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tv   Stephanie Ruhle Reports  MSNBC  August 30, 2021 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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think some have described as the worst capitulation of western values in our life times. i went to afghanistan and iraq couple weeks ago, it was a republic backed by the united states, backed by the west. now it is an emerging islamic emrat. >> we'll talk much more with you tomorrow on the official august 31st withdrawal. that does it for us. i will see you tomorrow morning. for now, stephanie ruhle picks up coverage. hi there. i am stephanie ruhle. it is monday, august 30th. we are following breaking news on now tropical storm ida, continuing a punishing track across the state of louisiana, with the real threat of more dangerous storm surges and flooding ahead.
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the destructive storm crashing on shore as a category four. one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in the state of louisiana. on the same day as the 16th anniversary of hurricane katrina. the storm so powerful, it reversed flow of the mississippi river. hears what we know. one person is dead. louisiana state health says a 60-year-old man died outside baton rouge after a tree fell on his home. more than a million homes and businesses are still without power across the state and that includes all of the city of new orleans. we are hearing reports of catastrophic damage. 911 experiencing technical difficulties in certain areas, reports of people still trapped. president biden foegsly approving emergency declarations for louisiana and mississippi. we have a team of expert reporters safely across the region now. i want to start with jay gray in new orleans.
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what is the scene like there this morning? >> reporter: finally a little bit of sunshine after what has been two days of hell. you can see the rooftop pulled away. the storm pulled down a traffic light and the pole that was holding it up. >> jay, hang tight. can you hear me? we lost your audio. hang tight. we are going to try to improve it. it is difficult there. i want to bring in sam brock. he is just outside plas,
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louisiana. were they under evacuation orders and chose to defy them or didn't they have means or time to get out, were they blindsided? >> reporter: it has been a combination. the only mandatory evacuation orders were those outside the levee system. everyone else had discretion what to do. i can tell you for days there was congestion bordering on parking lot level gridlock on interstate 10. it made it more challenging if you wanted to get out of town to accomplish that. right now, i am on highway 61. you'll see this tree which good samaritans came to buzz down. they have been going up and down the highway from baton rouge to new orleans to clear a path for people to get out that need to. power lines dip at a 45 degree angle. that goes on for miles. coming down the road, power lines are strewn across highways. and you mentioned about a
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million or so customers, multiply that by three or four times of people impacted that don't have power. there's a crisis unfolding. it is west of new orleans, we don't have strong enough signal to bring live images from there. i spoke with a man that said he had to evacuate because the rain was coming down so hard, not even storm surge but rain, it broke through his ceiling in three places. i interviewed him with his son. talked about the fact that they knew they had to get out. the navy brought in boats at 7:00 to rescue people. as this was unfolding between 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 in the morning today, water got as much as 12 feet high. the captain said they can't go in there in the dark of night with live wires and currents moving who knows what direction and try to navigate it. now they're in there. we saw the louisiana national
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guard bring in high water vehicles. minutes ago, saw six or seven race down the street. where do things stand now with potential rescues of hundreds, maybe thousands of people. stephanie? >> sam, good to see things are getting safer where you are but i have to bring in shaq brewster in mississippi where wind is kick canning up. shaq, there are tornado warnings where you are. what's the situation? >> reporter: something we saw through the night and yesterday is how quickly the situation can change. it can go from at one point yesterday, saw the sauna break through the clouds, 20 minutes later, bands of rain and wind coming through. it is for that reason officials are advising folks to not base judgments on the temporary conditions, to still hunker down until the storm moves out of the area. i just got in contact with the police department. they said yes, they have reports of downed wires, reports of
