tv 60 Minutes CBS October 25, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> o'donnell: is it that you think you couldn't win or that you didn't want to run? >> i couldn't win. i'll be very blunt. >> o'donnell: in our interview, the vice president talked about his decision not to run, his thoughts about, the republicans, and how his son's death affected his family and his decision. >> some people have written that, you know, beau on his deathbed said, "dad, you've got to run," and there was this sort of hollywood moment. nothing like that ever, ever happened. >> martin: what does the air war against isis really look like? >> mr. martin, welcome to the combat operations floor. >> martin: tonight you'll see for the first time when "60 minutes" goes inside the middle
east command center. >> it's a weapons cache. >> martin: and follows a b-1 bomber's mission deep into enemy territory. there hez he goes. next comes the b-1 with its 2,000-pound bombs. oh, look at that. >> whitaker: our destination was this extravagant city the generals carved out of the jungle, 40 times bigger than washington, d.c. it's called nay pyi daw, burmese for "seat of the king," they proved the capital here from rangoon a decade ago. it was built in secrecy and no one would tell us how much it cost. it has an orwellian feel with grand -- grandiose buildings, deserted ten-lane highways, and most bizarre, almost no people. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm norah o'donnell.
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ask your doctor if opdivo is right for you. bristol-myers squibb thanks the patients and physicians who participated in the opdivo clinical trial. >> o'donnell: on wednesday, vice president joe biden stepped back from the 2016 presidential campaign. standing in the white house rose garden, flanked by his wife, dr. jill biden, and president obama, the vice president seemed reluctant, even regretful, as he passed up a third try for the presidency. >> biden: unfortunately, i believe we're out of time, the time necessary to mount a
winning campaign for the nomination. but while i will not be a candidate, i will not be silent. >> o'donnell: and he certainly wasn't saturday afternoon, when we joined the vice president and dr. biden at their official residence on the grounds of the naval observatory for his first television interview since the announcement. it's been a big week. how are you feeling about this decision? >> biden: ah, good. it's the right decision for the family, it's the right decision for us. >> o'donnell: is it that you think you couldn't win or that you didn't want to run? >> biden: couldn't win. i'll be very blunt-- if i thought we could've put together the campaign that our supporters deserve and our contributors deserved, i'll... i would have gone ahead and done it. >> o'donnell: but, why did it take you until tuesday to figure that out? tuesday night? >> biden: because it took that long for us to decide as a family. look, dealing with the loss of
beau, any parent listening who's lost a child, knows that you can't... it doesn't follow schedules of primaries and caucuses and contributors and the like. it just... you... and everybody grieves at a different pace. >> jill biden: and we had such hope that... you know, that he was going to live. and so i think it really wasn't until the day he died that we gave, well... i don't think we ever gave up hope. >> o'donnell: the bidens lost their son, beau, in may at age 46 to brain cancer. the vice president told us that during his illness and while grieving, he put his plans to run for president on hold. >> o'donnell: what was the single most important thing in deciding not to run? >> biden: i've said from the beginning that i don't know whether our ability to deal with the loss of beau would reach a point where we could do that before time ran out. and there was nothing we could control.
