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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Tens of Thousands Pour into Iraq's Kurdish North as U.S. Jets Bomb Isis; Obama to Iraq: 'America is Coming to Help'; Iraq Crisis: An Up-Close Look; Cease-Fire Expires in Gaza After Negotiation Deadlock; WHO: Ebola Outbreak an 'International Emergency'; A Father Remembers His Son: Major General Harold J. Greene
Aired August 8, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER: Good evening. Thanks for watching this special extended edition of 360.
A lot happening starting with the second wave of air strikes on ISIS Jihadist fighters, FA teams from the carrier George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf hitting ISIS targets striking, what officials say the ISIS artillery and convoys that were advancing on the city of Erbil, it destroyed an ISIS convoy of seven vehicles. According to the U.S. Military, drones striking and mortar positions once and targeting again when the crew tried to return to it.
American humanitarian aid in the meantime appears to be getting through. And judging by this crowd of people, it's very much in demand, both kinds of assistance boosting morale in the region. Now, all that said, however Erbil which has become a refuge for tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities remains practically under siege.
Our Ivan Watson is there for us tonight. He joins us.
So, what's the situation there?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to the Kurdish leadership, they've lost more than 150 of their fighters within less than a week of clashes with Isis, more than 500 wounded. They are encouraged and deeply grateful publicly for the U.S. air strikes, which was seen as some kind of protection, an attempt to help protect Erbil, the safe haven from the ISIS militants who according to Kurdish officials are at least 35 miles away.
We're hearing reports that they could be even closer which is of course deeply disturbing because the scenes of tens -- hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians fleeing the ISIS advances into Erbil. Well, they would just get much, much, much worse if those militants were able to enter this Kurdish City of more than a million people. It's just almost inconceivable to imagine just the wave of humanity that would have to flee in this area. But for now, the Kurdish line seemed to be holding. And the Kurds say they have used this pause that they seem to have gotten some 24 hours with the American air strikes to regroup and to try to bolster their defenses.
COOPER: What about the tens of thousands of Yazidis, this religious minority which are said to be trapped, surrounded by ISIS forces on a mountain?
WATSON: We understand that several thousand of them, up to 4,000 according to the International Rescue Committee were able to escape that mountain to neighboring Syria presumably to the Kurdish enclave that has been established there with the help of Kurdish fighters, with the help of fighters from a group called the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK. It appears these fighters came in and managed to actually lead people out on foot. But there are still tens of thousands of these Yazidis, of members of this religious minority that are still believed to be trapped up on the mountain expiring due to dehydration and exposure to the extreme heat here in August. That's according to the Kurdish government officials here. People that are in desperate need of help. But some positive news that some Kurdish fighters had managed to get in to maybe help bolster the defenses up there and help get some of those desperate civilians out.
COOPER: All right, Ivan Watson. I appreciate it, Ivan. Thanks.
Back home, Vice President Biden today spoke by phone with Iraq's President reiterating President Obama's commitment last night to protect Iraqi civilians and help Iraq battle ISIS. Mr. Obama took care of it, though you'll remember not to make any open-ended commitment to certainly not the government of Baghdad. And along those lines laid today, he sent a letter on the situation to the House Speaker and President pro tem of the Senate that's covered on the War Powers Act.
The details on that and more, Jim Acosta is at the White House. So, what do we know about this letter from the president to Congress?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We got them just the last several minutes, Anderson. And I will try not to bore viewers too much by reading some of this here. But it does sort offer some new details in terms of what the President is thinking in terms of the scope and duration of this vision.
It says in this letter to the House Speaker John Boehner on the president pro tem of the Senate that the military operations that he has authorized will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to protect American personal in Iraq by stopping the current advance on Erbil by the terrorist group ISIS. And to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege on Mt. Sinjar to prevent or to protect the civilians that are trapped there.
That I think answers a couple of questions, Anderson, because people have been saying well how long and open-ended will this commitment be? It says right here in this letter, it will be limited in its duration. And so, you know, while that is subject to interpretation, it is I guess a move in the direction of the White House telling Congress, "You know what? This is not going to take us long as perhaps some people might fear." At the same time, this letter also states that the humanitarian assistance that has been initiated will only pertain to the civilians trapped on Mt. Sinjar. So, as we're talking about in the last hour, you know, what about other humanitarian crises that might pop up in Iraq. What the president is saying in his War Powers letter to the Congress, something he was required to do within the first 48 hours of launching this offensive, you know, this is saying that this only going to be limited to those civilians trapped on Mt. Sinjar. So it's a limiting ...
