tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN April 10, 2012 10:00am-1:00pm EDT
conflict prevention team than we would u.s. troops. host: our viewers will get a better glimpse at what usip does later on this morning in about a half-hour. our cameras will stay there. the usip is having a gathering on prospects for peace in afghanistan with the state department's special representative for pakistan and and afghanistan, ambassador marc grossman. we want to thank for joining us and talking to our viewers. i want to thank the usip as well as andrew wilder and richard solomon for hosting us this morning at the united states institute of peace, letting us get a glimpse of the new headquarters there in washington and taxpayer dollars funding the building, funding the u.s. institute of peace.
we want to thank you all for letting us talk to you and get a better idea of what you do and how you spend the money. so thank you very much. that does it for today's washington journal. we will be back tomorrow morning with more your thoughts and phone calls and tweets. thanks for watching today. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
>> he's holding a town hall meeting in wilmington at a steel and construction company this squaff noone live at 5:55 here on c-span. all this week on c-span2, we are bringing you selected "q&a" interviews with the producers, directors, and subjects of documentary films. today filmmaker charles evens junior on his movie addiction incorporated, about former philip morris research scientist viktor denoble, and his discovery what makes cigarettes addictive. on c-span2. in about 30 minutes you heard we are heading back to the u.s. institute of peace where a discussion on transition in afghanistan. we spoke to the institute afghanistan program this morning on "washington journal." we'll show that how until the discussion gets under way at 10:30.
host: we want to dig deeper into the situation in afghanistan, mr. wilder. with the headlines yesterday, here's one from the "wall street journal," afghans take control of night raids. what does this deal mean for future negotiations? diplomacy negotiations between the united states and afghanistan? guest: this is a significant development because it's really the last major hurdle that stood in the path of negotiating a strategic partnership agreement between the governments of afghanistan and the united states. which would dictate the longer term engagement of the u.s. in afghanistan after 2014 when the majority of international troops withdraw. there's been some major sticking points in this negotiation. one was control of detention facilities. and the second major one was control of the night raid which had been very controversial in afghanistan and something that president karzai has been very critical of for several years
now. but it now looks like an agreement has been reached in terms of greater -- more control over the night raids and detention. that paves the way for an agreement which everyone is hoping will be signed prior to the summit conference in may in chicago. once that's signed, i think it's an important signal of the longer term u.s. commitment in afghanistan because a big concern of many afghans is that the international community led by the u.s. not abandon afghanistan again to some extent which is what happened in the early 1990's, which afghanistan then descended back into anarchy and chaos. i think this partnership agreement will be critically important to send a signal both to the taliban and neighboring countries and the afghan people of the us' longer -- u.s.'s longer term commitment to remain engaged in afghanistan. host: larry cord recently wrote a peace in politico saying that
it's time to let karzai kick us out, out of the country. he said this, that late 2008 when the u.n. mandate authorizing american occupation ended, president george w. bush who adamantly opposed to setting a date for american withdrawal was forced to sign an agreement with the iraqi leader that stipulated two things. first he agreed within six months of all american troops would withdraw. second he insisted all american troops had to be withdrawn completely within three years, that is by the end of 2011. larry making the comparison to this night raid deal struck by hamid karzai to what al maliki did in iraq this is a move towards kicking us out of afghanistan. what's your reaction? guest: i don't think that's the case. i think afghanistan is very different than the situation in iraq where i think there was more of a desire to see all international forces leave. in afghanistan there's a very
ambivalent relationship regarding a perception of foreign troops. while at times they are not unpopular, especially when we have events like we had recently with the massacre of the civilians in kandahar or the koran burning incident, there's lots of anger directed at the presence of international forces. on the other hand, i still think the majority of afghans fear the rapid departure of international troops from afghanistan much more than they fear them staying on longer term. because they have all experienced in the 1990's what happened with the international community departed from afghanistan essentially forgot afghanistan. and there was a return to anarchy and factional fighting and civil war, which really then created an opportunity for the taliban to emerge in afghanistan and gain power throughout most of the country and then provide a safe haven for al qaeda and groups like that in afghanistan. so i think afghans really want to prevent that from happening
again and fear the rapid departure of international troops. that said, i think the time frame that the obama administration and the nato and its -- and the nato allies have agreed to to withdraw the majority of international troops by the end of 2014 is a good one, because i don't think we can sustain this level of troop presence in afghanistan for the long term, nor should we. host: charles is a republican in woodbridge, virginia. you are on the air with andrew wilder, afghanistan-pakistan expert at usip. go ahead. caller: a couple points. first one being the building it's interesting it's 160 million, i understand a third was paid by private donations. you take that 160 million, i don't know what you guys could have been paying, if you were paying $1 million a year in rent it would take you $160 years to make up that amount much less any amount you paid for all the new furnishings and everything else. regarding the karzai thing and the whole issue of night raids,
karzai is always going to talk at us as if he's the kingpin here and he runs the show and yet we are pumping the money, which is the only reason that we are still in there. he doesn't want us out because we are funding everything in their country. as far as the security. he knows that. if we back out then it would all be on him and the afghan people. as crooked as the government is, things would go south real fast. the afghan issue is a real joke. i never heard anybody make a good argument as to when or why we would leave when everyone says stabilization. yet there's no way to stabilize it. you said afghanistan and iran are -- iraq were two different animals. i agree. at least iraq had oil and a way to stabilize itself. a way to make income. where afghanistan doesn't. on top of that we are wasting all these american lives over there and providing all the security so china can go in
there and take advantage of all the mineral rights in that country. it is amazing what china is doing there. host: mr. wilder. guest: very good points made there. i think one of the issues that i think has been a problem with the u.s. and the broader international community strategy in afghanistan was the large -- the main focus is on the military strategy which was critically important, but often overlooked was the political strategy to guide what we are doing in afghanistan. and i think that's where there needs to be more focus as we head towards this 2014 security transition. is not forget there is also a political transition in 2014 when according to the constitution president karzai is required to step down. he cannot seek a third term in office. and so there's a real opportunity coming for a democratic transition in afghanistan which could lead to stronger leadership and also combined with a reconciliation
process which could facilitate a broader and more inclusive political settlement. so the focus shifting a bit more to political solutions to the conflict rather than relying so heavily on the military solutions. and on the point of the mineral rights, that's a very important one. with china having gotten the rights to the minimum wageor departments and more recently india, some very large iron or deposits, these resources will be critically important to sustain afghan's economy moving forward and economic growth. however, in an environment with weak institutions like we have in afghanistan, you can have this resource curse where if we exploit those resources and those are captured by a few warlords or corrupt elements, don't benefit the broader economy and people, they could end up being destabilizing. so this is actually an example where u.s. i.p. is currently funding a project to look at
more community based meck niches to monitor -- mechanisms to monitor the sector in afghanistan in particular because some of the government institutions are so weak. we need local communities to be more empowered to have oversight over the mineral extraction in afghanistan. or else i think it could end up being more destabilizing than stabilizing. host: we are live from the united states institute of peace, inside their new permanent home located here in washington. kitty corner from the state department and next to the war memorials in washington. about 20 blocks from the capitol. maverick on twitter has this question for you. with these withdrawal greements over time after democratic elections take place. guest: i didn't catch the first part of that question. host: with the middies how effective has these withdrawal agreements over time have
democratic elections take place. guest: i think iraq was one where there was a lot of skepticism about the elections could take place. despite the very difficult circumstances they were held and i think did play an important role in transitioning to the current situation which is not ideal, but i think could have been worse. i think in afghanistan there is an urgent need to really look at the 2014 elections. that's something usip is trying to do now is get a policy attention focused now on the political transition in 2014. because organizing a presidential election in a conflict zone like afghanistan is incredibly difficult. the last round of elections were also very problematic, lots of rigging which really delegitimatized the results. if the international community led by the u.s. works closely with the afghan government and civil society organizations starting now to plan for those elections, i think that there are good prospects that we could have a relatively credible
democratic election in afghanistan which would be very important, i think, to facilitate future peace in afghanistan. if we have a disastrous election in 2014 and end up with a really illegitimate government and illegitimate election result, at the same time that the majority of international troops are meant to be withdrawing from afghanistan, that could be a real recipe for disaster. host: gail, an independent in indiana. good morning. caller: good morning. what the recent events in afghanistan and you look back at iraq, you look back at vietnam, and look at the 101st, he's been in leavenworth for three years now. we have the recent sergeant
bales, afghanistan or iraq chimed in sacrifice troops. when are you going to stand behind the troops? i mean you sent them over there, but when are you going to stand up for them and stand behind them instead of kissing karzai's and giving china the right to go in there after americans have died-- host: mr. wilder, your reaction? guest: i think your question is a tough question. and i think the reason we went into afghanistan is important to remember which is of course the 9/11 attacks, which originated or were plan interested al qaeda based in afghanistan. so that's why we went in. i think after that the objectives grew to try to prevent -- to stabilize afghanistan and prevent it once again returning to an environment which could provide safe havens for groups like al qaeda.
