The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
JIM LEHRER: Good evening. I'm Jim Lehrer. On the NewsHour tonight: Our summary of the news; two takes on the war in Iraq; Edward Wong of the New York Times reports on the deaths of 21 U.S. Marines and a journalist; and Betty Ann Bowser examines the role women are playing in the combat. Then some perspective on space walking from former astronaut Kathryn Sullivan; a look at the survival of those 300 passengers and crew aboard the crashed airliner in Toronto; a conversation with Chicago authors Studs Terkel and Alex Kotlowitz; and a Roger Rosenblatt essay about faith and science.
JIM LEHRER: 14 U.S. Marines were killed today in Iraq, in the worst roadside bombing yet. The marines were patrolling just outside Haditha, near the Syrian border. Six other marines died there on Monday. All were from the same all were from the same battalion based in Ohio. In Washington, Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham said the insurgents keep changing tactics, using fewer bombs but making them larger.
BRIG. GEN. CARTER HAM: We are seeing different techniques that are being used in an effort to counter the efforts of coalition and Iraqi security forces to protect folks while they are moving, different types of penetrators, different techniques of triggering the events. I mean, again, this is a very brutal, lethal and adaptive enemy.
JIM LEHRER: Also today, the U.S. Embassy confirmed the death of a freelance American journalist. Steven Vincent was found shot and killed in Basra. He was abducted hours earlier with his interpreter. She survived the attack. On Sunday, Vincent wrote a column in the New York Times, saying Shiite radicals had infiltrated the Basra police. We'll have more on the day's developments in Iraq right after this News Summary. Pentagon officials insisted today the Army does not condone beating prisoners. That's after the Washington Post reported an Iraqi general was repeatedly beaten before he died in custody in 2003. The account said many interrogators at the time thought they were abiding by Army regulations. Today, Pentagon spokesman Larry DeRita said: "There are no procedures in the Army field manual that would permit people to beat detainees." All went well today with a repair job on the space shuttle Discovery. Astronaut Stephen Robinson was lowered under the shuttle on a robot arm from the international space station. It took only seconds to remove two pieces of fabric filler sticking out between heat- shielding tiles. They could have caused overheating during reentry. Later, lead flight director Paul Hill summed up the reaction at Mission Control.
PAUL HILL: So when he pulled that first gap filler out and it came right out as I was bragging to folks yesterday, yeah, I was absolutely relieved. I think you could probably hear the sigh of relief throughout the building over there. And when he pulled the second one out, it was a huge relief. And it definitely felt like the rest is downhill from here.
JIM LEHRER: Officials also said they may order another shuttle repair on Friday. The crew could cut away an insulating blanket just under the commander's window. It was snagged by debris and pulled free during launch. We'll have more on this story later in the program. Air safety investigators pointed to severe weather today, as they probed a near disaster in Toronto, Canada. An Air France jet from Paris skidded off the runway yesterday in heavy rain and high winds. It burst into flames, but all 309 people on board escaped within minutes. Airport officials said today the plane had enough fuel to divert to Montreal. They said, "That's the pilot's decision." We'll have more on this story later in the program. Iran's newly elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was approved today by Iran's supreme leader. Ayatollah Khameini made the religious appointment during a ceremony in Tehran. The formal inauguration, before parliament, will come Saturday. In his speech today, the new president criticized nuclear arms, and he said "Weapons of mass destruction that are in the hands of dominant powers should be dismantled." The ayatollah insisted Iran will go ahead with its own nuclear program. He said: "The Iranian people would not pay tribute to any power." Iran had vowed to resume processing nuclear fuel today, but a spokesman said it would wait until next week. Sudan's president called for an end to rioting in Khartoum and elsewhere today. The Red Cross reported at least 84 people have died in three days of violence. The clashes erupted after Vice President John Garang died in a helicopter crash. He led southern rebels in a long civil war that ended this year. On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 13 points to close at 10,697. The NASDAQ fell a point to close at 2216. And that's it for the News Summary tonight. Now it's on to: The latest from Iraq; women in the war zone; the shuttle repair walk; surviving an airliner crash; Terkel and Kotlowitz; and faith and science.
UPDATE - STRUGGLE FOR SECURITY
JIM LEHRER: Our Iraq update comes from Edward Wong of the New York Times in Baghdad. Margaret Warner talked with him earlier today.
MARGARET WARNER: Edward Wong, welcome. Thanks for being with us.
There have been two separate, very lethal attacks leaving 20 Marines dead in Anbar Province in the last 48 hours. What's going on there?
EDWARD WONG: Anbar Province has always been one of the hardest territories for the American troops to control in all of Iraq. It's basically the heartland of the Sunni Arab insurgency. And there was a lot of support for the tribes out there for Saddam Hussein and his regime when that was in power. Basically, during the entire occupation, the Americans have had a hard time controlling the area. So the last 48 hours we've seen two tremendous attacks out there. The latest one was the... was one where a roadside bomb explosion killed fourteen Marines and an interpreter, which is one of the single most devastating attacks in recent memory here in Iraq.
And then yesterday we saw an attack where several Marine snipers, a half dozen Marine snipers, were out on foot in two separate patrols and they were ambushed and attacked by insurgents. And basically it looks like the area of Haditha, around the town of Haditha, which is right on the Euphrates River, is becoming one of the big hot spots in Anbar alongside places such Fallujah and Ramadi.
