Friday, December 4, 2009

McChrystal Says Afghan War will Be Decided in Next Two Years; Troops Fight Fear Among Afghans; Union May Strike at Rockefeller.(Broadcast transcript). USA, LLC

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TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We are pushing forward now with the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM with that lady right here, Kyra Phillips!


Well, it's a day after the president's speech. A postscript from the man pushing things forward in Afghanistan, not even the beginning of the end. Troops get frank talk from General Stanley McChrystal.

From the start of symptoms to seriously sick to super quick, there can be a small window of opportunity with swine flu. We're going to tell you when to take your kid to the M.D. and when to head straight to the E.R.

And Congress isn't known for simplifying stuff, so we'll see what kind of clarity it can bring to the confusion over cancer screenings. We'll hit the hearing on Capitol Hill.

Really quickly right now, we're waiting on the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, to come out for a briefing. The first time the White House will take questions since the president's speech last night. And, of course, we're expecting a lot of questions about the Afghan war strategy. We'll hit that as soon as it starts.

And now for something completely extraordinary: General Stanley McChrystal, in Kandahar, addressing U.S. troops and Afghan leaders, talking about the new plan and how he plans to push it forward. CNN got access, exclusive access, that you just don't see that often: the top commander talking about the road ahead. He wrapped up just about an hour ago. Here you go.


GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, U.S. ARMY: This will go on for quite a while, but it will be decided, in my view, in the next one to two years.

We are going to focus, with additional forces, in the south. The south is going to be the main effort.

I believe that by next summer the uplift of new forces will make a difference on the ground significantly. I believe that by this time next year we'll see a level of progress that will convince us that we can clearly articulate the progress and predict the effect -- the effectiveness of our operations.

And I believe that by the summer of 2011, that will be obvious to all the players involved: to the Taliban, to the insurgents, I think it will be obvious to the Afghan national security forces. It will be obvious to us, and it will be obvious to the Afghan people in all of those areas. And that's the critical point. So that we can offer them the confidence that we're going to be able to provide that security.

Counterinsurgency starts, as you know, with protecting the people, because at the end of the day, the people are what we are here for. We're here to respect the Afghan people. We're here to protect the Afghan people. We're here to enable the Afghan people, to build their country.

We're not going to nation-build. What we are going to do is allow a nation to nation-build.

Now our mission is to prevent the insurgency from being an existential threat to the government of Afghanistan and prevent al Qaeda, or other international terrorists, from using Afghanistan as a safe haven.

If you think about where we are now, even though it's eight years, this is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. I think it's the end of the beginning, and I think everything changes right now.


PHILLIPS: And that's the general right there, in his own element, in his own words. Rare CNN access in Kandahar.

You heard him talk about giving the Afghan people respect and confidence, winning hearts and minds, and making them partners to defeat insurgents. That's going to be a huge challenge. Village elders are still afraid of the Taliban. One of them wanted CNN's Fred Pleitgen to even make sure that his face was blurred.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... the security of our allies and the common security of the world.

FREDERICK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the president announced a major escalation of the war in Afghanistan, U.S. troops in Kandahar got up in the middle of the night to watch. Many feel the troop increase is long overdue.

MASTER SGT. TRACEY MARSHALL, U.S. ARMY: We're taking hits, you know, all the time, and I think the more soldiers, the better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We go to these certain areas, and it's worrisome. So the more people we have here, the more security we have, the more secure we -- our troops can be and safe.

PLEITGEN: Among the reinforcements, combat troops to push back the Taliban, especially in the volatile south and east of the country. But the president's plan comes with a proposed exit strategy.

OBAMA: These additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we'll go here.

PLEITGEN: Captain Brandon Anderson knows just how rocky that road is going to be. He's trying to win over villagers in Zabul province, as part of a larger counterinsurgency strategy.

CAPT. BRANDON ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY: We've learned a lot in the Army in the last eight years in these wars. And in terms of operationalizing counterinsurgency and, you know, finding out and learning what winning looks like -- looks like and how we get there, yes, you know, this is part of what we do.


PLEITGEN: But the meeting with the local village elder doesn't go well. He says he would not betray the Taliban because he's scared, and in the end refuses to be shown on camera out of fear of being punished by the insurgents.

(on camera) Many commanders here on the ground believe that this is the future of counterinsurgency, but talking to the villagers, what we found is that they're still pretty afraid of the Taliban.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll work together to help you stay safe.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): But without the support of these people, pulling out of Afghanistan could lead to a disaster in this already war-torn country.

1ST LT. LEWS STEVENSON, U.S. ARMY: I think the thoughts on whether it's going to make a big impact will probably come when the troops start rolling in.

PLEITGEN: Here on the frontline, many soldiers tell us, while they want to go home as fast as possible, they also want to succeed.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kandahar, Afghanistan.


