tv Lectures in History CSPAN January 16, 2016 8:00pm-9:21pm EST
washington ever did was say no, just like we do at tuskegee, i want the communities to do it. it was pretty amazing. from that, it more into 5000 schools all over the announcer: sunday night at 8:00 eastern. next on lectures in history, arizona state university professor brooks simpson discusses the role of the president during wars, including those wage without a formal congressional declaration. he examines the ways american foreign-policy and the president took hours have evolved. it is about one hour and 15 minutes. brooks: we will talk about presidents and going to war. we have talked about the constitution already, the
authorization of the president to act as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. on the other hand, congress' role, they can fund military operations, can also pass various regulations for the armed services. d as well, congress can exercise oversight through congressional hearings on what is going on committees. we know that. james madison once drew the distinction that congress declares war, the presidents make war. remember, there are only five wars where congress has actually declared war. 1812, mexican-american, spanish-american, world war 1 an d 2. declaration,st several european countries that germany.ed with nazi
not italy or germany, hungary, romania, etc. let me give you a couple of case studies here to think about. what we will talk about today, first of all, i want to talk about the case that occurred not that long ago -- in my lifetime at least. richard nixon was president in 1969, he inherited the vietnam war. as you know. reports came to him that the north vietnamese forces were seeking sanctuary in then neutral cambodia. they were using that as a safe place, if you will, to launch invasions, operations against the south are in starting i when nixon began to authorize the bombing of targets in cambodia. in 1970, the first american ground forces actually crossed the south vietnamese-cambodia
border and invaded cambodia. nixon not ask for any congressional authorization. this was a secret operation from the beginning. discovered, there were protests, this is where you have the can't state shooting on may 4, 1970. you should also know there were protests in favor of the president invading cambodia. view, a took a dim president waging war without prior congressional approval? it would resend something -- rescind something, the gulf of tonkin resolution authorizing theon johnson to act in annan in ways people would come to regret. it is also the root of what becomes known as the war powers
resolution of 1973, a congressional attempt to hamstring the president in the use of military force. the fact is that is all that happened with nixon. he was not impeached. he was not curbing the american operations. though he got slapped on the wrist, he really had no significant impact on the outcome of the vietnam conflict. opposition tomore the actions of the administration. the legacy of the war powers resolution, we will talk about that a bit. it doesn't really do very much in terms of constraining presidential power all that much. presidents now seek congressional approval, many times, but they do not have to. there is a lot of resistance to this. the modern presidency, modern presidents have a lot of power, etc. right?
but talk about james k. polk. he comes to the presidency in 1845. annexes thetates republic of texas. and in annexing texas, they inherit a border dispute between texas and mexico, as to where is the border between those two places? and tell me what does president polk do? we talked about this before, just sit there and wait for people to negotiate? go ahead. sends troops down into the disputed area. this is a theme we will talk about later on. he put troops in harms way. and so, he took those troops down to the rio grande, an area
also claimed by mexico. so mexico sent troops there, as well. of 1846, opposing forces fire on each other. and president polk, who has tried it through various ways to gain his way with the mexican government, and it was already planned, for a major military operation -- should war break out. an operation that simply does not talk about remedying the border dispute, the operation that would take over other parts of northern mexico, including the very place we are standing now. polk takes this moment, this firing on american forces, and uses this as a reason to declare war. and his message to congress on instructed, 1840, he
that because after outlining the injured inhe u.s. is this sense as a party, against a recalcitrant and unresponsive mexican government, that war exists, notwithstanding all of our efforts to avoid it, like sending troops into a trouble area? it exists by acts of mexico alone. we will come back to this. this notion that when the u.s. goes to war, a ghost war because it has been attacked. it had nothing to do with creating the situation for hostilities to break out. and you know that, in fact, there is an illinois congressman -- a whig from springfield. he introduces in the u.s. house something called the spot resolution, demanding that polk
document the spot where blood was spilled, as a way to demonstrate to americans that polk had provoked the conflict. that was abraham lincoln. ok, so we have two incidences here, that i think are very important. apart, but you see some of the same patterns. president being able to use his toer as commander-in-chief to placeserican forces where war breaks out, or to expand an already existing conflict. so, does the constitution matter anymore? you tell me. is the original vision of the founders, and having congress declare war, you tell me? tell me now.
if you are president, would you pay attention to the cosmetic? come on, i see that. microphone and tell me what you think. >> i do agree that it is of a cosmetic thing. but we pride ourselves on being a nation of the people, so we need to justify ourselves to the people. the president can technically do whatever they want. but they have that responsibility to report to the people who put them in office. brooks: without the congress or the voters, or whom? does the president have an obligation to tell americans what is going on? >> i think so. brooks: the president should be candid, open, transparent?
