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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 30, 2015 7:30am-8:01am EDT

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/iraq war iraq had managed to rebuild quite well, rebuild cities, the sanctions had destroyed not only the physical infrastructure but much of the social fabric of the country and this was, some of you will remember, the famous statement by madeleine albright is it when she is asked about the 500,000 children who died as a result of sanctions and her answer was we think the price is worth it. i always wanted to ask her she had two data, if it was your children would you still think the price was worth it? that was her answer. she didn't deny the figure, she didn't say it wasn't 500,000 children, she knew it was. she said we think the price is worth it. this is not a partisan issue. this goes between parties across the board. finally on the question you raised about if the security council had endorsed it there has always been i have written about this, a different between
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legality and legitimacy. i would not have considered it a legitimate but it would have been legal if the security council had endorsed it. in 1919, the 1991 war, the bush i administration used a vast array of bribes and threats and punishments, some of which we got documentation of to force other countries to vote in favor of the war. at the end of the day there were only two countries that voted no in the security council. one was cuba that voted on principle and the other was yemen which was just a unified. it was the only arab country and the security council. yemen voted no and no sooner had the yemeni ambassador putdown his hand in the security council meeting, the u.s. ambassador to the un was at his side and said that will be the most expensive no vote you ever cast and the remark was picked up on the un mike that he said he didn't know
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was open and it became embarrassing, three days later the u.s. cut its aid budget to yemen. by that time nobody cared, the poorest country in the arab world, it still is but what was interesting, many of us, me and others wrote at the time we didn't think was an accident. we didn't think that the ambassador made a big mistake he knew full well that the mic was open because it was a message not primarily aimed at yemen, it was primarily aimed at the rest of the world. if you cross us on an issue that is important to as you will pay a price and at the u.n. they call it the gannon president, the name it was known by. there were bribes that had to do with arms that resulted countries like colombia that had not been given, not been willing to sell arms because of human rights violations. there were oil deals that were cut, punishments, there was a wide friday of things but the result was they got a majority
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of votes. the war was legal. it was not legitimate but it was legal and that does matter in the eyes of the rest of the world. that is an important criteria. >> there are so many issues we could get into and discuss amongst ourselves missed opportunities since 9/11, alternatives not taken so many things have been written as important issues but let's turn it to audience questions and get as many as we can. students, two things. try to ask short questions and students have preference says students, please get in as quickly as you can. >> this was a great panel. thank you, everybody. there was a lot of crazy things so it is tied to pick out what i want to question or who i want to question the main one i would
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like to ask that was really interesting story and really fascinating that you live in afghanistan for a while but the basic just of what you were saying is when we got there and realize al qaeda had fled and the taliban, had pretty much quit, should we have packed up and gone home and let them go back to afghanistan and plan another attack? in my opinion it sounded like hubris saying we should have just let the country go back to what it was which was one of the worst countries in the world run by the worst people in the world which is the taliban where women have no rights, we could go on about how bad they were. what do you think we should have done instead? >> there is an opportunity. what i would like to draw
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attention to two concept, state building and counterterrorism, they were counterproposals to one another. for every dollar that was spent spent on building personality is. and there was an attempt to build, a number of ways to build a police force one of which is to create a national academy train people, hire people from around the country. instead what end ed up happening was the police force was a conglomeration of local militias and faye were chosen those that were most affective in killing bad guys for people who were deemed bad guys, not those who
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were most effective in providing law and order and the effect was we have militias around the country, the police are considered the most rapacious of the afghan security forces. in 2002, what were the options? if we were serious about state building that would have meant not privileging it every step of the way, militias, provisioning building of institutions, helping the afghan state collect taxes instead of propping it up. all of that would be a tall order and be a radical break from the paradigm which dominated the last 13 or 14 years which is counterterrorism. that would be an alternative. i don't believe that would have happened. i don't believe given the state of affairs in 2002 them all of a sudden the united states would have been serious about state
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building. it was never serious in afghanistan about state building. last week i was in kandahar province and looking at schools. the question of education, supposedly the united states helped bring education to millions of afghans post 2001. it turns out particularly in the south many of these schools that were built for contract did to local warlords and strong men and the building of the schools actually deeply damage local communities in ways that would have been better off if they had never done so in the first place. the broader answer to the question is if the u.s. was serious about state building, it had to be serious about building institutions. instead it was only focused on counterterrorism and now we have no state and terrorists.
