tv QA with Jay Nordlinger CSPAN November 1, 2015 8:00pm-9:01pm EST
nordlinger with "the national review" on children of dictators. then british minister david cameron takes question. after that members of the obama press corps on how they covered the obama administration. >> this week an q & a he discusses "children of monsters" including stalin, mast linnny and saddam hussein.
host: jay, what were you doing in 2003? jay: there's still -- host: the book came out of the trip? jay: yes. albania had suffered under a terrible dictatorship. really one of the worst that man has ever known. the thing closest to it with the dictatorship of kim il-sung. albania was like his personal dungeon. no one left the country or came into it. it was the perfect tyranny. i was being shown around the capitol. it occurred me to ask did hoja have children? what do you do? did you stay in albania? did you go out?
what do you think? what do you like? i'm a magazine writer. i'm always looking for my next meal. what's the next magazine topic? the hoja children. he did have children, three of them, could make a good magazine piece. then the next thought, i thought you could do a survey of such sons and daughters and make a book of it called "children of monsters." i filed the idea way off of the stove, not even on the back burner. i acted on it years later. host: hitler, muselinni stalin -- i could go on. which one of the 20 did you find were the -- the family was the most difficult with other human beings? jay: that's a close competition.
the stalins had a lot of trouble. the mao children are a mess. pullpot has a daughter that is well adjusted. she got married last year. the vocasa's are disastrous. host: we got a lot of children and their dictators. jean le may. jay: his mother was a french pheasant girl. she said that hitler was the father. she didn't inform him of this until he was -- i think about 30. he denied it at first for years.
he was tormented by it. then he become obsessed the question. then he become convinced he was in fact, the son of hitler. most historians say hitler had no children and this claim is not true. what's important for my book is he thought himself the son of hitler and what effect did that have on him? answer pretty ball. host: he is talking in french. [speaking in french] jay: his son, felipe, looks so much like him. why did this one have to look so
much like hitler? he didn't have to grow that kind of mustache, did he? that's him embracing the believed identity. it is creepy. host: did he have any of the characteristics of hitler? jay: i'm not sure. i think he was a fairly normal man until he become obsessed with the question. it is a question that would make anyone nuts. i try to be sympathetic. say one fine day you've never known your father. you knew he was a german soldier. all of your life you've been called a bad phrase for son of a german soldier in france. you are an adult. your mother says to you about 30, that father you never knew about, he was the late chancellor of germany hitler. that's a card dealt to very, very few people. very few. i try to cut him and some of the others some slack, although it was very, very hard to cut him slack for his admiration of
hitler. host: from april 29th, 1945, muselinni and his mistress. jay: they had been shot before and murdered. his main mistress. now the corpses are being hanged. host: how many kids did he have? jay: officially speaking, i think he had five. a lot of the dictators, like other men, have kids off of the books. a lot of them have lots of kids off of the books. he was a good father on ceremonial occasions. what do i mean by that? he would swoop in and play the great papa. you know, when there was a crisis or something. mainly he was busy being dictator of italy.
his children absolutely adored him. it got complicated for his daughter, etta. she loved her father and husband, count chano. there are other daughters until the book whose husbands were killed by their father. that's a very ticklish thing. host: here's a video of the wedding. etta? jay: she's etta. host: etta muselinni. you say he had her husband killed? jay: yes. there was a grand affair. it was one of the great occasions of the italian fascism. the wedding of the fascism prince. he become the foreign minister.
there was a rift. chano loaded the wrong way on the grand council. he wanted to restore powers to the king. this is when italy was clearly losing the war. muselinni is imprisoned and snatched by the nazi. chano was caught and slated for execution. this drives etta whiled. she pleads. the father will not stay the execution. chano is executed. for a while etta says my name is no longer muselinni. eventually she forgave and loved her late father and late husband in equal measure. it is a very strange psychological case. host: in 1995, we have video of
her funeral. jay: oh. this is i've never seen. host: this is 1995. they are saluting her. jay: yeah. not yet out of style. host: how active are they today? jay: they are around. they don't have much electoral success. the leader is none other than his granddaughter alesandra. host: this video is this year. she's on the floor of the european parliament. this is in italian. jay: how does she look? [speaking italian] host: did you get all of that? jay: a bit.
