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Body of Missing U.S. Soldier Discovered?; President Bush Fires Back at Iraq War Critics; Democrats Face Backlash Over War Funding Retreat; Slot Machines on Military Bases?
Aired May 23, 2007 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks for joining us.
Here is what we're bringing out in the open tonight.
Is a body pulled from a river in Iraq one of the U.S. soldiers who has been missing for nearly weeks?
Also, slot machines on military bases -- are the profits worth the risk of addicting even one soldier?
And a surprising number of successful businessman just happen to be Mormon. How did Mitt Romney get to be so rich? Is it the man or the Mormon?
Tonight, three American families are bracing for the worst possible news from Iraq. A body police pulled out of a river today was wearing a U.S. uniform. It may be one of the three soldiers captured in an ambush almost two weeks ago.
This is a story we have been following closely. All of the men were based out of Fort Drum in New York.
We asked Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr to check her sources and bring us the latest.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: American troops and Iraqi security forces had been searching through Iraq's so-called Triangle of Death.
They started 12 days ago, after an attack in which four U.S. soldiers died and three others disappeared. Today, the Iraqi police came up with what could be a major break, pulling a body from this stretch of the Euphrates River, south of Baghdad.
MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM CALDWELL, U.S. ARMY SPOKESMAN, COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ: We have received the body. And we will work diligently to determine if he is, in fact, one of our missing soldiers. We have not made any identification yet.
STARR: The body was found in poor physical condition. A positive identification might have to wait for DNA analysis.
But U.S. military sources say the body was clothed in at least parts of an American uniform. Soldiers often put their names, Social Security numbers, and blood types on the insides of their clothes for emergencies. Investigators are looking for such clues.
But commanders are determined to make sure the families of the missing soldiers learn their fate from the military first, and not news reports.
CALDWELL: Our first responsibility really is to the families. And, if there is any possibility at all that this body that was given to us by the Iraqi police could be one of our missing soldiers, it -- they really need to hear from us first any of the details associated with that. And, obviously, we're proceeding along in a very cautious manner at this point, associated with that.
STARR: Still, the search goes on, as it has for the last 12 days. Exhausted and drained by the hot sun and the stress, more than 4,000 U.S. troops will continue the search for their missing brothers in arms, until they determine what happened to all three men.
(on camera): Here at the Pentagon, officials are waiting for that final word as well. Military counselors are with all three families, ready to offer what comfort they can, if that becomes necessary.
Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
PHILLIPS: Tonight, some newly declassified intelligence is out in the open.
It shows Osama bin Laden wants to use Iraq as a base for terrorist attacks on the U.S. President Bush himself gave everyone the news today, saying it proves forces need to stay in Iraq.
But the president's critics say he's only playing politics.
We asked White House correspondent Ed Henry to take a good, close look at the secrets, and why the president is bringing them out in the open.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush chose the commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy to push back at critics who say Iraq is a Vietnam-style quagmire.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The enemy in Vietnam had neither the intent, nor the capability to strike our homeland. The enemy in Iraq does.
HENRY: To bolster his case al Qaeda is the chief enemy in Baghdad, the president declassified intelligence suggesting that, in 2005, Osama bin Laden was trying to set up a unit in Iraq to launch terror attacks against America.
BUSH: There are many destructive forces in Iraq trying to stop this strategy from succeeding. The most destructive is al Qaeda.
HENRY: But detailing al Qaeda activity in Iraq in 2005, long after the war started, is fuel for Democratic presidential candidates, who charge, the war actually increased the terror threat.
JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The worst thing about the global-war-on-terror approach is that it's backfired. Our military has been strained to the breaking point, and the threat from terrorism has grown, not lessened.
HENRY: With weak public support for the Iraq war, declassifying intelligence about terror plots enabled the president to fall back on a strategy that worked in the 2004 and 2006 campaigns, playing on voters' fears of terror attacks here in the U.S.
BUSH: Here in America, we're living in the eye of a storm. All around us, dangerous winds are swirling, and these winds could reach our shores at any moment.
HENRY: But the president's decision to highlight bin Laden's ability to communicate with his top lieutenants raises questions about Mr. Bush's previous claims that the U.S. has disrupted the al Qaeda leader's activities.
HENRY: Now, the White House explanation is that they have not stopped bin Laden's communications altogether, but they insist they have disrupted his activities.
Nevertheless, the point is that he is still at large nearly six years after the president vowed he would get bin Laden, dead or alive -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Well, Ed, what do you think about the timing of all of this? Did Bush give any indication why he declassified this intelligence right now?
HENRY: Well, they're saying it -- the White House basically insists it is all because people are wondering, why does the president keep focusing on al Qaeda in Iraq? They think this intelligence shows why he should.
But it's also, the timing of this, awfully politically convenient for this White House. They're trying to bolster their case for why they think troops should stay in Iraq, and not be pulled out. So, releasing this now, even though a lot of this information was old, in terms of the terror plots, we have heard about these terror plots before. It's awfully convenient for them to reveal it now to try to bolster that case in Iraq -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Ed Henry, thanks.
