tv Washington Journal CSPAN December 6, 2009 7:00am-10:00am EST
and its effect on other markets with andrew ross sorkin. then a discussion on the debate in the senate over health care legislation. "washington journal" is next. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] host: the "washington times headline" talks about the heated debate raging between democrats and republicans on the health care issue. we'll begin with your comments on these latest developments on the health care debate. as always, we welcome your phone calls, smales, and your -- e-mails, and your twitter comments.
202-737-0002 for democrats, 202-737-0001 for republicans, and 202-628-0205 for independentents. papers point out that on saturday, the session of the sixth day of the senate debate on the giant health care debate, felt in some ways like an ordinary workday as the senator debated the health bill in private and tried to thrash out differences in private. in the meantime, we want to put out that there is a piece available online at "l.a. times" -- latimes.com that said accupuncturists and others would be brought into the main sfream
with the health insurance reform now in debate. this is some of the discussion on the senate floor, including arizona senator john mccain. >> we have before the body is an amendment that would modify any health insurers remuneration to the same level of the salary of the president of the united states. i ask unanimous consent at this time that the aarp executives be added in as being under the effect of this pending amendment from the senator from arkansas. >> objection. mr. president, objection. >> mr. president, i also understand that wal-mart sells health insurance policies. they are based in arkansas. and i ask unanimous consent that wal-mart be included in this cushion excessive remuneration
that will now be -- that will now place them under the same salary levels. >> to be candid, these are stumped amendments we have never seen. i have never heard of the amendment. it is only -- >> it is not really complicated. it is people that sell health insurance. >> is there objection? >> the flavor from the senate floor yesterday. the washington times has a story this morning about the debate between moderate and liberal democrats as they have yet to reach an agreement on how to structure their government-run insurance plan. it is not clear if they have the votes to pass this at all. liberals arguing the only way to hold insurance companies accountable is to have a powerful government plan.
caller: i would like to know who wrote this 2,000-page write-up on this health care deal. it seems like a lot of writing for just one health care bill. and if i had my way, i would vote everybody out of the senate except [unintelligible] host: he's the only one supporting a single pair plan. why is that? caller: he's been saying if he paid into medicare, that would save money right there. host: if you are interested in reading all 2,074 pages you can go to our web site at cspan.org. we have the health care debate, the discussion on the health care floor last month. all available at cspan.org,
health care hub. what should the president hear from the senator? caller: i have a couple points i'd like to make. host: please go ahead, christopher. caller: ok. i'll be quick. i'm a young man, i'm in college. i'm worried about my future in america and i'm also concerned about my fellow americans. one problem i face among the catastrophic issues that we are forced to accommodate is unemployment. by 10% right now even recent college graduates are having a problem finding jobs, not to mention professionals with masters degrees and p. ph.d.s. secondly, in regard to rm
political atrophy, modern mrns are uninformed, which is troubling, about this life-and-death issue. health care is a life-and-death issue, and as americans we need to know what is going on. host: christopher, thank you for your call. the president traveled to allentown on friday, and on tuesday of this week, at brookings, he will be delivering what the white house is calling a major speech on jobs. the president giving a preview in his saturday address. this is part of what he said. it is true we as a country were in eye different place than we were in 2009. because of the recovery acts and other zeps we've taken were no longer facing the financial collapse of our system or a second great depression. we're no longer losing jobs at the rate of 7,000 a month, and the country is growing. in the coming days i will
introduce programs aimed at accelerating job growth and emurging from this economic storm. so we don't face another crisis like this again, i am determined to meet our responsibilities to do what we know will strengthen our economy in the long run. that's why i am not going to let up on giving our children what is the best education in the world, and energy independence by investing in a clean nfering energy economy and to deal with mounting federal debt. >> in "national journal" "obama as a poker player, how he's trying to wait for the winning play whether it is foreign policy, health care, or other agenda issues." we'll talk with scott wilson of "the washington post" -- 25 hours of sessions took place over a if two-day period.
>> out of all this health care thing i've been hearing and watching them fight and bicker and money and grown -- moan and grone about, i have not heard either party amention those of us who are disabled due to certain things out of our control. host: such as? caller: what is medicare going to do for them? how much is the cuts in care -- medicare going to affect them? >> thank you, sir. next is james joining us from dallas. good morning. welcome to "washington journal." caller: what i think the president should do is coalesce this party together, stand united, because the republicans
are going to do whatever they think they can to to block it and not let it move forward. i feel the strategy is to delay, see if they can drag did out for all these emmedments that are meaningless and try to defeat it in anyway they can. they are not going to get the republicans to back it. when you have that vote in the house, you know where they stand on it. they are elected. they have a majority. they need to use that power and push it through. >> well, speaking of the amendment, one of the proposals, this is the page from the front page of "the washington post," the amendment proposing a problem for top democrats, and the proposal is a proposal put forward by senator from north dakota, senator byron dorgan.
a preliminary estimate shows that the dorgan amendment would save the government $10 million and consumers, presumeably, many billions more. but the pharmaceutical company has promised an agreement in the promise of new customers. dorgan is taking that into account. caller: my concern is -- i moved to florida three years ago. i had a doctor in illinois that accepted medicare. i moved to florida, i had a doctor, a very good doctor, who dropped me because he no longer accepted medicare because number one they didn't pay for the test that is are required to keep me healthy, number two the payments
were too far out, and with this reduction that they are proposing in medicare, i don't know what's going to happen. i'm concerned with this $450 million, or whatever it is, billion k. dededuction from medicare, what's going to happen to my insurance? host: hold are you? caller: 74. host: do you have any existing medical complaints? caller: i am bipolar from the u.s. marine corps in 1957.
i have a hearing deficit because of the marine corps. i have a bad leg. i have arthritis i to go to the doctor just about every week. host: what about your wife? >> my wife is in pretty good condition. she beat cancer 30 years ago. host: good for her. caller: and there was no chemo, no medicine. but this bill that's going through that they are taking money away from medicare, i don't understand where i'm going to get the same kind of medical treatment i'm getting now. host: now senator blan much lincoln -- blanche lincoln from arkansas. >> i have to say those that are receiving these multi-million
dollar compensation packages, you know, it took nine of them at one time, it is a tough lift, it took nine of them to defend these compensation packages, or else nine of them wouldn't have been down here. i hope the american people understand that is out of balance. here we are in an opportunity to prothese insurance companies even more customers. we simply want to be reassured that we are not, through taxpayer dollars, suzz diesing these enormous executive amounts , compensation amounts, and that more importantly, the savings that come from that are going to go into the medicare trust fund to shore it up. and in this morning's front-page story, it says deals cut with health care groups may be at peril. the senate wrestles saturday
with amendments that would squeeze out savings beyond the considerable sums these groups had already volunteered to give up. the president joining capitol hill today to meet with senate democrats. they are in at noon. daniel is joining us from chicago. daniel? >> good morning. caller: just real quick, on the lincoln amendment, what's the down side to them regulating the insurance executives? host: well, the obvious. caller: sorry, maybe i just said it wrong. host: let me ask you, what do you think the dune side is? caller: i don't know. i'm a little confused. it seems like it is good and positive, but i am not sure what the down side would be, and if
there was a down side, and i knew what it was, i would know which direction to go. host: roger wicker, one of those that voted against the lincoln amendment, will be joining us to talk about that. he's with us at 9:30 eastern time. roger is next from brooklyn. good morning, roger. caller: how are you doing? host: fine, thank you. caller: i have a couple questions. host: sure. caller: one, i feel that the president should endorse the public option because it is a good way of cutting costs for the middle person -- for the middle class. also, i feel if we are -- if we don't get a option, i feel members of congress who are enjoying the public option, shouldn't get it. he should get the health care they are getting at, you know, on the backs of the american people.
host: that's the proposal that senator reed has put forth, that states would be able to opt out of the public option. caller: i hope that stays. i think republicans, they are trying to get rid of everything. i know they are a minority, but they still have some sway with these blue dog states. and i hope the president can see past these people with delay tactics and the stalls and you know, acting like they are unsure, and playing political. trying to get money for the state like it's -- host: thank you for the call. earlier we showed you from an article, the president and his poker face deals that he has from illinois. you can check it out at
twitter.com. welcome to washington journal. caller: ashland calls itself the center of the universe, and i'm self-proclaimed the heartbeat of america. somewhere in there is a message. part of that message -- google hugh777 you will see a letter from president obama to me on the state of the economy. i respect the president's letter. i have yet to hear anything further from my response. but the president is treading a fine line, and he's not representing the will of we the people, and if he continues in this vain he's going to pay a heavy price. the honey moon is almost over, and i hope he will wake up, because i'm come ong strong. heave hugh, thanks for the call
-- host: hugh, thanks for the call. caller: i'm a marine veteran of the korean war. i get me my care at the v.a.. it is the best medical care i've received in my life, bar none. my wife has a government-run medical system, and she is happy with her service. it is not true. if it were true, why would we turn over all the important functions in our society to the government like defense, like education, like the courts. it is not true. government can do things correctly. host: thank you for the call. running for the u.s. senate, republican in california, and she delivered the republican address yesterday, and her focus was on the health care debate in congress.
>> there is a reason women with breast cancer in the united states have a higher rate of survival than in other countries with government-run health care. unlike those countries, government doesn't limit the tream a person can get. my experience with cancer tells me it is wrong. cutting down on mammograms might save the government some money that it will then spend on something else, but it won't save lives. isn't that what health care reform was supposed to be all about? people want to know that their care will stay where it belongs -- in the hands of doctors and patients. unfortunately, the past -- path congress is on in this debate is not giving us the cauns confidence that it will. host: that is carly fiorina. she is in the race for the
republican senate seat for barbara boxer. saying, quote, the downside of regulating health care pay is that the price and wage controls cannot and do not achieve the desired effect. henry is joining us from detroit. good morning. >> good morning, steve. first of all, i'd like to address a caller who was asking about the 2,000 pages in the bill. i wish the media would be more responsible in their responses about the 2,000 pages. you need protections. the health care reform bill is a very complicated thing, so we need protections. second of all, i think that the conservative areas shall the president needs to go in and tell all these blue dog democrats that if you are going to perpetuate the idea that government is trying to socialize medicine and health care, then what we need to do is unsocialize your states. because most of those states are
actually receiving subsidies. that means for every dollar that they put into the federal pot they get back $1.40, $1.50. they are being subsidized by the rest of us, and then holding us up on health care. finally, steve, health care is a moral issue. i don't want to hear people talking about competing for my health care. our government is set up to promote the general welfare. we are supposed to be taken care of by our government in that sense. i don't profiteers profitting from my health care. people need to wake up. the republicans are suffering from a collective madness in trying to block this. this is for their good as well. we don't need to keep making people rich off of our health care. host: do you think it is going to pass? they need 60 votes. the first round, the senate wants to have this done by
christmas. will it be done? >> i think the insurance lobby is very possible. >> reconciliation? >> they are going to have to pass it. they are going to have to do the nuclear option. republicans are mad. they are doing everything they can to make obama's presidency a failure at every turn. they have written it. it is all out there. everybody knows what the republicans are doing, so why don't the republicans out there, you conservatives, call your congress people and tell them that we need health care in this country. host: i want to turn to a little politics this morning. the scene outside a snowy northern virginia, about 2,200 people lining up to get an autograph of sarah pay lynn. -- palin.
