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tv   Washington Journal Washington Journal  CSPAN  August 15, 2021 10:03am-11:50am EDT

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i screamed it. i think i was representing four years of angst and anxiety. many of this saw this coming from a mile away. millions of americans felt the same way. the entire country including myself recognized the fragility of our democracy. i have great respect for the decorum. i do not regret it. it was what i was feeling. it was four years of pent up anxiety of what was transpiring right in front of our eyes. >> you will also hear from brian fitzpatrick to pennsylvania. january 6, a fuse from the house. tonight at 10:00 on c-span.
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host: good morning, everyone. we have breaking out of afghanistan this morning. it is widely reported that the taliban has surrounded the city of kabul and the afghan government is on the brink of collapse. the news comes following president biden's statement yesterday that he will send additional troops, a total of 5000, to afghanistan to assist in evacuating americans and other personnel. we get your thoughts on whether the u.s. withdrawal is a mistake. evacuating americans and other personnel. we get your thoughts on whether the u.s. withdrawal is a mistake. if you say yes, dial (202) 748-8000. if you say no, (202) 748-8001. and if you are unsure, your line is (202) 748-8002.
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afghan war vets, we would like your thoughts on what is happening in the country. (202) 748-8003. you can text us with your first name, city and state with the same number. you can join the conversation on twitter at the handle @cspanwj and instagram at the same handle as well. is it a mistake for the u.s. to withdraw from afghanistan? that is our question this morning. some news out of the country from cnn. the afghan government is in talks with the taliban over the future of the country. taliban leaders are at the palace in kabul talking with afghan leaders. the associated press says the taliban spokesman -- you also have this reporting from al
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arabia. this story is unfolding this morning. a reporter from fox news says secretary blinken, secretary austin and the joint chiefs chair, general milley, will provide a virtual briefing for all house members at 9:45 a.m. eastern on afghanistan. the president yesterday afternoon issued a statement saying that an additional 5000 troops, or a total of 5000, would be deployed to afghanistan to help with the removal of embassy staff and other personnel. he also wrote in this statement that over our country's 20 year
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war in afghanistan, america has sent its finest young men and women, invested, trained over 300,000 afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art military equipment and the longest war in u.s. history. one more war or five more years of u.s. military presence would not have made a difference. pico endless american presence in -- an endless american presence in another country's civil conflict is not acceptable to me. let's go to john, massachusetts, independent. good morning to you, john. john, florence, massachusetts, independent, what do you say? is it a mistake to withdraw? caller: i don't think it is a mistake. it is a statement for the u.s.
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abroad. host: in what way? caller: attacks that could take place in the united states associated with 9/11, our association. host: so, john, what should our policy be in afghanistan? caller: leave and regroup and talk about democracy. host: ok. ben, west palm beach, florida. hi. caller: good morning. hello. good morning. good morning. i don't want to say i think it is a mistake to withdraw, but i was in kindergarten when the u.s. invaded afghanistan. throughout history, the british have tried. the soviet union have tried. it goes back before that, since ancient times. superpowers have more or less been defeated trying to invade afghanistan. it has brought no benefit to these superpowers that have gone in there.
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if anything, just embarrassment, things of that nature. host: are we secure in america if the taliban controls afghanistan? caller: i am not sure of the dates but it is my understanding that the taliban-controlled afghanistan far prior to 9/11. osama bin laden was not part of the taliban government. they gave shelter to him, stuff like that, which they should not have been doing, but i don't think them being in power in afghanistan has a direct security threat on the united states. host: joining us on the phone is a white house national security reporter with the wall street journal. let's begin with what you know out of afghanistan this morning. guest: we are seeing the rapid encirclement of kabul by the taliban. they took the solidity of jalalabad to the east, which is kind of like the east -- they
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took the city of jalalabad to the east, which is kind of like the last city to the east of kabul. now they are in kabul and they are negotiating a takeover of the city, potentially peacefully, potentially not. we don't know, but everything has moved so fast it is hard to process to see what is happening when, but that is what is happening. host: the associated press reporting the afghan officials say troops surrendered to taliban. what -- on that? guest: concerning. we have seen lower-level takeovers of these prisons, which amount to more manpower for the taliban. that particular prison, which is close to kabul, is seen as part
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of the taliban strategy in terms of taking over kabul. we know from the people, my colleagues on the ground, gunfire and, you know, clashes around the prison last night, not currently wear anything -- what the current status of the prison is, but with the takeover of kabul potentially soon, the takeover of the prison may not be far behind in then you have that much more manpower bolstering the taliban's influence and power in the city. host: what are you hearing in your reporting about the afghan president? will he stay on? guest: i don't think he is going to stay on. right now, what we think is he is either in the presidential palace in kabul. there are some reports he is at the u.s. embassy complex now,
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and if not now, he may be meeting top u.s. and taliban officials to negotiate his ouster. mr. ghani, now a fixture for the last several years, has presided over this quick takeover by the taliban. it is in part his and so his other civilian advisors, who are being blamed now for the lack of a clear security strategy to counter the taliban, even starting weeks ago if not months. but again, we are just in an amazing place right now given that the taliban has virtually no provincial capitals -- the taliban had virtually no provincial capitals just days ago. host: what is the prospect of a
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power-sharing agreement? guest: you know, that is a central question and i don't know the answer. i think the taliban -- again, the last several days in particular, if not months, suggest the taliban has the upper hand and i don't know if they are going to agree to anything certainly with the ghani government. there may be some intermediary, intermediate leaders who could form a transition government. the taliban does have some interest in maintaining international influence and recognition, and, you know, they may agree to something if it comes down to money and the power that they potentially would receive after transitioning to a new government, but right now, it seems they have so much of
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the upper hand, there's no reason to think they would want to share power, but that's a question we will see in the coming days. host: what is the taliban's relationship with those the u.s. and our allies have identified as terrorists? guest: that's another central question. they have not honored the peace agreement that was signed in may of 2020 under donald trump, president trump -- they have not honored all the tenets of that agreement, to include relationships and coordination operations with other groups. your viewers know the taliban itself does not pose a threat to the american homeland, but it does, as we know from 2001 and before, the safe harbor that they provide to other groups, al
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qaeda being the chief one, is the primary concern, and so for the u.s. military, i think the worry is the ability to collect intelligence, i guess one of your viewers was saying, now, after the withdraw of all american forces soon, is going to be very limited, so it will be hard to know what groups the taliban is working with and what groups it is not. host: cnn is reporting the white house is saying the u.s. will pull out of afghanistan completely today. all the staff. guest: right. again, a stunning change from days ago, where we and everyone else reported the announcement of up to 8000 american troops that were going in temporarily to ensure the safe withdrawal of at least a partial number of u.s. embassy personnel, and they
