tv Q A CSPAN January 22, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm EST
without talking about victory and what we wanted to accomplish or fail to accomplish. this is a way to bring things to heal. >> when did you start the column? >> 1998. >> where did you start? the "washington times." it was the article on kazan, and the clamor against him for his testifying for h.u.a.c., and trying to take away that oscar, that began a column. >> why do you remember that? >> it was part of hollywood and the fall of the wall, the continuation of the obsession with communism in terms of all the revelations that were coming
out in the '90s about communist penetration and infiltration, and yet, the diehard, even after the hundred million dead as revealed -- they were trying to prevent him from getting as honorary oscar at age 86, 88, whenever he was. >> the perfect place to run this clip of you from 2007 at the heritage foundation. >> i have been preparing to write this book since i was born. i was brought up in hollywood in the 1960's and my father was a hollywood writer and novelist, and he was a conservative. we did not call them the culture wars at that time, but there was intense blue eyes asian of hollywood. we had vietnam and president
nixon, the student movement and rock-and-roll, the youth obsession. in a lot of these changes that were taking place in the country, very centrally in hollywood, were actually the bread and butter issues for me as a child. in retrospect this let me know why i write this -- why i wrote this book. this book will ask the reader to make connections and take a step back, to have prospective over what has happened to us in the past 50 years. >> making connections, why do we need to do this? >> people are so content to take the official narrative as it is set in the mainstream media, in the white house and in hollywood and not think further about our destiny and faith. these are the connections i
wanted to draw, with trying to understand where we were at the time i wrote the book, which is in a very decisive position to confront these challenges from islamization and infantization. i was trying to figure out how we arrive at this position of impotence. >> talk about your upbringing in hollywood. what were the circumstances? >> to preface, my dad's career, he began as a liberla. hial. he voted in 1944 for fdr in france. his next vote was for henry wallace, a progressive communist. but he had moved right when i was born. i wasn't following this at the
time. but he was a cold warrior. he was fascinated and drven to iven to write stories about the post-war world. fascinated by europe and the politics. he tried to bring thsoose stories to light and came up against a wall. the politics he encountered in the 1960's, trying to discuss in germany and communist infestation and vietnam, are the kind of stories that hollywood did not want to tell. he had a novel that was sold to littlebrown in 1970 about a former communist to becomes professor at berkeley. his politics had changed at the time of the student rioting. there was a threat on the part
of the junior staff, to resign if the book went on the list. the publisher at the time, with a spine of jelly, caved. those with the kinds of times that we were living through. i did grow quite aware of them. and i was trying to put the pieces together 20 years later. >> what did he do and how long did you live in hollywood? >> i grew up there, and he was a novelist by choice, and he was writing a lot of television along the way. his name was elliot west. he published five novels and wrote innumerable television scripts. >> shows we would know? >> "lou grant," the old "alfred hitchcock," a lot of shows from
television's early days. >> how long had he lived there? >> in the 1950's. he was born in brooklyn. my grandfather ran one of the movie palaces. he grew up in a movie theater in the 1930's. my mother was an actress at the time and is with me. she grew up in los angeles. at a certain point they moved out there. >> what was her name? >> barbara beldon. she did a lot of theater and by the time she was in her late 20's, she'd left that beyond. the-- behind. >> what did you think about
politics? >> i thought they were loud and noisy. my parents' friends would come over and they were all liberals, and there would be these discussions i mentioned, about vietnam and nixon, the campus riding and all of these things that were very contentious. i have spoken to hollywood conservatives in recent times, and they feel that the last decade, in the 1960's it was more difficult to be a conservative. they were much more underground, if they were there at all. it was hangover from the 1930's, which is when the infiltration came, and it was not anyone's imagination. the revelations of the '90s have told us. the places of concerted
efforts, to subvert the information industry. >> you mentioned earlier, henry walls was a communist. >> he was close. socialist. vegetarian and all kinds of othe r things. >> the was a russia-supporting democrat, an active apologist. he made a shameful trip to the soviet union in world war ii, and went to a gulag camp and bought every shred of lie he was told. he publically recanted that. >> we had michelle fields on here. she is a video journalist with the daily call -- >> he was a man of faith and of
great values, and when he went to l.a. and became a big-time writer, he never changed. he was still the same man from kentucky and he would doubt -- donate money anonymously. he told us that we should be who we are and stay true to ourselves. he showed that is possible even in a world like hollywood that you can remain yourself. this had a tremendous impact on me. >> she is a conservative who survived hollywood. howell -- when you were there, and in school, where you vocal about how you felt about the issues, or did you feel conservative back then? >> i would not say i was a political child.
