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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  June 28, 2010 11:00pm-12:00am EDT

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weigel. that's count down for this june 28th. it is the 2,615th day since president bush declared mission accomplished in iraq. it is the 70th day of the deepwater horizon disaster in the gulf. i'm keith olbermann, good night and good luck. now to discuss a "rolling stone" article on the retiring stanley mcchrystal, ladies and gentlemen, here is rachel maddow. >> good evening, keith. thank you very much for that. thanks to you at home for staying with us the next hour as general stanley mcchrystal moves to retire from the united states army altogether, michael hastings, the man who's reporting ended the general's career, joins us live here in studio for his first interview since returning from afghanistan. minnesota senator amy klobuchar, one of the senators who faced off with supreme court nominee elena kagan at the judiciary committee today is also with us tonight from washington. we have the incredible tale of what sounds like a cold war
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spiring, except the people arrested as undeclared russian agents were picked up today. we've got that story coming up. and the latest installment of the rachel maddow show's bp press release theater. bp at its finest all ahead on this very, very, very busy news day. but we begin with this. >> why do they hate us so much? ladies and gentlemen, the answer to that is because we're a christian nation. >> former u.s. army lieutenant general william boykin in uniform in 2002 explaining that the united states was actively engaged in a holy war against islam. general boykin, who was a top bush administration pentagon official wasn't just explaining that we were in a holy war, he was explaining in essence that that was a good thing, because he was fighting a holy war too. >> well, you know what? i knew that my god was bigger
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than his. i knew that my god was a real god and his was an idol. >> i knew that my god was bigger than his. general boykin's remarks in 2002 and 2003 proved to be too much even for the bush administration back then. the pentagon made clear the general was out of bounds and the president distanced himself from the my god's bigger comments. general boykin retired in 2007. what's he been up to since? well, he's the guy senate republicans announced would be in their first round of witnesses to testify against president obama's supreme court nominee, elena kagan. whose confirmation hearings began today in washington. general william boykin is who republicans plan to have make the case that elena kagan is secretly anti-military, i guess. maybe he was going to make the case that she has a very, very, tiny god or something? william boykin. perhaps after their google got unstuck, republicans rescinded
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their invitation to general boykin, literally within hours of announcing him, senate republicans disinvited general boykin from the witness list to testify this week. and that tells you pretty much everything you need to know about this particular supreme court nomination fight and what republicans are trying to do here. but with common wisdom is something that in general you shouldn't trust farther than you can throw it. but beltway common wisdom is pretty strong and it says elena kagan will be confirmed as the next associate justice of the united states supreme court. because everybody seems to believe that is true, these hearings are not shaping up to be a real fight about whether ms. kagan is going to be kept off the court. they are instead turning out to be a chance for our two political parties to show off a little bit. to show off a little bit about what's important to them about the judiciary, which does make up one-third of our constitutional system of government. choosing william boykin, mr. "my god is bigger than your god" as
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their lead-off testimony against elena kagan tells you a little something about republicans think they are heading here. even if for matters of political prudence they decided to disinvite william boykin, we still got plenty of indication today from senator jeff sessions of alabama that republicans will try to use the kagan hearings as sort of a teachable moment, to warn america yet again about the dangers of liberals. >> throughout her career, miss kagan has associated herself with well-known activist judges who have used their power to redefine the meaning of words of our constitution and laws in ways that not surprisingly have the result of advancing that judge's preferred social policies and agendas. her actions punished the military and demeaned our soldiers as they were courageously fighting for our country in two wars overseas.
