tv Washington Journal Rep. Jim Banks CSPAN November 28, 2018 10:16am-10:54am EST
>> members continuing to arrive this morning. of course it is a closed door hearing. coverage of developments as house democrat members consider new leadership here on c-span throughout the day. while we wait for that, more from this morning's "washington journal." washington journal continues. host: representative jim banks is a republican from indiana, member of the veteran affairs committee, recently returned from afghanistan. >> great to be here.
2014ved in afghanistan, and 2015 prior to being elected to congress. this is my first trip back as a member of congress. i led a bipartisan delegation. there were seven of us. we came home last week with a better picture of what is going on in afghanistan. still a lot of questions. we came home with a renewed sense, our efforts are as important as ever there, and in bipartisan fashion we came home with questions for the administration. host: as the picture good or bad? guest: i served in 2014 and 2015. the picture there today is worse than it was a few years ago. it is more dangerous in afghanistan today. the threat has evolved. we are no longer dealing with just defeating the taliban. k, in, the rise of isis
afghanistan is more startling than what we face. groupsrted terrorist have a foothold in afghanistan. isis k is the most dangerous threat we have ever faced in that country. that part of it was startling. i called on the administration in recent months to give us update and progress report on what has been achieved in afghanistan since the south asia strategy. they have yet to do that. we were able to get a better sense in afghanistan, ask questions to military leaders, about what the south asia strategy has brought about. i renew that call upon my return home. the administration must give the american people, congress, specifically the armed services ammittee, a progress report,
year later after enacting the policy to let us know what they have achieved, so that those of us who serve on committees related to national security have a sense of what we continue to invest in. 17 plus years later, the american people are weary and they demand answers. host: we have heard stories about isis, the taliban, being held at bay. what has changed? guest: this administration has done well to defeat isis in syria and iraq. but isis k has pushed into afghanistan. disruptws if they can the situation in afghanistan, perhaps there is nowhere else where they could cause harm to the people that would gain headlines and news as much as it does in afghanistan. wednesday as we were leaving to attackme, there was an on a ceremony in afghanistan i
killed 50 people -- in afghanistan that killed 50 people. isis k took credit. that is an example of the disruptive nature they are bringing. that complicates. it is why our military leaders find this to be as complicated a picture in afghanistan as we have seen in 17 years. host: three u.s. soldiers dying in attack by the taliban. guest: it is important for the american people to remember that we are at war. we continue to invest heavily in afghanistan and blood, sweat and tears. the financial investment by the united states and nato is substantial. it is not going to go away soon. the situation is as dangerous and complicated as it has ever been. i came home last week with a sense that efforts are important, the situation has this administration
owes all of us a progress report on what they accomplished. aboutour guest to talk the trip to afghanistan. questions, (202)-748-8000 for democrats, (202)-748-8001 for republicans, (202)-748-8002 for independents. you, afghanistan veterans, to give your perspective, (202)-748-8003. you can also reach out on twitter. in the photos we were showing, you spoke with military leaders and government leaders. who did you speak with? guest: the highlight was dinner with the president. he has been a great leader for afghanistan. he is on the ballot next year for reelection. that picture is unclear. wellit will occur and how the president will do. there is hope for reconciliation.
year thatfire last the president negotiated with the taliban, it was a short time but it did occur and it brought some hope that there is this momentright in for reconciliation with the taliban. some of the election picture next year plays into that. the special envoy is bringing hopes and afghanistan to achieve a civil society, a stable country. that is what is critical before we can create peace and go after the evolving threats like isis k. it is unclear when that reconciliation will occur. host: what is isis k? don't have the correct pronunciation of what it stands for but it is the islamic region
they envision for their territory, which includes much of afghanistan. it is the evolved isis threat, as they have been defeated in iraq and syria. the threat is serious. it must be addressed. host: first call from memphis, tennessee. this is rachel, democrat. jim banks. comment onanted to the representative's assessment. i have to 100% disagree. there has been more violence against afghan forces this year, palming constantly. -- bombing constantly. we are not fighting terrorism. we are establishing a military, permanent military presence ultimately to encircle china.
this has been discussed in various think tank papers. we have three more servicemen died for no reason whatsoever, while defense contractors are making record profit. we have no oversight from congress. lets the pentagon spend and do whatever they want while we have so much hardship going on at home. disagree andongly angers my frustration and at what we are doing there and how i am not being told the truth. host: thank you. guest: i appreciate the feedback. i am not sure we disagree on everything in a sense that you are suggesting. i have called on this administration to give a progress report to the american people.
