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Massive Hunt for Missing American Soldiers Continues; Dadullah Killed; Air Marshal School; Florida in Flames; No One Helped; Innocent Bystanders?; Rebuilding Faces; First Lady Speaks Out

Aired May 14, 2007 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching the only live cable newscast at 11 p.m.
Coming up in this hour, the massive search in Iraq tonight for three American soldiers, missing and possibly now in the hands of al Qaeda allies.

Back home, a beating caught on tape. Sickening enough on its own. A 91-year-old battered. What's worse is what bystanders didn't do. They didn't seem to lift a finger to help. Should they have? What would you do?

Also, only on CNN, First Lady Laura Bush on her battle with a deadly and all to common addiction.

We begin, however, tonight with the search for three Americans who may have fallen into the hands of some of the worst captors imaginable. That possibility goes a long way toward explaining why thousands of their comrades are now involved in finding them. Their mission is simple as life and death, but as tricky as finding a needle in a hornet's nest.

More now on the search from CNN's Hugh Riminton in Iraq.


HUGH RIMINTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even as the search continues, a taunting message from the al Qaeda-backed Islamic state of Iraq on an insurgent Web site: "Searching for your soldiers will exhaust you and bring you misery. Your soldiers are in our hands. If you want their safety, do not search for them."

Now in its third day, the search around Mahmudiyah in an insurgent stronghold south of Baghdad known as the Triangle of Death has brought no apparent breakthrough.

MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM CALDWELL, U.S. ARMY SPOKESMAN, COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ: At this time, we believe they were abducted by terrorists belonging to al Qaeda or an affiliated group. And this assessment is based on highly credible intelligence information.

RIMINTON: The capture of U.S. personnel touches the most sensitive nerve in the U.S. military -- the determination to leave no one behind.

"We know," says the al Qaeda-based group, "you would rather have your entire army die than have one crusader in captivity."

CALDWELL: We are doing everything we can to locate our soldiers, who did nothing but come here to serve our country and to help the Iraqi people.

RIMINTON: It plays here on every American mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's horrible for me to think about what they are going through right now. And I pray that we can figure out where they are at and get them back.

RIMINTON: The three missing men have not been seen since their two-vehicle team was ambushed. Four other U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi were killed at the scene of the predawn attack. Analysts say there is little to no hope of negotiating their release.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Al Qaeda, of all the various insurgent groups in Iraq, they are probably the most fanatical. And it is very unlikely that they can be bought off with money or they can be persuaded to compromise on other terms.


COOPER: Hugh, in the past when American troops have gone missing, how successful have the military been in finding them?

RIMINTON (on camera): Well, I'd love to tell you a happy story there, Anderson, but really they haven't been successful at all where U.S. soldiers have fallen into the hands, particularly of al Qaeda in the past.

There's only been one ending and that's been the death of those soldiers.

At Yusufiyah, which is a town very close to Mahmudiyah, where these three soldiers were taken just last year, in June of last year. There was an ambush. Two soldiers were taken. Their bodies were later found. They had been tortured and humiliated before they had been killed. Videotape later appeared of that on Web sites run by al Qaeda-linked groups -- Anderson.

COOPER: In the search, are they get anything help from the local population?

RIMINTON: Well, they say that they are getting help, tip-offs from local population. They say they have actually conducted targeted raids on the basis of intelligence they've received from the local population. But al Qaeda itself has been quite shrewd in this. They're specifically linking the capture of these three soldiers to a notorious incident that took place last year in the same town of Mahmudiyah, which was the rape of a 14-year-old girl by U.S. soldiers and the murder subsequently of the girl and members of her family. Two U.S. soldiers are doing jail time for that, but it shows al Qaeda looking to exploit local anger against the Americans with this attack.

COOPER: Well, let's hope for the best. Hugh, appreciate it. Hugh Riminton, reporting tonight from Iraq.

There was a major development in Afghanistan you should know about. A top Taliban commander is dead. This is a man who bragged of having American blood on his hands. And we want to warn you, the pictures of his body are about to see are not pretty. You might consider them welcome, however, just the same.

More from CNN's Peter Bergen.


PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST (voice-over): A graphic photograph, graphic evidence of progress in the war on terror.

Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's senior military commander in Afghanistan, laid out on a slab for the world to see.

He gave a final interview to an Afghan journalist obtained by "ABC News." In that interview he claimed to be actively training American suicide bombers to attack the United States. Authorities have not verified this claim. Whether that's true or not, experts agree that Dadullah's death is a serious blow to the Taliban.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He brought a wealth of experience fought over several decades in Afghanistan in the Mujahadeen period during 1990s in the Taliban's slow conquest of Afghanistan.

