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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 7, 2016 8:00am-10:01am EDT

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is to leave and not to shy away, to decide to not avoid this decision the judge there was its ability. neither history nor the fearsome rockers conduct of modern politics with all its love of the rear seat series and its willingness and addiction to believing the worst of everyone should false demand mode is ms. i knew it was not a popular decision. i know it shrinks into complete insignificant inside the human cost. i did it because i thought it was right then because i thought the human cost of inaction, a leading saddam and power would be greater for rest and for the world in the longer term. so the action command in the 18th of march, in less than
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two months, american british armed forces and those nations successfully depose. that part of the campaign was after all the major part of our strategic depth brilliantly conducted by military and we should never forget that. ..
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which the party with the most votes with non-sectarian coalition was held and in 2010 al qaeda in iraq was effectively defeated. in 2011 the arab spring began. the remnant of aq iraq left syria, built its base in raqqa, came back over the border renamed isis and helped by nature of maliki government and created situation what we see today. this led for complete destruction of program for international inspection which turned much more advance than we knew which remained in the hands of gadhafi would have posed a serious threat. the a.q. khan network was shut
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down. i come to our alliance with america. once the inquiry said it was my prerogative to be with the united states for military action, the inquiry questions whether it is really necessary and the importance i attached to the aligns. 9/11 was no event like any other in history. i considered it an attack on the world. that britain should be with them tackling this new and unprecedented security challenge. i believed it important that america was not alone. that part of a wider coalition. in the even a majority of european union nations supported action in iraq. i do not believe we would have had that coalition or indeed persuaded the bush administration to go down the u.n. path without our commitment to be alongside them in this
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fight. throughout my time as prime minister first with the clinton administration and then with the bush one, britain was recognized as the united states foremost ally. it served us well in kosovo, and allowed us to protect more innocent people than we could have alone. we were copartner in the post-9/11 world and i believe that was right. i believe there are two essential pillars to british foreign policy our alliance with the united states and our partnership with europe and we should keep both strong as vital national interest. people can disagree with that but that was my judgment as prime minister. i come to saddam and weapons of mass destruction. more than half a decade i apologized for inaccurate intelligence and particularly the intelligence that saddam had a stockpile of chemical weapons. the inquiry endorses the
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findings of the both inquiries that proper intelligence was properly included in the 2000 two dossier or number 10 improperly influenced text. they make no finding of impropriety. the intelligence established without a doubt that saddam possessed wmd i ask the people read reports given to me in it it -- 2002. in hindsight we may know some of this information was not correct but i had to act on the information i had at the time. i would point out two other things. first virtually every intelligence agency had reached the same conclusion and for very good reasons. saddam's previous use of weapons, his complete disregard for the mass destruction of human life and eviction of u.n.
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inspectors in 1998. secondly, it is essential to consider the findings of the iraq survey group. conducted by leading u.n. weapons inspector with 1400 people in his team. this bass done after the war -- was done after the war in 2004 on basis of interviews including with saddam himself and leading officials. the very interviews that denied inspectors in 2003. it is right to read that report because it is authoritative. the inquiry itself calls it significant but with respect to them they never explained the significance. the survey group finds that saddam's priorities in the late 1990s and 2001 and 2003 was to get sanctions lifted but once they were lifted they find it was his intent to reconstitute his program since he believed it
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to be essential to his personal and political survival. above all this survey group report finds that he intended to go back to a nuclear program fearing iranian development of nuclear weapons and that he kept his teams and capability to develop those and chemical weapons once sanctions were removed. of course we can never know whether he would have done this but i ask, if you knew that for a fact this dictator had used chemical weapons on his own people and people of other nations for a fact he lied about having them so he continue to use and produce them, pour a fact he killed thousands people in other countries with no respect human life or norms of civilized behavior, would you have wanted to take that risk of leaving him in place or would you wanted to eliminate it? saddam in my view was going to pose a threat for as long as he
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was in power. now the planning and the aftermath. the inquiry makes several criticisms for the planning of the aftermath of invasion. i accept in hindsight we should have approached situation differently. these criticisms are significant. they include failures to seek assurances from better planning from the american side which i accept. failures in american planning are well-documented and accepted. i do note, nonetheless, that the kin choirry fairly and honestly admit even after this passage of time been able to identify alternative approaches which would have guaranteed greater success. and this i would suggest for the very simple reason that the terrorism we faced and did not expect would have been difficult in any circumstances to counter. this is the lesson we learned from other conflict zones,
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especially libya, syria, yemen, but others also. our planning proceeded on the basis of those risks which we were principally warned, namely possibility of humanitarian disaster, use of wmd by saddam, resistance from the regime and the challenges of reconstruction. in the event though the report does not deal with this in detail, the real problems with those caused by terrorism and through causes we did not expect. al qaeda's attack on u.n., on reconstruction, on shia population tipped the country to the brink of civil war in 2:00 and 2006. ied attacks and other acts of terrorism from the shia militia supported by iraq. the inquiry does find there were warnings about sectarian fighting and bloodletting. i accept that but i would point out nowhere were these highlighted as the main risk and in event what we placed was no
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the internal bloodletting but all out insurgency stimulated by external arms and money. we now know that the assad regime in libya was deliberately sending terrorists across the border to cause terrorism and instability. this had impact on the coalition's ability to make progress in the country. in short we ended up exactly fighting same elements fighting everywhere in the world today. shia extremism on one hand and sunni extremism on the other. the consequence as we were trying to rehabilitate the country, those elements were trying to wreck our efforts by sectarian violence and that is what we did not foresee. inquiry finds particularly in january of 2003 there were no full options papers presented to cabinet. i note the cabinet alone debated iraq 26 times in the run-up to the conflict. there were 28 meetings of ad hoc committee with relevant ministers present.
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i could have and should have submit ad formal options paper to the cabinet. i come to legality. the report does not make judgment on the then attorney general. there were very good reasons for not disputing it. the whole negotiating history of resolution 1441 in the u.n. made it clear that the u.n. and uk always refused language that obliged the second resolution. the findings of obligations of iraq and failure to comply with the material breach was a reasonable basis for action. the advice of the attorney general was in line with that of other law officers in other nations and distinguished legal experts though i fully acknowledge and respect that others took a different view. whether politics is hotly-contested the law will be also. i understand why the inquiry finds from the process of coming to legal opinion was far from satisfactory but does not alter the legal conclusion. it was after detailed meetings
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the attorney general had with u.s. and uk officials explaining negotiating history of 1441 that he came to the view that it was not necessary for a second resolution. on the 27th of february gave that view orally. on 7th of march he provided that advice in writing. i accepted in retrospect it would have been better to provide full written advice to cabinet. this was not the legal precedent and in aye vent was not requested by cabinet. i accept a case providing to parliament. none of these matters alter the advice in the end was clear and was not challenged by inquiry. the inquiry at one point says there was no indication of why i gave my view to the attorney general that saddam is 13th of march of 2003 was a material breach of 1441. as the attorney general has explained, my view is not legally necessary since 1441 had determined what constitutes a breach. but nonetheless he sought my confirmation of what i thought.
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saddam was accepted by everyone, including the inspectors for fully complying. he had a long history of deception. the whole basis of my six tests was to address the failure to comply. indeed intelligence that is still considered valued shows saddam at time in breach of u.n. resolutions, instructing his officials to remove evidence of wmd program or its development. the issue is rather, despite the breach he should have been given more time. i accept of course it is better politically if the security council makes such a determination but by then give the position in the security council with a fundamental disagreement it was clear there would be no agreement irrespective of the circumstances. i come to this important point is the world safe or less safe as a result of removal of saddam in 2003?
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the report never deals with this issue in specific terms. but again with respect to inquiry, this issue has to be debated if we're to reach a conclusion on the wisdom of the judgement i made. i asked that fair minded people at least consider the following. if we had withdrawn the threat of action in 2003 and pulled back our forces, we would have found it almost impossible to reassemble those forces in that number. now sir john says today it might have been necessary to take military action later. we accept that. but i don't see how we would have reassembled that force. sanctions would have swiftly eroded. over time i would have suggested it would be hard to kept an invasive process of inspection in place. so saddam would have remained,
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and immensely politically strengthened. plus he would have had the benefit of $100 a barrel oil. this is where the iraq survey group is so important. it indicates he would have resumed his earlier development of nuclear and chemical weapons. if that is conceivable as it surely is, then his removal avoided what would otherwise have been an unacceptable risk, in my judgment. i acknowledge completely and i respect the other point of view. i simply ask that people respect my point of view and the judgment i took on the facts i had at the time. we then come to the state of iraq today. because it is still engaged in conflict, a conflict that goes on all over the middle east. but those who say but for the action of 2003 iraq would be peaceful in 2016 i ask them to consider the following.