>> from "the new york times" this morning, number one is "going rowing" -- "going rogue" by sarah palin. giving the gemente democratic hurem -- humor was barney frank. she says, if the election had turned out differently, vice president biden would be out selling his book "going rogaine." caller: i'd like to tell the president, i'm on disability and medicare. the last time i saw my doctor on 11-18 last month, he told me if the health care bill passes, he's going to drop me as a medicare patient.
medicare told him they will only pay rd 15 a visit, and he can't afford that. so what am i supposed to do? i would like mr. obama to tell me if he can write my prescriptions to keep me alive, because i need those prescriptions. i haven't done nothing wrong. host: what's your condition? do you have any preexisting conditions? caller: yeah, i got shot back in the 19 p 70's, i've worked most of my life. i'm 53 and disabled. the old gunshot wound came back to haunt me, so i had to stop working, which i didn't want to do. so now i'm on disability. that's bad enough. it doesn't pay very much. i just want to know how i'm going to get my prescriptions if my doctor cannot write my prescriptions anymore. host: thank you for the call. very early morning in hawaii.
larry richmond in the east. caller: i want to take a half a minute and say, i love c-span. i think you have a hard job, but you do it well as far as i'm concerned. host: well, thank you. caller: look, i'm a physician in the army, and i have been for many years. i am a good person to follow this gentleman from hawaii. my question is this -- it is kind of deafening by its silence. if anybody else would like to call in and kind of piggy back on that, i would like to know, why don't we hear anything about the health care system in the military?
>> how long have you been in the military, larry? caller: going on 20 years. i'm a civilian physician for the military. i was trained in the air and got out, and actually decided that i like the military and working in the military system better. trust me, it has its problems, but i never have to ask somebody for insurance cards or for a w-2 or anything like that. when they need an m.r.i., they get it. sometimes i have to say no and they don't like that very much. but, you know, it at least bears investigation or, you know, i would think that that model have some bearing.
democrats saying that there is a lot of waste that can be trimmed. republicans saying it is going to hurt senior citizens in the health care that they get either at home or in nursing homes. >> i can see the former argument better than i can see the latter argument. yeah, there is a lot of waste in the health care system. certainly in the military there is a lot of waste. i just don't get the argument that these -- the current bill is going to hurt medicare recipients, other than the fact that medicare is, in itself, going to be insolvent in a few years. that -- i understand that argument, and it is a valid argument. >> this morning, front page of "the new york times," some inside details on what led up to the president's speech at the
west point academy this past week. the headline and reporting of peter baker is "inside the situation proom: how a war plan evolved. " he points out that the expanded coverage would cost $1 trillion over 10 years, roughly the same as his health care plan. nowl as his top military adviser runs through a slide show of his options, mr. obama expressed frustration. he held up a chart showing how reinforcementments would flow into afghanistan over 18 months and eventually begin to pull out, a bell curve that meant american forces would be there for years to come. ". rick is next from kansas city. good morning. caller: republicans frighten us tooth and nail.
they have never been for nothing that was for the little people. they have never protected medicare. they are so concerned about preserving medicare now, and they never wanted medicare in the first place. they ain't never done nothing to help little people ever. host: rick, thanks for the call. this twitter comment. calling that amazing. thanks for being with us. guest: thanks for having me. host: let me begin with inside the democratic caucus in a closed door meeting was olympia snowe -- snowe. how important is that?
guest: olympia snowe is the only republican that has voted for these plans in congress. snowe voted for the plan that came out of the finance committee a few months ago, and snowe said she would not be on board for the program that said harry reed unfailed last month. so it is interesting that now it seems senator snowe and perhaps even senator collins, a couple moderates might be back at the table. host: there is a 2:00 p.m. democratic caucus that the president will be planning to attend. at that time he's going to try to bring unity to the democratic caucus. there are 60 senators that do caucus with the senators, and the operating mentality, at least for the last several weeks
is that if democrats are going to pass a bill out of the senate, that it is likely going to be with the support of all members of their caucus, potentially not any republicans. the problem with that is that the democratic caucus is deeply divided over a plan that harry reed has proposed. things like the public option rvings things like the abortion language. senator ben nelson said he wouldn't support the bill unless there was language that mimics the health passed abortion limits, which is very strict. given those efforts it looks like there are renewed efforts to try to bring republicans over. host: and whether it was the lincoln amendment that would reduce compensation for hospitals and doctors and also the dorgan amendment that would allow drugs from canada to come into this country to save money
for consumers. will we see more of this, this series of amendment votes? guest: yes, the lincoln amendment will have a vote at 3:15 today. that vote has already been set. that vote will be set with an enson amendment, which likely won't be adopted, but it would reprize an issue that republicans have been hammering on through this debate, which is the issue of medical malpractice lawsuits. the enson amendment would limit the amount of attorneys could receive. those two amendments, they are going to get a vote at 3:15 today after the democratic caucus. and then tomorrow, senator dorgan, who is the sponsor of the drug importation amendment, senator dorgan said he expects his drug importation amendment to get a vote. host: and we were talking about
the possibility of a full vote in the senate this week. how likely is that before the christmas holiday? guest: there is still this week, next weeks -- week, and part of the next week before the christmas holiday. the senate has said they are willing to work through the week of christmas and new year to do that. however, there seems to be signs of movement behind-the-scenes. even though the floor debate might be on smaller change amendments, it does seem like the bigger pieces are coming together behind-the-scenes which could be an early sign that we could get a vote sooner than we might have expected. host: so personally for you as you track the movements of the senators, what one story are you following closely today? guest: i think it will be interesting to see what movement we see on the public option
issue. there is a group of democrats and rib radicals, and any signs that we get that they will come to some kind of agreement will be telling because that's one of the main outstanding issues that this issue can't go forward until that is resolved. >> this is how the wimes characterizes this saying this agreement could threaten the overall health care bill. they point to putting government-plans in states only where insurance coverage is low, similar to the plan offered by olympia snowe. how possible are these plans? guest: senator rockefeller talked about his plan, and it is similar to what senator snowe offered. it stands to reason that those
are possible because it could bring on some republicans to the plan. it looks like yesterday's discussion is more of a series of plans that would be run by nonprofits, they would be national in scope, but they would be listed by the office of personnel management, and that would seem to have some appeal to both sides in the sense that moderates would potentially like the fact that the public plan isn't being administered by the department of health and human services, and liberals might like the fact that it is still being administered by a government entity. that seems like it could provide a path forward.
host: kate hunter, thanks for being with us. one of our viewers saying "president obama would do better by trying to rally the american citizens rather than a democratic caucus." the senate will convene at noon eastern time. this is not the only issue being of a topic in the sunday morning program. bobbi jackson. guest: the guests on nbc's "meet the press" will be defense secretary robert gates, secretary of state hillary clinton, and ranking chairman john mccain. this week george steff no luss will -- steff no luss will talk with jeff feingold.
-- senate yorte whip, richard durbin, and john cornin, the chairman of the national republican snorl committee. on "face the nation" you'll hear host bob sheefer with secretary gates and secretary of state clinton. and national security adviser james jones. senate republican whip john kyle and senate intelligence committee chair diane feinstein. we are at 90.1 f.m. here in washington, d.c. nationwide on xm satellite radio and on the web at c-spanradio.org, and you can follow us on facebook and twit tesm r. -- at which timer -- twitter.
host: good morning. thank you for joining us. guest: good morning. host: should we pay for this war? if so, how? guest: i think we should pay for this war because it is a way to help our economy, it is a way to do fairness, and it is what i think we used to do historically. i wrote this book to look at how congress has handled military operations over the last 200 years. not what lawyers say they should do but what congress actually has done. in terms of financing, it turns out we did a pretty good job of paying for most of our wars up until vietnam and since then we haven't. i think with the surge or with military conflict we ought to pay for what's important for us. host: you point out in the vietnam war, congress did not fund that conflict.
guest: in 1968 and 1969 they did pass a 10% surtax. otherwise it was dev silt financing. host: let's look at the historical perspective. back in 1989, congress did pass its first tax. congress issued bonds to pay for the war of 1812. back in the american war, taxes paid for 40% of the costs in that conflict, and the civil war led to the cretion creation of the first income tax. moving ahead to world war ii and world war ii you pointed out congress issued bonds to pay for 6% of the wartime -- 60% of the wartime costs. congress raised feaks but still covered on 40% of the costs. finally this point, congress financed the korean warren tirle
by taxation, with no borrowing. guest: then we took a different tact. host: why is that? guest: nobody likes to pay taxes. everyone would like to have lower taxes and increased benefits. that's not realistic. host: our phone lines are open. you can also send us a tither comment at twitter.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. guest: an interesting thing about congress is that it would
set a -- it proposes a 1% surtax graduated for different income levels. for example, a family earning $150,000 would only have to pay, at most, $226 a year, and he exempts from all of these taxes, anyone who has served in combat since the 9-11 attack. host: from "the new york times" peter baker reporting 10 meetings, would be that the cost from sending troops would cost about $1 trillion, roughly the same cost as his health care plan. guest: and look at the contrast between the two issues. the health care plan is supposed to be revenue neutral. we are cutting costs in order to
finance health care, but with the military expenditures, no such discipline is being imposed. host: in the president's speech he indicated that the cost would be $30 billion. but that's the additional troops, not counting the number of troops already there. guest: right, the additional costs for the next year. afghanistan costs are now about 68 billion or $70 billion a year. the military costs of afghanistan, and the surge will bring that up close to $100 billion a year. host: the president did not say how he was going to pay for it. he said he would meet with congress. guest: he was pam ambiguous. and the public is -- we may not see what i would like to see, but that's the way politics sometimes works. host: senator jack reed also talking about the cost of the
war. first gloria from riverside, california. guest: good morning. my queery is, why are we spending millions on defense an to keep building bases all over the world? it seems like the other countries are going to be leary of us doing all this stuff. i don't understand why we're doing it. don't we want peace, not war? guest: i'm not going to argue the whole defense budget, but the costs this coming year -- this current year, are expected to be about $680 to $700 billion according to the congressional budget office. those are large costs, but they also finance important business tupts, and it is the -- business opportunities, and it is the congress and the president that will have to sort out what that means.
caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. don't you think it is irresponsible for the obama administration for their war, this is now obama's war in afghanistan, to be declaring a timeline for withdrawal? that this tells the terrorists exactly when we would be withdrawing. that doesn't seem like good strategy to me. guest: according to the articles that were mentioned earlier, and you are going to hear one of the reporters in another half-hour or so that wrote one of those articles, this was an important issue in the administration debate and they felt that the only way to get leverage on president car zisezy was to make -- president karzai was to make clear that our commitment was not open-ended. it is interesting to note that former president bush about a year ago signed an agreement with the iraqi government that had very strict timelines for u.s. troop withdrawal. so sometimes it appears to be a good strategy and sometimes it can be argued.
