tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN February 17, 2010 8:00pm-11:00pm EST
ground today at me and people from the hills shooting down on me. without the support of the families, it is doubly difficult to do that. tuskegee airmen had enormous support from enormousrace and practically and predict enormous support from the race impressed the no other support. virtually every accomplishment of the tuskegee airmen were able to achieve. the organization that bill was in actually mutinied against a racist segregationist commander. . .
. the support the tuskegee airmen got from the black press cannot be gainsaid. it was wonderful. the naacp -- the tuskegee airmen who were tried for the freeman and field mutiny were defended by the president of the indianapolis chapter of the naacp, who went on to become the mayor of indianapolis later in his life. the naacp is essential to all of this, always pushing for
immigration and for fair treatment of blacks. >> before i open up the conversation and let you all involve ourselves, i have one last question. it has to do with lee archer. can you tell me something about him and give me some sense of how you knew him? >> he was not in the 99th. he was a replacement pilots. i never met him during active duty days. i met him in 1973. he was president of north street corp. at that time. >> for those of you who do not know, lee archer was a very fine a the editor -- a very fine aviator who passed away recently. >> he was our first base. to become an ace, you have to
get five kills. he got for kills -- he got four kills. he could not get confirmation on the fifth because his camera was not working. anyway, he was our only ace. he was an excellent pilot, a squadron leader. i knew him as a business person. we did a major dinner together. he was the first guy, really, to come back and support tuskegee airmen to the full list of the old timers. he was 100% behind us. >> to one of the salient points -- in a letter that the chief of staff of the air force sent to the family to be read at the
funeral is that we flew 0169 missions in wwii. all the chairmen in the room and know that if you were white you went home at the end of 70 missions. li flew 169. if you were black, you could not go home until a replacement arrived. there were some people who because they were black flew 210 missions. white's only had to fly 70. the next time you want to think about the disadvantages of having that skin color, think about it. lee archer flew 169 missions. he shot down three aircraft in one day. the fifth victory was unfortunately not credited to him. he served 30 years in the air force, graduated first in his pilot class, and retired as a
lieutenant colonel. he made a lot of money for general foods. he became vice president of general foods after he retired from the united states air force and handle some of his -- handled some of their most interesting businesses. he was 90 years old when he died of heart failure. >> i am fascinated by the ability of the tuskegee airmen to stick together and be loyal to one another as well as to what they stood for. what is the lure of that? i look at the guys in the audience just for the love of the tuskegee airmen. tell me what it is that makes this unit and the continuation of the unit and what the tuskegee airmen stood for so important? not only are they here, but but
the other night you all were someplace else. you're constantly talking about the importance of this unit. >> coming out of the environment where i grew up -- i did not have many blacks to look up for -- to look up to. we had chauffeurs. my first association with a group of intelligent black people was my experience with the tuskegee airmen. these were the greatest guys i met. they are my best friends to this day. they are the epitome of what you would expect in a friend. you look at him to save your life sometimes, even. we really got together. we got back together after maybe 20 years after a world war two. we were in 1973 before we formed
a national organization. here in washington in 1973, we put together a corporation and incorporated as an organization. i want to bring out the point -- i am the youngest. i am 84. the average age is 97 -- is '87, '88. not many of us can drive at night. we estimate -- the gold medal ceremony, we gave out over 300. that is for those who were able to get to washington and received it. those were with 36 wheelchairs' in the ceremony. we identified approximately -- over 500 living tuskegee airmen out of 14,000 total.
they have given out another 152 people who could not get here that wrote to say they were not able to get here and be awarded at the global ceremony. we are filling out. there is no question about it. >> we are happy you are here tonight and happy and pleased with what you have done and how you teach us what courage is about. questions from any of the audience? we have michael on -- we have microphones on the side of the aisle. >> in 1958, i was at a tuskegee landing in france. [unintelligible]
>> i am not going to be able to repeat your question at all. >> we tried to incorporate the tuskegee airmen in 1994. [unintelligible] it was the greatest generation. this group of people, nobody said anything. i am 88. i was a gorilla. -- a guerilla. i have a document to give you so you can see what somebody has done on the ground. why today in 2010 are we speaking about you? i have been here 47 years.
if i were not here, i would not have heard anything about this group. why so slow in recognition of you? >> why is there such slow recognition of tuskegee airmen? i think it has been a consistent ongoing acknowledgment of what the tuskegee airmen have done in many ways. maybe we are not publicizing it as well as we should. you are right that we can do much better than we are doing now. programs like this, which the national archives has put on, the smithsonian, the national air and space museum putting together these kinds of programs -- we can do much more but there is a great acknowledgement nationally of the fine work the tuskegee airmen have done. >> i have a couple of questions. i am curious. what was eleanor roosevelt's
role in the success of the tuskegee airmen? that is my first question. i understand that she was senior management of the army air force at that time. -- the army air force management had a disdain for the tuskegee airmen at that time. my second question is -- there has been some debate whether the tuskegee airmen actually lost a bomber during a bombing run. i am curious -- apparently somebody did some research and indicated they had lost -- there were some b-17's lost during the
war. i would like you to shed some light on that debate. my third question is -- >> how about stopping at two so somebody else can ask a question? eleanor roosevelt rol's role isa hollywood myth. eleanor roosevelt had very little to do with the success of the tuskegee airmen. in the movie that hbo made, they have eleanor roosevelt flying with the tuskegee airmen. she flew with chief anderson in 1941, before the tuskegee airmen arrived, but for the first 12 cadets arrived at the tuskegee -- before the first 12 cadets arrived at the tuskegee air field. she was a friend of black
people, patronizing but a friend. the friend in this case was george marshall, the chief of staff of the army. when the tuskegee airmen did not go overseas for a year after their training, it was he who forced them overseas. he was the chief of staff of the army. he was carrying out franklin roosevelt's orders. there is no question that eleanor roosevelt was a friend, but as far as influencing policy -- the story of having never lost a bomber is a continuing story. there is a historian working on that. he has been able to document that on a day when the tuskegee airmen were escorting bombers a bomber was lost. but that is not the point. the point is the germans would
not attack bombers when they could see the p-51's. you would have them defending a string of bombers 100 miles long. i have read all the mission reports from all 200 escort missions. i have read every damn one of them. in none of those has a tuskegee airmen reported a bomber being shot down by a fighter. they did report bombers that were shot down by flak, by enemy anti-aircraft artillery. the idea that the tuskegee airmen would create a myth and hold that for the next 50 years is absurd. the tuskegee airmen, in their escort missions, never witnessed a german fighter shooting down a
bomber. their record was so good, i will say it again, the bombers requested the tuskegee airmen to escort them for their protection. >> like dr. alan gropman, i am on the archives committee. we spent hours sifting through the missions to see how the bombers reported, if there was any confirmation. unfortunately, there is some doubt that we never lost a bomber. the tuskegee airmen never said that. it was first mentioned in a row -- in an award. in the award, it cited the fact that they had never lost a bomber. they never said that. >> i am curious of the georgian -- of the origin of the red tail on the p-51.
why was that chosen? there is a movie that is in production with george lucas. are any of your members involved in that to make sure it is done right? >> i was going to be one of the advisers but he did not want to pay for me to commute to california for the meetings. that movie, understand, will be out sometime in the spring or early summer. it is not going to be anything like we are thinking about. it is going to be totally different -- epic but not a great big fighter show. >> one of the problems with white people making movies about black people -- big problem. a big example is the movie "glory," which is white people
making a movie about black people. frederick douglass is given a cameo role and bows to robert shaw, a 26 year old boy. frederick douglass never bowed to any white man. there he is in the movie because white people are making the movie. when they made the movie, at the dressed frederick douglass up as if he was in his 80's and not his 40's. frederick douglass recruited the massachusetts 54th. two of his sons served in the massachusetts 54th. none of that comes out in the movie. lucas is the executive producer. i talked to the producer and wanted to warn him about that. he said i did not have to warn
him. he is a black man. we have our fingers crossed that they make it faithfully. >> all of the fighting units had a significantly different tail painting. in order for them to join up at the part of the mission, they would do this in relays. the bombers had greater range than the fighters. the red tail was so that all of them could join up on their particular outfit. maybe you know -- i do not know why. you know. >> one of the guys got his plane shot up pretty bad. he had a lot of patches on his tail. he said to do something with that -- it looked terrible.
i got some red paint. i don't care, put something on it. it caught on. that is the story of how we got red tails. >> let me say thank you for your service. i was vietnam era. things were much better for us than you guys. you have my thanks for that. my question is -- do you feel enough has been done to educate americans about our country's true history, including the history of the tuskegee airmen, just in general? do you feel enough has been done to educate people about the past as it really was? >> one of the statements in our
constitution is to inform people about who we are and what we do. we may have been late starting, but once we got a going -- the president will tell you it is in our budget every year to keep up education. tuskegee airmen, in general, are going to be history soon -- real history. we are hoping the young folks pick up on it and carry it forth as one of the efforts to show the world that black people can do anything anybody else can do, given the opportunity to try. >> what about the other two of you -- what about the other truth? >> that is not just the mission of the tuskegee airmen. it is my personal mission. if there is anybody who has written more about it than i have -- we need more people to research this history and to
write it. that is why we have this particular event in black history month. ben davis would not speak during black history month. he wanted to know when he becomes a non-hyphenated american. at the smithsonian, he would not speak because they insisted on a february event. black history month is here because the american history books do not emphasize properly -- they cheat the black of his successes. this is most notable in the schools. ask your grandchildren. ask your grandchildren what is in their history books about the buffalo soldiers or about the 92nd in italy in world war two -- in wwii. you will find the history is largely lacking. >> if i may, why do you think
that is today? do you think there are lingering effects of the old belief system? >> yes. >> thank you very much. >> i would like to make a comment on that. i grew up in tuskegee. i was born and raised there and 19 years later came to the united states air force. when i was in grade school -- in every state you live in, you have to take state history to graduate from grade school and to get out of high school. there were four alliance in our alabama state history book -- foutr lines in our alabama state history book that dealt with negros, the term of yesterday. one was booker t. washington,
another was george washington carver. that is what the textbooks said. it said booker t. washington carver. those are two different people. there was another statement about negro's or slaves for a significant part of american history -- negros were slaves for a significant part of american history. that was it. we are pushing to get a lot more people educated, including people in military service schools doing master's degrees. we are being successful. somebody has to get people excited about doing it, and somebody has to pay for it. >> pennsylvania -- we had a big celebration when the mayor introduced a cd which he was
trying to get put into the history books of pennsylvania as a regular part of the curriculum. somebody is working on it. >> we are the ones that we have been waiting for. we begin to talk about our history and do it every day and see that african american history is american history. i think we will be better off. i worked in a place that will house in 2015 the first ever national african-american museum on the corner of the mall. it is -- [applause] it is dedicated to the fact that african-american history is american history. you cannot separate them. they are part and parcel of the
same. you -- the prism of african american history teaches us about america in a way that cannot be seen looking through another prism. i think it will become a broader way of looking through history when we see it as quintessentially a part of american history that needs to be told alongside all of the other stories being told. we are the ones we have been waiting for. we have to make sure that it takes place and happens so he is not up there doing it by himself -- we are doing it ourselves. if african-americans are the only ones who talk about american history -- could talk about african-american history, we have to do it so that all americans can hear it. and of commercial. -- end of commercial. >> two questions.
