tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC September 5, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PDT
marco rubio and other members of the foreign relations committee followed him, watch when we get to the senate floor. it will be the same. anyone who wants in in 2016 will stay out of syria. that's hardball for now. thanks for being with us. all in with chris hayes starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes. tonight on "all in." we are one step closer to military strikes on syria, but as more of our elected representatives move into the i column, i find myself more and more opposed, the latest news and my position coming up in a moment. also tonight of all the voices being heard from on the syrian issue, it seems to me the guys who marched us to war in iraq are the least credible. why is anyone listening to any of these people? we'll talk about that a little later. plus, last night we told you about mitch mcconnell's new charm offensive to win over women voters in kentucky. today his spokesman is out with
a nasty attack on his female opponent, which is probably not going to help. we are one step closer to obtaining the stamp of approval as the senate foreign relations today voted to approve u.s. military action against the syrian government of bashar al assad. the tally, 10 to 7 in favor of military action. the ayes were compromised of 7 democrats and 3 republicans. the nays, tom udall and christopher murphy and five republicans, jim riche who was on this program last night. the white house quickly reacted with a statement reading in part, we commend the senate for moving swiftly and working across party lines on behalf of our national security. the military action authorized the resolution, would uphold america's national security interest by degrading assad's chemical weapons capability and deterring the future use of these weapons, even as we pursue
the broader strength of this strategy in syria. earlier today in stockholm, the president defended his decision to pursue what could very well be u.s. unilateral action to uphold an international norm. the president was asked about his infamous red line comment on the use of chemical weapons in syria, he said this. >> first of all, i didn't set a red line. the world set a red line. the world set a red line when governments representing 98% of the world's population said, the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent. congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. so when i said in a press conference that my calculus about what's happening in syria would be altered by the use of chemical weapons, which the overwhelming consensus of
humanity says is wrong, that wasn't something i just made up, i didn't pluck it out of thin air. my credibility is not on the line. the international community's credibility is on the line. >> today, secretary of state john kerry after a classified briefing with senators headed to hearings with the house, where he faced a skeptical group of lawmakers in a tense exchange. secretary kerry responded to a reborn republican criticism about benghazi. >> i can't discuss the possibility of u.s. involvement in syria's civil war without also talking about benghazi. the administration has a serious credibility issue with american people. when you factor in the irs targeting of conservative groups, fast and furious, and nsa spying programs. bottom line is, there's a need for account ability and trust building from the same administration. they were reluctant to use its
resources at its disposal to rescue the four brave americans that fought for their lives in benghazi. >> i am not going to sit here and be told by you i don't have an opinion about what the judgment is. we're talking about people being killed by gas, and you want to talk about benghazi and fast and furious. we don't deserve to drag this into another benghazi discussion when the real issue is whether or not the congress is going to stand up for international norms with respect to dictators that have only been broken twice, until assad. hitler and saddam hussein. >> meanwhile, the latest whip count shows mostly undecideds with only narrow band in the middle band there. most of them, we should note from the democratic caucus. may point to the broader political obstacle the white house faces in the house, which is a republican house whose grassroots hates the idea of intervention and dislikes the president to say the least.
liz cheney of all people has come out against the resolution. if you're looking for the clearer sign yet of which way the winds are blowing among the conservative base, the newly minted wyoming resident may be an indicator. she looks to unseat mike enzi in the primary. she has accused the president of being a traitor. >> people have got to begin to ask, who is benefiting from barack obama's foreign policy. time and time again, sadly and disturbingly, it's america's enemies who are benefiting. >> joining me now is tony blaken, white house deputy national security adviser. the president's comments this morning about a red line caught some confusion when he referred to it being essentially international red line. the president talked about how use of chemical weapons on the scale that we're now seeing would change his calculus when he enunciated that. can you clarify those comments for people? >> sure, chris.
