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tv   Q A  CSPAN  September 15, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT

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andrew base of it. later, vice president joe biden. >> this week on "q&a," andrew bacevich discusses his newly released book. >> andrew bacevich, your new book talks about vietnam. time in vietnam was toward
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the end of the war. the summer of 1978 to the summer of 1971. the experience stuck with me iss because of anything experienced as a combat platoon leader, but what i saw in terms of the decay and deterioration of the army in which i was serving. oft gave me an appreciation the terrible effects of war. >> what was your career like? how long were you in the army? >> 23 years. i served until 1992. it was a year in vietnam early on. they were mypart, experiences of a serving officer at the latter part of the cold war. we thought we existed to be prepared to fight world war iii
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and that our readiness to do that to prevent world war iii from happening. i spent seven years in germany. most of the rest of the time in stateside units that would have germany in the event of a crisis. >> 23 years in the service and finished as a colonel. why did you in the first place go to west point? what was the drive for you and where were you raised? >> i was raised in the u.s. i was born in illinois and grew up in indiana. both my parents world -- were world war ii veterans. this was at a time when i think patriotism was a very common toue and patriotism equated seeing military service as not simply honorable, but almost what it meant to be to be a
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citizen. i grew up in that kind of environment. when it came time to go to college, i had choices. i went to west point not because i thought i would be a career officer, but because i was attracted to what they had to offer. i thought i would save my parents a bunch of money to be able to pay for my own education. >> they not only paid for your education, but they paid for you to go there. >> it it equates to a stipend. it is spending money. >> where did you grow up in illinois and indiana? >> i was born in normal in -- illinois. chicago when my dad was in medical school. when he graduated, he served in the army for a year as an intern in hawaii. when we returned from hawaii in 1954, we returned to where he northwest corner
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of indiana around east chicago. from theyears freshman year at west point to the time you got out of the service? >> 1965. i became a cadet in the summer when we were first ratcheting up the u.s. combat role in vietnam. 1965 until the summer of 1952 -- >> you went in in 1970. it afteryou think of you spend a year there? >> to answer the question, i have to put it in broader context, in the context of the 1960's. i mentioned my classmates and i showed up at west point in the top -- in the it after you spend a year there? summer of 1965. we missed the 1960's. we lived a relatively insulated and isolated existence at the
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military academy at the time, while, outside the gates of the military academy, the country was coming apart in many respects. coming apart because of the unpopularity of the vietnam war, also coming apart because of racial unrest, the emergence of a counterculture. we were aware of the fact all of this was going on, but we were relatively untouched by all of that. being a cadet at west point in the latter part of the 1960's was a strange experience. the thing that interested us most as cadets was the word. vividly remember at dinner, all of us got together in a very , at dinnerg hall when they made the nightly announcements, they would announced to members of the previous two classes who had
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just been killed, there was a constant reminder to us we were entering an army at war and vietnam -- given the fact it was a protracted war -- was the experience that awaited us. what also became apparent as we were there, the world was not going well. it was not simply that it was not popular at home. it was being mismanaged in the field, mismanaged from washington. as a 19-year-old, i would have been able to articulate the ways in which it was being mismanaged. this was not going to be world war ii and end with a surrender ceremony on a battleship. the offensive, early 1968, happens in our junior year. , it is, this is
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the turning point in terms of the american experience. it is at that point when even the jonathan an administration acknowledges that we are no longer fighting to win. what we are fighting for is not clear but it is not to win. by the time my class graduates and we deploy, most of us in the spring and summer of 1970, we deployed to a war we know will not be one. we reallyd to a war had no intention of winning any longer. to anns out we deployed army in vietnam racked with racial tension, drug problems, and that makes it a difficult experience. i was time, i think probably confused. in some senses, i did not want to think too deeply about the
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war, his origins, it conduct, and it aspects. to think too deeply about those to confrontuld be difficult matters. it was a little easier, i think, to try to do your job. try to be a good soldier. don't consider the larger entiretions of the vietnam experience. i do not know if that is how my classmates handled it, but that is how i did. i tried to come home in one piece and go on with my life. >> to confront second or first ? what part of vietnam were you stationed in and what was your job? >> the war was going down. would.nt nixon a lot -- periodically go on tv and make an announcement another 40,000 u.s. forces were
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coming home. units were closing down in vietnam. the effect of that on the individual was you might be assigned to this unit for your first six months and then you would go to another unit for the next six months. that is what happened to me. i served in a little town not too far from the coast for roughly the first three months. in thewas transferred central highlands. the calvary's mission was to acure a highway that ran from city on the coast through the central highlands. our job was to keep the highway -- the highway opened. then able to leader,
