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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 22, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT

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because they didn't want to do that trade for him anymore, they wanted to do it for themselves. so it's so complex, it raises so many important moral and ethical questions about behavior and about what's important and what we value as a society. i mean, if this behavior isn't illegal, maybe it should be illegal, and that's probably what senator levin is getting at. when he issued his report last week and referred the matter supposedly to the justice department for investigation, i think this is what bothers him. and aye talked to senator levin about this, and i know that he's extremely troubled about this. yes, he did make a bit of a show last april of goldman and goldman's team, but i think he is on to something quite concealed and that remains desperately unresolved and needs to get resolved before we can figure out what we want wall street to do. we want wall street to serve us, we don't want it to serve itself. yes, it can do well by doing well for us, raising capital for
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the rest of the country and the world that allows companies to create new jobs and build new plant and equipment or provide m&a advice on materials or investment advice. those are services we can live with, more like a utility, if you will. we can live with those fs services. but when it acts like a casino and makes huge proprietary bets, that is not good. and that's the debate we need to have. but, unfortunately, that's not the debate we have had. ..
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>> in "this time we win," "washington times" senior editorial writer james robbins argues that the tet offensive was i should a failure for the north vietnamese. and the u.s. made a left wing academics create a false impression of its importance. from san diego, this is about an
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hour. >> good morning, everybody. happy to be your. thanks for inviting me. i'm really delighted. i noticed on your website that it identified me as writing for the "washington post" and not the "washington times." i'm not offended. maybe they are. [laughter] slight difference. just wanted to point that out. i'm happy to come and talk about my tet offensive project and also talk about current events. and first i'd like to address tet and my book, "this time we win." a question i forgot it is where did you get that title. actually a came from vietnam veterans. i would talk to them about what i was doing instead i'm writing a book on the tet offensive. many times they would say do we win this time? it goes along with the other old
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cliché that year from the vets, we are winning when i left. they say. so yeah, part of the reason i wrote the book was to try to get the truth out about what happened in vietnam and to honor the men and women who won that war for us before the politicians threw it away. you frequently see tet in headlines these days. whenever anything bad happens in the world, terrorists do some kind of attack or insurgents, some kind of spectacular bombing or something, you'll see a commentator say this is just like the tet offensive. iraq, afghanistan, whatever, i saw a headline about tet refer to northern mexico, as some kind of tet offensive was going on there. "time" magazine said that the wikileaks document dump was just like the tet offensive. i don't place if you can make the analogy, but anyway, the point is that tet is out there. the problem with this is that
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every time you say tet, which are really saying is defeat. what you're saying is whatever we are involved in is like vietnam. it's a quagmire. we can't win, and so forth. and, in fact, the bad guys out there, the terrorists and the insurgents talk openly about the tet offensive in vietnam as their model. this is how they want to win. because terrorists and insurgents are weak. they can really defeat us on battlefields. they can't defeat our forces militarily. that's why they are terrorists and insurgents but if they could fight his head to head they would do it, but they can't. so instead what they have to do is try to attack our national will. they have to try to attack the thinking of decision-makers, because in the end like in vietnam, if you can get the decision-makers to conclude that war is a longer worth it, then they will leave. and osama bin laden and other people like that have made
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explicit statement saying this is what they are trying do. so whenever they do something that spectacular, and the whenever somebody on our side says this is just like the tet offensive, we are really playing into their hands. so part of what i wanted to do in this project was get people to stop doing that. because it doesn't help us, number one. and number two, it's not really true when people compare things to the tet offensive. most of the time it has nothing to do with the tet offensive. and what most educated people know about tet, what you see in those history books, is that it was a surprise attack by the north vietnamese and viet cong against largely symbolic targets in vietnam, intended to turn the american people against the war and drive lyndon johnson to the bargaining table. and of those four things i found out that none of them are true.