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denied reports that i had everything moved -- that they had everything moved to the airport. they denied closing the embassy and yet we are seeing a complete withdrawal now. president biden referred to an additional 5000. there is a total of 5000 on the ground now, but some of these were previously announced. there were already about 1000 there. they are currently preparing the embassy to be completely closed and evacuating personnel, but this is the event -- personnel, but this is even -- their arrival has not been time to well with the taliban's takeover of cities, now including kabul. there is some assurance that the taliban will not try to do
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anything against any american personnel, but all bets have been off, so we don't know. host: i want to get your insight on the president moscow's statement when he. -- statement when he -- guest: his framing of the choices before him will receive a lot of scrutiny over the next
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few days, weeks and months. whether the american public was behind ending the 20 year conflict, he made a politically courageous choice. i don't think anybody anticipated the place we would be this morning, so now, absent any security, a complete takeover by the taliban, and a massive defeat by the american military to withdraw the way they are, is going to raise a lot of questions for the president going forward as to whether this was the smartest decision or not or whether he is framing the decision as a false one or not. host: you alluded to this earlier, but is the u.s. safe if i've gained a stamp falls? -- if afghanistan falls? guest: nobody thinks the
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american homeland will be attacked anytime soon. there's a lot of comparisons between the withdrawal of american forces from afghanistan today and the withdrawal of american forces from iraq in 2011 and the american intelligence community's ability to gather enough intelligence to see what, in that case, was the rise of the islamic state. 10 years forward, we have more technology, more ability to see -- more ability. the white house is more confident it can document any rise in association. i think that the concern is, going forward -- it will test
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the ability of the intelligence community to make sure they can see on the ground when they are so limited because they are not going to have any collection ability at all. host: thank you very much for your time. guest: thank you. host: and it now to your reaction to what is happening in afghanistan and whether or not you think it is a mistake for the u.s. to be withdrawing. paul in florida, you say yes. paul, good morning to you. why do you say yes? caller: well, i say yes because we are going to have to do it eventually. you know, this thing with trump and biden -- i was not going to talk about that, but you introduced it on your program. the taliban were petrified of donald trump. look what he did to isis. so don't tell me that it would have been the same with trump as it was with biden. the week bumpkin that -- with
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biden, the weak bumpkin that he is. we keep making the same mistake every time, and what is that? we believe that everyone in these countries wants freedom so bad they are willing to die for it, and that's a lie. it was a lie in vietnam. it was a lie in cuba. and it is a lie in venezuela. the truth is perhaps the majority of people do not want anything to do with freedom. they just love everything being handed to them by a socialist government and they love the revenge they can extract on people who are better off than them because they were successful people. so the truth is we have to stop thinking that there are people in these countries who are willing to die for freedom. they are not. and that is the threshold. i am sorry. that is the threshold, ok?
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when the cubans recently rioted in cuba, did everybody in town get on the streets? they did not. there were thousands, but hundreds of thousands in the town. where were the rest? the truth is they were not willing to do anything for it. and if they are not, freedom is not free. you have to pass that threshold. host: all right, paul. i will wrap up what the president said yesterday. we showed you his criticism of former president trump. he also said "i was the fourth president to preside over and american troop presence in afghanistan, two democrats, two republicans. i will not pass this war onto a fifth." ed in danbury, connecticut, you say this is not a mistake. good morning to you. caller: this is part of a general u.s. strategy to withdraw from the region.
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russia control syria. -- russia control syria. you already identified our withdrawal of military support for other countries in the region, so i think it is a general recognition that it is not so important as it once was, that oil is no longer what it was. i would think saudi arabia and the emirates might be a threat. host: richard in tennessee, you are unsure. tell us why. caller: well, i am a navy vet. i was in the navy during the first gulf war and i can tell you -- i am almost 60 years old now -- that if my son or daughter had been killed in afghanistan, i would be better because i would be questioning what for. the next point that i have is i
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blame poor leadership not only at the presidential level but in congress for not having a clear and decisive goal for our military. optically, it looks very bad for the united states right now to see what is happening in the evacuation. it looks just like vietnam. i question why we still have troops in japan and korea, germany, but we cannot have troops in afghanistan for a stabilizing effort. host: all right. richard's thoughts in tennessee. richard, take a look at the numbers. this is from the brown university war project. deaths in the afghanistan war --
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2000 u.s. troops, 800 u.s. contractors. other allied troops, the death toll is 1144, humanitarian aid workers 444. garth in georgia, an independent, you say yes. go ahead. caller: i said no. it is not a mistake. if you remember, the nickname of afghanistan is graveyard of empires. you see what happened to russia. they was in there. they was the soviet union. you see what they are now -- russia. the point of eisenhower's speeches that we should not be a military-industrial complex. that's what eisenhower said. he was a republican. and if we had a draft -- because i was drafted, i remember
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vietnam -- you could never have been there for 21 years. that is why they cut out the draft, so you could get in these under seri -- these unnecessary wars. no one ever talks about the suicide of our soldiers who went to afghanistan. i believe there were more suicides than soldiers killed in afghanistan. thank you very much. host: we have talked about it on this program several times during the years of this war. some more numbers. 72 journalists and media workers have lost their life covering the afghanistan war and 75,000 314 national military and police in afghanistan have lost their lives. richard in tennessee, we will go to you next read hi, richard.
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-- next. hi, richard. caller: good morning. we never should have went there. we should have lit up the mountains and the sky between them and pakistan. i go back to before be -- to before vietnam. this is a political war. the parents who lost their children during this war, the american citizens, regardless of race, who fought in these middle eastern wars, god bless you. fighting for something we knew we were not going to win. i blame them all for it. the bottom line boils down to this. the american people, you better stand together because china is coming and if you do not know what i am talking about, join the military. travel overseas. there is one thing i have noticed. when you look at a map of the
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united states when you watch the evening news, you don't see anybody trying to break out of america. they are trying to break in. we will not have a free country anywhere on this globe to go to. i will finish with this. these wars are wrong. when they bombed pearl harbor, we had a right to go to japan. then we had to take on hitler's. -- on hitler. these young people, you want to protest in the street, the antifa, here is the bottom line. we have had haight-ashbury, the hippie movement, the vietnam war, the tickertape parade after were to. -- after world war ii. what happened? the politicians made it a political war and we lost children to stop that shouldn't have happened.
