tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN April 27, 2011 8:00pm-11:04pm EDT
coming up next, book tv presence afterwards mack, an hourlong program where we invite guest hosts to interview authors best-selling author max susan jacoby tackles the myth of old age and her new book "never say die." "the washington post" blocker claims american culture attempts to dilute the aging population into believing 90 is the new 50. she discusses growing older in america with aarp state news editor sylvia smith. >> host: political defeat to susan jacoby, welcome to read your the author of the book "never say die," with the subtitle the myth of marketing in the old age. what is the myth of the new old age? >> guest: the myth of the new old age is that we are all, and by we i mean people who are
really not old now. the aging bloomers, people in their 50s and early 60s now and in their forties. our old age is going to be lived in a way that is totally different in which old age has been lived in the past cesareans that we are simply going to get older, but not actually old. >> host: so why do you think that the culture is invested in sugar coating old age? >> it's very interesting. now when i was growing up like all of the oldest boomers in the 50's i would say that attitudes toward old age or - in a particular way. old age was just something that started the minetti man retired and returned home to bother his wife and her only role was to be
the grand mother to her grandchildren, and that was cold idea not just of old age but of anybody who is retired in their 60s. now i think we have had a great corrective which the aarp has had a role in the sense that we understand people over 65 can do a lot of things so their only role isn't just lying around the house watching tv and looking after the grand kids, but there is a kind of new age i think that's kind of taken over which is its great to be old as long as you don't exhibit any of the typical problems of old age, and old age is also very much redefined in terms of the young old age which the sociologists and doctors call people in their sixties and seventies who are pretty healthy even if they've had all kinds of diseases like cancer and heart disease and old
old age in the late 80's and 90's of whom so many more are going to live through that era. the typical problems of people in the old old age or downplayed as if i decided to write this book when i went to the will science festival a few years ago titled 90 is the new 50 and i fought does anybody really believe that? and the answer is there are a lot of people in their 50s and 60s who do believe that. so that it's a new kind of more subtle form of ageism that it's great to be old as long as you don't have the typical problems of people who are really old. he used the phrase old old. what do you mean by that? it's a phrase that is used by doctors and sociologists and it's used basically for people in the late 80's and 90's as opposed to those in the 60's and 70's and it's quite right to make that distinction because people in their 90s in terms of
health and abilities i'm not talking about exception i'm talking about the majority of people to talk about them as though they were the same as people with their 60s is as absurd to talk about people in their 60s as if they are in their 30's. there are people in their 60s who might like to think they are in their 40's but they are diluted. you say the two old problems of old old age or over time which is inevitable and the tendency for most people to get poor and you suggest some collective action we should take in response to that. what are those points? >> guest: health there's not much we can do about and there are people whose health doesn't constantly worsen over time, but i think those of us who have parents who have survived into their 90s and grandparents as i have no that the typical person has to deal with many more health problems over time. and this, by the way, the
problems of the oldest old have to be looked at as not entirely, but they are our huge women's issues because right now the vast majority of people over 85 are women come into the degette pour over time except people like say warren buffett i'm sure he's going to be at 92. but women in particular get poor because there are lots of things that happen to total income with of the death of a husband. now this is true of women today most of whom didn't work outside their home or in their nineties, but it's also going to be true to some degree of the women because they have more interrupted work patterns than men which reduces the total amount of the pension or social superiority income over a lifetime some people report is to get older and this is also connected with worst health because people need many more
services as they get older that cost money. most of which none of our social service programs which the republicans are not so eager to cut and certain democrats as well paid for already so people's needs in terms of the systems if they would like to go on living independently become greater as the time when the income becomes less. >> guest: you mentioned in the book you had a friend who when you told her you are writing a book about aging and old age she said you're writing a book about women for the reason that you say when and live longer and have a more problematic -- >> guest: and people in this age group along with it in their nineties, social security makes up about 90% of their income. there's not a lot of money left around by then. i would like to say something also the one often forget in interviews. i think one of the problems here in thinking about this
rationally is that we do live in a society in which the idea that people ought to be able to say the least to save enough to finance a 30 year retirement but that there is something wrong with you if you can't do that and this is ridiculous. when the social security act was signed in 1935, the average life expectancy was 62 and people were not able to save enough for their old age than. that's why social security was enacted. but no one foresaw a time when right now all of the baby boomers who were turning 65 in 20 years they're going to be 88.5 million, to save the retirement and 30 year retirement if you have an average income if you're not rich or two different things. it is not a matter of moral turpitude is the average family in this country cannot save enough to finance the 30 year retirement and furthermore there is the question do we want a
society in which slid say 40 or 55 year old parent says to their kid in college i can't help you i'm putting aside money for long-term care. is that a healthy society? i don't think so. some of the consequences perhaps growing up as i did and as you did in the age of medical miracles i was just a little girl with the polio vaccine can along. there's always been an ally of six the as the six antibiotics, that is the medical norm now. people who have taken a vintage or haven't been disadvantaged because they have had access to this kind of care what i think assume that that is a good thing by you paint a sort of overall picture in your book that these things do have consequences because they've prolonged life beyond what our social network,
social safety net work was able to provide or was created to provide >> well, that's true but all i think they have other consequences, too. as antibiotics, yes, the deutsch. people who would have died of pneumonia at 65 if they got a bad case of pneumonia don't anymore because there are antibiotics now with the older age group. but i think there's something else about medical miracles which creates a problem in thinking realistically about old age is things like my first medical memory standing in line for the vaccine, too. i am just old enough to remember life in the summer before the sold vaccine in the early 50's when your parents would never let you go out to go swimming because they were so terrified of polio. that was eradicated overnight. i think because we have grown up and it's these medical miracles we don't realize some of the
things that kill people and old age inevitably alzheimer's disease, for example, or forms of cancer that hit in old age if they don't hit in old age your immune system becomes weakened to overcome them. but these are far more complicated. they will require if they are able to be ameliorated require research at the basic biomedical level which is now going on and they are very connected to the more alzheimer's research is being done the assumed when they started that a disease that's common and nearly half of all people over 85 have it, something else nobody likes to hear. don't shoot the messenger. but these things are not as easy to find an answer to not that anything like polio seen veazey before they found the vaccine either. but the or far more complex.
most of the scientist's life talked too far from the 90's, the new 50 crowd feel that the the solution to these or even something that would delay alzheimer's, which would be a wonderful thing. they're much more likely to be there forever children or even our grandchildren for people who are now in their 50s and early 60's to count on this to give them the new old age is not being realistic. i'd like to quote my dear friend robert butler who line sure you know who died at 82 last year of leukemia and he basically invented the field of gerontology and is the first director of the national institute on a teaching and was the only voice of rationality that 90 is the new 50 panel and a few months before he died i interviewed him for the book and i said, you know, what do you think about the prospects for say the tour for alzheimer's i'm a scientist and nobody believes and selling in its more than a
scientist and i'd like nothing better than to wake up tomorrow morning and see in the newspaper that there is a cure for alzheimer's. realistically the reason we need to invest more in the basic research now is that it's still a long way away and furthermore you can always hope for something like that that you can't base a strategy for dealing with old age on the assumption that this is going to happen for you and magically weskit away and that's my view. we can always hope for the medical miracle but ho isn't a plan of action. hope is just hope. >> i thought your chapter of alzheimer's, the most passionate in the book and maybe i was bringing my own experiences to that, but talk to us a little bit about how you develop that chapter in on the personal experiences that you had that may be chic that chapter. >> alzheimer's is not in my
family. my mother and my grandmother -- my grandmother lived to be 99 with the ruling body and sound mind. and i never personally had experience with alzheimer's until my partner who was 15 years older than i did what it and mercifully he died three years of cancer before the last remnants of his mind went. one thing this experience is helping to cure someone with alzheimer's changed my thinking about one thing. christa what changed my magical thinking about it and i realized i know better. i've written about science. i know that intelligence educated people get alzheimer's, too but i had sort of magic we fought my way out of thinking well with you are smart and in deutsch in life and work hard and do intellectual work and exercise and eat your vegetables
you're not going to get alzheimer's this of course is nonsense as the national institute health found out in a major review of this and all these people who believe that exercise and greens are going to protect them from alzheimer's those are good things of themselves, the exercise, the greens and the intellectual work. they are not a magic pill the will make you not get alzheimer's, but one of the things about it that this tragic, and when you think that the risk of a doubles and every five year period over 65 and that half of people who are over 85 have dementia of which it is the leading cause, my partner on can remember when he was sort of in the middle stages of its when he could still do some things but not others he turned to me on the crosstown bus and said i feel somewhere inside me is the person i really am if insurers
half the person i was before but i can't find it. if there was ever a definition of what happens in the dalia in the brain of a person with alzheimer's, that's it and you understand what this means and also understand how tragic all of this false hope is and why i have to say that one of the things that particularly in regions me for the ads for these so-called memory hills. i would mention the brand names, but you know what they are, helping dad be more like himself which by the way were also found to be basically have no effect at all in the national institutes of health review. one daughter turns to the other and says help stat be more like himself. it doesn't show dad taking the pill, walking out of the house, getting a lost and not being found for seven hours and i will
close with one more personal thing. my partner took him but i know he was still able to think things through he had no faith in them and i can remember him taking the memory pill one day and saying which means basically nothing will help. this is the punch line of old jewish jokes he used to tell in the days when he could tell jokes and i can tell you this false idea that there's all sorts of ways right now with an armored ourselves against this. this isn't good for people. not because you are living right things are going to turn out right for you. >> host: do you think bb boomers are particularly susceptible to that wishful thinking or delusionary thinking and if so which comes first? the products you mentioned that her advertised and the leaking pipes, viagra and all these
sorts of things? >> guest: viagra works. [laughter] it's different from the memory tells. it actually works. >> host: the products aimed at the baby boomers to make us think that if we take them or use them i won't change as i become 80 or 85. >> guest: there's a lot in our history, social history that makes us have a lot of faith in the idea of the self transformation that you are the master of your faith, the captain of the soul and i don't for one minute want to denigrate the value of good health habits, things like exercise have been shown to make your deacons to help your wife of a healthy. they may make you healthy year in old age than you would have been otherwise. they are good things in themselves because they make your life better. they are not an anti-ageing
panel. they are something that is good for their own state but they are not any more than the transcendental meditation or all of the -- we can all remember the self-help in the 70's some of them were good and some of them weren't, but they don't are you against something which is inevitable which is you can get older and the reality and the disease and economic problems that now a company getting older there are some things not in our country. you can make the best and part of that is the genetics that we are killed. we are capable of aging successfully until we aren't. >> guest: making the best of your help at any given point.
it's seeming old riddle. my mother is now 90. if you had asked me -- she would have been a prime example of successful aging four years ago she did 25 hours of the winter were the critical care unit of her hospital and if you ask anybody about her you would know that she was really on top of her game and like my grandmother she is a fully functioning brain and body that has led her down and is now confined to her room in the assisted living facilities and she was capable of aging successfully until the disease is she had had because as you get older your immune system's ability to fight off things that when you are 60 and 70 you can live with a lot more easily. aging successfully is doing everything you can at that moment.
