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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  June 11, 2011 8:00am-9:00am EDT

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leader of the opposition's problem -- he has no rational argument and no rational policy and no rational belief in the science. it is just falsehood and every australian should understand that. >> that was the last sitting of the australian parliament. hoping you joined us next time. i am david speers. ..
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>> he's interviewed by fox news contributor ca crowley. also paul allen talked act his memoir, "idea man." look for the complete schedule at sign up for booktv alert. >> up next, elizabeth gould and paul fitzgerald take a critical look at u.s. policy towards afghanistan and pakistan and discuss the fight for control of the border region between the pashtuns and punjabis. from city lights back store? the -- city lights bookstore in chicago, this is about an hour. >> we are very delighted to be hosting paul fitzgerald and elizabeth gould. they are a husband and wife team since 1977, journalists, documentary film makers. they were the first american journalists in 981 -- 1981 permitted to enter afghanistan behind soviet lines. they have worked for cbs news,
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they've produced a documentary for pbs, they've appeared on abc's nightline. they have produced the documentaries, "afghanistan: between three worlds," and "the woman in exile returns." they are the authors of "invisible history: afghanistan's untold story" which is published by city lights, and i'm happy tonight to be celebrating together with all of you the release of "crossing zero: the afpak war at the turning point of american empire," which is the companion volume to that last book. also, again, published by city lights. and it focuses on the afghanistan/pakistan strategy and the importance of the border separating pakistan from afghanistan which is often referred to by military strategists as the zero line. so they delve into the nuances of the current situation there, the u.s. involvement is explored in fine detail, and they show us
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that things are really far more complex than they appear to be. "crossing zero" is a clear, well researched and easy to read analysis of the spiraling u.s. war in afghanistan and pakistan, and it's really essential reading for anyone that's interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the situation. also, really, the larger historic context. so, please, join us in giving them a very warm welcome. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you, peter. we want to thank all the cast and crew at city lights for all the wonderful work that they have done for us over the years and for 34reurbing our first -- publishing our nurse book, for publishing "crossing zero" and for all the support they've given us. they're a wonderful publisher, and i want to thank them tonight. [applause] when we began our involvement with afghanistan some 30 years ago, we started by doing a documentary on a nuclear arms
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race which was a hotly-debated issue at the time, and i asked the question of the famous keynesian economist john kenneth galbraith, at what point does the militarization of the army undermine the defense of the united states instead of protecting it? galbraith said the proposed military buildup would send the united states hurtling toward that point. over the last 30 years, we've watched america's involvement in afghanistan closely as the narrative took shape and then twisted and transformed like the proverbial train wreck in slow motion. all through the 1980s we observed killing russians and holding them in afghanistan as a payback for the american humiliation in vietnam was the primary focus of american policy. in the 1990s we saw the stirring rhetoric and the commitment to the people of afghanistan of the 1980s evaporate as the country
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descended into civil war and the rise of the taliban. when the u.s. invaded and occupied afghanistan in 2001, we shook our heads at the irony as the u.s. followed the old soviet union into the very same quagmire it had used to envelope its enemy. but with the obama administration's decision, we knew that the process we had speculated about some 30 years ago had finally been completed. there were two main reasons for naming our new book "crossing zero." one is that zero line is the name given to the door rand line separating -- durand line separating afghanistan from pakistan. it's also a line that the u.s. has fought on both sides of since the 1980s. the other is that given its history zero line is an inescapable metaphor for the turning point which the united states finds itself at at the beginning of the second decade of the 20th century. it's clearly defined, but cannot
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afford to lose. from the outset, washington's afghan problems were threefold. first, there was the absence of an adequate understanding of afghanistan's history, their people, their needs and how to provide for them. prior to the soviet invasion of 1979, afghanistan had been one of the poor e countries on earth with a moderate form of islam. thirty years of war and political instability have reduced afghanistan to a stone age subsistence with its population traumatized, displaced and occupied by an army of savage religious extremists. in 2001 the solutions appeared simple and straightforward. a few hundred million dollars shrewdly managed and carefully distributed at a grassroots level could have provided a solid foundation for recovery. instead, the diversion of resources and attention to the war in iraq and the reimp so of -- imposition of a hated war lord culture allowed afghanistan to drift towards disaster. after ten years and hundreds of
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billions dollars spent, the obama administration confronts an absence of governance in much of afghanistan and pakistan, the spread of religious violence throughout the region. washington's second major issue regarding afghanistan is pakistan. originally carved from british india in 1947 with two wings, west pakistan and east pakistan. the country has suffered from an identity crisis from its inception. pakistan's strategic location quickly brought the new country under the folds of the u.s. cold war umbrella, but instead of putting pakistan at an advantage, america had the effect of freezing afghanistan and pakistan into a special military relationship that discouraged the nation's democratization and secular development while at the same time encouraging a radical, pan-islamic movement that threatens to tear both pakistan and afghanistan apart. the current afghanistan/pakistan crisis can be traced back to the 19th century when the
