tv Former Vice President Dick Cheney on the Iran Nuclear Agreement CSPAN September 8, 2015 9:00am-10:01am EDT
no-fly zones. we were able to achieve sense of safety so people could live without fear in their own country. we have to do something them over again. i know we don't want to do it and they won't be in favor of doing it, but if we only want to have the policies that are already accepted by the public, why don't we just give up and not the pollsters run the country. politics is about leading, not just affect teen public opinion. ..
>> and we're going to have to exactly work out what room for maneuver we have within the terms of this agreement. we just have are to really hope that people like me are wrong and very wrong, because if we're right, if we're even half right, we've got got a -- we have not got a lot of levers to pull should iran change its behavior in a direction that doesn't suit our security interests. >> you had a question, follow-up question? >> thank you very much. i'm going back after this. my question is that in u.s.
administration generally believed that -- [inaudible] certainly in tremendous pressure. but if they were allowed to continue still they were getting close to developing a nuclear device. and to stop them, you have to go -- [inaudible] so the pressure to negotiate and stall the process than to go in war, what is your take? >> well, i understand the desire to get an agreement. and as i said at the very beginning, any agreement that genuinely stopped iran being able to get access to a nuke nuke -- nuclear weapon capability would have to be welcomed because it would reduce the threats to the region and beyond. my question is, to go back to an answer to your earlier question,
who got the most of what they wanted out of the agreement? is it closer to the iranians' starting position in negotiations or our starts position in negotiations? and i think in this one the winner's pretty clear. >> i'd like to thank you for a terrific presentation today and a very, very engaging q&a session here. there's a huge number of questions remaining with regard to the iran nuclear deal with here at heritage we think is an extremely dangerous deal that will undercut the security of the united states, great britain and america's allies across the world. liam, thank you very much for joining us here at heritage. we hope that you will rejoin us in the coming months and wish you all the best as well with the upcoming parliamentary -- [inaudible] and the opening, reconvening of the house of commons next week.
thank you, liam. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> and on now to the american enterprise institute in washington d.c. former vice president dick cheney expected to speak this morning on the iran nuclear agreement and some of the implications for the u.s. and its middle east allies. and also today the senate will be debating the agreement which aims to curb iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. in the host recent count, 56 senators say they will vote to disapprove of the agreement, that's 53 republicans and 3 democrats, and 38 say they will not vote to disagree. a final passage vote and the deadline for congress on whether or not to approve or disapprove of the agreement september 17th, next thursday. again, former vice president
enterprise institute. my name is marc thiessen, i'm a scholar here at aei. this just over a week, congress will vote on the nuclear deal president obama negotiated with iran, a choice between war and peace and he says there's no alternative to this deal and those who oppose it are making common cause with the hard liners in iran. that group includes the senate democratic leader chuck schumer, bob menendez, the current democratic chairman of the foreign relations committee ben cardin and our speaker today, vice president dick cheney. vice president cheney is the author, with his daughter liz, of a wonderful new book called "exceptional: why the world needs a powerful america." in it he suggests that president obama has few diplomatic accomplishments, but there is one accomplishment he has this iran deal is so bad, that he's not only united israel -- ladies
and gentlemen, the vice president. [applause] >> well, thank you very much, marc. i hadn't thought of that. [laughter] probably the first time chuck schumer and i agreed on anything. but he's welcome to the club. i'm delighted to be here today. aei's been a home of sorts, a second home of us for a long time going back to the ford administration. i'm proud to serve on the board of trustees now and on occasion they provide a forum where we can discuss important issues. i come before you today not as a candidate for any office. my years in elective office are over. i come before you as a citizen who's also spent the better part of 40 years in public service as white house chief of staff, congressman, secretary of defense and vice president. focused hutch of that time on -- much of that time on national security issues facing our nation. i'm here because i have deep concerns about the iranian
nuclear agreement that congress begins considering today. it'll be up to members of the house and senate to vote yes or no on the joint comprehensive plan of action that president obama has signed with the government of iran. for every member of congress, no matter how many years they serve or how many votes they cast, this is a vote that will be remembered. so much is in the balance for our own security and that of our allies. it's not a moment for appeals to party loyalty, for whip calls or returning favors or lining up against the president for its own sake or lining up with the president for its own sake. every man and woman in congress will have to stand alone on this issue. and they should choose with nothing else in mind but the merits of the case and the interest of our country, bringing their own best judgment to a decision that theirs alone
