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tv   Craig Whitlock The Afghanistan Papers  CSPAN  December 29, 2021 2:30pm-3:28pm EST

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through an open door between his office and there's. >> you will also hear want to talk. >> the number of people -- [inaudible] i promise you i won't go anywhere, i will be right behind you. >> presidential recordings. c-span now mobile app. >> going to put on my reading glasses, author of the afghanistan, secrets of the history of war. investigative reporter with the washington post, this is a timely account of how the war was launched in 2001, straightforward roles and unanimous public support it
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devolved into ignorance, deceit and corruption evolved into a colossal failure. it's more than 1000 people who played a direct role in the war from white house and pentagon leaders, soldiers and aid workers on the front lines reviewing how the u.s. government's strategies for rms, drugs and corruption had a stranglehold on our allies in the afghan government. npr's undergone correspondent called both indictment of deceit, senior military civiliag officials the same tragic echoes of the vietnam conflict. with that, i give you craig. [applause] [applause] >> hi, thank you for coming out today. i am craig, a reporter with the
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washington post. thank you for the kind introduction. i want to talk a little bit how the book came together and i hope you ask lots of questions, i am a reporter took my job in life is to ask questions so i would be remiss if i didn't take the opportunity to answer questions about the book or the war in afghanistan in general so when i'm done talking, don't hesitate, don't be shy, it's all free. the afghanistan papers in a nutshell is about what went wrong in afghanistan the last 20 years and also how u.s. officials misled, deceived and lied to the public for much of that time and i don't use those words lightly, in the book i'm careful to characterize when governmentnt officials are misleading or hiding information
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or in some cases, flat-out lying. the goal of the book, to explain in clear terms what went wrong in afghanistan and how the government withheld the truth about what was going on. there are some aspects about the book that are a little different. even though we were in war in afghanistan for 20 years and there have been all sorts of books written about the war, many excellent books and until recently, there weren't any that addressed what went wrong in afghanistan from beginning to the end or almost end, there was such a big subject to get your arms around, we been there 20 years, we didn't even start to write a book to try to explain what happened or what went wrong, most books have been written about individual battles or episodes in time or certain presidential administrations but until recently, there hadn't
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been one that attempted to explain basic history of the war beginning to almost the end. this book came out august 31 this year, coincidentally the last day not to say to troops were in afghanistan, president biden ordered their withdrawal and that was part coincidence but not. when i was working on the book, we were originally going to publish in time for the 20th anniversary of the start of the war in october but once the summer we saw things were unraveling in afghanistan and president biden announced his intent to withdraw all u.s. troops, publisher simon & schuster agreed to move the date up to the end of august so we were able to get out just as the war was coming to a conclusion. another unusual aspect of the book is that it's based on this
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almost entirely on documents, public records. the book is based first on documents the washington post obtained from u.s. government under the freedom of information act, i'll talk about that in a second. it's also based on hundreds of oral history interviews conducted with people who served in afghanistan whether army soldiers, generals, aid workers, you name it. i was able to draw on great sources who collected oral historye interviews over the years so thees framework of the book is based on thousands of interviews but these were people i personally interviewed, they were done by government officials or scholars or army historians or others so it's a little different that way, a framework based on documents. the other unusual aspect, ith never set outse to write a booko begin with, the book was based
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on a tip from a that's how it started. an investigative reporter for the washington post, i do the stories, i've never written a book before and had no intention of writing front but in the summer of 2016, i got a call from the source and the source told me there something i should look up, there had been an interview the u.s. agency had done general michael flynn, an army general who served as chief of u.s. and nato intelligence in afghanistan is director of the defense intelligence agency. many of you have probably heard since then, that summer he was becoming more well-known obtaining with president trump, during the presidential race, he came to notoriety when he appeared at the national convention in 2016 and started chanting lock her up, lock her
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up but prior to his entry into politics, he was regarded as a good reputation within military circles. he has the intelligence official, he served in afghanistan and iraq, repeatedly and i had been covering the pentagon before i joined the investigative desk so i was interested in what the interview with general flynn had been about, he was interviewed at length about the warvi in afghanistan and in this interview according to my tipster was not a very well-known government agency hold special inspector general construction. a bit of a a mouthful but his jb was to track wasting abuse in the war zone and find out if money was being misspent or if people were s stealing it so i s curious why they interviewed general flynn but i thought
