tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN September 9, 2010 1:00pm-5:00pm EDT
rebellion in the north in support of forces out there. what is the current thinking in your office about the role of iran in this region? >> we do not see an iranian hand in the rebellion. obviously, one would not like to repeat the point so often that iranians would wonder if they should be involved. thus far, we have not seen the evidence. >> that has not changed? >> that has not changed. >> thank you. >> i noted your comments about the importance of better governance in yemen. i certainly would agree with
that. one comment i would make is that of the yemen government is also suffering from declining legitimacy with different reasons for that. one is that southerners would increasingly like to renegotiate the terms of their agreement. there is unrest and a perception of the government not treating them well. the rebellion caused -- has contributed to the idea of a government that is lacking legitimacy. finally, perhaps the good news is that an increasingly assertive and organized opposition has drawn attention to things like the legitimacy of the debate. the president is perhaps trying to groom his son. there are other contenders for the presidency and so on. i wonder if you have any view or
if you could express a view on the importance of -- you mentioned the planned 2011 parliamentary election. i do not want to concentrate on the election, but the importance of political processes that are seen to be fair and inclusive. you mentioned opposition parties, but for example, could you comment on the importance of an election and that is carried out with agreed upon rules and a transparent way that will perhaps address these legitimacy questions around the government? >> well, i think your question sets the table very well. obviously, it is essential for yemen to have free and fair elections. i think that the national dialogue is essential.
we have worked very hard on promoting this goal. obviously, we are going to have a hard time getting there if we do not emphasize the government's aspect of this. we have spoken to the secretary at the yemen conference, making a point of underscoring the need for a unified yemen. this is absolutely essential for regional stability, including the future of the yemeni people. anything that promotes any of these devices and tendencies will be harmful both to the people of yemen but also to security in the gulf and beyond. i cannot do more than _ how important it is that the
elections go well -- more than underscore how important it is that the elections go well and succeed in bridging these divides. we have also worked on diverting attention from the threat of extremism in the country. there is an abundance of reasons why the political process needs to continue to go well. >> there was a column this week called, "a superpower super broke," talking about the u.s. it is estimated that there are about two hundred al-qaeda agents.
>> how many? >> 200-300. >> i thought you said two hundred million-300 million. >> know, we are spending about $1 million apiece. this is the tip of the iceberg. this is a conceptual question. is there any thinking about approaches that are not so expensive that may be more affordable? >> let me turn your question a little bit on its head to say that this is actually the more affordable way of going in comparison to many of our other assistance programs, this is still not that large. compared to what we have to deal with in a country that is broken
in the case of an iraq or en afghanistan, this is a very small amount. i would underscore, as the president and secretary have, that this is a matter for the international community. there are a lot of countries to have recognized this challenge and shown their commitment with their pocketbooks. it is a difficult time, obviously for us. you could argue that our british friends are on a very difficult course of austerity, but they are maintaining their commitment to yemen and may be increasing it. there are regional actors who have very deep pockets to we continue to encourage to do what is necessary in yemen.
whenever you get to the point where you have to use force, it gets a lot more expensive. that is the first thing. if there are many other options other than waiting until the point when you are on the verge of the terrorist attack, i am eager to hear those suggestions. we continue to work aggressively on all of the homeland security programs that restrict terrorist travel. that was one of the conclusions or one of the initiatives that came out of december 25th, that we have to redouble our efforts on that, particularly in europe. there are very inventive terrorist conspiracies in which people who had no prior record and are not in the usual data bases were being deployed against us. obviously, we do not like
spending lots of money if we do not have to. this is a key security matter and the key global issue. we will continue to pay appropriate funds as necessary. i think the congress also supports taking this course. if you have another way, i am eager to hear about it. otherwise, it is the strategy we will continue. >> we will leave the remainder of this discussion to go live to the pentagon for a briefing. >> it will be uneventful week for secretary gates. i want to give you a quick rundown of the next few days and then we will move on to your questions. at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, secretary gates and secretary sebelius
will announce the launch of a national action alliance for suicide prevention, a public effort to prevent suicide across the country. secretary gates will discuss the suicide has impacted our military and the steps that are being taken to fight this scourged. the co-chair of the alliance executive committee will be able to make significant contributions. on saturday, the secretary will join president obama and chairman mullen at the pentagon memorial to honor the memory of the 180 four killed here on september 11th, as well as those who have sacrificed their lives in the fight against terrorism since then. wednesday, the secretary will welcome the russian minister for defense to the pentagon for the first time. he is here on a two day visit.
they will discuss items of shared interests, including defense reform. i think many of your note -- many of you know it that both are making a continued effort to change the way things work in our military. on thursday, the secretary will discuss iran, afghanistan, and several issues leading up to the lisbon had of state summit in september. this will include nato finances. this meeting will be followed by a joint press event here in the briefing room that afternoon. if you would indulge me with one personal remarks, i would like to extend my condolences to a person who lost his father this week.
we wish you well in this difficult time. with that, let's get on with it. >> the secretary has made some comments in support of hamid karzai's commitment to the fight against corruption. today comes word that karzai wants to extend control over u.s. anti-corruption forces. what are the plans for those task forces, and did karzai get too big of a pass last week?
>> i read the article you're referring to, and i do not think there is news in there. i do not think it describes events that have changed since the secretary was in kabul last week. what i mean by that is, the circumstances detailed in that article were not -- the secretary was not aware of those circumstances when they had a conversation. things stand today as they did last week. we are dealing with a sovereign country. these anti-corruption efforts are vitally important to the ultimate stability and success of that country. but they have to be afghan lead. that was emphasized in the joint press conference with president ckarzai. they have to have international credibility as well. the combination he thinks it is important and that we will work
with the afghan government to ensure it takes place is afghan lead and internationally credible. now, do they have the means now to do this on their own? i do not think anyone has suggested that. i think there is outside expertise, advice, that can be brought to bear to help the afghans deal with this difficult problem. there will be a role for american experts and other outside experts to try to assist in this process, but they will do so under the structure of an afghan-led initiative that will hopefully combined with this expertise be perceived as credible and effective in going after this threat to our efforts there. i would emphasize one thing, and that is -- and i do not have the transcript in front of me, but i think you saw president karzai standing next to the secretary
of embracing both points, afghan lead and internationally credible. >> the secretary is ok then with a task force structure in which the investigators and advisers do not have decisionmaking roles but are basically advisers? >> i think he is comfortable with the arrangements that he discussed with president karzai last week, after which they both came out and said that it should be afghan lead and needs to be internationally credible. i think the arrangement is one he thinks can work and hopefully will work. >> the pastor threatening to burn in the koran says that if he was directly contacted by the pentagon, he might rethink this action. has anyone from the pentagon
reached out to him to call off this -- ? >> the media is a very effective conduit to get this message out. lord almighty. the president of the united states has done so on national television. the pope, through his spokespeople has done so. sarah palin has done so. the commanders in the field have done so. the secretary of state has done so. the secretary of defense, through me and others, has done so. so, i think the message is out there loud and clear. it is impossible to miss the message that is coming from the leaders of the united states military, the united states government, our diplomatic leaders, from all walks of life frankly, religious, across the political spectrum. this is not a smart thing to do. this has potential to further
endangered our forces, already in harm's way in afghanistan, in afghanistan, in iraq, elsewhere in that the whirlpool -- elsewhere in the world. to answer your question most directly, the possibility is currently under discussion within the administration. it is an active, ongoing discussion in which the secretary is a participant. i do not believe they have come to any resolution yet, but stay tuned. i will be around the rest of the day and will be happy to update you as the situation develops. you alluded to the fact that this pastor has suggested that if he were called, that a call
from the white house or the state department is not something they would ignore it. that suggests that he would like to be called by a member of the obama administration. this is obviously a serious concern to us. we believe it could seriously endanger our forces, so this is something we are actively discussing within the administration in terms of taking the unusual measure of calling this pastor and trying to convince him that this is not the right thing. >> could you be any more specific when you say that you are actively discussing it? are you raising the possibility that it would be the secretary who would call him? >> he has suggested three waltham -- has suggested it through at you all that the white house, state department or pentagon call him.
we are particularly concerned about this given that it affects our forces in all corners of the world. we have thousands of forces in the central command region. we feel particularly exposed here, in light of how we operate with people of the muslim faith. we want to ensure that every measure is taken to try to avoid this potentially dramatic situation. pardon the pun, but this is far more than setting ablaze in a disrespectful way holy books in a small church in florida. the potential ripple affect here is very real. this is not something we are conjuring up. we have seen it happen before when holy books, the koran in
particular, have been disparaged. we have seen worldwide, at times of violent protests. we saw the results of an erroneous news week's story back in 2005. if we saw the death of 15 people in bloody protests around the world. we have seen that as a result of the mere threat of this burning protests have erupted in afghanistan. specifically, and let me just walk through this. you have laid out a case about the threat to your troops and beyond. so one, again, is the secretary of defense amenable to the possibility of himself calling the pastor in florida, and two, given the case that you just made -- this has been going on for days now.
unlike secretary clinton, unlike the president, why has secretary gates not come out publicly and articulated his opposition? >> to the first point, which i think was a while ago, i have made it clear that he is an active participant in these conversations. i made it clear that we have real, vital interests at stake here. i think there will be a collective judgment made about who the best person is, if it is the course of action to call this pastor. but let's let those conversations take place, and then i will be happy to update you over the course of the afternoon. there is no reluctance on the part of the secretary to weigh in on this issue. he has done so through me, he has done so through others. just because you have not personally seen him because he has not had an opportunity to appear in public over the last couple of days does not mean in
any way that he takes these issues less seriously than the secretary of state does, then the secretary of defense does, then the commanders in afghanistan. he is as concerned as everyone you have seen on television speaking about this, if not more so. he feels a personal responsibility for all of the troops under his command around the world. >> do you feel this could lead to a copycat? >> absolutely, and that is why this is not an easy decision. this is the pastor of an obscure, small church in florida who has been given an incredible international platform because of extraordinary media coverage. so yes, we do open the door to
the possibility that there are other extremists out there, do all they want is a call from so and so to be talked of alleged. -- talked off ledge. the need to protect our forces may outweigh the slippery slope set by a phone call like this. >> is there any talk to the secretary gates will issue guidance to the bases around the world to elevate their threat level? >> our commanders in the field know best with the threat is to their forces where they are and how to deal with that threat. those situations are almost always hhandled at the local level. i am sure they're taking actions
or will take actions, but i am not aware of any particular actions that have been taken, and there is certainly no mandate from the department as to what actions to take. ok? have we exhausted this? you guys must be sick of the story. >> today, an iranian dissident group made an announcement that they had discovered what they believe to be in new nuclear site in a run weight -- in iran. they believe it could possibly be used for nuclear purposes. have you been made aware of this nuclear site? is the defense department aware of it? is this news to you? >> i am not aware of that. i do not know that we are aware of this group claims.
what i would tell you is what we have said time and time again, including after the most recent iaea report, and that is, frankly irrespective of the validity of this particular claim, iran is truly not in compliance with its international obligations, and we urge them to take steps to assure the international community that their nuclear program is solely for civilian purposes. we are clearly less than confident that that is the case. they have not done enough at this point to assure the world that they are pursuing a peaceful nuclear program dedicated exclusively for civilian purposes. but i cannot speak to the claims of this particular group. we have not seen them. i do not know how valid they are. i would not necessarily find it
surprising that there are multiple sites. there are already multiple sites that are of concern to us. i do not know if this is one they had discovered that our intelligence experts have not seen. i find that hard to believe, but we shall see. i am not familiar enough with the site. >> it is possible that intelligence is aware of it, does not the pentagon, just not you. >> i am not personally familiar with in the event, and it is a group announcing that they have found something new and different about iran's nuclear program. that said, in my quick, initial check based on your interest in this, our sense is that we have
not seen this group's claims so we do not know the validity of the claims. it could be that even as i speak to you, we are fully aware of this site. the intelligence community may not be aware of this site. i am not in a position to tell you at this point. i can tell you that we have long been concerned about iran's nuclear positions and whether they are in deep, as they claim, pursuing a program for peaceful, civilian purposes. they have not done enough to assure the international community that that is their intention. >> the white house delegation to beijing came out of meetings with the sense that there would be a military exchanges with china by the end of the year. could you add to that? >> i saw the statement put out of the white house. it is encouraging.
it is in sync with some of the messages that we have been getting. what i would tell you is that through that meeting and other lanes of communication, the chinese have clearly indicated a willingness to resume military to military discussions, and we are right now deciding how best to do that. i would emphasize that it has been in the interest of president obama and president hu jintao that their respective militaries and to engage more often and better, so that we can avoid any misunderstandings, miscommunication, a miscalculation. obviously, those ties have been suspended. those engagements have been suspended dating back to
february in the wake of arms sales to taiwan. we have not been meeting the mandate set forth by our respective presidents. we do look forward to resuming military to military communications, exchanges and discussions with the chinese, and we are right now working on how best to proceed with that. >> by the end of the year? >> i think clearly the two presidents are going to be getting together a early next year, so i think it makes sense to make progress on this issue. when they announced last year, when they last met, before they next meet. we would very much like to make progress before the end of the year. we're down to the final few months of the year. schedules have been largely set by this time, but we are going to work to see what we can do to resume this military to military dialogue as soon as possible.