host: our guest is referring to scott wilson who is a co-author of the headline "obama presses for a faster surge." we will be joined by him. mike is joining us from phoenix. good morning. on the republican line. caller: hi, how are you doing this morning? guest: hi. caller: these countries that we're fighting in and rebuilding and -- why are we financing it? why aren't they? host: why aren't they financing what, mike, specifically? caller: the war that we're fighting so they can be rebuilt and restructured for themselves. host: would you support a war tax?
caller: i would l love to pay for everything i could you. if i had the money, i would pay everything i could for my country. but why is it that these countries that we rebuild not paying their portion, too. host: thanks, mike. we'll get a response. guest: we're involved in afghanistan as we were in iraq because we thought it was in our, american, national interest. and i think that's true. i have criticisms of those conflicts, but i think we are there not to help those countries, per say, we're there -- per se, we're there to help make our country stronger. it happens that afghanistan is pretty poor, and what we're spending is far larger than their total gross domestic product. so i can't expect them to finance our $100 billion a year activities in afghanistan. but even the iraqis were
supposed to have oil revenues that were supposed to offset some of our costs, but for lots of reasons that has not turned out to be the case. host:ed senate armed services committee dealing with emerging threats, he's a graduate of the west point military academy. he traveled to west point with the president this past week, and we asked him about how we should pay for this conflict. >> the specifics are always difficult, but, you know, there are only two ways to do it. one is to make savings in other accounts, probably soften defense accounts, i think some of that will be done, and i think you have to consider raising revenue. that's something we're doing right now in the health care debate. it strikes me -- it is ironic that we have committed ourselves in the health care debate to pay for it -- not only pay for it, but to make it be a budget saving going forward, and we're being resisted by the
republicans on that, and they seem to suggest that would also pay for the operations in afghanistan. i think we have to begin to reverse the deficit and, you know, lots of people talk about it and it needs to be done. the specific results i think will evolve over the next several months. host: "that will evolve." no specifics. guest: he's making the right analysis and he's revealing that the politics doesn't predict much support for this notion at the moment. host: mary said she would support a war tax if congress would support a war tax as they are legally bound to do. guest: congress has authorized
15 additional conflicts without using the "w" word. and indeed the fight in iraq was author -- authorized by the congress in 2002 and the fight in -- was authorized after the 9-11 attacks. when you use the "w" word it triggers all kinds of provisions in law going back 100 years that give the president enormous power over the economy, insurance, things become questionable. all sorts of things get caught up if you use the "war" ward. but what the congress did, i believe quite appropriately, was to say we authors -- authorize military force to be used in these conflicts. host: and our caller joins us from santa rosa, california. thank you for joining us.
caller: my question to you is, there was a little conflict called korea a few years ago, and we sent troops over there, and fow we're going to get more than a conflict going in afghanistan. don't you think we've spread ourselves a little thin on this? guest: we fight where we have enemies. we had a fight in korea which has been an arm stiss -- amistice for the last 50 years. i don't find that unjustifiable. host: josh from boca rafon, florida. caller: if we are the most tech logically advanced group, why don't we send in navy seals
teams and end this war? guest: i think that was one option the obama team looked at. vice president biden pushed for greater use of drones and special forces. i think there are limits to that. as attractive as it sounds, a lot of the military comperts i've heard talk about this are dubious that that can do as much as the caller as suggested. host: if you could give historical perspective to this. we had the debate of guns versus butter, president johnson pushing strong on his domestic budget initiative, president bush pushing hard for his tax cuts in addition to funding the war in afghanistan and iraq. and now president obama. he's trying to create jobs, stimulate the economy, and also fund the war in afghanistan even though we are reducing our troop levels in iraq.
guest: president johnson fudgesed with the budget numbers so he didn't admit to the country how much the vietnam war was costing. host: how did he do that? guest: by creating what was called the unified budget so that social security then -- and until recently was taking in more every year in our fica taxes than it was paying out -- became viewed as the total budget so the deficit looked much smaller. congress did at the end of the johns yn administration pass that 10% surtax tax cut, and that came off and the u.s. budget, federal budget was balanced in 1969 for the last time until the late 1990's at the end of the clinton administration. they did act semi-responsibly then, but once the next administration came in, congress and the president were no longer interested in taxing.
president bush in 2001 insisted on his tax cuts not withstanding the additional costs of the response to the 9-11 attacks. i think congress since 1969 has not been as responsible as they should have been. host: what specifically is he suggesting and how much money would he raise? guest: he's saying except for people in the military and combat and after 9-11 people should have to pay a surtax on their regular tax enough to cover the costs of the war. a 1% surtax with graduated so that a family earning $150,000 would pay at most $226 per year for that year for that would finance the current costs of
afghanistan. it wouldn't finance the whole defense budget. we're in deficit of $1.4 trillion for lots of macro-economic reasons, but it at least would adertsert the principles that we ought to try to pay for more of this conflict, of these conflicts than we have been. host: eric is joining us from griffeth, california. thank you for joining us. caller: my question is this -- we help all these countries around the world, and we go in economically, why don't the country help us economically at the same time instead of just making it a draw on our national -- on our budget and on our funds of our government? why don't the other governments rvings why aren't they required
to do the same? guest: there is no way to require other governments. afghanistan and iraq don't have the kinds of resources that we're putting in for our side of the conflict. iraq is, of course, financing its own government to a large extent now. and the europeans and japanese and australians are committing forces and civilians to the war in afghanistan, and i think that is -- as they have to the war in iraq, and i think that is commendable. it is p enough to offset our costs but it is valuable that we have those allies p also sperneding their resources. host: charles stevenson from "the times" with his piece on the war.
caller: as for the declaration of war for afghanistan, if they don't give it to him, pull the troops out. if they do give it to him, he needs to straighten up his health care situation until this conflict is over. let the american people see what it is like to have universal insurance where it can go to a doctor and get health care without having to go through a whole lot of foolishness, and let's see what happens thr then. he needs to ask for a declaration of war before we commit any troops to afghanistan. guest: i think the congress has already given the president the authority to fight in afghanistan. it did that in september 17, 2001. so he has the legal authority. he doesn't need a declaration of war. so i think that suggestion is already overtaken by events. host: let's go back to iraq, even though we are phasing out of our operation there. what's the difference from the
second gulf war compared to the second push president? -- bush president. guest: we were lucky in 1991 because the sawedies and other countries paid 50% of the costs we incurred fighting that war. they gave money. they didn't give -- several of them didn't give troops, but they did give money, and that made it much easier for us so we didn't run a huge budget deficit because of that conflict. host: the piece written in the opinion section of "the "l.a. times." "if a war is worth fighting, isn't it worth paying for?" mike is on the phone. caller: my question is, a statement was made earlier in the show about everybody not wanting to pay the tax from the war a. i would say that it would be
better -- it is the way it is collected, is the problem. why wouldn't we support something like the fair tax to fund it and pay for it as we spend instead of being taken from our paycheck? a lot of people don't want to fund the war. why wouldn't we do it through the fair tax? guest: i don't know what the fair tax is. host: as he was sharing his comments, mary was saying that corporate america must start paying more in teak as they and private armies get rich with the war. guest: i don't know what "the fair tax" is, but let me talk about ways of raising revenues. one way is congressman obey's proposal with a 1% surtax on our income tax. other ways are by cutting other parts of federal spending, such as making the defense department
offset some of its other costs in order to pay por these conflicts. i'm not saying that's what i prefer. i prefer the surtax, but that is another way of getting revenue. another way of getting revenue -- and these are the kinds of things that are a part of this health care debate, because that has to be revenue neutral, are to look at some of the other expenditures -- the other tax breaks that people get. now, i'm a hone homeowner, and i like that mortgage interest dededuction. but that takes $108 billion this year away from the federal government that if we didn't have that tax break, the government would receive. or charitable contributions. "the new york times" has an article this morning on the growth of charitable contributions. they say it has increased 60% in
the last decade. i like charitable contributions. i give contributions to charity, but the ref news lost because of that is $52 billion this year. so if you want to get revenues in other ways, there are tax breaks we could reduce or eliminate or other parts of the federal budget you could move on. .
more risk for our troops? and you mingsed there would be an increase. how long will the u.s. public tolerate that? >> well, i was in iraq labor day weekend and i was with the them and i asked the battalion commanders that question. is this appropriate? effective? and they said, once we explain to our soldiers the policy and that we not only support but it makes sense to us. and the reason is because every time a civilian is hurt, the propaganda that is generated by taliban, by al qaeda, the -- it sets us back. and soldiers understand that. the commanders on the ground understand that. one of the lessons in the soviet is hundreds of thousands
of pash tunes were killed. and that hacend their departure as much as anything. actually, it generated the sympathy in the united states. i recall in my former colleague charlie wilson when he went to those camps and they talked about villages being bombed, that's what sort of moved us to step in. so i think that it's a very careful policy, and it's also a policy that originates from the military. there are some suctyls, to be politically correct, it's so far from the fact. this is general mccrystal and general petraeus, who have dedicated a life not only to serving the nation but also to protecting the soldiers and marines and sailors in their commands, and they're the ones who think this is the most effective way to wage this fight. >> we hope you tune in for c-span's "newsmakers" program.
senator jack reed and also the committee chair of the emerging threats subcommittee, the entire interview, at 10:00 and again this evening at 6:00, 3:00 for our west coast viewers. good morning, thanks for joining us. your piece this morning, obama press for a faster surge. 25 hours of meetings, ten sessions. what surprised you the most as you reported on this? guest: that there were a coupful of clear turning points. one of which was the determination in october that the taliban could not be defeated as general mccrystal has set out to do as he was told to do. and i was also surprised, although we knew some of this in real time, of the passions in that room, the real divisions between particularly between civilian and military
advisers. and then the idea that obama, who as a senator, oppose it had surge in iraq, used those very words to describe the strategy that he wanted. >> and you described it this way. that the sessions were fluid. and as we look at one of the photographs, they were influenced by the ghosts of the war in vietnam and iraq as well as the inheritance of a soaring budget deficit. a war that could cost over $2 trillion. >> that's one reason why president obama wanted a much tighter time line. the ghosts of the wars we mentioned richard hol brook made clear very early on the lessons he learned as a diplomat in vietnam. robert gates had much of what he said early on, had to do with his experience in afghanistan as the deputy cia
director in the 1980s. and of course general petraeus and his first-hand experience with the surge. >> the white house has been releasing a number of photographs. this aboard air force one in copenhagen denmark as the president was there to push for chicago to host the 26 olympic. but there are also photographs from the situation room as well. can you explain the dynamics? >> the president sat at the head of course. he took notes throughout in very small writing, usually writing out questions. he would hear from everyone. each meeting had a particular agenda, especially early on, for example, pakistan, afghan security forces, those were some of the discussions. and then the president would conclude the meeting with a summary of what he understood to be open questions. the progress that he believed they had made.
