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tv   Discussion on the Bush Doctrine and Combating Terrorism  CSPAN  May 25, 2015 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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thelma the memorial day ceremony from the arlington national ceremony. earlier, a wreath laying at the tomb of the unknown soldier. members of congress and the president r releasing statements today. . senate minority leader harry reid writing, it is time for all americans to remember the sacrifices of the men and women in uniform, to honor the thousands of goldstar families
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across the country, and those injured by physical and mental injury. and kevin mccarthy from california saying, all of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, remembering those who gave their lives, so that we could remain free, and so that the world would not suffer under tyranny, and so that our families will remain safe. members of congress tweeting today. >> in the 114 congress, there are 101 veteran surving.
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over the past few months, c-span has been interviewing the new members in our freshman profiles. we have new profiles tonight at 9:00 eastern time, with four members, including mark takai of hawaii's first district. >> you mentioned a picture. >> it came by way of the legacy fun. my parents bought it at an auction. far left is senator hanoi and on the far right is another senator from hawaii. >> a state senator? >> all of these are members of the u.s. senate. every day, i talk about what is
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i have many stories -- what it is like to be here. i talk about being on the shoulders of them. we all work here, but the halls of congress, especially capitol hill, is a very different place at night, when all of the tour groups are gone, and we're walking to and from the capital. i heard stories about the senator talking about his long nights in the capital. in fact, he had his office in the senate. it is a surreal experience to walk through the halls, and hearing your footsteps, and realizing that these people who came before me also represented the state of hawaii. >> more of congressman to akai's interview, as well as lee
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zeldin, might ke bost, and bonnie watson coleman. next, a discussion on counterterrorism and war. their discussion was part of a series held during a conference looking at the bush presidency, hosted by hofstra university. prof. firestone: might it is bernard firestone. i am a dean here at hofstra. it is my pleasure to welcome you to the bush conference and to this plenary form, which is titled, "the bush doctrine and combating terrorism." we have with us to government officials, and journalists, and academics. we have no formal academic papers at this particular forum.
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our participants will offer some remarks, approximately 10-12 minutes in length, and then there will be an opportunity to ask one another questions, and then there will be the opportunity for you to ask questions in the audience. i will introduce everyone in this panel as quickly as i can. we are more interested in what they have to say. i will alert you, this is going until 4:20. at 4:10, mr. goss and mr. negroponte have to leave. porter goss served as director of central intelligence on until to those i five. -- until 2005. he became director of the
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central intelligence agency under the terrorism act. he continued under that position until may 2006. previously, director goss had served as a congressman from southwest florida for almost 16 years. he was chairman of the house committee on intelligence from 1997 until his nomination as dci until 2004. he served as almost a decade as a member of the committee, which oversees the intelligence community and authorizes its annual budget. during the 107th congress, mr. goss cochaired the congressional inquiry into the terrorist attacks of 9/11. he was the second director of central intelligence to have served in congress. john negroponte is a distinguished fellow and grand
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strategy and senior lecturer in global affairs at the jackson institute of yale university. prior to joining yale, ambassador negroponte developed a distinguished career, followed by a number of years in the private sector. he held government positions a broad and in washington between 1960 and 1998. he has been ambassador to mexico philippines, and i rocked, among others. he served in vietnam under the nixon and administration, and also as deputy security advisor under reagan. he also held a cabinet level position as the first director of national intelligence, under george w. bush.
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carolyn eisenberg is a professor of u.s. history and foreign policy at hofstra author of a prize-winning book on the american occupation of germany. she has written and spoken widely on the u.s. operations in iraq. in 2004, she served on a task force for a bipartisan coalition for a realistic foreign policy. her articles have appeared in "the journal of american history," "radical history review." she is presently completing a book called "never lose and the illusion of national policy." stephen knott is professor at
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the u.s. naval war college. he received his degree at boston college and has taught at the university of virginia. he is author of multiple books. one is the example of the use of covert operations by early american presidents. he is the co-author of "the reagan years." dr. knott most recent book, "rush to judgment," was published in 2012. amy goodman is producer and host of "democracy now," a national award-winning news program area
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and on over 1300 public television and radio stations worldwide. ms. goodman has co-authored five new york times bestsellers. her work has earned her numerous honors and awards. the nieman foundation for journalism at harvard honored goodman with a 2014 medea for journalisticl lifetime achievement. she is also the first journalist to earn what is widely known as the alternative nobel prize for creating an independent model of grassroots journalism which brings in millions of people's alternative voice there is often excluded from the mainstream media. she was recipient of the women in journalism award, among other awards. her reporting on east timor and
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nigeria has received numerous awards including the robert f kennedy a prize for reporting. it is now my pleasure to introduce director goss who will begin this discussion. [applause] director goss: thank you very much. we just had a very refreshing session next door with some students and other folks in the audience who asked some very penetrating questions about the bush doctrine, our security, and our threats. i tell you it is very stimulating for someone like me to come back here and see that people are very interested in things that matter today and taking good questions under advisement, and are willing to tackle some of the more controversial issues that we have. i think they talk about the bush doctrine a little bit, you need
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to understand what is really the change of a century. it was the beginning of new times, new landscapes, new challenges in a way that we had not quite expected. not only that, but we were dealing with some new thought but old machinery. some of the old institutions that had gotten accustomed to doing things in a certain way certainly including some nations that were custom -- accustomed to having things happen in a certain way. it will go to organizations that involved many countries, such as nato or the u.n. all of a sudden, things change, and people had to come to grips with a new challenge. president bush, a very few short months into his presidency, had to deal with it. from my perspective, starting out on the role of the chairman
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of the oversight committee in the house that dealt with the ability to get intelligence to advise the president on what he needed to know, i can say, the united states of america was not fully prepared to give the president all of the best advice, and best information that he needed to have to make the decisions that he needed to make. we were woefully hollowed out after the peace dividend. no one is blaming anybody for the peace dividend, that was a good thing that we had. we sort of let our guard down when we were enjoying the peace dividend. when 9/11 happened to us, it was a large large wake-up call, and we had to take stock very quickly. we found that just about every co cupbard we looked
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into was nearly bare. i remember asking our intelligence people, how many arab speakers do we have who can help me and help my colleagues on this committee understand what is going on. the answer was woefully few. little things like that opened our eyes very quickly. i would emphasize that during that period, the president understood that we needed to ramp up capability fast. in the intelligence world, you do not just go out and hire five spies. it takes time to recruit good clandestine service people, and is not done overnight. the president committed early on to rebuilding our clandestine service overseas, and operational capabilities. we do have the world's greatest intelligence organization in the world. we have certainly, the greatest
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intelligence capabilities in the world. what we don't have, and what we have not had consistently, are the policies on how to use them. we are a free democratic open society, and leading that debate about where the line is between your privacy and your protection from the ability of the government to get information on you, or about you, is a debate that should go on and will go on -- i hope always -- in our free open democratic society. we never want the pendulum to swing too far one way or the other. we want to be safe, but we do not want big brother looking over our shoulders every time we want to do something. president bush understood that very well and tried very hard to find that balance, and perpetually keep that in front of us on the hill, so that we stay between the lanes, between