>> o'donnell: were you disappointed? or were you relieved? >> dr. jill biden: no, i-i think i was disappointed. i mean i thought joe would be a great president. and you know i-i've seen his... in the 40 years we've been together, i've seen, you know, the strength of his character, his-his optimism, you know, his hope... >> biden: glad we're doing this interview, i like to hear jill say all that stuff. >> dr. jill biden: so i believed he would've been the best president. >> o'donnell: i mean, how much did you struggle with this, about whether to run or not? >> biden: what i struggled with was whether or not we could emotionally-- i could, i speak for me-- i could emotionally handle this in a way that when i thought of beau i didn't... it wasn't a problem. for example, i-- at one point-- late summer, i thought, "well,
you know, i think we can do this." and i'll never forget my little granddaughter, we're down by the swimming pool, mom says, "time for dinner everybody." and everybody goes up, and she's lying between my legs with her head on my shou... my chest and turns around and puts her arms around me and starts sobbing and says, "pop, i see daddy all the time. i see daddy all the time. pop, you smell like daddy. you're not gonna leave me, are you pop?" well, when that happens, you go, "i don't know, man, how... you know, how could..." and so there are those kinds of ups and downs. but by the time, now, you know, we go to... we were home last weekend and we there every weekend we can get, and we went to her. she has a great little cross country, she's only 11 years old. >> dr. jill biden: to her track meet. >> biden: track meet. and she runs and she finishes and i give her a big hug, she said, "daddy would be happy, wouldn't he? wouldn't he?" so it's a total... you know, it just... it just takes time. and until you get there, you know, it's not... not an appropriate thing to throw
your... and by the way, you can't run for president unless you throw your entire being into it. >> o'donnell: how often did the two of you talk about this decision? every night? >> biden: well, we just looked at each other half the time. >> dr. jill biden: yeah. >> biden: like i-i... i'd get up in the morning some mornings and i'd say, "you know, jill, i think i..." because i have to admit to you, it was driving us crazy, is you guys. we love you. but, you know, serious press people would say, "well, we have on good authority from a very close friend of joe biden's that he's going to announce tomorrow." or, "we have on good authority that he's not going to run." or, "good... " and... that used to drive me crazy. and so part of it was i-i'd get up some mornings and say, "let's just end this thing, man. we don't have time to... i don't want to go... keep getting buffeted like this." and-and so some mornings we'd say, like i remember about a month ago we were on the porch at home and i said, "you know, when... maybe we should just... i don't know if we're going to get there in time. maybe we should just say we're not going." and jill said, "but what about
the supreme court?" >> dr. jill biden: what about education? what about community colleges? i felt like we were... everything we had worked so hard for in this administration, you know, could all... could just all change. >> biden: well, that's because she's prejudiced. she thinks that i have the best chance of winning the general election. so that's... ( laughter ) >> o'donnell: but that's really interesting to hear that, that you were really pushing him to go forward. >> dr. jill biden: oh yeah. sure. >> o'donnell: will you ever run for political office again? >> biden: no. no. i-i can do so much more, i believe. i hope i leave office in... as a respected figure who can... convene people and bring people together. and i just think the president and i talked about what we do together. what we each want to do out of office... >> o'donnell: you said something in the rose garden. you said, "if i could be anything, i would want to be the president that ended cancer." >> biden: it's true.
it's personal, i acknowledge. but, you know, cancer affects every single family. and, you know, one of the great advantages, and an advantage i had, it's... of being vice president, i had access to the finest people in the world. and i am confident if we make the decision john kennedy made of going to the moon, and we said, "we are going to cure cancer," within the next several years we can do that. that's how close it is. >> o'donnell: after we interviewed the bidens together, jill biden stepped out and we continued our conversation with the vice president. >> o'donnell: there was a lot you had to weigh in this run for president. i know you talked to your son, beau, about running for president. what did he want you to do? >> biden: well, first thing i'd like to do, and you're being very polite the way you're asking me the question because some people have written that, you know, beau on his death bed said, "dad, you've got to run."
and there was this sort of hollywood moment that, you know, nothing like that ever, ever happened. beau, from the time he was in his 30s-- or actually his late 20s-- was my... he and hunter were one of my two most reliable advisors. and beau all along thought that i should run and i could win. but there was not what was sort of made out as kind of this hollywood-esque thing that at the last minute beau grabbed my hand and said, "dad, you've got to run," like, win one for the gipper. it wasn't anything like that. >> o'donnell: i want to show you a photo of president obama and you. this is in the oval office. this is right before you went out into the... to the rose garden and told everybody that you weren't running for president. what advice did the president give you? >> biden: well, i called the president early in the morning and he was in the gym working out. and he took my call and i said,
"mr. president," i said, "we decided. i-i'm not going to run." and he knew how close it was, what was going on. and i said, "i'm going to go out and announce it this morning or early afternoon." he said, "joe, i'll be proud to stand with you. >> o'donnell: but did the president want you to run? >> biden: the president wanted me to do what i thought was best. >> o'donnell: but that speech in the rose garden sounded a little bit like a campaign platform. did you have this... a speech written for whether you were going to run or whether you weren't going to run? because part of the speech sounded like, "i'll be ready. i've got a plan if you need me at some point." >> biden: well, the truth is... there's some truth to that because what i wanted to make clear... >> o'donnell: but are you leaving the door open if something happens... >> biden: no, no, no. i was making the case that i do want to influence the democratic party. i want to make no bones about that. i don't want the party walking away from what barack and i did. >> o'donnell: you said, "i will not be silent."
