tv American Politics CSPAN March 7, 2010 6:30pm-8:00pm EST
not addressing treatment. >> many of them do. many of them have cut deals with the white house and congressional democrats to make sure their cost controls are in the neighborhood of what they can afford. the pharmaceutical industries have cut a deal with $100 billion. that is in the neighborhood of something well there may be concerns that costs continue to rise, they do not feel they can go any further to increase those costs. >> how will this affect the public on how this is shaping up? >> we did not know whether it is going to pass. since the summit, i think chances have increased. karen is one of the best lobbyists in town. years ago in the bush administration, she did not
like the patients' bill of rights, and she helped kill the bill. democrats know she is a formidable. >> congressional democrats are scrambling to make sure they can write this bill, that they can get the votes, that they can get into the floor, and from the house to the senate, where in the senate it becomes a circus as this opens up a process for unlimited amendments. it is going to be a very messy process. if you thought it was ugly last year, it is going to be even worse, and democrats are still loping as bases sausage being made they will still want to -- still hoping as the sausages being made they will still want to eat it. >> thank you. >> we're in the business of trying to help our students --
predominantly young women and older men and women, understand you should focus on achievement in your own life and not be looking to grab headlines. >> tonight, meet the woman credited with turning around washington university. patricia mcguire. >> tomorrow on "washington journal," william eggleston talks about the current trend of distrust in government -- william galston talks about the current trend of distrust in government, and then the role nuclear energy plays and obama's energy policy and the jobs it can create. then how job creation is stifled by corporate consolidation. live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c- span. now u.s. ambassador paul
bremmer talks about the situation in that country and ways to combat islamic extremism. ambassador bremmer spoke at an event in colorado springs. this is just under an hour. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> thank you for a much, congressman, for that kind introduction. -- thank you very much, congressman, for that kind introduction. i want to us all the socialists to leave now please. i guess that is fair. i think it is a wonderful program.
you mentioned the snow in washington. i live in washington. the government was close down for a couple of days. [applause] one of the congressman i know has a sign that says, republicans are never safer than when congress is adjourned, but the schools were also closed, and there's a story that a mother went to her son and said, you have to get to go to school. he said, i do not want to go to school. she said, you have got to go to school. give me two good reasons why you should not go to school. he said, the students hate me, and second, the teachers hate me. the schools are open. those are not good reasons. get up and go to school. the son says, give me two good reasons why should go to school. she says, you are 51 years old, and secondly, you are the
principal. the schools are reopened in washington. we face three main foreign policy challenges. i am going to do with the first to very briefly and focus on the third. -- the first two very briefly and focus on the third. the first is china, which has acquired enormous strength, and in many areas is the second power. it is true the economic growth means china has a hunger for natural resources, and gradually, it is becoming less dependent on the american markets, which will reduce our leverage in beijing. second, the chinese administration is still a totalitarian administration, so we will continue to have political friction. chinese foreign policy is
becoming increasingly more assertive, not least in the search for natural resources, which suggests we will continue to have tensions between us and the chinese and rising tensions in the pacific region. history is full of examples with the problems of dealing with an emerging new power. the second problem is russia, which presents a rather bizarre combination of reassertion of material designed to combine with a country's social and demographic weakness. people do not understand how isolated russia is. none of the former colonies want to the colonies again. russia is facing a demographic collapse. some estimates are that the population will fall from 140 million to less than 100 million by the end of the century, so there is a real contrast in russia between they aim of the
russian government to reestablish a russian sphere of influence in the region combined with this weakness. we have seen russians fending quadruple in the last six years, and we have seen russians intimidate neighbors like georgia. russia presents a bizarre combination of early 19th century russian nationalism combine with the weakness and resentment that characterize of post world war rooneii weimar germany. these problems can be dealt with by tough-minded american diplomacy. the bad news is we're not likely to find support among our european allies on either issues
theory of let me turn to the third and major threat your -- of the other issues. let me turn to the third and major threat of islamic extremism, and that this combined with the fear of islamic extremists getting their hands on weapons of mass disruption. i want to leave you with three thoughts. first, this is a global threat not just against america but against the west. second, the threat has an important dimension, iran, and thirdly, that the united states needs a comprehensive way to deal with the threat. i am not sure we have the strategy yet. most of you think about 9-11.
i have to say, in the 15 months before 9-11, we face a new threat of extremism, and they must conduct mass casualty attacks on american homeland on the pearl harbor scale. we said that in june 2000. why did we say that? we looked at the evidence, and the evidence suggested real change had taken place in the late 1980's and early 1995. i was involved in the war on terrorism in the 1970's and 1980's. terrorism was much different from what we face today. they basically use terrorism as a tactic to get attention to their cause. they would kill enough people to get across their but not so many people the public would be turned off from their cause. they wanted to draw attention to their cause, whether it was getting american bases out of
germany, and so forth. those terrorists practice self restraint. they did not want to kill so many people they would turn off the public very good they did not want to go to jail. they did not want to die. suicide attacks were almost unknown in the 1980's. the old strategies we put together of treating terrorists as criminals made sense. it no longer makes sense. the national commission on terrorism said there were three new trend that took place in the 1990 [pause] reagan -- in the 1994 offering of first, terrorism was becoming more deadly. -- in the 1990's. first, terrorism was becoming more deadly. suicide attacks were becoming
more common, and the bipartisan national commission pointed out that all of the known terrorists were conducting programs to acquire or had acquire weapons of mass destruction. in the case of iraq, if not only acquire weapons of mass destruction, but it had used it against his own people. the program continued just recently when israelis on the nuclear and now they're thin syria, and the iranian program continues today. i will have a lot more to say about iran and a minute. these new terrorists must have a different motive from all terrorists, because they are completely different. what do we know about the motives? we know a lot, because terrorists sought a lot about their motives.
