Thursday, November 30, 2006
Does media = pack animals?
If anyone ever accused the media of behaving like pack animals, they would be right. Big news events like the Amman summit are like our watering hole. Every major news network seems represented here, and even though Amman is a big, bustling Arab city, nearly all of us are broadcasting from exactly the same hotel ... on the same floor ... with the same backdrop.

Watch all the newscasts tonight and you'll notice the newly annointed "most popular mosque in the world" over everyone's shoulder. To the right of Anderson's anchor position, there's Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Charlie Gibson broadcasting from room balconies right next to each other. I doubt they have adjoining rooms.

New York City is seven hours behind Amman, and that time difference keeps everyone's schedules running nearly 24 hours a day over here. When Anderson goes off the air at midnight ET, the sun here is rising. That means people, and their stories, are waking up.

We usually have a lot of adrenaline built up just after the show, so we'll immediately go out and start working on the next night's story, but morning quickly turns to afternoon and that means our colleagues in New York are waking up ... and we have yet to sleep. The lack of rest catches up with everyone, but ultimately we all feel lucky to be here, to see and report on how this important story unfolds.

We'll all talk about the stories on the plane ride home. Everyone's probably booked on the same flight.
Posted By Charlie Moore, CNN Senior Producer: 7:42 PM ET
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The other side of the Muslim world
It's been a day of startling imagery, and not-so-startling diplomacy.

In Istanbul, Turkey, where we spent the start of the week, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Blue Mosque. He is only the second pope ever to set foot inside a mosque, and while this trip has lacked much of the pageantry and passion of a John Paul II papal trip, it was historic and important.

I read your comments earlier in the week about what you wanted and expected to hear from this Pope in Turkey, and I'm curious to hear how you think the trip went. Will it improve relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church? What about between Christians and Muslims?

One of the things I think we really saw in Turkey was a side of the Muslim world we rarely focus on. The extremists so often dominate our coverage that it's easy to think they are the majority of Muslims, when certainly that is not the case around the world, and especially not in Turkey.

We are in Amman, Jordan, again tonight, covering this day of diplomacy. If anyone expected something new to come out of the meeting between President Bush and Iraq Prime Minister al-Maliki, then today would have disappointed them.

While there continues to be talk of stepping up the training of Iraqi security forces, there does not seem to be any new plan or strategy. We learned more details about what the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group is going to propose, but again, the prospects for major change seem to be slim right now.

We'll be covering all the day's developments tonight. We'll also discuss Iraq and the Middle East with former President Jimmy Carter. See you tonight from Amman.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 4:13 PM ET
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Hot Links: Iraq pullback
Posted By CNN: 11:54 AM ET
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Debating Iraq: Send more troops?
If this were poker, this would be the interesting part: You've got your cards, the bets are climbing, and you've got to decide whether to raise or fold.

That is essentially where the United States stands now in regard to increasing the number of troops in Iraq.

On one side are proponents, like Senator John McCain, who have said doggedly for several years that the force of 140,000 or so troops in Iraq is simply not enough to stabilize the country and ensure lasting victory. History is on their side. According to the Brookings Institution, if we look at the kind of force it has taken to stabilize other countries after war, Iraq probably requires a minimum of 400,000 American troops.

The problem is, we just don't have that many extra troops sitting around.

Some critics say at best America could put 20,000 or 30,000 more pairs of boots on the ground in Iraq, and that, they say, might ... might ... be enough to stabilize Baghdad.

Still, some close observers of the war say it is worth trying. Get Baghdad to settle down, and expand outward, they say. Use the extra American soldiers and Marines to establish a bulkhead of security and build on it.

Like I said, if we were talking about poker, this is would be the interesting part. But this is not poker. We are talking about American lives; the commitment of some of our best and bravest young people. We are talking about a country's future.