And again, in the use, increasing use, of suicide tactics in the south. Everything from vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices to bicycle borne in the south, including roadside bombs. So quite sophisticated array of tactics.

BERGEN: Dadullah was a top lieutenant to Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, himself the subject of an intense U.S. manhunt.

So now that Dadullah is dead, does that mean Mullah Omar is next? Not necessarily because in Omar's case, location is everything.

It's an open secret that the Taliban leadership isn't in Afghanistan, but in neighboring Pakistan, in the city of Quetta.

Abdulhak Haneef (ph) is the top ranking Taliban official in custody.

(on camera): Talking to the Taliban leadership on the phone, often, because you were the spokesman. You had to get the news. Were they calling you from Afghanistan? Were they calling you from Pakistan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Most of the time when I received the phone calls, the phone calls ere from Pakistan.

BERGEN (voice-over): A U.S. military official was more specific, telling us Taliban Chief Mullah Omar is living in the Pakistani city of Quetta. We know exactly where he is, the official told us. So if everyone believes that Mullah Omar is living in Quetta, why hasn't he been caught or killed? Afghanistan Analyst Seth Jones (ph) says it's about geography and politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So to actually send in military forces, NATO military forces into Pakistani territory is very politically sensitive. Getting the Pakistanis to do it themselves has also been problematic.

BERGEN: The fear is, that as long as Mullah Omar stays in Pakistan, he will be safe and pass orders to whoever fills Mullah Dadullah's shoes in the future.

Peter Bergen, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Peter Bergen, again joins us right now from Washington.

Mullah Dadullah was claiming that he had trained suicide bombers for operations in America. Is there any evidence of that?

BERGEN (on camera): Well, I talked to an Afghan official this evening, and they said they couldn't confirm that. I'm not saying it's not true, but there's no official confirmation from the Afghan side -- Anderson.

COOPER: So, did Dadullah live in Afghanistan or was he also living in Quetta or did he travel back and forth or do we even know?

BERGEN: Well, the NATO spokesman said something about him having sanctuary in a foreign country, without naming that foreign country. I think it's widely understood that that foreign country was Pakistan. So this was a guy who was spending time in Afghanistan, but he was also spending time in Pakistan -- Anderson.

COOPER: So just for those who don't understand -- and I'm not sure I understand it myself, even though I've asked the Pakistan ambassador this several times. If just about everyone seems to believe that Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, is living alive and well in Quetta and though the Pakistanis publicly deny it, why wouldn't they just go after him and get him?

BERGEN: I've talked to -- I asked the same question to a fairly senior Western official in Pakistan recently. And he said, look, it's a tough one. Is it a question of will? Do the Pakistanis not have the will to do this? Or is it a question of capabilities? And as a lot of things in Pakistan, it's not really clear if it's a lack of will or a lack of capability or perhaps even both.

But it is a puzzle. After all, when we were in Afghanistan, back in September, Anderson, you know, U.S. military officials were saying the same thing, that they knew that Mullah Omar was living in Quetta. Sometimes they had information about which compound he was in. They're still saying the same thing today. And honestly, it is puzzling why there hasn't been action on this important question.

COOPER: Puzzling and troubling indeed.

Peter, thanks.

New developments tonight on a possible threat to airliners from al Qaeda.

"ABC News" is reporting that as many as five or six American air marshals are now working each and every U.S.-bound flight from airports in Frankfurt, London and Manchester, England. ABC is citing officials who say that stepped up security was prompted by intelligence reports that an al Qaeda hijacking plot is in the making.

With more now on what the plotters, if there are any, would be up against. Here's CNN's Jeanne Meserve.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get it, get it, get it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll help. I'll help.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): On a mock aircraft, Tom practices for the day he hopes will never come, the day when he, a federal air marshal, has to deal with a terrorist.

TOM, FEDERAL AIR MARSHALL: Let me say this, nobody wants to use a firearm onboard an aircraft. It's not going to be a good day for anybody. There's a lot of downside to it. But if that's what's needed, that's what you to.

MESERVE: Because he works undercover, we cannot show you his face or tell you his full name.

TOM: Sir, I'm a federal air marshal. You need to turn around and put your hands behind your back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not going to do anything like that.

TOM: All right, sir, put your hands behind your back.

MESERVE: Though he may look like any other traveler, Tom carries a loaded .357 magnum.

At Washington's Dulles airport, he boards his JetBlue flight to Ft. Lauderdale before other passengers, to search for weapons and explosives and to meet and brief the flight crew.

TOM: There are no specific threats against this airline or any others at this time.

MESERVE: Though air marshals never fly without at least one partner, as passengers board Tom scans for potential allies.

