tv Alex Witt Reports MSNBC August 29, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PDT
therabreath, it's a better mouthwash. - [narrator] available at walmart, target and other fine stores. a very good day to all of you from a very busy msnbc world headquarters here in new york. we're approaching and we've just hit high noon here in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west as we watch what is happening with hurricane ida. welcome, everyone, to "alex witt reports." breaking news as the hurricane is bearing down, a monster category 4 storm. the center of ida is expected to make landfall along the southeastern coast at any moment. and here is a look from space. look at that showing just how massive ida is. it is packing winds right now up to 155 miles per hour with even higher gusts. and that is a few miles yet of a
category 5 status as we give you a look at new orleans, one of many areas in the state where forecasters are warning of life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic wind damage, major flooding and even tornadoes. the new orleans mayor will be giving us an update in a few minutes. we'll bring that to you live. earlier today here on msnbc the mayor of baton rouge expressed the serious nature of this threat for the 14 million people in its path. we have become more resilient, but my greatest concern is making sure that people are safe and sound and listening to the messages that we've been communicating with them. so that's my greatest concern. >> in terms of evacuation, everyone, just moments ago officials have shut down the interstate 10 causeway over lake pontchartrain. that's what we've been showing you there as the winds are definitely picking up. earlier today officials closed the floodgates to protect the area south of new orleans from
flooding. louisiana, in fact, bracing for a day of destruction as the governor warned that ida could be the strongest storm to hit the state since the 1850s. think about that for a moment. also, ida comes 16 years to the day after katrina devastated louisiana. right now officials and residents there are closely watching to see if the since improved levy system will hold. we have reporters fanned out along with meteorologist bill karins who is watching the radar for us here in studio. welcome to all of you. bill, we'll start with you. so bring us up to speed. where is it? how strong is it? and how long do you think until landfall? >> up to this point we've been watchin periphery. we now have the eye, the northern eye wall, going over land for the first time. and that's just to the south of grand isle around port fourchon. that's the first land area now
going into that eye. to get landfall it has to go through the center of the storm. we may get that. we may not. if we don't at that location the storm has to cross over the bay and then come onshore here on the west side of the bay and heading up to homa and that will be about three to four hours from now. we may get one landfall and a second after it crosses the bay. in grand isle, we had 146-mile-per-hour wind gusts reported. it's amazing the instrument even held up. the gauge just told us it's up to five feet and is increasing rapidly. the storm surge is coming on into louisiana. now is the scary time for any of those people that decided to ride out the storm because they're watching the winds howl. winds will be on the eastern,
northeastern side of the storm and whoever goes through that will see the most extensive wind damage. winds right now, we're going to lose our wind gauges. 47 at the airport there. from pensacola through mobile to hattiesburg, biloxi, the feeder bands can produce tornadoes into tomorrow. you notice the heavy rain is knocking on the door of new orleans. the core will be moving in the next few hours. the worst weather conditions from about 2:00 p.m. this afternoon until about 10:00 p.m. this evening. that's when the peak of the rain will be and the strongest winds. 150-mile-per-hour winds. it will tie it for the strongest hurricane ever to make louisiana landfall.
