tv The Big Picture RT August 25, 2017 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
well above it all so look out world artsy america is in the spotlight now every glee i have no idea how to classify as many actually took me way more time than i care to admit. well i'm tom hartman in washington d.c. and here's what's coming up tonight on the big picture is donald trump aiming for victory in afghanistan or a permanent military occupation last phyllis bennis in just a moment and if democrats want to stop donald trump from getting reelected they
have to start feeling the burn that and more in tonight's rumble with nick give us and alex last. earlier this week donald trump announced what he said was a major shift in u.s. policy toward afghanistan his plan is short on details but it will almost certainly involve sending thousands more american troops to fight in an occupation that is now well into its sixteenth year drop of course as his administration's strategy will lead to victory in vietnam but is real victory even possible at this point or to borrow a phrase from george w. bush is the time to cut and run joining me now is phyllis bennis director fellow and program director at the institute for policy studies at new internationalism project and author of numerous books including ending the u.s. war in afghanistan primer which she wrote co-wrote with david well fellas welcome
welcome to the program good to be with you tom thanks for having me on so first of all can you just give us an overview an update what is the situation in afghanistan right now and how has how is that different from the situation since the beginning of the american invasion you know it's a terrific question because it sets up exactly one of the greats. stories of afghanistan you know you remember when the afghan war began this version of the afghanistan war of course there have been earlier ones in the eighty's the u.s. was fighting the soviet union in afghanistan. in the ninety's there was a terrible civil war in afghanistan and this war began in two thousand and one right after nine eleven when george bush said that the response of the u.s. to this horrific crime would be to treat it as an act of war and take the world to war against afghanistan in response and at that time afghanistan was the worst place in the world for a child to be born and expect to survive to her first birthday it was the worst place for a woman to give birth and survive sixteen years later sixteen years of u.s.
military occupation u.s. military engagement intervention whatever you want to call it it is still according to all the stats the worst place in the world for a child to be born and survive to her first birthday it's slightly less than the bottom of the lists on women dying in childbirth because a few west african countries have really collapsed in recent years short of that afghanistan is right in there but for children it's as bad as it ever was this last six months of the trump administration's war in afghanistan there has been a sixty seven percent rise in the number of civilian casualties most of them children according to the u.n. that's sixty percent sixty seven percent more than last year at the same time which was more than the year before every year that the u.n. has been collecting data on the number of civilian casualties the u.s. of course doesn't do that we don't do body counts says colin powell but they do at the u.n.
and what they have found is that every year since they've been counting the number of civilian casualties has gone up why is that well you know we hear a lot about the nature of the war that this is a long standing war and and the taliban are so we think they don't care about civilians and they don't care about this and that. they fight unfairly they fight with him promote improvised. surely true wars are not pretty words are not pretty and civilians are the ones who pay the price and what happens in afghanistan is that you don't have armies facing off against each other this is a war against a quite small guerilla operation the taliban the thing is the taliban have never tried to attack the united states they're not like isis for instance or particularly al qaeda whose goal is to bring down the west or to weaken the western so they're not interested in that their interest is really afghanistan they were
one of a number of islamist players during the civil war in the one nine hundred ninety s. and that war continued the taliban was supported largely by pakistan the opponents of the taliban a group that was first called the northern alliance and is now called the government of afghanistan was supported largely by india and later by india and the u.s. and now all the u.s. allies that are in there but this is a longstanding divided country and there are no front lines this is not armies facing off against each other and it's a it's a terrible situation when we heard president trump saying in his speech you know the beginning of it when he was being very presidential he was saying american are tired of this war they're tired of war without victory it's like nobody asked the afghans are they tired of war would they like this war to end rather than say that one side or the other is going to win because ironically everybody agrees that at
some point this war is going to end with some kind of diplomacy some kind of negotiations that the taliban are going to be involved i'm sure and the question is how long does the fighting go on how many how many more people are going to die before that happens well and just to be precise for their terminology. the war was over after about three weeks back sixty years ago it took us about long to take down the government of afghanistan displace the taliban secure operational control the country and what we've been doing for the sixteen years since then is occupying this country that's right exactly and occupations never turn out well you know as to what afghanistan in particular there's a long history you know it's called the the graveyard of empires and you can ask the russians you can ask the brits you can ask a lot of older empires what happened to them in afghanistan and think why do you think it's going to be different for you it's the same question now you know at the height of the afghanistan war it was under president obama there were one hundred
