tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC August 31, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
complete coverage of president obama's address. see you at 6:00. >> veggie bu tonight on "world news," turning point in iraq. after seven years, america's formal combat mission is over, the president talks about the road ahead. hurricane earl. zeroing in on the east coast. residents warned to prepare for winds gusting to 160 miles per hour. an answer for women at risk of breast cancer. if you remove a healthy breast, can it save your life? and, a peek at the big oval office makeover. the obama style on display, and what the president had woven into his rug. good evening. a long road and a long war have reached a milestone tonight.
president obama announcing that america has officially ended its combat mission in iraq, giving the lead to iraqi forces. and beginning a new chapter. >> from this desk, 7 1/2 years ago, president bush announced the beginning of military operations in iraq. the americans who are served in iraq completed every mission they were given. they defeated a regime that had terrorized its people. together with iraqis and coalition partners that made huge sacrifices of their own, our troops fought block by block to help iraq seize the chance for a better future. so, tonight, i am announcing that the american combat mission in iraq has ended. and the iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. violence will not end with our combat mission. extremists will continue to set off bombs, attack iraqi civilians and try to spark sectarian strife. but ultimately, these terrorists
will fail to achieve their goals. through this remarkable chapter in the history of the united states and iraq, we have met our responsibilities. now, it's time to turn the page. >> and i am joined now by george stephanopoulos here in new york, jake tapper standing by at the white house. a big night, a big declaration, george. what struck you about the speech? >> turning the page. that was the president's theme. that's why even in this speech about the war in iraq, the war in afghanistan, the president focused a significant portion on the economy, saying fixing the economy is the central mission of the american people. his central responsibility as president. >> that's right. he seemed to be saying one of the reasons we must do this in iraq is because of the economy. and jake, what's behind the scenes at the white house tonight? >> reporter: well, the argument the president was making by talking about the economy and afghanistan in many ways is that the iraq war kept our eyes off
the ball of those two important issues. afghanistan, taking the fight to al qaeda, and making sure that the middle class and the economy here are strong. so, there's a lot of republican carping today about how the president opposed the surge that led to this day, but the argument by the president is, i was right on the war, which kept our eye off the ball of those important things. >> and jake, i wish i had been on that phone call he made today to former president bush. >> reporter: that's right. on his way to texas where he greeted troops and thanks trooped at ft. bliss, he called president bush from air force one. he let him know about the speech, brief him on the speech and also to talk about the state of the war in iraq as it comes to the close of combat operations. we're not given a reedout of exactly what happened, but it's the same courtesy call he made before he announced this plan a year and a half ago on his way to camp lejeune in north carolina. >> george, we were talking about former president bush, and that night, that moment he spoke, it
is now seven years, five months and 13 days ago. let's listen. >> at this hour, american and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger. >> that war over 7 1/2 years made president bush one of the most unpopular presidents of modern times. and president obama's opposition to the war got him into the oval office. it's why he won the primaries. large reason he became president of the united states. >> tonight, he spoke respectfully of the former president and their disagreement. well, we've been talking about those who have left, what about the 50,000, the american troops who will stay in iraq. what are they saying tonight, now that operation iraqi freedom is officially called operation new dawn? dan harris is on his seventh trip to iraq since the start of the war, and he was with the u.s. troops in baghdad today. >> reporter: the combat mission may technically be over, but for anyone who thinks the danger is over, consider that there have
been 560 ied explosions in iraq in just the past month. >> be aware of two ieds near a house on the main road. >> reporter: do you feel like the war is over? >> we're combat troops. we're still here. we've still got a job to do. the names change but the mission's pretty much the same. >> reporter: you don't feel like combat is done? >> not at all, sir. >> reporter: it is still dangerous here. but it is also, in many ways, a whole new war. u.s. forces now need iraqi permission to arrest or kill a suspected terrorist. and it is the iraqis, not the americans, who are increasingly on the front lines. while americans hang back, even needing an iraqi escort to drive through any major city. what are the rules? if you get shot at, do you have to wait for a senior iraqi officer to say it's okay for you to shot back? >> no, an american soldier always has the right to self-defense. >> reporter: today in iraq, which has seen more than 100,000
of its citizens die over the last seven years, the prime minister addressed the nation, saying today was a big step toward regaining sovereignty, but there is little celebrating here. and continued, pervasive fear about whether the iraqi government can step up as the americans step back. two countries now united by that question and by so much loss. at the funeral for her husband, lance corporal brian montgomery, pamela montgomery dressed her son, alexander, in uniform. today, alexander is 6. >> his love of family, of duty, of country, that led him to make the choices that he did make, and i think that's a legacy that any family can build a life upon. >> reporter: the white house may talk about ending this war, but many on the home front and on the front lines say they are still fighting. dan harris, abc news, baghdad. and on this night, we take the measure of that american
sacrifice in the 7 1/2 years. as of tonight, 4,427 american servicemen and women died in iraq. the most recent, just nine days ago. 24-year-old sergeant brandon maggert of kirksville, missouri. the youngest forces who died there were just 18. the oldest, major stephen hutchinson, killed in a bomb blast at age 60. among those states especially hard-hit, 22 troops from tiny vermont died. the small population of montana suffered 230 wounded. in all, 34,268 americans would be wounded there. and the fighters we lost were sons and daughters from every single state. from 26-year-old specialist michael edwards of fairbanks, alaska, to 38-year-old chief petty officer patrick wade of key west, florida. 4,000 miles between them, in one
nation indivisible, serving when called. and, now, we turn to the giant storm, hurricane earl, the growing threat to the east coast. hurricane watches have just been issued for most of north carolina's coast. and as the monster storm builds, getting stronger as it goes, tonight, it is a category 4, 135-mile-per-hour winds, gusting up to 160. in the atlantic, the waves are surging, and the hit onshore could still come thursday. steve osunsami is in morehead city, north carolina, watching the approaching storm. >> reporter: hurricane earl came close enough to islands in the caribbean to rip off rooftops, knock down power lines and leave hundreds of thousands in the dark and without water. residents in the carolinas worry that they're next. the category 4 hurricane with 135-mile-an-hour winds is ocean expected to hug the eastern coastline but could easily turn in. >> people feel we're getting time for the big one.
