tv Book Discussion on Exceptional CSPAN October 11, 2015 7:00am-8:01am EDT
be sure to join the conversation as we will be taking your calls, e-mails, tweets and facebook comments using the hashtag landmark cases on c-span, c-span3 and c-span radio. for background while you watch order your copy of landmark cases companion book available for $8.95 plus shipping at c-span.org/landmarkcases. >> former vice president dick cheney and former deputy cheney and former deputy assistant secretary of state liz cheney discuss the book "exceptional" which looks at america's foreign policy and national security. [applause]
please be seated. >> well, good evening to all. my name is john heubusch. i the only thing the executive director of the ronald reagan presidential foundation, i want to thank each and every one of you for coming out of this evening. if you would end on of our men and women in uniform who serve our cause around the world, please stand and join me for the pledge of allegiance.
i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. thanks. please be seated. now play ball. before we get started tonight i'd like to recognize one person in particular in the audience. his name is ben sutton and he is one of our board of trustees members at the foundation. thanks for coming. [applause] no matter how practiced one might feel they are at introducing a famous or important person, it's often not easy, at least not for me. i think one is called on to do their very best and to go beyond
the simple reading of an impressive resume. win against has gone out of their way and spent their lifetime in the realm of public service and performed magnificently for the american people i think they need to be lauded, thanks, it actually introduced in a thoughtful way. so that was the challenge that faced as i once again sat down and prepared to write an introduction of the vice president cheney and his accomplished daughter, liz. for those of you who follow events at the reagan library you know that quite well, th but boh of our guests have been here before. so what do, to impress upon an audience once again, that our visitors are something special. one in theory holds forth that if you introduce someone before adjuvanted went just fine, well, stick with it.
four pillars take the easy way out. and thanks to the miracle of modern technology i plan to do just that. [laughter] >> i am sure that for the more than 1000 of you gathered here this evening it is indeed special and that is because tonight we're in the presence of another true american hero, vice president cheney and liz, welcome to the reagan library. [applause] but here's another more modern definition of what i know both his family and millions of people in this country would easily embrace. hero, a man of distinguished courage or ability admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. i like that one. but in all honesty it does not do the man justice.
how did you find someone who was quite literally dedicated his entire life to his country? someone who has faithfully served five presidents, and in the process have selflessly came to the aid of our country in times of great crisis. if any of your accounting that's for president i've listed, not five as i previously noted. the fifth of vice president cheney served with great honor, perhaps not directly but certainly with great honor, and without hesitation was ronald reagan. first as a foot soldier during his time in congress and then as a member of the intelligence committee and deputy minority leader of the house, representative dick cheney of wyoming was a critical and respected player on capitol hill who helped make president reagan's legislative program indeed the reagan revolution our reality. okay, not bad.
[laughter] he lost a few pounds, that's good to see. but i want to say that every word of that introduction remains both timely and true. but what's new and what's exciting about the visit did it is that they appeared with a new book entitled "exceptional: why the world needs a powerful america." i don't know if the idea for the book has had its origin in the striking opinion piece he wrote for "the wall street journal" that was published last year, but to me it certainly seems it. they wrote and that the obama foreign policy doctrine, that of trying to lead the world from behind, was in a state of collapse and the ramifications for america were dire. they are book which is published expand on the theme in great detail and it is a must read not only for those following the events on the campaign trail up 2016, but i am hopeful that they
will also become assigned reading in history classes for decades to come, because that's what it is, historical evidence that american exceptionalism that president reagan helped to define and defend has been under attack by president obama and his administration four years. it has been an assault that is quite simply leading to the undoing of america's stature in position in the world. so with that, ladies and gentlemen, let me please ask you to join me in welcoming to the stage vice president dick cheney and former assistant secretary of state liz cheney. [applause] >> thank you.
