Return to Transcripts main page
THIS WEEK AT WAR
Week's War-Related Events Reviewed
Aired November 10, 2007 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR, THIS WEEK AT WAR: Lawyers, journalists and democratic politicians being arrested and beaten on the streets of Pakistan, while Islamic militants operate freely on the Afghan border. Has President Musharraf become a liability instead of an ally? And more U.S. troops in Iraq have now died than in any other year of the war, but as the monthly casualty counts fall, are we already forgetting about those troops and the challenges they still face? THIS WEEK AT WAR after a look at what is in the news right now.
TONY HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone. I'm Tony Harris with a check of the headlines. Pakistan's opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was allowed to leave her home today, but the government blocked her attempt to visit the country's deposed chief justice. Meantime, President Bush wants again urged Pakistan's president to cancel the now week old state of emergency.
And "Wicked," "Phantom of the Opera," "Beauty and the Beast," almost all of the theaters on Broadway tonight are dark. Stage hands walked off the job today. Union members decided to go on strike after working several months without a contract. Refunds or exchanges are being issued for tickets to the canceled shows.
First President Bush appeared to be cultivating a new hobby. That's him making another sky dive, his sixth. He was celebrating the re-opening of his presidential museum. He hitched a night with the Army's Golden Knight skydiving team. Those are the headlines this hour, keeping you informed, CNN, the most trusted name in news.
FOREMAN: Here is where things stand in THIS WEEK AT WAR. Hopes for peace in Pakistan are down, way down as street demonstrations continue to grow. 2007 is now the deadliest year for U.S. soldiers in Iraq, but it is a mixed situation with a lot of good news in recent months. The accelerating buildup of the Chinese military might pose a challenge to world peace. The question of torture remains undecided as Congress backs down from a challenge to the administration. And on this Veterans Day weekend, new evidence that the troops who have fought in Iraq and earlier wars are not getting the care they need.
That is how things stand and here is where we are going to find out what is next. Zain Verjee is in Islamabad, Pakistan, where unrest is running rampant. Is Musharraf really worth all of this? Michael Ware has returned to Baghdad. We will ask him how much real change he sees and how much remains to be done and Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is watching China's military. And we witnessing the creation of a rival super power, THIS WEEK AT WAR.
If you are confused by the chaotic situation in Pakistan, you are not alone. The president of this nuclear-armed U.S. ally is releasing insurgent fighters and jailing dissident lawyers. The former prime minister is organizing massive street protests and the most popular politician remains in exile. So to try and bring some clarity to all of this, CNN State Department correspondent Zain Verjee is in Islamabad. CNN national security advisor John McLaughlin joins us from Los Angeles and with me in Washington, is Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Zain, an awful lot has been said about President Musharraf and all the pressure against him right now. Is there any indication he is feeling the pressure?
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. He is feeling the pressure. He decided to say that, OK, fine, I will set a date for elections and I'll set it for February 15th. He also said I will take off my uniform as the chief of the army before I take the presidential oath, but there are a couple of things there. Firstly, not a lot of people here really believe him. He's said that before and he hasn't really lived up to that. So they're pretty cynical about thatSecondly, what he wants is for the Supreme Court who he has handpicked to rubber stamp his legitimacy as president.
FOREMAN: Let's look at the map, Daniel and talk a little bit about this. As you zoom in here, talk about why we in America care so much about these problems in Pakistan.
DAN MARKEY, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, it is clear as you look at this map, you can see where Pakistan is relative to Afghanistan. You can see to the extent to which Pakistan is really, if you showed up and looked all of the way around Afghanistan, Pakistan is one of our only and best ways to get into Afghanistan, so as a logistics simply put for our efforts in Afghanistan, this is absolutely an essential country.
FOREMAN: And John, when we talk about the military capabilities of Pakistan and particularly the nukes involved, that is a big concern.
JOHN McLAUGHLIN, FMR. CIA DEP. DIRECTOR: Absolutely. Most people would say that they are secure for all sorts of reasons, but I think we have to question all of our conventional wisdoms about Pakistan at this point. After all, extremists have been able to take two or three assassination attempts against Musharraf. A bomb went off not long ago about a mile from his house in Rawapinti (ph) and that tells me that -- and we have seen from other nuclear powers like Russia, some materiel leaking out, so while I think they have their best people on this, I don't think we should be complacent about it in these chaotic circumstances.
