tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 29, 2013 8:00am-10:01am EDT
>> from the center for strategic and international studies. it's just under an hour. >> i really appreciate the working relationship i have with dr. hamre and with csis. dr. hamre mentioned my desire to learn more about issues. nobody has been more helpful on that than john. they've been very generous with their time working with me and my staff as we puzzle through difficult and challenging national security issues. and what i want to talk about this morning is sort of how we continue to proceed with our fight against al-qaeda and their ideology. certainly during my time in congress, nothing has changed our policy both domestically and globally more than 9/11.
we've within reacting to that -- we've been reacting to that, in ways, ever since. invaded afghanistan and iraq, you know, and as we've gone we've tried to figure out how do we fight this war effectively. it's unlike any other battle we've ever fought in a variety of different ways. and what i want to try to do this morning is set the frame for where we're at and where we should go now more than a dozen years after the event. how are we doing, what are the challenges, how do we move forward? i think the challenge that we have is we're still trying to accomplish two things. one, it is still a war, and i think there's a lot of people who forget that. as i always like to put it, al-qaeda declared war on us in 1996, and they have not changed their mind. the only thing that is stopping them from attacking us is not a lack of desire, it's our ability to stop them from doing it, and that really hasn't changed. now, the organization, the
groups have me metastasized and moved and changed, weaker in some ways, stronger in others. but trust me, if you are in the national security environment here in the u.s., if you work at dod, at the cia, when you get up in the morning, the primary thing you're thinking about is whether or not there's going to be a terrorist attack and what you can do that day to prevent it. it is dominating aspect of our national security policy as well it should be. for all the challenges we have for trying to work the relationships with russia, with china, the asia pivot, latin america and elsewhere, the number one thing on our minds is protecting this country, and the number one threat to that is terrorists, al-qaeda and their various offshoots. so we have to fight that war. you know, and one of the best ways to fight that war is, basically, to get them before they get us. and that involves military action of one with kind or another. now, the second thing that we've been trying to accomplish both president bush and president obama have tried to figure out
how to do this is to win the broader ideological struggle. basically, to stop people in the muslim world from wanting to join organizations like al-qaeda, to figure out what role we can play in bringing greater stability and moving towards a more moderate, effective, competent form of government in of these countries. now, the great challenge here, of course, is number one often conflicts with number two. we see that most notably in the drone campaign. undeniably, it has been effective. without question, the ability of al-qaeda's central leadership to property and plan -- to plot and plan attacks has been significantly degraded. one of the biggest things is we have effectively targeted and disrupted their leadership. when your top terrorists in the world are spending pretty much all their time every day worrying about how they can stay alive, they can't plot and plan as effectively. and that's worked. but the other thing that's very
true is that military campaign has also made it more difficult to win that broader ideological struggle. basically, to convince the muslim world and others to get away from al-qaeda. because the one narrative that al-qaeda has that works is that they are the one group of people standing up against western aggression, standing up against the west's attempts to influence and otherwise attack the muslim world. and to the extent that they are in the middle of a war in which we're shooting at them, that feeds into that narrative. now, that's not an argument for not doing it, it's an argument for trying to figure out how to balance it in any war. obviously, if you choose to attack, you further anger your enemy. but you're also trying to prevent them from attacking you. how do we strike that balance? president obama, when he got into with office, had a very broad and specific vision for how to do that. this was, you know, has now become sort of cliche, we're
going to reset a whole variety of different relationships x. the goal base clue was -- basically was, the notion was that the world was not fond of the bush administration. they viewed us as too militaristic, too self-interested, trying to force our will upon the rest of the world. you had renditions, you had abu ghraib, you had the war in iraq, you had a whole bunch of issues. we're going to change all that, we're going to deliver a different message so that we can build broader support. and i think it's fair to say at this point five years into it that that really hasn't worked. that at this point, and i haven't seen any polling data, but if you were to poll people amongst our allies in europe, you know, in the muslim world and elsewhere that the level of support for the united states is probably about back to where it was during the bush administration. now, that's not the beall and end all of this. we're not trying to protect our national security in thinking that the number one goal there is for everyone to like us.
that's not the approach. but it is an important element. and i think one of the more troubling things is not just the lack of support that we see from some of our allies, but domestically here in the u.s. some of the central underpinnings of our campaign to try to contain al-qaeda and win that broader ideological war are not as supported in this country as we would like. people have long wanted us out of afghanistan. there is considerable concern about the drone attacks. the nsa revelations have undermined some confidence. now, there's a number of different reasons, but i think what i'm going to do is point out the reasons why i think we have not had as much success as we had hoped in terms of building broad support for our campaign and, second, what we ought to do about it. i think the reasons why are fairly clear. number one, as i mentioned, is the drone strikes. it has gotten a fair amount of attention. you know, the number of civilian casualties, the justification for those attacks. the world is focused on this. now, i do believe that drones
are getting an unfair portion of the blame here. a drone is a weapon of war. i don't think the rest of the world would feel any better if we were launching cruise missiles from out in the ocean. i don't think that changes it. there's a little too much of an emphasis on how this has fundamentally changed things, that a drone is more dangerous than sending in a seal team on launching a bunch of cruise missiles. they're not the perfect instrument they are sometimes described to be, and i think that is a mistake. we should be clear, as secretary gates was yesterday in a speech he gave, it's war. many war civilians -- in war civilians suffer. that has been true from the beginning of time, and we should not pretend we have somehow come up with a way to prevent that. we want to minimize it as much as possible, but if you're in a shooting war, there's going to be innocents who suffer. so the drones are one of the biggest reasons.
i think another big reason is the fact that guantanamo is still open. for all of the efforts we've made to replace an emphasis on normal civilian constitutional trials, the fact that guantanamo is still open to, that's all the rest of the world needs to know. all those other efforts sort of get swept under the rugby the fact that we still have 160 people locked up in a prison down in guantanamo, and that has presented an enormous challenge. another challenge is the arab spring. no president in thely of our country has faced as chaotic and difficult a situation in the middle east than president obama. every day there are impossible decisions about who do you support, egypt, libya, bahrain, syria, it is a chaotic situation right now, and we've seen, you know, developing difficulties to maintain relationships with allies like saudi arabia and israel because everybody wants us to do something different. we have broad, understandable
goals. the trouble is, as usually is the case, those goals occasionally conflict. we want democratic government that truly represents the people. we want stability. we want to stop the rise of extremism. and that's all great, but what do you do when you have a situation like egypt, okay? mubarak brought stability,
>> well, it's great, the federal government's open. that's how low a bar we have set. we're actually open. [laughter] so things are good, you know? with a cr, with sequestration every four or five months the threat of a government shutdown, there is no way you can function effectively. whatever you may think of how large the federal government should be, it is completely and
totally unacceptable to set up a situation where it can't function on a day in and day out basis. and make no mistake about it, that hurts us and our ability to work with the rest of the world. you know, they do not see us as credible a force as we should have been. so those are some of the challenges that have made it more difficult for us, i think, to as effectively advance our policy. i'll just fire off a couple quick things and then take your questions. the things that i think we need to change, number one, there is a need for greater transparency and oversight of our drone strikes, and we also need to make clear why we're targeting people. because there's a bunch of different groups out there, and that's the thing about al-qaeda. you've got some groups that are foreignally affiliated -- formally affiliated, some who adopt the i'd lolling. who's who in this mix? our number one goal is to stop those groups plotting and planning attacks against our homeland and against western interests. there's a lot of other groups we don't like, one in nigeria is a
major problem. they are not right now plotting and planning attacks against us. it is definitely can clearly self-defense if we are going after groups that are plotting attacks against us. the underwear bomber and the attempt to bomb the cargo planes, all of a sudden some of these attacks were coming out of yemen, and we had to respond to that. i make no apologies for the fact that we targeted anwar al-awlaki. he was targeting us. that is the classic definition of self-defense. we should make that case unapologetically. but unfortunately, far too often we don't make it clear why we're doing this. now, i understand the need for secrecy. but we -- and we don't have to reveal all of it. but it is my personal opinion whenever we to a targeted strike whether it's a drone, whether it's sending in a special operations team, whatever it is, we need to at least briefly explain why.
now, i realize some of these strikes are on the title 50 side, so they're secret. but that's our decision. we can reveal what we want to reveal. we don't have to reveal it all, but we do have to reveal enough to say this is why we hit this person. and it was clearly self-defense. i also think it's good that the president is moving us towards getting us more into the title 10 side so there is transparency, and we also need to be more inclusive of of congress on a regular basis of letting them know what we're getting into and why. guantanamo's a big part of it. there is no reason we can't close that prison, we should. it would be an enormous step in the right direction. the third thing we need to do is something we have done, we just need to make it clear we're doing it, and that is build partner capacity. instead of the u.s. showing up and firing the shot, let us work with local allies to, hopefully,
number one, stop an insurgency before it gets started, but number two, make sure it is then local forces that are enforcing the law. we've done this effectively in the philippines. we've had a presence there for quite a while. they're battling insurgents of a variety of different stripes down there. you know, it's been by and large effective. there's been a recent uptick here in the last couple of months, but no u.s. person has ever fired a shot. but we have been integral in the success there. same is true in the horn of africa to some degree. we've worked with ethiopia and kenya and burundi and ghana, it is not something being dictated by the united states of america. i think that, too, would help, if we continue to build that local partner capacity which, as i've said, we've done effectively. we need to do more of it. and then, yes, let us true to get to the point where with we actually fund our government. we'll leave it at that.
