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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Peacekeepers Arrive in Liberia; Outbreak of Pneumonia Among U.S. Troops in Iraq

Aired August 4, 2003 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight: Medical teams have arrived in Iraq to investigate a mysterious outbreak of pneumonia among U.S. troops. Elizabeth Cohen reports.
Kobe Bryant is dominating the sports headlines. How much more can his sponsors take? Should they stand with him?

Our special report, "The Forgotten War" this week. Tonight, we focus on efforts to stop drugs entering the United States. Can we win the war on drugs?

And you may have noticed, from the Supreme Court to the Episcopal Church, out is in. And this seems to be the summer of gay rights controversies. Bill Tucker reports.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Monday, August 4. Here now, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening.

Tonight, international peacekeepers are in Liberia and U.S. warships are waiting off the Liberian coast. West African troops today arrived on U.N. helicopters at the beginning of a mission to end the 14-year civil war. The White House says the 2,000 U.S. Marines off the coast are there to support the peacekeeping force.

Jeff Koinange reports from Monrovia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sight many here never thought they'd live to see, the arrival of long-awaited peacekeepers.

Arriving in heavy rain shower, these are Nigerian soldiers, veterans of numerous African civil wars, who will serve as the core of what's called in diplomatic speak ECOMIL. And they wasted no time getting acquainted with their new terrain, quickly forming a tight perimeter around the airport. A few hundred Liberians, already accustomed to tough times, ignored the weather and instead turned the occasion into one of instant celebration.

For now, the most serious threat faced by the Nigerians seemed to be the overly enthusiastic Liberians. Liberian government officials seemed just as glad to finally have peacekeepers on the ground. DANIEL CHEA, LIBERIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: We will do everything as a government to support them in their endeavor.

KOINANGE (on camera): Only 300 peacekeepers to begin with, but many more hundreds in the coming days, as the ECOMIL peacekeeping mission officially gets under way in an effort to bring lasting peace to this war-ravaged nation.

(voice-over): These displaced Liberians are just a fraction of the tens of thousands who fled their homes. Many now say they feel hope. After what seemed like endless suffering and misery, another sign of hope: much-needed food arriving on the heels of the peacekeepers.

Late in the afternoon, the rain gave way to some much-needed sunshine, for Liberians, a sign this country may be on the road to recovery.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOINANGE: And, Lou, the peacekeepers no doubt have their work cut out for them. First they'll have to secure the capital, Monrovia. Then they'll have to secure both the free port and the second port city of Buchanan, both under rebel control, and then create a corridor for much-needed food aid, much-needed relief for Liberia's starving masses.

And one more thing, Lou, about those U.S. Naval ships off the coast of Liberia, well, they're slowly moving in to within five miles to create that imposing presence -- Lou.

DOBBS: Jeff, the conditions there this evening in Monrovia, the violence that had been escalating for so long, is it abating?

KOINANGE: It has abated a lot, Lou.

We hardly heard any gunfire today and no mortar shells landing. It looks like the rebels and the government forces are abiding by the rules so far. They did say they would stop firing as soon as peacekeepers were physically on the ground. So far, that seems to be holding, Lou.

DOBBS: Jeff Koinange, thank you very much, reporting live from Monrovia.

The Pentagon today said two medical teams have begun investigating an outbreak of pneumonia among U.S. troops in the Gulf. About 100 Americans have become sick since the 1st of March. Two of them have died.

Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has the story for us -- Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, one of those teams was sent directly to Iraq. Another was sent to Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany, where those two people died. One of them was Army National Guardsmen Specialist Joshua Neusche. He was 20 years old, from Missouri. His family says that he was in perfect health, very active, an athlete, in fact, and that he became very sick very quickly. And, at his funeral, a member of the military says: We don't know exactly what Josh died from, but we know why he died. He died in an effort to defend his country.

What they meant when they said that at the funeral is that he died of pneumonia. They know that. But they're not sure exactly what caused the pneumonia. Let's look at the number of cases that have been going on. Since early March, more than 100 people have become sick with pneumonia. There have been two deaths, Josh Neusche being one of them. And 15 people have become so ill that they needed to be put on ventilators.

Now, let's talk about what the military knows and what they don't know at this point. They know that there's no common infectious agent -- in other words, there's not one kind of bacteria or one kind of virus that's causing all of these -- and that the illnesses are in different locations. They're all over Iraq. They're also in Uzbekistan. They're also in Qatar. So, in other words, it's probably not a person-to-person transmission.

They also know that there is no evidence of SARS or biological or chemical weapons. So the question now is, is it something in the soil in some of these locations? Is it something in the air? Are fine particles of sand getting into people's lungs? They say that they just don't know. One veterans group says that the CDC and the World Health Organization should be sent into Iraq to assist the military.

This one group says that they are not sure that the military can handle this investigation on their own -- Lou.

DOBBS: Elizabeth, we have to return to the Gulf War syndrome of 12 years ago, denial after denial by the U.S. military that there was anything going on that would -- that they could describe as a syndrome. Then we find out years later that there indeed is something called Gulf War syndrome. Why not send in the CDC, the World Health Organization, to help the Army?

