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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Source: Gen. McChrystal Prepared to Resign; Kevin Costner on Gulf Oil Disaster

Aired June 22, 2010 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, will the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan get the ax? Four-star General Stanley McChrystal and his inner circle on the record mocking the president, calling out Obama's advisers, branding one of them a clown. Should these shocking comments end McChrystal's career?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also want to make sure that I talk to him directly before I make any final decision.

KING: And then, can Kevin Costner rescue the Gulf? The Oscar winner is here to show us how a machine may clean up the oily mess invading our shores.

Plus, the man who cut off his own arm to save his life, trapped alone. He freed himself the only way he could. It's a prime time exclusive. It's next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING (on-camera): Good evening. General Stanley McChrystal is prepared to resign if the president has lost confidence in him. Let's talk about today's bombshell with Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer, external communications director of the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, has more than two decades of field experience including two combat tours in Afghanistan, and Jon Soltz co-founder and chairman of vote vets.org. He served as a captain during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

A "Rolling Stone" article portrays the general and his staffers as being critical, even contemptuous of President Obama and his administration. McChrystal ordered back to Washington, oval office meeting scheduled for tomorrow. President Obama offered his first public comment on the controversy about -- a couple of hours ago. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I think it's clear that the article in which he and his team appeared showed a poor -- showed poor judgment and -- but I also want to make sure that I talk to him directly before I make any final decision. And so, whatever decision that I make with respect to General McChrystal or any other aspect of Afghan policy is determined entirely on how I can make sure that we have a strategy that justifies the enormous courage and sacrifice that those men and women are making over there and that ultimately makes this country safer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Joining us are two outstanding American war veterans who disagree on the topic. Jon Soltz, do you think the general should go? Why?

JON SOLTZ, CO-FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF VOTE VETS.ORG: Gone. Look, he undermines the chain of command. This has been a longstanding issue with this general, General McChrystal and the administration. He had already sort of to be frankly honest pushed the president with the "60 Minutes" interview and some of the statements he made prior to this. So, to go on the record and undermine the president and Ambassador Eikenberry, the vice president, the national security adviser, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke publicly and to allow his staff to do that, it just shows the lack of discipline within his unit or within his command in Afghanistan.

So, if I had behaved that way or Colonel Shaffer had behaved that way and we undermined the battalion commander or brigade commander in front of our troops, we would be relieved. And the president needs to send a very clear signal to our troops on the ground that this type of insubordination from people inside the uniformed military will not be tolerated, and it was personal (ph) attacks that make it worse.

KING: Colonel, what's your side?

LT. COL. TONY SHAFFER, U.S. ARMY RESERVE: I agree with the captain's assessment of the situation, but there's I think mitigating issues we got to look at realistically. Let's look at World War II. General Patton survived two major incidents of slapping troops and also saying some pretty outlandish things to the press as well. So, precedence is there (INAUDIBLE). And I don't want to defend General McChrystal's bad actions. I'm not here to do that. Well, I'm here to say is the president really has to consider what is best for his strategy and, Larry, let me be painfully clear here.

Our senators are not four (ph). We are against the current strategy, the ways of being implemented. Break, break. If you go into go with the strategy the way it is, you probably have to pick the very best guy that has the best shot of making it work. Now, General McChrystal is part of the review process which is established it last year, and from all accounts, he's been able to really bring back a lot of internal focus within the forces in Afghanistan.

Yes, he's riled some of the state department folks. Look, my sources in the Pentagon tell me there are problems with Ambassador Holbrooke. That's not news. But I think playing it out in front of the press is very bad, and if I were General McChrystal and if I survived, I would fire my staff who was involved in saying all those outlandish things.

KING: They're the ones most quoted. One of the bombshells in the "Rolling Stone" involves the description of the general's first one-on-one White House meeting with President Obama. It was a ten- minute photo-op says an adviser to McChrystal. Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was. Here's the guy who's going to run his bleeping war doesn't seem very engaged. The boss was pretty disappointed. Jon, what do you make of what the colonel said, though? That this has happened before. Patton is a pretty example of insubordination but a great officer.

SOLTZ: I completely disagree with that. Up and down the chain of command inside the military. Standards are standards. It doesn't matter if you're a four-star general or a brand new platoon leader or a sergeant first class platoon sergeant. We don't undermine our chain of command at any level. So, for the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the NATO commander, General McChrystal to allow his staff to speak to the press this way, to allow his staff to fester, that's , you know, an example of how he's talking to them. He's not taking the president's intent and putting it into the chain of command.