lisa -- they started talking about it in the late 1980's's. these islamic extremists affect an extreme version of his long they define as being at war with the west. for two decades in the statements they have issued thurman they have been very clear. they have a goal, which is the conversion of the entire war to their own -- the entire world to their war division of is long. -- their warped vision of is from -- of islam. the founder of the muslim brotherhood wrote decades ago, almost 80 years ago, "a maslow has no nationality but his belief -- and moslem has no
nationality but his belief." they call for a grand jihad to eliminate and destroy western civilization from within so it is eliminated and allah's nation is made victorious over all other nations. one said the order -- the goal is to commit all mankind to islam. these are motivated by a burning hatred of everything western. we're not talking about magazines and films of western culture. they those, too, but they hate the kinds of things in this nation was founded on. separation of church and state.
universal suffrage. women's education. these things they hated more. the thing they hate most is democracy. bin laden calls it a project because it chris dodd and not man in charge of how society is run -- it puts god and not man in charge of how society is run. one denounced the election and said, democracy is a new religion that must be destroyed by war. think about that. democracy is a new religion that must be destroyed by war this sunni extremism i am describing is half the problem. there's also a sheehan dimension -- shia dimension, and this is particularly --
particularly dangerous because of the sponsorship from tehran. for 30 years, iran has been identified as the major state sponsor of terrorism in the world. it was iran that created hezbollah common-law -- hezbollah, the terrorist group in lebanon, and by -- before 9- 11, hezbollah had killed more americans than all other terrorist groups combine. iran sponsors shia extremism from as far away as yemen, but iran is also the major supporter of the sunni terrorist group, and iran is in fact at war with america because they are killing our soldiers in iraq's and afghanistan.
these are the facts. like sunni extremism, this iranian shia extremism is anti- democratic and anti-western. the basic premise is that the supreme leader of rules by divine right. a senior iranian cleric has said, accepting his slump is not compatible -- a excepting his lawn is not compatible with democracy, -- accepting islam is not compatible with democracy very good -- with democracy. radical extremist islam resembles in many ways the 20th century totalitarian creeds like
not season and communism. in the ninth legitimacy of western -- like pronounced nazi -- like nazism and communism. the revolutionaries motives have consequences for our security, because the new terrorists want to kill us by the thousands or by the hundreds of thousands. some of you will remember there was a first world trade center attack, which took place in february of 1993. remember, they drove a truck into the basement and blew up a bomb. we were able to capture those six terrorists, who then told us their objective had been to kill 250,000 americans that day. that was their objective.
the new dimension which makes these terrorist so terrifying is the possibility that by getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction they could have the capability of killing us by the hundreds of thousands. this is the crucial nexus, a nexus between terrorism- supporting states, weapons of mass destruction, and islamic extremism, which is the major threat to american national security in the early 21st century. the clock is ticking. another bipartisan commission reported in december that dreamless will use some weapons -- extremists will use weapons of mass destruction in an attack in the next few years. once you get this in your mind, people often say, what is the
root cause of all this hatred? why can we all just get along? the root cause is not poverty. osama bin lighten -- osama bin laden could buy and sell all of us. the guys who did the attacks on the world trade center were well-educated. the christmas bomber was a college-educated man from an upper class, highly respected nigerian family. the root cause, i believe is nothing less fun the existence and success of western civilization. -- nothing less than the existence and success of western civilization.
they hate us because of who we are. we stand behind to enter 50 years of independence, but another 700 -- 250 years of independence but another 700 years of western thought. this is not a clash of civilizations. this is a clash of civilizations. bernard lewis, a professor at princeton, and one of the best observers of the middle east, believe this comes from a sense of failure on islamic societies to reconcile their vision of islam with the modern world. i think he is onto something and that this analysis has important implications for our strategy, and in particular, for the role of presenting representative governments.