So what would you do? Would sending more troops to Iraq make a positive difference or just raise the stakes?
Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 4:37 PM ET
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Honor killings persist in modern Turkey
Posted By CNN: 1:41 PM ET
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Hot Links: Military options in Iraq
During tonight's 11 p.m. hour, we're going to take a look at a series of plans for U.S. military involvement in Iraq, ranging from increasing the U.S. military's presence to beginning a pullout. Below you will find links to a handful of stories about these proposals:
Posted By CNN: 11:21 AM ET
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Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Hot Links: Honor killings
Posted By CNN: 10:55 AM ET
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Monday, November 27, 2006
Pope's Turkey trip spotlights religious tensions
Tonight we are broadcasting from Istanbul, one stop on Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey. Istanbul is a fascinating place, a city where East and West meet, literally. It's the only major city that sits on two continents. One side is in Europe, the other side Asia.

I'm sitting in a modern hotel right now listening to the call to prayer echoing from a nearby mosque. The oldest cliche in the news business is to call a place a "land of contrasts." It's a silly term, but I understand why writers fall back on it to describe this place. Ancient and modern, Islamic and Christian, democratic and autocratic -- it all exists side by side in Turkey, sometimes uneasily.

Though its track record on human rights is often criticized, Turkey is a stable, pro-western democracy that is officially secular. For some time now, the country has been trying to become part of the European Union, but it seems increasingly clear that some European countries have major concerns. Turkey is a poor nation by European standards, and it's 99 percent Muslim. Many Europeans are already concerned about assimilating their own Muslim minorities. The prospect of having some 70 million more Muslims entering the EU seems overwhelming.

Before he was Pope, then-Cardinal Ratzinger didn't support Turkey's bid for EU membership. His argument was that Europe is based on commonly held Christian beliefs, not simply geography. Combined with his recent comments about Islam, it would be easy to see why many here would be concerned about his visit. But what is actually surprising is how few people here seem disturbed by the Pope's presence.

An Islamist party called for a demonstration in Istanbul on Sunday. They expected more than 100,000 protestors, but only about 20,000 showed up. There are some extremists here to be sure. I just spent the morning with an Islamist lawyer who is defending a number of Turks accused of participating in a series of terrorist attacks in 2003 that killed more than 50 people.

As we were putting the microphone on him, I couldn't help but notice the gun he was carrying on his waist. During the interview, he called Osama bin Laden a freedom fighter and explained why suicide attacks were justified under his brand of Islam.

He and the men he represents hate the secular government of Turkey. They say the current prime minister was put in power by an alliance between the Pope and Israel, or maybe it was the Pope, Israel, and America -- I can't remember for sure (I'll have to check the tape) but you get the point.

His beliefs do not reflect the majority of Muslims in Turkey, but they do explain some of the tensions that exist here. The question is: What will the Pope try to do during his visit? Will he try to mend fences, and focus on the commonalities between Islam and Christianity, or will he respectfully talk about the differences? While many people here don't seem all that interested in his visit, they will be watching and listening closely.

What do you think the Pope should focus on while in Turkey? I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 10:09 AM ET
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006
New documentary explores Jonestown mass suicide
Twenty-eight years later, what's left to say about Jonestown? Nine hundred members of a religious cult followed their fanatical leader to Guyana and willingly committed suicide by drinking a Kool-Aid-like mixture laced with cyanide.

What more could there be to the story? Plenty, it turns out.

I watched an advance copy of the new documentary, "Jonestown," by filmmaker Stanley Nelson on Sunday, and found myself drawn deeply into a macabre tale that I had little prior knowledge of.

Nelson interviewed more than two dozen former members of Jim Jones' controversial Peoples Temple, including some who survived the Jonestown mass suicide -- which, by the way, looks more like mass murder now. And Nelson has unearthed dramatic video and sound recordings -- never seen or heard before that shed new light on the establishment, development and downfall of the Peoples Temple, right up until the moment Jim Jones passes out the cups.

The most chilling part of the film is the audio tape of Jones urging his followers to choose death over persecution. I heard, for the first time, the emotionally-pitched debate between Jones and parishioners who would rather live than die in the South American jungle. It was like a scene out of Apocalypse Now, only this time, the killing was real.

I also learned that Jim Jones didn't suddenly take a hard left onto the highway of darkness. He was deeply disturbed from childhood, and is even suspected of abusing animals, something many experts believe is a hallmark of an emerging psychopath.