FOREMAN: Let's take a look on a graphic here about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. We believe that they have enough enriched uranium for about 50 bombs, maybe as many as 50 bombs. They're stored in six or more locations. They are believed to be stored disassembled. They are not operational at the moment, but they could be quickly put together as far as we understand from intelligent sources and they are under tight military security. But let me ask you this, Daniel, if tight military security in Pakistan, that tight these days? MARKEY: Well, I'd say we have to be concerned. I mean, it would be stupid to think that everything is OK. But to the extent that there is something safe in Pakistan, I think it is nuclear weapons are probably that thing. The institution of the military, the army is the strongest institution in the country and the institution within that institution that takes care of their nuclear program is the one where the most reliable and trusted people are placed. So they have made an extreme effort to safeguard that program. Remember, it is a program that they want to keep out of India's hands, so they need to keep safe from their avowed enemy over history, so they are concerned about it in those terms, too. So they are trying to be very confident, but I think that John is right. We have to be concerned, because there is a level of crisis here that could put anything at risk.
FOREMAN: Let's return to the politics on the ground there, Zain, if we can. You listened to what Miss Bhutto had to say the other day. Let's listen as well on Friday as she called out to the nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENAZIR BHUTTO, FMR. PAKISTAN PRIME MINISTER: I am calling on my countrymen to join me. This is not a battle for Benazir Bhutto. This is not a battle for (INAUDIBLE) peoples' party. This is battle to save Pakistan, to save Pakistan from the forces of extremism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: To save Pakistan from the forces of extremism, Zain, do most people in Pakistan feel that that is what this battle is about right now?
VERJEE: They feel that that is part of the battle, but when they look at the situation, the politics, the back and forth between Benazir Bhutto and General Musharraf and all the discussions that are going on, the perception is that Benazir Bhutto is really sitting on the fence and trying to play a double game here. What she is doing on the one hand is calling for mass protests and she is the only person in this country who has that, can generate and mobilize that kind of people power. So you hear her saying things like that. On the other hand, she is leaving the door open for negotiations with General Musharraf. So she hasn't decided definitively what side to go on, but what she has said was that the focus General Musharraf has is all wrong. What he is doing, he's cracking down on people like lawyers and civil rights activists and civilians, when in fact he should be fighting extremism and that is the argument that she puts forth.
FOREMAN: John, because we have concerns along the border there, particularly as we get closer to the Afghanistan where the Taliban is, how active is the intelligence community at a time like this giving reports back to Washington about what's happening there?
McLAUGHLIN: This is where the last national intelligence estimate said that in all likelihood al Qaeda has a new sanctuary and so forth. So the focus here is unsurpassed and I think we have to worry as Zain's comments indicated that with all of the turmoil that the army is being forced to deal with elsewhere, their attention cannot be focused as totally on this area as the United States would like.
FOREMAN: And Daniel, when we look at this border, this one of the areas we're talking about here. One of the concerns is right along here. This is where the Taliban has been resurgent, reaching out, striking the government of Afghanistan, striking the government of Pakistan. How much is this group up in here a big concern right now as all of this is happening?
MARKEY: Well, it is an absolutely central concern, because the question would be whether President Musharraf and his army are now being more distracted by the events that are ongoing in the nation, this larger political crisis that they are facing and are in fact, not capable of focusing on what really matters which is this fight against extremists, against militants, against terrorists so despite the fact that the claims out of the Musharraf regime have been that the state of emergency has helped them fight terrorism, in many ways they are probably more distracted now than they have been in the past. That's dangerous for us and I think it is dangerous for them.
FOREMAN: One of the comments that was made this week was by Imran Kahn, the leader of a small opposition party and I want to listen to it, because it is an interesting thing to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOICE OF IMRAN KAHN, MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE PARTY LEADER: Well, what I want the U.S. to do is to learn from the experience with the shah of Iran. They kept backing a dictator right to the end and the pro-democratic movement in the end, not only turned anti-American, but because the democratic forces were crushed by the dictator, in the end the militants took over and that is exactly where Pakistan is heading.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: And John the last word goes to you. Is that where Pakistan could be heading? Is this a fair assessment from an intelligence standpoint?
