tv Future of Ukraine CSPAN February 17, 2015 12:55pm-1:33pm EST
as my lifetime. i grew up during that period. i remember april 4th 1968, when he was killed. and, it has been 50 years since, over 50 years now since the civil rights act of 1964 and voting rights act of 1965. we have come a long way. we still have a long way to go. do people see color or claim they don't see color anymore? that is ridiculous. we all see differences but we need to embrace our differences whether we're able-bodied. whether we're lgbtq members of the community. whether we're different religions, ethnicities as well as race. that, i can go back to what i said before about black lives matter. people are offended by that movement as though, that mean other lives don't matter? of course not. all lives matter. all lives should matter, but historically black lives didn't matter as much. they were considered disposable ungrievable for the losses of
our black americans who recently, and we can't tolerate that any longer. so i think there is we should leave thinking about dr. king and his vision and dream we all can be treated with dignity, and justice because we're all part of humanity but we do have a lot of work to do, to achieve that vision still. [applause] >> now, i will leave it over to autumnlilly for closing. >> today at the city club we have been participating in intense and enlightening discussion. are thank you to shakyra diaz chief gonzalez, jonathan gordon, and ambassador jones. thank you, ladies and gentlemen for coming to this forum. i hope that you guys learned a lot about your roles in this
community and this forum is now adjourned. [applause] have to hit the bell. >> snowy day here in the nation's capitol as it is on much of the east coast. the federal government is closed due to the weather. also happens that congress is not in session this week. a number of congressman and senators are out and about on congressional dellgations. missouri democratic senator claire mccast kel has been in cuba since february 12th. a pair of republican representatives, robert
pit inker of north carolina and florida's dennis ross are in israel visiting prime minister benjamin netanyahu in advance of his speech in march. all this week here on c-span2 we're giving you another look at washington urn r journal recent tour of historically black colleges and universities.
this week at 6:40 this evening howard university president wayne frederick. at 7:to 20, we speak with hampton university president william harvey. c-span2 providing live coverage of the u.s. senate floor proceedings and key public policy events. every weekend booktv, now for 15 years the only television network devoted to non-fiction books and authors. c-span2, created by the cable tv industry and brought to you as a public service by your local cable and satellite provider. watch us in hd, like us on facebook, and
follow us on twitter. next, a former military intelligence chief from the obama administration, testifies on the threat of islamic extreme before the house armed services committee. retired lt. general michael flynn, calls for a more aggressive strategy to combat isis. the hearing takes place as congress debates the president's
request for the use of military force against isis. this is about two hours. >> the committee will come to order. on wednesday the president submitted to congress his proposal for an authorization to use military force against isis. although the president's ordered combat operations against isis take place in take place in iraq since last august and in syria since last september only now has he sought the congressional authorization required by the constitution.
despite the airstrikes, press accounts indicate that isis has expanded its territory that it controls in syria. the world has been horrified at its bar bary. which seems to have noism. meantime the united states suffered a significant setback in yemen. we abandoned our embassy there. the place where the president once held out as a model for his counterterrorism approach. now, we're in a much weaker position to prevent attacks by the organization that is posed the most serious threat to our homeland in recent years. elsewhere boko haram is killing thousands did little i advancing in -- steadily advancing in nigeria. . .
it is not easy to define and not easy to put a strategy around because it really is a broad ideology that has many, many different components. you know, post-9/11 we saw al qaeda terrorist group with a centralized leadership that was plotting and planning attacks against us. i think responded accordingly to try to defeat that organization, to try and defeat that network. and did a reasonably effective job of it in afghanistan and in pakistan as we prevented that group from being able to mount further attacks against us. that's the positive. the negative is that the ideology itself has metastasized. it has grown into a number of groups as the chairman mentioned and even more than that, in a lot of different places and the root cause is a lack of solid governance, a lock of solid economic opportunity in the middle east and north africa and much of the arab muslim world.
