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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Obama Authorizes Targeted Airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq; Obama: America can't turn a blind eye in Iraq; U.S. Planes drop; IDF: Ceasefire Broken By Terrorist
Aired August 7, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We must open an opportunity to all our people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We feel that women will work just as good as men and better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And (inaudible) is a guy who is charge and should be all of the time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The latest threat for the status quo is the women's revolt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is pleading for social change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even the fear of imprisonment forces most homosexuals to camouflage their identity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's grow up conservatives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Publicly not have the whole picture.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we are talking about is the revolution and not a reform.
MYRON LEON WALLACE, AMERICAN JOURNALIST: We agree that the sixties saw explosive social change. But the question is why in the sixties, Eric?
ERIC SEVAREID, CBS NEWS: There are period in histories so far as I can see it when human energy is both constructive, this just seems to come to a boil.
GAIL COLLINS, AUTHOR, WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED: You were living in a time of incredible economic growth. In theory things had never ever, ever been better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just a really American Norman Rockwell vision.
GLORIA STEINEM, FEMINIST ACTIVIST: But the trouble is there are all kinds of tensions.
DAN CARTER, AUTHOR, THE POLITICS OF RAGE: Civil rights movement is the seminal event of the 1960s that ignites so many other changes in the society.
ELLA BAKER, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: But they had come when racism must be banished.
STEINEM: The Civil Rights Movement was incredibly inspiring but at the same time the women in it we're not recognized as leaders in the same way that the men were. It said to us if these movements we love still are not equal then there has to be an autonomous women's movement.
MAY CRAIG, GANNETT NEWSPAPER: Mr. President, the Democratic platform promises to work for equal rights for women including equal pay. What have you done for the women?
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm sure we haven't done enough. And ...
TERRY O'NEIL, PRESIDENT, N.O.W: Then on 1961 President Kennedy creates the commission on the status of women.
ROBYN MUNCY, AUTHOR, ENGENDERING AMERICA: And that commission produced a report in 1963 that reveals things like the fact that women earn 59 cents for every dollar that men earned. That women were kept out of the most lucrative professional positions.
CECILLE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Women couldn't open a bank account in their own name. They couldn't get credit. They certainly couldn't open their own business.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women couldn't serve on juries in some states.
MUNCY: There's was one kind of disadvantage after another that was revealed all together in this one report.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually they're willing to tell the people, what you feel is the real need for it.
KENNEDY: We want to be sure the women are used as effectively as they can to provide a better life for our people in addition to meeting their primary responsibility, which is in the home.
CARTER: Women's precision as it had traditionally been was that they were husband's helpmates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack, what is your definition of a husband?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's like driving the horse and he's got to hold the reins. And there's just a couple of reins and if there were two people holding this reins this horse is going to go skitter, scatter everywhere, you know. The husband is the guy whose in charge and should be all of the time.
CARTER: Well by the 1960s women's position was changing.
MARLO THOMAS, ACTOR AND PRODUCER, THAT GIRL: There was a big change going on in the country. They were talking about this book called the Feminine Mystique.
BETTY FRIEDAN, AUTHOR: A woman today has been made to feel freakish and alone and guilty if simply she wants to be more than her husband's wife.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Betty Friedan wrote very much out of her own personal experience.
MUNCY: The Feminine Mystique said that women were suffering from the problem that has no name, a vague sense of dissatisfaction with the lack of meaning, the lack of opportunity in their lives.
COLLINS: So many women read the Feminine Mystique and said that's it. That's why I'm so angry. It want to a huge, huge deal at the time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The middle class woman up and down America is just so wretchedly unhappy that she's sick. You could call her anything you like but it wretchedly boring to be with little, tiny children one end of the day, the other, especially if you think that you should love it all the time.
TODD GITLIN AUTHOR, THE SIXTIES, YEARS OF HOPE DAYS OF RAGE: Women were being educated for one way of life which was one which they had brains. And then they were supposed to have wombs and arms to run vacuum cleaners and that was a mismatch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Betty Friedan called for blowing up the rules.
FRIEDAN: You cannot be given equality. You have to assume (ph) it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it had a hugely profound impact.
THOMAS: The young women started to see other women saying that women had not gotten enough out of life. And the point was you don't have to be this. Choose what you want. But you don't have to be this one thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here she is Mrs. Helen Gurley Brown.
COLLINS: Helen Gurley Brown had lived without being married very happily, you know, dating men, having sex, supporting herself and she wrote a book "Sex and the Single Girl" which was about her life. And it became a huge hit.
MERV GRIFFIN, HOST: Isn't this whole subject of sex being discussed and written and talked about too much.
