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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 2, 2011 4:00pm-5:15pm EDT

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in the election. it's kind of disappointing that from a lot of black people's perspectives that they didn't expect a whole lot from obama because of who he put in office, who he wrote, you know the bus he rode on that, that kind of thing, reverend wright, kicking him under the bus. it was clear what he was doing and what he was about. i would suggest that you read and actually bookmark black agenda report and a black commentator into your bookmark. everything you said was talked about way back when. it was no surprise of who obama is and how he acts. either he was smart or he isn't smart. either he's a constitutional law professor, or he didn't. either torture is torture, indefinite detention is
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indefinite detention. either they are what they are, or they are not what they with. >> okay. sir, thank you. i would just point out that there were two groups in the 2010 election where barack obama did roughly as well in 2008, the democrats did roughly as well in 2010 as 2008. those were blacks where obama received over 90% of the vote and two, where he received over 70% of the vote. so you may say that louis farakhan and reverend are the over 50%. i think barack obama is a real black that all blacks and the americans can be proud of. the fact that he didn't happen to agree with you and mckinnie and reverend wright is a reason
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that he is seen by all kinds of americans as white, black, brown, yellow, red, as a leader. and would not be seen as such if he held those. so i really have to fundamentally disagree that's the problem. but thank you, everybody, for staying. thanks for coming. [applause] :
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donald rumsfeld additional author of "known and unknown". >> we are gathering because secretary rumsfeld's book is not getting much attention so we thought we would make up for that by having at least one event. i know you are not doing anything else but making sure the book gets the attention it deserved. it is appropriate that we are doing this here because one of the things the founders were serious about was unlike the regimes in europe they wanted to make sure that we had a record of our leaders, what they thought about what they did in office and also that the record would be open as soon as possible. >> get them to quiet down. >> can everyone here? >> there's so much noise over to the right. is that what it is?
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>> host: of big crowd of people trying to get upstairs. we will speak loudly. in any case they hope that we americans would have access to what our leaders thought and what they did as soon as possible so we did learn from their successes and shortcomings and as i was saying donald rumsfeld's book is very much in that institution. the book is on mr. rumsfeld's entire life begins with iraq and works backwards. the way to get into this is here we are in the constitution center. we passed a statue of james madison and gave a lot of thought to war and what the president should do and hall of americans should get into war.
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if he came back and asked you to tell him why we went into war with iraq what would you say? >> the answer would be that the congress of the united states passed a resolution overwhelmingly favoring regime change in iraq in the 1990s by an overwhelming vote and it was signed by president clinton. the united nations issued some 17 different resolutions advising iraq that they should conform to the resolution, the request of the united nations security council to allow the inspectors into their country to provide the information on their weapons of mass destruction and the united nations had been
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repeatedly rebuffed. president george of the bush made a decision when he first came into office that he was concerned about the fact that iraq was firing regularly at the united states and united kingdom aircraft that were supporting the united nations's no-fly zone and patrolling in the northern and southern portion of iraq. those planes were being shot at almost every day. the only country in the world shooting at american and british aircraft. over 2,000 times they were fired on. the joint chiefs of staff and fries me and the president they were concerned about the fact that eventually one of our planes, a british plane or airplane would be shot down and the crew would be killed or taken hostage. third, the united states department of stateless iraq as one of the country's on the terrorist list.
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there were a series of things like that by way of background. next, united states intelligence agency spent a great deal of time and determined that they were convinced that the iraqi government had weapons of mass destruction, had the confidence to continue developing weapons of mass destruction and had the capability to rapidly expand those capabilities in the event they decided to do so. you have a country in iraq that had used chemical weapons on its own people, a country that had used chemical weapons against its neighbor in iran and a behavior pattern that persuaded people that they not only had them but would use them. we were at a point in our
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country's history where the lethality of weapons arrived at a point that once you mix them with someone who was willing to proliferate those weapons and once you give them -- allow them with somebody who has demonstrated willingness to use them as well as proliferation, the danger was so great that president bush went to the congress and told the congress what they believed. >> was there ever thought of a war declaration? >> i don't know. that would have been something the department of state would have done with the president. >> we have not had a declaration of war since 1941. >> not the korean war or the vietnam war or the incursion president clinton was involved in. >> the they war declaration make any difference? would have brought more americans more emphasis? >> i doubt it.
