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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  September 6, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PDT

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which i think is a pretty important rule. matt apuzzo and adam goldman. author of the book "enemies within." thank you so much. that is "all in" for this evening. the "rachel maddow show" starts now. good evening, chris. thank you. congratulations on the john kerry interview today. that was a huge deal. >> thank you. >> well done. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. congress famously works at this very pretty building. the united states capitol building. right down the national mall from the washington monument. it's around the corner from the white house. it has that iconic dome. this is where the floor of the house is, where the floor of the senate is. it is where some of the work of the u.s. congress gets done. more of the work of the u.s. congress gets done, though, not in that building but instead at the vary house office buildings and senate office buildings. the senate has three office buildings, and the most well-known of them is this guy. it's a really big building.
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it's really generic looking. it is right in the middle of all the action in downtown d.c. and lots of the work of the united states senate gets done there. because the building is named after senator everett dirksen of illinois who served in the 1950s and 1960s, his name is never far from anybody's mind in washington even today. the dirksen senate office building named for everett dirksen. you ever seen everett dirksen? i have always thought he was kind of amazing. isn't he? he's kind of a cross, i've always thought, fred schneider from early b52s and my favorite muppet. hi, beaker. in 196 4, the amazing specimen of republican senator everett dirksen was the leader of the republican party in the senate. republicans were in the minority in the senate. democrats were the majority
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there. democrats also had the white house. in 1964, of course, the president was lyndon baines johnson, became president after john f. kennedy was assassinated. although lbj had long been vocally opposed to the expansion of the vietnam war, even though he had campaigned for office saying he didn't want to send american boys thousands of miles away to fight a war that asian boys ought to be fighting for themselves, even though he had campaigned that way and he had believed the war in vietnam was a mistake, by 91964, once he was president, lbj had become convinced despite everything he said before, the war in vietnam needed to be expanded. it should have a much greater u.s. involvement. on august 4th, 1964, lbj made that case to the public in the most dramatic way possible. in a live late night urgent broadcast, president johnson told the country that the united states navy had come under attack. in the gulf of tonkin just off
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the coast of vietnam. president johnson said there had been open aggression on the high seas against the united states of america and that the united states of america needed to respond to that aggression. it was a compelling case made in a very serious way. now, in the long run it turned out we got snookered. turns out the whole gulf of tonkin thing didn't happen the way lbj said it happened at all. when he said it back in august 1964, congress fell in line. as soon as the president gave that speech, his own party in the senate rallied to his side. the number two democrat in the senate came out almost immediately after lbj's speech and said he supported the president and supported what lbj wanted to do in vietnam. >> i, for one, want to say that i don't think you can be a great power and assume the responsibilities that we do as a free nation for the cause of freedom and run every time somebody starts to draw a bead on you. i think what president johnson demonstrated last night was the kind of calm resolute firmness and decisiveness which will command respect.
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>> that was hubert humphrey, obviously a democrat. the democrats in the senate lining up behind the president of their own party, president johnson. but president johnson, a democratic president, got down the line support from the republican leadership in the senate. most explicitly in the case of everett dirksen. >> in the instances that are immediately before us, i think it's got to be conceded there has been firm and decisive action. now, who knows what lies ahead. what the dimensions of attack might be and where we go from there and what we do with our larger objectives in southeast asia. >> everett dirksen. for the republicans, democrats, the senate as well. everybody is full bore, no reservations, totally lined up. totally supportive of president johnson's plan to eventually triple down on the war in vietnam.