HENRY: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: Now let's turn to international security expert Jim Walsh.
Jim, let me ask you, do you think al Qaeda is actually planning to launch attacks from Iraq into the U.S.?
JIM WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: Well, you know, it's possible. We don't actually have the document.
This sort of declassification on the run tends to be selective and partial. So, it's hard to evaluate. But everything I have seen, when you look at documents, al Qaeda documents, Web sites, indicates that al Qaeda is focused right now on Iraq. They would love to hit the U.S., but they are focused on Iraq.
Why? Because Iraq has been great for them. The CIA itself has said that they have been able to win new recruits. And they -- it's easier to kill Americans in Iraq than to travel all the way over to the U.S. to kill Americans -- and, then, just this week, a mind- boggling report from the CIA that says Iraq has been a moneymaker for al Qaeda, that insurgents -- al Qaeda members in Iraq are raising money, and sending it back to Pakistan. And they are helping to rebuild al Qaeda in Pakistan because of all the money that they are raising.
PHILLIPS: Well, and we will talk about -- more about al Qaeda in Iraq in a minute.
But just back to this newly released declassified information, I mean, it's information from 2005. So, is there really anything new?
WALSH: Well, I think it's interesting -- if it's true, I think it is interesting that bin Laden might consider staging an attack from Iraq.
The question is, why? Why would he do this? I mean, why wouldn't he simply stage it from Pakistan? Why would it be easier to stage an attack on the U.S. from Iraq than from the frontier regions in Pakistan? If it's true, it might tell us something interesting about the internal organization and thinking of al Qaeda.
But we weren't given enough today to really know, if it is true, is it still true? Why did he think this? What happened after al- Libbi was captured, the guy that they were going to send to Iraq? So, there's not a lot to go on here.
Really, this was just a little bit of intelligence that was part of a broader message that the president was trying to carry today in the speech, saying, we need to continue the fight in Iraq. That's really what this was all about.
PHILLIPS: All right. Well, but then he was talking about al Qaeda being the most destructive force in Iraq.
And you study this all the time. I just got back from Iraq. I spent time with General -- General Dave Petraeus. We actually went into the Dora district. It was an area where an al Qaeda death squad was ruling this area.
No doubt it has a powerful force there, but is it the most destructive force? Because even General Petraeus said to me: Kyra, there are so many different types of extremists in this country. It's not just al Qaeda.
WALSH: You're absolutely right, Kyra.
This is an ugly, boiling pot of very different, but all very violent, forces involved. Probably the most significant dynamic right now is the civil war, is the sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiites.
Now, President Bush would be right to say this was something that Zarqawi, before he -- he died, was trying to foment, was trying to make happen. Well, it has happened. And, so, right now, you have a lot more people who are dying in sectarian violence than you are from whatever al Qaeda is doing.
But it is al Qaeda, it is the Sunni vs. Shia, it is bandits, and kidnapping, and a -- a whole host of things that are contributing to instability.
PHILLIPS: So, let me ask you this. If U.S. troops left, do you think al Qaeda would take over the country, or do you think it would just be an all-out civil war, where all the extremists are ruling that country?
WALSH: Well, I think it's highly unlikely that al Qaeda would take over Iraq. Remember, this is a country that's a majority Shiite country. So, they're not going to be able to -- they don't have the person power or the resources to sort of set up a new government and rule.
The -- the Shiites are going to be the ones that do that. And the Kurds are going to have their own piece of territory. But that's not what al Qaeda is trying for. Al Qaeda wants to grab a city here or a network there, and have enough of a decentralized base, that it can continue to cause trouble in the region and continue to build its movement.
Its real aim is to use Iraq to build a movement, a broader international movement, that would attack Shiites and attack the U.S. and attack -- and -- and forward its agenda. That's what it's hoping to do. I don't think it's going to, like, set up a ruler, and there's going to be a president who is an al Qaeda guy. That's not what their strategy is.
PHILLIPS: Jim Walsh, always great to talk to you.
WALSH: Good to see you, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Well, there's been at least one big retreat when it comes to Iraq. The Democrats just gave up on setting a timeline for troops withdrawal. Now a liberal backlash is out in the open. Next: Who will it hurt the most? Also, a shocking part of daily life in Iraq is out in the open. How can Iraqi police ever take over security if they are popping pills like Valium and Viagra?
PHILLIPS: Tonight, on the eve of a major showdown on the Iraq war in Congress, we're bringing out in the open liberal backlash against Democrats accused of caving into the White House.
Democrats in Congress are getting hammered for crafting a compromise bill to fund military operations without a timeline to get U.S. troops out. And some critics even accuse the Democrats of betraying voters.
