tv PBS News Hour PBS October 26, 2010 5:30pm-6:30pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. a foreign ministry spokesman confirmed today that iran has sent millions of dollars to the afghan government. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, two afghan watchers assess the growing rift between washington and kabul. >> lehrer: then, a campaign update with the latest on two key senate races. jim o'toole of the "pittsburgh post gazette" goes through the contest in pennsylvania. >> ifill: and joel connelly of the "seattle post intelligencer" has the sprint to the finish in washington state. >> lehrer: special correspondent kira kay reports on the fight against breast cancer in bosnia.
1992 war broke out here. the medical system crumbled along with the rest of the country. >> ifill: and a closer look at the engineering feat that saved the chilean miners. margaret warner talks to one american who helped plan the rescue. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> okay, listen. somebody has got to get serious. >> i think... >> we need renewable energy. >> ...renewable energy is vital to our planet.
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: news that afghanistan's government is taking money from iran caused new ripples today. the iranians confirmed it, a day after afghan president karzai defended the practice. it was the best face forward when president obama met with karzai last may in washington, but after the latest dust-up the state department had to insist again today the u.s. has an effective relationship with the afghan leader. >> he is a partner. we are working closely with he and his government, you know, to improve the security of the country. general petraeus and ambassador ikeen berry meet with him on a regular basis. i would describe our relationship as very solid and
working to fulfill our mutual interests. >> lehrer: new questions about that relationship arose monday when karzai acknowledged accepting millions of dollars from iran. he said his chief of staff takes bags of cash on his orders. >> this is transparent. this is something that i have also discussed with... even when we were at camp david with president bush. this is nothing hidden. we are grateful for the help in this regard. the united states is doing the same thing. they are providing cash to some of our offices. it does give bags of money, yes. yes, it does. >> lehrer: at the white house today spokesman robert gibdz was asked repeatedly about that claim. >> we're not in the big bags of cash business. >> are you sure that no government agency is in the big bags of cash business. >> i've not been read into
that. i can tell you what i know. >> bags, briefcases, whatever. >> i'm relying on the knowledge that i have on this subject. >> lehrer: iran said today it's helping with reconstruction and not trying to buy influence with karzai. but the questions did not end there. karzai also charged the u.s. has financed the killing of afghans by paying private security guards for construction projects and convoys. >> it is a problem for the afghan people and their presence here is against afghan law. local security in afghanistan, the police and army, are paid poorly while private security get paid very well and pay local afghan security people more than the government pays its police and army. >> lehrer: the afghan president has ordered an end to using private guards by december despite pleas from the western organizations that rely on them. all of this follows reports that an august meeting with u.s. envoy richard holbrook
over election fraud turned explosive. and u.s. officials have even voiced doubts about karzai's middle state. the recent bob woodward book, obama's war, cited intelligence that karzai has been diagnosed as man i can depressive. it quotes u.s. ambassador carl ikeen bury as saying he's on his meds, he's off his meds. the concerns over karzai's reliability have come as u.s. forces try to gain the upper hand over the taliban before beginning to draw down next summer. more than 1350 americans have died in the afghan war since 2001. for contrasting views of this, for contrasting views of this, ali jalali served as a former afghan interior minister. he's now a distinguished professor at national defense university here in the u.s. steven clemons is a senior fellow at the new america foundation, a washington think tank, and publisher of a blog, the washington note.
mr. clemons, what do you make of all this new discord, i guess you would call it, between president karzai and the u.s. government? >> well, i think as your commentary showed earlier, it's really not so new. it would be naive.... >> lehrer: a new episode. >> i think it would be naive to think that president karzai in afghan wouldn't be finding ways to cut deals with all of their neighbors. we're not a monopoly. the united states's position is not a monopoly. we need to stop acting as if it is. that said there's just no doubt that president karzai is willing to play one side off another, to take influence. we should be concerned about that. it's just i think we go in with a very naive picture that we can somehow control all the pieces of the game and we work through that, that portal. i think president karzai is an undependable ally. i think he's doing what he needs to do to survive, but that's not necessarily furthering the u.s. national interests in afghanistan. >> lehrer: how do you feel
about the iran thing specifically? is it okay for the iranians to give bags of cash to the afghan government? >> afghanistan faces so many challenges, so many problems. afghanistan is a taker. not only iran but many countries help afghanistan. as far as the cash assistance is concerned, i think it is not a secret. many times i heard it from president karzai in the cabinet meeting that he said that and he used it for certain projects. unless the united states helps afghanistan not only the government but even some, you know, brokers with cash and money. afghanistan is a very difficult situation, a very complex situation. in that situation there are so many hands in the jar. therefore it's not surprising. >> lehrer: what is iran getting in exchange for this money? what are they buying? are they buying anything? >> i don't think iran can buy afghanistan with that kind of money. president karzai and all afghans i believe, i think, that the investment in
afghanistan, in the presence of so many troops of the united states and the commitment of the united states is beyond the imagination that somebody will undermine that with some money. however, afghanistan has to live with its neighbors. it has to deal with neighbors. i don't think dealing with the neighbors is something that will undermine the commitment of the international community to afghanistan. >> lehrer: do you agree with that that whatever he's doing, taking money from iran or whatever isn't going to undermine the basic relationship with the united states and its allies? >> well, i think it depends on how we go. you have to remember that we're spending now just in military terms $100 billion a year in a country with $14 billion of g.d.p.. this number is not widely known by people. >> lehrer: $100 billion. >> $100 billion is what the u.s. government is spending right now on the military dimension, that doesn't include the non-military dimension or allies. it doesn't include iran's bags of money.
