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McChrystal Relieved of Command; Deep Sea Accident: More Oil

Thu, 06/24/2010 - 11:06am
The Associated Press

Escapes - Part 2

By Wolf Blitzer, Barbara Starr, Brian Todd, Jack Cafferty, Ati

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<Show: THE SITUATION ROOM>

<Date: June 23, 2010>

<Time: 17:00>

<Tran: 062302CN.V16>

<TYPE: SHOW>

<Head: McChrystal Relieved of Command; Deep Sea Accident: More Oil Escapes - Part 2>

<Sect: News; International>

<Time: 18:00>

<End: 19:00>

BLITZER: Yes a very positive move on the part of the president.JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Look, Wolf, the article came at a time when there were already deep doubts especially among the Democrats in Congress but even some Republicans in Congress questioning the administration for strategy and some think it is more troops and some think you need to pressure the Karzai government, and some related and nonrelated criticisms of the strategy, and now they have to put up tough votes to fund this war, and anyone else, and even General Rodriguez the deputy to General McChrystal who is widely respected and regarded does not have the stature. General Petraeus has a unique stature in the United States military active service right now because of Iraq, and even Democrats who oppose the surge, and remember moveon.org had the ad, general betray us, and they took that ad off of the website. He has unique respect, and the funding will come.

BLITZER: General Clark, the article's up shot, forget about all the stuff about who said what, but the upshot was that this war is not winnable right now and the U.S. should pick up and get out of there and I'm sort of paraphrasing but if you read the article, and I'm sure you did, but that is what the author Michael Hastings suggests. Here's the question. As a Vietnam War veteran, you understand this situation in Afghanistan. Is this war winnable right now?

CLARK: Well, it is winnable in the sense of trying to come out of it with a permanent setback for al Qaeda and international terrorism and denying al Qaeda the kind of base it could have if we were to have pulled out of Afghanistan. Is it winnable in terms of establishing Afghanistan as the 51st state of the United States? No. Are we going to have the predominant interest in the post conflict Afghanistan, probably not because of geography, but it is possible for the United States, I believe, to achieve the objectives there, which is to decisively defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban.

BLITZER: Well, it is a huge cost, with 100,000 troops in place within a few weeks, and you know this is costing billions and billions of dollars. It is worth it?

CLARK: Well, I think that you have to look at the alternative, and what that is. What we have got to do really is that we have to really come the grips with al Qaeda. They are mostly in Pakistan apparently the leadership, but you can't deal with them in Pakistan without working Afghanistan. So, it is an integrated theatre, and I think that our commanders and our leadership there are putting together a complex and reasonable program with a chance of success. No guarantees, but we are not on a losing team.

BLITZER: And the president reiterated those policies under no illusions I assume. Thank you, all. And John King will have much more at the top of the hour on JOHN KING USA. Thank you very much.

We told you earlier about the deep sea accident that led BP to raise the containment cap over the gulf well letting a lot more oil escape. Now, there appears to be some movement. Let's go back to Brian Todd. What are we seeing, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, dramatic live video from beneath the sea right now. This is the containment cap, and this is the main leak. Look how close it is. We have been telling you for the last hour or so they have been maneuvering this back into place. It does appear that they are getting ready to put this cap right back on the main leak here and it's circulating some what looks like green dye to help guide this cap in place, and you are talking about close to nine hours that the cap has been off of the main leak, but BP now, as you can see in these live images moving this cap into place with remotely operated vehicles and getting ready to lower it on the main leak and taking time over the last hour to really maneuver it and get it positioned properly. This is a very jagged cut when they cut the riser off, so they have to be careful as they find the right place and the right fixture to lower it on. As you can see, they are getting very, very close to lowering this cap back on this leak. Nine hours as we said almost that this has been off. So thousands of barrels of oil more have been leaking out while this has been off, but it looks like it is going back on any minute.

BLITZER: Let's hope it works. We can't over emphasize how sensitive an operation this is all done by robots, if you will, robotic arms these remotely-operated vehicles. It is a structural problem, and we will watch it, Brian, together with you, and make sure that this hopefully works and they can get the cap back on so at least a lot of the oil can be contained as they go forward with the relief wells that are being dug to end this nightmare at least for now. Let's hope that those relief wells in august really work. All right. Brian, we will stay on top it, and stay with us as we get more information.