ACOSTA: ... of the scope of the mission, Anderson.
COOPER: Right. Jim Acosta, I appreciate it, from the White House.
Tonight, I want to dig deeper now in a range of issues with Jim Jeffrey, distinguished visiting fellow of the Washington Institute, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, also Douglas Ollivant, Director for Iraq at the National Security Council during both the Bush and the Obama administrations.
Douglas, you say that in terms of crisis management, you give the president an A. But when it comes to prevention, you give him an F. Can you explain that?
DOUGLAS OLLIVANT, DIRECTOR FOR IRAQ AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, we've had a quite deliberate ignoring of Iraq, the difficulties that it presented, the problems that were there on the part of the president in this White House for six yeas.
Now, in part that's because that's exactly what the American people asked him to do. So, we have to grade him on the curve in that sense. But since this crisis has started, the president has done almost everything right. He's done very well in terms of crisis management. Now, we need to see how do moving forward and having a strategy for resolving this.
COOPER: And Ambassador, what is that potential strategy? Because I mean, it seems like their drawing a line on protecting Kurdistan given the political problems with the government in Baghdad?
JIM JEFFREY, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: Well, the initial and immediate American action is to quote the president, "Help is one the way". This is to help people particularly in the North who are under tremendous pressure from an ISIL element that is attacking out of its Sunni-Arab areas into other areas trying to slaughter our ethnically cleansed regions and frankly, knock the Kurds out of the fight. This would be a tremendous blow to our overall long-term strategy.
He laid up the long-term strategy on June 19th. It's to work politically as well as militarily to put together an inclusive government to bring in the Sunni-Arab tribes in population, the Kurds and the Shia-Arab majority of the country to slowly win back those areas that ISIS has taken in the past three months. That's a long- term strategy, it has military elements, but it's also very political. COOPER: Ambassador, it's a long-term strategy but is it really possible without the cooperation of the government in Baghdad? I mean, obviously that was part of the role that some of these U.S. military advisors that were sent in would be doing to try to reach out to some of these Sunni groups who previously had been on the U.S. payroll frankly in 2006 and 2007. But without a change in leadership, is that even possible to appeal off some of these groups?
JEFFREY: Well, Anderson, we have a new president elected two weeks ago. We have a new Sunni-Arab speaker of parliament. And in the next few days, the Iraqi government and the political bodies are going to have to find out whether they are going to continue with Nouri al- Maliki as the Prime Minister who is not capable of conducting inclusive policies towards the Kurds and towards the Sunni's or find a new leader from the Shia religious bodies. I'm quite confident that in the end, they'll find a new leader. And that's a good thing.
COOPER: Douglas, have you been surprised by some of the set backs that the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have faced just in recent days and weeks? Because obviously they have a much mounted (ph) fighting, you know, fighting force over many years. Is it simply that they are outgunned right now?
OLLIVANT: It's hard to say what the truth is in the north as I attended, you know, facts North of Baghdad are in short supply and it's often hard to know exactly what the situation is. But there is a distinct possibility that the Kurdish forces, the Peshmerga aren't quite as good as they were when most of us encountered them for the first time in 2003 and 2004. On the other hand ...
COOPER: Is that because a lot of the leadership is now, you know, who are commanding, you know, battlefield commanders they've now have gone to politics, they have gone into business in Erbil?
OLLIVANT: For all kinds of reasons certainly, you know, when you're being threatened in 1991 becoming a Peshmerga is a great thing. Now, if you're a young, ambitious Kurd you want to go into business and make money in the oil industry and not become a Peshmerga. So, it's not what it once was.
But it could also be about the lack of arms or ammunition and no small parties because ISIL is extremely capable, has a lot of weapons, some of which they've brought from Syria, some of which they captured in Iraq. So, this could multi causal. It could be any one or all three of those.
COOPER: Ambassador, do you see the U.S., you know, resupplying Kurdish Peshmerga fighters with more advanced weaponry? I mean, they are now facing, you know, Erbil's tanks.
