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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 2, 2016 3:09am-9:01am EDT

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time when these words were spoken? >> i didn't notice it myself. i had been in business, i was dealing with inflation at the time. i wasn't paying much attention to what either ronald reagan or jimmy carter were saying in 1980. i don't think it's wrong. i think it's a lot easier to say it than to do it. i think we started this -- with this effort with good intent. south vietnam was a troubled, difficult democracy, but it was a democracy. we valued freedom and we took them as an ally. and there was enough. you know, stalin had died in '53. the soviet union was continuing to support insurgencies all over the world. if you look at eastern europe
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after world war ii, they would come in and compromise every liberal-thinking social democratic party and crush them and take over the works. it was a terrible economic idea communism and made into an evil force by a totalitarian nature by what we were experiencing. i was sympathetic with what presidential candidate ronald reagan said, but it's a lot easier to say than it actually is to do. i'm not of the school if we were to ramped up our effort in vietnam we would have won it. the most important thing we underestimated was presuming that communism was monolithic and that vietnam was a pep pet of the soviet union and china. yugoslavia was a well-known sort of renegade inside the communist
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party movement. >> the suggestion you might characterize it is go big or stay home is a little shorter version of what ronald reagan said on that particular occasion. there is a lot of legitimacy, i believe in that statement, but there's lots of qualifiers too which suggests that if you don't -- if those elements that i mentioned earlier, if they don't have your back and if you don't have a clear understanding of the type of war that you may be contemplating. and some idea -- what kind of circumstances would require you to rethink the whole operation and if you can't answer those and then overlay that with the support of the international community, which i think is
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critical, i'd be happy to talk about gulf war one in that regard. but if all those pieces are not in place and if you don't have the capability and we've had enormous capability. i know there are a number of vets today that say if we just gone all in and not -- didn't have to be lemay and bombs away. we clearly had more capability. and we protected the cambodian and laos areas were critical supply, and some areas in vietnam were off limits. you can't really engage successfully against somebody that is prepared to stay there for the rest of their lives with a strategy that is so limited. so at some point, your luck is going to run out almost under
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any circumstances. >> from a more practical sense, again, three years into my time in the navy, in 1980 when candidate reagan said that, we already were on our road to a hollow force. this -- you see this after every major conflict, that there's an immediate drawdown. as a navy s.e.a.l., even though we were relatively well resourced, we didn't have money to travel anywhere. you had all the information to shoot, but you didn't have a range to practice on. that was it. so you weren't able to really refine your skills at all during that period. it really wasn't until the reagan buildup when you began to see resources applied towards the military, then a number of things changed. i think everything from the quality of our -- of our capability to the integration, to the reduction of racial
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tensions, a lot of things that were, i would say, in some way precipitated by the hollow force beginning to be developed after vietnam. and once we began to strengthen our resources and take greater pride in the individual soldiers and sailors, airmen, and marines and the mission we had, you began to see that turnaround. so i mean, i do think you have to certainly credit then president reagan with that recognition that we had to have a quality military if we were going to be the leaders of the free world. >> let me ask you about the first gulf war. another famous moment in the history of american attempts to come to terms with the legacies of the war. george h.w. bush in the immediate aftermath of that war said, by god, we've kicked the vietnam syndrome once and for all. it seems to me that not really. the vietnam syndrome hung over american decision-making there
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after. why wasn't the first gulf war more of a decisive turning point? why doesn't it stand out as this moment when some of the conventional wisdom that suhr rounded the vietnam war broke apart? >> most of the -- you have a discrete nation that had been p invaded. the boundaries were much clearer. the aggression on the part of the bad guys, if you will, was much clearer. the international community was hyped you. just a quick story to illustrate in that particular instance, colleague of bob's and mine were fortunate enough to be invited to the white house by george herbert walker bush. it was two, three days after the invasion had occurred. one from each party. strauss center also is helping
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to sponsor this particular group. he was a wise man who was well-respected by both sides and would give some very clear advice. i remember we risked -- we end up missing a redskins/giants football game that day. so it was a major contribution to go othver there and spend th day. he was interested in getting some views. he didn't say we want to talk about the vietnam syndrome, but it was very clear that that was on his mind. and we offered a good deal of advice. you get what you pay for. and then when the second gulf war came along -- first of all, let me see, i was an advocate early on because i'd been involved in the planning stage. i'd gone on a co-dell with seven or eight other happened to be
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democrats. i remained only one as a supporter. george said he'd give me a vibe because i've been speaking on television or whatever. when the second gulf war came around, it was a very different situation. and most of the people who were at least thinking about running for president had voted, quote, wrong, including my friend sam dunn who also -- against force authorization at that time. they weren't against authorization, but they were against doing it at that particular moment. it was clearly on up or down situation and they got it wrong. when the next vote came along and i was out of the arena altogether. i looked and everybody who expressed any interest in running for president at that point was in support of that position. they've since pulled back a good deal from some of those positions. but you could see how important getting it right and putting the
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vietnam syndrome behind was to them. and i -- again, they're not all still supporting it. it was an interesting phenomenon to watch. i think that is behind us to that extent. but it will always be in our subconscious. >> thank you. >> let me make one other comment. >> no! [ laughter ] go ahead. >> because i had been outspoken and virginia which is a -- a conservative and -- but very military state and would normally be expected to be very supportive of force authorization, calls coming into my office knowing of my position were 9-1 against my position, from the people in virginia. i went out several times to relieve some of the interns who
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were taking the calls because they were getting devastated the kind of remarks that people would have. it wasn't until day three of that particular conflict when it was clear that it was going to come to a successful conclusion and that we were not going to have significant losses. and even then, it only turned to 50-50 in terms of the relationship. so the vietnam syndrome was still very much at play in the minds of the public. but i think in the minds of most policymakers, we've taken to the right lessons and moved ahead. >> thank you. >> well, now i think the world of president george herbert walker bush. so i'm not being critical when i say this. but vietnam is not a syndrome. it's a fact. it happened. and it's unpleasant to look at what happened because oftentimes it tends to conflict with my
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mythology that we've developed around ourselves. it's a story. it's a real story. it happened. it was -- it's a story that we need to face. i think what general powell did in the first gulf war is to say, we're going to calculate what we think our force structure is and we're going to multiply it by two. what happened in the iraq war i believe, i think fairly, is that rumsfeld calculated what wasn't going to be necessary and divided by two in order to be able to demonstrate that he could do it with a small force. [ applause ] >> i was -- i was -- you know, i was a republican until 1978. so i'm not terribly partisan on these issues. the ramp-up in military effort began in '79 with the invasion
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of afghanistan. one of the things that gets missed in trying to understand the story of the vietnam war, either from the perspective of the vietnamese or the perspective of america -- and by the way, i think you have to do both. it didn't. that's why we call it the vietnam war. they don't call it the nebraska war. you know, that it was exceptionally difficult time. i remember -- i mean, i watched when president johnson announced he wasn't going to run for reelection. five days later, martin luther king was killed. every large city in america other than indianapolis erupted in flames. the white house could see the fire a couple blocks away. that's just an indication of what was going on in the country at the time. there's no question. i have a memory of what it ft like to be -- say i was in the
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military. if you were trying to apply for a job, you'd leave it off your resume in the 1970s. there was a whole bunch of things going on at the time, and it wasn't just the controversy of the war, the counter culture revolution, i mean, america was really coming apart at the time. i think we've resettled and i think it began in the late '70s. and it's good news. but to repeat, vietnam is not a disease. it's not a syndrome that we can treat with changing our policy. it is a long and painful story of missed opportunities. [ applause ] >> desert shield, desert storm standpoint. now, 14 years in my career, i can tell you we are incredibly well-quipped and qualified as we went forward into the gulf. i would echo a couple things senator robb said. at least from the military
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standpoint, we felt the nation was behind us. we felt we knew what our objectives were. the issue is, there was a little bit of good versus evil. saddam had invaded kuwait. that was wrong. i can tell you even the youngest petty officers and sergeants understood that this was going to be a little bit of the good war, we were doing the right thing in the right context and we were well-equipped to do so. but something did fundamentally changed. secretary kerry mentioned it last night about the fact that there was this we support the troops. i don't know where it started. i don't know who generated the actual bumper sticker that said we support the troops, but what you saw was this was a fundamental change. it was no longer about the policy in terms of the recognition of the troops. it was about the troops are required to go forward and do what the nation asks them to do,
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and irrespective of whether we support the policy or not, we are going to support the troops. we understood that and appreciated that. when we came back from desert storm, there were parades, there was a conclusion. the first thing the desert storm dea veterans did was reach out to the vietnam vets, this is your welcome home as well. i do think both from a military standpoint, resources, capability, it was a turning point. but i can tell you in the military at the time, we viewed it as an opportunity to, right, wrong or indifferent, to right what we felt were the wrongs from vietnam and embrace our vietnam veterans as part of this good news of the success of dessert storm. >> i think it's right. the story you're telling is how the military -- military
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unquestionably learned the lessons. bill, answer this question. and i'm glad the americans are saying support the troops. so few americans have sons and daughters in the military today. the cynical side of me says it's guilt that's causing them to do it. i talk to people who think we don't have anybody in afghanistan or iraq. how much of this comes from the all volunteer force? >> sorry, did i take over your job? >> no, please. >> you know, kim burns used the term last night, i don't remember exactly what it was. it was something about false y patriotism. we are finding ourselves more and more disconnected from the population. and therefore, the point made
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last night, then it's easier and easier for the information to move you forward. having been part of that warrior class for a long time, i was okay with that. that may not be right, but i volunteered and said, i'm ready to serve the military. i was okay with people continuing to worry about the super bowl or worry about -- i was okay with that. i do think we can be on a slippery slope here of getting so disconnected that it is easy to send in the marines, send in the s.e.a.l.s and not think a lot about it because the lack of connection back with the broader society. so i do agree it is something we need to be very, very cognizant of. >> i've been very much concerned for the last 30 years or so about the parallel tracks that the country is proceeding on. there is a military and military family track and most of the new incoming recruits come from
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somebody who already has a military background and there is very little understanding. that's one of the reasons that i've also been pushing -- and sam dunn and i co-sponsored legislation very early onto try to provide some sort of compulsory national service for a period. two of the speakers have said essentially the same thing here. cost alone prohibited us from getting as far as we would like to. not requiring 100% of the people to be in the military, by any means. maybe only 2% choose to be in the military and we'll give them extra incentive for choosing the military. but everybody ought to make some contribution for what they've inherited, in a way that it doesn't take place in most other institutions in society. [ applause ]
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>> we've already moved in our conversation well into the 21st century, but let me focus our attention for just a moment on the afghanistan and iraq wars. i often say in the spirit of horrible kind of black humor that these were great events for people like me because suddenly my knowledge of the vietnam war was relevant again. people were talking about vietnam all the time, it seemed. especially after about 2004, talking heads on tv, op-p-eds. it was all over the place, to me. those who wrote books on this subject, or at least articles. was the vietnam precedent, was the vietnam analogy useful? was it more useful or more of a detriment to the kind of debate that did and should have perhaps taken place around those two experiences? was it useful to talk about
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vietnam so much in connection with these new wars? secretary kerry last night said there's a danger of sometimes being prisoner of the vietnam analogy. did we fall into that in recent times? >> i just offer my experience in iraq and afghanistan very much mirrored the experience of these two gentlemen in terms of you're fighting an insurgency which means they are living with the people. in iraq, of course, it's a much more modern society. but in afghanistan, we went back and of course looked at the counter insurgency doctrine from vietnam. and the counter insurgency doctrine, as hard as it may have been to implement in vietnam, i think was a solid doctrine. you have to link the areas of security one by one. it is painful. it is hard. but i would tell you the other
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piece of this was -- and i was talking to a wonderful -- an army nurse here right before walking in. i can tell you what she experienced as an army nurse in terms of the blast effects. the kids probably looked very much like the young men and women coming off the battle field in vietnam in terms of the amputees, in terms of how they were engaged, improvised explosive devices, these scenes sort of problems that were in vietnam were there in spades, certainly in afghanistan and a little bit to a lesser degree in iraq. but, yes, i will -- it absolutely framed our thinking in terms of how we had to engage with the civilian population and engage the enemy. >> in a constructive way. >> in a very constructive way. you bet. >> i think -- because i -- the
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most important lesson i got out of vietnam was nine months in a hospital. i continue to work more on a volunteer basis today with veterans who have been injured. what bill says is 100% right. god, these multiple tours. we've bp at war in afghanistan for 15 years. >> yeah. >> as i said, you pull 100 americans at random, ask them are we in afghanistan, i don't think so, where's that? the trauma of those multiple tours is -- it's very, very difficult to measure. the other thing i'd say about afghanistan which is brand-new is the outsourcing. it was done to private companies, my god. and iraq as well. we lost $6 billion cash that went over there on pallets or something like that. the money that's been going out to private sector companies i think is just -- it's morally
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reprehensible. particularly when you put it up against -- [ applause ] when you put it up against the suffering of these men and women who have done it. look at the suicide rates. even in s.e.a.l. team. i'd never thought we'd have sds in s.e.a.l. team. and that's borne of this long-standing anxiety and frustration. then you come home and you expect everybody else to be changed and they're not. these transitions back and forth from active duty, civilian time are very, very difficult. if you get pulled down underneath and look at what the afghan and iraq war has done, there's nothing comparable to vietnam. in my view, it's far worse. >> i would agree with that. >> i think that that issue, we're all in basic agreement. >> we're in violent agreement.
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>> let me shift gears for a moment. it seems to me that one of the lessons that the u.s. government took away from vietnam, it has to do with the need to manage information, particularly information about military campaigns. i was reminded by a session with dan rather earlier today how much freedom, flexibility reporters had on the ground in vietnam, how much free discussion there was of operational, tactical issues even. and that seems to have changed pretty dramatically following the vietnam war oz a consequence of a conscious decision within the defense department, or perhaps elsewhere but especially there, to manage information about military activities much more carefully. one can reasonably argue that this has been a harmful thing to the need to have a educated citizenry with an awareness of
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what happens in battle zones. could you talk about that? >> let me set the stage perhaps for a discussion. because most of us grew up in the period where you'd go to the saturday matinee and see movie tone news of the second world war. and it was absolutely without any real casualties that were ever shown. it was -- it was propaganda. it was good news, but they -- it was only good news. and even the bad news was described in fairly favorable terms and it seemed to be overtaking. but i'll also say that i don't think there's any president, any military commander, anybody else who didn't going to want to have some ability to have control over the message. if -- and that's going to be even more difficult, is right now with everybody having their own little mobile devices, the chances of anyone covering up
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anything that was terribly significant goes way down. and in fact, reporters probably have a tough time keeping ahead of the tweets or messages that are sent back home. but it's -- it's a natural instinct that we have to understand at least that having somebody come into every planning session and then immediately critiquing it as it goes along or whatever the case is not what a military commander wants to have. and i think we do benefit enormously by virtue of the volunteer service now so that you have more people who want to be there and not people who are there against their will and whatever. and i can imagine the kind of messages that would be going back and forth from afghanistan, iraq, syria, you name it today, if that kind of capability
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existed back in the vietnam period. >> what can i say? that was perfect. >> he never used to say that. >> yes, i did. [ laughter ] >> let me come in with a question that i think is best directed to bill, although i'd certainly welcome others who may wish to comment. what is the state of play these days with regard to the place of the vietnam war in military education? to what extent is the vietnam war being taught to our young military professionals? >> i will tell you, you still find all of the basic training areas, the war colleges, the vietnam war is still very, very important to us. from a military standpoint, both the tactics of it, the operational aspect of it, and again at the senior level,
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again, the war colleges, the strategic itch occasimplication vietnam war. i think what you'll kind when ken burns' documentary comes out, it will be kind of required watching for officers going through these courses. >> and ought to be. >> absolutely right. so i think the good thing about the military is, we all kind of fancy ourselves as kind of mini history tore januarys. you want to understand what happened in the civil war, you want to understand what happened in world war ii and korea and vietnam because your life depends on it. you want to make sure if there is an opportunity to learn something, that you take that opportunity and put it into play. now, again, as each war gets further and further away and you have less of an opportunity to talk to people who have been there, it may not resonate quite as much because now you're referring to books or movies.
