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tv   Wolf  CNN  September 16, 2014 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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hello. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. we begin with a major claim by isis as top pentagon brass testify about the u.s. military mission to destroy the terror group. let's get the very latest. isis now claiming to have shot down a syrian military jet fighter, according to the syrian observatory for human rights, the plane was carrying out air strikes on the isis stronghold of raqqa when it was shot down. u.s. military central command says an air strike near baghdad destroyed on isis position that had been firing on iraqi forces. officials say it's the first strike in what they describe as the expanded effort to help iraqi fighters battle isis. and defense secretary chuck hagel and the joint chiefs chairman general martin dempsey warned congress today about the threat posed by isis. both hagel and dempsey testified before the senate armed services
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committee. did the joint chiefs chairman open the possibility to ground forces in this fight against isis. listen to what general dempsey had to say -- >> our military advisers will help the iraqis conduct campaign planning arranged for enabler and logistic support and coordinate our coalition activities. if we reach the point where i believe our advisers should accompany iraq troops on attacks against specific isil targets, i'll recommend that to the president. >> certainly sounded like he was opening that door. let's bring in jim sciutto. is there a contradiction emerging now, be it slight, between what the pentagon is saying about combat forces on the ground as opposed to the president? >> maybe in semantic serterms. but if this was doubt whether it's general dempsey or the pentagon freelancing the president doesn't want -- general dempsey went on to say in questioning that the president left open this
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possibility. have a listen to this sound. >> at this point, his stated policy is that we will not have u.s. ground forces in direct combat. so, yes. >> including operators in j-tech and embedded on the ground -- >> that's correct. but he has told me as well to come back to him on a case-by-case basis. >> come back to him on a case-by-case basis. the president told his commander, if you see the need on the ground, come back to me and ask for it. and there's a reason that the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff in his public comments that was in the third paragraph, that statement we played earlier of his opening statement that he raises that possibility, it means that the chairman of the joint chiefs wants to keep that option open and may indeed go to the president with that request. >> that's obviously if it's in his opening statement, not in response to a question, very carefully vetted before the senate armed services committee. there was another intriguing moment as well when he suggested the u.s. mission was to destroy isis in iraq but to degrade isis
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in syria. first time we heard that distinction. >> it is. a couple of weeks ago, you had that presidential moment when he said in one sentence that we were going to destroy and defeat isis but the next one, he said make it a manageable problem. the administration in the days that followed and in their speech to the nation said, no, the goal is to destroy isis. he didn't make a distinction based on which side of the border he was talking about. now you have here saying, destroy in iraq, disrupt inside syria, which is frankly an acknowledgment of the circumstances on the ground. in iraq, you have more than 300,000 ground troops already with iraqi forces and kurdish forces. you don't have anything like that presence on the ground in syria, plus a lot messier situation there. it's in effect acknowledging that, listen, we could possibly chase them out of iraq but the idea of getting them down to the last fighter in syria is something that this administration knows that it can't promise and frankly this is another one of those cases that we have talked about, it's
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a perpetual war. you can't promise to completely eliminate the problem. you can control it. >> the u.s. has been trying to destroy al qaeda now for 13 years. >> exactly. >> the u.s. has degraded al qaeda's capabilities but it's still in business around the world. >> exactly. >> as we all know. what about this notion that the president wants a vote, $500 million to help train and fund the moderate syrian opposition rebels but he doesn't want necessarily a vote in terms of authorizing the entire campaign? that came up during the hearing. >> it did come up. what's interesting about this is that the president doesn't want a vote but the fact is that many members of congress don't want a vote. some do. some do want their chance. but there's a perception in reality, they don't want to be -- to go on the record, which could be a very controversial decision and could conceivably come back to haunt them. but that said, the president believes he has the authority to act in iraq. it's training and equipping these advisers that he believes he needs a vote on, particularly when it relates to syria.