thousand u.s. troops and fifty thousand nato troops occupying the country that's a lot of troops on the ground right now there's about thirteen thousand about eight thousand u.s. troops and they're talking about sending maybe four thousand more what you couldn't do with one hundred thousand troops what do you really think you can do with thirteen you know this just doesn't make any sense they're occupying it but they're not even able to provide some kind of stability for the people of afghanistan and now we know and we've heard it most recently from from former presidential candidate john mccain who likes to talk as if he was the president he said that his that is his his strategy for afghanistan since trump wasn't coming up with one he would come up with one and his strategy was very clear that the goal is to make sure americans are not hurt by anyone from afghanistan it was nothing about protecting afghans nothing about protecting afghans women nothing about children
nothing about civilians nothing about certainly not bringing democracy or anything like that but it wasn't even about keeping people safe that was the sales pitch that that we heard from from trump the other day when he rolled up a new strategy the next morning on all the morning shows i was just channel surfing and you know i miss a b c c.n.n. fox. all of them were talking about how important it is to secure afghanistan so there's not another nine eleven in america and i'm screaming at the t.v. go on why you think afghanistan is the only failed state in the world is the only place where terrorist can add schemes i mean if you're a certain about terrorists in iran plotting the next nine eleven you know you're going to have problems in berlin and you might go to the united states and yeah right and the reality is these days you don't need territory anywhere right how many are there how many countries are going to try to occupy of this is how really we make ourselves feel less afraid and is this really i mean you know if if you really think what does it take what kind of speaks do you need to plot out something like nine eleven you need a living room you know you need
a few chairs that's basically it you don't need training camps and territory the taliban gave that to to al qaeda at that time but the reality was they didn't need that and certainly now with social media as a way of communications you don't need radio stations you don't need any of that stuff so dealing with terrorism is an important thing but dealing with terrorism through war is never going to work there is no military solution we heard those words over and over again from president obama and yet from president bush and president obama and from trump what we don't hear is and therefore we're going to stop acting as if there was no other alternative but i think it was a military thousand and five i was at a talk radio convention in new york and stanley mcchrystal was there who might go to the general who was running afghanistan for a time and i said what do you think about this and he said you just look here and he said we cannot kill our way out of this. but yet they are doing nothing but kill
and that's all we now know and that's the official position we are not nation building anymore we are just killing terrorists and of course there are killing people who we say are terrorists sometimes you might get lucky you might get somebody who actually is a terrorist in the sense that they have carried out an attack against civilians for reasons that have political meaning whatever the technical via you know technical definition is but a lot of the people around them their family their village their tribe their religion their mosque their leaders their country probably don't think they're terrorists even though we do so those people are going to be very angry and some of those angry people are going to themselves turn into terrorists so trump mentioned pakistan in his in is even speech president obama talked about pakistan a number of times and you know they're involved in all this of course that's where we found bin ladin. we just have a couple minutes left phyllis just try to fill in the picture for people who might
not have the background here who who or what is the taliban my understanding is that it's a pashtoon group that came out of the what you tell us right now you don't taliban started in afghanistan the taliban student and these were the students the students of islam they were trained in a in a very very extreme form of islam a lot rooted in saudi style wahhabi islam which is one of the most extreme forms of islam and they fought in the civil war in afghanistan during the one nine hundred ninety s. they were one of a number of factions that were vying for power they won the civil war in one thousand nine hundred six and they won it partly because they were better fighters at that moment but they also want it because they had a lot of popular support not because they were so extreme in their beliefs despite that it was because they promised to end the war they promised to stop the fighting and that's what they did now they were armed and trained largely by the pakistani. secret intelligence agency known as the i aside and it was from pakistan that they
got their support when they took over afghanistan and began to run the place so they were getting money and training and arms and all those things diplomatic recognition and their opponents who were as i mentioned known as the as the northern alliance were backed by india so all of this was now a proxy war between long time opponents pakistan and india they're fighting in afghanistan just like the us in the soviets used to fight in afghanistan during the cold war it was again a proxy war with afghans doing the dying when the taliban get overthrown by the us in two thousand and one as you say in three weeks that's all it took because they weren't a very strong government and we should also note. afghanistan never had the kind of history of strong central government that you see like in iraq or in some other places so when the us imposed that created a government whole cloth out of these western educated. afghan exiles that they found in europe in the u.s.
