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Donald Trump and Joe Biden's Dueling Town Hall; What Americans Should Look Forward to For Health Care System; Andy Slavitt, Former Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is Interviewed About Trump and Biden, and American's Health System; War Reporters as Peace-Makers; VII Foundation Publishes "Imagine: Reflections on Peace," Gary Knight, Director, VII Foundation, Editorial Director, "Imagine: Reflections on Peace, and Robin Wright, Journalist and Author, are Interviewed About War and Peace; National Guard Conducting Humanitarian Relief Efforts; Forging Peace. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired December 23, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: We have done an amazing job, and it's rounding the corner.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What's he doing? Nothing. He's still not wearing masks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: After head-to-head town halls, who will voters trust to take care of America's health amid this pandemic? Andy Slavitt ran Medicare and
Medicaid for President Barack Obama, and he'll join me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY KNIGHT, PHOTOGRAPHER: Peace cannot be imposed, the desire for peace needs to come from within.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Turning swords into plowshares. War reporters as peace-makers. Gary Knight and Robin Wright join me with an ambitious new project.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJOR GENERAL JOHN C. HARRIS, JR. COMMANDER, OHIO NATIONAL GUARD: I will tell you, I fear that we may see worse before you we better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The National Guard story you might not know. Major general, John C. Harris tells our Hari Sreenivasan how his forces are helping people keep
food on the table.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
And we begin with a tale of those two town halls. President Donald Trump and the Democratic candidate, Vice President Joe Biden, both vying for
voters on network television. And NBC giving Trump the primetime head to head slot even though he had refused to take part in the joint one
organized by the Debate Commission.
The elephant in both rooms was coronavirus with masks featuring prominently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When a president doesn't wear a mask or makes fun of folks of me like when I was wearing a mask for a long
time, then, you know, people say, well, it mustn't be that important.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After contracting COVID-19 yourself, has your opinion changed on importance of mask-wearing?
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: No, because I was okay with the masks. I was good with it, but I've heard many different stories on masks.
BIDEN: If you listen to the head of the CDC, he stood up and he said, you know, while we're waiting for a vaccine, he held up a mask, you wear this
mask, you'll save more lives between now and the end of the year than if we had a vaccine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, on the numbers and maybe on the issues, too, early figures show that Joe Biden won the night handily with over 2 million more viewers
than the incumbent. Meantime, the former New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, just out of hospital after COVID care says he was sorry that he
hadn't worn his mask to the now infamous Rose Garden Event and during that first debate prep with the president.
Right now, new cases of the virus here in Europe exceed those in the U.S., but in the U.S. the death toll is climbing and the crisis is a major stress
test for the health care system and for access to it. Our first guest tonight says, this year's election will yet again be a referendum on health
Andy Slavitt ran Medicare and Medicaid services under President Barack Obama, and he's joining me now from Minnesota.
Welcome to the program, Andy Slavitt.
And I just wonder what your takeaway was from the dueling -- I mean, I don't even know how to describe it, but the head-to-head television reality
show last night in which we see the early numbers giving it to Biden. Do you think that's because of the issues? Would you think it's because health
care is so important?
ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: Well, you know, given that President Trump is such a
T.V. spectacle, it's a bit of a surprise and I think it may in fact say that these issues are important to people. I think what's very interesting,
Christiane, is that if you look around the world, say in Africa, that the population of about 1.3 billion people, the death toll has been about
35,000, and compare that to the U.S. which is about a quarter of the size that has many, many more deaths, what you take away from that is that this
is not a particularly high-tech complex solution uncertain, this is a very -- the mask is a very achievable dissolution to nations and continents that
have been through many public health crises.
So, the fact that President Trump can't bring himself to even say, you know what, wear a mark, in a very simple form is really troubling because this
only works well if there's unified messaging, and he just continue to equivocate last night even after what he'd been through.
AMANPOUR: So, you've raised a really important issue with this comparison of population versus cases, infections and deaths, and I want to come to
that in a moment. But first, I want to the ask can you what you have written about and that is that this election, like 2018, you have said
yourself will be yet another referendum on access to health, the idea of health care, and I guess you would agree that this issue is now so much
more front and center for Americans than it was even in 2018.
So, do you believe that this case that's going to come up before the Supreme Court a few days after the election challenging Obamacare, the
Affordable Care Act, is really something that's got the country on a knife edge?
SLAVITT: So, I think there's two very related issues. The first, I would liken to the 2008 election with Obama versus McCain where the country was
really looking to hire somebody to get us out of the global financial crisis, somebody that would demonstrate experience and competence, and I
think as we look at the global pandemic, Americans look at two people, each of whom has had a chance to lead through a global pandemic, obviously Trump
with COVID-19 and Joe Biden with Ebola.
And so, I think in large part they are making a decision based on who can get us out of this the quickest and the best about. And I think very
related to that, people know that with millions of people getting COVID, they become pre-existing conditions and the idea of the uncertainty that
this would create and the near certainty of millions of people losing insurance, if the Supreme Court case went the other way, means that the
only way to ensure against that, the uncertainty of the Supreme Court case, is to a -- is for a Democratic sweep.
