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Ground Zero of Terror; Ann Richards Dies; Dial T for Taliban; Police Shoot and Kill Gunman; Why They Hate Us; Afghanistan on Foot; Search for Answers

Aired September 13, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: ... her life and her death, tonight, on 360.
And the Taliban here on the resurgence. How do we know? Well, we picked up the phone.

ANNOUNCER: Talking with the enemy. As Americans hunt them down, we reach them by telephone.




ANNOUNCER: Tonight, our chilling conversation with the Taliban.

A flood of Afghan heroin. It could ruin the country. It's already hurting ours. It's even killing American soldiers.

And a fallen son, the CIA agent who questioned the American Taliban and became the first U.S. combat death in Afghanistan. Now his father won't rest until he knows why.


JOHNNY SPANN, FATHER OF FIRST U.S. CASUALTY IN AFGHANISTAN: I never told this to anybody before, but he said, Dad, you're not going to believe all the things I'm going to tell you.


ANNOUNCER: From Afghanistan, this is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, "Ground Zero of Terror." Here's Anderson Cooper.


COOPER: And good evening. We begin tonight with breaking news. Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas, has died. The report came in just a short time ago, about 15 minutes ago. The "Associated Press" first reporting it. Ann Richards died in her home, according to a family spokesman, in her home in Austin, Texas. The cause was said to be esophageal cancer, something she has battled with. Ann Richards has been a trailblazer in Texas politics, of course. First elected to local office back in 1976. She became the two-term state treasurer and then was elected the 45th governor of Texas back in 1990.

Ed Lavandera takes a look back at her life, her career in politics. Take a look.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Someone once said Ann Richards wasn't born funny, but she got funny pretty quick.

ANN RICHARDS, FORMER GOVERNOR, TEXAS: After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heals!

LAVANDERA: There wasn't much to laugh about as a young girl during the depression. Growing up in Lakeview, a small town near Waco, she was Dorothy Ann Willis then.

RICHARDS: It was back then that I came to understand the small truths and the hardships that bind neighbors together. Those were real people with real problems.

LAVANDERA: She listened to Franklin Roosevelt's radio chats with her family during the depression. Her father once told her, she could be anything she wanted to be. So at Baylor University, Richards joined the debate team. A career in politics was born.

RICHARDS: More than anything else, we got into this business of government to open the doors to all of the people.

LAVANDERA: She married Dave Richards and had four children. They immersed themselves in Texas Democratic politics, even spent their honeymoon campaigning for a congressman. Richards' first elected office was as a county commissioner in Austin.

But years of hard drinking were taking its toll. Richards' marriage ended in divorce. In 1980 she quit drinking and smoking. Richards never shied away from talking about her alcohol abuse.

RICHARDS: I had such high expectations of myself. I was going to be the best mother, the best housewife, the best entertainer, the best nurse, you know, whatever it was, I was going to be the best. And I never could live up to my own expectations.

LAVANDERA: But Richards' political career continued to flourish. She became Texas state treasurer, which catapulted her to the state's biggest stage.

RICHARDS: I, Ann Willis Richards, do solemnly swear.

LAVANDERA: In 1990, Ann Richards was elected Texas governor, the first woman to hold the office in more than 50 years. In a conservative, now Republican state, she's always remained popular, a testament to the power of personality.

RICHARDS: I've just made the remark that next year I'm going to be 60 years old and I thought that I needed to do something, kind of jazzy when I was 60. And that I'd like to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

LAVANDERA: The image of the white-haired, tough-talking Texan was cemented. Ann Richards loved to put on a show, but nothing inspired her sharpest verbal darts quite like the Bush family.

First, at the expense of President George Bush at the 1988 Democratic convention.

RICHARDS: Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth!

LAVANDERA: Then, six years later in a heated campaign for governor against George W. Bush after he accidentally shot a protected bird on a hunting trip.

RICHARDS: You can't get dressed up in a hunting jacket, borrow somebody's shotgun and hire yourself a guide and go out in somebody's pasture and fake it.

LAVANDERA: Richards lost that election to the future president and never returned to public office.

On that last election night, it was clear she was passing the torch to another generation.

RICHARDS: And to all of you young people, it is crucial that you be involved in the decisions that are made that affect your lives and the fashion in which government treats you.

LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.


COOPER: Well, the witty remarks aside, Ann Richards says that she got into politics to help people, and particularly women and minorities, people she felt were traditionally outside the political establishment in Texas.

