tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS October 21, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
>> pelley: tonight, president obama declares an end to the war in iraq. >> at promised, the rest of our troops in iraq will come home by the end of the year. >> pelley: david martin and norah o'donnell on the cost of the war for americans and what may be ahead. the body of a once-feared dictator becomes a public spectacle. what's next for libya? allen pizzey and elizabeth palmer are there. wyatt andrews on america's largest private employer cutting health care benefits. whose will be next? and steve hartman with a doctor who's healing what ails a great american city. >> anything else you need tonight? >> just a hug.
(laughter) captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening, the day has come. on day 3,139 of the war in iraq, president obama announced it's over. american troops will be home by the end of the year. the war began as a hunt for weapons of mass destruction which were never found. then the u.s. found it in the middle of a civil war, caught between two branches of islam. on this historic day, we have reports from david martin and norah o'donnell. first david who's at fort brag, north carolina. >> reporter: good evening, scott. fort bragg is the home of the 82nd airborne which currently has 3,500 troops in iraq. they'll all be home for the holidays because today the president pulled the plug on negotiations that could have
kept some american troops in iraq past the end of the year. >> the rest of our troops in iraq will come home by the end of the year. after nearly nine years, america's war in iraq will be over. >> reporter: for better or worse, the military operation which began with shock and awe in march of 2003 and descended into the mayhem of civil war is really going to end. even though both americans an iraqis agree there are still holes in iraqi defenses. the u.s. had offered to keep up to 5,000 troop there is to train iraqis in air defense, intelligence, and protecting against the threat of invasion, particularly from iran. but scarred by the abuses of abu ghraib prison, the killings both accidental and deliberate of civilians, and incidents with security contractors like the blackwater guards who gunned down people in a public square,
iraqi politicians refused to grant american troops immunity from prosecution under local laws. immunity is a standard agreement wherever u.s. forces are deployed. that was the deal breaker and it now means the 39,000 troops still in iraq-- down from a high of 170,000-- will all be out by december 31. >> today i can say that our troops in iraq will definitely be home for the holidays. >> reporter: the bush administration had originally agreed to the december 31 withdrawal date but the assumption had always been that a new agreement would keep a smaller number of troops in iraq for several more years. now the only troops who will remain are a couple hundred assigned to the embassy in baghdad to administer the sale of u.s. military equipment. getting out will probably make for good politics in both countries. the question is: will it make for good strategy?
scott? >> pelley: david, this leaves iran on iraq's doorstep with no u.s. troops there. how is iraq going to defend itself? reporter: well, one u.s. military official said "we'll find a way." and he specifically mentioned sending civilian contractors to iraq to do the training, bringing iraqis to the united states to train, and even sending u.s. troops back into iraq to conduct exercises. >> pelley: david, thanks very much. that disagreement over immunity allowed the president to say today that he kept his promise to end the war. few would have expected it early in his administration, but most of the president's successes have come as commander in chief. we asked norah o'donnell to look into that. norah? >> reporter: scott, the president's announcement today to end the war in iraq-- one day after the death of libyan leader moammar qaddafi-- is just the latest in a series of foreign
policy milestones. it is remarkable for a president whose own foreign policy credentials were repeatedly questioned when he was campaigning for the job of commander in chief. >> i pledge to bring the war in iraq to a responsible end for the sake of our national security and to strengthen american leadership around the world. >> reporter: today, mr. obama fulfilled a promise to end a war he has called "dumb and misguided." his opposition to the war was the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. in the end, it helped him defeat hillary clinton in the primaries. >> we are going to end this war in iraq responsibly, bring our troops home and start rebuilding america. >> reporter: as commander-in-chief, the president worked to end the wars that began under president george w. bush and took many risks to accomplish his aggressive foreign policy goals. in afghanistan, he ordered a surge of 33,000 troops to take and hold large parts of the country while he hunted down
insurgents hiding along pakistan's mountainous border, ramping up drone attacks by a factor of four. in libya, he threw the might of the u.s. military behind a nato-led campaign to support a revolution against a dictator. mr. obama's unfinished legacy is now marked by foreign policy success. >> the tide of war is receding. the drawdown in iraq allowed us to refocus our fight against al qaeda and achieve major victories against its leadership, including osama bin laden. >> reporter: he ordered the missions that killed osama bin laden in may and al qaeda propagandist and plotter anwar al-awlaki in september. colonel qaddafi's death yesterday became a dramatic prelude to today's announcement. >> the united states is moving forward from a position of strength. the long war in iraq will come to an end by the end of this year. >> reporter: these victories will no doubt burnish his credentials as a world leader, as a president who can fight terrorism, but they may not help him win reelection next year
when the issues of the campaign will be more likely focused on issues here at home like jobs. >> pelley: norah, thank you very much. we asked our research department to help us remember the costs of the iraq war. they tell us that american taxpayers have spent $805.5 billion. but more importantly, the human toll comes to iv,479 american dead. more than 32,000 americans wounded. also coming to an end tonight is the war in libya after the death of qaddafi. nato said today that the air campaign will be over in ten days. we have two correspondents in libya tonight. first, allen pizzey who had been covering fierce fighting in qaddafi's hometown of sirte until it all came to an end. allen? >> reporter: good evening, scott. well, driving into sirte today i had the impression i might be in the wrong place. the only gunfire was in celebration, the pickup trucks