i was aware of the issues in ways that i think, it was a political household in that my parents were very interested in the issues and were at loggerheads with their friends. i would not say i had a political childhood so much as an exposure to the issues that became quite fascinating to me as i grew older. >> and there is a paper that your columnist is publishing, the conservative paper. there was a list i was looking at, recently, of all of the celebrities who have come to town to lobby on the issues, with the environment, what is this and how do you describe hollywood today, and what kind of impact -- it did not change your views or those of michelle fields. >> it is the power of the image, the big image, the authority of
mass media. this is principled in terms of its power. this is something that the early politicians, if they were communists or conservatives or whatever, there were quite aware of this as a new mass media was coming forward. and in forms us in ways that, 100 years ago, no generation was ever informed. this is one of the developments i tried to track in the death of a grown-up, with the authority of the parents and the group around the family, if this is the clergy or the schools, this is completely overshadowed by the media. and no longer is the authority more or less conservative in any particular human or people. it becomes these voices out there. i think that unless you are
paying very close attention and are a perverse individual likes to find themselves in a position -- in opposition to what they are being told, you are absolutely shaped unconsciously by what you see in here. >> why did you go from the west coast to the east coast to go to college? >> my brother had gone away in maine, and he seemed to enjoy the experience and everyone around me said that, calif. -- i wanted to go somewhere else and i ended up going to yale. this was a tremendous experience and completely different from anything i could have imagined. this was really the luck of the draw. i studied english. after a bad experience in the history department, which was very politicized.
this was a class on 21st century foreign-policy. my professor at the time, he wanted everyone to submit a bibliography on their papers, and mine was on media coverage. of course, there was the majesterial coveratge of the tet offensive. my teacher, who was liberal, did not want this on my bibliography. and i had many others, but i was appalled by that and did not want to fight my way through senior year on these topics. >> a professor at yale wouldn't allow you to put this on my bibliography? >> tried to
discourage me. >> why? >> i didn't get an explaination. he said, "that is so -- just kind of trying to push it off the bibliography." >> what year did you get out of yale? >> 1983. >> what did you do? >> wi was a student journalist. editor underane erving kristol. i got to live in new york and i got to see how things go, and got some experience. >> and where did you go after that? >> i went to the "washington times." >> what did you do there?
i did a lot of reporting jobs, with speeches and the presidential campaign of 1988. i was a movie critic, and after i left in 1990 -- i went freelancing. >> and what did you do? how many columns did you write? >> i was doing future articles, magazines. >> and now your column is in the "washington examiner." seen whatwhose who haven't happened to the "times" and "examiner," why did she leave? >> there were changes over there that made it look like it might be a good idea to take my column elsewhere. the editorial editor -- my
column runs in 100 other papers across the country. >> i went back and you can find your column, i found three places besides going on your website. you can go to townhall.com, jewishworldreview.com and worldnewsdaily.com. those are all conservative places? >> yes. >> when i first came to town, there was no heritage foundation where you gave that 2007 speech, and none of these sites there. i can go back and ook at all of your columns. have?pact doempact does this how important are these for people -- >> it is a wonderful
development. the internet as well. these websites with the conservative politics. we have seen the tallies of liberals vs. conservatives and it carries over into content. and it is nice to have more outlets. the more outlets, the better. i am pleased to be on all of them. >> how often do you write a week? >> i write one column. >> there is a lot in there about war. >> since 9/11, i have been studying and watching and i have been trying to chronicle with the movement of islam across the western world, which has been a
continuing theme of the column since 9/11, and the involvement in iraq and afghanistan, i have been trying to discuss, in terms that i do not believe reach mainstream audiences. it is connected to these various issues with islam and islamic law. former gration aloncross islamic areas. >> it is what got everyone's interest. on 9/11, i was more interested. i had been at the "washington times" editorial page. i had been writing about all of those -- the long-ago machinations with court.
