tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC September 6, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT
>> announcer: "this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. fallout. hurricane ida leaves more than 60 dead across eight states. >> we saw a horrifying storm last night. unlike anything we've seen before. >> as the delta variant depresses job growth. >> we're not where we need to be in our economic recovery. >> president biden responds to
both challenges and his poll numbers sink after the chaotic exit from afghanistan. >> i was not going to extend this forever war. plus -- >> our creator endowed us with the right to life. now we're about to make it law. >> texas enacts the strictest abortion ban in the country. >> what the supreme court is letting happen is an end to roe v. wade. >> we debate it all with cedric richmond, republican senator bill cassidy and our powerhouse and, "9/11 plus 20, the longest shadow." 20 years after the september 11th attacks the first look at our new abc news documentary. >> nobody needed to die there. i don't think i ever saw a greater strategic purpose for being there. >> martha raddatz, pierre thomas and charlie gibson remember that tragic day and reflect on the
toll of america's longest war. >> announcer: from abc news, it's "this week." here now george stephanopoulos. good morning and welcome to "this week." as we head into labor day the country is marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this week, still absorbing the heart breaking scenes from the chaotic exit from america's longest war. hurricane ida's trail of devastation turned our focus inward this week. exposed a country clearly unprepared for this harsh new climate reality. after the supreme court's conservative majority allowed texas to enact the most stringent abortion ban in the country roe v. wade is facing its biggest challenges ever. president biden experiencing the lowest poll numbers in his presidency. we'll cover it all beginning with cedric richmond. mr. richmond, thank you for joining us this morning. let's begin with the devastation left by ida. i know you're coming to us from new orleans this morning.
you were with president biden on friday. what's the latest on the situation down in your state? what kind of federal emergency assistance will president biden be authorizing? >> we have all hands on deck down here. we issued a prestorm disaster declaration and in the middle of the night after the storm hit the president signed a disaster declaration. so that freed up individual assistance for families and individuals and we still encourage people to go to disasterassistance.gov and apply for benefits, especially those critical needs assistance to get money in the hands of people to do it. one of the reasons why the president wanted to come down so early is because he wanted to see things on the ground. we know what the problems are and we're actually helping to resolve them. that's getting power back on in homes, getting gas to fuel stations, getting tarps so people can mitigate their damage and to create and provide that
assistance. so people that do come home after a week of not having electricity, they have to replenish their refrigerator. most people don't think of it in that sense. part of why we're here is we want to know what real people deal with. that's a $400 expense to replenish a refrigerator. we want to make sure -- that's just a small example of what we're doing. we want to make sure we're meeting the needs as people even encounter them. >> the destruction highlights the need to counter climate change. they're countered with the infrastructure projects and the bipartisan bill passed by the senate, the broader proposals of the democrat's $3.5 trillion bill. senator joe manchin offered up a hold on the bill. it can't pass without his support. doesn't that put both proposals at risk? >> we'll keep working on both proposals. people have said from the beginning that both proposals were dead on arrival.
people said they would meet challenges. that's what we do as an administration, we meet challenges, we keep working and keep our head down until we get things done. we saw that with the american rescue plan. we'll keep doing that with the infrastructure bill. people should see now more than ever how important it is to have resiliency and shore up our electrical grid and invest in infrastructure. then on the reconciliation bill, the build back better bill, important to address climate change. these once in a century storms are starting to come almost every other year. they're bigger, stronger. they wreak more havoc. look at new york, new jersey and pennsylvania. people should see what climate change is doing. we're going to address in our legislation. the president created this legislation over a year ago. he was ahead of this. now we need congress to come along with us to protect the american people and invest in them. >> you read senator manchin's op-ed. he said he's not for it. he said $3.5 trillion is too
much. he's not going to vote for it. it can't pass without him. >> senator manchin is a valued partner. we'll continue to work with him. we'll continue to push our agenda. part of this, george, is the sausage making process. it just happens. this is happening in public view. it's not abnormal for this to happen in the legislative process. we're still full steam ahead on trying to get our legislation passed. >> isn't it also going to be harder for the president to get this passed now that he has a majority disapproving according to our latest poll of the job he's doing as president? >> i don't think so. i think what will happen is people will start to realize what we need, the challenges we're facing. we have to take an assessment of what the american people are dealing with right now. they're dealing with covid and the delta variant. they're dealing with hurricane ida. they're dealing with a number of things. we're meeting the challenges.
