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tv   Book TV After Words  CSPAN  December 27, 2009 12:00pm-1:00pm EST

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book. this week greg mortenson co-founder of the central asian institute and author of three cups of tea talks about his latest book "stones into schools". the book follows him and his colleagues as they were to set up remote schools for girls in pakistan and afghanistan he discusses his book with rep. mary bono mack of california. congresswoman mary bono mack has represented california's 45th district since 1998. .. extended until the year 2022. that's a fact. at least the fact is, that's what the c.b.o. concludes in the letter. they say that is a fact. second as a caring physician i mean does the senator think that -- that we as a country should try to find a way to provide health insurance for you know, so many americans some of the them lower income,
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who just don't have health insurance in our country? after all, we're the only industrialized country in the world that doesn't find a way to make sure its citizens have health insurance. i mean, you -- as a physician who sees patients, and when of >> guest: we were in montana, i gave a little slide show, and you were sitting on, i think there was like five, six people there. you were sitting on a couch and you had a baseball cap on and you asked some very timely questions, and i didn't know who you were at the time. when we got done, i remember you saying well, i work in d.c. and here's my card and give me a call sometime and see if i'd be able to help you out. i looked at your card later and you were a representative from california, and i really appreciate all that you've done to help us out especially your advocacy for women's issues and for education and you've been a big inspiration so thanks, mary. >> host: well, thank you. thank you but the new book
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again, so soon. let me talk about meeting you though, because i think -- >> guest: it was a very special day. >> host: it was special. i believe in fate and sometimes our paths cross and you were special to me at that moment. and i told you at the time that i'd been in many beliefings on what was -- briefings on what was happening in iraq and afghanistan and the fallout from 9/11, and i truthfully thought you'd be talking about climbing k2 and it quickly changed from climbing k2 and i think what you originally felt like was a failure, but you changed it into this story of success and changing the memory of your sister. this was all about honoring your sister and the success is far greater, i believe than summiting k2 would have been. so the new book is out there and just keep going on and on, and i'm happy to partner with you but why the new book again? is it the answers to all of the
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questions you're getting out on the road? >> guest: part of the reason i wrote another book is to expand on and talk about what we've been doing more recently in afghanistan. we've now been working there for nine years. i also wrote it as a tribute to my kids. i'm gone half the year, like you, being gone from your kids a lot is very difficult and i wanted them to know why their dad is gone half the year and why i've made this commitment to education and helping kids in pakistan afghanistan. i also, there's a lot of really great things that are happening in pakistan, afghanistan and all around the world and i wanted to share that with the american people. you know, we hear a lot of beside news often. you can open up a paper or turn on a t and it's pretty much a litany of bad news. one of the most exciting things, mary that we've talked about is that in 2000 there were 800,000 kids in school, and today there
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are 8.5 million children in school including two-and-a-half million females. the greatest increase since school enrollment in any country in modern history. there's a central banking system. if you two into the district courts, you'll find that more and more women are filing titles and deeds for landownership. that's actually skyrocketing, and i really think, you know, you can probably help me with this but, you know, we can't plug in democracy, you have to build democracy and i think the key to that is not only education, but landownership is a very key piece. like in afghanistan and pakistan, it's still a feudal system. many people are devoid of the opportunity to own land, and by having education and later they can get legal advocacy, especially for women, they have the right to landownership. and both of us are from the west although the original women who were in the women's
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suffrage act and the women's right to vote, it came from ranching widows or women who settled out after the homestead act. so i find there's a lot of similarities between our country and a rural country like afghanistan. >> host: i think greg, one of the things after knowing you all these years and reading three cups of tea and now -- full confession -- half of the new book is that you have to be a very patient person to do the work that you're doing in pakistan and afghanistan yet in america we're not so patient, and i think we expect to see results a lot sooner than we do, i think we get impatient we get angry. can you talk about the patience that it's taking, and can we do enough of what you're trying to accomplish quickly enough? you know, if afghanistan is on the front burner today and i'm hearing from colleagues of mine who were there over the weekend say it's just ungovernable and it's a mess. can can you accomplish what you're trying to do in a time frame that the american people
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are happy with and also bring meaningful change to afghanistan? >> guest: as you mentioned it's a paradigm because in the u.s. we're used to two-minute football drills and six-second sound bytes i know you have to go and vote here in a minute, and halfway around the world things are measured in terms of not only fiscal years but in generations. i also feel having met with thousands of people, especially the elders, that they feel that there are good things happening. so it's been a real honor to the last two or three years to get to know people serving in the military fairly significantly. i think in many ways the military really gets it. it's about building relationships, it's about listening, and also it's about having respect. we are there to not only serve our country but to serve the good people of afghanistan and pakistan.
