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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  November 13, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST

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wealthier areas affected by the storm, there's that boy, soon to be a man. william isn't bitter. he's a patriot with ambition and generosity and a dream that humbled us. and to celebrate veterans day, we honor william's dream. good evening. breaking news. you're looking live at the white house where on the outside, everything looks calm but behind closed doors, an administration in panic dealing with the petraeus sex scandal that threatens to spin out of control less than one week after president obama's re-election. big questions tonight. what did the white house know and when did it know it. the four-star general has said to be devastated about the scandal, sparked by his affair with his biographer, paula broadwell, uncovered during an fbi investigation. the bureau was looking into so-called jealous e-mails purchase reportedly send by broadwell to kelley, a petraeus family friend. tonight, the "washington post" has reported that as president obama rearranges his national security team, it is considering asking senator john kerry to serve on the team and the fbi
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agent was barred from taking part in the case for allegedly sending shirtless pictures of himself to a woman involved in the case. meanwhile, the ghost writer of broadwell's book, vernon loeb, says he was clueless about the affair between petraeus and broadwell. here with the latest on the scandal that keeps getting bigger and more bizarre, cnn's pentagon correspondent barbara starr and intelligence correspondent, suzanne kelly. welcome back to you both. >> thank you. >> when we talked on friday night, it was all just breaking and it seemed a relatively straightforward scandal but none of us thought it would stay that way, and sure enough, tonight, a really bizarre twist. it's not john kerry possibly becoming defense secretary, nothing bizarre about that at all. what is bizarre is this revelation in the "wall street journal" and it's reported there, we haven't independently corroborated this, that apparently the fbi agent originally detailed to investigate this scandal ended up sending shirtless pictures of
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himself to this other woman, the other other woman. suzanne kelly, where do we even start with this? >> i don't know. you know, after doing this story like pretty much nonstop for four days, i keep thinking that we might be finding out the last sort of crazy detail and another one crops up. i have a feeling that's going to continue to happen for a couple more days. but i don't even know what to make of it. i'll just be honest. >> barbara starr, can you clear up what we should make of this? >> i think i'm going to vote with suzanne. i don't know. it's florida. maybe they're sending pictures of themselves on the beach. the tawdriness grows by the hour. you might think it's hollywood but the circles of power in washington, what on earth has been going on? >> what is extraordinary about this, we're seeing pictures today of jill kelley there leaving her home, what is extraordinary and slightly more sinister and serious, i think,
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is what happened after this fbi agent reportedly got bounced off the case, because it would appear that he then went to a congressman to report what had happened in the belief that it may now get covered up and that that congressman then took things forward and went higher and at that point, the genie was out of the bottle. it could have been that if he hadn't been sending shirtless pictures and hadn't been laid off the case, he would never have gone higher and this genie could have stayed in the bottle. >> right. that's still going to be one of the unanswered questions, piers. why don't we take a quick second to catch up on what we actually know and the timeline of this because you raise a really interesting point. according to a friend of petraeus, this affair began november of last year, two months after the retired general took the helm at the cia. in may this year a government official says broadwell began sending threatening e-mails to jill kelley. she's described as a family friend. petraeus. she lives in tampa but was being warned to stay away. kelley shared her concerns over the threatening nature of the e-mails with that friend at the fbi and that's what prompted this entire investigation. but sometime around july, if we're going to talk about a time frame, we know that according to petraeus' friend, the affair ended and sources are telling
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cnn petraeus indicated broadwell might be obsessed with him and may have felt she was warding off the competition or something of that sort by sending these e-mails to kelley. >> quite extraordinary details are merging. barbara, if it turns out that this fbi agent was the catalyst for all this, and in fact, almost by default because he had been caught himself behaving improperly, the suggestion then becomes that this fbi investigation was sort of so hack-handed that petraeus was almost brought down by accident, that it should never really have happened. >> that is what people are looking at, what really was the fbi's initial authority to go in and look at someone's private e-mails. there is no indication at least yet of any criminal wrongdoing, that doesn't seem to be what
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happened here. but you know, let's circle back and have a little bit of a reality check here. so he might not have been caught at it, but so what? he still basically by his own admission violated fundamental trust. maybe the president never would have known. would petraeus have stayed in office and let this go on, you know, would he have told his family. we don't know. we don't know when his family found out. fundamental violation of trust. did he only quit because he got found out. >> the other question i think, barbara, is this. the white house is saying they knew nothing about this until two, three days after the election. but we now believe that the investigation was wrapped up at least four days before the election. so somebody is taking a conscious decision not to tell the white house if indeed we believe nobody at the white house ever knew. that prompts another question. or two questions. one, did they deliberately not tell the white house for political expediency, whatever that may be. but secondly, the white house position here.