CNN's John Roberts joins me now from Washington, looking back at the political life of Ann Richards.

She truly was a trailblazer in many ways -- John.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She was. And as you said, Anderson, she wanted to get into politics to be known for helping people. She said, I don't want my tombstone to read, she kept a clean house. You know, she said, I want my tombstone to read, she opened government to everyone.

She really was sort of the quintessential Texas politician, a real pistol, you could say. As you said, much of what she did was cloaked in that sort of wit that she had that she demonstrated so pointedly at 1988 Democratic convention.

But she even applied that when she was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. It was a little more than a year ago. She discovered a lump. She went through a diagnosis in March of 2006, diagnosed with cancer. And when talking about it, she said that if I had known that -- first of all, she said that she had every intention of beating the disease. She went on to say if I had known that people were going to be this nice to me, I might have tried something like this earlier.

And she's a person who never played down her foibles, saying that she has smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish. But she, even as recently as 2004 was saying, Anderson, that she was going to continue on with a very healthy and robust life, a 2004 book called, "I'm Not Slowing Down," but obviously when you're battling something as deadly as esophageal cancer, which really does have an incredibly high mortality rate, difficult not to slow down at some point. She slowed down March of 2006, and just a few days after her 73rd birthday, and now passed away in her hometown of Austin, Texas.

COOPER: It's also remarkable, the way she broke into sort of national consciousness. I think a lot of people in retrospect think well, she was well known, she was the governor of Texas before that 1988 Democratic convention. She wasn't. She was a state treasurer, two-time state treasurer, it should be noted. But it wasn't until 1990 that she was elected the governor of Texas, 45th governor of Texas and the first woman really to hold a statewide office in Texas in some 50 years, a remarkable accomplishment in that state.

ROBERTS: Yes, she made a huge impact, just for a single-term governor. And you might be forgiven for thinking well, wasn't Ann Richards governor of Texas from 1980 on until the middle 1990s, but you know, she started off as a school teacher in Texas in the 1950s. She did a lot of campaigning for other people. It wasn't until the 1970s that she actually entered public life herself on the Travis County Board of Commissioners and then went on to seek statewide office.

But she was the sort of person, Anderson, who was really larger than life. You know, if Ann Richards walked into a room, you know that Ann Richards had walked into a room. And any time that she was in front of the camera, any time that she was behind a podium, at a convention, what have you, she was an incredibly dominating presence. And she was the sort of presence that led you to believe that she might have actually been around a lot longer than she was.

So, while she was only on this earth for 73 years, it feels like she's been part of Texas since the beginning.

COOPER: Yes, it certainly does. Let's take a look back at the 1988 convention speech, and particularly those memorable lines. Her sense of timing, you know it's not an easy thing to kind of deliver a joke before such an enormous crowd in a stadium like that. It would be hard for the best comic to do that with the reverb and the crowd. Let's watch as she delivers the line which probably got her the most notoriety nationally that she had at that point yet received. Let's take a look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARDS: Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.


COOPER: And John, certainly that is probably the most memorable line, at least one of the first most memorable lines that she delivered.

ROBERTS: And as you said, Anderson in front of a crowd that big, she really played out the timing very well. You know, it was really sort of it's a one-line joke. It took her about 20 seconds plus to say it because she was really playing that crowd very well.

You know, she -- it was really unexpected that she lost the 1994 election to George Bush. She believed that this guy came out of nowhere, didn't have any experience. She was, you know, again the domineering figure in Texas politics. But really, there was a couple of mistakes that were made. Some people say that it was because she was waiting for George Bush to make a mistake, waiting for him to step on his foot and trip, and he never did that lost her the election. She said it was his orator, that he really connected with voters. But a lot of people also think that it was her veto of the concealed carry bill in a place so fervent about gun rights as Texas is that really did her in.

But you know in retrospect, again, she, even for a one-term governor, she left more than her mark, not only in state politics in Texas, but across the nation as well -- Anderson.

COOPER: CNN's Ed Lavandera is joining us now on the phone from Dallas.

Ed, what are you hearing there, reaction in the state of Texas?

LAVANDERA (one the phone): You know, I'm quite stunned actually. Just a few hours ago, earlier this afternoon I had put in a call to a gentleman in Austin, Texas who had been handling a lot of the questions about Ann Richards' condition and I was begin no indication that anything had taken a turn for the worst. In fact, I was told that she was still undergoing treatments. In fact, I had asked if at any point she might be -- had gone through the process enough to be able to grant interviews. And I was told that that was something that she was -- she was considering. So, this comes as quite a shock to me, just having had that conversation a few hours ago.