So, he's created an environment that has festered this type of insubordination and lack of command and control. If the president does not reprimand and remove General McChrystal, he's essentially, in a way, undermined his own authority. No different than a new schoolteacher in a class.

KING: Colonel, the president is commander in chief, isn't he? You just don't do what the general did.

SHAFFER: Let's be very clear here. I think it was well stated by the fact that General McChrystal himself said very little. It was (ph) quote very little in the article. And most of that -- and I'm not trying to defend what was said, but these folks, he pulled out with him, came out of special operations committee and what you saw was General McChrystal unplugged for better, for worse, that's what it is. You know, when you look at what was said -- look, a lot of folks in military don't like having to deal with civilians in any regard because they're smarter than everybody else.

It's just kind of the way people look at the world. I'm not defending it. It's just the nature of the culture. So, what you need to look at is, was the actual information something new? Something that will actually diminish our ability to conduct the war and that's something the president has to determine for himself. It's not something that we can sit here on the sidelines and look at.

The president has to make a decision on ways and means. Does this decision to maintain McChrystal get us further on or not? Frankly, Larry, you know, you need more of an Eisenhower commander at this point in time than a Patton commander. You got to pull the allies together. You got to pull the diplomats together and focus on achieving the objectives which have been laid out for us.

KING: Let me get a break and come right back with Colonel Shaffer and Captain Soltz. General McChrystal's apology is next. Will it get him off the hook? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: General McChrystal has issued an apology and it says in part, "throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity. What is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard. I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting the war." Why isn't that good enough, Jon?

SOLTZ: First off, it's not even true. General McChrystal, everybody that he attacked personally were people that opposed this quench strategy, the vote that opposes this. Sort of -- put all these troops in Afghanistan and then somehow we're going to, you know, miraculously win. You know, everyone that he went after didn't support him. So, I think that's the first part. The second part is he hasn't lived with this integrity. I the hope the president, when he meets with him tomorrow, looks at the full spectrum of this general.

This is a general who is the head of the special operations command when there are allegations of enhanced interrogation techniques used by special operations troops that did not fall under the basic chain of command inside of Iraq in the last three or four years before he took over this command. That's the first issue. The second issue is when he was the head of special operations command, he signed a silver star for Pat Tillman already knowing that Pat Tillman was killed by fratricide and let the family receive the silver star at the soldier's funeral. And so, there's a long history and track record with General McChrystal's name had shown up where he has not followed, to be frankly and honest, army values of loyalty and integrity.

KING: Colonel Shaffer, should we judge him on how good a job is he doing in the job he's got?

SHAFFER: Everybody makes mistakes. I'm not defending the fact that mistakes were made here, but you need to look at the overall picture. And I got a book coming out late this summer called "Operation Dark Heart" which focuses on my time with General McChrystal and will be an eye opener. I mean, there's a lot of stuff in there. I got some information about -- enhanced interrogation. I looked -- there's good and bad on both sides of the coin on this, and I think we need to look at the ultimate objectives which have been assigned to this general. For better, for worse, this is not good.

I think he needs to do some deep house cleaning. Frankly, if I was the commander and I allowed my staff to say these things to "Rolling Stone," I would fire them instantly without regard to any excuse they have. But you need to look at can we achieve victory this way with this man or is it time for a change? I mean, several names have been given to me, my cent-com contacts. So, they believe me. There's already a discussion going on about who might replace him and that's on the table.

KING: The article also reports on McChrystal and his staff imagining ways of dismissing Vice President Biden with a one liner as they prepare for Q&A in Paris. Are you asking about Vice President Biden, McChrystal says with a laugh? Who's that? Biden suggests a top adviser. Did you say bite me? What is the rub, Jon, in the military against Biden?

SOLTZ: There is no rub in the military. I think there's a lot of people that support the vice president. There's a lot of people in the military that are very upset with this counter insurgency, large amounts of troops, you know, long-term deployment operations, and the vice president was the leader of hey, let's have an anti-al Qaeda global strategy and now the hundred troops in Afghanistan's strategy. He went head to head against General McChrystal in this debate, and frankly, lost to the president.

