tv QA CSPAN May 8, 2016 11:00pm-11:59pm EDT
>> announcer: tonight on c-span, q&a with former ambassadors, khalilzad, followed by prime minister david cameron. and the prime minister talks about his support for the u.k. to remain a member of the european union. former u.s. on q&a, ambassador to afghanistan, iraq nations, zalmay khalilzad, discusses his book, y journey through a turbulent world. host: ambassador zalmay khalilzad, you have a new book talk aboutthere, you where you were on 9/11. what's the story?
i had been d: well, in the office with my colleagues. i used to have a morning staff meeting in the white house. i was the special assistant to the president and senior director of the region that included afghanistan. had my own staff meeting and the first plane hit the tower, to the i was on my way senior staff meeting at condi the national security advisor chaired. lost ught the plane had its way and hit the tower after the first attack, or the first incident. and then when i was sitting to left, and in the in f meeting which happened the operation area of the white house, the situation room, and gave her d in a note. the second plane hit the second tower, she closed her book and
rushed out, and i went back to my office. nd the world changed that day for me and for the united states. host: how long did it take for you'd figure out that not only were born in afghanistan, you were a muslim that part ofity on the world? r. khalilzad: it took them a few days because i'd been so that ed in government and my background, escaped a lot of people and i remember at one point, there was andscussion of reaching out eaching out to the northern alliance because people didn't know how to reach them. the northern alliance claimed it was the legitimate government
and it was somewhere in northwestern afghanistan that these people were, and i said, well, do you want me to him and the president ooked at me and said, zalmay, you know how to reach the president of the northern alliance? president, i do. because in the 1980s, when i worked in the reagan administration, i was involved in our policies supporting the resistance movements against the soviets and mr. ers y was one of the lead and i dealt a lot with them. to the i brought them hite house to see president bush after the -- he had succeeded president reagan at one point, and i had his private phone number, so that was a surprise, and later on, i remember that during the came to party, when i
the president's christmas party, to the first me lady, saying, this is the guy i've been talking to you about. all of the commanders in afghanistan were fighting the in touch with them. so i exaggerated my role, think he was surprised. i was touched when one day when country is hink our blessed. us, one is looking after watching our back, to have and ne of your background knowledge and commitment to the time, states at this there is a message there. honored to hear that from him. mr. lamb: you have the book, "the envoy" but in the back of the book, you tell us that eorge bush suggested to you to write a memoire.
why? mr. khalilzad: he used to tease me, because the president's leadership was one that he selected the people, gave the erson a broad mission and then person eavily on that or advice, and gave him the room to maneuver to achieve that objective, and they always said, he wanted to know how i did some and hethings that i did, ould like to read that, condi rice and steve atley and others told me that, too, because there we had to hings that do in the initial days after /11 in terms of travels and meeting with people, that not details had been
communicated so they felt this interesting memoire because i was doing things where to rubber meets the road, so speak, sort of in the theater, a the ground, dealing with variety of interesting and characters, a al ot of stories that are in the book about those characters and events that took place that have not been really a lot written on. up on b: i want to put the screen some of your background so people can know the different jobs that you've had and you can see there, we go back to 1985. before then, you were special advisor to the under secretary of state for political ark fairs, policy planning, and director of strategy and doctrine and force structure, and 03-05 ambassador
ambassador to 2005-2007. of all those jobs, which was the most interesting to you? mr. khalilzad: they were all interesting in their own ways, but the one in afghanistan was rewarding ys the most because i had been born there, attention lways paid to afghanistan even when i was things.her afghans felt that the had done something huge in the 1980s, and without help, they stood up to the soviet union. they did something that a lot of very smart people who were studying the soviet union