they have an exploding youth population that has nothing to do, no jobs, no prospects. so the ideology that comes along and says, i have the answer for you has plenty of willing recruits and meanwhile they don't have much in the way of an example of a good government. anywhere that they could look to and work with. so it is going to be very difficult to contain this and the chairman laid out the challenges with isis in iraq and syria, the collapse in yemen, the difficulties in libya. but overall i think we need a long-term strategy and one of the things that i think has hampered us is this notion we have to be able to confidentially say either, a that we're winning or that we are going to win and here's how. i honestly think this is long-term idealogical struggle not something we can say we're determined to defeat it. so let's just suck it up and three or four years from now it will be done.
it took 75 years to defeat communism. i think we have to figure out to have a long-term strategy for dealing with ideology. now that doesn't mean in the short term the ideology runs rampant. huge piece of that strategy is containing the threat, figuring out how to protect our interests from violence and figuring out how to begin to roll back these groups and roll back the advance of their ideology. but it is a an issue that defies an easy answer. so, what we hope to hear today is some ideas on how we can proceed and move forward. mindful of the fact it is a very, very large problem that will take a long time to deal with. the final point that i will make, one that hamstrings us it is not something the u.s. or the western world can take care of. the muslim world does not want the united states to show up and tell it what it ought to do. this is true, even of the moderate muslims that we look to work with.
we have to figure out how we can be helpful to support those moderate voices so that they can triumph, so that they can defeat these extremist ideologies. it can not be western driven by the very definition of the way that those folks look at the world. so, we can help but if we help too much, in an odd sort of way we wind up hurting the overall effort. i think that is the lesson we learned in iraq and afghanistan. with that i look forward to the testimony and questions. i appreciate the chairman holding the committee, i hearing i should say. >> i thank the gentleman. i mention to members we're supposed to have votes on the floor roughly around 10:40 10:45. i will try to be fairly strict with the time limits so that we can move along smartly. i ask unanimous consent that the full written statement of all of our witnesses be made part of the record. without objection so ordered. let me again thank our witnesses for being here. very pleased to see retired
lt. general michael flynn, former director of the defense intelligence agency. mr. william braniff executive director, national consortium for study of terrorism and responses to terrorism with the university of maryland. and dr. mark lynch with the george washington university. all of these gent men have done very serious and helpful work for the committee and the country on the topic of terrorism and we're very grateful to have you with us today. the as i scede the full written statement will be made part of the record. if you like to summarize it we'll get to questions. general flynn. >> thank you chairman thorn perry, ranking members smith. members of the committee. it is an honor to be in front of the committee. today i have the unhappy task of informing you that according to every metric of significance
islamic extremism has grown over the last year, whether scale and isis and associated movements number of violent islamic groups territory which these groups control, the number of terrorist attacks these groups perpetrate, the massive numbers and suffering of refugees and displaced persons due to these islamist groups, that is approximately 15 million. the amount of kidnapping and rape of women and children by these groups. the numbers of casualties they inflict. their broad expansion and use of the internet which is very serious. or just their sheer barbarism that we witnessed. i can draw no other conclusion than to say the threat of islamic extremism reached an unacceptable level and it is growing. we are at war with violent and extreme islamists both sunni and shia. we must accept and face this reality. this enemy has ingrained and unshakable vision how the world and society should be ordered. they believe violence is
legitimate means bringing about this ideal state. the violent islamist is serious, devout, committed and dangerous. his ideology justifies the most heinous inhumane actions imaginable and we i will not be reasoned with nor will he relent. this enemy must be opposed they must be killed, they must be destroyed and associated extremist form of the islamic ideology must be defeated wherever it rears its ugly head. some who counsel patients arguing violent islamists are not existential threat and say they can be managed as criminals. i respectfully and strongly disagree. i've been in the theaters of war in iraq and afghanistan for many years. faced this enemy up close and personal. i see first-hand unrestrained cruelty of this enemy. they may be animated by medieval ideology but they are thoroughly modern in their capacity to kill and maim as well as precisely and very smartly message their
ideas, intentions and actions via the internet. in fact they are increasingly capable of threatening our nation's interests and those of our allies. furthermore, it would be foolish for us to wait until our enemies pose an existential threat before taking decisive action. doing so would only increase the cost in blood and treasure later for what we know must be done now. our violent and extremely radical islamist enemies must be stopped. to that end i offer the following three strategic objectives. first, we have to energize every element of national power similar to the effort during world war ii or during the cold war to effectively resource what will likely be a multigenerational struggle. there is no cheap way to win this fight. second, we must engage the violent islamists wherever they are. drive them from their safe havens and kill them. there can be no quarter and no accommodation for this vicious group of terrorists.