>> i am with the chinese press. >> pleasure to meet you. >> have you scheduled a defense dialogue between the two countries, and is it possible for secretary gates to visit china this year? >> with the exception of an admiral who traveled to china earlier this fall as part of an economic trade talk, there really has been no engagement on a military to military bases. are we amenable to secretary gates traveling there? sure, if the schedule permits. there was an invitation from the secretary's counterpart for him to travel there. it was then, i guess retracted.
it is being extended again, as it appears to be, we are going to look for the possibility of trying to schedule that before the end of the year. i would remind you that this is not engagement for the sake of engagement. we are not just looking for a typical engagement by secretary gates. we are looking for the resumption transparent military engagement so that we can both get a better understanding of what our ambitions are, our intentions are, of when it comes to our military budgets, how we operate, where we operate, and so forth. this is a fact that the secretary just believes that these kinds of exchanges are just very helpful in avoiding misunderstandings, miscalculations and so forth. >> north korea is waiting for
the six party talks. [unintelligible] >> the u.s.s. george washington will indeed exercise in the yellow sea again. we said that will take place. i do not think we have determined the date yet, but rest assured, the george washington will operate in the yellow sea as a dozen other international waters. it is not an affront to the chinese. it is meant to send an message to the north koreans about their behavior. clearly we believe we have the right to operate in any and all international waters, respecting territorial boundaries. that is our intent, for the george washington to return to the yellow sea just as it has been there in the past. we will get back to with the
precise date as to when that will take place. >> [unintelligible] >> obviously, there was a tropical storm that delayed the most recent round of exercises. i do not think we have announced a date to resume those exercises yet, but i am sure we will let you know as soon as we have nailed one down. >> the japanese defense minister announced that there is a need to discuss the joint use of replacement facilities. this was not included in reports the was recently published. did they actually agree to discuss this joint use? >> the ministers have agreed to
look at joint for shared use uof all facilities in japan. the mandate of the experts study group was to look at configuration and construction methods. the limited use was beyond the scope of their mandates. that was never their charge. however, there is a separate consultancy group that will indeed study the expansion of joint and shared use of military and japanese facilities in order to improve the effectiveness of the alliance defense posture. we do anticipate those discussions to take place, they just were not part of this first group mandate.
you also had another question that you sent me about the oscar race. what i would say there is, -- about the ospreys. what i would say there is, yes, we would anticipate that they will operate in japan. when, where, and how is yet to be determined, but this is an effective form of airlift that will enhance our alliance capabilities, so we do anticipate the deployment of ospreys to our facilities in japan at some point. >> you mentioned the risk to our troops because of the koran burning. there is also a charge of premeditated murders of afghan civilians, keeping body parts as
souvenirs. how are you reacting to these charges, especially because the concerns multiple people? >> allegations like this are very serious, and that is reflected in the fact that the charges levied against these individuals are very serious. this is now in the military judicial system, so i am not at liberty to speak to the specifics of it, but let me get to two. i think i can talk about. first of all, the allegations have not been proven, but they are serious. i think you all would agree that they are in operation in terms of the behavior of our forces -- they are an aberration in terms of the behavior of our forces around the world. we have men and women in afghanistan now whose mission is
to protect the iraqi and afghan people. they are risking their lives to protect the iraqi and afghan people. they're willing to lay down their lives to ensure that they and their families are more secure. so i do not believe that the allegations here against those few individuals are representative of the behavior and attitude of the entire force. that said, clearly, even if these allegations prove to be untrue, they are unhelpful. it does not help the attitude and perceptions of our forces around the world. the sad part about this is that even if these individuals are vindicated, even if they are not true, the damage will have been done. the people in that area who were impacted by these alleged incidences will think differently of us as a result. how our forces behave in the
field, how they treat the native -- in no, the host people that we interact with, is really vitally successful to -- vitally important to the success of our missions. >> one person who was charged says he tried to call a tip line to report this, and was told that he needs to keep his head down until he gets back. there seem to have been several tries to report does, and yet nothing was done for several months afterward. >> again, this is under adjudication right now, so i am not familiar with the claim you make. it is disheartening to hear if that is indeed the case, because if someone is trying to reach out, trying to notify us, trying to head off a potential
problem, that is something we need to pay attention to. i'm not familiar. i do not know if that is accurate or not. that will be revealed in the combine's of the investigation. let's see if we confine that information -- the confines of the information. let's see if we can confine that to the investigation. we anticipate the awarding of a contract to take place this paul -- this fall. we have never offered more clarity than that. i know of no change to that time line. we still anticipate awarding the contract this fall.
it sounds to me like the story it was possibly a little overblown. i do not know of any change to the timeline. i would remind you, not that i am suggesting that this is going to happen, that the fall goes from september to december, so there is a window there. there is the potential for it to go into december, given that timeline. i do not know any more. why we have always said is that we will award the contract in the fall, and that has not changed. >> there was an efficiency initiative that dovetailed with a savings initiative. what is the status of that? >> i think you will likely hear more on this issue probably in the next few days. maybe as early as next week we
will have more for you on that. keep working on that. this is one of the four pillars of the efforts that the secretary has mandated take place in order to make this building more run -- make this building run more efficiently and also have enough investment to maintain the current force structure and to complete modernization. given the 1% growth of the we anticipate having, we need to find savings within ourselves to it maintain structure and ensure proper investment in modernization. we are working with industry to find ways to be more efficient, more effective, and better stewards of the taxpayer dollars. i will be a key component to the overall effort.
the secretary of defense foreshadowed what he will be working on. he will come back here in the next several days and tell you precisely what his guidance will be to industry. let's wait until then. he will be with you shortly, i assure you. >> how significant is the meeting next week with the russian defense minister? having indicated that they want to talk about missile defense? >> i think it is significant. for journalists, i think it provides great color. secretary great -- secretary gates made his career analyzing the soviets, and now here he is as the secretary of defense in biding his russian counterpart to come to the building for the first time. it so happens that they're both taking on a very ambitious reform initiatives within their respective militaries. i think they want to talk about how that is going.
they face economic and fiscal challenges. they also face demographic challenges due to an aging population. the balance of the officer corps and noncommissioned officers is very different in russia. this will be an interesting conversation as they wrestle the bureaucracies, the institutional forces in their military. it will not be limited to that by any means. they will talk about a wide range of issues. as to the question of missile defense, that invariably comes up in every conversation we have with the russians because we do think we have a mutual threat here. the threat is of missiles being
launched from rhode states such as iran. -- rogue states such as iran. they are obviously well within range of an iranian attack, so we think there is merit to work on this system together. we have tied to make that clear time and time again -- try to make that clear time and time again. we will continue to engage in conversation, but that is not the express purpose of this meeting. this is a meeting that has virtue unto itself, for the two leaders, the two civilian heads of these military to get together and discuss areas of mutual interest is important unto itself. this is not designed to make headway or breakthroughs on
missile defense. >> can you describe the impact, if any, if the senate does not pass the defense of reauthorization? >> operating under a continuing resolution does present challenges to us. we're not unfamiliar with this territory. gone through this many, many times before. we are not in a situation of worrying that we are going to run out of money, but we do, because we operate according to the previous year's budget figures, we are concerned about restrictions posed by a continuing resolution. the key would be our inability
to launch new programs and so forth. we are in discussions with the committee is about how to deal with that situation. historically how we have dealt with this is that we have been given some latitude or special authorities where necessary in our theatre of operations. if there is an urgent need, if there is something that the forces meet, the the operations and meet, under the resolution we would have more latitude there to do things. the appropriations bill has always been the one that is a chief concern.
the authorizations bill is a secondary concern. it clearly provides us with authorities that we need, so it inhibits -- without it we are somewhat hamstrung. that is why we are in discussions with the committee's about how we can acquire some special the tories during this period of the continuing resolution -- with the authorities during this period of the continuing resolution. we're ok right now. >> going back to the theme of troops being at risk, there was a report last night that a contractor who provides translators who may have fudged
proficiency requirements. are you concerned that u.s. troops may be at risk because companies may be pushing translators who are not up to the task? >> i watched the story last night. it was the first i had ever heard of a translator issue, other than the fact that since 9/11, translators have been at a premium for this department and the whole government. anybody operating in the region has been in need of expert translators. as we are surging forces into afghanistan, particularly in areas that have multiple dialects of language, that expertise is needed more than ever.
the only context i have ever heard concerns about translating is the need for more of them. i have never heard, as your story alleges, the their passing themselves off as more expert than they actually are. what i would tell you with regard to your story and the allegations is that i think this is a matter that the army is currently looking into. they are investigating the allegation of fraud, and i do not think i can provide comment on that, given the legal constraints, and also my lack of knowledge about the investigation. >> will cyber command be hosting any media events within the next couple of months? >> i would hope that they will
be as transparent as possible, given some of the operational security issues that are inherent in their work. i do not know of any plans in particular, but i am sure that if you reach out to them, if you reach out to press operations, our newly promoted captain may be able to help you facilitate such a request. >> are you preparing for contingencies in case there will not be a new defense appropriations bill for several months? >> do you mean the reauthorization bill? >> i mean in fact the actual new budget which may be delayed for a couple of months. are you preparing for such a possibility? >> our fiscal year is relatively
new at this point. we still have the means. i think we're less concerned in terms of the authorization at this point. we are in a good position with our funds. we have the supplemental. i think we are in good shape there. the issue most acutely has been the authorization, but we have some latitude, and we will be ok on that front as well. they're not back yet. i do not think we have been updated on the schedule of what they're going to take up. the senate has completely marked up the fiscal year 2011 budget proposal. hopefully they will take this up soon. i think, luckily, we still have
some time on the clock to do so. >> is there any further involvement in the start ratification? there is a draft going around now [unintelligible] >> there was a story in your wire service yesterday about something he sent up to the help and questions that were asked. that was following up on that and providing more clarity on the treaty. the principles have testified several times, let alone the experts. there are hours and hours and hours of testimony and documents that have been provided to
committees. they feel more comfortable taking this matter up. obviously, we hope the committee will vote it through and get to the full senate will have the opportunity to vote this up and down as soon as possible. as you know, start has expired. we are without a lot of the verification methods that were under the previous treaty. we want to get a new start as quickly as possible. i do not know if the secretary is planning to take on any other public or private lobbying efforts to get this through. i know of no plans to do so at this point, but he is always available to answer questions and concerns from members if that will help move this along. >> will that be a part of his
meeting with his russian counterpart? >> i do not know if it has gone through them yet. they may have their own challenges with regard to ratification. i do not anticipate it being a cause for concern. i think they both have an interest in getting this ratified by our respective legislative bodies, but i do not think that is expected to be a sticking point. >> the schedule for the remainder of the year has been largely set. [unintelligible] >> i do not think we have ruled anything in or out. we have not come to a date yet to set the meeting. four trying to coordinate principal schedules, which is always a challenge. do not read anything into the fact that we have not arrived at a date yet. we just have not gotten there.
ok? second thoughts? >> purpleheart. has it been authorized for traumatic brain injury? >> it has not. >> if it were, what guidelines would be used to authorize it? >> there are very precise and prescriptive guidelines governing the award of purple hearts that have stood the test of time and been thoroughly analyzed. this question was asked a couple of years ago and there was an internal review in terms of looking at the possibility of changing the criteria seven purple hearts could be awarded for tbi and ptsd. i think the determination was made that they do not fit the bill. that does not lessen the
seriousness associated with those battle injuries, but i do not think that people think this is an appropriate metal for those types of injuries -- medal for those types of injuries. the president is pursuing another type of metal of honor -- medal of honor, this one four an oes member who is being awarded posthumously for his efforts in afghanistan. this is the first one in taking place at some secretary gates has been in office. that is a new development as of today. all right? thank you. good to see you all. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> join us tomorrow when
president obama will be hosting a news conference in the white house. he hopes to focus on new economic initiatives. that is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. eastern, and you can see it live here on c-span. the associated press is reporting that obama is planning four political rallies this fall in wisconsin, pennsylvania, nev. and wyoming. saturday marks the anniversary of the september 11th terrorist attacks. we will be live it with aviation pilots to recount their experience that day. that will get underway at 2:00 p.m. eastern. tonight, on book tv prime time, the discussion about coming to the united states and the like the author left behind.
then, at the plight of the sienese after the fall of saddam hussein -- plight of the sunnis after the fall of saddam hussein. >> at long last, the united states of america joins every other industrial nation in the world to say that health care is a right, not a privilege. >> senators and congressmen have been holding town hall meetings in their states and districts, and we have been covering them. watch them on the c-span library and see what york officials have said -- see what your official has said. it is all free at the c-span library. >> a new report recommends changes in afghanistan. the findings or released yesterday. the group was put together by
the new america foundation, which was the host of this event. this is about two hours. >> buy direct the strategy program here at the new america -- i direct to the strategy program here at the new america foundation. we are streaming live today. we also have c-span here, and i want to give a special welcome to all of the c-span viewers who are with us. about nine months ago, a number of us sat down at a dinner in this room and thought, what if policy in afghanistan, after the announced surge and the change in course that president obama put in place, what if things
just did not work out? we tried to draw a group of people from a global justice left to a hard-nosed, national interest rate -- right. we missed a few corners, i am sure. this is the discussion that has so many different players, but we did have an organized effort to try to raise that coherent counterpoint to that argument that was pretty much dominated, in my personal view, by the pentagon. we wanted to try to bring together a talented group of people. some of those members are here today. some of them have signed the report. some have not signed the report. if we are issuing a new way forward strategy in afghanistan. this report is available and can be downloaded for free on the website afghanistan
studygroup.org. we have a new director of this project. he is at the helm of what we are going to be doing. we have a number of people here to discuss afghan policy. one of the people that we have online is the president of the organization, steve coll. steve, as many of you know, is one of the leading experts on pakistan and india, a pulitzer prize-winning author of the book "those wars." he is going to share some of his thoughts as well because -- in part, because of the theory of how it is put together, we have a paradox of an arrangement. the two of us debated each other
in new york on two different teams in an intelligent debate. i think it would be difficult to find any other place in town that had two leading players on opposite sides of the issues. but our office of sides are more nuanced, then really embedded. -- ban really, and that it. thank you very much for your support. richard javaid has been a business leader from philadelphia, a conservative businessman who has gone very deeply involved in these questions and a big supporter of the american strategy program. thank you, richard. we have paul piehler, director of graduate studies -- paul pillar. many of you know him from his working commentary on the near east. we are very pleased to have paul
here as someone who can articulate the key point of our report. matthew, hoh, who i mentioned is our new director of the afghan citigroup, and we will be seen a sick-of the afghan study group and we will be seeing a six-month search of our own. you will all get to know that very well. steve coll, as i mentioned, is on line. he is very important in helping us to think through many of the key parts of this effort and someone who remains outside -- and not outside, but he is one of the leading adjustors in this question of where to take the afghanistan policy. charles kupchan is the whitney's senior fellow on the council on foreign relations, a professor
at georgetown university, and the very important -- and the author of the very important must read a book that is out there right now. if we were pleased to be the launch site for that burk. d'arcy burner is my favorite person on the far left. [laughter] maybe that is an inappropriate caster to d'arcy. darcy, of course, ran for congress in washington to state. if we are hoping she comes back -- we are hoping she comes back this next time. she really gave this progress progress -- progress project the sizzle and energy and passion. and she helped to teach us a lot about many of the burning issues. robert pape is the professor of political science at the university of chicago. he is also the director of the chicago project on suicide terrorism. with many of you watching right now, i do recommend that you go to the cpost website.