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>> would have been -- [inaudible] >> depends on where you look. it depends on where you look. there are parts of the country where life is significantly better today than it was under the taliban. in other places it is worse than it was under the taliban. it is so counterintuitive. in southern afghanistan for women under the taliban women were locked in their homes, kept away from education, kept away from health care today in southern afghanistan women are still locked in their homes, tip from education, health care and on top of that they live in a war zone where their husbands or brothers run over roadside bombs or taken away in night raids. in afghanistan i didn't see a single woman the whole time i was there. it is a complicated question but the point for whom it is better
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for many afghans is not better and more than anything else a searing indictment of everything that happened in the last 13 years. >> this is a question for peter baker. thank you all for giving up some of your time to talk to us, greatly appreciate it. mr. baker, you mentioned you worked with a colleague named thomas wreck. a couple months ago i happened to read a book for my policy press platform called fiasco. dirksen senate office building you probably know well. with that being said, what do you think can be taken from this and be applied right now to what is going on in iraq and afghanistan? what do you think can be taken? >> that is a great question. tom would be a better person to give you lessons from his book but his book, a fabulous encapsulation of a lot that had gone wrong in iraq.
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in the newsroom, from the beginning, he said my title is going to be fiasco. my only worry might be a little strong. dirksen senate office building not as bad as it was going to get, he said i am worried someone else will do it first hand he was right. he had a good sense through his military contact, have a lot of experience with his officers, and he was seeing it through their lands. tom later wrote the next book called the gamboled about david petraeus end the surge and i think that book will come away with some lessons that may have flowed from fiasco and some of them did flow from fiasco and i would not want -- he left the washington post, he wrote a very
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eve talkative piece on foreign policy, i think it was foreign policy, about the best events, how in the last number of years, not sure he used the word radicalized but he has a much more i guess liberal would be the right word. he hasn't been an objective reporter who is tied with the military for many years. has come away very sour obviously, very -- depressed is the right word. he may have been right, he talked about post-traumatic stress, having covered so many awful things that happened and made everything, this year, a lot of people who did feel strongly about the war, this was the bipartisan vote in 2002
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there were quite a lot of people across ideological party as for this pointed out. line to supported things and change their view and became quite distressed. very few people with a stronger and more vigorous feeling about what happened and how it happened and why it shouldn't have happened and so on. i don't have any good lessons. there are smarter people in the. >> let me touch on another point you, endeavour young person in this country should be concerned about that this is really high lighted and this is 14 years of war. the gauge commission that set up for president nixon and created a volunteer force and tom has talked about this too, made a mistake, made a number of
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mistakes. it contemplate anything like this and didn't contemplate what would happen once 1% of the nation was bleeding and dying for the 99% for extended period of time and of the active and reserve components of the all volunteer force right now. i recommend a book by major-general denis leach called skin in the game. the all volunteer force in the army and marine corps loan will be almost the entire portion of the defense budget for those surfaces and another 15 to 16 years at present rates of increase. they all volunteer force how is not working. think about what you have to do if you have a war and no one comes. phyllis would say that would be wonderful but i am not quite that far yet. one reason we go from 2% women
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in the fourth to 14% has nothing to do with egalitarianism. it has to do with you can't find a men. we have lowered standards in the army and marine corps so far the we are taking criminals taking people with drug records, people who are mentally unstable incredible with the armed forces and the reserves have become an operational reserve rather than a strategic reserve, and they are being broken too. think about thatch. >> the point about the military. i work with iraq veterans, an extraordinary not so young anymore, veterans of iraq and afghanistan. what the statistics show particularly from iraq and from the u.s. who was dying in those
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wars and after age, the single most common thread among those thousands from the u.s. was they were from rural areas in towns of 25,000. and there were no jobs, no opportunity to go to school the not necessarily many of them were very impoverished, not necessarily but they didn't have options they didn't have other choices, from these small towns scattered around the country, they were not from big cities where overwhelmingly people in the media come from. people in the media today, i have many friends in the mia and it is the same thing. some of my best friends are media. they know very few people in the military. i know lots of people who don't
