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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  September 27, 2011 1:00am-6:00am EDT

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quotations is from a frenchman who was writing about washington at the time of the revolution, toward the end, and he wrote -- seven years he has command of the army and obey the congress, nothing more need be said. >> i think we have some more from twitter. >> this is a student from iraq. >> thanks, mr. secretary. >> thanks, mr. secretary. i was from the beginning a fan of the war, but i do not necessarily agree with the way it has been managed care and if you were the secretary at the time of the war and after, how would you have managed the situation differently? >> well, first of all, as an old intel guy, i would hope that i would have been a skeptic about the intelligence on the
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weapons of mass destruction. i think that to prevent a war, the threshold for information house to be incredibly high -- has to be incredibly high. in has to be basically, a lead pipe cinch. i do not single out those in the bush administration at the time. the reality of what a lot of people forgot is that everybody in the world believe that saddam had weapons of mass destructions. that is the only way it got past, with even the chinese and russians voting for it. and part of reason that the people believed that he had weapons of mass destruction is because he wanted them to believe that he had them.
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because he would rather risk a u.s. invasion then tell the iranians and he did not have weapons of mass destructions. in the national security every now, you do not get to overs. -- in the national security arena, you do not get do-overs. i think as banning the iraqi army was a mistake. -- and disbanding the iraqi army was a mistake. in world war ii, if you wanted to manage the local power plant you had to be a member of the nazi party, or in this case, the baath party, but that did
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not necessarily make you a torturer in saddam's prisons. those two things made this much more difficult. >> my lai asks, what is the role for education in foreign policy and should education funding be at the level of defense funding? >> if you take education across the nation, it is for will be at or above the level of funding on defense. first, i once gave a speech to the national political science association, and one of these professors got up, and this is kind of in my capacity as the director of the cia, and he said, how do you make use of our research?
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and i decided on an honest answer and i said, have not read the stuff in my in box. of what makes you think i read your research? i can barely keep up with what happens in my day. you expect me to keep up with your academic journals? then i said, you know how we benefit from your research? we hire your students, so pay attention to your student as well as your research. because that is how we will benefit from your research. what you teach them is what they will bring to the workplace. the place of higher education for foreign policy, there is no foreign policy without a higher education. the state of language studies in america is lamentable.
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it is getting somewhat better, but it is still pretty sorry. but i think, actually, that higher education is doing an incredible job in preparing people for public service because i look at the people coming into the military. when i was the director of the c.i.a. i would look at a selection of resumes of the kids we were hiring and the only thought that would go to my mind is that i was glad i did not have to compete with them. >> we spoke about this earlier, mr. secretary, about how you had hoped to see broader public service by more students. do you want to share some of those thoughts? >> i am an advocate of national service.
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i believe that every citizen should have to devote a year or a year-and-a-half or two years depending on what you do giving back to the nation. how between the ages of 18-30, or 18-26, and you pick. you can go into the military. you can be in a hospital. you can teach or mentor in the inner-city schools, or a rural school. and you can participate in activities like the ccc and the national parks. there are 100 different ways that you can give back -- peace corps and so on. i just think there is way too much emphasis on the rights of a citizen, and too little on the obligations and responsibilities of a citizen. i think the draft took care of this for rise until 1973 -- four guys -- for guys until 1973, but the idea that this is not
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get handed to you on a silver platter is incredibly important. that sense of self determination, that is something i am worried we are beginning to lose. >> this is a student from drexel university. >> my questions along the lines of the israeli-palestinian conflict in the same way that in physical warfare we are used to define players and entities and weapons in terms of boundaries, but as far as cyberspace, it is a lot more difficult to understand who has what and who was responsible for what. how do we define boundaries and who is a threat to our national security?
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what is your advice for the military community as a whole, especially for a future army officer, about how we go forward with defining who is connected to what and what constitutes an act of war? >> bartoli, i asked those questions for 4.5 years and never got -- >> actually, i asked those questions for 4.5 years and never got a good answer. [laughter] i ask that when i first got to the pentagon, what magnitude of cyber intrusion would qualify as an act of war? stealing money out of a bank? does disrupting activities for a limited time from qualified? -- qualified? taking down the banking system? i would say yes, that qualifies. taking down electric
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infrastructure, or communications infrastructure? and i was asking these questions because we are in uncharted territory, and there are no rules of the road. we have the geneva convention and all kinds of stuff in terms of warfare, and even in the spy world, there were unwritten rules of the world between ourselves and the kgb. everybody knew we were the left and right -- where the left and right borders were. and the other side of that is distribution. using my came from russia or china. it might be a teenager in the the philippines who, in fact, did about $10 billion worth of damage in the last decade. this is an area where i think,
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actually -- and this makes everybody in the national security community nervous when i say this, but i actually think there would be value in at least getting together a dozen of the key players in this arena are around the world to say, maybe we should have some rules here so we do not inadvertently do something, were purposely do something, that moves from the cyber world into the physical world. it is a huge arena and is only going to get worse. >> thank you. >> this is a student at phelps. >> i've been working with the department of defense for the past six years, and when i walk around the apartment, i notice i am significantly out rated by my male counterparts. my question to you is, do you think the department can better address the gender gap? and also, what can the department do to get more women
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in senior dod positions? >> first, i'm pleased to say that the number three person in the department of defense on my watch was a woman, michelle flornoy, and my guess is that she is likely to be the first female secretary of defense somewhere down the line. she is, obviously, as the senior-most woman in that apartment, an advocate for women in the department -- and this is one of those things where i was pleased on my watch to pin this fourth -- to pin the four- star on an officer that was a woman.
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there are a number of women coming along in the two-star and a three-star level that will move into the four-star slot in increasing numbers. and partly, it will happen because the pool from which the senior people are drawn is getting bigger in terms of the number of women. and the reality is, in the military, has hired barkoff as it is, you do have to go through -- as hierarchical as it is, you have to go through each grade, and for men and women there is a certain amount of time in each grade. but a number of things that happen on my watch, one was the agreement for women to serve on submarines. it is incremental, but is moving, and i would say that as more and more women get into senior positions, they will, along with male counterparts, be advocates for making that happen faster.
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>> anything else from twitchell? >> we have a question from rachel. as a student in public administration, i'm interested in how you dealt with the challenges of leading a large bureaucracy. [laughter] >> this is the subject of my second book. [laughter] because i have lived three of them now. the cia and the intelligence community, the sixth largest university in the country, and the largest and most complex organization on the planet with 3 million employees. and i got to tell you, it really ticked me off that my daughter supervises three people and made more money than i did. [laughter] which, good for her. [laughter] that is a complicated question. let me just pick one aspect of it.
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first, all of these institutions have one thing, they never think of, for one thing, they all have alumni. and they all believe they ought to have a voice in the way the place gets run. fenn by the way, -- and by the way, they have bellyached through their career or their time in school, but when they leave, it is perfect and do not ever change anything again. [laughter] they also all have tenure, if you look at those institutions. managing were leading a big public institution is very different -- for leading a big public institutions very different from running a
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business. the one lesson about leading change, and i've tried to be a "change agent" in each of the three, but the lesson i have learned and applied in all of these places is to always remember that the barack receive was there before you got there and it will be -- bureaucracy was there before you got there and it will be there after you leave. as a leader who wants to make change, you have to set the goal, you have to have the vision. but then you have to figure out a way to integrate the professionals into figuring out how you get to the goal. how do you make them part of the solution so that when you are gone, they defend it because it is their solution? this works as well as new persinger -- on new personal as
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well as tenured faculty because they listened and they bought in. we made a lot of changes. but you cannot do it without respecting and listening to the professionals in each of these kinds of organizations and incorporate their ideas. they cannot run the show. and they have to of knowledge they cannot run the show, even the faculty, but they do expect to be listened to. and if you do that, it is amazing how much progress you can make. >> this is neil shaw, a member of the corporate counsel in philadelphia. >> thank you for your time and remarks, secretary gates. as the only secretary of defense that has served two different political parties in the presidency, as well as being in the game for a long time and having intelligence and a realistic kind of outlook, do
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you feel that in our public sphere and in domestic politics we can and will be able to elevate the dialogue? or are we in an environment because of the role of media or redistricting that this polarization is real? do you have some words of hope and encouragement for us? >> actually, the answer to your question is in my brief remarks tonight. [laughter] literally. [laughter] and i'm not optimistic. >> it is a challenge for all of us. a lot of what we try to do here at the center is to focus on civility in this course. and we are just watching it get coarser and coarser, and it is very difficult. but the trouble is that people in public life -- >> the trouble is that people in public life need to do what i did. before congressional testimony or before a press conference, i
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would have these murder boards where people would fire questions at me. and i would answer the questions in the murder boards the way i really wanted to answer them, so that i could answer them with discipline when i had to do it in public, so i would not say, you know, that is the stupidest question i have ever heard in my life. [laughter] >> this question comes from fran. the question is, was the repeal of don't ask, don't tell a positive evolution of our military, or detrimental? >> i think my judgment and the judgment of the chiefs is that the way we have done it will make a positive. it was a big cultural change. and part of the reason i asked for the time for the review and
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the opportunity to survey the force was partly to identify trouble spots and issues that we would have to deal with, so we could mitigate them. but the main purpose was to buy some time for the military to have a conversation with itself about the subject. it had always before been discussed by two guys having a beer in a bar, or in the barracks or something like that. i wanted an open discussion with the whole force to talk about this, and where people could feel like they were heard and being listened to. and the interesting thing is, you know, you've got to give the marines credit. their leaders were probably the most adamant about not moving forward. but once the decision was made to move forward, they are determined to do it better than everybody else.
