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Biden Speaks After Wreath-Laying At Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier; President Biden Speaks At National Veterans Day Observance; Israeli Troops Continue To Advance In Northern Gaza; Israel And Hezbollah Exchange Fire Today Across Lebanon Border; Pro-Palestinian Protest Grows Near Biden's Home In Delaware; Major Summit Of Arab And Islamic Leaders Today In Saudi Arabia; Surgeon Used Breast Implants To Help Save Lung-Transplant Patient's Life. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired November 11, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Don't forget, you can find all our shows online as podcast at cnn.com/podcast and --
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Five years ago.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN HOST: Hey, everyone. I am Omar Jimenez. We want to get you straight to remarks by President Biden, where he is speaking for today's observance of Veterans Day. Let's listen in.
BIDEN: -- France.
A young American soldier sent a letter home to his parents in Missouri. And I'll quote it. He said, if only you all could see, he wrote, fighting stopped, lanterns shine in every window and door, end of quote.
For those who'd fought in this war, unlike any war the world has ever seen before. It was a symbol, reminder that as long as those who stand for freedom white will always triumph over darkness.
My fellow Americans, Jill, Vice President Harris, Second Gentlemen Emhoff, Secretary McDonough, Secretary Buttigieg is here. Secretary Mayorkas. Acting Secretary Su, Director Haynes, Deputy Secretary Hicks, Vice Chairman Grady. And most importantly, our veterans and service members, and equally, as important, their families.
Come together today to once again honor the generations of Americans who stood on the frontlines of freedom to once again bear witness to the great deeds of a noble few, who risked everything, everything, to give us a better future.
Those that have always, always kept the light of liberty shining bright across the world. Our veterans -- that's not hyperbole. Our veterans, every year, on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, we gather in this sanctuary of sacrifice, to pause, to pay tribute, to these patriots, of the greatest fighting force in the history of the world.
As Commander in Chief, I have no higher honor. As a father of a son who served, I have no greater privilege. Like as for so many of you, Veterans Day is personal to Jill and me.
On this day, I can still see my son, the attorney general of Delaware, standing ramrod straight as I pinned his bars on him the day joined the Army National Guard in Delaware.
I can still feel the overwhelming pride in Major Beau Biden, receiving the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and the Delaware Conspicuous Service Cross. We miss him.
I can still hear my wife, Jill, every morning she got up to go to school to teach, praying over a cup of coffee. During the year he was deployed to Iraq. And six months before that he was a civilian overseas.
And like it was yesterday, I can still hear what he told me when he signed up to serve. I said bow why? God's truth, he said, Dad, it's my duty. Duty.
That was the code my son lived by the creed that millions of veterans have followed. Of Belleau Woods to Baghdad to Gettysburg, to Guadalcanal, from Korea to Kandahar, and beyond. Each one, linked in a chain of honor, that stretches back to our founding days. Each one bound by a sacred oath to support and defend. Not a place, not a person, not a president. But an idea to defend an idea unlike any other in human history. That idea is the United States of America.
We're the only nation in the world, only nation in the world is built on an idea. Every other nation is based on things like geography, ethnicity, religion. We're the only nation built on the idea that we are all created equal, endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.
We haven't always lived up to it but because our veterans, because of you, we have never walked away from it. For throughout the annals of history, whenever and wherever the force of darkness has sought to extinguish the light of liberty, American veterans have been holding the lantern the high as they can for all of us.
They were there, under determined band to patriot sparked a revolution, delivering a nation where everyone, everyone is endowed with certain inalienable rights.
They were there, when less than a century later, they gave our nation a new birth of freedom. They were there when the forces of fascism brought the fight to the trenches of Europe, and the bloody beaches of Normandy.
They were there, and called upon to face depression in the frozen rice paddies of Korea, and the sweltering jungles of Vietnam. And they were there when darkness came to our shores, signing up for tour, after tour after tour, to keep our democracy safe and secure these last two decades.