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general petraeus read three cups of tea last year, and he sent me an e-mail. being a military general, he summarized his points in bullet points but he said we need to listen more, we need to have respect, and we need to build relationships. i've also spent i visit about two dozen military bases a year, help brief the troops about afghanistan. i do this all voluntarily and as you know i've never received any federal money but i'm also very committed to helping, you know as a veteran but helping people who are going to work in that part of the world. and i think that we all can be in this together. it's not a partisan issue it's not, it's not an issue of, you know say trying to achieve a mandate, but it's really, i think, an issue of respect and dignity for all the people of the world and especially for women who in many parts of the
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world have to go through so much to empower themselves or even just have the right to go to school. >> host: you know, you brought up a great point and i think it's important for people to understand that you don't accept federal dollars. not that we didn't try early on, it seemed that we knocked on a lot of doors and i kept trying to explain to people who you are and what you're doing but eventually your story came out and it was so much better, i believe, that you didn't take federal dollars and this is the love and the appreciation from the american people from reading your book and understanding your mission. and i think that's critically important to talk about that this is just individual contributions. i know you've had from the pennies to peace program all the way up to the big checks which have to be pretty exciting to receive, but how do you feel? at what point were you disgusted because you couldn't get federal dollars and how did that feel to just get it from the people directly? >> guest: originally, we tried
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to get federal money, this was way back in the formative years '93, '94 but we were turned down because they said your teachers are unqualified. i wasn't disgusted but it's frustrating because the problem is there's no qualified teachers. so we took eighth graders fifth graders and out be them through -- put them through intensative teacher -- intensive teacher training. the reason we don't take federal money is not because i have issues with the government, but we don't want to be perceived as an instrument or, you know, an arm of the u.s. government. on the other hand, i feel very compelled and i work very hard to help provincial reconstruction teams or civil corps or usaid, and it has been
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exciting to see that probably in the last three or four years mary there's been a huge levering curve. i think although a lot of the news is negative, i'm optimistic. i really think that in afghanistan things can get better, but it's going to take, you know, five or ten years and i guess the question is are we ready, do we want to make that commitment? and maybe you can answer this question but should we be there? i don't really know, but i do know that everywhere i go women especially ask us, please, help us educate our children. that's their number one request. >> host: well, the question to me, should we be there and actually e-mails from you over the years have convinced me, yes, we should be there. and i do have a fear, to tell you the truth about this 18-month timeline. i think it's a mistake to tell
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our enemy that we'll be leaving soon and what that means to something like you in all the good you're trying to achieve. i hope we revisit that because i think it's a mistake. but, you know, i think for you also, i know that over the years your relationship with the military has changed dramatically. you're retired army, and i think that's a great point but the way you have worked, as you've said required reading three cups of tea for a number of military academies and schools. and can can you talk a little bit more about that and how they've changed and realized that your approach can be helpful for them as well? >> guest: to me, it's very exciting. i didn't go out so solicit -- to solicit the military, and i actually started talking to the military because they were the ones that came to me. it was just the same things we did on capitol hill. i remember my father in 1972 and
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'73 came up to capitol hill, he helped pass the fair debt collection act. and i often remember he talked -- i guess he wasn't a lobbyist but he was helping trying to protect consumers and he talked about his frustration on capitol hill and how he's kind of bewildered, but also how he'd been befriended by a couple congressmen and women. so when you invited me to come to capitol hill and i came to your office, you know, i was expecting to have a sit-down little formal meeting and drink maybe a cup of tea and that would be it, but instead you said, you know, let's go to work, and you took me into the chambers and started pulling aside congressmen and women and it was, it was really inspiring because i realized that we're all trying to do something good. it was i love your working approach to your methodologies to just go in and start pulling people aside and talking to them
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and pitching about, you know, kind of an obscure place like afghanistan which at that time wasn't really a front and center issue with the american public. now today it is, and i really think, you know, war is the ultimate decision, as you know, that a country has to make. it's a moral decision, an ethical decision, it's also a financial decision, but i do know also, i've had the honor to bring dozens of elders to come and talk with general mcchrystal and his strategic team. and it's the first time in history that the elders, these are in afghanistan, have been given the opportunity to express their concerns and their frustrations and also their sentiment about how they feel about the crisis between the u.s. and afghanistan.