the first will be for william broadwater, and the second for alan gropman, . at an early age, passion drove you toward education. you knew at age 10 that you wanted to be a pilot. what would you tell an auditorium of teachers to look for in our youth? we are losing so many of them. if the passion could be ignited in your era at age 10, i think at age 5 we should be able to spark character traits and things in our youth that would produce at their me andirmenirm. >> i have been talking in
schools. we tell our story and related to aviation as a way of making a career. we attend career sessions throughout the area. tuskegee airmen east coast chapter, i am president of the '96. we assume that the airlines to hire black pilots in 1964 -- but we studewe sued the airlines toe black pilots in 1964. they went to something over 2200 black airline pilots. right now, they are under 1800. they are retiring and none are coming in. to compensate for that, our
chapter has a program called used in aviation. we will teach kids how to fly. we pay for it. all they have to do is show up. they have to be 15 years of age to 18 to get in the program. we have graduated quite a few kids who have gone on to become military pilots. none are in an airline yet. we hope to encourage these kids to learn to fly or seek any career in aviation. we are losing out because of what you are saying. they are not aware of what it is about. i became air traffic control. those guys are making a hundred $50 thousand a year now. i should go back. that is a great career. it is aviation at its hardest. that is what we are trying to do to work through the problem you are talking about.
we have a nonprofit foundation -- we have a scholarship fund which is a separate corporation. we have 40 chapters around the country. each of those chapters, we try to instill the spirit of scholarship. the national scholarship program awards 60 scholarships every year. we are at $1,500 a scholarship. we in the east coast chapter give out $35,000 a year in scholarship work plus the aviation programs. that is what we raise money for. that is our focus. >> dr. alan gropman, my sister is retired air force. you are looking at current conflicts we are having around the globe. i call it our own iraq, iran, israel, and afghanistan.
as a it war college professor -- as a war college professor, what would you be teaching even congress people if you could teach them how to pull ourselves out of these conflicts successfully, or before the conflict starts? i am not a military person. there has to be more taught to the pre-generals so we do not have 4000 young men and women dead later. i do not know how the war game is played. how do you teach a general how to play it better? that is a big one. i will take my tea while you think about this. >> that would be difficult in the time we have. the war colleges -- there are six of them in the united
states, two in washington. the focus is on improving strategy. what we learned in vietnam -- the gentleman that you are sitting next to is a vietnam veteran, and so am i.. i had two flying tours. i have written a book about one of the missions in vietnam that sold a lot more than my book on racial integration sold. we never lost a battle but we did lose the war. the strategy was bad. these two or colleges -- these two war colleges also teach strategy, so does george town. if you do not get the strategy right, you get nothing right. we emphasize strategy by teaching case studies were
strategies worked and where they did not work. that is true of all the war colleges. at the strategic level, we cannot teach enough strategy. >> my father was in the 477. he was one of the 100 in the mutiny. >> 105. >> 105? i recently heard about the mutiny. i found a book. can you tell me about it? >> i was not with the squadron when they rebelled in indiana. they had white officers. they were moved there because they tried to get that bomber squadron up to speed so it could go to the south pacific. i was down at tuskegee.
they put me in that bomber and trained me so we could join that squadron and get it underway. it was supposed to leave in october 1945 for the south pacific. they moved up to freeman's field so they could have dedicated trading. the commanding officers decided that they should have separate officers' clubs -- one for the permanent party and one for the trainees. that is how he set it up. he tried to get them to sign a document saying they understood not to go to the white club, so to speak. in addition to the fact that some of these guys are now returnees from overseas -- these guys are seasoned fighter pilots, not trainees. the rebels. -- and they rebelled and.
that is very serious in time of war. all of the black newspapers cover this thing beautifully. it was really worrisome for the war department. they brought a new commander back from overseas to hear the cases. only one court-martial stocuck. they find him $350 and gave him a discharge -- they fined him $350 and gave him a yellow discharge. he became a lawyer in california but could never practice law because of that yellow discharge. the secretary of the air force work out a program of forgiveness and wiped out that record. >> there was an army regulation
that said and the officers' club was open to any officer in the -- that said that any officers' club was open to any officer in at the base. -- any officer in the base. the tuskegee airmen said the supervisor could not the fight the regulation. the officers at freeman field -- 300 signed the agreement. 100 refused. they were arrested, manacled, and shipped back to indiana. all hell broke loose. there were three who were tried. only one was convicted. the provost marshal was unable
to identify the other two. he could identify bill perry because bill perry had punched him -- bill terry had punched him in the nose. his fine was a slap on the wrist for you today. they convicte-- for mutiny. he was convicted for conduct unbecoming an officer. he was vindicated in atlanta. unfortunately, the air force did not wipe out all of the letters of reprimand for all of the airmen. only three people were tried, only one person was convicted, but there were letters of reprimand. but almost all of them -- by the time the tuskegee airmen were tried -- at that point, the war
was over. the major mission of the 477 at that point was to discharge people. the air force went from approximately 900 black pilots to about 200. like most americans -- i will give you a figure. the airforce had -- the army air force had 2.4 million people on victory over japan day, september 19, 1945. two years later, there were 300,000. the united states military collapsed. the war was over. most blacks, like most whites, got out. they were in the war for the war. the airmen demonstrated physical
courage, flying and airplane when someone is shooting at you. then there is moral courage. the tuskegee airmen displayed moral courage. they were threatened with the death penalty and they stood up and mutinied and anyway. -- and mutinied anyway. >> since many tuskegee airmen are passing away, what is being done to capture the history that has not been captured both for that segment of our history is gone -- what is being done to capture the history that has not been captured before that segment of our history is gone? >> i am writing a book that i expect to have out in seven months. we are working on history,
researching key issues. >> are you asking for people to donate collections? >> we have a museum at tuskegee that has been dedicated about a year and a half ago. that is now our national headquarters. it is capable of housing all of that data. we are hopeful that we will get more of it. >> this year, we had two ceremonies at the annual convention honoring the tuskegee airmen. there is an alcove in the pentagon that is dedicated to the tuskegee airmen. the institution that russell davis is the president of does everything it can. >> in terms of memorializing,
the national park service has established tuskegee as a national historic site, where they are celebrating the airfield as a national historic site. they conducted an oral history program where they interviewed about 800 of the veteran tuskegee airmen -- the pilots, the ground crews, the constructors -- the instructors. those are collected at the airfield in tuskegee, alabama. >> it has been used in interpreting the historic site. >> how are you using excerpts and extracts from that oral history? they have not even categorized the stuff that is available for research.
one of the people on the board was one of the interviewers for that. >> not a lot has been done. we are working with the park service. [unintelligible] as we work our way through that, i will be in touch. there are three parts -- tuskegee university, the national park service, and tuskegee airmen inc.. we do not have that together yet. we are engaged in conversation in the next three or four months. we're trying to figure out how we lay it out. >> interviews have not been used
but have been recorded. we have the voices and memories of tuskegee airmen who are now silent. >> speaking for the museum, we are interested in the narrative of american history. we will be telling that story in our museum. we welcome collections and ideas of how we can do a better job. let me introduce jerry burton and others. would you gentlemen please stand? and there is a young lady here in red who is also a tuskegee airwoman.
let her stand as well. this is alan gropman. this is william broadwater. please help me thank them. [applause] >> i would like you all to know i have been a member of the east coast chapter of tuskegee airmen since 1990. that is when i got my pilot's license. these guys were my mentors all during my training. i went off to encourage others, minorities and women, to go into the field of aviation as well as young men, and to join the association of black airline pilots. we all have to do our part. they have been the pioneers and i want to give them my gratitude for the service they have done this nation. [applause]
>> thank you all for coming. have a great evening. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> hey. how are you? good to see you. [laughter] >> in a few moments, president obama on the first anniversary of the economic stimulus bill.
in a little more than a half hour, the u.s. ambassador to iraq looks forward to the march elections there. in about two and a half hours, the annual conference of black and puerto ricans legislators. -- for a repuerto rican legisla. >> how did the united states end up in vietnam? ted morgan on the battle of death that ended french colonial rule in indochina. >> president obama says the economic stimulus plan has prevented another depression. he spoke in the white house. this is a little less than a half hour. >> the vice-president of the united states.
>> good morning, folks. thank you for being here. it has been one year, today, since the president signed the recovery act into law. i am probably preaching to the choir as to how beneficial it has been. i stand before you one day and a year after we signed this act. what i want to talk to you is about what we have accomplished and where we were back then, where i think we are now, and where we are going. you and i know, without any question, the recovery act is working. it is working well. maybe most importantly, it is working toward something. it is not only helping american workers get back to their feet but is laying the foundation for
long-term growth. you are the living proof of what the recovery act is capable of. the president and i realize there is still a great deal more to do. every success story you could talk about, there is another story about a man or a woman who has just been laid off, a mortgage that has been foreclosed. we know times are tough 4000 many people throughout the country. -- we know times are tough for too many people throughout the country. every community i go to, you can see the pain of some of the communities. communities were battered by the economy. i saw it in michigan. it is through no fault of their own. i looked into the eyes of those auto work teachers,
businessmen, construction workers who have been laid off. i have seen something else as i have gone through cities and towns. i have seen a sense of hope and optimism. just yesterday, in saginaw, mich., i was with a gentleman who has a ba, . he worked for an automobile company and got laid off. because of the recovery act and the job-training program at a community college in his town, he went back and took a 16-hour course -- a 16-week course in the beginning to deal with chemicals related to how they produce solar panels. dow corning has a plant nearby. they have added a thousand
people in the last year because of some help they got. he is now working. he is working at a decent salary. that community college is going to train, this year, another hundred people. they are going to go from that directly into a job. the other thing i have noticed, particularly from you all, is this emphatic, unrelenting belief that there is no reason america has to be no. 2. i find even a laid off worker refuses to believe america is number two in construction of wind turbines, new automobiles, battery technology. there is a sense among americans, even in this tough times, there is no reason we are not going to come out of this stronger than when we went into
it. and that is what we have been able to deal with. the recovery act has provided a significant optimism, rebuilding our infrastructure, sparking the clean energy revolution, transforming healthcare, creating the best education system in the world -- that is our future. can you tell me how we can lead the 21st century with the same education system, the same health care system, and the same energy policy we have had the last 35 years? everyone knows the truth. without a transformation in health care, without a transformation in education, we are not going to succeed. we will not lead the 21st century, which is an unacceptable proposition to the american people. sadly, some of my friends who is knowledge we need to lead are
unwilling to take what i admit are difficult steps to make this transformation. they are unwilling to step up. not us. the president and i know we can do better. you know we can do better. we know there is a new economy and there is no reason we will not lead it. that is why we have to usher in a new innovation. something behind the recovery act we do not talk about is those notions of innovation. we owe it to the bold, clear- eyed leadership of not only the president but many of you. i will conclude by saying that many of you have taken advantage of the spark that the recovery act provides -- some of the tax incentives and others. but we do not think the government is the one that is
going to rely -- going to ignite this revolution. you take a little bit of help and go out and risk a lot. you go on the line for a whole lot more risk. we admire you for it. that is the way we are going to get through this. that, along with the president's leadership -- he is the reason, in my view, we stand here today with some much hope for tomorrow. his leadership has taken us far from where we were last year. last year, in the first quarter, the economy shrunk more than 6%. this year, it grew more than 6%. something is happening. i think the main thing that is happening is because of the man i am about to introduce, the president of the united states,
president barack obama [applause] >> thank you, evebovebo please have a seat. thank you to my outstanding vice-president and his extraordinary team. they have done a great job managing this program. i want to begin by recalling where we were one year ago. millions of jobs had already been lost in the recession before i was sworn into office. another 800,000 would be lost in the month of january. we would later learn that our economy had shrunk by an astounding 6.4% in the first quarter of 2009. economists across the political spectrum warned that if dramatic action was not taken to break the back of the recession the
united states could spiral into another depression. that was the backdrop against which i signed the american recovery and reinvestment act and. it certainly was not a politically easy decision to make for me or for the members of congress who supported it. let us face it. no large expenditure is ever popular, particularly at a time when we are also facing a massive deficit. but we acted because failure to do so would have led to cope -- to catastrhe. we had a larger responsibility than winning the next election. we have a responsibility to do what was right for the economy and the american people. one year later, it is largely thanks to the recovery act that a second depression is no longer a possibility. it is one of the main reasons
the economy has gone from shrinking to growing. this morning, we learned that manufacturing production posted a strong gain. so far, the recovery act is responsible for the jobs of about 2 million americans who would otherwise be unemployed. these are not just o numbers. these are the estimates of independent, non-partizan economists across the spectrum. despite all this, the bill still generate some controversy. part of that is because there are those across the aisle who are those across the aisle who have tried to scoreol by attacking what we did. many of them show up at ridden cutting ceremonies -- at the ribbon-cutting ceremonies in their districts. [applause] if we are honest, part of the
controversy is that despite the extraordinary work that has been done through the recovery act, millions of americans are still without jobs. millions more are struggling to make ends meet. it does not yet feel much of a recovery. i understand that. it is why we are going to continue to do everything in our power to turn this economy around. the truth is, the recovery act was never intended to save every job or restore our economy to full strength. no bill or government program can do that. businesses are the true engines of growth. businesses are the engines of job creation in this country. but during a recession, businesses pullback and people stop spending. government can provide a temporary boost that puts money
in people's pockets -- people's pockets, keeps workers on the job, generates more demand, gives confidence to entrepreneurs that maybe they do not have to cut back. maybe they can hold steady in their plans and in their dreams. that is what we have been able to do with the recovery act. i want to point this out. there has never been a program of this scale moved at this speed that has been enacted as effectively and as transparently as the recovery act. i am grateful that congress agreed to my request that the bill included no earmarks, that all projects receive funding based solely on their merits. despite that, i was still concerned -- when this past, we said that somewhere there was going to be some story of some
money that ended up being mis- spent. $787 billion spent over 80 months is a lot of money -- over 18 months is a lot of money. it is a testimony to vice- president biden and his team that the dog so far has not worked. -- has not barked. [laughter] this team has done an outstanding job. it does not mean everything has been perfect. when you think about the magnitude of this thing, this program was run it cleanly, smoothly, and transparently. we brought in one of the toughest inspector general's from washington as well as watchdogs from private industry. every american can see where this money has been spent by going to www.recovery.gov.