the other two were 1856 and laura last year at cameron parrish. the storm is already over the top and almost heading to baton rouge. baton rouge, 10:00 p.m. this evening, you could have hurricane gusts even in baton rouge. extreme power outages. new orleans, your peak winds are expected 80 to 90, right around 6:00 p.m. this evening and then the storm heads north wards and a huge rain threat. covering flooding the next three to four days because of the storm through mississippi and eventually some of the mess into areas of the tennessee valley and the mid-atlantic. right now the life threatening weather is the storm surge. that is coming in. we're still expecting the 12 to 16 feet which is incredible right to the east of where it makes landfall. we think the levees were built. we spent $15 billion after katrina for storms just like this in new orleans. so that's the test that we're going to go through over the
next couple of hours and through this evening. and there's also levees that protect morgan city, that protects houma, louisiana. we'll see if those levees hold up over the next 12 hours because that's the test for anyone that stayed behind hoping their levees hold. and then the rainfall forecast, as we've been saying, up to 20 inches possible in new orleans or the southeastern portions of louisiana. and then the winds, this is that extreme wind ban, the core of the storm moving onshore, we think that barely misses new orleans but this extreme amount of power outages. at this point, alex, with the storm coming onshore, this is when the extreme damage starts. this is when some of the towns that go through that eye will never look the same. and we're really concerned with anyone that stayed behind. i know for a fact even in grand isle they said 27 people decided to stay there. >> oh, boy. >> i've seen the video of
people. we wish them luck and it's going to be a rough 12 hours. >> so 12 hours of rough. how long until you think it hits the peak of intensity in the gulf regions? i know it's starting now and how long as we look beyond this until there could be potentially clear skies? this is an enormous storm. >> and it's starting to slow down, too, which is problematic. it will linger longer than people would like and that's the rainfall problem. the extreme destruction, once that eye reaches houma, louisiana, and then it will start to weaken after it gets past houma. it will be likely a category 1 at that point this evening, but even that with all the trees there, you'll have trees everywhere and they could have two, three weeks without power in some of those areas, well, well away from landfall. as far as the extreme destruction, almost like a tornado went through, will be down to houma and will arrive four to five hours from now. >> being , bill karins on the job for which we're grateful. thank you for that. let's go from there now to
morgan, southwest of new orleans. give me a sense of how things are there. >> reporter: to hear bill say the eye may not arrive for another three or four hours, the winds significantly stronger, the gusts feel like they're tropical storm status and we know it's only going to get stronger in the hours ahead. right now a mandatory evacuation that went into effect about 48 hours ago. i spoke to the fire chief. he tells me he believes about 60% of the people got out of town, but that still leaves an awful lot of folks about to ride out this potentially category 4 hurricane packing incredibly powerful winds, and that's what they're most concerned about here. they say obviously there are some low lying areas that may
take on some of the storm surge but when you have sustained winds that strong they're anticipating a significant loss of power and we know firefighters themselves will be hunkering down for hours on end before even they feel it's safe to get out and try to help people who may be in need. i had a chance to speak to one gentleman who was trying to leave town, had family members that were working and couldn't leave, so he chose to stay behind. and here is what he had to say about ida's approach. take a listen. >> i'm not feeling so good about this one. i've been through gustav but this one is going to be bad. the winds and the floodwater, that's our concern. >> reporter: as the wind picks up here, this is nothing new for the folks who live in this community. you heard him mention gustav and that is a storm back in 2008.
people feel this will be the strongest storm to hit the area since then. one gentleman who grew up in houma told me when he returned to town following that hurricane it looked like a bomb had gone off. they hope that's not the case again. the consistent power ida is bringing, we'll find out soon enough. again, i cannot overstate the potential threat that it brings to this community as the eye could be passing directly over us here within just a few hours as we approach this live shot, alex. we saw a family choosing last minute to pack up whatever they could, put it in the back of a pickup truck and get a little bit farther inland because even they know that this is not something you want to mess with as these winds continue to pick up. alex? >> let's hope they're not anywhere near that pontchartrain causeway. to the left of the screen, you can see how high that water has risen. thank you, morgan, for that, in houma. we will stay with you and see
how things fare there. to nbc's al roker who is in new orleans. al, i'm very glad to see you moved your location. i have to tell you, when you were there a couple hours ago with me on the air, you were there on the edge of lake pontchartrain, there was a lot of social media that was genuinely concerned for your safety. we saw the waters rise from your ankle level to about your knees. we saw the water whipping over you literally. and we wanted you to hang on to a pole. that is for folks who missed that a couple hours ago. absolutely extraordinary. tell me where you are now in new orleans and what you're feeling. >> reporter: we're downtown right now, alex, and this -- first of all, i've been doing this for a long time. i don't take risks. >> good. >> reporter: i would not put my crew at risk. we were as safe as we could be. when things got dicey and the water started rising, we got out. and now we're downtown where
it's pretty much like the french quarter area. a little up from that. this on a sunday this time would normally be very busy, a lot of brunch going on, a lot of folks. as you can see it is a ghost town. there are a few folks. this place is worried about storm surge so they've done a lot of sandbagging. is that enough? will it hold? will the levees hold? that's the question, of course. people wondering about that. but right now you can see we've got a lot of folks just out off the streets. we are -- all of our phones went off about 30 minutes ago because we got the alert that there are now sustained tropical force winds in new orleans. and so, with that, and as we wait for that eye wall, we're starting to see more rain. this wind has really picked up. and downtown, we take a look, mike, over here this sign up here you can see that's one of
the things folks have to worry about, these signs and different things on lampposts can become projectiles. we obviously are keeping an eye on that as well as we report to you. we are worried about the heavy rains, the winds picking up. it is going to be a while, as bill karins said. and the good news is our hotel is close by. we can hunker down. in fact, last night, and we've seen a number of the local utilities, the entergy folks, are staying at our hotel. we feel pretty good about that. that probably means we're going to have power. you always want to stay where the linemen are. that and close to a waffle house. we haven't found a waffle house yet, but we have found the winds and the linemen. >> spoken like a true weather man. give me a sense how many windows are boarded up. yes, we worry about the flooding
but you talk about the tropical storm force winds right now. how much do you see windows boarded up, doorways and the like? >> reporter: you know, on canal street, which is just down the block, there are a lot of windows boarded up. and in and around these streets on dauphin we've seen a number of places boarded up. i can see one down the street here. looks like a small hotel, a boutique hotel. that's all boarded up. folks are taking precautions. not as much as i would have thought. but, look, with 155-mile-per-hour winds potentially, maybe not here but given that the winds extend out -- tropical force winds extend out 50 miles, any kind of a wobble with this, we could be in that. a lot of folks are making sure they stay off the streets, boarding up and all that have is done now. the rain is picking up. we can hear the wind now. it's a bit of a roar going on.
