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Aired January 8, 2002 - 04:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

SUSAN FREIDMAN, CO-HOST: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Susan Freidman.

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CO-HOST: And I'm Michael McManus.

A group of U.S. senators meet with Afghanistan's interim government leader Hamid Karzai. The nine-member delegation arrived Monday at an air base in northern Afghanistan. Among the lawmakers touring Central Asia, Republican John McCain and Democrat Joseph Lieberman who say the Afghanistan visit is aimed at showing continued support for the war torn country and the fight against terrorism.


SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Most important in the time that we've been here since the end of last week is the real gratitude that the people of this region have that we are here and they want to know that we're going to stay for a while. And we've all said to them a nine-person delegation bipartisan, we learned the cost on September 11 of not being involved in Southeast Asia. We're thrilled that we won a victory here and we're going to stay here to secure that victory and protect their security and ours.


FREIDMAN: During their visit, the senators also toured Bagram Airbase and met with U.S. troops involved in the Afghan war effort.

Moving now to the military front, American air strikes are pounding the latest hot spot in Afghanistan. The bombing is focused on the eastern part of the country where officials believe terrorists may be trying to slip into Pakistan.

CNN's Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As the bombing of Afghanistan enters its fourth month, the Pentagon offers this video, recorded by an AC-130 gunship last week, as evidence the war is not over. A large training and supply complex in eastern Afghanistan was targeted, because it was believed Taliban and al Qaeda forces were gathering there.

REAR ADM. JOHN STUFFLEBEEM, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: We don't know what they're doing, other than they are trying to regroup. I mean they're looking for the security that they can try to collect together in numbers. They've been dispersed. We have flushed them out of many areas, and they have run for their lives.

MCINTYRE: Pentagon sources say recent strikes involve B-1 bombers, called in to destroy tanks, armored vehicles and artillery pieces gathered up by U.S. Marines and Special Forces on the ground.

Other strikes were to close off caves, seen here in a pre-strike photograph, as small black openings along a cliffside. And then again, as large rubble piles in an after-strike image.

VICTORIA CLARKE, PENTAGON SPOKESWOMAN: It is still a very dangerous country throughout, and even if it's a small pocket, it can pose a great risk as it has.

MCINTYRE: The Pentagon says it is investigating whether the death of Sergeant 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman in an ambush might have been set up with the help from supposedly friendly Afghans. Officials could not confirm a report from Afghan tribal leaders that the U.S. soldier was killed by a 14-year-old boy, who is now a fugitive as well.

And with the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar as much of a mystery as ever, the Pentagon made a vow to stop saying where it thinks they are.

STUFFLEBEEM: We're going to stop chasing, if you will, the shadows of where we thought he was and focus more on the entire picture of the country, where these pockets of resistance are, what do the anti-Taliban forces need so that we can develop a better intelligence picture?

MCINTYRE (on camera): Meanwhile, Pentagon sources say the first of more than 340 captured Taliban and al Qaeda troops, including some leaders, will be transferred to the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as soon as this week, and some may be brought to U.S. soil to a jail at the Naval Weapons Station in Charleston, South Carolina.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.



JOEL SCHWARTZ, JENKINTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA: My name is Joel Schwartz from Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. And I'd like to ask CNN: How does the military organize its force? And how many troops are there in a division, battalion, brigade, company, et cetera?

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD (RET)., CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Joel, it's an interesting question, and each one of the military services has their own lingo and organization. The Army's particularly interesting.

Let's start off with the smallest element, which is the squad, about 10 people. From the squad you go to the platoon which is about 44 people. From the platoon to the company which is 180 people. From the company to the battalion, about 700 people. From the battalion to the brigade which is about 3,000 people. And from the brigade to the division, about 15,000 people.

Now the way this works is four squads equal a platoon, four platoons equal a company, four companies equal a battalion, four battalions equal a brigade and then three or more brigades equal a division. Now added to the brigades are the headquarters support element and also artillery and aviation. And that's how the Army's organized.


MCMANUS: British Prime Minister Tony Blair is working to calm tensions between India and Pakistan. He met with Pakistan leader Pervez Musharraf on Monday, one day after meeting with Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee. Hostilities between the two countries have been on the rise for the past month. In addition, they've been massing troops along their shared border.

Two reports now on the mounting conflict and the efforts to find a resolution.