and perjury and we ended up in the post-9/11 era. i wanted to find out what was going on. i bought a koran like everyone else did. was aok i found, it book called "why i'm not a muslim." he is an ex-muslim and he wrote a fascinating book that described the impact of islam on culture -- and i tried to find out what was happening to us and tried to discuss the definition of freedom. >> how much of this did you read? >> a lot of it, a lot is
highlighted. the whole bit. >> how much of this did you use to write your column? >> more than quoting the koran, there are other sources that become very important. i am very interested in describing islamic law. there is the reliance of the traveller, which is a highly certified islamic law but, and everyone should read this. this is more important to read than the koran because its application of islam onto society, when i looked into this phenomenon, i looked at one of the travel books. i am reading hundreds of pages, and he discusses that there is no separation of church and
state, mosque and state. there is no space. that was one of those lightbulb flashing on moments where you understand some of these fundamental differences that need to be taken into account when you go to war and try to bring your way of life to a culture that has a completely different notion of what it means. >> when i read your columns, tell me -- where i missed it. i couldn't find a column where you made a stand on the iraq warr ahea ahead of time. but you wrote against those who weren't in favor -- >> i was in favor of it. >> but now you have nothing good
to say about this. >> i felt like there was a consensus that som hussein -- saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and this was the consensus across the world. this was not a rogue notion that the time. i felt it was highly important to make sure that there was no continuance of that. there were all kinds of evidence for his support for terrorist groups attacking israel, and he was involved in a number of these at destabilizing environments and actions. it struck me as a very good idea at the time. i thought that this was all right. and soon after, as we moved to nation-building, there came a time when it struck me that this
was not going to work as i was learning about the islamic world. i am not certain what exact year. i need to find out when i actually started putting things together. it has taken a few years to realize that the notion of going to a country and remaking it in your own image is not a successful plan. and that is exactly what the strategy became. >> why did you think it was ok to go into iraq and not go after saudi arabia, who we actually sell weapons to, which you say undermines, worldwide, the western style of living. >> it probably made sense to go there in retrospect. it became very clear that this was one of the problems in iraq.
and they are responsible for any number of american deaths. fairly early on, i am trying to remember, when he testified and said that he had nothing to do with iran. this is parallel to the vietnam situation. you had all of these activities going on in the countries surrounding vietnam. this -- if they are part of the problem driving terrorism, the focus on the iraq became a blind in one hand the fact that we must stand up as an ally in the war on terror, very quickly became nonsensical. >> we have a column from july 16, 2011. this is the case against general -- general petraeus.
it seems odd to have to say, this also marks the beginning of a crack-up, a self-ignited blinder that blinds us to the global jihad. when did you begin to feel that strongly about general petraeus? >> i wish i could remember the exact year. there was a time in which, when he stepped to the forefront because we did not focus on him until that time so following 2006, when the policy became an american military effort to pacify the violence, and stop the civil war that was breaking out, that would thereby spark an
iraqi renaissance that would make switzerland proud. this is a situation where we had a strategy that did not depend on what we could accomplish, but that we could accomplish that was there by the iraqis to accomplish. it awas to be accomplished bya appealing to the iraqi people in terms that were appeasing, to make them like us and want to please us. -- to buyem want- their loyalty, which is what the sunni awakening was. it was bribery on a large scale. it was a very fuzzy-headed policy and it brought such
havoc to the personnel and the military as well as the civilians over there. it was not worth the effort. it assumed too much of their culture. this should have become apparent much sooner. >> you also talk about, when it comes to the war, you talk about the kagans, fred and kimberly kagan. because a lot of people don't talk about this and i wonder how long you will keep this up. she and her husband were part of a document that led to the surge. >> i was interested in the possibility of forces into
iraq, and it seemed as though there was an opportunity to ensure the population of the rack in a counter-insurgency, and thereby, lowering the level of violence. i did participate in a study at the american enterprise institute, known as the iraq planning group which did recommend a surge of five brigades into iraq. and the improved security situation. >> those of us who do not understand how this works, as you mentioned, the american enterprise institute, how this all works and why did we go in there on this surge and why do the kagans get credit and why do you like what they suggest?
