tv The Dylan Ratigan Show MSNBC May 3, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT
well, the big story today, pakistan. the u.s. now investigating what their government knew about america's most wanted terrorist. good afternoon to you. i am dylan ratigan. and as we have been saying with friends like pakistan, who needs saudi arabia? the obvious questions now being asked, what did the pakistani officials know about osama bin laden's location, and who was protecting him in that mansion compound just six miles from islamabad and half a mile from that country's version of west point? >> this is really a cross roads, i believe, in our relationship with pakistan. we've had good days and bad days with pakistan. the most notorious terrorist, mass murderer in the world, was literally living right under the nose of top pakistani government officials.
>> it is urgent that the pakistani government get answers to the questions about what its military and intelligence agency and local officials knew and to share the answers to those questions with the world and with their own people. >> lawmakers sounding off on capitol hill as key members of the past and present national security team choose their words carefully on america's relationship with pakistan. >> clearly there's some type of support network. whether or not there were individuals inside of the pakistani government is unknown at this point. pakistan is a strong counterterrorism partner. >> i am quite certain that the administration along with the pakistanis want to understand why osama bin laden could be as close to islamabad, really in plain sight. that's not good for us, and that's not good for pakistan. >> still protests today in pakistan against the u.s. raid. two days after his death, more than 1,000 people gathered to
hold a vigil in honor of the slain osama bin laden. afterward, demonstrators chanted anti-american slogans. pakistan's government also now voicing concern about the strike and saying it should not set precedent for future american actions. we start our coverage this afternoon of this unfolding story at the white house with nbc news chief white house correspondent and political director chuck todd, who has new details about the raid itself that came out of this afternoon's briefing. chuck, what did we learn this afternoon? >> well, they have a new narrative that was written by the department of defense. and what this is based on is over the last 48 hours -- and remember, we are literally right now 48 hours removed from the successful completion of this raid of the compound and capture and killing of bin laden. and they have been interviewing the various s.e.a.l.s and putting together the story. this is the explanation i've gotten as to why things have
changed. so for instance, yesterday we were told that bin laden had used his wife as a human shield. today that is not the case. we are told that his wife rushed one of the s.e.a.l.s. she was shot in the leg. that bin laden was unarmed, but did provide resistance, and therefore that's why he was shot. he did not participate in the firefight. there were others in the compound that participated in the firefight. now, again, when talking to officials and asking them why is there -- why does the story change and something like that, that detail, for instance, about the wife being used as a human shield, why did that change so much, and they said, well, it's simply as they continue the interviews with all of the s.e.a.l.s that were there participating in this raid, the story does change a little bit. think of the old phrase fog of war, dylan. >> one other issue, obviously, is the release of this picture as evidence of the mission, so
to speak. where do we stand on that debate? >> the white house seems -- first of all, a couple of things. on capitol hill, some very influential democratic senators are publicly saying you shouldn't do it. harry reid, senate majority leader, said it's morbid. he hasn't seen it. but from what has been described of him, he think the it's morbid to release it. john kerry also is publicly not in favor of releasing this. and then what you're hearing out of the white house is that jay carney today said that john brennan implied it as well that, number one, there doesn't seem to be a need to do it. meaning that there aren't these big conspiracy theories popping up in the muslim world where there is somehow some doubt about whether this raid successfully was able to get and kill bin laden. that's one. and two, that there is some concern about the photo becoming inflammatory. and that is what -- you know,
carney said, there's not a huge debate inside the white house. but this is among the concerns that they're talking about within the national security community. >> chuck, thank you for the new information and the reframing and clarity. we'll surely get more of it as the days unfold here. i do want to bring in a couple of great guests today. dr. christine fair, who was departing for pakistan in a few hours. she is an assistant professor in the center for peace and security studies at georgetown university. also we're joined by brett mcgerng gherk, who served under both presidents george w. bush and barack obama handling matters specifically related to iraq and afghanistan. christine, i'll begin with you. what are your thoughts as you prepare to leave for pakistan? what is your intention in going there this evening? >> this was actually a long-standing trip actually. ironically enough to try and find better ways of making usa more effective.