thank you very much. it's a real joy and an honor for us to be up to be back at the reagan library. and as john mentioned, the whole concept of american exceptionalism is one that president reagan wouldn't have even questioned. and in many ways we were very inspired by president reagan by the things he did and said both during his presidency and before, and his notion that it was critically important that the united states lead the world, his understanding that without us there was no one who would step in. his rejection of ideals and ideas of moral equivalent were at the forefront. and you will see when you buy a book, which i hope you will do, that we open the book, the quote
that leads the whole thing is by president ronald reagan. on march 23 of 1983 he said it is up to us in our time to choose, and choose wisely between the hard but necessary task of preserving peace and freedom, and the temptation to ignore our duty and blindly hope for the best while the enemies of freedom grow stronger day by day. we are again as we sit here tonight at another moment like that, at a moment when the nation is under tremendous threat and when we got to decide that they can sometimes be very easy to sort of say things are such a mess, washington is such a mess, i'm just going to try to sort of live my life and focus on what's happening very close to me here at home and try to sort of shut out the fights and
the debates that are going on. one of the reasons we wrote this book was to urge peopl the peopt do that and to make the point that the fate of the republic depends upon people not doing that. british historian andrew roberts once said to the question of whether america was born great, achieved greatness, our greatness thrust upon her, the only possible conclusion must be all three. that we were born of this revolutionary ideal that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, and that made us a model for others around the world. and then during world war ii we became the freedom of the danger and that's what we begin the book. talking about the role america has played a getting really in 1939 in defending freedom around the world. at the end of the cold war because of the leadership of president ronald reagan, in large part, we became the world
sole superpower. it's not just our involvement in world affairs that's made the difference. it's our leadership, our willingness to lead. my dad and i felt very strongly that when you talk to your kids, my kids and his grandkids, about what you're learning in school, it isn't what government. they are not learning that america has been a greater force for good than any other nation in history of mankind. they are not learning that because of us, hundreds of millions of people around the world for decades have lived in freedom. we wanted cannot just talk about where we are today, although that's a critically important part of the book, but we wanted to put into historical context and to talk about the truth about america and what we did in world war ii and in the cold war and in the first years of the war on terror.
ronald reagan said if we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. we were very much inspired by that and by the idea that our kids have to have a place they can go to understand the reality of what america has accomplished. one of the great blessings for me was being able to work on this book with my dad. who, along with m my mom, gays marry and be the tremendous blessing as kids of learning to love history and learning to love this great nation and some new odyssey has been involved is up to them in evidence in the book that is for back as 1939 but close. and so i'd like to start tonight by getting your information. when people talk about president obama, for example, one of the things that we did was go back
and look at the context of this president and talk about the extent to which you think where does the fault in the spectrum of democratic and republican presidents and how do his policies that sort of what's come before, particularly on the democratic side of the aisle? >> okay, that's a good introduction. i've racked my brain trying to understand why president reagan operates the way he does -- >> president obama. >> president obama, operates the way does. i think back and reflect on it. i was welcoming the way you are for a new president even though i didn't vote for him, worked for the other guy. i'm a republican, a conservative and he was a democrat. but it was deeply disturbed
about 48 hours into his administration when he announced that he is going to close guantánamo and they're going to investigate and possibly prosecute the career professionals who carried out our counterterrorism program out of the cia adde that had run the program in terms of the national security agency, our ability to be able to intercept communications between al-qaeda overseas and the context in u.s., are what we call the enhanced interrogation program that we set up back in the aftermath after 9/11. these people who carried out the instruction of the president of the united states, programs and been approved by the national security council, signed off by the justice department and done by the books from a legal standpoint, constitutional standpoint, et cetera. he wants to go have those people investigated and arrested. and i thought that was an outrageous proposition from the standpoint of i understood he
won the election, he gets to put his policies in place, but what i did not understand that he was prepared for example to prosecute people, men and women who are patriots, who put their lives on the line all the time on behalf of all of the rest of us. it was one of the things he came to office he was going to do. i found that it was disturbing and raised questions in my mind about why that would be sort of some of the first things he wanted to do once they get into office. i thought back about it and we spent a lot of time, read a lot of history, especially interested in world war ii history. my own dad served in the navy in those years, i'm sure exactly the same kind of family background. as i thought about it i thought about the fact that there has been, i think, over the decades, for 70 some years basically a
bipartisan consensus between republican and democrat alike on a proposition of the u.s. role in the world, the need for significant military capability, the willingness on occasion to use it when necessary, and that included people like fdr in one or two or harry truman who took over an unbelievable circumstances at the end of the war and then on into the cold war, dwight eisenhower, ronald reagan, jack kennedy. there was a consensus they're basically brought out mindset didn't always agree on everything and our differences between the parties all the time, but barack obama was clear outside that basic consensus that in my opinion based on my reading and study of history, fundamentally disagreed, was not in the courtroom if you will, with what i think is the bipartisan accord about the u.s. role in the world that they think has dominated our history
and our policies and our actions over that period of time. that's partly what stimulated our thinking about the book but if you look at the book and go through i think you will find we documented very carefully where we believe that he has, in fact, done things that are not the way it would have been done if it'd been done by earlier presidents. he's outside the mainstream, if you will, of presidential leadership, and even raising questions about how big a role the u.s. ought to put in the world and that his policy, policies over the course of the last course of the six going on seven years that are remarkably at odds with our history, with what we believe as a nation and with what we're going to have to be able to do going forward if we're going to get through a very bad patch and get things back on the right course.