is -- that is of theirs alone to make. i've come in that spirit today setting aside, for now, any broader disagreements with the obama administration, any stake in past debates, any concern of electoral politics. this vote are in congress -- this vote in congress will have profound consequencings. approval of this agreement will not prevent a nuclear iran, along with a pathway to a nuclear arsenal, president obama's agreement will provide iran with funds and weapons the regime will use for the support of terror, the dominance of the middle east and the furtherance of tehran's effort to destroy israel, threaten arab regimes and prevent the united states from defending our allies and our interest in the persian gulf and beyond. with the removal of restrictions on iran's ballistic missile program, this agreement will give iran the means to launch a nuclear attack on the u.s. homeland. a week before the deal was
announced, president obama's own secretary of defense, ashton carter, declared this should not happen. quote: the i in icbm, ashton carter noted, stands for intercontinental which means having the capability to fly from iran to the united states, and we don't want that. that was a week before he knew what was in the agreement. i know of no nation in history that has agreed to guarantee that the means of its own destruction will be in the hands of another nation, particularly one that is hostile. what president obama is asking the united states congress to do is unique. historically and dangerously unique. the results could well be catastrophic. the claims made by president obama, secretary kerry and other members of the obama administration about this agreement have been robust. this deal will, they have said and i quote, prevent iran from
obtaining a nuclear weapon, cut off all iran's pathways to a bomb including the covert pathway, provide us with a certainty we will know what they are doing in the nuclear arena, prevent nuclear proliferation, encourage stability across the middle east and prevent war. these assertions are simply false. take the president's assurance that the agreement will prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. in a more candid moment a few months ago, he admitted that under this deal the iranians in and years or so will have -- in 13 years or so will have, and i quote, advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk to zero. the president's own words make clear that this agreement does not keep iran from nuclear capability. quite the opposite, it guarantees that in less time
than has passed since 9/11, a regime with "death to america" as a pillar of its national policy will have the ability and the material to produce an arsenal of nuclear weapons. and at that point what is to prevent them from doing so? well, president obama tells us they promise they won't. we are asked to rely on the word of a country that has cheated on every nuclear agreement to which they have been a party, that once they have the means in place to become a nuclear power, they won't do it. president obama came into office determined to engage the iranians without preconditions, beginning with his inaugural address offering them an open hand if they unclenched their fist. through his letters to the iranian supreme leader, through the secret negotiations established by secretary clinton with the iranians in oman in 2011. president obama's guiding principle has been convincing the iranians they can trust us.
if we walk away from this deal, secretary kerry recently claimed, the regime in tehran will learn, quote, you can't trust the west. a negotiation based on the premise that the united states had to gain the trust of the world's worst state sponsor of terror was never going to end well. the secret talks before the actual negotiations even began, the u.s. side appears to have made three key concessions. they agreed to drop the longstanding demand of the international community that iran halt uranium enrichment. they agreed to provide immediate sanctions relief, and they agreed to pay the iranians to negotiate by releasing $12 billion in frozen assets. these were just the concessions made prior to the negotiations. so much for negotiations without preconditions. there were, in fact,
preconditions, they just weren't ours. the iranians are reputed to be excellent negotiators, and for the american side that is not an auspicious beginning. it set the pattern of one concession to iran after another. hard deadlines declared and then ignored. a general air of desperation to get a deal not on their part, but on ours. not on our terms, but on theirs. the cave on enrichment wasn't just any concession. under the nuclear than proliferation treaty signed by some 120 nations -- 190 nations including iran, countries with peaceful nuclear rams do not have -- programs do not have a right to enrich. agreeing to the demand that the united states recognize such a right for iran guts the fundamental principle at the heart of the npt and makes it much more difficult for the international community to deny can such a right to any other
state. it also in one fell swoop neutered six united nations security council resolutions passed to stop iran's nuclear program including its uranium enrichment activities. president obama, who says he is committed to the international arms control regime to the united nations and to nuclear non-proliferation s now urging that the united states accept an agreement that will undercut the most effective multilateral arms control treaty in history and negate the previous demands of the international community expressed in those u.n. security council resolutions. the president says this deal will, quote, stop the spread of nuclear weapons in this region. in fact, by repsychiatry poising the iranian -- legitimizing the iranian enrichment program for the first time ever, the deal will likely accelerate nuclear proliferation as other nations demand the same right.
