tv Today in Washington CSPAN November 30, 2009 10:00am-12:00pm EST
presentation. this is a sea change from where rework a year-and-a-half ago. the president deserves a lot of credit. he put this back on the map during his campaign. that put the issue on the table and jumpstart in his negotiations. and then we're not a point to close and i think is appropriate that he be there. -- reddick we are now at a point to close and i think is a corporate that he be there. host: that as of 4 "washington journal" this morning. we will join you again tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern time. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009]. .
>> today's press conference of robert gibbs will begin at 1:00 p.m. eastern, live here on c- span. later, it focuses on the obama administration and hiv-aids prevention, hosted by the white
house. that is live at 2:30 p.m. eastern. later, a discussion on reporting for iran. that starts at 4:00 p.m. eastern live on c-span. >> on this vote, the yeas are 60, the nays are 39. the motion is agreed to.
>> with that vote, the senate moves its health-care bill to the floor. starting today and through december, follow the entire debate and how the bill would affect access to medical care, the public option, taxes, abortion, and medicare, why are companion network, c-span2, the only network that brings you the senate gavel-to-gavel.
>> our discussion now on issues facing airline pilots, from today's "washington journal." prater is president of airline pilots association international. you are testifying before congress. sellas your message. guest: get the faa reauthorization done. it includes language directing them to update the federal aviation regulations on pilot fatigue. it is the number-one issue before airline pilots today. host: talk to us about pilot fatigue.
what would you like to see changed hands -- as far as regulations are things back and help pilots. guest: a set of regulations that recognize the difficulties of different types of flying. let us start with regional or commuter flying, where the pilot can do eight, nine, 10 legs a day. that needs to be put in restricted duty day so that you can do the landings but not have the 16-hour day. that means the pilot could be making his are heard last landing after being up 18, 19, 20 hours and then only get eight hours in a hotel. let us talk about the long-range flying to europe and asia, crossing eight, 10, even 12 time zones. that requires a different system. we have advocated for a matrix that looks at that and provides pilots with enough rest before, during, and after the trips so they don't have to ever go to work and be in a fatigued state.
host: why should that come from the federal government as opposed to regulations the industry it imposes on itself? guest: the industry is not strong enough to impose regulations on itself. now, there is a responsibility both on pilots and operators, the airlines themselves, but there must be a strong underlying set of federal regulations that govern how we operate airplanes, how we operate our -- scheduling systems. host: talk about pilot pay. sometimes it is surprising how little they make even flying busy schedules. are they paid for the time they're in the air, and what would you like to see happen? guest: most of the pace systems are governed by the air. as if you paid a relief pitcher by the piece -- pitch. roughly our pay is somewhere between 55 or 85 hours a day a month. that is billable hours. it doesn't include the training
time, we are not paid for what we are preparing for flights, doing what grounds. the pay has been a casualty of not only the economy but the war itself. following 9/11 this industry changed. unfortunately we went through bankruptcy's at almost all the major characters. those who did not go through bankruptcies were put under the cost concessions -- wages were cut by 30% to 40%. tensions were lost and then the airlines began to outsource of applying to what they call regional carriers. these regional carriers used to be commuter carriers, flying nine to 19 passengers. now these men and women are flying 50, 70, 90 seats jets and copilots earning as little as $17,000 to 18,000 a year -- gone and the families of the 20 days a month. we have a huge job to correct that. host: the plane crash in
buffalo, the fatal crash, there was concern how much rest of the pilot and co-pilot got heading into that. a story and "usa today" look at could -- concerns on the cold and air flight, how much rest they got into it. one of the copilot's had to identify an overnight before the flight. the pilot may be didn't got -- get a lot of sleep. did you see that as a factor in that crash? guest: i don't think it is as large an issue that has been made out of it. of course we look at every detail of the incident or accident trying to find out where the mistake came from, how do we prevent it. that is our duty. in this case, the fact that a first officer shaw had flown across the country, she could have actually flown that flight across the country all night, been offered during the day and flown that same flight that evening to buffalo. it is a problem but it is a
problem we cannot look at in isolation. that is why we are looking at the new set of regulations which i believe is going to see happen. we have been pushing on the government for over 25 years, the last three years very intensively. it has backstop and some of the legislation that unfortunately the senate is sitting on, and i believe the faa is going to get it done this year. host: let us talk about recent flight, the pilots oversight -- overshot the destination and now we are looking at what may have caused that. the recognition of perhaps they had fallen asleep but now it looks like they were on their laptops? guest: let me preface this, alpa is full member of the national transportation safety board investigation, so therefore i cannot comment directly because as full party status they must be the one to speak about it. but let me speak about it in general, the job of flying airplanes. unfortunately, we understand
high-profile incidents make the news. but i think we overlook of the fact that there are 70,000 flights just over north america today being flown by air line pilots. 70 percent of those are alpa members. we strive every day to deliver safe product. every day on every flight pilots make hundreds of decisions. if those decisions are correct, you don't read about them. you get to your destination and you did not even know. airplanes are mechanical machines. guess what? they break. pilots handle those things. let us talk about when there is an incident or distraction or when pilots make mistakes. what we have developed over the last decade or so are programs called aviation safety action programs. as professionals, what do we do? we don't hide the fact that we made a mistake. we tell our company, which tell the faa -- would tell the authorities and each other so we
can identify the mistake. that is the height of being a professional. one who can admit, i'm a human being, and made a mistake, how can i help iran someone else from making that same error. host: laptops, are the tools that could be used in airplanes? there were concerns about the regulations. guest: laptops are being integrated into the cockpit. basically what all the same type of communication devices that are on a cell phone. we get text messages in the cockpit from the company, the modernization of aircraft -- air-traffic control will come over as text messages. we are already using this over the atlantic. computers themselves, there is a role for them. they detected integrated in a safe manner. they just can't be seen to take away or distract from the job of flying the airplane. host: robert calling on the democrats' line from cincinnati.
guest: is that a union that he is in there? -- caller: is that a union? guest: the largest pilots' union in the world. caller: how long have you been airline pilot? airlines guest: pilot for 32 years and pilot -- airline -- caller: when ronald reagan busted the unions -- guest: i was on strike for continental airlines. i live in those days of the strike, one that was determined to be illegal and we have also seen what happened since, that the profession has recovered. they are represented and have become a strong union in their own right. this country moves forward by recognizing its mistakes, just like my profession does. host: arlene of the democrats'
line. good morning. caller: my statement is physicians have different agencies that report on them as far as safety. and the mistakes that they make, so that the public can be informed about what doctor they are seeing and what kind of medicine. because airline pilots are responsible for so many lives in 1 second, but there is no agency reporting any plan and flight, and the customer can look up that pilot and find out of the one to travel with them. if they had some problems, maybe we choose not to apply what that guy. we can do that with doctors. what makes these guys so different?
guest: let me try to explain it in this way. we are the most tested professional world. we receive at least three check rides a year, two medical every year, we received constant monitoring and we fly with each other. there is always at least two of us in the cockpit. as a profession, if we recognize it efficiency, we address it. maybe my first officer recognizes something going on with me. maybe i'm fighting something. he will come to me. we have trained each other to rely on each other. but guess what? our family's flight in the back of these airplanes as well. so i can guarantee you we take very seriously. but we also go through so much training, so much observation by management pilots, check pilots, faa inspectors that you can get on the airplane with a
great deal of confidence that each of the pilots has passed all the required faa check rides. host: mark on independent line from silver spring. go right ahead. caller: how are you doing? guest: excellent. caller: i'm live in the right now. you guys get paid more money, a tremendous response ability. is it your fault some of the airplane' have doppler systems that detect wind shear? guest: the radar will show areas of wind shear. the doppler has been used but doppler is mostly ground-based. denver comes to mind. they use a doppler system to detect wind shear across the airport. but that equipment is very heavy and we don't have that as standard machine equipment on
the airplanes. host: on independent line, and neil from pontiac, michigan. caller: the qrs-11 chip implanted and some of the boeing aircraft. say that somebody had sabotaged the gyro chip, is impossible to hide graf -- hi jack and aircraft on the ground through a aircraft on the ground through a computer system, t guest: well, i have read what is out there on the internet on this subject and talked with several of my colleagues about it. in fact, it is an issue that the authorities have looked at, but only i think to debunk some of the concerns that are out there. but both the fbi, the cia -- all of the agencies have been made aware of some of those
allegations. but to this point, is more of an allegation than a reality. host: on the republican line, that is calling in from pennsylvania. good morning. caller: good morning, sir. guest: good morning. caller: i have a question and i wanted to make a quick comment about you were saying that the pilots make $17,000 a year to start. well, you can blame president reagan for that, busting your union's up. another question i have for you, sir, and please forgive me for my ignorance. i fell asleep on this subject. but you guys support the pilots have been firearms? >> yes, our federal flight deck officer program that is run by hamas security and the tsa has been an outstanding success.