Without a Democratic Senate and Joe Biden as senator, there's no guarantee that whatever the court does can be turned around by the Congress. So, both
of those things are very much on the ballot, and I think depending on who you are and where you sit, they affect you differently. If you're a senior,
I think you're very much looking at the prescription drug component of the ACA. If you're uninsured, you're looking at another component. So, each of
these dimensions, but they all point to health care.
AMANPOUR: Some legal scholars say that this particular case that's coming up is, in any event, kind of a weak case and that, you know, it probably
won't be won, you know, those elements of the Obamacare won't be struck down. And, of course, even though they are hearing it now, the decision
won't come up until the spring.
Again, what do you think? Do you think the case is strong enough and, OK, now is one thing, but with an extra conservative judge, if that -- if Amy
Barrett is confirmed, what do you think is the likelihood for that part of ACA to remain on books and for the people?
SLAVITT: You know, it's a really interesting question as to what motivates justices. If they are motivated by the law, then I think it's pretty -- the
ACA stands a very good chance. And if you think about what's at issue here, this notion of severability, I can't imagine many of these young justices
wanting to say that every -- any single word in any law would strike down an entirety of a law.
So, you know, by right, this should be an 8-1 or 9-0 case. But, you know, these are political appointees, and they there's a lot less certainty, and,
you know, I think it's entirely possible that we could see justices making decisions that are not comporting with what I think the law would suggest
but instead what the political party that appointed them would say.
AMANPOUR: And so, take me through what it would look like then, health care in a Biden's America or a Trump's America in terms of the plans each
one has laid out, and, of course, we know that President Trump has been saying, you know, repeal and replace and whatever, but there hasn't been a
plan. So, what can Americans look forward to for health care in either such presidency?
SLAVITT: Well, so, I think, you know, one view of the world is that we each get a helicopter, Marine One, to take us to a wonderful hospital with
15 doctors who give us medication that's not yet approved. That's the health care -- that's the closest thing I understand to how Trump things
health care works in this country. And, you know, unless he's promising that reality to the rest of the country, I think we're not -- you know, I
think we're -- we should be very suspicious.
Biden is saying, look, we've made progress. We haven't made enough progress. Everybody in this country should be able to go to bed at night
like people and rest of the world and not have to worry that if someone in their family gets sick, they will be able to afford to take care of them.
If Biden is to win, I think he will feel a mandate to push that forward, but what I suspect about Biden is that he will want to do it in a way, if
he can, that brings along bipartisan support, because I think that is always his first choice. I think that's kind of his character. I think he
would pass more stable legislation that way. And, of course, if he has to address what the Supreme Court has done, I think they will do that quite
I don't think Trump will be inclined -- all kidding aside, I don't think he'll be inclined to spend much time on health care in a second term. It's
not a winning issue for him. It's caused him nothing but grief, and I think if the ACA were to get overturned, I think we would probably stand very
much in the shambles of that law.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me just read the figures on that. During President Trump's first three years in of course, of course, this was pre-COVID, 2.3
million people became uninsured, that's according to the U.S. Census Data Analysis, 12 million more Americans may have lost health insurance since
February, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, and a poll done in October by CNN found that 61 percent of Americans say they don't
want the Supreme Court to overturn the ACA, Obamacare.
We've talked just a little bit about the Supreme Court, but I just want to ask you one more time before going no this idea that President Trump has
brought up of herd immunity. Are they ever sensitive to what is going on in the country?
SLAVITT: It's an important question and I believe that they are. I think there's evidence that -- and certainly, Chief Justice Roberts does not want
to completely overturn things. And if you were going to be sensitive to the country, now would certainly be the time that we have millions and millions
of people, we don't know how many that have contracted COVID. And Christiane, COVID is the ultimate pre-existing condition, if what's at
stake here is that people with pre-existing conditions would not -- would be able to get discriminated against by insurance companies, can you
imagine all of the places in the body that COVID impacts, the lungs, the heart, the kidney, the brain, the limbs, the blood, circulatory system,
So, imagine a college student who gets COVID now and apparently, nothing is wrong, but 15 years from now they get heart arrhythmia or they have asthma,
the insurance company will be able to deny that they have access to insurance simply because they had COVID a decade ago. So, this is something
that if anybody is paying attention to would realize it's going to throw things into quite a tricky situation.
I might also add, if I have a second, that, you know, when -- before the days of the ACA, people were very reluctant to disclose their illnesses
because it would preclude them from getting coverage. Imagine going through a public health crisis where you can't test, you can't contact trace
because people are too concerned about their illness being discovered.
AMANPOUR: I have to say, you know, for somebody like myself sitting over here in the U.K. and across Europe where health care is a basic right and
that we get, you know -- we get health care from the national health system or whatever it might be, it really does seem just to be such a cruel
situation. So, I can understand why it's such an important issue when it comes to elections.
But I want to ask you on the health -- precise health issue of herd immunity. You've seen it was tried in Sweden, with actually negative
results. They didn't achieve herd immunity despite not locking down. President Trump has again talked about it. He did in a previous town hall
last month. I just want to play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It would go away without the vaccine, George, but it's going to go away a lot faster.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would go away without the vaccine?
TRUMP: Sure, over a period of time. Sure, with time. It goes away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many deaths?