and i also think the last thing, the last thing i'll say is we also need to better manage expectations as to what the u.s. can do. i think a large part of our problem with allies like israel and saudi arabia is they expect whatever problem it is we ought to show up and solve it. there's always been, you know, a far greater gap between expectations and capabilities, but that gap is growing, because the rest of the world is becoming more powerful. the u.s. is not as dominant as it used to be, and i think this expectation that no matter what's going on in the world the u.s. can show up and fix it is a huge problem. i remember during one of the riots in cairo, they interviewed a young man, and this was as a result of that movie that played that, you know, got the muslim world all upset, led to a bunch of attacks on the embassy. the young man basically said, look, this wouldn't be on the internet if president obama didn't want it there.
which was kind of an interesting way of looking at the world. but we need to make it clear that we're not controlling everything. and that was one of the problems i had with syria. basically, we had an international norm, and the u.s. stepped up and said it's an international norm, but somehow it is the sole responsibility of the united states of america to enforce it. that, again, reinforces the message that if there's something bad happening in the world, it's because the u.s. simply decided to allow it, that we could decide otherwise. that is not true. when i was visiting refugee camp up in northern jordan, i was just shocked at the number of refugees who said why don't you stop this? why isn't the u.s. doing it? and i was like because we really aren't capable of doing it. we cannot fix every problem in the world with. and i think the obama administration understands that. they had pushed early on and continue for a more cooperative approach. let us work with our allies to try to figure out how we solve
these problems instead of assuming that the has to show up and fix it. that expectation is something we cannot meet. that's why, for instance, in afghanistan everything that happens is our fault. either we didn't do enough, or we did too much. we pulled out, you know, after the soviets fell and after najibullah full, and that led to problems. now we're back in -- we have got to set more realistic expectations and, as i said, work with local partners, work with international lies to try to fix the problem. this is going to be a long, tough battle. we are not going to be universeally loved while we are trying to protect our country from al-qaeda and their various affiliates. we have to continue to prosecute that war, but i think we make some of those changes i mentioned, we can prosecute it more effectively in a way that will give us a better chance of winning the long-term ideological war which, after all, is the most important piece. >> great. thank you very much. that was quite a really a tour de force across many of the most
relevant issues today in national security policy be, so i know we'll be challenged to stay inside our time. let me try to pull a few of the elements you raised together in the following way. early in your talk you spoke on the use of unmanned systems and, obviously, in the news it's the aerial systems and the lethal strikes in particular. but i think it's safe to say there's general consensus that these systems will become ubiquitous in terms -- perhaps not their lethal use, but in other uses. and certainly while it's aerial now, land, sea will proliferate as well. what is your sense of how the united states given the struggles we've had on the lethal targets side in term -- targeting side in terms of transparency and perceptions of the systems as somehow unique and different than, say, a cruise missile or an f-16, what are some of the ways the u.s.
can lead the rest of the world in setting norms in this area? >> i think that's difficult because, again, l come back to the central issue that the norms that we're looking at is really when is a lethal strike appropriate. and i don't know that the drones or we're supposed to call them unmanned systems. i can tell you worked at the pentagon, that's very good. [laughter] i don't know that's the fundamental question. well, the u.s. should be careful because other countries are going to develop these things. true. you know? but how they use them is going to fit into many of the same conundrums and difficulties of what's an appropriate way to fight. i mean, we've seen that in syria, you know? assad has killed tens of thousands of civilians. he's killed, apparently, a few thousand with chemical weapons. you know, the -- and i agree the chemical can weapons are a -- chemical weapons are a problem,
but if you're killing someone in war, the instrument that you use is really only one piece of what is, you know, not even the most important piece. but i do think that we can make it clearer that what we're doing here is fighting a war, because i think people have forgotten that. they sort of assume that like the drones, we've got them, so we're going to use them when it's all part of fighting this larger war. you have to make the self-defense case. you have to make the case within international law -- which i think is right there for us to make -- and, frankly, when you read the amnesty international and these other reports, their main complaint is that they don't know. now, they go from saying they don't know to saying that they do know, which is an interesting transition. you're not telling us why you're doing this, therefore, we know that you're doing it illegally. bit of a leap of logic there, but the point is transparency. transparency and oversight. that's the number one biggest lesson. and i think that's true of any military action as far as spying
issues and all that. i mean, that's, you know, i mean, the world has changed in terms of information as we've all known, and i can't begin to articulate sort of how we manage all that. but the using as a weapon of war, i think we should stick to traditional international norms. >> so that goes right into the authorization for the use of military force, and the president, i think he's said, he's interested in working with congress to modify it. what are your thoughts on how the aumf is still applicable today given, as you said, the movement of the fight from pakistan to other theaters and, you know, how congress can help the president craft a way forward. >> well, i think it's very much, you know, still applicable, and, you know, it's gone through a fairly tortured history because originally it was tied directly to those who perpetrated 9/11, and it sort of morphed from some interesting court decisions that that interpreted it more broadly, and then we codified it in congress in 2011 with that
basically allowed it to be those groups that threaten us, al-qaeda, taliban-associated forces. and, again, it's within the self-defense context. i would say it's highly unlikely that we're going to modify the aumf because i've walked down that road. you change a punctuation mark in that thing, and you're looking at ten years worth of lawsuits from both sides, frankly. people, well, congress must have meant this. i'd love -- people interpreted congressional intent as if we move as one body. [laughter] you know, about 535 different intents. good luck figuring those out. but, you know, that's the risk. if you change the aumf, and that's why the white house was nervous as hell when we did it in 2011. it wasn't so much that they wanted it to be, you know, more authority or less authority, it's just that if you change it, you then give rise to a variety of different legal actions. so i think it's probably going to stay where it's at. and the larger question is as al-qaeda and their different groups move around, and that's
why i again emphasize the clarity. there's a lot of different groups out there, hundreds for that matter, who affiliate in some way with the uniquely viability and nihilistic ideology of al-qaeda, but there's only a few that are actually plotting and planning attacks against us. those are the ones we need to focus on. afghanistan prior to 9/11, a lot of it moved to pakistan, it moved to yemen, somalia's a bit of a tougher question, you know? we now have concerns about what's going to happen with aqim in mali and libya. i think the existing aumf gives the president sufficient flexibility to follow those targets, and modification would cause more trouble than it would solve. >> okay. i'm going to ask one more question, then i'm going to hope hope -- to open it. fair warning to the audience. as the ranking member of the authorizing committee for defense given your, i think very appropriate, comments about the effects of the shutdown and continued uncertainty on the
defense and national security community, what is it that you and your committee are thinking of being able to do in this year, in this environment to help on both, you know, the overall front and creating some kind of pathway forward for the defense community in particular? >> well, it's very difficult. we're working on authorities, 1206, 1203, different pieces to try to give greater flexibility to the war fighter out there as they confront and deal with the challenges that they face. we continue to be strongly supportive of the special operations command. and the special operations command is going to be a key piece of this ally development. basically, building partner capacity. they refer to it, i've always loved the phrase, as preparation of the environment. [laughter] well, what are you preparing it for exactly? but the answer to that question is we're trying to prepare it so that we don't have insurgencies, you know? and that's training security
forces, that's making sure that governance is happening, socom does medical care in different places to try to build local population support. a lot of this is what we've done in the philippines. really emphasizing that because, you know, the big war approach in this ideological struggle, i mean, you think drone strikes have negative consequence, you know? send in 100,000 plus western troops into a country, you know, it's not a winner. so i think trying to focus on that, building the partner capacity, using the asymmetric tools that we have to give the flexibility -- but, look, that's all great, but as long as we're lurching from crisis to crisis and you have sequestration and the cr, you know, as you know better than anybody, it's just tough. it's tough to function when you don't know how much money you're going to have or where you can spend it. >> very true. okay. we are going to have some mics going around. if you can raise your hand if you'd like to ask a question, and i ask that you give us your
name and affiliationing if you have one, and we have one right up here. just wait for the mic for a moment. >> i'm harlan oman, thank you more your understatement and restraint in describing the political situation today. i'd like to go back to the ideological struggle. ten years ago the defense science board released a report to don rumsfeld in which it said, quote: the united states cannot win the war on terror unless we win the war on ideas, and we're losing the war on ideas. that is true today. during world war ii we and the buritz had great prop -- and the brits had great propaganda. reagan's comments to gorbachev, take down the wall. why are we so inept is in not having a gray and white propaganda campaign to discredit and do all the things we need to
do? the only thing state is doing is trying to turn a couple youth off the internet from becoming recruiters for al-qaeda. why is it impossible for us to mount the campaign that could have big dividends for a small amount of money? >> well, a couple things. again, quote tom friedman twice in the same morning, same piece he wrote, you know, to underscore the fact that we're not winning the ideological struggle, syria, i think, is a great example of that. because, okay, you've got assad -- not popular by any stretch of the imagination -- you've got a lot of sort of moderate democrats who want to overturn i him and create a better, you know, style of government. not western. i think that's an important point in the ideological struggle, and that's one of the challenges we have. we should not approach this by saying we want the world to be like us, okay? the muslim world doesn't want to be like us and can't blame them for that, so we've got to stop -- it's not the same as the
cold war. the cold war basically, you know, the way i summed it up is the way we won the cold war was here's your grocery store, here's our grocery store, we win. but when it comes to -- religion is much more central to the way they want to govern. so trying to convince them to be like us ain't going to work. we tried that for a while. but in syria, so you got the moderate elements, and then you've got al-qaeda, and there are foreign fighters coming from all over the muslim world, and they are all coming on the side of al-qaeda. if there is one single solitary soul who has shown up in syria to fight for the free syrian movement, to fight for freedom and democracy, then i am unaware of it. and that gives you an idea how we're not doing as well as we should. second reason is we have very little credibility. and that's a problem. that makes it hard. and as a member of congress, i can tell you how difficult it is when you don't have much credibility in great and painful detail, as a matter of fact.