if you were going to try to undermine this tendency, would you do? one of the things as part of this report is, big military footprints do not help. bob is also the author of "dying to win" a strategic look at the suicide terrorism. we're going to be launching his new book, "cut in the fuse -- cutting the fuse." it will be a major event that all of you will be invited to, if you like. just in truth of advertising, going to be doing andrea mitchell's show shortly at 1:00 p.m. that is going to take over until i come back. i will turn the floor over to paul, who will introduce the report. thank you very much. [applause]
>> thanks, steve. and i want to thank steve clemmons for his initiative in this project. this report and the discussions led to it, our recognition, in my view, to the fact that u.s. policy in afghanistan and much of the discourse surrounding it in washington has lost sight of what is or is not at stake in afghanistan, and certainly, has lost sight of in a careful comparison between costs and benefits of waging a continued counterinsurgency there. that counterinsurgency, with the goal of defeating the afghan taliban and stabilizing afghanistan has kind of come to an end in itself. it is not an end in itself. it is, to put it bluntly, the result of a nine-year long mission creed that has accompanied our presence there. and it represents a major displacement from the original reason for our military
intervention in afghanistan back in 2001, which was to rouse al qaeda from its afghan home, and to drastically taliban from power, the then al qaeda allied. the central focus is the disconnect between the stated rationale of keeping american safe from terrorism, and actual operational objectives from defeating militarily the afghan taliban and nation-building in afghanistan. the conflict in afghanistan is -- commonly perceived as a struggle. on the one hand, between the karzai government and on the other hand, in certain taliban movement allied with international terrorists. whereas, in fact, it is a complicated, messi, civil war that has various dimensions. it is almost a vote -- impossible to keep track of.
u.s. military victory over the taliban is simply not necessary to protect u.s. interests for several reasons that the report addresses. the taliban itself is not an international terrorist group. it is instead, a mostly rural- based insurgency that is interested in the political and social order inside afghanistan. if al qaeda is barely in afghanistan at all. even if given the opportunity to return to afghanistan, it is not at all apparent that al qaeda will see an advantage in doing so, given its current advantage in pakistan and its activities elsewhere. and even if it wanted to return, it is doubtful even a victorious afghan taliban would want it back, given what happened to it the last time it had al qaeda as a guest and conducted a major terrorist operation. and even if al qaeda or another terrorist group attempted to establish anything like the presence that the group had in afghanistan prior to 2001, it would if, unlike 2001 since the
national rules of engagement, if you will, have cracked -- drastically changed post-9/11, fayed would quickly become the targets of -- it would quickly become the target of a u.s. standoff. even if it presents were reestablished, a physical david is not one of the more important assets that determines the degree of -- a physical presence is not one of the more important assets that determines the degree of threat. are we not worried about al qaeda do they not pose a threat? of course, they do. the question is, will they pose more of a threat than a pose now? my answer is, not much. although there is a design between the stated rationales and the operational objectives, it does address the policy questions in a couple of other wrote novels. what is the prospect for success, even accepting the
counterinsurgency on its own terms? given the nature of counterinsurgency, -- you can go read general patraeus's manual on this -- create a unified and reasonably stable afghanistan would require many more lives and hundreds of billions of additional u.s. dollars for years to come. the ever does not have the corporation, at least the full cooperation of pakistan, which continues to provide support under the table to the afghan taliban as an instrument, influence, and a hedge against events in afghanistan. and even more important, the effort does not have an incorruptible afghan government with an ability to obtain greater legitimacy than it does now. stories break almost daily about corruption in that particular government. another report addresses -- another thing the report addresses is counterproductive nature of much of what we're doing, recognizing that the
stated purpose of keeping americans save -- recognizing that stated purpose of keeping american safe from terrorism. we have been creating enemies faster than we have friends. much of the motivation for taliban regroups has been the resistance of foreign occupation, is subject robert pape is a formalist expert on. our presence also encourages cooperation among the disparate array of extremist groups in pakistan and afghanistan alike. if we have brought the enemy together. and even more broadly, howard presiding over the military presence in afghanistan is increasing -- our presiding over the military presence in afghanistan is increasingly strength to the extremist narrative, including inspiring some right here in the united states. to turn to terrorism. a final thing the report addresses is the sheer and immense cost of this expedition, including not only the tragic
human cost, but also, the monetary expenditures which are costing u.s. taxpayers at a rate of nearly $100 billion per year. this is economically damaging, especially given the current state of the public finances. it represents a huge opportunity cost and it calls into question nearly all of the benefits, or alleged benefits of the expedition, each of which must be measured against the yardstick of whether the benefits outweigh the costs being incurred. the report proposes not a specific detailed proposal, but more of a civil one in respect. not even all the signatories would agree to everything here, especially when it comes to the recommendations. i will highlight three of the general changes introductory -- that is the way i would put it, what the report calls for. one, downsizing and eventual ending of military operations
in southern afghanistan while substantially reducing the military -- the u.s. military footprint. a greater emphasis than we are now on power-sharing and inclusion of a different factions in afghanistan. with the emphasis on decentralizing power in a country that has never had an eerie effective central government that has controlled all of the -- had a very effective central government that has control of the territories. and engaging more energetically the regional and global stakeholders in a diplomatic designed to ensure afghan integrity and neutrality and to foster regional stability. we are not the only ones, by a long shot, that have a stake here. as i mentioned, a change introductory, probably the most visible difference in the current trajectory has to do with the size of the u.s. military presence and the pace of the drawdown, which you will see in the report is different from all the indications we have been getting lately from our leadership in the military about
what we should expect come next july. if i conclude by observing that this report has -- is at least as much calling for changes introductory and also changes in ways we think about afghanistan. i'm afraid we have let this happen over the nine years -- sheer momentum continue to carry us into expanded objectives. instead, we should ponder and not just recite why we are supposedly there. precisely to consider why we are there. with that, i will turn it over to you. >> thank you, paul. i want to thank steve clemmons for organizing this effort, as well as bill goodell's leadership on this. as well as the center for international policy.
i also want to thank all members of the team that we have assembled. their consensus is now in this report. what i would say is now the most important thing for people to consider when they review this report is that this is the work of a network of policy professionals, experts, practitioners. while no one probably agrees with 100% of the report, including myself, the fact is that we have a feeling counter productive strategy -- a feeling and counterproductive strategy in afghanistan. we have five tenants of the report that we have come to consensus on as a new way forward and a new approach for the u.s. in afghanistan. but the overarching theme of this is that our policy for several years has been not just failing, but counterproductive. i will come back to a specific statement in a moment.
we are moving to a more classic counterinsurgency strategy here in afghanistan. is a fairly sycophant change in terms of our tactical approach on the ground. the approach will give soldiers greater knowledge and understanding and better intelligence and access to the people in the area in those chunks of territory. it sounds very familiar, correct? it was said basically the same by patraeus in april of 2004. if you do it will search, you will see that our generals are doing what they're supposed to be doing. they're supposed to be doing the public outrage aspect of it. i do not fault them. our -- out of reach of aspect of it. i do not fault them. i fault those who have failed to take them at their word and do not continue to question when
these assurances of success fall flat. since 2005, nato has been expanding throughout afghanistan. we have been expanding the presence of foreign troops as well as the presence of the afghan central government. it is not necessarily u.s. forces, but in the south, primarily british, dutch, canadian. since that time, we have only seen an increase of conflict, increasing casualties, increase in support for the taliban and a decrease of support for the karzai government. one thing to note is that last month, august was not just another monthly high for american casualties. it was the 32nd of 37 months of where we have had high casualties in afghanistan. even in iraq in 2003 and the
numbers of casualties exploded in 2004, there remained at constant. this trend is consistent in afghanistan for the last three or four years, since mr. of expanding the nato presence. this also now, critics that -- since we started expanding the nato presence. this also now contradicts that sentiment that it takes two years to measure. of course they have entered into combat. of course they are getting shot at. but the fact is, they are still there several years later and still being shot at. the local population has not embraced either our presence or the presence of other outsiders. i just want to wrap this up to keep this under five minutes. we have plenty of time -- so that we have plenty of time for q&a as well as discussion with the panel. one thought that i have received from alaska's blood is from colleagues and friends, -- from the last couple of days from
colleagues and friends, the first is from a friend of mine who writes for the free press. he had the most succinct thing to say about where we are in afghanistan and why we need an alternative strategy and why it is time to move forward with a different approach. he said in nine years after 9/11 we have trapped ourselves in a civil war in a corrupt, third world country halfway around the world, the outcome of which is not viable to america's national security interests. i think here we see wraparound details and of waukesha aspects. i think it is important to see how it columnist is involved with afghanistan right now. he is a good friend of -- a good friend of mine, one of my best friend, is still in the marine corps. he went over to a half years ago in the spring of 2008. i think a lot of people forget about that, that we have had a
u.s. presence in helmand province for two and a half years now, let alone in english presence. now he is back and he is doing in assessment now. the difference between then and two and a half years ago in helmand, we have moved further south than the british have and allow more ied. that is the assessment. that is what i seem to get from all my counterparts. and finally, an afghan american, a friend that i spoke with mr. de, he actually -- that i spoke with yesterday, he actually fought with the merger mehajedin.arcia deamachu huddy i think there is a general
frustration out there across the spectrum. there in thele out conflict or here in the states, there is a sense that we are stuck. it is not getting better, but getting worse and we need to find an alternative. with that, i would like to turn it over to steve coll. steve, are you online? >> i hope so. can you hear me all right? >> yes, go ahead. >> thanks, matt. and thanks for the opportunity to participate. let me start out by echoing steve clemons a little bit in first of all, to gain popular -- thanking kolff pillar and everyone else -- paul pillar and everyone else in this project. i am proud of our contribution to creating this space in which
this important work is being brought forward. i recognize i am on the opposite side of a number of analytical judgments in the report, nonetheless, i think that you have made a very important contribution by bringing these arguments and his research forward. the country deserves the kind of debate that you are trying to create. it deserves the kinds of arguments that you brought forward. the cost to americans in afghanistan are, indeed very high -- indeed, very high. and the american public deserves a very active debate about the relationship between those cost in blood and treasure and the security goals that are meant to justify them. thank you all for your work and your contribution. i thought i would use my four minutes remaining to, rather than lay out my own analysis, which is available on foreignpolicy.com in the article
called " the case for humility" and perhaps lee -- perhaps produces a slightly different logic chain, i am reminding all of us that the outside of record -- the record of outside intervention in afghanistan has been a poor one and has been characterized by repeated failures. anyone who brings forward a policy plan for creative -- creating peace and stability in afghanistan ought to be humbled by repeated failure. it is not just american failure, but pakistani failure as well. i wanted to use my analysis of the analysis to basically first, start with the five recommendations, which i think is an enormously valuable contribution. i would think, just very quickly, if you flip forward in your hymnals there in the room to the five points, number one,
three, four and five either are, or should be -- and maybe our nad, but ought to be -- and maybe are not, but ought to be in line with the american strategy. that is to say, military victory is unachievable and it is undesirable to pursue it. what is required is a greater emphasis on the conditions in which a stable reconciliation process can be established in afghanistan. in some broad way seeking reconciliation in keeping the focus of u.s. involvement on that as well as al qaeda and domestic this security -- domestic security. in pursuing that with regional stakeholders, you cannot create
stability without engaging regional stakeholders. this is an important part of the contribution because i'm not sure if u.s. policy currently emphasizes those goals adequately or resources them adequately. but at least in broad brush, they ought to be compatible with the broad strategy. number two, to scale back and eventually suspend combat operations in the south and reduce the military footprint, i would imagine that generated a lot of discussion in your group. i'm not entirely clear what is intended their. the report is silent to my reading of it, by and large, a question of afghan security forces and the project of building of the afghan national army. i guess, one of the criticisms that i would make, been the end -- being the analytical, sort of
logic-chain in the report. -- in the report, is you might ask whether it sets up a strong hand kind of counter insurgency on the one hand verses a scaled- back approach on the other. in part, because there's really no assessment of plausibility of any afghan government located in kabul and as: -- and deploying security forces to defend the constitution, never mind the strategic possibility of the current plan, which is to secure the afghan forces in a fixed timeframe. that is a separate argument, but i noticed it was not clear to me whether you were recommending that the afghan army remain in the south, or only the united states, or whether you work recommending that the no. dominated forces coming to the south are not likely to begin
with. let me just finish by making one or two other observations about the analysis. i think you have done a terrific job of defining what you believe the american national security interests are in the war. it interests that have to be weighed against the enormous cost being paid to wage the war. and essentially, you say that they are the marshalization, or the reduction to nuisance level of al qaeda -- marginalization, or the reduction to nuisance level of al qaeda, and keeping the pakistani nuclear arsenal from being taken by unfriendly forces. and what i read you as saying is that you believe the second goal, as well as the first, that we can -- that those goals are achievable, even in the absence of the incredible afghan army