>> biden: i will not be silent. and i went on and, in fact, said, and i want to the extent i can influence the direction of the democratic party and the country. >> o'donnell: well, let me ask you about that because you didn't mention hillary clinton at all during the speech. but you sure did seem to be referring to her. you said, "i don't think we should look at republicans as our enemies." was that a reference to the comment she made... >> biden: that wasn't directed at hillary. that-that-that was a reference to washington. all of washington. >> o'donnell: but she called republicans enemies in the debate. >> biden: well, i-i think... i think she-she was being more humorous than she was direct about that. >> o'donnell: but she said that in the debate. she was asked... >> biden: well... >> o'donnell: ...which enemy are you more proud of. and she said the iranians and then she also mentioned the republicans. >> biden: well, she was smiling when she said the republicans. and i-i-i don't take it as that's her view. but i do know it's the view of many people, like, for example, and i know this statement there were two big articles ready to say, "why is biden so naïve?" these people are our enemy. from serious people.
they're not my enemy. i-i... how-how in god's name can we govern this country if we view the opposition as an enemy? >> o'donnell: did you watch the democratic debate? did you watch hillary clinton? did you think she's unbeatable? >> biden: no. i-i-i didn't think that. what i thought was she did a great job. and i thought bernie did a great job. look, i've debated hillary 13 times in national presidential debates. i know hillary. i know her debating skills. i know mine. i have never had any doubt about her intellect or her capacity to debate. and i thought she did... she comported herself really well. >> o'donnell: but you wouldn't have considered running for president unless you thought or had some doubts about hillary clinton. >> biden: not at all. that has nothing to do with it. i've said from the beginning, look, i like hillary. hillary and i get along together. the only reason to run is because i-i still think i could do a better job than anybody else could do. that's the reason to run. i wouldn't run against hillary. >> o'donnell: but you also said in the rose garden that democrats should run on the record.
>> biden: that's right. >> o'donnell: the president's record. >> biden: i believe that. >> o'donnell: do you think hillary's running on that or something else? >> biden: well, she'll run on part of it. if not, she's already made a decision on two important things. it doesn't mean she won't be a great president. >> o'donnell: so when the "new york times" reported this past week that there's real tension between you and hillary clinton, that the mere mention of her name makes you fume according to some advisors. >> biden: well, let me tell you something, this... must be the same guys who knew i was going to run because that's never been the case. go back and find anybody who says for the four years we worked together hillary and i weren't friends. >> o'donnell: what do you think of donald trump? >> biden: the one thing i do... i'm disappointed in donald trump. i know what a showman and all that he is. but i really... i really don't think it's healthy and i hope he reconsiders this sort of attack on all immigrants. i think that is... i think that is beneath the country. i don't think it's where the american people are. and i hope he really doesn't believe it. >> o'donnell: you have 15 months
left in office. >> biden: i do. >> o'donnell: what one or two things do you think you can get done? >> biden: well, i think we can get a number of things done. one, i think we can really begin to nail down this commitment to work on cancer and head toward a moonshot. the president and i have already talked about that. number two, i think we can make some real progress, particularly with paul ryan, who is a good guy, on working toward an accommodation on the budget and on keeping the government open. >> o'donnell: this white house has not been able to get much done with this congress. do you think... >> biden: that's true. >> o'donnell: ...that speaker ryan will change things? >> biden: yes. this is a decent guy. and he knows you cannot function... this government can't function without reaching some consensus and he wants to do that. >> o'donnell: i know you often give advice to people. and one of the things you say is you're either on your way up or you're on your way down. which one are you? >> biden: i think i'm still moving up. i think we got a lot to do.