TRUMP: And you'll develop like a herd mentality. It's going to be herd developed and that's going to happen. That will all happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, and, again, now, this week, the White House embraced what's being called the Great Barrington Declaration, which is a
petition, as you know, signed by thousands and thousands of scientists around the world, and they are urging authorities to let coronavirus spread
amongst population, the young, the healthy and try to protect the more vulnerable precisely to achieve not only herd immunity but to balance
health and the economy, in other words lives and livelihoods.
What do you think about that, and where has it been tried anywhere in any form or fashion that might give anybody, you know, optimism that it might
SLAVITT: Well, the people who say that don't understand herd and they don't understand immunity and I'm not quite sure they understand the
economy either. Let start with immunity. We don't yet know how long immunity lasts. How effective it is. And so, by the time you get through a
year from now, it maybe that all of the people in New York, when we estimate maybe it's been like 20 percent to 25 percent of people that had
COVID, their immunity may not be there any longer.
So, this is at best a wild gamble that they understand immunity, and we are starting to learn that immunity, in fact, doesn't prevent other strains and
other cases or some very well-known cases there. The other is the impact on the herd, the idea that you can isolate people who are vulnerable, when
here in the U.S. we've got about 40 percent of Americans that are identified as vulnerable in one form or another, you know, because of major
health status. It will be nice and convenient to think that they all live in one congregate setting somewhere where you could just lock the door. But
most of those people live in the community.
There's only a couple of million people who live in senior settings. Most people live in a multi-generation household with people who go to work
every day, and even if you lived in a congregate setting, the people who take care of you live in the community. So, there's yet to be any evidence
that you can "protect people." What this is, in fact, I think is what you described, which is it is a justification to say, I don't want my life --
whether you think that's the economy or anything else, to be inconvenienced on behalf of other people.
And that's not an understandable sentiment. I mean, this is a lot of inconvenience for people. Unfortunately, though, the economy doesn't just
bounce back when people are dying every day and people are getting sick every day. People -- for people to do the things that will drive the
economy back, buy cars, sign leases; take trips, hire people, they have to feel safe. They can't do that when there's tens of thousands of people
getting sick every day.
AMANPOUR: And as we've seen and as we discussed on our program last night, the recovery, such as it is, has been so-called K-shape. We've seen the
much more, you know, able and wealthy doing very well out of this and the poor, basically, and the middle and working class doing very, very badly.
So, I think that's important to keep reminding people.
But I want to ask you also about something that you have -- I think you have suggested, the idea of trying for elimination, to eliminate this
virus. It's a technical term and I think you've written about it, and clearly, it would require very, very aggressive moves and methods. Do you
think it's workable in some way like the United States, and how aggressive would it be?
SLAVITT: So, if 80 percent to 90 percent of the country wore a mask for a period of say two months, the virus would slowly die and then very, very
quickly die. So, I don't think that the -- and it would not be eradicated. It would be down to very low levels and you'd be down to what I describe as
fighting a rabid dog versus packs and packs of dogs, which are much more difficult to fight.
The challenge isn't knowing what to do, the challenge isn't whether or not that would work, I don't believe. The challenge is really more of a
psychological one. Americans -- like people all over the world, I assume, are fatigued. There is this great debate, this debate that people are
having about their individual liberties and whether or not there is a responsibility to their community that comes along with it or it supersedes
that responsibility, that is a cultural issue in the United States.
And the president has made wearing a mask not only a question of freedom, but he's made it a bit of a sign of rebellion. Every time he rips a mask
off or makes a subtle reference to not being sure that whether a mask -- or it sends a signal -- but sending a signal to his base, I talked to a
Republican governor just a couple of days ago who said in the northern part of the U.S. and said that in rural communities, it's got almost no mask
wearing despite a mask mandate. And in these urban settings, where COVID is very much under control because people are wearing masks.
So, this cultural issue, this cultural divide is really, I think, the sensitive difficult issue now in the U.S., not even the virus, much more so
than the virus.
AMANPOUR: Can I say, I have to say, sitting here, I'm just like gob smacked and shocked to hear you say that, it's something that relatively
simple and low-tech could achieve the figures that you're talking about. And so, I want to ask you then why you think somewhere, as you've
mentioned, Africa, the continent of Africa with more than a billion people, have got such a low death rate. And as we know, countries that are not as
densely populated like New Zealand has almost practically eliminated, again, it's a specific word and a specific term, but they have pretty much
got rid of it. They are able to control, as you say, one rabid dog and they don't have packs of them.
So, what is it about these countries that are doing well?
SLAVITT: I bet if you and I, Christiane, were to sit in a room and we have two pieces of paper, one for countries that emphasize individualism,
entrepreneurship, great wealth and another one, ones that -- and an impetus of society, community, equality, doing good for the communal spirit, and
you put Japan at the top of one of the list and you put maybe Russia or the U.S. at the top of the other list, I bet you we would find that the
countries that have that -- that are on that second list are doing far, far better because there's something about this virus which requires you to
sacrifice, even if you don't personally feel at risk and if wearing a mask is a sacrifice, it's come a long way from my grandmother's age, when, you
know, 10 years -- you know, two years without drinking coffee was a sacrifice.
But be that as it may, that's where we are. And I do think there is something to this societal construct that hurts us here in the U.S. as
opposed to places in the world that do a better job looking out for one another. I also think there's something to do with experience. I mean,
we're -- this is a novel thing, and the U.S. I refer to this as our starter virus because, in some respects, when you've been through this a few times
you know what to do.