host: she was in the italian parliament. jay: she's had a long political career. she's been in both chambers, the house of deputies and the senate. she's been in the european parliament. she's a somewhat big deal. her father was romano mussolini. he performed with all of them. he married his first wife was the sister of sophia lauren. alesandra is the daughter -- excuse me the granddaughter of mussolini and the niece of sophia lauren, one of the greatest stars in italy and the 20th century. she has quite a heritage. she's very faithful to her grandfather's legacy. she's a neofascist.
interestingly enough she's rather supportive of israel and disavows of her grandfather's anti-jewish laws. host: this is probably my favorite clip for a reason that has nothing to do with dictators. some of the people watching will are rememberalfalfa and buckwheat. here's is toro mussolin. jay: he was the son. he wanted to make his name as a movie writer about movie and a director and writer and a screen play. he was a big shot for a while. world war ii killed him. host: this is brief. he was a producer he had come to meet. if you listen closely after the foreign language, you'll be able to hear spanky and darla and all
of the brief things. [speaking in a foreign language] host: the little rascals. what's the point of this? jay: victorio and al roach formed a business agreement. they were going to produce business togethers and as i remember grand operas. this was just before the war. it might have been 1939 or so. al roach took some heat in hollywood for the alliance. he said, i believe this is a direct quote, using the language of the time, he said benito
mussolini is the only square politician i know. square means straightforward or honest. the pressure was too much. roach brought out victorio. he wasn't able to consummate the deal. host: so far not that vicious. who is the meanest of all of your 20 dictators? jay: the sons and daughters or the dictators themselves? host: the dictators themselves. jay: there's no way -- i'll give you an answer but with a preface. there's no way you rank hitler, stalin pulpot, others -- i don't think you should get much into the ranking business. saddam hussein. i want to tell you something about mao. i'll give you an opinion. not my opinion, but the opinion of those close to him. there's something especially chilling about him, i would say. he seems to have been devoid of human feeling.
he seems to have been so clinical. saddam hussein forgive me for saying so, you can kind of understand. he had a volcanic temper. he was a human being. an outrageous human being. a human being who engaged in great evil. you can sort of see a person in him. mao is almost robotic. he's an ideological robot. he views the hundreds of millions of china as so much experimental material. he wasn't happy. he wasn't sad. he wasn't mad. he was just -- detached. host: how many kids did he have? jay: he had about ten. he knew about four. the others died in infancy or were given away during the war or the civil war. he didn't care much about his children.
host: what happened to them after he was gone. jay: the two daughters live on offer ceremonial figures. there was a grandson. he was promoted in the army based on his name. people knock him. he's dopey and quite chubby, doesn't look like a military man. mao had a granddaughter who was one of the richest women in all of china. mao's children led sad and turbulent lives. very difficult lives. host: the only video we have is lee mao. this is a visit in northwest china in 2015. this year. jay: really?
this is the only child, i believe, that mao had with the wife we know as madade mao. host: how many times was he married? jay: about four. he intended to discard his wives without telling the original wife. host: how long did it take to get the information? jay: it was hard. there's a great stinginess about concerning dictators families. there's often a code of silence around many dictators families and the legacies of the families. it is a tight knit thing after the dictators falls. i describe myself as a savager. i was digging around. these sons and daughters -- most of them, some of them are famous and important.
some of them become dictator. most of them are footnotes and asides. you have to dig to find out about them. a few of them write memoirs. most of them keep their own counsel. so you just pick up things. a family member will comment. i go ah-ha. host: people know uday and qusay? jay: i think senator mccain said the lovable scamps. they were the two sons of saddam hussein. they were little monsters. they are an example of boys who were reflections of their monster father. in fact a renegade in saddam's
secrets were 100 worse than him himself. once you get to know the two sons you can forgive the hyperbole. uday, i shouldn't say too much about him, he was a monstrous person who tortured and raped and murdered and terrorized his way through life. host: we have a video of him firing an ak-47 in a party in a restaurant. jay: he's trying to create excitement. there are lights strung in the
form of happy birthday. surely in arabic. he shoots the light out. musicians duck. he just did it for fun. he kept constant chaos around him. he had total license in a country of about 27 million. there was one person, one human being who could stop him, and that was his father. his father sometimes did and mainly didn't. host: how many times was saddam married? how many kids did he have? jay: saddam was married twice. some people say three or four times. he had one original life and one later in life. he never divorced the first one. he had those two sons, and i think three daughters. two of the daughters married brothers who were cousins of saddam. those two couples with their families defected once to jordan.
