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Insurgents Break Cease-fire in Fallujah; LAX Vulnerable to Terrorism?

Aired April 26, 2004 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, their officers say U.S. Marines fought like lions in Fallujah. Insurgents again break the cease-fire.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: When our soldiers and our Marines are attacked, they will respond and they will respond with force.

DOBBS: Tonight, I'll talk with former coalition adviser Larry Diamond about the uprising in Iraq and historian Niall Ferguson about the lessons of Iraq's past.

In "Broken Borders" tonight, a small but growing number of states are giving local law enforcement the power to detain illegal aliens. We'll have a special report.

And one of this country's busiest airports, Los Angeles International, has lost electrical power three times in the past 10 days, raising a lot of serious questions and new fears about the airport's vulnerability to terrorists.


ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Monday, April 26. Here now for an hour of news, debate and opinion, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening.

Tonight, the worst fighting in Fallujah since U.S. Marines declared a unilateral cease-fire two weeks ago. Insurgents killed one coalition soldier. They wounded 10 U.S. Marines. Troops called in airstrikes during the three-and-a-half-hour long battle. One Marine commander said his men fought lions while heavily outnumbered by insurgents.

Jim Clancy reports.


JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. Marines fired heavy machine guns in a major flare-up of hostilities in Fallujah, west of Baghdad. Explosions battered hopes that coalition troops would be able to join Iraqi security forces in joint patrols starting Tuesday. Those patrols aimed to force gunmen off the streets and bring back a measure of security.

The battle in Fallujah raged for hours. More than once a coalition spokesman said mosques were used as staging grounds for attacks on U.S. troops.

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY: The coalition forces became pinned down by the enemy fire and requested support. A quick reaction force which included air and tank support arrived at the scene and directed suppressing fire on the mosques, killing eight enemy fighters and damaging the infrastructure of the mosque. As a result of the attack, one coalition soldier died of wounds with an additional eight soldiers wounded.

CLANCY: U.S. helicopters fired on the mosque with Hellfire laser-guided missiles, sending huge plums of thick black smoke into the skies, obscuring hopes for a peaceful settlement. Coalition officials say they would continue to pursue a negotiated agreement with religious and community leaders, but in the end, it was up to the fighters to choose how this standoff is going to be resolved.

(on camera): It's doubtful the coalition will as easily dispel Iraqis' fears about insecurity in their country. A peaceful settlement in Fallujah would go a long way, but that, like so much else in the country, also depends on the insurgents.

Jim Clancy, CNN, Baghdad.


DOBBS: A massive explosion in Baghdad today killed two American soldiers as they searched a building for chemical munitions. Five other troops were wounded. The facility was supposed to be used for manufacturing cosmetics, but U.S. officials say it was filled with chemical agents. Further south, the focus remains on a troublesome holy city.


DOBBS (voice-over): In Najaf, tensions are mounting as Iraqi gunmen are storing weapons in schools and mosques.

DAN SENOR, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY: Basing of operations and the stockpiling of weapons in holy places is intolerable. Using shrines and mosques and schools to store weapons is simply unacceptable. We do not believe the citizens of Najaf should tolerate it. But, regardless, we are making it clear that the coalition will not tolerate it.

DOBBS: Twenty-five hundred U.S. troops are poised outside Najaf and explosions were reported late this evening. The standoff in Fallujah prompted Secretary of State Colin Powell to warn that time for negotiations is running out.

POWELL: What we are trying to do is find a way to work with the tribal leaders in the area and the city leaders in the Fallujah to put together joint patrols with coalition and Iraqi personnel working side by side and see if this would not be a way to give confidence to the citizens of Fallujah and also persuade the armed thugs inside the city that it is in the best interests of the city, people, to lay down the arms.

DOBBS: A radical Islamist Web site posted a statement said to be from fugitive al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The statement claimed responsibility for the attacks on oil terminals in southern Iraq. Three American sailors were killed. The deaths included the first Coast Guardsman to die in combat operation since Vietnam.


DOBBS: The U.S. Army is sending hundreds of armored Humvees to Iraq to protect troops from attacks by insurgents. But tonight, there are new fears that the armor on those reinforced Humvees is still inadequate to provide protection for our soldiers.

Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre has the report.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With U.S. troops still dying in deadly roadside attacks, the Pentagon is spending $400 million racing to replace the Army's basic thin- skinned Humvees with reinforced up-armored versions. But the better armor is still not providing adequate protection, writes a four-star general in a memo obtained by CNN.

"Commanders in the field are reporting to me that the up-armored Humvee is not providing the solution the Army hoped to achieve," writes General Larry Ellis, commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command, in a March 30 memo to the Army chief of staff.