willing to contest territory with the taliban, because you believe that the prospect of a taliban revolution, that the circumstances that every -- that produced in the 1990's are likely to be repeated. i think that is a very important judgment that you made. i do not agree with it, but i think it is fundamental to the case. essentially, if the united states changed course, it taliban victory or a coercive revolution, which is essentially what occurred in the 1990's, what unlikely be -- would be unlikely to occur and if it did occur, it would be contrary to the vital interest that you defined. and finally, i would just shoot a little bit on the other analytical framework, which is, this is not a war between the
constitutional government and a course of revolutionary force. it is a civil war -- and a coercive revolutionary force. it is a civil war and there are many cases in which it is simply not worth while to the about the defense of the constitutional order is established upon as the framework for this compass used -- for this conflict. it is certainly true that there are elements of civil conflict underline this war and that is extremely complex and there is enormous diversity within the taliban. but i wonder if it is really not, in the end, a, historical to wish that the taliban not be defined as a revolutionary movement. they define themselves that way. let me return to the theme that brings us all together, which is the recognition that the state -- the stakes here are very high, the cost of failure for
the united states for the united states are already very high as we struggle to get traction in this conflict. but also, to point out that the history of afghanistan suggests that whatever policy is attempted, if it fails, there will also be enormous costs for afghans themselves. the human toll for policy failure in afghanistan, looking ahead, is likely to be similar to, if not more intense than, the toll that afghans paid during the 1990's. i certainly hope that this kind of debate will make it more likely that sort of failure, catastrophic failure, is avoided. thanks for letting me speak. >> thank you, steve. i appreciate that. -- i appreciate that. next we will hear from charlie kupchan. >> thanks, matt and thanks to
steve and others to pull together this project. i think this is an extremely important document that appears in extremely important times. in the spirit of full disclosure, i was part of the citigroup from the beginning. i chose, in the end, not to -- of the study group from the beginning. i chose, in the end, not to sign the report. let me give you a sense of our right at this decision. first, by outlining what i think are the strength of the report and then touching on the reservations i have about the analytics of the report as well as its policy conclusions. as far as the strength to go, i think there is one overriding contribution this report makes, and that is, to make a very clear statement of what american interests in afghanistan are and lay out a very clear argument that the level of u.s. effort in human terms, and in economic
terms has run far ahead of the interest at stake. i think the report does a good job of offering one particular presentation of what our interests are, that is to say, that al qaeda has largely been dismantled in the country, that the number of insurgent combat since -- combatants that are focused on attacking the homeland are very small, and that most people in afghanistan are focused on what would be called the new enemy, that is to say, the troops that are in afghanistan and that are the target of the insurgents because they are there. that is to say, they are seen as foreign occupiers. my judgment is not matt's judgment. it is not bob's judgment. these are facts that we take from the american intelligence community, and some of the citations in the report will tell you where we get them from. but that is an extremely
important finding. when we debate in december or next summer whether we should begin to move out or break it up, there is a very clear argument out there that afghanistan is not the central front in the war on terror. and that when obama needs that kind of challenge, and if he decides to drawdown -- and i hope he does -- he will be able to say we are doing this because our interests do not warrant the effort -- the level of effort that is taking place. i think the claim that al qaeda would not have a chance to return to afghanistan if the taliban comes back is perhaps overstated in the report. here i might agree with steve coll. i think there are conditions that we need in place to be sure that does not happen. i think it could be relatively easy for the u.s. to attain and i will come to them in a second. but i do think that there is clear specification of our interests and the argument that our effort is now offering -- is
now running far ahead of those interests is critical and will play a critical role in shaping the debate. the second major contribution of the report is a clear statement that the military operation does not offer a solution to the problem in afghanistan. the military operation, which has not been going as well as many would like, is a step toward a political settlement. i think in the case of afghanistan, a country in which tribal structures are as fragmented as they are, we simply cannot assume that the use of force is going to lead to any kind of stable situation reminiscent of what has taken place in iraq. and to some extent, i fear that we have been misled by iraq. we, particularly the american military and political elite have discovered the religion of counterinsurgency. and discovering that religion and implementing it in afghanistan may make sense if it
was in the interest, if, in fact, there were large amounts of al qaeda coming after us as an enemy. but, in fact, there are not. it seems to me, to continue this kind of counterinsurgency in a prolonged an indefinite manner is to simply move into a deeper and deeper hole. i think the idea that the united states should at the end of the day be the imperial fixer of last resort in afghanistan, somalia, where ever the next target may become a is an f -- is a recipe for granting the american military and economy into the ground. i think afghanistan is doing a good job of showing us that we need to be very careful about assuming we can go into very complex and decentralized countries and put humby don teague back together again purify -- from two d -- humpty dumpty back together again.
to spend $100 billion on a country whose gdp is $13 billion is way out of whack of what we ought to be doing at home. we do not have it to spend in afghanistan unless the national security of the united states wanted it. but as this report makes clear, that direct security concern suggest that a country of one -- that an expenditure of 100 billion in a country of $14 billion is out of whack. the other side of the political equation, the importance of having -- not necessarily a decentralized afghanistan, but and afghanistan with a great deal of power decentralize to local forms of central society and community that have been there and functioning for many decades. let me end by specifying where i think the report falls short, to some extent, and left me
hesitant to sign up to it. the bottom line is, i think that even though i agree with the gist of the report, i think it replaces -- it lacks new ones. it lacks the conditionality to drive home its points with sufficient persuasion. i think it is somewhat -- someone too dismissive of the military effort. it has had some success and some failure, but i think the military effort is a political steppingstone to the -- is a stepping stone to the political end point. the fact that the serbs were on their heels and they went to the negotiating table. i will make the same argument about milosevic in kosovo, about iraq. military might is not the end, but it is a means to get the political system -- solution to advantageous to us.
i think the military end of driving the taliban as much as the can on their heels, thereby giving the settlement that we can we go to the negotiating table. i would make the similar argument about the central government and afghan security and police forces. here i agree with steve coll. we do need a kabul that can function. we need police and an army that can do battle against the taliban. we need bases in the country that would allow us to go after al qaeda targets if, in fact, al qaeda does come back into the country. that requires a much-scaled down american effort, but it should not be able -- a call for withdrawal. and i do not think it is. but it is a call for a level of effort and military engagement wedded to a political -- a particular political vision with a stated outcome. and my final point, even though
pakistan gets short shrift in the report to my fine treatment of pakistan so narrow as to be almost enough to knock me from support of the report. the report says we have one interesting and -- in pakistan, and that is, ensuring the security of its nuclear arsenal. i think pakistan is an important country in that region beyond its nuclear arsenal. i think if we were to invest more leverage in afghanistan, i think we would help push pakistan further in the right direction. but i am not an offshore balancer that believes that we should get out of afghanistan and get out of pakistan and get out of japan and come back only when war breaks out. i think in countries like pakistan, precisely because of their size and internal complexity, precisely because of the standoff with india, we have to do much more then stand back and worry only about the
integrity of their nuclear weapons. in part, because their integrity of the nuclear-weapons depends on what is going on inside the country, upon ethnical -- ethical treatment of the country. that depend -- and that means americans need to stay engaged. thank you. >> thank you, charlie. darcy, you are next. >> in the course of putting this report together, i was a bit of the odd one out. i am not someone who spends all day every day writing policy. i, in fact, work with members of congress to try to figure out how to actually change things and leverage the power of the american people to impact the
direction the country is going. i also wear a very different sort of suit then everyone else. but i found my participation was incredibly valuable to me through all of this. the group of people who put together this report did, i thought, a fantastic job of genuinely discussing some of the very difficult issues with respect to what the u.s. should do in afghanistan the core of the problem that we have right now, with the debate about afghanistan in the u.s., is that it is presented in a false dichotomy. the false dichotomy that is presented is either we have no engagement on going and no interest in afghanistan, or we are engaged in definitely with
military future. as if those were the two only possibilities on the table. that demonstrates a distinctive black of imagination. -- lack of imagination. the u.s. has many more tools at its disposal than just military force. the report lays out in the five things that are described that we need to do how the essence of the solution in afghanistan is fundamentally political. what we are seeing in afghanistan is a civil war. it is a war over the distribution of power in a country that does not have an existing stable distribution of power, in part because we removed all of the existing power forces by force some time ago. that question of distribution of power house to be resolved. to bring about stability in afghanistan. that question is a question that
is not fundamentally if military question. -- fundamentally a military question. it is a political question and we need to figure how to engage the political process is in afghanistan to solve it, in order to meet our interests in the country. i have had a bit of a disagreement over the past several weeks with some of my friends who are further on the left that i am, despite this characterization of me. they had -- i have had a tendency in my experience lately to move toward what i would describe as an isolationist stance. to say that we have no interest in afghanistan, we should simply leave, it does not matter what happens, it is none of our business, wash our hands of it and go, which i think is, frankly, deeply misguided. that is what got us into a situation in which al qaeda had
training camps in afghanistan. the american people are well aware of that. to wash our hands of this and say we have no interest in afghanistan is delusional. but to say that the only thing we can do is at the point of a gun is incorrect. and that in accuracy does as a great disservice. the other disagreement i have been having with my friends on both the left and the ride is over the fate of women in afghanistan. and i think we need to expressly acknowledged that set of concerns as part of the puzzle here. i cannot tell you how many conversations i have had in the last year with women i know who are afraid to even raise the issue of what happens to the woman of afghanistan in mixed crowds because they get shouted down. we do have an interest in long- term stability in afghanistan. that interest cannot be met if the women of afghanistan are
uneducated and unfed, if they are dying in childbirth and at rates that are truly shocking. if they cannot access medical care, if they cannot provide for their children, if they have no economic power. we know from all the research that has been done that has go the women of any country, so goes that country. the market educative they are, more power they have over -- the more educated they are, the more power they have over their own lives, the more successful that country is. the more successful that countries, the better off the children and more stability we see. if we want a more peaceful, secure, stable afghanistan in the long term, then we do have to address the issue of what happens to the women of afghanistan. there are legitimate arguments to be made that an indefinite
u.s. military presence is not, in fact, the correct response to how we address the security of women in afghanistan and their status. that in fact, things like economic development, micro lending programs, encouraging education of children. as it turns out, for example, school lunches in a country as poor as afghanistan dramatically increases the number of daughters they sent to school at the prospect of a free lunch in the middle of a day. is sufficient to overcome the cultural into -- inhibitions of sending girls to school. it is a simple question, but i think it is one we need to address. at its essence, though, i think that the report raises something that is absolutely essential as we discussed we are going to do in afghanistan
moving forward. it is not the case that the only options we have are to abandon all of our interests, or tuesday militarily indefinitely. -- to stay militarily in definitely. when we have an occupation about f -- of afghanistan, we have an enormous problem. there is a professor that demonstrates the correlation between violence and humanitarian occupation. our long-term military presence there is probably, frankly, counterproductive. i want to, again, thank the members of this effort and all the people involved for laying out a real alternative, because there is an alternative. we do not have to buy into the false dichotomy. we can make a different choice.
and whether or not using this particular alternative is the ideal, it at least opens the possibility of a discussion of something other than those two options. thanks. >> thank you, darcy. it will go to bob pape next and then brian katulis will wrap it up. after that, responses to one another and go to questions. let's keep it to five minutes each. >> sure, thank you very much. i am very pleased to be part of this report. we all know that over the last year, afghanistan has been heading south. this report helps to explain why. just to be clear, in the first six months of 2010, suicide attacks in afghanistan have killed one-third more. -- more people than the same time for in the year before. if we look at the reason we were supposed to surge of troops was to stop the movement of the taliban.
the most recent assessment from the pentagon to congress shows that as of december 2009, the taliban showed -- controls more district and more of the populace than the year before. clearly, we're having a problem. one of the great virtues of this report is that it is willing to ask tough questions. we know the taliban is a religious group. we know that afghanistan is a poor country. we also know that it has a weak central government. those have been true for a long time. but this most recent crisis in afghanistan has a special aspect in the last few years and this report is willing to ask the tough question, could it be possible that our current military strategy is part of the problem? our current military strategy is counterinsurgency. a way to think about that is you are sort of -- it is sort of ending spot theory of counterinsurgency.