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serving the united states of america, and keeping it safe on the one hand, without getting into the private or civil rights of the citizens that we all work for and represent. i would say that the way it finally came out, if i had to give a few words, are the hallmarks of the bush doctrine. once we saw what we were up against a after the horrors of 9/11 were strength, commitment and engagement. i think that the president did an extraordinary job of giving us energized at a time that there was an audience in the world that was listening and watching to see what the united states of america was indeed going to do. i think the president was let down somewhat, by the information that he got. i do not feel that the intelligence committee, as good as it is, it was not as good
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then. as i said, it had been hollowed out. and as good as the men and women in the intelligence committee they put up great sacrifice, but i do not think the president truly had all the information that he needed. i know that he made statements that he thought were true that turned out to be wrong because we had bad information. that is going to happen. we are always going to have victims, if we do not have good intelligence. this is a shameless call for everybody to understand: we need good intelligence at all times in our country. we might get better decisions instead of making mistakes. my time in the halill and is up with a review of what happened on 9/11 and how it came to pass. you could point a lot of fingers at a lot of people and a lot of institutions and say that this happened, and that happen, but the fact of the matter is when
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you're talking about a free, democratic, open society, we were just going about our business. we probably should have paid more attention and not dropped our guard, but we did. i think that was a collective decision that we made as americans. we got back on track and started to do things. i went down and talk to the president, and he asked if i would be the dci after the previous one announced his resignation. it was in the summer, right before a presidential election. this was not a time that most people would say mr. president if you happen to lose this election i am out of a job maybe i don't want to do this. the fact of the matter is that i really wide to get out of washington. i had been in congress about as long as i deeded and wanted to be. i was looking for nexen. unfortunately, i did not find it. instead, i found a great
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challenge. my job involves five things. i was the dci. the last of the dci foss because congress had some concerns that they were losing control of the intelligence community, and they wanted a little tighter rein. they decided that new architecture was necessary. nevertheless, it was a job that meant managing 15 agencies in the intelligence community, and some that had very important people on the hill in charge of them. this is quite a team of people who someone who does not have cabinet level status has to manage. number two was heading cia. number three was fighting a war. we had a war going on, and we
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did not know what the next step was going to be. that was sort of an important job every day. every day, we met in the agency's war room and went over what was happening. then we have the whole question of the real problem of the agency. the job is to manage the president which is done through the daily briefing. that is compiling the best information that the president needs to have every given morning. and to have about .5 hour of the president's ear is extraordinary audit, but a well of responsibility. you want to get it right. the temptation is always to give the president the worst-case scenario and then walk away, but if you do that, you might not have given him the most likely scenario. we had some problems sorting out what really could go wrong and what likely was to go wrong.
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in those days, when we were not sure, that was an ext extremely hard job. the last thing to do was -- we had a new architect, a new architecture, and it set up, which i think ambassador negroponte will talk about. that meant that we had to spend some time readjusting how all these 15 agencies worked with each other. i do not think there is a human being in this world who could do this job. i truly don't. i said that. i was widely held last for it, but the truth of the matter is that other people who try to do all five of those things had similar thoughts about doing them. i think that the good part of it all is that we got through it in a very sane american way that does credit to is all.
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we ended up on the right side of just about everyone of those issues -- every one of those issues. now, the last thing that i will say about the bush doctrine, given the fact that we were at a time of change, was -- i think president bush was so clearly aware of the fact that we were not necessarily dealing state to state, but dealing with people who are outside of the conventional norm. these people were ruthless troublemakers. again, i am speaking of radical fundamentalists. i not addressing all of islam or muslims people. i'm talking about the radical fundamentalists who declared war on us. the president never wanted that guard to be down again, and he never wanted to give those folks a sanctuary, a place where they could trade, get money, make
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their plans, arrange their travel, manufacture their passports, put out the past -- their propaganda. the president got that, and he did something about it. he understood very well that the radical fundamentalists understood strength, and he also understood that they would take advantage of weakness and disengagement. he got that part absolutely right. for that cup him a great deal. thank you. [applause] ambassador negroponte: good afternoon everybody and think you very much for this opportunity to speak with you this afternoon about the bush --
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w bush era. perhaps first, let me pick up on a couple of things that director goss said. one is a detail, but in interesting one. that is the president's daily brief. when we made the transition from porter being the dci to be becoming the director of national intelligence, there was about one month or so when we went in to see the president together at 8:00 every morning to brief him. that, for me was a very helpful and interesting time to transition over to doing it myself with the staff in the ensuing months. one thing i want to say about president bush, and this is now 2005, he had been in office for four years.
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when any president has been in office for four years, they know the situation pretty well. they have met a lot of leaders. they meet dozens of leaders international leaders, every year. it is kind of hard to give them a leadership profile, if you will on somebody who they just saw the previous week at a nato meeting or other meeting. he was a particularly good customer. george w. bush really was fascinated by intelligence. he absorbed it. he liked that half hour that he spent every day -- and it was not just five days a week, it was six days a week that we briefed him. i think he was one of the best customers of intelligence that i have ever known.
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he had a dialectical style. he would look at the briefer and say, look, you wrote this, tell me what it says. he much preferred to have a conversation about issues than to actually read the material. or, he would do that, if he felt he ought to. i can remember sometimes, we would bring in people in addition to the regular articles that we would show him every morning -- usually six or seven articles in the form of one page or halfpage. sometimes, he would do a so-called deep dive into a country of interests or discussion of leadership of the country whose leaders were important to us and particularly inscrutable. we would do the steep dive. he would really get in to the discussion and valued it a great deal. we would bring young analysts
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from the cia to present their views wrigley to the president. it was a good experience for the president, and a good experience , maybe a little intimidating at first, for some of the analysts but once they got used to it they counted for themselves very well. not every president devotes that much attention, and concentrated scheduled time, to absorbing their daily intelligence. when i worked with colin powell, i was his deputy, he did not even have an intelligence briefing every day. we were his national security and deputy national security advisers respectively. we would simply give him the daily brief, and he was at his leisure to read it during the course of the day, and by the
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end of the day, he would give it back to us. occasionally, if there was an article that we felt we should highlight for him, we would do that. different presidents have different styles. bill clinton, apparently, did not ever meet an intelligence briefer. there was the famous story about the crash of the plane on the white house line, and they joke that it was the cia director try to get in to see the president. anyway, we had a good customer. i'm sure that he became an even better customer after 9/11. the second point i would like to make, before getting to a topic is that i thought peter baker and others this morning made a very good point when they said that you really have to think of the presidency as dynamic evolving and the essentially
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you have two phases of the bush presidency. you have the first four years and the second for. they were really quite different. they were differ because of changing circumstances, but also because of changing faces. condoleezza rice moved over to become the secretary of state. she put a priority on taking a more diplomatic approach to a number of issues. vice president cheney became less influential. perhaps some of this have to do with issues of health. i do not think he was necessarily as energetic in the second term. shortly into the second term secretary rumsfeld left office and was replaced by robert gates. the atmospherics were different.