and then his own concerns that would drive the agenda into the next meeting. >> there's also a story by peter baker. did the white house come to you and share with both newspapers the insight? >> no. we were both working on similar stories that reconstructed the decision, and sort of late last week a number of interviews fell together for us. i pass d my colleague peter once walking in and out of offices. so they were aware, we were both working on the stories but did not come to us, we went to them. >> let me share with you one thing, and this is in regard to pakistan. she said that the president and his advisers considered options for stepping up the pursuit of the extremists along the pakistani boarder. and we heard on thursday and friday about some attacks that were able to capture and kill, take out some of the al qaeda operatives in pakistan. and this took place two week
ago. >> there have been, one of the guiding focuses of the so-called biden option was to very much step up this sort of c.i.a. drone operations in the borderlands between pakistan and afghanistan. those will intensify under the strategy that the president adopted. but they have been taking place as well. they're also very controversial in pakistan in particular really inflames sent ynt against the united states and the pakistani government has to both condemn them but also accept them because it's a central part of what the americans are doing now. >> early in your piece, you talk about a change in the testimonyo once the president returned from asheo. what happened? >> after asia, he had the timeline that he wanted. and what they did after he returned from asia, which is in late november, was really start to finalize what they -- how he would announce it, and what
leverage, the maximum amount of leverage they could exert on president karzi under this plan. that's one of the reasons that they made the plan public, the time line at the july time line public. they believed that if he knew that everyone else knew when the americans would begin their departure he would step up much more quickly to strengthen his government and that led into the west point speech in december 1. >> we also were getting a lot of leaks act about the cables back and forth in afghanistan and the concern that the mccrystal plan was not going to work. what was behind that? >> the word dependency came up quite a bit in former general mccrystal's comments, i mean former general icon berry's cables. lieutenant general icon berry served two tours in afghanistan and is before retiring and is
now the ambassador. he thought more troops would only make it more reliant on american support, again driving the president to think about how to exert influence on that government and eventually deciding to set that july 2011 date to begin the american withdrawal. >> this is dan ball's trying to tie in the president's stand on health care, his piece in your paper called the president, a lesson in limits.
can you pick up on that point? >> a lot of those limits have to do with what your priest guest discussed as well which is financial. in both cases also, in afghanistan he is very much relying on a reliable partner in that country. and again it gets back to president karzi. that limits whatever plan the president was destined to adotcht, is how effective will afghanistan, the afghan government be with this. and on jobs, he is facing a severe budget restraints, a real demand by the american public to scale back a public spending, to take on the rising deficit, the afghan war of course will contribute to that. the estimates are each thousand troops cost $1 billion a year in afghanistan. and there's real concerns about how to pay for that. so those are really the constraints that the president is facing. >> leading up to this speech a couple monalts the president
traveling to delaware and the casualties from the helicopter crash returning to the u.s. from afghanistan and this photograph which accompanied your piece. on vet vans day the president travels to the tombs and in this line saying the president consolling a vitor at arlington cemetary on veterans day. >> in late october, he after a particularly terrible week in afghanistan when 18 american soldiers and dea agents were killed, he decided to make an unannounced visit to dover to greet that c-17 cargo plane returning. he spent some time in the cargo plane hull with the transfer casketses. it was a way to acknowledge the sacrifices made according to his aids as well as for him to
observe first-hand the cost. then, on november 11, he spent the morning at section 60 of arlington national cemetary where a lot of the afghan casualties are buried. and later that afternoon he had perhaps the most important meeting of the entire strenal strategy session when he demanded a tighter time line. and so that was most likely in his mind, certainly, during that session. >> you've been hearing a lot about exert strategy. but secretary gates has been very careful to say it's not an exit strategy, it's the beginning of a transitional phase in our operations in afghanistan. explain the difference. >> the difference is that july 2011 is the beginning of the end. that may mean a brigade leaves, a company leaves. it's trying to set, to focus the afghanistan government's
mind on this date. what they did not talk about in the language that they use is the slope of withdrawal. in other words, how fast the americans leave, when they lee. and for secretary gates in particular to talk about that, that very much is colored by his experience in afghanistan in the 1980s in testimony before the hill right after the announcement was made. he said we cannot abandon this country as we did in the 1980s. and that's what he is referring to. it is not a timetable to leave as we have in iraq right now. >> and this is how the two discussed it on nbc's meet meet meet the press. the interview taped on saturday. response to our discussion with scott wilson on the issue of exist strategy or what exactly the july 2011 deadline means. >> we're not talking about an exit strenal or a drop-dead
deadline. what we're talking about is an assessment that in january 2011 we can begin a transition, a transition to hand off responsibility of the afghan forces. >> we're not talking about an abrupt withdrawal. we're talking about something that will take care place over a period of time. we, our commanders think that these additional forces, and one of the reasons for the president's decision to try and accelerate their deployment is the view that this extended surge has the opportunity to make significant gains in terms of reversing the moment yum of the taliban, denying them control of the territory and degrading their capabilities. our military thinks we have a real opportunity to do that. and it's not just in the next 18 months because we will have a hundred thousand forces, troops, there and they are not leaving in july of 2011. some, a handful or some small number or whatever the
conditions permit, will begin to with draw at that time. >> are there a couple of different audiences that these secretaries are playing to and the president when they come to july 2011? >> very much so. they're both trying to tell the american people only a minority of whom believe this war is still worth fighting that there's an end to this. they're trying to tell our nato allies that we are there and we're committed and even though a transition may begin to take place we're still going to be there afterwards. and they're talking to the afghan government by saying this is the day that we intend to start turning provinces over to you and your forces who are going to be trained up by at least a dedicated brigade of 5,000 of these 30,000 soldiers that are being sent in. so let's get going on this. >> scott wilson's piece on the front page this morning in the "washington post."
trudey, thanks for being with us. >> you're welcome. >> lit me begin with your column this morning in the philadelphia inquirer and you point out that while the deadline may make domestic political sense it's sending as you put it the wrong signals to the afghans and the pakistanies. how so? >> well, the afghans and the pakistanis from my conversations this past week over the phone, and i just returned from several weeks spent in both countries last week, they see this deadline as a signal that the president doesn't have support at home and is really looking to the exit. and the problem is that the audience here is not just president karzi, in fact the americans had already been looking for ways to go around him by dealing with effective governors, and there are some, and effective ministers, and trying to work with specific
provinces. but the audience is also the afghan people. and the reason that's so crucial is because what the u.s. military is hoping to do is to convince the afghans in areas that are controlled by the taliban, the taliban victory is not inevitable. and if that is the case, if some troops come in and they clear the area, what they are hoping is that afghans will then stand up whether in tribal millishas or in local self-defense forces, because those will be extremely critical. and perhaps more so even than the afghan army which won't be ready in time to do much of the heavy lifting on the afghan side. also, we have to think of the pakistani reaction to this. the pakistani military has been holding in effect the afghan taliban as a card. they were allies of the afghan taliban some time ago.
they are reluctant despite u.s. urging to go after afghan taliban leaders who are hiding inside pakistan. if they think that we are leaving soon, they are going to hold on to that card especially if they think the afghan taliban is going to be close to power or coming to power in kabul in two or three years. >> the other part of the equation is president karzi and a disputed election, although he was finally reelected and sworn in earlier this month. my question to you though is you wrote this past week that the u.s. military can, quote, sir cum vent cardsi. how so? >> what the u.s. military is looking to do is to focus on governors who are effective and minister whose are effective. now, there's a caveat here because carsi is about to appoint a new cab in the and will be appointing new governors. but the sufplt has given him a
list. you have very effective governors right now in some key provinces such as he will mund where we are going to funnel troops in and you have ministers in the development area, rural reconstruction, agriculture, who are urging us to give more man power to their ministries and help them funnel line ministers out so that they can give aid which would make a huge difference in areas that we have cleared and would help make it less necessary for us to put u.s. civilians in there in spots where they can't go out for security reasons. so there actually are some afghans to work with an one can go around karzi and try to funnel u.s. funds and push him for more of them. and that's the thinking. because even if he somehow sees the light, nobody expects him
to become effective at the center of the government at the center to suddenly perk up and work right. i should also add that the u.s. considers the ministries -- the ministers of defense and interior, who are crucial because they oversee the army and the police, to be effective tech no crats and people that the u.s. can work with. so karzi himself is not seen as an insurmountable obscal even though it would make a big difference felled clean up the mess around him. >> our sunday roundtable is with scott wilson of the "washington post." and truddy. ruben. you also quote the work of paul farmer who is renowned for his work in haiti and rwanda saying that in essence you've got to take care of the people. and i want to have you explain wa you saw in terms of the basic necessities that the afghan people are looking for, food, shelter, clean water.
>> water. you know, i had an amazing experience when i went to har at which is in the west near the iranian border, and i went to watch the work of a man from the philadelphia area who has a small found yathes called traveling mers mercis and what he does is build water projects. he is sort of a water version of greg morton son who builds schools. when he has enough money which is usually only about $20,000 is necessary, to bring clean water to a village of several thousand families. and he brings in the piping, the pumps, the technical expertise. he works with local afghan engineers in har rat he works with a wonderful engineer from the water department there and he connects up sometimes there are mainline pipes in cities but they don't have extensions
that go out to poor slum neighborhoods. he uses local labor if he goes out to villages he will pipe it in prom streams. but they don't have the know how or the piping or the pumps. and he will get the locals working on this. and within a very short time you can have clean water which makes the difference between disease, sickness, and health. and what this points out and the reason i went was not only to give some publicity to a wonderful humanitarian who did work with paul farmer in haiti, but also to show that it is possible working with locals to do development work, especially when you're working at small and medium level projects, to do development work without having to use international contractors. the u.s. is beginning to realize that, and is now in afghanistan trying to work more with local afghans, with local afghan ministry that is have
shown some competence. and i think that's a really healthy sign. because as we know all too well from iraq and also afghanistan, if you're working with big contractors which take hunal overhead often there is not oversight and for security reasons often the job doesn't get done. you're working with afghans, they want the job done. and if you build something like that in a village, the villagers will protect it against the taliban. i actually saw evidence of that. i was in a province that had been taliban ridden, some aid money came in and built a road. the villagers let the taliban know we will fight you to protect this road. no ieds here. harat right now is not so violence ridden but it's the same principle. if you give the villagers something economic to protect, they do not want the taliban, they want just to live, to have clean water, to have jobs, and to have clinics and schools.
