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Trump Administration
  Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 21, 2013 10:35pm-11:46pm EDT

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>> former national security adviser zbigniew brzezinski criticized the obama administration handling of the syrian civil war and discusses how the west should respond to iran's nuclear program. >> we have explored now and some .ep the state of iraq today we have looked at what the war has cost the american taxpayer and the american economy and how that relates to the fiscal problems that we are facing
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today. we turn now to the geopolitical lessons of this conflict. i think the heart of this discussion. one of the great strengths of this nation, indeed i would say one of our defining characteristics, is the americans' willingness, inclination, capacity always to look to the future, to embrace it. that ability has driven our growth for several centuries and certain accounts for some of our greatest achievements. but it has a heavy cost. and that cost is that we are far too quick to turn the page and to leave our past behind relatively unexamined. edmund burke over 250 years ago who warned that those who don't know history are condemned to repeat it.
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i must say, always thinking about that this week when i read a poll that 45% of americans believe that the u.s. achieved its purpose is in iraq. i had to wonder what those numbers can possibly mean. our purpose on this panel is not to examine the factual record, but to try to get behind the backs and to ask what we have learned positively and negatively in this expensive, literally and metaphorically, war. i think you scour the country you would not find two people that are suited to this task more than those seated next to me. zbigniew brzezinski is well known to everyone as the national security adviser to president jimmy carter. -- he isimportant for
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among a handful, maybe half a dozen of the great thinkers in the united states over the past century. there is no clearer, sharper think about national security active today. he has been of professor at harvard and columbia and at johns hopkins. span more than half a century. one topic they have examined has been the nature communism, totalitarianism, and international security relations during the cold war. increasingly over the past half-dozen years, have been about america's role in the world and a rapidly changing
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strategic environment and about america's interest looking forward. as aly i would add qualification for today's discussion, unlike most former holders of high office in washington, he has been willing over and over again to step outside conventional wisdom when the issue warranted it, taking some risk with his own reputation. theral mcmaster is one of most prominent of a very small, very easily come a very important class of individuals who have earned the title warrior soldier. he, too, has been willing to critically examine the past, and has done so with such power that rather than in his military career, the work has ultimately advanced it. his ph.d. thesis became a widely influential book.
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the title gives you some idea of his appetite for straight talk. he is equally known for brilliance as a combat commander, earning a silver star in the 1991 gulf war and even wider recognition for his iraqss in battles in the war. in the rest of that war, he went back-and-forth between field command an important staff positions culminating in his role as the leader of general petraeus's brain trust on counterinsurgency operations. who think we have to people can really help us examine -- help us not turn the page to
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soon. invite general mcmaster to share his thoughts on the critical lessons that he sees. >> thank you so much. there are so many lessons in our military over the past 12 years, in the wars in both afghanistan and iraq, adapted to what work unforeseen circumstances and difficulties associated with both wars. the first lesson is that we have to make sure we understand the continuities in war and warfare. against what you see is the emerging conventional wisdom about both afghanistan and iraq, that somehow these wars were aberrations because of their complexity, and they were aberrations because of the type of sustained commitment we needed to attempt to forge a sustainable political outcome consistent with our vital
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interest. this is because in the years prior to the war, there's a great deal of momentum that built up, beyond what i would call fantastical fury about the nature of future armed conflict. this was based primarily in the belief that advances in communications technologies, information technologies, computing power, and precision munitions, have completely revolutionized war and work there. therefore, wars could be waged in the future in a way that would be very fast, cheap, efficient, and low cost. mainly by the projection of fire power onto land from the maritime and aerospace domains, but also employing small numbers of elite special forces. and that would provide the answer to the problem of future or conflict. it was an appealing argument, because we would obviously a lot were to be fast, cheap, efficient, and low cost. but of course, as it turns out,
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in both afghanistan and iraq, we were confronted with realities that really demonstrated that thatargument in the 1990's was called a revolution in military affairs. once we confronted reality, we had to adapt quickly to what art for maine continuities in warfare there were certainly evident in iraq. the first is that war is an extension of politics. this is nothing new, and quite a 19th century writer. get to a sustainable political outcome consistent with our vital interests. we perhaps did not do as good a job defining that as we should the in the context of
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dynamics inside iraq and how it fit into the broader political landscape within the region. so we were at a disadvantage in not really having that clearly defined political objective. when you look back at war planning in both afghanistan and iraq in -- and iraq, it is dominated mainly by how we are going to apply military force. the numbers of troops and capabilities and how they are applied on the physical battleground. of course, that should all conform to a political strategy that lays a foundation for all military operations, activities, initiatives, and so forth. so the per se continuity that week we learned is that war is an extension of politics. the second key continuity is that war is a profoundly human endeavour. we talked this morning really about understanding the history.