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okay, i want a copy of what he said and a transcript of what he said because he was known for being a blunt forthright spoken person how things were going in the war so i thought it would be a relatively simple request, i called up the inspector general's office and i said i understand your people conducted an interview with general flynn, i hear it's an unclassified interview, he been retired at hthat time. i'd like to see what he said, can i have a copy? at first they said sure, that shouldn't be a problem, why don't you put your request in writing under the freedom of information act, our government public records law. so i i did. they indicated i should expect to get a copy of the transcript of the interview and a couple of weeks or so. well, it started to drag on a bit in the presidential campaign began to heat up and general flynn started taking more prominent role in the inspector
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general cap blowing mepe off iny request so finally when trump was elected president and named general flynn as his national security advisor, the very next day the inspector general sent a formal notification denying my request to obtain a copy of what he said about the war in afghanistan. as you can imagine, there is even more public interest in what general flynn said about's thet war. here's a guy who was a three-star general in the war zone, known to be pretty critical of the pentagon at times and now he's national security advisor to a president in office was promised to end the war but unclear how that would happen. story short, washington post is out of the public interest is so great would file a lawsuit in federal court against inspector general to force them to release the interview with general flynn.
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around the same time, i found out the reason the inspector general interviewed general flynn before a program they called lessons learned, they were trying to do a program to study what had gonee wrong in afghanistan trying to avoid the mistakes and any other military conflicts in the future. well, they discovered the inspector general had actually interviewed more than 400 people who played a role in the war over the previous 15 or 16 years. this ranged from white house officials to diplomats and ambassadors, generals, aid workers, afghan officials and the lightbulb started going on in my head saying i i wanted to know what those people, said, to why not? the american people deserve to know the people who are in
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charge of the work said about the mistakes made and lessons learned. a in any event, when you sue the government, it tends to move slowly so we had to go to court and it took several months but special inspector general after several months, they agree to release transcripts of general flynn's interview and this is it, right? ten singlespaced pages, a transcript of what he said so i got to lay eyes on it and let me -- he was pretty open in his interview, careful not to tell how the war was conducted by in particular how government officials portrayed the war, i covid the war ever since end of 2001, a correspondent pentagon reporter for the washington post, then i was on the investigative force so i was
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pretty familiar with a lot of over the years from government officials where they would w say we were making progress in afghanistan, no matter what setbacksic happened or we had to keep sending more troops will keep longer, they would always say were making progress, they would acknowledge it, not everything was perfect but we have three presidents in a row, they all promised we would prevail, we would win in afghanistan and faye with be the president to end the war. this is what general flynn said about some of thesese things. he said operational commanders, state department,nd policymakers defense policymakers are going to be inherently rosy in their assessments. as intelligence makes its way higher, it gets consolidated and water down to get politicized, gets politics because once policymakers get their hands on
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it, once operational commanders get their hands on it, put their twist to it. it was never good. he means, he was intel chief in afghanistan, military headquarters in kabul, he would collect all of these assessments. before 9:00 in the morning was never good, if i brought good news in, we captured or killed somebody, we found out something. we just did something that actually worked so it might have made me feel good but after 2006, it was irrelevant because it was so many people and it wasn't making any difference at all. this is what he said about the war in afghanistan, his interview in the summer of 2015. he goes on and on about this. he says the reporting that comes out of s their out of military headquarters is wonderful,
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rosie. their teleconference with secretary defense, the field commanders, i give my presentation about what's going on and it a sucks. it's almost like disregarded, commanders go okay, got it, here is what we are going to do anyway. he goes on and says to me it's an important. i , if you go back and look at every battalion and brigade from the beginning of the war, they are essentially the same. defeat and destroy the enemy and protect the population, this was true for everyry commander from the u.s. side. essentially two things, defeat the enemy and check the population so all this commanders went in for whatever their military rotation was, nine months or six months and were given that mission, except