unless there's a fairy tale that we are going to drop it at the age of 95 in the middle of making love or pair of lighting or skydiving and nothing leading up to it. and in fact you don't get to choose the manner of your own death in that way. my mother who is frank and have a living will proxy for years for children don't need to wonder what she wants done my mother says frankly the life she is living now she doesn't consider life she would like to drop dead of a heart attack while she was doing her volunteer work but that isn't what happened. >> host: what does she think of your book? >> guest: she likes my book and it's interesting. i have had a huge number of females and response to various articles i wrote in various places. the older people they are like my book. i had a lot of responses from
computer savvy people in their 80s say you've said but i'd like to say but i don't dare to say and i find these things interesting. you asked about successful aging. what they mean by they don't dare say them is muted viewed as a hit older person by younger people is you never complain about your health, nobody is in good health wants to hear and i don't think anybody that is in good health understands what it is to get every -- up every morning and fight to deal with various paints and things like that that you don't feel the way 30 years or 50 year old those in 85. you don't talk to the losses, if you are grieving for a partner, a longtime partner who died yes
you are allowed a month or two deutsch years to the to tears but i saw this was a ridiculous piece in "the new york times" a few days ago some social scientists destiny study that basically most people are supposed to get with it after about six months and yes the nei still grieve for their partner and terrain to think of the partner all the time or constant feeling of sadness mabey orie sign of depression or something so you have to have a positive attitude. i don't understand anybody that six months after the death of a partner of 30 years feels okay and doesn't think about them all the time but i think that is one of the positive thinking business is something our society imposes on everybody but with no group is more coerced by that than the old. if you express sorrow or dissatisfaction when you're 85
something that the 45-year-old would just be considered a normal right. at 85 its well he's just a cranky old geezer. she's just a mean old crone. they are put down to old age rather than legitimately response to the loss which anybody would have if they had it at any age exit old people have more of them post to another point to make in the book is the factor that when people get when people get old may be their partners die because they don't have the primary person to love and readers of a child in the picture and the social circle has strong so when you're saying is that the if coerce people not to be that grumpy old man because that pushes people even
farther away so dhaka that loneliness. >> guest: that's true in that particular effect the oldest old. one of the reasons that may be true is women do better as would those be in demand due as the widow versus women have more women friends and the women relate to other women more closely throughout their lives at least now that may not be true in the generation from now but still the man deutsch but when the woman looks to be really old into her 90s then because she's the oldest of the old survivors she begins to lose her female friends, too. my grandmother who left to be 99i talked to quite a lot about this and one of the things she said to me was -- and she was a person who always made young girlfriends through her life is if anybody had been good and old age as you can she did and one
of the hardest thing about being in her 90s is she outlived everyone who didn't fear this old woman but remembered her as broderick who she was, the young and old vibrant growth and woman that those people were all gone and while of course you can have friends of all ages and good friends there is a special thing to friends of your come generation and for the people that live the longest the have to cope not just with the loss of three primary person in their life and the people who aren't as hearty as they are by off before them. >> host: my father who is 86 licht is right in the area and he grew up and his high school class still has a reunion once a year and it's such a highlight of his year to go to this and see people he probably doesn't see from year to year but i think that element of having children together and -- it
reminds them of themselves at that age. >> guest: maybe not necessarily children that somebody that you knew when you were young adults are all of the people that my grandmother and my grandfather used to do things even a loving child cannot make up for the absence of your contemporaries. the haven't felt the society have a full picture of the reality of the old old. what is the organization to? >> guest: i do believe that and i am not just criticizing aarp. i wrote for aarp publications for years so when criticizing his myself and my thinking about it has changed since i was rooting for the with him at the magazine. i think that one of the things
aarp needs to do is stop concentrating which i think it does in its publications on the 50's and 60's and early 70's and start presenting the full picture of older people as well. if you look at any of the aarp features on people we love almost all of them will be in their 50s and 60s. i know that's where the business is and there will be one person in their 80s and this was always the case and the publications because the articles about people who are really sick and how they cope with it i think they ought to be doing more of that but you're also downer articles. the story it of myself as many years ago the editors were the editors then. but i was asked to do a story about people who after a serious
illness made the changes in their health habits and had greatly improved their lives and the first person i thought of was the high school cross meet. who had a form of cancer in her fifties she was supposed to die from and she didn't and when it became clear she wasn't going to die she gave up smoking and lost 50 pounds and they ran a picture of her conscious 56 then and i swear she was so gorgeous and recognized her as a high school cheerleader she was. i didn't interview anybody over 64 for that article because i couldn't find etds triumphant stories and people in the late 70's and 80's. now the exist but i think that by featuring younger people in these publications so constantly they suggest people in their eighties can expect the same results and the five aging in
the same way that people in their 50s can and i think it's fine people for 50 i've been a member of the aarp since i was over 50. but people in their 50s comparing them to people in their eighties is also ridiculous but mostly the publication in the personal look simple the funny side of old age always and given that the aarp represent all seniors and has a huge battle on its hands and is going to for the next ten years to maintain medicare and social security and the way the old people need the aarp needs to start featuring more of the worst problems as well as the best case out comes. ..
this wasn't about people who are all. really they were the young though. even the old series the golden girls i thought was completely unrealistic about women in their 50s and 60s. in all these golden girls were concerned about was getting another man. i don't think it was in any way realistic about the real problems that real women in their 50s and 60s face. so no i don't think that there is anything in popular culture
because popular culture, what it likes to look at is the rare old bersin like betty white who doesn't seem old, forgetting -- i couldn't move my hips and dance like eddie white when i was 30. betty white is one of those unusual people but i don't think there is anything in popular culture that accurately reflect the lives of so people because it is a downer and even not in popular culture, the hbo production alzheimer's project which is the first real tv series to really examine alzheimer's and produced by maria shriver of course whose father recently died of it. there was a lot wrong with that series, and one of the things wrong with it was, it presented only nice long-term care facilities or people -- it was horrifying enough. it didn't accurately show with people in the last ages of alzheimer's are like.
but there was always a caretake. there was nothing in that about the people who have no caretakers in the late stages of alzheimer's. people who aren't in the nice nursing homes, whose life savings have run out and are in nursing homes on medicaid and i have done articles on nursing homes when i was angry and they are not ice places. and so it did not in a way, show them that the worst-case individual scenario. you lose your life but there was always the caretaker. it was always a woman. there was a woman who had given up her job in minneapolis to care for them other. who is going to care for that woman, the years she has lost caretaking? that is a very serious issue. >> host: do you mean because a burning power? >> guest: right, let's just say a woman is willing to let her job in her 50s to take care of her mother. that woman is going to need to be taken care of in one way or another when she is older and
the fact that she quit her job, we don't have anything really that provides for long-term care and homes, even for people in the middle stages of alzheimer's when my partner was in the middle stages of a alzheimer's and i emphasize, she did not reach the -- cancer mercifully taken before that but there were a lot of people involved in his care. he had something i thought was stupid and devoted children and people who "never say die" each other. he had a big network and for when there could be somebody there because he did reach a point where he could really not be left unsupervised even though he could still do things like enjoy old movies and things like that, but he couldn't be trusted not to turn the stove on and burn the house down. he had taken when he retired, he took a lot of medical benefits that provided for some home care we needed that. most people can afford that, and
we are now talking about cutting down when in truth, to provide home benefits for families who are willing and able and eager to help care for a person costs so much less bachelor peoples life savings run out and put them in a nursing home. >> host: you make a number of criticisms of the medicare program particularly that assistance for the home caregiver isn't covered. why do you talk more about that? >> guest: this is a hard thing to talk about because nobody's talking about expanding services all people are talking about in medicare are ways to cut the man in fact i think they're a number of things we are going to have to do to reduce end-of-life care which only prolongs death. i will talk about that in a bit. it is a great criticism of medicare that let's say you have a husband at home in the middle stages of alzheimer's but you cannot care for him 24 hours a
day. you have a job yourself. and income you very much need. medicare will not pay for people to come in for eight hours a day, the eight hours you need to work, which would be so much cheaper in the long run that we are a country that doesn't do long-run thinking. having people lose their assets and having to put somebody into a nursing home when there is someone who is willing and eager to provide care at home, if only they had some help. >> host: nursing homes cost may be three times as much as home care. >> guest: there are people who need nursing homes, make no mistake about it but there are people who could stay at home longer. there are healthy old people who could live independently logger if they could have nursing homes if they could have some kind of home care. not necessarily medicare which our society doesn't pay for and
lets you have completely exhausted all of your assets. this is going to be an urgent issue as more boomers live to be over 85 and of course now there certainly isn't going to be any discussion of it right now, because all we are talking about is about how to cut the cost of medicare. well, now i will talk about that. i can tell you one thing, one thing that would cut the cost of end-of-life care and it is not to death panels. it is the thing that out of political cowardice has been retreated from which is paying for voluntary consultations between older people when they are healthy. it doesn't have to be when they are sick. in fact it is much better if it isn't. talking with their doctors about what are their feelings about end-of-life care. would they like for instance, there are two things that do everything which means as long as the heart is beating whether you are in a coma or not, and that is what we spend a huge proportion of the medicare
budget on in the last month of life. i think that if people were encouraged to discuss this with their doctors and by the way doctors who are scared of death and dying as everybody else need this discussion as much as their patients, would encourage them to go home, talked to the people they love, investigate the legal issues. only a third of the americans have living wills and even fewer have what you also need which is someone legally appointed to make decisions for you if you can't take care of yourself. if only half of the 70% of americans who don't have any end-of-life care instructions would make those decisions for themselves, it is incalculable since we spend so much in the last month of care and this is not death panels. it is people being encouraged to think about what 90% of americans they were say they would like to die at home and only 20% do. i will definitely use my mother
is an example. she made out a living will and appointed my brother and me as her legal representatives 30 representative 30 years ago and we were in no doubt about what she wanted and in fact she has rejected all kinds of care already. we don't have to make decisions for her now because she is of sound mind. if she ever is not that we will do exactly what she said. we would be afraid not to. but the point is she is taking care of. my mother is not going to cost a third of the medicare budget in the last year of her life. she understands and accepts the difference between care that can only prolong her dying and care that could return her to a good quality of life. there isn't much of that for her any more. and she made these decisions when she was healthy. and i'm not saying everybody is a strong minded as my mother but a lot of people are if they are encouraged to do it. that is a way, without having death panels or even talking about assisting in suicide we
can encourage people who want to make plans for their own end-of-life care to do it instead of avoiding the subject and evading it. >> host: if somebody wants to have a living will, tell us what that means, what steps somebody has to go through, what questions they have to ask themselves an answer? >> guest: first of all not every state by the way recognizes living wills. first of all you have to find out what your state law is about this and this is something aarp as full of information, if you can't use the internet you can call up the appropriate office at aarp and they will tell you exactly what her state law is about this and even those people who can't use the internet, which i think more boomers will be able to use the internet but even if you can't you can call up aarp, call up your local citizens council and you will -- they will tell you what the state of the laws. it is the myth, if there are financial issues involved with
your regular will you need to have a lawyer for that. i understand there are people who want to do a do-it-yourself wills but they're all kinds of senior centers that offer aid with that at a fairly moderate rate. for a living will, a living will sort of states her wishes saying a living will states for example in new york state that if there is no chance of my returning to recovering to life, being able to speak again, i do not want to be hooked up to a ventilator. i do not want to be force-fed by tubes. it spells it out quite explicitly and any, any legal, any lawyer will drop one of those but a living will is not all you need. you must discuss this with whoever and appointed legal representative to ask for you if you cannot ask for yourself. many people by the time these issues arise can't ask for
themselves. your children, your spouse or your friend if you are not married. this is going to be a bigger issue for boomers because many more of boomers were divorced. boomers have smaller families. the assumption that there is going to be someone and by the way the person you appoint a not necessarily be your child. it will be if you don't appoint anyone and it may be a child who doesn't agree with your ideas about that at all. people need to appoint legally a representative and you actually do need a lawyer and a notary to do it but it does not cost a great deal in most places. if you call a aarp or your senior organization able to you how to find legal help with this were not very much money. but you have to have the will spelled out what you don't want done to you if you can't recover and somebody to sign the papers for you if you cannot find them for yourself. the people who criticize this and talk about these death panels, as far as i'm concerned
they are idiots. leon cass who is not an idiot. he is a famous ethicist and he was the chairman of president bush's council on bioethics, president bush the younger. he is opposed to living wills because he writes that no one can possibly imagine what they would do in all future contingencies and there is no substitute for a loving partner. well good for him. he has got a loving partner, a wife but there are a lot of people particularly women who won't have a loving partner even if they had a loving partner for most of their lives. while it is certainly true that you cannot know what you would do in every circumstance, i can't know you know whether if my knee gets worse i'm really willing to go through a knee replacement or whether i would rather hobble around on a neat that i tore up on a lettuce leaf 20 years ago. i don't know the answer to that but i do know that if my brain,
my higher brain functioning is done, that i did not want to be force-fed to keep my body alive, that i did not want to be hooked up to an artificial ventilator if i am 85 years old and cannot breathe on my own. that i can't answer what i would do in every situation doesn't mean that i can't know what i would do in the most comments of situations. i think whatever anyone says about this, i do think the objections to this are a particular kind of highly conservative religion. i was raised a catholic. i'm an atheist but i was raised a catholic and i know there is a catholic church that has no objection to saying you don't want you know to be on a ventilator if you can't get better. that is not considered suicide. it is considered he don't have an obligation to have everything to keep your body alive as long as possible. but there is a particular kind of i would say very
anti-individualistic religion, which says that everything is in gods hands. we don't have the right to make any decisions for ourselves and i think that is where the opposition on the far right is coming to the whole idea of living wills. mainstream religions do not object to these things at all. many mainstream religions do object to assisted suicide but that is a different thing. assisted suicide is a very different thing from saying i don't want extreme things done just to keep my heart artificially pumping when i'm never going to be me again. >> host: you day say suicide or assisted suicide can be a rational choice and you go on to make the point that in medicine at least how it is practiced in this country tends to be anybody who reaches that decision but that is the option they want to take is either off their marbles or is depressed same can and can be cured by pills.