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thenon later -- leader -- i was an operations officer -- officer. >> i will come right back to this. will kinduntil 2013, of work? >> from 1992, when i got out of the army, i guess i have been an academic and a writer. i spent six years in washington of advancedschool international studies. that is my academic apprenticeship. i was running a research institute and doing teaching. i was very grateful for the opportunity. in 1990 eight, boston university invited me to join the faculty. i have been at boston university since 1998. that has been a life transforming opportunity for me. it is a wonderful place. as au describe yourself
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conservative catholic. is that still believe feel? >> yes. in conversation with me work under the assumption that since i went to west point and was a soldier, those must be the formative experiences in my life. they were important. in many respects, what is more important is i was born and raised in the midwest, in the heartland. i was raised in a seriously catholic household and i remained a catholic. it is an important thing to me. and i am a conservative, but not a conservative in the sense of people who are in it hearings with the republican party claim to be conservatives. i think what passes for conservatism in this country is .nything but conservative
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i would have somewhat a different definition of what it means to be conservative. , the notion that come to people's mind when they hear the word spoken. >> further define what you mean by conservative. >> begin with the notion that conservative values our inheritance. they wish to maintain, to preserve, to conserve the inheritance. the inheritance is intellectual. it is cultural. it is social. and it is material. ought toconservative be an environmentalist, among other things. generally speaking, in our politics, environmentalism is seen as something that people on the left and hereto and people on the right scoff at. that is utterly wrong. conservatives should be tree huggers.
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in terms of social values, i am a traditionalist. there are veryat powerful cultural forces in our ofntry that are dismissive the social structures that we have received from past generations. those forces are so powerful, there is no turning them back. it is foolish to take gay rights as an example, it is full-ish to think one will restore traditional norms in that regard. that said, i think we are too quick to overthrow these norms, and are not sufficiently aware of what some of the downsides will be. a conservative in the realm of foreign horror -- policy ought to be a realist, ought to bridle
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at the notion that there is some great american mission whereby we will redeem or transfer form the world. a conservative should be exceedingly wary of war, and also, somewhat skeptical of military institutions. the day, war is uncontrollable. there may be times when you need to fight, but the notion you should see war as a desirable instrument of policy, that is not a conservative perspective from my point of view. we should respect soldiers, but be wary ofes should military institutions because they generally ought to be concerned about any large conglomeration of power. conservatives should favor the distribution of power, rather than concentration of power. the greatest concentration of
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power in our country at our time is power around the military. instead of conservatives throwing money at the pentagon, which they tend to favor doing, conservatives should be those at the forefront the pentagon. not because they hate soldiers. on the contrary, because, as the founders in this republic correctly identified, the concentration of military power could constitute a threat to liberty. >> in the back of your book, it talks about the american empire project. some of the other people writing one who isject
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deceased, yourself, james, michael, and others, most of those people would not be categorized as conservative. rex why would you be a part of the group and what is it? >> it is not my project, but oni am happy to be part of it. i am thrilled to be part of it. the american empire project is a series of books published i metropolitan books, my publisher. the series conceived of by two guys, one of whom is named thanh englehart. tom is my editor. he is also my friend. he is emphatically a person of the left, in every aspect of his politics. am i there and still claiming to be a conservative? it is the answer i gave before. conservatives and principled people on the left can make common cause and should in arguing for greater restraint
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in the way we think about and employee our military. tom and i do not necessarily agree on abortion. but we do agree that this excessively militarized approach to foreign policy that has evolved over the last x years, and kind of reached its high point after 9/11, that this is not good for the country. therefore, one of the themes of is american empire project to critique the militarism, from different perspectives. >> at the beginning of the introduction, what was that story echo >> a member of class of 68 from west point. when i first got there, he was a
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troop commander. of c troop. i did not know him well. i did not know him at all until i showed up. over the course of my tour, he was murdered. he was murdered an american soldier. this was, at the time, a shocking episode, and eye- opening episode. of my vietnamects experience that stuck with me. i had wanted for some time, however briefly, to tell this story. because i think the story is an important one. i think murdered by an american --ulder should not be
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soldier should not be forgotten. and, the event is emblematic of the times. that is something i included in the introduction. >> how did he get murdered by an american? is it murder or an -- a mistake. >> murder. witherpetrator had words the captain. thisieve, i cannot say for sure, the words had to do with allegations the perpetrator was involved in a eric theft. >> an enlisted man? >> yes. private. >> a lawyer? >> marler. broad daylight, on the firebase -- not on can -- not on patrol.