and, you know, for a variety of different reasons, you know, i thought it was very interesting in egypt that pote sides were claiming that the other side had u.s. support. even, you know, the people who were opposed to the muslim brotherhood were claiming that, well, the u.s. was behind them. i forget the argument, but it was basically if it appears the u.s. is involved in something, it is by definition not credible. and so how do you do it, how do you handle that? and i do not think we have been as creative as we need to be both in terms of -- the most effective thing is negative campaign. the al-qaeda movement has killed more muslims than any movement in the history of the world. so they are not going -- what the taliban is saying, we can very clearly show and to some degree in iraq we were successful in that, you know? the iraq awakening movement was driven by the fact that, you know, these nihilistic, violent people, they're killing. they're terrible. so i think we need to use that
more effectively. but i think the real challenge is, you know, in a transparent world how do you do propaganda? we haven't figured that out. proppropaganda is, in many case, dependent on plausible reliability and the hidden hand. there are no hidden hands, and that makes it more difficult. another big problem we have is the whole nsa thing. and people have this perception, and a lot of those articles were just flat wrong about what they were doing. we're not doing that, but good luck convincing people of that. credibility is a challenge. the most effective way to do this is, again, partner capacity. the most effective messengers and the way we ought to approach it is to get moderate, credible elements within the muslim world, they have to be the messengers. if we're the messengers, it's just not going to go over well. so that's where i think we should focus our efforts is building that partner capacity and delivering that message. >> okay, good. come over here.
>> hi. james kennedy from the open society of foundations. as we continue to kind of expand our efforts in building partner capacity, it seems like we might encounter the dilemma of democratic values versus achieving stability. and at times we have and likely will continue to fund units that are either engaged in questionable behavior or perceived as engaged in questionable behavior, and we might be losing that second challenge of the ideological battle. how do you strike that challenge, and where do congressional programs like 1206 come into play? >> that is one of the single biggest problems that we have. because, i mean, to begin with there's no government that isn't going to have, you know, something that people can criticize. i mean, no matter who you're backing, no matter where you're at, there's going to be an argument that they're not as open, as free, as fair as they should be. i think, you know, things like
the leahy amendment, you know, trying to limit our ability, you know, if you have situations where, you know, militaries are committing atrocities, we have to pull out, you know, we have, you know, if there's democratic government overthrown, we have to pull out. we did that in mauritania and mali, we're wrestling with that a little bit in egypt. look, i don't have an easy answer for that question. i will say this, i think disengagement is the wrong approach. i think saying that if you do anything bad we're out of here, we're not going to have anything to do with you is more harmful than helpful. we need to continue to emphasize the fact that we are much more aggressively trying to push these countries and these allies to have greater respect for human rights, to be more democratic. and we certainly have done that in a number of different places. but it's never going to be a perfect system. and, again, i think, you know, the power of negative campaigning, you know, if that's what people are concerned about, i love that amnesty
international came out with huge study of our efforts. where's the amnesty international study of all the people that al-qaeda has killed and how indiscriminately they've gone after civilians? it's not even comparable. and to say that, well, you know, but they're not trying to do that, so -- you know? i mean, let's have a little balance here, and let's point out that the people that we're fighting, you know, have killed far more innocent people than we have. and they do it intentionally as part of their plan. so i think that we have to also emphasize the they were. because there is no perfect be system. be we're held up to that standard -- if we're held up to that standard, look, in the u.s. you have to only support perfect governments and we have no rules for the other side, a propaganda war you can never win. >> okay. right over here in the purple shirt. >> ken meyer -- [inaudible] you expressed your belief that
the killing of anwar al-awlaki was justified, how about the drone attack on his teenage son who was also an american citizen? >> yeah. i'm not as familiar with the specifics of that and which attack that was, but i think that's a fine example of why we need to be more transparent in explaining the reasons for our attacks. basically, if an attack happens, i think there has to be at least, you know, a one paragraph justification. and even in the case of awlaki, the administration had not publicly released their legal justification for it. they've alluded to it, some of the speeches that were given. and you will go case by case by case. i don't have any doubt that there are some drone strikes that were mistakenly made, that there actually budget, you -- actually wasn't, and for whatever reason, they misread the target, they didn't know what they were doing, but that's why transparency is important. so i have, i don't have an answer for that. i don't know the specifics of
that attack. >> is congress going to do an investigation like amnesty did? >> yes. we do have oversight over this. and we do regularly get briefed. i apologize off the top of my head, i don't remember the details of the different attacks there, but i have at one time or another been briefed on it. and that is a bit of a misconception. there is oversight if that sense, you know? anyone in congress, certainly on the armed services and the intelligence committee, has access to all the information for why these attacks were done. part of my problem in presenting this is that's classified information, and even if i did know the answer to your question, i couldn't give it publicly. and that's where i think the administration can be more transparent. they can keep a lot of it classified, i understand the reasons for that, but they can also choose to release enough so that people know here's why we did it and that there is a clear justification. because i think, as i said, in the amnesty report the biggest part of it is no transparency. we don't know, you know?
this attack, that attack, whatever, was it justified? the administration says that it was. personally, i believe them. but the broader public hasn't seen the information and understandably is skeptical. so transparency would be enormously helpful. and like i said, the oversight that congress is able to exercise is helpful, but we can't be transparent about it either. that's just us doing our oversight in the executive branch. we can't go out and talk about it. >> i would just add that the u.n. report which came out just a few days before the amnesty report, i think, in timeline hits this point very hard, on transparency. it's quite a nice report. yes, right here. >> hi -- [inaudible] i'm from upi. i was just wondering if terms of you said that some of the attacks might be mistaken, and i was wondering would you advocate for repercussions in those cases? and also there is critique that oversight and transparency would interfere with national security
decisions, so if you could comment on that as well. >> sure, two things. first of all, no. i -- this is war, okay? and that's what a lot of people don't understand. you know, in war mistakes are made, okay? all the a time. and as i said up front, you know, civilians suffer in a war zone. hay always do. they always do. and i think part of the problem with some of the arguments on the unmanned vehicles campaign is that we've tried to argue that, well, this is different because they're more discriminating. and all those things are true. it is, it is somewhat better than a traditional military invasion. it's somewhat better than an f-16 or a cruise missile. it is still war, and it is still war in an area where civilians are going to be vulnerable. so, you know, and we went lu this in iraq and afghanistan -- through this in iraq and afghanistan, all these different situations where there are
certain times when mistakes are made, we had a horrific thing with soldier who killed 167 afghan civilians -- 17 afghan civilians. that was a crime, okay? he's been prosecuted and convicted. but i don't see any evidence of that level of criminal intent. in war, mistakes will happen. i'm sorry, the second part of your question was? >> [inaudible] >> oh, yeah. no, i think there is that balance to be struck. but, again, i think the administration and all administrations need to have this attitude we can share nothing. if we share any information, instantaneously it's going to make us vulnerable which, of course, is particularly ironic in this day and age when it comes out anyway. part of their justification for not talking to congress is we don't trust congress not to read it, and a lot of times we read it in the paper from stuff that was leaked by the administration, okay? wouldn't it have been better to have told us in the first place? i understand sources and
methods, okay? i understand that very, very well. served on the intel committee, you want to protect that. but how does it make us more vulnerable to simply come out and say in one paragraph here's what we know about this guy, this is why we took this shot. it was in self-defense because in this person is affiliated with this group, they were plotting these attacks against western targets. you don't have to say -- and people will then -- and i'm also aware of the fact if you do that, how do you know? then you can say it's classified. but at least make justification. i think the administration -- and, you know, president obama's speech, mr. brennan gave a speech and jeh johnson when he was still counsel at dod gave a speech in the last year. i think the administration sometimes believes they assemble all the different facts, they give a speech and then it's done, all right? we explained it to you, leave us alone, we're going to go back to work. it is a more constant process of justifying and explaining your actions. a message has a to be repeated.