believed would not happen, which them out, because this version of doctrine that once you go in, you don't leave at that time. soviet union disintegrated, which was a huge achievement. y got discredited and afghanistan may have but then we o that abandoned afghanistan afghansds, and a lot of got killed, their cities got destroyed in a civil war that occurred. so i had felt bad about that, given what we had done together. and after 9/11, to have had the opportunity to go back and help get a new constitution, get a new progress, , to make was rewarding, and initially, i the job,tant to accept i said to the president when he asked me to do the job, i said
remember, mr. president, i left do i do that you want to send me back? nd he laughed and said, why don't you go with the presidential envoy, which was not on your chart. for a while, i was a special presidential envoy right after tan, and then nis iraqis, and d free they reacted very well to me. and the afghans. we did a lot, so that was a relatively easy job. it was a rewarding job. but i and enjoyed all my jobs i've been grateful for the opportunity that i was given. mr. lamb: names like hamad right, and i'll say it the current president. malaki , and all the names
americans have learned over the ears, how many of those folks did you know before all of this happened. mr. khalilzad: well, i know alshaganearby i from the day we today. n in school >> he's president of afghanistan right now. mr. khalilzad: exactly, and i came to america together in 1966. most shocking experience of my life, given zone and been in a war there have been attempts to kill me but the most shocking xperience was coming from afghanistan to the united states to new york because i had never left afghanistan and i had lived a small town and to come to abal which was like a cosmopolitan city, which was in comparison small, and then to come to new york in the middle f the summer, heat and
humidity, that i had not been used to. afghanistan can get hot but it's dry heat. i did not use the air conditioner. air otel room it his own conditioning unit. i did not know how to operate a tub, and i bath could not sleep the first night because of the heat. i had not turned on the air then seeing new york, a vast city with all kinds and how america was was, and i ended up staying in a small town in northern california called ceres, but we came on that trip together and known each other before, and we were in college together at the beirut, university of and again, i run into him when i , my eaching at columbia first job after i got my ph.d. from the university of chicago, e was doing his ph.d. at columbia university, so i have
ashraf ghani for way over 40 years. mr. lamb: on the dates for a finished high school where. mr. khalilzad: in ceres, 1967.ornia, in and went back to california, i went to school another six months or so and got a high from afghanistan well. mr. lamb: and your next degree. . . khalilzad: from beirut mr. lamb: graduated when. mr. khalilzad: in 1972. . lamb: then what irk mr. khalilzad: got a masters. mr. lamb: and then what. mr. khalilzad: a ph.d. from university of chicago in 1979. mr. lamb: i want to show you video of a man you mentioned in the book, there's tremendous connections with people in the nt.ted states governme you'll recognize him.
clip, only one we could find of what he sounded like. >> there are some parts of the different a law has from asia, inlaw, central america and so on and here are some parts of the world where we have clear common interests as in the permission ts are here their interes more direct and massive than our than nd in such cases here are many lives have been coming to be recognized that, sharing the risks as well as the burdens with us is reasonable. mr. lamb: who was he. albert ilzad: that's one of ourprofessor, great nuclear strategists and general. he was a professor at the university of chicago, and i
albert wallstutter. accidentally and and makeimes one encounter can a huge difference in one's life, getting you'd think grades, getting good studying hard, those are important. they are. sometimes, an event, an incident, an anticipated development, can also make a big and rence in your life albert made a big difference in my life. second or third day at the university of chicago after school started, i was international house and i developed relations with a couple of other colleagues who lived there, and i was taking a class on s but the e politic
professor just distributed the with us and the -- did not entirety l class the of the schedule, so i was dormitory, k to my the international house, when i ran into my friend in the hall at the ad met international house, and they said, why didn't you come? i told him i was going back to the dorm. they said, why don't you come to this professor? very unusual, they said, the "classical andled wars," and when he talks about president kennedy, he refers to him as jack. he calls kissinger henry. a man full of unusual stories. enjoy just lchg to him. so i went in and said, why not? and sat in the back of the class, and he started when class