>> lehrer: not aid to the government itself? >> not the non-military aid. in the g.d.p. of afghanistan is $14 billion. in that equation you have a massive amount of capital and bags of cash pumping into afghanistan. much of it leaves as soon as it gets in. karzai and many of his fellow sorb yeahs, i would say it's associates rather than him have allegedly pumped about $billion of capital out of the country recently. >> lehrer: you mean they've stolen it? >> they've stolen it. they've come by it. that money is moving out. that's not healthy. it's not healthy for afghanistan. it's not healthy for the united states. it actually in my view, yes, iran is a problem. it could be a partner to the united states. if in fact you were able to build a broader scheme and deal with iran deal with various aspects of the region. my sense is that iran is giving money to karzai to buy its own influence there just like iran is giving money to the taliban to buy money from
the taliban. the taliban is supposedly an enemy from iran. iran is playing all sides. >> lehre let's go specifically to president karzai. mr. clemons' point a moment ago was that karzai is not a dependable ally for the united states. do you buy that some. >> no. i think president karzai is an elected leader of afghanistan. it's a partnership. you have to work with that government. there's no other alternative. i believe that there are some misperceptions, distrust, unfortunately, developed between the washington and kabul in the past two years. it started with the election. at that time president karzai, you know, somehow perceived that the washington is against his re-election or something like that. particularly some of his rivals actually were given the impression that they are groomed by washington. >> lehrer: trying to get rid of him. >> that's right.
this was the beginning. later on some other issues unfortunately caused this misperception, suspicions. in some neighbors of afghanistan, some enemies of afghanistan. they actually tried to use this between afghanistan and the international community. >> lehrer: what about that point, mr. clemons? his earlier point that like him or not he's the elected president of this country. the united states is going to deal with afghanistan they're going to deal with karzai. no choice. >> there are legitimate issues about the legitimacy of president karzai and two fraudulent elections. i also think that whether or not he is the person we came up with in a process through the agreement, we've tried to develop a constitutional order. i think richard holbrook's people are doing a very good job trying to-- trying to eject civil society into the equation but not getting very far. when you look at allotted and you look at how we personalized this around karzai, anyone who is a student of u.s. foreign policy knows we need to step back and begin letting the system begin
to digest the possibility of other leaders and not get so committed to one game and one person that we undermine both our own interests and the success. i think we've made ourselves, we've convinced our self-that karzai is the only answer. i think we've also failed to see the fact that afghanistan as a whole is becoming not something where american power and capability in the region is being leveraged but rather it's being contained. you see a hemorrhaging of american power in the region. that's helping countries like iran rather than detering them. >> lehrer: do you read it the same way? >> no, i believe that afghanistan is not a place that the united states went to help karzai or somebody in that country. there's a security issue at stake. the united states went to afghanistan.... >> lehrer: security issues for the u.s. you mean? >> yes, yes. therore, i think that, yes, the way out will be to work together with the afghan government and... unfortunately instead of
enhancing understanding between the two sides, i think sometimes these media reports, you know, do not help. karzai and his advisors believe this is a concerted effort to pressure him or tof discredit him. >> lehrer: what about these reports, the personal reports like that we had in the set-up piece where i reporteded what was in bob woodward's book. that can't go down very well within the afghan government and the karzai world, can it? >> well, i was with karzai when he was reading that book recently. >> lehrer: is that right? >> unfortunately many of the, you know, things in that book are not true. i've known karzai for 30 years now. i have never sensed that he is on med or off med. therefore, i think many of these issues in that book unfortunately do not help diffuse this tension. >> lehrer: but that kind of
thing was attributed by name. that was not one of these source stories in bob woodward's book. it was attributed to the ambassador. >> i think in this case with president karzai, i've known carl ikeen berry since he was a defense attache in china. i trust his judgment. i think there are lots of other players in this business who have had the similar kinds of concern about president karzai's leadership. during the bush administration we had steve hadly and others with equal concerns. when the bush administration actually began to wash their hands of karzai it wasn't under obama. it began under bush. it was at that point that karzai reinvented himself and began to distance himself from the united states in some ways as a political tactic. what we've seen since is that president karzai has become a balancer among a lot of other players. the taliban's interest, his own interest, iran's interest, pakistan, et cetera. but what he hasn't done in the nine years that we've been at this is come up with a construct for might cal inclusion in that country that will solve the deep internal