so the particular objective of my trip has a particularly unique salience in light of the last few days' events. >> let's talk about that. the obvious sort of observation of osama bin laden being hidden in plain sight in a house eight times larger than anything in the neighborhood, with 16 foot walls and barbed wire, suggests somebody knew something, and raises crept simp. we are hearing it in our own congress about the $20 billion in aid. what would you contemplate as it pertains to our financial aid to the country in the context of somebody in pakistan knowing something about where this guy was? >> well, i'm of mixed minds. i think that pakistan is an incredibly important country. and whether pakistan was absolutely complicit in aiding and abetting bin laden or whether it was simply incompetent doesn't mean that the united states does not have
a preemminent interest in doing whatever it can to try and bring pakistan back from the break. now pakistan and poiakistanis wl have their own debate about what it meant that bin laden was there down the road from the military academy. and pakistan will have to look really hard at how its various policies of supporting islamist mill tests for decades has affected pakistan's own well-being. something on the order of 35,000 people have died from internal security events in pakistan alone. certainly the last 10 years or so. so this is an issue that's up front and center for pakistanis. oddly enough, more so than it is for us. so i'm going to counsel against using this as an opportunity to really separate ourselves away from pakistan. our security depends upon pakistan in so many myriad of ways. and it doesn't go away just because bin laden is dead. and we should also not confuse the kinds of assistance that
pakistan needs towards its civilian institutions. that's absolutely important. and that should not be held hostage to decisions and debates surrounding the future of security assistance, which primarily goes to help the army and the intelligence agencies. >> do you agree with all that, brett? >> i agree with christine that it's incredibly complicated relationship. the pakistanis have a narrative. we have talked about it here before. they say the only thing worse than being an enemy of the united states, is being a friend. you're fickle, after your own interests, and they always talk about 1989. we were a close eye of pakistan, let's get the soviets out of afghanistan. we got them out of afghanistan. we not only left pakistan, but we sanctioned them as an enemy. we had no relationship with them until after 9/11. they have this narrative. and we have talked about that. but now we have a narrative too, and we just found a guy who murdered 3,000 americans and countless people around the world living in basically a
resort community of military community of pakistan. but that gives us great leverage behind closed doors. because we've got to tell these guys, now is the time. we have to investigate what happened. >> what would you ask them for? >> we need a joint investigation here, how was this compound built, who owned the land, who are the contractors. there's a whole network that would supply this place. we need to know that and work together on it. >> say you find out the answers to all of those questions. we find out the contracts on, who sold him the cement, whatever it is. and what you find out, people knew about it. people helped him. so what? >> we've got to work with the pakistanis to try to root outlet problems within their own not only security structures but intelligence structures and government structures. we can't walk away, and we also -- there's nothing -- there's no easy answer here, obviously. but i think i agree with christine. if we walk away, we only strengthen -- >> in aid you mean? or from anything? >> if we say, this is ridiculous. it's time for you to go on your
own. we strengthen the narrative which is central to the pakistani experience, the threat from india. they are very concerned about their future, and they want to have a close relationship with us. one more thing. on 9/11, musharraf was basically a dictator in pakistan. they now have a democracy. it's a fledgling democracy, but they have to be responsible to their population. 132 million people. so they are dealing with their own population. it's incredibly complicated. we need to strengthen their relationships and keep at it. it's all about relationships. it's really, really important. >> before we run out of time, i want to shift to one other major component of all of this, christine, which does this open the door for withdrawal of the u.s. military from afghanistan. >> well, that's the more interesting question in some sense. you know, as you know, we have talked about this before. i am an opponent of this approach that takes the taliban as the enemy. and so the current strategy is we have to beat the taliban to beat al qaeda. i found that logic to be dube