ending to talk about the of nuclear war and e was talking about a theorists, anyone who believed that there was a fixed robability of war and over time, each year's probabilities war ultimatelyar becomes inevitable. o i raised my hand and said, professor, isn't there a fixed probability of permanent peace at any time? couldn't they, if you apply the get logic, and then we will the permanent peace at some point? me, what was myd name, and i told him who i was, and he said, i want to talk with you after class. and when i talked with him, he take my have to eminar, rather than class, and i told him i wasn't even taking
his class, but the rest is history. i took all of his classes, he me. a big impact on i shifted my area of interest. i became a strategist. a nuclear strategist. then, he ed with him had a company called penuristics, that advised the defense department. i worked with them and helped them on some projects. there was one project where i was done and i couldn't see ecause the government classified it, and i -- i wasn't yet a citizen. so i couldn't read my own work until i becamele citizen, and i acquired clearances. - bert wawell, brilliant etter was a
man who made a huge difference in the peace of the world by with a second strike requirement in the nuclear -- to a nucleareterrence in equation between us and the what the on, and requirement of a second strike he also worked hard towards the end of his life on including on issues, visiting iran under the shah,o did, because he was concerned nuclear program of iran at that time. o i learned a lot from him and his wife, roberta, who was a great scholar in her own right, and had worked lately on her but had done ism, something on the attack on pearl harbor warning. mr. lamb: another disciple of albert wohlstetter was paul
wofowitz. this man, it was from 2004, married his daughter. watch this. >> in the early part of the dedicate your part of the book to mr. wohlstetter. who was he. >> he was a great man, a dear probably the most single influence on strategic thinking in this country in the period. he was chairman of the research corporation.e rand he was trained in mathematics, logic. who was extraordinarily rigorous. he always asked the question, is this true? >> what would he have thought of hat we did in afghanistan and iraq?
mr. khalilzad: the first time in the pentagon, kuwait happened, nd we successfully pushed saddam out of kuwait. i used to get a lot of calls from albert at that time. persistent. convinced of came something, he wasn't rank conscious. he would call anyone and levels to keep pushing his point of view. at that time that the united states some of pursued saddam, and brought by t a change in iraq enabling iraqis to overthrow saddam, but by helping them with ot only arms, but with some u.s. air power effectively
would call me e paul almay, needs to wofowitz, who was under cheney, y of defense that they're blowing it and suggested going the route he wanted, which was the combination of u.s. air power to get rid aqis thank you problem in an enduring way. and i would say, let me advise you, albert, not to use the word that they are blowing it. i will facilitate an appointment with you with the secretary but the secretary and the chairman, think they have achieved the biggest thing since vietnam and n morality ofored the
a armed forces and done great job of achieving against saddam. if you walk in there and tell them you've blown it, they won't your y welcoming of prescription or your ideas. why don't you tell them you've you can do ot but event better. he said, zalmay, i'm not going but what im anything have told you, that they're opportunity by ve pping where they ha stopped. so albert, i'm sure, would have what we critical of did in iraq, not perhaps in terms of the objective of overthrowing saddam because he saddam, but how we did it, he would have asked a questions, he would have been very vigorous in his questioning, and i suspect he
different proposed a strategy. mr. lamb: you talk about telling tories in this, and these are witters, onsec sec but one thing i want to get it one time, the the the prime minister of iraq was going to hang saddam hussein. where were you and what role did you play in it? mr. khalilzad: this was around and i had taken left iraq. ff and mr. lamb: you were ambassador at the time. i was ambassador to iraq at the time, yes. from the person .ho was our charge she had left behind margaret, prime had said the
inister had called her and wanted us to turn over saddam to enforce the judgment of that he , which was hanged.e i was concerned about the time, or use the islamic haj , the n of the visits to mecca, was imminent, let me talk to maliki. so i called him and said, are you sure, mr. prime minister, it that want to do quickly, because the islamic place and there
to hange of festivities someone at that time. usually, you part -- as as part of the estivities, you pardon them, it's not a time you hang, based on islamic traditions. with me about exactly when this festivities begin because it's different one day shia celebrating versus the sunnis celebrating it. and he also said that he had terrorists that the or extremists were going to take schools to bargain sooner we and the got dealt with this problem, the better. and so i said, let me talk to my washington and get back to you, prime minister.