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damage in the area. they're asking people to stay back until the storm system can make its way through. something that we noticed was over the course of the night, we saw a hurricane turn into tropical storm ida. here in gulfport, we have been under that tropical storm warning for the entire time but that does not mean that you're eliminated from risk and potential of damage. we saw siding from the hotel break off, we lost some power overnight. power was since restored, that's a big difference that you are seeing in mississippi compared to when you look at louisiana where you have a million people without power. this morning it was 93,000 people who are without power. officials are saying again don't let that give you false sense of security. conditions deteriorate quickly. when i first talked to you, wind was whipping. now it is starting to die down. expect that to continue through the morning. stephanie? >> shaq, stay safe where you
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are. i think we have jay gray's audio back in new orleans. i said it at the top, 16 years to the day from when hurricane katrina hit new orleans. what is it like today for people of that city? >> reporter: it is horrible. a lot of people stunned at what's happened. with katrina, it was water. with ida, it was the wind. i want to show you more devastation. so many windows shattered or blown out, not only in french quarter but across the city at this point. the entire new orleans metro, damage is severe and widespread. you have people coming out at this point with the sun out, with wind dying down, rain stopping. they're taking a look around and overwhelmed by the damage. a lot of people are stunned at what they're seeing. power outage, huge problem. i don't know how much you talked about it. more than a million without power in this area. that's because the 8 lines that
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bring it in, transfer lines that bring electricity into the city are in the mississippi river. they have to be extracted, repaired. that will take time, steph. >> we are looking if you look at the top right-hand corner of the screen, those are aerial shots of damage in new orleans. it is serious. my goodness. i want to bring in our meteorologist, bill karins. this is a fluid situation. we are talking to reporters in new orleans that talk about ida like a thing of the past, and shaq is in gulfport. this is a current threat now. where is this headed? >> we're heading into the mississippi, but mostly concerned about flooding, not winds. up to this point, winds did significant damage. we don't have reporters yet in areas hardest-hit, it is not safe yet, roads aren't clear. that will probably come in days ahead. where this made landfall in southeastern louisiana where we
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had wind gusts, 122, 146, how about 172 miles per hour wind gust, one of the strongest ever recorded of any hurricane in our country's history on a ship docked there. that's the damage we're going to see. you'll see structures, well built structures torn apart. let's talk about new records. this was the fifth strongest landfall in the context of the u.s. what did it tie? laura, which also made landfall in louisiana last year, two days, one year, two days from when ida did. louisiana the first state with back to back 150 miles per hour hurricanes. and this storm went through rapid intensification in a 24 hour period before landfall. that's why it jumped from category two to strong category four. what do we have to worry about? isolated tornadoes from gulfport to mobile, pensacola, and that extends through alabama.
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as far as life-threatening weather goes now, we have flash flood warnings in all areas in maroon. even though winds are coming down, sun may break out, there's still a lot of water flowing into the streams and rivers, roads being washed out. we have a couple of flash flood emergencies. that means get to higher ground now, your life is in jeopardy. that's happening for levee breaks. areas south of new orleans that you see there. because of the 10 to 18 inches of rain, flash flood for laplace which we'll show you, hammond, tick fall and there's still lives at risk right now, even though the storm is only 45 miles per hour winds, it is up in the mississippi, and a lot of concerns is because of water accumulating. where does this go? we take it to northern mississippi today, tonight into tennessee, tomorrow, heavy rain for nashville.
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tennessee had horrendous flooding this summer. this could produce significant flash flooding. and then we'll take this through the appalachians. wednesday, towards washington, d.c. wednesday night, thursday morning, philadelphia, new york. same areas just hit by henri a week ago are going to get hit again by this storm. we're not done with flash flooding. but wind damage from this storm is over. >> fifth strongest to make landfall ever and it ain't over. i want to bring in the man at the center of all this, democratic governor john bel edwards. i want to say i am so sorry for the people of louisiana, what they face the last few days. can you give us an update on deaths in your state? >> thank you very much. good to be with you. we have one confirmed death, but i don't want to mislead anyone. robust search and rescue is happening now and i fully expect that death count will go up considerably throughout the day.