COHEN: Well, that's what one veterans group wants to have happen. This is a group that specializes in helping people with Gulf War syndrome.

I asked someone from the military that. And they said: Well, we've been consulting with folks from the CDC and from the WHO all along. We've been on the phone with them, talking to folks who are in academic, private institutions as well. So even though those teams from the CDC and WHO haven't actually been sent in, the military says they have actually consulted individuals who work for some of those agencies.

Now, this person who works for the veterans group that helps Gulf War syndrome victims, I said, do you think it's another Gulf War syndrome, Gulf War II syndrome, perhaps? And he says: You know, I really don't think so. Gulf War syndrome affected 157,000 people. This is -- we're talking 100 cases or so. Also, the syndrome was a whole group of symptoms that, taken together, have affected people for years and years, whereas this seems like more of an acute respiratory illness.

DOBBS: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you very much.

COHEN: Thanks.

DOBBS: The Department of Veterans Affairs today announced plans to close as many as seven V.A. hospitals all around the country. The cuts come in response to a 1999 General Accounting Office study that found the V.A. was wasting $1 million a day on what it termed unneeded or unused facilities.

Some of the hospitals recommended to be closed down include facilities in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Lexington, Kentucky, Canandaigua in upstate New York. Public hearings will be held around the country in coming months, with a final proposal to be given the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs by December.

U.S. forces hunting Saddam Hussein today said it's only a matter of time before they capture Hussein. Troops have been raiding homes in and around Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has more on the hunt for Saddam -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, over the last 24 hours, some 17 raids by U.S. forces in northern Iraq in and around the Tikrit area, as they do press the hunt for Saddam Hussein.

Now, military officials in Iraq tell CNN, in these latest raids, they have detained about 80 people, hundreds detained in raids in the last week all the way across Iraq. In these latest raids, they believe they have some local resistance leaders and former government officials. And the raids are becoming extremely heavily well-armed, U.S. officials saying they are concerned, as they get closer to Saddam, the resistance may get more desperate. They are going in very heavily armed.

Sources tell CNN, these raids that we're seeing now in Tikrit on the streets of Tikrit are very much focused on the circle of people, about the top 100 people, that surround Saddam Hussein, the people that are traditionally providing his direct personal security. As one source explained it to us, if you think about concentric circles around Saddam Hussein, these are the people standing right next to him, sources also saying it's now becoming increasingly clear that Saddam probably had a series of safe houses, a string, if you will, of safe houses set up across northern Iraq before he started to go on the run, knowing where his supporters would be, knowing who would shield him and protect him, and that the people around him would go with him.

Those are the people they're chipping away at now. And the raids also, Lou, continuing to make progress on gathering up weapons, our sources also telling us in the last week, just by way of one example, they've seized 45,000 sticks of TNT and about 80,000 feet of det cord, or detonation cord.

And, finally, some very interesting video that you see here coming out of Iraq. These are buried Su-25 and MiG-25 aircraft buried in the desert of Iraq. This was the last remnants, apparently, of the Iraqi Air Force before the country fell. No one's really sure why they buried them in the sand, but now pictures emerging that they did -- Lou.

DOBBS: Remarkable.

Barbara Starr, thank you very much -- Barbara Starr reporting from the Pentagon.

North Korea today launched a vicious personal attack against a high-ranking official of the State Department. A verbal offensive against Undersecretary of State John Bolton included colorful name- calling, including terms such as human scum and blood sucker. Last week, Bolton called North Korean leader Kim Jong Il a tyrannical dictator. The White House today defended Bolton, saying he was speaking for the United States.

The White House was also forced to respond to new speculation today about the future of Secretary of State Colin Powell. "The Washington Post" reported that Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, plan to step down in early 2005.

I'm joined now by White House correspondent Dana Bash from near the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Lou.

Well, as you well know, it is sport in Washington to try to figure out who's in, who's out, who's up, who's down, and who's coming and going. And that is exactly what the White House is chalking up all of the talk today about Colin Powell potentially not being in the second term. They say that it's a rumor mill really gone awry in a very slow August. And Secretary of State Powell himself addressed the issue, dismissed the Washington report -- "Post" -- saying that his deputy, Richard Armitage, told the White House that the two of them would not be coming back for a second term.

He told Radio Sawa in part -- quote -- "It's nonsense. I don't know what they are talking about. This is just one of those stories that emerge in Washington that reflects nothing more than gossip." Powell said that he serves at the pleasure of the president. But, privately, Lou, White House and State Department officials say they never really thought that Secretary of State Powell would be coming for a second term. They always assumed it would be one.

And, frankly, it is not unusual for secretaries of state to only serve one term. Historically, that has been the trend. And it is not unusual for a president to shift players in his Cabinet or his top aides, in all parts of his Cabinet, particularly in foreign policy. But, as you know, Secretary of State Powell is not your typical secretary of state. He is somebody who is very popular in the United States. His approval ratings are almost always in the high 80s. He's been a top spokesman for the White House, particularly in a time of war, which helped the president and, he admits, both here at home and abroad -- Wolf. Excuse me. Lou. Sorry about that.

DOBBS: That's OK, Dana.