any nation-state that offers safe haven to you are our enemies must be given one choice. to eliminate them or be prepared for those contributing partners in involved in this endeavor to do so. we do not we do need, we do need to recognize there are nations who lack the capability to defeat this threat and will likely require help to do so inside of their own internationally recognized boundaries. we must be prepared to assist those nations. third, we must decisively confront the state and non-state supporters and enablers of the violent islamist ideology and compel them to end their support to our enemies or be prepared to remove their capacity to do so. many of these are currently considered partners of the united states. this must change. if our so-called partners do not act in accordance with internationally accepted norms and behaviors or international law, the united states must be prepared to cut off or severely curtail economic, military and
diplomatic ties. we can not be seen as being hypocritical to those we are partnering with to defeat radical islam. finally, in pursuit of these objectives i fully support congress's constitutional role in providing an authorization for the use of military force. this authorization should be broad and agile but unconstrained by unnecessary restrictions restrictions that today cause not only frustration in our military, our intelligence and our diplomat i can communities but also significantly slow down the decision-making process for numerous fleeting opportunities. it is important however to realize that such an authorization is neither a comprehensive strategy nor a war-winning one. if there is not a clear coherent and comprehensive strategy forth coming from the administration, there should be no authorization. with that, chairman, i'm happy to take your questions. >> thank you general. about braniff.
>> chairman thorn per i are, ranking member smith esteemed members of the committee i would like to thank you on behalf of the star consortium for inviting us to speak with you today. in 2013 over 22,000 people were killed and nearly 8500 terrorists attacks. when star releases full global terrorism database, data set for 2014 we anticipate it will include over 15,000 terrorist attacks. our preliminary date from the first nine months of 2014 suggest seven of the 10 most lethal groups in 2014 were violent jihadist groups and isil among them conducted more terrorist attacks than any other terrorist organization. the trendlines over the last few years are largely driven by two factors. first the prolife race of groups associated with al qaeda and in hot spots around the world and second the rise of isil and its strategy of escalation through sectarian violence. what we have therefore, is the makings of a global competition involving the most violent
terrorist organizations in the world. this is even more troubling when one considers that both theoretical and empirical work in the terrorism studies field suggests that competition among terrorist groups is one of the most important predictors of increasing lethality over time. to better understand this competition and its implications i would like to contrast the operations and strategies of al qaeda and its associated movement, or aqam with those of isil. al qaeda is waging a protracted war of attrition against the u.s. specifically aiming to bleed the u.s. if they bleed the america economic political will to remain engaged in the muslim world, local jihadists can overpower apostate regimes and establish what they consider to be proper theocracies. to wage the war of attrition al qaeda sent operatives into conflict zones across the world to reorient individuals refocusing wrath on foreign enemy targets like western embassies or tourist destinations. al qaeda seeks to use
spectacular mass wash caught attacks to incite heavy-handed military responses from western and apostate governments that seemingly evidence war on islam that al qaeda portrays in its propaganda polarizing muslim and non-muslim world and enabling jihadists to mobile lies for civilizational conflict. isis is not waging a war of attrition but escalation. instead of inviting muslim versus western violence it is benefiting from resources already mobilized by sectarian polarization taking place in iraq and syria and beyond which is actively seeks to exacerbate. . .
