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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  July 7, 2021 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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♪ judy: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the news however tonight, assassinated. the president of haiti killed at his home as the country's already unstable political situation descends further into turmoil. then, one step closer, we speak with eric ams after his win in the democratic primary for mayor of new york city, making him the heavy favorite to assume the job. and leaving afghanistan. the absence of u.s. troops prompts the country's government to arm local militias in the fight against the taliban. >> these men have only been fighting a matter of week since the national army came under so much pressure from the taliban. but given the intensity of the
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fighting in this valley, it seems clear that the security forces in afghanistan need all the help they can get. judy: all that and more on tonight's "pbs newshour." ♪ >> major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by -- ♪ bnsf railway. consumer cellular. johnson & johnson. financial services firm raymond james. supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems. skoll foundation -- the lemelson foundation, committed to improving lives
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through invention in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at and with the ongoing support of these institutions. this program made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. judy: the country of haiti is under a state of emergency tonight after president mawiz but assassinated early this morning. he had been in office four years. his wife martin was wounded in a brazen attack at their home on the outskirts of the capital,
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port-au-prince. she's been airlifted to miami for treatment. yamiche alcindor begins our coverage. yamiche: the island nation in a state of shock. >> we live in this area with the president. even when we disagree with him we can't imagine he'd be killed like this. yamiche: the streets were uncharacteristically quiet. outside the scene of the crime lay bullet casings. haiti's first lady was wounded in the attack and remains hospitalized. in a video reportedly shot at the scene, someone says the assassins are with the u.s. drug enforcement administration. >> everybody back up. stand down. yamiche: but the haitian ambassador to the.s. said t d.e.a. was not involve hesmed blamed mercenaries who ske english and spanish. >> it seems that this horrible act was carried out by
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well-trained, professional commanders. yamiche: the haitian government closed the airport in port-au-prince so they likely escaped by land into the neighboring dominican republic or by sea. president biden said the united states is ready to assist in the aftermath of the shooting. he responded to my question on the white house lawn about the situation. what's your reaction to the haitian president being assassinated? president biden: it's very worrisome about the state of haiti. yamiche: he was a polarizing president and his -- he sparked protests around the country. during his term, gang violence and kidnappings skyrocketed. since the violence spiked last september, more than 18,000 people have fled their homes. he was elected in 2016 but didn't take office until the following year. he said his five-year term was supposed to end in 2022.
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but his critics, including human rights groups and clergy member, insisted his term was up this past february. earlier this year he dissolved parliament, saying most lawmakers' terms had ended. he also forced three supreme court justices into early retirement. he pursued sweeping constitutional changes that would increase presidential power. he planned to voten a referendum as well as his replacement in september. that election is in flux. the united states backed his timeline but u.s. officials also criticized what they called his unchecked presidential power. >> this situation calls into question the core reseptembers of haiti's democracy. yamiche: but haitian human rights activist backed the police. >> the people of haiti in the haitian community in the united states are disapointed by the biden administration's opt ticks.
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yamiche: the interim president is the defact coe tow leader. he called in to a news program. >> i call for calm. the situation is under control. yamiche: he was named the sixth pre minister in april but mawiz intended for a stovepbt replace him. he was supposed to be sworn in today. for judy: for more on the assassination of the president and shock waves, i'm joined by a professor of government and foreign affairs at the university of virginia. he's written extensively on haiti throughout the years. he joined me from charlottesville, virginia. thank you for being here. haiti has really been in a constitutional crisis for several months now, people on the gound say it's hit a new rock bottom but talk about the gravity of the last 24 hours and the difference now that the president has been murdered. >> well, this is a shocking event in the history of haiti.
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the last assassination of a president was in 1915. so this is not the usual pattern at all. we have had coups, attempted coups, we've had obviously very nasty dictators who have killed a lot of people. but that, especially given that it was as far as we know an armed attack by foreign mercenaries, it's really different pattern. and it's difficult to understand why that would have happened. and who would benefit from it. it is really something that is out of the ordinary. it's truly an extraordinary event. so we are facing a de facto government. the government that has taken charge, has instituted, as you probably know, the state of siege, which is really the ultimate type of governmental
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imposition of order. but it remains to be seen if that state of siege can keep the country without significant disorder and descent into chaos. yamiche: how concerned are you about haiti hitting a lower rock bottom and gangs trying to benefit from the situation? >> this is a very dangerous miami for haiti. my personal hope is that what we will get is a government of national unity that could take over and set a situation whereby elections would be possible not immediately but probably next year and where there would be some sort of reconciliation between all of the different haitian actors. whether we can get there is the big question.
