tv Charlie Rose PBS April 1, 2013 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
>> rose: the debate over drone warfare continues. earlier this month senator paul filibuster confirmation hearings as new director of the cia. ske did so expressing concerns about the obama administration's use of drone attacks. the strikes have been a central part of the president's counterterrorism strategy. issues of legality and the lack of judicial oversight have been strofertion. joining us scott shane of the "new york times", rosa brooks a professor at law at georgetown and peter singer, he is director of 21st century security and intelligence at the brookings institution. here in new york michael boyle, he was formerly a counterterrorism advisor to president obama. i am pleased to have all of them here to talk about this. i begin with michael boyle. explain how this became and why, you know, a crucial element of the battle against terrorism on the part of the obama administration. >> well, i think the obama administration confronted a unique series of
difficulties when they came into office. the one thing is there was growing instability in pakistan which made rely on pakistan's government much more difficult. the second as we know hamid karzai in afghanistan has also been becoming more and more difficult for the united states to deal with. i think drones began to look like a very attractive way of dealing with a terrorism problem in afghanistan and in pakistan, in part because dealing with the government's was so difficult and costly to do. in a relatively short period of time we've moved from a relatively spare use of drones under the bush administration on something like 50 drone strikes were launched. >> more than 300. >> in the obama administration. in part i think due to the difficulties in the situation. and the notion it's a he is dukdive form of technology it appears to have no risk for u.s. personnel and you can do without boots on the ground. if you think about an american population increasingly war warry, about a government facing financial constraints, drones look like a low cost, low risk option to be able to deal with those problems without having to go through governments or causing problem. >> rose: what do you think the controversy that has taken place will change the use of drones. >> how will it change the use of drones if it does?
>> i'm not sure it will change the use of drones. i have not seen the administration give in enough from so critiques you have seen about drones. i think there still is a relatively dominant-- in washington that drones are a highly effective form of warfare. one of the possibles is this works with attenuated notion of effectiveness. we look at effectiveness in terms of body count, in terms of we killed someone who was a potential terrorist who might some day strike the united states. i think the administration needs to realize there are is a wider set of political and strategic costs and to measure those costs, those costs might then change the way the drones are used going forward. i have not seen movement yet to suggest the administration is rethinking its position. >> rose: resa brooks, tell me where you think the debate is now? >> i think the debate to some extent is in the wrong place right now. i think it's actually important to draw a distinction between drones which is just another weapons in surveillance platform versus u.s.-targeted killing policy. what people are up set about and rightly so is the
approach the administration is taken to targeted killings which amounts to a we can kill anyone, anywhere, any time for reasons which we won't tell you about and a process that is secret based on evidence that we won't even describe to you the kinds of evidence we're going to be looking at. that's what people are up set about and what they should be up set about because that's pretty scary. drones as such, i think mike sell quite right, obviously, they create a perception that they're a lower cost than using force that is probably a false perception. but in a sense, the legal and the moral issues here are not different because of drones. we would be facing the same legal and moral issues if we were carrying out these targeted killings using manned aircraft, for instance. >> do you expect there will be some change in terms of the use of targeted and the procedure for it and the process for it and if, in fact, the use of drones moves from the cia in part to the pentagon? >> you know, i sure hope so.
i'm not superoptimistic about that. i think that it's been really interesting, actually, to watch in the last couple of months. as the debate about targeted killings, which i'll dot same thing i just said we shouldn't do, a will abbreviate drone policy as that debate has suddenly kind of made it big and gone from being what wonkee law professors lick me talk about and people in ngos talk about to suddenly everybody is talking about it. people are very, very worried about it. on the other hand, i'm not seeing the administration make any real moves to change this. and i know my colleagues here can talk more about the proposed move to shift to the pentagon from the cia. i'm not convinced it will make a big dichbs. >> let me talk about the president and sitting there choosing targets, and the process he goes through and how-- how, why he believes in it so much. >> well, you know, this has been sort of a little bit of a moving target itself.