MARIA RESSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Flashes continue at the tense borders of the nuclear rivals, even as Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair arrives in Pakistan from India with one message, reject terrorism in all forms and India will be ready to talk.

ARUN JAITLEY, INDIAN MINISTER: Terrorism cannot have one meaning on Pakistan's western border and an entirely different meaning on Pakistan's eastern border. One man's terrorism cannot be another man's freedom struggle.

RESSA: Pakistan makes a distinction between terrorists and freedom fighters. That is what Pakistan calls the groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, and it acknowledges giving these groups diplomatic and moral support. But India claims two of those groups, banned as terrorist organizations by the U.S. and Britain, carried out a December 13 attack on the Indian parliament. Under international pressure, Pakistan arrested hundreds of militants, including the leaders of the two groups. Days later, both groups threatened more attacks in the coming days and that raised the stakes even higher.

PREM SHANKAR JHA, POLITICAL ANALYST: My biggest worry is that you know the -- one of the triggers to a future military conflict is not in either General Musharraf's hands or in Mr. Vajpayee's hands, they're in the hands of these extremist organizations.

RESSA: Pakistan says India has sent more than a million troops to the border in the largest military buildup in 15 years. Any attack at this time could trigger the confrontation both countries say they want to avoid.

(on camera): That is why the U.S. and Britain are asking both nations to pull their troops back and begin a dialog. India throws the ball back to the West saying it should make sure all nations stick to the same definition of terrorism.

Maria Ressa, CNN, New Delhi.



TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a mission with two agendas, reduce the tensions between India and Pakistan and find some way to start a dialog between them. British Prime Minister Tony Blair spent more than an hour with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. The meeting followed a just completed visit to India. If Mr. Blair was seeking a major shift in policy from Pakistan, it apparently was not on offer. What he did get was a firm statement from President Musharraf against terrorism.

GENERAL PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: Pakistan rejects terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and has fully cooperated with the international coalition against terrorism in that spirit.

MINTIER: President Musharraf says he will address his nation in the next few days on the issues of militancy and extremism. It may be during that speech where he outlines what he will do to help defuse the tensions with India.

Mr. Blair told reporters that during the meeting he was convinced that President Musharraf rejects terrorism in all forms.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: In our discussions, Mr. President, you made it clear, as you said a moment or two ago, that Pakistan rejects terrorism in all its forms. I welcome that. Prime Minister Vajpayee said that he is willing to have a dialog on all the issues between India and Pakistan on the basis of exclusively peaceful means.

MINTIER: As for reducing tensions between Pakistan and India, President Musharraf says the situation has improved because it has not gotten any worse.

MUSHARRAF: Well I can see (UNINTELLIGIBLE) haven't gone a step backwards in defusing the situation, certainly it hasn't escalated the situation. We may be -- it has contributed towards a desire to initiate a process in the future to deescalate and reduce the tensions on the border.

MINTIER (on camera): Mr. Blair was asked if he could or would mediate between Pakistan and India. He said he could not solve these problems, but urged both countries to find a way to talk and stressed that it was in the interest of the world community that it happened.

Tom Mintier, CNN, Islamabad, Pakistan. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MCMANUS: Since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan a few months ago, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has pledged his nation's support in the fight against terrorism, and his commitment to that pledge has earned Mr. Blair much respect.

Robin Oakley brings us a closer look at the British leader and his role in helping prevent terrorism.


ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For Tony Blair, daunting dad of one-year old Leo, it's been quite a year. In 2001, he won another thumping election victory, big enough to insure he'll have his way for another four years. But thanks largely to September the 11th, it's been the year too when the rest of the world got to know Britain's prime minister. No world leader was swifter to promise total backing for the U.S. in the fight against terrorism.

TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER OF GREAT BRITAIN: This is not a battle between the United States of America and terrorism, but between the free and democratic world and terrorism. We therefore here in Britain stand shoulder to shoulder with our American friends in this hour of tragedy.

OAKLEY: Tony Blair has done more than cheer on from the sidelines, he's been the ambassador at large for the allies, tirelessly touring the world to whip up support for the coalition. Tuesday the body language less than comfortable, he's meeting President Assad in Syria. Wednesday it's on to Saudi Arabia to see King Fahd. Thursday it's podium to podium with Ariel Sharon in Israel, then on to take the cause to Yasser Arafat in Gaza and to King Abdullah in Jordan.

Margaret Thatcher's former foreign affairs adviser says Tony Blair's contribution has been of primordial importance.