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so you have to have some sort of vote. >> we'll see what that vote is. could come in the house as early as tomorrow to train and equip the moderate syrian rebels. thanks very much. u.s. air strike targeting isis forces just 22 miles from the iraqi capital of baghdad. appears to be the closest air strikes have come to the iraqi capital since the u.s. began the air campaign against the terrorist group. other air strikes destroyed six isis vehicles near sinjar in the north. in northern iraq, peshmerga fighters are now on the offensive. cnn's anna coren has that part hoft story. . >> reporter: we're about 30 kilometers east of mosul in northern iraq. as you can see from the black plumes of smoke behind me, it's been the scene of an intense battle between the peshmerga and isis militants. just before dawn, the kurdish forces launched a ground offensive to clear out five townships under the control of the islamic extremists.
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in regaining this territory, the peshmerga are pushing closer to a strategic bridge blown out by isis a month ago. it's a vital link between erbil, the capital of kurdistan, and mosul, iraq's second largest city, which has been an isis stronghold since june. the peshmerga need to take back control of this area, rebuild the bridge in preparation for the next phase of the operation, the battle for mosul. u.s. air strikes have been critical in today's operation. for hours, they circled the skies above us before hitting enemy targets and vehicles. the u.s. is refusing to make direct hits on towns and villages, fearing civilian casualties. however, the peshmerga tell us the local population has fled and that only isis militants are here. earlier we saw the remnants of a suicide bomber in an oil tanker packed with explosives driving towards the peshmerga. before he could reach them, he was hit by an rpg causing a huge plume of smoke. >> anna's joining us live from
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erbil now in northern iraq. good display of force from these peshmerga fighters, anna, driving isis back from what? it's talk a little bit about what happens next. what are you hearing? >> reporter: certainly they are driving them out of these townships and these villages out in these open plains with the help of those u.s. air strikes. they circled for hours. we were there before dawn. we left late this afternoon and they were still up in the air providing that critical cover to give those ground forces the momentum they needed to take the fights to isis. but isis is digging in. they fight to the death. and as you heard, there was a suicide bomber packing this oil tanker with explosives, driving it to the peshmerga line. thankfully he was taken out by an rpg. but as he were leaving, they had managed to get down to that bridge. and that entire road was just laid with explosives and ieds. this is what isis does.
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it lays these land mines in the hope of creating as many casualties as possible. but certainly there is that momentum to move towards mosul. speaking to the man in charge who is coordinating with the american, he is hoping that battle will be sooner rather than later. however, the problem is as we know, it's iraq's second largest city. it is an isis stronghold, has been since june. but it's densely populated. a city of 2 million people. it will be urban warfare. u.s. air strikes will be completely ineffective because they won't want those mass casualties. this is perhaps where the foreign ground forces will need to come in to help the iraqis, to help the kurds and to also help this sunni force that they are trying to build. as we know, mosul is a sunni city and they will need sunni forces to help fight to kick isis out. >> very quickly, anna, is the
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peshmerga, the fighters, the kurdish fighters in the north that you've just been with, are they getting any real support, any real help from the iraqi military? >> reporter: that's an interesting question, wolf. not that we have seen. obviously we were out at mosul dam when that operation was under way. we saw 200 iraqi commandos who were effective with that campaign. but otherwise every single time we've gone to the front line with the peshmerga, we have not seen the iraqi security forces at all. the peshmerga are the boots on the ground, at least up here in northern iraq, taking the fight to isis. >> this is such a sad, pitiful part of the story, the iraqi military trained and funded by the united states, armed by the united states over the past decade, simply m.i.a., missing in action, in terms of protecting iraq and iraqis from isis. anna coren on the front lines, be careful over there, anna. we'll check back with you later. is the u.s. at war right now?