JEFFREY: We have been looking at that. We are resupplying the Iraqi army. I suspect that in the days ahead, Anderson, a decision will be taken one way or another to get particularly ammunition and some heavy weapons to the Kurds because, again, if we don't want our boots on the ground, it's got to have to be their boots. COOPER: But, Ambassador, you are saying we are resupplying the Iraqi Army. I mean, I don't think -- the problem was in the Iraqi army wasn't well supplied, was it? It was that the leadership core, the generals were basically put in there by Maliki for -- they were cronies and they were there, they were corrupt wasn't it? And there was no morale, there was no real leadership core that was actually leading troops, isn't that the problem?
JEFFREY: That was the most important problem particular in the North, Anderson, in Mosul and in the Sunni Arab areas. But now, you have the Iraqi army defending in place in an arc to the north, to the west and to the south of Baghdad and they do seem to be holding. Although what the ISIL people are trying to do is to knock the courage out of the conflict so that they can then focus all their energies again on Baghdad and it's in -- very much in our interest to ensure that does not happen.
COOPER: Yeah. Ambassador Jeffrey, I appreciate you being on, Douglas Ollivant as well.
As always, you can set your DVRs, you can watch 360 whenever you want.
Coming up next, a filmmaker take us inside ISIS into the extremists most brutal part of darkness.
COOPER: Right now, no doubt you've heard a lot of nightmare stories about ISIS and how it operates.
Tonight, an up-close look that we should warn you might be hard to stomach. It is however implied to all to see because even though we want to be careful not to make them seem 10 feel tall, it's hard to overstate this outfits ambitions or its thirst for blood.
Recently, VICE News filmmakers spend time with ISIS fighters in Syria. There, they witnesses the end to and grizzly aftermath of a long- running battle with the Syrian army unit in a warning. This is rough start (ph).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A few week later, ISIS launched a large scale offensive against the 17th Fleet. They were around the base killing at least 50 regime soldiers. Their corpses were displayed in downtown wreck. Their heads mounted on fence posts. They sent a clear message to the city it's firmly under ISIS control under the command of Abu Bakr of Al-Baghdadi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, as for Al-Baghdadi's followers as we've been discussing lately, as you can see here, they have global ambitions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign Language)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, perhaps even more troubling than that message is the appeal that seems to have for some of the very youngest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign Language)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Foreign Language)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Right now, ISIS fighters are outside Erbil. The Kurdish defenders have taken a beating and ISIS have shown a great deal of not just blood loss but also a strategic patience knowing when to move fast and when to lie back and consolidate their gains. Right now, around Erbil, they seem to be doing a bit of both.
Joining us, The Guardian's Martin Chulov who was inside Erbil tonight, and he's gotten dangerously close to the front lines.
So, Martin, you were out there today I think less than a mile away from the front lines tonight. What did you see? What did you hear?
MARTIN CHULOV, THE GUARDIAN: We can see a lot because we couldn't quite get close enough to where we want to be. It had just gone night fall. We did hear a lot though about a couple of very large explosions, the clear sound of jets penetrating the night sky, gun fire in the distance, panic at the Kurdish lines as well.
There were two or three very loud explosions, several minutes later and now there are two or three more. We couldn't see where the jets were, but there were very clearly attacking in a striking sort of position doing two or three runs from the North to the South and then from the South to the North. And we were told by the Kurds at the time that the ISIS position is about a mile away, 1,500 meters were being bombed.
COOPER: Can the momentum of ISIS be stopped by air strikes? And also perhaps just as importantly, can the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, can their ability to fight be boosted?
CHULOV: Well, the momentum is an important issue and that certainly what the Kurdish Peshmerga had been looking for. They have wanted (inaudible) allow the Americans to stop this rampant at best across the Northwest to the country. That seeing ISIS taken so much land, they need the ISIS momentum to be stopped or there's an existential threat to the Kurdish north itself with the U.S. military now. Backer's are (inaudible) in the skies, the courage that I do think that ISIS would not be able to press forward in advance. That is only if the U.S. are prepared to sustain this attack. If it's symbolism then it's not going to work. If it's in an enduring commitment to an ally then it may well turn this around. COOPER: You know, the longer term though there is still the problem of the rest of Iraq and the Iraqi militaries complete failure to not only stem the advance of ISIS but to reverse any of the gains made by ISIS and their Sunni supporters.
I'm just stunned at -- after all the money that was poured into Iraqi forces, after all the time and effort, the training that was put into them, just how disastrously they have performed on the battle field? And it particularly seems and I mentioned your perspective on this but it seems like it's really the leadership core, the officer core that the upper echelon, the officer core, which was put in by Maliki which are essentially kind of cronies of Maliki's and put in for political patronage positions as supposed to actual battle field experience.