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i think that goes to the issue of the book, "bush doctrine," which i am coming to now. when i see the words "bush doctrine and combating terrorism," i immediately think about the different justifications for the war in afghanistan and the war in iraq. i was at the u.n. when both of these wars were launched. the war in afghanistan -- in fact, i was notified by a flash telegram on a sunday. i figure was sunday, october 6 2001. "seek out the president of the security council and ask for a meeting this evening to inform the council that we are going to be launching attacks into afghanistan in the exercise of our self-defense under article
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51 of the united nations charter." we dutifully did that that evening in the council. i do not think that we had any argument from anybody as to the fact that we were retaliating against afghanistan because of the 9/11 attacks. i think that was well understood, both internationally, and in our own country. there was an interesting footnote to that day for me, which i think was a harbinger of issues to come. that is that the second part of my instruction said -- by the way, you should seek out the ambassador to the united nations of iraq. this was sunday, october 6 2001, mind you. and, you should seek him out
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urgently. and basically read to him the following talking points. the talking points were very tough. they said, and i'm paraphrasing but if you iraq, saddam hussein, even think about taking advantage of the situation that is created by our preoccupation with afghanistan, there will be hell to pay. it was thomas threatening -- almost threatening in its language. this is 2001. and bridges by, even though i was involved in negotiating the resolution 1441 in fall 2002 that led to the reinstatement of an inspection regime in iraq, in retrospect, it was clear that the administration had iraq on
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its mind right from the beginning after 9/11. if you read bush's book on decision points, he explains that he thought about iraq as soon as december 2001, and had discussions between december 2001 and the summer of 2002. i was not nearly as conscious of this in 2002, when i was working on negotiating the inspection resolution. i thought we had more time to allow for an inspection regime to work. as it turns out, that was more a matter of form, and it would appear that the decision had been made. i heard porter say in the
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earlier panel that we're not exactly sure when, but it seems clear to me, that the administration's mind was made up, even as we were going to the united stations, that we were going to invade iraq. i think that is really the issue around which turns the question of judgment of the bush doctrine -- the doctrine of preemption and unilateral action. ironically, it is something of an exception to the rest of george w. bush's foreign policy. he evolved to a more moderate stance. it was such an important exception, and so much blood and treasure was expended in iraq, that i think it will remain the
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major foreign-policy issue on which george w. bush and his and administration is charged. i think beginning in the second term mr. bush and his advisers fell back into a more traditional american foreign policy approach, trying to avoid unilateral action, if at all possible. i can recall because i was deputy secretary of state at the time and also because when i was director of national intelligence, there were rumors almost con constant, particularly on wall street for some reason, that we were going to attack iran. from internal discussions nothing was further from our
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minds. i do not think mr. bush wanted to add to the litany of problems that we had on our hands at the time. i think the issue of iran was more trying to contain its nuclear development program through either diplomacy or by economic sanctions. i do not think that military action against iran was ever seriously contemplated. a related point, there was talk of the time subsequently of israel.
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i think there is serious question as to whether, given factors of distance, numbers of facilities where they were located, and so forth, whether israel would have had the capability. i for one -- i am not sure that i would elevate the one major unilateral and preemptive efforts of the present took in iraq to the level of "d octrine." we will have to see how history treats this issue over time. i think it was a reaction to the circumstances that arose after 9/11, possibly some legacy issues from having bush 41 deal
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with iraq as well. i think that by the time the president had handed off power to president obama, i think you can point to a number of examples where mr. obama felt very comfortable carrying on the policies that his predecessor had bequeathed him. thank you. [applause] prof. eisenberg: i am hoping that they will finally find a microphone i can use. as a professor, i want to
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welcome director goss and ambassador negroponte for coming here today, and expressing willingness to come here and talk about the issues. i do not think it has been openly acknowledged here, but the reality is that those members -- very few members of the administration have been willing to come here and talk about these issues. i really appreciate your presence here. some of you may have forgotten dean firestone's introduction. and case there is any confusion i want to make it clear that i am not now, nor have i ever been a member of, the bush administration. i thought you might be confused. i am a historian at this university completing a book on the nixon administration. before that, i wrote a book on the early cold war. for both of those projects, i
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spent thousands of hours reading top-secret government documents. these are records that were declassified after the fact. i reading all these documents -- in reading all these document, it makes you seriously weird for one thing. there are also certain expressions that you get. some of them are pretty obvious. one is that very often public officials say thinks to the public that are not true. actually, i have to say sometimes i reading something in a document that is secret, and then i look at present nixon or secretary kissinger, and they come and say the exact opposite that they said one hour ago. i'm always amazed when this happens. sometimes, officials are not truthful or they exaggerate, or
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deceive themselves, or they can be misled by advisers. from reading all these documents, the most important impression that i have gotten -- i have been struggling on how to articulate it -- is when you look at the deliberations of people at the very top level the use of language, and have a way of talking -- sort of a national security vernacular -- that has the effect of actually insulating them from the human reality that they are talking about. somehow, that does not even enter the room. you can read minutes of meetings and memos about cambodia, laos, south vietnam, or wherever, and what is happening in those places is like a million miles away from what is going on in this room. one of our speakers earlier was talking about the president at
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the top of his game, with all the information that he needs to have. bush was familiar with all the world leaders. actually i think bush would have benefited from going to a village in afghanistan, which we accidentally bombed, and talking to the people there. i think it would have been helpful to him and our country. those deliberations at that high level have the effect of making those realities may obscure to the people who are sitting in those rooms. it also has the effect of generating a kind of grandiosity by the people in those rooms who have a tendency to say things that are actually fairly simple, and make them sound profound. i think investor negroponte was getting -- ambassador mega party was getting at that. "the bush doctrine," i am not entirely sure what it is. i tried to look it up online. one, the military of the
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united states needs to be stronger than any other in the world. two, we need to retain the right to attack any country. three, we not be bound by the pressure of allies or the united nations for, a threat does not have to be imminent to attack the country. boiled down to the essentials, we are the only world superpower, and we can do what we want. this does not originate with bush. this goes back to 400 bc. one group told another comment you know as we do right in the world is only in question between the equals of power, while the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must. my initial point, that is the
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bush doctrine in that it is much less than what meets the eye. that does not imply that it is meaningless. what it signaled was a newly aggressive militarized foreign policy which came into its own after 9/11. we are told that is what the american people wanted. how brilliant of president bush to stand in the middle of the rubble on ground zero with a bullhorn and yell, i can hear you, and soon the whole world will hear from us. there was another choice on an 911 and a different mood in new york city. i cannot make generalizations about the whole united states boy what i can say is i was in new york during the entire time. the city of new york was still, sad, incredibly compassionate.
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everywhere, people were seeking to help one another. we will hear about apple corps for an eternity. i want to tell you a little story about my book the neighborhood, right across from the world trade center. our homes were covered in ashes, but our neighborhood was diverse with muslims, christians, and jews. the arab-american families in our neighborhood reached out to a synagogue and proposed a candlelight vigil to honor the dead, first responders, and pray for peace. it was organized very heard in the -- hurriedly, and it was unclear how many people would come, but wendy moment arrived, hundreds of people came streaming -- wendy moment arrived, hundreds of people came streaming down the streets. it sounds like kind of a corny thing that a professor might
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bring up in contrast to the harsh realities of fighting terrorists out to destroy us. to shift grounds for a moment, in opting for war, invading iraq and afghanistan creating secret prisons in locations around the world torturing detainees insights around the world -- there was nothing very realistic about the way the bush and administration responded to 9/11. keeping us safe from terrorism -- we all think that is important, which illustrates the choices that were made. i will give another story. i want to talk about firehouses, the ones in my neighborhood just across the river from the world trade center. the trucks were called in right from the beginning of the attack. they drove across the brooklyn bridge and rushed into burning
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buildings, and help to save hundreds of lives. many of our firemen died and those buildings collapse, including one of my friends. what happened a year later is that our firehouse closed because there was no money in york city to pay for firehouses. they did not have enough money to keep them open. meanwhile, the bush and administration was sending millions of dollars to iraq in suitcases, for which there was never any accountant. the unbelievable sloppiness of handling this money, millions disappearing into iraq, millions to pay warlords in afghanistan millions to private contractors -- schools never built and hospitals never finished. but, not enough money for firehouses, and frankly not enough for our veterans' health
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services either. what does that say about keeping america safe? whatever it meant the bush doctrine found its culmination in the war in iraq. a war of choice. for the purpose of saving us from weapons of mass destruction which it turns out did not exist. this episode is now described as a fake, a failure of intelligence. we did not know that the weapons were not there, we did not know the invasion would cost so many lives, we did not know that we would spend more than $1 trillion to. people make mistakes, but in this instance, people did know these things. there were weapons inspectors in iraq saying, wait, there might not be anything here.
