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tv   Charlie Rose  WHUT  October 12, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EDT

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>> rose: welcome to the broadcast. we begin this evening by taking note that president obama received the nobel peace prize today in an announcement from oslo. the president responded in the rose garden. >> i am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the nobel committee. let me be clear, i do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of american leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations. >> rose: and we continue our week-long look at afghanistan with david kilcullen and brian glyn
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williams. >> you could put a million troops into afghanistan. won't make any difference unless we get a credible afghan partner on the ground and respectfully for the rule of law and for the right of the afghan people coming from local government official its -- officials, that is the critical element here. if we get over that hurdle, then we into talking about troop numbers. and i would suggest, you know, enough to secure the bulk of the afghan population 24 hours a day in the threatened parts of the country. >> the tlb are -- the taliban are much more global than in 2001. they have really become much closer to al qaeda and its global vision. it is really a terrorist movement now. i think if the flab taliban are allowed to reacquire control of afghanistan they will turn it back into a religious prison camp but also into a springboard, a base for terrorism against those who topple the government in 2001. >> rose: we conclude with filmmaker michael moore. >> when people say to me if you don't like capitalism, at least the version of capitalism we have now what do you propose. and my answer is, is that i -- i'm not suggesting we have to come up with
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something brand-new. actually if we just applied some of the old principles that we used to have, democratic values. in other words, where the people have so say in how the economy is run, not just the wealthiest 1% that now has more financial worth than the bottom 95% combined. >> rose: the president receives a nobel peace prize, we look at the reality of the taliban, and we talk to michael moore about his movie about capitalism. next. >> funding for charlie rose has been provided by the following
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captioning sponsored by rose communications >> from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: the nobel peace prize was awarded to president obama today. the announcement came from oslo. it was a surprise to many, including the president in its award citation the nobel committee praised the president for creating a new climate in international politics. the committee said that because of his efforts, multilateral diplomacy has regained its central position with emphasis on the role that the united nations and other international institutions can play. the president was also praised for his work to rid the world of nuclear weapons. in a brief speech at the white house, president obama said he was deeply humbled by the award. >> i am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the nobel committee. let me be clear, i do not view it as a recognition of
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my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of american leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations. to be honest, i do not feel that i deserve to be in the company of so many of the transform difficult figures who have been honored by this prize. men and women who have inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace. but i also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women and all americans want to build. a world tha gives life to the promise of our founding documents. and i know that throughout history the nobel peace prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement, it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. and that is why i will
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accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. these challenges can't be met by any one leader. or any one nation. and that's why my administration's worked to establish a new era of engagement in which all nations must take responsibility for the world we seek. some of the work confronting us will not be completed during my presidency. some like the elimination of nuclear weapons may not be completed in my lifetime. but i know these challenges can be met. so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person, or one nation alone. this award is not simply about the efforts of my administration, it's about the courageous efforts of people around the world. and th's why this award must be shared with everyone who strifes for justice and
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dignity. for the young woman who marches silently on the streets on behalf of her right to be heard, even in the face of beatings and bullets, for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy, to the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away. and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom, and sometimes their lives for the cause of peace. that has always been the cause of america. that's item world has always looked to america. and that's why i believe america will continue to lead. >> rose: reaction to the announcement was across the spectrum because it came for a president only in his ninth month in office. but several world leaders said the award was appropriate. >> i think it's extremely well deserved. i think that much of what he
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has accomplished already is going to be far more appreciated in the eyes of history. >> the bells will ring again with a new hope. and a feeling that there is a rd in heaven and on earth. and both of us can act together to move properly and determinedly to provide a new reality. >> in a way it's an award, one that comes as a beginning. >> i mean he's not even finished a year. his first term of office, of a relatively young president, it's an award that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making
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our world a safer place for all. >> rose: while the president stepped forward in the rose garden to take note of the announcement of e nobel peace prize today, much of his week has been spent looking at afghanistan. we come to the end of our week looking at the white house deliberations over the way forward in afghanistan. although a decision is weeks away, the outlines of a strategy have begun to emerge. senior administration officials are defining the mission as one that ranks ala as a greater threat to american security than taliban. al qaeda is a global terrorist group while the taliban is a local movement that needs to be contained, but not necessarily destroyed. this view would allow the president to avoid the major troop increase sought by his commanding general stanley mcchrystal. but questions remain about a strategy that downplays al qaeda's influence in afghanistan and the role of the taliban. earlier today president obama met again with his national security team to talk about troop numbers and we do so as well. joining me in new york is david kilcullen, general david petraeus
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counterinsurgency advisor in iraq, currently advising general mcchrystal. from boston is brian glyn williams of the university of massachusetts. he studies ethnic groups and war lords in afghanistan. i am pleased to have both of them at the week's end look at what the president's decision might be and what factors the president might take into consideration. what's it like on the ground? what is it that maybe influencing what they're say approximating in washington? >> i see a pretty sharp deterioration in the security situation, i have to say. as i was saying before we got on air, i was ambushed in a district in nangahar province w would have been considered totally safe even a few months okay. we just had the incident with the german air strikers, as you are probably aware of. we are starting to see taliban activity popping up all across that northern posh tune belt in afghanistan. and i think even particularly in the south, even though we've got more u.s. troops present, the
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general feeling of insecurity is pretty widespread. and of course we're hemorrhaging legitimacy day-by-day because ofhis fiasco of the elections on the 20th of august. >> rose: so how do you see the president's choice? >> well, you know, i'm much at a lower level in the food chain than that. i think that what we are looking at here is, you know,s president on the 27th of march laid out very clearly what he wanted the strategy to be. he said a comprehensive military counterinsurgency strategy focus on disrupting, defeating and dismantling the taliban and al qaeda. so that is the strategy that general mcchrystal and all of us went out to look at the feasibility of. and that's what we are talking about now. how feasible is the strategy that was laid out after comprehensive review in march. >> rose: so we've had two things happen. one the taliban has gotten stronger and b the afghan government has gotten weaker because of corruption and an election that everybody understands was fraudulent. >> yeah, well i think it's not so much it has gotten weaker t that the emperor has been revealed as having no clothes.