we are about, i think, to get part of the eye wall coming onshore here. and the other thing that we've been watching, alex, is that the eye wall can recycle, regenerate itself. so that you end up getting two eye walls in a sense. the good news is that weakens the system. the bad news is it makes for a bigger center. and so if that's what's happening right now and it's still too early to tell but we think that's what might be happening, we could be in for a long haul over the next several hours. >> okay. we will welcome you back when you can get to us. in the meantime, clearly sunday brunch beignets, rain check on that one. all right, my friend, thank you. >> reporter: you bet. let's go to mississippi, gulfport, where we find shaq brewster. shaq, how is it looking where you are? the seas behind you look pretty rough. >> reporter: pretty rough, alex.
it goes from periods where you see the sun behind me to periods where there's straight wind going in your face and blowing at the high velocity. the thing about gulfport, it is not in the direct path of this storm. they are not bracing for those high sustained winds that new orleans or baton rouge area is experiencing and bracing for it but instead officials are saying don't let your guard down because you see the weather behind me. you see how on the road, you have highway 90 behind us, you have a situation where some of the roads have water over them and you have cars that are trying to go through them and plow through them. there's been a curfew here since 8:00 a.m. this morning. the entire county. the governor here declared -- or asked for a predisaster emergency declaration fema approved. i want you to listen to what the mayor told me. again, the concern is that people see the path of the storm not directly hitting here in
gulfport and that they don't take this seriously. listen to what the mayor told me. >> the larger threat of the storm and the destruction we've seen all too often. we're glad if it passes and we're unscathed or the damage is relatively minor, but i'm already seeing tree limbs down and, again, the storm surge water coming up. hopefully people have prepared because at this point you're going to need to shelter in place. >> reporter: now shelters are also open in the area. i stopped by one of the shelters an hour or so again. i met a gentleman here during katrina. he's only 28 and was only a kid. what did you experience there? he said as soon as he heard about this storm and heard there would be any impact here, he rushed straight to that shelter. officials want to hear people are taking the precautions necessary because all it takes is a turn in the storm and you have a much more serious
situation. it goes from periods with the sun out. as al was giving that forecast, the rain was coming straight through, that reffy wind as well. it has officials concerned that people are going to take it too easily and get caught out in a condition they shouldn't be out in. alex? >> give me an educated perspective how dangerous do you think this is in terms of evacuations? anyone who wants to get out, is it too late? is there concern about cars being on the road, things dropping, trees, power lines, anything that could make it hazardous to try to leave now? >> reporter: yeah, and i'm not even going to use my own judgment here. i'll tell you what the mayor of the city said. he said it is too late to leave at this point. if you have not evacuated now is the time to hunker down. if you can make it to a shelter, which are scattered in different location that is are close and
relatively safe at close distance, go ahead and go to the shelter. beyond that you shouldn't be out on the roads right now. in my time downtown as we headed over to the command center, you saw some tree limbs down already. this was a couple hours ago. you see behind me -- and i'll go to this side where you see some of the road that's washed out. the shore, that was beach yesterday. that was sand there. this is at a point the hurricane has not even made landfall. the hurricane, the main path of the storm, is not expected to hit this area. but that gives you a sense if this is what's happening on the outer parts of the storm, that increases the concern for those really going to be dealing with this. a tropical storm watch so the wind are expected to get up to 55, 60-mile-an-hour winds. outside of that you're not going to see that wind concern but there's still that significant flooding concern, that flash flooding concern, and then there's the possibility of tornadoes.