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it does not matter what race you are. if you want freedom, stand up. corporate america took your jobs to china and we have to fight to get them back. your politicians side out. and those 19 republicans that signed that bill, i hope everyone of them loses their seat. host: mike, you say not a mistake. caller: it is not a mistake because we invested a lot of lives and money with no result. and those people are not as much as a threat to us as the people who tried to invade the capitol on january 6. that should be common sense. thank you. host: the president announced last month -- the president was asked last month whether he could trust the taliban. take a listen. [video clip] >> do you trust the taliban?
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>> is that a serious question? >> do you trust the taliban? >> no. >> will you amplify your answer? >> it is a silly question. do i trust the taliban? no. i trust the capacity of the afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped and more competent in terms of conducting war. host: that was president biden last month. the taliban now controls most cities in afghanistan. they have surrounded and entered kabul. there are talks happening at the presidential palace. the kabul leaders -- the taliban leaders, excuse me, are saying they will not take kabul violently. they are waiting for a transfer of power. talks are underway this morning.
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we are getting your reaction to the news out of there. but also, is with the -- but also, is the withdrawal of u.s. troops at afghanistan a mistake? yes, no? we have a line for those who are unsure as well. charlie and new york -- charlie in new york. caller: good morning. it was not a mistake pulling our ground troops. the mistake was pulling -- the mistake -- ok. let me start again. host: we are listening. caller: it was not a mistake pulling out ground troops. they have not been involved in fighting in many years. the mistake was pulling the attack helicopters and drones that was giving the afghan army air cover.
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the last time anyone fought on the ground without air cover was in 1898. that was a mistake pulling the air cover. host: ok. charlie there, his thoughts in new york. let me read you some reporting. cnn reporting this, that a small number of core personnel, including the top u.s. diplomat in afghanistan will remain at kabul's airport for now. this means the embassy will be shuttered for the time being. by tuesday. that's reporting from cnn this morning. the new york times -- the kabul airport tarmac is filled with troops, contractors, diplomats and civilians trying to catch a flight out of the city. those eligible to fly were given special bracelets denoting their status as noncombatants. clarence in tennessee, we go to you. you say it is a mistake to
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withdraw from afghanistan. caller: well, i say it has been 20 years of the u.s. paying troops, training afghan troops and supplying them with all kinds of equipment that they have always abandoned when the fight starts. a friend of mine that served two terms they are 10 years ago indicated, after he returned, he says, we will never hold this country and need to get out as soon as possible. and the main reason, again, is these afghan troops will at band and the -- troops will abandon the fight, pull off their uniforms and often switch to the other side. that has gone on the entire time. there is no reason the military and intelligence people did not know exactly that they would
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return to the warlords and they were the only ones they would actually listen to. yes, we have lost too much and equipment. most of the taliban is probably wearing u.s. supplied helmets, flak jackets, weapons, vehicles. truly one of the most foolish and tragic wars in history. thank you. host: the president from his statement yesterday. america went to afghanistan 20 years ago to defeat the forces that attacked this country on september 11. we are approaching the 20 year anniversary next month. yet, 10 years later, when i became president, a small number of u.s. troops remained on the
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ground in harm's way, with an option to withdraw them or go back into open combat. was it a mistake, gwen? caller: it is not a mistake to get out. we have been there for 20 years. time to get out. let them fight the war. host: are you concerned about terrorists entering the country, seeking safe harbor with the taliban, and u.s. safety? caller: i am always concerned about that, but if all those people are coming by air, by sea, and by land, then we don't have to be worried about terrorists, do we? host: ron in michigan, high. you are unsure. caller: yes. it is too early to tell in my opinion as far as the global outcome, but every expert you
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had on said we have been there for 20 years. that is a lie. we have been since 1979 under jimmy carter. he is the first one, who started to get them infield rifles -- them enfield rifles to destroy the soviet union. it backfired on us. yes, it got the soviet union out of afghanistan. then they threw that on us. without the soviet -- without the soviet union, you had no nazi hungary, no fascist poland, but now they have to be taken care of by the u.s. as far as afghanistan, we never should have been there. i said back then, once the soviet union is out of afghanistan, radical islamists
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are never going to stop. it is the dream child of the military-industrial complex, another neverendum war. -- another never ending war. when will we learn? host: ron's thoughts. let's listen to the president last month when he delivered thoughts on the decision to withdraw from afghanistan and talked about the overall achievements of the war effort. listen to what he had to say. [video clip] >> i said in april the u.s. did what we wanted to do in afghanistan, to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and deliver justice to osama bin laden and degrade the terrorist threat to keep afghanistan from becoming a base in which atac could be -- in which an attack could be
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launched. we achieved that. we did not go to afghanistan to nation build. it is the right and responsibility of the afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country. together with our nato allies and partners, we have equipped and trained over 300,000 current serving members of the afghan national security force and many beyond that who are no longer serving. hundreds of thousands more afghan security forces trained over the last two decades. we have provided our afghan partners with all the tools -- let me emphasize, all the tools -- needed of a modern military. we have provided advanced weaponry and will canoe to provide funding and equipment and make sure they have the capacity to maintain their air force. but critically, as i said two weeks ago with my meeting -- ago
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in my meeting with president ghani, they have to work for a future the afghan people want and deserve. host: president biden last month. this morning, an air force base has fallen. the city of kabul has been surrounded and entered by the taliban. there are talks happening at the presidential palace about a transfer of power. the hill newspaper has a statement from senator tom cotton, republican, saying the president needs to destroy every taliban fighter near kabul intel american personnel are withdrawn and anything less
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will confirm biden's impotence to the world. the hill has a statement from former president trump, saying what a disgrace it will be when the taliban raises their flag over the u.s. embassy in kabul. this is failure through weakness, incompetence and strategic incoherence. mary in ohio, what do you say? caller: i say that jimmy carter went over there and made them a civilized country, because i worked with him on that and they were voting and everything. they were a civilized country and jimmy carter was successful in what he did with afghanistan. now, if you want my opinion, it is a big mistake if we pull out.