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but it still resonates very strongly within the u.s. military. >> it's interesting to me that you've just suggested that vietnam is used to great constructive purpose within military education. bob's first comment, i think, of the afternoon was that we haven't learned lessons. >> what bill is talking about is inside the military. it's a -- >> right. >> as he said, his life depends on it. >> very important distinction. i can't resist asking given this contrast, how well do we do as a society in learning from history? >> i don't think we do very well at all. [ laughter ] there's two things about history. first, it's work. i should have read it earlier. i just finished reading the --
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sherman's memoirs. it's -- the hardest things to understand about earlier when i was saying vietnam's not a syndrome, history can cause us to look in the mirror and say, 2k3w god, did we do that? citizens get all excited at the beginning, then all of a sudden, people are dying, killing each other, that's not 2k3w50good. then the support drops off. i hear ted cruz, we ought to bomb them. 2 ted, you're not going to bomb them. you're not going to do any fighting. you're too damn old. you might not have been any good when you were young. i don't know. [ applause ] and some of it is a little bit
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connected what chuck was saying because we still tend to over dramatize and clean it up. it's not all bad to do that. but as sit accecitizens, i thin studying history is really hard. the historians have enabled us to understand lots of things that we didn't know before which can be painful as well. but it's the difficulty. when you say, oh, god, is that who we were? the hardest thing is to say we're going to go on. that's why i emphasize the proudest thing i did in the united states senate, i participated in the peace agreement in come body ya aambo >> oh, sure. >> and it's working. we're making peace. and i repeat it, peace is hard. you know, you got to make decisions that -- group
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decisions. you never get perfection in those moments and you're always going to find some wind bag on the sidelines who's going to be criticizing you. [ laughter ] >> i think you said that perfectly. i don't think there's anything i can add to it. [ laughter ] >> who would dare speak after it. >> listen, we are running short on time. but let me wrap things up with a very straightforward and quick question. is there a lesson of the vietnam war that we haven't, whether or not here or perhaps other sessions, have not hit upon that you would like to put on the table of huge consequence or potentially of minute consequence? >> one very quick one is instead of having individual rotation, we have unit rotation. and i have long thought that individual rotation was counterproductive. if you can get unit rotations,
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people come in ready to work and carry out their mission together. if you have -- you constantly got a couple brand-new people you're trying to familiarize with the whole situation and a couple people that are short-timers counting down the days, it undermines morale and makes it more difficult for the commander. if there's any big lesson learned between vietnam and the more recent experience, i would say it's unit rotation, not individual rotation. >> which is exactly again to the -- senator robb's point. we learned that lesson from vietnam. again, it's hard to do that, but it is a lesson the army did have these issues in vietnam with individual rotations. i know again when iraq started, that was one of the very first decisions going back to this because of that problem. i guess i would offer, something
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that was raised last night, both gentlemen here have talked about it today. the complexity of any war. and you have to be careful about taking the wrong lessons away from the war. sometimes, we allow historians to interprterinterpret what the the archives and draw those lessons. those lessons become the lessons of our history. right, wrong or indifferent, that's what happens sometimes. you need to have somebody who does that. i don't want to dismiss that, but these things are very, very complex. that's why i think something like the vietnam war summit here is is important to have the opportunity to hear both sides of the story and then kind of we need to collectively or individually make our own judgments about what was right and what was wrong. >> look, i think here history is a very good guide. i speak to -- on behalf and to
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civilia civilians. i think of two great examples. neither of them were connected to the vietnam war. the first is gandhi who insisted we're going to have a multi-religious nation. he died because of it. the more eloquent one, said any fool can make peace of a friend. it's making peace with an enemy that's hard. he did. he was at war with yasser arafat and he died because of it. making peace is hard because you get criticized. people say you're weak. in my own view, real men do diplomacy as well. [ applause ] >> well, i think one thing that has become clear over the last three days is that the vietnam war entails an infinite number
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of questions and -- an unending amount of controversy. the best we can hope for is to have the debate at a higher level of sophistication and knowledge. these three gentlemen have helped us think about these very weighty matters on a higher plane, so thank you very much. thank you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, director of the lbj presidential library. ladies and gentlemen, we conclude the vietnam war summit today with a poem written by first lieutenant timothy schlink, second battalion first infantry, 196th light infantry
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brigade. it was based from september 1966 to june 1967. after losing his best friend in battle, he wrote this poem to his father while trying to express his feelings. and the poem is called "i must go on." we fought together six months today, as i rolled other, there he lay. his eyes were open. his chest clenched tight. the look of death, a look of fright. i knew right then that he was dead and wondered why not me instead. his life was short, not many years. full of hope, yet full of fears. we talked and laughed of times gone by. and never thought that one would die. but here he lay, no breath of life, no thought of home or his
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young wife. i turn my head and looked away. i fought the words i could not say. he's dead. he's dead and gone, but i am here and must go on. i must go on. this summit is dedicated to those americans who passed on in vietnam during the course of the war. those whose names are on the wall that heals outside of this very 3wi8d i very building. and those who went on from vietnam. may i ask all the veterans in the auditorium to stand and be recognized, please. [ applause ]
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>> thank you all for your service to this nation and thank you all for being here today. thank you. [ applause ] ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ thursday, a discussion on combatting al qaeda and isis. the group gafta hosts a discussion with a political advisor via skype. we're live from the national press club at 8:30 a.m. eastern here on cspan3. thursday, american history tv on cspan3 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the church committee's final report on federal intelligence
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activities. the senate select committee to study governmental operations held hearings on intelligence activities by the cia, fbi, irs and nsa. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on cspan3. >> ativan -- vanityfair.com, th headline, "how donald trump with eat hillary lunch." joining us on the phone from seattle, contributing writer t.a. frank. you outline three ways in which you say donald trump could soundly beat hillary clinton. which of the three in your mind is most compelling? >> the one that's most likely to work for him is the least sexy, you could say. it's simply demographics and share of voting blocs.
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the one that's most fun to think about is his relative freedom and relative i say to any other candidate that has occupied the head of the republican ticket for a long time. or a democratic ticket. >> you could go through a long list of issues that donald trump is facing moving into the general election, the investigation into trump university, his outburst yesterday at the media in new york, it seems that at every turn, the rules just don't seem to apply to donald trump. why? >> well, we'll see now whether they apply. they didn't apply in the primaries because the very thing that he was doing which was appalling everyone was at heart what made him appealing to his fed up supporters in the republican party who felt that they needed to take a wrecking ball to the institution. however, people who are fed up with washington are not confined to the republican party. so there may be a bigger
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audience for him than we think. as we see from the latest polls in which he's tightening things up quite a bit. >> in your essay, you write that donald trump is a better politician, he doesn't seem like a nice guy, but he is gifted at connecting with voters and journalists. hillary clinton is not. can you explain? >> well, i think that when donald trump starts a conversation about something, we all get talking about it. and when hillary clinton tries to start a conversation about it, it doesn't often succeed and often the conversation winds up about something she doesn't want us to talk about. it's hard to explain that other than to say that some people have a real political gift that you -- you can't really quantify, but certainly hillary clinton's husband has it and donald trump seems to have it for some reason. and that's just the luck of the
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year. >> so how does her campaign based in brooklyn, new york, respond to donald trump in which has so far been a very unconventional campaign? what do you think her strategy needs to be? >> it is very difficult to respond to someone as unpredictable and as unwilling to play by normal etiquette as donald trump. in life in general, when someone is doing the wrong thing, it's hard to respond in an exact right way. i think that actually becoming a little more unguarded, it may be hillary clinton's best way to succeed. and also to give donald trump the rope to hang himself. he is often his own worst enemy. >> so much attention on the popular vote. but let's look at the electoral
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map. it favors the democrats in november, if you base it on previous election cycles. >> right. they have a clear majority. they come in with the electoral votes, a great advantage in the electoral college. however, it does not take a large increase in the share of white voters for the entire elections that turn republican. that is an interesting thing that latest tools of election analysis and algorithms allow us to see than ever before. so trump's strategy -- what seems to be a strategy of maybe holding onto what non-white support the republican party already had and then building by a few percentage points among
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white voters, that could work in putting him over the top. >> donald trump has said he thinks he can wib in states like pennsylvania, wisconsin, florida, even california. how does he overcome that? >> right. well, he's not going to win california, i think. that -- that was very trumpy and bluster there. he overcomes it mainly by being not quite so unfavorable as his opponent is. unfortunately for hillary clinton, she also has high unfavorable ratings. so it's really a less ugly contest in many ways. if he pushes them down a bit, he can still be quite competitive provided that she is unable to push hers down. >> we're still in a contested democratic primary. who has room for growth moving into conventions this summer in
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the fall campaign? they both have room for growth. but hillary clinton will benefit greatly from the -- from winning the nomination and putting the primaries behind her. at this time, when barack obama and hillary clinton were still struggling against each other, john mccain was polling several points ahead of barack obama in hypothetical presidential matchups and we all know how that turned out. >> the story is available online at vanityfair.com. it's also available on "the hive." t.a. frank joining us from seattle with the headline, three ways in which donald trump could beat hillary clinton. thank you for being with us. >> thank you again. madam secretary, we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states -- [ applause ]
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♪ [ cheers and applause ] american history tv on cspan3, saturday night at 10:00 eastern on real america -- >> more than 110,000 cubans flee cuba. they come the 140 kilometers to key west, florida, in nearly 2,000 boats. why do they come? why are there so many? >> during the spring through fall of 1980, approximately 125,000 cuban refugees arrived in florida from the port of
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mariel cuba. find out why they left. sunday morning at 10:00, the 1992 testimodemocratic and repu conventions. >> in the name of the hard working americans who make up our forgotten middle class, i producedly accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> and incumbent president jr george h.w bush accepts his party's nomination in houston. >> i'm proud to receive and honored to accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> at 4:45, barry lewis on the creation and evolution of new york city greenwich village. >> east of 6th avenue was august
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square, nobody ever crossed that line. now, the people from west of 6th avenue might cross the line to work as a servant in washington square. but believe me, the people in washington square never went on the other side of 6th avenue. >> on the presidency -- >> every time i look at washington, it's unanimous. unanimously commander in chief, unanimously president of the constitutional convention. unanimously reelected president of the united states, unanimously appointed of all the armys raised or to be raised in the service of the united states. what a record. >> peter enriquez explores that even though washington was officially retired.
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coming up on 3, american history tv and prime time feetures programming on the vietnam war. we have coverage from day three of the lyndon johnson vietnam war summit. a 50th anniversary retrospective on the conflict. next on american history tv, a panel of vietnam war veterans, including two prisoners of war and an army nurse discuss their grim reality of life, death and suffering in vietnam. the discussion was moderated by national endowment for the humanities chairman william add apps and part of a three-day conference at the lbj library in austin, texas, titled "the vietnam war summit." it is about an hour and ten minutes. ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation of the colors by the naval rotc unit at
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the university of texas at austin and the pledge of allegiance led by united states marine corp corporal kimberly burres. >> announcer: ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation of the colors by the naval rotc.
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♪ [ music playing ] ♪
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pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. >> thank you.
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>> announcer: ladies and gentlemen, please welcome dr. gregory al findes, from the university of texas at austin. [ applause ]
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. >> well, thank you. i didn't get a promotion that i did not deserve. four more years. good afternoon and welcome to the final day of the vietnam war summit. i would like to take a few moments to thank everybody who participated in the sessions during these past few days. the locals here in austin and the many guests and participants who traveled from across the country to make this summit such a powerful experience. congratulations to mark upgrove, director of the lbj presidential library. [ applause ] and his fantastic team in the organization. thank you to the lbj foundation for supporting this summit and looking at the legacy of lbj, but also the entire aspects of the vietnam war. for the past two days, we've
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examined the vietnam war from multiple perspectives. from that of at least four u.s. presidents in their role as leaders of american foreign policy, and their roles as commanders in chief. we've looked at it from the point of view of veterans who returned to the country, returned to their homes in a nation divided. explored their psychological and physical trauma that the veterans faced upon coming home and still grapple with today. we looked at from the point of view of the media, that covers the war that eventually divided the nation. and finally, today we will look at it from multiple perspectives, also. now before we get to that, just a few hours ago i participated in an incredible ceremony that is part of the summit.
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a veterans' recognition ceremony just outside on the plain plaza and i hope everybody here has attended one of those recognition ceremonies. i had the honor of presenting the vietnam veteran recognition pins to several who served the nation. i heard their stories, where they served in vietnam, forward observer, infantrymen, artillery, a pilot. some of them showed me photographs of them in vietnam. one veteran showed me the draft notice that he received that called him to serve our nation. these are incredible stories, each and every one and it is an honor to recognize the veterans here today. and now this afternoon, we will hear firsthand about the daily reality of war from those who were there. ourirst program today is titled "the troops, a few from
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the front lines." please join me in welcoming car onny forester who serves on the national board of p.o.w. and m.i.a. families. car onny. [ applause ] >> good afternoon. my name is core onny forester. my father, captain ron forester, united states marine corp, is still missing in action in north vietnam. he is only one of 1621 americans who are still missing from the war in vietnam. 104 of them are also texans. he is only one of 3417 texans who sacrificed their lives in vietnam. but he is the only one that i
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call "daddy." my family, like all in my family, still wait for answers. and my family, like our gold star families, missed their loved ones every day. and we greatly thank our vietnam veterans, for it is you who stand by our side and hold us up, even though many vietnam veterans still work to resolve their own demons and we can't forget the veterans' families because they served too. [ applause ] >> for pow/mia families, gold star families, and for many of our veterans, the vietnam war is not really over. it really never can be with an empty chair at the holiday tae, the what-ifs and the won stand struggle for closure and healing. this is our reality.
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this is the cost of war. as a board member, with the national league of pow/mia families, i have the honor of working with other families like mine, and representing them in talks with our government and foreign governments as well. i also share in the celebration that comes with any answer to an m.i.a. fate. and answers do come, they just come veryslowly. i'm also a proud participant of run for the wall which is a cross country pilgrimage that focuses on promoting our veterans' healing, calling for a full accounting of p.o.w. and m.i.a., honoring the ultimate sacrifice of those killed in action, and to support our military personnel around the world. our outreach program looks to embrace m.i.a. and kaa families along the route so we could let them know their loved one is not
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forgotten and we appreciate and understand the family sacrifice. now sacrifice is no stranger to any of your panel members here today. while i have just shared with you the reality of life after the war, your panel members will share with you the reality of the war. so please allow me to introduce your panel for this afternoon's session, the troops from the front lines. liz allen is a graduate of ohio state university with a masters in psychiatric nursing. she joined the united states army to help men like her own brother serving in vietnam. she requested front-line duty and was assigned to the 12th evac hospital in kochi. in the winter of 1967 she was transferred to a field hospital, soon to come under attack during the tet offensive. completing her tour of duty in earp of 1968, she went on to
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serve 14 years in the u.s. army reserves. john sibley butter was drafted in the united states army shortly after graduating from lsu. he served two years in vietnam and was awarded a bronze star for valor in combat. author and pro fessor at the mccomb school of business at the university of texas at austin, his writings include the book be all that you could be. and he researched the involvement of african-americans in the vietnam war. isaac camacho enlisted in the united states army in 1955. he served as an airborne jump instructor before becoming a member of the newly-formed 77th special forces group. he served two tours in vietnam. one in the asha valley and the other in wayne geea. he was captured and imprisoned
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by vietcong force and became the first to escape a camp. he earned the silver star and zinged service cross for his service in vinam. ken wallingford entered the u.s. army in 1969. he was sent to vietnam in 1970 as a sniper with the 25th infantry division. a year later he volunteered for a second tour as a military adviser with the military assistance command, vietnam. in april of 1972 he was captured and imprisoned in the jungles of cambodia for more than ten months before being released at the signing of the paris peace accords. he was awarded the silver star and the bronze star. he is currently the senior adviser to the executive secretary to the veterans land board. your moderator today will be dr. william adams. william-bro-adams instruction was interrupped by years in the
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army in the vietnam war. he credits his experience as part of what made him study and teach in the humanities. he served in colby college from 2000 to 2014 when in 2014 he became the tenth chairman of the national endowment for the humanities. join me in welcoming your panel to the stage. [ applause ] >> good afternoon and thank you all for coming. we're glad you're here and we're delighted to be here and we're looking forward to this hour or so of conversation about our experiences. this is the moment, as president fen ves said, that we have a chance to talk about the
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experience of being in vietnam and that is, of course, one of the most important dimensions of this summit. and that what we are going to do today. so thank you again for being with us as we remember and recall some of the experiences that we d. i'm going to start with that very question and ask, starting with liz and going down the line here, i'm going to ask each of the panelists to talk a little bit about daily life in their units. you've heard described their assignments, when they were in vietnam, generally what they did. but i think it is important to talk a little bit more about what the actual daily life in those units was like. and so i will start with liz and -- >> i was hoping you would do him first. >> no, i'm doing you first. >> let me tell you, there was no regulation on daily life.
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it depended on what happened in the field. how many body bags did you get. how many helicopters came in. and living was hell. excuse me for saying that word, but that is what it was. the temperature was hot. and as those troops came in, how do you come to grips with 150 body bags in one day? i had two stations in vietnam. koochi, which you know, and the tunnels. the little guys got to do the tunnels. because the big guys couldn't get through the hole. but the real thing about the tunnels were the spiders at the
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end of the tunnel. and as those -- we got them, and there was no psychiatric service to help them. there cannot possibly be anything worse than a spider on your face. part of the things that we have to deal with in war are supplies. there were days that we thought nothing was ever going to come. how do you run out of ammunition, blood transfusions, and water in a war zone? day after day, you dealt with it. don't let me talk too long.
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because i love to talk. i ain't going to lie to you. because you don't see many women who know about war. and i did koochi, which you know is the tunnels, and plaku, which took the first bomb of the tet offensive. and i tell my friends, don't ever call me at night. because the first rounds came in at night. and there was nothing to do. and i knew that the phone was going to ring. and i was going to have to go. and the chief nurse calls and she says, captain allen, and i says, yes. i said what do you need me to do? she said, you have to go to the unit. and the unit was further than
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this wall and that wall. and i said, is somebody going to go with me? and she said, captain allen, i'm so sorry, you have to go alone. and as i opened the door, the two nurses that were there with them, the guys were on the floor because they were bringing them in. you could never imagine the carnage of that kind of war. and i say that to you because it is not something that i talk about. how in the hell can you deal with 40 young men, some with no legs, some with no arms, some with their chest open, and you have nothing to give them but love. and i'm going to pass. >> you were in the medical side
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of things as well. or had a pretty good view of that. maybe you could extend this view of what liz has said. >> absolutely. when i think about it, i think of helicopters and -- i think of body bags and i think of guard duty. i think of my first flight to the division and we supported the first -- the 196 was shully fubbi and division four. i think it is important to talk about the mission and that mission was very simple. we had a war to fight and there was a war that was -- there were no really front lines. i thought that everything was a front line. from the pulling of guard duty at night to taking the rounds from them at night also. so i think that when you think about the faces and you think about what you've done, you
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think about how do you get a person from the battlefield, if you will, to an aid station or to a hospital as quickly as possible. and i think america cut that down from korea to vietnam. i think it was like ten minutes or so. i think about the kind of injuries in vietnam that were traumatic amputations. when i say that, i mean not only legs but also arms. and i think that the idea in terms of the daily life is to get through and make it to the next day. we all had a saying about, i can't wait until i go back to, quote, the world. so getting through the daily life -- and remember, we didn't have the whole idea of cell phones and we didn't have skype. we maybe had mail call twice a week. so it was -- it was very, very
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isola isolat isolated. but what held me together was understanding i was part of a tradition that went back to the revolutionary war and i think i belong to a great fraternity of soldiers who served. and i think when you look and think about the daily life, which i haven't talked about since i left vietnam, it is about service, it is about putting up with just the contingencies of war which in my case is the whole idea of helicopters and blades. and we also did metcalf for the vietnamese people. and so that is what i think about. >> and isaac, you had two tours. so a variety of experiences and a variety of context. >> well, may daily life was different from the first tour to the second tour. second tour, of course, i was a prisoner of war. first tour was combat missions and combat patrols and
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recognizance of the hopy min trail. but the second tour when i was captured i would try to find ways to mess with the enemy even though i was a prisoner of war. i became the camp scamp because i was always doing crazy things. for example, i broke the rice mill and they found out it was me but it wasn't about the mill that they had there. and i got pretty tire some. and the other thing about daily life is just really trying to stay alive and survive, try to beat the odds. we had -- we were affected by the jungle bourne diseases. i had malaria, hepatitis and mary berry and a big strong case of disin terri. >> oh, yes. >> we were just trying to survive in our camp. i always kept my mind very open
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and chelled a plan to escape -- developed a plan to escape and finally escaped. >> ken, i know you were a p.o.w. for a period of time. >> i did two tours also. similar to ike. that the military can do its best to train you. but in the end result, it is not like ojt. when i landed at cameron bay and got off that airplane, it was so hot and dry and cameron bay is a beautiful place in vietnam. and then eventually flew down to kuchi and was there for a couple of weeks while i was in processing. and i went to vietnam, i'm a military brat, which means that my dad was in the military and i went into the military afterwards. and we all know how controversial the war was. literally divided this country. and but i felt as -- as an american citizen, it is my duty,
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when uncle sam calls, you serve. irregardless of what the conflict is. and a lot of people chose to run off to other countries, president carter let these guys back in, unfortunately. but i went because duty called and duty served. and so on my first tour of duty i was a sniper. and we would go out in five to seven men teams -- and this is a war, too, remember, number one, never declared by congress. we fought it with one hand tied behind our back. for example, we weren't supposed to be in cambodia. we were in cambodia. >> all of the time. >> the first unit i was with had just come back after a six month tour of duty from cambodia. and all they did, all we did is delay the inevitable. but when we go out in the five to seven man teams and sit up in the jungle environment and we never fought a war in our lives so this is a new experience.