there's a process that the joint special operations command uses in dod, and there's a process that the cia uses. and they're different, they apparently maintain different lists. they both end up in the white house. and certainly initially that was because president obama, you know, recognized that what he was doing was something pretty extraordinary, you know, going into other countries where we're not at war and bumping people off. and he wanted, you know, we were told by his aides that he wanted involvement because he thought it was a big responsibility. he got a lot of publicity about a year ago from us and from others for taking a big role in that. and i think his sort of hands on role may have been sort of cut back a bit because you know some folks, i think the white house thought he was being wrongly
portrayed, this was being wrongly portrayed as sort of a blood thirsty president who relished the idea of killing these people. and they were, they saw it. and i guess the president saw it as, you know, his wanting to have, being a restraining influence or sort of oversight, over do d&c ia when they carried out these strikes. >> bruce riddell said the reason the administration continues to use drones is obvious. it doesn't really have anything else. >> well, it certainly is true that you know, to send commandos into pakistan as we saw with the bin laden raid is not a real popular thing to do. drones may be unpopular in pakistan but the alternative was presumably be more so. and you know, i guess as rosa said certainly certainly there is a difference to the guy on the ground whether he's killed
by a f-16 or by, you know, a bomber or by a drone but the threshold that the risk to the operator of the drone is obviously much less. they're sitting over thousands of miles away in the united states. so perhaps the threshold nor taking action to kill somebody in another country is somewhat lower than it would be with other forms of warfare. >> put this in the context of warfare overall. >> well, you have a revolutionary changes that's happening in the technology of war. now the question here ask are we talking about war or counterterrorism. we've got things con plated. but when you look at the technology of drones, it's a game changer in war. it's something along the level of the introduction of gun powder or the steam engine or the airplane. by that i mean it gives you a series of capabilities that we didn't imagine we'd have a generation ago. but also it's giving us a series of dilemmas that we
also didn't imagine we would be having a generation ago. and they are dilemmas that are political, strategic, tactical all the way down to ethical and legal. now one thing that's happening here i think that's a challenge is thatter with a seeing things con plated. so just as the example that scott gave of the con flation between the jso-- the joint special operations command on the military side and the one the cia is doing, both are taking place in the shadow wars that are out there. >> and you know, charlie, i think that's why it's really important to be clear about what it is that we are up set about. that it's not the technology is somehow inherently evil, but the technology enables a particular set of policy decisions that might have been more costly, it enables a lot of different policy decisions that might have been more costly. and some good ones like use of surveillance drones for humanitarian purposes during natural disasters and so forth. but it's this particular set of targeted killings outside
of so-called hot battlefields that has, i think, all of us going oh my goodness that is pretty orwellian and scary. >> speak to that. >> i think there are a couple of different things. first it is true the technology is just a means and in that sense t can be benign. it has no natural kind of he normative consequences, you can use its drone for a lot of good things. when you think about the targeted killings program in pakistan, particularly, yemen and somalia, one of the great dangers here is that we've been lulled into a notion that these are hugely effectism-- effective forms of violence, we put such pressure on al qaeda we are pushing them to collapse. there is no question al qaeda suffered under drone strike, the question is that there counter-- if for example we generate a lot of local political hostility due to drone strikes, if we make it harder and harder. >> rose: rewe are doing that. >> 70% of pakistanies said they consider united states an enemy. when you face a situation like that one of the things that happens is the government finds it harder to say yes to the united states is so i think one thing about the targeted
killing program has been lost is there is this notion it is effective and we are not looking at the other side of the balance sheet, at for example whether they confirm the image of the united states as someone who uses technology and bomb was a second thought. and whether they raise the political cost facing the government to make it harder to have counterterrorism cooperation with the united states. >> rose: there is also this, the adoption, i will come back to washington in a second. the adoption of signature strikes make indiscriminate kyling a policy, indiscriminate killing. >> that's right, the administration signature strike policy look force patterns of behavior. and one of the problems with this is it might be you move a truck across a border it might be you look like you are loading something that looks like a bomb near a compound that doesn't ask enough hard questions about whether you have right to target that person, whether that person is actually a combatant. one of the dangers is that is by definition indiscriminate it might be the case that the administration uses signature strikes very, very carefully. and that in fact they go out of their way to not make it a policy of indiscriminate killing. the problem in part and this was hinted at by peter and a
number of other people, is that the program is chrokdz under so much secrecy it's hard for us to know what the signature strikes are, how have been used and what sort of standards of evidence have been used to launch them also. >> rose: stiingt strikes is an il gration where on one hand we have even administration officials say either we don't do that, an other times we heard them say we do do that but this is why. but then we also have a variety of tactics that beyond signature strikes that, for example there an vert military operation would you never utilize like one is called a double tap strike which is where you strike at a target and then you wait for the rescuers to come about. app you strike again. now that has been something that we have pointed out that if, adversaries did that in afghanistan or iraq we would say how dare you this is evidence of how bad they are. there have been reports that we may have conducted strikes in a similar manner. don't know whether they are confirmed or not. what i am getting at here is that a civilian political appointee lawyer operating under a very different set of laws and priorities looks