just to review, one-third of the money of this bill was made up of tax cuts. i talked about this at the state of the onion. tax cuts for 95% of working americans. about twice as many people think we have raised taxes as lower taxes. 95% of you got a tax cut. a tax cut. [applause] tax cuts for 95% of working americans, tax cuts for small businesses, tax cuts for first- time homeowners, tax cuts for parents, tax cuts for 8 million americans paying for college. so far, we have provided $120 billion in tax relief to families and small businesses. up until this point, i have never met a republican who did not like a tax cut. [laughter] you remember when i mention this
at the state of the union were squirming in their seats. there were not sure whether to clap because most of them had voted against all these tax cuts. it was interesting to watch. [laughter] the second third of this bill was made up of relief for those who have been most affected by this recession. we have extended or increased unemployment benefits for more than 19 million americans. . .
we could potentially see layoffs taking place this year because we haven't re-uped in terms of providing help to state and local governments. that's something we are watching and are concerned about. the last third of the recovery act is what i want to talk about more today. reason why blake and doug are here. that third is about rebuilding our economy on a new and stronger foundation. over the long-term. it wasn't enough to solve the immediate crisis before us.
we knew before the crisis hit, we came through what some people are calling the lost decade, where there was barely any job growth and where the income of the average american household declined. this is before the recession. over of the course of the decade, the average american household saw their incomes declined even as college tuition reached record highs. the prosperity was built on little more than a housing bubble and financial speculation. people maxing out on credit cards and home equity loans. we can't go back. that's not where the jobs are. the jobs of the 21st century are clean energy, new infrastructure , that kind of economy requires us to consume less and produce more. they import less and export
more. we need to send more products overseas that are made by american workers and american businesses. we need to train our workers with new skills and world class education. other countries already realize this. they are putting more emphasis on math and science, railroads, broadbands and clean energy, because they want those jobs. americans cannot stand still. we can't afford to put our future on hold. that's why a big part of the recovery act has been about investing in that future. yes, it creates jobs now and business opportunities now, but more importantly, it is laying the foundation of where we need to go. instead of pouring more money into america's schools regardless of performance, we launched a national competition between states that only rewards success and reform. reform that raises student achievement and students ex sell
in math and science. failing schools sale away the future of too many americans. and a infrastructure to compete. we now have projects in 31 states that are laying the ground for the first high-speed rail network in the united states of america. for years, japan, europe, have had high-speed rail. china has 40 times as many projects that have been going on on this front. we are playing catchup. we shouldn't be. the recovery act was made possible over 12,500 transportation construction projects from rebuilding highways to improving our airports. and today, we announced funding for over 50 innovative transportation projects, everything from railroads in april latch yeah to a new passenger terminal in new
orleans. these projects will put hundreds of thousands of americans to work. in many cases, they already have. that's part of the reason chuck's is here today. he is the president of a construction company in pennsylvania and recovery act will fund a third of the work his company will do this year. 200 engineers and employees. in case people are wondering whether or not the recovery act has created jobs and businesses, talk to chuck. [laughter] the new equipment he has ordered to help pave these roads will save an additional 40 jobs out on an assembly line in california. these are well-paying, long-last ng private sector jobs that wouldn't be possible without the recovery act. and they will be doing the work that america needs to have done to stay competitive. no area is this more important than in energy.
because the recovery act, we have finally jump started the clean energy area in america and jobs in that sector. take one example. consider the investment that we have made in the kind of batteries used in hybrid and electric cars. you have heard about these. before the recovery act was signed, 98% of the world's advanceed battery production was done in asian countries. the united states did less than 2% of this advanced battery manufacturing that's going to be the key to these high mileage, low emission cars. then we invested in new research in battery technologies and supported the construction of 20 battery factories that will employ tens of thousands of americans. batteries that can make --
factories that can make enough batteries this year to plug in half a million plug-in hybrid vehicles. next year, next year, two years after the recovery act, the united states will have the capacity to produce nearly 20% of the world's advanced batteries, from less than 2% to 20%. and we will be able to make 40 percent of these advanced batteries by 2015. an entire new industry because of the recovery act. and this kind of progress is happening throughout our clean energy sector. yesterday, i announced loan guarantees to break ground on america's first new nuclear power plant, a plant that will create hundreds of construction jobs. manufacturing in philadelphia that makes energy-efficient windows, he used to be skeptical, so he added two more
shifts to keep up with the new businesses. blake, based in boulder, colorado. he gave us a tour of one of his companies, solar installations on top of a museum in denver, right before i signed the recovery act into law. at the time, plake was pretty sure that the recession would force him to lay off about half of his staff. one year later because of the clean energy investments in the recovery act, he has added about a dozen new workers and expects to hire about a dozen more by year's end. his company installs solar panels from the governor's mansion to the museum of nature and science. so that's our future. that's what's possible in america. you can argue that we haven't made as much progress as we need to make when it comes to
spurring job creation. that is why the recovery act is going to save another 1.5 million jobs in 2010. that's the reason why i expect congress to pass additional measures as quickly as possible to help our small business owners to create new jobs, give them more of an incentive to hire. but for those skeptics who refuse to believe that the recovery act has done any good, who continue to insist that the bill didn't work, i'd ask you to take that up with blake and his employees and chuck and his construction workers, take it up with the americans that are working in those battery plants or building new highways or teaching our children new skills all because the recovery act made it possible. so our work is far from over, but we have rescued this economy from the worst of this crisis and slowly factories and small
businesses, the american people are rebuilding a better future and we will continue to support their efforts. we will leave our children an economy that is stronger and more prosperous than it was before. thank you very much, everybody. [applause] >> after the president's white house comments, we spoke with a republican member of congress. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> congressman tom price is the chair of the republican study committee joining us on on the phone from his district in georgia. thanks for joining us on c-span radio. the white house is saying that this curbonned the greatest economic crisis since the great depression. agree or disagree? >> the american people know and understand only 6% of the american people believe that the stimulus actually created any jobs at all. this has been a dismal failure and if it were only just a failure of policy, it would be
one thing. the problem is that it has burdened our kids and our grand kids with an increase in debt that they will be paying for decades to come. >> the president said small business are creating jobs, but in a recession the government needs to provide stimulus and spending to keep jobs in place, especially in the public sector, like police protection, fire departments, state duggetsks teachers, education and the -- budgets, teachers, education and the like. >> that's a new spin, but that's not what the stimulus was supposed to be about. as you recall, if the stimulus was not passed, then the unemployment rate would go above 8%. if it was passed, it would stay below 8%.
47 states have lost jobs since the stimulus was signed. this is a clearly a dismal failure of a program that is only exceeded by the remarkable selfishness of its act. >> the other point that the white house has made and the white house is saying, 95% of working families getting a tax cut. he took aim of the republicans when he brought it up in the state of the union address and lack of any applause from the republicans on this specific issue. >> clearly, lack of appreciation for what a tax cut is. a tax cut is a decrease in the marginal rates that individuals actually pay. a tax cut is not a check that individuals receive in the mail from the federal government with money that the government doesn't have, with money that's going to be charged to the taxpayer. this is just absolute fiction that they have provided a tax cut to the american people and they know it. if you ask the average american on the street, have you gotten your tax cut yet, they would say
no. >> how do you spur the economy and create jobs and get people to spend more and to save more? >> this is the most frustrating thing, because if you listen to the white house, one would presume that we don't know how to create jobs. the gaitest nation in the history of the world has provided more opportunity and success for more individuals than any nation ever. the way you create jobs is to do a number of things very specifically. one is to have a predictability in the marketplace. businesses won't create jobs when they don't know whether they will be punished with a health care bill or energy tax. predictability in the marketplace. decrease taxes so you allow individuals and businesses to have more money. decrease the regulatory mechanisms on businesses so they are able to create jobs. and stop the massive spending at the federal level. every dollar that the federal government spends takes it out
of the private sector and decreases the ability to create jobs. that's how you expand. >> when this president says that the recovery plan saved or created an estimated two million jobs, a number that was backed up by the congressional budget office, you disagree? >> the only individuals that agree with that are the first lady, vice president and folks that he has coerced at c.b.o. to somehow appreciate his expanding definition of saved or created. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> representative tom price of georgia joining us earlier. can you find out more about the $787 billion economic stimulus bill signed into law a year ago. visit our website and read the white house report on the stimulus bill, watch hearings and link to other information. go to www.c-span.org/stimulus. we spoke to a capitol hill reporter about the stimulus package. >> joining us on the phone,
politico writer, jake sherman who has an article "stimulus war of words heats up on the hill. what's been the congressional reaction so far? >> republicans have been against the stimulus for a long time. they have continually asked where are the jobs? where are the jobs? and minority leader boehner came out with a report detailing what he thought. and republicans say wasteful spending examples of missteps, projects that have created no jobs and democrats on the other hand have privately and publicly pretty much said that this was something that stopped the sinking ship and one of the many measures they have done that have saved jobs that created some jobs but hell tpped save america from the brink of losing far more jobs. >> in his statement, the president called out republican
leaders who were opposed and celebrated some of the spending from it. what's behind that? >> i think that how republicans say is this and i have heard it that if our state is eligible for funds, we're going to get it and we're going to do these things. but, you know, democrats are saying, wait a minute, you can't go and campaign against it and then cut ribbons and the like. this is what democrats will do in november. they will say, you know, you guys are campaigning against this, but you were not afraid to put your name next to it when it came out. so very interesting stuff. >> for members, what's the ultimate sort of side, the ultimate mark that stimulus spending in their district is successful? >> well,ç
it's a point that a lot of people are grappling with. now what the administration did, they said there would be immediate results. and mr. boehner pointed that out in several different points in his 37-page report this morning. he said -- they quoted the administration saying you will see these stimulus projects come to fruition and jobs being created immediately. now that hasn't been the case. it's difficult from a republican and from a democratic perspective, because that didn't happen, but you could make the argument that it was a stop-gap measure or stopping things from getting worse, which is difficult to put your finger on. it cuts both ways. democrats are saying, look what we've done. we helped kind of plugged the gap or the hole and created some jobs and got some projects going and republicans are saying, unemployment is at 10%.