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[laughter] and faster. the whole marine corps was trained weeks before the deadline. of course, they are the smallest of the services, but i think that the training and exposure and a big part of the training was the use of vignettes, of hypothetical situations that were likely to occur and how do you respond -- and how you respond. the key to this will be discipline and leadership. it will be the end co's and the company grade officers who will be the -- it will be the nco's and the company officers who will be the key to this integration. and i'm confident that we will move forward and it will work. but let's not kid ourselves. women were admitted to the force several decades ago and we still have a serious problem in the military with sexual
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assault. this will not be implemented completely free of any incidences. but the key will be and how they are handled and the disciplinary measures that are taken, and to make it clear that it will not be tolerated any more than sexual assault with men and women should not be acceptable or tolerated. we are working on the sexual assault issue. we are still working on that. and we will, i am sure, still have some incidents as a result of the disappearance of don't ask, don't tell. but i would say that 99% of our military, this is going to be a matter of mutual respect and dignity and just moving forward. one of my favorite lines is is the one line from barry goldwater who once said that it does not matter whether the guy next to you is straight. is whether he can shoot straight. [laughter]
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>> this is a change from philadelphia. >> mr. secretary, i am a vietnam vet. i was in the air force and served in the strategic air command. i have been wondering for years that right after 9/11, why didn't they drop a nuclear bomb were bin laden was? did they consider it? >> first of all, he was not there, but i doubt they considered it. partly, just because the use of a nuclear weapon would have a huge negative impact are around the world. it would inevitably kill a lot of innocent people as well. >> this is charlie withers from st. joseph's university. >> i've had the unique opportunity to serve under president of the different political parties -- you've had
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the unique opportunity to serve under presidents of different political parties. i was wondering if he would share -- you would share the presidency's general philosophy of war. >> one of the reasons the transition was fairly easy for me was that i do not think there were significant differences. you have got to remember, i joined the bush administration two years from its end. a lot had changed between 2001 and the end of 2006. the irony -- of the number of decisions like the new tanker decision and so one that toward the end of the bush administration, i pointed to my successor -- punted to my successor only to wind up being a receiver.
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[laughter] may be only because it was me being there that there was continuity, but i think on the big issues, the way the counter-terrorism fight was being fought -- if anything, president obama has been more aggressive than president bush, particularly in the use of drums and so on. clearly, on the legal side -- the use of drones and so on. clearly, on the legal side, there have been issues in terms of detainees and so on. but in terms of the military and military strategy, i think there has been quite a bit of continuity. >> this is ashleigh from the university of pennsylvania and rotc. >> first, it is a pleasure to meet you and thank you for your leadership. i'm instructor at the university of pennsylvania for midshipmen. i was curious what kind of
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advice you have for future manchin and marines and sailors and airmen and soldiers in the next couple of years? >> i guess, one of the things i have talked about at the academy that i attach importance to is, particularly picking up on ethics, is in higher education -- well, in school and particularly in higher education and professional education, and particularly, professional military education -- there is a lot of emphasis on team building, team spirit, working a problem as a group of people, a group dynamics and so on.
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i like to warn young people, and some not so young people, that is all well and good and is actually important. but there will come a time in your career when you have to stand alone. when you have to be the one to say, this is wrong. or even harder for a military officer, i do not have the resources to do this. i cannot do this. there has to be a point, there will come a time in your career when you have the responsibility -- and everybody else will want to do something different, and you will say, no, this is my responsibility and this is what we will do. and you have to be ready for that. that kind of independent thought and character is not developed overnight when you get your first star.
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it begins with the day to day decisions that you make while you are still in school, still in the academy. but that time will come. and the question is whether you will be ready for it. >> steffan? >> the question from rachel is, what do you think is a reasonable time line for drawing down the troops in iraq and afghanistan? >> the timeline is already established in iraq under the agreement that currently exists. all of our forces in iraq will be our by the end of this year. there is discussion of leaving a residual force of a few thousand for training and military assistance. but until there is an agreement with the iraqis, they are planning on getting down to 0 by
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the end of december. similarly, we have a book and in afghanistan kamal, forces -- in afghanistan, all combat forces will be out by 2014. the question to me seems one of pacing between now and the end of 2014. the variable is how fast you bring our forces out. the other variable is, how fast and well can you train of the other afghans to take our place? this is a conversation that i had with patraeus and a lot of our leaders in iraq and afghanistan over the years. and i would tell them, the hardest thing you are going to have to decide is that inflection point where these guys doing it adequately is
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better than us doing it excellently. and turning over responsibility. there is no scientific formula in terms of how that happens. i think that bringing the rest of the search out by the end of next summer, the afghan surge, for the most part, will have lasted longer than the iraq surge. we will still have 70,000 troops in afghanistan in december of 2012. we are making, i think, good progress with the afghan army. the question then is, between the end of summer 2012 and the end of 2014, so for that 27, 28 months, what is the pacing on
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some 8000 americans and however many allies that are there. my own view is, since we have the bookend, we ought to give a lot deference to the commander in the field in terms of that pacing. >> this will be the last question. >> this comes from jennifer help from phelps. >> thank you, dr. gates. i felt there was a big disconnect between those in the military who went over to serve our country and the people at home. i did not feel that people on the home front were brought in to that effort and were really disconnected from it. i am wondering what you think
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could be done in the future, or even now, to connect those at the home from with those who are serving overseas. >> i think this is a big problem, frankly, with an all volunteer military. i think that the disconnect is mitigated by the world and national guard has played in these conflicts -- the role the national guard has played in these conflicts, because they have not gone back to their bases and posts. they have gone back to their hometowns after they have served. we now have many in the national guard who have served two and three and more rotations. i think that is a connection. i think that -- i actually am not pessimistic on the score as much as a lot of people. i think the outpouring of respect and gratitude of the
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american people when they get a chance, when they encounter somebody in uniform is really quite extraordinary, especially when you compare it with what happened with my generation at the end of vietnam. and so, i give you a couple of examples. dallas-fort worth airport. every single time a plane comes in bringing troops back from iraq or afghanistan, there are several hundred people from the dallas-fort worth area that made that plain and cheered. these are not necessarily people who have relatives in the service. they are volunteers. the various volunteer groups
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that have sprung up, the effort the first lady and jill biden have taken, helping the families of those who are serving, provides an umbrella for a lot of volunteer activities. i think most americans whether -- regardless of their position have huge admiration for our folks in uniform and are looking for ways to express that gratitude other than just saying, thanks for your service. the challenge the pentagon has and the service has had is figuring out a better way to channel that enthusiasm and to let it manifest itself. how do you do that in a structured way? we have made a lot of progress but there is a lot of pent-up desire around the country to do more.
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and so figuring out ways to connect is the challenge. it goes both ways to citizens and the government. >> the big piece of that is who serves. i know that at graduations and speeches, you have challenged organizations and parts of the country that do not typically send many folks into military service to do more that way. >> you are one of the elite universities. you have an active rotc program. how about the rest of you signing up? if you want some real responsibility at 21, how about putting on a uniform? i will give you a real responsibility. you will not be working the xerox machine. you are working for me. again, we're making headway.
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i took a call from the president of yale a couple days ago telling me he had signed the papers that day to bring airforce rotc back. navy rotc is already back at yale. columbia is opening up. we are getting there. i think there is no question on the part of the american people how much we owe these people. >> please turn me in thanking secretary gates. [applause] >> next, a conversation with
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former president jimmy carter and his wife at the carter center in atlanta. then, remarks from federal reserve board member surber astin -- sarah raskin. and president obama talks about his plan in silicon valley. ed o'keefe.k with a and a look at the deficit committee. a look at the redistricting. tim story is our guest. "washington journal" every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. an all-day conference hosted by
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the washington post and the u.s. institute of peace. on china's role in the global economy. we will hear from business leaders, former diplomats, and journalists. coverage gets underway at 8:30 a.m. eastern. >> watch more video of the candidates, see what political reporters are saying, and track the latest campaign contributions. easy to use, it helps you navigate the political landscape with twitter fades and candidate bios and the latest polling data and links to media partners in the early primaries and caucus states all at c- >> former president jimmy carter earlier this month and his wife rosalynn carter talked about domestic and global issues. topics include middle east politics, cuba, china, and some of the projects the carter center is involved in. from atlanta, this is an hour,
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25 minutes. >> president and mrs. carter founded the carter center 29 years ago and since then, the center's programs have helped to improve the lives of millions of people in more than 70 countries. the carters are our hardest working volunteers, traveling around the world, working with our staff to monitor elections, resolve conflicts, promote human rights, and eradicate diseases. working side by side with the poorest and often forgotten people. their vision for a world at peace guides all our work here at the carter center. and serves as an inspiration for millions of people around the world seeking a better way of life. it is with great admiration that
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we welcome president and mrs. carter. [applause] thank you. i had my knee replaced and the
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other and i have been through intense physical therapy and recuperation. i have a couple more weeks. i'm doing ok. i have been grateful that i did it. there have been times when i was doubtful in retrospect. it is not an intense pain but it is a constant discomfort especially when you're trying to sleep and did things like that. it will soon be over and i will be grateful. this brings me down to our subject tonight. we outlined briefly what we have been doing since you have your last meeting. i will do that to began. the carter center has to raise cash money, almost $100 million every three days to finance our program. that is our budget.