>> helps to dampen those governments' responsible to isil and al-nusra, an al-qaeda affiliate. as sectarian tensions remain high isil and aligned groups will foster and exploit those tensions. isil veterans will travel to new fronts outside iraq and syria bringing their strategy and sectarianism with them. in a worst case scenario, this contagion effect runs the risk of inciting a muslim civil war. poorly positioned to take any meaningful action to protect itself or others. in addition, every new isil front opens up a new set of mobilization pathways for terrorist organizations seeking
to radicalize and recruit foreign fighters. three, both isil and aqm have incentives to conduct attacks against the west as part of this competition. for isil attacks can be used as a form of deterrence, making foreign countries think twice or pay the price for large scale military interventions in iraq and syria. we cannot be fooled into thinking that al-qaeda's focus on the caliphate prevents them from actively seeking the capability to conduct attacks against the homeland. for al-qaeda and its associated movement, isil's antagonistic rise to prominence has created a crisis of legitimacy incentivizing them to use enemy attacks to regain the spotlight. furthermore, if isil continues to overstep its bounds as seen with respect to the murder of the jordanian pilot, al-qaeda and its associated movement might wind up looking more legitimate and mainstream by comparison as long as they remain focused on the true enemies of islam, the west. we cannot, therefore, take pressure off aqam.
to conclude we're seeing an escalating tension at a time when many governments' hold on legitimacy is weak. it is essential, therefore, that any u.s. strategy prioritizes working with sunni nations and communities to marginalize violent sunni extremists. to do this the u.s. must find a way to ease sectarian tensions and earn the trust of our sunni partners, allowing them to focus their attention on marginalizing groups like isil and aqam. thank you. >> thank you. dr. lynch. first, i'd like to thank chairman thornberry ranking member knit -- smith and the whole committee. as you've heard from my colleagues isil poses a serious threat to american interests, to the people of the region to our partners in the region and, of course it's extremely important to not underestimate the nature of the threat or to misunderstand the nature of the threat. i think it's important, however to not perhaps exaggerate its
novelty or perhaps the magnitude of the threat. it's not -- these are not superhumans with unprecedented ability to form states or to seize territory or to inspire. the world, the world's history is full of insurgencies that have captured territory and sought to govern it by extracting resources from the local population. the world's history is full of insurgencies that have used graphic terrorism to intimidate their enemies and to insure control over their own local populations. we've seen both islamist and other ideological movements over world history. this is a dangerous and violent organization which must be confronted but it's important we place it in proper perspective. i think the most important perspective that we need to keep is to understand the fundamental strategic dilemma that islamic extremist groups have faced from the beginning whether it's islamic jihad in egypt or the armed islamic group in algeria
or al-qaeda in the 2000s or isil today. and that fundamental strategic problem is that while they do absolutely have the vision that general flynn described the characteristics that general flynn described and that extreme dogmatism, the vast vast majority of the muslims of the world do not agree with them and they have failed every time they have attempted to reach out and to mobilize the world's muslims on their side. the ideology and the strategy of al-qaeda and isil is to create a clash of civilizations, to create an unbridgeable divide between the world's -- between the muslims of the world and the west. and what we must keep in mind as we formulate any kind of effective strategy is that the way to defeat isil, al-qaeda and all forms of violent extremism is to marginalize them and to form alliances with the vast majority of the world who reject their barbarism and who reject their extreme ideologies.
the face of muslims and the minds of americans and the face of muslims and the mind of the world should not be baghdadi, it should not be osama bin laden the faceless murders of the journalists of "charlie hebdo" in paris. it should be the volunteer for syrian ref i few gees who was murdered in north carolina this week. to defeat isil, america must be soon as their champion not as their enemy. and if we are able to align ourselves with the aspirations and the hopes of muslims all over the world, then isil can be defeated and only then. and so i do not disagree with general flynn's characterization of the threat posed by isil, but i believe it's extremely important that we approach this threat from the perspective of the need to constantly seek to deflate their pretensions to marginalize them and to expose their extremism in the eyes not
only of us, but of the muslims who they seek to recruit, to mobilize and, ultimately to lead. now, this was, i believe one of the great accomplishments the great bipartisan accomplishments of both the bush administration after 9/11 and the obama administration. the immediate understanding of this strategic divide and the need to not allow al-qaeda after 9/11 to provoke this kind of clash of civilizations. president bush, despite some missteps early on, i think, did a fantastic job of trying to reach out to the muslims of the united states and to insure that that divide did not open up. and i think that's a bipartisan commitment that we should build on today. now, in my prepared statement i go through in some detail explanations for why isil has emerged in the form that it has today. i won't repeat those here. let yes must hit some -- me just hit some of the bullet points.