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and it's probably surprising to the american public, but most of the elders actually appreciate the fact we're there. on the other hand, they're very keenly aware that the military's not just there for fire power but something i call brain power. and i think that's one of the things the american public should be more aware of, of the 22,000 troops deployed this year these are reservists and national guard they're veterinarians, horticulturalists, engineers civil engineers and i think is it 34,000 troops that we're -- >> 30,000. >> 30,000. so about a third of those troops are, again trainer troops. and the people in afghanistan they can differentiate and they want, they say what we really need is not only protection, but we want the training. and that also there are good
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things happening in afghanistan there's 80,000 troops now trained. the goal is 180,000. there is a central banking system as i mentioned there's an eisenhower air/road building program. the road is now complete from kabul to candle daughter and jalalabad to kabul so that's about 60% down. as i mentioned a lot of women are filing titles for landownership, so if you put this all together, you know, we're about 60% of the way there where the people feel they can run on their own and it's, and so, you know, i think that has always happened during the six years we were off in iraq. we went into afghanistan very vigorously to, one find osama and defeat the taliban al-qaeda but we also went there to help the people out.
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but then, unfortunately in a year and a half we ran off to iraq and the media the military the humanitarian groups then. for six years afghanistan and pakistan were kind of left on the back burner, and now to me it's very exciting to see that finally the country that we first went into to help and where we were trying to fight the taliban now it's taking, again, a priority. so i don't know where i'm headed -- >> i like it, keep going. you're always one of the most fascinating people to listen to, and clearly if lessons learned from afghanistan in the past and after the u.s., former ussr had pulled out and we boorchedded most would say the mujahideen and created where we are today. and that goes back to this the timeline of 18 months. is that what the afghani people are feeling as well? is that what they're seeing, a reoccurrence of the same fear 1234. >> eighteen months is -- in the
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u.s. it might seem like a long time but over there things are measured in terms of decades and generations, and that's where i've seen the significant changes. women who have started school now 10, 15 years later are becoming the first doctors nurses. there's also in afghanistan a saying with the elders, they'll say that god created the world or allah created the world and it was good, but then he took the leftovers and piled it together and that's our country, afghanistan. it's kind of a sad statement but i think it also symbolizes the resilience of the people. i think 18 months is, it's a really short time. and you know, i would hope that the decisions made are not to appease, you know, any, you know say political group or anything but the decisions really are made to really help
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the people of the country. that, i think is the unfortunate thing that with the decisions made about the deployment of more troops, you know, as far as i know they were pretty much held behind closed doors, there was no testimony on capitol hill or generals from a few people like me. and i think the american public, you know, deserved that that should be public testimony. is that what that's called? public testimony? >> host: yes, that would work. >> guest: you know, it's a very big decision. i know some things are confidential but also this involves our fellow americans who are serving and the other thing is i wish that president obama had consulted with some of the elders in afghanistan before he made that decision. i think their voice was not
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really heard in the decision process. and the only time they were able to talk to anybody was actually, it was the u.s., the military generals who have sat down with the afghan people. so i have, i have a lot of respect for general mccristal and some of our -- mcchrystal and some of our commanders because they've actually listened to the leaders in afghanistan, and they kind of know what they want. so i think that it's important that we heed some of that advice. >> host: well, you've become a leading expert, and i know that a lot of my colleagues, some of the very same i tried to get you to meet early on, have read three cups of tea and i know with your new book out this week they'll be reading stones into schools as well. so your voice means something without even the testimony or hearing with your presence, i do believe that you have this direct voice to members. i think the biggest problem is you're in such demand now that it's hard to get through to you but there are a lot of members who would love to hear from you
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directly and hear your perspective and recognize it's one facet of a very complex problem, but i know that they would love to hear from you and talk to you and that they're anxiously waiting to read this book. i can't tell you probably there used to be a day where people wouldn't come across my name in your book and say that they're reading. i kid you not one of my colleagues said, i'm reading three cups of tea, so i'm trying to promote the new book out there, but you have that voice and i think it's incredibly important that we continue to exercise your direct congress. back to the book, three cups of tea has something in it for everybody, and stones into schools seems to be a little bit more in-depth in some areas. it's interesting the third person -- three cups of tea great writer wrote a great book. this book you've written first person, and i know how uncomfortable that must be for you because or one of the most
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shy people i've ever met in my life. you're even doing it in this interview, you don't like the focus on you. this is truly your voice and what you are putting your credibility on what you have to say. there's no deny about well, david wrote this, these are greg's words. why did that change in the new book? >> guest: well, the publisher and actually my wife, tara, the first the book they wanted me to do in first person, but my wife said if you write a book, it's going to be a pamphlet. so as you mentioned i'm a pretty shy reserved person, but i also, i -- one thing that i've had the honor and i say blessing is i go across the u.s., i visit about 100 cities a year, i've talked to maybe 200 schools a year, and i find everywhere i go in the u.s. americans are really
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good people. we're really compassionate people and we really care about issues very deeply. and i also think that, like, in the military and also on capitol hill there's been a huge learning curve. and it's exciting to see that. even though it look like things are falling apart and it's frustrating, i guess i also a-- applaud you because when i first came to capitol hill and i came to see you and i was expecting this official little meeting and you instead said, you know, the way things work here is building relationships. so let me take you down to the claim we ares, and i'm going -- chambers, and i'm going to connect you with some people. and those connections have led to a lot of great things. so i really, i liked your style and i remember, also, when we first, i was visiting you once, and you wanted to kind of know where the places were.
