October 5th, 2009
10:20 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Underground America

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/10/04/afghanistan.troops.killed/art.ustroops.gi.jpg]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Las Vegas Boulevard – also known as “The Strip” – is known for its glitz, glamour and lure of hitting the jackpot. But a world exists beneath this iconic area – it has also become home to those down on their luck. Homeless are living in the flood channels that run beneath the city, where many of them have built elaborate shelters deep in the dark labyrinths.

Many of the people who have settled underground are driven here by unemployment, drugs and mental illness. Gary Tuchman talks to one man who created a 400-square foot space with a living room, bedroom and kitchen in a soot-covered section of tunnel practically under the casino-lined boulevard.

Eight U.S. troops and two members of the Afghan National Security Forces were killed in Afghanistan during a highly-organized attack on Saturday. It was the largest number of Americans killed by hostile action in a single day since July 2008. On Sunday, National Security Adviser James Jones told John King on CNN’s “State of the Union,” that there is no immediate danger of Afghanistan falling to the Taliban.

President Obama is overseeing a review of the U.S. strategy in the country. His top general on the ground, other military leaders and some Republicans are pressing him to increase troop levels, while some House liberals are already organizing against sending more troops to the country. Obama will meet with Defense Secretary Robert Gates today and you can expect the question of troop levels will be high on the agenda. We’ll have more on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan tonight.

We’ll also be following a roundtable today with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Gates on the reach and limitations of American power. Should be an interesting discussion and we’ll be airing parts of it tonight.

And have federal officials been completely honest with the public? Bailout inspector general Neil Barofsky says in an audit that Treasury officials painted an overly rosy picture when they called the first bailout banks “healthy” institutions that would be able to lend more with government help. Barofksy’s report says that the portroyal of the banks as healthy eventually contributed to a loss of credibility for the bailout in general. Ali Velshi will break this down for us tonight.

A newspaper in the United Kingdom is reporting that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have changed his last name to hide his Jewish roots. A photo of Ahmadinejad holding up his identity card reveals his last name used to be Sabourjian, a Jewish name meaning “cloth weaver,” before his family changed it after converting to Islam. Is this just a tabloid story or is there any truth to the claim that he Holocaust-denying leader may have Jewish roots?

And an Illinois mother told us that she’s worried about the mental state of her son. He’s enlisted in the army but has become a deserter. He says he went AWOL because she’s afraid he’s going to end up hurting himself or someone else if he has to go back. The Army says he could be facing five years in the military brig. Gary Tuchman is digging deeper.

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

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Cindy

    It's a shame that this nation really overlooks it's poverty stricken people and homless and makes them resort to having to live in underground tunnels and such. This report by Gary seems very interesting! I can't wait to see it tonight!!

    It's sad that our troops are getting killed more and more in Afghanistan yet Obama is still dragging his feet and has no clue of what to do there. He should listen to what the men on the ground say there not the ones who has his ear here who have probably never even been over there.

    WOW...the government lying to us about the bailout...who would've thunk it!? LOL UMM..isn't just about every word that comes from their mouths lies?? Just sayin...


    October 5, 2009 at 10:39 am |