the president was exactly right. there's been a longstanding international red line against the use of chemical weapons. it goes back nearly 100 years. after world war i, when these weapons were used to terrible effect. the world got together. it said, you can't use chemical weapons in war. more recently, congress strongly got behind something called the chemical weapons convention in 1997. you can't use chemical weapons, and even more recently than that in 2003, the syria act was passed because of concerns syria was getting them cal weapons. there's an international red line, there's a congressional red line. and the president adheres to the same red line. >> the treaty that we're a signatory too that 98% of the countries are, syria is not a signatory to that? >> that is correct, they're an outlier. >> what is the remedy here. we're talking about a bizarre situation, we will act
unilaterally without u.n. approval or authorization, or even our closest ally, the u.k. with us. it's something of a paradox. >> we would like nothing better than to be able to work this through the u.n. security council, unfortunately, since the beginning of the syria conflict. we have tried time and again to get the security council to act in a much lesser fashion, just to make statements condemning what was going on in syria. we've been stymied, blocked by other countries on the council. so at some point if that doesn't work, and you have a profoundly important international norm, like the one prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, have you to stand up and enforce it. we went through this in kosovo as you'll recall, when the u.n. was blocked and the clinton administration acted. you know, at that time the secretary-general of the u.n., kofi annan was critical of the fact that countries went around the security council.
he was equally critical of the security council for being paralyzed. >> this secretary-general said yesterday he highlighted the fact that under the u.n. convention, which obviously we are a party to, there are two legitimate bases under the legitimate convention for act of force. one is in self-defense, the other is through the u.n. security council resolution. neither applies here, is he wrong? >> chris, what we have here is something that in our judgment is very legitimate, because we have, as i said, a norm that's been around for nearly 100 years. against the use of chemical weapons, if we don't stand up for it, if other countries don't stand up for it, the norm will be gutted. and we will see two things happen. we'll see assad continue to use these weapons with impunity, and we'll see other countries in the region and beyond who have such weapons or aspire to get them, come to the conclusion that it's okay to use them. and nothing will happen. >> the original question is --
when he says there are two legitimate uses of force under the u.n. charter, the u.s. is the signatory to. this does not fall into either of them, is he right or wrong about that? >> as a matter of international law. you're correct that either the security council needs to act or you need to be acting in self-defense or in the defense of a partner country. here what we believe is, we have a legitimate basis, including with other countries supporting what we need to do, to enforce a profound international norm that's been around for nearly 100 years. >> are you terrified in the white house that this is going to go wrong? >> no. chris, simply put, two things, one we're seeing growing support in congress for this, we had yesterday the speaker, boehner, the leader, the republican leader, eric cantor, nancy pelosi on the other side come out in support of this. today we had the senate foreign relations committee, led by chairman menendez, a democrat,
and bob corker, the republican, pass out a resolution supporting the use of force. we're seeing momentum develop behind us in the congress, and in terms of what we need to do, no, we believe strongly, that the action we propose to take will say to assad, stop using this stuff, and it will make it much more difficult for him to use it going-forward if he tries again. >> if assad is facing essentially life and death, i don't think that's an exaggeration. we saw what end gadhafi came to, after he lost essentially militarily there. if he's facing life and death, if that's what's on the other side of this, is there any incentive to stop him from doing whatever he thinks necessary to win? >> if he concludes because we take action that using chemical weapons is going to cost him and cost him dearly, and if we actually make it more difficult for him to use those weapons, then i think his calculus will be affected and his ability to use these weapons will be affected. that's the result we can achieve.
>> thank you for your time. >> thanks, chris. >> joining me now is robert costa. editor of the conservative magazine, website national review. also, marco rubio's no vote out of committee today, a surprise? >> a real surprise. he got elected to the senate in 2010, has been a bush hawk. he's been one of those guys -- this is a big surprise, a big win for the paul wing of the party. >> what does it say about where the conservative grassroots is, that you have rubio making this apparent reversal, and liz cheney coming out opposed to the resolution. >> the tea party wing of the party is really moving against the syria resolution. rand paul, i think his influence is permeating the entire department. this is a real problem for speaker john boehner and president obama. they have boehner and pelosi, they don't have the conservative base. >> kosovo resolution, of 217 republican members of congress,