BASH: Excuse me.

DOBBS: The very idea that "The Washington Post" would report what the secretary of state calls gossip -- as you say, it's been rumored, even reported, that he would be a one-term secretary of state. But "The Washington Post" reported a conversation between Armitage and Condoleezza Rice. How does that play out?

BASH: It's interesting.

What they're saying here at the White House on the record -- they were actually quick to say so on the record this morning, which is unusual -- is that the conversation never happened. They said that at the White House and at the State Department, that this conversation between Richard Armitage and Condoleezza Rice that sort of stated that they would not be coming back for a second term really never happened.

And that is what their story is, and they're sticking to it. But, privately, they say, whether or not that conversation happened, the expectation is that perhaps Secretary of State Colin Powell probably wouldn't be coming back for a second term. But, as you just heard, Secretary Powell is saying that he serves at the pleasure of the president. And the White House today, when asked specifically, when Scott McClellan was asked specifically whether the president would like Colin Powell to come back, he simply -- he really didn't answer the question.

He simply said that Colin Powell has been an outstanding secretary of state.

DOBBS: And, as I understand it, both Armitage and Powell will be visiting the president at the ranch tomorrow. Is that correct?

BASH: Timing is everything. They are. They are coming tomorrow. This is something the White House says has been planned for a few weeks. They're going to come for dinner tomorrow night, stay through lunch on Wednesday, to talk about a host of foreign policy agenda items.

DOBBS: And those aren't woodsheds out there on the ranch, are they?

BASH: No, he's got a pretty nice house out there. I haven't been there, but it's supposed to be pretty nice.

DOBBS: Dana, thank you very much.

BASH: Thank you.

DOBBS: Dana Bash reporting from near the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Still ahead here tonight: reunited, the United States and, of all things, the United Nations. Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations says that would be helpful. And he's our guest.

Our series of special reports this week focuses on a war that not many pay attention to. It is, do you remember, the war on drugs. Deborah McCarthy of the Bureau For International Narcotics and Law Enforcement is our guest.

And pushing pills: new advertisements pushing patients to demand certain medications be prescribed by their doctors. Kitty Pilgrim will have that report.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Tonight, we begin a series of special reports this week on the war on drugs. We call it "The Forgotten War." It's a war that costs American taxpayers $12 billion a year to stop the flow of drugs into this country.

Lisa Sylvester reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 30 years of fighting the drug war, U.S. law enforcement officials have been changing their approach. Instead of simply looking at the drug war based on supply and demand, they now look at it as a business, attacking growers, shippers, wholesalers, and retailers.

Just last Thursday, the Justice Department announced it broke a major Mexican drug cartel. The Zambada-Garcia organization that was funneling cocaine from Colombia to the U.S.; 240 people were arrested and six tons of cocaine seized.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The success of Operation Trifecta has made this a good day for justice and a good day for the people of Mexico and a good day for the people of the United States.

SYLVESTER: The federal government says it intercepts 20 percent of the illegal drugs headed for the United States. Policy groups tracking the issue say the number is closer to 10 percent. No one really knows the exact figure. What is known is, the United States has spent billions of dollars fighting the drug war; $11 billion has been budgeted this year alone, with $2 billion spent on interdiction and another billion dollars on international efforts, training the Colombian and Mexican military, destroying crops, and offering farmers alternative crops to grow.

STEVEN CASTEEL, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION: Drugs took years and generations to get embedded into our society. And it's going to take years and generations, a long fight. SYLVESTER: According to the federal government, 90 percent of all cocaine and 80 percent of the heroin in the U.S. either originates or passes through Colombia. Peru and Bolivia make up the rest of the supply, while Mexico serves as a primary transit point for the South American drugs.

Three years ago, the U.S. launched a program called Plan Colombia. The government in Colombia stepped up spraying coca and poppy fields, the precursors to cocaine and heroin. There are signs it's working. Net coca production in Colombia, which tripled in the last decade, dropped 15 percent in 2002. And the opium poppy cultivation fell 25 percent last year.

Drug czar John Walters is optimistic.

JOHN WALTERS, DRUG POLICY CHIEF: We should see, given what we know now, historic changes in the marketability of cocaine in the next six to twelve months.

SYLVESTER: But that's not a unanimous view. The U.S. may be successful in Colombia, but drug dealers are simply moving their operations across the border, to Bolivia and Peru, where drug cultivation has increased substantially.

SANHO TREE, DRUG POLICY PROJECT DIRECTOR: All we've been doing is pushing cultivation of these illicit crops from one country to the next, and, indeed, from one continent to the next. It's not unlike that game whack-a-mole. You beat the mole down on one end, it pops up on the other end.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER: This fight has been going on for three decades, but one big difference is the effect of 9/11. Security at the border has never been tighter. And with the Patriot Act, law enforcement officials have broader authority for intelligence gathering. That's being used not only to fight terrorism, but also to stop drug dealers -- Lou.

DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much -- Lisa Sylvester reporting from Washington.

Joining me now to talk more about the forgotten war, Deborah McCarthy. She's with the State Department's Bureau For International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and joins us from our studios in Washington, D.C.