while i am not allowed to say in any certainty how many airline pilots there are, i guarantee you that many of the airlines in this country are being protected by airline pilots who have been certified and are carrying a weapon to defend the cockpit. i can guarantee you that there are over five figures worth of airline pilots flying in this country armed and ready to defend their cockpits, and we fully support that program. host: richmond, virginia. calling on the democrat line. caller: hi, capt., how were you? my question is, do you feel that the increased flight security members after 9/11 had hindered fliers so much that it becomes overly cumbersome for them to actually go to the destination? guest: certainly the hassle factor of the first couple of years of tsa was very disturbing
and i think it drove some be back into their cars and back into the trains are canceled their trips. but i have noticed over the last year or 18 months that it has become quite a bit better. the airport i have been flying out of, waiting has been anywhere from five minutes to 6 minutes, and i noticed the professionalism of the officers who are doing the searching. i think it is just a matter of experience. if you have not flown for a while, i think you will find it is much better. certainly it can always been disproved. we would like to knock down the hassle factor but in the end we guarantee the safety and security of the system, and that is part of the process. host: "the wall street journal" today, faa rejects boeing 777 ice warnings.
what is your reaction? guest: it is a rare occurrence, but once in awhile, injuns fail. double engine failure like the triple 7 in london or the airbus that landed in the hudson, which is a very, very rare event. but pilots, again, are trained to do everything depended engines restarted, flying the airplane the whole time. this specific case -- machines are not perfect. pilots are taught procedures on how to deal with those type of events. in this case, the fix is we add power when we are at a high altitudes, cold altitudes, to try to prevent icing in the fuel line. that is a temporary condition. certainly we are advocating as
quickly as possible that any of the suspect parts be replaced, but in the interim, we can do the procedure is not necessary to keep those flights save. host: let us go to philadelphia, pennsylvania, where john as calling on the independent line. caller: good morning. if pilots -- special commercial pilots are allowed to fly 1000 a year, correct? guest: correct. caller: i was curious, does the long provided up, you have a program and then some in the hours on and off? guest: glad to in some of that. the current rules are approximately 1000 hours per year, calendar year, about 30 hours to 32 hours depending on airplane or type per week and about 100 hours per month. we are required to keep a logbook showing our times from
the time the airplane first move until the time the airplane stops. what we are looking for is much tighter control of how long the duty days a month -- may be pared earlier i said some of the duty days are 16 hours and that actually show up at the airport. that is how we keep track of the law books, computer programs and airlines required to monitor key to the flight times as well. host: the caller from louisiana. al is a retired air traffic controller. caller: good morning. captain, the morning to you. nice to see you and c-span. national -- i was in naca obviously, and we were interested in getting the faa bill through. it was delayed for quite some time. and i know what went on with the bankruptcy is an act -- and the
way they paid with their pay a few years back. i wonder in what you think about that. we had a similar spirit but the impose work rules. guest: it is an unfortunate fact that on 9/11, 8 + years ago, war was declared on our country. at that time, our government and our companies declared war on airline labor contracts. they used bankruptcy to take away over 30 or 40 years board of collective bargaining. they took away pension plans. and they took away something more. in some cases, some of our work rules that were actually increased on the federal regulation -- aviation regulations. we had an pro-gun the maximum duty days. that was taken away during bankruptcy. for the last couple of years we have been trying to negotiate some of those things back.
you don't lose 25 years of pension and make it up over night. you don't get back a 30% to 40% pay cut overnight. we are working on it, but i tell you morale and our profession has been very low for all of those reasons. we are going to want to work with the congress to change the bankruptcy laws. labor contracts should not be thrown away that easily. pension plans should not be thrown away that easily. they are actually taking a huge swipe at being a professional called an airline pilot. host: cameron on the republican line from seattle. caller: good morning, an good morning to your guest. i want to comment on the union thing. it sounds like a good thing at face value, but if you tear it down you think people expecting pensions -- for instance, gm, guys work for eight years and then they are entitled to
$80,000 after eight years of working for a company. for instance, the state pensions nationally are 272 trillion dollars in debt. i think the unions, which i equate to the bolsheviks these days, are a problem. my question, do you comment on how the unions have bled the vampire host here in seattle -- some to -- have gone on strike 18 times in six years and bawling through in the towel, moving to south carolina and the union is so good, what now for all of your union thugs? any comment on that? guest: i would not comment on union of, sir, but i would tell you right now you would not be as safe on the back of an airplane if it were not for this union. we fight against people only want to make money and said, no, we want it safely. we were formed in 1931 and
almost 60% of the founders lost their lives. our members pay a huge amount of do so we can make airline flying safer. that is what unions do for you. you may have a different take, but you know what, i think if you work for 30 years you ought to have a right to a decent pension plan, i think it ought to have a right to a decent collectively bargained health care. those are things the unions have brought to you, sir, whether you know it or not. host: talk about the differences between regional carriers and major airlines in terms of the hours pilots work and their lifestyles and also how they are compensated. guest: right now the regional industry is undergoing a large change. most are controlled by one of the large named airlines. either they owned them or control them. regional airlines are not airlines. they are airplanes, pilots, some flight attendants and mechanics
and the operate as a subsidiary. a contractor to the major airline to put its name a side of it. caylee have with the contract calls for one of the name-brand airlines. the regional airlines grew tremendously after 9/11. the airline industry itself tried to protect its home turf but try to reduce the number of seats in the market, so it went to smaller airplanes. at the same time, they subcontracted, we call an outsourced, from the main line to the regional carriers. we are starting to see a little bit of reduction in that our reenah beard but the rate in -- in that arena. of the regional airlines, unfortunately too many carriers act like it is a training ground for the next job. airline pilot for 50-seater, 90- seater, is not a training ground that is why we are growing for
h.r. 3371, airline safety bill, we are moebius senate will act on this. this will increase the amount of training airline pilots have been for the ever fly you or your family. host: walter on the independent line. gulf breeze, florida. caller: however you this morning? i am a retired crewmember. i have been out for about 15 years. i was wondering with this new bill they are talking about, but 24/7 role -- the 24/7 rule, that crewmembers have to have 24 at the home base. guest: sir, that is one of the things that is being looked at. the fda -- f a a will release an of this year or early next year a note of proposed rulemaking. at this point they completed
aviation rule making committee and they are writing the rules but we have not seen it yet. we have advocated for certainly more time, more recuperative rest time at home than just 24 hours every seven days. but again, more of the complex matrix. but we believe those rest periods have to be protected and certainly expanded in this case. host: is the stronger regulations regarding the number of hours pilots work and fast turnaround? is there concern about reduction in pay? they are paid by air time. guest: it is something we will probably have to address. but we expect the pay hours will be roughly the same as they are today. i think certain operations may reduce some of their monthly flying. one of the things we're asking for is there are a lot of different types of flying. while we were talking mostly
about airline passenger flying -- major's and regionals -- there is a huge section of the industry flying cargo, scheduled cargo, on schedule, flying through the department of defense. right now i guarantee you probably on approach to afghanistan, approach to iraq, flying our troops in and hopefully bringing them home. those are the things that we do. what we ask the government, what we are going to demand is that one size fits all. one set of regulations. it doesn't matter whether i have 300 passengers behind me or 30 tons of cargo, i am still a human being, still an airline pilot and they need to be treated in that same manner under host: captain john prater is the president of the air line pilots association international. >> you can see "washington journal" live every morning 7:00
a.m. eastern. next, gordon brown will announce sending another 500 troops to afghanistan, bringing the total to 9500. this comes a day before president obama's prime-time address on afghanistan. you will hear from the opposition party leaders, then questions from members. we will have a live for you here shortly on c-span. and afghanistan is expected to be a major topic of conversation at today's white house briefing. spokesman robert gibbs will discuss president obama's speech to the nation tomorrow night, and it will begin at 1:00 p.m. eastern live on c-span. a little bit later, the focus is on the obama administration and hiv/aids prevention, focus -- hosted by the white house. live today at 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span.