The president was the one supporter that General McChrystal had. So, there is absolutely nobody upset with the vice president. His son just returned from Iraq who had served with the Delaware National Guard. So, he has a tremendous amount of respect inside the military. What there is, there's a little bit of rift between the vice president, obviously, and General McChrystal because they don't agree on what our strategy moving forward was supposed to be prior to the president's decision.

KING: Colonel Shaffer, what would you bet is going to happen tomorrow?

SHAFFER: Well, I think, clearly, there's going to be a conduce (ph) meeting with the president, and I think General McChrystal will have a chance to lay out what happened, why it happened, and what he'd be able to do to essentially regain favor. I think there's going to have to be a great deal of crow eaten by the general if he survives. Now, again, there are competent officers in the wings. I know the names of several of them. They're very competent.

But the question becomes, do you change horses in the middle of the race? Right now, we're walking up on Kandahar and, frankly, we still got huge problems in Waziristan. So, you know, we're talking about trying to get to December where some major benchmarks to be looked at and do you want to cause a disruption, a replacement of a key commander which influences the entire battle space? Would you want to bring into the picture at this point in time?

KING: We'll know a lot more tomorrow, and we'll do a lot more on it tomorrow night.

Kevin Costner is here next. He's a new father, too. He'll show us how he might be able to make things better in the Gulf. Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Kevin Costner is an actor and Oscar winning filmmaker, founding partner of Ocean Therapy Solutions, Inc. He says his business has developed an oil spill cleanup device that's a partial solution to the tragedy unfolding in the Gulf. Good to welcome him back to LARRY KING LIVE. Good to see you again. Congratulations on fatherhood.

KEVIN COSTNER, ACTOR: Thank you, thank you.

KING: Now, what's this all about? Your company has signed a contract with BP for 32 of your --

COSTNER: Yes.

KING: When did you get into this business?

COSTNER: About 17 years ago, you know, I finally had had it with the images that I think everybody had been watching, the oil spills that continued, the Exxon Valdez in particular, but we've been seeing them up to that point, and when I finally -- the Exxon Valdez happened and I saw that the reaction was the exact same. The oil looked like pudding. The birds had their arms, their wings, distorted images that went with the animals. People on the beaches in rubber boots with straw and pitch forks, I thought is this the best we can do?

And I was approached with a small technology that came out of the department of -- the DOE, Department of Energy. It was a little machine about six inches tall that was separating very severe stuff. When I looked at the machine and with my brother and with the scientist who invented it, we thought we could scale this up to separate oil and water at very high speeds, and I thought in my mind that we could create a first line of defense where oil spills are concerned, and So, I grabbed about 20 scientists and engineers and three years later after R&D and close to -- a lot of dollars, scaled the machine up that would actually do, in fact, that with clean oil and water about 200 gallons per minute.

KING: Is it doing it anywhere?

COSTNER: Pardon me.

KING: Is it doing it anywhere?

COSTNER: Well, right now, it's on three ships down in the Gulf. BP has agreed to buy 32 of them. They tested it in all manner of conditions in places where it was not intended. It was -- and it came through with really flying colors, so they understand its applications. It's how -- it's how resourceful the machine can be. It was designed to be at first response. Just a same way you would have a lifeboat or life preserver.

It's there to handle oil and water and to -- it's also a machine that's created that it could -- I mean, if you put enough machines together, it could create an overwhelming response to what we're seeing at this moment.

KING: Could it help this crisis?

COSTNER: Yes, it can, because -- well, for instance, it will help. We're coming to the fight late, but the truth is we don't know when that's going to stop, that thing that's leaking. We could be sitting over that through our lifetime. But it could be confronted right at the spot and it could be confronted without dispersants, you know, without any chemicals. KING: So, BP, you have contracts with BP now?

COSTNER: I do have contact.

KING: Why can't they do it tomorrow?

COSTNER: Well, they're going to have to scale up with the machines. I have to go manufacture them. You know, I started this 17 years ago, and I couldn't keep a thousand machines on the shelf waiting for the oil industry to catch up.

KING: Do you need anybody's approval to do this?

COSTNER: No.

KING: You testified before the government.

COSTNER: Well, they wanted to understand how a technology like this couldn't hit the light of day, sat idly on the shelves for ten years. It's a very big, important question, you know.