ya ious from the get go. but i think it will be difficult to continue selling this logic to the americans because americans are going to be very quick to write the obituary of al qaeda because bin laden is dead. and this is in part because the media has and the government and other officials has intertwined al qaeda with bin laden. even though he hasn't been running show for a long time, it's really zawahiri. so i think it's difficult to maintain this argument. but what i'm afraid of is that americans will think that the game is over, that we've won, because we have killed bin laden. in point of fact the organization has changed so much over the last 10 years that i think really important debate needs to be had about what is going to be the marginal effect of losing bin laden. obviously, zawahiri doesn't have the charisma of bin laden, but zawahiri was really running the show. and secondary to that, many of the militant groups that i study
were never tied to al qaeda in any significant way anyway. just because bin laden is dead does not mean that this franchise of islamist terrorism, of groups that have similar ideologies to al qaeda or that undertake attacks in the name of al qaeda, this does not mean that those dangers go away. and so that would be my one cautionary concern. >> same fundamental question to you. afghanistan withdrawal and the future of al qaeda. >> i go back to the mistake we made in 1989. we can't stay in afghanistan with 100,000 troops. everybody recognizes that. but on thursday, last thursday, obama had a press conference announcing my new ambassador todoto afghanistan. and we said we are still at war, and we need to maintain the momentum. i think that's right, because we need to get down to a sustainable footprint. what we are doing now is not sustainable economically, militarily, or politically hero there. and ryan crocker served in iraq, and i served with him in baghdad quite a bit. and we negotiated with the
iraqis our path out of iraq. watch for negotiations not just with the afghans and the pakistanis and with elements of the taliban to get to a glide path out of iraq to a more sustainable -- >> out of afghanistan? >> out of afghanistan, i'm sorry, to a more sustainable footprint. that's kind of the mission over the last year. and we just need to be patient. one thing about this operation shows you is that patience really has a virtue. there used to be called the three p's of counterinsurgency. it's patience, persistence, and presence. we need to be present. people say we can do this with lasers and just intelligence. it's not just that. you need presence and relationships. it's about personalities and individuals. it's really hard. but we've got to stick with it. >> so a restructuring is in order, but a withdrawal would be foolish? >> yeah. policies are always revised. we can revise the policy but not reverse it. >> a pleasure, brett. christine, similar. thank you so much for the insight. i benefit and i learn and i think our audience does from these conversations and i really appreciate it. safe travels to you, and to you for that matter, brett, as i know you move around. thank you guys.
coming up -- a close call. we'll talk with a congressman who was within miles of that bin laden compound during a very recent trip to pakistan. but first, the issue of a tortured soul. the death of bin laden adding more fuel to a fiery 10-year debate about interrogation techniques. how relevant were they to finding bin laden's home? plus, a victory lap. the president planning a big speech at ground zero this week. we'll ask a 9/11 first responder who lost his own son in the attacks if there is ever a time to declare mission accomplished.
join our megapanel, the tuesday squad is in effect. i should call it the tuesday-thursday squad. kenny finny and republican strategist susan dell percy, who served in the giuliani administration, and our washington insider, james williams. you can call him jimmy. he worked for vice president joe biden during his time in the senate. everybody has a perspective, but obviously there is an immediate benefit to the president politically. the polls, the euphoria, of having achieved this significant foreign policy objective has direct benefit. how much, and how do you quantify it, james? >> his numbers will go up. i think we have just seen one poll up a 10-point jump. the question is, how long does it last? i don't know. i think that -- listen, politically the president needs to think a year out. the big question for him is going to be what voters did he
lose in 2010 that he can recapture in 2008. we know it's white women, independent voters, 30-50 years of age. this helps him with those kinds of voters. and so i suspect as long as there aren't any major screw-ups and the price of gas either comes down or stays where it is, and the economy improves, he will be fine. >> i have an idea -- >> that's a big if. >> it's a lot of ifs. >> you're saying we need a white woman, 30-50 years of age, and independent minded. >> probably 8 million of them, yes. >> i have one over here. >> come on. >> susan, your thoughts? does it stick? >> it doesn't stick. and we have seen that with bush 41. we saw it obviously with bush 43. but he has to be -- i think the democrats actually and not so much the president not to try and capitalize on it that much and to keep moving forward. as jimmy did say, we have to look at what's going to happen to the price of gas, what's
