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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  December 21, 2009 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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[captioning performed(bx national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> the latest on the senate health care bill. w3>> today w3çunited nations
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secretary-general ban ki-moon told reporters the climate change agreement reached in copenhagen was "a significant achievementç." çhis remarks are over 20 minut. >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. it is a privilege to see you. i just came back yesterday afternoon after attending the un chn copenhagen. on saturday morning in copenhagen, in fact, i had a press conference, in copenhagen. today i am pleased to answer some questions you may have. last time i did not have much time to answer questions. i have also a council briefing
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at 10:00 on very important african issues. the conference was a success. among the conference citizens, the copenhagen court marks a significant step for. it commits countries -- to 2 degrees celsius. it also says that they will examine the agreement in 2015. i understand that the ipcc will try tomç release the fifth assessment report in 2014. w3the accord includes mediation targets by developing countries( and midterm mediation actions by developing countries. again, this is an advance. third, countries have agreed on
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the importance of acting to reduce the emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. this means that we have finally brought the source ofçó nearly 5 of global emissions into the emerging climate regime. çt(the court agrees to provide comprehensive support to the most vulnerable to global climate change. it is backed by money and the means to deliver it. already 43$30çó çbillion dollas been committedt(ç until 2012, d then $1090 billion ought to -- çq100çççó çbillion up to 20. koi urge all governments to formally signw3i]ç on to the i]ñrcopenhagen accord by registg
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their support through theok unfccc. the faster we have all the signatures, the more momentum we can build. çthey fulfill in largeç part f the benchmarks for success at that iç had laid down at the september,xd 2009, summit meetig here at u.n. headquarters. they do not yet meet the scientific -- to keep global temperatures to 2 degrees cokelsius, but without the okcommitment in theçç accord,e couldç be facing the real prospect of temperature are rising up to six degrees celsius. during the coming month, i will continue my work with world i]çleaders to increase delivere sprei]s.
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i will encourage them to directlyi]ç engage in achievina global, legally-binding, climate change agreement in 2010. it demonstrates that world leaders not only appreciate the importance of attacking climate change, but that they are prepared toç asct. [unintelligible] -- countries that had previously stayed on the periphery of the kyoto process, are now at the centerç of climate action. çwe will examine theç lessonsf we will consider how toerence.w- streamline the negotiation process. okçwe will also look at how to çencompass the full context of climate change, both
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substantially atç institutionally. early next year, i will establish a high level p planet ç-- panel to address such çissues. i am aware that the outcome of theç copenhagen conference, including the copenhagen accord, it did not go as far as many would have hoped. the represent the beginning, an essential beginning. we have taken an important step in the right direction. thank you very much. >> your assessment of the conference isi] different from many to read said that it was a failure, a disaster. -- who have said it was a failure, a disaster. the british prime minister said thatok conference was hijacked y a number of countries. how do you respond? other critics have said that the conference was a massive blow to the un for work and that it became clear that these issues could not be agreed to by
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consensus and only a number of u!qçcountriesç came forward we deal, which the others reluctantly accepted. >> i know there are different assessments on the outcome of this climate change conference in copenhagen. basically, i believe that all the member states agreed that it was a success. çççit was a significant step forward to agreeing to legally binding treat[ç as soon as possible. the copenhagen was in fact -- was about finding a wayçó ford o do with ageç -- wait for it to deal with a huge problem. -- a way forwardç to deal with the problem. many of the states were
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entrenched. countries -- a wayççó forward t pushes allç countries, not at significantq step forward.(%ññrl of the elements whichç we have laid down inççç september, in headquarters in september. çççabout this,xdt( your secof a question about it being hijacked or relevance of multilateralism, iç believexdis accord represents almost all ofç course, i understand that
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this old element does not meet the full satisfaction of all the countries, but we did not expect that we would be able to have this legally binding treaty satisfying all the elements, to all member states. çi]but iw3 thij$weç did get we ärneed to make this process move on. there were some countriesi] who really expressed reservations. both on proceduralççç matterd on substantive matters. &nççs ofxd negotiation,ñr t(çthe pref the copxd-15ç ççestablished l çógroup of memberçó states, and aroundç the 30 member states,
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representingi] all different stakeholders. first of all, g-77w3 and china s represented. smallç island, developing countries, european union, and majorw3 --w3 biggest polluting countries. they were all represented. in terms of representation, i thought that they were fully represented. i would admit that there was a lack of transparency because we to fully ct with all 192 member states at that time. very difficult negotiation. onç substantive matters, there areç some -- more to be done. inyç the course of our
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w3negotiation,ç further negotin to make this globally acceptable treaty form, we will be able to build upont(ç this copenhagen accord. >>ç can you tellç us, mr. secretary general, what role you were able to personally play in facilitating the work of the 30 member states to mention it? also the behind-the-scenesdealç that president obama helped to broker that did not have any ççtargets or any other commitments concerning financial help, to what extentç were you personally involved? >> i think everybody has played an importantt( role, not necessarily myself. president obama has played a very important role at the last minute.
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çthis negotiation was stopped n important issues like ve!%q%=9i]i]ok issues. ççand issues of the mediation target issues. çt(ççhe played a crucial we t role. for me,ç i have been, as you know, during the last three years, i have been discussing thisç issue with world leaders. raising political awareness and trying to mobilize a politicalçç leadership role, trying to mobilize the necessary financial and technologicalç support for developing countries. particularly during this summit meeting as well asw3 beforexd ts summit meeting, i have been veryç closely consultingxd wite chair of the copenhagen summit meeting, prime minister rasmussen.
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and also the environmental minister. ççw3in addition,q i have been extending my network of presentations with many world leaders, major world leaders, major emitter's as well says most vulnerable countries. at theç end of this negotiation was almost at a deadlock. on saturday morning, i played a certain role to convince those peopleq who were having a strong reservation on, first of all, procedural matters as well as substantive elements. izvi] emphasized that we have ce such a long way. we did not have any time to lose. çif we had to defer, atç leaso
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another negotiation process, then we would not be able to offer rationalize this financial suppo@t and technological support -- operatioanlizw3nalizs financial and technological support. this has immediate of fact, starting from january next year, providing support to the most vulnerable developing countries. therefore, even though i understand that there are some different assessments, we should build upon thisç climateç copenhagen accord so that we will be able to have a legally- binding treaty as soon as possible. >> maybe you can respond -- the g-q77, the the chairman called
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this the worst deal inç histor. they are alleging that the worst country -- the smallest countries were bought. also, people have raised issues about conflicts of interest, business interestsç in deutsche bank. what can be done to make sure that and all of these green deals that there are not financial conflicts asç well, çeven with the un or the fcccç personnel? >> many of the g-77 group leaders represented in their negotiation, are very active. when that group represented 0--- çi was not quite sure whether that truly representedw3 in an official way to represent g-77
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group members. çyças you may have seen, thera he plenary hall. w3there were many g-77 countries as well as countries from small çóçóislands, developing states, 3pçleast developed states, landlocked countries, they also expressed their support for this political accord. that is what i can tell you at thisç time. i do represent, or i cannot tell or speak for the exact position of the g-77. there is an article out today that brings togetherç the allegations that at the top levels of the ipcc that there are businessesç that benefitçm the deals. çi]what do you make of that? >> the psychology will shift
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with this political accord. they will know that their investment for green economy and clean energy will be much cheaper than they would do it later. as soon as this copenhagen accord is translated into a legally-binding treaty, i am sure that the business community will shifti] their operations to words a green growth economy. many in the business community have already done that. this is an encouraging sign. with this accord, i am sure that this will help shift the business psychology. >> to get their agreement of a
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new legally binding treaty, what is the most important factor? and when is your deadline next year? >> i will not report this entire negotiation process, but member states have identified key elements, what needs to be done, what needs to be agreed and a legallyç binding treaty. i]we have agreedç on global temperature rise to within -- below 2 degrees. there was someççç discussion particular reflected by the small island to developing countries, theyq wanted to hold çdown much lower than 2 degree, below 1.5 degrees.
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 we will have to wait until 2014, when ipcc fifth assets -- assessment report will be releasedçç. çthen we will review our commitment in 2015, including the temperature, global temperature riseç issues. çand we need to have cleared mediation targetsç by developed countries. and also developing countries -- there mediation action. ç--w3 their mediation action. member states will have to submit their targets by january 31 next year. these mediation action reports will be a nextç to this politil accord. -- annexed to this political
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accord. voluntary actions, of corporate mediation actions taken by all these countries will be also communicated every three years. there has been a quite significant development and progress in terms of making all of these mediation actions transparent, through measurable, reportable and verify -- verifiable ways. this is progress. >> i will ask your question first. you said you want to see a legally binding agreement in 2010. çhow optimistic are you that ts is going to happen? and i wonder if you can elaborate a little bit of what you said aboutok re-t(looking aw
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the negotiations took place? there was a lot ofçç criticis] çthat it was too unwieldy. ççhow're you going toçó look s to preventçóç something comingn to the wi) with no time left? -- in mexico? >> i have already discussed with president calderon of mexico. i assured him that the united nations will closely work together with the host government so that we will have a successful cop-16 meeting in mexico. about deadlines. we will have to expedite. what i learned from this copenhagen process was that, while we were able to see much heightened political will, and
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there was a common purpose, a common will to act on this. however, the additional provisions -- there were not yet united. the leaders were united in purpose, but they were not yet united in action. that is what i observed. u!it will be very important for the united nations, for me as secretary-general, to really helpç the leaders of political will to be translated into action. the negotiations were very tough. their positions were really in trench -- entrenched. i]that will be a quite big w3 challenge for the unitedç natis and for world leaders.
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i appreciate at this time,ç to all the world leaders, who have taken time and patiently participated in all of the negotiations, very tough negotiations. i would really hope andç appeal to world leaders and world opinion makers that, while i know that not everybody is satisfied with this result, this was a quite significant achievement, which we were able to make in copenhagen. considering all the complexityq and difficulties of this issue. it is not an easyç task. everyone knows that it will not be an easy task. i]therefore, we should be more proactive.
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we should be more forthcoming, rather than critical. çi would be very willing to discuss on this issue with other world leaders and other opinion makersç and civic community leaders how we can do better. how we can change this negotiation process. there are some lessons we have learned. all of these lessons?xu)s& be very carefully reviewed from today. ç-- for a better result next year. thank you veryt( much. thank you.
