tv Book Discussion Midnights Furies CSPAN July 21, 2016 8:44pm-9:38pm EDT
i would not call it toy, but in the old days when they are reading this again macarthur with this world war i mentality where when he got intelligence at world war i he was going out of the front trenches. i think you is what of the many pieces of the combined operation that he has to get you to use to and rely on. >> one last question. >> considering macarthur's performance with with the bonus army and roosevelts perhaps, about japan, how come he kept him around in 1933. any indication that was well tried to move a minute and try move him out? >> i out? >> i think the short answer to that is that he keeps, rose will keep some macarthur an additional year as chief of staff for two reasons. one he wants to position his
chosen successor to follow macarthur. the second part part of it is that roosevelt is already working in the depths of the depression to be given to prepare the country for some level of mobilization for world war ii. it is great to have a conservative republican leading guy go up to the hill as army chief of staff and take some of the flak when saying that our military budget needs to be increased. to note note the military budget was a 1935? total military budget for the army part, it was something like $400,000. it is rather incredible in that. i think there there were reasons to keep him around. >> there's no indication to try to get rid of him? >> i'm sure sitting in the house
not too far from here there are many times that roosevelt wanted to get rid of macarthur. there are always reasons why he didn't. i'll be glad to sign books. thank you all for coming. [applause]. >> every night on c-span through august, book tv is in prime time. tomorrow we will highlight our guests in in-depth and afterwards, including will haygood, hiv researcher, natalia holt and journalists and and journalist and political commentator, heather macdonald. that starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> you'll have a front row seat to every minute of the republican and democratic conventions on c-span.org. watch live live streams without commentary commercials. use our video clipping tool to create your own clip of your favorite convention moment and share them
on social media. read twitter feeds from delegates and reporters in cleveland and philadelphia. our special convention pages have everything you need to get gavel to gavel coverage. gavel coverage. go to. go to c-span.org/republican national convention and c-span.org/democratic convention to update schedule information to see what is happening. every speech will be available on demand for viewing when you want on your desktop, laptop, tablet, and smart phone. her special convention pages and all of c-span.org our public of c-span.org our public service of your cable and satellite provider. if you're c-span watcher, check it out, on the web at c-span.org. convoy. >> good morning. welcome and good morning. i am on the faculty of the
political science departments and also a research fellow at the piece of more center. it is my great pleasure and honor to have this conversation with the 2016 winner of the recipient and winner of the famed court be military history award. what we we are going to do today's have a conversation, you have read his bio i am sure. you should take take a look in that pamphlet that was handed out. he is a very famous journalist. he helps set up times magazine addition. he lives now in singapore and works for bloomberg. he has written this book called midnight fury. what we wanted to do today was
on pack this book and i have not intentionally read the entire bio because i think would be more interesting to have a conversation about the book in perspective. so this a book that that deals with events that happen in countries far away, overs 17 odd years ago. but i would contend that the book is timely and relevant to where we are today. it connects with headline issues that you see in the newspapers every day. the word in afghanistan, the war in iran, america's engagement in the world, america's leadership in transforming to transform what the 21st century will bring in asia, the role of religion and conflicts, and if i might might say, how important it is for politicians when they are running for office or
otherwise to be very careful in what they say. so i want to take you back if you will come a few centuries. i was born a long time ago, not that long ago but a few centuries and i'll take you back to india where for hundreds and hundreds of years there existed this multicultural civilization with hindus, muslims, christians, all, all living together, worshiping at each other shrine. this is especially true of muslims and hindus who did that. even today you can go to virtually any village in pakistan or india then you will find hindus worshiping at muslim shine said muslims worshiping at hindu shrines. there are two marriages, when the partition of india took
place after 150 years of british presence in india and another 200 - 300 years. it was a hugely significant event. the point to bring out before we get into conversation is nothing is as simple as it looks. this is not strictly a religious conflict. i will give you a personal example. an uncle of mine rose to be the head of the ending of force. his family, like many like many muslim families did not leave india because it was hard to go home. in in the pakistani worse here's my uncle leading the air force against the pakistani air force, was once a muslim. patriots on both sides, both owing allegiance to their own country. so the big point that i want to make is that as important as
