tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN October 5, 2010 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
the pakistan and red crescent did for this federation issue an appeal for assistance. all three elements of the red cross/red crescent movement -- the national society led by the pakistan society, they are working together in a coordinated operation. just some figures. the red crescent has about 300,000 -- and 130,000 volunteers that are all working in the operation. as you can see from the map, the movement that we call it is operating throughout the flood zone on a variety of different sort of foci. their relief teams across the area for first needed food and nonfood items.
the deployed throughout the region providing first line assistance for the main conditions that the ambassador pointed out. water sanitation, there is the ongoing need for water. the red cross red crescent has enough teams out there. the water situation, a number of people are choosing not to drink the treated water because they don't like the taste of the chlorine. this was an unanticipated workingfor the team's mainly with mothers and children in the camp just disseminating very basic messages, talking to
people about why the water tastes strange and why it is actually a good thing. it is possible intervention that they find themselves engaged in. dissemination of this very basic message to change lives. in any large disaster, people get separated from their loved ones and are sometimes not able to reestablish that communication to find out if that sister or brother is even alive. there is an established member, usually by phone. challenges. i am going to go through these quickly because there are quite a few. the challenges we have come up against, of course, physical access.
the early days, whether making in -- the weather making it difficult for helicopters to fly. security is generally ok. it does continue to be a concern, and at times, an issue. and to temper 24, after the announcement of the sentencing of the neurosciences, anticipating potential unrest, it has happened by and large that we were operational the next day. the red crescent is a local institution which volunteers and the office is a permanent fixture throughout the country. they are part of the community. and they know their community.
the third challenge is the slow response. and i will speak about this again at the end of my remarks. this was, and continues to be a disaster response within an unfolding disaster. this is what we term a slow onset disaster. while it was unfolding in the early days in the response activities were ongoing, it expanded and you have a displaced population that was moved to one location. the disaster response mechanism starts to -- the disaster response operation had no rhythm. that has been an added challenge. the sheer number of people affected, and as somebody else mentioned, there were a number
of warehouses flooded. that is a challenge that one always faces. but the spreading nature of this disaster, it has really impacted that response. the lack of enough clean drinking water appears to be a challenge that we are all trying to meet. but still, more needs to be done. what my colleagues started to speak to, a couple of major concerns. food and winter. winter is coming right around the bend in the north. there are still people that need shelter. because of the ongoing nature of the disaster, we are challenged to simply see that everyone that needs shelter has at least a transitional emergency shelter
when the winter arrives. and last but not least, the challenge of food as colleagues have referred to. it might take up to two years for all land that has been affected to be terrible again. that means that we're looking at a long-term focus of an emergency nature where food is concerned that will have to be addressed, and that will take the focus of of other recovery efforts. last, i would speak to just the fact, i think, donor response has not been what one would have hoped. a very impressive analysis, mr. ambassador. i can certainly verify that just
from the experience of the red cross, that has been our experience. just for the 2005 earthquake, we raised three times the money then we have for this disaster. the other comparisons are really incredible. 80 -- haiti, the enormous response to that. people are quite driven by what they see in the media. i would introduce an additional notion which is slow onset verses sudden onset disasters.
unfortunately, i would say we are not surprised that this disaster which is seen as a slow onset disaster by definition hasn't garnered immediate attention and the donor response that the more -- i hesitate to use the word newsworthy, but some disasters like a tsunami or the earthquake. in addition to the other factors mentioned, it has been our experience that we see low donor response in slow onset disasters. that is an unfortunate reality. >> thank you very much, mark. [applause] we have had three very impressive and stimulating presentations.
they are complementary perspectives on the situation. we open it up to the question and answer session. we have microphones running, so if you could just raise your hand, identify yourself and your institutional affiliation. >> i work for u.s. senate staff. thank you very much for your analysis, and certainly our sympathy is with your country. i wonder if it is possible to desegregate the humanitarian from the political aspects. i would posit that maybe some of the unwillingness for private donors to come forward they have to do with that particular political dimension,
specifically referring to the insurgency and the northwest, but even more recently, the closing of the gate. there is a question in the mind of many americans of whether the pakistani stance on that issue, working with engaging in the fight of our lives with afghanistan matches the assurances that we believe we should have. >> i would say that the two are not normally interconnected. during the course of the earthquake, similar issues were present. the issue is only three or four days old. people to make donations earlier. in our perspective, we are
allies but not satellites. that is another ongoing debate. i do not think that they are connected. i think that disasters have become covered and uncovered disasters. that is the reason why people haven't been as generous if they had seen images of children suffering on television, maybe because people are driven by the media. and to the extent that pakistan is a political story and it is important in terms of national the reason they have not covered it is because of pakistan's national security. i think that people should be
able to pay attention to humanitarian issues. the escalation of the tragedy could escalate [unintelligible] i am reminded of this line from one of the godfather movies of all things, in which he turns around and says, he has been dying of the same architect for 20 years. the washington think tank and the security community, they have been talking about pakistan for the last 20 years. >> why don't you take one from this side? >> there are a couple of comments i would be interested
in response to. the cycle of financial support for these kind of disasters might be hitting just wrong. we put a huge amount of resources in haiti, and the political sphere is not impressed with the outcome. we are also hitting in the more uncertain economic time, said that might be playing against the circumstance. it might be more complex than just the political issues, which are obviously playing a role. the second part is the comment that we can unify all of the relief. i am not clear that the relief and response can be unified. i am wondering if we can create a unity of effort that includes all of the entities with the government of pakistan were engaged to not think of this as being a hierarchical unity, so i
don't think that is likely to happen. i am wondering if there is a comment in regards to create an operating picture that will allow many different players to respond from where they're coming from the rather than from a single channel. >> i will ask mark to may be addressed the question about the impact of the economy on perhaps done resistance and whether there can be a unity of relief efforts on this matter. >> i have thought about that, and there is probably no one reason or no few reasons why exactly the response for haiti was so much larger than in this disaster. i think i have developed a sense
over the years of these things, and we were sitting around the day after this disaster with the sense that we're not going to raise much money for this, we are afraid. whereas 80 happened about 5:00 p.m. and by 9:00, we had a sense that a lot of money was going to come in. the anderson cooper factor is certainly a big one. the other factor is the proximity of haiti, which led to both a feeling of they are our neighbors as well as ease of access for the media. i have thought about the economic part of the question, and i haven't done the analysis. my gut sense is that if the pakistan floods have been perceived as and reported as a
sudden onset disaster with the trauma that goes with that, i think the american public and corporations would have responded at least to the level that they did for the 2005 pakistan earthquake. all things being equal, i think it the disaster happened tomorrow and have that kind of dramatic impact, we would see their response. that is just my gut feeling. maybe i can turn it over to talk about the unity question. >> leave me with the tough one. it is a real challenge. of in the we're kind thick of the emergency response , and what you see, there is
just a huge diversity of an outpouring that comes naturally from the community. ec groups bringing together their stuff and delivering it. we saw this in the earthquake anticyclone a couple of years ago. i was a meeting with a company that sells pumping equipment because we were talking about getting some stuff from them, and he had organized his neighbors and other people that were bringing things together and organizing their own convoys and delivering them. it is just a remarkable outpouring of giving. there is any number of national organizations that are contributing. he don't want to discourage that. and it is also very difficult in the thick of an emergency like this to wrote that together and
make it court needed to make it work together. the government of pakistan has done a pretty remarkable job, the disaster management authority has come together, they're working to try to get some coordination going. i don't see it as hugely different from other crises. it takes a long time to get the clusters organized and get us on the same page. it will be all the more challenging. the unity of response will take a while. what is going to happen as we go forward, the number of actors is going to decrease dramatically. the smaller groups are going to run out of steam, run out of fuel and things to give. that will decrease.
the smaller ones will probably fall by the wayside if the ones that are locally rooted. it is already beginning to happen, there is an effort that came out of the community that is the emergency market napping and analysis. it was a tool developed by the community over the last couple of years. several other ngos. it has been rolled out by the community, and probably a dozen are working together to do market analysis of how this crisis is impacting on the economies in the northwest and in five different areas, six different markets. agricultural labor, wheat, bamboo.
you see as we work towards recovery, there is more organized efforts that are taking place to get a more unified response. maybe it doesn't need to be such an oxymoron. i think it is just going to take time. and we will see a more efficient and more effective coordination of the rehabilitation phase. >> another question? >> i am from the georgetown conflict resolution master's program. i understand that the government and other international actors are doing great works with limited resources under extraordinary circumstances. he began to touch on this, but how realistic do you think it is as you shift from relief and
reconstruction to integrate capacity building for a society organization and pakistan government agencies to strengthen institutions and build their capacity to respond to these in the future. >> did you want to take a crack at that? >> i can. it is aspirational. i think it is very important if pakistan, more so than any place, that ngos must find ways to work where they're not just out there working on their own, but they are putting energy and resources and coordination through government. as i alluded to, it will be
easier to do. you see it happening in the way that health services are being delivered. implementing a diarrhea treatment centers and hospitals. they're working to implement these programs to control those kind of diseases in a very critical time. it is very important the province -- >> that was the reason the name was changed. the local people could not renounce it.