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of afghanistan. then a discussion on relations between the u.s. and the muslim world. former republican presidential candidate steve forbes on how president obama is handling the economy and the latest on the senate health care debate. this month, the senate has continued work on the health care bill. here is how you can follow the debate. watch it live, unedited and commercial free on cspan02. ççxdçlisten to highlights onn radio. ççd8kçlight streaming video e senate floor, complete video archives including the debate andxd amendments, briefings from leadership and other senators, and the latest from the reporters at "roll call." and follow the health care debate with the new c-çspan iphone app. ç>> all next week, a rare glime
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into america's highest court threw on the record conversations with 10 supreme court justices aboutçó the cour, their work, and the history of the supreme court building. five days of interviews with supreme court justices, starting next mondayt( at 8:00 p.m. eastn on c-span. >> now look at the future of afghanistan with bruce riedel, senior fellow of the saben center for middle east policy at the brookings institution. he is the author of the book "the search for al qaeda." >> we need to turn our attention to bruce riedel. we need to close the back doors. thank you. i will not take very long to do my introduction. i am president of the jamestown foundation.
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i am glad you are here today. we are delighted that we have bruce riedel, who as many of you know from reading "the washington post" as often been referred to as the architect of obama's afghanistan strategy. she is well suited for all of that, and today, you will be delighted to know that heq@(ill not only speak for 10 minutes but he has a 40-minute talk planned. i think it will be an in-depth opportunity to hear hisoç thoughts on a strategy in afghanistan at this critical time in american foreign policy. ççhe is a senior fellow in the mideast -- mideast policy at the brookings institution. he retired in 2006 after 30 years of service in the cia. he is a senior adviser on south asia and the middle east to four presidents and the staff of the national security council. he is a negotiator of several
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peace summits including camp david and wye river. he was a senior adviser at the north atlantic treaty as it -- organization and brussels. in january, 2009, he chaired a review of american policy toward afghanistan and pakistan. the results of which the president announced in his speech on march 27, 2009. he is the author of this book -- "the search for al qaeda." published by brookings press. after his talks today, he will be available for a book signing in the back. he has promised to say a few words to you and to sign the book. it is coming out in paperback. it is your last chance to get one in hard copy. per se will be available for that briefly. -- bruce will be available for that briefly. after hisç talkl zhe willç tae questions and answers.
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i would like to turn the floor over to burst. çruce. glad to have you with us. >>ok thank you very much for tht kind introduction. it is a special privilege and honor for me to beç here todayo speak to this audience at the jamestown foundation. çthey have over the last severl years consistently provided americans and people around the world with some of the best analysis of what is going on in the terrorism worldç. for that reason, it is a special pleasure toç have this chance o be theç keynote speaker today. [applause] xr10 months ago and a fewñr dayi wasç minding my own business in çmaryland when the phone rang d
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a voice cameç on and said, plee call for the president. ai] couple of seconds later, on came the voice, hello, bruce. it's barrack. then i got an offer you cannot say anno to. the offer was to chair the review on american policy towards afghanistan-pakistan and towards al qaeda. as the president explained that then, in his judgment, this is the single-most important foreign-policy and national- security issue he will face as president of united states. perhaps a little background is in order. i want to help you understand my remarks. i retired from the cia in november, 2006. in march, 2007, two individuals,
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tony lake and another from the obama campaign came to me and asked if i would like to be an adviser. i agreed on one condition. i did not want a job for myself. i wanted a job for the senior senator from illinois in the federal government. i should also tell you that went home and told my wife, this will beç lots of fun, but it will nt last very long. there is no way barack obama is going to become president of united states. period prediction in mind as i go forward. -- bear that prediction in mind. what i would like to do over the course of the next 40 minutes is review the key judgments of the strategic review that i chaired, talk a little bit about what is happened in the interim between the closure of that strategic review in march and the president's announcement last week. and then spent a few last minutes looking at the road
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ahead, where i think we're going. let me be careful and clear. i am speaking as a senior fellow at the brookings institution. i am not here as a spokesman for the united states government or president obama. please to not enter but any of my words as reflecting the views of the united states government in any way whatsoever. i will start with the bottom line right up front. president obama inherited in january a disaster in afghanistan and pakistan. a war that had begun with a brilliant military success at virtually no cost was squandered. for seven years, the previous administration di thered and did not act. in insurgency, which should never have begun to grow, now threatens the survival of the
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karzai government in afghanistan and threatens to defeat the north atlantic treaty organization's first ground operation ever. worse than that, a disaster in afghanistan is destabilizing south and central asia as a whole. most particularly, next door in pakistan. the situation the president inherited is bad and it has gotten worse in the 10 months since then. çbut we have no time machine. we cannot go back and do it over. we can wish for that, that is not a realistic strategy. so what is the situation today? let me start with al qaeda. we would not have 70,000 american troops in afghanistan and 35,000 more in research if not for 9/11. we all know that. what is the status of al qaeda today?
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i will summarize what we have done in one sentence. like any summary, it lacks subtlety. at lax new ones. if done right, tickets to the point. in eight years, we have succeeded in moving the core w3leadership, the al qaeda senir operational planners from kandahar, afghanistan's to a location on known, believed to be about 100 miles away somewhere and pakistan. that is not to diminish the hard work of our soldiers, our intelligence officers, and our diplomats, and our allies in fighting al qaeda. it is not to diminish the accomplishments we have made. but the fundamental fact is that al qaeda today remains a deadly enemy of the united states of america and our allies. it is the first truly global
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terrorist organization in history. its reach and scope in the last eight years is almost breathtaking when you think about it, from l. sheer, to washington, to algiers, to bali, to madrid, this organization has struck again and again all around the world. it has developed franchises. it has developed surrogstes. it has acquired allies. it increased its reach. it has become more than a terrorist organization. it is become an art -- an idea, and narrative which inspires a small minority of muslims. a small minority to carry out acts of mass violence. most of its attacks are indiscriminate, but it is also demonstrated a chilling capacity to strike with great discrimination against targets like benazir bhutto, like the
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u.n. headquarters in baghdad, and a month ago, against the deputy minister of interior in saudi arabia. we see its reach in the united states today, both direct and indirect the afghan-american or arrested by the fbi in colorado demonstrated the direct connection. what happened in fort hood demonstrates the indirect connection of the narrative and ideology of the global islamic jihad. the only sustained significant pressure on the al qaeda core comes from between 30,000 and 60,000 feet in the air -- the drones. they are a technological marvel. xdçthey have proven highly successful against a limited range of targets and a limited piece of geography.
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they have to some extent, and it is hard to know if you are not a member of al qaeda, big that extent is, disrupted al qaeda in recent months. but drones are tactic. they are not a strategy. they are like attacking -- attacking of beehive one be at a time. he will never destroy the be-one bee at a time. -- a beehive one bee at a time. osama bin laden it is today of voice we hear but an invisible man -- but an invisible man. we have no idea where this man is, despite the biggest manhunt in history and a $50 million reward. he could be in the room next door as far as we know. last week, the bbc put out a report, police sources, that he was in afghanistan in february.
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-- poor sourced. what was notable is how were we even get bad reports about where osama bin laden is. second thing i would suggest to you about al qaeda today is that in afghanistan and pakistan, it is part of a much larger syndicate of terrorist organizations, within which, it is embedded. xdwhat do i mean by that? the afghan taliban, a pakistan taliban, they are one tell them in many ways -- a whole bunch of other groups whose names are often interchangeable but we know are the same basic characters, are a syndicate of power -- of terror. they are not a monolith. they do not have a single leader or a single agenda. but they cooperate with each
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other. individuals within these movements move back and forth between organizations. they do not respect the lanes that we try to impose on them. most of all, none of them in eight years have been willing to turn on al qaeda and give up its core leadership. what is remarkable when you look at is that more than any other individual, mullah omar that the syndicate pledges its allegiance to. and he claims to be commander of the faithful. a title, which if you think about it, shows a man with a remarkable ego. commander of the faithful -- 1.6 billion muslims worldwide? i am very skeptical we can negotiate with the television. -- the taliban.
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al qaeda today is embedded in this larger syndicate of terror which is why it is so hard to go after. with in the syndicate of terror, i would suggest that today -- it demonstrated a year ago at will by its capacity to strike with awesome 3. ç-- awesome fury in mumbia. ai its global reach is probably also something to worry about. let me say a few words about afghanistan. you can also summarize what we have done in afghanistan in one sentence. we are losing the war in afghanistan, but it is not yet lost. parenthes -- i hope.
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general mcchrystal's report, which courtesy of bob woodward, all of you have had the chance to read is an excellent summary. i think he hit the nail on the head. he got it exactly right. if there is one part of their report that i urge you to look at is the detention facilities in afghanistan, in which he says, we no longer control the detention facilities in which we are keeping captured insurgents. they are defacto under the control of al qaeda. more radicalization and recruitment for al qaeda takes place in those detention facilities than anywhereç elsen afghanistan today. when you have lost control of the prison camps in which you are putting and surgeons and a counterinsurgency, you are in a deep, deep hole. every measure, statistical we have demonstrates the momentum is entirely a taliban.
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bob gates reiterated that several times in his statements last week on the hill. but it is not yet lost. because we do not face in afghanistan a nationalist uprising. what we face in afghanistan in pashtun insurgency, which is confinedsto the ethnic community. the soviets faced a national uprising. virtually the entire country was in opposition to soviet occupation. soviet behavior reinforced that opposition. r>we face an insurgency which , for the most part, confined to pashtun community. by definition, the majority of we know from reliable polling that the majority pashtuns do
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not want to see a return to the islamic emirate of afghanistan. no one in their right mind would want to go back to the medieval held from the 1990's. it is this self-constraining factor that offers us the most hope to be able to turn this around thirdly, let me talk about pakistan. it is today the strategic prize in this part of the world as well as the most dangerous country in the world. why do i say that? because all of the things that should worry americans about the future of the world in the 21st century come together in pakistan in a unique and combustible way. nuclear war and peace. proliferation of nuclear technology. terrorism. the,uáure of islam. the future of democracy in the islamic world. the relationship between the
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military and civil society in the islamic world all of these issues are alive in pakistan like they are nowhere else in the world. pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world today. it is more terrorists per square kilometer than any other country in the world. it is the world's second largest muslim country. and yet, its government is teetering on the brink of collapse pakistan is trying to make the transition from a militaryw3w3 dictatorship to something pakistani is hopeful look like democracy. we should support thatç effort with everything we do. but this is the fourth time pakistan has tried to make that transition. you have to believe in the triumph of hope over experience. w3zqáççw3w3today the zaharit appears toçóçok have a limitedf
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life. he may stay on as a figurehead, but power is slipping away from him every day. the alternatives are not particular bright, either. we may see a return to nal-ar sharif. but we do not get to choose who the pakistani leaders are. when we have tried to, we have usually had buyer's remorse later on. the second point about pakistan is that pakistan has a dynamic, confusing and complex relationship with the syndicate of terrorism which i talked about earlier. pakistan either created or was the midwife for many of these terrorist organizations. it retains very close links with some of them, particularly with -- [unintelligible] it is then it passes support ofmullah omar -- of mullah
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omar, up until 2001, when richard partridge threatened it with being thrown back into the stone age. it has the capacity to be a patron of terror and a victim of terror, which is very hard for most western mind to put their head around. it is very much at the war -- with this frankenstein. the attacks of the shower demonstrate that this is not going very well -- in pahawar. if it spreads further south, it may deal in economic death blow to pakistan today. why does pakistan have such a complex relationship? because of its obsession with india. the pakistani army believes and has believed for 60 years the
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debt asymmetric warfare as part of its tactics for defeating the indians. it is not succeeded. it has not worked. but this view remains deeply entrenched and parts, significant parts of the pakistani officer corps and the pakistani leader. in short, the stakes in afghanistan and pakistan could not be greater. the future of al qaeda, the future of the nato alliance, the possibility of nuclear war and peace in southeast asia, all of these issues come together here. on march 27, president obama focused the mission of american forces in this combat zone on a more narrow one. on disrupting, dismantling and defeating al qaeda and destroying its sanctuary along the afghanistan-pakistan border.
