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New al Qaeda Tape Released; Interview With Massachusetts Senator John Kerry; Cher Crusades For Safer Military Helmets

Aired June 21, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone.
Breaking news tonight: a new message from Osama bin Laden's right-hand man.

Also tonight, the war in Iraq bringing murder charges at home.

And a battle in Washington over how and when to get out.


ANNOUNCER: Murder charges, chaos, and more. He says, enough. Set a date and get out. Is Senator Kerry marching his party to political defeat over Iraq? We will ask him.

Out of control, wind and flames turning a Western paradise into a corner of hell on Earth.

Angelina Jolie -- her mission, the interview, and, tonight, your incredible life-saving response to it.

Plus, Cher.

CHER, MUSICIAN: I just was astounded at the price that could save someone's life.

ANNOUNCER: Her mission, it is helping Marines get back from Iraq alive without life-changing injuries.


ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Hey, thanks for joining us.

We begin with breaking new, chilling news, no matter what the specifics, a new message from al Qaeda, in this case, Ayman Al- Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's second in command, the so-called brains of the operation.

Now, we just got the tape, literally.

And CNN's terrorism analyst Peter Bergen, has had a look at it as well. This is the tape. We are just getting these images for the first time. We see the -- of course, the machine gun in the back. Often, in these tapes, we have seen this, but, again, this from Osama bin Laden's number-two man.

Peter Bergen joins us now, who has been watching and listening to this tape as well.

Peter, what is new about this tape?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I mean, it is about three weeks old. You will see on the right side of the screen it says -- there is Arabic letters which indicate al-Zahab (ph), which means it was made by al Qaeda's video production arm.

They have been quite active recently. They released a tape by Osama bin Laden commenting on the Moussaoui trial a couple of weeks ago. And they have released this tape now. We expected this -- we expected this -- the tape to maybe talk about Zarqawi's death. And it doesn't, which I think is significant, indicating that there is a significant lag time between when these tapes are actually made and when they get released.

COOPER: Well, he indicates in this tape that he's making this tape just about, I think, three days after a riot that took place in Afghanistan. That riot took place in Kabul on May 29, apparently when an American vehicle lost control and slammed into about a half-dozen other vehicles, killing, I think, one person.

And, in the subsequent riots, as many as 20 people were killed. Why is he specifically referencing that -- that event?

BERGEN: Well, because, I mean, as you can see from these pictures, in that part of the world, where, of course, Ayman al- Zawahri and Osama bin Laden are living, on the Afghan-Pakistan border, this story was a huge deal.

It showed that the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating rather rapidly. We have had something like 30 suicide attacks there in the last year. We have had the anti-cartoon riots, you may remember, the Koran, "Newsweek" riots. We have now had these anti- American riots. There is a lot of discontent.

And he's trying to basically fuel off of this discontent, because this is something that the Taliban, al Qaeda and its allies hope to plug into.

COOPER: Well, it is sort of fascinating to see him in that last video we just saw of him sort of shaking his finger, wagging his finger at the camera.

This tape does seem to be -- I mean, other tapes have been marketed or kind of addressed to a U.S. audience, some of them with translations even in English. But this one does seem, by the number of translations and the various languages it is translated into, seems to be squarely targeted at Afghans. What does that tell us about what al Qaeda thinks or the vulnerabilities that still exist for the U.S. in Afghanistan?

BERGEN: Well, they would love to take advantage of the situation in Afghanistan. Anderson, as you know, the situation, I have been an optimist about what is going on there. But I'm -- I'm no longer optimistic.

COOPER: Really? Because you -- I mean, I think it was -- you wrote a great op-ed, what was it, last summer after returning that was very optimistic.

BERGEN: Yes. Well, you had three million refugees returning.

You had President Karzai, a popular figure, a very successful presidential and parliamentary election. But things are going south. I mean, 50 percent of the gross domestic product are drugs. The Taliban is resurgent. U.S. troops are drawing down. I think most Americans don't understand that, but it is certainly regarded within the region as the beginning of the end, even though I know it isn't.

Clearly, the fact that 3,000 American troops are -- are being replaced now by NATO troops, on paper, that's great, but NATO is much less effective than the U.S. military on many levels. There are so many different countries that are involved. They don't have the airlift capability. And I think, you know, the Taliban and al Qaeda, they read the newspapers. They react to news events. And they put out stuff like this to take advantage of it.

COOPER: We will have more on this new terror tape throughout the evening. Again, literally, that was the first time that -- that we had seen it. We're going to be analyzing the tape closer. We will talk to Peter Bergen again later on.

More now, though, on the war in Iraq, the war over Iraq, and murder charges -- all the angles tonight on charges brought today against seven Marines and a Navy corpsman in connection with the death of an Iraqi in the town of Hamandiyah.

Also tonight, the fight over how and when to get out of Iraq. Senator John Kerry is with us. He wants a firm deadline, a date. Some fellow Democrats want a different timetable. And yet -- yet others call the whole debate political suicide. We will ask him about his plan and the politics of it.

And, as a backdrop, the killing of yet another attorney for Saddam Hussein, Hussein's hunger strike, the kidnapping of dozens of Iraqi civilians today, all of it fodder for the debate.

First, though, the murder charges and CNN's Ted Rowlands.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here at Camp Pendleton, they have been bracing for the worst. And, today, they heard it.

LT. COL. DAREN MARGOLIN, U.S. MARINE CORPS: There is sufficient evidence at this point to charge all of them with premeditated murder.

