tv Book TV After Words CSPAN December 31, 2012 12:00am-1:00am EST
she played an amalgam of -- maybe -- about a woman who just got caught after 30 years -- [inaudible] >> susan something or other. went back in the joint. so patty plays one of these women who was a terrorist and has been in jail and is up for parole hearing, and the person who has been her parole officer, played by debra winger, is interrogating her, trying to decide whether to let her go or not. i think it's pretty cute. you're going to leave humming selections from marx. and who could ask for anything more. thank you very much. plawps plawps block. [cheers and applause] [cheers and applause]
block. >> thank you everyone. get home safely. good night. >> good night. >> for more information visit the author's web site. david mamet.com. >> up next on book tv, after afterwards with. this week, filmmaker oliver stone and peter kuzck sunday "the untold history of the united states" and they say the leaders must first face the country's troubling history of drifting further away from its democratic traditions.
>> one or both of you talk about the theme of movie and how you came to write it. >> i was invited by petitioner in 1996 to go to a class at american university, teaching oliver stone's america. i went, very impressed with it. the range of the students, and afterwards, at dinner, peter suggested that there was a great story, and the atomic bomb fascinated me because i was been the year after it was dropped, and it controlled new york city, and the center of the world, and my father was a republican and conservative, and he served in world war ii with eisenhower.
so the bomb was the umbrella, the mushroom under which i grew, and everything we did was in the shadow of that. so, i was curious about it. the bomb story does have another origin. the 1930s, had written a book about the scientist. but above all he mentioned this figure about henry wallace, and how he could have been president in 1944 but he was bumped by the political bosses. and that led, of course, to the '45 decision by truman and became the origin for a great documentary or movie, and at the tried. wrote a script. didn't work. but ten years later, that -- still teaching the class, and he -- we decided to go ahead and do a documentary about wallace and the bump. that one hour turned ultimately into a bigger -- our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we
tried for a 12-hour national security state story, from 1940s until now. actually we started in 1900, the philippine-american war. but -- spanish american war and ended up in 2012. but we started in the series now. the book two years into the series, we decided, this is getting very serious, and we know i'm going to be called on this because of my background and making movies. going to say this is part fiction, part fantasy, but we decided to go with this book, and it -- peter took over the book. i was running the film, and we were cross-speaking all the time and checking each other constantly. i took about four and a half, five years now, and that where we are today. >> want to add to that? >> we've been friends for that whole period, since 1996. and then we decided we were going to go ahead with this project, and i thought we could
do it in that year, a 60-minute documentary. i went to see oliver in new york two week later, and a ten-hour series, what i thought would take one semester and took four and a half years. so it's been a big project. it was important for us to have the book. i was suppressed how little information you can convey in a 60-minute documentary. so the book, it was an 800 page book, we have to cut out 200 pages to get it down because there's so much to tell but we also wanted to give the footnotes and sources a much more detailed discussion because we know we're going to be challenged. we're offering a perspective that is not the mainstream perspective and we want to have our sources when we do get challenged. >> and addressed to people like my daughters and sons, high school level history. we wanted to gear so it you
could read this book and see the document rhythm it's tough but you can understand it at 16 and 1. college level you start to specialize and much of this is available to students, but we really wanted -- my daughter's history books, even today, when you get, for example, to the hiroshima, there's no mention of an alternative possibility. it's the americans had to drop the bomb to save american lives because the japanese were fanatics. you don't hear the russian side of the equation and the choices that could be had. >> these books have to stand up to controversy and i wonder if we could cover the areas that obviously -- the story is -- has already elicited commentary.