i think people appreciate that. does it always bear out in poll numbers? maybe, maybe not. i've seen and done this a very long time. the leadership the president is providing is appreciated and will be appreciated mre. you get ups and downs. we're not worried about poll numbers. we're worried about the 1.2 million people in louisiana that don't have electricity. we're worried about the people in new york, new jersey and pennsylvania that are going through it. this has never been a president who worried about himself. he worries about the country. we're not worried about poll numbers. the president will do the hard work to garner the support of his party. that's regardless of anything else. >> let's talk about the texas abortion ban. the president promised a whole of government response to this bill. what can the administration do to prevent the law from being carried out? i know he tasked the justice department to look at that. >> he's tasked the justice department to look at the law and the options we have there. he's tasked hhs to look at other
ways to make sure that women still have the right to choose and the ability to terminate a pregnancy or have an abortion if that's the hard decision they coose. he's tasked the gender policy council to look at those. we're going to, as an administration, look at ways to counter this law in texas which the president issued a statement and was very clear about the damage that that decision has done. we'll do everything we can to try to remedy that situation for people in texas. it is just a cruel and destructive law on the rights of women. >> speaker pelosi said the house is going to vote on legislation to protect the right to an abortion all across the country. does president biden support that? would he sign it into law? >> the president said on the campaign trail we should codify roe v. wade. to the extent we're doing that,
the president supports it. >> mr. richmond, thank you for your time this morning. let's bring in republican senator bill cassidy of louisiana. senator cassidy, thank you for joining us. let's pick up where we left off with mr. richmond. this texas abortion ban, do you support it? >> i am pro-life. let's be clear, george. the ruling on scotus was the plaintiffs did not have standing. it had nothing to do with the constitutionality of roe v. wade. it was only on if the plaintiffs had standing. people are using it to gin up their base to distract from disastrous policies in afghanistan, maybe for fund-raising appeals. i wish we would focus on issues as opposed to theater. it was about if they had standing, nothing to do with constitutionality. i think we should move on to oth other issues. >> the law is being enacted. let's talk about the law, the substance of the law.
it gives private citizens the right to enforce this law. it tasks private citizens with enforcing this law. "the wall street journal" called it the texas abortion law blunder, saying the law sets a precedent conservatives could hate. could california allow private citizens to sue against hate speech? or new york deputize private lawsuits against gun owners? what do you think about the underlying substance of the law? >> i think the supreme court will swat it away once it comes to them in an appropriate manner. if it's as terrible as people says, it will be destroyed by the court. to act like it's an assault upon roe v. wade is something the president is doing to distract from his other issues. it's clearly not an assault -- by the way, i'm pro-life. the facts are this is about standing, nothing else. the supreme court will decide how to affect standing before all these other things play out.
>> you don't think it signals the court is prepared to undo roe v. wade now? >> we can always talk about eventualities. we can talk theoretical. it makes good fodder. i'm in the middle of a state where 700,000 people don't have electricity, where we have a disastrous withdrawal from afghanistan and where the administration is pushing a $3.5 trillion bill which will be to inflation what the withdrawal was to afghanistan. i don't think about theoreticals. i think about things before me. that's what i focus on. >> let's talk about the reconciliation bill. senator joe manchin's statement this weekend, does that kill the bill? does it worry you the bipartisan bill, the smaller infrastructure bill you support, will also die? >> implicit with what joe said is he would accept a smaller bill. i think a smaller bill is disastrous. on the other hand the two are
delinked. there will be a vote on september 27th on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. the fact that joe is saying he has to negotiate means the vote on the $3.5 trillion inflation igniting bill will come later. they are delinked. they're not connected. we'll vote on the infrastructure bill which will be voted on its own merits and then we'll have a later vote on the $3.5 trillion that will come back to the senate and hopefully cooler heads prevail and people recognize it's wrong policy for the united states of america. >> you're not concerned if senator manchin's opposition stands progressives will prevail and house speaker nancy pelosi will not affect the smaller bipartisan bill? >> of course i'm concerned about that. it should not be a party line vote in the house. it wasn't in the senate. folks say republicans are opposing for whatever reason. go down to where people won't
have electricity back until september 29th and tell them you'll vote against a bill that hardens our grid, which has coastal restoration dollars, which has flood mitigation, which will build levees and protect louisiana, go to those parishes and tell them the reason you have to vote no. >> what is the situation in your state right now? are you satisfied with president biden's initial response to your state? >> it is getting better. the federal partners have been there. so i compliment the federal partners and thank them for that. we need gasoline and electricity and we need housing. then we need to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill for the long term. on the other hand telling people it gets better when they're told they won't have electricity until september 29th is cold comfort. we need gasoline so people can run their generators. when that happens, folks will feel a little better about their
current situation. >> you're a physician. is your state getting covid under control? >> the numbers are falling down for delta. our immunization rates are still way too low. our icus have too many patients related to a vaccine-preventable disease. yes, it's getting better, but we can imagine future wave. i encourage people, please, get vaccinated. for your time.sidy, thank you - roundtable is up next. we'll be right back.