Hong Kong, of course, has the greatest amount of travel with Mainland China, has most people across the border. They didn't have their first
death, I believe, until late in May because people instantly knew how to respond and knew how to react. And in the U.S., I think this is still very
new. We still think of this as a new normal like we did after 9/11 when, in fact, this is a sort of a privileged nation that has had -- its defenses
rarely get pierced, and when they do, we tend to think that we're in some very strange place. We're not. We will learn that this is something the
rest of the world deals with, but we are going through it for the first time and I think that accounts for some of this, whereas in Africa, you
know, there's public health crises around the calendar year in Africa, many of them.
AMANPOUR: It is extraordinary, honestly. It would be great for that message to really sink into people if what you're saying is that it could
be controlled with just a little personal effort, and which is why we focus on the mask issue, to be frank. It's not just a titillating issue for us to
play the opposing views of both candidates, but it's because of the kinds things that you're saying.
Andy Slavitt, thank you so much for being with us tonight.
Now, it is a truism that starting conflict is, of course, much easier than ending it and that the opposite of war is not necessarily peace. That is
the driver behind "Imagine: Reflections on Peace," which is an extensive project by the VII Foundation, hoping to encourage dialogue around this
subject in an important and fascinating book of essays and exhibition and two short films. World renowned journalist, jurist and diplomats look at
how peace rises from the ashes from around the world.
So, joining me now to discuss this is the project's editorial director, photographer, Gary Knight, with journalist and contributor, Robin Wright.
Thank you both for joining me.
Both my good friends from on the road and it's wonderful to see you guys back in this form doing this amazing be job. Gary, I want to ask you what
made you come up with this. What -- after years and years, and we've been doing it together, covering wars, made you make this link towards peace?
GARY KNIGHT, DIRECTOR, VII FOUNDATION, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, "IMAGINE: REFLECTIONS ON PEACE": Well, Christiane, I came back from the invasion of
Iraq in 2003. I was looking through my pictures and started to imprint (ph)in how on earth could peace be made in the country, you know, with an
occupying force, the beginning of a civil war growing. And from there, I thought, well, it would be really interesting to go back to many of the
countries that we've all covered during wartime, and look at what peace really meant, what the result of peace processes were for the people who
had to live with it. And from there, of course, the project grew.
AMANPOUR: You know, I want to just read the dedication. It says, this book is dedicated to those who are living in war while imagining peace and those
who are brave enough to build it. So, let me just turn to you, Robin, because you are there in Beirut, which has obviously been through so many
decades of war, and we've just seen this terrible explosion obviously. It's not war but it's just rocked the whole sort of situation there again, and
you covered the war there. Tell me about the key ingredients and this notion that while at war, so many people actually did imagine peace.
ROBIN WRIGHT, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Well, going back 30 years after the end of the war, it was fascinating to look at what people had emerged from
the conflict and tried imaginatively to engage society, whether it was in a new form of politics, a new form of bringing the 18 different religious
sects in Lebanon together in talking about the costs of war. The tragedy in all of the war zones, I think, we've covered is that there's not enough
people who are engaging in that imagination, that it takes much more bravery to engage in the process of enduring peace than it does to pick up
an arm and shoot somebody.
And you have to give credit to whether it's former fighters, a young techie that I met, I met a former hijacker, he holds the world record on
hijackings, six, who talk about what the conflict meant to them and they resent, what they went through and wanted to live differently.
AMANPOUR: And we've just been seeing some beautiful pictures taken, some of the archival ones from the wars in the '70s in Beirut taken by the great
Don McCullin and then we saw the more recent ones. I just want to read what you've just written here and I ask you both about this, this is from the
book. In the Lebanon, everybody blames everyone else for the war. Everyone was a victim. Everyone was wrong. Facts were ignored. Truth was an
illusion. So, the war defined politics long after it ended. In 2020, it still does. I mean, that's what you've written.
Gary, do you see that across a lot of these countries and peace processes that you've examined here that sometimes it really takes a lot of time and
banging a lot of heads together to -- you know, to understand the story of the other and to pull back from the warlord days?
KNIGHT: Absolutely. As Robin said, it takes a lot more courage to make peace than it does to make war. And one of the bravest things I think that
people can do is sit down with somebody with whom they have violently opposing views, listen to each other's story and start that process of
peace and reconciliation, actually, truth and reconciliation and dialogue is absolutely critical. And in countries where dialogue is limited, peace
is less successful. And in countries which have made a very significant and sincere effort to create an environment where dialogue can exist, you know,
peace has prospered.
AMANPOUR: You, yourself, started off in Cambodia, and obviously, that had gone through, I mean, just the most terrible genocide, Pol Pot of Khmer
Rouge, and you went back and forth. What did you find from just like some anecdotes of, I guess, the commitment to the bloodshed then compared to
commitment to peace now, Gary?
KNIGHT: That's a great question, Christiane, and I think sadly Cambodia is one of the least successful countries. I think if you measure it by the
amount of violence since the end of the Khmer Rouge period, it has been a success, but that's a pretty low measure. Cambodia had an international
tribunal but only a handful of people were convicted. I think four were convicted. Five were tried. And there was an awful lot of government
interference there. The government is corrupt. It has enriched itself at the expense of the people, and progress has been very limited.