COOPER: Ed, how much had she been out there in public life in the last, you know, year or so? Give me a sense of the history of this condition that she has been battling.

LAVANDERA: Well, ever since she was diagnosed, and we had heard that she had been diagnosed and would be going to Houston for these treatments, I hadn't seen anything or heard much publicly from her. Of course, you know, many people around her, family in Texas probably, you know, trying to respect her privacy and protect her privacy as she continued through these treatments. So in the last several months, I hadn't really seen or heard anything publicly from her.

COOPER: Well, it is certainly sad news. We'll continue to follow it throughout this hour. Ann Richards, the 45th governor of Texas, dead at the age 73.




NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Coca-Cola is back in business. But it's hardly business as usual. Before the trucks can go back into the plant to the end of the day, they get a thorough security check. A man will go around in a minute with a mirror, checking underneath the vehicle to make sure there aren't any bombs being smuggled inside.


COOPER: Well, of course, the Taliban, which we have been covering a lot over the last several days, is not just fighting a military campaign. They're also fighting a propaganda war, just like al Qaeda is. And just like al Qaeda, the Taliban is now producing videotapes.

Take a look at this videotape delivered recently to the "AP" TV offices in Afghanistan. It is called, "Call for Jihad," and it says it comes from the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan. That's the name of the Afghan government, the Taliban, when Taliban ran things. "APTN" says it can't verify the authenticity of the tape, which appears to show Taliban fighters and their weapons. It also shows bodies, purportedly Afghan security forces killed by what they call the Mujahadine in Kandahar Province.

CNN's Nic Robertson has recently had his own interaction with the Taliban. Fascinating, Nic, what happened?

ROBERTSON: Well, it used to be really easy to talk to the Taliban when they were in power. You could go to any government office. But now it's still incredibly easy. I got a satellite phone number for a spokesman, Dr. Mohammad Hadif (ph). I called him up and I asked him -- the first thing I asked him was, what is your campaign about and how many of you are there?


ROBERTSON: And what's the Taliban objective at the moment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He says the most important thing is for us is to take out these foreign people from our country and we will get independence back for our country. And the second thing is we have to bring back Islamic rule in our country, we need that. He says our one group, which was fighting in Loman is 1,100 Taliban, just one group in Loman state. He says we have in Kabul city now for special attacks, 382 people in Kabul. He says, in south and east and central north Afghanistan, we have lots of people. We can't give a specific account of these people, because the whole nation is against these people and you can't count the whole nation. But he says every day a lot of people is coming in toward the Taliban.


COOPER: That was through the voice of a translator, correct?

ROBERTSON: Yes, we had to use a translator, yes.

COOPER: OK. It's pretty brazen of the Taliban to have a spokespeople, to be getting their message out like this.

ROBERTSON: What I found was incredible that we were on the phone with this spokesman for about half an hour. A satellite telephone. Now, these are easily trackable, certainly by the technology the U.S. military has, but he was willing to stay on the phone for half an hour. He said he was inside Afghanistan. We have no way of verifying that. He said he was going to be coming in the direction of Kabul in the not too distant future.

He said they had a secret press office here in Kabul. None of that we can verify. But just the fact he'll stay on a satellite telephone that is so traceable for half an hour, quite brazen.

COOPER: The fact also they're putting out videotapes now in which you see pictures of the Taliban. I mean, under their rule, they wouldn't allow any photography to be taken at all. They said it was un-Islamic.

ROBERTSON: There are a lot of contradictions with the Taliban. They band the opium poppy under their role, yet now they make money out of it so that they can fund their campaigns. And this seems to be the same thing. You know, when they need to, they'll use whatever means they can to get their aims.

COOPER: Certainly seems that way. Nic, appreciate it. Nic Robertson.

We'll talk to him a little bit later on in the program.

The Taliban are fighting, it's a different kind of style of fighting than we're seeing in Iraq. There have been some large massings of Taliban forces and that means large numbers of casualties among Taliban fighters.

Let's take a look at the raw data as we have it. These are the numbers. U.S. NATO forces say they're making some progress. This month alone during "Operation Medusa," which is happening in the south, NATO says it's killed more than 500 Taliban fighters. The U.S. military says 1,000 fighters have been killed in the past three months. The U.S. also says there are between 7,000 and 10,000 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Taliban say they have about 12,000 fighters.

