tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg May 3, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: david mccullough is here. he is one of this country's best-known historians. he has won two pulitzer prizes and a presidential medal of freedom. his new book is a collection of speeches. it is called "the american spirit: who we are and what we stand for." i am pleased to have david back at the table. welcome. david: thank you, charlie. glad to be back. charlie: before we talk about the book, you have been outspoken about president trump. david: i have. along with great many other historians. that was last summer.
charlie: i think you and ken burns formed a group. david: yes, we did. we were all saying pretty much the same thing. it was a concern for the country. values and about truvior, and belief in the th. charlie: right. david: belief in tolerance, believe in kindness and empathy and not -- charlie: these are all things you think should be presidential qualities? david: yes, i do. and i think that a certain confidence is essential, and you don't base your campaign or your attacks on your opponents unkindear and smear and
actions and words. what disturbedt all of us who did that, made that effort, the historians and ofgraphers, is that a sense history and understanding of history is essential in leadership, leadership of all kinds. and that our most effective, most conscientious presidents, not always the most talented, or eloquent, have been students of history. charlie: including those who had not been university presidents. david: harry truman. charlie: harry truman, the one that you know well. david: he never went to college, but he never stopped reading history. he said the only new thing in the world is the history you don't know. and now, with our 45th president, we have a leader who
doesn't know much of anything in the way of history, and who has said so. charlie: he said he does not read biographies. david: he dismisses biographies books, reading, and history. let my feelings about the importance of history, as you said, go back several decades. that is what this book is a collection of. i think we must encourage, stimulate, and bring history theeh its importance in whole system of education. charlie: a couple of things. werehower said the there four key qualities to measure a leader by. character, ability, responsibility, and experience. david: and dwight eisenhower wrote one of the very best books ever written about the second world war. charlie: let's talk about that. i don't have any reason to be
able to contradict that, but i am surprised. david: no, he did. charlie: was it better than what winston turned chill wrote? david: it was "crusade in europe." it is from the military point of view. you can't compare anybody to churchill. charlie: but you said it's one of the best books ever written about world war ii. david: it is superb. he wrote it. i only knew this because i knew his editor. he wrote every word of that book. kennedy, of course, was a great student of history. on the mantelpiece in the state dining room in the white house, there is a quotation that was first carved into the mantelpiece by franklin roosevelt from a letter that john adams wrote to his wife, abigail, the first night john adams stayed in the white house. he was the first president to spend the night there. roosevelt thought it was so important to be there forever.
when the white house had to be built during truman's presidency, truman made sure went back on the mantelpiece. when kennedy was president, he had it carved into the marble part of the mantelpiece, rather than the wood, where it was prior to that. what adams wrote to abigail was, "may none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof." what i love about it is he puts honest first. that is strength of character, that is what matters in the job. strength of character and confidence that the american spirit is enduring, and the american spirit -- charlie: which is the title of the book. david: yes.
i have spent a lot of time with john adams and harry truman, and theodore roosevelt, and i feel, often, that lots of other biographers, historians, have expressed the same thought. you get to know these people in many ways better than you know people in real life. because for one thing -- charlie: you read their letters. david: exactly. [laughter] david: and the letters are so revealing and they are so often touching and eloquent and the relationship between bess and harry truman, has found in t hose letters, the relationship between abigail and john adams is found in those letters. there are over 1000 letters between abigail adams and john adams. and neither of them was capable of writing a boring letter, or a short one. and you are reminded that
history is human. history is not about memorizing dates and statistics and quotations. it's about human beings. that's why it is so important. jefferson said, any nation that expects to be ignorant and free expects what never was and never can be. of course, he said, "when in the and thef human events," operative word there is human, that "none of the people who occupy our highest office has ever been perfect." charlie: remind me, jefferson did not write books. david: no. charlie: did he write letters? charlie: -- david: yes, indeed. charlie: as many as adams? david: no. the main thing with jefferson was he destroyed every letter he ever wrote to his wife, or that