divides and really what is a civil war beneath a regional contest of other powers. they have to do that. he's been unwilling and winning in the process of not solving this problem. >> lehrer: a few seconds left. generally, do you agree with that, that things are not going well? >> things are not going well. there's no doubt about that. but i think unfortunately instead of trying to solve these problems and diffuse these tensions, karzai bashing will not help. >> lehrer: gentlemen, thank you both very much. >> thank you, jim. >> ifill: still to come on >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, campaign updates on the senate contests in pennsylvania and washington state; the battle against breast cancer in bosnia; and how an american company helped rescue the chilean miners. but first, with the other news of the day, here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: iraq's high tribunal today sentenced one of saddam hussein's most prominent aides to death by hanging. former foreign minister tariq aziz was convicted of crimes
against humanity. we have a report narrated by bill neely of independent television news. he followed his leader saddam hussein to the letter. now he may follow him to the gal owes. he was the face of saddam's regime abroad, but the face was sunken as he heard his death sentence. lost for words for once. in office, he often saluted the telephone when saddam rang. i was utterly loyal. his master's mouth piece. he was distinctive. the glasses, the cuban cigars. he loved whiskey and grew up as michael, a christian but he changed it for saddam. he was with him from the start, defiant before the first gulf war, defiant before the second. he met the pope just before the bombs fell and told itv news he would never surrender. >> you expect me after all my history as a militant and as an iraqi, one of the iraqi
leaders, to go to an american prison, to go to guantanamo? i would prefer to die. >> reporter: but he did surrender and has spent seven years in jail and on trial. he's been sentenced to hang for persecuting shia muslim politicians like the current iraqi prime minister. his lawyer says the sentence is all about revenge. >> sreenivasan: there was no immediate word on when aziz will be executed. iran has begun loading fuel into its first nuclear power plant. the announcement today involved the bushehr nuclear reactor, built by russia and being supervised by the u.n. nuclear agency. it is expected to begin generating electricity by mid- february. the power plant is separate from an alleged nuclear weapons program that has prompted u.n. sanctions. a foreign ministry spokesman said again today, iran's efforts are entirely peaceful and determined. >> the pressures exerted against our nation politically or by using leverages of sanctions and other pressures cannot prevent
our country from progress and cannot prevent our nation from accessing its legitimate rights in peacefully benefiting from nuclear science. we will pursue our long-term programs in this field. >> sreenivasan: in new york, u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton said the u.s. does not object to the bushehr plant. >> i heard some of the news coverage that, you know, oh, my goodness the iranians are starting their reactor. that is not the issue. they are entitled to peaceful civilian nuclear power. they are not entitled to nuclear weapons. >> sreenivasan: clinton appealed again for the iranians to return to talks over their nuclear program. in western indonesia, at least 113 people were killed when an earthquake triggered a ten-foot tsunami late monday. dozens of people were missing. the fault that ruptured was the same one that caused the 2004 quake and tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 12 countries. 800 miles to the southeast, at least 19 people died when indonesia's most active volcano erupted.
hot ash spewed from mount merapi, and more than 11,000 villagers were urged to flee. one of the most ferocious storms in decades blasted the u.s. midwest today. winds gusting to 60 miles an hour, plus blizzards and tornado warnings, stretched from the dakotas to the great lakes and south to mississippi. the wind tore away roofs from buildings in indiana and flipped heavy trucks onto their sides. bad conditions also forced flight delays in chicago and elsewhere across the region. forecasters said the storm's pressure reading resembled a category 3 hurricane. british drug maker glaxo-smith- kline will pay $750 million in a settlement with the u.s. government. federal prosecutors charged a company plant in puerto rico made medicines that were mislabeled, contaminated, too weak or too strong. they included the antidepressant paxil. the plant has since closed. in economic news, a monthly survey showed consumer confidence is up slightly, but there are lingering fears about jobs. and on wall street, the dow jones industrial average gained five points to close at 11,169. the nasdaq rose six points to close at 2497.