CHULOV: I agree with that. It is very definitely leadership and a morale problem within the Iraqi military.
I think it's obvious that's in most of that Crete and certainly even in Kirkuk way back in June. It was the -- their division commanders, their generals who gave the orders for the military to abandon their posts. It's not to say that the army would have stood in force even if it was it was told to and morale was so weak.
But getting back to your point about, you know, the caliber (inaudible) in the Iraqi military, they very were pleading -- were political appointments as generals. And many of these leading figures up in most who had terrible human rights records going back to the blood soaked days of 2007. This route of the Iraqi military in these three cities was one of the most humiliating routes in modern military history.
I can't see anyway that the Iraqi military to agree or unifies as a cohesive force. It's very difficult to see how they could take any part of the country that they have lost to ISIS. And I think the conclusion you can raise would be drawn now as the national state of Iraq that existed prior to June 2014 simply doesn't exist anymore and cannot be put back together.
Martin Chulov, it's great to have you on again. Thank you.
CHULOV: You're welcome.
COOPER: Up next, we'll take you to Jerusalem as well as Gaza, a new rocket attacks and a new push for another cease-fire.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) who COOPER: Welcome back. There's no deal to end the violence in the Gaza.
Tonight, with talks in Cairo unsuccessful at restoring the cease-fire that was broken by Palestinian rocket fire a few hours before it was due to expire. The Israeli military says they carried out strikes and at least 70 targets in response to what it says or at least 50 rocket fired in Israel. The Spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health says an Israeli strike in Gaza killed a 10-year old boy in Gaza city. Joining us now from Jerusalem, The Lead's Jake Tapper. Jake, thanks for being with us.
So, even after the cease-fire ended, is there any reason to think we are not in very long drawing out conflict?
JAKE TAPPER, HOST, "THE LEAD": Well, the question is a good one, Anderson, because I am now hearing that there is concern that this could just end up like the War of the Attrition. As you may recall from 1967 to 1970, there was just kind of this low-level, not high intensity but low-level war between Egypt and Israel but this didn't stop for three years. And I think there are questions now as to whether or not that's what this is going to be kind of a low-level war with there are casualties and neither side ready to come to the table.
Now, the Israeli say they are willing to come to the table and there are those who say that the fact that the violence today was rather low and five people were killed and that's horrible but comparing to previous days and weeks, it's not as bad. And the fact that the Palestinians are still in Cairo, still talking to the Egyptians give some people a reason for optimism. But it's really an open question right now.
COOPER: Yeah. I mean, is it clear even what needs to happen to get the cease-fire talks back on track?
TAPPER: I think that the Palestinians need to stop firing rockets into Israel because I think that Israel no longer has any sort of military excuse. They're now just responding to Palestinian rocket. So, if the Palestinians were to stop that, the Israelis I think theoretically wouldn't have any reason, they don't have any tunnels to destroy et cetera and then there would be no excuse for the Israelis to not be forced and not feel pressured to negotiate in Cairo. But, you know, I don't know that Hamas or Islamic Jihad in Gaza are ready to do that. Although, I think the Palestinian -- other Palestinian factions are pressuring them to do so.
COOPER: Yeah, and it's not clear how much influence the negotiators have on the military wing of Hamas or Islamic Jihad or these other groups. Jake Tapper, I appreciate the reporting tonight from Jerusalem.
Now, Gaza again, at least 50 rockets outgoing today, as Jake said, and the series of Israeli strikes landing on what is in some place as practically a moonscape of rebel.
Joining us from Gaza City tonight is Martin Savidge.
So, Martin, what's the latest tonight?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been pretty active throughout the day and most of it was back and forth. I mean, it began of course when the cease-fire expire which was 8:00 in the morning local time. And it was said then that Islamic Jihad, not Hamas but another militant group, there are several of them, it's not all just Hamas here. And it was Islamic Jihad that fired the first valley, a barrage of rockets towards Israel at about one minute after that cease-fire expires.
And then there were a few more after that. It was three hours later that Israel decided it was going to respond and it's been doing so heavily ever since. There's been tank fire, there's been artillery but it seems mostly what's being used are jet aircraft and they've been dropping some pretty heavy ordinance. It's, you know, that stuff when it goes off. It just makes that really loud woomf (ph) and you feel that can capture (ph) in the air.