that is what nixon did wrong, he does not tell people we are bombing cambodia. i want you to think about that. if me ask you this -- what richard nixon had gone to the american people? doing,d them what he was before he did? how do you think the american people would respond to a president saying i have decided i have to expand this unpopular war, to a lot of people. i will have to violate a country's neutrality because it was already compromised. what do you think the reaction would have been, if richard nixon said the war, which i pledged to end with my super plan, is now awarded has to
expand? how do you think the american people would have taken that? when you want the microphone, raise your hand, so we know where to go. thomas? thomas: the people would not have responded well to it. they basically said you are not going to continue the war, now you are extending it? it is kind of a fundamental problem, easier to ask forgiveness than permission. in this case, i would say that the constitution really doesn't matter, because the constitution, as a fundamental document, is intended to curate conflict, and regards to deciding. and that takes time, ward is not necessarily respond to time, or allow you to make a decision right then. brooks: andrew wants the microphone. ok, so we have the apologists
for the president here. do not tell the people. issue in think another that case, if there is an outcry against expanding the war into cambodia, then he faces the chance that congress actually expressly prohibits that expansion. and then he faces either blatantly breaking the law, or his hands are tied. brooks: so? necessarily not as saying he should lie. but from his point of view, that is the only way to effectively take the action he thought that needed to be taken. i am not saying that is good or bad. but i am saying i can understand from his perspective why he would do that.
brooks: was it good or bad? define what you mean by good or bad. say thatell, i would it ultimately did not help american interests. so it was probably a bad move, and maybe we all would have been better off if he had said that is what he thought needed to be done. and congress prohibited it. i would say that would have probably been the better move. i am just saying -- brooks: understanding what the figure does is not the same thing as justifying. we do this all the time, trying to understand why they did what they did. that doesn't mean we say we approve of what they did. we may not care very much for what they did. but the fact is that we have to understand part of the past, why do you will do things that you
might not think ought to be done? since you have a microphone right there. >> well, that raises the question, when we analyze historical figures such as presidents, do we define good as in following the will of the people? as in doing what would be in the nation's best interest? brooks: you have to define good or bad. harrison? harrison: i would say a president is sometimes going to have to lie. over president basically the last 40-50 years, it was a big lie. iran-contra, we did not sell weapons for hostages. monica lewinsky, stuff like that. brooks: not an issue of war and peace. harrison: everybody has to live.
a couple of years ago, i remember obama was saying he would put ground troops in syria to make the russians back off, and get the weapons out. he lied to everybody. he had congress like, you are usurping our authority. but he got the weapons out there. i think there is a good lie, for sure. brooks: if it turns out well, you can do with it? likeson: everybody it when it works. but it is just the president's intention. brooks: you have a future as a speechwriter. so, we have so far people embracing corruption. they are saying i'm very impressed. go ahead. >> i studied the first world war, but what i would say with the first world war, and wilson
-- he did not exactly live. but he exaggerated the truth, like the lusitania. there was evidence of weapons on the lusitania. brooks: not a perfectly neutral vessel. administration says it was carrying innocent civilians. and also, the zimmerman telegram. something that really should not matter at all, a low-level german foreign officer, but getting extremely exaggerated, in order to build up this kind of anti-german sentiment. brooks: ok. lying and the question of it comes to war powers, i think it is the responsibility of the president to always take the input of congress and the people, because if something were to go wrong, as in the case of nixon and cambodia, the responsibility is now shared by
the american people. thet does not degrade office of the president. in the case of mixing, when that happened, there was not a lot of public appeal to the president for a while after that. brooks: ok, let us go with that. what polk should have done, we want this land. we will go to war if they do not sell it to us. he would've gotten a lot of support for that, do you think? we got attacked, we had no choice, and there's nothing we can do. >> i think that he would have gotten support because the american people were very migratory at that time. they were not in favor of expansion. brooks: ok. chelsea? chelsea: i am going to kind of go a different direction.
i don't necessarily think that the president owes it to congress to tell them things. when i think about it, when you are a kid and play the game of telephone, the message gets distorted and turns into something else. when it comes to wars, the more you try to include people, the easier it is the kind of mess up the whole situation, instead of having -- i am not saying the president should ultimately be a one person who can decide. but i do think there are certain situations, were the more people you tell, it could make the situation worse. brooks: the more people you have to hear. chelsea: it could change really the scope of what your actions are trying to accomplish. >> i want to speak to both of those points. to start with, what you were saying about the idea of whether it was more impactful to go to war to impact american troops, versus some kind of american
interest you are protecting, i think it is much of an easier thing to get people behind the troopst is to protect treated for the everyday american, that sounds like a much more serious conflict, then we have this economic interest or this other interest we should probably take care of. a does not sound like a good enough reason to go to war, and they might try to argue, cannot you do that by negotiating? try this first about but when a war is really necessary, speaking to get more people involved, i agree with what you said. when you get more involved, the debate can be drawn out to be a lot more longer than it needs to be. sometimes, war needs to be dealt with quickly. brooks: you have to act now. talk or act. one of the things i wanted to bring back to the last couple of comments, looking at the polk
versus net, the way the foreign the way thatcts, u.s. foreign-policy has changed historically, like before with the mexican-american war, no one was settled really in those areas. there was not a defined country, a state actor. americans were very light, westward expansion -- let us keep expanding. continent, or in a different country confessors to bring in more like country boundaries and state sovereignty. theink it like shifts framework of what you are trying to accomplish. and then like having the iesident, james k. polk, think more people would have been ok with the expansion because there was not a defined like entity, verses like going into cambodia or vietnam. where there were solidified borders. brooks: think about this. polk did not choose that route.