MARGARET WARNER: There were some questions in the Pentagon briefing today about whether the Marine vehicles, these amphibious assault vehicles, are more lightly armored or less heavily armored than, say, the Army Bradley fighting vehicle. What can you tell us about that?
EDWARD WONG: The Marines have always had a problem with armoring their vehicles. I spent some time with Marine troops in various parts of Iraq, and one of the common complaints you hear about them is that they often get hand-me-downs from the Army. The Marines get a smaller budget, operating budget, than the Army does, significantly smaller. And they often complain about their equipment and about their vehicles.
MARGARET WARNER: And then when we talk about the attack on Monday on the Marines that were on foot, where six Marines died, a group called Ansar al-Sunna has claimed responsibility. What do you know about them?
EDWARD WONG: Ansar al-Sunna is one of the most militant groups here in Iraq, and basically it's a group that formed after another Jihadist group called Ansar al-Islam was broken up by the Americans and by the Kurds in northern Iraq during the invasion. Basically, Ansar al-Sunna regrouped... were remnants of that group that ended up regrouping and then recruiting other members from Anbar Province and from places to the west and to the north of Baghdad.
And so that group is now carrying out a lot of attacks. It's carrying out a lot of attacks on Iraqiforces in Baghdad in the North and the West. And here, we're seeing them carrying out a fairly vicious attack on American forces and basically boasting of the role that they played here.
MARGARET WARNER: Do military... U.S. Military officials you talked to they think... the fact that two of these attacks have been pulled off in the last 48 hours, does that suggest to them and to you that the insurgency out there is becoming more effective and more sophisticated and/or is it that the Marines and other U.S. troops are now putting more pressure on them?
EDWARD WONG: I think it's hard just to say from a pattern of over 48 hours whether the insurgency is becoming more sophisticated. I think over a length of time several commanders here have told us that they believe the insurgency has been getting more efficient and has been getting more sophisticated, although they're uncertain whether it's growing in size. But they do believe that the way the insurgents are mounting attacks is more effective.
MARGARET WARNER: Let me ask you a little more about the U.S. activity now out in Anbar Province, because last spring we saw Marines go in and they'd sort of clear out a nest in one town. But then they would acknowledge to reporters they didn't really have the forces to maintain a presence there, so they retreat or withdraw. Now, we hear reports that actually a new base is being built out there. Is there a more concerted effort to really shut down the insurgent network in that part of the country, and if so, why?
EDWARD WONG: The base that you're talking about is located in a town which is on the Euphrates River north of Haditha, and it is one of the latest attempts by the American military to try and shut down a through-line of insurgents coming in from what they believe Syria and then moving onward to Baghdad and other places. Now, over the last several months, we've seen the Americans try several operations in this area, operations that they name after a sharp object-- Operation Sword, Operation Spear, Operation Scimitar-- and each of these has targeted a specific area along the Euphrates River Valley where they've tried to basically surround villages, surround towns, do search operations and try and shut down these networks, networks of both foreign fighters as well as the homegrown Iraqi cells that are smuggling those fighters in. I don't think the Americans believe that the foreign fighters form the bulk of the insurgents by any means, but they're believed to form a large part of the suicide bomber brigades that carry out a lot of the most devastating attacks in Iraq.
MARGARET WARNER: And now, turning to the killing of an American freelance journalist down in Basra, Steven Vincent. What can you tell us about that?
EDWARD WONG: Steven Vincent was a man who was working in Basra for several months on a book about Basra and also writing articles about the Shiite religious parties down there. What we hear is that he and his interpreter were picked up in a police vehicle yesterday evening in downtown Basra and then later his body was found north of the city center riddled with bullets. His hands were tied and he had apparently been... there apparently had been a blind cloth put over his eyes at one point.
When his body was taken to the morgue, a reporter who works for us in Basra looked at it and said that there were bruises on his face and on his right shoulder which showed that he might have been tortured or abused by the people who kidnapped him.
Witnesses at the scene told us that the people who took him into the car were wearingpolice uniforms at the time. Now, his interpreter is apparently alive, although she was shot also, and she's undergoing treatment at a hospital right now.
MARGARET WARNER: I understand that you knew him. What was he working on? What was he writing that might have made him the target?
EDWARD WONG: Steven Vincent was working on a series of stories that he was doing for various publications down in Basra where he was trying to talk about the rise of conservative Shiite Islam, very conservative Islam, and about the pitfalls of that. And he was basically criticizing the British military down there and implicitly the American administration for not dampening this rise in fundamentalism and pushing their brand of democracy, but rather instead allowing religious leaders to take control across the South.
And he was basically writing about the fact that Iraqi security forces, he believes, had been infiltrated by militia who were loyal to these religious leaders and were in fact sent on carrying out personal vendettas in Basra, such as assassinating Baath Party officials. So he wrote this most recently in an op-ed in the New York Times on Sunday, and it was two days later that he was kidnapped and his body was found.
MARGARET WARNER: And finally, Ed, you, I know, have been in Basra and have written from Basra yourself. We have thought of British-occupied Basra as one of the more stable cities in Iraq. Is that less so than it used to be? Was that a mistaken impression? Are things less stable there?
EDWARD WONG: What you're seeing down there is basically a struggle for power among various Shiite parties. But it's not a struggle that's breaking out in open attacks or open warfare out on the street. It's a political struggle. And you also see... what you see are also fascinations of figures like Sunni clerics and Sunni leaders and Baath Party officials.