in reporting on iran after the recent elections. that will get underway live at 4:00 p.m. on c-span. >> on this vote, the yeas are 60, the nays are 39. >> with that vote, the senate moves its health-care bill to the floor. follow the entire debate and how the bill would affect access to health care, abortion, medicare come alive on c-span2 committee only network that brings you the senate, gavel-to- gavel. live pictures now from the british house of commons, where surely prime minister gordon brown will announce that he will send an additional 500 troops to of can stand, breen the total british troops counted 9500. this announcement coming just a day before the president, president obama's prime time address on afghanistan. live coverage from the british house of commons, and we do
expect the prime minister shortly. >> are not being properly addressed at the moment, by the school and the governance. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i was very pleased to hear the secretary of state announce an increase of $100 million in the funding for prayer school places. we will be moving -- will allow community primary schools rather than insisting the new schools or other forms of schools through competition so that we can do it fast enough? >> thank you for the comments about big money with respect to the primary school places. the extra $9 million i think will be -- and she is campaigning hard for that. on the issue, the provision of -- we're looking to see how we can ensure that we can deliver that quickly to the primar
schooly. >> the government likes throwing money at divisive and politically correct projects such as black history month, can i say to scrap that of initiative and replace the funding with a unified program about promoting private in british history -- promoting pride in british history. >> i am not quite sure how to respond to that question, mr. speaker. and say it within parliamentary exceptional language. all i can say as i attended a conference where her the testimonies of young people from different races, different ethnicities, all saying that by working together, by respecting diversity, by having unity in our country, we can come back extremism. that is the right way to proceed. black history month is the right way to proceed, and i would ask the gentleman to reflect on the comments.
>> order. statement, the prime minister. >> with permission, mr. speaker, let me begin this statement on afghanistan by once more paying tribute to our armed forces. since 2001, our forces have been fighting in afghanistan, one of the longest military campaigns of recent times. laundry indeed in the world wars of the last century, as part of our longer indeed in the world wars of the last century, at all times, our armed forces have shown the highest professionalism which makes and the best admired and the best in the world. they have endured heavy and tragic casualties. they deserve our utmost gratitude. let me acknowledge the presence today as visitors to this house of members of 19 who have destroyed -- who have served with distinction in afghanistan. mr. speaker, decisions to extend military action are as critical as commencing but her action,
and there are two prime questions people ask of our mission with the american coalition allies in afghanistan. what about the present -- what about the present, what about the future? both questions have to be answered. the first is why today our armed forces are in afghanistan, and the second is how and when afghanistan can take responsibility for its own security so that our troops can come home. mr. speaker, the origins of our intervention in afghanistan and the scale of the terrorist threat are known to us all. a around the world, thousands of men and women of all religions, including thousands of the muslim faith, are being murdered in al qaeda outrageous. the bombings cost 52 lives and injured over 750 people. most recently in britain we have seen the 2006 heathrow liquid bombs plot, the 2007 london and glasgow bombings, and this year,
and al qaeda conspiracy to target shopping centers. there are now over whether to 20 convicted terrorists serving sentences in british prisons, -- there are now over 120 convicted terrorists serving sentences in british prisons. to counter this terrorist threat, we have since 2001 traveled their resources available today nearly twice as many regular police officers are engaged in full-time work to counter the terrorist threat. suspect travelers are now checked at the border in real time against watch lists, and increasing the number of people are excluded on national- security grounds from britain. because this is a fight for hearts and minds against violent extremism, and those ideologies that would pervert the islamic faith, we have stepped up our work with our allies to expose the damage that murderous and
extremist ideologies do, and to support those working across all faiths on the common ground of dignity, tolerance, and respect for all. so, mr. speaker, our security in the united kingdom and our effort to counteract terrorist propaganda has been entities to be strengthened at all levels. faced with the terrorist threat, some have argued that the most effective strategy is simply to defend britain within our own borders. some ask why british troops are in afghanistan at all if al qaeda can organize and britain in somalia, yemen, and other places, even in the internet chat rooms across the world. but as long as the afghan /pakistan border areas are the location of choice for al qaeda, and are the epicenter of global terrorism, it is the government's judgment that we must address the terrorist threat at its source. indeed, as long as three- quarters of the most serious
terrorist threats against britain are linked to the pakistan/afghan border areas, we should be feeling in our duty if we did not work with our allies to do with a problem where it starts. a more stable and more secure afghanistan and pakistan will help ensure a safer britain. since 2001, progress has been made in driving out data -- in driving al qaeda into the mountains of waziristan. tens of thousands of pakistan troops are now in waziristan. with president obama, i would be urging pakistan house leadership most recently in a conversation with president zardari on saturday, to step up the efforts not just against the pakistan taliban in this region, but also against al qaeda. as an international community, we must intensify the support for the action of pakistan authorities, press ahead with the development program
amounting to 2/3 of $1 billion for 04 -- for four years, focusing increasingly on the border areas and encouraging the schools to counteract the propaganda is essential that progress is driving -- it is essential -- to counteract the propaganda. now, success in driving al qaeda into waziristan have led some to propose that we should target oxide of there. to explain why this is in inadequate response, we must understand the al qaeda network, its longstanding links with the afghan taliban, and the extent to which al qaeda continues to seek, as in the past, a taliban- controlled afghanistan which would allow them unfettered opportunities to plan and launch with impunity their attack on britain and other countries. our task is to prevent the taliban from giving al qaeda
that safe-haven, and while stabilizing afghanistan will not solve all our challenges in pakistan and elsewhere, instability in afghanistan can only increase the risk of conflagration where the rest of the world can least afford it. that is why, mr. speaker, the safety of people on issues of britain requires us to deny al qaeda the space to operate across pakistan and to deny them the option to operate in afghanistan. this is the considered view of the 43-nation coalition, which is a unique force of nato and non-nato members led by the united states of america, supported by clear united nations resolutions, and today our shared purpose in the same as in 2001 -- to deny al qaeda space to operate, but our approach to achieving this is now to be different. in december, 2007, our government became one of the first to suggest that afghanistan must be prepared to take control of the security.