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if you read his speech carefully, it was clear that while there was a specific mission, to get there, we have to stabilize at -- afghanistan- pakistan. that is a much broader mission. the review i gave to the president had it 20 major recommendations. 180 sub-recommendations. i will not go into all of them here today. most of them are outlined in his speech of march 27. or reiterated in a speech to west point. what i want to stress is this -- this is resource-intensive. this is going to come with a big cost. to send one american soldier to afghanistan for one soldier cost $1 million. if you think there is an economy of scale, forget it. sending 30,000 will cost more than $30 million. it does not get cheaper by sending more. it gets more expensive.
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then on the nine-military side, it is expensive as well. the president has approved the kerry blue or legislation which triples economic assistance to pakistan, to $1.5 million a year. -- $1.5 billion. people look at me now and say, we spent that on general motors and a half an hour. over 10 years, that is $50 billion. it will make pakistan largest single repository of american economic assistance outside of afghanistan and iraq. what happened in the eight months from march 27 until the speech last week it was. codex many things, but two i want to highlight. -- many things but two i want to highlight. on the military side, we had an unprecedented event.
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the strategic review called upon the commander of forces in afghanistan to come up with an operational plan for a counterinsurgency strategy and southern and eastern afghanistan. that task was given to general richard it. for reasons i do not know, he was judged to be the wrong man for the job -- general mkiernan. she was fired by secretary gates. the last time we fired a battlefield commander during wartime was 1951. and the issue then was whether or not to use nuclear weapons against communist china. i do not know what the general did, but if he had as much trouble as douglas macarthur, it must have been something pretty big. the important thing is this. we lost time. we lost two months of his time, and we had to take three months to get general mcchrystal comfortable with the situation on the ground and to give his recommendations. instead of an operational plan
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being delivered in may, it was delivered at the end of august. in the interim, the military situation in afghanistan deteriorated sharply. more portly, from the president's standpoint, support for the war among democrats and the democratic party dropped through the floor. what had been a good war a year ago, was now just like every other war -- a bad war. skepticism about the war had become widespread among the president's core supporters. the second thing that happened was on the political front the -- the expectation in march was that we would be able to work with the then-afghan government and with the international community to produce something that would look like a legitimate and credible presidential election. instead, we got a fiasco, followed by a disaster.
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no one can pretend that this afghan presidential election was legitimate or credible. in the first round, president karzai's supporters produced 1 million fraudulent ballots. that is a lot. even by the standards of florida or illinois, this is cheating on a global scale. [laughter] he got caught and he got away with it. i am not sure how illegitimate his government looks in the eyes of afghans, but it looks the legitimate in the eyes of americans and of our european and non-european isaf partners. this administration has to bear some of the responsibility for this. this did not happen on george bush's watch. its behavior towards the afghan election was a little bit like the famous der and headlights. it could see the problem coming -- a deer int h the headlights.
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here again, we do not have a time machine. we cannot go back. we will have to work with president karzai. we may find, in retrospect, that this was the fatal blow to our efforts to defeat the taliban. we do not know that yet. and i think we can turn it around. but mrs. clinton now has a date for the next three years. she will be managing mr. karzai. she needs to avoid demonizing. she needs to avoid temper tantrums. she needs to find a way to bring out the best in karzai. so, where are we going forward from here? let me offer you three observations. first, this is a bold gamble. what the president has embarked upon today has no guaranteed
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success. there is no assurance this is going to work. they're all kinds of things that may fail. trying to build an afghan army and police force may be a lot harder and i suggest will be a lot harder than we think. trying to reverse the taliban's momentum will be difficult. for sure, casualty's will go up. -- a significant lead. domestic dissent here and in other nato countries over this war will get stronger and harder. there are several potential game changers. -- that could change everything, literally in a matter of minutes. another 9/11 attack inside the united states, and it does not have to bring down two of the largest buildings in the world to be significant, that yous me out of pakistan, -- that comes out of pakistan will be a game
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changer. he will not be able to call up islamabad and say, do something about it. she will have to do something about it. another mumbai mass casualty attack in india also coming out of pakistan will also be the game changer. the indian government's capacity to absorb mass casualty attacks, i suspect, has been reached. second thing i would say about it is, as hard as it is, it is the best of the bad options we have today. really only had two other options. one was cutting and running. we can define it cutting and running and a lot of different ways -- downsize the mission, readjust the mission, but all of them come down to cutting and running one way or another. i think the president wisely
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ruled that out from the beginning. if we are defeated in afghanistan by the tell them, it will also be a global quaint intrigue -- by the taliban, it will be a global game changer. the global reverberations of such to feed will be enormous and nowhere more so than next door and pakistan. thirdly, this issue will now consume this president. which is why it took the 92 days to come to this conclusion. i would not like it, either. this issue is going to be the foreign policy issue upon which this president is judged by the american people in november, 2012, and it will be the foreign policy issue that the congress of united states is judged upon
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less than a year from now. other issues may outweigh at -- the economy -- but this will be the foreign policy issue that people look at. it is going to need to be explained to the american people again and again why they are sending their sons and daughters to the other side of the planet to fight a war which has been going on now longer than any war in american history. it is going to have to be explained how we intend to win that war and how we hope to get out of it. that will mean political energy, political capital and the most precious thing at any white house -- the time the president will have to devote to this issue. war is consumed presidencies. and this war stance on the verge of consuming this presidency. last thing i would say. my final note. the good news in all of this? i genuinely believe we will now in july, august, 2011, whether
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this strategy works. why do i say that? by then, we will have had additional forces in for six months -- for more than a year. we will have found out whether we can break the momentum of the tell aliban. and how pakistan reacts to all of this. we will have found out whether we can build an afghan security force. we will not have achieved a victory. the end will be nowhere in sight, but we will at least know whether we have a strategy that has a promise of success. if it does, i would suggest to you that there would be hit very, very -- there would be very, very few soldiers coming home in september, 2011. if it does not work, we will face the decision of only up to
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that in deciding where to go next. -- owinning up to that and deciding where to go next. i hope he does not call me that day. thank you very much. [applause] >> we will open the floor. she has time for a few questions and answers. -- he has time for a few questions and answers. anybody have a question? all right. you are the man. so... sorry. >> robbie. >> why don't you let him? sorry. >> thanks for this talk, and i would like to ask one question, if we use the strategy of cut and run, do you recommend any psychological tactics to make the enemy feel defeated?
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because we can still do cut and run as long as we are covering this with proper psychological tactics that can give them a feel of the feet. >> -- a feel of defeat. >> nothing springs to mind immediately as to how we can turn retreat into victory. there are various levels of cut and run. we do not have to completely give up. we can say we areafghanizing -- afghanizing the war war quickly. we can hope the government survives as long -- the communist government in afghanistan outlived the soviet union but only barely. it is not a parallel i think we want to spend time thinking about. . .
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it does not work that way. >> this morning we got an interesting call. he bailed the use the three words that you used in the first five minutes of your talk, global islamic jihad. from your advisory perspective, how did that resonate in this current administration?
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when he asked -- when he was asked that specifically, it seemed to be pushed back. >> i have the liberty of saying what ever i want to say. he is a very good friend and colleague and he is now in the administration. the simplest answer is that i do think this administration understands that this is a battle of ideas and narratives, and that it has to come up with a counter narrative to the narrative of the global islamic jihad. something that they have created over the last decade or so. the proof of that is the president's speech and cairo. i think that it in some ways was addressed directly to this. what is the narrative the global islamic jihad? the short version is that the united states is now an
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imperialist power, a crusading power, which is trying to impose its will on the muslim world by dividing the muslim world up in the small states which it can manipulate, just as an earlier agreement broke up the arab world in the wake of world war i. obama's opening line in cairo is that we are not a colonial power. we are revolutionary state. we were born in a revolution against the empire. it was a great speech. i don't think anyone disputes that. the problem will be following it up. the counter narrative, just like the narrative, ask to be punctuated with real wings. -- has to be pumped awaited with real things. -- has to be punctuated with real things.