Folks, as a nation, we owe them, we owe you. Not just for keeping the flame of freedom burning during the darkest of moments, but for serving our communities even after they hang up their uniforms, for inspiring the next generation to serve.
We see this at barracks and bases all across America, where young women and men continue to risk their own safety for the safety of their fellow Americans. We see it around the world. And all the countries have been in when our troops continue to stand with our allies against the forces of tyranny and terrorism.
To this day, wherever the forces of darkness have sought to extinguish the light of liberty, American troops are there. And Right by their side are their families.
As English poet John Milton wrote, they also serve who only stand and wait. They also serve who only stand and wait. Our veterans are the steel spine of this nation. And their families, like so many of you are the courageous heart.
Most Americans never see the sacrifices that you as family members also make. They'll never see those holidays, those birthdays, made special, even with the empty seat at the dinner table.
They'll never see all the packing and unpacking, readying the family to make another move. They didn't move to a new school, a new job for the spouse. They'll never see all those nights spent waiting for word from a loved one deployed overseas, because you're not sure.
Too often, your sacrifices go without thanks, or without acknowledgement. We must remember, only one percent, one percent of our society today protects 99 percent of us. One percent.
We owe them, we owe you. So, to all the families across our nation, to all those who are grieving the loss of a loved one who wore the uniform, to all those with loved ones still missing or unaccounted for, I want to say to you, we see you, we stand with you. And we will not forget.
And Jesse you have kept the ultimate faith to our country. We will keep the faith with you. As a nation. I've said many times we have many obligations. We only have one truly sacred obligation to prepare those we sent into harm's way and to care for them and their families when they return home.
It's not an obligation based on part of your politics, but on a promise that unites us all together. Over the last three years, we've worked to make good on that promise, passing more than 30 bipartisan laws to support our veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors.
That includes the fact that our most significant laws ever tell millions of veterans were exposed to toxins and burn pits during their military service, pesticides in football fields that incinerated with the waste of war, tires, chemicals, jet fuel, and so much more. To many of our nation's wars have served only to return home to suffer from permanent effects of this poison the smoke. Too many have died in the 15 months since I wrote and signed the PACT Act. A half a million veterans and the surviving family members have already started receiving benefits.
But far, far too many are still not getting what they need, the care they deserve. That's why, I'm proud to announce that any toxin exposed veteran who served in any conflict outlined in the PACT Act, will be able to rope -- be able to enroll in V.A. health care starting March of next year.
We're not stopping there. The past year has delivered more benefits, process more claims than ever before in V.A. history. We expanded resources to end veterans' homelessness, and veterans' poverty, and the silent scourge of suicide, which is taking more veterans in wars.
We're launching a new initiative to protect veterans from scams, because no one should be defrauded by those they defended for God's sake.
Through Jill's work, and others in joining forces, we've also announced the most comprehensive set of actions in our nation's history to strengthen economic opportunity for military and veterans' spouses, caregivers, and survivors.
And this year as we marked 75 years of a desegregated military, 75 years of women's integration in the military, and 50 years of an all- volunteer force, we've doubled down on our efforts to ensure all troops, all veterans get the services they need.
And a no veteran is denied the honor they earned because there was discharged for being LGBTQ Plus.
It matters, it matters to the vet from the state of Delaware, where after years of being homeless, after years of living in a tent made of his own uniforms, finally got a roof over his head.
It matters to the vet in Arkansas, who after answering duties call on 9/11, after dealing with debilitating post-traumatic stress for years, finally, is able to receive tailored mental health care has changed his life.
It matters to the vet from Utah, after flying mission after mission over burn pits in Iraq, after being diagnosed with cancer at just 23 years of age, is finally receiving full coverage for his treatment. It matters.
It matters to the vet from Florida, who has been exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam after applying and been rejected for benefits four times. Finally, as he wrote to me in a letter, quote, is able to get by a little easier now.