McLAUGHLIN: I think it is a fair assessment. I don't think anyone at this point is anticipating that the militant forces will literally take over Pakistan, but what is slipping away from us here is the likelihood of compromise among civilian and military forces that would have given us the best united front against terrorism that we've had in years. That is what is slipping away and that's what potentially at loss here as this chaos continues.
FOREMAN: Thanks to you John, Zain and Daniel as well.
This is Veterans Day weekend and throughout the program, we're going to take the time to honor some of the men and women who have won this country's highest military award. The story of Sergeant William Carney is coming right up. You don't want to miss it. And in just a moment, the latest on today's battlefield from CNN's Michael Ware in Baghdad.
But first, let's take our weekly look at the work of combat photographers. Gregoria Morero (ph) caught this picture on Wednesday in Caracas, Venezuela, as protesting students attempted to close the door against a masked man armed with a pistol. At least one student was wounded by gunfire after they demonstrated against President Hugo Chavez.
In Baghdad, 266 couples took advantage of a lull in the fighting to get married. Hadi Misbari (ph) was present as this bride and groom cut their cake in the ballroom of the Hotel Babylon.
A riveting moment in the midst of chaos as small arms fires strikes troops from the First Calvary division during a patrol in western Mosul, Iraq. Mia Alarutso (ph) took this picture in the window of a Humvee. And finally, at the funeral of a lawmaker killed in Afghanistan's deadliest suicide bomb attack, Rafik Makmu (ph) caught this image as friends tried and failed to bring comfort to a grieving relative.
FOREMAN: Take a look at this, for the first time in years, Iraq is not the number one concern for voters. The economy has overtaken the war as the most important issue, even though more troops have been lost in 2007 than in any other year. In the past few months the news from Iraq has been if not good, at least not as bad as we've been used to. So is Iraq becoming something that's out of sight, out of mind? For a look at what's really going on, CNN's Michael Ware is back in Baghdad after some well-deserved time covering another dangerous event, the world rugby championships. And retired Brigadier General David Grange joins us from Chicago. Michael, as we always do, give us the situation on the ground first. Things looking good? Bad? Otherwise?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have to say it truly is a blessing what the Iraq that I have returned to. Whichever way you look at it, yes, American and Iraqi lives are still being lost, but they are at levels phenomenally lower than they were a year ago. There is considerably less violence. This is still a war zone. There is still sectarian bloodshed, but at least now, there is something of a lid to that and that has to be celebrated as a success. The question is, a success of what?
Now, clearly the military would like to attribute this to the surge, the increase of 30,000 extra forces here in the capital and of course, the addition of that kind of military might has played a part, but it hasn't achieved the end result that it was advertised that it would, the political reconciliation between the major parties, but what it has done is it's given America time to build the Sunni militias, these concerned citizens' organizations, these awakening councils where we now see America with 67,000 insurgents on the U.S. payroll. These men that the administration called dead enders and criminals and Saddamists and rejectionists, America is now paying. They are out there slaughtering al Qaeda and they're out there forcing this Iraqi government, which is Shia-dominated and according to U.S. intelligence with many ties to Iran, to come to terms with the new American created reality, and that is that the Sunni must play a part. We have armed them. We are organizing them. You can no longer ignore them.
FOREMAN: We have been watching this add up for several weeks now, things getting steadily better and yet, look at this poll, because it is really is rather shocking. In terms of opposing this war, 68 percent of the people, an all-time high, are against the war now even though things are going much better. General Grange, what do you make of that?
BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE, (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think it is a bit in vogue now, also not to approve the war with the political debates that are ongoing. I think the danger here is that there is some momentum with positive results, in this conflict right now and it is not the time to forget about the war and it is not a time to start pulling back too rapidly, because when you have success, when you have some measures of victory, you want to reinforce that to keep the momentum, to keep the enemy off balance and not let them breathe. So now is the time to actually keep the pressure on to really achieve victory.
FOREMAN: There does tend to be a tendency in our business, General, for bad news to trump good news. Do you sense that right now that the stories moving off of the front pages, because it is not bad news?
GRANGE: Absolutely. I mean, I do think that, that's prevalent that bad news is easier to report, more exciting to report, is great for market, the media market. It would be -- the balance is what you want. It is very important now especially to the GIs still in harm's way, to those allies that depend on us that we do show the positive aspects when in fact they do occur, which until this year, it hasn't been too much of.