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there is no doubt that sectarian policies of the maliki government contributed to the renewed conflict in iraq. but the decisive event of last five years in the middle east is the arab spring which began in 2011. starting in tunisia, regimes across north africa and middle east were toppled or put under sustained attack. in the case of tunisia, libya, egypt and yemen the regimes fell. then in early 2011 the revolt of the syrian people against the assad regime began. in syria, as with the saddam regime in iraq, effectively a small minority ruled the majority on sectarian lines, except in this case, in the case of syria with sunni in the majority. between 2003 and 2011 by the way all of those regimes had remained in power. not one of them had changed.
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so supposing saddam had stayed in power in 2003. i asked this counterfactual? is it likely he would still be in power in 2011 when the arab spring began? is it likely that the iraqi people would have joined the arab spring when all the countries were part of it and this was the most tyrannical regime of any of them with the vast majority of people excluded from power? and is it likely that if the iraqi people had revolted, if there had been an uprising, that he would have reacted like assad in syria? surely it's at least possible that the answer to all of those questions is affirmative. in that case, the nightmare of syria today would also be happening in iraq, except with the shia-sunni balance inverted. consider the consequences of that. even if you disagreed with removing saddam in 2003, we
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should be thankful we're not dealing with him and his two sons now. saddam was himself deeply sectarian, as latest research shows, the leadership of the regime was heavily sectarian, deliberately made so and to those who think removing saddam is the cause of the turmoil in the middle east and there is some unbroken line between the removal of saddam in 2003 and what is happening in iraq today, i say the following: after the surge of 2007, al qaeda was defeated and marginalizes. in 2010 iraq was relatively stable. it was in syria, after the arab spring when aq became isis, headquartered in raqqa, syria where we failed to intervene, syria the very opposite policy of intervention where more people have died than the whole of iraq with the worst refugee crisis since world war ii and with no agreement to the future. at least for all the challenges
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in iraq today, there is a government actually fighting terrorism and doing so with western support, internationally recognized including by saudi arabia and iraq by a legitimate government and with a prime minister welcome in the white house and in capitals across the globe. none of this excuses the mistakes we made. none of this excuses the failures for which i repeat i take full responsibility and apologize but it shows that in the uncertain and dangerous world we live in all decisions are difficult. each has consequences predicted and unpredicted and only thing a decisionmaker can do is to take those decisions on basis what they genuinely believe to be right and that is what i did. and final passage i will draw a few lessons from this conflict and conclude and take your questions for as long as you wish to ask them. so i was the prime minister in
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the period after 9/11 and throughout iraq and afghanistan. since then i've spent the bulk of my time in the middle east and studied origins and character of ace lamist extremism. -- islamist extremism. what is clear is that this extreme system a global problem not confined to the well-known theaters of the middle east or pakistan or afghanistan. it is across africa including niger, chad, somalia, asia, including the philippines and thailand and bangladesh. it is in central asia. we have terrorist attacks here in europe and in the united states. i have watched today's decisionmakers wrestle in libya and syria with the same types of dilemma that i did. later time i will publish more detailed proposals about lessons from iraq and other areas of conflict but i'll summarize them briefly here. the first is that the danger of revolutional regime in any
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country where islamism is likely to be major factor, once the dictatorship is removed, no matter how abhorrent. elements of extremism will move into the vacuum to cause unstability. even like germany after world war ii, the challenge is not just reconstruction but security. if possible, evolution or degreed process of change better than overthrow of existing order without agreement. that is why when the arab spring began it would have been better to try to agreed processes of transition in libya and syria to as to control the aftermath and make change without destroying stability. it would be sensible know as a precaution to invest in nation-building in those parts of the world where plainly overtime risk of failed states collapsing and leading to further senses of extremism. certain states in africa are clear example. some parts of development should be devoted to this second where we decide to inter screen in
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majority of muslim countries we need to do so with strong alliance of muslim nations. otherwise we risk being accused, however unfairly of intervening in the countries because they are muster him and not because they represent security or humanitarian threat. the war waged by terrorist groups who acquire completely different type of military strategy than conventional warfare. we have experience of this around the world. we need to construct new doctrines and capabilities which allow us to do effectively, with the right aligns within the west and muslim world and in between us. for us in the west, the pain of taking casualties under in a fight often politically controversial and in which does not involve defense of our own territory is now so great, that we risk a situation where political leaders are reluctant to commit especially ground forces to combat. on the other hand western
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forces, particularly those of the united states and uk, with the most experience and highest level of capability. this needs an act of consideration whether we require a different level of volunteering for these missions. otherwise we're fighting out the best available forces to do the work. and for the uk, we have to have an active debate including with our armed forces about our desired littles of participation in such missions. given that we always will be a partner and in the case of usa a junior partner in terms of assets and capacity. what we call agree in principle the u.n. is right body to decide use of policy including just if i calls of use of force. reality. u.n. is gridlocked with russia and usa on different sides on issues. how can the clearer set of rules be agreed with a greater measure of objectivity? fifth, we must understand the true nature of the threat we face. it is islamist extremism and its
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ideology and we need urgently to put in place a unified, comprehensive strategy to defeat it. this should be combination of hard and soft power, including glib commitment on education reform systems, encouragement of reformist clerics within islam and effective countering of propaganda of extremists then we need a honest debate in the west about our own values and commitment to them. the west has a big decision to make. elsewhere around these issues of islamist es treblism and what level of commitment is it prepared to make to shape the outcome. ply view it does of such interest and should make the necessary commitment. so in conclusion, many will find it impossible to reconcile themselves to the decision to remove saddam or my motives in taking it. but it is vital we do not continue to allow controversy
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over iraq to obscure what are real contemporary threats to world security which reflect the real difficulties we encounteredded in iraq. this extremism menaces so many nations. those who were with us in iraq and those who opposed iraq, those with aggressive foreign policy and those who have pacific one, and developing nation, north, south, and wealthy and poor. this is the scourge of our time. it is a challenge of our generation. it requires us to act bravely even when imperfectly. at some point we will reach for and achieve the unified comprehensive foreign defense policy that can defeat it. iraq will be a chapter in the struggle and an important one. but it wasn't the first and it won't be the last. i want to thank sir john and his team for the report and time and care that was taken. i also want this diet to pay tribute to sir martin gilbert who so tragically passed away before the report was concluded. we can't make decisions with the
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benefit of hindsight but we can learn and should from our experience and mistakes that were made. i hope future leaders learn from those i made so our determination in confronting terrorism and violence is not less but our ability to do so effectively is much greater. the decisions i made i have carried with me for 13 years and will do so for the rest of my days. there will not be a day of my life where i do not relive and rethink what happened. people sometimes ask me why i spend so much time in the middle east today. this is why. this is why i work on middle east peace, on the dialogue between faiths, on how we can stop young people growing up with hatred in their hearts towards people who look and think differently than them. it is my belief if we learn the right lessons today, if we do, the next generation will see the
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dawn of a lasting peace in the place of where all this began and where it will finally end which is the middle east. thank you. now, questions. >> [inaudible] two quick questions. one is, you have said in the past you would do it again. would you still stand by that? and secondly, would you reply now to the cameras to the families of the soldiers who died, except the question they would like to ask you, look me in the eye, tell me you did not mislead the nation? >> i can look not just the families of this country and the nation in the eye and say i did not mislead the country. i made the decision on good faith on the information i had at the time and i believe it is
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better that we took that decision. i acknowledge all the problems that came with that decision. i acknowledge the mistakes and accept responsibility for them. what i can not do and will not do is say i believe we took the wrong decision. i believe i, i believe i made the right decision and that the world is belter and safer as a result of it. now many people can disagree with that but as this report makes clear, and it does, when you go through the report, there was no lies, there was no deceit, there was no deception and there was a decision and it was a controversial decision. the decision to remove sad doom and a decision to be with america. now many people would disagree with both of those decisions. sir john chilcot came quite close to it this morning. that is fine, but if you're going to do that, you have to say what the consequences of the opposite decision would have been, but the point about being