Critics say, even with better armor, the Humvee's shoulder-level doors make it too easy to lob a grenade inside. Its four rubber tires burn too readily. At two tons, it is light enough to be overturned by a mob.

General Ellis wants to shift Army funds to build twice as many of the Army's newest combat vehicle, the Stryker, which has eight wheels, weighs 19 tons and when equipped with a special cage can withstand an RPG attack. "It is imperative that the Army accelerate the production of Stryker vehicles to support current operations," Ellis says.

But critics say the Army is overlooking an even cheaper, faster solution than the $3.3 million Stryker, the thousands of Vietnam era M-113 Gavin personnel carriers the Army has in storage which can be upgraded with new armor for less than $100,000 apiece. Neither the Stryker nor the Gavin offer 100 percent protection. Some U.S. troops have been killed in the top-of-the-line M1-A1 Abrams tank. But the more armor, the better chance of survival.


MCINTYRE: In his memo, General Ellis pleads for quick action, lamenting that, while the U.S. is at war, some in the Army seem to be in a peacetime posture. He writes: "If our actions impede the ability to train, equip or organize our soldiers for combat, then we fail the soldier and the nation" -- Lou.

DOBBS: And General Ellis' remarks and note come a year after that war began in Iraq. What is -- what is taking so long for the command structure of the U.S. Army, the U.S. military, to provide the equipment that our men and women need in Iraq?

MCINTYRE: Well, I think the short answer is that they misestimated the threat that they would be facing at this point. They have been trying to adapt as time went on. They have been rushing the armored Humvees into theater, but now they are realizing they don't provide enough protection either. What General Ellis wants to do is quick action to get the authority to shift some funds around and ramp up production of the Strykers, so you can get more of those into the combat theater.

But, as I said, some of the critics say they should look to some of the vehicles they already have in storage. They think they can get them there even faster. I think General Ellis is reflecting some of the frustration that the Army feels it can't act fast enough to get enough protection to its troops.

DOBBS: General Ellis, a four-star general. Who put him in charge of looking into this? What is, if you will, his portfolio?

MCINTYRE: Well, he is commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command. So his main job is training and equipping. And, of course, he's writing this memo to the Army chief of staff, who is the main person in charge of training and equipping the Army, General Schoomaker. So the right people are focused on the problem. The question is how soon will they have the solution?

DOBBS: Well, for the sake of our men and women in uniform in Iraq, let's hope very quickly.

Jamie, thank you very much -- Jamie McIntyre, our senior Pentagon correspondent.

The military believes about 2,000 insurgents and foreign fighters are now holed up in Fallujah. The Marines are hoping those insurgents will surrender their heavy weapons. But the troops are preparing to assault the city if the insurgents do not disarm.

I'm joined now by our CNN military analyst, General David Grange.

General, good to have you with us.


DOBBS: I have to ask you, first, what is your reaction to Jamie McIntyre's report and the statement by General Ellis that, point blank, our command structure seems in some respects to be in a peacetime posture, while our men and women in uniform are in war in Iraq? GRANGE: Well, Lou, I know the leadership of the Army and I don't think they are in a peacetime mind-set.

However, I do agree totally that armored vehicles need to be sent to Iraq immediately to solve some of these problems with the Humvees. First of all, the -- any armored vehicle can take a certain kind of hit and be destroyed or incapacitated. However, Humvees are not the answer. It's too light-skinned, even the up-armored, for some of these actions, whether it be reply or combat missions that the troops have.

The interim solution is to take the inventory that was just shown on the broadcast of the old 113s, armor those, and use those immediately in Iraq to protect the troops.

DOBBS: General Grange, you are talking about what was popularly known as the APC, the armored personnel carrier, thousands of them, Jamie McIntyre reported, in storage and ready to be rearmored if necessary.

Under current armor, could the APC still be serviceable, that is protect our troops in Iraq?

GRANGE: There's no 100 percent protection, but it would provide much more protection than a Humvee and they are readily available and can be up-armored quickly. The Stryker is going to take too long to produce that many. So I'd get something out there now during this very intense period in Iraq.

DOBBS: General, the question has to be asked, this is the 21st century. The U.S. military is supposed to be the most advanced and focused and technologically advantaged force in the world. Yet what appears to be at least at first blush when we have men and women without sufficient armored vests, when they don't have armored vehicles, even the old APC, it does raise a question, what in the world has gone on with our command structure? Because we've got men and women dying there.

GRANGE: Well, that's true. And it's -- when you are a commander on the ground, it's very frustrating when you don't get the things that you think, at least you think that you need. We relearn lessons from every war.