A popular Florida beach is inundated with thick globs of oil, miles upon miles of it. We will tell you what the officials are doing about it and how the tourists are being affected. A lot of news is happening today right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Fredricka Whitfield is monitoring some of the other stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. What is going on?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hello, Wolf. And hello, everyone. A contentious three-year battle between Google and Viacom has ended in Google's favor. Today a federal court ruled the search engine subsidiary YouTube is not liable for copyright infringements by its users. Viacom argued Google should be liable alleging they turned a blind eye to violations on YouTube, but the court says that the company is protected from penalties as long as it addresses violations once it knows about them. Viacom is reportedly planning to appeal the ruling.

Hundreds of people who had to flee a raging wildfire in Flagstaff, Arizona, are headed back home. Officials lifted the evacuation order today, but while the threat to their homes has diminished, the battle is nowhere near over. The three-day-old fire is only 20 percent contained and has scorched 14,000 acres.

A historic day at Wimbledon. American John Isner and Francis Nicolas Mahut played the longest match in the history of the tournament. A back and forth battle that lasted nearly ten agonizing hours, and it is still not over. After tying two sets and going 59-59 in the final set. The two exhausted players decided to quit for the day, and they will try to pick it up again tomorrow. Good luck to them. Ten hours.

BLITZER: Wow. That is amazing, ten hours.

WHITFIELD: People got a whole lot of bang for the buck when they got those tickets.

BLITZER: They have to be in great shape to do that.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, that, too.

BLITZER: Thank you, Fred.

A popular Florida beach gets hit with oil and hit hard. We will show you the devastation and tell you how officials are responding.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Residents and tourists in Pensacola Beach woke up to this today, more than nine miles of thick syrupy oil, and it is the largest crude to wash to shore as of date. The Florida governor Charlie Crist is calling the onslaught, heartbreaking. Let's go live to CNN's David Mattingly. He is in Pensacola Beach for us. It is heartbreaking to see it. David, you have been there a while, show us what you are seeing.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we have been seeing the tar balls coming to shore in the panhandle for two weeks now, but nothing like this. When people got up and saw this this morning, it was absolutely shocking here in Pensacola Beach. Let me show you what we are talking about. This crude that comes to shore in the form of tar balls, it mixes in with the sand and during the day in the summer heat it melts and turns into a like chocolate syrup. Let me show you what it looks like right now. It is very gooey just like that and during the day, it is almost in a liquid form, and a lot like what we saw hitting the Louisiana marshes, but this is the oil that is hitting here, and really, it is ruing everyone's vacation who comes here. They can't go in the water. They can't get closer to the water than right here. The governor Charlie Crist was out here earlier today, and this is what he had to say.

GOV. CHARLIE CRIST (I), FLORIDA SENATE CANDIDATE: It is like Jimmy Buffet said, wit we don't want the take the sky is falling attitude, but we want to clean it up, and stay after it, and stay after it, and it is the attitude we have the take.

MATTINGLY: And Wolf, this is again, what the enemy looks like right here. It is killing the tourist season and killing a lot of business for these communities. I want to show you something real quick. This is as close as anyone can get to the beach. We will move around, so we can see this. This long line of people coming to the edge of the tar balls, that is as close as they can get to the water. They are coming out here. They are standing. They're looking. Very quiet out here. It is a very, very sad day here at Pensacola Beach.

BLITZER: It is heartbreaking to think about it and to see it like that. It is true that you actually saw a beached dolphin today as well, David?

MATTINGLY: Well, yeah, a couple of miles that direction today there was a small dolphin that came ashore. It was beached and still alive, and people tried to rescue it, but during the rescue as they were trying to take it away, it did die. They are now going to examine it to see if this oil spill had anything to do with it. They did say that it appeared that the dolphin had come in some contact with the oil, and that there was some oil on the skin on the outside. They don't know if it ingested any, and that will take a couple of weeks and scientific exploration to figure that out, but right now, everyone is concerned right now of the loved wildlife showing up dead in the middle of these tar balls is going to cause a great deal of concern, and of course, everyone looking at this and feeling the pain as this comes ashore here in Pensacola Beach. Wolf?

BLITZER: Heartbreaking indeed. All right. Thank you, David, very much. We will watch the story.

Jack Cafferty is going to be back in a moment with The Cafferty File.

Then Lady Gaga's baseball antics are no laughing matter to comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The celebrity showdown coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's check back with Jack for The Cafferty File --Jack?

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is: Should deepwater offshore drilling be banned?