as a campaign perp, i -- person, i always said the moment at which those of us working on the campaign are sick to death of our message is the moment it is just penetrating the people we are trying to reach. so you have to repeat. you can't say, okay, i told you, you're supposed to believe it, leave me alone. that's why i think a little greater transparency when we do the strikes would be helpful. and i think you can do it in a way that doesn't jeopardize national security. >> okay, let's see. how about right here in the middle. >> hi, pat host with defense daily. congressman, you keep on saying that we're at war, we're at war, and we are. but your remarks remind me of what general said about the u.s. involvement in vietnam where we may kill more of their soldiers, but eventually we will tire of the war. the fact of the matter is that budgets are down. sequestration is the law of the land. how much longer can the united states afford to be fighting all
these wars all over the world against an enemy that will continue to respawn as long as we are prosecuting these efforts? it just seems that we have a limited amount of money, but our prosecution just needs more amounts. >> yeah. in this case i disagree with you very, very strongly. the answer to the question is how much longer can we prosecute this war, as long as it takes, is the answer. this is not vietnam. this is not some domino theory abstraction. this is a group of people who as we sit here today are trying to figure out how to kill as many of us as possible, okay? and we need to figure out how to stop them. now, the good news in that is it's not quite as expensive as you describe. hopefully, what we've learned in the last decade, as i said earlier s that, you know, full scale, 100,000 troop invasions are not -- they're unbelievably expensive, and they're not a successful way to prosecute this war. but if we build partner capacity f we maintain our intel, it is
far, far cheaper to do this if you realize we have built an excellent infrastructure, we are tracking them, and by and large, we've been with very successful as we know at disrupting those al-qaeda cells that are targeting us. the larger problem is the ideology, is the me tsaization of it and the problems in country after country that has poor governance that just creates a huge opening for extremely ideologies. but that's -- extremist ideologies. that's a problem, frankly, that the rest of the world and those countries are most responsible for. the specific problem or stopping terrorist groups that are plotting attacks against us has to be something we can't give up on that. we can't say, yeah, we're just going to stop trying to stop them and see what happens. and i think we can do it in a cost effective manner, and i think we have to. now, it would be vastly more easy to do if we would get rid of this ridiculous isolationist
know-nothing knew hi limb that the federal government is awful and we must cut it. people say the tea party's running this country. grover norquist is running this country. grover norquist who said he doesn't want to eliminate the federal government, he just wants to shrink it down to a small enough size so he can drown it in his bathtub, okay? that is the ideology that the republican house is governing on. and we can argue all day long about how big the government should be, and there's plenty of things wrong with the democratic party. i'm not going to argue that at all. but when you come to the point when you consistently kick the crap out of the federal government by not funding it, not passing appropriations bills, threatening a shutdown every four months, threatening not to raise the debt ceiling because that will, quote, stabilize the economy, that undermines our ability. now, i hope that at some point we with will get over this. that definitely makes it more difficult. but, again, it's too important a problem to walk away from. >> good. all the way over here.
>> congressman, bear mcconnell, mostly retired. what about domestic use of drones? dod's quite constrained, cbp not so much. what are your thoughts? >> yeah. it's a difficult issue, i will sidestep it slightly by saying that's not my, that's not the topic this morning. [laughter] i'm more focused on the aumf. it's a huge problem, and, you know, we've had that issue. it's not just drone, it's cameras. cameras are proliferating. we have a major controversy in the city of seattle right now that they wanted to put cameras up in the port of seattle. ..
>> let's see. how about right in the back. >> thank you. i am a u.s. army colonel retired, and used to teach counterinsurgency working for the interstate traveler helping in michigan now. anyway, i have to say i think it's the most brilliant, lucid, objective description that i've heard of how we use drones and why we use drones and the whole thing of trying to do with the terrorist threat, from whatever source. my question is this on drones. my feeling is from hearing president obama's, for example, speech at nyu on national security and your presentation
this morning, that his idea, what is working towards, he is phasing out drones. using the now for the reasons you articulate. we are in a war, and they work to targets that are targeting us. but you did such a great description as he has, too, of the blowback and the long range problem encountering their ideology. so my question is this. do you believe that his intention, which was implicit in his comment, the war on terrorism like all wars must abandon. the implicit part is phasing out the drones and turning this over, the handling of the remnants of al qaeda or whoever over to police forces and cooperation among police forces and intelligence agencies, and
senator kerry believes that, you know, when he said -- >> i think i got it. >> that's my question. >> i think it is the intent. this is also challenge and one of the battles we fight in congress. senator graham is on exact opposite sides of this. this is the controversy over how libya. -- mr. al-libi. they basically think we should hold and we should treat it as a war, military custody, they were progress about trying to say anyone we captured a fully with these groups should be in military custody here domestically. and basically the entire argument for that is that there is precedent that there some greater value that you can get out of questioning somebody in military custody and questioning them in a traditional law enforcement second. i debate that a little bit. i think the fbi has has success in getting information out of people in the traditional setting. even granting for the moment
that maybe there's more information you can get out of the military custody setting, the downside of the perpetual war approach is what is being missed. the fact that our allies, the muslim world, the u.s. citizens get tired of a perpetual war approach. now to the extent and that's why close in guantánamo, the other thing i didn't mention, we need to move towards getting rid of indefinite detention, of getting rid of the notion that we in the u.s. and equally amongst all countries have the right to grab anyone in the world and hold them without charge indefinitely. we may have a justification for that. i understand the benefit of it, but the downside in terms of winning the broader ideological war is enormous. you cannot simply be dismissed. as much as i would like -- as much as some people like to live in the world that once we decide some is important to us, everyone else has to fall in line.