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and there is $1 million every three days, $100 million a year. $1 million every three days. that is our cash budget. we have enormous contributions from pharmaceutical country -- companies and others that help us with our help -- health programs. about 80% of it is in the health program. this is something we did not anticipate at the beginning. i did not know and rosalind did not know what we would do when we decided to establish the carter center. we thought we might be devoting most of our time to mediating disputes. as we have explored, we have
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found this to be the number-one issue. that is health care. as the film showed, the elimination of the suffering of people from diseases that ought not to exist at all. even sometimes medium wealthy countries have eradicated and done away with these diseases. perhaps the only one we would remember what the malaria. we have not had it in a long time since the 1940's. it still exists. hundreds of millions of people every year suffer from these diseases that should be eradicated or eliminated. that is what we do most of the time. as was mentioned, our most highly publicized effort is to eradicate the disease of getting warms -- guinea worms. it takes 30 days to emerge from
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the body. it is excruciatingly painful. because of the loss of muscle tissue like the aftermath of polio. people if there school-age cannot go to school. it is a social blow as well as suffering intensely. we started out with 3.5 million cases in asia and africa. 26,000 villages have -- we have been in all the villages and we have that down. we expect to have 1000 cases in the world. last year, ghana became free. they have zero cases. mali and ethiopia will have few
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cases. it is hopeful that neither one would have it after this year. it exists in the southern part of sudan. where for many years a terrific civil war prevented our getting in there. they still have some areas of intense conflict. that makes it almost impossible for workers to go in safely. that is a major remaining problem. we're hopeful and we continue to work on it. we work with the government there and we hope we will eradicate it. another important disease is river blindness. we have given a dose of medicine up to 150 million
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people. more than 13 million people were treated personally by carter center representatives. we give them one miraculous tablets and it will not go blind. the disease still exists with worms in their bodies. this is another probable cause of blindness. last year there were a number of surgeries to eliminate that terrible disease. the carter center was responsible for that. we're making good progress. we are working on that. also there is lymphatic --
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elephantiasis. that is another disease on which the carter center is working as well as malaria. we have done recently is combine our efforts against those diseases. quite often in a -- the same village or region, in the same v, you have several of those diseases. we have worked out a way to reduce the cost of treatment by combining efforts. you can send the same people and and the same people are suffering from different diseases. we of cut down the cost of debt by about 40%. we are making good progress in the field of health care. we put up millions of bed nets to prevent mosquitos out. they carry hull area. -- malaria.
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they will die from landing on the nets. the other part of its, i would say democracy and freedom. one of the innovations that the carter center has made in latin america, helping troubled countries have an honest, fair, and to save election. we did not realize how pervasive the problem was. countries want to have an election for the first time, they don't know where the turn. they don't know how register voters because they have never done this before. in some cases, we have countries that have had democracy for a number of years and one party becomes so powerful the day have any opposition forces to rise in democracy is threatened in those democratic countries.
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we have helped over 80 elections. we will go through that area. in to be going through tunisia. they'll be having an election next month. we're looking at the central african -- that the the democratic republic of the condo. -- we are looking at the democratic replubic of the congo. and also egypt, we are still trying to contact egypt to see if they will let any international observers come in to monitor the elections. we tried to negotiate for peace. you saw some of the more
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controversial people with whom i have met. in north korea, and i have been to north korea twice in the last year. also, cuba. we have a very counterproductive policy of ku but depriving american citizens of the right to go to cuba. it is the only nation in the world where the citizens can't go. it is a deprivation of our human rights that the government doesn't let us to go to cuba unless you have a special reason. areastrying to work out of peace. we're also dealing quite affectively, i think, a strong program in china. we will be going back to china in december. the most interesting is the middle east. we remain at present in
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jerusalem, monitoring the west bank and gaza. we're the only organization daughter that deals with all of the major protagonists, the major players in the mideast conflict. we deal with israel, we deal with palestinians, we deal with hamas. they are located in syria. and i think we're the only ones that will have the trial in a comprehensive way. those are the things which the carter center is working. i will carry it over to the real boss of the carter center who is waiting patiently to speak, my wife. >> as john said, we have a program that most of you know about, fellowships in
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journalism. we range of this show it can be there for the program. i am glad that they come. we work on trying to overcome stigma all the time. the media has such an influence on how people feel about mental health, people living with mental illnesses, so the idea was to build a cadre of journalists that knew the issues and could report accurately and balanced on the issues. we have had 120 go through our program. and we have gone internationally with our program, too.
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we had to from new zealand for five years. real to them with financing the program, the foreign countries. and at the end of five years, they are on their own. new zealand established a really good program. south africa, we have to from south africa and to from romania. this is the fifth year, so they're having to say goodbye to our south african friends. we are sorry about that. romania has another year. and some in the program figure out that our journalists have got over 1400 pieces on mental health. we have five or six books, all kinds of documentary's, tv and radio programs, magazines, and now they are using blogs to get
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the message out. people are right in, she is working with military families and military families need to sell much help. it has been good. i would like them to stand up. how can you stand up? hadley advisory board, can you stand up? [applause] i might even have something for the task force. john mentioned this to you, but he did not mention that i have the best people in the country as a divisors and on the mental health taskforce. i am proud of the fellowship program. we started and for the first time in a foreign country, the mental health program.
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the carter center has been working in liberia for a long time. after the war was over, we were teaching them to set up a judicial system, and we have access to information to open up the government. and now we have a mental health programs. in partnership with the government, all of this is in partnership with the government. we just graduated our first class of psychiatric nurses. 21 nurses and physician's assistants. we were in the countryside, the rule lough. -- rule of law and our program.
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so when they graduate, they go back where they came to study. they have one psychiatrist. there is great need. we chose liberia because we of been there so much, and we want to try to see if we could do anything in a country that is coming out of war. everybody is traumatized, so we are excited about that program. next month is the annual mental health symposium. it will be on the mental health needs of children, we're looking forward to that program, having a really good speakers and people participating. jimmy told you about his knees, so we have been home.
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this is his first time out. but i like to see the show -- michelle obama. there is this program for families of veterans. so many veterans coming home with ptsd, traumatic brain injury and depression, we bring the communities together and assess what is in the community for those people with mental illnesses. they worked with me on projects in the white house and she has been working with me ever since. and we had a really good meeting with her.
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i saw her at betty ford's funeral, she told me that she had gotten a letter, so i am hoping we can work with her on that. next week, i am going to the united nations to talk to african first ladies about immunization. i've worked on immunization as long as mental health except for a skip from the left of the white house and when an epidemic started in 1989. but i have worked with the wife -- in fact, i worked with her in georgia. she had a great program. when wives get together, they were all lives back then. -- wives.
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i talked to them about mental- health and she was working on immunization. she had a really good immunization program in georgia. in the white house, we had been there about two weeks when betty called and said, and you want to work on measles again? i said, sure. she told me later that she just wanted to see the inside of the white house. she is a lot of fun to be with. this is hard to believe. when jimmy was president, i am not talking to long. 15 or 17 states required immunization by school age. i asked of the figure one day and he said it was 15 or 17. we were able to get it in all of the states, it was one of my
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really good accomplishments. then there was an epidemic that started in the chicago area with 100 people dying and it was the little children. the school age children and elderly people were safe because they were immunized. the head of the center for disease control was here with us and we still call him. we started a program trying to get babies immunized. we are still working on that. and then i go to tunisia. it is good to be back in circulation.
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and we have had -- and has something to do with our house. i got this e-mail sunday that said it was spread over the front page of the observer, the guardian newspaper in britain. it was a really good article, but this woman -- i want to read you what she wrote about our house. where does jimmy carter live? imagine the kind of house and ex-president of the united states might live in. the sort of residence befitting the former leader of the less -- most powerful nation on earth. the oscar of the clean from your mind. -- scrub that clean from your mind. [applause] imagine where a moderately successful junior accountant and his family might live.
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it is barely a town. a streak might be a more accurate description. a single road going nowhere much. it was a really good article. >> thank you very much, president and mrs. carter. we will take as many questions as we have time for tonight. we very much appreciate the questions submitted on-line. we were able to choose some of those as well as the questions you have submitted. the first question. as an arab-american, i understand that the internal divisions in syria are such that a peaceful transition to democracy is difficult.
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would you consider me eating in -- mediating in this conflict? >> right now it would be very difficult to ascertain who could speak for the so-called revolutionaries or dissidents or demonstrators in syria. my understanding is, we keep track of it pretty well, it is basically localized among the different communities that don't have much communication with each other. if the president who might survive and to the dissidents or the demonstrators after the carter center to mediate, i will be very glad to do so. yes. >> for mrs. carter, can you give us an update on the status of insurance parity for mental health coverage? >> i am so upset about what has happened. it was passed in 2008 and there
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are still no regulations. the issue the temporary regulations i think in february of 2010, and they have not enforced of those and insurance companies are doing anything they want to do. florida, blue cross and blue shield has discontinued all of that behavior of health care insurance. they said they are going to start another company and provide behavioral health care. insurance for those illnesses. but i think what they're doing is, the parity bill calls for employers who provide mental- health care -- it says they have to have a on par with physical health care.
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i think what they're trying to do is start other companies and that they won't have to provide insurance with what they provide for health insurance. i spoke to phyllis who was in cathy green leaves office. she told me that she needed my help because she is the one that goes to the white house. when they set priorities, every time she goes, she is there. she tells them that we need to get the final regulations. they put it on the priority list, and when the priority list comes out, it is not there. ison't know whether this right or not, but i think people believe that they are trying to wait and get some way
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to the -- the get some way to the -- hook it some way to the health care bill. it will be awful. i am really distressed about it. >> this is one of the greatest achievements of the mental health organization in the country, to get mental health insurance on a parity with physical health. since then, the white house has not done anything to employment -- implement the bill. i think the education, labor, all of the others involved would be very receptive to strong leadership from the white house, it just hasn't materialized. so basically nothing is being done in the meantime. we're going backwards, trying to avoid the impact of the bill. it is very worthy and it ought to be put into effect. >> the whole mental health community for, it was one of my -- in one of the things that we recommended.
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insurance for mental-health issues. it is really distressing to me. >> the carter center was instrumental in bringing a fair democratic process to nepal. since the inclusion of the former rebels in parliament, how do you view the state of democracy in the call at this -- in nepal at this point? >> we did a monitor the election. it was fair, honest, open, and safe. the maoists won the first election. they had the chance to form the first government, but the outside forces including the united states of america and india as well as domestic forces did not like the idea.