Jerry writes: No, it shouldn't even though the oil companies need to clean up their act and the gulf. You forget, Jack, we don't have an energy policy yet in this country. People and politicians think the oil will just keep gushing forth forever. Things can change mighty fast. The oil is not going to last forever. It's even rumored Saudi Arabia is running low.

Terry in Illinois says: I don't think it ought to be banned but numerous changes need to take place. I work in a nuclear plant. The three-mile island incident in 1979 did not cause this much damage, and yet the nuclear industry was required by our government to install extra backup systems, change procedures, have more oversight from the NRC, increase the number of evaluations, increase the amount of maintenance, use conservative decision-making when addressing a problem. The oil industry should be no different.

Suzanne writes from Kansas, If we don't ban deepwater oil drilling my fear is years from now we'll tell our grandchildren about a time when you could swim in the ocean and could eat fish and their eyes will widen with amazement. BP and other companies have no business in the ocean. What's done is done. All we can do is clean up the mess, focus on the animals and make sure the clowns in suits never have a chance to be remorseful over this kind of thing again.

Gordon in New Jersey: No but an air force style stand down is a good idea. Where companies are operating with substandard blow out preventers like BP was it's time to shut down those rigs until they can be upgraded with more redundant systems. America can't afford another big leak but neither can we afford to give up offshore oil. Our economy needs the jobs.

Emmett Smith, (no not that one), from Mobile, Alabama writes:

Hell, yes, deepwater oil drilling ought to be banned. We simply don't have the technology yet to do it safely. Any more drilling in water more than 500 feet deep would be like playing Russian roulette.

If you want to read more on this, you'll find it on my blog CNN.com/CaffertyFile.

BLITZER: Jack, thanks very much. Jack Cafferty and The Cafferty File.

A 38-year-old Indian American could become South Carolina's firm female governor. Nikki Haley wins her party's primary by a huge margin but she says a bigger battle lies ahead. She talks to our own John King. That's coming up right at the top of the hour.

And a celebrity showdown between Lady Gaga and the comedian Jerry Seinfeld. I'm not making this up. Details when you come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Here is a look at some Hot Shots.

In Kabul, Afghanistan, a man plays his flute amidst the ongoing chaos of the war torn country.

In Kyrgyzstan, a woman and her baby return on a bus. Authorities in Kyrgyzstan say that more than half of those who fled to the neighboring country during the ethnic clashes have returned.

In Manila, thousands of fake DVDs are hauled away during a mass destruction of counterfeit and pirated good and in Beijing, look at this, a dancer celebrates the opening of a new retail mall in the Russian trading district.

Hot Shots, pictures thousand a thousand words.

It's Lady Gaga versus Jerry Seinfeld, the celebrity face-off that began in a most unusual place, the ballpark. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Okay, maybe it's not a showdown on the scale of president versus general. But Seinfeld versus Gaga ain't exactly chopped meat.

JERRY SEINFELD, COMEDIAN: Oh, she's a jerk.

MOOS: It started politely enough.

SEINFELD: I wish her the best. You know, you take one a off of that and you got gag.

MOOS: Jerry started to rag on Lady Gaga during a WFAN sports radio interview when the talk turned to these pictures, Lady Gaga at a Mets game dressed in a skimpy outfit, giving photographers a certain finger. To get her away from the paparazzi, the Mets gave her a new seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They escorted her to your luxury box.

SEINFELD: You know, I changed my mind. You're right, this woman is a jerk.

MOOS: Seinfeld's box was empty when Mets management moved lady gaga into it. He only found out later that she had been there.

SEINFELD: I hate her. I can't believe they put her in my box which I paid for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did.

SEINFELD: You give people the finger and you get upgraded? Is that the world we're living in?

MOOS: The Mets apologized, but Seinfeld evidently felt stung and here you thought Lady Gaga had a monopoly on outrageous outfits. As for that upraised middle finger ...

SEINFELD: Give the finger what is she giving the finger? Speaking of interesting and new, how old is the finger?

MOOS: It was an action Lady Gaga had defended earlier by tweeting guess I'm just a Bronx cheer kind of girl. Even while dissing Lady Gaga, Seinfeld did put his finger on something interesting about the anatomy of the hand.

SEINFELD: Now the thumbs up is the good finger, right? So you're really one finger from a compliment.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: All right. Who would have thought?

Remember you can always follow what's going on here in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm on twitter, you can get my tweets at WolfBlitzerCNN, all one word.

Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. JOHN KING USA starts right now.

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