HELEN GURLEY BROWN, AUTHOR: I could expected a reactionary opinion like that from you. I don't think so at all.
STEINEM: She openly talked about sex and said you won't get struck by a lighting bolt, you know, if you have sex before you marry.
COLLINS: For average runoff the mill women it was a bigger deal than the Feminine Mystique.
BROWN: Now that it's all right to discuss sex people are now talking about it a great deal and don't think that's so bad.
GRIFFIN: Yes Arthur.
ARTHUR TREACHER, ACTOR: I think that that talking about sex waste such a lot of time.
COLLIN: Helen Gurley Brown pointed out that the guy had one standard, the women had another. And it was a revelation. Rules that had existed for a thousand years just overnight they were gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a recent survey 44 percent of the high school and college girl's questions said they approved of sexual intercourse before marriage if their serious about the young man. Do either of you approve for yourselves of intercourse before marriage?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I like to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sexual revolution of sexual renaissance? The experts are still trying to define it.
SEVAREID: CBS reports, birth control on the law. This is a very personal program. Sometimes the most private matters are also public matters. It is about babies that blessed their home and babies that can haunt a home.
STEINEM: Reproductive freedom means that it's a basic human rights to decide whether and when to have children. But reproductive freedom had not been annunciated in that way.
SEVAREID: The basic disagreement stems from the differences on the moral attitudes toward birth control.
MICHELLE ASHFORD, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, MASTERS OF SEX: In 1957, the pill was approve by the FDA for severe menstrual distress. What became funny is then everyone seems to be suffering severe menstrual distress.
CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: It wasn't until 1960 the pill was actually approved by the FDA for birth control.
COLLIN: The pill was originally very hard to get, it wasn't like you just went down to the pharmacy and picked it up. That took quite awhile.
SEVAREID: These women ask the doctor for birth control information.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He suggested me we do would not to be close to my husband and if I did, I want to get that way, it was up to me.
JAMES NORRIS, BIRTH CONTROL PROHIBITER: Well, I'm 100 percent against birth control because that's immoral, it's the same as prostitution or abortion. RICHARDS: There was also been push back against birth control. Even with the FDA approve the pill. It was still illegal for many women across the country. So, Estelle Griswold who was a President of Parenthood in Connecticut just (inaudible) that she was going to challenge this. And again handing out birth control knowing full well that she would probably arrested, which she was.
JULIUS MARETZ, PROSECUTION, GRISWOLD VS. CT: On the 24 of November we issued two warrants one against Estelle Griswold and the other against Dr. C Lee Buxton, in violation of the contraceptive statute.
RICHARDS: Griswold versus Connecticut of case change everything.
ESTELLE GRISWOLD, PARENTHOOD, CT: But I think it's very evident that the lowest enforceable. And I think if you had a policeman under every bed in the State of Connecticut, they still could not prove anything. We are continuing maybe illegally. But we are continuing our program.
RICHARDS: The case went to the Supreme Court at made birth control illegal finally for married couples only. And it was several years later that in fact birth control became illegal for all women.
STEINEM: It was very, very important because it both decriminalized contraception and established the right to privacy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many states repeal their law against birth control just in this past year?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ten states change or repealed their laws against birth control but if I can add the end of 1964 that it makes it 13, so that's kind of a national movement.
DAVID BRINKLEY: Nearly seven million American million are now taking oral contraceptive and they are said to be almost 100 percent effective.
RICHARDS: The birth control pill meant someday woman could finish their education, they could go in the workforce. And that is what radically change, I think life for women in America, was that ability to not only plan their families, but to plan their lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happen when you were inside?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, when I went inside they said, "No women."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you feel about this (inaudible) idea that they won't hire women?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We feel that it's unfair because we feel that women have worked just as good as man and better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not hiring women at this particular time, for the very simple reason the jobs we have available are jobs that only men are able to do. COLLIN: When the 1964 civil rights to act was going through congress an amendment was inserted to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender as well as race. No one took it seriously. The National Organization Woman is founded to press forward on that one issue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's that objective about the new organization now.
FRIEDAN: Full equality for women and truly for partnership with men. When it renounced campaign is to make the Civil Right Act of 1964 really be enforced.
O'NEILL: Suddenly, the (inaudible) colleges began to open their doors to women for the first time. The (inaudible) against women in the accounting field and the legal field and the medical field began to drop away. Betty Friedan wanted results, to wanted something to happen and it starting happening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basic training for stewardess this is meant to turn a girl into a woman. The airline gives their beauty tips, a sense of responsibility. Stewardesses must be slinky sex symbols. Pilots can be homely involved.