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.e shot and killed record he was immediately detained, arrested, charged, sent to prison, and never heard from again. i tried to find out what happened to him and never could. he disappointed -- disappeared. his name had been removed and things more or less went back to normal. >> any publicity on this at the time and how did you remember this? >> virtually none. one of the -- one of the things i did for the book is go back and check stars and stripes. that is a newspaper published forward deployed forces ever since world war ii. it was during the vietnam war, there was a european version. i went and checked the pacific edition to find out how the
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shocking event was reported. it was barely reported. there is one short article mentioning the attack, providing minimal detail, other ton making a brief reference other attacks by enlisted soldiers to officers that have happened recently in vietnam. that the attack on the captain was a one off event. it was rather indicative of the deterioration of order and is a plan that inflicted the army and vietnam at the time. video of to run a president obama saying some things about the condition of our country and then get your reaction to it. [video clip] >> america is back.
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anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you america is in decline or that our influence has waned, does not know what they are talking about. [applause] yes, the world is changing. no, we cannot control every event. but america remains the one indispensable domain of world affairs and i intend to keep it that way. >> what is your take? , you know, you would intoto be able to peer the president posses heart and soul to know if he meant those words. saying what he has to say. he is saying what an american president is expected to say, making claims of our uniqueness that have become very commonplace in our politics.
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it is striking, his use of the o say. phrase, "indispensable nation. first coined aqua net: albright was secretary of state. used by bill clinton when he became the president. at the presentim moment is to in effect say there is no need for us to think seriously about the implications of our various -- failures over the past gates, particularly foreign policy. i am referring here specifically to the iraq war. but also, by extension, to the afghanistan were. the president is giving his listeners permission to forget all that and to pretend they did not happen.
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>> after you saw what was going , early in your career, why did you make a career out of the army? >> i did not have the gumption to get out. i had gotten married right before i deployed. probably foolishly. that itime my obligation incurred by graduating was up, we had children, and the economy was a little bit soft. i do not think i had the self- confidence to say, i could do something different and make enough money to care for my family. , inhe same time, the army its infinite wisdom, offered me the opportunity to go to graduate school. they said, we will send you to graduate school and then you can teach at west point for a while. that would take up the next , when i would
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know we would have a paycheck coming in. by the time it got to the end of that next chunk of years, at the ten-year year mark of my service, my son has been born. now we have three kids. we seriously thought about getting out and then backed away from it. life moves on. we have four kids. 1990s only in the early posses that i finally came to the realization that i was truly not cut out to be a soldier in the first place. my wife, who i love dearly, basically at that point said, she had never cared to be in the army, anyway. made it pretty clear it was time to move on. we agreed. >> here is another clip from the former secretary of defense. tell us what you see here.