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the opposition has shown no inclination to join with the government, but now that mawiz is done, this may be an opening for such a compromise. we will have to see and we will have to see also whether the current prime minister is in fact going to remain in that position. yamiche. there have been a lot of haitians disappointed in the stance of the biden administration toward haiti. what role do you see the u.s. playing after this assassination? >> personally, i think the most important thing is to try to get a haitian solution. so if the biden administration is to have a constructive approach to haiti, i think they should push the government to really create the conditions for government of national unity. now how do you form that government of national unity is a big question. it may well be that the government of national unity
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would require not only the current members of the -- some of the current members of the government and some of the members of the opposition but also society leaders who are above the traditional politics that has been rather disastrous for the country. a solution like that might in fact bring some hope to the population. if you don't have that, i'm afraid that we might be descending into chaos and that might in turn open the gates for another u.n. intervention and we are back to where we were in 2004. yamiche: with only a few seconds left, there are only 10 elected officials left in haiti, they are all stharts. a lot of civil society leaders want to see a transitional government you're talking about. is there a constitutional solution here and who benefits from the situation with the president now gone?
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>> we are beyond the constitutional crisis. the constitution is being ignored now. we don't have a president. we don't have a functioning parliament. we don't have a supreme court justice that's functioning. so the -- what is needed is really imagination on how to constitute an order that could appease all of the forces in haiti. that's a very difficult process. difficult to imagine given what we have had in the past with the -- where the polarization was very extreme. yamiche: a difficult road ahead for haiti, thank you so much professor for joining us. >> thank you so much. ♪ vanessa: i'm vanessa ruiz, we'll return to judy woodruff and the full program after the latest headlines. updating now our top story.
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the police chief of haiti announced tonight that four of the suspected assassins of the president have been kill by pless and -- by police and two others arrested. three suspects held hostage were freed. the fighting between government security forces and the assailant was ongoing. search crews in surfside, florida, are making a significant shift tonight from rescue to recovery. 14 days after a condominium tower collapsed. officialed say -- officials said late today there's, quote, zero chance of finding anyone alive. the confirmed death toll reached 54 today with 86 people still missing. after workers recovered 18 more bodies. >> our commitment to this mission is deeply personal. this is our community. our neighbors. our families. and our first responders have truly searched that pile every single day since the collapse as if they're searching for their
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own loved ones. vanessa: a weekend tropical storm, elsa, left at least one person dead in florida. it made landfall today on the state's northern gulf coast without causing major damage and then moved out the southeastern seaboard. a possible tornado caused damage in georgia hospitalizing about 10 people. the storm is expected to head back into the atlantic ocean on friday. three undercover officers in chicago recovering after bei shot early today. the attack wounded a chicago police officer and two federal agents. police said they were questioning a person of interest. this year, 36 chicago police officers have been shot or shot at, up from 22 one year ago. and later in the day, a police officer in terre haute, indiana, assigned to an f.b.i. task force, was shot and killed outside a federal office building.