So, it seems that they maybe using that to be perhaps a little more pinpoint accurate, the death toll today is lower than other days. But we're approaching that horrible 1900 figure of Palestinians killed since this operation began.
COOPER: The IDF says that the two rockets were fired about three hours before the cease-fire even officially ended. Has anybody in Gaza claim credit for actually firing those rockets?
SAVIDGE: No. It's -- in fact, actually, Hamas and the other groups have said that wasn't them at all. Somebody was obviously firing something and it's not clear if they were rockets, could've been motors as well. But it really sort of shows you that this is why it's so difficult to sort of bring about a cease-fire because there are a number of different militant groups here, and they don't all see eye to eye, and they don't necessarily all agree, "Now is the time to fire." and, "Now is not the time to fire."
So, what can happen, it may have been the case here, was that you had a number of groups that said, "Yes, it's time for a cease-fire but there was one holdout." and that is all it takes unfortunately.
COOPER: All right Martin Savidge, be careful. Thanks Martin.
SAVIDGE: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, Hamas now its responsibility for Iraq is being firing before the cease-fire and says the Israel is trying to confuse the situation. I spoke with the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Mr. Erekat, you said the Palestinians speak with one voice. Do you -- Does the Palestinian authority, does Mahmoud Abbas support the fact that the rockets were fired into Israel two hours before the cease-fire expired?
SAEB EREKAT, PALESTINIAN CHIEF NEGOTIATOR: No, Anderson. No. We don't want the rocket to be fired. We want to sustain the cease-fire. We want to extend the cease-fire and we're exerting every possible effort to do that. And as I'm talking to you now, meetings are ongoing in Egypt with our delegation in order to extend the cease- fire. But at the same time, what people should note, Anderson, is that the situation is very, very dire in Gaza. People expect, you know, an immediate relief as far as the electricity, I mean, water, sewage that's not there and shelter is not there for 480,000 people, medical supplies for 10,000 wounded people in the hospital.
So, I really urge them the international community to start lifting, you know, by air, by sea, by land, through Egypt, through Jordan and to allow Israel to lift the siege and the closure from Gaza so we can provide the needs for our people. And at the same time, I hope by tomorrow morning, a formula will be worked out to extend the cease- fire. I really hope because to me, failure should not be an option. Anderson.
COOPER: I understand the importance from your position to maintain a united fund as a Palestinian group. But -- I mean, are you upset at all that whether it was Hamas or Islamic Jihad or whoever it is who fired rockets. I mean, at the very least from a strategic standpoint, I don't understand if you are, you know, at a negotiating table with somebody, how holding a gun to their head or even firing that gun, firing rockets at the people you say you want concessions from, how that helps the negotiation? Does it upset you at all that this occurred?
EREKAT: Well, you know that the whole idea was a 72 hours, it was not an open-ended cease-fire ...
COOPER: Right. But it didn't even last 72 hours.
EREKAT: ... and the suspension. We know that -- wait -- it lasted 70 hours and we're going to hope -- we hope it will last and will be open-ended, that's what we're doing. But you have to understand that the situation on the ground is very difficult. I'm not trying to justify anything. I want rockets not to be fired. I want Israel to stop bombarding Gaza because I think today, six Palestinians were killed between the West Bank in Gaza today and that's not the point here.
The point here is that the balance is between extending the cease-fire and not allowing Israel to use the medical supplies, food supplies, water and increase the -- as instruments and it's time to pressure us in the negotiations.
COOPER: But, again, I mean, -- Look, I know you are in a very difficult position and there are many different factions and many different groups but it doesn't sound like that you speak for everybody, that there are certainly military actors on the ground in Gaza who have a difference of opinion and seemed to be acting unilaterally no matter what negotiators in Cairo are doing.
EREKAT: You're right there, Anderson. Anderson, there are 26 political parties and factions and luckily, luckily, we don't see with one eye here, with one ear and I speak with one lips. We have differences. We do. But at the same time, we have a common paper. Hamas, Fatah, all factions and this paper, I had to prepare with (inaudible).
COOPER: Right, but that's the political wing of Hamas. You keep talking about this common paper, a piece of paper doesn't seem to be stopping rockets from being fired from Gaza.
EREKAT: Well, we know that the rockets were fired and -- rockets were stubbed from Gaza and I think, no, the political leaders have a say, and have a lot to say and they're saying a lot now and we're doing everything humanly possible.