>> in 1983 president reagan gave a famous speech in the oval office. and in a large part of the speech he talked about and laid out the way defense budget ought to be put together, and explain that it's critically important that the nation decide first what are the threats they have and then allocate the resources to it. one of the issues that we talk of the book and with set of recommendations at the end is this issue of our defense budget. it's an issue that we have heard some of the candidates talk about in this election cycle but i don't think it's gotten enough attention, and i'd like to talk a little bit about that, about the extent to which we've got to make a real change in that regard. >> well, i'm oftentimes asked what job i liked most, vice president of secretary of
defense, congressman from wyoming, all of them have something to appeal, i love all aspects of my career. i was very fortunate to be able to do that but my favorite job was when i was the secretary of defense especially during desert storm and the collapse of the soviet union, the end of the cold war was a high point certainly in my career. but i came away with that, with a deep regard for our military for what we had to do to run the department on a reasonable basis, and understanding of why, in my view, that role of commander-in-chief this is the single most important responsibility by any president. more important than anything we do, build highways to grow food, you can think of all the things that government gets involved in but that is in my opinion the single most important responsibility of the president of the united states.
it just gives. i also became very much aware of, i don't want to get tangled up in a lot of detailed arguments about the budget of one of the most important things is the length of time it takes to change course when you have to do that. if you inherit a mess as president of the united states, you can't write a check, turn the thing around overnight and take off in the direction you want to go in. doesn't work that way. i was tremendously impressed, frankly, and it involved ronald reagan when i got to the secretary of defense and the saddam hussein had invaded kuwait in 1990. the first weekend of the crisis the presidency me over to get the egyptian and saudi signed up for us to begin to deploy forces. we went to all of that and we were able to deploy in relatively short order over half a million men and women halfway
around the world effort is what ultimately became desert storm, one of the most successful military operations in the nation's history. but as i thought back on that, we were blessed because ronald reagan had been president 10 years before, because he believed in a strong america, he believed in a strong military. he gave us the quantities we needed of absolutely first rate people who were attracted to service, had been through the training, the acting thing fighters -- f-15 fighters, all of those things i've been so much a part of starting or continuing in his administration. that's what we used to when and desert storm. and remarkable order 10 years later. the first thing i did after desert storm was over i called president reagan. you was then retired living in beverly hills, and i thank him
when i first got them on the phone i thank them for all the $600 toilet seats. he said, dick, they didn't cost $600. yes, sir, i understand. but at one point at a welcome home ceremony for all the troops after desert storm was over with i the opportunity to go visit president and mrs. reagan at their home down there at bel air. i spent a couple hours with the president that afternoon. he was still doing pretty well healthwise. he was intensely interested on all aspects of desert storm, also our relationship with the soviets, things get been involved in as president. he sat me down and enjoy this with and people efforts to overthrow the eddie sat on a footstool they see me directly and focused right on my face and started asking me questions. i think part of it was an effort on his part to compensate for some of the memory problems he
was beginning to deal with, but he kept me there for about two years -- to our schooling me on what we're going to do. again i thank you profusely for everything you done because he was directly responsible what we able to do 10 years later. now i think about going forward with what barack obama has done. the military is in terrible shape today. we just had the army chief of staff just retire, ray odierno, superb soldier. he was a major commander force when we did the surge. general petraeus was involved rate was the guy who operate on the ground and delivered in '07 and '08 that was enormously successful. he committed four significant period of time over there, but ray made a speech, testimony before the congress within the last six months. he's just retire.