i think it is important to remember why we are in afghanistan. i do think in the last 10 years lots of progress has been made in terms of defeating al qaeda and afghanistan. there's very limited presence now in afghanistan, which is why i think president obama has the time frame now to withdraw the majority of troops from afghanistan. but the questioner is absolutely right. terrible things happen in afghanistan. our troops have been put in very difficult situations. and have done a fantastic job, but i do think the time is there for the majority of international troops to withdrawal, but i think it needs to be done responsibly, if we completely pull the legs out from the situation we created in afghanistan, i think you could easily see the structures collapse. i would argue that we need to withdraw, there needs to be in a responsible manner according to the time frame agreed by the u.s. and our nato allies to bring the majority of troops out
by the end of 2014. host: max 843 on our twitter page says usip signed into law by reagan in 1984 an idea commissioned -- from a commission appointed by former president jimmy carter. a little history about usip as we come to you live from their new permanent headquarters here in washington. andrew wilder is an expert on afghanistan and pakistan. we have about 10 minutes left here with him. to katherine, democrat caller in cleeves, ohio. caller: good morning. i'm a c-span watcher. i watch it every morning since i retired. my question has to do with contractors. how much money, taxpayer money, has been made by contractors in afghanistan and iraq? i live in hamilton county, that's where cincinnati is the largest city. all roads and bridges are
atrocious. you can't go 20 feet without running into holes and bridges that are almost to fall down. and we are going to spend my taxpayer money, my children's taxpayer money, my grandchildren's taxpayer money on afghanistan? host: let's take that point. mr. wilder, what is usip doing in afghanistan that is uniquely you and not something that the state department could do? guest: i think that's a very good question. one of the issues is wars are incredibly expensive, i think you talk to any of our senior military leadership, whenever possible try to avoid getting into these situations which would be the most cost-effective way in terms of saving money and resources. once we get into a war they are expensive. that said, i do think there has been lots of money wasted in afghanistan over the last 10 years with some of the contracting work that's gone on
there. it's also important to remember there's been lots of good work done as well. it's not all been wasted. we made we'll strides in terms of increasing accession to education in afghanistan. in terms of the health system in afghanistan. and the work that usip is doing in particular we are really trying to focus on trying to learn about how to avoid conflicts like this in future. how to resolve conflicts at the local level to prevent them from getting into larger and more expensive conflicts. more example, usip has been leading and trying to understand local dispute resolution meck niches. again in this environment where you have a very weak government, weak government institutions, it's often up to civil society organizations and local communities to resolve their disputes. so we have been trying to get a much better understanding of how these dispute resolutions work and trying to share that understanding with our military
colleagues and civilian colleagues in nato isap as well as the u.s. embassy in kabul. and some of those lessons are now being applied. while a lot of money has been spent on the war efforts, we are now moving to phase down that engagement, both militarily and i think a lot of the civilian aid will also be sharply reduced during the coming years. it is important, i think, not to once again make the point that we not go from maybe trying to do too much in afghanistan to then trying to do too little. afghanistan is an important country in terms of u.s. strategy interest in that region. we shouldn't abandon it all together. some of our resources we really need to commit to a longer term to continue the effort to develop afghanistan and continue to make sure it doesn't become an vimplete again that becomes a safe hache for groups like al qaeda. host: on our republican line, bruce in denver, colorado. caller: hello.
host: good morning, bruce. caller: if left to their own devices over there, since it's a tribal culture, wouldn't the people for themselves actually pick shari'a law? and what claim do we have that the karzai government is in any way legitimate? host: mr. wilder. guest: very good question. i think afghanistan is incredibly complex. tribal laws apply, but they apply differently in different parts of the country. it's also very strong ethnic divisions in afghanistan which -- you can get agreement on some tribal laws in one area, but it's hard to apply them throughout the country. i do agree in many parts of afghanistan if given an option, many afghans would choose shari'a law. but then you have also in addition to the tribal and ethnic divisions, you have major divisions between some of the more educated middle classes that are emerging in the urban
centers of afghanistan and some of the more deeply conservative rural areas. so it's very difficult to get consensus on any one system of government or law moving forward, which is why i think in this day and age democratic elections are still the best way to get elected parliament that then can represent the different parts of the country, the different ethnic groups in the country, and then get consensus on laws that they can agree to apply throughout the country. host: this viewer on twitter who calls himself rightwing says we are broke. we cannot afford u.s. -- usip or afghanistan, when they start reducing secret service payments, people will get the message. we are coming to you live from the united states institute of peace ed hearts here in washington. what's your question or comment for andrew wilder? caller: hi. thanks for what you do to promote peace.
i'm wondering if there are any efforts going on to help protect the women in afghanistan and if women are being used as change agents in the middle east? for instance, when the israeli women and palestinian women get together, they maybe could make a peace better than their men. so i'm wondering what in general, what are your efforts involving women in this -- in the troubles we have in the world? guest: that's an excellent question. it's incredibly important to involve women in these peace processes. that's something certainly the u.s. institute of peace has been strongly advocating for. we are currently leading an effort to try to learn from lessons in both iraq and afghanistan and how to increase the role of women in these kind of conflict situations and in terms of promoting peace. in fact, next week we are actually hosting a delegation from the high peace council from
afghanistan, including two of their female members, and we'll be specifically talking about how this can be -- the role of women can be increased in afghanistan. unfortunately it's a deeply conservative society so often it's been a struggle, but i think one of the really encouraging things over the last 10 years in afghanistan is that you do have lots more civil society organizations and women's groups in particular who have become much more active in terms of standing up for their rights, promoting women and girls' rights in afghanistan, and demanding a greater say in this -- the peace process and the discussions with the taliban which are now just beginning. there are concerns that a reconciliation process with the taliban could lead to setbacks in terms of the gains made in the last 10 years. but this is why i think one of the real major demands of many afghans, but also something that usip has been focusing on, is
there any peace process in afghanistan if it's going to be durable needs to be inclusive. that really means also prioritizing the inclusion of women in the peace process. thanks for the excellent question. host: val, a democrat in sanford, florida. good morning. caller: yes. i want to ask a question. i know george w. bush said for all of us to hear on tv, he said, after all saddam tried to hurt my daddy. but other than that reason to invade iraq i want to ask this guest why we invaded iraq. guest: i'm not an expert so much on iraq because my focus for the last 345 years of my life has been more on pakistan and afghanistan which is where the region i'm covering for afghanistan. i can't speak so much to iraq, but just in terms of why we invaded afghanistan, it was very directly related to the 9/11
attacks which were the perpetrators, a lot of the planning of that took place in afghanistan. that's what took us into afghanistan. i think you can question some of the decisions of the last 10 years as to why we are there and why we are there at the scale we are there, but now there is definitely a clear-cut plan to start the withdrawal process and transition out of afghanistan. but that's being done i think in large part because of the feeling that there's been so much progress made in degrading and weakening the al qaeda presence in afghanistan. host: andrew wilder, afghanistan and pakistan program director for the united states institute of peace. thank you, sir, for joining us this morning and talking to our viewers about the situation in that country. guest: thank you very much for having me. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> word from afghanistan this morning suicide bombers struck two government offices killing
15 people as militants step up attacks across the country with the arrival of spring. we'll have more from the u.s. institute of peace and their discussion on the transition process in afghanistan. coming up in about five minutes or so. we'll take you there live once it starts. back to our visit this morning at the u.s. institute of peace. host: the united states institute of peace, there it is on your screen. a grand new building in washington across the street from the state department. across the river from the pentagon. about 20 blocks away from the capitol. according to its website it conducts original research, develops new tech nee,, produces reports and publications all on diplomacy and brokering peace. it is active in many countries, many hot spots around the world. the balkans, afghanistan, colombia, iraq, liberia, nepal, pakistan, etc. the list goes on. joining us inside their brand new building is the president, richard solomon, for the u.s. institute of peace.
someone with a deep background in diplomacy efforts. mr. solomon, one of your expertise is south korea-north korea relations. i want to bounce this headline off of you in the "washington times." south korea says north korea is about to test its nuke weapon. what's your take on this, sir? guest: well, you picked the one country where diplomacy is really having a tough time and that is dealing with north korea. this is a failed state. it's pretty isolated by its own actions. and the military leadership thinks that having nuclear weapons and missiles is going to protect them. in fact, they have impoverished the country. the chinese who were their one major supporters are begging them to open up the country, but the military won't do it. they are afraid of instability because they have impoverished their people for so long. unfortunately diplomacy has been pretty well discredited over several decades. we negotiate deals of various
sorts, food aid for control of their nuclear weapons, and they repeatedly violate the agreements. so we are dealing with a situation where, unfortunately, diplomacy does not have a very good record of success. host: it's failed with north korea and the white house's strategy, has it failed? this is "the washington post" this morning. the white house is defending its north korea strategy. guest: everybody wants to resolve this problem by diplomacy. so it is important just for political reasons to make an effort. but as the saying goes we have sold the same horse over and over again to the north koreans. that is we say, if you'll open up to inspection of your nuclear program, if you'll stop reprocessing uranium or plutonium, then we'll give you food aid or other ways try to be
helpful to your development. each time the deal breaks down. so the obama administration is once again -- has once again shown diplomacy doesn't work. we are in a situation probably where containment and working with the chinese who are into the leadership, hopefully the chinese will convince this new generation of leaders that has just taken hold their approach isn't working. host: that's the headline on north korea. we showed our viewers the headline on the situation in syria. that there was cross border attacks yesterday into turkey and another country. and so what -- give us -- is the usip working in north korea and syria? and the way talking about what is the role of the united states institute of peace? guest: let me give you a background. we were set up by congress, primarily the senate, in the
early 1980's. we were set up in the shadow of the vietnam war. the feeling was if only we could strengthen our diplomacy, our use of political measures, we wouldn't always have to send in the troops. and over the 2 1/2 decades that we have been in business, we have developed approaches to dealing with a variety of conflicts around the world. again, using political means. we are at a major break point in history. unlike the cold war period where we confronted imperial-minded states, major armies, and where diplomacy was really state to state kinds of things, we are dealing with a world today where nonstate actors, terrorist groups, religiously oriented movements that are in a sense below the level of state activity, are having a major effect on the world. and our work is in a sense supplemental to what the state
department does in the fact that we deal with these nonstate actors. we support our military, which looks to us to try to negotiate situations that will get them out of a fight as we have done in several instances in iraq. and to train local people, whether it's iraq, afghanistan, elsewhere to try to deal with their own conflicts by political means so that we don't have to get drawn into a fight. today the situation in syria is very dangerous. we have, you'll hear very shortly from steve on our staff who is running a working group, trying to figure out ways to deal politically with the syrian situation. there's an opposition that is not well unified. so we are trying to help them approach their dealings with the assad regime hopefully for some kind of a negotiated settlement
of the conflict. but it doesn't look as if it's headed that way right now. indeed, it may well be escalating as turkey, lebanon, others on the borders of syria provide shelter to opposition fighters. host: i'll show our viewers the budget for the united states institute of peace over the years. back in 2010 about $49 million. this is according to your website. $39.5 million in 2011. 2012 you received about $39 million. then the budget request for next year for 2013, $37 million. what do you do with that money? guest: we run a whole range of programs related to conflict management. we do research on best practices in managing conflicts. we train people abroad. we train our own people. one of the things that we have been very active with is working with our military. starting in 1994, general zinni
asked us to start training his marine war fighters for peacekeeping operations. and that's an activity we have been very active in. we train civilian police to go in as they did in kosovo after the balkan war to try to stabilize local communities so that they could re-establish civil government. and we train local people again to try to manage their own conflicts. we convene on a bipartisan basis . exsperts to work on very serious problems of national security. you may have heard of the iraq study group that was led by former secretary of state james baker and former congressman lee hampton. their bipartisan group looked at ways of trying to deescalate our involvement in iraq. we have done studies of genocide prevention. of u.n. reform.
