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tv   C-SPAN Weekend  CSPAN  December 6, 2009 10:30am-1:00pm EST

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signs with expecting rise of casualties. everyone expects them to go up and how long they stay up and if the american public will tolerate that, will be a sign of whether or not the strategy is sustainable? >> i think that tom is right, politically he's got a couple of months, if things go poorp, the president will see members of his own party come out. he's got a number of house members that say they don't like the idea and don't want to spend more money on this and american lives. and i think the early part will be dicey for him. >> and he said we need to pay for this and no specifics. >> right, and they mentioned $30 billion and that's for the extra troops. and it's 68,000 there now, and you are talking about $100 billion a year, and how long is that sustainable?
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>> and how easy to get this through the house and senate, president obama is leaning hard on his left wing. on the health care debate he probably will have to ask them to eat crow and that will be a smaller bill. and then to want to spend an additional $30 billion and whatever else. >> but will that political capital come from the democratic party? >> yes, he needs the votes. and i want to ask as well, is there any momentum for the war tax that o.b. his talked about? >> certainly not in the senate, i don't think there is an appetite for that. and the house nancy pelosi said she doesn't like this idea. and they have to find a way.
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>> and a gallop poll, 71% of the americans do not support the war tax. >> yes, he's got some tough sledding, and has to decide where that money will come from. there is some saving from the war in iraq. >> and the karzai government, does president karzai get it? >> i guess we will see. this would seem to be the last chance. but time will tell. >> i think he will have to find a way to demonstrate a certain level of getting it. i don't think he has yet but those on the hill will be looking for some signs. >> what role does senator reed play in this debate?
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>> he's central, his place is the initial fight for the house and senate. and he's known as a moderate and tempered voice, and people trust his knowledge given his experience in military. >> john stratton who can be seen in roll call and tom, thank you for being with us on this sunday's "newsmakers." thank you. >> coming up on c-span a-look at testimony on capitol hill, from hillary clinton and robert gates and joint chief of staff chair, mike mullen. >> senators are continuing their debate of the health care bill through the weekend.
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our regular book tv schedule will be preempted during these rare senate sessions, with book tv resuming after the debate. watch this live gavel to gavel on c-span 2, the only network on the full debate. go online for video on demand, at c-span/healthcarehub. >> four of malcolm gladwell's books currently sit on the "new york times" best-seller list, including his latest. >> now the first of several hearings this past week on president obama's new afghan strategy, and we hear from
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several with the chair. >> there has been some confusing about whether the beginning date for u.s. troop reductions is set for july, 2011 with the pace of those reductions being conditioned based. or whether the 2011 july starting date itself is dependent on conditions on the ground, and secretary gates, which is it? >> mr. chairman, it is july 2011 is when we expect the transition process to begin. our view is that -- >> is that date conditioned based or not?
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>> no, sir. >> ok, next question, and this has to do with the partnering ratio. there are currently just over 10,000 u.s. troops in helman province in southern afghanistan, and partnered with 1500 or so afghan soldiers. the partnering goal for the united states is almost the reverse. as measured in units, three afghan companies to one u.s. company. now paraphrasing the national security council director for afghanistan, the three afghan to one u.s. ratio helps prevent afghan units from relying too much on the u.s. unit to the detriment to the afghan's development. so the current number of troops could and should under our own
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doctrine be partnering with 20,000 or so afghan troops in helman. we don't need more troops to partner more afghans, we have more than enough for that purpose. nor do we expect more afghan troops to be assigned in helman next year. according to prime minister brown, there will be 10,000 more afghan troops deployed to helman in the coming year and to be divided equally for partnering. first, secretary gates, are my numbers correct? >> let me defer to admiral mullin. >> sir, i believe that your number is for the afghan forces in the south. >> and we we determine for the troop sfs>> yes, sir, it sound right.
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>> ok, i thought i heard the president at the meeting yesterday in the old executive office building, say that we would not have our troops clear an area unless they could turn the cleared area over to afghans. now secretary gates, did i hear him correctly? and if so, how is that possible given the number of afghan forces? >> let me start. first of all, clearly as i have indicated accelerating the growth of the afghan national army and police is vitally important. but we also looking as we suggested in my remarks as local forces partnering with local security forces. so there is more than just the
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afghan national police and army in this mix. and the plan clearly is that we will not transition security responsibility to the afghans until the afghans have the capacity in that direct -- district or province to manage the security situation on their own, with us and our allies in an initial and tactical overwatch situation. the reality is that the circumstances in iraq differ from district to district and province to province. so the ability for the afghans to take these on depends on the circumstances in each area. in some it will take clearly fewer afghans. but a big part is additional training, basic training and
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partnering in combat as training, to put more and more afghans into the fight and into a position to take responsibility for security. and particularly in the context of degraded taliban capabilities. one purpose of the u.s. going on is not just to partner with the afghans or just to train them, but to degrade the capability of the taliban. so you have the situation that the capability of usf is rising and our forces are degrading that, and it's at the point that the afghans can handle the degraded threat. >> so do i understand there will be situations where our troops will clear an area and not have afghans available yet, at that point to turn that clear area over to them. is that fair? >> mr. chairman, i think it is.
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if i can briefly, when general mcchrystal showed up in june, there were no troops partnered. and now there are 380 that are partnered. >> some partnered but not the 3:1 ratio? >> no, sir, we are not there yet. >> what would be the army's projected size by july, 2011? >> the goal by december 2010 is 134,000. >> my question is july, 2011. >> it would be about 170,000. >> thank you. >> senate mccain. >> thank you, admiral mullen, i think it's important to tell the american people that
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casualties will go up? >> senator mccain, when we add the marines i was very clear about the potential there. that casualties would go up. and i don't think there is any question that there is part of the risk associated with these additional troops and they will go up. >> i think the american people need to understand. >> yes, sir, i agree. >> secretary gates in answer to chairman levin's question, he said that it was conditioned-based the withdrawal plan for july, 2011, and you said no. would we withdraw our forces based on conditions on the ground or an arbitrary date?