So, there is certainly a condition of peace, but if you go into the villages and I returned to many of the villages that I went to when I was
traveling through with soldiers in the late '80s and early '90s, the conditions were that they have improved somewhat are really, you know, not
very successful. You I don't have access to education. You often have school buildings with no teachers. Access to health care is limited, and
you do not have, by any measure, a free and fair political system. So, Cambodia is one of the more problematic countries that we went to.
AMANPOUR: And, Robin, talking about the Middle East, of course, I said you're in Beirut, but you're not. You're in Washington. But you've covered
that whole region for so long. It strikes me also, and, Gary, you know, you wrote this in the forward, that the peace-makers are often so much less
celebrate, so much less attention is put on to them than the warriors. And I just can't help but thinking of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin whose
anniversary, the 25th year since he was assassinated for trying to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians, he was assassinated for that
Just -- I don't know whether you've talked or thought a lot about the peace-makers and the unbelievable pressure that they are under because they
are often thought of betraying the cause by one set of extremists or the other.
I also spent several years covering South Africa and the uprising. And South Africa engaged in a truth and reconciliation process that was the
model for the rest of the world. But it's very, very rare.
Desmond Tutu, I think, won the Nobel Peace Prize for launching that process and overseeing it. But doing it on ground, as one individual to another, is
very, very hard. And it requires resources and political leverage. And, in many cases, one individual doesn't have it.
So, that's why it creates -- it requires such incredible courage. In a place like Lebanon, one person set up a market where all -- once a week
that all different sects, all the different religions would come and sell their wares and have little restaurants, street restaurants and so forth.
But that's an enormous effort. There was another former fighter who was so, eventually, repulsed by the number of people he had killed that he launched
a group of former fighters who started telling -- giving lectures to schoolchildren about the war, because it's not taught in schools, and
that's true of wars all over the world.
And -- but there were only 50 of them, and there were tens of thousands of people who fought in that war. So the peacemakers are often small, and they
do it on their own initiative, often with little recognition, little financial compensation, but great bravery.
AMANPOUR: I want to go to Rwanda, because, as I said, some of this project involves some films.
And there's a clip that we have that is Jack Picone. He is the photographer who goes back to Rwanda after the genocide. And what he's seeing is almost
like a grassroots reconciliation process happening in front of his eyes. And it's been reported quite a lot over the years, but every time I see, it
strikes me as just so amazing.
So we will play a little clip
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (through translator): My baby was taken from me and killed. They chopped my hand off and I was cut here as well. Twenty five
years later I still have the scar. I was stabbed with a spear here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm the one who did it. I was haunted by the images of people I had killed.
Then, one day, I went to Alice. I kneeled down in front of her, raised my hands like this and confessed. Alice fainted.
I went home that day not knowing if she would forgive me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, Alice did forgive him, incredibly, and they apparently remain friends.
You do have an amazing sort of essay by Judge Richard Goldstone, who was the first judge at the international criminal tribunal, first for
Yugoslavia, and then it went on to hold Rwanda's genocidal maniacs accountable.
Justice is a huge part of this process, isn't it?
GARY KNIGHT, PHOTOGRAPHER: Justice is critical, absolutely, both at sort of a tribunal level, at a sort of very top-down level, but also as you --
as the film illustrates, at a grassroots level.
And without justice, it's very -- and without truth and reconciliation, as Robin discussed earlier, it's incredibly difficult for people to move on.
It's very hard to forgive. It's very hard for people to rebuild their lives. And accountability is absolutely critical.
And it's certainly something we have found. Where you -- in countries where you don't have a successful justice system, tribunal, peace really, really
AMANPOUR: And I want to now, obviously, bring up Bosnia, which was, for me, was the defining war I covered.
We met in Bosnia. And Ron Haviv, the great photographer who took those pictures of the militia -- well, the Arkan, and his group of people who
were just slaughtering Muslims. He was a Serb, and he was on the side of the ethnic slaughter and the genocide there.
The pictures that Ron took were really daring, really important and created a story that was part of the proof eventually in the court system.
But you and I remember how much courage it took, not just to take those pictures, but also to own them, to put your name to them, because it could
have, and it did, come back to -- the killers came back to try to find who was telling their story.
KNIGHT: Oh, yes.
I think those pictures are some of the bravest pictures that anyone has ever taken. And Ron for years would -- had to be very, very careful.
Arkan and his men were looking for Ron for many, many years all over the country. In fact, there was another photographer in -- working in Bosnia, a
young French photographer who looked a little like Ron, and he was constantly being arrested and threatened,
But, yes, Ron did an incredible job there, actually. They are one of the most important photographs taken in the war.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you -- well, I want to ask Robin first, because you devote a whole chapter to women and women peacemakers.
And one of the early instances of that was in Northern Ireland. Famously, two women, a Protestant and a Catholic, they got the joint Nobel Prize back
in the '70s for trying to start a grassroots peace initiative. We have got these amazing pictures by Gilles Peress of some of the really amazing
photography taken in the midst of the so-called Troubles.
