at the u.s. began to implement the same tactics which were used in afghanistan and was used in iraq, i'm sorry, used in iraq implementing them in afghanistan so we saw a suicide bombings, ied is, things associated with iraq coming to afghanistan. iraq is a forgotten subject in the media nobody cares about it. it's hard to get people interested. i'm grateful to see a large crowd here. afghanistan a little bit more because there's more americans, so when americans are [inaudible] we can't understand what's happening in afghanistan with the americans think they're doing in afghanistan without understanding what happened in iraq and what they think gilpin in iraq so i would like to start with a discussion about iraq and the implications for afghanistan. the narrative which is
impossible to challenge is that iraq was going fairly poorly because of poor planning and then in 2006 you had bombing al qaeda and iraq blew up the shrine north baghdadi and suddenly all hell broke loose in the war started in iraq is falling apart front office physically fit ph.d. general quote david petraeus arrived and saved the day of the new american hero and now he's going to save the day in afghanistan using the same brilliant tactics. but all that is wrong. the civil war in iraq didn't begin in 2006 with the bombings. it began in 2003 when the americans won the war they basically lost the war. they dispatched the iraqi army for the most part didn't even fight. and leaving aside the occupation or wrong decision to go to war with this rather wrong.
if you're going to be an occupier, if you're going to invade a country at least give it confidently, and we couldn't even do that, so the military planners, colonels and the like knew from experience in haiti, bosnia, kosovo, conflict in the world you need a significant number of troops for the post war phase because you're not going to devastate. they weren't grads of the troop it's going to be a quick easy war we can with 150,000 troops i think and created this immediate vacuum chipping away the government to security forces, electricity. everything was done and you have a pervasive sense of lawlessness that remains to this date to read this isn't unique to iraq. if he took new york city and got rid of the mayor and the police and electricity and creative vacuum with no bureaucracy to fire and you had looting so you
strip away even the government infrastructure i think you'd quickly see jewish militia spotting the militants, gangs be informed, the police, for our police now acting as security guards or because they had weapons. the upper east side militia would fight the harlem militia, the ever east side wouldn't do very well probably. [laughter] i'm from there so i know. but iraq was unique. we see it happen and the aftermath of katrina when you remove a state all hell breaks loose and people are scared they turn to violence. the turn to knowledge of what is what happened in iraq. so the americans won a war in april, 2003 but they lost the war because militants took over. overnight in that neighborhood militia being formed. too often they were formed on the basis of secretary and identity. they were formed surrounding mosques, ethnic groups, tribal
groups. you were not going to have a secular educated militia. it just didn't make sense. so the guys that used to be in the neighborhood stop release gangs a jury quickly became the militiamen. now the americans came in with this notion that the party was like the nazi party. we needed to elevate to this grand level, the communist party's fighting fascism, islamist fundamentalism come equal the sum, you wouldn't see the communist focus of a party likewise with the nazi party in the eyes of the american planners and was a sunni party. so in their eyes, they were rescuing the shia from the sunni nazis. of course the party was majority shiite. iraq was much more complicated than the way the americans had sidestepped. they opposed to the secretary of geographical -- secretary and regions see you at the sunni triangle, the shia south and they were forcing iraqi is to
think about themselves in ways they previously had and. racism and secretarianism and identity in this culture we see in america more and more these days as effect on latinos and on muslims. people who look like me these days are her best on the streets as well, but obviously racism between blacks and whites certainly excess. blacks still remain very bitter about the prejudice they feel, but you don't see militia warfare. you don't see the races and the grievance in the u.s. turning into violent activities. likewise, in iraq before the war, identity was very complex. you had urban and rural besides, middle class and poor and wealthy people in the government come out of the government, north and south. people who were religious and people who were secular. so how you felt about yourself as a sunni or shia and how you felt about the others as sunni or shia depended on many complex factors such as social class,
the level to which you were divided or not, the level to which there is a crack down on you in your neighborhood. if you were in carvel you might really hate the 90's because the crackdown on the she yes. if you're from metal parts of baghdad and were middle class shia, you really wouldn't feel as persecuted. and while there was a glass ceiling, you had she has in the higher echelon of the government. so, the iraqi stand to romanticize the identity before the war and you often hear them say we dress in the same to reverse and the same tribes, we may reach the, nobody with a sunni or shia was before the war. that is not a sec'y trip was subdued, it wasn't publicly expressed. there was some resentment. some sunnis velte content for the shia practices and some shias fought resentment at being disenfranchised, but like i said, it was much more complex. it didn't have to be a civil war might read there was a peace treaty of any kind of mass violence between sunnis and shias in iraq before we got there. so we took this vacuum that you
created and the militias forming right away. immediately every night we would hear the shatter of gunfire, and it wasn't americans coming at iraqis to a large extent. it was iraqi fighting iraqi. people selling scores. criminal gangs skilling with a good, kidnapping kids from wealthy doctors, and also people who have real grievances. some of its miers' maybe a professor getting better grades. this would be a good opportunity to kill him, which happened. or maybe it was an informer who was looking for the regime and got your brother executed. this would be a good time to kill him. after all, the diluted the security station said they had a list of all the informers, governor spies said they would know who to kill. often the victims were sunni because shias could be rehabilitated by the militia. now to take this already
