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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 11, 2013 10:00am-12:01pm EST

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host: albert from maine this morning. that is going to wrap up today's installment of "washington journal," this veterans day edition. we will see you right back here at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] tolling] toll hering]
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day, 2013, inside look at cemeterygton national and memorial. and across the bridge, a look at the vietnam veterans memorial, which was completed in 1982. tois a number of memorials veterans throughout washington, d.c. a day commemorating veterans first called for by woodrow wilson in 1944, first called armistice day. it was changed to veterans day by proclamation of president eisenhower. be speakingama will at arlington national cemetery. we will begin our coverage at 10:50 a.m. eastern with the ceremony itself slated to get
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underway about 11:00. you can watch that live right here on c-span. a little bit later, remarks from charles schwab ceo walter bettinger. he is talking about retirement issues. what's that live at 1 p.m. eastern also here on -- watch that live at 1:00 p.m. eastern also here on c-span. >> mrs. kennedy is very well -- a as a dialogue can't style icon. she put a lot of thought into her wardrobe when she was representing the country at the white house and while trevor ling abroad. -- traveling abroad. she would think about what the colors would mean. for her visit to canada, she chose this red suit by pierre cardin as a gesture of respect for the read of the canadian maple leaf. the thought that mrs. kennedy put into her wardrobe. she also knew the advantages of choosing a color or style that would make her stand out in a
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crowd. >> first lady jacqueline kennedy, tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span and c-span three, also on c-span radio and at c- i have spent a lot of time dealing with the fcc in my life. important that the agency make decisions, and make decisions in a timely fashion. is nothing worse for investment, innovation, job creation -- all the things that flow from investment -- then businesses not knowing what the rules are. .> he is absolutely right with the slow moving agency like this that deliberates for months, and even years on end, it really does create uncertainty, and as we all know, uncertainty is the enemy of business.
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business needs certainty to be able to invest. and if there is one thing we in the united states in terms of broadband and communication infrastructure, we need investment with dispatch, as chairman wheeler might say. destin on the challenges tonight athe sec 8:00 p.m. on the communicators on c-span2. >> a reminder that coming up live at 1050, we will go to the arlington national cemetery at the tomb of the unknown for commemoration of veterans day. live coverage with president obama. until then, ways to bridge the military-civilian divide from today's "washington journal." host: on this veterans day we will take a look at the reasons and ways the u.s. civilians and military starting to drift
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apart. it is a topic often referred to as the civilian-military divide. joining us now to discuss this issue is michael noonan, a veteran of operation iraqi freedom and direct your of the program of national security at the foreign policy research institute. what are some of the ways the civilian-military divide sort of manifest itself in the ways that people can see what we're talking about here? guest: i mean, first of all, we have to nuke there is always going to be some form of civil- military divide. one people join the military, -- when people join the military, they are in cultivated into the way the military does things out of necessity. to be able to react to orders and do things most normal people probably would not do. like the marine corp. commercial, moved to the sound of guns. there is going to be some form of divide between the military and civil society. however, there are ways that kind of exacerbate those of us,
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particularly post-service. phil carter and the tenant general david -- from center for mayor ken security, for instance, had a piece in "the washington post" where they talk about the divide and how the military actually contribute to it by things like living on the bases that since 9/11 have been closed down to the public. they have their own school systems. they are gated communities, basically. and among some -- because we do have an all voluntary military, there is a feeling among some that perhaps they are better than the civilian society that they defend, so those are just sort of some of the manifestations of the civil- military divide. host: when did this start? when did people like yourself by -- start writing about this and talking more about it? guest: it started in the 1990s really. there were two studies came up.
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one, a consortium between duke university and the university of north carolina chapel hill and north carolina state, and the center for strategic and international studies did a big study around 97 or 1998 talking about the culture and what differentiated the views and attitudes of the sort of civil- military divide. some people thought it was kind of a byproduct of the clinton administration, how you had a president who chose not to serve in vietnam and peoplesoft is asand people saw this perhaps as a partisan issue and were looking at things like political identification -- people saw this perhaps as a partisan issue. at the time it skewed heavily conservative -- not necessarily republican but a more conservative worldview than civil society. some people thought that this was going to change when
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president george w. bush took office, but it really didn't. as we saw with the iraqi and afghanistan wars, certain segments of the military itself found certain aspects of these wars to be kind of unpopular. so it is really sort of a post- cold war manifestation tied up with -- since the end of the draft, you move to an all volunteer force. certain people feel that sense -- since of volunteered, they are serving on behalf of society and certain segments have felt some time to time that they are sort of unappreciated. host: we are talking about the civil-military divide with michael noonan from the -- policy research institute. we want to hear your thoughts. with a special line, again, for veterans on the subject. we want to hear from you on this veterans day. 202-585-3883.