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the afghan people already thought that they were -- i think it is the international community now that, there a degree of outrage and concern about the legitimacy of the governance process in afghanistan which we didn't have before. >> rose: what would it take to stop the taliban if that was the goal. >> you mean to actually defeat them on the ground. >> rose: yes. >> think a couple of years of pretty heavy military lifting. >> rose: with how many american troops? >> well, i don't want to give you a number because it doesn't work like that. i would say enough troops to secure about 80% of the threatened afghan population, 24 hours a day. and that could translate into let's say 40 to 60,000 troops if you wantedo do a large part of the country. if you had less troops available, then you would sequence it. so you can work with the number. >> rose: secure one and move to the other. but how do you hold the other one as you move on, how do you keep the one secure. >> this is why the afghan government is such a critical partner. you know, as i said to you again before, you could put a million troops into afghanistan. won't make any fference unless we get a credible afghan partner on the ground
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and respect for the rule of law and for the right of the afghan people coming from local government officials. that's the critical element here. if we get over that hurdle, then we are into talking about troop numbers and i would suggest, you know, enough to secure the bulk of the afghan population 24 hours a day, in the threatened parts of the country. >> rose: but i mean i don't want to play numbers games with you and i know you don't want to either. but there are now how many troops on the ground? >> well, depends if you count coalition or u.s., there is about 68,000 u.s. troops. round figures about 100,000 coalition troops of all types in afghanistan plus obviously the afghan military. and the afghan police. and i think you know, and remember that the population of afghanistan is exactly or within half a million what their population of iraq was in 2007. and so you know, let's assume 40 to 60,000 more troops, you are looking at the ability to do something
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similar to what we did in iraq in turning that situation around. but again, that's not how it works. it's not about a rough number of troops. it's about what u do with them once they get on the ground. anything less than let's say 25,000 extra troops, i personally, this isn't an official position, i personally would be thinking really hard about how viable the campaign would be. >> rose: so don't do it if you are to the willing to send at least more than 25,000, -- have another strategy. >> the worse possible outcome would be to keep doing what we are doing. we need to either go up in terms of numbers and focus on protecting the afghan population so we can downsize or we need to say if we're to the going to do that, let's start downsizing now. >> rose: is that where it has come down to, in other words, making a decision as to whether, you know, mcchrystal, is his bottom line making a decision as to whether you can with more troops achieve that objective and if you decide that you can't get the troops and you can't achieve that objective you should have this more narrow objective of trying to hunt down al qaeda. >> i don't want to speak for general mcchrystal but
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watching the process from pie standpoint, i think that all that has happened here is the president laid out a strategy, back in march. general mcchrystal went out with a pretty detailed assessment to figure out how to execute that strategy. now that we see the results of that assessment, we're thinking through the implications. i think that's valid but i think you know it is a closing window of opportunity here. this thing is a winnable right now but it's to the going to remain winnable forever. >> that was the he sense of his message, wasn't it? >> yeah. >> that was released, you know, bob wood ward printed and reported in "the washington post," that was the essence of his message. it may be winnable. it will take a year but it's urge isn't and you have to do something now. >> and part of it, part of the urgency here is there is a window of opportunity following this fiasco over the 20th of august elections. where the international community for the first time iniers has a pretty substantial amount of leverage over the afghan government. and we need to use that. if we lose that leverage we're back to a situation --. >> rose: to do what? >> to encourage and in fact
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probably to demand root and branch reform on issues like corruption, governance at the local level, rule of law, the corruption in the afghan government, is just at a level that is really undermining the effort to the point where afghan government corruption and frankly, abuse of the population in some parts, not everybody, is sufficient that it's almost as bad of a problem as the taliban. >> rose: brian pick up within the context of what david said, and your own knowledge of the taliban. and the consideration of the taliban that existed in 2001 and the taliban that exists in 2009. >> well, you know, i agree with everything david said. a lot of zones that i used to travel through in afghanistan back in 2007, 2005, 2003, are now red zones. they're no-go. every few months we have seen a new province of the taliban. so things are going bad. and we do have a window of opportunity. how do i see the taliban in
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2009 as opposed to 2001? well, certainly they're not the same groups. anybodyho tries to delink, the taliban from from al qaeda or to create daylight between these two groups is rejecting recent history. the taliban has come much closer to ala. the two groups have morphed and are much mover linked. remember back in 2001, president bush demanded that mullah omar turn over bin laden, that he dismantle the camps. and mullah omar the head of the taliban effectively drew a line in the sand and the taliban fought and went down with al qaeda. since then, the taliban have been actively sheltering and giving refuge to al qaeda, probably inside pakistan. there is a 25 million dollar bounty on bin laden's head. but the taliban are protecting him. so those who think that we can delink these two groups are rejecting this history.