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so when you are sitting there and waiting for the enemy because there is intelligence that the enemy is moving through this area and then -- and i tell school kids this. killing is never right. but i was military trained and government-issued, to do a job and i did it pretty good. but when you sit there and you see the enemy crossing a path and you squeeze that trigger, and you see them drop, that really sets a tone for the rest of your duty. and after a while, it just became natural. and then so i said, i like this military stuff so well, i'm going to extend and come back. and i had to come home for 30 days. and then all i had to do was another seven months of tour and then i would get out of the military five months early. my second tour was with military assistance command vietnam stationed out of lock nen which
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is 75 miles north of siagon. and so six days before my discharge, my camp of four americans and south vietnamese soldiers got hit with 30,000 soldiers. this was 1972. they had the goal then, during the spring offensive of '72, to go to siagon like they did in 1968. we just happened to be in their way. but we held that camp for three days before driving russian tanks and they literally overran the camp. and i lost two men of my five-man team. and we went and -- wouldn't let the helicopters land because it was just too hot. so we went into hiding. they found us the next day and started pouring gasoline on the bush that we were in and you smell gasoline and molotov cocktail and so we exited and ike and i or maybe a couple of people in this whole program that fought against the enemy and lived with the enemy.
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so we have -- and i'm not saying this boastfully, i say it very humbly, a very unique experience. and we learned what communism is all about. from the enemy's perspective. so it literally changed my life because i went to vietnam because i was supposed to. but what literally changed my mind and even to this day, i was agnostic when i went. and on that second day of the three-day battle, when i realized and i could remember this day -- that day as i'm sitting here today, and i started praying. and we've all heard the adage, there is no atheist in box holes, battlefield conversions, ladies and gentlemen, you were looking at them. because there was nothing i could physically do to get out there and you just start praying. >> you raise a very interesting question that might be a good thing for us to explore a little bit. i, too, was with the vietnamese, i was an adviser to a regional
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infantry force in the macon delta so i was with the vietnamese and i w with a advisory team but it was a small team and the interactions with the vietnamese were ubiquitous and daily and they were constant. i went to training at ft. bragg, learned some language, some is other things, having to do with vietnamese culture, but i have to say, when i got there i didn't feel very well prepared for what i found. and i wonder how you all felt about that in terms of your own activities. did you feel well-trained and ready for what you saw or were there things that surprised you from the meant -- fundamentally and made your experiences much difference from what you expected? liz? >> the real deal is you can't see here what you saw there. one of the things that was the
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most difficult for me was how do you handle an 18-year-old with no legs and no arms. how do you handle that? and that is a one-shot wound. and it always happens on tanks. because they sit with their arms down. and as the missile hits this side, it goes and takes off both arms and both legs. and remember, this is an 18-year-old with no arms and no legs. and the one thing that -- because i'm going to get to talk again, trust me. [ laughter ] but when i look at what happened here, because i have to tell
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you, i had two brothers in vietnam at the same time, the government didn't know and they weren't willing to give me up. my grandmother almost lost it. she has three grandchildren -- my grandmother raised us, in war at the same time. and that was a very difficult place for her. the other thing, and i am going to bring race into the issue, you know when a young male, whether he is black or white, gets into trouble, they offer them the military rather than prison. and so here he comes, 18 years old and gets assigned to the wolf hounds, or he gets assigned
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to an outpost area where they sit in that boiling sun all day. and you know the movie -- what was that movie about vietnam. >> there were lots of movies. >> the one -- the one that really got to me, where they carried everybody off in the little bitty white bags and stuff. it didn't happen like that. because the plane would com in, and they would throw off all of the body bags, because they have to go pick up some more. we actually -- america, with as much money, as much skill, and as much stuff as we have, we ran out of bandages, we ran out of water, we ran out of medicine. some slept on the floor. and i always used to think, if
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you all would quick that damn marching and get something done so we could do something that we need to do, because all of those people -- all of those guys belonged to somebody before they came and there was nothing we could do about that. and i'm going to talk about tet. because it was our guys in the north that knew about tet. the south did not know about tet. and when the first rounds came in, we did not know what to do. we did not have the supplies to handle that. and being as i had the surgical units, when you see that much
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carnage and no way to stop it and you look at it every day, every night, you look at it, and it makes sleep real difficult, for people like me. and this is the first time i've -- i understand thursday the first time they've asked a female who was in nam on the front line to have something to say. because we act like -- it didn't happen. [ applause ] >> let me say one more little thing. because you need -- when i came back, an adult came up to me and said, can i ask you a question. and i said sure, what. and she said, well they really shooting real bullets?
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and i thought -- and what did you do during the war? >> john, were there things that surprised you that you didn't feel prepared for that came to you as a kind of -- out of the blue? >> well i don't think there is any way to prepare for war. i think that the training that we went through was what most soldiers are going through, that is we were fighting an enemy and we were there to kill the enemy. and i think that training meant that whether it was -- whatever war, you don't see them as people. you have to have a renegotiation in the training of i'm on my way to vietnam, i'm on my way to kill a charlie con. and i think that the training is almost -- well, like my colleague here, it becomes second nature. and i think what we did well was to train, in terms of -- on the weapons side, but it was a different kind of war that we
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had -- that we had fought over the year, that was different than world war ii and plus we had the rotation that we went there as individuals rather than as units. so if you divide the training into the psychology part, you are a soldier and you are an idealist, too. but not ask why, but to do or die. and then you add the training of what you need to do, and whether it is in my case, learning how to do bandages or learning how to do guard duty or learning how to go on med cap or learning how to -- take people in and out of a helicopter, and i think that became -- so i think that in terms of the preparation, i think that the american soldiers did extremely well. i think that we had problems back at home with the demonstrators and the congress. so i think that if you look at what we were trained for -- because i think we wanted -- we
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won every battle. >> you think we did. >> but the training itself was good. but that is -- there is absolutely no way no train for being a prisoner of war. there is no way to train for all of the mass kinds of destruction that you see. whether it is standing there and watching a beautiful field and when the marine -- when the marine pilots do their jobs in the f-4s, it is just all there. so i think that -- one of the training that we went through was understanding that although you were fighting the vietnamese, we had to be kind to the vietnamese people because it was that kind of war. and that training for me -- i would go to villages, and i would engage the vietnamese people but i was always aware that everybody was the enemy. because as liz and i were talking in the green room, it was the kids that would also blow you up. so i think that is important. so the training was good for what we knew. but i think that we have learned
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more about that kind of warfare. >> ike, what surprised you? what was outside of your expectations. >> i came from a different outfit from these guys, but i was in special forces. and we do some extensive area studies before we go into whatever country we're going to go. to include survival language, study of the terrain an the mountains and the flow of the current on the rivers, which way they are headed. who we are going to see and who we are going to meet and what they like and what they don't like and so forth. so we do this for about six months before we deploy. >> right. >> so our special forces teams are well prepared unless they -- it changes en route out there but most of the time it will land and go ahead with the mission to our designated areas. we had the -- the problems with the mountain yards was that everything that we taught those people, we had to go to the -- to the interpreter and then that
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interpreter was go to the french and the french would go into their lingo, their dialect. and so when we trained -- for example, camp defenses, you are talking to an english to a guy that speaks vietnamese and english and so forth down the line. well a lot of that stuff gets lost in the translation. >> yeah. >> but i think that we were very well prepared to do our job and our missions. and some of these other units, i later learned, thought that they were going into country and find some little oriental guy with a third world class weapon, and they were probably thinking about the vietcong or the vc. but you can't infiltrate the north from the south, they all look alike. i kind of it had a little bit closer and i got in -- into kind of tight because of the color of my skin. see those guys would pull up their arm and put their arm
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against me and kind of say, we're the same-same. we're kind of like buddies. but we were well trained to encounter the mission that we were in. but in reality, the north vietnamese soldiers were the best fighting soldiers -- and in this entire world, i could vouch for that. and they had hunger for victory. because in the long run up north they had told them, hopy min's dream is to unite north and south vietnam and his staff was told that way so when hochi died, they promised themself until the last man stand tlg was killed that they would reunify the country. and so they did and they fought very hard. compared to the soldiers in the south, they were nothing. these kids were trained to drop
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their guns and run. leaving us the, the special forces guys, to defend themselves against an enemy that was very well-trained. and it happened in a lot of in stances. we talk about the tanks. when i came back, i was given some good intelligence because i was a first prisoner of war to come back and really explain to them what i had found out -- i had realistic and truthful intelligence. and i told them about the tanks. and the little kid from the mi said how do you know if they aren't ours. what kind of fool are you? you could hear a tank, it would have been long gone into cambodia. but in way, in my debriefing i told them that they had armor, bill prague, another special forces soldier was along the way and when the tan hit long vay,
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they knocked out the three russian tanks and down the road, bill said, you know what, i read your report and thank you for the intel,ou know. nobody was prepared to fight them tanks. but when the tanks came over, they had old 57s and the mines to rappel the tank attack. so they come up smelling like a rose. >> so ken, what surprised you? what was outsi of your expectations that you had to deal with. >> you stop and think about vietnam, the location. 10,000 miles away from the united states of america. that, until the war started, no one had ever heard of. we weren't the first there. >> right. >> that is right. >> if you look at history, they defeated the french. gengis khan. so time was on their side. they figured they could out-wait us, if you will. how many lives are we willing to spend in a futile effort, as the end result.
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but i could remember going through villages and keeping in mind some of you maybe that weren't in vietnam, $400 a year is all they lived off of. and they are living on dirt floors, grass huts, no electricity, no indoor plumbing, just hard-working, dedicated people. all of the local south vietnamese people wanted is just to exist. and they got caught in the cross hairs. and you see kids that the vietcong had shot and wounded, but they wanted to hang out with us. because they didn't like the nva or the vietcong. and as ike said, i could always tell the difference between the nva and the vietcong. the nva wore uniforms an the vietcong didn't. they were the farmers by day and fighters at night. and so when we got to prison camp in cambodia, deep in the jungles and i was put in a five
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by six tiger cage and 10 foot chain locked on my ankles and with 17 shrapnel wounds and the first time i was interviewed, keep in mind, there is five tiger cages and a guard stand with a kid probably about 14 or 15, 16 years of age with an ak-47 and so the guy that took care of us spoke english fairly well. and he came and took me and we went -- a long story short and i went inside for an hour and a half sitting on a tree stump six inches off the ground and this guy is sitting at a boom bowe table and a chair and generally speaking the south vietnamese are short in stature so as soon as he sat down, i immediately figured out he has superior position because i have to look up at him. so over the next hour and a half during the first session, they go well we wish you could go home and there is a war going on and yada, yada, yada. and so what unit are you with. so you start making up stuff. but it was enough for him to
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say, it wasn't true or accurate. he said, well is it with this unit. this guy is speaking -- english better than most americans. and so we do this -- i call this a little dance because i try to put a positive on a negative situation. i knew some day i was coming home. i didn't know when. but i made the mental decision, i'm going to beat this thing. i don't know how long, but i will go home. so i live every day -- every day is a great day. if you think you have a bad day, let me tell you one day as a p.o.w. -- i say that humbly. but after we finished this and hesked me about some propaganda material about some battles that had i been in. and i said i have to disagree with you on this one particular battle. you guys didn't win. he looks -- leans forward and looks at me with all
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seriousness, oh, no, you have been misled by that propaganda machine we have in this country called the free press. now i'm 25 and i'm kind of cocky but in no position to be cocky in that environment and i think to myself, you have got to be kidding me. and that is when it really sunk in. because they reiterated it later on. even if something is false, the doctrine, if you repeat it a thousand and one times, it becomes true. and i said to myself, wow. so as a mission before, fighting with them and living with them and seeing their perspective and knowing that maybe some day we'll go home, not sure when. fortunately, like ike or like ike, he was forced to escape. i couldn't figure out how to get out therefore and get off the chain and get out of the cam with stakes on the inside and it was late in the war, president nixon was taking 10,000 troops out a month and we had about
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180,000 troops in 1972. so we said we're going to give it a year and see if it works out and then try and anticipate escape. >> john, and you ken have both raised the important question of what we heard and knew about what was happening in the united states and how that affected daily experience. i think that would be a good thing to skplaexplore. and i would remind everybody, as somebody has already said, there was no television, there was no regular contact, letters took about a week. there were no televisiwelve cal telephone calls. there was vietnam radio, made famous in the movie "good morning vietnam." and most of the information came slowly and it is difficult to know immediately what was happening at home. but we did hear ultimately about everything that was going on. and there was a lot going on. at least when i was there in 1968-69.
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the anti-war movement was really becoming very powerful. and so we heard more and more things about what was happening in the united states. and then of course it had an affect on us. i wonder how it affected each of you. liz, if you could talk about how that news to the -- to the degree you had news, how that affected your daily life? >> i -- i want to answer that question intelligently. we didn't get no daily news. what daily news? the only kind of news we had was about the people marching over here. >> that is what i mean. >> oh, yeah, we heard that all of the time. and i'm being a lady so i'm not going to cuss today. i'm going to hold that back, you know what i'm saying. we didn't get any of that kind o of stuff. there was some radio stuff that
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we got that we knew what music was going on in the states. but there seemed to be no way to get any information back to the states so that they could get off their duff and do something that was helpful. that does make sense? so we didn't really get that much radio, especially because i was always out in the field. i didn't want to go to saigon. they wanted me to go to saigon to work. i told them i could stay at home and do this. and so radios didn't work. so we didn't get any of that kind of stuff. most of the stuff that i heard because i have to tell you i had two brothers also in the war at the same time so there were three of us in the war at the same time. really wore my grandmother down. but they were navy, and i was army. and so we just didn't get that
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kind of thing. and there wasn't the kind of wiring in the heavy war zones that would allow radio and that kind of stuff to come through. so we didn't know much until the very, very end about what was going on here. and i have to tell you, i was sort of glad we didn't get to hear it because when you've got 30 guys with their bellies open, butts broken, eyes blinded, i don't want to hear anything about that mess, okay? because i really did have something to do. does that make sense s? >> oh, yeah. >> i had something to do besides stand around and talk about what y'all wasn't going to do. because the 25th infantry was a
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mighty infant grioup. it really was. and we had special forces. the 25th. and they were always in battle. i don't think there was one day that i was there that they were not in battle. but my grandmother would let me know what they were saying here. and what i understood was saying here didn't have a damn thing to do with what was going on in nam. i used ed td to think, if i cot get in front of that television and send you us some supplies, i sure would be thrgful. >> john, what about you? what was your -- what did you hear and how -- >> of course you're not too concerned about debating that, but certainly we had the stars and stripes and the reality came hi was in seattle and i got the
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briefing. and the briefing was, take off your uniform and watch out from the hippies, a different kind of situation. i think that the war divided itself and it also divided itself between gis who thought that people should serve and then there were people who were protesting and going to canada. in my school there were lots of protests against the war. i went straight from the military to northwestern university to graduate school, and i wore my jacket because it was cold. and i think that the idea of serving in vietnam always put in the forefront. i mean, i have it on my resume you now. my faifrpt sto my favorite is i was a veteran. the veterans called me and asked, how could a decorated vietnam vet be a professor at the university of texas.
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paul waldorf a good friend of mine is also a decorated veteran. but i think that i really didn't begin to think about it because when you're there you're thinking about your duty. but i tell you when you got home you can could see a different kind of vision. >> but it wasn't too disruptive when you were there. >> no. i think personally about people who did not want to serve. and i thought from an academic point of view i thought that the country was changing. you know, you go back to the revolutionary war you had the same kind of dynamics at a different level. you know, the resentment is that my heroes are the people that i served with and not the people who demonstrated. but that's okay. that's my personal kind of resentment. i know it's a free country and you can do what you want to do. but in terms of what i've done and what i did, my heroes are the people who did not come home and the people who were maimed an the people who were traumatized rather than the people who refused to fight for america. and i also had reservations
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about president carter allowing people to come back for citizenship. but i think that kind of attitude is indicative when you begin to cut through the layers of what the experience of vietnam was. but i think that the reality of what happened in the war and the reality of all the demonstrations that took place, i think it's a historical question as to what went on. you know, i went to houston to give a talk in southwest houston and i was pleased with the -- in the vietnamese community of an american soldier. soy think that it didn't affect me there because i was -- solidarity with the troops. it certainly was not with the protesters. >> ike, how about you? were you aware of what was happening? >> again, i think we had the edge over the conventional units because we used morse code. with each one of our teams has a communicator who is an expert in morse code and he would get the
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message. i'll give you a good example. when president kennedy was assassinated, minutes after he was shot we knew about it. the message came in. he deciphered it. and he read i to the captain, said, you know, president kennedy has been assassinated, shot in dallas. more to follow. when he passes away in the hospital, we get the message that he's gone. but conversely, the enemy had very good communication. they had access to "the washington post" and times" and it hurt me real bad because i had bs'd my way into telling them when they were interrogating me that i was just a supply man. all i do is give uniforms and whenever they need boots i give them boots and all this stuff. so i kind of sold them on that story. i said, i think i got it over on these guys, you know. one day they called me in and it
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was like, you're sit ong a little stump like that. that guy is way up there. he said, you've been telling us that all you did, that you were a supply man, that you give them boots and yooufrm and all this stuff. i said, yes so he picks up a copy of "time" magazine and he says, you know, are you familiar with this publication? i said, yes, "time" magazine, sir. news magazine. he said -- he threw it at me and he said, turn to page 19. page 19. there was a picture of my camp burning right after the attack, and on the bottom caption in that photo it said for sergeant first class was teaching antiguerilla warfare. i didn't know how to respond but only one thing i said, you know. i said, well, you can't believe everything you read.
