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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Live From Iraq; President's Address; Changing War Message; Bombing the Bombers; Fallen Prophet; War's Hard Facts

Aired September 13, 2007 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We begin with President Bush's address to the nation, trumpeting a reduction in violence and emphasizing that some troops will begin to return home.
Return on success, that's the new tagline the president was touting tonight. As the president put it, the more successful we are, the more American troops can return home.

Well, we have been here in Iraq all week, checking to see how the statements by the administration and General Petraeus square with the facts.

Today, there were two big ones that challenge Mr. Bush's optimism. That Sunni sheik he met with during his visit to Al Anbar Province earlier this month, the one who used to support terror group al Qaeda in Iraq and switched to supporting the U.S., he was blown up today in a car bomb.

The president tonight acknowledged that, while pointing to progress in Al Anbar. He also talked about the provinces sharing oil revenues, in fact, though negotiations to hammer out a deal hit another snag today.

We will talk more about those facts and all the angles tonight, including Iran and presidential politics.

First, the president, the speech.

And, for that, we turn to CNN's Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, no surprises, certainly nothing that will satisfy critics, but still an important moment this evening. After four-and-a-half years of war, the commander in chief said something he has never said before.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq, we can begin seeing troops come home.


CROWLEY: The president's plan for troop withdrawal is not big enough or soon enough to satisfy critics, but it does move the political debate forward, from whether troops should come home to how many and when.

It will not sit well with the president's opponents that he is now talking with Iraqi leaders about an extended U.S. stay.


BUSH: They understand that their success will require U.S. political, economic and security engagement that extends beyond my presidency. These Iraqi leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America. And we are ready to begin building that relationship in a way that protects our interests in the region and requires many fewer American troops.


COOPER: Candy, this long-term commitment was not what the American people were told would be needed during the buildup to the war.

CROWLEY: Well, and -- and it's going to be a problem, I think.

You know, when you talk to people on Capitol Hill, even critics of the president, all of them have known that U.S. troops could not come out quickly, that it would take a year or two years.

But, when the president starts talking about troops staying there beyond my administration, a long-term stay there, I think this is something that will be the source of conversation, because it is not what people thought they were buying into.

COOPER: All right.

Along with Candy Crowley, Michael Ware is joining me in Baghdad. Also with us, former Presidential Adviser David Gergen and the newest member of the best political team on television, CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

Gloria, welcome to 360. Good to have you here at CNN.

Michael, let's start off with you.

What was your overall of the president's speech?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, my first impression is, wow. I mean, it's one thing to return to the status quo, to the situation we had nine months ago, with 130,000 U.S. troops stuck here for the foreseeable future. It's another thing to perpetuate the myth. I mean, I won't go into detail, like the president's characterizations of the Iraqi government as an ally, or that the people of Anbar, who support the Sunni insurgency, asked America for help, or to address this picture of a Baghdad that exists only in the president's mind.

Let me just refer to this, what the president said, that, if America were to be driven out of Iraq, extremists of all strains would be emboldened. They are now. Al Qaeda could gain new recruits and new sanctuaries. They have that now. Iran would benefit from the chaos and be encouraged in its efforts to gain nuclear weapons and dominate the region. It is now. Iraq would face a humanitarian -- humanitarian crisis. It does now. And that we would leave our children a far more dangerous world. That's happening now. That's wow.

COOPER: Gloria Borger, who was watching this from Washington, your impressions. You said that, today, you could not find a Republican who wanted President Bush to give this speech. Why?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think Republicans, many of whom are now critics of this war, were very willing to stand with General Petraeus. There was a sense that the general did quite well in his testimony on Capitol Hill.

If you look at public opinion polls, the public trusts the generals to figure out what to do next in the war more than they do the president or even the Congress.

And so, Republicans were saying, it was fine with us to stand with Petraeus. By the president going on television tonight, he is reminding the American public that this is, of course, the policy of George W. Bush that they are supporting.

And -- and this comes from Republican presidential candidates as well. They would just as soon that the president had kept quiet and just leave Petraeus' statements stand for themselves.

COOPER: David Gergen, let's play the -- the sound bite that Michael Ware was referring to about the consequences of failing here in Iraq.

Let's listen.


BUSH: If we were to be driven out of Iraq, extremists of all strains would be emboldened. al Qaeda could gain new recruits and new sanctuaries. Iran would benefit from the chaos and would be encouraged in its efforts to gain nuclear weapons and dominate the region.