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>> we are talking about the beginning of a process, it will 60% of afghanistan is not controlled by the taliban or have significant taliban influence. >> i said with with respect, my question is that if the date of withdrawal of 2011 that the president said would be based on an arbitrary date regardless of the conditions on the ground? >> i think it's the judgment of all the people in department of defense involved in this process that we will be in a condition in uncontested areas that we begin that transition. >> let's suppose you are not. and suppose that condition on the ground and that it would jeapordize the mission and would we do it anyway? >> i believe we will be in a position that the president
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indicated that we would have a thorough review in 2010. >> i say with great respect, that the president announced a hard date of july, 20 len. -- 2011. i don't know why that date was picked. but he's announced that. but at the same time that conditions on the ground would. those are two incompatible statements. we either have a winning strategy and do as we did in iraq, and once conceded we withdraw. or as the president said, we will have a date beginning withdrawal of july, 2011. which is it? it has to be one or the other, you can't have both. >> where we begin the transition is what i think is
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the key factor here, senator. as i suggested we will have a thorough review in december 2010, and if this is not transitioning, then we will take a hard look at the strategy itself. >> i say with respect, i think the american people need to know if we will begin withdrawing in 2011 and if conditions are right. o just withdraw no matter what. >> our plan is to begin the transition in local areas in july, 2011. >> i think that has to be made clear, now the expectation level, the american people and because of the president's
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speeches, we will withdraw regardless of conditions on the ground. i think that's a wrong impression to give our friends and enemy, and it's the wrong impression to give the men and women who want to go over there and win. not to withdraw on an arbitrary date. and unfortunately that's not made clear. and by the way, the army counter insurgency field manual says, quote, that the populate must have staying power, and by announcing the date of withdrawal, does not that contradict the manual? >> i believe and the military leadership believes that by mid-2011 we will know how this is going. and it's general mcchrystal's view that these additional forces will allow him to head
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us in the right direction. we will have solid indicators at that point and july 2011 is a date this we transition responsibility and transitioning, and it's not a date that we are leaving. and those are based on conditions of the ground. >> then it makes no sense for him to announce the date. i am sure we will continue this decision. sir i appreciate your statement but i would like more specifics, we know there are situations in kabul and the increase of troops there. and we know that relations within the embassy at least three fractions. and we know that the ability of the state personnel is limited
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as it was in the surge of iraq because the environment is not safe for them to go out and operate. i have great confidence in the military operational planning. and i am confident it can succeed. but as i said earlier, i don't see the build component yet. and i would like you to submit to this committee a very specific plan. just as we are receiving a very specific military plan on exactly we are going to receive the build part of it. and in which i think there is a model for it in iraq. so i appreciate your statements and i agree with the quality of personnel. i have yet to see a comprehensive, cohesive plan to implement the civil size of any successful surge. >> well, senator mccain, first let me say we are more than happy to submit a plan. we have obviously been working
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with our committee of jurisdiction and authorization on a very close ongoing basis. and we'll be happy to share a lot of the information with you. and we would welcome your response and your advice. i have to say, however, that the process that we engaged in solicited opinions. and i thought it was a great tribute to the president and general jones that the white house ran a process that actually sought out and made it clear that diversity of opinion was welcomed. and i thought it was useful to hear from a variety of sources. it wouldn't surprise me as it didn't surprise me, that people had different opinions based on their perspective. busy as admiral mullen gracefully said, there is no division and there is unity and
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a commitment to carry out the mission, and we would be happy to share that with you. >> thank you very much, and appreciate the witnesses that we appreciate their contribution to our country. >> we will take advantage of the presence of a quorum to take one minute to see the military nomination and the civilian nominations for the secretary of defense and yonk ers, do i hear a motion? approved, the aye's have it. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> i knew you would appreciate
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that intervention. >> thank you. >> it's the 1900. >> thanks mr. chairman and thanks to secretary gates and clinton and admiral mullen, for your opening statements and the support of what the president said. i agree that the president has made right decision for afghanistan and resourcing it properly. in making this decision president obama has respectfully disagreed with the majority of his own political party with every poll i have seen. and it's fair to say that the president has put our national interests ahead of partisan political interests. i hope that fact will inspire and encourage a majority number
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of members of both political parties to do the same. and to thereby show that we are capable at the waters edge when our security and troops are on the line. i am very grateful that president obama argued so effectively last night, that the war in afghanistan is a war of necessity because it's outcome is inseparatable for our war here on the home. and that's why i believe there no substitute for victory, a war of necessity must not only be fought but be won. last night president obama said we would quote, begin the transfer of our men outside of
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afghanistan. and that troubled me, and he assured me with quote, we will execute this transition responsibly taking into account conditions on the ground, end quote. this morning, secretary gates, in your opening statement you added more detail and you too, admiral mullen, the mode that we will begin this transition in july, 2011. and i am struck that you refer to it as a transfer of security responsibility and that you say it's much like iraq to provide an overwatch at the tactical level and strategic level. and secretary gates, i asked if i am correct if concluding
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what began in july, 2011, is a transfer of responsibility to the afghans but may not include immediately a withdrawal of our forces immediately from afghanistan? >> that is correct. i think as we turn over more districts and more provinces to afghan security control, much as we did with the preventional iraqi control, there will be a thinning of our forces and a gradual draw down. i would remind folks since this is the second surge i am up here defending, that the surge in iraq lasted 14 months. and frankly it was apparent to the taliban or to our
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adversaries in iraq, all along that was a tentative situation, because we were up here defending it practically everyday. so the notion that our adversaries are not aware of this debate is unrealistic. they know these things. but the reality is this is going to be a process. and i think it has much in common with the way that we begin to draw down in iraq. >> so to me that says that we may transfer -- we are likely to transfer security responsibilities to the afghans in the areas that are most stable. that are most uncontested at the beginning. and at the beginning we will probably put our troops back aways to see how that works. >> we are not just to throw these guys in the swimming pool.
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the reality is that these transfers will take place in the most uncontested places in afghanistan. so just as in iraq you had districts and provinces transferred and at the same time have heavy combat going on in other provinces around the country. which is exactly what we saw in iraq. >> am i right in the policy that the president announced last night, that begins a transfer of july, 2011 to the afghans. there is no deadline for the end of that transfer? it will be based on conditions on the ground. >> it will be based on conditions on the ground. but by the same token we want to communicate to the afghans this is not an open-ended commitment on part of the american people and allies around the world. >> i agree. >> we have to build a fire urn
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-- under them to get the recruit ment and training to allow this transition. let me draw one more analogy to iraq. when it was clear that the surge was working, it was plain that the iraqis wanted us out. that's not clear in afghanistan, they live in a rough neighborhood. and we have the balancing act and the centerpiece of our debates for the last months, how do you get the afghans to step up to responsibility for their own future, their own security in a way that allows us to have confidence that they will not once again become the safe haven for al-qaeda. and figuring out that balance of how you resolve this is a
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tough part for us. >> i appreciate that, you strike the right balance, and i appreciate what you say, we won't throw the afghans in the pool and run away until we are sure they swim on their own. and to me that's the essence of victory in afghanistan. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you mr. chairman, i was going to start up with the end status and state, but it's before covered now. i would say this, and probably speak on behalf of all the members here, we have been to both afghanistan and iraq. the troops themselves they want to win and they like to talk about a withdrawal date and that type of thing. let me just ask you a quick
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question, admiral mullen, most of the times when commanders talk about action, they talk about the risk involved, low, medium or high. what was the risk or was there a level associated with general mcchrystal's 40,000 increase? >> broadly moderate, but the afghan forces is high-risk and that's one the reasons he is shifting and one the reasons we are devoting our best leaders and resources so we can do what the secretary of defense. >> so i assume that the number 30,000 is higher risk? >> sir, what i said in my statement, that general mcchrystal is going to get
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these forces this year, as fast as we can get them there. his biggest concern is to reverse the momoentum. he thinks he can do that with this forces. . the differences between afghanistan and iraq. i have been asked a lotl%:kñ ofe time, if we are looking at, during the peak of the surge in iraq, about 165,000 americans, and when you start with 68,000 and add 30,000 to it, you are talking about 100,000. why does it take fewer of our troops in afghanistan relative to the size it is in iraq? >> one of the great strengths of the review was to focus the objectives specifically, and to
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focus the objectives on key population centers. the troops general mcchrystal has asked for and that will add up to about 100,000 do that in key areas that in particularly in the pashtun belt, where he believes he can turn this around. while the ratio is a guide, it is not sacrosanct. he is able to focus where we need to focus to get at this insurgency. actually, the same was true in iraq. it is just been at this need with respect to these ratios is about right for afghanistan. >> that is one of the reasons why they added contributions from our allies and partners are so important. basically we want them to take responsibility for the northern and western parts of afghanistan so that we can concentrate and focus our efforts in the southern and eastern parts of the country. >> secretary gates, i think one
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thing that all of you sit in your opening statements is we need of better participation by the iraqis and by the non american coalition. we all agree with that. i happened to be over there in 2003 when we were turning over the training of the ana to the afghans. it was the oklahoma 45th guard unit that was in charge of that. they contend that they are great warriors, and yet you look around and see so many of these young, healthy afghans that are walking the streets who ought to be in the military. what can we do differently to encourage greater participation with the ana? >> one of the things they are doing that makes a real difference is significantly increasing the pay, both of the
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police and the army. the reality is that based on the information available to us, in many instances the taliban actually pays more than the afghan government. one of the things, particularly in terms of retention, is to increase their pay. i think most people believe that that will have a real impact. >> the secretary talked a retention, recruiting, and incentivizing that from a paid standpoint being critical. the other fundamental difference, since general mcchrystal got there, is this partnership peace. what i think you saw was mentoring and training teams. this is partnering, and is getting everybody off their bases and out in the communities. those two differences are fundamental. >> the question about what we
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do different in terms of encouraging more of that non military forces. i was pleased with the statement the president made when he talked about the fact that he had talked to some of the nato allies before coming out with this. i wish she had done the same thing on the site in poland. by doing that, will it encourage them, make them feel more a part of this? is that a good move? >> absolutely. >> what else can we do to encourage more of the non american coalition? >> secretary clinton has been talking to her counterparts. i have been talking to my counterparts. we are hearing at 1000 here, a hundred their, and so on. i think we will make the goal, and as somebody who has been critical of the allies and was once derided by my british colleagues for megaphone diplomacy, because i was giving him such a hard time on this, we have to realize that the non
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u.s. forces have increased in the last two years from about 17,000 to 18,000 troops to almost 44,000. with this ad, we will be at nearly 50,000 non-u.s. troops in afghanistan. that is a pretty significant commitment. >> for the record, madam secretary, you made the statement about karzai in the speech he made. i hope it is not just empty words. for the record, if you would give us your indication, your feelings about what he can do now to accomplish what you had suggested. >> i certainly will, but if i could just quickly add, one of the most important parts of his speech was his assertion that afghan forces would be taking responsibility for many important parts of the country within three years, and that they would be responsible for the entire country within five
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years. that is very much along the lines of the kind of partnering in transition that we think is realistic. we just have to keep the feet to the fire and keep pushing it forward. >> there has been much made about this withdrawal goal as arbitrary. based on the advice of general mcchrystal and your it buys about expectation of what the situation on the ground would be in 2011, given these additional resources and the change of policy, is that correct? >> i have a very clear view, and i think soda's general petraeus and mcchrystal, that by mid 2011 we will know whether we were going to succeed here are not. that is in something we have discussed and we agree on. that is why getting these forces in so quickly is so important to
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try to reverse this thing. some of it is based on the fact that marines have been in helmand this year, so marines will have been in one of the toughest places for three fighting seasons, and with the additional forces, we think we will have very strong indicators about how this is going, and our ability to transfer and transition at that point. >> so you would not describe the day as arbitrary? >> no sir, it was not arbitrary. that said, with the president also said is it would be responsible and it would be based on conditions. all of us can look out and speculate what those conditions will be, but i think we have to be careful about that. that is the goal right now. >> i would just clarify that july 2011 date was chosen because it will be two years after the marines arrived in halmand.