FOREMAN: Michael, if you still can keep that support alive in this country right now, what do you think the people on the ground there most need to accomplish next, our soldiers and the Iraqis to keep things moving in a positive direction?
WARE: Well, obviously, reconciliation is the main thing, getting these incredibly scarred Sunni and Shia communities to come back together and whilst we might see that on the street level, even perhaps the neighborhood level, we are not seeing it now, and we are not going to see it at the level s of the upper political stratagem. That is not what's going to happen. What we need to see is this momentum continuing, but for me personally, the blinding frustration of this enormously successful program that America has initiated with the Sunnis by bringing them in, befriending their old enemies, the men who had been shooting at them is that the Sunnis offered this four years ago.
It is almost as if we have now witnessed the end of or coming to the end of a guerrilla war we never had to have. 3,000 American lives and one wonders, did they have to be lost? Either way, now that they are finally doing it, that General Petraeus is doing what others wouldn't, this needs to be consolidated and this Iraqi government, which does not share American agendas needs to know that America is playing tough and it has to get on board and Iran needs to know that suddenly, there is a buffer within Iraq to curb their influence and obviously, this will keep America's Arab allies happening, essentially more of the same. This is what we need.
FOREMAN: And General Grange, very quickly to you, will this change at all the timetable of America getting out of this war?
GRANGE: Well, I think it would, but again, I would caution to be careful here by rushing to withdraw too rapidly when you have this type of success, will give you another dip. You know, you get these spikes, these valleys. You don't want that right now, especially when we want to put pressure on Iran like Michael said, when you want to keep things going and show what at grass roots level where things are working in the communities, in the tribes to the national government, get on with it. Your countrymen are doing it. Now get on with it, because that has to be done.
FOREMAN: And on that, we are done. General Grange, thanks so much, Michael Ware come join us again.
Coming up, a look at an emerging superpower that's beginning to challenge the United States.
But first, as we promised, the story of Sergeant William Carney. In the civil war as union troops tried to take South Carolina's Ft. Wagner from Confederates, for the first time African-Americans led the way, and when the soldier carrying the battle flag fell, Carney picked it up and led on. After two months of siege, the fort was taken. Carney was awarded the congressional medal of honor and his heroics are immortalized in the movie "Glory."
Next, the story of the first and only woman to share this award. But first a THIS WEEK AT WAR remembrance, Army Sergeant Louis Grese of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin was killed late last month by an IED in Tikrit, Iraq. Sgt. Grese was on his third tour of duty with the 101st airborne division out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Louis' mother Sue talked about the pain of learning about her son's loss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUE FRIHART, MOTHER: When those men in the green, green suits come to your door, you know it is really there. And I think that is the worst thing any mother or father ever has to face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Louis himself recently became a father. His daughter Skylar born one month before his last deployment. Sgt. Grese was 30 years old.
FOREMAN: On Monday a Chinese space probe successfully entered lunar orbit, a small step in a 10-year program to put a man on the moon. It is only one example of how China's economy, technology and military are all leaping forward. To discuss what this could mean for America, Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is at her post now and with me in our Washington studio, Dan Blumenthal, formerly a senior Defense Department official dealing with China and now with the American Enterprise Institute. Dan is this the rise of a new superpower?
DAN BLUMENTHAL, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: It is. It is the rise of a new superpower. It wants to have a space program. It wants to have a strong military. It has a lot of influence around the world, in energy markets around the Middle East and around Asia most importantly.
FOREMAN: We talk about the military in this, Barbara, generally is there a sense that their military is fully modern, up to date, a real challenge or a distant challenge?
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the moment, Tom, it is in fact a distant challenge. It is huge. The people's liberation army, you know, hundreds of thousands, well over a million troops in that army, but many of them are poorly equipped in their materiel and their equipment is out of date. How fast China is modernizing that military is the question for the United States. How much money the Chinese are spending and what they are putting it into. There is a good deal of concern that China is developing advanced weapons electronics, computer systems, radars, the very kinds of things that can make them a credible force well beyond their own borders. That is the type of thing the U.S. is watching.
FOREMAN: Let's take a look at two different sets of graphics here. First, the current state of China's military forces, you mentioned there, Barbara, 1.4 million ground forces, 900 short-range ballistic missiles, 700 combat aircraft, 58 attack submarines. But now, look at this, this is the military spending. This is what the official defense budget of China shows. This is the lower level now of what we think in our intelligence services they are actually spending which is as you can see is more than twice what they are saying and the upper limit of what they might be spending -- look at this, this is enormous over here. What does that represent? A really exploding military there or is it more of that modernization of what they have?