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the world health organization appealed today for extreme caution in fully lifting covid-19 restrictions. as couldn'tries reopen and infections from the delta variant surge. >> we would ask governments to be really careful at this moment. not to lose the gains we've made. to open up very carefully. >> the idea that everyone is protected and it's couple baa and everything goes back to normal -- and it's "kum ba yah" and everything goes back to normal is a dangerous assumption. vanessa: a federal judge in florida refused to block parts of the state's new election law for now. he said it's too late to change restribs on election observers and absentee ballots for runoffs next week. the judge did not say how he might rule in the future. former president trump has sued facebook, google and twitter today. for allegedly censoring political conservatives. he is also seeking class action status for the lawsuits. mr. trump was suspended from
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several major social media platforms after his supporters stormed the u.s. capitol in january. still to come on the newshour, the u.s. military takes steps to remove sexual assault cases from the chain of command. how u.s. troops' withdrawal prompts afghanistan's government to arm local militias. disparities in the costs of living create a division between millenials and boomers. plus, much more. >> this is the pbs "newshour" from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journal i -- journalism at the arizona state university. judy: running america's largest city is no easy task. the next mayor of new york will confront an economy battered by the pandemic as well as rising rates of gun violence and homicide that have made public
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safety the top issue for many voters. last night, two weeks after polls closed in the city, brooklyn borough president and former police captain eric adams was declared the winner of the democratic primary. the delay in calling the race came as a result of a new kind of voting, ranked choice. mr. adams' win makes him heavily favored to become the city's next mayor, facing republican curtis in the general election. eric adams joins me now. congratulations. >> thank you for having me on today. judy: i want to ask you about ranked choice voting from a distance, it look like a mess. did it work, do you think? >> i believe we're still at the period of analyzing the impact of it. was it successful, did we do a good job in educating voters, were we prepared? this took place in a year when we were experiencing a pandemic and it was dropped in the laps of the board of elections in
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january. so i think it's imperative for us to hold hearings and really look at this because voting is important for our city and country. judy: let me ask you, your second and third place finishers were both women. second place finisher katherine garcia came in one percentage point behind you. what message does that send to you from the people of new york city? >> that our system worked. it is so important, let me tell you, a little over eight million new yorkers but you have 20 million opinions. that is what's great about this system of government. where you have smooth transition of power. and it's not about just having a monolithic candidate or monolithic city or country. different opinions, different road ways to get to a destiny of where we want to raise healthy children and families. i heard all of those meages, i was really excite wed had a close race. judy: let me ask you about what we were saying is a major issue,
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as it turns out, crime, policing, new york, one of the cities hard hit by violent crime over this past year along with so many other big cities. your governor, andrew cuomo, yesterday declared a new state of emergcy around gun violence. what should the democrats' message be on policing right now? >> i commend the governor for doing. so $100 million will be advocated in a series of things, not only in heavy handed policing, or not heavy handed policing but looking at the feed orse of violence and crime. and there's no secret that all across america, particularly in black and brown communities, you're dealing with the same level of sysmic poverty and violence that's coming from there. so the goal for, i believe, the democratic party is the message that i stated throughout this campaign. we can have the reform in justice and public safety. judy: how do you strike the
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right balance? as you know, so many of your democratic friends, democrats across the spectrum in this country, including in the black and brown communities, you just mentioned, are saying defund the police or at least take a lot of money out of the police and put it into social services. >> we have to be honest with ourselves. we cannot march and state black lives matter when a police officer murders mr. floyd yet every day we see countless shootings in chicago's southside, throughout brooklyn. we're seeing upticks in violence in atlanta, all over california. so we need to be consistent. if black lives matter, if the lives of everyday people of color matter, then we need to look at every area of the country where they're being impacted. but we can do it by, number one, prevention. for example, 30% of our prison population is presumed to be dyslexic. if we do dyslexia screening in all our schools an give services to families we can prevent
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violence. we have to have intervention. can't have shooters in times square. that's going to impact tourism. can't have gang members taking over our streets and having people being slashed and shoved to the subway tracks. so we must have an intervention plan and a prevention plan and we can do it to operate together. judy: so much to ask you about, mr. adams. one other issue certainly is covid. new york city hit very hard in the beginning. then it seemed to be under control. but now there's a small uptick in the number of cases of infection, the delta variant is in the city. what is your plan for getting covid under control? >> first of all, we need to use technology. i'm a big technology person. when i went into the police department i was part of the team that created the first use of data to look at crime. we need to use it as the same with covid. we should have had a real time system to tell us how many vaccinations, vaccines were issued, what area, what zip
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code, will we reach herd immunity, even in the testing in the beginning. we never used technology to, in real time, define how to fight covid. covid was always one step ahead of us. we can't continue to do that. i'm going to really turn our city into a state of the art, a a real time city where we can analyze and address these issues more rapidly than we have. judy: the last thing i want to ask about, the economy. the big apple took an enormous hit with the pandemic, shutting down tourism, came to a standstill. you now have an unemployment rate twice the national average. it was almost 11%. in the month of may. can new york ever fully come back? >> yes. you know, it's interesting, it's connected. our economy is connected to public safety. tourism is a major economic booster here in the city.
