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U.S. Marines Turn to Former Saddam General; California Bans E- Voting; Interview With E.J. Dionne

Aired April 30, 2004 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight: U.S. Marines turn to one of Saddam Hussein's generals for help outside Fallujah.

GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, CMDR., U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: The opportunity is to build an Iraqi security force form former elements of the Army.

DOBBS: Shocking images of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners. A U.S. general has been reassigned and half-a-dozen soldiers face court-martial.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated.

DOBBS: Senator John Kerry says it's time for a new direction for the United States in Iraq, but his proposal is anything but new. Leading military analyst Max Boot has some advice for Senator Kerry, offering a proposal that would help him win the presidency, he says. He's our guest tonight.

A dramatic decision tonight on the future of e-voting in California. And that decision could have consequences for November's presidential voting throughout the country.

And in "Exporting America" tonight, it may not pay to export American jobs to those cheap overseas labor markets. We'll have the special report.


ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Friday, April 30. Here now for an hour of news, debate and opinion, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening.

Tonight, a dramatic change in U.S. strategy in Iraq. U.S. Marines today pulled back from some of their front-line positions around Fallujah and handed those positions over to a newly formed Iraqi security force. The commander of that Iraqi force is a former general in Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard. Most of his troops are former soldiers in Saddam Hussein's army. Military officials said the U.S. Marines are overseeing the formation of the 1st battalion of the Fallujah brigade.

American officers say the new Iraqi force will be integrated with the Marines, and that force will ultimately assume full responsibility for security inside Fallujah.

Coalition military commanders today insisted the Marines are not withdrawing from Fallujah despite those changes. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said the Marines are simply repositioning some of their troops. The head of Central Command, General John Abizaid, said the battle for Iraq will ultimately be won by Iraqis themselves.


ABIZAID: What we have there is an opportunity and not necessarily an agreement. The opportunity is to build an Iraqi security force from former elements of the army that will work under the command of coalition forces.


DOBBS: One of the main architects of the war in Iraq, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, appears to be having trouble remembering just how many Americans have been killed in Iraq. On Capitol Hill yesterday, Wolfowitz said approximately 500 have been killed in Iraq, 350 of them in combat. Today, the total number is 738 troops, including 534 Americans killed in combat. A Pentagon spokesman said Wolfowitz misspoke.

And six months before the September 11 attacks, the man who was to become the U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, said the administration was paying no attention to terrorism. Bremer made those remarks in a speech at a conference in February of 2001, shortly after he chaired the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorism.

The U.S. Army has sent a senior officer to Iraq to overhaul conditions in military prisons after shocking images of American soldiers were released abusing Iraqi prisoners. The military has reassigned the general who was in charge of the prison, and the Army has brought criminal charges against six of the soldiers in the 800th Military Police Brigade.

Ben Wedeman reports from Iraq.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iraqis watch disturbing images of abuse and humiliation on the Arabiya satellite news network, vividly depicting degradation of Iraqi detainees by U.S. soldiers in Abu Ghraib Prison, outside Baghdad, these images sending waves of revulsion through a conservative religious society that places a premium on dignity and modesty.

Abu Ghraib Prison, once a notorious symbol of Saddam Hussein's repression now under American control, few Iraqis likely to miss the irony that these acts were allegedly committed by soldiers of the very country that styles itself as a champion of human rights.

"It's wrong, wrong 100 percent, and a crime," says Falil (ph). "You came to liberate us from an unjust leader who killed and tortured us." Coalition officials aren't mincing their words when it comes to these images, the authenticity of which have not been independently verified.

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. DEPUTY CHIEF OF OPERATIONS: And I'm not going to stand up here and try to apologize for what those soldiers did. As I have said before, those soldiers wear the same uniform as 150,000 other soldiers that are operating proudly and properly here in Iraq. And those soldiers let us down. They simply let us down.

WEDEMAN: The U.S. military says six soldiers have been charged with abusing inmates as part of an ongoing criminal investigation that could lead to their court-martial. The military also is conducting a thorough review of how Abu Ghraib Prison is run.

Rumors have swirled around Baghdad for months that abuse of Iraqi prisoners was rife in Abu Ghraib. And for many Iraqis, confronted with these images, those rumors have now been confirmed.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Baghdad.


DOBBS: President Bush today condemned the actions of those soldiers and said they will, in his words, be taken care of.

President Bush, speaking at a White House news conference with the Canadian prime minister, said the actions do not represent the values of the American military.


BUSH: I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated. Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people. That's not the way we do things in America.


DOBBS: Senator John Kerry also condemned the actions. In a statement he said: "I am concerned and troubled by the shameful mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. We must learn the facts and take the appropriate action."