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i'm pro-life. i welcome pro-life legislation. what they did in texas is interesting. it's different than how the debates have gone. we'll have to look. i'll look more significantly at it. >> the supreme court making the decision that it did, not only disrespected women, it disrespected the supreme court and its former decision. when we go back to washington, we will be putting roe v. wade codification on the floor of the house. >> the debate is joined on the texas abortion ban. the role of the supreme court. let's talk about it with our round table, chris christie, donna brazile, heidi heitkamp and republican strategist kristen soltis anderson. donna, let me begin with you. i think you're still a resident of louisiana, at least part time. we heard senator bill cassidy say the democrats are
overreacting in hysterics. >> we're overreacting in terms of the storm? >> no. in terms of the texas abortion ban. >> no way. no way. i want to thank senator cassidy for his leadership. as well as cedric richmond and the federal government. it is true that most people are still without power. most people are still looking for gasoline and food. the truth is that the government is there helping people get back on their feet. it's going to be a long time. no, george, when the penalty for having an abortion after being raped is more severe than the penalty for rape, you know it's a war on women. this is bad. bad news for women. bad news for texas women. bad news for low income and minority women. simply because -- they have gutted roe v. wade. this is bad news. we should act as if what happened in texas is likely to happen in many more states because the supreme court has opened the door for this to happen.
i'm not a lawyer. i can tell you one thing, to allow this to go into effect when they have in the past denied other states who tried to have viability at 15 weeks, no. it's bad news. >> chris christie, you are a lawyer. this is incredibly novel right now. it tasks private citizens with enforcing a law. >> the law is novel. as a lawyer, we need to understand this is part of the problem when you have result-oriented people who want judges that way. the supreme court justices are following the law. they didn't have standing to bring this. they said we're not going to decide it now. come back when you have standing. that's the way the law works. if this were going in the other direction against people who are progressives or liberals and the court was taking action without standing to do something they disagreed with, they would disagree with that. here's what i think we need to do. we need to have an honest conversation about abortion. there is discontent in many
states across the country with roe v. wade. until we have an honest conversation about whether it's a federal constitutional right or not, we have an honest conversation. >> was the conservative majority following the law or politics? >> i agree with that. this has ignited a political debate for the first time. for generations since roe v. wade women accepted this is settled law. for the first time we've seen an earthquake among the activists, among people concerned about reproductive rights saying this could happen. now all of a sudden we're at a spot where this could happen. i think the reason why you saw senator cassidy duck this issue is it's politically very dangerous for the republican party to have to explain to a suburban mother why her daughter who was raped three months ago
no longer has a choice. so i think that politically the reason why you don't see the republicans talking about this as a major pro-life victory is because politically it's dangerous and it has dominated the discussion in a week that should have been pretty good for the republican party. >> kristen, democrats believe that having roe v. wade on the ballot could help them. >> they do. the midterms are a long time away. sometimes the politics of this issues -- assumptions get made. eight years ago wendy davis became a rising star in the media because she filibustered an abortion bill on the floor of the texas legislation, but she never won another election in texas again. sometimes the politics of this issue on a national level differ from state to state. it's true that nationally only about 35% of americans support an abortion ban that starts at the heart beat. it's incumbent upon pro-life activists -- a lot of folks in the texas legislature are aware
this isn't necessarily the most popular policy. they believe that person the size of a blueberry that has a heart beat, forget the politics, that's what they believe. we live in a democracy. you have to win hearts and minds. what the pro-life community needs to realize is you have to wins hearts and minds of voters. not bypassing laws that pit neighbor versus neighbor, but we've had an unbelievable decline in the abortion rate in the last two decades. it's not a result of restrictions. it's a result of demand. let's create a country where when people see that blueberry on an ultrasound they're excited. >> you're going to allow private individuals that have no link to women or their families to be able to sue, to be able to harass abortion providers, to be able to harass someone who might not know they're pregnant. i've never been out there as an open crusader for abortion.