When we come back, the Bush administration says they are making America safer in the war on terror. We'll look at some poll numbers and whether Americans really believe that.

Also ahead tonight, a lot more from the battlefield here, including what we saw our first day in Afghanistan. A deadly suicide attack and the aftermath.



COOPER: We continue to follow breaking news out of the United States that Ann Richards, the 45th governor of Texas, has died, died at age of 73 in her home in Austin.

Joining me now is Wayne Slater, senior political writer with the Dallas Morning News. He's joining me on the phone from Austin.

Wayne, thanks for being with us.


COOPER: Were you surprised by the news today?

SLATER: Well, I obviously am shocked by the news. I'm not surprised. I had heard in the last couple of weeks that things were not going well.

I talked to the governor maybe about a month and a half ago when she was really undergoing, at that point undergoing chemotherapy and really approaching this problem that she had, the esophageal cancer, like she approached everything, saying, you know, sick is sick, you just have to deal with it and move forward.

COOPER: She's, as you said, that's the way she approached just about everything throughout her personal life and her political life, as well, taking things head on and certainly with a lot of humor as well.

As you look back on her political life, her impact on Texas and nationally, what jumps out at you? I mean, she gained -- entered politics in 1976, the first woman elected to statewide office in 50 years in Texas.

SLATER: She was only the second woman ever to be governor of Texas. Obviously in modern times, she was the only woman who would ever serve as governor of the tough rough state, Texas, a masculine state. And yet here was this woman who had her own unique personality. She was funny, she was tough.

I think the mark of Ann Richards and Texas was that she opened state government, she opened the government to women, to minorities to the disenfranchised. She opened it in a way that none of her predecessors ever had, to people who never had an opportunity. Ann Richards was the governor who gave them a chance in government.

And many of the people who she appointed to positions of authority are now highly successful in other areas of business and in politics all over the state.

COOPER: You know, Wayne, as we have been saying throughout this hour, you know, she really broke into national consciousness with that famous moment at the 1988 Democratic convention. I just want to play that and talk about the impact of that. Let's just play that briefly.


RICHARDS: Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.


COOPER: You know, her sense of timing and her ability to kind of pull out these one-liners really became kind of a hallmark of her in public life.

SLATER: I remember seeing her in so many situations where she would walk into a room with a group of people, maybe into a hall with many hundreds of people and hold them spellbound. Not only was she funny, and we knew that she could be very, very funny with a joke or with an observation, but she was also a compelling speaker who would bring these messages about the need to look at people for who they were, not worry about what their gender, what their station in life was or what their race was. People could contribute to society or contribute to our government in really a compelling way.

And I remember, I was there in 1988 at the national convention. And after she delivered this extraordinary speech and that line that really electrified the delegates, she went right backstage, within a few minutes and she said, how did I do? And it was that moment that I realized, even then she didn't realize there was a certain aspect of her that said, you know, I'm trying to do the best that I can, I'm trying to do what's right, and I'm not absolutely sure that what I did was really that good. In fact, it was extraordinary.

COOPER: Did she take people in Texas by surprise? I mean when she started out, back in '76, local office, then a two-term state treasurer. I mean at first did people know what to make of her?

SLATER: I don't think they did. Of course, but then again she's the kind of woman politician who -- the only kind I think, who could really have the kind of success she did at the time. That is to say, she could take men on right straightforward. She was funny and she was direct and she could be tough.

But I have to say, in the early days, I remember when she was state treasurer and preparing to run for governor, I remember talking to her and other people would talk to her in ways that said can you raise the money? Can you actually do this? If there was a doubt, I guess. And there was a, I suspect, a kind of sexist aspect of the way we were thinking that could she actually do this? Now that seems crazy in retrospect. Obviously, she could do it. Obviously, she could win.

And I remember that she was the governor was challenged by George Bush. And in this campaign, I remember talking to George Bush and talking to his Political Adviser Karl Rove, they gave her enormous respect. Bush, himself, in the summer of 1994 did not think he was going to win against Ann Richards. He believed, in fact his mother, Barbara Bush said, how can you beat her? She's so popular. She's so good. And yet, they directed a campaign that was very, very respectful in which they tried not to attack her directly, but tried to offer a different kind of campaign that ultimately was successful, because she was such a powerful and forceful and popular figure in the state.

COOPER: Wayne, stay with us.

Larry King is joining us now on the phone from Los Angeles.