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miss kagan's college thesis on socialism in new york seems to bemoan socialism's demise there. >> doesn't that just take you back? can't you just close your eyes and listen to that voice? you forget what decade it is. you forget what century it is. the fun thing about the "be afraid of the liberal" strategy republicans seem to be deploying against elena kagan is she's not that much of a liberal, so that's going to be fun to watch over time. it's also fun to listen to see how many extra sillables jefferson sessions iii can add to the word "liberal" to make it sound more scary. democrats seem to be using these hearings as their own teachable moment. our next guest, senator klobuchar of minnesota kept her remarks tightly focused on the nominee and her qualifications, but some other democratic senators, including her counterpart from minnesota, al franken, and sheldon whitehouse of rhode island, essentially
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followed the lead of jeff sessions. not in warnings about liberalism but in trying to use these hearings as an opportunity to make a broader case to the nation about the judiciary, about the courts. specifically about the judiciary that we've got and the courts we've got right now, specifically about the john roberts supreme court and the corporations that love it too much. >> there is such a thing as judicial activism. there is such a thing as legislating from the bench and it is practiced repeatedly by the roberts court. and it has cut in only one direction, in favor of powerful corporate interests and against the rights of individual americans. my state has been victim to the third largest ponzi scheme in history, and yet in 2008 in a case called stoneridge, the roberts court made it harder for investors to get their money back from people who defrauded
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them. the twin cities have more older workers per capita than almost any other city in the nation, and yet in 2009 in a case called gross, the roberts court made it easier for corporations to fire older americans and get away with it. there is a pattern here. each of these decisions was won with five votes, and each of these decisions, that bare majority, used its power to help big business. >> senator al franken of minnesota. senator sheldon whitehouse of rhode island hammered the same point home by highlighting the roberts court's most controversial ruling to date, citizens united. >> the citizens united decision, yet another 5-4 decision, created a constitutional right for corporations to spend unlimited money in american elections, opening our democratic system to a massive
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new threat of corruption and corporate control. there is an unmistakable pattern. for all the talk of umpires and balls and strikes at the supreme court, the strike zone for corporations gets better every day. it is a great constitution we have inherited. and you will be a great justice if you interpret our constitution in the light of its founding purpose rather than according to the preferences of today's most powerful interests. >> elena kagan in all likelihood is going to be confirmed as the next associate justice of the supreme court. no sure bets, but that seems likely. the big unknown is how many votes she'll get. as e.j. deion wrote confirmation hearings in the past have been a chance for conservatives to trumpet their judicial philosophy to the nation, almost regardless of anything about the nominee. will elena kagan's hearings be the first time in a generation at least that democrats do that
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about their judicial philosophy instead of the republicans? joining us now is democratic senator amy klobuchar of minnesota. she's a member of the senate judiciary committee. senator, thank you for joining us on this busy day. >> it's great to be on again. >> it seems to me that senate democrats may be trying to use these hearings to demonstrate to the country, make a case to the country about what it means to have a very conservative court. what sort of rulings you get when you have a conservative court. is that in part the strategy here? >> i think you're going to hear that. i think you'll still see when the questions start traditional questions of this nominee, of her background. but there is no denying when you have someone like judge posner, that went back and looked at the justices and found that four of the five most conservative justices since 1937 are on this
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court right now, i don't think that's really disputable that this court has grown very conservative, so my question really is what is elena kagan going to do about this in terms of bringing some real world experience. i'd say two things. first of all, as came out today, she's a consensus builder, supported by solicitor general, backed the last 24 years, including republicans. she's also someone that is known as harvard as bringing people together, diverse points of view. so maybe we could actually get some of those opinions to tilt 5-4 the other way. the second thing is that she's someone with real world experience, and that's what i pointed out today. you know, i would love to have someone in that room with those justices who says what are you guys thinking? do you think lilly ledbetter, when she was discriminated against for years and years, was supposed to in a few months after they started giving her male counterparts higher salary, was she supposed to rifle through their drawers and look at their pay stubbs? was she supposed to start asking, hey, what are you guys
