tv The Story With Martha Mac Callum FOX News August 21, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
heart ♪ ♪ ♪ >> martha: breaking tonight, president trump is about to announce that after deep debated within the white house, he has decided to send 4,000 more u.s. troops to afghanistan. good evening, everybody, i'm martha ma maccallum coming to you from washington tonight. and this is the story. since 9/11, the u.s. mission has been to never let it happen again. a war on terror under president bush gave way to president obama's ending of the iraq war and a focus on what he saw as the right war in afghanistan before pulling out there as well. two hours from now, the president will speak to the nation about the most solemn question that a commander-in-chief faces, the call to put more american lives at risk. it is his first prime time policy address as president
of the united states. and it comes as he returns from a working vacation that was mostly work and during which he struggled with a tragic day in charlottesville that reignited the racial divide. so, in just a moment, we will be joined by retired four star general jack keane but first we go to chief white house correspondent john roberts who is live in fort meyers, virginia tonight a few hours from here where the president will speak in a couple hours. good evening to you. >> martha, good evening to you. you can see behind me a few hundred yards away filing in for the president's speech to occur in just under two hours now. what the president will say tonight is far different from than what he was saying just a couple years ago. maybe back as far as 2013. in regards to afghanistan. >> where he thought that the united states should not be there. that we should pull out and we should focus on efforts on rebuilding the united states and spending the money that we're spending in afghanistan here state side. he even went so far as to say that president obama was correct in his belief that we needed to draw down the
level of troops. as you said, the president has signed off on this idea of sending as many as 4,000 troops into afghanistan to bolster the 8400 american forces who are already there. we don't believe that the president is going to mention an exact figure tonight. though he may. as always with president trump, things are fluid. also, according to the great reporting of jennifer griffin and lucas tomlinson over at the department of defense, the pentagon. the president will also call on countries in the broader region to pitch in and help. asking india, asking pakistan to do more to bring the tall badge back to the table. yes, the president wants to reopen negotiations with the taliban. he believes that the negotiations with the taliban in cut tar wer qatar. what reason did they have to come to the negotiating table. but the pentagon believes with the upward pressure now on troop increases in the afghanistan and what that will signal to the tall
badge that they may be more inclined to come to the take. president trump will also announce tonight that he is going to hold pakistan to account for its continued support of the taliban and attacks that are emanating from its region as well as to try to do something to root out corruption in the kabul government. what's what's different about this plan from the previous 16 years, we are told it's the scope and pace of the overall pressure campaign. let's remember, martha, at one point the united states had 100,000 troops in afghanistan and couldn't put this thing to bed. we will now, with the addition of the 4,000 troops there, have just a little more than 12,000. that's just a little more than 10% of what we had at the height of this campaign. so, it's going to take a lot of coercion, i think, on the part of the president to get those nations, like pakistan and india to get the taliban to the table. if we actually finally want to put an end to the afghanistan campaign. martha? >> martha: thank you, john. so here now general jack keane, chairman of the institute for the study of
war and fox news military analyst. general, good to have you here. >> good to be with you, martha. >> martha: an area that you have spent a lot of time in and something have you studied very closely. what do you think of the president's plan from what you have heard so far. >> is he absolutely moving in the right direction here. is he going to commit himself, from what we understand, to stay in afghanistan and is in the american people's vital interest. if we don't do that international terrorist also occupy that space again. they were threaten europe and they will threaten the people of the united states. it is a fact, indisputable that that will happen. and i think that's the reason for this decision. i mean, his instincts after 16 years as many people in america, we don't have much to show for this, why are we going to continue to do it. i think he has asked those hard questions. i would like him tonight to share with the american people why, why we haven't succeeded in 16 years. after all, this is america and america's military. we are the best in the world there are reasons for that and it's been a lack of political and moral commitment by our two
previous presidents to actually achieve an enduring victory. war is a fundamental test of wills. it's not just about resources. it is about commitment and dedication. i am hoping that is what he is going to address tonight. regional strategy with our allies to be sure. counter the russians on the iranians who have got their hands all over this war in a negative way. that has to happen. stop pakistan from providing safe haven to the afghan taliban. and stop the overthrow of the afghan government the taliban is so ernest in doing. these are achievable goals. >> martha: i want to ask you about the troop numbers. first, i want to take our viewers after the home through president trump's thinking on this. starting with when he was a private citizen and then as a candidate and then more recently. watch this. >> we made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place. we had real brilliant thinkers that didn't know what the hell they were doing, and it's a mess. it's a mess.
