tv CNN Newsroom With Don Lemon CNN August 9, 2014 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
likely to succumb to this illness. tens of thousands of people die from it in the united states alone. what i'm describing is the common flu, not ebola, something not so scary, right? because we understand it. information is power, we do have a vaccine for the flu. one day we may have a pandemic that plays out like a movie. thankfully, it's not ebola, and it's not now. hope that helps ease your mind a little bit. time to get you back to the cnn newsroom with brooke baldwin. we have to begin with our complete coverage of what's happening on the ground in iraq. the u.s. military destroying targets in eye rook, and we have
a casualty count many look at the map with me and i'll tell you what we know right now. iraqi officials near the town of erbil say 16 fighters from isis are dead, they were killed when american warplanes dropped bombs on their artillery positions. isis as you very well know has been rolling unchecked all over much of the northern part of the country, taking control of cities, highways, infrastructure, with no organized forces on the ground really with the weaponry to be able to stop them. american planes are also dropping something else to those in dire need in iraq as well. food, medical supplies, water, to the thousands of people, many, many children who have been forced to abandon their homes when isis fighters got dangerously close, for the first time since 2011, the united
states military is back in the business of direct combat from iraq. from the mountains of north earn iraq to washington, d.c., correspondents are covering this new captor of hostilities, we have ivan watson in erbil, iraq for us. and we will here president obama's comments from just this morning about the air strikes and the catastrophic humanitarian crisis. and how long he expects to be involved there. but we'll talk to evan perez, our justice correspondent in washington in a moment. ivan watson, we have to begin with you in erbil. tell me, president obama said the air strikes near where you are were part of this long term struggle that will need iraqis to fight isis. what's the response where you are? >> well, i mean, he's put a lot of pressure, he said that the air strikes would be designed to try to give some breathing room
for the iraqis, to unify. it's been political deadlock for quite a long time. there are signs of some of that unification coming together. the new president of iraq, the new speaker of the iraqi parliament travelled up here to erbil where they met with the president of the kurdistan government. the big question, what's going to happen with the iraqi prime minister, nuri al maliki, who was criticized by many for helping create this crisis by pursuing a policy that favored shiite arab iraqis and the isis uprising has been backed by many sunni arabs who felt disenfranchised as president obama put it, the kurdish
officials have said that they are also facing not only the hardcore, many foreign jihadi fighters of this isis movement, but also many arab tribes men who have helped isis push forward and engage in what really looks like ethnic and sectarian cleansing of anybody who is not a sunni, muslim arab in the areas they've taken over, that's driven hundreds of thousands of iraqi christians, shiites, kurds in the direction of the kurdish north. brooke? >> agagenocide the word that secretary kerry has used in the last 24 hours. let's talk about these families, they've fled from their homes, living in construction sites and churches. how much is this humanitarian effort helping, how much more do they need? >> the hundreds of thousands of
people who have come to kurdish towns and cities, those people are pretty much in shock, and appear relieved to find a place where they're not in immediate harm's way. the next question, no one had an answer. the next thing is getting out of iraq. many of them resigned to the fact that they're determined to give up on this country entirely, and hoping for sanctuary in europe or the u.s. anywhere but iraq. there are more immediate needs they have to face, how are they going to feed their families, how long can they sleep on the floors of schools, churches and abandoned construction sites. can the people help feed them?