and as i read it, your argument is that the united states is primarily to blame for the beginning of the cold war, that stalin and the soviets would have been open to -- were welcoming a continuation of the wartime alliance between the two countries but it was american actions primarily, with in allies, british, for example, which were involved in the cold war. is that accurate? >> i'd say that is accurate. certainly don't consider stalin blameless in all of this, and certainly don't downplay stalin's brutality or the terrible things that were done in the name of the soviet union under stalin's leadership. we think that's important to factor in but if you look at the broad sweep of the history of the united states' relationship with the soviet union, beginning in 1917-1918, when the united states first went to the soviet
union, as part of a broader force led by the british, and then then united states' refusal to recognize the soviet union until 1933 under roosevelt, and then during the 30s, the soviet union was pushing very hard for international consensus, and trying to stop hitler and they were beating bet antifast cysts, -- antifascists, and then the united states and the british decide they're going to support the soviet union because it's key to the chance office surviving the war, keep the soviets in the war. so the british were concerned that the soviets were going to capitulate. so the united states offers several things and the soviets make several demands and the united states proms material,
and the united states has trouble delivering that for the first couple of years. stalin says if you give us airplanes and the other equipment we need, we can stay in the war. the united states tries, and other people are not as sincere in providing that. the second command is they wanted the -- their main demand 0 was for the second front. they were fighting -- the history, the americans and the british thought most of the world were fighting tenaces si divisions combined. the soviets alone were fighting 200. and so they were desperate for the united states to open up a second front in western europe, and the british and roosevelt asked stalin to send molotov, a top general to washington in may i've '42, and june of '42 the
united states said we are going to enup a second front before the end of the year in 1942. we promised that publicly and yet we don't open the second front until underof '44 and that's bass the british refused to go along with this and the united states and the british get involved in what marshall called periphery pecking in northern africa. marshall and eisenhower were serious. >> how did this lead to the cold war? >> because it led to a lot of mistrust between the united states and the soviets beginning -- the seeds of the colored war are visible during the war. and certain tension because the fact there was a second front, meant that the soviets had on their own to see that the german s -- were pushing across central europe and moving toward
berlin, so we lost the military mission and on to diplomatic so there are doles being made between churchill and stalin of -- >> dividing up -- >> yeah, the british will get 90% of greece. the russians get 90% of bulgaria, and hungary, and divide it up that way. it was pretty cynical. but when roosevelt dies, in april of '45, his last telegram to churchill was, we always have these minor disafremonts with the russians about we end up resolving them so let's not make a big deal. no reason we can't maintain friendship after the war. when truman gets in there in 1945, april 12, he immediately takes a different course. roosevelt's alliance with the wartime alliance with the soviets was still very strong at that point. but truman turns to advisers who roosevelt never trusted in the
first place, didn't pay any heed to, people like burns. the second day of the 13th -- burns in south carolina, a private plane, and as -- burns gives them same message, the soviets are break all their agreements. they cannot trusted, and within two weeks the u.s. policy tornado the soviet union is going to change in april of 1945. by the time there's that big meeting on april 23rd with molotov and april 23rd, the united states changed course, and so at that meeting, truman meets molotov -- first meet with advisers and they're divided. marshall, leahy, are all
telling him don't break with the soviets. said to the secretary of war and said, the soviets have a much better understand of their open security, especially around
poland, than we do. >> stepping back from the details, do you think it was realistic for these two powerful nations, continental powers, each of whom had, i think, it's fair to say, an empire, one formal, one a little more informal, because the soviets had different, smaller states under their control, and going to keep control of the baltic states and moving into eastern europe. was it realistic for these two powers, who are very different, to really get along for very long or were they really destined to have a cold war and luckily never really
had a hot war except through proxies. so details are important, and who knows what would have happen, but stalin him, who -- head of the french communist
party said, get ready for the class war to continue insuring effect. don't believe that these coexistences are going to last, and at the same time as roosevelt dying, actually. >> did you want to chime in on that? >> well, asking specific questions about the french communists. i would like to say -- not as a historian but as a person came to look at world war ii in a different aspect than i ever did as a young person, when it was victory at sea. what i'm shocked by -- i would not downplay the british empire. the biggest empire at all. the u.s. has nothing compared the british empire. we are cutting power, so does russia because they grow during the war. they arm themselves and remake themselves. it's an extraordinary story. migration and deconstruction and the losses of the soviets, whether it's 22 or 20 million,
doesn't matter. the idea of the whole nation plunged into this thing. it was a crucible for them. a great war. but the british -- churchill has a different motive. once the british islands are saved by the -- in the battle of britain, is goal seems to be to regain the empire. he said i did not become prime minister to dismember the british empire, and the whole consent of going into north africa, sending troops to the belly of the nazi empire, regaining greece, which is a tremendous story -- everyone talks about eastern europe. what bet the british when they went back into greece in 1944 and started dive-bombing the streets of athen and killing'm residents who fought against the nazis and that's never pointed
out. look at what stalin did in poland. he broke this and that. i don't believe he broke yalta. look what the british did. no one ever points to that. and then what we did in greece in 19 -- in the cold war period, the early cold war period in the truman doctrine, we had american advisers in early vietnam, were already over in grease. >> -- over in greece. >> i'm jumping ahead. the british go back the mediterranean get iran back, a conflict in iran in 1945. and beyond that, india is crucial. the jewel of the empire. we show that in the masks, and he gets the far east. its the richest resource in the world. along with britain. not us. and that becomes -- that is a key plot. so, you think from a u.s.-soviet relations.