What's most tragic though is that Jones' followers don't come off as a cult of religious deviants. They were -- for the most part -- earnest people, attracted to the Peoples Temple for the sense of community they couldn't find in their own lives. It gave them a feeling of belonging, though as the years wore on and Jones' insanity escalated, membership came at an ever-increasing, and in the end, ultimate price.

We'll take a look at this tragic story on tonight's program.

Movie Web site: Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple
Posted By John Roberts, CNN Senior Correspondent: 5:05 PM ET
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Hot Links: Polygamy, Iran
Posted By CNN: 11:11 AM ET
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Monday, November 20, 2006
Wisconsin academic: 9/11 report a fraud
When I first said "hello" to Kevin Barrett, I was somewhat taken aback. The tall, bearded lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was seeing students in his office and struck me as soft-spoken, almost laid-back. He just didn't "seem" controversial.

But there is no doubt he has attracted a fair amount of controversy. Sixty-one Wisconsin legislators have said he should stop teaching. So has the governor. The university has received more than one thousand emails from alumni, many saying they'll stop donating unless Kevin Barrett goes.

Barrett belongs to a small but vocal group of academics who are writing and publishing ideas which charge the U.S. government played a role in the 9/11 attacks. He argues that members of the Bush administration knew about the attacks ahead of time, and at the very least, allowed them to occur. The purpose -- to give the United States an excuse to go to war, or as he has written, "...to found a new imperial 1000-year Reich like the ones the Nazis dreamed of."

"It's now very clear," he told me. "The official 9/11 report is a complete fraud." Barrett says a close examination of the twin towers falling shows puffs of smoke, a sign the buildings were pre-planted with explosives, and the collapse of the towers was a controlled demolition.

"It's offensive, not only to America, but offensive to the victims of 9/11," said Scott Suder, one of the Wisconsin legislators calling for Barrett's ouster.

Somewhat to my surprise, I learned that Barrett wasn't bringing a whole lot of his own conspiracy ideas into his lectures. His semester-long course -- "Islam, Religion and Culture" -- spends a week on conspracy theories about 9/11, but Barrett said he doesn't introduce any of his own written work. He said he cites other academicians with similar ideas, such as Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed of the University of Sussex, Brighton, in the United Kingdom.

Students I spoke to were skeptical about what Barrett believes, but felt the controversy has been overblown. Sophomore Aaron Zwicker told me, "It's scary we could lose a professor like Professor Barrett, who I consider to be one of my best lecturers right now, because of stuff he hasn't realy talked about that much in class."

University officials we spoke to clearly wish this story would go away, but they have stood behind Barrett, saying that he's not teaching a political ideology and that feedback on his course has been positive.

While university officials are standing for academic freedom and independence, the political tension shows few signs of dissipating. Barrett, who holds a temporary appointment at the school, told me he plans to re-apply to teach similar classes in the future.

"I hope to be back in the fall, and as Douglas McArthur said, 'I shall return,'" Barrett said with a smile.
Posted By Keith Oppenheim, CNN Correspondent: 2:56 PM ET
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Hot Links: Chinese organs, Jonestown documentary
Posted By CNN: 11:17 AM ET
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Friday, November 17, 2006
'Comic Relief' on Katrina, politics and Mickey Mouse



















This video is from tonight's "360" and features the comedians of "Comic Relief" -- Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. They got together with Anderson to discuss politics, comedy and why they are raising money for Katrina victims. A full hour with these comedians airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
Posted By CNN: 1:01 PM ET
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Hot Links: Combat Hospital
The 11 p.m. hour of tonight's "360" will be devoted to a CNN special report on the U.S. military's main combat hospital in Iraq. The following link contains brief bios of the hospital staff, some video clips from the special report and an audio slideshow. One word of caution: Viewer discretion is advised.
Posted By CNN: 11:03 AM ET
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Thursday, November 16, 2006
Jihadist spied on al Qaeda for western governments
The man I'm interviewing, "Omar Nasiri," keeps his real name a secret. He does so, he says, in order to protect himself from all the people he's double-crossed over his years as a Western spy and a jihadist.

We meet in a small upscale Parisian hotel. It's comfortable, but Nasiri is not. He's come to tell me about his new book "Inside the Jihad," which is about his life spying inside al Qaeda.

