tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 2, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT
life. plus, how will freeing a chinese dissent be once the whole world is not watching? the deal the u.s. negotiated. will it avoid a diplomatic explosion between the u.s. and beijing and what about the fate of the chinese hero? and a sigh comes in from the cold. the former head of the clandestine service during the bush-kuehne years defend what many call torture. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. bombers struck the capital of kabul today just 2 1/2 hours after the president lifted off from afghanistan. as part of an address to the nation last night, he offered an olive branch to taliban food soldiers willing to talk peace. the taliban says today's attacks were their response. . nbc's atia abawi is in kabul. what a day and night for you. the draw ma of the president's surprise visit and the attacks. tell us about what the u.s. is
saying, how could this happen? >> hi there, andrea. it was a very busy night and early morning here in afghanistan just a couple hours after president obama left as you mentioned, the taliban attacking a western compound here in kabul, targeting the werners but in the end killing six afghans and one nepalese security guard. the taliban saying the reason they attacked the compound was to send a message because of the strategic partnership that presidents obama and karzai signed last night. the u.s. and the military officials here are saying there's no way the taliban could have performed an attack that quickly within the capital of kabul. that this must have been an attack they had already been planning but that will being said, analysts will tell you, andrea, that the taliban right now are preparing for their spring offensiive today announcing tomorrow is the first day of what they're calling el farouk, the start of the fighting season here in afghanistan. they do feel prepared to attack.
as the months go by as hair fighters continue to be damaged by the nato forces they might not be as prepared but this time it seems they were ready. >> thank you so much. and while the timetable is set and there is still a lot of work to be done for u.s. forces in the region, the war that started after 9/11 intensified the mission to find bin laden, a search that culminated a year ago with his death. nbc's brian williams was given exclusive access to president obama and his entire national security team about the raid. and for the first time, brought television cameras into the situation room where he was able to document the operation. brian williams is the anchor and managing editor of nbc nightly news. this for you and the entire team from nbc news was really an extranarily exploration of a moment in history. tell me about going into the situation room and having that access, first of all. >> well, andrea thank you. there becomes that moment where you cross the threshold and realize you are taking cameras
into a place that has never allowed them before. what happened here is, nbc news made the request to the white house. we wanted to deconstruct more than reconstruct what happened the night of the raid. we wanted to talk to everyone in that will iconic photo shot by the white house photographer pete souza, and there you see in the small briefing room off the main situation room the walls lined with suede for sound absorption. we asked the president to stand in the very corner where he sat in front of him is the small folding chair where he sat as the raid unfolded. he was sitting next to a one-star air force general. and we talked to the entire leadership of government, everyone who was in that room for their recollections of the mission and what went into that night. >> and when you look at that picture from the pete sa, one of the little details, one of the
many details that you were able to emp observe and elicit from the president, he was sitting on a folding chair, not the commandsder in chief's chair because they were inside that side room, that part of the situation room complex. they were watching the general, the two-star was watching the realtime operation unfold and gradually more and more people began congregating in there. the president wanting to join in it himself and sat in that chair. you were able to ask hillary clinton what was going on through her mind and the fact that she could not even share this secret information in the days leading up to the operation with her husband, a former president. let me play that clip. >> at a certain point, when you knew you had geronimo, a process begins where you have to start calling presidents. domestic, foreign, committee chairs, cabinet members. all the people you wouldn't want to read about it in the paper
the next day. >> right, right. >> how was that divvied up? were you working from a list? who did you get to talk to, in addition to which you needed to call a couple of pakistani officials to say hey, we flew into your country with 50 guys. we got in and out. we were there for a while. we too a high value target out. thanks very much for the air space. >> well, as soon as we knew the president was going to address the nation, we began to do exactly as you vibed. create the list who was going to call who. obviously the president called former presidents, asked me with are to find my husband. >> really? >> bill didn't know anything. i hadn't talked to anybody about it so the first he heard was when president obama called im. i called members of congress. i called officials in pakistan. and there were two similar but different messages. for our citizens particularly our members of congress, it was we want you to fellow what was
done. the president's going to be speaking to the nation. for pakistani officials, it was we want to tell you what was done and we believe this was in the best interests of both your country and ours. you're going to have to choose how you respond to it. but you know and we know that our highest counter-terrorism goal has been getting bin laden. we found him in your country. we got him. and we hope that you will be able to work with us on this. >> and as we know, brian, that was so upsetting to the pakistanis, so humiliating. we are still seeing the after effect from it. >> absolutely. what we also learned talking to mike mullen, the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, when he called, his equivalent in the pakistani military, what he said was, we used a special chopper on this mission. it's a stealth black hawk.