i'm not happy about it. i will tell you. but i would leave the troops there begrudgingly. >> you have to stay in afghanistan for a while for the fact you are right next to pakistan which has nuke already weapons. we have to protect that. >> martha: when you look at that and here's the tweet that he said back in 2013. we should leave afghanistan immediately no. more wasted lives. if we have to go back in, we go in hard and quick. rebuild the u.s. first. there is a lot in there, obviously. and you can see the process that he has been going through here. and you can see that the president is very torn on this issue. it's a tremendous expense a trillion dollars in by some estimates so far. and he has things he wants to do here at home that he feels, you know, may not be throwing good money after bad. >> yeah, absolutely. i think we're probably going to have a modest troop increase providing more divorce than at the fighting level. i hope that's a good thing.
i hopes he increases our counter terrorism forces so they can put more pressure on the taliban leadership. i hope we can put capacity back in to the afghan army pulled out of it and made it considerably less effective. if we can do some of that, we will make some improvement. but it's not going to be a major turn around. it's not going to be something that's going to change in six months or probably even a year. this is going to be a slow change, not a rapid turn around. because the only thing that would get you a rapid turn around, martha, is that we put u.s. fighting troops back in there side by side with the afghans and started winning some battles. but, we're not going to do that because the political capital is not there to do that. the president hasn't even seriously discussed that issue. so i think he is making the right decision to stay. and but it's going to take some time. what he is doing is he is not providing an end date. i'm not going to wrap this up in two years or four years or any time frame. that is a good thing because the taliban is saying to itself well, maybe the
united states is serious this time. maybe they are just going to stay and deal with us and not going to walk away from this thing and our allies if they sense that the president is dead serious about his commitment to afghanistan, then their behavior will change as well. >> martha: that's clearly what you're going to be listening for tonight, that commitment, that open-ended commitment to seeing this thing all the way through right, jack? >> you got it and the words are important here in terms of how committed i am to do this and solve this and be successful at it. >> martha: we will be watching along with you. general jack keane, thank you. see you later. still ahead tonight, u.s. soldiers, 10 of them, sailors, rather, missing after a warship collided with a tanker in asian waters. tonight, the u.s. navy is facing some pretty tough questions. former congressman jason chaffetz and leafy are here on what they think the president needs to tell the country tonight on afghanistan and what we were
>> martha: good evening. welcome back to the story, everybody. we want to take you straight to trace gallagher who has the latest for us on the tragedy that unfolded with the uss mccain and the continuing search there trace, what can you tell us? >> yeah, martha. the question being asked by top military brass is exactly how a state of the art navy destroyer equipped with cutting edge radar and communication technology is somehow unable to detect and evade a much slower oil tanker three times its size. both ships were in the south china sea heading for singapore when the coalition happened. the uss mccain was able to limp into port where it now sits with a gapping hole in its side. the search for the 10 missing sailors is still being called search and rescue but it will soon being search and recovery. four of the five sailors injured are in singapore
hospitals. the one-day operational pause for u.s. navy ships will give the military a chance to review whether there are syste systemic proble. off the coast of japan killing seven sailors. ththe collision was deemed escapable. a guided missile cruiser was struck by a small fishing boat off the korean peninsula. and in january another missile cruiser ran aground in tokyo bay. here is the defense secretary. watch. >> the chief of naval operations broader inquiry will look at all related accidents, incidents at sea, that sort of thing. he is going to look at all factors, not justth immediate ones but will fall rightly under the commanders investigation of what happened to his ship.