Congressional correspondent Dana Bash has the latest tonight.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you all very much for being here.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The question to Hillary Clinton was straightforward: Will she vote to fund the war without a plan to bring troops home? She ducked it.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, today, we're talking about this very important immigration issue. There will be time to talk about that later.
BASH: When pressed later by CNN, she snapped, "If I have something to say, I will say it."
Senator Barack Obama told CNN, he still hasn't decided how he will vote either.
The Democratic presidential contenders face a wrenching dilemma: how to vote on an Iraq war funding bill, after Democratic leaders gave in to the president's demand, and dropped a timeline for troop withdrawal.
If they vote no, they are breaking a promise to fund troops who are currently in harm's way. If they vote yes, they break a promise to anti-war primary voters to do everything possible to bring the troops home. And those voters are watching.
ELI PARISER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MOVEON.ORG: There is a price to be paid for Democrats and Republicans who endorse the president's failed strategy here. And I think, you know, that's what you're doing if you're voting for this bill.
BASH: Powerful anti-war groups are up in arms. MoveOn.org alerted its 3.2 million members to contact their representatives, and they're delivering this flyer: "Congress, show some backbone on Iraq."
PARISER: People want to see an end to the war. And, so, I think a candidate who stands for more war without end, and with President Bush, is not going to -- is not going to is not going to go very far, not in the Democratic primary.
BASH: Meantime, the undecided Democratic '08 candidates are also getting hammered by their opponents on the left.
EDWARDS: Any compromise that funds the war through the end of the fiscal year is not a compromise at all. It's a capitulation. Every member of Congress should -- every member of Congress should stand their ground on this issue.
BASH (on camera): As for the other two Democrats now in the Senate running for president, Joe Biden says he will vote for the Iraq war funding bill, while Chris Dodd will vote no, saying -- quote -- "Congress must stand up to the president's failed Iraq policy with clarity and conviction."
Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.
PHILLIPS: Also today, we learned that the Bush administration is working on a new strategy for Iraq, some calling it a plan B. Is it a sign that the president's surge is failing?
Let's go to tonight's "Out in the Open" panel, Keith Boykin, author and host of the BET show "My Two Cents," Stephanie Miller, liberal radio talk show host, and conservative commentator Mark Smith, who is also a constitutional attorney.
Keith, let's start with you.
Is this an admission that the troop surge is failing?
KEITH BOYKIN, HOST, "MY TWO CENTS": Of course it is.
You know, they even call it a redesign team. And it's ironic that they chose that term, because it's almost like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
This is a failed policy. There is nothing we can do to -- to make the policy work. And all the administration can do is to try to come up with new language to -- to put some good face on a bad design.
PHILLIPS: New language, new strategy.
MARK SMITH, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR & CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEY: No.
PHILLIPS: What would be -- would your plan B be?
SMITH: Well, look, here is the bottom line. The fastest way to get out of any war is simple. It's called to lose it, which is exactly what the Democrats would like. But the plan B and plan A is simple: Win the war on terror. And whether or not -- whatever...
PHILLIPS: How do you do that, though?
PHILLIPS: How do you do that?
SMITH: The answer is, we continue to do what we have been doing, which is, you move the war on terror from the streets of New York, like we saw on 9/11, to the back -- to the backyards and the neighborhoods of the Islamic fascists in the Middle East.
So, to me, as long as we continue to stay in the Middle East and Iraq for 50-plus years, until the war against Islamic fascism is done, that is the policy. The policy is...
PHILLIPS: But how do you -- how do you change it? How do you -- are you saying get more aggressive?
SMITH: The answer is, you continue -- you continue to kill them as they come into the kill zone. It's a flypaper strategy. You bring the Islamic...
BOYKIN: It's not working. It's not...
SMITH: It is working.
SMITH: Since 9/11, Keith, we haven't had an attack in the United States.
SMITH: Do you know why?
SMITH: Because we are killing them in the Middle East.
BOYKIN: No, you are missing the point. You are missing the point again.
SMITH: They can't come to the United States. They don't come to the United States...
SMITH: ... when we fight them over there...
SMITH: ... in their backyard.
PHILLIPS: Go ahead, Keith.
BOYKIN: We are spending $2 billion a week on a failed strategy...
SMITH: And it's a deal. And it's a deal.
BOYKIN: ... a failed war.
SMITH: And it's a deal.
BOYKIN: The American people know it's not working. Congress knows it's not working.
Everybody seems to know it's not working, including the generals there, except for George Bush and a few people who are defending him.
PHILLIPS: And they are killing the bad guys. So, what do you mean?
SMITH: It is working.
PHILLIPS: They are killing the bad guys.
SMITH: The policy is working...
SMITH: ... because, remember, the whole idea of the war in Iraq...
BOYKIN: How do you define success, then?
SMITH: ... and the war on terror is to avoid destruction and death in the American homeland.
PHILLIPS: All right, Stephanie.
SMITH: And that has succeeded.
SMITH: That is the reality. It's working.