COLLINS: They head hearings on the airline industry and the stewardess situation because of course stewardesses were fired if they got married. We had certain weight and height and their hands had to be soft and all those other stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have an issue here at the 32 year age retirement because behind that age retirement by the future of a whole profession.
COLLIN: The airline executives are saying that their clients are not get on board the plane unless there is a beautiful young unmarried woman greeting them at stairs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Boland, what do you girls asking the congress to do for you?
COLLEN BOLAND, LOCAL STEWARDESS UNION PRESIDENT: We're asking them to give as an equal chance to continue in the job that we have chosen as a profession. There is no bonafide reason for terminating girls because they reach 32 or 35 years of age.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't you girls know that that's going to happen when you take the job?
BOLAND: We know that the companies have applied this policy, were hoping and are asking to find away to change this policy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congress began enforcing the (inaudible) job discrimination laws. Things did begin to happen. The barriers start coming down and it was real results.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HUGH HEFNER, ADULT MAGAZINE PUBLISHER: My name is Hugh Hefner and I'm editor, publisher of Playboy Magazine. In eight years I built an empire worth $20 million.
THOMAS: Gloria Steinem was a reporter and a very pretty one, so she went undercover as bunny at the Playboy Club.
STEINEM: I remember the young woman who took my false bio. I had said that I was secretary and thought being a bunny would be more exciting. And she's learned forward and whispered to me, she said, "Honey, if you can type, you don't want to work here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bunnies are forbidden to wear jewelry, pale lipstick or gold or green nail polish. The provocative cotton tail must be clean and spritely.
THOMAS: Gloria exposed how the Playboy bunnies were treated, what they were paid and how they were running around in the club with their breast exposed and a tail on their butt and what men sort of snap the napkin at them as they walked by. And so to her reporting she was showing sexism in all those different flavors.
STEINEM: That assignment, it was not great experience but in retrospect I'm glad I did because I got a notice from Hugh Hefner and they change the working conditions of those women for the better.
RICHARDS: Gloria Steinem challenged every stereotype of a feminist. She was this fabulous looking, incredibly smart, direct speaking woman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forgive me but I always thought that you had to be stack (ph), absolutely stack to be a bunny girl. How did you get the job?
STEINEM: Well you don't have to be stack to a bunny in fact all of that is usually stuff with Jim Socks or something, it's where the girls to keep their tips, it's where just sort of traveling cash depository.
RICHARDS: Gloria Steinem could disarm even her harshest critics with humor and humility. But she was willing to challenge patriarchy at every step of the way.
MUNCY: Gloria Steinem became a brilliant spokesperson for the Women's Liberation Movement.
STEINEM: We've been much too law abiding and too docile for too long. But I think that period is about over.
MARLENE SANDERS, ABC NEWS: The latest threat to the status quo in America is the woman's revolt. This is the symbol for the female. The Women's Liberation Movement has added the equal signs. As a lot of women know including this one equality if often missing.
O'NEIL. You have this sort of bubbling up of a desire for real equality. And then you get women beginning to jump from community based activism to real solid organizing.
MUNCY: The Women's Liberation Movement was a parallel movement to Betty Friedan's the National Organization for Women. So almost as soon as NOW has formed in 1966 Women's Liberation groups are emerging around the country.
O'NEIL: This younger generation moves in and very much broadens the perspective of the women's movement.
COLLINS: All of these things build on one another and this younger group not only believed that you needed economic power but that you needed a revolution in the relationship between the sexes.
THOMAS: There was a revolution going on outside. But on television it wasn't a real live girl and that's what I wanted to do.
O'NEIL: That Girl, now that is incredibly subversive television show, absolutely amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Daddy was just giving me a lecture on sex education.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would you need a lecture on sex? What I meant was answer, if he knows all there is to know about sex.
THOMAS: I wasn't married to Donald, my boyfriend. I was doing a television series about a single girl who didn't want to get married and wanted to live on her own. I mean this was like, you know, completely unheard of.
MUNCY: A character that Marlo Thomas played was fantastic alternative model of womanhood itself.
STEINEM: That Girl was the first time ever on television that a woman was allowed to have an independent autonomous life and adventures of her own.
THOMAS: It's amazing we waited until the sixties to break the walls down but it was time. Everything to in any movement is how do you get the spotlight and focus it on the issue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've decided for at least one week starting yesterday to do everything we can to fight pollution and no that means all kinds of pollution. There's air pollution, food pollution, there's waste.