We couldn't film his face, because although he claims to support a global jihad, or holy war, to drive the United States out of Iraq and Afghanistan, he says he has sold so many jihadi secrets to French, British, and then German intelligence agencies that he believes most jihadists would kill him if they could.

Our interview is fragmented. He needs to smoke -- a lot -- and his publisher tells me he's still raw emotionally. My questions, she says, probe events he still hasn't come to terms with, like a bombing in Algeria that killed more than 40 people, including women and children.

Nasiri may have driven the explosives that were ultimately used in the bombing from Europe to Morocco, but he can't be sure. The GIA, an Algerian militant group, was directly responsible for the bombing.

Nasiri is clearly conflicted. He's the only jihadi I've met who likes booze.

I wanted to understand him, get at his motivations. He spied, he says, to protect his family. Algerian militants had moved into his family's home in Belgium at the invitation of some of his brothers. They planned attacks from there and stored weapons in the house.

Nasiri figured that if the house got raided his mother and younger brother, who he says was not aligned with the militants, would wind up in jail, so he started spying to forestall a raid.

But that was in the beginning. Once he proved his worth, the Moroccan borm Nasiri says French intelligence officials sent him to infiltrate al Qaeda's Afghan training camps.

He says he's met senior al Qaeda leaders, although not Osama Bin Laden, and trained on explosives, poisons and combat. And he has a warning for the West -- pulling out of Iraq won't stop the global jihad.

He doesn't sound angry, more like someone who thinks he's handing out useful advice.
Posted By Nic Robertson, CNN International Correspondent: 5:18 PM ET
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Hot Links: Vietnam, comics and Katrina
Posted By CNN: 1:04 PM ET
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006
U.S. filmmaker describes Iraq imprisonment
Cyrus Kar, an Iranian-American, traveled to Iraq in the middle of the war to shoot a documentary about Cyrus the Great, the Persian conqueror. But the Los Angeles-based filmmaker came back from Iraq with a very different story than the one he set out to tell.

A few days after arriving in Iraq, Kar got into a taxicab that was later stopped at a checkpoint and searched. Iraqi police found three dozen washing machine timers. Those, as you know, are widely used in Iraq to trigger IEDs or roadside bombs. Kar says he didn't know the timers were in the cab and that he has no idea how they got there. He says the cab driver later admitted they were his.

Kar was arrested by Iraqi Security Forces and then handed over to U.S. troops. Even though Kar showed his U.S. passport and his Navy veteran's card to the U.S. troops, he was still taken to the notorious Abu Ghraib prison and then to Camp Cropper, where he was thrown into solitary confinement for nearly two months. (Camp Cropper, by the way, that's the same prison where Saddam Hussein is being held) Kar told me American troops referred to him as the "American Terrorist" and nearly suffocated him by putting a hood over his head. Also, he says he was left to bake for hours in a cage in 120 degree heat.

Here is Kar's question: Why did it take the U.S. government and the FBI 55 days (53 of them in solitary) to figure out Kar was innocent? He is now suing U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other high-ranking military officials for violating his civil rights. It's the first case of its kind.

The Pentagon says Kar was "treated fairly and humanely in accord with the Geneva Convention." Kar begs to differ.
Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent: 4:09 PM ET
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Hot Links: Iraq solutions, Al Qaeda issues
Posted By CNN: 10:20 AM ET
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Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Cooper on homeless Iraq veterans
Posted By CNN: 4:42 PM ET
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Hot Links: Iraq, Katrina
Posted By CNN: 10:55 AM ET
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Monday, November 13, 2006
Mother fears driving America's streets
Take a minute and imagine what it must feel like to think every piece of trash on the side of the road or every discarded soda can could be an improvised explosive device. Such is life for a mother of two I met recently in suburban Illinois.

Keri Christensen served in Iraq with the Army National Guard. She has been back for a year and still panics when she takes her kids for a ride in the family minivan. Keri's job in Iraq was to haul tanks and heavy equipment from Kuwait to Iraq. She had to scan the roads regularly for roadside bombs to help keep the convoy safe. That fear has stuck with her.

