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tv   Open Phones with Andrew Bacevich  CSPAN  November 20, 2016 7:50am-8:16am EST

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the pakistanis, we weree in rage of them and their answer-- the whole point was they were going to look the other way and we were going to take them out. we had to take the body out and we were not going to talk about it, not for a week or 10nd days and we all agreed that the president would then announce with a drone read in the mountains on that afghan side making clear was on c the afghan side and we hit a house, a wooden house with a hellfire missile and found a long talk either, bin laden is 6'4" and then we did dna and we would have gotten him. that would be just as good, but that night and i remember this vividly because it was a sunday night in washington and by 7:30 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. there were reports all over the media that the president had a special announcement to make and bite 10:00 p.m. there were stories that my have to do with bin laden, but he did not
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cope public until three hours after the first word and what was going on was a fight because there was pressure on him, political pressure from his political advisers not to wait seven or 10 days. as they were angry at robert gates the republican secretary of defense who gauge saidd basically reappointed-- he had been-- hece replaced rumsfeld by george bush and he was close to the bush family and when obama came himd he reappointed him, but to a half years later there was tension inside with a republican doing things and gates was very much against some of the things that. thought happened in the operation and he that we should just bomb the place and let it go not jeopardize the seals because if something had gone wrong and they had been captured they had no protection and they were basically committing a war crime. he was a prisoner of war and t and they executed a prisoner of war and they went into a country without any notice to the authorities. anyway, here's what the
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issue was gates, basically and for me as a journalist, what is so important aboutimport pakistan? why do we spend so much time cozying up to the generals who run it? because right now when i wrote about in the new yorker in 2009, more than 100 nuclear weapons and we worry about their weapons and safety characters a huge muslim fundamentalist population pakistan and in fact, the reason the pakistani had never said anything publicly about having them, i found them in 2006 according to the walking which may or may not be correct. in any case, that's what they told us. the pakistanis them secretly because the public would go nuts. the public loved bin laden, many elements of the public, 50%, 40% of the country saw him as a hero and so as long as
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they had bin laden they could privately tell the al qaeda groups and taliban groups and both pakistan and afghanistan we have your guy, pay more attention to us and keep us informed. and they had more control his argument in the second argument they had or explanation was that the saudis hate him a lot of money, that the saudi arabian government , that he came from a wealthy family, bin laden's family in saudi arabia, big construction family in building, building, very wealthy. the assumption we make and i make is that no one wanted an american interrogation team to talk to him. >> you to watch this and other programs on my not book >> book tvs live programming from the miami book fair continues this evening. we are now joined by andrew bacevich whose the author of this book: "america's war for the greater middle east: a
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millitary. professor, when you say greater middle east, y what do you mean? >> on talking about a very very large swath of the islamic's i could've called it america's war in the middle east, but it seems to me to use that narrower term really understates that expanse over which we have been involved.ud certainly includes places like afghanistan, which doesn't fall and what we think of as the middle east. frankly, it also now includes very large parts of central and western africa, which again, does not fall within the typical definition of middle east. host: why was the year 1990, so significant? guest: the year that is significant is actually 1980, the year when jimmy carter promulgated that jimmy carter doctrine which was a statement that basically said the persianu gulf is vital to us national
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security interests and more to the point a place that the us now considers worth fighting we have been involved militarily now so long in that part of thed world that most americans have totally forgotten that prior to 1980, the greater middle east was not on our military map. we do not have a regional command that was carried up to fight their. we had not made all of the arrangements for bases in overflights. it's only after carter's statement that the pentagon begins to reorient its priorities and is now prepared for what then becomes an almost endless series of armed interventions in the region. host: you also talk about the fact that 1990, prior to that very few lives lost, military lives lost in the middle east and after 1990 nearly all. guest: i do and you know, sadly i think to some degree since the
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end of world war ii the american military has been pretty darn busy.e've bee certainly, since world war ii we have been prepared to fight for europe, even today we still have substantial us forces in europe. after world war ii we were prepared to fight in east asia and had fought before 1980, fought to pretty substantial wars in asia one in korea and one of vietnam, but we had not been fighting or prepared to fight in the islamic world. since 1990, strikingly virtually every american soldier who has been killed in combat has been killed in that part of the world and i believe that something that americans should be more attentive to and that's the specificity, geographical specificity and something they should be more attentive to that i think most of us have been. host: the numbers are up on the screen if you want to chat with