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with the mission and executed the mission. then they all said when they left they accomplished their mission, every single one of them, not one commander is going to leave afghanistan, not one will leave and say we didn't accomplish our mission, so the next guy shows up saying rude up. they do a mission analysis and they look back andme say man, ts is really bad. they have all of these wonderful stats about what they did, i'm telling you true, in 2002 until today from ambassadors down to the low level, they all say we are doing a great job. so we are doing such a great job, why does it feel we are losing? three-star general, multiple tours in afghanistan with intelligence chief same the government telling the truth, military commanders are telling the truth, it's clear we are
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losing but ultimately we are winning. the lightbulb had already gone on, it is even brighter because it's completely at odds with the government have been saying. remember the time of the interview was 2015, that was the end of the obama administration and people were called president obama when he campaign for office, particularly for his second term, he promised to end the war and bring the u.s. troops home try to time the second termnt and it. that didn't h happen but people assumed war was coming to an end, it wasn't w conclusive butn terms of u.s. troops coming out, the government had been portraying this as a success, we could leave from thenm afghan government would be strong enough to defend itself and yet here is general flynn is going to be the new national security advisor saying no, it is nonsense, we've been, we've
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known since 2006 onward so i want to know, what do the interviews say with other commanders and these other diplomats and other people? i thought after we won the lawsuit against inspector general, they would give us the other documents we requested, the other interviews, 400 other people who played a role in the war. the inspector general doesn'te and said they are not going to give those soo we went back a second time to obtain the other documents and even then the inspectoral general dragged ther feet and it took three years before they would release all of the transcripts and 400 other interviews, they really focus on it and there was no real good reason, in their eyes, there just was not public interest in what they said in the interviews. washington post saying the public absolutely had not just an interest but had a right to
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know what their leaders were saying about mistakes in afghanistan so it took a few years but wek finally managed to get our hands on the other transcripts and let me read a few to you, pretend you are me, you haven't to get the documents and you finally get to read them, he wants to know what it says, how bad were things in afghanistan? the first transcripts were another three-star army general douglas. he served in the white house under bush and obama, he wasn't the military commander in the field but he was in charge of policy at the white house overseeing the work such a so here's myb talking about when he w came to the white house in 2006, 2007, i bumped into a more fundamental lack of knowledge, we were
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devoid of the fundamental understanding of afghanistan, we didn't know what we were doing. what are we trying to do here? we didn't have the foggiest notion of what we are undertaking. we never would have tolerated statements if we understood, and if this didn't start happening until later in obama's term. for example, the economy, we stated our goal was to establish a flourishing market economy and afghanistan, i thought we should have specified the drug trade, this is the only part of the market worse, it's really much worse than you think so let me explain what he means here about a market economy, part of the strategy was to build up afghan economies so they could stand on their own feet, he saying if the market economy is notot working, the only thing working is the drug trade. afghanistan supplies more than
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80% of the world supply of heroin and opioids so he's being sarcastic but said the only thing working is the production of opium and heroin but he's a three-star general, the wars are under two presidents saying we didn't know what we were doing, we didn't have the. foggiest notion of what we are undertaking. can you imagine? does anybody remember this? i don't, this is completely odd. he also talks about how we are spending billions of dollars trying to build up w afghanistan to build roads and schools and hospital clinics, well-intentioned things but we were spending more money in afghanistan to build up their economy than we did in western europe after world war ii under the marshall plan with inflation, to give you an idea of how much we spent in that country. general set we were pouring
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money into huge infrastructure projects to show that we could spend it and we were building infrastructure in ways afghanistanit could never sustan or even use in some cases. he's has one example of this is a ribbon cutting ceremony complete with giant scissors i attended for the district police chief in some godforsaken province, u.s. army corps of engineers completed building for the glass façade and it atrium. the police chief couldn't even open the door. he'd never seen a doorknob like this. to me this encapsulates the whole experience and afghanistan so you can imagineu that, he gos to a ribbon cutting ceremony for a fancy police station with a glass atrium and is a ribbon cutting and can't even open the door, yet we are spending millions of dollars to build up the country.
