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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Iraq: A Plan to Change Course; Interview with ISG Co-Chairs James Baker and Lee Hamilton; Search for Missing Man Ends Tragically; Deadly Weather
Aired December 6, 2006 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to the second hour of 360. Easy reading it is not. A menu of options for the war in Iraq, where even the best options fall way short of ideal.
ANNOUNCER: Grim and getting worse. The Iraq Study Group's report is out, handing the president a stinging rebuke on the war. Anderson talks to the chairman behind the findings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE HAMILTON, CO-CHAIR, IRAQ STUDY GROUP: You ask how much time we have got, the answer is not very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Obama's opinion on the war. What it will take to win, and the buzz about his White House ambitions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Have you made any decision about a run for the White House?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, the Senator speaks to 360.
And lost hope. Stranded in the snow for days, a family survives, but a father does not. Tonight, the tragic end to a massive search.
Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Reporting tonight from Washington, here is Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Hey, thanks for joining us to night. Thanks for joining us. We begin with the Iraq Study Group's report. It was delivered to the president today. He'll be going over the options for the next couple of weeks he says. No word yet on whether he will act on any of them.
There are signs already that he doesn't buy a key premise of the report, that we're not winning. In that respect and others, it's a dose of bitter medicine. And according to the people prescribing it, the patient is fading fast.
Details now from CNN's John Roberts. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If there were any lingering doubts about how bad things are in Iraq, they were pretty much erased today.
LEE HAMILTON, CO-CHAIR, IRAQ STUDY GROUP: We believe that the situation in Iraq today is very, very serious. We do not know if it can be turned around.
ROBERTS: The Iraq Study Group, in perhaps the most anticipated report since the 9/11 Commission, issued a harsh critique of administration policy.
JAMES BAKER, CO-CHAIR, IRAQ STUDY GROUP: We do not recommend a stay the course solution. In our opinion, that approach is no longer viable.
ROBERTS: Instead, the 10-member bipartisan committee offered up some alternatives, 79 in fact.
One of the top recommendations is a version of what the White House ridiculed as cut and run. To pullback most U.S. combat troops by early 2008 and instead, focus on accelerated training for Iraqi forces.
Another big idea, launch an intense diplomatic mission to find a political solution, including unconditional talks with Iran and Syria.
HAMILTON: You cannot look at this area of the world and pick and choose among the countries that you are going to deal with.
ROBERTS: It's a notion that President Bush has rejected, but one his father's former secretary of state suggests he should embrace for the sake of trying to save Iraq.
BAKER: For 40 years, we talked to the Soviet Union during a time when they were committed to wiping us off the face of the earth. So, you talk to your enemies, not just your friends.
ROBERTS: The study group acknowledged their plans aren't perfect. But in another apparent shot at the White House's Iraq policy, insisted that there is a better way forward.
BAKER: If we do what we recommend in this report, it will certainly improve our chances for success.
ROBERTS: While there is nothing to suggest the president will adopt any of the recommendations, the Iraq Study Group cautioned him against cherry picking the report. If Iraq is to be pulled back from the brink of failure, they said, it needs a comprehensive rescue mission and one with bipartisan political support here at home.
LEON PANETTA, IRAQ STUDY GROUP MEMBER: We have made a terrible commitment in Iraq in terms of the blood and our treasure. And I think that we owe it to them to try to take one last chance at making Iraq work. And more importantly, to take one last chance at unifying this country on this war.
ROBERTS (on camera): As much as the Iraq Study Group disagreed with the current administration policy on Iraq, there was common ground on one important issue, no immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. Lee Hamilton pit bluntly when he said a precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces would likely result in a bloodbath.
John Roberts, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: More now from the ISG co-chairs, Democrat Lee Hamilton, Republican James Baker. I spoke to them earlier today.
COOPER: Secretary Baker, you called the situation in Iraq grave and deteriorating. How much time do you think the U.S. has -- how much of a window of opportunity is there?
BAKER: Well, I don't think that you can measure it exactly, but we firmly believe in the assessment to which we put in the report which is a very, very tough assessment and very bleak assessment, but one thing I can tell you for sure and that is that all 10 members of our commission, Democrats and Republicans alike, think they we ought to implement the recommendations of this report if there's to be any chance for success.
COOPER: Grave and deteriorating though, does that mean we're losing?