Larry, you've interviewed her many time. There weren't many politicians, let alone women in public life like Ann Richards, were there?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": No. She was singular. We will not see her likes again. She was not only a terrific, I think, politician, she was a foremost expert. She could analyze races well. She knew the game. She was classy. She was funny.

She had that great line, you remember, at the convention in 1988 when she said about George Bush, she was a keynoter, she said about George Bush, George H.W. Bush, that he was discussing the fact that he was born wealthy, that he woke up on third base and thought he hit a triple. It was one of the great lines, I think, in convention history.

She's also a wonderful person to be around. She was easy to be around. She walked into the room gently. The cameras liked her. She made friends easily. And I heard Wayne discussing how respectful that race was.

Another thing that was standup about her, when the Enron thing broke, she was on our show, one of many appearances, and she was strongly defensive of Ken Lay. She got along with Ken Lay. She appointed him to one of her boards when she was governor and liked him very much. That took a lot of guts when no one was saying anything pro about Ken Lay. The president wasn't discussing him. This former governor of Texas stood up for him. We're going to miss her.

COOPER: You know, Larry, watching your interviews with her over the years, I always got the sense you could ask her anything in the spur of the moment and she always had an answer.

KING: Always. She was never at a loss for words. She was our -- in the Gore race with Bush in 19 -- in 2000, she was our analyst for the evening. And we were going on this curve all night, of course, of he won Florida, he lost Florida, will he win Florida? Who's winning in Tennessee? She was an extraordinarily adept analyst and she could put aside her partisanship to analyze a race very, very well.

I'm shocked to hear it, it's almost hard to believe that Ann Richards isn't with us.

COOPER: It's hard to imagine political life without her. These days, you know, we've sort of become so used to seeing her comment on it, her voice so distinct. You don't get many distinct voices like that in American politics these days. Things are so kind of focus grouped, so controlled, so handled. Ann Richards was sort of a focus group of one. She just kind of said what she thought.

KING: Very well put. And she discussed openly her alcoholism, wrote a wonderful book about her life. Had been fighting, you know, that disease that affects the bones. She was -- osteoporosis. She was a leader -- my wife had to remind me what it was. Osteoporosis. She was a leader in that fight. She had settled in New York, been very successful in a business consulting firm in New York. Made a lot of friends there. And of course kept in close ties with all of her friends in Texas.

I am sure that her strongest political foes are sad tonight and that they will miss her, because you could -- if you summed her up in one word, it would be class.

COOPER: Larry, if you can, stay for a moment.

Wayne Slater, the senior political writer for "Dallas Morning News," is also on the line.

When you look back at that race against George Bush in 1994, why did she lose? What did it really hinge on?

SLATER: I think ultimately there were some real questions in parts of east Texas that say about some voters whether they would vote for a woman or not. I think she probably had -- I think she probably lost a number of votes simply because she was a woman and some Texans weren't ready to vote for her.

The other thing was that George Bush ran a successful and extraordinarily smart campaign, never attacking her, offering himself as an alternative in a state where a number of people liked him. And part of a country that was increasingly turning Republican. Much of the south was moving from the Democrat period, the Roosevelt period to the Republicans, the Reagan Republicans and ultimately the George Bush Republicans. And so I really think it was a function in part of the changing demographics of the state.

It was not that people were voting in large part against Ann Richards. So much of the time we now see politics of division where people vote not for a candidate, but against one. It was, I think, a period where people liked Ann Richards, enjoyed her, really liked the idea that she was this national figure who represented something strong and bright and funny and attractive about the state. But saw in George Bush the kind of political candidate that at least a majority of Texans wanted.

So, they weren't voting against her, they were voting for another candidate.

COOPER: Larry, how are you going to remember her in the days and weeks and years ahead?

KING: I'm going to think about her a lot. I will remember many facets of her. Her political acumen, her sense of humor, her warmth, her real caring for people. She was a one in a million. They don't come like her. I'll think of her often. And anytime we do a show politically and there's an analyst on, I'm go to have to compare them to her. He or she is going to fall second.

And by the way, President Carter, who is on our show tonight, and that interview will follow this program, was a great friend of hers. And she, a great admirer of his.

But I will always think of her fondly and think of her often. And 73 is much to young to pass way. Much too young.

COOPER: It certainly is.

KING: She was a gutsy lady.

COOPER: She certainly set the bar very high, both in her personal life and in her political life as well.

Larry, appreciate you calling in. Larry King, reporting from Los Angeles.

KING: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Also Wayne Slater, senior political writer from the "Dallas Morning News."