Extremists could control a key part of the global energy supply. Iraq could face a humanitarian nightmare. Democracy movements would be violently reversed. We would leave our children to face a far more dangerous world.


COOPER: David, do you agree with Michael, that that's happening now?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Much of what he said is already happening, as Michael Ware has reported.

At the same time, Anderson, this has become the most effective argument the president has for keeping a substantial number of troops in Iraq, and it's one that's appealing to Republican moderates. It's one that's made Democrats scared of pulling the plug totally on this.

And I think it's one that's going to give the president enough support to get his plan basically -- to get it through the Congress. I don't think the Congress is going to change his plan.

What I do think emerged tonight was what you started with, in that what was new tonight was about this enduring, long-term commitment to Iraq. What we know is that the president met earlier today with a handful of journalists. And it's been reported out of that, that he talked about signing up an agreement with Iraq that would commit the United States to the security of Iraq, in much the same way we have been committed to Korea.

We have been now in Korea for over half-a-century. That was a major, dramatic commitment by the United States that required the approval of the United States' Congress. If the president is seriously talking about such a commitment -- and he certainly hinted heavily at that tonight -- that would be a major new commitment, going well past his presidency, and will cause a storm on Capitol Hill.

COOPER: No doubt about that.

Candy, the president also spoke about really both parties coming together. Let's listen to that.


BUSH: The way forward I have described tonight makes it possible, for the first time in years, for people who have been on opposite sides of this difficult debate to come together.


COOPER: Is there room for both sides to come together at this point?

CROWLEY: Look, there is room in the middle, but they're not going to come together the way the president's talking about.

Some moderate Republicans that we have heard publicly on the Senate side and on the House side have said, listen, it's time to get out of there. So, what the Democrats are now trying to do is get enough Republicans on board on Capitol Hill to try to force the president's hand further.

There's a couple of amendments. They're going to get to these votes next week when the defense authorization bill comes up. So, the battle doesn't end tonight. The battle begins tonight. And the president, you know, what -- his real audience tonight, Anderson, was those Republicans who are being wooed by the Democrats.

COOPER: Michael, the president also spoke about the Iraqi government and -- and the need to pressure the Iraqi government. I want to play what -- what he said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Now, the Iraqi government must bring the same determination to achieving reconciliation. This is an enormous undertaking after more than three decades of tyranny and division. The government has not met its own legislative benchmarks. And, in my meetings with Iraqi leaders, I have made it clear that they must.


COOPER: Can this government, the Maliki government, be pressured?

WARE: Well, Anderson, it might be surprising, but there are very real limits to the pressure America can apply to this government.

COOPER: Even with all the money we have poured in, even...


WARE: Oh, absolutely. Look, forget all that. I mean, there's other people willing to provide just the same, if not more. You know, Iran has built far more radio stations, TV stations. It funds far more newspapers and hospitals than America does.

I mean, it's one thing to pressure Maliki. He doesn't exist without America. He is a lame duck. You can really screw him down. But his government is a different thing. Many of its factions are much more ideologically aligned to Tehran than to America. So, there's no carrots.

The best thing is the stick, the Anbar tribes, the Sunni Baath insurgency. Beat them with that. And that's what America's doing.

COOPER: The U.S. -- but the U.S. talks about reconciliation and the need for -- for Shia-led government to -- to reconcile with Sunni, even former Sunni insurgents. Does this government -- do -- so the Sunnis want to reconcile?

WARE: Not the ones that I'm talking to, certainly not the power brokers. I mean, I'm talking about the heads of the largest Shia militias in this country, men who sit in the parliament, men who are the chairmen of the security and defense committees, the parliamentary oversight watchdog committees.

These men are not looking for reconciliation. What they want is America to get out of the way and let us loose.

COOPER: Gloria, Senator Jack Reed gave the Democratic response. I want to play an excerpt from that.


SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: A nation eager for change in Iraq heard the President speak about his plans for the future. But, once again, the president failed to provide either a plan to successfully end the war or a convincing rationale to continue it.


COOPER: Gloria, do the Democrats have many options?


BORGER: No, the Democrats really don't have any options, because, Anderson, they just don't have the votes right now.

What you're going to hear the Democrats talking about, which Senator Reed talked about, is the lack of political progress in Iraq. They're going to say Iraq's problems are not military right now, they're political, and that the president hasn't shown a way to get the kind of political progress that you need to have a safe Iraq and to get American troops home.