Good to have you with us.

DEBORAH MCCARTHY, BUREAU FOR INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT: Good to be here.

DOBBS: The ultimate test, obviously, in the success of the war on drugs is how many people in this country are using those drugs, how much in the way of drugs are being moved to them. Do you have good news for us on that? MCCARTHY: Well, it's a continuous major struggle, because we have in the states approximately $64 billion being spent on drugs. And we are spending approximately $12 billion, as was noted, on the fight, of which a portion is overseas, from which most of the drugs flow.

So we're having -- we're seeing a turn in Colombia. We're watching what's happening in Peru and Bolivia. And we are taking down major narcotrafficking organizations, because it is a battle against organizations, in countries such as Mexico.

DOBBS: Ms. McCarthy, Mexico, Colombia is the principal origination point for heroin, for cocaine, and Colombia itself racked with an internal crisis, political crisis. How likely is it is that the United States can realistically stop coca production, heroin production in Colombia within the next year to three years?

MCCARTHY: At the present rate in which we are going after the sources and spraying, we should substantially get the bulk of what is there, not forgetting that, at the tail end, there will probably always be a portion there.

But with the commitment that we have and that President Uribe has to attack the organizations in all fronts, including the supply, as you noted, we should see significant progress in the next couple of years.

DOBBS: Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, is the United States receiving the cooperation from those countries that is desperately needed to have a dramatic impact on the flow of drugs into this country?

MCCARTHY: We're seeing excellent cooperation, and with the focus primarily on Colombia. We are working closely, law enforcement agencies on both sides, in Mexico. In Peru and Colombia, we are seeing a sort of holding the line. And we're watching that closely to focus on what could possibly be a slight balloon effect. So we're carefully watching that and pushing for ramping up eradication, which is the key there.

So I would say, on the whole, yes, we do have excellent cooperation, particularly in the largest two countries from which the drugs either come from or flow through.

DOBBS: As you know, Americans are very skeptical about the pronouncements on the war on drugs. For two decades, drug traffic, over that period of time, into this country has actually risen. It's abated in some cases and stabilized in others in the last year or two. But the fact is that the street price of drugs, which is the best indicator of the availability of drugs, remains at the same levels that it was two years ago, three years ago. When will we see a real change in that indicator on the success of the war on drugs?

MCCARTHY: It's estimated that there's going to be a lag of about six to twelve months before we see effects on the price. And I need to note also that we need to also watch carefully a new crop of drugs which are called the synthetic drugs, which can either come from overseas or basically be put together just about anywhere. That's something to watch. And that is affecting a number of our young people in the states.

DOBBS: You're talking about ecstasy? You're talking about methamphetamines and...

MCCARTHY: Correct.

DOBBS: ... other drugs. Those drugs are largely being manufactured in this country, though, are they not?

MCCARTHY: They're being manufactured. A large portion, we see in Mexico. And we're also seeing a large portion that is flowing to us from the Netherlands. And we're working closely with that country, in addition to countries in Latin America, to curb the flow, which is quite large.

DOBBS: Deborah McCarthy, amongst those who has a very difficult job facing her, and we thank you for your time here tonight.

MCCARTHY: Thank you.

DOBBS: Tomorrow, we continue our series of special reports on "The Forgotten War." We look at what's being done to control drugs that are produced in this country, including the synthetics, as Deborah McCarthy just mentioned. Bill Tucker will have that report for us.

And that brings us to the subject of tonight's poll. The question is, should the United States be doing more to win the war on drugs? Yes, no, or perhaps even maybe? Cast your vote at CNN.com/Lou. We'll have the preliminary results a little later in the show.

A different kind of drug war is being fought over patients who are increasingly diagnosing themselves. As drug companies advertise more, patients are demanding certain prescription drugs by name. And that has begun to concern a number of medical practitioners.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

NARRATOR: Talk to your doctor about Claritin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

NARRATOR: Ask your doctor if Lipitor is right for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

NARRATOR: Prozac, a medicine that's helped millions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): According to your TV, you could be taking a lot more drugs and feeling like a million bucks. It's called direct-to-consumer advertising, telling the consumer they really should consider a new product.

Some doctors object.

DR. JAMES GORDON, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR MIND AND BODY: What they're doing by advertising drugs is giving patients, I think, the belief that the drug that's so beautifully, although I believe insipidly, portrayed in the television commercial is going to be the answer. And they're causing patients to put more pressure on doctors. And, unfortunately, many doctors are giving in to that pressure.

PILGRIM: Promotional spending by pharmaceutical manufacturers has soared, from some $9 billion in 1996 to more than $19 billion in 2001, more than double.

Do the ads work? Absolutely. According to one study, every dollar spent on an ad generates $4.20 in sales. Many new drugs address conditions that have been barely treated before or simply not openly discussed, like impotence, depression, or adult attention deficit disorder.

Dr. Steven Lamm says he doesn't mind pharmaceutical companies trying to educate consumers and meet patient needs. He objects when they try to create a need for a drug without any medical reason. These days, he sees a dramatic difference in the patient-doctor relationship.

