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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Four Years of War; Planet in Peril: Thailand's Endangered Animal Black Market

Aired March 19, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again.
We are in Bangkok, Thailand, tonight, on the hunt for human and animal traffickers.

Also, breaking news out of Washington and Iraq.

And we will have these stories.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Marking a troubled milestone -- four years of war, where we are now.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign.


J. ROBERTS: Where we are heading -- Tonight, all the angles.

Also, the secret that nearly drove him to suicide.

THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: I will kill myself. And, then, no one will have to know. I will never have to tell. And I won't have to live like this.

J. ROBERTS: CNN's Thomas Roberts, how his trust was betrayed by the sins of the father.

And edge of extinction: endangered animals sold and slaughtered. Our hidden cameras go inside the illegal animal trade.


COOPER: Thanks for joining us. We will have more on our mission to Southeast Asia in a moment.

But, first, we begin with breaking news about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He is fighting to keep his job. And, tonight, that fight is getting tougher.

For the latest, John Roberts is in New York. Joe Johns is in Washington. Joe, let's begin with you.

A large document dump, some 3,000 pages of material -- what do we know?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, that's right. This thing has been virtually fluid all evening. Even the number of documents wasn't quite clear.

The official word now is that about 3,000 pages were sent to Capitol Hill, according to the Justice Department, apparently not in chronological order. That makes it confusing. There are a lot of e- mails here, nothing stunning that we can tell, at least so far, from listening to the Justice Department in a conference call right now.

Democrats are looking for evidence, if it exists, that would tend to show that the prosecutors were fired for political reasons. The administration has tried to make it clear that United States attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president -- no obvious smoking guns, nothing disclosed that might suggest the firings of these United States attorneys had anything to do with their handling of high- profile cases.

Now, the Justice Department has tried to make clear these people were terminated because of their performance. What the Justice Department tonight is essentially highlighting is that these are a lot of e-mails, a lot of information about the ordinary course of business, for the most part, and people concerned, to some degree, about their jobs, an e-mail chain indicating issues relating, for example, to information-sharing and so on.

The bottom-line question, really, in all of this is whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will be able to hold on to his job -- so far, politically at least, no more clear fallout on the Republican side -- back to you.

J. ROBERTS: Joe, of course, what's -- what's in question here is sort of what the level of communication was between the White House and the Department of Justice, and what potentially Alberto Gonzales knew about this whole deal.

We also hear tonight that the White House is looking to potential replacements for Alberto Gonzales, should he have to go. I guess there are arguments that are being made on both sides of this.

Arguments for him going are that there's a lot of Republicans who never liked him, didn't think that he was conservative enough, didn't really trust his views, thought he was more President Bush's lawyer, rather than a lawyer for the entire country. They think that he's looking weak in the way he handled that the scandal, particularly last week's press conference, in which he had a kind of a deer-in-the- headlights look to him, according to some conservatives that I talked to, and as well this idea that they just don't want another scandal at this point.

Of course, there are some ideas that are speaking against his firing. And those would be that many Republicans are taking a look at the landscape, now that the Democrats are in charge, saying, well, what would a confirmation battle look like if President Bush has to nominate another attorney general?

Some other things to consider, as well, that the firing is going to make it look like something indeed was wrong here, and how far up the chain does it go, kind of, as one conservative put it, cement, in the eyes of the American public, the fact that President Bush did do something wrong here.

It could also encourage Democrats, who now have the power of subpoena, to start going after -- after more people as well.

So, Joe, there's arguments on both sides here. And what is really interesting is that the Democrats are sitting back. There's a couple of flamethrowers, like Charles Schumer. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have jumped on this, too, saying that he should go.

But, for the majority, the Democrats are sitting back, saying: Well, let's -- let's take a look at these hearings and see what comes out of them.

And it's the Republicans who are fighting over whether or not Gonzales should go -- really a kind of a strange turn of events here, Joe.

JOHNS: Yes, it's a very tough situation for the White House, politically, so late in this president's administration.

On Capitol Hill, a lot of Democrats are look at it and saying: Well, you know, we sort of see a win-win. We win by bringing these people to Capitol Hill and making them answer tough questions. And we win if the administration doesn't give up all the information we're asking for.