>> three parts cold war in the beginning. most americans have no idea. and had no idea what role the british were playing, but roosevelt did, and roosevelt was very, very critical of the british empire, as was his vice president from '41 to '4 5 henry wallace. the two of of them wanted to dismant el the british empire, the french empire, the portuguese, they were both very anticolonial. truman lets them back in and encourages the emand gives them aid. >> that's an important point. >> and got us involved in vietnam. >> a lot of the turmoil we're going to later face. the other question you're raising, which is an important one, we don't know if -- there would have been a clash between the americans and the soviets. we had different interests but a very good wartime alliance, and on april 23rd crucial meeting, marshall and stimson said that
the soviet union gave more than promised. eisenhower was sure they would be post-par friends and didn't doubt that until august 1945 when he got word of the atomic bombing. eisenhower felled strongly, and roosevelt felt strongly along those lines. that why focusing on this. >> it is just two weeks -- how rapidly things change -- first two weeks when truman takes over, and truman is way over his head as he admits to everybody. he had this ecurrent nightmare as vice president, he would get a knock on the door and the secret service would say, the president is dead, you're president now. and this was a nightmare. he was not prepared. he was not chosen because he was qualified to run. when he was chosen, it was asked
why did you peck hari true. pendergast said i wanted to show the world a well-oiled machine could take an office boy and get him in the senate. he was shunned by the other senators, and even in his second term, develops more but not an expert on these issues. so, he gets in there, and right from the beginning, every meet heck has with people, he says, this is a terrible mistake. i'm not big enough. i'm not smart enough. he goes on april 13th, first day in office, and meet with the reports at the capitol, and he says, boys, if you pray, pray for me now. i don't know if you ever had a -- the moon, the stars and all the planets have fallen on me, and one of them said, good luck, mr. president, and truman said, i wish you didn't have to call me that. >> a good segway back -- forward to henry wallace.
perhaps unsung hero. think about working on a screen play a while back about a wallace. this is one of the great counterfactual, what if wallace had got renominated in 1944. in the book i know he came close it to. and culpepper from florida was about to nominate him and you argue that the convention would have gone -- he was much more popular than the other people there. however, i do want to press you a little on that because in -- i think probably the best buying agraph, the american dreamer, by a former senator from iowa, they make it pretty clear based on their evidence that fdr did not want wallace to run. he did say nice things to wallace in the office in the meeting they had in july, 18944,
but that evening, he meets with people who were very dead set against wallace, the machine, who didn't want wallace, people from missouri and others. and according to high, wallace's name doesn't come up. they only talk about truman or william o. douglas as possibles. so, if wallace had gotten the nomination, might be running with a dying man who didn't want him on the ticket. >> very different reading, having been through that information for a long time. >> okay. >> that's a valid perspective on this. roosevelt in 1944 was getting very ill. the party bosses knew that he was feeble. there was almost -- no chance he
would survive another word and they were going to try to get wallace off the ticket. it was run by the national chairman who ran the st. louis machine that got truman re-elected in 1940, and ed pauley. ed pauley was a california oil millionaire who said, i went into politics and realized it was cheaper to reflect new congress than buy the old one. he later gets indicted for a good reason. >> his name is on the pavilion in ucla. >> right. the -- so they decided they're going to try to surround roosevelt with all people who are hostile to wallace to convince him he can't get re-elected if wallace was on the ticket. wallace had enemies in 1941 when henry luce made the speech that the 20th center is going to be the united states century and the united states is going to dominate the world economically