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they put the whole progress of writing a constitution to replace the monarchy. it has bogged down. just in the last few days, they have finally decided on a new prime minister, he is not the original leader. neewe have another chance to do that. almost all of the other monitors have withdrawn, including the united nations and to the carter center is about the only outside force that monitors what is going on in nepal. two years ago, there were three times that in one year to try to put together this effort. my hope is that we will see some progress made. but they have a new start with a new prime minister, and we don't yet know if you will be -- if he will be successful in continuing the formation of a new constitution and a permanent government. it is a worthy effort, one that we are going to stick with as
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long as we can get funding for it. there is some hope for the future that wasn't there a couple of months ago. >> this is something that is not good about our country. when we go into a country, we work with the national democratic institute, an organization that goes into trained local observers. they go in for months at a train people in all of the communities across the country. when they were getting ready for this election that we did, and had the meetings in the countryside, if they walked into -- if a maoist locked into -- walt and tune -- walked
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into one of those meetings, our people have to grab all the refreshments, the drinks, cookies, because they might keep one or taste one. that is awful to me. it was one of the worst thing is that i heard, the terrorists cannot partake of the refreshments. >> the fact is, once they are characterized as terrorists, the united states can't deal with them. until last the year, nelson mandela was a terrorist and he could not come through customs in the united states without a special permit. whenever we don't like anybody, the countries as they are terrorists and outside the purview of normal democratic associations and social events. it has happened in those countries and others as well. >> the state is scheduled to execute troy davis a week from tomorrow.
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you have spoken out in hopes of clemency. what got you involved in this case, and why are you advocating for his life? >> ever since the center was founded, we have been opposed to the death penalty as a major commitment. and not individual cases, we have written to the governors involved or the parole board or what ever is involved. we believe that there is enough evidence to the contrary to prevent this execution taking place. i have written a letter to the parole board, but the governor in georgia doesn't have any authority over this. we hope that they will reverse themselves or some way of legal action up to the supreme court to avoid it this execution. in georgia has very few executions. there were no executions in the united states of america when i was president as you will remember. the supreme court ruled against
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the death penalty. but while i was president, they ruled that it was permissible in this country and has been implemented since i left office. we're the only industrialized country that permits the death penalty. the united states has more people in prison than any other nation on earth. we have seven times as many people in prison per thousand as the european countries do. we have been deeply committed as a nation and as a people. to incarcerate people and give them life sentences and so forth. as a matter of fact, georgia has a life sentence now after two convictions. you are in prison for life. we have got overboard in putting people in prison and keeping them there. that is the policy of the carter center.
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we don't yet know what the final decision will be. >> be used to enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting? what is your favorite big fish story? mrs. carter? [laughter] >> i have a big fish story. i was in canada, i don't remember the river. but i love to fly fish. the canadian government presented us with rods and reels. it looked like cork, if you caught a big fish, you could put it on your chest. the american experience, the television program had tv
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cameras with us. i caught a salmon, and we have the french television there because they could not speak english. i was bringing it in, and the real fell off in the vote. -- reel fell off into the boat. i could tell the salmon was running, and then he stopped. we got this man with the television camera come over and he got some of that break a. -- great tape. duct tape. and put it on backwards, the sam and just sat there. so i got it all fixed and i caught my salmon. it weighed 25 pounds. [applause]
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>> president carter is going to pass on that one. does the success of the revolution in egypt affect the long-term stability of the camp david accords? >> i will give you a little history lesson. the word two agreements negotiated with israel and egypt in 1978. and then six months later. the first one is a camp david a cult and the third one is a tree. -- in the second one was a treaty. they aren't two separate things. -- a r two separate things. -- they are separate things. most people refer to the camp
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david accord as both of them. we are begging the leaders of the two countries to agree that israel will withdraw the military and political forces from palestine, from the occupied territories and will grant palestinians full autonomy. and that the united nations resolutions would apply. that was the camp david accord dealing primarily with palestinian rights. six months later, we negotiated the treaty between israel and egypt. that has been honored. the camp david accords have never been honored by israel. i left office soon after that, and the israelis have never honor their covenants to the palestinians. if continued to build settlements, occupying the west bank and east jerusalem and the palestinians have no basic rights. the peachtree the was honored -- a peace treaty was honored. and he was killed shortly after i left office, and president mubarak honored the
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treaty. very meticulously, and so did israel. it has been honored and never violated. when mubarak was overthrown and a new government was initiated, though they still have to go through elections, they honored the egyptian people to put into effect the camp david accords. with its commitment to the palestinians. that is what they are insisting on now. i think that the fact that the demonstrations of other people against the israeli embassy, as you know, it was overrun last week. the israeli ambassador had to go back to jerusalem.
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it was a very great tragedy. the military group leading egypt did not defend the embassy adequately. my guess is that the military leadership in egypt still won't treat the peachtree -- the peace treaty to be honored. they want the rights of the palestinians to be recognized. i don't believe that the peace treaty between israel and egypt is in danger. i don't think they are going to war. egypt reoccupied their own sinai region and israel withdrew from sinai. egypt agreed to a very limited number of weapons in the sinai.
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they have both abided by that rule. the only exception is that after the error of spring and after -- after the arab spring and after some -- israel reported the -- israel approved some more weapons weapons that egypt could bring into their own region. the bottom line is, it is a complicated affair. the spring as called for democracy and freedom for many people in the region including those in syria and libya. and in egypt and indonesia. -- tunisia. i hope that eventually this will bring about a change in the prospect of our peace agreement to be negotiated between israel and its neighbors. it would require that israel withdraw from occupied territories. and so far, that is something that the israeli government under netanyahu has been unwilling to do.
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>> free enterprise as a means to -- what you see in cuba if they allow free enterprise as a means to deal with the present economic reality. >> we have been to cuba several times, and i met with fidel castro's brother for several hours. he runs the country now, fidel is retired and writes op-eds to the discomfort of his brother. [laughter] but he talked for six and a half hours and he listens to me for about half an hour. [laughter] this was a few days before he had his major assembly of leaders throughout cuba, and he announced the implementation of a new economic freedom in cuba. my hope and my expectation is that the economic situation in cuba will continue to improve.
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they are heavily dependent on financial support from venezuela. chavez in venezuela has announced that he has a very aggressive cancer. he has been treated twice in cuba. that major economic aid that has been going to cuba from venezuela is in danger. if that can be resolved by the two countries, i believe a new economic freedom announced by cuban castro may help the economic system. cuba has a superb health program. their life expectancy is higher than that in the united states. their infant mortality rate is lower than ours. they have something they have done well. but what they are still lacking
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is something that i speak about publicly, the right of the cuban people to elect their own leaders. political freedom is still absent, an incremental improvement in economic freedoms like to get the country. -- might help the country. >> given that china has responded -- achieved spectacular results in growing their economy, do you believe they will have similar results in broadening democracy? >> that as an arena that the carter center has been involved for more than a dozen years. as you may know, in the beginning of 1979, the vice premier and i announced relations between our two countries. that is exactly the same time we announced it, the fifteenth of december. on the eighteenth, he announced openness and reform in china, a
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new system of economic and social life. it is out of that that china has made such a great progress. before that took place, there was no religious freedom. there is no freedom of movement for the people. it was illegal to burn any sort of money for your own self in any kind of industry or business. with seen the great economic development in china and other things as well. i would guess at this point that they are on the verge of changing their leadership. there will be new leaders coming to power in 2012. we have met with a new prospect of president in china twice. he seems fairly outgoing, but
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similar to what has happened in the united states, the political system has gotten extremely conservative. where there was a good bit of local freedom which the carter center has monitored now, and there is a general tightening of political freedoms, one of the problems is that we have a major website in china both in chinese and english. perhaps it is one of the widely as -- the most widely used websites in china. analyzing what is going on. with us take a stance, we just report what is going on. the chinese government has been putting restraints on us recently. to summarize, the tightening up, but it is almost inevitable that china would have to see some increased political freedom to follow up in successful
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economic freedoms. >> during your presidency, you were a supporter of nuclear power, even after the events of the three mile island. given that the u.s. has once again broken ground on new reactors, have your views on this changed? >> i believe that nuclear power is one of the prospects of the future if it can be done safely, and i believe it can. the three mile island incident took place while i was in the white house. there were very dire predictions in the washington post, hundreds of thousands of people being affected, many thousands were dying. i knew this was not the case because i was a nuclear engineer, i was familiar with the situation and had been in contact with experts. that sunday we went to the
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reactor and went inside the reactor control room had demonstrated that it was no danger. obviously, if there is a lax in safety precautions as there was in japan, not anticipating a surge of water, it is dangerous. in general, and so approve the use of nuclear power. we have to nuclear power plant -- two nuclear power plants being built in georgia to supplement those already operating. some of the states in our country get about half of their total electricity from nuclear power. unless we develop some more acceptable approach to global warming that we have now, i think nuclear power will be one of the things that we used, increased use of natural gas and other things. i think i know what i am talking about. it has to be safe in carefully controlled.
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-- and carefully controlled. it has to be safe, nuclear power has a place in the future. >> of being a contributor to the carter center for 10 years now, i feel like family. in light of the arab spring, will the carter center devote more of its resources to the challenges of that region, particularly egypt and libya? >> the carter center doesn't have any role to play in libya. i was never willing to have diplomatic relations in libya while he was in office. he was in power for 34 years, i believe it was. we will not get involved in libya unless the libyan people decided, in the hope that will, to have a democratic election to choose a new government. and then we would be at the forefront of helping to monitor the elections. i hope and expectation is that as long as i am alive, to have hohhot, the prior that we can
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-- they hope and a prayer that we can find peace for israel and its neighbors. it will always be my top international priority. i hope and expectation is that the carter center will play a major role, and will have to be flexible, of course, to accommodate the changes that we can't anticipate in the arab world. especially following the arab spring. as i entered earlier, if there is an opportunity to help, we will do so without interfering otherwise, the freedom of democracy. we will be indonesia next month. -- in tunisia next month. we don't have a close relationship with our own government which will not deal with the palestinian issue. it is basically withdrawn from any role in bringing peace to the middle east. but even if our own government
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does not do so, the carter center will make a major effort to bring peace to the middle east. yes. [applause] >> knowing all the things that the two of you have done in your life, is there anything left for you to accomplish? [laughter] >> we got up every airplane trip. -- a 3 character -- a free airplane trip. >> holly complained about an airplane once, and they told us that they have given us a free flight anywhere we want to go in the world, and we have never been to the fiji islands. i don't know if we will take them up on that or not. >> her seat would not go back and forth and my overhead light would not come off and on.