since then we've consistently argued that to weaken the taliban, we have to strengthen the afghan government at national levels and at local level, too. this approach is built on our knowledge that the taliban have only minority support among the afghan people. our judgment that the long-term security of afghanistan is best secured by training the afghan army and police, building up civilian government, and to economic development, giving afghans a stake in their future. this has to be supported by stronger international civilian leadership to work alongside general mcchrystal to deliver the civilian aspects of this strategy. it is an outline program for the transfer of security responsibilities to the afghans, district by district, province by province, with the first district and province potentially being handed over during next year. let us be clear that this
process will depend on the afghans being ready to take responsibility and control, first through more trained afghan troops, second, through better policing, third, through effective local and national government, and fourth, by giving afghans a stronger stake in their economic future. i can also say that over time, our objective is to work for and to encourage a new set of relationships between afghanistan and its neighbors, based on their guarantee of non- interference in afghanistan pus future affairs, and on a commitment to fostering not only its cultural links with other powers in the region, but a major confidence-building security measure that all can benefit. so, mr. speaker, i want the london conference on afghanistan to be held january 20, which printed a karzai and the secretary-general of united nations have confirmed they will attend, to unite the international community behind a program now and for the longer- term to help the afghans secure
and govern their own country. against this background, our coalition of military strategy is to create the space for an effective political strategy to work. weakening the taliban by strengthening afghanistan itself, a military surge, yes, but complemented by a political surge that is most of law and afghan surge. today i want to send the benchmarks -- to set the benchmarks for this approach, giving details of the numbers and implements of our armed forces. over the coming year, the coalition seeks a major expansion of the afghan army from 90,000 to one and a 34,000. we expect the surge to allow an extra 10,000 troops to be deployed, of which 5000 will be trained and partnered by british forces. we can start now. 600 afghan soldiers are arriving this month. an extra couple of big for each
battalion there, and a thousand more troops will soon reinforce the afghan's army -- the afghan army's grip increasingly, it will be afghan forces the clear and hold ground as they prepare for the time when they can assume responsibility for their own security. secondly, within the next six months, the international community will agree with president karzai's government a police reform plan. we agree that in helmand, afghan police numbers will increase with further increases to follow. by mid 2010, the capacity helmut police training center will be doubled, and we will double the number of trainers by the more -- by the be the military police to 200 next year. an effective accountable administration. over the next five months -- over the next nine months, president karzai will be expected to implement far-
reaching reforms into all -- of 400 districts have a governor, and district community shoppers have been -- with more to come. nationwide, the number of community development councils will increase from 22,000 to over 30,000. the fourth is a clean, effective, and inclusive national government, one that reaches out to political leaders and citizens from all areas of society. while president karzai has agreed with us on tackling corruption with a new anti- corruption task force, we recognize that the test is not initiatives but to deliberate on the ground, and we will monitor carefully what president karzai's administration is doing. we support of the karzai's call for a reconciliation.
is the task of military forces international and afghan to weaken and pressurize the insurgency, but it is right and essential that this work the combined with it with forward to reduce violence and. reintegration must be led by afghans themselves at both national and local levels. for afghanistan to enjoy stability in the future, farmers and working people in towns and villages must have a greater stake and that economic future. a major afghan-led program backed by significant funding to identify the likely areas in the afghan economy and to provide afghans with credible economic alternatives to poppy in the insurgency. this year's wheat harvest is expected to be the highest in 50 years. programs funded by our development department will this
year create 20,000 jobs in this area, and by 2013 will be able to raise the incomes of 200,000 people. mr. speaker, i turn to the details of our force levels and the plymouth. in my statement to the house on 14, october, i said to support our strategy of afghanisation, what is in times maintaining security of our forces, the government -- i can report on each of these conditions. first i made clear that we would increase the number of british personnel in afghanistan only if we were assured that they would -- that we continue to be the case that every soldier and unit deployed is fully equipped for the operations they are asked to undertake. at this morning's meeting of our afghanistan and pakistan national security committee, the chief of the defense staff give that assurance that this condition has been met both for
the existing force and the additional 500 troops. indeed, the chief's report to me, the continuing delivery of the equipment, newly arrived russian helicopters have been given the green light for operations in afghanistan and months ahead of schedule. compared with three years ago, we have doubled helicopter flying hours. in the coming months, these will increase by a further 20%. by the end of the year, the number of heavily armored mine- resistant vehicles will have almost doubled since august. a smaller more agile version will have increased by over 75%. by spring next year, they will be joined by more adapted for expose of disposal work. new war compact vehicles showing the results of our investment over the past three years, of over 1 billion pounds from the treasury reserve in vehicles for afghanistan. by the end of this year, also committed build up of a 200- strong ied task force, along with the dedicated unnecessary,
will be complete. an additional -- in addition, aerial surveillance will increase by over 40%. a further two and a specialist troops will be deployed against ied's by spring, 2010. three years ago, equipment and support for our forces deployed to afghanistan, funded from the treasure reserve, was estimated at around 190,000 pounds, supporting each individual there. this year it has more than doubled that, around 400,000 and still rising. the best possible support and equipment is what we owe those fighting our country -- fighting for our country in afghanistan. the second, 9.5-9500 must be agreed approach with all countries bearing their share. a coalition with its largest contributor, the united states of america, we continue regular discussions with the president
and his team about evolving strategy. america will make an announcement tomorrow. the secretary-general of nato reports that in addition to the uk and usa, a countries have already made offers of additional troops and that other countries are likely to follow. it is often said that america and britain are fighting alone. this is wrong. excluding america and britain, the numbers of international coalition troops will have risen from in january, to the seven, 16,000 troops to around 30,000. i believe over the coming months, even more countries will respond. our effort in helmut will benefit. last year, totals were run 7000. now they will be above 20,000, three times what they were pitted our -- but they were. president karzai and his defense
minister have assured us that not only 500,000 members of the new afghan national army corps will be deployed to helmand to be -- additional recruits will arrive for training in the next few weeks. so, mr. speaker, with the conditions i have met, i confirm we will move to a new force level of ninat 500. from late january -- a new force level of 9500. mr. speaker, for understandable reasons of operational security, we shall continue to withhold information about the deployment and the nature of activities and our special forces. but at this time of increasing international effort, it is right to get a more comprehensible account of our total military commitment to the afghanistan campaign. i believe that the british people have a right to know and deserve the assurance that our
highly professional widely respected and extraordinarily brave special forces are playing their role not only in force protection but in taking the fight directly to the taliban, working in theater alongside our regular forces. but i want the whole country to pay tribute to their work. taking into account the special forces, supporting troops and increasing amounts today, our total military effort and afghanistan will be in excess of 10,000 troops. this force level enables us to deliver a military strategy of bringing security to the population. it will support our political strategy of strengthening the afghan government at national and local level as they have in turn taken steps to govern in a more clear, effective, and inclusive way. it will solve it the development of the afghan army said in time they can take over responsibility for security, and thus ensure that our troops can come home. we are ensuring as best we can
the safety of our forces. we are today setting benchmarks of afghanistan to meet. in the last few weeks, we have worked hard to achieve a stronger military presence across the coalition with a more equal sharing of the burden. in all we do, we will never forget this fundamental truth of the military campaign. but keeping the streets of our country free from terrorism is our utmost responsibility, and for a safe britain we need a stable afghanistan. and i commend this statement to the house. >> thank you, mr. speaker. can i think the prime minister for his statement, before turning to afghanistan, mr. speaker, may i put write something i got wrong last week? the two islamic schools i mentioned money, wiley receive that money under a pathfinders in, it was not the pathfinder's team with -- concerned with combating extreme is. i'm sorry for the era.
believe when getting a fact wrong you should put it right, but i continue to believe it is wrong that taxpayers money goes to schools run by extremists. in afghanistan, 235 british service personnel and ministry of defence staff have lost a lives, and many more have been injured. this is a high price to pay preferred stock, let me endorse absolutely what the prime minister has said about our forces. they are doing an extra mirror job and they have the admiration and the support of our whole country. they are doing an extraordinary job than they have the aberration and the support of our whole country. -- they have the admiration and the support of our whole country. the sooner that happens, the sooner our forces can come home. i want to ask the prime minister today about three areas. first the political and military search of a second, the conference planned for january. third, the timetable for which the prime minister has set out for handing over provinces and
districts to afghan control. on the 500 and additional british troops, this is the same further deployment was the prime minister notice on the 14th of october subject to the conditions being met. let me ask more about the three conditions. the first was burden sharing. the prime minister told us on the 18th of november he was in touch with eight allies about increasing our contribution, and he repeated that figure today. can he tell us which countries have pledged more troops, how many are these in total, how many troops there are in total, and how many of them will go to helmand? the second condition to was to ensure the forces had the necessary equipment. the prime minister tells us they will have that equipment. this is a test set by the government, judged by the government. well what he said about it is welcome, the u.s. forces have far more helicopters available
to them. isn't it also the case that the murders are in fact unconnected to the troops that we are deploying, and it is worth making the point that if the prime minister had not personally cut $1.4 billion off the helicopter program, we would not be in the situation we are today pretty third condition was that additional afghan forces -- in the situation we are today. can he assure us they will remain in helmand once deployed? and can he comment on this? this is still the case that less than 10% of afghan forces are actually in helmand province, even though half the fighting this place there? the prime minister has set out some clear benchmarks for the karzai government. i have to ask why it is only now, 3.5 years after our forces arrived in helmand, are setting out those conditions.