trace trace this is also a bad time for the uss mccain to be out of commission. the mccain is equipped with the egis missile defense system touted as a very effective counter weapon to any missile that north korea might launch. martha. >> martha: trace, thank you very much. here now with more on that and also the afghanistan issue of the night, the former oversight committee chairman jason chaffetz and the founding director of georgetown university of politics and public service. both are fox news contributors. gentlemen, good to have both of you with us tonight. >> thank you. >> martha: quick thoughts first on what trace was reporting and the difficulty that the u.s. navy is encountering here. jason chaffetz, do you want to take that first? >> yeah. it's pretty stunning. i was out on the a cruiser much like what was damaged here. this is one of the most sophisticated ships that we have. it's really -- you can't even begin to explain how this could happen. usually these cruisers are there to protect carrier
groups. so that they can see a wide array of everything that's moving towards that carrier group. so, it really is pretty -- it's just flat out embarrassing and inexplainable. there are people from admiral harris on down that are going to have to do a lot of explaining about this. >> martha: we have heard from the president, move, his concerns about our capability, our readiness in the u.s. military. and you look at this situation, and 10 sailors missing. keviseven were lost just a few short weeks ago in june. you know, the president has been criticized for wanting to put more money and more resources into our defenses. this would appear to show that there is definitely some need for some evaluation at the very least. >> i think that's right. there definitely needs to be evaluation. it's a tragedy, i feel heart-sick over the sailors who are lost here. or unaccounted for. and the fact that this has
happened now multiple times in a very short period of time does require some serious evaluation and some accountability. >> martha: we heard there is a 24 hour pause and now they are asking for all the systems to be evaluated for everybody out there to take a look at the systems and figure out what is going on. back to jason chaffetz. it is astonishing as you point out to imagine that the ability to see around these ships twice in such a small period of time could be jeopardized to end in the loss of the missing situation at least currently for these sailors our thoughts, hearts and prayers go out to these young men and women. it's dangerous and crowded out there. we have the most sophisticated navy and military in the world to. run into something so big and massive, this was not a high speed vessel coming in the dead of night certain night
surreptitiously. you can't go on pause either. we have a lot of active scenarios going on around the world. we don't have time for a pause. >> martha: let me turn your attention to what we are waiting to hear from the president this evening. the announcement that 4,000 more troops will be committed to afghanistan. it's an interesting place for this president to come, given debate that's gone on over this and what he said in the past. >> that's right. i think i'm looking for to hearing his remarks tonight there is a couple things i'm looking for. first, why the evolution? what is the compelling case for this? he went from as a private citizen to being for immediate withdraw to as a candidate being for our not immediate withdraw and now it appears as president to want to put more troops in to the region and so i want to hear a very compelling argument for that. secondly, what is the
mission where he has been very clear throughout his candidacy as president and united states should not be in nation building business. what is the mission and how will we define success? what are the measures there? third, i hope he will speak about both the governments of afghanistan and pakistan and what kind of leverage we're going to put on them in their role in this. we have seen that the corruption in the afghanistan government and the pakistanis enabling extremist groups have led to many of the set backs up till now. so how are we going to hold them accountable, make them play their part because, otherwise, this is either a temporary surge that will result in back sliding or it means a more indefinite and possibly larger escalation of troops in the long run if they don't play their roles. >> martha: jason chaffetz we know a lot of different opinions went in it this. mike pompeo and jeff sessions was consulted on this as well. h.r. mcmaster, of course, who at one point according to reports wanted 50,000 troops and was told that the
president simply wouldn't go that far at this point. but justify sessions said something along the lines according to reports this is not what we were elected by the american people to do. he appeared to have been very much against this plan. >> well, there was a great deal of skepticism. and i'm one of them. i think the president needs to define what success and victory is. we have the biggest, baddest military on the fails of the planet. if we unleash them and let them do their job without the handcuffs of the politically correct war that has been going on for the last 16 years. so what is that victory? but i worry that in afghanistan, where have you parts of the country, i will literacy rates are near 90%. where have you corruption that is just off the charts. i don't know that you can go in and train these people. that's what we have been doing for 16 years. >> martha: that's ongoing problem. >> we spent nearly a trillion dollars. why t. hasn't worked. why is this different? >> martha: thank you very much jason and elleithee. president trump will make an
address new strategy war in afghanistan. will it include a surge of troops in that country we believe in the neighborhood of 4,000 troops. we will wait for the final number tonight ahead o afrom the president. what the president needs to tell the american people and the troops who are serving us all. plus washington still reeling over charlottesville. our next guest has very strong words for democrats who are now looking to make race a wedge issue. congressman pete king joins us next. ♪ it's time for the biggest sale of the year with the new sleep number 360 smart bed. it senses your every move and automatically adjusts on both sides to keep you effortlessly comfortable. and snoring.... does your bed do that? the new 360 smart bed is part of our biggest sale of the year where all beds are on sale. and right now save 50% on the labor day limited edition bed.