>> thank you very much. [laughter] [applause] >> they know we're simultaneously withdrawing from the region and making cuts to our own nuclear attar that would and defense -- arsenal and defense budget. they're already assessing that the security guarantees long provided by the united states are increasingly meaningless and that announced red lines are more likely to be abandoned than defended by the united states today. they are more likely in this environment and in the aftermath of this deal to determine that their own security requires that they possess their own nuclear weapons. the president says this deal will insure the international community will be able to verify that iran will not develop a nuclear weapon. he has said the inspections regime is historic, that the agreement cuts off every one of
iran's pathways to a bomb including, magically, the covert pathway. let's look at the facts. after we were assured repeatedly by members of his administration that this agreement would include anytime, anywhere inspections, president obama has accepted a deal that gives the iranians anywhere from 24 days to many months to delay inspections at suspicious sites. inspections at military sites bike par chin -- like parchin where the iranians have concealed suspect elements of their nuclear weapons program in the past are not covered by this agreement. the american people have been told not to concern themselves with this. there are secret side agreements between iran and the iaea which are elected representatives -- which our elected representatives in congress cannot see either. it's not clear any obama administration officials have
seen the final text of these side deals either. the iranians continue to insist, and i quote, there will be no access to any military sites, and in at least some crucial cases relating to past activities, the regime will be inspecting itself. that is historic. historically misguided. the value of this agreement and the veracity of president's claims about it rest on the inspections regime contained within it. inspectors need to know what iran has done in the it's so -- in the past so they have a baseline against which to assess whether the country is cheating this the country. secretary kerry seemed to understand this in april of 2015 when he said the iranians would have to disclose past activity. quote: or they have to do it, he said. it will be done. if there's going to be a deal, it will be done. that was john kerry in april. two months later, in july of this year, the secretary's
position, secretary kerry's position changed dramatically. quote: we're not fixated on iran specifically accounting for what they did at one time or another, he said, because, and i quote, we have absolute knowledge with respect to iran's past activities. if you're looking for a quick summary of secretary kerry's position on the need for iran to completely disclose all its past nuclear activity, you could say he was for it before he was against it. [laughter] [applause] general mike hayden, former director of the cia and the nsa, says he knows of no american intelligence official who would claim, as secretary kerry does, that we have complete knowledge of what iran has done in the past. detecting elements of a country's nuclear program and predicting how close it is to breakout is a notoriously
difficult intelligence task. it is one that we have failed at time and time again. the united states failed to predict the first soviet atomic test in 1949, the first chinese test in 1964, the first indian test in 1974, the first pakistani test in 1998 and the first north korean test in 2006. all of this should raise serious concerns about the claims president obama has made that the agreement guarantees a breakout time of at least one year. accurately assessing how far the iranians are from obtaining a nuclear weapon would require a full and complete disclosure of their past activity. inspectors need a baseline. if we don't know how much roll iran has made -- how much progress iran has made towards obtaining a nuclear weapon, we cannot accurately assess how much farther they need to go or how long it will take them.
the iranians were unwilling to make such a disclosure which tells us something in and of itself. and president obama and secretary kerry dropped this essential requirement. under president obama's agreement, there will be no anywhere, anytime inspections and no inspections of military sites. those are covered in the secret deals that we cannot see. there will be no access to the regime's nuclear scientists, no full disclosure of past activity, no full access to documents pertaining to iran's nuclear program. and iran will be doing some of the inspections themselves. we are essentially leaving it up to iran to let us know when and where they might have engaged in illicit nuclear weapons activity. the president also expressed firm resolve on a matter of sanctions. they would be lifted when and only when the iranians had first met their obligations. it worked out a little differently, of course. they got that $12 billion and
other sanctions relief right away. soon the regime will be a player again in the oil and the financial markets and, finally, something on the order of $150 billion will be coming their way in the assets released under this deal. we were told and are still being told that at the first sign of cheating, sanctions will suddenly snap back on the regime. in reality, the deal makes it very difficult to reare impose sanctions -- reimpose sanctions or to impose new ones. it enables iran to walk away from the agreement completely if any attempt is made to sanction them anew. discoveries of violations by the iranians would be followed by long international debates over every last technical point. and who doubts what the refrain would be from the obama administration when confronted with obvious violations? we would hear that it's better to overlook the offense than to risk losing the agreement.
