tv Sex and the Constitution CSPAN December 30, 2015 4:46pm-5:43pm EST
execution may have been very weak in some of them but reality is that we went in say iraq and afghanistan and stayed long enough to create a government, but the government turned out the be not as successful as we thought they might be. >> so in retrospect should we not have? >> i don't do retrospect very well. what's the point of it? >> i take that at a yes. >> no. [ laughter ] walter and i have been doing this for years. everybody relax. we went to the u.n. on iraq because u.n. was the offended party and it got a resolution and we go have avoided that conflict if hussein had met the standards that the u.n. put before him to tell us about your weapons of mass destruction. >> right there, those would george w. bush have been satisfied leaving saddam hussein in power -- >> in my conversation with the president at that time, he made it clear that if we were satisfied in that point,
undoubtedly satisfied, then he would not have had the rationale to go in and to conduct the invasion and might have been ugly but saddam hussein might have stayed in place. but nevertheless he felt it was necessary for based on the intelligence we had about those weapons he thought it was in the interest of the world in the absence of that kind of agreement that an invasion was appropriate. i supported him in that because we tried the u.n. and i supported him when that didn't work on the invasion. greatest disappointment was we did not do it well. we made strategic mistakes. the president was told for months that we were going preserve the iraqi army and not de-establish the baath positions. suddenly one morning it happened and it was not well coordinated. we had not considered the implications of what we were doing and chaos ensued. and there were other mistakes that were made. i'm a great believer in my own
doctrine the powell doctrine not an army doctrine, it's something i made up one day. the newspaper, "the washington post" called it that. i'm liking it. it's nice to have a doctrine named after you. [ laughter ] it says that when you start out something make sure you have enough force in place to have a decisive outcome and we had a decisive outcome getting to baghdad but we forgot that the war was not over, we had not put a new government in place, that there was still total disarray within society that's when we should have had the surge. we finally had it in 2006 and torch. but we should have put the necessary force in 2003 in the first place. >> didn't we need that force? >> that was his view. >> it was incorrect? [ laughter ] what lessons from that do you apply to syria now?
>> i don't really know how the syrian thing is going to turn out. air power, great advocate of air power. i'm also an infantry officer and i believe that in a situation like this, air power has a role to play. while it's playing that role it's also causing civilian casualties, and it's also destroying the infrastructure of the city. and say if i'm living in mclean and they start bombing falls church i'm leaving mclean as well. you have to understand that air power sometimes can be a very blunt instrument, and it causes collateral damage and not just killing civilian, innocent civilians but what it does to the cities, to the water plants, to the oil facilities, it really does destroy a lot of property and you can't be too specific. i hear things like we have bombed isis stronghold. isis is a movement. it's all over the place.
it isn't sitting around in strongholds. after you've been in the battle with air power over you, about to hit you, you tend not to make yourself that readily available to be you'll notice in kunduz the city fallen in northern afghanistan to the taliban, they're not letting people leave the city. >> right. >> i wonder why. they're hostage now. there can't be bombings because they've got these citizens. >> let me go back to syria. putin has been saying some things including, hey, we need to get a coalition together. we need to hold the regime together while we focus on fighting isil. do you think he's making some sense and maybe we should have some talks with him? >> well, apparently secretary kerry is having talks with him, and i think it's wise to talk to people. i went through my life always willing to talk to people. people i liked, people i didn't like. large countries, small countries, because i think that's the strength of the
american system, not to brag about ourselves and go around saying we're indispensable, we're this, we're that, we're excepti exceptie excepti exceptional. everybody knows that. we don't have to say it. but what we ought to do with a sense of our constraints and a little but of humbleness on our part talk to everybody in the world that wants to talk to us. you don't have to show off. >> what would you do if you were secretary of state? >> if i were secretary of state and i know sergei very well, i would say, sergei, let's talk. make sure we don't start to run into each other as you start flying airplanes, but secondly, how do you think we can affect isil and stop their advance. because the russians have also said they don't want to put troops on the ground. >> and they would say you have to keep walking back the assad must go statement. >> i expect so. but we shouldn't be surprised about this. >> you would walk it back, then. >> i didn't say that. i don't think we should abandon
the position we hold, but we should not be surprised that the russians who have a naval base in syria and have been supporting assad from the very beginning of this conflict four years ago along with the iranians, we should not have been surprised that he decided to raise the bid by putting in airplanes and troops. he did not want to see this regime collapse. one of the things that you must understand assad and the regime at some point has to pass on, and so why not talk to him about this and see what he has in mind, what they think. >> if we could shift to domestic. on immigration it's suddenly become -- not suddenly, the past two or three years become this inflamed issue. how do we get beyond that on the immigration debate? >> i think the american people have to understand we're an immigrant nation. we -- it is our history. it is your tradition. if you look at what immigrants
have done to this country, we have been built on the backs of immigrants and we've always had difficulties with our immigration policy throughout our history. you know, with the chinese building railroads and how a number of eastern european immigrants were looked down upon when they first came to this country. i'm a child of immigrant parents. my parents came here on fruit boats, united fruit boats 1920 and 1924. i mean, there are zillions of people who have this story. the school is named after me up in harlem the city college of new york has named a colin powell school, 80% say they were born in another country and as you've been reading in the paper the asian influx that's coming on top of the hispanic influx and people from all over the world we'll be a minority, majority immigrant nation but they'll be american by then in another 30 or 40 years. so, we need a sensible immigration policy to bring these people out of the black.