we'd like to get those pieces back as well because we tried to destroy it. we didn't destroy it all. so this was fraught as you point out, these phone calls, necessa necessary evils in their business are still kind of paying negative dividend denieds. >> i was very touched, there is the human side to all of this. let's play a clip from your special strok" tonight where the president talks about telling his children, his doctors. >> and then it came time to explain it to two young daughters. >> yeah. well, malia and sasha i think were tool young to fully absorb 9/11. on the other hand, they've grown like all our children have grown up in the shadow of 9/11 and terrorism. and understood who osama bin laden was. and so, you know, i think not
only did they appreciate what had happened, but they were also hearing by that time crowds starting to gather outside the white house by the end of the night who were cheering. that was something that we would never have expected. as we are walking out on my way to make the formal announcement, people had already begun to gather because the news had started trickling out. spontaneously. >> and we know hillary clinton has talked about that, as well. you were hearing it. we were on the air, and all of a sudden, we saw these crowds developing of young people from the campuses, congregating outside the white house on lafayette park. and hillary clinton aid it first, she heard a rush, a roar and then finally realized what it was. what an emotional moment. >> imagine having to tell your kids in part in case they hear the crowds outside the public housing where you happen to be living. >> the fact that he did not
share it with michelle obama, i was toned by that. i can sort of understand the secretary of state not breaking security to tell her husband. the former president. but the inner circle of the marital relationship, how could he have gone through the whole run-up up to this the decision making which was tough because it was a close call, it was not a gimme putt at all and then the correspondents dinner and not share it with michelle obama? >> i put it this way to the president. i said when you listen to the old recorded telephone calls of president johnson, we now know he was on the phone a lot to as he always called him, general eisenhower, that former president's club and there's a new book about them, we happen to have a lot of living former presidents alive today. did you seek any counsel, any guidance. he said no, we had all these lives as the stake. if we had missed the launch window thatnate night, there's a good cannes this was made clear to me by an analyst, it would have been another six months.
what do you do with a secret hanging out there then? so this was in washington parlance, the original close hold. the president's secretary didn't know. there were senior white house staffs who had no idea this was coming. >> and speaking about the correspondents dinner, the president had to edit his jokes for that night because his speechwriters, his joke writers had put in a bin laden joke unwittingly of course, and they didn't need to know but he had to edit that out because he didn't want to be joking about it. you asked him about that dinner. >> the correspondents dinner was a different story. that was a little bit of acting going on there because my mind was elsewhere. >> understandably. this is an amazing special. we are so excite about it, brian. congratulations to you and to the whole team. and also in the wake of this surprise seven hours on the ground trip, you know the white
house inside and out. the fact that he was able to pull that will off, it he will me a little bit about what you -- your takeware from the trip to afghanistan and also of course, the accusations quiet accusations from some republicans that it was an unwarned "victory lap," but at the same time, they put out public statements mitt romney and others and john mccain praising him. >> first of all, thank you for the loan of your executive producer sobrata day without whom this would not have happened. there we are a few days before the surprise unannounced trip to afghanistan. and not a whisper. i think about the politics, i'll let that debate go on separately. as you know better than most, presidents get to use the machinery of the presidency, witness nine years ago last night off the coast of southern california, mission accomplished. a carrier landing, witness yesterday's landing in the dark of air force one. the ultimate machinery of the presidency in afghanistan.