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when i got back, i wrote a handwritten note and sent it to the president and told him about it. i am not complaining, but i know you want to make your future customers as happy as we have been on delta. he said, and you did not complete for yourself, but you have a free trip anywhere in the world. i have to get permission to take off. he let me off a couple months to get 90s in shape -- my knees in shape. one of the things we continue to do is to raise up the rapidly expanding family. we have six great grandchildren and we have a long way to go. that reproductive effort we are making for the world. [laughter] >> we have to look at the schedule. president carter, tell us about
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the time you first realize you were in love with mrs. carter. [awws] >> ell. -- well. our personal friends might know this so i will be brief. i was a midshipman at the naval academy, and i was home on christmas leave and was getting to be a senior. i had known her since she was one-year-old. i lived in the next door house and i was 4 years old. i would look through the cradle, and she was lying there. and when i was 4 years old, we moved out to the country and i knew her as a friend of my younger sister. i never did agreement dating her, because i was much older than she was. but my next-to-last night on my
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vacation from the naval academy, i was dating this georgia girl, the prettiest one, by naval academy really pay off. the family reunion, she could not go out with me. i was with my sister and her boyfriend looking for a date, and rosalyn was in front of the methodist church, and i asked her for a blind date and she said okay. she went with me, and so i won't describe the evening, but the next morning, i went into the kitchen, my mother was cooking breakfast and said, what did you do last night? i went to the movies. what did you think of her? she is the one i am going to marry. >> he did not tell me that.
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>> the next february, she came to the naval academy and i asked her to marry me and she said no. from february to may, she dated every available boy in the county. >> there were two. [laughter] >> finally, my uniform paid off. then finally she said yes. 65 years ago and we have grown to love and know each other more every day. [applause] >> i was very young. [laughter] this was during the war. i was going to college.
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-- georgia southwestern college. the only two young men in college did not qualify to go to war. i was going with everybody, all of these men. >> i was a better choice than to -- two other people. [laughter] >> mrs. carter, are you pleased or discouraged by the degree to which americans and our understanding depression and other mental health disorders? >> if it were true i would be very pleased. i am not sure it is true that people know what depression is and understand it.
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hmm? so many countries do not have any kind of health system. there was one psychiatrist in liberia. no psychiatric nurses. the nurses we train have to be syneresis to start with. -- have to be nurses to start with. we put them through six months of intensive study. i longed for the day when people understand that mental illnesses, we have learned from studies that depression is going down a little bit. the polls show that the stigma against sticks of -- schizophrenia and a fear of
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mental illness is getting worse in this country. not much, but it is getting a the tone that worse. -- a little bit worse. this was a study done by a university. it is getting worse in some places. they think it is because people are learning and they are learning what we are telling them that if this like any other illness. it is a disorder of the brain. there are afraid of a brain disorder. we are trying to decide how to educate people, journalists writing reports is good for that. i long for the day and when everybody except when -- accepts mental illness as a disease. when somebody with mental
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illness goes to the doctor, almost always they leave without any hope for a better life. i believe that is changing a little bit. i think they have been told you have to live with this. maybe you can control it with medication. i think that is beginning to change. now we know that recovery is possible. mental health treatment is beginning to be, instead of just controlling to moving toward a strength and that people have. giving people a hope they can have a better future. we're working now toward more community centers and integrated care where everybody goes for any kind of illness.
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i think that will do as much to overcome stigma. if people in the community see everybody raising families and going to work and going to the doctor when they need help, they will get to know the people and will not have that fear factor so much which is what holds back the stigma. i think that is the greatest barrier. >> in western european countries are probably ahead of us. the canadians come next. the japanese have not made much progress on mental health. the chinese are beginning to get interested in it more. third world countries, they have no concept of successful treatment.
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i would say the world is a backward on mental-health. >> childhood obesity is a major health challenge. what have you seen it to be the situation in the rest of the world? >> not as bad. if you go to north korea, i was there not many months ago. he would not see a fat person in north korea. except maybe the leader. he is a little bit pomp. -- plump. people walking down the street are like they used to be in plains, ga. in the 1930's.
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you could not see or the stomach was. nowadays in georgia and everywhere else, obesity is becoming a crisis. there is a program about the rapid increase of diabetes in the world. it is one of the most prevalent killers of people on earth primarily because of obesity. this is in places where people eat the wrong kinds of food. this is something that is going to be addressed based on a concentration of health education as we experienced back in the late 1970's concerning the smoking of cigarettes. >> this question is to roselynn, was a true that president carter wanted -- wanted the thermostat at 68 degrees during the energy crisis in the 1970's? i was in the sixth grade living
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in a new york city and was concerned you are not warm enough in that date old house. -- big old house. [laughter] >> you are right. i think you was 65. when we first got to the white house i would go out the back door. my office was in the east wing on the other side of the white house. go in the door, go upstairs. when we left, it was 9 degrees. it was called. -- it was a cold winter. i did that and then was on the elevator and the usher said, why don't you go downstairs to the other building? i said, show me how. they're all kind of things down there. paint shops and electrical
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shops. a bomb shelter. he took me down and it had these big steam pipes. it was so warm. [laughter] it was the only time i got warm, i think. there was a maid at the white house says felt sorry for me. she brought me some underwear i could wear. like a long johns except they were not long. [laughter] >> president carter, tell us about your role with the elders and how your work with the center has influenced them. >> nelson mandela and his wife and some others formed what was called the elders. they decided you might take
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political has-beens of people who had played a prominent role in the world and bring them together in order to cooperate on different issues. now the former president of brazil is one of them. the prime minister of norway is one. the former secretary general of the united nation is one and so forth. there are 10 of us now. nelson mandela is no longer active to. we meet a couple of times a year and we address issues that we believe incumbent politicians are not willing to address. i would say that on the middle east situation, -- the same
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concern about palestinian rights. it is a very loose knit organization. we never have to raise money. we will have sponsors to provide all the money. we have a fairly wonderful and rapidly growing staff in london. we address issues of that kind. the last time i went to north korea they went with me. this is something that a lot of incumbent politicians would not to, go to north korea. we are still exploring different ways. i have been gratified in how they have worked with me in compatibility with the carter center.
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>> what advice do have for president obama on how to deal with the congressional issues related to the economy? >> and they were affected in a way i was not. i had a wonderful working relationship with democrats and republicans. we had a better batting average with any congress since the second world war. lyndon johnson did better than i did. i worked closely with the moderate and conservative democrats. her works closely with republicans as well. the only people i had trouble with were liberal democrats who were supporting senator ted kennedy who wanted to run for president against me. i had a good working relationship with them. he is faced with a difficult problem with which all of you
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are familiar. there is one difference between him and me as far as the governing is concerned. when i had a major task to face a as a president, energy or education or things of that kind, the environment, i drafted of the legislation in the white house with a staff headed by a lawyer from atlanta. we would bring in the top leaders in the congress of that committee to work with us on writing for legislation. by the time we presented the legislation to congress, the key leaders in the committees were already familiar with it. obviously they changed the
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things we propose to. if they changed it to much i would threaten to veto it. the other thing is i would -- i was involved in the actual drafting of the legislation. i could take what i proposed and try to get the public to back me and overcome the opposition. this is not something that president obama has ever done until last week when he got into the health program he said let the congress to draft it and we will work on a. five committees. the lowest common denominator is still unpopular. finally he came up with a program to put people back to work. now he is going to different places every day to sell the
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program. that is the right way to proceed presidency, to use the white house but also to take your proposal directly to the people and try to convince them it is the right thing and let andy -- convince the recalcitrant members. i think he has done that. be involved in the drafting, take it to the public, and try to override a pop. -- opposition. >> after 65 years of marriage, what the advice to you care of young couples to sustain a commitment? mrs. carter, how have you carve out your own path over the years while still maintaining this marriage? >> i think the best way to keep a marriage together is give
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your partner space and for him to give me space. we learned that late in our marriage. [laughter] we had never thought about it before. it was the first time we had been home together all day every day and. it was difficult at first. we learned and it works. i do my things and he does his things. we do are things together. another thing we do is we have been isolated at times like when he was governor and president. you do not have friends. you have some and get a good time but a lot of times we were together looking for something to do. jimmy tommy to play tennis.
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he was a plan s -- tennis player. he never beat his father. we in fly fish and bird watching and like to ride bikes. those are things we do together. we just have a good relationship together. >> giving each other space, we tried to resolve our differences before we go to sleep at night. it does not always work. for a long time in our marriage, we would carry over an argument for several days. even longer sometimes. we give each other plenty of space to develop and share which you have in common. those are simple but important
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rules. >> as a returned volunteers, i am concerned about the future of the peace corps. what you think of its future? >> i think it has a good future. i have been working closely with key members of coffers in the last few months writing letters to try to sustain budgeting funds for the peace corps. i believe there is such a great need for the peace corps, i believe that it has a good future. this is one of the areas of life that has been developed in our country that i believe is so good that it has a life of its own almost and has bipartisan support. my out lock -- outlook is positive. >> how did you mark the anniversary of 9/11?
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>> we stayed at home. we went to church. our church is a small congregation. we prayed for the families of those who suffered and prayed our country would respond to 9/11 in as peace fall as possible a way and to preserve human rights. and not over " -- and not overreact. we observed it quietly with sadness of the loss. i hope we will build to become once again the most admired and revered country because of a commitment to the basic things that have made a strong, priests, and justice, freedom, democracy and the alleviation of suffering. those are the things that made
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our country great. those who -- that is our prayer after 9/11. >> you mentioned the elections in nicaragua. could you speak your history with daniel ortega at? >> one of the first elections we monitored was one they were in a war orchestrated by president reagan. the eye -- iran contra scandal. the conflict was whether the military portion was being financed by the u.s. government. the carter center was invited to monitor the outcome and make sure it was fair. it was. those who look upon them as favorites lost the election. they were so over confident
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they were not willing to accept the outcome of the election. i met with nine leaders of them in the middle of the night. i introduced daniel ortega and induced him to accept the results. they agreed to accept the results of the election. in the future -- he lost both times in the election. the last election we monitored, he finally won. basically the collection was a fair and honest. they're facing another one soon. i was hoping we could go down but we have had difficulty in getting the government to give us unlimited access -- access to all of the aspects of the collection process.