if i was around mr. trump, donald, who i know rather well, i would say, you know, donald, let's see what happens. let's tell all the immigrants who work in trump hotels to stay home tomorrow, see what happens. >> are you kidding me? when these folks leave here to go to lunch, look who is serving you. guess who is cooking in the back. because next time you walk -- next time you walk through dulles or reagan, look who is manning the counters. look who is cleaning the place up. these are first generation american immigrants who will raise children, who will go up to higher things. they're not mopping floors and waiting tables so that their children can do the same. immigrant tradition. get started and then the next generation will be better and the generation after that will be even better. >> one last question, okay.
you endorsed president obama i think twice. you just endorsed the iran deal. you attacked now what has basically become the republican position on immigration. do you still consider -- >> i don't agree it's the republic position on immigration. i think most republicans understand that we need immigrants. we are an immigrant nation. it is in our best interests to do it. but there are pockets, as i've said previously, there are pockets of intolerance within the republican party that they'd better figure out how to defeat that. >> are you still a republican? >> in the -- you didn't mention the fact that i voted for five presidents in a row who were republican, and i worked for president reagan. i worked with howard baker. yes. i'm still a republican. in virginia you don't have to declare a party where i live, but i'm still a reasonable because i believe in the strong defense. i believe in the entrepreneurial
spirit that is so typical of the republican party in past. but i'm having difficulty with the party now. i think the party has shifted much further right than the country is. and it should be obvious to the party leaders that they cannot keep saying the things that they are saying and doing the things they are doing and hope to be successful at national-level elections in the future. not just 2016 but in the future. so, i want to continue to be a republican because it annoys them. >> general powell, thank you very much. >> and now david rubenstein founder and ceo of the carlyle group here with "the atlantic's" margaret carlson. ♪ >> good morning. david, since we were last on
stage together you've become a new father. and that child has gotten 218 million visitors according to youtube. tell me -- >> you're referring to the baby panda. >> i am. >> yes. >> who wouldn't be alive without david. >> i don't know about that. but they did tell me that it was likely that they would need artificial insemination to produce a baby panda because the pandas tend to fight for the four-hour period of time when they can mate and actually reproduce so after the first two hours of fighting they decided to artificially inseminate the female and they wanted to know whether i would watch the artificial insemination. i said absolutely not. do you want to see the semen extracted from the male? i don't want to see that either. the artificial insemination worked and we have a new baby panda that the first lady saw last friday and named, new name, and as a result of that we have
a panda that everybody seems to like. weighs about five pounds now, very healthy and you're referring to the fact that he sneezed yesterday and the world seemed to pay attention to that. it is amazing that when the government has its shutdown, the greatest complaints seem to come from the fact that the panda cam is shut down as opposed to the social security checks not coming. >> right. on the "60 minutes" profile which was done recently, you talked about patriotic philanthropy which you can define for us and how the pandas fit into the patriot philanthropy and the semen extraction in particular. >> i don't know about that as being patriotic. i would say the national zoo is actually owned by the smithsonian, has always been, and as a regent of the smithsonian when i learned the pandas needed funding to keep them here, i decided i would help them with that. but my view is patriotic fi philanthropy is a bit of a
phrase. if you are doing any, you are helping the country and the community. what i was trying to do in defining that phrase is say things that particularly relate to helping the u.s. government and things it can't afford to do anymore or helping to remind people of our heritage and tradition, so that's really what i was referring to. in that case i was helping with the smithsonian, it gets 60% of its budget from the federal government but 40% comes from contributions and philanthropy and so forth and it was in that conte context. >> some of your projects are a great success like the pandas. how is it doing to educate members of congress about history, your library of congress dinners? >> well, what you're referring to is this i thought it would be a good idea to get members of congress to come together in a nonpartisan day which rarely happens. >> unlike the pandas, no fighting. >> well, partisan, you know, things are very common in washington. but i thought i have an interest in history and i thought what i