Today, we got it not only to honor the stories, but the stories of all veterans. For it's a story of our nation at its best. A nation that stands is wanting to forge a better future for all, a nation of faces down fear generation after generation. A nation that meets darkness with light again and again and again.
No matter how high the cost, no matter how heavy the burden, ladies and gentlemen, for nearly 250 years, the sacrifice of many of you sitting in front of me and behind me. And those who served have kept our country free and our democracy strong.
As a young soldier wrote more than a century ago after World War I ended, if you'd only could see lantern shine and everyone to endure. Today, we not only see that light of Liberty, we live by it. And just like our forebears. It's on all of us, all of us together to ask ourselves, what can we do? What must we do to keep that light burning? To keep it shining every window and door for generations to come.
I know we can. I know we will. Because as our veterans know best, we are the United States of America. And there is nothing, nothing, nothing beyond our capacity.
Nothing beyond our capacity when we do it together. God bless you all, God bless our veterans, and may God protects our troops today and always.
Thank you, and thank you for your service.
JIMENEZ: President Biden speaking at the Arlington National Cemetery in observance of today's Veterans Day. He said the country has one duty, to prepare those we send into harm's way and to care for them and their families when they come home. Very much stayed on the topic of veterans did not stray into any ongoing conflicts going on in the country right now.
That said, moments ago, President Biden before he began to speak, he and Vice President Kamala Harris marked Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
There, the president laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
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JIMENEZ: Joining me now is CNN's Arlette Saenz at the White House.
So, Arlette, the president talks about how this is personal to him. He also had been touting achievements that he had made legislatively or policy wise in this category, of course, over the course of this week.
So, Arlette, just give it to me. What policies has he been working on here and your reaction to what we just heard? ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, President Biden stood there at Arlington National Cemetery, a site that he described as a sanctuary of sacrifice, trying to honor those veterans who have served this country.
The president said that he was there to honor the generations of Americans who stood on the front lines of freedom. He talks about how there is this battle between darkness and light that -- and that generation after generation, American troops and veterans have showed up to fight that battle against darkness.
The president, of course, also talked about this in very personal term, saying that it is not just an honor to be there as president, but also a privilege -- a privilege as the father of the son of a veteran, referencing the -- his late son, Beau Biden, who had served in the Delaware Army National Guard in Iraq in the past.
The president said that his son would often talk about the duty that he felt to the country. And that is a similar duty that millions of veterans also feel at this time.
Now, this comes on Veterans Day, but the president's administration just yesterday had rolled out a series of steps, series of actions that they are trying to take to help veterans. That includes trying to make some health care and nursing home services free of cost for World War II veterans.
They're also making establishing these programs to help protect veterans and their families from fraud and scams. And then there is also the speeding up of eligibility for those veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits.
That piece of legislation, the PACT Act is really one of the marquee pieces of legislation the president has gotten across the finish line when it pertains to issues of veterans. That's also a personal issue for the president as his own son had been exposed to toxic burn pits as he served in Iraq.
But President Biden today taking a moment to honor and celebrate those veterans who have given their time, their service, also the families who have supported them all in defense of this country, and that idea of democracy.
JIMENEZ: Yes. Arlette Saenz, thank you so much.
Let me started the show in Virginia, in the Washington, D.C. area, but we're going to take you overseas next.
Still to come, Gaza's healthcare system has passed a point of no return. That's the warning from the International Committee for the Red Cross. The latest on Israel's war with Hamas next.
[12:22:52] JIMENEZ: Now, for the critical situation unfolding in Gaza, Israeli troops are now in an intense ongoing fight against Hamas near one of Gaza's major medical centers.
Now, medics at the Al-Shifa Hospital say the complex has been hit by artillery fire. The IDF hasn't yet addressed those reports, but has denied the claim by one official of the Hamas controlled health ministry in Gaza that al-Shifa Hospital is under complete siege with staff and patients unable to leave.