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i think if anything, the taliban of today are much more radical. much more extreme than they were back in 2001. weave seen the taliban engaging in suicide bombings. beheadings. they are essentially morphed into a terrorist group whereas back in 2001 they were a bona fide government. so certainly i think that we need the more troops on the ound there to protect the afghan people. they are the center of gravity. i think having spent the summer with mcchrystal's trps myself, if he asks for 40,000 troops, the man on the ground knows what he is talking about. >> rose: exactly. so if he says he needs 40,000, then he needs 40,000 is what you are saying. >> yeah, certainly it worked iraq. there were a clot -- a lot of critics in the surge but peted rayus was proven correct. they put the extra troops in, they protected the iraqi people. this gave time for the iraqis to arm up and create the anbar awakening and we have seen the iraq war has in many ways been won. so certainly i think we
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should be giving mcchrystal the chance to do the same thing in afghanistan. >> rose: lay out, and i think you have, it is clear to me, i think what your position is, that if, in fact, they don't stop, they have a different strategy, are not willing to put the troops in and the taliban take over, i mean, is there an immediate threat of that if there are no more troops? >> yes. i think if the taliban are given a break, you know, some were discussing putting troops back on the bases. i think the biden admistration, talking about waging a counterterrorism war as opposed to a counterinsurgency, and drawing troops back down to bases and simply using special forces and drones to go after al qaeda, i think it is delusional. i think what will hab, the taliban will sweep through the south. they will take kandahar city, start burning the schools we built. they will start laying landmines loser and loser to kabul, they will take population centers. give them a few months and they will be knocking at kabul's doorment so i think that this vision of
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delinking al qaeda from the taliban and fighting a counterinsurgency as opposed to -- sorry counterterrorism as opposed to counterinsurgency would be catastrophic, especially for the pash tune south where the taliban are making inroads. >> rose: that seems to be what general mcchrystal thinks as well, isn't it. >> it certainly is. general mcchrystal looks at the metrics. he needs more troops on the ground to go into these provinces to protect the population, to win their hearts and minds. and i think 40,000 is a number he is asking for. and i think it is a good number. the soviets had 130,000. we certainly have 130,000 in iraq right now. and of course afghanistan is much larger than iraq. so i think 40,000 is reasonable. >> rose: and i think you covered this too. but i just want to ask it in a different way. for all those people who say look, these people are just nationalistic, they want to take over afghanistan like they had it before. and they have no interest in international terrorism. you would say -- >> i would say they have been launching terrorism all
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over pakistan. they killed benazir bhutto, mullah da dulah threatened to attack americans. massoud threatened to a mack american, canada, germany before he was killed. the taliban are much more global than in 2001. they have really become much closer to ala and its global vision. it is really a terrorist movement now. i think that if the taliban are allowed to reacquire control of afghanistan, they will turn it back into a religious prison camp but also into a springboard, a base for terrorism against those who topple the government in001. we have seen this tried before. the israelis tried creating peace in gaza with hamas and they were shelled regularly. day after day. i can't see a taliban delinking themselves from al qaeda. there is an ala fighting force fighting alongside the taliban right now. known as the lash guard -- the shadow army. al qaeda amirs or commanders sit in on the taliban councils.
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and al qaeda leaders actually lead taliban troops in combat. these two groups are linked at the hip. so i think it is delusional to think that we can have one group seen as local and doesn't have a global vision and the other one al qaeda having an agenda against the west. they are both very close now. >> rose: do you think the administration sees this or not? >> you know, my fear is that there are those who are trying to construct this vision, this paradigm which says that the taliban are local. and the voices seem to be coming from biden's office, that there is this effort to have the taliban come off as some local group who don't have any agenda against us. and if al qaeda is the real enemy, we can delink them in ways counterterrorism against al quite . i hope the obama administration gets the whole picture and listen to mcchrystal. >> rose: what do you think the consequences for the president are? >> give me a sense of how he might be seeing this. look, i'm enormously confident that the administration is going to do the right thing. i mean they've got real experts advising them, some
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reports are being produced, i'm not talking about ones in the previous administration, bruce rydell, world famous expert on pakistan, led a very detailed review. i'm sure that was read in detail. so i know that they've got the right advice. and i'm sure they will do the right thing. >> rose: there was a report by martha radage who said the options mcchrystal presented were not to accepted more troops in afghanistan considered high risk. the second is send 40,000 troops and the third calls for a major increase in troops far more than 40,000, an that's, a lot of military peop who are for the third option, right or wrong. >> i don't know about martha's comment but i certainly think that 40,000 is a little bit of a low ball. >> rose: would you agree with that? >> yes, i would. you look at the number of troops, it took in the surge to control iraq which is a third smaller than afghanistan, i would certainly say that 40,000 is a low ball, i agree. >> rose: i think what is