And so, you're going to hear a lot more of that. That's what Senator Reed was talking about. And, however, the Democrats also understand that they need at least 60 votes to get anything done in the Senate these days, as Candy was saying, and they don't have those votes. And so, the president is most likely going to get his way.

COOPER: David, it does present, as you mentioned, obstacles for Republicans coming into this presidential election. You basically are going to have a new presidential election with large numbers of U.S. forces still on the ground here.

GERGEN: Well, that's the -- that's the downside of this for Republicans, because it's almost certain now that we're going to have 100,000 troops or so in Iraq come November of 19 -- in 2008.

And that makes -- that is a perfect setup for Democrats to run not only for the White House, but for the Congress, saying, this party won't -- the Republican Party won't end our war in Iraq. We will.

And that's going to be a powerful argument. So, I think, for a lot of Republicans, as Gloria Borger was saying earlier, this is a very, very two-edged sword. You know, you can grab one side of this, and you think you're supporting troops and supporting patriotism, but you also may be supporting a sword coming through your own belly come -- come November of '08.

COOPER: I have got to ask Michael Ware this question. The president talked about improved quality of life here in Baghdad. I want to play that for our viewers.


BUSH: Today, most of Baghdad's neighborhoods are being patrolled by coalition and Iraqi forces who live among the people they protect. Many schools and markets are reopening. Citizens are coming forward with vital intelligence. Sectarian killings are down. And ordinary life is beginning to return.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: What he didn't mention is, there are four million Iraqis not in their homes. Neighborhoods here in Baghdad have been ethnically cleansed.

WARE: Absolutely.

And if by the -- if the president means by ordinary life, families essentially living locked up in their homes, in almost perpetual darkness, without refrigeration, or perhaps constantly struggling -- struggling for ever more expensive gas to run generators; if he means waiting in their homes, wondering if government death squads will drag them off and torture and execute them; if he means living in sectarian, cleansed neighborhoods where people who were your friends have had to flee; if he's talking about living in communities that are protected by militias, then, yes, life has returned to ordinary.

COOPER: Michael Ware reporting from Baghdad, David Gergen, Gloria Borger, Candy Crowley, appreciate all your perspectives tonight.

We have a lot of ahead on the program.

We were watching the speech very closely, in terms of the words that were used. Maybe because we're curious, or because we're -- our producers, we like to torment, we wanted to know which words the president said most and which he didn't say at all.

So, we asked our producer, Rain Man, to count words. Here's the "Raw Data."

Mr. Bush said al Qaeda 12 times. General Petraeus got eight mentions. Surge got six, and getting no mention whatsoever, the word victory.

We have touched on it already. We will lay it out in-depth in a moment, the president's morphing message over the years on Iraq, first WMD, then democracy. Well -- now, well, see for yourself.

Also tonight, a lot more news on a lot more fronts.


COOPER (voice-over): The polygamist prophet in shackles in court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They would lead us into the celestial kingdom or heaven.

COOPER: Hear the case against Warren Jeffs and a chilling account of life inside his cult-like world.

Instant hurricane, lasting damage -- what happened when Humberto came ashore stronger than expected and what happens now?

360 tonight. (END VIDEO CLIP)



BUSH: The success of a free Iraq is critical to the security of the United States.

A free Iraq will deny al Qaeda a safe haven.

A free Iraq will counter the destructive ambitions of Iran.

A free Iraq will marginalize extremists, unleash the talent of its people, and be an anchor of stability in the region.


COOPER: Well, tonight President Bush gave you an optimistic view of the war in Iraq. That is how he sees it. The president has never publicly wavered in his belief that the U.S. will succeed.

What has changed, however, is his message about the mission and the meaning. It's worth looking at what he said then and what he is saying now.

CNN's Joe Johns is "Keeping Them Honest."


JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what President Bush said just days after the war began.


BUSH: All I know is we have got a game plan, a strategy to free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein and rid his country of weapons of mass destruction, and we're on plan.


JOHNS: And we all remember that "Mission Accomplished" moment two months later aboard the aircraft carrier.


BUSH: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.


JOHNS: Then, two years later, it was 2005. The war was dragging on, and no weapons of mass destruction had been found. The word for the president was still victory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NOVEMBER 30, 2005) BUSH: And we will never accept anything less than complete victory.



BUSH: We will complete our mission in Iraq and leave behind a democracy that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself.


JOHNS: The president remained on message, the same victory message, until last year.


BUSH: Our mission is to help the elected government in Iraq defeat common enemies, to bring peace and stability to Iraq, and make our nation more secure. Our goals are unchanging. We are flexible in our methods to achieving those goals.


