BTS 11/12/07: Pakistan; Writers Strike; In The Valley of Elah

Listen: Play - Download

It's Day 7 for Pakistan's emergency rule - also known as martial law - and suspension of the Constitution. It's also day 7 for the writers' strike in the United States, with British writers in solidarity; and it's also Veterans' Day. We commemorate all three on tonight's Beneath the Surface.

We will not have a guest on Pakistan's segment, but we will talk a little bit about how it is that President Musharraf portrays his suspension of the Constitution as a necessary step to stabilize Pakistan and fend off Islamist terrorists, yet arrests lawyers and closes down the judicial system just as the Supreme Court was about to rule that Musharraf's reign as both President and Army Chief of Staff was unconstitutional.

Then, live in studio, I have screen and television writer Robert Eisele joining us to discuss the writers' strike. In case you haven't noticed, the Daily Show, Colbert, and Bill Maher are in reruns until it's over.

And finally, we talk to Academy Award winning writer and director Paul Haggis about his powerful new film, In the Valley of Elah - on this Veterans' Day, a film about Iraq War veterans who too often return shattered in body, mind and soul. As Peter Travers said in Rolling Stone, the film is about the humanity being sucked out of the soldiers we send there, and how that process reflects on us as a nation, and calls it essential - and we think perfect - for this Veterans' Day.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Robert Eisele's original screenplay The Great Debaters will open on Christmas Day. It is directed by Denzel Washington and stars Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Forest Whittaker. He also executive produced the Showtime series Resurrection Blvd. in 2000 and 2001, which won the ALMA award for best series in 2001. He has also received 3 WGA nominations as well as a Humanitas award.

2. Paul Haggis is the Academy Award winning writer of Crash, which also won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2006. He also received an Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay for 2004's Million Dollar Baby (which also won Best Picture), and 2006's Flags of Our Fathers, about the Battle of Iwo Jima. As a television writer/producer, he created or co-created the series Walker, Texas Ranger, Due South, and Family Law. In 1989, he received two Emmy awards for his work on the show thirtysomething - one as a writer, and another as a producer. Haggis is also co-founder of Artists for Peace and Justice, a member of the board of directors for the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project, the Environmental Media Association, the President's Council of the Defenders of Wildlife and the advisory board of the Centre for the Advancement of Non-Violence.