The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!


Return to Transcripts main page


John Kerry and Vietnam; Uproar Over Princess Diana Photos

Aired April 22, 2004 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Welcome. I'm Paula Zahn.
It is Thursday, April 22, 2004.


ZAHN (voice-over): Thirty-three years ago, disillusioned veteran John Kerry told senators horror stories about Vietnam.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everywhere I went in this country, I described accurately what was happening, what wasn't.

ZAHN: Thirty-three years later, how does candidate Kerry feel about the Vietnam War and his anti-war activism?

Even the tabloids wouldn't go this far. Tonight, the uproar over CBS' decision to air pictures of Princess Diana as she lay dying.

And Michael Jackson's fans and friends choose up sides in the wake of his indictment.


ZAHN: Now, though, we move on to the headlines you need to know.

A federal appeals court today allowed the government to continue its case against accused September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. The court also said the defense can obtain testimony from al Qaeda captives who may be able to exonerate him.

Reports filtering out of China and South Korea say thousands of people may have been killed or injured in a North Korean train accident today. There apparently was an explosion after two trains carrying flammable materials collided at the station near the North Korean-Chinese border.

Fort Hood, Texas, has 20,000 reasons to celebrate today. That's how many soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division are home after a year in Iraq. They are throwing a huge all-day homecoming party that includes fans, as you can see here, the New England Patriots cheerleaders, and 30,000 barbecue sandwiches donated by Texas ranchers.

"In Focus" tonight, though, against that backdrop, a major about- face in U.S. Iraq policy. Members of Saddam Hussein's political party, the Baath Party, may be allowed to hold high government and military positions after all. But, first, the violence has to stop so rebuilding efforts can continue.

There's a lot to keep up with here tonight.

Let's start with Jane Arraf to put this all into perspective for us. She joins us from Baghdad.

Good evening, Jane.


Well, this has been brewing for some time. And now, according to the coalition here, Ambassador Paul Bremer is going to give an address to the nation in which he says essentially that some elements of what had been a very strict interpretation of this policy might be rolled back. Now, what that means is that in particular in this new army that they're building, we could be seeing generals and colonels again.

And we have to remember there were thousands of generals in this country. It has been a key problem according to many U.S. military officials that they had been completely cut out of the new Iraq. Now, this is all against a backdrop, of course, of continuing violence. And in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, what is supposed to be a cease-fire doesn't look very much like a cease-fire, attacks continuing by insurgents against U.S. Marines there.

Meanwhile, the Marines are preventing people from returning to their homes. They say it's just too unstable. And they warn that if the attacks continue, they will launch an all-out assault on that city. South of Iraq in Basra, that city still in shock over the deaths of more than 50 people in simultaneous suicide bombs that hit police stations and a police recruitment center, many of them children, many of them being buried today, very emotional funerals -- Paula.

ZAHN: Jane Arraf, thank you for that update tonight.

For the past three days, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been hearing testimony on whether anyone will be ready for the June 30 deadline to hand over sovereignty. The top Democrat on the committee, Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, has said throughout the hearings he wanted answers about security, about costs, about manpower, and about what the transition would actually look like.

Senator Biden joins me from Washington to tell us what, if any, answers he heard.

Always good to see you, sir. Welcome.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: Good to see you, Paula.

ZAHN: First of all, do you think the June 30 deadline is realistic?

BIDEN: I'm strongly supportive of doing everything we can to have a handover of power, at least partial sovereignty in some form and defined to some entity. And I just want to know what this administration has in mind, because they've come up with this date.

Failure to do it on June 30, I think, would have a very significant negative ramifications in Iraq. But I also don't know what they're going to hand over and to whom, and nor do they at this point.

ZAHN: Well, here's my question, because it almost sounds like you have two different points of view on this. On one hand, you support this deadline. I think you recognize that a lot of people are saying that, perhaps not meeting it, you lose face in the international community. Yet today, you hammered a number of witnesses about the fact that there is no status of forces agreement.

BIDEN: Well, there isn't.

And there's not only not a status of force agreement. There's not even any agreement to whom we're going to hand over power. What Dick Lugar and I are trying to do, as chairmen of the committee, is force this administration in the remaining 70 days to make those decisions. There is still time. Who are we going to turn power over to? And what residual power are we going to maintain?

ZAHN: What are the consequences of going through with this deadline if you don't believe the Iraqis are ready for it or the United States?

BIDEN: Well, no, no, I didn't say they're not. Look, if I were doing this, it's easy. It's easy. Let me tell you what I told the president and made a speech that your network covered on Thursday.