i believe it's a personal choice between a woman and her doctor. this is a moment when you have to say you'll allow some stranger to get into my business or into my family's business? they have no right to do that. >> chris, what about the argument the precedent this sets for private individuals? >> again, george, i think it's -- because people aren't following the law and doing things in a way that you get laws like this trying to jerry rig around roe v. wade which in my view, not only as someone pro-life, but also as a lawyer -- >> can you support a law like that? >> what i support is an honest conversation about abortion in this country. the fact is the much more significant case quite frankly is the mississippi case. the mississippi case is following the law the way it's supposed to go and it will put a 15-week ban in front of the supreme court and, again, remember how roe versus wade was decided.
out of nowhere the united states supreme court decides that first trimester is not to be protected. they're moving forward. science has changed so much. what kristen is talking about is you're seeing the decline in abortion is because of the increase in science and how much more people know about the viability. >> is roe v. wade dead? >> i disagree with chris. this isn't about the science. this is about women being able to make a choice. i'm concerned how it will further divide the country. reversal of roe v. wade doesn't eliminate abortion in this country. it will eliminate a national right for abortion. now blue states like california, new jersey, new york, all of a sudden say we believe in a women's right to choose. we believe women have that choice with their doctor to make this decision. you're going to see a further polarization of this country of human rights and women's rights. this is extraordinarily
dangerous. >> if that's what we call the system our founders set up, if the right is not enumerated in the constitution, it reverts to the states to decide. each state should be able to make that decision otherwise we might as well have an all-knowing federal government that gets to decide every question in this country. i don't think that's what we want. i don't think it's what our founders wanted. >> kristen, it appears a lot of states will be studying the texas bill trying to pass it themselves. >> this is unintended consequences. the substance of the law, pitting neighbor versus neighbor, creates a precedent if it winds up being upheld that says you can pass a law not just that you can sue your neighbor over abortion, but you could sue your neighbor over anything. republicans or democrats. that is -- you're seeing a number of pro-life activists wary to support this bill itself because of pitting neighbor
versus neighbor. >> let's talk about president biden as he faces these challenges. i talked to former congressman richmond about the poll numbers. he's under water right now. especially after this chaotic exit from afghanistan. how does he right the ship? >> by refocusing on health care, getting the delta variant under control, getting us back to work and helping -- a good suggestion would be move that infrastructure bill up. show that you can lead. >> the bipartisan bill? >> absolutely, show you can lead in a bipartisan way. get that done. then the mistake that the president and the administration has made is they passed great legislation, the child credit. it has the hugest effect in moving children out of poverty. we've been wanting to do that forever. they've not barely taken a victory lap. start talking about what you've done instead of taking on more water and playing defense. they need to play more offense. >> donna, you're seeing progressives like aoc saying
we're not going to pass this bipartisan if joe manchin and other moderates are against the bigger bill. i want to put the question i put to senator cassidy and former congressman richmond. doesn't this put both bills in jeopardy? >> i hope not. we definitely need the infrastructure bill. i was with the progressives trying to have what i call a two-track strategy. ida, which hit my folks at home, hit me in d.c. and hit my buddy over here. ida was a destructive you know what. get that infrastructure bill. we need 21st century infrastructure like yesterday. >> even if it costs -- >> no. look, what is the cost? we need to get the infrastructure bill done and then we also need to go back and say to mr. manchin who has put a strategic pause on the so-called reconciliation bill, begin the negotiation. we can do two things simultaneously. we can walk and chew gum. >> that's the debate. chris christie, what is joe manchin doing here?