Tonight, there are reports that two of the three Marine battalions surrounding Fallujah have now pulled back from their front- line positions. Some of the Marines are not happy about leaving Fallujah before they could retake the city.

U.S. pool reporter Karl Penhaul reports.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. Marines play a game of spades in the sitting room of an Iraqi home they've occupied as a base. They may not be here much longer. Their generals have ordered them to end the siege of Fallujah and retreat from the city limits after a month of close-quarters and open combat with anti- coalition insurgents. Young Marines seem disappointed.

CPL. CHRISTOPHER RODRIGUEZ, U.S. MARINE CORPS: We've been here a while. We don't want to lose ground that we fought so hard for and that we've been here, you know, sweating blood for the last, you know, month, month and a half, and now we have to, you know, give it up.

WEDEMAN: This Marine uses a rare few moments of downtime to clean his M-16 rifle. Others rest and reflect upon the brutal combat losses their unit, Echo Company, has sustained, at least 50 wounded and four dead, about one-third of the fighting force.

For the company's senior medic, the pullout has an upside.

JASON DUTY, U.S. NAVY CORPSMAN: For myself, I'm kind of relieved that we're pulling back a little bit, just because it will give some of the Marines time to recuperate, rest. They're not getting shot at every day, like they are here. We'll be back in the fighting holes. And, frankly, while we're back there, we are not going to be taking anywhere near the casualties that we've been taking here.

WEDEMAN: This Marine keeps watch from his machine gun nest. But today is Muslim Friday prayers and gunfire has been sporadic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Misfire. Misfire. Misfire.

WEDEMAN: This rocket team tries to keep sharp with another drill.


WEDEMAN: They were in action against insurgents Sunday down on this street Marines have dubbed Sniper Alley.

Another Marine peers through his lookout over to the scene of Monday's gun battle with insurgents, across the graveyard and those houses. One Marine was killed and at least nine others wounded there. Some of those men were under the command of veteran Marine 1st Sergeant William Skiles. He doesn't see the planned pullout as the end of the fight for Fallujah.

1ST SGT, WILLIAM SKILES, U.S. MARINE CORPS: If they want to pull us out and gives us more space to work with, let's go somewhere else. They want to come at us, pick a fight, bring it on. We'll fight them over there, too. Wherever we go, we're going to fight them and we're going to win.

WEDEMAN: Each Marine seems to have reacted differently to their experiences during the siege of Fallujah. This group has just formed a Bible study class. They say what they've been through has brought them closer to each other and closer to their God.

(on camera): Marine commanders haven't publicized the timetable for pulling troops out and handing control of Fallujah to Iraqi soldiers under the command of a general who served under Saddam Hussein. And there has been no official reaction from the insurgents to the news of the pullout. But they could hail this as their biggest victory yet against the coalition.

Karl Penhaul reporting, with the camera of John Templeton (ph), for the U.S. networks pool, Fallujah, Iraq.


DOBBS: I'm joined by CNN military analyst, General David Grange.

David, let's start with the obvious. You heard in that report from Karl Penhaul, Marine Corporal Rodriguez say precisely what you had suggested last night, that the men and women there around Fallujah are not going to be happy to give up ground in which their comrades have died and a lot of blood has been spilled.

At the same time, a former Saddam Hussein general is moving in. What is now the first Fallujah brigade has been created to step in. This can't sit well with our young Marines and our young soldiers.

RETIRED BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, like we talked last night, Lou, dirt means a lot to an infantryman, someone on the ground. To them, it is an accomplishment, every foot they go forward.

What has to happen now is that first officer we just listened to, the Marines need to take heed to his words of wisdom. They're going to pull back. They're going to reposition, get more space. The fight is not over for the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps will be the bulkhead for this Iraqi force that's actually also integrated with other Marines. So the Marines are there to make it happen. And that is not going to change.

DOBBS: It is not going to change, but everything around them is changing, General, as you well know. Is there at this point -- you heard General Odom last night, the former head of the National Security Agency, say, point blank, it's time to get out.

When we start hearing our young Marines, our soldiers start talking about rules of engagement and being told that they are to restrain themselves because they do not want to -- quote/unquote -- "inflame tensions," is it time to, in your judgment, seriously think about getting those young Marines and those soldiers out of there?

GRANGE: No, I do not. I think very highly of General Odom. I know the family very well.

I disagree, though. I think Iraq has to be completed. The worst thing for the armed forces right now would be mission not complete. It would have a devastating effect on our military throughout the world for years to come. The piece last night where the soldiers were talking about not to inflame civilians in the area, that's a general -- some general guidance, that's true. But in that particular firefight, they couldn't identify where the fire was coming from.