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the president of the united states would not be told about a four month investigation into the boss of the cia, nor would any of his top officials? an investigation conducted by the fbi? how credible is that? >> this is a very fundamental problem. by all accounts, the fbi finishes its investigation and just goes on that tuesday night election night to james clapper, who is petraeus' boss. they go through the chain of command, they go to clapper and say here's what we have found. clapper goes the next day to the white house staff and the next day, thursday after the election, the president finds out. okay. so that's going by the book, maybe, but really? i mean, we've talked about this. you're not going to tell the president of the united states that his cia director is part of an fbi investigation? flawed investigation or not, would this not be something that barack obama would want to know
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as fast as possible. >> thank you both for now. i'll turn now to somebody who will know probably a few answers to these questions. attorney general eric holder is also caught in the cross-fire on this scandal, facing questions about what he knew and why he didn't inform the president and congress sooner. michael mukazy was a former attorney general and joins me now. welcome. >> good to see you again. before we go down this road i want to observe the day by thanking the people in the military, veterans and their families. >> very much so. >> who served this country and make discussions like this and debates like we have been having the last couple weeks possible. >> i totally endorse that. but what do you make of this scandal? because it seems to get more ridiculous in some ways and yet possibly more serious the more we hear about it. >> well, it has as you've pointed out elements of absurdity to it, elements that
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as we talked about before would be rejected if they were proffered as part of a forget hollywood, daytime television soap opera. those i think are secondary. those are things like how did the investigation get started and the shirtless fbi agent and all of that sort of thing. taking it, though, a step further, the question of whether the president was informed and if not, why not. those questions i think are fundamental. >> right. go back to when you were attorney general. would you have felt an obligation to inform the president or somebody senior in the white house if you got wind of this kind of scandal enveloping the boss of the cia? >> well, easy to say what i would have felt. i think there was a protocol in place about who could talk to the white house, the attorney general was definitely one of the two people who could under any circumstances and the deputy attorney general was another. the people at the white house that they could talk to were the white house counsel and the deputy white house counsel. you don't have to wait until an investigation is over and concluded before it has
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implications for national security, as this one did. to have a cia director under investigation and knowing about it is something that i think in and of itself would have made it necessary to notify the white house, i.e., the president. >> do you believe that nobody at the white house knew until a few days ago? >> want a one word answer to that? no, i don't. sad to say that, because they have denied it. part of the reason i'm sad to say that is -- has to do with other things that surround this, including principally benghazi. the fact is that the white house, for some time, was purveying a story about benghazi that simply wasn't true. in part they say they relied on some things that general petraeus told them. it will be interesting to find out about that. i think general petraeus
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eventually will testify. >> conspiracy theorists are saying one of the reasons he fell on the sword wasn't necessarily just the affair but to prevent him giving evidence into benghazi. >> it won't prevent him from giving evidence because he can be subpoenaed regardless of whether he is currently the cia director or the former cia director. i don't think that's the reason because i think he's much more intelligent than to believe that. >> people are saying it's just extraordinary that the fbi would even be investigating something that on the face of it appeared so trivial. you have this woman, miss kelley, and she apparently is receiving harassing e-mails but it's being made clear from leaks tonight these were not of an "i'm going to kill you" threatening nature. they were just accusing her of being a bit too big for her boots around the army camp and so on. that kind of tone of e-mail. it -- >> it sounded as if they were
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accusing her of more than that. possibly being too big for her clothing. but go ahead. >> right. either way, we're not talking about sinister death threats. why would the fbi be involved in this anyway? >> the fbi is supposed to investigate predicated federal crimes. and they don't know when they start an investigation precisely whether the evidence ultimately will show there was a crime. i don't know what they were told initially by this woman, or what they were told by anybody who was friendly with her who had the ear of somebody at the bureau. but with great respect, that's one of those subsidiary questions. it's an interesting if not then would this all have happened. that's sort of the cleopatra's nose theory. if she had an ugly nose, would history have been different. that's an interesting question to discuss but i don't think it's a fundamental one. >> this revelation that apparently the investigation was concluded four days before the election clearly somebody has decided, whoever that may be and
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i'm sure we'll find out in the forms of time, that the information should not be passed to the white house, although i share your concern about the white house's blanket denial they knew anything about this. but assuming the president himself wasn't told, in terms of the politics of that, who would really gain? because he was kind of a bipartisan figure, petraeus, lauded equally by republicans and democrats although you could argue he was appointed to the cia director's job by the president and therefore the president stood most to lose, would you think. >> well, i don't think he stood to lose directly from this man's personal problem and personal tragedy, i might add. i think rather, the events surrounding benghazi were the only issue on which he stood to lose, and that i think is where the focus ought to be. if there's nothing there, there's nothing there. but that i think is where the focus ought to be. >> on everything we know right now, do you think petraeus was right to resign? >> yes. >> why? >> because he doesn't -- this has been analogized to other powerful men who have had mistresses from lucy mercer, fdr, to on and on and on.