>> reporter: fema is already sending resources to the carolinas, and urging local officials to make evacuation decisions now before it's too late. >> it's going to be too close to the coast not to be ready to go. >> reporter: on atlantic beach, it's a tough call. a mandatory evacuation right before labor day weekend would be terrible for beach-side businesses. >> safety of the citizens and visitors, you know, is the most important thing. >> reporter: restaurant manager rich cole says either way, earl has already struck. >> it's going to kill us. i mean, because, you know, everybody that would come visit the atlantic beach for labor day week send now going to be looking at the exact same forecast that we see. >> reporter: at hardware stores, up and down the carolina coast -- >> gas cans. flashlights. batteries. >> reporter: the customers were anxious. the stores were busy and running out of generators and other supplies. >> we just bought a radio, portable radio. and tv. >> reporter: everyone here is
watching this storm closely tonight, crossing their fingers, hoping it jogs to the east. diane? >> all right, steve. and from steve osunsami, we go to sam champion, who is in cedar point, north carolina, tonight, tracking earl. and sam, what about that possibility there could be a high pressure system that blocks the storm and knock it back out into the ocean? >> reporter: diane, two things happened today. and one of them was that cold front that's going to eventually steer earl slowed down today. but earl slowed down today, too. what that means is, they will connect, but a little too late to save the coastline of north carolina from a very close brush with a very powerful storm. let me show you what's going to happen. over the next 24 hours, the cold front makes a move out of the northern plains and gets to the shoreline. now here's what it does to the track of that storm. notice by friday afternoon, just how close that category 2 hurricane is, within 100 miles to the outer banks of north carolina. that means 60 to 70-mile-an-hour
winds right on the shoreline of north carolina and one to three inches of rain. as the storm curves and interacts with that front, it will put. but america curves right there, too. so, 200 miles away f ilee co miles away f and we expect this storm will be a very powerful category 1 storm as it is that close to the cape. so hurricane center very confident about theire-da plan, diane, but as with all hurricanes, we watch by 1 o >> l a word i knompio be publishing all of this online for anybody who wants to folow thank yo and now, one day after announcing two suspectere under arrest in an airline terror investigation, u.s. officials offered nwdet today about the men, backing todauspthatrmig men, backing have been on a dry run for an attack, and brian ross has the ew irma >> reporter: a passenger on the united flight from chicago to amsterdam took this video of the two men being taken off the plane monday by dutch authorities.
the u.s. had sent an alert after suspicions about the contents of their luggage and a last minute change in their flights. but it turns out the last minute change in flights was innocent. the two men missed their original flights in chicago sunday because of a gate change and united rebooked them. in fact, authorities now believe the two men, ahmed al soofi and hezam al murisi, although both from yemen, did not even now each other and were seated together only because united re-booked them that way. as for the luggage, law enforcement officials said today that the cell phones, including one taped to a pepto-bismol bottle, were strange but not illegal. one of al soofi's friends in detroit said it's not uncommon for people returning to yemen to bring cell phones and medicine for others taped together. >> they want to tape it together to make sure this is my stuff, you got to give it to my wife or my son or whatever i send it to. >> reporter: u.s. officials seem to accept that explanation, and today the department of homeland security said the incident showed the airport security
system is working and able to respond quickly to potential threats. the two men are still being held in amsterdam tonight but u.s. authorities who were so concerned yesterday are now saying they know of no reason to hold the men or their cell phones or their pepto-bismol any longer, diane. >> so, they accept the explanation on the pepto-bismol and the cell phones? >> reporter: apparently so. >> all right, thank you, brianfo and in the middle east, palestinian gunmen opened fire on an israeli car in the west bank, killing four people, including a pregnant woman. the strikes possibly designed to disrupt the peace talks between israel and the palestinians beginning in ahincf1 &-row. the militant group hamas has claimed responsib and, an update now on a story we brought you in may. you may remember john quinones reported on the texas high school football star who became a powerful drug lord and a dangerous role model for kids. because of his good looks, he was known as la barbie. well, he has been captured. edgar valdez, under arrest in
mexico. a major win in that country's war against the cartels. and still ahead on "world news," the radical surgery many healthy women are choosing. does it work? an answer. the extreme home makeover at the white house. and, on this milestone night for soldiers, the happiest little boys and girls in the world. yes, i hear progressive has lots of discounts on car insurance. can i get in on that? are you a safe driver? yes. discount! do you own a home? yes. discount! are you going to buy online? yes! discount! isn't getting discounts great? yes! there's no discount for agreeing with me. yeah, i got carried away. happens to me all the time. helping you save money -- now, that's progressive. call or click today. but my doctor told me that most calcium supplements... aren't absorbed properly unless taken with food. he recommended citracal. it's different -- it's calcium citrate, soit can be absorbed ith or without food.