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there were military people saying, we cannot run an operation like this on a shoestring. there were middle east expert saying over and over again, if you try to occupy this country -- these warnings were ignored. can i get some water? thank you. what are the results of this realistic choice -- i would say, unrealistic choice? according to the watson institute of brown university, iraq cost is $1.7 trillion, with an additional 490 million owed to our veterans. we -- i am saying we, i should say the war -- killed at least
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135 iraqi civilians. as many as 5 million iraqis were driven from their home. i any kind relation, the decision to invade iraq can be counted among the most disastrous in modern history. i have to say, it is a little bit incredible for me to hear about what great of a customer was president bush in the context of the truly disastrous decisions that he made with the horrendous human cost that was involved. one less story. on september 12, 2001, rescue workers pulled out a 30-year-old woman, the last one to be saved from the devastation. while most of your too young to remember as those last people were pulled from the rubble, it was an incredible moment. one person was saved. people went when they pulled that one person from the rubble.
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why was that? one of the things we learned about 9/11 is that every single person's life is important impression. that points to the tragic legacy of the bush doctrine. the bush and administration -- the bush and mr. administration and the unbelievable way that they never caught osama bin laden, but did immense damage. we are still living with that now. the responsibility for the mistakes no longer rests with us after, but with all of us in the audience. if we forget, or minimize the gravity of the mistakes that we made over those years, people will continue to make those mistakes on into the future, and many more people will die. thank you. [applause]
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prof. knott i too: i would also like to thank hofstra for hosting. they give for coming today. let me begin by saying that the accusations frequently leveled against this president are certainly nothing new. people will tend to criticize the sitting president, whether he is a member of their party or not on partisan grounds. putting that aside, i would say that george w. bush has been subjected to some of the worst demagoguery, and unfortunately comes from a number of my scholarly comrades especially
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historians and law professors, who consider themselves expert on the presidency. i find this particularly disturbing, in that historians are supposed to wait for documents to come out. they are supposed to wait for oral history interviews to be conducted. you're supposed to wait for memoirs from both domestic political figures and foreign leaders as well. they're supposed to do the unsexy work of going to an archive and spending lots of quiet time looking up for an -- looking up boring documents. unfortunately, far too many historians abandoned objectivity and failed to place bush's actions into historical context. i'm speaking about historians who were saying in 2005-2006, that the bush and mr. asian was one of the worst in history --
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bush administration was one of the worst in history. i'm not saying that he is the best by any stretch. there are a number of issues that need to be put into the equation when assessing a presidency. at the very least, my scholarly comrades had the obligation to wait until the presidency was over before declaring that it was the worst over. i would argue that now, it is still very early to make sweeping judgments about any presidency. just as a reminder after harry truman's departure from the white house, he was still a very unpopular figure, and certainly and scholarly circles eisenhower was considered a rank
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mediocrity. nonetheless, this narrative which also suggests that vice president cheney was pulling the strings -- which is a myth -- persists to this day. again, i am referring to my fellow scholars who do not do the actual reading, besides the op-eds of "the new york times." those same people who criticize george bush celebrate the presidency of john kennedy. they also, many of these folks but not all, celebrate the presidencies of franklin roosevelt who use the fbi as his
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private detective industry and tried in military -- tried an american citizen in a military tribunal. to make matters worse, many of my fellow activist scholars abandoned the precepts of their craft, as i said before by making the judgment prior to conducting a single interview. i think that this deep scholarly animosity towards present bush and vice president cheney was the result of the fact that president bush was the first to face a series challenge to american security since the enactment of a new regime, post-watergate post-vietnam reform, designed to curb the imperial presence. these reforms had the effect of enhancing the power of congress, the courts to check the executive. a scholarly community produced a
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sort of permanent hostility. since the founding of the nation, the courts and congress have deferred to the executive branch on issues but that tradition began to a road in the 1960's and 1970's, rightly so in many cases. the courts expanded their role in the national security arena and the courts would frequently allied themselves with congress in order to check the executive branch. in a sense, bush and cheney tried to play by the old rules by the pre-watergate, pre-church committee rules. in 2014, we can at least say that they appeared to have lost in their effort to restore the system back to its pre-frank church and watergate committee role. let me warn you, history can be fickle. at least in regards to bush's war on terror, i believe that
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someday they will become seen in more favorable light. i do not expect that to occur fast. i do not ever expect bush to emerge in the top 10 list of presidential greatness, whereby the way, harry truman resides. if we want to talk about truman -- talk about torture, we can have a very lengthy debate about truman's use of intelligence sources in the cold war. if we want to look in cases of waterboarding, rendition, we also need to do history justice and re-examine the presidencies of harry truman, for instance, or jfk, or any number of progressive presidents, who unfortunately are often cut a lot of slack by my fellow
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academics. george w. bush's low standing among academics, my fellow academics, reflects in part the rise of partisan scholarship, the use of history as ideology, and a political weapon, which in my view means, a corruption of history. again, i do not believe that george w. bush was a great president. in fact, he will probably come out at some point as a below average or average president. but, the conventional wisdom regarding the presidency of george w. bush, i think, is misguided, and revisionist accounts of this presidency, at least in regards to foreign-policy issues is overdue. i will leave you with this. we are not far from the world trade center site. put yourself in his position or feet on september 12.