187 vote against it, in the senate, you have twice as many republicans voting against it as for it. we've seen this before. what -- how many votes are they going to -- how many yay votes can they get out of this republican caucus. >> not too many. boehner has made a conscious vote. boehner and cantor will not be whipping the syria vote in the house. it's going to be a free for all. it's going to be a circus on the republican side. the hawks are going to try to for an aye vote, it doesn't mean it's necessarily going to pass. >> what do you think the reasoning is there in terms of the house leadership to take that approach? >> it's an interesting question, chris. because the house leadership has so many fiscal drum has approaching this fall, because of the debt limits, sequester, et cetera, they don't want to take a large stand on syria. they're going to stand with the president in terms of appearance, they'll stand at a press conference with him. and say they support him, but they're not going to whip it, that's where it really matters, that's where the president can get hurt. >> robert costa, from the
national review, great thanks. >> thank you. joining me now is debra pearlstine. her work focuses on national security law and the separation of powers. >> okay. let's put aside the war powers resolution. let's talk about the constitution. give me the legal argument you would make if you were white house council right now for why the president has the power to act even without congress. >> the only argument, and it's an argument i disagree with. the president has the power to act without congress. recent president's have done it before. and the recent presidents they'll point to include obama's intervention in libya. even the broad theory of executive power that was at issue there, right? we have authority to act as commander in chief without congressional authorization, despite the fact that the
constitution gives the power to declare war to congress, as long as we don't do something that amounts to war under the constitution, right? that's the limits on the president's current theory. here the resolution the administration put forward to congress the other day, saying, please authorize our use of force. it contained no time limits on the use of force. it said we can use force in syria, we can use force beyond syria. and it was an enormously broad resolution for the use of force. one that seems to contemplate a much broader action than something less than war, which is what their own constitutional theory requires. >> if it's a lesson, we've seen this parsed out in these hearings. what we're doing isn't war in the classical sense. and to play devil's advocate on behalf of the white house, it seems to me there's a difference between a ground invasion in iraq -- president clinton for instance fired several missiles into north africa, during his presidency. season the there space in between war and military action? >> that's the theory that they
use in practical terms, yes. there are a couple problems here. neither resolutions passed today do not require ground troops. the senate version prohibits combat troops, that leaves it open for troops for other reasons. it's not at all clear how limited this use of force is going to be. >> is there a precedent for a president going to congress, i'm going to congress, but i retain the legal right to act without you. >> presidents always say i retain the legal authority. i don't think we've seen this type of sweeping claim. it would be surprising and deeply disappointing if the administration goes to congress, congress says no. and they act anyway. my take on the syria situation.
plus, a conversation about why it is we're hearing now from a bunch of people who have no business talking about syria. we all know how well that went. stay with us. at angie's list, you'll find reviews on everything from home repair to healthcare written by people just like you. no company can pay to be on angie's list, so you can trust what you're reading. angie's list is like having thousands of close neighbors, where i can go ask for personal recommendations. that's the idea. before you have any work done, check angie's list. find out why more than two million members count on angie's list. angie's list -- reviews you can trust. i love you, angie. sorry, honey. [ sneezes ] you're probably muddling through allergies.
tomorrow night we're going to have a big interview with the person everyone wants to talk to right now about syria. ahead on the show, mitch mcconnell is totally hedging on syria. which is a little ironic, since he has the word leader in his title. something tells me it's not because he's conflicted about what to do. i'll explain coming up next.
stand on whether or not the u.s. should intervene in syria. i'm going to tell you where i stand and why i believe as i do coming up. there's been one person who's been noticeably absent in this debate. there are only four leaders of congress. this person happens to be one of them. you have john boehner, nancy pelosi in the house. and in the senate, harry read and mitch mcconnell. three of them have told us where they stand, one has yet to tell us where they weigh-in. mitch mcconnell is remaining vague on the war talk. he seems torn between the militaristic instincts of your average republican lawmaker and the grassroots base who want no part in this. the junior senator sent him a not so sensitive letter. >> i went to 40 cities, i didn't meet one person who was for going into syria. when i told them i was opposed to it, i got a standing ovation.
>> no, the mcconnell campaign doesn't want to talk about syria. >> team mitch's latest crack at courting women voters with this attempt at sweet talking. communications director from the national republican senatorial campaign committee. >> mcconnell's likely democratic opponent is an empty dress, because i suppose calling her an empty pair of panty hose would have been considered offensive. that's not all. alison grimes is incapable of articulating her own thoughts. parrots the talking points handed to her by chuck schumer or babbles incoherently and stairs blankly into the camera as though she's a freshman. mcconnell's camp also enlists grimes. mcconnell spokeswoman says it's
no surprise that obama's liberal hollywood friends are supporting grimes. this coming from the campaign of the guy who started fund-raising in 2014. he's done his fair share of asking for money. mcconnell is as vulnerable as some optimistic operatives. mitch mcconnell is in big trouble. >> joe what's your take on this from where you sit in kentucky and watching this campaign unfold. is mcconnell scared? >> i think he's definitely scared. trying to convince the women voters about his voting record is on their side.