We'll have more on the life and death of Ann Richards and more from here in Afghanistan in a moment. Stay with us.



COOPER: We're also follow a developing story out of Montreal this evening. A gunman opening fire in a college there in Montreal, killing one, wounding more than a dozen others, wounding some 19 people overall before being killed by police.

CNN's Allan Chernoff is on the scene with the latest.

Allan, what's going on?

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it was a scene of complete terror earlier today at Dawson College in downtown Montreal. Everything started at about 12:40 in the afternoon. Witnesses say, a man dress entirely in black with a Mohawk haircut began firing just outside of the college and then continued as he stepped inside of the college's main building.

Police pursued him and for a couple of hours, everybody, the students, were simply running for their lives.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some guy came in the cafeteria out of nowhere and started shooting, shot like three or four shots. Everybody got down, and everybody slowly went towards like the cafeteria, like the actual cafeteria where you buy the food. And they went slowly, slowly, slowly. And then you like saw there was a guy getting alone so he started shooting a couple people. That I know of, three people got shot. Like the first time. Like, I just saw somebody else. I don't know where that person came from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had heard, it sounded just like loud bangs. It turned out to be gunshots. When we looked out the window, we saw one man go down. He was shot, either in the head or the neck because he was -- a lot, a lot of blood. He was on the ground, convulsing.


CHERNOFF: Police were able to actually shoot the gunman dead, but not before he shot 20 people, one of whom actually died on the scene, a 20-year-old woman. Of the other 19, 11 are here at Montreal General Hospital, and this evening six of them have actually had surgery and they are right now in intensive care.

The police are not revealing the identity of the gunman, but they do say that he is Canadian -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Alan Chernoff, following the story out of Montreal. Allan, thank you very much.

Back here in Afghanistan, President Bush has called the war on terror a battle of civilizations. He says the ideology of hope will overcome the ideology of hate. But certainly, five years after 9/11 in many parts of the world, hate only seems to be growing.

CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look at why.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Against the protests, the bombings and battles, the Bush administration has said, time and again, America and its allies are rolling up terrorists, disrupting their funding, winning the war on terror.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're in a war that will set the course for this new century and determine the destiny of millions across the world.

FOREMAN: Yet poll after poll shows that around the world, more people see Washington as a problem.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We are now regarded as a threat to the world. That is a ridiculous position. FOREMAN: The key is this -- other nations think America is using its military and economic power with no regard for international opinion and for much more than fighting terror. That's what Steven Kull has found in his global public opinion surveys.

STEVEN KULL, PROGRAM ON INTERNATIONAL POLICY ATTITUDES: The perception is that it's being used as a pretext for the U.S. to promote its interest, to increase its presence in the Middle East, to gain greater access to oil and to just generally gain a more powerful position in the world.


FOREMAN: The administration has appointed a special envoy, the president's old friend, Karen Hughes, to address just this problem. And points out, other governments are still cooperating in the search for terrorists and no major attacks have hit the U.S. in five years.

Foreign policy analysts say despite all that, international mistrust is undermining more ambitious efforts to spread democracy, to promote political alliances, to secure long term peace.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: If you don't have support, as powerful as we are, we don't have the forces, we don't have the international economic clout. We don't have the policy levers to do most things on our own.

FOREMAN (on camera): Just how bad is it? Well, the polls here show that in terms of being a positive influence in the world, the world's people now rank the United States next to Iran and North Korea.

(Voice-over): And the pollsters themselves say that overwhelming unease over America's power and intent is pushing many young Muslims who don't even like the terrorist agenda to quietly cheer each strike against America and its allies.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: My next guest knows an awful lot about what is happening here in Afghanistan. His name is Rory Stewart. He's a British diplomat. He's also a journalist. He literally walked across parts of Afghanistan after the Taliban fell. Yes, that's what I said. He actually walked.

And he also, in post-invasion Iraq, was working -- got himself appointed as the deputy governor. That is the subject of the latest volume of his memoirs called, "The Prince of the Marshes." He wrote about walking across Afghanistan in a book called, "The Places in Between," which is a great read. I've been reading it, Rory. Thanks for being with us.


COOPER: What should Americans know abut what is happening right now in Afghanistan?

STEWART: Well, I think what struck me walking across the country, staying in nearly 50 village houses, was the villages are much more conservative, much more resistant to foreigners than we acknowledge. And a lot of our policies here are about money and they're about troops, but they're not really engaged in the politics and the religion which is the key here.