let me finish by making clear two important things. the vast majority of muslims are not terrorists. the vast majorities of terrorists are muslims, and there is in effect a civil war going on to define appropriately what is is lompoc's role in the modern world -- what is islam's role in the modern world, and we have a big stake winning that war. the iranian government for years has lied to the united nations, the international atomic energy commission about its program to get nuclear weapons. today, they're simply can be no doubt this program, despite
repeated iranian denials, is directed at acquiring nuclear weapons, and i will talk about two american officials. admiral blair told congress, iran has the scientific, technical, industrial capability to produce another hydrogen- enriched uranium for a weapon, and i was at a public meeting with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mollen, in january, when he said iran has the strategic intent to have nuclear weapons. iran has paid no price for lying about its nuclear, for disregarding success of u.n. security council resolutions, and for mocking express concerns in the international community. for almost 20 years, europeans
have pursued what they call a constructive dialogue on the subjects. it has been neither constructive nor a dialogue. in the past year, president obama has given several deadlines, by which time they should comply with their un security council demands, only to move the line in the san he has drawn successively as the iranians have not meant -- not met those deadlines. even after iran announced that it had enriched uranium 20%, which is a significant step to getting weapons-grade uranium, even after that announcement, american policy seems to be focused on the wish that iran will somehow see the light and seize its nuclear program --
cease its nuclear program. it is difficult to exaggerate the consequences of a nuclear iran. let me name six that come to mind off hand. first, a nuclear iran would represent a major shift in the geopolitical balance in the most unstable region. second, as a consequence, it would seem more nuclear proliferation, as iran's historic non-persian neighbors would seek to redress the balance by requiring nuclear weapons themselves every year thirdly, it would promote proliferation in other parts of the world. countries like north korea and japan are watching closely what happens in iran. fourth, it would lead to boulder iranian interference in the neighboring countries of iraq and afghanistan, threatening
american interests in both those countries. fifth, peace between israel and the arabs would be less likely. sixth and most importantly, it would increase in a measurable way the possibility of nuclear proliferation towards super terrorism. that is to see the possibility of nuclear weapons and materials would find their ways into the hands of extremists. let's face it. diplomacy is failing. no sanctions on iran -- even the robust package the administration talks about, even if we get that robust package through the security council, which i doubt, even that kind of regime is unlikely to persuade the iranians from continuing their nuclear program. president ahmadinejad is on the
record as saying iran's nuclear program is a train without brakes, and he has an apocalyptic view of the end of the world and iran's role in it, calling repeatedly for the destruction of israel and often welcoming the idea of a world without america. our options with dealing with iran are rapidly disappearing. only peaceful means left to us now, assuming sanctions do not work, the only peaceful way to stop the nuclear program is regime change, and failing that, only option left in stopping the program will be military action, and despite the obvious downside of that option, it must remain on the table, and it must be seen to remain on the table. when he was a senator, senator obama said it was unacceptable for iran to have nuclear
weapons, as did senator clinton. that was the position of the bush administration. if it is unacceptable, we have to be prepared to do something about it. to defend against this general islamic threat, we need a grand strategy, and that grand strategy has three components. one, conceptual clarity about the threat. two, good intelligence to deal with the threat, and three, the mobilization of the entire scope of powers, political, economic, military and, to deal with the threat. how are we doing? i think there are reasons to be concerned about the of ministration's approach. first, lack of clarity. now to his credit, after he took office, president obama continued a number of essential elements of the fight his
predecessor had put in place, continued most aspects of the patriot at, wiretaps, and e- mailed intercepts. the indefinite detention of the extremist killers. and he continued president clinton's policy of rendering terrorist extremists to third countries. those things he has done, but the president admitted in his state of the union address last month that "we are at war." the problem is the policies do not seem to follow logically from the statement that we are at war. they suggest and many of his administration believes this is less of a war than a law- enforcement problem. let me give you an example. lookit the response to fort hood and the christmas bomber. in the case of fort hood, two high officials and their immediate reactions solve the
problem. the case was clear. major hassan was a self- proclaimed extremists. he went on television and said, the most important thing known is to see that justice -- the most important thing now is to see that justice is done. isn't it to stop it from happening again? it is not to seek the justice is done. that will happen. that is not the most important thing. in a different reaction, he expressed the impact it would have on the diversity of our service. how about on the safety of our service men and women? isn't that what should be the concern of the secretary of the army the month after action report the release last week, 86
this will be the first time that an enemy combatant captured abroad will be tried in federal court. finally, there is no reason why a terrorist could not be taken into custody by the military, interrogated a properly for a long time, then turned over for trial. it leaves us with some questions. for example, if we were lucky enough to capture osama bin laden, would he be mirandized?