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what is most important in understanding what is going to be the nature of a particular and character of a conflict is the most recent history. in iraq, these are the factors that were most important, the fact that iraqis had been living under a brutal, murderous regime for over three decades, regina had engaged in a destructive and extremely costly war between 1980 and 1988. un sanctions put an additional strain on iraqi society, while at the same time strengthening the criminalize networks that really controlled the country. the associated polarizing effect on iraq of communities, how they had become pitted against each other, how the regime had used weapons of mass destruction on
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their own people, and how he persecuted the majority of the thelation in the wake of 1991-92 gulf war. and also other factors associated with the return to faith initiatives and the use of the hottest ideology to turn people's frustration away from the regime and toward the west and israel and so forth. had on iraqit that society. so understanding that human dimension of conflict and understanding local conflicts that could occur, how these tribal, ethnic, sectarian competitions for power and resources would play out, and how they are connected not just a national politics but also to the agendas of other countries and organizations. of particular relevance in this case would be syria, iran, and
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transnational terrorist organizations associated with al qaeda. the political and human dimensions of war are extremely important for us to remember and an important lesson for us to carry forward. the other key aspect is that war is uncertain. we heard a lot about the failures to predict the cost of war, for example. not really is not unusual, being able to predict the future, though we do try to do it. american warine planning oftentimes as a bit narcissistic in terms of defining the problems and what we would do only in relation to us. and then assuming what we like to do is not only relevant but decisive to the outcome of the war. it is for this reason that when you go to war, it is very important to be able to take
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action, to adapt continuously. it is this reason why oftentimes if you try to be efficient and more by eliminating numbers of what wasor example, initially a decentralized hybrid, you cannot have a sufficient forces. to establish security conditions and to address the vacuum of power and ruled law that was left after the unseating of the hussein regime. the final of the four main continuities in the nature of war is that war is a contest of wills. we have to communicate our determination to see the effort brew that sustainable outcome consistent with our interest and worthy of the sacrifice and
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investments we have made in the outcome of that work. so overall, i think it would be fair to say that we are oftentimes fixated when looking back on a conflict, on how we did on the physical battleground, how we really operated against the field of forces of our enemy organizations. what we have to do is think about how we operate and how we plan to achieve a sustainable political outcome consistent with our interest. this is a particularly important lesson now, because as we look at the war in iraq, the ongoing war in afghanistan where we still have 66,000 troops engaged every day, there will be a tendency to again define a in a way we war think we can solve that problem in a way that is fast, cheap, efficient, and relies mainly on
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technological prowess. that highlighted important continuities in more for that have to be taken into consideration at the outset. .> i mean this with respect will we ever learned those lessons echoes early in the -- as i about iran listen to you i thought we might well have learned a lot of those lessons. that muchso obvious has changed in terms of the learning, has its? >> that is yet to be seen. ultimately you can make the argument that what we learned from the wars in both iraq and afghanistan will be as
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important as the outcome of those wars. we do we learn these lessons every time we go to war. the question is, will we be at all to understand these lessons and apply them to how we structure our national defense and how we prepare our civilian and military leaders to deal with future threats to national and international security. i think remains to be seen. there are some major impediments to us learn these lessons. one of those impediments is the tendency in the conventional wisdom to view these wars dismissively as wars of choice or aberrations. unless you are going to say that future policy makers will make perfect policy decisions in the future based on your perfect
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foresight or understanding of the situation at the outset, then we obviously have to be prepared. these are determined enemies in very complicated and burns. the other impediment is just -- one of the manifestations is what i call a 8 rating mentality that has emerged from a misunderstanding of what led to the success in 2007-2009, during which we had a very good shot at consolidating gains after that time and getting to a sustainable political outcome that was consistent with our interest and the interest of the iraqi people. future work mainly is about identifying an enemy
