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Gadhafi's Compound Attacked; The Cost of War in Libya; Coalition Airstrike Hits Gadhafi's Tripoli Compound; Death of a Libyan Freedom Fighter; The Crisis in Libya: A Libyan-American Perspective

Aired March 20, 2011 - 22:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Moammar Gadhafi's compound attacked. Big sections in shambles. The likely weapon? Missiles from Allied firepower. CNN's Nic Robertson seeing it up close.

But even after the brutal dictator's military promises a second ceasefire, their rebel crackdown intensifies. Who targeted and blasted the strongman's headquarters? Where is he? Why hasn't he been seen?

And welcome to our viewers around the world. I'm Don Lemon at the CNN NEWSROOM in Atlanta. We begin this hour with breaking news.

Destroyed, part of Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Libya's capital, Tripoli. An Allied airstrike took out a building on the grounds. A coalition official says it was hit because it had military capabilities, insisting that Gadhafi was not the actual target and neither was his residence. It is not clear where he is right now.

Anti-aircraft fire lighting up the night sky over Tripoli. Coalition forces continue to pound key targets despite the Libyan army announcing another ceasefire several hours ago. The White House doesn't believe Libyan forces will abide by it, after all, they did ignore the first ceasefire declared on Friday.

U.S. Joints Chief Chairman Mike Mullen says the U.N.'s no-fly zone is now in place. Allied airstrikes have done major damage to Libya's fixed air defense systems. That's according to another U.S. official. Coalition planes are now patrolling the area to deter air attacks on civilians.

The U.S., France and Great Britain have taken big roles in Operation Odyssey Dawn. Italy, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Qatar are also involved.

And CNN's Nic Robertson broke the news of the attack on Gadhafi's compound. And we want to play what he and his crew captured on videotape without talking over it. And Nic will update us on the other side. Take a look.

(VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And those pictures from our Nic Robertson simply amazing. Let's go to him now.

Nic?

ROBERTSON: So, Don, we were taken into Moammar Gadhafi's palace compound, a large secure area, a couple of square miles. We're taken to a building. We could see the roof had been smashed, two big holes punched in it. We were told, by cruise missiles.

In fact, we were given some parts that were taken out of a building while we were there. This is a thin control system actuator, appears to be from a cruise missile that was pulled out of the building while we were there. But the whole roof was pancaked down. Two floors. It was a four-story building. We were told that one of the missiles had gone in and only exploded when it hit the basement area. The rooms we could see were blown out. There were large lumps of concrete blown over an area of about 100 yards or so.

A government official told us that there had been no casualties there. The government official said what is happening, he quoted a Pentagon spokesman, saying that there will be no strikes in this Moammar Gadhafi's palace compound. We were told that this was a building that was used by officials coming to meet Moammar Gadhafi in a nearby tent.

From what we could see, the building didn't serve any other purpose, certainly didn't seem to be sort of a command-and-control-type building. We didn't see any cables coming from it, antennas on it. Indeed, a couple of journalists we talked to said that they had been in there a few days earlier, waiting to meet Moammar Gadhafi.

The building itself, very heavily damaged. Debris spread over a wide area. Government officials very angry about inconsistencies they say coming from the Pentagon -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Fantastic reporting from our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson.

And also on the ground in the region, Arwa Damon joins us now from eastern Libya with the latest on the offensive and the rebellion.

I understand tense calm is how you describe the situation where you are, Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Don. Ever since Gadhafi's forces launched their attack on Benghazi yesterday, we've seen most of the shops here remaining closed. We've seen an increase number of checkpoints manned by opposition forces, with much more diligent searches. Even though they did manage to drive Gadhafi's forces out.

And then of course, there were those airstrikes. We traveled outside of Benghazi, around 20 miles, 30 some kilometers, to the location where those airstrikes took place, targeting Gadhafi's military that was masked at that location. The debris, the aftermath of that, strewn around for miles, kilometers. We saw vehicles ranging from armored personnel carrier to tanks that had their turrets blown off. We also saw a number of charred bodies. Many residents of Benghazi traveling out there to survey this for themselves, hardly able to believe that Gadhafi's military had come to such a grinding halt. Many of them expressing their gratitude to the international community's intervention because they all firmly believed that a massacre at the hands of Gadhafi's forces was imminent.