it is a serious question. it may sound funny, but it is a serious question. would he be mirandize? would he be tried in the u.s. court. would we, the american people, be subjected to the spectacle of plea bargaining with a man who led the death of 3000 people on our shores? those of the logical consequences of the administration's approach and lack of conceptual clarity. they are still thinking that this is the problem of law enforcement. so it appears that there is a problem with the conceptual approach. there is no area in the world where intelligence is more difficult and important to get than in counter-terrorism. the terrorists work in cellular structures that are very difficult to penetrate. it takes a very high-risk
taking intelligence service to get into these cells and figure out what they're doing. the objective is to find out what they're doing before they do it. and to stop it. that is quite different from saying that your job is to capture the guy after he has done it and prosecute him. there is a big difference. a risk-taking the intelligence service requires two things. it requires political leaders that risk will be taken and mistakes will be made secondly, a group of intelligence gatherers who understand that when mistakes are made, political leaders will back them up and not just throw them overboard. [applause] it is also the case of that, because of the high stakes
involved in fighting islamic extremists and, a president may very well have to decide and should decide to preempt it? before they happen. again, it is a very different approach if you are in law- enforcement. in law enforcement, if you wait until a crime is for the trip, you move in and you prosecute. you have to be prepared to preempt. in many cases, the president will have to make that decision on the basis of incomplete and ambiguous intelligence. it does no good than to point fingers at the intelligence community. there are signs that i think the current administration is repeating the mistakes that we have made in this area in the past. back in the 1970's, the church and height committees conducted a vigorous witch hunt in the
cia which hampered the cia's operations for years. the national commission on terrorism reported that, in 1994, the cia imposed highly restrictive restraints, rules, on agents in the field, in terms of how they could basically penetrate terror cells. those highly restrictive rules were in effect still on 9/11, by the way. are we seeing the repeated the same problem? i am afraid that we may be. about a year ago, this administration release highly classified cia documents against the advice of seven current and previous cia directors. last year, the attorney general announced that he would reinvestigate cia officials who have already been investigated and cleared by career justice people. he was going to investigate
their use of enhanced terrorist techniques -- enhanced interrogation techniques. there is reason to be concerned about this area. finally, where is the grand strategy? where is the mobilization ball all of the political and economic and military and covert weapons we have? first of all, we need to kill or capture the hard-core extremist wherever they are. to the president's credit, he has made even more aggressive use of creditors in the afghanistan fitter than bush did. -- use of predators in the afghanistan theater than bush did.
it also has to do with their ideas. in particular it is their idea that islam is not compatible with modernization. some people in this administration argued that to speak of a war on terrorism is wrong because it is basically a war on tactics. terrorism is something that they're simply thinking about and is symptomatic of the underlying thing i talk about. at the heart of a grand strategy there must be promoting a representative government. the objective is to help moderate muslims when that civil war that talked about earlier. we should be supporting them where possible, investing where necessary and possible the local governments in africa and asia. but the promotion of representative government in the muslim world no longer appears
to be a high priority of this and this -- this administration budgets have been cut. the discussion of democracy is no longer a public discussion that american officials have. there is a way to do it. in the case of iran, we should be supporting the democratic movement that was crushed after june 12. there is the iran democratic transition act that should be supported and not the -- and not opposed as the administration is doing. in the case of iran, we should support the women in those societies who are, in many ways, way ahead of their male counterparts in their desire for freedom and democracy. let me finish with my sort of
summary on all this. we face a serious and broad threat from islamic extremists. iran is a major element of that threat and its possible acquisition of nuclear weapons threatens to destabilize the entire region. thirdly, while the administration has taken some steps to do with the extremist threat, there are reasons to be concerned about it truly -- about whether it truly understands the workings to bring intelligence agencies to bear on this threat. what we need is a broad and global strategy to defeat this islamic extremism by the way, as was the case in the cold war, it will be a long struggle. it will be a generational struggle. we need to try to build bipartisan support. no one party or two parties can
carry this on for as long as the need to be carried on. we need republicans and democrats to agree that this is a threat. i thought, after 9/11, that we would have a chance to do that. for a great time, we did. i am a historian coul. america's never failed to stand up to the challenges we face. we will do it again. but it will be tough. thank you very much. [applause] >> yes, sir. >> could you speak to the risk you see in suny nuclear power in pakistan and the threat of the shia in [unintelligible]
>> pakistan is a nuclear power. i do not think there is much likelihood that they will use their nuclear weapons against iran. objectively, the iranians are surrounded by nuclear states -- russia being somewhat removed now because they are no longer in central asia. but it is clear that it is not in america's interest for iran to have nuclear-weapons. that is the bottom line. as the president used to say, it is unacceptable for iran to have nuclear-weapons. >> i would like to know at what point do you think israel will step in and act to defend itself against iranian nuclear weapons?
>> first, obviously, that is a question that only an israeli government official could answer. but from an israeli point of view, it is understandable that they would be very concerned about a nuclear run -- a nuclear iran, especially when it has an extremist islamic government. i am not saying that if iran were democratic and had a nuclear weapon that israel would not be concerned. we would be concerned, too. but we would be much less concerned. we are less concerned that france has nuclear weapons for a reason. it is not all equal. it is a different thing when there is an extremist government. i would not want to predict what israel might or might not do. but i can certainly see it they're concerned and i think those concerns will grow. >> some apologists for ron think
that -- some apologist for iran think that' [unintelligible] do you think that appearing crazy enough to use nuclear weapons is an intentional tactic for the iranians? >> the psychologist in my family is my daughter. i will leave of the second one of those because i do not know. i think it is a very dangerous form of capitulation to assume that we can deal with iran through what is called extended deterrence. there have been some hints in the administration, especially by secretary clinton lasted all, that this may be the direction that the administration would be headed.