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organization in conducting raids against that organization. those rates being conducted by precision guided munitions or special forces, when in fact that sort of approach confuses military activity with progress against trying to sustain -- sustain achievable objectives. you recognize the inadequacy and the danger associated with that kind of approach to future war. in many ways it is to teach it. from the 1920's in a new guise. 2002 with manyof of my colleagues here at carnegie arguing passionately
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that every bit of the classified information available suggested that there was nothing other than some very old chemical weapon shells in iraq, many of which had been shown to be inactive by that time several years before. that the records from past u.s. to change the nature of the government in the country had a very slender record of success and that iraq had none of the characteristics that would lead to success in such a venture. third, the argument was being made that it would trigger a tsunami of democratic transformation across the at best a faith
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based argument. you were not there in 2002, but later he became bge became a very strong critic of this effort. -- you became a very strong critic of this effort. what was it that changed your mind, that led you to make the arguments you did in the mid- 2000's? the nightber vividly when the war commenced. i was asked by the pbs news hour to be there. all of ar vividly sudden the news came that major
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explosions are taking place in baghdad, that baghdad is under air assault, and that the war had begun. i had such a sick feeling in my stomach. i said to myself, i just hope to god that we now find those weapons of mass destruction, because that was the reason why the war was started. i was already by then conscious of the fact that there was a deliberate confusion in terminology used by the administration to justify the initiation of hostilities. for the weapons of mass destruction were alleged to long-e atomic weapons, range capability to deliver them, and chemical weapons, bacteriological ones. everyone knows that the chemical weapons were invented back in 1916 and used in world war roman
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one. they were not used much by the military is actual tools of war. although they were employed by the iraqis against the iranians in the 1980's and there is a and now increasing evidence that they use them in connivance with us. a book came out based on documentary evidence entitled " the making of enemies" which provide some evidence for the proposition that the targeting by the iraqis of the iranian objects, particularly the population centers, was known to us, and we are providing them precise information where to strike, knowing that the effect would be massive casualties. i remember that evening well, because by then i had begun to worry that perhaps what was being publicly asserted was not
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true. but i was not convinced of it. i was uncertain. i was a skeptic. a few days before the initiation of the conflict, -- thatformer officials don't remember exactly who else, but there were several there. we were invited to a meeting with rumsfeld, powell, and rice. i remember asking them, and i was conscious that evening when i saw the beginning of the war, i asked them, how certain are you that the iraqis have these weapons of mass destruction? the answer from all three of them was, it is not a question of how certain we are, we know they have them. that impressed me, because these are people i have known for a long time. when you say you know that someone has something, it means to meet you know.
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it is not a question of probability, it is a statement of certitude. nonetheless, a few minutes later it still occur to me to pursue the subject, so i ask them one more question. if you know that they have weapons of mass destruction, what is the order of battle for their use, and particularly nuclear weapons? obviously if they have them and they are ready to use them, the court order of battle, whoever else has the ability to execute their use. the answer your was perplexing. they said we don't know. i found that surprising, because it seems to me that if they have certitude over the fact that they have them, presumably that certitude would extend to some sources of information that would give us an insight into
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how these weapons would be used in combat. so that evening i was profoundly troubled, and i wrote an article basically arguing that we should until swedenack has had time to conclude research within iraq for method -- weapons of mass destruction. he was being increasingly provided with targets to inspect from the cia. one could assume the knowledge we have was being put at his disposal and he was pleading for that time to complete his reports. to the un and united states and the country's -- countries egging us on. we know what happened
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subsequently. the weapons were never found. the war was initiated on the basis of assertions which were described as an accurate improbably simply as fraudulent. that at stake was american credibility worldwide. that does have significant implications for the position of the united states in the world. the standingsd the united states enjoyed at the end of the cold war and which lasted into the beginnings of the 21st century has been very badly dissipated. that affects us adversely around the world and has serious implications for future decisions that involve war and peace.