and variety of other bipartisan assessments. that in a very polarized political environment here in town are valued for their professionalism and their bipartisan quality. our budget's pretty minimal. it's about 12 cents a year per american. it's 1/10 of one percent of the state department budget. but our work seems to have a significant impact even though oiler budget is pretty minimal. host: private donations? guest: we cannot use private money for our programs. the only private money authorized by congress was for our building and our new building, about 1/3 was paid for with private donations. to keep us bipartisan and a national institution, congress has legislated that only appropriated money out of congress can fund our
programmatic work. host: the total price tag for that new building that you're in this morning? guest: right. well, the basic construction was about $160 million. as i said, about 1/3 of that was private money. the architect did a brilliant job. everybody seems very, very pleased with this building. we are right opposite all the war member moreials at the northwest corner of the mall. we call this the war and peace corner of the mall. we are here as both a symbol of our country's effort to try to deal with the world by peaceful political means, and of course we are a working center. earlier you commented that we are just across the river from the pentagon. we are not far from the capitol building, the state department. we are a convening point. one ever our strength is that we bring together people from the different government agencies,
from the humanitarian assistance n.g.o.'s, international organizations who need to collaborate in dealing with the conflict situations in today's world. and in that sense we help to break the stove pipes, so-called, of the government bureaucracies that tend to work within their own bureaucratic frameworks and help build the civilian capacity for dealing with international conflict. host: let's go to phone calls. randy a democrat in edwardsville, illinois. go ahead. caller: basically he said they weren't allowed to accept private money. a third of the money was donated privately to build the building. are he they just kind of -- this just another government agency? host: how would you answer that? guest: well, two comments. the private money is only allowed to finance the building.
congress made an exception on the issue of private money so that it only applies to the building project and hospitality. but our programmatic work is solely funded with government money. i'm sorry your second question was? host: he was wondering about do you go up against war are the words that he used. guest: well, everybody wants to avoid a war. but the reality is that -- >> next we'll take you back live to the u.s. institute of peace for a discussion on the transition in afghanistan. the drawdown of troops and the political transition ahead in 2014. among the panelists, former national security advisor stephen hadley, the state department special representative for afghanistan and pakistan. ambassador marc grossman. it's just about to get under way. live here on c-span.
>> good morning. my name is george moose, i'm the vice chair of the board of directors here at the u.s. institute of peace. i'm pleased to welcome you here this morning. before we begin i would like to ask all of you to turn off your cell phones and your pagers. because they interfere with our own electronic systems, including those that are streaming today's session live over the internet to our many listeners in our virtual audience out there. this morning i have the honor to
introduce today's session on prospects for peace in afghanistan. as the size of today's audience is evidence enough of the interest in this topic. my dubious claim to this particular honor lies in the fact that i recently returned from a three-week visit to pakistan on behalf of the state department, which of course naturally qualifies me as an instant expert on the subject. usip as an institution, however, has a much longer and much deeper involvement in afghanistan going back to two -- 2002 with the institute was asked to apply its special expertise in the areas of peace building to the task of promoting peace and stability in afghanistan. for the past two years usip has focused its attentions on the development of a strategy for the country's political transition and transformation. one built around constitution of
development, credible elections, and a durable and inclusive peace process. in 2008, usip hosted minister as a jennings randolph resident fellow here. we regret he was not able to join us for this session but we look forward to his parpgts in future session -- participation in future sessions. his research helped inform the afghan peace and reintegration program which in turn has become the blueprint for usip's own reconciliation and reintegration work. as is abundantly evidence to all concern pakistan is also a critical element in any calculation of the prospects for peace in afghanistan. which is why usip also has a presence and a program there. some would question whether dick holbrook's original rand vision of a strategic partnership between u.s. and pakistan was ever realistic and viable, but i
think there is widespread agreement whatever hopes there might have been for such a partnership have been shattered by the multiple shocks of 2011, the most significant of which was the raid almost a year ago on osama bin laden's compound. just when one thought the u.s.-pakistan relationship couldn't get any rockier, we have the announcement by the u.s. government last week regarding lakshar leader, said, which was made on the eve of a long awaited visit by the pars to india and the eve of pakistan's parliament debate of a long awaited report on the future of the pakistan-u.s. relationship. and if that were not enough, we have the op-ed piece over the weekend by representative dana rohrabacher vigorously defending the resolution he had introduced
in february calling for self-determination. which seems certain to reignite the passionate reactions of pakistani officials. now, these developments and others inevitably give rise to a series of questions. among them, how to respond to those here in this country who are increasingly calling for an end to u.s. military engagement in afghanistan. how to ensure a credible political transition in afghanistan, one requiring both credible presidential elections in 2014 and an inclusive peace process. whether the u.s. can succeed in its efforts to bring about negotiated into pakistan civil war, in the absence of pakistan's -- afghanistan civil war and absence of pakistan's engagement and cooperation. in short, what are the prospects for peace in afghanistan? to provide answers to these
questions, we are privileged to have a very distinguished panel of experts, true experts. i will not read their biographies since you have them, but i would offer the following highlights. marc grossman has held just about every major post one can hold in the department of state. ambassador to turkey, assistant secretary of state for european affairs, director general of the foreign service, and undersecretary of state for political affairs, the department's third highest position. since february, 2011, he has served as special representative of afghanistan -- for afghanistan and pakistan with all of the challenges pertaining. and i think it's important to note that marc's diplomatic career was launched in pakistan. that was his first posting. in essence he has come full circle in his career.
nilofer sakhi has written extensively. she is founder and chairperson of women's and activities of women's service association where she established the association for peace building and conflict resolution. she served as a country director at the open foundations, afghanistan program, where she also worked as a senior consultant on rule of law, transitional justice, and human rights. ahmed rashid is pakistan's pre-eminent journalist and author. his writings are required reading for anyone seeking to understand the realities of afghanistan and pakistan. his publications which include "taliban, jihad, and descent into chaos" has sold millions of copies. his newly published work, pakistan on the brink is already being described by viewers as a
must-read. where and how that rand design went awry. i will add living as he does in la pure and -- lapur and writing as he does with unrestrained honesty and candor also qualifies him as a man of considerable personal courage. last but not least, we are privileged to have with us, ambassador omar samad, who is afghanistan senior expert here at the u.s. institute of peace. prior to joining usip he served as afghanistan's ambassador to france and previously as afghanistan's ambassador to canada and prior to that spokesman in the afghan foreign ministry. a graduate of american university and the fletcher school, he's widely own and respected for his determined efforts to promote the cause of freedom and democracy in afghanistan. now, given that extraordinarily qualified group of panelists, we
knew that we needed someone with equally extraordinary credentials to serve as our moderator. we could not have found anyone better qualified than former assistant to the president for national security, stephen hadley. as a top advisor to president george w. bush for eight years, steve has left his mark on every major foreign policy issue the united states has confronted. he has continued to do so since leaving office through his involvement in a host of policy study groups and his extensive travels, including his own visit to pakistan of last october. importantly for us here at usip, he's a former member of the usip board and we continue to benefit from his support and his sage advice. so it is with great pleasure that i turn the microphone over to steve hadley. >> thank you very much. i want to thank the panelists for being with us this morning.
and thank all of you. i think we should have a very interesting hour and a half on this most important question. i want to outline how we are going to try to proceed this morning. i'm going to begin by asking each panelist what may look like a bit of a softball question, but it's kind of a framing question so each of them can take three or four minutes in turn to sort of set out sort of a general approach to the problem. what we'll then do after that first round is i will then ask questions to the various panelists and i will try to see if i can broker a bit of a conversation between and among the pammists. -- panelists on the various issues of the day. i suspect when all that is done we will be basically an hour into this hour and a half which we have. and we will then go to questions and answers from the audience. you should have received as you came in or once you got seated a
card. we would ask you to write your question on that card. if you don't have a card you can raise your hand and people will come and get you one. and we would ask that you would pass those cards then to the aisles and someone from usip will come down each aisle and collect them and they will then be passed to me. and that last 30 minutes i will ask your questions to the members of the panel. we will try to end promptly at 12:00 noon, and ask you then to let the panelists have a moment to depart the hall before the rest of us exit. that's what we'll try to do this morning. and i think we could not have a better panel here to debate this important question about how to get to peace and stability in afghanistan and pakistan. so, without further ado, let me begin, ambassador grossman, i'd like to begin with you if i
might. ambassador moose talked about political strategy. i think if you read the press on afghanistan there is a lot of talk about security, security situation in afghanistan, the transition to afghanistan lead security responsibility in 2014. but under the constitution president karzai's term expires in 2014, which means there will be a presidential election. and one question is, will that presidential election result in a president with authority and support throughout the country, or could it be a repeat of the last couple elections which were contested and a source of division? accompanying the security transition strategy, could you say a little word about the political transition strategy and how the administration sees on the political side getting between where we are now and 2014 and beyond? >> thank you very much. let me just add my thanks to all of you and if i could add my
thanks to usip and all the people who organized this wonderful event. it's an honor to be on this panel. i might if i could say a special word of thanks to steve hadley, who in the year i have been the special representative for afghanistan and pakistan has been particularly well in his counsel of others. i appreciate it very much. i think the question, steve asked a great question, which is to say we spend a very large amount of time thinking about the security transition. security transition very important. laid out in lisbon in 2010, the transition and gee oggreafs which has already taken place. the military activity, the civilian development activity, all these areas we have been working hard on to promote the list done transition and then get through to a success at the end of 2014. i think i'll talk a little bit about the other transition. it's very important that we not lose sight of the success in list done. one other thing about list done, i had spent a couple weeks ago
around europe talking about support for the afghan national security forces. stay focused on the lisbon transition is because for a public in the united states and also publics in europe it's a very important part of explaining the story of how we are going to go forward in afghanistan to get to 2014. security transition a very important thing. steve's right, i think we ought to be spending a considerable more time thinking about what is the other transition that's happening in 2014. there are two transitions we ought to be considering. lisbon, then obviously the political transition as called for by the constitution of afghanistan. an election, change in leadership, and they very importantly getting to the transformational decade which was called for at the very important conference in bohn. -- bonn. i'll say three things about that. first, there is obviously a huge amount of work for afghans to do to get ready for 2014.