he said that in terms of the readiness level of the united states army that the army readiness level today is worse than it has been anytime in in e history of the united states army. that goes back 200 years. the air force chief of staff has announced we are now operating the air force with fewer aircraft and older aircraft than any other time in our history, since the air force was set up and, of course, that was right after world war ii. all of the chiefs of the current crop as well as those of retired, within the last you have given testimony in congress that given the current state of affairs, readiness and so forth, that they are not capable into crisis probably unthinkable to execute the national strategy that the military is called upon to do. the military is in terrible shape. we have not had a budget prepared the normal way were you
look at potential threats around the world and decide what you need to meet those threats, put together a budget and goes through the process, the white house. now we have a thing called the sequester this is a result of the budget act of 2011, and what it does, it was adopted because it's so egregious in terms of its impact, the assumption that part of the congress when it passed it was we will never live with this, it's so bad that we will come up with a better solution. they never have come up with a better solution and no, we have the sequester and it takes him across the board to all of the spending accounts by digits the military part of anybody else. defense department account for about 17% of the budget takes 50% of it. we are now to the point where we have a very, very this question about how we perform in a crisis, our capacity to meet the threats we see around the world because of what's happened to
the united states military. during the obama era. it's a huge, huge concern to me and our recommendation in our book is sort of number one in terms of an agenda for the next administration, what they need to focus on and worry about. >> as we were finishing our book, the agreement on the upper annular deal was announced. so we have a section in the book that analyzes the agreement and some recommendations about. he gave a speech yesterday in washington. one of the things you talk about in his speech was the extent to which some of the concessions that were made at the end have the potential to be devastating. you talked about the lifting of restrictions on the icbm program as giving the iranians the ability to launch a nuclear attack on the u.s. homeland. it's a very direct and tough
criticism of the deal. obviously, the administration is out there making claims about it. i'd like to talk about sort of the issues and the concerns that you have with the deal, and to what you think about some of the claims the administrations made just in the last few days. >> it was intriguing. i gave a speech at the american enterprise institute yesterday that had been scheduled for a couple of months. the white house response was to put up on the website basically an attack on me that was personally more than policy. they didn't answer any of the policy questions we raised for the that people raised, and i don't mind getting attacked. it goes with being vice president. if i wanted to be popular, for the, be a movie star. i wouldn't be vice president. but no, it's a terrible deal and in so many different ways.
one is that the president has put a lot of claims for but his claims are not valid. he gets into the whole area that this will stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. no, it won't. once the iranians have nuclear capability even before that, others in the region are going to want theirs. they will not have all those countries, the saudis, the in the rockies and so forth, the israelis are not going to sit tight and allow the iranians to be the only ones in the neighborhood with nuclear weapons. they will go acquire the own and some sort have the money to buy them. we got proliferation problems in the middle east before but there's no doubt in my mind of what this agreement will precipitate, the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the area. part of the frustration is that at the very end of the negotiations all the negotiations we were told it was just about the nuclear question. it's not about terrorism.
it's not about what iran does to support hezbollah and hamas and terrorist organizations. it's not about elastic missiles they said. it's not about conventional weapons, non-nuclear conventional weapons. but it turns out when it finally did the deal was about all those things. obama put all those on the table at the tail end of the negotiations. the embargo on ballistic missiles are doing business in ballistic missiles with iran has been lifted. a few years down the road, same thing for the approach on conventional weapons. but since the agreement was signed earlier this year, soleimani, a general who commands the quds force, the worst of the worst in terms of the evil proxy if you will for the iranians that are deeply involved, one at a key activity in recent years has been building the ieds, the
improvised explosive devices, used against our troops in afghanistan and iraq. but those other related issues now are all on the table, that they have lifted the sanctions that have been imposed on quds force and irgc. soleimani has already been to moscow since the agreement was conditional but a couple months ago, then to moscow divide s-300. and s-300 is a very, very capable russian built antiaircraft missile. he's already over there even the supposedly those restrictions remain in place for five more years. they are not paying any attention to them. he's already been in moscow doing to deal with putin. if you go through the sequence come after don't want to take up the whole like talking about the problem, but one of the keys has been in the nonproliferation