and politically, and wallace responsibled to that and made a famous speech that the 20th 20th century should not be the american century. it should be the century of the common man. we need a worldwide revolution in the tradition of the french. he calls for ending colonialism, ending cartels, spreading the fruits of science and technology around the world. and he had enemies. his enemies were the southern segregationist because he was the leading spokesperson for black civil rights, and a leads spokesperson for women's rights and the conservatives said america's fascistses are those that thing wall street comes first and the american people come second. so he had enemies and the enemies wantedded to get rid of him. but he was enormously popular. on july 20, 1944, the night the convention starts in california, gallup released a poll asking
voters who they want on the ticket. 65% said they wanted wallace, 2% said they wanted harry truman the question how were the party bosses going to -- roosevelt was feeble and when they party bosses come to him and want to get wallace off the ticket, roosevelt says i want wallace but i can't fight this by myself. i i'm not strong enough, and he finally gave in, and it was table that he did. his family was furious. eleanor roosevelt was furious with him. every one of the roosevelt kids was furious. they were huge wallless supporters, wallace had all the blacks and progressives and there was a fight between the consecutives in the party, which still today in the democratic party, but in the southern segregationists in there but it's that kind of fight. so, roosevelt didn't have the gumption to fight. he didn't have the strength. he said to wallace, publicly at the convention, if i were a
delegate, i would vote for henry wallace, which he would have, but it's tragic, as we say in the documentary, it's tragic he didn't have the strength to fight at that opinion for wallace. >> i sense in your opening question you were pointing to the forces of history, and i see marxist, leninist side of things. and in the sense that wallace would have opposed and the forces were not in his favor and the forces were ultimately between this capitalism versus communist ideology would clash and that would be the end, and that was the subject of the february '46 speech that stalin made that was misinterpret by the west about the two systems. that speech was made a lot of by the hawks and conservatives, but when you read the speech -- that
goes back to churchill. keep stepping up the colored -- cold war, and we go in there months by months, july '4 pa to march '46 when churchill gives this incredible speech. i'm coming from the outside you. stud yesterday this but i'm fascinated by 30s, and the woodrow wilson period, and what happens is the concept of communist comes and goes, as many phases in america. certainly labor, it ties to the idea some -- some of the ideals of socialism, and we see it in debs, in the moms of the 1870s, in relationship to the french collective of the 1870s, 1830s. they're working man's rights. the farm movement, the
progressive movement. it works through american history and puts a -- he puts a stop on it. goes to jail. big bill haywood, all these people disappear, thrown out of the country because they resist world war i, right? so these are the forces that are moving america, this wilson movement towards this place we're going to. i'm curious to know what you think what those forces are. where the labor movement is going end up? i think we would argue there are moments in history, when things can truly change there can be a wallace to make that convention moment there can be a candidate that does this. >> which could turn and could turn again and maybe has turn in the past. >> and wallace -- came so close. >> what he is thinking about. >> his first question. >> i think there's a big difference between someone like
that and emma goldman, and communist, she goes to the soviet union, russia, and then comes to the soviet union in 1920-21. but she goes there with great hopes because there's going to be a new world. and i think quite rightly, a tyrannical system, even though it was a system that did industrialize the country. at tremendous, tremendous cost. so, i come at it as an leftist, somebody who thinks that stalin was horrible mass murder, one of the worst in history, and at the same time i agree with both of you that the united states did a lot to exacerbate that rivalry in the philippines.