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host: y, mary? -- why, mary? caller: it is massey. because i tell you what they are going to do. they will grow and spread around the world. host: r8. -- all right. you also say it is a mistake to withdraw. caller: i also believe it is a mistake to withdraw. somebody will fill the vacuum. we have been nationbuilding in other countries for years. we have been in europe for 75 years, since world war ii, and if we do not help the afghans and help them develop their politics, help them develop their infrastructure -- it takes a long time. it may take 100 years, but we
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need to be resilient. it is a good investment. there will be other proxies that tried -- that try to shape afghanistan. i don't agree with everything that one caller said, but in particular, the chinese. the belt and wrote initiative is real. if you don't know about it, i encourage your callers to read up on it. china, they are a communist country. they don't have the same type of politics that we do. they have a system where they can wait 40 or 50 years to live out what they want to do. this belt and road initiative israel and -- initiative is real and they will try it in afghanistan. i believe that. host: go ahead. finish your thought.
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i want to show you something else the president said. caller: sure. to finish up my thought, it is long, it is arduous. we have lost tons of lives already. it is a a lot of sacrifice on our military, on our people. i understand that, but if we do not do it, someone else will, and it will turn out to be in our interest. host: the president tuesday was asked about concerns that the afghan government would fall to the taliban offensive. the washington post is reporting that the afghan government is on the brink of collapse. this is the president from last week. [video clip] >> just the last few days, multiple cities in afghanistan have fallen to the taliban. there's irrefutable evidence that afghan forces cannot hold ground there. has your plan to withdraw troops changed at all? >> no. look, we spent over $1 trillion
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over 20 years. we trained and equipped with modern equipment over 300,000 afghan forces. at afghan leaders have to -- and afghan leaders have to come together. we lost thousands to death and injury, thousands of american personnel. they have got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation. the united states, i will insist we continue to keep the commitments we made, providing close air support, making sure that their air force functions and is operable, resupplying their forces with food and equipment, and paying all their salaries, but they have got to want to fight. they have outnumbered the taliban and i am getting daily briefings.
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i think there is still a possibility to have a significant new secretary of defense -- our equivalent of the secretary -- in afghanistan. they are realizing they have to come together at the top. we will keep our commitment, but i do not regret my decision. host: president biden earlier this week talking about his decision to withdraw. this morning, kabul, the city is surrounded. the taliban says they are waiting for a peaceful transfer of power as that group has taken over almost every major city in afghanistan. is our exit a mistake? that's the question. derek, good morning to you. caller: good morning. host: we already spoke. we will go to philip in los
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angeles, who is unsure. hi, philip. good morning to you, philip in los angeles. you say you are unsure. what do you think. mistake or not? your thoughts? caller: it is a mistake. in fact, the whole operation was a mistake. we should have left after 9/11. to think that we can nation build --we failed in vietnam, in iraq and in afghanistan. this is a complete failure of leadership on the part of president trump -- president biden. this did not have to be. we could have been an orderly withdrawal. we did not have to do it in the middle of the fighting season in afghanistan. this is a disgrace and there will be prices to pay. i would hope that the secretary of defense and secretary of state will look at the example of mattis, who gave advice to
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the president that was contradicted. they should resign. there should be hearings about the status of this fiasco, why it it happened the way it did. thank you. host: this from al arabia english out of the middle east. no changes and less taliban impacts evacuation. the u.s. official now stationed at the kabul airport. that's the latest from them. also reporting this morning that russia is working with other countries to hold an emergency un security council meeting on afghanistan as the taliban completes its military takeover of the country. this according to the foreign minister out of russia. all of this unfolding. we are wondering from you, is it a mistake to withdraw? james in buffalo, kentucky, we
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will go to you next. james? caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. i cannot believe how much of a mess he has made, everything he has touched so far. it has been, what, eight months? everything he has touched. we had the taliban on the run. we had them pinned down where they could not do terrorist attacks. now they will want us to go right back over there and retake it. the secretary of defense said he's got -- i cannot believe he is not telling them not to do it. the only thing he can do is teach racial division and divide. that's all he's good for. the country, the one thing that should have to do it, the politicians kids. they should be on the front lines and have to retake that
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country. host: all right, james. we noted that president biden in a statement yesterday criticized former president trump for the may deadline to withdraw, saying he left a bare minimum of 2500 troops in the country, leaving president biden no choice but to either stick to the deal that former president trump made with the taliban or go back to open combat. let's go to former president last year explaining his hopes for the taliban's future role in afghanistan when he called for the withdrawal. [video clip] >> i will be meeting personally with taliban leaders in the not-too-distant future, and we will be very much hoping that they will be doing what they say they are going to be doing. they will be killing terrorists. they will be killing some very bad people. they will keep that going.
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we have had tremendous success in afghanistan in the killing of terrorists, but it is time, after all these years, to go and to bring our people back home. we want to bring our people back home. and, again, it has been a long journey, afghanistan in particular. it has been a very long journey. it has been a hard journey for everyone -- for everybody. we have been a large law enforcement group, but that is not what our soldiers are all about. they are fighters. they are the greatest fighters in the world. we have destroyed in syria and iraq 100% of the isis caliphate. 100%. we have thousands of prisoners. we have killed isis fighters by the thousands. and likewise in afghanistan, but now it is time for somebody else to do that work, and that'll be
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the taliban, and it could be surrounding countries. there are many countries that surround afghanistan that can help. we are 8000 miles away, so we will be bringing it down to 8000, to approximately 8600 in that vicinity, and then we will make our final decision at some point in the fairly near future. host: that was the president in february of 2020. now, a look at the situation in afghanistan. this map on twitter this morning. the taliban have made rapid and major advances across afghanistan in recent months as u.s. and other foreign forces withdraw their troops from the country. the red you are seeing there is what the taliban has gained, is now controlling. the blue is what the afghan government controls, basically
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the area around kabul. now, this morning, the taliban have surrounded and entered that city and talks are underway for a transfer of power according to a taliban spokesperson. still waiting on something from the afghan government, the communications office of the afghan government, and the u.s. government as to what is the political situation right now in afghanistan. let's hear from neil in pennsylvania. you say no. caller: good morning. good morning. i say no. we have been there for 20 years. we should know what is going on. we trained i think president biden said 300,000 troops, armed with them. they have an air force. if you control the air, you control the battle, but it seems like they are just letting the televangelist come in -- letting the taliban just come in.
