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tv   Washington Journal Washington Journal  CSPAN  August 16, 2021 5:44pm-6:22pm EDT

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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> c-span's washington journal, every day we take your calls live on the air on the news of the day and we discussed policy issues that impact you. tuesday morning, we will discuss the fall of afghanistan with wesley morgan, military journalist and author of "the hardest place: the american military adrift in afghanistan." watch washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages, and tweets. >> even more on the situation in afghanistan, one of the authors of this op-ed, h.r. mcmaster,
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former white house national security advisor from 2017 to 2018. just a little of what he wrote. pundits repeat the mantra there is no military solution in afghanistan. the taliban seemed to have come up with one on their own. self-styled strategists in washington rationalize the withdrawal as necessary to focus on china, but the refusal to provide the afghan people with the support necessary to stem a humanitarian catastrophe emboldens china and russia and other adversaries eager to proclaim the u.s. an unreliable power and declining power. calls from afghanistan -- calls from washington urged afghanistan to fight harder, but that insults the tens of thousands of afghans who made the ultimate sacrifice and underscores the psychological blow of our abandonment. about 30 minutes left in today's washington journal. journal.
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in about 30 minutes, we will take you to a u.s. security council meeting on development in afghanistan live here on c-span and we want you to keep calling into answer this question. what did the war in afghanistan mean? for republicans, (202) 748-8001. democrats, (202) 748-8000. independents, (202) 748-8002. and that special line for afghanistan veterans, (202) 748-8003. as you continue to call in, we talked earlier in our program with a senior pentagon correspondent about the situation this morning in afghanistan. it is still changing, but this is what she had to say in our interview. we want to bring in tariq cop, a senior pentagon correspondent. thanks for joining us on a busy morning at the pentagon. can you give us the latest on the situation on the ground as you understand it? how many u.s. personnel remain
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on the ground? how much longer does the u.s. military need to evacuate not just u.s. personnel but as many afghan allies as are allowed to join and get out? ? caller: thank you for having me. several hundred have been evacuated. we hand -- we have seen and heard of -- we are all checking on that to ensure the number is correct. this is some thing i have never seen before. usually when you see villa terry aircraft on ramps it is a pristine, secure area -- military aircraft on ramps, it is a pristine, secure area.
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hundreds of young men chasing after u.s. military airplanes and trying to take off. today, i will be back at the pentagon. we will ask about that airlift, flying 6000 troops to secure the evacuation as more and more afghans flee toward the airport, seeing that as their last hope to get out of the country. host: one flight had 800 people on it. what is the usual number that can fit on one of those planes you're talking about that had 800 people on it? guest: we have to verify the 800-number, but multiple sources told me it is close to that. it is not the first time. it is a huge cargo airplane. it can be configured as many fact for cargo. in this situation, it was lines of people lying on the floor,
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holding on and taking off that way. they also did hurricane evacuation a couple years ago with less people but not many less. the story that is unfolding here, the heartbreak of the afghans trying to leave and the efforts by the military going on to secure and get people out. host: when are we expected to hear from secretary austin or the joint chiefs chairman? guest: when are we going to hear from the president? they do not go out until the president does because those messages are coordinated. host: when you get a chance to talk to president biden or the defense secretary, what are you going to ask? guest: what happened?
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we have been reporting on stories about military training, what led to the collapse of the afghan army. in the last couple weeks, what happened in the white house behind the scenes? did they think it would unfold this quickly, that kabul would unfold this fast? it is always a matter of time to get aircraft and come in to get personnel in. clearly we were caught flat-footed at kabul airport. host: you have spent 83 billion dollars training afghan forces. why did they collapse so quickly? can you speak about the amount of equipment being left behind or that may have fallen into taliban hands in the past week or so? guest: at this point, we can say all of it has fallen under taliban control.
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a caller raised a good point. a veteran i was talking to yesterday had been there five years, an army veteran. they emphasized that we never really got the tribal system. we did try to build an army in our own image, a centralized army with national control and leadership structure where paychex would flow and it never took into account all the various steps and the power tribes have. he was speculating because he is no longer there that a lot of this probably happened intertribal. people probably blended back in with their tribes and regions. sadly, he is sure we are going to go back. if we are going to ever repeat this kind of large-scale training again, it seems like a
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deep after action needs to be done on understanding where this failed. host: how are you doing your job amid the chaos we are seeing and videos coming up from the airport? you mentioned to the scene of afghans chasing american military planes. who are you in touch with on the ground? guest: i have been covering veterans for a long time and talking to a lot of them over the last few hours. some served in the air force, some served with the army. just getting their thoughts and seeing where i should go next to look. all of us are going to be watching how many people are able to get out of kabul successfully. at that point, will the u.s. military stay at the airport to keep it open for allies?