would try to do is this. i organized a dinner at the library of congress where i would interview a great presidential scholar about a president, typically a deceased president, who is not that controversial, washington, jefferson, lincoln, so forth and have a dinner for the members before the dinner we would have them gather, democrats and republicans, senators and house members, and see documents from that era and then go down, have a dinner, and they tend to sit with members of the opposite party which rarely happens. and then i would interview the scholar and then the members would ask questions and there were no press there so nobody is preening for the cameras or anything. and now after a year and a half some members of congress say this is the most interesting thing they're doing in washington which is a sad commentary, because you would think that passing legislation is more interesting. and some members bring their wives at wherever they might be and they have it as a date night. you can have a social event in washington and spend time with
opposite members of the party and not be criticized for doing it. we had ron chernow who did the book on alexander hamilton, it's been a play, and the next will be robert carroll who did a four volume series on lyndon johnson. >> before we get to how you made your money, you're an early signator of the giving pledge. >> yes. >> how do your children feel about you already deciding to give away most of their inheritance? >> well, the presumption is that if parents have money, it will go to their children and that's a presumption that some people make but it's not necessarily the case. there's no evidence as i've probably said before that if a child inherits $500 million that child is going to do something that will win a nobel peace prize or some other nobel prize. inheriting a lot of money, it's a bit of a burden and people think you got money and you didn't do anything in your life to earn that money people aren't going to probably respect you as much. the idea that i've had is to
kind of make sure my children are fully formed before they really, you know, feel that they're going to get any money from me and they probably won't get any anyway, because if i've given them a good education that's all they really need. they need unconditional love from their parents and a good education and a good start and they don't need staggering sums of money to be successful. most people that do great things in the world i think come from modest backgrounds. i don't want to say that people inherited $500 million or a billion dollars are not great people. it's a bit of a burden. and my children are quite fine with it, and i don't see any problem. there are 40 of us who signed it initially. there are now about 140. we just celebrated the fifth anniversary of it and we'll probably come to washington in the late year -- later this year to have some event marking the fifth anniversary of it. >> have you given away any money you'd like to have back? >> i've invested some money in
deals i'd like to have back. there are people who give away money and who are very intense with looking at metrics and very much on top of the people they've given the money to. i tend to be a little bit mar laid back. and i'm not saying the first method is bad, but my method is to try to give people money that give me some reports. i am generally easy about it. i don't regret anything that i've done. some have been more effective than others. most of my money to be serious has gone to education and medical research, but the patriotic philanthropy has gotten more attention because very few people are doing that. a lot of people are giving money to higher education and medical research so if you give a large grant there and maybe something good happens it doesn't get the most attention. but if i give $7.5 million to the washington monument people talk about it but relatively speaking it's a modest amount of other things i've done. >> it is high profile. >> it is high profile.
i enjoyed climbing to the top of it and putting my initials when nobody was looking. >> what is your mother most proud of? >> well, my mother is jewish and i would say -- >> if only you'd been a doctor. >> right. she did want me to be a dentist. she thought that was the highest calling of mankind. you get to be called a doctor and no weekend hours and no emergencies and so forth, but i kept saying suppose i get arthritis in my fingers, my career will be gone. my mother is shortly going to be 85 years old. and she's, you know, most mothers are probably pleased with their children. i think she's pretty pleased. but the thing that is most interesting when i was building carlyle and making some money, she never would call me and say i'm proud you're building this company. now that i'm giving away a fair amount of money and says i'm much more proud of what you're doing now than when you were making the money. i use what i call the mother test. if my mother calls and is proud of what i'm doing, then i am doing a good thing.