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-- election process. at the last moment they have come forward with some good promises. it may be too late to get involved. we will be there in some form. still dealing with unique and difficult character named daniel ortega. i have known him. >> what is your opinion about the possible outcome of the recent efforts and request of the palestinians for statehood? >> we support this move for a very strongly. my hope is that united nations will recognize the state could of palestine. it is the same avenue the israelis took when israel was accepted as a political entity
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and that should be recognized. the inevitability is that united states will veto this effort. the palestinians now plan to take their effort to to the security council and to the general assembly. all members of the united nations will have a chance to vote. my guess is that the senate -- the palestinians will get 140 nations who will vote for their becoming a state. this will not change the occupation of palestine by the israelis. it will make the -- if they do a veto, they will not become a fully recognized a member of the united nations but it will become an observer if the general assembly votes.
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this will get them access to membership and it is a step forward. i would not be in favor of this if united states had put forward any comprehensive peace proposal as president obama has announced. one, a freeze on all is really settlements and also based on the 1967 borders. if they would put forward that proposal as a basis point of negotiation, both the palestinians and the carter center would be in favor of peace talks based on those issues. the israelis are not willing to accept those proposals and president obama is not willing to make that effort. as an alternative to the stalemate, we reluctantly would
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support the palestinian move for recognition in the general assembly. >> one final question, what can you in the carter center do to help educate the members of congress on working in developing countries with respect for the individuals rather than going in with a heavy hand? >> nothing. [laughter] i do not think congress is receptive to any and vice from the carter center. i still maintain a close relationship to key members of the congress. i was talking yesterday to a house member who has been trying to negotiate the release of a corporal that is being held by hamas. we have been working with him in that effort. i was also talking to john kerry.
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i maintain a contact with him members of the house and senate. they contact me on occasion to find that we would -- what we are doing in different countries. we maintain a close effort to inform the members of the congress when we do something we believe is important as it relates to foreign assistance or the work of the state department or sometimes the defense department. when i returned from north korea, i brought back an offer from a general who was in charge of the military in north korea. he invited the united states to come over to search for the remains of u.s. military people who died and were buried in
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north korea. when we have something like that, we have that kind of contact either with the administration nor the white house. those are minor -- of minor importance. of course, i write editorials in the newspaper which i am sure some of them read. i had an editorial today in the national herald tribune dealing the question -- dealing with the question about our support of the palestine -- palestinian movement. and calling on the international community and united nations and the european union to put forward a proposal
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based on the '67 border. that is an editorial i wrote a that was published today in an international newspaper. we do a weekend. i think the impact in congress is minimal. >> jennifer gross of the congress -- congress and priest people. -- jennifer goes to the congress and briefs us. our people are working with the various committees. a lot of them ask for the people to come because we know a lot about different areas. we do a lot of that. >> and with the state department. >> if you would please remain in your seat saba carter's leave for another announcement but, please join me in thanking them for a wonderful evening. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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we expect you to act responsibly and not act in terms of short- term political interests, which is going to be good for all of us over the long term. it is that spirit which all of you represent. when that starts asserting itself all across the country, i am confident that the 21st century is going to be the american century just like the 20th century. thank you very much. god bless you. ♪ [applause]
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[applause] ♪
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[applause] >> senior strategist for president obama david axelrod at
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the new hampshire institute of politics. he will discuss the reelection campaign. we will have his remarks at 8:00 eastern. then new jersey governor chris christy will be at the ronald reagan library. he will talk about leadership at home and abroad. nancy reagan will be on hand for his remarks. our coverage gets started at 9:00 p.m. eastern. >> watch more video of the candidates. see what reporters are saying and track the latest contributions with our web site for campaign 2012. it helps you navigate the political landscape with facebook the updates from the campaigns. plus links to c-span media partners.
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>> and now an update from the pentagon on afghan security forces. we will hear from the commander of the trading commission. this briefing is 45 minutes. >> good morning here and good evening in afghanistan. how would like to welcome back colonel caldwell. he assumed his duties when he activated his partnership with the afghan military of defense and the ministry of interior. now he joins us and from the headquarters to provide an update on the afghan national security force. he will make some opening comments and take your questions. with that, i turn it over to him.
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>> thank you. i assume you can hear me. i appreciate this opportunity, having the ability to come back and talk to you. has been well over a year. there has been some significant progress and changes that have occurred in the last two years when i look back. two years ago, when we made the decision, nato did, the key thing they did was a major we have the right resources, the right strategy, and the right type of people necessary, and the right organization in place. it really enables us to get after this mission that was so critical. the return on the investment we are starting to see is pretty significant from these efforts made over the last few years by the men and women of the international community. it is a clear sign that the afghans are moving forward and will have the ability here in december 2014 to assume the lead for their security in their country.
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tremendous progress has been made. to put it in perspective, september 2009, only 800 young men decided they wanted to join the afghan national army. in september this month, we had over 8,000. that is not something that just happened this month. it has been going on since december of 2009, when we had more than ample recruits every month, all becoming a member of the afghan national army and police. over the last 23 months almost, over 114,000 new personnel in each of those forces. that is really helping the afghans move forward. very often you hear "the surge." we call it the afghan surge. it is starting to make a difference and is putting in place the conditions that will enable a drawdown of forces.
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we have also seen the geographic transition start to take place. seven areas already at this point with more coming in the fall. the one thing i will tell you that nato training mission has been able to do is to get things standardized. there's a lot of individual disparate efforts, great profits in many different areas, but one thing the nato training mission was able to do was to get a standardized program instruction set, not only for the army, but also for the police forces for afghanistan. everyone in afghanistan today is receiving the same, identical type of police training. we reduced the untrained police we found in 2009 from about 50,000 who had never gone through formal police training down to about 20,000 today. still, some more to go, obviously. there's a plan in place and we
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are deliberately, methodically getting at that am bringing them back into a formal training system, putting them through the eight weeks of training, and returning them back. when we stood up the command in november of 2009, we had one civilian police trainer in this entire organization of about 1200 people. today, we have over 525 civilian police trainers. these are the royal canadian mounties. these are the bodies from the united kingdom. they are from throughout europe. it has made a significant upl forift. -- uplift. recently, the australian police have joined. we went from an all contractor- based training program to a coalition led program now to an
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afghan led training program. we have over 3100 afghans assigned to training and instructor positions. today, over half of those, about 1500, have been certified. the others are still going through that. this is leading to december of 2012 when the afghans will be in the lead or training at the very basic level at all of our training institutions in afghanistan, which will be another significant step forward, and giving them the capacity and capability to make this thing long term and enduring. developing the trainers have been key, but developing the institutions have been the hallmark of what we've done. since day one, we said our number one priority is leader development. we have trained just over 50,000 new police and army
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officers and noncommissioned officers and added them to the force, where there was a significant deficit that existed in 2009. while we were growing the force, of this 114,000 additional people, almost half of them have been leaders, which has now made a big difference in the way they are performing and how they are starting to professionalize as we move forward. the institutions we have put into place -- we have now expanded and brought in 600 students this past march. we will now remain in effect for the out years. we started a school for the police and army. sufficient numbers now today were able to produce the required officers for those organizations. we have other things going on, from non commissioner officer
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forces to the national police academy of afghanistan. in 2013, we will stand up people to replace the one-year officer program of school that will continue feeding leaders into this army. if we want this investment to endure, it will be critical that we stand up those institutions that will enable that to happen. that's what we are doing in this program is free we have started a deliberate effort to professionalize this force. important special the skills that are really essential. we have started to involve combat forces first. we're now getting to the more challenging and difficult area of developing specialty skills. this past may, we opened up the last of our 12 specialty vocational schools doing everything from engineering, human resources, communications, those type of skill sets that are essential
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for police and army forces to become more professionalized and the more self sustaining. we have been able to do this by putting in a very robust literacy program. when you looked at the fact that every recruit we bring in, only about 18% are illiterate. and of the words, maybe 1.8 out of every 10 can read and write. that means at least eight of them have no idea what a number or letter is. they cannot leave the serial number on their weapons. they cannot read a manual to do maintenance. they cannot count the money they're getting paid. they do not understand the inventory. the literacy program we put in effect in march of 2010 is really starting to reap the rewards. we have over 3000 afghan teachers we have hired and work for us full time. again, that number is
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increasing over time. the literacy rate has been dramatically increasing over the last six months to eight months. we have now trained over 120,000 afghans into some form of literacy training that are currently serving in this force of about 305,000. by december, we estimate that half of the afghan army and police will have received some form of literacy training that they did not have before they came into the military or the police force. again, this sets the foundation, enabling us to get at the professionalism that is important long-term. we realize that we have also been spending time getting advances in areas like growth objectives. in 2011, the army and police will both meet the objectives that have been established for them. we will, in fact, what was stated to be a goal of 305,000
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moving towards 352,000 by october 31 of next year. we have the systems in place that we need to do the professionals nation, the leader-developer programs, the things we're still working on right now that will still be challenging, but is what we deliberately put into the development plan. it is now getting down to logistics', maintenance, and medical. again, with the foundation of literacy to enable to stand at those programs. specialty skills is a program that we will continue to focus on. stewardship will be another one. there's been an enormous investment by the international community over the last couple years of giving them infrastructure, equipment, and material. we now need to make sure we become good stewards of this and
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maintain good care and continue to keep good control of that. we are also going to start working on sustainable systems. the parts about maintenance and logistics and medical that will be so important. i would tell you that after two years, as we look at what we have really learned from this, it has become very apparent that the number one thing in a mission like this is leader development. if you have able, capable leaders, it does not matter what kind of material you have or what kind of institutions or foundations you have. you can build anything if you have capable leaders. leader development has been and continues to be our top priority. the second thing is the importance of literacy. i have told this story many times. when i arrived here, it became very apparent, very much thanks
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to the late ambassador richard holbrooke, and he was exactly right. if you have the foundation, then you have the ability to move forward and start to professionalize the force. third would be the role of nato. i was probably a skeptic as to what the future of nato would hold. had it not been for this nato organization, we would have been unable to achieve and accomplish the mission we set out to do. we started with two nations. we now have 37 different nations contributing traders on the ground as a part of our overall efforts. about 1/6 of the country world's are involved in this training effort in afghanistan. we went from literally one police professional to now just about 525. enormous uplift in our ability to get at and accomplish the police mission. that kind of gives you a quick recap of where we have been over these last two years. some of the challenges we see
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ahead that we will take on and work as we continue moving forward. if i could, i will turn it back over to you at this time, george. >> general, thank you very much for that excellent recap. we'll start with questions. i will call on a questioners from the pentagon briefing room. >> general, can you give us an idea of how you assess the program progress of the afghan security forces in these recent attacks in kabul, including the one on the u.s. embassy and nato headquarters? second question is, can you also tell us how the ethnic balance has evolved in the force? do you think you have addressed the shortage that was always a concern? >> what i would tell you is, on the ground after two years, as i have watched the response by the security forces, i will tell
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you they are learning from each incident and they are adapting. they are adapting each and every time. the most recent attack was probably the most vivid example i saw in terms of how they handled that with a very deliberate, methodical approach. as the investor calls it, the harassment that occurred on the american embassy. how they took down the building to minimize civilian casualties and to ensure that minimal damage to private property -- they took down the facility. i was very impressed. did we learn lessons from that? we sure did. the interviews we conducted, of which we were able to be a part of, once again, showed us areas to continue to refine and work on. it was interesting to watch. what struck me about the september 13 attack, for the
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first time, you really did see the police force out there learning to serve and protect the people. they were willing to lay their lives down for the people of afghanistan. what you do not hear very much in the press is the stories about the police who gave their lives that day. there were suicide bombers around the city, mostly around a 30-minute period. there was one at a local high school. a suicide bomber was moving into the crowd where the students were. he went in and literally took a bear hug by the suicide bomber. in the process, he was willing to give his life. that was a police officer by the name of johb ali that did that. when suicide bombers approach the headquarters, they were able to shoot and kill one of them. the other was able to get close. there was a senior officer who did the exact same thing.
