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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 25, 2009 8:00am-9:00am EST

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hour with a number of different u.s. service members here this christmas morning. we will be right back. >> c-span, christmas day, a look ahead to 2010 politics, including republican congressman eric cantor, an nbc's david gregory. buzz aldrin and fellow astronauts on the legacy of apollo 11. a discussion on the role of muslim americans in the world. later, a discussion on u.s. strategy against al qaeda in afghanistan. and starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern, remembering the lives of william f. buckley jr. and senator ted kennedy. >> in the mid-1990s, newsweek -- "newsweek" named omar not wasow one of the most interesting
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people to watch in what -- in cyberspace. sunday night, he talks about his current studies at harvard and what is ahead. that is on c-span's q&a. host: in just a moment we will return to afghanistan tuesday to a number of u.s. service members who are spending this christmas day in afghanistan. as you heard from general gary patton, it is about 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. there in afghanistan. we will get to our service members, marines, soldiers and sailors in just a bit. here is a commentary in the philadelphia inquirer. we're joined by a marine joined
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bylyle stiffarm. we appreciate you joining us this morning. tell us a bit about yourself, your machine, and how long you have been in afghanistan. guest: good morning to you, mary christmas. i am from foreground, montana. i am a native american. i have been in afghanistan for four and a half months. i have 45 days and counting. host: there'll be a little bit of satellite delay, as we had with general patton this morning. our first guest this morning is sergeant lyle stiffarm. you have been in the marine corps for a number of years. and you have experience as well in iraq? guest: yes, i was in iraq for two years. this is my first time in
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afghanistan. i have been in the marine corps about 10 years now. host: tell us about what a typical day is like for you in your duties there and afghanistan and what did -- to this day is like in afghanistan, this holiday, this christmas day. guest: my duties are basically, i am a commander. i basically take packs and equipment to different basis in the alr of kabul. host: we are going to take some calls from viewers as we will be talking to a number of service members. the numbers to call are on your screen. sergeantsstiffarm is the first
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-- sgt stiffarm is the first of this morning. what will the troop increase mean to you in afghanistan? guest: that would mean to me that i get another chance to come over here and make a difference. that is what is important to me. host: sargent, tell us about what motivated you in the first place to join the marine corps. guest: what motivated me was when i was in third grade, had a sponsor. these send me some gifts from korea. he was a marine. since the third grade, that is when i made my decision i wanted to be a marine. i was a sophomore in high school again when i decided that was the route i was going to take with my life. host: in doing your duties as leading convoys in afghanistan,
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there as been a lot written here in the states about the difficulty of getting supplies through into afghanistan. what can you tell us about that? guest: with that, the traffic is very tough. in kabul. the streets are packed. i do not know how they get all there's vehicles on the streets. there are no traffic lights and there is some tough traffic. i thought why he was bad. host: a couple more minutes with the sergeant. we will take your calls. i want to remind the callers that there is a delay of a couple of seconds. chris, in maryland, go ahead. caller: good morning and thank you so much for your service to the country. i am a vietnam veteran. i just wonder if uc continued support for all of the military
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other than just today. what do you think the american people are saying? . .
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host: i am going to let our producer have them know to turn down their television. we will come back to your mother, but i have your wife on the line. go ahead. your on with your husband. caller: merry christmas. guest: merry christmas. i love you. it is 6:00, i cannot get the boys up, but we wanted to tell you we are proud of you, we love you, mary christmas. i'm calling from montana. host: thank you for joining us this morning. we will try to get your mother back on line. frankie, go-ahead. you are on the air.
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guest: good morning. i love you. i am proud of you. i am so thankful you boys are over there to protect us and keep us safe. i will never forget that. you know how proud i am of you. guest: thank you. merry christmas to you. host: sergeant stiffarm, we want to thank you for joining us this morning. for the next 20 minutes, we will members and afghanistan, coming up in just a bit. inquirer about a christmas truce in world war one, christmas date in world war one. the author of the peace talk
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the author of the peace talk about the?stukno carrierringcon0 we accept that somewhat in afghanistan, there christmas carols on a battlefield as the world war continues. it is veterans who continue.