existing tension. the americans came in and set up a puppet government council in 2003 the senate on so many she does, so many kurds, even the communist party chose them and the administration by the summer of 2003 the americas are creating a civil war that and that wasn't true there wasn't a decision to create this of war in retrospect it looks like they've made every possible wrong decision of lead to a civil war and the institutionalized the secretarianism. approaching iraq that shias were the baptists they were the ones loyal to saddam with the american military to be much more aggressive when they were in sunni areas like fallujah and created a self-fulfilling prophecy. fallujah is a good fix able. before the war it was a sort of poor loan middle class
industrial town. nobody had ever heard of it. we were going to a picnic you might stop in fallujah but it wasn't anymore unique than anywhere else in iraq. the first two weeks after the fall of iraq. fallujah was quite an americans didn't go to fallujah and officials. the americans came in and took over a school in the center of town. april 20 if a couple weeks after the fall of baghdad there was a demonstration, the americans claim they heard shots fired into the crowd, they killed 17 people, they killed a bunch more in the following day another demonstration and began to turn the people of fallujah against the americans. i'm going to skip through the growing insurgency that just to say that in the spring of 2004 you actually had a moment of optimism in the sunni shia
relations. you have an uprising in fallujah and shia uprising in the south and helping fight the americans and shia the one from fallujah to help the city milledge to fight the americans. that might not seem like a reasonable thing to be optimistic about, but to me it was a sign that the sunni and shias were fighting together against occupation, which meant they might at the time i thought maybe this would give some kind of a common narrative struggle against occupation and they can get over the occupation and have the bloody mix that so many nations need when they are funding more resounding themselves, but that wasn't to be, because groups like zarqawi and the antigroups were telling the civilians constantly and the breitling on a daily basis shia policemen truck drivers coming from baghdad to jordan or syria were being stopped close to fallujah and putting their heads
cut off for being shia. shias were beginning to resent more and more the sunnis for harboring these sorts of antishia al qaeda guice. once fallujah was destroyed by the americans, in late 2004 you didn't see the shias coming to the aid of fallujah. you saw many who actually deserved it because these people were harming the sunnis that were slaughtering the civilians but as a result of the destruction of fallujah in 2000 for you had hundreds of thousands of refugees from fallujah coming to western baghdad, and they began to displace shia living there when teased baghdadi and turned this place and because you had no american or iraqi security forces that could protect local communities, local self-defense militias becoming more and more important. now if you are a shia and east baghdad self-destruct for the was a significant minority, and you know that some of the sunnis
are harboring resistance guides or pro al qaeda we don't know who they are the best you can do from your point of view is get rid of all of them. see you have the initial ethnic cleansing from the wave of people coming from fallujah then this self-defense militia on both sides saying the best thing to do is to get rid of that minority two herber militiamen or al qaeda and get rid of them totally. the civil war then began by the end of 2004. but you had for the first year or two shia were on the defense is. they didn't have security forces. they were not organized and they had a real fear that the ba'ath party was going to come back and they were coming together historically from saudi arabia to kill shia in 19th century and before. it began to change in 2005 as you had elections in the first
one in 2005. suddenly use all [inaudible] to cover the ministry of interior. and there were some decisions made to the sunnis to be more aggressive and useful for the first time the phenomenon. nissan pathfinders iraq have white friends and therefore the nickname is monica lewinsky driving around town with the guys with ak-47s hanging out and they would pick up sunnis that ran at them and he would find a sunni corpse in a dump with a work rules in the body. the had been tortured and killed. every that he knew that these were minister of interior issued vehicles that they were being used by militiamen or by police acting in conjunction with militiamen. i don't want to minimize the
suffering, certainly the innocent shia civilian suffered much more in terms of numerical representation. but the sunni population began to feel threatened and vulnerable. and the was the real shift because for the first two years sunni resistance groups are confident about their ability to get rid of the americans and the dispatch with of the shias. their attitude was contemptuous, they never will iraq, there were persians, uneducated. they didn't believe this new order was going to stay. but the increasingly aggressive shia and alicia tactics combined with the police and army began to have an effect. by 2006i was meeting sunni resistance leaders in iraq and syria and jordan and the discourse of change were no longer confident they said the same thing over and over again wherever i met them. we lost, we miscalculated. we shouldn't have listened to
the clerics in 2003 when they told us to the government we and iraq over to the iranians, and why the iranians? and not yet many in the region, shias aren't real arabs, they are persian. of course that isn't true. the shia iraqi started nationalists and didn't have a strong shias identity as well. it doesn't mean that they are iranians sympathizers though. but you had this sunni since that they had lost. and they didn't lose to the american surge or the american tactics. they lost things to black and decker. what do i mean? black and decker power drills. if you find a corpse in iraq that had its head cut off it was killed by sunni militiamen. if he found a corpse power drills in the body dead was a signature of the shia militiamen. so you had in 2006 a really strong cooperation between the shia militiamen, the iraqi police and the iraqi army.