DOBBS: Right.

GRANGE: If they can identify where the fire is coming from, believe me, all will break loose to take it down. So I think the rules of engagement give the military the leniency they need to accomplish their mission.

DOBBS: Let's turn to those disgusting pictures of the treatment of Iraqi prisoners, Mark Kimmitt saying he would not stand there and apologize for the soldiers, saying simply they have let 150,000 American troops down by their conduct. What in the world is the command structure doing?

GRANGE: Well, this is


DOBBS: To permit that kind of...


DOBBS: Let's be honest. This is a command problem. There are six soldiers, apparently, facing action, but their superiors had to know what was going on here.

GRANGE: Or they didn't know at all because they lacked the supervising those soldiers or inspecting part of their command. And the commanders are responsible for everything their command does or fails to do. And this is a face of command failure, chain of command failure.

And General Kimmitt is right. These soldiers, these few soldiers let down the rest of the force in Iraq and the United States, to include veterans like myself. It is unexcusable.

DOBBS: Is it also inexcusable that we haven't heard a loud and clear apology from the command structure that this occurred, an apology to Americans and to Iraqis? This is offensive in the extreme.


DOBBS: At the same time, the counterpoint to is, don't inflame the tensions there and then to permit this kind of conduct by, admittedly, a handful of soldiers. What's your reaction?

GRANGE: Well, my reaction is, it is a failure in information operations. Now is the time to apologize, regardless of the court cases. There was obviously something happened somewhere, regardless of who the specific individual is that is guilty.

And so, yes, an apology should be made. It should be all over the information in this part of the world. This is something -- the power of this information and these images is going to really hurt the coalition effort, the efforts of the United States of America for years to come. Something should be done immediately, right now, to counter this.

DOBBS: General David Grange, as always, thank you for being on point.

GRANGE: My pleasure.

DOBBS: Still ahead, President Bush defends the war one year after declaring the end of major combat operations. We'll have a report from the White House.

DOBBS: Senator John Kerry says it's time for a new direction in Iraq. "Washington Post" columnist E.J. Dionne will give us his assessment of the Kerry campaign so far.

And a dramatic ruling tonight on electronic voting machines, those in California. We'll have a live report for you from San Francisco.

Stay with us, please.


DOBBS: A stunning, far-reaching decision in California tonight, one that could shape the very future of elections in this country.

California's top election official has banned the use of 15,000 electronic voting machines built by Diebold Election Systems in the November election.

Ted Rowlands has the report tonight from San Francisco -- Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, not only did the state -- the secretary of state ban the specific machine manufactured by Diebold, but he also took the extraordinary step of going one further. And he has decertified all electronic voting machines at least on the short term here in the state until some concerns can be addressed.

California experienced a number of problems in the March 2 primaries here. Most of those problems, if not all, were traced back to the TSx system manufactured by Diebold. That machine has been completely banned. Meanwhile, the secretary of state then went on to declassify, decertify all other electronic machines because of two major concerns.

The first concern is that critics and the secretary of state believe that these electronic machines could be tampered with, that they're not secure enough. Somebody with intent and limited computer skills could go in and actually change an election. The other problem is that these machines have absolutely no paper trail.

So, if an election is contested, there's no way to go back and recount the votes because there's absolutely no paper trail. After the March primaries, California launched an extensive investigation, during which Diebold officials actually admitted that they had cut corners and used uncertified software in the machine. Now they're asking the attorney general here to pursue criminal and civil charges against Diebold.


KEVIN SHELLEY, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE: We will not tolerate deceitful tactics as engaged in by Diebold. And we must send a clear and compelling message to the rest of the industry. Don't try to pull a fast one on the voters of California.


ROWLANDS: Now, following the 2000 presidential election and what happened in Florida, the federal government set up a Election Assistance Commission. It's taken three years-plus to get that commission up and running. Their first meeting is in March. And, Lou, this is going to be one of the first issues that they tackle.

DOBBS: Ted, thank you very much -- Ted Rowlands reporting from San Francisco.

One year after President Bush declared the end of major combat in Iraq, President Bush today said the United States is making progress toward a free Iraq. The president said the United States will deal with the enemy of freedom in Iraq, whether they are in Fallujah or elsewhere.

White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reports -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, it was May 1 last year when President Bush aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln declared major combat over in Iraq, this of course in front of a banner that said mission accomplished.