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>> and giving them the fighting opportunities for one of the better terms, the fighting obligations are fighting challenges. >> the issue of the deadline also raises the issue of iraq. there is the deadline there, and that is a legal deadline, which i understand could not be changed without the provision of the iraqis deteriorating. >> all of our combat forces are to be out by the end of august 2010, and all forces out by the end of 2011. we do have some flexibility in terms of the pacing of the withdrawals between now and the end of august, but even with the hiccups are the elections, at this point general odierno does not see the need to alter the pacing of the drawdowns in iraq.
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>> that was agreed to by the bush administration as a hard deadline without conditions, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> it took time, but from your comment this morning, and since the time was well spent. one aspect of this was it would not have had the flow of forces as quickly as the final plan adopted by the present, is that correct? >> in particular, with respect to the nato forces that are not committed yet, we would hope to -- we are hoping they would be available more quickly and that we will do everything we can to get as much capability in as quickly as possible. it is the accelerated to some degree, but i do not
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needs this year to turn this thing around. >> i would add that the final component of his original request, the final brigade combat team would not have arrived in afghanistan until the summer of 2011. my own personal recommendation was, there is no need to commit to that, since it is so far in the future. so to admiral mullen's point earlier, fundamentally, general mcchrystal is getting more troops faster than under the original plan. >> and under -- let me just rephrase that. this process, as you have suggested, has produced, in your mind, a better proposal across the board than originally was submitted by the individual components, the ambassador, general mcchrystal, etc. >> i am convinced everybody in the process feels that way.
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one of the concerns that i had coming out of the march decisions was that they were interpreted very broadly in the press and elsewhere as a commitment to full scale nation- building and creating a strong central governments in kabul, and brought understandable skepticism over such broad objectives. it sounded very open ended. one of the principal components of the dialogue over the last three months is, how do we refine and narrow the mission to make it achievable and achieve the objectives in terms of our own security? >> some of the criticism of even talking about a date, regardless of whether it is a hard, unconditional withdrawal as in iraq, were those of the president, is that it would emboldened the enemy on one hand, or on the other hand, they would lie low and wait us out.
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strikes me as that the taliban has been emboldened quite aggressively the last several years without any kind of deadline. if they see it out, what will you do if they simply gave up the operational space to us for 18 months or two years? >> we certainly would welcome them not being active for the next 18 months, because it would give us an open field running with our allies and the afghans to build capacity. and you make the point, we are already in the situation in which they are emboldened, and in which they are being aggressive. where they have the momentum right now, so it is not clear to me what more they could do than they are doing right now. the forces we are sending and are intended in the first instance, as the admiral has said, to reverse the momentum and deny them the ability to control territory. >> thank all of you for your
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presentations this morning and for your service to the country. we only have one commander in chief, and i want to be supportive. i think this plan is within the framework of something i think can be affected. i intend to support you can examine it as we go forward to make sure that we are fulfilling our role here in congress as oversight and responsibility to our constituents. i want to thank you for your presentations. secretary gates, we talked early this year abouttoo grandiose expectations about a country that is as poor as afghanistan. you recognized that in your answer to our questions, and i'd like to pursue that a little bit. what can we realistically expect, and how can we create
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stability and order in afghanistan as soon as possible, so that we can reduce of our troops as soon as possible for that country. i am hearing a commitment to an afghan national force, which i assume is commanded from the central government inkabul. you did indicate in your statement that you would want to engage committees to enlist more local security forces to protect their own territory. i heard the former secretary on television talk about the need for local militias. i see in an op ed and "the "washington journal" as saying
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that afghans for centuries have been governed loosely through the social compact between all the ethnic groups under a sovereign king, so again, how do you envision transitioning to local security forces, and to what extent must those forces be directly the local? >> the balance we have to strike, and i have believed ever since i got this job that we have been too focused on the central government in kabul and not enough on the provinces and the districts and the tribes. the key here is a community security organizations that are willing to work with the government in kabul and that do
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not:asíñ become the militias for warlords. the balance we are trying to strike, and what general mcchrystal cares about a lot, as does everybody else, it's how we encourage these local policing functions? some of the efforts i have seen where they recruit locals and the tribal elders are telling me that the roads that have been closed by the taliban for years have been reopened by these mobile groups, but they are within the framework of the provincial governor and the district leadership, so that they are not operating independently, working for warlords. the during out how to encourage that kind of activity and build on a, but keep it within the framework of people who are in covering positions and not just independent warlords is the key
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to that effort. that kind of sub national effort i think ultimately will play an important role in all this. >> the governor still appoints the commanders of the national guard in america, and i think there is a sense of loyalty and fierce commitment to local afghanistan that we may not be fully respecting. i think you are on the right track with that thought. one of the generals who i met in the pentagon recently had a picture of one of the local officials on his wall, and he was very impressed with a very strong leader who was doing very good work. i am not sure how well he would perform if everything had to be run through the national
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government. >> i would just add, i think that one of the keys here, in a country that is as rural and tribal as afghanistan, one of the challenges in recruiting people for the army and the police is getting them to leave their local area, and that is why i think these local security activities, if we can work with the afghans to keep have such promise, because these guys are basically protecting their own turf. >> i cannot agree more. they can be paid what for them would be a good wage, but far less than it would cost to have american soldier there. mr. secretary, i regret to have to raise the problem with the tanker competition. i noticed that northrop grumman
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team has announced a concern so great that they are announcing they may pullout from the competition. a number of serious changes were made in rfp, each one of those tilted against a transformational aircraft were tilted against a larger aircraft, an aircraft that could provide more cargo capacity and other capabilities. the initial rfp was received with very great concern by the northrop team, and well they could, because it is quite different on the differentrfp. there is no doubt about that. all the change is tilted in the way i have mentioned. my question briefly to you is, do you believe that competition is important in this aircraft for the defense department and the war fighter, and number two,
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will you consider discussing some of these matters and be open to changing and rfp it is not fair and does not do the job that you need for the defense department? as a final decision been made to make absolutely no changes in this entire process of discussion. >> we promised a fair and highly transparentps3d process. we believe that the rflp is even-handed. we are in a comment period, and we have received a lot of comments both from the competitors and from the congress and others. the commentsperiod is coming to a close.