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when the house foreign affairs committee voted on that gulf of tonkin resolution, it was unanimous. 29-0. in the senate, they had two committees meet together and take a vote. they put the foreign relations committee and the armed services committee together to consider the gulf of tonkin resolution and again there the vote was totally overwhelming. it was 31-1. wait a second. not unanimous before those senate committees. unanimous in the house. not unanimous in the senate. and then when they took the next step, when the gulf of tonkin resolution got out of committee, came up for a full vote on the senate floor, again, that same guy who voted no in committee voted no again. and for the full floor vote he got a friend. one of the senators from alaska joined him. so, yeah, over in the house, the vote was unanimous on the gulf of tonkin resolution. it was 416-0. but in the senate, it was not unanimous. it was 88-2. and the man who stood up and said no, twice, in the senate, against every prevailing wind in
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washington, was an oregon senator named wayne morse. >> being in the minority never proves that you're wrong. in fact, history is going to record that senator greening and i voted in the interest of the american people this morning when we voted against this resolution. and i've held the remark, and people remember what this resolution really is. it's a resolution which seeks to give the president of the united states the power to make war without a declaration of war. >> oregon senator wayne morse. he was right about that. that was, that vote, right, was 88-2 and he was one of the 2. that vote was the closest that congress ever got to a declaration of war in the vietnam war which cost 50,000 american lives and lasted more than eight years. what the senate was voting on there was technically a response to this supposed incident in the gulf of tonkin which proved in
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the end to be bullpucky. it was a made up pretext. all of congress went along with it but not oregon senator wayne morse. as congress, again, today considers reports of a grave and terrible provocation in a far away place, as a potential justification for american military commitment, that otherwise would not take without that provocation, today there's no reason to believe that the claims about chemical weapons use in syria are as shaky and even made up as reports from the gulf of tonkin back in 1964. but the point of the wayne morse place in history, the whole heroism of the wayne morse story is not actually that he was right. he had not magically disproved the gulf of tonkin thing when he said no. the heroism of the wayne morse example in history is that he did say no. and our history as a country shows despite the impression you might be getting from reading
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the beltway media these days, our history as a country shows that again and again some people can say no even when everybody else says yes. when the war drums beat in washington, again and again, people do say no. sometimes they're all alone when they say it. sometimes it is wayne morse and senator greening from alaska acting alone in 1964. sometimes it's barbara lee, alone in 2001. congresswoman barbara lee from california was the one vote in either house of congress in 2001 two voted against what turned into our 13-year-long war in afghanistan that we are still in now. in the first iraq war, the gulf war of 1991, we look back on now and think of as an easy call, right? one of the good wars. it was super clear what was going to happen there. this aggression will not stand, man. well, you know what turns out? that was actually a close vote. it was close in the house and it was really close in the senate. among the senators who are still around now, who voted no against that, voted no against the first war in iraq in 1991, were chuck grassley of iowa, carl levin. another man you might have heard
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from recently named john kerry. then a senator from massachusetts. also a man who's currently our vice president. joe biden. they all voted no on the first gulf war. 47 senators voted no. that does not mean they were always voting no on every use of force. eight years later in 1999, bill clinton was president and wanted to go to war to stop the slaughter in yugoslavia. look at how those votes went. on march 23rd of that year, 1999, it was joe biden who introduced the resolution to authorize president clinton to go send those forces to kosovo. march 23rd, look at the timing here. march 23rd, the senate votes yes. it was nowhere near unanimous. that was a close vote, too. joe biden put up the resolution. the senate says yes. the very next day the air strikes start because president clinton did not wait around for the house to vote on it as well. by the time the house finally did vote on it a month later, they voted n-yes or y-no, or neither really. look at the house vote which, again, was taken a month after
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the air strikes already started. house vote was 213-213. it was a direct tie. and that means that resolution did not pass in the house. president clinton got authorization from the senate, not from the house, but by the time they took that vote not giving him authorization, air strikes were already under way. president clinton's state department spokesman at the time wrote about that in "the new york times" this week. he says "when you look back on that use of force he would argue it's a legitimate use of force even though it was, "not strictly legal." of course, the vote that looms largest right now in washington though i think the administration would wish that it didn't, the vote that looms largest right now is the one that was taken in late 2002 to authorize the second war in iraq. and, yes, congress did vote to authorize the use of military force in that war. but a lot of people voted no. nearly 2/3 of the house democrats said no to the iraq