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will there be boots on the ground, combat forces, all part of the strategy of dealing with isis in syria? would it involve simply training rebels? what's going on? as you know, the president has asked congress to approve legislation providing half a billion dollars to go ahead and train and arm those so-called moderate syrian rebels. critics say the president's plan is lacking on several major details. the house, by the way, set to vote on the funding. that vote could come as early as tomorrow. new york republican congressman peter king is a key member of congress, joining us from capitol hill right now. i assume you're going to vote for that half a billion dollars, is that right, congressman? >> yes, i m a. i'll be photoivoting for it. i'm not entirely supportive of what the president's laid out so far. but it's important as we go forward. i will vote yes. >> why are the iraqi military personnel -- why is the iraqi government in baghdad refusing to protect huge, huge parts of iraq and to protect iraqi
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citizens? >> i would say -- first of all, there's no excuse for it. i would say right now the iraqi army is in a bit of shambles. this results i believe primarily from when maliki was there and he had put his goons in charge of various battalions and the divisions. they were incompetent. these were basically shiites leading a sunni army and the army just came apart. we saw that happen when isis moved in on them and they just ran. i do think that the army can be put back together. i think if -- talking to people in the military, we believe there is a basic form of an iraqi army there. but i think it's going to take u.s. leadership. we'll have to have, i believe, some americans embedded with the iraqi army. and it's all part of when the u.s. disengaged entirely from iraq, we lost any control of influence over the iraqi army. >> i've spoken with several iraqi kurds -- influential kurds
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and i've spoken with several iraqi sunnis who really aren't very upbeat about this new iraqi prime minister, haider al abadi, they say he's more of the same, comes from the same political party as nuri al maliki and they're not very confident he's going to do much. what are you hearing? >> well, no one's perfect when it comes to iraq. but i think he will be a significant improvement over maliki. also i believe now that the u.s. has reengaged in iraq, we will have more influence over a body to -- compel him to do the right thing. we lost all influence over maliki when we withdrew. so the fact that we will be there, to a large extent, abadi's survival is going to depend on u.s. assistance. we'll have more of a say over abadi than we had over maliki over the last three years. i also believe that if we can get american forces,
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americaamericans embedded with the iraqi army, that will help coordinate operations between the peshmerga and the iraqi army. >> but you realize, congressman, that would be combat boots on the ground, which the president has ruled out? >> we already have almost 2,000 troops over there. that's three times more troops than eisenhower had in vietnam when he left office. we do have boots on the ground. i don't see right now the need to have combat troops in effect actually taking part in combat forces. but we'll have to be embedded for the purpose of leadership and coordination. and the president i think should be more upfront with the american people in telling them that. >> and this notion that as chairman dempsey testified today before the senate arms services committee, the mission is to destroy isis in iraq but to degrade isis in syria.
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hadn't heard that until today. what's your reaction? >> to me, that's a step back. that's one of the criticisms i've had of the president's policies. he takes one step forward and one step sideways. this is another example of that. last week, i thought he gave the clear impression that we were going after isis in both iraq and syria. and now if you have two standards, it almost gives them somewhat of a sanctuary in syria. there's a difference between destroying and degrading or disrupting. and so to me, if i were in isis, i would look upon syria as being almost a privileged sanctuary which they can attack from, to what they have to do in iraq and then realizing they don't be subjected to the same type of air attacks in syria. i think it's a mistake. even if this were the president's policy, i don't know why you announce that. >> u.s. has been trying to destroy al qaeda now for 13 years since 9/11. certainly the u.s. has degraded al qaeda's capabilities, but al qaeda remains in business unfortunately as we all know. congressman peter king, thanks