they pounded and punished sunni neighborhoods to the point where sunnis began to depopulate baghdad. you have places like doherty in south baghdad, one set of wealthy neighborhood mix with majority sunni. when i visited in 2007 and was totally empty. thousands of homes, all of the clothes, kuchins orloff pots and everything but nobody was living there. sunnis were defeated, leaving 40 anbar, they were in syria and jordan. of course many shias were fleeing as well. and this was important to stress, six months before the surge, the sunni militiamen began to realize that lost. what this meant was they were also paying attention to the discourse coming out. increasing rhetoric from the sea by the american pullout, the base in the senate between republicans and democrats urging the u.s. to pull out for iraq and was a lost cause. i had sunni friends and my back for a couple leave years had been backing against the
occupation suddenly panic among if the americans leave we are going to be slaughtered. you also had the signals from saudi arabia saying the americans leave we are going to have to come and protect the sunnis. one more example in the summer of 2006 in the neighborhood in western baghdad you have a majority of shia neighborhoods with a very large sunni minority others of the tried more the fact that. in the summer of 2006, the mahdi army in collaboration with the iraqi army totally cleansed the sunnis, and was like thousands of people in convoys leaving the neighborhood while the americans were watching. in western baghdad, there was an iraqi army that used to go into people's homes especially sunni, arrest the husbands that ran them and force women to have sex with them in order for the
release of their husband. i don't want to make it sound like only this shia are being brittle. they were slaughtering a much higher rate, but shias had american security committee and the american military, they had the iraqi police, the iraqi army and the mahdi army, the main shia militia. they just had the members to defeat the sunnis. no in the summer of 2006, or even a little bit earlier, the americans finally came to the realization three years too late, that the occupation was a problem. so the general of the state, the american commander, began to describe the american occupation as a problem and our presence as creating antibodies and that is true in the main struggle when iraq was an occupation sort of liberation struggle where you had resistance fighting the americas. but by 2006 and 2005 the main struggle in iraq wasn't just anti-american. the minstrel was now a civil war. the americans were always a couple years too lead in the realization of what was going
on. so in 2006 to begin to pull out of the cities. and suddenly you will see them anymore and it felt like iraq was occupied but not by security force but by random militiamen coming around the monica lewinsky i talked about, militia at checkpoints in different neighborhoods, sunni controlled sunni neighborhoods, shia controlled shia neighborhoods. it felt like somalia which is headed for the first time a year earlier. so the americans are pulling out, and then their motto was we are going to hand the security over to the army and as the stand-up we will stand down. the problem with that was the iraqi police and the iraqi army were participants in the civil war on the one side, so the americans pulled back and saw that the iraqi army were going into the sunni neighborhoods opening fire at random and they realized especially down to the warning that they were going to come in that the civil war in iraq was a regional conflict.