BAKER: Well, I don't think that you can say that we are losing or winning. I'll tell you -- I'll give you General Pace's definition. We are in the midst of a war and if we don't adopt these recommendations, we run a serious risk of losing.
COOPER: Do you believe we are winning?
HAMILTON: I don't think we are losing. I don't think we are winning. I just think we are engaged right in the middle of the war. I think there are a lot of steps we can take to enhance our prospects of winning, and we'd better take them very soon.
You asked how much time we have got, and the answer is not very much.
COOPER: How much of this insurgency right now is motivated by al Qaeda? The president seemed to be indicating he still believes that al Qaeda is behind most of the violence, the criminal gangs, there's as you talked about in the report, death squads, nationalist insurgents.
HAMILTON: Al Qaeda is present. Al Qaeda is part of the violence, particularly in certain areas, but it is not the chief source of violence today. There are a number of different sources of violence, including just plain old criminality, but al Qaeda is a factor, but it is not the chief source. The American casualties are coming from the sectarian violence largely.
COOPER: And is it possible that getting the U.S. troops out will actually lessen that violence, that it will at least take away the motivation of nationalist insurgents?
BAKER: Many people have argued that to us. Many people in Iraq made that case.
COOPER: Do you buy it?
BAKER: Yes, I think there is some validity to it, absolutely. Then we are no longer seen to be the occupiers. We're still going to have a very robust -- forced presence in Iraq and in the region for quite a number of years after this thing sorts itself out whichever way it sorts itself out. We have to do that because we cannot -- we have vital national interests in that region. We have the problem of al Qaeda. We cannot leave the country to be a Taliban-like base for al Qaeda. So we're going to have a -- we're going to maintain even after we do what we said here, there's still going to be a lot of force protection combat capability, a lot of training, equipping and supporting, and there will be rapid reaction teams and special ops forces to chase al Qaeda.
COOPER: Bases inside Iraq?
BAKER: Based inside Iraq.
COOPER: You guys have both met with the president. He in the last couple days, and his spokespeople have indicated, look, there are other groups looking into this. Joint chiefs of staff is going to issue a report. What's your sense of -- he says he is willing to listen and read the recommendations. What's your sense of his willingness to act on your recommendations?
HAMILTON: Look, the president's going to be getting a lot of advice from everybody other than ourselves. And he should be. And we don't object to that. We don't have all the truth here. There is one very, very big difference. The only source of bipartisan advice he is going to get is from the Iraq Study Group.
You've got a country today that is badly split. You've got a government that is badly split. Executive, legislative, split within the administration, split all over the place on Capitol Hill.
What we did in the report is to try to put together a realizable goals, goals that could be achieved given the political environment in Washington and the political environment in Iraq. It is very easy to sit anywhere and shoot off a lot of recommendations to solve the problem of Iraq. They won't work unless you have bipartisan support, and that is what our report brings to this whole effort, a bi-partisan solution.
BAKER: That no other report is going to bring, and the American people desperately want this.
COOPER: Thank you very much. Appreciate it. BAKER: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, voters made Iraq a central issue last month, of course. You can bet they'll do the same in 2008 when choosing a president.
Earlier tonight I spoke with Democrat Barack Obama, the junior Senator from Illinois and possible presidential candidate.
COOPER: Senator Obama, is there anything really all that new in this report?
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: I don't think there's anything new, but I am pleased to see that the Iraq Study Group got it right. I think that for the first time what we are seeing is a bipartisan agreement about the facts on the ground.
COOPER: Do you agree with Senator Harry Reid that this report is a rejection of the policies of the Bush administration?
OBAMA: I think it would be hard not to see in this report a rebuke of a ideologically-driven strategy that has the been blind to what's been happening on the ground for the last several years.
What's been lacking has been a strategy that understands you've got a sectarian war that is taking place right now, and that without any political accommodation on the part of the Shia, the Sunni and the Kurd, we cannot impose a military solution on the problem.
COOPER: Do you think the White House gets it? President Bush just last week said al Qaeda is behind what's going on in Iraq -- I just spoke to Dan Bartlett of the White House who said we are winning in Iraq?
OBAMA: Well, my hope is, is that if nothing else, the Iraq Study Group serves as a corrective to the kinds of obstinance that we have seen out of the White House. And I also think that you're going to start seeing at least as much pressure within the Republican Party as will be coming from Democrats to change the course.
COOPER: There's an awful lot of Americans who voted for change just a couple of weeks ago who don't expect the status quo.