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interesting, and i don't know, obviously, but what i think is that they have seen, you know, the reason that they are having a new strategy after having decided on a strategy, review is they had two new circumstances. number one the circumstances with the election turning out as badly as it did. and secondly, allf a sudden having to ask themselves can we do it. and is there -- is everybody agrees that there is today this notion, sort of the powell doctrine, if you don't have the support of the american people and if you don't have, you know, the commitment to do it the way it ought to be done, you shouldn't do it. and so there is a way of whether it is doable or not. do you think -- >> a lot of people look at history. conventional wisdom now seems to be shifting and saying listen, no e has ever won in afghanistan. the british couldn't do t the soviets couldn't do it. but in actuality, this isn't true. certainly the monday gulls won in afghanistan. no one said to the mongul, alexander the great won in afghanistan. and even the british succeeded in conquering a
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huge chunk of afghanistan, so-called tribal areas and bringing into india, this is the so-called tribal zones inside of what is today pakistan. >> an none of these -- i agree with brian exactly. none of these previous empires had anywhere close to the level of popular support inside afghanistan that t international communities enjoyed since 2001. it is an entirely different circumstance for any of those previous colonial conflicts. i think you know, recognizing that is very important. i think there is another factor here too, charlie, though. i am convinced it is doable. i really am convinced that we can do this. i am questioning, myself now, after the elections, why are we doing this? i mean look at what happened in the elections. look at how the elections were so badly corrupted, so badly fraudulent and how people on the ground have really screwed the afghan people. why are we doing this again? and i think that is a valid question. but i think you can answer that, even if you don't like the people that we have on the ground that are running thing in av began stand by
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saying look at the consequences if we don't carry this thing through. >> rose: and you also note that the taliban in saying things like look, you see the debates going on in washington. they are not so sure they ought to be here. you know, and they are saying to a lot of other people who might necessarily be on our side, you better not hang out with those guys because they may leave you alone and if they do, you know, you are up the creek, right? >> the appearance of waivering is, has a really important affect on the afghan population. let me tell you a story. a friend of mine out a few weeks ago which is a town in far soueastern afghanistan with a striker brigade, and they said to the population, listen, we're here for the long haul. we're going to partner with you. we're going to look after you. we're going to protect you. and the tribal leader they were talking to pulled out a dog eared copy of a downloaded article from "the new york times" that said but that's not what speaker pelosi said. and this is what this guy said, and this is what that gusaid. and people were quoting back at our guys on the ground the u.s. debate. now that debate is valid.
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the people are completely at liberty to express their points of view but it does have aneffect on the ground and on the view of the population. and i think that's why i think again, there a sense of urgency. we need to get this done. >> rose: can it be done without denying the taliban a safe haven in pakistan? >> i don't think so. i think we need to pressure the pakistanis to be the hammer to our anvil. we have to hit them on both sides. i think this is supercritical for us to talk about drying down our troops in the bases in afghanistan while suggesting the pakistanis go into wazer stand or tribal areas and conquer the zones and then dismantle the taliban. i think that the two sides are linked as david said. that there is almost this borderless zone there. and we need to be hammering and pressuring them on both sides. >> i think we have three huge problems right now. and you know how military guys talk about a strategic level of operational level and a tactical level. tactical level, fighting the
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enemy, operational how you run the campaign and strategic, the overall effort. at the tactical level our big problem is lack of troops. at the operational level, it is the safe haven in pakistan. at the strategic level, it's the ledge irt -- legitimacy of the afghan government. we really need to address those three issues. and dealing with pakistan, fixing the credibility of the civil governance side. and if we are doing those three things i think we are still in the game. if we are not doing one or more of those three things, then you know, i would have to question the viability of the effort. >> rose: you agree with that, wouldn't you, brian. >> yes, i do. i really do. i think we have a big legitimacy issue with karzai. you know, here is a man at the centre of the country, maybe the mayor of kabul, maybe his power isn't extended throughout the whole country. but in many ways we have all our apples inne basket and we need to somehow shore up legitimacy amongst his own people. that is very important, i believe. >> rose: on that note, that, i must say stephen biddle
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could not, we had a problem with the connection to the studio in massachusetts. and so i will make sure that we can try to get him in here next week, this is obviously a continuing story and we will have him in. brian thank you very much for coming. a pleasure to have you on the broadcast. and to have my friend david kilcullen with you again. >> honor to be with you brian. >> thank you. >> rose: we'll be right back. stay with us. michael moore is here, 20 years ago he took on general motors and its relationship with his hometown of flint, michigan. the documentary was called "roger & me" since then his films have covered topics ranging from gun control, the iraqi war and health care. his new film looks critically at the american economic system. it is called "capitalism: a love story" and here is the trailer. >> this is michael moore. i am here to make a citizen's arrest of the board of directors of aig.