this administration enacted a new strategy that many of us celebrated one year ago. the south asia strategy. conditions based strategy in afghanistan that according to the administration is different than what the strategy was before. after visiting and asking the question to military leaders, to the ambassador, to afghan leaders, it is still unclear to me what has been accomplished in the south asia strategy over the past year. i have renewed a strong call to the administration to give us the progress report sooner than later. i think it would be good for president trump to visit afghanistan. there has been chatter about whether or not this is an will visit a war zone. it would be healthy for him to go to afghanistan and meet with military leaders, just like i did with the bipartisan delegation i lead. this president could put more of his weight behind the situation
and bring it to a strong and successful conclusion during his administration. he would be a champion for that, if he did so. host: should he have done that visit already? guest: i have not been critical of him for not visiting a war zone. a lot goes into that. i don't believe a president needs a photo op to show he supports the troops. i think he can invest more efforts. he still has time. he has been focused on other issues. that were the president ended the longest war in american history, that would place him in the history books. host: line for afghanistan war veterans. bryan, woodbridge, virginia. caller: a lot of these military people, the volunteer army does not have enough troops to secure the population from the commands
-- the combatants. we should have learned that in vietnam. you have to have enough troops .n the ground all volunteers do not have enough troops. errand.rcising a fools peacehe population want and want the united states to be there but the other half are resentful. what the enemy does, they they getrate people, that can go on forever. host: thank you. guest: no doubt, the situation is as dangerous as it has been in a long time. since theve seen obama administration -- i served
in 2015 and 2014 where we move from and during freedom to freedom sentinel -- we took a backseat and pushed the afghans forward in a train, advise, assist nature. we have a today fraction of nato troops in afghanistan that we have had in years past, more isolated in certain places rather than on forward operating bases through the country. what the caller is suggesting is true. we do not have the troops there to create a safe and secure picture like we have had before. with the rise of isis k and other groups, the taliban capturing parts of the country they have not held since 2001, it is a more dangerous picture today. host: if you call for the president to draw down, what
happens to the vacuum? guest: that is the problem. i am not calling for that. i want the president to remain to focus. we would see the same result in iraq if we pulled out of afghanistan. it is important that the president provide us with a progress report on the south asia strategy. host: our afghan troops ready to afghan troops are ready to handle this? guest: we visited one of their training sites. we have been doing that for a decade plus, doing our best with our nato advisors to train up afghan military. it is not adequate still. host: in georgia, joe, republican. i would like to
ask jim. we lost a lot of people in afghanistan. costly. my question is, with all the money we are spending their, $21 trillion debt here, my main mission is to reelect donald trump and david perdue but what can we do to cut spending? i have been republican all my life. republicans are upset the congress has not cut one dime of spending. afghanistan may be fun. i don't know. -- may be fine. what about spending? this president would go down in history in a way few presidents have if he ended the longest war in american history successfully by drawing a conclusion and afghanistan that would create a safe, secure, civil society there, and defeat taliban and isis and other
groups that have a stranglehold. that would be electorally beneficial. historically, it would frame him in a good light as well. i hope he does that. i hope he visits. i hope he addresses the american people in a primetime presidential address that would explain what has been achieved there with the south asia conditionshe new based strategy he implemented one year ago. that would be good if he did that. as far as spending goes, our investment in afghanistan is a drop in the bucket of what it would take to reform spending programs on capitol hill to address the $21 trillion national debt. we have to do that. i hope the president and this congress can be more serious about that movie forward. -- moving forward. there has been strong dissatisfaction. host: san jose, california,
democrat. caller: you mentioned, you want the president to have a photo op in afghanistan. that is what he does all the time. bashing -- [indiscernible] now that we are good friends with saudi arabia, why can't we have saudi arabia help? a great point on pakistan. part of the south asia strategy was to put more pressure on pakistan for creating a safe haven for the taliban, which is clear that continues to this day. we have cut off some forms of foreign aid to pakistan and that is one part of the south asia strategy i have been pleased with, that has been articulated
anyway much of the rest of the strategy has not. i respectfully disagree. the more pressure put on pakistan to stop them from raiding safe haven for the taliban -- creating safe haven for the taliban, the more we can defeat the taliban in afghanistan. as far as the president needing a photo op, you have to remember this president is the president that negotiated the deal with congress earlier this year to rebuild the american military and restore what was a 20% cut to military during previous administration. that alone, as a veteran of the afghanistan war, navy reserve, serving and uniform, this president does not need a photo op to prove he supports the troops. he proved it in negotiating a deal to rebuild the american military to begin with. the next step is for this president to show us what he has
achieved in that progress report and what it will take to win in afghanistan. host: what was security like for you? did you have concerns about transportation? guest: i will give you a picture of what has evolved since 2015. often can'td, we void in vehicles -- conviyed in vehicles outside kabul. -- convoyed. our delegation traveled black box through the country to perform oversight duties as we asked questions of different aspects of the war in afghanistan. we traveled from kabul, and throughout the country by helicopter. host: indiana, republican, preston. caller: hello.
if you planondering to meet with the president or brief the president on your recent trip to afghanistan? guest: i maintain with the administration, especially at the pentagon as a member of the armed services committee, there is an avenue to communicate with leaders there. we will communicate with the president whenever i can, and to encourage him to provide that update. i have called on that update before. i am not criticizing the administration. as a member of congress, there are a number of us who would like this resident -- this president, or secretary mattis, or others, to give us that update and report. host: foreign related matters. back and forth between ukraine and russia.