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we are not going to change the mentality of these people. we are not going to change it. it is a good idea to get out. host: i will just read the numbers that president biden listed in his statement yesterday. over our 20 years of war in afghanistan, america has sent its finest men and women, invested nearly $1 trillion, trained over 300,000 afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art equipment and maintained their force as part of the longest war in the -- in u.s. history it will not make a difference if the afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. what do you say? caller: i agree with that. it is like the afghan military does not want to keep the taliban out. either they are in with them, but it is just crazy. they have what they need to defend their country from the taliban.
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if they don't want to do it, we cannot just keep policing their country. it is a good idea to get out. host: ryan in georgia, he stayed as a mistake by the president to withdraw. caller: i will piggyback on what that last caller was saying and pose it as a question. we spent 20 years there, how many trillions, lost how many lives? what do we have to show for it at the end? if we spend another 20 years, what will we have to show? host: so do -- so you don't think it is a mistake to withdraw? caller: i don't. i think it is a good idea. i called on the right line, right? host: it is ok. go ahead. caller: to add to that, a lot of people say we should be there to promote free and fair elections. if we don't have free and fair
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elections here in america, why are we spending this time and effort in a foreign country to set up free and fair elections when we don't have them here? host: all right. dave and pennsylvania -- dave in.pennsylvania .good morning . why do you say it is a mistake? caller: it is a mistake. this country, they were expecting us to help them maintain, and so many different countries. i thought we should have never been there to begin with. we should have went in and bombed the camps where the people were who attacked the u.s. they should not have sent troops in. we should, now that we have been, just -- on people, because
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we are letting them take over and it will just get worse. host: dave, go ahead. sorry. caller: the fact that they took over this air base that has all of our equipment, we should be in there destroying that equipment so it does not fall into enemy hands. that would be an airstrike. host: yeah. an airstrike on the airbase, correct? caller: correct. host: yes. john g on twitter says it is not a mistake to withdraw. the afghans looked at us know different from invaders from their past. it is up to afghans to determine the government they want, not us. another viewer says the mistake is calling it a war. only congress can declare war. it is the longest aumf in american history.
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it lasted over 20 years. bring them home. ray in syracuse, new york, what do you say, mistake or not? caller: i will not be constrained by your choices, but i did my time in the service. i was in that area, generally, about 40 years ago. i don't know much, but i was in the harm's way briefly. the american people, i hope at some point will look and understand what is going on here. it is nothing different than 40 years ago, 30, 20. what is going on over there is now over here. think about this. the exact opposite president is now in charge, and yet, because
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of what trump did, he's been constrained in what he can do. he can only continue this. otherwise, it will destroy his presidency, so first, what trump did, whether you understand what he did or not, whatever he did was the correct thing, ok? now the people that we fought 40 years ago, 30 years ago, 20 years ago over there we, today, will fight here in the united states. they are the very same people pulling the strings and we will fight them. i will fight them. i am 64. so think about what is going on and don't accept the mainstream ideas about what is going on, because just think about it. why would the president right
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now not do the opposite, which he was hired to do? trump was the worst person on earth. anything he did we cannot follow. and yet, they are continuing what he did. he drew us down everywhere. so this is really a problem with the american people. we are not in charge. they are just doing what we let them do. host: ok. nelson and california -- nelson in california. caller: i will say it is amazing you played the clip from trump after the caller bashed biden. it is like trump had confidence the taliban would do the right thing. i have more confidence in the taliban not being terrorists than trump's followers if you know what i mean.
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january 6 and more domestic terrorism coming up, especially after census data showing the declining white population, but i think we had to leave because they are not willing to fight for themselves and they just have to have the resolve within themselves. host: all right. nelson's thoughts in california. we go to georgia. earl is watching as they are. you also say it is a mistake to withdraw. caller: no, i say it is the best thing we could have ever done. i don't know how i called in on the wrong line. host: that is ok. caller: in 1969, nixon negotiated in vietnam to keep the war going. draftees. they were drafted for vietnam. they had a lot to do with ending the war, because they would say
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shove it. we are not going out in the jungle and beating the bushes. get off your ass and do it yourself. this would not have lasted for five years if draftees in there and told them to shove it. i am sorry i am angry, but the whole thing is a big joke. it never should have lasted more than five years. draftees would have stopped it in my opinion. host: earl in georgia saying no. it was a mistake -- no, it was not a mistake -- no two it was not a mistake. we will return to what else is happening in afghanistan and other news of the week. we will talk with editor-in-chief terry jeffrey and columnist clarence page.
