tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN November 11, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
these letters digitized, preserved and available to a wider audience. >> stephanie, thanks so much. we lift up all our vets today. thanks for joining us. now "the lead" with jim sciutto starts now. 10,000 lives gone in a matter of hours and many still desperately trying to find their loved ones. i'm jim sciutto and this is "the lead." the world lead. time is running out for anyone still trapped after a super typhoon laid waste to the philippines. survivors only beginning to take stock of the enormity of the disaster. u.s. marines are on the ground in the philippines, just one of the teams joining the international relief effort, but the task is overwhelming. hundreds of thousands of people are displaced. many don't know where their next glass of clean drinking water will come from. and also in world news, no deal. world powers including the u.s.
fail to reach an agreement with iran to stop enriching uranium. now that everyone has walked away from the table, what can bring them back? welcome to "the lead." i'm jim sciutto filling in for jake tapper. hope you're having a meaningful and memorable veterans day. we begin with the world lead. just moments ago, the u.s. government announced that it is giving $20 million in humanitarian aid to the philippines after what was quite possibly the strongest storm ever in the recorded history of our planet. super typhoon haiyan. officials estimate that as many as 10,000 people were killed. the number of missing, impossible to say at this point. it's one of those times where words fall short of the images we're seeing. images so eerily reminiscent of the 2004 asian tsunami. towns wiped from the map. families washed away. children ripped from their parents' arms by the rushing,
unrelenting water. in the wake, a mess of wrecked homes and wrecked lives. even for a country that has seen its share of typhoons, this is beyond comparison. >> this is the worst thing. >> a lot of people are dead. our friends are dead. some of our family members are dead. so it's really devastating. >> i am the only survivor of the family and i want to know if they are still alive. >> across the country, more than 600,000 people are displaced. 98% of the houses and buildings in northern segu are damaged or destroyed. in tacloban, another devastated city, the super typhoon leveled entire neighborhoods but when a disaster like this hits, the stories of survival are nothing short of amazing. this is the youtube video of one of the first babies born after the storm. the a.p. says mom had to swim and cling to a post to survive, but she made it to tacloban's
crippled airport and gave birth there. mother and child are now healthy. u.s. marines have arrived in tacloban to assist in the relief efforts and in hong kong, the crew of the "u.s.s. george washington" aircraft carrier is preparing for potential deployment to the affected region. more on the u.s. military involvement later in the show. now dawn is about to break. the start of a new day in the philippines, but the sun as it comes up will fall on bodies still lying in the streets, many still lying where they died. paula hancocks is in tacloban where the horror is still very raw. >> reporter: the sign refers to a very different time. now all that greets visitors on the road to tacloban is devastation. three days on since the storm itself, there are still bodies by the side of the road. we can't show you the faces of these bodies as it's just too graphic. you can still see the terror as
the wave hits on the faces of these bodies, and they're still here three days on. some of them are crudely covered. others are just open and have blackened skin from the sun. now, the officials say they're looking after the living which is what you would understand, but they have to get rid of the bodies. this is a health issue for those people living and trying to survive around here. but the stench is overpowering and of course, they have to start considering disease. this is the tacloban convention center. we're told by the locals this a lot of people came in here to try and protect themselves from the storm. but as you can see, the water reached the second story and the locals say that anyone that was on the ground floor not expecting this storm surge simply didn't make it. many residents used this school as a shelter from the storm, but the water engulfed it. this resident says a lot of
children died in here. only a few managed to survive. no one knows how many lost their lives. down the road, a public well is being put to use. >> for now we don't have enough water, even though we are not sure that it is clean and safe. we still drink because we need to survive. >> reporter: we see just two trucks in two hours making their very slow way into the city, at the heart of desperation. paula hancocks, cnn, tacloban, the philippines. >> our thanks to paula hancocks. seeing the very worst of it there. we were hoping to get the latest live report from paula on the ground but another storm has just hit the area, making communications impossible. a reminder of the difficulties rescue crews and families are facing as they try to locate the survivors. so let's talk to one of the victims of the typhoon, shirley lynn joins us by phone from the philippines. thank you so much for joining. you were right in the middle of it when it hit.