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know anyone, anyone in this generation. that is that reflection of who is drafted by lack of opportunity. and quite as volunteer as the name is in my view. those who are writing the history of today in the newspaper's online on blogs and on tv, often don't have a clues these people are. that affects how coverage happens or what does or doesn't get coverage. the aspect we look at when we look at these problems facing the military. >> the author of matter warren, one of the best books about war i have read since all quiet on the western front in vietnam, calls the all recruited force and that is what it is and you would be stunned if i gave you
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the figures. what the army spent on that force during the height of the iraq conflict. talking about $9 billion being spent to pay for this recruited force. it is not getting much better. >> let's take advantage of that 9:00 now. >> you mentioned earlier there are a lot of alternatives to instead of going into war in afghanistan. can you mentioned those alternatives the u.s. government could have taken instead of going to work? >> one of the great things about 9/11, not different in foreign policy write the speech the george bush should have given when bringing the helicopter
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down, to recognize a huge crime with an active war which implies another country is guilty. going to war against afghanistan when hijackers were not afghanistan saudis and the egyptians and trains in afghanistan they train in germany, they went to flight school in minnesota and we are saying we're going to bomb afghanistan was certain to create more terrorism leaders so the first king would be to recognize what is going to create more terrorism and don't do that. that meant recognize it as a crime. recognize the need for international justice. there was a lot of talk about justice. should have been a moment to say this is why we need a viable functional system of international justice, why we were wrong to oppose the international criminal court, why we were wrong to weaken it even if we had no intention of signing on to win at the time it
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was negotiated. in that context to say too many people have died today and i am going to make the pledge not one more person is going to die in the pursuit of justice for those who did die. that is not a way to bring justice. it means treating it as a crime, with international engagement not telling the rest of the world's you are with us to go to war, you support our war or we will treat you as if you were terrorists. it means cooperation, police cooperation, engaging not militarily but through law enforcement, to do some of the things that the un was called on to do and was never given the resources to do very well in terms of identifying funding sources for instance. the fact that the u.s. would refuse to put pressure on its key allies saudi arabia which was known to be the source of much of the funding for al
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qaeda, the u.s. is too wary about the relationship with saudi oil, the saudi monarchy, the military role of the saudis etc.. it means putting aside all of those concerns that have to do with the usual diplomatic relationships. it means improving diplomacy and taking seriously the need for diplomacy. these are lessons we need to be applying known when we look at what needs to do about isis, the choice is never go to war or do nothing, go to war or let him get away with it. it means putting enormous amounts of resources, money, people, the best minds available to figure out what kind of negotiations would work, not necessarily negotiations directly with isis or back in directly with al qaeda but negotiating with those who are enabling al qaeda. who is funding them. how to put pressure on them. those questions were not only never addressed but those who
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said they should be addressed, those who say if we want to prevent this happening again we have to understand the root causes of why it happened in the first place. los were called, i was one of them many of us were, were called apologists for terror. if we weren't supporting war we were somehow apologizing for terror, somehow supporting terror, and the insults were pretty constant. that is what we needed to do, rukeyser's. maybe you can't prevent an extremist of some sort who is a sociopath from a kind of attack but you can figure out how many people around world, and and that makes it harder to ever do it again. if your goal is to prevent it ever happening again, we start
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by figuring out how that happened the first time. we know it wasn't because they hate our freedom. they don't hate our freedom but the we are denying them their freedom. it was a few challenge that was never met. there are always alternatives. you need to put your best minds best influx of the resources of money, time and attention and people to figure out what those alternatives are rather than going to war. as the only alternative in >> and response, stretching for how to actually address that, it wasn't really an act of war. i was trying to finish where i started, that the paradigm of what we consider to be war has shifted and this is our new time the change we have seen in