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british-led indian army conquered the part of afghanistan below the chi bear pass. the drawing of the durand line by england's foreign secretary for india in 1893 was intended to guarantee british control of the conquered territory east of the hindu kush. it instead proved to be a political albatross and source of conflict until the creation of the state of pakistan in 1947. pakistan's humiliating defeat in its 1971 war against east pakistan continues to haunt pakistan's predominantly punjabi military establishment. begun as a protest for rights and economy, it transformed into a war with india and created the independent nation of bangladesh. following the war against the soviet union in the 180s, pakistan used used the mujahided subsequently the taliban to
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settle o old scores, but pakistan's military continues to fear a direct confrontation with the pashtun tribes on its western border. this fear makes pakistan's relationship with the taliban convoluted and volatile and, perhaps, unreso far bl. -- unresolvable. making token attacks on those taliban that do not seven its interesting, although even in this pack stab's -- pakistan's commitment is not what it seems. while mostly reserving its high-tech weapons given to it by the united states for a potential war with india, pakistan's military sets the poorly-trained and poorly-equipped pashtun frontier corps against the punjabi taliban setting up their own pashtun-controlled punjabi taliban among the disillusioned youth, a new and dangerous
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dynamic has taken hold. washington's third major issue regarding afpak is washington itself. the politic of both afghanistan and pakistan over the last 60 years have been so entwined in washington's vast web of special interests that the obama administration's afpak policy is actually more about washington than it is about either country. burlded by a bureaucratic structure created for a bipolar cold war, washington's inability to adjust to a politically complex, multiethnic religiously-divided south asia has hobbled the american effort from the start. by marrying its war on terror to the political agenda of the use beck northern alliance of the 1990s, it set itself against the traditional rulers of afghanistan, the pashtuns, setting the stage for the traditional conflict it now endures. from a purely american political perspective, claims that the u.s. is repeating vietnam are
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valid. what america did in world war ii in korea it did in vietnam, and what it did in vietnam, it's doing in afghanistan. but from the respect of an afghan elder whose family has been humiliated bien a night tame raid, the united states is repeating russia's vietnam, and that's a distinction that needs to be understood. the sow yet defeat -- soviet defeat in afghanistan and the collapse of the soviet union filled the islamic right wither fervor. while the united states could walk away from vietnam, bruised but with its world status unaffected, the same could not be said for afghanistan and pakistan where the united states has long-term interests in oil and gas pipelines, long-term strategies for dealing with russia, iran and india and preventing the renal from once again -- the region from once again becoming base for al-qaeda terrorism. so what does the united states do now that it's faced with an
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irreconcilable contradiction, where its use of force actually undermines the security it was meant to insure? the significance of this moment in time is not lost on the rers o the world -- on the rest of the world as eded by protesters demanding democracy and representation. u.s. military thinkers are more than aware of the crossover in global consciousness as well as their own growing powerlessness in the face of it. in the cfr's speech on may 14, 2001, president jimmy carter's national security adviser, trilateral commission cofounder and eurasia strategist spoke of the reality occurring worldwide in which for the first time in human history mankind has become politically awakened and is stirring. the people of afghanistan and pakistan are no less awakened to this new reality and desirous for real change than the people of the middle east. yet despite years of war, intimidation and oppression,
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their leadership options continue to be limited to a choice of either corrupt military regimes or radical islamists. ultimately, the course of the events in the hindu kush will not be changed by military force. to change the force of events, the roots of pakistani dissatisfaction must be addressed. but in the fractured society of the northwest frontier province, how can this be accomplished? fixing the western engagement in 2011 after ten years of war will require more than just thinking outside the box. it's going to require throwing the box away. and elizabeth will present some suggestions that we believe could provide a basis for a new and much needed fresh approach for the 21st century. [applause] >> as paul has just given you some background in the original,
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in what was the original afpak problem, i'm going to go a little more deeply into these issues that really have to lead to a total resolution, and that's what we hope we're going to help you come to. the original afpak issue really began when the british usurped afghan tribal lands and authority in the 19th century and imposed the artificial line known as the durand line in 1893. it is amazing that in 2011 the durand line continues to remain at the center of america's strategic dilemma in afghanistan as taliban attack u.s. and nato forces and then retreat back over the line to sanctuary in pakistan. but rarely, if ever, is the issue of its legitimacy ever in the western narrative. whether the legit legitimacy she a subject of international, an international forum must be addressed. afghanistan's 19th century emir