JOHNS: But, by this year, the message had started to morph, that unchanging goal, victory and democracy, replaced by a reduction of sectarian violence.


BUSH: Either we will succeed or we won't succeed. And the definition of success, as I described, is, you know, sectarian violence down.


JOHNS: And, then, less than two months later, that was replaced by yet another way to view what the U.S. is doing in Iraq.


BUSH: It's a new mission. And David Petraeus is in Iraq carrying it out. Its goal is to help the Iraqis make progress toward reconciliation, to build a free nation that respects the rights of its people, upholds the rule of law, and is an ally against the extremists in this war.



COOPER: So, Joe, was it the -- the rhetoric that has been changing or -- or the mission?

JOHNS: Well, there was that talk about the long-term commitment, but you also have this issue, the latest turn, essentially saying that, on the recommendation of General Petraeus, there has been enough progress to start bringing the troops home.

Let's listen to a little bit of a what the president said.


BUSH: Over time, our troops will shift from leading operations, to partnering with Iraqi forces -- and eventually to over watching those forces. As this transition in our mission takes place, our troops will focus on a more limited set of tasks, including counterterrorism operations and training, equipping and supporting Iraqi forces.


JOHNS: So, there's always been a lot of optimism in the president's speeches about Iraq. And, if you look at this, in some ways, at least part of that speech was perhaps the president's most optimistic speech of all -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Joe Johns, appreciate it tonight.

Call it tough talk or talking points. The candidates for president were sounding off on the president's address even before the speech.

In an open letter to the president, Hillary Clinton asked him to not misrepresent the facts and to be candid with the American people.

Clearly, Iraq was the big headline of the day, but people in power found room for other news you should know about.

CNN's Tom Foreman has tonight's "Raw Politics."


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Democrats already have a majority -- 51 seats in the U.S. Senate, but they would like to have a bigger lead, and now they might have a way to do it.

(voice-over): It's the Warner brothers, sort of. With Republican John Warner of Virginia retiring, the highly popular former governor, Democrat Mark Warner -- no relation -- is going after that Senate chair.

MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: And I'm going to work like heck for the next 14 months to get Virginians to hire me.

FOREMAN: This is big because, last time around, Republican Senator George Allen tanked after his "macaca" moment and gave up a seat to the Dems. If Mark Warner wins, once reliably red Virginia will go all blue in the Senate.

Rudy Giuliani is making some Republicans see red. He says being in the United States illegally should not be called a crime, made the comment on Glenn Beck's radio show, saying there are just too many undocumented workers to prosecute them all anyway. Big Joe Biden is getting a big endorsement in corn country from Iowa's House majority leader, Democrat Kevin McCarthy. This matters because Iowa is an early caucus state, and this might produce enough support to keep Biden in the race.

And Democrat Mike Gravel continues the daring, surrealistic approach to campaigning that has already made him the Salvador Dali of American politics. Listen to his assessment of you.

MIKE GRAVEL (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am prepared to tell you that Americans are getting fatter and dumber. I have no problem saying that.

FOREMAN: Let's hear that again.

GRAVEL: Americans are getting fatter and dumber.

FOREMAN (on camera): Well, I'm no speechwriter, but I'm pretty sure the words "fatter" and "dumber" are not the ones that come right before, "Vote for me."


COOPER: Wow. Well, you never know. It might work.

Up next, the fallen prophet, polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, in court, in shackles, and facing the child bride he's accused of forcing to marry -- her own cousin. You can't make this stuff up.

And the hurricane that took many people by surprise -- Humberto hit land faster and stronger than expected and caused major damage. Severe weather expert Chad Myers tells us where the storm is next.

We will be right back.


COOPER: Well, back home, we're also keeping a close eye on a major storm that turned deadly. Humberto may no longer be a hurricane, but it is taking a toll in Texas and parts of the Gulf Coast. Several disaster areas have been declared. There are power outages and growing fears of flooding.

CNN severe weather expert Chad Myers is watching the storm, and he joins us an update -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We were here right here last night, Anderson, talking about this storm and how it wasn't getting on land. It was staying on the water.

The water was very warm, 87 degrees. And it was growing, and it grew enough to get to that hurricane status yesterday at about 2:00 in the morning.

Sea Rim State Park, Texas, 85-mile-per-hour gusts, Beaumont, 84, Port Arthur, the same. Those are two towns that really took it the hardest, Beaumont and Port Arthur.