i was seeing ordinary kurds donating money and food to help these people. it's a major humanitarian crisis, and there needs to be international assistance to help deal with this wave of humanity. >> it's something the president addressed. we saw the president this morning at the white house. he wasn't specific as to what's next, how long the strikes will continue or where the next round would target. >> we're not moving our embassy or consulate any time soon. that means given the challenging security environment, we're going to maintain vigilance and enshoo that our people are safe. >> it's obvious, if you're the president, you're not going to tell the world publicly where you're going to strike, you need
the element of surprise, but as far as the timetable, he was very craig, saying it would be a protracted fight, long term. what's your he'd on that? >> that's the bringing news out of what the president said today, what he is preparing the american public for essentially is that we're going to be doing this for weeks, months and years. there's some precedence to that. the u.s. carried out air strikes in iraq for years to prevent saddam hussein from attacking the kurds. what he's setting up for is the possibility that we're going to be doing this for some time. he's trying to buy time for the government in baghdad to get its act together to get an inclusive government that encourages sunnis to move away from isis. and he wants the iraqi military to get its act together to start
fighting isis. we're facing a long time of these strikes, brooke. >> that's long term. what about just more imminently, as far as -- i know you've talked to administration officials today. are they sharing anything with you as far as objectives? be it protecting those americans in erbil, at the consulate. we have an american embassy in baghdad? >> that's the other significant thing here, the president is saying we're going to protect the consulate in erbil, where we have a lot of american advisers, we also have a big presence in baghdad and he's basically saying we're going to make sure that isis does not advance on baghdad. we're looking at a widening scope, and you're starting to
hear some reluctance from members of congress. i think this is a difficult situation for the president, because obviously he was very reluctant to do this. but the few choices he had here, brooke. >> one of the platt forms he ran on, ending the war in iraq. some say it's mission creep, others saying it's not enough. evan perez, thank you so much. the president is working with world leaders to come up with a plan to fight and not just stop, but destroy isis. did the u.s. already miss its best chance to destroy them? plus this. >> day by day, it's getting worse and worse. more children are being beheaded, mothers are beeb r5i7ed and killed, fathers are being hung. >> how do you fight an enemy that is so brutal they are beheading children of the families that refuse to convert to islam?
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did we underestimate isil? i think that there is no doubt that their advance, their movement over the last several months has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates and i think the expectations of policy makers inand out of iraq. >> the president there this morning, he's acknowledging that isis did surprise intelligence types with the speed they moved through iraq. let's look at that more indepth. u.s. military, u.s. intelligence, they knew that isis would pose a threat, the speed to which they've taken
these towns was the surprising part? >> we were overestimating the iraqi army, we have not had people embedded in these units since we left in 2011, wen did the have an accurate assessment of how bad and atrophied they would become. >> let's look at maps, i'm a visual person, this helps me, and hopefully it will help you as well. let's take a look. this was june, and so the red parts here, as you can see this, these are the isis operational presence, isis control zones. first to your point, to explain to people, erbil is up here. mosul is where this -- the tigres river. >> right to the south of the reservoir there, you can see in the north. >> this is june, and then you'll see all the color, once we flash forward to august.
>> the reason there's nothing colored there is because there's nothing there. what isis has done is taken everything of value, they've come down the tigres valley, the euphrates valley, they've taken the key junctions in the roads, they controlled the border crossings, almost every border crossing on the syrian border. the one official border crossing they control now or have a presence there. they're doing the right things. now you see them moving south of baghdad, threatening the airport. >> you bring up baghdad, i wanted to talk with that. the president mentioned baghdad this morning, where there's been so much focus. you can see on iraq, much of northern iraq is under isis control, the question as far as strategy goes, is it not just protecting 40 americans in erbil. we have a massive u.s. embassy in baghdad, is that part of this? >> yes, it is. the president said we're going to protect the american presence
there, and he did make a reference to the embassy. he said, we're not getting -- the embassy is not moving, we're not pulling our people out of the embassy, that would mean we're also going to be available to put air strikes just north of baghdad because the isis people are threatening just north of baghdad. they're trying to come around the airport. the airport is critical, if we're ever going to have to evacuate americans out of there, the airport is a key part of that, and that's why you saw after the initial assessment of how bad the iraqi army was, we put troops into the airport. >> can isis be stopped by air strikes? >> they'll be blunted. >> is that good enough? >> if the iraqis are able to get their act together if the army is able to reconstitute itself. if we can give them time to