>> you don't have much money left -- we don't have much time left. i never have much money left. as chairman of the kennedy center, who picked the honoree? >> it is a mysterious process that nobody really understands well. i would say for the first 37 years or so george stevens largely picked them and did a very good job of doing it. there was a committee of artists that made recommendations but george largely put the slate together and it was approved by the executive committee and the chairman of the board. we have a new producer and we have a process where people can recommend from all over the country. we then have a committee of distinguished artists, julie andrews and then the president and the chairman and some other members of the executive committee puts together a slate that has a balance to it. it's a combination of many different people looking at it. >> do you have any desire to return to government? >> well, i got inflation to 19% when i was a young man in the
carter white house and since those days there has never been any single offer for me to go back. and i've been waiting. you know, when ben bernanke was chairman of the fed he used to complain about a potential deflation problem and i said to him at that time, i can come back and get inflation back for you, but he didn't invite me back. no, i think it's unlikely that i will go back in government. right now i think that you can probably do as much on the outside as on the inside so i'm happy with where i am and my most important thing is hoping to have the health to do what i want to do. i'm now 66 years old, when you turn 60 people begin to look at you differently. they say, well, you look good today. and at the kennedy center the young women that escort me around for events, mr. rubenstein, these are six steps. can you walk up these six steps or do you want to take the elevator and people look at you differently and clearly when you turn 60 you realized you live more than you're going to live, when you turn 50 you can pretend you have 50 more to go. so i'm racing through life to do
things i want to do and i have access to things whether people or money and i don't want to waste any time and i'm racing through life sprinting to the finish line i call it and i hope i'm luckier than some of my colleagues. i read the obituaries the first thing in the morning to see who died that i know and how come i'm so lucky because i'm older than some of the people that died and i don't want to read my obituary anytime soon. >> well, we've run out of time. not existentially, just in this -- >> thank you. >> i'm going to escort david to the elevator. >> thank you. ♪ >> please welcome journalist theo panda, his family nancy curtis and amy rosen and "the new yorker's" amy wright here with "the atlantic's" amy bennett. >> so, we're going to be i guess
exploring some of the themes that we've been talking about this morning, but from a radically different set of perspectives. we have with us theo padnus an author and journalist and a ph.d. in comparative literature i believe and who was taken captive while working as a journalist in syria in 2012 and held for almost two years by the nusra front. his mother, nancy curtis and cousin amy rosen who worked eventually with a coalition of people throughout that period to get him out. and then larry wright, correspondent for "the new yorker," who wrote a very powerful piece called "five hostages" for "the new yorker" earlier this year that told the
story of theo's captivity and that of the four other hostages and their respective fates and what i'm hoping we can do is explore the story of what happened to theo and how you managed in the end to get him out. and also, theo, you have now had probably more direct experience at incredible cost of this movement that is at war with the united states than any other american and we're hoping to get to some of the insights that you learned. and, nancy, i wonder if we could start with you. and the moment when you first realized that something had gone wrong. you knew theo was in turkey and you were in touch with him, right? >> yes. i knew he was -- he wanted to get into syria for just a couple of days because he really wanted
to talk to the people and find out what the sense is, why are you doing this, what's going on. i was worried about it, but i also know that he was still familiar with the culture and flunt wi fluent with the language. i didn't let myself worry. in the meantime he was in the process of buying us a wood stove for our house in vermont. so, every day we had this little e-mail conversation, do we want the whatever, and what color do we want, and all of a sudden i didn't hear from him. and i sent him, hi, i haven't heard from you, what's going on. didn't want to sound like a worried mother, but i didn't get an answer and i knew that was it. something terrible had happened and i knew there had been bombing or shelling, conflict. and i didn't know anything and i started calling my cousin amy, a friend who worked in a
congressman's office. i didn't know where to begin, but that's how it started. >> and so, theo, what had happened? >> what had happened was i had made friends with two young men, three young men in turkey on the border with syria, just north of aleppo. i believed these people to be the free syrian army and i got in the car with these people like an idiot and i drove to the border and then i ran across the border with them. we were met by another car and off we went. and the first night i slept in an abandoned house with them. we seemed to be friends. the next morning we did an interview, i was interviewing them. they recorded it on video. after about 50 minutes i ran out of questions and i turned to them. there were three of them sitting in front of me like this, i'm done with my questions. and they stood up and came at me, boom. handcuffs and they tied up my legs and they said, well, we're
from the al qaeda organization. didn't you know? that's how it began for me. >> what was going through your mind? >> just -- you know, no, i tried to -- i had a friendly relationship with these people, i figured i could continue, you know, what i was doing -- i had read -- i knew something about kidnappings in this kind of environment. i was aware of it. the one thing you don't want to have happen is to have them pass you along to another group, so i aj(j&óe# and, in fact, i escaped from these people. i went to the free syrian army and then i was tried in islamic court and the islamic judge asked me a few questions and gave me back to my kidnappers and they brought me to -- >> these were the moderates that were working with the syrians. >> these were nice syrian people. sorry? >> and they returned you to your captors. >> they rushed me to my captors,