the obama administration has launched a new initiative to prevent bullying in schools. the education department warned today that violations of students' civil rights could be involved. it sent an advisory letter to school districts, colleges and universities nationwide. there have been several high profile cases lately of gay students being harassed and committing suicide. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: only a week before the election, and several key senate races are still simply too close to call. tonight we take a closer look at the issues and the candidates driving the debate in the east and the west. it's part of our continuing vote 2010 coverage. the road to a republican senate majority runs through several key states. two of the campaign battle grounds: pennsylvania and washington. in washington, three-term incumbent democrat patty murray faces a tough challenge from republican dino rossi who has run unsuccessfully for
governor twice before. they're dead-heat race has drawn presidential visits and national attention. the two spared last weekend in a debate that focused on the federal government's response to the economic crisis. >> every one of those stimulus jobs that came to the state of washington according to the federal government cost $323,000 to create each one. what i talked about is allowing entrepreneurs to chase that american dream doesn't cost the tax payors anything. >> i go out on those work sites where those men and women are working. it's construction on mercer street that is paying those people. mr. rossi is going to give them a pink slip. the people who are working to fix the hanssen dam right now, he's going to give them a pink slip. >> ifill: similar themes are playing out in pennsylvania where democratic congressman joe sestak and former republican congressman pat toomey are also locked in a toss-up senate race. whoever wins will replace arlen specter who lost to sestak after switching parties last year.
in their debate last week, each sought to paint the other as out of touch with the concerns of average pennsylvanians. sestak attempted to tie toomey to conservatives linked to the tea party movement. >> palin, toomey, o'donnell. they all would like to overturn "roe v. wade." i believe that the life decisions of a family should be made within the family. i don't think government should intervene. i respect precedent on the supreme court. i think there's even more of an extreme taken by congressman toomey on such social issues and others. >> ifill: much as rossi has done in washington toomey tied sestak to the obama administration's economic policy. >> that stimulus bill, joe might be the only person in the united states who thinks that that should have been a trillion dollars as he said because $800 billion of money we didn't have wasn't enough.
joe, that's a very extreme agenda. it's out of step with pennsylvania. >> ifill: one clear sign of the importance of the state president obama will return there to campaign for sestak this weekend. for more, we turn to james owe tool for more, we turn to james o'toole, political editor for the "pittsburgh post-gazette," and joel connelly, national correspondent and political columnist for the "seattle post- intelligencer." welcome to you both. jim o'toole, let's start with you. what's going on in pennsylvania and why is it so close? >> well, i think that this campaign, both sides have tried to paint one another as the hand maiden of wall street. that message has really gotten on a lot more from the sestak campaign. toomey has had the upper hand almost since the primary but it's now pretty close race according to the polls and the body language of the campaigns. president obama's visit to philadelphia for the second time in about three weeks is certainly an indication of that. >> ifill: who are the target
voters for each side? who are the republicans targeting in this last week and who are the democrats going after? >> well i think that the democrats and if obama visit is an example of it, are working really hard to bring out their base, to bring a big turnout in philadelphia. president obama's numbers in pennsylvania, a state he carried in a landslide a couple years ago are not good right now but they are still... he's still popular in philadelphia. for sestak, for the democratic gubernatorial candidate to have any chance they've got to come out in big numbers there. former representative toomey is going for the same cohort that republicans are going for across the country: people who are upset about the economy, concerned that there's been too much money spent on bailouts, and people who just don't see a way out of this recession. >> ifill: we just heard a little bit of joe sestak trying to link mr. toomey to the tea party movement. how much of a factor is that
in this race and did his effort in that debate actually help or hurt? >> well, i think on social issues, there's an opportunity for the democrats particularly in the socially suburbs of philadelphia, but it's not as much of an opportunity in this election cycle as maybe in others because the economy is so much drowning out other issues. representative toomey is a social conservative. but his history and his current campaign are focused much more on kind of economic conservative issues. in that his appeal dove tails with the message of the tea party. >> ifill: since president obama did win there in 2008 but, as you pointed out, isn't doing so well there right now in terms of popularity, when he comes back repeatedly or vice president biden of course who is from scranton, pennsylvania, comes back repeatedly into the state, is that helping? >> well, it is a double-edged sword, as you suggest. but i think that the up side is much more important to the