The belief was that the opposition had taken this just about as far as they could with the weapons that they have at hand with the fact that they are rally nothing more than a bunch of young men who have learned how to fight over the last few weeks -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Arwa Damon in eastern Libya. Thank you very much for that, Arwa.

Let's get the perspective an experienced U.S. military leader now, retired Army Lieutenant General and CNN contributor. Russel Honore joins us now live from New Orleans.

General, good evening to you. You saw the footage of the missile strike in Tripoli. You heard from our Arwa Damon. What do you make of it?

LT. GEN RUSSEL HONORE (RET.), CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's indicative of its precision. We hit -- they hit the building they were going after for a purpose. We probably tried to disrupt his command and control. But let's look at what was not hit, Don. They didn't hit the palace. They didn't hit the electrical generators. No intention to make the people in Tripoli pay for Gadhafi's mistakes. This was a precision strike, done at night, with the purpose -- or a purpose of probably taking that building out. I understand, that's my assessment based on what we're seeing on the ground.

LEMON: All right, General, thank you. Stick around. We're going to need your expertise throughout this hour.

And next up, Nic Robertson and I were on the air live when the shots rang out in Tripoli. Perhaps the most dramatic moments so far in this conflict. We'll show you how it all unfolded live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: And perhaps the most dramatic moments of this conflict played out live on this broadcast. Our Nic Robertson was on the air with me when the shots began in response to U.S. missiles in Tripoli on Saturday. Here's how it all unfolded live on the air last night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON: I don't know if you can hear that in the background. Very heavy -- very heavy...

LEMON: Nic, and if you're quiet just for a moment, let's listen, if you can get close to -- wherever -- the window or an opening and maybe we can hear it. As of now, we don't. Is it still going on?

ROBERTSON: It is still -- it's still going on at the moment, Don. Let me get a little closer. You might be able to hear it now.

LEMON: We can. We can. Let's listen a bit, Nic.

(LOUD NOISES)

ROBERTSON: That's the sounds of heavy anti-aircraft gunfire erupting over the city of Tripoli here. We heard it sporadically several hours ago, now hearing it much more, in a much more sustained fashion.

LEMON: And Nic, if I can just jump in here for a second. I'm going to let you continue. I want to tell our viewers Nic Robertson is in Tripoli. He's reporting. He's hearing heavy gunfire and what's possibly -- probably artillery fire. You're also looking at live pictures now from Tripoli. This is from the camera where -- in the location where Nic Robertson is.

Nic Robertson, continue, please.

ROBERTSON: You're the loud gunfire and explosions in the city. This gunfire seems to have followed on from an -- from several loud explosions, which could have been missile explosions.

Don, what I'm going to do is get myself to where that camera is, if you can just give me about one minute.

LEMON: And Nic, you go ahead and get into camera position, and we're going to let our viewers listen to this as you get ready, and you let us know. We're going to be very transparent about this. This is all breaking now.

Nic Robertson is in Tripoli. He is joining us by telephone but he's going to get himself in camera position.

What you're looking at, though, is Tripoli, and you're -- it is believed to be gunfire happening in Tripoli and also possibly a mortar fire. And, as Nic Robertson has been reporting, this is all happening -- it seems to be in response to that coalition, the Allied forces. Of course, the U.S. being one of them firing on Libya today and also French aircraft in the area in place. Britain sending in an aircraft as well. France also helping out in this. And they will all join the coalition forces in the air at least. President Obama, the U.S. president, has said no ground forces. He's not promising that now.

Let's listen in a little bit to the firing and the unrest in Tripoli.

(SOUNDS OF FIRING)

LEMON: For those of you who are just tuning in, I want to welcome our viewers from around the world. You're watching CNN's breaking news coverage of the unrest in Libya. What you're hearing, firing going on in Tripoli right now. CNN's Nic Robertson covering that part of the story for us. He is in Tripoli. He's our senior international correspondent. Nic is getting in place so that he can speak to us. There you see him in the corner of your screen. And as soon as Nic is available to speak to us, we will get him live. If you can, Nic, jump in whenever you're ready. But if we can -- I'm not sure if his camera can hear us, but if so, we'd love to see the pictures that we were looking at before and have Nic talk over them.

What you're seeing is Nic Robertson playing it for us.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Nic, can you hear us?

