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tv   Book Discussion on Americas War for the Greater Middle East  CSPAN  May 21, 2016 11:00pm-11:49pm EDT

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for part of your journey, again my favorite was your deck, you are also one of my favorite character and then there is ebony. >> ..
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>> >> and so eventually in 18 years later you are released. what was that like to leave prison after 19 years to walk out of that jail? >> i walked out one day after my 30th birthday.
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>> >> while i absolutely loved walking out of prison, i realized we were in a lot of trouble with men and women coming home because we were not prepared so i had to learn a lot of stuff very quickly and fortunately i am relatively smart but the scary part i know one of the men and women who are incarcerated have third grade skills and that is
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scary when you think about that. >> host: just to correct one thing you are brilliant use secure relatively smart but you are brilliant not just intellectually but spiritually. to evolve the way that you have one of concern that people have as we think about as people are on board but the ways to do things differently are also those who are risk for violence or those who commit violent crimes.
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>> yes. politicians for decades have used your based to control the minds of american citizens. so we will lock them up and throw away the key but the attitude is then they hide the key then they release people in to the unsuspecting society without the proper skill sets without transitional counseling without access to employment and housing. the american public has been duped into believing that no violence offenders get released it is the same tactic over and over again
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the majority of people are getting out 90 percent get out we have a conscious choice when they return to our society we have to start warehousing people expecting people to come now does help the individuals it doesn't matter if you go when his non-violent but you will have to resort to violence at some point to survive the experience so they have used that language for so long that to me it is no longer even relevant i think we just need to be honest about what is happening we are coming home and we are getting out that no matter what you have been convicted of that when you get out you can get out in the
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healthiest way possible so might challenge os/2 politicians to be honest with the american public but this is what makes the book so important because you get the insider's look of how we can fix it of what really works and how to produce better outcomes so the idea of nonviolent curses while defenders is nonsense. >> you are an inspiration after reading the book it was one of the most powerful conversation she has ever had. thanks for writing the book and all the important work you're doing now with the effort for the better ephod
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criminal-justice system writing my wrongs this made me a better person. thank you. >> i really appreciate that. it was heartfelt so i appreciate the interview thinks for checking out the book. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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and good afternoon is good to see our members your president of world affairs council today we are pleased and proud to work with the dallas public library to host the colonel over his remarkable career a graduate of west point in vietnam veteran and a consultant of our armed forces over 24 years now professor emeritus at boston university a remarkable author limits of power washington rules but we are here today to talk about this book america's war for the greater middle east that just came out two weeks ago and i thank you will see we want to invite you to ask questions this is
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a book that everyone of us should read. second and added the army longer than i was in. [laughter] >> it has been over 35 years since carter outlined the carter doctrine a strategy that began in the sense of the militarization and you cite that as a turning point because we see some young folks of what was the carter doctrine and that change the foundation of america's longest war. >> it was a statement that jimmy carter though least
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bellicose president of the last half century made during his january 1980 state of the union address and in historical context that younger people may not recall that in january 1980 the united states recently suffered the second oil shock meaning at least the appearance of the shortage of oil that reminded all of americans that at that time the well-being of our country was dependent on our ability to access for resolve's -- reserves that was because of the i rainy revolution overturn the shah with the government that was hostile to the united
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states, pounding at the soviets were now occupying afghanistan so it appeared the soviets were trying to march westward into saudi arabia and iran. and carter was perceived to be a weak president presiding over a lackluster e economy as opposed of the was letting things like the iran hostage crisis and 1980 of course, was a presidential election year he wanted to be elected to his second term and politically it would make sense to strike a get-tough posture the carter doctrine was intended to do that but it implied or led to the militarization of u.s.