going to happen to the economy. and the president needs to stay focused on those messages, just like the republicans have to be -- you know, they did the right thing. they stepped up. they said the president -- some of them. not all of them. sorry. >> you're right. the ones -- i think they all should have stepped up. it was the right thing to do. the president did an incredible job and showed a tremendous amount of courage. and now they have to give him his due. but also stay on the economic issues. because that's really what's going to lead them to winning in 2012. >> if you were advising the president, knowing he has some sort of temporary amount of equity from this success and we wants to convert that equity into something that can last longer, how do you suggest he do that? >> i think the most important thing to come out of this is that it should take this discussion about whether or not he is a decisive leader off the table. this was a bad ass move by a president. you've had national security people saying this was a tough decision. he is the guy who made it. he made the toughest part of the decision. so what i would do is focus on -- >> he definitely did not want the public option and wants --
>> i'm going to let you talk to him about that. point being that what they need to do, they are right, the numbers are going to fall. what you need to do is leverage this is as this is strong, decisive leadership. and how do you use that talking about the deficit and the budget? >> my friend amy walters saw a tweet today, she twitted today in 2012 democrats will run on national security, and the republicans will run on the economy. what a massive reversal that is. >> it looks that way right now for sure. one of the other issues this brings back up, all of the bin laden coverage, and the new information that we're gathering, is of course the reignition of the debate over water boarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques approved originally by president bush. some of which banned then by president obama. top u.s. intelligence officials say that the critical information that led us to bin laden's compound came from interviews with multiple sources, including 9/11 mastermind khalid sheik
mohammed, and another top leader, both subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques. but former counterterror agents insist that ksm never revealed the information until months after the water boarding had stopped. is this a valuable tool? does it validate enhanced interrogation or not? >> well, it he was tortured and gave up the follow-up information. i'm not going to say what the exact situation was and what worked and what didn't, because between what we saw yesterday and today, we have seen the information somewhat change. so i don't know what exactly happened -- >> you don't even know if we know what we're analyzing. >> correct. >> but one of the things we do know, it's absolutely a farce for the former bush administration officials saying it's all about the enhanced
interrogation techniques. the one thing bush did was right, 2005 operation cannon ball, and that was putting more cia operatives on the ground. >> in the middle east? >> in the middle east. that was one of the biggest things that led to one of the things -- >> which ironically was the year that they were building bin laden's house for him. >> how nice was that. but secondly, what's most important here on the intelligence, is as "the new york times" points out, the key pieces of information came from lower level people who were not waterboarded. and when the two top guys were waterboarded and asked about this potential courier, they said they had never heard anything about such a person. so if anything, they lied as -- even john mccain has said is most likely to happen when they were waterboarded. >> i guess at the end of the day, we may never ultimately know exactly how the intelligence for this particular mission came to be. where do we stand as a country on the issue of a third class of prisoner held offshore in guantanamo bay and elsewhere, which is really the fundamental
debate, and enhanced interrogation, which some argue is critical to our mission and others argue is critical in hurting the american brand? go ahead and i'll get you in here. >> we better be careful as a country what we do to people in acts of war. because we don't want it done to us. i'm with john mccain finally. finally on an issue. waterboarding is torture. it is illegal. i don't think we should do it, and i don't want it to done to our troops when they are captured. if we don't play by the rules, why do we expect other countries to? >> i don't think other countries will play by the rules. but gtmo, and the fact that that existed, allowed for a lot of things to happen. and the president may have a different view on it now. >> whatever you want to say, with -- president obama has accepted if not endorsed the existence of a third class of prisoner in this country, who by virtue of his inability to shut it down. i'm not saying it's endorsement or not. >> he may have to look at it as