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all others -- host: mr. noonan, while folk are calling, talk about the technology. some people who have written about the subject have said technology has further widened the gap. guest: i think it has both the widened and narrowed the gap. for instance, when i was in iraq, i had access to e-mail and i lived in a small fort with the iraqi army and one of the units before is installed a commercial internet line. so, i got literally come back from a patrol going out with our iraqi battalion an e-mail or call my wife on the phone, which previous generations did not have the opportunity to do.
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it was kind of instant communication. i think that could be both a blessing and a curse sometimes, because it could take away some of the distance there. in one sense, it kind of connection you but in the other -- it kind of you but in the other sense, if he had a bad day it is really not that great to have instantaneous access to people. and when you drone operators working in a place like the air force base in nevada, actually conducting end of combat operations using remotely piloted aircraft. and they can take out military targets on the ground and then kind of go home and go to soccer practice for the kids and have dinner that night. so that is kind of that -- some people degrade their service, but on the other hand, it is kind of an unenviable position for them to be in. host: michael noonan from the
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foreign policy research institute. served in iraq in 2006-2007. correct? and where did you serve? guest: in western ninevah province, up in the northwest corner of the country not far from syria. it was an interesting part of a rack. .- iraq heavily kurdish, turk -- interesting part of iraq. sunni arab -- but there were a lot of foreign fighters coming from syria causing a lot of problems. a very interesting and unique place to serve. i am sorry, go ahead. no, i was about to say we were actually able to go back into the kurdish part of the country. that really is the otheriraq. .- the other iraq
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much different than serving down in baghdad but in our area of operations where we were stationed you certainly would not go out like that. host: michael noonan with your questions and comments. mary from fort washington on our line for democrats. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for taking this call. i am and ask military brat from the 1960s in the 1970s. i was a military brat until i was 22. i think the civilian-military divide is far less today than it was back in those age. -- those days. we do live very sheltered. when you are in the military, you have the best px, the postage change, the store, for lehman la --yman. -- laymen. still today, if you want to go to a real grocery store you go to a military base. because of the wars, extra divide in that sense. civilian armada -- are not allowed to go on the military base as they used to, so they are going to feel that divide.
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but as far as emotional divide, i feel that military families are more open-minded because you have more access to the world. so, we try to close that divide as often as we can but every time we have a war, we shut down and closed the gates down, a get wider and it is back and forth. my opinion. thank you. host: michael noonan? your thoughts. guest: your caller makes excellent points. my generation of veterans experienced nothing like the people who served in vietnam and came back and were kind of really treated poorly by society. even a society that has the troubles with the post-9/11 wars at least thankfully have made the distinction that the people that serve are not responsible for serving there, that there is kind of this divide between politics and the soldiers. i think that is a great thing. on the other hand, i think it is almost too much sometimes.
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when i came back from leave from iraq, it was hartsfield airport in atlanta and just eruptions of applause, not a plane -- coming off the airplane made you feel self conference and there is a -- very self-conscious, and and awe a deference sometimes that makes many veterans of my current generation of little bit uncomfortable. host: you brought up the "washington post" piece from yesterday on the issue. who is responsible for this divide? that piece points out the u.s. military, the way that they howl as active-duty members -- that they house active-duty members of the military could be part of the problem here. it notes that u.s. military bases are some of the most exclusive gated communities. more than a third live on base as with many more living just outside the wire --
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host: michael noonan, who do you think is sort of more at fault in creating a sort of divide? is it an equal share between civilians and the military? or is one side more at fault? guest: on that issue, certainly post-9/11, there was a feeling and a justified one, that there was an increased threat to military bases. so, some of the family housing areas are not the traditional -- areas. they are not as restrictive interface is as their -- they are in other places. on the one hand, there was probably a good reason to lock down some of the bases. you have things like fort dix six, bosniacs and others gaming
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who came to the united states and talked about an attack on fort dix. there was chatter that said these places might be prone for attack, but we probably took it too far. and we might want to think about starting to kind of throttle back on some of that. but one of the bigger problems is that, you know, the military in particular the army -- have these big mega-bases who are not traditionally big urban heavily populated areas. there is some rationale.