i think it is a very dangerous assumption that the leadership, which claims its right to rule through divine right, regularly refers to the belief of the return of the 13th osculating imam and talks regularly of the destruction of israel. it is a bit dangerous to assume that a government like that would not be prepared to use nuclear weapons. i think you have to make the assumption, if you were an israeli and american, that it is far too dangerous. we cannot accept it if it happens. >> thank you for your message today. you referred to a civil war going on within islam over the central problem of hate, violence, and escalation to dominance that you identified. i would like to think it is so,
but i do not see them much evidence in the muslim world, in europe, or in this country that there is a moderate or a conciliation side fighting against the hateful side. would you elaborate on that? >> i think, in the muslim world, from my brief experience, what we used to call is a silent majority. i think there are governments and many islamic leaders that i have met who are genuinely -- who genuinely hate these extremists. if you look at the polling in the countries across the belt from north africa to pakistan, there has been a rather dramatic drop in expressed support for islamic extremism, for al qaeda.
are they willing to stand up and say it publicly? many of them, no, because they are afraid. they are afraid because get support from us. they will be left out there. -- they are afraid because they will not get support from us. they will be left out there. we need them to be brave and say that you, the extremists, are the ones who are not carrying out the true meaning of islam. i agree that it would be helpful if more muslims, particularly muslims in the west, would stand up and make this point than we have seen so far. the vast majority of muslims are not terrorists. >> how does iran come into contact with the means to create nuclear weapons and how does a uconq con play into it?
>> it goes back to the days of the shock, when both the united states and france were involved in what was a peaceful nuclear power program in iran. i think there is a lot that we still do not know about it ucowith this. there is a north korean connection that comes up from time to time. the central point is not to do the bureaucratic archaeology. the central point is to stop it. >> thank you for your service, mr. ambassador. will you talk about pakistan and its ability to deal with its internal security problems? >> that is a very important question. i am not an expert on pakistan,
although i have been there very often and i lived in afghanistan for two years. i think that the pakistan government, in the last year, has begun to show movement in the right direction, particularly their operations with very important captors of operatives. it shows that their intelligence and the pakistani military air beginning to move. they have a problem. the indians still have many people in kashmir. it would be helpful if the indians would work to reduce the tension which would allow the pakistan military to focus more in the west. some of that is happening. as long as the pakistani
government, military, and intelligence services are confident that the united states is there to stay and to win, we will continue to see improvements. while the president agreed on the surge in afghanistan, he unfortunately connected it and immediately with a withdrawal. power relationships are finally measured by people and they will see who is going to be up and will be down and mostly who will be there. one of the challenges for the administration in the next 18 months, on the political side as we move toward on the military side, is to persuade the people that we really mean it. that we are really there to see this through. >> your comments seemed to be supportive of the patriot act. there are many people who are concerned about the threat of our own civil liberties with
that act. >> it is always a hard triggetre off. i take a backseat to nobody with respect to our liberties and our rights. but there is a trade-off. we cannot be 100% free in our civil rights and the 100% safe. there's always going to be a trade-off. so i would not begin to comment on particular aspects of the trade gap. however, on the whole, it is a good act and i think it is commendable, for the most part, that the administration has continued to carry it out. >> i appreciate your presence and your message, ambassador. how do we persuade china, which
has a lot of oil interest and energy interests in iran, and russia, which has this beltline that can be pretty rattled by islamist interest? how do we go about persuading these two countries to side with us? >> i think it would be an ideal of come to get them to side with this because it would make more likely the possibility of a robust regime of sanctions getting through the security council. but i think it is a mistake to make that the first step. i know you will hear from my friend john bolton tonight. he had to put up with the u.n. for all of those years. he always admired what went on in the united nations. it reminded him of underwater ballet. all of those intricate maneuvers
with nowhere -- but with no air -- all those intricate maneuvers with no air -- [laughter] there have been dealing with the problems of islam before it 250 years or 300 years. their former colonies in central asia [unintelligible] the chinese are a more difficult problem. our economic leverage is declining, i think. but the main point is that we should not let the russians or the chinese hold hostage something central to american national security. if we can get them to go along, that is great. if not, but if they want to go through the security council
quietly and covertly -- if they want to go through the security council quietly and overly, that is fine. time is running out. >> my concern is radical islam that is already within our borders and putting down sharia routes. why is not the congress and the justice department investigating organizations that are fronts for the muslim brotherhood. it seems that there are things within our borders that could be done that are not being done by our representatives. >> i think that is i and it is appropriate concern. -- i think that is an
appropriate concern. there is a balance to be drawn between our freedoms that we all hold very dear and security. one of our tenants is freedom of religion. there is no reason to punish someone because he or she is muslim. we have to find some predicate criminal activity or indication of criminal activity. that can be difficult. i think we are making progress. we have had a number of important arrests. it is not fair to say that nothing is being it is probably fair to say that not enough is being done. but finding that balance, particularly when it concerns activity within the united states, it is far more difficult to find it. i think this is going to be the
last one. >> it has been said that insanity is doing the same thing time after time and expecting different results. how much longer are we going to wait with the united nations and the sanctions that we continue to put on iran and similar countries with absolutely no results? >> you should ask john. [laughter] i think his answer would probably be that we have already done it too long. the un is not a world government. it has its uses. as long as whoever is in power in washington understands the limits of those powers, and it is quite limited, they can be dramatic tools. you can go back to the league
of nations for the most immediate and conceded. but the un ihas not been a great success in a lot of crucial areas. here i think is where philosophically this administration differs from the previous administration. in the end, is on to be american leadership that will protect the american people. you can use diplomacy and influence. but to do that effectively for our security, you have to sit -- up to start with a clear concept of what the threat is. that is where we still have a lot of work to do. thank you very much. [applause] >> there is a discussion now on the future of iraq. this is about 25 minutes.