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prime minister, you're the decisionmaker. you sit in the seat and take the decision. and your obligation to the country is to take it as you believe it to be. and all of this stuff about lies and deceit, is all a way of getting us to obscure what is the essence of the question. at that time, in march 2003 was that the right decision? and now, as we look back on it 13 years later, would it have been better if we had taken the opposite decision and what would have been the consequences of that opposite decision? if you can't answer that question, then you're a commentator, not a decisionmaker. so i have to take the decision and i sometimes people talk about this and talk about me in this regard as if i don't, honestly if i don't care about the loss of life or the grief and suffering of the families, not just the families of our armed forces but families of all
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those who died in iraq since 2003 but i have to decide, are more people going to suffer, are more people going to die if we leave this brutal dictator in place who already killed so many people? that is the decision i'm afraid. >> [inaudible] you said, you wrote to george bush in july 20012, nine months before the war, i am what you, what every. now that does sound, it was read like the americans with a blank check for war snoop it was not. >> did you do enough to disabuse them of reading that as a blank check for war? >> that is the correspondence with colin powell and jack strong, they didn't read them way. neither could they have, because in 2002 the whole purpose of my intervention with the president
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was to get them to go down the u.n. route. after july 2002, comes the members u.n. resolution. had saddam complied with the u.n. resolution, that would have been the end. matter. he didn't. but, it was absolutely clear. by the way i think it is clear. i think even the words that continue after that statement in the memorandum, i think there was then a but, and i explain all the difficulties, why this is not lycos very and afghanistan. why we proceeded with enormous care. the whole purpose i was doing was make it clear i was going to be with the americans in dealing with this. that was absolutely clear. i said this in evidence in the inquiry, but, we needed to go down the u.n. route. >> so the but was, never i will withdraw my support if you don't go along with these conditions? >> no the but was, we have to go down the u.n. route. if we don't go down the u.n. route, this position where i can support this. >> -- binary decision you said
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you had to make on the 18th of march, 2003, on itv news. you took that decision but the consequences taking that decision were that if you had pulled back the americans would have gone through anyway. our military contribution was irrelevant in getting the jock done anyway, and by going through with it, when you faced a choice, between your frustrations with pursuing diplomacy as a blocked u.n. and effectively pulling the trigger that you had already loaded because you couldn't keep the troops there indefinitely, was the plunger, this country, 14, 15 years of this agony. you could have said no, i'm going to continue with the u.n. and saddam would have been gone anyway. >> let's, so let's, that is really, really important point and needs to be dealt with. let's disaggregate that for a moment. first of all, by the way our forces did play an important part in removing saddam. we were absolutely essential. >> [inaudible] >> so what you're saying is that
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we should have, we should have pulled back at that point, we should have let the u.s. do it. i don't know whether you think we should have been in the aftermath or out of the aftermath as well. that would have been a huge decision for this country to take. at that point we were, u.s.'s strongest ally. i had actually gone and sought the commitment from our armed forces that they wanted to be part of this. that we should be part of it. then right at the last minute we were going to pull out and let the other countries go forward and -- >> [inaudible]. >> diplomacy had been exhausted actually in this sense. there was by then an impasse at the u.n. this is familiar to us today. russia on one side and u.s. on other. >> give up because -- >> you have to take a decision. that is what i -- you know, the problem with this debate on iraq once you clear out of the way all the allegations of deceit and so on, you hope i do hope people read this report because
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it makes it clear those algations can't be sustained but in end i agree with you. you have to go back in my shoes as decisionmaker, say at that moment are we going to pull out, leave the u.s. to do it, hoping that they do it, presumably -- >> [inaudible]. >> well, yes, okay they would have done it but we're saying we think it is the right thing to do but we're not going to be part of it. i think that is very difficult. >> one more other question. >> sure. >> a fundamental point you raise, which this rejection as you said of the fact that the invasion was in no way, aftermath not responsible for the terrorism that has gripped iraq and region. as you know very well, i mean al qaeda seeks what it calls ungoverned spaces which to spread its hatred and violence. the way that the aftermath was unplanned for, which was, or not adequately planned for in the aftermath of invasion which the report lays out, ungoverned space was created in iraq. military was disbanded, security forces intelligence services,
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all of it was eviscerated into months. out of that came al qaeda. what is happening in syria are being led by the very american who were in the american camp. al-baghdadi was in cam buca, grew out of al qaeda. to say what is happening in syria today has no link to iraq is disingenuous, is it not. >> i don't think it has got no links but let's be very clear about this you're completely right, between 2,000, when the civil war began in 2004 and 2006, i agree al qaeda usinged that, removal of saddam in order to move in and create sectarian tension. but then came the surge. and the surge largely succeeded. so whoo shifted after 2010 when, remember iraq had an election in 2010. they elected their government then. actually leading party in that election was one that was essentially secular. after that time, what changed
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dramatically with syria? now you're right, there are people from iraq who then went into syria but it was in the chaos of syria at exactly the same point by the way, in the chaos of syria that that ungovernable space that is where isis came into being. they headquartered themselves in raqqa and went back over the border into iraq my point, you know we had the debate about syria these last years. i agree when you leave the space ungovernable that is where terrorism breeds. but non-intervention can also lead to those spaces being created. partial intervention can lead to spaces being created. one thing i have got to say about this report, i say this with respect, difference between people writing report and taking decisions. nowhere in this report did they say what they believed would have happened if we had taken the decision, well, don't quite advocate it but they imply, nowhere did they say that.
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now if people are going to say the decision was wrong, they have at least to consider the points that i'm making that saddam might have gone back and recans statuted his program -- reconstituted is had program as iraq survey group find and we might have the same situation we have in iracre as we do in syria. be in clear. double people died in syria than iraq and double the crisis since world war ii and we didn't intervene to remove the dictator. >> [inaudible] you got a fundamental disagreement with chilcot. i mean chilcot says that he went to war when there was no imminent threat from saddam. he does say that the legal process for authorizing the for was unsatisfactory. there was no proper planning in preparation for the aftermath. that intelligence was flawed, and that our troops were inadequately resourced and therefore put at undue risk.
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now, you have said two things today. on one hand you have created impression you're apologizing but you have also say you stand by your decision to go to war. so what i'm unclear about, i suspect peach watching this now what are you apologizing for? what are the mistakes? what are the mistakes you acknowledge? >> mistakes in planning and process i absolutely acknowledge. i accept responsibility. i'm not passing responsibility off to someone else. i accept full responsibility for those mistakes but it is not inconsistent with that to still say that believe we took the right decision and the difficulty with a report like this is, those two things get mixed up together and i about the way, in the first part of this military campaign, i mean at one point i think, again in his statement at least this
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morning sir john says we didn't achieve our objectives. we, third of part of this campaign was a brilliant military success and british troops by the way deserve enormous credit for that. what happened afterwards we know. the question is would we be in better place today to take the on decision and that is the disagreement. >> [inaudible] >> i would take, back in the same place, with the same information, i would take the same decision. that is the decision i believed was right. all i'm saying today because obviously some of the intelligence has turned out to be wrong, planning wasn't done properly. i have to accept those criticisms. i accept responsibility for them but i think people want me to go one step further and this is my problem. it is a very fundamental problem and it is, i know it causes a lot of difficulty even with people who might support me otherwise. they say no, we want you to apologize for the decision. i can't do that. i can't honestly tell you, i'm in the middle east, two, three times a month and i tell you the roots of this terrorism go so much deeper than what happened
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in iraq. we got caught up in the problem in iraq and ultimately if we're not prepared to take these type of decisions to engage this way we will make the world less safe. which is why i believe in 2013 i think it was when parliament had to take the decision on syria and chemical weapons we made a fundamental mistake. i supported the prime minister at the time. and libya shows you and very fairly today in his statement accepts how these things are difficult but we're not going to be in a better position, britain absents itself from these decisions and its place in the world. >> shied away from -- [inaudible]. >> well is it it because we now know how difficult these interventions are? you see, the worry that i have, from all of this is that the lessons we learned are lessons essentially of political safety and not political strategy. that ultimately, these decisions are difficult.