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and he said, now we really want to talk. >> i bet they did. >> and i vented to them, i said, remember when the first days when i wasere with you guys, remember? i told you that i had seen a bus that was exploded by a mine that you guys blew up the bus with civilians in it? about five miles south of -- i read that in the saigon paper. and he told me, he said, well, you know, you americans are so ignorant. it's just propaganda. you know ushgs not supposed to believe everything you read. so that was my second comeback. remember you told me not to believe everything you read. and they left me alone. >> ken, i wonder if you could talk a little bit about what you were hearing and did it alter your experience? did it influence your experience? >> you know, like a lot of these
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folks and people that served in vietnam, you know, you have the stars and stripes back in base camp. when i was in prison camp my parent s wrote me letters. i wrote a couple much letters. they give you a limb 5 by 7 piece of paper with five lines on it. what are you going to say? i'm deep in the jungles of cambodia, things aren't going real well. the food could be better, but i understand. i knew those letters were never going to leave. every afternoon -- again, i tried to put a positive on a negative situation because number one i was glad to be alive. every afternoon after siesta time they would come back and unlock the cages. now, i had a 10-foot chain afternoon one of my aink eldz. it never went off unless i went to the bathroom or to bathe every ten days. i call had him my little friend to be nice. he would come in and play this transitor radio, the voice of vietnam, straight from hanoi. of course it wasn't biased or
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anything. i can remember very clearly because this was during '72 when you had the presidential elections going on. you had a guy named richard nixon and george mcgovern. going back to what i said earlier, they distort as ike said the truth because the satellite, this young lady from hanoi said, george mcgovern was going to win the '72 election. i think maybe he carriy eied th states, one of them wasn't even his own. but it walked a lot about the protestersor, the anti-american sentiment. but you had to kind of filter that stuff out. even though and i'm gro going to be nice you had a guy on the program the other morning that was married to a famous actress. i have a different word thai will not share in public for that individual. she -- tom hayden as jane fonda
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did not help our cause. in fact, they played jane's recorded message for 30 days. and i will never forget when she ended her transmitting, talking about, these are poor innocent people. there were pows in north vietnam as you already know that were tortured that refused to meet with her. she never came down to south vietnam, cambodiaor, or whatever. but her ending statement was and ramsay clark who i talked to, you know, your mother lucy and linda, who was embarrassed that the attorney general under your dad went over there. but i go to bed crying every night thinking of the damage we have done to these poor innocent people. i said, really? i know she's apologized. i'll leave it at that. but, you know, we talk about vietnam veterans being recognized today because we didn't start the war. we served. each and every one here today
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and those around the world that wore the uniform during that time period should be applauded, should be saluted, and thanked for your service because -- [ applause ] -- if you were drafted, you went. i volunteered because i felt it was my responsibility and duty. but i tell you what, lessons learned and i talked to a guy last night with the san antonio paper lessons learned going forward i think we're witnessing that today to a certain degree. i don't necessarily agree with what's going on militarily, but the men and women serving today and 12% to 15% serving today are females which i think is great and wonderful. number two, they all volunteer. there's no draft. vees name veterans, older veterans and even the public in general are thanking these young men and women when they come through airports or they're in a restaurant in their uniform. i think we've come a long way
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and hopefully we can take some of those lessons forward besides let's not get into something that the country is not fully committed to. there's no vital interest in the united states. let's not play political politics with it. let's not find with hand tied behind our back and let's go in and win it immediately. [ applause ] >> i think you're right. we are doing a lot better. >> i think the other part -- >> she get s one minute. >> we've only got a couple left. >> i'll only take one because i want to piggyback on what you have to say. and that is, this country here just got so flared up when a kid was killed,vietnamese kid was
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killed. but we never said a word when the vietnamese kid would hold up a coke can to a u.s. soldier, and that can was a bomb. and we got them all the time. they would throw those coke cans. and to this day, vietnam vets who were in prison -- and i do a lot of work with prisons -- the one thing you cannot do is hand them a coke can aand say, here. because it pulls back that memory of that kid. but we could get all pissed off
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about a u.s. guy killing a vietnamese kid but we never said a word when the vietnamese kids threw those bombs in the tops of those apcs and tanks and guys riding on the sides of the trucks. and we tried really hard to take care of those kids, but those kids blew up a lot of u.s. troops. and we have to think about what we think about kids because kids do what their parents tell them to do. and that is not always what kids do that you know about. and i have taken care of a lot of gis who were wounded, who
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lost their legs, who were blind from a coke can. and i still have trouble with coke. >> thank you. i'm going to take the moderator's prog tifr and tiff prerogative and have the last word because we're very close to the end. i think surely one of the very difficult things about the experience of being there was that even people there in the field executing their mission in the best possible way they could and with great integrity and bravery had very divided feelings about what they were doing. some people were very supportive. some people were in the middle. some people weren't so supportive. one of the complexities of the legacy of this war i think is that even among the people who fought it, there was hugely divided sentiment about the experience, what it meant, what
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it was for, its purpose. and going back to what ken said, i think that for me coming away from that the most important lesson is that we heo make sure that as a people and a country we understand what the ultimate meaning of our engagement is because, without that certainty, the price is too high. and the pain is too great. and so if there's one thing i think probably we all agree on is veterans of that conflict, is that going forward we have to make sure that that's where we find ourselves when we're making these decisions. i want you to join me in thanking these panelists for their excellent work. [ applause ] and thanks to all of you for coming.
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>> thursday american history tv on c-span3 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the church committee's file report on federal intelligence activities. the senate select committee to study governmental operations held hearings on intelligence activities by the cia, fbi, irs, and nsa. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3.
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>> american history tv on c-span3. saturday night at 10:00 eastern on "real america" -- >> more than 110,000 cubans flee cuba. they come the 140 kilometers from the port of mario to key west, florida, in nearly 2,000 boats. why did they come? why are there so many? >> during the spring through fall of 1980, approximately 125,000 cuban refugees arrived in florida from the port of mario, cuba. hear interviews these new arrivals to america and find out why they left. sunday morning at 10:00 on road to the white house rewind, the 1992 democratic and republican conventio conventions. bill clinton saeps his party's presidential nomination in new york city. >> in the naix the hardworking americans who make up our forgotten middle class, i proudly accept your nomination for president of the united
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states. >> and incumbent president george h.w. bush acct his party's nomination in houston. >> and i am proud to receive and i'm honored to accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> at 4:35, architectural historian barry lewis on the creation and evolution of new york city's greenwich village. >> when the l opened on sixth avenue it basically visually gave us what we already understood. east of sixth avenue was washington square. west of sixth avenue was the lower west side. nobody ever crossed that line. now, the people from west of sixth avenue might cross the line to work as a servant in washington square. but believe me the people in washington square never went on the other side of sixth avenue. >> at 8:00 p.m. on the presidency -- >> every time i look at washington it's unanimous. unanimously commander in chief, unanimously president of the constitutional convention.
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unanimously president of the united states, unanimously appointed as the lieutenant general and commander in chief of all the armies raised or to be raised for the service in the united states. what a record. >> george washington scholar peter enreekz explores that even though washington was officially retired he continued to meet with political figures from the thu capitol and was often called upon to craft policy. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule, go to c-span.org. thursday a discussion on regulating e-cigarettes. the american enterprise institute looks at the legal, legislative and public health implications of the fda's plans to regulate the product. see it live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. president obama's in colorado springs thursday to deliver the commencement address at the u.s. air force ak
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academy. we'll have live coverage of the president's remarks starting at noon eastern on c-span. c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. on thursday, we're live in laredo, texas, on the u.s./mexico border to talk about trade issues affecting the region and the country. san antonio express trade reporter lynn better zouski discusses the flow and volume of trade across the border. also texas congressman joins us to talk about how trade benefits laredo and the country. then bob cash stake director for texas trade coalition and nafta critic looks at how the trade deal moved jobs from southern texas to mexico and how that hurts mexicans as well. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live from laredo, texas beginning at 7:00 a.m. eastern thursday.
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join the discussion. up next on american history tv, a discussion about the role of music in the anti-vietnam war movement with political singer-songwriters country joe mcdonald and peter yarrow. during the vietnam war, mcdonald performed with country joe and the fish and yarrow was a member of peter paul and mary. this discussion is part of a three-day conversation at the lbj library in austin, texas, titled the vietnam war summit. this 50-minute program begins with a performance by joe mcdonald and ends with several songs by peter yarrow.
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♪ [ applause ]
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♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪
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>> please welcome to the stage mr. peter yarrow singer-songwriter and political activist and the executive director of the grammy museum at l.a. live joining mr. country e mcdonald for our next panel.
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>> well, joe, on behalf of everyone here i want to thank you for exercising your freedom of expression and freedom of speech. thank you very much. 50 years. and be, boy, for those of us who were alive back then and remember that song and remember those days, that was one song that could always get a response going and it did even here. interesting, huh? look, every generation has a sound track. every historical era has a sound track. every historical moment. every movement. music has played a vital part in america's history. it's been there from the revolutionary times and it goes right through our history even today. and almost always the music was creative, expressive, and sometimes controversial.
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and certainly in the 1960s the music was controversial because for the very first time american pop music embraced the idea that a song could act as an agent of social and political conquest. it could do something that allowed change in our world and in our time. it could do something to rally people to a particular point of view. and when in the 1960s this became something of import, many, many artists from country joe and peter paul and mary on down took to the microphone, picked up guitars, and began to present a point of view. and sometimes that point of view was positive. for some people and negative for others and sometimes it was just different. however, what happens by the late 1960s, it's very clear that rock 'n' roll pop music folk music soul music funk music all kinds of music has embraced the
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political point of view thanks in large measure to vietnam. so i'd like to discuss with my colleagues today and really begin with peter if you will since you go back to the early 1960s with this, we said on an earlier panel i believe it was yesterday or the day before that many of the ideas of the anti-war movement sprouted from the civil rights movement. and you of course were very much involved in the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. is that an accurate statement? and if so, how did it happen? >> yes. that is the case. i'm not sure that my microphone is on. yes, there we are. okay. can you hear me? all right, good. the civil rights movement was very important in terms of the anti-war movement in many ways. number one, we were looking at
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what we, we who were a part of the civil rights movement, peter paul and mary sang at the march in washington in 1963 where martin luther king delivered his "i have a dream" speech and we sang two songs at that gathering. one of them was "if i had a hammer" and the other was "blowing in the wind." and if i had a hammer had become a very big hit. everythi everybody knew it and blowing in the wind, it was the first exposure of america to the work of bob dylan. and that song peeked on t charts the week before the march on washington in '63. so we sang it, but we didn't sing it alone. we were not singing two people, just as you just sang with joe.
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the people held hands, and what they said together with that expression of sing together was "our hearts are united." and we are united in doing something that is considered by many to be unamerican, by many to be unpatriotic. we were not following the rule of law. the rule of law supported at that time lynchings for which there was no possibility of some kind of legal recourse, prosecutions. you go to washington, d.c., if you were a person of color you could not use a bathroom or a public bathroom or a public water fountain unless it said
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"for colored only." what we were supporting was the point of view that challenged the law. it challenged what doing -- you do your duty. you follow this law. no. for the first time, we said, as moral citizens, we have to do what is right for our country. our country is not always right. our country is -- but our job as citizens is to be engaged in that dialogue. so that set the stage for saying what our country -- if you're a patriotic to us, you have to stop a war that we all felt was killing our young men. peter paul and mary sang ihospi. we honored the troops. we prayed for the troops.
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we loved the troops. we lov that they did what they could and put their lives on the line for us. but we opposed the war and ultimately we did what we felt was a patriotic thing, which was to contra vein a policy that was being pursued that was faulted extraordinarily on many levels. number one, it was based on a tissue of lies. we know that from the pentagon papers. we that now from mcnamara's, the westmoreland. but at the time we also knew it and we said, how can as john kerry said and i worked with john kerry at vietnam veterans against the war, and i saw them suffer, suffer not only for what they experienced but for their
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being juror yaexcoriated when t opposed the war. what we learned, what we could do was as americans love america by opposing what we felt was a war that as i said did not have a legitimate purpose. and today as i speak of this, now i'm 3 ithrowing it back to you, had we really fully embraced what you're trying to do here today at the center which is supporting the basis of will healing, is exactly what was said in the last discussion panel which was, we have to have a clear purpose, know that we are in jeopardy. we have to know that that's the case. or we go open and do it, again, as we did from my point of view when we went into iraq. and if we can heal and hate the
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war and not divide between chose who say, you were unpatriotic, no you were unpatriotic and say we love those who put their lives and there were people who resisted the war went to jail, left their lives. we have to honor them. we have to honor those who put their lives on the line for the country in the service of trying to do what they could in their patriotic view. and if we can do that, there can be some healing. that's what we need to do. [ applause ] >> joe -- has become one of the signature songs of the antiwar movement it's an interesting story, a, how you wrote it and then also it's incredible
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spontaneous role in the woodstock music festival. can you tell us how first you came to write it and second how you came to perform it at woodstock. >> well, i was in the navy during the civil rights pretty much and i came back, went to college. they didn't tell me about the gi bill. i dropped out. my parents were radical leftists so i grew up with communism. but i didn't like communism. they didn't help us in any way. but i didn't hate communists even though my parents were communists. and you know i had a good time in the military. i was -- and because of the personal experience with my parents and my father losing his be job, that's another thing, i didn't like -- i didn't trust the left wing. i didn't like civilians. i think that when you're in the military god bless civilians but
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really they don't know what's going on. but i really -- and that song just popped into my head because it was about the military and -- the unique thing about that song is that it doesn't blame soldiers. and it traveled so many maces. i mean, i could not believe where that song went. but i work with vietnam veterans against the war. i just love those guys, man. they were so good. i learned so much about the war coming here this summer freaked me out because i just opened up that wound and, man, it was just horrible horrible stuff. but i was telling you earlier today about 15 years ago i attended a veterans for peace conference in san francisco. i live in berkeley, california. and one of the speakers there was phil butler who spent seven years in hanoi hilton. and he came up to me and he said, joe, when we were in hanoi
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hilton and i had read -- the book about him and his wife that wonderful book called "love and war" is it? about when he was a prisoner and his wife struggled to communicate with him and everything. i knew all about hanoi hilton. and he came over to me and he said, when we were in the compound they used to play hanoi hilton hannah. they would play american music to us to demoralize us, you know. and make us home sick and everything. but every time we heard -- it boosted our morale. and i thought be, those -- french educated vietnamese commanders could probably not understand american humor that we were all going to die to make them feel go. so you know, but americans were unique people. so he said, i never dreamed that i would live long enough to hear
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you sing that song in person, and we just started crying and hugged each other. i mean, i get so emotional just thinking about it right now. >> and the song you sang at woodstock. >> and i played it at woodstock, yeah. wasn't supposed to play it at woodstock. i mean, it wasn't a big deal but they wanted me to fill in time for the audience because santana band couldn't get there. and i hadn't been playing acoustic music. they said, you've got to save us. you've got to do something. i said, i don't want to do it. they said -- i said, i don't have a guitar. so they grabbed a cheap yamaha guitar and handed it ne. i said, i don't have a guitar strap so they cut a strap and pushed me out there. i sang for about a half hour. nobody knew who the hell i was. they were just talking. woodstock was like a giant family picnic really. people just talking schmoozing and laughing and stuff. and i walked off stage and i said to my partner who was moonlighting there on the staff,
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i said, can i do --? and the cheer because i mean, i was saving it for the band later on when the band played. and he said, nobody is paying any attention to you. what difference does it make what you do? i said, okay, and i walked out and i yelled, give me an "f." and they all stopped talking and looked at me and yelled "f"! and i thought, oh, my god. here we go. got made into a movie and made any career, enabled me to pay the rent, i'll tell you that. and maybe made some people feel good. i'm so glad. but you know i had a guy tell me his buddy died in nam, bled to death in his arms and the last word he said is we're going to die. i mean, this is serious stuff. when i first learned i was coming to this summit i got so sad. then i got angry.
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and here i am. [ applause ] >> one of the interesting things about the war is there were pop songs that were written that really didn't do -- say anything about the war itself that weren't meant to be antiwar this or that or anything. and i'm thinking about a son like leaving on a jet plane which then became a song which you and peter paul and mary your number one hit song and i believe in 1970 and that was embraced by a lot of soldiers, simply because of the fact that it was leaving on a jet plane. when you heard that, that this was a popular song over in vietnam, what did you think? >> well, let me respond in this way. over the years with peter paul and mary, when we would perform this song, it was not unusual for a vietnam vet who at that
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point was significantly older to come over to us and say, you know, that song was my link to home. i know you opposed the war, but it meant so much to me. then they'd break down in tears and we'd hold them and hug them and thank them for their service because they put their lives on the line for us. and so the songs -- that was a link to their home, but when we sang at the v.a. hospital, they wanted not only to hear that, p they wanted to hear "where have all the flowers gone," which is a -- [ applause ] which calls not for the
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commitment to disagree with somebody with a different point of view it calls for an end to the real evil here, which is the war itself. now, i would have fought in the second world war. i'm not a bottom line pacifist. so i'm not saying -- woody guthrie served in the second world war. but what the music did in the case of leaving on a jet plane, it was -- it certainly was a link. and when somebody would say ♪ i'm leaving on a jet plane ♪ i don't know when i'll be back again ♪ it was very painful.