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>> martin: the united states and its allies have been bombing isis targets in iraq and syria for more than a year now, and all we've seen of it is a handful of videos released by the pentagon, so "60 minutes" asked for permission to witness the air campaign firsthand. and we were allowed into the war's $60 million command center located in the persian gulf country of qatar. there we followed, from start to finish, an american bombing mission against what had been identified as an isis bomb factory. we have agreed not to disclose any classified information, but what you're about to see is the first-ever look inside the air war. the american air crew-- two pilots and two weapons officers- - board their b-1 bomber at al udeid air base in qatar for a
mission that will take them 1,000 miles north over enemy territory in iraq. like all the flyers we met, they did not want their names used because of isis death threats. isis doesn't have weapons that can shoot down a b-1, so this pilot's biggest concern is an accident. what's the most dangerous part of the mission? >> takeoff. >> martin: takeoff. >> oh, yeah. you're so heavy and it's so hot out here. the runway's not very long. takeoffs are real scary. >> martin: the b-1 is carrying 17.5 tons of bombs and 170,000 pounds of jet fuel. it strains to get airborne in the reduced lift of 100-degree heat. it will take nearly three hours to reach the target, with two aerial refuelings along the way. >> david haworth: well, mr. martin, welcome to the combat operations floor. >> martin: yeah. lieutenant colonel david haworth takes us into the command center to watch as the b-1 and all the
other aircraft carry out the day's attack plan against isis. >> haworth: it doesn't have any windows but it's got a nice view, a good look at the arabian gulf, all the way back in through iraq and syria. >> martin: the air war's been going on for 14 months, but this is the first time news cameras have been allowed into its nerve center. >> haworth: the weapon of choice here is information, because the more information we have, both about the enemy and about our friendlies, the better we're able to make decisions. >> martin: on one wall, a giant map showing the location of every plane-- green are american and allied aircraft; the blue are commercial aircraft. on another, a video feed from an unmanned drone, one of dozens orbiting over iraq and syria. we make our way around the floor to a spot in the center called "the crow's nest." >> haworth: you are standing at, right now, the nexus. this is the center of the air campaign against isil and daesh. >> martin: "60 minutes" is here to follow that b-1 bomber on its mission against isis. air force lieutenant general charles brown is the commander
of the air war. how much of an effort does it take to mount a strike like that? >> charles brown: from just that one airplane, scheduling-wise, about a three day process. and some of those targets we've looked at for, you know, for days, weeks, and sometimes months. >> martin: i can't from here see any human activity around there. there's today's target-- up on the wall of the command center. that's a live video feed from a unmanned drone pointing its camera at a cluster of buildings believed to be hiding isis explosives. we can see the green track of the b-1 on the screen as it approaches the target. while the drone takes one last look, lieutenant general brown explains what's happening. >> brown: the target today is actually a weapons cache, as well as a vehicle-borne i.e.d. >> martin: a car bomb factory. >> brown: exactly. >> martin: the first planes over the target are a pair of dutch f-16s. look, there it goes. >> brown: there you go.
>> martin: now, is that a secondary? >> brown: that's probably a secondary. >> martin: so that means there were explosives in there that are... >> brown: that's correct. >> martin:... that are going off. so, i guess if there was anybody in those other three that you would have seen them running out by now. >> brown: exactly. >> martin: there goes a vehicle. i wonder what he's thinking. >> brown: right. >> martin: next comes the b-1 with its 2,000-pound bombs. oh, gee, look at that. >> brown: a lot of secondaries are going off there. gives you a good indication there were some level of explosives inside of those buildings. >> martin: a total of 16 weapons have hit the target. >> brown: that was multiple weapons. and it's probably a weapon for each one of those buildings. >> martin: in the last month and a half, u.s. and allied planes have struck 47 facilities like this one. but aren't they just going to go set up another factory in another building someplace. >> brown: potentially. and our... our goal is to haunt them wherever they are and... and take those kind of things out so we can actually provide
some security and stability here in this region. >> martin: so how does today, this one day of strikes that we've witnessed, how does that bring the u.s. closer to defeating isis? >> brown: well, i mean, every day we go out and strike it, it's one step closer. i can't tell you how many steps it's going to take. it's going to be more than a handful, that's for sure. >> martin: and every day, more bombs are unpacked and assembled. these are the 2,000-pound bunker busters used in the attack we witnessed. crews insert fuses and dial in a delay of several milliseconds so the explosives inside won't go off until after the bomb has penetrated the target. next, tail fins that will guide the bombs are attached. the geographic coordinates of the target will be programmed into the bombs, and gps satellites-- the same ones you use to navigate your car-- will steer them.