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no one is coming here if you shoot 3-year-olds in times square. our transit system, people are afraid to be on trains. we have to make sure our subway system is safe to get employees back into office space. then we have to look at what crime is doing to really discourage our high income earners. 65,000 people paid 51% of our income taxes and they're leaving because they don feel safe. so if we get crime under control and then turn our city into a city where it is not too expensive to build -- to bureaucratic and too difficult to do business, we'll be ready to compete again. this is ethis empire state, we'll start building empires again in new york. judy: eric adams, winner of the democratic primary for mayor of new york city. congratulations an thank you again. >> thank you very much. take care. ♪
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judy: for years, the u.s. military has faced a serious problem with sexual assault and harassment. past attempts to address this have failed to reduce the number of incidents. now after president biden and defense secretary lloyd austin created an independent commission to examine possible solutions, both have endorsed its findings. nick talks with the commission's share in her first interview since she released the report. nick: the numbers are staggering. an estimated 20,000 service members are sexually assaulted every year but only 7,816 service members report those cases. and only 350 cases were perpetrators charged with a crime. 64% of those who report sexual assaults have faced retaliation for doing. so the independent review commission or i.r.c. made 80 recommendations, include regular move military commanders from adjudicating sexual assault cases. better evaluate commanders for
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the climate they create. and victim advocates should be independent of the chain of command. lin rosenthal chaired the commission an joins me now. welcome to "the newshr," you write that e military has failed america's sons and daughters an service members know it. what do you mean? >> we found that there is this great chasm between what senior leaders say about sexual assault and sexual harassment and what junior leader, junior enlisted members experience. so senior leaders will say that there's no tolerance for sexual assault and sexual harassment. and yet junior enlisted members say that there's quite a lot of tolerance and particularly for women, we heard that sexual harassment is just part of daily life for many. nick: the main recommendation we have highlighted are independent
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prosecutors who you describe need to decide whether to prosecute sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic violence. why do you think they should decide and not commanders? >> we found that there -- because of this broken trust that junior enlisted service members do not trust their leaders to handle these problems. they don't trust that there will be accountability for sexual assault. in particular. and that by moving the technical legal decisions about whether or not toharge a suspect with a crime and then whether or not to send that case to trial, that independent prosecutors are better able to make those decisions and that we hope to see a restored trust within the military. nick: for years, as you know, military brass has resisted that specific change. to this day the service chiefs still make this argument, that to strip a commander of the authority to decide to
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discipline a sexual assault case actually undermines that commander's ability to command. does it? >> the i.r.c. rejects the notion that by moving legal decisions about prosecution from the command structure, that commanders have no role. it's simply not the case. commanders are responsible for the climates they create. they're responsible for working to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment. and they're responsible for making sure that victims are protected when they come forward to report. the idea that they won't have an interest in solving this problem if they are not making those technical legal decisions, we think, is simply false. nick. your recommendations on leadership include this. you recommend better evaluation and more accountability for leaders. why do you think that would create a less toxic climate? >> we want to look for leaders who have skills in taking care of their people which is really a commander's number one job.
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and they have to have this -- as great an aptitude for that as they do for other parts of readiness, other ways of preparin they need to see sexual assault and harassment, reducing sexual assault and harassment, as a part of their main effort. that means that we need to select, develop, and evaluate leaders based on their capacity to address these kinds of problems. nick: on your suggestions regarding victim care, why should the advocates from victims be separated from the chain of command? >> we heard from victim advocates that when they tried to stand up for victims and try to address leadership with victim needs they can experience retaliation. we believe victim advocates need to report outside of the chain of command of victims and offenders and 100% victim advocates should be 100% on the side of that victim. nick. you describe other deficiencies
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of personnel including inexperienced lawyers and instigators. how inpeeks -- how inexperienced are they and how can that be fixed? >> assignments in the military may be a two-year assignment, there are frequent rotations an these can happen in the middle of a sexual assault case. a lawyer, a victim advocate, a special victim's counsel, could be reassigned and so the victim loses that consistent source of support and care. so that's very inappropriate for victims. but also these frequent change of assign. s mean that the lawyers and the special victims' counsel aren't able to build up the kind of skills and expertise and experience they need. so we recommend that the military justice system be professionalized across the board. so we would create career tracks for prosecutors, for defense counsel, and for investigators. nick: your findings included something very alarming.