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i think -- you never know. that is a road they didn't travel and i can't say but i think the resolution passed by congress and the resolution by the united nations provided an underpinning. the other thing i would add is president bush and condoleezza rice and george tenet and the vice president, all of us discussed the hope that there would not be a conflict and saddam hussein could be persuaded to leave the country and not require an invasion of the country and there were messages passed and requests made and they were rebuffed. i think saddam hussein very likely was purposely trying to make the world believe he had large stockpiles. i think that he felt he had
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friends in the united nations who might be able to stop the united kingdom, united states and various other countries in the coalition and prevent them from going in and i also think that because president george w. bush's father had gone into iraq after iraq invaded kuwait and caused them to be removed from kuwait but did not change the regime, there is good evidence that saddam hussein believed america would not change the regime, that he would survive even though the united states might come in. there were a combination of things taking place that argued for it and behaviors there was a behavior pattern on the part of iraq, misguided as it turned out and he refused to leave with his family which was offered and urged. war is the failure of diplomacy.
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>> as you quote in the book. one thing people will be surprised to read about is president bush never asked for your advice on whether the country should go to war against iraq. would that violate one of rumsfeld's rules? >> i don't think so. i don't know that he asked colin powell or, the rice or the vice president. he was the president elected by the american people. we had frequent meetings and discuss various aspects of the situation. they worked very hard with the united nations to put additional pressure on saddam hussein so that he would continue to resist and the president did what a president has to do. he made the decision and i assume that he assumed that everyone in that group would have argued vehemently if they
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disagreed which no one did. >> how do you think people will look back on iraq? >> hard to know. the road not traveled is always moving. one looks at it and thinks what if and what if. a little known fact is gaddafi, head of libya at that point had a very aggressive military program underway and when the united states went in and changed the regime in iraq gaddafi who had been working hard on a nuclear program, very high on the terrorist list decided that he wouldn't forgo his nuclear program. he contacted western leaders and indicated i have a nuclear program. i am willing to stop it. i'm willing to have inspected because i do not want to get the same fate as saddam hussein.
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if you look at the region there are some disadvantages that linger from conflict. at the same token, you have the country of iraq that no longer has a truly vicious and brutal regime, that it used chemical weapons against its own people and neighbors. it is gone. the iraqi people have fashioned a constitution, have elections under the constitution and are finding their way towards -- away from the repressive system look toward a freer economic system. other countries in the region such as libya are engaged in a behavior pattern vastly better for the world and the region. there are negatives and there
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are some positives. you are an outstanding historians and you will be people like you who over time will weigh all those things and with the benefit -- makes adjustments. >> host: let's go back to the beginning. you were born in chicago. you grew up in illinois which was not as prosperous as it is now. a little village you write about. you went to nuclear high school and princeton. was it culture shock coming from the midwest? >> it was indeed. i was told by the dean of the school i was going to go to a big school and wrestle and the dean said no. you have to go to princeton. i said why? he said that is where you belong. i said i don't have the money. he said i will get you a scholarship which he did.
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so i went and most of the people go to private school, they take freshman courses and i got there and worked my head off. i spend all my time in the library or playing football or wrestling and never did much other than that. there were no women at the school. it rained lot. not my first show waste. my wife was at the university of colorado seeing her way through college and it was a totally different experience. >> you also heard a the strait bart someone who would run for president, nominated once. is not on the book but i am told you know some of those words almost by heart. >> by senior bank what, 1954. the former governor of illinois was adlai stevenson.