host: tom riction is at the tables now, a long-time "washington post" reporter, "wall street journal" prior to that. center for new american security. senior fellow. these iraqi elections today, what's at stake for folks there? >> quite a lot. i think this is the most important election since the u.s. invasion. this will begin to show the outlines of post-occupation iraq for better or worse. will iraq have a sectarian government? will the soonies feel that they've been included in the process? will iraq essentially hold together as a nation once the americans aren't around to hammer it together? >> you can see in the "new york times" a chart here, sort of a map of iraq. and they talk about the assembly, where each of these seats would come from. of course baghdad the largest. 325 member assembly. 6,000 plus candidates. how are folks figuring out how to vote for?
>> i think people have a good idea. certain parties have a certain amount of following in different geographical areas. the shiite parties, for example, will not do well in anbar province. contrary, the big sunni parties won't do particularly well in basra or eastern bag dad. the big worry i have about this election is not what happens today or tomorrow. it's what happens over the next three months. remember those purple finger elections back at the end of 2005? everybody thought this is great. i was writing in my book fiasco, the first book on the iraq war, people would say it's over. why are you writing a book called fiasco? as it happened, those purple finger elections are one of the major causes of the civil war in iraq in 2006. and so the next several months are very nervous period for iraq and for the united states. you'll have all the same ingredients that led to the
civil war of 2006 but you're not going to have the americans around to stop it this time. so there's a huge burden on the iraqi leadership to try to put together a government here that does not spark another civil war. >> we'll put the phone numbers on the bottom of the screen for our guests. we're talking about the iraq elections. separate line for republicans and democrats and independents. and i want to point out, too, that tom rick's latest book is at the table here, the gamble. general petraeus and the military venture in iraq. two questions, why do you use the word adventure and why is this important for the u.s.? >> because this was an adventure in the sense that it was a reckless, unnecessary war. war. i think i think invading iraq was probably the biggest mistake in american policy. one thing americans do not understand is that this thing is
far from over. even if people american troops out, we will be involved in this situation even up to 30 years more. we will have american troops fighting and dying for some time to come. cohost: we keep hearing about a pullout. you talk about years to come. guest: i am an obama fan. but when he talks about getting the combat troops out, that worries me. with the means to the american people is that american troops will not be dying after november. everybody in the military carries a weapon and is prepared to fight. the soldiers we have thereafter august of this year will be more vulnerable than the big combat
units. there will be advisers to iraqi units. the world be out on convoys. american troops will be in iraq after august of this year and the -- and they will be fighting and dying the second thing is that another -- i know our president wants to get out of iraq. i suspect he will have to keep at least 30,000 troops there for many years to come. that will be a shock for this administration and the american people. host: you can see folks getting patted down on their way to and fro to the polls. voting now. 25 or more people have been killed so far. does that surprise you? >> it doesn't. if anything, i think it's less than a lot of people worried. this is i think not part of a larger political trend. it's simply an attempt by various parties to discourage certain groups from voting.
host: let's rear from democrats first. caller: good morning, guys. my question is simple. what is the end game in iraq? when do our troops get to come home? when does the american taxpayer stop getting bled like a stuck pig by the military? and i'm talking about the hall burtons and all the contract that is have been given to industrial military complexes. that's the reason in my opinion we haven't gotten out of iraq yet. there's still a profit in it for certain corporations. host: tom, the end game. guest: i'm not sure there is an end game. that's why i think this invasion was such a huge mistake. but i believe just because you invade a country stupidly doesn't mean you can leave it stupidly. we unleashed a number of processes that are going to
take a number of years. if we leave, that would be irresponsible and could have real consequences for us and for the region. you could easily have a civil war. it easily could become a regional war. and it would be in the middle of the world's oil patch. so if people say i'm bored with this, my response is, are you willing to pay $10 a gallon for gasoline? because if you're not, think about the consequences. look, i didn't like this war. i thought it was stupid to do it. i thought it was a huge distraction from the war on terror. that said, i think we need to think thoughtfully and carefully about the way forward and the best way to do this. host: your former paper, the post has this headline. as iraq votes, the u.s. is content to keep its distance. the administration takes a hands off approach as it recognizes its own abilities.