ROBERTSON: As I was reporting to you just a little earlier, that the gunfire came after we heard several loud explosions here. It is in the city, now about 2:35 in the morning. That heavy anti-aircraft gunfire seems to be subsiding at the moment. It nearly come, quite literally within the last 10 minutes. It was very quiet in the city. We had sporadic gunfire, then a couple of loud explosions, followed by that heavy anti-aircraft gunfire which subsided for the -- for the moment. This is what we're hearing in the city at the moment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Nic Robertson as the skies of Tripoli were lighting up last night because of gunfire.

Now that Moammar Gadhafi's compound has been bombed, what's the next military objective for the Allied forces? We'll check in with CNN's Barbara Starr and General Russel Honore next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: And if you're just joining us, we want to reset the scene for you on the breaking news out of Libya. A crushing missile strike a short time ago pulverized a highly fortified four-story concrete building in Tripoli. It's part of a palace compound used by Moammar Gadhafi to greet international officials and other VIPs.

CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us by phone with new information about this strike.

And, Barbara, what are your sources telling you tonight?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, coalition military officials have told our Chris Lawrence that the compound was targeted because it specifically did contain military capabilities to exercise command and control, if you will, over Libyan forces. In other words, it would have provided Gadhafi and his military team with the ability to communicate with their forces in the field, the exact thing that the coalition is trying to stop right now.

Key question on the table tonight, Don, are they targeting Gadhafi or not at this compound? Are they trying to get him specifically? The Pentagon, the U.S. says, no, Gadhafi is not a specific target. This is a general area he's known to have been in. And, you know, clearly, the view from the Pentagon is if he just happens to be there when they hit it with cruise missiles, so be it. But, you know, we know there's a long history of a military finding it very tough to target and kill specific people it's going after -- Don.

LEMON: CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. Barbara, thank you very much.

Let's bring back in CNN contributor Russel Honore from New Orleans.

General Honore, you heard our Pentagon correspondent. Where's the evidence? Did the reporters and the journalists who visited this site -- where's the evidence that says what the coalition forces are saying about targeting this building or striking this building?

HONORE: Well, it's interesting to see this unfold on television and you hear Gadhafi representative then you hear a representative from the Pentagon disputing that this was a legitimate target. And the Gadhafi forces say, hey, we weren't supposed to be target. It's a pretty interesting dilemma in warfare. We might be one of the first we've seen where the forces are doing battle assessment over television.

That being said, we have precision strike, the target we went after. If we tried to do this, Don, in the Vietnam War, probably take a twenty aircraft package and B-52s to be able to hit that building.

Tonight, it was done with precision. And they went after the target and hit it. It didn't provide collateral damage. I think that speaks to the investments we made in technology and ability to hit the target. Whether he was in the building or not, that is consequential.

LEMON: All right. General, stand by and thank you.

U.S. military officials said they were not targeting Moammar Gadhafi. They said it over and over. Tonight's airstrike against his compound strongly suggests otherwise. And I want to bring in Gordon Chang who writes extensively on international affairs for Forbes.com. He's also the author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World" and "The Coming Collapse of China."

So, Gordon, what do you make of this dramatic new development tonight?

GORDON CHANG, COLUMNIST, FORBES.COM: I think that certainly Gadhafi is going to bring this to the U.N. Security Council because he's going to want to say that the coalition has gone beyond the terms of Resolution 1973, which was passed last Thursday to protect the Libyan people.

I don't think that it's a good argument but, nonetheless, he's going to make it.

And the other place he's going to make this argument is in Qatar because he doesn't want another Arab nation as part of the coalition. Because if you have another Arab nation there, it really looks like Gadhafi against the world. But if Qatar is actually part of the package, then clearly, it's -- it's, you know, it doesn't look good for Gadhafi.

LEMON: Gordon Chang, stand by as well. In the meantime, a doctor who has seen the horrors of the war in Libya. First-hand account. Straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: As the conflict goes on in Libya, the number of casualties will only go up. Medical staff at hospitals are finding themselves short on supplies and long on victims. Doctor Mahmoud Traina has seen the horrors of the war in Libya and he recently returned home to California after treating victims in Libya.

So, Doctor, thank you so much for joining us. First question, do you believe the cost of the offensive in the terms of lives lost will be worth if it can end -- if it can end this conflict?