>> help frame that discontent about unemployment. you write about it. the jobs bill pending in the senate. what does this mean? republican discontent and some democrat discontent over that jobs number and what is likely ahead? >> they will say it doesn't mean much right now and to be honest it is a lot of optics, the obama administration framed this as it would work immediately and keep unemployment below 8%. now what's next for congress, there is another jobs bill pending, the house has passed it, but the senate is grappling with it. but to put it in a nutshell that is something that democrats are going to get around because you have the president and his administration saying you passed this pricey stimulus program, it will keep unemployment below 8%
and it's not. so, if you look at it strictly from that perspective, that is a very tough thing to get around and republicans are saying, well, by your own administration's measures, this has failed. so that's a tough argument to make. >> jake sherman with politico. read his work at politico.com. thanks for joining us. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> in a few moments, the u.s. ambassador to iraq, christopher hill, looks ahead to the march 7 elections there. in a little less than 2 hours, the annual conference. new york association of black and puerto rican legislateors. after that, we'll re-air president obama's comments on the first anniversary of the economic stimulus bill. >> book tv is prime time this
week. tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. eastern, join our live discussion on afghanistan with seth jones, political scientist at the rand corporation and author of "in the grave yard of empires. and mark moir, a professor at the marine corps university, author of "a question of command." mr. moir was recently in afghanistan where he met with general mcchrystal. we'llñr take your phone calls, emails and tweets. for our other prime time programs this week, go online to booktv.org. >> with your wildest begination, you could have not made this story up. >> this weekend, on "the death of american virtue clinton versus starr" on "after words" part of c-span 2's book tv weekend. >> now christopher hill, the
can move around the room as quickly as possible. to introduce our guest of honor, i turn to ambassador richard solomon, president of the u.s. institute of peace. >> good morning and thank you all for turning out and thanks to all the cameras in the back. it's clear we have a very important and timely session today which in some ways is heralded by the lead headline in "the washington post" today, specter of sectarian strife resurfaces in iraq. this is a special occasion not only because of the work the institute has done on iraq over the years and the importance of something that isn't so much in our headlines these days as we focus on afghanistan, pakistan, other issues, but very much because of the opportunity we've had to work with ambassador hill over the years. he has taken on some of the most difficult diplomatic
assignments, and i suppose you could say in the old saw that no good deed goes unpunished. after four years of trying to get the six-party talk process moving forward in terms of the north korean nuclear program, something that i'm sure he will detail has had some significant and lasting impact in a positive direction, he was given the most challenging assignment that he has today as ambassador to baghdad. in 2005 there were elections in iraq that generated a wave of sectarian violence, and in terms of the president's objective of seeing the country stabilized and focusing on other challenges in the region, the upcoming elections are really critical and we'll be hearing from our presenter his assessments of the current situation.
ambassador hill, one of the outstanding diplomats of his generation and others no doubt, began his career in the peace corps in the cameroons, has been ambassador to macedonia, poland and south korea, republic of korea before his current assignment. he's received distinguished honor awards for his role in supporting the dayton accords and a special envoy for trying to stabilize the balkans. so we're exceptionally pleased that ambassador chris hill is with us today. please, mr. ambassador. [applause] >> thank you very much, dick. it's a great pleasure to be here at usip. i gather you're going to move to the new building pretty soon. i will miss this building mainly because in my old job at east
asia bureau we had a terrific view of the river which we don't have anymore. [laughter] so you remember the office. i mean, you'd look out there and look at the potomac river and think of north korea. [laughter] but it's, it's all gone now, and in its place is a beautiful, beautiful facility which i really do believe befits the status and the tremendous mission of the u.s. institute for peace, the things you've done, your work and really all over the world. i've worked with usip in every different part, i mean, whether in the balkans or in east asia, but i particularly appreciate what you all are doing in iraq because you're taking on one of the major challenges there which is conflict resolution and getting people in the same room to talk to each other and getting people to sort of understand that there's a way through problems. and a way through by dialogue.
i really appreciate the fact i saw ambassador bill taylor out there just a couple months ago, i think, and visiting and your office, i mean, you have a standing office there. it's working, you've gotten iraqis to buy into the process. in fact, i think you've got some iraqi employees there. and i think it's just a great credit to what you do because we've got a lot of talk shops in washington, but probably fewer do shops in washington. i think you, you do both very, very well, so we really, really appreciate what you've done with this institute and the direction it's going. so i'm, it's a great pleasure to come here. it's always a pleasure to be in washington, even a greater pleasure to leave, i guess, after a few days. but i really do believe this is an important time for iraq. i think it's an important time
for u.s./iraqi relations. i think really a time that will, i think, when we look pack it'll be a time -- back it'll be a time of probably one of the most critical periods because we are now on the eve of national elections in iraq which are coming up in some two and a half weeks. i was talking to the prime minister a couple weeks ago, and i said, you know, we have elections, you have elections in 30 days, and he said it's actually 28 days and 7 hours from now. [laughter] so i think everyone is very aware of the moment. it's also a year in which our military is preparing to draw down after seven truly, truly heroic years of service. it's a year in which the u.s. military will be out of combat operations and will leave in its place later this, beginning of the fall we will have advised
and assist brigades, but we will not be directly involved with combat operations. it's also a year in which our embassy -- bill, in fact, as someone who's run embassies was commenting on the size of the thing -- i think along with the great wall of china, it's one of two things you can see from outer space. [laughter] it truly is extraordinary. we are there, the u.s. embassy is there for the long haul. people who equate our interests in iraq with our troop presence have, may i say, kind of missed the point because we are interested in a long-term relationship, and the embassy that we have there is very much symbolic of that, of that relationship. it's also a year in which i think new economic potential very much beckons iraq into this, into a new decade.
we have a number of oil contracts that have been reached with international companies, iraq is really on the move economically. it's also now a year just after president obama stated his vision for iraq in his camp lejeune speech, and i think it's a very appropriate time to share some of the observations from the ground in baghdad and, if i can, lay out some of the, you know, what we believe will be the road ahead. this will be a landmark year as we pivot from a military-led engagement to a civilian-led presence. the dynamic of our relationship with iraq, with the iraq government will mature, and as we make this shift the american civilian military team, and it is one team and one mission, will put into practice the hard lessons of the past seven years. general odierno and i share the presence and strong resolve to help iraq finally become a place where its citizens can live free
of fear, resolve to help iraq build an inclusive political system where people have a say in the decisions that affect their lives, to help iraqi communities settle their differences peacefully just as usip is engaged in thats process, to resolve to help iraq modernize its economy and very much resolve to help iraq integrate with the region and with the world. it is no doubt a daunting agenda. our embassy works very closely with u.s. forces, iraq to chart the course forward. we're committed to this course not just for the satisfaction of helping iraq or to right past errors, but rather it's undeniably in the interests of the united states to do so and to stay engaged. opinions about iraq among pundits, professors, politicos are about as varied as, you know, as a choice of the nfl draft. and i must say when people sort
of talk about the various ideas they have, you know, you hear a lot of terms, must and should. the u.s. must do this, the iraqis must do@@@@@@@@h @ @ rrm i saw one in a u.s. newspaper ad and there are 11 musts in the editorial. we call them the 11 musts of christmas, in fact. [laughter] in looking at all these musts, i have tried to boil them down to maybe three of them. and they are that the first must is that we must help iraq build healthy political and democratic institutions in an environment of peace and security. we must help iraq modernize its economy. if it doesn't have a modernized economy, it's not going to work. i mean, that is the name of the game. and thirdly, we must help iraq
establish a productive relationship with its neighbors. and in so doing, we can secure iraq's role as not only a reliable partner to the united states, but a strategic partner of the united states. course, you can have a thousand musts, and it won't mean anything without a stable and secure situation in iraq. years of sacrifice and strategy have moved us ever closer to this critical stage. first of all, we won't ever forget the sacrifice of our u.s. military, our coalition partners, our iraqi counterparts who have taken on what is often a deadly and assuredly a daunting challenge. due to their collective efforts, violence against civilians, violence against elements of the iraqi state have dropped dramatically. in addition, violence against our forces has also dropped precipitously in recent months. these changes which are evident
all across iraq's 18 provinces are not only a sign of a stronger iraq, they're also a sign of a smarter american presence. a presence where we have learned the lessons of the last few years and, frankly, some of those lessons were very hard, indeed. just as we have brought change to iraq, so iraq has changed us. we have new military doctrine, a new counterinsurgency doctrine developed from our experience in iraq, we have new civilian military engagement. you know, i worked on military-civilian engagement in the balkans. i can tell you what we have going on in iraq is unprecedented in the scope and depth of the degree to which we work together with the military. the united states has developed many more effective uses of smart power, all of this can be traced directly to this war. and while every war is different, the lessons learned through the sacrifice of lives and resources in iraq will
inevitably change the way america interacts with the world. our efforts in iraq will be indelibly etched in the history books for future generations to judge. in 2006 and 2007, iraq interests and power were played out on the streets against the pack drop of -- backdrop of death, uncertainty and fear. today the notwithstanding the article in today's washington post, power and interest are battling it out with election posters that, frankly, obscure the bridges and blanket the markets in every province. if you drive through iraq today, you'll see these posters just everywhere, and they will look very familiar to anyone who's ever seen an election anywhere in the world. it is inspiring stuff. everybody has these posters out there, the campaign for this election has, indeed, begun. we know that late night intensive negotiations and anyone who's negotiated with iraqis, you immediately see the
prayer beads and the tea. i must confess i've engaged in both. as iraqis, politicians consolidate their blogs and hash out very tough political deals. truly the iraqi people have embraced the reality of democracy, and i, i think it's very important to understand that it is a place where people speak their minds. iraqis are quite comfortable letting you know where they stand, and the issue is to try to create some rules of the game of that, try to explain that politics can be just as tough as american football, but at least in american football we have a field that's 100 yards long, and we need some type of scope for how that iraqi politics is going to be, going to be played out. one of the major issues in the recent weeks that has been very difficult in iraq has been the debaathification issue. given the history, given the
baathists legacy in iraq, it is very understandable why it incites strong emotions in iraq. given the history of the u.s. in iraq if you look at the 1960s and how the u.s., the united states was very concerned about the potential spread of communism to iraq and how baathism was seen as an alternative to communism where the u.s. preferred it in 1968 that led to the return of baathists, how the u.s. preferred that outcome to a communist iraq, it is understandable, it is really understandable why some iraqis look at a pattern in the 1960s and think they're seeing a pattern today where the u.s. has been so concerned about other influences in iraq and somehow when people look at that pattern, they think we must be in some way supporting a
baathist resurgence in iraq. for americans it's hard to understand. after all, we have lost 4,000, over 4,000 of our countrymen in this struggle against baathism. we took on saddam hussein, we defeated him. he rooted out baathists throughout the country. it is simply extraordinary for americans to try to understand that some iraqis think we somehow support baathism. but when you look at this pattern in the 1960s, you can see how this distant and cracked mirror can somehow affect people's view of the current situation, so we need to be respectful of the history and respectful of people's emotions. i think when the initial lists of excluded candidates was read in the council of representatives -- and this was a process that i must be very clear with you that we did not feel passed any measure of transparency, a process of naming people essentially denying them their rights to participate in the election
without, in our view, any kind of due process -- we had a lot of concerns about this. but i think it is very, people need to understand that when this initial list of candidates was read in the council of representatives, it received standing and sustained applause from all the members there. baathism is a vibrant, important subject there. people feel strongly about it, and we need to respect that, and we need to understand that in dealing with it we need to try to deal with it not as a fundamental issue that is reflected in the constitution, but deal with the question whether it was done with sufficient transparency and done outside the political scope. obviously, we had some concerns about it. we registered those concerns with the iraqi government. we are very active in making sure iraqis understood our views on this. and so we felt, for example, that there was scoring political points was a definitely a part
of the controversy. yet i think it was very important for us to make clear to the iraqis that as they got ready for elections, they need to make sure that this baathist issue was handled in the context of the rule of law. so we have gotten through this issue now. it hasn't been easy, it is very upsetting to member -- to people who were excluded who don't feel that they should have been excluded, but we have moved on from that period now, and now with two and a half weeks to go we see, i think, a very vibrant campaign, and i think we will see that iraqis will whether they're sunni, shia or kurds, they will be voting in mass numbers. voters on march 7th will decide who fills 325 seats in the parliament with the winning bloc taking the lead in nominating the prime minister and the main cabinet posts. now, i know many -- this being washington people want to know,