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on the basis of what has happened, what level of confidence are we as citizens entitled to have before initiating a war against iran? we do have some parties who tell us there are red lines that should be drawn immediately to read some of these red lines recently drawn have been crossed. now they are being extended by one year. what happens after that one year. and whom are we to trust? on what basis are these assertions being made, how reliable are there -- are they > and are there alternatives to war that could be feasible? we commend this to deter the soviet union -- and managed to deter the soviet union from the
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use of force regarding europe. becausends and allies, the protected them credibly. we made it very clear in advance that we are identified -- we identified our security with the security of europe and that any action would be tantamount to action against the united states. we werehese assurances, directly vulnerable on a huge scale. we once had a false alarm. 85 million americans and soviets would have been dead. i was then national security advisor so i was involved in that. so we have this consciousness of
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serious responsibility. we are doing the same for the japanese and the south koreans. a country that is acting openly in a seemingly irrational fashion. the impact is disturbing in terms of its questionable rationality. delivery systems that cover all of south korea and japan and potentially for the northwesternthe parts of the united states. why is it we can't do that for israel? what does the president have to
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use vacant language about all options on the table, a threat to use of force. why does he have to make categorical verbal guarantees would commit him to the use of that force and create a presumption that he will? at the country been consulted -- has the country as a whole been consulted? could happen. if we wish to protect israel and the threat credible fashion, by karen teas which are binding than those we gave to the europeans and the japanese and south koreans. especially sell -- so vis a vis a country that cannot threaten us. if we do repeat vis a vis iran
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what we did with iraq, qill probably be engaged in a conflict that is more regionally widespread than was the case with the iraq -- with iraq a decade ago. beyond that, let me make one more observation about the nature of war. democracies are very able to wage total war if they are attacked. they are not so good, they are not predisposed. i think they are mentally not prepared to wage total war if they have themself started a war but were not attacked. it is an important psychological and historical difference. we were able to break the will of the germans in large measure assaults on their
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civilian population. yes, of course, it was justified by the need to disrupt transportation, undermine industry, but the great part of the motive was let's break there will buy it burning their cities. the most classical example of that was provided by two single strikes, each of short duration and great teaming casualty -- hiroshima and nagasaki. within minutes, we literally incinerated several hundred thousand people. we were able to do it because we were the victims at and attacked -- of an attack, we did not want to assume the burden of major casualty's for our
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industry. we broke their will and we won the war. but look at the last several wars we have waged. where we were not in a sense the objects of threat from an enemy that could devastate us to reduce settle for a compromise in korea. we withdrew from vietnam and we in iraqprevail fully and afghanistan. if we wish to do so, we could have incinerated their population. but that is something that democracies do not do likely unless they feel themselves totally threatened. in that as an important consideration to bear in mind.
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we are facing the prospect of a regional wars which will arouse populations and not a formal states capable of threatening us. what goes on in iraq today poses no military threat to the united states. but it is a geopolitical consequences of some cost to us. the same is true of afghanistan. god knows what will happen after we are out of afghanistan as a region as a whole. the war will certainly spread to iraq and through iraq to syria, lebanon and jordan. it would engulf western afghanistan as well which is relatively peaceful and where ites lives. the consequences would amass a parody are now facing the possibility the consequences would be
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massive. which fornew reality the united states as we become more employable in this conflict absorbsorber us -- will us. >> do you see -- a distinction between wars undertaken following an attack versus one we choose to launch as being ?quivalent to your distinction is that the same dividing line
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ec? >> -- line you see? >> what is important as to understand why the decision was made and how military can achieve an outcome consistent with our vital interests and were the of those sacrifices. understand the character a particular conflicts on their own terms. to try to seek some equivalency between world war ii and the dropping of the atomic bombs and what our response was to the murder of over 3000 americans on 9/11, you can only get limited utility out of that. talking about iraq, we also have to understand that hosthose conflicts of vault over time. it seems in retrospect as we look at the war in iraq, we did
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not describe in the agency at all to our enemies. of the another aspect narcissistic approach we take to understanding war and warfare. it is as if only our decisions affect the circumstances and the outcomes. but the truth is really is we faced brutal, determined, andderous and the mes -- the mes. in the conflict of vault over time. murderous eneies and the conflict evolves over time. they thought it the of the casualty is on us, it would work. then they attacked the
