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U.S. Aid Assisting Efforts in the Bahamas; Sixth Death Linked to Vaping; First Soldiers Born After 9/11 Entering the Military. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired September 11, 2019 - 10:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right. So search and rescue crews still cannot reach -- can you believe that? -- still cannot reach some of the most remote parts of the Bahamas. This is all following the devastation and the destruction of Hurricane Dorian.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Yes. So many people that are just crying out for help. in the areas they can reach, rescuers are going island by island, house by house, searching for survivors.

Our Paula Newton, she traveled to Great Guana Cay and saw, firsthand, the devastation it left behind there. Paula, you know, you've been on the ground through all of this, given us such a vision from the ground. Tell us just how bad it is where you've been today.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, again, when you go through these islands, I can't even tell you that people are getting over the shock of just having survived it.

But now, they need to understand what it will take to rebuild. And to be honest, it's been quite terrifying for them. When they see anybody official -- keep in mind, another island we've gone to, they still hadn't seen anyone from the Bahamian government yet. So to see U.S. aid on the ground there, trying to help them out, came as a great relief. Take a listen.


NEWTON (voice-over): It's tough but crucial to reach every corner and crevice of these battered islands. We touched down in the now-scarred Great Guana Cay on a mission with the United States Agency for International Development, USAID. They've tasked Search and Rescue from Fairfax County, Virginia to help out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here used to be the police station.

NEWTON (voice-over): Local residents give them some bearings --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one's missing so far, that I know of.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So that's -- I mean, really, really good news.

NEWON (voice-over): -- and they get an assessment. Incredibly, no one has died here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys, help -- help unload the truck over there while we talk to the head honcho.

NEWTON (voice-over): They help stock food in the church -- now a makeshift shelter -- offer medical assessments, and then move on to a house-to-house search, gathering intel for the Bahamian government as they try and get a handle on the magnitude of what happened here.


DANIEL GAJEWSKI, FAIRFAX COUNTY URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE: So what we've done is, I've walked around the building, I've assessed the building to make sure that no one's calling out, nobody's in there. So I mark it "clear."

NEWTON (voice-over): The truth is, Dorian's cuts through these islands and cays were menacing. The Cat 5 storm path is in red, and it slashed right through the Abacos. You can see Great Guana Cay, just north of its path. The darker the dots, the more structures destroyed or damaged. USAID says the first sweep of all the islands and cays is now nearly complete.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lately, it has been a lot of reconnaissance, a lot of building structures. And then from there, kind of getting a pulse on the locals, on what they need.

NEWTON (voice-over): Getting to isolated local residents has been a challenge. And because of money and means, there has been an island divide. Places like Guana Cay are only now getting any kind of official help. It's been the wealthy patrons of the exclusive Baker's Bay Golf Club on the island that have sent private helicopters and supplies, even evacuating the injured and vulnerable, residents say.

Tom Brady, a star quarterback for the New England Patriots, posted that his family had been traveling to the Abacos for many years, adding it was "now our responsibility to help them."

TEXT: Tom Brady: Our family has been traveling to the beautiful paradise of The Abacos for many years and we are devastated by the events of this tragic hurricane. While visiting we've built relationships with the incredible Bahamians who call these islands home, and now it's our responsibility to help them. Friends of mine have started The Abaco Relief Fund which will ensure 100 percent of donations go --

TROY ALBURY, CHIEF, GREAT GUANA CAY FIRE DEPARTMENT: I am not the biggest fan of Baker's Bay, I have not been. I fought them for 10 years in court because I didn't want that golf course built, but they have been our savior during this.

This is going to take a lot of money, a lot of time and a lot of dedication. And I pretty much stood up in the meeting last night and cried. I said, "We can't do it alone. We need help, lots of help."

NEWTON (voice-over): USAID will continue to help with recovery efforts, taking its cue from the Bahamian government. But the truth is, some locals have lost everything and have no insurance. It was just too expensive in recent years. The cruelty of this storm did not distinguish between rich and poor. But already, the recovery has.


NEWTON: You know, and you see the raw emotion there, right, Jim and Poppy? This is more than a week afterwards, and everyone is still so close to falling apart, every time you see them. And who wouldn't be, right?

Jerry Simonson and I, who have been on these islands, every time we have gone -- every time we have gone, we have seen people and their spirit to rebuild, even when things have been completely flattened, taken right down their own foundation. They scavenge through their own belongings to find a pair of socks, a pair of anything to wear. And yet the message they want everyone to know is, they want to rebuild.