KING: Why?

COSTNER: And it's not just the fingerprints of industry. Federal - all our federal agencies, and it's like an alphabet soup of who's seen that, you know. All the -- all the agencies required to deal with the safety of the American people and working on the water all saw it. It just -- it just seemed too expensive. It just seemed like maybe we weren't going to have a spill again, and we all know how silly that is. I mean, any industry that operates on a daily basis around the world, tapping the core's earth at depths that would boggle the mind, it's reasonable they're going to have spills weekly and daily.

KING: What have your dealings with BP been like?

COSTNER: well, you know, again, they didn't take the machine to where it was intended to be used which is right at the point of the spill. They took it in inland. They took it to where, you know, sometimes, the oil was thick like peanut butter. And for a while, I was wondering -- I was wondering if I was just having a deja vu again and just was trying to be failed, but I think what Doug Suttles was doing was he saw this as an industry change and before he got excited, he wanted to take it to place to see if it could have an affect at it moves into shore, and so, he really started with the biggest guy, you know, the toughest guy and started with the toughest application, and began -- and understood if it worked there, then it was going to work beautifully out in the deep water.

KING: Are you scientifically knowledgeable or are you just --

COSTNER: No. I'm -- I've always been a bit of a dreamer. I'm a total what-if guy and I really enjoy being in the room with really smart people. I saw this, you know. When I first started this, I said, look, guys, engineers, let's -- Exxon Valdez, how do we clean that up? The machine we designed at 200 gallons a minute basically would have cleaned up the Exxon Valdez, 20 machines in 5 days and would have given them the oil back. So, they would have had the asset back. So, the efficiency at which this machine works is kind of -- it's very impressive. OK? I'm not. The machine is. My engineers and scientists, they are. I'm not.

KING: How far away is it from being built to help here?

COSTNER: We got these orders of 32 and orders are starting to come in. And so, we're in manufacturing at this moment. As the orders mount, I'll have to look outside from the original plant to scale up.

KING: Where do you build them?

COSTNER: Pardon me.

KING: Where do you build them?

COSTNER: They're built in Carson City, Nevada, and they're also -- we have subcontractors around the country.

KING: More with Kevin Costner. Fascinating. Right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: He's the founding partner of Ocean Therapy Solutions Inc., and apparently, he has -- what do you call this thing, by the way?

COSTNER: What do you mean?

KING: Does it have a name?

COSTNER: It's the cinc unit.

KING: Why hasn't it been put to use? What took years?

COSTNER: Well, you know, if you deal with a major corporation, you got a mandate to make profits, and if you tell your stockholders that you have spent a billion dollars on safety, they're going to look at you and say, why did you do that? Why did you do that? No one told you to do that. That was our dividend. If you're talking about a private company, you have to -- your leader has to be a very evolved guy or woman to do that, and there are those people, but you have to be a very evolved person and not just see your pile get bigger for it to come down, and the reality is safety, there's not sexy. And it's certainly not a profit center.

KING: Is BP the only company who's bought it from you?

COSTNER: It is so far, yes. And we'll see. I think it is the answer to the moratorium being lifted because we can't lift something without being able to respond to it in some effective way and more than just an effective way, an overwhelming way. You know, sometimes, we only do so high for safety. What is the problem with getting over that bar? And I think that's where the industry has to be. They have to look at this and anybody could -- you know, all you have to do is to go to the worst-case scenario and do the math. And then be prepared. This is not the worst-case scenario. OK? It was bad as this is (ph). This is something that was bound to happen. Worst-case scenario is four of these happen, five of these happen.

This was -- for us to kind of go like, oh my God, that's what I think people are being silly. The repercussions are terrible, but for us to think this is the worst to happen, I think that's a lack of planning, a lack of foresight.

KING: Everybody's interested in spillage and concerns. What got you super interested to go full-time? There's no movie you're making now.

COSTNER: Look at those -- you know, when I die, I hope that on my headstone is -- my kids visit because they'll probably be the only ones -- that it would just say "and he made movies, too." I don't define myself by just the movies. I have had a wonderful life. I'm not without my own bruises, you know. But it's been good. And I'd like to not let my own celebrity or how people see me define who I am as a person.

KING: Why this area of concern?

