tv PBS News Hour PBS October 22, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: two major human rights groups reported today dozens of civilians have been killed by u.s. drone strikes abroad, contradicting obama administration claims such deaths are rare. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this tuesday, the latest jobs numbers, delayed weeks by the shutdown, paint a lackluster employment picture. there's just no evidence that we're going recover the way we were before the wall street implosion and ensuing recession. >> ifill: plus, a traditional ally puts the u.s. on notice, as saudi arabia criticizes the obama administration for failing to intervene in syria.
those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> united healthcare-- online at uhc.com. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations.
and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the latest look at the u.s. economy raised new concerns today. the labor department reported employers added a net of 148- thousand jobs september, well below expectations. the unemployment rate did drop a tenth of a point to 7.2%, as more people stopped looking for work. paul solman takes a closer look at what's behind the numbers, later in the program. the jobs report helped wall street gain some ground. stocks rose on hopes that the federal reserve will continue economic stimulus efforts. the dow jones industrial average added 75 points to close at 15,467. the nasdaq rose nine points to close at 3929.
the s&p 500 closed at a record high for the fourth straight session. a pair of human rights groups zeroed in today on attacks by unmanned u.s. drones and civilian casualties. amnesty international and human rights watch focused on drone strikes in pakistan and yemen. they said the resulting civilian deaths may be tantamount to war crimes in some cases. we'll explore the issue in detail, right after the news summary. efforts to begin peace talks in the syrian civil war have run into a roadblock. the western-backed syrian national coalition laid down several conditions today. its leader said president bashar al-assad must be excluded from any new government and hard-line islamist rebels must be kept out of peace talks. in turn, secretary of state john kerry advised caution.
>> woodruff: kerry said he's still optimistic that the rebel coalition will agree to take part in talks with the assad regime, starting in late november. the oil kingdom of brunei will soon be under islamic criminal law. the ruling sultan announced today that enforcement of the sharia penal code will begin in six months. penalties include amputations for convicted thieves and stoning for those who commit adultery. brunei already bans the sale of alcohol and evangelism by other religions. in australia, firefighters made more progress today thanks to cooler temperatures and light rain. 60 wildfires were still burning in new south wales on the outskirts of sydney. officials said crews deliberately merged two massive fires, hoping to corral them before the winds and heat get worse again.
>> the latest predictions are indicating that we may have made a significant inroad into just how far these fires are likely to advance over the next 24 and 48 hours. i just don't know how far they're going to run yet, but none of us know how far they're going to run yet. but what we do snow that together we have done everything we can to limit just how far those fires run. >> woodruff: so far, one person has died in the fires, and at least 208 homes have been destroyed. facebook announced today it's working on new ways to warn users about graphic violence on its site. the social media giant issued the statement after an uproar over videos that show beheadings. facebook banned such videos in may, but recently lifted the prohibition. about one billion people worldwide use facebook. commuters in the san francisco bay area are getting back to normal, after a four-day rail strike ended. the bay area rapid transit system, bart, began operating
again this morning. that was welcome news for thousands of people who'd been forced to find other ways to work. relief came last night when leaders from the transit system and its unions struck a deal. >> woodruff: the talks between >> this offer is more than we wanted to pay but silt also a new path in terms of our partnership with our workers and helps us to deliver the bart service for the future. we will go back to work and continue our efforts to keep the bay area moving. we did not want to strike and we're glad to have a tentative agreement that we feel will work for all parties. >> woodruff: the talks between bart and the unions lasted six months, and also included an earlier strike, back in july. the u.s. internal revenue service paid out more than $110 billion in tax credits over the past decade to people who didn't qualify. the agency's inspector general reported today the payments were earned income tax credits intended for the working poor. but, he found, one-fifth of all