>> just back from afghan an pakistan, and scott wilson here in our washington studio, also the covers the white house. in his piece this morning outlining the 25 hours of meetings, ten sessions that led to the president's strategy in afghanistan. jack is joining us from atlanta. good morning. caller: good morning. i just returned from afghanistan, served two times in iraq and i was wondd in afghanistan and i'll be going back. i think mr. ruben's assessment is exactly right. the geographicically, iraq is
very much different than afghanistan. what we're trying to do there is provide security while providing the services for people. there that any human being are entitled to. unfortunately, some of the media has portrayed it like we tried to buy off the afghan people. and what they're just looking for is any other, like any other human being, is to live, live with security, with water, with roads, with -- but we can't do it with the forces we have there. we can't provide both services. we have to -- when we leave out of the area and the lady mentioned some of the provinces i was in, the taliban would
come in afterwards and try to intim date the people there. and as far as this, i feel it's a red herring. >> thank for your call. guest: i would first say jack's a good example of the kind of stress that the military is under. three tours now he has served and more to come. and one thing that trudey pointed out is that this kind of a program is taking shape now in afghanistan in a real way. but we're in the ninth year of the war now and it's getting harder and harder as things go along, not easier. host: this comment from a viewer saying that the president has no desire to win in afghanistan. his heart is not into it. we should pull out now. we cannot win a war without a clear objective.
guest: well, i think that it's hard to know what's in the president's heart in this war. i think his actions of the hundred thousand u.s. troops that will be there by the middle of next year, more than half of those will have been deployed by this president. so he is, he owns this war. and whether his heart is in it or not, he is commiting a lot of soldiers to it and a lot of resources to it. host: trudey. guest: i think one of the problems for the president is that it is hard to explain what the goals are here. this is not a war that you win in a conventional sense. what the u.s. miltvi hoping to do in afghanistan is to break the momentum of the taliban and then other things happen. the basic premise, and i heard this over and over again from afghans including elders in rural areas, they're not
looking for the taliban to come back but they do want security and they do want, as i said, a way to live. the thinking in the military is if you can clear some areas that are heavy with taliban, if you can show how economic development can come in, by backing these decent ministries and getting good governors, that you can convince the local public that they don't need to just give in to the taliban. and that means that in some areas where tribes are strong, tribal groups will raise to fight back. in some areas it will be village millishas. self-defense forces. they would be under the interior ministry. and then gradually you would have afghan forces and you would have political settlement activity going on. there is the hope of wooing away mid level and low level taliban, the incident al girlas who are in it for money or
grievance. and which the u.s. would count nans that some more senior taliban leaders would break with al qaeda and come into the political system in afghanistan. and the bigger hope, that in the region, especially in pakistan, understanding that the taliban are not going to win, the pakistanis would be more hopeful in squeezing out taliban leaders from their side. so this is a package of things that it is hoped will happen if the momentum turns. it is not about defeating the taliban on the battle field. the difficult thing is i think it's hard for the president to explain this to the public. i don't think he did a very good job in his speech. and so people are confused about what the goal is. it has a lot of moving parts. it's not easy to explain. host: john is joining us. good morning.
caller: good morning. i'm calling to support the strategy. i think that a lot of people who are criticizing the strategy are probably still affected by world war ii think as the woman from the philadelphia inquirer points out this is not a traditional conventional war. whether we're there for another year and a half or another 15 years, the enemy is still going to be there. this strategy is a hand-off. it's a transition. it is their war. it is their political challenge to set up their government with whatever amlions with the local power brokers. that's totally up to them. we are just there to help them make the transition. host: from that we'll go to evelyn who is op posed to the war. guest: caller: good morning. first i have a comment to make and then a request from the people that are there.
my request or first my comment is that this president, this congress, and this senate should not be trusted with our troops for the plain and simple fact i have informed them all and a gentleman named germy scay hill who wrote the book on black water has informed them all too that right now black water is running a bilateral war with inside the pakistan-afghan border area and killing innocent people and bombing them with a bilateral drone program opposite of what the c.i.a. is now going to ramp up, i guess, and are going to send troops into a hornest nest just like they did in iraq. host: i'm going to ask you if you could, you phone in on a regular basis so we do ask that you wait 30 days to give others a chance to weigh in but we will get a response.
guest: well, the drone program as i notesed earlier is a, does stir up the horn et's nest, if inside of pakistan, but it was central in particular to the arguments being made by vice president biden that with roughly the same amount of troops there, stepped up training program for afghan forces and a more intensive aerial campaign against al qaeda operatives in the afghan-pakistan borderlands that that would be a way to control and protect american national securitys there. but getting back to victory or not in afghanistan, the goal of this strategy in the president's words, is to defeat, dismantle, disrupt al qaeda. the best way to do that he argues is to build a more stable afghan state. and eventually turn over all of
those security authorities to the afghan government. so that's the victory that people are talking about. president bush, if you look back, described these wars that the americans have been fighting in iraq and afghanistan as just that, not traditional wars. there will be no signing of surrender on the decks of battle ships. so the american public should be by now used to what these are all about and what victory looks like and what it doesn't and what these goals are. host: along those lines, in response to your earlier comment, a viewer wondering is the strategy bringing in clean water sources or is it to bring down the taliban and protect america? guest: of course in this case, although he is a private citizen but there is a strategy to help the afghans bring in that kind of basic living, because counter insurgency strategy requires that if
you're going to clear something, somebody come in and convince the locals that it's worth fighting to preserve that security situation without the taliban and to show them that they can get services from the government and don't need to wait for the taliban. so i think building is a part. but i don't think that the u.s. envisions that we're going to do it all for them. i think the idea is to try to strengthen, as i said, some of these ministries that do have the capacity. and this is not an indefinite project but it's an important part of the project now. and i just want to say something also about drones. the goal here, the reason we're dealing with the taliban is because it is connected with al qaeda. afghanistan and pakistan really are connected at the hip. and the strategy that vice president biden suggested of just going with drones would not do the job because the pakistanis would not be willing
to increase that project, the drone project to the extent that i think vice president biden would hope. and in fact, if they thought we were leaving afghanistan, as i said before, they would be more likely to actually help the afghan taliban and to refuse to give us permission to target them on the pakistani side of the border. in fact, the pakistani government has not yet given permission for the expansion of the drone program. >> in january the vice president traveled to afghanistan. how important was that trip in shaping his view and the president's view? guest: very important to the vice president's view. he had a very rough time with karzi on that trip. he tells a story about talking to ten different military commanders and getting ten different answers to what the mission is there. so he came back with a sense from that trip of a very weak and precare yl partner about to
face an election. and as well as a u.s. military without a very clear sense of what it's doing there. >> our next call is henry from virginia. good morning. caller: good morning. and thanks for c-span. i'm calling because i support it. and, like i said, i support it. and i never hear anybody say if we didn't go into iraq, wouldn't you think about eight years or nine years now we would have had this problem solved by now? guest: i think there's no question that if we had paid more attention in 2002, 2003, the situation would be very different now. many in fact, there's been so much talk about how afghans resist invaders, but back in those years there was a lot of welcome. i talked to a lot of afghans,
tribal leaders and so forth. people were happy to get the taliban off their back. they were looking for some development as they -- aid, they were looking for rebuilding. and i think we could have done a lot there to create a situation in which the taliban would not have made the comeback they did, which didn't really start happening in a big way until around 2005, 2006. host: and the political equation in all this, exit stage right. quoting the, as you refer to them, as the democrat's arch nemesis, karl rove, who in essence is supporting the president's strategy. guest: yes. well, obviously the president is dependent heavily on republicans to not undercut him. it's one of the strongest bases that he has. i think that the party, the democrats especially in the house, they're looking to mid-term elections.
they know this war is unpopular. and i think what the president is going to have to do is to explain this more clearly. he does have the bully pull pitt, i think the public is confused. as i said, i think it's a hard strategy to understand. i think there is a strategy now of more clearly than there was when the vice president visited. and i think there really is a case to be made. but i know i get e-mails from readers saying could you please explain which taliban is which. people are confused. pls afghan, pakistani, al qaeda, and someone has to lay it out for them in a clear way. and i think that if that were done, the president could muster more support. host: leonard joining us from houston. good morning. go ahead, leonard. we'll try john in orlando, florida. caller: hello. i'm calling to support this
war. due to the fact that economic cooperation between two countries is only going to be beneficial at the end of the day. now, the doctor said about a month and a half ago that the gas pipeline that's going to be built across afghanistan should be a thing that both countries should look forward to. i wonder why that aspect of afghan strategy is not talked about more often. guest: it didn't emerge very prom nantly in our reporting both in real time and for this particular piece. there are energy interests there. i do believe that the focus of the review session was very much on the security interests. host: and as part of that review session that you write about is the discussion that took place on november 29th. and as the president was going around the room asking for the
decision to be unanimous. can you explain? guest: guest: that's right. we were told that he gathered his top aids in the oval office on a sunday evening two days before he gave his speech at west point. and explained the strategy for the first time. what his decision was. and afterwards went around the circle with one question, which was do you support it? and if you don't, this is your last chance to do so. i was told by a close aide who was in all of the meetings that he received unanimous support and if he had not he would have continued to talk about it. he would not have asked that person to rethink their thoughts but he would rethink his decision and have a discussion. he wanted unanimous support for what he desidded. >> how hard was it for you to report on this story to talk to some of the key players guest: you know, it's sometimes interesting to see the leaks
explained in the media as something that seemed to just happen naturally. it takes a lot of work, there's a lot of phone calls, there's a lot of source building. sometimes they're more difficult than others. but throughout the process i worked pretty hard to maintain close contact with a number of key people involved in this. and at the end, i had a fairly good, access to what i needed to report this story. host: reporting on what he describes as a marathon of meetings, reviewing the president's afghan strategy. you can read it this morning in the "washington post." richard. why do you oppose it? caller: i oppose it because i don't think the administration is being honest with the american people. i've been reading that it's going to take years for the afghan army and the police to be up to par. most of the afghanis in the army i understand are i will
lit rat. and when they get paid, a lot of them go home to help support their families and some don't come back. so i think they should bh a little honest. and the police force too. also, there's such a division in the country between if urban and rural areas. and how are they going to get the pashtuns and the other ethnic groups to sit down and negotiate and become part of the government? and i'm very wary, also, i understand many pakistan the intelligence services there for years, they've been collaborating with the taliban. is that true? guest: those are very important questions. first of all, on the issue of the afghan army and police, i think it's absolutely correct that that's a long-term project. and however, that is why the u.s. military is really looking
in multiple directions here. the goal is not to have the perfect afghan army and police to take over in two years, although the military is thinking in terms of deadlines even if the president hasn't set them. the goal is to get afghans to stand up and in many parts of the country tribes traditionally have had fighting force that is they stand up to defend their territory. early in this decade tribes were willing to stand those forces up against the taliban but they needed some support in the background. they didn't get it either from their own government or from us. the hope is that if we are willing to provide that backup you will have tribal militias you will have village sex defense forces. and -- self-defense forces. and they do defend if they have something to protect. the army is a longer term project. however, i think here there is
an afghan parallel which -- sorry, an iraqi parallel which i watched during my time in iraq which is the iraqi army, even though it was more lit rat was unwilling to fight when the security situation was really bad. once the situation stabilized somewhat, then that army was more willing to fight. and so that is the hope also in afghanistan if you stabilize things you will have some army units that are willing to fight. the police i don't think people have any short-term hope for, though that he may say jords wise. and as far as -- otherwise. and as far as pakistani intelligence help for afghans and the problem with pashtuns, yes, there is a real problem there. the afghan ministry of defense is going to have to do a better job in giving pashtuns senior positions in their army. and the u.s. has to push for that. on the pakistani side, i do believe that the best way to get them to support what the
u.s. is trying to do sfor them to be convince it had u.s. has a serious strategy. as i said before, if they think the nato is leaving and afghanistan is going to fall into chaos, they are going to bet on the horse they know, which is the afghan taliban, they want an anti-indian government in power in kabul and they want a stable afghanistan. so what the u.s. has to do is to convince them that the best way for stability is the way that we are going. and also, to mediate between india and pakistan which we have indicated some willingness to do but we haven't taken on in any way seriously yet. host: every sunday we welcome our listeners on xm channel 120, and also to our c-span listeners on channel 132. and for our international audience watching on a sunday afternoon, scott wilson is joining us, trudey ruben and
bruce is joining us from north carolina. good morning. caller: good morning. host: go ahead. caller: ok. first of all, the reason i'm calling is in support of not necessarily the war but the men and women that are fighting and dying over there every day. i think we all need to wake up and realize that our wars and our conflicts and our interests to want to be in the middle east for years to come, and more and more women and men are going to die because of that. and it's up to our leaders to really ask for the wisdom to not make these mistakes over here and there and which we are making and we need to learn from them. host: did the president make a
convincing argument for his strategy at west point last tuesday? caller: of course. i believe he did. i believe it was a big mistake to go into iraq. but i believe in what the gentlewoman there said, as far as this would have been better to go in in 2002, 2003, where they were ready and they were willing and but now they're not as willing and acceptable of us being over there. zphr thank you for the call. this is maybe a side bar part of story but do you have any insight of what led to the discussion as to why west point instead of washington or oval office address? guest: a little bit. an oval office address thought shouldn't be more than ten minutes. people lose interest. it's not a dynamic setting. he wanted an audience. he felt that the speech works better with an audience.
