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Nation Honors The Fallen And Heroes Of September 11th; Interview With Leon Panetta About 9/11 Attacks; How Baseball Helped The Nation Recover After September 11; How The War On Terror Has Changed Since 9/11; U.S. Capitol To Reinstall Fence As D.C. Braces For Far-Right Rally; E-mail Shows Law Enforcement Prepared For Violence, "Mass Casualty Event" Ahead Of January 6 Riot. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired September 11, 2021 - 15:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.

By this time in the afternoon 20 years ago, it felt as though the world had shattered. Today's 9/11 memorials are a testament, while it is a different world, it's also a resilient one.

The entire nation pausing to honor the 2,977 lives lost. President Biden joining in on the tributes today by visiting all three 9/11 memorial sites, beginning with Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan this morning. He is on his way to the Pentagon now after wrapping up a visit to the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Flight 93 crashed. The passengers and crew made the historic decision that day 20 years ago to take on the hijackers so they couldn't reach their intended destination.

Before leaving Pennsylvania, Biden made a surprise stop at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, volunteer fire department. It was there that he made comments to reporters defending the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you told anybody that we were going to spend 300 million bucks a day for 20 years to try to unite the country after we got bin Laden, after al Qaeda was wiped out there, can al Qaeda come back? Yes. But guess what, it's already back other places. What's the strategy? Every place where al Qaeda is, we're going to invade and have troops stay there? Come on.


ACOSTA: We have reporters at all of those sites today. CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Lower Manhattan at Ground Zero. Let's begin with CNN's Paula Reid who is in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Paula, I do want to begin with President Biden defending the withdrawal during his visit to a Shanksville fire department, but those are not the only comments that he made today. PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We

were not expecting to hear from the president today. The only current or former president we expected to hear from today was former president George W. Bush. But President Biden made brief remarks while visiting a volunteer fire station not too far from here in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. And he was visiting that particular station because those were the first responders to visit the crash site of Flight 93 on 9/11.

Now in his remarks as you heard he continues to defend the administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan and he continues to defend our ability to respond to threats in that country even without troops on the ground.

Now the president started the day in Lower Manhattan before coming here to Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I am currently standing at the National Memorial to Flight 93. And as you just described, what's so significant about what happened on Flight 93 is that 40 passengers and crew members, strangers, banded together, decided to storm the cockpit and crash that plane here in a field in rural Pennsylvania.

We now know the likely target for that hijacked commercial airliner was the U.S. Capitol, and this memorial is really a tribute to the sacrifices that were made and the lives that were saved on that day.

Now as part of today's memorial, remarks by Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Bush, and his remarks are really making headlines, Jim, because he talked about the unity that he saw in this country in the days following 9/11, and how that is such a stark contrast to the partisan environment that we're currently in, and he also touched on the threat of domestic extremism.

Let's take a listen to what he said.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: And we have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within. There's little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home, but then there's disdainful pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols. They are children of the same foul spirit and it is our continuing duty to confront them.


REID: The vice president also touched on that spirit of unity that was really embodied on Flight 93 in her remarks, and family members and friends of those who were lost aboard Flight 93, they were able to visit the crash site today at the end of the memorial.

And Jim, that's so significant because they have been the ones pushing to get this memorial built. Some of them believe that people forget about what happened that day here in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. They believe most of the attention is on Lower Manhattan or the Pentagon, and they really wanted people to be able to come here and learn about the sacrifices that were made on that day and arguably the lives that were saved because that group of strangers came together -- Jim.

ACOSTA: Paula, I have been to Shanksville, I was there in 2002 for the one-year anniversary of 9/11. It is such an important place for Americans to visit. I hope people get out there and get to see it sometime.

Paula, thanks so much for that report.


Let's go to Polo in Lower Manhattan. Polo, let's talk about how New Yorkers are marking this 20th anniversary at Ground Zero today.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, even now, you can still hear the occasional bag pipes down below here, the occasional solemn sounds of taps as well. I have to tell you, though, throughout the day and earlier this morning during that ceremony, (INAUDIBLE) officials were present but they did not speak. The attention remained rightfully so on the families of the fallen, some of those who survived the horrific events of 20 years ago.