>> guest: well, the fact that suicide is rare under any circumstances is borne out by states like oregon that have had assisted suicide laws for 10 years. very few people use them but the number of people who have used them are people who were terminally for six months and who number in the one hundreds. many who went through the process of applying for this didn't do it. most people are not going to commit suicide under any circumstances. but i believe that for people who are in unbearable pain it is a rational choice, and i don't agree at all that everybody who wants to commit suicide is irrational or depressed and i think this is part of patronizing. i don't deny for a minute that there are some people who are depressed. for example i will give you an example of people who are depressed. there are people in their 60s and 70s who when they receive a diagnosis of something like say multiple sclerosis or
parkinson's, which you are eventually going to die -- unlike say alzheimer's or severe forms of cancer, they are manageable and treatable and you can have a meaningful life for a long time. they are not a death sentence but there are people who will treat that kind of a diagnosis as if it were an immediate death sentence. those are people whose thinking is distorted and many of them might need not only to be on antidepressants but to have therapy and to have their disease explain to them better. so that they don't. a lot of people who treat something that is not a death sentence as a death sentence are depressed and irrational in their thinking about it and who likes to be told they have ms or parkinson's? nobody but we can cite huge number of examples of people who have lived needing full lives, gears, decades after these diagnoses. you can live with that unlike some of the worst diseases of old age.
what to say that everybody coming and people who are not terminal, everybody who said i have had a good life and i have had enough is depressed. one example i use in my book is that this 102-year-old man in st. louis, very well-known in saint louis. i am sure the shrinks would have loved to have got their hands on him. he was a leader in the jewish community. he built up of st. louis in. in the 1940s when st. louis was still very much a southern town in his racial attitudes he insisted that unions on his construction projects admit african-americans. he was a huge civic figure, philanthropist and builder in st. louis and he was just fine until he was about 99 when he fell and broke his hip. anyway again, great example of someone who can aid successfully until you can. then yet to have a companion which for a man like this he hated. there was nothing wrong with his mind. two weeks before he committed suicide he had given a memory
speech about what a great life he had. he had out with two wives, al that some of his children and his grandchildren. what he did one morning, come indicated, indicated living with a companion. while i'm sure there a lot of people who commit suicide are crazy thank god the health professions didn't get their hands on him. he one morning stole the keys to his companions car. he had been a champion swimmer in high school and college. he drove it from his lifelong home and he had all the money in the world. he would have died at home but he did not want to have his every move monitored by another person, obviously. he drove his car to the missouri river, got up on the bridge and dove off it and committed suicide. i'm not advocating that people do this. i am saying i don't think this man was crazy. the letters that he left for his grandchildren said please don't grieve for me and think i was out of my mind. he said i don't want to live until i have no control over my
own death. i can't do any of the things really that have given my life meaning, and i think this is a case of a man who said enough. i have had a great life. it is downhill from here and again i don't advocate this but i don't think he was crazy and i'm glad that some psychiatrist was -- with with the antidepressant xanax didn't get it into his hands before he took his own. >> i don't want to get away from this before i ask you what the two or three or four public policy decisions or retrofits need to be done in order to start addressing the issues you raise in your book. >> mean everything that is being taught in washington right now. one, we need social security is not in desperate straits now but we need not to reduce social security benefits.
>> host: not increase the retirement age? >> guest: no. actually i think we can increase the retirement age. i think we can increase it a few years but it has to be with an understanding that it is not an absolute requirement. i hate the idea of retirement. intel a -- fires me. as long as i have my mind i intend to be working. but there are people who have spent their whole lifetime in physical labor and i don't just mean working in coalmines. i also mean that i consider physically on the body having stood behind the retail counter on my feet for 40 years is far more taxing than having been a writer. there are people who need to retire before age 70 peco. firefighters. but not just that. there a lot of low income jobs that are relentless physical work and to say for instance
that everyone has made their living say as a health care aid in the hospital can't retire until they are 70 is wrong. i think there has to be a lot of exceptions. raise the retirement age yeah but also built a lot of physical exceptions, you know, into that law. the hardest thing in the world to do. we do have to raise the retirement age. for a lot of people the returned age could be raised to 70. for a lot of people he can. there is no one-size-fits-all. i don't think we need to cut social security benefits at all. i think we must not because they are not that generous now. three-quarters of people over 75 live on $34,000 a year or less including social security. does that sound like rich greedy geezers to you? first evolved we need to raise social security withholding tax and apply it to everyone. >> host: even the rich people?
>> guest: no, but right now i think it is $109,000 and there are too many people who make more than $109,000 but everybody should pay social security withholding on every bet that they make, whether they make $109,000 or a million dollars. that said, you can do that. there will probably have to be an increase in attacks as well. cutting the retirement age and taxing all income will be part of it at there will have to be probably a higher tax. i don't think that higher taxes, and i'm not in that fortunate million category, higher taxes i understand are a dirty word. and what we have right now is politicians who are encouraging the public in unreality about this. the polls show a majority people are totally opposed to cutting
either medicare or social security benefits. they are also totally opposed to paying more taxes for it. right now we have no politicians in either party who have the courage to tell people 1-800, we cannot cut social security benefits. old people need that. i think also guess you could also have a means test in people who make a billion dollars a year who were 80 are 80 years old don't need social security but that is such a small percentage. inevitably social security is going to mean raising the retirement age in a sensible way. taxing everybody on all of their income for social security and trouble they raising it. if we don't do that, if we don't do that we are going to undo the most stellar achievement of the american 20th century which is the reduction of old-age poverty. medicare is harder. the medicare system again, i am talking pie-in-the-sky because nobody is talking right.
every morning on morning joe, they talk constantly about the need to cut entitlements, medicare and medicaid. medicare really does need a fix but it is the kind of fix that has to come the way it has come come -- the equivalent of old-age medicare does not cost european countries they are portion of their gross national product. why? first evolved there were real tight government feelings on certain procedures and if you have government cost control, for instance for the bush prescription drug plan which passed the prescription drug plan, great thing but without passing cost controls in which the government demands certain concessions for big farmer which can still make money charging a lot less for those drugs. of the government is going to be your biggest customers has the right to demand a ceiling on drugs which cause the same drugs, which cost so much less
than every other country in the developed world. there is no solution to providing universal health care for the old. without more government cost controls. but i believe also there really is no solution to the problems of medicare for the old. the financial ones without a solution to the rising cost of health health care and health insurance for the young. i write in my book, when i started working at the "washington post" in 1965 social security seemed a lot bigger on 105-dollar week salary than it did later but i didn't resent it. that was for my grandparents. however, if i had good health insurance from the "washington post" and health care did not cost that much then, now for the last 20 years i have been spending 15% of my after-tax income for bad private health insurance plans.
the next generation below the boomers of whom there are fewer than us is not going to so easily accept those taxes for medicare and social security at the cost of their own bad health insurance keeps rising. i don't believe the one problem can be solved without the other end by the way, i am not very impressed by the -- of all people over 65 on the last health care bill which whatever you think of that will, was a first attempt to address this issue. the majority of people over 65 are opposed to universal health care for anybody but themselves. sorry, bad thing. the aarp knows that. a lot of people resigned because the aarp supported that health care bill. there is no solution. the young are not going to support the old if you'll don't recognize the financial stresses of the young as well. >> host: one reviewer calls your book or called you a
reality instructor has says it is not a cheerful book. are people buying it? >> guest: i don't know actually. i'm a book tour land but i will tell you that people either love or they hate this book. the people who hated hated because they say it is too pessimistic. i call it realistic. the older people, the better they like it, the people i have had on my web site from people in their 70s and 80s this is what i wanted to say but didn't feel i could say. people either love this book and consider it saying something that they wanted to say or they consider it an absolute diatribe. >> host: you said your friends and fellow writers encouraged to end a book on a happy no. >> guest: note. >> guest: i tried. [laughter] >> host: did you think it came off happy? >> guest: no, well, they wanted me to end on what good advice to a half for people to
solve these problems. of course one of the things i say in this book is that old-age a self is not ultimately definable. the practical pieces of advice i have. they don't work for everyone. first of all, think people need to stop thinking about retirement unless their whole purpose in life is living in a sunny climate which i admit after this winter seems more attractive but the best place to be older is in cities with public transportation systems. there are a lot of them but there are some. >> host: one of the things that is so bad about a lot of this country is the minute you can no longer drive you can no longer have a life. people can be an excellent mental shape wanting to go to the theater, wanting to go out, wanting to go shopping, wanting to do all these things and are perfectly capable of doing that but not for reasons of vision or something like that.
thayer and unable to drive safely. in new york i see it every day. i see people pushing their walkers onto the lives of the buses and going all kinds of places. i see people with a little more money getting taxes but you do not need a car to live in only a few cities in this country. so we have a country without public transportation. it is actually in many transpeople moving back to the cities when they reach retirement age. i do think whether it is paid or unpaid work people who have their minds made to keeping gauged in working and in the community as long as they can. because it is going to guarantee they will never get alzheimer's or die and they can defy old-age forever, but because it makes for a meaningful life now. but apart from that, i don't know, in other words those are things that are controllable. you don't live the life of a vegetable and you are not one. you have with an active engage
life. you make the best of your physical situation. new york is in assisted living community. i do understand why more places like lansing michigan where my mother lives don't deliver food at home for people. they are cities that have a culture of delivery and people who don't. for old people on days when whatever you have got is acting up, being able to get her drugs delivered. in new york it is part of the cost of doing business. they don't charge extra for it. if you don't like the food that you have in your refrigerator or that your assisted living community is serving, being able to order in some chinese. this is a great thing. new york is an assisted living community in ways that a lot of cities are. i would think carefully about retiring to one of those retirement communities where even though they have services if you don't have a car you just can't get around. i was talking to a whole bunch of people in florida about that and they said the car thing, there were people who were young
so they say they were very worried about the driving issue. i think it is to lay. we have had social policies which encourage this kind of dispersal so that a lot of people are stuck, but i would think very carefully if i were younger boomer in my late 40s about wanting to retire to sun city. i did in my book with my grandmother who, one of the worst things -- make their practical reforms for long-term care facilities. they shouldn't segregate people with dementia from people without. one of the worst things about the last years my grandmother's life what she was one of the few people in the place where she was you he didn't have dementia. she couldn't sit down to dinner with someone have a normal conversation with them. that is a terrible thing. i remember the last time i saw her she said to me -- i took her out to a riverbank near beit and she was so happy. she said it is good to be among the living but the last thing she said in the last time i saw her was she looked out of the water and she said it is good to
philadelphia and was the first up on mr. rumsfeld spoke to her. it is an hour, 10 minutes. >> we thought we would have this little gathering because secretary rumsfeld's book book is not thing getting very much attention so we thought that we would make up for that by at least having one event. i know you are not doing anything else to make sure that the book gets the attention it deserves. it is appropriate we are doing this here in the national constitution center because one of the things the founders were serious about was, unlike the regimes in europe that they were starting this country to be unlike, they wanted to make sure that we had a record of our leaders, what they thought about what they did in office and also the hope that record would be open as soon as possible. >> i want to wait and get them to quiet down. >> and everyone here? i think there are some questions.