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i mean i don't regret taking the decision. but there is no doubt about how difficult it has been, how controversial it has been, how much it overshadowed -- i'm of no significance at all but obviously overshadows people think about me. of course this is really difficult. if we had intervened in syria it would be very difficult. but in my view it would be better had we taken action rather than not. look, this is where, you know, i understand all the criticisms the report makes of the process. but i do think, and i tried to do this, you know, too long, to go into all these things but there are real lessons of political strategy and military strategy. i don't see where these are in this report. i don't see where it tells what's the right capability today to try to defeat this terrorism. what should britain, what sort of alliances should britain be
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constructing in the world today? how should britain make sure it leverages its power to defeat terrorism, the countries affected by this terrorism are countryies. benign or, or pro iraq. what should this report do as decisionmakers? >> prime minister tony blair, it is very clear you stand by your decision. you have apologized to the families who lost loved ones in the conflict but this report is devastating catalogs of the failures of your government and paint a very clear picture of a prime minister who was determined to act with the united states almost come what may. do you understand the sentiment of some of the families who believe you ought not just to have said sorry a long time ago but now you should face some kind of punishment? >> by watt i, completely incorrect, that i have not said i'm sorry before. i always apologized for mistakes
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in planning and in the intelligence even though i'm not actually responsible for the intelligence but, you see, i can't, it is true, i took the decision after 9/11. we should be, america's closest ally. again you can disagree with that. i personally think when you are fighting this terrorism in the world today, it would be better if britain today had a really strong, tight, relationship with the united states. now i personally think when our parliament decided not to back president obama in syria, we really dealt a blow to that. i'm sorry, but i do. so, none of that diminishes pain much those families or my sorrow for them. and sorrow for what he they have gone through in their suffering but i can't -- >> [inaudible] >> i know, but, i with great respect think, well, this is whole another dehe bait but the fact is they called upon us as
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the uk, to back them at that point and we didn't. and i regret that. to be fair to the prime minister he was advocating it. >> what do you say people who are calling for some kind of consequence? >> that is up to them to call for what they want but what i'm trying to do today, explain why i acted as i did. in the end, what more can i do to say to people, this is why i took the decision i did. if you disagree with me, fine, but please stop saying i was lying or i had some sort of dishonest or underhand motives. i had the motives i explained. the reason i can't depart from the decision i look at what is happening in the world today and i'm afraid do not believe that we are safe today than we were back then. >> nbc news. i want to pick up on two things you haven't mentioned also on matt friday's earlier report. the report says you undermined the security council before the war and at the end of the war, the war basically ended in
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humiliation for forces in basrah. do you accept those are damning judgments and have done lasting damage to britain's reputation? secondly on matt's point on the memo of the 28th of july, when you wrote, that you would be with president bush whatever, whatever what, mr. blair? whatever the intelligence? whatever the evidence? whatever the u.n. said, what? >> no i was going to be with america dealing with this, whatever the political difficulties. whatever problems there were going to be i would put us alongside america dealing with this but it had to be done right which is why the whole point of the 28th of july interaction was to persuade americans. remember there were members of the american administration completely opposed doing this through the u.n. i, inquiry i think actually does actually say this. i persuaded president bush to go down the u.n. route. that is the vital thing we were doing.
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first of all, by the way, i don't believe british troops were ever humiliated and i think british troops fought with enormous distinction in the south of iraq. >> that word is directly used. >> well i'm afraid i profoundly disagree that british troops did anything other than magnificent job in south of iraq -- >> making, very people were firing on them in order to stop the war. that was the allegation. >> again, i think that was done in 2008, but in any event those decisions are incredibly different difficult. most of the attacks in the south were attacks on british troops. why it was very different from what was happening in baghdad. so anyway there could be debate about that but i want to place on record, when i was prime minister, all i can say is i found our armed forces absolutely magnificent every time they had to do something they did it and did it in a brilliant way and i won't accept any criticism of them whatever. now on u.n. security council, again very important point. because we face exactly the same
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problem today. and i might say in parenthesis, you know, the u.n. security council, you can see in syria how deadlocked it's been and i don't notice president putin going and seeking u.n. security council authority for the things he has done. but, when it is deadlocked like that, you can't say you're undermining its authority when we had gone back to the u.n. specifically to get a resolution. gave them one last chance to comply. the americans wanted to do the military action by the way much earlier. the reason it was delayed because we went through this u.n. process. so, i understand of course it would have been better politically to have done it with the u.n. resolution. but by then you had a blockage, you had stalemate. literally right, go around --
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>> tom -- from the sun. you talk entirely so far about the decisions before the war, almost nothing about the decisions in the aftermath and during the occupation period. commanders on the ground, chilcot said, urged you to reconsider the strategy. you yourself told george bush in the letter in june 2003 we are not geared up for this. it was quite clear on its face something was going badly wrong on the ground. why did you not therefore change that strategy, either pull troops out or surge and reinforce like the americans did? why did you allow them to continue which led to some many of their deaths? >> i don't believe that did at all. i mean if you had withdrawn the troops that would be very difficult. there was no need to surge the british troops at that point. we of course did adjust the strategy enormously. you rightly say we were in correspondence continually with the americans. i was saying particularly after my visit i think in may or june being in 2003 in iraq, we had to shift strategy. we did.
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we then put a lot more emphasis on building iraqi security capability and we made sure that, for example, the electoral process was put in place so they could have an election in as soon as possible. remember, iraq was a country that was governed by 20% governing the other 80%. why in the end it was never sustainable and why had the arab spring, when the arab spring happened, saddam had been in power he would have been subject, subject to the same he revolt going on elsewhere but it is not correct we didn't shift strategy. the inquiry itself says, we can look at the reference, that they can't actually identify other strategies that would have worked. the reason for that is very simple, you get to certain point with the terrorist groups, it is not the planning, it is fighting. that fighting had to be done. it was done by our troops with enormous courage and americans and troops of other nations. remember there were 40 nations
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in this coalition. yee. >> "huffington huffington. sir john chilcot said you were warned military action would increase the threat from al qaeda to uk and uk interests and warned invasion would lead iraq's capability falling into the hands of terrorists. if you were warned about that before the invasion, weren't that precisely grounds you wanted to reduce that? showing that did you know you were making the situation worse? >> warning they were giving and it is important that chilcot inquiry makes reference to this was a warning that, because everyone thought that he did have actual stockpiles, that they could fall into the wrong hands but that can't not be reason from removing them from power. that is a reason for doing it. as for the threats of the uk, i accept again, if the uk stands up in this fight against extremism and terrorism worldwide, if our forces are
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engaged in this, these people will try and attack us. they're attacking the french because of what they have done in libya and mali. beyond that they will do that but my point they were trying to attack us anyway. they have attacked the countries who were pro-iraq and countries nothing to do with iraq. where did belgium have anything to do with iraq? my point i understand, true if you stand up and take this action these terrorists will try to target you, but frankly they will target you anyway. that can't be a reason for not taking them on and fighting them. >> david hughes from the press association. given that chilcot has found there was no imminent threat from saddam under the process of the military buildup had been in place long before, how was it that the troops were so poorly equipped? how was it for the aftermath they didn't have the correct equipment? there were not enough helicopters, not enough ied-resistant vehicles in place? and do you accept the resources were far too stretched trying to
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fight in both iraq and afghanistan? >> i don't accept the latter point. by the way when we made that additional commitment to afghanistan i was very, very clear. i remember the meeting very well we must not do this unless we can do both missions. and i think you will find that the report also says there was no occasional we were asked for more money or more equipment or more equipment where we said no. both myself and gordon brown at the time made it absolutely clear whatever was requested should be given. now i do have to say, i don't -- we were absolutely prepared for the campaign to remove saddam because it was brilliantly successful. we should never forget that there were two strategic objectives, okay? one of which we succeeded and one of which we had not. the one which we succeeded was to remove saddam and remove him as a threat. the other was to make iraq free
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and secure. as today, they have elections today, elected government. they are legitimate government and fighting terrorism but it is also true, particularly in that immediate aftermath of removing saddam we did not provide security we had promised. >> [inaudible] families who lost loved ones in iraq, they will take legal action against you personally. do you think they're justified in doing that? >> i stand by the decision i took and i have explained all of that today. i understand their, not just their he grief but i understand their arranger and concern. why i took the decision. why i thought it was right. i will never accept those troops who got injured and lost their
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life in iraq did so in vein. after which got rid of saddam they are fighting exact forces extremism we see everywhere in the world today. even as i sympathize profoundly with the sore he row, i can not accept -- sorrow. i can not accept implicit nature of criticism they died in vein. i do not believe they did so. in the first six months of this year, worth just reflecting on this. 3 1/2 thousand troops, troops of different countries have lost their lives fighting this terrorism. 3 1/2 thousand. this is a battle going on day in, day out around the world. our troops were involved in that battle and i will never ever accept in fighting it they fought for a cause that was worthless or in vain. >> daily express. i'm still not clear on what
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mistakes you actually think you made. perhaps you could name two specific things that you wake up in the middle of the night thinking, i really should have done that. not just general mistakes that were made or specific mistakes you made. >> specific mistakes. one thing the report actually doesn't do, but i reapproach myself for is that i think when you look at what we found i think now, if i was planning such a campaign, i would look far more carefully at the possibility of the link of external people linking up with internal elements of insurgency or insurrection. now, the were scattered warns but not really about iran or syria by the way but that is the fundamental thing that almost made iraq ungovernable until the surge. the fundamental thing that went wrong, it is not complicated. it is absolutely clear.