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professor andrew bacevich, retired army officer and his book: "america's war for the greater middle east: a millitary we will get to those calls right away. professor, you write that oil has always defines the war in the greater middle east.ted guest: the events that that prompted president carter to promulgate the carter doctrine or to. one of them was that i run in resolution, which was perceived to be a great threat to us interests in the region in the second event also occurring in 1979, was the soviet invasion of afghanistan and the perception washington was those two events together really threatened our access to the persian gulf
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crucially at a time when the american way of life seemed to be increasingly dependent on access to foreign oil. that said, i think that the outset there really was not explicitly stated, a larger set of state and i think the larger stake was that this has been a war intended to demonstrate that we are a people to whom limits do not apply , that we are a people who need not take into account circumstances such as the resistance we face in that region and that that really defines the underlying purposeen you t because when you think about it today, 2016, we don't need the oil from the region. we don't need the natural gas from the region and yet this war continues as if on autopilot. host: with president trump
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coming into office could the policy change? guest: theoretically it could. the problem with anticipating what the next administration is going to do is that thet president elect commentsn with regard to foreign policy on the campaign trail have been all of the the you know, he has said things at times that suggest that he would favor a less militaristic, more restrained approach to foreign policy, but on other days he said other things that suggest that he is going to dive itee more deeply into the region. for example, with his supposedly secret plan to bring about the description of isis, so i think one of the reasons many of us are watching with fascination the rollout of appointments is we imagine, maybe we are not correct, but these appointments give us a clearer understanding of what a trump administration actually
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will do looking beyond what trump himself said while a candidate. host: you have written several books. was your backgroundd prior to being a book author? guest: well, i was a professional soldier for 23 years. my undergraduate degreee was from west point and i served in vietnam and spent a lot of time serving in europe during the latter part of the cold war. - .. ing and i think not so much as academic but as a citizen had become increasingly concerned about what strikes me as the misguided direction of u.s. policy and when i say misguided direction, i mean, the misuse and excessive reliance on military power and, you know, if
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the way we've used our military were making the world a better place, if it were promoting the values we believe in, if we were enhancing american security, then then i might say let's go for it. but my own reading of the situation is that our use of military power is doing none ofo those things. it instead is costing us tremendously lives lost, lives shattered, trillions of dollars extended, and to what end? it seems to me that particularly our military engagements in the islamic world has not succeeded. indeed, it has failed and,it therefore, it's incumbent upon americans to begin thinking about a different course in some sense of the purpose of my book is to try to promote an awareness of the failure of our
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military, and, therefore, to encourage americans to begin to think about the different course. >> host: here's the cover of the book, "america's war for the greater middle east" as well as into jim in erie, pennsylvania. go ahead. >> caller: thank you for taking my question. i guess that the states the quandary here in terms of what we are looking at. how do we disengage from a blatantly flagrant openly hostile islamic culture that seems to be intent on murdering as many innocent people as possible, cares nothing about human rights, and dispatches terrorists and inspires terrorists all over the world to murder innocent people? your disengagement sounds nice but in this type of culture clash, clash of values, i'm a retard coast guard guy is self and i don't understand how we
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consider and say we need to disengage when we do with a bunch of people who want tof pep murder us and who don't -- >> host: we got the point. let's hear from andrew bacevich. >> guest: if we sought evidence that military engagement, that the presence of u.s. forces in the region come us bombing, us invading, i was working, if there was evidence that was making the situation better i would say they let's continue that course. i don't see that evidence. i guess my prescription begins with what may be a disagreement on the threat that the extremists pose. i don't believe for a second that even crisis poses an existential threat to the united states of america. i think that threat israel to be modest. i think the proper response to
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that threat is to arrest effective defenses you rather than to send u.s. forces hither and yon across the region. again, because the presence of u.s. forces makes the problem worse. furthermore, i would argue strongly that those countries for which isis does pose an existential threat, we're talking about iraq, iran, saudi arabia, arguably turkey, egypt. they need to own this problem, and wanted to do so, whether to take ownership, were they to set aside their differences on other matters and to collaborate against the threat posed byythre isis, i believe they can handlee the threat. let's think about isis, it's probably what, 25, 30,000 fighters. no air force, no navy. no weapons of mass destruction, no significant resources, no allies to speak up.e regi
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where the countries in the region to focus their collective effort on defeating isis and restoring a semblance of stability, they could do so. our diplomatic task is to vote their understanding of that imperative. >> host: catskill new york, go ahead. >> caller: thank you so much. my reading of history suggests g to me to our meddling began in 1964 when we help the british. i would like to know if you agree with that and where you see us, where there are mistakeh begin next thank you. >> guest: the subtitle of the book is a military history, and what i'm trying to explain is what the united states has been doing with its military. i would argue strongly prior to 1980 our military presence and involvement in the region was minimal. but the point of making is a very good one.