>> there is so much noise over to the right. is that what it is? it is a big crowd of people trying to get upstairs which were for an author is news you would like to hear. we will just speak loudly. in any case, they hope that we americans would have access to what our leaders thought and what they did they did as soon as possible so that we could learn from their successes and their shortcomings and as i was saying donald rumsfeld's book is very much in that tradition. i'm glad it is published and i think you are too. >> thank you. >> the book is on mr. rumsfeld's entire life but why don't we begin by talking about iraq and then work backwards. a great deal of the book is about iraq and i guess maybe the way to get into this is, here we are in the constitution center. we just passed by a statue of james madison in the other room. as you know madison gave a lot of thought to war and why the president should do and how
often american should get into war. if he came back and just asked you to tell him why did we go to war in iraq, what would you say? >> the answer would in the united states passed a resolution overwhelmingly favoring regime change in iraq in the 1990s by an overwhelming vote and was signed by president clinton. the united nations issued some 17 different resolutions, advising iraq that they should conform to the resolutions, the request of the united nations security council to allow the inspectors in to their country to provide the inspectors the information on their weapons of mass destruction, and the united
nations had been repeatedly rebuffed. president george w. 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 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 a world that was shooting at american and british aircraft. over 2000 times they were fired on. the joint chiefs of staff advised me in a president that they were concerned about the fact that eventually one of our planes, a british plane or airplanes will be shut down and the crews would be killed or taken hostage. third, the united states department of state had listed iraq as one of the countries on
the terrorist list so there were a series of things like that by way of background. next, the 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 had a country in iraq that had used chemical weapons on its own people, the kurds, the country that had used chemical weapons against its neighbor in iran, and a behavior pattern that persuaded people that they not only have them but would use them. and we were at a point in our countries history where the
lethality of weapons had arrived at a point that once you mix them with someone who was willing to proliferate those weapons and once you have given, i love them too with somebody who has demonstrated a willingness to use them as well as proliferate them, the danger, the globe lethality was so great that president bush went to the congress and told the congress what they believe. >> was there ever thought a thought of the war declaration for a resolution? >> no, i don't know. that would have been something they department of state would have done with the president. >> we have not at day declaration of war since 1941, since world war ii. not in the korean war, not in the vietnam war, not in the incursions president clinton was about then. does the war declaration mckinney difference and would it
have brought americans more into this? >> i doubt it. you never know. that is a row they didn't travel and i can't really say but i think the resolution passed by congress and then the resolutions by the united nations provided and underpinning. the other thing i would add to the former president is that president bush and colin powell and condi rice and george tenet and the vice president, all of us discussed the hope that they would not be a conflict and that 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 that saddam hussein very like he was purposely trying to make the world believe he had large stockpiles.
i think that he felt that he had friends in the united nations who might eat evil to stop the united kingdom, the united states and the various other countries that were supporting 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 cause them to be removed from kuwait but did not change the regime is good evidence that saddam hussein believe that america would not change the regime, that he would survive even though the united states might come in. so, there were a combination of things taking place that argued for it and there were a behavior -- there is a behavior pattern on the part of iraq misguided as it turned out and he refused to leave for this family which was offered and
urged. war is the failure of diplomacy and. >> eshoo quote in the book. one thing people i think will be very surprised to read about is president bush never asked you for your advice on whether the country should go to war against iraq. would that violate one of rumsfeld's rules? >> no, don't think so. i don't know that he asked colin powell or condi rice or the vice president. he was the president. he was elected by the american people. we had frequent meetings and discussed various aspects of the situation. they worked very hard with united nations to try to put additional pressure on saddam hussein so that he wouldn't 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 disagreed which no one did. >> how do you think people in the future will look back on that decision in iraq? >> it is hard to know. the road not traveled is always smoother and one looks at it and thinks what if and what if. i think a little known fact is that gadhafi, the head of libya at that point had a very aggressive nuclear program underway, and when the united states went in and change the regime in iraq, gadhafi who have been working very hard on a nuclear program, very high on the terrorist list, decided that he would forgo his nuclear program and he contacted some western leaders and indicated look, i do have this nuclear program. i am willing to stop it. i'm willing to have it inspected
that i have stopped it because i do not want to be suffering the same date as saddam hussein. so if you look at the region, there are some disadvantages that linger from the conflict. by the same token, you have a country of iraq that no longer has a truly vicious brutal regime that had used chemical weapons against its own people and its neighbors. it is gone. the iraqi people have fashioned a constitution, had elections under the constitution and are finding their way towards away from the repressive system towards a freer political and freer economic system. other countries in the region such as libya are engaged in a behavior pattern that is vastly better for the world than for the region, so there are minuses, negatives and there are
some pluses, and i think you are an outstanding historian and i think it will people like you who overtime will play all those things and with the benefit of some distance make some judgments. speeding i think a little while from now. let's go back to the beginning. you were born in chicago, grew up in one at the illinois which was not quite as prosperous of the town that it is now then. a little village, as she write about. went on to princeton. without a bit of a culture shock coming from the midwest? >> oh my goodness, it was indeed. i was told by the dean of the school i was going to go to a big 10 school and russell and the dean said no, no you have got to go to princeton. i said well, why? he said well, that is where you belong. i said i can go there, i don't
have the money. he said i will give a gateway scholarship, which he did and so i went and of course most of the people they are gone to private schools. they had taken the freshman courses before and i got there and i worked my head off. i spent all the time in the library or plain foot all are wrestling and never did much other than that. there were no women at the store store -- school. it rained a lot. [laughter] not my first choice and joys, my wife here was off at the university of colorado skiing her way through college and it was, it was a totally different experience for me. >> and you also heard a little talk by a princetonian who would run for president and nominated once. it is not in the book that i'm told that you actually know some of those words almost by heart. >> i do. >> don't tell who it was. >> it was at my senior banquet in 1954 and the former governor
of illinois named adlai stevenson, had lost to dwight eisenhower already in 52 and he later lost and 56. it was our senior banquet in college 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 orwell ever heard -- here. it was an evening event, and all of us just sat there listening to this really and -- he called himself an egghead and as a is a joke he used to say, what was it? >> have nothing to use -- lose but your yokes. >> exactly. i think all of us who were getting ready to go into the
military, all this came away with a sense of responsibility and one of the things he said was that young people in our country have a responsibility to help guide and direct the course of our country. and that the power of the american political system is virtually without measurement. and if america would have stumbled, the world would fall. it had an impact on me and i have put up a web site with hundreds of men most that i believe supports the book that we have got here, and you can go to an end note and go to the web site and actually see the entire memo as i quote a paragraph but i'm almost positive we have got adlai stevenson speech on my web site and i highly recommend it. it is a wonderfully inspiring
speech. >> although he did not tempt you to become a democrat obviously. was there any point in your early life that you would have been anything but a republican? >> oh my goodness, yes. during world war ii as a young man my father was in the navy out of the pacific on a carrier and franklin roosevelt was about the only president in my lifetime between 1932 and i guess he was sworn in 33 and i was born in july of 32 that i never knew herbert hoover personally. but franklin roosevelt was the president. he representative the united states of america in wartime and my parents, i and everyone i knew looked to him as the leader of our country and it was enormously important figure for a young man.
>> and you were so taken with stevenson and what he said, it seemed that had some influence over the fact that you ran for congress at the age of 29, very dark horse 1962. most people don't run for congress that early or at least they didn't in those days as you said. it was younger then it is nowadays. what moved you to get into that? >> well, i was the longest of long shots. i've been away from my home district for decade. i've gone for years to college, three nephews and maybe and then i worked in washington for two congressmen, one from ohio win-win for michigan. i had never met a congressman before my life and then i had gone back to chicago, home, and suddenly out of the blue a woman who was the congresswoman who had succeeded her husband, and they had occupied the congressional district from 1932 until 1960 and she announced she wasn't going to run for
re-election. i thought to myself my goodness that same family owned that district for my entire lifetime. either you run -- you may not get another chance. so i talked to joyce and she is has game she said and we got a whole bunch of friends from high school and college and god bless them they went out there and i think we have something like 1500 volunteers helping and people running around with car tops under cars saying rumsfeld for congress and earrings and buttons and bumper stickers and sure enough, i was fortunate. one of the things that might've helped michael is that president kennedy had gotten elected two years before and he was so young >> yet run for congress at 29. >> had run for congress at 29 and served in the senate for part of the term and then he ran for president but he was a young president and he had been elected and he was so attractive and charming and humorous.
