[untitled] CSPAN April 5, 2010 5:00pm-5:30pm EDT
the text -- into english. so that -- i gave this to hillary clinton and barack obama. and it is only after the agreement was signed by both the ambassador for the united states in iraq that it was officially published to the congress of the united states. now, this is incredible, the role of congress -- just to publish it. >> want to go to questions very quickly. >> i think you underestimate the agree of access. we're in amongst populations and working with iraqi leaders,
political leaders, police and army. you need to get there with security obviously because our enemies are operating amongst the civilians. the most dangerous course of action would be not to imbed downists and rely on stringers, because the stringers are oftentimes influenced by the enemy, and i can read some stories and i know exactly that the stringer is planting that propaganda from the enemy in american papers. its depends on the editor's familiarity with the situation to wed that out. the enemy is counseling on this propaganda and disinformation so it's in our interest to give the maximum access to the media. we don't lie. the enemy lies. >> after being in iraq when a time when they were negotiating this with the iraqis on the
status of forces agreement, those negotiations were kept secret for obvious reasons because they were negotiations. and there was no intent to keep that from the more than people. just that we have positions, the iraqis have positions. if we expose those positions, and have disagreements with the iraqis and a breakdown of a political relationship, and trying to come to a common agreement. and if you open that up, that would, i think, risk the agreement. al mall can -- he wanted to get- >> the disempowerment of congress. >> senator clinton couldn't go.
>> just state your name. >> professor ackerman, i was taken by your proposal of creating new structures, and also the fact that you are basically saying that words create reality, that language creates reality, and therefore instead of calling it war, we should call it -- start naming it a state of emergency, when there are attacks here. i'm wondering, did you fully talk -- do you have several ideas? and i'm also wondering what the generals think about that, and part two, part of this, in parenthesis, what do you call what is going on in afghanistan and in iraq? are they wars? have we declared war? what should we call those? >> well, --
>> conflicts? >> law is words. i have a book called "before the next attack" which talks about how to think of these temporary emergencies, and during these incidents, we should engage in extraordinary measures and the challenge is to bring these measures to an end, and go back to normal. now, you might also want to redefine the normal. but the -- so the fundamental structure is -- i have quite a few such things, and i don't want to -- but i definitely do believe that the john yoo memo kind of thing is a structural failure, and that we should redesign the way that the executive interprets the constitution.
>> there's a strategic question in that answer. could you fight this war? could we win this war? could we succeed? if we approached it a as state of emergency when there's been an attack and the president is granted extraordinary powers and then we try to return to some kind of new normal. or is this a campaign? >> to answer the second part of the question for her, because she asked you about afghanistan and iraq and how do you describe them. >> yes. >> think we won the wars in afghanistan and iraq, and that is to say, omar a is no longer the head of the -- very dramatically and effectively we are in alliance with a very rickety states, more rickety in
afghanistan, and we are fighting in afghanistan for sure in civil war, and that it's very important, from our perspective -- although these labels aren't useful to division between al-qaeda, which does have a risk to our national security -- and the taliban, which is active participants in a civil war that is of problematic concern to the homeland. >> there's your answer. go ahead. >> i want to comment on the discussion. we deposed two regimes in iraq and afghanistan for our national -- we don't -- we all know the reasons.
those regimes were deposed. saddam hussein in iraq, and the taliban regime in afghanistan for different reasons. in both cases, elements in those societies chose to regain power. saddam hussein and his thugs formed a regime, and they were aided and abetted by the al-qaeda, which was a foreign intervention force. the taliban in iraq, not a homogenous group to be sure. mentioned some of the variations of it. initially aided by al-qaeda but not much now. we as military practitioners look at that as a regime trying to regain power, address the reason the government is in power, and what we're doing is a
counterinsurgency and by definition it's a war. what i have trouble with bruce is, i think he is saying to us that al-qaeda, who is a transnational organization, not wedded to a particular country, when we're fighting them in iraq as a foreign intervention force, believe it's a war. meets that definition. when we're fighting them in afghanistan, it's a war. but when they kill 3,000 americans here and go back someplace and they're difficult to get ahold of and move from one country or another. the congress of the united states has authorized the president to kill them or capture them whenever they are because of what they can do to us. that gives us special powers to do that. we believe we're fighting a war against that enemy even though at times it was in iraq, times it was in afghanistan. some of it is in pakistan. some of it is in other places. we believe that meets the