LORD CHARLES POWELL, FORMER FOREIGN AFFAIRS ADVISER: The British prime minister can do things, which are harder for an American president to do in this sort of situation. For instance, to take a very simple one, travel. When an American president moves about 3,000 people and several large aircraft go with him, not to speak of armored cars and so on. A British prime minister is invariably rather more modest and can travel from country to country with a very small staff. And his ability to get around and meet first-hand many of the important countries in the Middle East and close to Afghanistan, I think was a great benefit to the -- to the coalition.

OAKLEY: Blair's political buddies say he's a risk taker who knows where he's going.

PETER MANDELSON, FORMER NORTHERN IRELAND MINISTER: He follows through, so he doesn't simply have clarity of mind, he has followed through in his actions, and he galvanizes people. He's a persuader; he's an organizer; and he doesn't waiver until it's seen through. OAKLEY: Such qualities have helped the British labor prime minister build a surprisingly good relationship with America's republican president.

MANDELSON: I think if you had asked me when President Clinton was in office whether a relationship like the one that he had with Tony Blair could ever be recreated between Mr. Blair and Clinton's successor, I would have said impossible. It's just too strong; it's too -- it's too deep; it works too well. I think we've seen in though. I think we have seen that in the relationship that now exists between Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush.

OAKLEY: As he hobnobbed at European summits, some felt Blair's cheerleading for the U.S. could have undermined his other key aim, that of making Britain a more European nation than ever before. But Lord Powell believes he's managed so far to act as a bridge.

POWELL: It's clear that Tony Blair believes that he can maintain a very close relationship with Washington without damaging Britain's relations with Europe indeed while retaining a leadership position in Europe, which is his ambition for Britain. I think on the whole I have to say he at least so far has done it. I believe there will be occasions in the future when those two aims will come into collision.

OAKLEY: Such a collision could come if the U.S. takes military action against Iraq. Several European leaders have made plain they want no part of any such extension of the war, which could pose an awkward choice for Mr. Blair. He did make new friends, though, with his impassioned plea for a new world order, countries coming together in a new spirit after September the 11th to tackle the problems of underdeveloped nations.

BLAIR: The state of Africa is a scar on the conscious of the world. But if the world as a community focused on it, we could heal it.

OAKLEY: Some though say that's just dressed up real politic.

POWELL: In some of the ways in which he has tried to broaden the issues to say that Afghanistan and the action against bin Laden's terrorists is all part of a wider scheme of things in which we have an interest in what goes on in Rwanda or the Congo is frankly political manipulation of the Labor Party. It is always hard to get the Labor Party on the side for military action in the world (ph), and particularly in support of the Americans, and he had to sit it in a wider context in order to achieve that.

OAKLEY: Other critics say Tony Blair's style is too presidential for British taste and accuse him of letting his eyes stray too often from domestic affairs. But admirers and critics agree he's shown depth and decisiveness in the roll of war leader.

BLAIR: It is important therefore that we never forget why we're doing it; never forget how we felt watching the planes fly into those twin towers; never forget those answering message machines; never forget how we felt imagining how mothers told children that they were about to die.

OAKLEY: Above all else, perhaps, it's that ability to articulate the feelings of the many, which has given Tony Blair his new status on the world stage. Robin Oakley, CNN, London.


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It's all at this web address where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy. It's free. It's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops and neither does learning.

FREIDMAN: And now a look at an incredible story of generosity. It's hard to imagine how much money and how fast it was raised. In four months, people have given well over $1 billion to charities. Unfortunately, the news is not all good. The money has led to frustration, controversy, even Congressional hearings.

Peter Viles has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm looking for my brother, his name is Brian Monahan. He was in the second building on the 98th floor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has a tattoo of -- a Superman tattoo on his left ankle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to hear my son's voice.

PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was awful to hear those stories and to see those hand-made posters, but Americans did something about it: they gave, and they gave in huge numbers, hoping to comfort those families.

But then something strange and unsettling happened: for whatever reason, the money and the families couldn't find each other. So we met widows who were grateful.

LIZ MCLAUGHLIN, WTC WIDOW: I know if my husband Rob had died any other way, under any other circumstances, that I would not have this kind of support.

VILES: But who were also tired, and angry.