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infrastructure, power lines, water pipes. this is london -- this is lenin's theory. december 2003, he wrote a letter and said we are losing because americans will not be able to identify us but larger numbers of iraqi forces are becoming more capable. this was the iraqi civil defense corps. the strategy shifted to nascent security forces before they develop their decision -- a resiliency to stand on their own. what he said is we have to start a civil war and once we start a civil war by pitting iraq's
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communities against each other, we can gain sponsorship within the communities and use that to gain control of territory and resources and perpetuate a civil war and pursue wrote our objectives of establishing the islamic state of iraq. that was march 2004. from that time on, there was a slowly evolving sectarian conflict. there was a problem of insurgency and transnational terrorist organizations grafted onto the insurgency and the conflict at the time began to evolve into a sectarian civil war that was a in full blast after the samara bombings. to this parites to thities
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just terroristot organizations committing mass murder attacks, increasingly these were shia as lummis islamists -- shia as lumm militias. they took a different approach, got more training in iran and how to conduct assassinations, how to operate in smaller groups sniper attacks and employ ied's. by 2006, the dominant feature of the war had become a sectarian civil war.
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our strategy had not kept up with that. but it caught up with, and understanding of the character of conflict. we developed a political strategy aimed at bringing iraq's internal community's that would remove, support for either shia is lummis malicious -- shai islamist militias. by targeting those were who were irreconcilable among both parties to that civil war. the extremist groups to press stating -- groups perpetuating that cycle. others will learn vicariously and say my best alternative is looking pretty bad. ist we are willing to do now
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advanced are interested politics rather than through violence. the was an opportunity at that stage to consolidate and move toward a sustainable political outcome. .ome of those efforts failed it is important to understand these conflicts evolved over time and were fighting enemies there who have a say in the future course of events and we need to talk more about those enemies. what are they trying to achieve, what are their strategies? family could inform the public about what the stakes are.
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as if everything we did lead to the outcome without any interaction with those whom against weaver fighting. what's left over -- werese whom against we fighting. >> let's open it up to questions now. microphone.for the >> thank you so much. great conference carried general mcmaster, you alluded to two concepts. given the fact the last election was relatively close and one of the two candidates was advised by new conservative given theans and
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previous sessions focused on economic losses, the opportunity costs in afghanistan, how do you explain the prevalence of this philosophy in the american political discussion? we wil take two there on the aisle. >> thank you. having spent five years in iraq where i had the pleasure of meeting general h. mcmaster, i destroyedyou iraq is beyond redemption. almost 1 million iraqis died yet died. the morald bear
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responsibility for what happened in iraq? >> thank you. to dr. zbigniew brzezinski's comments about iran and the presiden'ts statements in israel, i am confused by what he means. i don't think the israeli government is interested in occupying a ron and i do not think the obama administration wants to do so. but it seems the strategy is to make some surgical strike to knock out the iranian pat -- iranian it's your capacity. for an examplee of faith based strategy? you have raised the importance of understanding how the opponent will respond. what is the likely response of the iranians to what is -- to what we hope will be a surgical
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strike? i will deal with iraq and iran then there is another issue i will address. who bears this possibility? i think the answer is fairly obvious. we do. we started the war. the iraqis did not attack us. we went in. some may say for legitimate reasons, others miss a dubious reasons. some, like myself, for fraudulent reasons. we started its of the arrest of will for what happened. i wish we had done better carry it -- we started it so we are responsible for what happened. i wish we had done better. i wonder how they look at us in
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that connection. .very war is murderous geopolitical the and moral consequences. know what ao not surgical strike means. we have not tried one in that set of circumstances. some nuclear facilities are located close to urban centers. what about the fall out? what about without radiation, simply the casualty's -- the casualties. inthe staff and people
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adjoining areas. house surgical will that be? beyond that, how effective will the strike be? it depends on the scale. if it depends on the scale, the consequences of the earlier question depend on that scale. i suppose it has to be repeated. what happens in iran itself? will the iranian people, and joining us in justified outrage, rise in righteous indignation, overthrow the regime and apologize to us for having provoked us into attacking them? [laughter] think the probability of that is not very high.