TOM: I just size people up and I guess, in a nutshell, I'm looking for help. Worst case scenario, who I think I can count on. You look for a face and what you see in that, and the eyes. I'm looking for perhaps military, uniform. I'm looking for things of that nature, somebody with a military haircut possibly. Maybe somebody with an NYPD t-shirt on.

MESERVE: He is also on the lookout for terrorists.

TOM: We're looking for any suspicious behavior, anybody who's acting irregular, abnormal.

MESERVE: Tom notices a restroom right next to the cockpit has been occupied an unusually long time. At Tom's suggestion, a flight attendant knocks. A man comes out. Tom goes in to see if weapons or explosives have been hidden. He finds nothing.

Tom has never arrested a suspected terrorist, but wonders if he has seen them rehearsing.

TOM: Certainly, yes, there's been times where I've been uncomfortable, had a not so comfortable feeling and wondered if it was perhaps a test run. That's rare, very rare.

MESERVE: though their exact number is classified, there are not enough air marshals for the 27,000 flights made every day by U.S. carriers. So they pick their flights.

(ON CAMERA): This airbus A-320 is exactly the kind of aircraft an air marshal might be on. It's pretty big, carries a lot of fuel and it's flying in and out of New York, a known terrorist target.

(voice-over): At the air marshal's command center, where deployment decisions are made, the latest intelligence is factored in. The operation center has secure communications with the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado, NORAD can scramble jets in an emergency, though Tom feels he and other air marshals can handle things on their own.

TOM: God forbid something happens, we're going to solve that. We're going to have the solution up there and they're not going to have to call upon the F-16s to bring that plane down.

MESERVE: It is hard to know if air marshals are as effective as Tom believes, whether it's because the presence of air marshals has been a deterrent to terrorists, or because of other layers of security there hasn't been a hijacking since 9/11.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, if you're interested in becoming a federal air marshal, the government is hiring. Here's the raw data. There are 30 vacancies. The pay is between $36,400 and $83,900. The jobs are open to U.S. citizens only.

That's one kind of dangerous duty. Another involves the air and ground war against dozens of huge wildfires still tearing across Georgia and Florida tonight.

The largest, the Bugaboo fire, is about 50 percent under control, but a portion of it jumped a fire line. It's been that kind of day and weekend. Good news, then bad.

More now from CNN's Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the first clear day in weeks, a front from the north blew the smoke south. And for the first time in days, that allowed planes and helicopters to make their drops.

Unfortunately, it would be the only moisture falling from the sky over an area that needs much more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a tropical system to come in and it needs to be something that's got a name.

GRIFFIN: Firefighters in the southeast are just plain tired. The flames smoldering at times, racing at others, have blackened the landscape for miles.

LARRY RICHARDSON, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE: We're going to go through 20 miles of this corridor, blackened on both sides.

GRIFFIN: Over the weekend, eruptions sent smoke plumes miles into the sky. Interstates closed. And from space, the sunshine state is creating its own halo of smog.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We ain't never been through nothing like this. We've been, what, six years down here.

GRIFFIN: And in little hamlets like Edith, Georgia, residents like Becky and George Griffis (ph) wake up every day and wonder if this is the day they will evacuate.

BECKY GRIFFIS (ph), EDITH, GEORGIA RESIDENT: I put my pictures and my clothes and some of whatnots.

GRIFFIN: Half their lives are packed in their car and truck. They live on the edge of the great Okie Fenokee (ph) swamp. The fires came close once, drifted way, and now are coming back.

GRIFFIS (ph): He tells me not to worry about it, but I panic real bad. I mean, something to panic about. Fire ain't nothing to play with.

GRIFFIN: The problem is, the fire never seems to just burn out.

Backfires like this one on the Georgia side are set to rob fuel from the approaching flames. But underneath the soil, Texas Firefighter Jim Davis reveals the real culprit in this palmetto forest and swampland -- layers of decaying wood and peat under the soil that can smolder undetected. And every night as winds pick up, the smoldering underbrush ignites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the last three, four days, it's done it every evening.

GRIFFIN: And there is no real break in sight.


COOPER: Drew, why isn't those fires go out?

GRIFFIN (on camera): You know, that's what these firefighters are asking. They just are besides themselves. All they can do, Anderson, because the fuel is so thick, is to just try to surround it and contain it, keep houses from burning, keep people out of the way. But they really just need lots and lots of rain.

The firefighters said, listen, we don't need just rain, we need something with a name. They need a tropical storm to come through here and just dump torrents of rain to soak into this dry, dry soil.

COOPER: And they are working so hard on that.

Drew, appreciate it. Drew Griffin reporting.

Up next, we want to warn you it is not easy to watch, but a story that needs to be told.


COOPER (voice-over): A brutal carjacking caught on tape. A 91- year-old man punched repeatedly in the face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He could have killed me. I think they should charge him with attempted murder.