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i'd draw a map and put down the places of all the regions. this is the head commander and this is the village chief here, and someone else wanted to know where all the cities and the road and everything where and you said no, you know, the way greg sees this is through the relationships. and i really think, you know, in any endeavor whether it's here on capitol hill or in afghanistan or back in our homes that the key is that we have to build relationships with each other and listen. and so it's been exciting to see that expand, and this year we've had our best year ever in afghanistan despite all the you are turmoil and the taliban. and we're able to do that because of our relationships. i haven't told you this but this
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year we've established the first girls' high schools only because we had the relationships with the people. so it's been a very exciting year for us. >> host: that sounds very exciting, and i think back, and i know we're going to go to break in about three minutes but when you first came down from k2 after the failure what you called the failure, and i think you say that now as definitely a milestone in your life that turned into something great, but you met a man ali i guess, is that how you would say his name? if it weren't for him i wonder if that relationship was the key to it all? he definitely sounds like a mythical magical figure in your life and somebody who's willing to cultivate this relationship where the whole three cups of tea concept came out of, and i wonder if it weren't for him if this would have happened and what he would think. you lost him in 2001 i believe he passed, what he would be thinking today of you and your accomplishments. >> guest: well, i know he would he was a man who really had great vision.
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this was a man who he died in 2001, as you mentioned. he was in his 90s. 80s. only one time his whole life he ever left his village. he didn't have a phone he didn't have newspapers, he didn't have television, he didn't have, you know, mail, and yet he knew that the hope for his people was through education. and i remember one evening in the evening he loved to read, but i noticed he was, he had some tears in his eyes. and i asked him why are you sad when you read? he said, greg, i actually don't know how to read. and i remember he said that it's his life's greatest tragedy that he never learned how to read and right, and it was his life's greatest hope that his children and his grandchildren could read and write. i remember in his exact words he said these words in these books make the stories that make wise the fools. by fools he meant ill literacy and ignorance.
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i think you're right mary, without him probably none of this would have happened, but i also feel, you know, without a lot of people we would never have been able to do this. the kids who raise pennies the wonderful congresswoman from california who helped me out or ali, and i feel that it's been a great blessing to have people along the way help us out. >> host: at that point we're going to take a break and come back after that and hopefully pick up right where we left off. >> "after words" and several other y span programs are available for download as podcasts. more with greg mortenson and congresswoman mary bono mack in just a moment. >> here's a look at some upcoming book fairs and festivals over the next few months.
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>> did you know you can view booktv programs online? go to, type the name of the author, book or subject into the search area in the upper left-hand corner of the page. select the watch link. now you can view the entire program.