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he lost to dwight eisenhower in 52 and later lost in 56. it was our senior bank would and he came to speak at princeton. he was a princeton graduate and he gave the most eloquent and persuasive speech about public service that i had ever heard or will ever hear. it was an evening event and all of us just sat listening to this brilliant -- he called himself an egghead and as a joke used as a -- was that? something about -- >> nothing to use but your yoke. >> exactly. all of us who were getting ready to go into the military came
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away with a sense of responsibility. one of the things he said was young people in our country have responsibility to guide and direct the course of our country and the power of the american political system is without measurements. if america were to stumble world would fall. it had an impact on me and i put a pair website and -- hundreds of memos that i believed support the board the we have got here and go to an end those and go to the web site and see the entire memo if i quote a paragraph but i am almost positive we have advice stevens and's speech on that website and i highly recommend it. it is a wonderfully inspiring speech. >> he did not have you to become
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a democrat obviously. was there any point in your early life that you would have been anything but a republican? >> yes. during world war ii my father was in the navy and air carrier and franklin roosevelt was a about the only president in my lifetime between 1932, i guess 33, i was born in july of 32 but i never knew herbert hoover personally. but franklin roosevelt was the president. he represented the united states of america in war time. and in my parents i and everyone i knew the personal look to him as a leader of our country. it was an enormously important figure for young man. >> you were so taken with what stephenson said i assume that
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influence of the fact that you ran for congress at the age of 29. most people don't run for congress that early or at least they didn't in those days. it was younger than it is nowadays. what moved you to get into that? >> guest: i was the longest of long shots. i had been away from my home district for a decade to. i had done four years to college, three years in the navy and worked in washington for two congress men, one from ireland one from michigan. never met a congressman from northern lights. i went to chicago which was home and suddenly out of the blue there was a woman who was the congress woman who had succeeded her husband and they had occupied that congressional district from 1932 until 1960. and she announced she wasn't going to run for reelection and i thought to myself my goodness! that same family-owned that
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district my entire lifetime. either you run -- >> you may not have the chance. >> you may not get another chance. i talk to joyce. she was game. we got a bunch of friends from high school and college and god bless them they went out and formed -- we had something like 1,500 volunteers helping and people running around saying rumsfeld for congress, and hearings and buttons and bumper stickers and sure enough was fortunate. one thing that might have helped is president kennedy had gotten elected two years before and he was so young -- >> he had run for congress in 29. >> served in the senate part of his term and ran for president. he was a young president. he had been elected and was so charming and humorous. >> second president -- posed for a picture during the campaign
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and has a new congressman within your first couple months went to the white house and met kennedy. >> guest: the fact the we had such an attractive young president made a kid of 29 running for congress look like maybe he could be a congressman. >> host: you came to washington and the things you did in washington that you write about in the book, you attended a briefing by lyndon johnson on vietnam and tell a little bit about that because you spoke up in that briefing in a way that very few people do. >> guest: vice president hubert humphrey, wonderfully energetic and appealing person, he was vice president and had just come back from vietnam. via 1 increasingly becoming a major political factor in the
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country. it had not been when i first ran in sixty-two. but in 64 or 66 or 65 president johnson was getting complaints that members of congress didn't feel they were being informed about war. [talking over each other] >> however they may have said such a thing. >> he invited members of congress to the white house and we all went down. a large number went down. the invitation came late and we went in and it is not nothing for young congressman to be sitting in the white house getting briefed by the president or vice president and just got back from vietnam and hubert humphrey starts the briefing and linda nuns and was commander in chief and he was bigger than life that would pop up every time someone said something and to the question and hubert would
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just about be ready to lead the. and lyndon johnson would take over. >> like bombing halts? >> guest: listening to him i was probably more critical than i would have been as a member of the executive branch being asked questions by members of congress. where you stand depends on where you set. he was going through a period where he was trying to figure out what to do in the war in vietnam and he would go through a heavy bombing period and there would be a bombing pause and he would hope that would cause a reaction from the north vietnamese or the vietcong and
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it didn't. in explaining what he was doing was asked a question by democratic congressman from texas about why it wasn't working and his answer was in effect that it would work and the fact was if you do something for a period and then stop completely it is confusing. is confusing to our people and confusing to the enemy and i did ask a question and tried to get some response as to hall of that combination of off and on was going to work. he said the way it is going to work is more of the same. at that point he was in a bombing pause which suggested it might not work and of course it didn't. he had a tough job and did his
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best. >> host: what were the big mistakes in vietnam? >> guest: i wasn't in his shoes and is hard to say for sure. in the last analysis that country was going to have to find its way itself. the task we had was not to try to go after the north vietnamese or the vietcong alone because all they had to do was disappear. they didn't have to fight a single battle. jacob just disappear and then show back. they could just come right back. you could walk u.s. forces from one end of the country to another and they would disappear into the countryside. and then when you passed they would come right back. in my view in retrospect the benefit of hindsight, the task was really to try to get the