and west point speaking to cadets who are going to be going to excute this strategy seemed like a very powerful and symbolic venue for them. the cadets themselves, though, you know, it's a military academy. they're very disciplined. they did not show a lot of emotion during the speech. they were essentially told ahead of time by the commandant of the academy not to. to support the president politely but but not to show too much opinion. so the speech inside the room felt a little bit flat and some people i think took that impression away. but that was the idea to get nit front of an audience, particularly an audience with a lot at stake in what he had to say. host: jesse from north carolina. caller: good morning. host: why do you oppose the strategy?
caller: i don't oppose the strategy per se. what i oppose is touching too few families in the united states. we need a draft if we're going to run a war. so it touches many more people and there's a better attitude behind the government support. iraq we should never have been in. i am a retired army. i dealt in high level intelligence throughout my career. and throughout history there's never been a strong dictator that allowed terrorists to operate in their countries. and that should have been known by the people that got us into iraq. afghanistan i support that. we should have gone in there much stronger from the start.
we should have made sure that we had the military person until to carry on this war or iraq if we were going to throw iraq in we definitely need a draft so we can get the people involved. and get the public support. host: any support for a draft? guest: i don't think so. but the discussion of war tax is one way to get the american public more involved. not in the way that jesse recommends but certainly some way to get more of a national sense of the fact that we are at war and have been at war for eight years now. host: and also this, saying that if we're going to have to rebuild every country gow to war with, it is time that we stop going to war, period. we can't afford it. along those lines, senator jack reed, which airs in about an
hour from now, talks about u.s. troops working on the local level with afghan officials. here's part of what he had to say. >> i think part of one of our problems with our approach to afghanistan over many years is there is a bit of a cultural disconnect. afghanistan has never had a strong central government but power has been localized in the provebses. and then the afghanis chose a model which has a strong central government and very, very weak really nonexisting provincial government. and that's with their history. i think we need to move towards the provencial level not only because the power in the center is not capable but because culturally that's where they look to. they look to local leaders, tribal leaders. and part of the strategy of general mccrystal is to begin to sort of align our efforts with their political culture.
i think that makes a great deal of sense. host: so based on that, last sunday you wrote that the key is to make sure that u.s. dollars are funneled effectively in the afghan population. how do you do that? guest: well, i think what senator reed said is absolutely true. that the key is local. unfortunately, to really change this it requires changing the constitution, which really is wrong for afghanistan and many afghans have told me this. but there are thing that is one can do. and i think this is part of the strategy. one thing is that afghan ministries, and as i said there are some competent ministers, who deal with outlying rural regions. for example, the ministry of reconstruction and rural development has a program where there are 30,000 elected village counsel. and international aid which is monitored by the world bank is
funled through this ministry and through their line ministers who are out in the provinces and into projects that are vetted by locals and in which locals take part. now, for example, one thing that the military is doing, u.s., is commanders have discretionary funds and they are now beginning to use those discretionary funds to funnel through these local elected village counsels to go to projects in which villagers put in sweat equity so they want to protect those projects. but eventually the ideal is to train up more talent and more capacity in these afghan ministers to go out into the regional areas, to send their staff out, and to have them do the work. and they will be sbraggets aid for a long time. afghan is a poor country. but we will not be doing the nation building. the idea is to train their capacity so they can do it and to train it in a way that the expertise goes out to the provinces. >> i want to bring your
attention to neighboring pakistan and the reporting of scott shane, his piece from the weekend review section of the "new york times." it's not about afghanistan, it's about the people straddling a border. they will likely make or break the surge. guest: very much so. and it gets back to what we were saying earlier about afghanistan and pakistan being joined at the hip. that's the joining, the pashtun, and it very much complicates u.s. efforts there to distinguish between a war on one side of the border and a war on the other. ground troops on one side, ground troops not allowed on the other. a controversial aerial drone campaign on the pakistan side and that is very much at the heart of the matter. host: do either of you know what pashtun means, what the term, what it comes from? guest: i do not.
guest: it's a tribal -- the pashtuns are the ethnic population that straddles boats sides of the border. and i think that the u.s. is going to have to do a better job in afghanistan of pushing the karzi government and the ministry of defense to give the pashtuns more of a sense of involvement in their own country because although carsi is a pashtun he is perceived as being backed by ethnics from the north who made up the northern alliance that we allied with when actually they took kabul, because the pashtun leadership had been decimated by the taliban and so pashtuns feel to a large extent left out of the government in kabul even though they technically have a certain number of posts. and that is a very important element giving the pashtuns a
sense of ownership in their own government. host: the conversation is continuing on twitter.com if you want to join in. we'll share some of your thoughts including ai who says china and russia love us being tied down in afghan and iraq. we did it to ourselves. the grave yard of empires indeed. the next call from new mexico. edward on the phone. caller: good morning. it occurred to me several years ago that if we needed to win the hearts and minds of the people, why is it we did not -- and people all over the world needed essentially the same things, they need water, power, a way to cook their food, they need a way to heat their water. how, why is it we didn't, instead of dropping a whole bunch of bombs and leaflets drop solar stoves and or take
the materials there and put the people to work building them and distributing them? and creating some sort of economic development? it would have been a he will of a hell of a lot cheaper for us to supply the basic materials and have the people build them and distribute things like that themselves whether it be come to blankets or tents or whatever they need in order to be able to survive. it gets very cold there. and thoast people need heat and light and some form of communication, listening communication. don't we have a radio free america kind of thing going? host: thanks. we'll get an opposing pointed of view and get a response from both of our guests. why do you oppose the strategy? caller: george orwell wrote in 1984, these wars are not fought
to be won. they're fought to be continued. if these two so-called reporters were actually reporters instead of opinion pushers for the show government we have, are you still there? host: we still are. caller: they would be reporting about the real reasons. the fact that the open yum production is up 12% we've got our own troops guarding it. the oil, the pipeline of course was mentioned earlier. the fact that if they were real reporters they would report on the fact that the president's brother is the biggest drug dealer in the country. but if they were real reporters they would report on pat tillman and why he was murdered. he was going to come back and spill the beans. but these aren't real reporters.
that's why they're losing the readership. that's why people are going to the internet. and c-span, which is all controlled by the c.i.a. they wouldn't have opposed and for this war. host: i'm going to jump in first of all we want to thank both of our guests for agreeing to be here on a sunday morning and they like all of our guests are here to share their points of view. and you're right to phone in with your comments. this is a free country. but we are controlled by nobody. we are are an open and transparent. but thank you for sharing your point of view. do you want to respond to the comment or earlier point of view? guest: let me respond to neti. i spent a lot of time in pakistan where conspiracy theories are so extreme that there is nothing to crazy to
believe in. and if you believe the pakistani theories that are often in their newspapers, the u.s. is behind the taliban, the u.s. is behind al qaeda. the caller sounds like he would be happy in pakistan but let me say that it is easy to have conspiracy theories about afghanistan and pakistan because a lot is opaque. but as scott wilson rightly pointed out, this is not about energy. were a pipeline to be built from central asia down to pakistan and india, the u.s. would certainly not get rich off that. this is not the reason that people are in the country dying. and, yes, much has been written about president karzi's brother. he is not the biggest drug dealer by far in that count pri but in actual fact drug production has gone down by 30% in the past year and in part that is because of agricultural
programs that have been pushed by a good governor there and with u.s. help. so things can change. and as far as the previous caller, he's absolutely right that economic aid would have made a big difference early on. what one needs to do is help afghans help themselves. back in the 1960s, u.s. aide had a wonderful program in afghanistan which is still remembered fondly, by older afghans, and it focused on dams and irrigation ditches. the soviets destroyed the irrigation system, the taliban helped destroy it further. and both destroyed orchards from which afghans lived. now, the afghan ministries of water and agriculture and rural reconstruction are trying to get together to rebuild those irrigation systems. were we to help using afghan labor using local ministry person nell that would help more than anything else, i think, because afghans are a
reporting on it. but it gets at very much what obama is facing, a real anger over the length of these wars. and a plan now that while it does have a date, as they call a strategic inflection point there , is no end date what he outlined to. host: as was written in the washington post that the president saw a vital need to fight on in afghanistan but has not convinced many of his followers and nothing short of success on the battlefield is likely to convince he is right. our next caller is sean. caller: yes, i had a question. host: sean, if you could turn the volume down on your tv set. caller: yes --
host: sean,i will put you on hold. caller: ok, i had a question. i support the war to end the war. can we just like fire bomb or clean sweep these valleys where the enemy is at? with nonconventional nuclear weapons? guest: the answer is no. american war strategy does not call for killing afghan civilians. a guerrilla war is extremely difficult for a lot of reasons that are well known. among them is the taliban and much the population are in separatable in places. and one thing that the president asked for in this review is a province by province assessment as trudy
was talking about. where are the conventional leaders and who are the leaders that can take control so the u.s. doesn't have to put troops in. but wiping out villages is something that is not possible. host: next caller. caller: good morning, our troops over there they have a hard time determining who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. when we pay these taliban off how do we know we are paying off the good guys to help us and it's not akin to -- well, i know that strategy works in our legislative branch to swing a vote or two but that doesn't change the party affiliation. host: trudy rubin. guest: it's a good question and
the military wrestles with that a lot. in many cases when the taliban come from the cold, the village elders or the tribal elders are asked to vouch for them. in a province that i spent time on this trip, that had a heavy taliban infiltration and now safer. there were local self-defense forces that were formed where the villagers had personnel. and the villagers named the people, and included ex-taliban and the elders were asked, you named these people and vouch for them and have to be responsible for them. obviously there will be times when that won't work. when it's low-level taliban, you are more successful, but if
more senior you have to work at it. and not only have to work at making sure they crossed over but that they are not killed by people with a grievance against them. that's one thing in an effort to reinidate taliban and to provide security for those who cross over. host: and part of that is working with our allies and getting support in afghanistan. secretary clinton in brussels on friday and making rounds today, are they bearing fruit? guest: they are seeing some and feel they have more than expected. secretary gates wanted to be
sure that nato contributed at least 10,000 troops, they may get between five to 10,000. but this war is less popular in europe than here. but nato has endorsed the broad principles of the mcchrystal strategy and now secretary clinton and gates are asking them to put troops where they said they would. host: we have scott and trudy joining us, thank you for being with us. i want to turn our attention to dubai and some developments there in the past week and it's impact on the u.s. economy and the u.s. and world banking organizations. we'll have andrew sorkin joining us from new york. and the senate is in today and they will convene at 12:30 eastern time and president
obama will join on this sunday. first a look at some discussions on topics on this sunday's morning program, with bobbie jackson. >> steve and afghanistan and continuing discussion about the economy. the guests on nbc's meet the press, secretary clinton and robert gates and john mccain. on abc's this week with host and texas senator john coryn, on face the nation from cbs, you
will hear host bob shefer along with secretary gates and clinton. and senator james jones and whip kyle and chair diane feinstein, you can listen to all stations here at c-span radio, and nationwide xm 132, and you with listen to us on the web and follow us on facebook and twitter. >> "washington journal" continues. host: joining us is andrew ross sorkin from "the new york times", thank you for being with us. guest: good morning steve. host: let me begin with your observations in dubai two years
ago, you said that the bankers were to be blessed and looking for more people to bless them. that was two years ago and there were plenty of signs back then that dubai was building a financial mirage in the desert, how so? guest: there were two issues, one was just being in dubai and walking around, it was hard to imagine this was a sustainable proposition. their buildings are building into the sky, everything fancier than you can imagine, and it was all fueled on debt, and this was the same problem we had in this country. the second piece was the idea of some investments being blessed. in the middle east muslims are only to invest or make
investments on those that can kickoff interest, they have to be sharia compliant, that means it has to follow the koran and there were investment bankers trying to create these structured compliants that they were shurai compliant, they weren't but boy did they make them look that way. host: you pointed out with regard to citigroup they had a loan with dubai and this is in line with the commitment from uare commitment and reflect a positive outlook on dubai. but thank -- this was at the same time that the citigroup was helping with the tarp money.