at that issue and the question of what tactics you might bring, what rules of engagement you operate under very different than a military lawyer would. and so that's part of the importance of whether these do shift from intelligence agency to military but also whether they stay in the complete black ops world. or whether we own up to the fact that hey, these are not covert operations any more. they're frankly not so covert. and we need to stop running away from them and embrace the fact that we are doing them and these are the rules we're going to operate under and actually stick and follow those rules. >> to give you an example of the strange contradictions that you run into, the kind of predictments that the administration has gotten itself into, president obama has now spoken fairly candidly about drone strikes on youtube, on cnn, in another, even on the daily show. and yet we filed a freedom of information request, "the new york times", and we're in court fighting and the
official position of the obama administration is that they can neither confirm nor deny whether there is such a thing as a drone program in pakistan. so you know, so they've sort of tied themselves up in nots and in the state of the union address president obama said he wanted to move find some way to move towards greater transparency with congress, with american public and with the world, we're all sort of waiting to see what that means. >> and one thing that is important about this is not just how we operate internally to our own politics and owning up to that and congress playing the proper role that the constitution laid out for it but also the fact that there is a shrinking window of opportunity for the president to publicly set the norms not just for how we're going to do this but how we see this should be handled in the international community because while we are the main player in the world of drone strikes right now, there are a number of other nations sort of waiting to follow in our
footsteps. there is at least 87 over countries out there that have military robotics programs. so another way of putting it t is either an obligation that the president has or a shrinking window of opportunity. >> there are two key issues that make me freak out about the current policy of targeted killings. one of them is the one that has already been identified, it is the strategic one it is are we actually doing more harm than good. and i think that absolutely there's increasingly some evidence that we are doing more harm than good. that the perceived benefits of oh we got one pore bad guy become outweighed by the fact that we've alienated a whole lot of other people. but i think that peter just put his finger on the other big reason to be very, very concerned about current u.s. policy which is the, it's the example that we set for others. and here, if you sort of do the thought experiment and you think how would the united states react if russian, if vladimir putin
and medvedev, the leaders of russia suddenly said well, we are facing a terrorist threat and a variety of other nonterrorist threats to our national security and for that reason whenever an official in the russian government believes that there is someone out there who, because we know who they are or just by their behavior as we have observed it, poses a threat of harm to russia, we reserve the right to kill them anyplace, any time, et cetera, et cetera. and we're never going to give you the evidence, we're never going to tell you why. and then they start doing that and they start killing people, some of who local residents say hey, that was a journalist or hey that was actually a critic of the russian government. that wasn't a terrorist or a combatant. what would the u.s. say if that happened. we would be saying-- . >> rose: what would the united states say. >> pie guess is that the administration would probably want to hold other countries to one standard and ourselves to a different standard. the point about the president is enormously important. we already started to see movement in that general direction. there was a report that came out a couple weeks ago that
china was considering using a drone strike to take out a drug lord in my anmore. that is one of the first times other states are saying if the united states can go abroad and use targeted killings to take out people without they don't like. >> a pandora box. >> and it opens and raises really dangerous questions. one question i have tried to put forward is whether authoritarian states will use it differently than the united states. in president president obama is constrained by the congress and courts, authoritarian states are notment you could see drone strikes do be use todz get disdidn'ts to make sure rebellions are not hospital. run the hypothetical scenario, assad has drones that can launch strikes what happens to the free syrian army, to the possibility of an overthrow his government. there is a real possibility that drone strikes may wind up empowering authoritarian governments and producing a more violent and dangerous world because they appear to provide you the ability to police things at low cost. >> rose: as i understand it now israel has drones and united kingdom has drones.
are the other countries that have them that they can use? >> roughly 87 countries that have drone programs, of that, approximately a little more than 25 have large scale ones that is predator kind of equivalents that either are armed or have been armed in the past. and those range from countries like you mentioned, the united states, israel, to china et cetera. of those 25, you have the united states, israel and the u.k. that have used them in combat. that have armed them. so a lot of people when we talk in hypotheticalsing people say well, you know, china hasn't done this yet. you're like yeah, because china is not at war. there is one other thing i wanted to not lose in the conversation that michael mentioned. the example where china considered carrying out the drone strike across-the-boardee into myanmar and decided against it, is one of the things that has been missed in this discussion of strategy, of overall u.s. counterterrorism strategy,