religion seems to appear, that that is not always the case. so i want to start by asking you , for hundreds and hundreds of years these people have lived together, hindus and muslims. in 1947, millions get injured or killed, why? >> i'm glad you, why? >> i'm glad you started with an easy one. [laughter] i'll give you one word answer, power. what changed in 1947, what was different from the previous 150 years was for the first time, power was an offering. british were leaving, they made it clear for several years at that point they were headed out, they did not have the money to maintain their empire in india, they didn't have the political will to do and they did not want it. it it's hindus and muslims always live together, there's always tension but there were limited in local and small riots would break out in a city or
another but would last a day two. you did not have the mass scale of violence. like you did in 1947. what happened was because the british were leaving the muslim community in india, the political leaders saw future in which they would be a permanent minority, they become out of power in india under a parliamentary system the congress party led by mahatma gandhi which was dominated by his nose would always win. they would get the majority of votes wherever they ran so the muslim parties would be confined to impotence. in the systems, they feared it was almost a winner takes all system where if you ran the government, your friends and family, cronies would get the contracts. you would write the textbooks in school, you would write the rules of worship and so on. so the program will leaders,
argued that the only way muslims could be saved after the british left was if they had a state of their own were they were a majority and they ran the government. those at the very top level. what happens is political leaders as you say you had to be very careful with how you talk about these things away say. they would paint these pictures or their followers of the terrible things that were going to happen if they did not get their own state. not only would she be forced to convert, but your daughters would be kidnapped and raped, your grandfathers would be killed and so on. this filters down from the top levels of political leadership in new delhi. once you get to the ground level it becomes the message become simple and it is killer be killed. about a year before partition, terrible riots broke out and still unclear of who started them.
it was about 10 - 15,000 people were killed. and this and this gave india a vision of what they thought would happen if they did not defend themselves. so they started to arm themselves. they started to organize, you have to remember that this was just after world war ii. you had a lot of young men who had been trained in the military, they fought in africa, europe, asia, and many still had weapons. so unlike previous riots when violence broke out after the british left, these organize laws you could almost call them were much more effective and deadly than previous attacks. they were were not fighting with this a nice error using shooting guns of the death toll skyrocketed. >> that's an interesting series of dots that you tried to connect. let me ask you, that a lot of
the trouble, i grew up in bombay so my family and i went through, but there is possibly -- there i want to ask you if you unpack that part of your book where you talk about the killings, why were they localized? why did it happen all over? >> it's important to remember and i think a lot of people have the idea that the british left and all the sudden violence and riots broke out across the continent, people work on each other. it was not that at all. my family my father who is here was in bombay at the time, no memory of any violence. it was most of india was unaffected by this. there is one particular providence called the print job which is now split between india and pakistan. this is where the border was going to go. they wanted to divide where muslims and hindus were
majority. so a new border was going to be drawn. there was a third community in the area known as the phoenix, they were concentrated in the middle of providence, the border was with their community in half and historically there is a memory of how it speaks in buffered under muslim rulers centuries ago, much more recently, in the spring of 1947 as part of this rolling series of riots muslim mobs had massacres several thousand people within a few months. they had a vision of what would happen to them if the british jew this border they found themselves on the wrong side of the line. also there were overrepresented in the armies but also really heavily militarized. so there death squads as it were started the violence after the border was strong. that is widespread very quickly
but is very concentrated in this area. it was muslims on the indian side were pushed out and hindus were pushed out from the other side. as you have this movement of people, something like 14,000,000 people across sites of the of the border over a span of a few months, you had miles long convoys of refugees, 250,000 people in a convoy, essentially defenseless. there are some essentially defenseless. there are some soldiers trying to guard them but they would swoop in and were able to massacres several hundred thousand people at a time. it was that combination of communities in the poon job that provoke them. >> i wanted to commend you and your dad for so calling out bombay, many of us are used to climate moon bay. so the hindu muslim issue came to providence along the border