and one of the reasons he does not choose that route, i think it is easier for somebody to say, i was attacked. i have nothing to do with this. i am just defending myself by taking over all of the north mexico. part of this is, again, presidents putting forces in harm's way, or acting without prior approval in ways that certainly test the notion of congressional oversight. because how is congress going to deny the right to go to war, if the u.s. has been attacked? you know, the mexican-american war is a case where you have a declaration of war. what else to congress have done? that would be unlikely, harrison? to then: in regards reasons to go to war, i think 9/11 is an excellent reason for war.
3000 people dead. the problem can we do not wage it on the right people. i don't even know if there was a right people. but it is not just the media. you know, we put them there anyway. so, what is the difference? i think it is more than just a military thing. of course, people are attacked? we have more than just the iraq war, we got the patriot act, expanded nsa, all of those types of things. i think that is an instance where the presidential oversight and not go so well. brooks: i want to get some of these concepts out. we talked about nixon, polk. but they are not standing alone in this regard. -- the one of the things notion that the 20th century brought about a substantially y, while presidency
there is a change, we have talked about some of those things. but issues presidents have faith, have always faced them. the problems of, before. that tookout wars place not a formal declaration, starts with the beginning of the republic. george washington's wars against native american tribes, all the way down to wounded knee. presidents do not go in ask permission, can we go to war against the sioux, apache? theoretically, the war against the apache in the southwest, they were the longest american military engagement -- in terms of a hot war -- in american history. we do not really list those as wars, we think about wars. john quincy adams, a quasi-war against the french.
he consult with congress, people were aware of it. but there is no declaration of war. thomas jefferson, barbary pirates, no declaration of war against the pirates. thelook at them as terrorists in this regard. examples in the first three presidents of going to war in different ways that which do not involve the declaration. president, james madison is the first to ask for a declaration of war against the british. the u.s. almost was to war against france, too, at the same time. which is interesting. we are going to go to war against everybody. but that is how american presidents have use military force aggressively, sometimes with congressional approval, but
in ways short of a declaration of war. now, this goes back to the beginning. one of the ways in which you do this is you put personnel, american military personnel, in harm's way. let us think about a couple of these. we just talked about james where i think it is fair to expect there would be possibility of military engagement against the military forces from mexico sent to the same area. people running around with guns, sooner or later, someone is going to want to use them. certainly, in the 19th century. but that is not the only time you have that. in terms of international wars, 1898. spanish-american war, one of the major incidences leading up to that war was the decision by the mckinley administration, the battleship maine in havana harbor.
that battleship blows up, no one quite knows why, the general consensus now is that it was probably an accident. but there were people that said the spanish deliberately blew up the ship. and in any case, there was a cry -- remember the maine health inspired the american declaration of war to take over cuba, free it from spanish rule. the united states takes out the spanish in manila bay. this is never a war about cuba, it is a war against the spanish empire with far ranging implications for the u.s. but troops were in harm's way. you put a battleship where things are not going well, and we have seen that since then. like the u.s. as coal and other cole and others.
vessels, they might get fired on. franklin roosevelt, in the undeclared war that preceded the formal declarations of war in december of 1941, american destroyers, merchant marine ships sending supplies to great britain, and later on the soviet union. those ships come under attack from german submarines. that is looking to have a military engagement. shipsere are, in fact, that engage those submarines. and there is basically a hot war going on in the north atlantic ocean. everyone is aware of it. so, long before pearl harbor, there have already been shots exchange between the u.s. and nazi germany. they called it an undeclared war. studies from that period are sometimes entitled "the
undeclared war." when you have those destroyer escorts come, and that is something that wilson did not buy into, there was no escort on the lusitania, for example. are,now what the odds especially roosevelt should have known, that the odds are there will be hostile fire. you are going to put people in harm's way. lyndon johnson put troops in militaryy and american personnel in the vietnam conflict. he was not the first. but in august of 1964, the u.s. reports that the north vietnamese have attacked american vessels in a place called the gulf of tonkin. actuallyhis attack took place has become a matter of dispute, they interpret radar, sonar, what was going on correctly. the fact of the matter is that johnson used this to get the
resolutionsin passed by congress, almost unanimously, authorizing him to use military force more aggressively. february, an american base is attacked. and johnson uses that to expand the american commitment even more. and when people say, what is going on here? someone says, use the right streetcars, they come along . sooner or later, we know that will give justification for the president to act. if you put people in harm's way, sooner or later, harm is done to them. and then you can portray yourself as having been attacked, when in fact, you have done something fairly provocative that makes the