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in more likely probability is they will join the regime whichcted anger at us could last for decades. but without waiting for decades, we can do some things around the iranians. impeded the access of the world causing incident in the gulf terry we cannot prevent insurance companies from quadrupling the costs of acquiring energy. there is an enormously negative impact on the global economy. particularly in asia. every adjourning area next to iran is susceptible to a local
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war which used to be called people's war. he wanted us to be passively friendly, expecting soviet reactions. likelyasked what is the soviet reaction by the president of the united states? they may state border incidents, we have had lots of them. usn he says they may invade from mongolia where they have 22 armored divisions and strike southward towards beijing directly. he says we will use people's war, and i know what he meant. the kind of things we
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experienced also. people's wars do not adequately . do not end quickly. we are not going to kill all iranians. even if they do these things in the region. the protracted conflict will make this experience a bit -- make this experience of a decade ago seemed like a trifle. therefore i am worried by we are trying to buy off this pressure the president is feeling for commitments to military action against iran without fully contemplating the large scale geopolitical consequences, the affect a loaded the this adventure have no illusions.
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even those who are attacking us egging us on.g they will not be in there with us. it is a bad choice. i don't think the president wants to do it. i think he wants to avoid it. i'm sympathetic to his position but i wish some of our rhetoric was more careful because that could then be applicable in use the toe who favor war as the meeting such a decision. who favor was as to legitimizing such a decision. onward, the 970's
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decision to invade kuwait then the u.n. sanctions that follow that in the effect it had on iraqi society made it all the more difficult for that society to move toward stability in the wake of the saddam hussein regime. i would blame al qaeda and iraq and those who used masss murder as a principal tactic in the war. i would ask dr. zbigniew brzezinski to visit the cities byiraq that were rocked these murderous attacks and ask them who they blame. they blame the people who
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committed those murders. to a cityen we went where life was choked out of it because of a systematic attack by al qaeda, they turned that city into their training base. it is with a connected sniper training, medical training. these are not just insurgencies that happened because people to not like america. these are organizations that mobilize resources and people. this is an enemy organization. courses offer their included kidnapping and murder. they choked the life out of the city. schools have been closed for over a year. marketplaces have a cold. communities have fallen in on haveelves -- marketplaces
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closed. communities have fallen in on themselves. the first lesson is understanding every local contact -- every local conflict on its own terms, understand its connections at the national and regional level. one observation you can make, whether in mali or northern nigeria or syria or lebanon or or pakistan and so forth, is that these groups who are pursuing political agendas by the use of terrorist toacks -- tactics, try gain sponsorship among certain
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portions of the population and use that to gain a foothold and use the foot hole to perpetuate violence between groups. pitting groups against each other. to sit --ecessary was to set security condition to .ring people back together ben to remove sponsorship for these murders and took the pain and suffering on those communities. been thatnce has american soldiers took great risks and made tremendous sacrifices to break these cycles of violence and provide security so those accommodations could be made.
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it is analogous to what is whereing in afghanistan you have a civil war going on, perpetuated in part by a [inaudible]hat of theft key element population outside of the 10th. -- breedinggreeting grounds. as people saw, providing scholarship to these groups means a return to the brutal rule they experience. as soon as they saw there would be victims of that kind of oppression again and saw there there was ansive -- alternative, that broke that sponsorship for those taliban groups. we have been able to consolidate gains in southern afghanistan
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and eastern afghanistan. the same was true in the period after the destructive civil war for a costly war from 2006 to 2008. iraqis began together -- came together. a gentleman right here. >> ticket. -- thank you. since the president is taking his first foreign trip to the middle east, how do you see his policy and can he achieve something in his second term? to keep the focus on the big question before us,
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which is the lessons of a decade of war. given that the general mentioned how war does not often turn out the way you want it to, as the air battle concept would be too much towards. that towards investment would put into iraq -- the and this meant we put into iraq shifted attention from asia? said regarding one of the, with in history, 3 packets of a regime but they were doing this for 3 decads. ites.