Look, we haven't treated the level of perfection that will just have a magic stick to have things come down in Gaza. We're doing everything humanly possible to get our act together, to sustain and extend the cease-fire and I think it was a great deal. Everyday Israeli negotiating the behavior will not employ medical supplies, food supplies, electricity and water as instruments for their negotiating behavior.
COOPER: Saeb Erekat, I always appreciate talking to you. Thank you very much, sir.
EREKAT: Thank you, sir.
COOPER: All right. Coming up tonight, President Obama's decision to authorize air strikes in Iraq, a support from members of Congress but not their formal authorization. We'll talk to legendary journalist Carl Bernstein about that and what it means for the president's legacy. Next.
COOPER: And welcome back.
President Obama's decision to authorize air strikes in Iraq suddenly marks a turning point in this administration's foreign policy. He did so without Congressional authorization but with largely bipartisan support from lawmakers.
Our political commentator and journalist, author Carl Bernstein joins me now. Carl, good to have you here.
It's interesting because last fall, the president threatened the air strikes in series of the war but differed to Congress of authorization, that didn't come. In 2011, he authorized military action to Libya without seeking Congressional approval. And this time around he ordered air strikes without formal authorization though he consulted members.
Is there -- I mean, it doesn't appear that there is a consistent application here or policy.
CARL BERNSTEIN, LEGENDARY JOURNALIST: I don't think the War Powers resolution question is really the important one there. Under the War Powers resolution as I recall, the president has 60 days in which he can commit military forces, he has to report to Congress and that's what clearly permitted him in this situation.
The real question it seems to me is whether or not what he's doing can be effective. He obviously does not want boots on the ground there. He's not going to go to boots on the ground. He doesn't want to be in this situation and at the same time there is both a humanitarian crisis and this evil horrible force, ISIS, which is moving through Iraq with great effectiveness.
So, he's trying to do two things at once. But we also have to look at our total lack of success in this part of the world. You look at the disastrous war in Iraq and how what we're seeing now is a part of a product that's a chaos afterwards. We go back to the Iran and Iraq war in which we supported Saddam Hussein against Iran. We have not been able to do what we want to do in this part of the world and there's no evidence we're going to able to.
COOPER: President Obama said -- he's been getting a lot of criticism for the way he conducts foreign policy unlike Nixon who was thought to be quite adapted and obviously is the fourth anniversary of the resignation. Was that just false and was Nixon like that?
BERNSTEIN: That's a great question, Anderson, because the truth is, yes. Opening the China perhaps was brilliant but Nixon, the real important thing that happened in the Nixon presidency was as we hear on his tapes. He knew that you could not win the war in Vietnam three years before he got out or was willing to get out. And 27,000 American soldiers died in that interim and it was cynical and you hear him and Kissinger on the tapes saying they know it's unwinnable and yet they pursued the war as part of a grand strategy about China and Russia as part of a kind of chess game while hundreds and thousands of Vietnamese, Cambodians died and these 27,000 Americans and hundred thousand names. It's one of the most cynical exercises of powers in the presidency that we've seen. And ...
COOPER: You know ...
BERNSTEIN: Go ahead.
COOPER: No, I'm just wondering -- I mean, on this 40th anniversary, has your opinion of Nixon changed?
BERNSTEIN: Well, (inaudible) myself, wrote a new afterward to the 40th anniversary edition of all the president's men in which we say that the Nixon presidency was even worst than we perceived at the time that we wrote about it and covered Watergate. It is a criminal presidency from the beginning of his presidency when we hear on the tapes him setting up illegal mechanisms for wiretappings, break ends, we hear the president say, "I don't give a damn what you do. Fire bomb the Brookings Institution if you have to break into the safe. Just get into the safe."
The criminality goes from the first days of his administration and the president is the criminal. This nonsense about the cover up is worse than crime the crime. The crime is huge, you know, subverting the very system of free elections in this country.
COOPER: And it really went from the very beginning.
BERNSTEIN: From the first day as you hear it on the tapes, you see it in the so-called Huston Plan to circumvent the FBI and do black bag robberies, break-ins, illegal surveillance ... COOPER: It's incredible ...
BERNSTEIN: ... there's never been anything like it. Nixon is really (ph) generous in our history and we've had other presidents who've abused their authority, but a criminal presidency like this one never.