that's not the way the world works. we've got to figure out how to work with them. one of the most important things we can do is move back towards english in congress, regular order. which is we've got a constitution. we have a court system which once upon time was the envy of the world. to the extent we get back to that, that helps us in the broader ideological war. >> give mentioned closing guantánamo a few times. i did want to make sure you have an opportunity to talk a little bit about that. there are various ways one can do that come in, nation or and cingular, transfer release, movement to a u.s. civilian or military u.s.-based facility. you have a preferred approach to how one gets to close in guantánamo? >> absolutely. i don't think it's all because a of the complicated once we decide we're going to do it. one of my -- paul lewis, a staff member, helped work on this
effort and paul does this in great detail but they're somewhere in the neighborhood, i think we're down to 160 votes, and well over half of them, along time ago, had been deemed to be releasable. but there are concerns. the cynicism and all of that. but you would release those who were -- reducible back to home country is the risk? absolutely. the argument they would be -- there's a risk if we release you. that's not good criminal justice policy and i don't think it's good counterterrorism policy. and everybody else down there that we determined for whatever reason that we cannot release, tried and convicted him, we will house them here in the united states. there are many, many public policy arguments, of course in micro that frustrates me because
it amazes me how people lead to incorrect conclusions. but the notion that we cannot hold dangers people safely in the united states to me is patently absurd. and yet it drives the debate. the reason that we're not close guantánamo, keep in mind, this wasn't some big liberal goal, gates, john mccain, george w. bush said we should close guantánamo. why haven't we? well, it's a political argument for the moment, and just say the argument grew that oh, my goodness if we bring them here it's placing us at risk. we can't bring dangerous criminal studios. that argument the cold. in the united states of america right now we have mass murderers. we have some of the most violent nihilistic people you could possibly imagine. we have terrorists, ramzi yousef, the blind -- the blind
sheikh, on and on. they are in the u.s. if we as a society cannot safely hold dangerous people, then we have problems that have nothing to do with guantánamo. we can safely hold them here and we showed. it's just that simple. congress continues to block it. how do we get around that argument? i don't know. like i said, once it takes hold it becomes intractable, but the solution is simple. we release the ones who can be released and on the way the rest just like we have done with countless others. >> we have time for one last question. right over here. >> air force fellow here at csis. you talk about building partnership capacity. what role to unmanned systems play in that? for example, on it be revised? >> i'm sorry? >> should be in tcr be revised
to allow u.s. leadership in the field? >> the missile technology controllers. >> yeah. there are a couple pieces to that. unmanned systems lie in large is the number one biggest thing they are is an isr platform, basically ability to gather information and that's one of the capacity that our partners to have. how to rebuild a capacity of afghanistan. so i think they can play a role. the thing i worry about is we have this paranoid about selling the systems. we have a problem right now in italy and elsewhere, and i just think that's a huge mistake. i have done a great deal of work on export control and i think our export control policy has been a disaster, because it's based on the premise that somehow we in the u.s. are the only ones that are capable of building military equipment excellensoif we don't let it oul
never happen. that really doesn't work particularly well. what it does do is devastate domestic industry. satellites are the greatest example of this. when it was passed in the late 90s would roughly two-thirds of the global satellite market. we're now down to about 20%. and understand how itar works and i'll circle back to drones in the second. basically is a component part to be so go into the satellite, you couldn't sell overseas without going through a complicated, conficker doesn't begin to describe. basically if you sold a bold that wi when into a satellite, u couldn't export that bold to anybody. without going through this regime which is virtually impenetrable. we need to have a more open way of looking at this. people will develop drone technology. we certainly need to sell it to our allies. we certainly should. it's one of the ways to build our capacity to so they develop
capabilities and are able to do. we're concerned about these things falling in the wrong hands and they get that, but iran, they fall into the wrong hands, whether we are not selling the the door allies or . i think we have been overly paranoid approach, that ultimately harms aspects i think -- we have reformed. one of the things we got last year was a pretty dramatic reform of the export control regime which gave the administration flexibility in moving forward i think in a positive direction. but the regime right now is extremely problematic. final thing i will say about this is it's very problematic if it harms domestic u.s. industry. i used to have these arguments on the armed service committee in which a series of people would be yelling at me that we can't choose -- we can choose corporations and businesses and profits over national security. i tried in vain for over a decade explained that wasn't a choice. because our industrial base is
enormously important to our national security. one of the great advantages we have had for decades is the best, brightest companies in technology and equipment, you name it, was u.s. companies. it's not to say that we can't buy things from overseas companies, but trust me, we have a vastly better relationship with a us-based companies to meet our industrial base need for national security if they are the leaders. and if we hamstring them so that they can't compete, they will cease to be the leaders. once they cease to be the leaders, we lose a national security advantage that is not insignificant. there's no way -- the rest of the world, coming off the ground, they will develop technology. we will not dominate the way we dominated post-world war ii but i would still like to hamstring domestic u.s. companies abilities, the market is extremely problematic i think we need reform that as well. >> let me just briefly mention
the csis in november will be beginning and unmanned systems drone working group series. we are going to look at a lot of these issues that have come up to date related to drones. i asked the audience to join me in thanking representative smith for spending time today and giving us a great talk. thank you very much. [applause] >> next, remarks by gene sperling, director of the national economic council. he discussed the government shutdown, debt ceiling debate and the effect of economy posed by the default. this event hosted by the group business forward is 50 minutes. >> we were created 40 years ago with a mission of making it easy for businesses across america to washington how to create jobs and accelerate our economic recovery. thanks for the help -- we are in 100 cities and our intense of thousands of business leaders and we use more than 400
different members of mayors, governors and senior initiative official to we are honored to welcome gene sperling, the presence top economic adviser to genius or to discuss how budget negotiations can move forward and once head of the president's budget economic agenda. gene serves as the director of the economic national council, he's the first person told this position twice have held the same position for president clint. prior to his current role he served as counsel of secretary to tim geithner. the obama's administration gene serve as a point person on manufacturing policy, housing and economic assistance to veterans. is played key role in budget negotiations, the american jobs act, transition and the small business tax credit. during his eight years in the clinton white house he helped negotiate the 19 of the 1990s and deficit reduction act. each individual's health insurance program, earned income tax credit, hope scholarship tax
credit in the direct student loan program the between the clinton and obama administration he worked at the brookings institution, the center for american progress, and the council on foreign relations working on a range of economics and education issues. he is the co-author of a book on girls education and an author of the pro-growth progressive and economic strategy for shared prosperity. gene graduated from the university of minnesota and yale law school and attended wharton business school. is a native of ann arbor, michigan, and will be joining his them in california at the end of this year. when he finishes his remarks will move over here for two and a. thank you very much. gene? >> well, thank you very much for having us here today. i want to thank jim doyle very much, not just for today but for all the leadership of business
forward, all the consultations, even the recent meeting with your small business advisory committee as we went into this recent round of budget discussions. so again, i really want to thank you and business forward for the leadership that you've shown, and the desire to look beyond your own particular situation to the larger economic issue that we face as a country, and understanding that that affects all of us. so again, i really want to thank you. i guess i would just say that we are, as usual, going into another phase of the budget discussion. we are not going into a period where we will have a budget conference that will go until december 13. we will have been a c.r. that
goes to january 17, and the debt limit that is extended at least into february. and i think as always you will see different people go quickly into the weeds and the details, which is not inappropriate, but it is important at these moments to step back and remember why we care about these issues. sometimes your we start to think that the indigo, the end goal of all of our public policy, is to hit a particular metric, a particular budget or spending or revenue metric, as if those are the goals in and of themselves. but it's important for us in policy to remember that each of these metrics, however important, our means to a larger
goal. the larger goal of what we do. the end goal of what we did is really to have an economy, to have economic growth that allows us to live the vision of the united states as a country where there is a growing, secure and inclusive middle-class. that's not an obama or romney or anybody's unique particular vision. that's the vision of the creation of our country, is to have an economy that was not a barbell economy with a tiny group in the middle and a lot of poor people, or some well off people, but to have more of a bell curve economy where there is a large number of americans that can be in the middle class, can have the benefits of a middle-class life, a chance to have their children do as well or better than them. that is the fundamental, that is
one of the fundamental goals, the end goals. the second end goal is that people in our country work hard and take responsibility can work with dignity, raise their children with dignity, and retire with dignity. and third, that we are a country where the accident of your birth does not overly determine the outcome of your life. and so of course nobody more than me will get lost in the difficult issues of pay-fors and offsets and budget totals, et cetera. but it is very important for us to step back and remember that all of those measures have to be measured against whether it is fulfilling that basic goal of a strong inclusive middle-class, being able to work or live, raise your children and retire with dignity in a country where everyone has a chance to rise.
that's what we ultimately measure our success against. and i feel that at times we do lose our way on this. when you look at current fiscal policy right now, you can view that some who advocate -- forget what the larger goal lives. for example, we work very hard, president obama works hard thinking through and designing a pro-growth and pro-jobs fiscal policy. we understand that you have to have, that the goal is not a budget policy per se, but an economic policy that promotes these values and these issues of job creation, a strong recovery, inclusive growth. so when we looked at how we could do a budget, we looked at whether the budget as a whole
meets those goals. and right now i think there is among a lot of people a consensus as to what the ingredients of a pro-growth fiscal policy are. it would be a fiscal policy that, yes, did give more confidence in the long run that we have a path on in entitlement spending and revenues that gives confidence in our long-term fiscal position, and that we are not pushing off unbearable burdens to the next generation. that is very important, but it's also part of a pro-growth, pro-jobs growth fiscal strategy to ensure that you can invest in the things that are important to growth and productivity. if you could hit every single fiscal goal that you wanted, but your bridges crumble and none of your students, a tiny percentage of your students could read or
perform well in school, nobody would say that your economic growth strategy was working. on the other hand, if some of those things are going well and you have a completely fiscally unsustainable future, that's not so great either. you have to think about this as part of an overall pro-growth, pro-job strategy. also, right now there's no question that right now we still need to give this recovery more momentum. we cannot possibly be satisfied with the levels of rejected growth when we are still coming back from the worst recession since the great depression. we have too many long-term unemployed americans. we have too many middle-class families who are doing better, working harder, but still are not where they should be or
where they deserve to be. and we need stronger growth. we need to give this recovery more momentum. so it's not hard to think about how you would design a pro-growth fiscal strategy. you would make sure that right now you weren't overly contracting the economy. chris van hollen asked the congressional budget office recently how much sequester would cost us in jobs this year, next year, and they answered, this is cbo, 900,000. really? we can afford to have a fiscal policy that are independent scorekeeper thinks is causing us 70-80,000 jobs a month? it's worse than that because that's not static. economies are about momentum. so we can have a policy, we could have an economic growth strategy where we had a more pro-jobs, pro-recovery fiscal
policy right now that included, that did not have this harmful sequester. we could have more savings that were on both the revenue and entitlement side that were long-term and would help in the future. and we could make sure that we are making room for the things that almost everybody thinks we need to do more of. the amazing biomedical research that comes from nih. the efforts that we make to make sure that young people in poor fans have a chance to have a fair start when they go to kindergarten. i have not had any business leader come tell me that they think the united states needs to invest less in infrastructure. none. so a pro-growth fiscal policy as president obama has it is one that has as a component a strategy to have balanced, long-term fiscal discipline,
deal with entitlements and revenues for our long-term situation, that also includes allowing this recovery to get more momentum and allowing us to do the investments that are in the critical ingredients of economic growth and competitiveness that virtually every who is not operating from an ideological or political frame thinks is important. the president is today headed towards brooklyn to go to the ibm ptech school. here is that type of thing we should be talking about. these new alternate high schools that allow young people who may not have been on a college path, start a ninth grade on a career path to get maybe in 46 years, have a high school degree, a technical degree, perhaps a job waiting for them, or perhaps being turned on by education enough that they go into a for your higher education. these are important, serious things.