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they are having a difficult time. they do not have partners with whom to work with. that makes moving forward very hard. i am believe -- i am convinced that they understand the central role of the war ideology here. >> i am a fulbright student studying at the university of maryland. i'm from afghanistan and iran after almost four months ago. i really enjoyed your speech. i wanted to make a comment. it is about my country, afghanistan. to talk about elections, i was there during the elections and
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worked on the elections. we were seeing how things were being arranged and everybody was watching that. and we could see that these were the consequences. but anyway, it is not a big deal in the eyes of afghans because it was the second election in the history of our country, and they are used to impose presidents and kings. that is not a big deal. and right now we have to find a way to work with the president and the administration, and the best thing we can do is push our president to bring the right people on board. and secondly, with regards to the engagement of united states in afghanistan, you know that
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people talk about eight years in afghanistan, but i am telling you, it has not been eight years of engagement with the united states and the other international communities. it was one year and a few months of engagement, beginning in 2002 through 2003, when the united states went to iraq. and since then, we were seeing that all the problems, all of the issues that were taking us to failure, and were taking us to giving support to the taliban, but we were just watching -- i hope -- and i
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wanted to put an end -- >> a question, please. we did not have time for a statement. >> i would just like to finish my statement by saying that we have the chance in afghanistan because we have the will of our people on our side. thank you very much. >> i think i agree with almost everything that you said. karzai's problem is more here than it is there. and i certainly agree with everything you said about the effect of the war in iraq on afghanistan. >> wait for the microphone, please. no, no, you have party as the question today. -- you have already asked a question that it. >> you contrasted the situation
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in afghanistan is facing us now with the situation facing the russians before us. i hate has this question but you beg the comparison. the other comparison is the a some -- what johnson faced in vietnam. you know the question. >> the coast of vietnam haunts this administration. it walks through the corridors of this white house every day. it's certainly walks to the corridors of the united states congress constantly. but afghanistan 2009 is not vietnam 1965 or not even 1961. it is a very different situation. we were attacked from afghanistan. the most successful foreign attack on the united states of america, bar one -- the royal
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navy's attack on the capital and 1814. it was carried out from afghanistan. those who did that are plotting to day a repeat performance. in 2006, on the fifth anniversary of september 11, they plan to repeat performance would have -- which would have been more chilling and devastating than what happened on september 11, 2001. the operation to blow up eight jumbo jets flying across the north the land and in canada. had that succeeded, more people would have died then died on september 11, and the international airline business would have gone out of business. no one in their right mind would have gotten on an airplane and loan anywhere today. as bad as the viet cong were, as bad as the north vietnamese were, they had no designs to attack the united states.
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the specter of the north vietnamese attacking seattle was entirely created by johnson administration. have no basis in fact. -- it had no basis in fact. second, we are not in afghanistan as a colonial, imperialist power. there is not an american in america who wants to come and control afghanistan. to the contrary, we would like to get away as quickly as we can. the situation in vietnam, the united states there which it was there with very little international legitimacy. i also don't think that afghanistan today is afghanistan of the soviet union or rock 2007. let's deal with the situation that we have, not with analogies to other places.
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but i understand the question. [inaudible] >> certainly in terms of domestic american politics, there is a parallel. the president finds himself in a terrible situation. while the critics of the war are nancy pelosi democrats from san francisco, cambridge, and the new york city. all the supporters of the war are sarah palin republicans. it is a terrible place for a democratic president to be. the people he has to convince to support him are his natural constituency. sarah palin is just looking for the opportunities for him to screw it up. the politics of that are terrible for the president.
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>> you mentioned that we do not know where bin laden is. there have been reports over a number of years -- if he is not stayed in iran, calling back and forth to are wrong. there were reports in 2004 and other people had photographic evidence. that he and me -- he may have been there until january 2009. what about islam -- what about his ties to the islamic republic? >> i want to be absolutely explicit. the last time we had a solid piece of information about where osama bin laden was, was eight years ago. we do not have a clue where he is. bob gates asked this question -- was asked this question, he said it is been a few years.
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i am a big fan of bob gates. i think he was being a little misleading. it has been eight years, mr. gates, since we had any idea where he was. has he been in iran? i do not rule out the possibility. al qaeda has been able to operate -- operational activity in iran on more than one occasion. we do not know what the relationship between the government of iran and that operational activity was. i would suggest to you that if the iranians wanted to give us trouble in the world in the next few years, one of the simplest ways for them to do with is to just allow a higher degree of al qaeda operational activity in their territory freed since we have no baseline as to what they allow, it would be hard to judge if it is important or significant, where is all coming from. the relationship between al
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qaeda and iran is a black hole. >> the syndicated terrorist organizations -- the was not a single afghan on the plane for 9/11. there is the guy from call right now. mullah omar is allowing himself to use some things and he is sending out messages. they say, come and talk to me. why don't we give it a chance and see whether the strategy will work out tonight? >> there are some brokerage -- there are several questions buried in that one question.
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first of all, those chosen by osama bin laden to carry out the september of attacks were killed -- were chosen very deliberately. bin laden brilliant realize that by putting 15 saudis on those airplanes, he would create a crisis in the u.s.-saudi relationship. and he did. it was a brilliant piece of tactical advice. he could that had all 19 saudis, he would have had all 19 saudis. mullah omar and the taliban in negotiations. i don't believe that is what mullah omar is saying. i believe that he is saying that we are prepared to let you leave. more less gracefully. and then the islamic emirate of afghanistan will be recreated and we will talk to our fellow afghans about what their places will be in it.
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he is not offering negotiations with the karzai government to the contrary, karzai is a traitor and deserves a traders' response. -- i traitor's response. but i do not believe that all the taliban are irreconcilable. parts of the taliban may be prepared to break with mullah omar and the philosophy of the global islamic jihad. they are not willing to do it now. nobody in their right mind is when the break with that movement. you would be dead tomorrow morning. and so with your family. if the momentum is shifting, and we can offer security protection who break -- to those who break from the taliban, then we might be able to see the fissures within the taliban movement. if we do something simple, like pay afghan soldiers more money than the taliban pays their soldiers, we all most -- we may
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also find that people will switch over. we do not know. that is part of what i mean about knowing in 18 months. we will see whether fischer's like this begin to develop in the taliban, and whether resources in the afghan army more properly brings in recruits who might otherwise go to the taliban. i think we will know that within a definite period of time. but i am very skeptical of the notion that the taliban -- at least mullah omar -- is interested in anything like negotiations with the united states. if they are, there is a simple way for them to prove their point of these -- there bona fides. give us osama bin laden. >> let's go back here beside the door. >> i am with american
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conservative magazine print not all the opposition to the war is left to the democrats. what about an exit strategy? there's been talk about fourth generation warfare. but america is a democracy and we are incapable against fighting the guerrillas. the balancing ideas, which in moved into a defensive strategy, which we could do well. and as a democracy, we can -- how can we have a coherent policy? for example, the west bank, we cannot stop them. >> the short answer to your question is we tried it defensive policy between 1998, when al qaeda declared war on us, and september 11, 2001. we ended up with the september
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11, 2001. i sat in the situation room in the white house when we law of the cruise missiles at what we thought was osama bin laden's next nonpoint of activity. that is a very difficult strategy to carry out, because we have to be lucky and foiling every single plot that they come up with. they only have to be lucky once or twice to have devastating effects on us. we may get there. let me put a marker down here. in 18 months, we will know. it is not working, we need to be very onerous and rigorous with ourselves and saying that is not working. the patient is dead. and then we may have to go to that strategy. i would rather find out whether there is a better alternative to the one you are suggesting. >> patrick edington, and we
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appreciate your remarks. i'm a former intelligence officer like you. probably a lot of those types, quite frankly, in this room. here's the deal. five years ago congress rejected a resolution to bring that. we're not willing to have our sons and daughters, our friends and neighbors bear the burden. physically. the speaker has said there will be no war surtax. so we're not willing to impress paying for this thing financially, one would say. what does that say about our level of commitment? if we take your proposition at face value, which is, we have to find a way to mitigate this threat, i don't think you can completely eliminated, and that is the big lie that is out there, that politicians on both sides of the aisle are saying, that the threat can be made to
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permanently go away -- not happening. when we going to start talking honestly with each other and the american people about that fact? and what are we going to do to get people to understand that if we really engaged in conflicts like this, we are going to have to pay for them? thank you. >> is a very good and difficult question. ecotourism's a little beyond my area of expertise. -- it goes a little beyond my area of expertise. it has all kinds of implications for other things that we want to do. i do not know whether the situation in iraq is going to get worse next year, as many expect it will, but i think that the drawdown of u.s. forces in iraq will be compelled by the situation in afghanistan. we will not have the option of doing both at once. one great light that has been
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exposed in the last decade -- one great lie that has been exposed in the last decade is that you and that -- u.s. military can fight two conflicts of the same time. lesson -- if you can fight one, do not start another. i think that this is lunacy. we could not afford to do that. we simply cannot afford to do that. that has implications for the future of our runs nuclear weapons development program. no president is going to take the military option off of the table, but i think anyone who looks seriously at the united states military today, like bob gates or admiral mollen, would say to the president, let's start at new work? mr. president, if you want to do
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that, it is your nickel. but here is my resignation. thank you very much. [applause] >> bruce will be available to sign copies of his book. what will break for 10 mess and then we will start the next session. chris will remain outside signing his book. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> well embedded with the -- while embedded with the u.s. forces in afghanistan, david axe observe the use of drone units. >> one handles the north in the south. the south as the busier of the two. the tag numbers are classified but i would guess 100 predator and referred to rooms. the predators look like giant model airplanes. about the size of a small combat
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car. the reapers are about as twice as big. they look more like honest to god fighter jets than they do model airplanes. you can hamed the bombs on these things, and in their noses, they carry sensors, cameras, radars, things like that. these things can stay in the air a long time to read the exact number depends on what you're carrying an way you are flying. but it is not impossible for one of these to orbit for a whole day, soaking up vast amounts of the imagery and data, peering down, taking radar snapshots of terrain. the drones -- you can think of them is manned aircraft except that the man in the aircraft is actually on the ground. he is still talking to the ground troopers and the bar and air controllers. they use a chat program that looks like instant messenger to do a lot of the communications
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with the guys receiving the support from the drums. the drones are fairly precise, as far as these things go. they do not carry large weapons or fire a lot of them. it is a far cry from a be-one dropping a 2000-pound bomb on a suspected taliban position. >> this is a predator, one- quarter of the size of the reaper. essentially, it is efficient for what it does, which is stay airborne for a long period of time. it has a small engine in the back. the payload that it can carry as much smaller. instead of carrying four missiles, and does carry two. we don't even live with the full load of missiles because weight is fuel and fuel is time aloft. it helps clear the roads and support the troops if they are
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out on a convoy or performing some kind of strategic level mission. the payload is a little smaller. the picture is not as nice as the reaper, but at the same time it does exactly the same mission. >> the drawn units in afghanistan cannot actually handle many attack. the reason being, the drone actions are bifurcated. most of the people who steer them, they said in these trailers and they see what the drones seat. most of these guys are in a las vegas. the guys in afghanistan just launched and recovered the drums. they also are responsible for drawn operations in certain small areas. usually around the air base. what happens is like a 24/hour
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operation. these air force guys and contractors are constantly dragging them out to the air strip, launching them from the control of trailers, and then they pass them off to the guys in las vegas. and the gazan las vegas will fly around for a day or so, and returned the drones to be -- return control to the guys in kandahar. those guys can keep the drone for about an hour. they will look for roadside bombs are enemy activity. >> that took a plane and it took the pilot out of the cockpit and a put a satellite dish and dared the pilot is still controlling the aircraft. just because there's no one in the plane, it is always looking for that human control link saying, what am i doing? and we did that because the missions can be so long that a regular person could not sit up
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there in a small tract speech. it allows us to do a lot to work back in the u.s.. there is no need to have a big footprint here. the crew can shift out. sometime they were for four hours and have a two-hour break. having that kind of flexibility allows you to do that. th>> they had video cameras. it looks like a tv camera. they also have high fidelity radar that takes impressive snapshots of the terrain to read what you do is take in the morning one snapshot. you come back in the evening and take another and compare them. if you see differences, if that corner looks as if it has been disturbed or someone is talking of the ground, you might have spotted a roadside bomb. the taliban will come in and.