you can also tell he's very scared of the primary challenger matt beven, can you look at his silence on syria right now. matt beven is against syrian intervention. rand paul is the most popular republican in kentucky. and he is very strongly against the syrian intervention. right now, mitch mcconnell will not say which way he's going to go on the intervention. he says he's going to take a couple more days to find out where he will be. which is very odd, considering he's been a hawk in his days. >> mitch mcconnell has been a collassas for years in kentucky state politics. has a strong machine down there. has delivered the goods for folks down there. i mean, he's got power and a base. what has happened to mitch mcconnell that he's now in danger? >> i think one of the key themes that matt beven and alison grimes are using is that he's been in washington way too long, and that he's gone to washington. he's been there almost 30 years and he's lost touch with kentucky ans. if you look at the polling,
that's why his negative ratings are so high. he's definitely not in a strong position right now as i goes into re-election next year. >> how much cover could rand paul give him on his right flank? >> he could give him some. the one way that rand paul really isn't helping mcconnell, he's not being an attack dog against matt beven. he's not going after him personally. but at the same time, he's probably the reason why mcconnell escapes in a primary, because he is the most popular republican in kentucky. he's able to convince many of the tea party people in kentucky they should give him another chance, even though they're among the grassroots of the tea party, there's a lot of antippage think toward mcconnell. we'll be right back with click three.
coming up, what i think we should be doing about syria. and a conversation about people who should not be part of a debate about war. all that's ahead. first, i want to share the three awesomist things on the internet today. we begin with a mad dash around new york city. someone named afro duck claims to set the record time for driving around the island of manhattan. he tells the website, he floored his 2006 beamer around the course. he's released the video under a
pseudonym, because he knows johnny law can't be happy with him. police commissioner ray kelly promised to hunt down the dangerous driver saying, we now have license plates in the city that will assist in this type of investigation. the second awesomist thing today, these are the drawings of mika angela hendricks, as we scroll through them, you can see the heads are finally and professionally drawn, the bodies less professional. the leds are drawn by the adult artist, and the bodies are finished by her 4-year-old daughter. she was drawing in a sketch book one day, and her daughter asked if she could help. they have since collaborated on more than a dozen photos. i'm sharing my artwork and being my daughter to be equal.
the mother/daughter art is for sale. and the third awesomist thing on the internet today, john mccain repo man. senator john mccain is taking time between being the loudest to go after vladimir putin. back in 2005, not unlike mr. burns showing fidel castro, a trillion dollar bill only to have el presidente pocket it. he left the room with it on his finger. to this day, putin insists the ring was a gift and kraft's side of the story outraged patriots fans are not quick to forget about the theft. >> i think sports fans especially patriot fans are
enraged and i share their outrage. and i'm not a patriots fan, i'm a cardinals fan. >> the worst thing you could do in the old west was to steal another man's horse. i would think the worst thing you can do in new england is steal another man's super bowl ring. >> salem witch trials were worse, and nothing tops the worst possible new england offense, being named alex rodrigez while playing baseball for the yankees. we'll be right back.
you have time to shop for car insurance today? yeah. i heard about progressive's "name your price" tool? i guess you can tell them how much you want to pay and it gives you a range of options to choose from. huh? i'm looking at it right now. oh, yeah? yeah. what's the... guest room situation? the "name your price" tool, making the world a little more progressive. now that the president has gone to congress for authorization of a military strike in syria. members of both houses can no longer get away with asking questions and getting away with it. i don't think we should send missiles into syria.