Talk to me a little bit, Robin, whether it's Northern Ireland, South Africa, the Middle East, of women's roles, and not to mention Liberia and
elsewhere, in bringing and trying to forge peace.
WRIGHT: I think this is one of the most important developments when it comes to politics generally, that what we find all over the world is that,
through education, the education of girls, that has produced a generation who are now of age to play a role in trying to push for peace, in bringing
One of the instrumental groups in Lebanon was a group of wives, of fighters, who came together from different sects. And they were trying to
bring their husbands into a dialogue.
We saw during the Arab uprising how many women were on the front lines. This is no longer an environment anywhere in the world where women are
staying at home and letting the men fight it out. It's one of the great phenomenon of the 21st century.
I wanted to add one thing. We keep talking about this book as if it's conflicts in the past and conflicts in remote parts of the world, when, in
fact, the challenge of peace is most evident today in two of America's most difficult wars, trying to broker a peace in Afghanistan after America's
longest war, trying to create a peaceful environment in Iraq.
This is a challenge that's not just remote societies, but is everywhere in the world.
AMANPOUR: In our final 30 seconds, Gary, what do you hope this project, the book, the films, the exhibition, what is it that you hope it will do?
KNIGHT: Well, I think Ambassador Samantha Power puts it really well, actually, in her afterword, where she says you want to avoid ever getting
to this situation where you even have to make peace.
And investing in diplomacy and investing heavily into preventing wars is absolutely critical, and celebrating people who make peace, rather than
warriors, I think, would be a really great start.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's an amazing book. It's really powerful. And you have got such an incredible group of people together, including diplomats who
have actually negotiated peace. And it's a really amazing how-to.
Gary Knight, Robin Wright, thank you so much for being with us.
Now, it seems during this year of anti-racist uprisings, the National Guard has been synonymous in America with law and order and crushing peaceful
protests sometimes. So it might be a surprise to know that they also have humanitarian duties right now.
In fact, across all 50 states, these troops are supporting COVID testing sites and also food banks.
Major General John C. Harris Jr. is the commander of the Ohio National Guard, where food insecurity has nearly doubled since the start of the
And, here, he's talking to our Hari Sreenivasan from the state's largest operation, the Mid-Ohio Food Collective.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It has been an incredibly busy year for the National Guard.
Give us an idea of the range of things that your men and women have had to respond to in 2020.
MAJ. GEN. JOHN C. HARRIS JR., COMMANDER, OHIO NATIONAL GUARD: Range is the right word.
We originally started this response, believe it or not, working with the Corps of Engineers, thinking that we were going to have to build alternate
care sites, alternate facilities for hospitals and other health care organizations that might exceed their capacity.
And that's in the rearview mirror now. We don't even think about that, because they have dealt with that on their own. But we have put soldiers
and airmen in food banks, as you well know, in response to the food insecurity that's occurred as a result of this coronavirus.
We have had to put medical staff into nursing homes as a result of surges there, losing staffing due to positive coronavirus tests. We have put
medical staff into our prison systems when they have lost medical staff. We have put soldiers and airmen into our prison systems when they have
experienced corrections -- loss of corrections officers due to positive coronavirus, civil disturbance response in the wake of the George Floyd
And the list just goes on and on and on. We have met just about every kind of staffing surge mission that you could possibly imagine, particularly to
our state institutions, but also, in the case of nursing homes, private institutions, if it's a result of coronavirus.
SREENIVASAN: A lot of people have, in their minds, shifted to thinking about COVID in terms of the fatalities, the infection rates.
But we're literally sitting in a food bank right now. There's been this steady food insecurity that's been happening for the whole seven months.
And we forget that.
HARRIS: It certainly has.
And, in fact, this was one of the first missions to which we responded, because the volunteer support for the food banks dropped off to zero almost
immediately. When we really learned about what this disease was and who it affected, we realized that they realized that their volunteer base, many of
those people who are older, or who had underlying conditions, it just was not safe for them to come to work and volunteer here.
So, this is where the Guard came in. And, early on, we put almost 600 people in the food banks to backfill for those volunteers that they lost.
SREENIVASAN: And you combine that with a surge in demand.
HARRIS: That's right. That's right.
I was on a call the other day with CEOs of Ohio's food banks. And I was staggered to learn, for example, the Cleveland call center, their volume,
their call volume increased by seven-fold people calling trying to find how they go about getting food, seven-fold increase in people looking to get
food for their families.
SREENIVASAN: And it's not something that makes the headlines. It's sort of this -- there's a certain quiet to it. Perhaps it's the shame of needing
help in this way. Perhaps it's -- it's not the same as saying, you know what, I have got COVID, and here, socially, we're all talking about
quarantining, and here are the steps that you should take.
But it's a different conversation to say, I can't figure out how to feed my family.
HARRIS: That's right. That's right.
And one of the one of the underlying requirements for our soldiers and airmen doing this mission is that they treat everyone with dignity and
respect. When someone leaves one of our distribution centers, when they come into contact with a Guardsman, we want them to leave feeling better
than they did when they got there.
They shouldn't feel shame. This is no different than any other impact of this coronavirus. And we want them to leave there with their dignity and
with their respect. And our soldiers and airmen has done a fantastic job with that.
I'm reminded of a story that one of our soldiers down in Southeastern Ohio told us, a small community. And so the people who are coming through that
food bank are people he know. There are people from his community.