>> i don't know how you get from this study to the battleground, but in terms of the surge, it was clearly -- i did find out, i believe this was 2006, that the notion of this always looked like a band-aid, the same principle of camping down in a red-light district. you always get those kinds of security results. this is pretty much what the basic principle of the troops surge -- surge was. it was going to prompt them, surge until they merge. and the leaders of the different communities would go about the business that they must want to start, building a very peaceful and productive democracy.
and this is something that i think was taken right out of an academic lecture hall, grafted onto a very foreign and complicated culture, with all kinds of beliefs and traditions and rules that made this extremely idealistic and i ease policy impossible. >> go back to when you said you thought that there were weapons of mass destruction. why did you think that there were weapons of mass destruction and you question the motives of tom daschle and others who didn't think there were weapons. and you find themselves in camp with them later. >> it was not my idea that there were weapons of mass destruction. every country in the world was looking at this, i think that
there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq. you had satellite images of all kinds of trucks, and technicians in and out of the country, and one of the great under-covered stories of the last decade. this is the successful docking of a massive shipment of yellowcake, during the american occupation of iraq. they got out of the country safely. and you ask, when did this happen and what is this about. you have all kinds of elements of weapons of mass destruction that seem to pop up here and there. i do think that there was plenty of reason to believe that they were there, and that they were either not far along in certain cases, or that they were
destroyed or removed. i think that they were there and the decision of the bush of ministration, not to talk about any of the signs related to the components that were definitely found. karl rove even spoke about the decision not to raise questions anymore. i found that this was befuddling. >> in your column, you said you wanted to find the delucionsionf the kagans in the latest report, "fantasy" is more like it. the premise that these military -- they say it failed not because of the policy being part of the eutopianism, but
because the exercise did not go on long enough, if you go back to the beginning of the war, a lot of conservatives got behind the war and behind george bush. was he a conservative? >> no. >> did you think at the time? >> i found the label for a compassionate conservative this up -- is someone who wants to be a blend. his policies on immigration were probably indicative of not being a conservative. >> and what about dick cheney? >> i don't agree with his policies on the war, and he is in favor of counter-insurgency. historically we did not have a historical counterinsurgency 2.2.
-- to point too. what i want to address is the notion that there is no time when you look back on years of an experiment and say, this is not working. you just say that we need to continue to make this -- to attempt to make this work. the parallel is that in the old days of the soviet union, when we had liberals and leftists, they were never satisfied with communism as it existed. it was always going to be perfected in another place, in another time and would never actually reject the theory. they just decided it had not been played out properly. the attachment to counter- insurgency, they say it has not been going on long enough, but at a certain time you have to say, the jury is in and there is
a judgment. >> we have the exact same things going on in afghanistan. young men come home without arms and heads. this should be compelling because these are the stories that are only covered in the local media because these young soldiers come home, and the homecomings are covered in their home town and they do not make the big papers, or the tv stations. this is a story that america needs to confront because of its policies that have been created, with its broken military. they have created these terrible living conditions for so many of all our soldiers. >> and why do you think the national media does not cover the story? >> this is less than 2% that
were reporting on afghanistan last year. i do not really know. i really cannot answer that question because this is extraordinary, given the amount of money and personnel. there may be just a lack of concern for the military culture. we're at a situation with a professional army, where you have those who fight, a small group and a small army for such a large country, and those who have nothing to do with military culture in the media. and those people go into the media. it may be a lack of concern for that part of america that has something to do with it. >> and you wrote a column called lead afghanistan go. you call on a retired military general the talks on the
record, to add to his strategy recommendation about afghanistan. basically, let it go. use it to my years, given that the source is no "hate america first" but a lifelong, patriotic conservative for year. what is the return? the return is all negative in the united states. so why do so many conservatives support the war in afghanistan? where are these labels coming from, and what makes you a conservative today? something on the order of the $1.30 trillion that they have acknowledged. this is not the end cost. but why are conservatives so -- or are they? >> i cannot think of the candidates who is pushing lead
afghanistan go. i cannot answer the question. i have been pushing this issue for so long i have to say that having discussed this with general valley, it gave me courage as a person with no military expertise to continue writing along these lines. this is from my own study of this, as a non-professional who was just interested in history and the country and islam and these other issues. when i have his support in a sense, i was encouraged to continue exploring the issue. i cannot explain the conservative blind spot on this. there is a great feeling that to admit defeat is the worst thing that you could possibly do. and that there is a blot on any
kind of free calibration on strategy. i think that this is, when does the jury, in on the strategy. and the notion of continuing his defeat every day. if i was a commander who was jihadist, i would be delighted that the united states was spending $350 million per day, for nothing permanent. it may be like in iraq, there may be an area that sees a security gain as soldiers in the area but there is nothing to be had there and nothing permanent or positive as a benefit to -- in our interest. >> and you also say, don't give up the battle but the nation- building. when president bush ran for office, he said he did not believe in nation-building.