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so let me just go down some of those with respect to the tet method. for example, that was a surprise attack. it started took a lot of people by surprise when it happened, maybe the journalists in washington and folks in the united states were not paying attention. they were taken by surprise the people on the ground in south vietnam knew it was coming. we have captured documents months in advance that detailed what the enemy was planning. the u.s. embassy a month before the attack gave a briefing in which they talk about what they saw was coming. if you go through january 1968, which was the month before the attack happened, which took place right at the end of january, our forces went on progressively greater states of alert. are decision-makers talked about the coming attack. there was a story three days before the attack in the "washington post" saying, talking about the expected spring offensive that was comi
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coming. and then furthermore, the enemy when they finally launched their attack, because of miscommunication, some other guys attack two days too early. some other guys attack a day before they're supposed to attack. when the attacks finally came when the day, the whole country of south vietnam was a little. so how do you get a surprise attack out of that? the point is depressed settle on a storyline. they decided some of the people in washington were surprise, everybody must have been surprised. they asked the johnson administration if he knew about in advance, why didn't you tell us? the johnson administration said well, the fact that we knew the enemy's plan doesn't mean we're going to tell you guys, then the enemy will no that we know what they're up to. we were planning a trap for them. because of the credibility gap, lyndon johnson, you are just lying to us so you did when you anything. it was intelligence failure, and so they stuck with a storyline that we were surprise. in fact, we were not. the second point about symbolic
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targets, the tet offensive was a large-scale last digit tip by the north vietnamese and viet cong to win the vietnam war, and it involves tens of thousands of the troops and going over a number of days, at least the plan was to foment this mass uprising in south vietnam because they thought the south vietnamese people were raring to go and we joined the congress revolution, if only they had the encouragement. so they will take the cities, foment this uprising, and then the rationale for the american presence in south vietnam would be undercut and we would have to lead. that was their plan. and it was a very bad plan. it had no chance of succeeding. it was based on a lot of flawed premises, particularly that the south vietnamese people would join in their attacks, which they didn't want to do and, in fact, he didn't do.
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but because the plant was so flawed, people on our side, analysts and the cia looked at it and said this plan is no chance of succeeding. therefore they must be up to something else. what else could they be up to? well, it must be a symbolic attack on our will, like they're just trying to make a point. and actually the analysis on a person of the attack said they aren't really trying to win, they are just trying to make a point. so this got into the johnson administration talking points, and the president and secretary of defense, mcnamara, made his point before the first. they said well, the enemy is just attending a symbolic attack. so the president okay, fine, it's symbolic. not, that's really critical because if you do an attack, if you're the enemy, and you'd the attack and your defeat is easy to see that you were defeated. you're not holding the ground, you did reach the objective and so forth. but if you say an attack is just
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supposed to be symbolic, you are just tried to make a point, who is to say who won and lost? how do you judge winning and losing if this is all up in air, if it's all up to perceptions? that's a battlefield that they can win a because they're deciding about the perceptions of it. and so, for example, when they attack the u.s. in the same in saigon, which was the major news story of the tet offensive, in the overall game plan it was hardly relevant. it was just this little attack. but in terms of the news coverage, in terms of the symbolism of the u.s. embassy being attacked by 19 viet cong staffers, that became a big deal. now, their orders were seize the embassy, hold it and wait for reinforcements. and they didn't. i mean, they didn't seize the embassy, reinforcements were not coming. most of them were killed and
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that was the end of that. but because of this argument over the symbolism of it, it became a great victory for the because in symbolic terms owes an attack on u.s. prestige. also and our joint erupted over david ackley sees the embassy building proper or were they just on the grounds? they didn't get in the building. peter arnett said he overheard someone say they were come and so he reported that end in the administration denied it. and then people said well, it's just lyndon johnson lying again, so this great debate broke out. so instead of covering the fact that the enemy were wiped out, there was an ardent over to behold the building? there was this argued over what was the symbolism and so forth. and so things like that made this symbolic attack storyline solidify. and again, it sort of handed them a victory because if you are going on the basis of symbolism, whose to say won and lost?
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now, the press coverage of tet was highly negative. before tet, i have some data for you, 79% of editorial comments regarding the war were positive. after tet, 72% were negative. and during tet, 100% of editorial comments regarding the war were negative. so the press was not too interested in patting the administration's line on tet. it's easy to blame the media for the loss india done, and that everybody in the press was against the war. for example, howard k. smith of abc news was very well work i in his private views. his son actually fought in the battle of yatra in which media seen the mel gibson movie, we were soldiers, that dramatize that out. his son after was any unit that was ambushed and most of the people were killed and had to play dead to survive in the
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north vietnamese used him as a sandbag in their replacement. and a pile of bodies because they can lead was sandbag smith. so, but walter cronkite became the symbol of the reporter who had been somewhat in favor of the war who became an opponent of the administration policy. from his reporting from saigon and other places, he basically came out against the war and against the conduct of the war and said, we should negotiate a peace and get out of there. and lyndon johnson allegedly said, upon seeing this report, if i've lost cronkite, i've lost middle america. and is a great power in that story because if you're a journalist, it's really something to say i wrote a story or get a report and suddenly administration policy change. see how i disheartened at the president, or i move things on a grand scale. journalist love that story.