you go to the business roundtable or the business council meetings and they're talking about these things because they go to the skills gap they are trying to fill. but too often your we are just in a world of abstract numbers, metrics. and even when we we are talking about how we do with economy, we are not asking ourselves, we talk about whether we're cutting spending as opposed to cutting unnecessary spending and investing more into things that are good for economic growth. we forget that frame that everything we do needs to be measured against the ultimate goal of are we encouraging a growing more prosperous inclusive middle-class. and i think it is relevant to the budget conference that you're going to see today, because even if you do not have the big grand bargain, if you to have a meeting the or a small deal, those deals could have permanent loophole closers and
permanent mandatory savings that would help her minute, our permit long-term fiscal situation. at the same time, they would allow more room right now for investments that will be important to growth in the short term and important to our investments and competitiveness in the long term. so it would be a very positive thing if we used this moment to push forward a pro-growth pro-jobs fiscal policy where we look at the component and make sure they make sense, not just for hitting a person's particular metric but whether they make sense as a pro-growth fiscal policy that would be good for the middle-class, good for economic security, good for our long-term competitiveness. you know, i think it is again a very important reminder as we go forward. the second thing i think we need to do is we just have to put an end to the self-inflicted
wounds. i mean, you know, i became nec director in january 2011 this time around. my second swing through. and it was actually quite an interesting time. we august had a very bad election in november if you were for obama white house, or democrats. but after that we had been in a very tough situation, and yet i have been privileged to be part of working out a compromise deal in the lame duck that probably didn't make anybody, or definitely did not make anybody entirely happy. didn't make us and many democrats have the because we extended some of the tax lead at the top that we did not think were probably the most fiscally responsible thing to do, but we did it in a context where we extended long-term unemployment, the aztecs with and a new payroll tax cut.
and we surprise markets and growth was actually lifted up a half% almost never. the beginning of 20 i think we're looking at 3% growth. i understand things happen. right after that. right after that. i barely remembered where the bathroom was when you had both the developments in the middle east raising gas prices, you had the unprecedented natural disaster in japan that had a much, much deeper and more harmful effect on the global economy and the supply global supply chain than anyone expected. those are the things you can't prevent. those are the external factors. even the european financial difficulties that you have to deal with. but what you don't expect is that you're going to manufacture your own domestic crisis to inflict wounds on your own economy as you are trying to
recover from the great recession. but, unfortunately, that is what has happened and the question is, why? it's not because we had divided government. it's not because we had great differences, philosophical differences in how to do a long-term fiscal plan. it is because we started seeing, are we started seeing and 2011 really for the first time ever a serious use of a threat against our own economy and against, and the potential for default, as a budget tactic. that is what hurt us. it's not having divided government. it's not having a difficult budget negotiation. it was the practice of
threatening the default of the united states as a negotiating tactic. and i think it's very important for people understand that single fact. because i think, sometimes i read description of the presidents decision to it often seemeseem to be about what the president negotiate, will he negotiate? there's no question that this president has been willing to negotiate and compromise on budget issues. let's be honest. most of the flock is received from his own supporters has been when they thought he was too willing to negotiate, or compromised. but the president does believe in divided government, but i don't have to give a little, a compromise can't be a dirty word, and that if you're going to move forward nobody will get 100% of what they want. what the president was doing was taking a stand against using the threat of default, or put it
this way. he was taking a stand against sanctions, anyone using the threat of default as a tactic in budget negotiation. and i can't express how important it is that this issue be resolved in the right way, and soon. it is very important that we as a country drive in these next couple of months that the error of anyone threatening default of the united states' economy is over it and i think we need to come together, business community, democrats, republicans, and decide there's going to be many ways we're going to battle with each other on our priorities, but the air of threatening default is over. now, people would say, but
really, the president really take that hard of a stand? he's so determined not to sanction that type of negotiation that he will stand firm no matter what? but what if you get to the 11th hour, you know, or 11:59 on the critical evening? and the reason why the president did and was willing to stand firm was that he believed in his entire economic and strategic team believed that if the president made concession at the last minute, even for the purpose of preventing a crisis, that it would increase, not decrease, the chances of default. it would increase the chances we would undermine our full faith and credit, not decrease it. it's just logic. if after all that the lessons
learned have been, yes, you put a gun to the american economy and you get your way, then why would people not continue to try that tactic for the rest of the obama presidency? and if it's used by the minority party against the obama presidency, why in the world would not expect payback? why would you not expect that a democratic house of representatives would not do the same thing to a republican president later, saying they're not going to sign the debt limit and less there's background checks or higher minimum wage. so this was a very important, this is a very important struggle for the future of sane economic fiscal policy in our country. and clearly, we've now seen twice where we have been willing
at the end of this year to extend the debt limit without, you know, concessions or somebody being paid to agree not to default the country. but it is very important that this end now. and let me give some reasons why. i mean, first of all, you have to start with the fact that we had a very, very wise first secretary of the treasury in alexander hamilton. when you read him, you really do have great admiration for his foresight, that if he could establish that the united states of america had impeccable credit. that future generations would benefit. the actions he took at a time when that was not so, that was not such a conventional wisdom understanding was, showed great
foresight. and give us a great gift that we have maintained for over 200 years. i think we should look at it this way. i think that we should consider it a precious asset possessed by all the american people, our credit. our credit standing over 200 years is a precious asset that is owned by the entire american people. that has allowed us to, that has allowed generations of our businesses and entrepreneur's and families to invest in the future at lower costs. it has helped lead us to be the world reserve currency. it has helped lead the world into believing that treasury bonds -- treasure just are the safest, most risk-free financial obligation in the world. that was established over 200
years through world wars and all the things we've been through. you should not play around with damaging the brand. that precious as that. -- precious asset. and my deep worry is that if this happened another time, we will hurt, we will do lasting damage to that brand. i mean, and 2011, there is no question it had a very harmful impact on the economy. we had a couple of companies and men and talk to the president in over a year later, where they talked about the impact on consumer spending and consumer confidence at their company during the financial crisis. as being matched only by 9/11 and pearl harbor. that's not a great thing. we saw the harm of it -- the
harm it did in the short term. we have lived through the harm that this government shutdown and second threat of default has done to our economy. jason furma from amgen stock esd its cost us 120,000 jobs this quarter may many people feel that's conservative. there's no question we will take a hit in growth. but i am most worried about what it means about the threat of lasting damage. think about just some of the specter of some of things that happen. fidelity, jpmorgan, kind of high brand names, decided that they couldn't hold treasury bills that have maturities in early november. okay, well, is that going to take our economy? no. but is that the sign you want to send to the rest of the world, that your own brand name top
financial institutions have decided that they are so unsure of their own government that they are not willing to even for a short period of time, i mean, that they're not willing to hold short-term treasury debt? if not the signal that we want to send. and i think that i heard so many more accounts, received so many more e-mails from people saying, you know, we did a contingency plan in 2011, we never thought we would have to do it again. now we've had to go through doing a whole nother contingency plan for default. sooner or later we're just start intimating those contingency plans. so the message is, it was bad that has happened in 2011. it was more harmful to confidence in our financial system that it happened a second
time in just a little over two years. but i worry that three strikes and you're out, that a third strike within three years will start to do some of the lasting damage. let me just give you a couple of quotes we pulled. this is larry think, the ceo of blackrock and october 22, the beginning of this week in the financial times. quote, this is the person who holds the largest assets in the world. many foreign investors are we thinking their approach to investing in u.s. debt. even a marginal change in the willingness of government pension funds, insurance companies and other institutions around the world to buy america bonds will incrementally raise interest rates and drive up the cost to finance our deficits.