Here's just one snapshot of some of the -- part of that solemn celebration that took place in Lower Manhattan today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty years feels like an eternity, but yet it still feels like yesterday. And Tony, my love, rest in peace.


SANDOVAL: Back here in Lower Manhattan, tonight, again, the skies over Lower Manhattan will light up again with that tribute in lights. It is that iconic not only tribute to the families of the fallen, but also a reminder of the resilience of that American spirit. And as we look down here on some of the reflecting pools, it's also very evident that it has continued to affect so many people.

You look down, you still see first responders stopping by, paying their respects. So certainly just those tributes, even after that ceremony wrapped up today, they continue well into tonight -- Jim.

ACOSTA: I was just down there yesterday, Polo. It is such a moving place. Our hearts go out to everybody there today in remembrance of 9/11 20 years ago.

Polo Sandoval, thanks so much for that report.

President Biden is now on his way to the Pentagon where he will attend a wreath laying ceremony in honor of the 184 people who died when American Airlines Flight 77 hit the building.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Their legacy lives on and the idea that is America, and no terrorist anywhere on earth can ever destroy that idea. Since that dark day 20 years ago, the men and women of the United States Military have fought tirelessly to defeat terrorists in Afghanistan and around the world, both at home and abroad, their talent and their efforts, and their courage, their personal valor has carried this fight day and night. We did not fear what was in front of us because we loved what was behind us.


ACOSTA: And joining me now is former Defense secretary and CIA director Leon Panetta who oversaw the U.S. operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

Secretary Panetta, thank you so much for joining us on this day. 20 years ago you were up on Capitol Hill when you first learned that planes had hit the World Trade Center. You later saw this book, "Rising from the Pentagon." Take us back to that day, what it was like for you, just trying to get home to your family.

LEON PANETTA, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, like millions of others, Jim, it's a day that you don't forget. And I was on Capitol Hill. I was briefing members of Congress on an ocean commission that I was chair of when one of the commissioners leaned over to me, who had -- she had an office in New York City, and said that one of the Trade towers had been hit by a plane. We both kind of assumed that it was a terrible accident at the time.


But then a few minutes later, the second plane hit the other tower. And we knew that it was a terrorist attack. I turned to members of Congress and I said look, we've just been attacked by terrorists, I think it's really important for you to get out from this area on Capitol Hill as quickly as you can. I jumped in a car, and as I was leaving, I saw the smoke from the plane that hit the Pentagon.

It was -- it's a day that you never forget because you suddenly realized that America was being attacked, something that we never believed could happen.

ACOSTA: Right. It is remarkable, Secretary, that you can remember all of these memories so vividly, all of these years later. We heard from former President Bush today, and he used his remarks to talk about violent extremists. I'm sure this stood out to you as it did for so many of us. He was talking about violent extremists both at home and abroad. He called them children of the same foul spirit. What did you make of that and were you surprised that he went there?

PANETTA: No, I'm glad he did very frankly because I think just as 9/11 was a wakeup call to foreign terrorism and the threat from foreign terrorism, I think January 6th was a wakeup call for domestic terrorism and the reality is that a terrorist is a terrorist, whether that terrorist is abroad or whether that terrorist is here at home. And this country has to recognize that we have a responsibility to protect ourselves from attacks from terrorists, whether they're here or whether they're in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

ACOSTA: And President Biden just made some remarks in Shanksville. Let's play a bit of that and get your reaction if we can.


BIDEN: 77 percent of the American people think it was time to get out of Afghanistan, spending all that money. But the flip of it is, they didn't like the way we got out. But it's hard to explain to anybody how else could you get out. For example, if we were in Tajikistan, we pulled up a C-130, and said we're not going to let, you know, anybody who was involved with being sympathetic to us to get in the plane, you'd have people hanging in the wing. No.


ACOSTA: Secretary Panetta, you heard the president's comments. We did see people hanging on to those cargo planes coming out of Afghanistan. Do you think the president should have gone there today and talked about, you know, some of the concerns that Americans had about the way we pulled out of Afghanistan?

