Afghan government needs reform. And after many years wasted, both the new administration led by President Hamid Karzai and the international community are changing the way things are done here.

CROSBIE: We, too often, turn to powerbrokers and warlords to fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda and, you know, turned a blind eye to perhaps whether or not those individuals were inappropriately using government offices or using their power.

ABAWI: Individuals still within the ranks.

Early November, President Karzai was sworn into a second term after an election marred with allegations of fraud. He is promising change, but he is still criticized for turning a blind eye to corruption and surrounding himself with criminals and warlords.

HAMID KARZAI, AFGHAN PRESIDENT (through translator); We need to attack into account in the past eight years what we have learned and what we have gained, what are the bad experiences, and what are the good experiences. And, of course, there are many questions, and people would like me to answer some of those questions. And, of course, we will do our utmost in the future to help the country.

ABAWI: Daoud Sultanzoy is a member of the Afghan parliament and believes that rampant corruption has killed the administration's credibility. He says it's the president's job to enforce the law on his own staff and cabinet first, punishing any criminals found within, in order to win back the trust of the people.

DAOUD SULTANZOY, AFGHAN PARLIAMENT: It's not the strength of the Taliban, it's the weakness of the government that has driven the people away from the government, and it's created a gap in which the Taliban are finding room to maneuver and breathe in that vacuum.

ABAWI: A vacuum that Sultanzoy says can be filled by the government and welcomed by the Afghan people once they know what good governance is.

SULTANZOY: In the 262 years of our modern history, we have never been governed, basically. We have been ruled or misruled. And for the western experts, so-called Afghan experts, to say that Afghans do not like governance, it's a very, very easy way out.


PHILLIPS: And Atia Abawi joining us live now.

So, Atia, what are people saying on the ground? Will a troop increase actually help the situation in Afghanistan?

ABAWI: Well, it really depends on who you talk to. We went out to a refugee camp here on the outskirts of Kabul, and many are from those volatile areas where the heavy fighting is occurring, and they're afraid of extra troops coming because they fear that that will mean more Afghan civilians being killed. But then when you come to the city and talk to the Afghans here, they'll tell you that they're afraid of the international community leaving, that they want these extra troops as long as these extra troops help them the way they see it necessary, and that's to help build a stable society and help the Afghan government, because more and more, in areas like the south and east of Afghanistan, where the insurgency is strong, we're seeing more and more Afghans turning to the Taliban because they're afraid of their own government authorities in their areas -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Atia Abawi, appreciate it.

And the speech tomorrow, huge. The president's going to have to sell a pretty skeptical public on why an eight-year-old war likely will intensify.

Republican Senator Richard Lugar and Democrat Jack Reed talked about what they're looking for tomorrow nigh.


SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R), INDIANA: The president needs to start by outlining the war we are in. By that, I mean the war not against the Taliban, al Qaeda, but what is at least the objective of continuing in Afghanistan, or in any place. That is basic because this has to be a confident speech in which the president recognizes we're at war. The American public recognizes that.

SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: The president has to speak to the American people, remind them why we're there, and also lay out a strategy, not just a reflexive response to a recommendation, but a strategy that involves protecting the homeland from al Qaeda. And that involves a presence in Afghanistan, it involves being influential in Pakistan, it involves having a combination of intelligence, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, all these things.


PHILLIPS: Well, it's not a troop buildup. It's a civilian surge. Their weapons? Legal, agricultural and medical aid. Their targets? Afghan civilians.

We'll take you inside.

No shirt, no shoes, no pets, no service. But assistance dogs are OK. There's the sign clear as day.

So, tell me, why did a disabled vet and his hairy helper get chased out of this place and allegedly attacked like criminals?


PHILLIPS: Well, it's not easy being a disabled vet. Just ask Captain Luis Montalvan. In Iraq, attackers with knives and hand grenades changed his life forever. However, they didn't ruin his life. His golden retriever Tuesday sees to that. Tuesday helps him get around every day and move forward -- a service dog and a best friend.

Well, don't tell that to a certain group of McDonald's workers in Brooklyn.