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there's one other thing i want to highlight that is particularly important, he said of the american people knew ther magnitude of this dysfunction, 2400 lives lost, who will say this was in vain? what he's referring to, 2400 livesai lost, the number of u.s. troops killed or died in afghanistan. who will say this was in vain? and army general, three-star army general to even suggest, to even suggest u.s. troops may have lost their lives in vain in that war is pretty shocking. i was in the military for a number of years and they always reassured troops and their families any sacrifice they make to the contrary isny worth it ad appreciated and never in vain yet here is a general in a confidential interview with another government agency questioning whether groups may
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have lost their lives in vain. status shocking to l me. let me read you some more, i imagine if you are a reporter reading these, these are coming and fresh to you, these are not assessments that you are hearing in public about the war, these are people in charge.e maybe flynn and general are exaggerating for effect, frustrated the war has been going just venting. here's another interview, exactly what it looks like pointed out, an interview with ambassador richard, a state department's top policymaker for south asia, he's in charge of policy for afghanistan and state department chiefs spokesman under president bush. this is how his interview starts off. general observations. let me approach this from two directions. the first m question, did we knw what we were doing? the second is what was wrong
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with how we did it? the first question, did we know what we're doing? i think the answer is no. first we went into get al qaeda and to get al qaeda out of afghanistan, even without killing bin laden and we did that, then the taliban was shooting back at us so we started shooting at them and then came the enemy. ultimately, we kept expanding the mission. if there is ever a notion is afghanistan. we went from saying we will get rid of al qaeda so they can't threaten us anymore to think we are going to and. then we said we would get all of the groups taliban works with and having our exit strategy we started we needed a stable government in afghanistan. once you start seeing that you see collections making sure supreme court functions
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properly, the afghans have an anticorruption authority in a women's ministry that looks at women's rights, new educational curricula, transitional justice and blah blah blah, we were trying to build a systematic government like washington d.c., not the best example but that is the one we have in our hands. a country that doesn't operate thats. way. if we think our exit strategy is to leave the taliban which can't bebe done given the local regiol and cross circumstances were established in afghan government capable of delivering government to its citizens using american tools and methods, then we have no exit strategy because both of those are impossible. so let me unpack that a little but, thismp is a state department's top diplomat to stop asia and chief spokesman for a while. he's talking about expanding the
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mission and mission create what he saying is we first went to afghanistan, everybody knew why you went to afghanistan to begin with, to go after al qaeda and defend the united states against another attack like what happened september 11 but the mission cap shipping and expanding. people can kind of grasp about but once that happened, things went off the rails. he said the reason we start fighting the taliban is because they were shooting at us. they want the enemy. he essentially set we have no exit strategy because these goals arere impossible. he also started off saying we didn't know what we're doing. we have a three-star general top diplomat saying we didn't know what we are doing in afghanistan, that is remarkable, right? nobody said this in public for 15 or 16 years yet here they are in black and white unclassified interviews admitting that the mission and strategy had been a
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failure. i read a few more so you get the sense of how consequential the admissions are. this is an interview with general dan mcneill, a three-star army general serving as commander in afghanistan under president bush, he went one year end came b back and wet another year. first he talks about in 2007 when he went, he said there was no nato campaign plan, a lot of talk but no plan. so for better or worse provided what we did, we did with forethought but most was reacting to conditions on the ground. there was no campaign plan, there were people who thought existed and they were taking care of their piece of it but the didn't exist. so here's a two time general in charge of what they didn't have