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war. there were 133 no votes in the house. in the senate, there were 23 no votes. including a lot of senators who are still there now. senator boxer, senator durbin, leahy, levin, mikulski, debbie stabenow, and the man who holds the seat of wayne morse's seat. ron wyden. he voted no on the iraq war. congress usually votes overall to authorize force when they get around to considering it, but people vote no. voting no is a thing that happens. even against the strongest possible prevailing winds. and right now in washington, there are not the strongest prevailing winds in favor of the u.s. military intervening in syria. quite the contrary. lots of different places are doing sort of informal whip counts now where they're trying to canvass members of the house and senate to get those members
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to say how they're going to vote. on syria, when the full house and senate have to make decision on these things. people are tracking the likely votes over the course of yesterday and today. these are unofficial tallies being done by different news organizations. the debate is not done and there are briefings that are yet to be hat, but if you at all have been watching the whip counts, the whip counts evolve over the last couple of days, shows almost all of the movement is in the direction of not going. all of the momentum is in the direction of no. most members of congress say they are undecided, but when they are getting themselves out of the undecided column and they are deciding, they are deciding no by in large. and, you know, none of those counts as official until they officially count the official vote. but if you had to take a snap vote right now, guess the way this was going to go, if you had to predict it, looks like congress is going to vote it down. congress is going to turn down the request to authorize the use of military force. maybe in the senate and probably in the house.
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and that will be added to the fascinating and pretty poorly remembered history of members of congress saying no to war when they got the chance to say no. but it also becomes a totally unpredictable next chapter. not for congress, but for the presidency. if congress says no, and right now it looks like congress is going to say no, will those military strikes happen anyway? president obama and secretary of state john kerry keep asserting over and over again that they believe they have the right to go on their own even if congress says no. are they right? what would that mean? and how uncharted are those waters for us as a country? joining us, nbc news presidential historian, michael beschloss. >> my pleasure, rachel. can i add something else to the wayne morse tradition of members of congress saying no? >> please. >> there was a congressman from my home state of illinois in 1847 who spoke out against the mexican-american war named abraham lincoln. and there had been as you well known and written about it was said by president pope there was an unprovoked attack by mexicans
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on american territory. lincoln said show me the spot where that happened. that's how lincoln first came to the attention of the american public. >> we -- it's interesting, we remember presidents as associated with various wars. we don't necessarily associate congressional action and congressional votes with wars with some exceptions. it seems to me from an originalist reading of the constitution that congress has the power to declare war. we don't usually declare war anymore. is there clarity, either in history or in law, about what it means for the congress to not authorize the use of military force? if the president asks them to and they say no, is that binding? >> the founders would be
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horrified because when they were writing the constitution, one of the things they were worried most about was that this new office of the presidency that they were creating, it would become like the kings of europe or the dictators where, you know, the old european leaders would generate wars that were not necessary and take the nation into these wars. kill a lot of people. they didn't want our president to do that sort of thing. they very specifically said it's the congress that should have the power to declare war. yet you look through american history, 200 years, only 5 wars have been declared by congress and i think we fought a few more than that. >> when you look at the ways that presidents have dealt with
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bulky congresses, when they wanted to wage wars that congress didn't want them to wage, the things that spring to mind are the boland amendment during the reagan administration where congress knew the president wanted to go to war in central america or at least join some existing wars in central america and the congress wrote a law that would have prevented, at least in law, president reagan from doing that. he violated that law and secretly got involved in central america and the iran/contra affair. are there other examples of ways presidents have legally or illegally defied congress' explicit views? >> yes, and not only in wars that we would necessarily disapprove of. you go back to 1941, franklin roosevelt was desperate to get the united states in a position where we might have to fight against hitler and the imperial japanese. this was an isolationist country, very isolationist congress. he got into pretty dicey situations in the north atlantic where there were american vessels that were in pretty grave danger of getting hit by a german sub which would have been terrible, but roosevelt would have known that would have provided a pretext to get the kind of involvement in world war ii he felt was necessary. >> how does the war in iraq, in your view as a historian, how does the iraq war and the decisions about the iraq war loom over these decisions being debated by congress right now? you can sort of see two sides trying to draw different allusions. the people who are saying no keep referencing iraq. people saying yes keep