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ask what you would have done. i know what he did, either that day or the next. he told his fbi director and his attorney general to do whatever it took to make sure that this did not again. i would have probably said the same thing. thank you. [applause] ms. goodman: 9/11 was a defining moment. the question was, what did iraq have to do with 9/11? if you asked yourself as the last speaker suggested what would you have done on september 12, why would you attack a
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country that had nothing to do with this horrific attack on the united states? just today a report has come out from the nobel prize-winning international physicians for the prevention of nuclear war. they have done some touch relations. they released a report saying this investigation comes to the conclusion that the war has directly or indirectly killed around one million people in iraqi, 220,000 in afghanistan 80,000 in pakistan, a total of around 1.3 million. not included in this figure are further war zones, such as yemen. the figure is a proximally 10 times greater of that than which the public and decision-makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major ngo's, and
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this is only a conservative estimate they write. the total number of deaths in the three countries named above could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below one million is extremely unlikely. one million deaths in iraq in the last bit more than a decade, in a country the bush administration said they were going to say that would, as they famously said, cheney and rumsfeld greet u.s. soldiers with flowers. vice president cheney said, we are going to liberate the people of iraq. sadly, the bush administration exploited 9/11. the blueprint for what happened and i think it is important to go back, even not so far in
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history, was drawn up years earlier by the project for the new american century. i am reading from my first book,". a think tank was formed in 1997 to promote american global leadership. its founders are a who's who of the neoconservative movement which seamlessly morphed into the top officialdom of the bush 2 administration. donald rumsfeld, vice president dick cheney,chene cheney's chief of staff, elliott abrams among others. the members had a reputation around washington and explained by a retired cia analyst as was
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talked about earlier the presidential daily brief. mcgovern did it for vice president george h w bush, but he observed when we saw these people -- he is talking about the members -- coming back in town saying all of a sudden, the crazies are back, mcgovern said their wild-i geopolitical schemes would to the go right into the circular file. in september 2000, they called on the united states to dominate global forces, for some catalyzing event like pearl harbor. and so you have the allegation of weapons of mass distraction and iraq itself, the pretext for a larger scheme. while the unresolved conflict with iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial american force presence in the gulf transcends
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the issue of the regime of saddam hussein. and so on the morning of september 12, 2001, donald rumsfeld reacted to the world trade center and pentagon attacks by declaring to bush's cabinet that the united states should immediately attack iraq. it do not matter then or later that iraq had no connection to al qaeda or the 9/11 attacks. national security adviser condoleezza rice told senior national security council staff to think about how do you capitalize on these opportunities. she compared the situation with 1945 to 1947, the start of the cold war. but not all people on the national security council felt the way that those administration officials did. take richard clarke. he advised president reagan and
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president bush on counterterrorism. he was carried over to george w. bush's administration, and also was with president clinton. he was shocked when rumsfeld the day after said we have got to look at iraq. he was shocked and president bush told him to look at iraq. one of the things he told cbs's "60 minutes," i think he has done a terrible job on the war against terrorism, because, he said, months before the 9/11 attacks, he had warned the administration, we have got to look at al qaeda. to be told the day after the 9/11 attacks we must look at iraq? think about it today one million iraqis dead. but the bush administration did not do it alone. they had a compliant press to
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amplify their allegations, the falsehoods, and that isalso has to be dope that during the years of the bush administration, where was the press? the white house propaganda list was launched on september 7 2002, at a press conference. tony blair stood side-by-side with president bush. to getgoether they declared a report showed that iraq was six months away from building nuclear weapons. president bush said i do not know what more evidence we need. actually, any evidence would have helped. there was no such iaea, but at the time few mainstream american journalists questioned the lies. the following day evidence popped up in the sunday "new york times."
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it was written, more than a decade after saddam hussein agreed to give up weapons of mass destruction, iraq had stepped up its west for nuclear weapons and had parked on a hunt to make an atomic bomb. in a revealing example of how the story amplified administration spin, the authors included the phrase soon to be repeated by president bush and all his top officials, the first sign of a smoking gun may be a mushroom cloud. harpers's publisher john mcarthur knew what to make of this front page bombshell. he wrote in a disgraceful piece of stenography, gordon and miller inflated and administration leak into something reasonably imminent armageddon. bush administration knew just
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what to do with the story they had said gordon and miller. the day the times story ran dick cheney made the rounds on the sunday talk shows to advance the mission -- the administration's claims. cheney declared iraq had purchased aluminum tubes to make an rich uranium. it did not matter that the iaea refuted the charge. but cheney did not want the viewers to take his word for it. he said, with a story in "the times," this morning, and i want to attribute "the times." the white house ally to "the times," in the white house masquerades behind the credibility of "the new york times." what mattered was the unencumbered rollout for a commercial for war. what matters now is that we had
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a media in this country that acted as a conveyor belt for the lies, and why does that matter? is it just an academic exercise? because the lies took and are taking lives and that is what we have to look at. but not all in the press were complicit. it were many on the frontlines who were trying their hardest to get out the truth, on the ground in iraq, which takes us to the moment the day before the u.s. marines pulled down the statue of suydam saddam hussein in 2003. you had a young reporter who had just joined out to zero in their -- ouch is your -- al jazeera and he was killed when a u.s. helicopter strafed the building. the hosts were shouting on the air, help us, as they were being
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strafed. within a few hours, the palestine hotel became a target for the u.s. military. now all new at that time that the palestine hotel in baghdad was where well over 100 on embedded journalists -- un imbedded journalists were staying. when the abrams tank opened fire, they killed two reporters. one was on the balcony reporting on what was happening. he was with reuters. the reason another on a balcony filming for a network in spain. both of them were immediately killed, and many were wounded on that day. that was april 8, 2003. you come to the summer, this is the summer of 2003, another
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reuters the agar for, one of their finest, was outside what would later become world-famous ipo grape -- abu ghraib. they talked talked u.s. soldiers, but within minutes he filmed his own death, as the u.s. soldiers attacked him. he said we had just been speaking with soldiers. later a pentagon spokesperson said they accidentally engaged a cameraman. take this forward to the beginning, january of 2004. remember ethan jordan. he was inadvertently caught on a microphone at the world economic forum saying the u.s. military had targeted a dozen journalists who had been killed in iraq. it was a great firestorm, and
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ultimately he resigned, after 23 years at cnn not wanting cnn to become a target. journalists targeted in iraq. and those were the journalists. now i want to talk about the whistleblowers, these very great people who stepped forward. for example, soldiers, who were horrified by what they saw. while "the new york times" very much paved the way for more, they published a very few very good op-ed pieces, honoring those who said no. they began in january 2004, specialist darby a 24-year-old reservist, discovered a set of photographs showing other members of his company torturing prisoners at the prison. he struggled over how to respond. he recalled later i have a
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choice between what i knew was morally right and my loyalty to other soldiers. i could not have it with ways. so he copied the photographs on to a cd, sealed it in an envelope, and limited it and an anonymous letter to the army's criminal investigation command. three months later, seven years to go, they wrote the photographs were published. he found himself the target of death threats, but he had no regrets. the dividing any pretrial hearing for a fellow soldier, he said that the abuse finally did everything i personally believed in and all i have been taught about the rules of war. yes, there are many brave people people on the ground, soldiers journalists, who did speak out. cy hersch who publish those photos said you actually have not seen the worst of them yet.