PHILLIPS: What is your plan B, Stephanie?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Kyra...
PHILLIPS: What do you think? Working? Not working?
Yes. MILLER: Kyra, I'm about to jump through the television screen. Please.
PHILLIPS: Do it. Do it, please, so you can help me separate these two.
MILLER: I -- listen, Mark, I -- I and every other American have -- have really had enough of you saying that any true American...
SMITH: Not every other American. Come on.
MILLER: ... wants to lose in Iraq.
It's our kids that are dying, too. No American want to lose in Iraq. And Keith is exactly right. Please, what is this, "Extreme Makeover: Iraq Edition"? It's new talking point wallpaper? Please.
SMITH: Stephanie, you should thank President Bush, because you are alive because the war has been moved to the Middle East, and has not taken place out there in Malibu, I guess what you consider America's heartland, huh?
MILLER: Oh, I think -- so our troops are flypaper? Our troops are a magnet?
PHILLIPS: So, Stephanie, what is your plan B? They are talking about a plan B.
MILLER: Kyra, clearly, they are talking about plan B because exactly what generals that got fired told the president is happening, and the escalation is not working. In fact, it's counterproductive.
To me, the biggest issue lately is the story that was in "The L.A. Times" the other day that al Qaeda is being funded almost exclusively by Iraq now. So, not only have our intelligence agencies said that Iraq is making terrorism worse. This is a national security issue of the utmost importance. Al Qaeda is being funded by Iraq.
BOYKIN: Stephanie is exactly right.
PHILLIPS: But, Mark, if the troop surge is not working, which it seems that that's what the administration is saying, then, what is the -- what is the answer? What else do you do?
SMITH: Well, let's keep in mind that what President Bush is doing is very difficult on Iraq, because he is fighting this nontraditional war in an untraditional way. Rather than going...
BOYKIN: And losing.
SMITH: Rather than going in and blowing up an entire city, like we might do in World War II with Nagasaki or Hiroshima, President Bush...
PHILLIPS: Are you saying do that in Iraq?
SMITH: No. What I'm saying is, President Bush is trying to kill the bad guys, but not the good guys. When you try to pick and choose your targets, the way we're doing it, frankly, it's more dangerous to American soldiers.
BOYKIN: And we're failing at that, too.
SMITH: Keith, how can you say we're failing?
BOYKIN: We're failing at that, too, because we're killing...
SMITH: There has not been an attack since 9/11.
BOYKIN: ... innocent civilians in Iraq. And we're taking...
SMITH: Americans have been saved.
BOYKIN: We're making -- we're making the Iraqis hate us more. There is no way for us to win this war, except to leave.
SMITH: Did killing Nazis...
BOYKIN: The only way to win is to leave.
SMITH: Did killing Nazis create more Nazis?
BOYKIN: What you don't...
SMITH: Did killing Nazis create more Nazis or fewer Nazis?
BOYKIN: What you don't seem to realize is that, if we leave, then, we create the conditions that allows Iraq to flourish as a democracy. As long as we are there, we prevent that from happening.
SMITH: If we leave...
BOYKIN: We cannot win until we exit.
SMITH: If we leave, Keith...
BOYKIN: That's the only way to win.
SMITH: If we leave, we prove...
SMITH: ... Osama bin Laden right, which is, we demonstrate that we are, in fact, what the Democrats want America to be, which is a paper tiger.
BOYKIN: Where is Osama bin Laden?
PHILLIPS: Stephanie, go ahead.
PHILLIPS: Stephanie, go ahead.
PHILLIPS: Go ahead, Stephanie.
MILLER: Please, let me jump in from Los Angeles to talk over people now.
MILLER: I think that, you know, we -- we have got to come to terms with what is happening in Iraq.
You know, Mark, these talking points are not working anymore. Didn't the Fort Dix six prove that, you know, they have already followed us home? I thought they would follow us home if we left Iraq.
SMITH: And you should thank President Bush for stopping attacks on America.
MILLER: But do you really think that no terrorists...
MILLER: ... have MapQuest? None of them have Google? None of them have TripTik, that they can find their way here now? Please. We don't need talking points or catchphrases. We need a plan.
SMITH: Look, if you want to take a shot at the great Satan, it's much easier nowadays to go into Iraq than to come here to the United States.
MILLER: Yes, because we created a nice big target for them.
SMITH: Here's the thing. And you know what? We want to fight this war, Stephanie, with American soldiers, with F-16s and guns, not with American accountants and lawyers with briefcases.
SMITH: We want to fight the war in the Middle East with the military, not with a bunch of civilians on the streets of New York...
PHILLIPS: Keith, final thought.
SMITH: ... and Chicago, Stephanie. PHILLIPS: Final thought, Keith.
SMITH: That's the reality.
PHILLIPS: Final thought.
BOYKIN: I don't know why Mark continues to use these red herrings. Nobody wants to fight with accountants and lawyers.