well, who do you think's going to win? what are the polls suggesting? well, it is a very complex process because after the actual votes are talking tab lathed, ae worked very hard with our colleagues in the u.n., worked very hard with the high election commission to manage the technology of the elections which we believe will be run well, we know that as they get through the votes they will have to -- there are five major coalitions, and we'll have to see which one actually wins. and it will go to the major winner to see who will then try to form the government. and then that day, that march 8th or whenever this is finally decided, it will be later than march 8th, they will begin the process of putting together a new government. and this process will not be an easy process are. it will be a process in which they need to reach out to different coalitions and put together some kind of coalition government. so i think this first of the
musts that is helping iraq build healthy political and democratic institutions in a secure environment is something we really need to focus on. in the end, to this end we have been, our diplomats at the embassy in baghdad and the civilian experts are very heavily involved. secretary clinton has assured the state department is adequately funded to assist in this democratic project. we've provided some $200 million to assist the iraqi people in holding these credible and free elections. the true test of victory will not be in the behavior of the winners when they are finally announced, but rather it will be how the losers accept the results. so i would argue in iraq as elsewhere losers have an even bigger responsibility to be part of the, part of the political process. and i've always felt that the quality of democracy is determined by the losers, and
iraq will be no exception to that. those who do lose need to understand that they have this responsibility, they have in some ways as great -- they have to win the public's trust as well. this has implication for what could be a lengthy government formation process, and it also affects the security. security concerns keep us very watchful on the, of the frictions that have been in plain view during the current full-contact political season. the issue runs much deeper than the election mass of iraq. we all know about some of the showcase political splits in iraq, the arab/kurdish shoe, the sunni/shia issue. but, you know, when you're there, of course you're concerned about arab/kurdish shoes, of course you're concerned about sunni/shia issues, but you're also concerned about kurd/kurdish shoes. you're concerned about
sunni/sunni issues, shia/shia issues. in kirkuk there are also kurd/arab/turk issues, and frankly, other turkmen have issues with each other. those are deadly, deadly serious for those of us who are there, and none is more essential than the disputed internal boundaries, the so-called dibs. that forms the center piece of the arab/kurd dispute. there are some 15 features along this kurdish/arab divide. kirkuk, these are all areas in which there is a dispute, in which there are forces who do
not share the view of the iraqi army forces, and we need to deal with these things. kirkuk, which is number 11 of those, has rich oil fields but also a very difficult history. it's become the focal point of this arab/kurd dispute. the unite is determined to help re-- united states is determined to help resolve these differences and play an important role in trying to address them. we have sent one of the state department's premier regional experts to be in kirkuk, a senior foreign service officer who speaks flawless arabic, and he is meeting every day with the various parties in kirkuk to try to deal with these, with these problems. the shia/sunni relationship has implications well beyond iraq's borders, even beyond our times. but intramural fishers among sunnies are also common. if you witness the divisions among secular and more strictly
religious sunnies that we see is playing out in some of the provinces. the standoff at the provincial government building last week which showcased the shadow line between political gamesmanship and potential for violence. some observers think of the kurds as a united front, but th@ this is a new political identity that has come out of the p.u.k. out of president talabani's p.u.k. this change list is going to be fielded in eight different provinces, well beyond the three provinces of the kurdish government. prime minister maliki is fendin parties. recently, i had the opportunity to visit al-sadr, who is
actually a cousin of milwaukee milwaukee. and he spoke of the benefits of the united iraq that incorporates all religions and communities, a refreshinging message. we had a long conversation from debath fix and water resources and talked about his concerns of iraqi politicians lacking a base and resorting to secretary -- he mentioned the conversation on his website so i don't mind telling you about it as well. [laughter] in short, it was heartening to see a cleric of this stature talk about these issues, and i think there are some people in iraq and such people that we need to reach out to and listen to, not just the politicians of iraq, but also people who, i think, have a great role to play
in influencing iraqi public opinion. which this does lead to the a question that, i think, comes up a lot which is, there is no doubt that today there's a big difference between where iraq now has its sovereignty and where we as diplomats must deal with a sovereign iraq and the old days in the cpa in '03 when essentially iraq was ruled by u.s. of-ish -- u.s.-issued decrees such as the head of the debaathification commission. i think it's important to understand, though, that what we are -- the way we deal with iraqis is through diplomacy. we need to -- which is, diplomacy is really, i mean, there are probably a million definitions of it, but for me it's getting people to do things that they wouldn't otherwise do. and the moments in diplomacy where your interlocutor slaps the side of his head with the palm of his hand and says, oh,
now i get it, now i understand, that was a great argument, i never thought of that before, those moments are as rare in diplomacy, frankly, as they are in life. i mean, we need to engage with iraqis, we need to show them what our interests are, why we believe those interests are their interests, and essentially at time just make them trust us because their good relationship with us depends on trying to work through problems together. and i'd say we're doing that. but one thing it is not is a sort of false dichotomy where somehow we're, quote, not using our leverage, that somehow we have this leverage in our back pocket, but for some pedagogical reason we prefer to spend six weeks arguing with them over something rather than use this leverage that we could pull out of our back pocket and end the discussion on that day. it just doesn't work that way. we have, we certainly have leverage in iraq, we certainly have a major role in iraq, and i
would say the most important leverage we have in iraq is not just the number of troops we have there today as o to ezed -- opposed to what we might have a year or two years from now, or the troops today compared to two years ago, but rather our leverage is that we want to have a serious long-term relationship with iraq, and if the iraqis desire a serious long-term relationship with the united states, they need to work with us on some of these issues. so that is how the process works. we sit down, we explain issues that we think are important whether it's how they handle debaathification or how they, or whether this is the use of the army -- there's the use of the army in an inappropriate way in saladin, and if the we're going to have a good relationship, we need these issues resolved. we are continuing to draw a way
forward, and we have some truly superb soldiers in that country. it's truly amazing. we have specialists, we also have diplomats like myself. but we're determined to find workable solutions with the iraqis. we have worked a security mechanism along the arab/kurd fault line. this has not been easy, but this is really directly due to the great efforts of general odierno and his staff in trying to get members of kurdish potential murder da to work with the iraqi army, to go through joint training programs. this is something where you really have to do it step by step, and it is working. it is beginning to work. we are bolstering civil society, we're providing guidance and support to local organizations dedicated to uniting rather than dividing communities, we're maintaining a strong presence in the process, in the provinces through our provincial reconstruction teams. you know, we still have some 22
provincial reconstruction teams. these are teams, these are joint military and u.s., we have american diplomats out in these places, people who have curtailed assignments in other countries such as places like, places literally like paris, france. we have people out in these provicinity cial -- provincial reconstruction teams. people every day are dealing at the provincial level, helping provinces with social, political and economic development. our provincial reconstruction team, we also have cell phones out there as well. laugh. [laughter] we've recently been working a very tough political military problem in nineveh which is one of the most difficult issues in iraq, and we have the head of our provincial reconstruction team, a guy named pat murphy who was also a peace corps volunteer in cameroon. he has been out there, you know, looking -- working with the
governor in nineveh, working with the kurdish minority there. it has been a really tough issue, but we have people out there dealing with these thick r things. -- things. so even our strong advocacy for opening iraq's oil sector has also had, we believe, a sal you story effect on some of the arab/kurdish shoes that we've been dealing with, the krg. as iraq has begun to develop their oil sector, i think the kurds have been interested in the fact that 17% of what potentially in the next ten years could be ten million barrels a day, 17% of ten million barrels is more than 100% of 100,000 barrels. so i think what we've been able to do in terms of encouraging transparency and openness and careful management and development of the oil sector has also contributed to trying to pull iraq, iraq together. time and time again we've seen the power of the u.s. stand on issues as a key factor in
promoting central tolerance and limiting extremism. despite the drawdown in funds and troops, it remains true in iraq that what we think and, more importantly, what we do matters profoundly in iraq. so all of us need to acknowledge and respond to the changing nature of our presence. this is not a time for slipping into complacency. the u.s. must remain mindful of its continuing in234r50u7bs and be -- influence and be prepared to use that influence to realize positive outcomes in iraq that benefit both the iraqi people as well as the american people. so as i mentioned with these oil contracts, the economic life of iraq does need to begin to mature. with targeted, smart help from us, the potential is really almost limited. this is our second must. we must help iraq modernize it economy. and there's no mystery here. iraq's economic future hinges on its careful management of its oil sector. iraq is off to a good start,
albeit is slow start, but a very good start. and it's also a transparent start as the use of these plex si glass boxes on live national tv as oil companies put their bids into these boxes and the bids were opened up on national tv, as that would suggest. the oil sector taking off in iraq could fundamentally change the lives of every iraq citizen, build the confidence that iraq needs to stand with its neighbors. they've realized some ten contracts, two of them are u.s. companies and some major u.s. companies including exxonmobil are going to be there, but they also have companies from all five members of the, all five permanent members of the u.n. security council. in short, many other countries now have an investment in iraq's security and its future. so modernizing the energy service sector could create tens of thousands of jobs, attract
hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign investment which, in turn, could fund rapid reconstruction and development of iraq. can import modern business practice, modern technology to an iraqi sector that has not seen foreign involvement since nixon was president. in short, when you look at the fact the emergence of foreign oil companies in iraq that is high-technology companies, this is a major new development in iraq they haven't seen for a long, long time. but this doesn't mean it's going to be easy, it doesn't mean we're going to -- that this is all assures iraq's future. it's going to be the, require every day old-fashioned advocacy, and that's something embassies do best we have experts deeply involved in advising on contracts, technology and geology and environment, i might add. and our prt in basra is ramping up to support international oil
companies as they set up in the operations and the oil-rich vicinity. you know, i think it was important, it was important to me that actually the first oil companies were not american. you know, we have, we have some representation, but the first oil companies were something else. there was a british company, a dutch company, also a russian company before the u.s. was, u.s. companies were there. so careful management of iraq's oil riches is essential because an iraq that succeeds economically as well as politically will be self-reliant and secure in its place in the region. also in position to live up to still another must which is the fact that we must help iraq establish better relations with its neighbors. we still have considerable work to do on this front because iraq's place in the world depends not just on us, not just on oil, but iraq itself and on its neighbors. egypt and turkey are stepping up forging genuine multifaceted relationship with iraq, but us it's troubling that some other
neighbors, and in particular some of iraq's arab neighbors, have been slow to embrace iraq, a predominantly arab country that in 1945 was one of the founding members of the arab league. of course, there's one neighbor that plays a significant role in it own history as well as iraq's, and i'm, of course, talking about iran. there's no question that iran has shown a very ma left lent -- malevolent face in iraq. it has probed for weaknesses, it has tried to frustrate u.s. and iraqi common goals, it has been responsible for helping armed militia groups, it's been responsible for training, it's been responsible for some of the munitions that have found their way into iraq, indeed, it's been responsible for some of the munitions that we've found land almost on our heads in the green zone. this said -- so this means we need to be very mindful and very vigilant to this continued interest from malevolent
interest from iraq. it's an interest that seems to emerge mostly from the kutz force in iraq, it seems to be very much militarily and security focused. but we also need to be respectful of the complexity of the shared history in iraq and not understand these issues to be sort of from an american point of view. we need to understand that the relationships there go far back in history, far before we were part of the equation. iraqi arabs and iranians have differed over the proper role of religion and government for decades, and in this context we sometimes see iranian influence thinking it's always about us. it is not always about us. i can assure you that no one in the embassy or camp victory is naive about this iranian presence. we know the iranians are very much these malevolent acts, but
we are working with the iraqi authorities on it, and we are convinced the iraqi authorities share that concern. they did not choose iran as a neighbor and, therefore, in the way they deal with iran as a neighbor, they deal very carefully because they know that for the next thousand years iran is likely to be their neighbor. it does not mean they are any less vigilant. for those who say that the shia in iraq are somehow part and parcel of the shia in iran, they do not understand the fact that during the iran/iraq war saddam hussein fought that war with an army that was 80% shia who never gave in to the iranians. so i don't think pep should be concerned about the notion that somehow the shia in iraq are inadequately concerned about the continued independence and territorial integrity of their country. so i am not sure that even if there were a big change in
tehran and woke up, i'm not sure that would mean a sudden end to the meddling or easing of relations with baghdad. it's going to take some time and it's going to start with an acknowledgement that if they want a good relationship with iraq, they better start respecting iraq's sovreignty and iraq is going to be their neighbor for the next thousand neighbors and not an isolated neighbor that it has been in the past but a neighbor that will have a good relationship with the united states and a good relationship with the world and the united states, one of the great calling cards we have in iraq is that we can introduce iraq to the international community. at present, iran can introduce iraq to north korea and not much more. . .