democrats than the negative. i think the negative is already there. you're not going to pin sestak's reputation closer to the administration. i think he does not... although he asserts his political independence, he does not try to walk away from the votes on things like health care and the stimulus. so in so far as president obama can engender any enthusiasm in the big democratic strongholds, that's something that is essential to democrat candidates statewide. >> ifill: joe connelly in washington state we're talking about an incumbent senator who is trying to hold on to her seat in the case of patty murray. she's a known quantity there. why is she so vulnerable? >> she's vul terrible because she has an opponent who had in dino rossi's words $20 million worth of media exposure in his 2004 and 2008 campaigns for governor. we also have a state that has
had very, very close election, u.s. senate in 2000, governor's race decided by 133 votes with rossi on the losing side in 2004. various parts of the state vote in different ways. murray is trying to get out the vote in the seattle area. rossi is campaigning in more conservative republican areas in southwest washington and eastern washington. >> ifill: you mentioned dino rossi's name recognition because he's run twice before in close races but if he didn't win those times what's different this time? >> in 2008 you had an awful lot of surge voters. younger voters inspired by the obama campaign. you also had a great deal of support for women for governor christine gregoire who beat rossi. the murray campaign is attempting to remobilize that support. witness michelle obama and joe biden being here for her yesterday. very, very much along the same battle lines with murray
putting a great deal of emphasis on what has been her core support: women voters. >> ifill: how are the issues in a traditionally blue state like washington different even though they're both dead heats in a state like pennsylvania which has trended more purpose- like in recent years, i guess you could say? >> washington is a very socially liberal place. pro environment. pro-choice. we legalized abortion well before the roe versusú=e decision. murray is hitting on that type of issue. at the same time, however, rossi is something of a prized recruit for the senate republican leadership. he leaves, to borrow the phrase of calvin coolidge, that the business of america is business, that we should extend the bush tax cuts, that if we do that, we will provide business with not only money but certainty and the free enterprise system will lift us out of the great recession. so a very, very clear choice. murray is, while she stresses she's a mom in tennis shoes, still a mom in tennis shoes, she's also the fourth ranking member of the senate's
democratic leadership. >> ifill: we spend a lot of time in washington looking at the money being spent in these campaigns. it's something the dem vats have been talking about a lot. washington stit state is a perfect example. how much evidence do you see that all of these outside groups which we keep hearing about in the abstract are actually having an effect on this race? >> american cross roads, one conservative group, began depicting murray tennis shoes as stomping on people immediately after the primary. cross roads g.p.s. is into the tune of about $2.6 million. i get mailings in my mailbox from americans for tax reform. the rossi campaign has raised a certain amount of money but outside groups have spent a great deal more money. democratic outside groups have come in too. so we have the wall-to-wall negative advertising on tv. the waiters that people use for fishing in our streams during the fall months are needed now for the muddyness of the campaign we're witnessing.
>> ifill: jim o'toole i want to go back to pennsylvania for a moment because one of the things which is true about both of these races is that everyday there's a new poll that tells you it's going one points or two or three points one way or the other. how do you as a paid political professional here, analyst, how do you figure it out? how do you know which way it's going. you said body language earlier. >> well, i don't know the answer. i don't know which polls are precisely accurate. i don't know which ones are more predict tive. i mean, i think everybody follows the consensus of polls. that's shown some narrowing. i should say that there was an... well, it might prove to be the accurate one. there was a seeming out liar today, the college tracking poll which a lot of people follow here. it showed former representative toomey jumping up to a nine-point lead which would be a big big disappointment to the democrats if it were true. >> ifill: wasn't there another poll later in the day that showed it at one point? >> yes, yes.
reuters had a poll that had it dead even. so there has been some dissonance but more convergence in recent weeks in the last two or three weeks. >> ifill: i want to end by asking you both this question. i'll start with you, jim, and then go to you, joel. two years ago both of these states went for barack obama in what was certainly an historic and remarkable election in lots of ways. in that states didn't do what they had always done. what changed in pennsylvania between 2008 and 2010 or what looks like it's changed? is it the economy? what is it? >> i think it is a very simple answer. i think it's why this is such a nationalized election. it is the economy. people are weary of all these double-digit months of high unemployment and there's no immediate hope to use a word that was bandied about much in
2008. i think that it's just tried the patience of many voters in this state. >> ifill: joel, in a state where every single ballot is being cast by mail, how does that play out? >> it plays out as a kind of three-week election campaign. but to go to your previous question, we're kind of... we still make things that the world wants to buy. people come here to start new lives and so on. we've had something we haven't seen in many many years in the northwest. that is uncertainty. people are mulling a decision between two very clear and very different alternatives in this election. it's going to be close here too. we may actually take a couple of weeks beyond the election with the country looking at us to count those ballots. >> ifill: we'll see you on turkey day then joel connelly and jim o'toole. thank you both very much. >> thanks, gwen. >> thank you.