and president bush two years away from the end of his reign was beginning to worry that his legacy. so he began to pay attention to the events in iraq and they realized the one thing worse than staying was that they would be leaving because he would have a regional conflict, jordan, syria, saudi arabia, surely iran would get involved and would be much worse. so you have the realization that they have lost and the sense that in the past by the sunni militiamen 25 al qaeda. al qaeda came to the anbar parts of iraq. it was very effective against the americans because it had suicide bombers and yes it was an effective self-defense militias because they had access to funds, but there was also brutal against the sunni population in anbar province it was disrupting smuggling routes. it was forcing tribal leaders to hand over their women and it was imposing these rules that were for into iraq peace. so in anbar and elsewhere, it
became to be a phenomenon for the sunnis who at one point depended on it for self-defense. you had passed him spy sunni militiamen to fight al qaeda, in particular in 2005 in anbar province. the sunni tribesmen who were against al qaeda were slaughtered because the americans set by and watched. when you began to see in 2006, six months before petraeus arrived in iraq, was the weakening phenomenon beginning. americans were suddenly a little more subtle in the we dates you iraq. we get into iraq to or three times now. no longer do you think it's black and white sort of good guys and bad guys prism, and they began to be a will to cut deals with local power brokers. and you had beginning in anbar province the weakening phenomenon on the sons of iraq. the americans found about a third rate tribal leaders on the highway robber. no real tribal leader but the announced and in power demand
protected him and used him and his men as informers and to get the identified al qaeda in anbar province, and this phenomenon spread throughout the rest of iraq during quickly just as in the past sunni resistance groups learned from each other and you have a phenomenon one group that used a donkey's corpse, put a bomb and it blew up the americans, and that was happening all over the place. so the to this tactic spread the same rapidity, the switching sides, fighting al qaeda aligned with the americans because the sunni communities felt like they were pressed from the shia, the iraqi police, the army, americans and al qaeda. and the americans, for the first time into those of six, began to be the least of all evil and sometimes a savior for the iraqis who had until then often hated them. petraeus were arrived in january, 2007 initiating the surge. the surge ostensibly just to increase trips by about 30,000 the implementation of the new
tactic called operation center counterinsurgency. the mantra was we are not going to focus on killing the enemy. we are going to focus on protecting the population and tending them with all kind of incentive to separate themselves from the insurgents and work with us. now in reality, during the search, you had three times as many civilians killed by the americans as before the surge coslet didn't seem population centered. dever killed with air strike, increased capture emissions, shirley and denial switches when you fired artillery sometimes in populated areas. but the iraqi store desperate because the civil war that they were able to afford these increases. the key factor initially was that sunni cease-fire beginning in 2006 into 2007 when suddenly the guys who had been fighting the shia put down their weapons or took the weapons that were not just neighborhood guards, static position, not doing much informing the americans about al
qaeda. but the surge is going to focus on baghdad. baghdad was in the hands of the shia militiamen, the mahdi army. the mahdi army had that a local self-defense militia, had the audiology, was disciplined, it spread and became more and more powerful. it was against the control of their own man who began to act like a mafia, exploding from their own population. once they get rid of sunnis and friend neighborhoods they would begin to turn on their own people and the mahdi army kunkel baghdad more or less by the time the search began to meet the movement sponsoring the mahdi army knew that they were going to be the target of the americans focusing on baghdad. so they decided let's have a cease-fire as well. the surge is going to come and it's going to go controlling bad debt. look at the leader of the mahdi army was also concerned because the more collectivities the
dormant for giving him a bad name. so we began to have this phenomenon. you have the golden group which is a unit within the mahdi army which is coming around i see people. the was the slanging for the fascination for the shia. they were taken off for the role of the mahdi army. sometimes actually in cooperation with the americans. the mahdi army cease-fire occurred in 2007. seven months into the surge. and that is when we saw there really huge drop in violence that remains to this day. so it wasn't the american search, it was the mahdi army cease-fire. violence didn't decline until the summer to close at seven in fact that was five weeks ago at the province. the diyala province is a sight of some of the worst atrocities of the civil war, rwanda, bosnia. a court of the population was displaced. hundreds of villages were destroyed, totally blown out.
all of the sheep and livestock, the equipment destroyed come and this was continuing into the summer of 2007. i visited several villages just a few weeks ago that for all destroyed seven months after the search began. so the violence didn't really decline until the army cease-fire and you have this separation of the sunni and shia in iraq. the iraqi social fabric was destroyed possibly forever. you have a couple million iraqis displaced within the country, hundreds of thousands of refugees outside of iraq. so in the sense they were dying in part of because the iraqis killed. the militia succeeded and the had one and they were beginning to realize they have one. and crucially, the third factor was the rise of penn mr. maliki. mulkey came to power as an american puppet and his main
backers. they had to be at the flexes his muscles and take the role more seriously. he realized okay i will try to be taken care of by the americans and the shia militia but i have a competition for power. the shia militiamen who are honorably and clashing with my own security forces. and he turned on them to surprise given the americans and in march it was a bit maliki declared opposition charged in the night. and brutally, he targeted for the shia neighborhoods in baghdad and elsewhere. his guys are actually losing. the americans who had a 24 hour notice of the of region sort of came to his rescue with navy seals, snipers, helicopters, gunships and saved the iraqi army because hundreds of iraqi soldiers and police standing down didn't want to fight the mahdi army brethren. so even though the americans are the ones who ended up sort of crushing the mahdi army, it was perceived as a victory for maliki, and was the first time