ROWLANDS: One of the Marines charged is Private 1st Class John Jodka. His father says his son is a hero, not a criminal. And he was talking tough after charges were announced.

JOHN JODKA, FATHER OF ACCUSED MARINE: You want to fight me? Come on. You're -- you're fighting -- I'm fighting for my son. I'm fighting for my hero. I'm fighting for my hero, my Marine hero.

ROWLANDS: Lance Corporal Robert Pennington is another Marine who has been charged.


ROWLANDS: The 21-year-old's father actually got a call from his son while watching at his Washington state home, as the Marines made the announcement.

PENNINGTON: I'm angry that they listen to these obviously trumped-up charges and go to this extent. It's just unconscionable to me.

ROWLANDS: Awad's family first reported on May 1 to the Marines that he had been murdered. They later showed CNN a receipt left by investigators that shows that Awad's body was exhumed and taken for an autopsy. Awad's brother says, when Marines showed up that night, they went directly to Awad's home.

SADOON IBRAHIM AWAD, BROTHER OF HASHIM IBRAHIM AWAD (through translator): They didn't search his house. They took him immediately. He was seized by two soldiers, each on one of his sides, because he was disabled.

ROWLANDS: Reaction from the people we talked to in the city of Oceanside, adjacent to Camp Pendleton, was sympathetic to the Marines who have been charged, many people wanting to hear their side of the story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think that people in general, be it Marines or anyone else, would go and commit something like that, without some kind of A really good motivation.

ROWLANDS: All eight of the accused are being held in solitary confinement in this military jail at Camp Pendleton. And, according to the Marine, they will remain there until the military justice system determines their fate.

(on camera): Up next for the accused is what is called an Article 32 hearing, which is basically the equivalent to a grand jury hearing. What hasn't been determined yet, according to the Marine Corps, is whether or not the eight individuals who are accused will be tried separately or all at once.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California.


COOPER: Well, developments as well in the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha. According to "The Los Angeles Times," a Marine Corps report does not point to a cover-up.

Now, if accurate, that would be a major development in the Haditha case. However, according to "The L.A. Times," the report does conclude that senior personnel in Iraq missed key opportunities early on to find out what really happened. Iraqis said it was a massacre. The Navy is conducting a criminal investigation. Seven Marines and a Navy corpsman are awaiting the results in the Camp Pendleton brig.

To some, these incidents are a reminder of the hazards of staying too long in a largely hostile country. Today, in the Senate, debate began on a pullout, but it is largely a debate among Democrats, some who favor a phased pullout, and, to their exasperation, the plan supported by Russ Feingold, the senator from Arizona (sic), and former presidential candidate John Kerry.

I spoke with Senator Kerry earlier tonight.


COOPER: Senator Kerry, you want to set a date for withdrawal of troops from Iraq July 2007. Why is it so important to you to set this date?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think it is critical to set a date, because it is the only way the Iraqis are ultimately going to take responsibility. It is the way to shift our forces through redeployment to the real war on terror.

Iraq is a diversion from the real war on terror. And it is acting as a recruitment poster for terrorists. We can do a better job. And setting date holds everybody accountable.

COOPER: You say setting a date, pulling out is -- is a -- or redeploying is a position of strength. When in history, though, has withdrawing troops before the fighting has stopped been interpreted as a sign of strength? Doesn't it embolden the insurgents? Doesn't it make them feel like they have had victory?

KERRY: No. And I will tell you why. I will tell you why it doesn't.

And, first of all, the most important thing to point out is, when you say, when the fighting hasn't ended, what -- are you talking about IEDs and suicide bombers? Because that's what is killing our kids, and an occasional ambush.

The fact is that setting the date for redeployment actually strengthens the government, as the national security adviser of the prime minister himself said, that, when American forces withdraw, it will embolden the government itself. It will empower the government. It will withdraw support for the insurgency. It takes away one of the recruitment tools for al Qaeda. COOPER: The -- the Democrats, clearly, though, are divided on this. Last week, you and Senator Clinton, within the span of an hour, offered two very different opinions. I just want to play that for -- for our viewers.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I do not think it is a smart strategy, either for the president to continue with his open-ended commitment, which I think does not put enough pressure on the new Iraqi government, nor do I think it is smart strategy to set a date certain.

KERRY: I believe we need a hard-and-fast deadline, not an open- ended commitment of U.S. forces.



COOPER: How much does it hurt your party to not have a unified voice on Iraq right now?

KERRY: We're unified on the most essential ingredient, which is the failure of this administration, their lack of honesty with the American people about what is really happening in Iraq.

We're unified about the fact that you need to begin redeployment of American forces now. I think there is a unity in moving in a new direction.

COOPER: What is wrong with the so-called phased redeployment that -- that a lot of your fellow Democrats are proposing?

KERRY: It is open-ended. It is the same program as the president. What is the difference?

He says he's phasing the redeployment. We say it. I believe you have to have a tough policy that actually gets the job done. And the fact is, the only way to hold people accountable is to force them to stand up.

COOPER: Last week -- no surprise -- Karl Rove criticized you and Democratic Congressman John Murtha, saying -- and I quote -- "When it gets tough and when it gets difficult, they fall back on that -- on that party's old pattern of cutting and running. They may be with you at the first shots, but they're not going to be there for the last tough battles."

KERRY: Well, I would like to know when Karl Rove was ever there for any shots.