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repeatedly states in his biography written in 1900 that he never considered any pashtun areas as permanently ceded to the british and insisted that the line delineated zones of responsibility and was not an international boundary. there is convincing evidence that the emir did not actually write the sentence in which he renounced his claims to the territory and that other british officials contended that the line was never intended to be an international boundary, but only to define respective spheres of influence. we agree with members of the afghan dais fore rah that the durand line issue should be brought to the world court in order to decide once and for all whether the 99-year lease that the british applied to their control of hong kong apply to the borders separating afghanistan and pakistan also. a major benefit of removing the durand line from the framework of the brutal insurgency and placing it into the historical,
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legal context where it originated would break it from the stranglehold of 19th century thinking that set this process in motion and begin what really is the long road towards establishing legitimacy framed by an international system based on laws, representative government and local sovereignty. it would also give the indigenous ethnicities the opportunity to articulate their long-held greenes publicly for the first time and remove the issue from the narrow sectarian framework in which it is now trapped. next is the issue of women's rights. it is of persistent concern among those involved in the western effort in afghanistan, but arguments that the west should not expect modern standards of behavior from the afghan population ignores afghanistan's history. when instituting afghanistan's first constitution in the 1923, the king granted afghanistan's women the right to vote.
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by the 1960s afghan women were participate anything the country's legislature, until civil service and numerous professions. article 25 of afghanistan's 1964 constitution states the people of afghanistan without any discrimination or preferences have equal rights and obligations before the law. article 26 states, liberty is the natural right of the human being, and that the liberty and dignity of the human being are in vie la bl and inalienable. the constitution clarified in article 27 by stating that all the people of afghanistan, both men and women, without discrimination privilege have equal rights, obligations under the law. and by 1977 women composed 15% of afghanistan's legislature. and then even as late as 1987 enacted under the communist party rule they went even
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further stating: the citizens of the republic of afghanistan, both men and women, have equal rights and duties before the law irrespective of their national, racial, linguistic, tribal, educational, social status, religious creed, political conviction, occupation, wealth and residence. today's problem with afghan women's rights derives directly from the influence of saudi arabia and the sunni muslim clerics who wish to impose a historically questionable interpretation of sharia law throughout central asia. the issue of women's rights has become a political foot babble used originally by the bush administration to help justify the invasion in 2001, and then ten years later it is being used as a justification for remaining in afghanistan and for legitimizing a military solution. but the truth is in the meantime, women's rights are being bargained away.
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the time has come for progressive muslims to demand an accounting of their arch conservative brethren, insist that a standardized interpretation of this issue be accepted by the highest authorities and move on. this will remove the pressure from afghanistan's fragile democracy, place the burden where it belongs; on the sponsors of radicalism. but if anything stands in the way of resolving the afpak conundrum,s it is pakistan. of all the regional interests invested in creating peace and prosperity for afghanistan, only pakistan deserves the right to actively undermine any and all initiatives that don't serve it own interests. there are think tanks connected to pakistan's friendly intelligence services that recommend favoring pakistanization of the war. governing afghanistan through acceptable dictators represents a bankrupt solution. president obama knows the
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problem centers around pakistan. following the failed times square bombing attempt on may 1, 2010, national security adviser james jones informed pakistan's president si ya that if that sufficient had blown up in times square, quote, no one would be able to stop the response and consequences, end of quote. jones was referring to an american retribution plan to bomb 150 december international airported -- designated identified terrorist camps inside pakistan. but we really feel that bombing pakistan in this matter would not resolve this issue and, in fact, only further destabilize south asia, and it could actually detonate a hemispheric war. a better solution is for washington to straighten out in some actual real terms its priorities regarding pakistan before it's too late. reconciling war lords and taliban may appear from a distance to be a workable solution, but reintegrating the
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leaders of brutal, ultra-conservative crime syndicates into the afghan government will create problems that make the current difficulties of corruption and malfeasance experienced with the government of hamid karzai seem mild in comparison. but the question still remains, how do the afghan and pakistani people gain sovereignty when the western narrative leaves them out without a voice? breaking the chain of institutional thinking is essential to solving the afpak problem. but suggestions to think outside the box aren't really intended to create new thinking as much as to try to maintain the same old thinking with a different approach. what is needed now is a wholly different way of thinking and a new group to do it. the main reason why solutions have been proposed won't be able to establish a legitimate government whether involving federalizing the afghan government, petitioning the country into ethnic enclaves,