>> in the first or the second presidency so you pose for a picture with eisenhower during the campaign and as a new congressman an i think within your first couple of months went to the white house and met kennedy. >> i did indeed and but the fact that we had such an attractive young president had an appeal in the district that made a kid 29 years old running for congress look like maybe he could actually be a congressman. >> and so it proved to be. you came to washington and among the things you did in washington and you write about it in the book was you attended a briefing by lyndon johnson on vietnam and tell little bit about that because you actually spoke up in that briefing in a way that i think very few people did. >> well this wonderful vice president, hubert humphrey was called a happier warrior and just a wonderfully energetic and appealing person. he was vice president and he had just come back from vietnam.
vietnam was increasingly becoming a major political factor in the country. it had not been when i first ran in 62 but by then i suppose of it was 64, 66. >> 65. >> 65. president johnson was getting complaints that members of congress didn't feel they were being informed about the war. >> however could they have said such a thing? >> yes, i know it. he invited the members of congress down to the white house and we all went down, at least a large number went down, 150 of us in it was winter as i recall. the invitation came late and we went in and it is not nothing for young congressman to be sitting in the white house being briefed by the president vice president just coming back from vietnam. hubert humphrey starts to give the briefing and lyndon baines johnson was commander in chief. he was bigger than life.
he would pop up every time someone would say something and answer the question and hubert would just about be ready to answer and stop and lyndon johnson would take over. >> that is pretty much the weight usually was dhume. >> yes, indeed. he was a powerful figure. >> and johnson was talking about the things he was doing to win the war and you piped up and said like --. >> as a congressman, 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 so where you stand kind of depends on where you sit but, 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 then there would be a bombing pause and he would hope that would cause a positive
reaction from the north vietnamese or the viet cong and it didn't. and, he and explaining what he was doing was asked a question by a democratic congressman named young from texas about why it wasn't working. his answer was in effect that it would work and of course the fact was if you do something for a period and then stop completely, it is confusing. it is confusing to our people. it is confusing to the enemy and i did ask the question and try to get some response from him as to how that combination of off and on was going to work. and he said well, the wait is going to work is more of the same. at that point he was in a bombing pause, which suggested that it might not work and of course it didn't.
he had a tough job and he did his best. >> in retrospect what you think the big mistakes were in vietnam and making the decision the way it was fought? >> well i wasn't in issues and it is hard to say for sure, but in the last analysis that country was going to have to find its way it sells and the task we had was not to try to go after the north vietnamese or the viet cong alone because all they have to do was disappear. they didn't have to fight a single battle. they could just disappear and a week later show back up. they could harvest the rice and then come right back and you could have walked u.s. forces from one end of the country to the other and they would would e just disappeared into the countryside. and then when you they pass they would come right back. in my view in retrospect, the
benefit of hindsight, the task was really to try to get the south vietnamese government capable of organizing and training and equipping their own forces and providing something for the people of south vietnam and the rest of vietnam vet offered a promise for them for a future. i think ho chi minh was more successful in suggesting to the vietnam -- the vietnamese people that the future under him would be brighter for those people. there was an argument made that the south vietnamese government was corrupt and out of touch with the people. that that is not unusual in the world for governments to be labeled corrupt. a great number of the governments in the world are corrupt and i don't know the north vietnamese government under ho chi minh was not corrupt. that was an argument and the combination of those things i think created a very difficult
circumstance for lyndon johnson and the united states of america. >> and in 1968 richard nixon was elected. he comes to you and asks you to take on the office of economic opportunity, one of the crown jewels of the great society, not very popular with republicans were nixon who basically wanted to dismantle it. not a great career move for you i think but you did it. what was your rationale? >> i had voted against the legislation when it was passed. sargent shriver who recently passed away, had been the person who headed up the office of economic opportunity and it started under resident kennedy. he and his brother bobby kennedy and the justice department had fashioned a program to try to assist the poor in the country and then president johnson came in with his big texas approach and enlarged it and it became
the war to eradicate poverty. if you define poverty as a certain percentage of our population, and then you try to eradicate if it is not possible because there is always going to be a certain percentage that fits in that category. and they immediately started a host of programs. there was the job corps. there was headstart. there were migrant programs, health care programs, drug programs, community action programs. there must have been 12 or 15 different programs under this umbrella of the war on poverty. ..
the local state governments were constantly being harassed by the program as well as we have the federal government supplying money to the office of economic opportunity that filed lawsuits against mayors and governors and councils all of the people regardless of political party it had nothing to do with politics. he was against the structure so it was widely disliked. estimate your your promising republican people even then talking about the possible future president is in this survey agreed cured for that?
>> well, joyce chezem u.n. usual humor and one night i got home and went to the icebox and there was a little sign that said he tackled the job that couldn't be done and with a smile he went right to it. he tackled the job that couldn't be done and couldn't do it. [laughter] you laugh. at 10:00 at night when i was reaching into a soda a and reading that, that throws you down, i tell you. [laughter] >> so you did that and went on to the next white house and you write in the book you wanted to leave washington after the election of 1972. did you see watergate coming? >> guest: i didn't at all. i ended up going over to nato as the ambassador right after the 1972 election and the pundits in washington couldn't believe that i would leave the power. i was a member of the cabinet in
the white house and suddenly i'm going off to brussels belgium and looked like siberia to the political people in the white house because the proximity to power is considered in washington what one would want and i did the opposite. i went thousands of miles in the other direction. someone wrote in a magazine in washington after watergate broke who is the smartest man in washington? answer, donald rumsfeld. statement, but he's not in washington. and sir, that's right. [laughter] he and i got a reputation for being smart instead of lucky. to richard nixon had been reelected by one of the biggest margins in the history of the country. he won every state in the union accept massachusetts in the district of columbia. no one could imagine that i would want to get away and i
would want to be away from that as opposed to in the middle of it but we took our family and went to belgium and we have a truly wonderful experience representing our country overseas. >> and gerald ford becomes president after the resignation and your great friend and colleague in the house in the 1960's. he said he wanted a staff at the wheel everyone would report that the president. your body after month he thought that wasn't working very well. it's been said a lot people that worked for president ford were very much impressed with the fact the presidential power. did you see signs of that? >> gerald ford was a legislator and he was a minority leader and function on the spokes of the wheel concept where everyone could come to see him and he liked people. he was a gracious wonderfully warm and decent man and anyone
who wanted to have access to him could and his minority leader of the united states house of representatives worked but as a positive. the president of the united states can't do that. it doesn't work. it's dysfunctional and he had watched the nixon white house, and i believe he believed part of the reason for nixon's downfall was the result was called the berlin wall, white house staff system run by bob haldeman and john ehrlichman that he called the berlin wall because they both had names the found in german mix vv commesso he didn't want that. and he said he had established this and he asked -- he asked how to stay on and then it turned out he felt he couldn't keep him and he went over as the allied commander in europe and asked me to come and i told him
i wouldn't do it. it couldn't be done, the demography design wasn't going to work and he said i know that now but i want to help you get from where i am to where i want to be and give you a little slab of where we navigate over to the national white house chief of staff system. >> cheney said serving as the chief of staff house your successor under the president ford he's also many signs of the fact presidents were constrained in the wake of the watergate, congress was moving in and the course of some extent and he said when it became vice president one of the things he hoped to do is expand presidential power and move the pendulum the other way. did you feel the same way? >> when you have an embattled president, and functioning in the white house that at that point was the illegitimate, watergate and trained the reservoir of trust in the
country, and for the first time in history a president of the united states have to resign. it was a stunning event. in our country and in the world. when you train the reservoir of trust which is how we govern we don't govern by command, we govern by persuasion and three leadership and you have to be able to persuade and if there's no trust you can't persuade. people don't respond. and the white house was in that terrible, terrible circumstances the effect of that was that he had a dilemma should he go for continuity which would reassure the american people that he couldn't who had never been
elected with no campaign staff, no platform, no knowledge about the country having campaigned the country, no base of support he felt the need to reassure the country that there would be continuity and policy. the alternative would have been which i favored he would favor a change. my view was that if that institution of the white house was deemed legitimate and not trustworthy then-president ford had to create sufficient change that would be seen not as a continuum of the nixon ford white house, but as the ford white house. and he made unef changes in the cabinet and the staff that people would see him as stepping forward with a new team. he opted for continuity, and pay the penalty. >> you think he shouldn't have? >> i think that he should have made enough changes. he was such a decent man he said
i don't want to let anyone go and have it appear that they did something wrong because there were a handful of people who did something wrong in that white house and it wasn't a large number and there were wonderful people. pat moynihan was there and alan greenspan and george shultz and a host of dr. stein and dr. wittman and so many people of wonderful reputations and gerald ford couldn't bring himself to fire anybody. he didn't want to do it because he felt it would be a tarnished. >> you later kristen the book of the story of how fielder president george h. w. bush went to the cia in 1975. you want to tell us the story and when you feel the real story was? >> what do you mean what i feel real story was? [laughter]
>> tell the full story and then god's troup? [laughter] >> george herbert walker bush came to congress i think in 1966. i had been elected in 62 and he came with a wonderful group of people and i knew him and served in the congress with him and he at some point in the debris think running for the senate and losing and then he went over to china as a representative and he wanted to come back and he told president ford he wanted to come back and serve the executive position and i was chief of staff in the white house and periodically i would be asked by the president to send a group of names to the attorney-general or the director of the cia when bill colby said he wanted to leave for another cabinet officer in that part of housing and urban development so the staff in the white house would produce these documents of six or eight names of people and here's the pros and cons and the people who favor and then the
president will get them and ask to have the fbi to deutsch or have other people that the amount and that went in when the president said the director colby wanted to leave the cia and push's name was on that list with the staff and people had first come second, fourth of all of the line or below the line and for whatever reason there was a myth created because i have been considered vi president when president ford picked nelson rockefeller -- and george herbert walker bush had been considered that we were competitive and so the myth cannot when he was sent to the cia the senate said we won't confirm you unless you agree he will not be vice president
produce what kind of rule him out. and i told president ford i thought he should do that he should definitely not allow the senate to tell him who the country should have as a vice presidential nominee. and later urged him not to agree to. the facts or george herbert walker bush begged the president to tell him he wouldn't be vp he wanted to be the director of the cia and his wife wrote a book and said he was thrilled to be nominated for that and somehow the mckennon now that ali was the one that masterminded all of this and a range for him not to be considered a vice president -- began to write to believe that. >> i don't know that the myth persists that and i felt he was tired of it and i wrote president ford and said give me a letter that tells you the facts are and he wrote back and said you're right george herbert
walker bush begged to be the head of the cia, wanted to be ahead of the cia, was delighted to be the head of the cia and he had nothing to do that and that is the long and short of it. >> in our world meredith's and furies get strung out over a period of time until lives like the argentine stone and not withstanding the fact they are totally based and mid air without any proof or substance at all so let's move the clock up since we don't have a lot of time. in 2000 george bush's chief of sunni elected president and you go to see him. did you have any thoughts you'd be acted on to the cabinet? >> no, i was an old man. [laughter] >> we had gone to our 50th high school reunion in illinois and in the year 2018 and september with her perception and wisdom and foresight announced this was
the beginning of the rural period this was september of 2000 and we had no more idea in the world that lie within the up back in the government and had no particular desire year and we were happy and life was good. i had been in business and pergola of years and was successful and served as the chairman of several government commissions. one of the ballistic missile and one on and felt i was contributing in a volunteer way. >> when you consider a defense, and things changed the pentagon since 1977? could >> i wish i knew the numbers but the congressional staff had ballooned and had grown by the multiple two or three or four. the defense authorization bill was a piece of legislation to
congress passes and then the at the conference and then there's a piece of paper that represents the authorization bill telling the department of defense when it can do for the next year when i left 60 defense in 1976 the defense authorization bill had 74 pages. when i came back in the year 2000, the defense authorization bill had something like 574 pages. that's going to be off by a few but it's good enough for the government work. you get a sense of what had changed. what it changed his the department of defense is enormous and there is no way that it can be efficiently run. the government is almost inherently inefficient because it can't buy. unlike a business when you drive
down any street in philadelphia and see the retail operation the was there there one day and gone the next it can feel. the government stays. so the inefficiencies compound and the affect is that it is an efficient and to the extent something's not efficient congress concerned about representing the constituency feeling the responsibility for oversight, legislative oversight sees something wrong and decides when to fix it is to recall your another report or high year more people to monitor something or have more hearings to look into so what you see is how many people are old enough to remember oliver struggles. remember a great big guy with a for this big and so many over boulder that he couldn't move and no one of the threads is the
thousands of threats that prevented boehler from moving and that's where we have arrived in the government. so much oversight and so many pages of microrequirements and so many reports to be filed it consumes an enormous amount of time and there are over tindals and lawyers in the department of defense. imagine i've got nothing against lawyers pick, pipe >> all of the lawyers are rushing out of the room. >> i don't know how the convention with 10,000 lawyers. [laughter] >> we haven't got much time and i want to get to the other things that happened during that decade. 9/11. in retrospect you said 9/11
could have been averted if you were able to sort of rewind the state's denver earlier presidents believed differently. was that to some extent the result of things the president did or did not do? >> i am not one who can answer a question like that. on the one hand just logically you say to yourself their must have been some things that might have been done differently. on the other hand, the task of the intelligence community is truly difficult. this just a very, very tough job. the world is a big place. the cherished networks and the 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 literally dozens of instances where our intelligence community failed to predict something. there was a very fine book called pearl harbor by roberta wohlstetter and the foreword to the book was written by i think at harvard at the time named dr. thomas schelling and he wrote this and about surprise and he characterized peru herber has a figure of imagination, and of course there were some hearings after pearl harbor, what might have been done, who might have known, was it right to have a concentration of battleships mobilized and vulnerable as they were with all of the planes on the ground i
look back on 9/11 and i am aware of the reappraisals and the lessons learned from studies that have been done and there's no question, the fact the united states of america cash in the case of somalia after being attacked pulled back and the instance of he was attacked and ships pulled away and i think it was bosnia some folks went across the line and were captured and we pulled back several kilometers. in lebanon after the marines were killed and the barracks at the airport in the root of the united states withdrew their forces. after the towers in the u.s. siskel 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 that, the terrorists that organized these kinds of activities, they don't have countries to defend. the don't have populations to defend, the don't have real estate and infrastructure they want to protect. they operate in the shadows and you can launch an awful lot of cruise missiles and a job an awful lot of moms and too precious little damage to the terrorist network and they came away having drawn a lesson in have said as much, osama bin ladens said on several occasions on video that the united states with the paper tiger and the united states was hit, it will react, it would withdraw. it won't reach out and do damage to the people in closing that damage on the country. so someone could make a case that that patterned the
weaknesses provocative to the extent we believe in the manner that is weak and allows this kind of things that it provokes people into doing things they might otherwise not to. if they thought the punishment for doing it, but. the last thing i would do is to say that there was something somebody could have done to have prevented september 11th. i just would say like pearl harbor rose failure of imagination and probably relatively understandable steed of imagination. >> media couple questions from the audience. one is about iraq and the imam. do you think that is a fair comparison? >> there are certainly similarities and certainly notable differences between the two.