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but again, is it true backs probably not. the images that we get from that time are that the american people turned against the war enjoy protests in the streets and so forth. one really thing i found from the study was if you look back at the polls, in looking at the people of the support of the war by age group, actually the group that most supported johnson's policies and supported the war were young people. isn't that interesting? i found this in gallup polls, harris poll, and israel white house pulling. that young people were act with more supportive of the war. you will never get that from the cultural representations of the time. you know, the forest gump view of history, or whatever you want to call it. probably because the people who were out there were wearing beads and smoking dope and carry signs with the ones who then
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became professors and and wrote books. so all of their friends are out there doing it, so of course that's the way it was. but if you look at the data, actually young people were more supportive of the war. and the group i found that was more supportive than any were draft age young men. for some reason were the most supportive of the war effort in vietnam. you know, it will take a while to rewrite that part of history but it's worthy of note. the myth of tet is that because of the symbolism of tet, the american people gave up on the war. and that is something not too. if you look at opinion polls that ask do you support johnson's policies, there was a slight dip after tet. but if you go to the next level and say, okay, if you don't like what lyndon johnson is doing, what should we do? she would escalate or should we get out? the majority of americans wanted to ask what the war at this point. they understood that the tet
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offensive was a major defeat for the enemy, and the enemy was wounded and if we just put a little more effort into this, that we could win the war. over 60% of americans self identify as hawks come as reports of escalation. and the summit action increased from before tet that after tet, not content with the number identified themselves as adults, people wanted to pull out actually declined after tet. so it's wrong to say that tet, the effect of tet was to make people in deny states want to give up. it made people want to win because they saw the was an opportunity. and, in fact, the number of people who wanted to pull out, the doves come was actually smaller than the number of people who said let's use nuclear weapons to end it. which was about 25%, about 24% wanted to pull out, but over a quarter, a quarter work use nuclear weapons. that's pretty strong but i'm not saying that's what we should have done, i'm saying as an
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indicator of public opinion it's very significant that the number of people who were nuclear hawks who just said, you know, just finished it was actually greater than the number who wanted to pull out, which history has represented as being the majority. in fact, they were not the majority. they were a minority. and a final bit of the myth is the notion that tet drove johnson to the bargaining table. johnson did not need to be driven to the bargaining table. he built the table. he was there all alone. from 1964 on the united states proffered 70 different peace initiatives to the north. attempting to get into doctor. everyone of them was refused. we tried bombing calls, we tried offers of aid, we tried everything. and the north vietnamese refused to talk. so when walter cronkite in tone, you know, it is now time for
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johnson to go to the bargaining table, johnson was already there. it was the north the enemies who did not want to talk. after tet they agree to talk because after tet they really had nothing left. they were militarily weakened, and they were in danger of the u.s. escalate and attacking them, so they agree to talk to try to forestall that. but johnson was going to escalate anyway. general weaver, the chairman of the joint chiefs, had suggested this, general wes moore had called for more troops. a debate broke out in the administration, should we, should we. it went on for a long time. if we do escalate, how many troops quickly go over our troop cap? all of these little bureaucratic thing so basically for two once they argued it to death. and ultimately johnson, after news of this debate leaked to "the new york times," the great headlines about a secret escalation in the works, those
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kind of things, and johnson said the heck with it. will just go for more peace talks. and this time they had them. so, it wasn't that tet demoralize the united states. tet just demoralize lyndon johnson. and it wasn't that johnson lost middle america. middle america lost the president. and that's why tet was sacrificed to sacrificed to it wasn't just the press. it was mainly lyndon johnson. he gave up on himself. so the lessons i guess that apply to today are things like don't give the enemy credit for having a better plan than they have. sometimes you see people today talk about terrorists act there some kind of geniuses, long-term players with this sophisticated plan that we can't understand, and everything they do is part of this unfolding of history. well, maybe they're just making mistakes but i'll tell you, i do think that osama bin laden thought that 10 years after 9/11 he would be holed up in some
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cave somewhere, you know, wondering what hellfire missile is going to come down on dissent. i do think that was part of the plate i think he thought he would be ahead of saudi arabia right now. that was the plan, not what is going on right now. so, you know, don't give them credit for being these geniuses because they are not. secondly, do we define the objective down to the point where they need them. when the terrorists and the bad guys, they want to it, they want to take power, they want to a. they don't want to remain terrorists all their lives. so we do not taking over countries, when you're not achieving victories, don't give them credit for a blue of the guy with a suicide vest, or the many small-scale attack on a police station. these are not significant victories. even if they pull them off, they are no big in the grand scheme of things. so don't give them more credit than they deserve. another lesson is that an unconventional wars, press coverage is going to tend to be negative and there's not a lot you can do about it.