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if we were totally locked into not changing anything, we cannot have gone through the comment period. we will look at the comments that have been made and make a judgment at that point. we believe that both the principal competitors are highly qualified, and we would like to see >> the next day, the house armed services committee heard testimony on the president's plan. this portion is about 40 minutes. >> hopefully we can proceed with
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everyone staying within five-minute rule. afghanistan, mr. secretary and admiral mullen, is undoubtedly the center for terrorism in the world. so i ask you, are you fully comfortable with the president's strategy, including the target date to begin redeploying troops out of afghanistan? i ask each of you. >> first of all, mr. chairman, i am very comfortable with the president's strategy. i believe that each of these conflicts that we're engaged in needs to be assessed individually. there are some parallels and there are some areas where they are different. i have been adamantly opposed and continue to be opposed to deadlines, but i regard the
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july, 2011 date as the beginning of a process and has required balancing between signalling our commitment, which certainly should be signaled by this president's approval of 52,000 more troops this year and lighting a fire under the afghans to give them a sense of urgency that they have to be prepared and preparing to take over responsibility for the security of their country. my hope is as that process goes forward and we draw down our troops, they can sustain the level of security that then allows us to continue a more purely counterterrorist mission until al qaeda is defeated as the president has said. so it is a balance, but i think
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it is a good balance. i think it's important to see july, 2011 as the beginning of this process. and for that reason, i am comfortable with it. i would add just one other thing. when people say it may embolden the taliban, it's not clear to me what that means. it seems to me that the taliban is pretty bold right now. they have been very aggressive over the last year or so, last two or three years. it's not clear to me they could be any more aggressive than they are now. if they want to lie low either in afghanistan or pakistan, i think that would give us a huge opportunity. obviously, it would cut down on the number of innocent afghans they are killing and it would give us the opportunity to move forward with the afghan security forces growth and improvement and capability as well as development in the country and
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governance. so i think -- they read our newspapers. they read our newspapers on iraq when the surge started in iraq and they knew the pressures against continuing it for a protracted period here in washington. so it seems to me that signalling the beginning of a process of transings province by province, district by district with a firm date actually serves our interests. >> can you honestly characterize that date as a goal? >> i think -- i would tell you, mr. chairman, i think that date is fixed. i think the president is committed to that date. in theory, obviously, the commander in chief can always change his mind, but i will tell you he feels very strongly about it and i think it is not in his mind a goal that, in fact, a
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fixed starting date. >> admiral? >> first of all, chairman, i support the strategy wholeheartedly and secondly the only thing i would like to agree with secretary gates on the discussion around july, 2011, i would like to add one comment about that. it's been described by some as an arbitrary date. it's not an arbitrary date. those of us in the military believe that that date is a date where we will know certainly whether we are succeeding or not in afghanistan with this strategy. there is an assessment which will occur about a year from now. that will start to look at obviously what has happened over the next 12 months and start to focus on what the changes or adjustments might be over the following year, which will certainly encompass july, 2011. the reason that date was picked
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because we added 10,000 marines this year and they had a positive impact particularly from the counterinsurgency standpoint and so in the middle of 2011, we will have three summers if you will where we will have had those -- the marines will have been there three years and we will be able to assess how they're doing and where this is going. that's obviously enhanced with the additional forces that the president has committed to. and i, too, believe his decision to commit the forces is one of a very strong resolve to turn this around and there needs to be a hook out there to incentivize the afghans that they have to take the lead in this and particularly in the area of security. >> let me mention to the members that in case you don't have the
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opportunity to ask a question, questions can be submitted to the witnesses for the record. mr. mckeon. >> the president has set the date and we are starting to withdraw in july, 2011, but the pace, scope and direction is uncertain or even conditions-based, is that correct? >> yes. >> if yes, who determined the july, 2011 start date? was it you or anyone in the military chain of command and why does that start date make any sense or is it just semantics? >> well, we were both i and admirable mullen, general prays,
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general mcchrystal, were all involved in the recommendations to the president that included this date and the date was chosen essentially for the reasons that admiral mullen just described. it's two years after the marines went into hellman, three fighting seasons and we will have a good idea by that time whether that strategy is working and what successes we will have been able to have. what is important to clarify is that this is going to be a growl process of transition and the transition to afghan security responsibility will start presumably in the least contested areas, some of which perhaps could happen now. and it will involve not just the afghan national army and the afghan national police, but local authorities, local police, tribal groups and various other
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security units and it will be our commanders on the ground in my view who make the decision, who make the recommendation that a district or a cluster of districts or a province is ready to transition to afghan security responsibility just as they did in iraq. >> let me just read a quote that you said on november or september 27 of this year. i think that that the notion of timeliness and exit strategies and so on, frankly, i think would all be a strategic mistake. the reality is failure in afghanistan would be a huge setback for the united states. taliban and al qaeda, as far as they're concerned defeated one superpower. for them to be seeing to defeat a second, i think, would have
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catastrophic consequences in terms of energizing the movement and so on. and let me ask based on what we have just talked about that we're going to have a review about a year from now, secretary gates, in questioning by senator mccain, you indicated that the administration will conduct another review and here's what you said. the president has indicated that we will have a thorough review of how we are doing in december of 2010 and we will be in a position to evaluate whether or not we can begin that transition in july. am i correct that the administration will conduct another review, only six months or so after all the surge forces arrives in afghanistan? in iraq, the surge forces were
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on the ground for 12 to 18 months. why is this enough time in afghanistan? why do this review in december, 2010? will this review also be one that could possibly take three months and once again put the entire strategy in question? >> i think general petraeus would tell you by summer, six or seven months later, he had enough indications of things happening on the ground that he could tell that this effort was going to work, even though that was the period where we had the highest casualties that we suffered over the last two, three years in iraq. i'm adamantly opposed to deadlines and i'm oppose todd a time line in terms of a completion of withdrawal of u.s.
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forces other than in general terms of a period of three years or something like that. but i do not have a problem with setting a time line for the beginning of a process. again, we had to balance the question of how do you signal resolve and at the same time signal to the afghans that we are not going to be there to protect them forever. i think this is one of the differences between iraq and afghanistan. once it was clear that the surge was working in iraq, the iraqis wanted us out as quickly as possible. there are some in afghanistan, perhaps in the government, perhaps in the elites, perhaps not the general population, who probably would like to have the united states army and united states marine corps stay in afghanistan indefinitely. they live in a rough neighborhood. we need to signal that's not going to happen and they need to buy into this war and need to take ownership of this war in
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their country against somebody trying to overthrow them and trying to incentivize them and get them to be more aggressive in recruiting and retaining their soldiers and police and getting them into the fight is very important to the success of this strategy. leaving it -- we have not had any timelines or guidelines in afghanistan for eight years. so the question is, how do you get them to take this seriously and that they are going to have to step up to the plate? i think this is the proper balance. >> both the president's speech and your testimony today do not address the requisite size of the afghan national security forces. according to general mcchrystal, fundamental pillar for achieving success is developing a significantly more effective and larger ansf. with partnering.
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his assessment started that coalition forces must provide a bridge capability to protect critical segments of the population. general mcchrystal's assessment to grow the afghan security forces to 400,000. admiral mullen in your professional judgment, do you believe that an ansf is both necessary and feasible? >> we have spent a lot of time on this and i think it is time very well spent. it's very clear in that examination that the highest risk area in the development of the afghan police -- the afghan army we evaluate at moderate risk. but key is having that police force. we know how do that. we recognize the challenges associated with that. while that 400,000 is a goal out
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several years from now, the decision has been made to look at this literally year to year based on how we're doing. right now -- and general mcchrystal has fundamentally shifted how we do this since he has goten into this partnership, radically partnership. we weren't resourced well rkts but we mentored or we had training teams and it was just too small and we couldn't do that. each year, we've got a goal, for instance right now on the army size, we are 96,000. not enough of that 96,000 in the field. we've got to improve that from a reduction of overhead, get them out into the field and partner with them. and next year by this time next year, by october 1 next year, that 96,000 will go up to 134,000. we have to increase the
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retention rate and the recruiting and those are pretty strong goals with respect to both the police -- i'm sorry, the army and the police. the analytical side of this and that goal looks about right. but it's also going to depend on how security is going. if we are able to turn this around from a momentum standpoint that will provide the breathing space, the opportunity to recruit more, bring more in, train more and develop more quickly. i'm confident this approach as we go year to year, having that aspirational goal out there is the right approach. right now, we have to focus on what we have directly in front of us and make sure we succeed over the next 12 months. >> the authorized force now is 134,000? >> yes. >> and that's the goal to be at a year from now?