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a campaign plan. there are just over there fighting and sort of reacting to situations. it talks about the desired and. i tried to get someone to define for me what it meant even before i went over there, nobody could. nobody would give me a good definition what it meant after i'd been there a couple of weeks in 2007, the question became what is achievable? if we can raise ten to 12 spots on infant mortality and party indexes a few spots, that would be great. some people were thinking in terms of democracy but that is not going to happen in afghanistan. two time more commander thing we didn't have a strategy. nobody would even talk about what we are really trying to accomplish before we could come home. he's the guy in charge twice, i thought maybe he was exaggerating, i'm not a military historian but i can't even think
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of another general in charge of a war in u.s. history for admitted "afterwards" they didn't have a strategy, they had no campaign plan. maybe a misguided strategy, may be fatally flawed, maybe one that didn't work out but saying he didn't have one at all is stunning. maybe is exaggerating, maybe venting like the other guys but there's another interview where general mcneil's successors in afghanistan, david richards, a commander, a british general in charge of u.s. and nato troops during the bush administration so his interview started asking about that strategy, he said no long-term strategy, no command-and-control. trying to get a a single coheret long-term approach, proper strategy but instead we got a lot of tactics. there was no long-term strategy
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so saying the same thing as general mcneill, they didn't get along, they didn't see eye to eye but they agreed, they didn't have a strategy, it is remarkable. he's talking about how hard it was to get attention or resources from policymakers in washington because the administration was focused on iraq. ... i said we do not have enough resources. general, what do you mean? i said we do not have enough troops and resources and expectations h about the war. general, i don't agree. move on. he is the war commander. he has a confrontation, essentially. hey, this is not working out.
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we need more troops. we need more resources. please striking stuff. nobody had said this in public. at that point, i knew we had a big story on our hands. as general said, much worse than you think. 2017t and 18. despite all this rosy talk from their leaders. as a world drags on for two decades by definition it is not going very well. they thought that it was important to tell the story as best we could based on these documents.
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while i was doing it, i came across another patch of documents. these are called snowflakes. memos wrote so many memos when he was the head of the pentagon. ashe would dictate them to a stf he would dictate one page or two page memos. they would print them out and they would flutter down on people's desks. he actually dictated more than 50,000 of them during his time in office. he was a nonprofit group at george washington university called the national security archive. it is a nonprofit private group of researchers that does tremendous work for government documents. in particular during the cold war. this is what they made their name for. they had been using the freedom of information act, trying to get documents out about the war in afghanistan. they had pursued the defense
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department to obtain all 50,000. most of these were unclassified. these are public records. this was long after rumsfeld had retired. the national security archive had just won in court. i met with them and they agreed to let me have a sneak peek, so to speak. so many coming in about rumsfeld's term it was kind of overwhelming. i get to sort through them. they are really aligned with these other interviews that we got. the one that jumped out at me, this is a one page memo. he sends it to a subject.
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october 21, 2002. after the war in afghanistan. also today 2:55 p.m. with the m president. he introduced one of his classmates from yale. i was with the president for about three minutes and talked about the national security council meeting where i have been told he wanted to meet with general make meal. you know who general mcneil is. talking about democracy. no campaign plan. rumsfeld says he is a general in charge of afghanistan. i don't need to meet with him. they suggested we have a meeting. i just kind of want to stay in touch. here as a commander-in-chief,
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forgotten the name of the top general in afghanistan and when the defense secretary says, sir, i think you ought to meet with general make meal, no, i don't need to do that. i don't have time for that. that is hard to believe. that is not what the public had been told. that just shows you to what degree president bush had stopped paying attention to afghanistan. that is where his focus was, in terms of national security. making plans from iraq. what went wrong in afghanistan. thest white house had largely stopped paying attention to what had been going on in afghanistan they thought t afghanistan was enhanced, they stopped paying attention.