treaty which was signed back in about 1970 in which 190 countries, every country on the face of the earth has signed up with the nonproliferation treaty, distinction between nuclear weapon states, u.s., britain, russia, china, britain and france but those are the guys all have weapons and can't enrich uranium. and the non-weapon states which is anybody else including the iranians signed up and, therefore, example not to enrich. the iranians have demanded as part of this agreement that they be allowed to enrich and that we sanction the right to enrich uranium even though it violates the nonproliferation treaty of 1970. it also tears up the six u.n. security council resolutions that were adopted over the years. five of the pushed, voted by the u.s., three went through on a
unanimous vote. all of those are targeted on the iranians because of their bad behavior. the agreement that obama signed wipes out the six u.n. security council resolutions. they are now zeroed out, and we sanction the ability of the iranians to have enrichment capability they are now the only ones under the npt for doing that. it's a direct violation of the npt but all that has been ignored and thrown out of the window. so as you go through the process and think about it and look what's been done here, i think the outcome is bleak. i think it's a terrible direction to go down. i think we have done a lot of work over the years with respect to try and avoid the proliferation of nuclear weapons. i think the president has put in place now and agreement that is bound and determined to create enormous pressures for the proliferation of nuclear weapons
in the middle east, and that we will have to live with all that in the future. >> i think another point our way to sum up how people should think about the agreement, sometimes when you're the president say it's better than nothing, and remember this is the man has been telling us he will not accept a bad deal, now he's saying is that deal is better than no deal. it seems to me is more to remember, number one, it won't accomplish what he says. for a number of reasons by that listed, also because the inspections regime is swiss cheese. it's full of holes. it will not enable us to have any sort of understanding, in depth understand what the iranians are doing. it will not enable u us to catch up to 20 g. to cheat. it's been amazing to see john kerry said we will know with certainty. we certainly will not. so i won't prevent them from
having nuclear weapons. it will give them international copper and legitimacy because suddenly you're having international business run its. they are no longer a pariah state because of this agreement. and at the same time it gets them all of these benefits, $150 billion in cash, the lifting of restrictions my dad mentioned. so you have iran which is want to destroy israel, sworn recently to do everything it can to attack american with chance death to america on a daily basis. now provided with funds come with weapons and a pathway to a nuclear bomb. when you think of a president of the united states who has put all of that in place, it really is very, very difficult to understand why he would think, if you had set 10 years ago our president will be providing the money and the weapons that iran needs to attack the united states, that's exactly what this
deal does even before you get to the issue of a pathway to nuclear weapon. it's a very dangerous deal. it gets back to this notion of sort of the president's view of the world. one of the things that is a theme that runs through the book that we spent a lot of time on is the extent to which you had president of roosevelt, truman, eisenhower, kennedy, nixon, ford, carter to a lesser extent, reagan understanding that weakness is provocative. this president doesn't understand that, and i think it will be interesting to hear your assessment if you look at places like russia and china what the impact of his unwillingness to defend red light comes to project american power, delete in the world from what impact it's having and we see those relationships going into future.
>> we've been focused the last few days of the iranian situation. the situation in the middle east, it's a huge set of problems that gets worse. there's a calibrated there, et cetera. but we also must look at russia and look at china. when we start to talk about our strategic situation, our capacity to deal with the. one of the great strengths the u.s. has had again going back to world war ii is without a significant advantage from a technical standpoint in all of the basic technologies that you need in the military. things like stealth aircraft or precision guided munitions or the abrams tank which is to obsolete the best in the world. that technological advantage is disappearing. if you look carefully at what's happening in russia and china, you will see evidence that gap that has been a great advantage for us, nobody's been able to
best us over that period of time, you begin to worry we see what's happening. if you look at russia, just yesterday i saw an article, clips that i get, that the russians now are building and undersea, unmanned robotic submarine. it will be able to do all of those things underwater that we cannot do with drones, outside, and underwater drone. that's got all kinds of ramifications for it. it's a picture of what they publicized what you're actually doing. if you go to china you will find that if you look back at their defense budgets them since 1989 there's only been one year when the chinese defense budget has gone up by double-digit, only one. we are a long way of having defense budgets going up by double digits. it doesn't have anymore because