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making? so i think having real world experience and having someone who is incredibly smart but at the same time gets along with people to bring some of that experience to bear in those discussions where you and i can never go, i think that will be a good thing. >> in terms of the overall i had logical balance of the court, that interesting point judge posner made and the observation that others have made that justice stephens himself has made that essentially each new justice that has been nominated over the past several decades, the court has shifted a little bit to the right. nobody has been more to the left than their predecessors in a very, very long time. i wonder if it will be an appropriate line of questioning to determine whether or not she's actually going to be to the right of justice stevens on many of the social issues that tend to mark a justice as liberal or conservative? >> well, you know everything is really open court for questioning at the judiciary committee, so i think you're going to hear all kinds of questions. i think she has pretty much said she's not going to say how she's going to rule on a specific
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case. but i think it's going to be very interesting because in her hearing when she was up for the solicitor general job, she was fairly open, answered questions well and so i think you'll hear a lot of good questions on both sides of her on all these issues. but again, your point, one of my favorite examples of this court was the exxon valdez case, which is incredibly relevant today, where 32,000 plaintiffs, it took them years and years to even get any payouts, these fishermen, 8,000 of them died during that time and the roberts court basically takes a $5 billion jury verdict and knocks it down to $500 million. so those are the kinds of decisions that my colleagues will be talking about. again, when the questions start, you're going to hear all kinds of things, especially from the other side about saudi arabian gifts to harvard and all kinds of a grab bag of those kind of attacks, but i think you will hear defense and some attacks on the roberts court. >> do you have any clear sense of what the republicans will be
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choosing as their line of attack against her? obviously the initial pick and then withdrawal of general boykin was to me the biggest red flag i could possibly imagine. it was like they chose orley tates to come in there and question her. do you have any sense of what direction they're going? >> well, i think the general theme, you're going to hear the military issues, even though the whole time she was there the military were rabl to recruit on campus. you're going to hear that and then you're going to hear this political thing, which i think is really interesting. you look at sand ra day o'connor, pretty much revered by people and she was the senate leader or my colleague john cornyn has served as a judge and also as a senator, so you have people who have been in roles where they advise presidents, john roberts, but play a different role as well. so i think they are playing on that ground but at the same time when you look at her career as a whole, as lindsey graham actually suggested you do, which was an interesting beginning of
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his opening where he cited robert c. byrd and said if you look at one incident, you may not agree with that guy, but when you look at his career as a whole, that's how you examine a man or a woman. i think he was saying that for a reason, because he was saying i don't agree with everything elena kagan says, but there are some things i do agree with. so i don't think you're going to hear round across-the-board attacks from the ribs. i think lindsay graham will ask interesting questions. you also have the fact that on the republican side someone you've talked about quite a bit on this show, scott brown, introduced her today, along with john kerry. so you clearly see some voices that are taking a little different tack. >> democratic senator amy klobuchar of minnesota, a member of the senate judiciary committee. i know it's going to be a real busy time in the senate. we hope you'll come back and talk to us during this process. >> i would love to do that again. thank you. still ahead, spies from russia living deep undercover right here in america. busted. this story/real life graphic
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novel i would so buy and read. it's coming up next. later, "rolling stone's" michael hastings joins us for his first tv interview since he returned from afghanistan after his blockbuster article led to the firing of general mcchrystal. that's all coming up. wow. [ chuckles ] when i was a kid, we -- we would just go to the -- the farm. [ cow moos ] [ laughter ] no, seriously, where are you guys going? ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! [ female announcer ] the new classroom. see it. live it. share it. on the human network. cisco.