DR. MAHMOUD TRAINA, CARDIOLOGIST: I definitely think so. You know, the extent to which Gadhafi and his forces have been willing to attack civilians and the ongoing deaths that had been occurring during the time I was there and speaking to my colleagues who are on the ground in cities like Benghazi and Misurata, there's been a huge escalation of deaths and major casualties over the last several days. And, you know, he won't stop unless the people can get him out.

LEMON: So, Doctor, can you talk more to us about the kind of difficulties that doctors are facing over there? What is it like to be a physician in a war zone?

TRAINA: I mean there's a lot of difficulties in general in terms of there are shortages of supplies. There are shortages of equipment to deal with this. There's a lot of shortages when I was there with orthopedic equipment and surgical equipment.

You know, they're not used to dealing with this extent of major injuries and casualties that they're dealing with. Also, there's a big shortage in terms of training. There's not a lot of people who are qualified and have the appropriate training to deal with this. So people are being forced into roles that they've never really dealt with before.

LEMON: What's your fear about the possibility of what happens to the people of Libya the longer this goes on and what Moammar Gadhafi does to those people?

TRAINA: You know, he's shown himself -- I mean, currently, as this has gone on longer and longer, he's become more and more indiscriminate with his attacks against civilians and more random in lashing out. So, the fear, obviously, is the longer that this takes, the more that he will attack and take innocent civilians as hostages and will kill innocent people on the streets.

LEMON: Dr. Traina, thank you very much. Stand by as well. We will get back to you in this broadcast.

Ahead, an update to the story of a brave eyewitness who spoke to -- we spoke to early in our coverage of the crisis in Libya. You won't believe what happened to him. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get you caught up on the headlines right now.

A coalition airstrike destroyed a building within Moammar Gadhafi's Tripoli compound. A coalition official says it was hit because it had military capabilities, insisting that Gadhafi was not the actual target and neither was his residence. It's not clear where he is right now. Coalition planes are patrolling a no-fly zone over Libya to deter attacks on civilians.

In Japan, a grandmother and teenage grandson were rescued on Sunday nine days after a devastating earthquake and tsunami. They survived on the food in their refrigerator. The boy climbed up to the roof where rescuers spotted him.

And across northeastern Japan, Japanese officials have put the death toll at 8,450. Nearly 13,000 are missing. At the crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, electricity has been restored to the water pumps at Reactors 5 and 6. Workers hope to have water pumps running again soon at Reactor Number 2.

In a speech in Rio de Janeiro today, President Barack Obama made only a brief reference to the coalition attack in Libya. He called the rebels courageous and he said they're taking a stand against a regime determined to brutalize its own people.

Back in the United States, Republican Speaker John Boehner issued a sharply worded statement calling on Mr. Obama to offer more details on U.S. military goals in Libya.

For the first time since she was shot, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords spent time with her brother-in-law who just returned from the International Space Station. Scott Kelly, like Gifford's husband Mark, is an astronaut. He returned to Earth last week and visited with her Giffords on Thursday. You will recall the congresswoman was shot in the head during appearance in Tucson, Arizona in January.

And in Wisconsin, the tragic death of a police officer today, killed in the line of duty. It happened following a dramatic shootout. Police say a gunman opened fire on officers investigating an assault. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SOUNDS OF GUNFIRE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Heavily armed S.W.A.T. team members had to rescue a woman from the shooting. When the barrage ended, two officers had been shot and one of them later died. The other is reported to be in critical condition. And police found the gunman dead inside his home of a self-inflicted wound.

One of the most eloquent voices of a Libyan rebellion has been silenced. Twenty-seven-year-old Mahmoud Abusi (ph) died Saturday, killed by a sniper's bullet. In the early days of the revolution, Abusi dared to report on the uprising in Benghazi despite the knowledge that doing so put his life at risk. On a day that he watched his friends die, he spoke to us about what he was witnessing in Libya.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: You believe that your life is in jeopardy just by making this call and talking to us now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, I do. They already shut down two of SIM cards, my personal SIM cards. This is not mine. This is just a random card I was given to be able to speak to you.

LEMON: Thank you so much and be in touch and be safe, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure I would be there tomorrow because I'm not sure if I'm going to survive tonight. But there's going to be another group tomorrow with you hopefully.

LEMON: Hang on. Do you think...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't got that information.