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we have to have access to training areas, ranges, and other things. and the cost of living and other expenses that you would have to pay if you had a place -- let's say, for instance, for hamilton in brooklyn. -- fort hamilton in brooklyn. if you were going to put a lot of active-duty -- active-duty troops there, it would be expensive. so the services have kind of factored in some of these costs. that is not to say that maybe there's a call to sort of put some of these active-duty places in the northeast and other places. the northeast right now, there is really only one big army base, fort drum in northern, norm or -- northern new york. there is not a lot of contact with active-duty military people. on the other hand, there are guard and reserve units all over the place. downtown, the big armory in manhattan, for instance, does show sort of a military base to -- military face to the public. it is not as much is probably they used to be. host: in their piece on that topic, they write --
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host: on twitter a viewer right in on the subject that -- the divide is that the military lives with sacrifice daily while many others today expect things given them for free. we are taking a tweets and calls. john from rio rancho, new mexico, on our line for democrats. caller: happy veterans day. for all you guys have done for the country. i would like to just think you -- to thank you for that. i think is so she'll-political -- the social-clinical divide, divide,ocial-political but it is not the military, but definitely between the -- the classes with the wealth divide between the rich and the poor. in new mexico, we see the
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soldiers as friends, and other people we know -- and there is really no divide between the civilians in the soldiers, because we have so many soldiers around, and we are thankful for them. but i think there is a huge geopolitical divide. what happened with world war ii is all the technology information -- in there somewhere but a lot of gray area. we want to feel like we are the good guys but in these wars in the middle east, we blame the politicians mostly because the people don't feel like we were the good guys in these wars. but we do not blame the soldier. thank you. host: michael noonan? guest: yeah, there's -- is there an economic --is economics contributing to that divide? -- host: is economics contributing to the divide? guest: the pay is not that bad, with allowances and other things.
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i guess the call is probably down the row where fort bliss is or some of the air force base's there, the there is a heavy military presence in new mexico and that aligns with what phil carter in generalbarnow talked about yesterday with open space. i would not want to speculate on the sociocultural -- so she'll- -- sociopolitical political argument the caller was arguing about. host: let's talk about fixing the divide going forward. what are your suggestions for narrowing that divide? guest: well, i wrote a piece back on memorial day where i was talking about -- it was open" u.s. news & world report" --one of the elements of the civil- military divide, a conflagration of veterans day today, supposed -- a conflation of veterans day
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be a, which is supposed to celebration of veterans for their service and patriotism and sacrifices, and memorial day, which is about those who made the ultimate sacrifice. and they are very different days. if you have known anybody who has passed away, memorial day is a very somber event. it is not just about going down to the beach for the weekend. there are a few ways that you can sort of narrow the gap a bit. one way would be for military and others to accept that there are other forms of service out there. things like teachers and municipal workers and others who are actually serving their community. true, it is not foot of the -- it is not the unlimited liability sense of service that the military does, and in certain cases, police and firemen do. but we need to expand the
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concept of service. and accept that not everyone has to be in the military. one of the issue is that -- issues is that less than one percent of the population has served in these wars in iraq and afghanistan and other places around the world since 9/11. i think phil and general barnow puts the number at 2.6 million people out of a population of over 300 million people. so it is a very small percentage of the people. we need to accept that, yes, we do volunteer. service is about serving. it is not about just sort of a lifetime of benefits afterwards. now, fellow veterans who have been injured, both physically and mentally, obviously the government needs to keep faith with those veterans and make whole the promises they made to them. on the other hand, veterans have the obligation -- there was an
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interesting piece yesterday that where the author talked about his experience. infantrymen veteran of iraq and he is a student at georgetown university and he talked about how after the first few years going to school there, he had this chip on his shoulder about being a veteran. then he came to the realization that he will both have it easier and harder in a sense man some former some of his classmates who have not served. the post second world war generation and others, when they came back from their service, they saw it as just one part of their lives. not something that needed to define the rest of their lives did so they went out and did things in their community. there are other forms of service. there are other organizations -- the mission continues, and others, it's really tries to bridge the divide working with
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civic and business organizations around the country tapping into veterans to make their communities better places to live in an too continues to serve. host: michael noonan, program on national security director at the foreign policy research institute and we are talking about the civil-military divide. taking your calls and comments. up next, eau claire, wisconsin. republican. clay, thanks for calling in. caller: i am a veteran who served in both afghanistan and iraq and i stand in solidarity with the experts demanded an investigation of why building seven fell on 9/11. as do so many other veterans. why aren't you or the magazine covering the scientific evidence proving building seven where -- host: we are talking about the civil-military divide with michael noonan. did you have a question on that topic?