host: limits. guest: look, i have covered i think at least six withdrawal plans from iraq trying to get out of iraq is nothing new. the regional bush administration plan by the way was not to go in and stay forever, it was to go in and get out quickly. the war plan said we're going to go in, change the world's oldest culture at the point of a gun and get out in six months. by september 2003, the plan is to be down to 30,000 troops. in retro spect that was insane. it was a fantasy. questions like, jack just called from new mexico, how long is this going to take, how much are we going to have to pay. these are the questions the american people and the congress should have asked much more forcefully in the spring of 2003. host: ralie, north carolina. andy, independent good morning. caller: good morning. i wanted to get you back in that time frame of late 2002,
early 2003. and doy have a lot of respect for you, i really want to say and that's why -- and i know that you think that bush was less than honest in making his case for war. and people talk about all the bush lies and there were many of them. there's a book, united states versus george w. bush, which i'm not sure you're familiar with but i highly recommend that to anybody who hasn't seen it but it lays out the a lot of stuff. but the big lie i wish you would talk about are bush's intentions all along, everything that he was doing, he said he was doing to avoid the war, such as building up troops and getting the inspectors in when really behind the scenes his intentions were to go to war all along. and that was the big lie. and all the curve balls and these aluminum tubes. those all supported the big lie. but could you talk about his intentions and how he misled the american people on what he was going to do.
host: tom. guest: sure. i don't think bush came into office intending to invade iraq. remember, iraq was not really that serious a subject. it wasn't brought up much in the campaign between bush and gore. i think 9/11 did change that. i think after 9/11 this country kind of panicked and the chief pan i canners were president bush and vice president cheney. the proper leadership would be to calm things down. to step back and take a more reasoned approach. instead, for reasons i don't understand, bush and cheney led the panic. i'm not sure they lied. i think they believed what they were saying. why, is kind of inexrepublicable. remember that vice president cheney in august of 2002 said, there is no doubt that iraq has weapons of mass destruction. i remember people in the military saying, i have lots of doubts but the vice president must know something that i don't know.
so i think they persuaded themselves, they really did believe these things and were kind of stunned in 2003 to find out that iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. now, this wasn't because the evidence was persuasive, it was because they were very selective in their use of evidence. they believed the tiny grains of things that supported them and to disregard the huge chunks of evidence that argued against them. host: winchester, virginia. caller: good morning, i would like to thank c-span for givering us the opportunity to voice our pns and be involved in the political process. go you bet, sir. go ahead. caller: as in our own civil war, the repercusions went on for 20 to 30 years. that's given just by history on our own part. as far as iraq goes, i have to kind of commend george bush for
the american vision. to go in and destroy another country in response to an attack on this country, i am not sure that that was a good course for a wise course. host: he is the author of a couple of books, including this one, "the gamble, general petraeus and the american military adventures in iraq." petraeus and the american military in iraq." what will turn out be like? guest: that is what the questions. host: south carolina. democratic line. caller: my question goes to the ability of al qaeda and enemies in iraq and afghanistan to
employees such difficult challenges, and which ways we might deal with debt situation with the enemy. very few people are making comments or suggestions as to how we better engage our situation in afghanistan and iraq. i would like to see more recommendations as to what could be done. one thing i would recommend specifically would be to employ bomb-sniffing, ied-sniffing dogs en masse in each country to eradicate, eliminate the threat of ied's. i don't see that going on. weapons are good and necessary, but you've got to deal with the
ied's. also, second and final question is, what difference would you recommend, mr. ricks -- i agree with you as different people on what you have said coming for the war and what not, what suggestions would you do differently than the president as to dealing with the quagmires we have inherited. not that anybody is at fault. guest: on dogs, it is funny you should ask, because i have a blocg, and on friday, wrote an
item on bomb sniffing dogs. one dog in afghanistan has been diagnosed as having ptsd. it turns out there is the best way to deal with those start. you need them to trust you, and protect you, and those are difficult tasks. what are the things we should do? a lot of people are thinking very hard about iraq and afghanistan. we need an attitudinal change
more than anything else. shote humility, have respect, spend a lot of time listening to them. for something to work, it has to come from locals. imagine a military officer from iraq coming to tennessee and street here is how to run your city. that would not go very far, is specially if they do not speak english. but if foreign officer says what are you trying to do, how can i help you, that can be the key. host: you are on with tom ricks. good morning. caller: please pay us a picture of what life would be like if we never took out saddam hussein
and his boys. guest: good question. i think it goes to the issue of what saddam hussein was. he was an aging, a toothless tiger. he did not have weapons of mass destruction, and certainly was not a threat to the united states. was a lousy leader? absolutely. was a terrible to his people? no question. they are all around the world. how many are we going to knock off? my big worry is a new strongman emerges, tougher, meaner, younger, more energetic than hussain, with a similar purchase. that is what we may end up with,
a new, tough, and mean version who unites the country under the banner of anti-americanism. who uses oil money flowing and uses revenue to buy mass destruction weapons, then you may end up with an iraq that is the country the bush administration thought they were in 2003. but the administration invasion might actually create threats. host: our correspondent from the "christian science monitor" joins us now on the phone. guest: it has been fascinating. here in baghdad, people are coming in droves after calls from politicians to make sure
they come out. host: how tight is security? give us a flavor of the atmosphere. >> there were mortar attacks this morning -- rocket attacks as well as improvised explosive devices that went off. that kept people away. there were calls from other politicians. they say this was an attempt to keep them from getting their share of power, and this has worked on both sides. we will have the figures in a few hours.