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isis militants are sending a brutal message, convert to isis radical religious views of islam or be murdered, slaughtered. isis is willing to behead anyone who refuses to join their plight including young children. this video shows desperate people stranded on top of this mountains, isis militants circling below ready to murder anyone who descends. isis has become the world's most ruthless jihadist group. >> day by day, it's getting worse and worse. more children are being beheaded, mothers are being raped and killed, the fathers are being hung. >> the atrocities are well known, but you're startling with
the severity of what you're describing. you say they're beheading children? >> they systematically beheading children, mothers and fathers. the world hasn't seen an evil like this for generations. there's actually a park in mosul that actually beheaded children and put their heads on the stick and they have them in the park. this is crimes against humanity. >> beheading children. how can isis be defeated when their members have no limits. let me bring in kimberly dozier. let me began on that man's final thought. i sat here watching that saying to you, how do you behead a child? it speaks to the brutality of their organization, and they're getting young people involved in
their group. >> they're creating child soldiers. they had a powerful documentary, two out of six parts of which have been exhibited thus far. showing a great amount of access to isis' control of the easternmost province in syria. they were interviewing children an chatting brainwashed soldiers. there was an isis member from belgium who spoke to his young child what do you want to be when you grow up? either a jihadist or suicide bomber. he replied jihadist. >> i was talking to a writer the other day, who talked to a 14-year-old who was kidnapped out of aleppo, and was at the beginning of the brainwashing and talked about the torture
room these kids are put in when they don't do what they're supposed to do, he ended up running away. the point of the youth. kimberly dozier, to you, can america realistically defeat isis when we talk about looking at the map of the territory and speediness of these cities they have taken? is it possible to not just blunt them, but destroy them by air strikes? >> one of the things that isis has done, the mistake its made is to give the white house a clear example, a black and white example of what they're doing wrong in a way that the u.s. can do something to stop it, with those tens of thousands of yazidis civilians trapped, the u.s. can go in and make a significant difference. president obama is setting up the situation where it's going
to be like yemen or pakistan. where the model is the u.s. works through local forces, bolsters them with intelligence and advisers, but doesn't actually commit combat troops on the ground. the air strikes will not drive isis out. but they'll be a great force multiplier, they'll help boost the confidence of the kurdish or iraqi forces. the u.s. has made clear that it's not going to make the decision of when to go after them in the mountain. the president said he's going to leave that to the kurds and his advisers say they're going to leave that to the iraqi army to decide when to move forward. >> but here's the issue, they don't have the weaponry that isis has. and you just co wrote a piece with someone embedded with the
peshmerga military, it's the russians who provided some of the tanks. >> we've all seen the sensationalistic headlines, isis standing in front of humvee's, it's terrifying to think they've controlled hundreds of millions of dollars. the problem is, this equipment is very, very difficult to operate, it requires an enormous amount of maintenance, you need consultants, servicemen on the ground. i don't think, the piece i co wrote -- we don't think this is the problem. the real problem is, soviet era weaponry. particularly anti-aircraft machine guns, which have been used to great effect to take down helicopters, i think there was a report today in fact that we shot down an iraqi or kurdish helicopter. >> this is what we need to worry about. there's an in built advantage
here. u.s. pilots are heat signatures, we will be destroying our own stuff. i'm not as worried about that. i think 50% of the stuff they took was immobile. have you to deal with these conditions in the middle east, heat and sand getting into the works, who do they have on the ground to help them with that? the reason these guys know how to use russian made material, a lot of the isis command core used to be iraqi army soldiers. they used to be in the macabre, they came from saddam's regime. this is a point that is not being emphasized enough. they're profession lay trained military. this is not a rag tag militia. this is an army. >> no one thought they were. where can we find your piece?
>> thank you so much. the air strikes and the fighting in iraq has not stopped 3rez obama from taking time away from his family. listen, he's the president, he can do his job wherever he is. does this matter that he's playing golf? can he do his job? we'll discuss that next. so i can focus on what matters most. [ female announcer ] everyone has a moment when tomorrow becomes real. transamerica.
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and medicare plans. president obama has made it crystal clear, he did not want to get involved militarily in iraq. he got elected to the white house by promoting his opposition to the u.s. military role in iraq. and now as he's heading toward his final two years in office, he finds himself ordering targeted air strikes in iraq on targets near erbil. it's home to a u.s. consulate.