Now, the storm has maybe moved to a flood-making stage, no longer a wind-maker, but an awful lot of rain across Mississippi, Alabama and even north Georgia, into some mountainous little areas there. And those hills will run off, and that water could come up a little bit here for the rest of the week.

Look at this. Look at the rain here, all the way from almost Louisiana -- this is a live radar -- all the way back into Florida. And the heaviest rain is nowhere near where the center is. But, here, the heaviest stuff now way to the east of there, where all this lightning is, just to the north of Jacksonville, from Brunswick to Waycross, Georgia, and almost up into Atlanta. That's where most of the heavy rain was earlier today, some big-time heavy rain through Atlanta about three or four hours ago.

And, Tampa, you have had your share of lightning and thunder in the overnight hours for tonight. And that rain will continue for most of the night, although the flooding will spread across Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Georgia, right now, doing OK. As long as the storm keeps moving, Anderson, we're OK. If it stops, that is when we are in trouble -- back to you. So far, so good.

COOPER: All right, Chad, thanks for the update.

We have got more from Iraq in just a moment. We will give you an inside look at how American forces are striking targets by remote control and a view of the war that, frankly, no one wants you to see.

But, first, Joe Johns with a 360 bulletin -- Joe.

JOHNS: ... continues in Indonesia. Yet another earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra today, this one with a magnitude of 6.2. It's the same location where a major 8.4-magnitude earthquake struck yesterday, killing nine people. Since then, the region has felt a number of aftershocks, some of which triggered tsunami alerts, but, so far, no major tsunamis.

Near Miami, Florida, police are hunting for a man who shot four officers, killing one of them. The shootings happened this morning in the suburbs of Cutler Bay, after police stopped a man for driving erratically. The suspect has been identified as 25-year-old Shawn Sherwin Labeet. And police say he is armed and dangerous.

And the Pentagon today released the transcript of the military tribunal of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but it's missing much of Mohammed himself. The Pentagon cut out most of his personal statement, fearing it would be used as propaganda to recruit terrorists or encourage future terrorist acts.

During the March hearing, Mohammed admits to planning the September 11 attacks and he likens himself to George Washington.

Anderson, back to you in Iraq.

COOPER: Hard to believe that. Joe, appreciate that reporting.

Right now we have a report on some of the weapons in this war. We all know the weapons of the insurgents -- the car bombs, the suicide vests, the IEDs, the mortars and the rockets, relatively low- tech weapons. The U.S. has a far more high-tech arsenal.

As Gary Tuchman reports, the Predator is one of the U.S. military's most effective tools for tracking down and eliminating insurgents. Take a look.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Take a close look at the truck with the gun. The U.S. Air Force believes it's being operated by insurgents near Baghdad. But not for long. The target is destroyed by a missile.

Similar situation within this red circle. The Air Force says it has evidence insurgents operate on that floor of the building. They decide to call in the missiles. It may look like a video game, but it's very real.

What took the clear video images? What dropped the Hellfire missiles? This small plane that you see landing. It's called the Predator, and there's no human being inside of it.

Major Jon Dagley is a pilot on the ground, controlling the missiles and, yes, flying the Predator from a hangar at the U.S.'s busiest military airport in Balad, Iraq.

MAJOR JON DAGLEY, U.S. AIR FORCE: I am still flying the plane, basically, traditionally like a regular plane.

TUCHMAN (on camera): The Predator utilizes two cameras. One is right here on the nose of the plane. And the other one, the more sophisticated one, is down here under the plane. This aircraft weighs 2,250 pounds, almost like a toy plane. It weighs less than seven big NFL linebackers.

(voice-over): It only flies 75 miles an hour and is very quiet, so it's virtually unnoticeable in the sky. As this guy is about to find out the hard way. The Air Force says this man is an insurgent who is planning to fire mortars into the Balad Air Base.

CAPT. ERIC HENDRICKSON, U.S. AIR FORCE: Sure enough, there's somebody with the tube already set up, getting ready to attack the base.

TUCHMAN: Captain Eric Hendrickson was in the pilot's seat when he pointed cameras at this man.

HENDRICKSON: He dropped one round in a mortar tube, and it went off. And then they went to drop a second round in, and it was a dud. And at that time, obviously, I knew we were being attacked, so I started preparing my aircraft to counterattack. TUCHMAN: But the attacker then got in his car and started driving off with a companion. The camera continued to follow them. With the men having no idea that they only had moments left to live.

Other vehicles were on the street, though.