she ripped him. he would write to friends of theirs and say, if you have any correspondence from my wife, please return it to me, because i would like to have it, and then he destroyed it. charlie: why did he do that? david: nobody really knows. charlie: why do you think? david: i think he felt his private life must remain private. charlie: why didn't you write about jefferson and washington? david: i like to read about people who i feel deserve more attention and credit. i like to bring them front and center stage. i like to write about the wives of these people. i like to write about people you've never heard of. because, why should they remain in the shadows, or the wings, as it were? the other -- i'm drawn to people who set out to accomplish something worthy, noble even, that they knew would be difficult and which turned out to be even more difficult than anyone imagined, and they succeeded. and i have written about
washington. "1776" is about washington. charlie: but not a full biography. was washington the greatest man of the founding fathers? david: yes. no question. charlie: in every way? david: no, if you are tabulating i.q. or ability. charlie: i am just thinking about those qualities that made the revolution. character, ability, responsibility, experience. david: yes, all there. you should always remember he was the leader of our country for 16 years, not eight years because he was the commander in chief all through war when we had no president, and then he became president. he was at the helm. he was in charge for 16 years. he was setting examples of behavior of courage, of perseverance. perseverance can accomplish all kinds of things. spirit and perseverance is what
he says in the quote that are used for the start of this book. charlie: i know you have been asked this a million times. what about alexander hamilton? david: alexander hamilton is a subject iran into when writing about adams, when writing about jefferson, to a degree, and washington. and i know that he is very much in vogue right now and i have not seen the show. charlie: why not? david: i guess because i have been too busy. yes, i have. and i will probably see it someday. i am not against it. anything that will get him into the tent, i'm all for. points thatof the needs to be made more of is, we are living in a time right now where there are absolutely wonderful historians and biographers writing wonderful
books. never in my lifetime have there been so many good writers, good historians, working hard as hell to produce marvelous books. charlie: so, what is your judgment on hamilton? i mean, great man? one of the most brilliant men of the -- david: yes, all of that. brilliant, great. numerous human flaws. charlie: mainly women or other than that? don't think he had to go the way he went. charlie: meeting he should not have done that duel? david: yeah, he did not have to do that. i did not like the way he treated adams. charlie: that's what it is. [laughter] david: that i do know something about. hamilton is an vogue right now. and fine. fine. we can never know enough about that founding era.
not just because it is the it istionary war, because the american revolution, which is still going on. the political revolution. benjamin rush said it will keep going on forever. we are still working on it. that's our advantage. we are constantly trying to make life better, our system better. and we have had good people who are willing to give every effort. imagine john kennedy saying, we will go to the moon and we did. and we did. and kennedy almost never talked about himself. i, um -- it is really interesting. there is a lot to be learned from each of these people. and i also feel very strongly, as i try to stress in this book, it is not just the presidency that matters. it is congress. we have had very great people in congress. congress has accomplished many orthy achievements we should
never take for granted. charlie: you actually make that point well. that we sort of tend to have congress in contempt because -- president of obama said to me. hasid, do you think america the strongest military, the best technology, the strongest financial system, the best rule of law? so, what could go wrong? he said to me, our politics. i said, what do you mean? he said, we have gridlock in washington with congress, as within the congress. one of the factions within the parties. david: one of the clearest lessons of history is that very little of consequence is ever a compass loan. it is a joint effort. as soon as congress recovers from this spasm of not working together to accomplish essential objectives -- charlie: common ground. david: exactly.
you have to work across the aisle. you have to accept that the other individual can have a very different opinion without you attacking him or her in unfair and unkind ways. you just can't do that. because you are going to need that somebody on some other project or some other mission later on. i think that what ted kennedy's that was a serious blow to kind of cross the aisle camaraderie and working together in the congress. charlie: he worked with the bush administration on education. david: he is constantly working with other people from the other party. charlie: and ted wrote him a note, which kennedy had on his office in the wall that said, if only they knew how hard you worked. david: that's right. ♪
charlie: you write about politics and not about -- you wrote about the brooklyn bridge. that was your first book. david: i wrote about the americans went to paris. i don't think politics and the military should be seen as the whole of history. charlie: ok, that's my point. david: much of what history is really made up of includes neither.