Who are these guys, who have never seen a shot fired, to be standing around talking about what is best or not best in terms of the policy?

COOPER: Clearly, that political strategy is going to involve those three words, cut and run, cut and run.

How do you respond?

KERRY: Well, their policy is lie and die. You know, which do you -- which -- you know, it seems to me that our policy is redeploy to succeed.

Their policy means they lie to Americans about what is happening on the ground. They lied to us about what we were doing in going there. It means they have even lied about what has happened to soldiers over there. And the fact is that people are continuing to die.

COOPER: Senator Kerry, appreciate your time. Thank you.

KERRY: Thank you.


COOPER: Just a correction. In that intro, I think I said that Senator Russ Feingold was from Arizona. Of course, he's from Wisconsin.

Democrats who oppose Senator Kerry on his plan say that it is basically red meat for Republicans. So, we talked to a Republican, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas.


COOPER: Senator Hutchison, John Kerry says that Democrats are not in favor of a cut-and-run plan in Iraq, and that Republicans are pushing a lie-and-die policy. That's what he says.

What is your response?

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: Well, I don't know how he says that there is not a cut-and-run, when they are setting deadlines for the redeployment of troops, and they're hard deadlines. And I can't think of a worse message to the enemy than, here is when we're going to lose our commitment. So, you just make trouble for us right up until then, and know that you will have a free rein after that.

COOPER: There is the latest CNN poll; 53 percent of Americans believe that a timetable should be set eventually. Are Republicans on the wrong side of this debate?

HUTCHISON: You know, I don't think it is something that you should poll or take political pulses on.

You need to think of America and the long-term future of our country. You need to think about whether we're going to fight for freedom and keep freedom for our future generations. And you need to know if America's word is going to be good, because it is going to determine whether enemies are emboldened and whether we can attract allies in the future. And, if we say to the world, when times get tough, America will find a way to get out, by whatever means and whatever language you're going to use, then, what kind of allies are we going to have in the future when we're in a tough fight and we need help?

COOPER: Isn't this issue, though, being used by both sides in terms of politics? I mean, clearly, you know, you -- you say that -- that you shouldn't poll on this issue, and -- and, you know, Republicans are saying the Democrats are using this for political gains.

But -- but Democrats are, you know, coming right back and saying, look, Karl Rove has, you know, decided that this is issue number one for these midterm elections, and it's an issue that the Republicans can actually win on, by -- by labeling the Democrats as -- as people wanting to cut and run.

HUTCHISON: I think the issue of the Iraq war and the war on terror is a legitimate issue for public discourse.

Republicans and Democrats have a real disagreement. And I think it is legitimate to point out those disagreements. The Democrats have drawn a line in the sand and said they are ready to set a time deadline for which we will leave Iraq.

Republicans are saying, if you do that, you are telling the enemy, here is how long you have to wait, and then you will be able to take over this country.

COOPER: While Republicans are saying that Democrats want to cut and run, the Democrats are saying -- are basically saying, your guys' policy is just status quo, just -- just, you know, keep believing in the administration and -- and -- and keep doing what they're doing currently in Iraq. Is that good enough?

HUTCHISON: I think, Anderson, we do have to keep our word. This is the United States of America. We said we would help the Iraqi people form a stable government, until they can secure themselves, and then we would leave. Everyone wants for us to be able to leave.

But I don't think that status quo is the right word, when we are making progress. We are training troops. We are getting international partners to help us train troops. We are helping this government that is very fragile at this time stabilize, so that they can become more secure. They need an economy in this country, so that the people will have jobs to go to and have something to look forward to.

It is very difficult. But this is the United States of America. And our word is our bond, or we will have lots of enemies and very few friends in the future.

COOPER: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, appreciate you joining us. Thank you.


COOPER: More on Iraq coming up, starting with a life-or-death crusade from an American entertainer.


CHER: Wounded. It doesn't say what it is when you see it. When you see it, it is not wounded. It is devastated.


COOPER: Cher talking about Americans wounded in Iraq. Some are suffering lifelong damage because of helmets that don't have padding inside it. You are going to see what she is doing and what you can do to help Marines in Iraq get these better helmets.

Plus, 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta with a case study of helmet-related injuries, a man who almost died of those injuries, a man whose life Dr. Gupta may have saved.

And, out West tonight, wildfires raging and threatening homes and property. A wicked blaze outside of Sedona, Arizona, it's forced mass evacuations. At last word, it was only 5 percent contained -- all that ahead when 360 continues.


COOPER: You see the flames there. Tonight, drought-fed wildfires are consuming acreage in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, as well as California.

In Arizona, the entire Coconino National Forest is being closed to the public. The move is another indication of the severity of long-term drought in the Southwest -- posing the greatest threat right now, the fires near Sedona, Arizona. They have already scorched thousands of acres to the west of Route 89. Hundreds of homes along Oak Creek Canyon have been evacuated. In a worst-case scenario, the canyons would act like a wind tunnel, and these fires could shoot up the canyon 25 miles north, even to Flagstaff.

CNN's Rick Sanchez right now live has the latest -- Rick.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Anderson.

These folks are worried. Since Sunday, they have been evacuated. They're trying to figure out what is going to happen to their homes. There has been a little bit of good news today. And we are going to start to share that with you.

Now, this is now a 2,500-acre fire in this area.

And, Jonathan (ph), I think we can go ahead, if you can.