and that's something the mayor and i also spoke to the police chief, they said that's something they're watching for because that's something that can come about that doesn't give much warning. if people think they're not dealing with something serious, where they see the sunshine and you don't have the winds coming that can give people a false sense security. from one moment to the other it's time to hunker down, time to take those precautions and just wait out the storm. the benefit compared to what the city saw during hurricane katrina, this storm is expected to be a pretty fast moving storm. it's not one that's going to dump rain for days and hours. instead once it really gets into effect they expect things to calm down and then they can assess the damage. i'll tell you the mayor of gulfport said he's prepared and his teams are prepared to send reinforcements to the louisiana area at a moment's notice once they get through the storm on their end. that gives you a sense of the posture they are taking.
they think they can get through this relatively easily. they're ready to help others but they're saying it's important people take it seriously, take those warnings seriously especially in low lying areas like the ones we're in now. >> in terms of hunkering down, you and your crew do the same. stay safe. we will check in with you again and see how things are. let's go from there now to heidi. we have two significant stories that the white house is having to deal with. actually three if you want to think about the current issue in afghanistan. we have hurricane ida and also the very somber and heartbreaking situation with the dignified transfer of those 13 u.s. service members who were killed on thursday in kabul. give me a sense of what the white house is doing right now? >> reporter: we're definitely witnessing the most agonizing 24 to 45 hours of this presidency, a confluence of events of human suffering and loss. first with the dignified
transfer at dover air base the president is there now to receive the bodies of the 13 fallen service members. this is a service, a ceremony, if you will, that will take place with military precision. however, inside those flag-draped caskets that you will see being transferred from the military jets each individually into truck that is will transport them back to their families are young people, are this nation's youth, young people who have now literally gone from cradle to grave throughout this process, throughout this war, alex, and they are people like nicole mcgehee who was seen just days ago cradling a young afghan baby and saying that this was a job that she loves, young people who were in diapers when this conflict first began. now the president's national security adviser was out this morning talking about what is
next and the fact that we do plan to hit additional targets to retaliate for these deaths and here is what he said on "fox news sunday." >> the president will stop at nothing to make isis-k pay for the deaths of those american service members at the kabul airport. he will ensure that we get the people responsible for this, that we continue to put pressure on the group responsible for this, and that we continue to take targets off the battlefield. >> reporter: alex, he said we will get the people responsible for this. but the question at this hour is are we going to do that sticking to the same time line of getting out by tuesday? i was looking at an abc news poll that came out this morning. while the majority of americans believe it was the right decision to get out of afghanistan, listen to this. 71% now say that we should stay until we have all of our afghan allies, the people who helped us, out this is also coming with
great international pressure as well from some of our allies like france who are saying they're going to arrange to have additional airlifts out. and so you have that now also colliding with the president's challenge with what's going on in the south with hurricane ida now coming and bearing down on one of the states hardest hit by covid. louisiana had their highest death toll due to covid this past week. the president watching two things in particular. first of all, they're trying to move and evacuate individuals who could be most impacted to congregate settings. what does that do? it sets it up for a potential major superspreader event. they're urging people to wear masks, to use hand sanitizer, and then the second potential crisis here, alex, is what's going on at the hospitals because they could not evacuate some of the hospitals that probably should have been
evacuated because the hospitals that they wanted to bring them to are already overcrowded, alex, so the president really watching all of these crises unfold as he sits there waiting for the bodies of our fallen soldiers to be transferred back to their families on american soil. >> it is heartbreaking and an un enviable position the president is in. i know he will be getting updates be it onboard air force one or actually at dover air force base before he returns to washington. heidi, thank you so much for that. such a busy news day, everyone. we will keep watching the approach of hurricane ida and bring you more reports from the region where the storm surge could be the biggest problem there. we'll take you back with bill karins for more on the forecast in just a second. just a second
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afternoon. let's check out this video. this is ft. morgan, alabama, where the waves are starting to pick up. winds intensified overnight increasing to 155 miles per hour. those winds that are directly related to ida. ida is hitting louisiana as a powerful category 4 hurricane. moving on over right now to msnbc meteorologist bill karins for the latest update. where is the storm right now is this we have some interesting developments. we are watching the first land area now going through the eye and actually went through the eye wall and into the eye itself. here is grand isle. the radar will update as it sweeps back around. you see the land area, this is port fourchon. they just went through the eye. they went through some the strongest winds. now the winds will start getting lighter as they go into the center. we'll wait for the hurricane center to say if that's where the landfall will be. if i did a straight line here they're on the northern edge of the center. that is just for the history books. and we'll watch it go over
terrebonne bay. grand isle had that 146-mile-per-hour wind gust. one thing that's interesting with the structure of the storm, we're now seeing dual eye walls. the storm had been about 20 miles wide. that's the clear eye here. then another ring on the outside of that. so that's what we call a double eye wall that is 50 miles wide. the max winds will come down with the storm a little bit so you think that's great but the problem is then the wind field expands so the damage path could be even wider so instead of just an extreme damage path of 20 miles now we're talking about maybe not quite as extreme but really really bad of 50 miles bad. that's the structure of the storm as it's making landfall. we'll be talking about that more and what the implications are for inland areas. i want to talk about the storm surge inundation. the bottom line up to the orange, that's six feet of water expected.