-- and a spot theory of counterinsurgency. you put some forces in and if you can't grow that -- can grow that force like end inkspot, then you will control more and more territory. we have been growing that ink spots by the thousands of the last few years. my project, the chicago project on security and terrorism, we have what we think is the best searchable database on suicide attacks that there is. if you go to our website, you can find not just the data, but you can see all of the actual sources -- and i do not mean just citations, but the actual text of the sources of the data. you have a lot of context of what we're saying. if you look at that data, you will see that since 1980, there
have been nearly 2200 suicide attacks around the world. 95% of them have been directly in response to foreign occupation. not 100%, but 95%. let's look at afghanistan. afghanistan is a prime example of this argument. before 2001 when we go win, not a single suicide attack in afghanistan. from 2001 through 2005, there are actually just a handful. i will explain that in just a minute. in 2006, an explosion of suicide attacks, about 100 per year and it stays at that level three and half years later. we go from about a dozen to 350 suicide attacks. what happened in 2006? did the country suddenly become poorer? no. did the country -- to the taliban suddenly become more religious?
no. did karzai become more correct? -- corlette? ? corrupt? what really changed? for the first few years we've had only a few hundred -- few thousand troops. basically, we had a few thousand troops for president karzai so he would not be assassinated. then in 2003, the u.n. gave out the mandate to expand our presence. international security forces came up with a brilliant plan over a time frame of years. the first year, go north. remember, the norah alliance, our friends? go to the north. then go to the west, more friends. to and then -- and then starting in 2006, where do we go? we go to the south. that is when suicide attacks and explode. moreover, when you look at who
is doing suicide attacks, we can confidently identify that 93 of the -- 93% of the suicide attacks are not -- are afghan nationals. and they are questions. this is local competition -- and they are pashtun. this is local opposition. if you look across the border just a few miles away in pakistan, six months later we get 8 -- an explosion of suicide attacks in pakistan. three-quarters of those are also in the pashtun part of pakistan. we are growing anti-american suicide terrorism based on our theory of how to fight counterinsurgency. what do we do? this report does not say that we cut and run. steve coll, i just disagree with
his characterization of the report. it is not about walking away. it is also not about staying the course. this is producing more terrorists then it is killing they are anti-american terrorists. it is not a healthy thing to have happened. what the report calls for is a middle ground course. i have my own favorite term for it. i call it "offshore bouncing," but i do not quite mean -- offshore balancing, but i do not quite mean what charlie things i mean by that. i think we rely on air forces, naval forces, and economic and political tools to empower our allies so that we can work together, not a band in a region, but work together toward a military effective -- not abandon a region, but work together toward a militarily effective course. in 2005 we have the same argument in iraq that if we did
this in iraq, basically, iraq would collapse. what have we done in iraq? we have pursued this exact policy. suicide attacks in iraq are down over 85%. in the last three years. that is what we're calling for in afghanistan. i, for one, am very pleased to be in member of this report. thank you. >> thank you, bob. brian, please. >> thanks, matt. i'm brian katulis with the center for american progress again. i'm grateful to get in just before 1:00 p.m. because at one, everyone in tv land is going to be switching over to steve clemmons over msnbc because it is such a rare opportunity to see him on tv. [laughter] i do want to use my five minutes to offer what are my constructive critics, because i disagree with much of this report even though it is part of the process. and i share my disagreement in
the earliest stages of various drafts. but before that i want to share an anecdote because i got a flurry of e-mails and phone calls from people who saw my name on the invite for this event and they thought i had actually signed this report. they were irritated, they were aghast. they could not believe that the report was saying this. and was saying that. and i want to say, that is a good thing. getting that reaction is important because i think far too often the conventional wisdom is not challenged. when you look at the foreign- policy establishment and its batting average, that is not a national security question. if you give a careful look at that, they would have been sent to the minors many years ago. i tell my colleagues that is very difficult to engage in a real debate where there is an
open-minded sort of discussion. i hope my colleagues -- my comments are taken in that vein. i think it offers a new perspective on the relative costs and benefits of the current approach. it tells us and raises this question -- are we keeping americans safer? it tackles some key myths at the very end of the report. you should take a look at that. i hope it will spark a debate and, perhaps, even a counterinsurgency here at home. general patraeus, if you are watching, and i'm sure you are, there is a debate here at home and it needs to be had and it needs to be responded to. i think an important -- this is an important contribution to spark that debate and i hope is the first of many events that we can have to talk about it. that said, it is my judgment and the reason why i did not sign it, the weaknesses of the report currently out way -- outweigh the contributions it makes.
and with respect to everyone who signed on, it is a report with an identity crisis. it is not certain whether read wants to offer political talking points to people to open of the debate to open of the broader audience, which i think is important to do, or to offer an alternative policy idea. it's kind of does both. and i think it kind of does both of those tasks in effectively. it could be better. and i know there will be various iterations. i hope this is a continuation of the discussion. i had five main criticisms. three on the policy bases and two on the political debate back home. i think this is very important cuts this is a very political document. number one, i think the report suffers from a bit of wishful thinking about political reconciliation in afghanistan. i say that recognizing -- and i do believe that political reconciliation and power-sharing is fundamental to the task, so i'm not opposed to that and i do not subscribe to this notion
that you can simply use military means to address these power- sharing differences. but i think when you look at the enormity of the challenge there and you look at the stated positions of certain parts of the taliban insurgency, i think is very difficult to map out what the political process looks like and this report does not do it. number two, as charlie mentioned cough for the sectional and regional developments are undeveloped. -- as charlie mentioned, the sectional and regional development are undeveloped. in the work that i did on iraq when i was in the middle east we try to tackle this and we talked about the regional dimension. i actually think afghanistan has much more importance to get the regional dimensions correct and even in iraq. you need the cooperation of countries that border afghanistan to get it right. i'm not certain that this current draft actually scratches that itch in a right way.
and the last policy critique is that i just did not understand the schedule for reducing the footprint. 60,000 troops october 2011, 30,000 in july of 2012. i did not understand the rationale behind that, what those troops would be doing, the gap that steve mentioned in terms of training the security forces in afghanistan. and related to that, i support the in thing toward stronger economic data element in afghanistan, but i do not know how you do both. do not conclude that i'm saying that i think military should begin development of assistance. it is just, how you protect ngos? those are the three. and the last two, it is important about the debates that darcy manchin and others, too. i think the -- that are seen
mentioned and others, too. i think the report does not mention how we can decide when war's end. and it does not talk about the subtle costs. it talks about the substantial costs today. adelstein clear. i think for a range of political reasons, the nine years of investment -- and this is not my own personal feel, but how we are as an electric and as a country -- we need to feel like we have done something it, and this venture was worth it. because, the -- because of the three policy pieces that i think are missing, they do not add up to a package that is compelling or coherent, i worry that it does not bring afghanistan to a state where americans can say we have checked that box, in a way that we have in iraq. the surge has worked. 60% of the american public believes that to be true.
we need to tell ourselves that, notwithstanding the situations in countries like iraq today, and how difficult it is. the second political challenge, which i think addresses some of the issues. the data is tremendous, and we discussed this a few months back -- why is not being absorbed by people who are in the field, who are actually -- >> i will have to disagree a little bit, brian. there are 100,000 copies of the book. i do not think it is fair. >> no, no, no, i just do not think it is being implemented. it is out there, in the debate, but it is not leading to a change in policy. if we have tripled the number of troops in afghanistan, i can reach it i do not think you can disagree that that has not been absorbed -- i do not think you can disagree that that has not been absorbed. part of it is not that the debt is wrong. it goes back to the notion of national pride and honor. it is hard for us to understand, i think, as a country, the point that i think you have right.
we are seen as foreign occupiers. we, as a country, see our troops as doing very good, and they do. we train them to do a tremendous job. psychologically, politically -- it is hard for us to recognize that as a fact, that perhaps, we are doing more harm than good. not withstanding what the data point say, i think it is very hard as a political dynamic, to punch through with data. when i say it is not been absorbers, it is so obviously not been absorbed when you look at the behavior and decisions that are made. your argument is out there. that all said, in conclusion, i think this is an important report to spark this debate. when i talk to people in the government, i think the things they might be looking for -- a couple of things. one, more data on what is actually happening on the ground in afghanistan. i know people who are preparing for the next round of reviews -- there is an irony. we have more people on the ground in afghanistan, but we made no less objectively and how we are doing on key elements of building institutions and
objectively measuring how we are doing in that regard. second, what are our leverage points with afghan leaders? this is the toughest nut to crack. i have talked about it a lot. if we're going to leave something sustainable behind, how does the mix of what we propose to advance u.s. national security and get our partners in afghanistan to do what we want them to do. if you the tip of front page of the -- if you looked at the front page of the "new york times" today but the story of the kabul bank, and the corruption issues, and i think that is a very big challenge. the last time, three days before the september 11 anniversary, and i think paul noted this, but in a more macro sense, in a global sense -- how do we know whether we are keeping the americans safe from the threat that cactus on september 11? -- that attacked us on september 11? nine years later, we spent and more -- we have spent more than $1 trillion, and i know that some of the members of the government are looking holistic
way at the global balance, and i think this report suggests that we are out of balance, and over- invested in afghanistan. it is to the detriment of other places, and to the detriment of our economy here, at home. we still do not, nine years into whatever we call it now, no longer the war on terror, still did not have clean and clear enough objective metrics that help us understand where to place our assets to keep americans safe. so, i look forward to the discussion, and thank you for inviting me. >> thank you, brian. i appreciate you being here, particularly since you just had a baby boy -- you and your wife. >> yes. >> today is your anniversary, right? >> yes. >> thank you for coming here. i would like to respond to some of the criticism. do we still have steve cole on the line? i do not think we have steve anymore. paul, if you would like to respond to some of the comments from steve, and steve cannot
defend themselves, and i will respond to what charlie said, and charlie will follow up on that, and if darcy and bob want to respond to what brian said, and if we can all try and keep this to one minute or two each, so that we have plenty of time for questions from the audience. paul, if you would like to begin, please. >> very briefly -- two points -- 1, not just to steve for, but also to brian and charlie, they very correctly noted parts and where the report is thin and and could go into things in greater depth, i suppose. the justification for the reporters is if they did all of that stuff, you would have a report this thick, and no one would get beyond the first two percent of it. if some of the other topics did address them in greater depth, like pakistan, and i agree with charlie that it is look at rather narrowly, i think some of the doubts for the course of action could be raised. we tend to look at these adjacent countries like that in a kind of paint oozing over the border imagery, like we used to
do with a red paint during the cold war, and that is simply not the way it works. if we were to zero-base south asian policy with our prime concern been those proverbial pakistani nuclear weapons, our main instrument for keeping them out of nasty hands would not be a counter insurgency in afghanistan. my second point addresses what bryan said when he mentioned wishful thinking about political reconciliation. we have all said what a difficult situation this is. nobody has a good solution that is not very vulnerable to all kinds of criticism. that would be an example of the kind of point where you after ask the follow-up question -- where you have to ask the follow-up question -- "ok, what is the alternative, and is it any better?" with the current course of action, pursuing the counter insurgency is not any better at dealing with the challenge of political reconciliation. it is just a question of we
still having that problem after incurring a lot more cost and casualties. >> ok, thank you, col. -- paul. i would like to say that it was not meant to be an actual strategy, or plan, in the sense of something the president could execute on. one of the things i have been arguing for for the last several months or the last year is that the president does not have an option or a plan to utilize that has not been presented to him by the pentagon and the state department. i mentioned, last year, when general mcchrystal came man with a course -- i imagine, last year, when general mcchrystal came in with a course of action, a, b, and c, and said if you do this, we will go when here, and spent $25 million in irrigation projects here. there was no alternative. i was not in the room, but i can imagine that the vice president's proposal was probably no deeper than this piece of paper. so, the argument that we are making here is that what we are currently doing, is not just
failing, but counterproductive, and we have to provide the oval office another alternative sold debt in the spring or summer of 2011, when the president is making a decision on what he should do with respect to afghanistan, he has another option. one or two things that charlie said, just too dismissive of the military effort and of kabul, and i agree with paul regarding pakistan. i think, with respect to pakistan, we define it as vital interest, so it comes down to what is your definition of a vital interest. in my case it is do we have american forces killing, and been killed? that is a vital interest. do we need that in that area? what is the benefit of our forces doing that? that what comes -- that is what comes down to vital interest. with regards to the kabul government and the afghan security forces, i certainly see
a role for that. i believe the traditional forms of governments in afghanistan have spent much more local, oftentimes valley- or village- based. i am not saying we should dictate how the afghan government should look, but that is ultimately for the afghans to do, however we can see that in the current structure of the government and security forces, it heavily ways one side against the other. we set -- we see that particular but security forces in the east, and if we see that in particular with security forces in the east, -- we see that particularly with security forces in the east, and the south, security forces that are dominated by afghans that cannot come from the rural communities. they are viewed as outsiders. they are viewed as carpetbaggers. i see a lot of similarity to mistakes made in iraq in 2003- 2006, when we populated the sunni area with shite-dominated with the iraqi national guard. that excluded and
disenfranchised sunnis and drove them into insurgency. so, i see a role for an afghan government, a central government, probably not as strong as they have now. for one thing, i do not think they can sustain it. there is not the capacity to do so. the other thing is that it needs to be a much more inclusive organization. it cannot exclude one ethnic group from another, as i believe it currently does. so, charlie? >> i want to respond to you, matt, but also pick up on a point that brian made, because i think it is very important to discuss the political context in which this report comes out, and i think is targeted at. i think you are right, brian, that this whole question of some cost, and the psychological wanting to feel that we have done well in afghanistan is something that biases the debate to do more. whenever we get to a decision point, whether it is in iraq or
afghanistan, the political cycle is always "well, if we have not done well thus far, let's put our paddle to the metal and increase the effort." i think that is the danger that we face. i do not want to speak for other members of the group, but i think one of the things that united many of us, even those of us that did not sign the report, is to try to create a credible plan for containing the level of u.s. efforts, and to give obama and those around him a new road map for a plan b that is based upon a credible, hard- headed analysis of the interest at stake and the options before the united states. i think, despite the thiness of the report in certain places, i think it does offer that kind of road map and inoculation against a partisan washington to always end up doing more, rather
than doing less. i think that would be a grievous mistake, if we hit this next decision out, and end up doing more. that is partly because one of the lessons i take away from our effort in afghanistan thus far, and our effort in iraq, is that we need to be a very humble about just how much our overwhelming military force gets us -- about how effectively we could use our military force to effect the political outcome that we want. so, i would agree with brian that we do not know exactly what a political solution what look like. we do not know how easy it is claimed to be to get -- we do not know how easy it is going to be to get 80% of the taliban to strike a deal with karzai
and other elements within afghanistan, but, to some extent, that is the only choice we have. to some extent, we have to say we might not get exactly the solution we want. we might end up with a government that does not provide women as much protection and as much rights as darcy and i and others want. but, i also think we need to be realistic about the limits of american power, lower our sites, aim for those lower sites, and achieve them, rather than having objectives we will continuously chase after, and never come close to achieving. >> darcy? >> so, one of the persistent critiques of the report amounts to its brevity. i want to push back a little bit on that. as someone who would very much like to see a greater percentage of the american public engaged in the discussion, the fact that this
report is digestible by the average american, that it tells the story of what is happening in afghanistan, and why, and what the often victims are, and it does so clearly -- and what the alternatives are, and what it does so clearly, is a strength of the report. it is not atypical, d.c. -- is not a typical, d.c. think tank project. it would have to be weigh less comprehensible to be atypical, d.c. think tank document, but it is not designed to be that. we have those coming out of our ears. what we have needed and whacked it is a clear telling of the story that is going on in afghanistan, and what the alternatives are, that the american public can understand, and this document, for the first time, gives us that. >> i do want to say a word, but i do not want to get into the personal side of this. i want to talk a little bit
about the issue of assuming there is actually a consensus on the facts amount the experts -- a consensus on the facts. should we then look at the current political atmosphere, which might run against that consensus, and then not pursue the natural course of the facts? is that really the way to go? whether you call it pride, or however you want to frame it, that is a choice that we have. we just want to point out that a few years ago there were political leaders who had an even bigger dilemma then we face today. the american -- the iraq war was supported by 70% of the american public in 2003. there were political leaders at that time, who, despite that, saw the fact, which actually became the consensus fact, and actually went and opposed the war, and developed a whole new set of policies, and the leader of that movement is now the president of the united states.