so what we did for our part, and this is our work, obviously, this is a very powerful hour of television. and it's the new public record of that military raid that night. filling in a lot of gaps. people saying things, people being interviewed for the first time about it. so we took the access we asked for and were granted the political debate will and can go on in its own sphere. i hope people view this for exactly what it is. >> it is a first draft of history. and thank you for your unique perspective. thank you, my friend. >> thanks. >> we'll all be watching. don't miss a special edition "rock center with brian williams" inside the situation room with president obama and his national security team tonight at 9:00 eastern/8:00 central on nbc. up next, the future of afghanistan. what does the long-term partnership mean for u.s. troops? plus, why has the romney campaign changed its tone? you're watching "andrea mitchell
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the strategic partnership fortunatelied between the u.s. and afghanistan commits a war weary american public to at least another 12 years of involvement in some fashion. the tony blinken is national security adviser to vice president bidsen and was in the situation room the night bin laden was killed. thanks so much for joining us today. well, the past 24 hours have been as dramatic as any that i can recall in foreign policy. let's talk first of all about the overnight attacks, the suicide bomb attacks only hours after the president left. is it credible that these were not planned in response because what u.s. officials are saying on the ground, as you know is that these were previously scheduled taliban attacks. is that really credible? >> yeah, andrea, that's right.
typically, you know, these attacks get planned some time in advance. of course, it's a war zone and it remains a very dangerous place as the president pointed out. there are going to be difficult days ahead. as he said yesterday, we're turning the page on the war ending the war in afghanistan responsibly. our troops will be coming home. we'll be turning over responsibility to the afghans. and we'll be building a if you kind of relationship with afghanistan from 2014 on. that's what was so important yesterday, but of course, attacks continue. danger continues. but this is in the much larger context of turning the page on the war. >> how do we turn the page on the war though in the president talked about peace. but how do we turn the page when the taliban are obviously starting their spring offensive? >> well, look, we've seen a few things. ep just a few years ago ooshts momentiam was with the taliban. we've turn the tide and the moment tum is now against them. we're seeing an interest in reconciliation but a number of talib taliban. we're seeing afghan security
forces get stronger and more effective and they'll be in a position, already 50% of the population of the countries lives in areas that are controlled by the afghan security forces with them in the lead. that will continue. we'll be making this handoff progressively in the next year and a half and the afghans will be responsible for their country with our partnership going forward but it will be their responsibility and our troops will be coming home. >> why did the white house decide that the president would be safe traveling in on air force one on the 747 rather than as is often done in war zones switching to a c-17 outside of theater so that you would have a plane that was better able to evade perhaps stinger attacks or other kinds of other kind of attacks? >> to my none, the plane he was on had every capability necessary to protect the president and prosecute the mission. the more important thing is we felt it was very important for the president to go to afghanistan. he felt it was very important.
we had been negotiating this strategic partnership agreement for about 20 months and it finally came to a head about a week ago. it was important that it be signed before all of the nato corrupts come together in chicago in a few weeks. we thought by signing it in afghanistan it sent a very strong mess and to the afghan people, to people in the region and the american people that we're turning the page on the war but not turning 'from afghanistan. we're going to build a partnership with them after 2014. unlike in 1989 when the world abandoned afghanistan and we know what happened, civil war, the taliban and then nine-that's not what we're looking at this time. so going there will, having the president go there sends that mess and very powerfully. >> tony, let me change the subject to china because we are in a as we speak at this hour, we're in a situation where there is a dispute between the reported conversation by chen guangchen from his hospital bed to the associated press and what the state department is telling
us, frankly. chen has told the a.p. and friends in the dissident community that he was threatened, that those where is passed along by the state department that his wife would be somehow injured if he were to leave the country. that the in fact, he's under some kind of threat for retaliati retaliation. the state department believes it negotiate add agreement where he will be safe, that he entered the hospital of his own volition and he had decided of his own volition that he wants to stay inside china and not become an exile. what can you tell us about this discrepancies? >> all i can tell you is what i know from our team on the ground in china from our embassy and from the senior officials who are there. this was an extraordinary case, exception fal circumstances, not very likely to be repeated. up mr. chen came to us. we had a humanitarian obligation to assist him. he had as you know, he's blind. his journey to beijing resulted in some injuries as a result of