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our world, the new challenges we face and this speaks to something that the colonel said earlier, that we've wasted an opportunity because we went into iraq there can be no doubt in the kernel's defense that george w. bush burned a lot of capital going into iraq but don't ever think just because you hear about iraq or afghanistan in the news that that was the extent of what this president did to keep us safe. george w. bush and for those of you who think on the panel that we just threw a lot of bonds and killed people in iraq and afghanistan at this was the strategy, this government after 9/11 initiated operations in conjunction with the fbi, the cia, the u.s. military, and
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intelligence agencies working together 62 countries for terrorism. and cooperation and different operations gathering, diplomacy and economic pressure, military pressure and other types of work to interdict terrorists networks, identifying al qaeda as the only french and saying okay, if we are done there we are done, finished, moving on. the present at a more global view of this and have had the relationships and the administration built relationships with, productive relationships with countries all around the world to help not only, to protect fears. and political capital was burned and the decisionmaking makes it
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that a necessity so please don't think iraq is the only estimation of what george w. bush did to keep this country safe and to initiates a global, an effort that had global participation, global cooperation and global reach to interdict terrorism. >> i want to ask a question if i can of the young man, so your response to the man's question might be intellectually appealing to me and might even comport with my more humane side how would you ever get the american people not to impeach you? >> that is an easy one to answer. i think that at the time of 9/11 we go back in history and
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remember nobody was alive at the time of 9/11 who had never seen an attack on u.s. soil by a foreign country, the attack on pearl harbor, hawaii was not state at that time. this was unprecedented in the life of everyone in this country and people were terrified. people were desperate for leadership. there was a moment when i think, i know that many people would have followed any kind of leadership and there was a danger. that is that very dangerous moment in the lives of countries that people can be pushed to take positions they would never take in normal times. when you have an abnormal situation. and if that leadership had given
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another alternative-king would have been massive support from the united states to stand with the french saying we are all americans, to stand with the people of the world who were sending these messages of solidarity and human connection. in many cases for the first time. it was the first time in a generation or more that americans have looked vulnerable to anyone else in the world. that had never happened before. i think most, majority, she huge numbers, vast majority of people in this country would have wanted to follow that kind of leadership. we were never given that option. >> how do you explain 51% to 52% continue today to identify themselves with thinking torture is necessary? >> it has gone up and down. 80% of people supported the war in afghanistan at the time it was presented.
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by three years ago, 82 or 83 were saying it was never worth it. obviously that included a lot of the same people. statistics are a snapshot. they are useful for gauging where public opinion is that any given time depending how the media is covering stuff for what political leaders say ainge we all use statistics, not to say they are not valid but they are limited. it depends how you ask the question. >> is one of my greatest concerns about the american people. >> if people are going to believe that it works and somehow it is legal because some lawyer in the justice department said it was legal and is the ultimate topology. is legal because someone asked me the thing is legal, therefore is legal. that is not how long works in this country, when we see this as a country of laws, not people and they used to say is a
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country of laws and not of men. a country of laws and not of people that means the laws have to have some credibility, not just some lawyer who happens to have graduated law school to say whether it was you or somebody else to say is legal, the president can do it and somebody else, anything the president does is legal, that doesn't make it legal, it means somebody is saying it is legal land you would get a lot of people to believe it because no one is saying the opposite. >> we have taken over our time for our panelists but i thank them for eliminating discussion great debate, so many issues we could continue to cover. hopefully we can continue this discussion through the rest of the conference but i thank each and every one of you for coming and for making this an informative and interesting panel. [applause]
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>> according to dennis in his book. [inaudible conversations] ..

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