student loans are tied to treasury. if interest rates go up permanently, a little, even a little because people are rethinking their approach to investing and forget, that will do lasting damage. ironically to the deficit, the middle-class families as well. and again, this isn't because of this lack of faith in the united states economy or the power of her onto printers or innovative. it simply about our -- it's about the practice of threatening default in our budget battles. bill gross, the world's view of the u.s. has been damaged the office. dysfunction in washington appears to be a permanent piece that ultimate should concern longer-term treasury investors as to the volatility of washington's debt. and international financing
system displays on the assumption that the core of the system would predictably responsibly, will act predictably, responsible and russia. if this assumption proves faulty, which is what would materialize in the congressional refusal to lift the debt ceiling, the rug would be pulled out from the critical underpinnings of daily financial systems. so this is a very serious issue. and i really do believe it is not a partisan issue. i think this is about the brand and the benefits that we as a country enjoy from the precious as that of our credit standing over 22 years. and i think we just need to decide the era of threatening default by anyone for any reason has to be over. now, what you will hear is, well, you know, two things. this is the way it's always
been, one. and two, gee, people would have to give up leverage. i want to contest both of those. i think i've made myself a little bit of a history buff on all past deficit increasing. yes, there has been times, not often, where the debt limit has got, you know, must of been another issue or two, maybe once or twice. i've been times where the debt limit was perhaps used as a deadline to encourage budget negotiations, but there has never been before this and organized long-term effort by a faction of a political party to use the threat of default as a key element of their political or economic strategy. that has not happened before. the republicans leadership bill actually in the last budget put
in a prioritization bill. they actually were putting in the bill, here's how you should manage the default of the united states. so this is unprecedented in the sense of it being a sustained, service effort to use the debt limit at the threat of default as a key element of a political strategy. and second, the idea that you need is for leverage is the lies by what we know by taking our civics classes as junior high students, middle school students. our governmental system gives enormous leverage to the minority party. barack obama wants to pass immigration reform. he wants to have a strong infrastructure bill. he's offered a deal, compromise that would combine long-term corporate tax reform and
infrastructure investment as a pro-growth, pro-jobs grand bargain your he has many, many priorities he wants, and none of them in our system can get through without the cooperation of the republicans in the united states congress. that is the leverage that is given the minority party in our government. that is the leverage that is given even if you control even one house. and so in 1997 when we did the balanced budget agreement and i was one of the negotiators, we just had the white house and they have both houses of congress. but, of course, we have leverage over each other. if they wanted the medicare savings they wanted, that they want to lower the capital gains, they had to get bill clinton to change his position. if we're going to get the children's health initiative, the hope scholarship, investment funding for education, we have to get their cooperation. that is the mutual leverage that
leads to compromised. we do not need the threat of default in your country for leverage. that is more of a super leverage that is perhaps designed to nullify the election results. it is not, to give that up does not take away the normal leverage you have to force the president or the other house to work with you in the spirit of compromise to make sure that something that passes includes the priorities from both the democratic and republican party. and that's what we need to get back to. not asking anyone to give up their leverage. you are just asking people to use the normal leverage that is built into our constitutional system to forge compromise when you have divided government so that we can move forward. so thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to talk today. [applause]
>> thank you, gene. the first question comes from hundreds of investors, onto printers, small business owners that you deal with all the time in the last couple of months, and the question they ask is, when you are negotiating, does the threat the fourth quarter earnings come up at the table? they are all asking, did they know they're telling my fourth quarter? is a, then negotiations? >> that is really interesting that you mention that because i think that, i think there have been people in the business community who have been frustrated that their words have not had the force that they should have on washington. to be honest, some of them have felt that as many of the fortune 500 ceos are often
republicans, perhaps they've been frustrated that their words have not had the impact on some element of the republican party as we go into these self-inflicted, you know, crisis. but i will say if there's one thing that seems to really break through, it was indeed the idea that putting the kind of crisis point in the middle of december was going to impact the holiday shopping season, and the awareness that for many businesses, large and small, that 70, 75% of revenues income in those final two or two and half months. in fact, i was very struck by the fact, one day we were doing significant outrage one day. the president was talking to a
bipartisan group of governors, and then i stayed on the phone after to take questions and answers, and other than issues on parks, the number one issue for both democrat and republican governors was, please don't do this thing where you're going to make the date in the middle of december. and then we walked downstairs, the president and i, and others met with a group of small businesses, and literally the first words out of, you know, the first person he went to was, someone who sells kind of gift candles who said she was dead if this happened there. and it was very interesting. it seemed like in a very short period of time, the republican proposal that was going to extend into the middle of december suddenly went to january. and i think that perhaps the
reason that that broke there was that it was a commonsense message that people were hearing from the largest businesses, but also the smallest businesses in the district. and i think it says a lot about what has impact which is, a lot of people, they do care what the ceo of the 15th largest company in the world thinks, but a lot of times they care a lot more about what they're going to hear at a town hall meeting. so perhaps when they are at home with a smaller business, they may not be getting as much about what's happening to money market funds or interest rates here but they are hearing somebody say, you know, you're going to kill me. i usually hire more people at the holiday shopping season. i'm going to lay off more people. that's a pretty powerful, tangible message. so i think that broke through. secondly, i think the shutdown,
i thin think the negative impacf the shutdown was felt quite broadly. i think there was, i think for a couple of reasons, one, i think with the sequester, sequester is going to be, is obviously harmful to growth, harmful to investment, harmful to a lot of families in our country. but when it first goes in to place, people are able to do one time things, find that money under the cushion, whatever. and so it doesn't necessarily get as quickly. i think in the shutdown people might have expected it was going to be like that as well. or they might have renewed the 1995-90 in 96, were only have the government was shut down. i think this ended up being very harmful. i think people felt it in their economy. i think people started to realize that's not just about federal workers.
they saw the small business contractors, and i think what a lot of members of congress started he was a small businesses say, hey, when you opened this government, federal workers will get paid. paid. not meet. you know, i a payment. mike wright is hurt now. you know, i already had -- i took the hit. so i think there was a broader sense of the economic harm there. i think that the reason why, unfortunately, while all those things are extreme harmful, think that would be the most scary and threatening would be a default, and yet that might be harder for some people to digest your there are only some members of congress who tried to pretend that it would be, you know, the united states could somehow get through it, or that the united states for the first time in its
history massively not meeting its obligations, breaking its bond, would not have this terrible, first effect. fortunately, i do feel that the leadership on all sides did not buy that. i do think there are members of congress in the house and senate we did take a position but i do think that those in the leadership of the democratic and republican party were not confused that the default would be financially devastating. but it's not the type of thing you want to prove. >> we found that businesses might be reluctant to talk about the sequester guts because they're not experts budget experts on what happens if you don't pay their credit card. so we found that they understand that. the president spoke yesterday about immigration reform. talked about the farm bill. secretary donovan is not talking about the farm bill. what do we have a chance of getting done before you leave at the end of december of? >> let me say something on immigration. i do believe that that
immigration, comprehensive immigration reform will eventually become law the land. i think there is just an overwhelming economic logic, humanitarian logic. and i think political logic for both sides to want to get that done. and i think that there should be as much pressure on the system as possible to get this done. a couple of things. obviously, it would be a great thing for the economy. we know that immigration would be good for growth. we know it would help more companies continue to locate in the united states and employ more people. we know it would be good for for gdp.
but it's also interesting, we are sitting here talking about, you are seeing comments from congressional leaders saying, well, maybe we can get something done, maybe it won't be a large do. maybe we can get something done. when you look at what people are talking about, it makes you realize that cbo has scored the immigration bill as reducing the deficit by almost $900 billion over the next 20 years. so if you're asking yourself right now, what is one of the most promising bipartisan things we can do to reduce the long-term deficit, you should be supporting and actively fighting for passage of the comprehensive immigration reform that passed the united states senate. but obviously it's just also the right thing to do from a moral point of view. the president has mentioned the farm bill where there's been bipartisan movement. one of the other things that we
talked about with the president quite a bit is understanding the ability of a president to get things done and have change even beyond legislation. now legislatively, a couple other things i would mention. i think there's some bipartisan progress on patent reform, and trying to reduce the degree of abusive litigation that gets in the way of innovation. i think chairman goodlatte has showed leadership in getting, in moving forward a bill that will probably still need some adjustments from his democratic colleagues, but nonetheless is consistent with the president's, you know, goals. i think that there has been surprising but promising opportunity on gse reform in the senate. myself and shaun donovan and
jack lew, the three of us have been working very closely often behind the scenes, but to work with those who are trying to forge bipartisan progress on juicy reform. i think there are areas along with immigration reform where, you know, if we could, if washingtwashingt on could get itself into better shape we could make progress. but there's also areas where we are working with members in the business community or other stakeholders to make progress where you might not need, where legislation would be most helpful but you could still make progress. let me mention very quickly, we have done an immense amount, the president, first lady have, and mrs. biden on veterans in a very serious way. reforming the way the military deals with people coming out, reforming credentialing. verthere he says things that wil affect hundreds of thousands of
people. the overwhelming majority has been done without new legislation to we proposed a manufacturing innovation institute, we've been able to pilot our first one in youngstown and we will be announcing before the end of the year and next three. this is being looked on in the united states, at universities around the world as one of the top innovations in manufacturing, advanced manufacturing and encouraging jobs. we have done with federal resources but we been able to find ways to do it without any legislation. now that people have seen the success, there is, in a, senator blunt and senator brown have a bipartisan bill in the senate. there is a bipartisan bill in the house. a couple of areas that we've been working with the business community on his long-term unemployment. just making sure that we are talking to copies about making sure they don't have screens that unintentionally, you know, don't you people who may have been unemployed for six or seven months or a year, don't give them a chance to at least
interview to prevent that negative recycle. you could get a real change from companies, large and small, those things could help. we are talking to colleges about college cost and value and what they can do to help more low-income students. so one thing to be very clear is, legislation is the path to many of the very big things we need to do, but it's not the only way to make progress. we spent a lot of time on a national economic council on legislative proposals, but we spent a lot of time showing how we can move the ball forward on some of these serious issues like advanced manufacturing, long-term unemployment, with or without new legislation. >> you will be busy to the end. >> i will be going full speed. another thing for example, is detroit. we can't do anything about detroit's bankruptcy or are large financial system. but what we did was we met with business community, the philanthropic community,
community leaders, the african-american faith-based leaders there. what were the top priorities? we went through our budget and we look for anything that was stuck in the pipelines that we could work or do in partnership. we went there, my shelf, shaun donovan, secretary fox, the attorney general, announced over $300 million. again, that was a major effort and a major show of support for detroit's them back. did not require, did not include new dollars or new legislation, but it's going to make a big impact. so yes, this president makes very clear, no excuses from his policy team that we didn't make progress in something because we couldn't pass legislation to so i will be going full blast to the very last day to try to get as much of these things done i that particularly, before i turn over the reins to jeff. >> that's great. i think there's an invitation in your inbox.