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michael hastings, the "rolling stone" reporter whose article ended general stanley mcchrystal's career joins us right here on set in his first interview since returning from afghanistan. please don't miss that, it's coming right up. for women. it has vitamin d, which emerging science suggests supports breast health, and calcium for bone health. centrum ultra women's. you and your tasty whole grain. this can only end one way. [ crunch ] wheat thins. toasted. whole grain. crunch. the crunch is calling. crunch. navigating today's real estate market is complicated. you've seen the signs. that's why having the right real estate agent is more important than ever. at remax.com, you can find experts in short sales
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medvedev joking that because of their twitter accounts they have no need for the cold war era red phone anymore. but that was last week. then, the justice department made an announcement today that made the world feel very red phony all over again. they announced that ten alleged russian spies have been arrested with another suspect still at large. the arrests were made in four different american states. the suspects are accused of carrying out deep cover assignments for the russian government. the result of a multi-year fbi investigation. the suspects are charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government. now, according to the complaint, which reads like a spy novel, the suspects were controlled and directed by moscow. they allegedly had fake americanized names. eight of them acted as married couples. and their assignment was to get in touch with influential americans and send intel home to mother russia. in 2009 the fbi said it intercepted and decrypted a
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message from mouse cow to two of the defendants and it reportedly said, you were sent to usa for long-term service trip. your education, bank accounts, car, house, et cetera, all of these serve one goal. fulfill your main mission, to search and develop ties in policy-making circles in u.s. and send intels to c. presumably center. the complaint says the alleged spies were trained by the russian foreign intelligence service, successor to the soviet era kgb in intelligence garting, gaining expertise in foreign languages, agent-to-agent communications including the use of brush passes, short wave radio operation and invisible writing. also the use of codes and cyphers. invisible writing! the justice department complaint -- i'm not exaggerating, it really does read like a spy novel. the suspects using private
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wireless networks to communicate with russian officials. at one point in the complaint, in one meeting a seek rent agent was inside a coffee shop on her laptop while a russian government official was outside the coffee shop in his minivan and they were exchanging information. even the old-style brush pass, a technique of two agents secretly handing off information as they brush passed each other in public, that was reportedly used in new york's grand central station and in central park. people could not be reached for comment. joining us now is evan perez. mr. perez, thank you very much for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> can you tell us a little bit about these alleged russian spies, where they live, where they worked, what their cover looked like? >> well, you know, they were supposed to be just normal americans living suburban lives. i guess to evade any notice from the fbi. they lived in arlington, virginia, in yonkers, new york,
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montclair, new jersey and they basically just tried to contact, you know, u.s. officials who they thought could provide information about nuclear weapons, about bunker busting bombs and things -- you know, some of the things that you could basically get on google. so i'm not sure how deep they got into it. >> in terms of what we know about them, is it clear yet if they were russians who were trained to seem american or were they americans who were flipped? >> well, you know, the fbi is still working to determine exactly who these people are. it appears that, you know, some of them were sent from russia. they provided fake birth certificates from canada or from pennsylvania. there is at least one of the people who were arrested who appears to be a spanish language reporter for a newspaper in new
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york, and apparently she's born in peru. at this stage it looks like most of them are russian. >> okay. in terms of the techniques that they used, obviously that's some of the salaciousness of this story. it's a salacious story anyway, but invisible writing, short-wave radio, brush passes, what else can you tell us about the techniques they're accused of using, both to maintain their cover and to send information home? >> right. well, they were using something called stegnotography, which is hiding data and messages on publicly available websites. for example in a photograph you could hide data and information which could be decrypted using special software. they also were using some sort of like short-wave radio to send morse code-like messages back to moscow or to communicate with each other. so we're talking about stuff
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that you might see in spy novels, like you said. >> evan perez, reporter for the "wall street journal," as i noted there's one suspect apparently still at large here, so at least at that level this story continues. thanks for helping us sort it out, evan, i appreciate it. >> thank you. over the past three years, bp, you might have heard of them, they made $63 billion in profit, $63 billion with a b. how much of that $63 billion of profit did they turn back into spending on oil spill response research? let me put it this way. poppy spent the exact same on oil research, poppy, my dog, spent the same exact amount as bp. of course they're in charge of oil spill response. that's next. ♪ our fireworks. ♪ and our slip and slide.
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hey, good news. bp has a new plan for cleaning up oil from the gulf coast beaches. yeah, the company tried out its brand spanking new cleanup strategy around orange beach, alabama, over the weekend. here it is. quote, under the new plan, workers deploy straight from a central staging area directly to a beach in the path of oil. instead of waiting on the beach. that's the new plan. we go clean a specific part of the beach that we know needs cleaning instead of waiting on the beach in the sun. that's the new plan. it's day 70 of this disaster. that's the new plan. the great state of florida has
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also announced that it's looking at new ways to stop the oil. instead of just boom, now they are planning on arranging barges as if the barges are boom. giant barge-like boom. maybe it will work, who knows? nobody knows. nobody knows. does it ever feel like they're making this up as they go along. like bp's oil response plan was a piece of paper that just said, hey, just wing it. because hey, it turns out they are. this is an issue we have been hammering on for weeks on this show. the heart-breaking lameness of oil spill response. using the same technology today that they used in 1969, 1979, to respond to oil spills then. using that technology poorly. the fact that oil companies couldn't be bothered to invest at all in figuring out how to clean up their messes because they were too busy counting their record profits, lighting each other's cigars with thousand dollar bills. the issue of how bad oil spill response technology is is now getting asked about in congress.