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because in conventional wars you can like look at a map, that would advance closer to the enemy capital, have we destroyed their armies, and we seize our objectives? and you can report good news. but in an unconventional war, you're fighting in the same place, you're going to defending the same village. it just goes on and on. there's really no progress. so bad news tends to dominate. there's really no way around that. another point that public opinion is not as valuable as people think. you know, the notion that the press reported negative things on vietnam and the public turned against it and we lost is just not true. the public was going, during tet, going in the opposite direction of the. the press was turning against the war. the public wanted to ask lay. it wasn't until later that the public sort of gave up on. it was after johnson gave up on it. the leader of the country gave up on it and people said the heck with it if he's not going
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to fight the we're not going to fight. but it wasn't the press that was out there making things happen. and i'm not saying the press isn't biased, believing. we all know about the mainstream media. but they are not the puppet masters of the nation even. people have minds and they make up their own mind. they make their own decisions. if the press controlled everything, ronald reagan never would have been president. and then a final point is that you have to have strong executive leadership. and here if you where lyndon johnson was to where george bush was in 2007, it's very revealing. george bush was a lot more unpopular than lyndon johnson ever was. in fact, george w. bush had some of the lowest public approval ratings of any president. he had a hostile congress in 2007, and a pretty bad situation in iraq, but he had a plan that he believed in. he stuck with it. and he kept it going, and now
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we're going to put iraq probably in the win column, whereas if we did what people in congress wanted to do in 2007, including our current president, and just left, iraq would've gone in the lose column. but because george bush stuck it out, that would will be a victory. lyndon johnson had a lot more advantages in 1968 and george bush did in 2007 but he just gave up on. and that's why vietnam ultimately went into the lose column. and call me crazy, but in my opinion when you go to war, winning is better. so, in any case. just to end with a little story. in 1968, a producer at nbc suggested that they produce a program showing while tet had been portrayed as a military defeat, it was actually a great victory. and a senior producer told him,
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they weren't going to produce a show like that because tet was established in the public's mind as a defeat, and, therefore, it was a united states defeat. but as the former south india's ambassador to the united states said, history is written by the winners, but eventually the truth comes out. so, i would just conclude my prepared remarks with that come and we can discuss anything that you would like. thank you. [applause] >> hi. >> hi. spent what you make of the current situation in the middle east? >> well, there's an easy topic. [laughter] >> well, it's very dangerous. and i think it took a lot of people by surprise, and it has a lot of bad potential. if you go back to december of last year, i don't think anybody
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in the administration was worried about the prospect in egypt falling out of our coalition and becoming a hostile act in the middle east. now they have to think about that. and that is extremely disturbing. because, you know, we have had it good for three years with respect to egypt. if you go back to before the camp david accords, you have a situation where, from the founding of the state of israel there were for conventional wars fought over that. featuring israel and its backers against various coalitions of arab states. and the genius of the camp david accords was that if you take egypt out of that equation, there's no other group of arab states that could get together to threaten israel. because egypt has been location, it has the manpower, and any other group without egypt in
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there, they just couldn't do it realistically. i mean, it was a very smart thing. one of the incompetence of the carter administration, one of the few. so, for 30 years, fine, no risk of conventional war. which i'd were other things going on an ipod, terrorism, stuff like that. now have a situation where a government could come to power in egypt that will advocate that accord and potentially go to war with israel or with other countries. that's a lot worse situation than what we were facing six months ago. and i don't know what the obama administration is going to do about it, but that's what we're facing now. so we see these uprisings in other countries in bob rae and most recently. okay, so you have a shia majority people will buy a sunni monarchy.