LIZ GILLIGAN, WTC WIDOW: It's -- very frustrating. It's --I feel angry, because the information to access all these charities is not filtering down clearly to the families. VILES: Part of the problem was that so many charities raised so much money, and then they refused to coordinate their efforts. The result was a mass of red tape, overlapping bureaucracies.

ELIOT SPITZER, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: Charities, like all other organizations, don't necessarily like to deal with their colleagues, share their toys, share their funds, share their resources. And so we had to overcome that.

VILES: It took public outrage, Congressional hearings, threats of law suits, the ouster of the president of the Red Cross.

DR. BERNADINE HEALY, FORMER DIR., AMERICAN RED CROSS: I have made the difficult decision to retire from the American Red Cross.

VILES: Finally, three weeks ago, some of the charities did promise to work together.

SPITZER: I don't want to say it's fixed in that there is no longer frustration, anger and -- and serious work to be done, but I think we've made enormous progress at least in getting all the charities together.

VILES: But the charities are still very much separate, and much of the money has not been spent. To date, more than 100 charities have raised an estimated $1.5 billion. At least $542 million has been disbursed. Now, if that money went directly to victims, each family would receive $180,000.

But that number is a fiction. Nobody knows how much has gone to the victims' families, because tens of millions have been spent elsewhere: feeding and sheltering volunteers, untold administrative costs.

Here's the breakdown: the Red Cross has raised $667 million, given out $349 million; the September 11th Fund $380 million raised, $130 million distributed; the Twin Towers Fund, mainly for police and firefighters: $141 million raised, $48 million distributed. Another firefighter charity: $105 million raised, $15 million handed out.

Then there is a government fund that will dwarf all that charity money. Congress promised the families billions of dollars, provided they agree not to sue the airlines; but how much money for each family?

Under a complicated and somewhat controversial formula, some will receive millions, others fear they will get nothing from the government.


FREIDMAN: Mathematics is a science of numbers, now enter the victims of September 11, from different families with different income levels. It all adds up to a confounding problem, just how do you put a value on human life? Well the U.S. government is trying to come up with an economic value. Peter Viles continues now with the formula and some criticisms.


VILES (voice-over): When the government finally crunched the numbers and made an offer to the families of those murdered on September 11, the offer sounded generous.

FEINBERG: The average award, before collateral offsets, is about a $1.65 million, tax free.

VILES: Millions of Americans heard that, or saw the number in headlines. There's only one problem: the headlines were wrong.

BEVERLY ECKERT, WTC WIDOW: All through the holidays, we kept hearing about how families, the average family, was going to get $1.6 million dollars under the fund, but the public didn't hear about how so many families would get nothing.

VILES: The $1.6 million number is the average starting point. The government then deducts life insurance, pensions, 401Ks, death benefits. Under this formula -- and it's not yet final -- families of dead firemen, because of their pre-existing generous benefits, would receive nothing from the government fund.

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: This is unfair, it's wrong and it needs to be changed.

VILES: But let's back up for a second.

FEINBERG: One million, six hundred fifty thousand dollars, tax free.

VILES: Where did the $1.6 million figure come from?

(on camera): Now, this may sound harsh, but Ken Feinberg did something that juries often do in wrongful death cases. He assumed that your life right now is equal to your future earnings, the amount of money you will make before you die.

(voice-over): There are other variables. To prevent huge awards, the government doesn't count income above $240,000 a year. As for pain and suffering, everyone is treated equally: a quarter-million for every death, plus another $50,000 for every dependent.

So under Feinberg's formula, the more you make, and the younger you are, the more the government would pay your family before all those deductions.

Take two fathers of two: a 30-year-old investment banker making $175,000 a year. His family would receive $4.35 million. A 50-year- old janitor making $30,000 a year, less than a sixth of that, $696,000.

Now remember, you still subtract life insurance and pensions from both numbers. Kristen Breitweiser's husband was young, successful and very well-paid. But he was responsible, too. He had life insurance and a retirement account.

KRISTEN BREITWEISER, WTC WIDOW: I have run the numbers and at this point, for me, I'm not going to go into the fund. It -- it doesn't make sense for me to go into the fund, because I will owe the government money.

VILES: Breitweiser feels penalized for her husband's responsibility. She also believes $50,000 doesn't begin to address her daughter's emotional pain and suffering.

BREITWEISER: My two-and-a-half-year-old will spend the rest of her life in history classes, going into food stores, going into Barnes & Noble, flipping through the cable channels, and coming across the exact moment of her father's death.