describe what it was like to live through this storm. >> the wind was so strong, it was like ooooh. i cannot imagine myself, it's like the movie "twister" you know. i feel like this is it, i'm going to die. >> tell me about now. i can imagine the speed of it. now that it's gone, are you getting the help you need? what's missing now? do you have food, do you have water? >> yeah, actually, the local government here, with the help of our mayor, also provide this water, this shelter, the evacuation center. most of the houses here were made of light material like bamboo. that's why most of the houses here were [ inaudible ].
>> i imagine the personal loss tremendous, too. i hope you were lucky enough not to have lost any family members. talking to your neighbors there, are people still missing relatives, loved ones? are they able to find them? how are they coping? >> you know, we are very lucky here because the casualty is not high. >> you're lucky. we know things worse on the coast but it sounds like the damage, tremendous. do you think you can rebuild and are you getting the help you need to rebuild? >> the beauty of course is it's still there. you guys can visit, maybe if i can say we have to protect and preserve our natural resources. >> thank you, shirley. one of the tens of thousands suffering through the recovery now from this horrible typhoon.
please stay safe. the human crisis is overwhelming, but you can help. check out our website, cnn.com/impact to find out how you can help lend a hand to those suffering after this storm. you've heard the super typhoon described as possibly the biggest storm in recorded history. that is no exaggeration. at the time of landfall, the winds were clocked at 195 miles per hour with gusts reaching as high as 235 miles per hour. i want to bring in meteorologist chad myers in the cnn severe weather center. chad, given what we know now, how does this storm stack up to the other monster storms we've seen? >> we think it's the biggest. at least making landfall. there probably were other storms that may have been bigger but not on land, in the middle of the ocean just spinning making waves. what you will notice on my list here, jim, is that three of the top five typhoons, hurricanes, cyclones of all time, all hit the philippines.
two hit the united states, one camille and the labor day storm that hit the florida keys. but three of five of the top and then the philippines show up here again so four of the top ten typhoons or hurricanes hit the philippines. either the northern philippines or the central philippines where we are looking at right now with this tacloban. >> incredible. one of the places possibly worst prepared to handle a storm like this. we hear there's another storm developing possibly on the way. true? >> that is absolutely true. there is a tropical cyclone formation alert out there for the joint typhoon warning center. here's tacloban right there. the center of this will pass to the south of tacloban but we will only see winds of about 35 miles per hour. that's not the issue. the issue is that everything's torn up. the sheets of plywood, the corrugated metal, everywhere so a 35 mile per hour wind will blow things around but the rain will also make things worse. you don't want rain and low clouds when you're trying to land planes on run ways that don't even have lights anyway.
this will make the difficult decisions of getting in and out of some of these very hard-hit areas and very rough airports even more difficult as we speak with these low clouds and rain showers. >> chad, whenever we have a storm like this, whether it strikes in asia or even hurricane sandy in the u.s., people ask the question did climate change play a part. i know it's difficult to make connections like that but we pulled up the commentary end of last year from the chief philippines negotiator at the climate talks that gave a tearful appeal for progress, saying his country was right in the crosshairs of these sort of super storms that might be exacerbated by climate change. is it correct, is there anything to back up making a connection between those two things? >> you know, it's almost like i want you to stop hitting me on the head with a hammer. at some point in time i just want to tell you to stop because it's going to start to hurt. we always say we can't blame one storm on climate change. we can't blame one storm on climate change. but all of a sudden, we've got 10 or 20 storms that are the biggest we have ever seen.