BLUMENTHAL: It is modernization of what they have and trying to develop capabilities to really challenge the United States in the Asia Pacific. What we have seen over the last decade is a lot more resources devoted to defense and military equipment as well as training personnel and focusing in on what the Chinese perceive are U.S. weaknesses in terms of us being able to protect our allies and friends in the regions.
FOREMAN: Let's look at that there on the map over here, what we're talking about is this sphere of influence. We're not talking about China directly coming to say let's fight the United States, but they want muscle over Taiwan.
BLUMENTHAL: Japan, you have seen many Chinese naval and maritime incursions into the Japanese or disputed waters around Japan. You've seen more Chinese troops up on the North Korea border in case something happens to North Korea and you have seen the Chinese trying to push their navy out into the Pacific and probe our carriers all the way out to Guam.
FOREMAN: What are you looking for in this, Dan? Is it mainly to expand their overall economic and political influence?
BLUMENTHAL: Well, there are two things really. One is to be able to attack Taiwan should the political leaders decide to do so and the other one is that China now has so many investments around the world, that it believes that a great power needs to have the kind of military capabilities, the kind of naval capabilities to protect its own interests and not rely upon Uncle Sam, especially because we have some disputes between us still.
FOREMAN: Barbara, people have talked to the U.S. military about China for many years as a near peer, the notion being that this is the nearest big country to challenge us in some ways. If this near peer decided to get military with Taiwan, right off their border there, what is the Pentagon willing to do?
STARR: Well, the Pentagon first and foremost ought to be dead serious, it's going to hope that is not going to happen. The Chinese have been putting missiles on that area of waterway for years now and they keep modernizing it really every year, putting more and more out there. The U.S. military is watching that very carefully, because what they want to avoid is really any instability in the region. They are just hoping for the status quo to last as long as possible between China and Taiwan.
But when you talk about is the Pentagon worried? Is the Pentagon concerned? You bet. Because, of course, this week we have just seen Defense Secretary Robert Gates return from a week-long swing through Asia. He stopped in China. He talked to military and political leaders there and they came to a very delicate balance. They are friends, they agree. They even decided to set up a hotline between the Pentagon and Beijing for instant communications if there is a problem.
But make no mistake the Chinese drew the line in certain areas, they will not talk about their military programs. Number one, they have a very interesting program to be able to shoot down a satellite in space, and they are not willing to talk to the U.S. about it.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN, ANCHOR: I have a feeling that we will be talking about them a lot more. Barbara and Dan, thank you both. Straight ahead, the debate over torture - where is the line between necessity and morality? The first in our contributing tribute to veterans on this special weekend. The story of Dr. Mary Walker. She served as a frontline surgeon in the civil war battles of Bull Run (inaudible) and spent four months as a prisoner of war treating other prisoners. She was the first and so far the only woman to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Stay with us.
TONY HARRIS, CNN, ANCHOR: And hello, everyone, I'm Tony Harris. Here's what's happening right now. "Wicked," "Phantom of the Opera," "Beauty and the Beast," almost all of the theaters on Broadway tonight are dark. Stagehands walked off the job today. Union members decided to go on strike after working several months without a contract. Refunds or exchanges are being issued for tickets to the cancelled shows.
The first President Bush seems to be cultivating an new hobby. That is him making a sky dive, his sixth, and he was celebrating the re-opening of his presidential museum. He hitched a ride with the army's Golden Knights skydiving team.
Movies, theatres, politics, a Pulitzer Prize winning author Norman Mailer did it all with an unmistakable flair. The 84-year-old has died of kidney failure at a New York Hospital. Mailer enjoyed more than half a century on the literary scene. He skyrocketed to fame in 1948 with his first book "The Naked and the Dead." Those are the headlines this hour, keeping you informed. CNN, the most trusted name in news.
FOREMAN: On Friday, Michael Mukasey became attorney general of the United States despite his refusal to define an interrogation practice known as waterboarding, essentially convincing a person that he is drowning as torture. In a world where terrorists really are out there trying to kill us, where is the bright line between what must be done and what should be done? Retired Navy Lieutenant Commander Charlie Swift teaches, now teaches at Emery Law School in Atlanta and still represents one of the Guantanamo detainees. And with me in Washington, David Rivkin, an official at the Justice Department in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administration. Professor, let me start with you. Where do we stand in this debate now. It seems now that we've gone through months of trying to decided what we think torture and what is not.