the red is nine feet. around new orleans and the mississippi river here we're grayed out, that's protected by the levee system. we do not expect the levees to be topped. they are pretty high. they're way up there. lake pontchartrain is 18 to 13 feet and the surge between 5 to 8 feet. up to 17 and 19 feet how, how high the levees are, and expecting a surge 8 to 12 feet. we think that will be safe that will be fine and survive. areas outside of the levee protection system, all the orange and reds in here and those are the people that had the mandatory evacuations and were told to get out of there. near the cutoff, a spot that's protected, houma does have a levee that protects it. the parish president said it was at 12 feet and that gets iffy. you're talking 12 foot levee and the surge is between 12-16 feet. that's going to be a close call. the same for morgan city.
they have a levee near their location. as far as the storm surge goes, here is how it works. as it moves in, it moves in quickly when you get the peak winds coming in. a three feet water depth you can picture what that would be. a little gauge on the side of the house. that's three feet. moves up to the bottom level. all of the houses in this portion are on pylons, on stilts and they have certain restrictions how high they have to be because when you get up there to nine feet and the water is rushing in, you have wave action on top of that nine-foot storm surge, too. you may get waves battering into your structures, also. even higher is when we talk historical when you get up 12, 15, 20 feet. when katrina hit went up to 18 feet. the last thing i will show you and this graph is interesting, this is -- we have the ability to follow the hurricane hunters through the storm. and that was actually showing the last flight going through the storm. our men and women go into the center of the storm, go through this 20-mile-wide eye, punch
through it, they drop weather instruments to tell us what the pressure is. here is some imagery inside the eye of the storm. this is called the stadium effect. >> wow. >> this is like being on the field of a football stadium and looking up at the stands all around you. instead of fans in the stands it is thunderstorms in the eye wrapping all around you. so they go through violent turbulence, punch through the storm and all of a sudden they come out and can see blue skies above them. they can look down and see the sea floor in some cases if it's clear enough. our brave men and women have been doing this nonstop for the last three days. we appreciate all their information. most of the information, how we know how strong the storm is, is because of them. s. >> we are entirely grateful to them. can we have steve put that video up. imagine being on one of those planes, the rock 'n' roll, the bouncing, they punch through and get to that point they can rest for a moment and then they know
they have to go back in to what they just experienced. >> and they will go through the northeast, the west, the east side, different sides to let us know where the strongest is. the media can get on these flights occasionally. i was supposed to go on a category 4 flight at one point. i decided not to. and that flight was one of the last ones that did low-level passes. >> oh, my. >> they had problems with one of the engines, so i was glad i didn't go on. they returned safely. >> thankfully. that would have been a story to tell. i'm actually glad you don't have that story to tell. bill karins, you have a lot more for us in the next couple of hours. i appreciate that and for you doing so. to new orleans where la toya cantrell is giving an update for her city. >> we are now on emergency alert as relates to 911 calls, you will hear more from our leaders following me. so what we're going to do now, we'll ask our director of homeland security, to come forward.