is it credible to deal with corruption in the police come in his six month timetable, when friendly we have not management -- is it credible to deal with corruption in the police force, in his six month timetable, when frankly we have not managed in the year? as a means of the current governors must be replaced? next, the london conference british prime minister spoke -- does he believe that the bomb settlement on the wrong and that the constitution in afghanistan is to centralize? we have been pressing for a senior international figure to drive home the political strategy. does the prime minister believe that will now happen? and is he willing to take our suggestion for a permanent comment route. some of the prime minister's remarks reported in the press seem different to what he said in the chamber in recent weeks.
when asked about pakistan in october, he went out of his way to defend the way in which pakistan was planning to take on al qaeda. as he put it, the pakistan government was of a quote planning how to do with not only the pakistan taliban, but the afghan, taliban, and al qaeda itself. now he has gone out of his way to criticize pakistan for failing to deal with al qaeda. can he tell us a little bit more about what has changed in his thinking about this approach? now, there has also been much speculation on what the prime minister said in trinidad about the timetables for handling it. i have to say, mr. deputy speaker, the statement to the house is slightly different to the briefing given to the press over the weekend. the prime minister says he wants the london conference to determine the conditions for transferring provinces in districts to afghan control, and yet the prime minister also says, not to the house but in trinidad, he sees five provinces
transferred by the end of 2010, and he believes this will be possible for one or two districts in helmand how can the prime minister be confident of this time the table before the london conference has even met and set the benchmarks? naturally, we all want our troops to come home as soon as possible, as soon as their job is done. but does the prime minister agree with me we must never do or say anything that gives the impression to the taliban that we will not see this through, nor should we raise any false hope or any false expectations among the families of british forces that may later be dashed. can he ensure the country and the forces that any suggestion about timetables for handover will be based on a hard hand assessment of the situation on the ground? isn't it the case that the british public want us to do what is right, not to speculate and to risk the danger of raising false hopes? >> mr. prime minister?
>> mr. speaker, first off, i wanted to thank him for his continuing support it for the work of our forces in afghanistan. and i think we should come in spite of the detailed comments that the opposition has made come get this in proper perspective. first of all, we are fighting terrorism, fighting out qaeda in pakistan, but to do so successfully we have to prevent them from having space in afghanistan. our plan for afghanistan is not simply a military strategy, although that is absolutely essential and fundamental to what we're doing. it is a political strategy that over time the afghan people can take more responsibility, have more control over their own affairs, and i do not think i could have been clearer in saying that our objectives are not limited by days, but by achievement. it is the achievement of afghan's control and the ability of the afghan people to take responsibility for the security that is the determining issue in all of this.
this is not a time-specific a minute we are making, is a task- specific commitment about what we need to do. let me answer his questions about the conditions. i did say -- he probably picked me up wrongly -- that eight countries have pledged more troops in afghanistan, and i did say i expected more countries to do so in the run up to the january conference on 28 january next year. . . oooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooo
the hon. gentleman shouts that i should name all the countries. it is for these to make their own announcements, but the secretary general of nato has made it clear and to other people that eight countries have already given a pledge of additional forces. other countries will follow. as far as our own troops and their equipment are concerned, the chief of the defense staff spoke this morning and talked about the increase in helman. he said we have one-third more protective patrol vehicles. it is also going up in quality. he went on to say the equipment people are using -- which they are using is the best they have ever had. he also asked about the
conference on january 20. that conference is designed to bring the international community together. i said in my statement -- and he must not have picked this up, that we wanted a new, international coordinator to deal with the problems that have arisen in afghanistan. when the replacement of the un the appointee is happening we can then consider in more detail the overall coordination of the effort. at the january conference we will want to discuss how the neighbors of afghanistan can come together to give guarantees about afghan security and its freedom from interference, and at the same time support its economic development. when it comes to this conference i believe other countries may wish to make announcements about troops.
i believe the issue of constitutional reform that the leader of the opposition has raised may be the subject of remarks that president karzai may make. we will want for their agreement on how to transfer lead security responsibility to the afghan people. the january 20 conference which all countries involved in afghanistan will want to attend is an important milestone. i come to pakistan which here says that it is absolutely right that 30,000 troops are now there and taking on the pakistan taliban as well as isolating al qaeda. this is an important development. over the last few months the
most significant thing in the region is the pakistan government and all authorities including the opposition parties have recognized if they do not take action against the taliban and al qaeda, then they will fall victim to terrorism within their own country, as well as allow international terrorism to force there. it is an important development that pakistan is taking action in these areas. as has been made clear by president obama to the pakistan authorities and as i made clear on saturday, it is also clear that more action needs to be taken. if al qaeda is operating within the country and seeking further space, it is the duty of pakistan authorities to work with all international partners to attempt to isolate and destroy al qaeda.
i don't think there is any contradiction. it is important to recognize what pakistan has done. also to recognize that for the last eight years al qaeda has been able to send instructions from pakistan to the rest of the world and to organized terrorist attacks that have affected every continent. that is what we want pakistani authorities to act. mr. speaker, we are providing the additional troops necessary. we're working with the coalition. it is a unique coalition, never before assembled, a balding and nato members. today we're getting the troops both equipment and resources necessary. i hope that the whole country will support us. >> mr. deputy speaker i welcome the prime minister's statements and join him in commending the impressive work and very of our
armed forces in afghanistan. and join him in my coming the soldiers from this brigade and others in the house of commons today. it has finally become mainstream to talk about the need for a big shift in our strategy in afghanistan. when i first questioned the effectiveness of our action there six months ago and called for this kind of change -- [ booinb] i was told it was unpatriotic to do so. our approach to the mission in afghanistan has always been simple. we should do it properly or not do it at all. does the prime minister agree with me that success is not just about troop numbers, and of focusing on numbers is putting the cart before the horse?
there is no point in sending a single extra soldier unless first the strategy needed to succeed is in place. so why is the prime minister making any announcement at all about troop numbers today when we will not know until president obama's announcement tomorrow with the new strategy is and what chance it has of success? i have criticized the brister in the past for failing to speak out in support of our troops in the mission. has he not now swung a little too far in the opposite direction? seeking to make an announcement before we know whether things are in place? we know from previous successful peace-keeping missions such as in the balkans that you cannot succeed unless you have the support from all the regional powers. it is not just mean pakistan, china, and russia. it also means iran now at
loggerheads with the west over its announcement about 10 new nuclear facilities. can we take a tough stance with iran are keeping them engaged in keeping peace in afghanistan? what happens if president karzai does not achieve these benchmarks? what effort is he making to develop a plan b? to deal instead directly with local and regional governments? i'm sure he agrees with me that given the record on corruption we should not hold our breath for karzai to change, but work on finding ways to succeed without him if he does not. turning to what the prime minister said about improved equipment and particularly the delivery of certain vehicles, can he confirm yesterday that this means the protected land
rovers are no longer being used by any of our troops? finally, let me address the issue of troop deployment from our natural allies. it was the prime minister who said the deployment of any additional troops would be conditional on other countries sharing the burden. if he refuses to tell us today exactly which other countries are sharing the burden, since he has made that a condition, will now be clear and detailed? when will the of additional troops arrived and was their merger" will there will be on the ground? the government's strategy has been over-ambitious and under- resource in practice. i hope that today's practice and the one to college more from president obama the only defines
the situation in iraq so that troops have all the need for success and can come home as soon as possible with their heads held high. >> again, i think we should concentrate on where we agree. we agree that the strategy of moving to a greater control by the afghans themselves over their own security is right. we agree it will require the extra military numbers we're putting in theater along with other countries. we agree it must be complemented by a political strategy. i have argued that it must depend on building at the afghan army and strengthening local government free of corruption, and giving people an economic stake in the future. as far as the commitments the afghans themselves must make, but is not possible for us to give a blank check to the afghanis. we insist upon the promises they have made about cleaning up the
corruption that is obvious there. and the promises they have made about delivering troops to be trained in theater with britain and other coalition allies. the test is not in the words from statements, but in actual delivery. i put more force on what has been done in the last few days since president karzai began his second term than on the statements made prior. it is important to recognize that troops are being provided. and anti-corruption task force has been set up. people are being arrested. we have seen a start of delivery on key issues. as far as vehicles in the field are concerned, we do need some small ones as well as the large ones.