The Red Cross says that Gaza has healthcare system has passed the point of no return.
Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces say they have now captured 11 Hamas military posts as the fighting across Gaza intensifies.
Today, thousands of Gazans fled south as the IDF open another seven- hour evacuation window, marking the fourth straight day of evacuation corridors opening in northern Gaza.
With the world watching, the humanitarian crisis unfold, today, leaders from Arab and Islamic nations have been meeting in Saudi Arabia, reiterating calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
We're also seeing major protests around the globe, including a large pro-Palestinian demonstration today in London.
Police there say they had to arrest more than 80 counter protesters for what they call a breach of the peace.
So, we have a team of reporters covering all of these developments. Ben Wedeman is in southern Lebanon. But let's start with Ed Lavandera, who's in Tel Aviv for the latest on the ground in Gaza. Ed?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Omar, well, today, has been described as dire and catastrophic as the situation, in particular, around that al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City has become more desperate by the hour.
This is a key hospital, one of the largest, if the largest in Gaza. And for years, Israeli military officials have said that this is the hospital where Hamas military fighters hide underneath those bunkers. It's one of the principal areas from which they operate from. And that's why they consider this such a strategic point in their military operations there on the ground.
But according to hospital officials and people inside the hospital, it's coming at a -- at a dire cost.
One hospital official telling CNN that there are 100 bodies simply wrapped unable to be taken anywhere. As you mentioned, hospital officials there believe that the entire complex is under siege with hospital staff and patients unable to leave the area. That as IDF will only say that they are engaged in intense fighting in that area. But they wouldn't elaborate beyond that as to exactly how things have unfolded there.
But this is also coming at a time where there are still 240 hostages inside of Gaza. And there is growing skepticism here in Israel, about Israel's strategy here in terms of carrying out this intense military campaign against Hamas fighters, and whether or not that could come at the risk of the hostages' lives.
Some family members put out -- some family members of the hostages put out a statement on Friday, saying that victory in this war should not be measured by whether or not the Islamic -- the militant fighters that carried out the October 7th attacks are assassinated in this operation. But victory should be measured by whether or not the hostages are brought back home safely and alive. Omar?
JIMENEZ: Of course, a lot of factors happening at the same time. Ed Lavandera, thank you.
I want to go now to CNN's Ben Wedeman who's in southern Lebanon.
Ben, look, we heard from the Hezbollah leader earlier today. What did he have to say?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Had a variety things to say, Omar. But one thing that he said was that the cross- border exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah are intensifying, and they are going deeper into one another's territory.
And in fact, today, we saw the most -- the highest number of exchanges of fire between the two sides by one count about 40 individual incidents. And today, the Israelis did conduct a drone strike on a truck about 25 miles north of the border, which represents the deepest penetration by Israeli drones since the war in 2006.
The Hezbollah leader said that, for instance, to for -- Hezbollah is using for the first-time attack drones going into Israel. And he also noted that Hezbollah is using Iranian designed Burkan missiles, those are short range ballistic missiles which have a 500 kilogram or more than half a ton explosive payload.
In fact, we saw a video of that particular striker using that missile, and it was very big.
He also went on to say that as far as these attacks on U.S. forces by pro-Iranian militias in Iraq and Syria, he said that if the Americans won't -- want these attacks on their forces in Syria and Iraq to stop, they should stop the war in Gaza. If you don't want this to be a regional war, you must stop the war in Gaza, he said. Omar?
JIMENEZ: Ben, we now obviously, to name it, to keep a close eye on especially as the Iranian president meets in Saudi Arabia. Of course, Iran, known to have close ties to the militant group, Hezbollah.
Ben Wedeman, thank you so much. Still to come for us, mounting pressure domestically and abroad on President Biden over his support for Israel amid images of destruction in Gaza. How the White House is dealing with the fallout?