areas but it didn't spread to the rest of the country, to set that tell us anything about how deeply embedded in religion the swallows or whether it was a local facts having to do more with tara terry an advantage in revenge? >> i think it's easy to think of this is a hindu muslim conflict, but you have to remember the leaders of india and pakistan were completely secular. they were not religious at all. they barely knew the cron, he drank drank alcohol which was forbidden by islam. [inaudible] he was a man of fine taste. very dapper. and the other was a cambridge socialist, he did not believe in any of this hindu mumbo-jumbo. so it wasn't about religion for them. it was again about territory, but community, it was fear that was driving them, they were
afraid that they're going to be massacred. >> the strongest drive to create pakistan was not in the areas that became pakistan, because in northwestern northeastern where they were majority, they were majority, they were in power. they did not have to fear what happened after the british left. . . on this issue on how importantly a lot of muslims felt about not creating another country called pakistan. so my dad at that time was an up
and coming screenwriter and hadn't made a big movie. we were young and he was having a hard time. he had a petition for pakistan to produce a movie and he said great, this is going to be my big opportunity, and my mother of course is a freedom fighter in india. she said of moss on your life. you're not going to that horrible country to start a movie. we don't have any money and two children. i will have to think about this. he came back and told me when we were growing up, my mother had her suitcases packed and he said what are you doing? she sai said you go to pakistano make money. i'm going back to my mother. so that's how intensely coming as you point out, a lot of muslim families felt. but the question i have for you now is i want to focus on, therefore, the importance of leaders, and the importance of the british. do you think that if the british had stuck it out and said no, we
will work this out coming as they had over 150, 200 years, or if the leaders themselves had stuck it out is very failure on the british side to have that? >> there were mistakes made on all sides. there were failures and guilt to be assigned to everyone. you can't prove a counterfactual obviously even if it hadn't happened, there is no proof that india would have stayed unified. these pressures still would have been there five or ten years later could have broken u up alg different lines. the other thing to remember is that in 47, the british only control about half of the subcontinent. the other half were independent kingdoms ruled by monarchs.
they would have decided to declare them independence. but all of the leaders made mistakes. they did try to compromise the british, for a year tried to bring the two sides together. and almost a year earlier in the spring of 46, they had come up with a compromise as a very complicated compromise where you would have the unified india with the central government and of the muslim areas at a certain degree of autonomy and the individual provinces but have other powers. it was a way for everybody to agree, and they did a great. great. everybody did agree to this. but then almost immediately after they agreed to it, the congress party leader in the press conference was being pressured by people saying why are you giving up all of this autonomy to the areas? we fought for decades to kick
the british out. he said something stupid like don't worry, we are just saying this now. once the british leave, we will do whatever we want. for any muslims hearing this, you have to think how can we trust these people? they will sign the document and then they will be in power and turn on us. so, he backed out of the agreement and then became virtually impossible to bring them back together. they did try up until the summer of 47 trying to get back to that compromise. the americans were putting heavy pressure on the sides to come back to that compromise. they wanted a united india to help as the defense of the soviet union they didn't want it to be broken up. between the time they struck a
compromise ithecompromise in th, that's when the riots started to spread. >> it grew between the leaders themselves. you have to remember they had known each other for 30 years. they argued with each other and they have friends in common. you would think they could have found common ground. even the personal relations grew. >> in the moment i'm going to open it up and ask questions but to close this purpose the conversation, to think about history i had the pleasure of interviewing gordon sullivan the board of trustees and he pressed
upon me how important it was for him to get this in a huge liberal and i used this in the classical sense, education. there is very little you can do as far as making sound decisions at the top levels of any chain of command. and so i wanted to take us forward now. we spent trillions of dollars in this strongest army of the world that we wanted it to but we haven't been able to prevail against the taliban that has no gdp we have $15 trillion. the same thing in iraq so my question for you is we have the same of its history. when someone says something you think is irrelevant you say that history and i think we ought to do away with that.