PANETTA: I really think it's important for President Biden to move on. He made a decision, whether you agree or disagree with the decision, he made it. I think what's important now is for the president to focus on the future and how is this country going to make sure that 9/11 never happens again and that we will protect our country from terrorists abroad and terrorists here at home. I think that's the key message he's got to send to the American people.

ACOSTA: And this is such an important thing that I want to ask you about. I'm sure you noticed this last week, President Biden signed an executive order directing the Department of Justice to conduct a declassification review of documents related to the 9/11 attacks. It's something that the families of the victims have wanted for a long time.

You are the former CIA director. Do you think these families are going to get the answers that they're looking for, particularly there's a lot of focus on the role Saudi Arabia played.

PANETTA: Yes. No, I am pleased that President Biden declassified those documents. I think that the families of the victims are entitled to know the whole truth of what was involved and who was involved when it came to 9/11. I suspect that they're not going to get the kind of satisfactory answers about the role of Saudi Arabia with regards to this attack, but at the same time, I think it's important to release that information so that we have a better sense of who played what role when it came to the tragedy of 9/11.

ACOSTA: All right, former Defense secretary, Leon Panetta. We hope those families get the answers that they're looking for. As you said they may not get everything that they're hoping for. But as somebody who has been through so much of this, thank you for your service as well, and for your reflections today. We appreciate it.


PANETTA: Thank you very much, Jim. And again, my heart goes out to all of the victims on this terrible day. Let's hope that America is able to protect ourselves in the future from any repeat of that kind of attack.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. No question. We can be unified on that. All right. Secretary, always good to talk to you. Thanks so much.

PANETTA: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Coming up, the legendary former manager of the New York Yankees Joe Torre joins me live on the special role baseball played in bringing the nation together after tragedy.


ACOSTA: Tonight, Major League Baseball is honoring the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by having the Mets host the Yankees at Citi Field for the ceremonial first pitch. Bobby Valentine will throw to Joe Torre. They were the two team managers back in 2001, and both recently worked on a documentary for HBO Max about how baseball helped the nation heal after the attacks.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Baseball just happened to be the right vehicle at the right time to help us cope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel honored that we gave the people something to feel good about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like we could live again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ballgame over, Yankees win. The Yankees win.

JOE TORRE, FORMER NEW YORK YANKEES MANAGER: Our job was to distract people from the horrors and the sadness. You showed what being New Yorkers is all about. And we gave them to them.


ACOSTA: And joining me now by phone is the man who led the New York Yankees to four World Series victories, former manager Joe Torre. He's also the executive producer of "Extra Innings from 9/11" 20 years later.

Joe, thanks so much for joining us. What does it mean to you to stand out there tonight for that first pitch on the 20th anniversary? It's going to be some kind of moment, I imagine.

TORRE: Well, Jim, as you know, none of us forget. And 20 years, you still feel like you could reach out and touch it. It has always been right there for us. I don't know how I'm going to feel. I know the emotion is going to be huge. And, you know, watching, you know, some of the names being mentioned this morning, it's just so powerful and sad, and you know, there's a bit of anger in there, these poor people died, they were defenseless.

And -- but, you know, I think baseball really has a responsibility, all sports do, you know, to try to get in the way of the -- you know, of the sadness.

ACOSTA: It helped us so much. I remember all of this. And now all of these memories are coming rushing back. What do you remember, though, about that very first game after 9/11? Because the Yankees, they're not exactly everybody's beloved baseball team when you go outside of New York, if you don't mind a D.C. kid saying this. But that was not the case after 9/11. What happened when you first went to that game?

TORRE: Yes. It was in Chicago because we were home when the planes hit the towers. And obviously it was frightening for all of us. And when Commissioner Selig decided that we were going to start baseball up again, it was going to be the following Monday.

So, you know, we -- you know, we went to Chicago and then, you know, went out and, you know, as you mentioned, you know, when you remember the Yankees, you know, people either love you or hate you, there's no in between.

But we went out there in the dugout in Chicago's Kaminski Park and, you know, there would be all kinds of signs saying we love New York, we support New York, and it was very meaningful and understandable that, you know, this is everybody's -- you know, everybody felt the same way. I know we in New York, you know, we were a lot closer to it, but, you know, this country comes together when tragedy happens and unfortunately this was a huge bit of tragedy.