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referencing the balkans and other ones that maybe put a nicer shine --. >> yes, that's exactly right. for people who can only remember, who don't know a lot of history, iraq needless to say gives people reason to be skeptical about what they're told about the reasons we have to go to war, but you can find those all the way through american history. mexican war, i mentioned. spanish-american war. the sinking of the maine. we were told we had to fight against spain because of this terrible attack which very likely was not an attack. and you mentioned tonight gulf of tonkin resolution. all through history, there are presidents straining to get a war from congress that they want. sometimes in retrospect for good reasons, as i think we both would say about fdr in world war ii, but sometimes not. >> do you think -- i'm asking you to speculate here -- do you think if president obama is told no by congress and he decides to go ahead anyway as he and john kerry asserted they might, do you -- can you foresee what their historic allusion will be to say there's precedent for that kind of action? >> i would be very surprised if they do not mention kosovo,
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kosovo, kosovo and say this was an effort where congress did not approve the kosovo operation. there were 78 days of bombing as part of the nato operation. they finally won a peace treaty, ended the atrocities in kosovo. that was a successful effort that they have every reason to try to identify this venture with. >> michael beschloss, nbc news presidential historian. >> thank you, rachel. happy anniversary. >> thank you. that's very nice of you to say. i'm all embarrassed. we're almost five. all right. two very big gets for our msnbc lineup happened today. the really big one is that secretary of state john kerry made the case for intervention in syria to our own chris hayes today. it was just an epic interview and really important. another one was that we got an opposing argument from one of secretary kerry's toughest critics who has something to say about this because he knows from what he speaks. he was the chief u.n. weapons inspector leading up to the iraq war.
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while president obama made the case for military intervention in syria to world leaders at the g-20 leaders in russia and made that case to american lawmakers on the telephone today, today it was secretary of state john kerry who made that case to our own chris hayes here on msnbc. watch. >> you know, senator chuck hagel, when he was senator, senator chuck hagel, now secretary of defense, and when i was a senator, we opposed the president's decision to go into iraq, but we know full well how that evidence was used to
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persuade all of us that authority ought to be given. i can guarantee you i'm not imprisoned by my memories of or experience in vietnam. i'm informed by it, and i'm not imprisoned by my memory of how that evidence was used, i'm informed by it. so is chuck hagel. we are informed sufficiently that we are absolutely committed to not putting any evidence in front of the american people that isn't properly vetted, properly chased to grounds, and verified. from the moment that i have been sworn into office, i have been working with our allies, working with the opposition to define the ways in which we can guarantee that weapons are not going to the worst actors out there. the ways in which we can guarantee that the future of syria will be a democratic future, but also to guarantee that we are not presenting to
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the american people the same shoddy intelligence that was presented to the american people back in iraq. that we do not make that mistake. >> the same shoddy intelligence that was presented to the american people back in iraq. the debate about attacking syria is in some part a debate about intelligence. what happened, who did it, and who says? the reason everybody says we can't have a real international response despite syria having violated a real international supposed norm, is because russia and to a lesser extent china won't go along. they say they are not convinced by the intelligence. at least by what has been presented thus far. could they be convinced by the intelligence? and if they could, wouldn't that change everything about the debate we're having here now and the debate that's happening around the world? we were able to interview an experienced hand in these matters today to get his input into this debate and his response to some of the arguments made by john kerry. we asked former u.n. weapons inspector hans blix today about his view of secretary of state kerry's case for war, about what the u.s. says about gathered
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intelligence. watch this. >> there's always a suspicion that reports from national intelligence will be colored by the particular interests of the countries. and secretary kerry recognized this was eminently so in the case of the iraq affair. i think, i have a lot of respect for national intelligence and found in the case of iraq the question marks that they had added to their reports were changed into exclamation marks by the politicians. so they are somewhat cautious. i think the best is to combine the two. the u.n. inspectors go there into the place, and they are invited.