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but the arrays have been trying to destabilize the country for a long time. the iranians see great opportunity in all this stuff to try to just omit unrest. and it is a false argument to say, well, these either are or are not iranian backed up raisings. it is a man who's back into. the fact is the more chaos you can produce in the system, the worse it gets for us. the arrays have their own trouble in the streets, that's great that it would be wonderful if we have regime change there but we probably won't. what we wind up with is either neutral or hostile regimes in countries that used to be our friends like bahrain, like a tarmac, like egypt, maybe saudi arabia, if that is solved and we would have trouble. so i'm guessing that's regimes that are there are great, at least they like us. so now it's all destabilize and people say they're rising for
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democracy and that would be wonderful but it would be great if people, you, people power took over and then the next day it was like vermont, you know, all over the middle east. and everybody was having town meetings, you become it would be beautiful. wouldn't it? but that's not what we're going to wind up with. the best case is we wind up with something marginally worse than what we have. the worst case is that we wind up with groups like the muslim brotherhood and other islamic extremist taking power, that people that hate us and the israel issue is important, but sometimes that's all people talk about. it is not just israel. they hate us. they hate the united states. and from our self interest, we don't want to these people take power. even if the democratic elected. i don't care. it's going to be bad for us when oil goes to $200 a barrel, when we of war breaking out in the middle east, we have the iranians for three their
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hegemony and that reason region, it would be different nuclear weapons will be facing and not correspond that we have today. so it's wonderful that people want of self-rule and democracy and stuff like that, but our sort of hands-off policy that you guys work it out and will intervene later, is a big mistake. because the actors in the region who want to influence events like iran or like syria or of the bad guy are likely to. they're going to fill that vacuum. so we are either players in this or we're going to be the victim of a. and i think the administration needs to get moving and do something about it. my 2 cents. yes, ma'am. >> doctor, we were speaking about a few things about this crisis before breakfast, and two things that are up -- uppermost in my mind are education and follow the money trail which is the oil. and we're also talking, what are
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the ambassador, for an -- former ambassador from afghanistan speak last night and when he was saying in afghanistan is all of the people there, under the age of 45 haven't had to work for their entire lives because of oil. naked education, and throughout the day of their education is sharia law. we made proceed to be professional and they go to college, they get three more hours a day of sharia law. most of the country in the middle east, what education they get, is muslim law and very often sharia, not sunni, which is more benign. the other issue is following the money trail. recently this been a lot of talk about reserves of oil in the u.s. and montana and dakota,
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503 billion gallons worth of oil, which is easier to process than the oil and other places. it would only cost is $16 a barrel for that light crude to be brought out of the ground. so we have the opportunity through education similar to the stones for schools. through education in those areas to help bring something to counter these shia education. we have the ability to get oil and support our own country within our own borders. and nothing seems to be happening in teen way to support our own internal infrastructure and economy, which is falling to shreds, with total capability of doing it. so long question, two parts, thank you for taking that. >> with respect to education policy, you're right.
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the united states spends very little in terms of promoting education reform in countries that need it. and people in the region will say they need to have this. you know, secular education with accreditation standards and all kinds of educational and bureaucratic things that we have a really bored of talking about, but the fact is that is very inexpensive to pursue these programs, but there's not really constituency to pursue them either. it's not like the defense budget, so we deadly should do more in terms of doing that. and when we have pursue this, for example, in pakistan, the terrace, people like the taliban and al qaeda just viciously denounced these efforts as being imperialistic and things like that. which tells me it's a good idea. if we do something and the
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terrorists go mental denouncing it, then we're on the right track. so more of it would be better. with respect to energy, we find both sides of the war. we pay for our sides and would prefer the other side with energy payment. even if we became energy self-sufficient, i do countries like china, predominate would still be importing middle east energy. so you're not going to be able to be funds the war that we. if we could find a replacement for oil and natural gas, that would be awesome. that would be fantastic. that would really be fun. they could go back to doing whatever they used to. and i have the excess income to perpetrate that. i don't really know the solution to the. the president is pursuing this with windows and magnets and all
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that kind of geewhiz stuff that i don't think it's going to happen. if we did have the kind of oil reserves where we could drive the prices of oil down to $16 a barrel, that would be great, too. that would effectively put them out of business. if that's the economy of the, then great, we should be on there. we should have these national programs to try to pursue the kind of stuff. let's make the united states and oil exporting country again, you know, where if we have the largest reserves in the dakotas and montana, then fantastic and i'm all in favor of the. if we had a strategic view of these things, it would be even more helpful. i don't get that sense that that model that we just described is a working model in the administration. if they went about that, i think it would be more clear to do what needs to be done. but that threatens a lot of interest, too. so maybe it will take another administration to do that. >> back to vietnam for a moment,