He's the photographer. He is going to try and give you a shot. As you can see, all the way on top of Wilson Mountain, you can see in the back. You can still see the smoke. We have been watching this smoke billowing up, at times dark, black smoke, at other times, a grayish smoke, seeming to show that it is more of a brushfire in that area. But, at other times, it really heats up, and you can actually see the flames as well.

Let me tell you what else is back there. There is a community back there called Oak Creek Canyon. In Oak Creek Canyon, people were told on Sunday that they had to leave, and they still haven't been allowed back in their homes. There is a fire that is literally coming as close as you could possibly come to their homes. And that's why hotshots from all over the country have come here.

You know, hotshots are those firefighters that specialize in these wildland fires. And they're the ones who come into this area and try and do something that is called a containment line. And that's what they have done out there. They have tried to set up a containment line to try and keep the fire from going into those folks' homes.

But let me show you, if we can come back out now, what they're doing as well, because there is a road out there. It's called 89-A, Anderson. And it is really no different than the road I'm standing on right now. It is a two-lane road. The homes would be on that side of the road. The fire has already come in some areas all the way to the edge of the road.

That's where they have set up that containment line. The key is to keep this area here without any vegetation, so that the fire can't jump the road, jump the containment line, and get over to the other side. But it is tough, because the road, it is very windy, very scenic, a very beautiful road.

So far, it seems to be working. And that's great news for the people -- the people in this area, because they have been able to get, for the most part, the fire from going into that area. And they're going to be watching it, obviously. This is a fire, by the way, that is a natural fire. It happens from time to time. It happened because of a camper.

But they say that fires like this happen in this area occasionally. And, when they do, it is often good for the vegetation, not good for the residents who have homes in the area -- Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Rick, thanks very much.

This fire season off to a furious start -- here is the "Raw Data."

So far this year, more than 53,000 wildfires have been reported, nearly twice as many as last year at this time. They have destroyed more than three million acres, almost five times the damage last year at this time.

So, could some simple padding in the helmets of Marines save lives? Cher thinks so and is now taking on the Pentagon, trying to raise awareness to protect Marines' lives.


CHER: It really pisses me off when people say that, if you're not for the war, you don't support the troops. And I'm not for the war, and I really support the troops.


COOPER: You are going to see tonight the simple solution to the helmet problem, a solution the Army has already embraced. So, why haven't the Marines? You will also see how you can help.

And we will also see what Cher is hoping to stop, head injuries that troops continue to suffer. 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta shows us the catastrophic damage caused by IEDs.


COOPER: Well, for five decades now, Cher has continued to reinvent herself, a singer, an actress, an activist. Now, at 60 years old, Cher is taking on what may be her most impassioned and surprising role yet, raising money and awareness to help keep Marines alive.

Cher is against the war in Iraq. She makes that very clear. But that's not what this is about, she says. She's convinced that American lives can be saved, Marines' lives saved, with a simple solution that she believes would cost the Pentagon precious little. It's a solution the Army, frankly, has already embraced.

I sat down with Cher a few days ago for a frank, revealing, and deeply personal interview. We will get to that in just a moment, but, first, how all of this began.


COOPER: It was early in the morning on Memorial Day, 4:20 a.m. on the West Coast, to be exact. In Washington, D.C., C-SPAN was taking viewer phone calls. A woman was on the line from Malibu, California. Her thoughts were with the troops in Iraq.


CHER: I just don't understand how this government can send men into war without the proper helmets.


COOPER: Her anger was palpable, her voice unmistakable.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And is this Cher?

CHER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for calling in. Again, this is the second or third time you have phoned in.





COOPER: For many, it was a whole new side of the singer/actress/all-around icon. But it turns out activism is nothing new for Cher. Over the years, she has spoken out for the homeless, campaigned for gay rights.

CHER (singing): Words are like weapons. They wound sometimes.

COOPER: And, as you can see from her video stint on the USS Missouri, she has always supported men in uniform.

CHER (singing): Oh, baby, if I could turn back time...

COOPER: Now Cher is putting her star power behind Operation Helmet,, an effort improve the head gear issued to many of the troops overseas. It is why she called into C-SPAN on Memorial Day.


CHER: And I just kept dialing until my finger was just numb.


COOPER: Last week, Cher came to Capitol Hill to support Operation Helmet's founder, Dr. Bob Meaders, who testified before the House Armed Services Committee.

BOB MEADERS, FOUNDER, OPERATION HELMET: These helmet kits that we purchase are filled with shock-absorbing pads that are Velcroed to the surface.

COOPER: Dr. Meaders says padded helmets can better protect troops from bomb blasts, but most Marines get unpadded helmets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cher, thank you for being here.

COOPER: This was Cher's first visit to Capitol Hill, but it is not her only congressional connection.

CHER AND SONNY BONO (singing): Babe. I got you, babe.

COOPER: Her late ex-husband, Sonny Bono, served in the House. And, when he died, his widow, Mary Bono, took his place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cher, thank you for what you have done. I'm glad you watch C-SPAN. You would think you have better things to do with your life than watch boring old us, but thank you very, very much. COOPER: When the two-and-a-half-hour hearing adjourned, Cher looked a little relieved, but she was still frustrated. The Marine Corps officials who testified said they won't change the helmet policy any time soon. They have to study it first.