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south vietnamese government capable of organizing and training and equipping their own forces and providing something for the people of south viet nam and the rest of vietnam that offered promise for them for a future and i think her achievement was more successful in suggesting to the vietnamese people that the future under him would be brighter for those people and there was an argument made that the south vietnamese government was corrupt and out of touch with the people. that is not unusual in the world for governments to be labeled corrupt. a great many of the governments of the world are corrupt. i don't know that the north vietnamese government under ho chi minh was not corrupt. that was an argument. the combination of those things created a difficult circumstance for lyndon johnson and the
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united states. >> in 1968 richard nixon was collected. he asked you to take on the office of economic opportunity. one of the crown jewels of the great society. not very popular with republicans who wanted to dismantle it. not a great career move for you are would think what you did it. what was your rationale? >> i voted against the legislation when it was passed. sargent shriver who recently passed away was the person who headed of the office of economic opportunity. it started under president kennedy. he and his brother bobby kennedy in the justice department had fashioned a program to tried to assess the pour in the country and president johnson came in with his big texas approach and enlarged it and it became a war
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to eradicate poverty and if you define poverty as a certain percentage of our population and you try to eradicate it is not possible because there will always be a certain percentage that fits in that category. they eat immediately started a host of programs. there was the job corps, there was head stored, migrant programs additional drug programs, community action programs. they're must have been 12 or 15 different programs under the umbrella of the war on poverty. the design was it would bypass governor and mayors and elected officials and that had the effect of a chain republican and democrat mayors and public officials because the money would come straight from the federal government to organizations, community
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organizations that were described as having maximum feasible participation was the concept, bypassing the mayors. when they started to do was opposed local governments so local city councils and local state governments were constantly being harassed. it was a legal services program as well. the federal government buying money from the economic opportunity filing a lawsuit against mayors and governors from all of the people regardless of political party. that had nothing to do with politics. it was against the structure so by this time my when gen it was widely disliked. >> host: here you are promising -- even then may be talking about your possible future presidency. isn't this a graveyard? >> joyce has an unusual sense of humor. one night i went home and went
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to the icebox and there is a little sign that said he tackled the job that couldn't be done. with a smile he went right to it. he tackled the job that could be done and couldn't do it. you laugh. at 10:00 at night when i was reaching in for a soda pop and reading that, that slows you down i tell you. >> host: you went on to the white house and you wanted to leave washington after the election of 1972. did you see watergate coming? >> guest: i didn't at all. one time someone wrote and i went over to in may nato after 1972 election.
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they couldn't believe i went to brussels, belgium. they asymmetry to tower is centered in washington. i did just the opposite. i went thousands of miles in the other direction. someone wrote in some magazine in washington, after watergate broker who is the smartest man in washington? answer, donald rumsfeld. he is not in washington. answer, that is right. i got a reputation for being smart instead of lucky. i have no idea what was going on. richard nixon had been reelected by one of the biggest margins in the history of the country. he won every state in the union except massachusetts and the district of columbia. no one could imagine that i would want -- that i would want to be away from that as opposed to in the middle of it but we took our family and went to
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belgium and had a wonderful experience representing our country overseas. >> host: gerald ford becomes president after the knicks and resignation. your friend and colleague in the house. e came in saying he wanted to fashion spokes of the wheel everyone would report directly to the president. you were brought in after a month when that was not working very well. it has been said people who worked for president ford were impressed that presidential power -- did you see signs of that? >> guest: gerald ford was a legislator. he was a minority leader. he functioned on the spokes of the wheel concept where everyone could come to see him and he liked people. a gracious wonderfully warm decent man. anyone who wanted to have access to and could. as minority leader of the house
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of representatives that worked. president of the united states can't do that. this doesn't work. it is dysfunctional. he had watched the nixon white house and i believe he believed part of the reason for nixon's downfall is there was what was called the berlin wall. this tight white house staff system that they called the berlin wall because they both have names that sounded germanic. he did not want that. he had established this and he asked how hague to stay on and then felt he couldn't keep him and al went to allied commander in europe and asked me to come in and i said i wouldn't do it. it couldn't be done. the model he designed was not
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going to work. he said i know that now but i want to get from where i am to where i want to be. just give a little slack while we navigate to a rational white house chief of staff. >> host: dick cheney said serving as chief of staff as your successor under president ford he had so many times -- that presidents were constrained. he said when he became vice president that one of the things he hoped to do was expand presidential power and move the other way. did you feel the same way? >> guest: when you have an embattled president in a white house that at that point was deemed illegitimate, watergate had drained the reservoir of trust in our country and for the first time in history president of the united states had to
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resign. it was a stunning event. in our country and world. when you drained the reservoir of trust which is how we govern in our country. we don't govern by command. we govern by persuasion and leadership. you have to be able to persuade. if there is no trust you can't persuade. people don't respond and the white house was in that terrible circumstances. >> host: the effect of that? >> guest: he had a dilemma. should he go for continuity which would reassure the american people that a total unknown who had never been elected president or vice president with no campaign staff, no platform people still
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no knowledge about the country deeper still no base of support, he felt a need to reassure the country that there would be continuity in policy. the alternative would be that he would favor a change. with that institution of the white house being illegitimate, and not trust worthy and president ford had to create sufficient change that it would be seen not as a continuation of the knicks and/ford white house but the ford white house and he had to make enough changes in cabinet and staff that people would see him stepping forward with a new team. he opted for continuity and paid a penalty. i think he should have made enough changes. he was a decent, kind man. he said i don't want to let anyone go and have it appears