COOPER: This study group report, for all of the hoopla about it, a lot of people are probably just going to shake their heads and say, you know what, it sounds an awful lot like status quo.
OBAMA: Well, I think that what's important to recognize is that the Iraqi Study Group did a good job of describing the situation. It is up to the president and this White House to actually execute in a change of strategy.
Congress, I think, has to continually push the administration to execute that change of course. But ultimately, it's going to be on the president and this white House to recognize that what we are doing is not working.
COOPER: How much more time do we have to actually try to influence events on the ground before things just get so beyond our control?
OBAMA: Well, I don't think we have time. I think that we have to start yesterday. We don't even have a coherent opponent in Iraq. We've got insurgents. We've got Shia militias. We've got Sunnis. We've got armed criminals and kidnappers and brigands and thugs, each of which is starting to control small portions of Iraq.
The more time that we let pass without a new strategy, the more difficult it is going to be to try to create any kind of control over the situation.
COOPER: The Iraq Study Group is focusing a lot on diplomatic efforts within Iraq and also within the region, obviously, with Iran and with Syria, but also on the Israeli-Palestinian question, has this administration dropped the ball when it comes to trying to get a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians?
OBAMA: Well, I think that what this administration has done is to become so obsessed with Iraq, and invest so much of our military, political, economic capital into Iraq, that we have been neglectful of what is one of the essential ingredients in bringing about some sort of stability in the Middle East, and that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
COOPER: Finally, just on the '08, I got to ask you this question. You get it asked everywhere you go. You said that after these Congressional elections, you would be looking at your options, talking to your family. Have you made any decision about a run for the White House?
OBAMA: I haven't made any final decisions, but have been going through a systemic process of consultation, talking to a wide range of people. And I expect by early next year I will have made a decision.
COOPER: Senator Obama, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
OBAMA: Great to talk to you, Anderson.
COOPER: One of the findings in the ISG report that surprised no one, the violence in Iraq is increasing and it is getting deadlier. Each day, of course, brings reports of more killings. It's easy to lose track of the totals.
Here's the raw data. So far at least 3,167 coalition troops have died in Iraq. The vast majority, 2,920 have been Americans. The Iraq body count estimates that more than 49,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the war began.
And members of the ISG panel have dedicated their report to the Americans and Iraqis on the front lines, but what happens now? Coming up, will President Bush actually take the panel's advice even if it means making some embarrassing U-turns in his foreign policy?
Plus, to Baghdad. A bloody day that could have been taken straight from a page in the report. Bombings, bullets, dozens of dead bodies strewn across the city. We will get the latest from CNN's Nic Robertson on the ground.
And heartbreak in Oregon. The search for a missing man ends in grief. Plus, the new clues on his struggle to survive, when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: It is the president saying, I am looking for answers. I am looking for everyone who is willing to step up to the plate and give me ideas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, after the ISG long-awaited report was released today.
The next move is up to the President Bush, and he is under no obligation to follow any of the panel's 79 recommendations. The report doesn't mince words. And much of what it says will be hard for the Bush administration to swallow.
With a look at the report, here is CNN's Ed Henry.
ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His back against the wall, President Bush tried to put the best face on the Iraq Study Group's report.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This report will give us all an opportunity to find common ground for the good of the country.
HENRY: But make no mistake, this was a stinging rebuke.
HAMILTON: The current approach is not working.
HENRY: It came just one day after a startling admission from the president's own nominee for defense secretary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that we are currently winning in Iraq?
BILL GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY NOMINEE: No, sir. HENRY: How does the president turn the corner? He was careful not to endorse any of the panel's 79 recommendations.
BUSH: We will take every proposal seriously, and we will act in a timely fashion.
HENRY (on camera): How timely depends on when the Pentagon and National Security Council finish separate reviews of Iraq policy ordered by the president. He had been expected to use these internal reports instead of the Baker-Hamilton report to pick and choose more favorable options. But now the weight of this bipartisan outside report may just be too much to ignore.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I think that puts enormous pressure on the presidency. You know, we're going to have to do it a another way, a different way.
HENRY (voice-over): Panel Member Leon Panetta, a veteran of crisis management in the Clinton White House had some advice for Mr. Bush.
LEON PANETTA, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Ultimately, you can find consensus here. This country cannot be at war and be as divided as we are today. You have got to unify this country. And I'd suggest to the president that what we did in this group can perhaps serve as an example.