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a if you do not have standing task force capable of assuring you that in a short time, you could get in the business, in the event you need to be, you have substantially reduced the president's options. conversely, if you do have it, and you are ready to go, capable of doing things, you may not only substantially increased the president's options, but you may very well provide the options in the crisis time that enables you to substantially defect the deterrent. >> i think the phrase he used that struck me most, he talks about task forces doing things. doing what? in 2003, at the time the iraq
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war began, if we had been able dosay, mr. secretary, what you mean by "doing things, he probably would have said something to the effect, winning things. that there was an expectation that really emerged in the aftermath of desert storm, back by1991, seemingly confirmed the early success in afghanistan in 2001, that had created a very powerful expectation by 2003, that when we committed u.s. forces into combat, they would win. they would win quickly. they would win decisively. they would win economically. economically, both in terms of dollar cost and in terms of the sacrifices that would be
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imposed on u.s. forces. were those expectations to be valid, then sign me up. sign me up. give me some of those standing task force is that we can deploy while giving the president options, suggesting that knowledge of our adversaries that we can do this will perhaps cause them to think again. if you can guarantee me a vic three, sign me up here at what is the problem? the problem is we tested that proposition in iraq and it turned out to be not the case. ofpite early evidence success in afghanistan, afghanistan also turns out to be a case that does not victory.te
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when the president in the earlier clip is talking about the indispensable nation, what he does not want us to talk about, what he does not want americans to competent -- to competent -- to contemplate is that we do not want to win wars. we have the best military in the world. we certainly spend more on our military that basically the rest of the world put together. to windo not know how wars. it seems to me there ought to be a serious national conversation to ask why that is the case. where does the fault lie? our politicians? too stupid? are our generals and that? that, by itsfact very nature, war is unpredictable? to war is to roll the dice and you might win, and you might not. if you view war as rolling the dice, then, and this is what i think conservatives should believe, then you should really
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only do this when it is necessary. you need to go with eyes wide open because it's not going to go the way you think it will go. >> you wrote back in 2004. the chief of staff of the army -- >> he was chief of staft of the army. >> now head of the veterans administration, obama administration. here's what he said in a hearing and shortly after that, he went away for a long time. we did not have any idea of the followup. he didn't talk about this. but let's watch this. >> can you give us some ideas to the magnitude of the army force requirement for occupation of iraq, following successful completion of the war? >> in specific numbers i would have to rely on combatant commanders' exact requirements -- > how about a range? i would say what's been
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mobilized to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably a fug that would be required. we're talking about post-hoss pillties, control over a piece of geography that's fairly suggest with -- fairly significant with the kinds of ethnic tensions that can lead to other problems and so it takes a significant ground force presence. >> in footnote 55 in your chapter 6, you say polve wolfowitz dismissed shinseki's concern as, quote, wildly off the mark," remarking by the way of a rebuttal that, quote, it's hard to conceive it would take more forces to provide more stability in post-saddam iraq then it would to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of saddam's security
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forces and his army. what happened to general shin secky after that? >> shinseki was basically silenced and the episode, of course, is a very famous one, famous in part because events vindicated shinseki and made mr. wolfowitz look like a bit of a fool. but i think what's important about the episode -- to appreciate the importance of the episode, you have to appreciate in a sense the ideological context in which this debate, ll it the shinseki/wolfowitz debate, ideological context in had the debate occurs. the ideological context has two dimensions. first dimension is that wolfowitz came from a political camp generally referred to as
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neoconservatives who are committed to the proposition that the united states possessed the capacity to export democracy under t nations living autocrats like saddam hussein yearned to be liberated and to embrace democracy. and that, therefore, this -- our capacity and their yearning would combine to make this transition to democracy relatively neat and easy. and shinseki is saying, ain't going to happen that way. that's one reason why wolfowitz would go after shinseki. but there's a second reason. relating to a theory of war that also had come to be something of an ideology at this time. the theory of war was one that sically said that advanced
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information technology or forces equipped with advance information technology, an ability to identify targets, to strike targets with great precision, to act with great speed, versus possessing these abilities would be able to win wars decisively and quickly, and as i suggested a little while ago, sort of neatly and economically. a the iraq war was full-scale test of that proposition. and here we are on the eve of the iraq war and shinseki's saying, from an army perspective, i ain't buying that. i think it's going to be complicated and messy. so for both of those reasons, both sort of the neoconservative commitment to the notion that we can export democracy and this other notion that high-tech u.s.
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-- will be build the able to went quickly, he had got way out of bounds. >> i want to correct what i said, i said 2004. 2004 defense budget but he made the statement february 23, 2003 before -- >> that's right brfment the invasion -- before the invasion, correct. >> you write about in your book the famous name in military history, lieutenant general shnedly butler. >> major general. >> excuse me. i gave him another stripe. major general shmedley butler, who was he and why did you write about him? >> he's a fantastic character. he was a marine. he was a marine who served basically from the beginning of the first outward thrust of american empire, spanish-american war and its aftermath. served through the -- well into the 1930's. twice won the medal of honor.