the reason china in the end decided not to carry out that strike is they decided it was more valuable to them to capture the guy. >> rose: yeah. >> we may be closing off options for capturing guys that would be very valuable in the counterterrorism game because of this lowered bar. and again it's not that-- i don't think anyone in this panel is saying don't do drone strike, it's that we have to weigh the positives and negatives in a more strategic manner and more legal manner. >> with you we worked ourselves into this terrible corner whereas some of my colleague notice military like to say to me, there is this internal irony which is that the legal standards for capturing and holding on to someone we capture are far more stringent than the legal standards about whether we can kill somebody. if we capture somebody, based on evidence that we cannot use in court, then we're stuck in this murky world where we have to argue that we can detain them indefinitely which creates its own huge set of problems as we see with guantanamo. it's ironically easier to
kill them. and we've created a sort of warped incentives right now where we-- i think we are absolutely doing ourselves a disservice in all kinds of ways. but that's the situation we've created ourselves with, this set of legal theories that the administration has put out there. >> john brennan who is the president's counterterrorism advisor right now, the cia director, of course, he has said multiple times that the strong preference of the obama administration is to capture and not kill. but you know, that is, it's very hard to convince americans or certainly other countries that that is the case. and it seems that you know president bush set up a huge infrastructure to capture people. he had the secret prisons. he had interrogaters and so on. whatever he made of that, it's clear that they were prepared to capture people and they were seeking to capture people. in the obama administration, infrastructure that has been set up, partly the kill list and so on that we have been talking about has really
been oriented to killing. and that's the way the system sort of goes, you know. if you don't plan to capture you're to the going capture. >> we're beating up on the a mrtion but that's also, i think, an explanation for why congress has run away there this problem for so long because they could kind of have it both ways. they could say, you know, deal with the issue of guantanamo closing a voiding that but we still got the bad guys off the table. and so it's not just the administration that avoided this. the end result is we effectively ad hocked-- ad hocked our way into a situation that a federal judge put it best, we're in at nis wonderland where everything is turned on its head, whether it's the legal explanations, whether it's the strategy. and we clearly have to figure a way out of this corner that we've painted ourselves into. because this technology is around for the long-term. >> let me just go to what rand paul one of the things he was grousing about was warning some answer from the
justice departments about targeted killings in america. has that debate in a sense lead to any further delineation of the difference between american soil and american citizens, and the rest of the drone policy? michael? >> i don't think it has. i mean if you look at the response that rand paul got there was a qualifier, an important qualifier which is is the united states government allowed to use drone strikes on someone not engaged in combat. but combat is defined so broadly under the way most of the administration has done it that that in fact actually doesn't protect you. it raises really difficult questions. if i'm a financier, am i engaged if combat. if i'm affiliated directly but to the involved in kbats hostilities am i engaged in combat. >> rose: rosa? >> i think that's right. i think that's to some extent this whole argument about oh my goodness we've got to get the administration to promise not to use drone strikes in the united stays as a complete red herring. it's like saying we've got to get the police to promise never to use grenades or never to use this, you know,
that's the technology. that's irrelevant. you know, there may be situations, there may be elaborate organized crime or hostage situations where an unmanned ar yale vehicle will be exactly what you need, and would be totally appropriate. it's not about the weapon, to the about the surveillance platform. it's about the legal framework that we think we're operating in. i'm not worried about the police using drone strikes against criminal suspects because we have a pretty ro dust legal framework about when and under what circumstances the police can use force. the problem as michael say is when you have this totally mushy legal framework that says aha!, whenever we unaccepted persons in ot bama administration, i used to be in the obama administration so i have a lot of sympathy for them but whenever an unspecified person in the obama administration decides that you, bob smith or whoever it is in fact a combatant in the war on al qaeda and its associates, a pretty murky concept itself, that suddenly we're no
longer in the land of constitutional law, we're no longer in the land of ode protections. the law of war governs and poof all bets are off and anything can happen. and it's really kind of irrelevant if we think we can kill that person once we say they are a combatant by bopping them on the head with a plank versus a drone strike is irrelevant. the scary thing is once you have this incredibly ambiguous and infinitely flexible sort of legal theory that says when we say you're a combatant you are a combatant, end of story, nobody ever gets to investigate or second-guess us, that's the problem. >> but where the technology comes in is it does effect those decisions in this murky land by lowering the bars. it is an enabler. and that's the fact. its ease of use, the fact that you don't have the risks that would you have to undertake in other manners. i think of the movie zero dark thirty. and the president's decision to send a very small team of elite forces, boots on the
ground for just 40 minutes to get the ultimate target, bin laden, was still described by his chief of staff as the quote guttiest call any president has ever made. we don't talk about drones in that same narrative as gutsy, it's an easier decision to make. and i think that's the impact of the technology. >> right. >> as we know, he sent the commandos to pakistan to get bin laden because they really, they wanted dna. they wanted a body. they wanted to proof that-- prove that they had killed bin laden. we wrote recently about a strike in yemen, with a very interesting back story that my colleague robert werth uncovered. and that was a cleric had given an anti-al qaeda sermon. and three al qaeda guys sent word that they wanted to talk to him. well that makes you a little nervous. so he called his cousin a police officer and agreed to meet with them. the five of them are meeting and an american strike kills