It's a very peculiar situation in Washington right now. And, as you said, it's very interesting, looking at Alberto Gonzales. He's always been in a position, if you will, of somewhat weakness here in Washington, D.C., and this certainly isn't helping him at all -- John.

J. ROBERTS: Now, it would be prudent, of course, Joe, for the White House to begin looking for replacements, just in case Alberto Gonzales has to go.

And one of the replacements they are said to be looking at is Chertoff, who is currently the homeland security secretary. And it's also very interesting to note that he used to be a U.S. attorney in the district of New Jersey. And he is the only Republican -- he's actually the only U.S. attorney who Bill Clinton did not fire when he purged all of the U.S. attorneys back in 1993. So, if he were to become the attorney general, it's an interesting route that he took -- Anderson.

COOPER: John, Joe, guys, thanks, very much.

As we said, these 3,000 pages of documents have just literally been released probably in the last hour or so. We are going to continue to pore through them over the course of this next two hours and bring you any updates, as warranted.

We also have more breaking news tonight, this out of Iraq, where we have now entered the fifth year of the war. Just moments ago, we learned that Saddam Hussein's vice president was executed by the Iraqi government. We're just getting details on the story.

CNN's Michael Ware is live in Baghdad with the latest.

Michael, what can you tell us about it? How did it go?


It's 5:00 a.m. in the morning here, of course, in Baghdad. So, there's very little details. What we have is that the Associated Press is reporting that another major figure from Saddam Hussein's regime, Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam's former vice president and a member of the Revolutionary Command Council, has been executed for the crimes against humanity relating to his role in the deaths of 148 people in the town of Dujail in 1982 -- the news of the execution coming, of course, on the fourth anniversary of the war.


WARE (voice-over): One man, American soldiers all around him, some just yards away, exploits a blind spot in the soldier's defenses. The video was shot by al Qaeda and widely distributed in Iraq.

The man is planting bombs beneath a heavily armored Bradley's belly. He slips away. Then, it's not clear whether anyone was hurt, but the soldiers unleash a storm of fire, with nothing to shoot at. This is the war in Iraq, entering its fifth year.

And the man who did this from al Qaeda represents but one of America's enemies -- the rest, Sunni insurgents, Shia militias, and Iranian operatives equally determined, equally stealthy. American and Iraqi officials acknowledge, as many as 20,000 Sunni insurgents alone are still out there.

Despite some successes, coalition forces are attacked around 100 times a day, almost twice as often as two years ago. With America's enemies Iran and al Qaeda emboldened, it comes to this, the battle for Baghdad. These Stryker vehicles are how the U.S. forces are taking their battle into the militia- and insurgent-controlled neighborhoods, and becoming a signature of the American reinforcements ordered by President Bush.

Nearly 30,000 are coming, with 10,000 already in place. This is make-or-break time. Even the U.S. military says so.

MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM CALDWELL, U.S. ARMY SPOKESMAN, COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ: By the fall time frame, we would anticipate that we, in fact, will be able to see a discernible difference.

WARE: In this new offensive, 24 outposts have already been built across the capital, American soldiers keeping their Iraqi counterparts in check to curb their sectarian bloodletting.

The early signs are good. Sectarian murders have been down by half since mid-February -- but, last week, another spasm of killings.

CALDWELL: I would again caution everybody about patience, about diligence. This is going to take many months, not weeks.

WARE: Just two months ago, firefights raged on Haifa Street in the heart of the city. Now, U.S. commanders here concede, insurgents and militias are lying low.

Instead, the battle is intensifying outside Baghdad, such as to the north here in Diyala Province, where a Stryker battalion has just been rushed by Washington's new war commander, General David Petraeus. Petraeus will soon deploy almost a combat division, about 10,000 troops, into long-neglected rural areas where insurgent and militia groups are supported and supplied.

GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS, U.S. COMMANDER IN IRAQ: I should point out that -- that, although the focus, the priority, clearly is Baghdad, anyone who knows about securing Baghdad knows that you must also secure the Baghdad belts, in other words, the -- the areas that surround Baghdad.

WARE: He knows he must be quick. In this carnage, Iraqis continue dying in the hundreds every month -- and, now, fear sown with plumes like this one from chlorine gas bombs, three last weekend alone.