but the vietnamese are not likely to attack the united states of america. the terrorist threat, the dangers, and iraq was on the terrorist list, the terrorist threat was a very real one to the country and al qaeda had demonstrated that it would come and attack america. there was no link between al qaeda and iraq there certainly was between afghanistan and iraq coming in iraq was on the terrorist list and had a pattern of having developed weapons of mass destruction so there were these things that affected it, but i would say that i think the differences were greater than the similarities but there were similarities.
>> how about the case to the and i both know a lot of people that worked for lyndon johnson and one thing i often say the tough thing for them is when someone comes to them and says are lost my son in vietnam to why did he die? what would you say? >> anyone in the position of responsibility when the conflict occurs and as we would go to the hospitals and the wounded whose lives are changed forever meet with their families and the families of those who had killed, we would think to ourselves we are going in. what is it we could say or do the would help them understand the appreciation that we in america have for the sacrifice,
the individual sacrifice and the sacrifice of the families as well because they sacrifice, and they serve and we would come out of those meetings inspired not feeling we have helped them and that feeling they have helped us the pride they have in their service, the cohesion and they feel with of the units they are in and their desire to get back to their units you just could not fail to come out of the meetings inspired by the young men and women. the big difference between the vietnam war and conflict today is that thanks to milton friedman and richard nixon and the congress we have an all volunteer military every single one of those people who serve
the country serve because they want to serve, the serve because the consciously decided they wanted to raise their hands and they want to go and protect our country, and the dedication and that patriotism and pride that the field is so powerful. now how does one answer that? i guess the answer is that -- >> with the johnston people say is don't push us to tell exactly what the sacrifices come 84. does anyone ever do that when you see them? >> sure. >> what does that mean? world war ii i would assume that isn't hard. but the war like iraq or dnr or something that isn't, you know, full throttle, what do you say? >> a war this army is against me become air force against air force, that's clear, that's
understandable. it starts and ends. it ended in world war ii on the misery, the battleship with the signing ceremony. what we went through the cold war was different. as many decades long. it was and is the logical competition of ideas and there was never going to be a signing ceremony. what we are in today is much more like that. it is a longer period what time after it took, it's a competition of ideas, but for whatever reason we are hesitant and not skillful and engaging in the competition of ideas. we recognize the overwhelming majority of the muslims in the face of the earth are fine people who have a religion that may be different from christianity or judaism and other religions but they are not radical, they are not terrorism terrorists. they're fine people. yet there's a small minority of muslims that have engaged in
terrorist acts that organize to do those things, and we are reluctant to pick up the the date and pick up those ideas. they are not reluctant. they are recruiting, raising money, organizing, and they are now planning attacks against the nation's state concept because they have a conviction that it is they're calling to do that. so the fact we are not willing to engage in that debate or not skillful at it or reluctant to do with leaves people with the vagueness as to why people have to do things. the wonderful thing i found with the men and women in the armed forces is that they are there whether they are serving in korea or bosnia or iraq or afghanistan. they know what you're doing.
the understand, they are proud of what they're doing. and modern communications and e-mails they are able to communicate with their families and their families and of having a sense of what you're doing and why they are doing it. and when there is a loss of life it is heartbreaking. when there is a loss of them it's heartbreaking. did you talk to those families and talk to those people and they don't ask why was i there. they know why they are there and they are proud to say we, are there. and we are a very fortunate country. >> that's for sure. you are very close student of leadership as well as the leader yourself. [applause] and to have seen a lot of leaders. i guess what i was thinking of is here is the leading scholar on presidential leadership keith
>> and then people read his letters and saw that this man was knowledgeable and while not a micromanager, a strategic leader. and a superb and highly successful strategic leader. george w. bush was described as not curious. not knowledgeable. he'd gone to harvard business school, he had gone to yale, i guess, and was clearly is an intelligent human being. i mean i didn't know the man. i had worked with his father in congress. but i didn't know that 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 that developed relationships that were constructive for our country. and yet he was -- people made fun of it. all of those presidents. i don't know quite what it is about our society that does that, but i must say i've watched a lot of presidents and i would say that george w. bush -- i mean you think what he did with the surge in iraq. >> was that something that you would have supported had you stayed on? >> indeed. what he did was interesting. a lot of things combined to make it work. the on bar awakening took place, the training equipping of the iraqi military had come to a very advanced point where we had hundreds of thousands of iraqis trained and ready to
participate. the iraqi government had matured and was beginning to provide more skillful leadership in the country. what he did -- what he added i forget what it was 20, 25,000 additional troops. we had done that three times. it wasn't the troops. he galvanized the situation in iraq by his boldness. when the congress was about ready to cut off the funds, he made a decision to increase the number of troops. attend caused the people in iraq to say my goodness, he means business. he's not looking for a way out. he's looking to win. that caused the political situation in that country to gel and coalesce and the maliki government went into the south and took care of some of the diffidence. it wasn't an army, people who came out in the street and made demonstrations. they went quiet.
they didn't know who would happen. the center of gravity had shifted from iraq to the united states. as they say in the military, the center of gravity, 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 to be successful in the end. >> exactly. he deserves a lot of credit for that. >> how much should the war be judged by the success? let's say that lyndon johnson 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 catastrophe, ended by success. they are difficult, hard, enemy
has a brain, eisenhower, i think said, the plan is worthless. planning is everything. and the plan is worthless. because the enemy -- >> that was one the rumsfeld's rules too. >> when i say rumsfeld 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 you try to do something, for every offense, there's a defense. for every defense, there's an offense. there's a constant change that takes place on the battle field. 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 what we're living in. it is asymmetric, it's not similar -- symmetric. it's ever changing, it's going
to be a challenge for the leadership and the challenge for the country. but the growing of the weapons, what president bush was faced with when he made his decision on iraq was there a study by john hopkins university called dark winter. and if my memory serves me collectly, i -- what the series of experts got together and they said, what if we took smallpox and put it in three locations in the united states of america? in a relatively short period of months, done by john hopkins university concluded. i'm going to wrong by a bit, but it concluded that something in the neighborhood of 800,000 americans would be dead. someone here knows that exact number. is that?
that's close enough. a multiple of that would be infected with small pox. think of that. think of the inability to prove from state to state. free people. we want to get up, go where we want, say what we want, and think what we want. the purpose of terrorism is not to kill people. the purpose of terrorism is to terrorize and alter your behavior. imagine this country if we had 800,000 people dead from small pox and marshal law imposed across our country. that studies exists, it's available. and it is that concern that caused george w. bush and his administration to step up and decide that you couldn't wait to be attacked again. the only thing you could do
would be to decide to try to put pressure on terrorists states, and put pressure on terrorists networks, and make every single thing they do harder. harder to raise money, harder to move, harder to communicate with each other. and keep that pressure up so that they can't collect themselves to the point where they can engage and act like that against our country. >> we've got just a couple more minutes. so i'll ask two more questions. one is what should an historian write about donald rumsfeld's time? second time at the pentagon? >> i think i'd give it ten or 20 years. i think perspective is good. journalist like to think that they write the first draft of history. i don't know that i'd used the word history with the first draft. i served a lot of years in
government. now i've been out for four. i debated whether i should write a short book in a year and use my memory, or digitize the incredible archive that i've accrued over my lifetime and start inviting people to discuss the events and phase. if you look at the acknowledgment section, i don't know how many people are listed there, but it's many, many, many dozen. we would talk and transcribe and go back to the records. then i've said if i got the archive, why shouldn't be digitize it and see if we can make it available to the reader. i'm told that maybe for the first time we know are going to be -- having availablen 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 you can look at the end note and see
the source where i've cited something. and then you can go to the web site and pull up the entire document. and see right there important the context or the perspective that i've provided which i've worked my dyslexic dickens to try to make it accurate and fair and correct. you can look at the entire document and say to yourself, i would have done it this way, or i would have done it that way. but there are thousands of pages of documents, hundreds of pages, many of which had been declassified that are able on the web site. >> which is great. okay. we'll have document. what should we write in 20 years? >> 20 years, i'll be 98 years old. you can write whatever you want. [applause] [applause]
>> final question. this book as i've mentioned has very detailed accounts of secretary rumsfeld's encountered with all sorts of public figures, world leaders, people in very influential and important decisions. but maybe one the most intriguing is your encounter with elvis. why don't you tell us about that? [laughter] >> oh my goodness. elvis presley. a lot of his songs were really not my thing. [laughter] >> why does that not surprise me? [laughter] >> but on any given sunday today if joyce and i can't get to church, we have some elvis presley tapes singing gospel. and they are wonderful. we play them sunday after sunday after sunday. how did all of this happen?
when i was running the so-called war on poverty, sami davis jr. was on the advisory board. and he cared about the country and he cared about the poor, and he -- i was out in las vegas giving a speech and it happened to coincide with his 100th performance at one the casinos. the ands or something. so we went to see his show. he and his would have were there. he performed, and he was spectacular. i mean it wasn't an accident they called sami -- sammy davis jr. the worlds great entertainer. 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 he is. the next night we went to another casino. he went in and got a dinner table. if you are sammy davis in las
vegas, you get a good table. the four of us sat down and it was elvis presley. sammy believed that elvis was the best performance in town. he was in his later years and he was large. he was wearing a sequin jump suit. >> not quite the uniform of the next white house? >> no, no, no, no. of course, i'd never seen the man and i'd never heard the man. and he had these -- what color is it chartreuse? red? pink? scarlet? he had scarlet scarfs, and he would wipe his face. he'd stand up there and sing. it was fantastic. he'd sing the most ridiculous thing in the world and people would cheer and yell and love it. and i'd sit there and go like this. then he would sing a ballot and it was absolutely beautiful. i mean this man had a voice that
was spectacular. and i love country music and i love ballots. and he would sing and it would just -- you'd be carried away with it. then he'd take the scarf, wipe the face, sweat off, and throw it out in the crowd and everywhere would scream. he through one to davis. davis gave it to joyce. and it's framed. [cheers and applause] >> what happened was, afterwords sammy said to joint joyce, come, we're going to go back to the dressing room. i'm not the type that hangs around las vegas dressing rooms. you go in this place and it's large. here are all of these people, sammy is getting dressed, and he's walking around and all of the show girls are there, and there are very attractive women with trays selling celebrates and selling western jewelry and turquoise and what have you? all of the hangers on and staff.