>> i think is going to be a lot more trouble some. -- troublesome. i think that the prominence and the sort of political nature of relief and reconstruction is so great, it is very difficult for ngos to engage without being perceived as part and parcel to a political struggle. i am really concerned that we will not be able to engage their as much as we would like to. and still looking for a way through that. it is going to be a real challenge for us. >> it will be very desirable to build capacity as we have the vision and reconstruction. just replace to
what was destroyed, but build something better. it is something that pakistanis themselves feel very strongly about. >> ambassador, it is nice to see you. since you have drawn this linkage between the media exposure to pakistan and the charitable response, how are you dealing with the whole media? the thing that has been concerning me for several years, to the extent that other groups have taken an active role in the community is to take an active
role in changing media or get more engaged. do you feel that the community is engaged on this issue of the media, exposure of pakistan and these relief efforts? >> i could get an answer, but it would distract us from the fundamental subjects on the discussion today. in the last few days, it has happened that i have tried to get people focused and we got wandering off into the valleys of insurgency and terrorism. >> i am not trying to do that. >> that is the topic for another conversation. i think the community plays a very positive role, it is a community that is still organizing, and it will take some time to be able to realize
the full potential within american society including the political arena in terms of responding to the media and also in being able to organize and mobilize support for efforts such as the efforts of flood relief. >> i represent the institute for [unintelligible] our organization is currently working with our contacts to get the farmers to donate heads of cattle to the pakistan i brothes
on the other side of the border. my question is, how many heads of cattle would you approximate would be good to help them with their needs? >> i can tell you the number that have been lost. if i am not mistaken, that is 1.2 million head of cattle have been lost. i am not segregating the various provinces. it is just a massive scale. in a number of you can figure out, bring them to us. >> we will see what we can do. >> i was just wondering if you could comment on the belief or
hope that this crisis might lead to a dressing some of the larger systemic problems. i think he touched on it a bit. >> i think that the scale of the crisis has definitely prompted the debate. it may not have got in the direction many of us would have liked it too, i think the debate itself is good and it is making people wonder what can and ought to be done from the technical management of the water system -- we first had a drought, then 10 years of average rainfall in one week. obviously, climate change implications are to be discussed. this whole crisis had focused
the pakistan intelligence and the technocrats all to start thinking about various dimensions of pakistan and problems from climate change and its implications to flood management, to spreading out the population in a manner where we don't have the kind of population density in certain parts. and sort of laying the foundation of future towns, sort of the relation to the river system. a lot of the population growth has been relatively unplanned. where one of the fastest-growing countries in terms of population in the world. this has created a debate, and i hope that debate will bring some
ideas that will help us build a better pakistan. >> how do you see that unfolding in political terms? >> one of the reasons i choose not to become a pundit is because i don't like a game of predicting things and explain why my predictions didn't come true, doing the same game over again. i will leave the political dimensions to unfold as they come. i think we will see a shift from rural areas to the cities. i think it will change the demographic patterns of the city's as the population relocates. i think there'll be a greater call for land reform. political alignment might change in different parts of the country. the relief effort will also have
an impact, political leaders will probably gain political support. i think the international community, this is an opportunity wasted although the u.s. has been the single largest donor. this is been a tremendous chance for u.s. to change opinions. the earthquake relief, and that smaller area, the approval rating is manyfold more than the approval rating for the united states and the rest of the country. meeting at that were the americans came and actually helped, those people like the united states. that is another dynamic which
change, if people realize they're being integrated in the international community and having people going in there and providing assistance, people are less likely to listen to xenophobic ideas and anti globalization ideas that have characterized some of the political discourse of pakistan in the last few years. >> the question to the ambassador. but i am hearing on the panel, it seems to me that the pakistan government has done a great job -- unfortunately, it would be a surprise to many in this town. has this been done? has the pakistan government drawn-out clearly in black and
white when it has done? can it be something that would be the talk of the town here to convince people that whatever politics there is, in the flood, this is how we are becoming transparent? >> i am somewhat older than you and i have been around the block a few times. i have reached the conclusion that any attempt to try to sort of change the conventional wisdom of washington d.c. is not always easy. this town of believes things, they believe sometimes that certain wars have been lost when they haven't, that certain wars are being one when they are not. that is how this town works. i don't want to spend all my time and energy trying to
convince this town. as for as the people of pakistan are concerned, it is obvious. we haven't seen a single riot. we read in the newspaper coverage that people are going to die of starvation and with all respect, i don't think we have seen signs of starvation yet. there will be epidemics -- we need people to decide on the competence of the government, and in this town, when i first arrived, there were people who thought that it was the best thing that happened to pakistan , and delectable leaders or all has-beens. i remember that time not too long ago. you and i were round at the same time, and we did not always agree on the same points. we can only put out the
information. the fact of the matter is, the critical facts show that the government's performance has been adequate, apart from the early stories, and you know -- in a very simplistic terms, the president was in france. the people have moved beyond that story. some people won't move beyond that story. my one-liner has always been, what is the transparency problem? what is going to happen? a number of these things are just simplistic one-liners that
are for the evening news. you have 20 million people affected, you have all lot of flights, obviously, somebody did something right, somebody managed to evacuate them. who was that? it was the government of pakistan, the provincial government that did it. someone has been able to correct the epidemic's because obviously, the ngo community in the government are working together. someone had to provide enough food for people not to starve. $6 billion came in for relief in 2005. all of that has been accounted for. i know that there are some
people that make a living on just commenting on the question of transparency in third world countries. everybody has to live off of something. beyond a certain threshold, it becomes very obvious. in pakistan, there is no sign that things have stopped working. >> i am curious how you would characterize the response of pakistan's neighbors, particularly that of china and india. >> all of the neighbors have been forthcoming in support of pakistan and its people. china provided a field hospital
, cash assistance, and assistance in time. india provided $25 million to the united nations to assist the people. iran has been very forthcoming, and it was very pleasant for people of pakistan to see helicopters coming in and rescue people at the height of the crisis. i think all of our neighbors have been forthcoming, which is very reassuring that the picture that is painted of pakistan being in some kind of perennial conflict in having alliances only in the context of sign of conflict related strategy is not necessarily correct. we do respect our neighbors and their willingness to be cooperative.
and our neighbors are forthcoming to land at hand when the time arises. >> this will be the final question and we will wrap up. >> my question is for the ambassador. i wonder if you have a sense of the pakistan the people's understanding of just how much the u.s. government and the agency has provided to people there. if you could provide a sense of how they might know that, and what requests the u.s. government has made to the pakistan government. i ask this question in the interest of agencies that are being pressured to be the front face of that strategy that is sometimes a security risk for our agencies. >> every agency has to make its own determination.
ofand large, i don't know any family that would refuse to take a for political reasons because it is coming from the u.s. and non-governmental organization. i think a lot of politics, like everywhere else in the world, is in the hands of those that are engaged in it. the man who wants to feed his family, protect his children, get back to his normal life, the american assistance has been widely welcomed. the study about the earthquake shows that people have provided the assistance. i think that a lot of these concerns are concerns that are essentially the concerns of the analysts rather than of the people of the ground. you know, people don't ask you,
are you coming from the united states or are you canadian? playst think the politics into the acceptance of assistance. >> i don't think that is the issue. at and think we have had any problems regardless of who it comes from. the issue has been that there are elements within society that have serious issues with those who partner with u.s. governments, and by branding the assistance that we deliver with u.s. government brands, it puts our staff at risk of retribution for those elements. we have had staff killed, we have had offices attacked, we have had very serious security problems in the last couple of years due to the perception that we are agents of foreign powers,
or that we are agents that is really what the issue is, not whether people accept our assistance. >> i like to think the ambassador, randy martin, and mark for giving us a better understanding of pakistan, the floods, challenges and opportunities, and the international humanitarian agency. i would also like to thank the audience for being with us this afternoon and for your active participation. we look forward to seeing you in the future. thank you very much, indeed. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
looks at the obama administration. he will join us for washington journal on friday to take your phone calls. washington journal is live every day. his segment will begin at 8:30 this friday on c-span. >> it is arguably washington's greatness what he did between battles. >> sunday, the second part of our interview with the author of the biography of george washington. it is the first large-scale single off her biography of our first president. >> the supreme court has started its new term, and you can learn more with c-span's latest book, "the supreme court." supreme court justices, and the attorneys to argue cases there.
revealing unique insights, available in hardcover. also as an e-book. now a pentagon briefing on reconstruction programs in southern afghanistan. we hear from -- at the area has been the focus of the recent troops surge ordered by president obama. this is about 40 minutes. >> miss cameron, how do you hear me? >> i hear you well, thank you. >> we have the lab and clear here as well. good morning to the pentagon briefing room and good morning in afghanistan. i like to welcome to the pentagon briefing room, the senior representative in southern afghanistan. she is also head of the civil military mission and provincial reconstruction in the province.
reconstruction in the province. they deliver security across the province. she assumed her position in october of last year. she joins us today from our offices to provide an update on the current operations. she will make some brief opening comments and we will take your questions. with that, i will turn it over to you. >> great, thank you very much indeed. i thought i might start by saying what a privilege is to be with you as we update you on the progress we have seen, and what a privilege it is to serve with the u.s. marine corps and the afghan forces. the sacrifices that they make said the context for the challenges we have.
-- set the context for the challenges we have. i have a team of about 100 military and civilian staff as part of a broader team of about 300 if you include the support 300 if you include the support teams and the u.s. civil teams both here and the provincial center and in the district's to deliver very much in support of the governor and his provincial district government. i thought i would set the context by describing what it first look like when i visited for the first time in june of 2006. it was a very sleepy and credit world area broken by years of fighting, and most recently, taliban occupation.
they are associated with the drug trade, and people that lead for a riot in this insurgency's support for the -- led to a riot and insurgency support for the taliban. it was a much less isolated area. we saw the opening of the first civilian airport, it only cost $60 to fly, and a significantly increased number of district governors. that was before we had successfully cleared them early this year. it was very much after we had increased security, and were most of them had to spend their time holding the perimeter so we can have security in what was
still a fairly contested area. in october of 2010, i look back on significant progress since i came back last july. at a government which is much more in control of the province. in his tenure, we have seen a significant improvement. think of it as one where we have seen a lot of improvement that is much more under the control of the government and security forces where the life has gone to look better for them. i lived in a time, a bit less sleepy that it was. the minister of finance was really surprised by how bustling the bazaar was. people are able to improve their in comes year after year, they
can have a larger number of alternative livelihoods'. the industrial park, they help to allow farmers to not just sell things to local market, but be able to go up the value chain and make more money by opening bigger businesses. i think one of the most important recent examples was during the elections. there were quite a large number of small-scale -- within 6 kilometers of the district center, the governor and his security colleagues, the provincial chief of police and the corps commander, they all fought as if they had done a pretty good job of creating the security conditions for the elections to be able to take place. on the day with provincial court
nation, first of all, there were very much in charge and very much feeling as if that was the case. and rather than simply holding the perimeter, that meant a police were able to get out there and be pretty tough with fraud and corruption. it would be much more effective than the previous year and express their opinion if they want to. i think one of the benefits of having a very large and capable provincial structure, they have civil and military capacity, specialist engineers, a whole range of specialized skills, policing, that give me the ability to support the government with a full range of what it does. it also helps push support to build capacity in the district as well.