And the insurgents are improving their methods, such as when using missiles to down helicopters. With more than 3,200 American troops killed, the insurgency is evolving. This al Qaeda video shows not just one mortar, but a whole battery, teams of men trained better than ever, a mark of America's unrelenting war.


COOPER: Michael, the U.S. is quick to point out that violence is down. What are -- what's behind the numbers?

WARE: Well, it's a number of factors, Anderson. And nothing is clear at this stage.

U.S. commanders are very, very quick to caution anyone from drawing too much from what we're seeing as a gentle ebb in a particular kind of violence, sectarian murders here in the capital. A lot of that can be attributed to a number of things.

Many of the death squads of their facilitators are literally being babysat by American forces, being kept in their posts at night, when they would be out killing. Also, a lot of the militia and insurgent leaders and their apparatus have moved outside of the city, displaced. So, we're seeing more violence in other areas, such as Diyala, where General Petraeus has just had to rush a new Stryker battalion to shore up the defenses -- Anderson. COOPER: Michael Ware reporting from Baghdad on this terrible milestone today, the fourth anniversary of the war, the fifth year of the war beginning.

Michael, thank you.

The war in Iraq has now lasted longer than America's military involvement in World War I and World War II. And, while the president asks for patience, the polls tell a very different story.

CNN's Tom Foreman has the "Raw Data" and a reality check.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the numbers, Iraq has been a story of contrasts -- at first, three weeks of the planet's most powerful military sweeping up Saddam Hussein's army.


BUSH: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.


FOREMAN: Those were promising days.

BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: The mission set was not regime replacement. It was regime removal. So, if you could eliminate Saddam and his war-making capacity, that was the end of the mission, because the Iraqis were going to stand up and do everything else.

FOREMAN (on camera): So, President Bush started with high marks on the political front. From the military standpoint, coalition casualties were low.

And here is one economic measure that troubles some critics who feel that private companies which supply essential goods and services to the military, are making a lot of money during this war: The cost for one share of Halliburton stock back then, adjusted for a stock split, was around $10.

(voice-over): But the Iraqis did not step up. Even as Saddam Hussein's sons were killed and he was captured, an insurgency rose, fueled by loyalists and pictures of abused prisoners.

By the first anniversary, the president's numbers were tumbling, casualties climbing, and Halliburton stock was almost $15 a share. In the second full year of war, things improved. Coalition troops hammered insurgents. Iraqis voted freely. The president's numbers leveled off, even as American deaths rose to more than 1,000. Halliburton stock was still climbing, too, almost $22 a share.

Year three, the Iraqi government kept growing. Saddam Hussein went on trial, eventually to be executed. But the battle raged on. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died, maybe even more. (on camera): What continues to crush the president's numbers, however, is this: American deaths, more than 2,000 a year ago, now in excess of 3,000, and Halliburton stock more than $35 a share. The company says it's always supplied just what the military needs, and is proud to do so.

(voice-over): Some military analysts still say, with more troops, more time, and more money, everything could come out well. But Americans have watched the numbers, and polls now say that many of them want less money spent, fewer lives lost, fewer days until the troops come home.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Later on in the program, we will talk to two reporters who know the war better than anything else, Michael Ware in Baghdad and Michael Gordon of "The New York Times."

Also, when 360 rescues: hunting down the hunters who turn protected wildlife into profit.


J. ROBERTS (voice-over): Driven to extinction.

COOPER: Here are rare marmosets and lemurs.

"It's like a profit from gambling," this animal trafficker tells us.

J. ROBERTS: The sinister trade of species sold as pets or killed -- we take you on a raid at a market for endangered wildlife.

Also tonight, an anchor's anguish.

T. ROBERTS: I was robbed here. This place paralyzed me into thinking that I would die with this secret.

J. ROBERTS: As a teenager, he turned to his priest for help. And his priest, in turn, did the unthinkable. Anchor Thomas Roberts and the horror that nearly destroyed him -- in the next hour of 360.



COOPER: Welcome back.

We're in Bangkok, Thailand, reporting for our "Planet in Peril" series.

It's not just the environment we have been looking at. We're also focusing this week especially on the trafficking of humans and animals. Southeast Asia is the center of the illegal animal trade. It is a multibillion-dollar business, and Bangkok is ground zero.

I'm standing in middle of a sprawling market in this city. It's an animal market. Here, threatened and endangered primates and other animals can be bought and sold.