SMITH: And that's why we fight in Iraq.
BOYKIN: And nobody -- and nobody in the Democratic side wants to lose this war. We all want to win. We just disagree about how you get there.
I believe, and most Democrats understand, and most Americans understand, the only way to win is if we pull out and do something different. And that's not what we're doing right now.
SMITH: Only Democrats could think...
PHILLIPS: We have got to...
SMITH: ... that surrender is winning.
PHILLIPS: We will leave it right there, gentlemen.
It will be an interesting election, no doubt.
Keith Boykin, Stephanie Miller, Mark Smith, thank you to all of you.
MILLER: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: Well, something that hardly ever gets out in the open, it's the war's devastating impact on ordinary Iraqis. Get a load of this. Can you believe a 13-year-old is selling Viagra on the streets? And why are Iraqi police buying Valium? I will show you more in just a minute.
And later: a shocking CNN investigation. Why does the Pentagon allow slot machines on military bases?
PHILLIPS: Tonight, we have considered the impact of the Iraq war on U.S. politics and on the military.
But a stark new report brings the Iraqi people's suffering out in the open. Just today, UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, says the world has turned almost 15 percent of Iraq's population -- that's four million people -- into refugees. Children are half that total.
This comes after estimates that the war has claimed at least 61,000 civilian lives. How do people in Iraq cope with suicide bombings and the constant threat of violence?
I recently spent seven weeks on assignment in Iraq, and discovered an astonishing number of people, from police, to soldiers, to ordinary Iraqis, are turning to two things: antidepressants and Viagra.
PHILLIPS (voice-over): I have never seen anything like it: an armed national Iraqi policeman just walking into a pharmacy and buying this, Valium and cough syrup with codeine to get high, a combination pharmacist Osama Mohammed (ph) says Iraqis buy every day.
"The demand just keeps getting greater," Osama (ph) says, "as the security situation gets worse. I know what my clients want just by looking at their faces."
Ibrahim Abdul-Aziz (ph) comes here for antidepressants. He says they make him feel less nervous.
"I hear explosions while sitting in my house. We hear the bangs when we leave the house," Ibrahim (ph) tells me. "I just want relief from everything. Without them, I feel crazed."
Osama (ph) says the psychological effects of this war are overwhelming, so Iraqis pop pills. Valium and Prozac are favorites. Osama says the violence is destroying men's sex drives, too. Viagra is now his hottest seller.
"I sell more than ten packets of Viagra a day, plus tonics to activate an erection," Osama (ph) tells me. "The psychological effects of the explosions, killing, and dead bodies are affecting everyone."
(on camera): Osama says his customers come in here every day for Viagra and/or antidepressants, and he monitors every single one of them, because he's concerned about overdose. That's why the black market is booming.
(voice-over): Thirteen-year-old Hazim Saleem (ph) says he's not only top of his class, but he's the top Viagra vendor in the neighborhood.
When asked, "Who taught you about these medicines?" Hazim (ph) says, "I taught myself."
Hazim (ph) sells a packet of Viagra for $1. It costs twice that in the pharmacy. Most of these vendors tell me they get these medicines from smugglers.
You can find a pill for almost every ailment: diabetes, bone disease, stomach pain. There's antibiotics, painkillers, even vitamins. Strike a deal, and you get your drug.
"We come here," this man tells me, "because we get things we can't get in a pharmacy. It's easier." An easy fix for temporary moments of peace in a war zone.
PHILLIPS: Now, when I was in Iraq, I sat down with the minister of interior, the man in charge of all Iraqi police officer forces.
And I said, look, I have one of your armed man on camera buying Valium and cough syrup to get high.
And you know what? He didn't deny there's a problem, and even added that some members of the Iraqi police have addiction issues.
We're going to bring a big gamble out in the open. Did you know military posts have slot machines and that they can lead to tragedy?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The military has this culture of -- of taking care of their own. But it seems like, when it comes to this, they just -- you know, they profited from his addiction, and then threw him away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Out in the open next: the story of a soldier who gambled away his family, his career, and, ultimately, his life.
Later: What is it about Mormon businessmen? Why are so many so successful?
PHILLIPS: In this half hour, serving god and making money. Why are so many Mormons great at business?
We're also bringing a surprising side effect of a Monday attention deficit drug out in the open. Could it help you lose weight?
Tonight, we're bringing out in the open something you have probably never heard about, soldier who's are risking their lives can gamble and lose everything without ever leaving their military base. The Pentagon runs a casino operation right on overseas bases, raking in more than $100 million a year.
In a special CNN investigation, Drew Griffin reveals the tragedy of an Army helicopter pilot trapped by a gambling addiction that turned deadly.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): She never saw it coming, Carrie Walsh's husband was an Apache helicopter pilot for the Army. But years ago, Aaron Walsh started playing the slot machines on military posts. He became a gambling addict. At 34, with his life in a tailspin, Aaron Walsh walked into the Maine woods, put a gun to his head and killed himself.