Since then, there have been more than 600 Americans who have been killed inside Iraq. The president's chief political strategist, Karl Rove, and other top advisers, acknowledging that they regret that mission accomplished banner overhead. But they do say, however, that the president's message has been consistent, that it has been tough work to bring democracy to Iraq but at the same time that there has been progress made, President Bush today standing by his remarks.

Now, Mr. Bush's critics, they say that, of course, this progress does not actually overshadow the situation, that, in fact, inside of Iraq that you find the June 30 deadline is approaching to transfer power back to the Iraqi people. They also say the insurgents, the sieges in Fallujah and Najaf, simply complicate matters. They believe that that moment, that speech symbolizes the administration's failures.


SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Instead of keeping murderous al Qaeda terrorists on the run, the invasion of Iraq has stoked the fires of terrorism against the United States and our allies. Najaf is smoldering. Fallujah is burning. And there is no exit in sight.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: Now, the president makes the case, and he made that case today, saying that Saddam Hussein has been removed from power, that this is the end of the torture, of the rape rooms, that type of regime against the Iraqi people, that democracy is beginning to flourish there and is simply a matter of time.

Lou, it is apparent, however, that the last year's events is taking a toll on his approval rating. The latest CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup showing today that it was just one year ago 76 percent of Americans believed the president was handling Iraq well. They approved of it. Now that is down to 48 percent -- Lou.

DOBBS: Suzanne, thank you -- Suzanne Malveaux reporting from the White House.

Senator John Kerry today strongly criticized the president's policies in Iraq. Senator Kerry said that this may be the last chance for the United States to get it right in Iraq.

Kelly Wallace is here tonight with a report -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, part of Senator Kerry's strategy in his speech to flesh out his ideas for Iraq, as you know, when he's being pressed for how he would do things differently in Iraq.

He spoke at Missouri's Westminster College just four days after Vice President Cheney spoke there and angered the school's president by what the school's president called the amount of Kerry-bashing in the vice president's remarks. So it appeared that Senator Kerry was trying to draw a contrast.

There was no direct mentioning of the president or his No. 2. But Kerry did say -- quote -- "It is time to put pride aside to reach and build a stable Iraq."


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a moment of truth in Iraq, not just for this administration, the country, the Iraqi people, but for the world. This may be our last chance to get it right.



WALLACE: And here is what Kerry says is his strategy for Iraq, No. 1, get NATO forces on the ground to -- quote -- "internationalize" the coalition, also appoint a U.N. high commissioner to oversee every aspect of the political transition and the reconstruction, and also a more robust training of the Iraqi security forces.

Now, a Bush-Cheney campaign spokesman reacted, saying the senator is not offering any new alternatives and much of what he's proposing is already being done by the Bush White House. And, Lou, this points out a political challenge for John Kerry, if he wants to win any ground on the Iraqi issue, because he really sees eye to eye with President Bush on this, that the U.S. needs to stay the course and that U.S. troops need to remain there.

DOBBS: Stay the course, remain there. But, in point of fact, as so often is the case in this dirty, ugly campaign so far, one side or the other is misconstruing what one side is saying. In this case, in terms of bringing in the United Nations, in terms of training up a security force, bringing in NATO, all of those things have been attempted.

WALLACE: That's what the Bush-Cheney campaign would say.

DOBBS: No, no, no. That's what I'm saying. It's a fact.

WALLACE: The Kerry folks would say that the president could do more, though, do more to get more international support, do more to get more countries to step in to realize they have a bigger piece of the prize here.

DOBBS: Like what?

WALLACE: Well, they would say that he should go to these countries that so far might not be putting troops on the ground and say you have a stake in a peaceful and stable Iraq. You can do more. The story continues.

DOBBS: Yes, absolutely, for at least six months. Kelly Wallace, thank you very much.

Still ahead here, my next guest says Senator Kerry should launch a bold plan to give the Army more troops to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terror. He says that would ensure Senator Kerry the presidency. Military analyst, author, historian Max Boot joins me next.

And in our segment "Heroes" tonight, we honor some of the millions of men and women who were disabled while serving this country in war.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Well, my next guest says Senator Kerry should promise to add another 100,000 soldiers to the U.S. Army because there are not simply enough troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and to engage fully in the global war on radical Islamist terror.

Max Boot also says he is shock and dismayed by the latest developments in Fallujah. Max Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a terrific author, journalist.

And it's good to have you with us.


DOBBS: You're shocked and dismayed by what's happening in Fallujah. I think that's probably a broader sentiment than is generally recognized. Why in particular are you?

BOOT: Well, my view basically echoes what I'm hearing from the military. And I've talked to a lot of soldiers and Marines in the last week. And none of them can figure out why we're giving up on Fallujah. We have suffered losses. Marines have sacrificed, but they're very eager to go back in there and finish the job.