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it is something "the new york times" touched on and the associated press hit on it over the weekend in pretty stark detail. when a bunch of people start chasing the story, ultimately you all turn up enough details that if you combine them, you can get a pretty clear story. and in this case, you learn something amazing about bp. over the last three years, bp made about $58.5 billion in profits. i said $63 billion earlier, that was wrong. $58.5 billion in profits over the last three years. so things have been pretty awesome for bp. that's not revenue, that's not gross, that's net. that's profit. while they were raking in tens of billions of dollars in pure profit, according to the ap's reporting, bp says it spent this much, you can see on the graph there, that much on safer drilling. $29 million on safer drilling. bp says it spent $29 million over three years on researching how to drill more safely. that's .05% of their profits for that same amount of time.
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but that little line you can barely see there, that's just safer drilling. we're still not even talking about better cleanup. so back to the graph. during this three-year time period when they were making $58.5 billion and apparently spending $29 million on safer drilling, what was bp spending on making sure that if something went wrong they'd be able to handle it? what was the company spending on spill response research? because remember the way oil companies get approval to drill in the united states and in u.s. waters is by promising that they can handle it if there's a spill. they can handle the spill. they can handle cleaning up after worst-case scenario spills. right? that's how they get approval. so let's say bp's minuscule investment into safer drilling doesn't pay off and something does go wrong. something goes wrong, say, 5,000 feet under water off the coast of louisiana. what then? what has bp been spending on researching how to clean up an oil spill? how to clean up, say, a really bad underwater oil spill.
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it turns out, an important detail, bp does not do that research itself. they admit that. a spokesman for bp telling the associated press that bp does not research oil spill cleanup technology. instead, he said bp supports oil spill response organizations, such as the nonprofit marine spill response corporation. okay. so bp doesn't do spill response research themselves. they have the marine spill response corporation do it for them. and now here's the part that you should tell all your friends at work tomorrow, or at school tomorrow or wake somebody up and tell them tonight. bp doesn't do spill response research themselves, they have the marine spill response corporation do it for them. the budget for oil spill response research at the marine spill response corporation? is zero. a spokesperson for the organization told usa today they have no budget for research. that same spokesperson confirmed to us today, quote, the marine spill response corporation is an operational company, not a research and development company. so bp doesn't do any research
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into oil spill response. and the company bp claims does it for them, doesn't do it either. and isn't even the kind of company that would. so back to the graph. remember, this is how much bp made in profits over the last three years. ding ding ding. $58.5 billion with a b dollars. this is how much they spent on researching safer ways to drill over a three-year period. $29 million. and this is how much they spent on oil spill response research. zero dollars. bp has spent zero dollars researching how to respond to an oil spill. aren't you glad bp is in charge of the oil spill response in the gulf right now? good job, keep going !
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and as commander in chief i have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 u.s. troops to afghanistan. after 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. >> that was last december when president obama announced at the west point military academy that he would send 30,000 more americans to afghanistan, and after 18 months, our troops will
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begin to come home. that was then, this is now. >> there has been a lot of obsession around this whole issue of when do we leave. >> there has been a lot of obsession. that is not the word choice we associate with a commander in chief who still considers his own withdrawal date to be a sure thing or a probably thing or even a maybe thing. this weekend the whole july, 2011, withdrawal deadline seems to have gone woksies. >> if petraeus comes to the president in the spring of 2011 and says, you know this july deadline, i need six more months, should that -- >> i would say give it to him, absolutely. and i think he has flexibility realistically. >> you think that he has flexibility on that? speak for yourself, senator feinstein. your home state colleague, the speaker of the house, begs to differ. in an exclusive interview with the "huffington post" sam stein, nancy pelosi was asked if troops wouldn't be withdrawn from afghanistan in july, 2011.