MARGARET WARNER: All right, Ed Wong of the New York Times, thanks for being with us.
EDWARD WONG: Great, thanks a lot.
FOCUS - WOMEN IN COMBAT
JIM LEHRER: Now, our report on military women in Iraq, where the battlefield is everywhere. Betty Ann Bowser has that story.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Deep in the Mojave Desert, in blistering 120 degree heat, soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division did a security sweep through a dusty mock Iraqi village. Iraqi nationals were paid by the Army to play the role of suspected insurgents. This kind of training goes on all the time at the Army's national training center at Fort Irwin, California. But for the thousands of military women who now serve in combat support roles in Iraq, the training is more crucial than ever. The Defense Department exempts women from jobs whose primary mission is combat. But many, like their male counterparts, are killed doing something deceptively simple: Moving around. Lori Manning is the director of Women in the Military Project.
LORI MANNING, Director, Women in the Military Project: It's the highway or the road now that's now the combat zone because that is where those who want to attack wait to shoot their missiles or throw off their grenades or set off their IEDS.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Capt. Amanda Bielski, who could have left the Army this month, decided to go back to Iraq because she felt the Army needs more people with experience leading convoys.
CAPT. AMANDA BIELSKI, U.S. Army: When we go on a convoy, whether it's a man or a woman, you still have the possibility of getting mortared. You still have the possibility of an IED, an Improvised Explosive Device, happening. Even if you're living on a forward operating base, like this one that we're at right now, you have the possibility of getting mortared. So though we may not be in direct combat shooting at somebody, we are still in the line of the enemy's capability of getting to us. So this is preparing all of us, whether we're male or female, for those kind of realities.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: As of the end of July, 41 women have died. That's more than number of those killed in Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm combined. But in culturally sensitive Iraq there are some jobs that only women can do. Female soldiers are needed to conduct searches of Muslim women who may be hiding weapons. Army Spec. Keena Ray who will be deployed to Iraq this fall for the second time says most Muslim women won't allow male soldiers to approach them.
SPEC. KEENA RAY, U.S. Army: We were trying to clear out an area for our convoy to get through, and they wouldn't move. They wouldn't talk to the men. So they brought me over, and with an interpreter, a female interpreter, they actually cooperated with me.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: In Iraq, insurgents strike almost every day. There are no clear combat lines, and convoys are a main target where a higher percentage of women serve in combat support roles. This summer, three women, Ramona Valdez, Regina Clark and Holly Charette, were killed by a suicide bomber who attacked their vehicle near Fallujah. They had just finished searching Iraqi civilian women going in and out of the city; 11 other women were wounded in the attack. It was the deadliest day for military women since the war began. ("Taps" playing) Petty Officer Regina Clark was a Naval reservist. A single mother from Centralia, Washington, she left behind her 19-year-old son, Kerry, and her mother, Mellitta Fountain. It was the third time Clark had been called up since 9/11, and she was going to leave the Navy this fall. Kelly Pennington was her best friend.
KELLY PENNINGTON: I think it's a terrible waste, you know, because she had her whole life ahead of her. She was looking forward to it. And this was her last run of the military, you know. Yeah. And, you know, she had done her time; she'd served faithfully, wholeheartedly. And she was ready to give up, you know, to walk away from it and move onto something else. And she didn't get that opportunity.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: In the letters Clark sent Pennington, and her mother, Melitta Fountain, she expressed concern about the growing insurgency, and said she was confounded by suicide bombings.
KELLY PENNINGTON: She never said she was worried about her safety. She just said that she didn't feel comfortable. It didn't feel right.
MELITTA FOUNTAIN: She couldn't understand why some of those people just blow themselves up.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Clark volunteered to search Muslim women suspected of hiding weapons. Pennington said Clark also cared deeply about the rights of Iraqi civilians, particularly the women.
KELLY PENNINGTON: I know how much she believed in it, and I know that you couldn't have stopped her from doing what she was doing. And she always said that, you know, if she had to go, she wanted to go doing what she believed in.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Seated near Reservist Clark in the fatal attack of their vehicle convoy was 20-year-old Marine Ramona Valdez. Born in the Dominican Republic, Cpl. Valdez grew up in the Bronx, in a family that struggled financially. So she helped support her family with her military salary. Valdez' sister, Fiorela, said Ramona had made a deal with their mother, who was worried about her daughter's safety in Iraq. The young corporal promised her mother that she wouldn't reenlist in the Marines if her mother agreed to move away from their dangerous neighborhood in the Bronx.
FIORELA VALDEZ: She wanted a better place, a more quiet place for my mother, like for me and my kids.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Fiorela and her mother moved to Pennsylvania just two months before Ramona Valdez was killed.
FIORELA VALDEZ: My mother, she loved my mother. Wow, my mother was like the main priority.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Fiorela Valdez doesn't think the military should be putting women into potentially deadly situations.
FIORELA VALDEZ: They shouldn't send women to Fallujah because that's the most dangerous place over there, and everybody knows that. They should just know that they cannot send women over there because they going to get killed, and they know that.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: That's exactly why Fort Irwin's national training center spends so much time reenacting insurgent attacks. When the military suffers casualties like Valdez and Clark, they try to learn lessons from the tragedy, and incorporate that into training. They try to teach soldiers how to avoid, react and control the potential crisis.