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very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. we have to stay after them. this is going to be a long, hard war. not over for many years ahead. >> this is going to be a long, long, brutal conflict just as the war -- >> as john kennedy said a long twilight struggle. >> congressman, thanks very much. believe it or not, isis has now documented its brutality this time in the form of a magazine. we're taking a closer look. that's coming up. but first, one u.s. senator says the united states needs to take the threat of ebola as seriously as the threat of isis. we're going to talk to senator lamar alexander about his comments. that's coming up. her long day of outdoor adventure starts with knee pain. and a choice. take 6 tylenol in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief. onward! and i'm here to tell hi,homeowners winkler
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president obama has called the ebola outbreak a national security crisis. later today, he'll announce u.s. steps to combat the epidemic in west africa. it will include military assistance, medical assistance and millions and millions of u.s. dollars. let's bring in our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, also joining us, the senior republican in the senate's health committee, lamar alexander. senator, i'll come to you in a moment. a little background, though, from barbara. the president's been criticized, as you know, for not doing more to stem this outbreak. tell us what the u.s. government is about to announce the president heading to the cdc in atlanta. >> reporter: well, wolf, there will be a good deal of additional activity by civilian
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federal health authorities, the cdc, there will be assistance from the usaid from the state department. but here at the pentagon, what they are talking about is the possibility of sending up to 3,000 u.s. troops to help with this growing health crisis in west africa, a good deal of concern that this virus could mutate, could grow and begin to spread even more rapidly than it is. here's what we're looking at. setting up a u.s. military command headquarters in liberia, in west africa, u.s. army general to be put in charge of that, perhaps as i said as many as 3,000 troops. also looking at constructing up to 17 or so ebola treatment clinics. and to help staff those, helping train local health care workers, maybe try and train, they hope, up to 500 health care workers a week to deal with this crisis. right now, they are on the backside of it. this thing is still growing,
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still a very serious problem, killing people across west africa. what the u.s. wants to do is step in with everything that it can and try to stop it there, get it under control and keep it from spreading even further. >> that death rate is rising exponentially right now. the american public, barbara, 3,000 u.s. military personnel will be heading to west africa to deal with this ebola threat and they're worried. how will these 3,000 men and women going to protect themselves from getting ebola? will they be wearing all sorts of suits and what about when they come back, will they have to go into some sort of quarantine for a while? will they have to avoid dealing with anyone, including their families? these are serious concerns that are already being raised. >> reporter: i think everyone's very concerned about that, wolf. people don't know a lot about ebola. outside of the public health community. and it's a scary thing. what u.s. military officials have told me is the way this is
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going to be structured, u.s. troops are not expected to come into direct contact with ebola patients, not expected to provide direct medical treatment to them. they will be working to set up this infrastructure and help train local people to step in and deal with it. but, look, nothing, they will tell you, is risk-free. so the u.s. military follows the cdc guidelines. people are given -- the troops will be given all the public health guidelines to keep themselves as healthy as possible, as safe as possible, should they inadvertently or unexpectedly or unknowingly come into contact with someone who does have ebola, that will be something that they will all be trained on before they go, wolf. >> this is a dangerous assignment. almost like a combat assignment. i hope they're going to be getting extra combat pay when they head over to africa to deal with this. barbara, thanks very much. let's bring in senator alexander right now.
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senator, i know you're very concerned about this ebola epidemic. earlier today you said it was as serious a threat to the united states as the danger of isis. tell us why. >> well, because it's spread so rapidly and because it kills so quickly, there's no vaccine. there's no cure. there are 5,000 cases mainly isolated to three west african countries. but half those cases are new in the last three weeks. you don't have to be very good at math to figure out what happens if those cases double every three weeks. and the top officials who i've talked with, the disease officials and samantha powers at the united nations both say that it could be the most deadly epidemic in modern times in the world. we know how to control it. but it's such an urgent problem that it requires the kind of urgent response that the president is talking about today. >> you support the dispatch of these 3,000 u.s. military personnel to africa to deal with it? >> yes, i do.