First, they turned him and his dog away. Then he says they came after him armed with garbage can lids.

You'd think the attacks would have stopped when he got back home. Montalvan documented everything. Now he's suing McDonald's for damages, and he wants to make sure this never happens to another vet. And he's even inspired a senator.

Captain Montalvan and Tuesday join me now live from New York.

Luis, good to see you.

LUIS MONTALVAN, FMR. ARMY CAPTAIN: Great to see you, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, explain to our viewers what exactly happened here, how many times you went to this McDonald's, and how it escalated to this point where you were chased with these garbage can lids.

MONTALVAN: Sure. On December 11, 2008, I visited McDonald's in Brooklyn with my service dog, Tuesday. And when we went there, the employees immediately erupted with, "Get out. Get out. No dogs."

I mean, it was quite offensive. And so we approached the counter and I tried to explain to them that Tuesday was a service dog and that he assisted me with my disabilities.

They were just insistent that we get out. And finally, I even had to threaten to call the police because they were discriminating against me and violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. They served me but harassed me, and I ultimately got a migraine and left, deeply affected by that incident.

Several days later, I wrote a letter to the president of McDonald's, Ralph Alvarez, explaining to him that his employees were not trained in the ADA and that they were harassing people and veterans with disabilities, and it's just unacceptable. I received a phone call several weeks later from a regional manager who initially offered me coupons, and I told her, "Listen, I don't want your coupons. I'd like for you to treat people with dignity and respect and abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act."

She wrote a letter of apology and took up my suggestion that they post stickers in their front doors saying something to the effect of, "No pets, but we welcome assistance animals." Sure enough, they put stickers in their doors. And I thought, wow, this is a real act of corporate social responsibility.

Then, on January 28th, Tuesday and I were coming home from school. And we -- I was hungry. And so I walked into the McDonald's with him, and we were served.

I sat down, was just about to begin eating, when a manager came up to me and said, "Excuse me sir, your dog -- you need to leave." I said, "What do you mean I need to leave?" He said, "No dogs allowed."

And I said, "Well, what's your name?" And he said, "Well, my name is Carlos Sala (ph). I'm a manager."

And I said, "Well, have you read the sticker on your door front?" And he said, "Yes." And I said, "Well, what does it say?" And he replied, "No dogs." And I said, "Well, why don't you go downstairs, reread the sign, come back upstairs and we'll talk about it."

Well, I was pretty upset by that, and he never returned to apologize or to discuss the matter. I subsequently left the McDonald's in disgust because they had essentially not trained their staff. That manager wasn't trained himself on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and I thought this matter was resolved. Then, two days later, I decided that I would write another letter to President Ralph Alvarez of McDonald's. So I walked back with Tuesday to the store to take a picture of the sticker that they had placed in their storefront.

PHILLIPS: And this is when you were -- or the employees charged you with the garbage can lids?

MONTALVAN: That's right. They started to ask me questions, why am I taking photographs of McDonald's? And then they proceeded to attack me with garbage can lids and punched me.

And, I mean, I was just flabbergasted about -- at this entire thing. I called the NYPD and they responded to the scene, and subsequently went to the emergency room because I pinched a nerve in my neck shielding myself and Tuesday from these two employees.

PHILLIPS: And we did get a statement from McDonald's. They said they can't go into details because they say they are investigating right now.

But they did say, "We take these matters seriously. We investigate all allegations to gather the facts, and where necessary, take action consistent with our polices."

"McDonald's USA takes pride in making our restaurants accessible to all customers, including those with service animals. Our policy is to permit service animals to accompany customers with disabilities in our restaurants. We comply with all applicable laws, including the American Disabilities Act."

So, you know, there have been protests outside that McDonald's. You've received obviously a lot of air time. We're talking about it today. You have definitely made your point.

The stickers were put up into the window. That facility has now been shut down due to health violations.

What do you want, Luis, to come out of this? What do you want as the final outcome?