you buy multiple copies of the book and christmas isn't that far away. can you now take us forward. it's important in two ways. for americans in particular you mentioned afghanistan. the reason we are still fighting in afghanistan 15 years later almost is only because the couple then had a safe haven across the border in pakistan. that has allowed them to keep the insurgency alive forever as long as they have that safe
haven. why do they take billions of dollars to support the taliban. they fight the attacks like the mom by attacks in 2008 and why are they building u up a nuclear arsenal so rapidly and creating smaller nuclear weapons and so on. they don't believe the pakistani military still treats india as a threat that doesn't believe in their existence and want them to survive and would like to see them be reabsorbed within india. it's a few months in 1947 was in the pakistani establishment among the ordinary pakistanis and that's why the military has been able to rule the country for half of the existence.
we are going to protect the country they blended this with islam and used other excuses but that is the justification for drawing the majority of the budget when the military you need us to defend. so, for americans and any outside power it's important to understand the roots of this mentality. you can't start to unwind it unless you know where it came from and when it was created there was a certain degree of legitimacy. it isn't the truth now and they
have no interest in taking over pakistan, quite the opposit oppt it did come out of something real that we have to accept and understand. i agree with you in that sense but on the other hand, americans have a very healthy ability to examine general history and to be self-critical and not to feel like they have to hide things or sugarcoat them or ignore them and then they can move forward. we can move forward. we've given lots of readings and airborne after partition. they shouldn't have any personal connection to this yet the way they talk about the pakistanis and vice versa is no different than 1947. still the sense of paranoia and suspicion coming and it's
because they are taught a version of history that's different than this. they get one version and they are compatible and neither side really wants to admit they could have partly been at fault. maybe gandhi wasn't entirely a saint and it did make mistakes. maybe he wasn't such a nice guy and maybe he was a little power-hungry and so on. so until they can come up with some kind of a joint narrative that assigns the blame to all sides i don't think they will be able to move forward either come and that is dangerous for the rest of us, so we have to hope that they will get their. >> before they open up for questions i want to give you an opportunity was there a time that you wrote the book were after that you sat back and said this really came out while the sites when you were told about the colby prize.
i got the first review and they called it superb. >> you thought about this for so long. it was a long process we started working on the book five years ago in the spring of 2011 and i have been working at the "newsweek" magazine for about ten years. my wife and i sold our apartment in new york and we put all of our stuff and the basement and took off without a suitcase for the white house violated research in india and london. imagine you were in the library ten hours a day just pouring through painstakingly these papers and telegrams that were
signed and you vacuumed it all up and try to see patterns that at the time you try to get as much material as possible. and then i sat there and tried to make sense of it all. it was important to me to write it for a general audience for professors i wanted to make a narrative that would be appealing to everyone and to try to find the narrative in this great material. i cannot say that there was a moment that i was fully confident i have succeeded until it was published and somebody else told me it was. we have a few minutes left if anyone would like to. just tell us who you are.
>> this may be a way to open it up a bit. what was one of the hard things you struggled with and how did you work through that word what was the best advice you got as editor or a friendly leader that help you with something that wasn't quite working. >> the best advice i got was to make a timeline. the book takes place in a two-year period from 46 to 48 and i did a day by day timeline. once you do that and that's when you start to see the patterns emerging. the leaders especially think of the months there were a million things going on there was an uprising in kashmir moving towards independence and these things were all happening in the
same day. most of the accounts treat them separately. you don't realize that when he woke up that morning he went to one meeting about this and another about that operating on two hours of sleep and then he got a letter from his girlfriend and so on. it's only once you see it laid out enough way that you can get it into their heads a little bit more and understand the pressure they were under and by the would have made certain decisions that i've never seen explained before and then he realized he made the decision at the end of this meeting where they had talked abt this before hand and i can imagine it would have been the thinking. the hardest part for me was making it a narrativ a narrativu have many characters, huge forces at play and there was chaos at the time, so it's hard to know what's real and what's
not. if you hear the same story over and over again that my hand was on a train and everybody was killed with her i've heard the story dozens of times and it's generally not true because they stopped most this is something people have told themselves for generations and you have to sort of see the records at the time to know there were not that many. and then finding a way to make it a chronological narrative. they gave me a sort of vehicle in which to work the larger forces and the politics and history that really tell it through almost a day by day account of what they were going through at the time. >> did you do most of your research in pakistan?