>> lehrer: next tonight a >> lehrer: next, a new killer in a country that has known a lot of war. from bosnia, special correspondent kira kay reports on the fight against breast cancer. ♪ i run for hope >> reporter: to the sound of american rock star melissa ethridge, hundreds of women gathered for an event also becoming a recognizable american brand. the susan race f the cure, galvanizing the fight against breast cancer. but this is sarajevo, the cap capital, a nation still more identified by its civil war that ended 15 years ago. the women arrived here in high spirits but with a mission. >> this is important to me because i am one of the sick women. i just had chemotherapy.
this is the second time that i've had cancer. first in my breast and now in my bones. here you feel a lot. do not give up the fight for life. but there is some hope. you can win against the disease. >> reporter: this is the new frontier in the fight against breast cancer. one the world health organization reports 70% of global cancer deaths are now occurring in the low and middle income countries. >> you are not alone. you are with your sisters both in the united states and across the world. >> reporter: nancy macgregor is here representing coman. >> what is different here is this is newer for them. it is very similar to when the foundation was started 30 years ago but when the race was new, people were a little timid. yes, they come and you see them start to proudly wear the shirts, to begin to dance to the music. they are finding their voice and speaking for what needs to be done because lives are
being lost needlessly. >> reporter: breast cancer is the number one killer of women in bosnia. local doctors estimate that 40% of women diagnosed with breast cancer here die from it. compared to 11% in the united states. race volunteer has been fighting for five years to beat that grim statistic. at only 39, she noticed a lump and went to her doctor. after an ultrasound she was sent away with a clean bill of health. six months later, her husband urged her to get a second opinion. and then another month passed before she finally received a biopsy and a stunning diagnosis. >> it was not only one tumor. it was two tumors. i was inoperable. first i had to undergo chemotherapy. i received four chemotherapys. the tumor shall rank so i underwent surgery. i then had one month of
radiation. >> reporter: she blames her doctor for his failure to identify her disease. she also blames herself. >> the disease isn't talked about much here. it's a taboo subject. if i knew more about it when i suspected something i wouldn't have waited and i wouldn't get into a situation where it was too late. >> reporter: if breast cancer is caught in its first two stages cure rates can be as high as 85% but in bosnia breast health is not routinely part of general care and doctors lack knowledge and medical tools. and so radiologist says late diagnose he's like this woman's are the tragic norm. >> we do not have national screening program that is a big reason why we do have so many advanced cases. our female population is is not educated enough, then there is not enough raid rolgss specialized in breast disease.
>> reporter: the country of bosnia used to be part of the former socialist republic of yugoslavia which actually had well trained doctors and a solid health infrastructure. then in 1992 war broke out here. and the medical system crumbled along with the rest of the country. doctors fled. hospitals were destroyed. today there are only about 30 mammogram machines to serve a country of almost two million women. waiting times of seven months, even up to a year are not uncommon. bureaucratic hurdles further endanger women's lives. take the case of this city of 70,000 people but not one mammogram machine. its hospital does have a radiologist, who is used to making due with what he has. he used me his one diagnostic tool an ultrasound. is thisnough for you to save women's lives? >> with this machine i can only try to reach the
diagnosis as soon as i can. but the ultrasound check-up of the breast is not enough for early diagnosis of breast cancer. >> reporter: the nearest functioning mammogram machine is an hour away over the hills where there aren't enough radiologists to run it full time. this nurse says local women are being sent in circles. >> there are patients who come directly here, but the surgeon has to turn them back to do the mammography. so women are wandering a lot before they get into this main hospital. when they reach it here it is often too late. the system has failed to tell you the truth. >> lack of machines and a shortage of educated staff is a secondary problem. the main problem is that we don't have a national program. then we simply don't know in which direction to drive our car. >> reporter: what the doctor is longing for might be starting here at a conference that is bringing together bosnia's doctors, government ministers and breast cancer
survivors. it was organized by the women's health empowerment program funded by coman and the american jewish joint distribution committee. this woman runs the program in boss knee... bosnia. >> if they are not working together, nothing will improve. they need to work together. that is the only way. governmental institutions, together with the expertise of medical professionals, and the experience of the patients can improve things. >> reporter: goals include increased training of health care practitioners, broadening screening and treatment, and strengthening the nation's fledgling network of grarb roots initiatives to reach women with information that could save their lives. bosnia is a patriarchal society and religious barriers still exist in traditional communities. but the biggest challenge is the widely held belief that cancer still means certain death. and so wep is trying to change
this dangerous misperception starting at a young age. >> we will talk about how to discover it as an early stage because when the malignant disease is discovered early then the percentage of successful cure is high. >> reporter: this high school session is led by oncologist. she walks students through a self-exam and the basics of breast health. and there's a wider goal. >> i will listen to someone's children. they have mothers. they have grandmas. they have aunts. from that one family if one person says i listen to this very carefully and i'll book a checkup then i've succeeded in my lecture. >> reporter: it's been three years since she underwent her last surgery. but every visit to the doctor is an anxious one. she has already had one recurrence of her cancer. today her tests show no signs of the disease.