yeah. i had a trial in the islamic court so the judge determined that i was -- that i deserved to go back to my captors. i belonged to them. >> well, amy, can you, then, pick up the thread where nancy left it and tell us what was going on on the outside during this period, and when did you first get any sense who was holding theo and that he was, in fact, even still alive? >> yeah. well, you know, as nancy said wrx s she reached out to me and another cousin who is a former journalist and another cousin who is a current journalist. and we just all started calling everybody we could possibly at the time. austin tice had her been taking working with "the washington post," and theo was a freelancer and there wasn't a newspaper or a firm or anybody there to help us working the government and literally started by trying to
find where he'd been in turkey. where had he been staying, you know, with the clues that we had. he had changed his name legally to protect himself but that further complicated it, you know, and long calls with facebook and other organizations trying to get into his mail and just see what was happening. but meanwhile, we were, you know, incredibly fortunate as a family. because we knew a lot of people. and, you know, we knew a little bit about how the world worked and we just kept pounding and talking to everybody. and shortly thereafter the -- i literally was at a new york ideas dinner sitting next to david bradley who mentioned he was helping -- involved with jim foley's family, i said, isn't that interesting. i said we have a missing cousin, he said, would you come to washington tomorrow. i did. it started with david and his incredible team of people who helped us order what our search was.
but, you know, the truth was that these three cousins, including myself, didn't really discuss with nancy. we had no confidence that theo was alive, and what we wanted to make sure was that if he was dead we didvi everything we cou for nancy's acsake to find out what had happened. it took nine months to find out we had prove of life and the american he'd been held with matt tryior escaped and at that point the state department who had not provided much if any information for us at that point told us that they had proof of life. >> theo, you wrote a very powerful piece for "the new york times" magazine about your captivity and you describe a period after matt left when you were tortured, you know, viciously by your captors. but you also described pretty continuous torture from the moment you were taken. and it really wasn't even clear
to me reading the piece what outcome the hostage takers were after. why they continued to beat you and use a cattle prod on you. they didn't seem particularly interested in having you convert. so, what was the point? >> they are interested in having all unbelievers or all christians, anybody who is not muslim, they want them all to convert but not through means of torture. you're supposed to accept it on your own. read the koran and come to your own reasoned decision -- >> i should have said at the outset you had lived in yemen for two years and written a book on islam before this and were fluent in arabic. >> i know how it is that you approach the religion of islam and introduce you to the doctrines. in my view for months and months and months they were just beating me and i would come back to my cell afterwards were what was that about. because they would go through the motions of asking me questions. they would pretend that this was an interrogation but i knew they
weren't taking notes and i could answer anything. one time they would go are you from the pentagon or are you from the cia. and i go, what's the difference? and they go good point, you know, they didn't -- they were not after specific -- you know, specific information. anyway, my feeling was that the function of the torture is for them. it's something -- it's an initiation ceremony that deepens the commitment of especially the children always the children were involved. and, you know, it's frightening for the children to participate in this. and there's the psychology of the children. listen, the entire environment is frightening particularly when they're bombing and that bombing offers the psychology to the children and they bring them to the basement and they supply the kids with the torture instruments and they say have at him and they say they don't want to, and over time it alters them. all the outsiders, the midway muslims, the people that aren't
totally committed they get committed through the violence and so the more violence that exists in this culture, the worse it is for us i think. >> larry, there were -- we have a photo of the four other hostages that were taken. i think we can project it up there. i wonder if you would tell us a little bit about each of them, who they were, and how their experience to the extent we know what it was differed or was similar to what theo went through. >> the main difference is that they had the misfortune of being taken by isis or falling into the hands of isis. jim foley was a reporter. he actually had been captured previously in libya, and thanks to david bradley who is really the hero of this story, he was freed from that incarceration. and then went back into conflict journalism and was taken by
isis, as was another reporter steven sotloff. and then were two aid workers peter kassig who very entrepreneurial, you know, he started his own little aid service to get, you know, medical care to places where it was really most needed, places that u.n. workers and so on wouldn't go to, he personally went and trained people in emergency care and took care of people. and in caleb mueller was, a very extraordinary person. had, you know, been assisting people, you know, all over the world, but especially, you know, in syria, she had taken on this task of going to probably the worst place in the world to try to help people out. and she was i think on a path to some kind of sainthood. these are the kind of people
that when you have conflict you need information and you need help. often they're criticized for going to help out, but where else do you get the information and who else is going to help. it's young people, idealistic young people like that who are the people that go and try to participate and help out. >> and the four other hostages all were killed. >> yeah. >> you said the difference was that they were held by isis and theo by the nusra front. can you just split those two groups apart for us if you would. and then how was it that theo was freed in the end? >> well, as theo would tell you, it's not so easy to split these groups. it's very fluid, you know, the movement from one organization into another. nusra, though, was actually -- had relationships with -- in one