and brought them back in and said ok guys you're the government now and we'll back you up they didn't have any support the long time president of afghanistan was always known as the mayor of kabul because his brief really only reached the city so when the taliban were overthrown they fled to the mountains many of them left and went into pakistan and they some of them fought there and the pakistanis don't like that so they're against the pakistani taliban but they are still supporting the afghan taliban who are fighting in afghanistan so it's still a very regional complexity remarkable phillis we're out of time to talk for now thank you so much i think it's been a pleasure really. coming up is bernie sanders the only person who can stop donald trump from getting reelected. and alex wasnt tonight's rumble right after the break .
i think the average viewer just after watching a couple segments understands that we're telling stories that our critics can't tell me you know why because there are advertisers more let them. in order to create change you have to be honest you have to tell the truth parties able to do that every story is built on going after the back story to what's really happening out there to the american what's happening when a corporation makes a pharmaceutical chills people when a company in the environmental business ends up polluting a river that causes cancer and other illnesses they put all the health risk all the dangers out to the american public those are stories that we tell every we can you know what they're working. for you guys i made a professional is powerpoint to show you how artsy america fits into the greater
media landscape our team is not all laughter all right but we are a solid alternative to the bullshit that we don't skew liberal or conservative and as you can see from this bar graph we don't skew the facts either talking at lefties talking at righties oh there you go above it all to look at we're all artsy americans in the spotlight now every really i have no idea how to classify it as and it actually took me way more time than i care to admit. there's a real irony. in showing up playing ping responsible people and there is always. always seems to. fall for every now wholesale surveillance you feel you have all made while those who tend to do so since the internet has used the social media site oil a always on this story because it's garbage in real. good .
conservatives whine about the deep state and the trump of ministration is completely in bed with the fossil fuel industry. with me for the rights rommel or nick give us media reporter at the daily caller news foundation and alex lawson executive director of social security works and thank you both for being with us and some of them so trump interior secretary ryan zinke he is reportedly on the verge of shrinking the size of four national monuments he will also open up parts of these federally prot protected areas to mining logging and drilling according to new york times the bears ears national monument in utah will likely suffer the most under his plan it could be cut to approx one hundred sixty thousand acres from one point three five million no
president has ever reduced a monument by such a large amount is there really any doubt at this point who this administration serves and why this this is just they're completely the shoals of the most polluting and destructive industries in the united states i think they're driven by what the base cares about and for better or worse i don't think the trump base that would reelect him is going to find this to be a huge problem so i don't think he's going to give it any thought so his base doesn't care about national monuments not now don't go to vacation i don't think as much as they share about how much gas costs at the pump and whether or not they have a job and like i said for better or worse i think it's a strain or environment is not going to reduce the cost of gas or improve job prospects for anybody i mean we're exporting gasoline right now here in the united states if we if we if we were to get drilled more oil and refined more gas we would simply export more gas in these companies are going to be as profitable as are going to be he works for the extractive industries and you know with his flip flop on afghanistan the defense contractors also known as the republican
benefactors right i mean he's just showing is his true colors is just dancing to the tune of the same old same old wall street the extracted. industries and the defense contractors. so that's ok so apparently there's no doubt who those industries. are moving along bernie sanders is the democrats' best hope of stopping donald trump from getting reelected a new poll has found that bernie would be trumped by thirteen percentage points fifty one to thirty eight in a hypothetical twenty twenty match up bernie's margin of victory over trump is better than that of any other potential two thousand and twenty democratic candidate covered by the poll including joe biden elizabeth warren cory booker if democrats don't embrace f.d.r. style new deal progressivism or they do not and doesn't bernie's continued popularity show that america is fundamentally a progressive nation this is another one of those easy set ups. yes yes if