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>> we will assess it and move it up each year. we have to see where we are. >> could we get from you where that goal will be or ask general mcchrystal -- you say it is 134,000. what will the goal be by july, 2011. >> september 30 of 2011, it's 171,000 for the army. we have each goal. but that goal will be tied to the realities of what we experience over the next 12 months. >> is it fair to say -- do you have a target date set for what the dates should be by the time we start the redeployment in july of 2011? >> i think that's part of the assessment. we know approximately where we'll be based on the
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assumptions that i talked about, but again we have to have an impact on attrition, retention and recruiting. we have to incentivize them to stay and raise their pay because the taliban are making more money than the afghan security forces. so there is a significant amount of work right up front that we have to get right that we just haven't had the people there for. it's not just us, but coalition forces, to train them, equip them and sure they are they're qualified. >> what would the number be for the police at the same time? the goal. >> i havee got that in here. roughly 130,000. 92,000 today. so in about another year, it's about 97,000.
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and in 2011, at the end of fiscal year -- september of 2011, 130,000. >> instead of 400, we are looking at 300 now? >> that's what we think the goal should be for each year and we are going to have to reassess that and the longer term requirements of what it needs to be. >> i'm hung up on the number of 400. general mcchrystal said we needed and we're talking about leaving or starting to leave when we are about 3/4's of that. >> you said very well, starting to leave, transition. no decisions yet on the size of that transition. if squret is going really well, it will probably be bigger, if not, it will probably be smaller. from the challenges that we have in developing the security force
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itself, really i think argue for these very near term goals to see howell we can do. >> one of the concerns i have is i'm afraid in our rush to leave, we might adjust our goals downwards so we can claim success and leave. >> that's certainly not the intent i see. >> i appreciate that. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> mr. spratt. >> you testified yesterday about the buildup on 30,000 troops would cost $35 billion, i believe? >> yes, sir. >> i have a hard time on the back of my envelope trying to derive that figure. it seems to be awful high for the 35,000 troops or 30,000 troops we are talking about. we will need to pay for these in part of 2010. if you assume a deployment every
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two months beginning in late january until force levels increase to 30,000, the average level of boots on the ground for the year will be 17,000 500. therefore, cost of $35 billion would imply that the yearly cost to maintain each troop in afghanistan is $1.72 million, which is an awfully high figure. could you explain what is in the $35 billion estimate you gave. does it include maintaining the afghan army and police force? are we going to be picking up a substantial part of the tab for these security forces especially as they grow from that present size? >> since we only received the president's decision on monday, our folks with their pencils haven't sat down to go through the specifics.
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i would tell you that some of the upfront costs that we're looking at, for example, that go beyond the troop costs is that right now we have the money in the budget i believe for 5,000 or 6,000 mrap all-terrain vehicles. with the additional forces, we are going to increase that number to protect those troops to about 10 thoups -- 1,000. we will certainly get you the specifics now that we know the numbers and have a pretty good idea of the timelines. we can refine the numbers than and get those to you. the $35 billion was a ball park figure. >> does it include a substantial payment subsidy, in effect, of the treasury -- our resources
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for the afghan forces? >> i don't think so. there is money for -- to help pay for the training and equipping of the national afghan army and police in the 130 billion that you already have that the congress has before it. i don't think there is additional money for that in the money we're talking about that would be on top of the 130. >> does the latest proposal, 18-month proposal, this change in time frame, imply a change in ops people poe as a result of this compressed time frame? >> as far as our deployed force levels, there is a huge tie to the drawdown in iraq, which is still on plan and on schedule.
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we expect to start that in the maritime frame and come down from 115,000 there to 50,000 or so by the end of august. and then complete that withdrawal by the end of 2011. these forces won't pick up our overall ops tempo. on the marine corps side, we will move out 2-1. little slower on the army side. so it hasn't increased our ops tempo based on where we are right now. clearly, adding these forces is going to impact the ops tempo, but as far as where we are right now, overall, it will come down just a little bit for the army. >> does the state department have an interest in the $35
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billion you expect to get a significant additional money for foreign aid and assistance? >> there will be additional requests on the civilian side because there will be additional areas that we will be partnering and also because there will be an increased amount of country that we will be having our program operate effectively. we are putting together the precise numbers but there will be a civilian component as well. >> if there is clarification along these lines, i would appreciate it very much. >> mr. bartlett. >> i know there is not a reason why there is just this do or die. when i stand by that coffin with that young widow, i have to ask why. and i feel compelled to voice once again the question of increasing number of my
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constituents, why is our involvement in afghanistan not the ultimate exercise in futility since if we are successful in doing what no one else has ever done, the british empire and soviet empire, and we win, what will we have won? if we invest, who knows how many years and blood and treasure in driving out of pakistan, they will go to places like yemen and somalia. i'm not sure that the american people can be convinced that denying them sanctuary in afghanistan when they can go to yemen and somalia is worth the enormous cost in blood and treasure. is it because destabilizing afghanistan would destabilize pakistan? this connection, let me ask you
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a specific question is the model of a national afghan government and national army futile since it is contrary to afghan's history. under karzai's three-time ratified national government army model, taliban now control 11 of 34 provinces. the afghan national army controls one, i think. and i believe the national security forces probably control none of those provinces. and they are seeing as being as ineffective, incapable of being effective for a number of years. >> mr. bartlett, one of the concerns that i had after the president's decisions in march was that they were interpreted as the united states supporting full scale nation building in afghanistan and also the
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creation of a strong centralized government. as you point out, the latter has not existed in all of afghan history. and one of the elements of the dialogue that we have had inside the administration for the last three months is how do you narrow that mission and make it more realistic. how do you communicate that what this is all about is really our security and what we're looking at is enabling the afghan government and the local authorities to be able to reassert security control in their own areas. one of the pieces of this that has not been discussed is the fact that about 60% of afghanistan is not controlled by the taliban or where they have no significant or don't have predominant influence. what we have to do and a piece of the president's strategy is working with the subnational parts of afghan, working with the tribles, the village elders
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and district governors and leaders as well as those in the provinces. in fact, a good bit of the security that may come as part of this transition will be local security and local police as we have seen develop. so it won't be necessarily that we turn over security responsibility to the afghan national army but to local authorities who have established control, re-established control of their own areas from the taliban. so it's a combination of all of these things that we will work with. and i think that our view is that what we have to do is try -- what we have to do is strengthen again the local and traditional governing systems in afghanistan that in fact can re-establish local control and deny taliban authority. and i also would say that as we partner with the afghans, you
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get a mixed picture, but the realityy is for all of the comments about corruption and everything else, more than 2,000 afghan police have died in the line of duty for their country, about 1,000 soldiers have died. and so i think that this picture is not focused strictly on creating something in kabul that has never existed before, but also figuring at the subnational level how to re-empower local authorities because they will perhaps will be our partners in denying the taliban control. >> mr. ortiz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary gates and heny mullen, thank you for taking time to appear before our committee. though it is always a difficult decision to make putting our
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young men and women in harm's way i feel answering the requests of our commanders on the ground was the best response to the current situation in afghanistan. i have a few questions that i will be asking of you gentlemen today as we look forward to the movement of additional troops in afghanistan. will forces be rotated directly from iraq to afghanistan? and if so, how would d.o.d. ensure that they receive the timing that they need because as we well know that the environment is totally different. and second, what analysis has d.o.d. done on its ability to provide the key enablelers such as support forces in i.s.r., which are already in high demand to currently support the
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drawdown in iraq and put increases? afghanistan? we are drawing down. and giving the logistical challenges in afghanistan, how is d.o.d. able to synchronize the aprifle of the troops with their equipment? the reason i ask, we just made a little tour of some of our military and some of our young men and women who are deployed, and as i mentioned to you earlier, some of the equipment that they feel is not -- it's inferior to what they need. maybe if you could answer those questions, there's a lot of things that worry me. if we increase the troop levels to maybe 400,000, how are we going to have enough n.c.o.'s,
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captains to carry out these duties? i yield to both of you. >> sir, let me try to answer that last question first. i see monthly from general casey a lengthy report on the overall assessment of various measures of how the army is doing in terms of things like that and right now, we are. the retention of our captains, the retention of our majors, meeting the needs that we have. and in fact, have seen over the last year, the overall recruiting and retention numbers for all our services, and particularly the army, go up. great statistic as far as i'm concerned, a year, year and a half ago, the overall percentage of high school graduates entering the army was 80%, which is low. we would like it in the 90's. over the last year, it has been
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95%, 96%. there is no one who has been more dedicated to making sure that our men and women in harm's way have the right equipment than secretary gates. and i personally attest to that. i watch him do that all the time. and i know you have spent a great deal of time on this as well, and i really appreciate that. with respect to your questions, largely, forces will not be moving from iraq to afghanistan. there are some enabling forces, critical enablers that we moved in very small numbers literally on a deployment, but it's a very small number. there are forces headed for iraq who are being remissioned to go to afghanistan. secondly, the -- we recognize for some time that afghanistan was coming, so our training has been very focused on that in ways that we hadn't before, and in particular, we are focusing on culture and language. things we learned in iraq we had
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to get right. they are the same issues, but obviously takes a different skill set if you will, in afghanistan. we are focused on that as we transition. we have been in transition for the better part of the last year, year and a half. marine corps has put significant additional forces there. we are focused on the enabling piece. this gets to your second question. we are short in some of those. i worry more about their ops tempo. and we are focused on both buying that, distributing it and focusing on the fight. the general has been supportive of this overall effort to give up some enablers that he had and support afghanistan. lastly, although gist particularically focus on this for months, the unsung heroes are in logistics and they are
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performing mag knife sently. and we know the challenge. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] captioned by the national captioning institute >> steve hayes talks about president obama's afghanistan strategy and we will two views on the climate change. they talk about research on climate change. "washington journal" is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> on december 7, 1941, a surprise japanese attack on pearl harbor left 2,390 americans dead. the national park service has been collecting survivors' stories about the day.