case with qatar. and some of these islamist groups depended on foreign aid. isis is in a little different category, you know, it's the richest terror group in history. >> self-funded. >> it's not oil. it's got banks, you know, it has taxes. and it doesn't really depend on the aid from foreign countries. nusra is in a different spot and i think was more amenable to the pressure that was brought to bear on theo's situation. it came through this group and through david and his efforts and ali suffan who made the connection with the head of intelligence in qatar. and he actually sent one of his operatives in to syria who was
threatened. they talked about killing him. and -- but they actually did get the word out and the transfer was effected through the qatari agency. >> just to back up, i should say to be clear, david bradley is my boss, the chairman and the owner of "the atlantic." >> yeah. >> nancy, can you talk a little bit about what the relationship was like among the five families during this period when all your children were being held? >> well, early on i went to the -- somebody said go to the red cross, the international red cross. and that was them. and the woman said to me, i probably shouldn't be telling you this but there's another family from new england who has a son that's been taken captive. that's how i got in touch with diane foley. and theo and jim foley had a lot in common, both teachers, both
committed to helping the disadvantaged, both writers. and both from northern new england. we knew they were going to be best friends when they got out. and i did not meet the otherç families or even know of their existence until david bradley and "the atlantic" brought all the families together, all five families together, for a meeting in may of 2014. and we spent a whole day talking about our situation and then a second day we were taken around capitol hill and to the fbi and to meet various congressmen and senators. all done through david bradley and his team. and -- but i think diane and i had, because we had already known one another, we were the ones that were really remain close. but now, again, david bradley
has brought us all together. you know, i think for both theo and me, it's hard that -- to recognize that he survived and the others did not. and it's been something for us to struggle with. but i think that the other families and the great generosity of heart recognized that something in their child survived in theo, and they welcomed him with open arms. >> theo, i'd like to return to the question of what some of the lessons of -- that can be extracted from this might be, and maybe what we should be doing as a country now. it's just astonishing to hear you say that effectively you were being used as an instrument
to desensitize the kids and prepare them to be members of this extraordinarily violent movement. what do you -- what explains how your captors, what drew them -- what draws them to this? what makes them -- >> it's all in the koran. i don't think the desensitization is not the right word. i think you can say it's a heightened experience of -- it's a spiritual experience for them to participate in these rituals that extract them from normal, everyday life. when you are causing another human being to suffer, they would tell me, you know, we're in the torture room, there would be somebody hanging from the ceiling screaming, screaming at the top of their lungs, they would say this is our music. it would bring them closer to god to punish the enemies of god. which i was one. which all you people if you are americans are as well. they believe we in the first place are killing muslims.
secondly that christianity is destined, all christians, by the way, destined to come into an end of time style conflict with islam and that islam will eventually triumph over christianity anyway, they are participating in this moment and they are approaching godliness, so sorry, what was your question again? >> you answered a much better question than the one i asked. but you say it's all in the koran and this is something of a debate we keep having in the u.s. about how do understand whether the origins of this version of islam are authentic. >> right. i mean, this is not an issue that they debate by the way among themselves. 99.9% of their time they spend doing the normal things that every conventional believing muslim does. they're very punct punkal
prayers and they maintain the fast and you are supposed to get points if you read the koran every day. these are like merits. so you get merit points if you -- if you read the koran. so, they read the koran a lot. to sit with these people, you people are doing it all wrong. who are we to tell them that they misinterpreted their rel religi religion. they are reading the koran. you feel as though you were surrounded by islam. i think it is a mistake to say that you guys, you don't know what you're talking about. >> you're still in touch with some of your captors, right? >> yeah. i'm interested in knowing what they're up to. for a while -- they continue to have -- not americans as far as i know but i would like to be useful in getting the people that they have out and i hope to get kayla and peter and steven out, too. we weren't able to do that but i
still think that my relations with these people which are basically good can be used to our advantage. >> then the next question is really to you and then to larry. based on everything you learned, what do you think we do about this movement? what's the best way -- >> i think we should send them, like, aid. we should send them chocolates and blankets. i think we have to be nicer to them. i really believe that their situation has to -- we can keep killing these people but more can come. i remember stanley mcchrystal's insurgent math, if you kill two, you don't get eight, you get 20. this is truer in syria. the bombs spread the hatred, the bombs that we're dropping and vladimir putin is dropping they only spread the hatred and they are coming from the entire region and this is an issue that bashar al assad has to confront
it's a vacuum for islamic extremists. to me the solution is peacekeepers and all these conflicts end in the same way. there has to be a strong, strong, powerful force that buys off some of the people and punishes the ones who refuse to be bought off. >> and you think we should work with assad, then? >> yeah. absolutely. >> larry? >> the assad regime doesn't threaten american interests. isis does. isis is a really dangerous entity. however, both of them create a problem that is threatening the west and our allies in the region, which is this massive flow of refugees. one out of four people in lebanon right now is syrian. there are 2 million syrian refugees in turkey.