First, a little bit about our trip: We traveled halfway around the world for our "Planet in Peril" series. We flew from New York to Bangkok over the weekend. Then headed to the city of Tachilek in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, before flying back to Thailand.

This market that we're broadcasting from, the Jatujak Market, also known as the J.J. Market, is one of the biggest markets in all of Bangkok. You can buy virtually anything here. It covers about 35 acres, contains more than 15,000 shops and stalls. And some 200,000 visitors are said to come here every day.

You can buy anything, as I said, furniture, paintings, housewares, also animals. A lot of people buy their pets here.

But there is an illegal trade of animals that goes on as well. Later this week, we're focusing on the human victims of trafficking here in Thailand and Cambodia.

But, in Bangkok, in this market, we have come to report on a practice that is putting our "Planet in Peril". It is illegal, and its victims can't speak out.


COOPER (voice-over): On the weekend, in Bangkok's Jatujak Market, you can find every kind of animal for sale. Most of the trade is legal.

But, among these shops and stalls, there is a far more sinister trade as well: wildlife traffickers buying and selling endangered and threatened species. Using an undercover camera, we discover in one store endangered tortoises smuggled in from Madagascar. Here are rare marmosets and lemurs, in this cage, a slow loris, a primate nearly drive to extinction in Thailand.

The illegal trade of animals is a booming business, worth anywhere from $8 billion to $20 billion annually. And Thailand has become a major hub. Endangered animals like these are sold as pets or smuggled illegally to China and America.

"It's like a profit from gambling," this animal trafficker tells us. "We can make four times our money. We get at least double what we invest."

We agreed not to show this illegal trafficker's face or reveal his name. He uses these snares to capture endangered animals. Some of them, he sells alive. Others, he kills for body parts. He says he's been caught before, but has never gone to jail. In Thailand, the trade in wildlife has better profits than drugs, with less punishment than drugs. Thai authorities have begun to crack down. This morning, we were there when a special unit of the Thai police prepared to raid Jatujak Market.

(on camera): Thai police are getting ready to go raid Bangkok's main animal market. But they have already found several dozen animals today, some dozens of turtles here over here. And they also have several hundred small birds.

In 2006, Thai police estimate they recaptured some 10,000 wild animals. But that -- that's just a small fraction of the illegal animal trade.

(voice-over): Wildlife experts estimate, as many as a million animals are illegally traded through Thailand every year. Today, they have sent an informant with undercover cops to scope out the market. But, by the time the police arrive in force, several of the suspects' stores are shut.

(on camera): The problem for police is, as soon as they show up at the market, word spreads like wildfire that the police are here. A lot of the illegal animal traders quickly close up their gates, lock their doors. A place like this, police simply can't get in.

(voice-over): The store where their informant saw endangered animals being sold this weekend is shut. And, without direct evidence, they can't break in.

Steve Galster works with police on behalf of the Wildlife Alliance, a conservation organization.

(on camera): So, only if they can identify a species that is from Thailand and being illegally traded, can they actually break in?

STEVE GALSTER, DIRECTOR OF FIELD OPERATIONS, WILDLIFE ALLIANCE: That's right. And, with regard to species from other countries, they actually have to prove that that person smuggled it in. Otherwise, the traders here -- that's why Jatujak Market is so rife with the illegal wildlife trade.

COOPER: So, for now, they're just going to walk away?

GALSTER: They have to.

COOPER (voice-over): They do, however, have some luck in the part of the market where birds are sold.

(on camera): The police have found an illegal warehouse. This is where a lot of the animals are stored when the shops are closed. They found a number of birds. All of these should not be traded on the open market.

(voice-over): The birds are kept in poor conditions, sporadically fed, with little water. Many have died in their cages or are close to death. (on camera): Why should people care about the illegal animal trade? I mean, there's human beings being traded. Why -- why focus on animals?

GALSTER: Sure. Well, there's a couple reasons.

First, these animals could spread disease to humans, if this is not a regulated trade. Secondly, we have got to remember that wildlife laws were made by people really for people. It's based on a large body of scientific evidence that suggests, when you take one species out of an ecosystem, it has a knock-on effect to every other species, including us. So, it's really based out of fear and self- survival that we protect wildlife.

COOPER (voice-over): Police recover more than 100 birds, but no arrests are made.