COSTNER: I'm not smart enough to get us to the Moon. You know? But I looked at oil spills and I thought we can do better than pitch forks. I thought we could. And I thought if I could bring what I have, which is a dreaming mentality and the money that I have been able to amass, which I never thought I would have -- I would throw it at this problem and I could make a difference.

KING: When this happens, when it first occurred, what did you first think?

COSTNER: I -- you know, I had this -- I hate admit this but I had this, well, I was almost --

KING: Told you so?

COSTNER: I was almost petulant. I was almost like, look -- I knew that was wrong, but there was a little human nature in me. I couldn't believe -- I totally believed what was happening. But I just -- I had to reengage. And I know, you know, I'm the actor with the magic machine. I know that that's how it was going to read, so I was prepared to have my neck cut off and watch my head roll into the street by intellectuals, by cynics. But I had to reengage, because, you know, I -- it was a fight worth fighting and it's -- and I didn't want this machine to be silent. And so I had to speak for it.

KING: What reaction did you get in Congress?

COSTNER: Well, I think, you know, people are surprised. You know, sometimes I feel like a little bit of this is -- is a little bit -- I don't want to say my fault, because I don't want to take too much, but it's like maybe I didn't yell loud enough. You know? I'm looking at my own participation in this, 24 million dollars later, maybe I didn't yell loud enough. Maybe what I was faced with was kind of an apathy. I brought this to foreign governments. I brought this to all --

KING: Wasn't sexy, huh? Maybe we never knew about you and this.

COSTNER: You know, it is like I don't always talk about the things I'm doing. You know? Who cares what you're doing?

KING: But this should have been known.

COSTNER: Well, I did talk about it. I mean, the people who knew about it is like a who's who when it comes to industry, comes to government agencies. I talked to the EPA at the time. I talked to so many people, brought it to bear. I actually sent the machine to oil spills. I sent it to Japan when they were experiencing an oil spill. I begged to put it on oil spills that were occurring. But you -- there's a gigantic Catch-22. You can't put your machine on an oil spill unless it's been approved. And the people wouldn't approve it because it hasn't been on an oil spill.

The problem is that this is -- this is a highly technical -- it's really a pivot point for how we could fight oil spills in the 21st century. It's something we need to do now. It really needs to be wherever oil can come into contact with water. And the -- and short of that, we're not -- we're not being responsible to everybody else. Because, you know, this oil spill for as much as our heart is breaking -- this oil spill is touching the shores of people faces we'll never meet around our precious Gulf of Mexico. Our neighbors, the countries around the Gulf of Mexico are wondering what is going to happen to their way of life.

KING: Yeah. Did you become, here's that Costner again?

COSTNER: What's that? Oh -- geez. I thought somebody, my family wanted to get in the interview.

KING: Did you become that?

COSTNER: Did I become what?

KING: The annoying guy with the machine?

COSTNER: I don't think so. I don't think so. I have never tried to be out in front of my machine. I'm finally doing it now. I thought that gravity would find its way to my door. I thought the industry would welcome me with open arms. I really did. The single biggest liability they have I had an answer to.

KING: When do we get the 32 ordered machines?

COSTNER: They'll probably be there in another month and a half. And for those people that go, too little, too late, I guess when you're doing your money raise last night -- and congratulations on that -- is 10 dollars not enough? It is a lot. And I think what happens is this is -- these machines will be -- need to be -- and the public needs to demand and the government needs to demand that they be anywhere where oil has an ability to come in contact with water, fresh and water. Make no mistake, our rivers and lakes are really vulnerable.

KING: Kevin, hell of a guy. Good knowing you. Kevin Costner, what a story. If you had to cut off your own arm to survive, could you do it? We'll meet a man who did, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: John Metz joins us from New York. He tried to amputate his left arm when it was trapped in the furnace. He almost succeeded. Rescuers got there after he had just about sawed it off clean through. Melissa Mowder is John's fiancee. And they're here tonight with an incredible survival story. This has been 12 days since paramedics found you in your basement. How are you doing now, John?

JOHN METZ, HAD TO AMPUTATE OWN ARM: All things considered, Larry, I'm doing pretty well.

KING: How did the arm get caught?

METZ: Well, I was cleaning the heating elements in my 70-year- old boiler, dropped basically a vacuum hose adapter into the boiler, and really without giving it much thought stuck my arm in between a couple of these heating elements. And before I knew it, my arm was trapped above my elbow.