and that's how we came to this point in the first place. it's the same weak, acquiescing and ultimately dangerous mindset that led us so far down the wrong road to the a deal so completely tailored to the demands of the iranians. president obama has agreed to iranian demands to remove restrictions on key element ares of the infrastructure -- elements of the infrastructure tehran uses to support global terrorism including the irgc quds force. he agreed to lift restrictions on iran's icbm program and on its ability to impose and export -- to import and export conventional weapons. in this agreement, if it's approved, these concessions will further iran's efforts to achieve one of its main objectives in the middle east to drive the united states out. former undersecretary of defense ambassador eric edelman recently testified that under the jcpoa,
quote: the united states will not be able to rely as it has for the past 30 years on an assumption that it will have unimpeded access and control in all the do mains of warfare -- domains of war tear in the persian gulf. a recent are study co-chaired by general james conway, former deputy commander of the united states european command general charles wald put it this way: the jcpoa will enable iran to approve its unconventional military capabilities that challenge the strategic position of the united states and its allies in the middle east. iran will be able to revital eyes its defense industrial base in the short term even if it devotes only a fraction of the 100 billion or more that will be unfrozen as part of the agreement. more than the government's entire budget, the iranian government's entire budget for the current fiscal year on military spending. over the medium term, the
removal of economic sanctions and the united nations arms embargo will allow the regime to acquire other advanced technologies and weapons from abroad. and once sanctions against its ballistic missile program sunset, iran could more easily develop weapons capable of reaching targets in the middle east and beyond, including europe and the united states. that's the end of quote. this agreement will enable iran to modernize and expand its military capabilities while the united states military suffers from the devastating obama era defense cuts and the effects of sequestration. contrary to claims made by the president and secretary of state, the united states will be in a far worse position to defend our interests and prevent a nuclear-armed iran when the obama agreement sunsets than we are today. in addition to facilitating iranian access to advanced weapons, aiding the development
of its icbm program, providing a cash windfall and tremendous economic benefits to the regime in tehran, the obama/iran agreement lifts sanctions on the iranian revolutionary guard corps, the irgc quds force and the quds force commander, sulemani. under sulemani's command the quds force has been responsible for supporting terror, fomenting violence, advancing iran's goals of regional dominance and the killing of american service members in iraq and afghanistan. by lifting the sanctions on these entities and on sulemani himself, the obama/iran deal aids the efforts of america's enemies. imagine for a moment a world in which this deal has been implemented. iranian-backed forces in yemen will receive additional aid and support as they work to insure that yemen remains a failed state, a theater in which al-qaeda in the arabian
peninsula has effectively operated, and the threat to saudi arabia's heavily shia eastern province. iraq will e so an influx -- iraq will see an influx of weapons for iran's proxies leading to increased violence and bloodshed as the sign think/shiite conflict deepens and isis is able to recruit more sunni to their cause. conflict will intensify in syria as iran floods its most important arab foothold with weapons and fighters. the european refugee crisis will likely grow as thousands more flee the rising terror and chaos. hezbollah, iran's main proxy, will also benefit in its operations across the middle east and particularly in its ongoing attacks on israel. in the meantime, the removal of restrictions on the irgc quds force will give that group the ability to move freely
throughout the middle east as they oversee this brave new world. it isn't just hezbollah and the houthis and bashar assad who will benefit from the lifting of restrictions on iran. iran's ties to terrorist groups are extensive. that's why republican and democratic administrations alike have identified them as the world's leading state sponsor of terror. in 2011 president obama's own treasury department designated six al-qaeda terrorists for their involvement in a network that moves money and terrorists across the middle east incolluding into iraq and afghanistan -- including into iraq and afghanistan. that network was headquartered in iran. in the words of david cohen, then-undersecretary of the treasury, and today deputy secretary of the cia, there is an agreement between the iranian government and al-qaeda to allow this network to operate. there is no dispute in the
intelligence community on this point. former director of the defense intelligence agency general michael flynn has said that documents captured with osama bin laden included, quote, letters about iran's role, influence and acknowledgment of enabling al-qaeda operatives to the pass through iran as long as al-qaeda did its dirty work against americans in iraq and afghanistan. since that initial designation, president obama's own treasury and state departments have repeatedly pointed to iran's agreement with al-qaeda, noting that iran is, quote, a critical transit point for funding to support al-qaeda's a activities in afghanistan and pakistan and home to a, quote, core pipeline through which al-qaeda moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the middle east to south asia. this pipeline exists, according to the obama treasury department, as art of a formerly
secret deal between iran and al-qaeda. as recently as last year while the nuclear talks were underway, treasury said that iran had let the leader of the network in july 2011, let him out of his temporary detention so he could resume control of the network. the president said he understands that iran's support for terror continues. he has said that should not stop congress from approving his nuclear deal. he seems willfully blind to the fact that the benefits conveyed to iran in this agreement, the money, the conventional weapons, the sanctions relief facilitate and enable the iranian regime support for terror and terrorist groups including those who have attacked the united states and are today threatening our security, our allies and our interests. the united states congress stood ready to approve a strong are,