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they did something wrong. there were a handful of people who did something wrong in that white house and was not a large number and there were wonderful people. pat moynihan was mayor and alan greenspan was there, a host of -- dr. stein and dr. whitman. wonderful reputations and gerald ford could not bring himself to fire anybody. he didn't want to do it because he felt it would be a tarnished. >> host: and like him. you wrote a story about how the older president bush went to pci a in 1975. tell us briefly the story? >> guest: what i feel the real story was? >> host: there is the full story
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of god's truth. >> guest: george herbert walker bush came in 1966. he came in with a wonderful group of people. i knew him and served in congress with him and at some point, ready for the senate and losing and he went to china as a representative and wanted to come back and he told president ford he wanted to come back and serve in an executive position. i was chief of staff of the white house and periodically asked to send in a group of -- director of cia with bill colby wanting to leave with the department of housing and urban development. the staff in the white house would produce these documents of six or eight names and here are the pros and cons and do they favor these or rained them and the president would look at
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them, or ask other people to let the mouth and that kind of thing went in when the president said that the director wanted to feel the cia and the bush's name was on that list. people had him first, second or third or above or below the line and for whatever reason there was a myth created at because i had been considered for vice president when president ford -- [talking over each other] >> guest: that we were competitive. so the myth came out that when he was sent to the cia the senate said we won't confirm you unless you agree that you will not be vice president. so it ruled him out and i told president ford i thought he
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should do that. he should definitely not allow the senate to tell him who the country should have as a vice-presidential nominee and i urged him not to agree to it. the taxes are that george herbert walker bush begged them to tell him he would not be vp. he wanted to be director of the cia. he was thrilled to be nominated for that and somehow or other of the myth came around that i was the one who masterminded all of this and arranged for him not to be considered for vice president. >> keep relief that? >> guest: i wrote president ford.
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george herbert walker bush, and you had nothing to do with it. that is the long and short of it. in our world narratives and theories get strung out over a period of time because was chipped in stone not withstanding the fact that they are based in mid-air. >> host: let's move the clock up. george bush's son is elected president. did you have any thoughts about that? >> guest: i was an old man. we had gone to our 50th high school reunion in 2000 and joists with her perception and foresight, this is the beginning of the rural period. this was september of 2000.
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we had no more idea that i would end up in government. we were happy and life was good. >> host: very successful. >> guest: one on the ballistic missile and felt i was contributing in a volunteer way. >> host: when he became secretary of defense how have things changed at the pentagon and washington in general since 19707? >> guest: i wish i knew the numbers. congressional staff had. by a multiple of two or three or four. the authorization bill, the congress passes each house, and there is a piece of paper that
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represent the authorization bill, what it can do for the next year. when i left as secretary of defense the defense authorization bill has 74 pages. when i came back in 2001 the defense authorization bill had something like 574 pages. it is good enough for government. you get a sense for what has changed. what changed is the department of defense is abnormal and there is no way it can be efficiently run. government is almost inherently inefficient because it can't die. it doesn't go away unlike a business. drive down any sleaze street in philadelphia you see retail shop operation that was there one day
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and gone the next. it can fail. government just stays there. the inefficiencies compound. the effect is it is not be efficient and something that is not efficient for congress, concerned about representing their constituents, feeling of responsibility for legislative oversight sees something wrong and besides the way to fix it is require another report or to hire more people to monitor something or have more hearings and look into it. so what you see is how many people remember gulliver's travels? the lilliputian were this big. glover -- all the lilliputian put so many trends over go lover that he couldn't move. no one of those friends was doing the job. it was the thousands of friends
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that prevented a lover from moving and that is where we have arrived in the government. we have so much oversight and so many pages of micro requirements and so many reports to be filed that it consumes an enormous amount of time. there are over 10,000 lawyers in the department of defense. imagine! i have nothing against lawyers but i don't know -- >> lawyers are marching out of the room now. >> i don't know how any organization can function with 10,000 lawyers. just kidding. >> host: i will push you to get through the rest of this because we don't have much time and i would like to get to the other things that happened during that decade. 911. in retrospect do you think 9/11 could have been averted? were we able to rewind the tape
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and earlier presidents behaved? is it the result of things presidents did or did not do? >> guest: our am not one who can answer a question like that. on the one hand logically we figure there must have been some things that might have been done differently. on the other hand the task of the intelligence community is truly difficult. they have a very tough job. the world is a big place. the terrorist network and closed societies in many countries make it enormously difficult to gather intelligence that can be useful and actionable. in my adult life i have seen
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literally dozens of instances where our intelligence community failed to predict something. there was a fine book called pearl harbor and the forward was written by someone at harvard at the time named dr. thomas schelling. he wrote his forward about surprise and he characterized pearl harbor as a failure of imagination. of course there were so many hearings after pearl harbor. what might have been done? who might have known this? was it right to have a concentration of our battleships in mobilize and vulnerable as they were with all of our planes on the ground on a sunday morning?