so, in return i'd like to move forward to the kennedys and talk about the dramatic turning point, the cuban missile crisis, and then talk about vietnam. >> would you say the american capitalists were -- most were very concerned about the labor moment. >> oh, yes. >> during the '30s -- >> in michigan. >> exactly. that my point. >> in the 1930s is a key, very threatening moment, and during the strikes strikes of world wad strikes -- the miner strikes and tremendous dissatisfaction right after the war in the '45-'46 period. goes all through film noir and this not convenience for the bosses and elite to look -- to deflect the tension that exists in the american life by pointing
to stalin and the communists and saying, this is -- >> of course. >> this is the enemy. >> of course, the red scare was a scare against the communist party which was declining quickly, after 1948, progressive party. debacle lost, and thus the cold war. but at the same time the american right and the american corporate interests used that fear to turn people against labor, at the same time without denying that -- when the soviets -- in europe, take away democracy,. >> where is the energy? the energy is in the united states. stop these strikes. stop labor. and i think that the stalin -- always been a convenient
distraction for the right and the center, the trumanites. up to today to get -- >> the fact the communists were doing what they doing made it easy for the right to use that. >> and that's what concerns me. whenow see all the liberals, and also the truman liberals, the clark cliffords that will drift in this direction, and it changes american history terribly because right now we have no union movement. i think the concept of labor versus capital is not even discussed in this country. >> this is what has happened and this is far more important, frankly, than pointing the finger at the soviet union. why not point it, as i said earlier, at churchill and greece and athen inches -- athens in
1944. >> we'll jump forward afterwards. >> on the go? after words is available via pod cast through itunes and xml. visit booktv.org and select which padcast you would you like to download and listen to after words while you travel. >> okay. like to jump forward to the 1960s. the grate great -- not the great 1960s and, talk about john f. kennedy, still perhaps the most beloved president in american history, at least the memory of people alive now. clearly one most dramatic and scariest events of the presidency was the cuban missile crisis in october 1962, which
all of us lived through at teenagers. talk a little bit, if you would, about how you think that crisis came to be, and why it didn't result in the nuclear holocaust that many of us feared it would? >> well, khrushchev actually made a big blunder in the cuban missile crisis and that was not just putting the missiles with the nuclear wearheads in cuba. it's not announcing he had done. so he undermind his own deterrent. he was trying to deter a u.s. invasion of cube a pa. the united states had been planning an invasion. in fact we had a mock invasion plan for october '62 -- >> the second invasion after the bay of pigs. >> right. after the bay of bigs. and it's castro spelled
backwards. and we had been running operation mongoose, which was our counterinsurgent si program against the castro government. so it's clear the u.s. was planning an invasion. khrushchev trial -- trying to kill two birds with one stone. the united states was so far ahead with the acknowledge to deliver warheads we thought we could but the ballistic missiles in cuba and that would offset the american advantage and could deter a u.s. invasion of cuba. the mistake was not announcing the weapons were the and not announces he also had 100 battlefield nuclear weapons there, which the united states didn't find out not 1992, and mcna marriage a turned white and almost passed out when he found out about that. >> the secretary of defense. >> the united states stops --
discovered that with our flights and the tension builds and we have a blockade around cuba, and one thing that happens at that time is a soviet submarine is found by american ships, and they start to drop missile charges, depth charges, on it -- on the soviet submarine. they knocked out their electrical system. carbon dioxide was rising. people were passing out. the commander of the submarine says, load the torpedo, let's attack. the world war probably started already up above. we're not going to disgrace our country. told to launch the nuclear torpedo. they set it ready to launch. fortunately another commander talked him out of it. >> he might have saved the
world, this unknown soviet commander. he talked sobitski from launching the nuclear torpedo. he had launched the pore teed bow, the world war 3 would have started right there, and became very close to planning the invasion. it's amazing how little we knew. we had seen with 33 of the 42irbms were located. we had no idea what the nuclear warheads were. never discovered them. a plan was to invade and also to bomb, destroy the soviet facilities there. we later found out -- we felt that the soviets had 10,000 troops there and that there were 100,000 armed cubans. we later find out that the soviets had 43,000 troops there and there were 270,000 armedded cubans. so our initial plan if we invaded, we would take 18,000
casualties, 4500 dead. when mcnamara found out how many actual troops he said that would have meant 25,000 dead and they also had battlefield nuclear weapon that it would likely used he said 100,000 americans would have been killed. we would have absolutely destroyed cubaer and very likely taken out the soviet union also. so we came that close. fortunately, kennedy and khrushchev were both doing everything they could to try to prevent the nuclear war, and they finally succeeded but we came very close to them not succeeding. kennedy says the chances are one out of two we would have a nuclear war. khrushchev thought it was closer than that. >> thousands like "dr. strangelove" was -- >> and had no way to know how close he was to the actual truth. >> agree with the story that this was key turning point in the cold war?