SPOKESPERSON: Let's go. Fire it up!
BETTY ANN BOWSER: 1st Lt. Jennifer Ernest is in her second week of training at Fort Irwin. She is the platoon leader for Alpha Company 204th Support Battalion.
1ST LT. JENNIFER ERNEST: I'll be the lead vehicle on the convoy, and my function is to handle land navigation making sure that the convoy is on track, that they don't get off on the wrong turn. We'll have two Apaches coming with us for air support, and our trail vehicle, which is our gun truck. If in the event we run into insurgents or an attack, then I would send them forward as need be, and determine a course of action from there.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Last week in training, her vehicle was ambushed by mock insurgents wielding grenades. The insurgents managed to take two vehicles and wound seven soldiers. It is a familiar scenario, and a lesson Ernest will bring to Iraq.
1ST LT. JENNIFER ERNEST: It's no longer the linear battlefield of yesteryear. Today's battlefield is everywhere. It's all around you, 360 degrees. So today every soldier-- man, woman, you're a war fighter first. You need to be prepared.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Because women are almost as vulnerable to insurgent attacks as men, conservatives in Washington recently tried to get Congress to legally ban them from combat situations, but that attempt failed. Capt. Amanda Bielski thinks that line of thinking is outdated.
CAPT. AMANDA BIELSKI: There is no longer this idea that you can put somebody in someplace where they're going to be safe, because there is no place safe anymore. So we really have to change the way we think of how war works and really accept the fact that everyone is going to be in some kind of danger, and to prepare everyone for that as a possibility.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Earlier this summer, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester of the Kentucky National Guard became the first female soldier since world war ii to be awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action. She killed three insurgents who attacked her convoy near Baghdad, and she said it was the insurgency training she got before she went that saved her life.
JIM LEHRER: Still to come on the NewsHour tonight: Fixing the shuttle; escaping an airliner crash; Terkel and Kotlowitz; and a Roger Rosenblatt essay.
FOCUS - EASY DOES IT
JIM LEHRER: Jeffrey Brown has our shuttle story.
JEFFREY BROWN: As astronaut Steve Robinson descended the steps of Discovery, he prepared to go where no one had gone before: The underbelly of a space shuttle. Robinson and fellow astronaut Soichi Noguchi were on the mission's third spacewalk, this time to fix two dangling pieces of material known as gap fillers from between the shuttle's protective thermal tiles. NASA officials had decided the exposed fillers posed a risk of overheating on reentry to Earth. Robinson attached himself to the international space station's robotic arm, secured his safety tethers between his legs to avoid knocking the delicate shuttle, and spoke to shuttle pilot Jim Kelly, nicknamed "Vegas."
ROBINSON: Vegas, I'm ready to go in and get it when you are.
JEFFREY BROWN: With that, fellow astronauts maneuvered Robinson into place in front of the tile-covered underside. Along the way, he gave a running commentary --
ROBINSON: Can you see that?
VEGAS: Yes, we can.
JEFFREY BROWN: -- in part to ensure that he maintained communication with his comrades.
JEFFREY BROWN: Then it was time to pull away or trim the first protruding gap filler.
VEGAS: That's yours. Take it away.
ROBINSON: Okay, Vegas.
JEFFREY BROWN: The procedure was expected to take up to an hour, but the first gap filler came away gently in mere seconds.
SPOKESMAN: You can see the gap filler in his fingertips.
JEFFREY BROWN: Robinson then moved to the second exposed piece.
SPOKESMAN: Here we go. Everybody watching?
ROBINSON: Okay. That came out very easily, probably even less force. It looks like this big patient is cured.
JEFFREY BROWN: Two hours of today's six-hour spacewalk were spent installing an external tool and parts platform on the international space station. The astronauts ended their walk through space with some humor, knocking on the shuttle airlock to let them back in.
SPOKESMAN: Open the door.
JEFFREY BROWN: At NASA headquarters in Houston, scientists and officials were relieved the work went so well.
CINDY BEGLEY, NASA Spacewalk Officer: I think the procedure today went very well, the communication was good; proved we can get access to bottom of vehicle. We just never needed to do that before I think. Also the most important thing that we've done on this entire flight is being able to image the entire bottom of the vehicle so we know what's going on down there. And we can do it early enough in the flight to be prepared to do this sort of thing in time. I think the whole thing worked out very well.
MARK FERRING: It was a lot more complicated I think than it looks. It's a testament to that whole team that it came off, I think, looking fairly straightforward.
JEFFREY BROWN: NASA officials are now mulling whether a fourth spacewalk might be needed later this week to deal with a ripped thermal blanket hanging just below the commander's window.
JEFFREY BROWN: The number of humans who have taken a walk in space remains quite small, of course. One of them, the first American woman to do it is Kathryn Sullivan who took her walk in 1984 from the shuttle Challenger. She's now head of the Center of Science and Industry, a museum in Columbus, Ohio.
And welcome to you.
KATHRYN SULLIVAN: Thanks. Good to be with you.
JEFFREY BROWN: We heard Mark Ferring of NASA say that it came off looking fairly straightforward but tell us in fact how hard is it to do what happened today?
KATHRYN SULLIVAN: Well, I think it's intellectually very demanding to keep that multifaceted picture in your head as really everybody involved in it needed to do simultaneously.