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i am not arguing and what should not argue that prior to 1980 u.s. had no policy in the region. we did have a policy. we had interest, and the example you cite of the cia's's involvement in the overthrow of motion back in iran is a very good example of how misguided en policy was even before 1980. next call comes from daniel in yucaipa, california, daniel go ahead. >> so yes i don't know whether to address my question to professor, doctor, or colonel but anyway, professor -- did the concept or does the concept of radical islamic terrorism have any relevance in our political discussion? it was made to be quite a big deal of the election here recently. and also what is you think russia's policy towards isis? >> well, let me focus on the first one and --
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i'm hesitant to get bogged down in this debate about terms that can be used and cannot be used. there's certainly -- is a strain i would say really teffly small into larger scheme of things a -- a strain of islam as an i had ideology to find expression then in violence directed some of the violence directed against the west, violence directed against muslims and state institutions in that part of the world but hasten to add that problem is a lot more complex than that. that these sources of dysfunction that we see are multiple. what do we got going on here. that what we have is a historic
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antagonism between islamic civilization and the west that probably can be traced back to the crusade. but what we have here is the legacy of european imperialism. particularly british imperialism. what we have here is the result of a reckless dismantling of the autumn empire at the end of world war i. what we have here is pandemic economic underdevelopment of local leaders who are corrupt and unenlightened and we also have shortsighted u.s. policies that i think have contributed to making matters worse. so my point here would be that -- i -- i urge people to push back against the notion that there's a single explanation for the turmoil in the region and indeed to embracing the notion of a multiplicity of causes provides
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a further caution against the notion that further u.s. military action is somehow going to, going to mix matters because there's noafd to support that to support that expectation. >> andrew, donald trump will be the 13th president since harry truman 1946 to deal with the middle east who has gotten it right in the past for you? >> well, nobody has fully gotten it right. and despite the fact that dwight eisenhower was president when we overthrew, i think that eisenhower came closer to getting it right than any other president. eisenhower believed that we needed to find some way to have -- have a modicum of relations with the arab world. eisenhower was quite red about a
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commitment to israel that would undermine the possibility of having decent relations with the arab world. and certainly eisenhower as a matter of principle was exceedingly hesitant about using american military power not simply in the middle east but anywhere else. eisenhower believed that war with really should be a last resort that has tended not took the case. with more recent presence. >> hanukkah in pennsylvania, hanukkah you're on booktv. we're listening. >> hi, good evening as largest arm dealers in the world how can we direct our military support that influences three large entities -- [inaudible] without imposing our own interest and helping to create a potential collapse of the entire middle east?
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>> well, it's a great question. and i -- i think i agree with the premise of that question. that is to say for too long now, success of administration have acted on the assumption that selling arms to our so-called friends in the region ultimately promotes, wins friends inthriewnses poem and promotes stability. and i think that in particular of late, we see that that assumption is utterly false. saudi arabia is involved in a war with in yemen. their aircraft to being refueled by american planes. aircraft they're flying are u.s. manufactured. and drop in american weapon -- i don't see that being good for anybody and good for the united states so there really needs to be a re-examination of our arm sales policies.
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>> and we're talking with retired boston university professor andrew, about his most recent book america's war for the greater middle east. a military history here is the cover and let's listen next to paul in san diego. paul, go ahead with your question or comment. >> hi, thank you so very much for taking my call and thank you for c-span and guest, my question is this: what type of rip the effects would happen if there was a solution to the palestinian issue is there really mission impossible and if it isn't, if we could get it done, what do you see happening in the region? and thank you so much and i'll take any question with out there. >> thank you, sir. >> sadly i think it is mission impossible because neither of the two sides palestinians or government of israel are seriously committed to that. and i think that the expansion of settlements in the the west
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bank which a government of israel routinely applies makes the prospect of two state solution more distant. i think frankly we're at the point where we should acknowledge that's a complete fiction. sadly i say that because to your point, i think that point is a very good one. there was a long stand argument that we tend to hear from the -- from arab and that is that -- that were -- were the international community to defectively to the grievances of the palestinians that that could have the effect of reducing the antagonism in the islamic world directed to the united states. now, in particular supporters of israel say that that's nonsense. but i would argue that we have a very strong interest, our interest in testing the proposition. so we have a strong interest in --
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in seeing the creation of a sovereign palestinian state thord to find the if that could possibly be a way to again to alleviating tag nism directed at united states. >> andrew if somebody is in favor of a two-state solution, are they anti-israel? >> i don't believe so, i would argue and certainly not on one who make this is argument that the two state solution is in the long-term interest of the state of israel that really absent two state solution. the prospects of israel continuing to be both a jewish state and a democracy are -- are a pretty slim and indeed with the passage of time, and with the expansion of the israeli u jewish presence into the west bank, that -- that the government of israel is simply creating barrier or
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obstacles to that long-term stated goal of the israeli government to ensure that israel is both a jewish state and a democratic state. i would very much like to see israel continue to be a jewish state and a democratic state. i believe that the policies of the government of israel are exceedingly short sited in that regard and may prove to be counterproductive in the long-term. >> next call gregory sherman oaks california, you're on booktv. >> hello, andrew and hello c-span i really love this program. a year ago in the middle of the iraq war, a proposal appeared in solar today magazine for a u.s. program that would have provided millions of sol solar panels to the cities and villages and neighborhoods of iraq which would have provided thousands of tens of thousands of jobs for


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