but she still has two more years to wait before she is considered cured. the news was not good for others visiting the same hospital. in the hour we spent here, two women were diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. the struggle against breast cancer in bosnia has a long way to go but events like the race for the cure are bringing the cause out in the open. >> i will run this race for as long as i live. >> reporter: for this woman and other survivors here, this day capped another leg in their own race for recovery. >> ifill: finally tonight, the engineering miracle behind the rescue of the chilean miners.
on august 5, the san jose mine in northern chile collapsed, trapping 33 miners nearlrs halfa mile below some of the hardest rock on earth. three separate drilling operations-- dubbed plans a, b, and c-- worked to get the men out. the story gripped the world for more than 60 days. for the last month, a crew from the pbs program "nova" chronicled the efforts. here are two excerpts from the documentary, starting one month into the crisis. today an american-built drilling rig, the t-130 arrives. it's part of a daring new rescue plan dubbed plan-b. it started with a phone call from pennsylvania-based drilling engineer brandon fisher. >> we initially saw that they were planning on taking as
long as christmas. we felt we needed8a to get involved and at least reach out and let people know from chile that we have technology that could possibly help. >> reporter: brandon's plan is brutal but much faster. instead of grinding the rock like plan-a, his drill will smash it. compressed air forces a piston to smash into a drill head made ofardened tungsten steel points. these points hammer into the rock 20 times a second. this drill should be twice as fast as the 950 but there's one major drawback. you can't steer it. but brandon has a plan. three six-inch diameteram shafts run down to the miners. they're supplying the men with food, water and medical supplies. bland on's bold idea is to
sacrifice one of these supply lines. he will use it to guide his air-powered hammer. the plan-b team have designed a special hammer head with a guide piece on the tip that allows the drill to follow the existing pilot hole. as plan-a continues on, plan-b starts to drill. the fit 150 feetof this hole is the hardest. the drilling bit has to change direction steeply at the top as it follows the existing pilot hole. brandon worries that the hammerhead will jump out of the guide hole as it tries to round the curve. plan-b is a fast but high-risk
ride. day 65. the sun rises over a freezing atacoma desert. as day breaks, plan-b is only ten feet away from the miners. it's a dangerous time. the rock directly above the tunnel roof is weak. the threat of major collapse is very real. >> we're going to take our time talking to the miners. they'll be telling us what they're seeing down there. everyone is completely pumped up right now. >> reporter: they've reached the final few feet. now they're drilling at half speed inching toward their target.
8:00 a.m.. brandon fisher specially designed drill smashes through to the miners. >> best drillers i've ever seen. this is the 33rd day we were drilling. 33 days, 33 miners. i just can't believe we're finally here. i don't even know what to say. i feel like i'm ready to explode. >> reporter: after 65 torturous days underground, the plan-b team gives the miners their escape route. >> the hardest job i've ever been on in my life. technically and emotionally. it fought us the whole way. a lot of times we didn't think we would make it. at the very end you saw the pipe jamming.
the roof bolts were catching in the teeth. great, we're not going to be able to make it. we made it. >> reporter: mission accomplished. the plan-b team leaves. ifill: "emergency mine rescue" airs tonight on most pbs stations. margaret warner has more now with one of the architects of the plan b effort. >> warner: drilling the shaft to reach the trapped miners was very much a team effort. one u.s. company, drillers supply international of houston, made the drill pipe used in plan b. its president, greg hall, was featured at the end of the nova clip. he also served as a general contractor of sorts, bringing together brandon fisher and his hammering drill head technology with riggers, drillers and others. greg hall joins us now to tell us more about it. you were seeing this for the first time while we watched it here right now. are you still pinching yourself that it actually worked. >> i really am.