the bombs are hauled out to one of the busiest military air fields in the world and, along with some smaller 500 pounders, loaded aboard b-1 bombers. the u.s. is spending $10 million a day, launching aircraft from bases in kuwait, qatar, the united arab emirates, jordan and turkey. counting allied planes, there are up to 160 aircraft over iraq and syria on any given day. when the air campaign began last year, president obama warned it would take time. but it seems like it's taking even more time than people thought. >> brown: it is, in some regard, and part of this is that we're... not only are we working at the pace of the way we would operate, but it's also the pace of where our... our partners operate. it is a team effort and, ideally, you know, we're like to move... i think, collectively, we'd all like to move faster. >> martin: one holdup is the iraqi army, still trying to regroup after being routed by isis last year. the strikes are supposed to pave
the way for it to retake lost ground. but now, iraqi officials from the prime minister on down are saying publicly, "we're not getting enough air strikes." >> brown: i'll tell you that's a bit frustrating, because we have air power over iraq 24/7. >> martin: so, just for the record, are the iraqis calling for more strikes than you're able to deliver? >> brown: no. we got... we got a lot of air power up there. >> martin: but every time the iraqis call for a strike, you're able to deliver. >> brown: we're there. >> martin: so why are they complaining? >> brown: you know, that's a good question. because i think we've been in great support of what the iraqis been doing. and i guess i take... i have a different opinion. i really do. >> martin: the answer, at least according to american military officers, is that the iraqis are making excuses for their failure to take greater advantage of the strikes, which pentagon statistics show have destroyed or damaged nearly 14,000 isis targets, everything from tanks to buildings to staging areas.
and although the pentagon refuses to put out an official body count, lieutenant colonel hayworth claims isis fighters are dying by the thousands. >> haworth: what i can tell you is i'm seeing it. i'm seeing the enemy fighters being killed in action. they're being killed at a rate that i think is about on par with the numbers you're hearing as about 1,000 a month. >> martin: but isis has been able to replace its dead with new recruits, so the estimated number of enemy fighters remains unchanged-- 20,000 to 30,000 last year; 20,000 to 30,000 this year. so as long as they can keep bringing fighters in there, are you just shoveling sand against the tide? >> haworth: i don't know if that's the way i'd put it. you have to eliminate folks. you have to take the enemy off the battlefield. and as they put new folks in, they're not as seasoned and capa all take them out, too. >> martin: perhaps the best measure of progress is the amount of ground isis has lost. the pentagon released a map to show how much land has changed
hands since the air campaign began. some territory held by isis-- the areas in green-- have been retaken by friendly forces. isis has also made some gains, seen here in dark red. but overall, isis appears to be the net loser. this is isis controlled here. >> haworth: you know, that's an interesting term, "isis- controlled." you know, i've seen a lot of maps and a lot of reports about those pieces. and so, there's big large swaths of red territory that isis controls, but really you're seeing very small pockets of where isil really is. this is vast, open desert. really, they're concentrated in a few small locations along these lines of communications leading back into syria. >> martin: syria, where isis has its headquarters, and where the civil war only promises to get hotter now that the russian air force has intervened on the side of syria's dictator, bashar al assad. the russian jets, shown in yellow on the screen, are
tracked by the command center. >> brown: while they intend to operate in syria, but we also intend to operate in syria just like we've been doing for the past year. >> martin: you don't want the russians to come too close, obviously. >> brown: right. >> martin: how close is too close? >> brown: well i don't know if i want to throw a definition out there, but what we don't want to have is a mid-air. and so, we want to maintain some level of safe separation between our platforms and theirs. >> martin: russian aircraft have come to within 500 feet of u.s. planes, and russia's defense ministry released this video of one of its pilots checking out an american drone. these f-15e strike fighters are armed with missiles that could shoot down a russian plane, but this pilot doesn't think it will ever come to that. >> if russians might happen to be by us, we'll say, "hi," as we're flying by, and we'll continue to prosecute our targets. >> martin: does it feel a little weird? i mean, you've got these... you got all these aircraft up bombing separate targets, and