all five of them. no one in our government would talk about this, but it was my distinct impression that the operators believe they were killing five al qaeda guise. and you can imagine why. they had good evidence that three of these guys were al qaeda. well, they're having a meeting, two other guys are with them. must be a meeting of five. and my guess is that that was recorded in the government records as a win. we have killed five al qaeda guys. it's very difficult sometimes to know who it is on the ground that you are firing at. >> all right, let me close this by asking what is going to change. looking at all the things we've talked about, michael, what's going to change? ness. >> i'm not convinced anything will change in the short term unless congress pushes back against the administration and demands more oversight and accounts ability for drone strikes. i'm not convinced the administration is going to want to tie its hands in the way that it would need to in order to open this program up and give it sunlight so unless congress does its job i'm not sure much will change. >> peter, what is going to change? >> more drones and more people's hands, not just
dates but nonstate actors. but also hopefully a little bit more understanding of the technology that means people can't stay quiet about it the way congress did for the last ten years. >> rosa? >> more what's going to change in ten years time we're going look back on in and say we blew it. we had a window of opportunity to create strong norms that would actually help prevent everybody else in the world from doing this in a way we're going hatement and we blew it. >> scott? >> well, i think, you know, its awe our job as journalists to, you know, return to that state of the union address when president obama said that he was going to find a way to bring more transparency to this process. you know, i guess we'll wait for six months and then write about it and wait for a year and write about it and try and keep a little heat on the administration to keep that promise. >> thank you all very much. >> the troop draw down in afghanistan continues, by
2014 the u.s. military shift from a combat role to a kporting role will be complete. as the date nears many questions remain about the future of afghanistan. this week in a surprise visit secretary of state john kerry met with afghan leader karzai, in the wake of increasing tensions between kabul and wash toing ton. joining me lesley gelb, desk 23er-- dexter filkins and gram bowlly of the "new york times". so what do we leave in afghanistan. >> what do we leave? >> yeah. >> we leave a country that is even more war-torn than the one we went into more than ten years ago. a country that is still divided, still corrupt, still lags economically, still on the verge of erupting into a wider war. because we under stock far
more than we were capable of fixing. and i think the-- we paid a heavy price for that. and i think the afghans did as well. >> so was it a failure of american policy. >> it was right for us to go in there to punish the taliban for providing safe haven to al qaeda. and it would have been right to have an anti-terrorist policy, a rather small one with a small military foot print. but when we got into the business of trying to fight a counterinsurgency war and change the country into a democracy, it was far more than we or any other nation had the capability to accomplish. >> was that our mission? >> yeah, but i think i disagree slightly. i think it had to be. because you know we were attacked on september 11th, the taliban was the state and we destroyed the state. we decapitated taliban. that i think left us with the obligation to build
something, to build another state. and that's what we have been trying to do for the past 12 years. we've been trying to build the state. and so when you ask the question what are we leaving, what are we leaving behind, we're leaving behind a very ricketty jerry build state that, you know, i hope it lasts forever. but doesn't look very good right now. >> rose: so what are your fears? >> well, the thing that we've built this afghan state, it's not-- it's not legitimate in the eyes of many, many afghans. it's not very strong. we're placing all of our hopes in the afghan army which we are training at kind of breakneck speed 300,000 afghans, police, army, soldiers, everything. and our hope is that they'll hold this thing together. you know, democracy and all that, we've kind of tossed that out the window. so it really comes down to the afghan army. will they fight, can they fight k they sustain themselves. and for how long are we going to be willing to underwrite them. and you know, to the tune of,
you know, billions of dollars a year. how long are we going to be willing to do that because they condition sustain themselves. so we're kind of back to where we were. >> well then i mean was there an alternative in terms of retaliation for giving safe haven to al qaeda, was there an alternative to our response to that? >> i don't think so. but i think for me if you, when was the critical error or the critical misjudgement was iraq. and that took away, the war in iraq in 2003, that took away everything. i mean that, the planning for iraq ban there 2002. and we took our eye off the ball. all the resources, all the money, everything. >> but we didn't stop fighting. you know, we had 20 some odd thousand troops there. and we took on the responsibility of creating a new government. and i don't think we had to take on that responsibility. we could have turned it over to, you should pardon the expression, the united nations. but for us to start doing it, you know what the inevitable
result is. if we're not succeeding we have to do more. if that doesn't succeed, more yet. >> rose: and the lesson is? >> the lesson is don't. you know, you can go take, go, you go give military punishment and that's necessary. the taliban, al qaeda couldn't be allowed to get away with it. but we don't realize that we don't have the capacity as strong as we are to go remake nations particularly nations that are failed states and are at civil war. you can't do it. >> so you know better than most what is the possibility of the afghan government after 2014. first of all, hamid karzai will no longer be president. i don't know who will and whether he will be better or worse, or whether it will be more or less core runtion. >> well, you know, being there the last year, i think and traveling and seeing what i saw, the narrative of