DR. STEVEN LAMM: They come in armed with information about which are -- the best hospital, the best doctors, the best alternative treatments. So this is just part of this mass of new health care information that's available to patients that I have to deal with every day, that my father, who's a physician, family doctor, years ago did not have to deal with.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Now, some doctors say it's a phenomenon that's here to stay. The ads won't go away. But they recommend patients look at the drug Web sites, instead of just viewing the ads, because self- education is OK. The problem is self-diagnosis without any information -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well, if the drug companies can generate over $4 per dollar spent on advertising, it's working very well. Why in the world are doctors allowing patients to, effectively, prescribe? PILGRIM: They basically say, patients come in and request. They still have the ultimate power, in that they write the prescriptions. It does create a different dynamic between...

DOBBS: There go the fancy dinners at AMA conventions, right?

PILGRIM: Well, I'm not sure about that. Those are probably pretty permanent.

(LAUGHTER)

DOBBS: Kitty, thanks -- Kitty Pilgrim.

Well, tonight's thought is on the power of drugs. "No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs. We should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power" -- that from humorist and author P.J. O'Rourke.

Coming up next here: This summer, out is in. From the Supreme Court to television's hottest new show, gay issues are definitely controversial and they are growing in number. Bill Tucker will have the story.

And would another U.N. resolution on Iraq help or hinder efforts to rebuild the country? Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations says the United Nations, of all people, should help. He joins us.

And Kobe Bryant goes to court this week. But that didn't keep the star from going out on the town this weekend. We'll have a live report for you from Eagle, Colorado.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Coming up: startling allegations tonight ahead of vote to elect the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop -- that story and a great deal more still ahead.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Leaders of the Episcopal Church have postponed a vote on whether to appoint the church's first gay bishop. The delay came after allegations of inappropriate conduct were made against the Reverend Gene Robinson. A Vermont man e-mailed church officials last night, apparently claiming Robinson touched him inappropriately two years ago.

Separately, church officials are looking into whether a Web site founded by Robinson for young gays and lesbians contains links to inappropriate material. Robinson has said he's not aware of any such links. There are almost 2.5 million Episcopalians in this country. That makes them the 10th largest religious group in the country. Catholics are the largest, with 62 million members. Southern Baptists are second, almost 20 million. Methodists next, more than 10 million members. Judaism is the fourth largest religion, 6 million members in this country. Lutherans, Mormons, Presbyterians, and Members of the Assembly of God round out the top ten largest church organizations.

The question of whether to appoint a gay Anglican bishop is the latest in a series of debates this summer over gay rights. It all started two months ago when the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law banning sodomy. Since then, Canada has taken steps to legalize gay marriage, New York City announced the first ever gay public high school, and reality television has come out of the closet with two big hits.

Bill Tucker has the report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL TUCKER, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Boy Meets Boy," "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," "Will and Grace." TV's come a long way since the debate over whether Ellen should admit she was a lesbian.

ELLEN DEGENERES, ENTERTAINER: I'm gay.

TUCKER: Nowadays she'd be going out on dates, which is the idea behind Bravo's newest summer show, "Boy Meets Boy."

TOM CAMPBELL, PRODUCER, "BOY MEETS BOY": Our stories are unique in that we're gay, but they're very similar because it's all about the human experience. And our show, it's kind of breakthrough because we're actually talking about gay people dating, which to a lot of Americans is still relatively controversial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to flip this around.

TUCKER: "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," a show whose mission is to do a makeover of a heterosexual male by gay men, has earned Bravo network its highest ratings ever. And its partner, NBC, picked up the show for network run.

The current issue of "Brides" magazine, now on the newsstands, has an article on same sex unions.

Wal-Mart, the country's largest employer, recently announced that it would be providing benefits for same sex partners.

Orbitz, the online travel service, is advertising to the gay traveler. What's going on here? Is it hip? Is it in to be out?

ROBERT THOMPSON, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," the makeover show, this isn't in the end about sexuality at all. Nobody has sex on that show. They go shopping in that show. The worst thing I think anybody could find in that show would be I don't know, maybe if your teenage son watches it, he might become more sensitive to the brand of cream rinse he uses.

TUCKER: Nothing controversial about that. We are a consumer society, and shopping is something everyone can understand.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCKER: And isn't that ultimately what the mission of television is, to deliver consumers to advertisers -- Lou.

DOBBS: Bill, thank you very much. Bill Tucker.

When we continue, Kobe Bryant prepares for his day in court, as one sponsor drops the superstar. Gary Tuchman and Jan Hopkins will be reporting.

And wildfires ranging around the world tonight. We'll have a live report for you from British Columbia, where the fires there are the worst in Canada in more than a half century.

Max Boot on the United Nations and the efforts to rebuild Iraq. He says a U.N. resolution could help. And he will join us coming up.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Well, Kobe Bryant won a award -- a teen award this weekend. And CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman is in Eagle, Colorado with the story -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, if somebody's advising Kobe Bryant to stay out of the public eye, the Los Angeles Laker is not listening. This weekend he and his wife, Vanessa, showed up at the Universal Amphitheater in L.A. for an awards show called the Teen Choice Awards. Hundreds of people lined the red carpet, cheering Kobe Bryant and his wife on.