they stayed there under the protection of king hussein. they were enticed back home. the husbands were promised safety and reconciliation. they are immediately made to divorce the wives, saddam's daughters, they were stripped of their military ranks, they were sent home to their father's villa or compound. then there was a great gunfight and they were killed. within 48 hour of returning home. host: were you able to talk to anybody in iraq about the children and what happened to them? jay: yes. i was able to talk to some knowledgeable people. i couldn't talk to any family members. which was -- usually the case. in the preparation for this book. there are only so much around to
talk to, and only so much willing to say what they know or to divulge their feelings or experiences at all. it is a very touchy business being the son or daughter of a dictator. i was able to find out quite a bit about saddam's family. one of the daughters is a bit of a public figure. she lived in ayman and in jordan again. she was one of the defecting wives. she's a great loyalist to her daughter though her father killed her husband. she's nicknamed little saddam. she's a great supporter of isis. she wanted by interpol. she goes to the finest boutiques, has tons of plastic surgery, she's in jewelry design and she's a keeper of the saddam hussein flame. why the government of king abdallah ii maintains her and sheltered her, i'm not 100%
sure. host: the history channel did a documentary on uday and qusay. they came to an early familiar end. >> a ferocious four-hour long firefight ensues. later that day after troops storm the house word comes to central command about the results. >> four persons were killed during the operation. they were removed from the building. we have since confirmed that uday and qusay hussein are among the dead. >> two days later the gruesome pictures confirm the identity of qusay. for many iraqis, the death of hussein's two sons is cause for celebration. under their rule iraq had become a living hell. host: what would those two men do to others? physically when they were alive.
jay: a lot of the people in my book order torture and killing. a few of them like to do it themselves. uday liked to do it himself. he liked to get his hands dirty. he tortured and killed great many people. host: and never suffered from it. he could do anything he wanted? jay: he was the kind who -- it goes without saying that he could abduct and rape the daughters of ordinary men. he called abduct and rape the daughters of governors, of high officials. he was untouchable except by saddam. and except for this. there was an assassination attempt. he took some bullets. it partially paralyzed him. when the saddam regime fell, our
soldiers found about 100 canes some of which functioned as firearms. host: how did you pick the 20? jay: i went for what i thought was the worst of the worst, the very worst dictators. modern dictators. i didn't go back into antiquity. you could have gone for the ivan the terrible who killed his son with a -- with his scepter. the czar killed his son with his own scepter and immediately regretted it. he was mortified by it. there's a famous painting of this moment. i didn't do that. so i picked the ones that i thought -- there's some subjecttivity here. there are a couple who really don't belong. there's one i feel sort of guilty about. franco doesn't belong in a book
called "children of monsters." he doesn't belong with stalin and mao and pol pot and all of the rest. he was a dictator. we wouldn't want to live under him, or any other dictators. sometimes in the dictator business, we grade on curb. he was a lamb. i included him. maybe i shouldn't have. i'll give you my reasons. they are probably bad. she's famous. people know of him. he had a daughter whose led an interesting life. he was a dictator after all. i erred on the side of including him. host: we have some video of carmen franco. this is his daughter. how many children did franco
have? jay: just the one. just the one. host: that's him on her left. jay: that was a very grand affair. she married a marquee who was a surgeon playboy. dr. bernard? was that his name? he did the first heart transplant. carmen's husband did the first heart transplant in spain. host: what happened to carmen? jay: she lived on. her children and grandchildren have lived quite difficult lives. she has lived with a great deal of grace and pois. she's a symbol of neofascism. there's just a few fascist left in spain. she's a bit of a grand lady. one thing i discovered in the book is that -- well, it may be true that fathers in general