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>> martha: so if you thought you were feeling the last of the shock waves from charlottesville, think again. the angst from that weekend is still looming very large and congress is set to return to the two weeks from thousand. healthcare, tax reform, infrastructure all of that may be in further jeopardy now. likely to response to the protest especially if they are taking their cues from former and current leadership for the dnc. watch. >> if you want to vote for a racist in the white house, then you better vote for republican. >> you think that he is like-minded, that he is a white supremacist?
>> i'm not saying he is one. i'm saying that the positions that they have articulated are positions that he does not feel an urgent need to denounce and distance himself from. >> martha: joining me how republican congressman pete king. congressman, always great to have you with us. good evening to you. >> thank thank you, martha. >> martha: if you want a racist from the white house you should vote republican. that's coming from howard dean. the language being used here is quite stunning. >> it's not just stunning. it's really disgraceful. they are talking about somehow trying to unify the nation. instead they are using the most divisive type language and hysterical rhetoric. it's wrong. it hurts them because it alienates the american people. also as republicans we have to make it clear we are not going to give in to that type rhetoric. we are not going to panic. it is important we do achieve something as we get back into washington in a
few weeks. we have to show results. we have to get those results. and we have to find a way to work with the white house to get it done. like, for instance, my own view is that we should, for the moment, put healthcare aside. it's not going to go anywhere. let's put some quick points on the board that are good for the people like tax cuts. not even go with tax reform. go with tax cuts to help middle income people to bring back money from overis overseas, through repatriot the money. small businesses and corporations tax cuts they can hire people. people see results. go on to infrastructure. we need the jobs and infrastructure improvements. that's something we can work on. if the democrats don't cooperate, they will look bad on that. >> martha: i want to put up a tweet you sent out on august 17th. you said how long can trump administration survive bannon using race as a political issue and undermining the president and the cabinet on north korea. so steve bannon is not an element inside the white house anymore but he has made it quite clear that he wants to continue to be one from outside.
how do you feel about that? >> again, i have nothing personally against steve bannon, i thought first of all, he was undercutting in the white house. if he is outside the white house, he can't do the same damage. he can't be leaking. he can't be taking shots at -- behind the scenes at competitors in the white house which ends up hurting the president. his influence is definitely minimized. as far as the remark i made about race, that was in response to him saying the more the democrats raise rates. >> martha: bring it on. >> the last thing we need is a heated debate over race. because obviously can be discussed intelligently and rationally. >> martha: congressman, there is no rational conversation around this subject happening of substance. chuck todd over the weekend was talking about antifa and saying basically had a guest on and they were arguing that sometimes violence is necessary to fight what they sees a rampant racism on your side of the aisle. i mean, that's where the
conversation has moved here. so what i'm not hearing from you is how you are going to fight back against that what is the republican strategy to correct what you sees a misinterpretation? >> now, as far as race, to make it clear that obviously we have nothing to do with any type of racism. and to go forward with our policies and show how our policies will help black and white or help everybody in this country and that democrats, by using race, to me, they are trivializing racism as an issue. they are politicizing it and that, to me, shoulding insulting to everyone who is generally concerned about civil rights and human rights to use race as a political issue. and that's just wrong. what howard dean said is absolutely disgraceful. chuck todd, if he said that i didn't see the show yesterday possible use of violence and antifa. that is so far outside the american mainstrea mainstream. we have a democracy so people can vote. donald trump won the last election. if democrats feel that strong then they can run against us in 2018 and 2020.