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no? we will go to robert from frostburg, maryland, an independent and a veteran calling in this morning. robert, thanks for calling in. caller: thank you for answering my call. i am a vietnam veteran, and first of all, i thank the gentleman there that you have as a guest for his service. but the thing that disturbs me very much today is every single day, 22 american veterans commit suicide over their service in wars. we had four presidents -- dwight eisenhower warned about the military-industrial project -- complex. but the four presidents -- eisenhower, kennedy, gerald ford, and george h w bush, all served in world war ii.
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these men have a tremendous appreciation for the service of veterans. and kennedy, eisenhower, gerald ford did not work in vietnam and did not commit troops -- george h w bush went into iraq and came out out of respect for the troops. eisenhower warned about the military-industrial concerts. johnson, nixon, george bush ii, they gave into the military industrial complex. i have had four of my friends commit suicide over neglect of veterans. i reported to my congressman about the abuse of veterans in maryland. as a result of these men being
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abused, i have been blackballed in the v.a., because i did something that should have been done. host: mr. noonan, part of what he was talking about was the experience of actually going to war of u.s. leaders. pew research center put out a recent survey on veterans in congress. talked about this issue. number of veterans in congress, down to about 20 sent -- 20% today and both the house and the senate. does it contribute to the civil- military divide here? guest: first, i would like to thank robert for his service in vietnam. and i would like to say that the issue he raised about suicide is a very important one today. and the v.a. and other people really need to step up their
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game to help veterans coming back, particularly ones that have had a me -- have had mental scars from the service. the issue of veterans in congress, i think that is perhaps one part of it. there are veterans in congress today -- some, but obviously much fewer than the past. however, remember in the past, some of the people served -- we had the only period of peacetime construction -- conscription and -- in the united states, the end of the korean war until 1964-1965, whenever you want to count the beginning of the vietnam war. there were a lot of of the people who served and therefore served in congress. so, putting that up as a match metric was one way of perhaps exacerbating the civil-military divide further almost because it
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would kind of disproportionately represented veterans in politics. i don't think that there is any negative thing of former veterans and serving, but i think we need to be careful about sending a message that somehow people that served in uniform are somehow better than their fellow servant -- the citizens of serving in congress. fellower than their citizens at serving in congress. now, that being said, yes, obviously something needs to be happening -- i am sorry to hear about robert's experience in the v.a. but there are issues in the v.a. that really need to be fixed. and really needs to provide better service to veterans of all conflicts. not just the most recent cohort of veterans. host: veterans' mental health issues and the issue of the v.a., those are important subjects we will get into a little bit later in the show when we have tom tarantino on with iraq and afghanistan veterans in america, coming up that 8:45.
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we are talking about the civil- military divide with michael noonan of the foreign policy institute. he has written on the subject. a veteran himself. joshua says on twitter, talking about the history of the civil- military divide, he said it started in the 1990s. does he go back farther in u.s. history? guest: i didn't say it goes back just to the 1990's. there has always been some kind of divide. i think it gets exacerbated during conflicts. you have things like the draft riots in new york. it has always been around. it goes back to plato talking about guardians and people they protect. there always is this divide.
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usually contentious periods of -- particularly contentious conflicts tend to exacerbate that risk, or particularly contentious time frames of politics. host: a veteran on a line for democrats. ted. good morning caller: i would like to say all veterans, let's have a happy day. let's think about all the people we served with. let's try to keep the conversation civil. i have been around the world and had a great time. i was a civil air force engineer. this was 1978, active in the reserves. that was from 1985-90. never fired a shot in anger but spent all kinds of time training. i just feel that there is a civilian military divide. in my generation, guys that i know, you'll see them with dog
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tags hanging off the rearview mirror of their pickup. i would ask where you can get them. "you can buy them from a magazine." something like that. i refer to them as the woulda, coulda, shoulda guys. i find that quite ironic. i think back to this guy's generation. i think of w and mr. cheney. i think of -- it's ironic when mr. cheney in college on a deferment a could not find his courage during vietnam but he could find his courage to send men like your speaker to a shooting war. i just like to say to all people
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involved. i get my health care at the v.a. i was a plumber in the air force. i am a union plumber today. i find that i have done lots of work on the civilian side, hospitals versus the v.a. when the v.a., makes a mistake they put it on the front page of the paper. when a civilian hospital makes a mistake, they cover it up. i encourage all veterans to use your v.a. health care. it is very good. i have no complaints. have a nice day. host: i will let you respond. guest: thank you for your service during the cold war. it is not just about people who served in hot wars but also served the country in other ways during that time. the callers talk about
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politicians. somebody on the other side of the aisle could bring up counter examples to that. i do want to get into a sort of back and forth about that issue. we will say that when you join the military, you take an oath to support and defend the constitution and those civilian leaders who are elected and appointed above you. we do not get to make the choices of where we go and do not go. this was a contentious issue a few months back. in the run-up to talk about using force in syria, a retired general wrote a piece in "the washington post talking about relaying comments from people and how they did not want to use force in syria and that is a problem. we do not get to decide and that is the way it is in our system of government. his point about the v.a. does
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good things as well. we should not shirk from calling them out when bad things happen. that does happen in other health care providers, not in the v.a. system as well. host: do those comments, does that relate to your comments when you wrote in your piece that veterans should be treated with respect by not absolute deference and awe? guest: there was a book a few years ago about civilian- controlled military and civilian commands and talked about the military, those who serve in the military have one viable -- valuable perspective and can sometimes make mistakes.