they could be art, poetry, music that will last the longest by far. we have to include that because it is part of being human. charlie: what is the responsibility of government when it comes to culture and science and supporting those very important sectors? david: it is very important that the government supports this. absolutely. and pbs and the humanities, the arts, science, absolutely. if anything, there should be more. i'm all for it. i have worked hard to keep those institutions going. i believe in them fervently. somethinget me -- as i know about you and i want to say it because if it's with the conversation -- because it fits ish the conversation, there a great book to be written about gerald ford. because we don't really know, do we? david: no. truman said you have to wait 50 years for the dust to settle. it was very wise.
these presidents look different after a while. wait,u -- historians -- of course, this is my own personal feeling and marvelous books have been written, as you know, about leading political figures within the 50 year lineup. , if you're working in this field, there is always something new to discover. i have never embarked on a project where i did not find something nobody knew about. that is the wonder of it, the excitement of it. charlie: you always find something new. david: always. and sometimes they can be big and exciting. that is why i think how we teach history is -- ought to be more in the spirit of the lab technique. you don't just tell the student all about what happened, and who
did it and why and what it cost, and so forth. you give them the project to work on, where they are doing the digging, and figuring out the story. i have done that when i taught at universities, and it works. theve you a photograph, tuskegeeng class, tesc university, 1912. it is up to you to write a paper on that photograph. i show you, young charlie rose, you are going to be the leading expert in the country on the graduating class of tuskegee university of 1912. it happens. they did it. the sinking of an american oil tanker off the coast of florida by german submarines in 1942, a terrific subject. they get into it and really care about it.
i had a fellow, i gave him a picture of sergeant york, the famous hero of world war i. him, he wasasked becauseuddled about it he had never heard of this man. i said, how much do you know about world war i? he said, "i know nothing about world war i. another had to have been a world war i because there is a world war ii. [laughter] david: he got to work and wrote a superb paper on sergeant york. and about 10 to 20 years later i ran into him on the street in new york. he said he was in my class at cornell and i asked what paper he got and he said, i got sergeant york. i said i remember your paper. it was superb. it could have been published. he said, i want you to know that
world war i has been my hobby ever since. charlie: one thing can stimulate a lifelong curiosity. david: absolutely. charlie: i think it was you who said nothing ever happened the way it happened. david: well, nothing ever happened -- nothing ever had to happen the way it happened. charlie: right. david: so often it seems it was always on track. it was never on track. and none of our predecessors ever knew how it was going to turn out, anymore than we do. there is no such thing as a self-made man or self-made woman. never was, never will be. charlie: because there is always circumstances and timing. david: and influence and help. and your rival or enemy can be the spur that makes you do what you do. charlie: i am all over the place. john adams, did he have a lot of people who did not really like him and was it because of his personality? david: i suppose so. but he was very well-liked.
that is a misnomer. people found him irritable because he spoke the truth all the time. it could be painful for people. in summaryadmirable ways. he was the one who said washington should be in command. he's the one who said jefferson should write the declaration of independence. he's the only founding father who became president who never owned a slave as a matter of principle. the next president to come along who never owned a slave as a matter of principle was his son. because abigail was adamant on the subject. we can never fully understand the influence of the women who are part of the story from the beginning. there is a whole field that needs more exultation. charlie: you said the best presidents were historians. woodrow wilson was a historian. was he one of the best?
david: was he a best president? he's one of the top presidents, no question. was he perfect, by no means. charlie: nobody is perfect. but was he in the top 10, wilson? david: i never ranked presidents, but yes, i would say he was. certainly, washington was a great reader of history. so was obviously, adams and jefferson. and theodore roosevelt began a quite good naval history of the war of 1812 when he was a student at harvard. and of course, franklin roosevelt was a reader of history. eisenhower was a great reader of history. truman, as we said. kennedy. barack obama, great reader of history. barack obama recently, in fact, on monday, i said, i happened to meet with him for a future project. i said to him, how is the memoir coming? he said, i have already written two chapters.