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as you mention, there's an awful lot of debris, power lines, treason roadways. some places standing water. taken a lot to get into the communities hardest-hit. but we will obviously be developing the situation through the day, saving lives, rescuing people everywhere we can. we have a very robust effort under way, but one confirmed death in ascension parish we know is just the first one that we will unfortunately confirm throughout the day. >> governor, right now on our screen we're looking at live pictures of the debris and damage. massive. can you give any idea when power will be restored? talking hundreds of thousands of people? >> almost all of southeast louisiana is without electricity. all eight major transmission lines speeding electricity into greater new orleans area failed,
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so we are waiting for an update. they're working hard to figure out how to power up as much as possible, focusing on the most critical infrastructure, our hospitals. we need to get those hospitals back up and under normal power. we were having difficulty not just with power but water systems in many places, especially down along the coast. we are moving in portable water to keep them operating, but that's far less than ideal. we have challenges with hospitalization regardless because we still have 2400 covid patients in addition to normal patients. it is a challenging situation. stephanie, what i can tell you is ida came in very much as advertised, very, very strong storm, and the rain, you
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mentioned wind, it was catastrophic, but the rain that fell along the track and east of the track was also what was advertised. when you push that much surge and rain, you're going to have flooding issues. and we certainly have people in the second floors of the house, some in the attic and so forth we are rescuing now. this was a very tough storm. one good news, bit of good news this morning anyway, all the levee systems performed extremely well, especially hurricane risk reduction system around new orleans and even nonfederal levees performed extremely well. there's some over topping in places where we expected it, but for the most part if we had to deal with failed levee systems, it would be completely unimaginable. thank goodness that's not what we're dealing with today.
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>> you mention people that are trapped. overnight we heard all sorts of reports from people in the second and third floor of their homes. given the severity of things, have your first responders been able to get to all those people? >> no, certainly not all of them. i can tell you at 3:00 this morning as soon as the weather improved enough, we dispatched urban search and rescue teams to the most effected areas. they cleared the way many cases through trees, power lines and debris to get there. i can tell you, stephanie, we have over 900 members of the search and rescue team comprised of teams that came from 16 different states. that doesn't include the national guard, the entirety of which has been mobilized. they have 195 high water vehicles and 73 boats, 34 helicopters. and those helicopters are already up because there are some places along the coast that
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simply we will be many days before we get there on the ground. there's a robust effort under way now. communication is not optimal. we're getting reports back sporadically. what i can tell you, lives are being saved, people are being rescued even as we speak. >> each and every one of those first responders are american heroes. we're so grateful for their efforts. when we hear about all these people that are trapped, were the evacuation orders not expansive enough or did people not adhere to them? >> well, there were evacuation orders in place all along the coast and areas not inside protected areas with levees. many places had evacuation orders there as well. unfortunately not everyone gets out and that's always the case. i can tell you through the day on saturday, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people
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did in fact leave. but clearly we would prefer to have more people leave. i can tell you anecdotally, i know of people, mayors, police chiefs and so forth that actually evacuated this time. they've never evacuated in their lives. i think we're going to find out an awful lot of people did evacuate. it is just this storm was so powerful even as it got inland and away from the coast. so for example, st. john the baptist parish between baton rouge and new orleans it seemed like the storm just stopped and wind kept pounding. and there's one area i am sure got over 20 inches of rain, it was that parish. but it wasn't under mandatory evacuation order and we are having obviously to do a lot of rescues in that parish right now. >> sir, you mention hospitals being compromised and covid of
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course being an underlying, ongoing complication. when you think about your shelters and the people that are evacuating, are they being covid tested when they make their way to a shelter? i have been in a shelter before in these situations and they're crowded and the vaccination rate is pretty low in your state. >> yeah, it is, unfortunately so. yes. first of all, the capacity of the shelters is less than would order necessarily be. they'll be wearing masks, distancing, going through cleaning protocols, and we have the rapid tests that we're administering, are administering in shelters as well. this is a very challenging situation for all those reasons. one of the things we're going to do is transition away from congress gant to noncongress
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regant shelter. for those that can't go home or go to a relative or friend's house, we're going to put them in hotels as quickly as we can. had to do that last year for hurricane laura. one time we had almost 20,000 individuals in hotels. but the focus today is on saving lives, doing the search and rescue, shoring up our hospitals so they can continue to serve their patients and people who have been injured, haven't been able to get to the hospital yet because of something happening during the storm and restoring communications, getting those back in a better place. we have our hands full today, stephanie. i want to thank the people of the country. we have folks pouring in from all over the country. 20,000 line men who are actively working to restore power. while it is a very difficult situation, we're going to get through this.