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>> from michael moore. >> we're actually here to make a citizen's arrest. >> this is my supervisor. >> in the white shirt, blue tie. >> that's it. >> receding hairline. >> the guy who brought you -- fahrenheit 9/11. >> where else do you want to leave the building. >> your camera. >> come on out. >> they done speak english. >> donde? >> this fall, the most feared filmmaker in america. >> can i talk to you, for a secretary. can you tell me what a credit default, can you explain a derivative to me. >> will reveal what happened when wall street tanked. >> the stock markets crash. >> bankruptcy. >> foreclosures. >> a global meltdown. >> and a government bails. >> by spending just a few million dollars to buy congress, wall street was given billions. >> the motion is adopted. >> you know who michael moore is, don't youness, the film director, he is filming me. >> how did this happen. >> i got home on friday, everything was fine. i called back after my plane landed in indiana and all of a sudden we have this crisis on our hands. >> there has got to be some kind of a rebellion between
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the people that have nothing and the people that got it all. >> everything was being handled by the treasury secretary from goldman sachs. they had congress rate where they wanted them. this was almost like an intelligence operation. >> this is separate up capitalism. >> where is our money? >> i don't know. >> the people here really aren't in charge. >> i guess you win. >> we want our money back. >> capitalism, offers people the freedom to choose where they work. >> there isn't anything in here. i'm not going to be a gentleman club hire dancer. >> we're here to get the money back for the american people. >> i got more bags, 10 billion probably won't fit in here. >> i'm pleased to have michael moore back at this table. welcome, sir. >> thank you for having me here. >> rose: what is wrong with capitalism? i thought we liked capitalism. >> well, probably at one point it wasn't a bad idea.
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you know, open up a store, sell shoes. >> rose: exactly. >> i need shoes, you need shoes. i'm to the going to make the shoes. somebody's got to make them. >> rose: if they make profits's a good idea. sounds like a good system. >> make a little bit then what you do is make the shoe store better or the shoes a little better. and you create jobs, which then those people are able to take their money and buy shoes. >> rose: exactly. >> which creates more jobs. and that is the way it used to roll. but. >> rose: that is what henry ford hoped would happen. everybody would be able to open make enough money on the assembly line and buy a ford. >> that is what happened. once the workers at ford, gm, other places organized into unions and started negotiating, sometimes going on strike, they got wages that were, that put them into a new class called the middle class that didn't exist before. and that's gone. that's really gone, so to a very large extent. the middle class has been decimated. people do not live their lives assured that they will have a job next year, that
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ey are goi to have the money to send their kids to college. whether they will be able ever to pay off the mortgage. that's not thway it was with my dad. i'm sure it wasn't the way with yours either. you know,. >> my father came out of the great depression so he was -- >> right, as did mine. and he was -- and he bought his first house after he got out of the marines it in world war ii. >> rose: same. >> came home, and by the time i was in kindergarten it was paid off. >> my father would never buy anything except cash. he was so scared of the implications of credit. >> right. >> rose: at that time. >> yes. that was a bad thing. >> rose: exactly. >> it was really, and it was something, especially coming out of the depression, something you really wanted to avoid at all costs. having done that, though, they were able to raise their families, to send their kids to school. my dad had a new chevy every three years. and that was all, he didn't have a college education, it was all from his labor, all from his sweat. and in the old days, capitalism, was about you
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made your money either from your labor or from your ideas, or from the next great invention that you happened to come up with. and you were rewarded for that. in the last 20 years it's been about making money off money. not about making things. it's about how can i move this money around, take bets on the money, take bets on the bets. i don't think this is anything reay radical that i am saying here. and in fact, when people say to me well, if you don't like capitalively, at least the version of capitalism that we have now, what do you propose. and my answer is, is that i -- i'm not suggesting we have to come up with something brand-new. actually, if we just applied some of the old principles that we used to have, democratic values. in other words, where the people have some say in how the economy is run. not just the wealthiest 1 percent that now has more financial worth than the bottom 95% combined. i mean this is a crazy system where the one percent have more than the 95%.
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i mean that is -- to me in a democracy, in a free society, in a society that says it believes in free enterprise and a free market and all that, it certainly has benefitted just a very few people. when you do that, it is called a pyramid scheme because only a few people can city on top of their job is to convince everybody else to work really hard because maybe you too can be up there on the pyramid with me some day but of course we all know that is to the going happen. >> and that disparity between the two has grown over the last say ten years. >> yeah, all the statistics show that that gap has widened. that the middle class has been squeezed. i mean right now, charlie, there is a foreclosure filing in this country once every seven and a half seconds. one out of every eight homes in this country is in either delinquency or foreclosure. this is an epidemic. >> rose: two things you said. number one you call this capitalism a love story. what is the love story. >> what is the love part, huh? and why do we have the r rating. (laughter) >> rose: that's right. >> yeah. it's not wall street bankers making love to their piles of money.