And it's very hard for me to see how we can pacify Iraq if we're going to leave Fallujah as a center of terrorism. And relying upon Iraqis to clean it up, that's what we've been trying for the last year, when it became this hotbed of terrorism. So that doesn't fill me with a lot of hope that that strategy is going to succeed.

DOBBS: And we should be clear, to put Max Boot's comments in context here, Max has been to Iraq. He was, some months ago, very supportive of what he was seeing in terms of progress and reconstruction and the advance of U.S. interests there.

You obviously are not so inclined now.

BOOT: Well, we've seen some real setbacks in the security situation, Lou, in the last month. And I'm not sure the administration fully grasps the seriousness of what's going on.

They're not sending in the kind of massive reinforcements that seem to be called for when the security situation is degrading as much as it is.

DOBBS: That's what I was going to ask you, Max. You are a military analyst, a historian of some considerable knowledge as well as great note. Why in the world should you and I or anyone else be sitting here and suggesting in any way that this administration doesn't understand what's going on in Iraq. They have daily, minute by minute reports. They have the very obvious evidence of American deaths. They have the very obvious evidence of uprisings in many quarters of Iraq. Why should there be any reality gap?

BOOT: Well, I think this often happens in a White House, they go in a political cocoon where they cut themselves off from outside criticism, just dismiss it as being naysayers, people who wishes us ill and just assume they're right. A certain amount of determination is a good thing, but don't close your eyes to things that are really going radically wrong and say, we don't need to change course, and everything is fine the way it is.. And I'm afraid they might be falling into that trap right now.

DOBBS: This is the bloodiest month in terms of American deaths since it began. The resistance to bringing in more forces, to provide force protection for the security of our men and women in uniform there, you now recommend to John Kerry that if he would call for 100,000 more troops in the U.S. army, that he probably advance his interest and, perhaps, win the presidency. BOOT: This is a potential sleeper issue. Because what we have seen is radical increase in the number of missions that the U.S. military is being asked to do. And probably rightfully so, because of all the threats that we've faced. But there hasn't been an increase in the military. In fact, what happened in the 1990s, the whole size of the military shrank by about 40 percent. We went from 18 army divisions to ten.

That's just grossly inadequate to deal with the threats we face in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't give the commanders on the ground the options they need in order to confront the threats. And yet, President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld are completely opposed to a large increase in the size of the military, which is what we need.

And this, I think, would give John Kerry an opening to run to the right of President Bush and say, you're letting down the military. We need 100,000 more soldiers. This is vital to protecting American security.

DOBBS: Max, the fact you're publicly suggesting to John Kerry that he take this step, does this mean you have given up all hope that the Bush administration will not raise the strength and the number in our U.S. military?

BOOT: I have pretty much given up hope because Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush have been so resolute in rejecting that advice which has been offered to them for a number of years. And I really can't figure out why. Because, if they have gone to Congress after 9/11 and said we are in a war on terrorism. Our military was downsized in the 1990's. We need to have the forestructure necessary in order to protect the United States. Would Congress have said no? It would be inconceivable.

And yet the didn't do it. They still haven't done it. And I don't understand why they're getting off this course which is so clearly self-destructive.

DOBBS: Am I hearing in your voice, and I will ask you straightforwardly, disappointment, even dismay at the conduct by this administration?

BOOT: Absolutely. I'm very frustrated on the whole issue of troop strength, where we don't have enough troops to fight the wars that we're fighting. And also dismayed on some of the things that have happened in Iraq, which rightfully or wrongfully is going to give our enemies on the ground the impression they're winning, that they can kill Americans, we're afraid to go into Fallujah like the Marines want to do. It sends a very bad message. And so I'm very dismayed by some of the things that have been happening the last few weeks.

DOBBS: Max, good of you to be here. We appreciate it. Max Boot.

Well, that brings us to the subject of tonight's poll. The question is, "do you believe the United States should significantly increase the size of its armed forces? Yes or no." Please cast your vote at We'll have results later in the broadcast.

Every week here we honor an American military hero who served this country proudly. Tonight, we feature a truly remarkable group of veterans who have sacrificed greatly to serve their country. Veterans from all across the country this week gathered to raise money to build a memorial worthy of millions of disabled veterans. Bill Tucker reports.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The cost of war is not measured only by the dead, which these men bear witness. Men like Leslie Brown, severely beaten as a prisoner of war.

LESLIE BROWN, WWII VETERAN: I was beaten to the inch of my life. I lost half of my liver in that beating.

TUCKER: Sergeant Tyler Hall who suffered a punctured lung, a broken back and has a face built on a skeleton of titanium after every bone was broken.