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although he participated in world war i, his role in world war i was not really significant. the real sort of fabric of smedly butler's career was in olicing the american empire. participating in the combination in china, invading and occupying dominican islands, dominican republic and haiti. instrument of u.s. foreign policy. and he was good at it. but what makes him of such great interest to historians is that virtually the day after he took off his uniform and became a civilian, he publicly announced that all of that, all of that service actually, he had been a gangster. i think the phrase is, a gangster in service of apitalism. he said out loud what critics of
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american foreign policy had been saying throughout this period, that u.s. foreign policy basically exists to serve the interests of wall street. so he became a controversial truth teller in his way, and is finally remembered by anti-war people in this country, down to the present moment. i use them in the book. i said that he's -- he's the originator of what i call smedley's syndrome. which is the tendency of at least some senior military officers to change their minds when they take off their uniform and to suddenly speak truths that when they were still on active duty, they would have not spoken. he's an example of that. i cite some other examples of that. but i really do that in order to -- to cite the most recent general nd that is
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william mccrystal -- >> stanley mccrystal. >> excuse me, general stanley mccrystal, famous as the commander of special operation forces in the remark war, famous as somebody who then became the commander in afghanistan, only to be fired after about a year on the job. once he retired, he came out and announced that he thought the all-volunteer force was a bad idea. >> let's let him speak for him self at an aspen conference in 2012 on this subject. >> my guess is we're not bog to get a draft through but what is your take on some sort of mandatory national service? >> i am becoming a little bit more extreme on this each year. right now i think everybody 56 years old and younger ought to have to serve two years. i'm 57. [laughter] now, what i really believe is i
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think we need national service, and i think you need it either at the conclusion of high school or university. >> people cheered that. they did. >> do you think they meant it? >> i don't know. i agree with general crystal. but i'm kireous why he waited -- curious why he waited until he was no longer in active duty to announce his support of national service. had he done that when he he was a serving four-star general, that would have been interesting. that might have triggered a very interesting conversation. now he's retired four star and goes out to aspen and spouts off and gets polite applause but i don't think anybody really much cares what he has to say any longer. that's smedley's syndrome in action. if he had this morning insight, why didn't you share it with us when you actually could have done something about it? >> well, just for kicks, why don't i ask you the same question. you spent 23 years in the
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service y didn't you do something about the way you felt about the book here that says "breach of trust" when you were in the service? you stayed 23 years. >> yeah, fair question. i think the answer is my own shortsightedness that through the time when i was serving into the early 1990's, i was not able snares, that this reliance on a standing army would get us in. again, going back to my time of serving in the latter part of when the army on which i served was rebuilding from the catastrophe of vietnam and the rebuilding in many respects was a great sksess in terms of better level of training, better quality soldiers, better discipline,
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higher morale, better espri so by the time i got to the latter part of my career in the 1980's not nto 1990's, it was difficult to command the unit in the sense that we had these wonderful people who really wanted to soldier. that's the army i left in 1992. now what didn't i see that i wish in retrospect i had seen? well, what i didn't see was that both he cold war ended, some politicians and some generals would work hard to find ways to put this wonderful army to work. when deterring the soviet union was no longer the principal task confronting the pentagon, but when all of this capacity was
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available, people in the pentagon, people in the white house, people in the state department sat down and thought real hard about, what could we do with this capacity? and they needed to find something to do with it in order to justify its continued existence. so this led to the mergeance of some very pernicious ideas of the one of those pernicious ideas was the notion that technology could enable us to win wars quickly and neatly with great levels of assurance. another pernicious idea is the notion we should be using the forces to project american power rather then to defend ourselves and defend our allies. >> i just want to interrupt a sked. this is only 30 seconds and it's right about the time that you got out of the service and it's the defense spending cuts discussion in the congress and this is former chief of staff of the army general gordon sullivan. this will say some of the same