is he saying i'm never going to vote for it or is he saying i'm getting leverage? >> he's saying what he's been saying all along. $3.5 trillion is too much. he's not saying he'll never vote for any bill. that's not what i'm hearing. i'm hearing him say if it's 3.5, i'm not voting for it. that leaves wide open everything from 0 to 3.4. i think that's what joe manchin is doing. back to the question you asked heidi, the problem for the president is the images from afghanistan and what happened in afghanistan and his stubbornness in trying to get out there and say it was a success -- you know, the american people, whether republican, independent or democrat, can't look at afghans hanging on to the bottoms of planes and falling off, can't look at americans left behind when the president promised you right to your face that the troops would stay until every american was out, he didn't tell the truth again. the afghanistan withdrawal was a disaster. i don't think we'll be talking about afghanistan in the midterms, but we'll be talking about is the president's
incompetence in that. >> the president's poll numbers among independence seemed to crater. that's why he fell so hard. how deep a cut is this? how does he recover? >> it's significant considering the next midterm is one where historically republicans would be favored. whether it's through redirecting or being the party out of power, republicans have the wind in their sails. biden's own popularity is falling with swing voters, and that's a huge problem. it's not just about afghanistan or the lackluster jobs reports. you go back. his job approval on covid was much higher than his overall job approval. it was sort of boosting everything up. you had a little bit of a mission accomplished moment when the cdc said you could get rid of the mask mandates. if you're vaccinated, everything is great. the delta variant changed that. it put joe biden in a position where he can no longer say we
beat covid. >> we saw its impact on the unemployment numbers this week as well. it seems like the president's standing was hurt with the exit of afghanistan, but it begins and ends with the handling of the pandemic. >> i agree because the economy begins and ends with how we handle the pandemic. what he needs to do is say these are the economic policies that will address the public health crisis. this is what we need to do to get infrastructure back up and running. he needs to refocus. when you go on to the next big progressive package, you are leaving behind all the really good things you've done that you should be talking about right now. i think it requires a recalibration. that recalibration cannot come after the midterms. it comes too late. george, during the clinton administration i was the attorney general in north dakota. i could see the erosion for president clinton. i sent up the alarms saying you have to pay attention. they didn't pay attention until
after the midterms and were then able to get re-elected. the time is now. it cannot be done in two months or three months. >> now he's going to be facing all this, donna brazile, as we head into the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with the taliban back in charge of afghanistan. >> yeah, it's tough. look, the president wasn't elected to make everybody feel good, but he understands that people are feeling pretty you know what right now. he has to toughen it up. the american people want him to project strengthen at times when we're making -- >> chris is arguing he was too strong, too stubborn. >> no. look, war is messy. we know that. >> he made it messier, donna. >> i don't know if he made it messier. there were a lot of fathers in this mess and some mothers too. the point is he has to project strength. he has to project strength not just in fighting covid. he has to project strength in getting us back on our feet in the gulf and across the country.
he has to continue to lead the american people. that's what they elected him for. he cannot grow wobbly because a couple polls -- he has some bad poll numbers. just do the job the american people elected him to do. that's what he has to do i believe. >> there's a difference between stubbornness and strength. i didn't say he was too strong. i think he was too stubborn. i think he disregarded the advice of his generals clearly in a way -- >> the generals were wrong for an awful long time. >> this one was pretty easy. what he did was he put a cap on the amount of money they could spend on the withdrawal. put a cap on it. he said you spend it however you want, but the amount of money he gave them wasn't enough to keep bagram air base open and keep control of the airport in kabul. they had to make a choice. when you didn't have both of those options, we saw what happened. the even bigger problem is he can't convey that strength if he's not a president who takes questions. one of the big problems he's got
is every time he goes out before the press he's telling people they told me i can't take questions. i can only take questions from you. you can't project strength if you look scared. joe biden looked scared to answer questions. then when he does, in an interview with you, he winds up not telling the truth. >> that's a little strong to say he wasn't telling the truth. circumstances changed. he said the outcome was different. >> what changed? he said until every american is out of afghanistan our soldiers will not leave. our soldiers left and there are americans still in afghanistan. either he didn't tell the truth to you or didn't know what he was talking about. either one doesn't project strength. >> that is all we have time for today. thank you for your insights. coming up, charlie gibson anchored abc's coverage during the terror attacks 20 years ago. he'll join martha raddatz and pierre thomas to reflect on that day and all that followed when we come back. to reflect on that day and all that followed when we come back. and a couple of years later,