Keep in mind, our soldiers and airmen live in the communities with the people they're supporting. And he just talked about the intrinsic strength
and value that he got from serving those neighbors and those relatives that were coming through that food bank, and doing it in a way that let them
leave there with their dignity and with their respect, and knowing that this is going to be better when this is all over.
SREENIVASAN: Tell me just a little bit about the scale of the food bank operation here. How many people are you deploying to this? How many people
are coming through here?
HARRIS: The scale is just incredible. It's almost comprehensible.
These soldiers and airmen, between the 14 food banks around the state of Ohio, they have packaged over 65 million pounds of food. I can't even
comprehend 65 million pounds of food. But that's what's been moving through the hands of our soldiers and airmen.
SREENIVASAN: Are you surprised that the need is as acute?
HARRIS: I knew that there would be an increase in the need. I had no idea how much it would be. I had no idea how much it would be.
Our soldiers and airmen tell us about people who've worked as volunteers at the food bank who are now coming through the food banks to get food for
their families. So that's 180-degree social change, so to speak. And it's profound.
And it is -- it's prevalent in our rural areas. It's prevalent in our urban areas. This is not just an Ohio issue. This is a U.S. issue. This is a
SREENIVASAN: You're going to be here in this active mission of supporting the food banks until the end of the year. Do you think the problem is going
to stop then?
HARRIS: I don't. I don't.
I think we're going to be in this for a while. I think, even when we have a vaccine, it's going to take a while for that vaccine to be developed and
distributed and put into enough arms that it makes a difference for this disease.
In the meantime, we have to keep doing what we're doing. We have to keep the measures in place to protect ourselves, the social distancing, the
masks. I will tell you, I fear that we may see worse before we see better.
Here in Ohio, we know that we're starting to see some fatigue with coronavirus. That's causing a bit of a letdown in the discipline. We're
coming indoors because it's getting cold. And we're approaching the holidays. That's kind of a perfect storm for seeing an increase in the
numbers for coronavirus.
So, I think that we may see some greater challenges before we see our way out of this. So, do I think there will be a demand here at the food banks
for additional help? I don't see the volunteers coming back anytime, anytime soon, because the conditions haven't changed.
And I don't see the food insecurity going away anytime soon. So, when you have that increase on the demand side and the challenges on the supply
chain side, yes, I think it creates a need for the National Guard long after December.
SREENIVASAN: I want to ask also just a little bit about the Facebook video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Racism divides us, and it destroys the trust between leader and led, between soldiers, between airmen and with the American people.
It's reprehensible, and it will not be tolerated in our ranks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: Why did you feel the need to speak out in this way against racism?
HARRIS: I feel the need to reinforce to our soldiers and airmen, at times like this, particularly in the wake of the George Floyd death, where
emotions, emotions become so strong, to refocus our folks and make sure that they understand that it's OK if their opinions are divided over the
issues, but we have to be united for the mission.
This is essential. The readiness of the armed forces does not go away, despite whatever's happening in this country. And our job, my job is to
make sure that we're not only prepared for the national defense and the goal -- the away game, but for domestic response right here.
And that means that, if I call you today, you have to be ready to go today. And I don't have time, I don't have time to get you ready or to have
philosophical discussions. When we call you for a civil disturbance in a city, I need you on the street that night. And I need you to come with your
A-game, disciplined and fair and impartial.
And if you can't park that, you can't participate in this organization.
SREENIVASAN: So, the civil unrest that you have had to respond to this year, what do you tell your soldiers and your airmen when they get an
assignment like this, when the governor calls them up, and they're required to show up at a moment's notice in a city that they might not be familiar
with, they might have their own opinions about what's going on, on the street around them, but they're called in to do a job?
HARRIS: Well, we tell them to do what they know to do, what they have been trained to do. And that's to be fair and impartial and unbiased.
Our soldiers and airmen and every officer and noncommissioned officer leader along the way knows that we are an apolitical organization. So, when
you put on this uniform, you're not a Republican or a Democrat. You're not a liberal or conservative. You are an American soldier, an American airman.
And our job is -- our oath is to the Constitution, and our job is to enforce everyone's right. We support local law enforcement as they support
everyone's right, in that case, to express their First Amendment rights. It doesn't matter if you like what they're saying or dislike what they're
saying. Your opinion in this case is irrelevant.
Your mission is what's important. And it's because of doing that such a disciplined way that we're able to maintain the trust with the public that
we have. Also, when the public sees us doing missions like these, when they see us in the food banks, when they see us out there doing testing for
coronavirus all over the state, they get to know the Guard, they learn to trust the Guard, and, again, they know that it's their friends and their
So, when we have to show up for those tough missions, like civil disturbance, that trust comes with us. And they know that our people are
going to conduct their mission as fairly and as impartially as they can.
And to the person, whether that was the Tamir Rice verdict, whether that was the Republican National Committee -- convention that we had here a few
years ago, whether it was the most recent debate, or whether it's civil disturbance, when we put our people out there with the public, invariably,
they do that job just in a fantastic manner, because that's what they have learned to do.
SREENIVASAN: This is a time of increased polarity and political tension in the country. And it's hard for people to remember that there's human beings
inside the uniform, that they are our neighbors and our relatives and our family, right?