PHILLIPS: Now, as you just heard, winning the hearts and minds of Afghan villagers is one of the keys in winning that war, but just how do U.S. forces do that? How do they convince village and tribal leaders to actually turn against the Taliban?

Well, our Atia Abawi is live in Kabul.

And Atia, you know, you've been there with the tribal elders. You've watched the interaction. What can U.S. troops do to help them overcome this fear? It's something we've seen for eight years. ATIA ABAWI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's one of the biggest challenges, Kyra. You know, when I was down in the Marines in one of the biggest operations that the U.S. troops have been involved with since the war began in Afghanistan this past summer, they told me that it's hard for them to convince the Afghan people that they are going to stay this time.

Because time and time again, these villagers have seen the coalition forces come into their villages, come into their districts, promise them that they would bring infrastructure, if they turned to the Afghan government, if they turned to the help of the international community. But eventually, they would leave, because they did not have the manpower to stay.

And guess what? The Taliban would come back. And they've punished those villagers who actually went over to -- to the Afghan government, to the coalition forces.

So, right now, the Afghan people in those villages, in the village that you saw that Fred was at, in the villages that I went in Helmand, they're afraid to accept the help of the international community, because they are very scared that they will leave them again -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Do you know what else I want to get your opinion on, as well, you know, generally -- General Stanley McChrystal addressing U.S. troops just about an hour or so ago, and we had live access to that. We never see that type of access. The commander on the ground talking to troops, and we're able to go live.

Did that surprise you? Does this tell us somehow, OK, we're moving in a direction now that's going to be more transparent? We're going to be able to be more involved and be able to see what this new strategy is all about?

ABAWI: Well, definitely unprecedented. But knowing General Stanley McChrystal, meeting him, talking to him, interviewing him a few months ago, after he -- just four days after he handed in his assessment to Washington, you could tell just how much it meant to him, that he really believes in the strategy and knew that time was running out.

So what he wanted to do today was to go to all five regional commands in Afghanistan. That's in the north, the south, the west, and the capital of Kabul. He was only able to make it to three because of weather conditions, but he wanted to speak to the troops directly, to tell them about the mission and the strategy as they move forward. And how these additional troops can help them with holding areas such as those villages where the Afghan people are afraid that they're going to leave, because the plan for them is to secure, hold, and build when it comes to the civilian effort, as well -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Atia Abawi, live from Kabul, Atia, thanks.

Well, even before President Obama spoke to the nation last night, demonstrators were on the streets of New York protesting the Afghan war. Mr. Obama can expect a lot more, too. In fact, several protests are planned across the country today. As you can actually see by this map, the message is about the same everywhere: instead of spending billions of dollars on the war, spend it on health care and bring the troops home.

And we thought that the Grinch was limited to Broadway. Oh, no, some say he's up at 30 Rock, too, wearing a peacock suit. Do you know the big Christmas-tree lighting that you see every year on TV? Well, you might just be reading about it tomorrow.

And we're live on the White House -- or waiting, rather, for the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, to come out for a briefing. We'll bring that you to live as soon as it happens. Hoping he'll talk some more about the Afghan strategy.


PHILLIPS: Well, these are numbers that we like to hear. Job losses going down, and they're still happening across the country. But not as bad as they were.

Last month employers cut 169,000 jobs. That's actually a drop of 26,000 from the month before. Another report says that the pace of job losses has now slowed to its lowest level in two years. But this year's total losses are still worse than last year's.

In New York, thousands of NBC workers may actually walk off the job, and it could put tonight's Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting in doubt. Will the show go on? Susan Lisovicz in New York with the details.

And quite a creative flyer that we saw circulating on the Web site, as well, Susan. Let's address all of that.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, well, let's talk about the issues first. It is the New York City chapter of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians. We all know it as NABET.

NABET has been working without a contract since March and negotiating for many months prior to that with little or no progress. And so now it's gotten to the point, yes, even at this warm and fuzzy time of the year, Kyra, where there is name calling. The union is calling NBC the Grinch.

NBC, for its part says, well, it finds it ironic, because it's been willing to meet with the union and that the union recently canceled three days that were scheduled for talks and failed to offer alternative dates.

The bottom line is, collective bargaining seems to have broken down, and, yes, there is talk -- there is a threat -- that tonight's tree lighting, which is a must-see for millions of viewers, and many thousands of tourists, is in question -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And big bummer, because a lot of us look forward to that. Now, you mentioned the name calling, but also a number of poets, it seems, exist within the union. LISOVICZ: Yes. That's right, yes. And so there is a Web site, if anyone cares to see it. And it is called That's from the union.

And on this Web site, there is a poem, "How NBC's Grinch Could Steal Christmas." Among the lines in it -- yes, I would say this is not an objective poem. It says, "Yes, the NBC Grinch's heart is two sizes too small. He won't meet with the workers, though they're right down the hall."