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and i think every american would if they understood the risk. this infection spreads quickly. usually a single person might infect 20 other people. can only be transmitted today by bodily fluids, usually from a sick person who has symptoms or from a dead person. but that sort of expansion's so rapidly and it's very deadly. half the people who have contracted it have died. >> how worried are you that these u.s. military personnel could themselves be endangered by heading over to that region? >> they should not be because we know what to do about it. basically you find an infected person and you isolate them. and one of the reasons for the money that congress will approve this week and that the president's asked for is to provide the protective clothing and the kind of structures and buildings so as soon as you find an infected person, they're isolated there. we have testifying before the senate this afternoon a doctor
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who contracted ebola doing humanitarian work in west africa. he's recovered. he's back testifying before the senate today. so we can control it. we've done that before. the problem is, it's spreading so rapidly. if it gets out of control, if a single infected traveler, say, gets to another country and infected 20 people who infected 20 people who infects 20 people, you see what the concern is. >> i agree. this is an enormous crisis right now, this ebola virus. here's some of the reaction i've been getting on twitter and elsewhere. a lot of americans are saying, why does the united states always need to take the lead in these kinds of matters? where's the united nations? where's the world health organization? where are the europeans? why aren't they doing more? >> they should be doing more. but we're big and powerful and if there's a nuclear disaster in japan, if there's an earthquake or a tsunami somewhere around the world, we usually end up helping. and we have missionaries and we have humanitarian workers around the world.
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and sometimes the united states military is the only agency that can accurately react. actually have an account in the defense department to do that. and we want to just be selfish about it. one infected traveler from west africa who flies to the united states and exposes 20 people could begin to spread the disease here. so this is a threat to people around the world. it's also a threat to us here. the sooner we get control of it, the better and the less expensive it will be. >> we'll have live coverage of the president's announcement of the new u.s. steps to deal with this ebola threat later today on cnn. senator, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you. isis has been making very effective use of social media. now the terror group is expanding its media reach. guess what? it has a brand-new magazine. there you see the cover. brian todd takes a closer look when we come back. want to change the world?
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>> the secretary of defense chuck hagel testifying just a little while ago before the senate armed services committee. isis's reach is spreading and it's there in a new print edition. but you won't exactly find it on the shelf at your local bookstore. expanding its reach in the media by publishing its own magazine complete with lots of pictures of mutilated bodies. brian todd is here with me watching this part of the story. this is a whole new part of their social media campaign to recruit and expand their propaganda. >> it is. this is part of the isis propaganda and strategic messaging machine. it is called "dabiq," a word in arabic that's the name of a town in northern syria where there was a big battle in the 16th century where the last caliphate was established but where they envision a future battle between muslims and non-muslims for the control of the world.
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this magazine is a professional-looking, online, three editions published since early july. >> kind of apocalyptic -- >> yes. images like the flood and other things like that. i can come back here to our wall and show you a little bit of this. some of the image here are interesting. it establishes that this is an apocalyptic conflict between islam and nonmuslims. they've got images of american troops here called the crusaders. and they've also got this image of -- they have -- some of them are very graphic images of mutilated bodies of victims -- muslim victims of western military campaigns. but they also have images of people like james foley, justifying the killing of james foley and other things like that. they portray president obama and people like john mccain as crusaders and this is really all about kind of galvanizing their support and their message and
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inspiring people to join the cause, wolf. >> it's not the first time we've seen a terror group go ahead and publish a magazine online. >> that's right. "inspire" magazine was put out by al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. that's another glossy, polished magazine dedicated to the messaging these groups want to get out. what's difference between "inspire" and "dabiq" is inspire has a lot of tutorials on how to carry out attacks and make weapons. there's an article about how to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom. "dabiq" is framing the isis message, getting more and more people to join them. analysts say it's an impressive production. as for how effective it is, not quite sure yet. there have been three issues of the magazine published since july. more on this in the 6:00 p.m. hour of "the situation room" tonight. >> brian, thanks very much. isis clearly has a very sophisticated social media campaign. up next, the president's
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plan to defeat isis. newt gingrich standing by to weigh in on why he thinks the threat goes way beyond iraq and syria. [ male announcer ] do you have questions about medicare?