LT. COMDR. CHARLIE SWIFT, U.S. NAVY (RET.): Well, as far as waterboarding goes, it's an unusual debate to begin with, because as far as the military was concerned with, that was decided back in 1890 during the Spanish-American war when General Crowder ruled that water boarding was always illegal and never justified and we tried Japanese soldiers who did it to our troops during World War II where again we said it was illegal. So, it would seem that the bright line is on the other side of waterboarding, at least historical.
FOREMAN: Listen to what John Edwards said at a town hall meeting on Tuesday about the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIATE: Can you believe that we are having a debate in America about what kind of torture is tolerable? I will tell you what kind of torture is tolerable - no torture is tolerable. The United States of American should not be engaged in torture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Mr. Rivkin, a lot of Americans in the polls seem to have a similar-type view, why is it so hard, why can't we agree on a definition and stick to it? DAVID RIVKIN, MILITARY LAW EXPERT: Incidentally, it is not a debate about whether torture is permissible, at least in my mind, it's what things amount to torture. And with all due respect to my friend Charlie, there are several forms of waterboarding. Waterboarding is a very capricious term, it connotes a bunch of things. There are clearly some forms of waterboarding without torture and off the table. They may well be some waterboarding regimens that while tough and useful in extracting information are not torture. My problem with the critics is that they don't want to have, contrary to what Senator Edwards said, we are ought to have a debate as a serious society about what stress techniques of interrogation and what to do with it. Let me point out one thing, we actually waterboard our own people. Are we torturing our own people?
FOREMAN: But we're waterboarding our own people to give them an idea of what they would encounter if they were captured by somebody else.
RIVKIN: Well, forgive me, as a matter of law and ethics, if the given practice like slavery and prostitution is officially odious, you cannot use it no matter what our goals is, you cannot even use it to volunteers. So, if all forms of waterboarding are torture then we are torturing our own people, and the very same instructor who spoke before Congress the other day about how it's torture, is guilty of practicing torture for decades. We as a society have to come up with the same baseline using (inaudible) in all spheres of public life instead of somehow singularizing this one thing, which is interrogation of combatants and we need to look at it in a broader way.
FOREMAN: Then, why don't we Professor Swift, just in deference with what the American people believe in, I think, why don't we just back away from anything that gets close to this line?
SWIFT: I think we should. To me, it is unfathomable that we are up against the line. You know, again, looking back at World War II, what history has taught us and what we found is that the reliable means of getting intelligence, at least in the context of a war, are using those things that build rapport with the person that they find out that you are not the ogre that they have been told. They begin to question the people who are leading them, and eventually, that leads to actionable intelligence and it is reliable, and you see, that is the real problem with anything that is coercive. When you force somebody to talk, you cannot count on what they tell you. It is going to - in that case, I think it is really an unreliable form of interrogation, and again, that is why we don't use it in court, because it is not reliable data.
FOREMAN: I seem like I have heard this in a lot of places, the same comment, what's your response to that?
RIVKIN: It is historically and practically not true for a very simple reason. First of all, the reason stress techniques were used if you look at it is because there are four building techniques of the FBI. This has been reported in the newspapers like "Washington Post" and the "New York Times." In late 2001, early 2002, I'm not working. You are not able going to be able with Khalid Shaik Mohammed, because while they're evil, they're enormously committed to their ideology. They're prepared to die for it. Point number one. Second, bad guys always lie. Why will you try to build a rapport with them, will interrogate them stressfully. If you have enough time, your biggest problem is they say nothing. If they start talking, you're able to go back and, for example and you ask, where is your safe house? You go and you see if he told you the truth.
FOREMAN: These are borderline techniques you're talking about. If they were done to you, would you consider them torture?
RIVKIN. No. I am not, by the way, I am not even propounding waterboarding. My problem is that there is a range of stress techniques including temperature manipulation, sensor manipulations and maybe sometimes waterboarding that are actually used. Look, when people go for basic training for hell week, they sleep little bits of time at a time, their diets. There's lots of abuse, instructors yelling at (inaudible).