because this election, how they want to run their own country, what their life will be like in that transformational decade 2014 to 2024 i think fundamentally is a question for afghans. we can talk about this and encourage and work with the election commission and consider questions going forward for 2014, this is first and foremost i believe an afghan question. i know that they will focus on it and focus on it successfully. second, as steve said, there are two or three other pieces of getting ready for that transition that are extremely important. one, i believe, is the regional context in which that second transition will take place. i take you back if i could to the very important meeting in istanbul last november, the very important international conference in bonn last december which set a framework for secure, stable and pros fuss afghanistan inside of a secure, stable, and prosperous region. regional component of this, support of this transition in afghanistan is extremely important.
second, let's not forget also the economic aspects of this. here steve and others have been particularly helpful to me which is to say that going forward to 2014 and after 2014 there's also got to be a even economic provision in connecting the economies with afghanistan and pakistan in the center. i believe that will also play a very important role and awk sess for these two transitions in 2014. finally, as george said and also steve repeated, there is the question of peace and reconciliation. george talked i think very rightly about the efforts the minister is making that we are trying to produce also for one and one reason only, which is to see if we can get afghans talking to other afghans about the future of afghanistan. but i believe the peace process, the question of this conference, prospects for peace, reconciliation, reintegration, all of these will play a very important role in whether we are
successful in the dual transitions in 2014. >> thank you, marc. i'd like if i could to ask ambassador samad to pick up on that and particularly picking up on this -- the political strategy. there's been a lot of discussion about outreach to the taliban as an element of a political strategy between now and 2014. i'd like you, if you could, to talk a little bit about the rest of a political transition in 2014. you have written, for example, in a recent article, you had a quote that said, much of afghanistan's loyal political opposition, women's rights groups, and civil society not only feel marginalized but are also increasingly concerned about a re-tally banization of the country because of misplaced priorities. that's a serious statement.
could you talk a little bit about what you mean by feeling marginalized and what ought to be the approach of the afghan authorities and the united states to address those issues and that feeling? >> thank you. thank you for the easy question. good morning to everyone here. i thought the ambassador would get all the tough questions. that's the advantage of being an ex-diplomat. by what i had written i'm trying to reflect, i think, what the afghan people are feeling in terms of the political transition that is about to take place, if and when it takes place and how it will take place, and what to feel first of all i think connected to a transition. you want to feel inclusive and included in the process that not only takes into account their aspirations, but also deals and
offers them certain solutions and answers to questions that are really tough in terms of what are we doing with the taliban? which taliban? where and what context? these are questions that i think are on the minds of many people not only in afghanistan but also across the world, especially the main contributors and main stakeholders as to what exactly are we going to get out of a reconciliation. a political process is the way to end the conflict and we hope that that will be the case for afghanistan. but there are many questions as to what kind of reconciliation. is it going to be narrow? is it going to be one where we bargain over certain gains that we have had, afghans have had over the past decade? what are we going to give up? what are we getting in return for it?
if we are going to end up with a political sentiment, which is a bad word being used, what does it mean? what does a political settlement mean in terms of incorporating certain elements within the after began rooting structures, giving away certain positions. does it mean that this will guarantee the end of conflict. that everyone who is on today will actually sign on to this? so there are many questions lingering in people's minds. i think that that's what's caused a certain amount of uncertainty and angst within the afghan population. and especially within political circles. civil society, and especially the parliament. i think we keep ignoring this body called the legislature or parliament, whether we like it or not, an elected body in afghanistan, elections are not
perfect. but we cannot ignore their views and their input. so i think that it's important that as we move forward with the political process, we keep in mind that afghans have certain questions. they would like to have some transparency as part of this process. and they are really also worried about the regional context. as mr. grossman said, afghans see their immediate problems as originating not within afghanistan but originating within the regional context. and they see a lot of supporters outside of afghanistan as well as inside afghanistan. but the supporters inside afghanistan are our own supporters, we need to deal with them ourselves in our own way. but supporters outside of afghanistan are very difficult for us to handle. in the past 30 years of our history has shown that we need to find better ways of handling
this aspect of supporting coming outside afghanistan. >> thank you. one of the things that i think may inform the conversation here in the work that the u.s. institute of peace and the center for american progress have been doing, we have tried to distinguish between reconciliation, which is thought of as an outreach to the taliban, and a broader political settlement, which is making the afghan political structure more inclusive of both the opposition , women's groups, a sense that many view the afghan government now is narrow with a sense of entitlement, fair amount of corruption, so we have talked about outreach to the taliban or reconciliation with the taliban and political sell settlement in terms of broadening and opening up the afghan political structure. we might have that distinction in mind. .
>> the elrich to the taliban but also this broader prospect -- outreach to the taliban. >> for pell stand to discuss the peace prospects -- for pakistan to discuss the peace prospects. among women groups, on the issue of the transition, especially on the issue of the reconciliation. they have good memories of the taliban regimes.
it was not because of that. people were tired of the instability in the country and they wanted a solution where everybody could have a stake. then we started working with the different stakeholders. all the bad memories that they had from the taliban regime -- with the passage of time and the changes that happened during the last two years, optimism does not exist anymore. they are afraid of -- there's been a lack of transparency in the process. there has been a lack of -- the
private sectors, education and many other sectors. there were all part of a society and they were not consulted initially. it worked at the level that the international community just had been at the table to discuss the substance. the presentation of women's groups has been very symbolic in the process. it does not contain any substantive talks. women are concerned that the taliban has not released a document or published anything that would except the constitution of afghanistan.
has undermined the last 10 years of achievement. the support of the international committee has been focusing on this. now there is the level of pessimism that exists. there is no solution to the sentiment and reconciliation is not a solution. wait for more -- we think there's more need for a division in neighboring countries. let's talk about their interest because their interest matters lot. otherwise the foreign countries will not cooperate in the process. there will not discuss their interests at the negotiating table. the solution doesn't rely will talking to the taliban alone.
>> thank you. you have indicated some reservations about where the reconciliation and the political settlement process are now. i want to come back to you in a moment and ask you to be prescriptive. how do you get this process back on track? i would like to turn to mr. rashid. the importance of the regional players and the role they can have in terms of a stable peaceful afghanistan over the long term. there's no more important neighbor than pakistan. our objective is for a stable afghanistan and a stable peace for pakistan and they are related.
i will start very basically. there's a lot of discussion about what does pakistan want for afghanistan? do they want the return of the taliban? what are pakistan pasquale's in afghanistan -- what are pakistan's goals in afghanistan? what are they willing to do to bring that about? >> i wish i knew. i wish more people in this room new and i do not think they do. i think marc outlined a very comprehensive vision. i think part of the vision that must emerge in the chicago summit has to be the fact that
the aim has to be an end to the war before you leave. if the nato forces will leave afghanistan in a state of civil war, then i think we're looking at total failure at the end of the day. we're looking at the collapse of the entire political system as it has evolved over the past 10 years. i would like to see eight u.s. vision articulated. our aim is to end the war before we leave. i think that will carry weight in the international community. we can talk about each of these things individually but i think that has to be an overarching policy. maybe we do not get that but i
think the aim has to be expressed. if we look at the areas, the international situation is in a crisis. a lot of the europeans want to pull out early. the law long-term funding of afghanistan and the funding of the military. the regional situation -- the tensions with iran and the tensions with pakistan. the domestic situation inside afghanistan with these recent incidents we have had is also very precarious. i think an enormous amount needs to be done and we need diplomatic efforts on all three fronts in order to get this process going.
i've always believed that the military has essentially always alist position and a minimalist position. it has moved from one to another. it has for a long time a strong position where there is no compromise with india on afghanistan. micromanagement of any kind of political deal between the palestine -- and the taliban and eastern afghanistan. and then a minimalist position which is geared more around compromise of talks, and with
india and not rejected it completely. given the crisis with the u.s. and pakistan, both are taking center stage at the moment. there is an element of anti-u.s. defiance, which is being propagated in the media. this makes -- this takes on a hard line on afghanistan. how dare the u.s. talk to the taliban. how dare the u.s. talk about this strategy without sharing it with afghanistan. because of all the other crises, the military is weak.