COOPER: There seems to be a lot of distrust among U.S. officials, certainly among military officials, of the Afghans' ability to lead, of their ability to be good governors, to be good local representatives. Corruption obviously is a major problem here. Is that lack of trust misplaced? I mean, should they trust them more?

STEWART: I think they should trust them more. This is a poor, fragile, traumatized country. Afghan politicians understand much more about the country than you or I do or any American general or the British general is likely to. These are elected officials and they're the best friend we've got.

COOPER: So, even if they're coming up with solutions that don't make sense to American forces on the ground, we should trust them?

STEWART: Well, in the end we've got to build a state here. And the only way we're going to build a state is by empowering local politicians. We can't micromanage them. We can't insist that Karzai topples this police chief. That governor -- if we don't trust his instincts, if we don't support him, we shouldn't be leaving him in place. So long as he's in place, we need to support him fully.

COOPER: Hamid Karzai, though, has been criticized for not firing governors who are clearly corrupt, who you know are profiting from the drug trade or police officials who are profiting from the drug trade. It's a fine line to walk. I mean, clearly, there is a huge problem with corruption here.

STEWART: Sure. But he's got an unbelievably difficult job. And it's very difficult for us to second guess him. We should say, if he's leaving somebody in place, we should give him the benefit of the doubt. We should acknowledge he knows much more about the country than we do. He's trying to hold together a very fragile state.

We've got very idealistic perfectionist view of Afghanistan. And I think if we try to push that too hard, it will make things worse, rather than better.

COOPER: Why, in your view, is the Taliban -- why have they Taliban come back? Why is there this resurgence to the extent there is?

STEWART: Well, there are a range of reasons. There is some Pakistani support for the Taliban. There is a problem with economy in the south. But fundamentally, a lot of the communities in the south are much more conservative, much more anti-foreign than we acknowledge. So there's a degree of popular support, perhaps not a majority, but a powerful minority of people who simply do not like foreign occupation and foreign troops. And that's why simply bringing in more troops is not going to solve the situation.

COOPER: It also seems that the U.S. military would like to be doing a lot more civil affairs, would like to be building schools, building more roads. They don't seem to have made as much progress in that area that they would like. I guess some of them would blame the security situation. I mean, is that part of the solution, trying to do that or is that too simplistic?

STEWART: I think it's not really much the solution. I think often when we think about economics, we're thinking like Marxist. The reality is these people have real political objections to us. Most people in Afghanistan are much wealthier than they were five years ago. They may complain about the economy, but partly because of the drugs I met farmers who were earning $300 a year under the Taliban, now are earning $12,000 a year.

These people are attacking us. It's not fundamentally because money hasn't been delivered to them. It's because they have serious political and religious objections to our presence. We need to acknowledge that through politics.

COOPER: Interesting. Rory Stewart, again, the book, "The Places in Between," a remarkable read. Appreciate it and I look forward to reading your new book as well. Thank you very much.

STEWART: Thank you very much.

COOPER: And a remarkable career.

When we come back, we're going to take a look at the first American fatality here in Afghanistan. And still to this day, five years on, after this young man was killed, there are still questions about exactly how and why he died. We'll have that next on 360.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He needs to decide if he wants to live or die and die here. I mean, if you don't want to die here, he's going to die here. Because we're just going to leave him. They're going to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in prison the rest of his short life. It's his decision.


COOPER: You're looking at a video of a CIA officer by the name of Mike Spann, interviewing prisoners here right after the fall of the Taliban.

Mike Spann was the first American fatality here in Afghanistan. He certainly wasn't the last. More than 200 U.S. service members have been killed here.

But now, five plus years after Mike Spann's death, there are still questions about exactly the circumstances under which he died. His father continues to search for answers.

Tonight, CNN's David Mattingly has his story.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mike Spann, a 32-year-old CIA operative and father of three, was the first U.S. casualty in Afghanistan back in 2001. Killed in the bloody three-day uprising of Taliban prisoners near Mazari-Sharif. Spann had called his father just the day before fighting broke out, explaining he was going to question some prisoners then return to the states.

JOHNNY SPANN, FATHER OF FIRST U.S. CASUALTY IN AFGHANISTAN: As a matter of fact, I've never told this to anybody before, but he said, Dad, you're not going to believe all the things I got to tell you.

MATTINGLY: But those stories were never told. Johnny Spann buried his son at Arlington, fighting with grief and trouble by conflicting information.