poims is an easy one to make. an eye, and we've all looked for ways in which there might be hope. you know, a new generation that has grown-up over the last tenniers. they're very impressive, 30 and 40-year-olds that populate the bureaucracies. but they're very able people. there's natural resources which great hope lies with them that they might enrich this country. but despite these glimmers of hope, i kind of as describe to the pessimistic one, i think t is going to be very difficult over the next few years. >> rose: can it slide into being a failed state. can it slide into being some kind of haven for terrorism or have they all moved to africa? >> no, i think that's definitely a real danger. there's a number of transitions going on. there is the military one which we talked about and that's so important that this army, which is very fragile, and which has the potential to split, along ethnic lines, will protect
the state that has been created by the west. there's an economic transition which i think underpin as will the of things, an economy of 17 billion, there's been sorts of a boom, especially in the cities in kabul, 17 billion dollars now. and 97% of that is due to foreign aid. and that aid is now going away and you can feel, you can hear it the sound of it disappearing across the country. -- economy. and this plays into everything else and plays into the political realm as well, the third transition. and you have this sort of pyramid, very kind of shaky pyramid of power, people with hamid karzai at the top. and america essentially has been keeping the pressure there, keeping them together. but that pressure is going away. karzai will go. in the next election 2014. it's unclear who will replace him. it's unclear who america wants to replace him and it's really important. but certainly the players that are part of this sort of coalition, the ethnic
player, the tajiks, uzbeks, pashtun, it's not clear that, we talk about the taliban, the people in government, kind of the political system at the moment, it's not clear that they will actually gel together and remain friends. >> rose: and so what are the interests of pakistan and what might it do? >> it's watching this situation really closely. and if you ever want to kind of say you know, what's the one thing when i came out, i said what's the one thing that would make this a whole lot better. it would be countries, not just pakistan but countries not interfering. >> rose: not interfering. >> not interfering or interfering in a positive way. you talk to afghans all the time. they curse pakistan. you go to herat in the west which i did just before i left, they curse iran. they curse america as well to be sure. pakistan is a really big role to play, of course. there's a lot of evidence that they support the taliban, certain aspects of
the pakistan military support the taliban and other kind of insurgent groups. it is key, actually, the role that pakistan plays in the next few years. >> rose: now pakistan. >> they have been, you know, we've given them billions of dollars over its past, you know, well more than a decade. and they have been basically a negative for us. they have tried to undermine vert lyul-- virtually everything that we've done. including most notely giving saj wear to the taliban and the haqqani group which is incredibly lethal. everybody is maneuvering now is. >> iranians, pakistan, turkey. >> everybody is getting ready. if you stand wait back here av began stand's problem and i think it's never going to go away is that it will never -- the economy will never be able to sustain itself. it can't, except that at a really, really basic, basic level. there's just no arable land.
there's just not much, there's not much wealth there. ands so they need the rest of the world. alts he a landlock playground for the neighbors and probably always will be. >> there is an important policy lesson in what gex ter is saying. it applies to syria and lots of other places. here we've given pakistan billions upon billions in aid over the years ches. and we are sort of a protecter of pakistan. and they flout us at every turn. most importantly, they were one of the countries urging to us get involved in afghanistan, only to provide safe haven to the taliban to kill us. despite our aid. there are people right now saying we ought to be providing military aid to the syrian rebels so that we can shape the future of syria. and have influence over the
rebels. they ought to look at all those places we've given military and economic aid to over the years without much influence. >> what would you do in syria, what would you recommend the united states do in syria. >> well i would recommend focusing on having a strategy to begin with. i haven't noticed one. >> you have a lot. >> i know, it's asking too much. and i think the key to the strategy has to be finding a common interest between the sunni moderates, and the alowites minus assad it there sell only one common interest. and that is in preventing a jihadi take over in syria. because the moderate sunnies know if the jihadies take over they will become slaves to islam. and the others know that they will be massacred. so this is the one thing that can bring them together. i would get them focused on that. and figuring out what kind of a solution. >> under the supervision. >> under the supervision of other arab countries and the
united nations and russia and -- >> if we can, the more we get involved the better. >> but we shouldn't be so foolish as to think we can shape this. we can provide them with a common interest, focus them on it, and then get them to work on it. but we're to the going to be able to dictate these solutions or get a deal between this political congress in turkey that has no power, and the assad government. just totally unrealistic. >> you wrote about the hezbollah, did you not? >> yes. >> in "the new yorker" magazine. >> yeah. what is going on inside islam now. you see the sunnies against assad and aloe quites in syria. you've got obviously in iran you have shi'a. and in iraq you have shi'a. with a sunni minority. in bahrain you have shi'a. not in control but in a majority of population.
what kinds of conflict what kind of decisions are taking place throughout the arab world withinician lamb. >> well, i mean i think if you just, if you start with syria as this big black hole in the middle of the middle east, but what's happening is kind of the waves are coming off of that. and so it's just, i think, not difficult to imagine a kind of sunni shi identity conflict stretching from the iranian board never iraq going through iraq, going through syria and into lebanon. and it's basically already happening. i mean the syrian civil war is already begun to spread into iraq, it's kind of reigniting the sunni shiite tension there. you can feel it in lebanon already, the prime minister just resigned there. so there's-- it's kind of what they call the shiite axis that kind of moves across the middle east. and i think that's a fault line. it's just cracking open.