when do you start blaming it on climate change? i think everybody needs to open up their eyes and realize what's going on here. >> great commentary. thank you, chad. coming up next, secretary of state john kerry will have to explain to the senate why a potential nuclear deal with iran fell apart. what scuttled it? and all i want for christmas is to fill up my tank for under $50. am i actually going to get my wish? the money lead is next. my customers can shop around-- see who does good work and compare costs. it doesn't usually work that way with health care. but with unitedhealthcare, i get information on quality rated doctors, treatment options and estimates for how much i'll pay. that helps me, and my guys, make better decisions. i don't like guesses with my business,
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minister had said a framework was in the works. two u.s. administration officials told cnn that under the potential deal, iran would refuse to open a heavy water reactor, a second path to a bomb. so what happened? secretary of state john kerry this morning pointed his finger clearly at iran. >> there was unity. but iran couldn't take it at that particular moment, they weren't able to accept that particular agreement. >> but iran's foreign minister fired back, blaming the west, in particular france, in some not so gentle tweets. mr. secretary, was it iran that gutted over half the u.s. draft thursday night and publicly commented against it on friday morning. secretary kerry will brief capitol hill wednesday on the talks. he said gaps still remain between the west and iran but today, the british foreign secretary william hague
described those gaps as very narrow. there was one deal struck successfully today between iran and the u.n.'s nuclear watch dog, the international atomic energy agency. they met in tehran and agreed to inspect some of iran's nuclear sites, including that heavy water reactor, but not sites such as parchin where western powers suspect iran conducted high explosives testing necessary to build a nuclear bomb. so how narrow are those gaps and how exactly did what seemed like an impending deal fall apart? let's bring in our panel to discuss. aaron david miller, vice president for new initiatives at the woodrow wilson international center for scholars, and danielle pletka from the american enterprise institute. i will start with you, aaron, if i can. who scuttled this deal? was it the french, was it the iranians or is it correct to say that neither side was really
ready? >> i have been around negotiations for a long time. they have an ebb and flow and rhythm all their own. this was clearly a negotiation whose time had not yet come. i'm not sure it's ready for prime time. whether this was a virtue or necessity or simply an outgrowth of gaps between the iranian position and the p 5 plus one, or france's capacity to play the hero in defense of what they clearly believe was an agreement that really allowed iran to get away with things they shouldn't be getting away with, or the reality that had this agreement been reached, you would have had a set of american allies, not including the u.s. congress, although a necessary element, angry, aggrieved and clearly unhappy. it doesn't make sense. it has to be a step in the right direction which is critically important and not to echo the words of prime minister netanyahu, but as an american i would simply say what's the rush
here. get it right. >> it's difficult to move a deal like this forward if you have those allies working against you, i imagine. so i'm curious, danielle, i know you have written about this saying what the iranians are offering here are less, you argue, than what they offered in the past. when you look at skeptics like this, whether in jerusalem, tel aviv, netanyahu or senators like lindsay graham and elliot engel coming out against this, what does the deal need to have to bring them on board with confidence? >> first of all, it needs to have some of the things that the iranians have offered in the past, things that the united states has asked for in the past. remember, there are two elements to this. we are asking for less of the iranians and we are offering the iranians more. those are all the elements of a really bad deal, if anybody's bought a house or carpet, they know that. any time you give more each time you go into a negotiation, the incentive is to keep bringing them back because they are going to offer more and more. so what are we not getting? we are not getting suspension of
uranium enrichment. that was one of the key demands -- >> full suspension. you are getting suspension up to 20%. so they say. >> right. so they say. also, a suspension for only six months. and then again, not the full suspension. if they're enriching to 3.5% or 5%, that's still manufacturing material for a nuclear weapon so that's not terribly reassuring. the concessions that were made today to the international atomic energy agency on the heavy water reactor which is a plutonium route to a nuclear weapon, there, they weren't even going to open iraq for six months. so we've gotten absolutely nothing there. it's not a very good deal. >> they did agree not to operate it. i'm not making the iranian case here but i went to geneva twice for these talks and you hear not pushover diplomats, people who have been involved in talks with the iranians before and disappointed, secretary kerry among them saying this time around the iranians were more