you're not even remotely on the same side. but you're letting each other go about their business. >> it's coordinated chaos, if you will. we have the capability to see where we are as a team, and we also can see where they are a lot of times, based on our technology that we have. >> martin: with or without the russians, the number of strikes is limited by the need to avoid civilian casualties. so far, there have been two confirmed cases in which a total of five to seven civilians were killed by the bombing. but there are 15 other incidents still under investigation. >> brown: our goal is to have... minimize any civilian casualties. and if there's any doubt, then we're probably not going to drop on that particular target. we'll come back another day. >> martin: to what extent is that inhibiting your operations? >> brown: well, in every... every air campaign, there is some type of guidance that we have to live by. >> martin: and the guidance is zero civilian casualties? >> brown: the goal is zero. >> martin: the goal is also to
hit lucrative targets like that car bomb factory, which is as close as a low-tech enemy like isis comes to an industrial base. but sometimes, the target can be as small as one man with a gun. on the day we watched the b-1 strike, that same bomber was sent to check out a report of a single isis sniper firing from the top of a building. >> the weapon will time out directly in between the two buildings. >> martin: this captain was one of the weapons officers in the cockpit. >> martin: b-1 bomber. >> yes, sir. >> martin: all that technology. >> yes, sir. >> martin: all that firepower, one sniper down on the ground. >> sir, i think if it was you or me on the ground getting shot at by that sniper, we would take any asset available to make sure we were no longer getting, you know, engaged by that sniper. so if i get a call and they say they're getting shot at and there's potential loss of friendly life, i am absolutely going to drop a weapon on that sniper. >> martin: by the time, the b-1 arrived overhead the sniper was gone.
>> what we did, however, find, though, was a tunnel system so, in this case, we dropped weapons on all the entry points that were associated with that tunnel. >> martin: six 500-pound bombs. >> it was actually a perfect shack on the target. >> martin: "perfect shack"? is that a dead hit? >> dead hit, yes, sir, yeah. >> martin: some 25,000 american bombs have been dropped so far. all the firepower and technology of a superpower, even supersonic stealth aircraft, directed against an enemy in pickup trucks intent on dragging the middle east back to the middle ages. >> this cbs sports update is brought to you by ford. i'm james brown. tom brady throws two fourth-quarter scores as the pats remain unbeaten. miami moves to 2-0 under dan campbell as ryan tannenhill sets
an nfl record for consecutive completions. kc holds off pittsburgh to snap their five-game losing streak. washington overcomes a 24-point deficit for its biggest comeback win all time. for more sports news and information, go to cbssports.com. and crack, and storm. but mother nature can't stop us. the new 2016 ford explorer. be unstoppable. ♪ theand the kids always eat sky their vegetables.e. because the salad there is always served with the original hidden valley ranch. to prove to you that aleve is the better choice this is claira.
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>> whitaker: a turning point is about to take place in one of the most exotic and closed-off lands on the planet, a country we know as burma. for about 50 years, it was run by a brutal military junta. the generals renamed the country myanmar. no one knows exactly why, but almost overnight, the junta decided burma would become a democracy. that caught the attention of the entire world and led to visits by president obama. he met twice with burma's most famous citizen, aung san suu kyi. after spending most of two decades under house arrest, she's now poised to lead her pro-democracy party to victory in elections next month. it's a critical time, so we decided to go see for ourselves
if the changes in burma are for real. there is a timeless quality to burma. it's a place almost untouched by the outside world. for about a half-century, the military kept burma locked away, impoverished, as if in a wretched time capsule. for as long as anyone can remember, monks in saffron robes have flowed from monasteries to collect alms each morning. in this overwhelmingly buddhist country, the faithful come to the center of burma's largest city, rangoon, to pray at the most sacred shrine. but it was burma's most well- known living symbol we wanted to meet-- aung san suu kyi, the woman who had the courage to stand up to the junta. just a few years ago, people could be jailed for possessing her picture. now, her image is everywhere. she is the face of the new burma.