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it is going to take some time and the cleanup will take a number of weeks and months. >> amen to that, sir. we spend so much time talking how divided we are, but in a time of crisis, americans come together to help one another. sending you and people of louisiana our very best. >> absolutely. thank you. coming up, we continue to track the storm with millions of people still in its path as many in louisiana begin to see the extent of damage for the first time. these images are devastating. plus, more attacks in afghanistan. rockets fired overnight at kabul's airport as the military rushes to get out hours ahead of the deadline. the latest on the evacuation efforts and threats ahead. n then efforts and threats ahead. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪
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talk about a day of news, it is amazing this wasn't the top story of the hour. following breaking news in afghanistan after rockets hit a neighborhood near kabul airport last night. united states military shooting them down, as a terror threat still hangs over the evacuation with the state department warning of a specific credible threat, urging u.s. citizens to avoid the area. sunday, u.s. forces took out an isis-k target in kabul with drone strike days after the group killed 13 of our service members. time is running out. just hours left to get everyone out of the region ahead of the
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deadline. richard engle has the latest from doha, qatar, courtney kube at the pentagon also. one day to wrap it up, richard, what's the situation like on the ground? >> reporter: well, it is wrapping up. we are in the final stages of this. i expect we will hear some announcement in the coming hours or overnight, courtney may have more information on the timing of that. the last phase is secretive, sensitive. the military is not going to say there's one plane left, two planes left, we're almost out. i don't think we're going to hear until troops are out safely. but not everyone is getting out. there are many afghans that thought they qualified, want to get out, asylum seekers that haven't been able to get out. the situation has gotten significantly worse in the last several days, since last thursday's suicide bombing. it was always difficult to get onto that air base, to get onto
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the military side of the kabul airport. you had to push through crowds, push through the taliban. after that, suicide bombing, killed 200 afghans, 13 service members, most marines, got more difficult. the taliban who are partners, temporary partners with the u.s. military pushed out the perimeter, and then in the last 24 hours, gates really have been sealed. for the last 48 hours, almost sealed. there have been a few buses, special permission, special access that could have been negotiated. even that trickle has come to a stop. we're almost over. it has been a violent exit after 20 years of war from afghanistan, not from isis or the taliban. the taliban are now unlikely
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partners, it is isis trying to shoot down a plane, fire rockets at the base, put itself on the map so they can say they drove out america. >> it is crazy for so many of us to hear richard say our unlikely partners, the taliban. i want to play what secretary of state tony blinken said yesterday on "meet the press." >> in terms of having an on the ground diplomatic presence, that's not likely to happen. what is going to happen is that our commitment to continue to help people leave afghanistan that want to leave, not out by september 1st, that endures. there's no deadline on that effort. >> courtney, i don't know what that means. no diplomatic presence after tomorrow. what does a diplomatic presence get you when the taliban is in charge, and when you talk about
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who is left, how many people are we talking, hundreds, thousands? >> the reason secretary blinken had to address this is there has been continuing discussion up until a couple days ago about the u.s. maintaining a small presence at the airport. that's the first time we heard him knock that down for good, that there wouldn't be any small presence there. the reason this was even under discussion is because there will be some americans most likely who will be left in that country after the final military troops leave and they will likely need help getting out. what are the options going forward? according to officials, there are two lines of effort. the continuing diplomatic effort which will not include consular officers or state department officials on the ground, and the economic route. just as what it sounds like, potentially using some of the economic leverage that the u.s.