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it is not a definitive perspective. he talks about the second world war, where the joint chiefs wanted to launch the invasion of europe much earlier. fdr said no. that we are going to work her -- worked our way up to that. that was the right call in the end. it probably would have been a disaster had we tried to invade france in 1943. the military has an important perspective. they know about those who served with them but they do not have the only perspective and don't always have a monopoly on good strategic sense. host: michael noonan is with the foreign policy research institute. explain what the institute is. guest: a nonprofit independent think tank. it was started in 1955 at the university of pennsylvania that we split off in 1970 as part of
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the vietnam war. we did research education on foreign and defense policy issues. we do not conduct any classified research. we are an open source research institute. host: if you want to learn more about the foreign policy research institute, and you can follow it on twitter. on the subject of the "serving or servicing the civil-military divide, edwin writes in on twitter. we will go to elsie on the phone from jacksonville, alabama. good morning, elsie. caller: good morning and happy veterans day. birmingham claims to have one of the oldest veterans day parades in the country. before the veterans day, we had
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armistice day. we had a parade when i was a child and that was quite a few years ago. i was a military wife. my husband was in the military before world war ii started. mr. noonan was talking about fort drummond, new york. my husband was stationed at the philippine islands and that is where he was when world war ii started. the towns that we lived in really supported the military. they were glad to have them there. for most of my life when we were in the service, we did live in areas that were very welcoming to the military. but i will say when we were in the military and lived on the bases, everybody supported each
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other. our husbands were gone a good bit. if you had an emergency, you always had friends you could call. everybody help each other. i had children that were hospitalized. i had to stay at the hospital with them. we had to stay 24 hours a day with them. my friends kept my other children. it is a different life altogether. we moved to alabama when my husband retired. we moved to an area that was military installation. it was closed about 10 years ago, which made a lot of difference in the economy of our little town here. but we enjoyed being in the military. we got to do things, my children were exposed to things, they had things going on about the space program. we got to go out and see things about that. they were exposed to a lot of things that people who lived off
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the base were not exposed to. now, he was talking a few minutes about drones. my husband was in a drone squadron in new mexico in 1957. he was an aircraft mechanic. we are supporting. wherestill live in areas there is military and we are supported. big installations, the towns. i am sure it is different. host: thank you for calling in. robert is next from indianapolis, a veteran this morning. thank you for calling in. caller: thank you for taking my call. it seemed like the divide is a result of the political climate at the time. i grew up in the vietnam area and i saw the way those guys were treated.
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the counterculture was in the school and every campus had various protests. now that counterculture is the leadership of the democratic party and most of the media. all they have done is project that style of thinking to the wars they do not agree with. when i came home from the gulf war, i was treated fantastic by my local community when i came home from the gulf war. years later the community itself was supportive. in lexington, around the campus, people were awful. it is basically an affront to the political climate at the time and whatever the popular culture is pushing. host: i will you jump in on that comment. guest: i would say about vietnam, the counterculture backs off when the draft ended. once they were not threatened by having to go serve, a kind of
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-- it kind of deflated the issue for the counterculture. there were still people opposed to the war. some of the edge probably came off of it. just about the partisan tone of things. president obama went for -- >> you can see washington journal every day beginning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. on this veterans day, we have a live picture of arlington national cemetery in the far distance there as we look across the bridge from the district of columbia. it was here that the nation saw on tv for the first time the state funeral of a president, the funeral for president kennedy took place on monday, november 25th, 19 63. this is the tomb of the unknown soldier and in just a couple of moments, president obama will arrive to place a wreath at the
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tomb of the unknown. the ceremony is just getting underway now. [gunfire]
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[beating drum]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, president obama has arrived. the honorable eric k. shinseki, secretary of veterans affairs, and spouse, mrs. patricia shin seki. and,atrick j powell
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executive director of the army nationalsaid -- army program and his spouse, doreen helen. the star harold fritz, national president of the congressional medal of honor society of the united states of america. , jeffrey mettsal buchanan, commanding general of the united states army, military district of washington, and his spouse, mrs. laura buchanan.
