Broadcast News Coverage From Pentagon Correspondents

Broadcast News Coverage From Pentagon Correspondents
May 8th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Broadcast News Coverage From Pentagon Correspondents

Broadcast News Coverage From Pentagon Correspondents
May 7, 2008 By Jonathan Karl; Barbara Starr
World News With Charles Gibson (ABC), 6:30 PM
CHARLES GIBSON: In a remarkable coincidence, when the cyclone and the following tidal wave hit Myanmar or Burma on Saturday, there were three large U.S. Navy ships in the region prepared for a relief operations drill. With the real thing right nearby, the ships’ helicopters could be over the disaster zone within hours if Myanmar’s rulers would accept the help.
Here’s ABC’s Jonathan Karl.
JONATHAN KARL: The ships are already in the region packed with relief supplies and helicopters to deliver them. All they’re waiting for is permission from Myanmar’s dictators to let them in.
ADM. TIMOTHY KEATING [Commander, U.S. Pacific Command]:We’re fortunate to have had a large number of forces there. We’re fortunate to have experienced people. We’re fortunate to have people who will respond quickly. It’s just up to Burma.
KARL: Even before the cyclone slammed Myanmar, the Navy’s Essex Strike Group was in the region for a humanitarian relief exercise, training to respond to catastrophes just like this one. The Essex has 19 transport helicopters and 1,800 Marines capable of delivering tons of food, water, medical equipment, and shelter. The ships are now in the Gulf of Thailand. By sea, it would take four days to reach Myanmar, but the Navy says it could send their helicopters over land and have them on the ground with supplies in a matter of hours.
And the Air Force has two C-130s in Thailand loaded with water purification systems and medical supplies. Today, the country’s reclusive military leaders did for the first time agree to get some help from the U.S. Myanmar requested these U.S. satellite images of the storm damage. The images were quickly delivered.
But there is no indication that Myanmar will accept any U.S. military presence in the country, even if it’s just to deliver relief supplies. The United States has gone so far as to ask China, which has better relations with Myanmar, to try to get the country’s military leaders to allow the relief in. But so far, Charlie, the answer is still no.
GIBSON: Jonathan Karl, at the Pentagon tonight. Thanks.
CNN Newsroom, 2:00 PM
DON LEMON: Well, many nations, including the U.S., are pleading -- or pledging, I should say, millions upon millions of dollars in aid to help Myanmar. But that's long term. People there need help on the ground, and they need it right now. And U.S. forces in the Pacific are offering as well.
Let's go straight now to the Pentagon and our correspondent there, Barbara Starr, with the very latest on this.
What's going on now with the forces in the Pacific? Are they able to get in, Barbara?
BARBARA STARR: Well, not yet, Don. And gloom is mounting here at the Pentagon about the ability to go do anything to help this devastated area.
I think it's very clear to everyone, calls are mounting around the world from the United Nations to Europe to Asia for the military government, the military junta in Myanmar, to open the door and let the international relief community in. U.S. military officials confirm they have even approached the Chinese to act as intermediaries to approach the government in Myanmar and ask them to let the international relief community in.
The U.S. military does have a good number of humanitarian relief capabilities in Asia right now. They were conducting a relief exercise off the coast of Thailand, so there's plenty in place.
A little bit earlier today, CNN spoke to Admiral Timothy Keating, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ADM. TIMOTHY KEATING, COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND: We've been watching this through our command center as the storm came ashore over the weekend. We began moving forces very soon thereafter.
We've been in extensive dialogue with our Department of Defense leaders and listening as the Department of State leaders and our president himself have implored Myanmar, Burma to let us come in, and it's been several days now. We do not as yet have permission. (END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: Not only do they not have permission, they don't have a "yes," they don't have a "no." According to top officials, they are hearing nothing from the government in Myanmar, and that is leading to some considerable distress and considerable worry about the people there. What could the U.S. military in the region do? Very quickly, they have a number of helicopters they are already putting on the ground in northern Thailand, next door, so they could quickly, if they got permission, begin flowing relief supplies in that way. There are six U.S. military C-130 aircraft in Thailand. They could also bring in supplies and relief.
U.S. Navy ships have considerable water purification capability. They could be on scene within a number of days. But there's a lot of concern, Don, that time is running out for the people there, and a lot of concern about what may happen next -- Don.
LEMON: All right, Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr. Barbara, thank you.

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