his condition. and so we gave him medical assistance. and then everything we've done we've done pursuant to his expressed wishes. and he paid it clear from the start that he was not seeking asylum, that he wanted to remain in china and he was looking for a number you have things. he wanted to be reunited with his family. it's my understanding that's happened. he wanted to be able to be pursue his studies and the chinese government has made a commitment that he can do that at a university away from the town where allegedly he was mistreated by local officials. and he wanted the mistreatment to be investigated and the chinese government has made a commitment to do just that. we'll be watching this very carefully. we're engaged with him and his family. we'll remain engaged in the days, weeks and months ahead. my understanding is everything we did was consistent with his wishes and with our values. >> the chinese foreign ministry has now said they want an apology from the united states for interfering in this and
accusing us of somehow intervening and getting him into the embassy. are we going to apologize for protecting chen guang cheng? >> this was an exceptional case. these were extraordinarily circumstances. it's hard to imagine this being repeated. we acted in the context of this extraordinary case with humanitarian gesture to help someone who wases in need who saw the our assistance. we provide provided the assi assistance and now of course, he is has left the embassy and he has worked with the chinese government tough ensure that some commitments that he saw the will be kept. so, i don't know see this as repeating itself. again, i think the result that we have is one that's consistent with what mr. chen was seeking, consistent our values and consistent with the kind of cooperation we've tried to build with beijing. >> and tony, if he decides, if we ascertain in another visit in
the hospital with him and we've seen pictures just now of him with our ambassador gary lock and with harold co-from the state department, these are pictures taken inside our embassy. if he decides that he wants to come to the united states, will we grant him political asylum even though it could jeopardize our relationship with china? >> i can't get into hypotheticals. all i can tell you is what i know thus far which is that from day one, his express desire was to remain in china. he sought to be reunited with his family. he was looking for a better life and an ability to pursue his studies at a university and he wanted those who alledgedly did him harm torl be brought to justice. and everything that has been discussed with the chinese government suggests thattern they've made commitments to do just that. so we're watching this very carefully. we have said that we will be in contact with him in the days ahead, in the months ahead, in the years ahead and we intend to do just that. >> tony blinken, thank you very
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was the decades long hunt for osama bin laden the result of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques otherwise known as torture, approved by the bush/cheney white house and outlawed by president obama? jose rodriguez had the key role in karnls of the cia's clandestine service that put him in charge of all covert operations against suspects terrorists that included the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. he also acnons destroying tapes of interrogations. he has written a new book about all of that called "hard measures" and joins me from new york. it is great to see you again. i should acknowledge that there
were times during your work at the cia you were undercover, but i on occasion did meet you there, and we know each other. we've talked about osama bin laden in the past in that official role. very interesting talking to you now about your claim. one of the major claims that you make is that enhanced interrogation techniques played a direct role in finding the courier that then led toe osama bin laden. this has now been denied by the senate intelligence committee chair, dianne feinstein, armed services chair carl levin. let's talk about what proof do you have? they write we are disappointed that mr. rodriguez and others who left government positions prior to the bin laden operation and are not privy to all of the intelligence that led to the raid continue to insist that the cia's so-called enhanced interrogation techniques used many years ago with a central component to our success. this view is misguided and
misinformed. they are claiming the information came from other interrogations. on "60 minutes" with lesley stahl you acknowledged that khalid shaikh mohammed during and after the waterboarding did not give up the courier's name. isn't that correct? >> good afternoon, andrea, and thank you for having me on and yes, i remember the couple times i met you at the agency. yes, i acknowledged that in fact, the information that led to the killing of bin laden started with enhanced interrogation techniques of a number of detainees. there were two in particular, but khalid shaikh mohammed did not accept the fact that he knew the courier but he did send a note to his fellow detainees telling them not to say anything about the courier which told us a lot about the courier. so, i am i convinced having read all the intelligence that in fact, the information obtained from enhanced interrogation led