likelihood of an attack go up. so, even the reagan administration -- the blowing up barracks ine beirut lebanon. why were there marine barracks in beirut? there was a good chance that harm would come to them. and you, as the u.s. president, can cite that event, if you so choose, to escalate involvement. is congressional approval not something you ought to worry about, because who in congress is going to vote against protecting american military personnel? so, you could put troops in harm's way and basically officiate the requirement that congress has to declare war, and many, many cases. we have that. so, link to that. i want you to think about
another thing. the u.s. always want to say it has been attacked. i want you to think about ways in which the u.s., not quite in your lifetime but certainly your ime, how the u.s. has used this notion that we are defending ourselves, or defending someone else was been attacked. alright? case where this becomes troublesome in american history is actually the beginning of the american civil war. abraham lincoln becomes president in march of 1861. there is a garrison of united states military personnel in fort sumter, in trust and harbor. we talked about -- in fort sumter, in charleston harbor. we talked about lincoln telling the garrison has six weeks of food and supplies, and it needs
be resupplied from or it will be forced to surrender. ok, what should lincoln have done and why? you have rebellion on your hands. these are -- these people are contesting your authority, doing something which you have claimed is unconstitutional. secession. >> i will support the president, and i think you should have sent the reinforcements to fort ofter, even under the guise being just food. obviously, it was more than that. but he said it was just food being sent to fort sumter so they would not starve. vesselsthey had other and military personnel in case that was attacked. but there was food, it was not the lusitania. but it had other people on it. military personnel.
>> if i was president lincoln in this incident, i would have sent the vessel because they are already in secession, declaring independence already. it is going to need to be spinned, so the way your people will actually support you in conducting war. brooks: think about this. lincoln could have said this is wrong, this conflict -- this secession is wrong. i will compel military force. washington did that during the whiskey rebellion. jackson threatened to do that, which involved south carolina. not simply know, why act this way more vigorously now? >> as i stated before, it is really powerful to put yourself in that defensive position, to say we have been attacked.
they are the aggressor. but it is a political game domestically and internationally with the president kind of u.s. military in one direction, putting forces at fort sumter. and it is a political game with the south, a wargame with the south. go ahead and fire on us, see what happens. you get the guilt for starting the war on you. not only to galvanize support in the north, but also internationally. brooks: why not just simply withdraw, this is not a good place to be, our troops are vulnerable. this is not the time or the place i want this war to happen. ? withdrawk he does not the troops because, if he does, he shows that he is weak. which is different to be attacked, versus being retreated. abrahamremember,
lincoln is not the only american president involved in fort sumter. and so, when lincoln says i will run force, in terms of resupplying the garrison, creating more soldiers there or ammunition, just food, just -- puts, jefferson davis yourself in his shoes. why did you fire? davis did not have to fire. davis could have seen this as simply a resupply mission. quo.continued the status why fire? go ahead, thomas. thomas: i think the problem is that you have to take into it ist the facts, what if
not just a resupply. anything thate would put the -- that would compromise more the defensive situation that already existed at fort sumter, being a critical base to defend this whole area? and they actually continued to inpromise their security that area, if they did not starve out fort sumter. basically, you are giving up a major strategic advantage by not sinking that ship. so, yes, you did fire. you fired on the fort. but you were kind of forced into it by the president's actions. it is kind of, either we declare havingthat situation by them fire and declare war on us, or give up military control of that sector entirely.
brooks: ok, there were actual positive things for davis to consider. one thing davis was considering was the collapse, or what he foresaw as the erosion, of the sentiment for secession. there are seven states that secede to join the confederacy. and then, after those seven states come there, eight more slave states that do not seced , by this time. to theseas we get other states, there is support for secession, but it is not majority support. and there is concern that perhaps the enthusiasm for secession might die down. but if davis confronts lincoln, opens fire, that will encourage secession, especially if lincoln have to call troops to put down the rebellion.
the president should not coerce people in this way. actually, i would argue that presidents benefited from escalating that conflict. davis got his stage, lincoln got his action. but notice there is a lot of argument with people saying, but lincoln did not cause the war. or did he? davis to not cause the war. both accepted the risk because they thought it might actually pay off. >> i think a contributing factor to a decision is not nearly the strategy, like the technical strategy, but also just the message. and how much of it little statement can be made. i think in the case of lincoln or any president, it is about what the people perceive, more about the power of persuasion, as opposed to the hard power of becoming commander-in-chief.