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may have with the taliban to try to help americans get out safely. on a diplomatic piece, that would likely be working through the qataris or turks. u.s. allies will stay on the ground there. qataris have been a conduit for the u.s. to talk to the taliban for several years now and have been helping there on the ground. you made an excellent point about secretary blinken's comments on the u.s. working with the taliban. this is something that would have been unthinkable only a month ago. the u.s. was still conducting strikes against the taliban in support of the afghan military within a couple of days before kabul actually fell to the taliban. just a few weeks ago, the u.s. was striking them. now they're coordinating on the ground. the taliban helping the united states military in many cases to get americans safely to the airport in kabul. >> tomorrow is a self imposed deadline, richard. take me two days from now.
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if i'm still stuck there, what is the situation for me in terms of danger and what happens if we don't leave. >> i think the u.s. is leaving. that's happening now. if the u.s. stayed longer, they would have to have a discussion with the taliban. they now have a working relationship with the taliban directly and also indirectly primarily through qatar. qatar is an intermediary and has been for several years. it was the u.s. government that asked qatar to open a taliban office here so they could start negotiations. the taliban had an office here for years. it was here president trump signed the deal through secretary pompeo with the taliban, a deal president biden decided not to revise and is implementing now and we've all seen the results of it. so there are ways to reach the taliban. there are ways to reach the
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people in afghanistan. but forces on the ground, the police, it is not going to be normal. if someone is in afghanistan, a contractor or american citizen, wanted to stay because they think things will be fine, and in two or three weeks, they changed their mind and want to get out, there's no embassy they're going to. they have to make phone calls, reach the state department, state department has to reach out to the taliban, state department has to reach out to groups like the qataris and figure out some sort of extraction. but extraction now is difficult because the main way out was the kabul airport. there's also land borders, land borders going through, crossing large distances in afghanistan over land has its own challenges. there are bandits and other groups that don't necessarily follow central command of the taliban. you want to have an escort. but it will become significantly more difficult. how dangerous it is, so far the taliban is not going house to
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house. they're not hunting people down that worked for the u.s. government and say they're not going to do that. that's why it is important that they do have relations with neighboring countries and the u.s. does continue to maintain some sort of influence because like it or not, the u.s. pulled out and the taliban now run afghanistan. if you want to have a say of what's going to happen in afghanistan, want to have some influence, you have to deal with the people that run the streets. >> i know we're out of time, but then i have to ask. you know many people there. why would americans decide to ride this out? >> people feel conflicted, think it won't be so bad, have their houses there, afraid of getting drawn into a process. there's tremendous images online of people sitting in air bases in germany waiting two hours to use the toilet. they think maybe the taliban are
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different, maybe they're not going to do anything, i don't want to be a refugee. it is a tremendous decision to pack your bag and fight your way to the airport for destination unknown in transit unknown. there are people hoping that maybe it won't be so bad and the taliban are making promises it won't be so bad. they might be right, they might be wrong, but there are many betting that things will be bad and want to get out and now are going to be, may have to ride it out a bit longer. >> thank you both so much for your extraordinary reporting. neither of you have gotten to sleep in days and days. i appreciate you joining us this morning. now breaking news in the states. tropical storm ida barrels across the gulf coast after 16 relentless hours. what started as a category four hurricane dropped down to a threatening tropical storm, and all of new orleans still in the