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here's one. >> i was a crew member of the squadron two. that particular sunday, i had the duty and i was actually at the hangar at the time the attack began. i was ready to muster the onduty section. we thought a plane had crashed. we looked across the runway and see the smoke coming up from the hangar. and we still didn't know what was happening. about that time, here comes a plane diving under the sun and dropped two bombs. we saw the symbol of the rising sun under his wing and we knew we were being attacked. we didn't have any bomb shelters. i was looking for a place to hide and here comes the japanese plane flying from south to
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northup on the west side of fort island and they were flying slow. i could see the goggles on the rear gunner's helmet and he gave machine gun fire. bullets were hitting and poofs of concrete dust and i jumped behind a tractor that was there and gave me the protection i needed. >> if you would like to see extended interviews of survivors stories, go to >> later today, a rally in new york city by a group opposed to holding trials for the 9/11 suspects in federal court. senator jack reed, chairman of the armed services subcommittee
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on emerging threats. next "in depth," on c-span today because the senate's in session. .
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>> i was a newspaper reporter, and i was asked to cover meetings in richmond. the state school board had english textbooks, and the textbook most in use at the time had "romeo and juliet." a good choice. but wherever shakespeare used a difficult or arcane word, the publisher had just changed it without noting. changes have been made. it is the kind of thing done has been going on and textbooks. the teachers are teaching shakespeare, and children are reading it without knowing it. so the state board called a meeting, asking publishers to send representatives with the
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idea of improving school books. so i was asked to cover it as a reporter. it was bizarre. the publishers sent sales representatives, and they were there to tell you how good the books are, not to do anything about them. so people were just appalled. i was appalled. i had already read things about how that are to truly american history books were. so i came home and started thinking, and i assumed everyone is calling for a good u.s. history and i could write one. i have written some american history articles for the open but wall street journal." i wrote an article on thomas jefferson. i thought, all i have to do is read a good u.s. history and the publishing world will fall at my feet. there were a number of things, but that is the main reason i got started. >> what kind of textbooks were
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your children bring home? >> terrible. i am a writer. so he brought home a world history. the writing was so incredibly bad. i think the way that we teach writing, topic sentences, topic sentences, is just terribly boring. so i was running around the house, screening how could they do this? sublicensed can hone -- so my son came home and said, you will not believe it, my teacher hit the books, also, and he does not use it. i said, i'm not sure that is the arabs are -- answer. the book was written 20 years ago by frances fitzgerald called "america revised," and it was
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serialized, about american history textbooks and how bad they were. and this is a problem that has been going on for years, it compared to textbooks used at that time with those written in 1910. it was a standard textbook in american schools in 1912, 1913. and for its droll compared the books -- fitzgerald compared the books, and i went back and i read the sources, this guy named coffin who wrote for little kids at the turn of the century, 1900. very good. great. and then the publishing industry took over. and also curriculum changes in
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america were for the worst. so we kind of destroyed education. >> and we will talk about both those things. but your history of us, it is a 10-volume set. >> it is chronological. and the books are graduated. the first are easy to read. i feel that my readers will grow with me. so the first book is about the first americans, people coming over the bering straits. pilgrims come up curtains come next, and i just updated the next book. it will have to represent katrina, afghanistan, very difficult to write about.
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a lot of current things. the idea is to get to the 10th book. i start before 1600. people coming over the bering strait. we're not sure, 30,000 years ago, maybe. >> and how did you do your research? >> today, i used the internet a lot. but kids always asked -- i am a big time reader. in virginia beach, where i lived when i was writing, i would always have 15 books. i buy books, i underline. but i got my idea for each one.
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when you are writing for kids, people want to help you. >> you have a 10-volume set right now. how many were written before publishing? >> 9.5. the publishing of u.s. history, or any history, is a huge scandal in this country, because big money-making affairs happen for three publishers. when i got started, there were none brought up. there are three publishers who split billions between that must approve school books are not about educating kids. they are in business. they are about making money.
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these are school textbooks, k- 12. mifflin, pearson, and mcgraw- hill. if you get a contract to sell your books to los angeles, it is a huge deal, and you want to make sure that nothing in the book will offend anybody. they are like oatmeal. the standard -- and i want to make it clear that i'm talking about elementary and middle school, the standard textbooks are not written by name authors. so when you see an opera from a prestigious university -- and author -- an author from a
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prestigious university, the publishing industry buys these names and has a record write the actual books. >> our guest this month is joy hakim, the author of a 10- volume series, "the history of us," as well as a beginning series on science. she is also the author of a book turned into a pbs special, as well. we are to put our numbers up. we have set aside a special line for students and educators because of joy hakim's
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expertise. if you would like to call in, you are a student or educator, perhaps you have read her books. go ahead, dial in. we will take those calls in a few minutes. you can also e-mail us at or send us a tweet. booktv is our twitter address. you are quoted as saying that there is a lot of horse manure in history, and people have to know about it. guest: there is a chapter where i describe horse manure at new
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york city, turn-of-the-century. it is part of history. host: you are also quoted as saying that most textbooks are not only dumbed down for kids, they are dumped down for teachers. guest: they are, and the answers to get better teachers. we have good teachers, and we need to appreciate them, and we need to have a new kind of teaching. the old model is the expert standing in front of the classroom lecturing. that does not work in the information age. so we need to create a learning environment. we generate excitement. we are adding exponential knowledge. so if you are in the classroom and you, a student, ask me the
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question, and i know the answer, that is the end of the question. if you come back and report to us, then we have everybody together. and we have a lot of people terrified. learn. let's all learn together. and then school becomes exciting. host: if a poet writes you a letter, pay attention. >> yes. i was an editorial writer. newspaper editors do not write their own, but i like to do that, occasionally. one educator looked at my books and set to spare the ponds. but i like puns. i just have fun with those.