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among victims of sexual assault everywhere, there are higher rates of suicidal ideation and even attempts but among the military sexual assault victims, whom you spoke to, you found 100% had suicidal thoughts. or attempts. why is that? >> that's right. and that's because of the nature of military life and because of the nature of military life, sexual assault is different than it is in civilian society. even though civilian victims also experience suicidal ideation at higher rates. but what happens in the military is the 24-hour nature of life. makes victims feel trapped. and when policies aren't followed and their cases are not handled and they're not table either transfer from their units or have their commanders transfer the alleged offender from their unit and when members of the unit isolate them, choose sides between them and the alleged offender, bully or ostracize them, it feels
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overwhelming. and that can result in suicidal ideation. nick. timely, you are independent of the military even if the president and secretary of defense wanted you to do this. do you believe the military is willing and able to make these recommended changes? and reestablish that key aspect of trust? >> i absolutely believe that this is possible. that from the top down, from secretary austin from general millie, from senior leaders at the service leader, that there's a commitment to finally getting this right. nick: lynn rosenthal, thank you very much. >> thank you. ♪ judy: as the american troop withdrawal from afghanistan is all but complete, the afghan army is quickly losing ground throughout the country to the taliban.
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now, to bolster its flagging military, the government is arming militias to help in the fight. special correspondent jane ferguson traveled to two provinces near the capital, parwan and logar to meet militiamen who have some afghan leaders worried about a new civil war. jane: on afghanistan's frontlines, militia commanders command government forces. from this abandoned house in the valley of pa rmbing wan province, local forces fight to hold off the taliban. we are only a couple of hours' drive north of the capital, kabul. both the afghan army and these men are trying to halt the group's advances in that direction. as soon as president biden announced america's unconditional drawdown from afghanistan in april, the taliban began a massive offensive, taking territory across the country as the afghan
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army buckled. with major cities in danger of falling, fighters like these were rallied to join the battle. >> we thought it would be a long-term partnership under the united states leadership and it would last until terrorism was rooted out not only from afghanistan but the region. unfortunately, the bad decision that mr. biden and his supporters made have led to a situation where thousands of afghans are dying. this is all because of the failure of president biden and the american politicians. jane: abdul zahir said he hasn't slept in four days. [gunshots [ >> a member of parliament he's new to leading fighters. with the americans gone his men face combat of a bygone era, long before u.s. military might came and went. what's it like to fight without air support, withouted me evack, without helicopters? >> right now, air support is not available to us. that adds to the rising casualty
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rates. we cannot evacuate them quickly. they will die where they are injured. jane: the taliban tested -- test the defenses here constantly. on the roof they show us how close taliban positions are, just on the hill above us. these men have only been fighting a matter of weeks since the national army came under so much pressure from the taliban. given the intensity of the fighting in this valley, it seems clear that the security forces in afghanistan need all the help they can get. there are government security forces all aaround the area. the militia hope to buoy collapsing morale. anger at the white house's decision to leave runs deep but so too does the will to fight. >> we feel left behind byhe americans. they didn't honor the agreement. they abandoned us in the middle of the road. if the taliban want too take over they'll have to kill every last person here. jane: these men have come from a different area but local
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villagers are also present. just down the road we came across this man offering to help the police at a small outpost. if the taliban came here, then they can come to my house too, he tells us. so we have to defend ourselves. as the afghan mility struggles to stop a sweeping taliban advance across the countryside, one that threatens to overrun the kabul government, the authorities are asking volunteers to join what they call popular uprisings, to stand and fight alongside the army. some are flocking back to old, established fighting groups. throwbacks to the days of fighting soviets and then in the civil war in the 1990's that followed the russian withdrawal. further north in the valley we see young men, some clutching little more than antique hunting rifles, prepared to go join the war effort. signing up just a few days ago, they are a collection of rural volunteers that america and the