>> up until the 15th when they were british records they exist trying to work in the archives is difficult. you have to sort of fill out the request forms and paper into three days later you get a note back. you can get through the material more quickly and they have a microphone and so on. so about three and a this in the india and almost a year in london. >> if you took the time spent writing -- hispanic it was about half and half. so about a year researching we wrote the first draft between may and december and then i accepted a job and read the first draft and realized there was still work to be done and
that took me and others here but that was evenings and weekends. >> when you were researching the book, was there a moment for you that changed your understanding of the history? >> my understanding was wrong. you come home and know you found nothing. everything you read that he has been read by somebody else and then there are days that you find that nugget that illuminates a particular angle e had been the combination of those leads to the sort of new narrative that you create. so for instance with some of the
best material i found was in the state department archives in college park maryland because nobody ever looks at them. at the time in new delhi everyone came to talk to them and they knew they were the rising power in the world into so they had great details and there was a moment the british ambassador in london the day the british decided to create in june of 1947 he calle called ine british criminals are caught in the u.s. ambassador to explain the position and they are going to do this and create pakistan. they are going to hand over power possibly as soon as augu august 2 india. but they knew pakistan wasn't ready yet. maybe a few months, maybe a ye year. you understand why they left so fast. why could they have thought this was a good idea, because they couldn't have thought it through. somehow the pakistanis will want us to stick around and we don't
have to worry about the details so much. so it's things like that where the british decided to leave so quickly it is so crazy and so stupid and you realize it's because they didn't think they were leaving that quickly. >> do you see pakistan is providing the talent in the past couple of years they have been trying feverishly to bring in all the parties peace talks but they don't have the ability to provide security inside of the country or its borders. what is the solution left, what do you think they can do to extend the ban as part of the
power. >> i oversaw the coverage of the war in afghanistan and i wish i had a good answer. i think you write that it has to be a negotiated solution. all of the parties have the right to work towards them. even though they give a safe haven, they don't control them. so i do believe they generally want the taliban to come to the peace table now they are not able to do it. on the other hand, if they said we are not giving you any more safe haven whatsoever and we are taking out all the leaders, then i think they might change their minds but they are not ready to do that yet. the only one positive development we have seen so far and it's not a breakthrough yet is the fact that china is now
involved and has much more interest in stability than it ever did before partly for economic reasons because they want to develop minerals there and so on but also because they are worried about islamic extremism coming across the border. china is the one cover that has influenced the pakistanis then we do so they are the ones trying to bring them to the peace table and they offered to host talks. they sustain the pressur pressue coordinate with them at it and it's important we remember the south china seas with all these other issues. they need their help in afghanistan so we have to even as we compete in some areas.
if they can hold their own, maybe we will get the poin to tt that you can bring them in. but what it will look lik like a gaggllike againi don't do this y have to preserve the liberties that have been created in afghanistan. no one is going to give those up. you can't go back to the telegram days but there will be a part of the solution. >> just a as a follow-up to thi, do you think that the continued presence helps or do you think that if we left the countries where they would strike a balance in themselves? >> they are not able to hold their own. we can't solve this for them. i don't think there's a surge that could have been.