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i look back upon 9/11 and are, where of the reappraisals and lessons learned and studies that have been done and there's no question but that the fact the united states of america in the case of somalia after being attacked pull back. in an instance when haiti was attacked, and i think it was bosnia where folks want to cross the line and were captured and we pull back several kilometers. in lebanon after the marines were killed in the barracks at the airport the united states withdrew their forces. after the crowbar towers were attacked by terrorists the reaction of the united states was minimal. there were cruise missiles launched on a couple of occasions but if you think about
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it the terrorists that organized these kinds of activities don't have countries to defend. they don't have populations to defend. they don't have a real-estate and infrastructure they want to protect. they operate in the shadow and you can launch an awful lot of cruise missile and drop an awful lot of bombs and do precious little damage to a terrorist network. they came away after a lesson and have said as much. osama bin laden has said and many occasions on video that the united states was a paper tiger and the united states will withdraw. it won't reach out and do damage. someone could make a case that that pattern, weakness is provocative. to the extent we behave in a
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manner that is weak and allow those kinds of things that it provokes people into doing things they might otherwise not do. they wouldn't think of doing it if they felt there would be instantaneous punishment for doing it. the last thing i would do would be say that there was something somebody could have done to prevent september 11th. i would say like pearl harbor it was a failure of the imagination and probably a relatively understandable failure of imagination. >> host: a couple questions from the audience. one is about iraq and vietnam. to you think that is a fair comparison? >> guest: there are similarities and notable differences between the two. the vietnamese were not likely to attack the united states of
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america. the terrorist threat, the dangers in iraq was on the terrorist list. the terrorist threat was a very real one to our country and al qaeda had demonstrated that it would come and attack america. there was no direct link between al qaeda and iraq. there certainly was between afghanistan and iraq and iraq was on the terrorist list and iraq had a pattern of having developed weapons of mass destruction. so there were these things. but i would say that i think the differences were greater than the similarities that there are similarities. >> host: what about the case of johnson. we know a lot of people who
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worked for lyndon johnson. the tough thing for them is when someone says the lost my son in vietnam. why did he die? what would you say for iraq? >> it is the hardest thing. anyone in a position of responsibility when a conflict occurs and as joyce and and i would go to meet with the wounded whose lives are changed forever, meet with their families and meet with the families of those who got killed, we would think to ourselves as we are going in what is it we can say or do that will help them understand the appreciation that we and america have for their sacrifice? the individual sacrifices and the sacrifices of families as
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well. and we would come out of those meetings almost invariably inspired, not feeling we helped them but feeling they helped us. the pride they have in their service, the cohesion they feel with the units they were in, their desire to get back, you just could not fail to come out of those meetings inspired by the young men and women. thanks to milton friedman and richard nixon and the congress we have an all volunteer military. every single one of those people who serve our country serve because they want to serve,
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serve because they decided they want to raise their hand and go and help protect our country. that dedication and patriotism and pride they feel is so powerful, how does one answer that? the answer -- >> they will push us to tell it exactly what the sacrifice is made for. does anyone ever do that? >> guest: shore. >> host: what do you say? world war ii is not hard but a war like iraq or vietnam or something that is not full throttle, what do you say? >> guest: a war that is army is against navy's, air forces against air forces, that is clear. that is understandable. it starts and ends. it ended in world war ii.