COOPER: What makes it worse, is look, people saw the beating, but seemed to do nothing to stop it. Why would that happen? Would you do the same thing?

Plus, the brutal wounds of war.

YOLANDA FLETCHER, MICHAEL'S WIFE: When I see him, it was just -- I hate to say it, but it was like seeing a monster, you know? It was just hard.

COOPER: An airman injured in Iraq. But thanks to high-tech help, he's getting his identity back. The remarkable recovery, when 360 continues.


COOPER (on camera): The video's hard to look at, a carjacker repeatedly punching a 91-year-old World War II veteran. That is just part of the story. The security tape also captured people standing nearby. They watched and apparently did nothing to stop the brutal attack.


COOPER (voice-over): This video, captured on a surveillance camera is shocking to watch. A 91-year-old man punched in the face repeatedly, mercilessly by a carjacker outside a Detroit liquor store.

Also shocking to see -- a crowd of at least a half dozen people standing by. It's not clear whether any of them know the attacker. What is clear, is that they appear to do absolutely nothing.

SUZANNE YATES, PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR, LEHMAN CUNY: We see it happen time and time again. We know that the social forces are very powerful. But it doesn't stop it from being shocking.

COOPER: The phenomenon is so common, in fact, that it has a name -- the bystander effect or the Genovese effect.

Kitty Genovese was murdered in 1964. She was returning to her Queens, New York, apartment late one night when she was stabbed to death right outside her building. She screamed for help as 38 neighbors watched from above. The attack lasted more than 30 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just this, this low-life whore that he raped right in front of you. You're not like all the others, you're worse.

COOPER: A movie, called "The Accused," was based on another well-known case. Cheryl Arroya (ph) was gang-raped by four men on a pool table in a Massachusetts bar while some patrons cheered them on.

And just this past February, surveillance cameras captured this Chicago police officer beating up a petite female bartender while customers stood by.

Psychologist Suzanne Yates says one possible explanation for the bystander effect is what's called diffusion of responsibility, assuming others will act.

YATES: The more people who could help, who are available to help, in an emergency situation, the less likely it is that any one of them actually will help.

COOPER: Yates also points to what's called group or pluralistic ignorance.

YATES: The way that people decide if it's a crisis is often by looking around to other people.

We all look around and notice everybody else looking cool. And it leads us to believe that nobody else thinks there's a problem.

COOPER: There is also, of course, the fear factor. YATES: Fear about what might happen. If you intervene you, could be next. He might pull out a gun or a knife.

COOPER: As for the carjacking victim, who happens to be a World War II vet, he survived the ordeal. His spirit intact.

LEONARD SIMS, BEATING VICTIM: Could have grabbed the keys and taken off, not the beating.

COOPER: Someone eventually did call 911, and the alleged assailant, 22-year-old Deonte Bradley (ph), was arrested and entered a not guilty plea on charges of carjacking and assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

As for the harm done by those who did nothing, they'll have to live with themselves.


COOPER (on camera): Whether it is fear or indifference or something else, many people are reluctant to step forward and stop an act of violence.

Joining us to help us understand why that is, is Harold Takooshian, a psychology professor at Fordham University.

Thanks for being with us.

You know, when you see this tape, it's -- I mean, it's certainly hard to look at. We don't know who these people are behind the -- whether associated with the carjack or not.

But why don't people step? I mean, we talked about the bystander effect. Is that what it is?

PROF. HAROLD TAKOOSHIAN, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Well, Dr. Yates covered some of the reasons there. But a number of us psychologists have been studying this for about 30 years now, since the Genovese incident.

And when I see that tape, one thing that strikes me is that the criminal continues to act, even though he sees people nearby. My sense is that he does know those others, the observers.

But the fact is, when we interviewed street criminals here in New York City, we found there was a kind of a secret they have, that they could do almost anybody in public and get away with it, even in daylight hours.

COOPER: How so?

TAKOOSHIAN: Well, I worked on the police department for one year as a researcher, and it's common knowledge in the police department that about 50 percent of street crimes occur in daylight, in public.

The police know this, criminals know this. And there are several reasons.

One that Dr. Yates didn't emphasize, but which I would emphasize is the ambiguity.

COOPER: What do you mean by the ambiguity?

TAKOOSHIAN: Living in cities, we're accustomed to seeing all kinds of things going on around us.

COOPER: And you don't know what it is. You don't know whether...

TAKOOSHIAN: You just can't make sense of it.

COOPER: And so you just kind of ignore it because you assume, well, it must be OK if it's happening in broad daylight?

TAKOOSHIAN: That's right. There are people who are very alert and who spot these things, and they're the ones who get involved because these thing occur all the time.