i think it's a grave mistake that will make a bad situation worse. before i explain my reasoning, i don't think people who disagree with me are contemptible scoundrels and war mongers. my own father thinks we should intervene. that counts for a lot in my book. that said, here's why i think a military strike like the one being proposed is a bad idea. first of all, there's always a likelihood we will kill innocent people. it's a risk you run with any kind of aerial engagement. the general idea of forcing the international norm is a laudable goal, i am deeply skeptical this kind of strike will do that. if assad did in fact use chemical weapons, and you'll excuse me if the experience of iraq makes me a wee bit reluctant. if assad as the evidence would seem to suggest did use these
weapons, and he likely did so as a way of burning the bridge that could have let him retreat. in other words, he sent a message to supporters that the only way out is through. that he will fight to the end and all the people included in his coalition of support, syrian christians, alloites are in the same bunker with him. if the members win, the family members will not look kindly on his supporters. given the fact that assad's fighting for his life, i'm not quite sure a targeted punitive strike will have that much of an effect. slightly alter the calculation of deploying such weapons again, even if it does. if assad thinks he has to use chemical weapons to win, or lose and find himself drawn and quartered, guess what he's going to do. imagine the quagmire the u.s. will find itself in, if assad goes ahead and use chemical weapons after we have punished him for doing so. our red line will have to be
enforced by even more punitive measures. and that way lies full entanglement in a bloody, brutal civil war. third, there's a good chance an american military strike will make the situation worse as middle east scholar juan cole argues, the only hope there is of any kind of negotiated settlement in syria, is if both sides conclude they're stuck in a stalemate and grow weary of bloodshed. they'll act as a signal that rebels should keep fighting with the possible future intervention, get rid of whatever incentive they may have to go to the negotiating table. of course we should be honest leer. bashar al assad is a maniacal butcher and what he's done is unspeakable. many though certainly not all are jihadis that have threatened atrocities. i've heard people talk about a diplomatic solution to this war. i get the nagging sense that's
just a phrase those of us on the left use to aswathe our conscience, so we can point to this solution of bloodshed and misery that doesn't involve missiles. maybe there isn't a diplomatic solution. if there had been a political solution, lincoln would have loved to find it. history's verdict is at the side of the war defending bondage and evil had to be vanquished definitively, that may be the case here in syria, those of us who oppose military intervention, both for practical reasons and principle, need to have the moral courage to stare into the gaping mall of horror and say, ween cat make this situation better. we just can't. except that too is not quite right. there are things we can do, if
our primary concern is alleviating the misery of the syrian people, 2 million of whom are turned into refugees. the cost of a single tomahawk missile is estimated to cost over 600,000 to $1.4 million. reports have indicated a strike can use up to 200 of them. that's anywhere from 120 million to 280 million dollars. you could write a check tomorrow to get much needed supplies to the refugee camp. right now, you can give money at the url. we as a country could also do what sweden, now hosting president obama has announced they're doing to help, offer asylum to syrian refugees. sweden became the first european country to announce they will give personal refugee status to all that apply or their families. we could offer syrians the same streamlined process that cubans enjoy. say what you will about fidel castro, he's never gassed 1400
of his own people. every once in a great while a war is waged that has a positive outcome. but the blunt fact is that the majority of wars we as a nation have entered into, we should not have. this is one of them. let's not make the same mistake again. [ man ] look how beautiful it is. ♪ honey, we need to talk. we do? i took the trash out. i know. and thank you so much for that.
i think we should get a medicare supplement insurance plan. right now? [ male announcer ] whether you're new to medicare or not, you may know it only covers about 80% of your part b medical expenses. it's up to you to pay the difference. so think about an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like all standardized medicare supplement insurance plans, they help cover some of what medicare doesn't pay. i did a little research. with a medicare supplement plan, you'll be able to stay with your doctor. oh, you know, i love that guy. mm-hmm. [ male announcer ] these types of plans let you visit any doctor or hospital that accepts medicare patients. and there are no networks. is this a one-size-fits-all kind of thing? no. there are lots of plan options. it all depends on what we need and how much we want to spend. [ male announcer ] call now to request your free decision guide. it could help you find an aarp medicare supplement plan that's right for you. what happens when we travel?
the plans go with us. anywhere in the country. i like that. you know what else? unitedhealthcare insurance company has years and years of experience. what do you say? ♪ i'm in. [ male announcer ] join the millions already enrolled in the only medicare supplement insurance plans endorsed by aarp. remember, all medicare supplement plans help cover some of what medicare doesn't pay and could really save you in out-of-pocket medical costs. you'll be able to choose your own doctor or hospital as long as they accept medicare patients. and with these plans, there could be low or no copays. you do your push-ups today? prepare to be amazed. [ male announcer ] don't wait. call today to request your free decision guide and find the aarp medicare supplement plan to go the distance with you. go long.