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continuing to support ooh centrally -- a centrally-controlled bureaucratic structure from kabul, or reconciling with hated warlords or taliban is because of one simple reason. these decisions are being made without the sovereign participation of the afghan people. as our friend, afghan-american nouriel puts it, can reconciliation work? no. first, the countries has not heeled from 35 years of war -- healed from be 35 years of war. the ethnic divide has widened and complicated the path to nationalism, and there is not a unifying figurehead to calm the country down, end of quote. he believes that the only solution that will work before nato withdraws its troops is a traditional afghan tribal council or jirga, free of the kind of outside interference that brought the warlords back to power in 2002. the irony remains that today's
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crisis occurred not because the 2002 jirga failed, but because the will of that jirga was overridden by the political desires of the bush administration who preferred to bring back the warlords. nouriel says if this all-afghan injure jirga is assembled with no outside interference, it can return afghanistan to a stable state by creating a traditional government that is acceptable to all afghans, regardless of their tribal or ethnic affiliations. but there's a very important condition before this can happen. the parties or groups who have participated at this point in the government of afghanistan will not be allowed representation, only individual afghans. the taliban, the afghan government, drug barons or the warlords cannot attend. the likes of mr. karzai, mullah
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omar may join the jirga, but only as ordinary afghan citizens. and we understand that will be very difficult to actually make happen, but we feel it's important to state that that is actually what is required. to accomplish this, there is an imperative that the issue of islam be removed off center stage. where the current acrimony has been and replaced by enduring beliefs that link humanity together in a common struggle for a better life for all. parallels have been drawn by numerous experts between the complexity of afghanistan's sectarian tribal dynamic and the ongoing conflict in northern ireland. various tactics employed by peace keepers in northern ireland have been tried in afghanistan, but the two countries' circumstances are not dissimilar and for very good reasons. aside from sharing a long colonial heritage with britain,
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ireland and afghanistan share an ancient legacy of tribal law and secular codes of moral conduct that long precede the christian and islamic era. ireland's pre-christian laws provided a sophisticated set of rules for every aspect of irish society. from the quality of the poets to the ordering of discipline to the worthiness of kings. prior to the hostile european invasion of afghanistan, pashtun wally was a guide for a peace and has hospitable afghanistan t was known to accommodate both jews and christians. the first british explorers wrote of their warm reception in afghanistan's cities. we feel a new and shocking departure from the existing narrative is needed to change the tone of the afghan crisis and reorient people's thinking, and we feel what better way for afghans to remove themselves from the existing extremist
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narrative than by reconnecting to a common ancient-shared past with the irish people. it occurred to us that this could be achieved by organizing a planning meeting preceding the formal tribal jirgas at an ancient 5500-year-old you necessary ca world heritage site north of dublin known today as new grange but traditionally by a mythological celtic name, the mansion on the river point. we felt the ancient lure and mythology could provide a place to begin a new narrative outside the framework of today's violent religious strug les. but most of all, new grange would stimulate something in the imagination of all the participants, a shared connection to the past and the evolution of human consciousness that has been forgotten to both the east and the west. not only does afghanistan's future lie in connecting with its ancient tribal past, but
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america's future lies in a similar retriballization process which we feel educator and philosopher and scholar marshall mclewin has summarize inside a 961 interview. quote, the cultural aggression of white america against african and native americans is not based on skin color or belief of racial superiority. whatever ideological clothing may be used to rationalize it, but on the white man's awareness that the african and native american as people with deep roots in if a resonating ec cochamber of the interrelated tribal world are actually psychically and socially superior to the fragmented, alienated and dissociated men of western civilization. such a recognition which stabs at the heart of the white man's entire social values system
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inevitably generates violence and genocide. it has been the sad fate of african and native americans to be a tribal people in a fragmented culture born ahead of rather than behind their time. end of quote. and we also feel that there is no doubt that mclewin's explanation about the african and native americans' dilemma applies equally to the tribal people of ireland and afghanistan. over the last century, the united states has built a reputation as a leader in science, technology, justice and individual human rights. and with the beginning of world war ii, the united states embarked on a massive military expansion. and following the events of 9/11, expanded that military into a region known as the graveyard of empires. but the point at which this military expansion begins to undermine what it was create
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today protect in the first place is a question that rarely has been asked. this is not a question that should threaten the united states or it military establishment, but it is a question that after fighting the long e war in american -- long e war in american history needs to be asked. america's national security is no longer an issue of the politics of left versus right or conservative versus liberal. it is not even an issue of good versus evil. it is simply the point at which where war and the endless preparation for it do more harm than good, where they destroy what they claim to protect, and where they are neither just, nor unjust, but add up to nothing more than zero. in the final analysis, it must be understood that the zero line and the crisis surrounding it is not the creation of the people of afghanistan or pakistan, but the product of nearly 400 years of british and american foreign