MONTALVAN: Well, that's a good question, Kyra. That McDonald's is a corporately-owned McDonald's and it's since reopened. And as a matter of fact, they took down the stickers at that restaurant, strangely enough.

McDonald's hasn't owned up to these disgraceful acts of mistreatment and this attack. You know, veterans, hundreds of thousands of veterans, are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan wounded and injured. And there are tens of millions of people with disabilities.

And it's unconscionable that McDonald's say that they train their employees to treat people with dignity and respect and abide by the federal law, but the reality is, is that they didn't in this case. And I hope that this incident serves as a lesson to both McDonald's and others.

PHILLIPS: Well, I know that Al Franken was touched by your story with regard to what happened to you in Iraq and why you needed a service dog. And he has actually passed legislation -- his first piece of legislation -- to call for more service dogs.

Is that correct? Tell me about...

MONTALVAN: It sure is.

PHILLIPS: Tell me about what he has decided to do since meeting you.

MONTALVAN: Yes. Well, before the attack in January, I had the great pleasure of meeting him at an inaugural ball. And upon that meeting, I asked him if he would consider if he were to be elected to champion some kind of legislation to get more service dogs to help veterans with disabilities, veterans of all eras of America's wars.

And as is the case with any celebrity, you leave and you think that, well, something may happen, but probably not. Well, strangely enough, I got a phone call a few weeks later from Al Franken and it was, "Hey, this is Al," and we spoke for an hour and a half and I was absolutely delighted that subsequent phone calls led to he and his staff creating legislation with other members of Congress that is now law. And there's a new pilot program to help place service dogs with veterans, and hopefully that study will show the benefits that many more veterans will get service dogs.

PHILLIPS: Well, and they need them. And we've seen what Tuesday has done for you with the spinal cord injury you suffered in Iraq. And we'll follow the lawsuit.

I appreciate you talking to me today, Luis.

MONTALVAN: It's my pleasure, Kyra. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: You bet.

Captain Montalvan is one of 31,572 American troops wounded since operations in Iraq began back in 2003.

Well, you could say it's all over but the crying for the couple who crashed President Obama's big party last week. Same for the Secret Service, who somehow let them slip through security and get inside the White House. A top Democrat is calling for the couple and the Secret Service director to go before the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday. Other lawmakers are calling for criminal charges against that couple.

Wedding bells are in Chelsea Clinton's near future, we're told. CNN has learned that the former first daughter is engaged to her long- time boyfriend, investment banker Marc Mezvinsky. A spokesperson says that a wedding could take place next summer.

A different kind of record for Serena Williams. The tennis star has been fined a record $82,500 for her tirade at the U.S. Open last September. If she has another major offense at any Grand Slam match in the next two years, well, the fine would increase to $175,000 and she'd be barred from the following U.S. Open.

Lenders, lenders -- what you gonna do when they come for you? Call it an early Christmas present for people on the edge of losing their homes. The Obama administration cracking down on mortgage companies.

We'll tell you about it.


PHILLIPS: Well, from your health (ph) to your home, the foreclosure crisis shows no signs of letting up, so the Obama administration is trying to fight back.

Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis joining us live from New York.

So, Gerri, new hope for struggling homeowners?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, we'll see, Kyra. You know, lots of changes announced today to the Making Home Affordable program. And as you know, this is the program the administration has put into place to change those mortgages that people had so much trouble with during the mortgage meltdown.

Unfortunately, it's really not helping a lot of people right now. It's scheduled to help four million. It's helping less than two percent of those people right now. So here are the changes they're putting in place.

First of all, they're going to give some accountability to servicers. Servicers are those folks who are sort of in the middle. They're the people who consumers are paying their mortgages to every month, and then the investors are behind those servicers. So, they're the folks in the middle.

A lot of consumers have been complaining that servicers don't get back to them, but now the world's going to change. They're going to have to submit a schedule for making and deciding on whether an individual request for mortgage changes will be met or not. They have to give a yea or a nay.

There will be government liaisons actually watching them, checking up on them to see what they're doing and if they're making differences. Fines and penalties will be assessed if they don't meet obligations.