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what we went through in the cold war was quite different with many decades, and ideological competition of ideas. and there was never going to be a signing ceremony. what we are in today is more like that. it is a longer period of time. it is a marathon, not a sprint. it is the competition of ideas but for whatever reason, we are hesitant and not skillful in engaging in the competition of ideas. we recognize the overwhelming majority of muslims on the face of this earth are fine people who have a religion different from christianity or judaism or other religions. they are not radicals or terrorists. they are fine people and yet there is a small minority of muslims that have engaged in terrorist acts who organized to
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do those things and we are reluctant as americans to take up that debate and compete with those ideas. they are not reluctant. they are out recruiting and raising money, they are organizing and out planning attacks against the nation's state concept because they have a conviction that it is they're calling to do that. some of the fact that we are not willing to engage in that debate and not skillful at it or reluctant to do it leaves people with a vegas as to why people have to do things. the wonderful thing i found with the men and women in the armed forces is they are there whether they're serving in korea or bosnia or iraq and afghanistan, they know what they are doing, they understand it and they are proud of what they are doing and
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thanks to modern communication and e mail they are willing to communicate with their families and their families end up having a sense of what they are doing and why they are doing it. when there is a loss of life it is heartbreaking. when there is a loss of limb it is heartbreaking. and yet you talk to those families and you talk to those people and they don't ask why was i there? they know why they are there and they are proud to have been there. they are in a very fortunate country. >> host: you were a close student of leadership as well as a leader yourself. [applause] >> host: you have seen a lot of leaders and what i was thinking -- >> guest: a leading scholar on presidential leadership is going to ask me a question about leadership.
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i feel like i am back in school. >> host: some do and some just write about it. when people in my line of work right about george w. bush what do you think is the shortcoming? on what issues? >> guest: i am 78 years old. i live day third of our country's history. almost every republican president was considered not very swift. dwight eisenhower played too much golf and had poor syntex. gerald ford case and played too much football without a helmet. didn't matter he had gone to yale law school or was the world's leading expert in the u.s. budget having served on the appropriations committee. >> host: and the best athlete in the white house. >> host: they contended he was a
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stumblebum. ronald reagan, characterized as an amiable dunce. and then people read his letters and saw that this man was knowledgeable and while not a micromanaging, a strategic leader. and a superb and i lease successful strategic leader. george w. bush was described as not curious, not knowledgeable, end he had gone to harvard business school and yale and was clearly is an intelligent human being. i didn't know the man, worked with his father in congress but i didn't know george w. bush and i watched him as a president and he clearly asked penetrating questions, he worked his way with foreign leaders in a skillful and engaging manner
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that developed relationships that were constructive for our country and yet people made fun of him. all of those presidents. by don't know what it is about our society that does that but i must say i have watched a lot of presidents and i would say george w. bush, when you think what he did with the surge in iraq -- >> host: would you have supported that had you stayed on? >> guest: what he did was interesting. a lot of things combined to make it work. phil flynn. ..
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>> the so-called army, it wasn't an army, people in the street that can make demonstrations. they went quiet. but the center of gravity had shifted from iraq to the united states as they say in the
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military. the real locust of the problem was in the united states. and the congress was about ready to pull the plug and cancel funding as they did on vietnam. and the boldness of what george w. bush did galvanized the political situation. >> and made it more possible for the war in the end. >> exactly. he deserves a lot of credit. >> how much should the war be judged by the success? for instance, lyndon johnson vietnam's war had ended in victory in late '66, would we be looking at him as a great war leader and someone who did this the right way? >> you are the historian. it seems to be that -- i don't know who said it, but wars are a series of catastrophes ended by success or victory. they are untidy, they are difficult, they are hard, the enemy has a brain. eisenhower, i think, said the plan is worthless. planning is everything. and the plan is worthless.
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because the enemy -- >> it was one the rumsfeld's rules too. >> when i say rumsfeld's rules, it's a rule that i quote from someone more intelligent than i am. >> indeed. with full credit, i want to get in. >> indeed. but it's true. every time that you try to do something, for every offense, there's a defense. for every defense, there's an offense. and there's a constant change that takes place on the battlefield. and i think that the -- we are unlikely for a period of time to end up with the kind of clarity that we had in world war ii because of the nature of the world that we are living in. it is asymmetric, it's not similar -- symmetric.