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but it is a version of that. the love part is that the wealthy, the wealthy, charlie, they love their money. >> rose: well, yes. >> but the twist here is that they now, they don't just love their money. they love our money too. they want everybody's money. and they have created a system where for 20, 30 years now, workers, average every day working people have had to cut back on their wages. cut back on their benefits, cut back on their days off, cutbacks all at a time where during this period the dow jones has gone up and up and up. where the wealthy have become much more wealthy. and everybody else is having to work, you know, if they are working, for longer hours for less pay. >> rose: all right. you also said that this is, that capitalism has become essentially what you are saying, a legalized system of greed. >> yeah. >> rose: legal to be greedy. >> yeah. >> rose: but greedy was never a legal concept anyway, was it. greed -- >> greed is part of human nature. >> rose: a moral question. >> it has always been with us, long before capitalism, long before the united states of america there was
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greed. >> rose: it was never illegal so you didn't have to legalize it, it was always there. >> but we -- i think we decided a long time ago as a society, realizing the dark sides of our human nature, greed, violence, you know, other things, that we set up certain structures, certain restrictions on ourselves so that we behave. capitalism is not a restriction on greed. capitalism actually encourages it. courages you to think about me, myself and i. what can i do to get ahead. let's look at the bottom line an let's never ask the question, is this good for the people. is this for the common good? if that question were asked more often, if we would actually behave as the judao-christian nation we like to think of ourselves as, these values that we purport to have, i got to believe that we wouldn't allow a lot of what has happened to take place. >> rose: i do think this, i mean my father had a small business in a small town. that there are millions and millions of people who engage in the capitalistic enterprise, you know, who are not operating on some
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idea of greed. >> no. >> rose: an are you not saying that, you are talking about people who are at the top of the financial system,. >> top of the pyramid, the ponzi scheme, the big ponzi scheme that we call our economic system now. bernie madoff was like a great poster boy, and a distraction, really, for you know, let's focus all our anger on him when as far as i'm concerned, this whole system is set up to make sure that the people at the very, very top get away like bandits. there a story in the new york times this week, front page of the times, a story, the beauty, the simons beauty rest mattress company. >> rose: a an an amazing story. >> this is where you trace the roots of wall street and tangle with the -- back to the relationship between president reagan and don regularen who was his secretary of the treasury. and later his chief of staff. >> see that guy standing next to the president? you know, the one that looks like a butler? his name was don regen, the chairman of merrill lynch.
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the richest and biggest retail brokerage firm in the world. he took the key position of treasury secretary so he could enact the tax cuts that the rich wanted. regen then became white house chief of staff as the president started to fade. >> then they should give the president what 43 governors have, a line-item veto. and -- (applause) >> who tells the president to speed it up, the man from merrill lynch, that's who. things that america would never be the same again. the country would now be run like a corporation. >> we're going to turn the bull loose. (cheers and applause) >> rose: so your point here is about don regen. >> in this case with ronald reagan, i think that he, again, when they come in and they say they are going to be the ceo president, they are going to delegate this stuff. they mean it.
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and reagan came in and delegated to don regen and others who then set about, essentially destroying our union workforce in this country, the wages that people were being paid. you know wages, since that time, the workers wages, real wages have essentially remained stagnant. it's gone up like 1%. but productivity since reagan has gone up 45%. so basically what they did was they got rid of workers. and then with the remaining workers at say a car factory they had them try to do the same amount of work that say two people on the line used to do, now one person will do both jobs. and of course the company can save money. >> right. >> because they don't have to pay the second employee. >> rose: let me understand the theory about don regen, so he in a sense had been former ceo of merrill lynch. your point is that he came there not out of personal ambition, to serve the country, he had been a former marine and all of that. he came there because -- >> because he was doing what wall street wanted. they wanted, they wanted to turn things around, they wanted, first of all they wanted their own tax cut.
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because at that point they were paying the top marginal rates for the superwealthy were up to 70% at that point. they wanted those cut in half and they got them cut in half. right down to 35%. first 39% and then 35%. so that is the first thing they wanted. the second thing they wanted was they wanted to bust unions. they started by making a good and strong --. >> rose: even though the president was a former union --. >> he long ago turned his back on the democratic politics that he believed in, the union that he was the president of. he was no longer that individual. and so-and-so workers have not had it very good for the last 30 years, ever since -- and i show in the movie, all the different statistics since, when reagan r from reagan's time on how it has gotten worse for working families, and a hell of a lot better for people with money. >> and this carried through the clinton administration. >> absolutely. >> rose: the clinton administration didn't do anything to stop the trend. >> no. >> rose: is that an indictment. >> they actually cut the taxes back. well, i think, i wrote in my
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first book that clinton was the best republican president we've ever had. better than lincoln. i mean there are a lot of things of clinton i really liked. i feel the guy got a bad shake for a lot of the time that he was there in office. but sadly, he, he probably figured because you know he never got a majority of the votes with ross perot, when he won. i mean clinton got 38% of the total vote. because perot got 19%. so he couldn't really govern with the vast majority that obama has right now. so i think he probably had to play it. >> rose: that was '92, then in '94. >> the revolution came too congress. >> congress, so by '96 he's like okay, i'm to the going to stay here if i don't play ball. and so he, he does more, really what the republicans want to see happen then people on the other side. >> rose: the era of big government is over. >> yeah, and which is basically he was trying to put a stake through the heart of franklin roosevelt. and if it wasn't for