obviously, i want to be is guilty of careless on optimism,t it's also no time for pessimism either. it's time for tenacity, steadiness and resolve. we must be persistent in the face of adversity, we must be committed to achieving victory, achieving success. we're aware of the political complexity, we're realistic complexity, we're realistic about how to we have no illusions that things will be easy. as vince lombardi once observed, the only place success comes before work is in the english dictionary. [laughter] but as a new iraqi government lays out what kind of relationship it wants with the united states, they will need to see the united states is committed to building a relationship that will work out to our mutual benefit in the long term. we know as we deal with this very difficult problem, as we
contemplate the effects of our mistakes, the effects of many mistakes that have been there, we need to approach the subject of iraq with a great sense of hue pillty -- humility. humility in the mistakes that have been made. we need to understand that as we deal with this complex place, information and knowledge are not going to be sufficient in addressing our role in iraq. we're going to need some wisdom as well. we're going to need that wisdom as we move through the future. our diplomats, soldiers and civilian experts will continue to apply american power as best we can from mosul to baghdad, from anbar to basra. we'll continue to support the development of a robust rule of law in iraq carried out by impartial judges, trained police, competent military. that is another issue we work on every single day of the year in baghdad. we will pour our energy into
expanding private sector trade and investment so that iraq entrepreneurs have a shot at success, and we'll stay deeply committed to helping create a politically sound and prosperous iraq whose leaders and diplomats, friends to the united states engage confidently and prudently with their neighbors and with the world. a stable, secure and self-reliant iraq, in other words, is a strong and proud iraq, can be a catalyst for stability in the region. and given the threats that remain, the pains of the past and all the blood that's been shed there, this would constitute a major strategic success. so for iraq certainly, but also for those military and civilians who have served and, indeed, who have sacrificed so much. so in the end we are there, we are in iraq not only for u.s./iraqi relations, we're there for u.s. interests. we believe we can succeed there, we are very mindful of the difficulties, and we are very steady in confronting them every day of the year. thank you very much. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] >> okay. okay. >> does that work? >> yeah. >> ambassador hill, we want to thank you very much for that presentation, and we appreciate, also, the time you have allocated in your time back here to answer questions from people. >> sure. >> you have a standing-room-only crowd here. you don't see it here, but there are three other rooms on this floor that are packed, and you can wave to them through one of these, one of these cameras there. [laughter] we are also streaming your presentation on our internet site, and so there are people in baghdad and in beirut and cairo who are listening who may send us questions as well. >> relaxed. [laughter] >> that's exactly right. i may get a couple of cards from other questioners in other rooms
here and also from the internet. so, so what i would ask the questioners is to raise your hand, wait to be recognized. i have two people who -- liz and zach -- who will be bringing you a microphone so you can speak into it. that will help our friends on the cameras to be able to hear your question. keep it concise, and we've got a good amount of time. so let me start right here. thank you, zach. very good. ah, okay. go ahead. and you'll be next there, sir. thank you. >> pierre. how essential a successful election is for the plans of drawdown of american troops in iraq? >> well, first of all, we have, we have an agreement with the iraqis called the security
agreement which does envision a drawdown of u.s. troops. the first major element of that drawdown was the fact that on june 30th last year we withdrew from the cities and towns. i think it was very important because many iraqis questioned whether we were, in fact, prepared to do that, and as general odierno has eloquently said on a number of occasions, we accepted some tactical risk for a strategic gain. and i think the risk has proven to be, has proven to be minimal, and i think what we have shown the iraqi people is we are prepared to do as we are, as we have agreed to do in the security agreement. so i think it was very important, and i think, frankly, if you look at opinion surveys of iraqi people or what they think of the u.s. forces, it is increasingly favorable due to the fact that we do what we say
we're going to do. so with respect to the drawdown now, we have a plan, and this was set in motion by president obama's speech in camp lejeune just a year ago, but we will withdraw to some 50,000 troops by the end of, by the end of august and that all our troops will be in advise and assist brigades, that is no more combat operations by the troops. i think a key element of this and is to have successful elections. when you say what is the alternative to successful elections, the alternative's not very nice. it's a very unsuccessful process with a very uncertain future. and so we are predicating our, the troop withdrawals on our confidence that we will succeed with what we're doing. and so we do expect a successful election. again, elections are not, are essential because you have, you
know, the constitution is quite clear, there need to be elections now, they need to seat a new parliament, and we have every reason to believe that they will succeed. we've worked very hard with the iraqis on this. you realize there are some 6,200 candidates. we have, you know, we have printed up the ballots for some 18.9 million iraqis. they've been printed up in a neighboring country, and they're being brought into iraq next week. there are going to be some 50,000 polling stations nationally. this is, these are big numbers, and we have been working on this for months, and we have worked hand in glove with the u.n. there under the, under ad mel cert who's an extremely capable representative of ban ki-moon, so we are confident that this will succeed. >> i promised right here.
>> hello, my name is mohamed, and i'm with news agency ips. yesterday general odierno said that iran, that the u.s. had direct intelligence that iran had ties with the heads of the debaathification committee, and he said that they had been influenced by iran basically suggesting the decision might have come from iran. do you also share the same concerns that iran might have been involved in the accountability and justice commission decision to -- >> i am in 100% agreement with general odierno on that point, absolutely. >> have you done anything, basically, to confront and terminate that kind of influence? there i'm sorry, have we -- >> have you done anything to confront and terminate that kind of influence? >> i think the iranians are
extremely aware of our views on that. they are also even better aware of the extent of their malevolence toward their neighbor, and so i don't think it's a question of communicating these to iran, i think it's a question of iranian behavior and what they want to do. .. >> because of the military surge and the withdrawal of troops with the agreement mentioned which was put into
effect during the bush administration? >> i am not a spokesman for this administration nor am i spokesman for the last administration. i am made diplomat on the ground who is dealing with tough issues and every day, we have tough issues. we have to sell them every day in order to move on. -- solve them in order to move on. the problems we confront our very difficult every day. they need to be addressed. if we did not address them today, the whole situation is not going to work out for the better. i would caution people against assuming that at some point, everything went well and became a mopping up exercise. i would caution you against that sort of cartoon image of what we are dealing with. every day, we have problems. many of them or unforeseen by us and the eve rockies. we deal with them with what i
believe is a very good team. a team we have seen in the past and i'd like to think we are seeing now and will see in the future. these are tough problems. that is what i deal with every day of the week, including on sundays. >> i am bob drivers with the nation. prime minister maliki ended up siding with the accountability commission concept. his spokesman said the reversal by the court was illegal and unconstitutional, and he seemed to have, he personally named you, in fact, and said you had interfered, we're not going to let ambassador hill interfere with our politics. you know, one of his aides called for your expulsion. i mean, if -- >> was that a threat or a promise?
[laughter] >> so my question is, given all of that, isn't this a sign that our influence, or leverage as you put it, is pretty close to zero at this point? and that iranian leverage is likely to increase as we withdraw our forces, not the shia who don't like iran the nationals, but the political parties, the people. >> i frankly disagree with the. i think it is a sign we have elections coming up into an half weeks. and i would say it is assigned there is a very tough competition. i can't tell you who's going to win. i can at least tell you is running, which is better than in some countries. but i can't say who's going to win. i know it's going to be very
tight. i thank my lucky has put together a strong coalition. i think others have tried to do the same. there is the coalition which has mr. allawi, at the top, is a very secular minded shia, but there are many sunnis in his coalition. i can't tell you who is going to win. i can tell you that as issues come up, whether it is debaathification or other issues, there will be very strong, political reactions to them. now and again in this country as well, i, frankly, to be very obviously concern is very many people were about the the wake debaathidebaathification with the handle because i think it was taken up much too close to the election to be handled in a nonpolitical way. and so i spoke my mind on it, will continue to speak my mind. i think my job is to make sure
everybody in the country understands the u.s. government position. and frankly if you're a d ç>> if you have not been accusd of interfering, you are probably not doing your job very well. i made it pretty clear. i had had subsequent conversations with the prime minister and we addressiéç issus as they come off. xdi think we are going to have o -- since we do not know who is going to win, we have to work with all of the parties and we are doing that. i completely disagree with the notion that our the average is down to zero. these are very difficult issues. i can remember when i was having
a semi-vacation working on north korea, i would occasionally hear my colleagues talk about the issue of the hydrocarbon law. i would sit there and these senior staff and i would ask why they have to call it a hydrocarbon law. it was at a time when we were supposed to have maximum leverage. why did we not give the had to corporate law done? i will tell you. it is a tough issue different view of it. bureaucratic questions. you've got to have a national oil company, how are the kurds going to play in that? are you going to have a ministry? who is going to staff that? how are you going to do that? it's a tough issue involving iraqi interest in iraqi politics. so no, it didn't get done and. frankly, we change tactics earlier this year, and really press the iraqi's to try to go with an open bidding system,
these plexiglass boxes. and i got to tell you, it's worked. leverage to me as i said earlier, i think the major leverage we have is to say, iraqi's, work with us. because if you work with us, you will be a member of the international community. you will go anywhere in the world. people will respect what you're doing. they will respect the alliances and the structures of your foreign affairs. if you go with iran, well, that's another route, but that doesn't lead you very far. i think the power of that vision, of being a u.s. partner, is a very powerful one, and really is one that will enable us to get things done when you talk about leverage. i think the idea of just using leverage and sort of a negative sense, we have troops there and somehow we can somehow harm you, i think is really a loosely. i think we need to demonstrate
our commitment to a long-term relationship. >> i am from the washington institute. ambassador, thank you for the presentation and/or service. those statements made by iraq officials, whether they single out iraq or vice president biden. and the long-term health harvell do think there are two u.s.-iraqi relations? is going to be a trend in the future from your perspective? >> i don't think it's a trend and i don't think they have been that numerous. abie through the magic of the internet, they get repeated a lot but not by the people who sent them. i think as often the case in these issues, someone says something and then the echo effect is greater than what someone has said. we'll have a problem in dealing
with the maliki government. we work with them every day. general odierno and i have a weekly meeting, sometimes i meet him alone. sometimes general odierno meets him alone. we are very productive relationship with the maliki government. we look forward to a productive relationship with whoever replaces the maliki government, including another nokia government. so i'm not concerned with the. this is a question. there in the campaign. there in the middle of a campaign, so sometimes you will draw in a foreign source for some campaign issue. so you know, it's not a problem, believe me. i've been around a lot. i've been around long enough that i can handle someone criticizing me in the press now. it just happens. deal with it. >> i am with cnn.