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she replied, quote, i do. and everything i saw there before for all the bad things there that i saw in terms of corruption and money wasted, i did consistently hear that the timetable was on schedule to have serious drawdown. sam stein described nancy pelosi as quite firm on the subject saying that the speaker emphasized that the house may use the power of the purse to ensure the drawdown. in other words, speaker pelosi warning that the democratic majority in the house will not just argue against blowing through the deadline, they will act to force compliance with the deadline, using money. already today congresswoman nita lowy of new york moved to strip aid money to afghanistan wouft foreign aid bill citing rampant afghan corruption. quote, i do not intend to appropriate one more dime for assistance to afghanistan until i have confidence u.s. taxpayer money is not being abused to line the pockets of corrupt afghan government officials, drug loaders and terrorists.
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don't know why she thinks that might be happening. maybe it's because of the pallets full of cash that are being airlifted out of kabul every day. today the "wall street journal" followed up on an article that somewhere on the order of a billion dollars a year has been flown in cash out of kabul airport every year for the last three years. and that's the above board take. quote, the cash packed into suitcases, piled onto pallets and loaded into airplanes is declared and legal to move, but u.s. and afghan officials say they are targeting the floes in major anti-corruption and drug trafficking investigations because of their size relative to afghanistan's small economy and the murkiness of their origins. officials believe some of the cash, if not most, is siphoned from european and nato contracts. that makes it all the more
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incomprehensible is how much money $3 billion is. in a country like afghanistan. quote, the amount declared as it leaves the airport is vast in a nation where the gross domestic product last year totaled $13.5 billion. more declared cash flies out of kabul each year than the afghan government collects in tax and customs revenue nationwide. more cash, and this is the legal stuff, flies out of afghanistan in suitcases and stacked on pallets than gets collected in taxes in the entire country in a year. is that a problem our 100,000 troops are supposed to solve? and if so, how should they do that? joining us now is reporter michael hastings who wrote the explosive profile of general stanley mcchrystal in this month's "rolling stone" magazine. this is his first interview since returning from afghanistan. michael, nice to see you, welcome. >> thanks for having me, i appreciate it. >> general mcchrystal moved to retire altogether from the united states army today. have you had a chance yet to
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think big picture about the impact of your reporting here on him, on you, on the war, or do you feel like you're still in the middle of it? >> i haven't had too much time to reflect on the impact of the story, though i think it's a positive sign that people are focused on afghanistan, talking about the strategy, talking about some of the flaws in the strategy. i mean the corruption story that matt rosenberg did today, he's one of the many great reporters working in kabul, he's with the "wall street journal" and i think it's excellent it's getting that much attention. >> your piece was a little bit about the type of language that general mcchrystal and his aides use to describe other people in the aid effort. obviously that's what led to the most explosive conclusions from the implications of your piece. but the overall point was about counter insurgency being a recipe for endless war. do you feel like that point has been picked up on or do you think it's been lost in the shuffle? >> i don't know. i think people are talking about counterinsurgency in a way i hadn't heard them talk about it before. i think obviously with the rules
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of engagement, general petraeus is reviewing those so many aspects of the piece are getting appropriate attention. but at the end of the day the question is, is the strategy that we're doing in afghanistan, does that make us safer from terrorists. i think there's still a big question mark about that. >> general petraeus, the president keeps telling us, is not going to change the overall american strategy in afghanistan. but as you point out, rules of engage maenment and the other m by which we apply that strategy has to be up for review. do you feel like you understand or you have any inkling what is up for review, what might change in the shift from mcchrystal to petraeus? >> part of is it is a change in style. i think they're trying to hope to recreate the magic in afghanistan, petraeus the sequel. as of right now i haven't had the time to do the reporting i need to do to figure out really what general petraeus is going to do. >> in terms of the parallels
