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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  September 23, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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it is tuesday, september 23rd, and this is now. >> last night's strikes were only the beginning. >> america's armed forces began strikes against isil targets in syria. >> it is a massive campaign. >> the initial campaign was successful. >> the u.s. is supported by at least five arab nations. >> arab countries decided to kill arab terrorists. >> in the end it will take an arab force on the ground to make this work. >> i think congress should be weighing in. >> the debating matters of war and peace. >> we also took strikes to disrupt plotting against the united states. >> the khorasan group is in the final stage of plans to execute major attacks against western targets. >> we face a common threat and our response has to be all hands on deck. >> these people want to kill us.
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>> this is not america's fight alone. >> it is a fight you cannot opt out of. >> last night's strikes were only the beginning. >> only the beginning. that is the word from the pentagon on last night's air strikes in syria. today, military leaders presented documentary evidence of damage done to isis targets like this isis compound strike, part of 160 munitions that were fired. briefing reporters on this expansive new action, lieutenant general william mayville said the mission is just getting started. >> you are seeing the beginnings of a sustained campaign, and strikes like this in the future can be expected. >> asked about how long such a sustained campaign might take, mayville said to think in terms of years. the country also learned today that the mission overnight included eight u.s. only air strikes. ship launched tomahawk missiles
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fired against a little known group known as khorasan. pentagon and white house officials say that was aimed as disrupt ago terror plot involving europe or the u.s. it was close to the execution stage. president obama is in new york today for the united nations general assembly in a role that might best be described as coalition builder in chief. any minute, the president is expected to have a meeting with the nations that participated in last night's air strikes. before departing the white house, the president offered their participation as proof that unlike previous wars in the middle east, america is not acting on its own. >> america is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with these nations on behalf of our common security. the strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not america's fight alone. above all, the people in governments in the middle east are rejecting isil.
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>> joining me now, editor in chief of, ezra klein, and investigative reporter for reuters, david rhodes. just today alone, we have seen what could be dramatic shifts in allegiances and enemy lines if you will. we have news that david cameron, head of the u.k., will meet with iran's rowhani for talks on the fringes of the u.n. general assembly. president erdogan says turkey will give necessary support to the operation that could be military or logistical. how meaningful do you think these syrian air strikes will be in terms of reconfiguring the political landscape of the middle east? >> well, they could be very meaningful, but to be blunt, this is the easy part for the obama administration, this is the first stage of this. it is the least risky time in terms of air strikes. the question was whether this promise from turkey, turkey is a key player here, will it evolve
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into real action on the ground. earlier in the intro talked about there has to be an arab force on the ground that dislodges the islamic state. that's the key, it is a good start, that's what we need to get to, what's going to happen on the ground. >> vox had interesting things analyzing how this plays out. one of the things is obama told isis in advance he was going to launch air strikes in syria. was that a mistake, question mark. senior administration official got a phone call briefing with reporters, they were asked the same question, unsurprisingly said it wasn't a mistake. the president announced he was going to conduct air strikes in iraq and syria and is doing so with efficiency. >> and there's also an argument about ways in which you want to do with some mercy so civilians can get out of areas. i think this goes to a broader point. you're not going to decapitate isis with air strikes, you're
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not going to do it, doesn't matter if you launch by surprise or with warning. the only thing that can do it, if anything can do it at all, is going to be a serious, sustained ground invasion, probably by arab troops. and it is not at all clear what the extent of america's commitment to this mission is. so far president obama has begun more recently talking about the need to destroy isis, but he's not committed anything near the kind of american research that would be to do so. there would be significant question of what exactly is the end game here. when do we see it playing out, what do we want to achieve. what would count for us as failure. that's not been well defined either. that's where questions of mission or unclear objectives come in. >> david, the introduction of khorasan into the national vernacular is to ezra's point, not only is there a lack of i think agreed upon definition in terms of what constitutes failure or success, the enemy is constantly changing here.