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roosevelt, we wouldn't have the great country that we have right now. >> rose: the reason your movies do well at the box office is because you have a very interesting way of telling a story. so let's take a look at this clip. >> the scam to swindle people out of the homes they already owned was masterful. here is how it worked. first tell these homeowners that they own a bank. and that bank is your home. so if your home is worth $250,000, that makes you a quarter millionaire. you're sit on a gold mine. you own your own bank. the bank of you. and you could use your bank to get more money. just refinance. everyone's doing it. of course, hidden are hundreds of pages of fine print are tricky clauses that allow the bank to raise your interest rate to a number you didn't know about, perhaps so high that you won't be able to repay your loan. but that's okay, if you can't repay it, we'll just
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take your house. >> you were saying during the break you don't have no stock, no. >> i don't own a share of stock. >> rose: but you have made a lot of money. >> i have done well, yes, for a documentary filmmaker. >> rose: your movie made $2340 million. >> well, that didn't go to me -- $240 million. >> trust me. >> rose: i thought you got 200 million. >> no the auditors are currently looking for where the money went. but --. >> rose: you have made a lot. are you the most successful documentary film maker in the history of fill testimony. >> thank you, what do i win. >> rose: i don't know, i assume you won a trip to the bank. >> yes, i have been able to send my daughter to college and i have been able to live in a nice home in michigan. and you know, all those --. >> rose: you still live in flint. >> north of -- northern michigan. no, i have been very fortunate, with all that. but i,ou know, i'm very conservative i guess when it comes to -- i don't believe in casinos and you know, the stock market to me is a casino. i don't know why you would put your money, especially
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your retirement funds in something that could just vaporize. it just never made any sense to me. so you know, i try to live conservatively like that. >> rose: at the end of the film you make the challenge that unless people actually mobilize and do something to affect change you will stop making films. >> i will stop making documentaries, absolutely, yeah, yeah. >> rose: unless people mobilize for change well what is the change they have to mobilize for to keep you from stopping -- >> well, listen, i have been doing this for 20 years. i feel like i'm beating my head against the wall. 20 years ago i tried to warn people about general motors. >> rose: that is when we met. >> that's right. and a lot of good that did us. because nothing really changed. and now we have a bankrupt general motors. >> rose: so what do you think about the rescue of general motors. >> well, i -- i didn't like the initial bailout money going to the same people that caused the problem that was just, the first set of money they got went right down the rat hole. i think, i love the fact that president obama is the
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de facto chairman of the board now. and that he fired the ceo. that was -- that was good. and i think that president obama has a good vision. >> rose: you would have been in favor at the end trying to do something to rescue general motors because of the jobs that would be lost and people who -- >> yes. >> rose: would be worse off if they were not. >> to rescue the industrial infrastructure of this country which should be seen as a national security issue. if we allow our factories to just go the way of the dinosaurs here, we're going to need those factories some day. we're going to need them to build new transportation, to build alternative energy. and if we destroy that workforce, i mean that is -- that is such a bad idea for the country. so i favor anything we can do to help that. because those people actually make things. >> rose: now suppose that includes what goes under the rubric of protectionism, are you in favor of that or against that. >> protectionism. >> rose: tariffs and things that you do in order to protect your own industries. >> well, first of all. >> rose: as other countries do. >> there is no such thing as an american car because they
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are filled with foreign parts and in fact, there are some toyotas and hondas that are more american, built here than an amerin car. >> rose: because they get tax breaks in certain states to locate in those states. >> what i would have done 20 or 30 years ago is i would have pushed pore legislation that prohibited companies like general motors from closing factories in cities like flint, and moving them to mexico. and throwing all these people out of work here, which caused a huge burden on our society, not -- i mean not alone just what it did to the actual people themselves and their families and the destructive force that it created. general motors has a right to go build factories in mexico about build factorys there for mexicans and pay mexicans wages so they can afford to buy the cars. that is not what they did. they went there and they build cars or parts or whatever to be shipped back here. so they -- and this never made any sense to me. never, i don't understand. it's like, i mean i only had a semester of economics in high school but there are really basic things that if you throw the autoworkers
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out of wk, who is going to buy your cars? >> right. >> who is going to buy the cars. >> back to henry ford. >> it made no sense. and of course that is exactly what happened, by killing the middlelass, they didn't have the people to buy the cars. and they were never really forced to build the kind of cars people wanted. and so therefore, now we're in the situation we are in with general motors. >> you say we need a democratic economic system. >> right. >> rose: draw me a picture of a democratic economic system. >> an economic system that controlled by the people. it's controlled by the people who we elect to represent us. right now you and i and most of the people watching the show have very little say as to how this economy is run. the decisions that get made. that has to be vested much more in our hands and in our representative's hands than in the hands of wall street, the way it is now. wall street, the investment bank, banques -- bankers, the fed, et cetera. this is not, if we say, i can't, you know, i can't call this a democracy if it is just -- i get to vote every two to four years, it is a democracy.