HENRY: But Bush intimate insists the president has to put defending the country above finding unity.
ANDREW CARD, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: So I would ask the president to step back, take a good objective look at all of these recommendations, ask his advisers to take a good look at them, get the fresh eyes of a Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, and let him participate in making recommendations, but then have the courage to make decisions that he thinks are right, not based on whether or not there is a political consensus.
HENRY: The president used to keep members of Congress at arm's length, but after receiving the Iraq Study Group's report, he quickly invited a group of lawmakers over to discuss it. And Mr. Bush asked a former rival, Senator John McCain, to stay afterwards for a rare one- on-one chat, early signs perhaps the president realizes he needs a fresh start.
Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.
COOPER: Well, earlier tonight, I spoke -- excuse me. Earlier tonight, I spoke with Dan Bartlett, counselor to the president for the White House for reaction to the panel's report.
COOPER: Dan, conservatives are saying this ISG report is really nothing new. Harry Reid from the Democrats is saying that this is a repudiation, a rejection of the policies of the Bush administration. Which is it?
DAN BARTLETT, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's a good question. I know there's going to be a lot of commentary and analysis. We're going to do our internal analysis first, Anderson, so the president has the benefit of taking all the recommendations in context and in its complete form before we opine on it.
I do think it's a serious piece of work. It's not going to please everybody. But the president listened very carefully to the report he was given this morning. He also listened very carefully to both Republicans and Democrats who he met with this afternoon, both in the Senate and in the House, to hear their views as well. They have a right to provide their advice to the president, so all of these things will be taken to into consideration, but it is a serious piece of work.
COOPER: But what exactly does that mean? I mean, do you feel, you know, in particular this ISG report is talking about launching an immediate diplomatic offensive which certainly seems to be a criticism of the administration's diplomatic efforts in the region thus far.
BARTLETT: I think the question really about Syria and Iran, whether we should talk to them or not, it's not a matter of actually talking. It's a matter of whether those talks will actually advance our goals or hinder our goals both in Iraq and in the broader context of the Middle East. And that's something that we have to look at very carefully.
We have spoken to the Syrians in the past. They have made commitments and not lived up to those commitments. So the question for us to ask is, will that advance our prospects both for stability in Iraq as well as meeting our other goals in the Middle East. And that is something we're going to look at very carefully.
COOPER: Well, James Baker has said, look, we -- all throughout the Cold War, talked to the Soviet Union even though they were talking about wiping us off the map. And we talked to Iran about Afghanistan, and that was helpful even though there were a lot of other issues that with Iran we certainly don't see eye to eye on. Why not reach out to them now?
BARTLETT: Well, that's a good point. It's not a question of whether you should talk to your adversaries or not. The question is, when do you time those talks to have the maximum benefit. Will they actually advance our goals or not?
Again, there are different circumstances that we face with the leadership in Iran which was different than when we worked with Afghanistan on the Afghanistan account. Again, we're in a different position with them on the Iranian issue as -- when it comes to nuclear weapons.
COOPER: Do you think we are winning the war in Iraq? BARTLETT: Well, I do. And I know -- I understand that there has been a lot of attention with Bob Gates' comments. And I think the point he is making is that winning is very difficult to see for the American people. And in some cases, we have had setback. We've had a lot of setbacks. We've had progress made. As General Pete Pace said, in some cases we aren't winning, but we are not losing.
COOPER: But you think we are winning. What makes you think we're winning?
BARTLETT: Well, again, as the Iraqi survey group said, the goal that we have in Iraq for an Iraq that can sustain itself, defend itself and be an ally on the war on terror is an important goal. In many respects we have accomplished a lot that we have sought out to do. No question about it, there's a lot of places where we're lacking significantly. Particularly, with the sectarian violence in the 30- mile radius around Baghdad.
The fact of the matter is, is we've got to find a way to break this cycle of violence, help the Iraqis advance their goals and advance our goals as well.
In the sense that what we are doing there is right, the reasons why we are fighting are right, and the progress overall that we need to make is something that this ISG group and us have come to the conclusion is a necessary part of our national security.
So the bottom line is, Anderson, is that we are in a very tough spot right now. Advancing our goals in Iraq have been very difficult, particularly in the last several months. But the fighting we are doing there is necessary and it's one I think that we can ultimately prevail in.
COOPER: Dan Bartlett, appreciate your time. Thanks.
BARTLETT: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: That was Dan Bartlett saying that he believes the U.S. is winning in Iraq, a view certainly not shared by Republicans or Democrats on the ISG commission.