he is the president. and the congress is there. racism talk is wrong. >> martha: congressman, thank you. for the record it was chuck todd's guest that brought that up in a conversation. >> i'm sorry. >> martha: it was quite stunning. i just wanted to make sure everybody is clear on that at home. thank you so much. good to he so you, pete king. >> thank you, martha. >> martha: in the wake of charlottesville, there is one thing that the president apparently got right in the eyes of the majority of americans. new npr marist poll says 62% of americans feel that the monument should remain where they are. 27% want to see them removed. here now to weigh in on everything that congressman king and i spoke about and that as well washington examiner columnist and pollster kristen soltis anderson and richard fowler nationally syndicated radio host richard fowler. good to see 3w0e69 you here. >> thank you, martha. >> martha: this question peter king brings up and kristin let me start with you. is this becoming the political weapon that democrats will use in the
debated over things like tax reform and healthcare if it comes back and infrastructure? >> certainly i think this removes any possibility that you will see democrats wanting to cooperate and try to find any kind of bipartisan agreement on things like tax reform. ideally, we would like to have policies that aren't just passed by one party but now there is so much bad blood in washington. i think democrats have really seized on this moment to say not only do we disagree with republicans but many of them are bad people. they hold these racist views that we don't like. we just can't work together in an environment like that. >> martha: it's so toxic, richard. in terms of whether or not it's resonating in the nation, you know, you saw that number, 62% believe that they would -- they think the statue should remain where they are for a variety of reasons. and charles barkley, just is one person who spoke out on this over the weekend, had this to say. i want to get your thoughts on, this richard. >> i have never thought about those statues a day in my life. i have never -- think if you
ask most black people to be honest, they ain't thought a day in their life about those stupid statues. we need to worry about getting our education, we need to stop killing each other. we need to try to find a way to have more economic opportunities for things like that. don't waste -- those things are important and significant. >> martha: charles barkley. it raises the question. these statues have been around through the entire obama administration. they have been there for years. what provoked this sudden fixation on the statues? >> i mean i think that's a good question. i think we as a nation as v. reached a tipping point. calls for the nation to remove these statues over time. a lot of folks are speaking out and elected leaders are hearing from kinseys and want statues to break them down. >> martha: what produced the tipping point? there is so much going on in this country and charles barkley talks about issues
that confront so many people of education and divisiveness and murder, you know, and it almost seems that we are our eye off the ball of what the real issues are. we are putting it all into these statues as if taking them down is going to suddenly change things? >> let me stop you there. those things -- i think there are some mutual exclusivity there, right in the statues are one thing. most of these statues were erected in many of these places during the jim crowe south and they were used for purposes of intimidation, right? so i think now there is a time in our country after having an african-american president where not only african-americans but white people are saying hey, livable, we think enough is enough. these statues must come down. i will give you a great example. neighboring city alexandria, right, which a very quote unquote liberal city some would argue. in their city they are saying listen we want these statues taking down and they don't represent who we are as ax leann degreresidents.
there is a clear push to take them down and that will happen over time. i think that's different from what charles barkley is talking about. yes some work needs done in black community that is separate and apart from statues that exist people ohio called and i will call them again on the show who are traitors who defended on american activity. in 1860 when abraham lincoln became president it was very clear we as a country made a turn to say we will no longer endorse the ideals of slavery. these individuals fought for slavery and they are traitors to america. >> martha: i'm curious why it has suddenly erupted into such an issue. democrats are having a very tough time fundraising. one of the questions that is brought up is are they focused on the right things? and are the things that democrats are yelling and screaming about here in washington, really resonating across the country when you look at these numbers, kristin? >> so if you are talking specifically about the confederate monuments, the polling does not actually
show that most americans are with the democrats on this particular issue. when you look at generic ballot question who would you rather for in congress, democrats are doing okay on that measure. there is a lot of different signals being september by the american people. they don't necessarily love what's going on here in washington. they don't live either party in congress. they are really looking for both parties to focus on the issues they care about. >> martha: feels like one conversation that's happening here and something else going on in the country. we are going to be in louisville this week. we are looking forward to speaking with people at our town hall to find out what they are actually caring about, and what matters to them in the face of all of these debates. thank you, guys. good see you as always. >> martha: islamic militant expected of driving a van through a crowded street? barcelona is shot and killed by police. find out why authorities say that his path of terror was far from over. plus, a spectacle of celestial proportions as a
solar eclipse enthralls everyone in america on this summer august day. we will show you some the incredible visuals we saw from the roof top today. all of that when we come back and talk to a nsa official on the ground. >> wow, would you look at that? it's a total eclipse of the sun. it's going to go all the way across america. all the way across. and now it is in oregon. ♪ when i first started working with capital one, my dad called them up and asked for "the jennifer garner card" which is such a dad thing to do. after he gave his name the woman from capital one said "mr. garner, are you related to jennifer?" kind of joking with him. and my dad was so proud to tell her, "as a matter of fact, she is my middle daughter". so now dad has the venture card, he's earning his double miles,
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and we'll handle the legal stuff that comes up along the way. legalzoom. legal help is here. >> martha: we are back with the more of the story from d.c. tonight. here is some of the other stories making headlines today. after four-day manhunt, the fugitive at the center of thursday's deadly terror attack in barcelona has been found and killed. 22-year-old younes abouyaaquoub was wearing a fake suicide belt tote ago bag of knives and shouting allah is great before being fatally shot by police.