i agree that we must ensure that all our troops of the best equipment possible. we have had to move from a situation where was face to face combat with the taliban to a guerrilla war conducted by taliban members using explosive devices. we have had to adjust our tactics to that with equipment, extra work, and bringing more equipment into the field including unmanned drones for surveillance where ied's are being placed. we have had a great deal of success. more than 1500 ied's have been
dismantled as a result. where people are maimed or killed as a responsibility of ied's we have a responsibility to do more. there will be more going into afghanistan in the next few months to make sure the increased number of troops is properly protected. i believe the answer is in the investment we're making, the new helicopters, new vehicles, and special protection against explosive devices. >> thank you. isn't the reality that however effect of the karzai government with its history of corruption is in meeting benchmarks, we ourselves are there for our own
national security reasons? in that context the prime minister rightly praised the efforts of the pakistani government, but how confident is the that the civilian government there has the power to shift the focus of its military and intelligence agencies to combat teen al qaeda rather than its obsession with india? >> my friend who is an expert is right to draw attention to the issue of pakistan and to the fact we are in afghanistan for national security reasons because there is a terrorist threat to the people of our country. it is not enough to defend ourselves within our own borders. we have to try to deal with the terrorist threat at the source. i have spoken to the president and keep in touch with the opposition leaders in pakistan. at the same time i speak to the military as do many other members of the government, and
also our armed forces. we can be sure that the pakistan authorities are where they have to do with the threat caused by the pakistan taliban but also by al qaeda. we can also be clear that we have got to give that pakistan authorities support to enable them. we have to take a long-term view of pakistan also. the population there is going to rise dramatically over the future. the numbers of young people their subject to influence by extremist groups is large. the education system is a problem for young people being indoctrinated by extremist ideologists. we need to put resources into education in of the foreign secretary and he had undertaken a review of the pakistani educational systems.
they are making proposals to improve textbooks and quality of education available to which we are prepared to devote substantial resources to enable pakistan to have a system free of the influences of indoctrination. >> mr. deputy speaker, we can ask proper questions about the detail of this stigma. we can throwback that it is important to have delivery on the ground rather than just words. -- detail of this statement. it is high time that the prime minister has come to take real personal charge of the argument in favor of why we're there. the fact that we are in afghanistan in order to help
with the stability of pakistan with its nuclear weapons is something the prime minister does need to argue in favor of. would he agree this statement is not the end of that argument, but the beginning of many statements? >> i appreciate what he says as chairman of the defense committee. for all of us who share this view there is a terrorist threat that must be dealt with at source as well as within our own countries. it is important to explain to the general public what we're doing and why we have not only a case for being in pakistan, but with the strategy is to enable afghans to take more control of their own affairs. it is our duty to show people we have a plan and strategy coordinated across data. his help in putting the message across will be much appreciated.
>> these are obviously serious matters. lots of members want to make a contribution. could i please ask for one brief question, and perhaps also one brief reply? >> prime minister, it is a good statement because the light at the end of the tunnel -- i hope it comes earlier rather than later. but can he confirm that the italians are pulling their troops out before christmas, the canadian talking about pulling out, the dutch will pull out, the germans are talking about it, and poland is having trouble to get their troops in? can you confirm these rumors? >> i cannot. it is true that canada and the
netherlands have made announcements about the time- limited nature of their deployments to afghanistan, but it is also true that a number of countries are ready to put in additional troops. this includes members of nato and countries that are not members of nato. i'm satisfied the will be thousands of additional troops provided not only by america and britain, but also adding to the number will be troops from other countries. i said to the nato secretary- general that eight countries have already indicated that they have a number of troops ready to deploy to afghanistan. he has indications from others that they will make announcements soon. >> why has the president of pakistan announced he has given up his personal control of the country's nuclear weapons and transferred them to his prime minister? when for years we have been assured that their nuclear
weapons are under the control of the army and not the politicians? >> in a democracy it seems right that politicians make the final decision. >> my friend rightly focused on the issue of first class equipment. a recent opening, a hundred million pound plant, i saw the fantastic work there with how much pride our workers are producing first-class equipment for our troops -- could he assure us that this information could get out to constituents without putting troops are risk, so that they know we're giving them, the troops the best it could of produced in the uk? >> absolutely right. the equipment produced for the troops to deal with the new eventualities which is the guerrilla warfare practiced by
the taliban is of a very high quality. i am proud of the british firm's the contribute to the equipment orders. we will continue to upgrade equipment available to forces in addition to the ordinary defense budget -- several billion pounds has been spent on new equipment. >> in regard to the london conference will the prime minister undertake to invite russia, china, and india to take part? will he accept this is not only appropriate as they faced the same terrorism emanating from pakistan and afghanistan, but also their presence would reassure british public and international opinion that unlike iraq our presence in pakistan has the unanimous
support of the un council? >> absolutely right. any permanent settlement which will assure non-interference by other members of the region in the affairs of afghanistan will have to include the countries he mentioned. they will have to be part of the discussion. they can be part of a better security arrangements for afghanistan. as far as the specific detail of the london conference of the we can bring a broad information in due course. there have to be talks with the countries in the region about how they can secure the future of afghanistan. of course, there will be economic and cultural links essential for afghanistan to control its own affairs. >> when i was there this summer and was able to see the excellent medical facilities at
the camp -- and soldiers there were also very impressed, with the deployment will he make sure that the commensurate increase with the in-their medical services is taking care of as well as back here? >> he is right about the high quality and the superb service provided by those people charged with the healthcare of those fighting in afghanistan. i have seen for myself as many have that the facilities at that camp and the most modern equipment at the hospital, and the way that its medical staff care for those people wounded -- we are determined working with the americans and other parties who share this medical facility to improve it at all times. we are also determined that
other facilities are the best for those members of the armed forces. we have invested substantially and will continue to do so. >> the prime minister has rightly deferred several times today to the need to deal with the terrorist threat at its source. what proportion of threats or plots which have been uncovered in the u.k. in the last five years have been directly connected with the afghani taliban rather than the pakistani taliban? >> i was talking about al qaeda and the threat posed in the united kingdom by terrorist plots is organized or in collaboration with people who are members of al qaeda in pakistan. the evidence is many of the plot we have had to deal with including the most recent plots are inspired by instructions that come from cuckoo opera chips.
there is contact between these in the people within the u.k. -- my point about the taliban is this. if al qaeda were to have the space to operate in afghanistan as a result of the taliban coming back to power there, then there would be an even greater danger, not just to the region, but to the streets of britain. >> the prime minister mentioned the whole country and of the whole country will be reassured by his statement today. we are there under a united nations fear. 43 nations states are in the collision. it had pledged for troops with others. would it not be appropriate for the secretary-general to announce these as soon as he can silicon build on the progress to date through the january 20 conference in london? >> of su is right, this is a
unique venture. it is difficult to look back on events where so many countries have come together as one coalition with the leadership of nato and the united nations and are committed to providing additional resources to enable the surge in military activity to happen over the next several months. as far as the naming of countries who have offered troops it is possible to refer to statements made by different leaders, but the announcements should be made by the leaders themselves. no doubt the secretary-general of nato will want to make a comprehensive announcement soon. i am confident the 5000 additional troops i talked about a few weeks ago has been an important part of the continuing mission.