in the sunnis in iraq might not love maliki the deal grudgingly accept that he had reduced violence and that he wasn't sectarian. there was a shift in the way even the sunnis began to view mulkey not to mention the middle class. he was no longer perceived as an actor what was a national figure because he was perceived as having devastated the mahdi army and the mahdi army still hasn't recovered from that. and now is pretty brutal american snipers and helicopter gunships were killing women and children, but the mahdi army was also destroyed and for that, iraqi satchel i remain grateful to maliki for a couple of years. and you have an iraqi surge. you had the americans and the iraqis purging in the security forces of the elements killing innocent people just for being sunni. and this was the main factor the decline of the violence. you take that situation and you add the american ingredient. a sudden increase in density of troops in iraq and baghdad, the
main prize in the civil war. and the concrete wall. now, these walls, 12, 15 feet wall surrounding neighborhoods might not remind people of palestine. it was very aggressive, destroyed the social fabric. he couldn't cross the street to go to school in the other neighborhood because the walls were surrounding him. but this actually works and there is one exit point. militiamen working with the americans and the police are the army or the soldiers controlling the interim index it so the americans would conduct a census and figure out lives where, who belong door didn't belong, they could prevent them from coming and equally important, they could prevent iraqi police from going to a sunni neighborhood and opening fire on the neighborhood because wall wasn't locked. so the americans grows the game of a civil war as they were. and you had militia phenomenon
which after the time was a terrible idea. here you have a civil war and suddenly you were going to add more to the equation? not only that, they were -- less padilla a ton with the militiamen and when you talk to them they say we have a [inaudible] -- to occupations. the american occupation and the iranian occupation meaning shias. the americans are going to leave that the iranians are going to stay, so we're going to meet with the americans in cease-fire and focus on the shias. so they are openly saying they want the government and i thought they were to dangerous phenomenon. but as soon as the americans began to transition the weakening to the iraqi authorities the states began to dissipate them. the leadership, al qaeda was also starting to the powerful movement was mostly white out. as the guerrillas the only really powerful when they are over ground and a swimming among
the masses but now the population has been reduced significantly reduced towns, sunni neighborhoods and the americans and iraqis of the militiamen the could never go underground again. now the air being targeted and arrested and they went from being tough guys in the neighborhood to being on the run today. most of the awakening over the years are either in jail, in exile, did or asking to get a visa to come to the u.s.. in the mahdi army, likewise miscalculated declared a cease-fire was destroyed by a permanent maliki. so the main militia groups were wiped out and the iraqi security force now were cleansed from the worst elements and able to more or less what security vacuum so we've seen since 2009 they've been able to control and iraq
and pamela starr maliki has legitimacy and popularity because he was credited even if it wasn't true with being the guy that reduced violence in iraq to the levels we have today much better than 2006, to the some seven. so iraq today is going to be something like mexico or pakistan. very strong central regime. nobody can overthrow it, nobody's trying anymore. there is no movement or ideology to the system to get everybody just wants a piece of the pie, better service. so you have a strong regime, corrupt, brutal, a little bit representative, increasingly authoritarian and terrible violence in the streets. but not the kind of violence that threatens the system, just the lives of civilians but the adjustment like a new normal. so when i was in iraq for six weeks until several weeks ago every day i was in baghdad the assassinations were 50 pounds,
these were small mcminn de etds. sitting in traffic somebody, it blows of and nobody knows why. it's happening all the time everywhere. it could be al qaeda inspired to undermine the government, it could be the groups fighting each of the comet could be political groups fighting each other. it could be your general of the hospital and if you want your job so she hires someone to take you out and get your job. that is a true story. the violence in iraq these days so it doesn't threaten the system it's terrible and people have to sort of adjust to it. if you are a normal civilian it probably isn't a threat to because you're not going to be targeted just for being sunni or shia and in these days the iraqi security forces aren't going to kill you just for being sunni. they are going to torture you though. i mean, if you get our best it's pretty routine. you're going to get sodomized with a glass bottle, they're going to rapidly get around you and electrocute you come and beat the hell out of you, demand
money from your family, you confess, go to court, the judge will have your confession even with torture, you go to jail. if you pay enough money you get out of jail. it's also institutionalized normal these days. and that is the optimistic take on iraq unfortunately. none of these factors that help reduce violence in iraq from the terrible levels in two of six, 2007 to the really bad levels of 2007 today. none of those factors are from afghanistan a totally different situation where they're still trying to implement the same tactics because the americans believe that it was a surge and general petraeus was playing the tactics riding the counter insurgency doctrine that one of war in iraq. if you can call that a victory the price of close to a million civilians and many people in their homes and tens of thousands of families who had been spending years in america were iraqi prisons.
so this is the kind of victory you want to impose on afghanistan and you still have more civilians dying today than you had afghan civilians. so it's no kind of model and the afghans would shutter if the new with the americans were trying to bring to them. but, iraq at least is better today than was. the worst is over. in iraq, like i said, sunnis were crushed. they were told of their new place and eventually they were forced to accept it. sunnis realized the lost. shias realized the one and you now have a new order and it's basically impossible to reverse it. but in iraq the resistance was dominated by sunnis, minority 20% of the population. in a chemist in, the taliban are pushed, 38, 40% of the population. the largest of the groups and the taliban is now spreading into the non-pashtu nefarious, turkmen, uzbeks. but telemental clich they are losing, they feel like they're winning. the control 80% of the country,
they're spreading more and more. there is no reason for them to feel defeated. you put in fury across the pasture and population to be the sunnis in iraq were crushed but he would have to be genocidal, the russians to do that kind of thing and the americans are not that brutal. the only successful counter insurgency in modern times is malaysia and it's up to the model the americans point to. what they did it to the malaria is they took half a million chinese who were the source of the rebels and moved them into the concentration camps. so that works. you can take millions of pashtu in to the concentration camps or bomb the hell out of them, but you have to be genocidal to do that and the americans are not that brutal. so there is no way to cross the population. now it's easy for the american point of view. it was urban, modern, it had rhodes, the city of baghdad, the population center is reflect.