>> aung sun suu kyi: people want a happy ending. they want burma to be a success story. there are too few success stories and too few happy endings in this world today. but i always say that you don't get something simply because you want it. >> whitaker: do you believe that burma is on the path to democracy now? >> suu kyi: it's not firmly on the path to democracy. we are on the path to disciplined democracy. >> whitaker: what is "disciplined democracy"? >> suu kyi: i think it's democracy as seen by military authoritarian leaders. >> whitaker: does it fit with your idea of democracy? >> suu kyi: not an exact fit, no. >> whitaker: to reach suu kyi, we traveled five hours by road from rangoon deep into the heart of burma. there are about 50 million burmese-- this is how most of them live. our destination was this extravagant city the generals carved out of the jungle, 40
times bigger than washington, d.c. it's called nay pyi daw, burmese for "seat of the king." they moved the capital here from rangoon a decade ago. it was built in secrecy, and no one would tell us how much it cost. it has an orwellian feel, with grandiose buildings, deserted ten-lane highways, and most bizarre, almost no people. this place is for rulers, not citizens, and it's not a place suu kyi feels comfortable. she's here only because she's now a member of parliament. when you look at this and the power that it represents, what makes you think that you can change this? >> suu kyi: it does not present itself as part of the country, as part of the people. and however impressive this complex may be, it doesn't really represent the people. >> whitaker: when we met aung san suu kyi, she seemed calm, almost serene.
but after talking with her for a while, we noticed the steely determination that got her through nearly two decades of house arrest. you're a tough-minded person, aren't you? >> suu kyi: i've never thought of myself as being particularly brave. i used to be frightened of the dark when i was small, and i'm not very good with dead rats and things like that. but i face what has to be faced and i hope as best as i'm able. >> whitaker: you must know you are seen worldwide as a symbol of democracy. >> suu kyi: no, i don't like to be called a symbol. and i don't like to be called an icon. i will just say that i have to work very, very hard. so i'd rather be known as a hard worker. i don't think symbols do much, nor icons. >> whitaker: suu kyi caught the world's attention when she first tried to bring democracy to burma in 1988. the generals crushed her
movement, killed and imprisoned her followers, and put her under house arrest. after a nationwide revolt led by monks called the "saffron revolution," the generals finally released suu kyi in 2010. within two years, she'd won a seat in parliament. she's now campaigning hard for her pro-democracy party to win control of parliament in next month's elections. you've got elections coming up, important elections. do you believe they will be free and fair? >> suu kyi: i don't think believing is what we need now. i think that what we need now is to work as hard as possible to make sure that they're free and fair. so this is a time of challenges, and challenges mean opportunities as well. >> whitaker: one opportunity she likely won't have is to become president. her party is expected to win a big majority, but the generals wrote the constitution, and they
stuck in a clause that prohibits anyone with foreign-born family from becoming president. suu kyi's two sons are british subjects. so was her late husband. do you think that constitution is written specifically for you, to keep you from being president? >> suu kyi: oh, i think so. i dare to say publicly and openly that that particular clause is written with me in mind. >> whitaker: would you like to be president? >> suu kyi: what i would like is for our people to feel that we have actually won through, that the struggle for democracy has been crowned. and if the people are allowed to choose freely their head of government and they choose to choose me, that's fine. >> whitaker: whoever rules burma will have to deal with this-- a violent conflict between buddhists and a muslim minority called the rohingya. the government doesn't consider them citizens.
three years ago, buddhist mobs torched rohingya villages when muslim men were accused of raping a buddhist woman. more than 120,000 ethnic muslims fled to government-controlled refugee camps. international human rights workers say they're more like concentration camps. some aid workers have called this ethnic cleansing. the camps are usually off-limits to outsiders, but our team managed to slip in. we found desperate people with little food, less health care. there is no lack of fear. abdusalem fled the buddhist mobs with his wife and daughters. the mob and monks chased them, he told us, beating and killing them. many children died, including one of his daughters. with misery inside the camps and buddhist mobs outside, thousands of rohingya have crowded onto rickety boats to escape to
neighboring countries by sea. most have been turned back, detained or ended up in camps again. when you think of buddhism, you're likely to think of peace and tranquility. so we were surprised to know some of the biggest inciters of violence against the rohingya are buddhist monks. one of the most outspoken and influential is sayadaw ashin wirathu. he is anything but peaceful and tranquil. listen to what he said to us. the dalai lama has condemned your form of buddhism as extremism. >> ( translated ): sayadaw ashin wirathu: i accept the term "extremist" with pride. i do not respect the dalai lama. he's a political power broker. the dalai lama is not honorable to me. >> whitaker: wirathu's rhetoric is extreme, but his mantra-- that burma is for buddhists- is
widely held, even by other holy men. he's a provocateur who enflames passions with fiery speeches. he's attracted a large and growing following. do muslims have a place here in burma? we can't repeat his actual response-- it's r-rated. but essentially, he said muslims were defecating on burma, threatening its very existence. >> whitaker: you don't like them very much. >> ( translated ): wirathu: i don't accept them. >> whitaker: why? >> wirathu: because they're deceiving the world. they want to take over the whole country. but even then, they will not be satisfied. they will only be satisfied when the whole world converts to islam. >> whitaker: there are more monks than soldiers in burma and they're highly revered. wirathu's view of suu kyi could pose a problem for her. what is your opinion of aung san suu kyi?