KING: Were you in a lot of pain?

METZ: Initially, no. There was a wave of panic that really prevented me from feeling any pain. In the first few minutes, as I struggled to free my arm, the pain started to set in as a result of the scraping and cutting from the heating elements themselves.

KING: Where were you, Melissa?

MELISSA MOWDER, FIANCEE OF JOHN METZ: I was in North Carolina, so we do not live in the same state and --

KING: Oh.

MOWDER: Yeah. We had talked Monday night and had I guess a spat. But nothing that anyone was hanging up on one another or anything. And, you know, I didn't hear from him the next day. And I thought, well, that's weird. Maybe he was really bothered by what had happened. And, you know, maybe cooler heads will prevail on Wednesday. So that was kind of what had happened without me noticing, yeah.

KING: How many hours did it take you to decide to try to amputate your arm, John?

METZ: Well, I spent about 12 hours, I would say, screaming as loud as I possibly could to try to alert my neighbors as to my predicament. After not having much success, and concluding that being in a basement with basically no windows that the yelling was not going to do any good, and that my only way to escape may be to amputate my own arm with the --

KING: By doing what? How did you amputate it?

METZ: Well, as it happened, the drawer that I keep the saw blades for my various power tools was just within reach and I was able to secure them. And after trying the saw through the actual boiler heating elements, and getting nowhere with that, that's when I decided to use these saw blades.

KING: Where? Above the elbow, below the elbow, where?

METZ: Above my elbow. Actually, about half way between my elbow and my shoulder was really the lowest I could cut.

KING: A neighbor -- let's hear the neighbor's 911 call, and find out how he got the know about it. Let's listen to the call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: West Hartford 911, what is the emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, hi. I'm standing outside my friend's house. No one's heard from him for a couple of days. He hasn't showed up for work or anything. His car is in his driveway, but all the windows are shut and he's not answering the door. So we don't really know what to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, OK, OK. The car is in the driveway?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it looks like lights. There's only a day's worth of mail in the mailbox. But he's not answering his door, so we didn't -- no one really knew what to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sending an officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK?

Just hang around here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just sit tight there. We'll be there in a few minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Wow. All right, John, you fashioned, as I understand it, a makeshift tourniquet. You started to cut. How could you bear that?

METZ: Well, it was actually not that difficult. I could smell my arm essentially dying and the flesh rotting, and the adrenaline from the experience really allowed me to at least start the cut relatively pain free. KING: How much was hanging off when you finally freed yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I was not able to fully amputate my arm. I would say I got about nine tenths of the way through my arm before I hit a bundle of nerves that really just prevented me from going any further.

KING: The rescuers had to come in and do the rest?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. They finished the job.

KING: We'll be right back with John and his fiancee, and meet his doctor, too. His doctor says John would have died had he not taken that action. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

KING: We're back with John Metz, who is alive. His girlfriend is with him, his fiancee. Almost amputated his arm. Dr. Scott Ellner, the man who finished the job John started, joins us. Doctor, were you at the hospital?

DR. SCOTT ELLNER, JOHN METZ'S DOCTOR: I was. When John presented to our emergency department at St. Francis Hospital, he was in grave condition. And I really have to attribute the action of the paramedics, the EMS, West Hartford Fire Department for resuscitating John, putting in two IVs in his right arm, in order to get him fluids, because he was severely dehydrated and essentially he was -- he was near death when he arrived in our department.

KING: Wow. Are you right handed, John?

METZ: I am.

KING: So you lost your left arm. Right?

METZ: Yeah. Really could have been, frankly, either arm that I reached down for this tool. Thankfully, it was my left.

KING: What if didn't try to amputate it, doctor? What would have happened?

ELLNER: You know, Larry, what happens when Gangrene sets in to part of your body is the infection takes over the organ systems. And there's a release of toxins throughout the body, and essentially, it shuts down the heart, the kidneys and he was -- he was in acute renal failure. He was -- he was going to die. His organs were failing. So by actually cutting off that dead, nonviable tissue, John essentially saved his life. It's an amazing story of survival.

KING: Melissa, were you shocked by all of this, that he had the guts, ability, whatever you might call it, to do this?