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i mean, we were told today that operatives in khorasan were near to the execution phase of a terrorist plot that would have effected u.s. or european civilians. how feasible is it that we were that close and yet there's been no discussion publicly about this group until really the last 24 to 48 hours. >> frankly, it is very strange. i was on that same conference call with white house officials earlier today. they said there was an imminent planning for an attack, that this was something they had to address urgently. and you're right. i mean, james clapper was asked about this last week and he said they might be a threat to the united states, now we're told they're an immediate threat, that the u.s. had to act. so at best the administration hasn't handled this well. why are they suddenly bringing this group out of nowhere, and this all started, it was about stopping genocide on a mountain in iraq. now there's a group in syria on the verge of carrying out attacks in the u.s.
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so again, their messaging, communications from the white house is a little bit off. >> let's also talk about you make the point about what is going to be effective in terms of decapitating isis and that ground operations are going to be necessary. "the new york times" has a disturbing headline about the efficacy of air strikes in iraq and saying look, the u.s. has been bombing the h-e double hockey sticks out of iraq and isis hasn't slowed down. the situation there is ever more complex. if you look at models here, that's a disconcerting model the day before we launch air strikes in syria. >> it has been like this a long time. if you go back a year ago today, year and two weeks ago roughly that president obama comes on national television and said we need to do limited strikes against bashar al assad because of use of chemical weapons, and the "the new york times" runs a piece around the same time, the reason the obama administration doesn't want to intervene in the
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syrian civil war more fully is rebel groups, some of them are very dangerous. they talk about one trying to build an islamic state on the border. fast forward a year. we are bombing that group, on the side of bashar al-assad. isis is his enemy. we are now supporting a murderous dictator whose ouster we are publicly committed to, we want to see step down, and we are doing so in a not effective way. we know that we are not going to end isis this way. so the question is can we muddle through this way, keep isis from getting stronger, keep them off balance, keep trying to weaken their abilities, and in the meantime, something changes, either sunnis tire of them in iraq and try to overthrow them or gulf states and arab states come together and take them out on the ground. we are trying to contain the situation until something happens that will solve it. >> david, what do you make of the problem that ezra highlights
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between wanting to combat isis and syria and not wanting to assist the regime of bashar ago as add. there are people saying in order to defeat isis you have to make a deal with assad's army. they're the ones with the force to decapitate them, making them ineffectual. there are so many strange comments from our northern ministers and syrian foreign ministers about how much we're not cooperating with one another. but we did give advance notice to the syrians. how tricky does this get in coming days, and how much does it matter? >> it is very tricky. and a lot of this goes back to a decision in 2011 where the president came out and said that, you know, assad lost legitimacy, and he should go. there's a lot of second guessing now because there wasn't a plan, a proper process in the white house to think about what will the u.s. do if assad refuses to go, and as ezra said, he refused
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to go, 200,000 people are now dead. i was recently told that the president in one meeting the white house went around the table of advisers, said is there anyone here thinks we should somehow make a deal with assad and work with him to do this, no one at this stage was willing to go there. it is complicated, we have him as a murderous dictator, now we are in a sense helping him. one thing to watch, air strikes around aleppo, that's a corner of the country where moderate rebels, some call the free syrian army, are being attacked by assad's forces and by the islamic state. there was a thoughtful piece by analysts from international crisis group saying the u.s. should bomb those islamic state positions around aleppo. that didn't happen last night. bombing those positions would help the moderate rebels. again, you can hear me here today, it is very complicated. >> david, let me ask you one question before i let you go. in terms of hostages, there are
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american aid workers and british journalists held hostage by isis, one can only presume that things do not look good for them, given the past, if the past is any precedent, and certainly with air strikes. isis seems to be using a new tact insofar as one of the british journalists is hosting if you will a news magazine show for isis in its propaganda, does that reflect a shift in strategy with the hostages? what do you think that signals if anything. >> i am not sure it is a sense, there is a sense that release of the videos, doing it so quickly, there might be a sense of desperation on isis' side. after the strikes last night, there's pressure on them. they need to sort of somehow strike back against the west. they might try to carry out an attack, particularly in europe when they might have many fighters that have gone back there, and you know, it is very grim frankly for these hostages because if they're unable to carry out something, some sort of counter attack on the ground or something in europe or the u.s., you could see them kill a
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hostage in the next few days. i don't think that tactic is working. i think the new tapes are working, they're clearly coerced statements, but they need to show, isis needs to show they can respond somehow. >> investigative reporter, david rohde, ezra. hang with me. after the break, more on the air campaign against terrorists in syria, including politics of war back here in washington. top republicans are supporting president obama's decision to take the fight to syria, but one democrat is likening the operation to the cheney preemptive war doctrine. i will tell you who that is coming up. president obama is taking steps in the battle against climate change, announcing a new executive action at the united nations. i'm discuss that with environmentalists, one of the main forces behind the historic people's climate march this weekend. all of that ahead on "now." mm. feel it. j.j. watt? you know there's a game on tonight right, amy?