All of the steps in something like this can in fact be pre-calculated down to every joint on the arm. Where does the wrist need to be at this moment? That can be verified on computers in advance. So you get a procedure. Jim Kelly, Wendy Lawrence, Steve Robinson -- they get a procedure that has an awful lot of pedigree behind it. They can be very confident in that.
Then they just have to really make sure they stay focused and disciplined and communicate well together so that they carry it out in the correct sequence and as planned and they have to stay terribly alert for early indicators that something might be diverging from what you expect. The sooner you can spot that, be alert to it, begin to react to it appropriately, the better obviously.
JEFFREY BROWN: Is it physically demanding to walk and to work in space?
KATHRYN SULLIVAN: Well, as you can see today, the word "walking" in space -- that phrase -- we should have picked a different one especially in the zero gravity environment of shuttle and space station. Your feet are not the things you move around with. You move mainly with your hands, keeping your boots, which are fairly heavy clunky bits of the spacesuit, away from elements that you might damage.
The easiest way, of course, to move from point to point, the least strenuous way is the way that was used today to take Steve to the bottom of the vehicle, riding along on a platform on the top of that 58- foot long arm is like having, you know, God's ability to fly through space at will. You just pay attention to the clearances and help your colleague who is driving the arm position you correctly.
Where you do wear out-- and the suit is fatiguing -- it's a big balloon shaped like your body and has a total mass - it would be something over 300 pounds here on Earth because it really is a spaceship in its own right that happens to be shaped like your body. So when you want to move yourself back and forward, you need to put enough muscle force in to move your own weight or the mass equivalent plus the mass of the suit and to do that really just with your grip and your forearms.
Steve and Soichi Noguchi probably did a thousand grip and release, grip and release motions today with their forearms and hands through the course of that EVA. And I'll bet they're a little fatigued as they get to bed tonight.
JEFFREY BROWN: I suppose, Ms. Sullivan, what all of us wonder is really just what is it like? What does it feel like to be out there?
KATHRYN SULLIVAN: Well, for me it was a fascinating and intense combination of a number of things. The total number of people to ever fly in space at all is still not even 500. And only about a third of those ever even get to go outside on a spacewalk so it's a pretty coveted, very neat thing to get to do and you're excited about that. You're eager about that, thrilled at the opportunity.
They're usually pretty complex tasks that are a great challenge to accomplish and that folks like the folks we watched today take great pride and a great sense of responsibility in making sure that they do accomplish well.
Bu then finally wrapping around all of that, wrapping around the eagerness, the excitement and the professional rigor is just the amazing fact that you are where you are. And you and a couple thousand colleagues of yours, most of whom you know, managed to put you there.
This suit that you're in feels like a part of you. You heard Steve commenting on that today. It becomes bulky though it does become fairly second nature and a very comfortable place to work, except that when you move the spaceship out of your way or pivot away from the space station there's this gigantic blue and whitebeach ball called the Earth with no window frame around it and it's sliding past you at 17,500 miles an hour.
Both Soichi and Steve today had some of the finest views I think a low Earth orbit spacewalking astronaut has ever had. Yes, I was jealous.
JEFFREY BROWN: As we mentioned in our set-up piece, there is now talk about whether they might have to go out for a fourth unplanned walk or drift through space. Is there a point where the number of these builds up and takes its toll? I mean, is that part of now the calculation of whether it is wise to send them back out?
KATHRYN SULLIVAN: That will enter the calculation in a couple of ways. One is every time you dump a load of air out of the air lock and then have to re-pressurize it to bring folks back in, you're letting go. You're losing some oxygen and nitrogen, so what's called consumables, both on the station side and on the spacesuit. You have to look at the spacesuit itself. I can't imagine that they don't have enough batteries stowed on board for an extra battery charge, extra air scrubbers in the backpack and so on. They'll take a look at that and make sure the consumables work.
Steve and Soichi Noguchi are well enough conditioned with the three spacewalk flight that you already were prepared for that I would doubt seriously that crew fatigue would be a factor. It might be enough of a factor that they would hold off until at least Friday before sending them out on a fourth EVA, if it proves necessary.
But the risk of each flight or each spacewalk is sort of a risk in its own right. And I'm sure that what the analysts and flight control team will be looking at in the next 24 hours just as they did with these gap fillers, we have a certain risk of doing an EVA, and you can't make that become zero. There's some other risks of coming home with this damaged blanket still in the condition that it's in. Which one gives me the greater certainty that I'm bringing the crew home safe? And that will be the course of action that they'll choose.
JEFFREY BROWN: And briefly you know, of course there was a lot of debate about whether to send an astronaut for first time to the bottom of the shuttle. Does what happened today help build to some kind of future efforts?
KATHRYN SULLIVAN: I think it certainly does, just in the same way that in the early U.S. program Gemini, all the flights of Gemini and the early flights of Apollo, each were taking on one building block that was a part of getting to the Moon and back and verifying it, testing it, gaining experience on it, before you strung them altogether, sending people to the moon.
So on some future shuttle flight which I certainly hope there will be more of, if one found that there was more severe damage on the bottom of the orbiter, to go out and repair that damage on that flight, you'd at least know that you had some certainty; you had some knowledge, you had some experience about how to safely put a crew member on the bottom side of the orbiter. The piece that would be left to get done would be plenty challenging in its own right. Don't get me wrong. But you would have taken some of the big unknowns and made them a little more familiar and given the entire team some preliminary experience with it. All of that helps in reducing risk.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right. Kathryn Sullivan, thank you very much for joining us.