LEMON: Do you think the situation is that bad that you believe that people won't survive overnight? Is it that bad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you my friend has died already and also a hundred people died. I don't know what's going to be worth to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That was on February 19th. At a time when Moammar Gadhafi was pulling down a curtain over his campaign of terror, Abusi shed some light on the horrors of war. His bravery likely cost him his life. In a few hours ago, I spoke to CNN's Arwa Damon about his sacrifice in the name of liberty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mohamed Abusi (ph) is one of the many people who literally risked their lives and paid the ultimate price just simply to get the news out -- the real news out about what was happening in his own country. He was one of those young, bright, inspiring minds. Everybody who met him grew to respect and admire him.

Here in Benghazi, he's considered to be a hero. He was 27 years old, a technology wizard who managed to rig cameras up and the live stream of video out about what was happening in Libya at a time when Libya was really a black news hole for many organizations like our very own, because we did not have access to proper information in the country. We did not have reporters in the country.

Mohamed Abusi was one of those many people who was our eyes and ears on the ground, risking his life, as he did there, to speak to you over the phone. And somehow, he also managed to get those pictures out by bypassing whatever system the Gadhafi regime had been trying to put into place, bypassing those firewalls just to get the message out.

He was one young man out of many who passionately believed in this cause, in this battle for a free and democratic Libya. And he did end up paying the ultimate price. Yesterday, he was killed when Gadhafi forces entered the city of Benghazi. He was shot by a sniper, according to his wife and supporters, when he decided to go out into a neighborhood when he had heard that rocket fire had killed a number of children.

He himself was an expectant father. His wife is pregnant with their first child. And, Don, I'd just like to share one of his favorite quotes and that is, "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Mahmoud Abusi (ph) was 27 years old.

We'll talk to a Libyan-American who still has relatives and friends still living in Libya, just ahead.

But first, the devastating images and heartbreaking stories from Japan are spurring many people to give to charities, but not nearly as many and not nearly as much as you might think. So how and what should you donate? CNN's Christine Romans put that question to Ken Berger, the president and CEO of Charity Navigator on this weekend's "Your Bottom Line."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: What charities really need most is unrestricted money, money that can be used for whatever they think they need to use it for. But people like to give knowing exactly where their money is going. What should -- people should just give money when they have figured out what the charity is, is that right? KEN BERGER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CHARITY NAVIGATOR: Yes, that's really important. We see a lot of people who give supplies at times, which is a beautiful thing, very heartfelt. But in fact, there's a very good chance the stuff is going to get thrown away, because the distribution channels just aren't there. And unless you have a link to the charity on the ground, there's a very good chance it's going to get wasted.

Make the donation directly. And if you have stuff in your attic, then get a garage sale, but convert it into money. It's the most flexible fluid resource that the charities can have and need at this kind of time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: You know people around the world may wonder how the coalition attack on Libya will affect them. Others understand it only too well. We've had Doctor Ali Gebril on with us before. He is a Libyan- American. He has relatives and friends still living there.

So for Doctor Gebril, thank you so much for joining us. What's happening in your homeland, personal to you. Welcome back and what are you feeling?

ALI GEBRIL, LIBYAN-AMERICAN: Thank you, Don. First of all, I'm not a doctor.

LEMON: OK.

GEBRIL: OK. But I appreciate what doctors do.

LEMON: You're aren't a doctor, OK.

GEBRIL: OK. Your question about what the people feel.

LEMON: Yes. What are people saying? What are they feeling?

GEBRIL: They are -- they are waiting for the moment that this regime is collapsing. They understand that this is what the coalition is doing is legal, necessary and moral. And they know that Gadhafi will not go without a fight, not go easily like Mubarak or an Ali. They understand that very well.

LEMON: So I ask the question that I asked the doctor before you, do you think that the casualties, do you think that the cost of this, is it worth it?

GEBRIL: I believe so. We hope less casualties will happen but we believe the price will be paid for better -- for better future, for better Libya, Libya without Gadhafi, without this tyrant.

LEMON: When you joined us before, did you actually think that Moammar Gadhafi would leave? You didn't think it would come to this, did you? GEBRIL: When I said he will leave, I didn't necessarily meant he would leave physically the country on an airplane. But he would leave the power, he will leave the position he is in.

LEMON: But do you think that it would come to this point and this sort of conflict?

GEBRIL: Not this way. I thought it would be less than this. But the man proved to the world that he is brutal enough to drag the people and drag the world through this.

LEMON: As you're speaking to people back home, what are they saying to you?