COOPER: It's fascinating. Carl, it's great to have on the program. Carl, thanks very much.
BERNSTEIN: Good to be here.
COOPER: We have a lot more ahead in this hour.
Coming up, breaking news in the fight against Ebola. It is now officially a global health emergency. The death told the numbers in West Africa has -- have already gone up again even from yesterday international community.
The question is, are they really treating it as the emergency it is, are they doing enough or are we doing enough? An eye opening report from Sierra Leone, our correspondent is there. Next.
COOPER: Breaking news, the World Health Organization is again sounding the alarm about the Ebola outbreak. Its now nearly killed a thousand people in West Africa.
The WHO is declaring the outbreak of public health emergency. They say it coordinated international responses necessarily to stop the spread of the disease and to listen to the people on the ground, the few people who were actually something about it. It seems like the international community has dropped the ball in many ways with deadly delay as a response to the crises.
David McKenzie reports tonight from Sierra Leone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The World Health Organization is sounding the alarm saying a coordinated international response is needed to stop the spread. But when we visited doctors without borders treatment center and Ebola ravaged Eastern Sierra Leone, the coordinators said, "They were working alone."
You need to stay one step ahead of an Ebola outbreak. Are you one step ahead?
ANJA WOLZ, MSF EMERGENCY COORDINATOR: I think it's two steps behind the Ebola outbreak in the moment. I can say this is like a house of possibility that we get really to choose one, not -- we (inaudible) new cases.
MCKENZIE: Eight professionals we spoke to described a chaotic and delayed response in Sierra Leone that lasted for months. They say U.N. and government workers lacked funding to do even the most basic tasks like fill in the tanks of their cars to distribute fliers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now ...
MCKENZIE: But the WHO representative says they did what they could.
JACOB MUFUNDA, WHO REPRESENTATIVE: To my knowledge, there is no area where I can see. We could have taken this route differently. I actually think we did the best we can.
MCKENZIE: But doctors without borders said that statements don't save lives and they urgently need help on the ground because they are completely overwhelmed.
And they've been warning the world for months. The outbreak began in Guinea in March, in an area known as the Kissi Triangle where Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone meet and where the people Syria culture moving freely across borders.
As early April, experts warned that the virus would spread. Despite saying its doing what it can, the Sierra Leonean government appeared as first to down pay the seriousness of the outbreak. But by then it was too late.
MUFUNDA: We were unprepared for the level of this outbreak. I think one can say we were unprepared for the level of the outbreak.
MCKENZIE: Now, Ebola is in four countries with nearly a thousand victims. One aid official told me, many died from nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The WHO declaring this health emergency. What's the reaction on the ground from that?
MCKENZIE: Well, the ground reaction from doctors without borders and others, Anderson, is that statements one thing but what is needed are boots on the ground, people, knowledge and infrastructure trying to stand this outbreak. The latest news we have from here is yet another well known physician at the main referral hospital here in Free Town has fallen sick. He tested positive for the dread of the Ebola virus just another number to the scores of health workers who have been affected the Ebola virus just in the last few weeks. So, a dire situation here and they say, you know, it's good that the WHO is taking this seriously but they need words put into action.
COOPER: What's it like being there? I mean, how concerned are people in this streets of free town and elsewhere?
MCKENZIE: It's what everyone is talking about, Anderson. And anything you hear on the radio is about Ebola. At this point, that's a very positive sign of course. And then you just see the situation that our hotel is practically abandoned. When we've been out on the street, we've seen NGO and charity workers saying they're trying to make their way out of the country. In Liberia, the U.S. embassy has said that family members should leave.
There's a sense that these countries are being blockaded from without and from within. The hundreds of soldiers are blockading the Eastern part of Sierra Leone. This is a very serious situation and it's just obvious around on the streets and even for us, Anderson. You know, you can't help but feel nervous when reporting on this issue, but ultimately this is a public health issue and the word needs to get out from these countries that are so badly infected.
COOPER: Yeah. David, you're doing a remarkable job as I said for you and your team. Please be careful. I appreciate it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, up next, a son's fond memories as he and we remember Major General Harold Greene who was killed in Afghanistan this week.
COOPER: Welcome back.
We wanted to make sure that all of the news out of Iraq and Israel and Gaza tonight, does not eclipse the deadly attack that occurred this week in Afghanistan.