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i have spoken to leaders in congress, and i am pleased there's bipartisan support for the actions that we're taking. america is always stronger when we stand united, and that unity sends a powerful message to the world that we will do what's necessary to defend our country. >> that was president obama earlier today, speaking at the white house, touting political unity in washington over his campaign against isis in iraq and in syria. a unity that seems authentic. several republican members of congress, including a guy named marco rubio, issued statements of support for the strikes in syria. a handful of democrats reiterated that support, including harry reid, who in a statement today announced that in the presence of arab nations
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in these air strikes and president obama's commitment that we will not use u.s. ground forces in combat are clear evidence that president obama will not repeat the mistakes of the past. but while there is bipartisanship, the debate over the president's legal authority to conduct air strikes continues. today democratic senator from virginia, tim kaine, who has been leading an effort for congressional authorization of military force against isis told the huffington post by not taking a vote congress has, quote, sort of allowed the cheney preemptive war doctrine to exist by another name. back with me, ezra klein from, and joining me for buzz feed, john stanton. john, that was a democrat comparing obama, our president obama, to dick cheney. what's happening with democrats on the hill, is there going to be a vote on reauthorization of the use of military force any time this year? >> i think democrats i think generally support what he's doing right now, especially in
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terms of this sort of split from al qaeda, they believe this is justified. they're split on the broader question of does he have authority right now to go after isis because of the split they had with al qaeda, they now see themselves as different, al qaeda has problems with them, there has been fighting sometimes between them, so they believe he needs to come to congress for authority. i would have said if you asked me last week there was no chance, everyone on the hill said they're not going to vote until february maybe, given toxic nature of a vote to authorize war, because you're essentially taking part of that ownership from him and making it yours. but after this series of bombings, it sounds like there's increasing pressure. bob menendez is set on having a vote on it in the senate and there are a number of republicans and democrats in the house that really want to see this during the lame duck session. certainly after the election we will see it. >> where does the blame lie. if you think that not
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reauthorization it, that that should be done before we conduct air strikes in iraq or syria, is the onus on the president to make sure congress reauthorizes that, or is it congress's job to take up the mantle? >> this is a conspiracy, not a competition. they both agree what they want done. the president wants the freest hand he can have, and congress doesn't want to be involved on these. they want the president to take the blame if anything goes wrong. so you could imagine a world here in which what was happening was the president was trying to get around congress, right, he was trying to do things without congressional authorization because he feared congress' answer, but that's not the world we are in. you have a lot of members of congress, tim kaine and other members that want a vote, would just shut up, let it be on the president, let it go forward, if it goes badly, they can criticize it, if it goes well, they can praise it. but the president wants the freedom and congress wants to ab
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did i indicate authority over this stuff, not have to pay or be part of the consequences. >> if a vote is taken or as this conflict plays out, who is it harder for, war weary democrats, the progressive left, folks that watch from the sidelines during the bush cheney years, or republicans like rand paul and increasingly isolation strain and are really at a cross roads on what to do in terms of foreign policy. >> i think it is equally hard for both sides at this point. democrats don't want to do this, but this is their president, they sort of have to come out and vote for this thing, that's how this is going to work out for them in the end. republicans interestingly are starting to become more of an anti-war party. their voters are sort of effected with this, done with this war, it is president obama's war now, it creates more political incentive. i think most difficult people to deal with it are people running for president. they don't want this vote. marco rubio wants nothing to do
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with a vote on anything -- >> period. no votes on anything, let me run for president, vote for me, i would like to go to the oval office. ezra, there's been a lot of time, space, oxygen dedicated to talking about what a lame duck this president is, how it is post obama presidency in the last two years, yet michael hirsch has a compelling piece in politico magazine, makes a case that, sorry, james mann from johns hopkins says the president is not finished. other presidents, reagan's diplomacy with gorbachev, one of the hallmark achievements, clinton bringing in china in the wtl, military action in kosovo without u.n. approval, and bush and the iraq surge and financial calamity, other things that