every now and then i still wake up at night worrying about the miners because it was such a long, drawn-out process getting them out. it's wonderful to see that and relive that. >> warner: congratulations. >> thank you. >> warner: explain a little more what made this as an engineering feat so daring and so unusual, this plan-b concept. >> the plan-b concept really we were trying to drill down almost a half mile through very hard work. the bore hole we were following which had a you saw there had many different changes, had changes in orientation. it had three curves in it. normally in a normal job we would abandon that. it had so many curves in it w we knew we had to reach the miners. we had no choice but to follow that and to go through that hard rock with those large diameters was a technical challenge. >> warner: here you were a u.s. company. you had other u.s. companies involveded. was it hard to persuade the chilean government to let you make a stab at this? >> not too much.
i've been doing for over 25 years. i own a manufacturing company that's been there for 19 years. we were actually supplying the rigs that originally found the miners after 17 days. >> warner: i thought i heard that it was hard for at least for brandon fisher to get people to even listen to this idea. >> right. i was working on a plan to try to better the time that was being made. i got a call from a mutual acquaintance who told me that brandon had an idea but couldn't get anybody to listen to him. i called brandon, looked at it and real he'll his plan to use his hammers was the last piece of the puzzle that i needed to put the proposal together. >> warner: what was special about his hammers? >> the normal way you would drill this type of hole is use a very large percussion hammer which high school a 600-pound piston and beats very aggressively. but we had men down there who wouldn't stand the vibration. his hammer uses four or five small hammers and hits very quickly but not as aggressive
and doesn't cause as much vibration. >> warner: you did have one at least near disaster at some point. >> several. which one are you talking about. >> warner: the one where one of those hammers fell off or broke off. >> exactly. one of the things with the cluster hammers they're designed and made to drill vertical. in other words to drill with every point touching the ground. as you saw from the video with a curve. during that curve only parts of the hammer were touching. it actually broke the hammer. one of the hammers went down. we also lost a bit. that was a bit of a trouble where the government wasn't sure if we needed to continue our not. again having been there for 20 years we were able to assure them that the plan would work and thank goodness they continued to allow us to drill. >> warner: we saw how the families and the wives bonded in that camp. what was it like for y'all working on it, you and people working on plans a and b? did you have a similar kind of experience. >> i can't speak for plan a and plan c but in plan b we had a little camp. we lived on the mine in a
little container. we started calling our self-s the family. it was my people. i had two of my chileian people there 24/7. all of the people who came from afghanistan. we became a family. we really bonded because it was such a crucible of emotions knowing what we were drilling for. we did. we became very, very tight. >> warner: do you think this technology that you all developed or used in this way will now have other applications? >> i certainly do. we have actually been contacted by the chilean government because this was a new way to show them how to drill. large diameters very quickly. >> warner: you are about, i hope up don't mind me bringing this up, about to be ordained a deacon in the catholic church. >> yes. >> warner: how much faith part of what kept you going here? >> for me faith was very much of it. i would asked how much did this job change my faith? it was the other way around. we did have a few times where technologically we were out of answered and trapped.
none of us had any idea what to do. we resorted to prayer. i am firmly convinced that divine providence did this job. the man in charge of plan-a is a good friend of mine. he told me, greg, you know something? that job was impossible. you could not drill that. god drilled that hole. i think he was right. i was just glad to have such a good seat. >> warner: i know the miners were glad to have you. greg hall, thank you. >> thank you. >> lehrer: again the major developments of this day. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day. iran confirmed giving money to afghanistan's government. but u.s. officials disputed a claim by afghan president karzai that the u.s. has also handed over "bags of cash." iraq's high tribunal sentenced former foreign minister tariq aziz to death by hanging. and one of the fiercest storms in decades blasted much of the u.s. midwest. and to hari sreenivasan in our newsroom, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: as the clock ticks toward election day, political editor david chalian
and gwen highlight the races to watch. kira kay filed a reporter's notebook on the bosnia cancer story. that's on the rundown news blog. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll continue our countdown to election day. i'm gwen ifill. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> i do a lot of different exercises, but, basically, i'm a runner. last year, i had a bum knee that needed surgery, but it got complicated because i had an old injury. so, i wanted a doctor who had done this before. and united healthcare's database helped me find a surgeon. you know, you can't have great legs, if you don't have good knee we're 78,0 peop looking
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