So, yes, they are threatening to -- to not show up tonight. Although I would imagine that, with this kind of announcement that management, has a plan "B" or plan "C." Because among the entertainers scheduled for tonight, Michael Buble, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys. And after all, the Rockefeller Christmas tree is a tradition, Kyra, that dates to the Depression. It was actually first put out there by construction workers. And then it got a whole lot fancier over the years.

PHILLIPS: Well, how ironic. Here we are in a really tough time economically and a lot of people looking forward to that event, but as you can see, a lot of negotiations under way. And, you know...

LISOVICZ: Can't we all just get along for one night, Kyra?

PHILLIPS: Why did I know that was coming?

All right, we'll track it. Thanks, Susan.

LISOVICZ: You're welcome.

PHILLIPS: Well, some of the world's oldest and most important treasures under one roof. You'll soon be able to see them up close and personal.

But, first: oh, yes, he looks young for a machine gun, but Kenny Stewart is something of a combat vet. For over a year his mom says he's been fighting brain cancer like the soldier he's always wanted to be. Well, the 8-year-old got some R&R from doctors and chemo the other day when a local veterans group sent him to Ranger training camp.


ANNA MILES, KENNY'S MOM: He used to watch the -- the old World War II shows that were on TV rather than watch Spongebob. This is his dream come true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what are you going to be one day?

KENNY STEWART, CANCER PATIENT: I'm a U.S. Army specialist.


PHILLIPS: You keep fighting, Kenny.


PHILLIPS: We've got a lot of wind, blowing rain, chilly temps. Not a great day to be outside in the south. That's for sure, huh, Jacqui?

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's miserable. Isn't it amazing how the weather impacts your mood?

PHILLIPS: Yes. It's funny, because we were talking about it this morning. You know, everybody's late. Nobody knows how to drive in the rain. Cold.

JERAS: And they're all grumpy.

PHILLIPS: Yes, we want to be home and be by the fire and decorate for the holidays.

JERAS: You do. Thank you for that image.

PHILLIPS: There you go. See, I'm trying to put the positive light on all of this.


JERAS: Now, for your Web site of the day, this is a great one, that will come in really handy today.

This is from the Storm Prediction Center: And it will show you all the severe weather threats for today, and this little red box there, that is the watch. So, you can click on this, where it says "watches." It will highlight the watch. Click on the watch itself, and it will bring up the text and actually show you what the watch is, what it includes, and the time of it.

And my favorite thing about this Web site is that you can click on the probabilities from this, and it will show you what the greatest severe weather threat is -- whether it be tornadoes, wind, or hail -- and how great that threat is.

So, check it out today. Probability of two or more tornadoes is moderate. Only 50 percent. So, flip a coin, Kyra. You may or you may not. But a great site.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Jacqui.

JERAS: Sure.

PHILLIPS: All right. Other top stories right now.

Freedom for five British sailors held in Iran since last week. They've been released, and they're now in Dubai. The men were on a racing yacht when it apparently drifted into Iranian waters.

The White House party-crashing couple still defending themselves, but copies of e-mails between the Salahis and a Pentagon aide undermine their claims. The e-mails show that they pressed the aide for tickets, but by their own admission, they showed up at the White House gates without an invitation, hoping they'd be approved for the guest list.

Days after his car accident, an apology from Tiger Woods now. In a statement on his Web site, Woods admitted transgression that, quote, "let his family down." The statement on the same day a gossip magazine published a report alleging that Woods had an affair. The golfing great did not admit to an affair but didn't say what his transgressions were.

Statues of kings that ruled Babylon. Artwork from ancient mosques. Vases from 6,000 years before Jesus. Iraq's National Museum is a showplace of culture, but it's still trying to overcome the ravages of war. Now it's getting a digital boost with American help, and that story now comes to us from CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iraq's National Museum houses some of the world's oldest treasures. Fitting for a country known throughout history as the cradle of civilization.

These antiquities are both a stunning showcase for Iraq's rich cultural heritage and a sad reminder of just how much that heritage has been plundered.

Over 15,000 artifacts vanished when the museum was looted in 2003. Shut down for nearly six years, it only reopened its doors to the public in April. Since then, visitors have been scarce.

U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, and Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, were recently shown around. They weren't just here to see the relics. They also had an announcement to make. Google has partnered with Iraq's National Museum to further digitize and catalogue the museum's collection. The museum already has a Web presence. Those involved in this collaboration say the project will offer patrons a comprehensive virtual tour.

JARED COHEN, STATE DEPARTMENT: Most people, either because of time, money, visa, concerns about coming here, you know, won't have the chance to physically walk through the museum as we are now. And one of the things we want to do is remove those barriers that are preventing individuals from coming to the museum by making it available through virtual means.

JAMJOOM: Recovering stolen pieces is still a priority. Less than 6,000 have been returned so far. The hope is that this new online presence will aid in that effort.