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you mentioned that first johnson lost spirit, a critical point seems to me was when the congress withdrew its financial aid to the south vietnamese, and that was -- win in that sequence did that take place for congress strongly turned against the war? or any support of the south vietnamese. >> the congress started around the time of tet. that's because of internal problems in the democratic party, challenges arising to johnson's leadership, that's really when things started to move in that direction. of course, we had mccarthy challenge to johnson and then later robert carey. robert kennedy was on tet immediately. he used it as to denounce the war, the famous photograph general milan killing the guy, a
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terrorist who was an assassin in the streets of saigon. kennedy made a speech about that days later saying this is the moral indictment of the war, and who are these people we are supporting, and stuff like the. and actually in my book i go in depth into that, who are the people involved, why was that guy getting shot, and the aftermath of all that. the photo is black and white, but reality is not black and white. so, you know, that very famous pulitzer prize-winning photo, if you just look at on its face it tells one story but if you find that the real story, it's a lot more interesting. congress turned against the war at that time, or started to. after 74, and you had a very left wing democratic congress coming after nixon's resignation in august, and then the election in the fall, this big democratic majority, and it was that congress really cut the aid,
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actually the outgoing lame-duck congress in december of 74. economies within a week that the north vietnamese had a meeting. they decided now is the time we're going to invade the south. they did in the spring, and then that was the end of that. what it was because the united states abrogated treaty agreement under the paris peace accords were we're told the south vietnamese that we would support them, and it was congress that said we will not honor that agreement. and then that was the end of the. it's a great moment of shame for the nazis to abandon our ally. but again this is what the terrorists say to the regimes in the middle east. they say look how the united states treated the regime in saigon. that's what they're going to do with you. when the going gets tough, the united states will cut and run. and i don't think events in egypt have enhanced our reputation with respect to supporting our allies. >> if i could go back to the middle east a little bit, and its ramifications here in the united states, and maybe some
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very similar aspects that are in the middle east that are both here in the united states and what would happen. we are seeing young men with no hope, unemployed, educated, connected with twitter, sms, facebook, food prices that they can't afford because we are off on a tangent using our corn for ethanol. and you have countries even like spain that have 40%, over 40% of their young people between 18-26 who are unemployed. and so when you have young men with no hope and connected, you have problems. art -- aren't we facing a similar situation here and do you see this contagion of going from country to country, maybe even spreading to europe?
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>> the main difference between the middle eastern regimes and the united states or western europe is that we live in democracies where people can reasonably say they have a voice. in a country like egypt or iran or wherever, people have a lot less of a voice or no voice. so a lot of the frustration you see industries are from people who want to have input, who had just been denied it systemically. and i think that's one difference. you to hear these sentiments from some people are activists in this country, particularly in the tea party movement, that the government is to close shop, people being reelected from safe seats and what we need is rotation at the top term limits or something like that. but it is channeled differently. it's not channeled into, you know, occupying the mall in washington and sitting there building camps and calling for
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the resignation of the president. although i'm sure there's some people who would be willing to do that. it is channeled into political activism through the system that we have. and that seems to be sufficient if you look at the results of the last election, for example, people were upset over the composition of congress so dramatically changed it. you know, nancy pelosi had the lowest opinion rating of any speaker of the house that we can find. so fine, she lost power. rightly so. i don't think that we will see that kind of demonstration for change in this country because people do have input, or as they don't in those countries. on the other hand, if people start to conclude that our system is illegitimate, if we can't come to grips with her economic problems, and if for some reason the political system is not responsive to these folks, then in those circumstances we could see it. but i think we are a little ways from that now.
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if the last election had gone the way it did i think we would be saying that because there are a lot of people were really upset, and if through some method the democrats had held onto power in the house, i think we'd see a lot more of revolutionary type thinking going on in this country. that likely our system responds. but their systems don't come and that's why we are saying this but also i don't think any iranian backed, you know, political groups are going to make much headway in this country, so we don't have to worry about that as much, i hope to in any case. >> jim, back to vietnam, do you consider vietnam a just war? in other words, shouldn't have gotten involved and could we have one? >> yes to both. it was a just conflict. we were there defending an ally
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against communism. and i, you know, i have no problem with that on a moral level. our system, western type systems are morally superior to the communist system. plus we have obligations that we have made to them to say that we would help defend their freedom. and the south vietnamese government may not have been a model of democracy and inclusion and good government, but it was a heck of a lot better than what ho chi minh had erected in the north. in the book i go into the difference between the moral difference between the nikkei massacre and the other mask of their people are very familiar with some of our troops went out of control and killed a bunch of south vietnamese civilians. the other massacre took place during tet when the communists who sees the city which is on the only towns that they control for any length of time. they were there for about a month. and they proceeded to systematically kill thousands of