serious and there was clearly excitement there from many sides involved. is it correct to say that the iranians gave no new ground in these talks, that there's nothing hopeful or encouraging? >> for the first time you have a degree of urgency on the iranian side that would suggest that under the right circumstances, you could get a deal that basically would not just suspend but retard their capacity to pursue the military aspects of their nuclear program during a six-month period that is supposed to begin once this deal is concluded. let's remember, this is not the end game. that's both good and bad. time becomes an ally in that regard and adversary as well. i just think that you cannot create an agreement, a 50-year agreement has been dysfunctional between the u.s. and iran. the u.s. is negotiating not just for itself but for allies who would most immediately be affected by iran's acquisition of putative nuclear weapons capacity, let alone a nuclear weapon itself. these things need to be taken
into account. so i think again, getting it right even if it involves more time, the question is can it be gotten right. >> that's not what the agreement is for rouhani coming through these negotiations. the prime minister is there to get relief on economic sanctions. he's not there to give up anything on the nuclear side. that's a bit of leverage we have that the administration seems to be giving up too fast. certainly in the eyes of the congress. >> let me read you something that secretary kerry said today, which can be perceived as a shot at netanyahu's criticism. he says time to oppose it is when you see what it is, not to oppose the effort to find out what is possible. this is an interim agreement, this initial step is to get some time and i know time has danger as well, but to get some time so they can negotiate a longer term agreement. what happens if this chance is lost? how special do you think this chance is with the iranians pushed, as you say, by the pain of sanctions? >> well, the problem here is that we've always had two
timelines. we've had the timeline of the iranians getting to a nuclear weapons capacity, not necessarily breaking out, but able to break out, and we've got the timeline of the effectiveness of sanctions. the problem is the iranians are probably everywhere they need to be. they're months away, if not less, from having a nuclear weapon. they could probably fashion one today if they wanted to, but they don't want to. they want to be able to go forward and i think they want to maintain that breakout capacity. so how unique is this opportunity? well, look, the iranians are under pressure. if we're willing to keep up the pressure, if we're willing to amp up the pressure even more as we have over the last few years, then maybe we can get some genuine concessions that reassure not just israel, and let's not forget that in the middle east we shouldn't just be talking about israel being worried about iran. we're talking also about saudi arabia, which declined a seat on the security council. we're talking about the united arab emirates and we're talking about israel's neighbors in the region so this is really something of great concern to everyone. >> you mentioned amping up the
pressure, because that's something on cnn this weekend, senator lindsay graham told candy crowley he was going to pursue another round of sanctions. aaron, if that happens, does that kill the chances for these talks? >> you know, i don't think the issue right now is ramping up additional pressure on the iranians, because i think in the end that's not going to have the desired effect. i do think, though, it is critically important to get things right and that means keeping our allies informed in real time about what it is we're actually doing. i've been a part of these negotiations before. we negotiated with the syrians, with an israeli proxy. it's critically important that we be direct and honest about positions we are going to take in these negotiations, and in essence, that there be no surprises. my concern here, though, is that you're never going to get a perfect agreement. that's the problem. and i do believe that the default position which is ultimately drift, sanctions in place, intermittent diplomacy
that doesn't work, is leading towards -- >> war. >> -- opening up the pandora's box of the prospects of military confrontation. >> the choices are not great. they will have another chance november 20th to take a crack at this at the political director level. thanks very much. i'm sure we'll be back to talk about this in the next couple weeks. coming up, it's a far lesser christmas miracle but one you will be thankful for when it's time to mail out gifts this year. sunday delivery from the post office. and on this veterans day, we're honoring both our fighting men and women and the families they leave behind. we'll introduce you to america's bravest kids. stay with us. what's your function? ♪ ♪ hooking up the country helping business run ♪ ♪ build! we're investing big to keep our country in the lead. ♪ load! we keep moving to deliver what you need. and that means growth, lots of cargo going all around the globe. cars and parts, fuel and steel, peas and rice, hey that's nice! ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪
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welcome back to "the lead" and in the money lead, the closing bell on wall street just about a half hour ago at the end of a fairly quiet day, after dipping at the start of the day, the dow closed up 21 points. not huge but still enough to notch yet another record high. the s&p 500 did well, too, coming within inches of setting another record high of its own.