ERIC SCHMIDT, CEO, GOOGLE: Everything that is lost should be returned so we can make it available to everyone. It's trapped somewhere. Bring it here. And I hope that that will help in a small way to recover some of the great treasures of Iraq.

JAMJOOM: The cost of this endeavor is being shared by Google and the U.S. State Department. It's seen as a kind of digital diplomacy, though neither Google nor the State Department would say just how much the project will cost. (on camera) Google has taken over 14,000 pictures of the antiquities here. The first phase of the project is expected to go online in early 2010.

(voice-over) All involved maintain that, in the end, this won't just benefit Iraq.

COHEN: It's not just that this is about Iraq's cultural heritage. This is about the world's cultural heritage. Mesopotamia is the world's oldest civilization, and there's no shortage of archeological institutions in the United States and around the world, as well as curious individuals, as well as museum curators around the world who would be interested in getting a chance to visit the museum.

JAMJOOM: Even if they can't do it in person.


PHILLIPS: Now, Mohammed, you recently went to an archeological dig site in Iraq. We ran that piece, too. It was beautiful.

How important do you think it is to Iraqis that their treasures be returned to them? Because many folks take this very personally. You know, when they have all the worries about the war and the safety of their family, this stuff means a lot to them.

JAMJOOM: Absolutely, Kyra. You know, this is known as the cradle of civilization. There's so many archeological treasures here. You know, we were lucky enough to spend the day out in the southern part of Baghdad called Hillah, just south of Baghdad, rather, a few months ago.

And it was really amazing. I mean, we came across a dig site. This was -- they were digging up what amounted to a village that was about 2,200 years old. They were still unearthing artifacts that day.

And when we spoke to the archeologists that were there, they were saying that this is extremely important to them, that when they find something, that their name is tied to a piece of this rich cultural heritage that's here in Iraq.

And it's very important to them not only to point out how much is here, to protect what's here, but also to bring back what's been taken away. There are exchange programs now with other countries. They're trying to get their treasures back, but there's still a lot of work to be done -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And I remember when this museum was looted. I remember trying to get to it a number of times. It was too dangerous. What is the security like now? And can visitors go there and not fear any type of retaliation?

JAMJOOM: It's much more secure now. The city is much more secure now. Now, there is still random violence, but it's still difficult. It's still very difficult getting around Baghdad, and because of that, the museum has had a lot of difficulty getting visitors there. Even though there was great fanfare when the museum opened its doors to the public in April, it doesn't matter. Not a lot of people are coming. And because of that, there's great impetus on making sure that this collection is available for people to see. There's people worldwide that want to see this collection.

We were there. We spent several hours there that day. The treasures that are there are just stunning. Some of the most ancient artifacts of Mesopotamia, really amazing stuff.

So they want to make sure that people, whether they can actually go to the museum or not, can access this collection, can see the treasures that are there and can help in trying to donate to the museum and trying to make sure they can bring the treasures that were looted back to Iraq -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, it's a great place. Thanks so much, Mohammed.

Hey, if the shoe fits. Do you remember when President Bush almost got nailed with a couple of shoes in Baghdad? Well, now, the Iraqi shoe- thrower gets a taste of his own medicine. That's right: he had a shoe thrown at him at a Paris news conference, and it barely missed. Right now, no word on the motivation for the latest shoe tossing.

His brother actually chased the attacker, and -- what else? -- hit him with a shoe as he left the room.

More boots on the ground. Those boots cost money, a whole lot of it. So, who's paying for it? Here's a hint. Take a look in the mirror.


PHILLIPS: Live to the White House briefing. Robert Gibbs at the mike.

QUESTION: (IN PROGRESS) -- carrots and sticks that we placed on Karzai, and the president didn't really get into a lot of specifics in his speech. Can you be more specific about what's being communicated to him and his government about what he needs to do and what'll happen if he doesn't?

GIBBS: I don't -- I don't want to get into the private conversation, obviously, that the two presidents...


GIBBS: Well, let me -- let me -- let me...


QUESTION: ... got soldiers dying over there for his government.

GIBBS: I know. Let me finish my answer so we -- I don't think I finished the first clause before.

They obviously had -- and I think we read this out, that they spoke for about an hour in the Situation Room before the president talked to the country -- talked to the nation about his policy and any continuing series of conversations that the president has had with President Karzai about the notion that it is time for a new chapter in Afghan governance.

The president detailed last night steps that had to be taken under the umbrella of the days of blank checks were over and that if -- if President Karzai is unable or unwilling to make changes in corruption or governance, that we will identify people at a subcabinet level, at a district level that can implement the types of services and basic governance without corruption that Afghans need.

I would say obviously President Karzai, in his inaugural speech, said some encouraging things. There are obviously picks coming up for his cabinet, which I think we will be watching in many ways.

And I think part of -- very much what the president has done is provide a strong incentive for the Karzai government to get its act together. There's a transition point for the Afghans, which was -- was gotten -- as part of this review established a transition -- the transition point of July 2011, which ensures that the Afghans have to make progress.