it is about gaining the right perspective for people, and in that case, it is not particularly matter whether or not what the motivation was. >> definitely it is persuasion and garnering domestic political support. because both president davis and president lincoln satisfied their own goals. because lincoln argued secession is illegal, therefore we have a right to be at fort sumter. davis could argue that because it is legal, they have no right to be at fort sumter. they can both claim we were attacked, they are the aggressive. so they can both garner domestic support. argued we just want to be left alone. we are to staying there, and not leaving us alone is a deliberately evocative act we cannot tolerate -- deliberately provocative act we cannot
tolerate. we were the victim, we were forced into this. we did not do this willingly. but both sides make decisions that escalated the conflict, to int of armed hostility. something that is in your l ifetime, the you might not remember it, the invasion of iraq in 2003. and the claims that there were weapons of mass instruction, .hat saddam hussein might use why did the bush administration so readily adopt that? that, for example, the american people would have
supported and invasion of iraq, just on the grounds of removing saddam hussein? suggested he was a bigger threat than he was. abby? abby: i think it's thanks to the point that you might have to that i think it speaks to the point that you might have to take care of it a meal economists early with congressional approval. so the garnering support behind something like that is a lot easier than saying there is some political interests, too, that we need to take care of. just like shock and all value, you can stand behind that as a reason, you will exploit that and take advantage of that. even if it is not true, or as
true as you make it sound. brooks: not that there was a deliberate attempt to deceive. that is something of a still being argued. but weapons of mass destruction sounds like a much more compelling reason to go to war than, gee, we just need to go to the middle east. we have to go to iraq and take out the guy we forgot before. we need to finish the job. john? john: maybe it was the need for the support. there was a lot of reporting that has been done in the past few years that seems to claim that the bush administration, that they do not necessarily intentionally deceive the american public, they needed to soieve that there were wmds badly because they needed to find something to get the public behind them so badly that they kind of had in their head tunnel vision, looking for selective evidence.
brooks: ok, celeb to give you another example, though. it might be a little less controversial in some ways, but not ours. as you know, the united states goes to war against japan in the math ofte after the attack on pearl harbor. of course, we have already talked about the fact that some people think it might have been o as unexpected as it was. but the american people were shocked when they found out pearl harbor had been attacked by the japanese. ok, we all know from the american point of view, because we have talked about world war ii as the good war -- the greatest generation, good versus evil. whether you want to debate that are not is a different question. but it seems to have been -- hitler is a bad guy. we should go to war against
germany. they do bad things. but notice that franklin roosevelt never went to the american people and said, you know what, if hitler wins, we lose. we need to go to war. much ofs taking over france, much of central europe. britainan great standing there alone with winston churchill, there is no one standing in his way. we should not have this man, with his political philosophy and his hatred of people unlike himself, in power. that is a bad thing. and so, i call upon the united states to go to war against nazi germany. why didn't roosevelt do that> ?if you are ever going to go to war against somebody, i would assume it is
adolf hitler. harrison? harrison: he just did not need to. after he declared war on japan in return for pearl harbor, japan and germany both declared war. brooks: december 1941, the german tanks are rolling up -- they see moscow in the distance. no one understood that is very cold in the winter. what napoleon could have told him back in 1812, the fact is that britain is all alone. they just bought off the luftwaffe. it is kind of tough at this point. would it not have been smarter to get involved earlier, before hitler could have taken over all of the stuff? because illy agree, think the attacks on pearl harbor were so surprising to so much of the public, that suggests that they were not prepared to enter that war.
think that very many americans would have said, yeah, i think hitler is crazy and we should leave germany alone. but they haven't ready to go to war, then i think the cymer 1941 would have turned out differently. 1941 would have turned out differently. i think that we should not have been so surprised, right? i mean, japanese imperial aggression was not exactly a secret. outraged --was where did this come from, how could this have happened? clearly, we were not ready. brooks: remember, hitler does the u.s. a favor. december 8,ngry on 9, 10, you're not angry about hitler. that contrary to "animal
house." it is important to get history right. ands up to the italians germans to declare war on the u.s. and we return the favor. the hitler mistake was making a public relations effort easy. in fact one of the things that fdr had to do with the u.s. went to war was to remind people, by the way, although we are angry at the japanese can really have to worry about hitler. he is much more important, frankly, in the long term than the japanese. we will get them sooner or later. but we really have to go after hitler and focus on those operations as much as possible, at least have a divided effort. because before then, you would say, hitler did not attack us. the japanese did. we should go after them. >> i think in this particular the denial of it is
of the severity of the issue. i think a lot of people wanted to believe that hitler could be dealt with diplomatically, and like a nice, friendly way. talk to him and negotiate. fdr wrote him letters, maybe you should not invade these places. obviously, that did not work. from fdr's perspective, that should've been a warning sign, but i think the people want to believe we could do something without declaring war. because war is such an enormous move. there was just a lot of the nile. hitler is not that big of a deal, we don't need to take care of it right now. we kind of needed a pearl harbor to open our eyes to see this is a global conflict. we do need to get involved. so the public needs ware inspired to go into a it might not otherwise have
considered, in terms of national interest and power politics. >> i was just going to say that i think the denial only works when the american interests or the american people, themselves, are not directly threatened. you see what 9/11, when americans are the ones who are being threatened, there is no canal about, maybe we appease a threat or whatever. it becomes that war is necessary. so i really think it kind of just depends on the american interest. brooks: ok, that is a good point. once you are punched in the nose, andrew? me walkts used to tell away from a fight. on the playground with a distilled me you have never been in a fight. >> like how you asked earlier, why did he not come out and say hitler is bad this is a threat? that is the reason we're going
to war? i think the president would have to present the war to the american people as a war out of fear, and not immediate threat. it would have been more of let us see if there's a possibility of attack in the future. we have actually conducted when i called preemptive wars. if we don't do this, something really bad. we have not been attacked, we will be. alright, and i think it is interesting that we do not have a president saying here is a global situation. here is the american national interests. to secure the national interest, we're going to engage in war. and so i ask you. does not say we really want this chunk of territory from mexico, it would help american expansion.