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cancer and ovarian cancer. some have decided to have healthy breasts removed. an extreme step, but there's been a question, does it work? tonight, one answer from sharyn alfonsi. >> reporter: lisa schlager felt a little like a ticking time bomb. she has a history of cancer in her family. and she has the brca-1 genetic munition the mutation that makes her more likely to get breast cancer. >> i got to the point where i felt like it wasn't an if i was going to get cancer, but a when. >> reporter: so, schlager decided to have her breasts and ovaries removed. even though she's never had cancer. >> if i got sick, i just started having nightmares about what would happen to my family. >> reporter: some of her friends thought it was a radical step, but the new study validates the difficult decision that she and thousands of other women have already made. over six years, researchers looked at nearly 2,500 women with the genetic mutation.
of the 247 that decided to have preventive mastectomies, none got cancer. of the more than 900 who decided to have their ovaries and tubes removed, only ten got cancer. compare that to the 1,600 women who chose not to undergo any kind of surgery. 98 of them were later diagnosed with cancer. >> for people who feel that they would really, be very anxious and worried all the time and not be able to do anything about their risks, these data say that that's not true. >> reporter: lisa schlager says having the surgeries wasn't an easy decision. but for her, and her kids, it was the right one. sharyn alfonsi, abc news, new york. and one more note. this one about bladder cancer. a new study found that high levels of the mineral selenium reduced the risk of bladder cancer 39%. women appeared to benefit the most, and dietary sources of selenium include cereals, brazil nuts and tuna.
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and now, president obama reveals his makeover of the oval office. something every president does. president taft favored olive green. lyndon johnson brought in a cabinet with three televisions. president nixon redecorated in bold blue and gold. and george w. bush chose a rug with an optimistic sun burst designed by his wife laura. well, today, there it is, we see president obama's new wallpaper, furniture, a muted beige, and the rug has five inspirational sayings woven into the border, uttered during tough times, including fdr's famous line, "we have nothing to fear but fear itself." and by the way, none of this was at cost to taxpayers. the obama inaugural committee picked up the bill. and, here in new york, what
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and finally, on this night that the u.s. combat mission in iraq formally ends, we remember some of those moments, those surprises, when mom or dad came back from war -- truly home. surprised faces overflowing with tears and love. >> oh, my god! >> reporter: for everyone, a long journey ended. hugs so tight, they seem to squeeze the months of worry away. there was the 10-year-old, hannah, who made brave little video diaries. >> my dad, master sergeant joe myers, is in iraq right now. >> reporter: not knowing, later, at school --
>> come here. >> daddy! >> reporter: in another classroom, a navy s.e.a.l., senior chief terry daus, appearing in his daughter's third grade in jacksonville, florida. she had been waiting one year for daddy to come home. >> really surprised. i'm so happy my daddy's here. >> reporter: and in san antonio, texas, another surprise. little taylor can't believe her eyes. >> i think it was something different but it was my daddy. >> reporter: eight months without him, an eternity for a 5-year-old. >> it's a real joy to see her run up to me like that. feel like crying, but i'm not going to cry. >> reporter: and when you're finally together, feeling too much to say. >> come on in. >> reporter: like marine staff sergeant mike epperson, surprising his two daughters,
caitlin and caylee, at their school assembly in ohio. >> i'm probably going to cry. i haven't seen them in almost eight months. >> reporter: and in his honor, a song about the home of the brave and the moms and the dads. ♪ and the home of the brave and we will see you right back here tomorrow night. until then, good night. were deputies justified in daysing -- tasing this marin county man? >> dozens of criminals swept off the streets in a crime crack down. it may have crippled the notorious california prison gang. >> and the shooting of a
fremont police officer a woman suspected of being an accomplice is set free. a round over cut backs firefighters revealing a flaw in a dispatching system. good evening, everyone. he was tased as he was on his wade to bed. >> the sheriff's department responds tho this video seen only on 7. you can see the 64-year-old peter mcfarland being tased by deputies three times. >> vick slee in the newsroom tonight with reaction from the sheriff's department. >> reporter: officials did not respond to the lawsuit saying they haven't seen it yet nor did they give us an interview on camera. but they did tell us the use of force is never taken lightly and that when all facts are made public, they're sure the deputies will be vindicated. the
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