DOBBS: General, excuse me. Let me be clear in my question, if I was not. I'm not worried about the commander at the company level or the battalion level. I'm talking about the command structure of the United States military, the Pentagon.

GRANGE: Yes, the upgraded vehicles need to be sent to Iraq immediately. They should have already been there. The Humvee is not the answer. I think there was the -- the assessment that the transition after the maneuver warfare to the stability and support operations were not be as violent as it's become was off-base a little bit. But it can be fixed now. Let's do something now and at least provide the needed protection and maneuverability that can be afforded now with the assets that we have. It's still not too late to do something.

DOBBS: Twenty-two -- 2,500 soldiers, rather, now around Najaf, the U.S. Marines surrounding Fallujah. Negotiations continue, which are being honored in the breech here. What is your -- your assessment as to the risk and the necessity of entering in particular Fallujah?

GRANGE: Fallujah, I have a problem with the cease-fire. There are some people that generally want it in Fallujah, some of the civilian leaders. But the hard-core insurgents are going to continue when they want to attack coalition forces, unless they are disarmed.

The city has to be continue to be isolated. You have to separate as many of the civilians from the insurgents as possible. You have to control key terrain and the services provided to the city itself. And you have to take down enemy strongholds as you find them. It's the only way to ensure lasting peace in this particular city. I believe there's a lot of them, insurgents, in there and that's one reason they want to negotiate.

DOBBS: Do you think we should not be negotiating? Mark Kimmitt, General Mark Kimmitt, said capture or kill Muqtada al-Sadr. And the response so far has been, negotiate.

GRANGE: Well, in Fallujah, that out to be taken care of right now. I think there's some time for Sadr. Even though he's maintaining weapons, he's building up his supplies for a fight, I think that that can be worked out, I really do, with some senior Shiite clerics. But, in Fallujah, that's the immediate problem. That has to be taken care of. I think it's OK to have a cease-fire to give it a chance.

The coalition should give it a chance. But I would not test it too much with those Marines. In other words, if it looks like it's not working, then be on with it and get on with it and take care of the insurgents in that town once and for all.

DOBBS: General David Grange on point, thank you.

Next here, more on the war in Iraq. I'll be talking with former coalition adviser Larry Diamond, who says there is simply not enough American troops in Iraq to defeat the insurgents. He's our guest.

Dramatic new details tonight about a foiled al Qaeda plot in Jordan. The targets included the U.S. Embassy. Thousands of people could have been killed.

And Senator John Kerry answers some of his critics on what he calls a phony controversy over a protest against the Vietnam War 33 years ago.

All of that and a great deal more still ahead here. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: My next guest says there aren't enough American troops in Iraq to defeat the insurgents. He says the shortage of troops means the coalition has been forced to rely increasingly on political strategies to try to end violence.

Larry Diamond is a former adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority, now senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Good to have you here.


DOBBS: As you just heard, General David Grange talk about the difficulties in Fallujah and Najaf, the assessment of troops who are under equipped. In this case, we were talking about APCs, armored personnel carriers, and inadequately armored Humvees.

We have -- let me ask you this way. How serious is the problem in terms of the administration for security in Iraq. How serious is the problem in terms of the strategy emanating from the Pentagon and the State Department and the Bush administration?

DIAMOND: Well, Lou, let's put it this way. I think there's now a general consensus among outside observers -- and I can tell you that there was certainly a strong feeling among many soldiers and officers I talked to on the ground in Iraq -- that we didn't have nearly enough troops in the immediate aftermath of the war to accomplish the mission that we needed.

We had enough to win the war relatively straightforwardly, but implementing and holding the peace is actually a much more difficult task that requires not the high technology that we are pursuing now for victory in war, but boots on the ground and very close supervision of neighborhoods and communities and person-to-person engagement, including with civil affairs teams. And in my view it should have been corrected a long time ago and some of the insecurity we confront in the country now results from that.

But I think it's not too late to -- to exhibit a stronger presence in the country on the roads, on the borders, in the cities, in some cases than we have now.

DOBBS: Can that be done with the 20,000 so-called additional troops, that is holding troops in Iraq beyond their current tours of duties? Or does it require even more men and women?

DIAMOND: Lou, I want to emphasize, I am not a military specialist. I'm a political specialist. I was asked to go there to advise on the transition to democracy. And I came to these conclusions as a result of the some of the difficulties we were having promoting democracy in the context of this insecurity.

But I think it's probably not going to be adequate to simply hold the number that we have there. I think we're going to need more troops, probably, ideally, we would want tens of thousands more. But they really aren't available. Maybe another 20,000 could be helpful. But, in addition, any kind of military strategy has to be combined with a political strategy to ease some of the objections that Iraqis have to the occupation and try and move as rapidly as possible to a more legitimate government.