HENDRICKSON: It's a small enough warhead that we knew that we could take the car out. But if another vehicle was coming by, it shouldn't -- it shouldn't hurt anybody inside.

TUCHMAN (on camera): How accurate is it?

HENDRICKSON: Big picture, I'd say you can hit within a foot.

TUCHMAN: The button was pushed, and the men were never seen again.

The camera then photographed another man throwing the mortar tube into a body of water. That tube is now in the Air Force hangar, the military recovering it to prevent it from being used again.

F-16s are also used for reconnaissance and attack missions. They use laser-guided bombs and are much faster.

LT. COL. TORCH WILLIAMS, F-16 SQUADRON COMMANDER: The plane can go twice the speed of sound.

TUCHMAN: But they can't fly for as long as the Predator, which sometimes hovers over a suspect for as much as a day. The Balad base is a major target.

COL. CHARLIE MOORE, 33RD EXPEDITIONARY COMMANDER: The majority of the time when the base gets attacked, we have man-on-man aircraft over the base.

TUCHMAN: Before we left, we all had to hit the ground because radar picked up an incoming mortar attack that landed close to us but caused no casualties. And it was a fortunate day for the attacker, because the Predators and F-16s were elsewhere.


COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins us now live from Balad Air Base.

We just heard a couple of large explosions somewhere in the distance here. How often is the base there, Gary, shelled by mortars?

TUCHMAN: Well, over the last seven days, Anderson, we have been hit by mortars or rockets seven times. Now, when it happens, we are told to go into concrete bunkers which are all around this huge base, or lie flat on our stomachs like you saw in my story.

And that's why it's very rare that you have any casualties whatsoever. There have been no casualties this week.

However, something very tragic happened last month. A contractor who works here was killed from a mortar in a rocket.

This is a rough neighborhood, Anderson. There are bugs all over here, too. But this is a rough area. This is the middle of the Sunni Triangle, and there's some Shiite neighborhoods near this base, so there's a lot of antagonism in this area to go around -- Anderson.

COOPER: Gary Tuchman reporting all week. Gary, great job. Thanks, Gary.

When we come back, Warren Jeffs, self-proclaimed prophet, polygamist sect leader, one-time most-wanted fugitive. Now he's an accused felon on trial. The latest from the courtroom is next.


COOPER: We'll have more from Iraq in a moment, including a view of the war few Americans have ever seen. But right now we turn our attention to what's happening in America, in a courtroom.

When you're the leader of a polygamist sect and you consider yourself a prophet of God, finding a jury of your peers is not that easy. But today the jury in the Warren Jeffs trial was seated, and opening statements began.

It is a spellbinding case and one that gives us a rare look inside a secret world, a world which still exists, hiding in plain sight in America's heartland.

Mike Watkiss is a reporter from Phoenix affiliate KTVK. He has been covering the Jeffs saga for years and filed this report for us.


MIKE WATKISS, KTVK CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He arrived by helicopter, shackled and wearing a bulletproof vest. In court Warren Jeffs changed into a suit, briefly smiling and nodding at prospective jurors as he was seated.

Jeffs stands accused as an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year- old girl. We're calling her Jane Doe to protect her identity. She claims she was forced to marry her 19-year-old first cousin. Her testimony at a pretrial hearing offers a glimpse of the case to come.

VOICE OF JANE DOE, WITNESS FOR PROSECUTION: He said I've always wanted to see a woman naked. And I was so embarrassed. I was so embarrassed.

WATKISS: We can't show her face, but she is the prosecution's star witness. We also can't show the faces of the seven women and five men on the jury, who will determine Mr. Jeffs' fate.

Warren Jeffs is the self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with an estimated 10,000 followers, many of whom live in the nearby twin cities of Hilldale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. In opening statements, the prosecution outlined the story of the young woman, confused by her religious duties and personal fears of marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She had only found out about one week earlier that she was to be married. And she went to Mr. Jeffs and said, "I really feel I may be too young."

WATKISS: Ready or not, much of the defense seems to rely on the fact the Utah state law allows girls as young as 14 to consent to sex, and the defense claims she did just that.

TARA ISAACSON, WARREN JEFFS' ATTORNEY: What does it really mean when you say Mr. Jeffs is innocent? We start today -- we start this trial with the presumption that this man is innocent.

WATKISS: Jane Doe took the witness stand late this afternoon. Initial questioning laid out her childhood in the FLDS Church, including excerpts from sermons by Warren Jeffs.