jon stewart was at the anchor desk last night. i watched the daily show. there was a moment when i stood up and cheered. that was when stewart gave some background on the latest foreign policy elites pressing for action in syria. >> you know what else is weakness many as those people are known on cable, experts. >> he's got to act in syria, i hope frankly he acts in a much more vigorous and robust sense. >> the idea of demystifying what you're going to do for the enemy is maudlin. i can't imagine what they're thinking. >> i wish we had intervened and he could have intervened a year ago, two years ago. >> the idiot parade is in town. shut the [ bleep ] up ♪ shut the [ bleep ] up ♪ ♪ shut the [ bleep ] up
>> i wish we could do that on a live broadcast. every day it seems like we're trying to map the opinions of everyone who helped bring about one of the worst decades in american foreign policy and get them to weigh-in on whether the president should intervene in syria. there are two whip counts. the whip count in congress and the whip count of people who almost destroyed the country and did destroy other countries. people like dan seymore. i wonder where dick cheney is on this. and how about former senator jill lieberman. >> how much trouble are we in in the middle east right now. >> i'm sure our enemies are cheering now as a result of this decision, they realize it's not clear that the president will give authority and our allies are worried. >> what before george w. bush, what does he think about the u.s. response to syria's alleged use of chemical weapons.
>> i was not a fan of mr. assad. he's an ally of iran. and he's made mischief. >> here's what's so crazy to me. in the 12 years of war in which we have engaged. we've had full scale ground invasions in two countries. we lost over 6600 american men and women in uniform, not counting the private contractor workers. there's a number -- then there's a number of iraqi and afghan dead living had we not bombed. we launched an all out air war in libya, and let's not forget we delivered drone strikes in yemen, pakistan and somalia. every bit of polling, shows americans are just sick and tired of war. people now have default skepticism in american military intervention.
default skepticism is the appropriate and correct default position. and yet somehow that does not seem to be the case in the general world of elites. what in gods name have the people in power learned about the past 12 years? coming up, i'm going to talk to three people who have each had a specific take in our involvement in iraq. one was against it from the beginning. we'll debate it in the context of syria when we come back. exact
joining me now is laura flounders. she was opposed to the iraq war from the beginning. jonathan tate supported the iraq war, now says he was wrong about it. he supported the iraq war, but since called that a mistake. he's written a book about it called heads in the sand, how republicans screw up foreign policy. foreign policy screws up
democrats. you supported iraq war, you realized not only was that wrong. the entire way of thinking about foreign policy, that led you to support it was wrong. and now you are completely on the other side. you're very, very, very skeptical of military intervention. >> i am. and i remember, i think back to that sort of time when i was weighing he's arguments about iraq. it seemed to me a lot of the skeptics of war seem like they're knee jerk, anti-war people. almost pacifists. looking back on it, it seems to me it was true. they were knee jerk anti-war people. and it's because you should be kind of knee jerk, skeptical about war. >> we cannot go through individual mistakes that individual people made. if you look at phillip's study of this, it turns out that even the most well informed experts are very poor at predicting what's really going to happen in wars. it's very dangerous.
it's very risky, very unpredictable. i think that means we should try to stay out of military conflict unless there's really no choice. but to get in it. if we want to help people around the world, be involved in humanitarian issues, i think that's great. there's a lot of better, safer, cheaper, more easy to foresee how our efforts will achieve the end way to do that. you talked about this stuff with refugees. and just sort of go around looking for civil wars to insert ourselves into. strikes me as a foolish overall -- >> skepticism isn't just called for, it is absolutely demanded of journalists, much as we would like to say things have radically changed. it's a bit better. to be worse this time around would be accomplishing something. i'm almost expecting thomas freeman was on the op ed page a few times. he was wrong. still is. judith miller, is she going to be rehabilitated. it's not just the people who
have been seeing and heard as you said. it's who isn't being heard from. and it's who isn't being heard from for the very same reasons in a matt's talking about. it's assumed they're knee jerk. these are people who are thoughtful, critical, curious, the other thing to bear in mind here, i think, is that, you know, the discussion of the debate itself is problematic. it's very bracing to see a chief international correspondent of cnn. christian amanpour this weekend talked about the vote bug. this is not a disease, this is democracy in action and we should be celebrating. >> there is a split, right now between the citizenry and the national security establishment. i think the national security establishment is far more skeptical of this as they've been of previous things.
the body language of chuck hagel and dempsey is like, they want to have nothing to do with this, but john, i want to ask you, you supported the iraq war, you were wrong about that, you wrote this piece about not everything's iraq. why should we listen to you, why is it that you have not forfeited whatever authority you had along with everyone else who got this huge thing wrong? >> if you don't think you should listen to me, you shouldn't have me in the program. >> i want you to explain why i should listen to you. i'm persuaded to listen to you on the substantive issue. >> or whether you should let me talk and turn down the volume when i do. we're all shaped by our formative experiences. especially foreign policy. matt's formative experience was the iraq war. i'm a little older than matt. i have different formative experiences, i remember the gulf war, when all the experts were wrong in the opposite way.