DOBBS: As you know, both the Coalition Provisional Authority under Paul Bremer, the Defense Department under Secretary Rumsfeld, have resisted calling what is occurring in Iraq right now the violence that is costing American lives, in fact. They have resisted calling it an insurgency or an uprising. What would you style it as a political adviser, once a political adviser to the authority?

DIAMOND: Well, to call it an insurgency doesn't give it a moral or political legitimacy. After all, you have to look at the characters that are fomenting this uprising, the religious fascists like Muqtada al-Sadr, brutal terrorists like Zarqawi, dead-end spoilers like the Mukhabarat and former regime elements of Saddam that are financing and fomenting much of this.

But the point is in frustration many of the people in Iraq have grown weary of the occupation. And some of them, we have to concede, have thrown in their sympathy, if not their active cooperation, with the resistance. And we don't want that some to become many. So we do need political strategies which in some ways are classic counterinsurgency strategies to combat this.

DOBBS: This would be one thing, Larry, if you and I were having this conversation 90 days, four months after winning the war against Saddam Hussein. It's now a year. Why are we having this conversation now? What is -- you talk about classic or traditional counterinsurgency theories practices, strategy and tactics. Why have those not been employed to this point?

DIAMOND: Well, in retrospect, I think most people would feel that we made some strategic errors that have contributed to the problem and which we're trying to correct now.

We dismissed the Iraqi army in too sweeping and sudden a fashion. De-Baathification was too sweeping and alienated too many people we could have brought into the process. So we have corrected that now. Obviously, there have been mistakes.


DOBBS: Larry, we have no time. Can those mistakes be readily corrected, yes or no?

DIAMOND: Yes, I think they can, but we're going to need more help from the United Nations.

DOBBS: Larry, thank you very much, Larry Diamond, for being here.

DIAMOND: You're welcome. DOBBS: Still ahead, a new plan to track down and prosecute illegal aliens in one state. We'll have a special report on "Broken Borders."

And tonight, a new twist in the controversy over what Senator Kerry did or did not do with his medals from the Vietnam War -- all of that and much more still ahead here.

Please stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, in "Broken Borders," enforcing immigration laws has always been the responsibility of the federal government. But now some state and local law enforcement personnel are playing a greater role when it comes to dealing with illegal aliens.

Lisa Sylvester has our report.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Virginia State Troopers will soon have a new tool to crackdown on illegal immigration. The Department of Homeland Security will train 50 state police officers and deputize them to enforce federal immigration laws.

Virginia is the third state to expand local police authority to help relieve overburdened federal immigration agents. Florida and Alabama have similar programs. States are looking for new ways to crack down on terrorism and gang activity. Local police officers cannot typically detain suspects on immigration status alone and often have to release them.

COL. STEVEN FLAHERTY, VIRGINIA STATE POLICE: If we had this authority, there were some of these cases that we would have been able to have interceded in and maybe prevented some -- in some cases some violent crimes from taking place.

SYLVESTER: The new authority will also help fight terrorism. Three of the 9/11 hijackers were in the country illegally. Legislation pending in Congress would give local police in all states a similar expanded role.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: We will empower them and we'll have 600,000-plus eyes and ears in every community in America, instead of the situation we have today, where they are just not helping at all.

SYLVESTER: But pro-immigration groups fear legal residents will also be targeted and are concerned about racial profiling.

ANGELA KELLEY, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM: You can't tell looking at somebody whether they are here legally or illegally. And if somebody presents a valid driver's license, that also doesn't tell you your nationality or whether, in fact, you are here legally or not. SYLVESTER: Virginia State Police do not plan any sweeps or targeting traffic stops. But they do want to use their new tool to aggressively target criminal illegal aliens.


SYLVESTER: The legislation in the House of Representatives is called the Clear Act. It has 120 bipartisan co-sponsors. It's being reviewed by the Judiciary Committee and a vote is expected by the August recess -- Lou.

DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much -- Lisa Sylvester.

That brings us to the subject of tonight's poll: Do you believe local law enforcement officials should have the authority to detain illegal aliens, yes or no? Cast your vote at We'll have the results for you later in the broadcast.

Still ahead here, Senator John Kerry angrily defends his protests against the Vietnam War. The senator tries to clear up the confusion about what did he or did not do with his medals. We'll have the latest for you.

Also, the fight for peace and democracy in Iraq. We'll be joined by historian Niall Ferguson, who says the United States can learn a great deal from the mistakes of the British empire. He's our guest coming up.

And then a foiled terrorist plot that investigators say could have resulted in the deaths of thousands.

Those stories and more ahead. Please stay with us.