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but what president bush was faced with when he made the decision on the iraq, it was a studydy john hopkins university called dark winter. if they memory serves me correctly, what if we took smallpox and put them in three places in the united states of america. in a relatively short period, the dark winter done by john hopkins concluded i'm going to be wrong by a bit, concluded that something in the neighborhood of 800,000 americans would be dead. someone here knows that exact number. is that? where's keith? no keith. that's close enough. and that something -- a multiple of that would be infected with
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smallpox. and imagine in our country if that happened. think of the marshal law and inability to move from state to state. free people. that's what we are. we are people that want to get up, go where we want, say what we want, think that we want. the purpose of terrorism is not to kill people. the purpose of terrorism is to terrorize. to alter your behavior. and imagine this country if we had 800,000 people dead from smallpox and marshal law imposed on the country. and that study exists, it's available. it is that concern that caused to step up and decide. the only thing to do is to lie
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to put pressure on terrorists states and networks and make every single thing they do harder. harder to raise money, move, communicate with each other, and keep that pressure up so they can't protect themselves to the point to engage and act like that against our country. >> we've got just a couple more minutes. i'll ask two more questions. what should the historian right about donald rumsfeld? >> i think i'd live it ten or 20 years. i think perspective is good. journalist like to think they write the first draft of history. i don't know that i'd use the word history with that first draft. i served a lot of years in government and now i've been out for four. i debated whether i should write
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a short book in a year and use my memory or digitize that i've accumulated over my lifetime and start inviting people in to discuss the phases of my life and the events that i've been involved in. if you look in the acknowledgment section. i don't know how many people are listed there, it's many, many, many dozens. we would talk and transcribe and go back to the records. i said if i have the archive, why shouldn't we digitize it and make it available to the reader. i'm told that maybe for the first time, we now are going to be -- have available an ebook, which means electronic book, i'm told. [laughter] >> they didn't used to have those when i was a kid. you can read the book and look at the end note and see the source where i have cited
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something. then you can go to the web site and pull up the entire document and see right there whether or not the context or the perspective that i have provided which i worked my dyslexic kickens to try to make it accurate and fair and correct. you can then look at the entire document and say to yourself, jeez, either i would have done it this way or i would have done it that way. there are thousands of pages of documents, hundreds of different documents that have been declassified that are available on the web site. >> which is great. okay. we'll have the documents. what should we write in 20 year mrs. >> -- 20 years? >> 20 years i'll be 98. you can write whatever you want. [applause] [applause] final question, this look as i
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mentioned has very detailed accounts of secretary rumsfeld encounters with world leaders, leader in very influential and important positions. maybe one the most is your encounter with elvis. why don't you tell us about that? [laughter] >> oh my goodness. elvis presley. a lot of his sons were really not my thing. [laughter] >> why does that not surprise me? >> but on any given sunday if joyce and i can't get to church, we have elvis presley tape singing gospel. we play them sunday after sunday after sunday. when i was running the war on poverty, sanmy davis jr. was on
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the advisory board. he cared about the country and he cared about the poor. i was out in los angeles giving a speak. it happened to coincide with his hundreds of performance at the casinos, the sands or something. we went to see his show. he and his wife was there. he performed. he was spectacular. it wasn't an accident they called sami davis jr. the world's greatest entertainer. he's superb. he said to joyce and me, the next night i'm off i'm going to take you to see the best entertainer in las vegas. he didn't tell us who it was. the next night we went and we went to another casino and we went in and he got a dinner table. needless to say if you are sami davis in las vegas, you get a good one. it was elvis presley. sami believed that elvis was the
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best performer in town. he was in his later years and he was large. he was wearing a sequin jump suit. >> not what you picture. >> no, i had never seen the man. he had scarlet. and he would wipe his face. he would sing about the most ridiculous crap. then he would sing a ballot. and i love country music and ballots. he would sing and it would just
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-- you'll be carried away. then he'd take the scarf, wait his sweat, and you throw it into the crowd. joyce has one, and it's framed. what happened, sami said come on we're going to go back into the dressing room. i'm not the type that hangs around las vegas dressing rooms. you go in the place and it's large. here are all of the people. sami is getting dressed, walking around, and there are attractive women with trays selling cigarettes and western jewelry and turquoise and what have you. all of the staff and everyone, they are all milling around. joyce gets carried away. she's talking to somebody. she couldn't find me. she finally looked around the
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room and way off in the corner, elvis presley had me cornered. i was against the corner. and he's big. he was like this. i was kind of hidden right behind him. he was talking about the united states army. if you remember, there was a draft during that period and some of the people did not go in the draft. they went to canada or refused. and he went in and served in the united states army and served in jeremy, -- germany, and wanted to talk about it. he loved the army. he valued his time serving. he was sitting there going back and forth about this and that and the other thing. i found it fascinated, here was the man a minute ago that had been up there wiping the sweat and throwing and everyone screaming. here were all of the gorgeous women walking around this dressing room. he was standing there asking me question after question about
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the united states army. it says a lot for the man. >> indeed. what can i do after that but say thank you, mr. secretary. thank you. [applause] >> this was hosted by the national constitution center in philadelphia. to find out more visit you are watching booktv on c-span2. here's a look at the prime time lineup for tonight. beginning at 7, david brooks discussed "social animal."


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