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you might also explore the recently on booktv box or the featured programs box to find and view recent and featured programs. >> "after words" with greg mortenson and congresswoman mary bono mack continues. >> host: so, greg, we were talking about haji ali and i believe he was the man who sort of was the catalyst, i believe towards all that happened early in pakistan. his granddaughter was one of the children you've educated, and he must have seen, as you saw so clearly, the importance of educating girls. can you speak of why girls? why you focus on girls? i know the answer, but i want you to talk a little bit about why you focus so much on the girls this these areas. >> guest: well, i grew up in africa, and as a child i learned
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a proverb. it says that, it's an african proverb that says if you educate a boy you educate an individual. but if we can educate a girl, we educate a community. and the reasons obviously you're aware of these but educating girls has a profound impact on a society. it can reduce the population explosion, and i think that's a very key point with girls' education. we have so many problems in the world today, we have war, we have environmental disasters but i think one of the main problems if you look at where we're headed in three to five generations that there's too many the people on the planet. and the number one way to reduce population without doing anything else, you know, nothing controversial or nothing political is simply female literacy. bangladesh is a great example. in 1970 the female literacy rate was less than 20%. today it's tripled two
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generations later, and if you rock at a dem -- look at a demographic curve, you can see it's just reaching an apex, 2.8 live births per female. forty years ago it was eight births per female, and the main reason is female literacy. the health care improves, infant mortality drops socioeconomic standards increase significantly. girls also help their mothers learn how to read and write. boys, i guess they don't do that as much. also you'll see people come canning home from the marketplace, and they have meats or vegetables wrapped in newspaper, and then the mother very carefully unfolds the newspaper and asks her daughter to read the news to her. and also with relation to politicians -- politics. women are very interested in politics but because they're illiterate they're not able to ascertain the different platform
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s of the people running for election, so being able to read and write also helps develop a more, you know, process where people can be informed of their political representatives. also when someone goes on jihad which means a quest, they should get permission from their mother first. and if they don't it's very shameful or disgraceful. women who have an education are much less likely to condone their son to get into violence or terrorism and i saw that happen after 9/11. the taliban their primary recruiting grounds are in illiterate impoverished areas because many of the educated women, you know, at risk of their lives refused to allow their sons to join the taliban. so i could go on and on about girls' education but i think it is one of the most, single most important investments we can make in any society. >> host: you in three cup cans of tea -- cups of tea you talked
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about, you noticed a shift after you came back to bozeman montana, your beautiful hometown returned to pakistan and noticed the huge proliferation of the madrassas and it seemed to me you were, you were not completely surprised, certainly when 9/11, but you'd seen this happening. you were on the ground and watching that they were recruiting the kids who needed the education and they were providing the extremist education, and yet you were going toe to toe with these madrassas, and i think you're an american hero for doing that. you've been out there on your own, you've been kidnapped at least once, is it still only once? >> guest: yeah, one time, thank goodness. >> host: so you really are an american hero, and you've been out there doing it on your own, and it takes a unique character and figure to do what you do, and i know we've only got a few minutes left, so i'd like to briefly talk about special people, and that is your wife
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and your children. because tara, i cannot imagine your wife, tara, what she puts up with. i worry about you as my friend when you travel, and how does she cope with this? >> guest: well it's very difficult, and what's also painful i get a fair amount of criticism from people who say you're a poor husband or bad father because you got married and you have this responsibility, and now you're off traipsing around the world you know, doing your own thing. and my daughter who has a black belt in tae kwon do, she takes great pride in being in our family. and she says, you know, there's hundreds of thousands of kids in the u.s. whose parents are serving in the military, or they're in humanitarian work, and really it's kids who have parents serving on capitol hill, she said it's kids who make the
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greaters sacrifice of all. it's not easy. tara and i we've had some struggles, but we also have a date night every tuesday night no matter what when i'm home. saturday is kids' day and again, no matter what's happening, the kids know that their daddy's there for them on saturdays. and i also, i also find, i think, you know, it's like you. for a long time it was difficult for you coming to capitol hill and you had kids and trying to act as a mother and, you know, a politician and also breadwinner and everything. so i definitely, my wife is a saint, but i also i think it's so important that the other half meaning women i think
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that they're empowered and we also have respect for women mothers and we also give them opportunities especially in countries around the world where women are denied those opportunities. and the more i do this i'm convinced that girls' education and helping out women with legal advocacy and with rights, it should be one of our one of our top priorities. >> host: well, you're right -- >> guest: even as a guy. >> host: even as a guy. appreciate that. we have only got a couple minutes left. what are you hoping that people will take away from the new book different than they did three cups of tea? what is the one in the last few minutes that we have, what are you really hoping to get out there to the american people or to the world? actually the world audience that you now have, the worldwide audience? >> guest: well, my hope is that, first of all that every single child on this planet could have the right to two to school. --
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go to school. there's 120,000 -- 120 million children who can't go to school, and also in the states i hope that we can really commit ourselves to a quality education for all our children. i also think that what i'm trying to say with this book is i think there is hope for peace. i, i think the real reason, i mean the real reason i do this is because i have two children, and you have a couple kids, and i think we owe it to our children to leave them a legacy of peace and it's not going to be easy, but i do think we can persevere and there can be peace for all the people on this planet. >> host: well, and with that perfect way to close i know we were looking for a nobel peace prize for you and i still believe it's in your future, and i know that's a hard thing for you to hear, but a lot of people are very grateful and appreciate tiff of what you do and the sacrifices that you and your family work. i look forward to years of more
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work with you and wish you the very best with your new book and with your endeavors. >> guest: well thanks, mary. it's been such an honor to spend some time on c-span with you and thanks for all your help. from the day i first met you in your little baseball cap also, it's been wonderful to have you introduce me to people here in washington d.c.. i think also, on behalf of all the children in pakistan, afghanistan i'd like to thank the american people for supporting them and for really believing that we can help them all have the chance to go to school and have peace. >> guest: very well. thank you so much, greg. >> guest: thanks mary. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> one of them is a grandson he delivers. >> he gets his name on it. okay. it's jer -- >> emy. >> jeremy. >> yes. >> and how old is jeremy? >> i don't know. >> 23 or 4. >> couple years ago. >> yeah. and he's got a grandson, or he's got a son now. [laughter] >> oh, okay.