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why you're not looking. but if you have the snapshot to compare them, is called change detection. that is a lot of what they do. they revisit areas and take radar snapshots and they send in the ground teams to dig those things up and so forth. this is a reaper. how was it different from the predator? >> it is the same design that they just bailed out. bigger wings, more powerful engines, and we get to carry more. instead of tearing two missiles, which in typically carry four missiles and two bombs. and in the payload is different. they're able to put a larger -- is basically a telescopic you can put better optics and carry out more weight. it can go higher and faster.
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it is tough to get the predator over 100 m.p.h. you can push the reaper up over 200 knots and get their significantly faster. >> you also use this for roadside bombs. >> correct. the reaper has a synthetic radar under the nose, and another sensor package that is on there. it uses radio waves just like a rabbit -- regular radar, but you get a nice image of the brown beard week by the same path and try to keep the roads clear indeed the ied's -- and keep the high 80s -- ied's off the roads. >> david axe was embedded in september and october and november. for more, you can check out our
9:31 pm web site. . go to the search box in the upper right-hand corner and type in"axe." coming up next, a look relations between the u.s. and the muslim world. also, a former republican presidential candidate steve forms on how president obama as handling the economy and the latest on the senate health care debate. >> tomorrow morning on "washington journal," we will discuss a report on paying for the war in afghanistan but lawrence korb. the latest on the healthcare debate with senator john grasso and merry land from reaching j -- john barasso and mary
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landrieu. >> tomorrow, a look @ quinnipiac university is latest opinion survey on health care. live coverage from the national press club at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. >> c-span, christmas day, a look ahead to 2010 politics, including eric's cantor and david gregory buzz aldrin and fellow astronauts on the legacy of apollo 11. a discussion on the role of muslims in america and the world. later, of former cia intelligence officer on u.s. strategy against the taliban and afghanistan and remembering the lives of william f. buckley, jr. and senator ted kennedy.
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>> and now, a discussion on relations between the u.s. and the muslim world heard representatives of the state and defensive departments joined muslim and journalists and activists in the discussion. it was toasted by the muslim -- >> welcome, everybody coming to the last session for the convention. we will have the banquet after this. thanks to all of you for hanging in for this. it has been a long day and you have intended a lot of interesting and informative panels. we hope to leave you with a bang. we are running a few minutes late, and as people are trickling in, we're going to go ahead and get started at the point i will briefly introduce the panelist and then we will go ahead and do this session. i will lead 15 minutes at the end for questions. we'll be taking questions from
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the floor and in britain format, and also on line, you can submit them. and if they meet with my approval, i will ask them. let me introduce our panel is very briefly. you can read their pulled by nose in the program. -- you can read their full biographies in the program. starting to my left, jonathan morgan stern, who works at the department of defense. prior to that he was the deputy director for national security policy at third way, a progressive think tank. his also worked as the senior policy officer for peace. he is a captain in the marine reserves. -- he did active force in bosnia and two stores in iraq.
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another is the assistant deputy secretary of state for middle eastern affairs. she is overseeing the peace initiative and the north african peace initiative. she is and the past -- she has directed part of the sorbonne center, a well-known think tank in washington cd. she has served as middle east peace. she is offered of forthcoming work on democracy in the arab world. it has come out. layla is a spokesperson for the muslim woman's league. she has served on the impact board in the past. she was a member of the u.s. delegation to the un conference on women in beijing. she has also served as a member of the u.s. commission on international religious freedom. she is the chair person of a
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charity that focuses on children's names in palestine. she has a day job as the ob/gyn at the uc school of medicine. our fourth panelist has not joined us, and hopefully he will very shortly. i will introduce him if he makes it to our session. i am going to jump right in and we will go for about 45 minutes with the panel and then we will save the last 15 minutes for questions. and we will end on time at 6:15. the panel is labeled "improving u.s. and muslim relations." i wondered if that question even made sense.
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can we speak of u.s.-muslim world relations? does that make sense spirit who in the muslim world a week trying to relate to, a government or to the mass of public opinion or to the elites in the country, not necessarily in the government but who dominate the societies? i like to take that as my first question for the panelists. let's have you will weigh in on that it could. please go ahead whoever would like. jonathan. >> moderating the volume properly. we can start with an anecdote a few years ago. i was working as a low ranking release -- marine, and one of the senior marines had propose something about a terrorist incident. i said, well, extremist muslims.
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and i understand the discussion we had earlier about how you label al qaeda and their ilk. i said, extremist muslims would probably say this about the demand. and a senior marine turned to me and said, the main muslims or extremist muslims. i said, well, our turkish allies that we just came back from serving with in bosnia, as well as the bosnians and the cause of ours -- kosavars would probably say the extremist muslims. it brings the home -- the point home in that dealing with the muslim world as a monolithic group, it does not hold water militarily. the wade that we interact with our allies, the turkish
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military, one of our closest allies in nato and around the world, it is clearly something that we have to deal with in a very different way than how the u.s. military learns to deal with its relationship with the iraqis on the ground in iraq and the afghans on the ground in afghanistan, and wherever we are in the world read the marine corps does a lot of training exercises with the senegalese, which 98% are muslim. obviously dealing with muslim communities everywhere is a different dynamic, based on the people you are interacting with. the idea of dealing with the muslim world as a whole, it is not something that the dod for the most part things up. not as a monolithic entity. >> is it on?
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speaking from a state department perspective, we actually do not speak in terms of the muslim world or a muslim world. one person appointed as these special ever representative the muslim communities -- that is the way we think about this engagement, the new beginning that the president spoke about and cairo, reaching out to communities of muslims who exists in a diversity of environments, as minority communities and many states around the globe. i think that we are all well past the point where we're talking about a monolithic conceptions' either of a muslim world or of islam. what we're trying to do now in building a new kind of partnership is reach well beyond governments and talk about
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citizens, talk about communities, and in a variety of contexts and reach out to the diversity of those communities to get a sense of what their different perspectives are, what they're different needs are, and what different kinds of partnerships we can build. >> it is encouraging to hear that from both of you because it is something we've been arguing all long time, how the muslim world is not monolithic. what applies in the northern states of nigeria is very different than what applies in iran. when you talk about something as important as sharia, you cannot talk in general terms because it is different and pakistan or in parts of africa, for example. the problem we have had is that there still elements in american society that want to label as long like that, as a religion that endorses violence, and
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talks about it in that general sense for reasons we can only speculate. it gives the sense that creates a certain hysteria and paranoia, the type of which might have led to the swiss to vote not have minarets in switzerland any more because of this is salaam -- islamaphobic attitude. çówe are still faced with this n our society. one element of that does come from the media. >> thank you for those comments. let me introduce our fourth panel was briefly. you can read his biography in its entirety. i will briefly summarize it. is the editor of the "muslim observer," the director of the islamic society of nevada. he is also the author of 11
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books and over 700 papers and articles. a very prolific writer, obviously. is spoken often on national and local media and his former vice chairman of impact. a long standing association with impact. we would like to welcome you to the panel. we were making remarks about the framework of discussion, whether it makes sense to talk about u.s.-muslim world relations rather than the u.s. relationship with specific u.s. -- muslim communities and nations. does that framework makes sense? >> thank you very much. i am sorry that i might. there was an event going on that they want me to be there. i decided to come here. i think the notion that u.s. should engage with the muslim world precisely because of 9/11 or because of what happened after that is probably not very
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well founded in history. the relationship between the muslim world is only 500 years old. in these years, we've had a least 56 times been involved militarily in any part of the muslim world. in these years, we have had at least -- trout fillet, algiers, and others. our first work comes from those wars. and the memories of those kind of relationships are not very about what you call, cordele in the minds of those people who were part of the foreign-policy apparatus. but what basically has happened is that during the last 25 or so
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years, in terms of our relationship with the muslim world, we had been seen as a country that is not very respectful for human life in the muslim world. almost 12,000 americans had been killed since 1983. 288,000 muslims have lost their life as the result of intervention in those countries. it's been written that the u.s. primarily goes into muslim countries primarily to support democratic muslim cost -- causes. but another says that if the united states stop killing muslims, the relationship between the two countries would improve. so we have a lot of tensions but a lot of potential also.
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despite the fact that all of these things happen, the united states was the only country that intervened in kosovo and bosnia. we had these tensions, but the united states was the only country that led the movement against the soviet union in afghanistan and on the taliban and the other fighters and gave pakistan the signal to go ahead and all those things. what best we can describe as our farm policy does not make any rational understanding when it comes the muslim arabs and the middle east. there has been confusion. >> all right, alslam. let me call upon what you're saying there. i'd think that -- one line of argument is that united states, by engaging in certain words,
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obviously afghanistan and iraq are the biggest ones right now, that this has impacted the opinion of the united states throughout the world in a negative way. and that certainly during the administration, we surplus all opinions of the united states sink right -- quite low in opinion polling. and on the flip side, the united states could argue with those that supported american policy that you're not take into account the united states did in fact intervene on the behalf of muslims and bosnia and inco's of of -- kosovo, and in kuwait, when kuwait was occupied by saddam hussein's forces. and then there was the earthquake and pakistan, the tidal wave and the rescue effort after that in indonesia. certainly the united states was viewed favorably by those people that benefited from that.
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so to throw back at you in that sense, is it too narrow to judge united states only by the worst things that happened or only by the best things that happened, or is there some way to take all the elements into account? >> that is why i say it is confusing when it comes to the middle east in the arab world and the muslims. if you go back to the early 1950's, you find that the united states was split on the issue of recognition of the state of israel. the state department was opposed. president truman was basically advocating a state. until 1956, we did not support the state of israel. we're opposed even supporting it through arms or enter into any kind of negotiations are treaties with israel.