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host: there was one chapter, i was looking for it here in one of your volumes, and you start it off, and it is about slavery. you start off by saying, ok, put on your thinking caps, because this is tough to read. guest: i talked to children in my books. that is why it's so much response from them, because they feel an urge to talk back. you may not like that. but i am in conversation with children, and that is what authors do. and one head of social studies told me that that changed the way children bright, allowing them have a voice. i say just to pretend you are
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talking to a friend. host: do you have children review your books? that is part of what makes my books different from others. one thing that shocked me when i got involved in publishing and try to sell my books was that publishers said again and again, you did not write books for children because children do not buy books. it was this the mantra and the publishing industry. it is true that children do not buy books, but i wrote my books for kids and i paid them to review the books. i wanted to know if this works. i have been a freelancer, and the first thing to do is please your client. so i gave them a script, a code, and i asked them to write in the margins, and every child
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knows that. i work with kids. neighborhoods, schools, and i found that if you ask children for their opinion, that are less likely to tell you their opinion if you do not pay them. but they were fabulous, some of the comments. host: i just want to show you lay out of a couple of pages of joy hakim's book. but the pages of pictures, lots of little captions. guest: there are several levels. there is a main story, and that
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is all you need to read. kids come in different varieties. some children will go further reading. but you amplify what is there and explain. it is busy, but kids are used too busy. i have the choice of dumbing down and not using big words, or using intense words. so i take the big words and explain them. editorials used to come in at a fifth grade level. the difference between editorial writing and this is that in
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these books for children, kids love big words. a lot of people do not think that, but they do. they will think you are smart. so i put the word and pronunciation in and i explain it. host: how did you find oxford university press? >> that is an interesting story. i started out doing this because i had no idea what i was doing. it took me a year, thought, to write u.s. history. i just did not know what i was doing. i sent the script to a whole lot of publishers. i sent it to educators and up real interest.
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but i also put it in, and it was greater than i thought. it was wonderful. and i took the manuscript from my printer. no picture or anything, and they were reading, kids who normally could not read. so i was going from publisher to publisher, including oxford, and everybody turned them down. at that point, a gratin friends from the university of virginia, and i knew i had something pretty good. and i went to a cocktail party in colonial williamsburg, and i ran into a historian who has been head of some history thing in virginia. so i told my story.
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i cannot get published. he said, there is a man in new york named byron who can help you. he had been president of oxford and american heritage, and he had a small publishing house, historical publications. so when byron tells the story, he said he got a big box in the mail with 5.5 volumes and a couple days later i called him and said, have you read it? anyway, he said, this is good stuff, i will have no problem publishing this. he knew everybody. he sent it out and got the same response i got. he said it needs to be published, but it does not fit. one publisher with an innovative
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branch said this is just too innovative for us. finally, byron took it to oxford, and they decided it would be a fine of library book. i do not think they understood the potential. i thought it would just published a few thousand books, and it was more than 5 million. >> how much editing was done? >> byron has produced all my books. he hired editors and researchers. the editors for it include an english woman. we just had a good time. it was an ideal. we fought over things, but
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basically, she made suggestions and it was very nice. host: byron is quoted as saying that textbooks are not credit for children, they are written for committees to flip through them to make sure that have the proper ethnic balance and buzz words. guest: it is synergistic with the publishers, the three publishers. very expensive. so if you as a teacher or individual have an idea, in order to get that out is just terribly, terribly expensive to go through the process. it should not be. and once you get adopted, my of books have been adopted in florida and texas, you have to send out armies of books to every single town, which is
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prohibitive. my publishers just do not do that. so the books that get adopted are those with the best sales people. very easy to change that. just have closed adoptions, no salespeople allowed. some people do that. and that is where i get it. so the books on the table, you have people compare. children look at them, because even good teachers are surprised at what children respond to. host: you also talk about curricula changing in schools. guest: in social studies. political history and other disciplines. big change came a long time ago with something called expanding horizons.
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there is a classical article about what's happening. we just do not teach history well, and often not at all, to our kids. but after the crash, the depression, history was everyone's favorite. we talk the greek myths, and then somebody came along during the depression, a professor at the university of virginia said we still are not having fun with history -- we are having fun with history, and he did something about it. so expanding horizons has to start with your neighborhood, and you expand to a greater neighborhood in the county and state, then the u.s., then the world. that is kind of what we do. so kids come into first grade --
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i have a first grade grandson, and he is a big thinker. he thinks of dinosaurs and trucks. and most of the curricula have you go to the neighborhood grocer. i do like the trip to the neighborhood fire station. but he can think big. host: have your books been banned anywhere? why and where guest: there is a town in florida. i am trying to think. somebody broke to the superintendent of schools, they got a letter saying that the books were too liberal. and a teacher was using them and loving them, and the superintendent took them out of the classroom and put them in a library where they could only be bred by the librarian, because
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they were too liberal. host: are your books liberal? guest: i used to be an editorial writer. i was paid to have opinions. but i feel a real responsibility writing these books to be as balanced as possible and show all sides. it is important. the kids need to think for themselves. i constantly say, read somebody else. do not just read me. so i would hope that they are balanced. host: on the back of "freedom," it is endorsed by laura bush and henry louis gates, jr. caller:
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guest: nice combination. we must teach history. but history is so polarized, and knee-jerk stuff. the history is a place where we all, right wing and left wing, want our children to know our history. so it is an enormously important subject. it has been dropped completely a lot of schools, completely dropped because of notes child left behind. to the idea that it is not reading subject -- history is the great thinking subject. it is tough to generalize, because some schools are great. but in a lot of cases, it is constant nonstop skills. reading skills. there is no fault, no content.
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it is jargon. we talk about content subjects. the first time i heard that phrase, i was with byron in his office, and two representatives of a publishing house came over. and they kept talking about contents subject and books. and yes, most of the teaching is no content. breeding is not a subject. it is a skill. history and science are subjects, and you learn to be sophisticated. what is going on is bizarre. and if you could see the kind of
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stuff in our schools, it is appalling. i will give you an example. i was helping my grandson, he was 11, i was helping him with his homework, and he had a workbook, a paragraph and three or four questions. they had no relationship to each other, they were mindless. and there was a paragraph about free to call a -- frida kahlo, diego rivera's wife. a love for work, but i'm not sure she relates to a 11-year- old boys. there was no picture. this is about an artist, and no picture. what a waste of time.
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i ran around that house until i found a picture. all he wanted to do was find his home work. host: what about political correctness? guest: it is out there. if you have a book and you are looking to sell millions of copies -- you do not want to offend anybody. frida kahlo is there because of political correctness. we have to have a token mexican. she is a great subject. but if we are corn to put in people, there has to be a story, a reason for putting them in. host: does united states history
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offend? guest: we have this history, it is the person and vibrant. we cannot be citizens without understanding it. nobody knows history. it is so interesting, and we would be better citizens -- for now, there's a lot of talk about democracy, and what technology, we may be able to skip the federalist system. but you study history and go back to the time of the founders and they had faith in democracy. they set up a system that would allow us to have democracy.
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if you get rid of great britain and its taxes and heavy-handed government, there would be civic virtue. people would act decently and everything would have responsibility. we get the articles of confederation, and it is a mess. everyone was out for themselves or herself. it was a total mess. it did not work. so they set up the system. but pure democracy is dangerous. we found that out in california with proposition 13. people voted not to pay taxes,
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and now california may be has the worst schools in the country. host: that is your turn to ask questions. caller: thank you very much. i want to thank you for being there today. i can tell you as a parent up to dip below children who have been through the public schools and as a former school board member, i, like you, have just about -- i have been appalled at the lack of teaching of u.s. history in schools. i was going in 1962, i am a history buff, and my father would say things such as i shall return, and i would yell out douglas macarthur. history was all around us.
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especially american history. my job has taken me into an awful lot of schools in rural areas, and you'd be hard-pressed today to find a picture of lincoln or washington in any classroom. american history is taught for only one year here. i find it not only appalling, but depressing. and you touched on it earlier in your conversation. if you have any observations that this would change, by any individuals or groups ashamed of who we are -- sick of it.
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guest: we should be teaching history. the idea is that we should teach for the test, and the test is breeding. you do not balance. he talked about lincoln and washington. most kids, the only heroes they know our sports heroes. i have a friend who is a great teacher who wrote a book on heroes for kids. if you get up there and preach about things, it is boring, and they figure out you should not be doing that.
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but if you study people -- other chapters, you can make judgments. kids can make judgments. so taking history out of schools has been an insane thing, and that is one reason achievement has gone down. it is dull. >> good afternoon. it is funny that you mentioned the proposition 13 tax situation. i was excited to getting it going.