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and i still sing it now with that. but the songs that united the people who said, we have to stop the war, we're not trying to -- we do not think this is a legitimate war, as john kerry said. how can you ask somebody to be the last person to die for a war nobody wants? when we would sing those songs, and i would sing the great mandela, which was an anthem of heart about a young man and this is an interesting story. a young man who goes to jail rather than serve in a war. he cannot serve in this war. and then he goes on a hunger strike. and then he dies. and outside the people who are opposing him say, okay, he's dead, we don't have to endure
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his accusations. we can kill now. we can hate now. we can now end the world. and then it cautions, take your place on the great mandela. the prayer wheel of life as it moves through your brief moment of time. win or lose now, you must choose and if you lose you're only losing your life. now, when i was at the washington cathedral with pete seiger and we he were pointed in four different directions acknowledging the individuals in the war, this was not a body count. these each human life was sacred. indeed on both sides. when i did that, after i sang that song, they played taps and during taps there was the sound of a woman wailing.
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and that juxtaposition was overwhelming and painful beyond painful. we didn't know what it was about, but she was brought to me. she said, my son was serving in vietnam and when he said, if i am to die there, i want the words to that song engraved on my tombstone. and i did so. i engraved the words to that song. so you have to understand how deeply these songs permeated the culture then unlike today when it's -- the nature of music has become so superficial compared to that era when that was the real heart and soul of our conscience that was being expressed in the way that you just experienced it when joe talked about it and when you sang his song.
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>> joe, you of course are in the bay area during the mid and late 1960s at a time when america experiences a counter culture, the rise of the hippie. as a matter of fact, next year will be the 50th anniversary of something we called the summer of love much by and large, that counter cultural movement was a social movemen and even by some degree a philosophical movement certainly a musical movement but not so much a political movement except for one band that truly stood out amongst all the other ones, and that was country joe and the fish, which basically i remember reading someone saying it provided the political aspects of what the counter culture should be doing and the way it should be acting. yet sometimes when i look back it seemed like country joe and the fish basically stood out all by itself that the rest of the bands, the grateful dead,
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credence clear water revival, any great band from that period didn't get so involved politically, not like you did. how come? >> i don't know, bob. coming to the conference i thought, well, nobody knew what to do with us and people don't know what to do with me. i was counting up the vietnam songs i have 22 songs about the vietnam war from welcome home to agent orange to combat. just all kinds of songs and i wanted to tell a story i'm changing the subject. >> you are? >> so country joe and the fish were on the david frost show a long long time ago. and we sang on the david frost show. and charles robb and linda johnson were on that show also because they were engaged to be
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married. and people wrote in to the david frost show a lot of letters saying those bearded filthy creeps should be sent back to russia and stuff like that. that was about us. none of us had beards, show. but i had this one letter that said, dear mr. frost, why did you have to have that horrible rock band on there singing that horrible song about vietnam when those lovely people linda johnson and charles robb were on there talking about -- i don't think i'm ever going toaufwatch your show again. and i've saved those letters all these years an i thought, how weird life is that here i am at the lbj library thanks to you i hope i haven't disappointed you. >> you didn't answer my questions, but that's okay. >> well, all kid williding asid
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were let's face it, there were other bands like the mc 5 and the bugs in new york that were doing some pretty radical things musically and politically as well. but in the end, i think too many people get the left or the anti-war movement confused with the hippie movement when oftentimes they went parallel occasionally overlapped. peter, when you are in the midst of this in 1966-67, there was i'm sure a crossroads in your career where you were folk stars and pop stars as well and by committing to a pital platform in your music that you were certainly going to alienate a sizeable number perhaps of your audience and people thinking less of you, not buying your records. how did you handle that in terms of your career? how did you endure and say, you know what? we're going to be above this. and we're going to push on.
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>> well, in the civil rights movement, as i said, you know, that was the first time that we stepped out and became proponents of a point of view that was highly highly controversial although in the north there was not a lot of controversy about it. but when we did sing at these summer montgomery march, that was the end of our selling records in the southern states. and we've been warned by warner brothers that that would happen. but we were as mary would have called us seagers raiders. we were pete seiger's children in a way. he had paved the way to say, if you use your music to express your ethical perspective and you unite that, then you're giving a
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great gift to yourself and following in the tradition of these songs that many of them certainly came from the labor union movement. but when we were in the antiwar movement itself, anothfor me, ia musician on one hand and you're quite right there was the hippie point of view, which was about the spirit and love and caring, and then there were the consequences that we were dealing with. >> yes. >> my other part of my life was as an organizer. in the antiwar movement and we kept a low profile because there was a nixon enemies list and i organized with a woman by the name of cora wise, a march on
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washington in '69 that that march coupled with the march against death and cit was calle a celebration of life was attended by 500,000 people. and that is generally credited as the moment where the public sentiment turned against the war. now, in that gathering, my job was to mobilize the performers which included pete seager and mitch -- one of the really diverse kind of music to express that sense. not anti war so much as let us bring peace. and we had john denver singing last night i had the strangest dream and mitch miller and the cast of "hair" and the string quartet from the -- symphony
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orchestra and earl scruggs from country music and of course peter paul and mary and on and on. and that event was 90% music and yet it is credited -- it followed the march against death where all night in a candlelight procession people with their candles put the name of an american soldier who was killed into a coffin and then those coffins were born to the pentagon. that was the march against death followed by the celebration of life which as i said was -- i mean, that's true that folk music, but other kinds of music i later in '72 organized something at shea stadium where we did have janis joplin, where we did have credence, where we did have -- where we did have -- we had i called and mobilized d
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talking to them, whether it was paul -- and at madison square garden i organized something with jimi hendrix and with blood sweat and taerears. so there was an involvement but not in the sense of their picking up the banner the way country joe did and writing songs and walking the walk in that particular way. they simply got on stage. but before they did in all cases, as was true in the civil rights movement, we got together and i said, we're not here to knock people out with our songs and perform. we're here to make a statement that will help us to move society to a place where we're going to have greater equity and peace. so whatever you do, that has to be your intention and you need
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to say some words that let people know that that's where you are standing. and when people have it in their hearts, i don't care if they're singing lemon tree or whatever, if the message is we are going to live in peace, people feel that. and that was true in all of these events. >> you know, for the sake of truth and the reality of it all, the antiwar movement certainly embraced popular music to get its message across, you but if truth be told there was also many, many khriz acountry artis were expressing the other side of the viewpoint of the war. many of us remember the balance add of the green berets, for instance, that came out in her story or song narrative.in her and many in the country world had written songs. it's just that those songs back
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then in the late 1960s, country music hadn't -- isn't what it is today. it was pretty much here texas, the south, southwest, et cetera. it didn't infiltrate as much up north into cities like berkeley or new york as it does now. but there were other songs. there were other artists taking other positions and using song as the vehicle to express those opinions. >> i have to underscore that that is the case but it was the most minute group that did that whereas categorically with folk music and the beatles and all we are saying is give peace a chance the massive thrust of the music business embraced the civil rights movement, embraced the peace movement. not to say there weren't others who have a different point of view. but we have to, if we're going to be accurate, we have to know
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that the scale was minute in the country field. >> exactly. i'm conscious of our time, and i want to make sure that since we began with a song and joe that i leave time for you to take us out in song. so i'm going to end it here. thank you for coming. >> thank you for the opportunity to do this. [ applause ] >> i'm going to turn it over to you. >> now, i'm going to stand in front of these. but you can hear me from this microphone too if you like. this is a song that i sing now. my prayer, my hope. and i think linda and lucy and chuck. all of you. okay. it's good. good. my prayer is that by gathering
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together and expressing what we feel we find that there are ways for us to love each other and embrace those who feel differently from the way we do. i left my capo over there. chalk it up to the years, folks. here it is. i went to vietnam three times, focused around the issue of agent orange and the damage that it did. and i have a lot of footage, and i hope to -- i made an hour piece on, it but i'm going to
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extend it. the day that i arrived there i went to the friendship house where half of the kids there were -- we knew had the kind of thalidomide disabilities that were almost impossible to endure and see. you know, i don't want to describe it because it's so terrible. and it gets in the blood -- it gets in the genetic system. and it's inherited. and so the -- because after you can't identify if somebody got it, the disability, from agent orange or not because after eight years it's no longer
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there. and i was singing with these kids and holding these kids with you know, not -- with eyes that -- i can't even say. and i went to the hanoi opera house where i was singing -- it's just like the paris opera house. i was singing a concert. and i was so troubled by what i saw. and realized what we had done, it didn't matter at that moment the kind of discussion about whether or not we -- what -- you know, president carter saying you can come back and -- that's not the issue. we have to love each other and accept each other and let that pain -- and not try and justify our pain by saying we were right
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or wrong. because if we don't look at what we've done and accept what we did terrible things, notwithstanding whatever was done to us, notwithstanding the pain of our friends and comrades who died or lived in misery and as p.o.w.s. yes. but how do we get beyond that? well, one of the ways we can do it is by having this kind of symposium. and one of the ways is by sing a song together that affirms something that's important no matter what position you took. and this song, when i came to the point of singing this at the hanoi opera house, i said i want to sing this song but i can't. i can't do it until i tell you
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how i feel. i saw those kids. i saw those kids. i can't -- i have to let you know as one american. i'm not saying things weren't done back and forth. as one american how deeply sorry i am for what we did to your country. 3 million dead. yes, we lost 58,000 men. and more than that committed suicide because of the pain they endured after they came home. and my heart breaks for them. and afterwards, you know what the vietnamese said to me? and they would say this to anybody. they said, you don't have to apologize. we just want to have our country and live in peace. and now we're their major ally and trading partner. how do we build peace?
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we build it by taking down those walls. ♪ i'd like everybody to sing this song that was a great anthem. and it's not about the soldiers or the protesters. it's about properly putting our commitment into ending war. and particularly not going into war unless it's a just war. and then with the heaviest of hearts. so i'd like you to please stand up. i know for some of you it's difficult to stand up. for me too. it comes with the years.
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and just join our hands, put our arms around each other all day, and sing. for all of us. and for our children's children. ♪ where have all the flowers gone ♪ ♪ long time passing ♪ where have all the flowers gone ♪ ♪ long time ago ♪ where have all the flowers gone ♪ ♪ young girls have picked them every one ♪ ♪ when will they ever learn ♪ when will they ever learn ♪ where have all the young girls gone ♪
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♪ where have all the young girls gone ♪ ♪ long time passing ♪ where have all the young girls gone, long time ago ♪ ♪ where have all the young girls gone ♪ ♪ they've gone for young men everyone ♪ ♪ when will they ever learn ♪ when will they ever learn ♪ and where have all the young men gone ♪ >> let me hear you now. ♪ where have all the young men gone ♪ >> long time. ♪ long time passing ♪ where have all the young men
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gone ♪ >> long time ago. ♪ long time ago ♪ where have all the young men gone ♪ ♪ they've gone for soldiers, everyone ♪ ♪ when will they ever learn ♪ when will they ever learn >> and very solemnly and prayerfully, for all those who were injured and killed and wounded and maimed. where have all the soldiers gone. many not to the graveyards but to lives of great, great despair and difficulty. where have all the soldiers
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gonegon gone, with solemnity. ♪ where have all the soldiers gone ♪ ♪ long time passing ♪ where have all the soldiers gone ♪ ♪ long time ago ♪ where have all the soldiers gone ♪ ♪ gone to graveyards, everyone ♪ when will they ever learn ♪ when will they ever learn ♪ where have all the graveyards gone ♪ ♪ long time passing >> let me hear you. ♪ where have all the graveyards gone ♪ >> long time ago. ♪ long time ago >> where have all the
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graveyards. ♪ where have all the graveyards gone ♪ gone to flowers, every one ♪ when will they ever learn ♪ when will they ever learn >> when will we ever learn. and we sing -- ♪ when will we ever learn ♪ when will we ever learn >> and then we sing where have all the flowers gone and the irony and the pain of the endless cycle. when will we ever learn? we do know that when we can love each other and say we're sorry and we forgive each other we're
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taking the right step. i'm so sorry for anything that i did that brought the war or any war unjust war. where have all the flowers gone, together softly. ♪ where have all the flowers gone ♪ ♪ long time passing ♪ where have all the flowers gone ♪ >> long time ago. ♪ long time ago >> where have all the flowers gone. ♪ where have all the flowers gone ♪ ♪ young girls have picked them every one ♪ ♪ when will they ever learn ♪ when will they ever learn
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>> when will we ever learn. last time. ♪ when will we ever learn ♪ when will we ever learn [ applause ] >> joe macdonald. [ applause ]
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thursday american history tv on c-span 3 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the church committee's final report on federal intelligence activities. the senate select committee to study governmental operations held hearings on intelligence activities by the cia, fbi, irs and nsa. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span 3. american history tv on c-span 3. saturday night at 10:00 eastern on "real america." >> more than 110,000 cubans flee cuba. they come the 140 kilometers from the port of mural to key
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west, florida in nearly 2,000 boats. why did they come? why are there so many? >> during the spring through fall of 1980 approximately 125,000 cuban refugees arrived in florida from the port of mariel, cuba. hear interviews from these new arrivals to america and find out why they left. sunday morning at 10:00 on road to the white house rewind, the 1992 democratic and republican conventions. bill clinton accepts his party's presidential nomination in new york city. >> in the name of the hard-working americans who make up our forgotten middle class, i proudly accept your nomination for president of the united states. [ applause ] >> and incumbent president george h.w. bush accepts his party's nomination in houston. >> and i am proud to receive, and i'm honored to accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> at 4:45 architectural
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historian barry lewis on the creation sxefgs of new york city's greenwich village. >> when the elop opened on 6th avenue it gave us visually what we understood. east was washington square west of 6th avenue was the lower west side. nobody ever crossed that line. the people from western 6th avenue might cross the line to work as a servant in washington square. but believe me, the people in washington square never went on the other side of 6th avenue. >> and at 8:00 p.m. on the presidency -- >> every time i look at washington it's unanimous. unanimously commander in chief. unanimously president of the constitutional convention. unanimously president of the united states. unanimously re-elected president of the united states. unanimously appointed as the lieutenant general and commander in chief of all the armies raised or to be raised for the service in the united states. what a record. >> george washington scholar peter enriquez explores that
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even though washington was officially retired he continued to meet with political figures from the new capital and was often called upon to craft policy. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule go to c-span.org. the independent women's forum holds its annual polts summit in washington, d.c. topics include the economy, political leadership, women voters, the future of the supreme court, and college campus culture. that's live at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span 2. thursday a discussion on combating al qaeda and isis. the group gafta hosts a discussion with a political adviser to syrian president bashar al assad via skype. we're live from the national press club at 8:30 a.m. eastern here on c-span 3. >> i think today we in effect
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sort of catch up to the 20th century. we've been the invisible half of the congress the past seven years. we've watched our house colleagues with interest. at least i have with interest. and the tv coverage of members of our colleagues in the house. >> today is the day the u.s. senate comes out of the communications dark ages. we create another historic moment in the relationship between congress and technological advancements in communications through radio and television. >> 50 years ago our executive branch began appearing on televisi television. today marks the first time when our legislative branch in its entirety will appear on that medium of communication through which most americans get their information about what our government and our country does. >> they're televising our senate chamber proceedings, also represents a wise and warranted
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policy. broadcast media coverage recognizes the basic right and need of the citizens of our nation to know the business of their government. >> thursday c-span marks the 30th anniversary of our live gavel to gavel senate floor coverage on c-span 2. our special coverage features keep moments from the senate floor from the past 30 years. >> i would show to you the body of evidence from this question. do you trust william jefferson clinton? >> we have just witnessed something that has never before happened in senate history. the change of power during a session of congress. >> what the american people still don't understand in this bill is there's three areas in this bill that in the next five years will put the government in charge of everybody's health care. >> plus an interview with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. >> and i'm sure i've made a number of mistakes in my political career, but voting against having c-span televise
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the senate was one of them. >> and remarks by senate historian emeritus donald richie and parliamentarian emeritus robert freeman. watch with 30 years of the u.s. senate on television beginning thursday on c-span expect to see more of our 30 years of coverage on c-span 2, go to c-span.org. in 1995, two decades after the fall of saigon, the united states normalized diplomatic relations with vietnam. and president obama recently spent three days visiting the country. next on "american history tv," vietnamese ambassador to the united states pham quang vihn talks about the history of diplomatic relations between the u.s. and vietnam and how the relationship has changed since the end of the war. this 20-minute program is part of a three-day conference at the lbj library in austin, texas titled "the vietnam war summit."
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome lyndon b. johnson centennial chair in national policy at the lbj school of public affairs, admiral bobby r. inman. [ applause ] >> thank you. in july of 1967 i arrived in hawaii from a tour in sweden to be head of current intelligence for the pacific fleet. once a quarter i would go in country. most often saigon da nang. and then in may of '69 i went out to be the 7th fleet intelligence officer. for the following 27 months i was in country in the combat zone every month. and by the end of that time i had grown pretty pessimistic about how this event was going to play out.
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when the agreement was signed for the withdrawal i was not serving in the intelligence world. and then when saigon fell in '75 i was the director of naval intelligence. at that point i was very pessimistic about what our relationships with that part of the world were going to be over the ensuing years. and never on the rare occasions when i was optimist ic did i conceive a vietnam that would become a significant trading partner and that we would in fact have a substantial number of common interests. so i was pleased with the opportunity to address and particularly to introduce to you the current vietnamese ambassador to the united states. pham quuchlt uang vihn started
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college the year that saigon fell. graduated in 1980. went down to australia to brush up his english. came back and much of his career subsequent to that has been focusing on international organizations. he's done two tours in the vietnam embassy representing to the united nations. he is the highest-ranking career diplomat that's still a very young man. so it's a great honor for me to introduce to you ambassador pham quang vihn. [ applause ] >> i thank you very much. and i feel privileged to be
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invited to this event. i thank you for the invitation, hospitality, and arrangements. especially from the lbj presidential library and the lbj foundation. earlier today i had a chance to talk with mark updegrove, director of the presidential library, larry tambel, chairman, vice chairman, executive director of the lbj foundation. i did take a brief tour of the library and had a working lunch with the chamber of commerce here in austin. and i'm so much honored to meet and talk briefly with presideth luci baines johnson, it seems i have already had history from two decades ago to this event.