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so now let talk about -- let's talk about what mr. negroponte did not talk about, the word "torture." there is no doubt porcher played a major role in the push for invading iraq. while the senate report and other critics say torture produced false information that could have been one of the program's goals, in 2009 mcclatchy reported the bush administration repli --applied pressure to use methods to find evidence of cooperation between al qaeda and saddam hussein's regime. a former u.s. intelligence official said there was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get the information out of the detainees and especially the high-die once they had, -- high-
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value ones they had. they were told to push harder. the iraq torture connection gives only bear mention to the senate report from the executive summary that was released in december. in a footnote, the report cites the case of a person, after u.s. forces sent him to egypt he made the claim that iraq gave -- to al qaeda. he used his statement in that they bury five, 2003 -- in the february 5, 2003, address, did you and security council, an address he would later call eight thing on his career. that speak at the u.n. falsely alleging iraq possessed weapons of mass structure. the senate report says libby later recanted the claim claiming he had been tortured
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them and only told them what he assessed that they wanted to hear. torture. it is so important to talk about this today. what has gone on and who should be held accountable. the senate intelligence report, the executive order -- summary was released in december, and it covered between 2002 and 2006. even john mccain, a man who himself was tortured in captivity as a pow in vietnam called for its release. graphic new details of the post-9/11 u.s. torture program came to light in december when the senate intelligence committee released that 500-page summary of its investigation into the ci, with keith parts three decade. the report -- with key parts redacted. the report says the agency
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failed to disrupt a single plot despite torturing al qaeda and other captives and secret persons worldwide between 2002 and 2006, and details a list of methods, including waterboarding, sexual threats with broomsticks rectal feeding, and the report also confirmed the cia ran black site in afghanistan and a secret site on the guantanamo naval base known as strawberry fields. so far no one involved in the cia interrogation program has been charged with a crime except for the whistleblower, who just came out of two years of prison and is currently under house arrest. well it is so important to assess the bush administration, and i hope in a few years you
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will be doing the same for the obama administration, as you have done in the past. should president bush, vice president cheney, secretary of defense rumsfeld, and cia officials be tried for torture? that is a very serious question, an. a human rights group in berlin has filed a complaint, called the european constitutional center of human rights, accusing officials like george tenet and donald rumsfeld's of war crimes, calling for an immediate investigation by german prosecutor. the move following release of the senate report. but it is not only international law groups that are calling for this. yes, president bush's own counterterrorism czar, richard clarke has called for the say.
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i want to congratulate hofstra for holding this assessment of the bush administration. but i think now it has to go beyond assessment, and this is to a larger audience in this country and around the world. if we really care about national security in being a model for the world of justice, it has to move from assessment to an accounting into accountability. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. would any of our panelists like to comment on any of the presentations that were made here today?
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[indiscernible] >> it was certainly working at the podium. >> i think cia s dirty tricks. cia did it. >> it is working now. >> ok, we are ok now. >> i just simply come in the interest of fairness, would
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respond a little bit on the senate select committee on intelligence study on rendition detention, and interrogation was a partisan political study. it was not too-sided, and there are four that further facts that need to come out from those who are able to correct some of the misstatement in the senate study. that has not happened yet. i hope it will happen, because i believe the american public needs to know the truth of all of this. the senate study is not the full truth. >> was there any truth in it? was there any truth in it? >> of course, there was some truth in it. it was a cherry-picked selective presentation of information
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supporting a narrative that was made before this report actually was started. the announced purpose of the report of the study, if i am correcting chairman feinstein if i'm quoting chairman feinstein properly, was to make sure this never happens again. i'm not sure what the "this" was, but apparently, as you have gone through the report them as you go through this study, there are a series of observations that involve information that the decision-makers could have provided to the people doing the report and would have given a fairer and more complete understanding of what happened and why. if you want to know why something happened, it is a good idea to go back to the people who made the decision and ask
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them. they calculated leak and determinedly avoided going back to anybody they thought might spoil their narrative. so consequently, yes, there is some information that is cheery-picks, some out of context, and some factually correct as far as i know. i have not read a word of the report. i have not read a word of any of this stuff, because, to me, it is purely partisan political and the politicization of intelligence in this country is going to hurt only one person, and that is every citizen in the united states. >> i just wanted to quote senator mccain, who -- >> i love senator mccain, and would agree with you that senator mccain is the icon of prisoner of war conduct. he has suffered greatly for a country and made great sacrifices, and deserves to be
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listened to. but he does not have all of the information, either. ms. goodman: he said it is a thoughtful study of practice and i believe not only failed their purpose to secure actionable intelligence to prevent further attacks on the u.s. and our allies, but actually damaged our security interests as well as our reputation as a force for good in the world. mr. goss: he is welcome to his opinion. i doubt if he has read the report. in any event he has certainly not ask the people who were involved in this activity what they think because they have all indicated that -- [indiscernible] even he is dealing with less than a full deck. >> ambassador? >> i think i would love to hear some questions from the audience, but i would recall for those of you who might not have been here this morning, and peter baker i thought put it well, and it is a point i made in my initial presentation, that
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the administration was a dynamic one. it even evolved. there were certain behaviors that were current in the early part of the administration. baker talked about waterboarding and said yes, but the last case of waterboarding was in 2003. mr. goss took his job in 2004. i did in 2005. this was an evolving situation. about my point about the president being a good customer of intelligence, let's remember that neither mr. powell nor president bush -- mr. powell did not mislead the security council when he made a presentation in 2003. i was sitting right behind him with george tenet. he believed it in good faith. turned out that the source, who
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should not have been believed, and this was a real intelligence failure, had greatly deceived his handlers and deliberately said that fabricated -- said -- fabricated the information because he was an iraqi source and they found out that he wanted us to exactly what he did in the wake of his testimony and that of others. so this was an intelligent failure, and it led to significant intelligence reform but neither bush nor mr. powell were trying to mislead anybody. they believed that intelligence and selves and were very -- and themselves and were very deceived by the fact that it turned out to be false. the last point i would like to make is i know this is a talk about the bush doctrine and
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counterterrorism, but i think we want to keep in perspective that the foreign policy of the bush administration ranged over an enormous variety of issues, whether it is the free-trade agreements that the president accomplished's policy toward africa, and the petfar program to save people from the effects of the hiv-aids firevirus his strategic move towards india establishing relations with the country of india that were unprecedented in recent decades between the united states and india,'s outreach to china the people's republic of china as well. so just remember presidents have a very full plate in addition to their domestic responsibilities, and i would say over time -- it is not going to happen today or tomorrow --
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but over time i think the president bush is going to be evaluated or the entirety of his foreign-policy and not just the war on terror and the two wars in afghanistan and iraq. >> mr. goss and then dr. eisenberg. ms. goodman: i was -- mr. goss: i was good going to say, if those who remember that era 2001 and 2002, when we were talking about weapons of mass destruction, the conventional wisdom was they were there and it was not just something that was manufactured. it was every intelligence organization on a global basis within the networks were talking to each other -- with whom the networks were talking to each other, and there was a lot of different information coming from a lot of different sectors.
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it is all a little bit sort of whifty information. there were some things that were pretty clear. one was that saddam hussein's sons had given information and went back and was summarily executed at some point. i think that was correct. it is a while since i remembered all of this. but i remember a celebrated moment was when director tenet had announced to the president this was a slamdunk. of course they had mass distraction weapons. i do not think everybody -- anybody was intentionally misleading anybody. what i said was our intelligence was not up to snuff as we had hollowed out our capacity as part of the peace dividend. the fact that we did not have the best information is sad, and it lead to tragic consequences in a number of cases, i am sure.