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eisenhower's driver and so forth. he's different. mike hayden, former head of the cia, pointed this out. he commands that agency not simply by virtue of being the director because he can't necessarily know everything about what goes on in that building. that building is a hall of mirrors and a lot of the influence he has is a moral influence and once something like this gets exposed, that gets lost. once that gets lost, then his authority as cia director and his usefulness is compromised. >> fascinating stuff. thank you very much for coming in. when we come back, more on the fbi agent, the shirtless photos. i will ask his former assistant director john miller what this all means. with regard to the timing, [ female announcer ] introducing yoplait greek 100. 100% new. ♪ 100% greek.
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with regard to the timing, it's mysterious. i really don't have insight into it. it appears that the bureau was balancing the law enforcement process, the privacy of some individuals involved. hanging out there is that requirement in law to keep the intelligence committees fully and currently informed about significant intelligence activities. >> former cia director michael hayden talking to folks. how serious is this scandal and should it have come to light sooner. joining me is john miller, former assistant director of the fbi. john, welcome. what do you make of this? tell me about the relationship here in the scandal between the fbi and the cia. many people are saying what on earth is going on. fbi investigating some weird complaint from a woman about getting some dodgy e-mails. how has that led to a full-fledged investigation that brings down the cia director? >> you couldn't have made this story up. >> you really couldn't. >> it doesn't start that way. i mean, it starts in the strangest way, because you have
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a woman who has these harassing e-mails, a couple of which mention david petraeus, but they're not threatening to her, nor are they accusing anyone of having an affair. so she has these annoying e-mails but they mention things that are personal information about her that she finds disturbing so she goes to an fbi agent she knows and she says can i get this investigated. and that agent brings her into the tampa field office and the tampa field office has a cybersquad that does criminal work, and they look at it and say well, gee, there's no threat here and the agent says well, can we investigate this for this person. they open the statute book and look up the harassment part of the statute and say all right, we have a basis to open a case here. first let's find out who is on the other end of these e-mails. then over time, they're able to identify it's paula broadwell. then they figure out who paula broadwell is and at that point, the case, the aperture of the case starts to open because they
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say well, what's this e-mail account, what's this other e-mail account that's talking to it, let's subpoena the rest of the e-mails and start going through them, and piece it together. some of the conversations are cryptic. >> it seems that the crucial twist in the tale which has emerged tonight is that this original fbi agent who was already friendly with miss kelley, he then gets taken off the case for inappropriate behavior for supposedly sending shirtless pictures of himself to her, to the woman who has come to him to investigate, and because of that, he then feels disaffected and goes to a congressman, at which point the whole balloon goes up, right? >> okay. so he was never on the case. he doesn't work on the cybersquad. it's not his violation to
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investigate. the reason he brought her to those agents was that's the squad that does this work that's beyond his expertise. he's in an intelligence group that does other things. so his job was really to make the introduction but it also appears that he is either seeking or trying to have some kind of odd relationship with this person that he's trying to help, miss kelley. so he wasn't taken off the case. what happens is as the information gets to is ms. broadwell having an affair with david petraeus, has she potentially compromised his e-mail. another thing we have to focus on here, david petraeus was never the target of the investigation, paula broadwell was for alleged stalking and then maybe compromising the director of the cia's e-mail which they found out later that actually is not what happened. so as this rises to the level of the director of the central intelligence agency, this is now reported up to fbi headquarters which says the prudent thing, which is well, first thing we need to do is let's keep a tight hold on this until we figure out what we have. so as this agent who was the friend of miss kelley is
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inquiring what's new with the case, what's new with the case, what's new with the case, at some point he's cut off. he's not thrown off the case, was never on it, but he's getting information on the case. he's apparently funneling it back to miss kelley. miss kelley is apparently later funneling some of that information to david petraeus, saying you know what -- this is an investigative nightmare. if you're trying to run a case and you've got information from the investigation going out to one of the victims -- >> where do shirtless pictures come into the scene? >> you know, remember when we said you couldn't have made this case up. so i don't know what that is, but it's not necessarily appropriate conduct for an fbi agent dealing with somebody who he is dealing with as the victim of a crime. >> you don't say, john. no, it isn't appropriate. and whether he's technically involved or not -- >> i also got to go with barbara which is i don't know, is this a picture from his facebook page,