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ensued in the last two years of his administration, and very much for this president these could be actually maybe the most meaningful years of his presidency. where do you stand on that? >> these things are connected. one rear, you named off a litany of foreign policy accomplishments or events that happened with presidents in the last years of their term. often become lame ducks in the sense they can't pass an immigration bill, budget, a tax cut, can't pass postal service renaming. it gives an incentive to focus more on foreign policy. if you go back to 2009 when president obama is trying to pass obamacare, they would have been loathe to get into any foreign policy conflict that would potentially zap support from an aggressive domestic agenda. when there's no domestic agenda, the ability to spend political capital, time, intellectual resources and operational resources on foreign policy increases. whether it is good or bad, i am
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not sure. i will say this, i don't think it is like trying to work out an israel palestine peace deal. this is not a fight president obama wants or likes, this does not fit into his foreign policy which has been skeptical of conventional war making this way. while it might end up being incredibly consequential, it is not something that i think he sought out or is happy with. >> that's the michael hirsch point, for barack obama what's happening, this is a whole new war and it is president obama's war. >> i think i would be terrified if i was him in terms of my legacy, that this could be the defining thing of your presidency, and starting a whole new war you're going to hand off to the next guy. probably not what he came in anticipating. >> and a war that could last well into the next presidency, whoever has it. ezra klein, john stanton, guys, thank you for your time and thoughts. >> thank you. coming up, leaders from 126 nations met to combat another global threat, the fight to save the earth. that's next.
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for all the immediate challenges we gather to address this week, terrorism, instability, inequality, disease, there's one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate. >> that was president obama calling for a global response to climate change. environmentalists, the executive director join me next. and president obama is meeting with members of the coalition against isis. we are covering all sides of that breaking story throughout the hour just ahead. looks like . that's only 4 points?
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ringing. our citizens keep marching. we cannot pretend we do not hear them. we have to answer the call. >> after a record breaking 400,000 marched the streets of new york city sunday after dozens of activists were arrested, after days of action in the streets, today the spotlight is on world leaders. 126 heads of state are currently convening at the u.n. general assembly in the largest gathering devoted to attacking climate change. among them, the one that most contributed to warming of the ear earth's atmosphere, the president of the united states. >> we know what we have to do to avoid irrepairable harm. cut pollution to prevent worst effects of climate change. have to adapt to impacts we can no longer avoid. we have to work together as a
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global community to tackle this global threat before it is too late. we cannot condemn our children and their children to a future that's beyond their capacity to repair. >> and talk of condemning future generations to a broken future isn't just talk. pledges are being made to have the destruction of the world's forest by 2020, and to stop deforestation all together by the year 2030. africa is unveiling a clean energy corridor to build a renewable power network that will run from egypt to south africa. but for a summit that's supposed to tackle the greatest threat to global stability, a few key players have been notably absent. those would be leaders of the other two biggest contributors to climate change, china and india as well as germany which ranks as the world's sixth biggest polluter. and the real prize, a legally binding agreement that would force countries to reduce carbon emissions. that agreement won't come for another 14 months when world
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leaders reconvene in paris. joining me now, author and environmentalist, founder of, bill mccan i be en, and executive director rick patel. rick, start with you first. the president trying to claim the man tell of leadership on environmental issues, do you consider this president to be an environmentalist? >> i think president obama is trying to have it both ways. i mean, he's taken important steps forward with regulating coal fired plants with the epa, at the same time we have seen massive expansion of oil drilling and fossil fuel production. i think time will tell on this. he has a long ways to go. next six months in particular, he promised to raise emissions target of the united states. i think we will see in that time whether he is going to lean towards the people that we have seen in the streets in incredible numbers or whether he will side with the polluters. >> bill, let me ask you, scientifically speaking, we know we had horrific weather, many