SPANN: We had reports by reporters saying that Mike was bit and kicked to death. You know, things like that. We was told that he was shot with his own weapon. We didn't know. We didn't know any of the particulars about exactly what happened because all we heard was hearsay.

MATTINGLY: In their small hometown of Winfield, Alabama, Mike Spann was hailed as a hero. A memorial park next to City Hall was named in his honor. But Johnny Spann couldn't find peace. He remembered some advice his son gave him years before.

(On camera): Because of the secretive nature of his work and the dangers that he faced, Mike Spann once told his father, don't believe I'm dead until you see my body. It was his way of saying, don't believe what people might tell you. Get the facts yourself.

(Voice-over): Johnny Spann does not suggest a cover-up is in play. He says he got some help from the CIA. A medical examiner's report from then Director George Tenet. He questioned the doctor who performed the autopsy in Germany and confirmed his son was shot twice in the head. He then talked to Special Forces soldiers from that area, but no one could say precisely when or how his son was killed.

But then a video surfaced showing Mike, a short time before the fighting began, interrogating the American Taliban prisoner John Walker Lindh.

Spann then decided to go to Afghanistan. He says he found a pair of doctors who witnessed Mike fighting back before prisoners brought him down.

SPANN: That he did immediately advance forward and start firing his weapon and took a stand and stood his ground.

MATTINGLY: Spann came home with a videotape he says was given to him by an officer of the Northern Alliance who had fought the Taliban. He watches it frame by frame for more of fleeting glimpses of his son carrying out his last mission as the clock ticked way.

(On camera): How many times have you looked at this? Frozen it like this and just looked at it?

SPANN: A lot.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But almost 5 years and 15,000 miles later there are still no final answers. The videotape shuts off the moment the uprising began.

Johnny Spann says he will continue to seek answers. Some questions, like the fighting in Afghanistan, show no signs of going away.

David Mattingly, CNN, Winfield, Alabama.


COOPER: Tonight the CIA had no specific comments on the -- well on the comments of Johnny Spann. They did say this, however, spokesperson for the CIA said, and I quote, "Mike Spann is a hero. He exemplifies the valor and devotion to duty which all of us at the CIA aspire."

When we come back from Afghanistan, we'll go back to the United States and have more on the life and death tonight of former Texas Governor Ann Richards who has died at her home at the age of 73.




KING: A few minutes remaining. Ann Richards, what kind of campaign?

RICHARDS: I think it's going to be a tough one and I think Gore's going to go after Bush.

KING: Dirty?

RICHARDS: I don't think it will be dirty. I think it will be on the issues.


COOPER: That former Texas Governor Ann Richards, talking to Larry King, one of the many interviews she did. Her keen political analysis there, very evident.

John Roberts joins me now from New York, looking back at the life and the death of Ann Richards. She has died at age of 73 at her home in Austin, Texas.

You know, John, just listening to that clip, her analysis, which is what she was doing more and more in recent yeas. Her knowledge of politics really honed in sort of the rough and tumble world of Texas politics where I guess back in 1976 when she first ran for local office, a woman running in Texas, back then, you had to be quick on your feet. And certainly Ann Richards was that.

ROBERTS: Oh yes. I mean, it was a guy's game, Texas politics back then. And of course, that's one of the things that is going to be Ann Richards' legacy is that when she won the governor's office in the 1990 campaign and moved in 1991, she really did more to open Texas politics than anyone who had gone before her.

You know, in her appointments, you know, whereas people before her had appointed 77 percent, you know white males, she opened it up. She had 44 percent of her appointments were women, 20 percent were Hispanic, 14 percent were black. She appointed minorities to positions that had been held typically by majorities before. So she really did a lot to open it up. But I think, Anderson, one of her enduring legacies is going to be her humor.

And in fact, that's one of the things that she worried most about when she went into rehabilitation for alcoholism in 1980, was that she was going to lose that sense of humor. And she never lived for anything other than the moment. In fact, when she was diagnosed with cancer, she said, I don't live in tomorrow. That's one thing about cancer, it teaches you in hurry what's important and that's today.

She's going to be very sorely missed in Texas and around the nation.

COOPER: She took life head on as she did politics as well.

John, thanks for that.

We'll take a short break and we'll be right back from Kabul, Afghanistan.



COOPER: We've been covering the death this evening of former Texas Governor Ann Richards.

"LARRY KING LIVE" now continues with a special rebroadcast of a 2000 interview with the former Texas governor.


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