joyce gets carried away. he's talking to somebody. she couldn't find me. and she finally looked around the room and way off in the corner, elvis presley had me cornered. i was around the corner and he was -- he's big. and he was like this and 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 won't canada, or they refused. and he went in and served in the united states army and served in germany, and he wanted to talk about it. he loved the army. he valued his time serving. he was sitting there going back and forth with me about this and that and the other thing. and i just found it fascinating that here was this man who a minute ago had been up there wiping the sweat off of his face and throwing it. here were all of the gorgeous
women walking around the dressing room. he was standing there question after question for the united states army. it says a lot for the man. >> what can i do after that but say thank you, mr. secretary. thank you all for being here. [applause] [applause] >> up next, on c-span2, author bruce riedel on the u.s. relationship with pakistan. then the u.s. ambassador to libya --
>> this weekend, panels on science, american history, climate change, and the constitution, and call ins with larry flynn, sally pipes, and walletter moseley, -- walter moseley, just a few of the highlights. get the entire schedule, and get our schedule sent directly to your inbox. sign up for booktv alert. >> sunday from the "los angeles times" festival of books.
>> bruce riedel is the author of the book "deadly embrace" about the u.s.' relationship with pakistan. he recently talked about pakistan's role and the global jihad movement. from the politics and prose book tv, this is 40 minutes. >> politics and prose's timing is exquisite for a number of reasons. one is it is almost exactly now two years ago from the day in which i finished the first draft of the strategic review for president obama on american policy towards afghanistan and pakistan. and we began the laborious process of vetting it through the united states government. it was almost exactly two years ago that i flew with the president on air force one to go
over it on a four-hour flight. at this time, i'm going to give my standard disclaimer. my views are solely my view. they are not the views of the obama administration or the president. please do not confuse whatever i have to say with the views of the obama administration. secondly, of course, as you noted in the introduction, we are in the midst of a major crisis between the u.s. and pakistan. "the deadly embrace" has become literally quite deadly in the last month. raymond davis who was apparently an american diplomat. i don't know who he works for. don't ask me. i can't confirm who he works for. shot to death two pakistani citizens, a third pakistani citizen was killed by another american driving a vehicle coming to his rescue. and in the weekend after those
deaths, the widow of one of the two committed suicide. because she believed that her government would not stand up to the united states of america. the family has subsequently said that if pakistan gives raymond davis back to the united states, they will all commit suicide, one at a time. now, that may all be a bluff. but there are aren't a lot of governments in the work that are going to call their own citizens bluff on a threat like that. we have high drama, spy versus spy, and it comes after an increasingly difficult relationship over the last several months. in december, cia's chief of station was in islamabad, the highest cia officer in the country was named in the pakistani press. what we refer to as he was outed. he had to be pulled out the
country literally over night. if that wasn't bad enough, "the new york times" and "washington post" citing cia sources on background that he had been outed by the pakistani intelligent service, the interservice intelligence director for isi. i've been engaged with liaison affairs with governments for many years. we don't usually out each other and talk about it in the newspaper. since the arrest of mr. davis, the president has said very clearly he is a diplomat and must be given diplomatic immunity. we have already canceled a trilateral meeting to work on cooperation in the war against al qaeda and the taliban. zardari's march visit to the united states is in jeopardy, and president obama's promise to
visit pakistan in 2011 is clearly in jeopardy. and if this wasn't bad enough, if you listen carefully, spokesman or both sides, there's a sense of doom and foreboding behind the relationship. pakistan ice chief of army staff was here last fall. when he went home to pakistan, he said he would be most bullied man in the world. yes, that's not normal in mill to mill relations. and if you read carefully, there's clear concern in our government that there could be a 9/11 type mass casualty attack on the united states, dateline to pakistan at any time. last may we almost had one at times square.
there's concern there would be another mumbai-style attack. there's concern that i write about in my book that pakistan could become a jihadist. that's thinking the unthinkable in terms of pakistan. it's not the most likely outcome, it's not immeant, it's not inevitable. but for the first time in pakistani history, i think it's become a real possibility. the stakes here couldn't be larger. pakistan is the 6th most populous country in the world, who will soon within a decade be the 5th largest country in the world. it is the secondest largest muslim and will surprise indonesia within a decade. it has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world. today pakistan is on the cusp of becoming the 5th largest nuclear weapons power in the world. for those of you who don't walk another with a cheat sheet, who are the top five?
they are, of course, us, russia, china, france, and the united kingdom. pakistan is close to surpassing united kingdom and on a trajectory to make it the 4th largest. pakistan is the host to more terrorists groups than any other nation. per square kilometer, you can't find more terrorists. it's impossible of the gaza strip. pakistan has an extraordinary relationship. it has been the patron of many groups, the one that attacked mumbai. it was a subsidiary with the isi, yet, it is at war with others. it is an extremely violent war. last year there were over 2,000 terrorists attacks.
near 10,000 pakistanis were wounded. how do we get here? that's a subject that i try to address in the deadly embrace. i try to do it by looking at three narratives. the first narrative is pakistan's own internal development. the second is pakistani bilateral, and the third is the rise of the global jihad. what we think of here in america is al qaeda, but it is a much larger movement of the like-minded organization that we share the same goals, not the same leadership as al qaeda. we briefly turn to each. pakistan's internal history is a fascinating story. extraordinarily complex. at one level, there's a struggle between those that created pakistan, who had a vision of a pakistan that was going to be a modern, democratic, largely secular state that would look a
lot like england in the river valley. against him from the start were islamic extremist who originally opposed immigration of pakistan, because they wanted to control all of the subcontinent, and have now come around to waging war against india. then there's the struggle between the civilian government and the military. pakistan has a military which has seized power four times in some 60 years. one of those seized power rightly deserves the title of the grandfather of the modern global islamic jihad in the 1980s. he was our partner in the war against the soviet union. we'll come back to that. these various struggles interact constantly with the pakistan. making it a very unpredictable mix. and pakistani history is also littered with murders and assassinations. from the first prime minister
who was murdered in 1942, to mr. bhutto who was murdered two years ago. to the murder of the governor of punjab. in most cases, we don't know who did it. it's like we are reading a agatha cristie model. we never know. they are all mysteries. the u.s. bilateral relationship is a roller coaster. we've gone up and down. we've been best friends, most allied country in the world, and we've been at each other's throats. if this is a soap opera on television, it could get number one ratings. because the drama is so high. all of the ups are built around great secret projects. the youtube base that flew over the soviet union, the trip to china, the war against the
soviets, and more recently, the war against al qaeda. all of these secrets, of course, don't remain secrets for very long at all. they all come out. one standard though, is that the united states consistently has always supported and endorsed the military dictators. we love pakistan's generals when they take over. sometimes in the beginning we're initially reluctant. soon we come around. and it's bipartisan. republicans and democrats alike have fallen in love with pakistani generals. there's also great individuals, charlie wilson, great movie, but also larry presler, a little known senator who's bill cut off military assistance to pakistan. when we cut off, we told the pakistanis we were not going to deliver 30 some odd f-16
aircrafts they had ordered and paid for, we weren't going to give them their money back, and we were going to charge them back. larry presler is not well known in america, every pakistani knows who he is. america is a fair weather friend. they see us as a tissue. you use it and you throw it away. i'll leave your imagination to the other things they come up with. lastly the global jihad. it was born in pakistan and the war against the soviets. don't get me wrong, i think what we did in the 1980s was the right thing. we changed history. we brought down an evil empire
and we freed millions of people. one the unintended consequences was to create a frankenstein. we all know pakistan, but i try to sell you abdul, a palestinian who was the intellectual forefather. he wrote the formative pieces about al qaeda's philosophy and narrative. he is the founder, co-founder with osama bin laden of the services bureau, which became al qaeda, he's the co-founder of the group that attacked mumbai, and he is a significant figure in the founding of hamas in the gaza strip. he's the trifecta of international terrorism. it's the combination of these three things together that has produced the uniquely
combustible and dangerous pakistan today. so what to do about it? well, i've learned in book talks that i'm supposed to leave you with a tease. and not tell you the last chapter, otherwise, why would you buy the book? so my tease is my answer to what to do about it is in the last chapter. i'll start with a simple rule. humility. 60 years of american interaction with pakistan demonstrates we can do a great deal of harm. very little evidence that we can do a lot of good in pakistan. so take the hippocratic oath to begin with. do not support the generals at the expense of the politicians, even though the politicians as are corrupt as can be. there are no heros in this story. there's no thomas jefferson. there's no john adams.
there's a lot of aaron byrds. that's what we have to work with. secondly, there are no magic bullets, there's no simple solution to the problem. we can't buy off pakistan. we tried to do that in the last decade. we gave them $12 billion in unaccounted funds. that's an estimate. because nobody in the united states government knows how much we actually gave them. we can't invade them. this is a country twice the size of california with the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world. invasion is crazy. but under some circumstances, you can envision an american president with very few options otherwise the use of military force. there are extraordinarily difficult tradeoffs in this relationship. and the most difficult ones involve around the nature of our relationship with the isi. the isi is our most important
partner in the war against al qaeda. the isi has delivered more al qaeda prisoners and has given us more targets than any other liaison and yet is our most difficult at the same time. leon panetta in hearings just a few weeks ago summed it up. this is the most complicated thing he's ever seen in government. leon panetta has been around in government for a long time. just one final comment before i take your questions. and comments. the research for this book was obviously difficult to do. when talking about secret intelligence organizations, the cia does not like to have it's truths revealed, even by the own former employees. the i circumstances -- isi doesn't like anybody to smoke around i circumstances -- isi.
and al qaeda and taliban have always turned down my request to interview. what i have been able to do over the course in many years in government and since i left government speak with the interview of many of the key figures in the story, including four presidents, including secretary of state, including every american ambassador to pakistan, including every director general of the isi since the 1980s. i spent a great deal of time with mrs. bhutto, i spent time interviewing president bushar. did they all tell me the truth? no. but at least i've done a job of reaching out and trying to get everybody's story. with that, i look forward to your questions. if you want to ask me what to do about it is the first question,
of course, i'm going to tell you. [applause] [applause] >> okay. step up to the mike please. >> well, if you can summarize what you are going to do about it. it was a very tempting tease. >> first of all, we need to make sure when we work with pakistan, we do not undermine the civilians. that doesn't mean not dealing with the military, but it means always ranking our priorities and engaging with the civilians first. not because we are in love with president zardari or his likely replacements, but because we should be supportive of a process. one the things i would emphasize about pakistan today is that when we look back over at history, this is a country that
has caught consistently for democracy. not very effective. but they have gotten rid of four military dictators. it's not egypt. egypt sat under the military dictator for 30 years. pakistan does not sit still. pakistani want democracy. there are consistencies in pakistan that are seeking democracy, and we need to help enable them, not undermind them. secondly, we need to address the issue that addresses the pakistani army. that's the relationship with india. when the president set up afghan and pakistan special envoy office, he got half right. you can't deal with afghanistan without dealing with pakistan. but the other half is equally important. you can't deal with pakistan without addressing india. we cannot be a immediate creator between india and pakistan.
