tv Inside Washington PBS February 6, 2011 3:00pm-3:30pm PST
>> production assistance for "inside washington" was provided by allbritton communications and "politico," reporting on the legislative, executive, and political arena. >> mubarak is a terrorist. >> this week on "inside washington," the people in egypt. what is the appropriate american response? >> it is not the role of any other country to determine egypt's leaders. only the egyptian people can do that. >> if florida judge strikes that the health-care law as unconstitutional. >> we know we need health care reform. this is not the way to do it. >> an attempt to kill it in the senate fails. >> we repeal it right now.
>> the rumsfeld memoir. on the iraq war, no regrets. the weather of 2011. is anybody talking climate change? >> i have not seen it this bad since the 1960's. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> it started peacefully with tens of thousands of egyptians taking to the streets of cairo and elsewhere in egypt calling for regime change. mubarak and his repressive regime, they said, must go. for a few days, the demonstrations were made mostly peaceful, and then -- who were these people? witnesses like "the new york times'" nicholas christoph in cairo said they were thugs. after talking with egyptian
president mubarak earlier this week, president obama said this. >> an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now. furthermore, the process must include a broad spectrum of egyptian of voices and opposition parties. it should lead to elections that are free and fair. >> free and fair elections. what are the odds of that happening, charles? >> i think a good, as long as the army stays intact, as long as the army's not drag it to one side or the other, remains a guarantor and -- a guarantor of the state. mubarak will be gone sooner or later, but it is the one institution that could midwives the transition period to elections, parliamentary and presidential. >> mark? >> every survey of public opinion in the united states says that one institution that
is corrected and respected is the military did they could be the savior of egypt as well. i did it is the best hope. democracy it is unpredictable. we know that. that is why we don't know the outcome. we do hope more than expect. >> nina? >> i am probably butchering this quote from tokyo, so don't write to me if i do -- from tocqueville, so don't write to me if i do -- "the early period is where there is some success but total uncertainty." in a situation like this, it was everybody's idea of what a peaceful movement should be, and everybody is remiss -- is reduced to battle spirit you have an idea of how fast they could deteriorate. >> on friday, it went back to a
peaceful demonstration by and large in cairo, evan. >> you pick and choose your history. you can look at the french revolution and the guillotine, or more calm and peaceful resolutions. which is going to be? i hope the army to control, but egypt doesn't have a great history here. there and ofte -- there are an awful lot of thugs, a democracy does not a great tradition. >> admiral mike mullen said he was assured it would not fire on their own people. >> the army would lose its status as the one institution that is universally respected. the army and has the prestige of having to lead a resolution against the monarchy in 1952 and the success of the october war in 1973 and the restoration of the egyptian pride. it carries the hopes and the respect of the country.
the problem is this -- the most organized a political institution in the country, partly as a result of the mubarak repression, is the muslim brotherhood. they are not democrats, i can assure you of that. and as, for example, is the palestinian a week -- hamas, for example, is the palestinian wing of the brotherhood. unless there is a transition to democrats who are disorganized and this united to coalesce and prepare for elections, the brother road winds, and then you get what you have in iran. >> president mubarak told christiane amanpour of abc news that if he resigns now, there will be chaos and he is afraid that the muslim brotherhood will take over. >> before you get to the malls and other art, which i agree it is not a great -- before you get to the muslim brotherhood, which i agree is not a great outcome -- the army since they're on their american-paid-for tanks,
and the forces go into the streets as the economy continues to deteriorate. it is possible that the thugs will be up on protesters enough so that you returned is some uneven peace with the thugs in charge. >> for years there have only been three kinds of governments or regimes -- the monarchy, nasser, and then mubarak. nasser and his subdivisions, and then mubarak. >> yesterday in the streets, -- why are they in the streets, mark? >> egypt is paying the price for having one of the best education systems in that entire area, and the entire percentage of college graduates. i would like to say one thing to king farooq --
[laughter] a much-maligned a figure. no, there is not a great tradition of democracy. we have had examples like the philippines and portugal and spain, with the worst was permitted after autocracies. they're not a time or dictator if they are on our side. they are an autocrat. autocratic regimes were supplied it and succeeded. >> how is the obama administration doing on this? are they staying out of sight? >> i think they are doing it about right. there were slow to get with the program and all that. look, we cannot make this happen. we cannot lead the way here. it is better for us to be a step behind. we can gently nudge and support, but this has to be an egyptian king, and the more we try to dictate events, the more it will backfire against us. >> there is a reason to think of this as a hopeful moment.