what should be done and what is the united states position? what do you think? 48, mixedr the past signals. we need to stand with ukraine. i am pleased this president reversed the previous administration's orders and this tosident, giving lethal aid fight back against russian incidents like this. that is what has occurred in the past. everyone in washington, myself included, need to be more vocal in supporting ukraine. i have done that in the past 24 hours. hopefully the administration will stand with ukraine as well. host: what has been your response to the administration's response on the death of jamal khashoggi? far, a mixture of
statements. i believe, i have not been briefed yet. i was hoping to be briefed this week further on the situation. it appears our intelligence agencies, who i trust and believe, if they determine he was ordered assassinated by the crown prince, we should absolutely seek sanctions of some sort on those responsible for his death. i have not been briefed on that or seen the intelligence so i will withhold further comments. host: larger issue of maintaining ties with saudi arabia? guest: there are some who want to cut off saudi arabia altogether. others want to turn a blind eye to what appears to be the directive from the conference. saudi arabia is an important ally. their enemies are our enemies. that is not mean we should turn
a blind eye. we need to punish those responsible for that murder. thank you for taking my call. after 20 years of attacking today, there are concerned over trump's policy in the middle east. our government wants to ignore all the crimes, and some republican senators like mr. rand paul criticized trump. , should not be ignored. what do you think? [indiscernible] i agree. tocannot turn a blind eye
what intelligence agencies are suggesting was a directive from the royal crown prince. we should seek to hold those accountable for the murder who were involved and if our agencies are stating that he was responsible for that, we should absolutely target those sanctions at him and others responsible. host: the potential of a government shutdown at this stage? guest: i am optimistic that won't occur. we have a week and a half to make sure it does not. republican leaders met with the president yesterday. most of them are optimistic we will negotiate. host: it comes down to the price tag of the portable. the president looking for $5 billion. should that be satisfied? guest: i hope so. i believe it is important investment to secure the border, not just because of immigration issues but the illegal drug flow
into our country and the real and serious national security threat that open border poses as well. the $5 billion investment is a worthy investment. i hope we negotiate a package that would provide the administration funding to do that. host: maryland, michael. michael fromis maryland. afghanistan, also about the of thefghanistan, 80% population is sunni muslim. why can't we use surrounding arab countries to assist us and help us stand up an army to talibane surrounding and whatever that keep coming in from other countries? 2, to improve service
within the v.a., we spent $160 and $40a year on va, billion goes into care. why not do some out-of-the-box thinking and basically privatize the entire v.a., increase care from $40 billion to $50 billion and give people a credit card to go anywhere they want? host: thanks. guest: let me start with the second question. what the administration has done with this congress to reauthorize choice act and expand choice for more veterans is along the lines of what you are suggesting, which is, absolutely the direction we need to go. choice 2.0o the legislation out of this congress, veterans, 30% could access health outside v.a.
with choice 2.0 and reauthorization of program under congress, 50% of veterans will be able to access health outside v.a. i agree, we need to apply common sense to how we modernize v.a. i chair a subcommittee related to modernizing electronic health records and modernization of technology at v.a. we can provide better care and access to veterans around the country. i am invested on the v.a. committee and on these issues. as far as afghanistan, training the afghan army, over 17 years we have failed to train them in a way that places them at the forefront of efforts. that is why we continue to maintain presence. we do not have a stable situation. nato investment, other countries, important to those efforts. i hope this administration will
nurture nato relationships that have led to investment by other countries as well. host: brian in massachusetts. caller: good morning, c-span. hello? host: go ahead. caller: i would like to thank mr. banks for serving, first of all. afghanistan is a corrupt country . 17 year failure. we pull out of their. that government will fall within a heartbeat. -- out of there. we have a heroin problem in the united states. it comes from afghanistan. that is odd. you mentioned supporting the ukraine and they are happy we are selling arms. -- loss-of-life overall saudi arabia is an ally but they have mosques all over the world -- training this -- host: caller, we are short on time. caller: thank you for your time.
there that comments are important to address. as far as corruption in ifghanistan, president ghan has been at the forefront of fighting corruption. i am pleased with his leadership. i hope he is reelected. he has been a reformer to go after corruption. that is important. it is important to create a stable situation in afghanistan that is fundamental to peace and achieving american and afghan interests. host: you are elected as part of the majority. guest: i have never served in the minority before. i served in the state house for six years under super majority. this will be my first foray in minority. there are opportunities. i serve on committees that are the most bipartisan and congress.
the armed services committee and the veteran affairs committee. i see opportunities to work with colleagues to address issues most important. host: jim banks, >> a headline from "politico" today, pelosi faces down her enemies in the first key vote for speaker. and back to live picture outside the auditorium where house democrats are meeting at the capitol visitors center on capitol hill, of course. we're still waiting for an update on their house leadership elections. it appears a member there is speaking to members of the media. can't see exactly who that is. if we find out, we may be get an opportunity to hear something from that member.