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clearer skin is possible. ♪ (train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities. welcome back to "the lead." i'm jim sciutto. today, president barack obama paid tribute to america's veterans by laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns at arlington national cemetery. he also honored the service of the 107-year-old, richard overton, believed to be one of the country's oldest living veterans. >> today our message to all
those who have ever worn the uniform of this nation is this. we will stand by your side, whether you're seven days out or like richard, 70 years out. because here in america, we take care of our own. >> veterans are also being honored today by gamers. by now you've heard of the wildly popular video game series, "call of duty." it's a first person virtual realm that puts you in the boots of a fictional american soldier. very realistic. but for activision, the company responsible for the games, the real call of duty is to support our returning veterans. four years ago, ceo bobby cotick founded the call of duty endowment. the goal is to give vets from iraq, afghanistan and other military conflicts the opportunity and tools to find jobs and trust us, they need the help. right now, the unemployment rate for young vets between 18 and 24 years of age is about three points higher than the national
rate. jake tapper talked to the endowments co-chair, former marine general jim jones, about the problem and possible solutions. >> so i have to admit that veterans' unemployment i find bewildering. it's more than 10% right now. these are some of the most highly trained, disciplined individuals that i have ever met. why do you think veterans' unemployment is so high? >> i think it's a combination of things. one is employers tell us that they have a hard time plugging into the network to find the veterans. that's one. another one is employers who might not have any experience with the military themselves have a hard time equating the military occupational specialties with the needs of their work force and sometimes it's just ignorance. >> you're co-chairing the call of duty endowment. one of the things you're trying to do, it's funded by activision, is bring a
businessman's perspective to the nonprofit world. >> it's our duty to help those who have helped us. >> we came up with this wonderful idea to incentivize people whose passion it is to find jobs for veterans so we rate organizations that purport to find jobs for veterans, we have metrics by how well they do and if they do well, they are incentivized monetarily and by more support. >> one of the big problems that i understand is that there are a lot of troops out there who have some psychological wounds, post-traumatic stress, and the stigma of that anecdotally might be preventing some employers from hiring these troops. how much do you think that that's a problem? >> well, i think it's a cultural thing, frankly. ptsd is, as we discussed, is really a relatively new term
phenomenon. it's probably been around for a long time but didn't have a name. probably in world war ii they called it combat fatigue. but now it's ptsd, it has a name, it has a diagnosis, and we have treatments for it. one way to overcome it is to talk about it just as you raised it and let employers know that the main thing to remember about veterans, the quality of these young people is astronomically high. their skill sets are great and there is a higher probability that if you hire a veteran, you are going to get more productivity out of him or her and they are probably going to be, if treated well, they are probably going to be more loyal to whatever company they join for a longer period of time. >> you're a veteran. you fought in vietnam. you were there for the tet offensive. for caison. what does that do to a person? what do memories like that, how do they affect you today?
>> i came away in awe of the -- just the american soldier in general, whether it be marine, sailor, airman. the performance in vietnam and every conflict i have been involved in, humanitarian operations where the military has really represented all that's good about america and all that's good about what we value. we may not always get it completely right every time, but i know of no country that tries harder than this country does. >> i can't not ask you about at least one question from your time when you were the national security advisor for president obama. without revealing any secure information, are you confident that the national security agency which i know is not separate and distinct from what you were in charge of, are you confident that there has been no overreach by them, that there hasn't been any excessive
surveillance of both americans and our allies? >> well, let me tell you that creating director of national intelligence and harmonizing the various intelligence stovepipes that we have so that they work together, i know for a fact, as say catastrophes in recent years in the capitals of friends of ours who are now publicly criticizing us, but what would really be a shame is if people, friends of ours in particular, draw conclusions that are inaccurate and there is no intelligence organization on the planet that does more good for the health and welfare and security of the planet than does the organization, the intelligence organizations of this country. >> general james jones, thank you. >> thank you. just last week, the call of duty endowment announced seven winners for its seal of
distinction veteran employer award. the honor comes with a $30,000 grant for those businesses leading the charge in hiring vets. you can learn more about this year's recipients and how you can get involved at call of duty endowment.org. coming up on the sports lead, he did it out of love? the alleged miami dolphins bully finally explains why he sent such vile texts. plus, get the cooty sweaters out of storage. details of bill cosby's planned return to prime time. the day we rescued riley was a truly amazing day. he was a matted mess in a small cage. so that was our first task, was getting him to wellness. without angie's list, i don't know if we could have found all the services we needed for our riley. from contractors and doctors to dog sitters and landscapers, you can find it all on angie's list. we found riley at the shelter, and found everything he needed at angie's list.