FOREMAN: I have to cut you for a moment for a last word, very quickly, from Professor Swift, are we any closer, briefly to coming to a conclusion as to where we're going with this debate and it seems like it is going on forever, and it sill is lively as ever?
SWIFT: Well, the reason we can't have the debates, to get down to particular techniques is that the administration won't tell us exactly what they are doing and won't tell Congress exactly what they are doing, so when one lies on the edge of these things, it is impossible to have a debate until Congress completely looks at the question and stops using general terms. Congress has tried general terms, general terms haven't work but we're going to have need a specific debate.
FOREMAN: I'm afraid, we have to go. Professor Swift, thanks so much. Mr. Rivkin as well.
In just a moment, what was once called a wall of shame celebrates a quarter century of healing, but first as we always do, please join us in the final look at some of those who fell in "this week at war."
JAN SCRUGGS, PRES., VIETNAM VETERANS MEM. FUND: So let this memorial recognize Vietnam veterans and their service and let it begin the healing process and forever stand as a symbol of our national unity.
FOREMAN: That was Veterans Day 1982 as the Vietnam memorial was dedicated. As some said, no one gave the Vietnam vets anything, and they even had to build even their own memorial, and with me is that man. The man who more than anything else is the driving force behind that memorial, Jan Scruggs, the founder of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Fund and in Los Angeles, Shad Meshad, another Vietnam vet who is the president of the National Veterans Foundation. Let me start with you here if I can Jan. It must be strange to look back 25 years and see yourself in front of that memorial. SCRUGGS: Yes, I looked a bit younger at the time.
FOREMAN: A bit. And a lot of changes are happening over the years and are happening now. Tell me about the latest improvements that are going to be happening out here for the people coming to visit the capitol?
SCRUGGS: Indeed, plans are under way for an underground visitor's center near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial which will, when you go to see it, you will see some of the 100,000 items that had been left at the memorial, photographs of those who are on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as well as an exit experience which will show photographs and etchings of Americans who gave their lives beginning in Lexington Green and Concord Bridge all the way through Iraq.
FOREMAN: It still is such a powerful memorial to look at. Just an amazing thing. Let me turn to you, if I can, Shad, is this, when we look at our veterans in this day and time and all the memorials we have around Washington to what veterans have done, do you have a sense that we as a nation are doing enough for the living veterans among us now?
SHAD MESHAD, PRES., NATIONAL VETERANS FOUNDATION: Well, I must say that in my 36 1/2 years of working with veterans on the streets of America, I don't think we have ever done enough to help veterans. You started out earlier talking about the fact that for Vietnam veterans that we had to do everything for ourselves and Jan with the Vietnam Wall, myself helping to put together the national vet center outreach program. So much was driven by Vietnam veterans and so much help that veterans get is driven by veterans. It's not by the American people we serve when we serve our country. The needs are multiple. The needs from all ends of the continuum for veteran services particularly now with these veterans coming home to really be able to reintegrate them back into society. That is what our whole program is about, the National Veterans Foundation.
FOREMAN: Jan, I know there is a great deal of pride among many veterans in taking care of themselves, and yet, there are real issues when the veterans come back from combat, aren't there?
SCRUGGS: There really are. And the good news is that among the American people, they do separate the war from the warrior. The war in Iraq is certainly unpopular, but those who are coming back are being welcomed back, but they certainly need help from the federal and state agencies, and according to new research, the veterans by and large are not happy with what they are getting.
FOREMAN: Shad, what do you think that the help needs to be most focused on right now? If you could remake what we are doing for the veterans in this country right now, what would look at first?
MESHAD: Well, first of all I would look at the soldiers, their whole reintegration progress. They need to spend millions of dollars really focused, like they do in training soldiers to be soldiers. They need to spend millions, just as much money, on bringing them home and helping them reintegrate. Those first few years coming back from war are very critical. We either, we lose people, some and of them many of them forever in those critical two years and we found it out through the Vietnam experience and the vet center program. Our toll free hotline at the National Veterans Foundation, all we do is to listen to the veterans calling about the fact that they need this. Everything are needs. They don't know how to get into the system. The system is cracked and the system has so many needs and so many things that need to be created, right at the very onslaught of these individuals coming home. And that's the big issue. We need to be there and help them reintegrate back for at least two years when they come back, I mean both psychological, medical, educational, financial. All of those needs are important for them to catch up and reintegrate. Remember, they are coming back from a combat zone. A zone where over 84% of them are either returning hostile fire or receiving hostile fire. We have never seen that in any war. There is no safe zone in either one of these two areas that we are in, and these soldiers are being recycled three, four, five, and yesterday the "New York Times" reported a soldier going back for his sixth tour. We have no idea what this is going look like in the area of PTSD and then you add the multiple traumatic brain injury, the TVIs and how that's going to integrate with PTSD. I don't know if we know how to treat that. And we're going to have millions of those to deal with for the next 25, 30 years or longer.