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they do it entirely legally. the u.s. and other nations, they may use spies and they use bugging and intercepting of telephone calls. i remember well colin powell played an intercepted telephone call in iraq, and, of course, it was phony. and we now also hear about the intercepted telephone calls, and i've seen the intelligence report as put out to the public and they simply state that they can collude with high degree of confidence, et cetera, et cetera, but they don't really go into the -- show the evidence because they don't want to reveal anything about the sources. i think the u.n. is more transparent. the international spaces are more transparent. the u.n. can go to places where
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spies can't go. the u.n. doesn't have any satellites of its own and they don't have any interception. both are needed. both should be judged by the court which is the security council. i think that the world should await the report of the impartial and professional u.n. inspectors. >> should wait. the world should wait for the impartial and international u.n. inspectors. so, in other words, hans blix without disrespecting american intelligence says he sees value in combining and presenting everything that can be known about the alleged chemical attack in syria, and that is the only hope for any action in syria that is an international action. coming up, the idea of acting in syria without the united states military. please stay tuned. when the movie "argo" won the academy award for best picture this year, the surprise presenter, the person who announced to the world "argo" had won was the first lady. michelle obama. dressed in her red carpet best. a beautiful strapless silvery gown for the oscars.
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now, memorize this picture. you can see her gown. you can see her head. you can see that she has arms and shoulders. memorize what that looks like because when the news of michelle obama presenting this award was reported in the country that "argo" was about, this is not what michelle obama looked like in that news
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when the movie "argo" won the academy award for best picture this year, the surprise presenter, the person who announced to the world "argo" had won was the first lady. michelle obama. dressed in her red carpet best. a beautiful strapless silvery
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gown for the oscars. now, memorize this picture. you can see her gown. you can see her head. you can see that she has arms and shoulders. memorize what that looks like because when the news of michelle obama presenting this award was reported in the country that "argo" was about, this is not what michelle obama looked like in that news coverage. no. yeah, see, in the iranian news coverage of michelle obama presenting that best picture award, iran drew sleeves on her. the semiofficial -- see -- yeah. the semiofficial iranian media decided it was not appropriate to show michelle obama's arms so this picture is basically photo-shop. today something else amazing happened involving iran and computers and what we might call the grasp on reality, except this time it was really good news. this time it might even have been the best new thing in the world. and that very unexpected good news story is coming up in just
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what president obama is asking congress now amounts to a yes/no question. should we use military force against syria? yes or no? a cruise missile strike or no cruise missile strike? yes or no? part of the reason it is not at
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all clear that the white house is not going to get a yes on this one is because parts of congress do not see this as a yes or no issue. >> one of the questions that i have asked is whether we're looking at this issue too narrowly. this is not a choice between doing nothing and doing a military strike. there are other ways to put pressure internationally on the assad regime to isolate him that might be more effective and would not involve the use of military action. >> i think that what we heard today made a compelling forensic case, one that nerve gas was used. and number two, that it was used by the assad regime. the next step has to be, then, what is the way to both deter and degrade his ability to ever do it again?