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cases the result of a changing environment. the president laid out his goals for keeping global emissions below 2% celsius. where are we in terms of lowering temperature of the earth's atmosphere, dealing with carbon emissions as a planet. >> so far we're nowhere. the real news that came out of the last couple days, two pieces of real news, that march that he referred to, that he helped organize with 400,000 people in the street. that was the human movement, the movement scientifically was the report yesterday that world emissions of carbon dioxide went up 3% last year, and that the united states increased its carbon emissions dramatically. we're not getting anywhere near tackling this problem and the kind of things the president was talking about today were pretty small potatoes. he said he was stepping up to the plate, but it was pretty much dropping down a bunt single
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in the ninth inning when you're down ten runs. >> that's a defeating baseball metaphor. rick, to that end, the absence of china and india and even germany on this, i mean, i don't want to be completely pessimistic here, but how do you read that and is it a matter of time before these countries sit at the table on negotiations about climate change or are we far away from that? >> look, i think it is important to be realistic about the challenge, but not to despair. if we were deciding anything at this summit, the chinese and indians would have turned up, heads of state would have turned up. shouldn't mistake their inattendance for inaction. china is rolling it out like no other country on earth. what this was was a pep rally of heads of state to get in the game, get in gear for an agreement next year. you saw almost 700,000 on the street sunday. almost all of opening speakers
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mention that. the game changer was sunday, you could feel it in the room at the summit. i think that's what you'll see. what we need is by next year a firm commitment from all these countries to transition our economies from dirty energy to 100% clean energy. we saw sweden and denmark join countries that made that commitment today and that's the drum we need to beat. >> bill, let's talk optimistically about china and its embrace of certain sustainable technologies and green energies. do you see some hope in those sectors, and specifically business driven investments in clean technology? >> absolutely. look, there are some real signs around the business and financial community at the moment. sunday night, the rockefeller family announced they were selling off all their investments in fossil fuels. this is the greatest fossil fuel fortune on earth and its heirs said it is no longer wise or moral to invest in fossil fuels.
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i think that reflects both scientific reality and the business case which is that the transition away from fossil fuels could come awfully fast if countries made up their minds. i think the germans didn't come to the summit because they didn't want to be accused of boasting too much. there were days this summer the germans managed to produce 75% of power from the sun and wind. if that starts happening anywhere else in the rest of the world, then exxon and chevron and shell are in for a beating. >> rick, let me ask you in terms of the road ahead, we have these coming negotiations in paris, i believe the final treaty to be ratified in december of 2015. key oath oh, cope enhague on failed to produce the results people were looking for. why is the next set of negotiations any different? >> it is a mistake to look at the past and see just failure. right now, 22% of the world's energy comes from clean energy. norway and uraguay are 100%
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clean energy or close to it. climate change and fighting it will take a generation to really, really get to 100% clean energy and we have to take it in stages. it is amazing to see progress. already in many countries, solar power is cheaper than coal. so i think we have to build momentum and build on it. this agreement is no panacea. this is a long fight. our children will still be fighting this fight. but we are in it to win it. and you saw more people than ever on the street. that's the most hopeful thing i have seen the past few days. >> 400,000 people is a big deal and a real sign. thank you guys so much for your time and energy. >> take care, alex. >> thank you. coming up, president obama just spoke about the coalition of nations combatting isis. we will bring you those comments next. ♪ yeah, girl
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tonch to recap, the president saluted the actions of armed forces in carrying out a series of air strikes on 14 isis targets in syria using land and sea based aircraft. 47 tomahawk missiles were launched by two u.s. navy ships stationed in the region. at the pentagon, william mayville said the strikes were successful taking out key isis training camps and facilities. joining the u.s. conducting air strike operations, four regional allies, jordan, saudi arabia, bahrain, and the uae. the nation of qatar provided material support. hours ago, the turkish president erdogan confirmed his country was willing to join the u.s. led coalition in a military or logistical capacity. in a separate mission yesterday,
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the u.s. launched eight air strikes inside syria against the al qaeda affiliated khorasan terrorist group, an organization that senior administration officials said was in the advanced stage of plotting against europe or the united states. coming up, 1.4 million, the number of people that could be infected with ebola by january. i will update the outbreak next. first, hampton pearson has a market wrap up. >> another rough day on wall street. here's a look at the stocks. dow down 117 points, s&p 500 falling 12, nasdaq dropping 19 points. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. support both mental sharpness and physical energy with berocca. proud sponsor of mind and body.