serious agreement to prevent the threat of a nuclear-armed iran. instead, it has been handed as intricately are, an intricately-crafted ca pitchlation. and though president obama has spoken of this deal as part of his legacy, the consequences are on me, as he put it, even that is beside the point. what happens after the deal is not on him, it is on all of us. this deal gives tehran the means to launch a nuclear attack on the u.s. homeland, it threatens the security of our arab allies across the middle east, it threatens the security of europe, and it should not be forgotten this deal has vast implications for the future security of the jewish people. charles krauthammer has written that it took nazi germany seven years to kill six million jews. it would take a nuclear-armed iran one day. every american president for over half a century has been
committed to nuclear non-proliferation in the middle east. every one of them until now. with this agreement the current administration is saying to iran, in effect, you can enrich uranium, you can have icbms, and by the way, you can also get back full swing in the arms trade. oh, yes, and here's $150 billion which we implore you, please, not share it with your terrorist friends. to build a deliverable nuclear weapon is a mercifully difficult enterprise, but when the world wakes up one day to find the news that islamic radicals in tehran have done it, all the pretenses will fall away and new lines of force come into view with all further terms to be wiped out. when a former ranking democrat on foreign relations says that he fears that iran will gain
such a weapon and that he doesn't want his name on it, his colleagues should pay very close attention. that man is dealing with reality. the best assurance against these things coming to pass is a decisive, bipartisan majority in congress that will vote against this deal and gather still more strength to override a veto. some have suggested the white house recognizes the difficulty members of the president's own party are facing as they are pressured to cast a vote in opposition to the interest and views of their own constituents, not to mention the nation. to avoid this, a filibuster has been discussed. that way no member need be on the record supporting this shameful deal can. anyone unwilling to stand up and be counted on this deal should not be serving in elective office. the truth of the matter is that such momentous issues of national security should not be
decided by a filibuster, a veto or by one-third of the members of the united states, least of all by a president who justifies his actions with a false choice, this deal or war. now, as at other fateful turns in our history, the alternative tonight marish scenarios that we all wish to avoid is not to make concession after concession after concession. the moment president obama conceded that the iranian regime had any right to enrich uranium, he lost the possibility of securing a good deal. the moment he let up on sanctions which were constricting the regime's power and influence would only have gotten worse for them. pressure was lifted from the mullahs in tehran, and they no longer needed a deal more than we did. and as soon as president obama went on israeli tv and effectively ruled out the option of force, the iranians knew they had won. a far better deal is still possible, and it begins with
reasserting our original objective on each of these matters. iran must halt its enrichment and reprocessing activities, it must halt its ballistic missile activities, it must provide a full and complete can accounting of all its past nuclear activities, it must allow complete, go anywhere/anytime access including at military site ises. there should be no sanctions relief until iran has fulfilled these obligations. if iran chooses not to do so, they must understand that the united states stands ready to take military action to insure they do not acquire a nuclear weapon. [applause] preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons is one of the most difficult geostrategic challenges we face. but there are lessons from the past on which we can draw. for decades rogue regimes and
terrorist groups have been atenting to achiropractor -- attempting to acquire nuclear weapons and technology.çó in 1981 the israelis launched an air attack against the iraqi nuclear facility atç osiri, setting back saddam hussein's nuclear program. by 1991 he had reconstituted large organizations of it which the united states destroyed with our military action in desert storm. in 2003 when we liberated iraq, libya's leader, moammar qadhafi, contacted us days after u.s. forces captured saddam hussein. he told us he wanted to turn over his nuclear program. he had watched the fate we had delivered to saddam, and he didn't want to be next. those materials are now in the united states. gaddafi's decisions had long-lasting and important effects. first, because he turned over his material, they did not fall into the hands of militant
islamist terrorists who today control territory inside libya. second, his cooperation enabled us to unravel the black market nuclear proliferation network of pakistani scientist a.q. khan who had sold nuclear equipment and technology to rogue regimes around the globe. we put khan and his network out of business. there's also evidence that the iranians halted a portion of their program in 2003 in the aftermath of the u.s. invegas -- invasion of iraq hoping to protect themselves from suffering saddam's fate. in 2007 we learned that the north koreans were building a nuclear reactor in syria's eastern desert, territory now governs by isis. when the israelis brought this information to us, president bush told them he would not take military action. the israelis decided to take action on their own and destroyed the reactor. in each of these cases, it was either military action or the credible threat of military action that persuaded these rogue regimes to abandon their
weapons programs. iran will not be convinced to boon its program -- abandon its program peacefully unless it knows it will face military action if it refuses to do so. that's how a serious negotiation plays out. that's how a self-respecting power with everything in the balance asserts its vital interests. insisting on key, nonnegotiable points and maintaining a credible threat of military force are the indispensable elements of serious diplomacy over the rain grab nuclear -- iranian nuclear program. that is what the administration should have done all along. instead, they have presented us with a deal that strength arens our adversaries, threatens our allies, puts our own security at risk. they have placed on the table for congressional review a deal that provides weapons and funds to a regime that has pledged to destroy israel and maintains "death to america" as a central pillar of its policies.