you can control the population. the secretary is about protecting people. it's about controlling them so they will obey you. in afghanistan the russians had the cities in the 1980's. the head couple and other cities, but they never had the countryside which the mujahideen control. likewise today the americans to have the cities but the taliban are a rural insurgency and the are in the villages. and you have thousands and thousands of allegis. take marshall for simple. many may remember it from early this year. it is described as a key strategic taliban city. in reality, it is a tiny village of a few thousand people and helmand. it took the americans three months to take marjah. cnn made it seem like was the storming of normandy or something. many months afterwards we find the tel dan are still popular, taliban are still fighting the americans and marjah. you have 15,000 other marjah. at avery house is half a mile from the other house, there are no roads.
so you can have individual victories and success over the taliban here, pushing them away from one solution to another but you don't have and never will have the numbers of troops required to occupy the entire question south and southeast in order to control of those villages. there is just no way to do it. you can't deny any of your single individual victories in 21. and a key element of the counter insurgency theory is you have to build the capacity of the national government so they can take over for you. now in iraq you have now keyed to manage to game some legitimacy and of the security forces and destroy the militia and to have a civil war. so brutal that it actually made the americans and maliki look like a better alternative. in afghanistan though, the last thing you want to do is build the capacity of the government because it is predatory. it's the main reason people are building the taliban. it robs people of corruption, lacking the credibility. that isn't a feast to the kobe steel to feed, you ought to start. but they are aligning themselves
with the government, the police forces the will rob people at a checkpoint, go to stores and take goods without paying for them. you will never have an afghanistan the key theory legitimate government that can take over for you. and we see today the taliban have succeeded in sending emissaries into the north and the spreading into the areas into the uzbek areas. the americans and afghanistan are also brutal. maybe not as much as the war lords but anybody that spends enough time with american troops in afghanistan will see stories about the american soldiers shooting the separate to make them dance. you have the daily abu ghraib to reduce all in iraq, too. you are an occupying force even the best intentioned, you can be a girl scout or denmark or something, your presence is going to be oppressive.
you're constantly pointing guns at people. it's a humiliation and in dignity maybe americans can't understand but certainly people living in palestine and afghanistan and iraq and elsewhere can understand. everywhere you go there are foreigners, guys with guns screaming and yelling which don't understand, pointing their guns, sitting in their trucks pointing their guns at you. everywhere you go there are guns pointed at you, american military guys, contractors, different militias, and they are breaking into houses, arresting four men, the obscure language, poor intelligence, have the time arresting their own guys that he might not hear from them again. to kandahar for the simple. we spent billions of dollars in the afghan army, the american tax payers. the afghan army didn't fight. they chose not to fight in the first surge, obama's first surgeon 2009. like kandahar the americans are not using the afghan army. they are using the afghan border
police. basically a warlord with 500 guys. into those of six in a kandahar, the canadians rely on [inaudible] , and he was so brutal he returned much of the population to join the television. we are in the same or more today where is the afghan army we paid for, billions of dollars and they're supposed to be 200,000 of them and they didn't show up to read and americans are blowing up houses, totally destroying the fabric of life, all to fight not al qaeda, the taliban. if we are in afghanistan to the feet of a destroyer, the serbs, dismantle, disturb, whatever they say, al qaeda, then we did that in 2002 and we won the war. we are fighting the taliban, an indigenous movement that might be fundamentalist, we might not like the way they treat women,
but it isn't different than see to the theory local movement. historically, going back into the 19th century, it has been the students, the taliban, the religious students who rise of and for the occupier. the ariana phenomenon. -- in the 1980 cpac taliban as well. these are local students and when i met tel dan in different parts of the afghanistan it reminded me of fallujah. local people fighting for local reasons against foreign occupiers. they are not fighting for al qaeda or the christians and jews and sometimes jihad for eternity to judgment day, they are fighting for local reasons, islam, they don't want foreigners, fighting because the police are oppressive, fighting because maybe one of the young man was going on a bicycle and the americans shot him because he thought was a terrorist and therefore the most part poor local people freezing money in the community to fight the
occupation. why would we find them, why we spending billions of dollars to fight by some pickup trucks with ak-47s? how was that a threat, a bigger threat to the american debt for example? but what we are doing now is to still lives in pakistan, and much more sensitive and fragile country that may be more important from the national security point of view. we have no taliban before the american invade afghanistan that many of the pakistan the taliban phenomenon. we pushed the taliban into afghanistan and things to the drone strikes in the border area we push the tel dan and al qaeda deeper into pakistan into pune shot and karachi and we pushed the drug networks into pakistan which at 100 nukes and a huge army and a permanent conflict with india. so, we took al qaeda, which is somehow an army at one point in afghanistan and destroyed at. when we first went in in 2001, al qaeda had a couple of thousand guys that could fight. they were destroyed or arrested.