and i talked to tr rice, who was the secretary of state. nd stephen hadley, who was the advisor on thety phone, and we discussed that i pointed out to them the risks in antagonizing and the broader islamec world, sunnis, we really needed suni support for iraq composition of and because of the shia, sunis as well that it would make reconciliation as well. they asked that we defer it to minister of iraq, that he country was sovereign, and if he judges at the end after to him the ibed
potential risks, and he wants to do it, i told im that -- to baghdad turn him over. saddam, in other words. mr. lamb: how long did it take to execute him. hours.alilzad: a few mr. lamb: as an you areor -- one thing, a suni, right. mr. lamb: and maliki is a shia. mr. khalilzad: right. mr. lamb: and what's the difference. i've asked that question to a has f guests but no one defined it, the difference sunni and a shia. mr. khalilzad: about 97% the fundamental difference is that who was the legitimate successor to the prophet. when the prophet died, mohammed, should have succeeded him.
who hia believe that ali , was the son-in-law of the prophet prophet. mr. lamb: mohammed ali? mr. khalilzad: is mohammed ali, but ali, who was the first imam shias, he was married to the prophet's daughter, that he, ali, his father's name was abitalit. talit, should be the successor. sunnis believed, and this started right after the that the he prophet, community of the people around right to t had the appoint or select a successor, abubactor, the and s of the caliphateric,
isis is talking about caliphate. ing the mr. lamb: which means what. mr. khalilzad: the ruler. the caliphate essentially means caliph.the that was the first offense that abubaka was nk that he usurper of the right successor to the prophet. there was aerwards, from of imams, who were the house of the prophet. they think succession like a happen, the ld hiite, within the house of the prophet, that is a fundamental to who was in there. a couple of different you pray, how do
differences.e then it became much more onceficant to politically, ran embraced shiism as the state religion, with arabs and sunniism.stly adopting some other differences are inheritance. in the sunni legal system, the daughter is not entitled to equal inheritance rights as the son. in shiaism, she is. that is why even some sunnis who have only daughters, in order to keep that wealth in the family, they become shiites so that
their daughters can get all of their wealth rather than some of it going to the other relatives, because they did not have a son. there are some minor differences, but the fact that islam is the last religion, the perfect religion, the last word of god to man, and mohammed is the prophet, and the koran. host: you married a non-muslim. your two sons take her last name -- explain all that. mr. khalilzad: this is to help the kids in their country, the united states, because khalilzad is not an easy name to pronounce. my wife was a feminist, and she
thought that is not only is it right that they should have their mothers name, but also that it would make it easier for them. my last name being so hard to pronounce. host: their last name is benard. go back to another story, the story of president joe biden. mr. khalilzad: i have two stories about the current vice president. one, when i was a special envoy in afghanistan, he came once. i was very impressed with him, number one, because the embassy was very rudimentary at the time. we all slept on the floor. he had brought his own
bag and slept on the floor like i did. host: in the embassy? mr. khalilzad: in the embassy, in the office. so, one day after his meeting that i did not go with him, he came back to tell me that he had caused me a huge problem, and i said, "what happened?" he said he had questioned the interior minister of afghanistan with b-52 attacks. i said, what do you mean said, the b-52s are still flying over afghanistan. the minister got very angry and he got up and walked out. i told him that my reading of the constitution as senator does not put the senators in the chain of command for ordering attacks. so, he was saying he was very sorry. i said, we will have to fix this problem. he said, what do you mean? i said, we're going to call the
guy and we are going to go visit him and you are going to fix this. he said, we can do that? i say, what you mean can we do that? i said, we just liberated these people. i can call him. so, we did, and we went there, and he did a great job. the two of them made up. i left because i had an early morning meeting. they stayed on i think until the middle of the night to talk. another story is, again, you know, we had very limited in kabul in those days. there were only two operational bathrooms. we had the long lines in the morning to use the facilities.