guest: right, we never learned the lesson. you have citigroup on one side that has clearly gone through the biggest turmoil of their history needing ten's of millions to help save them and turning around in dubai $8 billion after the bubble has burst. it's another example of how on wall street people do not seem to see what is right if front of them. which is if there is a dollar to be made, someone thinks they will grab the dollar and get through the window and it will work out. invariably but every five or 10 years we have a bubble and it doesn't work out. host: the carlisle group was
telling you and others, you know, they don't have any oil. guest: that's the most remarkable part about dubai, and i remember that vividly. and you think dubai this stuff being built must be built by oil money. but there is no oil in dubai. and that's what is so fascinating, all dubai was built on debt. and the reason people were willing to lend to them, this idea that they had oil money or that abu dhabi would come and rescue and save everyone. even if they couldn't pay back the debt, there was someone else who would pay it back for them. this similar when you talk about bailouts in the united states, there was this view, too big to fail, someone will come in and try to save you.
host: let me share with our audience the cover story of "business week," dubai why it's not mirage. and we want to give you a glimpse of what this city looks like, what is your observation? guest: it's a fascinating place, i tell my friends it's a cross between las vegas and scottsdale, arizona. except there is something solice about it. it's been built over the past 10-20 years, looking at what you see now. and is there nothing original about dubai. they are literally building islands that look like the most expensive stuff. and the cars are expensive. i remember the taxicabs have computers in the back and gps and very fancy.
and nothing is cheap. a hotel room in dubai -- well, now it's cheaper, but i remember being there as a reporter and trying to find hotel rooms and you couldn't find anything for under $500. host: our guest andrew sorkin who writes for "the new york times", and the piece saying, that the joke on wall street was this, if you were look for cash, you made a pilgrimage to one of those three cities with hat in hand. guest: absolutely. and that's another piece of this. which was dubai supposedly had all of this money. which goes back to no oil, so they had no money. there is an element of a mirage, and there is a flip
side, it's plausible that dubai will come out of this and over time will be a big city -- it is a big city in the middle east. that's what they are trying to be, the capital of the middle east. even with their problems, they may get there but it's still shaky ground. host: caller from delaware, good morning. caller: good morning, of the terrorism where we had the single acts in london or embassies in africa. but these terror organizations, and since we suffer from short-term memory after these attacks, is it a better strategy than spending $500 billion and just bankrupt in
such an insidious way. guest: i never thought on that but i will touch on these short memories, that's right. after a terrorist incident or financial bubble, we don't make the changes we need to prevent this happening again. when you think of the problems here in the united states, i think there is a need and obviously in washington there is a big discussion about possible financial reform. unfortunately we have not gotten in that reform yet. there are a couple of proposals we will hear about this week. in terms of preventing the next crisis, there has to be serious change on wall street and coming from washington. host: how does dubai revisit
$26 billion in payments? guest: you tell your bond holders we will not pay until x date. and is that ok. and what happens on the flip side, i can get zero now or a haircut or get the whole thing later. and in this case it looks like the bond holders will accept that and hold off and wait. the problem in dubai and across the world, and many companies in the united states, there is a sense that rome is burning and just being allowed to burn longer. and in six months to a year from now, things may not get better and therefore they won't be able to pay. the working assumption for all debt holders that the economy will improve and therefore the people who owe on these bonds, the folks in dubai or elsewhere are going to be able to make
the payments. in this economic environment it's unclear whether a year from now if they can make that payment than today. host: looking at the world debt in last week's business section of "new york times," richard is joining us from huntsville, texas. caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. i was wondering if you have read "hoodwinked" by john perkins. guest: i haven't read it but i know about it. caller: and i am surprised that you haven't mentioned the fact that dick cheney relocated halliburton to dubai. guest: it's funny you mention that, when i wrote that article, that happened when i was in dubai.
but remember that dick cheney ran halliburton before he joined the bush administration. but halliburton today is a different company and "b" is not run by dick cheney and his money. and those conspiracy theories when at the white house, but in dubai that was driven because that's where the business had moved. so much of the construction business and security business had gone. host: we are talking with andrew sorkin, and we have a twitter saying that we are hearing that vegas is in trouble and the question if the same will be true in dubai?
guest: i don't know about sucker's money, but all things go in waves. you are correct, las vegas does well and then when it's not good, we talk about the end of las vegas. and then their revergence and i imagine we will have that same conversation about dubai. host: and you posed the question if shanghai would be next? guest: that's the larger question and what shook the market. it wasn't that dubai would fall apart but what does it mean to the rest of the system. and it wasn't about contangion and that it would affect the world. but were there other places like dubai and would they be
able to make the payments. and you talk about mumbai and shanghai, those are places where people were spending money. and also greece, a hot spot that is an emerging market with an enormous amount of debt. there are places like this around the world. the problems in dubai have been a wake-up call for the investment community to take a step back and relook and refocus where our money is allocated. host: art is joining us. caller: good morning c-span and thank you for your service and say hello to your guest, i watch him on charlie rose, and he does a great job. the comment i have on dubai and how they exploit the workers over there. the poor workers are treated so badly. and all of these big buildings
that are built are built by those workers with no rights and almost get no pay at all. and the same with the rest of the middle eastern countries like saudia arabia and how badly they treat their workers. and one more comment i was trying to make earlier, trudy was on your show and i couldn't get through about the needs of the local people in afghanistan or pakistan. i mean for example, pakistan now there is no sugar. there is a shortage of sugar. so why can't u.s. send sugar and the local people know it's coming from the u.s. and they will appreciate it. guest: i don't think i have a great answer on the sugar issue. but i want to comment on the worker issue. the uae looks very much like a
western country but there are so many aspects that aren't. and the one is worker' rights and another is freedom of speech. last week when the news about dubai came out, the times of london that distribute in dubai had the papers pulled because they were dismissing some politicians there, the sheiks and like that. it's not like the u.s. and i remember being struck how sad it was. you look at these beautiful buildings that you walk into, the gorgeous hotels and shopping malls, and see these migrant workers living in trailers stacked on top of each other. literally on the construction site itself because it's more efficient. they work 13-14 hours a day and
do it again. or they are bussed out of town, i remember passing this village where the workers lived and it was very disturbing. host: we are looking at photographs coming from dubai market of tourism. guest: and they are not showing where the workers are living. host: exactly. but can you explain how dubai fits in the united emritus empire? guest: there are two pieces, the dubai city and dubai world and then abu ghraib and that's where the money is. it's started there and trickleddoin.