The interesting part of this, this is the stick. We've already seen the carrot.

In the original plan, we saw bonuses of $1,000 for making these changes to mortgages, but now here we're seeing the stick. There could be some severe penalties for folks out there who don't go along. And, of course, we're also talking here about the problems that have been mounting, obviously. Why is it necessary to make changes to this mortgage relief program? Well, guess what? Lots of paperwork issues out there for people who are trying to become a part of the program. Not enough income now to make payments, that's one of the big problems you're seeing.

The issue now is that people don't have jobs, so they can't become a part of the program. You can't get a mortgage if you don't have a job. And so this program really wasn't tailored to that.

Other folks find that they have too much in equity or savings to even participate. And some banks have decided, you know what? I make more money if I foreclose rather than changing or amending or making this mortgage easier to meet month to month. So, lots of hurdles for the program.

The administration here trying to make some changes to it, tweaks to it here and there, to make it more effective. But the devil's in the details.

We'll be watching these reports monthly to see how many people they're helping and if more Americans are really getting assistance. But some interesting changes, Kyra. More stick, less carrot.

PHILLIPS: Well, keep letting us know about all those changes. We'll follow them with you.

Thanks, Gerri.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

PHILLIPS: Well, goodbye to the 2009 hurricane season. Hello, Chad Myers in the Severe Weather Center.


PHILLIPS: Manhunt across Seattle happening right now. Yesterday, four police officers ambushed and gunned down. Today, the accused triggerman proving elusive as well as deadly.


PHILLIPS: Happening right now, the manhunt is intensifying for a pardoned convict in Seattle. He's suspected of gunning down four police officers yesterday in a coffee shop ambush, and giving the Seattle police the slip in a big way after a 12-hour standoff.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is our guy on the ground.

Patrick, do police have any clue where Maurice Clemmons is and how he got away from them?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I just got off the phone with Seattle Police Department. At this point, the trail has apparently gone cold. The last reported sighting of Maurice Clemmons was at about 8:00 p.m. local time last night just down the street where from I'm standing. They got a credible tip he was outside a home, someone that knew him. They went to that house, the net closed in around him but somehow he slipped out. They believe that as they were going house to house setting up this very wide-ranging perimeter -- I mean, they closed out an entire neighborhood last night, Kyra -- that he was somehow able to slip away. They believe he was wounded in that altercation with officers yesterday, so they're hoping that will lead them to him because he's going to be seeking treatment possibly for a gunshot wound.

But even with this intense manhunt on, officers are still saying today that the focus should also be on the four Lakewood Police Department officers who lost their lives yesterday. Kyra, you have to think about this. This is a police department that's only about five years old, only has about 100 officers, just over 100 officers. So the loss of four officers will be devastating for any police department, even more so for the men and women of Lakewood Police Department.

PHILLIPS: Now you look at these four lives lost. You have this alleged murder on the loose. It was then-Governor Mike Huckabee that granted this man a pardon. So what's the reaction been there with regard to the fact that he was let out on the streets?

OPPMANN: Well, as Governor Huckabee said in his statement, there needs to be a close reexamination of perhaps laws in Arkansas and in Washington. People, though, are somewhat confused and skeptical as to what this guy was doing running around in Washington.

Remember, Kyra, he was out on $150,000 bond, only bonded out a week ago. He'd been charged with assault on an officer, sex crime against a child, as well as some other charges. Police said that he had an extensive criminal history in Arkansas and he was somebody that they knew here and he'd even threatened officers to people that he know, said he was going to go out and attack police officers. Unfortunately, none of those people reported those threats to police before they happened, perhaps what happened yesterday could have been avoided. Instead, you have four lives lost and a very dangerous suspect still on the loose.

PHILLIPS: Could have been avoided, and that's where the outrage is.

Patrick Oppmann, thanks so much.