with the rocket launchers and antiaircraft guns were driving away what from what had been the front lines, heading home. their job done. the drainage ditch where libya's history took a dramatic turn is already a ghoulish tourist attraction. today new pictures emerged showing qaddafi pleading for his life before he was beaten, shot, and dragged away by the rebels. rebel fighters compete for bragging rights to the story of how the dictator died. 6- >> reporter: today, crowds lined up in misurata to get a last glimpse of the man who ruled their lives for 42 years, recording a picture on their cell phones of the bloody corpse
in a meat warehouse. as a muslim, qaddafi should have been buried within 24 hours, but his burial has been delayed-- an insult that is evidence of how deeply he was hated. government officials are still arguing about where they'll bury him. qaddafi's grave will be kept secret so that it can't become a police of pilgrimage for his supporters. instead, the final monument to the flamboyant dictator who styled himself his people's ultimate guide will be this, a drainage ditch. along with the ghastly photos of the last moments of a revolution that must now start the process of turning itself into a democracy. but for now, the order of the day is celebration and by libyan standards, they're pretty controlled. the government asked people not to shoot in the air and by and large they're paying heed. getting the militias to hand in their guns, however, will be another matter. scott? >> pelley: allen, thank you very much. with qaddafi gone, there is a rebel government that will try to establish itself, but is
there hope for establishing democracy from the ashes of that dictatorship? we asked elizabeth palmer in tripoli to look at what comes next. >> reporter: a day after qaddafi's death, the roads leading to tripoli's central square were jammed with jubilant citizens heading down to join the party, frankly delighted that qaddafi's dead no matter who killed him. >> we don't care if he was executed? he deserved that. >> i think it's the perfect way. >> reporter: this is a night to celebrate the end of months of bloodshed and fighting. people know there is a pen potentially dangerous political power struggle ahead but right now they don't want to think about it. their country's been run since february by the interim transitional national council, an unlikely coalition of academics, businessmen, and even in the case of its chairman a former qaddafi justice minister, mustafa abdel jalil.
the regime may be gone now says gene cretz, the ambassador to libya, but it's left a toxic legacy. >> we're aware there were a lot of different risks, many created by qaddafi. he became master of divide and conquer for these last 42 years. so there's no doubt that the t.n.c. is inherit ago very, very fractured political body. >> reporter: as for the politicians, they've been honing the art of democratic speech making, but not one of them has held elected office or run a government based on the rule of law. >> and, you know, democracy as we know it is a messy process. so they're going to have to learn. >> reporter: people who were united in opposition to a common enemy-- qaddafi-- may be about to discover it's much harder to remain united in pursuit of a common goal. libya officially opens a new political chapter on sunday, scott, when the national council declares the country fully liberated. then the countdown begins to elections in eight month's time.
>> pelley: liz, thank you very much. wal-mart is cutting employee health benefits. will other employers follow? ohio takes action to prevent another wild animal tragedy. and steve hartman with a doctor who makes house calls-- no house required when the "cbs evening news" continues. copd makes it hard to breathe, so i wasn't playing much of a role in my own life, but with advair, i'm breathing better so now i can take the lead on a science adventure. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator, working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms
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>> pelley: wal-mart got a lot of attention today with some big reductions-- not in prices, but in health benefits. part-time employees it hires in the future will not qualify for health insurance if they work less than 24 hours a week. and that's not all. wyatt andrews tells us america's largest private employer is also raising premiums for full-time workers. >> i've already decided that i can't afford it. >> reporter: wal-mart department manager girshhrila green makes $9.08 an hour but can't afford the 50% rate hike the company is asking for health insurance. >> we have to end up choosing between food and bills and health insurance which we shouldn't have to be thinking about working for one of the largest retailers in the world. >> reporter: according to employee groups, wal-mart is now asking for premium rate hikes
that will spike upward 20% to 60% depending on the plan. company contributions to health savings accounts will be cut in half. and new part-time employees won't get insurance at all. wal-mart in a statement blamed rising health costs calling the cuts and increases "choices we wish we didn't have to make." however, health care costs are expected to rise around 5.5% next year and health care analyst larry lev witt says wal-mart is asking for premium increases that far exceed that. >> this is really out of sync with what's going on in the rest of the health insurance system. this looks like an effort by wal-mart to cut their costs and shift expenses to their employees. >> i'm going to go without insurance or apply for county medicare. i have children. >> reporter: according to a survey of businesses, almost half will ask employees to pay more for health care next year, but experts do not expect price hikes as steep as wal-mart's. they see wal-mart-- the company
known for rolling back prices-- making a business decision to roll back benefits. wyatt andrews, cbs news, new york. >> pelley: ohio governor john kasich signed an order today making it tougher to own exotic animals legally. he had le let a sim order expire last spring. tuesday in zanesville 56 animals were set free. nearly all-- including lions, bears and 18 rare tigers-- were killed by the police. with the war in iraq ending, we go with weuppedded veterans who return to the war zone to heal. that story is next. to know its wants... its needs...its dreams. ♪call 1-800-steemer. flavor, meet food. introducing swanson flavor boost. concentrated broth in easy to use packets.