No. 1, the president of the United States should be on the telephone right now with the major European powers. He should say, we want to put together a contact group like we did in the Middle East made up of the major powers. We then want the Brahimi plan to be blessed by that contact group, including the major powers. Then we're going to, by the 15th of May, get a resolution in the United Nations sanctioning this. That will allow NATO to come in.

In the meantime, we will turn power over to the following nine people. And this is how it's going to work. End of story, turn power over. That's what the president should do. It requires presidential leadership. And Senator Lugar, the chairman, is asking the same thing more diplomatically than I. Mr. President, please lead and give us a plan.

ZAHN: Senator, given all your concerns, what is your greatest fear about the future of Iraq?

BIDEN: The greatest fear of the future of Iraq is this administration is not going to level with the American people about the amount of money and the amount of sacrifice it's going to take. It's not going to be willing to seek and reach out to the international community to get additional help from the major powers in terms of money and troops. We're going to be left with 90 percent of the deaths, 90 percent of the cost, and 90 percent of the problem. The American people are going to get angry with us and say, look, this is not worth the candle. And we will end up losing Iraq and instead of having elections in November of '06, we have a civil war in November of '06, and America's interests are drastically, negatively altered for a generation in that part of the world. That's my worry.

ZAHN: Senator Biden of Delaware, we're going to leave it there this evening. Thank you very much for your time.

BIDEN: Thank you. Appreciate it.

ZAHN: We now turn to Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who's also on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Good to see you.

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R), KANSAS: Good to see you, Paula.

ZAHN: Senator Brownback, Senator Biden was just on. And he pretty much said, if this administration doesn't start reaching out in a serious way to the international community, it's time for them to level with the American public that the American public is going to bear 90 percent of the cost of this operation in Iraq, suffer 90 percent of the casualties, and have 90 percent of the problems. What is it you think the American public should be prepared for in Iraq?

BROWNBACK: I think we need to be prepared for a long stay. That's what it seems like to me that we're seeing now taking place.

I think we also need to be prepared to work closely with the Iraqis, most -- foremostly in the international community and getting this taken place and done. We've reached out to the international community. We continue to do that. We need to do more. And the Brahimi organizing for as far as the governance after June 30 is key in the international community.

I think the key issue here really is the Iraqis. Soon, soon, we've got to get Iraq turned over to the Iraqis, and I think that's going to be the real key to what the cost and the casualty level is going to be to us.

ZAHN: Senator Biden also said, in spite of the fact that he supports the idea of living up to the June 30 deadline, although he's not sure how you get there, he feels that that date was simply picked because of the election cycle. Do you share that view?

BROWNBACK: No, I completely disagree with that.

If it were up to me, we would have passed control to Iraqis months earlier, like we did in Afghanistan, where we had an Afghan face running that country within a couple of months. It wasn't a person that was popularly elected. But you've got an Afghan running Afghanistan. And we should have done that in Iraq.

I think the administration, out of frustration, and things just kept rolling down the road, rolling down the road, said, we've got to set a firm date, stand by it. And that's where the June 30 date came from, not from political considerations here.

ZAHN: Even once sovereignty is handed over, how many years do expect American forces to have to be on the ground in Iraq to provide security? And what kind of numbers do you think we're looking at?

BROWNBACK: I think it's going to be a long time. I think the numbers can drop down substantially, but still be there as a stabilizing force in that country for some years to come.

ZAHN: Do you think the American public has been told the truth about what the cost of this operation will continue to cost?

BROWNBACK: I think they've been told the truth as far as it is known. I think a lot of this is highly unpredictable at this point in time. I don't know that these numbers are knowable yet.

ZAHN: How do you think the White House views your criticism of some of its policies now?

BROWNBACK: I think they probably look at these as fair, but balanced. I've been supportive. I am supportive of our effort. I voted to go in. I am concerned that we hit these timetables.

I think by and large they're doing the right thing. But this is tough. I applaud their effort of what they're moving forward with. I do think we've got to come forward and work together more on some of these answers. And we do have to hit that June 30 date. But there, really, the fault lies more with the U.N. and Brahimi not coming up organizationally with how we move forward, rather than with our government.

ZAHN: Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, thanks for your time tonight.

BROWNBACK: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Charges against Michael Jackson could add up to 62 years in prison. We're going to ask two lawyers about Jackson's legal strategy and talk with a friend about his mental state.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jeanne Meserve. We'll have an exclusive look at how the Transportation Security Administration is training pilots to carry guns coming up.