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i have more questions about that. does a military strike do that? are other things required? >> i'm not sure that he's going to be deterred from using chemical weapons in the future in order to hold on to power simply because he's afraid of two or three days' worth of missile strikes. >> i would urge the president to continue to work diplomatically and step up our humanitarian efforts. i just know there's always this need to find that lever that the united states can press to try to make a situation better around the world, and i just think we have to have some very sober conversation about the limits of u.s. power. >> i realize that the idea of barbara mikulski and marco rubio sharing the same video montage sounds like 2/3 of a bar joke. you can find threads in both parties across the political spectrum articulated in the same ways. barbara lee of california sounds like 2/3 of a bar joke. you can find threads in both parties across the political spectrum articulated in the same ways. barbara lee of california telling greg sergeant they have
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been persuasive about the intelligence and the fact he must do something. they have not been persuasive that the only option right now is a military option." that is barbara lee on the left. on the right there's congressman randy hultgren of illinois. he says "this is a tragedy that the international community must be fully engaged in and we must pursue all options to determine whether other actions can be taken to stop the bloodshed and pursue peace." in other words, just do it by some means other than military force. these are not lawmakers saying, no way, no how, we want there to be no response to syria allegedly using chemical weapons. these are lawmakers saying that they want the united states to do something here. they want the u.s. to intervene, but not necessarily with something that explodes and flies off a ship. isn't there something else we can do besides bomb them? but what exactly can the united states do if not the bombs, if
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not the missiles? the list of concrete actual proposals is not all that long, but it is growing, and it turns out it's growing in a nonpartisan, non left/right kind of way. there's chris smith of new jersey, a republican congressman. he says he will vote against the use of force. his idea is instead he's introducing a bill to have the u.s. take the lead on organizing a syrian war crimes tribunal. would a syrian war crimes tribunal make the syrian regime cut out what they're doing? don't know, but that's his idea. the former u.n. weapons inspector, hans blix says the world should put pressure on all the countries shipping weapons to either side in the syrian civil war. he says the arm supplying countries have leverage with syria and we have some leverage with them and should use that
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leverage to start essentially a multilateral arms embargo. the folks at ezra klein's "wonk" blog" combed through the policies that might affect the situation in syria and suggested a series of steps for the u.s. specifically including us just deciding to accept for refugees from the war. the countries that have already taken in nearly 2 million of syria's refugees are, themselves, making an urgent appeal just for aid from the rest of the world to help those other countries handle that millions of people inflow that they are dealing with essentially all on their own. the global think tank known as international crisis group is calling for no military intervention but instead put forward a six-step peace plan that starts with internationally brokered talks. group called peace action is urging people to tell the white house, "i oppose military intervention and military
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support in syria, but i support massive efforts for a political solution and continued humanitarian aid." so what if we got massively more involved in syria but in a way that was not military? the idea, the list of ideas for putting pressure on syria is growing. i think it will get longer still international sanctions. freezing every last global asset of every member of the syrian regime. there are a lot of things that could be done other than missiles or bombs. joining us now is frank jenuzi, deputy executive director of amnesty international usa. they've been tracking situation in syria with a help of a researcher on the ground in very difficult circumstances. and also with satellite images which have helped show the devastation in this case in the syrian city of aleppo. their idea is that global attention might make the regime think twice when they're mounting these attacks on their own people in their own country. in addition to his current work