aren't endorsement. >> no. i think he has to expect it as a reality until there's another option. >> he inherited this war. he is not endorsing it. >> you can debate it yourself. and an exit strategy. is bin laden's death the catalyst to end an unwinnable war in afghanistan? with arthritis pain. that's a coffee and two pills. the afternoon tour begins with more pain and more pills. the evening guests arrive. back to sore knees. back to more pills. the day is done but hang on... her doctor recommended aleve. just 2 pills can keep arthritis pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is lara who chose 2 aleve and fewer pills for a day free of pain. and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels. [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work,
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we went there to get osama bin laden, and we have now gotten osama bin laden. i think that takes a lot of the pressure away or a lot of the punch away from the argument that it looked like we walked away. >> osama bin laden's death giving new momentum at least retorically for the call for u.s. troop withdrawal from afghanistan. the u.s. invaded the country nearly a decade ago, in what has now become america's longest war ever. troop withdrawal is set to come
in a couple of months. there are no specific numbers, but critics say that is not good enough. our specialist today, marine corporal jake dellberto. he is co-founder of the group veterans for rethinking afghanistan. and is currently petitioning to begin swift troop withdrawals from afghanistan. karen, susan and jimmy do remain with us. corporal, what is your argument? >> well, dylan, thank you for having me on the program. the central argument in recognizing this is that the war on terror that we started in 2001 was a war against people that were trying to attack us here in the united states. that is al qaeda. that is al qaeda and its families. that has nothing to do with afghanistan. if you look at what's taking place in afghanistan, we have got a corrupt government that's shaking hundreds of billions of dollar away from the american people, and there is nothing to fix that unless we stop pumping money into afghanistan and to
make an appropriate step to bring our troops home. the other thing about this is we need to train the afghan army so we can leave -- we can do a lot with a lot less. we can leave about 17 in my opinion 17 to 19,000 troops to train the afghan army, and we can use precision, international and legal counterterrorist efforts to root out al qaeda and its families, like we saw in pakistan. if we don't use this opportunity, in my opinion, to begin withdrawal of our troops, then we'll be stuck in a quagmire that's going to cost hundreds of billions for several years to come. >> sounds rational to me, james. >> sounds very rational to me. today, we had two smart men, and both have said get out of afghanistan. both republicans, by the way. i agree with them. 100,000 troops on the ground. you just said it. why do we need them there, when intelligence can do the job? i guess the question is we know that intelligence got osama bin laden. it wasn't 10,000 troops that
went in and stormed a, quote, mansion. if that's a mansion, by the way, i wouldn't want to live in it. but my question is, is intelligence enough? is that enough for us to continue to fight al qaeda abroad and in the united states? >> yeah. it's a great question. and it's extremely prescient for this time. it's more than enough. we have learned more from local muslims and local people inside of yemen and libya and pakistan and afghanistan who are basically not in favor of al qaeda. or al qaeda and its families. muslims in general just simply are simple people who want to live in their villages and not be bothered. the problem you have when you send 100,000 troops into an environment and you wage some sort of war, even if it's a delicate war like counterinsurgency, innocent people end up being killed. and when that happens, they end up joining the insurgency, joining anti-american sentiment, and the longer -- and this is what i have been trying to say. the longer we do
counterinsurgency in afghanistan, the more we destabilize pakistan and create a movement within pakistan that is anti-american and wants to bring the fight here again. it makes al qaeda grow. it doesn't defeat it. if you want to defeat al qaeda, and defend our borders, you use precision and intelligence. you use a scalpel, not a hammer. >> at the end of the day, how do you protect from the fact as brett mcghurk pointed out at the beginning of the show, a long history in america of being present and aligned, as we were with pakistan, up until 1989, when we were trying to get russia out of afghanistan, only to abandon them? and brett said we have a long history not just with pakistan. you saw it with mubarak and egypt. it gets hot in the kitchen, and we say you've got to go. how do we restructure our engagement in the middle east without validating the pakistani narrative that you can't trust the americans because they are there for you one day, and the next day you're high and dry?