TYLER HALL, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: They planted some artillery rounds in the ground. It was under our vehicle.

IAN LENNON, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: I was over in Kuwait and a fuel tank exploded and got my face and my arms.

VICTOR THIBEAUTL, AFGHANISTAN WAR VETERAN: I lost four of my fingers, my thumb, pointer, half of my middle finger and my ring finger.

TUCKER: Men who learned to reject self-pity and who radiate honor.

BOBBY BARRERA, VIETNAM VETERAN: There is hero after hero. Those who recognize this represent thousands and thousands of others who serve quietly, never asking for anything, never complaining about anything.

CHAD COLLEY, VIETNAM VETERAN: I'm a triple amputee: my left arm is off below the elbow, I have no left leg or hip whatsoever, my right leg is 9 inches long. Fortunately, the rest of me is whole.

Some of the stuff that happens in life is not have to be good, but it doesn't mean you have to be defined by it.

JEREMY FELDBUSCH, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: I am definitely honored that I was a soldier for this country. And honored to do what I had done. I lost my vision doing what I was doing. I would give my life doing what I was doing.

BIG. GEN. PETER DAWKINS, (RET) VIETNAM VETERAN: We're shoulder to shoulder with heroes.

TUCKER: And with people who want them recognized.

ROSS PEROT, BUSINESSMAN: For those who fought and almost died, freedom has a taste the protected will never know.

LOIS POPE, DISABLED VETERANS LIFE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION: So many Americans are unaware of the sacrifices that is they gave for our democracy and freedom.

ANTHONY PRINCIPI, SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: We have the greatest fighting force and they're very dedicated, they're very courage us. And it is just our responsibility to care for them when they come home.

GARY SINISE, ACTOR: One of the things we learned from Vietnam is you support the troop no matter who sends them out and no matter where they go.

TUCKER: To care and honor those who served. Bill Tucker, CNN, New York.


DOBBS: As do we all.

Coming up next, new evidence tonight it does not pay to outsource American work to cheap labor foreign markets. That report coming up.

And a missed opportunity for the Kerry campaign. I'll be joined by columnist E.J. Dionne of the "Washington Post."

And "America Works." Tonight, we continue to celebrate the men and women who make this country work. We'll find, as well, some happiness, fulfillment and a few new friends. On the job. Stay with us.


DOBBS: "Exporting America" tonight, some companies that have shipped American jobs to cheap overseas labor markets are bringing those jobs back to the United States. Those companies have found the customer complaints outweigh any money they thought they were saving. Lisa Sylvester reports.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everdream Corporation in Freemont, California thought global outsourcing was a good idea, a way to slash costs. But recently, the desktop management company brought its call center work back to the United States from Costa Rica.

BELLE KULICK, EVERDREAM: Originally, We had anticipated to see about a 25 percent cost savings. But in the end, due to the productivity losses that we saw, if at all it was costing us a bit more, and especially if you looked at the satisfaction ratings. It was definitely from the standpoint of customer satisfaction, costing us the trust that the customers gained.

SYLVESTER: EverDream's customer satisfaction rate for its American-based call center was 96 percent. The Costa Rican office was far off that mark. Customers complained that problems that were supposed to take five minutes to resolve took longer than an hour. Cultural and language barriers were also difficult to overcome.

EverDream is not the only company returning work to the United States. Dell Computers is bringing back its commercial laptop division from India. David Butler, professor at Southern Mississippi, has written a book about the repatriation of call centers. He expects this trend to continue.

PROF. DAVID BUTLER, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI: The largest challenges actually associated with the empathy or sympathy and be able to understand what the customer desires or needs to be handled and be able to deliver that.

SYLVESTER: But not everyone is willing to write off offshoring.

STUART ANDERSON, NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR AMERICAN POLICY: I think it's possible to read too much into individual company decisions. After all, Barry Bonds will strike out once or twice a game, but the manager will still put him in the line-up the next day.

SYLVESTER: But what many companies are finding is they may save in the short term with lower labor costs overseas. But long term, they lose more if dissatisfied customers walk away.


SYLVESTER: Another problem is the high turnover rate in countries like India. Many of the foreign employees working for American companies leave after a few months, lured by the prospect of slightly higher wages at another offshore company -- Lou.

DOBBS: Lisa, indeed. Thank you very much. We learned today Tupperware has joined the list of outsources, sending jobs to the Philippines.

Lisa Sylvester, reporting from Washington, thank you.