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with iraq and afghanistan, obviously counterinsurgency, it's about asking the military to accomplish objectives that aren't the sorts of things we think about as military objectives, like cracking down on corruption in the afghan government. substantively, the problem with general mcchrystal and his aides talking smack about non-military people they're supposed to be working with undercuts the whole idea of the strategy. do am babassador holbrooke, kar eikenberry, bear some responsibility for the lack of a relationship between the civilian side and military side or was that really a one-way street? >> i don't think they bear too much responsibility in that the whole structure set up with the military has so much power and there's a sort of confused diplomatic side. and i think what one of the impacts of the story has and the shake-up is they're trying to work that out, specifically with ambassador holbrooke and ambassador eikenberry. >> is that because there's so
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little room for them to operate, they're crowded out by the military? >> there are more people in the army band than there are foreign service officers. you can fit all the foreign service officers, members of the state department, on one aircraft carrier. i mean the structural deficiencies between what the dod has and state department has is huge. what that means is that you need to streamline the diplomatic command the same way they have the military command. general petraeus is going to be the supreme commander and you need a viceroy also playing that role. it's an american viceroy that can wield the weight a diplomat needs to wield to work effectively and be on the same playing field as the military general. >> michael, i think that it's true that people are now talking in more depth about counterinsurgency than they were before your article came out, and because of that you may very well change the course of the war. one of the things that you raise is the issue of what the alternatives are.
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>> sure. >> obviously this president is not going to pull troops out suddenly. he's probably not even going to pull all of them out when he pulls them out. we're going to be there for some very long term to come. is ct plus, counterterrorism plus, essentially what's been named the joe biden option, is that a realistic alternative to what we're doing now and is it being seriously considered? >> is it being seriously considered? i'm sure people are still pushing for it. but i think eventually that's what we're going to end up with. we'll end up with a smaller footprint and a fairly active counterterrorism program there so eventually we're fighting our way to get to a spot that one would think we could get to without fighting our way there. as thomas friedman said, afghanistan was probably -- we'd have been better off if we would have left afghanistan on sort of a slow boil rather than escalating like we did. now the dye is cast, they're committed to the strategy and hopefully it works out for the best, though i have obviously a great deal of questions about whether that's going to happen. >> yeah. do you think that there's
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anything that u.s. forces can do about corruption in afghanistan really? >> no. >> everybody talks about corruption as being the reason nothing is going to work. is there anything we can do about it? >> no, it's a joke. i mean when general mcchrystal took over, one of the main things they were discussing is whether or not even corruption should be a focus. i mean trying to stop corruption in afghanistan is like trying to stop the drug war here. i think we should really choose our battles wisely and not waste our resources. when you see numbers like this, three billion being flown out on -- from the kabul airport every day, you've got to wonder what's going on. and research has shown there's a professor at tufts university who showed that in fact if you throw this aid money into these chaotic situations, that actually fuels corruption and fuels government illegitimate see rather than helping it. >> michael hastings, you wrote what will probably turn out to be the most important piece of journalism on the war in afghanistan. you may have changed the course of the war. you certainly have brought the nation's attention back to it in a very dramatic way. congratulations on your success. >> thanks for having me, i
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appreciate it. >> thanks. >> take care. so are you tired of all the negativity about the bp oil disaster? just ahead is another installment of the rachel maddow show's bp transcript feeder. it's news about bp by bp. it's so much nicer that way. first, one more thing -- actually two more things, both programming notes. one, i've got poison ivy, thanks for not being mean about it, fishing trip. two, i'm going to afghanistan next week. i'll spend several days shooting stories in different parts of the country with richard engel before broadcasting next tuesday and wednesday at 9:00 eastern. we hope you will join us for those very special shows. in the meantime we'll be right back. ♪ this is our pool. ♪ our fireworks. ♪ and our slip and slide. you have your idea of summer fun, and we have ours. now during the summer event
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can you hand me some mustard while you're in there, too? [ birds chirping ] ♪ fifteen percent or [more on car insurance? can fútbol announcer andrés cantor make any sport exciting? ha sido una partida intensa hoy. jadrovski está pensando. está pensando. veamos que va a hacer. moverá la reina o moverá el caballo? que tensión. viene... viene, viene, viene... gooooooooooooooool! geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. coming up on countdown, mississippi governor haley barbour decides that maybe maybe the bp disaster is a big deal afterall now that oil is coming ashore in a large amount. and bp press theater.