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he ran up and he hugged the suicide bomber. when he did detonate himself, only he and the suicide bomber were killed. the other policemen received minor injuries. at another facility, police officials approached what they thought was a suspect out there. in the process, one police officer was killed. the other was wounded. they were able to kill the suicide bomber before he was able to set off his bomb. on that very day, in multiple places in kabul, policemen were doing heroic deeds that received very little attention. for us, they learn, they adapt, and they continue to get better. on ethnic balance, we continue to watch that very closely.
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sparely bounced and the forces. we watch it obviously between -- is barely balanced in the forces. the southern pashtuns is what we have a very intense focus on and are trying to raise the level of what we're able to recruit. we have a good proportion, about 34% of the afghan national army is composed of pashtuns, but they're not all from the south. this past month was the best recruiting month they've ever had bringing in southern pashtuns into the afghan national army. again, last fall, the ministry of defense made a conscious effort and put a brigadier- general in the two corners and the south. each one, who is a southern pashtun himself, can engage with the local elders and encourage the young men to serve with the army and to be part of the recruiting effort in the south.
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an upward climb. not where it needs to be dead. is it in fact improving? it is improving slowly but steadily. over time, if it keeps moving like that, we will start to see a much better representation of southern pashtuns. >> i wanted to ask you about the sustainment issue. admiral mullen said there is now an effort to reduce the cost from $12 billion -- by 70% to 80%. how long can you go without jeopardize the ability to sustain themselves? secondly, what do you give up fight going with such dramatic reductions? over time, there's a natural reduction. it seems like going that low cuts and to some core
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capabilities here. >> two years ago, i would not know as much about programs and costs. we spent a lot of time going through a modeling effort here that we run and changing the variables all the time. in the zero years, what you normally hear is the long-term sustainable cost for 352,000 afghan national security force is about $6 billion. that has been generally said and agreed upon as the long- term cost. what i will tell you is from the efforts that have been ongoing, it will be significantly lower than that. over the last two years, a
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tremendous effort at making things -- how do you make it more capable for the afghans, affordable -- again, not for us -- how do you make it affordable for the afghans? most importantly, do they have the human capital and the ability to sustain it? through that effort, we have been able to reduce the overall type of equipment, quantities, and organizations that we built using this system. i got it from the president afghanistan through one of the briefings. he talked to me and said, general, i want to make sure whatever you do is affordable in the long term. i will tell you, the efforts we are doing, the two things that have been clear from michelle flournoy -- in no circumstances can we cut corners and the training programs that we have put in place. what ever we do, it has got to
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maintain the same level of quality we have today and we cannot afford to give up any capability that's required for them to handle the level of insurgency out there. if you believe, and i do, that this level of insurgency will go down -- i do not think it will quite ever go away because of the border region and everything else, but it will go down. that will also be a reduction in the overall size of the afghan security force. that will generate much smaller sustainment costs. we constantly review this. it is an effort we continually work. we will be looking at sources from the international community to help pay for it in the long term, from the government of afghanistan itself, and the contributions the united states are making to this effort, too. we continually ask ourselves, are we being goods stores of what we have? are we putting in place systems that are capable, affordable, and sustainable, so we get this
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return on investment? >> how well below $6 billion do you think it is practical to go without giving up significant capability? >> you do not give up any capability at all going down to $6 billion. you can maintain a 352,000 force. coming from multiple sources, not just the united states. i'm not sure it will even be that expensive. here is a great example. we have instituted something called afghan first. we asked ourselves, why are we by dean foods -- are we buying boots, about $170 per pair.
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why don't we asked some factory in afghanistan to make boots to some quality control standard? we did that. we get them at about 1/3 of the cost. enormous savings. we did the same thing with uniforms. we reached out and found people who were willing to stand up a business. we signed contracts saying we would buy so much if they were able to meet a certain quality. we brought in outside experts that we have on our payroll -- we paid to do nothing but quality control checks at these afghan-run factories in afghanistan that are doing everything from our boots, clothing, sheets, pillowcases. on an annual basis, we are now saving $168 million per year, each year, by using the
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equipment made in afghanistan to the same quality statements. i wear a pair of afghan boots. i have been for seven months. it really is good. we now have three boot factories. they're starting to diversify. they're doing everything now from commercial commerce, which will be a long-term, sustainable thing, by producing sandals and tennis shoes and other things like that for commercial use, but our estimate is we have saved over $650 million that we have programmed to spend, but because of the afghan first initiatives, we are no longer required to spend. we are still fighting the same quality and the same quantity that we have always wanted to get and use for the afghan security force.
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>> can you talk about how many afghan battalions you have now and how many can operate independently? >> let me think. right now, today, i want to say -- independently, -- there are varying degrees of how they can operate. some require a tremendous amount of coalition assistance. others require coalition assistance, but minimally. there are others, as you are asking about, operate independently all by themselves. i will go back and verify the exact numbers. i want to say, today, the battalion's currently operating by themselves is about two.
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there's about another 124 that are operating very effectively with minimal coalition support. we bring the units initialed operating capability. it is the field experience, the partnering in the field, that continues to help them evolved and developed. those that are out there today that are operating in that manner will, with time, reached a level where they are able to operate independently. we've been watching this on a monthly basis for two years. there's a nice upward flying. -- climb. by december of 2014, they will have the ability to take the lead for security in afghanistan. it will still take some coalition support. there will still be coalition enablers. they will still rely on us for intelligence support, air support, and those types of activities that we are not
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building in a very robust, deliver a manner, because we do not see that as a long-term necessity for their security force. >> out of the total number, what is the total number [inaudible] >> i would have to double check. i want to say it is about 180 today that we have out there in the force. >> you expressed concern this spring at the brookings institution that the attrition rate was 1.4% per month. last week, secretary panetta testified it was reaching as high as 3% per month. what accounts for the increase? human rights watch has been documenting abuses like rape, murder, and land grab.
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>> first of all, we will talk about attrition first. is attrition to hide that we cannot continue growing this force and making our growth objectives? the answer is no, it is not. with the current levels, we are going to make the october 2011 growth objectives of 305,000. i am very comfortable that will happen. the attrition of 1.4% is the goal that we set. that has been agreed upon. we want to bring the police and army down to that rate to make it sustainable in the out years. police have an attrition today of 1.4%. they are there. there are elements in the police force that are lower.
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the one that has the most remarkable progress -- when we stood up this command, they were about 120% attrition. this past month, they were at about 30% attrition on an annualized basis. significant over the last two years. so significant going from 120% down to 30%. so that it is sustainable in the out years. we have trainers that are coming in, 120 by this fall. we will partner with the afghan units to continue helping them and professionalize. a tremendous downward trend already. it is in the army or everyone is watching the attrition of very carefully.
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we have not seen the decline. the thing -- it is about leadership, having the right leaders, that they are living in conditions that are appropriate, that their food is right. that is the key. we have a brigade in kandahar whose attrition is 1.2%. then the soldiers continue to serve. these are 100% volunteers coming in. we turn away 1000-plus every month that we do not allow into the training base.