KATHRYN SULLIVAN: A pleasure.
FOCUS - PLANE FIRE
JIM LEHRER: Now an update on yesterday's airliner crash in Toronto, and its successful evacuation moments later. It comes from Lindsay Taylor of Independent Television News.
LINDSAY TAYLOR: Flight 358 bursting into flames moments after the crash. The Air France flight from Paris to Toronto, carrying more than 300 passengers and crew, had skidded off the runway and landed in a wooded ravine, cameras on a nearby highway capturing the unfolding drama. Passengers used emergency chutes, or simply leapt from the exits. Not all the chutes appear to have been deployed. The flames are clearly not far behind. Remarkably, some managed to snap these pictures as they fled for their lives; even the terrifying moments inside, as they scramble to evacuate the plane. The aircraft had been circling due to bad weather. When it finally landed, there was spontaneous applause and cheering onboard, only for the euphoria to turn to horror.
PASSENGER: It was terrible, horrible. All people were screaming, there was fire, there was smoke, and we cannot do anything but run away, that's it. I'm still here, and I still don't believe it.
PASSENGER: First of all, you cannot do the duck down... the emergency duck down thing until basically the plane came to a stop, to a halt. And that's when we start seeing the engine on fire, the left- side engine. The crew opened the gates, they inflated the thing, and we started jumping out of the plane.
PASSENGER: We were really holding to our seats until the... and then the crew opened the emergency doors where there were not too much fire, not too much flame. We managed to jump from... we were like running away as fast we could from the plane, because our biggest fear at that point was that the plane would blow up.
LINDSAY TAYLOR: About 40 passengers suffered minor injuries, many due to jumping from the aircraft. Still, the majority emerged shocked, bewildered, but uninjured, and above all, immensely relieved to be alive and reunited with their loved ones. In Paris, Air France praised its pilots and cabin crew, which it said were all experienced Air France staff; the 57-year-old pilot having logged more than 15,000 flying hours.
JEAN-CYRIL SPINETTA, CEO, Air France: Obviously, our flight attendants perfectly managed the situation, which explains-- and not a miracle, I think-- which explains that we have no dead people in this crash.
LINDSAY TAYLOR: A great escape perhaps, but it was also a very serious accident, for which air crash investigators will be seeking urgent answers. The plane left Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 1:32 P.M. Local Time. At 10:10 Paris Time, it landed at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. The Airbus 340 has a good safety record, but as Flight 358, carrying its 297 passengers and 12 crew members, touched down, instead of slowing down to a stop, it overran the runway, possibly due to aquaplaning or being buffeted by strong winds. It skidded down a slope into a wooded ravine, bursting into flames as it came to halt next to one of Canada's busiest roads. Pilots' organizations are calling for international discussions on safety improvements on runways.
BRUCE D'ANCEY, International Federation of Airline Pilots Assoc.: To prevent overruns there are methods. One is a runway and safety area which is a concrete area that gives the aircraft additional time to slow down and stop. At airports like Toronto where there is not sufficient area, you can implement arrestor beds, which are areas where an aircraft like an escape plate for a car the aircraft goes into a soft ground area which slows it down without causing damage to people or the aircraft itself.
LINDSAY TAYLOR: European aircraft manufacturers and operators must satisfy regulators that the planes could be evacuated within 90 seconds in order to be certified to fly. In this case, the speed of the evacuation undoubtedly saved lives.
JIM LEHRER: Investigators said this afternoon they have now found the black boxes containing the flight data and voice recorders from the plane. They also said there did not appear to be anything wrong with the plane on its approach to the airport. As part of their investigation, they will try to determine whether lightning was a factor in the accident.
FOCUS - ORAL HISTORIES
JIM LEHRER: Next: Two authors, one city and many stories. Media correspondent Terence Smith reports.
STUDS TERKEL: This is my fish-head cane.
TERENCE SMITH: Studs Terkel is 93; Alex Kotlowitz, 50. A generation separates these two authors, yet more unites them. Both accidental Chicagoans who grew up in New York, they share a friendship and a passion for storytelling about their adopted home. They are also accomplished practitioners of an age old but rarely used form of journalism: Capturing the oral histories of ordinary men and women. Studs Terkel is known for extensive conversations with Americans from all walks of life that chronicle the profound changes in the nation during the 20th Century. He has written 13 books, winning a Pulitzer Prize for "The Good War" in 1985. He has another volume coming out this fall, "And They All Sang, Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey."
ACTOR: Me, I'm not going.
TERENCE SMITH: Studs first pursued acting on stage, radio and in the movies, after graduating from the University of Chicago's Law School in 1934.
ACTOR: Hi, boys.
ACTOR: Hi coach.
ACTOR: What's the big argument?
TERENCE SMITH: He then had his own early variety show on television called Studs' Place, which capitalized on his background as a disc jockey, film narrator, sportscaster and music columnist, among other jobs.
ACTOR: Did you have a good time last night, Studs?
TERENCE SMITH: And for 45 years, from 1952 to 1997, he hosted The Studs Terkel Program on Chicago Radio, where he interviewed politicians, writers, activists, labor organizers and artists, among others.
STUDS TERKEL: Take it easy, but take it.