ZAHN: He won medals in a war, then spoke out against it. We'll look at John Kerry's political debut 33 years ago, today, and its impact on the war in Vietnam.

And outrage over pictures of a dying Princess Diana. Did CBS go too far when it broadcast them?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: California court officials will not say for sure, but sources say a grand jury has indicted pop superstar Michael Jackson and that he will face arraignment next week. In December, the Santa Barbara County district attorney charged Jackson with seven counts of performing lewd acts on a child under the age of 14 and two additional alcohol-related charges. Jackson has pleaded innocent, calling the charges a -- quote -- "big lie."

With me now is defense attorney Mickey Sherman and former prosecutor Pam Hayes.

Good to see both of you.


ZAHN: Do you think the prosecution has a solid case?

HAYES: I think they have a good case.

ZAHN: What makes you believe that?

HAYES: Well, they had something that they ran across a group of 12 -- 19 people. They have witnesses. And they have this other allegation that they are weaving in as a what I would call a common scheme or a plan or identification.

And I think that's good. I think people are going to listen to that. I think it caught the defense off-guard. And for that moment they're ahead of the game right now.

ZAHN: Do you think they're ahead of the game or do you think the defense has a shot of squashing this indictment?

MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. No, I don't think they're going to squash the indictment.


ZAHN: So where will the defense have some success?

SHERMAN: They're going to win at trial.

I've represented a lot of people who've done these things and prosecuted as well. Nobody...

ZAHN: Wait, done these things as in


SHERMAN: Who's committed these types of crimes. Nobody -- whether they're doctors, coaches or other people, priests.

But nobody does this once or twice. They just don't. It's just a pattern of behavior. It's demonic, but they do it 10, 20, 30 times. And I think Tom Sneddon expected logically that Michael Jackson once he was arrested way back that all the victims would come out of the closet. I expected that. And they haven't.

All they did was dig up the guy from '93 who got the big payoff and even he didn't come to testify. I don't think it's there.

ZAHN: Well, let's talk about some of the questions that have already been raised about the prosecution's star witness, the 14-year- old accuser of Michael Jackson, questions about his family's history, his credibility. Don't you think that's going to be a challenge for the district attorney?

HAYES: Oh, it will be a challenge. But I think a 14-year-old boy who comes forth and says he's been sexually molested by Michael Jackson is something that a jury will listen to.

The credibility in terms of his family is another matter. But it's the type of thing that a jury wants to hear. And they won't make up their mind until after they've heard the whole case. And right now, we don't know what the DA has. So that's why I said he's a little ahead of the game.

ZAHN: You talk about the family's history being another matter. And yet you say that goes to the core of the case.


ZAHN: And there are people out there who believe that someone's trying to take him for some big bucks.

SHERMAN: From the lawyer's perspective, how do you get that into evidence? How do you introduce evidence that the mother once gave the other kids a script and ways to get money against another company.

You know, you can impeach the victim on the stand, what he remembers and what he saw. But it's really tough to get the mother on the stand and say, well, didn't you kind of mix him up in another case?

ZAHN: Isn't it going to be tough for the defense to undermine the credibility of a 14-year-old victim who suffers cancer?



SHERMAN: You wouldn't take that one, would you, as a defense attorney?


SHERMAN: Yes. You take your victims as you find them. And you've got to do what you've got to do.

ZAHN: How do you do that?

SHERMAN: You do it a tactful way just by showing the jury that maybe he's not recollecting it correctly. Maybe he didn't observe it right. Maybe he misunderstood what happened. And maybe his mom's pulling the strings out there. You just can't be mean and vicious.

ZAHN: Man, you want that guy representing you? He's got it all down.



ZAHN: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the prosecution?

HAYES: The biggest challenge is the credibility of the witnesses, because they have told several stories to several individuals, several district attorney's office. That's what it's going to come down to.

If they said it never happened in January, then you can't say it happened in February and you're still living there. You've got to remember, this family lived on the Never Neverland Ranch for some time. So you want to get beyond that. And I think the prosecution can. The question is, will they win the whole trial?

ZAHN: Quick final thought on the biggest hurdle for the defense.

SHERMAN: I think it is the scary part of cross-examining a kid who is sick with cancer and the prosecutor being able to say, well, why would this little guy lie? That's mine.

ZAHN: Mickey Sherman, Pam Hayes, thank you for both of your perspectives. I think I'd be equally comfortable with both of you representing me. Very persuasive arguments there.