to the eventual kill of bin laden and the destruction of the al qaeda organization that attacked us on 9/11. >> let me share with you, remind you of john mccain's op-ed in the "washington post." may 11th, 2011. he said i asked cia director leon panetta for the facts and he told me the following, the trail to bin laden did not begin with disclosure from khalid sheikh mohammed who was waterboarded 183 times. the first mention of abu kuwaiti, the nickname of the courier who ultimately led us to bin laden as well as a description of him as an important member of al qaeda. came from a detainee held. none of the three deans who were waterboarded provided abu ahmed's real name, his whereabouts. >> former director panetta told brian williams in this network that in fact, information that
was obtained from enhanced interrogations and water boarding in particular led to the killing of bin laden. >> and despite the other information panetta clearly said one thing clearly to mccain and may have said this in another interview. but despite this letter from dianne feinstein and carl levin this week, you still believe that even though you left the cia some years ago and have not had access to the most recent intelligence, you still believe that there is a connection, that there is a value to the enhanced interrogation techniques. what about the downside and the problems not only the problems legally, but the problems morally and the problems of the u.s. reputation in other countries if we violate the geneva conventions, what happens to our people when they are held captive? >> well, we're not violating geneva conventions. these are combatants, enemy combatants. there's a different set of rules
about these individuals. so it's completely different. >> when we talked, you talked earlier about the enhanced interrogation techniques and you said it was at times no worse than jet lag. do you really mean that? >> well, you know, i said that in fact, most of these techniques are pretty wimpy. if you look specifically at the ten techniques that were approved by the justice department in august of of 2002, you know, they include a number of conditioning and corrective techniques that are pretty wimpy. the two toughest ones are sleep deprivation and waterboarding. and sleep deprivation can be difficult, yes. and waterboarding actually is based on a program that is used in the u.s. to train servicemen so that they can understand what it is like to be waterboarded and it's based on that program.
>> why did you destroy the tapes if they're so wimpy, why destroy the tapes of these interrogations? what were you concerned about? >> i was concerned for the safety of my officers who were in the same room that will their faces, their identities would be known to al qaeda and to the whole world. and that they will were -- would be -- there would be retributions against them and their families. >> i know that the head of the director of national intelligence john negroponte specifically said the tapes should not be destroyed. also a letter from jane harman dated february 10th, 2003. and in that letter to the agency she said even if the videotape does not constitute an official record, that must be preserved under the law. the videotape would be the best proof that the written record is accurate. if such record is called into question in the future. the fact of distrucks wos reflect badly on the agency. so why destroy the tapes. >> there is some indication
certainly from the dni, the former dni, john negroponte that he order that the tapes not be destroyed? >> the dni never told me and i never heard about that. i later learned about that later on. and in terms of what congress woman harman said, you know, she talked about perception and we took that into consideration. but we felt that the security of our officers was paramount. that's why i made the decision. >> do you have any second thoughts now? you've written the book and it's a fascinating account. we have to of course, put ourselves back in the mind-set of post- 9/11 not knowing how wide the conspiracy was, the pressure from all sides to find bin laden and to find the other members of al qaeda, which of course, was done. bin laden only recently a year ago, but the other members of al qaeda were tracked down. so i acknowledge all of that. and the long service, your 25 years with the agency. but do you have any second
thoughts about the enhanced interrogation techniques which are otherwise known as torture? >> i have no second thoughts, and they should not be equated with torture. that is a myth that has gone on for too long. one of the reasons why i wrote this book to set the record straight. all of this was authorized by our government. it was certified as legal by justice and was briefed to the congress. so you know, it's pretty straightforward. >> well, it is still, of course, a controversy. it's a fascinating account. jose rodriguez, thank you very much for joining us today. >> thank you very much. >> and coming up, the politics of war. the future of the u.s. in afghanistan. stay with us. greetings from the windy city of chicago. people here sure are friendly but some have had a hard time understanding my accent. so to make sure people get every word of the geico savings message i've been practicing how to talk like a true chicagoan. switching to geico could save
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but that label can lead to prejudice and discrimination, and we don't want to go there. so let's try to see people for who they really are. you can help create a more united states. the more you know. mitt romney has noticeably softened his criticism of the white house's handling of the bin laden anniversary during the last 24 hours. joining employee is romney foreign policy adviser dan seen