JIMENEZ: There are growing protests over the Biden administration's continued support for Israel's war effort in Gaza as the Palestinian death toll continues to rise. Demonstrations have been held around the globe including major U.S. cities and college campuses. In New York City last night, demonstrators marched through the streets, snarling traffic and demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.
And in a notable shift in language on the rising civilian death toll in Gaza, America's top diplomat Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that quote, far too many Palestinians are being killed. It comes as CNN has just obtained a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Oman, saying the U.S. is losing badly on the messaging battle space.
CNN senior White House reporter Kevin Liptak joins us now. Kevin, look at the moment the President will be on his way to Delaware where he'll be greeted by protesters, we understand, that have gathered near the street where he lives, right? What are you learning?
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, I was just over there, Omar, it is a sizable protest, pro-Palestinian protests here in Wilmington. You know, I've been here a lot over the last three years. I don't remember a protest of this size a while the President is in town. And certainly it does mirror these events that you have been seeing around the country and that in fact, President Biden has been seeing as well, when he was in Illinois earlier this week. There were pro-Palestinian protesters on the street. He has been interrupted during a few of his speeches over the last several weeks.
And it does reflect this anger among a certain part of the American electorate, American citizens who are concerned about the American approach to Israel. And certainly you have also heard that from American diplomats as well, including in that cable from a senior American diplomat from at the U.S. Embassy in Oman, who warns that the American approach to Israel could be losing support among Arab publics for the United States that it could be lost for a generation.
And so certainly President Biden is walking a tightrope here because while he does support Israel's right to defend itself, in fact, he says it has a responsibility to protect itself. He's also encouraging Israel to adhere to international humanitarian law and to protect civilians. And we did hear that slight shift in tone from Antony Blinken earlier this week while he was visiting New Delhi saying that far too many Palestinians have died and that more needs to be done to protect civilian lives.
And we have seen some efforts by the administration over the last several weeks to try and implement what they call these humanitarian pauses, to allow aid to go in, and to allow some civilians who want to, to flee. And in fact, earlier this week, the White House did say that Israel had agreed to daily four-hour pauses that they would implement to allow these humanitarian corridors for aid to flow in.
But certainly, you heard some discontent from President Biden as he was asked about this, because this is something that he had been pressing the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on for several days. And he does -- he did say that he wished that had happened a little sooner, Omar?
JIMENEZ: Yes, well, lots of nuance and statements that have been coming out from public officials on this front, especially on the American front as of late. Kevin Liptak, thank you. And we'll continue to monitor some of those protests.
With me now to talk more about this is Julian Zelizer. He is a CNN political analyst and a historian and professor at Princeton University. So Julian, I want to start a little bit of where we left off. What do you make of Secretary Blinken's change in language and tone, saying that too many Palestinians in Gaza, too many civilians are being killed? It's definitely the some of the strongest language we've heard from an American official on that front?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I suspect some of this is diplomatic. It's a message intended to reach the Israeli government and also to try to win back public support for the effort. But part of it is probably also with politics on the mind, meaning this comes a week where there's been some even with the election, bad polling for President Biden in swing states. And I think the administration is really concerned about how this is all going to play out on the home front.
JIMENEZ: Yes, and along those lines. I mean, Arab and Muslim voters played a key role in Biden's 2020 election win. Should he be worried about losing that voter bloc over his support or at least his positioning so far, on Israel's war effort in Gaza?
ZELIZER: Well, sure. I mean, anyone running for reelection is going to worry about that. You're not talking about huge parts of the electorate that will be necessary to swing this election in swing states from what we're seeing. So he's thinking of small slivers of the electorate and how they can matter. This includes young voters as well. So I think, you know, he's understandably concerned about the fallout.
JIMENEZ: Yes. And look, no voting bloc is a monolith by any respect. But Jewish voters are also a critical voting bloc for Biden and the Democrats. I mean, how difficult -- it's one thing to find a balance in policy and in diplomacy, but how difficult will it be for the administration to find a balance when it comes to an election and when it comes to politics here on the home front?