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america's chaotic withdrawal from afghanistan marked the end of america's longest war. a war that fundamentally changed our country. we'll look at what it means for our culture, our politics and our sense of security in a new documentary series. here's a look at "9/11 plus 20, the longest shadow." >> we're coming on the air at this hour with breaking developments overseas. >> the fall of afghanistan. >> the taliban just come to kabul. >> the chaos, the panic, the desperation you're seeing at the airport. >> local reports say people could be seen falling from the plane at it departed. >> this is the image of 9/11, the falling man who jumped out of the twin towers trying to escape. if somebody were writing this as fiction, it would almost be too
much. some of it is not surprising. all of it is disappointing. i don't think anyone should have been under any illusions that the country wasn't going to collapse. it's one thing to pull out. pulling out without a plan in place is unforgiveable. >> holy [ bleep ]. holy [ bleep ]. ♪ ♪ >> we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. every nation in every region now has a decision to make. either you're with us or you are
with the terrorists. >> in the days after 9/11 our intelligence agencies concluded that the nerve system of al qaeda had come out of afghanistan. >> afghanistan was the place where osama bin laden found refuge. >> this was not just retaliation, but to prevent more attacks that we have to go into afghanistan. >> so it has begun. the battle, as the president put it, has now been joined. >> 2,977 people were killed on september 11th. in the wake of the worst terror attack on america, u.s. public support was firmly behind president bush and his administration to go after those responsible. >> we'll not only deal with those who go after america. we'll deal with those who harbor
them. >> we went into afghanistan and found ourselves trapped in a terrorist war. >> my entire adult life has been spent in the shadow of the twin towers falling. it's unimaginable to me what my life would have been like had that not happened. almost certainly wouldn't have joined the army. i gave up everything to do that. i mean, that was my 20s. i gave up, you know, my time, my youth, my health. >> lauren crow was 25 years old when he was commissioned as an in tr infantry officer in the army. >> i was a platoon leader in
charge of 30 some odd infantry guys and support soldiers. we were placed on an rm combat outpost, right up against the pakistan border, the furthest outpost in our battalion. i hated that we were there. the job was to hold on. we really relied on initiative from wherever we could find it. when you found someone who could step into a role, you needed that person in that role. brandon farley was one of those people. brandon was shot and killed on a mission in a close ambush in september of 2008. it's the worst day of my life by far and hopefully remains so. i can't imagine going through anything worse than that. i took it as a personal failure. my job was to keep him alive.
nobody should have died there. nobody needed to die there. i don't think i ever saw a greater strategic purpose for being there. >> so much sacrifice. "9/11 plus 20 the longest shadow" will be streaming every night this week on abc news live and on hulu. up next, charlie gibson, martha raddatz, pierre thomas all covered that day 20 years ago and the impact it's had on our country since. we'll share their reflections after this.
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"good morning america" was in progress, but we're on the air to show you some pictures at the foot of new york city. this is at the world trade center. a major fire there and there has been some sort of explosion. we don't fully know the details. we just saw another plane coming in from the side. >> oh, my god.
>> this looks like it's some sort of concerted effort to attack the world trade center under way in downtown new york. >> charlie gibson nearly 20 years ago on 9/11. we're glad to welcome him back now along with martha raddatz, pierre thomas. charlie, i have to begin, take us back to those first moments when you were watching and telling the whole world what was going on. >> well, we were in a commercial break. stu schwartz our producer said something happened at the world trade center. we think a plane has hit the building. we don't know for sure. we have a traffic camera trained on the north tower. you're on the air. go. that's all the warning we had. diane and i -- diane sawyer and i were there. we were bewildered. we were bewildered just like everybody else. then, of course, the second plane came into frame and you just played the little bit after
that. we knew at that point the united states was under atack. internalizing that, george, the hardest part -- first of all, i don't think i ever -- any of us ever imagined that a plane could be used as a weapon against a building and that later people would jump. it was just beyond my can and then that the buildings would p. each one of those was such a shock. it took so long to internalize it and realize the magnitude of what we were undergoing. diane, when that second plane hit, said oh, my god. i've always thought what a wonderful reaction that was. she knew right away we had a lot of people gone. >> a lot of people gone. we couldn't have imagined also, martha raddatz, it would lead to america's longest war. a 20-year war that just ended last week. it has a lot of people wondering, especially the people in the military, were the
sacrifices worth it now that the taliban is back in charge? >> a lot of people are questioning that. if you talk to people on the ground, they say we did what we were told to do. we fought for the united states. we fought for the brothes and sisters next to us. i think they are trying to make peace with that. the bigger question, george, is why were we there for 20 years? when you look back and look at all the change and one general after another saying we can do it, i think it's a military mindset. we can do it. we can do this. i think it was going much more poorly than we knew about at the time. they were determined to make a difference, but there was so much that was going wrong and so much the public didn't know, especially those afghan forces. president bush promised the people it was not just a fight to clear us of al qaeda.