definition. >> okay, we're going another question here. >> sure. >> first off i want to thank the panel for speaking to us tonight. and this question is for all three panelists. general mcmaster, you mentioned the necessity to have -- set your objectives ahead of time and presumably that imperative applies to war or states of emergency or whatever conflict and however you describe it. >> in the military, we're going to go no matter what you call it. we're going. [laughing] >> so, i'm interested to know what are the objectives of this conflict and how the three of you would define those, and how we achieve them to end the war. >> that's a great -- a really important, important question. because war is ways to achieve
policy goals and objectives there's a tendency to okuwait war to military operations in iraq afghanistan, in the 1990s it became popular to think in terms of revolutionary in military affairs, and it bled boo the orthodoxy of defense transformation. the idea was because of america's technological capabilities and significant advantages in areas of surveillance and guided munition technologies, we can wage future wars cheaply, quickly, low cost, mainly at standoff range, and reduced war to a targeting exercise. what it did is it depot pittickized war, and you have to achieve in war, and a also dehumanized war, and neglected the enduring psychological, cultural dimensions of conflict, and so that misunderstanding, i
think, really helps explain the lack of planning in certain areas, integrated civil military planning for the wars. so if you say war is a way to achieve policy goals and objectives. what are our goals and objectives in iraq and afghanistan? they're clear. the key now is if you're going to have an iraq that is secure, we have sustainable security and stability, in a country that doesn't prey on itself, isn't a threat to its neighbors, doesn't develop weapons of mass destruction, and we are interested in what happens after the fall of saddam hussein. we wasn't to war with the country in 1991. we spent 13 wares containing the country. with taught -- ought to care what happens next. so the objective is to achieve a political outcome, and stability consistent with our interests there and in the region. we ought to be straight up about
that in afghanistan, the problem began because it was, as john keane said, a safe have haven and support for people who attacked us. the reason that a continuing effort there is connected to that is because this enemy seeks the safe haven and support base. we know from the travel areas in pakistan and in areas likeem yemen, the enemy has used those safety and support bases to attack our country. so to help afghanistan stabilize to provide security for its own population to develop a monopoly on the use of force in that country to establish local governance and help the population meet their basic expectations, which are basic in afghanistan ask have mainly to do with security. that's all connected with
denying the name safe haven and support base. the same dynamic that i think existed in afghanistan prior if this nihilistic enemy or organization war to gain control. this an exclusive goal of the enemy we're fighting. a would heirry said we need to control the military. you see it in yemen, in somalia in pakistan, in the fill -- philippines. they have to control an area, but there's certainly a clear way ahead your look at general mcchrystal's start and the civil military approach that nato was taking in afghanistan, there is now a clear strategy. what we owe the american public is to explain how the military
is -- not to advocate for policy. great question. >> a great question. how do we know when we win? >> general was saying, there are two different questions here. is our continuing intervention in the conflict -- another word for civil war -- yes is it. there are two groups who are organized militarily that engage for control over the same territory. that's my definition of a civil war. and the talk of an enemy invites that kind of thing and that's fine. and whether we should be having won the wars wars in afghanistad iraq, whether we should continue. it's a fine policy -- reasonable people can talk about this. those wars will come to an end.
the point that general keane was making, there's the privatization of violence by small groups with more and more power to them. this problem is not going to come to an end. not going to come to an end. there is too many crazy people in the world. and this problem shouldn't -- has to be managed, with strategic use of force, but my plea is that -- i'm a pragmatist in the sense that it's much more important to be clear about the distinct character of the different problems, and design
structures to respond to these different problems. my idea is, i will give you some ideas. some have better ideas. just we can't confuse them all as special cases of the same thing called war. okay. >> get back to the question inch both countries, iraq and afghanistan, the political objective is a stable, secure country and environment where the military is capable -- military and police are capable of protecting the people from an internal threat and external threat. it requires support of the political objective. what the debate in this country took place just recently and that the president engaged his advisers, when we have the objective and strategy right at the first instance, are we pushing the right buttons in terms of what we want to achieve inia -- in iraq and afghanistan?