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if you get it fast, we've got limited time. >> thank you sir. >> okay, good. >> appreciate that. >> thank you sir. >> do you have three? >> she keeps me straight. [laughter] nice to meet you. she keeps the books straight, i don't know which. >> nice to see you again. >> good to see you. how have you been? >> i've been everywhere you've been practically. >> you're going to get tired of that one day. >> oh, no. >> i'm glad you're here. >> hi. >> hi. nice to see you. >> how's your hand holding up? >> well, so far so good. no cramps yet. >> good to see you again. my favorite memory is being in an elevator with you and timothy leery in chicago 1991.
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[laughter] >> i can't believe that. i remember -- >> the convention in '91. >> i don't recall that because i was at his home one time, and he had, like, a little reception for me, that was pretty wild too, but i don't remember the one in chicago. >> it was just the three of us in an elevator. well, more memorable to me than you, but love your work. thank you. >> thank you. >> appreciate you doing this. >> glad to see people interested. >> it's motivating. >> thanks for coming out for us. >> good to be here. >> what do you need for us to run in 2012? [laughter] >> well, it's too early to talk about that. [inaudible conversations] >> oh, are you? getting the attention of a lot of people these days. i'm glad your generation is looking into it. if they don't destroy themselves it'll take us a little bit longer to make sure we get rid of it, but they're
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likely to self-destruct. >> good meeting you. >> all right. >> hello. good to see you. >> hello. nice to see you. >> i'm the only old geezer here. >> no, i wouldn't say that. young in spirit, though, right? hello. >> twenty years in the army a son in the army reserve and a nephew in afghanistan. >> wow. military family, huh? >> my dad wouldn't understand that. very good. >> glad you're here. >> [inaudible] >> nope, it's against the rules. can't do it. >> thank you very much. >> there you are. this yours? oh okay, this one's yours. tries to give your book away. there you go. hi. >> need to get back to
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pittsburgh and get ready for that g20 summit. >> what? oh the summit. >> what do we expect from that? >> probably not a whole lot other than behind the scenes there'll be mischief planned but we won't hear about it for a while. their going to work -- they're going to work hard on internationalizing a reserve currency but it won't be easy. >> we took care of green tree for you. >> good, right. >> okay. >> ron thanks. >> the gentleman in the white t-shirt. >> two of them? >> uh-huh. >> i'm writing an article. >> uh-huh. >> i'm going to be around, i could quote you from some of what you say but if you have anything special you want to say -- >> well, are you going to be there tonight? >> not tonight. i don't have anything special to say unless you want to ask me something. [laughter] >> no -- >> i mean, we're here to promote the campaign for liberty and liberty is the subject and part of that, of course, is dealing with the size and scope of the
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federal reserve because they intrude on our liberties through the financial system, so that's been a key issue for us. >> is that, like, the key issue you're going to speak about tonight, the sides of the federal reserve? >> it'll be a lot of it, but it won't be the only thing n. the concept of liberty liberty is the opposite of government. the more government you have, the less liberty you have, and one of the enhancers of big government is the federal reserve. so if you need to finance war you can do it without direct taxation through inflation or if you want a welfare state you can do it without paying for it later on by just printing money. so the monetary system is intertwined and, of course, then it's corrupt because it serves special interests and it's totally secret and congress doesn't assume responsibility for itself. >> it doesn't seem to be any way to get corruption out of government. >> that's why you want, that's why you want, that's why you want very, very small government because it's the nature of government to be corrupted.