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it's external elements in iran linking up with shia extremism from outside of iraq, sunni extremism, linking up with al qaeda. then as we now know discovered in these last couple of years, syria deliberately sending thousands of people to join the insurgency across the border into iraq. that is something i think about the whole time. and one of the things that you learn, you learn exactly the same from syria and libya, is it is when the external elements join up with the internal elements you get a problem that can be almost ungovernable. one of the reasons it is so important actually to learn the lessons, for example, of military strategy, is how do you deal with that? unfortunately the report doesn't really deal with that. yes? >> jason gold from the daily merrill. chairman corbin today said you misled mps, pointing to the text in the point.
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-- was not justified. call from labour front bench for you to face prosecution. how do you feel about respecting the labour party in a way the decision appears to have done? >> the important thing about the decision like this you take it for the reasons you believe are right. by the way there was no misleading of parliament and the report accepts explicitly that acted both in good faith and that i genuinely believed the intelligence i was given. i brought with me, in case i, simply show it to you afterwards rather than reading it all out, if you go back to those joint intelligence committee documents sent to me in march and september, i simply say to any fair-minded person, don't read the reports. see what was said to me. tell me if you wouldn't have believed there was not merely a problem with intent but an actual developed program of weapons.
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>> chairman korbyn. >> i can't -- >> [inaudible] >> sorry i think -- >> rowena mason from the guardian. can you be more specific about the errors you're apologizing for, errors of planning and processes? which things that happened you're now sorry for? >> i mean i think to the point i was just making earlier, although actually not something the inquiry particularly centered on, it is analysis of, the analysis pre-conflict, of the possibility of external element linking up with internal elements but there are things i accepted during my statement, i think in retrospect, it would be better to have more formal options, papers presented at a certain point. i think for sure now you would have approached the situation differently in how you
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interacted with the united states, and i accept that as well. i think there are various process points. for example, disclosing attorney general's advice to cabinet would have been simple and better to have done that. i don't think any of those things would have altered nature of the decision but i'm certainly happy to accept responsibility for them. to this, once you've done that, you come back to the decision. yes? >> nick watney, bbc news night. can i ask you expressed sorrow for what happened in the most emotional statement i heard you make on iraq but you say on the fundamentals you stand by your decision. can you see why that explains why people don't trust you and why potentially there is this rupture between the political elite and voters that we have a teary tony blair saying i feel your pain but fundamentally i did nothing wrong. if i may, you say that for us to understand what happened we need
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to understand how the calculus of risk changed after 9/11. but you were told then and we know now there was no link between saddam hussein and al qaeda but there were links between al qaeda and some of the gulf arab state who you maintained strong diplomatic relationships when you were prime minister and upon whom you built your business career since then. >> i didn't, by the way. but secondly. . .
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i think in the end, i'm sorry again if people find that difficult to reconcile. but you know, i ... i spend so much of my time thinking about this issue. i spent so much of my life analyzing it. i would be making him a concession i didn't believe if i said to you if i thought we left them there, we would be better and i only say when you look at this forward and this is the problem with a report like this, they say the iraq survey group findings are significant and they endorse them.
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that's going to make a difference to your analysis of the situation if that report is right. sanctions would have gone,we wouldn't have removed him and he'd be back to doing what he was doing . surely i'm entitled to say if you're telling me a decision is wrong you got totell me why either that report is wrong or if it's not wrong, surely it makes a difference to your analysis the decision . i said that already but the other thing is on the links between a few and saddam, it was never our case where elements of the american administration argued there was a link between saddam and al qaeda, that was never my case. my cases the one express today and i expressed at the time. i think it is still one of the biggest risks we face which is if you allow the proliferation of chemical or biological or nuclear weapons or its technology, then the risk is it will fall into the hands of these terrorists, that was our worry and
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remember i was thinking this decision not 18 months after 9/11 when we'd seen the mass casualties and when we realized these people would and could kill more people. >> can i pick you up on something you said just then that you would handle a relationship with america differently. i think one of the things a lot of people felt at the time and sense was they looked you're incredibly close relationship with george w. bush and frankly, a lot of people here looked at george w. bush and said this is not a man we trust to make these types of decisions and he seems incredibly gung ho and many were there just going on with him and that seems in many ways to be borne out by the report today that you didn't have the influencethat you thought you were having . what would you do differently and are you still in contact
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with george w. bush? do you still speak? >> i'm in contact with all the former presidents. but where i was talking about the relationship with the us, i mean specifically on the planning for the aftermath area i think in retrospect it was clear that we relied, i relied too much on the assurances given and there were problems within the system. those problems have been well documented and you know, well analyzed. i just don't agree with people about the relationship where you know, when i was prime minister and we had a close relationship and i had it with president clinton and then with president bush, it was important. if i hadn't had a close relationship i don't know that we could have done kosovo that way. that really depended to a large degree on my relationship with president
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clinton. with president bush we made a huge difference on the un route. this is no great secret, the vice president and many parts of the ministration did not not want to do that. president bush i think part of my prompting he was the first american president to commit to a palestinian state area it was the first to agree to publish the road my, to fight the strong position of the israeli government area in 2005 at the g8, we got american commitments on africa and indeed on climate change but we never have been secured without that relationship. one of the things i believe about this country is in today's world, it's got to exert maximum influence and power through its relationships and i always said you can go back and
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freeze it, you've got america on one side and europe on the other, you keep both relationships strong and in doing that you will have a much better ability to influence the world in the way you want and in the interest of your people, the natural interest and as i say, a majority of european nations were with us in that coalition, by the way. it wasn't just japan and australia. the majority of europe came with us so this relationship with america, they say in their report by the way and i want to pick this up because again, i completely disagree with it. they said france and germany have a strong relationship with america today despite their disagreements at the time. their disagreement at the time was a real problem with their relationship and some of the secret leaders had to work hard to create the relationship with america today and i do believe that this fight againstterrorism, we are better to be strongly
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alongside the us, i think it's necessary for our own security but other people can take a different view . >> do you think in retrospect you were to talk on intelligence services and the information they relied provided to you. and second, can i come back to the next point, one of the findings that the strong report is he says the cased award was presented as opposed to say a damaging legacy to undermine trump in government, you think you have seen that were recently? >> look, first of all, when the allegations that we falsified or improperly interfered with the intelligence, you might remember i agreed to hold that inquiry. i was putting the government and myself in a position no government or prime minister ever put themselves in before in terms of giving evidence: being cross-examined, there have been five separate
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reports, the butler inquiry, foreign affairs committee is another report and this one. all of which find and it's actually therein the report that we did not improperly influence that intelligence . if your question was about trust and leslie clear, the allegation is trust when it comes to me , goes very quickly into the allegation you lied about the intelligence and people say the whole time, actually people are being fair and if they read the report that allegation should be put to rest because it's nottrue. and it never was true . and it's been brought up again and again, of course people think the prime minister is light on intelligence is going to damage trust but i didn't . on the intelligence itself, one of the areas of the report i do agree with our all the recommendations around intelligence, beaver people what better qualified
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than me to explain why these recommendations are essential. we can learn lessons from that. i obviously relied on the information i was given and i will never crucify our intelligent people because they do a fantastic job . >>. [inaudible question] jonathan colin urge you to reappraise, i will be with you whatever, george w. bush. given that you have been warned that that pledge went too far in significance, was it disingenuous to claim that claim was tendered to the us? >> it's not. it's not a blank check, it wasn't taken as that. the americans were absolutely clear what leaders were saying and if you read the whole of the report, it makes it clear we were saying we have to go down the un route, build a broad coalition and i
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actually said at one point i couldn't be sure of the support of parliament or the capital even and they were more concerned about whether there were earlier words that we use that were taken out, the fact is yes of course, everyone was concerned but i was also concerned to make sure that affect crucial moment in time when i was right on the cost of this argument in the center of the american administration, do you take the un route or not, i needed to make sure they took the un route and they did. by the way, the inquiry does note this, it was a conversation after that november resolution when it was made absolutely clear by myself and president bush and he accepted that saddam applies to know military conflict when people say the commitment was unqualified, it was absolutely qualified because we went to the un and phenom if he was implied we wouldn't have been in
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conflict. one of the things again i ask people to go back and look at was it was absolutely clear he never had any intention intention of supplying it, he would have been back to his old tricks. >> you say this will affect how people view you. you see it as increasingly futile to make comments on national matters ... >> people can listen ornot listen, it's up to them .i think there's more understanding inthe country and you sometimes think and the fact people know when you're prime minister you have to make decisions. the single most important thing is that people understand that in good faith . i was really critical and i think to be fair about it, this report at no point says i was speaking up for reasons
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other than the reason i gave lori took it in bad faith and that's the thing that damages me or any other political leader. one thing i sometimes say to people as well as how you should trust the politician most is when they are doing what's hardest . when you do what's easy, most politicians can do that and i took a decision that was really hard and despite what people may think, i thought about that decision really, really deeply then and i go back over it all the time, all the time i related every single day, not a single day goes by i don't think about it but i always come back to the nature of it. right to remove them or not, write to be with the us or not. there's no word way inthat . you're either there or you're not and that's what i have to decide so if people don't want to listen to anything else i say then i can't help that. yes.