i think it would also be willing and ready to accept this minimalist kind of set of demands for itself. t a question of how the u.s. and the international community is going to play with pakistan. is it going to be aggressive or is it going to be a little more patient? i think that is important. two things pakistan has to do. the time has long passed that pakistan can continue giving physical support for extremist and fundamentalists. i think this is going to require -- there has to be a deadline given to the outgoing
taliban and to the fellow groups to move out of pakistan in order to speed up its reconciliation. pakistan has to play a more positive role then it is done so far. it is critical for the international community to know that pakistan is given a certain time period. i think that is very important. there has to be a major effort at de radicalization. this does not mean confrontation in a military way. this is the kind of thing the international committee would give money to if pakistan did not have the resources itself. we have reached a certain
stage improving relations with india but they cannot go any further. there's a limit to how far you can go in afghanistan with karzai. we can knock move forward -- we cannot move forward on last pakistan is prepared to offer a program for d radicalization -- de-radicalization. >> the notion that the game needs to be to end the war before the united states leaves. i was there in october. if the goal is a peaceful afghanistan, it will take a long
time and that is not something that can be accomplished between now and 2014. i would like your comment on the suggestion that that is a goal. there has been an announcement in the last weekend that there is now an agreement on the issue of night raids, which has been standing in the way of a strategic partnership agreement between the united states and pakistan. is that agreement liable to be concluded? what will it say about a post- 2014 presence of the united states in the event we cannot get it all done? will it say about a u.s. commitment in afghanistan post- 2014? >> thank you very much.
when i heard it had to be done by 2014 -- the bars are high but it cannot be that high. on the question of special military operations, at night raids. it does open the door for the strategic partnership documents. i think that is something important to get signed an hopefully it will be done soon. i do not know how long it will take but we would like to have a good document. i think it is important because it starts to answer some of the questions. it also starts to answer some of the other questions that we have heard. let me just say to both of you
and to everyone in this room, i think the idea that reconciliation and the process of reconciliation has to be done with any more inclusive manner around in afghanistan with the united states of america is right. reconciliation is not an issue between the government of afghanistan and the insurgents. it is about afghan society. when you think about the questions that you asked -- what does it mean? one evanish i have had is that -- one advantage i have is that we set out in 2011 -- they answer some of your questions. people have to break with al qaeda.
they have to live inside of the constitution in afghanistan with the rights of women and minorities and other groups. i want to repeat the point i made in my opening. the role of the united states in talking to the taliban is to open the door to a conversation among afghans about the future. the questions you ask are questions that afghans have to answer about how they wish to live. all of us have said that regional to publish it has to go forward. i would like to tie my interest in the question of economic development to the empowerment of women in afghanistan.
the most interesting people you meet in afghanistan are female entrepreneurs. i think there is a power to be unleashed there. women and other groups could help stand for themselves. the point about before we leave. i think we should not detract in the proposition that on december 31, 2014, we're gone. if that was our policy, i do not think we could accomplish any of the tasks that we set out to do. there will be an american engagement that will be military, economic, political. will have to do with governments and democracy.
it is not possible to say end this way before december, 2014. we have to continue on. i think about chicago, you have these lines of operation now. you have the military line which is very important and needs to continue. you have the question of enduring presence. you have a question of reconciliation. the job in chicago was to bring all these things together. you takesuccessful, chicago, tokyo, kabaul, a istanbul, and people have to
understand. >> thank you, marc. some concerns about the reconciliation process. marc has begun to give the u.s. government's framework. marc talked about a broader conversation among all elements of afghanistan. not so easy to do. talk a little bit about what kind of conversation should there be within afghan society and how does a get structured? can the election in 2014 it be a vehicle for having that kind of conversation and advancing the
prospects for a broader reconciliation? i'll ask you to pull your policy maker -- put your policy maker hats on. if we could begin with miss sakhi. >> sure. to follow up about the achievement in afghanistan, i think i've been through a series of changes from the provincial level to the capital. we want to make sure that the image we get from media -- the country is going -- i did not believe in that. i see the changes in the private sector.
they are marvelous. we have been through the changes. it needs more structure and the systematic strategist to put in place. otherwise the achievement opens a great range of opportunities. we need to be further engage in our country. thank you very much, ambassador grossman. i wanted to follow on that. it is a different picture of what we hear from the media. with the reconciliation of afghanistan, i think there was a lack of structure from the
beginning in the process. for more structure, it has to be more transparent. there are issues that we cannot disclose. if the issues remain closed and transparency does not exist, how do we know as a nation that what are the discussions happening -- between countries and regions -- even the afghan government is not in the picture. they are complaining about the process. that is damaging the sovereignty of the country.
inclusiveness is not only to include women's groups. that is very important. i know the taliban does not recognize the afghanistan government. how do we see the future? it is hard to predict a successful outcome. the taliban are not legitimizing or considering the government. this is a huge talk line. inclusive is not just about women's group. it is about the pakistan -- afghanistan government also. a broader process.
we were expecting the peace process -- they were not able to reach the distant elements of the society which is education, which we did not name at the beginning and we have had several talks. you have to have outreach and a member of them. they should at least -- i know that time is limited. we have to have outreach. they have started that. to have outreach. civil society was only --
they are not just society only. you want them to be included in the process. if we do not include them, you will not be able to legitimize the peace process. they have to legitimize it at the end of the day. as we give structure to the entire process. the media should cover the hope. there is an extreme level of pessimism right now. we have to show the people that something is happening in the positive. otherwise, people think negatively about the entire process. if you don't have the support, it will affect the legitimacy of the process.
need a negotiator -- we need a negotiator. we have not started the process yet. there has not been talk about the substance. we've done the logistics. that according to peace building procedure -- this process has shortcomings. the process has not started yet . how are we sure that in another two years we will be able to create another outcome? work should be a little bit out of the logistical efforts and should be focused more on the process, to bring -- talk about the substance.
sepsis is where the interests of pakistan -- absence means what are the interests of pakistan? not only pakistan is involved. iran is another player. there are other stakeholders. they have to come to the table. and the third thing, mediator role is an important part of the process. right now the process is under question. the united states initiated and it is run and only happening,
the taliban and the united states, the process. this has to be moved out of the mind of the people. international partners are a strong supporter for th afghanistan. there are good points and bad points. this will undermine the neutrality of the process. >> interesting. what i would like to do is i would like to turn to ambassador samad and heavy focus on the 2014 election. we have a good description of the kind of process to be seen. if you could talk about the 2014 election and what afghans need to do to make sure that gives a free and fair election.
i will ask mr. rashid to talk about what more should be done with the regional players and give you a chance to respond to the comments we made here and then we will go to the questions from the audience. >> i just wanted to say that what needs to be done is to consolidate these gains. afghanistan is a much better place than it used to be. we're discussing what might happen if the taliban returns or what might happen if afghanistan collapses. nobody 10 years ago thought we would have been at this point in afghanistan, -- this level of
fertility -- fragililty. there's a certain level of fragilility. we just sort of agreed that there is a component that needs to be brought back into the process. are putting our house in order in afghanistan. elements are coming under this big tend to -- elements are coming under this big tent. there's a taliban that is radicalized. it was not going to judge -- budge or change. we think this taliban is willing
to come under the tent. we're trying to push him and encourage him and inside him to come under the tent. know that cousin is outside of the borders and that pakistan can have probably the definitive --provide the help that is needed in order to push the cousin back into afghanistan. then we can enter into talks with them. this is the picture we're facing right now. the international committee can create a role. there needs to be assurances. we had the kabul process.
chicago is important and tokyo will give us the financial commitment that is required. what is the missing is the messaging to the afghan people and to the region. the international committee means business. they are serious about ending the war and continued the work that began in 2001. afghan will be in the driving seat. as you drawdown the troops -- i am grateful for the international committee has done. the blood that has been shed on all sides. we need to end this but any one
not just be saying that war will end in 2014. we need to be able to say we will now enter into a political sentiment face -- a political settlement phase. we do consolidate the peace and moving forward to rebuild afghanistan. this will be critical in trying to determine which path we are going to take. we have had 10 years of experience with a democracy that is young and is learning the way forward. don't expect afghanistan to become the model of democracy within a generation or two. it will take much longer.
but what choice do they have? what we have is a choice between an imperfect democracy but one that will be nurtured and helped along, and forces of radicalism. so we have to make that choice. the election will be a critical testing ground. we need to make sure we stay within the bounds of the constitution. if the constitution needs to be reformed, there will be a discussion and debate in the country to reform it. that has to be inclusive. democracy has to stay within the bounds of the constitution in
afghanistan. human rights and gender rights falls within that. the taliban have to fall within the bounds of the constitution. they need to become something. they need to be shown they have a voice and that their voice counts. not more, not less than anybody else. they will have equal rights under the constitution. how do we do this? how do we convince the taliban? that is the trick that needs to be answered. >> does pakistan have the will ability to pressure these cousins that are outside of pakistan to return and take part
of this process? what else needs to be done on a regional basis to support this process? >> there is hardly any discussion in washington about elections. how are you going to withdraw these troops and also have elections? who will stand by? one idea is if president karzai brings the elections forward so that the international presence can be there and can play a role in protecting the elections. during the elections forward -- bringing the elections for would
be an enormous help to the international community. you would like to include the taliban in this process, too. that is a big question mark. would they take a decision to stand in the elections or not? it is probably vital that the transition to the next president should take place well before the final -- large-scale withdrawal takes place in 2014. on this reconciliation, i think president karzai has made enormous mistakes. he is not put forth a comprehensive team talk with the taliban.
they are reenergize the ethnic issue. there is open talk of civil war in afghanistan. let's be realistic. between the north and the south. whether the army or military can stand those kinds of strains -- the war -- if there is disbelief -- there's a belief that somehow the americans will get up and say goodbye and leave and the afghans will come into the trench and hold that tranche and hold the entire country against the taliban. if we will be in a state of war in 2014 when the troops start
leaving, there will be a wave of attacks by the taliban if there is no peace process. one of the most important needs for americans and for nato is how to reduce the violence so the burden does not fall on this afghan army which is completely untested -- illiterate drug taking, etc. we do not know how it will perform. i want to say there have been divisions in this administration in washington and i do not think we can ignore them. that's been a major cause for problems in this peace negotiation. the taliban has suspended the talks.
the u.s. has to talk from one page also. the more divisions that there are in pakistan and kabul, it creates problems for the u.s. and for these negotiations. these other countries have an angle on which to build their own defense on. there will need to be a massive diplomatic effort. did the state department is unable to do on their own. they have no relationship with iran. you need someone else to talk with the iranians about the settlements. it is tragic to with the u.n. has been run down.