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i've been briefed on the subject of this summit and its panels which should reflect a wide range of perspectives and experiences including those from the veterans of their war experience as well as turmoil that followed. the anti-war, or give peace a chance movements, the media and the youth. i knew since the end of the war there have been numerous discussion on this war including those between vietnam and america. all this add to the depth of our studies and reflections. in this panel i've been invited to share with you on the theme america and vietnam in the 21st centu century, a new beginning. i share the belief that this panel will give us a chance to discuss how far our countries have come since the end of the war and what we can do more to
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further this constructive and comprehensive partnership of our two countries. i wanted to share with you a little bit of history. vietnam and the u.s. has a long history of contacts. nearly 230 years ago thomas jefferson, one of the drafters of the u.s. declaration of independence, and would later become the third u.s. president, had been trying to get the right seed from vietnam to grow in his home town in the state of virginia propp and he wrote at that point in time "this dry rice from vietnam has the reputation of being the whitest to the eye, best flavor to the taste, and more productive." and more than 100 years ago, back in 1911, 1912, president ho chi minh came to boston, the cradle of american revolution, of independence, to find ways
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for the liberation of his country, vietnam. at that point in time under the french rule. and as early as 1941 during world war ii the vietnamese people stood -- and extended struggle by the national patriotism and by the promises made by the allies at yalta, san francisco, and potsdam conferences. and in september 1945 vietnam got independence from the french colonial and the new vietnam declaration of independence included the ideals of jefferson, and i quote. all men are created equal. the creator has given us certain inviolable rights. the right to life, the right to be free, the right to achieve happiness.
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between 1945 and 1946 president ho chi minh wrote several letters to president truman to seek full cooperation with the u.s. however, the relationship was missed 70 years ago. -- it was painful for everyone. for us vietnam we were forced to defend our national independence and freedom with untold sufferings. and the painful legacies of war persisted until today. during the war 3 million dead, 4 million injured and handicapped, 4.8 million exposed to dioxin and the agent orange. hundreds of thousands -- president clinton called it a horrible and painful war and secretary kerry called it most profound failure of diplomatic spirit insight and political
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vision. but we are happy to have a new chapter, a chapter from foes to friends. in 1995 president clinton announced the normalization of diplomatic relations with vietnam. and as we look back today we thank all those who have played a part in ending the war and thank the american people from all walks of life who had voiced opposition to the war and supported the vietnamese people. in this regard we pay tribute to all those who have helped and to the personalities such as martin luther king. we also thank those on both sides who have been working hard for the normalization and promotion of relations between our two countries. on our part from the policy of set aside the past and look to the future and from the humanitarian spirit vietnam has been and continue to do? cooperating fully and effectively with the american
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side on the war legacy, especially on the m.i.a. issue. and we will continue to be working together for a new future about to -- of our relations. president clinton, when he announced the normalization of diplomatic relations with vietnam, on july 11, 1995 made a special note of those who have helped make this difficult decision happen that includes senators john mccain, john kerry, chuck croft, and representative peterson among others. and we have many others, americans and vietnamese, who were working hard to help in the efforts of healing and reconciliation, especially the veterans from both sides. as our relationship grew since
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2013, the two countries have established a comprehensive partnership. our aligning while arranging yashz of cooperation on such efforts of two countries. general secretary min fu chong on his visit in july last year has observed 20 years ago few people could imagine how vietnam and the u.s. could overcome the pains of the war and build a relationship, of positive and regards development that we have today. and now when you hear the word vietnam it is no longer a conflict but a country. and i wish to -- a country of dynamic development and active integration. we have worked hard to overcome the consequences of the war. and undertook three decades of innovation and reform to build our country in all areas.
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as a result, today we have reduced the level of of poverty from 50% three decades ago to now und your 5% and achieved an average growth rate of 6% to 7% for many years. vietnam has been -- coffee, textile, and other agriculture product and seafoods. we'll continue to strengthen further economic development. we also expect that the income per capita will be raised to 3,200 to 3,500 u.s. dollars in the next five years. and we have a dynamic and industrial population with more than 50% under 30 years of age.
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50% access to the internet. 38% using social media and 42% have mobile subscriptions. peace, friendship and cooperation by mutual respect and benefit. and we have now had diplomatic relations with more than 190 countries in the world and have been active members of many regional and international organizations including the united nations, the wto, apeck and asean. and we have been in many arrangements such as the tpp and the fta. you will find vietnam a reliable partner and a good place for visitors. now, on u.s. and vietnam
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relations i think we have foundations for stronger partnership. last year, 2015, we commemorated 20 years of our diplomatic relatio relations. the general secretary and president obama met at the oval office and issued a statement on partnership. on these two decades we recognize the astounding achievements recorded so far in many areas of our cooperation including particular economic and tra relations, cooperation in addressing the war legacy issues. as there was in science and technology, education, health care, environment, climate change, security and defense and
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in issues of mutual concern. we have been able to talk also on issue of defenses such as human rights. and this year, 2016, president obama will be soon visiting vietnam. also his first visit to vietnam. next month in may. the two sides are making efforts of preparations to ensure the visit a success. which will further deepen and strengthen our two countries' relations. today vietnam and the u.s. have solid foundations for stronger partnership. as we look to the future of our relations and build a comprehensive partnership. and i wish to highlight the following key areas. political ties. we agree to continue to deepen relationship on the basis of mutual respect and benefit. including the respect of each other political system. and sovereignty. and to advance further
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cooperation in both bilateral and multilateral levels for the benefit of both peoples contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity in asia as well as the world. in this regard we will increase as a priority exchange at high levels and expand consultations to build trust and cooperation in all areas. trade and investment cooperation has always been a key pillar in our relationship. for the past two decades our trade volume has increased. 90 times. and i think secretary kerry last night mentioned these figures. from half a billion u.s. dollars to now over 45 billion u.s. dollars. u.s. ranks number 7 among the largest investor in vietnam with about 11 billion u.s. dollars. but more can still be done and
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potentials remain to be tapped especially in the context of the tpp. we believe the tpp high quality and balance agreement will help enhance economic growth and expansion for all participating countries and give -- to the asiawide regional cooperation as a member of tpp vietnam is committed to the tpp and its implementation. we also request that the u.s. recognize vietnam as a market economy and do away with technical barriers in our trade relations. on defense and security we will continue our bilateral cooperation in these areas as -- statement on defense relations that was adopted june last year, 2015, and the defense cooperation m.o.u. of 2011.
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including in the areas of maritime security, search and rescue, disaster relief and peace keeping. we will further our cooperation as a priority -- and we expect the u.s. to give more assistance to vietnam in terms of both funding and technology in the clearance of -- dioxin medication including new projects such as the vietnam p airport. vietnam calls on the u.s. to totally lift the arms embargo on vietnam and believe that this element or barrier of the past should be removed to reflect our first normalization of relations starting to decay in our comprehensive partnership. we have a lot of other areas
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such as education, science and technology, people to people exchan exchange. we can further advance our cooperation in these areas. vietnam appreciates the u.s. continual assistance to vietnam in all these areas. including in the area of innovation and startup. since the achievements of the 1, 2, 3 agreement we are looking to further promote cooperation in the area of civil nuclear energy. vietnam expect that the u.s. will further assistance in dealing with climate change and sea level rise in the mekong delta as well. vietnam has now more than 19,000 students studying at universities in the u.s. ranking first among the southeast asian nations. and number 8 across the world. we welcome the establishment of the fulbright university in vietnam and other university partnerships to further
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accelerate our education cooperation. today every year more than 500,000 american visits vietnam each year, and we will continue to encourage greater numbers of tourists, students, and business visitors to both countries vietnam always recognize the vietnamese overseas including those in the u.s. as part of the vietnamese nation and facilitate that ties with the homeland and appreciate their role as relationship with host countries between vietnam and home countries. in the statement of 2015 the two countries recognize the success of the vietnamese community in the u.s. and their many contributions both to the development of the u.s. and vietnam. and to vietnam-u.s. relations. on region sxl global issues we continue to increase our
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cooperation on sustainable development and addressing global issues of mutual concern including natural disaster, water security, pandemics and wildlife trafficking, et cetera. the two countries are also expanding cooperation on gbal security and on the lower mekong initiative. we commend the recent successful convening of the asean u.s. summit which highlighted the asean u.s. strategic partnership and asean's central role in the regional cooperation and architecture in east asia. we will work together with other asean countries for the follow-up of outcomes including the initiative to support the asean community and asean -- we support peace, maritime
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security, and freedom of navigation in the south china sea. we express concern over the recent developments in the area. all countries concerned must abide by international law, especially the united nation's convention on the law of the sea. resort to peaceful resolution of this -- refrain from actions that raise tension, and implement fully the declaration of parties in the south china sea and work for the early conclusion of a code of conduct in this area. in conclusion i think vietnam and the u.s. are important partners two decades of normalization of relations. the two countries have made a big stride at starting progress in their relationship. this is beyond expectations. and our partnership today has ranged from bilateral to
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multilateral cooperation. i believe that the two countries have solid foundations to strengthen our comprehensive partnership. especially in the context of the coming visit to vietnam by president obama. i'm honored to be here. and thank you very much. [ applause ] thursday american history tv on c-span 3 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the church committee's final report on federal intelligence activities. the senate select committee to study governmental operations held hearings on intelligence activities by the cia, fbi, irs, and nsa. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span 3.
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>> american history tv on c-span 3. saturday night at 10:00 eastern on "real america" -- >> more than 110,000 cubans flee cuba. they come the 140 kilometers from the port of mariel to key west, florida in nearly 2,000 boats. why did they come? why are there so many? >> during the spring through fall of 1980 approximately 125,000 cuban refugees arrived in florida from the port of mariel, cuba. hear interviews from these new arrivals to america and find out why they left. sunday morning at 10:00 on "road to the white house rewind," the 1992 democratic and republican conventions. bill clinton accepts his party's presidential nomination in new york city. >> in the name of the hard-working americans who make up our forgotten middle class, i proudly accept your nomination for president of the united
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stat states. >> reporter: and incumbent president george h.w. bush semz his party's nomination in houston. >> and i am proud to sxeef i'm honored to accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> at 4:45 architectural historian barry lewis on the creation and evolution of new york city's greenwich village. >> when the el opened on 6th avenue it basically visually gave us what we already understood. east of 6th avenue was washington square. west of 6th avenue was the lower west side. nobody ever crossed that line. now, the people from west of 6th avenue might cross the line to work as a servant in washington square. but believe me, the people in washington square never went on the other side of 6th avenue. >> and at 8:00 p.m. on the presidency -- >> every time i look at washington it's unanimous. unanimously commander in chief. unanimously president of the constitutional convention. unanimously president of the united states. unanimously re-elected president
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of the united states. unanimously appointed as the lieutenant general and commander in chief of all the armies raised or to be raised forts service in the united states. what a record. >> george washington scholar peter enriquez explores that even though washington was officially retired he continued to meet with political figures from the new capital and was often called upon to craft policy. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule go to c-span.org. thursday a discussion on combating al qaeda and isis. the group gafta hosts a discussion with a political adviser to syrian president bashar al assad via skype. we're live national press club at 8 30rk9s a.m. eastern here on c-span 3. thursday world bank group president jim young kim on investments into preventing
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future pandemics. we'll join his remark at the center for strategic and international studies live at 11:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 3. >> i think today we in effect sort of catch up with the 20th century. we've been the invisible half of the congress the past seven years. we've watched our house colleagues with interest. at least i have with interest. and the tv coverage of members of our colleagues in the house. >> today as the snaut comes out of the communications dark ages, we create another historic moment he in the relationship between congress and technological advancements in communications through radio and television. >> 50 years ago our executive branch began appearing on television. today marks the first time when our legislative branch in its entirety will appear on that
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medium of communication through which most americans get their information about what our government and our country does. >> televising senate chamber proceedings also represents a wise and warranted policy. broadcast media coverage recognizes the basic right and need of the citizens of our nation to know the business of their government. >> thursday c-span marks the 30th anniversary of our live gavel to gavel senate floor coverage on c-span 2. our special programming features key moments from the senate floor from the past 30 years. >> i would show to you the body of evidence from this question, do you trust william jefferson clinton. >> and we have just witnessed something that has never before happened in all of senate history. the change of power during a session of congress. >> what the american people still don't understand in this bill is there's three areas in
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this bill that in the next five years will put the government in charge of everybody's health care. >> plus an interview with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. >> and i'm sure i've made a number of mistakes in my political career, but voting against having c-span televise the senate was one of them. >> reporter: and remarks by senate historian emeritus donald richie and senate parliamentarian emeritus robert froeman. watch 30 years of the u.s. senate on television beginning thursday on c-span. and to see more of our coverage on c-span 2 go to c-span.org. vietnam sxrernveterans and senators bob kerrey and charles robb join retired admiral william mcraven in a discussion about the changes in america's foreign and military policies after the vietnam war. the panel entitled "lessons learned" was moderated by mark laurens, a history professor at the university of texas at austin and is part of a three-day conference in austin,
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texas that organizers called the vietnam war sum milt. we'll first hear two archival phone conversations from president johnson in 1964 and president nixon in >> ielt tell you the more i stayed away last night thinking about this thing the more i think about it the more i don't know what in the hell -- it looks like we're getting into another korea. it just worries the hell out of me. i don't see what we can ever hope to get out of there with once we're committed. i believe the chinese communists coming into it, i don't think we can fight them 10,000 miles away from home and ever get anywhere in that area. i don't think it's worth fighting for. and i don't think we can get out. and it's just the biggest damn mess -- >> it is an awful mess. >> and we've just got to think about -- i look at this sergeant of mine this morning, got little kids over there, and he's
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getting out things and bringing me in my night reading and all that kind of stuff, sxwrift thought about ordering those kids in there and what in the hell i'm ordering him out there for. what is laos worth to me? what is it worth to this country? >> we have -- >> we've got a treaty, but hell, everybody else got a treaty out there and they're not doing anything about it. now, of course, if you start running the communists, they may just chase you right into your own kitchen. >> that's the truth. and that is what the rest of the -- that half of the world is going to think if this thing comes apart on us. that's the dilemma. that's exactly the dilemma. >> there are several possibilities. one, there is the possibility, and it's only a possibility, that the north vietnamese decide to talk again, i mean to negotiate again. that takes care of itself.
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that's basically like going to moscow after may 8th. >> exactly. >> but mainly they talk in spite of -- you hit them and they said all ght, we'll talk. because we hit them they talked. they'll be totally right. >> that's right. >> they may not -- if they don't, then you go to the -- another option. that is we then come up with a new plan on the p.o.w. side. i think the american people would bomb for a generation to get the p.o.w.s back. no question about that. wouldn't you agree? >> you're 3-1. >> when i put that on, particularly after i say it, we are offering, we'll get out. we'll withdraw our forces. we'll stop the bombing. you must return p.o.w.s. and all they will do is assist
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the south vietnamese to the extent you receive assistance from your allies. period. please welcome dr. william inbowden, executive director of the william p. clements center for national security at the university of texas at austin. [ applause ] >> good afternoon. it's my honor to introduce our final panel of the vietnam war symposium. this one is titled "lessoned learned: the lessons of american foreign and military policy and our role on the world stage." the mission of the clement center is to apply the insights of history to current national security challenges. and so it's fitting that our final panel of this summit explore how the legacies of vietnam continue to loom over our nation's foreign and defense policy today.
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to explore this question we're going to hear from three leaders who are singularly equipped to address this question. each of our panelists is a warrior who has experienced the searing intensity of combat. each is also a statesman who has shaped our nation's national security policy at the highest levels of government. they are bob kerrey, who served as a navy s.e.a.l. in vietnam for which he received the congress the medal of honor, our nation's highest medal of honor for his uncommon valor in combat. he went on to become governor of his home state of nebraska for one term before serving two terms in the u.s. senate where he was the vice chairman of the senate intelligence committee. he was then president of the new school in new york city before becoming managing director of allen & company. bill mcraven is currently our chancellor of the university of texas system here and a retired navy four-star admiral. prior to becoming chancellor he was the commander of u.s. special operations command where he led a force of 69,000 men and women and was responsible for conducting counterterrorism operations worldwide including
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the operation that killed osama bin laden. he's advised presidents george w. bush and barack obama and many other u.s. leaders on defense and foreign policy issues and received many awards for his service. chuck robb is a marine veteran of vietnam and was awarded the bronze star for his service in combat. he later served as lieutenant governor of virginia, governor of virginia and a united states senator where he was the only senator stoefsh simultaneously on the senate's three national security committees. armed services, foreign relations and intelligence. finally our moderator mark lawrence. associate's professor of history history at u. te and the director of graduate study for the clement center. his books include "assuming the burden: europe and the american commitment to war in vietnam" and "the vietnam war: a concise history." and he's one of our nation's leading scholars of the vietnam
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war. please join us in welcoming our panelists. [ applause ] >> well, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, for coming to this climactic session of this fascinating three days. our topic of course is lessons learned. a number of panels so far over the last three days. how could they not have touched on the lessons of the war? but here we have a chance to isolate this issue with three people who are particularly well qualified to speak about it. i have -- i am a historian of the vietnam war. i have become interested in the ways in which americans try to come to terms with the legacies of the war and learn lessons of the war. but when i approach the subject
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of course i use official memos and reports and speeches. and the kind of thing frankly that one can find on the tenth floor of this wonderful reposito repository. here we have a chance, a bonanza for a historian like myself to sit down with people who have truly lived the american attempt to come to terms with the lessons and legacies of the vietnam war. this is personally a very exciting opportunity for me and i think a wonderful opportunity for all of us to bring this event to a conclusion. i thought the place to begin is with our two vietnam veterans. and to pose to them the question of what were your ideas as you set out for vietnam back in the 1960s about the political and military challenges that u.s. forces face there. and then how did your thinking change by the time you departed
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vietnam and came back to the united states? should we start with bob? >> i apologize, on the flight in here because i never know what i'm going to say, i wrote an answer to your question and annoyed my fellow passengers by practicing it. i'm not certain we've learned any lessons from the vietnam war. and soon all the participants, those who advocated for and organized it, those who fought in it and those who protested or resisted participation will all be dead. this conference as well as ken burns's documentary will become part of a large and still growing historical record. very few of our elected leaders today and fewer still going forward will understand that history. and truth be told, american executive or legislative branch officials rarely provide historical context of any historical context of any kind when answering foreign policy or national security questions.