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it is the greatest challenges able to make the greatest effect on those that they touch, and the people in combat, in support, in whatever related to this, whatever your harshest events you face are -- host: thank you for your input. we are joined by a petty officer in afghanistan, but russell foreign -- russell sore neck. russell thorne.
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we want you to tell us a little bit about yourself, why you are in afghanistan, what your mission is. >> i have been and afghanistan about five months. my mission is to drive around distinguished visitors, escort them from place to place, any kind of space they need to go to. >> so you drive around distinguished visitors. does that include distinguished visitors from the united states? who would they be? guest: it includes a bunch of senators and stuff like that. we have had the secretary of defense, secretary of the navy, the joint chiefs of staff, people like that over here. host: as troops increase, are
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you concerned for your safety? guest: i feel safe here. people are friendly. even though we have some attacks, i have faith in my troops and airmen and marines, and we're trained to do the job we do. i have a lot of faith in these men and women. host: what is your home base in the states? guest: fort worth, texas. whost: we have calls waiting for you. in minnesota, this is andrea. caller: first, i would like to ask him his job again, because i
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missed that. host: we lost to there. i think he had talked about his duty there. we will hear now from new york city. ralph is on the line. go ahead. caller: yes, i just wanted to thank you very much for what you're giving to our country, for your service. i was also curious, is there still a sense in afghanistan -- do you get 8 cents for the list of the for the help that we brought them the time? guest: yes. we have cleaned a lot of things up around callable from out when they came.
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we are helping a lot, and afghans appreciate it so much. host: we are joined by your father. go ahead and talk to your son. caller: good morning. merry christmas. host: what is it like to have your son away? tell us about your feelings this christmas morning. caller: sad about him not being here, but we are all proud of what he is doing. host: petty officer thorn, guest: the guest:-- go ahead. guest: i wish i was home to be
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there with you all to eat some home cooking down south. caller: we wish you were here, also. we will be thinking about you. host: thank you. thank you for joining us this morning, and mary christmas to you, and good luck as well. we are spending this half hour talking to service members in afghanistan. here's a story at u.s. and taliban compete for afghan towns, but retaining talent is hard.
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greenville, michigan. go ahead. >> i wanted to tell a story, because you had the article on world war one. my grandfather -- the only thing i know about the war, because he would not talk about it, was that that was the war where they had those long holes they had dug, the trenches, and all day long they would fight, and when the sun went down, there would fix something to be -- eat. and before they went to bed, both sides, the germans and the americans would sing together.
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and that was the only thing he told us, because he thought war was so stupid. but i am so proud of the guys and girls that go. i did not know how they go. i am 60. high it would never think of doing that. but merry christmas to all of you, and i hope you like the story. host: according to senior military leaders, most units are in the midst of finishing up their fourth combat tour since 2001. trips include two each from the airborne and bound divisions.
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it is well below the standard target of 22 months of the well time between departures. steve, go ahead. caller: i applaud their efforts, and our thoughts may be with them. i have never been in service. i was going in the 1930's, but i missed world war two. i have a lot of relatives that were in the war. we applaud you and bless you for
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the work you are doing their. host: we are joined now by the air force. zechariah matthews is joining us from afghanistan this christmas morning. tell us about your rank, your duties, and how things are going on this christmas dept. -- day. caller: i were doing -- i work during ptsd therapy. for people who are already here, want to extend, etc. host: you are working with -- i
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did not hear that quite clearly. guest: psd. personal service development. yes. host: tell us about the contingent there. how big is the unit you work with? guest: with the air force, we come over as individual members. but there are about five and heard members attached or working this year. host: what prompted you to join, and how long have you been in? lastly, what is your home base in the united states?
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guest: i have always wanted to join some type of military since being young. my mother talked a lot about her father, the passed away. he had been in the air force, and it seemed like a good thing to do. and i have other family members and other services. the way of life is better. i am stationed out of abilene, texas. host: go-ahead. caller: i am so proud of you and all of our servicemen. i have had tears in my eyes all morning.