THOMAS: And I felt strongly about the fact that we could not ignore the issues of the day were for everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There appears to be growing concern among scientist that the possibility of dangerous, long ring side effects from the widespread of DDP and other pesticides. Have you considered asking the Public Health Service to take a closer look at this?
JOHN F. KENNDY, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, and I know that they already are and I think particularly of course ... ANDERSON COOPER: Good evening I'm Anderson Cooper here in New York. We are interrupting the regularly scheduled broadcast of THE SIXTIES. A live picture of the Whitehouse State Dining Room there. We are breaking into the sixties to bring you President Obama's speaking shortly tonight about the mission just completed to fly humanitarian relief into Northern Iraq. As we've been reporting President Obama and his National Security team are also considering air strikes against the ISIS Islamist Militia that have taken over large chunks of Iraq and are threatening so many people especially religious minorities.
(Inaudible) the President will be speaking within the next two to three minutes. Joining us tonight is senior Whitehouse correspondent Jim Acosta standing by, our Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto is with us, Global Affairs Correspondent Elise Labott and Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash also with us throughout the coverage as well. (Inaudible) in our panel of National Security Experts (Inaudible), Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona and New York Times Correspondent Stephen Farrell. We're going to continue showing that live picture.
Dana Bash, you have been talking to congressional sources who the Whitehouse had been reaching out to within the last several minutes and hours.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right and as I said earlier these are Congressional sources that were very tight lipped saying that much of what they had been told was classified and now we know why. Because the mission was ongoing and we can now report as you said that the mission is over and that's what the President is going to talk about.
But what I thought was interesting is the reasoning that some Congressional sources are saying the administration is giving when their making the rounds of phone calls to Capitol Hill. Why this is different from just a few weeks ago, months ago when ISIS was making insurgents going to even towards Baghdad. And it is because that was much more complex. That sectarian divide and situation was much more complex than this. This is very cut and dry from their perspective. And this is -- these Kurds, these religious minorities who are clearly being persecuted and that they absolutely in the words of one source I talked to unequivocally are worthy of the U.S. Defense and help.
COOPER: And in that you just heard a two minute warning at the Whitehouse. That's the state dining room where the President is going to be making his remarks. Jim Sciutto for those who have not been watching the coverage this far, let's just talk about exactly what is going on the ground here because this is several things going on at once. You have some religious minorities who are basically trapped on a mountain in a part of Northeastern Iraq being threatened by ISIS, running out of food and water. That's the humanitarian mission that Dana Bash is saying has just been completed by the United States dropping some relief supplies to those groups.
But there is also now concern about Erbil in Kurdish controlled part of Iraq that is now under threat. So explain exactly what's going on that the President is going to be addressing tonight.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT. Well you got a couple of immediate threats and then you have longer term threat. Let's talking about the immediate threats. One, humanitarian, 40,000 Semite, (inaudible), religious minority in Iraq hold up on a mountain top surrounded by ISIS under threat of a massacre and then at the same time you have a number of American personal in Erbil, in Northern Iraq and Kurdish controlled areas, in addition to military advisers who are based there, you have several hundred consular staff and then the irony of ironies, many of these counselor staff were evacuated from that Baghdad some weeks ago when Baghdad was under threat to go to Erbil which was at the time presumably safer. They are now under threat as ISIS advances. Those are the two immediate threats.
But you have a broader threat here which is that over the last weeks ISIS has been gaining more ground across Iraq and remember it already has great foothold in Syria but it has been gaining more ground across Iraq. The Iraqi Military Forces have not been able to push back or even really to keep it from advancing led alone, push it back and gain some of that territory back. Those are the problems facing the administration now.
COOPER: And Jim as we wait and the President should be coming at any moment, so I may interrupt you here. But there is this immediate problem but the longer-term problem that -- let's listen into the president.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good evening. Today, I authorize two operation in Iraq, targeted air strikes to protect our American personnel and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.
Let me explain the actions we're taking and why?
First, I said in June as the terrorist group ISIL began an advance across Iraq that the United States would be prepared to take targeted military action in Iraq if and when we determined that the situation required it
In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq and have neared the city of Erbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces. To stop the advance on Erbil, I have directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city. We intend to stay vigilant and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad.
We're also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.
Second, at the request of the Iraqi government, we began operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain. As ISIL has marched across Iraq it has raised a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis and these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities including Christian and Yazidis, a small and ancient religious sect.
Countless Iraqis have been despised. In showing reports describe ISIL militants rounding their families, conducting masses executions and slaving Yazidi women.
In recent days, Yazidi women, men and children from the area of Sinjar have fled for their lives. And thousands, perhaps 10 of thousands are now hiding high up on the mountain with little but their cloth on their backs. They're without food, they're without water. People are starving and children are dying of thirst.