>> ( translated ): wirathu: when it comes to nationalism and the security of the country, she's useless. >> whitaker: useless? >> wirathu: yes. >> whitaker: her failure to speak up for the rohingya has dimmed her image internationally. and her party has no muslim candidates in the upcoming election. >> suu kyi: now, it's interesting because the outside world criticizes me because i have not condemned the buddhists. and inside the country, i have been condemned because i won't condemn the muslims. because i base this on the simple fact that what we're trying to build up is harmony and national reconciliation. >> whitaker: hearing you talk right now, i hear the politician. >> suu kyi: i've always been a politician. >> whitaker: how does any politician pull this country together? >> suu kyi: the answer is very simple and very difficult-- trust. we have to build up trust between all our different ethnic nationalities. >> whitaker: she also has to trust the ruling generals will keep their word on democracy. to find out, we asked burma's
president, thein sein, for an interview. he invited us to the presidential palace. his entrance seemed more fit for a king. it felt as much like an audience as an interview. i was here in 1990 for the elections then. and the opposition swept the elections. but the generals nullified the results of the election and quashed the opposition. can you assure us that something like that will not happen this time? >> ( translated ): thein sein: i believe that it is... there is no chance for something to happen like the situation in 1990. i firmly believe the elections this year will be free and fair. >> whitaker: what is your relationship with opposition leader aung san suu kyi? >> sein: there are no major problems between the two of us. we may not be partners, but we are not enemies. whether aung san suu kyi or any
other party wins, there will be a peaceful transfer of power. >> whitaker: despite cordial words and photo-ops, president thein sein recently purged the member of his party who was working most closely with suu kyi. the president, after all, was a leader of the junta that tried to break her with almost 20 years of house arrest, cruelly offering to let her go to her dying husband in britain, but she feared she couldn't return. she stayed and never saw her husband again. it was that unyielding resistance that won her the nobel peace prize in 1991. aung san suu kyi has been waiting a quarter-century for this chance at democracy. you have sacrificed so much. you've given up so much for your country, even your family. why'd you do it? >> suu kyi: i did it because i believed in it and i wanted to do it. so i don't think it should be termed a sacrifice.
>> whitaker: why do you say that was not a sacrifice? >> suu kyi: well, how can you call it a sacrifice when you choose to do something because you believe in it? >> whitaker: elections are scheduled to take place november 8. the government has banned any rohingya from voting. i'm mary ellen, and i quit smoking with chantix. i have smoked for thirty years and by taking chantix, i was able to quit in three months. and that was amazing. along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it absolutely reduced my urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. some had seizures while taking chantix. if you have any of these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away.
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america" that aired in 2014. morley safer looked at the swarms of mostly unregulated camera-equipped unmanned aerial vehicles in our skies, and the advantages and complications that have taken flight along with them. >> safer: sophisticated as they are, any idiot can fly one. >> now, just push up on this one. >> safer: up? >> push up and just let it keep going. just let it keep going. >> safer: and in the hands of someone who actually knows what they're doing, you can get a bird's eye view of things, literally. >> whitaker: this past week, the department of transportation and the f.a.a. announced plans to draw up rules for registering and regulating drones before christmas, when another million drones may land under the tree. i'm bill whitaker. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." tomorrow, be sure to watch "cbs this morning."
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blake (over speaker): for the 9:30 a.m. national security council meeting, you'll need the memo on cyber security... yeah. ...which you took home. worst bedtime reading ever. i can get you another copy. ha! no need. okay, so staff briefing after nsc, then... what? at 2:15, there's a reception for the departing finnish ambassador. i hope he brings that salty licorice. god, i love that stuff. we'll look into that for you.