COOPER: Well, I met with Cher four days ago in Los Angeles. She had just returned from her appearance on Capitol Hill. She's using her celebrity to call attention to Operation Helmet, or

But when she's talking to Americans wounded in Iraq, it not as a celebrity. It is as a citizen.


COOPER: What a lot of people also don't know about what you have done is that you go to Walter Reed. You go to Bethesda.

CHER: And Bethesda, yes.

COOPER: And, I mean, we're not talking about some, like, celebrity photo-op, with, like, cameras trailing you. You just go by yourself. You know, you brought the doctor there this last time.

What you to see? What do you do there?

CHER: Well, what you see is unbelievable. God, this is not a good thing. You just see so much carnage, you know, stuff that you never think you're going to see.

COOPER (voice-over): Cher says she doesn't support the war in Iraq, but she strongly support the troops.

CHER: Because they don't have anything to with it. They're -- these are these boys that are unbelievable, boys and girls that -- and they're just so young -- that are just like they're -- they want to do the right thing. And they think that what they're being told to do is -- that's their job, and they're going to do it.

You know, I talk to them. I really love talking to them. Nothing bothers me. You know, I was saying to someone, I have just seen stuff that I have never seen in my life. And each time I go, I keep thinking this is as bad as it's going to get. And I said one day, like, for these three days, we saw things that, you know -- you saw things that you haven't even seen.


COOPER: What this war is seeing, more amputations than any other war in history and more brain injuries. An estimated 60 percent of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from trauma to the head and brain. The impact isn't always visible.

(on camera): You were telling me the story of, someone asked for your -- your autograph, and you asked them their name?

CHER: No, we were -- he -- this boy and I were talking.

And then -- and he was sitting in his uniform. And he was getting ready to go home. And, so, we're talking. And we took a picture. And I said, do you want me to sign it for you? And he said, yes. I said, what is your name? And he had to look on his hospital tag.

COOPER: Because of a head injury?

CHER: Yes, because he had a head injury. There's -- you know, that's one of the reasons that I want to do this.

COOPER (voice-over): Cher is now using her celebrity to make an impact. She hopes to save the lives of U.S. Marines by upgrading their helmets.

(on camera): How did you get involved, Cher?

CHER: My sister, which is the way I often get involved...


CHER: My sister sent a -- sent a clipping out of a newspaper. And she just said, "Dear stupid, do something," you know?

COOPER: She calls you stupid?

CHER: Yes.


CHER: We call each other that, from, you know, being sisters when you're little.

So, "Dear stupid, do something." And, so, we got in contact. And...

COOPER: You just called them up?

CHER: Yes.


CHER: And so we talked. And, you know, I did something.

COOPER (voice-over): What she did was donate more than $100,000 to Operation Helmet, and she allied herself with the group's founder, Dr. Bob Meaders.

For Dr. Meaders, the journey began two years ago with his grandson.

MEADERS: Well, my grandson is a young Marine, enlisted fellow. He's a combat engineer. And when he was in training out in California, a gunnery sergeant just back from Iraq showed him his helmet and said, if you get an insert like this, it could save your life, like it did mine.

COOPER (on camera): And we're talking about, I mean, a simple insert. I mean, it's not...


COOPER: What -- what is that?

MEADERS: Just pads.

COOPER: Uh-huh.

MEADERS: They're special shock-absorbing pads that will both deflect a bullet or help -- you know, help the helmet deflect when a bullet hits it, or spread out and absorb blast forces, and keep this helmet from whacking into your head.

COOPER (voice-over): The Army has upgraded its helmets with these pads, but the Marines and the Air Force have not.

MEADERS: The helmets have gotten better themselves. The shells are really good at deflecting bullets. But, in a blast scenario, the helmet is so loose on your head that your head becomes a clanger in a Kevlar bell, and the helmet will crush the skull.

COOPER (on camera): Right. And how much does each one cost?

MEADERS: For the Marine helmet, 71 bucks.

COOPER: Seventy-one bucks can make the difference between life and death for a Marine. You would think this is already being done. You would think this is standard issue. Did it surprise you?

CHER: Well, I keep thinking there is nothing that is going to shock me anymore. And, then, when I found out about this, I -- I think I was -- I just was astounded at the price that could save someone's life, for $71.

I didn't understand why -- like, the Army does it, but I didn't understand, like, how you could send someone to battle -- and these are supposed to be our brightest and our best -- and you don't -- you don't care about their heads.


COOPER: Well, when we return, Cher's very direct approach to getting her message across. Where Cher wants to speak her mind, she simply picks up the phone. She did it to C-SPAN. She did it to us after Katrina -- that story coming up.

Also, the high-impact injuries that we're talking about that these helmets might be able to protect against, and how doctors on the front lines saved one American who nearly died from an IED -- when 360 continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Before the break, we showed you the first part of my interview with Cher.

The 60-year-old entertainer is pushing for safer helmets for Marines. Now, the Army has done it, but the Marines haven't, or at least not yet. They say they're studying it. She supports an organization called Operation Helmet. Their Web site is

And anyone can send them money to buy inserts. And those inserts are then sent free to Marines in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Cher says the added protection can save lives and reduce the risk of concussion. That's why she's been donating money to Operation Helmet.

Whatever people think of Cher, it is clear there really is nobody like her.

Here is the rest of my interview with her and the founder of Operation Helmet, Dr. Bob Meaders.


COOPER (voice-over): Like so much of what she's done in her life, Cher got into this in her own unpredictable and straight-ahead way. She called into C-SPAN one night at 4:30 a.m.