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policy in the middle east beginning with the persian gulf but ultimately including a far broader swath of territory in the islamic world. >> he did not for one second for c or expect all of the military interventions that were to follow in 1980 but it touches off or for the greater good. >> we always heard fighting to preserve our security was that accurate in was that all? >> is the yes but not all of it. it did make sense to say that at the outset that it was a war for oil because it
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appeared that our prosperity and well-being was contingent upon to insure that we had access to foreign oil but i argue in the book but it quickly dwarfed into something else and became a war to demonstrate the limits that apply to other countries need not apply to us to demonstrate with united states sets his mind to do something that we can that we can shape a large part of the world with the assumption being the use of american military power to assess the instrument to accomplish this. >> we hear so much of the
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term american exceptionalism president bush said american is a nation with the mission that comes from our most basic belief this great republic is the cause of freedom and a few years later obama said i believe american exceptionalism just as the british believe in british exceptionalism in greeks believed in greek exceptionalism. [laughter] isn't that one of the issues in the middle east? >> absolutely if you recall when president obama said i believe in american exceptionalism you also recall he got beat up by his critics for that the reason was his critics argued that
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there is nothing comparable to american exceptionalism that our exceptionalism is exceptional. [laughter] to the point of the question that yes emphatically one of the ames is to affirm american exceptionalism to push back against any impression that the american century was a fluke or fiction and i have to say not to be partisan but in particular with george w. bush administration response to 9/11 was very much to exemplify the emphasis. >> but not in the beginning? >> this book describes a war
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that began in 1980 in and continues through the present in 2016 so immediate post 9/11 period with the bush administration and it was accelerating the military involvement is part of the viewpoint of my story but it is true the immediate response to 9/11 under president bush was to declare a global war on terrorism the initial military response was to initiate operations in during freedom in afghanistan focusing on punishing al qaeda and the taliban for providing sanctuary to al qaeda and in my judgment the
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administration assumed far too quickly that the afghanistan war was one or prematurely to focus attention on iraq the country which we know had nothing to do with an 11 so why would the bush administration be in such a hurry? there is a lot of explanations but ultimately they believed that by invading iraq to overthrow saddam that was expected to be our rapid transformation to democracy this was the first up of a larger project to go under the label of freedom agenda so iraq was
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supposed to be the start point but the problem of course, the bush administration's expectations of a victory easily won without political transformation collapsed and we ended up with was a long and brutal insurgency that did not end well and has now resumed with another goal for that is drawing the obama administration more deeply into it. >> tell us about the genesis it didn't come from the oval office or other advisers. >> it would reflect the intellectual mood that has come into existence in the wake of the cold war with
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that military and ideological aspect that some of you may recall the story the "in-depth" history with the notion that the end of the cold war was a decisive turning point in history from this point on was self-evident that the democratic capitalism was the only notions to organize society in capitalism was destined by history to spread around the universe combined with the estimation of military power to be affirmed by operation desert storm in the mind of sun in washington who believe they
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had ascended to a position of absolute military supremacy. >> my point is and it needed to be used but it ought to be put to work that the risk involved was negligible but the potential to use of military to ship the order was so great in the people in the inner circle were persuaded by both of these claims of liberal democratic capitalism to proliferate around the world with the claim american military supremacy was endowed with a capacity to bring about that ideological change so that ever arching notion that led
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the administration after 9/11 to say not because it poses a danger but because it appeared to be an enormous opportunity to bring history to the intended destination. >> one of the things that continues to surprise and concern we have the american public is asleep a such a major investment with iraq and afghanistan believing we pay attention to is isis is there too much emphasis on that and does that represent a real existential threat? >> what is isis? it is a movement of 25,000 fighters that our vital in vicious don't have an air
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force or navy or weapons of mass destruction they have no significant resources based on which to draw and they have no allies and 7,000 miles away. is no doubt true that the organization like them can inspire people and initiate small-scale attacks and it could be led destination like the incident in california but it does not pose any large threats and to your point with isis through the obama administration through the political world in the middle of a presidential campaign is deeply unfortunate because it distracts attention from where we got to where we are