The Genovese incident was not an exceptional incident. What was exceptional is that it was -- it made the papers.

COOPER: And how -- so how do you -- I mean, if you're a victim of a crime that's happening in broad day, how do you break through that? How do you break through the ambiguity effect? Do you try to talk to people and say what's really going on?

TAKOOSHIAN: That's exactly what's necessary. Because screaming help me or I need help is very unclear. It could be a husband and wife fight, as the Genovese witnesses thought. Or it could be the victim comes across as a psychopath themselves.

It is important to make it clear. He's robbing me. I don't know him, he's attacking me. And if that can be punctured, there's more likely to be intervention.

Let me quickly note, Anderson, that there are cases where people do intervene. And we study those as well. In fact, in New York City, I would say at least a couple of times a year you hear the incident of people not intervening, but you hear the incident where a whole group pounces on a criminal.

COOPER: And are there times when it's just an individual who acts?

TAKOOSHIAN: It's almost always.


TAKOOSHIAN: No, no. It's almost always one person in the group who starts it off. Yes. In both directions. One person who doesn't do anything, and that's diffusion of responsibility; or one person who catalyzes it.

COOPER: And if one person steps forward, then maybe other people will as well?


I should point out that when the Genovese killer was caught, Winston Moseley, what he told the police gave them a chill. When they asked him, how do you do this in front of witnesses? He said I knew they wouldn't do anything. People never do. And that's the impression I get from this brutal fellow who was beating the elderly fellow.

COOPER: The good news is that it only takes one person standing up to make a difference.

TAKOOSHIAN: Absolutely.

COOPER: And that's the message.

Harold Takooshian, it's a fascinating -- psychology professor for Fordham. Thanks. Fascinating research.

COOPER: Just ahead, the shot of the day. A new musical performance by the president. You kind of have to see it to believe it.

And speaking of the president, also tonight, a CNN exclusive. His wife, First Lady Laura Bush, speaks out about her own battle with an addiction that hurts millions of Americans.

Plus, medical marvels help injured troops back from war. You simply will not believe what surgeons can do now. You'll find out, ahead.


COOPER: As of tonight, more than 25,000 U.S. troops have been injured fighting in Iraq. Many of their lives were saved by body armor and by the incredible work of the military's medical staffs.

Each wounded American has a remarkable story to tell. And tonight, we want to share one of those stories with you. It's about one man, his family, and the courage and determination it took to literally rebuild his life again.

360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta reports.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): August of 2005, Michael Fletcher, an airman on patrol near the Iraq/Kuwait border. As the end of his shift neared, Fletcher manned the turret gun in a humvee.

MICHAEL FLETCHER, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: We were on our way back to the camp when our vehicle rolled.

GUPTA: The rolling vehicle crushed him. FLETCHER: It's one of those things you never expect because it's -- we do the same thing every day. And for that to happen, it was like a surprise, like when it started happening, it's like you can't even react fast enough.

GUPTA: He'd only been in Iraq three months. His body, now maimed beyond recognition. Bleeding from his ears, a punctured lung, kidneys failing, left arm shattered -- broken beyond repair.

Fletcher was medevaced out. His wounds so dire, his heart stopped twice along the way. He ended up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

YOLANDA FLETCHER, MICHAEL'S WIFE: When you get news that your husband only has 20 hours to live, and when you actually see it, you know, it's hard.

GUPTA: Fletcher's wife, Yolanda, rushed to his hospital bed.

(on camera): When was the first time that you saw Michael?

Y. FLETCHER: When I seen him, it was just like the worst thing that I ever seen. I was six months pregnant at the time. when I seen him, it was just -- I hate to say it, but it was like seeing a monster, you know? It was just hard.

GUPTA (voice-over): Her husband's face -- gone. He was also now missing an arm. And yet, the young couple made a pact.

M. FLETCHER: She had told me one thing when I first came to. She was like, I need you to be up and about when the baby's born. She was like, I know that's something -- she said I know that's more -- that too much to put on you at this time, but she was like, you're strong and I know you're strong.

GUPTA: That promise, to be there when his baby was born, meant 23-year-old Michael Fletcher would push himself to extraordinary limits. Difficult and painful therapy. And many, many operations. Four plates placed in his head to resemble a face. And Michael was discharged in half the time doctors expected.

You see, among wounded vets, it's a common story. Better protective gear and advanced trauma care have reduced the killed in action rate. It's almost half that of the Vietnam War.

(on camera): From a pragmatic standpoint, they're wearing body armor, wearing a helmet. It's this part that's getting hit.

DR. PATRICK BYRNE, RECONSTRUCTIVE PLASTIC SURGEON: With the body armor now, that some of our soldiers are surviving injuries that would have killed people in any previous conflict. But now they're surviving with massive facial and cranial and extremity injuries.