we are a nation of expanding westward, this is our manifest destiny. let us go to war to take it, because we tried to buy it and they will not sell it. so, we will take it. and notice that the president will not speak that way. we want stability in the middle east, we believe that saddam hussein is a destabilizing element in that region. we are worried about guaranteeing our supply of oil from that region. we need to take him out. that is the way it is. he may be connected to al qaeda and osama bin laden, but that is not important. we need to take them out. those speeches, which would be a lot different, are not the kind of speeches that arouse a lot of popular passion. i suppose, yesterday, december 7, 1941, a day which will live in infamy, that can get you going.
>> i would say that is an indictment of the public, not the president overreaching. because it is the real reason that we need to insert ourselves more aggressively into international conflict. it is real, serious american interest. lack ofthis in eventsas a public outside our borders, that is our fault. not the president's. presidentsrefore, are basically -- you are going to give them a pass when it comes to lying? because the american people really are not ready for the truth. >> i don't know about not ready
for the truth. i am not saying we are too stupid to understand our interest. i am saying we are not aware enough to understand that our interests are at risk. aware andat if we are we don't think they require war. >> that is a case when congress should restrain the president. but i don't think that is often the case. folks downmas, there? the problem is that you are treating the american public as having one collective idea of what needs to be done. whereas it is a multitude of opinions and ideas that everyone has that are different from everyone else's. i guess they cannot handle the truth because it is not really possible for a president to establish a unifying motive for the entirety of the american likeace, besides something
an us versus them scenario. brooks: you could argue that it president's job to educate. i know you do not understand, there is not a reason you should understand. it is in a place far, far away. with people whose speak a different language. and so, i will explain to you what american interests are. we will let people in congress respond to that. i will let opinion makers respond to that, members of my administration will educate you. you can make the decision. i will ask you to do this. i will explain why think this is a course of action to pursue. >> i agree that is something that should happen that has not been happening. but it is subject to the time problem involved in warfare. brooks: but it has changed things. time used to be a big factor in
these events because of the delay in communications. for example, in the war of 1812, the british had actually given in to american demand. but by the time that word had reached washington, the u.s. had already declared war. onember, that war ends christmas eve, 1814. in belgium, they signed an agreement, a piece agreement -- peace agreement. but that does not get to the u.s. until the battle of new orleans in 1815, a battle that elevated andrew jackson to become president of the u.s. >> this is going to go back little bit, but back to the idea of world war ii as an indictment of both the public and president. i think that one of the reasons we did not a medially jump in, we were afraid of what it would
mean if we lost. and the president did not exactly have an answer for that. in fact, he did not want to bring that to the public's attention. if you look at the executive government branch, we expect them to always have at least half an answer, or give us options in terms of what we can do as a public or support and indict ourselves, not having the idea that why are you going to give it to them if they cannot do anything about it? >> i want to touch on what we were talking about before. in terms of why we need to have some sort of big event the kind of inspire fear, why that is important, i think that goes touched on ine the beginning of the semester. the western political brain, the idea that we are not driven by logic. to appeal toan try
logic, but overwhelmingly, we are power by emotion. explain,is great to most people are not going to be driven to support political action because of it. more importantly, when you get into these conflicts that have years and years of history behind it, only about 25% of the public actively pays attention. when we talk about maybe the president should be trying to educate people, it would be an overwhelming portion of the population they would have to educate. and you would probably be trying to educate people would not be interested in paying attention in the first place, and currently difficult to do that. brooks: they don't want to go to class, they react to an event. hiso back to thomas and saying time is a factor. sean? yet, i think about, before congress declares war on someone, is there a clear beginning and end to this war?