van plowed through also a wham blast killing 14 and injuring 100 others. radical jihads planned to drive explosive packed vans into the famous sites including cathedral in the center of barcelona. also told for the first time in 38 years a total solar eclipse of the sun made historic coast-to-coast passage of the united states. 2600 miles in 90 minutes. millions of americans got their glasses on, their shoeboxes all set up to witness the moon's passage between the sun and the earth. we watched for reaction as we were told from nature and, you look, these cows laid down in the middle of the totality. they thought maybe it was time to go to sleep. the eclipse even capturing the attention of president trump, of course. and there is barron trump and the first lady melania trump got their glasses on and took a look at the
celestial celebration from the white house balcony this afternoon as well. next guest was front and center from the path of totality. joining me now is dr. jim green nsa's planetary science division and one scientific thing we have not worked out is a little bit of audio delay. we have a bit of a gap. dr. jim green, i will let you tell us what you thought was significant about what we witnessed today. >> well, martha, it was absolutely spectacular. the weather report here was completely cloudless with two minutes of darkness. and as the moon moved in front of the sun, the corona peeked out. it was unbelievable. we saw ray structures and we could just imagine as scientists how these rays of material flow out away from the sun and into the solar wind. now, i'm a planetary scientist. and another thing i noticed is a few planets happened to peek out from behind that
darkness. we could easily see venus, mars and mercury off to the side. now, in addition to just the excitement of experiencing the eclipse, nsa had a number of experiments going on. we flew experiments on a plane by testing instruments that we may fly later into space. but in planetary terms, we also had a fabulous experiment that was a connected to balloons that we launched all along the path of totality. 57 balloons went up to 100,000 feet. and on 30 of them, we put two coupons, like this, one full of bacteria, the other full of bacteria we kept on the ground. but the one we attached to each of 30 balloons went up to this altitude of 100,000 feet. why we did this is because that's the altitude that
receives ultraviolet light, because it's above the ozone. it also was a very low temperature. 30, 40, 50 degrees below zero. and it's at the pressure of mars so, it gets the ultraviolet light. the pressure and the temperature of mars. and that balloon goes up to another 10 -- and then it pops and we receive it and go back and analyze the data. >> martha: it's fascinating. thank you so much. thank you for the science lesson. great to see you tonight. so we are awaiting as we have been talking about all afternoon and evening a very big address tonight from president trump. he will address the nation and explain to all of us his new strategy for the war in afghanistan. it is already the longest conflicted in u.s. history. so can the president convince the nation that an increase in troops on the ground is what we need. we'll speak with three veterans of the war in afghanistan on what the
president needs to tell the people tonight, what their take is on what they have heard so far, army special forces veteran ben collins, former cia officer buck sexton, army ranger veteran robert all next. copd makes it hard to breathe. so to breathe better, i go with anoro. ♪go your own way copd tries to say, "go this way." i say, "i'll go my own way" with anoro. ♪go your own way
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♪ >> martha: so we are just about an hour away now from the president's speech. he will lay out his plan to win the longest war in u.s. history. so far this year 11 u.s. servicemen have been killed in that conflict. more than in all of last year already. more than 2400 have died since the war began. thousands more have been wounded in these battles. so here now three veterans of the afghan war, ben collins is an army special forces veteran, buck sexton is a nationally syndicated radio host who served in afghanistan with the cia. and robin bureau is a democratic strategist and army ranger veteran and-- strikveteran.thank you foe in this fight and great to have you here tonight to get your take on what we expect the president to talk about. so, ben, in terms of the number of troops and the discussion of getting more cooperation from pakistan and india, in particular pakistan, that's been a