CARRIE WALSH, AARON WALSH'S WIDOW: The military has this culture of taking care of their own, but it seems like when it comes to this, they just -- you know, they profited from his addiction, and then threw him away.
GRIFFIN: The military has operated slot machines at overseas posts since the 1980s, the Army alone has 3,000 of them. And they bring in $130 million revenue every year. CNN could not get updated figures from the Air Force or Navy, which run their own gaming operations.
The Department of Defense would not allow CNN to take any pictures of them, but this photo appeared in "Stars & Stripes" just last year.
After years of study, University of Illinois Business Professor John Kindt says the profits on these machines are huge.
PROF. JOHN KINDT, UNIV. of ILL. SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: It's all about the buck, and in our military, it should be about service to our country. It shouldn't be about exploiting our service personnel and putting their families and their children at risk.
GRIFFIN: The Pentagon's response to those charges have been by e-mail and phone calls. No interviews, but we were told that the Department of Defense needs the revenue from gambling operations to finance it's overseas morale, welfare and recreation programs.
The slot machine money goes to things like bowling alleys and concerts, even to attract businesses like Starbucks in overseas posts. Things that make living overseas more enjoyable for members of the military. Undersecretary of Defense Leslie Arch, in a statement to CNN said, "Gambling on bases and posts provides a controlled alternative to unmonitored post-station gambling venues, and offers a higher payment percentage, making it more entertainment oriented than that found at typical casinos.
Kindt says the idea offering a safe or more gambling friendly environment than what is found off base is ridiculous.
KINDT: And we don't need this. As a matter of fact it hurts our military readiness. We're seeing double the addiction rates in the military that we're seeing in the general population.
GRIFFIN: The Pentagon's own study suggests the rate is similar to gambling among civilians. But Kindt says people drawn to the military are more predisposed to becoming gambling addicts. They are generally young, they take risks, and they're trapped on lonely outposts in front of slot machines.
WALSH: And he was at the top of his class in everything.
GRIFFIN: Aaron Walsh had gone through one marriage and a suicide attempt after getting hooked on the slots at a post in Germany. After he married Carrie they were sent to Korea. Again, Aaron Walsh was lured by the slot machines on base. In ten months, this military father and husband tore through his military paychecks, maxed out his credit cards, and even stopped eating to pay for his addiction. When he got into trouble for missing work, and was grounded, Carrie Walsh had enough. She left Korea and Aaron.
Kindt says the military's gambling operations were reviewed by Congress seven years ago, what Congress got, he said, was this --
KINDT: A 13-page report. A real whitewash by the military. Now would they be doing that? It's because there is something that they don't want the public to know, there's something they don't want Congress to know.
GRIFFIN: The report dismissed the notion that the slot machines fed gambling addictions among the troops. The military did run an addictive gambler's treatment program at Camp Pendleton and for a time Aaron Walsh was sent there, but he went AWOL.
"The New York Times" profiled Aaron Walsh in the fall of 2005, he was alive, addicted to gambling, and homeless in Las Vegas. A few months after being forced to leave the military because of his addiction problems, Walsh turned up in Maine.
WALSH: Yes, he was really, really sad. He knew that he had lost everything, and that, you know, he'd messed up. And he believed that he was going to get better.
GRIFFIN (on camera): And you thought he was going to get better?
GRIFFIN: But even rural Maine couldn't protect Aaron Walsh from his own addiction. Just an hour north, here in Bangor, Maine was opening its first casino, the Hollywood Slots. And it's here, Carrie Walsh says, her husband would place his last bet, the one on his life.
WALSH: I think he had been doing really well staying away from it, and then I think that he went and had like a gambling binge and then realized what he had done, and decided he wasn't ever going to get better.
GRIFFIN: Earlier this year, the Pentagon shut down its program at Camp Pendleton, the only in-patient facility for gambling addiction, leaving soldiers like Aaron Walsh to fend for themselves. Drew Griffin, CNN, Bangor, Maine.
PHILLIPS: Did you know that some of the nation's most successful CEOs have one thing in common? They are Mormon. Out in the open, next, the Mormon values that really mean business. Do they also mean a Mormon in the White House?
Later, a popular attention deficit drug's controversial side effect. Should it be prescribed for losing weight?
PHILLIPS: Out in the open tonight, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been taking some heat over religion. Romney is a Mormon and a very wealthy Mormon at that. He's not alone. You would be amazed how many CEOs running top companies also share his beliefs.
Faith & Values Correspondent Delia Gallagher looks into whether there is something about the Mormon way of doing business that gives Mormons an edge in enterprise.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH & VALUES CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Jim Quigley is the CEO of one of the nation's largest financial firms, Deloitte & Touche. He has devoted much of his life to climbing the corporate ladder.
JIM QUIGLEY, CEO, DELOITTE & TOUCHE: She's on my line?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's on your line.