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world never imagined the country would need after billions of dollars spent on the nation's armed forces. do youeel as though america abandoned this country? >> america came here in their own self-interest and left out of their own self-interest. we are happy they have left. we will defend our lands like our fore 235urs an ancestors did and take up arms in self-defense. jane: today their leader is meeting with commanders and new recruits. he is swamped with wellishers. he's the son of faped afghan commander masoud, a leader of the ethnic tajik fighters of northern afghanistan and close with the u.s. who worked with the c.i.a. masoud was assassinated two days before 9/11, it is believed by al qaeda. once again, this stunning, bucolic vall at the mouth of the hindu kush mountains sits at
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the center of organized resistance. >> good to see you again, thank you for having us. jane: we were granted rare access to the younger masoud. we spoke candidly with us about the burden of history repeeing itself here. you must think about your father a lot now. >> absolutely yes. the pressure on me at this time, i cannot imagine how much pressure he was actually under. and there was -- it's just for me the sense of pressure, responsibility and uncertainty what's going to happen. it is something which is really these days making me wish he was alive. jane: he's pushing the after began government to expand the use of militias alongside afghan forces. according to him they are a desperately needed second line of defense. >> i believe the governments, especially armed forces hash stretched and exhausted. they need to retreat and reorganize and re-energize themselves. to do so the government must
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allow for some local resistance. jane: not everyone agrees. >> whatever you call it, resistance or militia, that is going to become more district to district. we are afraid that will turn more to, you know, local ethnic tension. jane: back in kabul, the former after began swedges chief worried the new fighting groups are dangerous. local units are more likely to come from the same ethnic background. ethnic division was a deaf skating driver of the afghan civil war when those who had fought the soviets then turned on one another. >> i raise my concern from day one. that will be a temporary solution, to cover their temporary domestic, be committed a very long strategy. everybody will try to keep the activity in a state of defending the state. they will defend their own interests. and that easily, the complex
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situation which we have in afghanistan, that easily can turn to become ethnic conflict. >> it is also unclear if the militias can make a real impact on the battlefield. if the afghan security forces with all the equipment and suppli they've been given and funding from the united states over the years can't hold off the taliban, how is it that these resistance fighters are supposed to do that? >> well, right now in many areas, that the taliban are not able to capture, it is because of these resistance groups. because when it comes to war and when it comes to military, everything is not just ammunition an guns. morale is everything. unfortunately, with american's departure and withdrawal, the morale of afghan soldiers crashed. jane: a growing sense is that whoever is fighting in
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afghanistan from here on in have to adapt to the new realities of war without highly sophisticated weaponry and never should have been dependent on it in the first place. >> americans in the past 20 year, the model they base the army on, it's american based model. like an army which is dependent always on technology an aerial support and air support. and also based like they always have contractors. so afghanistan is a poor country. it cannot afford those two things that is one of the major things that after americans withdrawal, afghan soldiers felt a huge reduction in aerial support and they could not actually cope with that void. jane. like parwhan, logar borders the capital. they push to take the country's
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remaining road an isolate the cities, logar's capital risks being cut off from kabul. just to get there, we had to travel in a military convoy because ambushes are so common. in logar, irregular forces recruited from the local population already work alongside security force. the governor insists they have been key to keeping the city and says he has oversight when handing out guns. >> there's too much pressure on me that everyone want an say, guys. we are going to give you weapon. but there are rules and regulations. you have to follow the rules an regulations. jane: these local fighters are in their own village but have been organized to keep the taliban at bay. across this berm and next to us is taliban territory. they say though they having mored to hold the taliban off other areas have fallen. the issue of whether to arm militia groups centers around the bad memories of past civil war in afghanistan, whether the
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groups cowl precipitate another civil war or whether it's too late for that and people need a means to protect themselves as the u.s. military leaves. >> it is already started. civil war already started. we have been saying and repeating that. don't leave afghanistan, we're not at peaceful resolution. jane: if peace, however much against the odds, cannot be salvaged now, another generation of afghanistan's young men will face marching off to yet more years of war. for the pbs newshour i'm james ferguson in parwan province, afghanistan. ♪ judy: as we have long reported, the downturn of the economy has