Meanwhile, ISIL forces below have called for the systematic destruction of the entire Yazidi people, which would constitute genocide. So these innocent families are faced for the horrible choice. Descend the mountain and be slaughter or stay in slowly dying thirst and hungry.
I've said before, the United States cannot and should not intervene every time there's a crisis in the world. So let me be clear about why we must act and act now.
When we face a situation like we do on that mountain with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. When we have a mandate to help in this case a request from the Iraqi government and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre then I believe the United States of America cannot turn in blind eye.
We can act, carefully and responsibly to prevent a potential act of genocide. That's what we're doing on that mountain. I therefore authorized targeted air strikes if necessary to help forces in Iraq as a fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there.
Already American aircraft to begun conducting humanitarian air drops of food and water to help these desperate men, women and children survive. Earlier this week, one Iraqi in the area cried to the world, "There is no one coming to help." Well, today America is coming to help.
We're also consulting with other countries and the United Nations, who have called for action to address this humanitarian crisis. I know that many of you are rightly concerned about any American military action in Iraq. Even limited strikes like this. I understand that.
I run for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troop home and that's what we've done. As commander-in-chief, I will not allow the United States to be drag into fighting another war in Iraq and so, even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to this terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq because there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security force. However, we can and should support moderate forces who can bring stability to Iraq. So even as we carry out these two missions, we will continue to pursue a broader strategy that empowers Iraqis to confront this crisis. Iraqi leaders need to come together and forge new government that represents the legitimate interest of all Iraqis and they can fight back against them towards like ISIL.
Iraqis have named the new president, new speaker parliament and they're seeking consensus on a new prime minister. This is the progress that needs to continue in order to reverse the momentum of the terrorist who pray on Iraq's divisions. Once Iraq has a new government, United States will work with it and other countries in the region to provide increase support to deal with this humanitarian crisis and counterterrorism challenge.
None of Iraq's neighbors have an interest in this terrible suffering or in stability. And so we'll continue to work with our friends and allies to help refugees get the shelter and food and water they're so desperately need and to help Iraqis push back against ISIL.
The several hundred American advisors that I ordered to Iraq will continue to (inaudible). What more we can do to help train, advice, and support Iraqi forces going forward? And just as I consult to congress on the decisions I've made today, we will continue to do so, going forward.
My fellow Americans, the world is confronted by many challenge and while America has never been able to write everyone. America has made the world a more secure for us first place. And our leadership is necessary to underwrite the global security and prosperity that our children and our grandchildren will depend on. We do so by hearing the senate core principles. We do whatever is necessary to protect our people. We support our allies when they're endangered.
We leave correlations of countries to uphold international norms and we strive to stay through to the fundamental values, the desire to live with basic freedom and dignity that is common to human beings wherever they are. That's people allover the world look to the United States of America to lead and that's why we do. So let me close by assuring you that there is no decision that I take more seriously in the use of military force. Over the last several years, we have brought the vast majority of our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and I've been careful to resist calls to turned time and again to our military because America has other tools and arsenal than our military.
We can also lead with the power of our diplomacy, our economy, and our ideals. When the lives of American citizens are at risk, we will take action. That's my responsibility as commander-in-chief. And when many thousands of innocent civilians are face with the danger of being wiped out, and we have the capacity to do something about it, we will take action. That is our responsibility as Americans, it's whole mark of American leadership. That's who we are.
So tonight, we give thanks to our men and women in uniform especially our brave pilots and crews over Iraq who are protecting our fellow Americans and saving the lives of so many men, women, and children that they will never meet. They represent American leadership at its best. As a nation we should be proud of them and of our country's enduring commitment to uphold our own security and the dignity of our fellow human beings. God bless our enforcers and God bless the United States of America.
COOPER: President Obama speaking from the state dining room saying not only he has a mission to bring humanitarian relief to religious minorities particularly group -- Yazidis on a -- basically surrounded on a mountain by ISIS forces. He said that mission has taken place. He's also authorized target the air strikes to protect U.S. military and U.S. councilor officials who are in the city of Erbil which is Kurdish control of the area. He's also authorized airstrikes to try to break the siege in that mountain Sinjar.
Again, with us tonight Wolf Blitzer, Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta, Chief of National Security, Correspondent Jim Sciutto, Global Affairs Correspondent Elise Labott, Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash.
So Ivan Watson in Erbil, National Security Fran Townsend, Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona and New York Times Correspondent, Stephen Farrell.