arming and funding iran while simultaneously providing them a pathway to a nuclear arsenal is not an act of peace. it's not, as president obama claims, the only alternative to war. it is madness. the vote on the iran deal on the nuclear agreement is ahead. and the stakes are very high. every member of congress swears to defend the constitution from enemies outside our shores. i took that oath ten times, and every time i put my hand on the bible, i understood that we were also pledging to defend in this great and good nation. a vote to reject this agreement will do that. [applause] a vote to reject this agreement will do that, approving it will not. thank you very much. [applause]
and i think we're going to take a couple questions, marc? >> absolutely. and everyone hear me? >> yeah. >> the vice president has to leave, but he's agreed to take a few questions. some of you have sent them up. the first question is, mr. vice president, do you believe the administration's timid approach toward the assad regime over the past several years is a reflection of the degree that we're willing to assuage iran to secure their nuclear agreement, and has that spilled over to the current anemic effort against the islamic state which is averaging 18 airstrikes a day compared to desert storm's average of 1200 a day? >> i think, and this is speculation on my part, but i do believe that the
administration's concern with respect to getting the nuclear deal led directly to the president's decision to stand down after he'd established the red line and said that if syria used chemical weapons, he would take military action. and, of course, they used chemical weapons, and they didn't. and he didn't. my own personal view is he was in that phase of the process where he did not want to fend the rain grabs -- to offend the iranians who were closely tied to syrians, so i think the deal had a direct result of limiting the administration's actions with respect to the syrian case. >> this question has come from the iraqi ambassador to the united states. we sometimes hear some people say that in retrospect the containment of saddam hussein would have been better than u.s. oil of toppling him. what do you think about those who now talk about the containment of isil? >> well, i -- first of all, i disagree with the first proposition. i think to argue that we should
not have gone after saddam hussein would be to argue that he'd still be in place today, he'd still be this power today. we never would have issued or delivered the warning in terms of our military action against saddam, against libya, moammar gaddafi. you can imagine what would have happened when isis took over or the radicals took over in libya if they'd inherited a nuclear program. so i don't buy into the initial proposition, and i can't remember what your question -- >> and then the people who say we can contain isil. >> we can contain isis. i don't see any way to con sane isis. it seems to me that they are working very aggressively to recruit and grow in size including recruiting people out of the united states here. i think they've already made remarkable progress for a terrorist organization, more success occupying and creating the caliphate and occupying
thousands of square miles of syria and iraq. they have continued to spread their influence and their activities. we've seen them in libya and north africa, bow coharam and -- boko haram in eye near ya has agreed to ally themselves with isis, and i think their prospect for growth and development is remarkable. and i don't think, i'm not sure how you would contain them. i think, ultimately, they have to be defeated, they have to be destroyed. supposedly, that's the objective the president's laid out, but his military activities so far, i think, fall short of what's necessary. >> this question is from linda saks. the corker-cardin bill surrendered the treaty power of the senate to the president who went to the u.n. outside the ours of the president. what do you think will get us back to the american exceptionalism of the constitution? >> well, i, as i mentioned in my remarks, i think this should
have been treated as a treaty, that it's that important, rather than the way it is being treated. of course, if we'd handled it as a treaty, then it would take a two-thirds vote of the senate to ratify it which is the traditional way of doing business. we've done a lot of executive agreements over the years, but this one is so important with such enormous ramifications that a failure to follow that regular procedure strikes me as, was a mistake. it was a negotiated arrangement, i guess, but as we look at it now, you don't need a two-thirds vote of the senate to ratify it. they only need one-third. one-third plus one. so i think it was a serious procedural mistake. >> and one last question, and i ask everybody if you could, please, remain seated while the vice president exits because he has to get to a plane to go to the west coast. the last question is from senator tom cotton.
the president has said he will confront iran's regional aggression after this deal is implemented. what steps should this confrontation include to stop iran's aggression and reassure israel and our sunni partners? >> i'll believe it when i see it. i am, i have serious reservations after you pour over $100 billion back into iran, you lift sanctions and embargoes on things like conventional weapons and icbms, you take off the 'em par goes on doing -- embargoes on doing business the quds force, i think you've given them an enormous shot in the arm in terms of their support for illicit regimes, and then you're going to turn around and mount military operations somehow to take 'em down? it doesn't fit. it doesn't calculate in my mind.