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so there will always be that temptation. so the smaller the government, the less harm they can do to us. >> all right. that's great. >> okay. very good. glad you stopped by. >> [inaudible] >> excuse me. i can't do it right now. what? >> here are phoned-in orders. >> oh, okay. >> among other titles, tina brown is the co-founder of the daily web site. ms. brown, you have a book section on that web site, tell us about it. >> book beast which we launched about six months ago is becoming a very thriving channel on the daily beast web site. every day we cover a new book, each day we have a highlight of
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what to read, why you should read it. we do wonderful little cheat sheet, as we call it, of interesting literary pieces about reviews from all over the place. we have the editor of the times literary supplement does a kind of brit lit what everybody's read anything the u.k. it's a very lively channel. lucas whitman is the editor, he came from norton, and he's joined us just recently, and we're really developing what we feel are really great warm spots for writers because, you know, there's so few places where they can get their books reviewed. we do video we had a wonderful interview with phillip roth recently who's given few interviews about his new book, the humbling, so i think with the combination of video and pictures and reviews and interviews and extracts which we're now doing too it's really developing quite a following. and i think hopefully we'll span into the breach which has been left by so many, you know, vanished book review sections. >> have you ever reviewed harold
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evans' books? >> we extracted them, and i drove him down, i negotiated him down. [laughter] >> so much of your professional life has been involved with the written word and with books. why? finish. >> i'm a passionate reader myself. our house is just wall to wall books. i mean, wall to wall. you would not believe how many books in our house we need to keep doing kind of a purge. but my husband is a passionate reader and writer, i'm a passionate reader and writer, and we're just a family of bookworms. >> have you have you gotten a kindle or a sony player or any kind of electronic --? >> i have a kindle. i'm still a kind of tentative user. that's only because i'm actually a slow adopter. i mean, it was a long time before i took my blackberry to heart. now i live, can't live without any blackberry. but, of course, i do like the feel touch smell physicality
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of a book, and i always have. and, in fact, now we're, in fact with the daily beast have started our own little electron thetic book company which will start online and then publish as paperback. so i'm actually becoming a sort of mini publisher now for short 40,000-word pieces that are going to be extended into books. >> how many pages would that be, and how quickly are you turning these around? >> these are going to be 80-page books because my view is in a funny way books are almost the new magazine. there's so little narrative journalism left, so little room for the more contemplative kind of writing and theme setting and all the things, of course, that make a great book are really kind of a little anti-prophet call to the pop medium of just line. but at the same time sort of the long leisurely magazine. so it's almost like the ideal
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in-between thing is this sort of tremendously intense powerful, smart book that you can read on a long flight, but it's satisfying. it's all in one, you know? phil leadership roth's new book, the humbling, is a great example. it's only about 80 pages but in one terrific sort of intense very sort of engaged read, i mean you get the full sort of phillip roth experience. and it's exciting. i think that's kind of an interesting medium, and i'm very excited to be working in it. >> you're well known also, as a magazine editor, and now you're on the web. >> yes i'm loving it, absolutely loving it. as much as i do love print and i do, the whole online experience as an editor is really exciting. i feel it's the new frontier, it's breaking out. we already have 41 million page views a month, you know, it's just a huge audience in a very short time, like a year. at "vanity fair" where i was editor for eight years it took
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us, you know, all of that time to build a 1.2 million audience whereas the new yorker it took such a tremendous, you know, full-on effort to get 250,000 extra sales. here we are online after only, like 13 months and we have four million very devoted readers so it's exciting to feel you can connect can like that. and also i think there is a real audience for more intellectually-engaged subject matter. you know the beast kind of ranges high and low and it has you know, very smart brainy pieces and also fun frothy pieces but the high level of a-list writing going on, and yet it is attracting a big audience. i'm finding it very exciting. >> two final questions. where'd you come up with the name daily beast? [laughter] >> it's the name of the newspaper in the famous comic english masterpiece which is all ant the world of crazy fleet street and journalism in the 1950s. and i've always loved that novel, and i always loved that name, and i decided i was going
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to call our news site the daily beast because, you know, if you didn't get the joke which obviously, very few people would, it has a kind of raw energy which i like. >> and finally, what are you reading right now? what books? >> i'm actually reading right now a book, in fact, about the original family in brideshead revisited called mad world and it's a biography of the family on which -- [inaudible] was based so i seem to have an obsession for war every shape and form. >> tina brown co-founder and editor of the daily >> thank you. >> pulitzer prize-winning writer neil sheehan has a new book out a fierce peace in a cold war. what is an icbm? >> it's a rocket that with a hydrogen bomb in its warhead. it's fired up into space it travels through space at 16,000
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miles an hour for 67,000 miles and then it would come down on its target. it crosses -- there's no way to stop it. they'd never been used. the whole point -- you and i would probably not be having this conversation if it wasn't for these people. they built this weapon not to make war with it, but as they say over and over again, this is the first weapon in the history of human kind being built to deter war. >> i wanted to start with that because i think that tells the story of the scientists who helped create it. do you want to tell me about bernard shreveer? >> he was 6 years old when his mother brought him here from germany two months before we declared war on germany. he grew up down in texas and was a protege of general arnold who was the founder of the u.s. air