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how long will there be u.s. personnel on the ground? at what point will the taliban lose patience and attacked the airport? to ensure u.s. personnel and civilians that we have pledged to take care of will be able to get out securely. this is changing so quickly. you just do not know what is going to happen next. host: we will let you get to the pentagon and continue with your reporting today. you can see her work online. back to your phone calls, about 25 minutes left in the washington journal this morning asking you what to the war in afghanistan mean? and holding a special line open for veterans of the war in afghanistan. roberto calling in on that line from fairfax county, virginia. where and when did you serve in afghanistan? caller: thank you for having me
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on. this is a disappointment but not a shock or surprise to anyone that served their or was part of the staff at the central command, which i was part of for six years. and help develop or plans for central command, which includes iraq and syria. host: what was the war plan endgame? caller: as he recalled in some of your -- and some of your callers have talked about, we were looking to withdraw back in the obama administration. that was turned off at the last minute when a deal was struck between the administration and the afghan government because they knew then as soon as we withdrew their would likely be a
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collapse of the government, much to the dismay of all the money and blood and sweat that was lost their over the previous 10 years. this is not a surprise. we have known the afghan government was not capable of securing itself. it has been known throughout leadership, but they denied the obvious and we take an unrealistic approach. we think of other countries as monolithic and similar to our own and our leadership at the highest levels makes these assumptions on plans that the country we will be supporting will act the same way we would act if the tables were turned, that they will accept the same concepts and structure that we
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have accepted in this country without regards to their history. we assume all those things away while we do our planning, so what is a shame is the speed of -- the lack of speed when it came to this withdrawal. we should have planned as we planned to invade, which was with the shock and all --a awe. we can plan and invade a country within 24 hours. what we cannot seem to do is the reverse. that is because of our nature for a variety of reasons. host: you said you had a sense of inevitability about this, that you knew this was coming. was it just you who felt that way? what about the higher ups at central command?
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caller: they do but they are part of the leadership. a four-star is a political position, appointed. you answer to the president of the united states, who has an agenda and you do not tell the boss you are wrong. especially in the military, where it is a can-do attitude. they say, we have to do this, and the answer by even most senior four-star's is we will get it done. and they passed that order through the ranks. people who do the planning like myself, we worked tirelessly to come up with a strategy that will work with the things we are given. when we recognize issues, we pass those of the chain but a lot of times those get watered down. they go through joint staff
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review, office of the secretary of defense. before that gets to the white house, it has taken on a different tone. words get changed. intent gets changed. the message gets watered down. that is how you get from a coolie -- complete collapse within weeks. the intelligence agencies will say maybe we have a higher confidence it will last a few more weeks or more months and the brief the guest to the president will be you have months before collapse. host: in the time that you were there -- you said it was six years at central command. the time you were there, what was the closest you were to winning? caller: that is a loaded question. winning what? we defeated the taliban within a few months of invading with
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special forces. it took us a while to find bin laden because he was not in afghanistan. he was hiding in pakistan. we won the war, if you want to call it a war, against al qaeda. probably within the first two or three years of being in afghanistan. what happened is we developed mission creep and started to rebuild, to look at redeveloping afghanistan, moving it away from creating opioids to doing agriculture. we tried to create a centralized government after our own with all power at the capital. we realized the tribal elements were never going to be on board with that. we won a long time ago. this is just a closing of a sad
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chapter over a decade-long attempt to do things in afghanistan that were never truly possible. host: thanks for the call from fairfax, virginia. a few callers sending us text messages as well. bonnie san, explain how this is possible. you're telling me a gang of people called the taliban are able to take over a country we have been protecting for 20 years within a matter of weeks? this is jody saying trying to find peace through war is getting old with americans, from vietnam to afghanistan. we go to war so easily -- will be go to war so easily in the future? bobby saying, we did not invade afghanistan to give western culture rights to women. the ways of the taliban did not matter to the u.s. when they were fighting against russians with u.s. support.
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comments including the news about the flight of the president of afghanistan from the country yesterday, reporting now he is likely to end up in the united states, though it is not clear when that might happen. sharon is next in kansas, democrat. caller: thank you. we stayed there too long. we stayed long enough for the world to see how america treats women and minorities. we stay long enough for our future president to brag about how he grabs them in their private parts against their will and then we elected him. we stayed long enough to see how they treated george floyd and tamia rice and all the others, government representatives doing that to people of color. they recognize they are people of color. at least the taliban is honest about their beliefs. it is a sad state come up with
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the world sees our hypocrisy -- sad state, but the world sees our hypocrisy. the afghan soldiers chose to return to what they know. we need to spend our money and time cleaning up our own act for equality for all people here in america so the world can see that. we are still allowing the waiving of nazi flags and confederate flags and glorifying people who tried to overthrow our government in favor of enslavement. it is no wonder the afghan people picked the devil they know. host: this is robert in michigan, independent. good morning. caller: thank you for having us on. i have one question. this is my main question.