up until the cold war, there is always kind of been one central, opposing threat. when this is overcome, we will go into peacetime. but ever since the cold war, war on terror, there has been less of a clear and. end. and that may have expanded the powers, as people became frustrated with no tangible outcome. brooks: the cold war is never declared. there are events, there is nothing called the cold war, in terms of the beginning. there is nothing you can really do about it. ok? not as an act of congress, but the cold war is over. harrison?estio
harrison: it would be really hard to give people the benefit of the doubt and israel versus palestine. a lot of people have a lot of different views. being elected president, we are really collecting someone whose discretion we trust. ideally, we can screw up and pick someone who is not the best under pressure. but we have to give freedom to, you know, do what he or she thinks is right. , we may notremember like what the president does. and we get upset later, why did you tell us you are lying to us? claudia? issue is, as much as i feel about educating the american public is obviously the ideal for what we want, we all want to be united in an effort especially with war, because we are talking about sending people out to dine and resources etc.,
how would you attempt to educate the american public in situations like when we drop a bomb and we do not even know what is going to happen with it? like in the case of hiroshima and nagasaki? brooks: we do not mr. simpson: we do not know. this notion of how to rouse public opinion, for training courses crusades. the war against terrorism. that wars become crusades,
because that's one way in which you tell people this is a war against good versus evil. course good, and we will subdue evil. think about how sometimes that turns out. wonder who is really good or evil, or some combination thereof. evilimes a war to destroy requires us as americans to work with people who later on we find are not enter than the people that we have joined with them to fight against, the soviet union. the soviet union would view the united states in the same way. they would say this is just a moment and have good reason to distrust the united states. from the soviet point of view, if you thought it was so bad, why did you not do anything when he invaded us? was on you wait until he
the outskirts of moscow? there's no reason from a soviet point of view to trust american interests and motives than any more for americans to trust soviet interests and motives. we like to fight wars as , thedes, so here we are innocent country, we have not been attacked, we have not done anything to causes, but this war become something more than just a fight to retaliate. 14 points were really , ang to remake the world american image complete with an international organization that is going to americanize global politics. one of the reasons that americans become disenchanted with world war i and its results
is because that is not what happened. -- vision village in is not realized. resisted at this was especially, and wilson unwilling to compromise on key points of the treaty of versailles when it came to membership in the league of nations. they felt surrender congressional autonomy to commit american forces. fdr's design of the united nations, when the united nations is proposed, it is proposed with everyone ishat say equal, but some are more equal than others if they are members of the security council. they will never do anything the united states does not want them to do.
what sounds good. -- which sounds good. , the only conflict reason the united states was able to as part of the united nations coalition to commit itself to that conflict and say we don't have to ask, we are simply observing our obligations as a united nations charter member, because the soviet member was not there today, protesting the fact that nationalist china was still part of the security council, and not the people's republic of china, so there was no one to veto anything. notice that even their that we have this great cause. we want to make sure communism will not spread, protect american values. what you make of that? john? goes to the point of the training it as a war to
galvanize the mystic support. the administrations do this to put the united states in the best position to win the war, at least world war ii and before that. especially universal conscription, you have 100% of dedication from 100% of the public. mr. simpson: it is easier to get. butou are defenseless a cause, butnst you're bound to be disappointed with the results. the results of the conflict will youly meet the expectations have aroused trying to get into it. one of the reasons americans were jaded about entering to is they felt american entry into world war i had not accomplished
much. why do that again? don't you learn that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again thinking there will be a different outcome. why do that? time to say the conflict of 1914 is not the conflict of 1939, but even then it was an act of the japanese the propel this argument further forward than let's say a persuasion, the active persuasion of telling the american public that you need to get involved in this war because the nazis or evil. they wanted to hit great britain and the soviet union, but did not want to get involved and commit a serious number of american lives. >> we talk about how we like to envision a, grandscale things --
so i have a question. other types of social crusades, let's say, stuff like literacy and poverty, is there any difference when we say we have a war on these things, or on drugs, poverty, whatever, do you think that helps to galvanize and mobilize the american people at all? mr. simpson: yes. we like to talk about things as conducting wars, and wars that we assume will in the with victories. to sell it in a different way is very difficult. let me give you an example. george w. bush early on when he talked about the war on terror argued that it would be a different kind of war. it was a war without any final resolution. it was a war without an appomattox, surrender ceremony, but this war would continue and
that basically america's engagement with the world had fundamentally change, because there will always terrorists. group,ld never -- this which would not subdue other groups. are historical examples of that, including the american reconstruction. kkk, but itbdue the was replaced by other white supremacist groups, like the red shirts in south carolina. in other words, you think just because they are no longer wearing their bedsheets that they are out. well, no, there are other people. instead of white sheets, there were red shirts, same thing. american terrorists. ,o bush makes this argument subduing terrorism is a different kind of war, differing measuring stick, a different way to wage what we are doing. people did not like that.
to land on ansier aircraft carrier and say mission studies have been pulled down in baghdad, everything is fine, a few casualties, we will just help them set up shop and then come home. the three is ours. -- victory is ours. occupation, etc.. argue that wee just create more terrorism and resentment? mr. simpson: that the measures taken to wage a war against terrorism involve military operations, sometimes killing innocent people, which creates more resistance, sometimes the rhetoric that accompanies
american operations in the middle east over the last 15 we will remakeg the world in a american vision -- an american vision. which created protests, protesting the secularization of our culture, so when you say you are going to make us over in this way, this is exactly the problem in the first place, so , thexample in afghanistan intervention in afghanistan, if you look back at the discussion about that, there is a discussion that emerges about the status of afghanistan women. the one thing the united states will do is elevate the status of afghani women if they have been mistreated. no one had talked about this issue before hand. all of a sudden, this became a major issue.