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what we did learn the lesson and the lesson was rebuild our intelligence committee, which is what we are trying to do. but it will never work if we politicize for partisan gain or some other agenda the facts and try and tell only a part of the narrative rather than the whole narrative. and that is my beef with the senate study. ms. eisenberg: when we talk of the politicization of information, it is certainly well known and understood by this time that vice president cheney, not once, not twice in about five times, not seven times, went to the cia headquarters and pressured them to come up with a certain result if that is not politicization of intelligence, i do not know what is. so it is very important that we keep that in mind them and
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again, particularly, because that pressure on that agency and other agencies of government that led the policies that proved to be inordinately costly for other people. i do not want to spend a huge amount of time about who did not know. i want to say if the beer president of the united states turns to the cia director and asks if the intelligence is really reliable and the cia guy says it is a slamdunk, and that is persuasive, i do not necessarily find that is the most intelligent consumption of information on the part of a president. i think it would have been important for george bush to ask more questions than that. to go beyond all of this, i think ambassador negroponte alluded to this, a thing to keep in mind is there were weapons inspectors in iraq, that because of the you and resolution -- u.n. resolution, saddam hussein
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in this last months admitted weapons inspectors into his country. there were inspectors going there from the international atomic energy commission, other inspectors under hanslick who are looking for chemical weapons. one said they found no evidence that saddam hussein was stockpiling weapons. remember, rumsfeld and cheney kept saying over and over we know where these weapons are. we know where they are. here is this u.n. inspector that presumably communicated with americans who knew where these weapons are, and they are not finding anything. and you are the president of the united states, and you are being told by two teams of weapons and
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spiders, it are definitely not or we do not seem to be finding it, give us more time. and instead of responding to the conflicts in that way, he says we are finding anything, get us more time, and the international support is eroding every day because people were becoming more suspicious because if they were there, instead of doing that, the president decides to invade. whether or not the cia did job or not the question still is, why didn't the president of the united states them if he wanted to avoid a war, why didn't he listen to the youu.n. teams? >> it is time for a take questions from the audience. i think there is a microphone. somebody is holding a microphone. it will go around if you raise your hand. when you ask your question, if you want to direct it toward one of the panelists, the gate which of the panelists and if it is a general question you are throwing out, then it will be up
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to one of the panelists to take that question. these remember we are here to ask questions and not to make statements. i believe you had your hand up on the way back there. yes, that is right. where's the microphone? ok. >> this question is for director knott. you mentioned what you would do on september a 12. what would you do from january until september 10, when he ignores warnings from the intelligence agencies? i think that is a more important question to ask, what would you do in the days leading up to that? mr. knott: i think both presidents bush and clinton deserve criticism for not giving the threat of al qaeda the priority it was due. another said the clinton administration did focus on al qaeda. al qaeda have declared -- had
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declared war on the united states in 1996. in the meantime you had -- two embassy bombing street -- bombing street yougs. there is plenty of blame to go around. both president clinton and president bush in that interim period did not give al qaeda the attention it was due, and to be honest i think a field in a very critical role which the president has to play, which is to educate the american public. the fact was this group was determined to strike the united states and kept escalating, and look how many americans were surprised when 9/11 happened. it should not have been a surprise to anybody. >> could i ask a question of director goss --rather, of mr.
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negroponte. mr. goss said if we knew then what we know today, we might have done things different which i think is a very reasonable thing to say. do you think that mr. negroponte that knowing what we know today, the iraq war was wrong, and do you think that torture is wrong? mr. negroponte: torture is never right. ms. goodman: you think the bush mistake administration was wrong to engage in it? mr. negroponte: you can find quotes. i was asked if we should use force in iraq, and i sit in questions like this, i think we ought to approach the issue with a great deal of caution. i also said that we ought -- and i felt that we ought to allow the inspection process more time
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to do its work. i was disappointed that it was not allowed. you have one president at a time. he is the commander in chief. he has the constitutional authority, and that is what he decided to do. the last point i would make to your issue about hans blicks, blicks and i had a chance to reminisce about this, and i said to him, it is amazing. we set up this infection thing and we never found anything, and what the heck happened? he said, that is right but he said i still do not understand why saddam behaved so guilty, and maybe that is why he had some doubts, because saddam sort of admitted, emanated this sort of sensation that perhaps he was hiding something.
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some people have speculated and i think it was an f eia agent who had -- fbi agent who interviewed him, he wanted people to think he had a couple of the bmwmd's in the neighborhood, so this was part of his strategy. if indeed it was his strategy, a boomerang. >> next question from the audience. >> during your time is investor, the role of the u.s. and death squads within the iraqi security forces, i am wondering if anything was done to crack down on that. the second question is, that could be part of the dark legacy that the u.s. is associated with some very vicious helmets in iraq. your thoughts on that. the second element you're talking about other elements of which's foreign policy, -- of
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bush's foreign policy, we know that there are human rights abuses of the colombian military, which is been a model for a leader in mexico. is that a success? what about the u.s. support for the congo? i agree that the aids initiative was positive, but what about the u.s. role in supporting the rwa ndan military and their plunder of congo and the 5 million deaths that occurred in conngo? is that in excess? >> probably we do not have time to go through all of these issues exhaustively, but i think the thought that colonel steele was training death squads in iraq is utter nonsense, and certainly our objective when i was ambassador, there was a standup, national, professional armory, and i considered that a priority exec -- objective.
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our success until now has been mixed, but that was the objective. on colombia, the plan for the country has been a great test. it was started by bill clinton. it was continued by george w. bush. colombia is a democratic country and is a lot safer than it was before. war is hell. to think that the presidents both approached the conflict with democratic ideals in mind. they were not trying to be dictators, not trying to behave in some kind of a beastial way.
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they were trying to preserve its democratic framework. >> yes. >> this question is really for mr. goss or just about anyone. after the post invasion of iraq in 2003, there were these massive bloodshed within the civilian population because of the brewing insurgency. why did it take the bush administration so long to realize that they had an insurgency in iraq, and why did they fail to protect the civilian population? >> i suspect the ambassador has a better key on iraq than i do but my answer to that would be simply, the situation in iraq evolved rather quickly from what we thought was going to be the
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desired result and what some thought the policy makers thought was going to be the desired result. somebody said flowers were going to be strewn and our soldiers were going to be greeted. it turned out that we really cannot have that. he had a proconsul out there. the process, while we were trying to build democracy in iraq there were people in nearby countries and in nearby groups trying to destabilize iraq and trying to make sure that those efforts to plant seeds of democracy did not succeed. i would give you iran as a case in point, where killing our soldiers are providing equipment to kill our soldiers, while at the same time we were trying to bring the democratic institutions to bear and set up friendships between people who were not friendly to share the power of the country and assist them that would look like a
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potential way to bring forward change in government in the future without violence and bloodshed. the problem is we are dealing with something that has been going on since 640 a.d., if not longer, if you take the condition of humanity kim and these folks are still trying to settle a score. we withdrew, a vacuum took place, the surge worked for a while, we left, we did not have a status of forces agreement look at what we have today. we have isil. would we have had isil 12 years sooner if we had never gone to iraq? a fair question to ask. >> all the way in the back, yes, you. >> hi. my question is somebody made a reference to sort of historians rushing to judgment about george w. bush.
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it is not my -- to help true that is. don't forward to how possible would it be to do real work research wise, history wise, when so much of the information is demonized? i think of the iraqi war logs, as an example. that is my question. >> so much of the history. i missed the word you use. so much of the history is what? >> [indiscernible] >> oh, oh. well, i'm not a professional archivist. i have the director of the bush library here. i am sure he can answer your question for you. i'm not sure what you mean by demonized unless you are talking about leakers who are still within the government and then decide to follow edward snowden's path.