generally, these revolutions end badly, but this one doesn't have to. if it succeeds in egypt, it will create a revolution in the middle east. after all, you have to ask yourself, why is it that east asia, east europe, latin america, have all democratize over the last 50 years? 30 years, actually. and not the arab world? there is an axiom in the west -- the arabs are different an exceptional and there is no way you can have democracy. iraq is the counterexample, except that had to have the american military pay a high price to have a democracy which actually exists in iraq. it is one example. lebanon is another. if egypt succeeds, you could have a wave of democracies, as you have in europe, but it requires the extreme caution of the to to so that it does not fall into the wrong hands. >> we have been assuring the affection of mubarak with $1.5 billion annually. a global survey last year indicated that only 17% of the
egyptians have a favorable view of the united states. if mubarak goes, you have to keep those numbers in mind. >> no question about it. this is not eastern europe in the sense that the people who stood in the squares of warsaw and prague were quoting jefferson and lincoln and kennedy and, yes, ronald reagan. these are not the leaders being sounded by the people in cairo. >> the government has fomented over time it appears anti- semitic, xenophobic, anti- foreign, and right now that is playing out -- >> at you have to say that mubarak -- any time that anybody push came to be more democratic, he would say, oh, the terrorists will take over if i am not here. >> the unrest is spreading to jordan and yemen and elsewhere. >> egypt has historically been a
bellwether of the middle east. in the 1950's, when the military overthrew the monarchy, it spread all to the middle east. you had a generation of the military in charge. here you have uprisings -- it started in tunisia, but it is now in yemen and jordan. even in sudan. there might even be demonstrations in syria, of all places, which is a hermetically sealed a police state. there is a wave happening here. it is generational, and it is also technological. 60% of the egyptians are under the age of 30. the arab population is the youngest on the planet. after that, the internet and to medication, which allows you to escape state control and communication -- the internet and communication, which allows you to escape state control and condition, gives you what you have now, revolt. >> my guess is that it will be
bumpy and it won't have the same results everywhere, but for israel and has huge ramifications as well. the israelis are sort of totally terrified with some good reason, because they would have to be defending all fronts for got somebody said it would be as if we had revolutions in mexico and canada. >> i am thinking about our economic recovery, which it seems to be on track. what happens if it goes badly? what happens if the suez -- >> oil prices are already over $100. it also means to worry about the contagion, if you are an oil trader, all you care about his stability spreading into the gulf, because that is where the money is. algeria is the only state right now that has oil that is actually in turmoil. but if it's by tomorrow, anywhere in the gulf. >> let's be blunt about it, the united states aid to egypt has at a price, at the prices that
the united states as total and immediate access to the suez canal. the united states can count on egypt to recognize israel and to preserve israel's order. -- border. especially as far as the armed shipments into j -- into gaza is concerned. it is unlikely that an administration is going to win a democratic campaign and egypt at this point with the enormous unrest and xenophobia unleashed by saying that we need a closer relationship with the united states and israel for at that has to be acknowledged. >> it is pretty automatic under the peace accord with israel. yes, we could withdraw, but it is not just as simple thing to do. >> i go back to the survey, which does not reflect favorably
on the feelings of egyptians about israel either, evan. >> unbelievable paranoid conspiracy theories. charles has a funny one. >> a month ago there were shark attacks in the red sea, and the egyptian press with a straight face published or said it was the mossad that had placed the sharks to terrorize egyptians. you are dealing with a culture that is susceptible to a pretty wild -- >> at the egyptian press is totally controlled by mark. > -- by mubarak. >> this was pointed out in a column by a university of maryland professor this week. "intelligence to intelligence, security to security, not necessarily people the people." >> these bargains with the foreign intelligence services, because they are the ones that are ordering these countries, the secret police, but they are also the people who give us intelligence about the
terrorists. we need those intelligence services to keep a lid on al qaeda. >> a federal judge in florida says the health-care law is unconstitutional. >> this is not the first major law that has been challenged in the courts, even successfully, as regarding constitutionality. two others. the social security act. the civil rights act of 1964 brought the federal minimum wage . >> that is senator dick durbin. a judge said that the law is unconstitutional. 26 states including florida filed a lawsuit against it. which white are the supremes going to go on this one, nina? >> oh, i wouldn't begin to guess that, but it is unlikely that they would hurry it up. next year sometime, perhaps, we will get to the court.