ranking member smith in his opening statement mentioned the failures of governance, and i think this is extremely important. the failure of the arab uprisings is a key part of the e her generals of isil in the form it is today, an enormous number of young muslims, young arabs around the middle east have seen their hopes raised and then crushed. the military coup in egypt is a marley defining point in proving -- particularly defining point in proving, unfortunately that peaceful political participation is not an option. if we're going to respond to isil in the way -- as, again i agree with general flynn that we must -- we need to address those underlying causes of despair of alienation and the absence of alternative paths which is building the possible pool of recruits for isil. that includes reversing the sectarian misgovernment of iraq it includes trying to find some kind of peaceful decan escalation of the war -- deescalation of the war in syria
and trying to find some way to align the united states with the forces of moderate and peaceful change. that's no easy task. i have some ideas about how we might go about doing that but for now i'll simply stop, and i welcome everyone's questions. >> thank you. again, i appreciate the testimony from each of you. i'd like to ask hopefully just a brief question from each of you. general flynn, towards the end of your statement you make a point that an aumf should not be overly constrained. you've had a lot of experience fighting these folks in the middle east and south asia. do you have an opinion about how difficult it would be for our troops to follow a restriction that said they could not engage in enduring offensive ground combat operations? >> yes. so we immediate to be very clear -- we need to be very
clear in this aumf that, you know may come out of an agreement between the legislative and executive branches here. when we give our military commanders a mission, we should allow them to execute that mission and not overly constrain them with approved authorities but then having to come back to the administration for permission. so if we authorize the use of force to do something with these many times fleeting opportunities out there that our military forces see and then they've got to come back up through a bureaucratic process to get permission even though even though there's an authority given to them, then either we, you know we need to review those authorities and those permissions, or we immediate to change the commanders -- or we need to change the commanders because we apparently don't trust them to do the job that we've given them to do. so that's a real problem today. give the commanders the
authority to execute the permission they've been begin. if they're not the right people, put somebody else in there that can do that. otherwise, allow them to do the things they have been assigned, tasked and are very capable of doing in this, in what is currently the aumf that we have with. we have become so overly bureaucratic in coming up through the system to get permission to basically do things that, frankly, colonels on the battlefield or captains at sea are very capable of doing. >> okay, thank you. mr. braniff, i was struck in your testimony that as i read it that just in the last 12 months we've seen a dramatic rise in these terrorist organizations and in their attacks. now, as i understand it one of the things your organization does is keep track of these with objective metrics. and am i reading that right that even in the last year we've
seen this problem get dramatically worse? >> mr. chairman, if you compare the most violent terrorist os in 2013 to those in 2014, the level of violence from isil, al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula, al-shabaab, al-nusra have increased according to preliminary data. iraq afghanistan, yemen, somalia and libya have all experienced increases in terrorist violence in our preliminary data from 2014. pakistan is the only sort of affected nation which has seen a decrease out of the countries where al-qaeda and its associated movement are active. so we've seen a year-on-year increase over the last 12 months and over the 12 months before that and the 12 minute toes before -- months before that. so the trend line is continuing to rise. a partial explanation is a lot
of the strategy now focuses on trying to build capabilities of partner nations, and that's a slow process, so things may get worse before they get better. that's an op por due nistic read of the scenario. a pessimistic read is these organizations have enjoy ared greater safe haven in a post-arab spring world and have seized on the less stable governments and are exploiting that safe haven. >> okay. so dr. lynch, i'm a little perplexed by a sentence you have in your prepared statement that says "the has thus far crafted an effective strategy in responding to isil which has halted its momentum." is that the way you see the developments over the last year or so? >> thank you chairman. yes, i actually think that the way the administration has crafted its strategy as an initial step has been quite effective. they managed to leverage the increased military commitment in iraq into the most important move, which is, which was a
change in the government of iraq and the removal of prime minister maliki who, in my opinion, had carried out a campaign of sectarian misgovernment and corruption which had lost and squandered all of the gains of the previous years by managing to then get new iraqi prime minister willing and able to reach out to iraqi sunnis and then to use air power and limited military support. the momentum of isil has been, has been halted. they're no longer able to advance, they suffered a serious defeat in kobani thanks to coalition air power, and they've now seen a significant reversal in the eyes of arab public opinion after the brutal murder of a your dane ya pilot -- jordanian pilot. and momentum matter for them because their appeal was rooted in the idea that they were a winner, and now people aren't so sure. and i think we might actually see people jumping off the bandwagon faster than we think. >> i appreciate it.