ANNOUNCER: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT continues. Here now with more news, debate and opinion, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: More controversy tonight surrounding Senator John Kerry's anti-war protests after he returned from Vietnam. A 1971 television interview with a young John Kerry appears to contradict more recent comments from the Senator.

Senior political correspondent Candy Crowley reports from Washington.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hit hard by job losses, West Virginia could be fertile ground for John Kerry's economic pitch, but Monday, the Senator was going over old ground: 1971, Washington, D.C., Kerry a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, leads a week-long protest culminating with vets tossing their medals over a capitol fence.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In a real sense this administration forced us to return our medals.

CROWLEY: In fact, Kerry did not return his medals. He threw other people's medals and his ribbons. It took several years for that to become clear, but the Senator says he never misled anyone into thinking differently.

And then "The New York Times" and ABC found this, an interview Kerry gave to local Washington station WRC shortly after the protest.

KERRY: And that was the medals themselves and so they decided to give them back to their country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many did you give back, John?

KERRY: I gave back -- I can't remember six, seven, eight, nine medals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were awarded the Bronze Star, the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.

KERRY: Above that I gave back my others.

CROWLEY: The newly discovered tape led to a testy exchange this morning with Kerry.

KERRY: So the fact is that I have been accurate, precisely, about what took place. And I am the one who later made clear exactly what happened.

I mean it's -- this is a controversy that the Republicans are pushing. The Republicans have spent $60 million in the last few weeks trying to attack me.

And this comes from a president and a Republican Party that can't even answer whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard. I'm not going to stand for it.

CROWLEY: In fact, news organizations have been looking over all aspects of Kerry's Vietnam service and protests. But the administration feels free to stoke it.

KAREN HUGHES, ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BUSH: Now I can understand if, out of conscious, you take a principal stand and you decide you were so opposed to this that you would actually throw your medals. But to pretend to do so, I think that's -- that's very revealing.

CROWLEY: Kerry says now he never made any distinction between ribbons and medals, and neither does the military. Still he did not mention that when asked three years ago why he did not return his medals.

KERRY: I didn't have them with me. It was very simple. And I threw some medals back that belonged to some folks who asked me to throw them back for them.

CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: And Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe today attacked Vice President Cheney.

McAuliffe called the vice president the attack dog in chief. That attack came as Vice President Cheney launched a new offensive against Senator Kerry and his record on national security.

White House correspondent Dana Bash reports.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The vice president chose the Missouri site where Winston Churchill coined the Cold War phrase Iron Curtain to argue Democrat John Kerry is not ready for today's challenges in Iraq or the broader war on terrorism.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT: The Senator from Massachusetts has given us ample grounds to doubt the judgment and the attitude he brings to bear on vital issues of national security.

BASH: The speech, accompanied by a new $10 million two-week ad blitz running nationally and in nine target states, mines the Senator's 20-year voting record.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kerry has repeatedly opposed weapons vital to winning the war on terror: Bradley fighting vehicles, Patriot missiles, B-2 stealth bombers, F-18 fighter jets and more.

BASH: This fresh push comes amid increasingly grim news and chaotic images out of Iraq.

Americans are more concerned about the president's stewardship there. A new Marist College poll shows a majority, 51 percent disapprove of the way he's handling Iraq, up from 45 percent just a month ago.

Yet when faced with a choice, a 20 point advantage for the president. Fifty-six percent say Mr. Bush is a better leader to deal with Iraq, while 36 percent favor Senator Kerry.

Bush aides say protecting that edge is why they're keeping the strategy going and the money flowing to define John Kerry as ill prepared to be commander in chief.

Senator Kerry is still locking for his own vice presidential running mate to help with attacks. Monday Democratic Chair Terry McAuliffe stepped in.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: For the Republicans, twisting the truth into distracting attack is like a bad habit that they just can't break.

BASH: He accused the Bush campaign of distorting Senator Kerry's votes, calling it a pattern of dirty tactics against a decorate veteran. The same strategy, he said, Republicans successfully used to defeat former POW John McCain in the 2000 primary and in 2002 against Democratic Senator Max Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam.


BASH: Terry McAuliffe's counter offensive did hone in on Dick Cheney personally, calling him the attack dog in chief. While Democrats put out their own examples of how, as congressman and defense secretary he, too, called for cuts in military spending.

Bush campaign aides responded that any attack on the vice president is simply bad politics -- Lou.

DOBBS: Bad politics or not, it seems to be the politics of the day. Is this what we're going to watch between both campaigns, pure out attack?

BASH: Well it's likely going to get much more -- going to escalate much more.