Kobe Bryant was wearing a bracelet that said "I Love Vanessa," referring to his wife. He waved, took pictures, then went inside the auditorium. The TV show was being taped inside there, and he won an award, the best male athlete award. We have a still picture of him actually making his speech after he won the award. He told the crowd -- quote -- "An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere," obviously referring to himself. But those were not words he wrote. Those were words written by a man who died before Kobe Bryant was alive, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Now, he comes to court, Kobe Bryant, here on Wednesday at this courthouse behind me here in Colorado. Authorities are still investigating a 911 call made from his estate in Newport Beach, California, just hours after Kobe Bryant got back from Colorado, where he provided DNA testing. Police in Newport Beach say he made a 911 call, hung up, they called back, got Kobe Bryant on the phone. Kobe Bryant said there was a medical emergency. They got to the house, saw a woman in bed. Police won't identify who the woman was. They do say that she refused to go in an ambulance anywhere, and they left. The prosecutors are not telling us if that will be part of their strategy in this case, what happened. They don't know if there's any link. But the timing is certainly very notable.

So Kobe Bryant will be here on Wednesday for his first appearance in court. That's the same day that this Teen Choice TV show will also be on television.

Lou, back to you.

DOBBS: Gary, thank you. Gary Tuchman reporting from Eagle, Colorado.

Kobe Bryant's legal problems are beginning now to affect him financially. An Italian chocolate maker is ending its deal with Bryant, in part, the company says, because of the Colorado assault case.

Jan Hopkins has the report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KOBE BRYANT, BASKETBALL PLAYER: If it was that easy, everybody would have one.

JAN HOPKINS, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kobe Bryant still has a contract to do ads for McDonald's. But you won't see him in the ads airing on television now.

BRYANT: You need to be strong.

HOPKINS: Kobe Bryant's Sprite ads are not running, either. Coke, which owns Sprite, says Bryant is under contract till 2005. Lawyers say companies are now looking at the fine print in those contracts.

ROB BECKER, SPORTS ATTORNEY: The companies with which Kobe has endorsements will have clauses that allow them to cancel a contract in the event of a conviction for a serious crime. They may also have clauses that allow them to end the contract if he has an immoral act. But we can't be sure which ones have which clauses.

HOPKINS: Kobe Bryant dolls still pop up on the Nutella Web site, but the company announced today it will not renew its endorsement contract with Bryant and is removing references to being Bryant's -- quote -- "favorite spread." The Italian company says its decision was in part because of the charges filed against Bryant.

LAURA RIES, MARKETING EXPERT: Nutella pulled out, and more and more they're going to pull out of the deals. And I think longterm he's not going to be making 20 to $25 million a year on these high- profile McDonald's, Sprite, and Nike type of deals.

HOPKINS: Bryant appeared in Adidas ads for six years until his contract ran out last year. That allowed Bryant to sign an even more lucrative deal this year with Nike. Nike says it's pleased to have a relationship with Kobe, but marketing experts wonder if Nike will ever use Kobe or make a Kobe Bryant shoe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOPKINS: McDonald's and Coke say that they did not pull or change ads with Kobe Bryant because of the case. They just didn't schedule any ads with Kobe now. As for what he's making from the endorsements, the companies won't say, but it's reported that he's making between 10 and 12 million a year and 8 or 9 million of that is from Nike -- Lou.

DOBBS: And Nike is just tickled pink with all of this.

HOPKINS: Yes, very good timing. They signed the deal in June, and all of this happened in July.

BLITZER: Mr. Bryant looks like he's going to take quite a financial hit. Jan, thank you very much. Jan Hopkins.

Coming up next here a role for the United Nations in Iraq?

Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, and he says there is a role. And he joins us.

And wildfires all around the world. Three countries are fighting big fires tonight. We'll have a live report from one of the worst hit.

And many of you wrote in about the gay priest who hopes to be the first openly gay bishop in the history of the Episcopal church. We'll share some of your thoughts coming up. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Max Boot wrote in the "New York Times" that, quote, "If another U.N. resolution could reduce the strain on American forces and wallets, why not seek it?"

Max Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations the author of "The Savage Wars of Peace: Small wars and rise of American power."

There are conservatives around the country, Max, who must just be fit to be tied.

MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I've sold out already, Lou. But the reality is I think you have to be pragmatic about it. I mean, I'm as suspicious of the United Nations as anybody because I think they have done a lot of terrible things over the years. But the reality is at this point in time we have over half the active duty army deployed in Iraq with no hope that they're going to be able to go home anytime soon and that's just not sustainable. So I think we've got to get allies in there to help us out. And unfortunately a lot of our allies have said they're unwilling to help unless there's another U.N. Resolution. So I think we might have to bite the bullet.

DOBBS: There are a couple of elements in there that are concerning and troubling to all of us, namely, that half the U.S. forces are in Iraq. This is supposed to be the year of the Rumsfeld lean, mean fighting machine. The fact is it's a military -- a wonderful military that is overburdened and over-committed and under- resourced. So the United Nations doesn't solve that particular problem. The second part is that a United Nations resolution doesn't guarantee that we'll see a rebuilding of Iraq.