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dark without power after catastrophic damage. tom is there. live pictures, it is devastating. you reported on all sorts of storms. you have been in new orleans a number of times over the years. put in perspective what it looks like now. how bad is the damage. >> reporter: stephanie, this morning it is bad. now that the sun is out, we're seeing how bad it is. information is trickling in. the problem is it is trickling in slow because of massive power outages. there's been catastrophic damage, that's the language that entergy is using to the power grid. there's no electricity here whatsoever. we can say that, it is hard to understand, imagine living in a place where your cell phone is not working, no power in the house, sewage pumps may not be
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working, you have these questions, maybe people are trying to reach out to you, you can't connect with them. that's what people are dealing with. on top of that, people need to be rescued in river towns outside of new orleans where levees didn't fail but became over topped because there was so much water from the river along with storm surge. a lot going on now. the governor sent in 1600 personnel to help with rescues. we don't know how widespread or people need rescuing, but they're not taking chances. there have been videos, you see them on social media, people tracked in attics as water was rising. we do not want to see what happened during katrina again 16 years ago where people lived on the roofs, asking for people in helicopters to rescue them. we're not at that point yet, haven't seen that yet. we're just learning what's happening through new orleans. i have new reporting for you. got off the phone with the ceo of oxner health. he said they had to evacuate two
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homts, about 75 patients. they're bringing them to jennifer and orleans parish. they sustained damage. they have roofers out there. they say they have power, fuel, and water, more supplies are coming in. he wanted to stress and wanted us to tell viewers, no patient or staff has been hurt in the hurricane. you saw how powerful hurricane force winds are. advice to people that evacuated in the area, we know you're worried, worried about your business, home, families. the governor is saying stay put. don't come back to new orleans. if you went to houston or the panhandle, stay there. you have to stay in your house, it is too dangerous to go outside. >> stay safe in any way you can. tom, thank you so much. joining us, a man that knows the
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region and situation like this best, lieutenant generous he will henry. he was known as the category five general for his extraordinary leadership. general, i have to start by asking how is your community this morning? >> i'm in baton rouge. we survived in pretty good shape. little east of baton rouge. what we escaped went to points to the east. a lot of our citizens as you saw, million people without power. i have seen this before, stephanie during katrina, there was no lights on at night from just outside baton rouge through new orleans up to hattiesburg. the area was dark at night. we're back playing the same
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song. loss of power, right now, number one job is search and rescue to try to continue to save lives. last time i saw this place without electricity there were very few people in this region because we had a successful evacuation for katrina, with about 80% of the population that's without power are gone. now a reverse situation. city didn't flood but most of the population is still in place, dealing with search and rescue today without electricity. i'd like to go through a quicky. search and rescue, water and sewer, maintaining the hospital, transportation, communications is going to get bad. transportation, imagine a city of this size and community nearly over a half million people without lights working on the streets and most of the
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roads closed, as well as getting generator and gasoline to the right place. there will be very little economic going on in these places with the cash register not running. during katrina, after two weeks, i had to help the mayor talk to the white house to pay payroll. there will be little economic opportunity. the white house and people in washington are going to have to break some of the economic rules to get this place because they may have to do a major evacuation after the storm to get people out of the city, throughout the region because of the impact of not having electricity to run sewer and water, keep the essential workers to keep the hospitals, bring the city back online. not just the city, the entire region. i apologize for the long preview of the question. >> no apology necessary.