i, obviously, hope the optimistic scenarios prove of right. i worry that we see momentum through our eyes not necessarily through their eyes. but at this time i'd yield to mr. smith. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just following up on that rather key point, problems all over the world. yes, ma'am ironically, is a -- yemen, ironically is a shiite uprising that has overturned the government there which gets us into the whole issue that decent governments in that area is going to fend upon saudi arabia and iran figuring out how to get along in the world. in the meantime they're doing enormous damage to each other but that's subject perhaps for a whole other hearing. but this notion that, you know, it's all falling apart, these guys are as you said dr. lynch, superman, they're going to take over everything. and i think the analysis of isil is interesting. you watch the news reports, and the chairman's comments about how they're still spreading that's what -- that's simply not
the case. several months ago, and i'm going to get my timeline wrong, when they went rolling through iraq, took mosul, everybody was saying oh, my goodness, they're going to be in baghdad next week. well they're not and they're never going to be. they were, as you mentioned rolled out of kobani. they have not taken any territory since that initial surge. and they have given back for story. they were also within miles of irbil and, again my timeline is off here but a few months before with allied support and with support for the kurds they were pushed back. so we have to keep this in a realistic perspective, because i think our greatest strength and possibility here is what you said. these guys can't govern. they cannot deliver for the muslim population. and in mosul right now, it's falling apart. electricity is off pretty much every day. nobody's picking up the garbage. they can't govern. the people there are only
staying with them out of fear. so i do believe that isil's momentum has been blunted, and it's really interesting. it's been blunted in part with the help of the u.s. tear, but it's -- military, but it's been blunted more by their open weaknesses and that's what we have to remember. that's what i want to ask general flynn about. it is an existential threat i agree with you and therefore, we have to amass all our forces and figure out how to defeat them. fundamentally, do you disagree with the statement that u.s. military might is simply not in a position to defeat this ideology because of this clash of civilizations, because of the way the muslim world looks at western aggression and that the only way that we're going to be successful is if we get moderate muslims the rise up against these folks and support them, or do you -- i mean, do you think it would be good to drop a whole bunch of troops down in the middle of syria and iraq right mow and go get 'em?
don't you see sort of how that would perhaps play into the hands of isil? if so, what does it mean to say we're going to mount all of our military might and go get them? don't we have a little bit of a gordian knot in that regard? >> so the answer quick answer is -- >> sorry, that was, like, six questions. [laughter] >> i know. >> it's early in the morning. >> you typically do that to me. [laughter] so overall the answer is yes. yes, i don't believe what you just said about dropping in hundreds of thousands of u.s. forces you also said they are an existential threat. i wouldn't sit here today and say isis is an existential threat to this country. >> the broader ideology. >> but the broader ideology is one that will get inside of our bloodstream, get inside of our dna, if you will, and will