She says she was diagnosed in Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder. As many as one in seven soldiers returning from Iraq could have it, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Keri and her husband Brian told me she didn't have any mental health issues before deploying to Iraq. But she says that since she's been back she's had imaginary conversations with her husband, run for cover at the sound of a neighbor's nail gun (he was doing home construction), and burst into tears during fireworks at Disneyland because it reminded her of explosions in Iraq.

Keri is getting therapy, but says her condition hasn't improved much. She says she has terrible nightmares and is taking both anti-depressants and sleep aids. Since returning from Iraq, Keri has been fighting her own war at home, which like the one she left behind, has no easy end in sight.
Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent: 6:28 PM ET
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Young veterans struggle to find jobs
"The nation's vets leave one war to fight another one at home," Iraq war veteran Josh Hopper wrote to me in an e-mail. The war at home he was referring to was not the battle to rehabilitate his body from a severe wound, or the fight to restore his mind from psychological trauma, but his war to find work.

Hopper and many other young veterans like him are risking their lives overseas, but once they leave the military, they are discovering that employers back home don't always value their skills. In 2005, the unemployment rate for veterans age 20-to-24 was almost double the rate for non-veterans in the same age group, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We wanted to know why.

  • One former Marine told me some employers saw the years he spent serving his country as "taking a few years off."
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs suspects some employers can't see how military experience can translate to the working world.
  • A veteran's issues expert even claims that some employers are scared to hire veterans.
In our report tonight, we'll look into what the military is doing to help veterans get jobs and why some veterans say that for many employers -- "Support Our Troops" -- doesn't seem to include hiring veterans so they can support themselves.
Posted By Chuck Hadad, CNN Producer: 4:45 PM ET
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Husband, wife receive Purple Hearts
What do you do if you are a husband and wife who are both in the military, who are both going to get orders to go to Iraq, but who also have children? In most cases, what happens is that the couple will make sure they don't go at the same time, so one parent can take care of the kids. And in almost all cases, the Pentagon will oblige, recognizing the hardship involved. But sometimes the issue is more complicated than that.

For tonight's program, we decided to do a story on married parents who went to Iraq at the same time instead of serving separately. And we found a most interesting example. Eric and Heidi Erickson are from Central City, Nebraska. They are both in the Army Reserve and they have three children; boys who are 10 and 4, and a girl who is 8.

Heidi is a gun truck driver and got her orders to go before Eric, who drives a truck that hauls armor. They realized if she went, and then Eric went after she came home, they wouldn't see each other for two-to-three years. But then they thought about the fact that all four grandparents live in the same small town. And if they went to Iraq together, they could both be home in about a year, and perhaps, occasionally see each other in Iraq. So they made the decision to go.

But there was problem -- both husband and wife were wounded in separate incidents.

On a mission to the front lines, Eric encountered massive gunfire. The blasts shattered his eardrums. He did not tell his family back in Nebraska, and although he regularly communicated with his wife in Iraq, he didn't want her to worry, so he didn't tell her either. Meanwhile, 12 days later, when Heidi was driving her truck, a vehicle on the side of the road next to her blew up. The explosion sprayed glass and wreckage, lacerating her face. Heidi too had to go to the hospital, and also told no family members. For weeks, the husband didn't know the wife was hurt and the wife didn't know the husband was hurt.

They both recovered and ultimately went home. Eric first; then Heidi. They had tearful reunions with the children they love so much, and their parents. Just last month, both of them received Purple Heart awards.

Eric and Heidi told us that although it was hard to leave their children, they felt it was the right decision for them because of the care the children's grandparents could provide. Nevertheless, they weren't surprised when their three children told us that not only did they miss their parents, but they were also scared.

We were particularly touched when talking to their daughter Taylor. The little girl had a big smile on her face when we started our conversation. She was so glad her parents were back home and that her life was back to normal. But suddenly, tears just started flowing down her face. I asked her why, and she told us it was because of her memories of her mommy and daddy being away.

Eric and Heidi may have been wounded, but they are still active members of the Army Reserve. And interestingly, they say they both expect to be called back to duty in Iraq. What will they do when that happens? They told me they believe the war is a noble cause, and they say they are ready to serve their country in Iraq once again. I expected that answer from this patriotic couple. But I wasn't sure what they would say to me when I asked if they would both go together again. Their answer was "yes."
Posted By Gary Tuchman, CNN Correspondent: 1:13 PM ET
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The Iraq war's signature injury
I had never heard of a "polytrauma"center until I received some background information on just such a facility in Palo Alto, California.