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all the energy and resources shifted to iraq. this is a big part of the book that explains how that happens. at sums it up, i think. another memo from rumsfeld. september 2003. he dictated it to steve who was his undersecretary. the intelligence official at the pentagon. i have no visibility into who the bad guys are in afghanistan or iraq. all of the intel from the community and it sounds like we know a great deal. when you push at it, we find out we don't have anything that is actionable. we are deficient in human intelligence. two years into the war, the
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secretary of defense, i have no ability into who the bad guys are in afghanistan. two years in the war, we cannot define the enemy. within the first six months, the leaders had been captured or fled the country. that part of the mission had been accomplished. two years later we are still fighting. cannot really define who the enemy is. this sums that more than anything. getting hands on these documents at the washington post. we will publish a series about
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what went wrong in afghanistan. i will just read you the headline in the first paragraph. at war with the troops. the trove of government documents obtained by the washington post reveals that senior u.s. officials failed to use the truth about the war in afghanistan throughout the 18 year campaign. losing pronouncements they knew to be false. it would become unwinnable. a punch in the nosebleed. the first paragraph of the story we said it flat out. they had made announcements that they knew to be false. saying that at the washington post. we are saying we knew what they
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were saying was false. the way to do that was by documenting all of this. we published all of these documents online. so people could see for themselves that these people really said this. in this day and age of fake news and people say you make up anonymous sources, we thought it was important that these are public records.
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i was able to get these
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they were leaked by the new york times and washington post. differences between the pentagon papers in the afghanistan papers . assessments of what was going wrong in both of those wars. they were completely at odds with public a statements that te government had made for years and years without the two longest in american history. they both ended up the same way. that is why we called it this. i appreciate you all giving me a chance to explain the history of that, of this project to you. i will take any questions if anybody has them. please just step up to the mic and we will give it a whirl.
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>> you said that the goal of al qaeda was already met. i was just wondering if you would make a reference to how to continue. i am sure that that had something to do with it. like what eisenhower said. the industrial complex. did you uncover the rums fields and the money base. >> there are defense contractors making as lot of money. an awful lot of corruption in afghanistan. there is no question that that exists. the level of corruption. a guy who was a forensic
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accountant for the department of defense. his job was to go to afghanistan and analyze where the money was coming from in the war zone. after a lot of work, he was able to estimate that through the money of contracts in the war zone, for things like transporting fuel than food and weapons and everything else into afghanistan, 40% of the contracts that were led out eended up in the hands of the taliban and, organized crime or corrupt officials. a lot of people were making a lot of illicit money, particularly during the obama administration. that is when we were spending the most, when we had the most troops they are by far. i think frankly the bush administration just took their eyes off the ball. they went in and within six months, al qaeda had been eradicated from afghanistan.
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bin laden went to pakistan. actually did not have many troops in afghanistan. were not spending that much money. 10,000 troops there. the bush administration was trying to keep those troop numbers really low. we would run into repeat during the 1980s when they got stuck in a quagmire. trying to keep our troop levels low and not spend money at a time when frankly afghanistan was a real mess at that point. sort of a nuance answer. that is why we see it to begin with. we just took our eyes off the ball. afghanistan was unstable. we were not quite sure what to do.. it kind of drifted during those early years. >> thank you. did secretary of state colin powell know what was going on or
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was he being sidelined? >> that's a good question. they fought tooth and nail over many things. including a rock. you can read this, a number of folks of oral history interview to the miller center at the university of virginia where you really see this come out. i think most of the time they did spend arguing about iraq. they really spent time disagreeing about the training and equipping of the afghan security forces. during the early years under president bush, the state department was actually responsible for trying to train and afghan police force from scratch. rumsfeld would really let powell have it, bureaucratically in of criticism and getting back to rumsfeld.