it also helps to test some ways of working back can only be replicated in other parts of the country. country. the district level local democratic body, it works with the district governor. it builds on the traditional processes of taking pre- democratic decisions and also has a final stage of opening the super ballot to make sure that people -- it has been really effective. it also gives people a sense of accountability. the other program is the district delivery program. that is one that we're trying to get funding done. it has gone through the line
ministries, the local government does not put much say in how it is spent. the district delivery program has helped us get them out to district level, and also to take more responsibility with what people want in the house areas. on the economic front, we saw real success recently for a second year in a row. property production fell in terms of the area. and one that is really significant is quite unusual to get two years of falling production in a row. and it was done in the context of less favorable prices. what we're doing this year is to support the third year, which is a program by which he tells people that we're helping in
afghanistan and will be helpful afghanistan and will be helpful to provide -- thousands of farmers could see them getting quick help to help them. that is a real treat. with the airport open and a range of economic turns and access to the bizarre, it means people can choose to do something. i mentioned the economic boom. we're very much in support of the governor and his government. the turbine increased the number of hours of power. a huge benefit. and a lot of water infrastructure as well, like what was done in the u.s. in the '60s to build an irrigation system.
and change the refurbished infrastructure that has the correct strategic effect. it is not insecure. we also support a broader range as security as well, building the training center that has resulted in a very significant shift. in old times, people were quite afraid of policemen, and there is a good reason not to support the government. we have a situation where people are asking for more police for their local area. local boys go off and do the courses, come back able to police their local area. that has been a real turning point as well. we support both the prosecutors
and the cook representatives, and we can get people to feel as if the government is providing a better alternative than the taliban. that all leads to shifting perceptions. i am cautiously optimistic right now that we're seeing is a shift in perception about both security and the capability of their government. we are driving continuously to improve government services and security, little indicators like the fact that there was no challenge to recruit for civil service. little indicators like the other day where quite far, they started remitting taxes as part of the process of paying taxes. it is a really basic step, but
it begins to make people feel more connected to government and feel like they're actually getting something for their taxes. i am optimistic that we're seeing is a shift in perception about the capability of the government and their ability to take over in the long run. i sat back during the coordination center on election day and realized if i walked out the door, nothing much would have changed. that gives me real confidence that there will be guys sitting there, the commander will be able to run their own elections without our support. now i will take your questions. >> i am with the associated press. a major concern has been that nato led a big security push without the civilian capacity to back it up.
you seem to describe something that is very much a work in progress. how soon before shang's will work and the afghan government will have been providing services to the local population and nato forces can begin to step back? >> i did not catch all of that, can you repeat that cleaves -- please? \ >> the question here was that in the province, they have had to rely a lot on nato support. she asked for your assessment on when the local afghan government would be able to take on those responsibilities and allow the nato forces to pull back? >> i think the security judgment on that one, on the government
development side, they owe -- they are already in the lead with our support. there is pretty heavy support from us, somehow we transition in the long run is shifting more of the funding and development support to develop mechanisms, and a sense. -- in a sense. there will be time to get mechanisms in place. in many ways, i think the afghan government is already in charge, and i said that in five years time, that is an interesting prospect. >> what do you expect to see by the end of the year? the end of the year? >> i'm sorry, i didn't catch
education being delivered. we will see an increasing sense of government control in their central districts. i think we will see a government which is looking to the long- term. >> this is david would. i want to ask you about whether there were any local reconciliation programs under way and what is your sense of what it would take to bring the local taliban into the fold? >> thank you. i think the thing that we see at this level is the biggest incentive is the threat to their security it from the increased presence. the most important factor is the fear of what might happen to them that makes them decide that
it is put it -- time to put down their weapons and get back to their farms. the focus we have the district level is very much about helping district governors to work out what they do when that happens. how they work with their colleagues from security forces to make sure that people have access to jobs. to we are working on the very basic mechanisms at local levels to help the government to figural what to do. at the provincial level, the governor is understanding the consequences being set up. just a couple of days ago, at the names -- i think we are hoping that to -- in order to help the governor and to run the program, to reach out to those people. you also see a sense of change
at the national level as a result of that. >> there has been a perception for some time that it has not really worked. it seemed to be making some progress. but there has been a lot of security problems. has this meant that you have had great difficulty in bringing in a civilian back up behind that? >> we have one of the largest anywhere in the margin district. they are partners with a very capable military team from a regimental combat team new works very closely together.
it has the same balance of civil and military support. that gives us the capability to work with civilian leadership or we can push out risk patrol to go assess structural services. we have the right kind of balance of capability. when i was there this week, i was impressed. you walk on main street and -- it makes a lot more difficult. it makes a lot more difficult. i went into the school where there are 200 very boisterous small boy is giving their teachers a hard time. there is a real sense that the government has seen a change in attitude of the population towards the government since the end -- since the elections. what they are saying to us is
that they want to push more in support of making as much progress as they can in the next few months. we are reassessing what did the conditions are right to run at election. what we have seen in other districts is that provides a turning point for a real sense of popular in case the with the government. this is a month after the clarence operations. clearing a district that was totally under taliban control, so i really difficult starting point. compare that with last july. actually, an increased level of resources mean that they are further ahead. that is what i expected. i am reasonably confident that we will continue to make progress.
there's been a huge amount of can now clearing. -- canal clearing. >> i am from the national journal magazine. usaid was saying bad job creation was very slow. they could not find people to take these work jobs because of security risks and that the amount of money spent was much lower than budgeted. do you have any numbers to quantify what you are saying is now a change? how many people are employed? how much money has been spent? you mentioned earlier the clearing operations. i have any of those districts been transferred back to afghan security control? >> i do not have the numbers with me. i am conscious that -- i think
we have been able to be very effective. it has had a cigna the gift impact. we are not seeing the same kind of reluctance. it is entirely typical. immediately after a change of government in a district like that, people are naturally reluctant to change sides. they hedged their bets. what we've seen now is that people's confidence levels are building. the government is there to help them. the running the present program this year in a way that gives people a real choice. he is very confident that people will shift their decisions this year. that is partly because they do not fear the knock on the door from the taliban. it will still be a shift, it
will not be a dramatic change, but the indicators are good. in terms of transition, when you go down the street, what you see are very few true. very much an afghan led security installation. the afghan police are out in the streets. that is what the future looks like, afghan led security operations. operations. >> can i ask you about the numbers of advisers that are in there? it is your largest team. can you quantify for us how large that team is? what was the original size of the civilian team? do we need more advisers? you also said that the team is
also large. did those advisers -- how often did they go into the field? >> can i ask the moderator to repeat that, please? >> you are going to challenge my abilities here. first, you talk about the size of the civilian component. if you could quantify that in terms of numbers. part of the question was the size of your component there and whether they get out to the field to or basically just conduct their operations there? what was the original size of the civil military component? do you need more? >> in terms of size, we have
five permanent staff there in the district. they are backed up by a number of contractors. at least two that i can think of. we also have a military team. i can get you the numbers on that. in terms of the -- they are out and about. part of what we do here is supporting the provincial government. district government is a pretty small level government and the afghan system. part of the way we make district government more effective is by building education, help, agriculture and irrigation to be able to support those.
all of our work is the provincial ministry. my team travels extensively out to the districts. they get out on a routine basis. it is possible to some went to drive to areas. -- it is possible to drive to some areas. the third part of your question, i did not quite understand. i am not quite sure what you were referring to. >> the question was about the size of the civil military component. >> it has grown to some extent. we were originally quite close to those numbers.
again, we probably got back team about as fast -- as fast as we have done in almost any operation. >> last question -- do you need more? >> do we need more? sari. more support? civilian support? >> exactly. >> i have a pretty decent size. the thing i really are trying to support -- we would like to seek more of is we are able to get that more efficiently going to districts in a way that means we will support them. that is what will convince people that afghan government
is effective and it is here to stay. we have really seen a change in that in the last six months. when i first last -- and i first went last july, it was bringing in more support. that is part of the challenge. they are able to be there more often and be more effective when they are there. that is something we seek as security improves, the government improves, as a government improves, security improves. >> based on the your experience
and and what you said about to eight months since the operation and you are just beginning to see a shift, but not a dramatic change in these perceptions, what should that tell us about how long it is going to take to spread this sort of security and stability and development around the country to be able to begin to think about reducing the international presence? >> what that tells us is that afghanistan -- we have to be realistic and our expectations in terms of what district government looks like and what capability it has. we are trying to build a sustainable district government. they are able to sustain the
level of service delivery and development on a provincial level. i think that is not the kind of thing that is built overnight. requires the kind of consistent support we have seen across the board. i think it is pretty impressive achievement. going back to what the government looked like only 15 months ago, there was a significant difference in the kind of district government that you had. i think that is a pretty impressive change over time. to it is pretty much like bite and effective provincial governor and a district support as well. since i arrived here, at the minister in charge of local government has shifted to a system of open and fair competition.
he put in his application and was assessed the most effective person to do that job. we can be sure that he -- it means that the system allows us to deliver more effectively. compared with other developing countries, the rate of change here is pretty impressive. given the context that they are working in and some of the security challenges. >> when people in the states or in britain agreed that, they will say, right, great, let's move on. what is your response to that? >> there is no doubt that the out, -- outcome or success will
be the ability to transition to an afghan lead. leading and afghan government which is able to tackle the security challenges and delivering basic services and representing people. that is what we want to do. >> good morning. i am from the christian science monitor. i wanted to ask you a question about the fund. you mentioned the large influx of the fund into -- would end our u.s. military, that they hold them one of their helpful tools on the ground. in our congress right now, there are some of our congressmen who question the effectiveness and the oversight. i would love to get your input on how you see funds being spent on the ground. how effective is it? >> i think that makes us really
lucky is that we have access to a significant -- almost $500 million in total. it is a wide range of tools. we are able to reduce long-term funding and to use the short- term funding that it provides us with. we have also built up to support the district government with a kind of say in how these funds are spent. it means that we have really improved the chances of these funds being spent in a way that the district government. it is made it -- is about making sure that it is a government delivering with us in support and that they see it is responding to the needs they have. it is often much more about what
they're targeting. i saw the school which has been refurbished with the u.k. its bonds -- u.k. fund and a way that means -- is now a fully functioning school. that is the kind of thing that short-term funding allows us to do quite quickly. it is that combination of resources that makes the civil military partial -- partnership that we have a very capable. >> do you have an estimate on the amount of bonds that you have seen? >> i do not have that number. we can get that to you. i am sure my colleague can do that.