MOWDER: I'm shocked by all of this. I mean, never in a million years would I ever think something like this would happen. If I am shocked that he had the strength in him to do it? No. I mean, he's incredibly brave and, you know, he is a great critical thinker, a problem solver. He's very creative. So, you know, that he would come up with some way to get out of that situation is not a huge surprise to me. But the situation itself is strange. I'm sorry.

KING: John, did you ever think that you had bought it?

METZ: Larry, absolutely, on at least a couple of occasions. Probably most notably when I first began the cut and hit one of the major arteries running through my arm. The sheer amount of blood that I began to lose had me fairly convinced that my time was very nearly up.

KING: Did you pass out?

METZ: I did, several times. And by the third day, I was in and out of consciousness. And by the time the first responders arrived, I was almost in a catatonic state. Still -- still awake, but really not responsive.

KING: We'll be right back with John and Melissa and the doctor. We have more than a million reasons to smile about last night's telethon. We'll give you an update, too.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Dr. Ellner, will John handle a prosthetic well, above the elbow?

ELLNER: You know, it is a high injury. And from the get go, after John had his second revisional surgery for his left shoulder, we asked our psychiatrist and team of physical therapists to come and evaluate John right away. He has a tremendous amount of strength, still, in his upper muscles of his shoulder, neck and back. And already he's demonstrating that, I think with rehabilitation, he'll be able to use a prosthesis.

Can I say with 100 percent certainty that he's going to recover fully? That's really up to John and the miracles of science that we have for his ability to recover functionally.

KING: John, you are an amazing man. All we can do is salute you and, in a way, envy what you were able to do. Melissa, you are a lucky lady. Doctor -- you have a wonderful patient, doctor.

ELLNER: I agree.

KING: Amazing. Amazing.

MOWDER: Thank you.

KING: John Metz, Melissa Mowder, and Dr. Scott Ellner, all in New York.

Last night, you helped raise more than 1.8 million dollars for the people and wildlife of the Gulf. We hope that our two-hour telethon would generate interest and donations. And it did, thanks to you and our celebrity helpers. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fishing is what I do. And I can't do it.

KING: This is a call to action. Why now? Because they need us now. Celebrities are manning the phones in New York and here in Los Angeles. We've got reporters across the Gulf.

RYAN SEACREST, "AMERICAN IDOL": Talk with these stars on Twitter and Facebook.

KING: Ryan Seacrest.

SEACREST: Ron Artest, world champion Laker.

Jenny McCarthy is with us.

KING: Sting and Robert Redford are on the way.

JACK JOHNSON, SINGER: My name is Jack Johnson.

KING: Cameron Diaz, Philippe Cousteau, Ted Danson, Deepak Chopra, Ian Summerhall, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Ivanka Trump, Lenny Kravitz, Herbie Hancock and India Arie.

STING, SINGER: I want to dedicate this next song to all the people in the Gulf who have lost their livelihoods because of this terrible oil spill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fishing, farming, that's all we've done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've seen a lot of tough, tough men break down and cry in the last two months.

SEACREST: Last we talked, we were at about 200,000 dollars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Consensus is everyone is really pissed off.

SEACREST: Hannah, who says my father lost his job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People have been crying on the phone.

SEACREST: Donated five grand a few minutes ago, donated 25,000 dollars.

CAMERON DIAZ, ACTRESS: Seeing what's going on there makes me sad, mad and sick at heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been fishing ever since I was five.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: How is your family doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terrible. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about everybody's children? This is not just ours. This is just ours for a little while.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking for somebody to really help us get this back together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need help. We need help now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every single day, animals are dying and people are suffering.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These animals are part of a chain. When one of the lakes goes away, the chain breaks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a catastrophe that could have been avoided.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donate to this great cause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your general arouse donations about getting money there now.

DEEPAK CHOPRA, WELLNESS EXPER: Raising money, but raise ideas as well. There's so much creativity, so much love, so much compassion. We harness that globally through CNN.

SEACREST: I understand that you and Chelsea are going to donate 5,000 dollars each.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unemployed and donated 100 dollars, which isn't easy to do for somebody out of work right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every little bit can help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Phones have been ringing off the hook.

KING: Our total so far, 1,329,235 dollars.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And we're not finished. So far, we've raised 12,525 dollars from our auction on CharityBuzz.com. You have until July 7th to bid. So go check out some of the amazing items. All the proceeds go to the Gulf. Anderson Cooper, "AC 360" starts right now. Anderson?