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-- four treaties with israel. with john f. kennedy, we had problems with the state of israel. relations were not always very cordial. in terms of united states relationship with the muslim world, despite the fact that the muslim world accounts for 18% of jobs in the united states for imports or exports, we basically have $500 billion exports with the muslim world which account for many jobs in this country. from that perspective, you find that even from the perspective of the domestic issues in the domestic politics, and you go from one in to the other in terms of developing a rational policy toward the muslim world, and the question that needs to be asked about a rational policy, the issue is should we have a rational foreign-policy?
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>> let me move the discussion board here. >> i think the idea of a rational policy, as you seem to be describing it, would not necessarily take into account both given developments through history or like we were talking about, the broader array of possibilities, whether from iraq or indonesia. our policies about what is going on in savannah -- saddam might change overtime -- sudan might change overtime. we did not take issue in darfur, but that was some issued that a few leaders around the world mention that. just because we do not necessarily do the exact same thing across all countries, i think a lot of the time that can
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be taken to account because our interests might in one area, in terms of economics, be more important than in other areas, the security interests be more important, and just like every other country into the world, we have to take into account a balance of different issues with different communities in different countries. >> let me comment quickly about that we understand that. we know that our government is going to be pragmatic. but when you look at attitudes abroad, even those we said that muslims are not monolithic, as a group they sometimes share certain sentiments that are important toward the united states. it is that inconsistency and the sense that, what is the criteria they use to decide when you're going to intervene and when you do night. and if you say human rights and support for democracy and one cents, and then you do not do it in another, there's an underlying sense that our interests are really security or
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oil or other things. there's a sense of lack of transparency and not being straightforward with people who clearly can see how things are. this is why the u.s. keeps tripping itself of. one of the most sensitive issues is israel/palestine. i year-ago, there was an assault on gaza, the gallstone report confirming the amount of casualty's greedy in not a states was basically silent during the attack on lebanon. so there is a sense of, what the standards? is this something that undermines our credibility as an american government in that part of the world that people have to take stock with? i think it is a reality that our community here and the muslims throughout the rest of the world. [applause] i appreciate what you're saying. i think that there are a couple
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of points that are important to make your. the first is that this administration, beginning with the president's visit to his temple, continuing with his speech and cairo and other travels and meetings and diplomacy visits going on since then, is two of things. i think we should all agree that the cadre speech was a very frank discussion of a lot of issues that have caused tension -- that the cairo speech was a very frank discussion of a lot of issues that have caused tensions. we need to recognize that muslim communities are the bears, but they exist in a variety of different places, and different communities have different issues important to them, different priorities, and what we want to do is pursue relationships that go beyond the
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high politics, the things that are not the top of the news every day, and we understand that people think about them first when they think about the united states, so we are engaged on those issues. president obama has been engaged since day one, as you know, try to pursue peace in the middle east and get the parties back to negotiations said that we can achieve a two-state solution. we are continuing to do that work. but we need to take this relationship beyond high politics and security interests, beyond trade interest, to the people to people level. established new partnerships that get at local needs and local concerns and build those partnerships in a way that is real, that is meaningful, that has some meat on the bone. >> let me follow up on -- [applause] let me follow up on your comments here. what i was struck by was pew
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research group doing polling throughout the muslim world, and elected the favorability of the u.s. in those populations and compared the numbers that we are generating now under obama and the numbers that were visible on the last two years of the prior administration. there has obviously been a large dramatic jump. the numbers are looking much better. let me ask you from the government policy standpoint, is this a goal of the administration to increase the popularity of the united states in the population of these countries? or is it not all that important in terms of foreign policy goals? and number two, and all like the other panelists away and, you think the change in these numbers is due to actual substantive changes between bush and obama, or if you think that is mostly -- mostly stylistic changes in the town and the
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language of opinions use? and i'm trying to get you off messaging get fired from the state department. let me clarify that. >> he is going to get me fired. i think we all like to be light. we are encouraged when we see it in public opinion world wide in support of and at the state. but we talk about indicators for success. how do we know if we are following up on the president's words in cairo in a way that is meaningful? how do we know if we are actually putting meat on the bone, as i said. if we took public opinion as our main indicator, we would be making a mistake. public opinion can be affected by a variety of factors, only some of which we had any control over. and public opinion, as we know from this country, can be fickle. we have to go beyond the superficial indicator.
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what we're trying to do it is to go local. the program that i managed at the state department is just within the middle east, the countries from morocco to rocked and the gulf, a program that is working to go local, to bring u.s. foreign assistance to the local level. we have about half of the projects we do propose by local ngos in arab countries to our embassies and we provide, in many cases, very small grants to local groups to do the work they see as priorities in their community. that is said -- that is the level of acceptance we're putting behind this idea. we do not think it is just time. we're trying to put a lot of substance behind it. we're trying to make it visible to average citizens, not just on
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a television screens but in the streets of their towns. >> coming from the department of defense, obviously the kind of relationship is going to be much more of a security context, and in the aftermath of the president's announcement of the refinement of the afghan and pakistan strategy, i believe turkey was among the nato allies that collectively announced in the last couple of days that they are going to contribute an additional 7000, with the impossibility of increasing up to 10,000 more troops for the allied effort in afghanistan. and i was as late just looking at this samepew poll numbers that you were looking at. it is probably because he spent some part of his childhood in indonesia, with a significant majority of support for the
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president, but across the board, i think public opinion in other parts of the world does matter because is -- it would be more difficult to get that kind of support, i think, from our allies, especially on a country like turkey if the president did not have that kind of increase in support around the world. that is a tangible sign -- not even a sign but a tangible fact that public opinion matters. >> increases the flexibility that the president has in terms of getting a policy that he wants. >> and it is an increase in our ability to keep our country secure, intelligence collaboration, law enforcement collaboration in parts of the world explicitly because governments feel more
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comfortable being seen as close with the united states and under the previous administration. and that is a very tangible reality that helps keep our country secure. >> and the polls depend on who are conducting them. the second thing that needs to be taken into consideration is the perception in the muslim world of the changes, the policy changes. on the one hand, we're supporting this month -- this much. on the other hand, we're supporting people with human- rights and center everything to have no regard for human rights and human dignity. on the other hand, we want to hear that we defend democracy and human rights. .
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>> certainly here, in that respect, my understanding is that this department and the department of defense, despite their efforts, the state department has spent $53 billion in all of its activities. you have not been able to hire people who could understand the culture, language, and the people of the muslim world. in the state department and the defense department, we do not
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have any more than 200 language experts. we do not have a substantial study of any moslem country -- muslim country. we have that kind of understanding. the policies are based on several irrational understandings, not on facts, but rather it is based on some of the middle writings that have become part of the political literature. in that respect, i feel that effort needs to be done and the muslim community can definitely play a role. unfortunately, is still in this administration, that bridge between the muslim and state department has been built that
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can give confidence that these are the interests that the united states holds. it would benefit human rights. [applause] >> did you want to make a comment? >> i think that, as you talk about, we get into this tricky area where there could be disagreements. my only point is that there is a connection. >> we will continue to do that. >> my point is that having experience trying to do humanitarian work in the gaza strip where moss -- hamas is in control, whether usaid can make
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its presence again, and granted, it is a small area, it is not a huge country where you could have a bigger impact if you are investing in literacy projects, but it is those small stories that get broadcast around the world that make a difference. if we are only going to work with some groups and not others because of the high politics, then it makes it more difficult for the local effort to have an impact in a major way. i just want to reinforce the importance that you can only go so far, especially if you are focusing on some groups. >> i am going to move along. to get you in on the next point. what i am hearing is the only
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one hand, there are points being made about what the united states is doing in terms of engaging with muslim communities around the world. perhaps dealing with some of the longstanding issues that have been going on, and trying to improve this in a high politics level. then there is also some very serious concerns about the underlying motivators. the gap between our ideals and reality. the gap between what policy may be. i think that this raises the issue of that is something that is quite the fodder for university students.
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what is the legitimate basis? is it strictly a very narrow focus on what is perceived as national focus or should it lead to higher moral principles? i think i am going to leave that to individual audience members to think about. but i want to get at that topic. there are clearly issues out there in relationships, and issues that are of great importance to the united states and then there are issues that are important to most americans -- to muslim-americans. it appears to me that the most important issue is preventing another terrorist attacks, to deal with nuclear proliferation in iran, to do with developing
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viable exit's. for muslim communities, it is justice for the palestinians. another issue of great concern is cashmere. those issues seemed to be more important to muslim communities. to what extent, and let me get to that question, to what extent are the goals and issues that are important to the united states and the issues that are important to muslim communities so divergent that there is not enough overlap for either side to really be satisfied with what they see going on with the other party? is there an overlap? i will open that up. >> a thank you pose that -- i
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think depose that in a fascinating way. i can tell you that interest is derived from values. those are what guide our sense of interest. our policies derive from our interests. there is a hierarchy here and at the top of it is values. i think that there has already been a lot of discussion about the values inherent in american culture in the way that muslims in america interact with the values. i do not have to go on about that. the values that are at the center of american identity of values that are shared by other communities around the world. i do not think this is unique to
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america. this is something that is not unique to americans. it is shared around the world. these human rights that we enjoy in the united states, that we seek to defend in our courts will we feel they have been infringed, those of the saints human-rights that iranians are demanding from their own government and they are standing up and calling for the iranian government to protect and defend those rights. i think that we have a lot of values in common. secretary clinton has come out and said very clearly that we are going to pursue our values and our common interests with communities around the world through partnerships and the power of our example and through the empowerment of people. that partnership is formed to
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exist at all lot of different levels. sometimes it will be a government to government partnership and security and stability are values that are shared across some societies and we will have a government to government for a ship to try and protect the values. we're in the process of building a new long-term partnership with the government of pakistan which is now a democratic government. they have been some of the most victimized from terrorism in the past few years and just this week. i think that we seek to perceive our values to our policies and we do not just operate at the level of high politics as we do that. there are a variety of things that we do for the empowerment of people to try and pursue those values. it is not always want to happen
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in an immediate sense that you will see a change. i think that the values that we hold in common with muslim communities around the world are evident to both of us. buwhat i think there is no disconnect in the values between muslims and the values of every american. there is no disconnect. the issue is not to suppress the of the values, the difference is how those values are implemented. this is where we find, as a student of american foreign policy, i find a disconnect between values and what we have been doing. there has been rationality in supporting racine's the that are
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being detrimental to our own [unintelligible] we have always been trying to interfere in certain parts of the world without realizing the implications and without adopting the right policy. if we really believe in those values, then we must provide some substantial proof for that in terms of what we do. that has not been the case in the last six years. certainly, as a political science study, he will realize that many times we have made blunders in several parts of the muslim world. iran was afraid of the democratic development of the iranian society. what did we do?