but this is a very complicated bill, and they will want the lower courts -- justice ginsburg said this on a thursday night at a forum in washington -- they will want to lower courts, the best minds in the country, to weigh in on this, and there will be different conclusions. >> the attorney-general of a virginia is trying to get to go directly -- >> he can ask. that does not mean he will get. >> it is a flawed bill. it as a fundamental flaw in it, which is that it doesn't deal with the underlying problems with the health-care system. congress docked on the big issue -- >> the question is, is it unconstitutional? demanding that people buy health insurance? >> i am not a lawyer and i will not play one on television, but it isn't asking people to buy it an automobile or a sony television, demanding that they
do it. the judge in florida acknowledged that the bill, law, depends on the mandate. without the mandate, the law does not work. ute buy this because it is in the public good, because it will prevent early death, it will prevent widespread illness and suffering. that is the purpose of it. >> that does not answer the constitutional issue. of course is in the public good, or it would not have been attempted in the first bus, but the constitution says that there are some things that the congress cannot do, because we have limited government and ours are restrictive trade the question is, is this over the line? the view i have is that the commerce clause has been expended for over 80 years, and there is no sense in the country -- interestingly, -- there is now a sense and the country, interestingly, in part, because of the push back against the liberal agenda, that it is not that it is inefficient or wrong or will bankrupt us, but there's
something wrong about empowering the federal government to compel you into a private contract, ie with an insurance company. and if you allow this, there are no limits whatsoever on what congress can order an individual to do. >> i think this quotation is sort of summarizes it all -- charles fried, solicitor general during the reagan administration, said tom "attacking the violence against women act as a violence against the constitution -- i got to get it all to the economy and regulation of the economy -- i don't think it involved the economy and regulation of the economy. regulation of insurance doesn't of the economy and what the commerce clause, -- does involve the economy and what the
commerce clause contemplated." >> the supreme court filed election returns and able cowshed in high constitutional principle, but the judge who will act on the realities of how the act is working are not working. if enough justices proceed it is not going to work, that will incline them to reach the high constitutional principle and throw it out. >> he did not have to go to moscow. finley peter dunne -- said that he did not have to go to law school. finley peter dunne said that in 1896. it will come back to justice anthony kennedy. >> he is our mubarak. >> he is . tony kennedy -- thank you, ronald reagan. >> former defense secretary donald rumsfeld has written a memoir entitled "known and unknown."