You know, Maurice Clemmons has a long rap sheet and was serving a 95-year prison sentence in Arkansas, but then-Governor Mike Huckabee, as I mentioned, commuted that sentence in 2000. Clemmons went back to prison that next year, but was later paroled. So here's what Huckabee had to say in light of the Seattle shootings, "Should Clemmons be found responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington state." Clemmons only served 11 years, by the way, of that 95-year sentence. Nearly 50 years of law enforcement experience snuffed out in a matter of seconds. A small but growing memorial has already begun today outside the Lakewood, Washington Police Department, as we pay our own respects to the four fallen officers.


PHILLIPS (voice-over): They left behind nine children. They were husbands, fathers, a wife and mother.

Thirty-nine-year-old Sergeant Mark Renninger is survived by his wife, son and two daughters. He had 13 years of law enforcement experience. He grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His brother, a retired cop, says Mark made the ultimate sacrifice.

Thirty-seven-year-old Officer Ronald Owens is survived by his daughter. He had a dozen years of law enforcement experience and was a founding member of the Lakewood Police Department.

Forty-year-old Tina Griswold is survived by her husband and two children. She wore the badge for 14 years, and just this past summer was awarded a medal for saving a life.

And 42-year-old Officer Greg Richards, eight years on the force, also a founding member of the Lakewood Police Department. He is survived by his wife and three children. Officer Richards' sister-in- law called the shooting senseless and says her brother-in-law didn't have a mean bone in his body.


PHILLIPS: And I want to point out once again, Maurice Clemmons had just been released on bond six days ago. The charge? You heard Patrick Oppmann repeat it once again, rape of a child, according to the "Seattle Times" Newspaper. He was also recently charged with assaulting a police officer.

Gearing up for the war in Afghanistan, but these volunteers are civilians, not soldiers. All part of President Obama's new strategy bringing peace to a country that's known nothing but war.


PHILLIPS: President Obama's getting ready to put his plan for the war into action after another meeting with his war council. He briefed his top commander in Afghanistan along with Secretary of State Clinton. More than 30,000 more troops are expected to deploy. We'll get details tomorrow night when the president announces his plans to the rest of us. Our coverage begins 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Pirates upping the ante off the Somali coast. They seized a Saudi Arabian tanker loaded with $20 million worth of crude oil; it was headed for the U.S. Yesterday's attack marks only the second time Somali pirates have targeted an oil tanker. The tankers don't react well to pirate bullets or rocket-propelled grenades. How are we doing in the fight against AIDS? Well, the world is preparing to take stock tomorrow on World AIDS Day. While gains have been made, some grim statistics remain, about 1,000 people in southern Africa die every day from AIDS-related diseases.

They're in training for a dangerous mission in the combat zone. Like their comrade in arms, these troops are volunteers, but that's where the similarities end. Our Jill Dougherty as the training ground with the new civilian force heading to Afghanistan.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Our Blackhawk helicopter flies low over fields and woods, destination now in sight. The Miskatitak (ph) Urban Training Center, a half-hour flight from Indianapolis, Indiana. This week, transformed into a village in Afghanistan.

On the ground, 36 civilian trainees in camouflage jackets and body armor. They're from the State and Treasury Departments, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Agriculture Department. All volunteered for at least a year in Afghanistan, part of the civilian surge critical to the new strategy tripling the number deployed on the frontlines. They're using their skills in law, agriculture, medicine, to help the Afghan people get the services they desperately need. Without that, they could turn to the Taliban.

The team's mission today, help solve a land dispute between two Afghan tribes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Mr. Harris, the senior representative of the State Department (INAUDIBLE).

DOUGHERTY: Real Afghans, some of whom don't speak English, play the role of provincial officials and tribal leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here I would like to welcome everybody from the bottom of my heart.

DOUGHERTY: The reading from the Koran, the translator, hot tea they're offered to drink, the soldiers from the Indiana National Guard. Everything detail as authentic as possible.

DOUGHERTY (on camera): How real is this?

BRENDAN O'BRIEN, STATE DEPARTMENT: I thought it was very real, actually.

DOUGHERTY (voice-over): Brendan O'Brien served in Kabul, Afghanistan, as council general. He's going back for another year as an information officer. This new training, he says, is critical to understanding how the military function. His life depends on it.