We -- we fully believe that we have to have that willing partner and believes that this policy puts in place the necessary incentives to make sure that that happens.

QUESTION: How confident is the White House that Karzai gets the message, that you actually have really that much leverage over him and what he does?

GIBBS: Well, I -- I -- look, two things. I think, based on what he said in his inaugural, and based on the conversations back and forth that the president -- the two presidents have had, the president remains -- is confident that President Karzai understands what's expected.

I would say, again, the reason why there's a transition point provides an incentive to ensure that steps will and must be taken. The president is very serious about that, I think, again, outlining that the time for blank checks was over.

QUESTION: Just one more, quickly: Did Karzai ever ask for such a timeline or withdrawal point to not be set?

GIBBS: Not that I'm aware of, but I'd have to go back and look through notes.

QUESTION: A couple things, also, on Afghanistan. One is, today, Secretary Gates said the U.S. might not begin to scale back the troop surge until after July 2011.

Is that some kind of discrepancy?

And also, what -- what does the president see happening within the next 18 months in Afghanistan?

I mean, what would be different between now and then?

And then, if things don't work out, is he open to, you know, a major, kind of, course correction?

GIBBS: Well, let me -- three things. Let me -- on the third thing, I think, is related very much to the second, which is what the president envisions is, quite frankly, and what he laid out in some detail last night over the course of more than 30 minutes, we are going to increase the number of our forces in Afghanistan, getting more there sooner and staying for a longer period of time, in order to degrade the Taliban, fight that insurgency; at the same time, help train Afghan national security forces, an army and a police, and accelerating that to the point where the transition moment that the president identified as July 2011 is the point that he believes we should begin that transition and begin to -- I think you heard Secretary Gates say today, we have build; we have hold, but importantly, we have transfer.

And we -- we are not going to be there forever. The president said that. The folks testifying today said that. This is not an open- ended commitment. We are going to provide them with the incentives that they need via this transition point, to get their act together, to train that security force and army so that beginning in July 2011, we can transfer the responsibility of Afghan security to the Afghans.

That's what's fundamentally important about this. And I think the president believes, based on the decision that he made, that this is the best course forward.


QUESTION: Former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld took issue with a lot of the speech last night, and I just wanted to clarify it. The president said commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive. I assume you're referring to the McKiernan requests throughout 2008.

GIBBS: Well, I -- that's, I believe, what the speech -- the line of the speech. I will let Secretary Rumsfeld explain to you and to others whether he thinks that the effort in Afghanistan was sufficiently resourced during his tenure as secretary of defense.

QUESTION: Well, he says...

GIBBS: I -- I think that's -- that's something that, you know...

QUESTION: ... he said he's not aware of a single request of that nature between 2001 and 2006 when he was secretary of defense.

GIBBS: I -- again, I'll let him explain to the American public whether he believes that the effort in Afghanistan during 2001 to 2006 was appropriately resourced. You know...


GIBBS: You go to war with the secretary of defense you have, Jake.

QUESTION: That's cute.

The -- the question, though, is what specifically was President Obama talking about when he said that?

GIBBS: Again, what President Obama was talking about were additional resource requests that came in during 2008, which we've discussed in here. But Jake, again, I'll leave it to the secretary of defense in 2001 to 2006 to discuss the level of resourcing for that -- understanding the level of commitment that we already had dedicated in Iraq, and whether or not he feels sufficient that history will judge the resourcing decisions that he made during that time period in the war in Afghanistan were or were not sufficient.


And some progressive Democrats on the Hill have said today that they think that the president should pursue a war authorization for the surge of troops. Are you guys thinking about doing that at all or...

GIBBS: No, I think the president...


QUESTION: ... the 2001 authorization...

GIBBS: Yes, I think the president made very clear last evening that -- why we are there now. The conditions for what happened on September 11th brought our forces, through an almost unanimous vote of Congress, to Afghanistan. And obviously that is inordinately -- it's plenty sufficient for what the president is talking about.

QUESTION: And if I may, just one more.

In his March -- in his March speech President Obama mentioned that if the Taliban returns to controlling Afghanistan it would be bad for human rights. And he specifically singled out women and girls. He did not mention human rights in Afghanistan. He talked about human rights more broadly, but last night he didn't mentioned human rights in Afghanistan and he definitely didn't mention specifically women and girls.

GIBBS: Well, I believe in -- I believe in the context of the three pillars that he saw, mentioning the basic recognition of human rights in Afghanistan is obviously important to what is happening there.

QUESTION: But he didn't mention women and girls, and is that...

GIBBS: Again, I think the umbrella of basic human rights was -- was the same thing.

QUESTION: So even though he mentioned it in March and he didn't mention it last night, we're not supposed to read anything into that at all?

GIBBS: I wouldn't.