GUPTA (voice-over): Though an extreme case, that is Michael Fletcher's story. M. FLETCHER: This is the similar, same type of weapon I got hurt, you know, that I was using that day. This is a 249. That's the position I was in when the accident happened.

BYRNE: The turret on the vehicle he was on actually impaled his face. And as the vehicle turned over, it sort of pulled him by his face. Which was a combination of injuries.

GUPTA (on camera): And so, Dr. Byrne, when you look at this, do you think I can fix this? What are you thinking?

BYRNE: Well, my first thought actually, is this is a very tough case.

GUPTA (voice-over): So challenging, Dr. Byrne first recommended against surgery.

BYRNE: We suggested to him he consider just having a prosthesis because once we make that first step towards trying to rebuild his nose, you're in for a very long journey.

GUPTA: Doctors warned it would take more than a year, multiple operations, countless hours in hospitals and a risk of losing what little face remained to infection. And yet...

M. FLETCHER: I don't want to look like this my whole life. I refuse to look like this my whole life. I'm willing to go -- to take these risks.


COOPER: Up next, Michael Fletcher goes under the knife six times -- six very risky times. See what his face looks like now in part 2 of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's report.

Also ahead in this hour...


COOPER (voice-over): A CNN exclusive.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: It's hard to quit smoking. It's hard to lose weight. All of those steps that all of us know we should take if we want to live longer and healthier lives are difficult.

COOPER: The first lady on her battle to quit smoking and her advice for a healthy life.

Plus, turning anger into action.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His life is going to save other lives.

COOPER: A mother's inspirational crusade. A CNN hero, when 360 continues.


COOPER (on camera): Before the break, Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduced you to Michael Fletcher, who was severely injured manning a turret gun in Iraq.

His wife was told he had just 20 hours to live. The wounds he suffered were catastrophic, especially in his face.

Michael was warned of the risk that multiple operations could bring, but he was willing to take every one of those risks.

Here's part 2 of Sanjay's report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think?

GUPTA: After his terrible war injuries, 23-year-old Michael Fletcher said, no, he absolutely did not want a prosthetic nose.

M. FLETCHER: I want to look like a normal human being, you know? I want to not have the stares -- put it like that. I would love to just have a nose.

GUPTA: So Johns Hopkins assembled a team of specialists that would try groundbreaking techniques.

(on camera): What was the biggest risk?

BYRNE: Probably the biggest risk was failure, literal failure to achieve a nose that would resemble normal and that he could breathe through.

GUPTA (voice-over): Whether it's a doctor or a soldier, minimizing risk comes from good planning.

Teams of surgeons, medical illustrators, computer modelers and scientists all came together to create a plan.

Animators detailed the damage done to Michael's face. Models of his cranium and his new nose crafted from high-tech labs around the country. A nose mold manufactured to precisely guide surgeons in the operating room.

(on camera): Everything that went into making him -- him now in his mid face is from his own body.

BYRNE: Entirely his own tissue. Right. And that was key for him.

GUPTA (voice-over): The efforts would cost the military more than $200,000. The risks were still extreme. Anything less than total success would mean total failure. And yet, still ahead, multiple operations, staggered over a year, each of them high risk.

BYRNE: The nose is like a house of sorts and so it was missing the foundation. So we need to build that out of bone and then vascularize (ph) it with skin, with blood vessels, and then build on top of that both bone, cartilage, as well as a skin cover.

GUPTA: The first operation in June last year. Dr. Byrne begins to harvest rib and skin from Michael's own body. A measured success.

M. FLETCHER: The breathing is totally better because before, like I said, the nose was flattened down. And it was like a flap that was just when you breath in, it would almost close up.

GUPTA: The second operation. His skin is pulled down from his forehead to form a flap over the nasal area.

BYRNE: The tissue on the entire body that most resembles nasal skin. It's almost an identical match.

GUPTA: Months would pass to see if the grafts worked. And then just before Christmas...

BYRNE: And so he's really on his way. He's a different person from where he was just a few months back.

GUPTA: Michael and his surgeons had beaten extreme odds. But there were still more challenges.

M. FLETCHER: We're close to the end. It's almost there.

GUPTA: Until a few weeks ago.

BYRNE: So you're still isolation?

M. FLETCHER: Yes. Yes.

BYRNE: Apparently your last culture was -- still showed MRSA (ph).

GUPTA: It was April and infection strikes before a sixth operation. Eventually the infection clears and Michael makes a sixth trip to the operating room. It was supposed to be his last.

(on camera): Six major operations, over 40 surgical hours, and dozens of health care professionals involved with his care, all for this moment. Let's take a look.