we'll move through trying to be as fast as possible, again, so that everyone can get out of harm's way. thank you. >> good morning. we've talked for several days. we've gone over this. this is short and sweet. hurricane ida is here. tropical storm winds have arrived. as ida moves closer, it is near certain that we will see sustained winds of 75 miles per hour or higher to 110 miles per hour in new orleans. let me be clear, these are life-threatening winds. they will cause downed power lines, structure damage, downed trees and projectiles. you absolutely need to be indoors for the remainder of this storm. hunker down and stay put. we'll be with you through the storm. text 77295 for text alerts to know what's going on throughout the day. please understand the public safety officials will likely not
be able to respond during dangerous conditions. this will likely include overnight when storm impacts have passed but debris will be blocking the roadways. it's dangerous now. it will be dangerous this afternoon, even more so because of the wind. it's going to be extremely dangerous overnight because of the wind and because of darkness. they're not going to be able to come to you. you need to stay inside until tomorrow. we'll look at this in the first light of day. our emergency operation center is activated. we have 70 people up there. they're risking covid, they're communicating, they're communicating with everyone outside that is working this. it includes infrastructure, we are coordinating response efforts. this will include immediate public safety needs throughout the duration of the storm. as i said, there is nobody coming right now. we need to stay inside. this will include response
efforts that will begin tomorrow. when we come out tomorrow we will look at this, take an assessment, figure out where we're at. search and rescue operations, evacuations. >> okay, everyone. we will monitor with this and brip you the latest from new orleans. right now we have the somber duty to take you to the dover air force base in delaware where the remains of those 13 fallen u.s. service members killed in afghanistan have arrived for a dignified transfer. again, a very solemn practice where carry teams composed of personnel from that member's branch will bring the flag draped transfer case off of a military plane and onto u.s. soil. the americans who died in kabul served in the marine corps, the army and the navy. we are watching there the president and first lady as they take part in this dignified transfer. something i should remind all of you, this president, as vice president, had to do so in 2016 as well when he received the
remains of one soldier who had been killed overseas. it is a very difficult thing. it is something the president did not care to do. we also have to remind all of our viewers this president had a son who served in the military. he well knows the anguish and pain and concern that is often accompanied with being the parent of a child who serves in the military. this is a day president biden never wanted to have to deal with but, indeed, after thursday's atrocious attack on those service members that were serving to get american citizens and those approved afghanis out of the country and to safety is when a member of isis-k blew up with a 25-pound suicide vest taking out not only those u.s. service members but also as many as 200 afghanis. we watch this at dover air force
base. we're just going to stay on this and see what the president does. this is something i should let you know is also approved by members of the families of those who have lost their loved ones. it is the kind of thing back in 2009 the department of defense decided to make sure and clear with each and every service member's family that they are willing to have a media presence to document the dignified transfer. and so we know that we've been given the clearance to do so as we see members of the military coming off of that plane and the president and first lady doing so as well right now. let's just take a moment if we're able to put the sound up. apparently we don't have audio right now. so they will leave dover air base. after this happens for those of
you wondering what happens and, again, the dignified transfer. it is not a ceremony, it is a very solemn movement of the transfer case by that carry team composed of the military personnel. after that happens, as we see the president, first lady and other dignitaries standing in what i presume is silence, by we would offer you as well. we have no audio to accompany that. what happens is after returning america's fallen to their loved ones, they do so as quickly as possible. members of the military there and our leadership standing in salute to those as we will watch them come off in a dignified transfer, a very solemn moment for our country.
as we await a second fallen member of the united states military for this dignified transfer, we should note that i believe it was 12 members of the marines and also 1 sailor who lost their lives in that attack on thursday in kabul. and the brunt of that was felt by members of camp pendleton military base in southern california. they lost nine members that were stationed in camp pendleton. nine of whom were marines and one soldier as well.
analyst, retired army colonel, and a medal of honor recipient. and colonel jack, there are few people with whom i would want to talk about something like this more than you given the dignified nature of this and you being a medal of honor recipient. you know well about the protocol and about the extraordinary way that the military handles things like this. we are proud as americans to see these soldiers and at the same time we are heartbroken. give me a sense, sir, of the symbolism of this process. >> well, for a long time the media were not permitted over at dover during this war, and i think you mentioned it was 2009 -- i think it was. there was such an uproar over the lack of transparency. i mean, these are comrades of everybody. those who are serving and those who have served.