I mean, I have not looked exactly at the word phrasing of each speech, but the umbrella of basic -- recognizing the basic human rights of everybody in Afghanistan would include that, yes.

QUESTION: OK. Thank you.

QUESTION: Robert, since there's this 2011 drawdown date, is there a high degree of certainty that there will be stability in Afghanistan by that time or is stability less of an issue and more of local Afghan forces are able to handle the situation, whatever it may be?

GIBBS: Well, I don't -- I don't -- I think you're going to -- I don't think you can have one, honestly, without the other. I think -- and I'd refer you to the testimony that Secretary Gates gave today, which he believed what we had laid out was very achievable in the transition time frame that the president spoke about last night.

Again, we -- part of that is to build in incentivizing for the Afghans to do what they need to do. We can't and we won't be there forever. The role of providing security for the Afghans will have to rest primarily with Afghan national security forces.

That's what this new dedication of resources will do is accelerate that training and ultimately the president believes, the team believes in developing that timeframe that those conditions will be met.

QUESTION: But ultimately, then, it's up to the Afghans to really run that timeline, right? Because if they don't -- if they don't come up to speed, then do you leave at that point? Do you start drawing down again?

GIBBS: Well, no, no, no.

But again, well -- we're there to make sure that it happens. That's why, again, let's -- just for some historical, we started -- when the president, as he mentioned last night, put his hand on the Bible on January 20th, we had roughly 32,000 men and women in uniform in Afghanistan, right? That has increased to roughly 68,000 by the end of the summer of 2009, and by the end of the summer of 2010, we'll have an additional 30,000 to that.

You've basically got a triple -- triple the resources. Basically, you do. You have triple the resources over that two-year time period in order to accelerate that training.

That training will be assessed, benchmarks will be laid down so that we can ensure that on a -- on a very frequent basis and certainly looking back annually to the goals that are set, that we are achieving the level of training necessary to do what this plan envisions doing.

Again, the secretary of defense and those that testified today, as well as those that helped develop that policy going forward, believe that it's achievable in the timeframe that the president enunciated last night. QUESTION: Another question: We've seen the president, in the past, when he rolls out any new initiative, whether it be health care or stimulus, whatever it might be, he always take it on the road to really sell it to the American people.

He's not doing anything today, nothing that we know of this week. Is he planning to go out there and push this new strategy to the American people...

GIBBS: Well...

QUESTION: ... beyond just the speech last night?

GIBBS: Yes, you know, obviously, we've got an important event tomorrow in the jobs forum. We've got activities on Friday in Allentown -- Allentown to talk about jobs and the economy.

I anticipate -- that schedule is largely, obviously, set. I anticipate, though, that the president -- I think you've seen him say this. This -- I think the president understands that explaining why we're there, why the decision was made, how we came to that decision and what it means for both the American people and the Afghan people is not a one-shot deal; that we are going to have to continually talk to the American people and give them updates and assessments on where we are.

I think the president will continue to do that. We don't have anything specifically laid out on the schedule for that, but I anticipate he'll continue to do that throughout the remainder of this year and next.

QUESTION: Did the president ignore the fact that we have oil pipelines or we are protecting oil pipelines in Afghanistan may be the reason we're staying there?

GIBBS: I'm -- did he ignore -- I'm sorry. I...

QUESTION: He didn't mention oil pipelines. Does that have anything to do with his decision?

GIBBS: No. I -- I've never heard that come up in the, say, nine or 10 meetings that I was in. No.

Again, I think, just to go through what the president said last night, as a result of a Taliban-provided safe haven for Al Qaida, 19 men hijacked four planes and murdered nearly 3,000 people on September 11th, 2001.

QUESTION: But, like, I mean, the previous administration acted (ph) like it had really brought that part under control. Are you going to keep referring to 9/11 as the basic (ph) cause?

GIBBS: Well, again, as Jake mentioned in -- the authorization to go into Afghanistan was as a result, quite clearly, of the activities of Al Qaida in a Taliban-provided safe haven in Afghanistan.

That's -- that's why we're -- that's why we're in Afghanistan right now.

QUESTION: One other thing: You said you're going to make an end-run around Karzai (ph) and go to...


GIBBS: Well, we -- well, go ahead. I'm sorry.

QUESTION: ... if he doesn't measure up.

GIBBS: Right, right.

QUESTION: How can you do that? Isn't that an intervention in a sovereign country?

GIBBS: Well, we're in Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Yes, you are -- we are.

GIBBS: Again, I think this -- we have a -- we have a plan that incentives actions, whether it's training security forces, whether it's improving governance.

If -- if those that are responsible at their different levels are providing the services that a government has to and needs to provide its people, then we'll have a great relationship with working with those people.

If those...


GIBBS: Let me just finish.

If those people don't, then we will find people that will.


GIBBS: Because we have -- we will have by the -- by sometime next year -- by the middle of next year, 98,000 American men and women, in addition to -- right.