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there are people who demonized them. if you are a presidential historian, a good one will tell you you have to wait at least 20 years, because you have to let the passions cool, you have to do this paid work. the problem is worse than use suggested because nobody puts anything down in writing anymore, is a point was made earlier today by one of the first panels, cause they are afraid of getting as a penal -- a subpoena from capitol hill or a special processsecutor. i would still make the case that if you are a presidential historian like arthur sledges are who claimed in -- schle singer, he said george w. bush -- who said george of the worst presidents in history, and what the cheney that's what cheney was trying to do was -- what
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cheney was trying to do was world domination. >> next question, please. two of our panelists have to leave right now. i want to thank them on behalf of hofstra for coming here today. [applause] still have a few minutes ahead of us in that state any other questions. yes. a student over here. >> so, professor knott you said with the events leading up to 9/11 we should have taken more count and put more focus on the events, like the threat of afghanistan. so do you believe -- >> al qaeda in afghanistan. >> so do you believe that now with isil we should be putting more focus on them, or should we handle the situation any differently than we are? mr. goss: look, i am not trying
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to be evasive. even though i teach at a war college, that is not my specialty. at the moment, the anti-isis offensive seems to be primarily led by karen which is troubling -- led by iran, but the american public has your appetite for its on the ground. whether we can couple airpower with indigenous forces, with iranians, whether that will work or not, i do not know. >> i would commend a report that came out today called after liberation destruction, and it is about the areas of iraq that were taken over by isis, isil. and now with iraqi militias
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moving through, they are destroying for the towns, and they have -- destroying full towns, and a have the video of this, and it is difficult to understand what is happening today, how extensive the devastation is. >> i am sorry, the other panelists had left because that question applied to them. instead of the remaining participants. it has to do with the fact that we supposedly have 17 intelligence agencies with tens of billions of dollars expended on so-called intelligent, and yet we did not predict the end of the cold war, we do not predict 9/11, and we have not predicted isil coming to power the way they did. can you explain why? >> yeah, i agree, and i'm glad
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the left because there are some serious -- in the intelligence community. [laughter] ms. goodman: we have to bring them back. mr. goss: they might have killed me. no look, what i am about to tell you is very much -- it is not the majority view. i do presidential history, but also do intelligence history and in my view a lot of damage was done, and i know my colleagues here are not going to agree with this at all but if you want to penetrate a group like al qaeda or isil, you got to do some pretty nasty stuff. and that just is not sit well with the congressional oversight committees, which were created in the mid-1970's after the church committee, that i alluded to earlier. i think there has been a lot of restrictions put in place and a
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lot of that make the congressional overseers uncomfortable, which is why and explained some of those intelligence failures, not all of them. the language problem i think director goss alluded to is critical as well. i think we have made some improvements there. but the fact -- and i grant you we need to have a debate in this country, how much of a player do we want to be on the world stage? if the answer is we want to be, then you need an intelligence community that will do things that are not necessarily going to make us proud all the time. but there is not an intelligence service in the world that does not undertake uncomfortable actions, to say the least, and especially if you're talking about a group like isil or al qaeda. ms. goodman: i think the practice of torture threatens our national security. what it did in the lead up to
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iraq, it is interesting to hear mr. negroponte say he had serious questions about going to war intraq. this came from faulty information from people. when you have questioned whether congressional oversight served the democratic society i think the only thing that does not serve it is when intelligence test the intelligence community is not overseen. that is what we have seen through the bush administration. mr. goss: i would point out on the question of waterboarding we know that key members of the intelligence committees were briefed, including nancy pelosi, and we will not go down this path, because i think she has since denied that, but there's good evidence to indicate these folks were told, and in the immediate aftermath of nine alive an -- 9/11, do whatever
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you have to and if need be do more. at the least, if you're opposed to torture, do not focus your fire exclusively on the bush white house. a lot of it was coming from capitol hill as well. >> do you believe there was any intelligence that indicated a contrary conclusion that would have prevented that war? i know what you will say, i think. if they were here, i would have addressed it to them. mr. goss: i do not share the view that bush on 9/12 was determined to go after a wreck. it is clear that people like paul wolfowitz were. he was the secretary of defense deputy. i also did not live view it was because saddam tried to kill his father. there's a lot of crazy stuff out there. i think bush was radel -- was radicalized by 9/11. >> what is the connection?
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mr. goss: because it radicalized bush. the al qaeda stuff is fiction. i believe that bush himself was radicalized by the events of 9/11, and opted to go big, and go big was to send a shockwave through the part of the world and the phrase was used at the time, drain the swamp. the swamp was the semi-states that provided shelter for al qaeda, that you might move that region of the world in a more positive direction. >> we have time for one more question. >> to broaden the conversation back to decision to invade iraq, kofi annan said this was an
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illegal war a war of aggression, so based under the nuremberg tribunal, what about accountability for that? amy goodman mentioned accountability. would you call it an illegal war off the bat? mr. goss: in terms of strictly american legality, i know the authorization to use force you had the initial authorization to use force against afghanistan in the fall, winter of 2001, and you had congress go on record essentially giving bush the authority to use force if he thought that was appropriate. again, we should point out there was decent bipartisan support for giving bush's authority. hillary clinton, joe biden, harry reid, john kerry, richard
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gephardt, etc. etc. from a strict american point i have a hard time viewing iraq as an illegal war. it is certainly -- where obama went througho libya without going to congress at all. >> [indiscernible] ms. eisenberg: i cannot speak for amy goodman -- >> just sit closer to it, that is all. ms. eisenberg: i cannot speak for amy, but it's clearly a violation of international law. united states went into iraq without the backing of the united nations, attacking a country that had not attacked us
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and where there was no imminent likelihood that they would have attacked us. this seems to be part of the very self-evident point. the tactical situation, that there's nobody in the world that can call us to account. i think it is very important to keep an overarching perspective the extent to which folks in the bush administration were really people who were looking around in the aftermath of the cold war. it took a while for that to sink in that we did not have the soviet union as an enemy anymore. we do not have to be careful about those things that we hesitated to do before. and you really had coming to power in the bush administration people who were taking the view that now that we were the sole superpower that we were able to exert our influence and use our power in ways we had not done previously. and so in that context the idea
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that you would go and attack another country that does not threaten you directly, that has not committed an act of aggression that came in accessible idea. i'm not sure we learned from that either. i do not see any possible way of justifying this in terms of international law. ms. goodman: i think it is important, so important what hofstra is doing evaluating presidencies but i also think it is important to evaluate the grassroots movement, that are the true movers and shakers the bravery of those who have spoken out and continue to speak out. barbara lee the congress member from oakland, california, as you pointed out, hillary clinton and many others in the democratic leadership voted for the war. there's no question they voted
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to authorize at the end of 2002. harbor lee stood -- barbara lee stood alone saying war is not the answer, that she would not sign any blank check for war if we wanted to make ourselves safer. and i think 14 years later in 2015, as we look back, this woman was prophetic and it is the movements that she represented and those that she did not, these also deserve university examination to give voice to those who lost their lives, who continue to speak out, who are imprisoned, who are the targets of u.s. foreign policy. we have to hear from all of them and their loved ones when they cannot speak for themselves. >> the last word. >> there is no question that the neocons were itching, many of
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them to get even any sense or to go into iraq, but it is important to note that under president clinton with congressional acquiescence, regime change became the official policy of the united states government during the clinton years, not the bush years. that does not justify the 2003 invasion the but there were a series of steps they could see leading to the invasion. >> i would like to thank our surviving panelists and i want to thank all of you. thanks very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: a look yesterday as visitors paid their respects to the vietnam memorial.

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