(voice-over): The moment Michael and so many had sacrificed so much for.

Does that look like you?

M. FLETCHER: As far as appearance, like I tell people, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) have people, look back at me now.

GUPTA: But how did it feel?

(on camera): Mind if I take a feel here?

M. FLETCHER: No, no problem.

GUPTA: OK. How does the nose feel to you?

M. FLETCHER: It feels good. It feels real, like I have all the sensation that I would have with my old nose.

GUPTA: Are you breathing fine through your nose?

M. FLETCHER: Uh-huh.

GUPTA: Could you sneeze?

M. FLETCHER: Yes, I could.

GUPTA (voice-over): By any measure, it's a remarkable transformation.

(on camera): What is it about the nose? It's just such a part of your identity, isn't it? I mean, more than just the actual surgery. You're giving him back himself.

BYRNE: Yes. And actually we see that. The nose is the one structure on the face which you can't camouflage in any way. Can't be covered with makeup. And so, it is -- it contributes more to our sense of self-identity than any other structure, by far.

GUPTA (voice-over): For Michael Fletcher, it may be important to him how his nose was made. But far more meaningful, where it came from.

M. FLETCHER: Yes, this nose might not be the one I started with, but everything inside of it comes from me. You know, every part of it.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


COOPER: It is amazing what they can do.

Coming up next, a CNN exclusive. First Lady Laura Bush. She speaks one-on-one about Sanjay about the addiction she shares with so many Americans -- smoking. She tells her story and more, when 360 continues.


COOPER: First Lady Laura Bush is, of course, the mother of two daughters. And yesterday, Mother's Day, marked the start of National Women's Health Week.

Mrs. Bush is using the opportunity to talk about major health risks all women need to know about.

And you may not know about the first lady's own battle to give up smoking. Once again, here's CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, with the exclusive interview.


GUPTA (on camera): One thing that's been in the news recently, it has to do with the HPV vaccine, which is for cervical cancer. A lot of women talking about this as well because it could potentially prevent nearly all cervical cancers. But it's been -- had some controversy as well.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, we have laws for vaccine. I mean, that's not something new. We -- when I was younger, everyone had to get a smallpox vaccine before you could start school.

And even today, in most school districts, there are certain vaccines that every child has to get before they start there. So -- start school. So there's nothing new about requiring a vaccine that will protect the health of people in our country.

And I think it's important for young women to have this -- or girls, actually, to go ahead and have this vaccine. It will protect them from cervical cancer later in their lives.

GUPTA: If someone doesn't want one, should they be mandated to get it?

BUSH: Well, I mean, I think that's up to the states to figure out how to do that. But we certainly mandate vaccines. I mean, we do in the United States. And because of that, we don't have many of the diseases that still are prevalent in other parts of the world. There's certainly nothing wrong with mandating vaccines, I think. It's a very important part of public health.

GUPTA: It's one of those things that amazing because heart disease kills maybe 10 times more women in this country than breast cancer, yet a lot of patients and certainly a lot of physicians as well don't know that.

BUSH: Didn't know it. And I didn't know it. And I learned that heart disease was the number one killer among women. I knew that if I didn't know that -- I was surprised by that. I thought that cancer was. And I knew that if I didn't know it, that many other women probably did not know it.

Some of the symptoms that women have especially, aren't really the crushing chest pain that we imagine comes with a heart attack. And so the symptoms of extreme fatigue, or of heavy sweating, the kind people just -- especially women, will say, oh, I'm going to go lie down, and I'm sure I'll feel better in a little bit instead of doing what you should do, which is get straight to an emergency room.

GUPTA: Were you a smoker at one time?

BUSH: That's right. I used to smoke. GUPTA: Do you smoke anymore?

BUSH: No, I don't smoke.

GUPTA: How did you quit?

BUSH: Well, it was very hard to quit. And smoking is difficult to quit. And I want to encourage people to not pick it up. It's very difficult to quit. And one of the good ways, I think one of the easier ways to quit is the way the president did when he smoked, which is when he was back in graduate school, and that was he took up running.

And I think once you get up and exercise, smoking becomes counterproductive and that it's easier to quit.

GUPTA: When someone comes to you, in your position as first lady, someone says we think, we don't know for sure, but we think potentially the promise of treatments, possibly even cures for some diseases may lie in the realm of stem cells, what do you say to those people?

BUSH: The only part of stem cell research that people have a moral objection to is embryonic stem cell research, using human embryos in research. But the fact is there is wide ranging stem cell research, both federally funded and funded by different medical organizations around the country and around the world that use adult stem cells, that use embryonic -- I mean, umbilical cord stem blood and many other ways. And so there -- I think the dialogue on stem cell research has been skewed a little bit.