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there was a lot of sniping back and forth. eventually, the defense department took over the program's. there is a lot of insight. on that subject in particular, it was really important. under three presidents, the objective was try to stabilize afghanistan so that al qaeda edcould not come back. the goal of that approach was to try to gain and equip an afghan barman police force so they could fight without us there. this failed from the start. a number of chapters and regulatory passages about that approach. i think back in august most americans were shocked at how quickly the afghan armies melted away and took over so quickly. it goes back between rumsfeld and powell.
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>> god bless the investigative reporters. [applause] one of them come out there is a lady who i had the privilege of meeting a couple years ago by the name of kim. she wrote a book called the taliban and shuffle. strange days in afghanistan and pakistan. let me tell you, everything that you are saying what's happening in washington, what they are ouwriting about, she was writing about the details that support that. in 2016, there was a movie that came out called whiskey tango foxtrot starringf tina fay. i'm wondering o if you can commt on that. >> for those of you that don't know military lingo it is alphabetical for wtf.
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that is a reference to that. there is a lot of slapping moments in afghanistan where things just do not add up. i think that this goes to something that i think is an important point. reporters all along had been in afghanistan. they knew what was going wrong or what was doing well or not. certainly, the washington post, chicago tribune, some of the tv networks, they sent reporters to dangerous places to show what was going on in afghanistan. the difference here, it is always hard to deal. it is very easy for the government to just come back and say that is not true. things are much better than that
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rumsfeld would do this all the time. talking about these negative news coverage. did not show the reality of what was going on. the power of these documents as you hear it in their own words. how things were screwed up. we had not had these since the papers in vietnam. >> i can show you that afterwards. redacting things. coming up with the legal justification. there is a lot we still don't know about what they said that the government would not disclose. >> a soldier just came back from afghanistan.
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he stayed there for eight years. he came back and he said that he is lost. he was doing it in the hotel. he does not want to come back. he got used to their. he belongs to their already. when he was in afghanistan he came back and is nothing. he is trash. having all kinds of issues. also mentioning the afghanistan. it is really bad. killing for women sand children and he said it would never reveal those. he blamed it without
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there is a of blaming about the weapons and equipment there for the enemy side. causing more chaos for the civilians there. >> the veteran that had served for so many years in afghanistan the challenges and difficulties and pain that they feel is all too real. i think one thing that i found out doing research for the book was more than 800,000 u.s. troops served in afghanistan. many of them went back again and again. many troops that went for seven
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times. we kept asking so much of these people to go back and serve your country and make the sacrifices. we are the ones that have to bear the burdens of that in all sorts of ways. those people, in particular when they read this book and i hear from them, there is that anger and frustration. the war in afghanistan was different than some of our other complex. even in the sense that afghanistan was seen as self-defense. a just cause efforts. after the 9/11 hijacking, seeking why we were going to war in afghanistan. going after al qaeda. a lot of protests in the street. people supported our troops going over then. many of them volunteered.
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they join the military. they took commissions. they thought that it was their duty to serve and protect their country. they read their leaders. their commanders. they did not know what they were doing. i think that a lot of them feel betrayed. they suffered a lot. they know that a lot of their bodies. a lot of them have from their viewpoint serving. many of them saw that things were not going wrong even though they were doing their best to follow a strategy that did not go whole lot of sense. they were trying. you hear the story of people coming back and having the difficulty adjusting because we asked them fight for our country. in the end, in august, you know,
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not a whole lot to show for it, unfortunately with the taliban back in control. >> i want to thank everyone for their great questions and for your attention. it is a pleasure to be here. [applause] >> book tv. every sunday on c-span2 features authors discussing their latest nonfiction books. the civil war historian joins us live to talk about the early intellectual history about the united states. robert e lee the biography in the civil war. afterwards, former georgia republican congressman reflects on the events leading up to the first impeachment of former president donald trump. the clock in the calendar.
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a front row look with donald trump. colorado republican congressman. watch book tv every sunday on c-span2 and find a full schedule on your program guide or watch online anytime on >> thank you for joining us. my analyst at new america


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