Just like it sounds, a polytrauma center is for people who have serious injuries on multiple parts of their body, including their brain. There are four polytrauma centers in the United States, and they were created to deal with the horrific kinds of injuries our soldiers are sustaining in Iraq. The truth is that before Iraq there wasn't a huge need for these centers. In past wars, soldiers would have died from most kinds of polytrauma. However, thanks to incredible advancements in battlefield medicine and body armor, seriously wounded soldiers able to survive much more often than in the past.

During my visit to Palo Alto, I met two people who represent what some are calling the "signature injury" of the war caused by the "signature weapon." Both have traumatic brain injury caused by IEDs -- improvised explosive devices. The IEDs are usually hidden and strike without warning. It surprised me that sometimes victims don't even realize they've been badly hurt. Indeed, that was the case of one of the men we profiled. The IED created a pressure wave that rattled his brain against his skull. He eventually returned home not realizing there was anything wrong, until he started noticing he was having problems with his memory.

The federal government sometimes gets criticized for its treatment toward veterans and injured soldiers. However, the center in Palo Alto is a shining example of what the government does well. Its facilities are top notch and the staff is highly competent. Most important, however, the wounded soldiers told me how wonderful they're being treated during their time of need.
Posted By Dan Simon, CNN Correspondent: 10:19 AM ET
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Hot Links: Iraq and politics
Posted By CNN: 9:58 AM ET
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Friday, November 10, 2006
How the Iraq war changed a Marine























It isn't unusual to hear songs these days questioning war and violence. What is unusual is to have them written and performed by a Marine veteran with combat experience.

Josh Hisle is a 24-year-old former Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq. He says he did not try to keep count of the number of people he may have killed in battle.

Make no mistake. Hisle doesn't regret his service and he fully supports the military. But after spending time at war, he's begun to wonder what impact the United States is having in Iraq.

Hisle says his mood changed while in Ramadi in 2004. He said many people there who once greeted American forces as liberators wanted them to leave. He saw Marines attacked on a daily basis. At the same time, he longed to return home to see his newborn son and his wife, but never thought he'd leave Iraq alive.

Armed with some melodies and a whole lot of war experience, Hisle put his thoughts to music. He has created an album of love, loss and regret for some of the things he's had to do.

Taking the stage at Allyn's Cafe in Cincinnati, Ohio, earlier this week, Hisle played for a cheering crowd. Click the image above to watch a clip of him performing his song, "A Traitor's Death." There's more about him and his music on his Web site: myspace.com/lostinholland

I find it interesting to hear Hisle try to reconcile two very different aspects of his life -- as a family man and a Marine -- through his music. What do you think?
Posted By Jason Rovou, CNN Producer: 4:16 PM ET
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Some resources for veterans
Post-traumatic stress disorder

DOD 24-hr hotline: 800-342-9647
Military OneSource

Family counseling

Strong Bonds
DOD 24-hr hotline: 800-342-9647

Homelessness

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
NCHV hotline: 800-838-4357

Employment

Department of Veterans Affairs
Hire Vets First
Military Job Zone
Posted By CNN: 4:05 PM ET
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Combat medics train to save lives on battlefield























Seeing a soldier cry is an unsettling experience, no matter the circumstances. I walked into the bathroom at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and saw three young, uniformed women shedding tears over the sinks. These soldiers were in the middle of their 16 weeks of combat medic training.

Judging from their conversation, they had just come from an embassy bombing, a simulated scenario of a bombing, that is. Eight medics rush in to care for 13 "casualties" in low light and loud noise. They had made several mistakes. Some patients didn't make it. Fortunately, here in training, the patients are plastic mannequins.

The U.S. Army is training more combat medics faster and harder than ever before. The days here are grueling: 4:30 a.m. rise and shine for the medics in training; 5:30 a.m. physical training; 7:30 a.m. breakfast; class from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 9:30 p.m. lights out.

These medics have to absorb an incredible amount of information and skill in a short period of time. In just 16 weeks, they are expected to have the same psychomotor skills as a second-year medical resident.