i said, what? that's amazing. he said, when i was out in tahiti, i started writing immediately. it is not a history, but a memoir. david: it will be an important book. charlie: because of his unique insight and capacity with words. david: absolutely. very talented writer. and a gentleman. charlie: interesting, that. was goingohn meacham to call the book "the last gentleman," and his publisher wanted something else. david: i have known seven of the presidents. i have either interviewed them or spent time with them, nothing like with what you have, but the one that i know the best is bush senior. charlie: right, 41. david: and i knew him well before he got into politics. he's a wonderful human being. charlie: that's what comes out. david: it really is. charlie: the sense of dignity
and integrity, and patriotism. here's a man, who at 18 years old, just out of the equivalent of high school, accepted at yale. he does not go to yale. he goes to enlist in the navy and is the young pilot in the navy. and then he is shot down and will forever live with the fact that two of his people on the plane with him never were found. a tragedy. david: it is remarkable. charlie: in fact, president obama called him the most underrated president of recent times. david: i don't know about that. charlie: it was more underrated? david: i don't want to pass judgment this recently. i think that those that serve the country before they became president, and particularly they went through that hard time, as did kennedy and harry truman, as theodore roosevelt -- charlie: during world war i.
david: world war i, they really saw some of the toughest battlefield experience of the war. harry truman did. way.were hardened in a they also learned about leadership. thelie: tell me about -- speeches that are in here. you have got john adams here. you have, writing to my dearest friend. david: that was the letter. charlie: it is so great to see you. also, by david mccullough, "the brothers," "morning on horseback," which is roosevelt, and "the great bridge." what -- i don't know how to ask
this. it is dedicated to your grandchildren, it looks like you have 15 of them. what speech in here best reflects your sense of the american spirit? is there one? one or two? -- i: i suppose the speech was invited to make a speech before a joint session of congress. that was a very high honor because civilians, citizens, are not often asked to do that. i would say that one is high up there. the speech i gave at athens, ohio, ohio university is the one i put a lot of thought into. passageead you just one -- charlie: that would be great. that: one passage from that i felt very much summed up my feelings.
this was a commencement speech. whenever i have been asked to deliver a commencement speech, i felt obliged, honorbound, to really make an effort to say something of consequence and to work hard at preparing it. them with some convictions of mine that i r eally feel strongly about. i say, when bad news is riding assioned,despair emp when loudmouths and corruption seem to own center stage, when some keep crying the country is going to the dogs, remember it has always been going to the dogs in the eyes of some. 90% or more of the people are good people, generous hearted, law-abiding, good citizens, who get to work on time, do a good job, love their country, pay their taxes, care about their
neighbors, care about their children's education, and believe rightly, as you do, and the ideals upon which our life is founded. i said, see the and i said, "see the world. take up painting or pno. -- piano. go climb a mountain and whenever you check out of a hotel or motel, be sure you tip the maid." charley: well said. i went to a service for david rockefeller, who was kind of an expert on collecting beetles. you mentioned insects. david: there was a wonderful book that just blew me out of my chair, i liked it so much. charlie: do you consider yourself a man of massachusetts? david: i'm a man of pennsylvania, massachusetts, connecticut. i live in massachusetts, but i grew up in pittsburgh.
which had a great influence on me. it was a city of history. there was a lot of history talked about, and it was during the second world war when i was in grade school. we were very much involved in spirit and attitude in the reality of war. we in pittsburgh were helping to win the war. we were the arsenal of democracy and so forth and so on. the conversations at the dinner table were about so much that happened in pittsburgh -- fires and floods and strikes, things like that. and the history of our own family. i think what your parents and grandparents talk about has great influence on one's interest in history. i think the best thing that parents can do for their children or grandchildren, to encourage an interest in history, is to take them to historic sites.
take them to washington. take them to williamsburg. take them to the historic site within your own neck of the woods. take them to the famous battlefields. take them to the new american revolution that just opened in philadelphia. absolutely phenomenal, and there's never been a great museum about the american revolution until now. charlie: two things before i close here -- where do you put the presidential medal of freedom among the honors that have come to david mccullough? david: you mean in what cabinet? charlie: you know what i mean. david: i consider it the highest honor i have received. if i have to tell you what means most to me, it is that none of my books have ever been out of print in 50 years. charlie: people are still reading them.