ALEX KOTLOWITZ: I just want to read you a short section about Milton.
TERENCE SMITH: Alex Kotlowitz is becoming something of a multimedia Studs Terkel.
ALEX KOTLOWITZ: "Drab cinderblock worlds became lakes surrounded by oak trees, beaches with palm trees."
TERENCE SMITH: He has been a newspaper reporter, television producer and writer. Like Terkel, Kotlowitz has focused on the disadvantaged in his books, "The Other Side of the River" and the best-selling "There Are no Children Here," which was selected as one of the 150 most important books of the century by the New York Public Library. His latest work, "Never a City so Real," is a portrait of Chicago told through the stories of its people, as is his first- person narrative series for Chicago Public Radio. And many of those characters reappear in his recent play, "An Unobstructed View."
ACTOR: My name's Milton Reed. But folks just call me the artist. I'm going to paint you a portrait --
TERENCE SMITH: We sat down with the two men to discuss their craft in Terkel's house on the north side of Chicago.
TERENCE SMITH: Both of you use the interview. Both of you are good listeners. What's special about that form of journalism where you simply go to people and get them to tell their stories? What's special about that?
STUDS TERKEL: They are ordinary. I use the quote ordinary because it's a patronizing word. They are not celebrities. Celebrities, we know, are celebrated for being celebrated, and they're not very exciting. And ordinary people hasn't been asked about his, her life.
TERENCE SMITH: Terkel recalled tape- recording an interview with an unmarried mother of four in one of Chicago's housing projects.
STUDS TERKEL: We play it back and she hears her voice and she says something, suddenly puts her hand to her mouth and says, "Oh, my God!" I said, "What is it?" She said, "I never knew I felt that way before." Well, bingo, that's a star for her and for me. In other words, that interview helped her say something that revealed herself to herself.
ALEX KOTLOWITZ: And stories are also the way, you know, we make sense of ourselves and make sense of the world. And so that's what all these people... like this woman here, I mean, she's beginning to sort of, as she tells her story, make sense of her own life. And it's one of the, I think one of the real exhilarations about doing this, is that people begin to reveal things to themselves that they haven't done before...
STUDS TERKEL: And suddenly they feel they count. It's not an interview; it's a conversation. You, yourself, enter it, too. I'm not the guy from 60 Minutes coming down to talk to them.
ALEX KOTLOWITZ: You realize that that's what listening is all about. It's not just sitting there as kind of like a landscape artist and sort of watching it all from the distance. It's engaging with people, and that's what's so critical.
TERENCE SMITH: Alex, what's the value in the first-person account? What's the value... what makes it different from ordinary expository journalism?
ALEX KOTLOWITZ: Well, my usual feeling about stories, you want to get out of the way and let the story tell itself. And there's no better way to get out of the way than let people tell their own stories.
TERENCE SMITH: Terkel and Kotlowitz describe how people's stories often take twists and turns they even don't expect.
STUDS TERKEL: Oh, for example, "Working," the book "Working," people describe that, what's your day like? And so this guy's a gas meter reader. And he's the man who goes with a flashlight down in the basement to read. "So tell me about your day, how does it begin?" He says, "Well, mostly dogs and women." "What about the women?" He says, "Oh, nothing's happened with the women. However, in some of these suburbs they're kind of good-looking ladies. And in summertime they're out on the patio in their bikini getting the sun, and I come into the front door and she's lying on her stomach in a bikini and the bra is open, so the whole sun can hit the back. So I creep up very, very slowly, and as I'm near her I holler 'gas man,' and she turns around." And then he says... then he says, "I get bawled out an awful lot. But it makes the day go faster." (Laughter)
TERENCE SMITH: You've become friends. You're working in sort of parallel paths. Do you see Alex as somebody who can continue this tradition?
STUDS TERKEL: I see him more than my disciple-- he's not a disciple, that's a patronizing... I see him as my successor, of course. That is, he's picking up where... I give him the baton, and he's got the baton, and in his hands it's good. Well, you know he's good.
ALEX KOTLOWITZ: I'll take it, but I won't be able to run as fast as you, Studs.
STUDS TERKEL: Well, you can't, but you type faster. (Laughter)
ALEX KOTLOWITZ: What so inspired me about his work is that these ordinary people, under extraordinary circumstances. I mean, Studs once, once you referred to them as the "et ceteras of the world," and I think that wasaptly put, and that's where I spend most of my time.
TERENCE SMITH: Using Chicago as your source material, what is it about the city or the people that makes it so rich for you?
ALEX KOTLOWITZ: First of all, it's a city filled with messy vitalities. I mean, you can find all the fissures in this country within the confines of this city, whether it's over race or religion or politics. It's a city filled with paradoxes.
STUDS TERKEL: What he says about Chicago is on the button. It's the contradiction, but also the very history. It was a place of hands. People worked, blue-collar city from Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean. And then the inner migration of Deep South, poor white sharecrop, poor black sharecroppers and the white mountaineers having a hard time, and then came south of the Rio Grande. And so Chicago, really, is the archetypal American city.
TERENCE SMITH: And one of the archetypal characters of the city is Eddie Sadlowski, AKA "Oil Can Eddie," a retired steelworker and labor leader. His battles are detailed in the books of both Terkel and Kotlowitz.
SPOKESMAN: Top-shelf guy, top-shelf award.