BOOT: Well, that's exactly right, Lou, and I don't say that we should seek a u.n. Resolution no matter what. We have to see what kind of terms we can get. And we have to call the bluffs of our allies, we're not going to send more troops unless you get another resolution. It's quite possible they're not going to send troops no matter what we do at the U.N. But we should at least call their bluff.

And as for your first point, you're right. We are under- resourced and there is a real crying need to expand the size of the active duty army I would say by at least five active duty divisions. But until we do that we've got to get troops from somewhere, and if we don't have them in our forces we have to get them from India or Turkey or somebody else. And they're not willing to send them at this point until they claim they get a U.N. resolution.

DOBBS: The role of the United Nations here, you have been straightforward about the role of the U.S. military in what you style as small wars. You have been very specific and outspoken on America as empire, and suggesting that it use the e word boldly and straightforwardly.

The United Nations has a part in the American imperialism that you see in the 21st century?

BOOT: It could. We have certainly worked with the U.N., in place like Kosovo and Afghanistan and I think those places have worked out reasonably well. Now, I wouldn't want to say throw the whole job over to the U.N. and we leave. That would be a disaster. That's what happened in Somalia. But I think if we stay involved, if we stay active, if we continue to take a leading voice I think we can work with the U.N. and more importantly with our allies, NATO, India, others who would be coming in under the U.N. banner. I think that's the most important thing we can do in Iraq.

DOBBS: Do you think Kofi Annan is willing to serve the role of enabler here, that is, the -- offer his imprimatur so other nations will offer forces rather than U.N. troops specifically?

BOOT: That's unclear. I mean, it's not so much up to Kofi Annan. It's up to other members of the U.N. Security council such as France, and Russia, and China and others. It's unclear what their attitude would be. But I think we should at least pursue that path because I think we do need to get help in Iraq.

DOBBS: The role of the military, obviously, preeminent right now, primary. But the fact that we have not truly started the rebuilding of Iraq, with the power and capability of the American industrial establishment not being brought to bear yet, are you not surprised that that's not occurred?

BOOT: I am surprised but a lot of that is a money issue because Congress has only appropriated $2 1/2 billion for rebuilding Iraq at the same time that we're spending $4 billion a month on our military campaign. And that's another reason why it might make sense to go to the U.N., because other countries might be more willing to pony up money if there's that U.N. imprimatur on it. And we definitely need the big boys from Saudi Arabia to Japan and various others to put up a lot of money so that we can help rebuild Iraq.

DOBBS: Max Boot, thank you very much for being here. Good to see you.

BOOT: Thanks for having me on, Lou.

DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll. The question, should the United States be doing more to win the war on drugs? Yes, no, or maybe. Cast your vote at cnn.com/lou. We'll have the results for you later in the show.

Still to come, deadly wildfires stretch across three countries tonight. Mike Chisholm will have a live report from British Columbia on the worst wildfires to ravage the area in half a century.

And another fire rips through a factory filled with highly flammable liquid in the heart of Bourbon country. That story coming up.

And stocks recovered much of steep early losses. Christine Romans will have the market for us. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The weather is helping firefighters in the western part of the country tonight. In Montana, Glacier National Park's busy West Gate reopened for tourism this morning. Rain helping to dampen the fire that was raging out of control there last week. The 25,000-acre fire is now almost half contained.

There are 25 active major fires burning in nine western states tonight. Almost 2 million acres of land have been under fire watch. But that is less than half the 4 1/2 million acres destroyed at the same time last year.

Canadian fire crews are battling the worst outbreak of wildfires in a half century. Thousands of people have been evacuated, thousands more remain on alert tonight, and weather conditions are not expected to improve anytime soon. CTV's Mike Chisholm joins us from Vernon, British Columbia, with the latest -- Mike.

MIKE CHISHOLM, CTV CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are in the interior of British Columbia, where right now it is probably 100 degrees, and there is no wind. It has been like this in this area for the past three weeks. That has meant extremely dry conditions up here.

There are 300-plus fires burning in this province right now, three major fires. One of them is behind me. It's difficult to see. But the whole valley behind me and all in front of me is all filled with smoke. You can smell it. The cinders are in the air.

And this fire has been burning since last week. It started off when somebody threw a cigarette into some dry grass, and it just took off from there. It's gone all through these mountains, into the other side, through this valley. There are several communities in that area. Two have been evacuated. One is still on evacuation alert. And this is just one of the fires in all of British Columbia. Other regions have had thousands of people evacuated in a fire northwest of where I am right now. And there is one other one in the south.

DOBBS: Mike Chisholm, thank you very much, reporting from British Columbia.

Wildfires are also burning across Portugal tonight. The government there has declared what they call a state of calamity, because of the worst wildfires in two decades. More than 70 fires burning across the country, fueled by record temperatures and high winds. Nine people have been killed; 133,000 acres destroyed by those fires.

From wildfires in Portugal to a massive fire in the heart of Bourbon Country, Kentucky. Fire engulfed a Jim Beam warehouse. The real danger, however, was from the whiskey itself, which is highly flammable, and which spilled into a nearby lake, sending funnels of fire that you see there, shooting into the air. A statement from the company says the fire was caused by lightning.