>> will the prime minister say what steps he will take to try to persuade the many countries in afghanistan whose forces are confined to a non-combat row to change their policies and to be willing to share that, that burden? >> there are some countries either through their constitutions or decisions who do not participate in military activity, fighting in afghanistan and do other work. it is important to recognize we need the help of all countries here. where countries are willing to make contributions of a financial or equipment contribution we should be willing to accept them. but he is right that we would like them to share the fighting on the front line i agree that we would like more countries to contribute with military forces prepared to go to the front
line. >> my friend knows well that we are bearing another brave man this week. "we all make decisions in afghanistan. my friend did not die for nothing. 14 of his comrades died in the last tour. the british army is the best in the world. " >> i'm glad she has been able to read a letter from serving member of our armed forces. i commend his work and the work of all those from plymouth who served in our armed forces. it is important to recognize the advances in equipment made in recent years. also to recognize we have had to change tactics because of the nature of the taliban.
also, as she said we have the best forces in the world and are genuinely very proud of all they do. >> i think the prime minister for the detail of his statement and generally help the conditions he has set out will be met. he says we need a political push to match the military push. we are now agreeing, given the u.s. has engaged in an exhaustive review strategy, would it have not made more sense to have a statement on strategy and allies' commitment before the deployment? >> i hope that he will agree i have tried to set forward a strategy that we have to pursue. i have tried since november 2007 only first said the study must be about giving the afghan
people more control of their own affairs and billing of their police and security services, that that is a consistent strategy we have pursued and it tried to persuade our allies to adopt. it is important to allow the deployment to happen as quickly as possible now that decisions have been made across the alliance. these troops will be deployed within the next few weeks. it is important now that we can signal to start. i think is wrong to suggest we should have waited longer. it is right to move ahead now. >> canadians are withdrawing combat forces from kandahar in 2011. it is right next door to helman. as my friend spoken to steven harper of canada to ask and to
reconsider? and what does mr. stephen harper say? >> i did speak to him at the commonwealth conference. we had a discussion with other countries including australia and new zealand who are also present -- who were also present. in my view that in both can the car and helman there will be a greater number of troops next year than this. while some countries have made difficult decisions, over all the numbers in both places will rise. >> in the few months the afghan national army will be bigger than the british army. the prime minister has made reference to the 43 nations in the coalition, but he must accept the vast majority of our major european nato allies have not contributed troops on the ground.
could i ask him one specific question which i believe will be a great help for our service men and women? that is the deployment of more unmanned aerial vehicles uav's to help detect terrorist activities? >> you are right to mention a. i mentioned in my statement that the numbers would rise as part of the essential strategy. that is of the weekend discovered and dismantled and ied's causing some much damage. 80% of the deaths have been caused by those. to track and dismantle them we need an armed vehicles and military intelligence. we also need engineers in the theater unable to dismantle these weapons. on his more general point i do
believe we will see additional troops coming from coalition members who are not america or britain. >> is my right hon. friend aware that his cogent explanation of our purpose in afghanistan will command widespread understanding, and did i hear him right to say that the civilian aid program will report together now with the military effort said that we can have a coordinated and unified approach under general stanley but crystal and is this not be a pretty to go around and the corruption that subsets' the karzai regime and is the biggest threat to our success, could this not be brought together under general stemming the crymcchrystal? >> i'm grateful for what he says. it is essential that we tackle corruption in the afghan administration. we do that by making sure that
moneys spent in afghanistan are properly accounted for. where money goes to that of mr. and for spending within afghanistan there is a reconstruction order audited by the world bank to make germany's go for the purposes intended. as more general point about the accord nation of military and civilian work it is very important. that is what we want to look at as part of the agenda for the london conference. as we look at who will succeed the u.n. special representative in afghanistan, it is important to bring together the military effort in the more coordinated way. what he says will definitely be taken into account. i am pleased to know that members of the armed forces who have now serbs are now in the dollar.
i want the whole house to think of for all they do in service for our country. >> having campaigned over the last four years for more protected vehicles with v-shaped hulls, may i welcome the increased numbers of the ridgebacks and others being delivered to the theater. are you confident that the increase will not have the opposite effect intended, to exacerbate the situation? this has happened in the past and could it not be history repeating itself? >> no, i do not believe so. what we have had to adjust to is a change in tactics by the taliban. they're fighting a guerrilla war. we have to change the techniques we use. by having properly protected vehicles and by the intelligence
backing up military work done by troops in the field i believe we're doing the right thing. the necessary surge in numbers and those parts of afghanistan subject to the greatest violence will also be complemented by a political strategy whereby if we take ground then increasingly will be afghan forces that hold the ground. far from being seen as an occupying force, but partner in with the afghan forces will enable them over time to take responsibility. >> is there a different analysis that could be put on this? the draft increase in american troops do tomorrow, british troops increasing, that looks more and more like a colonial occupation. is this not just going to increase opposition?
wanted action and make the situation worse? we could be there for another eight years. >> asked yourself whether he believes the afghan taliban which are responsible for the denial of human rights particularly to women has gotten the political support of the people of afghanistan? or not? all recent evidence shows that only a small number of the population their support the taliban, even the numbers part of the insurgency -- those bid for the worker who have no ideological commitment to what the taliban says. some nationalists are fighting with the taliban who can be detached from them by ineffective afghan government and by the process of reconciliation. if he starts from the proposition that the insurgency has massive support in a guinness then, of course he may reach the conclusion that it is
a mistake for us to work with the elected afghan government and with the elected after people, but i start with the position that the taliban have limited support there. >> in his last two statements the prime minister has quite rightly specify the need for all our nato allies to commit far more troops to afghanistan. he expressed to would make great efforts to assure it happens. does he understand many of us find it disturbing not to reveal where these extra troops are coming from? >> i think his labor in the point. i have announced that eight countries have already agreed that they will provide troops additional to those they have in afghanistan. i've also said the metro -- the
nato secretary general expects more countries to announce those over the next few days. the international coalition is made up not just of america and britain, but of a vast range of countries contributing. we should wait to see the announcements by other countries before we rush to the conclusion he has. >> we are broglie less than six months away from a general election. i think our troops deserve to hear the house speaker with one voice. would you bring in the men of opposition parties? >> i hope a message well go to the country that despite our other differences the leaders of the major political parties in this country are all supportive
of the efforts our troops are making in afghanistan, agreed the strategy ahead is one where afghanistan must take more responsibility for its own affairs, agree that we must also work with pakistan, and agreed that while it is a financial commitment that is strenuous it is right to support our troops the way we are doing. >> even after the 500 additional troops, the number of allied forces including afghans and does not exceed the 27,500 troops we had in ireland. given that the province is quarter times the size of northern ireland and the ratio of helicopters to troops as far less, what makes the prime minister think the next 500 troops will make a sufficient difference? >> it is to build up afghan forces so they are in a position to take more security
responsibility for their country. although there are 90,000 now there will be 135,000 or so by next year. it is our strategy to train up the afghan forces so they can hold the ground as well as take ground over time. that is our strategy. he has misunderstood the strategy. >> may i suggest to the gentleman that he should set out his strategy in a fully detailed, white paper to be published by the end of this year and should the debated on the floor of this house before with 28 of january. >> we did set out in april the
proposals we had for" recalled the afghanizatoin strategy. if members of the house want to debate in more detail is right to do so. perhaps i have been misled. i understood that the official opposition supports the strategy. >> reinforce the comments of my colleague. about the role of the forces in afghanistan. there was consistent criticism in april that nato allies were not claim their full role. will the prime minister assure us that the new troops will not be governed by so-called caveat s? it is no good to have troops there will not fly at night or
on the weekend and go home at 5:00 p.m.? >> is right that we expect them to go do more. he is also a fair man. over the last few weeks we have been trying to persuade others to do more. we have also got to appreciate that in the and we have developed the afghan forces just as pakistan must have a more professional approach to dealing with terrorism. the answers lie in both pakistan and afghanistan. >> the helicopter work force in pakistan, is the prime minister of actively considering purchasing new ones? >> if there are any statements to be made on helicopters they will be made to the house. >> many of the extra engineers the prime minister referred to will have to come from the
territorial army. now that he has seen the error of his ways and has reversed the cuts, can he assure there will be no cuts to the budget next year? >> it is clear in the last few days that it will be attached to the territorial army by decisions about money. i hope he will also consider the priority at the moment is for the effort in afghanistan. to direct our resources there means also that we have announced the territorial army for what it can do as well. i had thought the opposition might be more. i am grateful to all people who served in the territorial army. it is also important to recognize that our resources have got to be prioritized.