great to have you. david: thank you, charlie. i consider it a privilege to be your guests. charlie: thank you. book is called "the american spirit: who we are and what we stand for" and it is a collection of speeches. to know david mccullough is to know that when he writes a speech, he thinks about it because he has something he wants to say. back in a moment. stay with us. ♪
charlie: syria's civil war is considered the greatest political and humanitarian prices of the 21st century. how are journalists collecting the news and video feeds? what are the risks to syrian journalists? how can people in the west support their work? how do women's voices play into this tragic narrative? joining me are three syrian women who have been directly involved in the effort to distribute news about the war. she was listed among the 100 most powerful arab women in
2016. i am pleased to have them all here. tell me exactly about aleppo, being on the front lines. >> i was in aleppo before the siege, so i have not seen the worst. charlie: you were not there during the siege? where were you during the siege? >> i was in turkey then. charlie: you were not i was one of the lucky ones who happened to be outside of the city when it was under the siege. even before the siege, daily life was suffering. some basic issues that are not newsworthy for any journalist -- it would occupy your whole life, like someone who was killed by shrapnel in the street is not newsworthy, but for you, it might be the friend you have spent the last 2, 3 months with, be the source you have
been dealing with the past year. this issue of sources and keeping distance with the source is pretty striking for me. be te been dealing with the past year. because i was pretty much inside the story and i was afraid that i might be the story one day. i might be the breaking news might be that i was killed in an airstrike, and that might not make it to international media. charlie: how did you handle that? >> hardly, but i think syrians found a way to adapt with what is going on. somehow, you live moment by moment and you be the source yoe been dealing with the past year. this issue of sources and keeping distance with the source is pretty striking for me. it seems all these values of impartiality, keeping distance from the sources -- it's over ae killed at any moment, because this is life, but on the other hand, you start to live more because you feel this might be your last moment, so you let go. you do things you would not do if you were trying to strategically plan for the future. you love more. you have more friends, more powerful relationships, and you try to do your best. report as many as you can be read right -- as you can. write all the things that you
might not be able to do tomorrow because you might not be there. >> i was born in damascus, and i moved to the united states when i was 15 years old. initially, i worked for some civil rights organizations in chicago and minnesota. in 2013, post-conflict, i relocated to turkey and cofounded the civil society organization called the syrian forum. basically, it is a consortium on institutions that tries to serve the syrian conflict across the spectrum from media to strategic studies. training and development, humanitarian and job placement for refugees. i became an activist because i was concerned about the human rights violations that were happening in syria. we have a regime of 50 years old that was deeply rooted, and it was basically arbitrarily
killing civilians and detaining people who rose up and were calling for freedom and democracy, the very basic price of any developed country. and since then, i have been very involved. charlie: you are here for what reason? >> we are here because we want to talk to the public. we want to change that very typical perception that has been going on in the mainstream media, that the syrian conflict is either assad or isis. we want to tell the public that we exist. syrian civil society have emerged post-conflict, and they're are the ones considered to be the boots on the ground, delivering humanitarian aid. they are the ones doing peace building among communities. they are the ones who are fighting terrorism. women are on the front lines of fighting terrorism. they are combating child recruitment by violent extremist
groups, and we want to highlight in this conflict because this is the bottom-up approach where in the future, when the assad regime falls, syrian civil society will be responsible for the power vacuum. it will be responsible for the peace process. charlie: when do you think it will end? >> once the international society takes a serious role in holding assad accountable. charlie: how do you define a serious role? >> that brings us to the u.s. strikes that were recently launched. there are a lot of concerns that these strikes were a pr stunt for the government. however, this is the first time the regime is held accountable and want of the international community, ever since the chemical attack that happened in august 2013 and when the previous administration has drawn a red line saying, if you commit more atrocities or use chemical weapons, we will take
action, and no action was taken, which basically was kind of a green light to the assad regime and russia. the u.s. strikes were a message to deter assad and russia from committing more chemical attacks. this is what we were cheering for. we were not cheering for the intervention specifically, but we were basically supportive of this action because we want to basically deter assad and russia from committing these crimes as well as forcing them to come back to the negotiation table. >> i just have one point to add here. i think we were speaking about this earlier. it's pretty sad, but i would hold assad accountable specifically for pushing syrians toward the stage where we are actually cheering for another country bombing our land. in 2011, when there was a survey