people otherwise might not have voted actually tried to. see host: a lot of your report in talks about economic conditions pretty mentioned there are about 3 million number folks voting for the first time. what is on their mind? guest: the same thing as anywhere, with the added backdrop that it is dangerous. the number one force is security. a lot of people have put their dreams on hold for the past decade or so. they want jobs that will bring them electricity and not be corrupt. high hopes and high expectations raised.
i am asking about polls. i am trying to get a sense of what kind of government will be there when the votes are cast. guest: there will have to be coalitions. but what it has come down to seems to be in those places it raised between -- a race between the first drum private astir, who has been making rather -- interim minister, who has been making rather a strong comeback. host: mr. ricks?
guest: i want to complement jane on her terrific work. host: what is your sense of the fairness of the election? how is it operating? guest: in the places we were in, they ponit -- the u.s. team was there, and they are there to lend support. it seemed to go well. in the north, they are most worried, trying to encourage. host: jane arraf, what else are you looking for in iraq today? guest: this is a defining moment in history.
it will determine what shape the country takes. it is about power-sharing, and this -- can we make it work, all the way down to, can we get the electricity turned on, can we handle budgets and to do all the things that a country does? we will see in the next few years. host: thank you, jane arraf, for your time and a flavor of the day from iraq. host: tom ricks. guest: election day will go as expected. as jane says, the real question
is the government formation period. the president tells the parties, you need to come up with our ruling coalition. it was this process back in 2006 that was a major spark. the newest period is march, april, may, into june. if they do not have the governor by june, we are in trouble. -- if they do not have the government by june, we are in trouble. caller: before we invaded iraq, the bush administration made a promise to the military that if they did not fight our soldiers after iraq, we would pay them and help their families. we did the opposite, disbanding the army later. this angered the sunnis and was
the root cause of the insurgency. but the sunnis helped by al qaeda, and this was instrumental in the surge succeeding. the reason they helped is because they were promised more equitable treatment by the malik governmenti, which never happened. -- by the maliki government. why isn't there more pressure on maliki to bring more sunnis in? if this is not done, there will be more civil war. guest: that is a very good summary of the situation. probably the biggest change in policy was in early 2007 when general david petraeus decided to put the insurgency on the american payroll.
millions of dollars a month. it ended the war, because the militia did not want to be facing us on their own. what you see is some of the things we did to improve security in the short term created long-term problems. this is one of the things, but you may have another prime minister in there. a process of negotiation between local armed fighters in baghdad government came all over again. they would tell you, as soon as the americans are out the way, we're going after baghdad's
government. so this x now president obama's remarks that it on the parliamentary alexian's in iraq. -- parliamentary elections in iraq. this lasts about five minutes. >> good afternoon, everybody. today, the people of iraq went to the polls to choose their leaders in the second national election. by any measure, this was an important milestone in iraqi history. dozens of parties and coalitions, men and women, some 50,000 voting booths were cast ballots. millions of iraqis the exercised their right to vote with enthusiasm and optimism. today's voting makes it clear that the future of iraq alone to
the people of iraq. the election was organized and administered by the iraqi independent highet electoral commission with critical support from the united nations. hundreds of thousands of iraqis served as pull station workers and as observers. as expected, there were some incidents of violence as al qaeda and irain iraq tried to dt the process by murdering those who were exercising their democratic rights. overall, the level of security, the provision of these destabilizing a taattacks were solved by iraqi security forces. i want to extend my admiration for our civilians and men and women in uniform who continue to support our iraqi partners.
this election is also a tribute to all those who have served and sacrificed in iraq for the last seven years, including the many who have given their lives. we are mindful that this is the beginning, not the end, of the long constitutional process. the ballots must be counted. complaints must be heard. and iraq has a process in place to investigate and adjudicate any allegation of fraud. the parliament must be seated. members must be chosen. and a new government must be formed. all of these important steps will take time, not weeks, but months. in this process, the united states does not support a particular candidate or collations. we support the right of the iraqi people to choose their own leaders. we know that there will be very difficult days ahead in iraq.
there will likely be more violence. but like any sovereign, independent nation, iraq must be free to chart its own course. no one should seek to influence, exploit, or disrupt this time of transition. now is a time for every neighbor and nation to respect their rock sovereignty and territorial integrity. a new iraqi government will face important decisions about its future. but today's voting demonstrates that the iraqi people want disagreements to be debated and decided to a political process that provides security and prosperity for all iraqis. as they go forward, the iraqi people must know that the united states will fulfil its obligations. we will continue with their responsible removal of the united states forces from iraq. for the first time in years, there are no fewer than 100,000 american troops serving in iraq.
by the end of august, our combat mission will end could as i said last year, i have started a new strategy in iraq. we will continue to revise and assist iraqi security forces, carry out target counterinsurgency emissions and protect our forces and civilians. by the end of next year, all u.s. troops will be out of iraq. the weeks and months ahead, the united states will continue to work closely with the iraqi people as we continue to expand our broad-based partnership based on mutual respect. i am pleased that vice-president biden will continue to play a leading role. on behalf of the american people, i congratulate the iraqi people for their courage to route this historic election. in the face of violence, iraqis have stepped fort to the hard work -- stepped forward to the hard work of fulfilling the future of their country.
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