in other countries and cultures and religions, status of women, status of men, are very important, and you will remake everything in your vision? isn't that what we said they were going to do? so that every time the president or the administration makes this argument, it was a gift to the said we warned you what they were really about. they will take away who we are and substitute pizza huts, mcdonald's, and do away with those values we hold dear as a traditional society. they are a threat to what we believe, so this is an ideological conflict. that justifies terrorism. we have to stop them. after all, the world trade center, if you know who occupy the world trade center, you understand there were not a lot of occupants involved in
international trade, but one of the reasons you target the world trade center is that you see that as the center, the headquarters, of american global capitalism. their way to dominate the entire globe, and you are going to take it down. you are going to damage it in some way. the world trade center, i remember when it went up, and it was designed for something completely different than it into that being. in looking at these situations, should we consider iraq as an attempt at overcorrection for our in action in world war ii, like coming in late? we try to paint the same idea that we ended up finding about hitler like weapons of mass destruction, like this is an awful person we need to take care of -- mr. simpson: certainly saddam hussein would be compared to
adolf hitler. you cannot negotiate with terrorists, negotiate with the tottering regimes. -- with totalitarian regimes. first there is something called the munich syndrome, based on the agreement between nazi inmany and great britain 1938 to allow the germans to occupy the mountain ranges on what was then chuckles about you -- was then czechoslovakia. we have appeased hitler. we have made a deal with him rather than go to war at a time when many britons did not believe the british could fight that kind of conflict. they weren't not yet mobilize. dirtyement became a word later. you cannot appease a dictator. so when american policy was
discussed in the 1940's and 1950's, it was discussed in terms of, let's learn from history. you need to history learn from is that you can never negotiate with a totalitarian regime that wants to expand. you can't. you have to stop aggression. this helps to shape what goes on during the cold war. you can't let them go. if you let them come here, the so-called domino theory, once one country falls, they all fall. that is one. what's the point of that debate? vietnam. that is followed by something called the vietnam syndrome, which is americans don't want to use military force abroad because they will find themselves in a quagmire, an livess war costing many that doesn't seem to achieve anything. in fact, president george herbert walker bush after the
stormesert shield-desert operation, said we've got met out of the way. one of the things when it came to general powell and general theyrzkopf was how much learned from their vietnam experience in terms of the commitment of american military forces abroad. that you have to define an objective that is achievable, public support, transparent, must do those things. one could argue now that we are about to have a middle east syndrome, out of this, look what happened to the united states when it committed military force committed military force in afghanistan, where does that leave us? presidents will have to weigh the next time i feel that we need to commit american military force somewhere, is the american public ready, willing, and able to understand my arguments?
or must i not tell the complete truth for their own welfare? and must i friend this is a crusade in order mobilize support when i need it? in other words, the same problems continue and they will confront future presidents. ok? we are done. >> join us every saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern as we join students and college classrooms to hear lectures on topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. lectures and history are also available as podcasts. visit our website, c-span.org/history/podcasts or download them from itunes.
>> monday is martin luther king jr. day, and we have featured programs on all three c-span networks. coverage of the british house of commons debate on whether to ban donald trump from their country. lastdebate is expected to three hours. i'll coverage will re-air at 8:00 p.m. eastern. on book tv, university of wisconsin professor william jones and his book the march on washington, jobs, frieden, and the for -- freedom, and the forgotten history of civil rights. this march that he had called off in 1941, everybody said you better get martin luther king's support. he went to martin luther king, and martin luther king says i will support you, but let's expand the goals of the march. the march is not just about winning equal access to jobs, employment discrimination. it is all about the rights of
the vote in the south. >> john lewis recalls his involvement in the civil rights movement in his book. the second part of an illustrated adaptation of his life. on american history tv on c-span3 at 2:00 p.m. eastern, international history professor at the london school of economics and political science on iran's cold war partnership with united states. to look to a third power to preserve its independence and sovereignty against the imperial ambitions of britain and russia. in the 1930's, iran looked to germany to play that role. after the second world war, a whole generation of iranians look to the united states as a country that had no imperial ambitions and no history of colonialism in the region. america, the reel 1963 interview with martin rights and on civil
how hot my gandhi -- how gandhi influenced his work. for this year's student cam documentary contest, students issues theyas the want the presidential candidates to discuss. here is a tweet from an eighth grade social studies teacher in north carolina. recording student cam intros at the white house. help georgia, selling, and jesse with their student cam project. at the capital. thanks again, arizona vines and senator clark for the tour. j valentine 25 for
our student cam project about student bulling. ,here are $100,000 in prizes with a grand prize of $5,000. deadline is genuine 20, 2016. each week, american history tv brings you archival coverage of asked presidential races -- of past presidential rages -- races. we look back to the campaign of .enator tsongas we join the massachusetts democrat at a photo shoot. cancerongas had battled and his health was an issue in the campaign. arkansas governor bill clinton would go on to win the 1992 nomination with senator tsongas caring