people were completely stunned at the speed of this military success. almost all democrats in congress voted against the war. we had the 1990s, you had a very successful humanitarian intervention in the balkans, i think worked quite well. so i don't think you should overlearn the lessons of one particular episode or to assume all the people who got any one particular episode are wrong. >> what about the people who got it right. >> all the people who are wrong about the gulf war were on the left, i think to discount -- >> actually, wait a second. here actually i think is matt's point. that to me is what's so important here, the default posture, i think of the journalists, of policy maker of a citizen, is that war is horrible. and we should stay away from them, unless there is an absolutely overridingly compelling reason to do it. and that to me is -- that's why
the burden of proof question about the experience of kosovo and iraq, doesn't expiate later support. you still should turn to that default. >> and the default as a journalist -- >> no, a double standard. >> wait a second. >> this time around, it should be even more critical. as i understand it, it took days for reporters at the new york times and elsewhere to be even warned about what had happened before, i still want to say, where are the peace leaders, where is the leader of peace action. i called them today, the group represents 90,000 people. having demonstrations all around the country. we have yet to see the head of peace action on any show. the washington post gives respectful coverage in the paper yesterday, when she protested kerry, let's have a talk inside the studio. not just wildlife coverage screaming outside or in the congressional hearing room. there are protests happening today. the congressman from new hampshire, ann mccain custer, held a conference call on her phone for her constituents,
2,000 people called in. she tried to go four against. she couldn't get past brown reid. >> one of the amazing things that's happened. that's being reflected in the press. i mean, that is absolutely reflected in the majority position. one of the ironies here is that rand paul is the voice of war. this is a person who's nominated a benjamin. john, you think i'm -- i'm burden shifting. this is a really important thing, right? it's about this record, it's about looking back at american foreign policy. we're making decisions about how past is pro log. it's burden shifting to say, your default should always reset to being against a military action until persuaded to do it. >> what you're proposing as a rule by which anyone who's on your side can make any number of wrong predictions and continue to be listened to and have that not count against them. people can never be wrong without being disqualified. >> it's an empirical argument,
you tally up the number of wars the u.s. has been involved in. the overwhelming majority were not good wars we shouldn't have been involved in. >> if you want to judge who to ignore, you should look at the overall body of what they say. how often the right -- you shouldn't just say my side could be wrong as many times -- >> here's the thing -- i want to read this quote to you, this to me -- >> i'm not even necessarily in favor of this. >> i know that. >> we're having a discussion about how to make up your mind. that actually in some ways, who are we kidding, right? we're a democracy, people are going to have to vote. they're going to listen to their constituents, we're not syrian experts. the question is, how do we go about this decision making as a republican, as a group of people -- how do we make these decisions in the absence of specific expertise, and matt, you wrote this thing that's important. you wrote about your misjudgment in iraq. and you said, the point is, it wasn't really a series of
erroneous judgments in iraq, it was an erroneous judgment on how to think about the world. >> it's to say that, you know, to think that we're making these decisions by having a detailed look at the military balance of power or the specifics of the internal dynamics of these countries is an illusion. it seemed to me, you know, i was a college student at the time of the iraq war debate. a lot of the people who struck me as serious, you know, we're all for it, i was the kind of person who would be in favor of this kind of war, not the kind of person who was associate with benjamin. that turned out to be really wrong headed. i think you see in the greater skepticism in congress itself. >> that impulse has been cleansed from people. that's an important point. your point, i think -- the point i want to make here is just about the default presumption people have, and who we think of taking seriously. >> lauren founders, jonathan
tate, thank you all. that is "all in" for this evening. happy new year. the rachel maddow show starts right now. remember when we used to have those conversations about who's not in the room, and we'd be like the random liberal on a panel of five people, who were totally opposed. thanks to you for joining us at lomb. the verdict is in, and the verdict is, bipartisan support. and also bipartisan opposition. a 10-7 vote today, close vote today in the senate foreign relations committee with democrats and republicans on both sides of that unexpectedly close vote. congress does its job and starts voting and keeps debating whether the united states military should become the newest player in the ongoing