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hit a number of americans hard. for a number of millenials born between 1981 and 1996, and generation z who follow them, that pain and a number of other factors are asking some to ask, who is responsible? over the next couple of night ours economics correspondent will examine this generational tension beginning tonight from the perspective of some millenials. >> ♪ baby boomers greatest generation ♪ paul: on "saturday night live," an yoke boomer takedown. >> ♪ retirement funded 100% ♪ ♪ >> it encapsulates the sense of unfairness whether it's always the boomers first and their kids last. paul: bruce, author of "a generation of sosey paths," how the baby boomers betrayed america, said vaccinating older americans first made sense. >> the challenge is after years
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of abusive behavior on the part of boomers this may be the straw that broke the camel's back. paul: he said there's resentment of baby boomers. it's a resentment ofmy len als, 1981-1996, whose economic prospects have spezzedly been sacrificed to help greedy, ungrateful boomers, on lives to the challenges facing the young. >> they have a peter pan syndrome, they don't want to grow up. paul: this tiktok helped popularize the phrase ok fwoomer. >> you're going to realize that things aren't equal and the utopian society is not sustainable. paul: how do real life millenials respond? >> very offended. i am a very hard workers. >> all we want to do is sit around, watch netflix, or play
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video games. >> like based on everyone i know, epidemic myself, i'm not sure where that notion comes from. >> the biggest thing is we want their things, we want their house, we want their bank account. paul: a boomer 3450eus by his broader definition since i was born in 1944, i asked four millenials for their take. 37-year-old travis barker lives outside of denver, colorado, was laid off in the pandemic. in gill roye, california, sonia reyes, daughter of mexican immigrants and mother of two, put herself through college, only recently saved enough to move out of her parent's home. rehannah, an accountant in philadelphia has $200,000 in student debt for her degree in historic preservation and 34-year-old joe caputo in oklahoma city worked odd jobs for years. all college fwrads, heading toward middle age, scraping by. >> you know, i have a four-year
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degree. i have -- i was honorably discharged from the military. worked overseas. never been arrested. never failed a class. yet i still feel like i'm mind behind the eight-ball. there's no doubt you guys had it easier than we do. >> like travis said no matter what you accomplish or feel like you accomplish you don't feel like you're moving forward in life. you don feel like you can actually become a full adult. >> we had to move from san jose to gill roy because san jose was just too expensive. paul: you're a two-income family, and you can't afford to buy a house in gill roy? >> no, the houses in gill roy are a bit cheaper than san jose but not like to the point where i, by myself and my husband, can afford a house. >> renting is basically all i nd of see for my wife and i for the foreseeable future. just because we can budget for it. paul: we bought houses when they
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were way cheaper. does that make us sose yo paths? >> the most important thing about sosea paths, they don't have a great sense of obligations to others. paul: for bruce gibney, writer and jackpot winner as an early investor in paypal and facebook, it's a result of decades of sose yo pathic choices made by boomers who grew up in a booming america. >> they had an enormous tailwind and made decisions that only benefited themselves. paul: you mean me and my friends. >> i do. >> every stretch of farm and factory to market roadarns profits for all the nation. paul: he said boomers benefited from investments in roads, new school, education, paid for with taxes on previous generations. but when it was the boomers' turn to give we continued to take. tax cuts. expanded medicare and social security.
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an imbalance that led to an explosion of debt. gibney points out when he was born in 1976, the national debt was a third the the size of the annual economy. after decades of boomers at the helm it's now some 130%. while millenials are the largest portion of the work force the federal reserve just reported they have less than 5% of the country's wealth. the boomers, meanwhile, have four times that percentage at around the same age. do you blame my generation for the difficulty that the millenials, for example, are now having? high college costs, high student debt, can be the afford a house and so forth. >> i do, to a large degree. and we see it in the explosion of student debt. which the government can't keep records on in the early 1960's because it wasn't economically significant. today it's $1.7 trillion. the schools were in excellent
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shape when boomers came of age. they're in appalling shape now. worse in the aggregate is roads an bridges. that's astonishing levels of political neglect. nothing has been done regarding the environment and it's not as if the boomers didn't know that these were going to be problems. paul: did the millenial panel agree? the policies that we put in place or just allowed to happen are what have put you at such a disadvantage? >> that's certainly how it feels to me. >> after 30, 40 years you look back on policies and see the income gap, you know, your purchasing power and the cost of education and housing has gone way up compared to wages. and you know, once you look back on that and you still don't acknowledge your part i that, that's when it kind of becomes hard to understand how they justify that. paul: they is me. >> exactly. you. how do you justify that?