But the Democrats are already focused on Dick Cheney this week, Lou. Because there are Supreme Court arguments about whether or not he properly is keeping secret the names of his energy task force. And of course, on Thursday you have him testifying with the president before the 9/11 commission.

So they were already focused on Dick Cheney. This speech from Dick Cheney today just gave them new ammunition, if you will, Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much. Who said politics is all about the future? Thank you very much, Dana Bash.

Well, the controversy over Senator Kerry's Vietnam record comes as some Americans have raised comparisons between the Vietnam War and Iraq. My next guest says there's a more accurate parallel.

Historian Niall Ferguson says today's Iraq is a mere replica of British occupation of Iraq in 1920. Niall Ferguson is the professor of economics at NYU's Stern School of Business. He joins us tonight.

Professor, good to have you here.


DOBBS: I think most of us sort of recoil at the idea that the more apt parallel at any time is something 80 years or more ago, thinking of ourselves in a far more modern world. You see it quite differently.

FERGUSON: Well, I think Americans like to learn lessons from history but only from American history. And that's why they cast their own augurs for Vietnam parallels.

In reality there has been an English speaking power that's attempted regime change in precisely this country and in much the same way.

In 1917 the British marched into Baghdad towards the end of the First World War, and said, "We come as liberators, not as conquerors," and then set about -- tried to internationalize the problem and tried to Democratize the country.

Within just three years there was a full-scale revolt, uncannily like the one we're seeing in Iraq today. And to me the only surprise is that any Americans were surprised by -- by what happened in the last few weeks.

DOBBS: And thousands of British soldiers in relatively quick order killed by that insurgency.

FERGUSON: That's right.

DOBBS: But one of the things that separates that period and this is September 11, a global war on terror, and a constant state of contained war between Iraq and the United Nations, if you will, but certainly the United States from 1990 to 2003.

FERGUSON: Right, but, of course, the United Nations isn't a complete innovation of the post-Second World War period. Back after the First World War, its predecessor, the League of Nations was set up.

And the whole idea was that the British were going to govern Iraq on behalf of the League of Nations. It was called a mandate, which was a fancy kind of name for a temporary holding operation before Iraq became self-governing.

In that sense the situation is really very similar today.

DOBBS: So multilateralism worked no better then than now. Putting an international face, which seems to be the popular term of art, on Iraq was no more serviceable.

FERGUSON: In fact, the revolt of 1920 began just after it had been announced that the problem was going to be internationalized and the League of Nations was going to take over.

So anybody who thinks that handing this to the U.N., which I believe Senator Kerry argues should happen, that that would solve the problem is going to be terribly disappointed if it's tried.

DOBBS: Senator Kerry argues that and about President Bush is about to execute that. So there doesn't seem to be a wide amount of daylight between the two positions.

Fallujah is surrounded by U.S. Marines. Najaf, U.S. soldiers, a ceasefire in place. A capture or kill claim by the U.S. military in Iraq against Moqtada al-Sadr.

How -- how do you react given the lessons of Iraq and imperial British history, now more than 80 years ago, to what you are watching now? FERGUSON: Well, I do find it quite hard to understand why anybody is negotiating with Sadr and his Mehdi Army. They're clearly committed to violence. They're clearly destabilizing the Coalition Provisional Authority and preventing an orderly transition to democracy Iraq. I don't see what there is to negotiate about.

And I do think that, unfortunately, at least this kind of tactic is interpreted as weakness. And it will only prolong the instability and violence in the country.

I'm afraid these people have to be dealt with both in Fallujah and in the case of Sadr in the Shiite areas. I don't think they represent anything other than a tiny minority of Sunni and Shia communities. That's not generally realized, just how few people in relation to the Iraqi population are up in arms.

But there's no point in negotiating with them.

DOBBS: No point in negotiating with them, other than General David Grange said today, highlighting, that is that we face severe casualties in urban warfare. And that's precisely what Najaf and Fallujah represents.

FERGUSON: The U.S. is sustaining casualties in this so-called ceasefire. So I'm beginning to wonder whether this is anything other than a semantic distinction, frankly.

DOBBS: Professor Niall Ferguson, glad to have you here.

FERGUSON: My pleasure.

DOBBS: Come back soon.

FERGUSON: Thanks a lot, Lou.

DOBBS: New details tonight emerging about the break-up of an al Qaeda terrorist cell in Jordan. That cell planned to launch a series of chemical attacks against the U.S. embassy and other targets.

Jordanian authorities say the terrorists could have killed thousands of people if their plan had been executed.

John Vause reports from Jordan.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jordanian special forces raiding an apartment house in Amman in the hunt for an al Qaeda cell.

Some of the suspects are killed, others arrested, ending what Jordanian intelligence says was a bold plan to use chemical weapons and truck bombs in their capitol.