Ivan Watson. to you on the ground in Erbil. How dyer is the situation in Erbil and how did it get so bad because for months now, (inaudible) fighters have actually been able to effectively fight against ISIS forces.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Kurdish (inaudible) that I've talked to, they say that Peshmerga suffered set backs in the last 48 hours because they were simply outguns that the ISIS forces had captured armored vehicles from the Iraqi army, armored vehicles that have been provided by the U.S. government which the Kurdish say, they don't have.
And ISIS attacked in broad waves of these vehicles driving at fast speed on the flat lands to the South and Southwest of here they were able to push the lightly armed Kurdish Peshmerga out of some of those towns and trigger an (inaudible) of displaced civilians that really triggered a lot of fear here in Erbil Wednesday night.
So, hearing that the U.S. did in fact these airstrikes that will probably be a morale booster to the Kurdish forces to the Kurdish population year, even though what appears that President Obama was indicating that the airstrikes were around the mountain of each Sinjar to the west of here quite afar away from Erbil, still that will serve as a moral boost to the Kurdistan region which has been quite shaken and its confidence within the last 48 hours Anderson.
COOPER: We should say that he said that he is authorized a targeted airstrikes. He didn't -- (inaudible) and Wolf Blitzer, correct me if I'm wrong here, it didn't sounds like those air strikes had actually occurred. It was only if ISIS Forces continued to advance on Erbil, he would -- he's authorized targeted airstrikes against the ISIS convoys as well as targeted airstrikes to try to break that surrounding of the Yazidis on that mountain.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Right. He didn't say that the airstrikes have actually be done. They have already been authorized. They would begin if U.S. personnel whether military or diplomatic personnel in Erbil were endangered then the President will go ahead not only authorized but the U.S military, the Air Force and others would go ahead and launch those air strikes against ISIS targets in or around Erbil. What already is happening are the humanitarian airdrops that the President earlier authorized, that's continuing.
The desire is to save the lives of about 40,000 of these people that were stuck on this mountain of the Yazidis, this small ethnic religious group in Iraq and offshoot of the Kurds, they speak Kurdish but they are treated by these ISIS terrorist as basically infidels who deserve to die if they don't convert to Islam.
They've been stuck on this mountain top. They don't have food, they don't have water and they will certainly die within a day or two or three if these airdrops don't provide them the food and the water and the other subtenants, medical equipment that they need that's why the U.S. is dropping these kinds of containers ...
BLITZER: ... to help save these lives. But the airstrikes will begin until if there is a clear danger to those U.S military or diplomatic personnel in Erbil.
COOPER: Right. Stephen Farrell from New York Times, you spends time in a lot of the -- in this area, in these villages. Explain the ethnic make up in this area because there really is a huge mix, I don't think a lot of people have even heard of the Yazidis. We're also talking Christian minorities and other groups.
STEPHEN FARRELL, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah. This is a launch flat plane, with very good highways and roads and little lanes (inaudible) and then you come off highway onto one of these little lanes and you find yourself in a small Christian town and then you go a few miles further along when you find yourself across of Yazidis. I mean, unless you really know the area well.
It's an incredibly complicated patchwork of ancient religions and theologies and peoples. And they've been very vulnerable of a hundreds and hundreds of years. I mean, you'd sit down and talk with any Yazidi leader and they will to you about past persecutions going back a very long time and they're incredibly vulnerable now as well.
COOPER: Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, when the President talks about targeted -- authorizing targeted airstrikes, if U.S. personnel are in danger or to try to break this situation for the Yazidis, what is that actually look like on the ground? How are those conducted? Because from often -- I mean, as you and I discussed in the last hour you need forward operating troops in order to actually going to laser on a fast moving object. LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), cNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yeah. If they're going to trying break the siege around Sinjar, those targets are going to be more fixed. They can do that with drones. They can actually get the coordinates off of that and then program the weapons using, you know, something GPS guided, something like that or laser designated.
That could be done from there air quite effectively but if you're trying to hit fast moving vehicles like rolling toward Erbil, that would be much more difficult.
COOPER: But -- and the U.S. has enough drones in that region?
FRANCONA: We've beefed up our presence here in the eight weeks that there's 24 hour coverage over that whole area, not only with drones but with man (inaudible) aircraft and probably armed that reconnaissance now.
And I just want to say that, you know, this operation for the humanitarian as Wolf hinted has to be ongoing. Because you have to keep resupplying this until the siege is broken.
COOPER: Well, also, I mean, if you want to actually break that siege that's not just humanitarian mission. I mean, that is -- you have to militarily break that siege.