A very different view on outsourcing today from the U.S. ambassador to India, David Mulford. Ambassadors are supposed to represent the views of the United States abroad. But today, Ambassador Mulford voiced opinions that could have come from the Indian government itself. Ambassador Mulford told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi that there is no turning back on the outsourcing of American jobs to cheap overseas labor markets, what we call here exporting America. Ambassador Mulford told the meeting, quote, "It may be a good idea to educate politicians of the benefits of outsourcing so they can play down the issue."

When we continue, election year politics and the war in Iraq, how that war is shaping up in the race for the White House. I'll be joined by E.J. Dionne of "The Washington Post" next. Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: Tonight's thought is on democracy. "Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time." Those are the words of E.B. White.

Well, my next guest says the Republicans' increased attacks on Senator Kerry's record on national security created an opportunity for Senator Kerry, but he says it's an opportunity the Kerry campaign has squandered. E.J. Dionne is columnist for "The Washington Post," senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, joining us tonight from Washington. Good to have you with us.

E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you, Lou.

DOBBS: Kelly Wallace reporting on the proposals from Senator Kerry today, Iraq. And as I read it, and I would like to hear your views, it did not sound particularly different from anything that we've witnessed on the part of the Bush administration to this point. What was your thought?

DIONNE: Well, I do think it's different in its emphasis, which could have a difference in result, which is to say the troops should be more NATO -- that we should have more NATO troops, to say that we should put this under a U.N. high commissioner. What he's really saying is, we should give up some of the political control here in order to get more help from abroad.

But you know, I think it's very difficult when you are out in the opposition and you can't change the situation on the ground. Dwight D. Eisenhower's solution when he ran against the Korean War was simply to say, "I will go to Korea." And that was enough for the voters. But of course, Dwight Eisenhower had been the supreme allied commander in Europe. And that was enough for voters coming from him.

DOBBS: Iraq. A former general in Saddam Hussein's army, the Republican Guard, moving to Fallujah to take over the Fallujah brigade of what will be the Iraqi security force. The withdrawal of U.S. Marines from hard-fought ground, and the incredible revelations of brutality and the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers. Your reaction and your assessment of how that will impact the political picture.

DIONNE: Well, I think the president's problem is that he is getting hit from left and right, and he has not found a happy middle in Iraq. Right now, it seems like an unhappy middle. I mean, he's getting hit for starting the war in the first place. He's getting hit from both sides for really not putting enough troops on the ground in the first place. It's not clear to me that now, if we just put more troops back in, as Max Boot said, we could solve the problem.

On the other hand, it is hard to see how we can solve it with the number of troops we have there now. And in Fallujah, we, meaning -- the we here especially meaning our forces on the ground -- faced a terrible choice, because if they went in with all guns blazing, they risk creating an enormous problem for themselves in the population, and perhaps risking a lot of mistreatment of that population. Failing that, they face this constant attack. And so that's why I think the commanders on the ground said, this is not going to work and I want to pull my troops back.

DOBBS: Are you surprised with the number of people who are beginning to talk about withdrawing from Iraq? On this broadcast last night, Bill Odom, a number of very important thinkers and earlier analysts of conflict in the Middle East suggesting point blank. Those who know suggesting with their informed position that it may be time to pull out. What do you think?

DIONNE: I'll tell you what does surprise me is how many, if you will, establishment figures, including some people who were sympathetic to the war in Iraq, are either talking, as you said, about withdrawal, or are asking a slightly different question, which is can we lower our sights enough so that we could get out of there with -- or at least hand over to somebody with our dignity and honor intact. I hate to sound like I'm talking about the Vietnam era. And I think that reflects the reality on the ground, that a lot of people who are very smart and are by no means dovish are asking the question, you know, can we really build this democracy in Iraq that we've talked about in a short enough period of time that we could sustain this commitment? And I think the administration's biggest problem is that it really didn't prepare the country for a long commitment when we started this.

DOBBS: We've got just a few seconds left here, E.J. Who should feel worse here, the -- President Bush, or Senator Kerry with these poll numbers?

DIONNE: They each have something to feel good or bad about. I think President Bush should feel sort of worried that after spending all the money he's spent attacking Senator Kerry, he is either slightly ahead or in the latest "New York Times" polls perhaps slightly behind. John Kerry should feel good that he sustained that attack. What he should feel bad about is that given the way the country has turned on President Bush on so many questions, the race is still this close. I think what both sides have to conclude from this is it remains a very open race going into the month of May.

DOBBS: And I will save the next question, which is how should the American voter be feeling right now, for our next discussion. E.J. Dionne, thanks for being here. Appreciate it.

DIONNE: Really great pleasure, Lou. Thank you.