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welcome back to "the lead." the sports lead. he says he was just joshing you. pro football player richie incognito says he's not a racist and those vulgar texts send to teammate jonathan martin, they were, he says, out of love. not how i talk to my friends. but for the first time since martin left the miami dolphins following what one teammate called an emotional breakdown, incognito is telling his side of the alleged bullying story. the suspended dolphins lineman spoke to fox sports' jay glazer.
>> it sounds like i'm a racist pig. it sounds like i'm a meathead. it sounds a lot of things that it's not. and i wanted to clear the air just by saying i'm a good person. >> incognito says martin also sent him a friendly text four days after leaving the team for those reported emotional issues. the message came after the dolphins eked out an overtime win against the bengals in prime time. jonathan martin is now in counseling and is expected to talk about the case this week with a league investigator. 755 hank aaron drive will be a lonely place a few summers from now. the atlanta braves are heading north to the burbs. the franchise plans to build a new stadium in cobb county closer to many season ticket holders in 2017. the braves have been playing at turner field in downtown atlanta since 1997, when the olympic stadium was renovated for the baseball experience, but the team says the ball yard is in dire need of hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades. the new park is expected to cost close to $700 million.
wonder how much of that tab taxpayers will be picking up. now let's hammer home the pop lead. hammer being the operative word here, given we're talking about thor. the norse god of thunder is the hollywood god of the box office right now. thor, the dark world pulled in more than $86 million in its debut weekend. that's about 30% more than the original made in its opening weekend back in 2011, and it's disney's best november debut ever. didn't hurt that thor appeared in "the avengers" last year. it gave the super hero and the actor, chris hemsworth, that much more exposure. if you were a fan of bill cosby during prime time in the 1980s or saturday mornings in 1970s, like me, you will appreciate this. comedian and tv icon says he's working on two new shows. one is a family comedy similar to but not a remake of "the cosby show." he says many people have asked him for a tv show they can watch with their families and this new
program would be for them. he is also working on a new fat albert. the updated version would be like the old one, animated with cosby live at the beginning and the end. fat albert was based on stories from cosby's childhood in philadelphia. and if downtown abbey is more your speed, good news there. pbs plans to bring the historical drama back not just for a fourth season but for a fifth season, too. the show is set in the early decades of the 20th century in england, with lots of neat costumes, beautiful locations, lots of english people but most importantly, big ratings. the show is the most popular drama in pbs history. a storm that might have made history and showed no mercy. coming up, we go back to the philippines to see how the u.s. marines are trying to help ease the suffering of millions. [ male announcer ] we're not supermodels. my turn. we're trying our best to be role models. get in the car.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jim sciutto filling in for jake tapper. one american general said there were bodies everywhere after taking a chopper tour of the carnage in the philippines. the marines have now touched down in the nation to help more than four million people impacted by what could be the biggest storm ever known to man. pentagon correspondent barbara starr has more on the u.s. military effort to help with humanitarian relief. barbara, we hear that a u.s. aircraft carrier may now be on the way? >> reporter: well, that's right, jim. the carrier "george washington" is in port in hong kong, but in the last several hours, the crew has been ordered to return to the ship and begin to make preparations to set sail for the philippines from hong kong if ordered. they want to make the ship available. the philippines government still has to ask for it, but they are getting ready to go. it will be a two-day transit to the philippines from hong kong.