the whole palestinian exodus in 1948 was 700,000 and now, you know, we've got, you know, 5 million syrians away from their country. 10 million, half the population of syria is in a refugee state. and this is politically destabilizing. so, i think our focus should be on how can we stem that tide of refugees. i think creating a no-fly zone that would give a signed of sanctuary for -- in northern syria would probably be helpful. the other thing is our sunni allies in the region are ambivalent about this because they want assad gone. and so they're restrained in their attempt to help us contain
isis. and i think eliminating that ambivalence would be very helpful. it happened with jordan when one of their pilots was burned alive in a came. in a cage, but that may have led to kayla's death. this is the middle east. and, you know, it's like a rubik's cube that doesn't have a solution. you can keep moving the pieces around. >> nancy, i think just to in closing, i'd just like to hear your answer to a similar question which is how is theo doing now. >> i think it's self-evident. he's doing fine. i think he has endured horrific experience as have the other families, but he was -- you know, i think it was helpful that he was a mature man. he was able to withdraw into
himself. and he's come out wise and deeper and whole. >> thanks, mom. >> we'll leave it there. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. ♪ >> the co-founder of black lives matter, opal kinetty is here next. ♪ >> thank you so much for joining us, opal. it's an honor to talk to you. and obviously there's a lot more than we can cover in 15 minutes, but let's cover as much as we can. and let's start by talking about what is black lives matter? it's something that any informed person is aware of.
it's become fairly omnipresent since certainly ferguson and there have been black lives matter protests in every major american city. but i think, you know, a lot of people are confused or uncertain about what it is. is it an actual organization? is it an organizing strategy? is it just kind of an advocacy concept? is it a social media phenomenon or a mime, a rallying call? what is it? >> thank you for this conversation. it is actually all of those things that you mentioned. that's what's been so beautiful about it. black lives matter two years ago in the wake of, one, the murder of trayvon martin in which we all knew about his life and what he experienced and the subsequent acquittal of george zimmerman, his murderer. but it also began as a political project. we created #blacklivesmatter.
we created a platform so online we used our social media presence in order to forward a conversation about what is taking place in black communities. not just because of police violence, right, brutality that our communities were facing, but around a number of other social issues. and the disparate impact that race and the outcomes of our race, so being black people, what we were experiencing in every realm of our lives. so, this was actually a racial justice project for black people, knowing that if we were to create a project and a platform and a new way of thinking about what was taking place in our communities, that we would have an opportunity to reframe the conversation and hopefully create a world where black lives would actually matter. and so it was a number of things. it was a hash tag, it was a platform and now what we're seeing is that it's actually a network. we have a network of about 30
chapters all across the country and a couple of other countries, right, in ghana, in canada. >> it's a real organization. is there a hierarchy? is there a structure? i mean, and there's no funding for this. i mean, this is all sort of grassroots, spontaneous organization. >> right. so, it's a grassroots effort, so we are still raising funds. it is a decentralized network so people are acting on their own at the local level. they're making their own campaigns. they're figuring out the strategy that really work for them. they're engaging with elected officials. they're engaging with community members. they're having their own community town halls and healing circles and a range of different activities that make sense for their legal context. however, we're also, you know, savvy. we're strategic and we're coord nature i coordinating ourselves at the national level. it's not only black lives matter that is its own organization and
network but there's a constellation of social justice organizations across the country. so, we're a movement, we're truly a movement of various groups, various community organizations and so on. >> interesting. well, i want to come back to talking about sort of tactics and philosophy of black lives matter, but i want to tell the story in three minutes or less if possible of, you know, how it came to be founded. i think i recall reading that, you know, you were actually at a movie and you came out to learn via social media the verdict that george zimmerman had been acquitted, i guess this was july of 2013. how did that, then, lead to what has now become this national movement. >> yeah, thanks for that question. so, back in 2013, i actually along with many others, i'm sure, were watching very closely the trial of george zimmerman, right? and many of us were really concerned that a young boy like trayvon martin who many us of