FRANCONA: Yeah. I think that's the issue that we really haven't bridged yet. We can probably tip these people alive but for how long. There's no shelter up there.
So we can provide, you know, tactically provide them some humanitarian relief but at some point they're going to have come down off that mountain. And if they come down there has to be some more for them to go and we're going to have to either create a humanitarian corridor or move the ISIS forces out of the way.
COOPER: Jim Acosta, the White House, you know, for President who run on ending the war in Iraq, bringing U.S. troops out of Iraq, this is obviously a difficult call. Many of the President's supporters are going to be very nervous about the idea of mission (inaudible), the president really speaking to those concerns tonight and I just want to point out what he said about why he said this particular instance requires and he believes is appropriate for U.S. action. He say, "if that -- he said there's no American military solution in Iraq but when we find this situation like we do on that mountain, the humanitarian mission, when there's a mandate to help, in this case request from the Iraqi government and the unique ability of United States to help the U.S. will take action."
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right Anderson and that's why you heard the President really sound reluctant to take this action earlier this evening but when the President made the decision to put U.S. advisers in Iraq to assess the military situation on the ground, the threat post by ISIS, they invited this scenario where these advisers could become threatened and that the President would have to take the action to launch air strikes or authorize air strikes against ISIS targets to get them away from these advisers.
The scenario that they did not invasion is the humanitarian crisis taking place in Northern Iraq with the Yazidis. They did not imagine this scenario where tens of thousands of people could be trapped on a mountain without any food or water and that is why you're hear in the President authorize not just one mission tonight but two missions tonight, one to authorize air strikes against those ISIS targets but at the same time authorize the humanitarian mission to bring relief to those oppressed ethnic and religious minorities who were taking shelter.
One thing that we did here from the White House earlier today Anderson, is they were drawing parallels between the humanitarian crisis in Northern Iraq and the situation on the ground in Libya three years ago. They believe that humanitarian trigger apparently has occurred here in back in Libya three years ago. It was Muammar Gaddafi's forces advancing on those rebels in Benghazi.
They felt like those forces would have been slaughtered back in 2011. That's what prompted the NATO airstrikes and it's a similar very urgent crisis like situation that has forced the President's hand here.
COOPER: Fran Townsend on the Bush White House, you were in on meetings like this. Take us behind the scenes about how these decisions get may, we saw that the President meeting with this national security team we saw and animated discussion, Jim Acosta pointed it out to us of the President having with his national security team even outside of the White House. Take us inside. How does this work?
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, you know, Anderson because of the reach and the capability of ISIS and ISIL. The President talked about ISIL a related group very capable. We've talked about foreign fighters on this program before.
You can be sure that the national security considerations also incorporate the potential for a threat against American targets around the world or here in the United States. And so, Department of Homeland Security will have been brought in the FBI, will have been brought and to look at the potential for retaliatory attacks against the U.S targets.
And that will be a real concern and so, while you've see the President's attention and the foreign policy team focused on what's going on inside Iraq and the humanitarian crisis, there will also be the Homeland Security and the Counter-Terrorism considerations that are also being taken into account at this hour.
COOPER: All right, we got to take a quick break. More when we come back including late word from the Middle East tonight, rockets apparently fired, the ceasefire broken. We'll have full details on that when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: I've got the breaking news from Washington and now the Middle East, Jake Tapper in Jerusalem with later words tonight that the ceasefire has been violated according to Israeli defense forces. Jake, what have you heard?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD": The Israeli defense forces Anderson you're saying that terrorist have violated the ceasefire that's a quote they say, the rockets were fired from Gaza into Southern Israel. That is all the information we have as of now. Of course this news comes just hours before the 72 hours ceasefire was set to expire anyway.
And as you know, Hamas' military wing the Qassam brigade said than unless their demands had been meet Hamas was going to refuse to extend that ceasefire even though other Palestinian factions plus the United States, Israel, and the Egyptian government which is been hosting this of discussions in Cairo, Egypt to try to find the way out of this crisis all of those groups wanted to ceasefire extend indefinitely.
But Hamas said no, they had some demand to improve the lives of Palestinian they say, including lifting the blockade on Gaza, allowing exits and entrances from the boarder areas with the Egypt and Israel and also was seaport. None of those demands of course were going to be met. Israel did not want to give Hamas any sort of victory, any sort of evidence that firing rockets into Israel got the Palestinian people any sort of benefit of course that exactly what the Palestinian people, I mean that's exactly what Hamas wanted to show the Palestinian people that they got something for these four weeks of fighting.