the strategy remains for pakistan. you can't see them now and pakistan is a better place to hide your al qaeda. the infrastructure had cities. you can't go in there as americans. from the american military loves you what we have this massive military footprint in afghanistan where al qaeda is and and you have yemen, pakistan, where al qaeda is. i am not saying we should invade, but by our own logic it makes no sense to be in afghanistan. but i can't even more importantly, al qaeda isn't that big a threat in the first place. they got lucky in september 11th. since then you can't point to any single success and the become an inspiration to people. but it's not like to have the kind of james bond bad guy sitting in pakistan planning attacks. but we persist with the bush policies under obama now and we are spreading the war on terror
into yemen, somalia and elsewhere. the yemen government is the worst regime and the reason now that saddam has been removed and we are tying ourselves to it. this is a regime that bombs the number five team the rebels displacing hundreds of thousands. it in vince this huge al qaeda threat to get weapons and money and support from the u.s. to use against domestic opposition so that the secessionists, number secessionists, we tie ourselves to them. we are getting deeper and deeper into conflict that have nothing to do with american national security. anyway, i guess i will take questions now. [applause] >> thank you very much. you can recognize questions. please, keep your questions brief and please i identify yourself when you ask a
question. >> [inaudible] i was wondering when you think we should do going forward. >> foreign policy with iraq and afghanistan. >> they are reducing the presence. - 40,000. they will have a relative presence in iraq to continue to train the iraqi military air force, that kind of thing. but to reduce the presence. can't call it an occupied century anymore. it's not the americans controlling everything on a daily basis. in afghanistan though, it gets to the political problem that can only be solved politically. it's not a military problem. they have to recognize that negotiating the taliban is the only solution. the problem though is that petraeus has gotten better at
dillinger the mid-level commanders. that might seem like it is a good thing the taliban commanders are the ones that have longstanding ties to the community, there for much more moderate and are able to be pressured by the command to, the tribal elders, and they are also probably is much more ties to mullah omar in pakistan. they are replacing them with much more younger radical guys who don't have these ties and it's going to be much harder to negotiate with them and you're creating a self fulfilling prophecy that they are going to be tied to al qaeda. right now the taliban and afghanistan are different than the taliban in pakistan. a totally different from al qaeda to taliban and afghanistan are afghan controlled and afghan interest and goals, pakistan and taliban are a little bit different of course fighting the pakistan government. in some cases linked to al qaeda. but you only have a history one afghan prez to attack the u.s.
and that is new york and he was tied to the pakistani taliban and lived most of his life in the u.s., so that could help, except obviously to the people of afghanistan you have to recognize negotiating with them is the only solution and the karzai government and the various warlords are better than the taliban now. but we don't see any sign of that. petraeus actually undermined the negotiations and is against it. in kandahar these days you see not even counterinsurgency or the attempt to hearts and minds come up with the remind you of the russians are doing in '83, '84, relying on a massive military power. so i think what we will see isn't a solution to the radicalization of the taliban and they are going to be pushing to the heads of al qaeda which is a natural constituency. so what should be done -- when i give a talk people ask me what should be done and we have to no
longer be who we are to see any holes in the middle east which means we have to stop supporting israel and its occupation of palestine and stop supporting egypt and saudi arabia and pakistan and elsewhere and it's just inconceivable to imagine the revolution in american foreign policy. luckily i am a journalist and have a problem finding business not in a solution. [laughter] >> one of the things i think is more interesting about the current transition in iraqi government is between mulkey and allow we between maliki handle solder. and as you sit a little bit ironic this medieval but and the relationship considering the past. and you don't really hear than a mouse otter in this country without being persuaded by the anti-american cleric in almost any context so it creates a sort of interesting perspective.