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why did our previous president -- i cannot even say his name. communicated with the taliban instead of the president himself of afghanistan. why was he in communication with the taliban saying we are going to pull out on may 1 and stuff like that? i am old enough to know what happened in vietnam at the fall of saigon and everything. i am a four-year veteran, air force. it is as gutwrenching as january 6. i cannot get over what i saw in january 6. i feel bad for biden. he has a lot on his shoulders. what is going to happen now is china's going to go into afghanistan and take over the whole region as far as the
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precious metals and stuff so they can carry on with whatever they are doing. do not forget when has returned china, russia, and iran are in south america as we speak. they are setting up things in south america which is forcing people to come through our land, through the southern border. host: this is deborah in pennsylvania, republican. are you with us? to mike on that line for republicans. caller: good morning. i am sitting here listening to this. i had to drop my breakfast. i cannot believe the things i am hearing. i appreciate people coming to say this is unnecessary.
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it has been a waste of time. i do not know if you are familiar with the book the israel lobby. between 2002 and 2006, we canceled 42 your -- u.n. security resolutions that were critical of israel. you have tweets talking but how this is a shame, the other half blaming it on the tribes. the only tribes we need to worry about are the 12 tribes. host: this is irving in winter haven, florida. caller: first i would like to praise the lady that spoke regarding let's spend the money taking care of things that need to be done here in our country. second, the other gentlemen that was in afghanistan, i believe in the planning department who had a lot to say, he was on point on many issues and probably should be hired as an advisor or
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analyst because he was quite knowledgeable about what you said and truthful. when i wanted to say was observing what happened this week in afghanistan brought back memories of when i served during vietnam. i was in germany and the european theater. but the similarities, the fact we spent all this money training a military and creating a centralized government and then at the end, when we left front to their own devices, as soon as the north vietnamese decided, it started a domino effect. next thing you know, we were shocked to see how quickly they took over all of south vietnam. and then the struggle and rush
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to have people evacuated brought memories about the helicopter on top of the embassy building evacuating people. i look at this and it brings back all those memories. as soon as we left, the taliban came in and took over the country again. it goes to the point that we spent all this money training and army, but the armies themselves were not really motivated to defend the country they were trained for. when we left, the morel dropped and they were like, i am not going to get my head chopped off. they just gave in. he goes to the point that we should have gotten in there to get osama bin laden. we did. then we needed to get out.
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host: just a few minutes left in our program, a lot of calls waiting to get in. we will go to henry in new york city. independent. caller: you are doing good work this morning. i wanted to talk about accountability. i have been listening to this program and i do not recall anyone talking about accountability. i called c-span on may 13 and 2018. what prompted me to call that morning was president bush had given a speech to the atlantic council in which he quoted winston churchill. the quote is america's indispensable for the world. the price of greatness is responsibility. president bush agreed with winston churchill. i would like to put before the audience and you, where is the accountability here for this 20 year long debacle?
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kabul has fallen, like saigon. does anyone think there will be a congressional or senate commission to look into the origins of this? we know some of the origins. a gentleman in texas called earlier. it was based on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. if we had not gone into iraq, we probably would not have gone into afghanistan and here we are 20 years later with this debacle on our hands. i am wondering if there is going to be accountability for these folks. they make these decisions, spend lots of money, blood, and treasure, and there is never accountability. there is a book published in the early to thousands by an author that gives a good insight into the mentality of islam
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extremists -- extremists. if anyone is interested, they should read it, the swallows of kabul. i would like to see accountability start with former president bush. host: that is henry out of new york city. about five minutes left this morning. i want to update viewers on where we are going on the c-span at work today. after this program, over to the un security council meeting on developments in afghanistan, that meeting called yesterday in light of the events of the fall of kabul. that will begin on c-span. we are expecting a briefing from the state department. plenty of questions will be asked there when it comes to afghanistan. also, the defense department briefing scheduled today at 2:30 p.m., available at stay with c-span networks through the day as we update you
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on the unfolding situation. we have spent three hours this morning taking your phone calls, asking what the war in afghanistan means. we will take the calls through the end of this program. janet in louisiana, democrat. go ahead. caller: hello? ok. to begin with, afghanistan did not bomb new york city. saudi arabia did. osama bin laden was a saudi arabian and so were the pilots who flew those airplanes in new york city and bombed the buildings. bin laden was killed in pakistan by us and that should be enough. the taliban is composed mainly of young males who are religiously motivated, trying to
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keep the peace in their country, rightly or wrongly. it is their problem, not ours. host: would you describe it as trying to keep the peace, what they are doing their? -- there? caller: the taliban is trying to keep the peace in their country, rightly or wrongly. host: why do you use that term, trying to keep the peace? do you think that is what they have been doing the past 20 years? caller: yes. they were mostly young men. they were educated young men who were regularly motivated trying to keep religiously the peace in their country. host: in louisiana, ginger, republican.