ACOSTA: No question. And then a few weeks after the attack, you had that famous moment, former President Bush throwing out the first pitch. That was such an important moment I think for the country. What do you remember about that night?

TORRE: I remember everything. You know, pretty much everything. You know, there were rumors that he was going to be there. We had just come in from Arizona, we had lost the first two games of the World Series, and, you know, what's interesting, Jim, is, you know, both managers and both general managers always meet in the umpires' dressing room before the first game in that particular ballpark. And we did it in Arizona and we were doing it here at Yankee Stadium.

And you walked in and you do the ritual, you shake hands with everybody, you know, six umpires who have the game and all of a sudden there was an umpire I didn't recognize. Come to find out later on, well, actually, I saw it there, was the Secret Service men and he was dressed as an umpire. And I think I mentioned something about, you know, obviously he was armed and, you know, try to bring some levity.


Because I think I said, you know, it's about time they armed you guys, you know, meaning the umpires, but it --

ACOSTA: Right.

TORRE: It was powerful. And I was at the end of the runway coming from the clubhouse to the dugout, and I welcomed President Bush and he comes, I mean, charging out and says to me, he says, Joe, he said you're going to kick their butts tonight? And I said, well, I hope so. And with that, he went past me and briskly up the steps and right to the mound.

And, you know, found out later obviously, you know, he went to the top of the mound and pitched from the pitcher's rubber, and he had warmed up with Derrick Jeter in the batting cage underneath the stands, and of course only Jeter's dry wit said to the president, he says, where are you going to throw the first pitch from? He said if you don't throw it from top of the mound, they're going to boo you, this is Yankee Stadium.

ACOSTA: Right.

TORRE: And he said, and another thing, don't bounce it. And so the president had a little bit of, you know, a bit of pressure put on him by our captain, but he went out there and threw a strike and again came off the mound. Everybody cheered him.

It was a great moment for everybody because it was sort of a security blanket after, you know, 9/11 and not too far off the 9/11 that the president of the United States chose coming to throw out first pitch in New York instead of Arizona because of, you know, what had happened.

ACOSTA: Yes. And I think, Joe, what it said to the country was it was OK to play baseball again, it was OK to do the things that we love as a country, as much as we were so sad and grieving at that time.

Joe Torre, thank you so much for being such a huge part of that moment in our nation's history and thanks for your time and those reflections this afternoon. We appreciate it.

TORRE: Well, thanks so much for asking. I appreciate it. Be safe.

ACOSTA: All right. You as well. And just this once, I'll say, go Yankees. Thanks so much.

And a programming note. Join Jake Tapper, Robert de Niro, and Leonardo DiCaprio plus musical artist Brad Paisley, Maroon 5, and Common, for a special tribute to the families of September 11th, "SHINE A LIGHT" begins tonight at 8:00 right here on CNN. And we'll be right back.






BUSH: I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people --


BUSH: And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.



ACOSTA: Iconic words from then-President George W. Bush as he stood on top of the smoldering rubble at Ground Zero.

Just two days later, his vice president, Dick Cheney, gave the nation a preview of what the U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks would involve, a fight that would later be dubbed the Global War on Terror.


DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We also have to work sort of the dark side, if you will. We have to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world.

A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we're going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in.


ACOSTA: And joining me, Garrett Graff, CNN contributor and author of the book, "The Only Plane in the Sky, An Oral History of 9/11."

Garrett, you've done such a service to the U.S. with all your hard work on this topic.

You believe that response from Cheney about the dark side, the so- called dark side came to define the U.S. response over the next two decades.

Let's talk about that. Can you explain that?

GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I think, looking back now with 20 years of hindsight, what we see is that the U.S. made a series of choices in the wake of 9/11 about how to pursue the so-called Global War on Terror that ultimately compromised our aims to secure freedom.

And left us sort of less free at home, less secure at home, more morally compromised, and more alone on the world stage than the United States has ever been. And it is a series of very tragic choices where we chose some poor

allies, we mis-defined our enemy, and then we sort of mis-defined what our quest for justice would be.