>> in what proportion is the british army currently control and i helman and how much more territory does the prime minister want them to win with or without the afghan allies' help? >> i prefer to put it in the context of people, and population centers. our strategy is to work with the afghan people in villages and towns to make sure they feel comfortable with the afghan army gradually taking more responsibility and with a police force more in tune with the needs of people. and building up that afghan local government with good provincial and district governments. >> the prime minister and is there 9000 trained afghan troops. the leader of the opposition's point it out only 10% of them are actually in helman province.
but 50% of the action takes place there. he says there are 5000 recruits coming. it will take two years to turn them. could you call president karzai to get more down there now? cook's first of all there are 10,000 troops to be trained for partnering in the helman province. half will be trained by the british, half by the americans. some of these troops coming to this region will already be trained. some will come to be trained from the beginning. the commitment i have from president karzai is that he now sees that helman is a party and he would dispatch troops there where he sees that a lot of the violence is. it is in recognition of that but i have made the announcements that i have today.
>> the premise your will know that yemeni nationals for one of the largest groups operating within al qaeda both in afghanistan and pakistan. would the prime minister give a commitment that he will continue to work with the government of yemen to make sure it does not become a failed state? >> he is right to point to the terrorist threats we see in different parts of the world. it is absolutely true that terrorists operating from yemen and a sometimes strained in pakistan are people we have had to follow and pursue. it is also right that somalia has become a major center for the development of terroristic activity. some of these groups are targeting britain. i have to repeat that the main center, the at the center of global terrorism -- epicenter
is the border between pakistan and afghanistan. the efforts we put their with the political and military strategy are the most important thing we can do. we will not neglect the importance of yemen and its dangers. but the important center of global terrorism remains the one we have been talking about today. >> the prime minister always mentions of the sacrifice given by soldiers, but sadly isn't this repeating the situation from the states adecades ago as with vietnam? we want to withdraw, boat we keep going closer and closer to accomplish that cannot be one. >> look at the support for the
taliban in of in the standing of his assumption is that somehow the insurgency has massive popular support and the vast majority of the population would go with that insurgency if they have the choice. i do not think it reflects the situation in of in a stand. a poll was done recently that said only 8% of the population there supported in any way the taliban and insurgency. -- i do not believe it reflects the situation in of in a stand. the poll says only it% support. i believe we have the ability to work with the afghan people to defeat this insurgency. possibly there are many people associate with it who are emissaries of others who do not share the extremist ideology is. >> thank you.
why is it taking the prime minister so long to make up his mind to send these extra troops? commanders have been asking for them for at least one year. >> last year we had a thousand troops in afghanistan. at the moment we have over 9000 there. the idea that we have not increased forces over the last year in response to events is completely wrong. as far as the additional 500 we have agreed to send today i think was right to lay down conditions to be met partly because the public needed to be assured everything possible had been done to make it clear the equipment for forces was the best possible. partly because we had to assure ourselves that other countries would play a part in the effort. partly because we needed the afghans themselves after the election to commit to providing necessary forces for turning. if our strategy will work we
need the afghan forces to be trained by british forces and by coalition forces. so i believe putting conditions on the additional 500 forces was right. i think he is wrong in saying we have not acted of the last year. >> order, we must now move on to the next segment. >> british prime minister gordon brown today announcing a troop increase in afghanistan to be deployed within the next few weeks. president obama is expected to talk about the same issue tomorrow in an address from west point, a schedule for 8:00 p.m. eastern.
>> a live look at the u.s. capitol where the senate will dabble in to start debating health care later today. -- well gavel in to debate health care. it will get under way at 3:00 p.m. -- it will get under way at 3:00 p.m. more from a group on single- payer action who called on both the congress and senate to reject the healthcare bill. from the national press club this lasts about one hour, 10 minutes. >> good morning. thank you for coming. one name is russell, and i am the president of single-payer
action which is a 501c organization. we're less than one year old and already more than 100,000 americans have signed up to donate at single-payer action.org. with your help we will reach our single-payer goal-health insurance for the american people. with me today on my left, dr. margaret flowers. this gentleman with the coalition for the uninsured and under-insured. dr. paris is a practicing physician from maryland and a member of physicians for national health program. on my far right ,kevin, executive director of prosperity agenda, and initiating
organization for the mobilization for health care for all. we are here today, the day before thanksgiving to say in unison at the bloated democratic health bill is a turkey. we need to start from scratch and passed single-payer adjourns for the american people. we will each make three statements and then take your questions. i am speaking today for myself and on behalf of single payer action. the others will be speaking for their organizations. six months ago on may 5, 2009 margaret, carol, kevin, and i were up on capitol hill. we were in the senate finance committee hearing room. it was the beginning of three days of hearings to kick off the healthcare debate in congress. the room was packed. it was packed with industry lobbyists of all stripes, health insurance, pharmaceuticals, you name it.
senator max baucus, the chair of the committee, had scheduled three days of hearings. he had asked 41 healthcare experts to testify. not one was an advocate for single-payer national health insurance. single-payer is a simple, clear reform. the house single-payer bill is only 30 pages long. max baucus, obama, and the democrats took it off the table. they replaced it with a 2000 page monstrosity. single-payer by contrast is simple and it works. under such a system the day that you were born you get a medical card with your name on. with this you get a free choice of doctor and hospital anywhere in the u.s. you pay no health care premiums to private health insurance corporations. you receive no bills. instead of the premiums now we would pay that amount or less
into one public insurance pool. everybody in, nobody out. single-payer saves lives. 45,000 americans die every year right now from lack of health insurance. under a single payer system zero americans would die every year through lack of health insurance. because everybody would recover. single-payer covers everyone and saves money. we would replace the hundreds of private health insurance payers with one public payer. in one stroke we would take $400 billion per year in administrative waste profits and overhead and use those to insure everyone. single-payer would then use its tremendous buying power to buy down drug and other medical costs. sr. angel is the former editor of the new american -- new
england journal of medicine and has said that is the only reform that cuts costs and covers everyone. every other industrialized nation in the world has some form of universal health insurance where it is of basic right. selling for profit is against the law. every industrialized country has that system except the united states. we would change that. national polls show the majority of doctors and americans favor a single-payer system. that is why six months ago quarter of us went to capitol. i stood up and said excuse me, senator, why have you taken single-payer off the table? why have you not allowed one doctor to testify for single- payer? instead of hearing as out senator max baucus ordered us arrested. one by one, we stood up and confronted max baucus and one by one we were arrested and charged with the "destruction of
congress." in a plea deal earlier this year we agreed to not open could disrupt congress." since that day max baucus, harry reid, nancy pelosi, and others have cobbled together and comprehensible legislation. it is convoluted. it is confusing. but one thing is clear, president obama and the democrats have cut a dirty deal with the house insurance and pharmaceutical industries. a bomb attack single-payer off the table and an exchange the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries supported his drive for "reform." that is why harry and louise before again by the bigpharma are back on the air or drink for passage. there are 80 members of the house who say that they support single-payer, yet it was only congressman kucinich and eric massa who courageously stood up
earlier this month to vote against president obama. and against nancy pelosi. and again hoyer and the democratic leadership in the congress. kucinich called it a bill under the blue cross. massa said it would enshrine in law the monopolistic powers of the private health insurance industry. single-payer action today is calling on the 88 single-payer supporters in the house and those in the senate including sumter bernie sanders and tom harkin to stop fighting. come now, come out, wherever you are, and your withkucinich and massa to defeat this monstrosity. start from scratch for single- payer. anything less than a public option type to medicare rates was unacceptable, said the letter. a few months later they backed down and