i think if the, if the problems we have with the nuclear agreement in and of itself weren't enough, when you add to that the last minute addition of lifting the sanctions and the embargoes on ballistic missiles, on conventional weapons, then that in and of itself does enormous damage. so i'm afraid the idea that we can somehow contain iran afterwards is going to take an awful lot of effort, major effort. we may have no choice but to do that, but as i mention in here, the state of the defense department's budget these days is significantly depressed. ray odierno, who just stepped down as the army chief of staff, said the readiness level in the united states army today is the lowest it's ever been in the history of the army, and that's
over 200 years. so we've got a situation where we badly need to rebuild our military capability, especially if we're going to be in the business of trying to contain the damage that iran is going to do with all of the relief that we've given them in terms of funds, in terms of lifting sanctions, in terms of reversing course on limiting their icbm force and so forth. so i -- if you look down the road and think about where we're going to be once this is implemented and once we see the iranians exercise their part of it given especially the continued iranian assertion that we're never going to see their military sites, the secretary of defense equivalent in iran just in the last day or two held a press conference i guess this week in which he said the united states will always be the great satan for us. we'll continue to do everything we can to support their
opponents and to support those people who are hostile to israel. this doesn't mean any withdrawal or change in behavior on part of iran. that's the statement of their defense minister. >> if it's the president, this president is unlikely to do any of these things, what would your advice be if there's a republican president what succeeds him in 500 or so days? >> well, first of all, i hope it happens. [laughter] [applause] i also, i think that the most significant thing we have to do before we do anything else, excuse me, is rebuild our military. you have every single member of the joint chiefs of staff this testimony before the congress over the last year or so testify that we no longer have the capacity or we're nearly to the point where we no longer have the capacity to execute the nation's national security
strategy. the air force, air force chief of staff recently said that the air force today has fewer aircraft and older aircraft than at any time in the history of the air force which was created right after world war world warr ii in 1947 and '48. we've got to rebuild that capacity. cyber warfare is a major play. we've had a technological age in virtually every area since the end of world war ii, whether it was stealth or precision-guided knew in additions. we're at the point where that gap is rapidly closing. the chinese and russians are actively and aggressively working hard to close that gap. you see what's happened with respect to the whole area of cyber warfare here at home. the same time the congress was debating and adopting a measure to, in effect, take all of the data that we collected in the nsa program and turn it back to the companies without any limits
or restrictions on what they're to do with it, that same week that that debate was going forward in the congress and being passed it was disclosed the chinese had hacked into our personnel database here, and all of us who ever worked for the federal government -- and i don't mean to take this personally -- [laughter] all of us, including a lot of the members of the congress, their security background checks and so forth, their personnel records are in the hands of the chinese. the chinese were ripping us off as we were wringing our hands and saying, oh, my gosh, we can't have the nsa obtaining call data on citizens. and nobody, to hi knowledge, has yet produced one single instance where the civil liberties of an american citizen have been violated by that program. not one. but we've spent an e -- enormous amount of time, shifted all the data back to the phone companies, and it significantly weakens on our capacity to use
that capability to intercept and block actions by al-qaeda, isis, our enemies. >> mr. vice president, thank you very much for joining us here today. >> well, thank you all, and thank aei. [applause] >> if everyone can remain seated, please. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated while the vice president exits. thank you. >> if you missed any of the comments or the discussion with former vice president dick cheney, you can find them online. just go to our video library, and that's at c-span.org. also just a reminder the senate will begin debate this afternoon on the iran nuclear agreement reached by the u.s., iran and
five other world powers back in july. the agreement aims to curb iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. we'll take you live to the floor of the senate when they gavel in at 2:00 eastern time. also an update, west virginia senator joe manchin has just announced he will oppose the iran agreement, increasing that number by one more senator. and senate democratic leader harry reid will be explaining his support of the iran nuclear agreement later this morning at the carnegie endowment for international peace. we'll take you live over on c-span at 10:00 this morning, expected to get you should way any moment -- under way any moment, about ten minutes away. we'll also hear from are senator lindsey graham, he'll talk about the iran agreement at the national press club live on c-span at 1:00 eastern time. on our companion network, c-span3, we'll be live for former ambassador thomas pickering talking about the iran agreement, 1:00 eastern. and also the house rules
committee, they'll begin work this evening on bringing the resolution of disapproval to the house floor. the committee will decide the rules for the house debate scheduled to begin later this week. you can watch that debate live on c-span3. >> he was a nazi, he was a concentration camp commandant, and he was responsible for the murder of thousands of jews. >> this sunday night on q&a, jennifer teague georgia on her life-altering discover that her grandfather was a concentration camp known as the butcher of -- [inaudible] >> we would see a tremendously cool person, a person who, yes, who was -- i mean, he was capable of -- he had dogs, and he trained them to tear humans apart. i think this sums it up really
good. he was a person who there was a pleasure that he felt when he, when he killed people. and this is, yeah, something that when you're normal if you don't have this aspect in your personality, it is very, very difficult to grasp. >> sunday night at eight eastern and pacific on c-span's q and a. >> next, a look at communications in the george w. bush white house. a panel explored how the media landscape changed during his presidency and affected the administration's ability to control its message. we heard from former vermont governor and 2004 democratic presidential candidate howard dean, republican strategist ed rollins who was president reagan's campaign director and former white house correspondent julie mason who covered president bush. this is about an hour and a half.