regrets, he said a few. he said "we know where they are" with respect to weapons of mass destruction in iraq. he has, i gather, no real regrets. "at saddam hussein remained in power, the middle east would be far more perilous than it is today." >> it is a defense of the book. what else would we expect it donald rumsfeld to write? he's being a defense of human being. he does score some points against other people. he's actually read that the whole process broke down, that condoleezza rice did not do a good job, that colin powell was not as assertive as he might have been. >> how can you blame colin powell for not being assertive enough when you just take them in the proverbial groin and nature he could not walk? -- and made sure he cannot walk? >> i am a big fan of colin
powell, but i think historians will go back and see a period where they wished that colin powell had been more assertive about going -- >> he says that president bush asked for plants differ going to war with iraq to two weeks after the 9/11 attacks, even aware of the invasion of afghanistan, which is where osama bin laden was. >> why wouldn't you? of course you would bid two weeks after 9/11, you would want a plan for all of our enemies in case of the contingencies. there was not an alliance between al qaeda and iraq, but he wanted to have a contingency if there were. i don't think you attack the administration for having acted in to see plan -- for having a contingency plans to trade at that point there was a pretty wide national consensus in favor of it. it was not one man who took america into war -- >> ooh. >> it passed the congress. >> every presidential candidate
except barack obama, among the democrats, had supported the resolution -- >> barack obama was in fact the nominee of the democratic party a largely on the strength of having opposed -- >> three years later, three years later -- >> at the time -- >> a plurality of democratic senators in the democratic senate -- in the united states -- senate opposed it >> led by ted kennedy. >> and a whole bunch of others. charles is right about the presidential candidates. what donald rumsfeld this not address in this book is the question posed to him by itommy wilson, who confronted the secretary of state as an enlisted man in iraq and said, "what is it -- -- secretary of defense -- "why is it that we
have to go around the scrap piles just to protect ourselves against ied's?" rumsfeld this is a playset, "you go to war with the army you have -- rumsfeld dismissively said, "you go to war with the army you have." he went to war with the army he added." the idea of going to war with an adequate troops, which we did do, and on-armored vehicles, it is unacceptable and it adds an explanation. >> the reason you have a national security council and national-security staff is to plan. one thing that has come up again and again and again, confirmed with a resounding thud by rumsfeld, was that there was absolutely no planning for what we would do after we invaded. there was none. that is not a small thing but that is an almost unbelievable bridge and the responsibility lies, i think, primarily -- of
course with bush, but also his national security advisers brought condoleezza rice was just know where to be found. maybe it is because rumsfeld and jenny undermine her -- and cheney undermine her. talk about a process not working. >> it still doesn't address the question of going to war against iraq when the attack came from afghanistan. >> at least at this end of the table, we did not think it was a good idea -- >> i remember that. >> we never thought it was a good idea. as odious as saddam hussein was, he kept allocate out, it was a check on al qaeda a --. he kept al qaeda out, it is a check on al qaeda. he was awful to his own people, but in our national security interests at that point, he was probably good for us. >> the only functioning democracy in the middle east today is iraq. you could argue that the price we pay it was too high.
i would ask if the price we paid in korea was too high for half a peninsula. >> i thought israel was of functioning democracy in the middle east. >> yes, it is. it has been an interesting winter so far. >> i was inside out with my neighbor for almost seven hours. >> that gentleman spent a night trapped in his truck on the lakeshore drive, along with other motorists. if global warming is a problem, why are we having such a tough winter? al gore told gail collins of "the new york times" that there is 4% more water vapor now than there was in the summer. it returns to earth as heavy rain and snow. >> if godzilla appeared this afternoon, al gore would say it is global warming. [laughter] look, everything is -- it is our
religion, and in religion, everything is inexplicable bit in science, you cannot deny or falsified of a -- you can deny or falsified. finding a single piece of evidence -- >> al gore is a red herring. there are scientists who are looking about the question of the jet stream. that what that kept it up there is broken down with a global warming. there is a body of science -- syria, still -- theory, still -- that it is related to global warming. >> all i know is i hate it. i want spring now. >> my question was about greenhouse gases. there was a movement in congress this week to prevent the epa from regulating greenhouse gases prat -- gases.
>> and there is a movement in congress to get the united states government to regulate nothing. strong support for it in this congress -- >> strong support for it here. >> weather is -- whether iti s medicine or whatever it is. charles lane of "the washington post" had a great thing -- one of the answers to the problem is the elected a corporate when people are stuck in traffic for hours, an electric car is not the answer. >> see you next week. for a transcript of this broadcast, log on to insidewashington.tv.