>> ok. one more. michael? michael? >> again, at the perception is that this has not had enough resources to make a major contribution in the province. can you confirm that or deny that? do you have any evidence that on the reconciliation, there is now new efforts from the saudis? do you have any evidence of that? that? >> first of all, the great thing is funds for the shorter-term police infrastructure -- that
allows us to build a complete police infrastructure. road infrastructure, some of the irrigation infrastructure, they also contributed to building. what they are doing is looking at the kind of economic development that happens -- that gives them a longer sustainable economic future. they are very much an important part of the portfolio of tools that i have here. they make an incredibly important contribution. again, linking up the expertise at national level, which means that we can run the kind of innovative program so we are running in the context of national government's policy at
national level. they made a fantastic contribution. the way that the u.k. has helped out the stabilization unit, which gives us that range of which gives us that range of school -- a gain of skills, -- a range of skills, gives me a great tool box to use. i am a big fan of the range of options that i have. onreconciliation, ait is more the ambassador to comment on a national level. i think there is no doubt that the governor called the national level context calls and to encourage people to reintegrate at provincial levels and district levels. >> thank you very much for
giving us your time. i will send it back to you for any closing remarks. >> thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to talk to you. has thethat bthe prt right resources and the right strategy. to achieve our collective goals. i am in support of the government of afghanistan here. a real step change. that is just one indicator of the kind of progress. to on election day, all materials were able to be delivered to the district by roads and not by air because security has improved to a point that that is a perfectly feasible option.
it has been a real privilege to lead the construction team here in the last year and to lead such an effective coalition effort. i look to my colleagues and see a team where we have the inputs right and cordite in a way that gives us an incredible range of tools. it gives me real hope. if i came back from parliamentary elections in five years' time, i would be looking at a situation where the government is running by himself. that is the focus we have going forward. forward. thank you. >> thank you once again. >> thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
>> we have more campaign programming coming up for you tonight at 8:00. the debates between candidates for the illinois governor race. after that, we will show you today is a "washington journal" said annette. later, debates from new hampshire and connecticut. bob woodward's latest book looked at the obama administration. the author will join us this friday on "washington journal." "washington journal" is like every day beginning at 7:00. >> most generals -- we tried showing deep -- holding the continental army together. >> sunday, part two of our interview on his just published
biography of george washington. it is the first large-scale single volume biography of our nation's first president. >> 17% of those who cross our border have committed crimes previously in this country. >> we need to secure our borders. >> now through election day, we are covering more than 100 debates from around the country. if you missed one, you can find it online at d.c.'s ban video library. it is washington, your way. >> also today, at the daily briefing. the defense to party -- the defense department is getting close to releasing a report on an incident on the pakistan- afghanistan border. the pentagon spokesman talks
about u.s.-pakistan relations and other topics for 40 minutes. >> the minister of national defence for the 42nd annual security consultative meeting. it gives him the opportunity to review a recent joint military exercises. 60 years at the start of the korean war. he will also reaffirmed in the wake of the sinking that we will not tolerate north korea provocation and aggression. fall in these meetings, secretary gates will fly to vietnam and participate in the
inaugural defense ministers meeting. a gathering of the defense ministers as well as their partners, including australia, china, india, japan, new zealand, and the united states. this forum will opera -- offered the opportunity for defense leaders to formally come together and establish a regional security dialogue at the ministerial level. a more regular exchange of views will help build trust and transparency in the region, which will be a important as nations continued to develop more advanced military capabilities. the meeting is happening in large measure due to the vision of water or close partners in the region, vietnam. they have held the chairmanship this year and push to establish this forum. secretary gates will hold separate bilateral meetings where they will discuss further
cooperation and a number of security issues, including humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping operations, and maritime security. that vietnam has become one of our leading partners in the region reflects how far we have come in the 15 years since the u.s.-vietnam relations. he will go there from -- from vietnam to brussels. this will be an important chance to discuss progress in the world -- the war in afghanistan and other coalition partners. an opportunity to move ahead on the agenda to revitalize and reformed nato and to focus on delivering capabilities geared toward our most pressing need, including cyber defense, and a more mobile deployable alliance.
with that, i will take your questions. how about ann? >> i wanted to ask you whether or not you'll be the new white house press secretary. >> i know that is not a serious question. >> not entirely. [laughter] can you shed some light on the -- [inaudible] involved in the strike that killed german nationals yesterday? hall concerned are you wrote about the fuel supply -- how concerned are you about the fuel supply? >> to the first part of your question, we will not speak to those issues. they do not involve us. we do not speak to them.
with regards to the second part of the question, it does impact us. the attacks on some of the fuel convoys, they do very much involved are equities. and our concern to at -- and our concern to us. what i have seen that is misleading or mistaken is to try to connect these two in any way. the gate closing is something that we are working with pakistan on reopening. we have been given indications that we are making progress on that front and hope to have the gate reopened as soon as possible. just to put that into context as well, the gate, which is another
major passageway, from pakistan into afghanistan remains open and has remained open. we obviously have a number of supply lines from the north as well which provides the ability to keep resupplying our forces. even with the closure of the gate, which is an important route to us, it is not -- it has not adversely impacted the way we can supply our forces. in terms of guidelines communication, at is how much fuel does come through there for our forces. it is important, especially from that perspective, but it has not impacted our ability to resupply fuel to our operations around afghanistan either. police did not suspect it will -- we do not suspect it will. even if this were to last in the future. we do have a sense that we are
making progress on this can be resolved sen. the attacks on the ground convoys, the fuel convoys, and something that we have had to live with for years. there have been attacks as starkly on dado convoys passaging through pakistan -- on the naval convoys. sometimes they are sensational, terrific, deadly and that is tragic. if you put this in concept -- in context, we are talking about it impacting 1% of the supply that we funnel through fact -- pakistan into afghanistan. they have never really adversely impacted our ability to conduct operations in afghanistan. that said, we want to get it reopened. we want to make sure that the supply lines are protected and that this field can go from the
ships that bring it in and up through pakistan into afghanistan without incident. it is in the pakistan is interest to do this. this is a huge commercial enterprise for them. they do not get paid until that fuel is delivered to the point of destination in afghanistan. they have incentive to protect the convoys. to make sure that the situation is such that they can get to their destination safely. i just want to connect those to the ability that i can. they have taken place far away from the gate. hopefully, we are making progress on both those counts. >> if you could step back for
the bigger picture behind -- u.s.-pakistan tension right now. art -- is there tension between the pakistani military leadership and the u.s. military leadership? what are you doing to resolve the cross border attacks? >> listen. let me stop -- let me step back a minute, if i can trade in the past two weeks, forces have killed more than 100 network fighters. they have been operating in the border region. they have been taking advantage of the fact that they can operate with greater freedom than any of us would like. the threat is real.
though we have had success in killing 110 of them, there clearly are more of them out there who remain a threat to our forces, remain a threat to afghan forces. that is the setting in which this is all taking place. obviously, there was an unfortunate incident in which it looks as though it was three frontier corps soldiers were killed as one of our helicopters was investigating what looked to be a new fighting position that was being erected along the border that posed a potential threat to our forces in afghanistan. i guess they came under fire wall they were checking out that position. that investigation is just about wrapped up. they will put out a joint release with the pakistan government because they did have to military representatives
assigned by the general to the investigation. that investigation has wrapped up and its results will be released in the next 24 hours. so look for that. it was unfortunate. the fire they were taking came from a frontier corps soldiers. it was unfortunate that they were killed in the process. it is a regrettable incident. it is one for which the u.s. ambassador in pakistan has apologized. it is one for which the secretary general of nato has expressed his deep regrets. it has resulted in the general petraeus and the chairman of the joint chiefs making calls to general and offering their grabs, their condolences, their
desire to work together to ensure that this does not happen again. that was the offer that was extended in those conversations. couple access to all of the onboard cameras and the video -- full access to all of the onboard camera so we can be as transparent with them about what happened. the secretary deeply regrets the incident. he is very much encouraging his staff to work closely with the pakistan military to insurer -- to ensure that we are devising ways to prevent this from happening in the future. that is the backdrop to all of this. what i would say about the relations is comic incidents like this do happen. there are occasional setbacks in our day to day relations. this being one of them. the most recent of them.
there are mistakes, there are incidents which create a misunderstanding, there are setbacks. but that does not mean that relationship, this crucial relationship u.s., it is in any way derailed. in fact, throughout this period of tension, if you will, relations have preceded it. they were not -- there was no suspension. there was no disengagement. there were no reprisals in that sense. it's we have continued to work closely with the pakistan military throughout the aftermath of this incident. in fact, i would argue from a military perspective, the relationship is stronger than ever has been.
we have got clearly good communication going on throughout the highest levels in the military. we have pakistan and representatives in these investigations. border cooperation continues through this entire thing. we still have humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations under way. i think we are over 20,000 people who have been impacted by deep fly to have rescued by u.s. helicopters. over 20 million pounds of supplies have been moved. we've spent $60 million thus far. the relationship continues despite the setbacks and there are going to be setbacks occasionally. the best testament to its is the fact that we are looking forward to hosting the strategic
dialogue, the next round of the strategic dialogue, with deepak as denny -- where the pakistan is later this month. we will continue the dialogue that they wish to have and we wish to have about growing even closer. >> is a public adjuster that does not reflect any sort of real animosity? >> all i can tell you is that i will take their statements at face value. the stated reason for the closure of the gate was to protect the convoys. in the aftermath of the cross the border -- cross border
assault and the killing of these three frontier course men, they thought it best to shut down the gates to eliminate the possibility of their being attacked as the convoys moved through that narrow passageway between pakistan and afghanistan. you would have to talk about -- talk to them about the rationale behind that. our focus has been on making sure that our forces are adequately supplied. buckley, our guys -- luckily, our guys have worked really hard over the past year to develop a range of supply routes in the north. the number distribution network is assisted immensely by a russia that has provided us with a lot of the alternate ways.
in terms of fuel, the pakistan lines of communication are very important. we are looking to figure out how to get them all flowing so that we do not have any adverse impact to our operations. >> just to pick up on something that ann mentioned. why does it say about the state of pakistan-u.s. relations that after nine years of a strategic relationship, you cannot figure out how to move the gas through pakistan without blowing not? >> it is a bit of a snarky question, but i will try to take it seriously. you are asking me, how is it that after nine years of war in afghanistan, we cannot move stack -- feels they do pakistan? it is not just us dealing with
terrorism in afghanistan. there happens to be a real hornet's nest of terrorists in pakistan as well and they pose a threat to to the government of that country as well. come on. there are terrorist to exist and operate and conduct operations in pakistan as well as those who conduct operations in afghanistan. we are dealing with it. that is why our strategy is about pakistan and afghanistan. we cannot divorce these two entities with one another. we are able to maintain distinct bilateral relationships with each. in terms of the terrorist problems, it is one that we collectively have to deal with. >> i cut you off earlier. >> to follow-up on that, i would really like to define the word "attention."