the indians will refuse that. but we can be a facilitator. in as otherwise somewhat grim pitch, let me give you a piece of good news. last week after pakistan agreed to assume their negotiation process, which was subspended after mumbai, not because either sides thinks there's a great chance of success, but because both sides realize there's not viable alternative. and we should encourage that process. there are thing that is we can help do to push india and pakistan towards a resolution of their small differences and ultimately their big differences. let me give you one small difference. if you want to fly from islamabad to new delhi, you can't get there. you got to go to mumbai, tehran, there are almost no direct flights between these two
countries. there is less than one percent of the gdp is engaged in trade with each other. this is not normal, this is not natural. encouraging change in south asia is big. it is the big idea of the united states for support. >> could you please comment on pakistan's dilemma in trying to prevent the forces crossing their borders into afghanistan that continues as such a concern to our forces knowing that the enemy seems to be escaping into pakistan so frequently? >> the forces we are fighting in afghanistan are primarily the afghan taliban that come within several different flavors. the pakistani government in the 1990s did not create the
afghan taliban, but they were the midwife to it's creation. the pakistani army believes to this day that the afghan taliban is an asset for them. sooner or later, the americans are going to leave afghanistan, and there will be a struggle for influence there, and their biggest asset is the afghan taliban. up until a year or so ago, they believe victory was in sight. they were going to win in afghanistan. we were going to pull out. hold on to your asset if you think they are about to win. but over the course of the last decade, the pakistani taliban has also -- i'm sorry, the afghan taliban has also given birth to a mini me, the pakistani taliban. which targets the government of pakistan. so the pakistani military has an extraordinarily difficult job of
trying to parse the difference. they are still convinced the best way to deal with this is to fight those who are your enemy and use those who are your asset for the future. the united states in a very american way, of course, says, do more. you got to take the entire thing down. pakistani's look at us and say you are hopelessly naive. first of all, you won't be here when push comes to shove. secondly, we need the people. we want to continue to have relationships with them. this conflict over this fundamental issue is what is at the hard of this spy versus spy battle today going on in africa and pakistan. these different points of view.
>> i immigrated from india to the united states 30 years ago. and my question is in the event of a piece between kashmir and over kashmir between pakistan and india, there were reports even once to cease fire on the agreement between now and pakistan over kashmir. my question is if the army could control after the islamic radicals in the united states and pakistan, would there ever be a solution -- will there be a time where the pakistan could be like india? because thomas friedman wrote two years ago concerning pakistan and india, the democracy in of india gave raise to what india is today whereas the dictatorship and pakistan that led to all of those.
so my question will there ever be because the people are the same culture and the language? so your comment and question -- answer. >> there is a very important question. let me just for the benefit of the rest of the audience put a little bit of perspective here. general mushar after he first tried nuclear implementation and several terrorists attacks and threats came around. he's a slow learner, but he got the right outcome. the outcome that he negotiated with the indians, and i've talked to him about it and i've talked to the indians, everyone agrees on what it was. it was a deal in which the cease fire line in kashmir would be recognized as an important border so that indian territorial integrity would be expected, but it would be a permable border.
so kashmir can go back and forth a little bit like maryland and virginia, a lot more like europe where there's not a lot of border. unfortunately, the sell by date with the pakistani people expired at this critical moment. he says his partner was general kiani. if that's true, there's some glimmer of hope here. this is a good deal for india. indians who think about it may feel some level of satisfaction in watching their arrival and trouble. but if they think about it at all, they know that their vision of a bright, shining india, one the great leaders of the 21st century is impossible if you are connected to a failed state or
worse a jihadist state next door which has hundreds of nuclear bombs target on you. i am convinced that prime minister in particular understands this. it's a good deal for the kashmiris more than anyone else. they have lived in a nightmare for many, many years. the hard part is selling it to pakistan. the good news here is president zardari wants to do it. that's why he embarked, and that's why mumbai happened. the dark forces in pakistan wanted to prevent it from going through and carried out an operation to do so and succeed. we cannot make this happen, but we can help indians and pakistanis. we can be cheerleaders, go to u.n. security council, we can give them ideas.
but we have to do it in a way that is uncharacteristic. we cannot talk about it all the time. we cannot have a special envoy for kashmir, we cannot give constant press reports on how we are doing. we've got to be sophisticated, sudden the, and under the radar screen. many of my colleges that work in the u.s. government say i'm dreaming. we can't do it. but pakistan is the country that it's easy to be pessimistic about. it'll make you nowhere. so we have to try to raise our game and raise our sights and see if we can help them do it. >> hi, one question and two points. at lank -- langley said there was only 50 al qaeda. why are you scared of 50
jihadist? and spend millions chasing them. i urge you not to combine pakistan and afghanistan. there's 90 million punjabis, and the pashtuns are especially troublemakers. these countries the border by three and one german, otherwise known as one -- that's a terrible thing to happen. i'm going by where as combination of mormons and the -- >> never heard of that in jordan. mark characterized as mormons. >> you know. >> i'm going to steal that line. >> like the terrorists. you know how the massacres have occurred amongst by the sunni
taliban. we have been slaughtered by the sunnies the last thousand years. the community is paranoid. the country is collapsing, the taliban are murdered the people. helping blood. you know, get rid of it. my view, and i've been there way for 40 years, is that pakistan in afghanistan, collapsing, and just like other places, like sudan, new nations, new states have been created, and very few people have appeared with that chaos. >> you and i, i think, are close to an agreement about pakistan's problems today.
you brought up more of the visions for the pakistan between the punjab of majority which dominates the officer core which seized the country as a punjabi estate and everyone else is second or third class. that's absolutely true. you raised rightly the growing strength of extremism. highlighted by the murder of the governor of punjab. extraordinary thing. his own bodyguard shoots him to death and the bodyguard gets all of the favorable attention. 1,000 lawyers go to protect him. the battle for the soul of pakistan is under way today. how it will turn out, no one knows. there are a lot of very dangerous possibilities. i just make one comment about 50
al qaeda. with all due respect to the director of central intelligence, i've been engaged in the business of counts insurgents and terrorists for 35 years. we don't have a clue. anybody that says they know how many there are is either bluffing or something worse, al qaeda is a lot more complex problem than 50 individuals. and i wish the united states would get out of the business of body counts. we learned in vietnam that's not very helpful. get into the business of thinking about our enemy and more flexible way. >> first, picking up on your theme with regard to the global jihadist movement and broadening the scope. how do you see the global jihadist forces interacting,
dealing with, and hoping can the change that has yet undefined but clearly in play. but this is a very interesting struggle and i think could have serious implications far lot of things here. a lot of people are talking about, but don't know a whole lot. your opinion would be interesting. the second would be recalling some figures from the past. i wonder what you think about the future of colonel gadhafi. >> i think colonel gadhafi's shelf life can now be measured in days. i certainly hope that's the case. he has demonstrated what he's been for the last 40 years dramatically to the world. all of the myths have fallen. he's a murdering terrorist. killed several hundred americans. he's been engaged in one act of terror after another.
i hope this is the end game. i don't see a negotiation between the opposition and colonel gadhafi like between hosni mubarak. the egyptian revolution, i think, is much more significant. al qaeda has been caught on the back foot. really taken off guard. al qaeda's philosophy was the only way to bring about change in the arab world was jihad. violence and terrorism. the violence and terrorism should be directed against the crusaders. that's you in this room. what's happened in egypt is regime change through a largely feasible, not 100%, but a largely feasible mass-based movement. this doesn't stick to the model. in fact, the al qaeda leadership, in particular,
number two, who has fought hosni mubarak, will anticipate in the assassination of anwar addat. he finally put a statement out last weekend. guess who's to blame? napoleon bonepart. yup. he invaded egypt, set upon the decline of the islamic world, and it's all his fault. while this is very consistent with al qaeda's narrative in history, it shows you a little bit of how awful they get. but there are several scenarios in which they can come back. if the promise of democracy now turns into something much less,
then there will be a radicalism. in libya, we don't know who those kids are. we don't know who they are fighting for, who they are listening to. in yemen, we know part of the opposition is al qaeda. not all of the opposition. for now, they have suffered setbacks of certain humiliation, it's good news for us. but this game is just beginning. you know, the easy part of the revolution is toppling the dictator. the hard part is building a democratic stable country that provides jobs for 85 million egyptians. that's a really hard thing to do. >> quick question on the geopolitical scene around pakistan. china has a border with pakistan and india.
iran has a border with pakistan -- afghanistan. and they have their own agenda and they have their own strategic imperative. the china has a lot more influence in pakistan than the u.s. they take our money. but the china is the influence. they call them the all weather friends. china does look at the u.s. and look at india as quasi. i am wondering if they have an interest in actually creating some instability. like the story that they funded and gave the technology for a nuclear reactor to make bombs to pakistan. just now in the world of nonproliferation and all of the stuff, they are encouraging the pakistani to build nuclear bomb materials. what's your take on the iranian and chinese? do you discuss it in the book?
>> briefly. you characterized china rightly from pakistan's perfective, they are the all weather friend. they are taller than the himalayas and deeper than the indian ocean. in practice, they've given them a lot of weapons. but in every clutch situation, the china hasn't done anything more than we have. china's short answer is china in is in a quasi rivalry with us and india. but it's also in a relationship with us and india which is an economic cornucopia. china is trying to figure out how to balance all of this together. for me, it's the high road here is to try to get the chinese to row with us in this. they don't want a jihadist state in pakistan. they don't want to see the indian economy suffer a devastating blow. because they are investing in the economy now. tricky?
hard to do? but something that we tend to do. iran is a more difficult partner. the short version is in afghanistan since 2001, iran has largely been a supporter of what we want to do because they hate the taliban. the trick here is to somehow segue off their relatively positive pursuits in afghanistan from the so many other things where we have very serious disagreements with them. that's a very tricky diplomatic problem to pursue. >> do no harm, does that suggest that the drone attacks are counterproductive? >> it's it's -- i'm glad that yu brought this up. if i were to teach -- i teach at john hopkin's. if i were to teach a course in
decision making, i would use the drones as a classic example. the drones, which is an operation that president obama inherited from president bush. president bush created the infrastructure, obama skillically exploited it. are our only real way of putting pressure on al qaeda and pakistan today. and it works. it has put a lot of pressure on them. al jay what used to put out a new message every week. last year he put out two. two of them less than 50 seconds. it's because they fears the drone. on the other hand, the drone is incredibly counterproductive. even though the isi provides a lot of the targeting information for it, and it a beneficiary when it kills the pakistani
taliban. this is a classic example of what's really hard in making decisions in government. there's not a naturally easy solution. 100% candid upfront, i am a supporter of drone operations. i recommended increasing two years ago. i think we need to be careful not to become drone adistricted. the drones are a platform and weapon system. they are not a strategy. they are means of putting pressure on al qaeda. they will not destroy al qaeda. this is the real-world problem. if we don't keep the drones up, the danger of mass casualties back in the united states will increase very significantly. if we keep doing them, we drive away a significant part of the pakistani people.
there's no simple answer to this problem. in the long term, the best answer is to get the pakistanis to take ownership of the drone operations. the pakistani government doesn't want to take ownership of it. it much performs to let obama and leon panetta take all of the flak. it demonstrates the contradictions that are at the heart of our relationship with pakistan and which make it such a difficult partner to work with these days. thank you. [applause] [applause] :