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it's down in tampa, they all live on the beach, was it a picture of him at the beach with a surfboard. i don't know. >> but in terms of -- >> it certainly doesn't sound like it's within the comfort zone of how an fbi agent should be relating to a victim. >> it's him being disaffected, then taking it to a congressman that triggered the next level. >> that's what happened. now he's not getting information out of the case. and if you have ever sat around with agents who are outside the information, they start to theorize and one of those discussions might well have gone
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well, now the thing has gone to headquarters and you know, we're not getting anything back, it must mean they buied it, they're sitting on it. either way he's not getting exposure so he elects apparently unilaterally to reach out to a congressman he used to know when that congressman was in law enforcement and that congressman reaches out to cantor and he calls the fbi and they say we'll tell the proper people at the proper time. so this agent is now looking at whistle blower protection. he realizes he has a problem within the fbi. >> the crucial question then is who should have told the white house. michael mukasey, who has been attorney general himself, says he just doesn't believe that no one at the white house knew. i find it almost incredible, literally incredible, that nobody at the white house knew for four months that david petraeus was being investigated by the fbi. >> okay. now -- >> doesn't have the ring of truth to it. >> now we have to back up. david petraeus was not being
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investigated by the fbi. david petraeus, the director of the cia, surfaced in an fbi investigate into stalking by a woman who wrote his biography. differently. i think what they did at the time is as far as timing and the election, nobody would have said you have to hurry up and finish this before the election. remember, the last interview i think with broadwell might have been done as early as the first few days of november. so i think in my experience, when i was in the room, and people would say should we have this done before the hearing, should we do this before the election, what the director always said in those meetings when i was present is you run the case at the pace the investigation needs to run at. don't worry about the politics. we'll fend off the politics. and to keep the fbi out of that kind of thing. so if they do the last interview on the first days of november, let's say they then write up the case, somebody reviews it and says who do we notify and they say well, this is a personnel
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matter which is the director of the cia had an affair, didn't pass classified information, didn't break the law, didn't commit a crime, but we are going to have to tell his boss, the director of national intelligence, who i also worked for. now, the director of national intelligence from there on decides am i going to recommend he quit, am i going to call the white house. those decisions are his. the last qualifier here is the fbi doesn't do white house notifications. except on matters of terrorism. but a formal notification has to go through the department of justice. so that's another step along the way here. >> well, it's a fascinating case. thanks for unraveling the details for us. i'm not sure we're any the wiser to knowing the real story here nor are you probably, from the sound of it. >> you still couldn't make it up. >> you couldn't make it up. john miller, thanks very much. who is the real david petraeus? when we come back, a general, lieutenant colonel and detractor go head-to-head on the scandal and the price the administration will probably pay. my mother-in-w your chicken noodle soup
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when i realized the opportunity i had to tell this message, to present this portrait of strategic leadership, it's not -- i'm not in love with david petraeus but
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he is presenting a terrific role model for young people, for executives, for men and women. there's a great role model there who's values-oriented, who speaks the truth to power. >> paula broadwell calling david petraeus a role model. how things have changed. joining me now, a general who has known david petraeus for 25 years. and lieutenant colonel rick francona, who also served with the cia. welcome to you all. general, let me start with you. you've known general petraeus for 25 years. do you recognize the man that you've been reading about for the last 24 hours? >> in many ways, i do. with this one exception of this incident with paula broadwell, i think the fact this is a guy that stood up when the facts became known, did the honorable thing and resigned. that's the david petraeus that i know. >> should a general in his position who has moved on to run the cia have to resign his post
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over an affair, which is really what this seems to have been about? >> my opinion, yes. any commander of an organization who is caught in that kind of compromising behavior, someone who is supposed to set the standards and enforce the standards for that organization, when he is caught in a compromising position, he's got to do the honorable thing and step down. i think attorney general mukasey mentioned that as well and i stand behind those comments as well. any commander that has lost the trust and confidence of his unit has to stand down. >> michael hastings, in your article, "the sins of general david petraeus" you argue petraeus was a master of deception. do you think he should have resigned? >> i think there's many other reasons petraeus should have resigned besides who he's sleeping with that's not his wife. i want to make a larger point that essentially the media has played a role in protecting