-- "tension." which are the parties involved in this tension? the definition is different from their point of view and your point of view. >> you are asking me to define who is tense with one another? >> yes. >> the statement i have seen, at the gate being closed because of the tensions sparking violence against the convoys and this is a measure to protect the convoys and personnel that drive them. i have to take at face value that that is the rationale behind it. tensions, in my description of it, again, i do not note to the tensions are where it's. >> the tensions have to be
between two parties. >> this is an issue between the u.s., coalition of u.s. and pakistan. there was this unfortunate incident in which three french year court soldiers were killed. -- in which three frontier corps soldiers were killed. now we are working with deepak as denny government to reopen the gate. -- with the pakistani government to reopen the gate. despite this temporary setback, this regrettable mistake. relations between our two military remain very strong. i cannot speak to the government relationship. that remain strong as well. >> better than recent moves in the past after airstrikes with afghanistan to tighten the
rules. the expect that there will be tactical changes and how aircraft are used near the border on cross border operations? >> we always been pretty reticent to speak to tactical issues from here. i but refer you to the team -- i would refer you to the team. i have heard nothing of that sort. i think you should take a look at the investigation and see what it says. i do not think it differs from the conclusion from what we have been speaking to publicly as to what happened. remember, we will retain the rights to defend our forces, and to defend ourselves. our forces to operate on the
border with pakistan are in a very dangerous and difficult situation. that is why it is selling poured into for there to be excellent communication and cooperation for coalition afghan and pakistan forces patrol and protected both sides of that border and tried to minimize the traffic of insurgents going back and forth. >> a lot of us talk about perceptions of the united states. it has been described as a humanitarian gesture, but one that would show pakistan that the u.s. is committed to them in the long haul. what is that giving to offset a perception that these incidences
have created? >> what have we done in the aftermath of this frontier corp. incident to counterbalance the fact that others may be using this against us? i do not know that we hear necessarily are doing anything. our folks at odrp may be undertaken at things. this is not something that you sort of do on an ad hoc basis in the aftermath of an incident. this is a long-term effort to. the state department is working on this for quite some time to try to change perceptions of america by pakistan. clearly, there is goodness unto itself in providing disaster relief and humanitarian
assistance -- assistant in the wake of these incredible floods in pakistan. the ancillary benefit is that as we spend and budgeted one under $20 million thus far for flood relief, as we spend the taxpayers' hard-earned dollars, it is also enhancing our reputation and our image in pakistan. we want to be thought of as we think of ourselves, a nation that is incredibly generous and helping those in need. this is a long-term effort to try to counter perceptions. there are those within pakistan are using propaganda and manipulation to try to stir up anti-american sentiment because it suits their purposes. that is why we have tried to work closely with the pakistan government to counter bolland -- counterbalance those efforts.
>> call free are u.s. forces to crossed into pakistan or to fire into pakistan as they prosecute counter-terrorism mission? >> i do not see any purpose in delineating our rules of engagement. if my colleagues downrange want to offer that up, they have better judgment about the efficacy of doing that than i do. my attitude about that is, i will ext. -- expressed your purpose -- the principles here. they retain the right to defend themselves. they will not be shy about exercising that right if they feel threatened. >> but the united states has asserted the right to capture
terrorist and their supporters anywhere, does that apply along the afghanistan-pakistan border? outside this specific situation of self-defense. >> i think opposition on this is well known. i do not care to read articulate it. >> have you seen an increase in strikes against military units? have you seen any connection between what is going on on the border of pakistan and the terrorist warnings in europe? >> listen, i do not care to talk to intelligence matters here today. the state department and the white house has spoken at length about this latest threat stream that has resulted in a
travel alert by the state department for americans in europe. i do not think i have much of anything to add to that discussion. in the back. >> cannot change the subject, please? -- ken i change the subject, please? >> there is an investigation, in a joint investigation that has just wrapped up. the results of which will be released probably overnight, early tomorrow morning in pakistan. pardon me, in afghanistan. you will see what the conclusion is that the investigators, too. i think it would be premature of me to offer any thoughts on that at this point. >> are you comfortable with
having had of the state? >> i did not think i am the best guide to address those questions, too. as long as we respect constitutional process these -- whatever the results of such an election, we respect those results. you would probably have to address that question to my colleagues at the white house, where i do not work. >> how do you sense his role -- >> his tenure at -- his tenure as the leader of pakistan predates my time here. i was here -- mostly as a
reporter myself. clearly, he was a close ally. they had a very tough choice to make, pakistan did, in the wake of 9/11. given some of the terrorist threats in their own country. they came out strongly and forcefully as an ally of this country. that has where they remained ever since. we are appreciative of this fact. >> i have two questions. >> thank you very much. there are allegations swirling around the stryker brigade. this is a chain of command question. how concerned are you that the chain of command did not notice this sort of activity and take action?
are there any investigations into what happened up the chain of command? >> not that i know of. i would address that question to the army. i am very limited in what i can say with regards to this incident because it is being adjudicated right now in the military justice system. i do not want to do anything that could jeopardize the prosecution or their ability of the defendants in this case to get a fair trial. i will back off on speaking to these issues. i have addressed them before. i do not have anything new to had. these allegations are abhorrence, but they are an aberration in terms of the behavior. i do not think that they are any way representative of how american military men and women behavior in the field.
but let's let this trial take place and let's see what judgment is rendered. talk to the army about whether there is a larger effort to look into the chain of command issues. michael? >> for the last month, a general petraeus has said that he has evidence of a high-ranking taliban being interested in negotiating with the afghan government. do you have any evidence of any third party such as saudi arabia suddenly showing increasing interest in getting involved? >> i personally do not. given the fact that general petraeus is speaking to this issue, perhaps he or his spokesman would want to elaborate on it. but we have seen, michael, and you travel with us. you were dispersed to and from general petraeus.
we have seen high level outreach by some members of the taliban to the afghan government. i think as much as we have said about it. we have been somewhat more expensive on is -- expansive on is the lower level reintegration efforts. we have seen more and more foot soldiers and ground commanders coming over to the government and wishing renounce their ties to the taliban and become a part of the constitutional government. at least respect the constitutional government. we have seen examples of that to allow the country. i think recently we have seen
some larger numbers. but i do not know that anybody is to the point yet where they see a trend or a connection between these individual or small groups that have been we integrating themselves into the mainstream. we are clearly encouraged by events taking place. however, it is too soon to suggest that there is -- that these are connected or that there is a wider movement afoot. that the tide is turning in terms of reintegration and reconciliation. i think we believe that we still need to make more progress with regard to security on the ground. we need to take the fight more aggressively and for a greater duration to the taliban and
other extremist in afghanistan for them to feel the kind of pressure in necessary for there to beat -- to spark up movement of reintegration and reconciliation. but i would point out that clearly, operations in canada car and its latest wave -- dragon strike is continuing to put the pressure on these guys. the ink spots of security that are expanding around are growing and are really putting the pressure on the insurgent
the question is will he meet with his counterpart in hanoi, his chinese counterpart in hanoi. i think we are efforting to put together a meeting of that sort when secretary gates and his try niece counterpart are attending the -- chinese counterpart had attending it next week. i don't know that we have confirmed it as of yet. but i think both sides clearly wish to have such a meeting so we're working on the logistics of doing so. i expect that we will be able to find a time and a place to have such a meeting and that
would be significant in that it is -- it would have been the first time the secretary has had a chance to engage with his chinese counterpart for nearly a year, i want to say. >> is it the same general who came here? >> i believe it is. yes. and then i think we would -- and then the effort would be, of course, to try to figure out a time, a date and a time for the secretary to travel to beijing, when schiffer went over to beijing a couple of weeks ago to begin to lay out how the resumption of military-to-military engagements would proceed, among the things they talked about, in addition to next week's -- which will take place in hawaii, or the week of the
11th, that's next week, that's next week, right? the 11th is next week. anyway, so the week of the 11th, the marine military consultant agreement talks will take place in hawaii. i think there will be a two star from pacom representing the u.s. they will have a conversation about operational safety and at sea and in the air and work on a work plan for us over the next year and that will be reported out to the defense consultant talks in november or december. we haven't nailed it down that michelle, the undersecretary of defense for policy woorks host here in -- -- policy, would host here in washington. this is the resuming of the military relationship with china. i think mostly thus far the talks have been largely focused on the mechanisms, the
logistics. there's been some substance but i think you'll see the first substance next week, then november, december with the defense consultant talks led by michelle and the secretary's engagement if we're able to schedule it in hanoi. and then realistically we're looking at early next year before we have a chance to get to beijing. but i think what's been asked of us now is, the chinese expressed to us a desire to host the secretary. they've asked us to look for opportunities in his calendar. we're doing that right now. looking forward to reporting back on some possible dates and our expectation is that we would be able to travel and engage with the chinese a as soon as possible. -- chinese as soon as possible. >> first question was about this exercise, the u.s.-japanese military exersiles. i think you tried to connect it
to the island dispute. absolutely no connection. it's a long-planned exercise, not relating to any current events. this is merely about keeping up our operational, our ability to operate well together. and long-planned, not related to the island dispute at all. i'm sorry? >> the newspaper connects them -- [inaudible] >> they did that? newspapers. i can't believe that. yes. oftentimes thinks -- things that are unrelated are connected in news stories. that's part of why i have a job. to push back on such things. yes. >> there was a question about the taliban negotiations. you said we have seen a high level outreach by some members of the taliban to members of the afghan golf. does the -- has the -- government. has the u.s. government made any conditions?