>> you are recognized in the back. >> for americans and indians as well can you talk briefly about the perceptions were you surprised by the things you learned about gandhi and how that might affect your memories of them? >> you have to read it careful carefully. gandhi was much more of a politician than people give him credit for. it seems like a figure that is
for peace and so on and then hates violence. he was a very shrewd politician and used on violence against the british because it worked. he knew that they didn't have the weapons to challenge the british army handed a had great success in the 20s and 30s. he was also fairly vain and was surrounded by admirers telling him what a great person he was and even the indian leaders come to him for advice as if he were a guru which led to a couple things. first, he never understood the way they saw him. he thought i made sure person, i have no prejudice i have nothing against muslims. of course they must embrace my message. he couldn't understand that for many muslims they would see him dressed up like the prayer
meeting with the hindu chants and so on into the parables. he never understood that image is projecting to a lot as very frightening. he's in his mid to late 70s and he was a little adult want to use the word senile but he wasn't as sharp as he had been before. they were going out and raping hindu women and they brought this up at a prayer meeting in
delhi. he was trying to say don't retaliate, don't use violence. for all the tens of thousands at risk you should kill yourself instead. you haven't thought this through at all. when it was heard in the provinces that was hindu women are being raped. local politicians are at a much lower level to use this message and rallied several thousand in its something that again they blamed on g4 and said you are spouting this stuff and it's causing violence and he never -- he thought his spirit was pure and his intentions were good and they were but he didn't understand the impact of his
word. there were also times in the compromise i mentioned he fought against it the most and drag out the negotiations i think they have accepted much earlier it's possible to compromise. but there are moments in the process where he would have been good as a spiritual figure and a moral figure but he found it very hard to make compromises. >> i was intrigued after watching the news for the last month that in the book they were very egotistical, narcissistic to some degree, and seemed not to catch on to things that a more practical for humble person might see. it just reminded me today.
>> they have huge egos. remember we are in a british system where combined they went to a political rally and most of them didn't understand he would give the speeches in english talking about socialism and this and that and he had no idea what he was talking about he just knew he had come down from delhi they were listening to this guru and they didn't want to do this or that. so again, he knew that this was interesting and about ten years before when he was a younger man and was receiving all this
adulation he wrote an essay for a magazine under a pseudonym that warned against the danger of a leader like him becoming a dictator letting this stuff up to his heaintohis head and thaty needed to be weary of this and not allow it to happen so he knew it was a danger that he still let it happen. he had been fighting for recognition and once he started promoting pakistan and the hundreds of thousands would come to their rallies and he was surrounded by the guards and he loved it. he counted every little ribbon on his uniform and spends most of the summer working out with the flags would look like on independence day and so on, just the kind of pompous circumstance of why he was there. you do have to worry.
if you are a leader who can't just sort of let this stuff to. >> i find it interesting how they didn't want to leave if you have an insight into why there was such a deep feeling of unity in the status separation and the flipside of what happened maybe they do different perspectives and he talks about that. the deep secularism which wasn't evident, could have led to the failing. then the third, the two hours of sleep deprivation that he was literally impaired the
fascinating subject of you are making decisions while they are impaired and he isn't the last so that is a cool thing that you uncover for us. >> they did everything themselves. they were a street leader and executive. he was dealing with negotiations and sending out invitations to a conference. they were going out and a friend of his came to his house and said that there is a bridge where the refugees are coming across being held because they are waiting for them. as a country of 400 million people what does he do, he went upstairs and get that dusty was
all for emphasis here is what we are going to do what you're going to dress up like refugees we are going to go out there and walked across the bridge and when they try to attack the are going to shoot them. obviously you will tell the police to do this. that was the mentality that they had. the religious question is interesting. i never thought about that before, whether that would have made them more humble. gandhi was fairly religious and wasn't all that humble so i don't know that it would have been a guarantee against that. and it would have been a in other ways because after they broke up, there were a lot of people who didn't want them to stay, they wanted to sen send across-the-board including top politicians. they said we are going to be a multiethnic society. we are not going to allow this.
he was fighting for the rights of muslims. as pete that i think that it was just over send trees most of these places religion wasn't all that organized. if you are living in close quarters together some people don't eat beef with this or that but you dress the same way, your children will go to school together in many cases and i think most people generally want to get along. they were solvable. there could have been a compromise that would have sold for fear.
there was another piece to this india is a very religious country and what these people were like. and everyone knew what these peoplpeople whereabouts of werer side of the claim is it didn't seem to make any difference that all of these were religious people. >> nobody believed. it's interesting i and some of e local elections and one of them wrote back to new delhi. if this were bad and i or that d
never seen him and so they were able to manipulate ordinary. >> one of the major flaws of the british role in the petition. they've been asking for it and about responsibility was to prepare for it and they were the ones that ha have influence over these death squads. it's their responsibility to stop this before they broke out.