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>> back in 2003 you said that history would be the judge of your decisions to invade iraq and 13 years onthis , history's first proper judgment offers a decision to invade iraq. why is it that you seem to reject some of the key findings, how do you think history will treat this history is going to judge iraq in 2003. let's be very clear about this decision, it comes with a grade what's happening all over the middle east. that's why i think i hope in the end and i believe by the way that iraq was stabilized and the middle east was stabilized because my analysis with what's going on in the middle east, this is one big struggle area to get rid of sectarian religious politics and replace it with pluralistic religiously tolerant politics and it's about the desire for rule-based economies and not
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corrupt economies and i think those are the twothings people are struggling for all over the middle east . iraq under saddam today has a chance. so what history ends up deciding about the rack is going to depend a lot on what happens in the future but i just ask people to think about this for a moment, all over the middle east these regimes have gone. what you sometimes find in the wet in the debate and again, the report didn't really deal with any of these, these people say it would be better if you kept the dictators in power because it then you at least keep the situation stable. two things we should remember about that. one, it doesn't matter if in a rack if you are kurdish or shia, you are subject to brutal repression and secondly, that stability is not going to hold. that's what the arab spring teaches you and that's why in a sense what we did was move ahead of that but that's not
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the reason we did it but that's why when history looks back on it, yes, you can go to all the mistakes and foresight and planning and process and all the rest but when you come back to the basic decision , i believe people will take a different view. >> contact from the you stand by the decision to invade and you say that it was right to maintain the relationship with the us. have you been dealing with the white house that was not committed to an invasion would you have thought that an invasion was the right thing to do? >> that is a very good question actually. i think after 9/11 i was definitely in favor of dealing with the potential for chemical biological or nuclear devices falling into terrorist hands, i would definitely have been in favor of doing that and i think any american president at the time would feel that way.
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and i can't say how the parts of the negotiation would have been different. i still think, remember the first military action i took was with president clinton in iraq. and it was after that action that it became the official policy of the american government to change the regime in iraq as one of the tensions in policymaking between ourselves and the americans all the way through, their policy was regime change. it was in our policy. of course, it was the security aspect so i can't be sure but the one thing i know, there are a lot of criticisms of president bush obviously but you know, the ... the world is subject to this terrorism and violence which is essentially what happened to us in the ran, it happened to us in afghanistan. it's happening the world over
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and i don't think we've got the right strategy yet to deal with it and i think what's important is that we learn the lessons, both of the bush. of policymaking but the last eight years as well. and the consequences of the arab spring in libya and syria though i don't know how i would've done with a different american president but i was facing the situation i was. >> william james from reuters. you ask yourself today or you ask people today to put themselves in your shoes as prime minister, if i can turn that on itshead and ask you to put yourself in the words of an iraqi citizen , you see slots of the country being overtaken by the islamic state, regular bombings like the one you see 150 people this week.would you still say that they are better off? >> you should let the iraqis
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speak for themselves and i think you will find that some will say no but if you askthe kurds , if you are down in the south i think you will find a different perspective . i think one of the things that is strange about this situation is there was a very strong statement put out by the aid to the president of iraq today saying why he thought iraq was better off as a result of this and i just make the point that look at syria and look at a rack. in iraq, you've got governments fighting the terrorism and their doing so with whatever difficulty but they are and one of the reasons for this is the terror attacks like the one earlier in the week is precisely because the iraqi government with american and other support is gradually squeezing them back and out of the rack, they walk something like 50 percent of their territory. so you know, that is again something that was developed over time but it's important that if people say what iraqis like they put both sides of the situation today.
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and yet i know from the many messages i've received from the rack and i keep in touch with people there is yes, there will be some people who strongly disagree with what we've done what all the other people who say despite all the difficulties it was the right thing to do.we've got three more to go. i'm back in one second. >> thank you, nick from cnn and thank you for taking all these questions. the inquiry said you overestimated your ability to influenceamericans decision-making . yes, you were able to get them to move toward un security council in the first place but when push came to shove , when the second security council resolution loomed large, were you really able there to use your influence? do you recognize what the inquiry says that you did overestimate your ability to influence and i want to add a second question if i may,
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we've heard you talk a lot about how you had to make the decision, i had to make the decision, i had to do this. the inquiry is implicit that there were times when you should, could have shared more information with your colleagues, more than your decision-making area did you recognize that about yourself? >> on the second point, yes i think there are times when that would have been sensible although this was the continual discussion with all my colleagues that i agree that it might've been in retrospect better if we had a measure of formality in some of the papers presented and so on, i accept that but i mean, it was impossible to be in the cabinet at the time and we were discussing literally 26 times we discussed at the capital and a lot of thesewere detailed discussions . i didn't overestimate the us,
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by the way. i was completely realistic. we were a junior partner, 95 percent of the assets in the iraqi mission wereamerican . but i thought it was important and remember i keep going back to the time, my worry after 9/11 was that america decided it was going to go on its own without a coalition and go after the people that caused this destruction in their country and you've really got to go back to that time and feel that atmosphere and one of the reasons why i wanted america to recognize that as a strong reliable ally and that's why i use words like i'm going to be with you come what may, not unconditionally and unqualified, i couldn't do that but i wanted them to know you got someone who's alongside you here precisely because i wanted them to build a coalition . and that coalition actually held together well in afghanistan .
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when it came to a rack, i pulled them into the un process precisely to build a coalition, we could have built it then . and we came to the second resolution, i again persuaded , president bush didn't want to give any more time at that point. i actually constructed with the inspectors six tests that he had to comply with area. and the americans did not want that resolution. but in the end what they said was okay, but there's got to be an ultimatum because if he doesn't comply we can keep our troops down there and let him carry on giving a little bit of compliance when he felt the threat was there and when he didn't. and in the end we couldn't get agreement to that but it's not that i didn't try so i had real influence . of course there were always going to be the senior partners and one of the difficult questions now is given that you are going to be in these types of missions , what is the likelihood of
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british military participation in the world today? so all this certainly is certainly an exceptional set of circumstances. the likelihood is you're going to be facing not an attack on your own territory but you are going to be a working coalition with others, probably under the leadershipof the united states . in these countries where these islamic terrorist exists. you've got to decide as a country, because that means you're part of a coalition and you are a junior partner in that coalition. that you overestimated your ability and i've had a very clear estimation of my influence and i used it in so far as i possibly could you have to understand the american administration were absolutely clear what they wanted also and so in the end as i say, the decision is we went to war. i found it difficult to
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follow particularly sir john chilcot said this morning when i thought he struck a somewhat different tone than in part of the report, i found it difficult whether he was actually saying you just couldn't have gone with america or if he was saying you shouldn't have gone then . i didn't have the ability at that point. i had to decide and i understand what he saying and i thought about that at the time also but in the end, if someone's going to take, i do really feel this, i think i've got the right to say this at least that if someone's going to say the decision is wrong they got to spell out what they say would have happened if i'd taken the opposite position and what is in there is to say i don't think you should've done that but i don't take a view on what you should have done. i'm afraid that's not there. >> ... do you seem more
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anguished or relieved or worried at the report? >> look, this is an issue which i think about all the time and people asked me about all the time. i don't believe this report will bring this issue to an end but it should as i say put to rest some of the allegations. theallegations around good faith. and i think this is important . people can criticize me for the planning and they can criticize the decision but if people are being fair and they read this report, they should not from now on put aside good faith. we live in a political world. nick, you got the last one. >> mixed mccorvey, thank you for being generous with your time and taking the question. can you i ask you this
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question of trust, one of your being themes today is the need to stand tall in the worldfor multilateral institutions punching above its weight but surely that vision is crumbling after the vote in the referendum . if they're not part of you that thinks the reason for that vote is this disconnect between the political elite and the voters, that voters don't trust the political elite and you not think we can trace that back to march 18, 2003 when a british prime minister took this country to war on a prospectus which diplomatically speaking turned out to have a few? silver it and you may have acted in good faith, you may not have done that willingly, may not have lied but nevertheless people saw their prime minister take them to war on a prospectus that now has question marks on it and they don't trust you, they don't trust your successor. >> is a bit of a stretch to go to european referendum back to this. the question of trust in politics and the whole other issue, i think you're
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entitled to two things. as a member of the public. you are entitled to then taking the decision in good faith but i also think you're entitled to have them take the decision. and you know, i said to you at the time i think you should trust the politicians doing what's least popular. unless there are full because they believe in it i think there's a disconnect between politicians and the public, there's a lot of different aspects and dimensions and it's probably for another day but you know, if you are concerned that your prime minister took this decision on the basis they knew was false, or they took this
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decision for reasons that had nothing to do with the reason they gave then you would then be entitled to mistrust them deeply. but this report meets a clear whatever criticism you make or whether you agree with this decision, i did it for the reasons i said i did it and i stand by today forthose reasons . again, today. and i understand why john or his colleagues may take a different point of view. but i was the elected prime minister at the timeand i really do believe ultimately it's better that you have your prime minister's in a position where they take the decisions rather than duck them . okay. i think that's enough.thank you. >> fbi director james comay
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testifies this morning on his recommendation not to prosecute lori clinton for use of a private mail server. that's why that 10 am eastern on c-span three. >>. >> word to the white house coverage continues live with the democratic party platform committee in orlando friday, july 8 starting at 3 pm eastern and continuing saturday, july 9 at 9 am eastern. members will debate and vote on the democratic party platform for this year's elections like coverage on c-span, the c-span radio app and >> the senate is about to gamble in for the day. they will continue work on a bill requiring the agricultural secretary to establish a national voluntary labeling standard for gm (preempting state from
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issuing mandatory labeling laws. a final vote on that bill could happen later today. also for today, senate republicans are meeting with donald trump at the national republican senatorial committee offices near capitol hill. they could hear reaction to that meeting on the floor today and now, to live coverage of the senate on c-span2. >>. >> the senate will come to order. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, draw near and walk with us today. lead our senators beside still waters and restore their souls.