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it's only in the end that the u.s. learned of weapons. all regime was brutal \all the time. world one the whole a table. expenditures on iraq affected our ability to operate elsewhere? the united states is the number one superpower. we have the largest economy. so we manage to remain engaged in other parts of the world. but that does not refer to the proposition that the war iraq was excessively expensive, not only morally but financially and physically. and it has not contributed to
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great regional stability but has and has greater regional instability. is phenomenon described increasingly pervasive. murderershere are groups during nasty things, the united states has to go in and deal with it. -- that is the kind of policy that our adversaries would like to see our top decline -- to see our power decline. it would be a gift to them. i'm sure we contain -- maintain
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question of syria. echos about have the kinds of choices and difficulties of intertwined military and political considerations we faced in director >> of syria, we got off on the wrong foot. the president declared publicly that assad of syria has to go. that was a trustee had to make. one would assume that declaring a publicly involves a commitment by the united states, which the united states is prepared then to make effective.
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and that therefore we have the means and strategy for achieving and objective. as soon turned out this was without a real capacity for follow-through. so we went to the un and demanded the security council support us on this. the russians and chinese and said we do not share this conclusion and we will not join you in forcing assad out and we object of the resolution fell. the russians and chinese, having engaged in this stance that is infantile and disgusting, the words used by our ambassador to the un, which is not a way of soliciting their report for further comment policy. it became clear that the , some of it involves
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some of our friends, some of it involves the infiltration of al qaeda types into syria. some of it involves iranian involvement. evident inasingly not have child support of group is capable of organizing an effective military resistance. we announced we will provide money to the resistance troops as humanitarian aid but we would like of the arms. give not know to whom to arms and the first place. but we are going to do some people some money and humanitarian aid.
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whom are really alarming and directly? i think our policy is shortsighted and not particularly affected. the best we can hope for is some international settlement still. in which somehow we will manage to get the russians and the chinese and for their than the iranians to participate. otherwise the conflict will go on and will involve the fragmentation of syria. as well as an impact on iraq, lebanon on, and jordan to rid -- iraq, lebanon and jordan. n> air sea battle is a
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aerational approach to defeat merging enemy anti access capabilities. i am a huge fan of it. abhisit as a soldier, you cannot get anywhere unless to travel by air or sea. -- as a soldier, you cannot get anywhere unless you travel by air or sea. of the joint forces in the position to do what they need to do. to a strategy?t it would have to deal with the four continuities of war we discussed at the beginning. on syria, i cannot really comment on that because i am not an expert at all by any means. the main thing to consider
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looking back at iraq is we have to understand all of battlegrounds contested between us and our enemies. cannot assume that what we decide to do is going to agree -- is going to achieve our objectives or explain everything that's wrong. any comments that go towards the equivalency of what our forces do and what force is due to take a 13-year-old girl and strap her with explosives and half are held the hand of a 3-year-old mentally disabled girl walk into a crowd and remotely that need them, i don't except a kind of equivalency argument.
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this is the battleground where enemies use fear and intimidation to invest their objectives. we also have to be concerned by a bout the ground a perception -- but a bout of perception. we have to become more affected by clarifying our attendance, .xposing their brutality then there is the battleground within governmental institutions we often do not recognize. iraq would have to do in with the consultation of state infiltrations' -- with the
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infiltration of state .nstitutions it made it difficult to strengthen the iraqi state, especially to move towards will of law and effective governance. often we do not even see that. nothing in paris are robert thompson wrote what happened in iraq when the civil war was particularly disruptive is that circuits of iran reusing state institutions to mobilize resources in what became a sectarian cleansing campaign. rgc and ach that the proxies have taken is to make
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the iraq government dependent to .upport syria, the key things to keep into consideration are what are the multiple battlegrounds? an act to be a step towards understanding what could be done to support an outcome that will stop this humanitarian soin in a but do way consistent with our interests. >> there are dozens of questions in the room. i have several dozen more but unfortunately, we have run out of time. i want to thank all of you who
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with us for this discussion, in particular dr. zbigniew brzezinski, general h. mcmaster. [applause]