SHERMAN: Go out and do something bad.


ZAHN: I'm going to do anything bad.

All right, a source tells CNN that a bench warrant has been issued for Michael Jackson, but that he will not be served unless he refuses to appear in court on April 30. This latest setback for the singer has not stopped him from performing, however. Jackson has a part in a new film called "Miss Cast Away." The movie has yet to be released in theaters.

Bryan Michael Stoller is the producer and director. He is a longtime business associate and a friend of Michael Jackson's. He joins us live from Los Angeles.



ZAHN: Do you still believe Michael Jackson is innocent of these charges?

STOLLER: I do believe Michael is innocent, absolutely.

ZAHN: Why?

STOLLER: Because I've known Michael for quite some time. I've seen a lot of -- I've seen his family life, his home life. And I have seen absolutely nothing suspicious or anything that would lead me to believe that he's guilty of these charges.

ZAHN: What have you heard from his family now that we believe this indictment has come down?

STOLLER: I actually haven't heard from anybody since it's come down. I haven't spoken to anybody recently.

ZAHN: But you did have contact with Michael recently, as he faced the prospect of this potentially happening. What was going through his mind? What was he worried about?

STOLLER: Well, Michael -- the last time that I talked to Michael -- it's actually been difficult to reach him lately. I know he's doing a lot of traveling as well.

The last time we did speak, we had planned on getting together to talk about a project that we're working on. And that didn't happen. So we actually didn't have a chance to talk very much. And I haven't talked to him about this recently.

ZAHN: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who was once considered Michael Jackson's spiritual leader, gave us a quote today saying that -- quote -- "Michael's life is in serious decline" and that "Michael needs to make major changes."

Is this a man who you believe life is spiralling downwards?

STOLLER: I wouldn't say his life is spiralling downwards. He's just -- he's having a lot of turbulence right now. And this is not something that he planned on doing.

The whole thing with the case and the whole allegations, again, I don't -- I believe that he is innocent and that I think that he's being taken advantage of. And he has no control over that.

ZAHN: We mentioned at the top of your introduction plays a bit role in your new film, "Miss Cast Away," a film you're trying to find distribution for. How might this apparent indictment affect your project?

STOLLER: Well, first of all, Paula, make it clear that the project -- we shot Michael's footage last summer. So this was way before any of the allegations.

And, you know, we had planned on doing this way before we knew there was going to be an indictment, of course, and that I've been getting actually pretty positive feedback regarding the project. You know, people hear Michael's in it, it doesn't seem to have changed much, because I think a lot of people believe that he's innocent, also. And people seem very excite and very intrigued the fact that he's in the movie.

ZAHN: Bryan, would you have cast him in the movie if you knew the indictment was a sure shot?

STOLLER: Well, if I believed he was guilty, no, I would not have cast him in the movie, nor would I be comfortable seeking a distributor and having the picture released knowing that. But, at the time, right now, I've seen his home life. I've seen how he is with his own children, with other children, with other people, and I totally believe that he's innocent.

ZAHN: We appreciate your sharing your thoughts with us tonight. Bryan Michael Stoller, thanks.

STOLLER: Thank you.

ZAHN: And one year after it began, how effective is a program that trains airline pilots to take on hijackers at gunpoint?

Did CBS cross the line when it aired photos of Princess Diana as she lay dying at this crash scene? We're going to look at the controversy tonight.

And from a very small school, so many students who served proudly in Iraq, the extraordinary pride and sacrifice of one American town -- coming up.


ZAHN: A program that trains commercial airline pilots to carry a gun and use it against hijackers is just a year old. It was approved after heated debate over the possible risk to passengers of a gun fight breaking out in flight. But even though training is available, few of the nation's pilots are actually certified to carry a gun.

Here's Jeanne Meserve with an exclusive look.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: (voice- over): Terrorists storm the cockpit of a 727. The pilot shoots them and secures the door. A simulation and demonstration for Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who traveled to New Mexico this week to watch the Transportation Security Administration train pilots to use guns in the cockpit.

TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: This is a -- I think a terrific investment in just one additional layer of protection.

MESERVE: Hand-to-hand defensive combat, one facet of six days of intensive training. There are interactive video simulations with laser guns. And, of course, there is instruction and practice with real firearms. Next week, there will be a few modifications when the first cargo pilots are trained. Some say it's overdue because unscreened cargo could carry stowaways and cargo planes do not have reinforced cargo doors. For security reasons, we cannot identify participating pilots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The program works. I just wish there were more of us.