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david petraeus and promoting him and mythologizing him. we saw it tonight. the general who was a spokesman in baghdad, a roommate of petraeus involved in one of the biggest debacles in recent foreign policy history is on tv defending david petraeus without actually addressing the real problems with david petraeus' record. those are the fact that he manipulated the white house into escalating afghanistan, he ran a campaign in iraq that was brutally savage, included arming, the worst of the worst. shiite death squads, sunni militiamen and go back to the training that also had problems. to me, the questions of honor and integrity, i was raising those earlier. a number of other journalists covering petraeus were raising those concerns. you might not get that from someone at barbara starr at cnn who is essentially a spokesperson for the pentagon in many ways. so i think i just want to step
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back and have my piece because even the way the scandal is being covered is so different than how usual sex scandals are being covered where they hammer the guy. now everyone is saying oh, my god, he just went to the cia, how could he be, you know, he was susceptible to being seduced by this woman. give me a break. he has all his allies coming out to defend him where paula broadwell is there yet again, where are her protectors? >> barbara is not a spokesperson, obviously. let's move to -- >> not too obviously. i followed her coverage pretty closely as she covered my work before, too. >> just because she's written naughty things about you doesn't make her spokesperson. >> what makes her a spokesperson is repeating without question a lot of pentagon claims. >> you've made a lot of claims which are equally contentious tonight. you're getting a platform to have your claims. >> you asked me to be here. you asked me to be here to make these claims. >> but for you to dispute everybody else's claims as being nonsense and only yours to be the correct ones, if i may say so, is cheeky.
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>> many of the claims made over the years about petraeus have been nonsense and that's fact. read bob woodward's book. >> it's not a fact that everybody agrees with you. that's my point. these are contentious analysis of a controversial, quite polarizing figure but who, to many people, remains a hero. let me go to lieutenant colonel rick francona, you heard both sides of the petraeus coin. what did you see here? >> do i get to arbitrate that? >> why not. >> i think there are good points on both sides. the general is absolutely right. i think general petraeus did a great job in the field, contrary to what michael has said. i think he did a good job in iraq, good job in afghanistan. but i'm not sure he was the right person to head up the central intelligence agency. doesn't have the right kind of background for that. sure, he brings what we thought was going to be this trust and integrity and leadership to the
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position, and that's gone away very quickly. but i think -- i don't think he was the right man for the job. he might not have been the right fit. that said, this resignation may give us an opportunity to find out what really happened in benghazi and i think that's what lies -- underlies all of this. i think the timing is a little bit suspicious but i'm willing to forego that if what all these fbi people are saying that there's no criminal activity, he didn't need to resign, he chose to do the right thing, but he's the go-to guy on what happened in benghazi. i hope that at some point, we get beyond all this sex and we get into what happened out there. >> okay. general, i'll give you the last word because you started in such a civilized manner and then basically everything you said got trashed. so respond to what mr. hastings was saying. >> it's simple. to suggest that he was not successful in iraq belies the
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facts. i was there three days ago. i've been in baghdad for the last two weeks. it is a much different place than it was when david petraeus took over there. there is calm, there is -- >> wait. >> -- lying to the american people every day. 2006, he said there was progress in iraq. i was in iraq there, man. you guys are letting him spin. >> let him have his say, please. >> okay. >> listen, i was over there as a private businessman. i have been going in there for the last nine years, both in uniform and as a state department official, now as a private individual. and to suggest that iraq today is the same iraq that david petraeus saw when he walked in the door just demonstrates that michael hasn't been there and unfortunately it doesn't make the story for him so i can't help him. >> i spent more time in iraq than you have, man. come on. let's be honest. david petraeus fueled an iraqi civil war that the shiites won. we installed a radical islamist government in iraq. i'm glad the general was able to make money off his service now that he's out there and can go and get contracts and do business in iraq. great. i'm glad american capitalism can get something back from the trillions of dollars and
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thousands of lives. >> okay. this has drifted into -- >> as a final note, can i say it's veterans day. my younger brother served and i have a lot of great friends who are veterans who always protected me and taken care of me in pretty bad places. my respect to them. >> okay. my brothers served, too. i echo that final statement. thank you both very much. this is clearly a contentious matter. when we come back, a man who has strong opinions about everything, especially the petraeus scandal. director oliver stone.
