tv AB Cs World News With Charles Gibson ABC September 21, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
rice. sliced, packed, and sealed at the peak of freshness. oscar mayer deli fresh. for the love of a great sandwich. welcome to welcome to "world news." tonight, war worries. the top commander in afghanistan says without more troops the mission will likely fail. the president is skeptical. fierce floods. days of downpours caused dangerous flooding in the southeast. flu fight. testing of the flu vaccine on children produces some early results. and weighs less than four pounds, costs $150 and takes and weighs less than four pounds, costs $150 and takes spectacular pictures from space. captions paid for by abc, inc.
good evening. the commanding general in afghanistan provides a sobering assessment of the situation there. stanley mcchrystal was but in charge of that war by president obama last may. in a confident report first obtained by "the washington post," general mcchrystal says the situation in afghanistan is serious. neither success nor failure can be taken for granted. mccyst stall asked for more troops. without them, he writes, the mission will likely result in failure. it is not clear, however, whether the president agrees. martha raddatz joins us. >> charlie, this is an enormous dilemma for president obama. he's now publicly pitted against his own handpicked military commanders. and it leaves him two choices. disregard the advice of his commanders or change the mission in afghanistan. in the confidential assessment,
general mcchrystal warns the president the situation in afghanistan is deteriorating, saying "time matters -- we must act now. failure to gain the initiative in the near term, the next 12 months, risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible." mcchrystal prepared a separate troop request with numbers ranging from 10,000 to 45,000. but the white house has not even asked to see that yet. president obama made clear this weekend that his is not convinced mcchrystal's overall military strategy is the right one. >> still i'm satisfied that we've got the right strategy, i'm not going to be sending some young men or women over there beyond what we already have. >> reporter: general mcchrystal recommends a counterinsurgency strategy to defeat al qaeda is sported by david petraeus and the chairman of the joint chiefs
of staff. that the president is now questioning that strategy is a stunning development. mcchrystal is considered such a brilliant officer that last may, the president approved the firing of the previous commander in afghanistan to make room for mcchrystal and his team. >> i think that they will provide the kind of new leadership and fresh thinking that the admiral and i have been talking about. >> reporter: but now, mcchrystal can only wait, to see if the president accepts his recommendations or changes the mission. >> if the general officer doesn't believe that strategy can succeed, his moral dilemma is it's awful difficult for him to ask soldiers to die for that strategy. >> and given what president obama was saying this weekend, and the facts that 51% of the american public says the war is not worth fighting, the president appears to be redefining the mission that he himself first laid out. charlie. >> our chief foreign affairs correspondent martha raddatz, thanks to you. and our chief washington correspondent, george
stephanopoulos is joining us now. the president of the united states is, as martha points, between a rock and a hard place. >> that's right, charlie, the white house is feeling jammed suggesting more troops were necessary. and now the leak of this document. but administration officials i speak with, charlie, including the president, say there's a determination not to be rushed on this. that this decision could take several weeks. at least, especially in the wake of those afghan elections. you need a legitimate government in afghanistan, they say is trusted and delivered. you don't have that right now. and, charlie, the president is nature alone in being torn over this decision. administration officials say that secretary gates is undecided. and it's well-known that vice president biden has been fishing for a narrower mission for some time. >> george, this is an interesting situation as martha points out. the president fired the general who was in afghanistan, put mcchrystal in charge.
and now says, i'm not going to send more troops until we have the right strategy. it sounds like he does not have faith in the guy he put in charge? >> what they're saying that general mcchrystal has done the mission that he feels. and there are a number of options on the table, charlie. administration officials say he still could approve the full request. he could approve a request to secure certain areas of afghanistan, but not the whole country or to step up attacks which have been quite successful over the border of pakistan the last several month pns. >> a real conundrum. george stephanopoulos, thanks very much. and in italy, a funeral for soldiers. family members and soldiers wept openly. then a 2-year-old boy wearing his father's beret went up and saluted the coffins. and witnesses heard the boy say simply "ciao, papa." three men named their first
court appearances on charges they lied to fbi agents for their attacks on new york city. and authorities believer more people may be involved in this plot. our chief investigative correspondent brian ross is here. charlie, while the three men were in court today, the fbi continued a search for bombs or bomb components. officials tell abc news they believe there were three distinct teams of four men each. and not all of them are accounted for. the search for others involved is centered around this afghan mosque in new york. today, agencies were madic no secret of their around-the-clock surveillance of key individuals and locations in this neighborhood. >> the fbi and the nypd are still actively hunting down the bomb and the bomb-making facility. they believe there's a garage or warehouse somewhere where the bomb parts are being stored. >> reporter: the man authorities
say was at the center of the alleged bomb plot, 24-year-old najibullah zazi, was arrested late saturday on charges he lied to the fbi about bomb making instructions found on his computer. according to court documents, agents found nine pages of handwritten notes on "the manufacture and handling" of explosives. authorities say zazi learned all that at an al qaeda training camp in pakistan where he twice traveled in the last year and was then sent back to the u.s. apparently to carry out the plot. veteran agents say charging zazi and others with lying to the fbi is considered a kind of last resort prosecution. authorities say, because the fbi had to move in sooner than planned, prosecutors don't yet have enough evidence to bring a more serious set of terrorism charges. but they say, it was more important to make sure no plot went forward. charlie. >> brian ross, reporting. thanks to you. the southeastern united states is suffering another day of deadly floods and the cost there in human lives is rising.