Targets, including Jordanian intelligence headquarters, the prime minister's office, and the U.S. embassy. The Jordanian government fears the death toll could have run into the thousands, more deadly even than 9/11.

For the first time, the alleged plotters were interviewed on videotape, aired on Jordanian TV. CNN obtained copies of the tapes from the Jordanians.

This man revealing his orders came from a man named Azmi Jayoussi, the cell's alleged ringleader.

HUSSEIN SHARIF, ACCUSED PLOTTER (through translator): The aim of this operation was to strike Jordan and the royal family, a war against the crusaders and the infidels.

Azmi told me that this would be the first chemical suicide attack that al Qaeda would execute.

VAUSE: Also appearing on the tape, Azmi Jayousi, who says his orders came from this man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the same man the U.S. says is behind many of the violent attacks in Iraq.

AZMI JAYOUSSI, ACCUSED PLOTTER (through translator): I took advanced explosive courses, poisons, high level. Then I pledged allegiance to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to obey him without any questioning, and to be on his side after this, Afghanistan fell.

I met Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq.

VAUSE: Al-Jayoussi was only shown in profile. He had marks on his hand, neck and face. The Jordanians, who taped the confessions, say the suspects suffered the injuries during the arrests.

CNN was not allowed access to any of those arrested.

The Jordanian government says this plot is only the latest attempt by al Qaeda to destabilize this country.

ASMA KHADER, JORDANIAN MINISTER OF STATE: Jordan was fighting these type of plans years now. And the security forces were able to confront them.

VAUSE (on camera): The Jordanians say the alleged terrorist plot was just days away from execution. If successful, Jordan's King Abdullah told a U.S. newspaper it could have decapitated his government.

John Vause, CNN, Amman, Jordan.


DOBBS: U.S. intelligence officials tonight said the seizure of tons of chemical is, in their words a big deal.

At the same time, they expressed caution about whether the al Qaeda terrorists really planned to create a weapon that would release a toxic cloud. Those same officials said the chemicals found by the Jordanians are more commonly used to increase the explosive power of conventional bombs. Now, for a look at some of your thoughts.

Huin Charles of Miami, Florida, on exporting America: "Mr. Dobbs, I thank you for giving this outsourcing epidemic the tenacious attention it deserves. As a middle class working American, I thank you for your relentless effort on this matter."

Howard Peel of Houston, Texas: "Our jobs don't have to be exported. Illegal immigrants have more or less completely replaced American construction workers."

Gary Ryan of Clearwater, Florida: "Gee, it's great to know that my taxes are going to pay for Iraqi jobs. I'm so happy that someone in Iraq will be able to support his family when I'm not able to after being out of work 18 months. Perhaps Mr. Bremer could come to America and make jobs for us. I'd be happy to take one."

We love hearing from you. E-mail us at

Still ahead, an alarming problem at one of the nation's biggest airports. Why the lights keep going out at L.A. International.

And "American Works." Tonight, a woman who proudly holds three jobs and still finds time to smile. She's part of the reason America works. Her story is next.


DOBBS: Recent power outages at Los Angeles International Airport have alarmed local officials.

Three times this month significant parts of the airport have lost power. Twice officials blamed birds. The power outages have delayed flights and raised fears about the airport's vulnerability to terrorists.

Casey Wian reports from Los Angeles.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Los Angeles International is the world's fifth busiest airport. All it took to delay 60 arriving flights here two weeks ago was this electrocuted crow and this power line.

In fact, three times in ten days, this month airport operations lost power, two of them because crows contacted the same live wire.

NANCY CASTLES, LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: Even if they are for only eight to ten seconds and that even if our equipment reboots very quickly. It is very important for us to have a very stable power supply.

WIAN: The most serious incident was compounded by the failure of a battery powered backup generator in the air traffic control tower. The FAA was forced to temporarily halt all arriving flights. Three dozen circled the airport for up to an hour.

The FAA doesn't know why its batteries failed. They were tested successfully in February and worked during a power surge earlier this month.

DONN WALKER, FAA WESTERN PACIFIC REGION: What's been happening in L.A., we believe, it's just a fluke. But that said, we still want to make sure that this fluke doesn't happen again.

WIAN: Most puzzling to the FAA, how could two wayward birds cut power to LAX when no other airport lost electricity during last year's massive northeast black-out?

Airport officials say passenger safety was never compromised, but bomb and metal detecting equipment had to be rebooted and recalibrated, raising fears that terrorists might try to take advantage of the obvious vulnerabilities in the airport power supply.

KENT NOYES, L.A. DEPARTMENT OF WATER & POWER: Certainly, when you have three outages within ten days it does get your attention and cause you to look at the whole system.