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things had you. this is 1992. >> previously we trained through attritioned warfare, structured organizations backed up by mobilized potential of this nation. today we train for decisive victory and tailorable organizations of mixed components. the power over the microprocessor, the microchip leverages our human potential. yesterday mass was the key to warfare. today precision is the key to warfare. controlling the dimensions of speed, space and time applying decisive combat power at the critical point. >> when you see them say that today, this is what, 21 years later, what do you think he would say today about what he said then? >> well, i hope he would say, gosh, i was naive. gosh, i got it wrong and how do i regret that? the delape we just saw was a nice, synced expression of that conception of warfare that i
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tried to describe a little while ago. and that conception of warfare informed people's expectations for how the iraq war was supposed to go. guess what? it didn't. we didn't win a decisive victory. what we ended up with is a protracted war that sullivan's army was not properly trained for and not properly sized for. that's crucial. sullivan said mass doesn't matter. well, in iraq and afghanistan, mass does matter in the sense that if you're going to be able to pacify these countries, it's going to require substantial number of soldiers to do that. but having abandonned our tradition of the citizen soldier in the wake of vietnam, having embraced this model of standing army of professionals, we found ourselves with no easy way to -- to expand the force in order to take on this mission that
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sullivan was not able to anticipate with what consequences. well, among the consequences, number one, repeated combat tours. sending people back again and again and again with terribly adverse effects on their will being and also in an effort to make up for this gap between too much war, not enough warriors. insert contract contractors into that gap. basically privatize warfare to a very considerable extent. turning over to private contractors who were in the business to make money. turning over to them tasks that normally would have been allotted to soldiers. and with incredible waste. where, you might say, where are the american people in all of this? well, the american people are on the sidelines. they're in the grandstands. they're cheering. they're putting bumper stickers on their cars saying support the
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troops. but in a substantive sense they're disengaged. disengaged from their army. they're disengaged from the war itself. and the consequences didn't produce victory and have not produced any substantial benefits from the country. i would argue, tried to argue in the book that in fact this reliance on a professional army that is disengaged from the people, that permits officials in washington to engage in unnecessary wars, has depleted american power. earlier clips showed president obama says people who say we're in decline don't know what they're talking about. well, i take issue with the president. i think there's plentiful evidence the country is in serious trouble. there are a lot of reasons why we're in serious trouble. one of the reasons we're in serious trouble is we have developed this proclivity for wars. this compulsion to use force in
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ways that don't produce positive outcomes. and there's a lot of -- you know, considerable amount of thinking that really ought to be happening in washington to try to figure out how we got in this mess and how we got out. one of the things that just outrages me is the fact that the inclination in washington, indulged by the american people is to forget about the failures. to not think about, not try to identify the serious lessons of the iraq war. frankly, not even to identify the serious explanations as for why 9/11 happened. it's very disturbing. >> what were the circumstances that you're son lost his life in iraq? >> well, i have made it a policy not to talk about that. and it -- only because it seems to me these are private matters and we're bet are off just letting them stay that way.
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>> but isn't that a factor in the way you feel about all of this? >> i imagine it is. and if prior to may 13th of 2007 i had been a gung-ho supporter of the war and the day after i became a war critic, you might say it had a decisive impact. but the truth is i was a critic of the war before my son was killed. and, of course, how could -- how could something like that not affect one's outlook? but i don't think that -- i don't think it had a decisive impact. >> the reason i brought it up, you told us when we started this discussion that you sat there in at west -- ood hall mess hall, i'm sorry, messal at west point, and i want to ask you, why would they announce the number of west point residents killed in vietnam? >> they were not announcing numbers. they were announcing names.
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>> why would they do that when you're sitting there training to go to war? what was the point? >> nobody explained to me what the point was but i would think that one of the point -- the int would be to as an act of homage. here is someone who once marched in your ranks. that person has now forfeited his life for his country. let us at least acknowledge that, that has happened. i mean in retrospect i don't find it inappropriate. in retrospect i think it was more than appropriate. >> i didn't mean to imply it was inappropriate but i would be interested to know what impact that had on you. you're sitting there having a meal and all of a sudden tom smith dies in vietnam. move ahead to your son dyeing. most americans didn't see anybody in iraq or afghanistan get wounded or killed and there were 6,500 both in iraq and afghanistan total killed and another 36,000, 37,000 wounded.