ZELIZER: Very difficult. When you're dealing with purely domestic issues, often a president has more control over the situation. But when you're dealing with a situation overseas in an area like the Middle East, you don't know what's coming each day. And so it becomes very hard to make those kinds of calculations, even though he will continue to try to balance different constituencies in the Democratic Party.
JIMENEZ: Yes, certainly, from a public statement standpoint, you won't be able to run from commenting or speaking about events taking place overseas. I want to talk about something on the home front. We're obviously coming off of a pretty good election week for Democrats in places like Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia. But you wrote in a CNN piece, although Election Day on Tuesday was good for Democrats, they shouldn't take much comfort in those positive results heading into 2024. Why'd you write that?
ZELIZER: Well, one reason is it's unclear if reproductive rights always has this kind of beneficial political effect. There's been many elections where Democrats did not win, even after emphasizing the issue. And presidential elections are different than off year elections. It's going to be about character. It's going to be about the entire package that the administration is putting forward. We see this again and again, in different presidential election. So some of the beneficial things that took place from the recent election might not play out when it comes to 2024.
JIMENEZ: And essentially, though, what you're saying is President Biden's polling and fortunes and the way he's perceived is almost in a separate category from the reasons that may have propelled Democrats into victory on Tuesday.
ZELIZER: Yes. I mean, those issues can help with turnout. They will matter to voters for sure. But it's unclear if they will be sufficient to push President Biden up in the swing states, come November. So this alone should not be the kind of comfort Democrats depend on in the next few months.
JIMENEZ: Yes, well, we will see, I want to say 2024 is far away, but we're already in it at this point. So Julian Zelizer, thank you so much.
Meanwhile, Arab leaders are at an emergent to summit in Saudi Arabia today, the message some of those leaders have for the U.S. will go to the region for a live update, next.
JIMENEZ: Happening today in Saudi Arabia, Arab and Islamic leaders are meeting at an emergency summit over the war in Gaza. Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi arrived earlier and was greeted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Leaders are calling for an end to arms exports to Israel. And the head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas says, the U.S. bears responsibility for the absence of a political solution for Palestinians.
So let's bring in Robert Greenway. He's the former senior director at the National Security Council in the Trump administration, former Intel officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency and was a Greenbrae. He's the current director for the Center for National Defense. Robert, look, some Arab leaders at the summit are warning U.S. about its continuing support for Israel in this war. It's a sentiment that was echoed by U.S. diplomats in a recently leaked cable.
Is there a point where the U.S. should reevaluate its support? I know you've been a very strong voice of support for Israel. Where do you stand right now in that?
ROBERT GREENWAY, FMR. SENIOR DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well thanks for having me on and Happy Veterans Day to you and your listeners, Omar.
JIMENEZ: Of course.
GREENWAY: Look, I'd have to say this is a -- this summit, the Arab League Summit, is a reflection of really a decline in U.S. influence and the results of policy choices these last few years. And when you have the Iranian president, one present at the summit, and then invoking the final solution in his remarks, I think it's an indication of just how far things have fallen.
And second, I would say, if you remember back just six years ago, a sitting American president convened the leaders of the Arab Muslim world, to galvanize their support, to confront the terrorist threat of ISIS, successfully concluding that just a year afterward, isolating Iran, and also setting the stage for the Abraham accords. And so six years later, I think we see now the stark contrast in current American policies and our position in the region.
JIMENEZ: So I think at this point, there is worry about this spilling out into a larger regional conflict. Where do you see the chances of something like that happening based on the ingredients we're seeing now?
GREENWAY: I think, unfortunately, the odds increase each day. And I think it's principal U.S. role here to prevent escalation and to allow Israel to complete its mission in Gaza, when so far, they're making steady progress. But the situation is complicated. And it's incredibly difficult. They need our full support. And I think if we can manage to allow them to focus and prevent escalation, I think we can prevent a regional conflict.