O'BRIEN: The military culture is almost -- it is a foreign culture. It's almost as foreign as the Afghan culture to State Department, to USAID, to the Department of Agriculture. DOUGHERTY (on camera): Just as in Afghanistan, these teams are accompanied every step of the way by the military. They rely on them for security and for mobility.

(voice-over): At the same time, these civilians, unarmed, have to establish trust. The war, they say, can't be won only with guns.

In this vignette, an Afghan plays a role of a pregnant woman, as Maura Mack, a USAID health development officer, listens closely. Mack has never been to Afghanistan. She leave this December for Logar (ph) province. This lesson, she says, taught her...

MAURA MACK, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: The importance of building these relationships with the people, listening to them. The etiquette, the politeness, building that trust and rapport with them so that they really can share with you what their concerns are and be willing to work with us, because we need to work together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did they interact? How well did it go for you? What impressions do you have?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the one thing that nobody asked me was about what sort of diseases are very common in this province.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got on the birds (ph), took off, did a little ride. Kind of windy. Knocked us around a little bit.

DOUGHERTY: The Afghan staff, the trainees, the military give their feedback. Lessons that could make all the difference when these civilians take off for real to Afghanistan.

Jill Dougherty, CNN, Butlerville, Indiana.


PHILLIPS: You've got plenty of questions on Afghanistan, we've got answers. Tomorrow, the president's National Security Chief of Staff Denis McDonough will join us in our 1:00pm Eastern hour. E-mail your questions to us please at or tweet us at kyracnn.

It was a hit-and-run for sure, but it was no accident. A young woman's fighting for her life all because some guys wanted to fight her for a parking space.


PHILLIPS: Team Sanchez working on the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM.

You have a little hair there on your collar.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: A little something-something.

PHILLIPS: Thank goodness your wife's a blonde.

SANCHEZ: That's for you. I brought that for you.

Ron Suskin wrote one of the most fascinating books about the beginning of the war in Afghanistan. And given that we're now talking about what's going on in Afghanistan, I thought it would be interesting to look back into this because essentially in that book -- it was called "The 1 Percent Doctrine" -- I get that wrong every time. Great book. What he says is that Osama bin Laden was in Tora Bora, we knew where he was, the CIA said we can get him, all we just need a certain amount of troops. It went all the way up to the White House where they asked for that and they didn't get it.

What really happened? What did it cause? And is it why we're still dealing with Afghanistan today? There's a new Senate report out that essentially confirms much of what Suskin wrote about in his book. It's brand-new information. We're talking to the players and taking it apart today at 3:00.

PHILLIPS: You can go back to the Clinton administration as well. I mean, Osama bin Laden was in the sites on a camera, there was an opportunity to take him out then. Also, you tend to wonder why for so many years there were opportunities to get Osama bin Laden...

SANCHEZ: The only difference was, Clinton was prior to 9/11. That may have made a little bit of a difference.

PHILLIPS: But everybody knew he was a threat.

SANCHEZ: Apparently not the Bush administration since at the beginning they decided that Clinton was enthralled with him.

PHILLIPS: But they knew he was a threat. Imagine if he was taken out, there wouldn't have been a 9/11.

SANCHEZ: Either way, we're going to be looking at both things.

PHILLIPS: You and I are going to be talking a lot more about this.

Well, you hear about fights breaking out over ridiculous things all the time, but this one is almost unbelievable. A Texas woman is in the hospital right now in really bad shape after she was run over in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Well, hr family says she's on a ventilator now with organ failure. They don't even know if he's going to make it. All of this because of a fight over a parking space.

Her brother describes what happened as some thug or thugs showed no mercy on his sister.


JAMARR THOMPSON, VICTIM'S BROTHER: My sister ready to pull up in the parking spot, an SUV pulls around and rams her from the side, from the right side. So I tells my little sister not to get out the car. She don't get out. They get out, they get out with blades. They waving their knifes saying all foul words. You know and they come out. I told my sister to stay in. She comes out and checks her car. She get backs in. But when she got out when I got out, my hat fall, she picks it up, they runs over.