>> dylan this is an incredible point, and we really need in the national security apparatus inside of washington here, with this debate needs to really re-emerge. and we need a 21st century foreign policy that doesn't bring the united states backing up corrupt dictators like mubarak or any of these guys. the problem with pakistan -- i was in afghanistan, you know, nine months ago, and i was with afghan leaders, i was with afghan diplomats, et cetera. and they knew all along where bin laden was at. they told me nine months ago that bin laden is on the border of pakistan outside of islamabad. the problem is that the pakistani military is controlling the population. and as long as we support the pakistani military, we are going to continue having these problems of safe havens. so we can do a lot with diplomacy. we can do a lot with bringing in the international community. and making a new 21st century policy arrangement that doesn't make us permanently in bed with
dictatorships that end up hurting people and democracy. >> corporal, if people want to support your efforts publicly or in the petition, how do they do it? >> you go to rethinkafghanistan.com. we have a petition that calls for the withdrawal of troops. and also -- and rethink afghanistan, we have produced a calculator that shows how much wasteful dollars were spent in afghanistan over the last year. and it shows a lot. so go to rethinkafghanistan.com. sign the petition. put it on youtube. tweet it. pass it around to your friends. and we really need on encourage our elected officials here in the united states to have a new 21st century policy. >> all right, corporal. thank you for your efforts. i respect what you're doing. and i'm happy to help quite honestly, and i'm out of time, you guys. jimmy got like special treatment. >> that's okay you fellas had a lovely chat. [ laughter ] >> i'll see you guys on thursday? >> absolutely. >> karen, susan, jimmy, thank you very much. up next -- the pakistan
problem. congressman tom rooney, who recently came within miles of that very compound, weighs in on who knew what when, and what a 21st century policy in the middle east looks like where we remain engaged without being the bankroll for those who are murderous dictators. [ artis brown ] america is facing some tough challenges right now. two of the most important are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands.
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>> from an intelligence point of view, we would want to know more about why this wasn't discovered by the pakistani authorities. >> after 9/11, the world turned its attention to afghanistan. but it turns out that osama bin laden ultimately was hiding in a comfortable suburb in the country next door, pakistan. possibly for years. reports are the home was built for him in 2005. that has american officials asking questions about the pakistani government. no question our relationship with pakistan has been complex.
we do launch our predator drone strikes there. while at the same time giving them billions in aid, even with their known links to taliban and islamic extremists, not to mention the knowledge that bin laden is living just outside of islamabad. now there's congressional pressure to revisit our relationship with the pakistani military and intelligence services, what did they know, were they hiding osama bin laden. and with us is congressman tom rooney, who visited pakistan just two weeks ago, coming within 30 miles surely unknowingly of osama bin laden's hideout. congressman, it's a pleasure to have you back. we've had some very interesting analysis in this program around the pakistani relationship. brett mcghurk citing the perceived abandonment narrative that exists in pakistan going back to the united states' withdrawal from relations with them in 1989. how would you suggest we model this 21st century foreign policy that clearly is going to have to be hammered out not just
relative to pakistan but relative to the totality of what we're seeing in the middle east this year? >> well, certainly, you know, when we are in pakistan, we met with government officials and military leaders, we met with elements of the afghan -- or the pakistani army. you know, pakistan is completely discombobulated. you're not really sure who's in control. we think the military is in control. there's elements of the isi that's not necessarily on the same page as the government or the military. they're intimidated by terrorist organizations within their own country. so pakistan has played ball with us in some regards with regard to the taliban and the fata region and when we were pressing them from the west and they were pressing them from the east. the pakistanis lost a lot of people in some of those fights. but then we hear about this, and the fact that they apparently either didn't know that he was there, which is -- would be
shocking. they knew, and they tipped us off, or they knew and they didn't want to tell us. you know, there's a couple of options there. but we really should reserve judgment, and the accusations that are being made, until we find out what the truth is with regard to what pakistan knew. but certainly it doesn't look good. it's hard for i think us in america to believe that he could build this kind of compound, live this close to a military school, and them not know about it. but, again, pakistan is much different than america. i can tell you that from just being there. >> and perhaps again the most relevant issue to americans right now is the state of the war on terror. the consequence of this event relative to that. and specifically, the building efforts like the one we were just hearing from jake dillberto, the former marine corporal, to accelerate the withdrawal of ground troops from afghanistan to focus on precision operations like the one we have witnessed the past few days. >> yeah. i disagree with the corporal there, by the way.