he did not pull rank, although he could have to go ahead of the line. he was standing, in-line, holding a towel. a young marine from behind took a photo of the back of his head, so he turns around, he says, what are you doing? and i says, he is taking its photo for his mother. and he said, how would she recognized me? so, he turned around and said, take the photo now. and the marine did, and he was very pleased. he said some colorful things also, so the vice president did come for a visit, and he spent some time there. host: all right, this is not a serious policy issue, but you also talk in the book, when you are u.n. ambassador, about staying at the wall of a story -- about staying at the waldorf
astoria. we as a country pay for the ambassador from the united states to the u.n. to stay at the waldorf. here is video from you in 2008, and your wife, in the u.n. apartment when you were the ambassador from abc and terry moran. >> it is an incredible part of ambassador's life. the apartment at the waldorf, which we toured with khalilzad and his wife. dog, thea nice little getlem is he can easily stepped on. >> in this elegant home, filled with american art and family treasures, prominently
displayed, you find a memento of zalmay khalilzad's previous service. mr. khalilzad: that was a machine gun that belongs to saddam hussein. they presented it to me as a token of their appreciation for my service in iraq. host: $60,000 per month, that obviously got your attention. is it worth it for this country to spend that kind of money? mr. khalilzad: i would have preferred that we had taken a beautiful townhouse that is one of the wealthy, and new yorkers wanted to give to the united states to be used by the u.n. ambassador, but the state department, in its wisdom, rejected that, thinking the maintenance and security cost would be, perhaps, significant, but the u.n. secretary-general now lives in that townhouse that was offered to the u.s. it is quite expensive. the president, one reason he said that i should take the u.n. job is that he referred to the accommodation saying that his
father had had that job and he used to go for weekends there at times, and the best he said to me is that they are quite comfortable. and they were. he had known that when i was ambassador to afghanistan and iraq, my accommodations were not ambassadorial in afghanistan. i stayed in what we called a couple of containers put together. although there was some improvement, when i went to iraq, nothing like what ambassador of the united states in normal places is used to. so, that was one of the selling points of the president that this was a reward for my years of hardship in afghanistan and iraq. host: what kind of power does the united states ambassador have an a place like afghanistan and iraq? mr. khalilzad: quite considerable. when you are in a war zone and
you have a lot of responsibility, the united states, with regard to the forces, we have armed there, we have intelligence operatives there, we spend a lot of economic resources, and that we spend, we have a role in facilitating agreements, for example in both iraq and afghanistan. i helped both countries with their constitutions, being sort of facilitator for the agreement on key issues among iraqis were -- or afghans. is considerable. heads of state of government are very anxious to meet of you when you ask for a meeting or if you don't ask for a meeting, they summon you a lot. since you have a lot of resources, people are always pleading with you for help, financial, to deal with problems that they face. you also have a lot of information, so you know what is
really going on through collective intelligence or people that work with us or for us. so, in the situations, in war zones where we have forces there, the american ambassador have an influential job. host: you talk, back in your book, you talk about a man that was assassinated. here is some video from 2001, in a documentary from the national geographic, where you suggest that had a major impact on what was going on over in afghanistan. let us watch. [video clip] >> [speaking foreign
translation] my message to president bush is the following. if he is not interested in peace in afghanistan, if you does not help the afghan people to arrive at their objective of peace, then the americans and the rest of theorld will have to face the problems. [end video clip] brian: how important was he to this story? mr. khalilzad: very important. he was resisting the taliban in afghanistan. and he had worked against the soviets during the soviet occupation. brian: their occupation was 1979 to 1989? mr. khalilzad: yes. there's a period of civil war for a while where he was in government. when the taliban took over cabo, he had to go to the mountains in the north. the taliban allied themselves with al qaeda, and al qaeda became kind of a sponsor of the taliban, provided financial, military assistance to the taliban, and the taliban allowed al qaeda to operate and plan and recruit and train on its territory. just a couple of days before
9/11, two people of moroccan, north african region, that had belgian passports, this was recently in the news, because of terrorist attacks there. the extremist presence in brussels has deep roots and has been going on for a long time. these two belgians, how sport -- passport holders, pretending to be journalists and wanting to interview massoud, but wanting
him and themselves up. this was a favor that al qaeda was doing for the taliban. it was an exchange for what they must have known that al qaeda leadership was coming, which was an attack on the united states. by doing this favor, they had hoped that in the coming crisis, the taliban will not abandon them. it given this huge favor, they wanted to get rid of the opposition to the taliban that existed. in fact, the taliban did not turn over al qaeda and osama bin laden after 9/11, when president bush gave them the opportunity. brian: you referred, earlier in our conversation, about you are -- were threatened. somebody tried to kill you?