And the dark side that Dick Cheney hinted at that we sort of later saw play out in the CIA torture program, the black sites, the Guantanamo prison detainees, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, have ultimately left a real moral stain on our country.

ACOSTA: And in a piece for "The Atlantic," you look back at 17 minutes that passed between the first and second planes hitting the World Trade Center, and how America became -- or I should say, before the second plane hit is unrecognizable today. We became a different place.


GRAFF: Yes. That 17 minutes, from 8:46 to 9:03, you see just how innocent a nation we really were on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

People across the nation, from the streets of New York to the president of the United States in Florida, see and hear of that first crash into the north tower and sort of collectively shrug.

Everyone assumed it was, at first, a small plane, the pilot had a heart attack, the plane had a mechanical problem, air traffic control was having a really bad day.

We didn't default to believing it was terror. We didn't default to thinking this was an attack.

And it wasn't until that second plane crosses onto America's TV screens at 9:03 and crashes into the south tower that we really begin to see America realize that it is under attack.

Twenty years later, we're used to being afraid in public places. We are used to active-shooter drills. We are used to terrorism drills. We are used to heightened airport security.

But on that morning of 9/11, you see this incredibly innocent country confounded by initial minutes of the attack.

ACOSTA: No question about it. I remember that moment all too well.

What happened in those immediate days after 9/11 that stands out to you when it came to analyzing intelligence for threats?

GRAFF: Yes. This is where we have to acknowledge, 20 years later, the United States has achieved a great deal of tactical success in the War on Terror.

Al Qaeda is greatly disabled as a force for terrorism. Osama bin Laden, of course, killed in Abbottabad. And that Islamic extremism is unable to carry out the type of sophisticated, spectacular attack it did on 9/11.

At the same time, though, we've had a lot of strategic failure.

That's been true -- that's been put in stark relief this summer as we have watched these photos and images and video out of Afghanistan, and a war that has stretched on for 20 years until it is now being fought on both sides by people that have no memory of the day that started it all.

ACOSTA: No question about it. And it is a subject that you and I could talk about the rest of the afternoon. But, Garrett, that's all the time we have right now.

Garrett Graff, thank you so much for the work you've done on this topic. It is just so important.

If you haven't picked it up and looked at Garrett's article in "The Atlantic" and the book he wrote about the subject, it is worth checking out.

Garrett Graff, thanks so much for your time. We appreciate it.

GRAFF: Always a pleasure, Jim.

ACOSTA: Thank you.

Coming up, fencing expected back up around the capitol. The growing concerns about a right-wing rally supporting the insurrectionists. We get a live report, next.



ACOSTA: During his remarks at the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, today, former President George W. Bush made a not-so- veiled reference to the capitol rioters, and what he believes they have in common with foreign terrorists.


BUSH: And we have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within.

There's a little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home.

But then there's disdainful pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols.

They are children of the same foul spirit. And it is our continuing duty to confront them.


ACOSTA: This comes as U.S. Capitol Police are increasing security ahead of a right-wing rally next weekend in support of jailed insurrectionists.

They've asked for fencing that surrounded the capitol for months after the January 6th riot to go back up.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux joins me from Capitol Hill.

Suzanne, how concerned are law enforcement officials about the rally next weekend? It sounds like they're making lots of preparations now.


First of all, it really is significant, having covered President Bush for two terms, that he mentioned domestic extremism and violence today, having defined his presidency in the Global War on Terror regarding ISIS and al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists.

That's the first thing that's very noteworthy today.

Secondly, yes, you do have Capitol Policeman, in an internal memo, that are expressing a great deal of concern about next Saturday's rally, the potential, the uptick of rhetoric of violence around this potential rally.

Also, not only directed at the capitol but also at potentially Jewish centers, liberal churches, things like this. So they're already making preparations.

Capitol Police also recommending to the board that they reconstruct and get fences back up for the integrity of these buildings here that were under attack the last time.

It is up to the board to decide. But it is a strong recommendation to get that fencing back in place.