These children will not only see it once, will not only witness it once, they will witness it over and over and over again, their entire lifetime. And I feel that $50,000 for that, it's unacceptable. It's just wrong.

VILES (on camera): All of that said, Ken Feinberg has received generally high marks for at least listening to the victims. And he has indicated that he will change the formula so that every family receives at least something from the federal fund.

Peter Viles, CNN, New York.


MCMANUS: Some experts say he was painting America as it was. Critics, however, accuse him of being America's first pop artist, a marketer of sorts.

Whatever your opinion, Norman Rockwell's art has stood the test of time, and our own Phil Hirschkorn paints his own picture of the Rockwell exhibit on display now in New York City.


PHIL HIRSCHKORN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Norman Rockwell said the commonplace was his richest subject and that's what he painted again and again, families on vacation, men at work, girls growing up. His work captured a more innocent time, a bygone America of soda fountains and barbershop musicians.

(on camera): A lot of what we see in Rockwell's paintings are iconic images of America and Americans, but aren't these images in a large way idealized...


HIRSCHKORN: ... versions of Americans...

GREENE: They are.

HIRSCHKORN: ... and what the country's all about?

GREENE: He focused on things that were very much part of American daily experience. But then I think he put a very positive spin on them in a way that he himself said he painted America the way he would have like -- have liked everything to have been.

HIRSCHKORN (voice-over): What Rockwell clearly liked were children before they lost their innocence, Boy Scouts or simply boys being mischievous. He was known as the people's painter. Many of his paintings really posters, frequently magazine covers, most often for the "Saturday Evening Post," once the most widely read U.S. weekly.

GREENE: Rockwell was an illustrator. That was his job, his career. So while he made these paintings, they were always paintings that were made for -- to be transferred into a mass produced image whether it was a Boy Scout calendar or the "Saturday Evening Post."

HIRSCHKORN: All 322 of his "Post" covers are on display at New York's Guggenheim Museum, the last stop of a two-year U.S. tour for this retrospective from Atlanta to Washington to here.

Rockwell's first illustrating job was at 17. He would paint every day at his homes in upstate New York and then in Massachusetts. But at times, he ran out of ideas and made fun of his own creative block. Portraits were Rockwell's specialty. He used real people, often neighbors, as models. Other times, he looked to the highest office in the land.

HIRSCHKORN (on camera): And in a sense, Rockwell is really the first pop artist.

GREENE: I think you could say that in -- on a certain level, yes, he definitely is. He's doing popular imagery for mass produced kinds of products so -- and he's also addressing popular culture.

HIRSCHKORN (voice-over): A pre-television culture when modern art was becoming abstract. Rockwell was never the art critic's darling. His work sometimes seemed too sentimental, openly patriotic. A series on American freedoms spurred the public to buy World War II bonds, and he highlighted women's contributions, Rosie the Riveter filling jobs abandoned by men.

GREENE: But when I started working on this exhibition several years ago, I looked at these pictures with different eyes. They were -- they were more about nostalgia. And now, yes, they're about nostalgia, but suddenly you can start to see more what they would have meant for the people then because we are again sending people away to war.

HIRSCHKORN: As times went a changing in America, Rockwell's style stayed the same, but his subject matter did address the most divisive issue of the day, integration.

(on camera): When you get to the 1960s, what is Rockwell trying to say about civil rights?

GREENE: He is very much in support of the civil rights movement, and he's trying to bring it to the forefront for Americans much in the same way that everyone saw the "Saturday Evening Post." I think his way of presenting that material might -- I would imagine made it easier for some people who might not have been as receptive to those subjects and topics.

HIRSCHKORN (voice-over): Rockwell died in 1978. His work is now getting another look as a genuine illustration of the American spirit.

GREENE: There's narrative. People can see recognizable imagery and they can recognize themselves or a version of themselves in these pictures and that is what they respond to.

HIRSCHKORN: Phil Hirschkorn, CNN NEWSROOM, New York City.


FREIDMAN: Those pictures really do tell a story of the times.

MCMANUS: Absolutely. I saw the exhibit when it was in Washington, and it's really amazing to see just how many pictures he painted and also the detail that went into every one of them -- really something else.

FREIDMAN: Yes, yet another reason to go to New York.

MCMANUS: That's right.

FREIDMAN: I'm Susan Freidman.

MCMANUS: And I'm Michael McManus. We'll see you right back here tomorrow.




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