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[national anthem] ♪
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and eautiful ♪he him
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in him and him and welcome major world jeffrey you can,
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commanding general, united states. mr. hetrick -- patrick, national cemeteries director. nationald ritz, president for the congressional medal honor society for the united states of america. and the honorable eric k. shinseki, secretary of veterans affairs. [applause]
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ladies and gentlemen, that president of the the united states. [applause] chief ♪ tehe gentlemen these , please placeg your hand over your heart, or render the salute.
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anthem ♪
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national emblem march ♪
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please remain standing for the prayer for all veterans. >> let us pray. veterani am an american , and ever with your grace and your strength to guide me, i have sacrificed for you and country.
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and you have made my heritage long, and proud. for i shivered that cold winter valley forge, and am and my blood, i american veteran. i came to france in the war to end all wars, i am an american veteran. i was there on that day of infamy, stormed the beaches of normandy, and i scaled the cliffs. on eyelid after island, and i raised the flag. i am an american veteran. i was there with macarthur in korea, and in the jungles of vietnam, i was there in desert , in theraq, and today
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mountains of afghanistan, and i remain ready to pledge my all, for i am my brothers and sisters keeper. american veteran, and humbly i beseech the to hearken to my prayer, and make haste to justice, freedom, and peace among men and women and nations. for this we humbly pray, amen. >> now i would like to invite mr. harold fritz to lead us in our pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god,
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indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. please be seated. it is now my distinct privilege to introduce the members of the veterans day national committee. was formed by presidential order in 1954, to hand -- hold an annual observance throughout the nation. please stand when i call your name. president,z, national congressional matter on our society -- medal honor societ. y.
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norbert ryan junior. korean war veteran associations. the national commander of the g.i. forms. commander of the jewish war veterans of the usa. commander of the x srisoners of war -- exprisoner of war. national president of the vietnam veterans of america. chief of the foreign wars of the united states. president, blinded president -- veterans association.
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national commander,, or -- army and navy union of the usa. national commander, non- commissioned officers association. national vice commander of the american legion. commander, military order of the purple heart. president of the reserve association. national commandant, green core corps president, paralyzed veterans of america. commander, legion of valor, of the usa.
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chief, military order of the world wars. cochairman of the board, national association of fallen services. the retired and endless and see if she should -- enlisted association. i would like to ask the president and national commanders to stand and be recognized. please join me in recognizing our veterans and national leadership with your applause. [applause] it is now my pleasure to introduce our veterans organization host, the congressional matter of honor society. it was established in 1946, and
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was limited to the veins of the neville honor, the nation's highest award for gallantry in combat. today there are 78 living recipients of the medal of honor. the society is represented today by their national president, harold fritz. ofwas awarded the medal honor for displaying extraordinary courage and selflessness while serving as a platoon leader in the united states army in the republic of vietnam in 1969. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome mr. harold fritz. [applause] >> president obama, vice president biden, secretary ,agel, secretary shinseki
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fellow veterans, and guests. of theident congressional medal of honor society, representing 78 of our nations'recipient, it is my represent all of those who have sacralized in the name of freedom. together, we have made a difference, it is because of the continued efforts of our veterans, old with the support of our people, that the fund ocean -- the foundation of our countries resolve continues to be rocksolid, and allow the nations around the world to enjoy a bit of -- enjoy freedom. have displayed unquestionable. ravery while
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serving this nation. within the breast of each of these patriots swelled a level of peace and compassion for their fellow man. withoutt maintain peace a viable deterrent to war. unitedricans must stand for our men and women in uniform. let us stand proudly, and never forget the sacrifice of those who have served, those standing amongst us, and those who have fallen in the line of duty. let us constantly be reminded of the importance of this very precious commodity we call freedom, and the very high price st pay to maintain it.
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the men and women it remembers. tonk you, and best wishes each and every one of you. to the veterans doesn't, thank you for your service and sacrifice, to the families of the veterans, thank you for your everlasting support, may the sacrifices of your departed lay once -- l;oved once never be forgotten. for your ultimate sacrifice and gift of freedom to us. god bless america. [applause] >> thank you mr. fritz. please welcome the honorable mr. eric k. shinseki. [applause] mr. president, welcome.