>> this is an afghan process. this is afghan-led, it's an afghan process. i think you saw president karzai announce this new peace council that will be instrumental in the ultimate reconciliation we all hope will take place at some point. but this is very much their process. to the extent that they want our input, we provide it. but this is eaving -- afghan-led and driven and the engagements thus far have been between, you know, taliban or their representatives and the afghan government. all right. i think you've pretty much exhausted me and my knowledge. but i do have tony here and let's finish up with tony. >> i want to ask you, the pentagon friday aye night announced -- night announced -- [inaudible] lots of interest in the program, obviously. was there a significant problem that caused the grounding and when do you feel it may resume?
>> let me give you what i have. you've probably already gotten it from my colleagues. but i'm no expert on the machinations of the testing procedures. but from what i understand is that during ground testing, an anomaly in the fuel boost punches was dedecade -- detected, indicating a potential failure that could affect the engine during flight. it was discovered during laboratory testing. it could possibly trigger a shutdown of all three boost pumps, potentially further causing engine stall. such a simultaneous shutdown is unlikely but prudence dictated that suspension of operations until the fuel boost pump signal timing was corrected. software update has been deployed and is planned to be completed -- and is planned to complete required functional and safety tests prior to installation and test aircraft beginning use it, october 5. -- beginning tuesday, october 5. it provides positive pressure
to the engine. the minor software modification will correctly align fuel boost pump signal sequencing. so, i hope that makes more sense to you than it does to me. [laughter] but, listen, i -- your fundamental question is how serious is this, how concerning is it? and i think the answer is, the person who's in charge of this program, vice admiral vinlette, does not believe it to be a serious setback and this is precisely why we have a test program to try to encounter problems early, fix them and move on from that. i don't believe there's an aircraft we've ever developed, certainly not an advanced fighter like the f-35, that has not encountered some technical issue along the way that is needed to be fixed or modified before the plane is fully developed.
i think that's what we've encountered here, it sounds like, from what i've relaid to you, this is something they believe they know the cause of and how to fix it and they're in the process of doing so. i hope that answers your question. thanks, guys. appreciate it. have a good rest of the week. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> campaign 2010 programming coming up for you tonight at 8:00 eastern. it a debate between candidates to be illinois' next governor. after that we'll show you today's "washington journal" segment with congresswoman debby wasserman chicago bulls, looking at the democrats' proexpects for 2010. later, debates from new hampshire and connecticut. >> 17%, according to the sheriff, of those who cross our border have committed crimes previously in this country. >> we need to secure our border, we need federal
immigration reform and that needs to be led by our next united states senator. >> now through election day, we're covering more than 100 debates from around the country. and if you miss one, you can find it online at the c-span video library. search it, watch it, share it. all free. it's washington your way. >> thousands of american citizens have been registering their travel plans with the state department since the european travel alert was issued over the weekend. this was a major topic at today's state department briefing. we also hear about the latest efforts to stop settlement construction in the west bank, after a moratorium expired last week. spokesman crowley speaks with reporters for 25 minutes. >> good afternoon and welcome to the department of state. just a couple of quick items to start off. secretary clinton and bull
garne foreign minister -- bulgarian foreign minister will discuss a broad range of issues of interest to both countries this afternoon during a bilateral, including the upcoming lisbon-nato sub its -- summit. the western balkans, our cooperation in afghanistan, energy security and the rule of law. and think you had the opportunity to listen a short time ago to eric goosby as he announced that the obama administration tends to seek $4 billion for the global fund to fight hiv-aids, malaria and tuberculosis for the years 2011 through 2013, continuing our strong support for this multilateral partner. this pledge is a 30% increase in the u.s. investment over the preceding three-year period. turning to africa, the united states applauds the signing of -- in liberia yesterday of a
freedom of information act signed yesterday by liberian president ellen johnson sirleaf. liberia is the first west african state to enact a law on freedom of information. president obama remarked at the u.n. general assembly, the strongest foundation for human progress lies in open economies, open societies and open governments. this legislation to improve liberians' access to government information is an important element in supporting that openness as an example of how other african states should -- and other african states should follow suit. and finally, regarding the 2012 visa lottery registration, the registration period opened at noon today. entries for the lottery may be submitted electronically through wednesday, november 3. the department of state administers this program each
year to provide immigrant visas to individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the united states. for the 2012 diversity visa lottery, 50,000 immigrant visas will be available and while electronic regadministration has been in place -- registration has been in place for a number of years, this is the first year that the entire process is electronic, including notification of selected applicants. applicants can go online to check the status of their registration. the details are available on www.dvlottery.state.gov. >> [inaudible] on what you just talked about, the lottery. is that the case that's the only way you can apply for one of these visas is online? >> yes. >> so, if you're in a country which is a relatively low rate of immigration to states and would be eligible for this
program and you don't have access to the internet like a great number of, say, north koreans or people in sub saharan after carks how do you take advantage of that? >> i may qualify my yes. that's a very fair question. let me take that question and see if we can't double check that. your point is very well taken. >> then on the global fund, what does it mean it tends to seek $4 billion? you don't have the money right now, how you can pledge it? i intend to seek, you know, $1 million tomorrow. so that i can retire. but that doesn't mean i'm going to get it. >> the department state endorses. [laughter] >> and then the financial collapse of a.p. as a result. >> i mean, pledging money and saying that you intend to seek it seems to me to be something different. >> we are making a multiyear
pledge. obviously in terms of budgeting we pursue budgets on an annual by a sills. so it is our commitment that we will -- by a sills. so it is our commit thament we -- basis. so we will commit the funding. we will request. >> ok. then, getting into regular substance, is there any update on -- >> i get a commission of $1 million. >> no problem. half a percent. depending on how the calves do. mideast. is there any update on the discussions with anyone in the region and particularly head of the arab league union? >> i'm not aware of any particular discussions today by the secretary, george mitchell remains in touch with both the israelis and the palestinians and we continue to work closely
with them to see if we can't, you know, find a way to create the conditions for the continuation of negotiations. but i can't point to any particular act this morning. >> has there been any discussion or possibly suggestion that the arab league moved back or delayed, postponed once again, their meeting? >> this is a decision for the arab league. the followon committee has in fact, you know, pushed their meeting back. it was supposed to be yesterday originally. for a combination of reasons, including the availability of some of the participants, they'll schedule for friday. >> ask you give us -- [inaudible] the visit to yemen? >> i can't. i'll see if we can't get a more fullsome readout for you. hm? >> are we still on -- >> we've moved to yemen. we can move back.
ok. we're nimble here. >> can we go back to the direct talk? >> ok. >> ok. i know that you guys have denied the substance or existence of a letter, but there still persists. the israelis persist they've received a letter and the letter suggested the extension for 60 days in exchange for the u.s. not ever asking for another extension on settlement freeze in exchange for giving a commitment to support israel, for placing troops along the jordan river and all kinds of things. so could you comment on that? >> no. the short answer. we continue discussing, you know, the full arrange of issues with the parties. >> no comment or -- >> i'm -- as we indicated last week, there was a report that there was a letter from president obama. the white house denied that there was such a letter. we are -- continue our
discussions with the parties, putting forward our ideas that in our view can create the conditions for negotiations to condition. that is our -- continue. that is our desire. and, you know, we will continue to work this throughout the week. >> do you expect the prime minister to announce tomorrow, wednesday, that he will extend the freeze on building in the settlement for another 60 days? >> i believe i understand that the prime minister had a meeting with the security cabinet today and may well have a follow-on meeting tomorrow. we've made our position clear to the israeli government. but obviously they have decisions to make and so do the palestinians. >> have you got any indication that he would? >> again, it is our desire that the current negotiations continue. we're trying to create, you know, conditions that enable that to occur. and that is our -- continues to be our message to both sides. >> just one more.
[inaudible] the negotiator said the palestinians will stay in the negotiations, come what may. is that something that was coordinated with you? >> we believe the only way to seek what both the palestinians and the israeli dess sire is by continuing negotiation -- desire is by continuing our negotiations. that's been our desire and message to both parties throughout this process. and we hope that they will, you know, decide to continue these negotiations. >> thank you. >> stay in the region? >> sure. >> do you have any thoughts on the wisdom to a possible trip to lebanon, including southern lebanon, by your friend, mr. ahmadinejad? apparently he has suggested he would like to go to southern lebanon and throw some rocks at israeli soldiers across the border. on a visit to lebanon. do you think that's a good idea? >> i don't -- i don't normally
recommend travel arrangements for president ahmadinejad. we certainly would hope thatran would play a constructive role in the -- thatran would play a constructive role -- that iran would play a constructive role in the region. >> more seriously, the broader idea of a visit of ahmadinejad to lebanon. >> we're aware that he has travel plans to lebanon. >> you have suggested to the lebanese or the syrians that they might -- this might not be a good idea? >> these are judgments for countries to make. the issue of the perspective travel of president ahmadinejad to lebanon did come up in the meeting between secretary clinton and the president.