about do actually support international intervention in syria, more than 80% said no, we are completely against any international intervention. 2011, when the uprising started. sadly now, all these syrians who voted no then would support the attack because assad pushed us to this level. i also want to add -- this is not the first strike on syria. u.s. strikes have been going on for the past three years. more than 4000 strikes have hit syrian lands, many of them have killed civilians on the side. isis fighters. last month, they killed 70 people mistakenly, and that was the only strike that happened this year where no civilian was killed. charlie: what does your organization do? >> our organization is mostly concerned with development and education. our model is based on community
centers. we set up community centers and -- in the most underprivileged communities in neighboring countries, and we are responsive to these communities and their needs. communities in neighboring countries, and we are responsiv, small grants. charlie: you are training people every day? >> yes. charlie: you live in georgia? -- jordan? >> yes. charlie: what do you want the united states to do? how can the united states do more to help the syrian people? >> it's a difficult question, but i think they have already been involved in the military phase of the problem or the conflict, but, sadly, they were only focusing on the consequences of but i think they have already been involved in the military 's existence in the last three years, which is isis. we all agree that isis is just a
result of assad being in power. he only exists because of the regime. - in 2012, when the uprising started to hold arms, assad released most of the leaders who are now leading isis and other extremist groups from prison. charlie: he wanted to a couple accomplish what? >> in 2011 when the demonstrations are pretty much peaceful, he started spreading the propaganda that we are fighting terrorists. at that time, we were laughing at that propaganda. all of those who hit the street s were either women university students and pretty much regular syrians just amending their basic rights, finishing emergency law. charlie: this was the wave of protests that came after the arab spring began? >> exactly. the way the regime started that propaganda and we were laughing at, it turned out to be true. it was planning toward this. the release of the extremists
from the assad prisons, and suddenly, they hold arms. shops,ot buy arms from unlike the u.s.. getting arms easily also happens for a reason. charlie: some would like to say the united states focus is on assad more than on isis. they say, as you have said, he is a recruiting tool for isis, correct? would you like to see the united states focus more on assad or simply focus on both at the same time? >> recently published research done by syrian groups show that 96% of the syrians who have been killed since the beginning of the uprising were killed by assad's forces, unlike with the international media is reporting. i think assad is killing more syrians and iraqis than any other foreigner. we are the ones who the community is saying, we are fighting isis because they are
terrorizing the world. isis is terrorizing us more than anyone else. despite that, assad is the one who has killed 96% of the syrians. for me, for most of the syrians who are inside, assad is the problem. he is the one who is massacring. charlie: would he be the primary focus you would like to see? our secretary of state said not long ago that our principal strategy now is to attack isis until we have simply run them out of iraq. - that is a wrong strategy as fr as you are concerned? >> i think they are still dealing with the symptoms and leaving the illness alone. as long as assad is still in power, maybe we will not have isis next year, but we will have another name, a different group which is functioning the same. terrorizing not only syrians that the world. -- but the world. charlie: if in fact the united states did support all of the free syrian forces and all the syrians who are opposed to a assad, is that enough with the support of the united states and other arab countries to overthrow assad? or not?
has he stabilized with russian support his own place so that it would be now, unlike 2011, very, very difficult to overthrow him or change the regime? >> if the only way for someone to have power over a city is to forcibly displace all of the residents of that area, how is that person in power? if the only way for this person to be in power is to bomb -- charlie: his own people. >> bomb his own people and destroy the infrastructure of his own country, how did you call this person in power? i don't care how many bombs come down from the sky. you have to have legitimacy with your own people. the legitimacy is gone.
the amount of blood that has the amount of blood that has been shed -- if i have to put in detention more than 200,000 of my own people in order to keep them quiet, if i have to drive out millions of people from my out millions of people from my country, most of the activist s that were inside the country will be detained. probably no one will ever see me again. even though i am not a politically outspoken person, i am not a political activist, i am someone who works in humanitarian aid. this is all i have done. the amount of blood that has been shed -- if i have to put in this is the biggest mistake i have done in the last six years, and yet, i have to pay the price. this is my land just like it is their land. it is my right to live in my land, to live in my city.