so, i do not think that just because there is a divergence between the consensus of the facts and the political atmosphere that means just go where the clock -- where the politics are. i do not think that has proven to be the winning solution. now, of course, i am a professor at the university of chicago. i do not run for elections, but i did just watch the leader of the opposition to the iraq war gone in the face of a much greater public opposition, and not just become president, but stabilize that country. so, i think there is a good case to be made for at least discussing the policies that come from the consensus of the facts. >> i fundamentally agree with all of that. do not be unclear about what i was saying. when i say some costs, i am not saying that is a reason to say. my personal view is that that is the dumbest reason to stay,
the most stupid, but it is a dynamic that we, as analysts at think tanks or academics in the university -- we have the luxury to ignore. unfortunately, having been engaged in this, and i see how policy is made, these notions -- i am not saying go where the politics go. i was an early supporter of barack obama, and was the co- author of all reports in 2005 that argued for a time line, and have recently been vilified for having been wrong on iraq. it is amazing to me. my point is this -- it is not enough to have the best ideas in a short or long report in a think tank. my big worry is that we deny debate national security in a -- that we do not debate national security in a broad sense. we do not feel costs. 40 to 50 million people have a direct connection with families serving in iraq. we are serving these wars on
borrowed money. we do not have enough leaders on capitol hill. that is why i think this report is important. i disagree with some of the analytical judgments. the 2.site on costs and national pride -- i did not think the two points on cost and national pride -- i do not think it's scratch's those -- it scratches those. what i was proposing was the next challenge for what is the next draft of the report, the next event that you do? when you want to get to change, it is not enough to put ink on paper. that is an important starting point. what i am saying is that it is not nearly enough, and you are probably, looking at the history of the united states, it is damned hard to get out of words for those last two reasons, and facts be damned whether it keeps americans safe or not, and that is my point. >> thank you.
>> just to follow up on brian's comments on the debate aspect, that is what we would like to see. we want to make sure there is a serious discussion about this war, and in terms of people that are interested, whether you agree with that in total, or in parts, we would like others and involvement. if you feel like the policy we have right now, whether it is failing, counterproductive, or needs to be tweaked, as long as you as -- as long as you are not advocating to drop a bomb on ken hart, we want you in this think tank. we want to be as conclusive as possible. we want to build a consensus, so that there is the political support to reexamine
strategies, and offer alternatives. with that, i would like to begin questions. i have to go first with my friend, colonel tony. please, tell me. >> may ask, please keep it to questions, and not statements. >> matt, you know i am point to have a hard time doing that. simplify, brothers. it has been a long time. i do have questions, rather than a statement on the civil affairs group plans and policy. we have troops in afghanistan now, and we will be sending more there in the coming weeks. i have a vested interest in this topic, both personally and professionally. moving down some of the basic points of the report and the
discussions here, with regard to reconciliation, which regard to that against confidence and capacity in governmental structures, will the afghan government have institutional confidence at the central government level for the structure necessary to create any kind of indoor range balance of power? you talk about the structures giving a lot of arbitrary counter -- power at the center, which is temporal, and can change at any given time without the constitutional apparatus to create the balance of power. will that ever be able to come about in the time that we have troops there, 2011-2012? the next part -- security breach it -- security -- already would
you think the government of afghanistan would be able to fund and administer civil and economic fare? with the economy specifically, we are spending $100 billion on the institution of development, mainly security, and i presume that is for 2009 in your report, how robust will legitimate agricultural and commercial trade revenue be to generate revenue to self-fund government operations in the apparatus they are building? furthermore, in a general statement, how long do you anticipate the country of
afghanistan will be a client state of nato, and principally, the u.s. it looks like. >> my brief thoughts on all that -- you hit a lot on the capacity, or lack there of. it does not possess those institutions -- not just those institutions, but individuals. you are talking about a country with literacy rates of less than 10%. we were cast in that ad spending $25 million in military construction spending because there was not that capacity within the afghan economy to absorbent anymore. my take is -- to absorb any more. my take is you will not have growth in capacity or successful
development work until you achieve some degree of political stability. until you address what causes the conflict, and it goes back 30 or 35 years to me, until you address those political issues, and reach some degree of political accord where you bring again the groups that now support the taliban because they feel excluded by the government, you will not have the ability to achieve any of the things you said. as far as how long it will be a client state of nato, the industry there is not existent. the only industry chain that has any value is the opium trade. there is nothing else. you cannot grow crops there because there is no roads to get the crops out. it is a monumental process it will take to bring the country
out of the bottom two or three in the world. we need political stability first. i want to go to charlie and bob. >> i think you touched on critical issues. i would like to suggest that the nature of the question perhaps needs to be flipped around. one of the messages of this report would be that instead of saying "when will we have the security forces, central government, cut afghanistan as a client state," i would put the question this way. our economy needs help. we are running huge aspects -- we are running huge deficits, and every aspect of the budget needs to get whacked. we know we need to downsize, but
what can we do to get the best outcome we can? what can we do to do the best on political reconciliation? i would put the chain of cost that way, rather than letting those benchmarks be the determinant of our strategy, and the level of our efforts. >> there is a key issue with the afghan constitution that bears directly on this. most americans know that we wrote, and the afghans and voted on it, a new constitutions -- a new constitution. there is a special feature of that constitution which centralizes all power in the presidency of that country to the provincial governors.
-- to appoint the provincial governors. there is no checks and balances. just yesterday, richard daley announced he was stepping down. this would be like obama picking at the next mayor of chicago. >> maybe he is. >> we will find out if we have the capacity to do that. you would see immediately -- let's build the capacity, but for what? i do not think there is a degree of capacity we could possibly build that will allow a president to have that kind of power, much less in afghanistan, so this is a central problem. we need to recognize that if we want to get into the building -- the business of true nation-
building, it is not about throwing money at afghan security forces. we do that well. we are at that at trying to figure out those kind of constitutional issues. we tried it. they voted on it. it is not working well. we need to have a de sac -- a decentralized approach. >> andrew, right up here in the front. >> i would like panel members to address the viability of the multi-national aspect of this enterprise is. it is no secret that it is unpopular in these countries. two of the country's work troops sent down and dirty work like the dutch and the canadians, have pulled out. many europeans are looking at another drawdown. in most european countries, this
war his seen as something the americans impose on them because the americans wanted auxiliaries. one bodies go home in these countries, we get blamed for it. the governments are much more motivated to keep people in afghanistan to get traction on other issues. the georgian president sent troops so washington would be more receptive to him. my question is what is the secondary cost the united states pays for that? >> paul, brian? >> i think you have summarized one of the secondary costs. it is a significant one. i agree with your observation. >> i was in europe the night president obama gave his address
at west point. i was actually at the midpoint between the united states and kabul on the planet, and i felt like i could have been on the moon. afghanistan and did not animate the debate in europe. it is out there. i think people have lost sense of what the objective is, and more, and more, without some sort of sense of what the clear end state is, and how you achieve process, you will continue to see, as we did in iraq, the coalition getting smaller and smaller. there needs to be a clarifying moment. the goal should be how do we keep the world secure and make sure this is seen as in the interest of these other countries?
the best arguments are from my friends in the administration's -- in the administration that we do not want another september allotment, and it is framed in the neck it is. it should be framed in the positive. it raises bigger questions about the viability of nato, and transatlantic relations. >> the gentleman in the third row, with the blue shirt, please. >> i am ray mcgovern with better and professionals. -- with veteran professionals. i am taken with the fact that there were no alternatives. general mcchrystal had three alternatives, and no one else had any. i used to working intelligence community, where no president from kennedy to george bush the
first would make no decision before what we called a national intelligence estimate. my question was why was there no national intelligence estimate at this time last year on afghanistan, and why is there no estimate this year on afghanistan? >> paul? >> ray, intelligence will not answer these difficult questions we have been mulling over the last hour and 1/2. the most difficult issues have been appropriately raised. it is a difficult, opened a book for the most part. i think you have the wrong mechanism there. i would commend the administration for what seems to be, from the outside, a very thorough process that led up to
the last iteration of the policy -- the log review for which president obama got criticized for did during, but it did seem to be thorough. [unintelligible] >> what we are right that, or what the administration are arrived at was a political compromise that reflects some of the political reality is that people like charlie and brian have reflected on, that coupled the idea of a surge, which acquired it positive cachet in iraq, with the idea of a withdrawal. if you do the math, it does not set up at all in terms of what
experts would tell us. it was a political compromise. in that sense, yes, it was wrong. >> since you said political reconciliation is important, what you think about [unintelligible] >> you are looking at me, and i am not the co author of the report, up bob made an and portent -- and portent note. it is difficult to get from here to there without having a
fundamental reassessment of what has been put into place. when i was saying how do we shape the actions of karzai and others, that has been a tough nut to crack. i do not know how far it goes to restructure the overall, internal power dynamics. when i came back from afghanistan, i was frustrated because the question was posed to me do i want more troops or less? i am not saying it is not an important, but when i am saying is this report is important because in understanding power, we approach it from a very american, very militarize standpoint. i am not saying those elements are not important, but sometimes we are trying to fit a square
peg into a round hole. there might be hope in what karzai announced it is it fundamentally address how to share power. i remain deeply concerned about whether or not we have a partner in these ventures. >> we had some reports a couple of days ago about the on foch -- the unfortunate missy's about the recognition they have for reconciliation. the resentments -- that will continue to be a problem no matter whom karzai appoints to the body. >> we will go to the back. this is why the u.s. needs to play a lead role.
there was a "new york times report" that confirmed the capture of the no. 2 taliban. the pakistani are now saying, and many of us believed it, that they did it to spite the peace process. if we were hands off reconciliation efforts. i do not believe that has changed. last may we were contacted by a representative from the third largest insurgent group same we wanted to talk, and my response from the tendency -- from the embassy was leave it alone. then, they go to kabul with a 15-point peace plan. there have to be much firmer efforts by the united states government both internally, and
i externally. we are the ones with the leverage in the region, the troops, and the money, and the clout. we should be able to tell the others in that region that you should be able to settle to get 70% of what you want. i need to go to the back. there are plenty of people back there, behind the cameras. >> i would like to think darcy burner fort mentioning the plight of the women -- for mentioned in the plight of the women in afghanistan. i think there are only brief mentions of women. i would like to ask what sort of analysis you did, and whether you conducted any interviews in coming to your conclusions about the plight of women in areas where the taliban to control,
and the serious consequences day -- and they face. it is difficult to get a micro loan if you are not allowed to leave your house. i would also like to hear about the role they played in analyzing whether or not there is success in afghanistan. >> we debated this a fair amount when we were discussing and what we should include in the report, and what we did not have room for. i was the strongest advocate for addressing the plight of women to the point where i am pretty sure steve clemons actually found me on knowing. it is a significant issue. -- ongoing. it is a significant issue, and one that is not easy to solve. there was an effort to talk about the specific
recommendations where there was an opportunity to and attacked the women in afghanistan, though, again, if not a lot of death -- to address the women in afghanistan, though, again, not a lot of deapth went into it. that is necessary, not just because it is the right thing to are going to we build a political coalition in this country, it will be difficult to do that with out the women, who by and large have seen that time cover, have read "3 cups of tea" and have seen all of the articles about the
women, who are not willing to walk away from the commitment that we have made. there is not enough here. we will need to take it a step further. >> you are quite right. we do not address the issue enough. i wish we did. there is quite a bit more to say. the issue of women in afghanistan is important, but i also think it gets used to justify the in spot theory of how to wage war in afghanistan. i also think that is doing more harm than good because it is helping to spread the taliban- controlled areas. i think we should have spent more time. there is also outside of the taliban areas, since that gets all of the attention, we are not spending enough time in the safer parts to educate women.
do you see what i mean? i strongly think the policies we are suggesting are actually serve in that interest. >> do you want to find someone else for us? please? >> hi. my name is debbie smith. i am building a school for children with special needs. i would like to follow on her question because i do not think you effectively answered it. i do not see how we can create political reconciliation in afghanistan, and answer the interest of women without creating a more secure environment and beating back the taliban. can you address that further? >> my view on it is this. where i was, we were in a city of about 30,000 people. we had a couple thousand afghan
security forces there and at least a thousand coalition forces. it is a cultural issue within the population, one that we are not point to solve with rifles. i think the overwhelming concern is that they are in the midst of all war and bombs are being dropped near their homes. my recommendation is find a way to stop the conflict first. if you do not have what we would like to see in terms of satisfactory goals for women's writes, that is something we can work toward, but until you stop the conflict, bring forth reconciliation, gives a local groups not to align with the taliban, and to come into a power-sharing agreement, you
will not have the stability, or the lack of violence that will give you a can to anything of a better life for the people. i view our policies as being counterproductive. if you look at where the stoning of occurred that got all of the attention, that is an area where we have put more u.s. troops in. in fact has caused people to become pushed toward traditional values and toward the taliban. the story about a young couple, a two hundred people participated, and several hundred more observed. it is a cultural issue. while the men keep their women locked away, and they are treated as cattle, everyone also has cell phone.
that is how you reconcile the issue, through information, and you do not do it through the barrel of a rifle. i do not believe the united states should have the policy of going to war to change the culture. that is the same slippery slope about having to be in afghanistan because of al qaeda. according to the state department, there are 1000 to two thousand members of the al qaeda in iraq. do we now go operate the condo because of the mass rapes that are occurring? my heart goes out to it. i have seen it firsthand. my view is you have to stop the violence, resolve the conflict, before you get to any levels of human rights or women's rights issues that would be acceptable.