of this question. the chinese have developed a ballistic missile that can take out assembly. that's been a major core of our strength, especially in the western pacific. they know what our aircraft carriers are capable of doing, but they've got now a ballistic missile that will take out our aircraft carriers. you can look what to do it in the south china sea where they have gone in and build man-made islands. there some shallow reefs that if you like what they're actually doing and building airbases on them, turning them into military facilities and acclaiming part of the south china sea that has been international waters up until now. look at what putin has done in ukraine, crimea. i think he is aspirations of similar activity with respect to the baltics, estonia, the duane and lock it. they were all part of the soviet
union going back to world war ii. they all had significant minority russian populations and all of 100% dependent on russia for the natural gas supplies, and they are all members of nato. we have a solemn obligation to come to their assistance should they be attacked. the question is could we do that, are we capable of putting together that kind of an operation if we had to? i think putin is bound and determined while obama is in the white house to take advantage of that. he knows weakness when he sees it. it is provocative, and i think he also has this objective, the desire to undermine nato. i can see him pursuing a strategy, a series of operations basically that would put a lot of pressure on the united states it or number, we are 75% of the nato budget, there isn't a native without the united states leadership and u.s. forces to be a part of that. all of that i think will be tested in the next couple of
years by mr. putin. he watches competing with newspapers. he knows what's happening to our defense budget. he has a set of beliefs, somebody suggested the other day, more dangerous than the predecessors gorbachev's predecessors when you had brezhnev and others. the argument was at least that was the politburo there that he had entity. putin doesn't have the attitude anybody. a dictatorship with aspirations of trying to undo the damage what he sees was done through the end of the cold war. there's concern both on the part of the chinese, the chinese and the russians. both the chinese and the russians are working very hard to try to fill those gaps, laces where we have military capability that they haven't been able to challenge previously, like ballistic missile that can take out an aircraft carrier, and the threat
that poses to us, the weakness that we have imposed on ourselves, the antimissile capability we're going to bold in poland and the czech republic that obama through a way, closed down that part of the program. there's a long list of threats out there, but it's a multiplier. you see one foul up, one problem comes when weakness, one budget cut ad adds on to the other endd you do something like move into the eastern part of the ukraine, and what penalties have been imposed? not much. use the china's moving into the south china sea. not much. when the united states makes bold talk, yo look at obama's approach to the city in red line when he is going to get active military, when bashir al-assad use gas on his own people and then a socket and obama turned
around and walked away from the. said that our allies and adversaries no longer respect the united states the way they have in the past and every day that goes by there's more evidence added, especially something like the iranian nuclear deal that really pounds home the proposition for our adversaries out of that have nothing to fear from the united states. >> let's talk about iraq. the video commission that the white house put up yesterday in response to your iran speech was criticizing you for the decision to liberate iraq in 2003. my own personal view is that anybody who referred to isis as the jv team does not run in a position to be lecturing anyone on the topic of iraq. but stalk about iraq. your sense of what you did, why you did it come was at the right thing to do and what other impacts it had that people may not be fully aware of.
>> well, after we did desert storm, the question was whether we should go on to baghdad then, then there was unanimous view that we should not. there wasn't anybody urging it. what happened between then, 1991 and 2003, was a little item called 9/11. when we lost 3000 people. the united states saw the trade towers down, big hole in the ground, flight 93 would've taken out the white house and the capitol building if it hadn't been for the courageous passengers onboard. we had reporting in the aftermath of that that bin laden can for example, try to get his hands on a nuclear weapon. remember, 9/11 there were 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters. that's what they had, airline tickets and box cutters to launch the attack and there's not a lot of evidence we do with that in the future was another attack like that with far deadlier weapons, bugs, gas, or
nuclear. we had been come if you look at the history of the world and in that part of the world on this whole question of proliferation, one of the main things we were concerned about was the proliferation of nuclear weapons. it wasn't something that just came up on want intelligence report prior to 9/11. you go back to 1981 and baghdad, saddam hussein had a nuclear reactor operating outside baghdad. the israelis took at the 1991, saddam restarted the program again. we took it out in desert storm. then you fast-forward up to 2003 and would make a judgment based on the back were getting a ton of intelligence that said saddam hussein was again back in the nuclear business, and we went in and took them the saddam hussein regime.