Until Thai laws begin to punish people who traffic in endangered animals, there's little chance this illegal trade will stop.


COOPER: Now, in this Jatujak Market, most of the animals which are being sold here are sold perfectly legally. People buy their pets here.

Look at -- there are a lot of beautiful little puppies here that families will come and buy on a weekend. But it is the illegal trade that has animal activists and conservationists so concerned.

Coming up after the break, we sent wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin across the border into Burma, the country now known as Myanmar, to see just how easy -- how porous the borders are, and how animals taken from there are brought into Thailand illegally.

Also ahead tonight on 360: anchor Thomas Roberts, his remarkable story, what happened to him as a -- as a teenager, abused by a priest he and his family trusted.

We will have that story ahead on 360 in our next hour. Stay tuned.


COOPER: Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is one of the more repressive countries in the world.

They share a border with Thailand. And you're about to see just how porous that border is. It's not just opium and humans that are trafficked across the border here into Thailand. The illegal wildlife trade is the world's second most lucrative black market. And a number of species are nearly extinct because of it.

Wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin, who also joined us recently in the Amazon rain forest, is traveling with us again this week. So is Steve Galster, who is helping Thai police on behalf of a conservation organization. We will talk to him a little bit later on.

This past weekend, Jeff and Steve used a hidden camera to investigate. Tonight, they're "Keeping Them Honest."


JEFF CORWIN, HOST, "THE JEFF CORWIN EXPERIENCE" (voice-over): It's only a 45-minute drive north from the airport at the northern Thailand town of Chiang Rai before we reach the border of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

It is a place that we have heard that the illegal animal trade thrives, and it does so in plain view.

This is Steve Galster. He's one of the original co-founders of the wildlife protection group known as the Wildlife Alliance. He often visits this area to check on what species are for sale, who's buying and who's selling.

(on camera): Who are the primary clients? Who is this market doing business with?

STEVE GALSTER, DIRECTOR OF FIELD OPERATIONS, WILDLIFE ALLIANCE: What you will see today is, mainly, you have got the mainland Chinese tourists that are on their way to Thailand. This is one of their stop-off points. You will see Thais as well, maybe Taiwanese. It's mainly Asian tourists, mixed in with some backpackers from Europe.

CORWIN: Who are the people that are in charge here? Who are the people that -- that are controlling these operations?

GALSTER: Well...

CORWIN: Why is the government not getting involved?

GALSTER: We don't think that the central Burmese government is really fully in control here. It's really anybody's guess as to what kind of politics are taking place behind the scenes, what kind of deals are being struck. But what's clear is that this is an unregulated zone.

CORWIN: This is Neil, our cameraman. We're about to check out one of the local wildlife markets. We want to get some footage. So what we've done is we've wired Neil up right here. We've got this camera right here. That buttonhole right there is where the lens is.


CORWIN: So we're using techniques of espionage to hopefully document the goings on, the sale of wildlife parts in this market.

(voice-over) Our plan is to pose as tourists interested in buying animal products.

Moving between these two countries is relatively simple. We just cross a small river, clear immigration and then we are in Myanmar. (on camera) What's this?

Sex CD's, some pornography right here. Can I see this? You like the camera. Welcome to the land of the black market. It's incredible. Just hustle and bustle border town. Sort of like a no man's land.

We just crossed over from northern Thailand, and we're going to check this place out.

There is nothing here that isn't for sale. You want counterfeit CDs, cigarettes, drugs, you'll find it here. This is also the place to find black market wildlife.

(voice-over) And it doesn't take long to find it.

(on camera) This one stall we have tons and tons animal product right here.

Wow. How much is this? How much?


CORWIN: Eight hundred. Look at this incredible hornbill.

Very endangered species right here. Incredibly rare. It's a Gibbons skull.

(voice-over) The sale of most of these animals violates a treaty known as CITES, or the Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species.

The international community is trying to make a dent in this trade, but it's tough. The Wildlife Alliance thinks that at least $4 billion of illegal wildlife trade is sold in Southeast Asia annually.

(on camera) So these guys here would be relatively small timers. I think if we go around the corner one might find someone who might be slightly bigger time trader. This is kind of your introduction to wildlife trading.

(voice-over) We move down the street, find what feels like more of a sophisticated operation. It's only a matter of minutes in the store when a mother and daughter team pull out a crate brimming with cat pelts.