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that's because voters equate weakness with explanation. voters in particular do not like to be told that their ideological conclusions are built upon the sands of ignorance. so we -- [ applause ] well, thank you for applauding, but i did it myself for 16 years. [ laughter ] so we're treated and become addicted to the satisfying pleasure of foreign policy and national security reduced to bumper stickers, applause lines, sound bites and tweetble answers. donald trump gave us plenty of these yesterday in our nation's capital. in my case, i knew nothing about the history, culture, economy of indochina in 1969. from my own amateur reading of history since and listening to
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wiser people than me, i do see it as a tragic event that happened at the end of 500-year-old story. you can be rest ashurd i'm not going to tell that 500-year-old story here this afternoon. it includes the growth and the reluctant withdrawal of european empires, the conflicts between labor and capital, and the evil corruption of a bad economic idea in the first place. the first and second world war, the peace agreements that followed, the 50-year conflict between the soviet union and the west, the terrible and too often forgotten proxy wars between the two sides. the bloody awful tactics chosen by the united states to attempt to defeat north vietnam and its insurgent force. the arrival of 1.5 million vietnamese boat people who become american citizens and the
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rise of an independent vietnam. understanding this history is less important to me than working to try to build peace between the united states and vietnam. a project that began for me in the early '90s as the soviet union was collapsing and the cold war was ending. my part of this work began in 1990 when secretary of state jim baker approved the opening of a prosthetic clinic in hanoi. the man behind this idea wanted to build better limbs for american veteran amputees like myself and wanted to do the same for vietnamese veterans. when i visited the clinic, i spoke with a man who had fought with the north veietnamese army. about the same time, under the leadership of the first president bush, under secretary of state successfully led a very
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complicated and difficult effort to reach a peace agreement to end the fighting in cambodia. equally important was the p.o.w. m.i.a commission which concluded there were no live americans being held as prisoners at this particular point in time. these two efforts allowed the first president bush to negotiate with the government of vietnam to produce a road map of normalization of relations between our two countries. president clinton completed that part of the project by signing legislation that ended it, authorized the opening of the u.s. embassy in vietnam, and set the stage for a bilateral trade agreement. we went back to vietnam in the sight of our worst foreign policy mistake with our heads
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held high, not with our heads hanging down. all these things were extremely controversial. the black p.o. ochlp.o.w. flag often. contained in that legislation was provision that established a graduate school of education to the state department's fullbright program. it's enabled more than 1,000 vietnamese to finish masters and graduate programs. today with the support of barack obama, secretary kerry, senator mccain and many other people, we're building an undergraduate school. the university's first president is a woman who grew up in hanoi. she remembers the war. she remembers the christmas bombing. she remembers the terrible destruction. yet, she does not hate us.
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we try our best to continue to deserve these titles. making peace is hard. in some way, it's harder than making war. in part this is true because our memories of war tend to harden as we age. for our personal happiness, we should resist this tendency. in order to avoid the mistakes that caused so much suffering, we can still make good foreign policy and national security decisions if we are completely ignorant of that history. plenty of experience of violence in the bitterness of these dramas. here's part of the poem. human beings suffer. they torture one another. they get hurt and they get hard. no poem, play, or song with fully right a wrong inflicted and endured. history says don't hope on this
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side of the grave. but then once in a lifetime, the long fore tidal wave of justice can rise up and hope, history rise. it is what we are trying to do today in vietnam. [ applause [ applause ] that's it. i'm done. >> we may still try to get you to talk about your experience in vietnam. we'll come back to you. thank you for that, though. chuck, would you -- >> i've known bob for a long time. we have been co-conspirators on a variety of different projects. i came to the service in vietnam a little differently than many of our fellow veterans. i had wanted, after a very positive experience in marine
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officers basic school, had wanted to get into some opportunity to see if i was as good as they thought i was. but they kept giving me better assignments than i could ever ask for. my first assignment was the executive officer on the u.s.s. north hampton. it was a highly classified national emergency command post afloat. we had president kennedy at sea with us for two days with all the joint chiefs of staff, the chairman and ranking members of the relevant committees and what have you. i think it was 81 men of war starring with the carriers and cruisers. this is my first assignment. i never asked for anything like that. i go down to report to the second marine division. i end up being the only aide to the commanding general and spent three years traveling the
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various places where we had responsibilities and i thought, finally -- because vietnam is starting to come on the radar screen. i'm thinking, well, i know they're going to send me over there now. and they send me up to marine barracks washington, which is the utmost in ceremonial posts. all of those activities are focused right there. and i had an additional duty as a white house military social aide. i was also in charge of the white house color guard. everything was going well. and i also continued to reup my request to at this point no longer just west back duty, but i wanted to go specifically to vietnam. i knew that, but then i -- by chance ended up marrying the commander in chief's daughter. [ laughter ] the good thing about that
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particular happenings was that i didn't have anymore problem with getting to vietnam. and when i got there, i was fortunate enough, when i reported in and sent to the first marine division to report to the commanding general and he was somebody i knew from previous service and the had played golf with five years before, whatever it had been. i thought, this is a good sign. and then i went down -- i was ordered to report to the 7th marine rental men. who would be there but the man who actually recruited me into the marine corps. i went down to the battalion. third battalion 7th marines which is the ultimate assignment. but it took me, let's see, eight, nine years in the marine corps. a lot of people say, you could have gotten out.
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you didn't need to go to vietnam. serious people made that recommendation. i said, you don't understand. i need to go. too many of my brother service people, marines, all services have gone -- a number of them haven't come back. if i were to leave before i had actually tested my mettle in that particular circumstance, i could never live with myself. it's a very different situation if you're drafted or against the policy. in all truths, i was reasonably comfortable with the general policy at that particular time. i had read about some things, but had no firsthand experience. bottom line, i went as a very aggressive volunteer. i was phenomenonally supportive of the domino theory if you
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will. but for that action, the indoe china, the asean nations might be very different than they were today. i'll wait until we get to other questions, but that's how i entered it. so i was happy to be there. sharp contrast with many of my fellow vets, but i was not dragged there. i got there on my own volition. >> did your thinking about the challenges that the united states faced in vietnam change dramatically -- >> from my position, no. but as a result over a period of time -- we were -- we were really fighting two wars. the united states was fighting a war against communism, not to include any other rationalea an
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the vietnamese were fighting to preserve their country. they could absorb losses of ten to one and keep on doing that forever and they were never going to change. so most of the changes that took place back here. i was there in '98 and '97 when most of that change was taking place. that had more of an impact on the reversal. and once our fellow citizens turned very much against the war and the media, who had been very supportive as had fellow citizens, and congress. so you've got those three key elements that have to have your back. if your citizens don't have your back, if your congress doesn't have your back, you just have a very slim chance of succeeding. but if you're actually fighting different wars, it's hard to
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sort it all out. >> bill, your military career began in 1977. >> right. >> two years after the fall of saigon. four years after the american -- the withdrawal of the final american troops from vietnam. can you talk about what the mood was like within the military at that very interesting moment in the history of the u.s. armed forces and how the lessons of vietnam were being discussed in that -- in that period. >> thanks, mark. first, let me begin by saying what an honor it is to be on the stage with these two great warriors and public serservants. i have followed both their careers for most of my carecareer. thank you very much for everything you've done for us. [ applause ] as i said, i came in 1977.
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i graduated from rotc at the university of texas and immediately went into basic s.e.a.l. training. and all of my instructors were vietnam veterans. really for about the next ten years or so in the military, the vietnam generation continued to kind of train and mentor those of us that were new. i can tell you from kind of a military standpoint, tactically, operationally and strategically, everything that kind of shaped the way i grew up for the next -- actually, probably the next 20 years was result of vietnam. going through basic shield training as senator kerrey well knows, the shoot, moving and communicate. they were drills we learned from vietnam. how to communicate. how to use the brown water fleet. all these sort of things
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tactically was what prove us in the '70s and mid-'80s. again, even as s.e.a.l.s, you have to have air support and what we refer to as combined arms. every successive generation understood the value of combined arms in a way that came out of vietnam. and really strategically, if you go back and look at that period of time from '75 until 9/11, you will see that the administration certainly as you look at something like the up conversation of panama, even degrgrenad grenada, but certainly desert shield and desert storm. i've got to believe that that was a valuable lesson that came out of vietnam. even when you look at the powell doctrine. i guarantee you it came as a
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result of general powell's engagement in vietnam. while a lot of things may have gone wrong in the war, i think you can almost attribute that time from '75 until 9/11, the really extended period of peace with the exception of some of the smaller conflicts was a result of the lessons that we had learned from vietnam. >> bill, i appreciate your -- getting us to think about the long flow of time between 1975 and 9/11. i'd like to ask you gentlemen a couple of questions about specific points in that history in the two or three decades after the end of the vietnam war. it seems to me that the way the story conventionally gets told at least, in the immediate aftermath of the war, these were the years of the heavy vietnam syndrome. in other words, americans were principally learning the lesson that the united states needed to be very careful about using its force overseas or tight con
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stra -- constraints. and then a really interesting moment in this story of american attempts to come to terms with the war comes in august of 1980 with the ronald reagan campaign. if you'll forgive me, i'll just read you these famous lines. my question to you of course is going to be for your thoughts about how you not necessarily receive these specific lines, but what you felt at the time, this suddenly resuhr gent idea that the united states should think differently about its experience in vietnam and recover its ability to act boldly internationally. so ronald reagan famously said in august 1980, it is time we recognize that ours was in truth a noble cause. there is a lesson for all of us in vietnam. if we are forced to fight, we
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must have the means and determination to prevail or we will not have what's needed to secure the peace. let us tell those who fought in the war, we will never let them fight and die in a war our government is afraid to let them win. what was your sentiment at the time when these words were spoken? >> i didn't notice it myself. i had been in business, i was dealing with inflation at the time. i wasn't paying much attention to what either ronald reagan or jimmy carter were saying in 1980. i don't think it's wrong. i think it's a lot easier to say it than to do it. i think we started this -- with this effort with good intent. south vietnam was a troubled, difficult democracy, but it was a democracy.
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we valued freedom and we took them as an ally. and there was enough. you know, stalin had died in '53. the soviet union was continuing to support insurgencies all over the world. if you look at eastern europe after world war ii, they would come in and compromise every liberal-thinking social democratic party and crush them and take over the works. it was a terrible economic idea communism and made into an evil force by a totalitarian nature by what we were experiencing. i was sympathetic with what presidential candidate ronald reagan said, but it's a lot easier to say than it actually is to do. i'm not of the school if we were to ramped up our effort in vietnam we would have won it.
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the most important thing we underestimated was presuming that communism was monolithic and that vietnam was a pep pet of the soviet union and china. yugoslavia was a well-known sort of renegade inside the communist party movement. >> the suggestion you might characterize it is go big or stay home is a little shorter version of what ronald reagan said on that particular occasion. there is a lot of legitimacy, i believe in that statement, but there's lots of qualifiers too which suggests that if you don't -- if those elements that i mentioned earlier, if they don't have your back and if you don't have a clear understanding of the type of war that you may be contemplating.
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and some idea -- what kind of circumstances would require you to rethink the whole operation and if you can't answer those and then overlay that with the support of the international community, which i think is critical, i'd be happy to talk about gulf war one in that regard. but if all those pieces are not in place and if you don't have the capability and we've had enormous capability. i know there are a number of vets today that say if we just gone all in and not -- didn't have to be lemay and bombs away. we clearly had more capability. and we protected the cambodian and laos areas were critical
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supply, and some areas in vietnam were off limits. you can't really engage successfully against somebody that is prepared to stay there for the rest of their lives with a strategy that is so limited. so at some point, your luck is going to run out almost under any circumstances. >> from a more practical sense, again, three years into my time in the navy, in 1980 when candidate reagan said that, we already were on our road to a hollow force. this -- you see this after every major conflict, that there's an immediate drawdown. as a navy s.e.a.l., even though we were relatively well resourced, we didn't have money to travel anywhere. you had all the information to shoot, but you didn't have a range to practice on. that was it. so you weren't able to really
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refine your skills at all during that period. it really wasn't until the reagan buildup when you began to see resources applied towards the military, then a number of things changed. i think everything from the quality of our -- of our capability to the integration, to the reduction of racial tensions, a lot of things that were, i would say, in some way precipitated by the hollow force beginning to be developed after vietnam. and once we began to strengthen our resources and take greater pride in the individual soldiers and sailors, airmen, and marines and the mission we had, you began to see that turnaround. so i mean, i do think you have to certainly credit then president reagan with that recognition that we had to have a quality military if we were going to be the leaders of the free world. >> let me ask you about the first gulf war. another famous moment in the history of american attempts to
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come to terms with the legacies of the war. george h.w. bush in the immediate aftermath of that war said, by god, we've kicked the vietnam syndrome once and for all. it seems to me that not really. the vietnam syndrome hung over american decision-making there after. why wasn't the first gulf war more of a decisive turning point? why doesn't it stand out as this moment when some of the conventional wisdom that suhr rounded the vietnam war broke apart? >> most of the -- you have a discrete nation that had been p invaded. the boundaries were much clearer. the aggression on the part of the bad guys, if you will, was much clearer. the international community was hyped you. just a quick story to illustrate
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in that particular instance, colleague of bob's and mine were fortunate enough to be invited to the white house by george herbert walker bush. it was two, three days after the invasion had occurred. one from each party. strauss center also is helping to sponsor this particular group. he was a wise man who was well-respected by both sides and would give some very clear advice. i remember we risked -- we end up missing a redskins/giants football game that day. so it was a major contribution to go othver there and spend th day. he was interested in getting some views. he didn't say we want to talk about the vietnam syndrome, but it was very clear that that was on his mind. and we offered a good deal of advice. you get what you pay for. and then when the second gulf
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war came along -- first of all, let me see, i was an advocate early on because i'd been involved in the planning stage. i'd gone on a co-dell with seven or eight other happened to be democrats. i remained only one as a supporter. george said he'd give me a vibe because i've been speaking on television or whatever. when the second gulf war came around, it was a very different situation. and most of the people who were at least thinking about running for president had voted, quote, wrong, including my friend sam dunn who also -- against force authorization at that time. they weren't against authorization, but they were against doing it at that particular moment. it was clearly on up or down situation and they got it wrong. when the next vote came along
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and i was out of the arena altogether. i looked and everybody who expressed any interest in running for president at that point was in support of that position. they've since pulled back a good deal from some of those positions. but you could see how important getting it right and putting the vietnam syndrome behind was to them. and i -- again, they're not all still supporting it. it was an interesting phenomenon to watch. i think that is behind us to that extent. but it will always be in our subconscious. >> thank you. >> let me make one other comment. >> no! [ laughter ] go ahead. >> because i had been outspoken and virginia which is a -- a
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conservative and -- but very military state and would normally be expected to be very supportive of force authorization, calls coming into my office knowing of my position were 9-1 against my position, from the people in virginia. i went out several times to relieve some of the interns who were taking the calls because they were getting devastated the kind of remarks that people would have. it wasn't until day three of that particular conflict when it was clear that it was going to come to a successful conclusion and that we were not going to have significant losses. and even then, it only turned to 50-50 in terms of the relationship. so the vietnam syndrome was still very much at play in the minds of the public. but i think in the minds of most policymakers, we've taken to the right lessons and moved ahead. >> thank you. >> well, now i think the world
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of president george herbert walker bush. so i'm not being critical when i say this. but vietnam is not a syndrome. it's a fact. it happened. and it's unpleasant to look at what happened because oftentimes it tends to conflict with my mythology that we've developed around ourselves. it's a story. it's a real story. it happened. it was -- it's a story that we need to face. i think what general powell did in the first gulf war is to say, we're going to calculate what we think our force structure is and we're going to multiply it by two. what happened in the iraq war i believe, i think fairly, is that rumsfeld calculated what wasn't going to be necessary and divided by two in order to be able to demonstrate that he
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could do it with a small force. [ applause ] >> i was -- i was -- you know, i was a republican until 1978. so i'm not terribly partisan on these issues. the ramp-up in military effort began in '79 with the invasion of afghanistan. one of the things that gets missed in trying to understand the story of the vietnam war, either from the perspective of the vietnamese or the perspective of america -- and by the way, i think you have to do both. it didn't. that's why we call it the vietnam war. they don't call it the nebraska war. you know, that it was exceptionally difficult time. i remember -- i mean, i watched when president johnson announced he wasn't going to run for reelection. five days later, martin luther
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king was killed. every large city in america other than indianapolis erupted in flames. the white house could see the fire a couple blocks away. that's just an indication of what was going on in the country at the time. there's no question. i have a memory of what it ft like to be -- say i was in the military. if you were trying to apply for a job, you'd leave it off your resume in the 1970s. there was a whole bunch of things going on at the time, and it wasn't just the controversy of the war, the counter culture revolution, i mean, america was really coming apart at the time. i think we've resettled and i think it began in the late '70s. and it's good news. but to repeat, vietnam is not a disease. it's not a syndrome that we can treat with changing our policy. it is a long and painful story of missed opportunities.