this will help considerably. the ship has helicopters, a lot of capability to move a lot of cargo and supplies around. >> u.s. navy helped so much after the 2004 tsunami. how about the more than 200 marines already on the ground there? i know one of their priorities is to get the airport opened quickly. >> reporter: that is an absolute priority for the u.s. military indeed to help open the airport at tacloban. it was so damaged, it can only operate in the daylight hours. marines are moving in to help move supplies in, get things moving around, and air force combat air controllers, these are the people that run combat air operations in the war zone, they are also there. the situation is so serious and dire, they have a lot of expertise in getting airfields back open in very serious circumstances when things are heavily damaged. they are also trying to help, we're told, look for a step up in international assistance, a significant step up in the
coming hours. >> we hope it gets there. lot of people taking refuge at that airport. thanks to barbara starr at the pentagon. our active duty military are working hard overseas, but here at home, we are spending veterans day remembering those whose service is part of our history. we honor those who sacrificed their lives for the nation but we think it's important to also remember their children, the ones who have to grow up without a mother or a father who gave their lives. the pentagon channel is taking a closer look at these gold star children. here's jake tapper with the story of one remarkable little girl. >> reporter: there are nearly 5,000 boys and girls we want to talk to you about. 5,000 boys and girls who will not have a mom or dad to tuck them into bed tonight. the military estimates that's how many american children have lost a parent in combat to the wars in iraq and afghanistan. >> i'm a gold star child. >> reporter: sierra becker was just 7 years old when the knock on her door came. >> there is a gold star medal in
the military. and daddy was awarded that gold star medal. after he passed away. >> reporter: the children of the fallen are known as gold star children. sierra's father, staff sergeant shane becker, was killed in iraq in april 2007. gold star children, a documentary premiering on the pentagon channel tonight, traces the story of sierra and her family. >> i sort of felt like the world almost was pressing down on me to make a decision sometimes, to make a decision whether to completely change my personality or just gloss over what happened or just act like daddy's here every day. >> reporter: now 14, sierra is hoping the film and her story will help other gold star children continue to heal. >> when i say something to a kid
who has just lost their loved one, is that yes, everything will be okay and you'll be okay, too. you'll laugh again and you won't feel guilty for laughing, or having fun, without the person that you lost. >> reporter: the film pays attention to another special group of gold star children, those who lost a parent during the vietnam war. >> so you knew not to ask your parent about the death of your father, because it might upset her and you didn't want to do that. >> reporter: just hours after maddie was born, her father was killed in action in vietnam. >> for my generation, there was an estimated 20,000 american children who lost a parent in the vietnam war. virtually the 20,000 children or so were ignored and that was because of the circumstance of the country. >> reporter: she volunteers as a mentor for other gold star children and she hopes things will be different for them.
>> newly bereaved military children need to find support with each other and be able to talk about that loss together. >> my name is sierra. i'm 8 years old and i'm from texas. i came because i lost my dad. >> reporter: thankfully, today gold star children like sierra have many more options for support from groups like t.a.p.s., a group that helps grieving military families. on this day, as americans pause to honor the veterans, sierra wants us to remember her dad, too. >> i just want them to know about my dad and about all dads is that they're all special and they all mean something and they will never be forgotten. >> reporter: jake tapper, cnn, washington. makes you think of your own children. the pentagon channel will air that documentary in full tonight. that's it for "the lead." i'm jim sciutto. jake will be back tomorrow. sarah palin will join him for a sit-down interview to talk about her latest book on christmas.
her take on the republican party and her political future. that's tomorrow on "the lead" at 4:00 p.m. eastern. for now, i turn you over to the good hands of wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, unthinkable devastation. millions of people affected and a death toll that could easily reach 10,000. one survivor calling it worse than hell. cnn is on the ground in the philippines. we'll show you the terrifying moments when one of the strongest storms on record hit. our crew was in the middle of it all and carried out a dramatic rescue. with vast areas battered and isolated, people around the world are desperate to learn the fate of loved ones. we'll speak to an american woman who is trying to reach her family. i'm wolf blitzer. you' in "the situation room." the bodies are everywhere and the rubble of towns that no longer exist, three days after a record typhoon