Does the ISG report mean the end of what some critics call the president's cowboy diplomacy? Coming up, will President Bush actually soften his approach to foreign policy or will he continue to stick to his guns? Does the president think we are winning still?
And of course, all of the country was rooting for him, the father who tried to get help for his missing family. Tonight, not a happy ending, but at least learning what happened. We will bring you up to date.
(BEGIN GRAPHIC) RECOMMENDATION 35: The U.S. must make active efforts to engage all parties in Iraq with the exception of al Qaeda. The U.S. must find a way to talk to Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Moqtada al-Sadr and militia and insurgent leaders.
COOPER: That's the Iraq Study Group, one of its 72 recommendations, one that hits home today after another deadly day in Iraq. The numbers are sobering, 10 troops killed today alone, more than 2,900 in all. As for Iraqis, at least 45 more bodies found today in Baghdad, many with their hands tied behind their backs.
CNN's Nic Robertson is there as always for us.
Nic, what is the reaction there, if any, to the ISG report so far?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the ISG report said that four out of five Iraqis have a negative view of U.S. influence here. And that's exactly what we found on the streets. People we talked to said that they don't believe that the United States is going to do anything good that they don't believe that just because there is another report that that will have a positive impact on their lives here.
The prime minister's office said that the prime minister, although he has heard the Baker group give their report, he wants to read through the whole report before he says anything. But he is expected to give a press conference on Thursday -- Anderson.
COOPER: The bodies that keep showing up. I mean, what is the purpose of killing people and torturing them to death? Is it just to sow fear?
ROBERTSON: Fear, intimidation. There's a very clear message here. We're seeing it focused on universities at the moment as well. Sunni groups, warning anyone at the universities they'll be there -- they'll be attacked and they should expect it and that they should stay away. There's an effort to sort of close down civil society. There's an effort to show that the country is in a state of complete chaos. There's an effort to scare people out of their homes. It is the easiest option, scare people, you can get them to do what you want. You don't have to kill them all, just scare enough to move out of the neighborhoods. And this is what's happening. Tit-for-tat killings, vigilante killings, criminal killings. It's all just lost, but the majority is a sectarian push to sow fear -- Anderson.
COOPER: And there's no justice. I mean, there's no police investigation. There's no chance that the killer would be brought to justice if your loved one is killed, is there?
ROBERTSON: It seems not. The best people here can hope for is actually to be able to find their loved ones if they go missing. I mean, they spend days going around the different morgues of the city, days sometimes standing at the river banks to see if their loved ones will turn up washed up in the river. That's the best people can hope for. A sort of criminal investigation is beyond the capability of this country right now -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nic Robertson, sobering. Thanks, Nic.
A bloody backdrop, that's what that is. And the panel says time is running out in Iraq, that immediate action is needed. But remember, President Bush likes to call himself the decider. And the way forward, laid out by ISG, include some serious U-turns. Serious enough to make a decider dizzy.
Here's CNN's John King.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His is a foreign policy marked by clear lines.
BUSH: I will not wait for events while dangers gather.
KING: Articulated with a sharp tongue.
BUSH: States like these and the their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil.
KING: And anchored on the idea a new Iraq would transform the Middle East and more.
BUSH: So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of Democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
KING: Now, to embrace the gloomy verdict of the Iraq Study Group, Mr. Bush would have to concede he got just about all of it wrong.
MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: A White House that prided itself on resolve and optimism and staying the course and believing that history was on its side is now being sobered in a way that is even tougher because of the level of confidence verging on arrogance that has always been one of George Bush's characteristics as a politician.
KING: Wrong, the report says, to give Iraq an open-ended troop commitment, wrong to emphasize combat operations over training, wrong not to spend enough time on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and wrong not to sit down with Iran and Syria in an effort to calm the insurgency and sectarian killings.
HAMILTON: If you don't talk to them, we don't see much likelihood of progress being made.
KING: It is a rejection of what critics call Mr. Bush's no regrets cowboy diplomacy and his insistence for more than three years now that his Iraq strategy was working. BRUCE BUCHANAN, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: Particularly Karl Rove, who was a student of presidential history, has impressed upon President Bush the great importance of sticking to your guns as president and not becoming someone who is perceived as easily changed by either public opinion or political opposition.
KING: This highly-critical Iraq report comes just a month after mid-term election voters also delivered a rebuke. And some allies say the president has no choice at home and abroad to learn a lesson.
KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER REAGAN CHIEF OF STAFF: One of the things I think President Bush is about to understand is that compromise is not a four-letter word.
KING: Loyalistic knowledge some changes are necessary, but insist 20 or more years from now, a stubborn streak critics call dangerous will be viewed more favorably.
MARY MATALIN, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, you have to look through the lenses of history. If it's '41 or it's President Reagan or it's Truman or it's F.D.R., or it's Churchill or it's Lincoln. No wartime president was ever acknowledged for his successes during his lifetime.
KING: Perhaps, but at the moment success in Iraq is a distant hope. This president's immediate challenge, fixing a policy the new report suggests is perilously close to catastrophic failure.
John King, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: One of the suggestions to avoid that failure is to reach out, to reach out to Iraq's neighbors. Now, some who are accused of fueling the insurgency. President Bush says he will consider all proposals, but is he willing to go back down to secure the Middle East?
Plus, in Oregon, the desperate search for James Kim ends tragically. Tonight, insight on his effort to survive, and how his family is doing now.
And a deep chill is about to hit that part of the country, still reeling from power outages. How cold it's going to get and if it's heading your way, when 360 continues.
RECOMMENDATION 5: The Support Group should consist of Iraq and all the states bordering Iraq, including Iran and Syria, the key regional states, including Egypt and the Gulf States.
(END GRAPHIC) COOPER: Among the recommendations made by the ISG is that the U.S. include Iran and Syria in efforts to stabilize Iraq and the rest of the region. It is certainly a controversial suggestion and one that may be met with strong resistance by President Bush and others in Washington.
But as CNN's Tom Foreman reports, it may be time to talk to our enemies.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Undeniably, outsiders have had an influence over the Iraq war according to U.S. officials. Whether providing arms, intelligence or easy access over the border for insurgents.
Now, the Iraq Study Group says those outsiders must be engaged in diplomatic talks aimed at preventing further chaos in Iraq.
HAMILTON: We will be criticized, I am sure, for talking with our adversaries, but I do not see how you solve these problems without talking to them.
FOREMAN: On the western end of the country, the group would like to see Syria close down its 200-mile porous border over which funding and fighters are believed to flow to Sunni factions inside Iraq.
In the east, the group says Iran, an emerging power house in the Middle East, must be persuaded to stop providing arms and training to Iraqi Shiites who bitterly oppose the Sunnis.
And over in Israel, the study group says U.S. officials must urgently recommit to resolving an underlying source of friction, the decades old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
HAMILTON: Everything in the Middle East is connected to everything else. And this diplomatic initiative that we have put forward recognizes that.
FOREMAN: But getting other Middle Eastern powers to support the kind of peace the United States wants will certainly involve tradeoffs. And with Iran in particular, still worrying the world community over a suspected nuclear arms program, the White House is clearly hesitant to discuss its next move.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I am not -- I am just -- I am not going to get into the position of characterizing -- I am just, I'm not going to give you an answer to that question today. I'm not going to give you an answer to the question. I won't. I'll just, I'll continue dancing around it.
FOREMAN: But the Iraqi prime minister who met with President Bush recently is already calling for a regional conference on the future of his country, and the invitation list will certainly include Iran, Syria and other Middle Eastern players, whether the White House likes it or not. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, a lot of people talking on the blog tonight about the Iraq Study Group report and our interview with the co-chairs Lee Hamilton and James Baker. We showed the entire interview in the last hour of 360.
Quoting one of Mr. Baker's answers, Jim in Huntington, New York, writes, "I don't think that you can say that we are losing or winning? You must be kidding me! This report is nothing more than doublespeak."
Linda in Bella Vista, Arkansas, writes, "I'm still waiting for the voice in this firestorm to stand up for rebuilding the U.S. military, the Reserves and the National Guard."
This from Lori Anne in Buellton, California, "I agree we need a bipartisan plan to have any hope to calm the storm. And that," she writes, "should apply to the Republicans, Democrats and all in between. We really haven't had a debate in this country."
But as always, you can join the debate by going to CNN.com/360blog and weighing in. If you didn't like Lee Hamilton or Jim Baker's answer about winning or losing, curious to know what you thought about Dan Bartlett's, spokesman for the White House, answer, saying that we are winning undoubtedly in Iraq.