HARLOW: Paula, that last line of your piece was so haunting. The storm did not distinguish between rich and poor, but the recovery has. And that is just not how it should be.


HARLOW: Thank you for staying there. I know you have family and everyone you guys want to be with, and you're there for this. Thank you very much, Paula.

A dire warning today from a huge medical group about e-cigarettes. And they say stop using them immediately, after more hospitalizations and yet another death linked to vaping.



HARLOW: A stark warning this morning from the American Lung Association, now joining the CDC and the American Medical Association, and flat-out telling people not to use e-cigarettes. It's a huge deal.

The new warning comes after a sixth person has died from lung disease related to vaping.

SCIUTTO: CNN's Tom Foreman, he is live in Washington. He's been covering this story. Tom, this is a pretty definitive warning. They're clearly trying to get ahead of this.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. Because, look, the vaping business has been absolutely exploding, for years now, particularly among younger people. And now, you see these warnings coming out. If you look at the different agencies that have stepped up and said,

"There's something that we should be considering about this, because this does not look good," the CDC, the American Medical Association, the American Lung Association, all saying something's going on and we're worried.

And this is the reason why. Look at this map. The CDC has looked at the prevalence of this, and these problems, these mysterious lung illnesses that are showing up in people who have been vaping. All those states had reported these things, more than 450 possible cases in 34 states, one U.S. territory. And now, we have a half-dozen deaths.

That's why these agencies are speaking up. They're saying, "Look, it looks like something is going on with young people who vape" -- all people, frankly, but particularly, they're worried about young people who vape, that is making them get very ill and, in some cases, die. That's what's got this so heated up now.

HARLOW: Of course. And all the flavors that used to be allowed for all of these, like bubble gum, you know, got a lot of --


HARLOW: -- these kids hooked on it.

Can I just ask you? Because I have friends who have quit smoking and they use e-cigarettes, they've used them in my house before. I said to one this weekend, like, "Don't do that!" And they said, "No, no, no. It's fine, that was just a few cases and it's, you know, like, I think the vitamin E that can line the lungs or used improperly." Do we know? Like, do we know if it's the actual vaping that is causing the deaths?

FOREMAN: Well, your friend is right in the sense that there are a lot of questions, still, about what exactly is happening here. The question is, is it the basic vape product? Is it some kind of additive? Is it some unique combination of that in certain users? We don't know.

HARLOW: Right.


FOREMAN: What we do know, is that there does appear to be some kind of problem. And, yes, you'd be hard-pressed to find any medical professional in this country who would say it's a good idea to go forward with this.

I know people like it, I know some people think it's fine, but the evidence is suggesting it is certainly not a good thing for you. And until some of these questions are cleared up, it could be a very bad thing for you.

HARLOW: We'll stay on this, for sure.

FOREMAN: Certainly.

HARLOW: Tom Foreman, thank you very, very much.

SCIUTTO: Other news we're following, at least eight people have been injured after a tornado ripped through Sioux Falls, South Dakota overnight. There is extensive damage there, trees and power lines are down. The hospital as well, in Sioux Falls, sustained major damage.

Patients were evacuated after the windows in the lobby were blown out, pictures there. And take a look at this. The walls of this auto parts store, peeled away by those winds --


SCIUTTO: -- that is one powerful storm there.

HARLOW: All right. Eighteen years, that is how long U.S. Army soldiers have been fighting in Afghanistan. Of course, America's longest-running war. And now, the first soldiers born after the September 11th attacks, they are entering the service. We'll talk about that, and what it means, ahead.



HARLOW: As we, of course, remember and honor the victims and the heroes of 9/11 today, we're remembering those who have given everything to keep America safe since that day. More than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, of course, 16 of them this year.

SCIUTTO: Yes, of course. Many others in Iraq.

A new article in "Esquire" magazine, titled, "The Next Generation of Soldiers: Inside One Recruit's Pursuit of the Forever War," focuses on the first Army recruiting class born after 9/11, remarkable to imagine.

Joining us now is Matt Gallagher. He's a U.S. Army veteran, and he's the author of that article. Matt, thanks so much for coming on.

MATT GALLAGHER, AUTHOR AND FORMER U.S. ARMY CAPTAIN: I appreciate you all having me.