9/11 was a very serious and important day. but why did they switch? did you ask anyone why they switched and why this became part of everything in iraq and afghanistan. >> this definitely became a way of dealing with islamic terrorism, and it became the central effort to somehow tamed the beast, to go in, building nations, and the thought being that naturally, they will join in our strategy and the war on terror, and completely turn their backs on all of the traditions and teachings and culture, of 1300 years or whenever that this is. this was a very '90s strategy and a politically-correct strategy, because it completely
divorced all strategic thinking from an assessment of islamic law. this began under george w. bush and continues under president obama. this is a strange experience to read these strategy papers that have no mentions of islam and and jihad, and mccrystal's report that bob woodward got into the "washington post," no mention of islam. >> you said general mccrystal will work for seimens, and that old soldiers never die, they just lobby. >> this was a little bit of a needle. >> a lot of former generals -- >> there is something about him
-- he had the mystique as the spartans general who barely it's a meal per day, and then became an extremely fat lobbyist after he left his position. just, given the afghanistan efforts in terms of living with the people and making them like us, and then going over into the corporate world, this is a common trap but -- >> do you have children? >> i have two children. one of them is 19. >> are they in school? >> one is in school and one is taking time off. this was -- what was a light, raising twins? >> this is fascinating. your fascinated as you are
frustrated. >> are the boys or girls? >> girls. >> are they interested in what you do? >> they are not. >> what about politics? >> they are not too interested. >> where did you meet your husband? >> the washington times. >> you had a column in november and the headline is that marines were warned, don't spit toward mecca. i will read the paragraph. uncle sam says that the answer is within the latrine. every u.s. marines to have some way of knowing directions, to make certain that no u.s. marine
urinates in the direction of mecca ever again. >> this was a news report about a cultural school for marines, about to deploy to afghanistan this year. they had a contract did teacher, actually an afghan muslim who was instructing them on etiquette. this reflects one of the very sacred writings of islam, that instructs muslims not to urinate, in the direction of mecca. the notion to me that this was instructed to marines seems like an invasion of privacy, and probably an infringement of religious freedom. this was the direct implementation of islamic religious law on the armed forces.
i got a lot of mail on this and the marines did as well. they actually in editorial about this, trying to make a distinction based on the fact that the marine corps official doctrine does not teach this, and so they have nothing to do with this, they just have an instructor briefing marines about to deploy on what to do. one of the amazingly -- i thought outrageous points that the editorial made was that this is a good thing, given all of the tensions in afghanistan. and this was not the tensions of the war, with the roadside bombs, he was talking inside the wire. this is another great uncovered story. because of the number of security personnel who have murdered mostly americans and other allied soldiers, this
comment to me was tremendous appeasement of islamic sensibilities and adopting islamic sensibilities. as a way to stay alive. >> let's tie this in, with the death of the grown up, and how the of arrested development is bringing down western civilization. you published this in 2007? what were you getting at and how does this fit into the image you have in the united states? >> this was my metaphor for the infantilization of society. this is easily tracked with the emphasis on youth and the cultural decline to about the level of a 14-year-old boy. after 9/11, i learned about an
institution of the non-muslim, which is known as the law of the non-muslim. there are no full rights, you are not allowed to criticize islam, your -- and your testimony is worth less than a muslim, and there is great fear involved with crossing islamic law. and it becomes an example -- you are not able to assume your full potential and your full rights as a human being. and suddenly it seemed that there was a tremendous overlap between this islamic institution, and this american cultural creation. i see proof of this in speech codes, and we are quite fearful of what we say and what we
write, afraid of being offensive. this dovetails with the existence of the non-moslem in an islamic society. this is the basis of the non- muslim public existence. and then you see this translating with that story about mecca, translating into the very teachings of the american military. all of these strands seemed to come together for me. we have been very ineffective in dealing with this, this onslaught that is coming at us. i think that the ap picked osama bin laden's killing as the story of the year. the story for me is the danish muhammed cartoon. it is verboten. you can't find it in american