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oliver stone is not exactly the kind of guy who would take anything at face value. he would tell the official story with movies like jfk and nixon. in his new project, the untold history of the united states, he challenges accepted view of american history. oliver stone joins me now. welcome back. >> thank you. >> i loved our last encounter. we had to bleep a few of your more outrageous comments but that's why i enjoyed it. let's talk about petraeus. unlike many people casting their verdict on him now, you did that before all this came out and you were pretty scathing about it. why were you not a fan of general petraeus? >> well, the american media has come up with this narrative that
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he's the american hero who betrayed by the woman, he takes the fall, it's classic. it sells well, it's a good soap opera but it's not true. i see no evidence of his heroism. there has been no success in iraq, the so-called surge has been overhyped by the media as a success when in fact, iraq was trashed almost from the beginning to the end and it was in worse shape when he left. he didn't leave it well. then when he went to afghanistan, first of all, he conned obama into adding 30,000 troops it was into afghanistan with a plan that he would win with this counter insurgency program. where is it? where are the results? they're nonexistent. afghanistan is worse off. he's supervised the predator explosion and the missiles and into not only pakistan and also afghanistan and he's exacerbated the entire region and the people who are there are going to hate us more so for civilian damage, collateral damage. on top of it, you know, he's built up this reputation. first of all, as a military man,
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i really think he's overdoing it as a showman because he goes in front of congress to talk about the counter insurgencies wearing, if you noticed, the ribbons grow every year. he's got now like a regular fruit salad up here. amazing amount. and it's disgusting. general marshall, one of the greatest heroes of world war ii, is famous for being a modest man, going in front of congress and wearing hardly anything. >> he had this reputation of king david. >> very much so. >> a lot of people in the forces. didn't always mean it as a compliment. meant as he was slightly regal. >> america values success. what success in iraq and afghanistan? can you tell me? he's left -- there have been many weeping widows out there and it's not worked. counter insurgency, our involvement in a foreign country, vietnam, iraq, afghanistan, it doesn't work. we go in, have a lot of money, make a lot of temporary friends. they know we're leaving and when we leave, which they know we will leave, they value their lives.
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so they are our temporary friends. >> were you surprised when petraeus got the cia job? >> i was worried about it because he's created again -- the military crossing into the cia is very dangerous and obviously it's a political job but he's made it into a paramilitary force. he's adopted the predator missiles into the cia. they're using them as drone attacks as well as the pentagon. who knows what else he's up to but certainly his whole concept of counter insurgency violates the sovereignty of every nation on earth. it's a very dangerous position we're putting ourselves into weapon-wise. we can talk about untold history, where we get into the issue of where we're going, america -- >> i'll get to that. on petraeus, when the scandal broke about him having a mistress, is that grounds enough -- >> in england, it is. >> -- for him to resign? >> in england it is. our puritan morality dictates it. certainly it's not the reasons i would like to see him take a fall.