GIBBS: But I think if you -- if you asked the Afghan government whether they want us to be there right now, helping train their national security force and helping to root out the insurgency and the Taliban, they'd say they'd -- yes, they approve of us being there, quite clearly.

I think what's important is understanding -- they understand that we're not going to be there forever; that they are going to change their behavior in order to take ultimate responsibility for their country because our commitment is not open-ended.

QUESTION: Well, (inaudible) right do you have to demand of a sovereign country what they do?

GIBBS: Again, there's an authorization that allows us to do the military activities from a congressional standpoint. And again, I think if you ask President Karzai and others whether we're there and they like us to be there, the answer to that is yes.

What we want them to understand is there can't be a permanent dependence on us being there. We are going to incentivize, again, the changes in governance and in training, putting on to them the responsibility of both running a government that meets the needs of the people, and training and equipping a security force that will provide the necessary security to prevent the Taliban from overthrowing the government, as the president said, or creating a safe haven that would allow Al Qaida to return and plan and plot another attack on the -- on our homeland.

QUESTION: Does the president believe you must have the support of the American people to prosecute a war?

GIBBS: I think the president believes that throughout this process it will be important to talk to the American people about, as he did last night, why we were there, what we hope to achieve, and when we're going to come home.

I think the president laid out why we're there, the importance of why we're there and the consequences of -- the consequences of -- of our efforts.

I think that the American people I think wanted to know that hard decisions were made, hard choices were looked at, and this policy and its questions were reviewed intensively. And that happened over this process.

QUESTION: Is he going to pay attention to whether that -- right now, clearly, the majority of Americans don't support sending more troops over there. Will he be listening to...

GIBBS: Well, what poll are you -- I mean, most (inaudible) -- look, let me -- well, let me say this, because I'm not going to get into this.

The president didn't make a national security decision last night, or in the previous days leading up to last night, based on polling.

QUESTION: But he did make clear that he believes he can convince the American people that this is the right way to go.

GIBBS: Well...

QUESTION: If he fails to convince them, will that affect his decision to proceed?

GIBBS: Well, I'll leave it at this. I think the president believes the decision -- clearly, the decision that he's made is the right decision, and that he'd like to tell the American people why he believes that decision is right. QUESTION: And if he doesn't have that support?

GIBBS: Well, again, I don't think this is a one-shot deal, OK? I don't think that -- look, I'm sure any number of your news organizations will call their polling centers tonight and poll reaction to the president's speech, adding more troops, this and that. You know, this isn't a one-shot deal.

QUESTION: Right, but I'm not talking instantaneous. I'm talking over the coming months, if public support is still low for sending these troops, is the president...

GIBBS: Well...

QUESTION: ... going to reconsider on that basis?

GIBBS: We're not going to reconsider. We didn't make the decision based on political polling; we're not going to look at the polls and make decisions going forward based on that.

The president was asked this yesterday in a -- in some stuff that he did. If we looked at political polls before we made decisions it's very likely that the financial system would have suffered collapse, right? It's very likely that there'd be exactly one domestic auto company.


GIBBS: Well, no, no, no -- hold it. Let me finish.


GIBBS: No, no, no. Let me finish.

There'd be one domestic auto company and maybe we would have pulled out of Afghanistan.

Understand, the president didn't believe that our financial system collapsing, did not believe the collapse of two out of the three auto companies in this -- in this country was wise, nor does he think, obviously based on the decision he made, as he said last night, leaving Afghanistan -- that any of those things are in our national interest.

They may not poll well at any given point, but that's not --

PHILLIPS: The day after the president's speech on his strategy for Afghanistan. Robert Gibbs there taking questions there from reporters at the White House. We'll continue to follow it for you. Quick break. We'll be right back.


PHILLIPS: Well, we know and you know that your kids are vulnerable to the swine flu. They have the unfortunate distinction of being among the high-risk groups. But when and how much did you worry about H1N1? Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen looks at the warning signs of the most serious cases.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When children get H1N1 flu, they can get very sick very fast. Andrea Samples' daughter almost died from it.

ANDREA SAMPLES, CHILD HAD H1N1: Zero to 60 in 10 seconds. That's how fast it went down.

COHEN: So we asked a pediatrician for advice.

COHEN (on camera): Dr. Lavin, you have a patient inside this house that you think has H1N1?


COHEN: And we brought you here because we want you to tell his parents what they need to look for, when should they worry and hightail it to the doctor.

Tell me, Elijah (ph), what happened?

ELIJAH WARTEL (ph), SICK WITH H1N1: I've been sick.

COHEN: When he was at his worst with H1N1, how sick was he?

LEAH WARTEL (ph), CHILD HAS H1N1: That was the sickest we had ever seen him.

COHEN (voice-over): Leah Wartel (ph) is worried about her eight-year- old son Elijah (ph). How will she know if his H1N1 flu crosses the line to become a potentially deadly virus?