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caller: there have been a lot of good points made today. i do not know what that was. the retreats were hasty. i do not understand why all that equipment was left behind for the taliban because they have it , drones, helicopters, airplanes, tanks, more guns then you could shake a stick at. why that was all just left behind, why american reporters and their families were left behind, it seems weird. we all know that obama was shipping them pallets of money, the taliban. we all know that obama was negotiating with terrorists. he was letting these guys go.
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these guys have made videos bragging about it. host: you think would happen in afghanistan yesterday was the fault of barack obama -- what happened in afghanistan yesterday was the fault of barack obama? caller: i do not. during his reign, joe biden was involved. it is the same thing over and over with him. host: you talk about negotiating with the taliban. the trump administration -- caller: he said things he tells every country. you get what you get. that is what trump does. do you think trump would have released terrorists out of gitmo? absolutely not. i would never think that. trump does not do things like that. he just tells people like it is. you get what you get. there is no proof, no video, no
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anything that he has ever negotiated with terrorists, let alone send pallets of money. host: we will go to alicia. good morning. caller: hello, america. i would like to say that joe biden has been in their -- there in congress so long. how could he have botched this so badly? instead, he is pointing at the former president. i know a lot of people -- the fact that we are leaving afghans behind. however, what did we do with the kurds?
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they were our friends too. they helped us. we left them. also, i would like to say that i hope you people do not blame the military. i am talking about the foot soldiers. i think they did a good job. they were told what to do and did a good job. however, the top people, i do not think they directed them in the correct way. when it first started with bush, my friend who went over there to iraq, it was impossible to furnish anything for any of the troops.
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not only for her brand, but they all kept coming to her tent to get things. host: time for maybe just one or two more calls. the u.n. security council meeting is about to get underway. individual member delegations having the security council meeting. we will hear from someone in south carolina, an independent. go ahead. caller: thanks, john. thanks for taking my call. i just want to say first in terms of our troops who served, under command, all my thoughts go out to them. it should fall back on the politicians and the presidents on the failures. i remember the night they aired something on hbo. neither one of these wars, iraq or afghanistan, should have ever
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taken place. and all of the americans and civilians of those two countries who lost their lives, i just feel so for them. but america has got to do better. i mean, we cannot go in wars under false pretense and kill people and our own and think we have done something glorified. this has not been a glorified 20 years in afghanistan or iraq. it has been a sad 20 years altogether. what makes it so sad is it was all unnecessary. thank you, john, for taking my call. host: jean in detroit, michigan, democrat, good morning. caller: hi. i just wanted to quickly say i did some research and found out the war was unnecessary in that
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the united states was bombing afghanistan, trying to get the taliban to turn over osama bin laden. the taliban offered to turn over osama bin laden if we would stop the bombing. bush and rumsfeld both said no, and then we went to war. just like we did, made up the excuse for going into iraq. there is a price to pay. war should be a last resort. host: you recently did some research. where did you do some research? caller: online. i vaguely remember because i was following all of this after 9/11, but i looked online and saw it in a newspaper article also. don't ask me what newspaper it was. host: maybe time for one more call as we wait for this morning's security council meeting to get underway. u.n. ambassador linda
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thomas-greenfield is in the room as well as the secretary-general. but have not started yet. we will hear from sandra in new orleans, republican. go ahead. caller: ok. i would like to say to everyone who has called in about war, that america started wars, america, the united states did with the revolutionary war. we took over the native americans's lands. we have done a lot of sins, but it is stupid to think this world or the united states of america will have peace. there is always going to be wars. the other thing in afghanistan, they gave us intelligence about iran, china, russia, and so many of our other enemies. third point, how long have we been in germany? we rebuilt germany. they were our enemies. how long have we been in japan? and still forking money over
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there. you know why? because in south korea, we need a presence over there so we can gather intelligence. host: sandra, we will have to end it there. the sukhumi council meeting getting underway and we will of course be back here tomorrow >> c-span's washington journal purity every day, we take your calls live on the air on the news of the day and discussed policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning, we discussed the fall of afghanistan with a military journalist and author. the american military -- watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages and tweets. >>


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