At the moment, though, the escalation and is reflecting a loss of deterrence. We've seen now almost 50 attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria since October 17th. And it's not stopping or showing any signs of abating. That to me indicates that this could well involve other parties. And this could lead to regional escalation.
JIMENEZ: Well, and on your point about the Israeli mission right now, I mean, they've said their goal is to wipe out Hamas, though, we have heard that in efforts before. And I think what we're seeing right now is how incredibly difficult that mission is, even though the mission so far has moved relatively slowly, as they've captured Hamas points. But I guess my question is, how realistic is it to wipe out Hamas without necessarily wiping out a large portion of the civilians in Gaza as we've seen to this point?
GREENWAY: Well, I'd say two things. First, is that Hamas is an organization responsible for the brutal killing of men and women and innocent children, there's no place in the international order of society for them. Their elimination, I think is utterly warranted. Second, it is not going to be easy as they've occupied a significantly densely populated urban area. But there's experience of precedent for doing this. ISIS once occupied major urban areas to include Mosul in northern Iraq. And they were successfully eliminated as a terrorist threat and the territory was regained to civilian and popular control.
I think it can be done. I think it is not going to be easy. It's the price, I think for allowing them to metastasize in the first place. But again, our support for Israel has to be utterly and unequivocally provided under the circumstances.
JIMENEZ: Now, so far on that point, obviously, the Red Cross has said the hospital system in Gaza is at a point of no return after a lot of these attacks. And, obviously, as a -- it is a balance that needs to be struck here. But we've even seen the Secretary of State say that too many civilians have been lost so far in Gaza. So what can be done now to try and alleviate some of the humanitarian crisis we have seen so far, when, as you've mentioned, there -- the Israeli goal to try and wipe out Hamas takes a certain level of consistency and persistence to move forward?
GREENWAY: Yes. So it's a great question, Omar. And I think this is where the United States again, can also play a constructive role, but not being present at the summit and not engaging successfully with our regional partners. I don't think we've accommodated the population. And so as a result, there's no way for them to leave Gaza, for those that are not directly affiliated with Hamas. And so innocent civilians can't leave the area, and in large measure, I think that's because the United States has not worked with regional partners to accommodate the population, even on a temporary basis, which I think is all that would be required, and probably all that would be tolerated.
And so as a result of that, I think the situation becomes even more complex. Israel is to be commended for their efforts, and also for the humanitarian quarter, which they continue to protect and defend, and allow them to move south at least providing some protection.
JIMENEZ: We will see how this unfolds. And if some of these humanitarian pauses actually do make a difference in saving some of the civilian lives we've seen lost. Robert Greenway, we got to leave it there, but thank you so much.
GREENWAY: Thank you and Happy Veterans Day.
JIMENEZ: Of course, to you too.
[12:49:51] Next, the remarkable story of how a surgeon used breast implants to save the life of a lung transplant patient. We'll hear from the surgeon himself about how he did it.
JIMENEZ: As flu season starts to ramp up, an incredible story of an innovative medical procedure that saved the flu patient's life. A 34- year-old man who had preexisting lung issues got the flu and his lungs essentially stopped working. Doctors determined an emergency transplant was the only way to save his life. Now with not a lot of time to do the procedure and no donors for lungs immediately available, doctors needed to buy some time. So they came up with the idea to use breast implants to keep his heart from collapsing by filling the lung cavity while they waited for a donor pair of lungs. And it worked. The patient was stabilized until he could get a full transplant. And the doctor who performed the procedure is Dr. Ankit Bharat. And he joins us now.
Now look, doctor, first of all, congratulations. This is incredible. So tell us, why were the breast implants needed? And what got you and your team thinking that this could actually work?
DR. ANKIT BHARAT, CHIEF OF THORACIC SURGERY, NORTHWESTERN MEDICINE: Well, then we accepted. But thank you for having me. Good to talk to you. I apologize in my work of time, I had some unplanned surgeries. But we --
JIMENEZ: No, thank you for being with us on that case.