i cannot go back. my house was not destroyed, but i cannot go back to my house. taking away this basic right from me -- this is the great atrocity. charlie: how do you feel about the west's reaction to what is happening in syria? do you feel like you have been ignored? >> we've been doing this work for the past six years so far. i had a tour in the u.s. in 2015, and i have spoken to officials in the state department and all these entities that are involved in somewhat supporting local actors inside syria, and i really found myself saying exactly what i said a couple of years ago during this time of travel. the west -- i mean, i do not want to say that the west has turned its back on the syrians. they are trying to support
syrians in a way, but yet, they are not -- sanctions are not enough to pressure assad. charlie: what is necessary? there has to be much more pressure than this. the sanctions that are currently employed are not affecting the regime and its compatriots. charlie: what do you want to see? the united states, arab states, countries and other countries around the world do? >> what i want to see in the western media and international media is highlighting the syrian story through syrian eyes, not through the outside. seeing more syrians speak about syria. listening to syrians. we all heard about the u.s. strike, but we have not heard any syrians speaking about how the strike affected his life, what he felt about it, is he hopeful after it? we have heard very few voices.
charlie: what would they say? what would syrians say who have been affected by the strike? >> the families that i've spoken with, and some of them are from where the chemical strike happened, they were happy. they were hoping that the strike might put a line for assad, and he will be thinking twice before using chemical weapons, but chemical weapons is just one of the weapons being used against civilians. actually, barrel bombs usually killed more than 70 if they are in a crowded area. i would love someone to counter the russian propaganda. they are saying they are there in syria on the ground. fighting isis. the fact is and it was there in , aleppo when the strikes started, russia helped isis advanced in aleppo suburbs. because they were hitting mainly the moderate rebels who were
fighting isis on the ground. those rebels were under two strikes, one from the sky from isis -- charlie: were they hitting them because they were opposed to the assad regime? >> they were hitting them because they are moderate. russia was hitting the moderate rebels because they want to feed assad propaganda that he is only fighting terrorists, which are isis. they helped isis advance. we have all seen the story of palmyra. were isis was capturing, and then russia did the show that they captured it back. those rebels were fighting isis on the ground, and the rebels have paid the highest price ever, more than any other international force who are supposedly fighting isis, and despite that, they are the main targets. beside the hospitals, the schools and the markets. this has not been highlighted enough in the international media, and that, in a way, is giving russia the legitimacy of
fighting isis, which is something they are doing the opposite of. charlie: go ahead. to build on what she said, what we would ask the public or the united states to do is to empower local actors and organizations that are doing the work on the ground. charlie: empower them by financial support? >> on many levels. the demands are basically, before we even talk about negotiations and peace talks, we would demand the release of detainees, political prisoners who were detained early on just by calling out for freedom and democracy in the country. we want protection of civilians. we want safe zones for civilians before we even talk about any peace talks, and, of course, you ssad to be forced
to come back to the negotiation table in order for a cease-fire to really take place. >> and eventually, hold the war criminals accountable. this is the example we want to lead the new generation with. not like many of those who are criminals living freely in the u.s. and european countries without even being asked why they are here, while us, the syrians who are journalists and activists are being harassed at every single airport we land at because we are holding syrian passports. charlie: you are all brave to do what you do, but i would be remiss if i did not say there are many brave journalists from america and around the world, from around the world, who have come in around the world who come to syria to tell the story. >> i know you have met clarissa. i met her in syria. we met in the house of my friend when she was reporting early in 2012. my point, what is sad is that if i ask you to name two syrian journalists who have been
kidnapped by isis, you would not be able to do so, while if i ask you to name 10 foreign journalists who have been harassed by isis, you would be able to do that. the syrian victims in general are very much underreported because they are syrian, and i think this is very sad because they are the ones doing most of the jobs. they are the main source of information, and despite that, because they are syrian, they are very much being neglected. my friend, he has been kidnapped by isis for the last four years. sure, if he was applying for u.s. visa, he would not be granted, even though he suffered more than any dissent. charlie: thank you very much for coming. thank you for joining us. see you next time. ♪
alisa: i'm alisa parenti in washington. you are watching "bloomberg technology." let's start with a check of first word news. president trump reiterated the need for two willing parties and the push for a peace deal between the palestinians and israel. he spoke at the white house today after welcoming the palestinian president. the house passed a bill to fund the u.s. through september. it passed by a vote of 309-118. president trump does plan to sign the measure, even though it did not include a provision for a wall at the u.s. mexico border. testifying today about election related investigations, fbi director james comey says it would have been catastrophic to conceal the newly di