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no. you know, individually these people, i don't think are sose yo paths like you referenced that book. but on a policy level, absolutely they are. it's hard to describe you guys as anything other than that. paul: rihanna had a less clinical diagnosis. >> boomer is a killer word for status quo. it's not the generation itself, it's the fact that like, the unwillingness to understand that things have changed, things are changing and keep it the way it is because it worked for them. assuming that it'll work for everyone else. an that's ■not true. paul: what about the 1960's when boomers worldwide were coming of age and pushing back against previous generations? civil rights, feminism, gay rights, don't we get credit for that? >> no. if you look at the chronology you can see that this is just true. desegregation of school, brown vs. board of education, 1954. average boomer is 2. pretty sure they're not on the
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sprem court. civil rights act of 1964, average boomer is 12. not a constituency, not in power. voting rights act of 1965. not a constituency, median boomer is 13. so on down the line. paul: and the legion of boomers who started earth day, carried the flag for social change? >> yes, i agree that while boomers are as individuals good and bad just like any other generation, any other group of people, as a political generation they have systematically favored policies that benefited themselves at the expense of others. paul: so what now? any home for the millenials? we're going to pass on and as i pointed out to the panel, the amount of money that boomers have made and saved will go to you all, right? >> it's a little morbid to have to wait for your relatives to die to have some kind of financial success. >> i should be able with my career, with my husband's career, you know, be able to save enough money to have
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financial security, plus living in an adequate home. paul: who is to argue that she shouldn't be? in our next story we'll hear the somewhat surprising response from boomers themselves. >> i want to apologize because i don't feel we're leaving a better world for them. paul: for the pbs news however, i'm paul salman, born in 1944. ♪ judy: environmental health advocate katherine coleman flowers has dedicated her life to battling the neglected diseases that accompany poverty. she's the founder of the center for rural enterprise and environmental justice where she works on multiple fronts to improve public health and economic development. including access to water and sanitation, amid the growing threat of climate change. tonight she gives her brief but spectacular take on fighting
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america's dirty secret. >> sanitation doesn't get the attention it should because it's generally out of sight, out of mind. as a child in alabama, i had the opportunity to work through corn fields, walk in the woods, to understand how nature and people in rural communities coexist. i also had parents that were activist parents who were very involved in the civil rights movement. i loved lyons downy, that's what motivated me to return home. i thought i'd come back and do economic development and of course i ended up pivoting and becoming more of an activist trying to deal with the sanitation and wastewater problems because without that you can't do economic development. this being a rural community has another type of poverty one doesn't see in urban areas. for example, rural poverty to me looks like living in a home that doesn't have a septic system.
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when i'm talking about raw sewage i'm talking about something very, very basic. what comes out of our bodies that the reason that we wash our hands when we go to the bathroom, because we don't want to be contaminated. there are so many people in the united states that don't have that luxury. we have to deal with the historical challenges that have put in place these inequities that have continued for far too long. and that's what sanitation inequity looks like around the u.s. we're going to see more and more failures around the country because of climate change. we have to come up with new technologies to deal with the new realities. the biggest obstacles we face addressing environmental issues are the people that are profiting from the problem. the same people that ha designed the failures get this money to supposedly design the solutions but there's no guardrails or accountability that's required. i think we have to overcome that noord to protect the common good of everybody. one of the things that covid has
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told us, we don't we can create diseases right here. that will impact all of us. and it's not going to stay in one place. if we didn't learn this over the past year, then we're going to keep repeating that same lesson over and over again until we do. folk want to pretend like this doesn't exist in the united states. i think juxtaposed against the level of wealth and opulence in this untcri that basic need that everybody has and we should have addressed this a long time ago. my name is katherine coleman flowers and this is my brief but spectacular take on fighting mesh's dirty secret. judy: such an important message. you can watch all our brief but spectacular episodes at that's the news however for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. thank you. please stay safe. we'll see you soon. ♪ >> major funding for the pbs news however has been provided
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by -- >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps people communicate and connect. we offer a variety of in contract plans and can help find one that fits you. to learn more visit >> johnson & johnson. bnsf railway. financial service firm raymond james. the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions. [captioning performed by thenational captioning institute,which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.]]
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>> this program was made possible by the corporation for puic broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> this is pbs newshour west from weta studios in washington and from our bureau at the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. ♪
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