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force during world war ii. then with the work on bringing science into the air force he utilized science and saw this weapon would guarantee the peace because if we had it, we could deter the russians from doing anything that would trigger a nuclear war. and then we ended up, he ended up creating a nuclear stalemate. it's referred to by the nuclear people as mutual assured destruction. in other words neither side could get a surprise attack on the other because they would destroy themselves in the same process. >> in the book you talk about the resistance that mr. scrriever and his team met with. can you talk about that? >> sure. this is a book not about hardware but about people. they ran into tremendous resistance from carr us the he may -- curtis he may who was the
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heat bomber leader from world war ii who became the model for the general in cube rick's dr. strangelove, jack d. ripper was the general' name. so bernard and the people who worked with him ran into tremendous resistance from the bomber people, and they had to overcome it, and they did. they got to eisenhower, and he understood what they were trying to do and gave them carte blanche just in time. he signed off on september 13th, and he had his heart attack ten days later. >> how long have you been researching this book? >> i worked on the book for 14 years altogether but ten intensive years. i did 52 interviews with bernard, i interviewed about another 120 people, everybody who was alive who worked with him chasing the grim reaper because these people were older
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men. they all cooperated with me. schriever told everybody, talk to this man, tell him the truth. and he gave me all his papers and his diary all of which were incredibly value. this book is written not as an academic history it's written as a fast-paced narrative in novelistic form because i believe in recreating history for the reader, bringing the reader enter history, and that's what i do hear. here. >> fifteen years of research, that's a long time. did your views on the cold war change at any point during that time? >> i realized, yes because we all think of the cold war as one long ice age and i discovered through writing this week that it was -- book that it was not. that in the beginning and it was a period that was overlooked, one of the reasons i wanted to write this book. in the beginning of the cold war there was a warm confrontation with both sides jockeying for
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power. and if either side had made a misstep at that time, we would have had nuclear war and 2 end of the northern hemisphere because they don't just destroy cities they create ec logical effects. they block out the sun you'll get nuclear winter, you'd have destroyed the whole northern hemisphere in a war between the two sides. and bernard and company prevented that from happening. >> are there schrievers in the military right now? >> i would hope so. this man was with very famous within the air force and he became the father of the modern high-tech logical air force even though this is not a book that's about technology the it's about people. and when he died, there are ten four-star generals in the air force, nine of them marched behind his coffin. the chief of staff at the time said we're not going to bury him as a four-star general we're going to bury him as a chief of
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staff. it was quite a moving occasion. >> the author is neil sheehan the book is a fiery peace in a cold war. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> up next, george nash discusses the history and future of american conservativism. professor nash spoke at the heritage foundation in washington d.c. >> good afternoon, thank you for joining us here at the heritage foundation. i'm john, directer of lectures and seminars, and it's my privilege to welcome you to our louislerman auditorium. those who will be joining us on a future occasion through c-span booktv, and we do watch those in house to check that cell phones have been turned off as a courtesy to our guest. we do remind our internet audiences that questions can be submitted or comments at any time simply e-mailing us at speaker at
12:57 pm we will, of course, post the the program on the web site within 24 hours for your reference. hosting our special guest this morning is dr. lee edwards, the distinguished fellow and conservative thought in our b. kenneth simon center for american studies. he has published over 17 books including biographies of ronald reagan and ed meese as well as histories of the intercollegiate studies institute. he serves as adjunct professor of politics at the catholic university of america and is also chairman of the victims of communism memorial foundation. he previously served as a founding directer of the institute on political journalism at georgetown university as well as having been a fellow at the institute of politics at the john f. kennedy school of government at harvard. he is a past president of the philadelphia society and has been a media fellow at the hoover institution. please join me in welcoming my colleague, dr. lee edwards. lee? [applause]
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>> well, thank you john, and good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. an historian must have a passion for the past. compelling desire to learn all there is to learn about an age a movement or an event and the men and women who shaped it and were shaped by it. he must have an equal desire to tell the story of that past as completely and as objectively as possible. never allowing a mesmerizing personality or an overarching event to distort the telling. a true historian must have a judicial temperament that enables him to differentiate between the sensational and the consequential, the fleeting and the fundamental. well american conservativism has been fortunate for more than 30 years to have had just such
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an historian studying and writing about the individuals and institutions that have transformed a group of irritable mental gestures -- that was the words of lionel trilling, the liberal critic, into today what it is, and that is a major intellectual can and then political force. well george nash's first book published in 1976 was the conservative intellectual movement in america since 1945. it immediately became and remains a classic work, indices pence be bl reading for anyone interested in american conservativism. while many of us have waited and hoped and implored george nash to write a sequel, well, we now have the


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