>> and she told him? >> well, we expressed our concern about it, given that iran, through its association with groups like hezbollah, is actively undermining lebanon's sovereignty. but, again, we respect that these are judgments for the lebanese government to make. >> have you talked to the lebanese government to convince ahmadinejad to not travel to the south? >> i mean, we don't think that his travel to that part of lebanon is a good idea. but, again, you know, what he does within that country is up to the lebanese government. >> but the israelis are very critical on this visit and they believe it's a provocation from ahmadinejad and they are taking military preparations on the
border. >> again, we respect the fact that, you know, countries can choose to have diplomatic relations with other countries. that is a sovereign choice for lebanon and for iran. it's not for us to tell them who they should or should not talk to. we did say to lebanese options, you know, -- officials, you know, this is a country that is actively undermining your government and, you know, we believe that whatever you decide to do should be within light of making sure that the lebanese government, you know, continues, you know, to demand that iran or any other country respect its sovereignty. >> one more question. >> sure. >> after meeting with -- after the secretary's meeting with the syrian foreign minister?
new york and his deputy here in washington, president assad visited iran on saturday and was very critical about the u.s.-sponsored talks between israel and the palestinians and said they are only serving the interests of president obama in the u.s.. do you still after such criticism, are you still considering moving the israel-syria tract? >> well, first of all, the pursuit of peace in the middle east is in everyone's interest. including syria's. we're not trying to score points with anyone. we're trying to end a conflict. so, we are interested in pursuing a peace between israel and the palestinians. we are interested in seeing the establishment of a palestinian state and security that both the palestinians and the
israelis want and deserve. we are willing to work with any country that is genuinely interested in constructively working toward peace in the middle east. it is in syria's interest to pursue peace in the middle east and we would hope, as we've said, to see progress on the syrian-israeli track and the lebanese-israeli track. i don't think that we see that these, you know, threads are in competition. perhaps that might have been true 10 years or 15 years ago. but we are pursuing comprehensive middle east peace. we want to see countries in the region play a constructive role . many of them are. and we hope that syria would join that list. >> the secretary yesterday took part in a video tell conference
call with the president and president karzai. this morning, if you could give us a little sense of a little more sense of what they talked about, what the central u.s. message was, anything? >> i think the white house put out a read-out of the call last night. i have nothing to add to that. -- i have nothing to add to that. on the what? i don't. >> what's your position on the nation support? are you asking japan to increase the budget? >> i'm not aware of any change but we can take that question and see if -- >> the meeting is happening yesterday. >> i have not been briefed on that. >> you can give us a read-out today on the talks on -- there's some reporting that the talks are going poorly and that the sudanese government is insisting that a certain no madic tribe be allowed to vote
that would throw the referendum their way. special envoy and ambassador remain and say the talks continue today and they're likely to continue tomorrow. we believe that the parties are engaging frankly on the substance. there have been good discussions also with respectives of the tribal leadership to reach a genuine agreement that paves the way for referendum. you have to have all of the major players and that includes not only north and south but also the tribal areas in and around that area. they have to be part of the solution. we think we've got the right combination of parties there and we hope that through these
discussions there can be an agreement that opens the door for a successful referendum in january. >> but the notion that the talks are in trouble, you don't fall into them? >> it's hard for me to characterize what's happening in the room from here other than to say they have been, you know, very, very direct talks, frank talks. the parties do not agree on every detail. but we certainly believe that an agreement on it is possible. that was our goal going there. the secretary made clear in her discussions with, you know, the leaders and other regional leaders weighed in as well, they should come prepared to negotiate. they have done that. and with the clear authorities to reach an agreement. we believe they have those authorities.
now whether we can get there or not, we'll see. but we remain deeply engaged in this. >> this thing with sudan, i believe the schedule is now set for the steps leading up to the holding of the referendum on january 9. do you have any comments on that? >> the preparations are behind schedule but we think they, you know, through an agreement and rapid action, a successful referendum can still occur on time. but there are some things that we need to see the parties agree to and then act upon. the first is establishing an area referendum commission, having a designated budget for the referendum, proving voter eligibility criteria and then that allows, you know, voter registration materials to be procured.
these are vitally important steps. one other one is hiring and training the poll workers that actually will conduct the referendum. so, we believe that this can be -- this still can occur on time and be successful if the parties make decisions and then act quickly. >> what's the significance of the afghan elections being pushed back to later in october? is this a bad sign? >> no, i think it's a reflection of the nature of the election. you know, we knew going in, given the relatively large number of candidates for a relatively small number of seats, that, you know, if there were 10 candidates for every one seat that nine people would end the election unhappy. and many would contest. so i think this reflects just the number of complaints which is we think really geared based on the number of candidates and the commission is working through those. i don't think we're troubled by
the fact that there's been a week's delay. ok. let me come back. >> i -- just on japan again, do you have any comment or any good feelings towards the japanese and chinese meeting on the outskirts of that meeting over -- you know. they've decided to resume their bilateral relationship in the past. >> we always think that dialogue is a good idea. >> several months ago the foreign minister of yemen said that if the west invested in development and helping them raise their standard of education and helped them get out of poverty that would reduce terrorism. and on september 16, ambassador rice said that she, quote, anticipated an active discussion this fall on the linkages between security and development. does that mean that secretary clinton or the state department is considering increasing a
development aid as a means of reducing terrorism, as opposed to the military proof which doesn't seem to be accomplishing much? >> well, on the civilian side of our strategy with respect to yemen we do have development on the agenda. it is one of the thicks that -- things that bill burns is talking to the government of yemen about. and without getting into a detailed history lesson about yemen, which i may or may not be qualified to provide you, you know, development will be key to the future of yemen. one of the -- if not the poorest country in the region. there are significant sections of the country that are underdeveloped or for which the government is not providing essential services. this is a source of -- has been a source of conflict in the past in yemen. so we are interested in development. we're interested in building up the capacity of the yemen
government to meet the needs of its people. we think that to the extent that the government demonstrates to the yemeni people that it has -- it is pursuing the interests of all the citizens of yemen, not just one segment of the population, that can go a long way toward reducing sources of conflict and potential sources of extremism. >> the defense minister told that the south korea will launch a full scale psychological warfare, including radios toward north korea, if there's a new provocative action by north korea or south korean government decision to make pressure on north korea. do you have any concern on this kind of position? >> i don't -- i haven't seen that comment. i would simply say, you know, we are encouraging a greater dialogue between north korea and south korea.
we want to see tensions reduced and that is a critical aspect in terms of creating conditions, you know, for further dialogue and progress in the peninsula. but that sounds very much like a hypothetical to me. >> also, south korean foreign dedefense minister said there's a possibility of the north korean provocative action to disrupt g-20 summit next month in seoul. what's your view on this? >> we do not want to see any further provocative actions by north korea under any circumstances. whether they're now or whether they're later, as we get towards the upcoming summit. we want to see a north korea act more constructively in the region. and as we've said, you know, we'll respond to the extent that they do.
>> sources claim that the united states government is pushing for a partnership government between alawi and nouri al-maliki, whereby the presidency will go to malawi, provided that it becomes more than just a ceremonial post, where they have foreign affairs and so on and all these things. could you confirm that this was really made and a suggestion by the vice president who has been speaking to everybody? >> well, first of all, we're not picking any winners in this. we don't have any favorite candidates for any office. that said, you know, we believe that all four winning blocks, including state of law and others should be able to play a role in the new government. >> would you be willing -- [inaudible] on the kurds in this case if they insist on keeping the presidency, but a solution for it would be giving the presidency to alawi? >> we're looking for the
emergence of an inclusive government. the shi'a, the sunnis and the kurds and others all have to feel that there's a government that is working on their behalf. that's been our position for the past six months. >> you would not have any problem of having the federalists be a part that have government? >> again, these are decisions for the iraqi government to make based on the electoral rement results that emerged last -- results that emerged last spring. >> is there development on the negotiations with bulgaria, romania and turkey, missile defense system before the nato summit? >> i do not know. i'll take that question. >> since the issue of travel alert to europe, has the number of americans who have signed up to register their travel plans with the state department increased? >> yeah. i mean, we average something like 2,000 a day and in the
immediate aftermath we've had roughly 8,000 a day. so it has increased by fourfold based on the travel alert on sunday. >> secretary had lunch or met today with warren and suey buffett, was that personal or public and if it was public, what were they talking about? >> they were talking about, you know, what we're trying to accomplish, broadly speaking in the area of global health. and we're looking to make sure that what we are doing on the public side, you know, can be effectively coordinated with what's done on the private side. >> thank you. >> do you have anything on the continental airlines flight to brazil where two air marshals were -- did you hear anything more about that? >> a little bit. but we've been in communication
with the d.h.s. and through d.h.s. the transportation security administration. they are the lead agency in this case. we are aware of an incident onboard that airplane. >> what seems to be the perpetually ongoing saga of -- >> i was waiting for you to get to that. >> high court seemed to clear the way now? do you have anything to say about that? >> i think there's still -- under thai law, there's still kind of a procedural period of time following today's ruling. but we look forward to having victor in a prison near us very soon. [inaudible] you're channeling that now? >> sorry, what's the understanding -- >> i believe actually there's a mandatory kind of waiting period.
but we believe after this mandatory period under thai law that we look forward to a speedy treaksdigs of him to the united states. >> -- extradition of him to the united states. >> the thai prime minister has the word on this. >> which is true. >> and so have you been in touch? >> the thai government -- >> out of the courtroom. >> the thai government is very well aware of our abuse in this case. thank you. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> looking at the democrats' prospects for 2010. and later, debates from new hampshire and connecticut. >> supreme court has started its new term. and you can learn more about the nation's highest court with
c-span's latest book quks, "the supreme court." can digit conversations with reporters who cover the court and attorneys who argue cases there. revealing unique insights about the court. available in hard cover, wherever you buy books, and also as an e-book. >> most generals, their greatness is what they do on the battlefield. arguably washington's greatness is what he did between battles. simply holding the continental army together. >> sunday, part two of our interview with author ron chernow. it's the first large-scale singled volume biography of our first president. >> next, a discussion on the leadup to the 2003 invasion of iraq. the president of the iraqi governing council spoke about the impact of getting rid of saddam hussein at this event hosted by the atlantic magazine fplg it's 20 minutes.