In many ways, the combat medic training program is a testament to the cold fact that war often brings medical advances. Doctors, nurses, medics, combat lifesavers are all forced to innovate under the extreme conditions of battlefield medicine. The good news in this war is that the rate of soldiers being killed on the battlefield is lower and the rate of recovery higher than ever before due to innovative approaches.

In our report linked above, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta spends time in combat medic training. We explain how the program, along with new products and groundbreaking research, is helping to save more lives on the battlefield and eventually back at home.
Posted By Chris Gajilan, CNN Senior Medical Producer: 10:00 AM ET
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Hot Links: Some stories we're watching today
Posted By CNN: 9:28 AM ET
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Thursday, November 09, 2006
Remembering Ed Bradley
Today we learned that a remarkable journalist has died. I was actually at "60 Minutes" in the middle of a screening when they got the call that Ed Bradley had died from leukemia.

I didn't know Ed personally. We'd only met once in passing, but I think all of us who watched him on "60 Minutes" feel like we knew him.

He was a trailblazer who started working for CBS in Paris in 1971. He then went to Vietnam and also covered the war in Cambodia. I remember watching some of his old reports when CBS re-aired them on their short-lived cable channel. He always got close to the action and, in fact, was wounded in Cambodia by a mortar round.

Ed Bradley had been at "60 Minutes" for 25 years, and it's hard to imagine the program without him. He was a scrupulously honest reporter, and always seemed to be a truly decent man.

He listened to those he interviewed, and the conversations were real. I recently saw the piece he did with producer John Hamlin profiling Muhammad Ali. There is a great moment when Ali pretends to fall asleep at a meal and then surprises Ed. The whole table breaks out laughing, and watching at home it was hard not to laugh along with them.

It is hard to believe Ed Bradley is gone.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 12:25 PM ET
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Hot Links: Some stories we're following today
Posted By CNN: 10:00 AM ET
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Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Hot Links: Stories we're watching
Posted By CNN: 1:44 PM ET
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Friday, November 03, 2006
Michael J. Fox talks to Anderson


Posted By CNN: 11:33 AM ET
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Thursday, November 02, 2006
On the campaign trail with Michael J. Fox
I just got finished talking with Michael J. Fox. The actor-turned-activist is in Virginia tonight campaigning for Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb.

Fox has drawn criticism from some who are saying he's being used to spread a misleading message. I talked about that with him a lot this afternoon, and we'll air the full interview tonight on "360."

I've never met Fox before, but he clearly is committed to the issue of embryonic stem cell research. He arrived about half an hour before the interview was to begin and took a short nap in a hotel room we'd rented.

He's been crossing the country as he campaigns for different candidates, and it has clearly taken a lot out of him. Stress makes his uncontrollable movements worse, and as you can imagine, it's been a pretty stressful couple of weeks for him.

He's not complaining, however. If anything, he seems energized by the feeling that he is making a difference.

We got a call earlier today from Rush Limbaugh's chief of staff. I thought only candidates have chiefs of staff, but apparently not. Anyway, he expressed concern that in our promo for tonight's interview we were mischaracterizing what Limbaugh said about Michael J. Fox.

In the promo, we said, "Rush Limbaugh accused him of 'faking' Parkinson's symptoms...." The chief of staff seemed to think we'd said that Limbaugh said he was faking Parkinson's. We did not say that.

Limbaugh initially said Fox was either acting or intentionally hadn't taken his medication in one of the commercials he shot for a candidate in Missouri. Limbaugh has since apologized for that, but continues to say Fox is misleading voters. (Watch Fox's ad for the Missouri candidate)

Does Michael J. Fox accept Rush Limbaugh's apology? Find out tonight at 10 p.m.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 7:43 PM ET
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Wednesday, November 01, 2006
What should Anderson ask?
On Thursday, Anderson Cooper is scheduled to interview Michael J. Fox about politics, Parkinson's disease and stem cell research.

This is your opportunity to tell Anderson what he should ask. Leave your suggested question in the comment section below or e-mail your question using this form.

And tune in Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET to watch the interview.
Posted By CNN: 5:29 PM ET
  61 Comments  | Add a Comment
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