September 9th, 2009
10:12 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Obama’s joint session, and the “Dust-Off Crew” in Afghanistan

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/09/art.afghan.ied.ac.patrol.jpg caption="U.S. Marines on a counter IED (improvised explosive device) patrol in Nawa district."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

It’s a big night for President Obama. He will deliver an address on health care to a joint session of Congress at 8 p.m. CNN will have live coverage of the speech and we’ll be breaking down the President’s message with our panel of experts. We’ll look into the points he made and the reaction from members of the GOP. Who are the most important targets for his message and who he is trying to convince? More on the speech – as well as reaction from our spot polls – tonight.

Anderson will be live from Afghanistan tonight. He’s been reporting this week from a U.S. Marine base in Helmand province where he’s gone out on IED patrols with Marines and seen the daily challenges the troops face on the front lines of this war against the Taliban. He’s joined by CNN Security Analyst Peter Bergen, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Michael Ware are also reporting live from Afghanistan on what President Obama has called “a war of necessity.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta profiles one officer in Afghanistan who sleeps with his boots on. Why? Because speed matters. His job is to get injured people transported to medical centers – quickly. In his job, seconds matter. He is part of the Army’s “Dust-Off Crew” – an elite group of combat flight medics that ferry people to and from field hospitals. Dr. Gupta joins them in their chopper on one harrowing mission.

Do you want to know how the war in Afghanistan is going? Michael Ware did. He went back to what was once his hometown of Kandahar. The city is the birthplace of the Taliban and is now the capital of what has become the fiercest combat zone in the country. Local commanders tell Ware there are few signs of improvement. Although the major U.S. military offensive in nearby Helmand is weakening the members of the Taliban, it still hasn’t damaged the group’s ability to wage war. As Michael Ware reports, the view from Kandahar is one of a war machine that shows few signs of abating.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai extended his lead in the country’s elections, getting more than 50 percent of votes needed to avoid a run-off. But allegations of fraud continue to be raised. Is the Obama administration advising the commission responsible for investigating the claims of voter fraud? Also in the country today, a New York Times reporter who was kidnapped last week was rescued in a pre-dawn raid conducted today by NATO forces. This rescue comes about 11 weeks after another New York Times reporter escaped after more than seven months of captivity in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. More on the situation tonight.

What else are you following? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Someone needs to get Anderson to WEAR his helmet rather than carry it under his arm. Everytime I see him in the photos his helmet is under his arm rather than on his head. Also, if he wears it he will distract us from trying to figure out why his hair has a blue cast to it – several of us noticed that last night. Great reports though; am enjoying them immensely and appreciate all the work that goes into making them.

    September 9, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  2. Elizabeth

    First of all I want to say thank you to you and your team for what you guys are doing my husband is in Afganistan right now and it is really neat and long over do for people to really get a chance to see what dangers and what they are over there trying to do for our country as well as Afganistan it is really helpful for me to see that my husband and the fellow troops are getting the respect they deserve thank you very much god speed and Semper Fidelis

    September 9, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  3. Bruce B-P

    Hello Eliza:

    Anderson is doing a super job of bringing home the realities in Afghanistan. I really wish he would report on some of the activitities of our British allies who are also doing a superb job and are being ignored by the US media. Helmand is a dangerous place for everyone

    September 9, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  4. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    360 from Afghanistan is interesting and informative, and photos and video are excellent. I'm really enjoying the people-centered theme– troops interacting with Afghan people, and hope it continues the rest of the week. AC is in his element interviewing on location. It's much more affecting than reporting from the standpoint of the political arena. Michael Ware's close call was very scary; so glad he's OK. Can't help but think also of the kidnapped NY Times reporters and the injured CBS reporter, but I see from where Anderson is that CNN is making sure he stays safe, and our great troops are carefully watching out for him and the 360 team. Above all, thank you for that!

    September 9, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  5. John White

    Thanks for a great reporting effort. My son is a Marine Major at Camp Leatherneck, he is one of the duty officers in charge of all rotor wing air operations. He is there like most of the Marines for a year. This type of reporting helps to remind people we have the best military in the world but more importantly that there are people like my son that to serve a year in a combat zone is just another day at the office for them. We cannot take this dedication, sacrifice, and professionalism for granted. It is our most precious capital and it must be used carefully and with a deep sense of responsibility.

    September 9, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  6. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Good Morning Eliza

    The reporting fromj Afganistan has been excellent .When Anderson was walikng along the raod with the officers with the metal dectors it was scary i couldn't imagine the fear and risks they take every day the troops are so brave . I hope everyone is safe out there and it 's very unstable place be careful to Anderson and 360 team .

    September 9, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  7. Donna Wood

    Wow Eliza, everyone's doing such a fantastic job bringing us the news there! Makes me quite thrilled to be a CNN fan! And it's reporting like I've seen over the past couple of months that keeps me coming back for more. I don't listen to any other news programs anymore. They just don't do it like CNN! Keep it coming, please!

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    September 9, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  8. Steve

    Do you consider Israel as having a socialist government? They have a national single payer national health care system. Are they dumber then us or they have determined the single payer system saves money? Or maybe they care more for their fellow citizens?

    September 9, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  9. Cindy

    Last night's show was AWESOME!! Now that is what I and the others really want to see..99% Afghan reporting from Coop and the guys!! Thank you Cooper!!

    I am SO glad that Mic is OK. That man needs to thank God that he wasn't killed by that IED! So far, to me, his reports have been the best of the week. Keep it up Mic..but please stay safe!

    Can't wait to see more from Afghan tonight! I just hope the Obama stuff is VERY minimal in the show. I want to see as much on Afghan as I can and not 30 minutes on Obama.


    September 9, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  10. Eugenia - San Francisco

    This week, while astronauts orbited high above Earth installing new science equipment in the laboratories of the International Space Station, a team of terranauts descended into the Earth on their own mission of discovery. "We were not in outer space, but inner space," says explorer George Kourounis, from the Cave of Crystals in Naica, Mexico: Three hundred meters below Naica lies an alien world of giant crystals and nearly unbearable heat. "With an air temperature of 122 F and a relative humidity of more than 90%, it feels like 228 F in the cave," says Kourounis. "To survive in this extreme environment, we enter the cave wearing special suits with cooling packs inside and a backpack respirator which allows us to breath chilled air. Even with all this equipment, I will still be able to stay in the cave for no more than 45 minutes at a time."

    September 9, 2009 at 10:25 am |