the president said just this morning, this operation will take some time. is he acting for the right reasons? should he have done this sooner? and should the u.s. be doing this at all? let's ask ben ferguson and marc lamont hill. happy saturday. >> happy saturday. >> i want you to listen to a comments the president made near the end of thursday night's air strike announcement. >> over the last several years we have brought the vast majority of our troops home from iraq and scan stan. i've been careful to resist calls for our military. we have other tools in our arson el. we can lead with the power of diplomacy and ideals. >> you heard the president say he resisted calls time and time
again to go in militarily he should use the power of diplomacy. did his reluctance to deploy the military before allow isis to gain such a strong foothold? >> i think there's a lot of factors, when the president decided to draw down troops in iraq, it was a political move and a strategic one surely the president understood it was politically advantageous to do so, there was a sense that the iraqi forces were going to take the reigns and be positioned to take care of this. maliki was the opposite of saddam hussein. so maliki turns the corner on us, creating a different environment in iraq. u.s. troops were not guaranteed
the level of security they are used to. and the president was hasty in getting forces out of iraq. that mixed together provided the provi problem we now have. >> the president bee grudgingly started this u.s. air strike campaign. what did you make of the word genocide he used and the timing? >> one, i think he's doing this to make sure he has enough cover, because he has been absolutely the i'm not going to war president, when you paint that picture, you get yourself in awkward situations like he's in right now, make no mistake about this, part of this was a massive miscalculation. isis didn't get bad yesterday. they were doing the same behe beheading of children in syria, and they're able to do what they've done in syria, after we didn't act in iraq. when president obama came out -- and i've said this before, i
never want any united states president to fail when it comes to foreign policy and national security. many people support him when he said, if you use chemical weapons, america will act. and america didn't act. and they started taking hold in syria, they had the same atrocities against christians in syria, they're now doing in iraq, the reason why they're doing it so boldly, and so many people have been recruited to come with them now, they're crazies, but they are a military, they're an army -- >> well, they're also brainwashing kids, by the way, and talking to a lot of smart military tapes, i think the u.s. intelligence was, is does is was a threat, no one had any idea how quickly the speed to which they took these towns over the last couple months and finally followed up by this one religious minority stuck on top of a mountain -- no one saw this coming opinion. >> that's exactly right -- >> when you don't want to deal
with it, then you are surprised. we've had two plus months of warning, we saw how quick they were able to go into certain towns, we could have gotten involved then, we continue to have a foreign policy, where we lead from behind instead of look willing at this and saying, we're going to deal with it now, we're dealing with it two months, really organized, and that's a big failure on our part. >> mark, i want you to resummoned. >> i think ben is half right, there have been moments where we painted ourselves into a corner, syria will be an example of that. we draw red lines and redraw red lines and still end up with these issues, it's improper to compare what isis is doing in iraq and what they did in syria there's a lot of other issues at play in syria. i think it's apples and oranges when you compare syria to iraq on this particular issue. also, i don't think it's that president obama was committed to acting from behind on iraq, i
think he wanted iraq to take the reigns. he wanted iraq to exercise leadership, we're at a point where we see that isis was able to come in and take over the region, able to go to mosul, able to completely box the yazidis. all this stuff is happening relatively quickly, i'm not saying the president did this -- made no mistakes here -- >> even today, look at what barack obama did, he put himself in a corner bay saying, under no circumstances are we going to have boots on the ground. yet we're going to be bombing, why give that to your enemy. why not let them wonder what america may or may not do instead of saying, we're only going to act from the air and there's nothing we're going to do. that puts him in a bad position with his foreign policy. i want him to be successful on
this -- >> i think we're all on the side of wanting to help these people and getting them the humanitarian aid they need. the u.s. onlien watts to do so much with these targeted air strikes. the other issue is, iraq needs to step up and help with the destroying of isis. thank you both very much on this saturday afternoon. thousands of iraqis are stuck, trapped on top of this mountain in northern iraq, they're surrounded on the base of the mountain by these terrorists, they're being told they have to convert to islam or die. you will hear from a unicef worker who has been working to get these families the help they need. with 7 antioxidants to support cell health. age? who cares.