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people who are considered undesirables. here, cold-blooded and systematic look at it wasn't like they just went crazy. they had less coming in. into the water. and wants to get done with those they made more lives and more lives. and even when our forces were driving out of the city, nevada people they hadn't killed it and took him outside the city and killed them. i mean, it was a very systematic, like the killing fields. and there's a tremendous moral difference between those two things. in one case you had american troops who, on their own, just decided they're going to kill some people. they did, and it was broken up by other american troops who came on the scene and threatened these guys and said we will kill you if you don't stop. and they stopped. their investigation. people were punished and so forth. they were not acting under orders and they were punished. on the other side you have people who were acting under orders that were systematically killing folks were completely innocent. and i don't know if the killers
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survive, but if they did they probably got medals instead of being punished. those are two very different moral equation. yet the "this time we win" masker is held up as being diplomatic of our war effort to say here's what we're really up to. this was not what we're up to the we were there to defend south vietnam. and these guys who did the melai massacre were wrong. and what they did was wrong and they were punished. on the other side you communists who their whole plan was we're going to go down and kill anybody that we don't like who's a liberal or a democrat our a shopkeeper or a catholic or whoever they didn't like at the time. so not only was our work a moral class, therefore was profoundly immoral. and could we have one? yes, we definitely have one. the problem was that lyndon johnson didn't want to win. by the time nixon came in, a guy who could have one, the whole equation of the war had changed, and so, and at that point we
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were pulling up. so there was really no chance. even at the end when we had the paris peace accord framework where we were just going to give air support and material support to the south, we still could have won if we kept our agreement. but we didn't and we cut our ally lives and that was it. very shameful episode. >> hi. i'm really interested in the contemporary sense about your comments regarding the hacker networks attack on the iranian nuclear program. and kind of feedback about from a private internet association, an affecting and nation in that way. >> the attack on the iranian nuclear program, that's fantastic. it's a great. i mean, these people are geniuses, whoever did it. you know, how did they get it inserted into the network? how did they do the whole thing? i was reading about it, and it's
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just amazing. and it's a great example of the way to use tools other than force to try to reach the conclusions that you want. i mean, there are lot of work instead with how could israel bombed the iranians nuclear program like they did in iraq or in syria, and some of the doubt that way, but they're deeply underground and they might just slow them down, would they destroy? but here they figured out, whoever did it, you know, figured out a way to get inside their system and just completely mess them up. and solutions like that are fantastic. it's clever. it's nonviolent, and it gets the job done. we need more things like that. and hopefully our hackers are better than the other teams factors. because the united states is completely full of will to things like that and is highly dangerous for things like this to go on.
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is a more dangerous to try to lose these bugs are into system that will screwed up or to allow tehran to get a nuclear weapon. in my opinion a nuclear-armed iran is the worst threat that we face. so i am employed support things like that. whatever we can do. it comes down to the use of force then that's a bad thing, but it's better than accepting a defeat on this issue. but if they can do it through some white hat hackers figure out some code that messes up the islamic regime in tehran, then more power to them. >> thank you. the turmoil seems to be the worldwide, notches the middle east. what sort of responsibility do you put on the current administration for the world seemed to be in a people? >> all, i don't know if i could blame the current administration for everything that's going on.
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of course some in the current administration want to take credit for it, that somehow had inspired people for hope and change in movies or something like that. we will see what the outcome is of all of us. if it turns profoundly negative it will be interesting if they keep taking credit for it. once it spins out of control. but in a larger sense, the united states for many decades has had a preeminent leadership role in the world. during the cold war, the leader of the free world and post-cold war as being a top economic power and just generally being looked to for leadership. the current administration consciously and specifically drew back from that same we don't want to be the leader of the world anymore. the president has welcomed the rise of competing economic powers like china. and has welcomed the fact that the united states cannot dictate terms anymore, according to him anyway. so this is very damaging.
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because the question is, if the united states isn't going to lead the world, then who is? and the answer from the administration would be, well, we will have collected leadership or international organizations or something like that. but international organizations can't do it and don't want to do it. because every country in the world has self-interest. they will pursue those interests no matter what we do that if we choose not to pursue our interests, that's fine. they would just keep going. so, we pull back from the middle east, the iranians for the boy. we ignore latin america, venezuela were is right there ready to go building an alliance system that hates us. and there are a lot of people don't like us in the world, and that's like if they don't have to like us. what we have to do is pursue our interests. the current administration has i think a flawed view of what american interest or in the world. and the sort of acceptance of declining u.s. influence is very
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damaging. because as a principle of politics, i like to tell my students that power is defined by its exercise. if you do something and people acknowledge it, then you have the power to do it if you don't do it, then you do not have the power to do because someone else will do it. and if the united states -- it's one thing for the u.s. economy or influence to sort of shrinkage is another thing for the president to draw attention to that fact and consciously say it's a shrinking. because then it will shrink even more because a lot of what goes on in the world is just based on influence. if you abrogate that role, then fine, you have lost it. and don't be hard to get back. so all these things going on in the world right now are a consequence at some level of this drawing back. and you saw the same thing in the 1970s. it was very bad. and the only good thing i can say is that so far the mistakes