are there any questions from the group? and yes. >> [inaudible] spent away from the microphone, please. >> thank you. the aca overall, lots of good components in it, lots of things that have already taken effect get it sorted bee being cloudedy the exchange of but there are also some other rules that are going to come out before the end of the year that might have an adverse impact. i was just wondering with a government shutdown and some of the delays that came from that whether or not some thought is going into how this would proceed and whether any of those are on your radar screen? >> obviously one of the things that, common you know, one of the things we did as soon as the shutdown was over was to try to look immediately at what's been
held up and if the shutdown is going to impact rules of any kind, try to quickly let people know if there are dates that have changed. but look, you know, we have always, you know, people will not agree with every decision we make but we have always, i think jim would say this, we have always listened. we have made adjustments like on the employer reporting, that were due to us hearing the practical consideration of businesses employers, and we're always going to do our best to strike the right balance between getting things in place as quickly as possible, and that's
our goal. but i'm happy to check on, if you want, if you have a particular thing, i'm happy to go back to our health team and ask. i would say buy that one of the things the president asked our cabinet secretary do was to immediately, throughout the government, look at where the government shutdown might have taken a certain date that was expected on anything, beyond health care, and moved it and try to give people some clarity on that as soon as possible. and that's going on as we speak. >> we ran a little late. i apologize for that. we'll have this is forward step to take your information and get all your specific questions and will try to get you answers. if your questions he didn't get get a chance to ask, i apologize. we have staff around to take those questions to try to get back to you. gene, thank you very much for joining us. we appreciate it.
>> thank you. [applause] >> today bearing on issues with the rollout of the healthcare.gov website. maryland taser administrator of the centers for medicare and medicaid services will testified before the house ways and means committee. live starting at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span3. last week and number of 10 by "the guardian" newspaper revealed that the nsa spied on vocals of 35 world leader. today national intelligence director james clapper testifies about the nsa's surveillance program before the house intelligence committee. live coverage starting at 1:30 p.m. eastern on c-span3. next former nader ago barry
black discusses the history and the role of the senate chaplain and response to questions about the language used in his daily prayers during the october 2013 federal government shutdown. >> when our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to the families of children dying on faraway battlefields, it's time for our lawmakers to say enough is enough. cover our shame with the robe of your righteousness. forgive us, reforms, and make us all. we pray in your merciful name,
amen. >> i write my prayers out of the overflow of my devotional life. i read the bible every day, probably for at least an hour. i read the bible to prepare sermons. i read the bible for my personal spiritual growth, and out of the overflow of my devotional life, my prayers emerge. what i get devotional he, i connect to my pastoral interaction with our lawmakers, the members of their family, the members of their staff, and the other people who make up the senate side of capitol hill. so my prayers consist of a synthesis of devotion and pastoral outreach. >> during the shutdown you use
pretty strong language, things like save us from the madness, deliver us from hypocrisy, forgive them the blunders that committed. were you making a political point when you were saying those things to? >> i don't think i was attempting to make a political point. i think i was trying to describe the environment that i found myself in. i am a pastor first and foremost. i'm not a politician. i am descriptive rather than re- scripted. so what i was describing was phenomenon that lives on both sides of the aisle. i think, for instance, i made a statement remove the burdens of those the collateral damage. -- of those who are the collateral damage. most of my members were furlough. i'm aware of the burdens that they have debated.
i made a plea for there not to be a delay in death benefits to the grieving families of our fallen warriors. i did that primarily because i had made scores of death notifications the next of kin as a navy chaplain for 27 years, and i appreciate the income principal nature of the grief. so i was playing out of pastoral concern rather than trying to make a political point. >> did you feel as though you're giving a voice to some of those people who were furlough or foreign military families? >> i think that a critical part of where is to lift to god the concerns. you are a voice for the voiceless.
>> what was the response you got from senators and other lawmakers? >> i think someone who may have been upset about some of my prayers would probably be a little reluctant to come to me and say so. so most of the feedback that i received from both sides of the aisle, the feedback was very, very positive. but you have to understand, i see these lawmakers on a regular basis. we participate in a weekly prayer breakfast and we participate in a weekly bible study. so they know me. they have also been listening to me pray for over 10 years. 99% of the prayers that have been offered at the convening of the senate for the last decade have been offered by me. so they know that when i go off script, when i go road, they
know this must be very important. if you cry wolf in every prayer, when it comes time to say something that is pertinent and urgent, no one is going to believe you. so the pointed nature of my prayers, as i would describe them, rather than a scolding nature of my prayers, i think reflect the fact that most of my prayers are fairly classic. it is only when i'm convinced that something urgent needs to be said. and remember, i'm not directing this to the lawmakers. i'm directing it to the sovereign god of the universe. i think they take it very seriously, because the scolding aspect is not the normal quality of migraine. >> what would your response be to people who say, what about separation of church and state?
>> the phrase separation of church and state first appeared in thomas jefferson's 1802 letter to the danbury baptists. and if you read the context of the letter, a survey was not talking about the elimination of a spiritual element to government. on may 25, 1787, at the constitutional convention in philadelphia, it was benjamin franklin who insisted that they have prayer because they were trying to break an impasse. in 1789, when the legislative branch got started, one of their first orders of business was to establish a chaplain. so the chaplaincy was established even before the establishment clause of the first amendment which states congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of
a religion or prohibiting free exercise thereof. the supreme court in chambers 1983 upheld the constitutionality of legislative prayer pics i think it's pretty clear that our framers intended that there be a spiritual dimension to the government, and that the separation of church and state was referring to the establishment of religion, of having an official state religion government religion. and i don't think any lawmaker would want me to address any particular partisan issue. my position is nonpartisan. every statement i made in my intercession could apply to both sides of the aisle. i provide ministry in a political environment, so my prayers will reflect material related to government.
because that's what politics, that's what the political process is all about. but it does not, it does not bring up my prayers. i deliberately avoid a partisan issue to i've never talked about immigration reform. i've never talked about same-sex marriage or pro-choice or pro-life, anything like that in the decade plus that i have been praying. and i would not be addressing partisan issues. so i pray, as we said earlier, out of the overflow of my devotional life and pastoral outreach, not to bring issues to the floor in my intercession. >> what is your favorite part about being chaplain? >> my favorite part about being chaplain, the 62nd chaplain of the united states senate is that it provides me with a front row seat to human history.
there's more written about the legislative branch of government in our constitution than any other branch, and i have the privilege of having a front row seat to the legislative process. i think that most people are not so much afraid of dying as they are of having never truly lived. and anyone who has a front row seat to history and shuffled off this mortal coil absolutely certain that he or she has truly lived. >> next, live coverage of the u.s. senate. members today are expected to work on a resolution disapproving raising the debt limit passed by congress on october 16. debate on proceeding to the resolution starts just after later time with a vote scheduled for about 2:15 p.m. eastern. right after the senate returns from party lunches. also action is expected on the nomination of richard griffin to be the general counsel of the
national labor relations board. the vote on moving ahead with the nomination is expected to be close to live coverage of the senate now here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, how great you are! you are clothed with majesty and glory, riding on the wings of the wind. from the rising of the sun to its setting, we lift our hearts in gratitude, for you have done marvelously. continue t