TERENCE SMITH: On this day, he and a fellow union leader presented Terkel with an award they had been trying to give to him for some time.
SPOKESMAN: Every working stiff in Chicago should tip the hat when the name of Studs Terkel is mentioned.
STUDS TERKEL (reading award): "For all you've done "
TERENCE SMITH: Eddie Sadlowski reflected on what Terkel has contributed and how Kotlowitz is carrying on that tradition.
EDDIE SADLOWSKI: Terkel personifies what America's all about, in my opinion. I mean, that's... I really sincerely mean that. I love that guy. He's one of my heroes. But who better to pass it on to at the time that it needed to be passed on is Alex. Anyone that reads Alex, you can't help but be impressed.
TERENCE SMITH: You both obviously value oral history, but does society?
ALEX KOTLOWITZ: I think that's sort of really the question, is there a place for that, because what does have me so concerned now is that as you pick up the newspapers and magazines, what you tend to read about are the celebrities, the rich and the powerful. And not to say that isn't important, but I do think that we lose sight of what's going on in the nooks and crannies in our country.
TERENCE SMITH: Do you get the sense that young people today with their computers, their video games and all the things they have for amusement, do they value storytelling the way you do?
ALEX KOTLOWITZ: I don't think storytelling is going out of fashion. I don't think it ever will. I mean, it's so much a part of human nature to want to tell stories and to want to hear stories; to just want to know what happens next.
TERENCE SMITH: You say you're passing the baton to Alex, and in the same breath you tell me you've got another book coming out. It doesn't sound as though you're finished with the baton.
STUDS TERKEL: Yeah. I have another book coming out.
TERENCE SMITH: Yes.
STUDS TERKEL: It's interesting when your life is a deadline. That becomes rather interesting. It really has, in a way.
TERENCE SMITH: With those self- imposed deadlines to fulfill, both authors assure there will be plenty more storytelling and plenty more listening.
ESSAY - FAITH & SCIENCE
JIM LEHRER: And finally tonight essayist Roger Rosenblatt has some thought about faith and science.
ROGER ROSENBLATT: In July, 1925, 80 years ago give or take, John Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution in the state of Tennessee. Anniversary notwithstanding, there would beno need to bring up this historic moment were it not for a new claim on the part of those who still challenge evolution that a compromise exits between creationists and evolutionists called "intelligent design." However the world evolved, say the believers in intelligent design, it derived from God. To these advocates, the idea of randomness, which lies at the center of Darwin's discussion of natural selection, doesn't wash. God had to be in on the process. In fact, Darwin said something like that himself, without going so far as making God nature's chief architect. The third edition of the "Origin of Species" ends with a beautiful reflection on God as omnipresent spirit.
One should add that when Darwin went off on his "Voyage of the Beagle," his constant literary companion was "Paradise Lost." But to Darwin and scientists since, the evolution of things natural remains a series of random adaptations. What today's advocates call "intelligent design," Darwin might have called "efficient" or "adequate" design-- the sort of planning that derives from necessity.
The Scopes trial got the question of evolution versus creation off to a misleading start, in my opinion, because it established a context of debate between ideas not profitably debated. When William Jennings Bryan squared off against Clarence Darrow, it made it appear that the issue was going to be solved by a jury, a verdict. That cannot happen. One side represents faith; the other reason or science.
Scientists would do better never to enter debate with creationists because the world of thought they represent lies in a wholly different galaxy. To say that, however, is not to say that God need remain out of the picture in such discussions. The fact that Darwin's study removed God from the evolution of nature only freed people to think of God in another and far more interesting way.
If God is not involved with the production of birds and plants, one might wonder how God is involved with us. That, it seems to me, is a question that has to do with how one lives one's life. Matters of ethics, decency, morality and honor are at least as complex as the veins of a leaf, which by the way was the main point of Genesis.
One of the reasons that Darwin was one of the more remarkable people who ever lived had nothing to do with his 15 books of observation of such things as barnacles and coral, or even with the brilliance of his theory-- an imaginative leap that leaves the works of artists in the dust. No, it had to do with his character.
When he was on the verge of completing the "Origin," another scientist, Albert Russel Wallace, sent him a paper containing a theory of natural selection very much like Darwin's own. Instead of calling a lawyer as one might these days, Darwin offered Wallace co-authorship of the idea; that is, co-authorship of a proposition that was going to change the world forever. Wallace, an equally noble man, declined, saying that Darwin's theory was more complete and that his book would be more effective. But the point is that Darwin was prepared to favor honor over fame. Moral thinking may lie outside nature's evolution, but it also may be traceable to a source that teaches us to design ourselves intelligently. I'm Roger Rosenblatt.
JIM LEHRER: Again, the major developments of this day: 14 U.S. Marines were killed in western Iraq, in the deadliest roadside bombing yet. And astronauts successfully made repairs on the space shuttle Discovery. We'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. I'm Jim Lehrer. Thank you and good night.
- The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
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- This episode's headline: Struggle for Security; Women in Combat; Easy Does It; Plane Fire; Oral Histories; Faith & Science. ANCHOR: JIM LEHRER; GUESTS: EDWARD WONG; KATHRYN SULLIVAN; CORRESPONDENTS: KWAME HOLMAN; RAY SUAREZ; SPENCER MICHELS; MARGARET WARNER; GWEN IFILL; TERENCE SMITH; KWAME HOLMAN
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