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policy decisions. it has given us a mirror with which to understand the consequences of our own actions and to see what we have become as a nation and a democracy. our future will depend on whether we can accept the challenges that it portends. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. >> since the soviet invasion -- i don't know if this is turned up, but since the soviet invasion as you mentioned in your talk, it's had a tremendous impact on afghanistan. and i wanted to ask you about some reports i've heard from some european press that, actually, before the soviets invaded afghanistan there were intelligence operations by both
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pakistan, the isi, possibly the saudis and the cia where they were paying people, islamic militants, to kill afghani policemen and soldiers. this is before the soviets invaded. and there had been a number of attacks. and then at a certain point the afghanis asked -- because they had a treaty with the soviet union -- they asked for help, because they thought their government was being overthrown. so, in other words, this narrative is that, essentially, the soviet union was kind of trapped, so it's a struggle between empires. the soviet and the american empire and the people who suffered were the afghani people. >> there's no doubt that what you're talking about is absolutely true. in fact, our first book, "invisible history: afghanistan's untold story," goes into great detail about the
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true nature of the activity that the united states was involved in preceding the soviet invasion. in fact, actually, the original activities that the united states got involved in was as early as 1973 through pakistan. that's when leaders were being paid and used to invade and to try to destabilize the regime at the time. so you're looking at a very, very -- that's why we call it invisible history, because it is an unknown history to most americans about how the soviets were, in fact, drawn into afghanistan. president carter's national security adviser actually went public with this in 1998 in an interview where he stated very clearly that the intention of the black project started at least six months preceding the soviet invasion, they at least acknowledge that the intention was to draw the soviets into
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what brzezinski described as the afghan trap. that was the intent. >> robert gates actually stated in his book "from the shadows" that the united states was funding the mujahideen freedom fighters prior to the soviet invasion which, of course, the official narrative was, of course, the american action, the embargo, a number of different economic things that were done following the the soviet invasion was a direct result of their naked aggression of the soviet invasion. that was the narrative, that the soviets were invading afghanistan to go to the persian gulf. but when you actually look at the background, you could see it had been set up for years prior to that, and the soviets were forced with, basically, a decision that they had to make about protecting their southern border. and a lot of it had to do with the support for the treaty, for the fact that the u.s. congress was not signing the treaty. it had been ratified by carter and by brezhnev prior to that, and they simply, the soviets were looking at the situation
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saying their military came forward. i think they voted four or five times not to ensaid, and finally their military stood up and said, look, you're getting nowhere with the united states. these people are aggressive, they're trying to invade us from our southern border, we have to do something. so that was the beginning of that. >> i heard you this morning, and it's so complete picture that you present, and i really thank you for that. i was wondering if greg mortensen, if you knew anything about the work that he's doing and what you think about that. and also, perhaps, the east india tea company which, although it doesn't exist today, i think it's still around in some other form, if you could comment on that. >> well, we like -- greg mortensen has certainly brought a lot of attention to the suffering of the afghanistan and pakistani people. i think what i would say -- and i'm not just saying this as an
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author. i really wish everybody who has read three cups of tea would also read "invisible history" and "crossing zero" for the simple reason that what we're dealing with in our work is a way to try and understand how every school that is built in pakistan and afghanistan gets destroyed over and over and over and over and over and over again. so this is really where we, you know, we view mortensen's work. at some level i'd say i'm sure he'd like us, he'd like to be put out of business. he'd rather not have to keep rebuilding those schools. and i think that's what our work is about, is showing people how it actually happened so we can actually accomplish that. >> [inaudible] >> no, that's fine. >> i actually have two questions i'd like to ask you. and i'd like to start off with as far as afghanistan is
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concerned, what is the big interest about afghanistan? i mean, it was attacked by great britain, it was attacked by the russians. we attacked it. did we attack it over the terrorists? we didn't attack it over 9/11 because 15 of the hijackers were from saudi arabia. if it's over women's rights, i can't imagine us starting a war with afghanistan over women's rights, and if we supported the talibans, why didn't we embrace it when we attacked it and embrace pakistan? the second question is, how in the world did y'all get so interested in this early and stay with it? [laughter] >> well, we had nothing else to do, so we -- [laughter] let me, you can start with the second one. what's the interest? at this point in time, we'd have to say that the overall interest is the billing of pipelines across afghanistan. -- building of pipelines across afghanistan.