Most of what they show us are endangered: spotted leopard, the mysterious clouded leopard, even jungle cats. Their asking prices range from just a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the quality of the pelt and the rarity of the species.

We tell her we're not interested, but it's likely someone will be and unlikely, if they buy these pelts, they'll get caught.

During our day in the market we never saw one police officer or even one wildlife official. As we crossed back into Thailand, there were no searches. No one even checked our backpacks.


COOPER: Jeff joins us -- Jeff joins us again now. Why should people care about this? I mean, yes, it's sad that animals are getting killed and that these species are getting lost and threatened. Why does that matter in the big picture?

CORWIN: Ultimately, the health of human beings is very much connected to the natural world. So when we lose species, there is an impact, not only in nature and in habitat but in human beings, as well.

You know, the black market trade in wildlife spans anywhere from percent10 to possibly $20 billion. And that's how big the industry is. And Southeast Asia plays a huge role in it. Easily a quarter percent of that is falling right here in this part of the world.

COOPER: And there -- there was all out in the open over there in Burma.

CORWIN: That's really what I found most incredible about this experience, is that there was no attempt to hide it. There were no curtains. We could literally walk up stalls, peer into the little glass boxes and see everything laid out for sale.

And what really struck me is the amount of endangered species we encountered there. At one show we saw upwards to 10, 15 different animals.

COOPER: It's remarkable. We're going to be traveling with Jeff all week long, both here in Thailand and also in Cambodia, where we'll also be focusing on sex trafficking, the trafficking of women and especially children.

You can read more about the illegal animal trade and our experiences here in southeast Asia on the blog. Just check out That's blog.

Now let's go back to John Roberts in New York, weighing the cost of the war in Washington. We'll have the raw politics of Iraq tonight.

Also, "Sins of the Father". Headline News anchor Thomas Roberts and the abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest as a teen. That's coming up.


COOPER: Last week we brought you a rare, firsthand account of abuse suffered at hands of a trusted Catholic priest. We called the special hour "Sins of the Father". It was a raw, sometimes graphic look at what happened to one of our own, Headline News Thomas Roberts. We got such an overwhelming response from viewers that we decided to bring it to you again in our next hour. You'll see it in its entirety, coming up at the 11 p.m. hour. Here's a quick preview.


THOMAS ROBERTS, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: I was robbed here of, you know, my self-respect, of my own image. You know, part of my soul even. I mean, this place paralyzed me into thinking that I would die with this secret. I would die with this secret.

COOPER (voice-over): At 15 years old Thomas Robert was trapped, trapped by the one person he was supposed to trust, his counselor, his priest, Father Jeff Toohey.

ROBERTS: It's probably the worst place you can be in your life, because there's so much shame that goes along with this. There's secrecy. There's shame. There's self-hatred, self-doubt. Every mixed up emotion you can have that you don't feel that you can talk to anybody about. It was a prison. I mean, it was like backing me into a corner with nowhere to go.


COOPER: You can hear the rest of Thomas Roberts' story in the next hour, 360, in our special report, "Sins of the Father".

Now back to the war in Iraq. As we told you earlier, today marks the fourth anniversary. At the White House, President Bush offered his opinion where the mission stands. So did the Democrats and so did the people. That's topping our look at raw politics tonight.

With more, CNN's John Roberts joins us from New York -- John.

ROBERTS: Hey, Anderson.

As year five begins in Iraq, President Bush returned to his optimistic assessments for the future there, declaring that the fight is difficult, but it can be won.

And he said his new plan to secure Baghdad could work, if America has the patience.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Prime Minister Maliki and General Petraeus emphasize that the Baghdad security plan is still in its early stages. And success will take months, not days or weeks. Yet those on the ground are seeing hopeful signs.


ROBERTS: Americans, though, aren't in a patient mood. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll finds 63 percent oppose the war in Iraq. And here's something interesting. Opposition among Americans over 50, traditionally more supportive of war, has grown faster than younger people. The majority of Americans over 50, 52 percent, now strongly oppose the war.

That impatience boiled over on Capitol Hill today. Opponents of the war lashed out at Republicans and Democrats, saying the heck with 2008. Bring the troops home now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They tell us to just wait. They tell us to wait till August or September of 2008. Well, if my loved one were in a car with a drunk drive somewhere somebody said to me, "Well, just wait till 2008 and then we'll get them out of the car," I wouldn't accept that.