MESERVE: With this one facility training 100 pilots a week, estimates are less than 3,000 of the country's 100,000 pilots are certified to carry a gun in the cockpit. One critic says the small size undermines the program.

SEN. JIM BUNNING (R), KENTUCKY: My concern is that they won't be the deterrent they could be and national security will be jeopardized.

MESERVE (on camera): Bunning wants to expand training and knock down what he characterizes as TSA roadblocks that deter more pilots from signing up, like psychological tests and background investigations that some pilots consider redundant.

MARC FLAGG, CARGO PILOT: Most of the professional pilots have been former law enforcement officers, former military. We have all gone through background checks, held security clearances, handled firearms.

MESERVE (voice-over): Flagg, a cargo pilot and former Navy flier, backs reform in what he believes is a crucial program, a conviction born of personal tragedy. Flagg's mother and father died on 9/11 when hijackers slammed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

FLAGG: I believe that had the pilots been armed on that day, we would have had a different outcome.

MESERVE: And for the pilots who have volunteered to train on their own time and money in the New Mexico desert, that is exactly the aim.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


ZAHN: Pictures of a dying princess on CBS Television generate a wave of anger.


ROBERT LACEY, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: Americans have a false picture of the princess. They've created this rather unhealthy, morbid cult around her in which anything seems to go.


ZAHN: The decorated hero who started a major anti-war movement. We're going to look at John Kerry's views on Vietnam, then and now.

And biblical places of beauty and power sealed for decades by Saddam Hussein, we'll take you there tomorrow.


ZAHN: Here's some of the headlines you need to know right now. The House of Representatives today passed a law that everyone hopes will never be needed. It allows special elections within 45 days in case of a terrorist attack that kills 100 or more lawmakers.

Running back Maurice Clarett's legal losing streak continues. Today two U.S. Supreme Court justices rejected his emergency appeal to be allowed into the NFL draft. Clarett is challenging a rule that says he hasn't been out of high school long enough to turn pro.

There is a problem aboard the international space station. A gyroscope that stabilizes the orbiting laboratory has failed. Two others are working, but that's the bare minimum meeting. There's no danger to the crew but a space walk will be needed to actually fix that problem.

On to a big controversy on both sides of the big pond. The death of Princess Diana seven years ago has led to thousands of news stories and hundreds of hours of TV reporting. But it was just 10 seconds on TV last night on the CBS network that has caused the greatest furor yet. Pictures of Princess Diana dying as a doctor was treating her.

Guy Raz has the story from London.

GUY RAZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The mangle the Mercedes that ended the life of the people's princess. Diana was hounded by the paparazzi up till the end of her life. For much of that life, nothing, it seemed, about Diana was off limits. That is, until now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to start with those pictures of Diana, Princess of Wales, in the moments following her car crash.

RAZ: The top story in Britain, indignation and shock over CBS' decision to broadcast images of a dying princess. Newspaper headlines called it the ultimate betrayal. Even the prime minister weighed in.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think everyone finds it distasteful that there are pictures that can cause distress to the family.

RAZ: Outside Kensington Palace where Diana lived passersby also expressed outrage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What the American's did is not right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's rather sick attempt at sensationalism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seems that for many people even the latest conclusions with Diana's death will not be the last word.

RAZ: The CBS documentary hasn't been aired in Britain. And is unlikely to be. Most royal watchers believe the news has already upset the Princess' sons William and Harry. ROBERT LACEY, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: Americans have a false picture of the princess. They created this father unhealthy, morbid cult around her, in which anything seems to go. I just cannot imagine A British media organization publishing something that is not just distressing to the royal family and to the young princes, but to everybody.

RAZ: The newsroom at the daily mirror tabloid has published scores of salacious accounts of Diana's life. Yet today, the newspaper which no doubt profited off the princess' life accused CBS of cashing in on her death. But in a statement the network insisted it wasn't exploiting the princess' memory.

(on camera): Seven years off her body was taken from here to its final resting place, Diana's legacy still captures the public imagination. And in a country where tabloids describe salacious scandals daily, the Diana photos, at least in the eyes of the British public, crossed a red line.

Guy Raz, CNN, London.


ZAHN: So you can see what the broadcast of those photos has done in Great Britain. What about in this country? Well, similar pictures were offered for sale right after Diana's death. Most news organizations, including CNN, decided not to purchase them, nor to broadcast them. Did CBS go over the top by showing them?

Joining me now from Washington is the host of "Reliable Sources" Howard Kurtz, media writer for "The Washington Post."