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you know this best. i have to ask you, how do you feel? ida made landfall on the 16th anniversary of hurricane katrina. what is this like to experience all over again? >> it is like a mild form of ptsd. say this, stephanie. because of the katrina experience, the work of the government, the federal government, state and parishes, we're in better shape to respond now than we were in katrina. infrastructure is stronger, command and control, all these parishes up to date command and control centers with well trained personnel that fema and department of homeland security get together, get them trained in the system, that piece is working. redundant communication. we went in for katrina, seldom did anybody have a satellite
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phone. that has been fixed. command and control is locked into communications. what hasn't changed, when you lose this amount of electricity, set back the way we live 100 years, no flushing toilets, no lights, traffic lights working. we have a generator law, every gas station and pharmacy have a generator. tried to introduce that in the louisiana legislature. that same group of people won't take the damn shot refuse the ideas that make small businesses like gas stations and pharmacies get a generator. hopefully they'll rethink that. without pharmacy and gas stations, people can't move and can't get medicines. we need a damn generator law and need to have a law no tree should be able to fall on a damn
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power line. none of them want to bite the bullet, they forget the dark days we're living in now. >> figuratively and literally. lieutenant general, thank you so much for joining me this morning and thank you for all that you do every day for this country. >> good luck to all of the first responders out there. >> good luck and thank you to all of them. i want to turn from louisiana to the state of mississippi. thousands in low lying areas are under mandatory evacuation. at least 60,000 people are without power. you heard from the general how dangerous it is. and the threat is just beginning. want to bring in the mayor of gulfport. what's the situation where you are? >> going through assessments now that there's daylight. we're in good shape. we have taken damage from tornadoes that continue to spin up. this is a wind and rain event
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now, but seeing it taper as the storm moves inland. what we are concerned about is people getting out, curfew laws are still in place. need to be sure there aren't downed power lines or gas mains. we are fortunate the fact that storm surge while it came in, didn't manifest to the degree we feared it might. that will be the difference in a huge way. >> hospitals in your state are already overflowing with covid patients. what is the storm going to do to the health care system as people evacuation to shelters and vaccination rates are low. shelters get crowded fast. >> that's a great question. we didn't have mandatory evacuation orders except for low lying areas. shelters didn't get overrun, hospitals were seeing a taper
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from the load. with this storm being tight as it was, we took a hit, it was steady. i am not aware of abundance of situations where we had to get people to the hospital. they have been prepared. we get regular updates from first responders and hospital personnel and administrators. right now, we're not seeing any emergency situations that we are concerned about. frankly, we are looking at making sure things are in good shape here, telling folks to stay out of low lying areas, wait for the all clear, and try to figure out what to do to pay it forward and help folks in louisiana. >> what do you need from the federal government now? >> what we need, we've had a lot of on-the-job training with storms. this time of year comes around, we have serious issues to prepare for. the documentation we put in place to let them know what our needs are. again, it is early yet.
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we have to make that determination. we still have a lot of people without power. that's going to impact things down the road. we'll have a better picture this afternoon. right now, the damage is not anywhere near what they're seeing in louisiana. we have issues, particularly on the west side of the gulf coast where they took more water and we are trying to make sure we're safe. the federal question will come into play. again, our levee is not like next door, having been through katrina, we know what they're dealing with. while we take care of things here, there's a larger need at the churches and federal government can provide for. >> we know the people of gulfport are resilient. you're in our prayers. stay strong in the days ahead. >> thank you so much. god bless. coming up, the other major story of the day, the president honoring 13 troops killed in the attack at the kabul airport.
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dignified transfer of remains of fallen troops. president biden and the first lady were there watching the flag-draped caskets return to the u.s. my next guest is a former marine that served in afghanistan twice, and wrote an important op-ed that op-ed in his word sums up the war in two sentences. "for 20 years, politicians, elites and d.c. military leaders lied to us about afghanistan. what happened last week was inevitable and anyone saying differently is still lying to you." joining us the man who wrote the op-ed lucas koontz, a democrat running for senate in the state of missouri. i know you think the chaos we saw was bound to happen. why do you think that and what do you want to see now? >> hi, stephanie. so for me, what was inevitable was the fact that the taliban was going to take that country over and i didn't always think that but in 2014, actually 2012,
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'13 and again in '14 i went to afghanistan and i learned the language pashto of southern afghanistan in marines special operations command before i went and i spoke to taliban, i worked with afghan security forces, i talked to locals and after -- this is 2014, take 2014, 13 years after we had been there, my job was still to do all of the logistics for our partnering force so they wouldn't get overrun by the taliban, food, water, ammunition, equipment, literally everything, after 13 years and i remember like i remember interviewing a member of the taliban in the harat penitentiary. i asked this guy do you know why you're in here? he said "yes, because i was trying to kill you." okay, well, where do you think this goes from here? >> wow. >> and he said, "well, two things can happen. you can let me out and i'll keep
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trying to kill you until you're gone or you can leave me in here and eventually you guys are going to be gob and it's going to be my country again." when you just take the full picture of all that stuff that i saw, the taliban taking over was absolutely inevitable and anyone who is telling you otherwise was being dishonest. >> and that's sort of exactly it. we don't have the full picture. for the last two weeks, a lot of people have been blaming the afghan army for not putting up a fight. you say it is not that simple. can you explain to us why? >> yes, absolutely. and so i mean the afghan national security forces was essentially a u.s.-funded job program and so we spent $20 years, and 2,500 u.s. servicemembers lost their lives there to prop up a system that was entirely corrupt. when i say corrupt i don't just mean on the afghan side which is terrible but also the u.s. side.