and what should be the extract to achieve those goals. what he selected was to put in place was a counterinsurgency strategy as opposed to the strategy we had before then, and the strategy before that was focused principally on a counterterrorism strategy, which is jargon for attempting to provide operations against the taliban or against the al-qaeda. counterinsurgency strategy does not make the enemy the center of gravity, which the previous strategy did. but makes the people the center of gravity. so that every operation that you are willing to conduct is through the prism of what is its effect on the people? which means for the military commander, no company can -- or at a general officer level will
at times decide not to execute the operation because it's too much risk in terms of its adverse impact on the people. and that is driving fundamental change in afghanistan. it deserved to be debated. why? because it drives up the number of forces to execute that strategy. with the other one was every since month the situation was getting worse, and it didn't look like that strategy was going to be viable, and for three years in iraq we tried a similar strategy and it was not viable. so there was a powerful argument to move to the military strategy, which was counterinsurgency to achieve the political goal of a stable secure afghanistan, which is capable of probabilitying itself from inside threat as well as external threat, which means we must transition to the afghan
national police and army, so they can do that protect, protection, and the faster we can transition them is what is in play. the problem is the level of violence is so high, they're not capable of doing it. we have to help bring that level of violence down. >> okay. >> you happen to be -- looking into the topic which of course as you both mentioned about that , the constitution and not defend the situation. if this is a war, which you said has been declared, do you -- looking at the long politics, because if the war which is going be fought -- would you
allow the international intervention to really take part in it because the u.s. is also one of the signatures on the treaty. professor, if you say this is not a war, and how do you define the civil war? and do you -- i have a question about interrogations. you said they have been arresting people in afghanistan and iraq. how do you define them? prisoner of war? and how do you keep them arrested. >> i'll take the last one because that's an interesting question. the detainees in afghanistan are
prisoners of war. >> well, it depends if they transcribe transitioned boo the afghan d if they can be transitioned into the afghan system. haste been in afghanistan for a couple years. don't know how it's evolving now. the goal is whenever there's a security detainee taken into custody, to develop enough evidence so they can stand up based on afghan law, and then the idea is to transition as many of these detainees into the afghan system as much as it can bear it. one of the problems in an counterinsurgence effort, the enemy target judges and the legal system, and so all of the institutions of the afghan government are under some degree of duress. so it depends on the maturity of local systems and it's a hybrid system in afghanistan where you
have tribal law as well as national law. so, it depends on the maturity of those systems, and if they have the police, the jails, the courts and the prisons, to be able to establish -- this is a really important battleground, both in iraq and afghanistan, is this establishment of -- >> soldiers under your command, if they grab somebody at a site that, say, has a gun, they're not a prisoner of war. >> i mean -- one of the things we have to do is resolve this ambiguous status over time. the way we're doing that in afghanistan and iraq is to try to develop the indigenous systems, and as bruce said, one of the things i agree, one of the roles of the military is to get this down to a law enforcement problem so the enemy is defeated and these enemy organizations can no longer
effectively pursue their strategy, the state and the security forces and the rule of law in the state is strong enough to bear the burden. >> i'm going to let that be the question, and then we're going to move on over to here. general keane, and general mcmastary, when the military advises the officialdom, do you take into account the total cost of the project being pursued? the iraq war has cost to date $710 billion. afghanistan, $256 billion. the national economy right now is in the toy let. i -- toilet. i don't think anybody would disagree with that.
so how far do we go? at what cost do we pursue these military objectives that are laid out? you say we have handlely won the war in iran and afghanistan. i say to you, what is it we want? at what cost? >> the cost question -- what is the responsibility of the senior officers in the military to take that into consideration. >> i love the way the guy said we won the war in iran and afghanistan. we are still -- iraq is becoming a relatively secure situation, but hopefully political stability around the corner. and in afghanistan -- i'm just correcting a statement. >> okay. >> thank you. and in the war in afghanistan, i wouldn't say we won it. we just devicessed -- devised a policy that hopefully will help
us win that's. in terms of financial costs, all of those ms.~comecome moneys coe out of the department of defense. so when we go to war and we're formulating a strategy to go to war, somebody is asking us, as h.r. said, we don't pick the place, and we don't choose the objective. when someone tells us to execute, we put before the leaders, what does it mean to to us execute that policy you just formulated in what is the size of that operation? our best judgment in the terms of the duration of that operation, and what the cost of that operation will be. and we also try to make some attemptss -- something we're awful close to, and that is the risk to the human lives we are committing to the operation. so, absolutely, yes, that is put in front of leaders in some level of detail. but to go even further than that
in terms of different options they want to select in terms of benefits and risks with those options and let them make the decision. >> one of the big constitutional problems about how we have been pronouncing these wars, we have been financing them on emergency appropriations. president obama says he is going to stop that. we will see whether that true. congressman david woo, we have written quite a few op-eds -- to set a a new numerical amount. and rather than confront congress with microchoices -- you have to give us 50 billion more, otherwise the troops won't have armaments. and when framed in this way, the
congress going to vote yes. so we should set a new numeiry cal target, contemplate these questions and as we get close to the target, we should reauthorize the war or terminate it. we don't have a good structure for asking the right questions as you can see. this seems to be -- >> we're going to have a couple more questions here. first get the my can right here. >> i'd like to ask general mcmaster and come back to general keane, whether you think the torture issue and the issue of how to conduct interrogations has really been resolved within the military? and the reason -- and resolved no matter which civilian administration of whatever party
should be in power? one of the reasons i ask this is, as you know, many people believe that there was political pressure from the civilian side involved in what came down in abu ghraib. the commander of guantanamo was transferred to abu ghraib. there were many questions involved, not the least of which is whether the individuals who were finally imprisoned were simply escapeboat, and even the female commander, whether they -- there were hill cat pressure -- political pressures there. how due look at this now, and were there another administration that produced a doctrine, would the same questions be brought up or would the army know how to deal with
it? i'm curious whether you really think the investigation that took place resolved who was responsible for the misdeeds at abu ghraib. >> the army has done quite a bit to -- this orthodoxy of revolution of military affairs, we may not have been as prepared as we ought to have been for operations in the population and operations against the brutal enemies we're face, the am -- ambiguity, and the perspective of who we're fighting and capturing and interrogations. i think the army has adapted extremely well, and i don't think it matters from administration to administration. of course, law constrains us, right? the uniform codes of military