Before we talk about whether CBS crossed the line or not have you seen the photos that were part of this documentary? I saw them, too.

What did you think?

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST "RELIABLE SOURCES": There were times, Paula, when I would sit here and tell you the news organizations have to run pictures that make people uncomfortable. In time of war, for example, casualties of Iraq. We can't always be sanitizing that sort of thing. This is not one of those times. What we're talking about here is not even celebrity exploitation. It's worst than that, it's dead celebrity exploitation. Another wallow. CBS doing something apparently according to reporters is even too low for the London tabloids.

ZAHN: I think it was so unsettling to me to look at the picture she had no obvious injuries to her face. So you're looking at a beautiful woman who's being treated and you're told that from the medical coroner she was dying at that point. It's pretty sick, isn't it?

KURTZ: And what exactly did we gain by seeing these pictures or at least those who watched the CBS program? You know, CBS talks into a statement about journalistic context. I think we're talking here about sheer unadulterated ratings grabbing exploitation. Because it didn't add anything to our understanding. We know -- we've been over this a million times. We know, what happened seven years ago. We know about Diana's death. And to argue that this somehow added or deepened our understanding I think is just to kind of put a fig leaf over what CBS was really doing.

ZAHN: Let's talk about exactly what CBS News is saying. And you mentioned part of the defense. Lets put on the screen the rest of there defense. Quote, "These photo copies are placed journalistic context. An examination of the medical treatment given to Princess Diana just after the crash. And are in no way graphic or exploitative."

KURTZ: Well, I guess I would beg to disagree. And you know, it's no accident I think that these pictures were not aired, not broadcast, not purchased by any other news organization though they've been available for years. This has been one of the most covered, scrutinized, investigated deaths probably in modern history. I don't think "48 Hours" added very much to it. The fact that they did, you know a long program on it doesn't justify that 10 seconds, which obviously they knew, CBS knows, CBS went through the Janet Jackson Super Bowl after all, that that would be the attention grabber. That would generate headlines. That that would create the buzz perhaps that would make people watch.

ZAHN: Do you really believe that ten seconds that were a part of this documentary are really going to spike a rating for CBS?

KURTZ: Well, the fact that we're here talking about it...

ZAHN: But it already aired.

KURTZ: But I knew before it aired that CBS had these pictures. It had made the rounds. It had created this buzz which is exactly what CBS wanted. You know the fact that it's only 10 seconds I think doesn't justify not only that there's no particular journalistic justification for doing this, but there are questions of taste. There are all kinds of horrible pictures of people whose heads have been blown off that we don't show for reasons of taste. The only reason the line was crossed or lowered in this case was because Diana is and was one of the most famous celebrities in the world. I don't think there's any question about that.

ZAHN: What does it tell us then?

If the so-called Tiffany network is willing to take this risk?

What do you see happening next with the competition?

KURTZ: Look we've just gone through a guy who said he had an affair with the late wife of the late John Kennedy Jr. He got a lot of play on all of the networks. I think unfortunately we've kind of sunk in the media/entertainment business into a place where we will do almost anything in order to keep churning and regurgitating these stories about famous people even though they've been dead for years. In this case CBS took it perhaps one step too far and may be surprised a little bit by the intensity of the criticism. But if it's too raunchy and too depressing for London tabloids you have to wonder what an American network is doing airing this stuff.

ZAHN: The London tabloids that wouldn't let this woman alone during her life. I've got a question. I'm going to ask you to do something you haven't do in a long time, that is play psychiatrist here. We heard the outrage of the British public. There were a number of supports that suggest that polls also showed that if British citizens were honest they would admit they actually wanted to see these photos.

KURTZ: Well, I suppose there's always a certain factor where you pass a car wreck and you can't help but watch. But, at the same time I think that if there was some great demand in Britain to see these pictures, somebody, there's a lot raunchy news organizations in London, would find a way to deliver that to the British public. Maybe it's easier for us from this distance across the Atlantic to do this sort of thing. Would CBS or any other network be so quick to run a photo of John Kennedy after his assassination, a close-up of his head? I think not.

ZAHN: You make a good point there. Howard Kurtz, thanks so much.

KURTZ: Thank you.

ZAHN: Coming up we're going to visit a small Kansas town where military honor runs deep and residents pray for loved ones now serving in Iraq. And John Kerry might not be where he is today were it not for his anti-war testimony 33 years ago today. We'll take you back in time.