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everybody wanted to keep us in this war when it was clear to people on the ground we weren't accomplishing everything because there was a lot of money involved. there was a lot of reputation at stake involved, too. no one was willing to admit what was happening there and what you saw was this deep systematic institutional dishonesty propped up by the people at the top in each government, afghanistan and the united states because it worked with them. like with any war in afghanistan the people who pay the price were normal everyday americans who footed the bill and died over there and then afghans who were also lied to all this time told that they were accomplishing something and when you talk about the troops on the ground, the afghan troops, it's really difficult me to blame these troops when their leaders were taking the food, guys were
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with no equipment, no money and food and why what you saw with the taliban rolling in was inevitable because that never changed. it was a grab and go operation for the people on the top in america and afghanistan. >> trillions of dollars. i want to play for you what congressman peter meyer, a veteran who went to kabul last week, what he said about his trip. watch this. >> i mean, we've seen some of the best of the american people especially in the last two weeks, some of the best of our troops on the ground and the heroic way they're carrying out this mission and also seen some of the worst of american leadership. >> do you agree? >> i absolutely agree about the troops. the people who were over there doing this evacuation in dangerous conditions as you've seen are doing absolutely the bravest, most impossible job in the world and i'm very proud of them. as far as the overall picture
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goes, here is the deal. all these people are playing the blame game over what's happening right now because they want to distract us from the fact that we spent 20 years for absolutely nothing. the same people right now saying one more day, one more month, one more dollar, are the same people who said that for 20 years, and what we saw last week, what that means is one more marine. it means one more marine over and over again, it we reminds me of the saddest day you have my entire line, standing on the flight line helmand afghanistan watching the fallen body of one of the members of my battalion loaded onto a transport plane to go home. these people try to keep focused on what's happening telling american people it was worthwhile to spend $2.3 trillion over there for absolutely nothing, while they've been refusing to spend that much building up our own country here at home, and we
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can't let them win. we have to fight back against that narrative because because it's wrong and part of the systematic institutional dishonesty that has us in this position right now. >> holy cow. thank you so much for joining us this morning. i so appreciate it. please come back soon. our goal every day in this hour is to try to help our viewers get better and smarter and with you, that definitely happened this morning. thank you so much for your service and thanks for joining us today. >> thank you, stephanie. >> that wraps up this hour. i'm stephanie ruehl. hallie jackson continues breaking news coverage as ida continues to soak the south. we'll go back live across the region. do not go anywhere. it's a big news day. coaching. new workouts. and screening for colon cancer. yep. the american cancer society recommends screening starting at age 45, instead of 50, since colon cancer is increasing in younger adults. i'm cologuard®. i'm convenient and find 92% of colon cancers... ...even in early stages.
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or lines for family members, you'll get great value on america's most reliable 5g network. like 2 lines of unlimited for just $27.50 a line. only at t-mobile. breaking news from louisiana this morning, as we come on the air, that huge search and rescue operation just beginning now for hundreds, possibly thousands of people trapped by massive flooding from ida, which is now a tropical storm. you've got millions of people without power right now, including the entire city of new orleans. 911 systems are down, too, making it impossible to call for help. 20 miles southeast of new orleans a levee failure means the city of alliance, louisiana, is being evacuated. the damage from ida catastrophic. at least one death is tied to the storm. on the 16th anniversary of katrina, ida making landfall less than 24 hours ago


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