-- trickled down. and they wanted to create a capitol of middle east or the world. and out of abu dhabi and because dubai didn't have moan and had to look to abu dhabi to save them. host: one viewer comments that he loves your reporting and that the middle east will be fine as long as the u.s. continues to import oil. guest: isn't that true. first thank you for the compliment and second i cannot agree with you more. as long as we import oil, the middle east will be fine. and this goes back to issues about green energy and our
dependence on oil. but you are right as long as there are oil in the middle east, there is power in the middle east. host: you can pick up andrew's latest book, too big to fail. caller: good morning, i was concerned with this solice word and i couldn't believe the massive waste of wealth. and in the movie "the mighty heart" and the overpopulation of pakistan of the failed state and that struck me, i encourage people to see that. what the hell is wrong with dubai, they can't go out there and help the other people. and then i thought, we don't do it. we build las vegas and use illegal workers and keep people
at low wages. but these people what are they? are they shiite or sunni do they have alliance to fix this problem? this absolute capitalism is so prevasive around the world and will kill us all. host: thank you margy. guest: thank you, the point you make is a larger one. i think that the wall street view of capitalism that we exported around the world and to dubai, the financial crisis has created questions whether capitalism works. whether the free market version is the right way to go. and it's raised questions in many parts of the world including dubai, and maybe we can't do it this way anymore. and over the next couple of
years you will see reform, not just in the united states. and i know there is an argument that maybe we won't have the reform but i believe that in u.k. and dubai and elsewhere. host: this question, does the trouble in dubai affect the port situation in u.s., as i recall many ports here are kind of dubai management? guest: good point, yes, we have many ports that are managed by dubai. and it was a hot potato at one point. it should not impact our ports from a security standpoint or otherwise. host: why does this matter? why should we care about dubai? guest: i don't know that you care about dubai but what it bsz the -- what it says about
the rest of the system. it's a city built on debt, it's the ultimate representation of capitalism and represents a larger problem not just in the united states but around the world. and raises a question of what other emerging markets are time bombs. and are we going to be problems? and how will that revirbrat and come back to the united states? this is an economy that is not flat. host: andrew, thank you for being with us. guest: thank you for having me. host: afghanistan the present strategy is outlined this past week. and the senate will be in a new
from medicare and not affect services? guest: i don't see how they can be. we had this debate several years ago and republicans made the political mistake of trying to cut $10 billion and many rose up in horror of services. and this proposal cuts almost $470 billion out of medicare, and yet they say that medicare is going to be better. i don't think the american people buy that. and i think we have proved on issue after issue that the services would be affected negatively. host: but they claim there is a lot of waste and fraud, do you
agree there is waste in medicare? guest: there is no question there is waste in medicare, but the analysts say that nursing homes would be ill affected by this. and rural health care from a person from louisiana or arkansas, in a debate on the floor in the house of representatives, it was southern democrat after democrat coming to the floor saying this will devastate rural hospitals in my district. so yes the cuts are real. the cuts to medicare advantage will put millions and millions of people that have come to rely on this program and appreciate the program to lose it. these people were told in the 2008 campaign if they had
coverage they liked, nothing in the health care reform bill would affect this. but we find indeed these people are being threatened with their coverage. and when we complain about this, the answer from our friends on the other side of the aisle are, these are not guaranteed benefits. and they tried out an amendment that no guaranteed medicare benefits would be cut. and basically it's a meaningless amendment. because medicare advantage is not technically guaranteed under the statute. but it's a real benefit that would be cut. just like home health care, and we went through that debate, home health care rural associations around the country will tell you they will have to shut the doors if these medicare cuts go through. host: senator wicker will be with us until the top of the
hour. we will get to your phone calls or send us an e-mail or twitter us at twitter.com/cspanwj. the bill is 730 pages, have you read it? guest: i have not read all of it but i will. we typically divide our staff up and deliberate on the aspects of it. i don't think there is any chance i will vote for this bill. but before i vote for any, i will read it. host: your colleague as a democrat, could she support this bill? guest: i don't think she will support a public option, she's seen how it works in maine and how it doesn't work for the
people. clearly olympia snow tries to achieve consensus and tries to get things done. i appreciate her willing to listen to reason and making an explicit statement, because it's not worked in maine and doesn't believe that a government-run health care insurance would work, she will not vote for that. i don't know. but it doesn't surprise me that she continues to talk across the aisle. because that's what she does. host: let me shift to foreign policy, and particularly afghanistan. the speech that the president gave, way forward for afghanistan and pakistan. is this the right way forward? guest: this is where i come down, i will support this commander in chief, because i believe we have a vital
interest in afghanistan. i don't believe with every aspect of his policy. and i asked this in the hearing of the armed services, i don't know of any time in history when a commander asked for a surge and withdrawal in the same breath. and i was not able to get that from the panel. and i asked them to get back with us on the record. but it's a controversy policy, the alternative is so much worse that i feel comfortable going forward and supporting this president. and relying on secretary gates that was able to get it right in the iraq surge. and also admiral mullen, that's the chairman of the joint chief of staffs. and he said that he supported this policy without hesitation.
and without reservation. so i -- i have decided to come down on the side of trusting these two very, talented and experienced public servants. and trust the fact that we will reassess in december, 2010 if changes need to be made on the ground. and we will do what is necessary to succeed. the part that is troubling me is the simultaneous paradox saying we will surge and withdraw. host: senator is in the u.s. senate and his committees are armed services and congress and foreign relations and robert is joining us from west palm beach, florida.
caller: good morning gentlemen. host: robert, turn the volume down on your set. caller: yes, first of all, i want to thank you for your services. senator, i have two questions. and i will try to be as brief as possible. the average americans in this country are taking a haircut with the economy and the overall situation in this country. why can't congressmen as a symbolic gesture also take haircuts? guest: that was only part of your question, i think we should, we ought to look at the entire budget, discretionary and mandatory spending. but the problem is that we are going exactly the wrong direction in our spending policies. i voted against this budget because it triples the amount
of discretionary spending. i voted against the tarp and i voted against the stimulus package. but we are spending way too much money at a time of economic uncertainty. and the whole government, including the congress, including our budgets should take at least a haircut. host: doesn't your party deserve some blame in funding of the war in iraq and the explanation of the deficit in congress and the bush administration? guest: i am not going to say my party is perfect, we will take part of the blame. when things went south was the financial crisis in september of 2008. and i look back over time at decisions that were made contrary to what the republicans were asking to be done, particularly with fannie
mae and freddie mac. the republicans were stymied year after year opening up freddie mac and fannie mae and making them more transparent. if we hadn't done so free with them, i don't think that the crisis would have happened. and several other mistakes, the idea of opening up mortgages to people that were not credit worthy, that was a huge contributor and that goes back to the carter administration. it turns out it was a mistake to force lenders to get into these risky mortgages. so i think we learned from history, but there is enough blame to go around. host: senator wicker is also retired u.s. air force, we have margett joining us from louisiana. caller: good morning, let me ask him these questions, sir.
i am 76 years old, and i tell you what, we are not going to get a raise this year or next year on our social security. and sir, those people up there in the senate and house, they are always giving themselves raises. and yet the democrats are wanting to take medicare away from us elderly people. you know what? if they even dare do this or any of you republicans or anyone takes it away from us where we can't even -- i have a hard time going to a doctor because i am on medicare, because i can't afford anything else. and do i not take medicaid. i just don't -- i don't want my young son that works so hard in the military to have to pay for all of this stuff that they are
trying to do to us. so if they do this to us, we are going to vote -- you have never seen so many elderly people vote against it. and sir, i appreciate what you are doing, so you just keep it up. host: thank you margaret. guest: thank you very much. to be clear there will not be a cost of living increase because the cost of living has gone down. and i know that does present a hardship, there certainly will not be a congressional cost of living, that was made clear in the budget on a bipartisan almost, unanimously, and you touch on the medicare cuts.
we are told we can cut $407 billion out of medicare, and use that money, not to shore up the program that will go bankrupt by 2017, but to use for another entitlement program. and not only will that save money for the government, that we are told magically but that medicare and their recipients will not be adversely affected. as a matter of fact they will be better off. and people like you margaret, you have the innate common sense to know that cannot work. and we cannot say that we are bending the cost-curve down of all of these programs when actually all the independent analysts say it will increase the costs, and increase health care spending because of this new program.
you are right on. and this is why support for this package is down in the 30's, 35% and 38% in various polls, and say they would recommend to their senators and congressmen to go forward with this. and you mentioned the hard times we are having. and that's what senator joe libber -- lieberman has been saying. we are in an economic crisis and this is not the time to add a vast new federal washington-based spending program. host: one viewer has this suggestion. guest: that's a thought that
would not gain general support but if you had a vote it could pass. host: we have jeff. caller: good morning senator wicker, i would like to ask a couple of questions. number one, i find this republican mantra of socialism and when one of your colleagues made it clear, they want health care to be president obama's waterloo. they want to destroy the president. i am the father of two daughters and i believe you are as well. and i believe you among 30 other republicans voted against the amendment that denied girls
like ms. jones that was denied the process to seek due process in court. and i have no idea how a man of good conscious can do this. and can you give us this fundamentalist family that makes decisions for the electorate for this thinking. guest: c-street is the standing for lobbyists in town and there are democrats lobbyists. it's not a republican issue and i notice that most lobby firms
are hiring democrats because they control white house and congress. the franklin amendment was designed for a good purpose, in my judgment it didn't get the job done. the main thing for the amendment is that the appeals court had ruled in favor of the claimantant already. so my clear understanding of the issue regard to whether this young woman could bring a lawsuit, is that she would be allowed already according to the court decision to make her claim. so legislation was unnecessary because the court had ruled in her favor. and in regard to senate dement that this is the president's waterloo, and my view is that i hope that the president fails
in terms of the health care to the federal government. i don't think that's the right approach and i hope he's unsuccessful in that effort. i have said they want the president to succeed in the area of afghanistan. i have made that statement since my town meetings in august and before that. so it's issue by issue. but it doesn't have anything to do with any personal feelings for or against the president. when the president is trying to defend our country against a very legitimate threat and to pursue something in our vital, national interest as policy of afghanistan, i come down on the side of supporting him. let me mention the death panel, i have not used this term. but clearly if there is comparative effect in this that is going to go on with respect
to this bill, because the government will not be able to pay for all the procedures. someone will have to make a decision at some point as to whether a procedure is going to be paid for. and i don't want a government bureaucrat making that decision. and if i am elderly and i have a procedure, and this comparative effectiveness panel tells me i can't have the procedure that is necessary to my survival. it's much like the death panel. host: we have jim joining us from michigan. caller: good morning, senator, just a comment. in my opinion medicare advantage is just a way of trying to privatize medicare. all of this could have been prevented if we could have
allowed medicaid, medicare to negotiate with the drug companies. but the question i want to ask, are you familiar with this study done by the kaiser foundation? it shows that 21% of the population accounts for 63% of the health care costs. and 1% accounts for 21%. i have discussed that skewedness with some doctor friends, and they say a lot of that is due to families wanting their 92-year-old mother to have everything done to keep them alive. when they know that there is nothing that can be done. and it would be a lot less expensive to put them into a hospice. guest: well, i am not familiar
with that particular study, but we all concede this is a very much of an issue. but it's also a very private and personal issue with the family. and when do you make a decision that indeed that grandma is not able to recover. i remember in my own situation there was an evening when we were all sitting around the kitchen table and we thought me grandmother would be dying in a matter of moments. and turns out she recovered and spent another five years of quality life. and we were mighting glad that -- mighty glad she had that health care. i don't believe that the re-bill on the house of representatives would be that. but back to your point of medicare advantage, it's not a
way to try to privatize medicare, but it does involve injecting competition. and i believe in competition between insurance companies. that's what i would like to do as one solution to the health care programs we have. -- health care problems. there are millions of elderly americans that like that advantage of having vision and other things that are not under traditional medicare. and let me make this point on medicare, not only is it about to go bankrupt in a few short years. and increasingly mentionod this program, there are sections
because of the reimbursement rate they will quit taking medicare patients. and that's happening over and over, and the same is try and even more so with regard to medicaid. in my state of mississippi there are 60 % of physicians that will not take new medicaid patients because the reimbursement is so low. the pelosi bill in the house can put new mandates and this will make it harder to get physicians. if we get to the point where the government comes in and forces the doctor that they must take medicare and medicaid patients, we have gone several bridges too far. host: and we have a twitter from sasha that mississippi
ranks 50 in health care, why is that? guest: because of our demographics and we have trouble moving people into the administration and have a high drop-out rate. and we need steps in the poverty rate of mississippi, this is a great challenge. and we ought to address that, but we ought to address that if a step-by-step way that doesn't turn the economy over to the control of federal bureaucrats and a federal system. i don't think that moving to a single-payor system would be the answer to our problem in southern states like mississippi. where we do have problems with health access. i think in countries where they
have gone to the government-run single-payor system that this would lead to, such as britain and canada, you have more rationing and less access and longer waiting lines. host: you are in for what is called a rare-sunday session, what is your typical sunday routine if not here in the senate? guest: if i were not here in at the senate, i would be in sunday school at the first baptist church in tupalo and in the choir loft trying to sing baritone. host: thank you for being with us,