mr. khalilzad: quite a few times. it was always intel about this or that plot, but one time, the afghan authorities arrested a group near where i was toward the end of my tenure, that had come across the border from pakistan to assassinate me. one other time, that i thought the end had come. casey and i were in a military facility in tikrit, saddam's birthplace. it sounded like a rocket had been fired towards us. the next thing i knew, general casey he was on top of me, and he had put himself at risk to protect me. i joked afterwards, no one can say that military operations are not excellent in iraq.
there was also several attempts, i don't know whether it was specifically focused on me, the residence in baghdad. i had excellent security. i did not live in fear. but of course, being in a war zone, flying around, driving around, i did not want to be locked up in the embassy. there were risks, but i understood the risks. we took the appropriate security measures. brian: we have lost 6877 americans in afghanistan and in iraq. here is some criticism of the whole event by a fellow named joby warrick. we himplay this so that we can background on somebody
who disagreed with some of the stuff we did. this was recorded back in 2015. [video clip] >> i strongly believe that the iraq invasion was the original sin. not the invasion itself, which give the jihadists the cause that they wanted. they predicted the fight would take place in iraq and was ready for the americans were ready in 2003. anybody was a professional inside iraq in the early 2000 had to be a member of the party. he dismantled the armed forces. there was plenty of iraqis that would've thought the americans anyway. he was able to melt this religious extremism. those people, the start of that movement, 2004, 2006, that is isis today. [end video clip] brian: you were in government in
1991 with desert shield? mr. khalilzad: i was. brian: what impact did you have on the 2003 invasion? mr. khalilzad: well, i think he had some good points, particularly, whatever you think of whether we should have invaded or not, and in the context of the time, there was universal belief that saddam hussein had chemical and biological weapons, and both the president of the united states and the prime minister of great britain, and quite a lot of our other leaders in the united states, given the vote that took place, thought that the problem of saddam hussein with wmd needed to be addressed. it turned out we had a huge
intelligence failure that in fact we didn't, and he was -- he didn't not to indent in fact he was pretending because he wanted to deter iran from taking advantage of the conventional weakness of iran. after our defeat of iraqi forces, the balance that shifted against iraq in terms of conventional weapons, he was signaling that he has weapons of mass destruction. but i do think that what the gentleman was saying about some of the things that we did afterwards, the disbanding of and the shiite politicians against the sunnis in iraq, that contributed to the violence that later on we saw. we did a number of things that together were problematic. one, we had said we were not
going to rule iraq. we declared an occupation authority afterwards, in violation of what we had committed. we had said we were going to reform the iraqi armed forces, not disband it. after the occupation authority was established, it was decided by that authority to disband the armed forces. essentially, angering hundreds of thousands of people who knew how to use weapons, and then, we --.this deep yes, some mistakes were made. part of what i tried to do in the book, why the changes occurred. why we went from one set of plans. people say we did not have plans for afterwards. the fact is, we did have plans, but we abandoned them afterwards. why did happen? i took my time. i interviewed the president,
president bush, interviewed many of the principals who were involved. ambassador bremmer included. as to why the change, how the deliberation occurred, how my assessment of the invocations of the change had been taken into account. we did not have enough forces to maintain order, yet we disbanded the forces we were going to count on to establish order or maintain order. and then the borders of iraq were not guarded. so there was a set of policies together that did not help and added to the insecurity and violence that we saw, that the extremists such as r. kelly exploited. zarqawi exploited.