especially prize their daughters, there's nothing like a relationship between a father and daughter. franco had only one child. that child was this girl. he absolutely adored her. she was the greatest, brightest thing. they lived until the end of his life near each other. they spent a lot of time together. it was the most prized in franco's book by far. host: what book is this for you? jay: this is my second real book. i was a collection of journalism and speeches and things like that. host: i wanted to ask this question while i was reading your background, what is it like to write about monsters and their children and dictators and all of the horrible things that you report in this book compared to all of the time you spent
writing about music and explain how many writing you do about music. jay: i say i have a day job and night job. music criticism is my night job. i like the balance. i don't think i would like to do all of one. i was pretty happy finishing "children of monsters." i was glad to begin it, i was glad to do it, and i was glad to wash my hands of it. i was reluctant to see the history end. some of the characters are unsavory. to have written the book about sons and daughters of dictators, you rub up against a lot of unpleasantness. you tell the story -- here's a boost and name dropping. my friend, paul johnson, whom i love, the british historian he
wrote a book called creators and intellectuals and maybe comedians. he was doing a series of sketches of lives in category categoryies. he was going to do one called monsters. he called it off. he didn't want to spend so much time with the terrible. he did later on write a brief life of stalin. i asked him was that left over to the research? the bigger book on monsters. he said yes. he wanted to use the material. host: you wrote about franco and mussolin and then you wrote about hitler. what is it about these dictators that came out of europe that life that they lived compared to the kind of people that you write about that people had wrote symphonies and operas.
jay: yes. the dictators had a great will and thirst for power. they imagined themselves doing good. they diluted themselves that they were doing good for the great masses. they didn't think of themselves as on ego trips necessarily. they almost always had a rational or some fake humanitarian or government rational. the composers and other artists really, i think, the best of them were born to do what they did. the best artists, i think, are born to do what they can do. they are compelled to do it. i'm afraid to say that some of the kick day -- dictators even from boyhood, are fit to rule.
hitler memorized great swaths and he thought he would be a great imperial leader from very early on. people often talk about this is just an aside. people often talk about hitler and vogner. probably his favorite work was the widow. he awarded the composer when he was chancellor. host: you write for "the national review." how long have you been there? jay: since the late 1990's. i worked for an editor in washington. it was a joy later to work with rich lowry. host: how long did you write speeches were george w. bush? jay: hardly at all. i wouldn't even say i wrote speeches. in the 2000 campaign, i took a six-week leave of absence. the last of the campaign mid september to election day.
i went to aught and assisted the speech writing team. i flew back home to new york after the election day. the election wasn't decided until mid december. that was my experience. i enjoyed it a great deal. i remain a great admirer of bush 43 and his father for that matter. host: where are you from? jay: ann harbor, michigan. i sometimes describe myself as a backlash baby. i tease, but i do have a fondness for it. i really do. i think you can tell when i write about it. i'm an ann harborite. host: dad and mom were from there. what did they do? jay: my dad was a teacher principal, coach. my mother has long been an artist and painter. host: if people want to read your writing about the
composers, where do they find it? jay: music critic is a new criterion. it is the arts and letters journal founded in 1982 by hilton kramer and samuel littman, the great scholar and pianist. host: if you want to read what you write about composers read about it in google. put your name in it and it is there. you also wrote for "the new york sun" for how long. jay: i did. it is in the 2000. it is an older newspaper. for the duration of its existence, i think it was about six years. i was a music critic. host: near michigan? jay: yes, my hometown. host: back to the monsters. this is not a monster but the daughter of one.
she's talking in english. this is back in 1967 right about the time sevana came to the united states. >> and they started of the history and social sciences and marxism itself. it made me a little bit critical to many things which i could see around me and to the things i could see in the country and in other socialist countries. it was not exactly what we were thought thereatically. host: a lot of people know something about her. how did she relate to stalin? how many children did he have? jay: officially speaking, he had three. he did have others. he had one with a first wife and two with his second wife. he had two sons and a daughter.