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he is a happy young men, and he has gone through all the preparation and stuff. a first was scared and did not have confidence, and now he is at fort campbell, on his way, and i want to tell you that i know, as an ex-army person, i wish i could help you. you give me a perspective on life, and i know exactly what to tell my nephew. guest: thank you for saying that. it means a lot. there's nothing to worry about this.
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it is a great place. host: your sense of safety. how do you feel about that? guest: very safe. this camp is probably one of the safest i have seen so far. there is a lot of security checking, and i feel very secure being here. host: your father is your priscilla to your son, and understand that there is a bit of a delay. timcaller: time is short, but
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we want to say hello and that you look great. we just love you. host: 90 to the matthews family. you can talk back. we will let him listen on the air -- thank you to the matthews family. caller: thank you. thank you for the support. everytime i get to talk to you means a lot. host: we have a couple of more minutes, and we will be speaking to one more service worker. make sure you turn down your television.
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caller: i just wanted to say how hello. i was stationed in kabul, camp phoenix. that really is a safe area. i've been home for a week. host: enjoy your time home. here is the hill, talking about obama's sending christmas greetings, using the white house address to send holiday greetings. president barack obama joined by michelle obama at his side also touched on the tough economic
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year, as we recover from an extraordinary session. looking here at the president and first families looking head their christmas break. from georgia, go ahead. caller: i just wanted to say that i am praying for the troops. i will be grateful when the war is over and they could come home. i do not know anybody. i do not have many people over there. host: we are joined by a navy lieutenant from afghanistan. good to have you here. guest: thank you. merry christmas.
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host: tell us about your role in afghanistan, how long have been there, and your impressions so far. caller: my role is for an adviser to the medical group, working with statistics. general impressions is that they are very hard workers. a long way to go, but we're getting there. host: is that working with wounded soldiers and service members? guest: i work with the afghan national army, with civilian providers and logistics'. host: how long have you been in the navy, and what motivated you to join them or did you go to the academy?
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guest: i have been in the navy a little over a year. the national -- natural progression was to try at the navy out. no regrets. deftly a unique experience. caller: i am a former marine. i have spent time in desert storm, and i know how it is. keep your heads up, keep god, your family, and your country. keep doing your job. we all love you and appreciate what you're doing, and thank you. guest: thank you.
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thank blake for his service, as well. merry christmas to him and his family. i have your mother on the line. cindy lee potter. mrs. potter, are you on the line? go ahead. caller: hello. we miss you, we love you. guest: i miss you guys, too. i am jealous of my friends back in hawaii right now. caller: hello. this is her father. her brother is with other family members in puget sound.
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we're wishing her the best of luck and to say safe. just be safe. we leviable -- we love you. host: thank you for that. meghan, go ahead with your final thoughts. guest: thank you. i want to thank everybody for your service. i hope to have a great christmas and new year's. host: lieutenant potter, we thank you and all of the service members who joined us this morning. next guest is with the institute
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for policy studies, looking at american armed forces' presence across the world. that is coming up on "washington journal." >> in the mid-90's, newsweek named him one of the people to watch on the internet. since then, he has founded a social networking site, helped start a charter school in
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brooklyn, and been on oprah. he talks about what is ahead. >> beginning monday, are rare glimpse into america's highest court threw unprecedented conversations with 10 supreme court justices about their work and the history of the iconic building. five days of interviews with justices, starting monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. and get your copy of the documentary on dvd as part of the american icon collection. host: our guest is the internationalism director with the institute for policy studies. just broglie, how many troops as the u.s. have stationed
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overseas? guest: a lot. about 1,000,000.1, something like that. and there are more than 1000 bases around the world in every continent. a base may not be a huge military base. some of them are huge. they are -- there are hundreds of golf courses, but they are run by the u.s., owned by the u.s., controlled by the u.s. military. they are considered part of the u.s. military presence around the world. contractors raise an important point. right now, everywhere the u.s.