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it's hard to find the upside to ecological disaster, to look at dead dolphins, birds, turtles
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and find the sunny side, the silver lining, recipe for lemonade from all those pesky lemons. it's hard. but bp makes it possible. >> gently caressing the sea surface, the three vessels circled, swirled, guiding the boom without changing the design't a ballet at sea as mesmerizing as any performance in a concert hall and worthy of an audience in its own right. >> sick of all the debbie downers in the real media, bp hired its own reporters to cover the bp oil disaster for the company website. you may have notice weed have been setting some of the press releases, i mean reports, to music. the better to appreciate their full propagandaistic glory. calling it bp press release theater. bp so-called reporters really do write the press releases almost word for word. we just add the music and pictures. >> out here, flying at a height
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of up to 1,400 feet, the clouds are puffy white and brilliantly lighted. but cast dark shadows on the wave capped water below. >> i want to go there and see the puffy white clouds. like bp is trying to make you glad deep water horizon is wreck the gulf of mexico maybe you will be lucky enough to ride on a helicopter and see the wonderment. actually used the word wonderment, their word. not mine. wonderment. last week, the new orleans times picayune looked into bp's bogus press and decided it wasn't so wondermenty. spill weary gulf residents are unlikely to find much in the disaster that inspires them or would count as a privilege. here is the latest from bp reporter paula kohlmar, filed on june 20th. >> i wanted to understand why authorities repeatedly have warned the public not to handle injured birds. but instead, instructed people to report the location of
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injured birds and leave it to specialists to rescue the animals. one look at a distressed oiled pelican arriving at the center answered part of my question. the birds are dangerous and can be aggressive when under stress. >> note to bp reporter, you would be dangerous and aggressive too if some one smother you'd with crude oil. >> understanding what an animal is going through, plucked out of the sticky oil and put into the world of man, gives workers the passion and staying power to get the sea birds ready for release, as quickly and safely as possible. one bird rescued is one victory over the comings there will be many victories and some painful losses. workers all along the gulf coast are using every ounce of their experience, skill, and compassion, to assure far more victories. >> you know, before bp press release theater i admit i was having a hard time keeping track of all the victories in the bp
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oil disaster, all the winning. the fish and wildlife service reported to day of the not quite 2,000 birds collected in the gulf, 1,150 were dead already. no one knows how many of the to who get cleaned will survive. from bps perspective there is a beyond petroleum good news story in there somewhere. somewhere you just, under the, under the brown toxic goo smothering everything it touches. there's something, a good story in there, some where. oh, phillips' col health probiotic plus fiber.
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♪ this is my generation ♪ my own congratulation ♪ we at the block party having fun ♪ shaky! shaky! shaky! shaky! [ laughs ] shaky! shaky! [ gasps ] and if you named your own price on car insurance, you could be picking up this tab yourself. so get allstate. you could save some cash and be better protected from mayhem like me. [ dennis ] dollar for dollar nobody protects you from mayhem like allstate.
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democrat senator robert byrd of west virginia died early this morning at the age of 92. a man who served in the senate for so long his passing marks not so much end of an era but the end of several eras.
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west virginia's secretary of state said today there will not be a special election for senator byrd's seat this fall. instead the governor of west virginia, a democrat, who himself reportedly wants that seat, will appoint somebody to serve until election day 2012. the governor says he will not appoint himself. on november 6th, 2012 this means voters in west virginia will have two senate elections to decide at the same time. one will be to elect a replacement for senator byrd for the remaining two months of his term at that point. another will be to elect a new senator from west virginia. for the first time in nine election cycles, will not be robert byrd. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you tomorrow night. meanwhile, there is lots to add to what you see on the show. we are proud of our blog, maddowblog.msnbc.com. we do read your e-mails. feel free to send themven the mean ones.

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