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they will share their thoughts on what is happening and other news of the week. later, we go deeper into the taliban offensive in afghanistan with bill roggio, senior fellow at the foundation for the defense of democracy and an editor of the long war journal. we will be right back. ♪ >> weekends bring you the best in american history and nonfiction books. >> here for montana's attending fenian fast, including new hampshire based -- >> opinion pieces and, in her book. ecstatic pessimist. another author who argues that liberals used the covid pandemic
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online store. your purchase will support our nonprofit operations, and you still have time to order the congressional directory with contact information for those in congress and the biden administration. >> washington journal continues. host: we want to welcome to the show terry jeffrey and clarence page here to talk about a busy weekend washington, but of course what is happening today, breaking news out of afghanistan -- this speed with which the taliban has seized control of the country. your thoughts, mr. jeffrey? guest: i had the privilege of taking a class from ronald reagan's ambassador to the u.n.. the first thing she did in that
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class was take out a copy of " american diplomacy and," read a passage that said "moralism runs like a seam through american policy." i remember when george w. bush gave his second inaugural address, i cannot quoted exactly, but he essentially -- quote exactly, but he essentially said the u.s. role is to spread democracy. we never had a chance at creating a liberal western-style democracy in afghanistan. by leaving a limited number of trips there and not suffering casualties, we are able to prevent the taliban from coming back to power and prevent
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afghanistan from being used as a sanctuary for terrorists. that is the judgment that should have been made before we decided to withdraw. guest: i agree with terry. i am a vietnam veteran. i was drafted into that conflict, and i still bear a lot of hard feelings. i didn't nail down exactly why we were there. we were fighting a war against international communism while the vietnamese were fighting a war against us and other outside people telling them how to live. by the time we realize that, we had been involved in that for 10 years. we have been doing what terry was talking about there in afghanistan for over 20 years now. our presidents trying to bring stability to the land. afghanistan has not been really
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as practical as our ability to help iraq re-stabilize after our war over there, and they are of course still having some problems but every government does. i think the american people pretty much decided we do not need to be over there anymore unless we can do some tangible good or have some clear goal in mind. that just was not materializing. we have been through not just biden, donald trump and george w. bush but you think about russia, brendan, -- britain, etc. who have been in afghanistan over the centuries. we got into more than what we were able to go over in the long stretch. host: your reaction to this
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reporting? they are reporting this morning that the taliban now has a hold over all of afghanistan's border crossings leading to neighboring countries and their leaders hovering several reactions and having to take their own action against what is happening. clarence page, back to you. guest: strategically the taliban have proved it to be more efficient, competent, and faster than we were expecting. it reminds me of when the north vietnamese army rolled into saigon more efficiently than we expected in the end. we need to talk about what is america's mission in the world. i appreciate jeanne kirkpatrick and other experts who have different views over this, but it goes back to how colin
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powell had clear, understandable goals, and to have an exit strategy, which we obviously did not have. guest: remember where we found osama bin laden! it was not in afghanistan. when we found them, he was in pakistan. what should have been our strategic aim in afghanistan? what should it be now? we do not want terrorists coming from their here and attacking -- there here and attacking americans. we have not secured our own southern border. we do not know who is coming across our own southern border. the focus of the american government first and foremost foreign policy are to be to protect the american people. host: the political fallout for
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president biden -- what is happening there? guest: if the taliban take over, which it seems like they are going to do, if they harbor terrorists and attacked the u.s. and her allies, that will be a big problem for joe biden. we know they have no respect for basic human rights. at minimum he is going to have to communicate to them that the price they are going to have to pay if they gives it sanctuary to people who hate america, it will be the end of their regime again. why would we want to go back into afghanistan? maybe that was an argument for leaving some force there precisely to prevent the taliban from rising again. joe biden has a lot to worry about. host: clarence page, your
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analysis? guest: i agree with terry about the challenges and all. --. involved -- i agree with terry about the challenges involved. afghanistan -- it has always been debatable how much of a country afghanistan is. you have kabul. outside of kabul you have villages run by tribal overlords. there has not been a sense of national unity among the afghan people. we have to nation build. joe biden had another saying -- no one is really building it a nation effectively enough. that is a larger mission.
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host: we are talking with terry jeffrey and clarence page, getting their insights and thoughts. they will take your questions on what is going on in afghanistan and the news out of washington. cnn is reporting that the u.s. will completely pull out of afghanistan in the next 72 hours. let's turn to covid-19. what is your analysis delta -- of how president biden has handled the response and this new delta variant? guest: i don't think he has handled it. obviously, we were not able to stop this pandemic from seriously affecting the lives of
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americans for 2 years. when people look back -- this is an era of high-tech medicine --we ended up having something that very much resembled the spanish flu epidemic, which cost america greatly. it is something that has not ended yet. host: clarence page? guest: i was a vietnam era veteran. i am also a vaccine veteran. i was a child in the 50's when i got the polio vaccine. anyone who remembers what life was like when polio was coupling children and terrorizing the rest with fear of swimming pools
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or anything else that might spread polio. these are different times. covid is not the same as polio. we now have these variants to worry about. early predictions are not effective anymore, so we find ourselves having to lock down again, which is only irritating more people and causing more conflict around the country. i think americans are going to get done one way or another but it is a big job for the biden administration. people should not criticize anthony fauci for saying one thing one month end something else the next -- and something else the next. most of us have not been consistent in our understanding. i think the bad an administration is handling this -- biden administration is
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handling this as well as anybody could. guest: if people can check this by going to the cdc website, according to the cdc only 354 americans at 17 years old and younger have died of covid-19. only 354. the impact on elementary and high school kids is very small. depths escalate as people get older. -- deaths escalate as people get older. that is something the liberal media has not wanted to publicize a great deal. host: before we go to call, i want to talk about congressional action and what happened in the senate with the passing of the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, $1 trillion, and to
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bend the senate quickly moving onto budget reconciliation -- and then the senate quickly moving on to budget reconciliation. let's talk about the passing of the $1 trillion package. your thoughts about the president getting that across the goal line? terry jeffrey, i will go to you first. guest: it is interesting that you got 19 republicans. mitch mcconnell voted for it. conservative republicans did not. we are spending a near record amount of money this year. last year was the most money the federal government ever spend when you add adjusted for inflation. this is run amok spending that is taking place. there are a lot of things in that bill that do not need to be done. host: clarence page?
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guest: somehow congress only seems to care about the deficit and the debt when democrats are in the white house because of the spending we had under donald trump where he doubled the deficit at the time -- talk about run amok spending! i said to myself if republicans are going to care about the deficit , why ought i to? we need to get a control of spending, but there are priorities that americans have been waiting for since the reagan 80's that have not happened. the fight for 15 movement is successful in getting a $15 an hour minimum wage. these are the changes that happen when a new regime is showing an awareness of the times.
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the harder infrastructure -- democrats and republicans get together on that. these bills need to be paid. our country needs to be taking care of as far as bridges, highways, etc.. the soft infrastructure is a more democratic agenda that is being debated there. that is why you see much more fierce resistance on the part of the republicans, and you are seeing some noise from the far-left in the democratic party because they want to see more than the biden administration has been pushing. this is not that untypical and on the whole, democrats are trying to get as much as they can do done before the midterm elections. host: patrick, florida, good morning. caller: thank you for taking my
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call. three quick things -- america's foreign policy? mexico is 2 steps above a narco -terrorist state. i want to talk about pesticides and insecticides contributing to autism in america. the people who sued successfully about round up now advertising in florida about insecticides and pesticides causing adhd and autism. larry kudlow came out and to say " -- you have shilled his books and you don't even talk about that? thank you for taking my call. host: terry jeffrey?