Right now, all we have of course is this statement from the Israel defense forces that terrorist, they didn't identify whether it's Islamic Jihad or, Hamas or whoever it was. It might not have been authorized by Hamas parse but you're going to saying that rockets where fired into Southern Israel from Gaza. We'll continue to monitor the situation for you Anderson.
COOPER: And Jake, what's interesting about this is to ceasefire wasn't even said to expire for basically another three hours or so.
TAPPER: That's right. And Hamas, in their statement just a few hours ago the military wing, the Qassam brigade came on Al-Aqsa television, that's the station in Gaza. And said, that they would honor, they would continue to honor the ceasefire up until 7:59, but then at 8:00 they would consider the ceasefire over unless their demands were met, you know, one can not always go by what somebody says in this part of world as sincere promise. But that was what the Qassam brigade said my understanding is that actually the Qassam brigades were planning on giving an even stronger statement some of Palestinian negotiators in Cairo had urged them to tone it down a little bit which apparently they did according to the information I got.
But in any case somebody has violated according to the Israeli defense forces. Somebody has violated by firing two rockets. We don't have any information as to whether these rockets cause any injuries. As you know, the iron dome defense system has been very effective in preventing the kind of casualties that these rockets presumably are intended to cause. Also a lot of these rockets just aren't very effective. But as of now, the Israeli defense forces saying two rockets fired from someone in Ghazi in to Southern Israel and they say, "The ceasefire has been broken."
The Israeli defense forces are already planning for the end of the ceasefire. So we'll see what kind of response they give militarily if any. Anderson.
COOPER: And Jake we'll more from you obviously in the next hour. We'll continue your coverage. Stephen Farrell from the New York Times, [inaudible] wrote a book, Hamas the ...
COOPER: It's interesting though because this certainly raises questions which had been raised my time before about how much control these other Palestinian factions which claim that they're all speaking with one voice now. These at the negotiating table on Cairo, how much control they really have over some of these factions.
FARRELL: Yeah, I mean this could've been -- who knows who fires, it could've been another faction, it could have been an element within Hamas that decided that they wanted to hurry things along. Or destabilize things, I mean there's any number of reasons these rockets could've been fired. But yeah, is -- does Hamas completely controlled the Qassam brigade.
Does it completely controlled all of its own Qassam brigades. And even if it does, does it control other factions who may just want to start things up again for their reasons.
COOPER: I want to go back to other breaking story in the few minutes that remain to us. Jim Sciutto, lets just review for our viewers who are just joining us now near the top of the hour. The president Obama tonight speaking from the state dinning room saying that not only has he authorize and had conducted a humanitarian air drop of release supplies desperately needed supplies to religious minorities, the Yazidis and other who are basically stock surround on mountain, surround by ISIS forces. But he also had given the authorization if and when necessary for what he described as targeted air strikes against advancing ISIS forces if they advanced toward Erbil, endangering the lives of America military personality and American counselor personnel. And also authorize targeted air strikes to try to break the siege of around this mountain of by ISIS forces.
SCIUTTO: The air strikes announcements really was the news for the president statement because we have learned a couple of hours before about the humanitarian mission to drop aid the stranded Yazidis. But when you look at the statement about airstrikes, it leaves the U.S. open to further action in Iraq. One he says "He will conduct the airstrikes to protect the U.S. forces and personnel." Not just in Erbil where ISIS are advancing but he says, anywhere in Iraq including Erbil and Baghdad.
So two places that the U.S. could act to protect U.S. personnel. As you mentioned he says, he also authorized airstrike to break the siege, the ISIS forces surrounding these Yazidis up on that mountain top. And then he continued later in his statement to say that he will provide increase support to Iraq to deal with the counter terrorism challenge in Iraq. And he said, "They'll continue that the U.S. advisers that are now in Iraq working with Iraqi forces will train advice and support Iraqi forces going forward.
So he leaves the door open to additional military support, military action in Iraq in addition to what he specified today. And this is the mission (inaudible) we've talking about for sometime Anderson. And now as the threat has grown there from ISIS, the president giving himself more option and in fact going forward including military options.
COOPER: And we're just getting more word on this humanitarian airdrop, 72 bundles of supplies said to be dropped, three aircraft involved in dropping that, escorted by two F18's. Obviously Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, from something like that, you can't just have C130's or whatever dropping supplies. They have to be -- it has to be done very carefully, very low and they need military support.
FRANCONA: Right and the fighters would be equipped to detect any kind of air defense activity on the part of ISIS and be ready to take action to protect those aircraft.
COOPER: I want to thank everyone on our panel for this breaking coverage. That does it for us in this hour of CNN. Obviously our coverage is going to continue on, now through the evening. CNN coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer and Alisyn Camerota.