CHER: I belong to an organization called Operation Helmet. And these people, the so-called Christian Republicans, have sent the men and women of our armed forces into battle without the proper helmets.

COOPER: With that phone call, Cher put her new passion on center stage. This wasn't the first time that Cher had simply picked up the phone.

(on camera): You sort of have a history of -- of, like, late- night calls to C-SPAN.


COOPER: And you called us during Katrina.

CHER: It sounds a little freaky, though, doesn't it?

COOPER: No. It's -- it is fascinating.


COOPER: Joining me on the phone now from Los Angeles, Academy Award-winning actress and award-winning singer Cher.


COOPER (voice-over): She called us about a woman we profiled, Paige Benson, who had gone to New Orleans to feed hot meals to first- responders, the first time they had had hot meals in nearly two weeks, since Katrina.


CHER: It never occurred to me that they weren't getting hot meals. And, so, I thought, you know -- when I saw her, I thought what a wonderful thing she was doing. So, I called, and I said, I want to help pay for the food.


COOPER (on camera): You were really involved and monitoring all this stuff. I mean, you -- you're sort of a voracious reader and a watcher of news.

CHER: Yes.

COOPER: And -- and, yet, you take that step which a lot of people don't take, which is, well, I'm just going call that person up.

I find that sort of fascinating.

CHER: You know, I had this friend. His name was Mitch Snyder. And he was a homeless advocate.



CHER: And he just said to me once, he said, if you see the thing that you can do now, do it. Like, if you see a homeless person, go up and look them in the eye. Talk to them.

No one ever looks homeless people in the eye. Talk to them. Offer your help.

And I'm in the position now to be able to do more than just see something. I can really do something about it.

COOPER (voice-over): What Cher has done isn't limited to hospital visits. She has helped Operation Helmet supply more than 9,000 helmet inserts to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CHER: To be able to use your celebrity for something that you really think is worthwhile is so rewarding. It just makes you feel like this is the right thing to do. This is the American thing to do.

Also, it really pisses me off when people say that, if you're not for the war, you don't support the troops. And I'm not for the war, and I really support the troops.

COOPER: Cher has received numerous letters from Marines thanking her for her support.

(on camera): This is from Gary Lee Kirby Jr. (ph).

CHER: Yes. COOPER: He says: "Cher, I would like to give you my personal thanks and appreciation and extend my gratitude for all that you have done in aiding USA armed forces and what you're doing for us now. I didn't receive a new type of helmet until halfway through a yearlong deployment."

I saw Jim Carrey win a Golden Popcorn Award for his movie achievements. You, Cher, should be awarded seven Golden Popcorns for all you have done for your -- you're an angel. Thank you, Gary Kirby Jr. (ph)."

That's pretty great.

CHER: Yes. It was cool.

But, you know, tell the story about the boy who said, I need another helmet.

MEADERS: Yes. We -- we were -- got a telephone call from a young Marine corporal in Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital.

And, he said you know, Doc, I hate to ask, but can I have another helmet kit?

I said, well, well, what happened to your old one?

He said, well, my buddy and I were on patrol and a rocket just slammed by me, almost hit me, but it hit the wall directly behind me. And I'm here. They're pulling all the pieces of fragment out of my neck and my shoulders. And it exploded in my helmet.

He said, you know, those pads saved my life, and I would like to have another one before I go back, because I'm well enough to rejoin my buddies. But, when I go back, could you give me a dozen more for my team? I want to make sure everyone is as well protected as I am.

COOPER: Yes. That's the thing about soldiers and Marines, is that it is not so much about them. It is about their buddies.

CHER: Yes.

COOPER: And even people in the hospitals you meet...

CHER: Want to go back.

COOPER: ... talk about going back...

CHER: Yes, or they're disappointed...

COOPER: ... because their buddies are there.

CHER: Yes. They don't want to let their buddies down.

A lot of times, when I have talked to people, you know, when no one is around, it is not so much necessarily that they believe what they're doing there is right, or wrong. They believe that what they're doing there with their buddies is the right thing, to be there, to be this band of brothers, which is -- I never realized it was so strong, but it is the thing that keeps them all glued together.


COOPER: Again, if you want more information on Operation Helmet, it's very simple. You can go to And you, yourself, can -- can buy one of these liners and have it sent to -- to a Marine overseas.

We are going to look at how this plays out from a medical standpoint. 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta has seen firsthand how helmets can fail in the mission they're supposed to perform, case studies that support the point that Cher and Dr. Bob Meaders are making.

Plus, Angelina Jolie:


COOPER: What was it like actually giving birth? I mean, you have had two children through adoption. What -- what was it like?

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: Well, we ended up having -- she was in breech, so I ended up having a cesarean, so it was very quick.



COOPER: If you happened to miss my interview with Angelina Jolie last night, we have some of the highlights. There has been an enormous, generous response to her efforts on behalf of refugees from you, the viewers.

We will have those stories and more -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Moments ago, we heard entertainer Cher talking about Operation Helmet. She makes the case that, for lack of properly padded helmets, American Marines may be dying needlessly in Iraq or suffering catastrophic brain damage.

360 M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us how troops are getting injured in Iraq.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An early-morning gunfight in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. Let's go. Hurry up!

GUPTA: Twenty-five-year-old Marine Jesus Vidana mans the radio while his unit battles snipers, bullets whizzing around him.