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see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. you're watching cnn, i'm brooke baldwin, until the airdrops began, they had no food. these people had no water and as the mothers and fathers and children are passing the hours on top the mountain, mount sinjar, there was no escape for some 40,000 desperate people in the mountains of northwestern ir iraq. isis fighters overran sinjar last weekend. they forced a group of yasidis to flee into the surrounding mountains in fear of their
lives. some did not make it, prompting concerns of a potential genocide. i spoke with a unicef representative for iraq, he has been to sinjar district, he has talked to these people, and seen firsthand what's happening there, i talked to him a little while ago. >> we need to consider that these children have no food, water or even clothing to be protected, given the -- these mountains are surrounded by desert. with the heat and high temperature we have these days, dehydration has caused more than 60 children dying unnecessarily. >> and many of those children who are dying atop that mountain are being buried in shallow graves because of the terrain, that's what their mothers and fathers are having to do. they need the food, water and medical supplies. can you talk to me about the decisions these families are
having to make, whether to stay home and force death by isis or leave and take their chances? >>. >> yes, this is exactly true, the medical supplies, food and water and fortunately enough started to arriving into some hamlets, particularly in the eastern part of the mountain region after the increased precision of airdroping done by the united states air force, which is something that actually placed very much. it is hopeful and this is actually a reason to be pretty optimistic for smaller communities. we have a bigger problem, we are running out of time for thousands of them who cannot be
reached by these airdrops that are limited in number. and as i said, the united nations, but particularly unicef is appealing the international push for the opening of a humanitarian corridor. we have a strategic plan, we are ready with supplies and medical care. we need to take out how many thousands of people we can, they will join the already 200,000 who are actually safe in the safe haven in northern kurdistan. >> huge kudos to organizations like unicef for trying to help these people. so if they cannot go around isis, will these people have to go through them? we'll talk to a former nato
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iraq. he was hammering home the desperate need for the humanitarian corridor to start the process of rescuing people and getting people out. that is just one issue of the broader i.s.i.s. u.s. says no u.s. boots on the ground. >> you have to have the curds to establish the corridor. the united states has the capacity to use its air powers as a combat multiplier in this case. you are not able to put u.s. troops on the ground. this is a region that is going to be in turmoil and chaos for years and possibly a couple of decades. we are going to have to
intervene continuously to make sure the right guys win and the bad guys don't. that is going to mean diplomacy, economic power, strengthening exports and reducing reliance on oil and take the pressure of money and wealth out of the area. hopefully not ground troops often because there is no decisive objective. >> general, more immediately with the 40,000 people, families stuck on top of a mountain what we have we have seen the effectiveness of several rounds of air strikes. what can be done, what should be done? >> we don't know what is going on behind the scenes. i would imagine we have a lot of u.s. activity behind the scenes. we are probably up there. we have communications.
we have c 130s that can drop. they have to organize themselves for a push to open some kind of corridor. that is not an easy corridor to open. 40,000 people is a lot of people to walk across the desert because there is no transportation for them. if you figure that each one of those people needs a gallon or two of water a day and that water has to be brought in, that is a lot of air drops. so there is a lot of logistics in this. i'm sure we have a lot of people working on that at this very moment. >> we know these militants, their goal and perhaps this is why they want dams is to create their own islamic state. they would like to create this area, really your wording was create a launch pad against western interests world wide. what do you mean by that? >> we have always said that we
don't want a terrorist state to re-emerge. so when it -- when we are threatened with that we are going to intervene as we are starting to do right now. we don't want a state that has instrument alitys of a government that takes taxes and collects revenues and trains kids and is a terrorist state that uses terrorists to attack other states and especially not the united states. so that makes it an enemy of the united states and of really the civilized world. we don't want that to take form there. but the first line of effort there is the forces have to work against this. >> general wesley clark, thank you for your expertise. i appreciate it. we have to take a quick break. you're watching cnn. there's a gap out there. that's keeping you from the healthcare you deserve.
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>> reporter: san francisco 1967 summer of love was at its peak. ♪ what are we fighting for >> reporter: free love, free drugs, free living for hippies escaping the mainstream. a 32-year-old charles manson arrived with much darker ambitions. >> you get these kids, these children coming in and here is someone, charlie manson, saying how much he loves them and wants to take care of him. it was made to order for him and he took full advantage. >> reporter: manson's destructive course through life was fixed from the start. he spoke to cnn from prison in 1987. >> i spent the best part of my life in boy schools, prisons and reform schools because i had
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eastern and pacific here on cnn. that does it for me. stay here. for now "smerconish" begins. devastating strikes conducted by the united states in iraq. israel and militants in gaza are striking again and this as the president is kicking off a two-week vacation. ebola rumors on social media. i'm michael smerconish. let's get started. my first headline is from abc news. air strikes undertaken as u.s.