GALLAGHER: But Jim also devotes a lot of time to the Mormon Church, one of a number of Mormons in top corporate positions. Like the founder of jetBlue, the CFO of CitiGroup, the former dean of Harvard Business School, and many others.
JEFF BENEDICT, AUTHOR, "MORMON WAY OF DOING BUSINESS": There are about 13 million Mormons in the world.
GALLAGHER: Jeff Benedict, author of the book, "The Mormon Way of Doing Business" says the principles and practices of the Mormon faith, like not drinking alcohol, servicing at their church, and devotion to their families, have help these CEOs get to the top.
BENEDICT: What each of these guys shared was that, again, there was a competitive edge, an advantage to being the only guy in the room, at age 25, who didn't have an alcoholic beverage in their hand at a business party.
GALLAGHER: Quigley spends every Sunday, and sometimes Saturday, at church. And he says he learns as much there as in the corporate world.
QUIGLEY: The leader, who has an opportunity to seven days a week be mentored, to watch effective leaders, they are going to have an advantage over someone else who is watching NFL football games on Sunday. Your not going to build many leadership skills with your remote control.
GALLAGHER: Mormon CEOs serve senior positions in their church unpaid. And Mormons also donate 10 percent of their income to the church, called tithing.
BENEDICT: Tithing is a principle that teaches business leaders to give up the one thing that many of us covet, which is money. How does that translate into business? These guys learn things about how to be empathetic to members of your congregation that are going through tough times. How to give up the other thing we covet, besides money, which is your discretionary time.
GALLAGHER: But Mormons say the value they place above all others is family.
QUIGLEY: Mormons are encouraged to devote significant time to their families and provide -- make that part of who we are, and I think it actually makes me more effective as a CEO.
GALLAGHER: You don't have to be a Mormon to succeed, of course, but in a competitive world, they say a little discipline and a lot of faith can go a long way. Delia Gallagher, CNN, New York.
PHILLIPS: With me now, Jeff Benedict, who we heard in Delia Gallagher's report. He's author of "The Mormon Way of Doing Business."
All right, so a question, Jeff, if family and church are the main priorities for Mormons and career comes number three, how are they so successful?
BENEDICT: I think what the secret is that they have found is that if you have a strong family at home, and you make a certain amount of time commitment to them every week, and are you grounded in your faith -- no matter what faith it is -- you are a better businessman. You are a better worker.
If you go to work and when are you there you are not worried about what happened at home this morning, because things are right at home, are you a better performer at work.
PHILLIPS: So let me ask you, then if Mitt Romney were to become president, he is a Mormon, does that mean the country comes third? Because family and church, number one, number two?
BENEDICT: The family comes first very clearly. If you look at the CEOs we just talked about. These are guys, because their families are as strong as they are, and they are grounded the way they are, they are able to give so much of their time and their effort to their companies. They lay it all on the line and I think that they feel a certain obligation to their shareholders, to their employees and to their customers.
PHILLIPS: Let's talk about where that comes from. All Mormons have to go on a mission for a couple of years. Talk to me about the discipline and the lifestyle that leads to success in business.
BENEDICT: It's very different. When you are 19 years old, and all of a sudden instead of going -- you are leaving high school, and instead of going off to college or business school, you running off to Argentina or Korea or Mexico and you are giving up two years, you're not getting paid a dime to do it. You don't go home for two years, there are no holidays, don't date girls, you don't do any of that stuff.
All you for two years is work like a dog in a very frustrating environment. It's hard to talk to people about religion who don't want to hear about it. What this teaches these guys, you come home at 21, you have learned about perseverance and sticking to something no matter what. You learn about overcoming the odds, about punctuality, all of these things that if you go into business, happen to be great traits and techniques that you use, and these guys all did that.
PHILLIPS: What about tithing?
BENEDICT: Tithing is huge, because tithing is a commandment in the Mormon Church. People are expected to give 10 percent of their income. That's a huge commitment.
PHILLIPS: But other churches ask the same thing.
BENEDICT: Well, other churches ask people to give up money but there aren't other churches that treat it as a commandment and a set 10 percent amount. That's a lot of money to give up, whether you are making $30,000 a year, or $3 million.
How does it help in business? Well, one of things that trips up executives and people who get a lot of power in business is greed. And tithing is a great insulator against greed.
PHILLIPS: Also, I know Mormons spend, what, up to three hours on Sunday at church?
PHILLIPS: Most people go for 45 minutes to an hour and they are on with their day.
BENEDICT: That's right. It is big, when you think of every Sunday, it's not just Easter and Christmas, it's every Sunday, three hours a Sunday. Whether you have little kids, whether you're a senior citizen, it doesn't matter, everybody does the same thing. And it is different. There aren't many churches who do that. It's a big time commitment.
PHILLIPS: When you say carving out specific -- a specific amount of time for family, because businessmen work long hours -- and businesswomen -- all through the night, on weekends. So I still am having a hard time understanding how they are so successful and really do have that quality time at home?