that the white house relented. and the media were permitted to film this dignified ceremony that occurs, unfortunately, all too often. we thought we were finished with all of this. but the extreme danger in which our forces currently in afghanistan are in gives us pause. the white house itself has said there are going to be more attacks or certainly attempts at attacks. and we had a retaliatory strike yesterday and a preemptive strike today inside kabul. anything is possible in these difficult times. and as the size of our force gets smaller there in kabul, it becomes increasingly difficult
for us to protect our young soldiers, sailors, air men and marines, and they are very young. we seem to forget sometimes that it's young people who defend us, and a very small number of young people who defend us and american interests around the globe. the large majority of people do not serve. most people don't know anybody in uniform. and as a result this comes as a tremendous shock, but no bigger shock than to those who serve together, who fought the crucible of war, saw their comrades fall. this brings it all home. the notion that we shouldn't see this is a big mistake. we need to see this because we need to see the price that we
pay for our freedom and the freedom of our friends and allies. it's easy to get inured to see. if you saw this 2,000 times, maybe some people would become impervious to this. but those who have been in uniform and those who have served with people who have fallen, for them this will never become routine. i think we need to show this every time it happens. >> i would agree with you because i think it shows not only the way we handle this with dignity but, also, just the solemnity and the challenges that america has around the world in trying to keep not only our interests but those of others and our allies safe. there are constant risks around this planet and we are seeing the effects of that today.
as i bring in peter baker, chief white house correspondent for "the new york times" to the conversation. peter, it's been stated several times this is something that president biden never wanted to have to do presiding over these 13 service members in this dignified transfer. what comes next for this president? there's been numerous out cries on what should be done next. there's monday morning quarterbacking going on. >> for a president, any president, this is one of the worst days of their time in
office. this kind of ceremony or this kind of transfer, this kind of event just brings home the cost not just of war but the decisions any president makes. this is true from president george w. bush at the beginning of this long war. it was true for president obama and president trump as well there's nothing harder on a president. it's two days of enormous tension and danger as they complete te vakuation that the president said will end on tuesday. there's a warning there's going to be another attack like this one that we're seeing the results of in this picture at
the kabul airport. that's complicated the effort to remove as many americans and allies as possible in the last 48 hours because at the same time they want to get them out, they are warning them don't come near the airport for danger from isis-k. the window is closing on anybody who is still left in kabul. >> as we await the transfer of
yet another military member, fallen military member, i want to remind you what you're seeing is the dignified transfer of those 13 who died in kabul as a result of the suicide bombing attack on thursday. 11 marines, 1 navy corp. man and one army soldier. we're told also that two women were among the fallen of these 13 u.s. military service members. men and women. it should be noted this is the kind of ceremony this president is suffering through with tremendous heart ache being a parent as well of a military member, and his late son beau. it's something he knows all too well about the concerns of loved ones when you send a child, a family member overseas to defend america's interest throughout
tell us how they came to be in the united statesmilitary if you know anything about the history behind it. >> for a long while the wars we fought, we had enormous number of casualties. member of our service members with buried overseas or missing forever for the remains never to be found. put into mass graves because there were so many of them, the war was going on, there was no opportunity for us pay the kind of respect that we should. in my war, the war in vietnam we had more than 58,000 service members killed in action. the national command authority did not want to put the kind of
magnifying lens on these losses that would happen if you did something like there and broadcast it. it had the faces, photographs of everybody killed that week. it covered up the entire cover of life magazine with very small photographs. we're in the different place now. we don't have a draft. most people don't know anybody in uniform. it's important we highlight the service and sacrifice of the people who are keeping us free
that took place before the press were permitted to observe it in 2009. it's important that we see it. we forget all the time that freedom isn't free. said a person who is focused on his own safety is a miserable creature who is made free and kept free by better men than he. the people we see here, whose remains are being transferred, they are the better men and women. they're the people who decided
to defend all of us. it's important we never forget these images and never forget what caused them. >> yeah. >> very appropriate words coming from you as a medal of on honor recipient. again, we have 11 marines. we have one navy coreman. we have one army soldier and among those 13, two are women. it should be noted that camp
pendleton in southern california took a hard lit. nine marines and one sailor losing their life on thursday. the result of a suicide bomber. isis-k taking responsibility. the suicide bomber getting as close as possible to the u.s. military members that were there and trying to secure proper those americans and afghanis who were to be transportsed on those c-17, c-130 planes out of afghanistan. they got as close as they could before detonaing that suicide vest and causing the maximum tragic impact. another dignified transfer. gary, i know you have been following the president and hi