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for amnesty international, he's a former policy adviser for democrats on the senate relations committee. thanks very much for being with us tonight. i appreciate it. >> my pleasure. good evening. >> how much room do you see as a former policy staffer in this field and as an advocate with amnesty, how much room to you see between military force and nothing? are there other meaningful choices for intervening in syria that aren't military action? >> there are important options that are available both to address the humanitarian crisis which is truly staggering in its scale. it's a third of the syrian population that's been displaced, as if 100 million americans had been driven from their homes. also options to pursue justice. amnesty international believes there must be no impunity for the crimes committed not only in the recent gas attack but really over the course of two years of internal conflict. violations perpetrated by all the parties. >> is it your position or amnesty's position that military intervention would make humanitarian aims and the aims of justice that you just described actually harder to achieve or do you just think that military intervention is irrelevant to those aims? >> we haven't taken a position. we won't take a position for or against military intervention. we feel strongly the focus should be on both addressing the humanitarian needs of the syrian people and also on bringing those responsible for war crimes
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to justice. and the tools that are available include referral to the international criminal court. some people complain that russia or china are blocking this. well, the u.s. could take it directly to the u.n. general assembly, shine a spotlight on russia's complicity in shielding those responsible for war crimes from justice. the u.s. could also work to build an international coalition to impose targeted sanctions on the syrian government. the folks who are most directly responsible for many of the war crimes. >> when you say sanctions, one thing -- the first thing i think is, that's something that's not military. we're trying to open the box wider in terms of what's considered to be a potential tool here. that seems. on the other hand, i think of the suffering of the syrian
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people 2 1/2 years into this difficult, terrible, widespread war, and i wonder about whether or not sanctions can be targeted narrowly enough that they wouldn't hit the syrian people, instead of just people in the government you're going after? >> it's a great observation. to be very clear, what we're talking about here are strictly targeted sanctions at the financial assets at the president of syria and his clique, family members and those responsible for much of the violence. the united states could also do something that perhaps we should have done already which is to look at our arms relationship with russia. we actually do business with the same russian arm firms which are, themselves, helping to fuel the conflict in syria by continuing to provide weapons and support to the syrian government. perhaps the united states military itself should not be doing business with russian military firms helping to fuel the violence. >> can i ask you in a meta sense, these types of things you are proposing, have advocates and people concerned about the
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situation in syria been asking the u.s. government to do these things and have been getting ignored or told no? has nobody been trying to advance an idea about american intervention here that wasn't something military? >> i worked on capitol hill 15 years and there's a reluctance to focus on something that it becomes so large that you can't attack it. now that we're there, it's not too late to make a difference. so these kinds of options, sanctions, international criminal court referral, these are ways that the international community can rally to the defense of the syrian people and try to address their humanitarian needs. there also needs to be a much more robust response at the refugee camps. you know, there's a refugee camp in jordan. so many folks who are in desperate need of assistance. >> frank jannuzi of amnesty national usa. thank you for helping us understand your take on this. coming up, we have a visit to the department of corrections.
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when brands compete, you save. mattress price wars ends sunday at sleep train. ♪ your ticket to a better night's sleep ♪ so msnbc announced today there's going to be a new show on this network on friday nights at 10:00 eastern. hosted by the actor alec baldwin. this is very exciting news here for lots of reasons. we are very much looking forward to mr. baldwin's new show. but for anybody who watches this
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show on friday nights, the most immediate change here will be that i will no longer be able to count down at the end of the friday night show to the moment when i send you to prison. because the show "lockup" is starting right after me with no commercial break and no barrier at all between dorky old me at my desk and some very intense footage from a correctional system somewhere. so there will be no more three, two, one, prison on friday night shows once alec baldwin's new show starts. however, that does not mean that we don't still sometimes have to visit the department of corrections ourselves. here's something i screwed up. couple nights ago i was cataloging the latest accounting that we have of the various cash and prizes that virginia governor bob mcdonnell and his family have accepted from a virginia businessman. businessman whose company the governor and his wife. so msnbc announced today that there is going to be a new show on this network on friday nights at 10:00 eastern. hosted by the actor, alec baldwin, there is excitement for many reasons. we're looking forward to mr. baldwin's show.