JESUS VIDANA, INJURED U.S. MARINE: My head jerked forward like that. And it popped back up.

GUPTA: That's the last thing Jesus remembered, a sniper bullet piercing his helmet, spraying shrapnel through his brain. A fellow Marine pronounces him dead at the scene. But Jesus was alive, barely.

VIDANA: They said, I started yelling out. I started, like, crying out and yelling out. And that's when they realized I was still alive.

GUPTA: Jesus needed two emergency operations. In fact, I performed the first one, because I was the only neurosurgeon there.

VIDANA: A doctor came, and he told me what had happened, and told me that there was shrapnel in my head from a bullet, and I had been shot in the head.

GUPTA: But it is not usually a shot in the head that causes the traumatic brain injuries suffered by many soldiers in Iraq.

DR. DEBORAH WARDEN, WALTER REED MEDICAL CENTER: It is people who have been in some explosion. Explosions are largely right now IEDs. Sometimes, we see the rocket-propelled grenades, even land mines.

GUPTA: Helmets that don't have the kind of padding that the Army uses and that Cher has been pushing for Marines can't insulate troops as well from the jarring impact on the brain caused by IEDs, or improvised explosive devices.

The blast is similar to a high-impact car accident. The skull moves forward, strikes a hard surface, then stops suddenly. The brain goes back and forth. Think of Jell-O wiggling. And then, from bruising, it begins to swell.

More than two-thirds of soldiers wounded in a blast suffer traumatic brain injury. At least one of every five of those serving in front-line infantry units in Iraq and Afghanistan report more mild concussions.

WARDEN: As the severity of the brain injury gets worse, as the length, the period of time when people are unconscious, as that gets longer, there are, more commonly, more lasting symptoms seen, especially the problems with memory and attention and new learning.

GUPTA: Unlike an obviously severed limb, traumatic brain injuries are difficult to diagnose, sometimes only noticeable years after leaving the battlefield.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put your head back.

GUPTA: Corporal Vidana is one of the lucky ones. His head injury was obvious. And he got treatment, both physical and psychological.

But, for many of his fellow fighting men and women, the impact of head injuries is lasting, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


COOPER: Unlike the troops in Iraq, people caught in the middle of wars in Africa often don't get the medical attention they need.

Actress Angelina Jolie saw -- has seen firsthand the suffering these people, that they are going through. She talked about that last night with me. And she also described giving birth in Africa.


COOPER: Brad was in the operating room?

JOLIE: He was in the operating room, yes. Yes. And we had amazing doctors. And everybody was so lovely. And -- and, you know, you're just -- because you're there for the birth, which I wasn't for my first two kids, you're just suddenly terrified that they're not going to take a first breath.


COOPER: Some of the highlights from my exclusive interview with Angelina Jolie -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, last night, on a special edition of 360, actress Angelina Jolie talked with me about refugees around the world desperately in need of help.

It brought to light an important story that often doesn't make the evening news. And many of you wrote in telling us how much you liked the show.

Here is a just sampling from the blog, the 360 blog.

Julia from Chicago wrote in, saying -- quote -- "I walked away from the show last night sickened, but inspired. I shifted my focus from Angelina, whom I admire, to the ongoing crisis and inhumane behavior in Africa."

Kelly from San Francisco wrote: "I have to admit, I was very skeptical of this interview, mainly because I get tired of celebrities joining a cause for a couple months, then abandoning it. Angelina Jolie surprised me. She's an intelligent, well-spoken woman who knows her stuff."

For those of you who may have missed it, here again is part of my exclusive interview with Angelina Jolie.


COOPER: You go repeatedly and you see this repeatedly. And that -- I mean, takes a toll. How do you get to a place where you can function in that environment?

JOLIE: It does, but, I mean -- and you know this -- it's that you get -- I am so inspired by these people. And they are the greatest strength.

So, it's not -- you have that memory. You have that moment -- I have had it -- where, even just today, I was, you know, breast- feeding, and tired, and thinking, God, I really don't know how I'm going to get myself together to be thinking for this interview.

But you think, Jesus, the things these people go through. I owe it to all of them to get myself together, to stop whining about being tired, and get there and get focused, and because, God, it's the least I can do, with what they live with and what they can -- you know, they pull themselves out of the most horrible despair. And they're able to smile and get on with it and survive. And, so, you don't -- it's that same thing. You don't -- you don't think, poor me, what I have seen. You just think, like, Jesus, thank God I -- I'm not experiencing it.

COOPER: Right.

One of the things that really struck me in Niger this summer was, I was profiling a number of kids in this hospital. And two of them ended up dying while I was there. And they were very, very young children. And they were instantly buried. And there was no marker on their graves.

I realized that the photos that I took of them, the video that I took of them, was the only photos that -- that exist of them, and that their -- even, you know, their mother doesn't even have a picture of them.

And I understood there was a story that you had about a child I think you met in Sierra Leone who was 13, someone I think told me that -- about, sort of just the anonymity of death, that children just sort of disappear. I mean, do you carry these children who you've met with you?

JOLIE: Yes. Yes.

I think -- I mean, you could drive yourself -- you could just -- the child I met in Sierra Leone was the first child that I met who was about to die and who died the next day. And it was the first time, because it was the first place I had went to and it was the first time I saw a kid in that state. He was by himself.