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it reminds me of the monica lewinsky scandal. it's tabloid. you love that in england. but here in america, the truth is he should have been long ago investigated far more severely by our media and he got a free pass because of the fruit salad and the congressional -- and in general, the entire american nation, the congress especially, has caved into this military worship of technology. i've seen that in the last 20 years grow. in the '90s and 2000s, we seem to give a pass always to the military. >> since i get over here about the military, it's almost impossible to criticize anyone in the military because there's such patriotism towards it and i get that, but it is particularly pronounced in america, it is almost seen as utter disloyalty if not treachery to criticize any military man or woman. that's dangerous, isn't it? >> it leads back to rome. go back to the roman empire. emperors would pay homage and favors and pay them more money to be loyal to that faction.
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eventually the roman guards, military, became more important than the citizenry. of course, they didn't hold up the empire. they are all over the place but they couldn't hold back the barbarians and so forth. it doesn't work. you don't bribe the military. frankly, we could be in a position where things get more chaotic and there could be another terrorist attack and this concept of american security is so violated that the military could act in a very negative way in an old-fashioned way to restore order and you end up with a general petraeus running the country by certain form of dictatorship. >> take a short break. let's come back and talk about barack obama being re-elected and also historically, where you put him in context relation to the untold history of the united states and about this fascinating new project you have. after the break. we live much of our lives in a fog, all of us.
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we live much of our lives in a fog, all of us. i would like my children to have access to something that looks beyond what i call the tyranny of now. we watch the media, everyone talks about that thing. the news of the day, and the important stuff that's going on is being neglected. >> it's a fascinating project. i will come to that soon. i want to talk to you about obama who got re-elected. you've been critical of him too on balance. are you pleased he won the election? >> i'm pleased he won the election. i voted for it, it was a better choice than romney. but both men are operating inside of the concept of the american empire's economy is getting worse.
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now we just accept it. no one in the argument, in the debate ever question why we have to have such a big military. why we have to have foreign bases. 800 plus bases. and why we -- on top of it, you can talk about what obama said, america is the indispensable nation again. we heard this rhetoric over the years. it's dangerous. we're not indispensable. not god apointed. we should be humble in the face of the prosperity we have. we've used our. we've become like the yankees a bit. a little arrogant. and we're buying what we need. you mentioned petraeus earlier. i said, maybe the concept of using money in afghanistan and iraq to bribe the sunnis not to bribe us. it's a dirty thing that we do abroad. people in america don't know about the dirty wars. >> when you search this. how many military conflicts has
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america been engaged in, that you think are justified? >> in terms of conflicts, you mean, you're talking about little things like grenada that become big things? i think it's about seven or eight major ones since vietnam, korea, korea was unnecessary either. vietnam starts the beginning of a decline economically in the country and the labor markets. where the richest americans have reached a level which is completely disproportionate to the rest of americans. >> what was the point of doing this? why did youen watt to make this series? >> boy. it started four and a half years ago, it's a culmination of the themes in my films, i've been exploring, as i grew up. i found out more about life. i grew up conservative, very republican. with the belief i was doing -- fighting communism. and i saw the reputation of
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patterns. by the time the 1980s roll around and reagan comes in and starts talking hostile actions in central america and messing with -- interfering with people's revolutions in those countries. i went down there, did a movie called salvador. i saw american troops, like i had been a green kid in vietnam. zhou remember vietnam? they literally said to me, i really don't know what happened in vietnam. the history of vietnam has been denied to them. >> it's a fascinating history lesson, you tell it so vividly. not just your generation. but the images that you use. the video you use makes it a compelling history lesson. >> by the way, it's -- >> you will learn about the events even if you don't necessarily agree with your take on it. >> i learned a lot. you don't want to make it die dack tick. kids are board with the history because they think they know the end. world war ii, we start it tonight. we see it from three sides, britain, russia, the u.s. it's a whole different ball game when you look at three
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interests. russian eyes, english eyes, chinese eyes. if you can see history and have empathy for others, you broaden your compassion, and you broaden. we become a member of the world. of the global community. and this is what obama has not done. now, he's basically operating as an outlier now. you asked about our criticism, it's couched in the context of 120 years of history. we started in 1900, we end now. it's a lot. and we start -- we mentioned woodrow wilson, world war ii, saying america is the savior of the world. we show that this mission to be a global policeman starts a long time ago. but it grows dangerous after the atomic bomb in 1945. >> it's a fascinating project. thoroughly enjoy the book. it's a riveting history lesson. you bring this stuff to life. i commend you. >> thank you. >> the unhold history of the united states is on showtime.
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