beside that, one of the things that we get into any threat coming immediately from iraq but it also had significant impact on the proliferation problem. because two examples already, 81 and 91 but also what happened after we took down saddam hussein is moammar gadhafi got religion. gadhafi had centrifuges, uranium feedstock and get it weapons design. when we took them saddam hussein, i think it was five days after we dug it out of his hole, moammar gadhafi got religion and announced he's going to turn over all his nuclear materials to the united states. and he did. very wise man. that did a couple of things. one, think of what would've happened in libya in subsequent years if he had not turned over those nuclear materials to the united states when he was finally overthrown, and isis moved in, killed gadhafi, the
radicals did. they would have inherited that libyan nuclear program. second thing it did when we went in and brand, took that back from the libyans, that uncovered a.q. khan. mr. kohn was a pakistani engineer who had a major hand in building nuclear inventory, nuclear weapons for pakistan. think it got into business for himself instead of a plot market operation but libya was his biggest customer but it also been involved with the north koreans, the iranians. iit turns out if you go back to 1987 in a meeting in a hotel in dubai, it was mr. khan and his people who got $3 million in return for providing the basic design of centrifuges for the iranians. to 1987 iranians get their
start. it was something that came from a.q. khan. we shut him down. he went into house arrest in pakistan. we shut down his black market operation. so those are all examples where we used military or the threat of military operations to halt the proliferation. the other thing that happened was in '07, showed up in my office in the west wing. he had photographs he set up israeli intelligence taken inside the nuclear reactor built by the north could for the syrians in eastern syria. that was '07. the israelis took it out but imagine what would happen if they had not. now it is part of the caliphate to isis now has. that's another incidence where we were lucky why the radical islamists didn't advance on newcomer to the but it's only a
matter of time but i think we're safer today than we would have if we had not taken down saddam hussein. those who argue against it have to explain the fact that your son saddam hussein around. but it was a very, very important. i think, i believe in and out we did the right thing in 2003 and that the world is less threatening now that it was but barack obama is about to turn it on its head with his operations entity wants to do with the iranians. >> isis, the rise of the isis, do you think the caliphate can be contained? >> i'm not sure how you contain the caliphate if you're going to withdraw u.s. forces. you can cross your fingers. you can pray. you can try to find somebody who will go in and do it for you. but i think isis is such a deadly combination. caliphate is a very significant thing. it's the first time we've had
one in hundreds of years where they about established a regime, government is under sharia law, extraordinary radical. we have seen what they do recruiting successor, for example, even here in the united states. we see some of the stories of young people being encouraged to go to syria and sign up with isis and to be part of that new system. very potent, very deadly force committed to the destruction of all the infidels, now have a foothold in libya as well. the thing everybody some of the refugees now that are flowing out of syria ended to europe, some of them may well be people operating, some are actually members of isis but are trying to transfer their revolution now to europe because there's already a significant presence of them if there. so i think the only option on isis, i think they have to be
destroyed. you will have to do it sooner or later the it will only be more costly and take longer the longer we wait until be especially dangerous if i've the time we decide we are going to do something about it they have a nuclear weapon. because one of those governments over there has fallen after they acquired that capability, and then we will have a great the grave difficult a situation where we have great instability and unrest, terrorist and can go and have a hands-on deadly weapons than they ever have before speaker let's talk about hillary. [laughter] spent why does everybody laugh? >> secretary clinton had a very interesting approach to e-mail. [laughter] as secretary of state. i'd like to get your thoughts both author decision that she
could conduct oliver business, including we now know sending top secret e-mails on a private server the reside in a bathroom in denver, and what you think this is about her fitness to be commander in chief. >> well, i -- >> that's not a trick question. >> not a trick question. i don't think she's qualified to be commander-in-chief obviously. i think this question, this private server, anybody who has been there and been through those processes with your second of defense, state, part of the cabinet, the with highly classified information all the time, you don't make mistakes like that. there some reason why she did that i think we'll find out what it is as they are now pretty aggressively pursuing what was on the server. in the last couple of days they found affairs, there were top secret papers on that server.
that's the highest classification in there is was to get into very highly specialized areas. and i don't, i am not a hillary fan, okay? >> breaking news. [applause] >> getting the look that says move on. [laughter] as you look at 2016, i know you mentioned to me before we came in that you wanted to use the opportunity tonight to announce your endorsement. [applause] >> that is a fast one. not part of the program. i haven't endorsed anybody yet i know a lot of the candidates, worked with him over the years. i have consciously stayed away from endorsing anybody for couple of reasons.