she and setlana had a wonderful relationship until she was 16. she was the light of his life and she worshiped her father. her mother killed herself when she was six. her older brother was 11. when setlana turned 16, she had the problems of growing up as people do. stalin kind of tired of her and dropped her. she really never saw him that much after then. host: why did she come to the united states? how did she get here? jay: it is a tangling story. she had a relationship and near marriage who was then the soviet number one. he would not let her married the indian man she had met, an indian communist who was losing his communist and returning to buddhism. mr. singh died. one of his wishes is his ashes
be spread on the ganges. to leave the soviet soviet union, she needed permission. they said sure. i'll give you two weeks. you can't speak to the press. off she went to india. she loved being there. she loved being outside the soviet union. one fine day, morning, i believe, she walked into the u.s. embassy and asked for political asylum. our guide, the american official on duty said so you say you are the daughter of stalin. the stalin? one of my favorite stories about setlana. there are a great many. she led a turbulent life. i want to bring up something that may surprise you. i just learned about it the other night. i wrote a magazine piece about her adopted from my book. a colleague e-mailing me and
said he was youtubing around. he found a show from 1967. they were asked questions by the audience. both of them. someone asked woody allen are you surprised that george hamilton went to the wedding? what was that all about? well george hamilton, the actor, had dated lyndon johnson's daughter, linda. she married chuck rob. apparently hamilton was invited to the wedding and was there. allen was asked something else. he said all i want to know is george hamilton going to announce his engagement to setlana. that was big yuck. you come into this. i think you were at the wedding. host: i actually was. yeah. years ago. jay: did you not escort lady bird, the first lady, down the aisle? >> host: i did. i was in the military at the
time. jay: speaking of moments in history. i didn't know what that crack was about that woody allen made on the tape which is youtubable. that was the wedding. setlana was very much in the news. she was a sensation. then her star dimmed a little. she grew greatly discontent and redefected to the soviet union in 1984, immediately regretted it wanted to leave almost as soon as she got there. she would have stuck there before but luckily for her gorbachev rose to power. he let her out. she said i had to leave for a while to realize how wonderful it was here. she led a very turbulent wife as most of these sons and daughters do. she led a more difficult life than most. as i argue in my book, i think some kind of greatness lay within her. she told the truth when it was
very hard to do and had a rebellion of conscience against the soviet system. host: she came become and died in wisconsin. jay: yes. a nursing center in richland, wisconsin. host: jump to joaming and jafar. jay: he was the dictator of uganda. he was almost a cartoon of a dictator. he's some people's idea of a dictator. he was deposed in 1979. he lived out the remainder of his days under the royal family's protection. he kept having kids. i think almost until the very
end. i believe the children is born in 1948 and the last one in the mid 1990's. he seemed to have been a dad to his brood, more like an army. they called him big daddy. he was jolly and fun loving. the kids where a mixed bag. host: jafar is being interviewed. it is in english. you have to pay attention to what he says about his father. >> my father was a very mothering individual. the only example of him is obama. children who have lived with their mother have an incredibly sensitive persona around their children of progeny. today i find negatives talked
about him. right then there was a caring and the mothering and the love. he was strict. >> as any father should be. >> you use the silence of children. he was the quiet type. he had a quiet presence. but that love despite the fact when you have 60 children. >> he had enough love to go around. host: what were you thinking when we were listening to that? jay: well, it is an outrage. it somehow soils the memory of all of the people, the thousands of people whom he murdered. yet i called jafar a pretty stand up guy. he's a complicated case. he's a whitewasher of his father and his crimes. at same time, he believes in reconciliation efforts in uganda.
he is pretty honest despite what you've heard. pretty straightforward. he's take on all comers. he took on me in a long e-mail interview. i admire him. he's obviously conflicted to use the modern psychological phrase. i don't like the living by lies. i think in different moods he knows the wrong his father committed. that's why he leads reconciliation efforts in uganda. he does have some clear, honest, confessional moods which i believe then pass. host: nikolai and his wife alaina. here's 199. -- 1989. this is when the wall came down. jay: this is the end? christmas day in 1991. host: 17 seconds.