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it is a wonderful opportunity for me to welcome these leaders, friends, partners
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from the region and to say thank you to all of them for their participation and commitment to rolling back the violent extremism that has so disrupted iraq and syria and threatens the region as a whole. >> that was president obama just moments ago after dropping in at a meeting involving secretary of state john kerry and representatives from the arab nations that participated in last night's coalition air strikes. after the break, republican senate candidate scott brown says the president is, quote, confused about isis. why? because according to scott brown, it is all about securing the american border. that is next. this is kathleen. setting up the perfect wedding day begins with arthritis pain and two pills. afternoon arrives and feeling good,
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while president obama's air strikes received support from leaders on the right john boehner and marco rubio, republicans seeking to join them in congress are taking the opposite approach. >> radical islamic terrorists are threatening to cause the collapse of our country. president obama and senator shaheen seem confused about the nature of the threat. not me. i want to secure the border, keep out the people that would do us harm, and restore america's leadership in the world. >> over in the lower chamber, the house republican campaign arm is back to war on terror fear mongering as a tactic to take out vulnerable democrats. >> we all know the growing threat we face today. >> are they coming for us? they are actively working to come for us. >> isis is no fringe terrorist group. >> these fighters could bring a significant threat to our home land. >> what we don't know is why
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congressman rick nolan voted to release terrorists held at guantanamo bay. >> joining me, senior editor and chief of mother jones. david, the partisanship lives to fight another day. scott brown wants to secure the border. mr. obama is apparently the one that is misguided? i question that. >> it is like karl rove is back in his old job. this is what we had in 2002 and 2004 elections. i mean, it is not at all surprising. you know, this is a republican play book. if you look, they're playing with something that's real. you look at public opinion polls now, even though the public supports what obama is doing, a large percentage thinks it is still not going to work. if you ask who is better qualified to deal with this, republicans or democrats, republicans are back to their historic edge and being national security, tough on terrorists. they're going to keep playing this. the facts don't matter. he didn't vote to release people
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from guantanamo, he voted to close guantanamo. >> guantanamo is still open. >> the issue is not isis coming through the border, they didn't have to do that on 9/11, had other ways of harming us. these are demagogue points. because the president is engaged in this act of war now, it may actually help the republicans do their fear mongering. >> i wonder, brian, i just don't know that this plays to be politically crass about it, plays well for either party. i think, and i would love both your thoughts on this. democrats who are skeptical of getting involved in another conflict in the middle east, because i think syria represents another conflict and not really a continuation, and republicans who also remember the bush legacy and are not happy about it, don't think it was good for their party. >> i think public sentiment is everything in this story. what's popular is attacking terrorist organizations, islamic terrorist organizations and preventing terror attacks. what's not popular is getting
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bogged down in a quagmire. members of congress don't want to vote for it, if it goes well, they're not getting credit. if it falls apart, their fingerprints aren't on it. same for scott brown, he doesn't want to attack the president for what he is doing with air strikes but wants to turn it into a different issue where he thinks he can gain support from his own voters, which is to make it a totally different thing about the border, which nobody actually thinks that's a real connection. >> david, i felt like we were getting to a place in this country where -- >> we were. >> the fact that we are criticizing people for trying to close guantanamo, which is a black mark on the country, you know, in these isis videos, they have hostages wearing red or orange jump suits that guantanamo prisoners wear. i thought we were get to go a point we could talk about some of the bad things done in the war on terror. this feels like we rewound to