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today the purpose of writing a history is not just to tell a story the purpose is to invite the readers to appreciate how long this story has been unfolding how little we have achieved and at what cost to ourselves and the people in the region >> is aware that questions we should be asking? >> the standard questions you should ask about any war specially going on for a considerable amount of time is a victory a successful outcome? if the answer is no and i believe it is then what are the alternatives other than
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perpetuating that of what we have been falling over three and a half decades? but what should we be doing that is so we should expect to hear from secretary clinton or senator cruz not the promise of a let me president it was certainly the case that isis needs to be disposed of it is not a significant threat but certainly it poses a grave threat to the international order of the region and that needs to be dealt with the the question is whether or not the american military power provides the appropriate solution to this problem and if you look at
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what we have been doing it is apparent to me that instrument is not appropriate. >> win diplomacy took a backseat to diplomacy? >> that is part of the cold war when did that begin? and for reasons at the time the united states lenticels to perpetuity a large military establishment with the unintended consequences to shift the balance of influence in favor of the military or national security apparatus to the betterment of the state department of those who are advocating on military approaches and that
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inclination to the late 40's was to be reinforced and reaffirmed by 9/11 i am not a pacifist or in favor of a strong american military but at the end of the date we need to be pragmatic in concern ourselves with what works and what doesn't in how much things cost and a pragmatic perspective but there is an urgent need to evaluate the course of this war in the place we have been brought to. >> and then a likely to produce a different outcome. >> this is a war that is seen killing in u.s. forces being killed not just iraq
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and afghanistan somalia and sudan and syria the list goes on and on if you look at the behavior over the decades we have tried overwhelming force and anti-counterterrorism in nation-building in peacekeeping humanitarian intervention covert wars it isn't as if the people in the pentagon or wind has single-handedly said the we have taken a variety of approaches that need to get to the bottom line of this evaluation the bottom line is none of those approaches
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are the results that policy makers anticipated or expected so there are those that secretary clinton that in different ways all represent a elect me and i will try harder i will say we have come to a point where that should not be a satisfactory position. >> you say you don't see a change in policy? >> that they're advocating identical approaches it is certainly possible to find between clinton and trumpet and cruz but that said i would argue the similarities greatly outweigh the
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differences and at this point assuming that one of those three will be the president there will be no significant rethinking that we will continue down that path. >> why day think the american public mixups the greater war in the middle east as a permanent fixture? >> we have arrived at a position where war is a normal condition and that is shocking to say. why? because most of us are not affected.
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most of us don't serve none of us are required to pay for the war undertaken in our name american people were expected to some degree to pay for the war by having taxes increased this war is unique that we embark on a military enterprise of the massive significance and they cut taxes so we are not invested most of us don't have skin in the game and therefore it is tough for
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people the war become something most americans to now to and somehow or other the obligation to support the troops is confused with supporting the war and that could be unpatriotic. >> it seems to me that their primary obligation is to demand the troops be used wisely and not be subjected to abuse and there is no greater abuse bin to commit soldiers to go fight in
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unnecessary wars and i believe unnecessary and mismanaged our terms apply to those interventions we have undertaken. >> you served in the military and a scholar of military history do you feel there is a change between the civilian military relationship? >> an excellent question there is of a definition of the relationship between the policy makers and senior military officers we tend to take for granted that relationship is positive the principle of civilian control is honored i think
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it is not with mutual manipulation but think back to the relationship of donald rumsfeld of the joint chiefs of staff to the iraq invasion and it is clear that rumsfeld quite intentionally sought to marginalize the jaycee s because he did not like the advice they were giving. >> indeed it was some part of the officer corps to name obama through a crystal and petraeus that sent the officers that were involved so the threat of military
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balance changes and it is important to recognize but it has to do with the relationship between people and the american military and those of us to serve to make reference to be invested or be on balance of the all volunteer force turned out to have negative consequences that very few people appreciate when the draft was ended but now contributes to the misguided military policies and to overuse and misuse the military. >> to do you think that's