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governor bob mcdonnell so that case could be decided in court. now, as you know the pile of stuff that the governor and his family have taken from this man since bob mcdonnell has been the governor, includes this list, a rolex watch, a vacation house, a longer of a $190,000 ferrari, and cash. well, two days ago, thanks to "the washington post," we were able to add to that gift, a happy graduation trip to florida, for the governor's daughter and a friend. also, a private flight and five nights at an accommodation, a swanky hotel for the governor and his wife. also, elite golf gear enjoyed by the governor and his sons and
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some gubernatorial staffers. all of this additional stuff, yes, from the same guy who made it rain, chicken dinners and ferrari rides and engraved watches for bob mcdonnell. turns out i must correct the record, because there is still more. we already knew about gifts to mr. mcdonnell's wife, including a suede jacket and a designer purse and dress. that multi-thousand dollar new york city shopping spree that produced all of those gifts, that was given to the governor's wife in the spring of 2011. but here is the thing we did not know before, that at least $15,000 shopping spree in new york for the governor's wife turns out to be separate and different from another $15,000 shopping trip in new york, also purchased for the governor's wife by the same guy. what "the washington post" found that in addition to the shopping
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spree in new york and the expensive jacket, the same guy also bought at a charity auction a second high-fashion trip for the first lady in the fall. there doesn't seem to be any indication that the first lady took that trip, but it was purchased for her, for $15,000 at an auction, while her husband, the governor was reportedly in the room looking on. which makes it kind of hard to prove that he didn't know they were raking in all the largesse from this one guy. but again, i regret the error. it was not one, but two $15,000 high fashion trips for the governor's wife. hard to keep track of the loot that the governor and his family have raked in is a high enough pile that it is hard to get to the top. it is hard to see how many multiples are in the pile. i regret the error, but still, i'll continue to try to
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determine how much he took for himself and his family in the governorship. but hey, it is a lot. and they have never come clean about it all. so who knows what will turn up next.
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okay, best new thing in the world today, rosh hashanah is the jewish holiday, this year, it started at sundown and lasted for a couple of days, because it is such an important holiday, rosh hashanah is the sort of holiday in which leaders tend to wish each other good tidings. like president obama, a good and sweet happy new year, the canadian president, happy new
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year. this is the kind of thing you do at rosh hashanah every year, almost everybody does it. with a few exceptions, for example, this time last year it was iran's president, mahmoud ahmadinejad, who used this occasion of the happy new year to deny the holocaust. mahmoud ahmadinejad was famous for that. he publicly denied that the holocaust happened, again and again, and last week, publicly, again, after the jewish new year. mahmoud ahmadinejad was the holocaust denier, and probably still is. but he is no longer president of iran, his term ended last month. rowhani replaced mahmoud ahmadinejad, look at this message, "i wish all jews, especially iranian jews a special rosh hashanah "really?
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they ran a story denying that he could have said something like that on twitter because they say he actually doesn't have a twitter account. actually, they say he doesn't have a tweeter account. so do we believe them when they say their new president doesn't tweet and so couldn't have tweeted that nice thing to jewish people? i am not inclined to believe the foreign agency on anything. so here is the thing, the big beef between iran and the world is the nuclear program. the talks will be handled by this guy, the country's new foreign minister. and the country's new foreign minister really did definitively did send this message, happy rosh hashanah, the iranian
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president seems to have said happy jewish holiday to the world. you know who writes back to him once he says it? nancy pelosi's daughter, what? yes, i know, small world, christine writes back to the foreign minister and says thanks, the new year would be even sweeter if you would end iran's holocaust denial, sir. he writes back to her, this is his reply to christine, he said iran never denied it. the man who did is now gone. he then tweeted, saying the man who was perceived to have denied it. two journalists say yeah, that was his twitter account and that really was him. so this time last year, the president of iran was denying the holocaust for the jewish new year. this year, they are sending the best happy rosh hashanah wishes. it is still a bad world out
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there, but sometimes in unexpected places, you find it to be different, happy new year, the best new thing you were not good morning. right now on "first look," did president obama sway any foreign leaders to support a u.s.-led military strike in syria? peyton manning lights up the season nfl with a bang. a shocking confession is geing a lot of buzz this morning. >> my name is matthew cordel and on june 22nd, 2013, i killed vincent canzoni. is it legal to play fantty football for money?