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we intervene. we basically, totally annihilated what was going on and it could have led to the emergence of the democratic society. the same thing happened with saudi arabia, where the democratic movements were developing that did not allow that. but i want to ask a serious question. the question is, i hear a lot of muslims criticize alliances with dictatorships in the muslim world. do we think that the united
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states should have neutrality towards those countries and the dictatorship states and power, that's the way it is or should the united states under my dictatorships and promote democratic change? were you come down on this -- where do you come down on this? >> we have two alternatives. one is very libertarian. that is not going to happen. we will always be interfering. we should ally ourselves with those forces.
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>> jonathan, i might want to give you in here. >> i think -- get you in here. >> i think we don't particularly understand what is specifically going on. personally, i serve on the ground in iraq and during my first tour it was evident that we really didn't entirely understand the dynamics. one of the panelists from earlier noted that these are the silver linings over the past few years. i think that one of the silver linings -- you have literally
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tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of young american men and women from across the entire country who have been interacting on a daily basis with young iraqi and that then men for years. that kind of cultural exchange and mutual understanding -- a lot of times, walking along and having each other's back and bleeding and dying and fighting and surviving together allows them to build an understanding that is otherwise impossible. i think our cultural awareness as a country is growing. part of the reason why we are
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here is because we need to abolish the recognition of the troubles that we have had in afghanistan and iraq. the department of defense does need to -- muslim americans are as part of the department of defense as anyone else. we need to begin to get a greater understanding of these environments that we have to operate in in order to insure our collective defense. yes, our understanding is not perfect and it needs improvement, and please help us improve is what i'm saying. >[applause] >> i just have to say that i agree that these are benefits that we could not have imagined.
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i just have to say that it is unfortunate that that cultural exchange has to happen in the context of war. i know that you agree with that. it seems to me that if we mobilize the peace corps and put all our efforts and energies into supporting jobs and efforts and projects overseas to promote clean water and literacy and economic empowerment, how we can accomplish the same thing with young kids that need jobs and they might just go somewhere else where we have outsourced their jobs. that would take a mental shift. for better or worse, that is where we are right now. it is just unfortunate for me to say that we could not have accomplished that in some other way.
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[applause] >> i am saying that there is the small silver lining. >> i had you as a warmonger, but maybe not. >> i am really glad that you raised that. i think that there is not a very strong sense here in the u.s., much less abroad, on what the united states is doing to pursue the goals that you just described. since the cairo speech in june, we have had a slew of new initiatives. the president is born to be hosting an entrepreneur ships on that that will be bringing social entrepreneurs and yama cost per norris and high-tech entrepreneurs from muslim countries across the world to engage with their counterparts
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to build new partnerships and to try and promote investment and promote skills development. we're going to be sending science on boys, including prominent arab-americans and muslim americans. we will send it to countries around the middle east because one of the things that we have heard in the listening that we have been doing, especially since the cairo speech, has been a desire to partner more on science and technology issues. there has not been enough effort by the united states to engage on those issues. we have launched a new project that secretary clinton spoke about.
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secretary clinton comes out of the non-profit advocacy work. she is a huge believer in the power of civil society and she wants to put more resources, as the department and the government behind the community. we have a new project that will have seven groups reach out to young people and also to build their other capacities of that they can be more effective in their own society. and all of those ways, we're trying to build up the capacity that you say is needed to round out and to balance the nature of our engagement with these communities and as part of the world. the u.s. has interests around the world. we are a global power and a global economy. we do not only want to be engaged at the level of high
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politics and diplomacy and we do not only want to be engaged in the business of doing business. we want to be engaged with an ally that is seeking to build a better future and to be a force of good in their own communities. we are working to build those partnerships. we have put resources behind it, but we are scaling up now. >> [applause] -- [applause] >> i wanted to spend time here taking questions. there were several questions that touch on the theme of the palestinian conflict. as most of the audience is aware, the obama administration
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came in and took -- came into washington with a tuesday solution and they put significant pressure on the israeli prime minister to verbally and knowledge that as a goal. there has been a disagreement with the israelis over the settlements. at this point, we are at a bit of an impasse. i think the administration was hoping to get negotiations going quite rapidly, but so far we have a standstill. i would like to get your input. also, the other analysts -- panelists can speak as to which we wish to go. to what extent is solving the
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israeli-palestinian issue and a more global sense? is this something that has a huge impact or is this something that is a conflict that does not fundamentally change the way that the u.s. and muslim countries will be relating to each other. >> what did talk about the diplomatic side of things. what the impact will be, if we get to conflict resolution, which i hope that we do, i think that will be an impact. people will have to decide for themselves how to judge that. we are not at an impasse. it is tough. if it was not tough, it would have been done by now. i can tell you that senator mitchell's office is run across all from my office.
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i see, every day, the level of activity that is taking place. senator mitchell is not a man that believes in impasse. he is a patient, determined, committed principled mediator. he is working every day with the whole region. the president's vision is a vision of a two-stage solution. but it also includes peace between israel and syria and the broader relationship between israel and the arab states. he is continuing to work with both sides, trying to improve the atmosphere that can get us back to negotiations to persuade both sides that we've made no pre conditions -- no
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preconditions. we can get a continuous, viable palestinian state so that we can get with the two -- did what the two sides need. -- should get what the two sides need. we are engaged in humanitarian assistance. what it is true that usaid is not maintain a presence in gaza , but there is a lot that we are doing to bring students and others to the west bank so that they can continue to interact with their fellow palestinians. there will also engage in programs. by no means are we hands-off in terms of trying to help the
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people of gaza. we are also engaged in the work of trying to shape the opinion environment so that leaders -- i don't have to tell you that domestic politics are really difficult. we need to create an atmosphere where leaders feel that they have more flexibility to take the tough decisions that they need to take. we are to be there every day. senator mitchell talks about his experience in northern ireland. the way that he describes it is that for two years, both sides kept saying no. he said that he did not take the first note or the sec memo or the ninth no -- the first note, or the sec no or the nine no -- the first no, the sec that
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no, or the ninth no -- the second no, or the ninth no. -- the way everybody looks e other way to allow these tunnels to exist so that the sheep cost $450 for one family. this is egypt on the one side and this is his role on the other side. -- israel on the other side. you have been doing what they can to keep that under control. -- you have been doing what they can to keep that under control. -- you have themçó doing what ty
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can to keep that under control. there is raw sewage in the streets when it was not there six years ago. we never comment on that. if you're doing a behind closed doors, we do not know about it. this crisis is a man-made -- is man-made. i do think that it is critical and i think it would go very far not just to solve this problem, but to give the people a sense of justice and recognition that they have endured for the past 60 years. it needs to go much farther than it has and we need to stop talking about israel and palestinians -- and palace -- israelis and palestinians as if they are different because they are not.
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when you talk about their partners and bringing people over, they are under occupation. the do not have control over 85% of their lives. we also know that americans side with politics and interest groups and the only last comment i would say is that some of us are excluded from sitting at the table because we're labeled certain ways. when you look at it, the issue that we are targeted for is our position in support of the palestinian people. i would hope that in both the state department and the department of defense, there is a willingness to look beyond labels that others might put on us to be able to say that these people belong at the table. that is how we get excluded from even being part of the conversation which makes it harder to solve those problems. [applause]
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>> the department of defense, as an institution, is not involved deeply. that is a diplomatic wrangle. if the president says that we need your support, then obviously, we give it. we're not the diplomatic corps, we are security support. >> i think it is a complex issue. in 1947, when the issue of the occupation of israel came, we have the same kind of complex issue. president truman acted decisively. if the president of united states is political will and supports the values that this stands for, tomorrow, there will
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be a palestinian state. [applause] there is a lack of support and and there are double standards. this can be demonstrated partly because of the domestic politics. much of what they have been doing is the culmination of the religious -- in order for jesus to come, the last administration about that. -- bought that. to say that we're concerned, no, we are not showing that kind of concern for human dignity that we would otherwise show to any other life that that life happened to be palestinian. >> i don't want to minimize in
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any way the passion of your views. i accept the passion with which to speak on the subject. but i have to question the idea that this administration has not demonstrated decisive, passionate commitment to this issue. senator mitchell was appointed on the second day of this administration. secretary clinton's first trip overseas was in ramallah to discuss this issue. this has been an everyday concern of this administration. we are working to support the creation of a palestinian state diplomatically. we are working to support it during our development. we are helping the palestinian authority build up a strong, non-partisan, accountable
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security force that can protect the palestinian people and we work with the israelis so that when those palestinian forces are trained and capable, the israelis give them room to do their work. we do this every day. president truman recognized israel when it declared its independence. but had he not done that, would that have prevented israel's creation? this president got into office and said that he wanted to state solution. israeli settlement activity must end. does that mean that he can snapped his fingers and make it happen? president truman could not do an, president obama cannot do it. we're doing what we can do. >> we can do more in terms of recognizing the humanity of the palestinians for 60 years.
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the world has allowed the entire population to suffer the worst kind of imprisonment in human history. ñiwe cannot be because of social and religious factors. honesty demands that we police recognize the humanity and the right of the palestinian people to live as a dignified people. none of these things ever came forward. rather, we stopped those relief agencies under the political frm the state of israel. relief agencies to support the palestinians.
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those people that supported those relief agencies were branded as terrorists and branded as unpatriotic. ñiñiwh[iñi are those people to s unpatriotic? we defend america the same way as you defend. >> let me have led away in on this and then we will wrap this up. >> i would save we have experienced a difficult time for us. we look at american foreign policy and see a huge change. as you are saying, this administration is doing something different. it will take some time and hopefully obama will have eight years because it will take at least that long. it is not something that you can do quickly. but you have to take into account the trauma of what we have witnessed over time. our own experiences as american
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muslims, with a pack -- whether palestinian or what,ñi we have really affected our community. we should give this administration credit for what it is doing. that is true. but we have lived through lot so far. the 60 years that i've visited refugee camps in lebanon, these are palestinians from 1948. their lives are no better than when they first got there. this is a longstanding history. and you are right, he cannot step -- snap his fingers. what can be done when there is that will in washington, that is what we are asking for. that is the sentiment that you feel.