one, because of the book. what i'm really concerned about and that than what has been concerned about is we want with our efforts we have made with the book and with some contending stuff i do on behalf of the party, i also am committed to reince priebus, i go out and help them raise money for the republican party. rather than for a candidate at this stage because they've got a lot to do as well. but the thing that concerns me most is to make certain that these issues, that kind we have just been talked about, national city issues, are front and center in this campaign. it ought to be efforts of the most immortal thing a president hosted an has to worry about, it ought to be right at the top of the agenda and it comes time to make a choice about who i want to support. i'm interested in how the various candidates will respond to our suggestions. i don't expect to be able to dictate policy at all but those
are the problems that i see other based on my 40 some years in the business. and i think the records therefore itself but obama has taken us down a primrose path, and the next president, man or woman, is going to have to take on that task the day they arrived in office. i want to make sure that i think they're up to the task. so that sort of my noble in priority. >> so no endorsement tonight? >> no endorsement tonight. >> sorry. [laughter] it wasn't the case that as we worked on the book there were days, especially were doing the research and the writing about the obama era, that it could be really dispiriting. we have a whole section on the extent to which the president traveled the world during his first year in office literally apologizing for us to and talking at every opportunity,
taking every opportunity to make sure that he had conveyed to foreign governments, foreign audiences, the people the american had been edited. that he believed america had not listened. he listened to a diatribe i daniel ortega about the things, the life that ortega told about america and the president's response was just as they will, i'm glad he didn't blame me for things that happened when i was three months old to the end of his apology tour we know from cables that been leaked in news reports when he went to japan. and before he got to japan, the american ambassador sent a cable to washington saying that the japanese government had rejected the jvm that president obama traveled to hiroshima and nagasaki and apologize for the nuclear bombs we dropped. showing no recognition at all, no understanding at all of the
importance of ending the war when we ended it and why that was the right thing to do. so it can be dispiriting and want to end tonight with something that's more hopeful. and that is, first of what to just read to you something that charles got home or has written and want to -- charles krauthammer, and then a section from the end of the book. we write that there is good news, just as one present has left a path of destruction in his way, one present to rescue us. the right person in the oval office can restore america's strength and our alliances, renew our power and leadership, defeat our enemies and keep us safe. but it will not be easy. that are difficult decisions to be made and very little time. we faced great challenges as a nation before and the right leaders have brought us through. as charles krauthammer observed, quote, it is one of the enduring
mysteries of american history, so near providential as to give the most part of a these applause that it should produce at every hinge point great men who matched the moment, a roiling revolutionary british colony gives birth to the greatest cohort of political thinkers ever. jefferson, adams, madison, hamilton, washington, franklin and shaping the crisis of the 19 center brings forth lincoln, the 20th fdr. we are living in a pinch point of history and we require a president equal to this moment. we must choose wisely. and i want to ask my dad to read about another duty we have as citizens. >> as citizens we also have a duty to protect our ideals and our freedoms by safeguarding our history. we must ensure that our children know the truth about who we are,
what we've done and why it is uniquely america's duty to be freedom's defender. our children should know about the boys at pointing haq, and doolittle's raiders and the battles of midway and iwo jima. aspect going to do half. they should learn about the courage of the young americans who fought excuse me, the light is better the courage of the young americans who fought the nazis at the battle of the bulge, the japanese okinawa. they should learn what america was right in the war by dropping the bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki and about the fundamental decency of the nation that established the truman doctrine, the marshall plan, and the north atlantic treaty organization. they need to do about the horror of the holocaust and what it means to promise never again. they should know that once there was an empire so evil and the rest of the truth, it had to build awol to keep its citizens
in come at the free world but by americans defeated. they need to know about the terrorist who attacked us on 9/11, the courage of the first responders and the heroism of the passengers on flight 93. they should understand what kind of world militant islam will create if we don't defeat it. they should learn about great men like george marshall and dwight eisenhower and harry truman and ronald reagan. we must teach them what it took to prevail over evil in the 20th century, and what it will take in the 21st. we must make sure they understand that it is the brave men and women of the united states armed forces who defend our freedom and security for millions of others as well. our children need to know that they are citizens of the most powerful good and honorable nation in the history of mankind. the exceptional nation. ordinary americans have done heroic things to guarantee her
survival. america's future and the future of freedom for all the world now depend on us. speaking at omaha beach on the 40th anniversary of the d-day landings, president reagan put it this way, we will always remember, we will always be proud, we will always be prepared so we may always be free. thank you very much. >> thank you. [applause] ..