>> with apologies to people in the room, i have to get to another appointment, but i will make my final comment to amplify what matthew said, since he referred to iraq. in many people's estimation, the status of women in iraq took a step backward. with regard to the status of women, a misconception it is all taliban against 9-taliban, as if they were a paragon of equality. that is not the case. >> thank you. >> i am a security adviser. i appreciate everybody's comments. you have all said at a very viable things. a couple of things that brian mentioned -- we cannot make this
only a security issue for americans. if we have international security, we are more safe. i agree with that. also, on the idea of self- interest, when we make it in the self-interest of the paid and -- leadership of afghanistan, if we can convey to them -- it is a messaging issued. reaching them on their level, funding levels of power that go beyond the military -- finding levels of power that go beyond the military. i am a military guy. i retired four years ago. we do have many more and goals. -- ankles. we need to dive deeper into what makes them sick. how do we dive deeper?
how do we address karzai's self- interest. i watched the president drive through the town of 100 miles an hour because he was afraid that dying at his own people's hands. in many of these cultures, you rule by the fist, and be successful as you can be. we have an understanding from our democratic background that you have an infinite number of generations to live. >> i want to paradoxically tie your question to the previous discussion. i think they are related, and in some ways, that drew the linkage. even if it is difficult for us to understand, there are and indigenous sources of political
order, and we need to find ways to tap into the resources. what is happening now is that because this has been principally militarize, we have ended up having to tolerate corruption. we have decided to leave off the fight against copies. we have made no rights -- we have made no progress with women's rights. we need the cooperation of karzai. we need to pay the people in the poppy fields. we want them to have a consistent levels of income. the chain is just as mat laid it out. we need to push hard on the front of political reconciliation, find a way of getting at tribal elders and leaders to come together.
once you do that, that is one we can deal with human rights, deal with corruption, that is one we can deal with it. >> it is one of the most important questions -- how do we shape the calculations of leaders? i have a modest suggestion -- the u.s. should get its own policy on page. we have multiple agencies, sometimes competing imperatives, which if you look at the front page of our newspaper, and the corruption problem, which certain people on the payroll of u.s. agencies, you have a separate problem of dealing with karzai and broader leadership. it is an issue and are ripe, and it has come up in pakistan and -- in iraq, and it has come up
in pakistan. we have not picked that lot. just this year alone, we read karzai the riot act, and we tried the full embrace. we are not getting what we want, it seems, from that. part of it is it is complicated, but we should at least have the political map in the way we build security elements. i think that is the hardest part. it requires cultural knowledge. that is why i am very pleased this report brings those issues to the fore. here we are, 90 years in, and we are still puzzled on how to -- nine years in, and we are still puzzled on how to work with karzai. >> high. my name is wisely. -- my name is lesley.
in going to the idea of tapping into these native sources of political order, how, given that we do not fully understand the culture and the politics in a place as complex as afghanistan, far do we start to develop these metrics secede if the strategy is actually worked -- to see if the strategy is actually working? how do we start to develop these metrics now, to understand whether or not our strategy is actually working, and be able to evaluate or change course in the middle? >> let me start, and go to bob. a lot of my experience i draw from my time in iraq. tony was there, too. the tribal system, but tribal
leaders, the tribal chief, you will not work with them. you can patronize them, but you will not work with them. we did not know that saddam hussein pro-government work through them. we have to have -- saddam government worked through them. we had a starkey response to general petraeus who said we do not know enough about how afghan society works after been there nine years. if you give up the u.s. military metrics, they will achieve it. if you tell them to turn a red dot into a green dot, they will do that. what you might get out of that, you might not be looking for. we need to understand and meredith, not just the metrics, the store is it not -- the
narrative, not just the metrics, the story behind it. i think it is simple, and iraq is the right place to go. there were a lot of questions about whether we should give $300 a month to people who were trying to tell the cnr iraq. general petraeus was one of the people deciding to take that risk. it was not just simply giving them $300 a month not to tell us. we were interested in on what were the attacks? did suicide attacks go down? yes, they did. we could measure them. also, what about political counsel? meetings? where they are occurring among those tribal leaders? we could call them tribal council meetings, but we could actually monitor whether or not that political process, at the ground level, is occurring,
month, by month, by month. i am sure we could develop a clear metrics, but they are relatively straightforward. >> the lady in the brown hat, and the gentleman right in front of her, ask your questions one after another. >> i was wondering, looking at this a little bit differently, on the ground, the interaction between the ngo's and the local populations, you have been in afghanistan. how would you characterize it? one of the concerns i have in terms of power-sharing is the problem of and how boring people -- of empowering people
ngo's. i was wondering your opinion. >> you mentioned the importance of the regional dubai -- dimension. two days ago, the russian foreign minister came out with a surprising statement indicating russia would do everything it possibly could fall short of sending troops to afghanistan to help the u.s. there -- that russia was going to be our ally on this. it is almost as if he read your report, and said do not listen to those folks, stage in afghanistan. could you comment on why is it that they seem to be motivated, why do they fear our withdrawal, and does it ultimately matter in the end now that russia wants to help us?
in other words, would you change your report? is it simply too late? >> i will respond, and then brian, if you want to take that. i will then get time tuesday to give us a thought or two since he is the organizer -- to steve to give a soft spot or two since he is the organizer. >> we should be looking at the efforts through the institution of the law meant offenses. it has been a failure. but the united states alone has spent $50 billion in the second or third -- third poorest country in the world, and you still have a life expectancy of 44, and an infant mortality of one in five. the way we are going about it is not working. the key difference with why the
ngo's are more effective is that they are there for humanitarian goals, and they cut through things without the baggage. anyone who has read andrew might work confirms that spending does not reduce conflict and, in the mid-and -- term, it makes it worse. one fact, reject >> people do not recognized that some of the people we are dependent on in the afghan military got a lot of their trading from the soviet union, and spent a lot of time, much longer than we are planning.
but quite sing the obama administration has done -- of the quiet sing the obama administration has done is the full diplomatic press they have done. thank heaven we did not have the previous administration that thought we needed to do it all on our own. i think the president articulated that others need to step up to the plate. this is a quiet story of what they have been doing. they are very busy, and they do not to press conferences on that -- trying to get others to pull their weight. i think that is the last thing i will stay here. with this report, i think it is hard for us to understand that it is not in just about the united states. our had is clouded by our
exceptional was some. -- our had is clouded by our exceptional ism. we have an interest in not having others collapsed. that is the fundamental task right now. >> brian katulis shared this in our report. we call it that tom sawyer approach. i am sometimes the united states puts itself in the role of what would it do? i think that it would take a more multi dimensional look.
what we're trying to do is enhanced a serious dialogue and debate. we have many friends in the administration. richard holbrooke and i have talked a great deal. i have been invited to talk with his team. it is exactly the kind of thing we need more of in government but if things are going well, if this were simply a constitutional government raid against a bunch of bad guys, this would be working. things are not working. the training that we have had so far on this debate are not succeeding. it is in that spirit, in the absence of success, that we are trying to say that it is basically time to come back and think about other input into that debating discussion. we're trying to create a discussion, an on ramp, to
taking that approach. steve has been articulate and has been important in looking in the india-pakistan dimension. we have also spent a lot of time looking at the political inclusion questions to the degree to which i think this is a raging civil war with a lot of other pieces to it. mike mullen may have mentioned kandahar with a bunch of other journalists. they came back somewhat chastened. not steve, because he already knows all of this. the military partners that on their plan, realizing that the plant and the basic building blocks and nets they thought were significant in understanding or wrong. there were six or seven mafia so-thai families that were running everything.
there are lots of these things -- mafia-type families that were running everything. there are lots of these things that raise fundamental questions as americans. what cooler with trying to achieve? what is the in-state we're really trying to frame? i think of geode-strategic issues a lot. one of my big concerns and with concerned about iran, i can tell you that sanctions, in my view, will not motivate iran. it seems that the united states is not moving the needle in other areas. they see as tied into a tar baby. strategic places that we need to look at.
thank you to our c-span viewers and people watching on line and thank you all for joining us today. >> join us on friday when president obama hosts a news conference from the white house. we expect questions on the economy, iran, iraq, the situation in afghanistan, and other issues. that is scheduled for 7:00 a.m. before 11:00 a.m. eastern. you can watch it here on c-span. -- that is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. eastern. you can watch it here on c-span. >> this weekend, air-traffic controllers and other aviation officials are gathering at the university of texas at dallas to discuss their experiences of 9/11. we will hear for the -- hear from the faa official who called for the grounding of all air
vehicles. >> up next on c-span, british foreign secretary william hague testifies before the house of commons for the affairs committee about farm policy under the conservative liberal democrat coalition their men. william hague is a member of the comfort -- of the conservative party. he was nominated by david cameron. this is about two hours. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
>> on the first of july, we said we would come to [unintelligible] you were long time in waiting for that. it may surprise you, since you ride in the foreign office. >> i would not say that anything has been an astonishing surprise. you get to know the organization's to some extent from the outside. as you know, from reading that speech, it is my determination that we place the foreign office back at the center of government. the foreign office sees itself as a small spending department, but as a [unintelligible]
it should have a close relationship with the prime minister. it should not be shut out of foreign-policy decisions. i think that is how we are conducting ourselves. it has been a surprise. it requires something of a cultural change. the foreign office is full of a brilliant people on a whole. including those who have been away and come back again. they're very well-informed people. the habit of years or even decades has a bid of institutional timidity. that may be overstating it, but the foreign office has not been as used as i would like to bay, to be prepared to lead -- would like it to be. it is not always necessary to
frame foreign policy. one of my objectives in the first few months in office is to fill that confidence without arrogance. there has been a bit of surprise in that. but is a department on the reassuring side. every time i have found so far that it is necessary to interview officials who will take on a new role for office or whatever, there are some really outstanding people in the foreign office and that should be of some reassurance in the future. >> you are part of the coalition. to what extent have you had to modify your approach in the composition -- in the coalition?
have you been referred to the coalition? >> there are issues that have to be dealt with within our original coalition agreement. you can see that there are some inevitable policy compromises. that which is certainly true in european policies. both the parties and the coalition would readily agree that there should be no further transfer of powers to the european union and that we should have something like the referendum bill that we are going to introduce later in this session. but in some areas, in the question of trying to return powers from the eu to the u.k. or whether a sovereignty clause or an act should be passed, we will return to those. we will examine those issues together.
but in the area of criminal justice and home affairs and the question whether to opt into eu measures that we would have to decide on a case-by-case basis. on matters of the nuclear deterrent, we made an agreement [unintelligible] those compromises were built into the beginning in the inception of the coalition. bear in mind that a huge range of the foreign office issues are being discussed in the national security council, a very important development in this government. members of the senior ministers in the coalition are discussing international relations together on a very regular basis. we will have a 16th meeting.
so the coalition is dealing with these issues together and within the foreign office we have ministers of state. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ we regard ourselves as one team. i think the coalition and the foreign office have so far worked very well. >> you said that the alliance the u.k. has with the u.s. is our most important relationship. last week, i was in greenland with the defense committee at the u.s. base at thule.