[inaudible conversations] host: what's that story? jay: they ruled romanian together for decades. they brutalized the country and spied on everyone. he was a vicious dictator. he had a full partner in his wife alaina. they were brought down in december of 1989 and executed, as i remember, on christmas day. he goes -- it is interesting that everyone has religion. he goes singing the communist him -- hymn. i think it is a prayer. she goes cursing her executioners in the saltiest romanian. that's how they go out. host: what did they do and how long were they in power?
jay: he takes over in the 1960's. they had a pretty tight rule of the country. almost as tight as joga had over albania. it was almost a perfect police state and totalitarian environment. everyone was held in the thrall of the couple. host: i know this started with you on the 2000 trip. we haven't seen hoja. we didn't know anything about the country before it was opened up. jay: yes. north korea is called a hermit kingdom. so were other dictatorships. he was just after the war until he died in the mid 1980's. host: here's what he looked like
and sounded like in albanian. [speaking albanian] host: how many children did he have? jay: three. two sons and a daughter. host: did you meet them? jay: excuse me for laughing. they don't meet with people like me. they are real loyalist. the children -- you never know some of these people. some of them may harbor doubts. host: how did hoxha keep the lid on albania? jay: he sealed the country and
had the concrete bunkers allegedly all over the country. he had a very robust secret police. it is a relatively small country. one of his nicknamed was sole force, the only force. in albania, that was pretty much true. host: who was or who is alena hernandez. jay: a daughter of castro who couldn't stand cuba and defected. she did so with a passport and wig. she got out and wrote a book and memoir of her life in cuba as castro's daughter. it is to use one of the worst clay -- cliches it a sering book. it selling the truth. as i mention, she's as hard on herself as she is on the old
man. it is a fascinating book. host: where is he now? jay: miami. host: let's watch her in 2009. she speaks in english. >> it is amazing the way it can control the body and the mind of human beings. castro seems to know sadly what to do control-wise. given the result of the fall of the soviet union, cuba become a harder place to live in. because of a ruined economy, the life collapsed. schools almost closed, food was impossible to find, as well as public transportation. the dictatorships stays with your personal life. if you try to do something to improve it, you are sent to jail. host: how many children and wives did castro have? jay: ten or 15. there's no official count. no one really knows. we trust that he knows.
he may not know. he probably does. he married early on long before he came to power. a beautiful girl from a -- a society girl. merta was the sister of castro's good friend and law school graduate, possibility roommate. he had a couple of sons who become u.s. congressman. my deal friend, lincoln and his brother, mario, their aunt merta was briefly married to little fidel castro. they had one son, little fidel. fidelita. he himself denied it in an interview with an admirer of his, the film maker oliver stone. host: what was your reaction in
cuba based on your reaction of what you know about castro? jay: i have met and interviewed many cubans over the years. they are some of the people i admire the most in all of the world. i think democratic forces should back them to the hilt. all -- what dictatorships most want is that opponents be forgetten and their names not mentioned. what the opponents most want the democratic opponents, is some kind of attention. some sign that the world hasn't forgetten them. i remember jean cook patrick named the names of the prisoners and the gulags. she named the very names. when she later visited the soviet union sacrov said to her -- kissinger was there -- and
sacrov said kirkpatsy. he said your name is known in every cell of the gulag. that's because of what she had done for them at u.n. that's how he used his noble lecture. he wasn't aloud to attend. his wife did alaina bonner. there was a good alaina, although she was tough too. believe me. in the address sacrov pauses and takes a detour and reels off 100 names. just says their names through his wife. that's what they wanted. host: gadhafi. jay: he was one of the seven sons of gadhafi who tried to be straight or a western liberal or arab reformer. he wanted to. in the end with the libyan civil war started, he was loyal, he went home, and he fought for the
dictatorship. he did brutal things. now he's in prison. host: here he is in 2011 speaking in accomplish. >> ten years ago, today, and tomorrow. i'm the first person. we need more freedom. we need democratic. i said this many, many times. >> it didn't have. now you have an uprising. >> it isn't uprising. now we have people who want to split the country, east and west. now you have people who are terrifying other people. now you have terrorist and militia. host: he's in prison for what? jay: during the war he acted as his father's prime minister in effect. they fired on unarmed civilians. he was charged by the world court with war crimes.