I just hope anybody that know about anything can help us out.


PHILLIPS: And that's what we're hoping as well. If you do know anything, do help out that family and contact the police. It's not clear if there's any security cam video of that incident. Police are looking for the driver of a black Dodge Durango involved in that hit- and-run.

A chance at a dream life turns into a nightmare. One man's quest to provide for his family leads to a fight for his freedom. 


PHILLIPS: As you know, we've been following this story about Tiger Woods Thanksgiving night in this car accident that he was involved with, saying that it was his fault and that he didn't want the media getting involved in the personal issues surrounding what happened that night. Still, a lot of questions lingering to what caused that accident and what exactly happened between him and his wife and what caused all the commotion.

Now we're getting word -- this is coming from the Tiger Woods Foundation, actually the public relations manager -- that Tiger Woods will not be attending his Chevron World Challenge. He was previously scheduled to be there. It was supposed to take place at the Sherwood Country Club at Thousand Oaks, California. Apparently what's being reported that doctors are advising him not to go due to injuries that he suffered in that car accident.

We'll continue to follow the story as it develops and if we get any more information.

Well, it was like they won the lottery. They came to this country for a shot at a different kind of life, but what they got is an age-old tale full of misery and deceit. They became modern-day slaves and our Sean Callebs explains.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chinnawat Koompeemay nightmarish ordeal began four years ago.

KOOMPEEMAY (through translator): I never imagined this kind of thing would happen in the United States.

CALLEBS: Koompeemay desperate to provide for his family, says he answered an ad from a job recruiter in rural Thailand. The recruiter promised an $8.00 an hour job in America, he says, picking tobacco in North Carolina and he'd get a U.S. visa.

KATE WOOMER-DETERS, CIVIL RIGHTS LAWYER: When they heard that there was a job in the United States, and not just a job but a on a legal visa in the United States, I think that was really the golden ticket for them.

CALLEBS: But there were problems from the outset. First, he says, there was a payment upfront, 25,000 Thai baht or $11,000 U.S., money he borrowed from loan sharks before he left his home in Thailand.

Once in North Carolina, Koompeemay says there was no work, no money and his passport was seized by the recruiter Million Express Manpower. Koompeemay says he and the other 29 farmers who came with him realized they were trapped.

KOOMPEEMAY (through translator): Some of the men were so stressed out to the point that they seemed suicidal.

CALLEBS (on camera): Koompeemay says he begged for work. And when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Million Express Manpower some of its employees to New Orleans.

(voice-over): He says the men were told to gut this condemned hotel and were forced to live there while doing the job. And all of this without pay.

KOOMPEEMAY (through translator): We couldn't find anything to eat. We happened to have some uncooked rice with us so we trapped pigeons and cooked the pigeons to feed ourselves.

CALLEBS: Eventually they were brought back to North Carolina where one night they say they escaped.

Louis CdeBaca is the U.S. ambassador charged with fighting modern-day slavery.

LUIS CDEBACA AMBASSADOR AT LARGE TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING: This is a hidden crime. The very nature of this crime masks it from us.

CALLEBS: Eventually, Koompeemay and 21 others sued Million Express Manpower under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The company never responded and the court said the evidence justified a default judgment of nearly $1 million.

WOOMER-DETERS: These men don't look like the typical trafficking victims. They're not women. They're not in the sex trade. They're not behind a barbed wire fence.

CALLEBS: Koompeemay has been reunited with his wife and two children. He asked us not to say where he's living, still concerned about the traffickers.

(on camera): You do feel lucky? Even after everything you've been through, you feel lucky?

KOOMPEEMAY (through translator): I do feel very lucky that I could turn crisis into opportunity.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CALLEBS: Koompeemay's family are here legally on something known as T-visa. Kyra, it is visa especially for those people who have been victimized by human trafficking.

PHILLIPS: Sean Callebs, great reporting. Appreciate it.

That does it for us. We'll be back tomorrow.