we corrected it toward the end of the period that i was there, by the surge, reaching out to the sunnis, reaching out to the forces, to bring about security. violence was way down. unfortunately, when we left, the vacuum was filled by rival regional powers, tearing iraq apart. violence escalated and we have a isis now. brian: when did you start this book? when did you start the research and did you keep a diary? mr. khalilzad: i kept a diary, not every day, but often i would write notes. i started work on it, i would say, within a year after leaving the government. brian: what year was that? mr. khalilzad: 2009. i did not want to do a rushed book. i wanted to take my time. to speak, between the various people and forces internally dissipate. i had time to reflect. my goal also was to draw some
lessons for future diplomats and intelligence officers and military officers, and hopefully, to be helpful to them. brian: your government work all those years, who did you disagree with the most that you had to work with. and what did you disagree about? mr. khalilzad: well, i had the biggest disagreement was in the period when i was going to afghanistan, and our goal became, not only to overthrow the taliban, but to bring the people who had committed the attack of 9/11 to justice, and to make sure that afghanistan did not return to being a haven for terrorists.
the third goal, i thought, we did not have a strategy of consensus about what to do to avoid that return. we did not have a plan for afghanistan when 9/11 happened. everybody was shot, my god. in our leadership. this is a country known for quagmires for occupiers. now, what do we do? state and nation building was very unpopular at that time, in fact, president bush had been elected criticizing the previous administration for nationbuilding in the balkans. the same way with secretary rumsfeld of defense, very much a -- against protracted engagement and entanglements. i had thought that a piece of territory that we regarded as
vital, that strategic, if not vital, we needed to have friendly forces control that territory. we had done it in europe and korea and japan after world war ii. if this piece of territory called afghanistan was strategic, because of the issue of terrorism which had become a huge challenge, and we recognize it, and it needed to be held by friendly forces, and that in me had to enable those forces to be able to hold that territory, that meant that we had to help them establish institutions to be able to carry out that mission, and therefore, we had to do, or what we would call state and nation building, we came to that reluctantly. i remember secretary rumsfeld telling me, get your hands off of the bike. one time, i lost my cool. i said, mr. secretary show me
where this damn bike is. i want to afghanistan, there was hardly anything. this was a country that had been at war for over 20 plus years, kabul was like a dead city. there is nothing in their banks, literally. if they had no army or police. there were worthless. they had currencies that were worthless. given the debt of the problems, there was one area at one time of this. slowly, we embraced that idea that we needed to help afghanistan along with others. not only ourselves, because terrorism was a problem for europeans and others. so to do it in a burden-shared
way. we brought nato along and other countries taking lead on different issues, the japanese on disarming militias, the brits on counter narcotics, the italians on building the police force, and germans and others also playing important roles in the police, german in particular, and italians did rule of law. so that was an area of, at the time, that was initially there was some disagreement. brian: you mentioned early on that your wife is a feminist, and then you tell us in the book that you have got two sons, and your wife and sons are on two sides politically. mr. khalilzad: i remember when i was at the u.n., and it was the election, that john mccain was the republican nominee and
barack obama was the democrat. primaries,ring the hillary clinton was obviously also running. and cheryl was supporting hillary. my younger son, max, supported senator obama. my older son, alex, supported strongly senator mccain. we used to have have very lively debates, obviously, publicly i was neutral. i was obviously supportive of senator mccain. i was peeved about our country, and that we did, the vast majority of the u.n. members did
not believe what we would do, which is to elect an african-american as the president. that says a lot about america. brian: the name of the book is "the envoy: from kabul to the white house, my journey through a turbulent world." former united states ambassador iraq, and iran, zalmay khalilzad. thank you very much for joining us. mr. khalilzad: thank you very much, brian. i appreciate it. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ announcer: for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q&a.org. q&a is also available as c-span