GEBRIL: They say they are -- they are -- of course, they are concerned, but they are waiting for the outcome and they believe that what they see...

LEMON: I mean more in detail about what's happening in their neighborhoods, in their towns, what they're witnessing, their neighbors...

GEBRIL: The main concern of many people that I spoke with is the town of Misurata. In Misurata, there is genocide over there. Gadhafi continues to unleash his forces to attack people in tanks and with barrage missiles on Misurata. The city is surrounded, sieged (ph) for almost a month right now. Hospitals are deprived of everything and people under continuous attack by Gadhafi forces. Misurata and also the city of Zentan also in the west.

LEMON: Genocide?

GEBRIL: Genocide. People in Tripoli, it's a bigger city, and they know that the coalition are targeting specific targets, military targets so they are less concerned.

LEMON: All right. Thank you. Will you stick around? I want to talk more. I have another question that I want to ask you about. I want to ask you about the young man who died...

GEBRIL: Yes.

LEMON:...trying to bring the images to the world.

GEBRIL: Yes.

LEMON: Stick around. We're going to have a little bit more with Ali Gebril, straight ahead. Plus, General Russel Honore and Gordon Chang of Forbes, on the future of Libya. Up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: This is a live broadcast from Libyan state television. And all of the unrest and the conflict that's going on there, this is what's running on television right now in Libya. So, I want to bring back in Libyan-American Ali Gebril about his homeland's future. As you look at those pictures, if we could put them up, what do you -- what do you make of that?

GEBRIL: This is propaganda. They are trying to make the story that the people are very happy and they are praising their leader despite all these bombardments and the air strikes, showing that people love their leader so much, that they're showing the fireworks and the music at the dance.

LEMON: The future of Libya, what do you think?

GEBRIL: The future of Libya would be a brighter future without Gadhafi. It will be a brighter future with the huge nationalism of Libyans, hoping that they will have democracy, justice and economic opportunities and to engage with the world and join the 21st century.

LEMON: We talk about 27-year-old Mahmoud Abusi (ph) who was shot by a sniper after bringing the images to the world. What do you say?>

GEBRIL: I spoke with his relative today this afternoon to say my condolences about him, and he told me the story of Mahmoud. It was a courageous story, a courageous young man. And he tells me this 27 years old, he was born just two years before the 1986 air attacks against Gadhafi.

This is a new generation that didn't live under any other regime and this is the generation that made this revolution happening. And this generation that showed the courage and the determination to join the 21st century, join the rest of the world in freedom, justice and economical opportunities. And they demonstrated their courage. They demonstrated their determination.

LEMON: Thank you.

GEBRIL: You're welcome.

LEMON: All the best to you and your family.

GEBRIL: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thanks for coming by. It's good to see you again.

GEBRIL: Thanks a lot.

LEMON: And stick around. We may need you throughout our broadcast. We're going to be going live for quite a while.

Ali Gebril, I appreciate it.

Let's bring back in Gordon Chang now of Forbes.com. So how do you see this all playing out? And when you hear Mr. Gebril's story, what is Libya's future as allies dismantle Gadhafi's military capabilities?

GORDON CHANG, COLUMNIST, FORBES.COM: You know, it's very difficult when you have a dictator like Gadhafi leave, because in order to hold on to power, he has prevented the elements of civil society from existing. So, you know, when he's gone, there's a vacuum and people just sort of operate in the old way, which is like Gadhafi.

So, the real problem here is to sort of develop the non-governmental organizations, all of the things that we would like to see in Libyan society. It takes a long time.

LEMON: OK. So, I want to bring in now General Russel Honore.

General, let me put the same question to you. How do you see this drama playing out?

LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE (RET.), CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that he will leave or he will be killed by his own forces or somebody near to him and there will be a transition. And that transition will go to the freedom fighters who in their own way will sort it out with a lot of help from the U.N. and some folks going in to help them stand up that civil governance that would be needed to run the country. They are very blessed. They have a natural resource, oil, that can provide resources to the people. It's a function of governance. And with today's open networking of information, the people will do just well once he's gone.

LEMON: All right, General, thank you very much as well as Gordon Chang. And we'll show you the images and sounds in Libya from the first day of the coalition attacks, just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The disaster in Japan is being felt in financial markets around the world. International companies that rely on Japanese components are facing a major disruption in their production line and this might cause product shortages and higher costs.