i don't see all solder as anti-american and since most americans have come to understand that phrase and the al qaeda sense by wonder if he could speak a moment about the perception of all solder as anti-american, his relationship with the prime minister and iraq and what that means from our perspective. >> a friend in london have friends from baghdadi and he flew yesterday from london to new york. at the airport they asked are you sunni or shia? at the airport in gft they asked him are you shia? he said no my family is. they said are you from sadr city? it is a true story and it's pretty weird. i guess they are worried about. this, they were antioccupation, and don't like america because of its occupation and the support for israel, but it is a group customer marginalized the
look for support at one time and iran had an existential reason they want to undermine the american occupation because they knew they were next so the trend the militias that had better blow up american vehicles and mortars. the heat -- hate maliki. some hate him because he destroyed the mahdi army, and he continues to rest mahdi army guys arbitrarily, but for a while it was also a surprise because [inaudible] with a heated maliki. he didn't want to depend on them for the rim of power because he knows that in 2007 and they pulled out. and he didn't want to depend on
them if they pulled out again for a black male against them. so he was always in a deal with the sunni party is the were working with al-awlai. saudi arabia and turkey have sunnis and was formed with saudi money and a turkish invasion. turkey helped create and there was pressure coming from different countries funding some of the sunni parties not to compromise or sellout but there were going to sold eventually because he was never going to give up power said it was better to be in the tent, however lyndon johnson said it. i don't think it is that big of
a threat. i do think you do want them in the government. this is a group when they were marginalized they were pushed to violence but since the fonted to be part of the system. what they were presented with isn't a strong ideology. it's more anchor in the 50's and 60's this caught the people back to communist. in the 90's following the american occupation,. but they were poor angry people, and i and occupation, and a federalist, anti-establishment, but occupation these days is more or less gone. it's hard to find their can skilling if you want to. you can't be anti-establishment, part of the establishment since 2005 to with what have we delivered for your people? not that much. at the federalism. everybody in iraq except for the kurds. but the movement which doesn't have any strong sales anymore and the popularity also declined because they're associated with the atrocities of the civil war
but it's a movement to do what represented in the governments of the don't feel marginalized. you still have then in baghdad and elsewhere. the americans fear them. but in iraq this is the only social movement, the only grass-roots movement so those seven little sympathy as a result of that. and they initially were not that secretary and were violent thanks to the occupation on the tax pushed them more and more into that direction. i think that it is a welcome development that they would be part of the states as long as we went to the minister of interior or the army security forces. everybody knows the would be a horrible idea. >> in your book you talk about the middle east to specifically talk about afghanistan and the spillover effect of what is going on that and iraq and
afghanistan. what about the lebanon and parts of the middle east. >> a start the book with this fear that iraq will be lebanonized and leads to competition and conflict between the various groups but it's enshrined in law. in iraq it's not enshrined in law lead the we their resources go for the secretary in group unfortunately. so, we did see increased secretarianism in the militia which remind us of lebanon in iraq. but by lebanon and the least in the sense, i mean the sunni shia fight. and there was a sort of new phenomena, and we can blame the americans for that and the civil war in iraq and zarqawi and i will get to that. lebanon was the most sensitive
place because it had a very weak state and had a strong shia militia hezbollah and as the sunni primm minister who was assassinated and nobody knows by whom in 2005, which really recreated the way they thought about themselves. and you begin to see in the whole region the revival. people talk about the shia revival but there is the revival of the sunnis identity as well. in 2006 hezbollah defeated israel. hezbollah become of the most powerful movements in the arab world. and a real threat to some of the sunni dictatorship and egypt, jordan, saudi arabia, a threat for a challenge to american and israelis in the region to be there was a popular movement, a populist movement, a movement that spoke about social justice. and yet stagnant regimes in saudi arabia and egypt and jordan and elsewhere clever and with the americans and with israel and was costing legitimacy. they couldn't play the
nationalist party. but the had to undermine hezbollah and hamas so they played the shia card. the persians are coming and they are going to take over the sunni world, and the saudis control the production of culture and media in the arab world unfortunately. they have been working really hard on spreading the fear throughout the arab world and lebanon was accessible to that because you had a very strong shia military force in hezbollah. and the sunni population that lost its prime minister billionaire and the population felt for a week. you have al qaeda guice from iraq who are basically defeated in 2006, 2007, beginning to come into lebanon and take advantage of the week states and the palestinian camps and the lack of law and order over there and basically lebanon. and to the different groups in lebanon, some sponsored by saudi
arabia trying to get in touch of al qaeda to five hezbollah, to fight shias, whereas these guys are mostly focused on helping the confide palestine. anyway, what we'd seen in lebanon since 2006, a 2007 are increasing clashes between sunni and shia frogs on the street, and in 2008 when the sunni militia were quickly dispatched and defeated by hezbollah by 24 hours. that agitation remains. as long as hezbollah is a form in the side of the americans and the saudis is the one group saying you don't have to compromise. look you can actually defeat israel or humiliate israel. it's going to be an embarrassment to saudi arabia which is sold out on all causes which matter to the american nationalism, and they're going to do their best to undermine it, undermined by spreading this year of shias which is becoming much more serious throughout the arab world in bahrain and you see the shs