they cannot take up a position unless it is from outside. i think the americans can resolve this for themselves. it is a critical part of any kind of regional settlement. in pakistan, the problem is, is a huge domestic crisis. you have a military trying to get rid of the government. read the judiciary lining up with the military -- you have the judiciary lining up with the military. this could escalate again. you have an economic crisis. now, it has been unfortunate
that there has been so little pressure from the government on the military in a more comprehensive way to change , becauses armed policy that is what is needed. there can be pressures to change it. other groups are trying to pressure the military to change. things cannot continue. take that step to turn the ship around is something that nobody has the courage to do all right now in pakistan. the more aggravating measures there are like -- people see this as tit for tat thing that americans are doing. there were accusations about
mumbai. i can understand the frustrations in the united states. people have seen this more less as a tit for tat thing. domestic crisis which is dominating everything at the moment. as long as that is not resolved, we are not going to see a reconciliation with the united states. the military, the government, the parliament are all held hostage at the moment to the kind of rhetoric that's coming out of the media and these extremist groups. i hope they can come out of it sooner than later. certainly this year.
but, turning the chip around -- ship around, nobody seems to have the will to do wit. perhaps the next election should be brought forward in pakistan, too, so we could have a new government which could tackle some of these issues that need to be looked at. >> thank you. marc, you have the last word. i will ask for questions to be brought up. >> i felt that the stage is tilting in these last few minutes. that is all right. i want to make sure there's a lot of room for questions.
i would like to go back to the question of reconciliation. it is important to emphasize this reconciliation process is about society in afghanistan. nor is it about the united states of america talking to the insurgents. there is one purpose and one purpose only and that is the point that you made. the taliban does not want to talk to the government of afghanistan. somebody has to break through and open that door. our goal is to open that door. our porpoises to open that door -- our purpose is to open that door.
the peace council has an important role to play here. i make a point to go and visit with the high peace council. it has to be more inclusive. talk to the people around the country. do not forget the accomplishments. i take one lesson. for the taliban, it is not for afghan society to accommodate the taliban. it is the reverse. it is the job of the taliban to recognize what is happening in afghanistan over these past 10 years. how did the president --how did
the president's make their own decisions? we have talked about reconciliation. reintegration is an important part of this as well. one point about tokyo. tokyo will be the place where the international community will make some commitments to the government of afghanistan. bonn called upon the government of afghanistan to make commitments to the international community. i know people will be looking for that plan, as well. this room is full of former colleagues. i have many faults. not keeping the government fully
informed on what we were doing is not one of them. i recognize that is what people say. i worked very hard so that people are not in the dark or excluded. pakistan is the place to start. they need to work on this issue. when you say nobody is thinking of how to structure our forces in afghanistan for an election in 2014, that is part of the importance of an event like this and started to talk about these transitions. i was in europe a few weeks ago and this was very much on people's minds. two transitions are happening and they need to happen
successfully. i go back to the question of, " we are leaving." the afghan national security forces are going to grow to 350,000 people and that number will stay consistent till the end of 2015. then it will slope down. they can fight and do the kinds of jobs that are important. i come back to the point that this panel is all about. teat not just a peace process -- it is not just a peace process, it is and afghan peace process. if they will not take ownership of peace, it will be lowered.
i believe the prospects are good. >> i have six questions which i've turned into four questions. we will go through them and see how much time we have at the end. do you think the taliban have moderate any of their views on women, or do they want to go back to the policies of the 1990 's? for those taliban that come into the practice, where it be think their views are on women today? >> that is a good question. we do not know if they have moderated their views. they are -- they want women's
roles. there's interpretation about the law, whether they want to -name that as a perfect model. i do not think we have reformed. the other think they are saying -- there are many issues relevant to women's participation in public, women praying outside, a traveling with someone else. these are issues that show us that they have not modified anything about their take on women's issues, especially if they're focusing very much on the women's role.
if it is islamic, we do not say women's right. it is good. we respect that. >> mr. rashid. >> look, why this is so important is that the tell about have been locked up in safe houses in pakistan for the last 10 years -- the taliban has been locked up in safe houses in pakistan. they need exposure to these people. i would hope that the first thing that would happen is you take delegations from all walks of life and meet with the taliban. and the taliban working with
people, all sorts of members of the afghan elite. this would give the taliban the kind of exposure to moderate afghan society that has come up since 9/11, more than ever before. >> the burden is on the taliban for this reconciliation process. that would be an opportunity for the taliban to reassure women on this point. next question. how you assess the ability of the loyal opposition to mobilize afghans to participate in the country's politics? how'd you addressed the issue between the split between the north and the south, in the
direction of democracy and development? >> these are very good questions. i think it would be good for the position to create their political platforms. whether it translates to political parties, that is up to them. the afghan people, offer them a set of policies dealing with different viewpoints in a more coherent manner. so far their activities and behavior is somewhat ad hoc and not fully integrated within the parties as well as intra-
movement. i think there are issues that need to be raised amongst the opposition groups that they share in terms of the interest, to move forward to credible elections, legitimate elections. how to deal with certain constitutional questions. how to make sure we don't go off track with elections overall and the process that it needs. in terms of north-south, i believe the 2010 elections did demonstrate one of positive change. the ability of the top candidates to cross values and boundaries that existed in afghanistan prior to 2009.
there they were an ethnic or regional boundaries. the main candidates were able to tap into committees that were seen as a possible to tap into prior to these elections. society is maturing and seeing beyond the committal interests and this goes beyond that. this is a good outcome of what has been going on over the years. i think 2014 will offer an opportunity to expand on this achievement. the media in afghanistan has played an incredible role along people to express themselves about all of the issues. every time i turned to the media and listen to these discussions, i am amazed at what we had in
2001 and will we have today. -- and what we have today. this is an educational process for the afghans. whether you have access to tv and media or whether you're in the city, you are bound to be impacted by all of these changes and i think this is good news for the political process. this will become less of an issue. >> interesting. during recent interviews, you have stated perhaps the biggest failure of the u.s. coalition effort has been the inability to establish a viable economy in afghanistan. what can be done to fix this? what are the priorities between now and 2014?
we are talking about an economic transition. >> i think this administration has tried very hard to improve the economic situation right from the start. the war has intensified. it is difficult to get out and to improve the economy and the agriculture. this should have been the main focus from 2001. this was the intention of this administration but they were not able to fulfil it. tens of thousands of afghans are going to -- this is a generation in favor of democracy and reform and change.
this generation will be left out when they leave. no one is talking about setting up a computer chip factory in kabul. we're talking about having a self sustaining -- investment in agriculture. in investment in agriculture. i think that the only way that can effectively be achieved in the long term is if the war were to subside were there were regional reduction of violence. i am sure they have very good ideas as to how it can be done in the next 18 months or so. i think the seeds should be lane
as to how it can be done. down the road, there's the prospect of minerals and gas and the chinese and the indians already taking up options there. of course, that will be hugely beneficial. but there again, will we also be able to look after such enormous and set the -- enormous and sudden wealth that is coming in and there will be the need for international help with that. copper warlords and idle warlords like we have drug warlords for now. this is a huge money earner. south asia the selene its
pipelines to provide oil and gas and you to sue -- and electricity. it is very precarious to put tens of thousands of afghans out the job market. >> two things. >> yes. >> we need the specialization. for that, a new generation to focus and provide more education facilities and scholarship. that will really help in the long term if we're talking about the sustainability of the economy. right now, we have scholarship on political issues, but now focus on the economy. few people candidiasis
economically the country and the government. -- few people can advise economically the country and the government. and there we can get to the professionalism that exists in the private sector. >> i will give you the second half of it, which will help you avoid answering it makes you so choose. >> alright. >> what would be auctioned of u.s. military presence post- 2014. and what is necessary to meet afghan and u.s. interest against upsetting afghan
neighbors and against the demand of the taliban that there be a withdrawal of all international forces? how do you balance and with those factors in terms of setting up with the u.s. presence posted-2014 should be? >> i will take a second to go to the economic question. i think the regional aspect is right. i think the private sector rest of his right. it needs for an indirect investment to support the afghan effort first, if there are opportunities like minerals that are available now, i don't say that this economic vision full of providence between now and 2014. it does not. which is really important is that we talk to american companies who are interested and
what they say? yes, security is important. but what is the rule of law structure in afghanistan for commercial loss? afghanistan has a little work to do here to create a legal framework for that foreign investment. we also have the afghan-pakistan transit trade agreement. that number is going up? people see exactly what you see, which is central asian economy connected to the south asian economy. there is the vantage their and pakistan and afghanistan are in the middle of that. to your fourth question, no one can answer that question. on the second question, how do you balance?
so far, the lack of spd is causing anxiety in the region. nobody knows what will happen. the sooner we can have a procedure document, people will have to realize that there will be an american presence in afghanistan for some time to come, so afghans, the taliban, the region, everyone will have to say, ok, how will i react to that? the worst thing would be to have a lack of a decision. >> thank you. i would like to thank the audience for your participation, you're good questions, for coming, for attending. and i would like to also thank the panelists for their participation as well. thank you.