have identified with, right? so, we have sons, brothers, cousins, you know, who we really recognized that this could have been one of our own, right? and so we were watching and waiting. and i know myself i had just walked out of watching "fruit ve"frui "fruitvale station" and watching that film, walking out of this movie theater, this is new york. i was with one of my closest girlfriends who was also a community organizer. and i remember sitting on the street corner and getting a slew of text messages and tweets and just folks who were frantic. they were letting us know, hey, did you hear? if you didn't hear now you should know. george zimmerman was acquitted of this murder. and, you know, what are we going to do about this. and so folks were beginning to strategize and, you know, rallies were being planned and so on. but i remember in that moment just sitting and really with the
fact that everybody knew what took place. and despite all the knowledge, despite the testimony, despite all of that trayvon martin was put on trial for his own death, his murder. his family had to be put through all of this. the entire society, right? u.s. society, people were watching this. we all went through a sort of collective trauma witnessing that, right? and so i was struck with the fact that my younger brother who was -- my youngest brother who was 14 at the time could have been trayvon. and this young boy that i love so dearly, that i would do anything for, could have his own life under threat. and so could my other cousins, my god kids and so on. and so i knew that something had to change. and that i wanted to help to construct a political project that would say never again, never again in our lifetimes. >> if i recall you read a
facebook post -- i don't know if you knew her before, but two other founders along with you of black lives matter and you read a facebook post by one of them that kind of galvanized this. >> i read a facebook post by alicia garza and it was really well written basically love note to our people, saying, yeah, we should be outraged. we shouldn't sit idly by. we shouldn't take it for granted and we can actually do something about it. and at the end of her post, she said, our lives matter, black lives matter, and our dear sister patrice put a hash tag on it and started posting it other people's walls. and, you know, that went a little bit viral, but actually i called them i thought and said we need to actually create our own social media platform so i created a facebook page for us and a tumblr and twitter and said beyond just our walls we need this to actually be very public. we need to have other people interact with this message and
also share the work that they're doing to assure that black lives matter and really understand what does this mean to them and how can we as a collective, people of conscious from all walks of lives, make sure that we are coordinated and uplifting a message that will ensure that all of our black lives matter. >> and that is a nice segue to questions about kind of tactics and philosophy and goals. and i guess the sort of overarching -- and there are a lot of subelements to this. but is black lives matter, do you see yourselves as a revolutionary movement that is working outside the system or an evolutionary movement that is trying to work within the existing political structures? let me cite a few examples that have been pretty controversial. at the net roots nation conference in july one of your co-founders patrice led a protest when bernie sanders was trying to speak and she said burn everything down and
interrupted his speech and martin o'malley's. and then the following month, again, bernie sanders who is, you know, to the pretty far -- to the progressive side of the democratic party was also disrupted in seattle and he had to, you know, end up disrupting his, and then one current one i was just reading the minneapolis star tribune is reporting that this sunday i think there's a marathon in minneapolis this weekend, and black live matters organizers there are saying we're going to disrupt the marathon and there was pushback against that. and the st. paul -- as you say it's a decentralized group, you may have nothing to do with this guy. but when marathoners said we just are trying to run this race and we're sympathetic to your goals, but, you know, please don't -- please let us run the race. and this st. paul spokesman said, the negros great stumbling block to freedom is the white
moderate who constantly say i agree with you and the goal you seek but i can't agree with your methods of direct action which i think crystallizes this debate about do you work within the system or without it. where, you know -- where is black lives matter on that? and do you condone or endorse the sort of disrumt ipting of be sanders and hillary clinton and other instances? >> i think where we are at, we are open to a myriad of strategies and a myriad of tactics. we know that there are some people who will be inspired to work within the system as it is. we're not going to condemn them or, you know, denigrate all those actions. we think that everybody, no matter where you are, no matter what your socioeconomic status is, whatever your job is, you have a duty in this moment in history to take action and stand on the side of people who have been oppressed for generations. and so we think that's very crystal clear. whatever means you need to take, weel