And I still, to this day -- even though I know in the broader picture, you can't save everybody, I still, to this day, feel that I should have helicoptered him out and spent the money and done something and saved him, even though I probably couldn't have. But I still have guilt about that, and I still see his face, and I still -- and I always will.

And maybe it's the first kid that you feel connected to their death, or whatever it may be. But he'll always be symbolic to me of that, of -- of the bigger picture of all those kids. COOPER: What was it like actually giving birth? I mean, you have had two children through adoption. What -- what was it like?

JOLIE: Well, we ended up having -- she was in breech, so I ended up having a cesarean, so it was very quick. It was -- and...

COOPER: Brad was in the operating room?

JOLIE: He was in the operating room, yes. Yes. And we had amazing doctors. And everybody was so lovely. And, you know, you're just -- because you're there for the birth, which I wasn't for my first two kids, you're just suddenly terrified they're not going to take a first breath. That was my whole focus. I just wanted to hear her cry.

And I was sure everything would go wrong. At the last minute, I became the mother that was sure everything was going to go wrong.

And she's healthy. And it was amazing.

COOPER: That's great.

JOLIE: But -- but I was also really relieved that I didn't feel differently. I was sure...

COOPER: You mean between...


COOPER: ... your biological child and an adopted child?

JOLIE: Yes. I was kind of prepared to defend my other children. I was prepared to kind of give them extra love and attention, because something was going to be different about this new one. So, I was...

COOPER: How did Maddox respond? Did he like...

JOLIE: Mad loves her. Mad -- because, when Z came home, she was already -- she was older. She was 7 months old. So, Mad, it's like having this tiny little pet that he can just, like, hold and look at. And he's great. Z's a little jealous, because she's still a little girl, so.

COOPER: Do you want to adopt more kids?

JOLIE: Yes. Yes. Next, we'll adopt.

COOPER: Do you know -- really, next? That will be the next -- you're actually planning it, or...




COOPER: Do you know where from?

JOLIE: No, no. We don't know which country. But we're looking at different countries. And we are just -- it's going to be the balance of what would be the best for Mad and for Z right now, another boy, another girl, which country, which race would fit best with the kids.


COOPER: Just an update: We have been told that, since the interview aired last night, there has been a spike in the number of calls to the U.N. Refugee Agency. It received more than 600 phone calls just last night. By early afternoon the UNHCR had raised more than $100,000.

And in case you would like to help, the UNHCR Web site is You can also call, USA, for UNHCR at 1-800-770- 1100.

"The Shot" of the day is coming up.

But, first, Erica Hill from Headline News has some of the business stories we're following -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, on the first day of summer, stocks sizzled on Wall Street, the Dow climbing 104 points. The Nasdaq gained 34. And the S&P rose 12 -- the jumps coming after strong earnings reports from FedEx and Morgan Stanley.

On Capitol Hill, a Democratic effort to raise the federal minimum wage failed today by eight votes. The base rate has been at $5.15 an hour since 1997. Republicans oppose an increase, saying it would cost jobs.

And, as the Vespa scooter turns 60, the company that makes it is going public. Piaggio plans to raise as much as $440 million selling stock in the initial offering. Shares start at $2.90 apiece. The stock market debut is slated for July 11.

I have always wanted a scooter, Anderson.

COOPER: Ciao. Grazie. Grazie. That's what I feel like you should say when you're riding a Vespa.

HILL: I think you should.

So, next time you're on one, I hope to hear you doing that.

COOPER: You have never ridden one?

HILL: No. I have never ridden on a Vespa, a scooter, but not a Vespa.

COOPER: They're like -- it is a motorcycle. A lot of people get on them, thinking like it is just a little scooter. It is not.


HILL: Oh, no, no, no. There is a lot of power there.


COOPER: You're not wrong about that.

Erica, you check out "The Shot" of the day.

Take a look at this, a lot of money flying in the air. Well, by Job, it is a lot of money.


HILL: Where were we?

COOPER: I know.

A man tossed about $37,000 worth of cash out of a car window and shouted, who wants free money?

HILL: Thirty-seven grand? I will take free money.

COOPER: He just shouted, who wants free money?

And there you see, from the closed-circuit video taken on the street, a lot of people took up the loot. Some people reportedly got up to nearly $1,500 worth.

HILL: Is it real money, like not counterfeit?

COOPER: Yes. No. It was real money.

Apparently, I -- I like -- there was a lady with a bag there who is just like very active.

Then there was a -- there's one guy who sort of joins in. And later on, a guy comes like way too late, and he seems very upset.


HILL: He's like, oh, no, it is all gone.

COOPER: I know.

Police say the 40-year-old driver was arrested for driving offenses related to the incident. And only some of the money has been retrieved. No word if cops are going to try and recover the rest of it.


HILL: Good luck.

COOPER: And it's not really clear at this point why he did it.

HILL: Yes. Or I wonder whose money it was. Maybe that's why they're trying to retrieve it.


COOPER: I think it was Lou Dobbs. You know, he does that all the time, slows down, throws money.


HILL: He is a generous guy, isn't he?


HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Who wants free money?

HILL: Free money. Here we go.

COOPER: All right, Erica.

HILL: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, straight ahead tonight: American Marines and a sailor facing murder charges for what happened in Iraq, what they allegedly did to a civilian in Iraq.

Also, we're live on the fire lines out West, as dry weather turns four states into tinderboxes.

And a unique way to battle disease, even cancer, using your body's internal clock. It's called chronotherapy. 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta tells how it works -- next on 360.



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