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comfort them with your grace as they strive to keep america strong. use them to make our nation a less dangerous place to live. may our law makers find fellowship with you as they seek your guidance and rely on your wisdom. direct their steps, providing them with confidence for every contingency. make them more than conquerors in all of life's alternating and fluctuating intricacies. fill them with reverential awe
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as they comprehend their accountability to you. we pray in your merciful name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: the democratic leader has been leading a partisan filibuster of the anti-zika funding for over a week said this about anti-zika funding yesterday. quote, there's no excuse for inaction and partisanship. we can't afford to waste another day, a week, another month. maybe democrats are finally ready to end their partisan attack on women's health. i certainly hope so and as i've said many times before, they'll have that opportunity soon. now, on a different matter, mr. president, far too many americans know the toll that prescription opioid and heroin epidemic is taking on our families, our communities, and each of our states. antidrug groups certainly know the toll this crisis is taking. nearly 200 groups dealing with the crisis in their communities call for action in a letter to
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congress just this week. they wrote to endorse the conference report for the comprehensive addiction and recovery act. let me share what they wrote. we commend the conferees for the final bill and are calling on congress for quick action to send this to the president's desk for signature. this report is truly a comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic which includes critical policy changes and new resources. the report also acknowledges that the six pillars of a comprehensive response are each of equal import and interdependent as a whole, including prevention, treatment, recovery support, criminal justice reform, overdose reversal, and law enforcement. only through a comprehensive response can we reverse current trends and provide individuals and families impacted by addiction with the services they
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need. as you know, 129 americans die each day as a result of drug overdose, and this epidemic affects the public health and safety in every community across the country. this bill is the critical response we need. these are groups like the vermont recovery network, the free heroins hold in minnesota, kent county memorial hospital in rhode island and voices of hope in my home state of kentucky among dozens and dozens more. many have seen the impact of this epidemic firsthand. they know the difference this legislation could make and they're calling for us to send this bill to the president as soon as possible. there's no reason our democratic colleagues shouldn't support this conference report now as well, especially given their support for cara when the senate voted 94-1 to pass it.
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the senior senator from vermont called the bill historic and said he was proud to be a cosponsor. the senior senator from ohio has commended colleagues for coming together in a bipartisan way and taking action on the opioid epidemic that is devastating communities across our country. and just last week the senior senator from washington penned an op-ed. i'm proud she wrote to be working with republicans and democrats to conference legislation, the comprehensive addiction recovery act, cara chrks would offer cities and states stronger tools to confront opioid addiction. it's understandable why she would be proud. the trilogy recovery community, an organization in washington state that has joined the chorus of those calling for passage of the cara conference report would certainly agree. the conference report the senate will soon consider can make a difference for the american people. it's the product of years of hard work and it's very similar to the cara bill that already
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passed the senate with no, no democratic opposition. now is the time to finalize it. as the nearly 200 groups who fight this epidemic in our states are advocating because this issue is just too important to be caught up in partisan politics. now, on an entirely different matter, yesterday the top republican and the top democrat from the agriculture committee came to the floor to talk about the compromise bill that would protect middle-class families from unnecessary and unfair higher food prices while also ensuring access to more information about the food they purchase. chairman roberts said this bipartisan bill will benefit consumers -- quote -- "by greatly increasing the amount of food information at their fingertips while avoiding devastating increases in the price of food." ranking member stabenow noted that it will prevent a confusing patchwork of 50 different labeling requirements and 50 different states and it
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recognizes the scientific consensus that biotechnology is safe. it's the result of bipartisan work to address an issue that could negatively harm consumers and producers. we could actually pass it today. on one final matter, we all know that so-called sanity wear city poll -- sanctuary city policies are extreme. they undermine the safety of our communities. they can inflict incredible pain on innocent victims and their families. and the secretary of homeland security as called such policies not acceptable and counterproductive to public safety. yet democrats voted to block two proposals that would have worked to prevent so-called sanctuary city policies from existing in the first place and would have enhanced penalties to keep more criminals off our streets when cities refused to do away with such policies. senator toomey offered one of them that stopped dangerous sanctuary cities act which he described this way.
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my legislation stands for the simple proposition that the safety of the american people matters. the life of kate steinle matters. protecting our neighborhoods from violent criminals and terrorists matters. senator toomey's bill would have ensured more fairness for citizens and governments that do the right thing. it would have supported police officers who risk everything for our safety. and it enjoyed critical support from several law enforcement organizations. democrats again chose partisan politics over making a difference for the american people. i know senator toomey won't be deterred. i know he'll continue his work to do something about this issue. he's been an outspoken leader against the dangerous and extreme policies of sanctuary cities for some time now so i want to thank him for his leadership on this issue and his tireless work to advance this measure. i also want to recognize senator cruz for his legislation, kate's law, which would have helped pocket the public even when
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jurisdictions continue to follow so-called sanctuary city policies but putting more dangerous criminals behind bars and off our streets. these measures would have sought to prevent the kind of pain that kate's family has been forced to endure, a pain that no family should have to experience. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the dblgic leader. mr. reid: i ask consent that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, my friend, the republican leader, talks about playing politics. there's no better example of that than what's taken place this week. everyone knows the innate problems with what was tried on
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sanctuary cities and on the so-called kate's law. everyone knows they are just a political message that means nothing for comprehensive immigration reform or immigration reform of any kind. so that's why those matters were brought up. it's obvious that we have a senator in pennsylvania, a republican incumbent who is in deep trouble politically and that's why they tried to jam that with us. and there's no matter example than what's going on with the opioid matter that's sweeping the country. as we will be here now, i came in here 15 minutes ago. another half-hour there will have been two people die from opioids in america.
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all over the country. and to show how disingenuous and how political the majority is on opioids, one need only look to tennessee. in tennessee the knoxville chief of police, david rausch, knocks congress over opioid funding. now, my friend talks about the authorization that shot through here. of course it came through the senate pretty easily because with authorization -- there was no money there. that's why you have the chief of police, a place like knoxville, tennessee, who is saying shame on you for not giving us money. we can't do anything. all you're doing is authorizing more programs that cost more resources. the police department, we can't do it all. it's absolutely disappointing, he said, that congress didn't move today on funding.
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unfortunately congress today did not do their job, and he is right. that's the message it sends to our communities. if you're not getting treated, they die. and that's the way it is. and we're having a conference report come to us that gives no resources. and that's why you have people all over the country. rausch went to the white house with 20 other law enforcement leaders from across the country to talk about this. they came for one reason and one reason only, to get money so they can do something to stop this terrible thing that's going on in america today. but again just like zika, it's all for show. no money. the threat of zika continues to rise. republicans are intent on wasting time with their partisan
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and deeply and serious zika conference report. they will force yet another failed vote on the cynical legislation and then pack their bags for the longest senate vacation since 1954. the senate will not pass this republican conference report. president obama would not sign it. this reckless exercise will leave the public health experts and officials with no -- no closer to getting the funding they need to combat this horrible epidemic. as we speak, there are more than 2,900 people in the united states and our territories with zika. nearly 5,500 women have shown evidence of infection of the zika virus. seven babies at least have been born in the united states with zika-related birth defects, and we all know what they are -- little heads, skulls caved in.