Well, coming up, his family survived days trapped in the snow. James Kim tried to get help and perished. We're going to have the latest on the tragedy, including the ways officials say a husband and father tried to stay alive.
Plus, after storms knocked out power to thousands, a region of the U.S. is socked with frigid temperatures. A live report on the big chill and where it is coming next, when 360 continues.
COOPER: In Oregon today, a nearly two-week old search for a missing man whose wife and children were found alive, ends with the worst possible news. The San Francisco family spent days huddled together inside a snow-bound car. Over the weekend, the husband and a father left for help. Trying to save their lives, he lost his.
CNN's Thelma Gutierrez has the latest.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): James Kim had been missing in these frozen mountains for 12 days. He and his wife, Kati, and their daughters, 4-year-old Penelope and 7-month-old Sabine huddled together in their car to stay warm. But after a week, trapped in the snow, as they ran out of food and gas, they made a heart- wrenching decision that the 35-year-old father should split off to find help.
Three days later a helicopter spotted Kati Kim and her children.
BRIAN ANDERSON, UNDERSHERIFF, JOSEPHINE COUNTY: The helicopter saw her with the umbrella waving frantically.
GUTIERREZ: They were alive. And amazingly, they were well.
But James Kim was still out there, lost in this icy wilderness, alone with only tennis shoes, jeans and a coat to stay warm. No hat and no food.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you ready to go?
GUTIERREZ: Finally today, a trail of clues lead to a discovery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Found him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The other ship just found him.
GUTIERREZ: Two rescuers were lowered to the ground. It wasn't what they had hoped.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 12:03 hours today the body of James Kim was located down in the Big Windy Creek.
GUTIERREZ: It was almost too much to bear for the man who led the rescue effort.
The pilot had spotted his body in the dense woods just about a mile from the car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was down in that drainage and he was about a half mile from the Rogue River.
GUTIERREZ: The search had been grueling, 100 teams combed this harsh terrain for five days searching for clues.
First, a pair of gray pants, then pieces of an Oregon state map, two gray sweatshirts, a tee shirt, a sock and a girl's blue skirt all laid out in some sort of a pattern, possibly an effort to help rescuers above.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very motivated.
GUTIERREZ: Motivated by love for his family. James, Kati, Penelope and Sabine, just seven months old, had been headed to the Oregon coast on the day after Thanksgiving.
Detectives say the Kims had missed a highway turnoff. They pulled out a map and found a back country road to the coast. The terrain there is treacherous, with sheer cliffs, sudden drops, and freezing snow. And the Kims' station wagon got stuck in the snow. Rescuers say the Kims found creative ways to stay alive. They ate berries and drank melted snow. What little they had, rice crackers and baby food, they gave to their children. Kati Kim breastfed both of them to keep them alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They ran out of gas. They were running the car during the day and at night to keep warm. Then they started to burn their tires.
GUTIERREZ: When he left to search for help, James Kim took a flashlight, two lighters and an Oregon map. But his ingenuity and love for his family were overcome by cold, wind, hunger and time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am crushed. Most of us have breathed and lived this for days. And yes, you do it take it personal.
COOPER: Thelma, have they found any messages left behind?
GUTIERREZ (on camera): Anderson, we are learning tonight that searchers did find two notes that were left behind. They found an S.O.S. note on the road. They're not exactly sure who wrote that note. They found a second note, written by Kati Kim, before she left her car with her two children to go out and walk for help. She left a note behind telling searchers, should they find the car, where she was headed and the direction in which she was headed.
COOPER: It is just such a sad ending. Thelma, thank you.
Across the middle of the country, outrage and outages. A killer storm swept through and left thousands with no power, and now millions of people are getting ready for another wintry blast. Could it be headed your way? Find out. A live report, next on 360.
COOPER: Well, the storms are gone, but the suffering is far from over. Across parts of the Midwest tonight, tens of thousands of people are still in the dark, left with no power from a weather system that took at least 16 lives. And right now the region is caught in a deep freeze. Tomorrow's high in Chicago is expected to reach just 17 degrees.
CNN's Kyung Lah is in Chicago with more -- Kyung.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, already bitterly cold temperatures that we're seeing here in Chicago tonight. Toss in the wind chill, which is five below zero, it certainly feels a lot colder. As you mentioned, temperatures only in the teens tomorrow. Wind chill expected to drop to 10 below zero.
What it means here in Chicago is that you really have to bundle up.