at least six people have been confirmed killed. one of them a 2-year-old boy swept away when a flash floods overtook his family trailer. more rain is expected. here's steve osunsami. >> reporter: parts of northern georgia, tennessee, and alabama have seen 20 inches of rain in the last three days. >> i've never seen destruction quite like this. i mean i know water is a really strong force but i'm in the construction business and this is phenomenal. >> reporter: new rivers of water pushed over cars, washed out roads, and flooded neighborhoods. in this subdivision in suburban atlanta, the police who came to rescue trapped homeowners became trapped themselves. >> the water at the house got to almost ten feet high. and the flow was so strong it was just about knocking the officers off their feet as soon as they stepped out of their vehicles. >> reporter: floodwaters washed away this bridge. cars fell into the creek below, and residents who have no other way out were stuck. chris engle's only way to the outside world was through his
cell phone. >> everybody is just giving a helping hand. >> reporter: and it's going to get worse before it gets better. it is still raining, and as much as 5 inches of rain could fall in some places tonight. >> i'm watching some thunderstorms that have been developing this afternoon, and that is going to really compound matters because we are so saturated. >> reporter: forecasters are now watching the regions largest rivers very closely. they're rising fast. steve osunsami, abc news, lilburn, georgia. politics next. president obama arrived in new york today for meetings at the u.n. general assembly where this is diplomatic skills will be tested. those skills are also being tested in his relationship with new york's governor david paterson. a fellow democrat. the president is trying to vince paterson to drop his bid for election for a full-term. here's jake tapper. >> reporter: awkwardness in albany as greeted by david paterson. the president's smile fading in a rope line when p.a.t.erson again reared his head.
the sources tell abc news news that he's trying to convince the governor that he did not win next year. >> first of all, wonderful man, the governor of the great state of new york, david paterson's in the house. >> reporter: he was downright gung ho for attorney generjenged andrew cuomo. >> your shy and returning attorney general andrew cuomo is in the house. >> reporter: republicans pounced on this democratic discord. >> i found that to be stunning that the white house would send word to one of only two black governors in the country not to run for re-election. >> reporter: but white house sources say this hag nothing to do with race and everything to do with math. 76% of new york voters disapprove of paterson's job performance.
69% approve of cuomo's anticipating a rough election year in 2010, from pennsylvania to colorado, the president is aggressively backing democrats he thinks can win in a general election. >> democrats are poised to take a beating in the 2010 midterm elections. the white house knows it so they're trying to put their best foot forward in the places they should win. >> reporter: but the president's wish is not every candidate's command. >> i'll still running for governor. i'm running for governor. >> keep in mind, of course, a weak candidate at the top of the tickets like governor, hurts all the downticket candidates like senators and congress. and the white house is clearly concerned at a fund-raiser today. vice president biden said if republicans can take 35 house seats away from the democrats, quote, this is the end of the road for what barack and i are trying to do. >> jake tapper, thanks very much. still ahead, new findings on flu vaccines and children.
which children are going to need two doses. and curbing driving. protecting your heart includes watching your cholesterol. now there's new heart health advantage from bayer. its non-aspirin formula contains phytosterols, which may reduce the risk of heart disease... by lowering bad cholesterol. new heart health advantage from bayer. so it's a typical morning when suddenly you see built ford tough trucks! the ground starts rumblin' like you just struck oil, and you know what? you did hit pay-dirt cause it's ford truck month. an' leading this herd is the ford f-150. it's not just a truck it's an f-150.