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one polish soldier was also killed in that attack. top pentagon officials have been testifying today on the u.s.-led mission to try to degrade and ultimately destroy isis. this comes as the u.s. conducts air strikes against isis near baghdad. very close to baghdad. let's bring in the former speaker of the house, newt gingrich. if you were still speaker of the house and a vote came up tomorrow in the house to fund the training and arming of moderate syrian rebels, so-called free syrian army with half a billion dollars, would you vote yea or nay? >> i'd vote yes but i'd also ask for a lot more thorough and serious strategy to deal with radical islamism really across the globe. but i don't think we have much choice. these are not people who are going to allow us to run and hide. and so i think this is the first step. but i'd rather support the first
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step and argue about the next steps than vote no. >> would you support a formal vote in the house of representatives and the u.s. senate for that matter to authorize the president to go to war against isis? >> yes. and i think that secretary kerry did not do himself any favors the other day when he couldn't just be candid and say, look, this is a war. we have people who are killing us in public, cutting off heads on videotape, bombing, doing everything they can. we're going to go back and try to kill them. that's what a war is. and i think it would be healthy for america -- for the house and senate to debate not just for isis but that we are determined to defeat radical islamism, whether it's boko haram in syria, al shabaab in somalia, it's al qaeda in yemen. every time you turn around, they're all the same movement and all have the same goals.
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they all will try to kill us if they can. and we need to resolve 13 years after 9/11 that we are going to do what it takes to defeat them. >> the president says he has the authority but would welcome a vote. does he have the authority? >> no, there's no -- well, does he as commander in chief? sure. jefferson sent the marines to tripoli without congressional approval. but as a practical matter, i don't think president obama wants this to become obama's war. this should be the american people looking evil in the face, making the decision as a nation that these are bad people who have to be destroyed. and you only get to do that by having the congress vote. if the congress votes a resolution to destroy these forces, then the president's in much stronger position. and frankly this campaign's going to go on long after he leaves office. so it's very unwise to not have the elected representatives of the american people directly
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engaged and having to carry part of the psychological burden. >> what do you think? is this going to take three years? is it going to take ten years, is it going to be like the war on crime, the war on poverty, the war on drugs, it's never going to end? what's your assessment? >> i think as a historian, my estimate is if we really worked at it and we were really intense, it could take 10 to 15 years. but because our opponents also evolve and they have -- i think their minister of propaganda graduated from an american university. we're faced with people who are going to keep changing, keep evolving, keep learning. my guess is this will be a 50-year campaign. and as they become more horrible and the threat becomes more real, it will ramp up in intensity. it will ramp up in toughness and ultimately it will be a worldwide campaign because that's where they are. you will have no choice. there are over 10,000 terrorists from over 50 countries currently in the isis region, the islamic
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state's region. that's how big the movement is. >> and you think this could be done without u.s. combat forces on the ground? >> i think that we should very consistently hire, pay for, train local indigenous forces, use americans primarily for training and for intelligence and for airpower. i think that it's very expensive to put american professional forces in these places. my guess is if you look at the lifetime cost of an american soldier, you could hire somewhere between 30 and 50 afghans for every american soldier that we're currently putting in afghanistan. so i would always go for a very light training, intelligence and airpower model with very heavy local forces who speak the language, who know the people and who are capable of engaging. but i'd invest much more than we have so far in building up local forces everywhere we have to fight. >> newt gingrich, thanks very much for joining us.
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>> good to be with you. up next, major decisions in terms of battling isis in iraq and syria. congressional approval, will that occur? but with the coming midterms, will that complicate the overall situation? our panel will weigh in. gloria borger, donna brazile, dana bash are all standing by. your 16-year-old daughter studied day and night for her driver's test. secretly inside, you hoped she wouldn't pass. the thought of your baby girl driving around all by herself was... you just weren't ready. but she did pass. 'cause she's your baby girl. and now you're proud. a bundle of nerves proud. but proud. get a discount when you add a newly-licensed teen to your liberty mutual insurance policy.