>> yes. >> kennedy was much more -- >> going to the brink. and of all the 1950s prelude to this period is brinksmanship on the part of dullless dd -- dulles and eisenhower to use the nuclear threat to blackmail. but this is so close to the spending was one of the scariest moments in man kind. we didn't know this. we were teenages, i'm grateful. that's when all this criticism of kennedy and all this afternoon quarterback aringful my god, we went be here to talk. >> men wanted to invade, and said we were defeated. >> the air force secretary. >> and lemay was against the bomb neglect japanese in world
war ii. horrendous story about the bombing of the japanese before the atomic bomb. >> khrushchev is pushing him, let's solve this. let's not have things get out of control. >> writes a great letter, says, maybe good can come from this eye veil. and khrushchev says, let's him nate every crisis point that can lead to another conflict between us. and kennedy's initially very slow to respond. >> he backed down in the cuban missile crisis, and never forgave him for that. just like people never forgave kennedy for backing down in the cuban missile crisis. they were furious, they said we lost. let's go and invade. khrushchev reaches out and kennedy respond slowly. the first -- we realized -- norman cousins meets with
khrushchev -- >> the editor or -- >> which used to be an important magazine. >> and averill harriman said khrushchev wants peace and kennedy respond. he had already neutral -- accepted a neutral position in laos, which the space age, he said why should we compete going to in the moon. let's do it together, let's collaborate, and we believe the strong case he wants to pull out of vietnam. and his american university speech, which is think is the most visionary speech by an american president in the 20th 20th century -- >> the freedom speech. >> and fdr and a couple others that are wonderful. but this is a great speech. in june of 1963, basically says, let's end the cold war, and he is reaching out. so he is responding. both are reaching out to each
other. they signed the test ban treaty. the limited test ban treaty, which is a major milestone, major victory. a series of things that have taken place during this time. kennedy also learned some other lessons, and one of them, after the bay of pigs-was, don't trust the central intelligence agency, don't trust the cia and the joint chiefs. he said i'm going to destroy the cia and tear it into a thousand pieces and scatter them in the wind. so he has a lot of enemies. >> he fired -- >> the cia, and he puts the cia operative under the ambassadors in various countries. so we see kennedy -- we all changed our mind after the cuban missile crisis. we see a new kennedy, visionary kennedy. >> only a couple more years to live. >> that's a tragedy. >> why do they call it dulles
airport. i find that insulting. >> and reagan airport, and thurgood marshall in baltimore. >> now, obviously one of the last things that happens while kennedy is alive that has a very important impact on foreign policy is the assassination of the president of south vietnam. our client, our ally over there. and then two weeks later, i think it's two weeks later, kennedy is himself assassinated. and as you were saying before, this raised the questions that historians can argue about, keep arguing about, the next 50 years, would kennedy have wanted to -- would he have pulled american troops out of vietnam dish pull adviseers out, and you
-- indications are that he would have and you cite various sources.that. just curious, just to challenge that a little bit, there's a wonderful book by a diploma called, "choosing war" in which he says that viet cong attacks were doubling in november from the month above in south vietnam. and that there were meetings of kennedy's top advicers in honolulu, which is -- which i think finished up the day before kennedy was assassinated -- a great film -- and they warn the viet cong is going to win if the u.s. didn't do something very quickly. so, not to challenge the memories of people who were involved in this, of course who say kennedy would have pulled out, but has presented kennedy, if he had lived, with a very
difficult choice. that is, losing to a army, in effect, a guerrilla force which was obviously being backed by the soviet union. >> we make the argument kennedy had been under pressure from the joint chiefs in an enormous way after the cuban missile crisis and the bay of bigs and he said no. and so he stood up to them. and very strange thing that these guys were meeting in honolulu. that's most of the cabinet, were out of the country when the president was killed in dallas. it seems to have been -- one can argue that johnson very quickly met on that -- the monday when -- the day that -- before kennedy was buried, a sunday, thick, johnson met very quickly with the joint cleaves and clearly indicated he was going to reverse the kennedy policy,