ROBERTS: Presidential candidate John McCain spent the beginning of the fifth year thinking about veterans, attending the opening of Buckingham place, an apartment building for homeless vets in Nashua, New Hampshire.

McCain is hoping for a repeat of the 2000 campaign, when he won the New Hampshire primary.

Hillary Clinton was in Philadelphia, city of big shoulders, today, throwing some elbows around, complaining that President Bush won't end the war.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the reasons why I believe I am best prepared, most qualified, and ready to serve on day one is because I think I can extract us from Iraq in right way.


ROBERTS: Of course, one of the reasons why the war won't end while George Bush is president is because Democrats won't use their newfound power of the purse to cut funding. And until they do, their critics say all the rhetoric is so much political theater. And that's raw politics for tonight -- Anderson.

COOPER: John, thanks very much.

Coming up next on 360, we'll have an update on our breaking news story from the top of the hour. Three thousand pages of documents, e- mails, from the Justice Department just released about an hour or an hour and a half ago. We are combing through the documents. We'll have you the latest. They all relate to those firings of the U.S. attorneys all throughout the United States.

Also ahead tonight, the reality of the war in Iraq on the ground on this fourth anniversary, now entering the fifth year of the war. We'll talk to "New York Times" reporter Michael Gordon and CNN's Michael Ware in Baghdad.


COOPER: And that's how the war began. Four years ago, with what was called Shock and Awe. Remember that? Tonight, the shock and awe has given way to second guessing and serious questions.

Two journalists who know the war from inside out are CNN's Michael Ware and "New York Times" chief military correspondent, Michael Gordon. Both joined me earlier to talk about a troubled mission.


COOPER: Michael Ware, over the weekend, Prime Minister al-Maliki said that the sectarian threat is all but over and that al Qaeda is now the main enemy, the main threat in Iraq. Is that true?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's certainly not how his American counterparts either the civilian administrators in the embassy, the diplomats nor the U.S. military commanders here on the ground see it. They still say that they're facing a sectarian conflict, a civil war, Anderson.

COOPER: Michael Gordon, some attacks are down. Certainly, sectarian attacks are down. What is going on? Are the militias simply lying low?

MICHAEL GORDON, CHIEF MILITARY CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, Anderson, there has been a shift, I would say, in the threat, in that some of the Shiite militias have gone to ground. Some have left Baghdad, but by no means all.

But to a certain extent they're lying low. They may be trying to outwait the Americans. That's what's happening in terms of some of the Shiite militias.

But Al Qaeda of Iraq, the Sunni-based insurgent group, has really picked up the pace. And they've been launching an increased number of car bomb attacks. And so at least in the short term, al Qaeda of Iraq and the Sunni-based insurgency has become a bigger threat than the Shiite militias and a more proximate cause of the violence in Baghdad now.

COOPER: And Michael Ware, we've heard that from General Petraeus, who said, look, a military solution is not possible by itself, that there have to be other things going forward.

Are there other things going forward, political, economic, social? Are there improvements in those areas? Is the Iraqi government able to capitalize on this drop in violence, no matter whatever the cause of it may be?

WARE: Well, we've certainly been looking to, Anderson, but we've been hearing this from U.S. commanders almost since Saddam's statue fell in April 2003, that this was going to require a broad-based solution, that it won't be won on the battlefield alone. That it's going to require political efforts, reconciliation, economic upswing. Over and over, we've heard this.

Now they're looking for Maliki to capitalize on the relative calm that is in the capital as a civil war is taking a breath. But at the end of the day, none of the fundamental building blocks of real power in this country are being addressed, either as a result of the surge or any of the political endeavors.

Political power is still carved up by the Shia militias, many whom, western intelligence claims, are backed by Iran. None of that is effective. And the infrastructure of the Sunni insurgency and the Shia militias that was in Baghdad, though pressured, still intact.

We've seen it simply shift outside of the city. Look at Diyala province. That's where a lot of the fight has moved. Violence has become so bad that the new war commander, General Petraeus, had to rush a battalion of Strykers to shore up the defenses, Anderson.