the democratic party doesn't get the message loud and clear that the only path forward is with true populist economics that that's what people care about they do not want to live in a country where washington d.c. is run by wall street and a handful of billionaires who call all the shots why we while we pay all the bills and there it could not be clearer so yes bernie sanders is very popular but it was bernie sanders ideas that ignited that right bernie sanders has been saying the same thing for a long time it and he is an amazing politician but it was his ideas that ignited what we're seeing right now young people embracing what we can do as a nation and that is the only path forward for the democratic party so they better get that message i know a bunch of republicans who voted for bernie in the primary i mean he was capturing
the imagination not just of democrats it's true he had an appeal i think alex makes a good point that you know bernie has some things that do appeal to voter but at the same time i think if america was inherently progress. they would never have elected donald trump or come that close in the popular vote would have been a trump around on a bunch of progressive things he said i'm not going to be honest i'm just a grass if you can't stand them progress is that voted in these elections can't stand and we have to be honest about i don't know i'm i disagree what progressives do you know that vote for don't trump i i don't know of any i don't know if i have them or i remember a poll. if i did i just remember opposed well that said donald trump was going to lose a ninety percent chance of losing to hillary clinton in the election center at the polls i thought was i mentioned was i don't think i trust the polls anymore i think that we're out here closer to a prominent us we're going to blow up nafta and all these free trade deals that has been a position of progressive democrats forever every single trade deal that has passed the house and senate has passed with majority republican or support a majority democratic opposition he said i'm not going to touch your medicare
social security or medicaid all three of them these are all programs put into place by democrats and you should love them thomas surprising because i do not like them in this that well i'm someone who was also going to six months given that although that's not read i didn't care i mean trump care was not passed so it was wrong or something or it isn't also the late senator heller it was the question is is he a liar is the not a lie or did he not support it because he's it he's not a liar but you know that you point eight a problem if he wasn't going to touch these programs and then we're point the point i'm trying to make here in the nick you're saying that you know america is not oppressive country because they like the donald trump but i'm saying that the things that trump ran on that got him elected were is progressive positions and this is why you've got republicans going there's not a single republican left in the white house you've got a bunch of democrats gary cohn which was a democrat i believe you know i don't know about steve minutia there's there's a bunch of these guys who you know are democrats you've got. a democrat his family
members for a hotel or kratz i mean all of that right wing populism like that's what i thought i thought i mean i think i think he's a new breed of politician and i think that if he has so many progressive angles you should maybe give him a second exemption you can buy it on the road every old. a politician is going to have their eye or facts to back it up ok you were fuse the facts that are in for any which is a good tactic except when you say i'm not going to cut your social security i'm not going to cut your medicare i'm not going to cut your medicaid state has to done right and then you will pay for what i said on this in for a second if i say i'm not going to pick your pocket and then i try to pick your pocket but you stop me from doing that is that me breaking my promise to not take your pocket yes and you have to tell the american people in hock tried to steal our medicare when he tried to be a lot of medicaid downing him adding jobs that stealing people say commented obama . has it out of a man no model or better than that your lies or your why don't know what this is this is like very shallow propaganda is really easy you tell me how long does the