WARREN JEFFS, LEADER OF FLDS CHURCH: Do you give yourself to him? That means in full obedience, literally taken from your father's home and given to that man. You belong to him.

WATKISS: When asked by the prosecution if a woman in the polygamist culture could refuse sexual relations with her husband, the star witness's response was simple.



COOPER: Mike, what can we expect in court tomorrow?

WATKISS: Well, we should hear the more emotional components of her story. Today's testimony, she was only on the witness stand for about an hour today after the opening arguments, Anderson.

We should hear tomorrow at 9 a.m. the more emotional parts of this story -- parts of the story that we heard during an emotionally charged preliminary hearing about the period of her life back in 2001 when she was forced into this marriage with a 19-year-old first cousin, a young man that she said she detested. She called it the darkest time of her life.

We should also hear about the alleged sexual assaults. So that coming tomorrow. The trial is expected to last at least through next week. They're hoping to -- they've got the jury impaneled now, and so we're now under way after a lot of anxious strife trying to find this jury, Anderson.

But the drama has begun here. Again, if Mr. Jeffs is found guilty, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

COOPER: Mike Watkiss reporting from us from St. George, Utah. Mike, thanks. More from here in a moment. When we come back, the saddest part of any war, a view of the war you won't see anywhere else.



COOPER: We just heard an impact over there, maybe a mortar or a rocket landing somewhere. It's often hard to tell exactly what the explosions are that you hear.

Just about every couple yards in the Green Zone, which is where we're broadcasting from tonight, you find these concrete bunkers. They call them duck and covers. It's where you're supposed to run in the event of incoming mortars. And that happens just about every day here in the Green Zone.

We've stored our Kevlar vests here. In the event there's trouble, we're just going to run in there.


COOPER: One of the realities of life in the Green Zone.

Well, you heard the president tonight talking about things improving here. General Petraeus said the same to Congress this week, and he had charts to prove it. But even if you accept each and every hopeful statistic, the hard fact is that killing here remains horrific.

More than 1,700 Iraqi civilians gunned down, blown up or otherwise murdered last month, according to the U.S. government. Sometimes their bodies were found horribly tortured, dumped on the street as a warning to others.

Now, these are not statistics, these are people. Some are returned to their families, others are never claimed.

But even here in a land where it is a hard -- it is hard at times to hold on to your humanity, there are people who remember the dead, whether they're Sunni, Shia or Christian, people willing to do the grim work that must be done.

We want to warn you what you're about to see is tough to take. There's no doubt about it, but it is what our troops see. It is what Iraqis see, and we think you should see it, as well.

Here's CNN's Michael Ware.


MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the bodies of Baghdad's unclaimed dead, collected from the morgues, the streets and even the city sewers. They are the men, the women and the children no one ever came for. Without names, without family to mourn them, these are the lost souls of the war. Only these men are here to mark their passing, strangers, volunteers compelled by conscience to help.

When I enter the morgue, says Sheikh Jamal al-Sadani (ph) from Sadr City, I don't see these human beings as Christian, Shia or Sunni, but I see them in death, embracing each other, naked, hugging, piled one on the other. I look to them as human beings, with it my duty to bury them so their sanctity will not be violated again.

On this morning the men load into cars and the bus the nearly 150-mile journey to Najaf. When they arrive, the volunteers prepare the plastic sheets and cotton shrouds to wrap the dead and do what they can to repel the touch and odor of death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I only think about one thing, that one day I will face the same fate as these people have faced, and will there be someone to take care of me and bury me, too?

WARE: The bodies are ceremonially wrapped with earth and wrapped; each one numbered, photographed and listed on a computer database. And in graves dug by hand, the bodies are laid side by side, two to a grave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We've been doing this for 20 years under Saddam. But the numbers have increased, as have the difficulties, because now it's as if the streets are flowing with blood. Under Saddam they buried up to 40 people a month. Today the numbers are in the low hundreds.

"Now you see Iraqis' houses meant to be a family's safest place. And they've become like graves for the families because any minute, any second, they're ready to die by explosion, air strikes or car bombs. And no man and no government, American nor Iraqi, can fix it," he laments, "because now that will take a miracle."


COOPER: The reality of war from Michael Ware.

Why are so many people unclaimed?

WARE: Well, it's a number of things, Anderson. Obviously, there's some people that are so badly disfigured, they cannot simply be identified.

But there's an even sadder class of people. These are the people that you can identify by looking at their bodies. But their families simply can't come and get them, because to do so, they have to cross the sectarian lines. So to reclaim your loved one, you have to risk your life, almost certain death.