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strategic territory. prior to and into the 19th century it was trade routes. afghanistan, one member of the afghan royal family described it as the belly button of south central asia, okay? everything goes through there. and it's kind of like the ball joint. it doesn't function. of course, now with india and china becoming the dominant manufacturing economies in the world, they'll require a lot of energy, and that's basically american foreign policy is heavily influenced by the energy industries, as we know. there are a lot of people in texas who are very much involved with the saudis in and trying to cooperate with the taliban. the taliban, apparently from if what i understand, were reneging on their agreement, so are reluctant to allow the consortium that wanted to put the pipeline through there. and there was a decision made prior to 9/11 that they had to be taken out. and we had meetings and talks with other people who are familiar with the situation. there was, certainly, many contingency plans in the works
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to go in there. 9/11 just made it a fait accompli. all of these issues are important, but they are not the motivation. oil pipelines, gas pipelines and controlling that access to that for the 21st century, that's what's at stake. >> well, i'd also like to comment on the issue of women's rights. if -- it's sad to say that if americans were genuinely interest inside afghanistan's women's rights, they would not have been supporting radical fundamentalists in the 1990s who were -- 1980s who were, basically, the ones who were going over the border and, basically, destroying power lines in many schools and executing teachers who were teaching girls and thing like that. so this, really s a contradiction, i think, of the stated goal. we're not saying that every single american official necessarily, you know, is aware of every single, you know, every single act that is committed by these people. but when you choose
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intentionally to enrich and empower a class of people that in many cases came out of the prisons of a lot of the other arabic countries, they actually became the database of al-qaeda. so this is a real issue where it became a, it became an excuse. but when we see the proof that women's right are actually in worse shape now in afghanistan than before the soviet invasion. why? um, i think that i can also give you some information, too, on how we focus on afghanistan originally. we get that -- many people ask that question, and it's almost like having to explain our entire lives, so i'll try to be as brief as possible. >> do we have time? >> i know. [laughter] as paul mentioned, we were working on a documentary about the arms race. in the late 1970s, the issue of the strategic arms limitation treaty was of great interest. there was a lot of hope in the world at that point, certainly
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in the united states, that we were going to be shifting from a military competition with the soviet union to a civilian competition which seemed to be a good idea because we were still suffering from the economic ravages of the vietnam war. we were by having worked on the documentary and the hope it represented, we were very shocked when the soviets crossed the border into afghanistan within 24 hours, i mean within 24 hours the narrative was out, the soviets has crossed the border, they're going for the gulf, this is war. and every discussion about detente and treaties was gone. vanished overnight. well, we noticed it. we were very surprised, and nobody seemed to be able to do anything about it. so we kind of speculated. something happened inside the
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inner sanctum in washington, and the prick doesn't know -- public doesn't know about it, just moving it along. so we were trailing it and trailing it. and when the western media wassic canned out of afghanistan -- was kicked out of afghanistan, we decided, you know, let's see if we can't get a visa to get in. why don't we go to the afghan government? so we went to the united nations to the afghan consulate and, basically, presented them with a plan saying pretty much, you know, the rumors that are floating out cannot be what you want, so why don't you let us go in and see? and they came back six months late we are a visa. so we went to cbs news and said we've got the visa, you've got the equipment, you know, can we cut a deal? and so we went in for cbs news, and then we quickly discovered that coming back with that story from cbs news that their, they were really looking for a specific narrative. and we brought back something else. we were looking at this not as a
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superpower confrontation. we were actually looking at afghanistan under the pressure of the superpower confrontation, and that began our whole process. because when we observed that, we realized that this poor country was somehow being squeezed and left out of the american narrative. did you have something to say? >> not at all. [laughter] >> hi. what about, um, the documentary called "afghan masker" by the irish brothers which show that in november of 2001, a month after 9/11, 8,000 taliban surrendered to the red cross with the guarantee that if they surrendered their weapons, they would be processed and freed? but, instead, some pakistanis went back to pakistan, and seymour hirsh describes that they get sent back in secret, i don't know, whatever. but they put 8,000 taliban under
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our jurisdiction, our military jurisdiction into container trucks and sent them to whatever the name of the prison was. and they only had room for 4,000, so they left 4,000 taliban in those containers. and because they couldn't breathe and blood was coming out of the beds of the trucks, they had the -- anyway, they shot into trucks, allegedly so the people in the trucks could breathe because there wasn't enough room for them in the prison. but the blood started pouring out the back, and they left them in the trucks for days. and finally, they buried them, some of them still alive. under american military oversight. um, anyway, it's called afghan massacre by -- i forget the name of the two british, i mean, excuse me, irish brothers who put together that documentary, but it's called afghan massacre.