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gallon. headlights news. two pieces of information on the h1n1 swine vaccine. we understand that we've got results now on the swine flu vaccine for children? >> the early results are in. on the trials that were done in children. and a couple weeks ago, we talked about one dose being needed for adults. dr. tony fouts at the head of the infectious diseases at the nih said that the vaccine is performing just like the seasonal vaccine. that's good news. children 6 months to 9 years, two shots. children 10 years and above only need one shot to be protected against the swine flu disease. >> that's counterintuitive to me. why would a small child need more vaccine than an older child? >> we get some protection from flu viruses we're exposed to every season and to im mun
>> and how long between shots for the younger ones? >> well, what we've seen in the season and what we'll see here is four weeks between doses. >> and then we found out, i gather, that we're going to need a whole lot more of this vaccine than we thought? >> well, the government announced today that they're purchasing another 56 million courses of vaccine. bringing the total up to 251 million courses. i talked to dr. bruce gellen head of vaccines for the government. he said the goal is to make sure that every person who wantsed vaccine will be able to receive it. and this total should bring us to that goal. >> 250 million doses certainly sounds like it would do it? >> it should. this is a vaccine that's recommended for just about everybody. we'll have to see where demand is. if there's vaccine left over from this season, it could either be used to fill some of
the vaccine that the government has promised to other countries or could be used for next year. >> dr. besser, thanks very much. coming up, helping the elderly enjoy the freedom of the road for as long as possible. this is one way of getting vitamins and minerals. this is another. new total blueberry pomegranate cereal gives you 100% of the daily value of 12 essential vitamins and minerals. and is truly delicious. how are you getting 100%? but those days came and went, and the cigarettes remained. but today's a new day. and a few simple steps can make a real difference in your next quit... things like starting with a plan to quit smoking... getting support... and talking to your doctor
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driv drive. >> reporter: she's been driving through the streets of hyde park, new york most of her life. but for how much longer? doris clay is 89 years old and has early alzheimer's disease. >> i think we all had some misgivings about her driving. but she said, "this is my last bit of independence, please don't take it away from me." >> reporter: there are now more than 20 million drivers in the us 70 and older. and their collision rates are second only to teenagers. so more and more families are turning to the "driving rehabilitation specialist." an occupational therapist specifically trained to work with elderly drivers. >> try the top row. >> reporter: here, doris gets extensive testing on depth perception. peripheral vision, color vision, sign recognition, and reaction time. >> i help them see their own strengths and weaknesses. my goal is to keep them on the road, if they're capable. >> reporter: it can mean adding wide-angle mirrors or cushions
to position the drive more upright. for 82-year-old bill emrich, it was a "refresher course" on left hand turns and full stops at intersections. >> i think it made a big difference. i think i pay more attention to where i'm driving the car. >> reporter: as for doris, tests show there are too many problems for heir failing memory to overcome. it's up to the driving special lift to take away her keys. >> it helps the family tremendously. >> reporter: why? >> because they don't have to be the one that says, doris, you can't drive anymore. the test being objective is something they can't argue with. >> it's better for the family, better for doris and people on the road. >> reporter: better, and safer that doris is now driven and not driving. john mckenzie, abc news, hyde park, new york. >> if you'd like information like the one in john's piece go to our blog at abcnews.com.
after appearing at five appearances yesterday, he continues with the "late show" with david letterman. during the taping of that he was asked whether some of his critics motivated by race. >> perhaps this unease or poor decorum was because people was rooted in racism. is he on to something there? or is that just something to talk about? >> well, first of all, i think it's important to realize that i was actually black before the election. so -- [ applause ] this is true. >> how long you have been a black man? >> the president with david letterman. and when we come back, how to get a spectacular photo from space on the cheap. i had chronic muscle pain all over.
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after starting plavix. finally tonight. everyone takes pictures during the summer. this is me in front of mt. rushmore. this is mom in front of buckingham palace. you know the drill. this is one of the pictures oliver yea took. view of early 17.5 miles up. >> i wanted to see what earth looked like. >> so howard and his friends and students from m.i.t. do that? they didn't go up themselves? they launched a balloon. a great big helium balloon with a camera attached. >> this is approximately 70 helium balloons. >> the camera was in a box and packed with handwarmers since
the camera wouldn't work at demp degrees below zero. but how to get it downy. >> the pressure becomes too much for the balloon. and it basically would pop. the question, how will we get it back entered my mind. >> to solve that problem, oliver also put a cell phone with a gps in the box. >> the signal came back. and we drove towards it. it was only 20 miles away. >> so why did oliver and his friends do it. just to see that they could. as far as we know, m.i.t. doesn't ask for papers entitled "what i did on summer vacation. i'm charlie gibson. we lope you had a good day. from all of us at abc news, have we lope you had a good day. from all of us at abc news, have a good night. captions by vitac