COOPER: So if they're a Sunni and they have to go into a Shia neighborhood, and they're too scared to do that.

WARE: Absolutely. Like for example, just north of Sadr City, the Mehdi Army Shia stronghold, there's an area that has canals running through it. It's a well-known dumping site.

So if a body is dumped there, that's essentially the Mehdi Army saying, "We did it." And there's no way on this earth that a Sunni can go to that dump site to ever get the body.

COOPER: People are found, I mean, with holes drilled into them with power drills.

WARE: Absolutely. In fact, the sheikh that you see there who buries all these people, he talks about the nightmares that he has. He described one body that he found. He said it was like a porcupine. There was literally nails drilled into it all over.

COOPER: Unbelievable.

WARE: Yes.

COOPER: Well, just ahead, they call him Papa Jackson. Meet a self-proclaimed rich kid who gave up everything to help eradicate a disease affecting millions of kids. He is tonight's CNN hero, next on 360.


COOPER: Well, the person you're about to meet gave up a comfortable life, giving away all his money and almost everything he's ever owned to help the poor. Now he's dedicating himself to eradicating a debilitating disease that is affecting some of the world's poorest kids.

His name is Aaron Jackson and he is tonight's CNN hero.


AARON JACKSON, CNN HERO: Haiti is the most water poor country in the world. It's in probably the most environmentally destroyed country in the world. In Haiti, people get their water sometimes from puddles, streams. I've seen kids playing in sewage and also drinking from the same water.

Haiti not having proper sanitation, a lot of people are infected with intestinal parasites.


It is estimated that half of Haiti's 8 million residents live with internal parasites.

... and in some areas, worms infect more than 40 percent of the children.


JACKSON: When you see a child with an extended belly, that's intestinal worms. The average worms eats up to about 20 percent of a child's nutritional intake a day. This is the difference between life and death in a lot of situations.

My name is Aaron Jackson, and it's my goal to de-worm the entire world. I grew up in Destin, Florida, playing golf every day of my life. I decided to travel, and when I traveled, it really opened my eyes to what the world was really like.

In Haiti, we have four orphanages, an intestinal parasite program, and also medical clinics.

When we talk to a community to de-worm, we educate the people on ways to prevent to getting worms again.

Washing the vegetables, cooking the meat a little longer, wearing shoes when you go outside are ways to help prevent catching the worms.

When we first go into an orphanage and we de-worm them, the children look very zombie like, no livelihood in their face.

And that's the scary thing because you have to tell kids that tonight, the worms will be leaving your body in some shape or form and then after we de-worm, they come back to life, literally within weeks you can see that they're playing again and smiling.

For a pack of cigarettes you can de-worm 250 children, a whole school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aaron is a great person and I'm so blessed to know him and work together with him.

Investing in children is investing in a country and that really makes things different in the future.


By the end of 2007, Aaron's organization will have helped to de- worm about 1.7 million people worldwide.


JACKSON: Well, me and the children, we've become like family, you know. They call me Papa Jackson. These kids are my kids.


COOPER: Amazing. For the price of a pack of cigarettes you can de-worm a school. For more about Aaron's work in Haiti, go to and while you're there you can also nominate a hero of your own. Hurry, nominations are due, though, by September 30.

We have more from Iraq just ahead. We'll read some of your e- mails about the morale of our troops and the man under the spotlight this week, General David Petraeus, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: We've been coming to you live from Iraq all week, trying to show you a side of the war you don't normally see while keeping those in power accountable. All this week we've received a lot of messages from you on our blog and they didn't stop today. Here's some "On the Radar."

Alan in Albany, New York, writes: we have an obligation to help the nation of Iraq, whether it's the military action that's shaping up now or the diplomatic surge proposed by the Senate or maybe a combination of both.

Ken in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has this to say about commanding General David Petraeus. He writes: It would have been better if Petraeus was in charge at the beginning of this war, but it is still good that he is in charge now.

And Pamina in New Rochelle, New York, writes about the troops, saying: I do worry about the morale of our troops. I'm also quite concerned that if another crisis breaks out somewhere else in the world, we don't have the resources to help. Please let the troops know how much they are appreciated.

We certainly try to do that.

We still want to hear from you. You can go to Click on the link to the blog or send us a v-mail through our Web site.

For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is coming up next. In America, the president's speech, followed by a special edition of "LARRY KING" is coming up.

I'll see you tomorrow night.