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guest: i do not know about the disease thing, and i also am not aware of what larry kudlow said that he is referring to. host: i will phrase a question for you -- how would you grade the trump administration's handling of the pandemic? guest: first of all, that most early covid cases did come from people who had been traveling in china and had come into the united states. the cdc has documented that. you get a lot of criticism for trying to chop -- stop travel from china, which was wise to do at that time. you have to give him credit for developing these vaccines at such a rapid pace. the trump administration put a
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serious focus on dealing with covid-19. they were not able to stop it, but they put a serious focus on it and they accomplished some good things. host: nancy in concord, new hampshire, we will go to you. caller: i am old enough to remember vietnam, but i am curious about how we can legitimately consider going back into afghanistan? i follow all the news, and i know in february 2020 the trump administration made an agreement with the taliban that said all of our troops would be out of there in 14 months and the taliban agreed to stop attacking our soldiers. it appeared there was a lot of progress made last year. after the election when donald trump lost last year, he also signed a decree and pulled out all the troops except for 2,500. that was going to happen 5 days
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before aydin was sworn in as --- biden was sworn in as president. why is biden eating blamed for the drawdown? -- being blamed for the drawdown? there was no provision in the agreement for the women and schooling that everyone is wringing their hands over. how is it that a president, a sitting president, can make an agreement that forces the next president to do something and take the heat for it? host: i will have both gentlemen respond. guest: the war is like the economy in the sense that when things go bad, whoever is in the white house gets blamed.
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they catch the heat. whoever's watch it happens on. i have seen presidents, democrat and republicans, making the effort to hold the taliban back. they have been broken by the taliban as far as i can tell. on joe biden's watch -- as i said earlier, the taliban move more quickly than our side expected. decisions have to be made. one thing i did not expect to see is america going back in great numbers to protect our interests. americans want to know what our interest is.
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that will be made very clearly, and the goals will be very clear. afghanistan has been an unstable country for a long time. i do not see that ending in the foreseeable future. host: terry jeffrey? guest: i agree with that. as i mentioned, the one concern we have to have about afghanistan is not going in there, but who is coming out of there. we do not want terrorists attacking us or our allies. will we be able to do that effectively without a presence there? trump decided we wanted to get out of there, that will be the test going forward -- how do we stop that area of the world from being used as a sanctuary for people wanting to attack the united statess. host: greg in indianapolis,
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democratic color, you are next -- democratic caller, you are next. caller: clarence, i know you from chicago. have both of you had your vaccines, and another question is, mr. jeffrey, did you agree with -- when george bush said " mission accomplished," on that aircraft looking silly? i believe you did. guest: to answer your other question, i got covid, i got tested, there is no question that i had it. i have not got the vaccine. i believe i have natural immunity to it. down the road, we will see.
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i completely, absolutely disagree with george w. bush's foreign policy. his second inaugural address, which expressed the mission of america to spread margaret see around the world was wrong -- democracy around the world was wrong. you need a realist foreign policy based on the real interests of the american people. host: let's go to harry in georgia, independent. caller: hey, c-span. thank you for letting me call. i want to go back to first principles, if you want to look at what is going on in the middle east. remember, the end of the first world war when britain got to impose the west phalange -- european concept of nationstates
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on the ottoman empire and carved it up in such a way and made borders in such a way that would picked tribal enmities against each other. you have suni, shia and kurdish all in iraq. you have tribes drawn into a nationstate not of their design. this all goes back to britain trying to drawdown its empire at the same time the united states grew into a world position where it could take on that responsibility. when the united states now decides it wants to back out of that responsibility, who is there to take it over? that would be china, you know,
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those people who have cameras on every corner and can identify everybody with facial recognition and know when you walk out your door. is that what we want to leave in place? guest: i think china has indicated they are not planning either. i will say in a more glib sense " why not?" why not let china habits turnout -- have its turn now? terry mentioned pakistan and their relationship feeding terrorism feeding -- into afghanistan. pakistan, we know a lot more the amount of -- the relations they
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have had between text in intelligence whereas -- pakistan intelligence. pakistan is just as tough and they already have a stable government. i do not cs getting back into afghanistan any -- see us getting back into afghanistan anytime soon. host: i want to show this image to our review -- viewers. it shows a u.s. embassy staffer holding a flag he saved from burning. " staffers were told to destroy or sanitize american flags and items that could be used for propaganda value by the taliban." guest: good for him. that is great. host: william in michigan,
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democratic caller. caller: thanks for taking my call. the comment i have -- afghanistan, the problem is over there, they should train and arm the women because the men are cowards. that is my comment. thank you. host: clarence page? guest: that is a good thought in terms of how afghanistan does have a challenge now in protecting women, children, etc., now that the taliban are moving back in, but there is a log of other questions i won't go into that are raised -- lot of other questions i won't go into that are raised by
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outsiders going " why don't you arm your women?" caller: when we bring in enough of the islamic terrorists into the united states, do you think we will have a peaceful transition into an islamic country? guest: first of all, we have the free exercise of religion in the united states. we also have the band on -- ban on the institution of a national religion. muslims are entitled to the same freedoms everyone else is entitled to. host: fort lauderdale, independent, you are next. caller: my comment is -- and i
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am on the independent line because i do not think in a binary sense. i am mortified by the way it was botched. i wonder if we will ever have these general officers brought before congress for deliberately sabotaging the process? every general officer involved in the chain of command involved in this debacle should be removed from their command. host: let me share with you and our guests, peter baker from the new york times tweeted this morning " even if the taliban continue to gain power, it would be at least a year and a half before kabul would be
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threatened." guest: if the intelligence was that bad, particularly when we had people on the ground in afghanistan, that is not good! i do think when all is said and done, retrospectively, we need to look back and review who was right, who was wrong, who told the truth, who told falsehoods. that will teach us lessons to avoid these mistakes in the future. if part of it was " we knew we had bad intelligence in iraq," if part of it was, the intelligence was that bad we need to know that. guest: i am sensing what yogi be ar-a -- this sounds so much like after vietnam and other
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disasters we have had. there is always finger-pointing and evaluating and questions of who is to blame, what went wrong. that is what we are starting to see happen now. the gentleman who called in who talked about hauling the generals up for account, there are others aside from the generals involved. the papers were written towards the end of a decade in which all these mistakes were made and they were covered up. this is the kind of thing that happens here where afghanistan is another case of the diplomatic side, the intelligence side into the military side each having
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different assessments of what was going on, and now we are seeing some of the mistakes. host: nancy in altoona, pennsylvania, democratic caller. caller: i feel we have to stick to our word. we were to get out of there, and we need to do that, and we need to be strong in the message that we will not tolerate any kind of retaliation from the taliban and from any kind of attacks. the thing that we have to do is to make things move forward. i really like what president biden said. it has not changed in all these years, and our soldiers need to be here, fighting for anything that -- they need to learn to
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fight for themselves. if 20 years have not shown anything different -- and as far as terry jeffrey's answer -- this is going off the track -- on the vaccine, it sounded lis -- sounds like he does not want to make things better. he sounds like he follows the trump administration. he does not promote the vaccine, even with what is happening with the new variant. in a subtle way that is the message he gave. guest: i think it is a free country. i think people should be able to take the vaccine or not take the vaccine if they want to. it will be a good thing when the vaccines are finally totally approved and they are not just authorized for emergency use.