U.S Army Major General Harold Greene was murdered by a uniformed gun man at a military academy in Kabul. American's highest ranking causality in war times since Vietnam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Today, our troops continue to serve and risk their lives in Afghanistan. It continuous to be a difficult and dangerous mission as we were tragically reminded again this week in the attack that injured number of our coalition troops and took the life of a dedicated American soldier, Major General Harold Greene. Our prayers are with the Greene family as they are with all the gold star families and those who have sacrificed so much for our nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the Pentagon said the shooter, an Afghan soldier was shot and killed. But tonight, we don't want to focus on the gun man on this program. Instead, we want to honor and remember General Greene. I spoke earlier with his son and also an army officer Lieutenant Matthew Greene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Lieutenant Greene, I'm so sorry for your loss. What do you want people to know about your dad? What kind of a guy was he?
MATTHEW GREENE, U.S. ARMY FIRST LIEUTENANT: So, my dad was a loving father and a loving husband as well as a brother and a mentor. He was known for being extremely approachable, you know, over the past couple of days, people have really come to me talking about how approachable he was and how much he really like being able to just sit down with him and have a conversation and have it be easy and free and, you know, they could really get to anything that was really on their mind, you know, he really try to reach out to people.
COOPER: One of the things -- You and I talked in the phone and you were saying that he love spending time with his troops, with soldiers and not necessarily with other generals and stuff but he wanted to go and just talk to as many people as he could.
GREENE: He would sneak away from his office in a way from his, you know, little posy of colonels and get back to where the soldiers where hiding out and he's just try and have conversations with them. You know, everywhere he went -- he really tried to sneak away from, you know, what they wanted him to see and really try and get down to the younger guys and get a feel for what was really going on because he thought that was really important and, you know, checking on his people even at the lowest levels was what the most important to him.
COOPER: Did you ever talk with your dad about the risk? I mean, obviously, a career in the military is not without about risk. Did he ever talk about that?
GREENED: So, when I was young, we -- When I was about the age that we could have that conversation, we did. And when I was originally talking about going into the army, we had that conversation about myself and how, you know, the army had been good to us and the military had been good to us and that there was a risk. There always is a risk and, you know, the American people reward soldiers and other service members accordingly, but there is always that risk that, you may have to sacrifice for the greater good of the United States. And that was something we always talked about. And it was something that the was very adamant and proud about that he was able to do that. And I think it was a big part of his job, was just serving people both, you know, in his final tour, both serving the people of the United States and the people of Afghanistan.
COOPER: I know you were seeing your dad was always focused on mission first, people always. And as we remember him, you were saying that he would want us also to remember those who were still deployed, the contractors, humanitarian workers, those in the military who were still in harms away.
GREENE: Certainly. Certainly. You know, the military gets a wonderful treatment in terms of when one of our brothers and sisters makes the ultimate sacrifice, you know, the entire military family really took care of my wife and I. We were approached immediately by Fort Sill Oklahoma where we are stationed at the time in Fort Hood and they worked together diligently to take care of me. And the Pentagon took care of my family. And, you know, it's really important that we continue on with that tradition because our soldiers are our most important asset. But right behind them is the families that support them and that's even more important because there is the base for those soldiers and sailors and the airman and marines. COOPER: Yeah. The sacrifices that families make I think is often overlooked. When somebody is deployed, it's not just that the person who's serving who is deployed, it's really the family as well and I'm glad you've brought that up. And again, I'm sorry we're meeting under these circumstances but I appreciate you taking the time to tell us about your dad and about his extraordinary life. Thank you so much.
GREENE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Lieutenant Greene. I also wanted to thank the USO and the Fisher House and a lot of other organizations which had been reached out of gold star families which have reached out to their family in this time of their grief.
And after our interview, I spoke to Lieutenant Greene on the phone and he realized there was something that he'd forgotten to bring up that he wanted to. And he wanted us to know and wanted everybody to know that even though his dad was a general, he was also just a soldier just like any other soldier, any other fallen solder and this is not just about him.
Lieutenant Greene wanted us to know and you to know that even such a difficult time for him and his family personally that as far as they are concerned, every life lost in a war zone is a family's tragedy and a nation's loss, every loss hurts us all.
That does it for us. Thanks very much for watching from beginning to end here and around the world. It's been quite a week, for better or for worst. Thanks for letting us bring it to you.
For all of us at 360 and CNN, to all of our viewers, have a good weekend. We'll see you Monday night.
CNN Tonight with Alisyn Camerota starts now.