COOPER: You can see more of Sanjay's interview with First Lady Laura Bush, also former President Bill Clinton and Rock Star Bono in a special edition of House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta this Saturday and Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m., Eastern.

Coming up, the first lady's husband becomes the shot of the day when he takes charge of an orchestra. That's right. We'll show you how he did.

Plus, tonight's CNN's hero. A mother's mission, how she turned her personal tragedy in something truly remarkable. Her story, when 360 continues.


COOPER: A Miami mother is on a special mission. With a spike in violent crime in her city and others across America, she is taking action.

She lost her own son to gun violence, but is turning the pain of that into a powerful message for change.

Meet tonight's CNN hero. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

QUEEN BROWN, LOST SON TO GUN VIOLENCE: My name is Queen brown. I'm a mother of four. I lost my youngest son, Everton (ph), to gun violence.

Everton's shooting was a want random act. He was basically in the wrong place at the wrong time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a barrage of gunfire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Struck by bullets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An overflow of grieving relatives crowd the emergency room at Broward General tonight.


In 2006, homicides in Florida's Miami-Dade and Broward Counties increased 40 percent to 50 percent.


BROWN: I moved my kids here from the inner city to provide a safer community for them. They all graduated from high school and all college educated.

It was a devastating blow to me to lose my son. I felt so helpless. And I wanted to do something. I wanted to get people involved.

Good afternoon, south Florida. And thank you so much once again for tuning in to what's going on, the violence intervention program.

We can stop the violence in the community. There is something you can do about it.

You could teach your kid what to do, but as you and I both know, your kid can be a victim to someone else.

My children and I, we all chip in and we pay for the radio air time.

We have a caller on line one.

You're on the air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have three sons and one of my everyday fears is that I will go through what you've gone through.

BROWN: It's very therapeutic. I always feel like I have helped someone.

We're going to give you that information regarding how you can get your sons involved in this program.

The community has been very supportive. They want this show to stay on the air.


Listener demand extended Queen Brown's show to a full hour.


BROWN: I want the students, I want the parents, I want the community leaders -- I think collectively we have to deal with the core of what's causing the violence.

My son's death was a call to service. You know, I saw so many areas where I was needed. And I felt that I had just what it took to get in there and do it.

It's because of Everton that I'm doing this. His life is going to save other lives.


COOPER: If you want to learn more about Queen Brown or listen to a clip from her radio program, you'll find them both at

Up next on the program, he's commander in chief, but is he also a maestro? The president grabs a baton and becomes our shot of the day, next on 360.


COOPER: Shot of the day is coming up. The president taking charge of an orchestra. We'll see how he did with this.

First, Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins us with a 360 news and business bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, victims of bomber Eric Rudolph say he is taunting them from prison. And authorities say there is little they can do to stop him. Rudolph was captured in 2003 after a five-year manhunt. He pleaded guilty to a series of bombings across the south, including the one at 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In one essay, he mocks a former abortion clinic nurse who he nearly killed in a 1988 bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.

In Miami, opening statements in the Jose Padilla trial. The American is accused of being a so-called enemy combatant and of plotting a jihad overseas. He claims he was drugged and tortured during interrogations. The government denies those allegations. Padilla's trial is expected to last into August.

Detroit's number three automaker being sold. DaimlerChrysler is selling a majority of its stake in Chrysler to a private equity investment firm. Nine years ago Daimler-Benz bought Chrysler for $37 billion. Today's sale is valued at less than $7.5 billion.

And drivers are taking a hit at the gas pump. AAA says the average price of a gallon of gas, now more than $3.07. That is a record high. It tops the record set after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Anderson. And unfortunately, we'll probably have a new record somewhat soon.

COOPER: No doubt about that.

Erica, thanks.

Time for the shot of the day. Take a look at this. President Bush, the maestro. Yesterday at a ceremony marking the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown Colony. President Bush sneaks up to the conductor of the Virginia Symphony...


HILL: Who knew?

COOPER: Yes, who knew that he had that...

HILL: I mean.

COOPER: I guess then -- they seemed to play along. He went through the Stars and Stripes Forever. A violin is put down. His instrument, long enough to snap a couple of photographs. He gave the conductor a kiss on her head after the quick performance.

HILL: Not bad.

COOPER: Now this got me thinking about another presidential performance.

Hill: Now you're talking.

COOPER: Sure. President as a dancer. That's from last month. Who knows...

HILL: And a drummer. Check that out. He's a drummer too.

COOPER: That's right.

HILL: It's a tri-factor right there tonight.

COOPER: Who knows what next month will bring.

We want you to send us your shot ideas. If you see some amazing video, tell us about it at We'll put some of your best clips on the air.

For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is coming up next.

Here in the states, "LARRY KING" is coming up next.


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