BENEDICT: Look, you'd be honest here. It's not like these guys are leaving the office at 5 and coming home and having a nice sit down dinner. These guys work as hard as anybody, or harder. The point is I think all of them have earmarked Sunday as that is the day that is off limits. We put boundaries around that day. And if you think about it, to take a whole day and dedicate a once a week to your family and involved with your faith, most people don't do that.
PHILLIPS: Sure, it's quality. BENEDICT: It's quality time.
PHILLIPS: It's quality time. Jeff Benedict, thank you so much.
BENEDICT: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: Well, let's take a business break real quickly. Stocks stumbled after former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned the Chinese stock market may soon see sharp declines.
The Dow closed down 14 points; the Nasdaq fell almost 11; and the S&P dropped 1. Gas prices continued to soar, hitting an average of $3.22 per gallon for regular. And in Washington the House voted to hit anyone found guilty of gas price gouging with heavy fines and even jail time. But the White House calls that a form of price control that would cause lines at gas stations.
Finally, don't cross Coca-Cola. A former secretary convicted of conspiring to steal trade secrets from Coke and sell them to Pepsi has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison.
A mind-altering drug for children with attention deficit problems has a side effect will really get your attention. People who take it lose weight. Why isn't that good news?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doctors who prescribe this could end up killing kids. Amphetamines can be habit forming and they have serious side effects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Out in the open, next; a weight loss technique that many doctors say is really dangerous.
PHILLIPS: So would you let your child take a mind-altering drug he doesn't need just to lose weight? You might be surprised to know that some parents are doing just that. It's a controversial debate we're bringing out in the open tonight, with the story of one family's decision to let their son take a drug some doctors say could be lethal. Is the weight loss worth the risk? Here is Elizabeth Cohen with tonight's "Vital Signs".
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is how Alex Veith keeps his weight down, but from ages from 11 to 16, this little pill is how he lost weight, Adderall, a prescription drug intended for people with attention deficit disorder. Alex never had ADD, but in a controversial move, his doctor prescribed it to him to lose weight.
LISA VEITH, ALEX'S MOTHER: Within a year, he -- pictures can show that he definitely drastically changed.
COHEN: Here's Alex in fifth grade, Alex in sixth. He went from being 30 pounds overweight to being a normal weight. His parents were relieved. They tried everything to help him lose weight, they feared other kids would start teasing him, and his doctors said Alex was headed for serious health problems. But Adderall, a well-known appetite suppressant, cut his appetite in half.
VEITH: You should have saw everyone else when I went back to school next year. Everyone didn't believe it was me.
COHEN: Doctor Fuad Ziai, Alex's pediatric endocrinologist says he's put hundreds of children who don't have ADD on Adderall, specifically to help them lose weight, and he's almost never disappointed.
But this pediatrician -- and every other one we talked to -- is horrified.
DR. JOHN LANTOS, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Doctors who prescribe this could end up killing kids. Amphetamines can be habit-forming and they have serious side effects.
COHEN: The Food and Drug Administration recently warned about sudden death when some people take ADD drugs and have underlying heart problems. The agency also warned that people on drugs like Adderall develop psychiatric problems, hearing voices, becoming manic. But Doctor Ziai says he's seen few side effects and they are far outweighed by advantages.
There is an obesity epidemic among American kids, and he says he's getting results.
(on camera): I have to tell you, other doctors I talked to, they think this is crazy to give a kid ADHD drug when they don't have ADHD.
DR. FUAD ZIAI, PEDIATRIC ENDOCRINOLOGIST: I respect their opinions, but I'm sure I would be very happy to have them review the cases that we have had.
COHEN (voice over): According to Doctor Ziai, Alex was headed towards severe obesity and Type II diabetes, and now he's not. Dr. John Lantos say he's quite sure that other doctors are prescribing Adderall for weight loss, they are just not as out in the open about it.
LANTOS: It's morally questionable, and medically questionable. So, I don't think anybody is proud of doing this.
COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Chicago.
PHILLIPS: We're just minutes away from "Larry King Live". And the latest chapter in a long-running sex scandal, Mary Jo Buttafuoco joins Larry to talk about reports that her ex-husband, Joey, and Amy Fisher are back together. That is just ahead, at the top of the hour.
PHILLIPS: The newest member of Vice President Dick Cheney's family, his sixth grandchild is out in the open. Here's Samuel David Cheney's first official photo op, with his obviously proud grandparents. The vice president's daughter, Mary, gave birth to him this morning. She intends to raise him with her gay partner, Heather Poe.
That's all for tonight. Tomorrow, is running for president a good enough excuse to skip you day job. We're brining out in the open how many votes Senator John McCain has skipped this year. You're not going to believe the number. Should he just resign from the Senate? We'll debate it tomorrow. "Larry King Live" starts right now.
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