ZAHN: On this day in 1971, a young, decorated Vietnam veteran took centerstage on Capitol Hill to criticize the war and the way it was being waged. Senior political correspondent Candy Crowley has a look at John Kerry then, and now.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A chest full of medals. Accounts of bravery on file and war buddies at his side. He has a bio the campaign touts as a perfect fit for a nation at war.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some of us know something about aircraft carriers for real.

CROWLEY: Some parts fit more easily than others.

KERRY: We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped their memories. CROWLEY: John Kerry, co-founder of Vietnam Vets against the war, debuted on Capitol Hill 33 years ago this day. Testifying to the stories of other vets who said they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals.

KERRY: Turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks.

CROWLEY: This is not his favorite part of the bio.

KERRY: Now you know, we don't have to go back to that, candy. This is 35 years ago's history.

CROWLEY: The words do seem cross-wise to the image of the veteran's veteran. A member of the band of brothers.

KERRY: I regret any feeling that anybody had that I somehow didn't embrace the quality of the service. But always I have said how nobly I think every veteran served...

CROWLEY: It is a tough argument but Kerry has a lot of reinforcement.

LENNY ROTMAN, VIETNAM VETERAN: I felt as though I went to Vietnam as a soldier and I went to Washington as a patriot. I was proud of everything that John said.

CROWLEY: Still, he's not every veteran's vet.

JOHN O'NEIL, VIETNAM VET: He was the father of the lie that the Vietnam veteran was a rapist, a baby killer, a drug addict and the like. I don't think there's anybody that did that or created that more than Kerry.

KERRY: I never said baby killer. Candy, I never, ever -- I fought that image everywhere I went. Everywhere I went in this country. I described accurately what was happening and what wasn't.

CROWLEY: His testimony was not anti-soldier, Kerry says, it was anti-war.

KERRY: It's created a monster. A monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence, and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history.

It's a metaphor. You know, it's an all-encompassing statement that we created a problem here at home. Would I have chosen a different word today? Sure. Probably. But the concept still remains legitimate.

CROWLEY: Kerry says he was young, he was angry, he wanted the war to end. KERRY: The legitimacy of what we observed and saw and were fighting for, I wouldn't change at all. That was important, and it was generationally important. And I stand by that.

CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


ZAHN: We're going to take now a look at the impact of Senator Kerry's testimony. Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley is the author of "Tour of Duty: John Kerry in the Vietnam War." He joins us now from New Orleans. Welcome. Always good to see you.

In your judgment, how much did John Kerry's testimony affect the anti-war movement?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, DWIGHT EISENHOWER CTR., UNIV. OF NEW ORLEANS: It was one of the great anti-war speeches of that era. And it really changed things up until April 22, 1971, the Nixon White House was trying to paint people that protested as sort of Berkeley hippies or Haight-Ashbury (ph) druggies. And here's 6'4" Lieutenant John Kerry. Somebody who was skull and bones, top of his class at Yale, giving this incredible testimony and all the nightly news people picked it up and he was in "TIME" and "NEWSWEEK" and Morley Safer (ph) at CBS did a profile of him. And that speech was heard all over the country. And it was quoted and suddenly Kerry became a voice of the anti-war movement, it was incredible. There were thousands of Vietnam vets saying get out of southeast Asia and it had a big impact on the Nixon White House who started having the FBI follow John Kerry and other VVAW members.

ZAHN: I guess that's what I was really struck by. You've written about it in this book. The extent to which Nixon perceived him as a threat to his administration.

BRINKLEY: Something else, Paula, I was stunned when you go and listen to some of these tapes which are now in Maryland at the National Archives and you can hear Nixon and Haldeman (ph) and the like wanting to, you know, get John Kerry. There's one memo that exists between Chuck Colson, White House counsel that says destroy the young Kerry because he's a demagogue like Ralph Nader, or before he becomes another Ralph Nader. And they went after Kerry in any way imaginable.

Recently it's come to light that the VVAW FBI files show that they were listening in on Kerry's speeches. In many cases tape recording them in places far flung, in Oklahoma and Illinois or in Philadelphia. And they saw John Kerry as a threat because he was connecting with the American people. When soldiers tell you something's wrong with war, There's something wrong. It would be as if a group of Iraq veterans of our armed forces came back, a thousand of them and started protesting the war in Iraq. It would make a lot of news and John Kerry made a lot in '71.

ZAHN: And you talk a little bit about his impact on the anti-war movement. What about the impact of his testimony on his brethren that remained in Vietnam on the ground and then those who returned home?