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but yet it is not a democracy in the economyment our workplace is not a democracy. what parts of our lives do we really have democracyother ty couple years where i get to go behind a curtain and plunk down for everybody. i mean i want real, true democracy in this country. and i want it in all facets of our lives. i want us to have a say. that's so basic, and it so american. it's so, it's like the patriotic thing to do would be to support democracy in our economy, support democracy in the workplace. i mean the people that work, you know, i have been thinking about this. because my own business, i have a business, obviously because i'm making movies. and i've been thinking jeez, you know, maybe i should set the business up so that the people who work at the business actually have a say in this. and share the profits if there are any of this business. >> rose: you strongly supported president obama. >> yes. >> rose: correct? >> absolutely, yes. >> rose: and president obama selected larry summers and tim quitener. >> right. >> rose: and elizabeth
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warren is now working to rover oversee on the part of congress, to oversee the tarp money. >> yes, right, correct. >> rose: so what is the disconnect here, do you know something barack obama doesn't know, as smart as you have given him credit for. >> he doesn't consult me every morning like he does larry summers. >> rose: i'm serious, you know. because -- >> i think, well, i mean my first --. >> rose: is there a contradiction here that you believe -- >> there could be a contradiction. it's on the surface it doesn't look good. and as soon as i heard that he had hired them i thought, well, you know, the large banks, they hire bank robbers to help advise them how to prevent stealing the money. >> yes. >> rose: so who better bring in than the guys -- >>. >> rose: you didn't think this. >> than the guys clean who made the mess. that probably wasn't it, it was. >> rose: no, it wasn't that. >> yeah. well, you know, let's just say the jury is out right now. the jury is about ready to come back in. i -- somebody asked me the
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other day how long are you going to give obama. i said well until the beginning of the nba season. >> rose: so you have questions about the choices he made. >> yeah, of course i'm concerned about this. i'm sure he came in there. he, look, he inherited this incredible mess. i mean a catastrophe that he didn't greet. and -- create, and now he's got to fix it really quick. and he was probably just like the rest of us, who a year ago could define credit default swap. >> rose: but exactly. >> you know. i mean --. >> rose: define credit default swaps for us while you are here. >> let me tell you an interesting story that i have not shared publicly. because i couldn't get him to company and be on the film. but i ran into a former member of the fed, of the board. >> rose: right. >> and he tells me this story that the day that they -- they had a guy come in one day toxplain credit default swaps to the fed board. >> rose: right. >> and he is sitting there, and he says i'm sitting there and i don't understand a damn word. >> rose: the time it will alan greenspan ask chairman.
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>> yes. >> rose: or bernanke. >> no, greenspan is chairman. >> rose: okay. >> okay. and he is -- he's on, you know, there is nine fed boards around the country in the different regions, philadelphia, san francisco, et cetera. so he is one of these nine, one of nine fed boards. and he said i sat there and i was afraid to like ask any questions. i couldn't understand a damn word the guy was saying. >> rose: this is a member of the fed board. >> yes, so after the crash last september, a year ago september, he called up one of his old buddies on the board with him and said maybe that day the guy came in to define credit default swaps, i didn't understand what he was saying, did you understand. he said no i didn't understand either. he said i wonder, they asked a couple others. nobody in the room knew what the guy was saying. these are the guys on the --. >> rose: i agree with that. that is an interesting point. because i think -- i think that happened at a lot of boards of directors of financial companies too. >> right. >> rose: here is the question. is it the economic system that needs to be fixed or the political system? >> well, that's a good question. >> rose: at long last. >> yeah.
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i mean it's a bit of both. i don't know if the so-called economic system can be fixed at this point. they say we just need to put some regulations on it, charlie and we'll get it back to normal. well, you know what, it's been over a year since the crash. how many regulations has congressed passed? zero. they are not going to pass any regulations. the banking lobby, they have poured so many millions of dollars to stop any of this, and now what are they doing now, they are off doing new derivatives on life insurance policies. they have concocted, they will not stop, this is like a hungry beast. >> rose: securitization continues. >> absolutely. and it will continue. and there will be more crashes. there is other shoes we have he been waiting for them to drop. the credit-card debt that is out of control. the commercial real estate bule that, that's going to crash. all these things are going to happen. who is in charge. what is going on. i just see these guys making more money, more bonuses. and nobody seems to be minding the shop. >> rose: nobody in government or -- >> nobody in government.
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wall street is to the going mind, are you asking the folks to mind their own henhouse, that's not going to happen. >> rose: don't put fox's in charge of the chicken coop. >> but that is essentially what i feel we have when you have the rubens and summers and these guys still around. >> rose: will we see a revolution in the country? >> it doesn't have some of to whether i want to see t it's happening. >> rose: okay, fair enough. >> i think it is happening. i think that there are -- i think there is something boiling beneath the surface out there. there is an anger. you can't throw that many people out of their homes. you can't have --. >> rose: i don't know how you measure it but there is clearly a sense of -- that the system doesn't work for me. >> yeah, and traveling the country and making this film and listening to people, well, you started to see it a little bit this summer at the town hall meetings, and you know these tea bag things, you know, the right is doing a very good job of trying to harness that anger, and take it in their direction. the left, the other side of the political fence needs to offer a hand out to these
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people who are suffering. if we don't, if we don't have any answers, if we, we just look like you know, meet the new boss, same as the old boss, they are going to be just disaant poed and probably more so in president obama and this democratic congress because there is so much expectation and hope right now that they are going to turn things around. and if president oa, if he goes back on any of that. if he just does the same thing that the others have done, i will hate to see that happen. because so many young people got behind us. so many young people have, for this last year or so, have been filled with this sense of hope and urgency that we're going to have a new day in america. and if he -- if that doesn't happen f he lets that dissipate, if those, if their wishes and dreams get darbd like that, and turn them into cynics instead of hopeful citizens, he will have done more damage than anything else he's doing
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right now. because if they -- the last thing i want to see is somebody who is 2 years old go what's the use. they are all politicians. i am not getting involved any more in that. that would be devastating for our democracy. and i am begging president obama to not let that happen. >> rose: i'm with you on that. capitalism, a love story is in theatres now. my friend michael moore, always good to have him here. thank you. >> thank you very much, thank you. >> rose: thank you for watching. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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