yor. great to see you. the first day he came out swinging. then yesterday, it was a much more retrained comment and then last night, mitt romney actually praised the president's trip to afghanistan. there's been a noticeable change of tone. >> i would say first of all, governor romney was of the view that this was a historic event, the one-year anniversary of the killing of bin laden. it was a national event. it wasn't about democrats, republicans, about presidential candidates. and he congratulated president obama a year ago when he congratulated him again this be year. i think he and many of us were struck by the degree to which the obama campaign and the president himself had chosen to politicize this event. so i think that was some of the reaction you au. now as it relates to what happened yesterday, i think governor romney as many of us were pleasantly surprised on the one hand by some of the things that the president arctticulate about his up the commitment to afghanistan. we have concerns with some of
the things he said. most important, what you saw reflected in governor romney's statement is it's good to see the commander in chief with the troops in the theater of operations. the president does not spend a lot of time explaining to the american people what we're doing in afghanistan, what the stakes are, what the milestones are, where we're going. to have the president dedicate realtime to do it with the troops was something to celebrate and applaud. >> of course, there is a long history of presidents using the tools of office. we saw the mission accomplished on the carrier on may 1st some years ago with george w. bush. and also the bush white house repeatedly talking about what they had accomplished after 9/11. so both republicans and democrats do this. these are historic moments and when presidents run for reelection, they talk about it. >> you know what, andrea, i take issue with that. i think there's a real distinction. it is one thing for the
president to talk about what this country accomplished under the president's leadership with our military, with our intelligence community in terms of taking on bin laden. he absolutely should be talking about that. what was so striking and off putting not just to me or governor romney or to republicans, just read the columns by people like david brooks and dana milbank hardly republican partisans, what was striking to many people was he actually took this event and inserted it basically a political attack add. it was one thing for him to have this video celebrating himself for his role in getting bin laden, but right in that ad, he inserts this question, would governor romney have done it based on a completely factually incorrect characterization of what will governor romney had said. a, his facts were wrong in terms of what governor romney had said and b, he was using that to create a sort of political attack all anchored around this event that should it be something that the country
should be celebrating. i think that -- what the president did he in that respect was in a league of its own. have you not seen anything like that i don't think in decades of presidents taking something related to war and peace and national celebration and in such an overt and direct way taking a very direct shot at a political opponent. >> we don't have the time but i'm going to replay some of the republican national convention to you in years past. that said, let me ask you about rick grinnell because he was very briefly a foreign policy spokesman for the campaign. twitter has been alive with the allegation that i think your campaign has tried to rebut that he was requested to leave or was forced out because he is gay. >> there's absolutely nothing to that. he was brought on because he was exceptionally qualified to be the campaign's national security and foreign policy spokesman. he had served four ambassadors to the u.n. i worked with him, had an extremely high opinion of him, was thrilled when the campaign was bringing him on.
not only did the campaign hire him, but the campaign went out of its way. >> he's highly regarded by all of his former bosses at the u.n. and those of us who had to deal with him at the u.n. >> and by the upper echelon of the romney campaign which went out of its way to persuade him to stay on. >> was he pressured to be forced out? >> not at all. he was being pressured to stay on. i can't speak for rick, but i can tell you that the campaign, when the campaign learned that he was considering stepping down, the campaign went out of its way to try to persuade him to stay. he was supposed to start this week actually. so he hadn't officially starred yet but he was supposed to start this week. the campaign went out of its way to persuade him to stay, everyone from the campaign managering to senior foreign policy advisers to the campaign, outside advisers to the campaign. it's a disappointment that the campaign wasn't able to persuade him to stay but ultimately this was a decision that he made. and you know, we respect the decision even if we're disappointed by it. >> of dan senor, thank you very
much. joining me now is eugene robinson, washington post opinion writer and politico editor-in-chief john harris. politte coat also has a pulitzer prize. thank you both very much. eugene, first to you, there's been a lot of conversation about dan senor. senor's denial of what happened to rick grinnell. some people are suggesting, some republicans came to me last night and said was this a price that rick santorum demanded of the mitt romney campaign. we just had the denial. >> what we have now is that speculation. we have the sequence of events. we know there was a lot of pressure frankly from anti-gaelt factions and groups that support the campaign. and so i have a feeling that more information will come out. >> i think we have yet to hear from rick. >> there's no smoking gun now but i have a feeling it's more complicated than dan said.