i would like to ask you to spend on two issues that you brought up in your remarks. first of all i know that you've been working since you took office on the issue of the arab states, a coming more supportive of iraq. could you expand on exactly what you would like them to do and some of your discussions, on why they are not doing this and what are the prospects, what does iraq need to deal to gain that support? and then also on the issue of the band candidates, usage of kind of work past this and moved on, but do you see this as specifically something that prime minister al-maliki day to quash out some of his opposition because some of those people have been in parliament and did seem to have some political support in the country. thank you. >> on the regional issue, you know, i personally am engaged in iraq, not engage in the region
but i know the assistant secretary, geoff feldman, has been very much engaged with the region. and most recently secretary clinton. in fact, i think is still there today. and part of our message and secretary clinton made this very clear at the doha forum is to try to encourage factors to reach out to iraq. now, why have they not done so, why is, why we talking about this, what is the problem? i think for some of them, they wanted to see iraq standing on its feet with a full sovereignty and not being somehow a state that depends on the united states. for its daily existence. well, clearly iraq has reestablished its sovereignty, it. invested up of very confident security service, security forces, their army that they have institutions that are functioning. clearly, iraq is a sovereign state, and i think for anyone
who is concerned about that, they need not be. they need to engage directly with iraqi's. there is some view that some of the sunni states have been reluctant to engage with and iraq -- with what will probably continue to be a shia led state, although i want to emphasize that this is not a win or take all system there. and just as there are important sunnis in the current government, there will be in the next government as well. this is not winner take all. so i think part of it has been to try to encourage other states to work with iraq, even if there is a potential that will continue to be shia led, as opposed to the sunni led which is what you see in almost all of the middle east. some countries have understood, have come to, have worried about iranian influence there. what i think some of the same countries have also been very
engaged in iraq, because they understand that the best way to deal with ironic interest in iraq is to show some interest themselves. and so it has been gratifying to see country stepping up and working very cities we are diplomatically in iraq, if you look at turkey's relationship with iraq, it is better than it has been in many years. if you look at egypt, they now have a strong and busy, very active ambassador. we like to see more of these, and i think we will continue to work on it. i think, our hope is in a no hope is not a basis for policy, but our hope is that after the elections and after the seating of a new iraqi government, however that long, and by the way it could be just weeks but it could be months. but after the new government is set up we would hope to see other countries in the region. second question was on -- what was the -- lisa?
>> on al-maliki, whether his decision to overturn or the candidates, a political move on his part, which i to quash some of his? >> well, i think if you look at enough of the other shia led coalition, they were very strong on this anti-baathist point. [inaudible] >> well, i mean, our concern was that they were pushing what is a major and extremely emotional issue just before the election. and in our view, inevitably politics crept into this. you will have to ask prime minister maliki whether he was supporting it because he wanted to go after other politicians, or whether he was supporting it because he knew that the voters that he was trying to attract, especially voters that he would
try to attract away from other shia, from the other shia coalition, whether they would want to see him take a strong view on it. so i would say, you know, this is shocking, but i would say politics did play a role in this overall situation. and that's why we had some concerns about trying to take a commission that had not been heard from in quite a while and make it front and center, just weeks before the election. and we registered those concerns and i think ultimately, there was a decision, which ultimately the iraqi at large have accepted. i might also mention that today, or this morning in baghdad, the five major coalition representatives of the five major coalitions, sat together and agreed on a code of conduct. which i don't think we even have here in washington. [laughter] >> the last i checked.
and you know, the coalition, one of the points of this code of conduct is to accept the results and accept a certain parameters and how you go after people, and ask you violence which in fort lee is something that needs to be repeated in iraq. so i think we are on into the middle of the elections. and if you went out there, you would see as i mentioned earlier, these campaign posters, you know, the ballots don't have the actual names of the candidates, the names of the candidates are posted in the $50,000 locations. but people know what number they will be. so they want to make sure the voters understand, checkbox three because that's my boss, or something. this is politics. and democracy, and frankly, they are inspirational.
>> from one of the overflow rooms, we have a question. we have several questions that one is can you elaborate what the role of the u.n. in iraq in the medium to long-term? >> i think the u.n. role has been very important there. and i do believe that when the u.s. can work with the u.n. where we can come up with a common agenda, when the u.s. and u.n. work together we can really move mountains. and i believe that we've got a very special relationship with the team there. this is a former dutch politician who knows a thing or two about parliaments. he also knows a thing about remaining calm through turbulent political season. and i think we very much need that right now. i think the key objective for the u.n. is there, they have a number of system programs that they do through -- for several,
undp, the u.n. high commissioner's, i mean, i went out to a place in last weekend saw where you had sunni and shia refugees being returned, and the undp -- or hcr had build houses for them to return to. these are very important issues. but on a political level, the u.n. office is going to be dealing with a couple of other issues. one is the issue of trying to help iraq overcome its chapter seven status. now, the u.s., by article 25 of the security agreement, is required to assist iraq in overcoming chapter seven status. that is a status of being a threat to peace and security in the region. and this is tied up in a number of iraq's acceding to a number of u.n. security council
resolutions in the early 1990s. it is not easy, but we are working with the u.n. on those things. that the u.n. is also engaged with kuwait as well. so the whole chapter 70 next is is a political thing that you and is working. and funny, and i think very importantly, the u.n. is taken on the jobs of dealing with the disputed internal boundary questions, those 15 features with kirkuk. and both of these instances he called a number of us together, including the british and the french ambassadors. and we had kind of brain >> how we could get through the questions. do you start with the most difficult or do you try to put the most difficult last. if we solve that one, the other 14 are easy? we have been working with them
on that. i really want to emphasize that we need a strong view and prez's -- a strong un presence. >> thank you for your presentation. where does u.s. leverage stand on return? one of the things that barack obama mentioned in his campaign -- in his speech was the most important indicator of this table iraq would be the return of refugees. the majority of refugees have not returned. syria and jordan continued to receive new refugees. where is the u.s. policy on return and a reintegration? the second issue of want to ask about is people have experienced a tax on the basis of their sexual orientation. we have seen your daughter to
the council on global equality. thank you on that. -- we have seen your letter to the council on global equality. could you elaborate on what the u.s. is doing to ensure protection for this vulnerable group? >> refugee returns, i with me. tics are very clear that there is a net influx of refugee returns. and that was one of the reasons i went to the all last week to see what is being done for these people. and in particular, what the iraqi government is doing. as you know, at our request they name a coordinator for refugee issues, because it goes beyond the migration ministry. in fact, i would on a number -- another visit, i believe it was indecent or, i went to a refugee processing center, which was filled with people trying to return and return to their homes. and i went with the minister of
migration, but you can clearly see that you can get people back to their homes, but then you have to make sure their homes are available for them to live in. so you need the police in case that needs to be an eviction. you need that social welfare to make sure there are some services, and potential for jobs. iraq still suffers very high unemployment, which is one of the reasons it is difficult to come back. last week when i went to be all i was pretty impressed that they had built several thousand of these very rudimentary homes. in both shia and sunni area. and i went and talked to people there and they were very appreciative. a number had already started adding to the structures to make them large enough for larger families. we have a full-time refugee coordinator. marks to roll a, and he, as i
said, doing this several day. if several people to work with him on it. the iraqi government is very clear on where we stand on the idp and reggie returns. very clear indeed. the problem that we have had to press on them is to make a priority. and to make sure that, i mean, they have many problems with this one has got to be on the top. there have been criticism that the iraqi's have been unwilling to do it on the eve of elections. we made sure actually that overseas voting is being well handled. in a, they will be voting for refugees in some 16 countries. we printed some 1.5 million ballots, or 1.4 million ballots in anticipation of meeting these ballots in many different places to make sure that these refugees have a political rights. we're working very hard on that.
on the issue of attacks on gays in iraq, all i would say to you on that is that is an issue. that is a problem, and we need to do more in that regard. i did send a letter, but to be very frank with you, we need to do more. >> ambassador hill, from a root there have been several questions. one was on the massive refugee crisis which of address. and other, mr. ambassador, also from beirut, how can a country have democratic and free elections while under occupation without the people feeling it will be influenced in some way by the occupying country? speaking to iraqi refugees, they paint a different picture and speak of hardship and injustice under the occupation. >> well, if you go through towns and villages and cities, you don't see u.s. forces there. so i'm not sure what they have in mind in terms of being quote
unquote under occupation. i mean, the politicians, believe me, are all iraqi at all are making the decisions that there are few of us who try to be helpful and arriving at decisions. but these are iraqi decisions. so i'm not sure i share the premise of the question there. i will say that, for example, today grand ayatollahs astarte put out a statement urging everybody to vote and urging that all people should be prepared to vote. i lose track of time but i think was two weeks ago i was in anbar and i met with all of tribal leaders come most of whom are sunni. and they told me that they've had the word out through their own network that everybody should go. i met with another group of tribal shieks at my home for
lunch the other day. in fact, just before i came here. and they, too, had the same message to all their voters. one of the people actually banned for fastest bass connection to a guy named also had a statement to the effect that people should vote. so i would assure the questioner in beirut and maybe looking at me now, that if he is an iraqi, he should go find one of the polling station because they are active in 16 countries. i'm sure lebanon is one of them and he can pick up a ballot and he can vote. no one is going to intimidate him in that process. >> i'd like to ask you, i know you spoke a lot about the debaathification, the process. but i just want to ask you, the point have a statement from yourself from general odierno that iran is influenced ahmadinejad in this process,
puzzles questions for iraqi's that how this can go on and these candidates have been banned and elections but in terms of legitimacy and transparency, do you think anyway this is going to affect voter turnout in people's confidence in the process? and if i may very briefly, just ask you about the status of detainees, iraqi detainees with the u.s. forces. i know this is something to have been working to reduce. could you give us the latest numbers and if there are any problems in reducing the numbers? thank you. >> first of all, the numbers are coming down, and releases are being made. they move past lower than 9000 last summer, and i want to say 7000. [inaudible] >> six or 7000. and it's a process that's continuing. we've turned over a number of facilities and we have closed some other facilities. so it is very much a process that is continuing. i think the debaathification, as i indicated to you, it's a major
issue there. and you know, it is right there in article seven of the constitution. is not an issue to hide under the rug. no matter how many carpets you have in iraq, i mean, you have to deal with it. the problem was it was dealt with very late, and it was dealt with after the onset in effect of the political season. and so i think the process in the eyes of many iraqi's raise questions. raise questions as to whether it was due process and whether it was something where it was not politicize. i will say that when you look at the list of people, these were not all sunnis. and i think that is a bit of a misunderstanding that people have that somehow this was targeted list of all cities. the effect of it though, in political terms, was i think many cities were concerned perhaps proportionally more concerned about than some shia were concerned about it.