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has troops fighting, there are more private military contractors than there are troops. in afghanistan, there are about 68,000 u.s. troops, and 110,000 military contractors. the expectation is it will match the escalation. we're going to send at least 30,000 new mercenaries, and the cost of that is about $1 million per soldier. for that escalation alone, we will be spending 30,000 troops. it will be $3 billion -- i am sorry, $30 billion. imagine what that money could do at home. he$30 billion -- that is about 3
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million jobs. that is you'd. -- that is a huge. this is a very different era in terms of the world of contractors. in the past, in vietnam, world war two, in every normal war, in every normal army, things like kepi duty, truck driving, those are done by a low ranking soldiers. the privates or corporals do that. not and this army. we hired people from all over the world to do this work. in afghanistan, lot of the mercenaries are afghans. they're not all foreigners. about three-quarters are afghans. and they're hired to do that work on the basis.
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they do the cleaning, the feeling of trucks, the cooking. and you have a gang of people broaden from low-wage countries like the philippines, ethiopia, bangladesh, even pakistan. they are hired by contractors, and they do a bunch of that work. and at the top of the pyramid are the military guys. that is blackwater, the guys with guns who do the work military people always did that military people who would be accountable to the chain of command, instead to have these contractors. that is where you have most of the americans being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, tens of times more than the equivalent in the military expects, and they are not a credible at all to the military high command of. they are under a separate set of laws. host: we will talk probably
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about the size of the presence overseas. before we get to calls, you talked to iraq and afghanistan occurred outside of those, what is the largest presence in the world? >> japan, south korea, and germany. in germany alone, there are over 57,000 troops. there -- actually, almost 200 bases and installations in germany. some are huge, like the giants' medical center. some are tiny, and there are housing concentrations and small basis across the country. the same in japan and south korea. huge numbers, thousands of troops. it has been there since world war two, in the case of japan.
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the cost of this is way beyond but we sometimes think about. host: has any other administration taken a serious effort at downsizing the presence? guest: there was downsizing in the 1990 pus. there were no major wars being fought. but not in the key countries. not in germany, japan, or south korea. smaller bases were downsized, but in the last 10 years or more, all of the bases have been going up. host: to be clear, the organization for policy studies, your organization, has an opinion on this. guest: we do.
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we think this is a bad use of people power, and it does not make us safer. many are angry about what these bases are doing to the environment and social conditions regarding women. so you see fights know and okinawa, in a beautiful place in italy outside an area designated an historical artistic center by unesco, a site -- i'm forgetting the name, of the renaissance artist and architect known for mansions -- palladio. the palladio mound-- mentions outside the city. and the u.s. has now negotiated against the wishes of all local population to build a second air base within 100 yards. they want a better air strip.
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why it has to be there, nobody can answer. but the italian government agreed under a right wing government that was allied with bush originally, and the obama has done nothing to change it, and they say that in the opinions of unesco and historians around the world, they do not matter. host: let's go to a caller. joe, go ahead. good morning. caller: merry christmas to all, and to all a happy new year to all the troops around the world. i am retired army. i spent my career in communications electronics. if anyone has ever pondered why the ratio of contractors keeps increasing, well, you know, when the military is downsized get
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every conflict, the mission is still there. in my career fields, maintenance was done away with. so what was the military to do? the mission is still there. guest: i think joe raises an important point, which is what is the mission of these facilities around the world? i do not believe that they make us safer. if you look at africa, right now there are not a lot of troops. there are about 2500 u.s. troops from africa. 2100 of them are in just one country, in djibouti, where
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there is a huge set of military bases. these troops are invited in some of the fighting in somalia, currently in yemen, as well as the broader south asia region. but last year, instead of saying that africa is not a war area where we do not need a lot of troops and bases, instead of that, they say, well, we are going to set up an african command. they never had a separate command for africa. and they said to we're going to do is we will have the pentagon to take over everything the u.s. does in africa. so the pentagon is taking over aids and hiv care, health care development, overall development assistance. all this is now run by the pentagon. it would normally be run by the state department or usaid.