>> john harris, any reporting you can add to that? and the politics of bin laden and afghanistan. >> quite different subjects. i do agree with gene. we need to get more -- get the tick-tock as reporters say, at precisely what happened in this departure or ouster or whatever it was. i don't think we have all the facts yet. the politics of bin laden, republicans don't like it. but this is in fact, one of the advantages of incumbency, the ability to set the agenda at any time, the ability to project -- to project strength by surrounding yourself with all the symbolism of military power and strength. that's what he president obama did. he took advantage of that. not subtly, very forth litly with his surprise trip to afghanistan. i think it sounds like most republicans have decided no more profit in whining about it, just try to move on. >> gene, what about winding the war down? do we think that this exit
strategy is going to work? >> >> well, do i think it's going to work? i mean, you have to question it. we're supposedly winding it down. we're going to have some presence there is until 2024. you know, something like one-third of the casualties suffered by u.s. and allied forces this year have been caused by afghan forces. intentional friendly fire. so that's not an environment that's terribly promising. we're putting a lot of faith in the karzai government and its ability to build the afghan military and the afghan police into a, not just a fighting force but a fighting force that's really on our side and the evidence is, they haven't done it yet and they've got a long, long way to go. >> we're going to have to leave it there. thank you so much. gene robinson, john harris, thank you both. up next, the ex-marine whose battlefield footage is now exploding myths about the art of war.
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it was one of the bloodiest battles of the iraq war and caught on tape by the men in the line of fire. they give us their first hand account of a deadly day in fa luj ain then they came home that scribes the furry of war. >> we had them over our heads. it was a nervous swallow and also, like, okay, we're here, let's get this started. >> garrett anderson is a film maker and a former marine that carried the digital cameras that day and this is extraordinary, and what were you thinking at the time? going into battle, why were you carrying the digital cameras? why dunk you could record this? what are you trying to express through your film record?
>> well, we were all carrying digital cameras at the time. it was kind of the thing to do because we could carry them in our pocket, small and compact, and kind of, you know, what motivated us to do that was we were supposed to go to the philippines and we found ourselves in iraq for my deployment and we were all just star struck by being in the area and wanting to show people back home what the process was like. so kind of worked out that way. >> did you have any idea that fallujah was going to turn into the nature nar it was for the marines. >> as soon as we got there and the brief that we were going to go into battle, i imagined it to be pretty terrible, but there was no way i could have seen what was coming there. it was pretty violent battle. >> in fact, one of the most violent of the war. what did you learn from the soldiers you interviewed in the course of making this and all of these years later? what message do you take away from this hideous moment in
iraq. >> the message i take away, i am concerned about telling the story of 12 people that fought in the same area on the same day, saw the same thing, but transitioned home 12 different ways, so i think that america, you know, kind of has these preconceptions of what they think veterans are and i am here to crush the stigmas. >> you talk about attempted suicide. you talk about the distress, the post-traumatic stress. what do we need to know about our relationship and interaction and the way we protect our veterans? >> just also that the normal side of veterans, i think, that people are kind of standoffish about talking to veterans a lot of the time and when they should approach us and ask questions. i just like to see people educate themselves more about the subject. >> thank you so much.
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for getting a check-up. it's our wellness for life program, with online access to mayo clinic. see the difference at avivausa.com. right now on news nation gingrich says goodbye, but is this his parting gift to democrats? >> massachusetts was fourth from the bottom in job creation under governor romney. >> are you calling mitt romney a liar? >> yes. >> how the words uttered over and over by the fiery former house speaker hey weaken romney's campaign for president. can newt walk back some of those attacks or has the damage been done? reaction to the president's surprise visit to afghanistan. >> there is a light on the horizon because of the sacrifices you made.
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