FOREMAN: When we look at what vets have gone through all these time, one of the big changes that I hear about now really is the notion that in Iraq the speed of communication and travel has made more veterans have much more of a shock of coming out in very quickly being back in mainstream communities here after being in the middle of combat. In your own experience in what you saw with what Vietnam vets go through, what should we be cautious about when it comes to that?
SCRUGGS: The lessons are profound from Vietnam, and they are need to be learned again. When a person is put in a combat situation, it is very unnatural and many of these people are very young, and they do need help, many of them in reintegrating into society. A supportive societal attitude is extremely important, but we really need people out there to help these guys find jobs and some of these people are losing their jobs who are reservists and national guard people so we need to continue that fight as well, but god bless them. They are doing such a great job for our country, and it's a very difficult and demanding job, but we must reach out to them, and in a much more aggressive way.
FOREMAN: Our thanks to both of you and congratulations on 25 years with the memorial. Quite an accomplishment.
MESHAD: Congratulations, Jan.
FOREMAN: 245 men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during the war in Vietnam, and 3,345 have been honored since the civil war. In just a few moments, we will tell you about the beginning and end of the long proud line. Straight ahead, a look at Staff Sergeant Russell Clefka's "week at war."
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) FOREMAN: Now we turn to the dispatches segment where we bring you a personal view of "This Week at War". Our i-Reporter this week is Army Staff Sergeant Russell Lee Clefka, a journalist with the Tennessee National Guard. Sgt. Clefka started out as a machine gunner in the Marine Corps, but he has been shooting photos and writing articles for more than a decade now. He served two tours as a public affairs officer in Iraq, recording what he calls, the Iraq through the eyes of a U.S. soldier. Look at these pictures. And now he trains others to tell the stories of the troops on the front line. Troops like his son, Specialist Zachary Clefka, who joined his father's unit just days after Russell Clefka came back to the United States. We would like very much to tell your story of "This week at War" and it is easy, just go to cnn.com/this week at war and click on the i-Report link.
In a moment, we will wrap up our Veterans Day series on the Congressional Medal of Honor with two stories you can't miss.
FOREMAN: We have been talking throughout this Veterans' Day weekend edition of our show about the Medal of Honor, and we end with two final examples of gallantry and action.
In 1861, Bernard J.S. Erwin, an army surgeon in the Arizona territory led a tiny unit of 14 men on mule back 100 miles in a blizzard to rescue a Calvary unit surrounded by Apache warriors, led by (inaudible). He convinced the Apaches that he was advancing with a much-larger force and he rescued 60 soldiers and a young boy who had been taken captive. Erwin's actions are the first recognized by our nation as worthy of the Medal of Honor. Almost a century and a half later, Lt. Michael P. Murphy, was a Navy S.E.A.L. commanding a four- man team high in the mountains of Afghanistan when they were ambushed by Taliban fighters. Their radios were blocked by the Rocky terrain so Lieutenant Murphy moved out into the open into the direct line of fire to request assistance. He was shot several times but he completed his call, returned to his men and he fought until he died. His actions resulted in the rescue of the sole surviving member of his team. Lieutenant Michael Murphy is the latest and certainly not the last in the long proud tradition to receive our country's highest military honor.
Turning now to some of the stories that we will be following in the next week at war. On Wednesday, a scheduled sentencing for Florida doctor, Rafik Abdul Savir convicted of conspiracy to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization. And on Thursday, the senate armed services committee holds a hearing on the state of the army and Chief of Staff General George W. Casey is scheduled to testify. Thanks to all of our veterans and their families on this weekend and thanks to you for joining us on this "Week at War." I'm Tom Foreman and we'll see you next weekend.
Straight ahead, CNN "Special Investigations Unit: Death Grip - Inside Pro Wrestling."
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com