i understand he was there nine months ago. we were there last week. we met with petraeus. the games that all of the generals across -- we were in heldman and the northern areas. the generals said over the last eight months the progress has been dramatic, to use the term that we heard over and over again. and training out the afghan army and even the police. in fact, where they used to just take anybody, now they are actually selective of who they take in. karzai is corrupt. that area of the world is very difficult to deal with. but if we can get to the place in july, we're going to begin our drawdown in july. the fact that the corporate wants to precipitate withdrawal now after the inroads we just made doesn't really make much sense to me. let's see where we are in july, and begin what was already predetermined as a scheduled withdrawal. i want them home tomorrow, believe me. but we have do things the right way. >> what would you advocate as the scale or framing for the
restructuring of our military and intelligence presence in afghanistan and pakistan beginning in july? considering we have 100,000 troops on the ground now, et cetera, et cetera. >> well, you know, you have to look at whether or not the afghan national army is able to protect the individual village and hamlets throughout afghanistan from the taliban coming back into control. look, the people in afghanistan hate the taliban. they want them gone too. so if they get to a point where they figure out that the afghan national army can secure them, then that's when we start withdrawing our troops in large measures. you know, the idea of having the kind of operation in pakistan that we have in afghanistan is absurd. pakistan is an industrial country. it's much further advanced -- afghanistan is, you know, you're living centuries, centuries in
the past in afghanistan. pakistan is a modern country, with millions upon millions of people, albeit with a disjointed government. so you can't look at it in a vacuum. that's not a fair assessment. >> understood. and finally, some of the most appealing framing we have heard here in the conversation around the bin laden kill, has been to look at it as a comma and not a period in the progression of this event. do you agree with that framing? >> absolutely. somebody is going to fill in the vacuum for bin laden. may 1 was a great day in american history, a great day in the war against terrorism. it validates a lot of what we were trying to do, and the fact that we will never rest until those that do us harm are brought to justice. that's what the message of may 1 is. but somebody is going to come up in the ranks, and we always have to be diligent. we got a lot of good intel out of that compound he was seized at. and right now, the powers that be in our country are working around the clock to make sure
free nations will press on to victory. well, we are back breaking it down. that speech of course under the now infamous mission accomplished banner occurred eight years to the day that president obama delivered news that osama bin laden had been killed. while the world's most reviled man is no longer living, the words "mission accomplished" ring hollow for many, including for some who lost loved ones in the attacks masterminded by bin laden. lee's son perished on 9/11. jonathan was his name. he was a firefighter racing into the towers and did not make it out. lee is an advocate for 9/11 families, and helped create a visitors center near the world trade center site as a tribute to those events. and i'd be interested to know for you -- and thank you first of all for giving us your time today. >> pleasure. >> what you think is the appropriate political message for any president, in this case
it's obama, relative to events like this. >> well, i don't know. i listened to what he said the other night, when he spoke, and i think he was very clear with the message. my concern would be that -- and i think he echoed it, we didn't eliminate the cancer. we cut off the head of the cancer, but there are cells out there. so we still have to be vigilant. our young men and women did a fabulous job. and i was so tickled that our men and women did it on the ground, not a drone and not a jet. they accomplished their mission. our intelligence was excellent. our s.e.a.l. team six did a fabulous job. and by the way, s.e.a.l. team six came to our tribute center about a year ago. so i have a personal feeling to those here. do we eliminate the problems now? i think the last senator or congressman mentioned it. it's not eliminated.