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fair? [laughter] >> in the sense of the hero's inappropriately. >> remember i tapped out as a colonel to criticize the generals is not to say i could have done better but two things generals charged with running the war that is tough and requires an extraordinary level of sophistication to marry those political purposes to produce a positive outcome is a tough business and frankly i think those who we have elevated to that level have not gotten it done in
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the purpose of going to war to conclusively achieve the agendas is not to get to baghdad and not to have a parade in washington d.c. to honor those but the exercise to achieve our political purpose the american general officer corps has not performed all that well because we have not achieved our political purpose or rethought we did but it turns out our accomplishments were partial and ephemeral so the point isn't to take on a
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particular general but the greatest military in the world that military command exercised at the highest level leaves something to be desired do need to take another approach to educating in developing and selecting? what is the up problem and hero worship impede that effort to subject our military leaders to that secretary -- scrutiny that is needed the doesn't seem there is any willingness on the part to undertake anything critical anymore than looking to the cardinal archbishop to let it pass
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scrutiny when the church that i love goes astray and it takes outsiders to provide that critique and knowledge torte reform. >> during the vietnam war you had cronkite and the body counts but in this situation you don't have a strong opposition or congress. >> you mentioned the media but we have to political party separate tent to be different and they are with domestic and social issues but with national security policy they are largely clones so this is a bipartisan project they are invested and implicated in there for in the political
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arena to take stock of a larger project would not have a george mcgovern for mccarthy but historically mccarthy and mcgovern represent the critical voice of mainstream politics that is the critical debate over policy. >> comment on the impact that we are here in dallas for worth about $20 billion of weapons of arms went to the middle east had to get around that? >> president eisenhower was right there is a military industrial complex so why would you wait until three days before?
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but he performed a service and certainly they exercise influence not as much today as it did in the '50s simply because look at the role of defense in the proportion of the federal budget is significantly smaller than that was in terms of total gdp it is significantly smaller. >> so the president of general dynamics has a phone call to the oval office has is called put through before ours but it is not just to point to one factor to say i know how we got here this does not apply to your
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question this some take that regard to israel i know how we got there because the library -- the lobby was hijacked it has influence it is wrong to cite one explanation there are multiple explanations of how we got to where we are and how we began the war the military industrial complex to some degree the notion of american exceptionalism the fact there is a larger national security apparatus looking to lot beyond the industrial complex is a mind-set or a definition of what u.s. policy needs to be to perpetuate the
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inclination and it is important to recognize the power complicated that would move to a wiser course of a more comprehensive approach. >> come forward if you have a question. >> in the last 16 years we had one president authorize the use of torture and other of dextral judicial killings by drones in dimension there is knows it difference but there is the congress and to
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what is your thoughts on why they're not exercising their authority to say stop or not? >> cry will give you to answer is one of them as they are a bunch of cowards. [laughter] refused to take responsibility and second their political calculation that their own political interest are better served by keeping hands off to get to specifics the ongoing goal for the fourth one the one against isis and assad regime is being conducted
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authorizing legislation the obama administration sites to use military force in the wake of 9/11 isis did not exist then so under the constitution there has to be specific congressional action to empower a the president to make war against isis or that withholds that power and it is contemptible the congress refuses to take that up even obama himself as fast the authorization to use military force the katchis he knows they want it is disturbing that we know this
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is going on and go find it objectionable. >> please ask short questions. [inaudible] >> the problem is the gap between the military with the elites cent will to do that could close the gap to
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create greater material to increase the diversity of the force last year for kids graduated from harvard and went into the military if we promised a full ride all expenses paid tuition and room board and spending money to any veteran than to go to harvard given the cost of a college education that might induce even number of middle-class parents to say i thank you may want to consider being a listed to initiate a of a program of national service that every young person male or female at age 18 oppose the terms
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of service to country or community and on that list is military service but joining the peace corps or teach for america and those to accommodate the youngsters that we have the reach age 18 every year so this is the sort of thing of what we talk to read in the presidential election year. and to go to canada but now i am sorry because i cannot


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