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>> pelley: the war in iraq is over for america, but not for the americans who fought there. recently, we heard about a remarkable therapy that takes wounded warriors back to iraq to confront the events that changed their lives. for "60 minutes," we went along with eight returning soldiers and marines on a mission called "operation proper exit." for most of them, it had been a long time since they'd flown on a military transport or worn the uniform. they'd been wounded years ago and several were civilians now. but for one week in "operation proper exit" they were proper soldiers and marines again. of the eight, returning may have been toughest for steven cornford. he left iraq and was awarded the
silver star for valor. but they don't give away silver stars for nothing. and when we sat down with cornford we learned what post-traumatic stress disorder is all about. when you were coming over here for operation proper exit, did you wonder whether you were doing the right thing? >> sometimes. my wife brought up a good point when i told her i wanted to do it. she's like "what if it makes it worse? what if it brings it all back?" because for a while i would sleep walk and scream in my sleep and stuff and i haven't been doing that a lot lately. but when i found out i was coming back, for about a week before i started doing it again and it really scared her. >> pelley: his nightmares are rooted in easter sunday, 2007. steven cornford's platoon assaulted an enemy ma machine gun nest. he was hit in the left shoulder. his lieutenant, phillip neel
sprinted forward to help but was cut down. and this whole time you're returning fire? >> yes, sir. >> reporter: cornford threw two hand grenades into the machine gun nest and then he carried lieutenant neel a mile to a medevac helicopter that took them both the a field hospital. the lieutenant didn't make it and cornford cannot forgive himself. how old were you? >> 18 years old. >> pelley: why did you come back here? >> um... to try and let it go. it's something that haunts me everyday. >> pelley: what is it that you're trying to let go? >> i see his face every time i close my eyes to go to sleep at night. i blame myself a lot because i got hit first and he was coming to get me. i just... i want to be able to
lay it to rest like he is. because i know he's in a better place. i just... i know he would want me to. >> pelley: cornford told us that he was heartened to see iraq getting back to normal. it means, he said, "my lieutenant didn't die in vain." a doctor finds a cure for homelessness coming up next in steve hartman's "assignment america." the same set of values that drive our nation's military are the ones we used to build usaa bank. from free checking to credit cards to loans, our commitment to the military, veterans, and their families is without equal. ♪ visit us online to learn what makes our bank so different. usaa. we know what it means to serve.
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>> pelley: we tend week with a doctor who makes house calls. but that's not all that's unusual about this doctor whose practice is heal ago city. here's steve hartman's "assignment america." ,. >> reporter: there are certainly easier ways to hear a heart beat than over the roar of interstate 376 in pittsburgh, pennsylvania. certainly more profitable specialties than street medicine. >> we can then work something out until we can get the insurance stuff straightened out. >> reporter: still, since 1992 dr. jim withers has been caring exclusively for the city's homeless. >> hi, dr. withers. how you ben? >> reporter: night after night he and his team make their rounds at homeless camps.
they treat everything head to toe from mental illness to frostbitten feet. >> take one of these at night. >> reporter: what little he makes comes mostly from grants and teaching at a medical school, but he doesn't think about money. in fact, this guy doesn't think at all like a typical doctor. >> the essence of health care is going to where people are, either physically or even more importantly spiritually, emotionally. anything else you need tonight? >> just a hug. >> when they're shown that they matter, when that really sinks in, then hope grows and amazing things happen. and that's why we've been able to house well over 700 people. >> reporter: house? doctors don't put people in houses. >> if i could, i'd write a prescription far house for all the street people because it's immensely important for health. >> reporter: this is 49-year-old jim ellis. he was on the streets for eight years until he met dr. withers
who first treated his back pain and then helped cure his homelessness. through a nonprofit dr. withers started called operation safety net, he and his staff have been remarkably successful in finding apartments for people like jim. >> i had everything and i lost it all and it's nice to call someplace home again. >> reporter: jim pays what he can for rent. house calls are still free. >> clean as your apartment. >> reporter: but here's the most amazing part of this whole story. over the years, operation safety net has been able to help so many that today homelessness in pittsburgh is literally half the problem it used to be. half as many people on the streets. about a dozen cities in america are now trying to copy the program in firm belief that this doctor definitely knows best. steve hartman, cbs news, pittsburgh. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs
evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, i'm scott pelley. i'll see you sunday on not guilty on all seven counties. a montgomery jury cleared a former teacher of abusing some of her students. her legal battles are not done yet. >> reporter: a victorious susan burke smiles as she leaves the courthouse. found not guilty of choking four of her students at green castle elementary school in silver spring. the children testified in court about the traumatic incidents.