SCIUTTO: You know, this, it's just remarkable, 18 years later. Of course, it's a measure of the length of the war, that you have people now entering military service, old enough to -- who weren't alive that day, when the towers came down.

But it's also a personal story about the kinds of young men and women, drawn into service today.


SCIUTTO: I wonder, as you speak to them, what's drawing them in? What's their sense of the mission?

GALLAGHER: You know, I think the young people joining the military today are joining for the same reasons all previous generations have joined, for social pride, for cultural pride, to be part of something bigger than themselves, for economic mobility.

You know, Jann Arroyo Morales, the focus of the "Esquire" piece, all those reasons were part of his answer, why he wants to be an infantryman in the United States Army. And I was so inspired by that, right? That we as a country are still producing people like Jann.

At the same time, you know, when I thought about it more, I was a little taken aback, realizing that we're going to send this young man, very likely, to the same war that I fought in over a decade ago.



GALLAGHER: And what does that mean for us as a country, and as a republic?

HARLOW: You write beautifully. I encourage everyone to read the piece. And you talk about how carefully Jann made this decision, how he thought about it over time, and spoke to those close to him.

And to your point, you write this. Quote, "A country that still produces young people such as this is inspiring, I believe that. But a country that still sends young people such as this into the same foreign war that I fought in, more than a decade ago, is not." How have you wrestled with that? And how does someone like Jann -- or does Jann -- wrestle with that yet?

GALLAGHER: You know, I think I wrestle with it the way a lot of veterans of my generation do, you know. Vacillate between being angry and frustrated, and then, you know, trying to find outlets that are positive and constructive for us as a country, for us --


GALLAGHER: -- as a collective. You know, for Jann, you know, as sincere and idealistic as he is, he's still 17, right? And it was -- for me, spending time with him and his family and his friends, it was a stark reminder of just how young these people are, that fill our ranks, that go abroad to protect and defend all of us. You know, they're giving their youths (ph) to this.

And the least we can do, I think, as a country and as a people, is ask why. And demand, from our elected leaders, concrete, clear answers as to why.

SCIUTTO: It's always struck me because --


SCIUTTO: -- I spent a lot of time in Iraq and Afghanistan, with -- embedded with U.S. forces, that we as a country depend on a tiny fraction of this country, of this population, to fight these wars. And that's led to multiple deployments. I mean, asking things of these soldiers, men and women, that this country has never asked before, over such a length of time.

And I just wonder, because you were in Jann's shoes, in effect, 18 years ago, college kid, joined ROTC but certainly didn't expect, you know, to be going to a war. What's your view of that? Do you look and say, "Now's the time to end these wars"?

GALLAGHER: I lean that way, personally. That, you know, if we haven't accomplished something in 18 years, what can be accomplished by 18 more? On the other hand, I'd be the first to admit that I don't have a Top Secret clearance. I'm not privy to all the details that those in the national security apparatus are.

So more than anything, you know, I think the citizenry needs to engage their elected leaderships about the Authorized Use of Military Force. That AUMF that potentially will send Jann to Afghanistan here, in a year or so, is older than he is, right?


GALLAGHER: Congress has continually, since 2001, failed to do their duty of declaring war, right?



GALLAGHER: That's why they're there. So I'd just encourage anybody listening, who feels strongly about this stuff, however they feel about it, demand your elected leadership to weigh in on this, as is in the Constitution for them to do, that they need to fulfill their constitutional responsibility. And us as voters, as people, need to be doing that to protect our service members, the same way they're protecting us abroad (ph).


SCIUTTO: Get involved.


SCIUTTO: The soldiers like yourself, you commanded forces in Iraq --


SCIUTTO: -- in combat. You've done your part. It's on all of us --

HARLOW: Yes, more --

SCIUTTO: -- to do our part, to be part of --

HARLOW: -- than your part.

SCIUTTO: -- this conversation.

Listen, Matt Gallagher --

HARLOW: Thank you.


SCIUTTO: -- it's a fantastic piece in "Esquire," very much worth reading, about a product of the Forever War.

HARLOW: Thank you for your service. And to all who serve. Thank you, Matt.

GALLAGHER: I appreciate that, yes.

SCIUTTO: Thanks so much to all of you for joining us today, on this 9/11 anniversary. I'm Jim Sciutto.

HARLOW: I'm Poppy Harlow. We will see you back here tomorrow morning. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" starts next.