president obama will be talking about his budget proposal, including the buffet rule. he will be speaking at florida atlantic university. we will have that to 50 5:00 p.m. eastern. more road to the white house coverage today. mitt romney will be at a steel and construction company at 5:55 p.m. eastern. all this week on our companion network, c-span 2, we're bringing you selected "q&a" interviews. they will talk about addiction inc., about a former philip morris researchers and the unexpected discovery of an ingredient in tobacco that, when combined with nicotine, treats
more addiction. covering conflicts in syria, afghanistan, and libya, the recently talked about their experiences. supporters and photographers to cover a conflict in syria, libya, and egypt recently spoke about their experiences. >> welcome to our next session. i think it will be one of the most profound sessions that we will have at this conference. i would like to thank reuters for putting together that wonderful tribute to the journalists who have fallen in the past year, foreign correspondents who have died in the past year. it was wonderful. i am sorry to say that laurel
logan cannot be with us today. she had a sudden illness and her family and we wish them well. susan bennett, our moderator, started her career with upi in memphis where she covered the death of elvis. that is hard to beat, actually. as a reporter, she traveled to 50 countries, covering arms control, the collapse of communism, the persian gulf war in the middle east and she recently became an editorial writer for "usa today." she edited running toward the danger, the museum's book about reporters uncovered 9/11. three weeks ago in heartbreaking murder of a young father was killed by a
sniper covered the pages of magazines and newspapers across the world. explosions illuminated the night as we ran, hoping to escape syria after nearly three weeks of covering year conflict that the government seems to keep the world from seeing pin tank shells slammed into the city streets behind us. snipers' bullets whizzed beside our heads. we will all get killed, a syrian activist told may and collapsed into tears. -- a student actors told me and collapse into tears. christopher shivers as one of the outstanding reporters and writers of our time. a marine infantry officer in the persian gulf war, his work has been cited in two pulitzer prize
efforts of "the new york times. as many words include jesse leventhal prize for writing, national magazine award, and the michael kelly were for the u.s. pursued and expression of the truth. is national magazine award was for the "the school," the description of the second worst terrorist attack ever, against school children, the teachers and parents on the first day of school in a russian town. "esquire" listed that story is one of the seven greatest stories published by the magazine. he also covered the worst terrorist attack ever, september 11, based in lower manhattan for "the *," spending two weeks at ground zero virtually without sleep. tyler hicks was also part of the
team, along with chris scherr's, that won the 2009 pulitzer and was named one of the top 10 works of journalism pin he has been a newspaper photographer of the year. he has covered conflicts and disasters in costello, congo, ethiopia, iraq, afghanistan, and syria. he was with anthony shadid when they were taken captive last year. their 21-year-old driver was killed. he wrote about what happened in the march 3 "*," saying that it was an essential -- "times," saying that it was essential. i would like to introduce jill abramson, executive editor of "the new york times."
[applause] >> thank you so much. what you have been watching so far the pictures of 14 journalists and colleagues who have been killed so far this year on top of a terrible 2011 where the number reached 46. and this panel, which includes two of my most esteemed colleagues from "the times" is here to discuss the fundamental question is why we still go and why bearing witness to conflicts and war is in the a calling for them and others who proudly call themselves foreign correspondents.
tyler was with anthony, as many of you know, when he died trying to cross the border from syria back to turkey and also with anthony and two other of our colleagues about a year ago when there were taken captive in libya. tyler has been a hero and never for a minute tried to say anthony brought him across the border to safety. he wrote a terrific piece about their trip to syria, the reporting part of it, which anthony was incredibly excited about. for those of you who knew anthony, he was irrepressible in
his joy of being out covering with his own eyes and ears the most important stories. friends have described his pure joy when he finally got to tahrir square and he told the editors of "the *" and his colleagues that their reporting trip to syria had been one of the best he had made. what made any special was his fluency in arabic, his lyrical prose, his eye for detail, and his dedication to telling the stories of ordinary people caught by conflict. instead of telling the stories of war through the eyes of political leaders and those waging the battle. bill keller, my predecessor as
executive editor, who hired anthony at the times, said something quite true about him, which is coming if wikipedia had assisting in trade for foreign correspondent, it would simply say anthony shadid. anthony 1 reams of prizes, including two pulitzers for his coverage of iraq when he wrote for his beloved "washington post." and his father buddy told me that a distinct memory of his when i was chatting with him in beirut after the tragedy, he said anthony would win whatever price was available and he started doing this when he was 10 years old at bible camp. his new book "house of stone, is
a gorgeous meditation on identity and the tub a family and covering war. in it, he writes -- he is writing about his oklahoma city large extended family and he says "it is a big sprawling clan, together even when it is a part." the journalists on this panel are very much a part of that plan and i would like to think that anthony's words applied to journalism broadly as well. thank you. >> sometimes, when one is asked to moderate a panel, you worry about how to fill the allotted time in this panel, how can that possibly get in all my questions? these journalists have had such an amazing career. i will died in with my
questions. but, at any point, if you would like to ask any questions, please feel free to do so. there is a microphone in the middle. this is a free-for-all print so whenever you want to say anything -- i wanted to ask you, i hope everybody in this room read your point story of anthony's last days in syria. in your piece, you talked about how you spend months with anthony planning this trip and planning how to stay safe. can you talk a little bit about that? safe. can you talk a little bit about that? >> sure, the type of trip is especially in the wake of what we have seen happen to our colleagues over the past really just the past year, a lot of people have been killed in syria and libya. and it seems that there was a lot of luck with journalists up until considering america has
been involved in two wars over a period of a decade and so many journalists going. people have been getting hurt and killed along the way but it has been concentrated in the last year and made us focus differently on it and especially in our case having been just a year before planning this trip, having been captured and nearly killed in libya and "new york times" took extra steps to make sure this trip would go smoothly. those wpt our own preparations but largely the contacts that anthony had inside syria where we are also, we made sure we were working with people we could trust. this isn't about charging into a country which is the worst thing you can do. there is a feeling you have to be there first and have to get there, but we deposit feel that.
anthony, as he explained it to me, this is going to be a long war. this is going to drag on and only get worse. let's do this right and do this safely. that included taking a lot of precautions which border would we cross, who were we crossing with, what contacts, who did we work with in the past. and who they really are. you depend on them, your life is in their hands. it's a local contacts that you're working with, making sure that you have a time line. we carry an emergency response beacon that tells the paper any given time when we push a button, carry medical kits. in the case of anthony, unfortunately, it was at the
very end of the trip something that was very unexpected in a lot of ways that took his life. >> all of you are veterans of covering conflict. chris, what advice would you give to editors about sending people into a war zone for the very first time? is there something they can do to prepare the reporter for this kind of action? >> the first thing you do automatically and do this part of your supervision of the news room that whoever you send has good sense of judgment. we work off satellite phones sometimes only by email through satellite phones and your communication back and forth with the desk needs to be rich and as constant as you can make it. the first one is judgment. that one you have covered. i don't think you would send someone whose judgment wasn't solid. there is a practical skill which is first aid training.
i don't think you should send someone and i don't think you should hesitate using the work of a freelancer who has not had basic trauma care training. it is essential. military has that training and if something happens to you, it is likely there will be some basic skills and knowledge available. when working in libya or syria, you would be astonished at the number of people who don't have any skills. and you have just minutes to save your peer's life and may have to work on them. it is important that journalists have a fundamental skill. a friend of ours died from an
upper leg wound and other friends were holding his hands and not providing first aid but holding his hand. furthers, people were taken from that scene who were wounded less seriously than him by the only available car that was present. they didn't do first aid. i'm not saying this gentleman would have survived his wounds. they were pretty severe but the aid wasn't administered and the tryage wasn't administered. if you are publishing their pictures or copy, it would be nice to know they have that basic skillset, which is to save a life that can be saved within reason quickly under duress and it's very simple. you can get them an e.m.t. course and don't need to spend $2,000 200 to go to a special course but lifesaving step
skills. >> the picture that george mention that had was on the front page of the "new york times" and "washington post" and "wall street journal" and others was of syrian rebel soldiers grieving over some of their dead comrades and you wrote about your dangerous trip into syria and you said this might not have been my best photography, but it told people a lot about what was going on in syria. is it important to take those kinds of pictures as well as the once you think might be a prize winner or front-page picture? >> yes. when we are taking front page features, we work and try to do our best. that feature was a boy crying next to his father. so that picture is more
emotional and i would picture illustrate what was going on. and also with the civilians. so i think half of the risk is to show that piece not only to show the fierce fighting and how brave the fightersr but people that are in the middle of that, the suffering, going through this conflict every day.
so we were working 18 to hear people that really know. there is artillery and machine guns. they have people with good knowledge. >> for the non-photographers, you also confronts major chaos. riots, a mass funeral, how do you focus on that one image whether it is in grieving or something that you think it tells the story. are you looking for that in particular? >> is one of the things i have observed through the years, watching other photographers that i have always admired. being in the scene, whether it is a funeral or a protest, whatever it is. i would be shooting everything in every direction.
i looked at the picture, and they completely -- they got this amazing shot. i got all this garbage, these busy pictures. i think that this still isn't so much just going and photograph everything, but knowing what your looking for when you go into that situation and having the ability to focus and tune out. it is like hunting for birds. you have to aim at one, not a flock. >> rodrigo? >> for me, it's really important to be calm in that situation. when the situation is really a chaotic, you can start running
everywhere without taking a picture. because you know what you're doing. you're trying to find a picture that illustrates the story. it is difficult. the situation was completely more dramatic and more chaotic than my pictures. you're calm, you have experience, you can deal with the emotions without drama, people crying, people running. it is difficult, but we try to live through >> and some members
of the military have trouble with adjustments when they come home. they have come from an area where driving down the block can be an imminent explosion, everybody carrying a backpack can be a suicide bomber. how do you go between the world that you cover and what we call the real world? >> i think about this a lot because i have five kids, my wife is here. i come back to a pretty busy life that is my real life. it is not my job. in a strange way, some of these places have been horrible weather is ground zero or the day to day in libya and afghanistan or iraq. it makes you appreciate your own good fortune. you come to a place where you don't have to worry about your
community. i don't resent that, i appreciate it. you try to get some perspective that you don't always succeed at it, because when you come back, your in your regular life. you can't really tried to superimpose one over the other and you have to leave the other one for your work situation. these guys were talking a minute ago that i would add, it might have to deal with the personality that does this year in and year out. close at the dark, five the tourniquets. they shared something that is very similar and i will air them out.