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[ applause ] >> desert shield, desert storm standpoint. now, 14 years in my career, i can tell you we are incredibly well-quipped and qualified as we went forward into the gulf. i would echo a couple things senator robb said. at least from the military standpoint, we felt the nation was behind us. we felt we knew what our objectives were. the issue is, there was a little bit of good versus evil. saddam had invaded kuwait. that was wrong. i can tell you even the youngest petty officers and sergeants understood that this was going to be a little bit of the good war, we were doing the right thing in the right context and we were well-equipped to do so. but something did fundamentally changed. secretary kerry mentioned it last night about the fact that there was this we support the
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troops. i don't know where it started. i don't know who generated the actual bumper sticker that said we support the troops, but what you saw was this was a fundamental change. it was no longer about the policy in terms of the recognition of the troops. it was about the troops are required to go forward and do what the nation asks them to do, and irrespective of whether we support the policy or not, we are going to support the troops. we understood that and appreciated that. when we came back from desert storm, there were parades, there was a conclusion. the first thing the desert storm dea veterans did was reach out to the vietnam vets, this is your welcome home as well. i do think both from a military standpoint, resources, capability, it was a turning point. but i can tell you in the military at the time, we viewed
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it as an opportunity to, right, wrong or indifferent, to right what we felt were the wrongs from vietnam and embrace our vietnam veterans as part of this good news of the success of dessert storm. >> i think it's right. the story you're telling is how the military -- military unquestionably learned the lessons. bill, answer this question. and i'm glad the americans are saying support the troops. so few americans have sons and daughters in the military today. the cynical side of me says it's guilt that's causing them to do it. i talk to people who think we don't have anybody in afghanistan or iraq. how much of this comes from the all volunteer force? >> sorry, did i take over your job? >> no, please. >> you know, kim burns used the term last night, i don't
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remember exactly what it was. it was something about false y patriotism. we are finding ourselves more and more disconnected from the population. and therefore, the point made last night, then it's easier and easier for the information to move you forward. having been part of that warrior class for a long time, i was okay with that. that may not be right, but i volunteered and said, i'm ready to serve the military. i was okay with people continuing to worry about the super bowl or worry about -- i was okay with that. i do think we can be on a slippery slope here of getting so disconnected that it is easy to send in the marines, send in the s.e.a.l.s and not think a lot about it because the lack of connection back with the broader society.
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so i do agree it is something we need to be very, very cognizant of. >> i've been very much concerned for the last 30 years or so about the parallel tracks that the country is proceeding on. there is a military and military family track and most of the new incoming recruits come from somebody who already has a military background and there is very little understanding. that's one of the reasons that i've also been pushing -- and sam dunn and i co-sponsored legislation very early onto try to provide some sort of compulsory national service for a period. two of the speakers have said essentially the same thing here. cost alone prohibited us from getting as far as we would like to. not requiring 100% of the people to be in the military, by any means. maybe only 2% choose to be in the military and we'll give them
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extra incentive for choosing the military. but everybody ought to make some contribution for what they've inherited, in a way that it doesn't take place in most other institutions in society. [ applause ] >> we've already moved in our conversation well into the 21st century, but let me focus our attention for just a moment on the afghanistan and iraq wars. i often say in the spirit of horrible kind of black humor that these were great events for people like me because suddenly my knowledge of the vietnam war was relevant again. people were talking about vietnam all the time, it seemed. especially after about 2004, talking heads on tv, op-p-eds. it was all over the place, to me.
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those who wrote books on this subject, or at least articles. was the vietnam precedent, was the vietnam analogy useful? was it more useful or more of a detriment to the kind of debate that did and should have perhaps taken place around those two experiences? was it useful to talk about vietnam so much in connection with these new wars? secretary kerry last night said there's a danger of sometimes being prisoner of the vietnam analogy. did we fall into that in recent times? >> i just offer my experience in iraq and afghanistan very much mirrored the experience of these two gentlemen in terms of you're fighting an insurgency which means they are living with the people. in iraq, of course, it's a much more modern society. but in afghanistan, we went back and of course looked at the
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counter insurgency doctrine from vietnam. and the counter insurgency doctrine, as hard as it may have been to implement in vietnam, i think was a solid doctrine. you have to link the areas of security one by one. it is painful. it is hard. but i would tell you the other piece of this was -- and i was talking to a wonderful -- an army nurse here right before walking in. i can tell you what she experienced as an army nurse in terms of the blast effects. the kids probably looked very much like the young men and women coming off the battle field in vietnam in terms of the amputees, in terms of how they were engaged, improvised explosive devices, these scenes sort of problems that were in vietnam were there in spades, certainly in afghanistan and a little bit to a lesser degree in
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iraq. but, yes, i will -- it absolutely framed our thinking in terms of how we had to engage with the civilian population and engage the enemy. >> in a constructive way. >> in a very constructive way. you bet. >> i think -- because i -- the most important lesson i got out of vietnam was nine months in a hospital. i continue to work more on a volunteer basis today with veterans who have been injured. what bill says is 100% right. god, these multiple tours. we've bp at war in afghanistan for 15 years. >> yeah. >> as i said, you pull 100 americans at random, ask them are we in afghanistan, i don't think so, where's that? the trauma of those multiple tours is -- it's very, very difficult to measure. the other thing i'd say about
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afghanistan which is brand-new is the outsourcing. it was done to private companies, my god. and iraq as well. we lost $6 billion cash that went over there on pallets or something like that. the money that's been going out to private sector companies i think is just -- it's morally reprehensible. particularly when you put it up against -- [ applause ] when you put it up against the suffering of these men and women who have done it. look at the suicide rates. even in s.e.a.l. team. i'd never thought we'd have sds in s.e.a.l. team. and that's borne of this long-standing anxiety and frustration. then you come home and you expect everybody else to be changed and they're not. these transitions back and forth from active duty, civilian time are very, very difficult.
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if you get pulled down underneath and look at what the afghan and iraq war has done, there's nothing comparable to vietnam. in my view, it's far worse. >> i would agree with that. >> i think that that issue, we're all in basic agreement. >> we're in violent agreement. >> let me shift gears for a moment. it seems to me that one of the lessons that the u.s. government took away from vietnam, it has to do with the need to manage information, particularly information about military campaigns. i was reminded by a session with dan rather earlier today how much freedom, flexibility reporters had on the ground in vietnam, how much free discussion there was of operational, tactical issues even. and that seems to have changed pretty dramatically following
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the vietnam war oz a consequence of a conscious decision within the defense department, or perhaps elsewhere but especially there, to manage information about military activities much more carefully. one can reasonably argue that this has been a harmful thing to the need to have a educated citizenry with an awareness of what happens in battle zones. could you talk about that? >> let me set the stage perhaps for a discussion. because most of us grew up in the period where you'd go to the saturday matinee and see movie tone news of the second world war. and it was absolutely without any real casualties that were ever shown. it was -- it was propaganda. it was good news, but they -- it was only good news. and even the bad news was described in fairly favorable terms and it seemed to be overtaking. but i'll also say that i don't
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think there's any president, any military commander, anybody else who didn't going to want to have some ability to have control over the message. if -- and that's going to be even more difficult, is right now with everybody having their own little mobile devices, the chances of anyone covering up anything that was terribly significant goes way down. and in fact, reporters probably have a tough time keeping ahead of the tweets or messages that are sent back home. but it's -- it's a natural instinct that we have to understand at least that having somebody come into every planning session and then immediately critiquing it as it goes along or whatever the case is not what a military commander wants to have. and i think we do benefit enormously by virtue of the
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volunteer service now so that you have more people who want to be there and not people who are there against their will and whatever. and i can imagine the kind of messages that would be going back and forth from afghanistan, iraq, syria, you name it today, if that kind of capability existed back in the vietnam period. >> what can i say? that was perfect. >> he never used to say that. >> yes, i did. [ laughter ] >> let me come in with a question that i think is best directed to bill, although i'd certainly welcome others who may wish to comment. what is the state of play these days with regard to the place of the vietnam war in military education? to what extent is the vietnam war being taught to our young
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military professionals? >> i will tell you, you still find all of the basic training areas, the war colleges, the vietnam war is still very, very important to us. from a military standpoint, both the tactics of it, the operational aspect of it, and again at the senior level, again, the war colleges, the strategic itch occasimplication vietnam war. i think what you'll kind when ken burns' documentary comes out, it will be kind of required watching for officers going through these courses. >> and ought to be. >> absolutely right. so i think the good thing about the military is, we all kind of fancy ourselves as kind of mini history tore januarys. you want to understand what happened in the civil war, you want to understand what happened in world war ii and korea and vietnam because your life depends on it.
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you want to make sure if there is an opportunity to learn something, that you take that opportunity and put it into play. now, again, as each war gets further and further away and you have less of an opportunity to talk to people who have been there, it may not resonate quite as much because now you're referring to books or movies. but it still resonates very strongly within the u.s. military. >> it's interesting to me that you've just suggested that vietnam is used to great constructive purpose within military education. bob's first comment, i think, of the afternoon was that we haven't learned lessons. >> what bill is talking about is inside the military. it's a -- >> right. >> as he said, his life depends on it. >> very important distinction. i can't resist asking given this contrast, how well do we do as a society in learning from
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history? >> i don't think we do very well at all. [ laughter ] there's two things about history. first, it's work. i should have read it earlier. i just finished reading the -- sherman's memoirs. it's -- the hardest things to understand about earlier when i was saying vietnam's not a syndrome, history can cause us to look in the mirror and say, 2k3w god, did we do that? citizens get all excited at the beginning, then all of a sudden, people are dying, killing each other, that's not 2k3w50good. then the support drops off.
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i hear ted cruz, we ought to bomb them. 2 ted, you're not going to bomb them. you're not going to do any fighting. you're too damn old. you might not have been any good when you were young. i don't know. [ applause ] and some of it is a little bit connected what chuck was saying because we still tend to over dramatize and clean it up. it's not all bad to do that. but as sit accecitizens, i thin studying history is really hard. the historians have enabled us to understand lots of things that we didn't know before which can be painful as well. but it's the difficulty. when you say, oh, god, is that who we were? the hardest thing is to say we're going to go on. that's why i emphasize the proudest thing i did in the united states senate, i
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participated in the peace agreement in come body ya aambo >> oh, sure. >> and it's working. we're making peace. and i repeat it, peace is hard. you know, you got to make decisions that -- group decisions. you never get perfection in those moments and you're always going to find some wind bag on the sidelines who's going to be criticizing you. [ laughter ] >> i think you said that perfectly. i don't think there's anything i can add to it. [ laughter ] >> who would dare speak after it. >> listen, we are running short on time. but let me wrap things up with a very straightforward and quick question. is there a lesson of the vietnam war that we haven't, whether or not here or perhaps other sessions, have not hit upon that
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you would like to put on the table of huge consequence or potentially of minute consequence? >> one very quick one is instead of having individual rotation, we have unit rotation. and i have long thought that individual rotation was counterproductive. if you can get unit rotations, people come in ready to work and carry out their mission together. if you have -- you constantly got a couple brand-new people you're trying to familiarize with the whole situation and a couple people that are short-timers counting down the days, it undermines morale and makes it more difficult for the commander. if there's any big lesson learned between vietnam and the more recent experience, i would say it's unit rotation, not individual rotation. >> which is exactly again to
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the -- senator robb's point. we learned that lesson from vietnam. again, it's hard to do that, but it is a lesson the army did have these issues in vietnam with individual rotations. i know again when iraq started, that was one of the very first decisions going back to this because of that problem. i guess i would offer, something that was raised last night, both gentlemen here have talked about it today. the complexity of any war. and you have to be careful about taking the wrong lessons away from the war. sometimes, we allow historians to interprterinterpret what the the archives and draw those lessons. those lessons become the lessons of our history. right, wrong or indifferent, that's what happens sometimes. you need to have somebody who does that. i don't want to dismiss that, but these things are very, very complex. that's why i think something
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like the vietnam war summit here is is important to have the opportunity to hear both sides of the story and then kind of we need to collectively or individually make our own judgments about what was right and what was wrong. >> look, i think here history is a very good guide. i speak to -- on behalf and to civilia civilians. i think of two great examples. neither of them were connected to the vietnam war. the first is gandhi who insisted we're going to have a multi-religious nation. he died because of it. the more eloquent one, said any fool can make peace of a friend. it's making peace with an enemy that's hard. he did. he was at war with yasser arafat and he died because of it. making peace is hard because you get criticized.
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people say you're weak. in my own view, real men do diplomacy as well. [ applause ] >> well, i think one thing that has become clear over the last three days is that the vietnam war entails an infinite number of questions and -- an unending amount of controversy. the best we can hope for is to have the debate at a higher level of sophistication and knowledge. these three gentlemen have helped us think about these very weighty matters on a higher plane, so thank you very much. thank you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, director of the lbj presidential library.
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ladies and gentlemen, we conclude the vietnam war summit today with a poem written by first lieutenant timothy schlink, second battalion first infantry, 196th light infantry brigade. it was based from september 1966 to june 1967. after losing his best friend in battle, he wrote this poem to his father while trying to express his feelings. and the poem is called "i must go on." we fought together six months today, as i rolled other, there he lay. his eyes were open. his chest clenched tight. the look of death, a look of
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fright. i knew right then that he was dead and wondered why not me instead. his life was short, not many years. full of hope, yet full of fears. we talked and laughed of times gone by. and never thought that one would die. but here he lay, no breath of life, no thought of home or his young wife. i turn my head and looked away. i fought the words i could not say. he's dead. he's dead and gone, but i am here and must go on. i must go on. this summit is dedicated to those americans who passed on in vietnam during the course of the war. those whose names are on the wall that heals outside of this very 3wi8d i
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very building. and those who went on from vietnam. may i ask all the veterans in the auditorium to stand and be recognized, please. [ applause ] >> thank you all for your service to this nation and thank you all for being here today. thank you. [ applause ]
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♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ thursday, a discussion on combatting al qaeda and isis. the group gafta hosts a discussion with a political
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advisor via skype. we're live from the national press club at 8:30 a.m. eastern here on cspan3. thursday, american history tv on cspan3 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the church committee's final report on federal intelligence activities. the senate select committee to study governmental operations held hearings on intelligence activities by the cia, fbi, irs and nsa. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on cspan3. >> ativan -- vanityfair.com, th headline, "how donald trump with eat hillary lunch." joining us on the phone from seattle, contributing writer
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t.a. frank. you outline three ways in which you say donald trump could soundly beat hillary clinton. which of the three in your mind is most compelling? >> the one that's most likely to work for him is the least sexy, you could say. it's simply demographics and share of voting blocs. the one that's most fun to think about is his relative freedom and relative i say to any other candidate that has occupied the head of the republican ticket for a long time. or a democratic ticket. >> you could go through a long list of issues that donald trump is facing moving into the general election, the investigation into trump university, his outburst yesterday at the media in new york, it seems that at every turn, the rules just don't seem to apply to donald trump. why? >> well, we'll see now whether they apply. they didn't apply in the primaries because the very thing
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that he was doing which was appalling everyone was at heart what made him appealing to his fed up supporters in the republican party who felt that they needed to take a wrecking ball to the institution. however, people who are fed up with washington are not confined to the republican party. so there may be a bigger audience for him than we think. as we see from the latest polls in which he's tightening things up quite a bit. >> in your essay, you write that donald trump is a better politician, he doesn't seem like a nice guy, but he is gifted at connecting with voters and journalists. hillary clinton is not. can you explain? >> well, i think that when donald trump starts a conversation about something, we all get talking about it. and when hillary clinton tries to start a conversation about it, it doesn't often succeed and often the conversation winds up about something she doesn't want
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us to talk about. it's hard to explain that other than to say that some people have a real political gift that you -- you can't really quantify, but certainly hillary clinton's husband has it and donald trump seems to have it for some reason. and that's just the luck of the year. >> so how does her campaign based in brooklyn, new york, respond to donald trump in which has so far been a very unconventional campaign? what do you think her strategy needs to be? >> it is very difficult to respond to someone as unpredictable and as unwilling to play by normal etiquette as donald trump. in life in general, when someone is doing the wrong thing, it's hard to respond in an exact right way. i think that actually becoming a
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little more unguarded, it may be hillary clinton's best way to succeed. and also to give donald trump the rope to hang himself. he is often his own worst enemy. >> so much attention on the popular vote. but let's look at the electoral map. it favors the democrats in november, if you base it on previous election cycles. >> right. they have a clear majority. they come in with the electoral votes, a great advantage in the electoral college. however, it does not take a large increase in the share of white voters for the entire elections that turn republican. that is an interesting thing that latest tools of election
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analysis and algorithms allow us to see than ever before. so trump's strategy -- what seems to be a strategy of maybe holding onto what non-white support the republican party already had and then building by a few percentage points among white voters, that could work in putting him over the top. >> donald trump has said he thinks he can wib in states like pennsylvania, wisconsin, florida, even california. how does he overcome that? >> right. well, he's not going to win california, i think. that -- that was very trumpy and bluster there. he overcomes it mainly by being not quite so unfavorable as his opponent is. unfortunately for hillary clinton, she also has high
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unfavorable ratings. so it's really a less ugly contest in many ways. if he pushes them down a bit, he can still be quite competitive provided that she is unable to push hers down. >> we're still in a contested democratic primary. who has room for growth moving into conventions this summer in the fall campaign? they both have room for growth. but hillary clinton will benefit greatly from the -- from winning the nomination and putting the primaries behind her. at this time, when barack obama and hillary clinton were still struggling against each other, john mccain was polling several points ahead of barack obama in hypothetical presidential matchups and we all know how that turned out. >> the story is available online at vanityfair.com. it's also available on "the hive." t.a. frank joining us from
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seattle with the headline, three ways in which donald trump could beat hillary clinton. thank you for being with us. >> thank you again. madam secretary, we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states -- [ applause ] ♪ [ cheers and applause ] american history tv on cspan3, saturday night at 10:00 eastern on real america -- >> more than 110,000 cubans flee cuba.
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they come the 140 kilometers to key west, florida, in nearly 2,000 boats. why do they come? why are there so many? >> during the spring through fall of 1980, approximately 125,000 cuban refugees arrived in florida from the port of mariel cuba. find out why they left. sunday morning at 10:00, the 1992 testimodemocratic and repu conventions. >> in the name of the hard working americans who make up our forgotten middle class, i producedly accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> and incumbent president jr george h.w bush accepts his party's nomination in houston.
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>> i'm proud to receive and honored to accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> at 4:45, barry lewis on the creation and evolution of new york city greenwich village. >> east of 6th avenue was august square, nobody ever crossed that line. now, the people from west of 6th avenue might cross the line to work as a servant in washington square. but believe me, the people in washington square never went on the other side of 6th avenue. >> on the presidency -- >> every time i look at washington, it's unanimous. unanimously commander in chief, unanimously president of the constitutional convention. unanimously reelected president of the united states, unanimously appointed of all the
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armys raised or to be raised in the service of the united states. what a record. >> peter enriquez explores that even though washington was officially retired.
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. so, we have the status quo, i don't know people said that okay, anchored by russia and iran. it's anchored by super power, like, iran. . who is going to take over. we'll see. not the moderate position. okay. so what we just said, we are after our vision. we're visionor

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