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of the administration have it resulted in something that is just profoundly negative for us. there's a lot of potential for really bad things. but they may come in the next two years will be interesting. >> doctor, what about china? are they destined to be a strategic adversary, or is the prosperity that they are enjoying them isn't going to create an opportunity for the rule of law and self-determination to kind of spread in that large country? >> well, we saw the results of chinese aspirations in tiananmen square. and when thinking back on this time, a rogue pictures of the guy standing in front of tanks and all that, which is very inspirational, i always advise people to try to find the pictures of what happened at night when he cleaned them them out of the square your because one day they were there in the next day they work. let me tell you, the tanks
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didn't stop. you can find pictures of this online of the results of that, what happens when a tank doesn't stop. it's pretty gruesome. so, the chinese communist party knows how to deal with aspirations for freedom. and they do it very cleverly and systematically because they don't want to yemen square happen again. so i don't have a lot of hope for that. with respect to china being a competitor, they're deathly is that potential. they are economy, the recently passed japan. of course, if you go back to the early 90s people thought japan was going to be the new hegemon. actually their per capita gdp was 150% of hours back them. it's prettiest and. but 1995, they are economy hit a wall or here to see. it just like flat out and it hasn't grown since then. so, maybe china's growth curve which is flattened out for some reason. and by the way, their per capita
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gdp is like 8% of ours. they are economy is growing, but they have so many people that they're really not that wealthy and you divide it up. also, the question is do they have international aspirations like we do. and there's some anticancer that they do and some that they don't. they are really not as active on the world state as we are. they don't project are the way that we do. they do more cleverly through agreements and things. they do have some troops around the world but not that many. yet they also have offended nuclear capability, there's a store that they'll start looking into aircraft carriers. they had one but -- that they bought from the sewers in a fire sale after the wall came down. i think they turn into an amusement park or something. it is parked somewhere has some kind of a display. but to build a real one that they can project power with their things like that are disturbing because in my opinion that is the reason for any
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country in the world to have aircraft carriers, other than us. you know, the united states should have a lot of the other countries don't need them. as we keep the peace of the seas. and that's our job. if other countries what to do that job we have to ask why. we're doing a great job at it. so why let any of the country do that? if the other contaminating at all other than like coastal defense, yet there may come a day when we see chinese carrier task force cruising around in the caribbean, making ports of call in cuba and stuff like that. i don't think we'll be very happy with it. if we start to see things like that, then we would have a problem. so i wouldn't sound the alarm yet, but the potential is there for china to get involved with these things. and as we see them start taking these steps, we have to ask why are you doing that. but sadly our administration will not ask china anything, if you. so again, problems to be left to
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the next present whenever that happens. >> we will take one last question. allow these folks to go back to work and keep our economy moving. >> i don't know if i -- >> you are the people who do it, not the government. >> i'm confused because of army. >> more pro-western or at least not anti-western groups.
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we do train a lot of their officers, and do a lot of joint exercise or combined exercises within. we have a very close relationship with them and we give them billions of dollars. so, it wouldn't be a bad thing if they had a lot of influence over the new government. certainly compared to a group like the muslim brotherhood. whom we would like to have zero influence in the new government if we had our head screwed on straight. i am really at a loss to explain why the administration keeps telling us that the muslim brotherhood is not a threat. when they are openly saying things that are threatening. and i think that some of the muslim brotherhood's have figured out if they say we are not coming in, we are no problem, we want egypt to be secular, we're not interested in sharia law or things like that. they figured out that plays well over here. and even our director of national intelligence testifying before the congress yesterday was saying similar things. well, this is ridiculous.
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they are not a secular group. just look at the name. they are the muslim brotherhood. they are not some nonreligious group. their whole agenda, their whole program is to have more religious law in egypt. and if it were just that, like i just want to go off and live on their own and live under sharia and just live life, fine. that's great. but it has greater implications. it has national security implications for us. it has implications in western europe where they're trying to export this kind of thinking and ideology. of course, for israel it has huge ramifications because their survival is on the line. so i don't really get why the united states is taking this kind of hands-off approach when if we could reinforce the people who like us in egypt and try to promote their agenda, then we might have a better outcome. but instead, it seems to be almost intellectual game going
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on, and the quest for the moderate muslim brotherhood guy. you know, they are trying to find -- it happens every time, you know, there really are moderates out there who said the same thing about communists. well, they don't exist and our search for them or the sort of politically correct approach to this is going to lead to bad things. and the administration just has to get its head screwed on straight about the really severe risks that we face in this crisis. it can lead to something good, no doubt, but it is more probable to lead to something bad if we don't get involved. so how do they do, what is behind the scenes or overtly or something, must be, isn't it great that they have democracy. you can go back to plato if you want and find critiques of democracy that say it can lead to bad things. it could lead to worse dictatorships than you have ever seen.


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