papers or magazines. it is a symbol of our great rush to censor ourselves. >> what do you think of islam? >> i think as winston churchhill did. it is a retrograde force in the world. it is a supremacist creed. freedom of conscience -- koch's this is not allowed. -- conscience is not allowed. it becomes very difficult to beat non-muslim or female, to be an atheist inside and islamic world. it involves these trade-offs for safety. and that goes back -- >> you have been critical of this in your columns. do you fear that you could be a
target? >> by whom? >> the jihadists, and islamists. >> do you try not to be as public? >> this has not been a terrific issue for me, but it is very important to keep the feelings free, if you will, in terms of what is spoken and written. >> i just noticed, in your wikipedia -- there is not much information. >> i just have not got around to this. >> there is no particular reason? >> no. >> they showed it that you were -- >> some other things that got my attention as i went through your
column, this goes back to july 24, 2009. this is right after he died. you write, it is time for a post kronkite post mortem, the gold standard, the proxy for the nation, the left's lush-lived celebrity anchor who died at age 92. the post-mortem that is needed is for the zombies who conjured up the rapture and the living dead who fell for this. what bothers you about the image of walter cronkite? >> we started our conversation invoking peter -- and kronkite was at the forefront of calling
the tet offensive a major victory for the viet cong and this was never really established as part of his legacy. this is one of those things off to the fringes. and the old professors told you not to read about this. this could go on in the column and that is probably where it goes. you have great journalists -- who die on song -- unsung. >> did you talk to peter? >> i told him the story. and he knew about the professor and was amused. >> did you ever -- did you talk to him, and the just meet him or were you after the information? >> i cannot remember what year that he passed away.
i went to see full metal jacket with them, to see if there was anything to write about. >> how did you know that this book existed. >> i think i came across this in the library. just, innocently. >> you mention him in this column by you see -- the president lost walter cronkite and they still stay with his packaging as america's most trusted newsman, 41 years after he obstinately blew tet. the genuflection shows something weird about his body politic, something in the line of work of a really good shrink." do you remember writing that? >> sometimes you forget exactly.
this seems fresh to me. i absolutely feel that way in terms of his reputation, that feels like a snowball going down the mountain. >> why do we do this? >> i think we do this and some people become media darlings and this is their career more than anything else. they become that very thing and i don't think people know why. this is just -- it becomes one of those lucky strokes for a few people. >> december 19, 2005. saudi moneybags become crimson suger daddies and fox news policymaker. you say -- "there is one good thing about the news, ali just
bought harvard and georgetown university, or buried them up to their ivy in 40 million. " why did he get your attention? >> he went out to conquer the public-relations world. he talked about having mistakenly -- he talked about the need not to go about giving money to suicide bombers, or passing off a huge sums to rudy giuliani, only to be rebuffed. and he has gone on to fame and fortune as a great stockholder in fox news, and he just bought a chunk of twitter.
>> is there anything wrong with that? >> this is about influence and we don't see certain stories on fox news. at one time after the famous riots in paris, the crawl across the bottom of the screen, he bragged in a public address, that he asked for this to be changed from muslim to youths. >> what is the difference between that and when you worked at the washington times, all of the influence sun yung-moon had on that newspaper? >> if you have a saudi prince, part of the royal family of saudi arabia who has bought one of the largest news franchises in the world, you have to look at his motives and his background and his goals, and it
becomes quite troubling to me, and i think that there is an argument that should be made that fox should have to register as a foreign agent. because of his role in the corporate structure. >> did you ever feel any influence from the reverend as you were there? >> it is interesting because i was talking to some people from the "washington times." they say it was ahead of the curve. so many of us are run by a sugar daddy, and some of these organizations are floats -- >> with $200 million of the "new york times." diana west, we are out o ftime. thank you very much. ♪
>> for a dvd copy of this program, call 1 877 662 7726. for more information, visit us at q-and-a.org. these are also available as podcasts. >> next, david cameron talks about the state of his country's economy, first that the house of commons and enduring a conservative party debate. then, nickolas sarkozy talks about france and europe in his new year's address.