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this population really has suffered so much for such a long time. [applause] >> i would like to thank you all for attending. i hope you enjoyed the panel. i would like to thank all the panelists. what i take from this discussion is a deep admiration and a deep love of the united states and its best. that is something that we all agree on. i think there is disappointment at times when the nation does not live up to its values and it is those areas where there is clearly room for criticism. what we would like to see, and i would encourage everyone to carry through on these policies, these kind of policies that have improved the standing in the
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world. hopefully we will see it to state solution and see palestine born before this president's term is over. thank you. [applause] >> coming up next, former republican candidate steve forbes on how he feels president obama is handling the economy. after that, united nations secretary general on the summit
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held in copenhagen. then, a look at the future of afghanistan and then another chance to see the discussion on the relations between the u.s. and moslem world. >> tomorrow, a look at the university's look at health care. that is at the national press club here of c-span. >> this month, the senate has continued work on the health care bill. here is how you can follow the debate. listen to highlights on c-span radio and review the debate at our health care of with live, streaming video from the senate floor. complete video archives, briefings from leadership and
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other key senators and the latest from the reporters and editors of the role call. and now, for iphone users, follow the health care debate with the iphone application. you can listen to c-span, c-span to and c-span radio. >> up next, a conversation with steve forbes on i'll -- on how he feels about the senate health care debate. this is about one hour. journal" continues. host: joining us from new york, steve forbes, the author of "how capitalism will save us" -- former ceo. you indicate in your introduction that he began writing the book in 2007 before the economic collapse. what prompted you to write a
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book on capitalism at that time? guest: well, there's a lot of misunderstanding about what true free markets are. how they work and what rules are needed. in that sense even though most have a favorable view, it is like the proverbial fish not knowing that it is swimming in water. we have the system but people really do not understand how works. i thought the book with a question and answer format would be useful. then the disaster came along in the along2007, so we have to focus it on the fact that the whole idea of free markets and capitalism has taken a real hit. -- the whole disaster came along in 2007. the major economic disasters in the past 100 years have had disastrous government policies
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as the origin. host: as the crisis happened, tarp was passed another efforts were made,ok what is your overal view on how things have gone on? guest: one of the points we make in this book is that there is no party who has the virtue or lack of virtue in terms of economic policies. sometimes democrats get it right, sometimes republicans get it right. many times. both it times the crisis itself was a series of disasters from the fed and regulatory ones. it made for the perfect storm. since the fall of 2008, unfortunately some of the mistakes have been perpetrated. a boring but devastating one was an accounting thing called mark to market which
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unnecessarily reduced capital of banks and insurance companies. it was a hearing that finally got the sec and other board to change it. it is when the stock market and financial restitutions began to give back on their feet. so far the process of the bill has not been completed. the dollar is still weak which is hurting investment. the credit system is still not making, not fully working in providing reliable credit to small, small businesses and consumers. the uncertainties out there, particularly with this massive health care bill passed -- uncertainty about cap and trade and other things, is hurting business investment. next year we will get economic growth, but it is like a baseball player who has been hitless who is now heading 250.
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host: i want to invite viewers and listeners to join the conversation. steve forbes is with us until a 30 a.m. eastern to take your calls on the economy, politics, and capitalism. you write in your book about democratic capitalism being the most moral humane system, but has the system itself had some major problems in the last couple of years? guest: well, when you have an economic disaster which had its origins in massive money printing by the federal reserve, fannie and freddie guaranteeing $1.50 billion of disastrous mortgages, when the
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egregious behavior of those on wall street breaks the law and will be punished -- one of the things to recognize is that human nature will not change. you will always have people trying to game the system. there are laws about fraud and the like to deal with them. but would government policies create the disaster is always free markets that get the blame. in the 1970's and the fed and other banks went on a binge of money-printing and gave us a devastating decade of inflation. business got the rap for it. in the great depression of the 1930's had its origins in a tariff from 1929, 1930. it destroyed the global trading system. the they put in big tax increases including one on checks.
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if you wrote a check in the 1930's you also have to pay a stamp tax. those kinds of things turn this into an unmitigated disaster. you need sensible rules of the road for free-market spot, but also the government to do its part in making sure that we have things like a stable currency. and the government not trying to manipulate, always with good intentions, the economy. host: first call, on the republican line. caller: good morning. i read your book. it is an incredible book. we're really fired up here in georgia. we just got a speaker of the house elected a. we are trying to organize 27 million small businesses who are against higher taxes and regulation. if we get them fired up down you
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think that could be an incredible force? we're trying to make our home town the capital, the small business capital of the world. guest: i think businesses and the american people are getting fired up. we saw the first indications of the tea parties early this year. people instinctively understand that you do not make radical changes in one sixth of the economies without thoughtful debate and discussion. people are also upset by the massive debts ideficit spending. yes, people rising up, especially small businesses. theyi] are the job creators. they will be hit hard by the changes. again, that is why we will get a recovery next year. but will be a flimsy one like
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the 1970's. host: here is wellington, florida. caller: hi. host: please mute. caller: sorry. yes, the problem with the free market economy is that it is not pre-market at all. the banksñiñr make $10. you put your heart-earned money into the bank. it goes at the speed of light to the federal reserve and the bank gets credit for it. say, chase, and then they get fronte-weighted interest. the bankers have done nothing. you do not even need a degree to have a bankers license.
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it is because people cannot pay off their loans. they get no equity in their house until 25 years on the 30- year mortgage. they still pay more interest and principal. then, the use the scam that you get to deduct taxes, but if you have a 17% tax bracket you must pay one of dollars to save $17. they are behind $83. all they have to do is eliminate the front-weighted interest. you have community banks, local not for profit banks. to ensure they did find a banker to do it and loan it out without the front-weighted interest. he would have a 20-year mortgage and in 10 years you have paid off after loan. host: thanks. will get steve forbes a response. guest: right now, there are
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several parts of your observations, in terms of the banks today because of the federal reserve having a virtually zero-rate policy which i think is a mistake -- banks have no incentive to lend money. they get it virtually free and then can buy government bonds yielding up to 3%. that is a very nice spread. that is one reason why the system is not working. another reason why the system is not fully working yet is because while the president urges banks to lend his regulators are going into banks and telling them to get more capital and tighten standards. banks are getting a contradictory message. they the other one i get in trouble with their regulars by simply buying deposits and buying government bonds. if the markets were working at the banks would have to pay a
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true market rate for your interest. in terms of mortgages and how they work, when you say how about a 20-year mortgage were you pay half of it after 10 years -- the very careful because that would front-load the principle and would end up having to pay both principal and interest. a big jump in the first 10 years. the monthly payment would end up being higher rather than the traditional 20 or 30 year. host: the caller also talked about income-tax. are you still a proponent of the flat tax? how would it work? guest: i am a believer in the flat tax. we have a 9 million-word tax cut that no one understands. money magazine years ago did a survey of the amylase-- the
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took a hypothetical family taxes and give it to 46 tax preparers and as for the returns. what you got back was that the 46 preparers, no two could agree on what the family owed on federal income-tax. you have thousands of dollars of difference. what i believe should be done is just to jump this monstrosity which gets riddled with special provisions, replace it with a simple single rate. i propose a 17% with generous exemptions. a family of four would pay no federal income tax on the first $46,000 of income. only 17 cents on the dollar above $46,000. no tax on savings and no death taxes. on the business side for we have some of the highest taxes in the world right now, it would cut
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the rate from 35% down to 17%. it would get rid of bill depreciation schedules. if you buy a piece of capital economy you have to go through all kinds of accomplishments on how much you can write off. i believe that you should write it off on the year that you make it and if you have a loss carry afford towards future profits. 25 countries have done it and it has worked well wherever it has been tried. host: chicago is next. caller: how are you doing? i see steve forbes on other services and i am familiar with what you are basically doing. it is two different contradictions. you have had the economy for the last 25 years and made money. you forget about those left. the object of the game is to
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make money, but to people like you have already bankrupt the country and want to do it again. you want to tell everybody that you know how to fix its. how could you fix it if your ideas are so plentiful -- then how did you get into this mess in the first place? guest: in terms of the last 30 years since the early 1980, the u.s. among developed countries has been the biggest job craig torres in the world. seeing a huge expansion in our standard of living. little things on the day to day basis like cell phones, ipods. longevity has gone up. what open a the economy was the federal reserve. that is a government institution deciding if needed to help the economy by printing too much money. it is the equivalent of an automobile. you can have a fine vehicle, but if you don't put in enough fuel you will stall, and if you put in too much will flood the engine.
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the fed flooded the engine. it first went to commodities in 2004. oil, copper, gold all shot up. in the housing market it put the booming market on steroids to banks with lower lending standards. you got to the time were you did not have to make a downpayment on a mortgage. experience says that is a formula for disaster, and it was. if we get the policies right, there is no reason why we cannot resume expansion again. host: republican column next. he is from bloomington, ill.. caller: on the mark to market accounting you are suggesting that the financial institutions should be able to assign arbitrary values to the assets they hold. that is what got us into this mess. i cannot go to a bank and sit at my house is worth $200,000 and
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get a loan. my house is worth $150,000. you did not make any sense, steve. guest: this gets to an arcane, boring area. it gets to how banks and insurance companies, how you value of what they call their regulatory capital. institutions must have reserves obviously for losses and to meet future obligations as for life insurance policies. the question has always been how to value assets held for reserves for regulatory purposes? until 2007 for 70 years the tradition had been that if a bank bought an asset, for example, a bond for $1,000 -- a 10-year bond, it kept it on its books $4,000 unless it sold it or it went bad. otherwise, for regulatory purposes and kept the bond on
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four $1,000. that was true for the great depression. marked to market becoming was done away with in 1938 because it was destroying bank capital unnecessarily. marked to market accounting does without $1,000 bond -- for regulatory purposes no longer keep it for $1,000. you marked it up or down according to what you think the market price is. when you have a downturn the banks suddenly not only has losses on its loans which reduces capital, but it must now reduced the value of its reserve capital even though the money is being paid along with the principal and interest. it would be the equivalent if you were told to sell your house in the next hour. what kind of price would you get for it? you rightly say that is ridiculous. you would not get much price at all. marked to market accounting did that to banks and insurance
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companies and up and did 70 years worth of a sound tradition. it because the banks to panic. most of the losses are book losses, not actual cash losses. you took the equivalent of a flood and turned it into a tsunami. in march and april of this year we amended that, thanks to pressure from congress including community banks. it stopped the bleeding. we went through this in the 1930's and it was not pleasant. this is about regulatory capital. if you treat it like a day trading account you will have less capital flowing. banks do not know how much capital they have. the tendency will be to collect the cash. host: a political question from twitter. how


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