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the reason i'm calling is because when you first mentioned the bering strait, i thought that that must have been my ancestors. and then you mentioned 30 dozen years ago and i thought, no, that is not them. but i have different folks here at my home that i collected, and one of my ancestors were the founders of banker, maine. i was wondering if in your history, is that any of the information you have run across? guest: have not run across your ancestors, but i do have a bit
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about main there. when i talk to kids, i say one of the problems about writing this, i suggest that kids right -- write themselves. the easiest way to start is to have children go to grandparents and have been asked about heritage edge right there on histories. -- heritage and write their own histories.
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host: i remember when they would show corn in indiana, a car in michigan, those maps. guest: i remember those. we do a lot of that memorization. host: our dates important? guest: there was a time when kids memorized more than they do today. i think there are only a few dates that are important, and i suggest to teachers that they have a clothes line in the class, with key dates. if you know 30,000 years ago, 1492 -- how many kids do not know when columbus arrived? 1492, columbus sailed the ocean
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blue. keep that in your head. 1776, 1860, 1945, the 60's, and that is about all you need to know. he put that on your clothes line, and you know if something came in between. there was a book a few years ago that showed most kids could not put the civil war and the right half century. you do need to know things like that. but individually, i do not think it is important. for me, it is the history of ideas. it is so i easy to turn it into rote memorization. david donald, who was later to win a pulitzer prize, a great historian -- this was at smith college.
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i went to school in vermont. i did not think much of history, particularly american history. i was always a reader, and in europe that kings and queens and knights in armor, things going on. but in american history, people were regular clothes. they were dull. so i got to smith, and somebody told me i should be taking this course, and i had to be urged. and i was astonished by the title. i did not understand it. it was called american intellectual history. i was puzzled. what in the world is intellectual about history? i thought it was boring. but i got into this course, and
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it was about ideas. it was amazing. it turned me around. i would not have written my books if i had not taken this course. david, was a small man with a twinkle in his side. the first-class -- he got up there and started lecturing intensely. so i'm taking notes, asking how you spell that. everybody. he never stopped. just one fact after another. we were all riding it down, exhausted. he just said, i give you a standard lecture. i will now spend the rest of the term telling you why this is not true.
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he made us think. host: maya in palm coast, florida. go ahead. caller: very nice to hear ideas i have had in my 40 years of teaching. i do have problems with what is happening in the classrooms, particularly at the elementary level. but i feel the problem starts before. teachers go for the university's and listen to the same drills i was given, but i did not believe that all, that they take this back. the library has the same step in its books.
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columbus. columbus did not discover america. he opened a pathway. unless we start putting those thoughts in and have them explained and connect and defend these things, we are bound to stay in this route we are in. do you have any ideas how we can get out of it? >> the more you can have research and bring out these ideas and argue with each other -- history is not static. it is a vibrant discipline. we should be studying a lot of history early on and arguing about ideas. history is the place to do it. host: we have a
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twet here. guest: a whole lot of history is a hoax. i have been two sessions and sat there. it was maudlin. everyone has a good time, because, hey, teachers to spend some time out of the classroom and connect with other teachers. but professional development can be as vacuous as the best books. so did some good people. stephanie harvey and janet allen do a great job. but there is money coming into professional development and a lot of services out there. but mainly people need to talk
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to each other. we have great teachers, and most of them are believers. if we can work with great teachers and let them teach each other, we will not have problems. caller: good afternoon. a guest on c-span called that style chair time. he claims schools should be palaces of learning.
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my son is at the university of delaware, and he could not navigate through the university without a laptop. i was eight teacher -- a teacher for years. why would you go back to an older style, instead of linking it to a more dynamic process on the internet? guest: there is a lot of discussion out there that textbooks are acting of the past. garbage in, garbage out. a lot of the same people are lining up to put things on disk. it is only better if it is better.
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it is not the issue to me. the issue is ideas. putting them on a screen does not necessarily make it better. host: how many of your books are in bookstores, how many school systems? >> i do not know, i had no idea was breaking ground with this, but the idea of textbooks that do not sell in stores is appalling. they do not have to be reviewed. we just get these things that nobody has really looked out. if a book is not good enough to sell at a bookstore, they say, it should not be in a cluster. we should just do away with this
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distinction between trade and text, and that is a real problem. even houses with both trade and text did not communicate. that just makes for port books. people on trade sites special lot more time thinking about quality. we need to get away from it. and even the pricing -- i just do not go along with this. but a lot of it is aimed at the trade market, the home market.
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there are different worlds. but there should not be. host: fort lauderdale, florida. hello. caller: good afternoon. i hope they never go to the internet for textbooks, because there is no where to write anything in the margins on the internet. i like to use the margins. so i up to maintain that. i want to make a question about the teacher that is teaching science, math, english, history. why shouldn't the teacher up a degree in that subject first. rather than having an education degree with ancillary degrees with the subject matter of teaching.
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guest: good questions. the first one, about underlying commentary, one of the new electronic books does allow you to underline. the average high-school graduate never read a whole non-fiction book in four years of high- school. i cannot read nonfiction without counsel. i have to underline. but some electronic books allow you to underline. i do not know where we're going, but i like books.
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in colorado, where i live, you cannot get licensed as a teacher with a up the subject matter degree, and i believe in that. many of our education standards are about, and the schools are factors that turn out teachers. they do not get a good education. they are failing. you need to change that. i got a master's degree in education. but the program i was in was very good.
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it was about methodology. even when you get to be a teacher, every meeting is about methodology, about how to present material. but not about the material itself. you need some methodology. a friend of mine ran a conference in which she had professors, and coming in to teach. and she balanced methodology. howard gardner came, there were
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other people. but there was excitement. host: i knew someone who was a teacher, and she had been to create a with it was the analysis. caller: it is wonderful to hear your exuberance. i was thinking that the teacher is so important in presenting textbook material. a look back at class's i took in junior high as far as civics and american history, and i have an
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african-american teacher in the late-70's teaching american history retrospectively, looking at what they had to go through in a predominantly white school district -- it is the only african-american teacher and the school, but he was a wonderful teacher and presented the subject matter so brilliantly. it is really nice to hear someone -- with today's basic subject matter, it takes the desire for knowledge out of it when you're only teaching reading comprehension. kids are tested on
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comprehension. guest: i hear a lot of stories, parents objecting to things. i think you have to have the courage of your convictions, and if you have them, you will get through it. in california, a parent complained about my books. she was scared of her job, a teacher called into the office, and the principle called in an african-american minister to read the book. and when he finished, he said, this is exactly what we want. so do not get intimidated too easily. and if you are, be fair and balanced. i pretty much only meet good teachers, and i know a lot of great teachers, and the reason
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for that is a good to conferences, and the teachers are selected to go to the conferences. if you're not a good teacher, you do not make an effort to go. i see teachers all over the country, and they know how to teach. they should be spending more time to teaching their peers, given more autonomy. and i hear complaints, that they are being squashed. but one criticism i have about these good teachers is many of them go into the classroom, close the door, and do a good job, but they do not do enough teaching up other teachers. you need to give time for teachers to teach each other. there is a texas teacher, barbara door.
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she was texas teacher of the year. you know that she is good. and she is now a teacher trainer, which is what you should be. she has my books in 22 classrooms, with katrina refugees and kids who could not read. and she uses them in a way that saw reading, bridge and go up 10%, 12%, up 14%. she is using history to teach reading, which are love. -- which i love. she gave these kids in one- paragraph synopsis before reading the chapter. she gave them a word drills, concept drills. and then she would have been read the chapter. -- then she would have them read the chapter. then she would have them read it
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a second time. she would have them read the chapter four times, astonishing. as adults, if you want to read nonfiction, you have got to read something more than once. but for each reading, she gave the children a separate bowl and outcome -- goal and outcome. and,% in -- and, branch and ended up 12%, 14% higher. at the end of the process, they could read better. so, teachers like this, like barbara, like jim in california, i know wonderful teachers who are doing it right. we need to use them. host: and a reminder that we have a student at the kidder line.
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-- and a reminder that we have a student educate he-- educator line. one question, i was wondering what you think is most important to have been a textbook -- in a textbook? >> we surely should have things like race riots. host: do you include the tulsa race riots in your book? guest: i think so. it has been a while, but i think so.


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