So, how do you get through that message to your soldiers and your airmen that you are a part of this community that you're helping serve; even if
someone is irate and in your face, and you might agree with them, but you got this uniform on, this is your duty right now?
HARRIS: Well as in anything that we try to inculcate into our service members, you can't just say it once, and it really has to become a part of
the DNA of the organization.
So, it starts long before we put those soldiers and airmen on the street for missions like these. It goes down to everything from their social media
posts. You can't be a soldier on your social media and have these strong political opinions. It's counter to what we're trying to accomplish.
So, we're constantly watching, not only individual sites, but -- not monitoring for their opinion, but just ensuring that they're not mixing
their military duty with their political or social agenda. Can't do that.
So, it's perfectly fine to have a site where you're expressing your opinion. We want you to have your opinion. Perfectly fine to be a soldier.
But if you're mixing being a soldier with some kind of political activism, you can't do that.
So, we ingrain that in our folks from the very beginning. You are apolitical when you put this on. Now, when you're having dinner with your
family, we want you to have those debates. We want you to be who you are. We want you to express yourself.
But understand, when you convert from citizen to soldier, you're expected to be 100 percent soldier.
SREENIVASAN: You had an unfortunate incident recently that the governor was talking about, when one of the members that you deployed to Washington,
D.C., had made a sign toward white supremacy.
When you saw that -- the evidence from that, when you heard that this happened, what went through your mind?
HARRIS: Well, it's very disturbing. It's very disturbing, because we know that there are organizations that are infiltrating the military ranks to
get the military training, and in some cases to try to influence other military members.
And that erodes the very trust that's the foundation of everything we do. So, when I say it's disturbing, it's disturbing because we certainly don't
want that image, we don't want that brand for our military. It certainly disrupts what we're trying to accomplish as an impartial, apolitical
So, we have to eliminate it very quickly. And that soldier, once the FBI brought that to our attention, because they were -- he was operating -- he
was operating undercover. He certainly wasn't being overt, using his real identity, of course. He was operating as part of these organizations out
there in social media space as someone else.
But when the FBI brought this to our attention, we dealt with it very quickly and very abruptly. And it just shows the value of the partnerships
that we have as the Guard also, those longstanding relationships with other agencies. They brought it to our attention. We dealt with it very swiftly
and very quickly, because it is the foundation of what we do that that soldier was eroding.
SREENIVASAN: So, how do you root that out? How do you make sure you're finding where these conversations are existing, either silently in a
person, or under pseudonyms online?
HARRIS: We, as the military, are prohibited and we should never collect information, store information or distribute information about U.S.
persons. That's not what we do.
So, other agencies help us with that quite a bit, as they watch these organizations. But it gets tougher every day. These organizations are very
good about how they use social media now. Used to be easy. They were very open in social media. They have gotten smarter about the techniques that
our partners use.
So, they have become very covert in how they operate out there in social media space, how they organize, how they distribute their propaganda. So it
becomes harder for those organizations. But we count on those organizations.
In addition to the background checks that we do when we assess a person, we count on those organizations to help us monitor the folks in our ranks who
may be outside of what's appropriate for us.
SREENIVASAN: We have got three weeks or less -- less than three weeks until the election.
How is the National Guard going to support the days leading up to the election, the day of the election, and possibly the days after?
HARRIS: Well, we have several initiatives under way right now. Most are simply augmenting things that we already do.
For example, we have -- cybersecurity is something that's very important to us. And we have had ongoing relationships with our secretary of state's
office for quite some time, working with them to assure that we can -- we assess the vulnerability of their systems and do the best we can to make
sure that they have the best assessment of their systems that we can possibly provide to them.
Moreover, we look at -- we look at the seven metropolitan areas in Ohio. We have seven major metropolitan areas. And if we were to respond to civil
disturbance in multiple metropolitan areas at once, what would that look like? We conduct tabletop exercises with local leaders, local law
enforcement, with our own state Highway Patrol, to ensure that, if we did have to respond to something, that we would.
SREENIVASAN: You feel prepared?
HARRIS: I do feel prepared.
But I think it's important to note that, on Election Day, don't expect to see uniformed service folks around the polling places. That's something
that we're very sensitive to. We don't want the perception that we're in any way influencing voting, either for or against.
And we certainly don't want our soldiers or airmen actually working the polling places. We know that, here in Ohio -- I shouldn't say that, not in
uniform, not in a duty status.
If they're in their citizen status, want to go -- they feel a civic responsibility to volunteer to work the polls, we want them to do that. But
you won't see any military -- uniformed military Ohio National Guard soldiers working the polls, because that's counter to the message that we
want to send to the voters of Ohio.
SREENIVASAN: Major General Harris, thanks so much.
HARRIS: Thank you so much, sir.
AMANPOUR: Commander Harris made a very important point just then.
And, finally, is working from home leaving you feeling isolated, disconnected or even uninspired at times? Well, a theme park in Tokyo in
Japan has a solution for you.
Yomiuriland is offering teleworkers an amusement workstation package, which comes with a ride on the ferris wheel, which is equipped with portable Wi-
Fi routers and, of course, also some productive leisure time by the pool.
That's our thank God it's Friday fuel.
Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.