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>> well, the number of atrocities that have occurred in the afghan war from the very beginning are countless. and this is why this whole concept of reconciliation is, quite frankly, absurd. without addressing some of these things. >> the war crimes. >> the war crimes against the afghan people were committed by everyone. i mean, there's nobody -- nobody's innocent in this situation except the afghan people who are victimized by this. they simply fled when they could and just suffered the indignities of the war when they couldn't. you know, the taliban victimized use becks and that weeks when they got into their territory, victimized the taliban. this is a very, this has been a bloody, horrendous effort for 30 years, 35 years. and it's, as i said, we said earlier, it's been going on, really, since 1973, this sort of thing. but the soviet invasion just simply aggravated it even further. >> well, i can certainly assume that the 8,000 taliban that ended up in that desperate
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situation were not very important taliban because at the end of the u.s. war in afghanistan when it was obvious that the taliban were losing, there was something called the airlift of evil, okay? and this is when, basically, the pack -- pakistani military was allowed to, basically, airlift out taliban and other assorted al-qaeda fighters out of afghanistan to safe haven in pakistan. it was called the airlift of evil by the american military who witnessed it. pleasure so it's obvious that when, you know, this is one of the problems when you use words like taliban, you know, it's kind of this uniform word, and everyone assumes it means the same thing. it really doesn't. there are, obviously, those who are part of the power structure with possibly working directly with pakistani intelligence or in some way empowered. and then you probably have the average, you know, afghans or even, you know, other, you know, people from other country or men from other countries who have no particular power at all.
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so, you know, there's a hierarchy within that structure that, i think, needs to be appreciated. .. there are people -- >> we are not talking about them. >> there have been so many victims in this war from leftists to rightists to fatality and to after an
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individual's. the last marxist president in 1992 made anghan individual's. the last marxist president in 1992 made an appeal to the united states to intervene because you are opening the door to an absolute tragedy that will happen if afghanistan and central asia. nobody listened. the taliban came in, drags him and his brother from the un compound legal slit their throats and hang them from a lamp post and that was the end of that. the fact is that had been going on all along. that was the kind of war this had been. when you get this kind of thing, when you light the fuse to take a dynamite and explodes it hurts everybody. >> i have a question. i was watching a dinosaur on the news tonight and an expert on this area states charlie wilson
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was quoted tonight on the news again. i want to know, do you think charlie wilson helped the american people? >> no. he did not help the people, charlie wilson basically -- i will give you a quick story about how we know for a fact the soviets wanted to get out of afghanistan. we brought roger fisher to afghanistan. he had been approached before we approached him to do this trip by soviets in 1982. they were desperate to get out of afghanistan. we approach roger fisher with the idea of bringing him to figure out a way to get the soviets out. they send the top guys down to talk to rogers. he forgot to tell us they want
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to get out really quickly and they are desperate. we bring this story back and was obvious the mainstream media and washington beltway crowd was not interested in doing anything with this possibility. they didn't actually create the golden bridge to help the soviets withdraw and save face which is what they wanted to leave and not look like that. charlie wilson starts to get his project going to increase funding for the mujahedin after that point. what needed to happen was the insurgency had to stop -- what charlie wilson did was increased the insurgency. if the insurgency had stopped and the president had said on camera to us the soviets would leave, these are all the -- this is part of the historical record. what charlie wilson was doing
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was actually increasing the chances that the soviets would stay longer and that was the goal -- the whole idea was to draw the soviets into afghanistan and hold them as long as possible until they were broken. charlie wilson died believing he was responsible for destroying the soviet union but the fact is we came to realize the soviet union was internally disintegrating and would have probably disintegrated on its own and possibly afghanistan would still be a flourishing nation today. >> i am curious what you think of the role of india in the sense that we read pakistan concerned and frightened about india and part of the efforts in afghanistan is to counter indian influence.