>> do you see that? >> no, it makes me think of sort of, i was talk together furks the other day, of course they're really worried about this but they were talking about afghanistan and kind of the possibility of the wider conflict there. and they are very involved. they are involved currently and they're very worried about the kind of broader escalation of afghanistan. i'm not sure what potential there is for broader problems from afghanistan or whether it's actually kind of contained turmoil, if there is a civil war inside afghanistan. >> rose: the taliban are so unpopular but is it likely that they will come back to power and is it likely they'll all, all the horrific actions against women will take place that we saw before 2003. >> i think these really are things to worry about. the taliban will make you more and more of a comeback without -- >> even though it is small. >> yes. we estimate there are about 20 million taliban, excuse
me, 20,000 taliban. and there are 30 million afghans. you would wonder what that ratio that the afghans hadn't done much better already. it's ten years with our support. but we can't just walk away from afghanistan. it's a question of what we leave behind as we act in our vital interests. and it seems to me we can do two things that have a chance of working. and dealing with women issue and the afghans who have helped us. >> they made a lot of progress. a lot of interesting things happened. >> absolutely. and i think the main thing is to try to gather up the neighbors, and get them to act in their interests. you look at the paper today, the russians already talking about coming in there, and providing various kinds of aid to the afghan regime. the chinese have major investments in afghanistan. iran helped us at the
beginning of this war. there are countries, the neighbors have real interests that they haven't had to act on because we've been taking care of their problems for them. but i would try to organize them to come in and take up a chunk of what we leave behind. and but we have to organize it. and that seems to me should be the strategy of this administration. then we will have fully done our duty. >> i'm not sure if i see that happening. i mean i think you know what are we -- >> you don't agree or you don't think the add lrtion-- administration will do it. >> we're going to go from it's like iraq it just looks more and more like we'll go from total commitment to virtually no commitment at all. and so the numbers that you're hearing, i mean what are we down to now, 70,000 troops or something, 60,000 troops in afghanistan. and there's supposed to be out. the combat troops by the end of 2014. what's the number that we're going to get down to. the numbers that boy, the numbers i'm hearing are like 5,000, you know, between 5 and 10,000.
you can't do very much with 5 or 10,000 troops. you just can't. >> but why wouldn't you do what i'm suggesting. why wouldn't you make the effort to get the neighbors in. >> i don't see it happening. i just see a kind of sort of -- >> let the numbers speak to you can see the decisions being made, that speak to sort of a real politics approach to afghanistan, this implicit promise to rebuild a country is not going to happen. and the 10,000 troops that are going to be in there will be in very specific bases, as potentially afghanistan sort of roils around it. and you can see sort of the people that karzai is putting in place with the support possibly of some parts of the american government, points to this. they're very hard-nosed people who will be very tough on security who fight the taliban. but not in no way are nation builders. >> hmmmm. >> i don't think we ought to think about nation building. but i do think -- >> well, helping women. they are to the going to be thinking about women's
rights. they are not going to be those sort of people. >> is easy to scoff at nations but let's not forget the good that we have done there. i mean in helping women which is half the pop laingts in educating children, building schools all over the country, putting girls in school. those things have changed the cli remarkably and it's not going to back to what it was before. so in that sense, you know, our mission there may be failing. >> but doesn't that depend on how much control the taliban has to as to whether they go back or are you suggesting that the taliban learn some lesson that now runs up against their previous ideology. >> yeah, we're to the going back to 1998 again. >> you don't want to go back. >> i don't think the taliban -- >> never's more interested in power. >> more like going back to the fourth century. i just think that the country has changed too much. there is too many internet cafes and too many people exposed to the outside world. i mean they're not going back to the fourth century again. >> and money as well, the taliban won't want to be completely shut off from the outside world. and if they do stuff that
they did before, they will be. but i mean the influence the taliban have in the next few years depends on, you know, they could come back in a number of ways. they could come back as part of a government. >> a quo lis. >> and if they do, then you know, they-- expect -- >> is that the most likely scenario, they come back in some kind of power sharing with somebody else? >> i think the most likely is unfortunately i think it's probably some kind of effective partition of the country. i mean the taliban will take the countryside and most of the south and the east. something like that. and i think the worst scenario going further down the road is civil war. but you know, and that which is basically a north south affair. but i think if the strategy, if there is one, is going to be to hold the urban areas and hold the population centers and that means basically ceding the
countryside and the taliban are in the north and the east. >> it's not going to be the american decision. once we get at the low levels, it will be even more apparent. >> not the american decision now s it? >> i don't think it is. i don't think most of these things have been american decisions. >> places that we used to travel quite easyly, just a couple of years ago, you can't travel outside of kabul, you can't travel the road easily, some people do. but you have to fly. >> but you have to, you know, they're closing in on the cities, as dexter said. they're controlling the countryside and maybe in the south, the coalition, the afghans will retain kandahar. but you know, the countryside will be under the taliban. >> but it's not our vital interest to get involved in this at all, to dilute ourselves to think over the next year and a half we're going to in any way shape this. >> this is a crazy question. does john kerry make a difference here because of,