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this is dangerous, and we see it taking place in the creation of a new command in africa. the goal is to establish bases all over africa to do this. so far, the african government has said, we do not what your bases here. the headquarters is in germany now. the headquarters for africom is in germany, and there is no sign that that will change anytime soon. but the policy of militarizing the u.s. relationship with africa through our efforts with africom is still going forward, and i think that is dangerous. host: as we start looking at facts and figures of how many barrels a day are coming from africa and, it is not deniable that this has become a strategic interest for us. but china has a big military presence there, as well.
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>> they have contractors. they have a huge economic presence. the question becomes, as it does in so many parts of a world, does having our soldiers present at bases that are often hated by local people, does that make us safer? i do not think so. host: him on the democrats line. go ahead. caller: paying afghan people $270 a month, and our guys over there, killing them, makes no sense to me, why we're over there doing that guest:. you raise an important question, which is the issue of the continents of how the u.s. pays afghans in the war. the two and $7 a month you refer to, that is after a decision by
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the military, our military, to raise the pay of afghans that are being hired in the afghan army pictur. they did it not because they thought it was a legitimate amount, but because the taliban was offering $300 a day to recruit. so it went to the highest bidder. these are not ideologues' to agree with the taliban or the u.s. military on anything. they are desperate. they're desperate to figure out a way to support their families, and they will go with the highest bidder. so the u.s. is trying to outbid the taliban. host: here is larry in petersburg, illinois. caller: i would like to say god bless our troops, and i would like to ask your guest if there
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are institutes to support certain candidates. in the last primary, there was one individual trying to emphasize the fact that our economy was in bad shape and we are trying to build an empire. we need to draw back and start following the constitution and get troops back home. also, that talk about this being a war? is this a constitutionally declared war? guest: great questions. we are a nonprofit organization. we do not take government money or corporate money, and we are completely independent. we have our own views about u.s. foreign policy. i read a book few years ago called "challenging a"empire about the war in iraq.
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but as an institution, we did not take any political positions. the issue of constitutionality is an important one. in my view, the war in afghanistan is not a legal war and never was, despite the fact of the congressional authorization. a congressional authorization in violation of international law is not a valid use of congressional power. the united nations did not endorse the afghanistan war at the time it was initiative. and the u.s. had decided not to request un authority because the bush a administration had made a decision that they did not want to a knowledge the right of the united nations to make decisions, and as a result, the resolution was passed with great fervor and unanimously. every member of the security
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council stood and cast votes, they did not just raise their hands. what they asked for was a level of international corp. going after the money, police cooperation, but it did not authorize the use of force and was not taken under the terms of a chapter 7 of the charter, if required if you are going to have a war. host: seek moving forward to present day, the british are currently conducting an iraq war in korea, and are expecting to hear from tony blair and others. what do you hope to learn from that? >> i think the british decision is very important, to go forward. it is something we need to do in this country, and the efforts of president obama describing it to look forward has been
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translated into not taking seriously the accountability of the violations of u.s., domestic, and international law that may have occurred. the coalition's in afghanistan, there are uncanny and unfortunate soleri's to the coalition around iraq where we documented -- similarities to the coalition around the iraq war. this time around, we heard president obama's say in his west point speech, when he spoke about the escalation, he talked about a coalition of 43 nations participating with us. he did not identify them. the nation of georgia has one soldier in afghanistan. iceland has two. ireland has four. jordan has seven. bosnia, 10.