The millionaire club is growing, 8.4 million U.S. households are worth at least a million bucks. That's up 600, 000 from a year ago, thanks in part to the recovering stock market.

And the next time you get cash from the ATM, you may want to leave a little extra in the bank to pay for those higher fees. Several banks are taxing fees of as much as $5 a transaction for withdrawing money from a bank that's not in your network. Banks collected more than $7 billion in ATM fees last year.

That's this week's "Getting Down to Business." I'm Alison Kosik, CNN, New York.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The stories will fill volumes documenting the attacks on Libya and everything that led up to them but the images and sounds from the first day stand on their own. Take a look.

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UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: At around 8:45, we saw a plane overhead appearing to be heading south, and around 9:10, one of our team witnessed a jet, a fighter jet fall out of the sky in flames. We have since then spoken to an opposition fighter, who has told us that was one of their own aircraft that they were sending out to try to stop, bring a stop to Gadhafi's military assault.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Libya is not yours. Libya is for all Libyans. The resolutions of the Security Council are invalid.

VOICE OF AN UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They tried to enter the city yesterday and the day before yesterday and they were -- they were pushed back by our fighters and now they started to terrorizing the people on the outskirts and shelling heavy, really heavy shelling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The participants agreed to use all the necessary means, in particular, military means, to enforce the Security Council decisions.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yesterday, the international community demanded an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to all attacks against civilians. Today, Secretary Clinton joined an international coalition, our European and Arab partners in Paris to discuss how we will enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is a broad international effort. The world will not sit idly by while more innocent civilians are killed.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is legal because we have the backing of the United Nations Security Council and also the Arab League and many others. And it is right because I believe we should not stand aside while this dictator murders his own people.

OBAMA: Today, I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. That action has now begun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from both U.S. and British ships and submarines struck more than 20 integrated air defense systems and other air defense facilities ashore.

VOICE OF AN UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I tried to run up to the roof and then I saw the second explosion. I saw a huge fire coming up from that place. And there was a lot of noise. And I can hear some shooting. I can't know determine whether it was anti-aircraft shooting or gunfire shooting. It was very severe, very heavy.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is called Operation Odyssey Dawn" and the initial targets, mostly along the northern Libyan coastline. Why? Well, those of course, are the major cities, the major gas and installations and, of course, the political capital, Tripoli. But the reason those targets were along the coast in the early days is because this is where Moammar Gadhafi has his most powerful weaponry that could be used -- could be used against coalition pilots. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Libya will exercise its rights to defend itself according to Section 1 of the United Nation Charter, that all targets, maritime targets will be exposed to real danger in the Mediterranean and North Africa because of this aggression, naked aggression.

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LEMON: And this all unfolding just on the first day. Let's bring in now retired General Russel Honore and also Gordon Chang to give us some thoughts on this.

First, you, Gordon. From U.N. Resolution 1973 just a few days ago to air strikes. This happened at lightning speed.

CHANG: Well, it certainly did, but that was because it was necessary on the ground. In Benghazi, the country's second biggest city, it was clear that Gadhafi's forces were going to retake it. They actually had been close to the center of the city. And so, if those airstrikes didn't occur it quickly, then this would have been all over on the ground. It was absolutely necessary.

LEMON: Same question to you, General Honore. Was this fast in your estimation?

HONORE: Well, my personal opinion, we should have done this three weeks ago, but these types of attacks could happen within hours, reaped a lot of planning, done ahead of time as the coalition had. And to build the different countries to come in and participate, I think that added some of the objectives of the United States not to be the lead country, even though, indeed, we have. The other side of that is not to go it alone, to have a coalition as mandated by the U.N. But these type of attacks could happen within hours and a day anywhere in the world at any time if it needs to be done.

LEMON: You bring up a good point now. A short time left. I have about 15 seconds left. But there are many who say the international community did act pretty slowly here, General. Talk about that a bit more.

HONORE: Absolutely. I mean, he was back on his heels three weeks ago and probably would have been a lot easier to do what has been done. That being said, the opening campaign here is textbook with airplanes coming from different countries, precision weapons hitting the targets.

LEMON: And, General, that's going to have to be the last word. I hate to cut you off here, but if we don't, the computer will.

I'm Don Lemon at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. A special second hour of the CNN NEWSROOM begins right now, and for international viewers, "CNN WORLD REPORT."