i will say, you know, again, it was easy to work through. there was a court of the seven judge panel that was sequestered. and their cell phones taken away, which is a real denial of birthrights in that country now. and they worked assiduously to get the remaining eight. you recall that start with a list of 500. they send it back to the political parties, or the coalitions with whom there are about five. and many of them with new names because they saw that these people were, in fact, or did have baathist connections would make them in eligible to be seated. and they substituted other names. so that brought the name that to some 250. then there was further scrubbing, and i think some 50 were taken off because they simply were either wrongly named or were patently, you know, had
nothing to do with the baathists, with baathist connections. finally, as i understand they came down to about 140 names and the judges adjudicated that list. the initial problem was that they are looking at this 500 list, and the concern was they would be able to adjudicate that. so some people are saying why don't you just wait until after the election as one solution come with the understanding you don't actually see people but once people are elected, you are doing with a much smaller group than, say, 500. you may be due with 20 or 30 a maximum. so it was decided to do it ahead of time. and i think, you know, it has worked and i think we are moving on. >> thank you. thank you, ambassador. i'm with the turkish daily newspaper. i want to ask you to elaborate
more on the turkish role in iraq. in a previous elections, turkey has helped to persuade the sunnis to be part of the election. do you see them helping out this time around this election becomes as, and second of all, you said in your remarks that turkey's relationship is better than it has been. i guess it is more targeted to turkey's relations with the iraqi kurds and the kurdish region in the north. but as you start to draw down the u.s. troops, out of iraq, what are the new concerns that you have? or what have you defined your concerns in the turkey iraqi relationship. thank you. >> i think first of all, i think turkey is very active and are active in a positive way in iraq. first of all, the turkish ambassador is one of my closest
cooperators, we work a lot together. and the absolutely share our goals, our diplomatic, strategic goals for relations, good relations with iraq. during the time when we had very difficult moments in the election law, we were working together on trying to make sure that we could get the election law through so we could get on with the date for the election. and you know, using or certainly in keeping with our diplomatic status but reaching out to iraqi politicians, of all kinds what it was the turkomen who are concerned about their rights in the kirkuk area but also the sunnis who were always have a concern that somehow more numerous shia are causing or could be a reason for concern that we have worked very well together. general odierno was there just a
couple of weeks ago. user come to but a senior american ambassador from the embassy to work with, sit down with the turks and talk about some of the challenges posed by cross-border activity on the part of pkk terrorists. we have very much work together on the issue of a trilateral mechanism where turkey, u.s. and iraq deal with some of the security questions in the north. and we feel that, not only have we been successful through this mechanism in reducing the threat posed to turkey by some of these pkk elements, but most important, there has done a security relationship between turkey and iraq on these matters. and i think this is something that will have an enduring benefit to turkey's interest,
and frankly, to iraq. turkish oil companies have also been engaged, not only in the kurdish areas, but in iraq proper. and i think we can see every day just trucks and trucks of turkish consumer goods, et cetera, coming into iraq. so it is amounting to i think a more important relationship for turkey, and a relationship that i think helps turkey leverage its position in the region. so we see a lot of positives and we continue to work very closely with our turkish friends and allies on that. >> voice of america, thank you mr. ambassador. the question is regarding a follow-up for the united states to answer a question. what's the role of turkey? is it the same helpful as you
mentioned? >> yeah, >> i think turkey shares the view that we need a solution to the issue. there are a number of ideas and it was spelled out about one year ago or the solutions are laid out whether they be a special status or what kind of the new province should be handled. it is not a question of coming up with a solution in advance. it is a question of encouraging process which will lead to solutions. i know the turkish government has the capacity to be influential with certain parts of the equation. that is keeping with their diplomatic interests in seeing that a tough issue in a
neighboring country is resolved in a peaceful way. i cannot tell you how it is going to come out but i can tell you that we are all very much engaged to ensure it comes out in a peaceful way that is acceptable. we are going to work very hard on that. >> this is from the iraq foundation who asks what measures are being taken to enter the transparency? >> all, we're doing a lot of things there, but what you've done is doing especially is to work with, work with the election commission, the iraqi's have, under general ayden have the lead of course for election security, and the u.s. is supporting u.s. military and is very much supporting that.
we have had -- we had in the recent at the american embassy where we invited all foreign, foreign diplomats there to make sure everyone understood how this is being organized. and especially, how the international election observe observers, our embassy is organizing some 26 teams of election observers. each team needs its own security mechanism. so these are not easy to do, but we are really doing quite a lot. the ballot is, you know, unami has real experts on this. we have some us-based ngo's that are also assisting. so i think the iraqi voters will not find any surprises when they enter the voting booth. they will know very clearly what their responsibility are as voters and how to mark up their ballot.
>> and from the american iraqi oil. one of them was about the biden visit last time, which the second about what influence you have after the election. because i think you don't have influence now at the election, but you have influence after the election. for mister biden visits, which in view of the iraqi, give negative effect, especially the iraqi people, they don't want somebody in their affair in their way. and i hear that another visit from mister biden to iraq.
i wish it will be very careful, especially mr. biden has project for iraq before he come to vice president to divide iraq two or three parts. and thank you. >> okay. well, first of all i can't share the premise of your question that somehow the visit of vice president biden was perceived negatively. it was actually perceive very positive. had an excellent meeting with prime minister, the president. excellent meeting with the speaker of the council of representatives. i thought it was very important visit, very useful disappear key did not go for the purpose of telling them what to do. he didn't go for the purpose of telling people in iraq what's going on in iraq. he did talk about how iraq is being perceived outside, which is really a fair thing to do to explain to iraqis that what you do is being looked at from
outside. and here is the perspective from outside of what you are doing. so i think he really very much went as a very long-standing friend of iraq. i can assure you, as we look forward to getting past the election and onto government formation, that the u.s. has a great interest in a successful process. but our interest will not be -- it will be expressed in appropriate activities. so we will, we will be helpful in this process, and helpful and consistent with our obligations in the strategic framework agreement to try to work to overcome the isolation of iraq, but also to help iraq in its development of democratic institutions. so i can assure you, vice president biden's trip was very, very well received by people.
>> odds are, what was the other question? [inaudible] >> and we will, we will exercise our influence. [inaudible] >> we will exercise our influence appropriately and consistent with our diplomatic standing. and we will try to be helpful to see that iraq can stand up a government and stand up for government that has the support of its parliament in support of its people. but that is for the iraqis to do. that is not our job. our job is to be helpful in the process. [inaudible] >> i'm sorry? [inaudible] >> know. it is not for us. is for the iraqi people to decide whether they want to elect that it's not our job. we have enough jobs. >> alexander kravis, formerly of the aba. ambassador, thank you for your remarks and thank you for the
time taking these questions. i am wondering if you could share with us some thoughts perhaps on how after the elections, the whole hydrocarbons law of oil issue between the krg and the central government baghdad might be resolved. and perhaps more specifically, i'm, and i don't mean to put you on the spot, but i'm curious if you see the report on the recent publication on iraq's oil politics and if you might have any comments and if you have actually seen it, what your thoughts might be on having it translated to arabic. that's the basis for discussion. >> i have heard about it, i haven't seen it. but if you have a copy i would love to take it with me. i think iraq needs a hydrocarbons law. i think the fact that there was a recent agreement about a week
ago between the kurdish krg government and the iraq government at baghdad on a resolution of this issue of revenue sharing, i think is encouraging. the prime minister sent to prime minister maliki a proposal which included the text of oil deals, international firms. and that was accepted by the iraqi oil ministry. and so that's cleared the way to resume kurdish oil shipments that have been interrupted for some time. so that is all encouraging, and we hope there'll be some momentum for that to addressing the hydrocarbon law. but i don't want to, you know, stand in the long line of people predicting the hybrid --
hydrocarbon law will happen. is a complicated matter we will see what will get done after the election. >> there is an online request for another prediction. >> i don't do predictions except the red sox won the world series this year. that was a given. [laughter] >> this is of the iraqi minister expected violence and within three months after the election. what about your expectations to? you know, i think there are fewer and fewer people who are engaged in trying to settle political matters, violently. if you look at the al qaeda which, you know, remains obvious he a threat in iraq. and engage in some high profile bombings in baghdad, but it is significant to understand they have zero support from the iraqi public. part of what happened with the whole movement in anbar was semi-people have had enough of this type of wanton violence and essentially stepped out of that
process. so i think the trend line is toward less and less violence. the iraqi secret forces are increasing their capabilities of going after these terrorist cells, these networks. but i do believe that the statistics would clearly lead you to believe that this is going in the right direction. i think the hope and expectation really is that after these elections, that it will be further impetus to convince iraqi's that now is the time to participate in a clinical process that is being run by, for and the iraqi people, and not by the foreign concern. >> there are two people there. go ahead.
>> ball mark the data, freelance journalist. ambassador, two of the main of five coalitions of prime minister maliki's have expressed interest in transitioning from consensus-based national unity type of government to a majority the type of election after election. you think the composition of these two coalitions, but that more than one sects represented within them would make that a feasible option? do you think that iraq is ready for this kind of transition? thank you. >> you know, this issue comes up a lot. it is in the public debate in iraq, that should you have a system where everybody gets something or should you have a system where winners get something and losers don't. i know that the frustrations are that when you have a system
where everybody gets something, there's a concern that somehow some of these ministries don't work or they are not loyal enough to the head of the government, and therefore, it's not a good system. you know, i just think this is an example of something where, you know, the iraqi's are going to have to sort through this. i think there are two ways to try to run iraq. one is to, you know, give everyone a little piece of the action. the other is to try to do it all yourself. i believe it up to others to decide which is a better way to handle it, but i don't think it's for us to be venturing forth in telling the iraqis how to resolve what is essentially an age-old issue for them to deal with. i will say it is encouraging that they're looking at these essentially models of democracy that they have to decide on paper is for them to choose, not for us.
>> mr. ambassador, what you see as the primary obstacles to economic development in iraq right now? and what do you think needs to be done, for example, in the next six months to change that scenario? >> i think they need to strengthen rule of law. they need to strengthen contract law, things like that. i may, for businesses need to know very cleared what their rights are. they need to be assured that there are, that the court system can be adequate to dealing with the disputed issues. so i think just the rule of law infrastructure is one problem. i think another problem is just basic information, cell phone penetration, et cetera, other issues like that, our kind of inadequate right now. when you look at the kind of astounding numbers that are
discussed for the department of the iraqi oil sector, we're talking about getting up to numbers like 10 million barrels a day, and more, 12 million euros a day. that puts iraq sort of four times what iran is exporting. puts iraq at sort of in saudi type territory. but is this feasible? i think it is only feasible if they start building infrastructure in a >> i think infrastructure is a major issue on economic growth. security and the problems associated with that are quite clear. i suggest that that needs improving. probably foreign language skills need to be addressed. i was at the university of baghdad and i could see that they are doing a lot there.