And then, finally, Jim, you have House Speaker Nancy Pelosi inviting colleagues, leadership both the Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate side, to meet in her office on Monday with the head of the Capitol Police, with the chief, to discuss the kinds of preparations that they're going to be making for next Saturday.

What is notable, however, Jim, at least one of the organizers of the rally is saying that this is going to be peaceful.

Law enforcement is looking at some of the information that they have. They note that it is not going to be or they don't expect it to be a large rally. Potentially, maybe 500 people.

They also notice there's not an uptick on hotel reservations like you saw last go around where you really did have, in the days leading up to the January 6th rally, lots and lots of people in Washington, D.C., gathering, and a real sense something was about to happen -- Jim?

ACOSTA: We're also learning new information about just how much law enforcement had warning of what might happen prior to January 6th, the insurrection. What can you tell us about that?

MALVEAUX: There's a watchdog group, and they've published something that's online, and email as well as phone calls.

And this really is about hundreds of law enforcement officials essentially communicating with each other, talking to each other just two days prior to January 6th.

What were they seeing? What were they potentially expecting? Well, the language here, "Reporting indicates a significant number of individuals planned to or advocating for others to travel to Washington, D.C., to engage in civil unrest and violence."

Jim, it goes on to say this could be a "mass casualty event."

They were not only expecting the potential for violence when it comes to physical violence, but they also said perhaps it would be a cyber threat and a lack of communication, that they would have to prepare for all the contingencies -- Jim?

ACOSTA: That is remarkable, Suzanne. I suspect that's not the last of those kinds of revelations that we'll be seeing in the weeks and months to come.

Suzanne Malveaux, on top of all of that for us, thank you very much.

MALVEAUX: Thank you.

ACOSTA: And we'll be right back with more -- thanks, Suzanne.

And we'll be right back with much more on this remembrance of 9/11 and the events in New York, Washington, and Shanksville, 20 years after September 11th.






ACOSTA: Tomorrow night, CNN's Jake Tapper takes a closer look at America's longest war and what went wrong in Afghanistan. He sits down with many of the top U.S. commanders of the war, the former Afghan ambassador to the U.S. and U.S. veterans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just he and I sitting in the Oval Office. And I had not been expecting this. I expected him to say, here's what I would like you to be able to do.

But he said, what do you think you can do? I said, well, I've got the European outside of their wires and they'll get a little more involved in patrolling and being out amongst the Afghan people.

He said, that will be good enough. That's about the way he responded.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: What does that mean, good enough?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never tried to define that.

But after that, he said, and here's another thing, I want you to always tell me exactly what you need. Tell me exactly what you need. You're not going to get it. Because I've got to take care of this the right way.


TAPPER (voice-over): When Lieutenant General Barno arrived in 2003, he had about 57,000 fewer troops in Afghanistan than were in Iraq, 57,000. The following year, that gap doubled to about 115,000.

BARNO: You had a V-8 engine in Iraq, tuned up, and you had something much less in Afghanistan. So everything was harder.


ACOSTA: Be sure to tune in. "AMERICA'S LONGEST WAR: WHAT WENT WRONG IN AFGHANISTAN," airs tomorrow night on 9:00, right here on CNN.

Cervical cancer is killing thousands of women in countries around the world. "CNN's Hero" this week left her Beverly Hills practice in Los Angeles to begin a mission to eradicate cervical cancer globally one woman at a time.

Meet Dr. Patricia Gordon.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): She will treat free of charge.

DR. PATRICIA GORDON, CNN HERO: There are 350,000 women dying a painful, undignified deaths globally. And it's almost 100 percent preventable.

So this is everything you need to screen and treat a patient.

We bring in these big suitcases.


GORDON: We teach local health care professionals the see-and-treat technique.

At the end of the week of training, we pack up that suitcase and give it to the nurses that are going back to their clinics.

Within a day, we can literally save 20 or 30 lives, depending on the number of women we screen.


That there are 8,000 women who are alive and well and able to provide for their families is, honestly, the most rewarding thing that I could have ever imagined in my life.

I think I'm the luckiest doctor that ever lived.


ACOSTA: Go to right now to learn Dr. Gordon's full story and see her in action.



ACOSTA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.