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thank you and the first lady, and the vice resident -- p resident for your leadership and unwavering support for their veterans -- the veterans and their families. veterans day is about celebrating and honoring our veterans who have given so much of the rest of us. on those occasions when people ask me about values, i often budgets, and va's suggest that veterans day is not just a one-day and gear that -- a year event. it should be every day, every year. they get it. that is what is reflected in those annual budget requests for the ba -- va.
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a commitment of every day, of every year for our veterans. honor-- medal of recipient harold fritz, we thank you. welcome to our other veterans service and military service organizations, who are important to our mission. welcome especially to all of our veterans, their families, and our old star families, our survivors, who are gathered here today. it is wonderful to see all of you. pelosi,ic leader nancy other distinct members of the congress, secretary chuck hagel, vice chairman, other members of leadership,
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colleagues, distinguished guests , ladies and gentlemen. the leaders of ennedgreat nation and -- p the magnificent words that would become in time both vision and conscious for a fledgling democracy. you have all heard them. we hold these truths self- evident, that all men are created equal, that they are by theirith their -- creator with certain unalienable rights come a that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. the centuries since these often quoted words became society, each our
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toeration has done its part pass a strong and free america to the next generation. obamaonth president awarded the medal of honor for gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. intenseix hours of combat, the captain did everything expected of leaders, and then more. keeping his ambushed unit fighting effectively, directing all available fire as he evacuated the wounded, and repeatedly risking his personal woundedo retrieve soldiers, fallen comrades. determination, decisiveness, personal toughness, calm under
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fire, a willingness to risk it all for others. he would tell you there are many more heroes from that day. the president understands what the recipients of america -- the medal of honor mean to america. he values the service and sacrifice of all of the veterans to our nation. that is why he has provided such strong personal leadership and unwavering support for this department, and for veterans. vth the help of august, the a's budgets have increased. we have seen the increase of resources by 50%, and this is what we bring to the mission. we have enrolled 2 million more healthcare. va
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veterans could not ask for a stronger advocate that our president. ladies and gentlemen, it is my great personal and professional honor to present to you our commander-in-chief, the president of the united states of america, barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. please be seated. good morning, everyone. , ork you secretary shinseki your lifetime of service to our nation.
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two vice president biden, and secretary hagel, major general buchanan, most of all to our outstanding veterans service organizations, our men and women in uniform, and to the proud veterans and family members joining us in this sacred place, michelle and i are incredibly honored to be with you today again. andhe gold star families, the brothers and sisters in arms who walked the paths of these hallowed grounds and cemeteries asund the world, we join you you remember your loved ones who wore america's uniform. we havearlington, ensured that you can bring the
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medals of your loved ones to the final resting place. we honor the troops who have rendered the highest service a can render this nation. those who fought for our freedom, and stood for our freedom -- our security. solemn remembrance in veterans halls, and parades throughout america, we join as one people to honor a debt we can never fully repay. , thereevery generation are those that stand apart, they step up, they raise their hands when they take that oath, they put on the uniform and would their lives on the line. they do this so that the rest of us might live in a country and a world that is safer, freer, and more just.
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this is the guest they have have given gift they us, this is the debt that we owe them. they fought on the green in lexington so that we could make independence.-- they fought in gettysburg so that we could make whole eight nation 4s under -- a nation torn asunder. we have emerged the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. this year we mark the 60th anniversary of the fighting of the korean war, and we honor them who served. jungles of vietnam, to desert storm, they have answered america's call. was attacked on that clear september morning, millions more have assumed that
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mantle, defining one of the greatest generations this country has ever produced. 9/11 generation, the generation has met every mission we have asked of them, and today we can say because of their her theirrvice, 0-- heroic service, our homeland is safer. soldier i met a few months , deployed to iraq twice, and --vived not one but two excuse me, three separate ied explosions. when she was well enough, she deployed again, where she was
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often the only woman in our forward operating bases. she proudly wears the combat action badge, and today she is committed to helping other wanted warriors recover from the trials of war. helping the troops, she said, is what i am all about. my fellow americans, that is what we should be all about. our work is more urgent than ever, because this chapter of war is coming to an end. soon one of the first marines to arrive in afghanistan 12 years , will lead his marines as they become one of the last major groups of marines deployed in this war. over the coming months more of our troops will come home. this winter our troop levels in afghanistan will be down to 34,000, and the transition to
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afghan led security will be almost complete. the long war in history will end. [applause] as is true after every conflict, there is a risk that the devoted service of our veterans would not stay in the forefront of our minds, that we would turn to other things. part of the reason we are here today is to pledge that we will never forget the profound sacrifices that our name -- made in our name. we are reminded of our sacred obligations. even though this time of war is coming to a close, our time of service to our newest veterans has only just begun. it, our troops where
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for only a uniform short time, but they wear the title of veterans for the rest of their lives. as a nation, we make sure we have the best led, most trained, best equipped military in the world. we need to make sure we have as care,assion for the best the best respected veterans in the world. [applause] so when we talk about the filling our promises to our veterans, we do not just mean for a few years. we need now, tomorrow, and forever. not just for generations pass, but for this generation of veterans and all who will follow.