and in january, two months later, he initiated the new nsa-273, which essentially allowed for enormous acceleration in covert warfare against the north and that plan had ha lot to dive with the gulf of tonkin. when johnson told doris goodwin later in his life, after he lost the presidency, he said i gave up the great society because i did not want to lose in vietnam. such was his crazy choice. he just -- the concept of being seen as weak haunted johnson. whereas we argue it did not haunt kennedy. he had been in war. he had seen the suffering. he had been actually -- he had been in combat in a way that he saw -- he saw defeat and knew defeat much of his life. his older brother was killed in a war, and he had been to vietnam, and heed -- his
brother, robert, was very eloquent when help -- when he said -- >> that is a very important point. when elsburg interviewed robert kennedy -- a lot of views were changed after the tet offensive, and daniel elsburg interviewed robertend, -- robert kennedy sad would we have not gone in, and and daniel says why would you so sure? kennedy said, because we were there we would have just funneled it up -- fudged it up, we would say we were invited to leave or we won, something
neutral. >> macarthur's quote to kennedy. >> and kennedy -- people pushed kennedy. kennedy met with macarthur and macarthur said you had have to have your head conditioned if you got the u.s. involved in a ground war in asian. >> robert gates about afghanistan. >> they were both right and kennedy took the lesson, and mcnamara has drawn up the plan, called talking a thousand troops out before the end of 14-9d 63 and all the u.s. troops out by 1965, and mcnamara said, what if the ute is losing? and he said we would have taken them out anyway. that was our plan. we have a lot of people -- kennedy mentioned to a lot of people in 1963 this was his planment he said i can't do it out in, or else there will be a right wing rebellion and we'll lose the election. so he says after the election i'm going to do it he said it to tip o'neill -- >> i'm sure you grew up on the
pentagon papers, the secret history of the war, represent by daniel elsburg, is it true the papers were about vietnam was gaining territory. so perhaps by the '64 election this would have been major issue for kennedy, and he would have had to coming on more hawkish, again. >> counterfactual. we think kennedy had a certain kind of self-confidence. kennedy said at one opinion if somebody argues to me about unemployment, i can refute him. i have no problem. but somebody from the intelligence community or the military comes in, i always assume that they had a special knowledge that i didn't have. he says i've learned different. they really don't. he said at a later point, i'm going to tell my successor that the most important thing he has to learn is not trust the
military, not to trust the joint chiefs. kennedy stood up to those people. >> in 2009, obama had the contrary result with the generals pressing him on afghanistan, the surge there. >> do you think -- i want to hear you talk about it -- has foreign policy in a grand sense changed at all since the colored war? it's been over for more than 20 years now. and is the u.s. still seeing the world as its oyster to be cracked open, so to speak? >> you're answering your own question. >> would assume, the 9/11, the u.s. -- >> i'm not a historia. i came from this from ooutside. was as season of peace in the late 80s with reagan and gorbachev reach something
agreement ops nuclear arms. and then when bush comes into office in january of '89, of course, dukakis was my choice, and he was leading in the race, but bush comes in, has a golden opportunity. this is a truman-stalin moment. this is -- of course gorbachev is offering him an oyster, going to take all the soviet troupes out of eastern europe. going to let nato take over germany. unite germany and nato can have their germany as long as nato doesn't go further. these kinds of things are in the air. what does bush do? tianimen square happens, he suspended relations, but behind the scenes does business as usual with china. he goes into panama, in december '89 -- never forgot that because i had -- born on the 4th of july was opening that day, and the american people loved it. they backed the invasion.
it was our backyard, it was a war on drugs and that was new issue now. communist had been forgotten. noriega was the new stalin, and then a year later, we had this iraq 1, and that's another untold story. iraq 1 was really depressing when you go into all the false intelligence and the doctoring of the photos. do you want to tell us about that? it breaks my heart personally, and as a veteran of the vietnam war, i see the next ten years we drift. we don't take advantage of the possibles with the soviet union, to keep it stable. we privatize with russia and then by the time the bush 43 comes in, it's not only squandered but the nightmare begins. so it's heartbreaking. >> did you want to comment?