WIAN: For now the power company has installed plastic shields and spikes to deter crow landings. And it's considering moving primary power lines to LAX underground.

(on camera) The Department of Water & Power will meet with officials from the airport and the FAA this week to try to come up with a long-term plan to prevent more power outages at LAX.

Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.


DOBBS: Coming up, the leaders of corporate America endorse outsourcing of American jobs to cheap foreign labor markets. And they have some choice words for me. We'll share in just a moment.

And in "America Works" tonight, this emergency room nurse takes care of others so she can take care of her family. We'll have her remarkable story when we continue. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight we begin a weeklong series of special features. We call it "America Works," celebrating the men and women who make this country work.

Tonight we bring you the story of Laura Aagesen, an emergency room nurse who drives 50 miles each way to work to take care of others.

Bill Tucker reports from Arlington Heights, Illinois.



BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Laura Aagesen was inspired to be a nurse while working as an emergency medical technician in Chicago.

AAGESEN: We're going to be getting a new patient in 18.

TUCKER: Her time as an EMT served her well.

AAGESEN: When I was going into nursing school, you could tell the nurses who never had any kind of health care experience. If I'm able to hold someone's hand and empathize with what they're going through, that's going to better their experience.

You're in Popsicle heaven.

TUCKER: It's the kind of job that's not easily left behind.

AAGESEN: There are people that I'll never forget. I write a lot. I write -- I have a diary. I write poems and stories. And so it's my way to kind of handle a lot of the emotional baggage.

My name is Laura. I'm going to be your nurse.

There are days you just walk away and you're literally emotionally wounded. And you have to go home and you have to recollect and have some really good hobbies.

And last year we -- my mom and I together canned probably 100 jars of tomato juice. I actually have a canning cellar in my basement.

TUCKER (on camera): It's a lot of work, a lot of stress working in the emergency room but for Laura this is not her only job.

(voice-over) Laura not only works in this E.R. She holds down two other jobs.

AAGESEN: I work for an emergency care group of northwest as a patient advocate. Then I also work for a temp agency and go to various E.R.s and work as a temporary E.R. nurse.

TUCKER: Between Laura and her husband, who's also a nurse, they hold down five jobs and have five children. And they have at least one family camping vacation they'll never forget.

AAGESEN: We actually got stopped by the border patrol, because they thought I was smuggling Mexicans across to New Mexico. The van was full of kids. And they actually surrounded the car. They surrounded the car. And I'm thinking, "Why are you pulling me over?"

TUCKER: That laugh, it's more than just personality. It's survival.

AAGESON: You know, sometimes it's necessary to laugh; otherwise you cry. TUCKER: It could just be that laughter is the best medicine after all.

Bill Tucker, CNN, Arlington Heights, Illinois.


DOBBS: Quite a story, quite a woman.

Turning now to Wall Street, stocks fell for a session -- I guess it would be the fourth session in a row -- first session in four in point of fact. As we sort out the sessions.

The Dow lost 28 points. The NASDAQ down 13. The S&P 500 dropped five.

And a new report tonight shows investors are growing increasingly concerned about something we've been reporting here extensively, the exporting of American jobs to cheap overseas labor markets.

Christine Romans is here now with the report -- Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, UBS asked investors in its monthly sentiment poll what they think about the outsourcing of jobs to cheap foreign labor markets.

Sixty-six percent said it's bad for the U.S. economy. Twenty- three percent feared someone they know will lose a job to cheap overseas markets. And 72 percent backed tax penalties for companies that outsource.

What does American business say? Well the Business Roundtable today came out swinging against outsourcing critics and against this program and you in particular, Lou.

The group's president, John Castellani, called outsourcing critics "alarmists, isolationist thinkers, spewing isolationist rhetoric and offering only boneheaded solutions."

He says the outsourcing threat is a myth. American workers have everything to gain with free trade from other nations.

And speaking with reporters according to a Reuters story after the speech he gave he said of you, "He's on a jihad."

DOBBS: I'm sorry, he said what?

ROMANS: He said that you were on a jihad.

DOBBS: On outsourcing?

ROMANS: On outsourcing.

DOBBS: A clever choice of words, but then it sounds like the whole presentation was at the very least clever.

Thank you very much, Christine Romans.

Still ahead here, the results of tonight's poll. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The results of our poll: 87 percent of you say local law enforcement officials should have the authority to detain illegal aliens. Thirteen do not.

That's our show for tonight. We thank you for being with us. Please join us tomorrow when the governors of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin will be with us. They're taking the fight to save American jobs to Washington.

For all of us here, good night from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" coming up next.


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