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general dempsey's comments as opening the door to the possibility of ground troops in the future? >> no. opening the door -- he said they're not needed. every military leader is going to say if there's a change in circumstances he's going to be open to a different recommendation. that doesn't mean he's suggested they may be needed. he suggested that if in fact they are needed in the future that he will then -- if the circumstances are different, he is open to, required to make a different recommendation. but i think if the media reads this whole discussion here this morning as somehow or other that general dempsey is suggesting that ground forces may be needed, i think you're taking what he said in a way that he did not say and did not intend.
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>> that's senator carl levin, chairman of the senate armed services committee. they just wrapped up their hearing with the defense secretary chuck hagel and general martin dempsey. let me play for you precisely what general dempsey said before the senate committee. >> our military advisers will help the iraqis conduct campaign planning, arrange for enabler and logistics support and coordinate our coalition activities. if we reach the point where i believe our advisers should accompany iraq troops on attacks against specific isil target, i'll recommend that to the president. >> those words obviously causing a lot of stir right now. the house of representatives is expected to begin debate later today on the plan to arm and train syrian -- moderate syrian rebels, part of the president's strategy to defeat isis, a vote in the house could come as early as tomorrow. let's discuss all this. joining us, chief political analyst, gloria borger, chief congressional correspondent, dana bash, and cnn political
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commentator, donna brazile. gloria, what do you make of this story that's emerged, general dempsey leaving open the possibility he may have to go to the president and say, if you want to degrade and destroy isis, it may require u.s. combat troops to accompany iraqi force rs on the battlefield? >> look, i think he's leaving every possibility open as a military man does. i think what senator levin said is true. what dempsey said was, the president told me if i need to go back to him, go back to him. you don't say we're not going to do this in advance of military action. all options are on the table. would they not want to put ground troops there? of course not. but he just said, you can't rule anything out. this is war. >> dana, you know this, this was in the not in response to a random question. this was in his opening prepared
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statement which goes through numerous drafts, approved by all sorts of agencies of the u.s. government. he himself raised the possibility he may have to go back to the president and recommend ground troops. >> right. like gloria said, he's a military guy and he does want to keep all options on the table. but something else is going on here. here's part of the backstory. you have, surprise, a little bit of a partisan split here. you have republicans who are annoyed with the president that in his big speech the other night he took ground troops off the table, not because they want to go to war but because strategically they think that it sends the wrong signal to the enemy. clearly the fact that general dempsey had this in his opening statement, he agrees with that. on the flip side, you have democrats who support the president saying, the last thing we want to do is even signal to the american public we're going to send our troops, our treasure into harm's way and spill more blood on the ground. that's the divide and why you saw the democratic chairman of the armed services committee just try to walk it back or clarify it. but it's not that clear. and it's almost a little bit of
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a rorschach test. >> those words by general dempsey, they're going to give word for all the liberal democrats who don't want to send in ground troops right now -- >> it might also give some heartburn to the isolationists in the republican party who say, we're not longer interventionists. but this is a serious conversation the congress should have. that is, should we authorize -- give the president additional authorization to launch these air strikes in both iraq and syria or do we continue to narrow tailor it to title 10 of the defense authorization -- >> you think there should be a broad, to? >> we should have the debate and there should be transparency -- i'm not -- there should be transparency, the fact that we're going to hide beyond the krc c.r. to give certain lawmakers cover i think is a cowardly act.
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>> have you told the president that? that's exactly what he's doing -- >> i'm not an adviser to anyone. this is donna brazile -- >> the house is going to vote -- >> i strongly believe. i was there as a young congressional staffer in 1991. i saw the debate. i think it's important to have this debate. i understand the need to put in a congressional resolution to fund the government so we can avoid these political conversations. but the truth of the matter is, we americans deserve to have this -- >> i don't think -- this is -- i don't think anybody wants to have it before the election. the white house has been shy about it. they're saying, we have all the authority we need for now for the next 90 days. the leadership of the house democrats is very sheepish about taking this vote because she knows it's going to divide her party. the republicans -- the democratic leader of the senate, the same way. so i think because the parties are all split, nobody wants to take this vote.