pretty tough road to hoe up to this point. why do you think the president can get them to cooperate now? >> martha, i think the most important thing that the president actually has to address tonight is not so much the how of what this new policy is going to dictate, but it's the why. and i think the greatest thing that's been missing, at least for the last 15 years, is having a president that can look the american people in the eye and say, here is why this matters. here is why we continue to be in afghanistan and why i'm going to authorize more troops to go. i do think, however, as you stated that this is a regional problem. afghanistan is a regional problem. it's going to require a regional solution. we have to address each one of those countries in total, what their individual security concerns are. and we have never really done that we have always kind of abrogated policy to india, pakistan or one or the other. for the first time i think we might actually have the chance to address each one
individually and address them total. so it is a regional solution. and i believe that's where he is going to go this time around. >> martha: robin, there was a lot of criticism of president obama for pulling out of afghanistan, doing increment mentalism, not listening to his generals on the ground. not even speaking with them all that much in terms of the communication. how do you see this president as different in his handling of this? >> >> for one thing, martha, is he very impulsive which is a concern for me as a former service member. you know, let me just point out an example. the morning that he sent out the tweet about the transgender ban, he said that he spoke with his generals and was going to make some policy changes, dot dot dot. then we didn't find out until 8 minutes later that it was about a transgender ban. we were in the midst of very heated discussions with north korea at that time. so all of us were waiting with baited breath. i am just concerned about the level of impulsivity. i understand that he is the president and can do that
and wants to get his message out timely, but, when it comes to being commander-in-chief, that requires some better guidance, some more -- he has just got to do a better job of actually vetting what he is going to say. >> martha: buck sexton, obviously the cia and special forces played a very big role of in the beginning stages of afghanistan, war soldiers, the work thats with a done then. what work do you see for special forces, for the cia in the president's new plan. >> they will continue to play enormous new role in counter terrorism operations against specific groups, the taliban being one, of course, and also the islamic state's course on franchise which is operating in afghanistan and al qaeda. so that's going to continue to noe matter what. that will actually be an even bigger focus of the traferred will be looking to do here. we should not mince words about this. the strategic position right
now for the taliban is the strongest that it has been since 2001. the situation in afghanistan on the ground right now is pretty dire. depending on the estimate that you want to believe, it's either about a third or up to even as much as a half of the country is contested or held by the taliban at this point in time. and that's after years and years of war. that's after the obama administration surge, which by the way, i think the biggest problem with the previous 8 years that we saw when it comes to afghanistan is that a lot of the decision-making was done based upon domestic politics. the idea that you would surge troops and say there would also be a drawdown at the same time. gave a timetable to the enemy. i think that was mostly driven by a desire to placate critics and also play to the base here at home instead of accomplishing strategic objectives which i think the trump administration will realign and i also think that they will increase some the scope of air strikes and other important aspects of the u.s. force presence on the ground. >> martha: i just have about 30 seconds. >> martha if i could hop in
here. >> martha: hold on a second. i want to ask you about the blue on green violence that we have seen, ben. a number of those 11 were killed by afghanistan soldiers. what's our level of confidence with the afghan leadership that they are going to have our back in this arrangement if we increase our commitment here? >> well, look, i think to a certain extent that we have to recognize that within the certainly the military leadership in afghanistan, and the political leadership as well, you know, this hasn't always been merit-based. i think we recognize corruption is rife throughout the entirety of the political hemisphere. also rife between the police and different military organizations. you are absolutely right. we need to know that they are going to have our back and that they are going to trust us. you know, part of that is the vetting process that we have to put these soldiers, you know, through. i do have to say though, i think that we. >> martha: very quickly. >> political push to put the afghans out front. >> martha: i have got to cut you off. i'm sorry, guys, i'm at a hard break. we will take a quick break and be right back with more.
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