you know, the relationship he had with karzai? >> i don't believe it for a second. in fact i didn't like the way he dealt with karzai in the recent trip. because he made nice and said all misunderstandings, everything is fine between us. and you can't pretend there are no differences. you can't paper them over because then you can't deal with them. and we do have some differences that have to be attended to as we withdraw. and also, he may think it's enough to be nice publicly and say the tough things privately. but anyone who has dealt with the av began-- afghans will tell you that they don't pay attention to anything unless it's said publicly. then they know you mean it. >> okay this is my next crazy question. i got a lot of these things. if in fact stan mcchrystal had not been fired, would that have made a difference
at all? if the answer is no, no. >> so in other words, say i'm looking for a silver bull thaet might have made a difference. >> well, i'll tell you. i think the answer -- >> i think it is an impact of individuals. >> no, i think he was inyesterdayably sophisticated and smart. but i think that president obama made the decision basically to surge and then to go back down. so it was always a kind of very short term thing. we go up 30,000 troops, we try to push the taliban back and kind of hope for the best. but that was always on a timer. >> i always thought the surge was just look, guys, i understand that afghan is different from iraq but this is my last effort to see him it doesn't work i'm out of here that was my assumption about the president. >> i don't think he wanted to do it in the first place. >> he didn't want to but he said i'll do it because. >> because i'm being pushed into it, or my advisors have agreed that i should do it. and more. >> and my afghan pact review agreed that i should do it and i have listened to all of them. >> yes. >> so what does that say about presidential leadership if you don't follow your own instincts
and-- because i mean he did the same thing with respect to the mission to eliminate osama bin laden. the advisors were against it, and he was in favor of it. the mission that they undertook. >> i think in the case of afghanistan he made the wrong call. i think his instincts about the fundamentals in afghanistan were right. >> so the right call as we look at history, the right call would not have had a counterinsurgency program but a counterterrorism program s that what you are saying. >> yes, that would have been better. >> you don't agree with that? >> it would have been good but it would have been better, a counterinsurgency. >> there wasn't anything there. i mean we took it down. and so what do you do, what do dow then? >> but what do we put in its place. do we have arguments about, do we put the right people in. we really demonize the taliban. they are very bad but we really sort of made them an enemy that we can hardly deal with. >> and that was a mistake. >> i think so. >> you think they might have
been good taliban s that what you are saying. >> you know they are going to actually be part of the solution. >> sure. >> and you know it's become, they become the bad guise. and you look at the government and oh, the people in kind of the political sphere, you know, some of those are pretty nasty characters as well. and they were kind of propped up and given lots of money and enriched and given lots of lessons. >> one more time on my personality thing here. suppose richard holbrook had the confidence of the president, and as de the secretary of state and had been given the resources to do what he wanted to do. would afghanistan have been different? >> yes. >> so what was his magic plan that would have made him different if he had the resources, i'm suggesting, and more importantly the confidence of the president. >> if he had the confidence of the president and the resources, he still wouldn't have had a magic plan. and he had no delusions about that. what he wanted to do -- >> there was no plan to be head had. >> was to begin the process
of reducing our commitment there because we didn't have vital interests that justified that. so he was looking for various avenues to extricate ourselve. >> but he was-- yes. but also holbrook was trying to make a deal with the taliban. >> right. >> even though he knew was unlikely he could do it. he didn't have any illusions about that. there had been things written that he thought copull this off. but he was also quite pessimistic about it. in the end i think he felt that if there was going to be a deal, some afghan government would work it out with some taliban operation, not us. >> which is what is going to happen, probably. >> what's going to happen. >> it will be done. it won't be the u.s. negotiating with the taliban. >> it will be the taliban and afghan government. >> yeah, yeah. >> that's what is going to happen so that is our forecast for the future right there. >> good luck. >> right. and probably, you know, a complete blop on the way. >> i say that to everything we're talking about. >> well, i mean-- good luck.
>> you just, i mean what percentage, ask yourself the question. i don't know the answer to this. what percentage, maybe graham does, what percentage of the afghan cabinet are currently serving has foreign passports. >> i would love to know if hamid karzai has a -- >> i spent weeks trying to find out when i was there. >> what percentage of afghan have foreign passports so they can leave on a moment's notice. >> to home as broad. >> and money. >> and bank accounts. >> money in dubai. >> on that note, thank you dexter, thank you, les, thank you graham. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org he following kq
hi. i'm leslie sbrak owe. the show where bay area residents review and talk about their favorite restaurants. we have three guests and each one recommends one of their favorite spots an the other two go check them out to see ha they think. this week, sustainability, utopia and architect robert west designs and builds on his convictions for all things green. his principles for sourcing good things locally extend to his choice of restaurant. but physician peter lee prescribes good food shared around the table as the best medicine for family and friends. the spanish flavors of his restaurant offer him the opportunity to practice all that he preaches. >> first, event planner and floral designer, chelsea bowman makes all the arranme