some of these guys, you might be the same type, you may have a little bit of perverse personality. when things are really good, they can be unmanageable. and when things are really bad, you can be calm. i'm not saying that they don't feel fear, they do. if they tell you they don't, they are lying. but they manage it, they channel it, they concentrated and are very calm. they are bouncing around the inside of the tent because it's calm. when they are out there in the middle of that, i work side-by-side with photographers, i work from the field. it can be so busy and intense that is very self-organizing. you are not in those sorts of
situations when your home. when you get stuck in traffic, you are just a guy stuck in traffic. it is not so bad. >> i agree. i agree with chris a lot, you have to be able to separate as best you can what you do in the field that what you have at home. people manage that in different ways, they have different ways of coping with the stress being in the field. i heard about this with journalists at with veterans. -- and with veterans. you can see it in the field, the stress, the anchor, the fighting, all of these things that can happen. i think chris and i both have
very good ways of managing those two things. what has happened to me in the last year, this past year has been the worst year of my entire life. captured in libya, lost a very good friend in syria, i had to witness his death. and worse than that, seeing how badly it affected so many people, his family, friends, a widow, his son, his daughter. it is one thing to see something in the field, but there were these long-lasting things that really need attention. whether it is a correspondent for photographer, they think you
need to be very sensitive to the level that they are coping with. it very well may not be on the surface, i know that the paper is always offering help. somebody to talk to, and the thing. you don't even always think to ask for it yourself. he sure that you offer it to people, even if they don't think it was that bad, it is really important. >> this really affects the families. i remember when he stepped on a mine a few years ago. how is he doing, is he going to make it? there is sort of this expanding and blossom in conversation. -- and blossoming conversation.
he was 2 years old in the back seat of my pickup truck, i took the additional call. he can only hear one side but he consents by distress. what did your friend is that bonn -- step on? there were times that i was coming home, and he'd look at me and say, how come you're not hurt? what my wife goes through and my kids go through when i am away, it makes you feel like you have to worry about your universe. not just how he is doing in this room. -- in the newsroom.
you can get your way around the pain of that. a little bit. but take a good look at the families, this is a real burden. it is like what the soldiers go through or the victims that are caught up. they may not be right there seeing it, but they are living it. they can sense things we are not saying when we come home. >> you have a different circumstance that you don't cover conflict all the time. you might be taking pictures with a box camera that you found in afghanistan one day. how do you deal with covering peaceful topics and then going
back to war? >> i live in central america, i cover haiti, mexico. they are not easy countries, but it is not open war like libya. but i think that i don't know if i can go and do this like six months a year or nine months a year covering wars. early, i am more fresh going to these places. coming back, i am doing a project about by and women -- mayan women. i don't know any other story. when i go to pakistan, it's in a different way. not always the world.
so i am not tired. i am never tired of going because i spent the early part of the year doing trips, and a normal life. other stories. that is good. my mother says all the time, why are you not going to the olympics? why haiti? talking about family, they don't really understand why you go to afghanistan. i think it is important to do it. a good thing working for -- you are not just working for one newspaper, you are working for all of them.
sometimes our pitchers are published everywhere. it is important to do it, to do mixed stories. if i work hard and latin america, nobody cares. >> chris, you are a bit of a hybrid. before you were a journalist, you were a marine. as you cover the marines as a journalist, but you find that they help or a hindrance --do you find that a help or a hindrance? do you tell people up front that you were in the marines, or do you wait and see what the situation is?
>> i don't have a choice with that anymore, before you show up, they know a lot about you and they have read what you have done. at this point, there is no lowballing that. mostly it helps. helps a lot. there are things that got drilled in the by dna what i was young that you can't get rid of -- into my dna what i was young that you can't get rid of. but what i am walking patrol, i am hyper vigilant. i usually set of the patrol order beforehand, i can sometimes anticipate things that are happening before they happen. it puts you in the right place and keep you safe, and it helps me make a good risk assessment about whether i wanted to this particular patrol. i will shoulder risk for readers, but i will just go out there and what the patrol because i want to.
there has to be a reason or a pursuit. you have to come back inside the wire, as they say. but sometimes, it hurts. i will give you an example. there was a patrol the i was on, it has happened a few times, where your state of knowledge is high. you come to a point where the patrol is not behaving the way they you think it should be. in one case, a patrol was taking the left just short of the canal and i thought that they should scoot over the bridge. i thought there was a building over there that was dangerous. i wanted to be on their side of the canals of that you can sweep the building. there was a boat in the canal, i knew it was he.
if we end up in the canal, we will drown today. but i did not say anything, it is not my job. you're not there to take over the patrol. if someone gets hurt, from that minute forward, you own that casualties. you have to be quiet on patrol. the tyler and i were a lot of patrol a couple weeks ago, and they were bunched up. these kids have never been shot at. you know when you are moving with a group that has had a lot of combat, of this particular day, i decided not to say anything. i almost said, you might want to scoot over to that side of the bridge. we got shot at from the building, got shot through the spine.
not like i was withholding information from the patrol, i just had a hunch. every time you have a hunch, you can't interfere with the patrol. but this is where it hurts. i think about the patrol, i will say every day, but every week. -- won't say every day, but every week. >> the navy is conducting a study in the military troops that they sometimes get a sixth sense or spidey sense for danger that's imminent. does this come from experience? >> i think that comes from experience in the sense that specifically, if you talk about control and afghanistan, you can feel when something is going to happen.
that often comes from experience. when you send people out, they are going with trained soldiers and marines, they watch them. they do what they do and follow their movements. that is something that i have always tried to keep in mind. if something happens unexpectedly, the most unusual and unexpected thing usually happens. because, as chris was saying, you are attached to that. if you suddenly go running off in the other direction, they will have to go and get you.
you have to go where they go, sometimes it is not where you want to go. sometimes they want to go right into the fight. there are certain courses offering training for these kind of things. the real field experience, that is why is important. about to jump into the big and complex right away, to start off with lower level complex and at least get some of that experience and awareness about how these things work. >> a lower level conflict that i covered was a vote of rest. i was with -- was civil unrest.
i smelled something, it was embers in my hair. i said to the photographer, they pay you to get close, they paid me to get the story. so i went to talk to the fire fighters. how much is too much? when does a good picture take over from saving your hide? >> reporters, we need to be there. very near, sometimes. that is more risky. but you're asking when we feel it's really dangerous. in syria, days before the army launched a big attack. they were very concerned about
not showing their face, they want to cover their faces. it was dangerous, but calm. they forgot about you. i took all the pictures. you feel the danger there because they were quiet and running. you can feel at that moment, things are really getting closer. sometimes you understand the danger when you see faces of people that you're trying to photograph. in their terms, you can see it in their face. >> is it hard to stop shooting at times? >> it is.
but with experience, you learn to stop. i have done incredibly stupid things in my life, and i have been lucky. there is something to be said for this element of competition in the field. it can be very dangerous. and you have a certain number of people that want to go back. when jim and chris were killed, chris was a very old friend of mine. we'd known him for years. he was done for the day. they got hard-core pictures of fighting that day. he talked to his fiancee on the phone, we might just wandered
out to the port. -- wander down to the port. other photographers wanted to go back and wanted to get a picture. this group mentality takes over. what if they go and they get something? he jumps in the truck and get killed in our later. -- gets killed an hour later. not having the pressure from your editors, so and so got this picture and you didn't. anyone in those places, it is really dangerous and sometimes it is not as clear from the home base. if you see a picture of a guy firing a gun, getting to that place was probably 10 times more dangerous. you never know where rock is going to hit. the arabs spring continues to go on.
it is important to not have the pressure to have that picture or story because somebody else has it. the stakes are too high right now. >> chris, what are your thoughts about risk assessment of your choosing whether or not to go into an area to get a particular story. >> you think you can understand the readers with your day, you pursue your day that way. i will give you an example.
trusting your people in the field. i will give you a really good example. we were rolling all day, a classic afghan fire fight with his platoon was pushing to miles beyond where they were normally going. there were probably five or six working a platoon. they would shoot at them, everyone would scatter into buildings and collar around. -- crawl around. kids would come out and beat the sheep out of the way and the firefight would start again. a guy got shot.
it was an important time in may of 2010. there were 20,000 marines in this province, it was going to be about fighting season. -- a bad fighting season. we knew some of these guys, we had been in firefights earlier in the year. there were usual questions like timing, and i have been killed, we wanted to take pictures of -- a guy had been killed and we wanted to take pictures of his memorial. if we walk into the wire, there was another patrol out. there is a tree-line, we both felt the urge to be out there on
the patrol. look at the pictures on the disk. we are looking at this thing like it is our job to be here. we haven't even violent what we got. i think there is a value going down there. if we are going to get her, the guy who doesn't get hurt needs to be able to tell the families why. if we go out on the patrol, what do we tell the paper?
what do i tell bill? that is a really important matrix. there is journalism at other things going into it. the photographers are out there working the dotted line. you have to trust them to know when to back out. it would also have been a distract them. -- a been a distraction. we are going through this calculus every day out there. i don't need to go up to that intersection of because i know what is up there and i may not come back. >> sometimes, i am the kind of guy that says, we need to go.
dodge that is what we were going through that night, we were sitting there. it is like a light show at sunset, only a few field the way, a quick walk. we say we are out a lot, we are. when you run a good marine unit or a good army units, those guys have been living in a year at a time. they are very relaxed about it. you can fall into that state of mind.
and you have constant checks and balances to pull themselves back. it becomes more manageable. you have the managers of even more intensely. -- you have to manage yourself even more intensely. >> from the news room, photographing, sometimes you have to wait to blog. does it make you a better photographer to have that constant pressure to produce, or does it get in the way of doing a more in-depth job? >> a tweet, facebook post or blog is as good as the content. if this is good, it makes you better, if it is garbage, it is a waste of time. only sundays does that sparkle. i think that we obsess of little too much of the tools make you better or not.
we have the tools, but if we are going to do with, it needs to be good. nobody wants to be the boring newspaper like nobody wants to read a boring tweet. >> multimedia content is more -- four still photographers to shoot a video, write something, it gets too much. you have to know your limits. i don't do a lot of that kind of stuff. you can kind of keep your bare drop -- to your bare job. if some people can split up their skills more, i am not great at standing out. >> the moment, you have seconds to take a picture. you don't have 10 or 20 different moments.