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how does that factor in? >> the indian government has played a big role in helping the afghan government that we are supporting. in terms of civilian contributions to the government. >> the largest in the region. >> i believe so. india and afghanistan have always had positive relations. pakistan itself was an issue for both countries. the durand line regarded pakistan. they never accepted the existence of the attacks and the afghan war under the assumption that when the british left that that would be negotiated. there are many documents to prove that and the afghans assumed that line is something that would be negotiated when the british left but it was merely a means of regulating who facilitated each side of the
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border. who took care of the authority of the governing inside the border. this involved india from the beginning. the pakistani feel any move by anyone by the iranians and the indians and having an independent afghanistan threatens their existence. if you look back at the documents which we did for the first book we did you can see that there are many instances where u.s. officials, what ever happened in afghanistan, pakistani officials would say you have to give us more defense money because of what is going on in afghanistan and always raising the issue over russian involvement or that the russians were stimulating rebellions. that continues to this day. the fundamental issue, this could be defused if a serious effort was made to defuse the relationship between pakistan
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and india. >> i want to point at pakistan and india. >> the money that goes to build a civil society from india pakistan, any relationship with india, i think pakistan -- would try to compete with india by helping build a civil society and it is not doing that. >> i want to ask about the taliban. what is their background? they initially came from other countries. is that true? >> the original taliban was made up of refugees who had grown up in the refugee camps in pakistan
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from afghanistan. they were recruited originally by the i s i. the bbc reported years ago their first entrance was showing up in northern pakistan, not even in afghanistan. the military was using them as an agent for their own interests in afghanistan. they were backing of them. shortly after the invasion of afghanistan the afghan people came into afghanistan early on waving pictures of the king and claiming they were here to bring back the king. a lot of local village militias put down their arms and essentially gave in to the taliban. when the taliban were moving through pashtuns areas there was not a problem with it. when they moved into the other parts that were occupied, that is when the massacres began and the taliban begin to kill people
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indiscriminately and as the war wore on and the original taliban enthusiasm declined more and more taliban forces were being supported by pakistani irregularss who resigned from the pakistani military intentionally, joined the taliban and fought behind the taliban. there is lots of documentation about the armaments they were pushing into the affair. the pakistani regionally supported heckmashar who could not deliver a victory and lost favor with the pakistani military. there was an interview conducted with the president of pakistan about a year-and-a-half ago in which he admitted on american television, let's admit it. you know the c.s. -- the cia created them. we both have to accept responsibility for this. this is the kind of thing that no one has ever leveled with the
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american people from the very beginning about the relationship of all these things. the problem is at this point, afghan people and the pakistani people are continually being forced has now the people in the middle east are being forced to choose between islamic extremists or military dictators. where is the indigenous democracy these people are craving for? this is becoming a real problem. [inaudible] >> in forming the governing council, how is it determined and who determines the seat at the table, presumably even war lords are representing someone and have something to say even
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if they are detrimental to the process and discourage them from participating? >> the idea was all afghan are welcome to participate but you cannot bring the power base. a warlord brings an international crime syndicate power base. one person, one vote is the idea. not to exclude heckmnajar who is a world-class terrorist who has been recognized, killed thousands upon thousands of afghans. they destroyed 75% of kabul to figure out which of them would take over afghanistan and killing thousands of afghans. this is the kind of individual united states has been attempting to negotiate in to
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the government of afghanistan. that is not what the people of afghanistan want but if he wanted to attend as an individual afghan he could. we understand that is a difficult thing because -- this is what we are stating for the record. we will need a lot of help from the people of the world in order to make this happen and that is what we hope for. that the eyes of the world will watch this process and will help restrain the obvious imbalance of power that has been given to war lords, the bush administration and powering them again. they were given power in the 1980s and the first place when they were given billions of dollars to fight the soviets which was the process that put an end as early as 1983. >> time and again -- i am sorry -- warlords or rebels become
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established and suddenly -- >> what needs to be done is the issue needs to get down to the fact that this whole situation has to be disarmed and instead of being rearmed and politicized. these things have been done, prius -- peace process in ireland worked successfully. that issue has existed for 800 years and the animosities are very well--real and present. these were worked out in south africa. they were worked out in kosovo and perhaps not to their ultimate conclusion but there are mechanisms by which these can be done. when it comes to pakistan and afghanistan it never seems to change. keeps going back around the same issues again and again. and keep going forward to represent the same


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