but i also feel strongly that we need to lend some support to this country as far as education is concerned. i don't want to teach another country. they do the teaching. but if we're going to stop this, our young men and women that have died there, what is it, 6,000 plus now, more than died in 9/11, we need to give them a little bit of a hand in teaching their young people. especially their women that don't have the education. they are the backbone of the family. so where are we headed now? and i would ask the president that. where are we headed now? is this a positive step that happened? absolutely. i'm overjoyed by it. i thought it was the best thing that ever happened out there, you know. a little sad. but where do we go now? what do we do? >> and i think that that is a -- i think a lot of people, whether you're the president of the united states or somebody so intimately connected to the events of september 11, or anywhere in between, i think a lot of folks are wrestling with how to calibrate the emotion of
the joy of that -- of what was done, of what s.e.a.l. team six did. the sadness or the reminder of how this came to be. and the sort of somber reality that we have this really screwed up set of relationships across the middle east at a time when the middle east is sort of lit up. how do you manage your -- how do you calibrate your emotions with that sort of crazy conflict? >> i'm talking about 9/11 every day, because of our tribute center. i get to talk about so many beautiful people that died that day. my son was my best friend. i have three other children. so i -- i have a benefit in a way, you know. i am more concerned, and i'm going to go back on that issue about education. >> well, why -- when you say education, specifically what is it that you see as the risk that we are creating for ourselves in
our own country and overseas by our fundamental neglect of that core principle? >> ok. so let's talk about education for a second. we all know how important education is in our world here. we learned about the holocaust. we learned about slavery. and we try to correct those issues. not always -- >> suffrage. >> we don't always correct it 100%, but we correct it. how can i possibly sit here and say to you that we don't have a state in our country? not one, including new york state, that has a curriculum to teach the history of 9/11. not one. new york city schools don't even have to talk about 9/11. so our country, our young people, going off into a world that is in a bit of trouble. not understanding what is radicalism as opposed to really good solid islamic people, which is the vast majority of them. and then now let's go to this country, and the countries where we're fighting in. why isn't it possible that we can lend a hand? and i'm sure you know that our
young men and women over there, many of them, have helped build schools. why are we leaving it up to our military? let's do something positive and leave politics out of these pictures. let's get past the bureaucracy. and we do need to understand what's going on in pakistan that -- where were you? were you asleep here? so there's a lot of work that has to be done. and i hate the feeling that i saw them dancing in the street in our country, which i think wasn't the best thing in the world to do. don't get overjoyed. we have a lot of work to do. education is key. we need to do it here. and god's willing, we need to try and find a way to help them do it. >> i could not agree with you more. and i feel lucky to be able to sit and listen to you deliver a message like that from the perspective and reality that is your life, lee. it's a real pleasure to be able to do that. thank you. >> thank you.
>> lee ielpe, retired new york city firefighter, and a man lucky enough to work and celebrate so much of those who perished on 9/11 each day. coming up here on "hardball" -- new details on what we found inside the compound, besides obviously osama bin laden. but first, how will the headlines play out in the days to come? ♪ sometimes i feel like... mom! ♪ i know i can count on you ♪ sometimes i feel like saying... ♪ mom! mom! ♪ ...see me through [ male announcer ] you know mom. ♪ you got the love... we know diamonds. together we'll make this mother's day one she'll never forget. momma!
while any picture would certainly been gruesome, it may be politically necessary to calm critics who want proof that bin laden is in fact dead. y you could see that in the next 24 hours. sympathizers in the middle east have taken to the streets in pakistan denouncing america. that of course contributing to concerns about our safety back here at home. which of course will be the subject of a house hearing about mass transit security tomorrow morning. then on thursday, the president tours ground zero. it will be his first time at the site since taking office. he will meet with 9/11 first responders and families of the victims. we of course will be watching for how his visit is received by those touched directly by the day that forever changed this city, this country, and of course the world, as we know it. i thank you for spending some of your afternoon with us this afternoon. i am dylan ratigan. and "hardball with chris matthews" begins right now.