The Wartel's (ph) pediatrician, Dr. Arthur Lavin, tells Leah (ph) what to watch for.

Warning sign number one, trouble breathing.

LAVIN: He'd really be tugging to get air in and out of his chest. The chest wouldn't be moving very smoothly. It would be pulling hard. He'd have to reach and grab something to breathe.

COHEN: Warning sign number two, a stiff neck.

LAVIN: Can you touch your chin to your chest Elijah (ph)? Like that? See how nicely he does that? So if you move your neck that easily, then the second thing we worry about isn't there. The second thing is if your neck is stiff -- not if it's sore, but it's stiff and you can't move it.

COHEN: Warning sign number three, continuous pain in one spot.

LAVIN: I'm not talking about pains that move around the body and shift every hour. One spot that really hurts. It keeps hurting more and more every hour, especially around the tummy.

COHEN: Warning sign number four, blue nails.

LAVIN: So, Elijah (ph), let's take a look at your nails. Now, if they turn blue, Leah (ph), that would be a sign that something's not working. We have a nice little window into your oxygen level right through the fingernail. If they all turn blue, that good, healthy flow of oxygen has been interrupted.

COHEN: And warning sign number five, your child just doesn't seem right.

LAVIN: I'd be concerned if you came to him and some way he just seem like a different person, not just different -- Elijah (ph) acting differently, but you didn't recognize him. That would be very worrisome.

COHEN: Looking out for these five signs can save your child's life.

As for Elijah (ph), he's on the mend, with a lot of care from his mom and dad, and big brother.

COHEN (on camera): What do you do to take care of your brother?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say I hope you feel better sometime and...

E. WARTEL (ph): You probably said that twice.



PHILLIPS: I tell you what, kids they just...

COHEN: They're so sweet.

PHILLIPS: They hit those heart strings.

COHEN: That's right, they do.

PHILLIPS: OK. Things looked pretty good -- it looks good now, but what do you do when things get really bad real quickly, because that's when everybody panics.

COHEN: Right. When you see any of these five warning signs, what you need to do is hightail it to medical care quickly. That's different for every person. Some people will go to the emergency room, some people will go to their pediatrician. It depends on the situation, it depends on the time of day. All of that. But those five signs are signs that that has gone from just garden variety H1N1, which millions of kids have had, to a kind of H1N1 where things have really gotten to an emergency situation.

PHILLIPS: How many of these warning signs do you need to have? One, two, three?

COHEN: Just one. If your kid can't do this, that's reason enough. He needs medical care.

PHILLIPS: And you mention the blue fingertips -- I mean, you wouldn't pay attention to that as a parent.

COHEN: No. But that means there's not enough oxygen isn't getting to their extremities. And that's a problem, obviously. It's a sign that their heart or their lungs aren't doing well.

PHILLIPS: What should we expect our doctor to do? Because you've bringing us many of these pieces where doctors many time have though the child's okay and they send them home saying treat it like the regular flu.

COHEN: Right. What you should expect your doctor to do is to take you seriously. So, if you say to your doctor, something's not right, I know my child the best, and my child is really going downhill, you should expect a reaction from that and not a, "Take two asprin and call me in the morning." We have other tips for parents when you're dealing with a child who has H1N1, or if you're wondering if your child has H1N1, go to, and you'll see our tips there.

PHILLIPS: Elizabeth, thanks so much. Don't go away, though. We have another story for you.

COHEN: That's right. Mammograms.

[Byline: Kyra Phillips, Tony Harris, Frederick Pleitgen, Atia Abawi, Susan Lisovicz, Jacqui Jeras, Mohammed Jamjoom] [High: General Stanley McChrystal addresses the troops in Afghanistan about new plans. U.S. troops are working to counter fear amongst Afghan citizens. A union of broadcast technicians may strike for the annual Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting tonight. Google is partnering with the State Department and Iraq's National Museum to create a virtual tour of the museum's collection.] [Spec: Military; War; Afghanistan; Labor; Computers; Art; Iraq]

[Copy: Content and programming copyright 2009 Cable News Network LP, LLLP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prepared by CQ Transcriptions, LLC No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Cable News Network LP, LLLP's copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material; provided, however, that members of the news media may redistribute limited portions (less than 250 words) of this material without a specific license from CNN so long as they provide conspicuous attribution to CNN as the originator and copyright holder of such material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.] [End-Story: McChrystal Says Afghan War will Be Decided in Next Two Years; Troops Fight Fear Among Afghans; Union May Strike at Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting; Virtual Tour to Offer View of Iraq's National Museum]

Source Citation
"McChrystal Says Afghan War will Be Decided in Next Two Years; Troops Fight Fear Among Afghans; Union May Strike at Rockefeller." CNN Newsroom 2 Dec. 2009. Popular Magazines. Web. 4 Dec. 2009. .

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