>> we see it as a lost opportunity. there's a lot of lost opportunities in the 20th 20th century, in march 5, 1965, when stall yip dies, the stove yet leaders reach out the united states and talk about ending the colored war at that point, and eisenhower gives into dulles. eisenhower makes a great speech, and then dulles refutes it two days later, and the united states takes a hardline cold war policy when had -- a lot of chances to reverse things. and in 1989 was another one. "the new york times" talked about the winds of peace blowing across the world in 1989. gorbachev is reach ought and bush doesn't reciprocate, meet him halfway, and the station is a stalemate in the 1990s, and then at the end of the decade, -- even during that time, the assumptions are still there. the wilson idea, woodrow wilson
says, after very sai, now the world will realize the united states is the savior of the world. madeline albright, secretary of state, says that the -- if we use force -- because we're the united states of america, we are the indispensable nation, we stand taller and see farther than other countries, and that's from the united states' standpoint, seasonal huntington said the west won the world not by the superiority of its idead of values or religion but by the superiority of its application of organized violence. and westerners often forget that fact. nonwesterners never do. so albright, justifiable that we can have this policy toward iraq, even though a half million died, and clinton passes the law that basically gives the opportunity for bush to go further with it when bush, after 9/11, with the invasion of iraq.
so, we see a continuum. that's part of the point we're making. it's not democrats versus republicans. foreign policy is bipartisan and we see it as this -- these lines running from 1898 -- you can say 1846 with mexico -- but we're tracing from 1899 up to iraq and afghanistan and yemen, and to the current administration. >> a lot like great historian williams who argues empire is a way of life. you call your book "untold history of the united states now now and in some ways williams -- >> we're following that. that's been on -- standing on on the showereds of a lot of great historian. this is not really untold to university audiences. it's untold in the public schools and untold to the popular u.s.a. audience. some people get their history from television and movies other
than oliver's, and we're trying to challenge they that americans don't know much history. the national record card says u.s. high school seniors are worse in understanding history than math and science. they always bemoan the fact they're so week in math and science but only 12% of high school seniors showed profifth si in u.s. history. 12%. the amazing thing is that the report also said that only 2% actually could explain what brown vs. board of education was was about. even though the answer was implicit in the question. so our kids don't know much history, and a lot of what they know is wrong. and so if the book is based upon the work of great historians. you're mentioned and a lot of historians doing similar work. but we have a big sweep, and because we're able to couple this with the showtime
documentary, able to make it more dramatic. >> tried to make it a primer. like a basic text, like history 101. why can it not be? i have to say when you read these history books, it's not -- it's not coherent. there's no pattern so we don't see what we were just talking about, the empirement you don't understand how that works and the kids get the dates and the pictures but don't -- the united states always comes out ahead, always comes out okay. we can trash iraq twice. >> if you look -- if you take chinese history in china, and -- >> global history to see it through russian eyes, chinese eyes, french eyes. >> basically what is unique he saw the world not just through u.s. eyes, wallace said, look at how what we're doing looks to the russians, the soviets. obama had some of that ability and was hopeful in the
beginning. >> let's talk about obama. you chapter about obama titled he took a bad situation and in some ways made it worse. >> managing a wounded empire. the longest chapter in the book. you go. >> might get longer in the revised addition. still in office. will be for four years. >> a credit we have to make. in the film we deal with a bigger concept. he has to deal with contemporary -- there's a lot of interest in obama, but sometimes the closer you get, the idea of the documentary is we have to pull back and see the forest. >> people on the right and people pro obama and don't like obama would disagree, would say he is apologizing for america, pulling out before our allies can stand on their own, and of course, the people who say that
he shouldn't have sent troops in to afghanistan in the first place. >> he was boxed in. by petraeus and mcchrystal and gates and clinton. he had a tough group around him. his own doing. he criticized him for his advisers. he called his economic advisers a constellation of wall streetites. they're wall street people who brought in, so those policies were not surprising. the foreign policy team, robert gates had been up to his eye bawls in most of the bad things this country had done for decades. >> didn't he promise in his campaign in 2008 he would pull troops out of iraq and put more emphasis on afghanistan? >> yes. >> so he is following up.