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i will point out that the cleveland clinic did a study where they looked at people who were employed by the cleveland clinic, and a group of them had covid already, had demonstrated cases of covid, and not a single one had gotten it again at the time the cleveland clinic had their study. what is the immunity of someone who has had covid-19? how long does it last? i had covid-19! i think that provided me with some immunity to the disease. host: hugs andrea, virginia -- alexandria, virginia. caller: jack sullivan elected to drag their feet on the jcpoa return.
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china signed an agreement with iran for 25 years for security and economic assistance. the chinese have been backing the taliban for 20 years now in their efforts. now that they have one foothold in the middle east in iran they will not want to see the taliban upset that by attacking a major shia community in the middle of afghanistan. up until now, the taliban has done nothing but occupy suni -- the tele-banner sun -- taliban are suni -- occupy sunni provinces all around the shia settlement in the middle of afghanistan. china will pay the taliban whatever it costs to settle down
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afghanistan, possibly allow them to put a pipeline through to china so they can increase their influence throughout the entire middle east. host: those are donald's thoughts. we will hear from alan in wisconsin, the republican. caller: good morning. my comment is i think we armed the taliban for maybe 8 years. do not blame trump, do not blame biden. we stuck our nose in and we pay for our consequences. that is all. host: clarence page? guest: he is right about that. it is interesting, talking about china again, china is an example
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of a country that we call communist. it calls itself, pianist -- itself communist. the government controls it, but since 1980, they have had the freedom to be capitalist in their various enterprises in cooperation with the government, and they have prospered as a result. i was over there 12 years ago. it blew me away. what they are doing now is buying the friendship of various countries. they are doing it across africa, building infrastructure for them and economic dependency for themselves. kennett happen in afghanistan -- can it happen in afghanistan? it is right next door to china.
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guest: the chinese are biannual debt! 00 buying u.s. debt 0--the chinese are buying u.s. debt! host: let me read to you a tweet hear from josh. he has a quote from senator ben sasse, the republican. he-says this- -- he says this, " the unmitigated disaster and afghanistan -- the shameful, saigon-like abandonment of kabul , the brutalization of afghan women and the slaughter of our allies -- is the result of the trump-biden plan."
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guest: the idea that it is the mission of the united states to invade countries and change them is ridiculous. what happened in afghanistan proves that is not the case. would it have been worth it to stay there longer? maybe, but we do not have a mission to change these countries. guest: i look around -- it is easier to help iraq build a stable government, a stable regime there. you look at korea. when we pulled out of their, we had a -- there we had a clear demarcation line between north and south korea. when it works it works. but in afghanistan, how do you do it? host: another image out of afghanistan from a new york
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times reporter on the ground -- " my heart breaks into pieces for my people who have lined up outside of the banks to cash their savings and waiting at the gates foreign embassies to secure visas to leave." caller: in 9/11 all the pilots were egyptian, and for some reason we decided to go into afghanistan, who had nothing to do with it. the taliban closely reflect the culture. why do we not have a international forcen -- an international force? it did not work in iraq. it is not going to work in afghanistan. host: i will have our guests
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reflect on the 9/11 anniversary coming up -- the 20 year anniversary. guest: there is so much to reflect on their. -- there. the country feels saddened. it is the memory of something that not only was an awful tragedy, but it was also unifying as it turns out. they reminded us we are all americans. there is nothing like having terrorists bent on killing you because you are american to pull americans together. i would like to see more of that now. hopefully this will be a reminder of how we can pull together as americans. we have more about us in common then we do that are different. guest: i agree with what
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clarence said. 9/11 was one of the greatest tragedies in the history of this country. it was a horrible day. after it, the country united. we were one nation, one people, and we acted like it. as horrible as the incident that precipitated it, that unity was an excellent thing. we want to be one nation that shares a sense of values. america is one people. host: for the lives lost, american lives lost, military contractors, the afghan lives lost over the 20 years, what are your thoughts on that? guest: i will say this -- one of the things when we look back over those 20 years as we have not had another massive terrorist attack on the united states. on one level, our policy has
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worked. there have been plots that people have tried to lunge against the united states, but during that time -- launch against the united states, but during that time, we have not had another 9/11. we have talked about other things in our foreign policy that were the right way to follow up on 9/11, but to the degree that our leaders have protected this country from another outrageous event like that, we need to be grateful. guest: i agree. we need to reassess where we are. i think back to 20 years ago at the end of the 90's. it was a time when we were all thinking about oklahoma city, and that bombing. we are worried about internal
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terror. we should be thinking more and more about what we have in common as americans and what is at stake when we have democracy itself in the balance. host: bob in florida, an independent. caller: i want to respond to jeffrey's comment about freedom of religion. the psychotic religious claptrap can be used as an excuse to do anything. the taliban who are raping and murdering girls think they are doing something religious. when they are busy raping and murdering those afghan women, they might forget to wear their masks so i suggest we go in with a humanitarian effort to vaccinate all those vulnerable
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women and citizens who have targets on their backs since we abandoned them! i think those terrorists when they go back to visit their friends in pakistan, they should watch out that their friends do not get infected by them! host: that was bob in florida. let me ask you to finish up by giving us your thoughts on what you will be watching for in afghanistan and from the white house? guest: i think the key thing after americans are gone, is hopefully we will have some presence there so we can see what is going on. if we have no one there, it will be like iraq before the iraq war. we -- the key thing to look
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for is if caliban becomes -- if the taliban harbors terrorists./ guest: our first involvement in the conflict over there resulted in the rise of and lauded -- bin laden and al qaeda. how are other countries going to respond? how are americans going to respond to what is happening over and afghanistan? we are not going to see a surge of people wanting to get back in there. we will see an evaluation of what went on and what kind of new leadership can emerge over there that america can work with. we have to decide what are america's interests in the region? host:


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