But further south, it is a very serious situation. In Decatur, Illinois, that is one city that has seen a cluster of power outages. They still have many houses without power. Amron (ph), the power company there, says approximately 50,000 people remain without power. Now 7,000 crews, according Amron (ph), are out there, working 16-, 18- hour days. They are cutting through some of those fallen branches. They're trying to restore those power lines.
But considering how cold it is now here in Chicago and throughout the Midwest, it is making their jobs quite a bit harder.
First of all, they have to get through that. And then when they get to the transponders, they've got to chip all of that ice that has collected over this past week off. So it is a very slow process, especially as the temperatures plummet.
Now, over in St. Louis, that's another cluster where they are seeing some power outages as well. What Amron (ph) says they are seeing there is that they are seeing a dangerous situation of carbon monoxide poisoning. There have been reports of 50 people have been taken to area hospitals due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
They're also -- according to Amron (ph), was a report of a house that was trying to stay warm by heating coal in a wok. The power company is reminding anyone in the Midwest if they have to stay warm, just go somewhere else or use a portable heater in a safe area.
And there's one thing we do want to add, Anderson. The Amron (ph) power company says that there is some goodwill being extended from the Gulf states. Amron (ph) had sent some power crews down to the Katrina ravished areas right after the hurricane to help. And in this case, those energy companies are now sending crews up to the Midwest to assist in trying to get the power back on -- Anderson.
COOPER: Kyung, thanks very much for that.
Our shot of the day is ahead. And trust me, you got to see this.
Also, allegations of FEMA fraud and how people claiming to be hurricane victims bilked the government out of millions. Stay tuned.
COOPER: And welcome back. Coming up, we're going to have the shot of the day. It's a special delivery. Wait until you hear where. That's a quick peak at it. Yes. That's a little baby being born. We'll tell you where.
First, Randi Kaye joins us with a 360 bulletin. Hey, Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson.
Quite a shot that is.
The Government Accountability Office says FEMA is still wasting millions of tax dollars in hurricane aid. The cash amounts are outlined in a new audit of FEMA. Some examples, federal investigators say FEMA has given out nearly $20 million in duplicate payments to more than 7,000 people who claimed they had property damage from both Katrina and Rita. FEMA has also shelled out at lest $3 million to 500 college students who aren't eligible for the cash at all because they're not even U.S. citizens.
Now to Milwaukee, a deadly blast. Three people killed and nearly 50 others injured in an apparent propane gas explosion at a downtown factory. The blast flipped cars and left a trail of burning rubble for blocks around.
Nationwide, Taco Bell is removing green onions from its fast food restaurants. The move comes after testing showed they might be responsible for an E. Coli outbreak that sickened nearly 60 people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Nine people remain hospitalized.
And now, way out on the final frontier, new evidence of water on Mars. Yes, it's true. NASA says photos take by the Mars Global Surveyor Spacecraft suggest water occasionally flows on the frigid surface of the red planet. The clue -- now pay attention here -- changes in craters that lead scientists have believed water flowed through them some time over the past seven years. But some researchers are skeptical. They say sand or dust could cause the same changes. A fascinating debate.
COOPER: Hmm. That is cool.
All right, Randi, thanks.
Here's now the shot of the day. Check out what was caught on tape. A baby born in a minivan in New Hampshire. Oh, the baby's first cry there. Mom couldn't make it to the hospital on time. Dad and the rest of the family pitch in to help deliver the newest member of the clan, baby Eliza. The 16-year-old big sister relayed instructions to the dad from the 911 dispatcher while videotaping the delivery. And the 6-year-old gave up her blankie to cover the new baby sister. We are told mom and baby are doing just fine.
COOPER: Dana, blanket.
Now, a little shameless commerce. Tonight we kick off the 360 takes you live sweepstakes. Here is the location of the day, Iraq. That's the code that you need to enter the contest. On our Web site, cnn.com/ac, just click on the chance to win sweepstakes link and enter for a shot at the grand prize, a trip to New York, and a behind the scenes look at 360. There's even goofy old me on that Web site. Again, the Web site is cnn.com/ac, and good luck.
Tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," the diamond industry, it's on the defensive over "Blood Diamonds," a new movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Some say diamonds are forever, but will the movie's impact last long? That's tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," starting at 6 a.m., Eastern.
That's it for us in Washington. We'll be back in New York tomorrow.
"LARRY KING" is next. His guest, the co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group, James Baker and Lee Hamilton.
See you tomorrow.
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