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2002. >> these ads like like 2002, particularly after 9/11. there's a bit of a conundrum. the president to go after isis and now this group we never heard of before in syria, khorasan, an al qaeda affiliate, has to talk about the threat they pose, whether imminent or not imminent. that allows people that want a demagogue or fear monger something to work with. while they're talking about a terrorist threat, it moves up the list of things they care about. allows an opening for people that want to play politics for this. stuff like this isn't going on in 2008 and so on, the conversation was how to get out of iraq. now it is about what to do in the middle east, and the public, brian is right, they want to see terrorists pounded, but they also don't want a war. they want the president to make it go away somehow, but this is
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really not a one yearlong problem, this is problem, ten, 20, maybe a couple decades. >> that's the thing. scott brown has election coming up. but this is about 2016, 2020, this is about coming up with a policy that can extend from one administration to the next. and i think in some ways, i am not channeling tim kaine here, there's a tacit agreement by people that end up in the oval office that hey, this was started way back when, it is maybe not my thing, i am going to continue basically the strategy of my predecessors. >> a cynical way to think about it. but if you're looking ahead a year and a half, two years from now, if this is still a story, it is because it hasn't gone well and you want distance. you don't want to have been somebody who took a vote to initiate the campaign, that two years later hasn't made progress or there have been terrorist attacks or whatever. you have democratic and republican presidential candidates, presumed presidential candidates voting against it. if it goes well, it is not a
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story in two years, nobody will remember they voted against army syrian rebels or that they oppose the president's action. it is a cynical way to look at it, explains division between the congressional leadership and leaders of the parties. >> the issue is it is not going to go well, it is not going to be decided in two years. it is like the surge. people said the surge worked out so well until it didn't, and we have this. the invasion looked great for the first couple days, until it didn't. so it kind of depends at what point of the cycle the 2016 election will be happening, and it is going to go over two years, there will be ups and downs. this is just something that the president is just going to have to deal with, and that eventually somebody in congress is going to have to deal with, whether they want to or not. >> let me talk about the left because it is very different. it is different being on the sidelines as a progressive with
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a democrat in office. glenn greenwald today has a scathing assessment of what is happening, and writes syria, the headline reads syria becomes the seventh predominantly muslim country bombed by 2009 peace laureate. that's one of the most prominent, cutting criticisms of this president's action, and yet it is pretty singular because you don't hear that much from the left on this, do you, brian? >> no. i think glenn makes a good point and also is aligning a couple of differences that distinguish obama who has bombed more middle eastern countries than george bush did, and george bush's actual policies in the middle east. you go back to what i was saying about public opinion, you know, a year ago when the discussion was about overthrowing the assad regime, public sentiment was against the president. it was a mess in congress and they wouldn't vote to give him authorization and it all fell apart. the policy we are talking about today is basically the opposite
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policy, and while glenn's point stands and while i think there's a lot of merit to it, it does not jibe the way it did a year ago with public opinion, which is why the president whether he wants to or not is in this position. >> it is hard to speak about syria at this point. part of his point. he is bombing isis targets, less so in syria. i am worried about civilian and collateral casualties. we have report of a few people killed in bombing strikes last night in the area formerly known as syria. >> which is the most accurate. >> i think progressives want to give him the benefit of the doubt. he is approaching it in a far different manner than bush did. to begin with, there was no threat at the time, and saddam hussein was a problem, but not the biggest problem. isis, isil, islamic state whatever you call it is indeed a problem. coming up with a policy of how to deal with it is difficult.
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>> let's be clear, the decision-making process, desire to go to war, very different in the last administration to this one. thank you guys for your time. that's all for now. see you tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. eastern. "the ed show" is next. good evening, americans, welcome to "the ed show," live from detroit lakes, minnesota. let's get to work! u.s. air strikes lit up the night sky over raqqa. >> we are going to do what's necessary to take this fight to the terrorist group. >> last night's strikes were only the beginning. >> we should call it what it is. we are at war with isis. >> we face a common threat. >> first time you have seen this array of arab fire power. >> our response has to be all hands on deck. >> basically the new coalition of the willing, don't say it as