BHARAT: Yes, good to talk to you. I'm Northwestern grad. So we literally got a call to help this man. He had a complete and a very profound damage to both his lungs, and we thought we could bring him to Northwestern and transplant him. And we had some experience doing a transplant for COVID patients. And we thought we could apply the same principle.
So we brought him here. And then within 24 hours of him arriving, his heart stopped. And we were doing chest compressions on him. And it was very clear that although he needed a transplant, he just didn't have time. So the thing that made logical sense to us was to do the source control, and take out the lungs that were making him that sick. So we came up with this strategy to rid out the blood as it's pumped from his heart, by creating some artificial channels, and just to keep him alive.
But one of the things that we realized, as we took out the lungs was, how do you support the heart, if we get into the ICU with a little turn, if you set up, it would just cause the heart to just fall in one place. And that would be the end of everything. So we are thinking about how to stabilize that. And the thing that immediately, you know, kind of caught our attention most, to use the biggest implants we have, because the chest cavities are pretty big. So we use those big implants. And in fact, the double B's are the biggest we had. So we just use those to temporarily stabilize his heart while we took him to the ICU and kept him alive for a few days, waited for his body to clear the infection and then did the transplant.
JIMENEZ: Well. And I think one thing that's especially incredible here is usually when you're talking about a transplant, you know, it takes time to find donors, it takes time to prepare everything to prepare a match that won't complicate the person who's receiving particular organ's body. So just why was this emergency transplant situation so unique and unusual? And did you have any worries about taking this step?
BHARAT: Well, every year, over 200,000 people in the United States that, you know, get diagnosed with what we call acute respiratory distress syndrome, from flu, from other types of respiratory infections. And, you know, 40 percent of those patients don't make it, they die. And one of the common causes of that death is what this young, you know, individual went through, which is, you know, the virus destroyed the lungs, but then they get the second wave of infections from really nasty infections acquired in the hospital in the ICU settings, and they're not able to make it to the transplant or the transplant is necessary.
So in him because he was otherwise quite healthy, we felt like potentially, we could use a creative, innovative strategy to get him to the transplant while removing the source of his infection and giving time for his body to clear rest of the infection. See, because double lung transplant is a very complex procedure, and the body has to be able to withstand that. In patients who are so sick, that they will just not be able to go through that procedure until you get them to a somewhat of a point of stability.
JIMENEZ: Yes, yes. And what Dr. Bharat, for those who don't know, you and other Northwestern surgeons, you outperform the first known double lung transplant on a COVID-19 patient in the United States. And I'm curious, did that procedure at all inform anything on this one? And is there anything from this procedure you think will help with future surgeries?
BHARAT: Absolutely. Thank you for that question, Omar. Absolutely. We learned a lot from that everything that took place after COVID, ironically taught us a lot. So the COVID, what we found was these lungs are damaged very profoundly, and they were written, often with really nasty infections. So to be able to take those lungs out safely without spilling the infection in the bloodstream, gave us some novel insights into how to perform these operations.
That in fact resulted in us being able to do transplant and carefully selected patients who had stage-four lung cancer limited to the lungs. In fact, we did that a couple of years ago. And in that we were able to successfully take both the lungs out and temporarily support the patients. And that then led to what we did most recently with this young individual. So it's interesting how COVID taught us something that led us to the transplant for cancer patient that taught us something that led us to this. [13:00:15]
JIMENEZ: Yeah. And really quickly before we go here. How is the patient doing?
BHARAT: The patient is doing great. He's returned back to his apartment, and then he continues to have a full recovery.
JIMENEZ: Well, and we will see what the next steps are here. I think as a fellow Northwestern alum, I have to -- I'm required to say, Go Cats. But Dr. Ankit Bharat, thank you so much for being with us.
BHARAT: Thank you. Bye-bye.