do the jobs take to bake into the economy you're saying what along the way what has trump done that has had any effect on insulation in his election alone it gave confidence the business community confidence in the markets and people are seeing their stocks not only go up but their retirement funds are growing that's important that's vital and i don't think he helps or to console wall street's like inability to look at anything wall street's coke's see old insanity and i will give you that i don't all street loves donald trump you're totally right but that has nothing to do with mean festers no wall street loves donald trump nothing to do with the economy and the fact that he was prevented from doing what he wanted which is to destroy medicare medicaid the fact that his budget turns against every one of his promises the budget is the moral document the vision for the dinner so that's why all of the people speak in the midterms and you have a feeling i agree with so but back to bernie i mean this this as i said i know
a bunch of republicans who voted for bernie in the primary and i think they would have voted for him in the general election against donald trump because trump was you know a little flake here and bernie was you know consistent reliable dead. and that's my argument that america is a fundamentally progressive nation you poll americans including republicans a majority of them want a national health care system the majority of them want social security the left intact or strengthen the majority of them want medicare and medicaid a majority of them want long term unemployment insurance a majority of them actually want the united states government to be the employer of last resort last time we did that was in the thirty's and forty's you know when capitalism fails these are all progressive positions i don't know of any progressive positions frankly that the majority of americans don't support do you know but they don't want to go bankrupt either who is going to pay for all of these policies that's where they are they wouldn't that's why they voted for trauma but that's why they voted for trump and not hillary she could have instilled those progressive policies even easier than he could but i think they knew he could
balance it with pragmatism i think with the hillary clinton never made that argument well she didn't make the argument she was not heard saying this is what i'm going to do instead the argument that was made by the clinton campaign was donald trump is a terrible person the children are watching you know so or so yeah. but that doesn't mean that america is not a progressive country and it doesn't mean that a good progressive couldn't couldn't you know eat the launch of the republicans any of moving along to san francisco san francisco dog owners have a special surprise in store for the right wingers planning a so-called free speech rally tomorrow in one of the city's major parks their surprise dog poop that's right dog poop according to facebook almost a thousand san franciscans will bring their dogs to the site of the rally throughout the day today and let them relieve themselves and this is they're also committing to come back and sunday and clean up the mess this fecal counter protest is the brainchild of local artist tuffy talking to him and he says the plan is to go back to the park sunday and clean up the mess whether it's with dog poop or massive rallies like the one we saw in boston last weekend can we all agree that
there is no such thing as an overreaction to nazis or the all right or whatever they klan whatever they want to call themselves don't we need to ruthlessly fight back against them. at least not necessarily physically but by physical presence whenever they try to normalise themselves yeah i think you have the moral high ground going into this argument against the k.k.k. or white supremacist and i think this idea is pretty funny though it was clever it was you know nonviolent it was something that actually did help and we should add that i think you guys about an hour ago canceled they canceled the rally yet they ended up caving in canceling and but i say i think you got to stop short of violence hitting violence with violence i think spins things out of control it's gasoline to fire but anything short of that yeah i think use humor use it degrade them mock them if you have to i think it's good taste actually i agree and i actually think it's the strongest weapon against them clowns mocking nazis as a old trope in this country and it works every time people show up dressed as
clowns and mock the nazis in their regalia and they become the clowns that they are and things like that or dog who versus nazis again that's what they deserve and i think that those kind of fight backs make a lot of sense i will just say that without just really clear condemnation from the president against these nazis we will continue to see this over and over and over again because nazis feel more in bold now than i think i've ever seen over a hundred spencer tweeted day before yesterday you know trump will never condemn the all right never has never will or words to that effect i think he's right you know it's not a good thing and he goes alex lawson thank you both for being with us thanks for having me and that's the way it is tonight and don't forget democracy is not a spectator sport get out there get active tag you're it.
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