>> good morning. >> good morning. >> i'm dean of the lawrence herbert school of communication here at hofstra, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to this morning's panel on white house communication in the george w. bush presidency. each of our panelists is going to open with a short statement of their own perspective on the topic, and we will then have discussion among the panelists and, finally, invite audience participation. and i just, i have a bit of bad news i have to give at the beginning here which if you've looked at the dais here, you notice that scott mcclellan is not here. we learned yesterday that he's ill and was not able to make the trip, so we're very sorry that he will not be here, but we will try to soldier on as best we can. i also, you know, this is a presentation of the peter calico center for presidential studies here at hofstra, and i just want to note the presence of mr. calico in the audience and thank him for his support of
this important longstanding initiative. [applause] so i'm going to just introduce the panelists and sit down and let them go in order. when we get to questions, and i will reiterate this at time, i want to underline the word "question." i'd like to give as many people here, and i'm sure more will be arriving, to give everyone time, please ask questions and not make statements, okay? thank you. so i'll introduce all four of the panelists and then let them go in order. to my immediate left, ron christie now leads christie strategies, media and political strategy firm that offers government relations and communications advice to a wide range of companies and organizations. mr. christie was special assistant to president bush and deputy assistant to vice president dick cheney. he has also been a fellow at harvard's kennedy school of government. he's the author of three books, most recently blackwards.
next to him, howard b. dean is former chairman of the democratic national committee, u.s. presidential candidate and six-term governor of vermont. he is now senior strategic adviser and independent consultant for the government affairs practice at the law firm mckenna, long and aldridge. and most important for today's event, he is senior presidential fellow of the peter s. calico center here at hofstra. julie mason is host of siriusxm's press pool heard nationally weekdays from 3-6 on potus channel 124. before joining siriusxm, she was a reporter for politico, the washington examiner and the houston chronicle. she has more than three decades of experience covering state, local and national politics including four presidential campaigns, and i guess with ted cruz's announcement, we can make it officially five. [laughter] so congratulations. we'll give you another bar for your sleeve. [laughter] edward j. rollins has a
distinguished career as a political strategist and communications expert. he managed president reagan's 49-state landslide re-election in the 1984 campaign and has played major roles in nine other presidential campaignings. he has served in the administrations of four presidents. he is a frequent political commentator for fox news and other networks and, like governor dean, he's been a senior presidential fellow at hofstra's peter s. calico center since 2009. and our first speaker will be mr. christie. >> dean, thank you, and thank you for that warm introduction for all of us. good morning to all of you. i'll wait a sec. this is the third day, the final day of the conference on the george w. bush administration. good morning everybody. >> good morning. >> let me start by saying thank you for the invitation to speak. i am honored to share the stage, to give my perspective about
some of the experiences that i had dealing with communications in the bush white house, but it's also a privilege to share the stage with friends. i've known governor dean for several years. we actually agree on issues more often than not, believe it or not, and we always joke about that. julie mason, who, of course, now is at siriusxm, and i actually had the privilege to host a show on the same potus channel, 124, with former governor jon huntsman on saturday mornings which is a thrill. and i particularly want to give a shoutout to ed rollins, someone i've known for a long time and i'm honored to call both a friend and a mentor to of mine. i was in dallas last friday to get a chance to sit down with president bush for a little while, and i can tell you that he is very happy, he is very healthy, and he's in great spirits following his administration. the president was at the bush presidential center to unveil something called america's pastime, america's presidents. and ifou