Tonight's quote comes from the campaign trail, where one presidential hopeful made comments about the importance of alternative fuel. "Ethanol is one of the ways in which we can begin to reduce that dependence on foreign petroleum and therefore regain more of our national sovereignty." That from Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida.

Still ahead -- the preliminary results of tonight's poll. Christine Romans with the market. And a box office disaster for Ben and J. Lo. We'll tell you just how bad it is. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: This just in to CNN. We've just learned that the Homeland Security Department tomorrow will issue a new security advisory to the aviation industry and the federal government. This advisory follows concern that al Qaeda terrorists may smuggle weapons in electronic devices such as cameras.

Turning now to the remainder of the news of the day. In the weekend box office race, the third installment of the "American Pie" trilogy came out on top. The latest sequel, "American Wedding," the number one movie in America. It earned more than $33 million in its opening. "Spy Kids 3D" slipped to number two. Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" came in at number three. "Seabiscuit" and "Bad Boys II" rounded out the top five. Go "Seabiscuit."

But the real story of the weekend -- possibly the summer's biggest flop, "Gigli," starring Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, managed to recover only $3.8 million of the film's $54 million budget in its first weekend. Very sad.

Now the preliminary results of tonight's poll. The question, should the United States be doing more to win the war on drugs? Twenty-nine percent of you said yes; 65 percent said no. Six percent said maybe.

The major stock averages opened the week, little changed. The Dow up 32 points. The Nasdaq down fewer than 2. The S&P rose almost 3. Christine Romans to sort out what was a dramatic day on Wall Street.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I wish it were a little more dramatic.

Well, factory orders rose. Also, interest rates were a little bit lower. So that helped the blue chips. But it was weak biotechs that hurt the Nasdaq composite index, and that dragged that part down.

Now, more stocks fell than rose at the Big Board. The S&P 500 closed below its 50-day moving average for the second day in a row. Lou, that hasn't happened since March. But the S&P is still 8 percent above its 200-day moving average.

Well, March was kind of a big -- the beginning of that rally, of course.

OK, 23 percent higher since the March 11 low, the S&P is. The Dow is up 22 percent in a little over four months. The Nasdaq has risen 35 percent.

Now, among today's movers, progress in its labor dispute pushed Verizon up 4 percent. SBC was the best Dow gainer. But American Airlines shed 10 percent on news of a $250 million convertible bond deal.

Speaking of bonds, treasuries halted a nearly two-month long freefall. The 10-year note up half a point to yield 4.32 percent. But one bond watcher calling the bond environment "delicate," Lou. The treasury, don't forget, will sell $60 billion in securities this week. That's a lot of...

DOBBS: A delicate bond market environment.

ROMANS: A delicate environment.

DOBBS: That's almost elegant. I mean, that is...

ROMANS: After a violent July, yes.

DOBBS: We're really not looking at much volume, are we?

ROMANS: No. We had about 1.2, 1.3 billion shares. That's down 4 percent from the average volume from last year.

DOBBS: And I want to give, if I may, our viewers at home just a bit of a clue, if you will. When Christine Romans starts talking about the 50 and 200-day moving averages, it wasn't much of a day on Wall Street. Is that a fair statement?

ROMANS: It is a fair statement. But I'm hoping that tomorrow will be really aggressive and fun, Lou.

DOBBS: And higher.

ROMANS: And higher.

DOBBS: Christine Romans, thank you very much.

Let's take a look at some of your thoughts. Many of you wrote in about the debate surrounding a gay priest who seeks to become the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. Robbie of Texas saying: "There are and always have been gay priests, ministers and bishops. This one just wants to be honest. Isn't honesty a virtue?"

Richard Murphy of Miami said: "Gay clergy have long and faithfully served in all denominations. Bravo and blessings to Reverend Robinson and all who have the courage to live their lives in faith with honesty and integrity."

Joe Mendiola of Boise, Idaho wrote about the president's working vacation: "Why is it that the president can take a vacation while our troops are still in harm's way in Iraq and can't take a well deserved break?" Or for that matter a, rotation.

Gale Henry of Callender, Iowa, wrote in in response to our first in the series of special reports, "The Forgotten War," on the war on drugs. "I certainly hope that you will provide a realistic view of the number of non-violent drug offenders that are serving longer prison terms than rapists, child molesters and even murderers. My husband is currently serving a 22-year sentence for conspiracy to distribute marijuana. This sentence is longer than John Walker's sentence for terrorism."

And we will this week be reporting on precisely that element in the story of the forgotten war.

E-mail us. Loudobbs@cnn.com. We love to hear from you.

And finally tonight, it's called a fluge tag (ph), but most people would just call it bizarre. It's a flying machine competition in London's Hyde Park. These machines don't fly all that well. It's more about style and popularity than aerodynamics. Among other things, that flying pig was a crowd favorite, but did prove pigs really don't fly.

That's our show tonight. Thanks for being with us. For all of us here, good night from New York. "LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES" with Anderson Cooper is next.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



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