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there are three or four countries, the u.k., australia, can live up -- canada, and italy, with syria's troops. the rest of there for political, not military support. it is embarrassing to call it an international coalition when it is nothing of the sort -- there rest of them there are political, not military. caller: thank you very much for your astute research. i want to ask you, do you see any correlation with this military expansion, the movement from a draft service to an all- volunteer service in the sense that americans do not have any skin in the game anymore? people volunteer for military services for their own agendas and motives. guest: i think there's a big
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correlation. i do not agree with robert about the motives for entering the military. i work with a lot of veterans, and they joined because they need a job. that is more prevalent than ever. 2008 was the first year since 9/11 and that the military has been able to make their quotas without reducing standards, and it is because people cannot find a job. i was on tour in the midwest, in milwaukee, and i spoke at technical college, and overwhelmingly working-class center, people hoping for a job in a devastated part of our country. i asked, how many of you have a family member or someone you love in afghanistan or iraq, and every hand went up. everyone. it is those people from smaller towns, people without other
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options who cannot get college scholarships, they can i get a job, there are going -- they cannot get a job, they're going into the military because that is the job they can get. they're not going to kill or be killed. they are going because there are no other options. if there were legal draft, instead of a poverty draft, i think decision making would be very, very different. caller: good morning. you say the $30 billion cost of the troop surge would be worth 3 million jobs in america by yorktown. by my math, 30 billion jobs would translate to $10,000 a job or less than $5 an hour. does the institute for policy studies recommend creating jobs for less than $5 an hour, and do
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you think the money spent on the surge was beneficial? thank you. guest: thank you. you caught me on the mast. we figured jobs based on $50,000 a job, a $40,000 job and $10,000 of benefits. it is 1.5 million. it is early. it is not 3 million jobs. maybe 1.5 million. but it is a lot of jobs that would be much better than the use of that money here at home. thank you for catching debt. -- thank you for catching vat. -- thank you for catching that. host: the gradual climb up to where we are in 2009, i will ask
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you, where is that going? to also referred to a term of postwar pax americana, what does that mean? >> the? guest: because it is the most powerful country in the world and the wealthiest, there is a notion that we have a right to have a military presence around the world the way there was once the tax ramada -- pax romana, the roman military presence in the part of the world they control. the idea was where they were in control, where the roman empire was in control, there would be peace internally. the u.s. often takes that same argument, that our presence somehow brings peace to these troubled areas.
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the reality is, it does not work. other people did not want us there any more than they wanted the roman empire. we're not sending colonial populations to settle in countries all run the world. it is not that kind of colonialism. it is not settlor colonialism. but it is a kind of empire through these military bases, through the presence of bases across the world, as well as through the force of our economy and economic control in so many places around awhirl. -- are around the world. 2009 has a high budget, not counting the cost of the wars that are being fought in iraq and afghanistan, and that is the highest it has ever been. host: our next guest is leonard
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from kentucky. go ahead. caller: merry christmas. when you are the parents of a soldier stationed in bahrain and are not able to contact them do to unusual circumstances, what can a veteran of vietnam do to contact his son? guest: this is a horrifying reality for parents and families of loved ones. we spoke earlier of the list of u.s. bases around the world. some bases are not even included in the list. cochrane, for instance. only one in bahrain, and none in saudi arabia are listed because of political considerations of the government of the countries who do not want to acknowledge u.s. bases there. it may be that organizations like military families speak out, an important organization
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of families and friends of active duty soldiers that are trying to end the war, to stop the soldiers from being at risk and to take care of them when they come home. they may have some ideas. you can reach them on their website. i wish i had a better recommendation for you. perhaps your member of congress would be willing to try. sometimes it is special forces troops, but sometimes it is ordinary troops on bases the u.s. does not want to a knowledge are there. host: palm springs, california. go ahead. caller: i am zacarias matthews' son. i wanted to make a comment. neither reason for him going into the air force is because he
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was -- the reason for him going to the air force was because he was offered a partial scholarship. can you really afford to pay for an education? do you want to be stuck with the student loans? the military offers these grade education programs. my father was in the air force. why don't you look into going into the air force? that was his choice, going into the air force. host: thank you. guest: she raises an important point. not every member of the military has been forced and by economic matters. but the air force is one of the few parts of the military that provides some members with a job that they can carry on in civilian life. too many jobs that are the basis of job training in the army and
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other parts of the military do not have a civilian counterpart. there is little civilian use for infantry or armored divisions, and that is the vast majority of people in the military who do not come out with a viable skill to use. it is that reason that we see the tragedy of so many homeless veterans on the streets of this holiday season. host: you can i -- you can read more at what did you read in this past year, and what do you like? we will spend an hour talking about that coming up right after this.


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