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we can be selective because our training base only requires so many permanent to make these growth objectives. this is something we watch very carefully. we took an army of about 95,000 two years ago. today is about 170,000. it will grow another 25,000. expansion can lead to challenges. the leaders and the growth is occurring. the human rights watch report. i have not sat and read the report. because of this report, a new
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effort on its human-rights training. look at what we did in the afghan national police. you are talking about the local police. we went to an eight-week program of instruction. we added 18 more hours of human- rights training. this is something you want to reinforce. the local police -- the element has the responsibility to do that training and oversight understands that this is something that needs to be further reinforced. we do take these allegations very seriously as alleged in this report that is out there. they do know and we have been
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helping them as other elements developed. key to a lot of this is the partnering out there. you really find that type of thing happen because we are instilling into our own actions and daily contacts the appropriate kind of behavior. >> so you're not going to take on that training? >> well, we have not been asked to at this point. as we move forward, if there is a request for us to help and become more ingates, then we would. i think the special forces understands what the report
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says. we all take this seriously. there have been modifications to how weak due to the training as they move forward. getting with the minister of interior. they have the oversight. we have been retraining. there are teams in these districts data from the ministry of interior and we of the oversight for. we have been doing retraining with them so they know better what to be looking for in the alp unit s of those districts. >> hi. thank you for doing this briefing. if you could assess the
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intelligence gathering capabilities, in light of these incidents in kabul. what kinds of things which you consider to improve the intelligence gathering? >> there are attacks that have been done by the -->> [no audio] >> repeat the national director -- whether it be the national directorate or other intel elements that are out there. we're teaching intel collection that is pretty robust and operating outside through the country and down in the south and in the east and in kabul in trying to develop a network of information that would enable
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them to deter some of these things. part has been successful. there are four more attacks that the been disrupted and people picked up because of those efforts. aboutn't normally hear those things but they are going on. we are now starting to develop intelligence units that are going out into the army formations. that is in the last six months that we've been putting those out into the formations. we have been cross sharing between the different ministries, the national director of nds and the m.o.d.,
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which is not been there in the past. that is starting to help. the last part is biometrics. the afghans now have a national biometrics database and they can cross reference when they are bringing people freight vetting process or to work their way into the army or the police. or they pick someone up and take their biometrics and take a back to the database and compared to whatever may be in the afghan national database, of which we do cross sharing. there is an intel effort going on. we stay within the defense and the interior and do not get involved in the national intel system itself.
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some other elements work with them. >> time for two more questions. >> a clarification on tom's question. that means they are operating without any logistical or medical support from the coalition. is that correct? tell us what part of the country they are operating. >> i will be glad to come back to george. i monitor all the training aspects. i collect that kind of data so we get feedback to just our programs. i will have to come back and make sure george gets that. i do not want to mislead anybody. that does not mean they didn't
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have any coalition support. we keep saying in december of 2014, there still will be coalition enablers here. we have not yet developed their logistics system, their maintenance system, or their medical system. those are areas that we're still working on. this is the year where we start taking that on. we have an additional 800 trainers better still coming to us. we will do an uplift of about 800 people by next march that will help starting getting at some of these specialty skills that are important. we have two or three years to get that in place so that they
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are much more able to operate without our support as we near 24 team. -- 2014. today we have not developed their systems to enable them to do that yet. >> i would like to go back to the question of long-term financial support. you have long-term projections that suggest you will need about $6 billion a year to support them? how much lower could you go before you think that would jeopardize some of the capability that is needed? >> $6 billion would be the max in the out years. once it is fully operational, the need for long-term sustainment cost collectively
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from the united states and the afghans themselves. there are a lot of variables. we are assuming that that is with nothing changing from what it is today. we do expect the level of insurgency to go down. we expect us to find more efficiencies in how we do things. that could further cut the long-term cost. we run lots of variables to look at the high and low. we've been told not sacrificed their capabilities and to make sure they have the same capacity that they have today as we do this. it will work closely with the afghans on this and looking at the long term cost. if we do not need 352, then it
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starts to reduce the overall cost. some of the things we're doing will show savings later. we're putting air-conditioner is in most of the places we are building two years ago. today we do not do that at all. we put in fans. we have recognize what is best for afghanistan. each time you put in another air-conditioning unit, you require human capital. it goes on and on. we do keep looking at an asking ourselves, how do we get the best return on the investment so that it is the most sustainable while still giving them the same capability they
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need to handle this level of insurgency. that is a big part. it will be less than that amount. >> we will wrap these things up here. any final comments before it let you get back to your evening duties? >> let me say thanks for this opportunity. we do most everything in an unclassified manner. if you have any follow-up questions or information you would like to know, we would be glad to provide answers to those. 95% of what we do is unclassified over here.
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we will get those other answers back in terms of the effectiveness. we have that data available. i don't have that and by fingertips. -- at my fingertips. we will get that back to you shortly, george. after being on the ground almost to its ears, i am optimistic about the future of what this place can haul for the afghan people. i see this out there, whether it's a senior afghan official with ideas to better do something, whether it is the attack we saw on the 13th, heroic deeds by afghan police,
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giving their lives to save other afghans. it is things two years ago that i did not see. they got better at what they do. all this underpinned by leadership. leadership is the key to making a difference in this country. they are starting to bring a district police chiefs and provincial police chiefs back for refresher courses of three to five weeks being taught by us and everybody working together. we're starting to see a difference in their performance. it gives you hope for the future, what this country have to have itself. >> once again, thank you. have a good day.
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>> he founded several labor unions and founded the socialist party, running five times. the last time from prison. he lost but he changed history. he is one of the 14 men featured in our new series, "the contenders." depicted a preview and watch some of our other videos at a special web site for the serious. -- series. >> you should start with the assumption that when a politician is saying something, they are not telling you the truth is. they may be telling you the truth but the burden should be on them to prove it.
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>> key as an eagle scout, directed and produced three of the top 10 grossing documentaries and also a best- selling author. his latest is a memoir. sunday, your chance to call michael moore. >> topics include congressional redistricting and some of the challenges facing the joint deficit reduction committee. it starts the seven eastern -- at 7:00 eastern. the senate also passed a one week continuing resolution on federal spending that the house was expected to clear later this week. here is some of the senate debate. objection. ms. landrieu: there are other members that are coming down to speak but i wanted to add a few other things to the record on
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this. first of all, over the weekend there was some reports and some statements made that this was a manufactured crisis that. that was said by one of the crisis -- one of our colleagues on the big talk shows on sunday morning. first of all, that infers that this is not a real crisis; it was just made up because we enjoy, you know, fighting here in washington. nothing could be further from the truth. this is not fun to do. sometimes it's necessary to draw sharp contrast between policies because the outcome of which has effects on people's lives in a significant way. again, where would we have been along the gulf coast had the canter doctrine been in effect and use use routinely when katra hit the gulf coast? where would we be? instead of new orleans being
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rebuilt, instead of biloxi being rebuilt, instead of large portions of the gulf coast being rebuilt today, we would still be obably debating where we're going to find the money to do the work. now,hat's number one. number t, the crisis may not be real for the whole country right now today as we speak on monday, but i can promise you, for people in many, many, many states -- and i going to find this document in a minute -- in every state. this document here, which of i've used on the floor several tilesometimes in this debate, wh is thousands of pages, too numerous to mention. these represent line items-- --these line items and budget items have already been shut down. so government is still operating
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through this week, and we are going to work this out. we are not going to let the government shut down over this, i promise you. if i have anything to say about it. i might not, but my caucus may overrule me. but it is worth arguing about to try to see if we can come to some reasonable compromise, which leader reid has offered. but there's already a crisis for those that think this is manufactured. why don't you spend some time this afternoon calling some of these small business people who have shut down their operations. they were building a road in alaska. they got stopped because fema stopped their funding weeks and weeks ago. this isn't made up by mary landrieu. go call craig fugate. go call anybody on this list. if you think this is manufactured -- they stopped their projects. why? because fema ran out of money, technically ran out of ney months ago.
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they're operating on fumes. in other words, they sort of stopped paying all of their regular work that was going on, rebuilding lots of places in america, so they cld give out their emergency aid to the east coast. they had no choice because we didn't give them enough money really to make it through the year. now, i sent a letter on this to the leadership mths ago because, of course, i know this. i'm the chair of the committee. they report to me regularly. they keep saying to me, senator, we're running out of money. we're running out of money. i've been saying this and i'm going to present letters to the record. anyone that follows this, knows this is true. so this is not a manufactured crisis. this whole issue started when representative cantor decided that the way to fix this problem is to cut something in the budget and have to offset something in order for us to move forward, and then the gears
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stopped. it was like he just threw a wrench in the gears. everything was actually going along quite smoothly. i know that the american people are tired of the fighting, tired of the name-calling. look, i'm proudly a centrist democrat. i am a still proud to say that. i've negotiated probably every major deal that's been done -- or compromise i've been somewhat a part of, for 15 years since i've been here. some people don't like that about me, but i actually think it's good, and i'm proud of t so i am certainly not one of the ones that likes to start a partisan brawl just for the heck of it. but thiss an important principle. this is an important principle. and the principle is this: should americans have to scramble to find offsets while the water is rising and the wind is blowi, when we don't require the same for emergencies overseas?
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we don't scram to believe find offsets when a -- we don't scramble to find offsets when a drought hi or a famine hits in e part of africa? yet our people are calling for help at home and this has gotten on the tea party agenda that somehow you need to find an offset, an offset that everybody agrees to. good luck. there are very few things up here that two people agree to, let alone 535. if i had to do that, mr. president for katna and rita, i don't know what i would have done. i don't know what i would have done. so, we are in a crisis. it may not be for everyone in the country right now, like it could be next week i the govement shuts down, which it won't;, we're going to find a
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way forward. for these people, it has been a crisis for months. the bridges and projects are shut down, the libraries are shut down. all the workers have been shut down or told, you're working on this project don't expect a paycheck. i don't know how many people will continue to show up without receiving a paycheck. maybe some people are still doing that. nenumber two, we sent $1.3 trillion to iraq and afghanistan in the last six years -- seven years. $1.3 trillion. not requiring one offset. and yet people of florida are looking for help, people in vermont are looking for help, and the cantor doctrine says, no, we have to find cuts in the budget. and finally -- and i know the senator fromful facilitate wants to speak -- i want to correct, because i want to be accurate in this debate -- i want to correct one thing that i said. i said that never before have we offset fema money. my staff corrected me and said, one


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