COOPER: And finally, Michael Gordon, the time line that U.S. military commanders like Petraeus are talking about seems at odds with the time line that we're hearing from politicians in the United States. At some point those two time lines have to come together. How does that happen?

GORDON: Well, right now, Anderson, there is a disconnect, really, between the realities in Iraq and the political situation in Washington. In the Congress now, you have people debating all sorts of resolutions that would begin the withdrawal of troops and people are doing that. The surge has failed.

In fact, the surge is just in the early stages of getting under way. And Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, who is really the No. 2 commander in Iraq, he has submitted a -- his own personal recommendation to General Petraeus, which is that the surge be extended through February 20008. What General Petraeus has said, that it should go well beyond the summer.

So I think there's a sense in the theater in Iraq that this is really an ambitious undertaking. If it begins to work, it's going to take some efforts to sustain. I think it's a more sober realization of the task ahead.

And you have to contrast that with what we have in Washington, which is really a lot of impatience with the situation in Iraq and not a lot of, well, not a lot of patience to see things through. And there is a contradiction between the two, which is yet to be resolved, and that's really going to be the political drama for the rest of this year.

COOPER: Michael Gordon, Michael Ware, appreciate you guys. Thank you.

When we return, a desperate search for a missing Boy Scout stretches into its third day. We'll have the latest details on that.

We're live from Bangkok, Thailand. Stay tuned.


COOPER: We want to update you on some breaking news we told you about earlier. Questions about U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' role in the firings of several U.S. prosecutors have led the Justice Department to release thousands of documents related to the probe.

CNN's Joe Johns has been working the story all night. He joins me from Washington.

Joe, what are you learned?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the official word now, approximately 3,000 pages sent to Capitol Hill according to the Justice Department, apparently not in chronological order. There are a lot of e-mails. Nothing stunning, nothing that jumps out at you so far.

Democrats, of course, looking for evidence, if it exists, that tends to show the Democrats -- the prosecutors, I'm sorry, were fired for political reasons.

The administration trying to make clear that the United States attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. Also the Justice Department trying to bolster its case that there were no improper reasons for the firings and no retaliation, attempting to stress that these firings of the United States attorneys were not related to their handling of high-profile cases.

The Justice Department has tried to make clear that these people were terminated because of their performance -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Joe, thanks.

In a moment, five years into the Iraq war, a picture you haven't seen from the war zone, taken by an American serviceman. But first, John Roberts is in New York with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- John.

ROBERTS: Hey, Anderson.

We should also add that, while there are reports out tonight that Republican officials have began looking for a replacement for Alberto Gonzales at the behest of the White House, the White House itself insists that no such search is under way?

In North Carolina tonight, though, the search does continue for a missing 12-year-old Boy Scout. Michael Auberry disappeared Saturday during a camping trip. Rescuers are using heat sensitive equipment and dog teams to search throughout the night.

Searchers found his mess kit on Saturday but have uncovered no other sign of the boy.

The FDA is still trying to figure out what made dogs and cats sick after eating pet food produced by Menu Foods and sold under different names nationwide. AT least ten animals have died, and several have fallen ill.

Menu Foods recalled more than 60 million cans of the food on Friday. The company is urging pet owners to check its web site,, for a complete list of the recalled foods.

A slew of merger and acquisition deals fuels a broad rally in the U.S. stocks today. The Dow climbed more than 115 points. The S&P 500 gained more than 15 points, and the NASDAQ rose nearly 22 points. All in all, a good day in the markets, which is nice for a change -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, it sure is, John. Thanks very much.

"The Shot" tonight was sent to us by Jose Barientos (ph), a viewer who served two six-month tours in Iraq with the Air Force. He took this photo during a patrol in southern Iraq.

He stopped to give water and snacks to local Bedouin people. While he was talking to some of them, these little kids somehow managed to climb up onto his hummer, which appears to work well as a jungle gym. It's a lighthearted moment in a war that has become increasingly grim. And a reminder that kids are sometimes still kids even in a war zone.

We want you to give "The Shot" a shot. If you see some amazing video or still photograph like the one we just got sent, tell us about it at We'll put some of your best clips and pictures on the air.

Up next tonight, a story of abuse against a teenage boy by a trusted Catholic priest. A story difficult to tell, and it happened to one of our own, Headline News anchor Thomas Roberts. A special report, "Sins of the Father", is next on 360.