BRINKLEY: Many were angry at him when he made that testimony. I interviewed some of his crew mates from his two swift boats, PCF-44 and PCF-94 and they were startled because they remembered John Kerry as this tough, tough lieutenant in Vietnam, and suddenly he was giving this anti-war speech. Some of them were angry about it. Many of them have come around. I would say approximately -- it used to be most of the Vietnam veterans were angry at Kerry over this protest. But over the years it's changed to now I'd say it's a ballpark figure. About three-fourths of the Vietnam veterans think that Kerry did the right thing. About a fourth of them are still very angry about his testimony.

ZAHN: Final question for you. A lot of his critics perceive him as an extremely opportunistic guy and they suggest that he even viewed his anti-war speeches as building a platform for politics. Do you believe that?

BRINKLEY: I don't for this very reason. It would have been much easier to have a silver star, bronze star, three purple hearts and a run for Congress as the all-American war hero. You didn't need to go return your ribbons and start leading the kind of unrealistic in many ways protest of a thousand people. He lost his two first races in 1970 and '72 for Congress because he was so synonymous with the anti- war movement. And it wasn't until he got away from that image as the anti-war person that he started winning elections. And that wasn't until the 1980s.

ZAHN: Douglas Brinkley. Thank you for your perspective tonight.

BRINKLEY: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: Coming up a town of only 100 is divided about the war. But not about the warriors it sends into battle. A story of sorrow and sacrifice


ZAHN: There were tears and cheers today at Fort Hood, Texas when the 4th Infantry Division finally came home. These were live pictures of some of the celebrations where 20,000 return troops got a day long party. The fourth I.D. is also the unit that caught Saddam Hussein.

But as Fort Hood celebrates, residents of a small town in Kansas for playing for loved ones on the front lines and mourning those killed in battle. Ed Lavandera has that story.



ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Don't tell Tracy Smith the war on terror isn't personal. His kids are on the front lines.

SMITH: Tyler Martin's in Baghdad right now. And driving a supply train.

LAVANDERA: Smith is the principal at Uniontown High School in Southeast Kansas. Last year he put up 25 American flags in the school cafeteria. Each flag honoring a graduate working in the U.S. military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I know them all.

LAVANDERA: But this tribute has come to symbolize how much one community has sacrificed. Two flags now rest at half-staff. Two graduates lost in war's fury.

SMITH: It's hard to believe. It's hard to imagine that you've get sent home twice. It's hard once but twice as hard with 2.

LAVANDERA: In February, class of 2000 graduate David Hall was killed in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, 1997 graduate Michael Spiers was killed in Iraq. Four other graduates are in combat zones right now. Many of the others could be sent there soon.

SMITH: I don't know that words can explain the sorrow and the fear and the pain that we've got because of it. We just hope that it won't happen again.

LAVANDERA: People around here are divided over the war, but they're united in supporting their own. Senior Shane Gates is headed for the Army. He thinks about the lowered flags every day. Maybe, that's why some of his classmates have urged him to change his mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would you want to go in the Army? It's a waste of your life. And like I said, my Home Ec teacher told them, if I'm not going to do it, who's going to do it? Someone has to join. And to me, it's not a waste of my life.

LAVANDERA: Just over 800 U.S. troops have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations.

(on camera): It might be hard to understand just how painful that kind of loss is until you come to a town like Redfield, Kansas. The population here is just over 100. But it's where David Hall grew up in that green roofed house and his buddy Michael Spiers grew up just two blocks away. Two young men who have reminded their neighbors of just how devastating war can be.

(voice-over): When night falls on the Kansas prairie Donna Linn spends a lot of time at the cement where David Hall, the boy she called Butch, was laid to rest.

DONNA LINN, DAVID HALL'S MOTHER: He not only was my son, he was my friend.

LAVANDERA: Butch and Michael Spiers were two of 25, a source of pride and honor that still means a lot.

LINN: These two boys were doing what they wanted to do when they were killed. It don't make it any easier. It really don't. LAVANDERA: Around here, many people say they've done their duty. They've sacrificed enough. And they want their kids home. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Uniontown, Kansas.


ZAHN: And we'll be right back.


ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here this evening. Thanks so much for being with tonight. Tomorrow night, paradise revisited: we're going to take you to a different Iraq, places of historic beauty not seen by the outside world for decades, because Saddam Hussein had it sealed. Now, you'll get your first look at some of those places historians had been dreaming about seeing for years.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is next, thanks again for joining us tonight. Have a great night.


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.