>> first of all, i would like to congratulate the doctor for even being here. he's known as a survivor, but for those of you who know anything about his history, he has been pronounced dead politically and literally dead, physically, so many times that you can't count them. so, how do you explain your survival? how are you still here? i mean, you've had assassination attempts, you've had threats, you've been in, you've been out, you've been up, you've been down, you've been rejected by your political system, you've been rejected by the american political system. and still you're a member of the parliament. you're now part of the political power structure in iraq.
what accounts for that? >> i think three things. luck, faith and perseverance. >> i want to just briefly touch -- i know a lot of you have heard dr. chalabi on the issue of weapons of mass destruction. i would like to ask you, do you think now, looking back on it, that the information that you gave the united states about saddam hussein and weapons of mass destruction were at -- or at least those who were working with you, was accurate and do you think that we were justified in going into iraq? for that reason? >> we did not raise the issue of weapons of mass destruction at all. we were kened about -- concerned about the fate of the iraqi people. we were concerned about the depression and we were open
about our program to get rid of saddam and establish a democratic system in iraq and we could not be more open than working through the u.s. congress and getting the iraq liberation act passed. the issue of weapons of mass destruction from our point of view was a marginal issue and we did not give information or vouch for information about weapons of mass destruction. what we did was we introduced people to the united states government as they requested -- they asked us to introduce to them people who might know about weapons of mass destruction. and we didn't vouch for had the information, we vouched for the people who came, whom they said they were. and upon weapons of mass destruction, if you go through the record, we introduced three people. and they took them over and they took one and they -- his information was correct. he claimed that he did weapons or sold weapons. his information was about
storage. the second one was given a paul graph. he failed. but they continued to use his information. the third person they transferred two hours and that was the end of that. from our point of video, the issue of iraq was never weapons of mass destruction. it was the repression of saddam and the threat that saddam constituted against the iraqi people. in fact, he used weapons of mass destruction on the iraqi people. >> do you believe that he had serious weapons of mass destruction that would have really justified our going into iraq? >> as i said to you, the united states made its decision as the president saw fit at the time. but we thought that getting rid of saddam was certainly justified. >> i remember you once said to me, if you were a german and the nazis had taken over and you could get rid of hitler, if you could persuade the united
states to go in and take out hitler, you would do or say anything. >> it's not up to me saying anything. look, the united states has a massive intelligence about it. it is very improbable that they would take the word of a person or an compile, organization, opposed to the regime and act on it -- act on the basis of this, to go into the country and wage war. they made their own decision. and i think the various investigations that happened afterwards showed that our input into the intelligence was marginal in getting them to do the war at the time. >> and yet you have been essentially blamed by the c.i.a. -- >> yes, of course. that was a great game of blame shifting. we did not say it was a slam dunk. we did not introduce curveball
into the system. although we were accused of doing that and it turned out later on that there was no connection between us. there was a program on 60 minutes d. and furthermore we -- the issue was that there was a long history of differences between us and the c.i.a., the strategy of getting saddam. and in fact one of the first operations they mounted in iraq after the fall of saddam was against -- [inaudible] >> do you have a relationship with the c.i.a. now? >> no. >> would you say so if you did? >> yes. i said so at the time when everybody was saying that we shouldn't say it. >> so you think -- do you have any regrets at all about the united states' invasion of iraq? >> i regret the loss of life. thery great the destruction. and i regret very much that the killing and the violence continued up to the present day. but i have also very important
criticisms to make on how things were handled subsequent to the removal of saddam. we wanted the provisional government. they opted for occupation. >> did you -- when you talk about your disagreements, did you have any thoughts about how you would have done it differently? it seems to me that one of the things -- the big criticisms about the united states was that we didn't even know the difference between sunnis and shi'ites. and that that caused a huge problem when we got in there. that we didn't understand the culture. and the politics. >> look, i've said before, when the war started in april of 2002 that in contrast to the military planning, political planning for the future of iraq was abysmal. this was in the public record in the newspapers. and my position is most clear. i thought that we should have a provisional government, with a
united nations resolution, supported by the united states, holding this government to a program and the timetable for elections and that the united states would immediately have a status of forces agreement with this provisional government. i was owe polesed to occupation and i wrote articles and -- in the "wall street journal." in february of 2003 saying this. i thought the united states would lose the moral high ground in iraq by coming. the people thought the united states was a liberator, they ended up being an occupier. i said that the iraqi people would understand and welcome liberation but they rejected occupation. it was the view of most of the opposition leaders, including the president, mr. talabani, who supported the idea of having a provisional government. in fact, there was a debate in the united states about the
provisional government and those who supported that debate lost -- supported that idea lost the debate and we had an occupation. >> do you think that it was a waste in the last six or seven years of money and lives and time? do you think we should have gotten out immediately? >> i think there was a -- had you opted for the option of a provisional government, i think we would have finished with the violence a lot earlier than we have now. and the country would be better off and furthermore, all this very regrettable loss of life of americans and it would have been avoided. >> i want to talk about the current situation right now. i mean, you are allied with maliki. there are 325 votes in the parliament. you have 153 combined. >> 159. >> oh, it's jumped since i last
checked. but still, not enough to form a government. and yet you are trying to form a government. and it's taken a long time. why is it taking so long and do you think you're going to be able to pull this together? >> i can tell you now today, i just got a call from our representative in the leadership of the iraqi national coalition. the coalition voted today to nominate mr. maliki as the soul candidate of the coalition -- sole candidate of the candidate of the coalition minister. this watts an important step in breaking the deadloon lock. now there will be negotiations to elect a president of the chamber of deputies and also to elect a president and then the president will nominate a
person who is a representative of the largest -- of the most numerous parliamentary block which is the national coalition and that would be mr. maliki. so we have made progress in the past week and this is the culmination of this process. >> so you think it will happen soon? >> we have broken the deadlock. the deadlock was because the national coalition could not agree to nominate a single candidate. we moved this process along because the national coalition's made out of two components, the state of law, which is led by mr. maliki, and the iraqi national alliance, to which i belong. and they were not able to agree on a single candidate and -- because the iraqi national alliance had nominated -- not nominated anyone. we worked at that very hard and we nominated the vice president and there was sort of a
consensus, a consensus, discussions, and then an agreement was reached this afternoon in baghdad about mr. maliki. >> you are a shi'ite and you were probably the most prominent family, shi'ite family, particularly during the monarchy. but you are secular and you're moving into a situation where your party is the shi'ite party, you're aligned with al sadr, sis tanny, the whole shi'ite coalition. and i wonder if the role of a politician in iraq today is the same as a role of a politician in the united states today in that you can't get elected unless you're a shi'ite. because they are the majority and the religion has taken over
a huge role in the prominence of politicians and candidates. >> this is i think a rather simplistic view of the situation. the question -- i will answer the question. by saying that iraq society is loot more complicated than the -- is a lot more complicated than the view that prevails that iraq is now moving toward a religious orientation. my family has known mr. sadder's family since they came to -- sadr's family since they came to iraq in the early 19th century. we worked together and my father was working with an nkle -- uncle of mr. sadr, was deputy when his father was the head of the senate in iraq during the monarchy. so this goes a long way.
the issue of the influence of religion in society is not only focused on iraq but it is an issue that is reflected in general. the sectarian divide in iraq is not about theology. it is about power and it's about power structure. and it goes back a long time. iraq has for the past 500 years before a battle ground and costly, in the area -- the iranians and the sunnis and they prevailed in iraq. we tried to develop something in the monarchy and we managed to do well during the monarchy. that was blocked by the coup in 1958 when the military took over and then we had the drift toward baathism. >> i think one of the things
that people are concerned about is that because -- well, let me just cut to the chase here. are you an iranian agent? >> no. [laughter] >> there are those who think that you are who have accused of you being an iranian agent who say you have close ties to the iranians. >> i have good ties with the iranians. >> al sadr is studying to be an ayatollah in iran right now. what is your relationship with the iranians? >> my relationship with the iran is close. they are our neighbors and i want to avoid iraq being another area of conflict, battle ground between the united states and iraq. >> how do you deal with someone like ahmadinejad? i mean, do you think he's a crazy person? he just said, for instance, that the united states is responsible for 9/11. >> well, i don't think he's a crazy person. he's a smart man. >> why would he say something like that? >> because i think he believes it.
this issue is prevalent in the middle east. it's nonsense. but it is prevalent. and people accuse all kinds of organizations and states of being behind 9/11. they just could not believe that 19 people, young men, could do such damage to america. such lasting damage, which we saw yesterday as we were trying to come from new york to washington. they practically undress you to get on the shuttle. >> what is the -- how do you prevent, if the shi'as have a huge majority and if they basically take over and run the country, what do you do to prevent iraq from combking a theocracy? an islamic theocracy or even an islamic democracy? >> you mean like turkey? >> yes. >> i think turkey's ok. >> you think -- would turkey be
your idea of sort of the ideal situation? >> well, not ideal situation, but turkey is a good model. to follow. and turkey is -- you saw the turkish identity, despite -- [inaudible] and the enormous historical legacy, positive legacy that he left in turkey, and despite his commitment to secularism, you find turkey now, the turkish people are opting phenomena an identity which does not de-- opting for an identity which does not deny their islamic roots. >> i have one more question. where do you see iraq in five years? >> particular that's a good question. >> particularly in relationship to iran? i mean, by having the united states invade iraq, obviously has put that country in turmoil
and your two countries have been at war with each other over the years. is iran going to be the winner here? are they going to end up being the most powerful country? or is iraq going to emerge as one of the superpowers? >> iraq has the most oil reserves of any country on earth. and iraq has very active and smart population. and iraq now has hope. there is democracy in iraq and you saw that we really have a democratic system. this crisis of forming the cabinet has demonstrated that despite foreign intervention, despite people being in government and despite politics from outside nobody could impose a prime minister. so the iraqi people will decide who runs the country. i want to tell you something. a vision for our region, we want to have a concordance
between iraq, syria, turkey and iran. we call it the fourth region in islamic history. the fourth region of the world, it was set to be the heart of the world and center of thought and faith. and we want to have this kind of relationship, along the models of the european union and this would be our view. this will moderate any extremist tendencies and it will create understanding instead of conflict among those countries and we hope that, of course, this idea will be looked at with suspicion in the united states at this time, but we hope to persuade the world that this would be good idea for us to move forward with and i think iraq would be the heart of this coalition and iraq would play a very important role in the future. >> thank you very much.