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it's only going to get worse unless we act. there is a bipartisan solution to combating this terrible virus if republicans are willing to do something. in may, the senate passed a bipartisan compromise to address the zika crisis. it had money in it, real money, got 89 votes, an unimaginable marcmargin for many pieces of legislation. only the conservative right-wing, right-wing members of this body voted against this. maybe they want to be part of that. don't receive anything from the koch brothers if you're not way over there. i didn't like it because i thought there should be more money. we asked for $1.9 billion. went out of the here with 89
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votes was $1.1 billion in funding. short of what we feel is needed. it's not sufficient, but at least it's a step in the right direction. when our country is faced with an emergency, the american people should be able to turn to us -- congress -- to act. they expect us to put politics aside. we've already done that in the senate, we democrats. the senate bill, while imperfect, was not riddled with toxic provisions. today i call upon speaker ryan to bring the senate-passed zika bill to us for a vote. it would pass, $is.1 billion -- $1.1 billion, not to my liking, but i would accept it in a heartbeat. this legislation would save lives, and it would pass the house of representatives if they would let the democrats vote. but he's got this deal that he's
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following, which is a deal into oblivion. it didn't work for my friend, who i care so much about, former speaker boehner, didn't work for him, and it's not going to work for ryian. you cannot do -- for ryan. you cannot try to do everything in your power to appease the far-right crazies in his caucus. they're even adhering to the hastert rule, named after the disgraced, disgraced former speaker, who's now in prison. speaker ryan should listen to the american people. they desperately want people to act. they want us to responsibly solve problems like the zika virus, like opioids, not waste time appealing to the most extreme elements of the republican system. what the hastert rule is, everybody, is the speaker will not allow a vote unless it can
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pass with a majority of the majority. to get a majority of the majority over there is worse than trying to get a majority of the majority over here. i mean, we've got some dandies over here, but they take the cake. they're at -- and it is not going to work for speaker rye kwan. we're -- and it is not going to work for speaker ryan. we're willing to work with republicans. they shouldn't just leave here with this seven-week long vacation with nothing done on this terrible scourge that we have, zika. it is time for speaker ryan and his fellow republicans to put politics aside and let the whole house vote on this. our country is facing an emergency. it is time for republicans to start treating it as such. mr. president, i heard the republican senator come to the floor yesterday. she said, i don't know what they're talking about. the word "planned parenthood" is not in the legislation we have.
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of course it doesn't say "planned parenthood." but if you'll read the english language, it stops people from going to these planned parenthood clinics to get their advice on birth control, where millions of american women go. my republican friends have an obsession with planned parenthood. they want to do everything they can to stop them. in fact, we, as you know -- as you know, there were republicans that went and got phony pictures, they were proven false, oh, and that gave republicans such -- they loved that. what terrible stuff is going on. they're selling body parts. it was a scam by some right-wing character who has been shown to be just that. a scam artist. it exempts -- the provision we're asked to vote for exempts clean water act provision.
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it cuts federal funding by $500 billion below what the senate asked for. it was to process veterans' claims. they whack it ute. it cuts obamacare by $543 million. i'm sure my republican friends are happy voting for this one. what we sent over there said you can't have confederate flags flying over military cemeteries. they took that out and oh, that must be a real day of joy. we can now start flying the confederate flags at our cemeteries. this legislation sets a terrible precedent of offsetting an emergency. it's wrong. mr. president, i would ask you tell us -- i would ask you announce the business of the day. the presiding officer: yoshesd the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the house message to accompany is $74, which the clerk will report.
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the clerk: house message to accompany s. 764, an act to reauthorize and amend the national sea grant college program act and for other purposes. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: mr. president, i come to the floor today to send a message to secretary of defense carter. i wish to alert him to a problem that needs high-level attention. it is standing in the way of one of the top priority goals of the congress: auditing the books of the defense department. the need for annual financial audit was originally established by the chief financial officers act of i 1990. by march of 1992, each agency of the federal government was supposed to present a financial statement to an inspector general for audit in accordance with the prescribed standards. to date, all departments have earned unqualified or clean
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opinions. but there is one glaring exception: that's the defense department. it has a dubious distinction both under republican and democrat administrations of earning an unblemished string of failing opinions known as "disclaimers." in the face of endless slipping and stumbling, congress finally cracked down, except the crackdown looks like it hasn't done any good. there was at that time a new line drawn in the sand. it was placed in section 1003 of the national defense act of 2009. the department in 2009 was given a charitable seven-year reprieve from that requirement of having your books auditable, and it was given that time until september 30, 2017.
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those had seven bonus years did not buy us in the congress much. all the slipping and sliding and stumbling have continued undiminished. the 25-year push to audit the books is stuck at a roadblock. billions of dollars have been spent trying to solve the root cause problem, but the fix is nowhere in sight. and until it is, auditing the books will remain an illusive goal for the department of defense, but a goal that has been met by every other agency of the federal government. what i'm talking about is the department's broken accounting system. this problem has been a festering sore for many years. it adversely affected every facet of the audit effort.
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the broken accounting system is driving the audit freight train. how could this -- how could the mighty defense department be buffaloed for so long by something so simple? the pentagon develops and produces the most advanced weapons the world has ever known and does it with relative ease. yet the defense department can't seem to acquire the tools it needs to keep track of the money it spends. with little or no fiscal accountability, congress cannot exercise effective oversight of defense spending, and if congress can't do that, then adding money to the defense budget and borrowing at the same time to do it is foolish in my book. add -- and that is precisely why i opposed a recent amendment to
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add $18 billion to the defense bill. so i want to take a moment to put my spotlight on the issue. my hope is to stimulate creative problem-solving and innovative solutions that seem to not be getting their proper attention in the department of defense. a recent press report pinpointed the cause for all the stumbling in the defense department that's going on. it drew on testimony by the government's preeminent authority on accounting: comptroller gene dodarel, his testimony before the senate budget committee had a raiser-sharp edge. it zeroed right in on the old stumbling block -- underline "accounting problems." while the pentagon is spending in excess of $10 billion a year to modernize its vast accounting
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system, the g.a.o. director said, these investments -- quote -- "have not yielded positive results, and since d.o.d. officials continue to make system investments that don't produce better systems," he said, "those responsible need to be held accountable." end of quote. they are wasting money, in other words. as a clear, unambiguous indicator of the continuing accounting mess, he cited an excess of $1 billion in anti-defense deficiency act violations incurred by d.o.d. the anti-defense deficiency act violations, according to the comptroller general, mean the department is -- quote -- "spending money that it should not be spending" -- end of quote. i agree with the comptroller general. that's what i call unlawful
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spending. a good accounting system, with effective internal controls, should be able to detect and should be able to stop illegal spending, and particularly fraud and theft. what's in place today doesn't accomplish that goal. unauthorized spending is usually discovered instead by chance and long after the fact. when asked how much of d.o.d.'s $600 billion in yearly expenditures is actually accounted for, the comptroller general stated bluntly -- his words "very little." the comptroller general's assessment is a very bruising indictment of how the taxpayers' precious money is mishandled in the pentagon. the secretary of defense has a fiduciary responsibility under the constitution and under the
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law to account for every penny spent. none has honored that responsibility. one secretary of state, however, made a good-faith effort: leon panetta formally launched the readiness initiative in october 2011. while giving it a big boost with visibility, this effort sputtered to a standstill, like all the others over the past decades. during secretary carter's nomination hearing, senator manchin of west virginia questioned him about the faltering efforts to audit the defense department. the secretary replied -- quote -- "i am committed on the audit front" -- end of quote. in response to a follow-up question, he stated, i will hold the chief financial officers -- quote -- "responsible and accountable for making aweddability one of my --
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audittability one of my top business reform priorities." end of quote. during a meeting in my office, he provided me similar assurances. these solemn vows don't give me a whole lot of confidence. his predecessor spoke the same words, but all seem -- but all we coo is a trail of broken promises. to win this war on making the books auditable, it will take perseverance and guts. it will take top-notch, hands-on leadership skills and a chief financial officer who grasp the root cause problem and is committed to solving it. in watchdogging the audit for years, i've come to know the underlying problem all too well. i have been down in the trenches and seen it close with my own eyes. i was introduced to the problem when it just popped up right in


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