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and i think it's a little hypocrite call -- >> and the republicans don't want to stand behind the president at a time when we should all be standing together and have a comprehensive strategy. >> both parties are divided. the one thing i will say >> there is going to be a narrow vote, which we talked about, just to authorize the president to arm and train the syrian rebels. >> $500 million. >> $500 million, that is likely to come as soon as tomorrow. but it's not the big authorization. that is something. you probably will see some republicans -- and republicans will support it. >> hold your point for a moment. i have to take a quick break. we're going to resume this conversation right after this. who's going to do it? who's going to make it happen? discover a new energy source. turn ocean waves into power. design cars that capture their emissions. build bridges that fix themselves. get more clean water to everyone. who's going to take the leap? who's going to write the code? who's going to do it? engineers. that's who.
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we're back with gloria and donna. you wrote an excellent column, among other things, on the specific issue of a vote, you say this, there are plans this week to vote on the narrower proposition that the bipartisan -- that has bipartisan support arming the syrian rebels. but what about the larger issue of voting to authorize war against isis? yea or nay. snarky words. >> little snarky, but true,
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sorry to say. is that they're sort of kicking the can down the road, which i know you're all shocked about. which is why congress has a 14% approval rating. this as donna was saying before, deserves a serious debate and a serious vote. and if you have to stay in session a little bit longer, that might benefit the american public to actually watch congress debate what's going on. you don't want mission creep here. >> right. >> you don't want this to go on without having -- >> listen -- >> to make their case to the american people. >> right. >> before the midterm elections, but they're only in session for another two weeks. >> i cover them every day. they're very busy. they've got to go home and get their jobs -- >> but can i just say -- >> am i wrong? >> but these are the same republicans who are complaining that president obama is the imperial president because he does too much on his own, all of these executive orders. and suddenly, john boehner tells dana bash, oh, no, no, no, i think we have to wait for the president to come to us.
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>> they want it both ways. >> by the way -- >> the president's not tough enough. we've already had about 160 air strikes. >> democrats don't want the vote either. >> there are some democrats who do. they want a vote. >> many democrats do not wish to vote because they're opposed the kind of military action that we launch almost a decade ago. and look where we are now. so i think we should have this debate so everybody can get these views on the table. >> you know, i will say one quick thing. what is potentially dangerous for the president and obviously they know that, it's not just necessarily about trying to protect the endangered political democrats. it's also, what if they take the vote and you have a divided congress. then that does not send a good signal internationally, that the president has the backing of the american public. >> house democrats voted against the iraqi war in the first
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place. give them an opportunity to come back to the table and tell the american people. >> then maybe the president would consult with the congress. even if he doesn't believe he has to ask their permission. maybe instead of having an embarrassing vote, which i agree with you, maybe they could all actually sit around a table like this, talk about what's doable, what they can do, where they ought to be going. and then have a vote. >> here's the problem. so many members of the house and the senate regret the vote they cast. >> absolutely. >> and at the end of 2002, authorizing president bush to go to war against saddam hussein. and they look back and say, we have weapons of mass destruction, intelligence, all sorts of -- and dana, they don't want another vote right now. >> i don't think they want -- no, you're right. many of them do not want another vote. in fairness, some of them do. you've heard senators saying at this hearing with general dempsey and secretary hagel telling them, please, tell us
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congress to stay here and not leave to go campaign. >> we've got to leave it. unfortunately. >> we had a debate. congress should have the same debate. >> an excellent debate, good discussion. >> we had a debate. >> by the way, they get paid to vote. >> $174,000 last time checked. >> good discussion. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in the situation room. "newsroom" will begin after a short break.
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hi there, i'm brooke baldwin. thank you so much for being with me on this tuesday. beginning with close combat advisers, ground troops, combat troops, boots on the ground. and you call it semantics, but the role of americans in iraq and syria has dominated this senate hearing on the fight to bring down isis. a couple of he liadlines. americans could be fighting on the ground at any time if military commanders believe it is necessary and if the president approves. >> as i said


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