it was a fight for freedom. i think that mindset was there in afghanistan. that was in the mindset of all the military commanders who went in there and the presidents, that it is bigger than that until joe biden decided to pull out. >> pierre, it transformed so much of our society. it transformed law enforcement, especially the mission of the fbi. >> george, it's painful to think about that day on so many levels. i remember talking to senior fbi officials and you could feel the utter failure that they knew that had just taken place. i remember talking to a senior fbi official before the world trade center bombing and attacks. they were utterly not prepared. they were talking about things like if there's an attack because you recall the cia director was running around saying his hair was on fire. they knew some kind of attack was coming. the mindset of the fbi was, quote, they would be prepared to have evidence response teams.
they would figure out who would have done it, not how to prevent it. that's the thing i'm just stunned as i think about it now remembering that that senior fbi official, the mindset was not to prevent the attack, it was thinking about how they would respond to an attack, george. >> charlie, one of the images that stuck with me from those days right after 9/11 so powerfully, all those members of congress, republicans and democrats, together on the steps of the capitol showing the country we were unified. what a journey since then politically. >> what a quaint notion that is now, and how quickly that disappeared. president bush was wonderful in that period of time of rallying the country. martha points to something that i think is very important. we're going to go over and over as we did after 9/11, we'll go over and over what the failures were in afghanistan and and
particularly the failures perhaps in not being able to get people out sooner. what i came out of 9/11 with and it's the parallel i see here is the future. we came out of 9/11 with our naive destroyed. the belief we were an insular nation with two oceans to protect us. that went away. we began to realize we're vulnerable. the question was how vulnerable are we and how continually vulnerable are we going to be. now what i worry about because this is such a difficult country, afghanistan to govern, do the taliban have it or will we have something like somalia with war lords in charge in various parts? do we have any left over intelligence in that country that can give us some warning or will it become a breeding ground for future attacks? those are the questions we're left with now and those were the questions we were left with after 9/11.
>> martha, that's the danger. president biden made it very clear the internal situation in afghanistan is not our business. we can't solve those problems anymore. the question is can we protect against any comeback of al qaeda and isis? >> it's much, much harder. the cia director william burn said it's much, much harder. there is a risk. given that the taliban is now in control of that country, something we did not expect and we heard everyone say no one predicted it in 11 days, how will we know the future? the chairman of the joint chiefs was interviewed saying there could be a resurgence in one to three years, but this was the same chairman who was surprised by the 11-day takeover by the taliban. he also predicted we could win in afghanistan. i think it's a huge, huge question. i think, george, the country will move on. they'll move on. they'll forget about afghanistan.
what joe biden did was supported by the public, maybe not the execution of that which was chaotic and deadly, but they'll move on and meanwhile things will fester there. what has happened is we will look, as a nation, at how we fight wars, why we fight wars. this will probably reappear in a few years and there will be a larger threat, george. >> pierre, finally, one of the ironies of these last several years, al qaeda and isis, the number one terror threat to the united states, now the number one terror threat home grown. >> that is exactly right. they're more concerned about far right radicals. they've killed more people since 9/11 than foreign-based terrorists. as we approach 9/11, i was speaking to a senior law enforcement official, they're less concerned about the capacity of al qaeda or isis to do a 9/11 scale attack.
i don't know if they'll be proven correct about that. they're more concerned about the fact that isis and al qaeda through social media can brainwash people to act independently without command and control from them. that's the concern this week. i can tell you combined with the domestic terror threat and that threat, law enforcement is as antsy as i've seen them in quite sometime. >> thank you for your reflections and insight. that's all for today. the commemoration of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will continue all week on our programs. thank you for joining us this sunday. have a happy and safe labor day. ♪ ♪
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