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how much did this that have as impact versus neat nam where there was a draft on the american people? >> well, this is something i write about in this book and quite frankly tried to insert into previous books, that the the unintended consequence of abandonning the tradition of the citizen soldier and instituting our so-called all-volunteer army, misnamed, professional army, the unintended consequence was to allow separation between the american people and the american military to occur. the gap. and one manifestation of that gap is that if we take the complaint there of the occupy wall street, of the 1% rich people, 1% are exploiting the 99%. well, when it comes to war, we
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have the reverse. we have the 99% exploiting the 1%. the 1% who serve who are sent to these wars, many of which should not be fought, none of which are being won. 1% bears the of service to sacrifice and the other 99% watch. , and at is not democratic i think it is profoundly immoral. and i think it's going to continue to be the case as long as we maintain this all-volunteer force and the solution, the solution is the solution that the general mccrystal identified, i think, to institute a program of national service in which all will serve, all able-bodied 18-year-olds will serve. some of them serving in the
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military. others serving in other capacities but all of them serving the country for appeared of time, as a means to reconstitute a more vigorous definition of citizenship and as a means to ensure that the army that we send is an army of the people that is representative of a cross section of the american people. and i think that is something that needs to be part of our political debate. >> i want to you watch this short 40-second clip of president george bush talking about tommy franks, who was very much involved in the iraq war. getting the medal of freedom. and he's sitting there with george tenet and i think don rumsfeld. i'm not sure. but let's watch this and get your reaction to this. >> the general likes to say no plan ever survived the first contact with the enemy. but in iraq, tommy franks' plan did. a force half the size of the force that won the gulf war defeated saddam hussein's regime
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and reached baghdad in less then a month. the fastest, longest armored advance in the history of american warfare. e pele of iraq and afghanistan are building a secure and permanent democratic future. enhe highest distinctions of history is to be called a liberator and tommy franks will always carry that title. >> the other person i think was not don rmed -- rumsfeld. probably in the audience. may be paul wolfowitz. medal of freedom to tommy franks, what is your reaction to that? >> travesty. the narrative of the iraq war that's president just gave us, o put it mildly, incomplete, franks did succeed in toppling saddam hussein. but that was not sufficient. that was not sufficient to either achieve our political
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provide r to deliverance to iraqi people. iraqi is coming apart at the seams, hundreds on a monthly basis. hundreds being killed by the renewed insurgency that barely makes the papers. >> whole thing waste of time? waste of money, waste of -- >> i think -- yeah, it was. i understand the response, world is a better place because saddam hussein is gone. i suppose that is true. >> were these men evil that got us involved in there? i pulled that out of the air. how would you describe -- >> they were arrogant and they were naive. it's hard to understand in a way because remember when -- remember when the republicans won the 2000 election. part of the republican critique of the democrats during the clinton era was when the
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democratic national security team was nike amateur hour and what the republicans -- republicans portrayed themselves as the people who understand how the world works. we're going to bring in these seasoned operators like rumsfeld on second tour secretary of defense, colin powell becoming secretary of state. condoleezza rice national security adviser. heck, dk cheney vice president. these are the people who supposedly understood how the world really worked and, therefore, could be trusted to make prudent and wide decisions. and that's why it's so hard to understand -- to understand their arrogance and their naivety. but that's the label they will carry into history and label that tommy franks will carry will be incompeteant. >> who is the last politician you thought knew what they were doing and you could vote for them? >> well, i voted for barack obama.
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twice but when i voted for barack obama because when you get to an election, it was either this guy or that guy and it seemed to me obama was preferable alternative. in terms of the last president that i think deserves respect, i think i probably would say i like ike. he had his own flaws and did some pretty stupid things in iran, in guatemala. he is the guy who sort of teed up the ball for john kennedy when it came to the bay of pigs, which was foolish. but when you look at the eight years of the overall, make it overall judgment of the eight years of the eisenhower presidency, he did pretty darn well. >> you say that basically the washington establishment -- i wrote this down -- says, quote, trust us. we know what we're doing, end quote. >> i think that that's the
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attitude i sense. and what i mean is this, that over the course of the cold war and into the post cold war period, there emerged this notion that national security fairs broadly speaking was complex. and to be able to contribute to the making of national security policy, you need to acquire expertise. you need to be an insider. you have to have access to the classified -- classified administration. and if you buy that, if you buy that notion, then the role of the american people in the formulation of national security policy is basically to defer. to look to washington for guidance. and it seems to me if you look at the performance of our national security establishment in particular, in the post cold
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war era, there's no justification for saying that somebody who has high-ranking position in the defense department is any smarter then my late departed aunt betty lou who lived her entire life in morrison, illinois. so i would like to see americans become a lot more willing to ask hard questions and to not defer. i don't see any sense it's going to happen. but i think that's what we need. >> the book is called "breach of trust." this is your what book? >> i don't remember, seven, eight? something like that. >> and you are a professor at boston university. >> i am. >> and have been there since -- >> 1998. >> andrew base vitch, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you.
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>> for a d.v.d. copy of this rogram, called 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this "q&a."org. it us at "q&a" programs are also available at c-span podcasts. >> coming up next on c-span, british prime minister david cameron is taking questions from members of the house of commons. then vice president biden in independent ola, iowa, part of our road to the white house 2016 coverage. after that another chance to see "q&a" with retired army officer andrew bacevich.
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hisy summers has withdrawn name from consideration as the next federal reserve chairman. in a letter to president obama, he wrote -- served as treasury secretary under bill clinton. he was considered by many as a front runner to replace the current federal reserve chairman ben bernanke whose term ends in january. reacting to the letter president obama released, a statement. it reads --


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