he's wanted for those. he could not escape libya. he tried to. libyan forces captured him and have been holding him prisoner ever since. the libyan authorities, whatever they are, have refused to extradite him to the hauge. host: what happened to the other six children of gadhafi? jay: three of them died in the libyan civil war. two of them managed to escape. three of them were sent back by nyinger. one of them was sent back. he's in prison. so is saif, he had two sons named that. host: how many times had gadhafi married? jay: twice. one child with the first wife. i believe he was the daughter of a general. he took up with a nurse whom he met when he was hospitalized. they had, i think -- seven
further children. host: ashar assad. how many children? jay: one son as far as i know. basil was to be the successor. he was the next dictator. shehe was killed in a car crash. he was trying to catch a flight to germany. he was in his new sports car. he went in the round about in front of the airport and flipped and died. the next oldest brother bashar, was in london practicing eye surgery. that was his role in life to be an ophthalmologist. he was very quiet and shy. he had no interest in
dictatorship or politics or power. when basil was killed, the old man called him home. host: when did the father die? do you remember? jay: seems to me it was 200. host: here's bashar al assad, currently the president of syria. >> we talked about europe and didn't accept them or em bred them. it is about not dealing with the code. if you are worried about it, stop supporting terrorists. that's what we think is the crisis of this and the cause of the holy. host: that's just a few weeks ago. what do you think of him? jay: that would take longer than we have. he has killed more than his father ever dreamed of killing bashar has. along by the way his righthand man or thug is his brother mahar.
these are family dictatorships. he never wanted this. he took it up with a vengeance and he's done all of the killing necessary to keep the family business going. this is the only thing you can say in his defense. i don't know if defense is the word. this is what some might say. i'll repeat it. if he follows his fellow people are killed. it is kill or be killed. who knows, it may even be true. host: how long did the book take to write? research and write? jay: i think i spent a year writing it. host: what do you want somebody to take away from it? jay: two levels. first of all, it is a collection of very, very interesting stories. it is about all -- two interesting lives and two fascinating lives. you wouldn't wish this kind of life on most people really. it is a collection of sometimes interesting and lurid stories.
there are also points about tyranny and sonship and daughtership and about loyalty and nature and nurture and even about democracy. some of the early readers said they came away feeling so grateful. they lived with the rule of law. i've heard that from, i think two or three readers. i'm sort of impressed. that wasn't my aim. host: not like a like or dislike point of view. of all of the 20 which one would you like to interview the most? jay: probably one who has said the least and needs probing. which one? i think i know the answers in advance -- i think i know their answers, excuses apologies, and rationals in advance. i tell you who might be somewhat forthcoming, frankly you saw
jafar there on the screen. you might get something out of amin. host: we're out of time. there's a lot we didn't get to discuss in the book. jay: was i too long winded? host: no, no. a lot of details we didn't get into. the book is called "children of monsters." our guest is a senior editor "the national review." thank you for joining us. jay: thank you. it is an honor. >> for free transcripts or to give us your comments, visit us at q&a.org.
they are also available as pod casts. >> if you enjoyed the interview here are some other programs you might like. jennifer te accident ge talked and "my grandfather would have shot me" and blaine harden and ann applebomb. you can watch these any time or search our entire video library at c-span.org. on the next "washington journal" heather mac donald looks at if law enforcement has become more difficult since the riot. matthew pringle talks about standardized testing and the future of education policy.
and tom scully discusses the increases in the number of retirees and the sustainability of the medicare program. "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> all persons having business before the honorable, the supreme court of the u.s. imagine to give their attention. >> this week on the "landmark cases" we'll discuss scheck versus the united states. there are some forms of criticism of the government or federal offense. charles scheck who was secretary of the socialist party handed out leaflets against the draft. >> this was a flier produced by charles scheck.
the point was to encourage men who were liable for the draft not to register. the language in the flier is particularly fiery. it equates with slavery and calls on every citizen of the united states to resist the conscription laws. >> he was arrested and tried and found guilty under the speak -- espionage act. he appealed. find out how the court ruled. our guests include thomas goldstein and beverly gage. that's coming up on the next "landmark cases" live monday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span3, and c-span radio. for background on each case while you watch, order your copy of the companion book. it