as you know, the radar system is linked with the radar system in caryorkshire.e york suryour in addition to carrying out its and established ballistic missile mission, it is integrated with the existing operational anti-ballistic missile mission in the u.s.. has the coalition government, since its formation, had any approaches from the u.s. administration that a similar to upgrading might take place so it
will have an abm capability in europe as well as existing tracking system for ballistic missiles? if so, what response has the coalition government made? >> we have not discussed that. i can tell you that, on such issues, we want to work for a closely with the united states of america, as we always have. many of these systems have been closely integrated. we will listen very carefully to any approach the united states makes. but i am not aware of any discussions in the last few months. >> if you have any supplementary information -- >> absolutely. >> thank you. >> i would like to touch on
finances. >> just before the general election, you got some additional funding from the treasury [unintelligible] one of the first decisions with slash theion was 2to budget and take 65,000 pounds out of the budget. the former permanent secretary says you can do it again without losing influence. you made a speech in march where you said that you have not
waited 13 years to simply oversees the management of britain's decline in world affairs. given that you are about to embark on a massive program of spending cuts, is that inevitably going to have serious consequences for our footprint internationally and our road in world affairs? >> it is not intended to have dramatic results in world affairs. as you continue from those speeches i made in the past and will continue to make, we have a monumental fiscal problem in this country. we face $150 billion pounds deficit and our budget. but the background, just to give
day -- the background is that, really in the last two years, the commonwealth office has had quite substantial reductions and of this committee are very familiar with it. this led to $140 million pounds in reduction of spending. it may not sound allot in overall government -- may not sound a lot in overall government spending, but half of that is international subscriptions, peacekeeping contributions, and bbc world
service and the british council, and so on. before we started, the inheritance coming in was that the discretionary spending had already been cut by 17% in two years under the previous government. that has meant some serious things. it meant a reduction under the previous government of human rights and democracy projects. some were required to take unpaid leave. whatever the in level of spending, it cannot make sense from the foreign ministry of a country represented in the world on the basis of having an
exchange rate base. it is important to put that right. that is wrapped up in the spending review now. it was against that background -- that background that my predecessor came. a lot of it involves selling assets. some of it was rather imaginary. what we plan to do is, while playing our part in bringing down government spending, get finances on to weigh more planned, sustainable footing. we have defined some reductions. >> given that you have already taken $55 million on top of the
context you have described, are you arguing with the chancellor and the comprehensive and spending review process that they should take smaller budget cuts than other departments? >> let me put it this way. we discussed this [laughter] let me make sure that the whole government has come to decide that there has been a lot of unplanned reductions happening before we came to this comprehensive spending radian process. that does not mean that there's not going to be efficiencies to be found. i am not looking for and am not planning the substantial reduction of this country's presence around the globe. the emphasis was floating on
commercial relations and expanding our business and commerce around the world. it is a central part of this country's financial infrastructure. there will always be arguments to close certain posts and the need to open others. there are two hundred 54 -- there are 254. a case is made in some countries to say that we have several posts and we do not need so many. or some can be combined. i think it would be wrong to say that what we have now is set in stone.
>> i do it -- i agree that we need to stay course of flexibility. we have a longstanding principle that we have liberal reach in the network and we should have a network of sovereign post that enable us to represent our interests around the world. that is an interest we should uphold. ifid in yourd gifte answer earlier. i take this from your written response to our questions. you read for -- you refer to >>
guidelines. >> there is a proportion of that spending that is capitalized as overseas development. >> then you would pay that amount that was previously paid out of the fco budget? >> you will have to wait until the comprehensive spending. that spending can be provided for. the important thing is that
under compliance. by 2013, we can be agreed on oda spending. part of the spending of the foreign office contributes to that. is it possible for the department of national development contribute to that? certainly. there's nothing wrong with that. that is overseas development spending. >> spending will be used to fund things in the fco budget. is that what you were saying? >> spending on overseas development -- now lin
when we have the outcome of the comprehensive review, it is misleading to anticipate that now. >> you were the first secretary of state. you are on the star chamber. you have the first among equals status among your colleagues. does that put you in a difficult position to argue both simultaneously a very tough line with your colleagues and defending your department's position, which clearly brings up financial implications for
the future of our country? >> i have never had difficulty in defending my calling. the spending is 4.3% of total spending. they for the secretary is in a good position to stand on that. >> you may well say that we can wait until the review comes out. china, india, russia, and the gulf -- there has to be cuts elsewhere. are you in a position at the moment to say -- >> it is important to not think
about it in that sense. part of it is the whole of the government working together. it runs through all the days of the department's of the government. the objective, elevating key bilateral relationships with the merging parties -- with the emerging powers takes the whole of the coalition government. i have been to japan with the prime minister and to indiana to many of the gulf states. quite a large proportion of the increasing impact that we want to make in these elevated
bilateral relations come from the whole of the government working go easily together. one expert -- one expression of that was when the prime minister went to india with a fellow -- with an airplane load of business leaders, that is not rearranging budget in a foreign office. there's the possibility to move resources around. countries getencing paid greater share of our resources, we need to --
there are a couple of issues that i think that come out of that. i would love to hear your views. the secretary of staff, the identity -- there are two ways cuts have impacted the killing. travel packages are being affected. educational packages are thought to be a threat. secondly, in the fight over where the money goes, the danger is that they match so
we do get very good value for money on overseas operations. if you close the 40 cheapest , -- 40 cheapest posts, you only save $1.4 million pounds. we are not engaged in the business of some large reception of our international network. to save a lot of money after that, you would have to close the biggest post or the ones that require the most security or protection. cobble and baghdad are very expensive to run. and baghdad are bare expensive to run.
i hope the trade-off will not have to be made. closing more missions around the world as a false economy on a whole. in general, the reduction, the withdrawal of this country's diplomatic presence have taken in large parts of africa. with all the budgetary restrictions, we cannot reverse what happened in the past. i am not looking to have serious further reductions in the size of that network. it is a major national air to do so. morale is at the front.
surveys of morale have varied over the previous few years. it would be fair to say, in the foreign office now, as a whole of the public sector, there is an exam idea about what their role will entail. -- there is an anxiety about what their role will entail. we have things coming again. i think that works for morale. wherever possible, i speak to all the staff where i go,
whether in washington or in cobblkabul. i tried to get all of our staff in our missions overseas and address them all and explain what we're doing. i think they should hear from the top of the organization how we're sad thing about it. hopefully, that is good for morale now. >> one of the things you said in your opening speeches was that you were committed to investing in areas of expertise. that is a change somewhat in a culture of the office. you take field strengths that are more academic-based or language-based.
>> it is important not to lose good management and the practice in looking after people and human resources. that is while trying to recreate that geographic expertise and a deep knowledge. we will tilt things in that direction, accentuate the value of serving in a difficult place, knowing a region of the world with great intimacy, the language experts. i think those things need to be
one of the reasons we get to be a network or that we get more money for the network is the 67% of the staff now are locally employed. they are not people sent out from london. they are actually local staff. this country has done enormous amount. they are absolutely dispensable -- indispensable to our diplomatic affairs. >> in your approach to consideration spending, we will not find ourselves asking
locally engaged staff to work for a week for nothing. it is an embarrassment to the ambassador and noah advantage to our reputation. so far, we talk about global reach. we talked about influence and value for money. by comparison with other international news operations, we have very gentoo greater effect for others that might be suggested. it has to be more prudent. it has to run a tighter ship. none the less, there is some anxiety that some of the
consequences may be for the world service. what do you think the consequences might be for that global reach if the world service or to find itself subject to substantial reductions in the resources available today? >> the bbc world service and the british council fundamentally are important parts in the presence of the world. they have their own complete editorial, managerial independence. but they are a very important part of britain's presence in the world, of our soft influence, as it is sometimes described.
i test huge importance to the world service. the outcome of the spending review, the officials and i will be pleased to explain that come in detail. that undoubtedly will affect the world service. i do stress, because there have been reports in one newspaper this morning, that no decisions have been made about this. i will surely be put into the world service what i think they can achieve and the contribution to the spending. but i read this morning that burma army is to be closed. but there is no burma army.
but that does not cost very much. many argue about the post early on. that would not be a very good way to serve the money. the world service is important in communicating service. any opening or closing of the language service of the bbc world service, no such request has been received or considerined or granted.
can the bbc world service make itself more efficient and contribute to these spending round? i think it can. and it thinks it can. can we find a settlement with the world service to have it become more efficient without reduced services? i hope we can. >> mcnerney question and any -- if there was a question of the closing any world service post, you would take very close consideration. >> yes, absolutely. >> you have laid great story the advantages of economic diplomacy.
what is concerning is what the economic ambitions are to supplant the human rights responsibility? >> i do not see it contradictory. you will be glad to know that you only have we to wait to hear me speak on human rights. it will be about how we reconcile idealism and realism in foreign policy. that is of -- that has been a challenge, as you know. it is very important that we support our values.
britain is not the nation that aboutver have a policy -- british people fought so hard to abolish the slave trade. so did other countries. yet, we stress that the action the foreign office must take to advance the security of the nation. i will talk about this more next week. we have published a guidance. we completed the guidance and published it on the treatment of
detainees. as it becomes harder, it becomes more difficult to impose our values on different countries. we have to be a very good example of our values to other countries. i hope that is something that other people can readily agree on. there is no reduction or absence of this country on human rights issues. we're very busy on those issues on a daily basis. the bbc world service will remain a fundamental importance to this country's presence in the world. there has been some
discussion that the publication of annual report on human rights -- something that the committee has set great store by. can we take it from your response that it is the department's response that there will be a publication that will take place annually. it may not have many glossy pictures, but it will serve its purpose as it has in the past. >> yes. that is the short answer to that. there is a lumber answer, if you like. we're looking -- there is a longer answer, if you like. we're looking at it. we are working on may command paper to lay before parliament.
it would be a -- it will identify countries. we will also ensure extensive reports about human rights activity online to give a more up-to-date reporting of what is going on around the world. we will have both of those elements and we are looking at what the timing of the human rights report. one option is to present it in march next year, covering the time up to december each year. any views you have on that will be gratefully received. >> thank you very much. >> of the last human rights report was published in march this year.
personally, i hope you will month delay whatever you're going to publish so we have a big gap. you listed a number of countries which we previously called countries of concern. but did you did not mention in your article what you should add to the list of countries and you did in this last report, which is sri lanka. given the new emphasis on trade and business connections, how do you make any representations about the fact that there are still 40,000 people detained in camps in sri lanka after the confrontation in 2009. >> the sri lankan government
will meet in the not too distant future. the position of the new government on this is similar to the last government. there is agreement on this. never mind anything we have been doing in government and opposition before the election. i also stressed that there is strong concern about this and the impact goes directly to your point, how do bows human rights and trade. -- how do you balance human rights and trade? there is no change in policy on this issue. the government continues to make strong representation on it. i will raise these issues, the issue might be amazed -- the issue you raise, and others. >> in your response to one of the questions, you refer to the
coalition government's welcome decision to carry out an inquiry as to whether there has been any complicity involvement by british officials in torture. could you tell the committee whether the scope of this inquiry will extend to the allegations that have been made that those who have been subject to torture have taken u.s. flights through british-indian ocean territory? >> the committee can look at any issue it wishes to look at. the previous government made some frank disclosures to parliament about those flights through diego garcia. i have not seen anything that would lead us to have to add to that in any way. as far as i am aware, what was declared by the previous government, which i questioned
there have been mixed messages. last year, for example, the prime minister, on the one hand, was saying that our troops were in afghanistan to keep the streets of london and the u.k. safe. almost the next sentence was threatening president karzai with withdrawal if you did not clean up his act. i would suggest that, if the purpose is to the nine al qaeda a place in which to operate -- to deny al qaeda a place in which to operate, the objective is basic and we should stay there until we achieve that objective, rather than putting in an arbitrary time table. do you see any contradiction? >> let me just say in passing,
it is important to set expectations, not to raise false hopes of over-rapid progress so much that it cannot be fulfilled. i think that has been made quite often in the past. the right town where tried to set in the statement in the house at the end of july at the kabul conferences that this remains a difficult challenge. the trips and the soldiers and the marines, the aid workers and diplomats, they are doing an extraordinary job and it remains an extraordinarily difficult assignment. one is reminded of that every time we visit there.
at the same time, it discredits the effort if we make a contradiction. we have tried to avoid predictions of so many provinces being handed over by such-and-such a date. it is important not just a look at the bad news. we tend to see afghanistan prism of where our forces are deployed. a few weeks ago, i went to iraq. that is a completely different
picture. it is not a completely rosy picture, but totally different. they are turning out normal goods of a developing country. some genuine progress has been made in the capability of afghans to govern themselves. i think the military efforts now under way are certainly making progress. we have seen that ourselves. we have visited places where you could not hope to land a year ago or so. it is now very important that a political process take place as well. nobody thinks that they can have
a military-only solution in afghanistan. is it right than to say that, by 2015, our forces will not be engaged in military operations? i think it is. by then, we will still be there then. we will have been more fully engage them by the end of the second world war. the afghan national security forces should leave and conduct military operations in all provinces by the end of 2014. indeed, on the current trajectory, the building above the afghan national army, they are slightly ahead of schedule in numbers.
it still requires the training and quality equipment. if consistent with that, i think it is important for afghans to know that, while we make this immense effort that has cost so many british lives already in, there will come a point where they will have to be able to take care of their own affairs. say what we said about 2015 is consistent with that. therefore, it can contribute to improving the situation of making sure that afghans take responsibility. it is still five years from now and does not undermine the military action taken place today. >> as you rightly pointed out, we have had a series of over- optimistic scenarios.
it brings us back to this question. if the main priority is to deny a al qaeda training camps in afghanistan, perhaps there is an inconsistency in having a timetable. we do not know if we will succeed by 2014 or 2015. are you absolutely clear that, if we have not achieved our objective by 2015, we will be withdrawing regardless of whether we have achieved our objective? >> i do not want anyone to have any doubts about this. we will be fulfilling the prime minister's commitment. he is very clear that there will not be british troops in a
combat role in afghanistan by 2015. we are very clear about it. of course, there could be some troops in a training role and in diplomatic relations in the longer term, as we have with other countries. but we do not want to be fighting in afghanistan any longer than is necessary. i understand your skepticism. it is a totally legitimate question. there have been so many difficult questions for -- difficult decisions for our predecessors to make. it is entirely understandable that there is some skepticism. but we think it is right to say that, by that time, we will have been applying ourselves to this 50% longer than the whole of