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that is why as commander-in- chief, i will keep making sure we are providing unprecedented support for veterans. [applause] even as we make difficult fiscal choices as a nation, we will keep making vital investment in our veterans. veteranseep improving health care, so they can stay strong. we want to make sure that the veterans not covered by the va can acquire affordable health insurance. backlog, so at the that you can get what you have earned when you need it. [applause] we are going to keep helping our newest veterans and their families pursue their education, under the post-9/11 g.i. bill. our onewelcomed
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millionth student veteran, and we are waiting for all of those who will come next. we'll keep demanding that the rights and dignity of every veteran is upheld, including pushing forward disability treaties, so that disabled veterans enjoy the same opportunities as everyone else. [applause] and, with the help of michelle and joe biden joining forces, we will keep fighting to get every veteran the chance to pursue the american dream, a fair shot at the jobs and opportunity you need to helpless regrowth here at home -- to help us regrow here at home. start company's, serve your communities, and serve your fellow veterans. promise, to be
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there, to support you when you come home. as a nation we will strive to be worthy of the sacrifices you have made. that is what we owe all of our veterans. veteranshat we owe like richard, who served in the army in world war ii. he was there -- [applause] i want to know -- you to know something about him, he was
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there at pearl harbor when the battleships were still smoldering, he was there at okinawa, he was there at you a wa jima.i nationed home to a utterly divided by race, and his service on the battlefield was not matched by the respect he with that he deserved at home, but he held his head high. he carried on with honor and dignity, he built a house with his own two hands, he went back to work in the furniture business, and in time he served as a courier in the texas state capitol where he worked for for governors and made more friends than most of us do in a lifetime. today he still lives in the house he built so many years he drivesvery sunday
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one of the nice ladies in his neighborhood to church. [applause] this is the life of one american veteran, living proud and strong in the land that he helped keep free. earlier this year, the great honor flight boston brought him to washington and he paid his respects at the world war ii memorial. the he paid his respects at martin luther king jr. memorial, and as he sat under that statute, he wept and the others around him wept too. iny bore witness to the day the nation he thought would never come. this american veteran is 107 years old.
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and we are honored that is he -- that he is here with us today. stand with us, because he cannot. [applause] this is how we will be judged. r our troops in battle, but how we treat them when they come home, and by the america we build together. what we do with the superior -- security and peace they helped to grant us. they played their part in the american story.
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today our message to all of those who have ever worn the uniform of this nation is this, we will stand by your side whether your seven days out, or your 70 years out. here in america we take care of our own. the sacrifice has been made in our name, for this nation that we love, and we commit ourselves to standing by these veterans and their families for as long as we are blessed to walk this earth. god bless you all, god lets our our veterans,less and god bless this united states of america. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please
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stand and join the united states air force band in singing god bless america. america, land that i love. guide her,e her, and theugh the night, wit hthh light from above. he mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white god bless america, my
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home sweet home. my home sweetica, home. ♪ god bless america, land that i love. and guide her,r, through the night with the light from above. from the mountains, to the oceans, whitehe with foam. blessts america --
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america, my home sweet home. america, my home sweet home. ♪ [applause] ladies and gentlemen please remain standing as we retire the colors. retire the colors. emblem march ♪
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nationaloncludes the veterans observance. please be seated for the departure and -- of the president of the united states. thank you for honoring all of those who served. [applause]
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stripes ♪
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>> the first of two commemoration covering this veterans day. this afternoon the service of the world war ii memorial.
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at 1:00 eastern, remarks from charles schwab at the national press club talking about retirement issues. live coverage at 1:00 eastern here on c-span. congress is not in session today in recognition of the veteran state holiday. both chambers will return tomorrow at 2:00 eastern with the house will consider a series of suspension bills. in the senate, time set aside for general speeches in the senate will debate a judicial domination followed by a procedural vote. it is also possible the senate could hold a procedural vote on a bill