DOBBS: Still ahead, in "America Works," the story tonight of a zoo keeper who turned her volunteer work into full-time work. We continue to celebrate the men and women who make this country work. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Another losing session on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones Industrials down nearly 47 points. The Nasdaq tumbled more than 38. The S&P 500 down 6.5 points, almost 6.60. Christine Romans is here for a recap of what was a brutal week, a losing month on Wall Street, particularly for the Nasdaq -- Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: The Nasdaq was down every day this week, Lou. And it was the worst single week in more than two years. Nasdaq fell 4 percent, the Dow lost 2 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 3 percent. A losing week and a losing month for stocks.

The Nasdaq is down three months in a row, its longest monthly losing streak sense September 2002. The Dow and S&P had the first back-to-back monthly losses in more than a year. High gas prices, fear of higher interest rates, simply outweighed sky high earnings.

Technology earnings, Lou, up 66 percent, but the Nasdaq is down 10 percent from its high. Now, one earnings disappointment Winn- Dixie, profits fell sharply. And the company announced it would close 156 grocery stores, up to 10,000 workers will lose their jobs. Lou, this is just the latest shudder in an industry dealing with the entry of Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart now the nation's biggest grocery store chain.

DOBBS: The biggest grocer. All right, thanks very much, Christine. Bad news.

Well, let's turn to some good news. Tonight, "America Works." We celebrate the men and women who do make this country work.

And there is an old saying, choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. Tonight, the story is Stephanie Zielinski who chose a job she loves at the Los Angeles Zoo. Casey Wian has the story.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is after sunrise when Stephanie Zielinski arrives to tend to the animals at the zoo.

STEPHANIE ZIELINSKI, ZOOKEEPER: If you have to work the better part of your life, why not do something that's your passion, something that you love, something that you know that you can give your all to.

WIAN: A quick stop to check in. And then it is time to make the rounds.

ZIELINSKI: Well, hi. Good morning and hello. Hello. Come on up.

WIAN: Zielinski has been working at zoo for 10 years. It may sound like fun, but it's hard work.

ZIELINSKI: You know, part of being an animal keeper is doing all the daily care for these guys, whether it be cleaning up, making a clean nesting area for them, preparing their diets, or, you know, checking their bodies and whatnot. So, there's a lot that's involved in every day care of large, exotic animals.

WIAN: It takes a special touch to get a bear to take his medicine. ZIELINSKI: Good boy, Diamond.

WIAN: On this day, she worries about a seal and calls in the vet.

ZIELINSKI: This morning, she is just looking a little bit dehydrated maybe to me, not the correct amount of fluid coming out of her eyes.

WIAN: She helped the vet take blood samples. The work is busy and physical and, she says, necessary.

ZIELINSKI: We have so much inner city children and inner city school groups and adults that may never have a chance to see these animals in the wild. And what a great opportunity to be able to see them up close.

I'm very fortunate to have this position and have this job and have these animals that teach me so much. I teach them some things, too. But I think I've gotten so much more from them.

WIAN: The animals appreciate her, too. Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.


DOBBS: Taking a look at some of your thoughts. Robert Plizge from Los Angeles, California writing in on the ban against buying imported drugs, "it's strange the Bush administration is focusing all their efforts on attempting to create a democracy in Iraq, but none of maintaining a democracy in the U.S. Right now we have a government of the pharmaceutical companies, by the pharmaceutical companies, for the pharmaceutical companies."

Elaine Connelly from Lincoln, Nebraska, on raising the minimum wage, "it appears to me as though Congress always seems too willing to vote itself a cost of living raise, while the rest of us are left out in the cold."

And Tom Linezon of Port Orange, Florida, "Lou, let me explain productivity. When I was a kid, a family could live well on 1 job. Now it takes at least 2 jobs to go into debt forever."

And a viewer in Tucson, Arizona, forwarded us an e-mail saying that U.S. flags in Iraq were ordered by the Air Force Central Command to come down as not to offend Iraqis. We checked with the Pentagon, Centcom, the Baghdad Military Press and all say they're unaware of any such order, we're pleased to report.

We love hearing from you. E-mail us at

Still ahead here, the results of our poll. We continue in a moment. Please stay with us..

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: The results of our poll. 59 percent of you said the United States should significantly increase the size of our armed forces, 41 percent do not. That's our broadcast for tonight. Thanks for being with us. Please join us Monday, Tom Donahue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the Bush administration's decision not to investigate Chinese labor violations. He'll be with us. And he's one of my biggest fans.

"Exporting America," we're focusing that again. Companies that have learned why shipping American jobs isn't simply good business.

For all of us here, we hope you have a very pleasant weekend. Goodnight from New York, "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is next.


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