such payments were made in error. he blamed both dishonest tax preparers and the complexity of the tax credit. also ahead on the newshour, a deeper look at claims u.s. drones killed civilians; the anemic employment picture; the future of the republican party; rising tensions with saudi arabia over syria; hunting a nightmare bacteria; and jonathan leethem discuses his latest novel. >> ifill: now, we return to two human rights group reports that target u.s. strikes abroad. even the names attached to the unmanned planes known as drones are fearsome. "predators". operated remotefully skies high above their targets drones have become a critical tool in the
u.s. war on al qaeda. this is especially flew the north waziristan region of pakistan which lies along its border with afghanistan. there, in this village, amnesty international says a 68-year-old man was killed a year ago as he harvested vegetables. the family said he was targeted by two hellfire missiles fired by an invisible drone. according to amnesty, it's one of many such incidents. >> we've researched as much as we can nine cases out of the 45 that we identified between january, twelve, and august, 2013. we tried our very hardest to stick to the facts. we tried to cob trait information we gathered and to analyze it against satellite imagery, photographs, video, and other sources. the most challenging situation
we had to face was the complete and utter secrecy of the u.s. authorities. >> ifill: amnesty international says the pakistani government and non-governmental organizations on the ground estimate there have been nearly 350 drone strikes in pakistan since 2004. critics argue president obama has failed to make good on his promise to limit strikes that result in unintentional casualties. he said this in may. >> and before any strike is taken there must be near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured. the highest standard we can set. fill till the drone strikes have sparked protest in pakistan and in yemen where human rights watch carried out its own investigation reporting that dozens of civilians were killed by u.s. strikes. >> many yemenis told us they now fear the united states more than they fear al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. these strikes are also stoking
anger in the villages where people are hit every man, woman and child has seen images of charred bodies, of body parts, of vehicles that are turned into twisted masses. >> reporter: the groups contend the killings may amount to war crimes but at the white house today spokesman jay carney rejected any such conclusion. >> to the extent these reports claim the u.s. has acted contrary to international law we would strongly disagree. the administration has repeatedly emphasized the extraordinary care we take to make sure counterterrorism actions are in accordance with all applicable laws. >> ifill: pakistani prime minister that what sharif, now visiting washington, is expected to pursue the drone issue when he meets with president obama tomorrow. joining me now to discuss drone attacks overseas are mustafa qadri, the author of the amnesty international report. and retired major general charles dunlap, director of the center on law, ethics and
national security at duke university. i want to start with you, mustafa qadri by asking how do you quantify strikes the u.s. won't confirm. >> that's a really good question. the problem is, this is a region which is so remote, so lawless and a program that's so secretive that even finding the details of nine strikes out of 47 inform the last 18 months is very difficult. so even just getting information about a couple of strikes is a great achievement. >> ifill: how did you it? >> basically we have a developed team, independent researchers, people trusted by us who have worked on human right issues with us. we get them go to these regions, talk to local people in an environment where they're trusted, they feel safe, basically they can those facts, any gaps in it we go back. we treat this information initially very keptally. after we've got the information and we're confident with what we've got we compare it with
audio material, satellite, traffic imagery. the report we have is based on thoroughly researched testimony. >> ifill: mr. dunlap, do you trust the numbers? the way they've gathered their information? >> well, i think you take the -- thank you very much for having me on the program and let me just say at the outset any death of an innocent human sbg a tragedy. but the you look at page 10 i think it reveals the basic problems with the report. they hired local nationals -- to begin with, they admit it's not a comprehensive survey of drone strikes in pakistan. they hired local nationals and they specifically say that the people that they talked to were those who were anxious to make known the human cost of drones. people self-selected into it. if you look at footnotes of the report, they say that while they tried to interview women and children but, you know, too hard to do so those there's very few participants who are women and children. it indicates how difficult it is
to get this kind of information and so -- >> ifill: so you're saying the numbers don't stand up and therefore there's not a problem or just that the problem is not provable? >> >> what i'm saying is that i don't find statistics in the report to be definitive to the number of casualties. i mean, i think that they did what they can but the fact of the matter is, it's extremely difficult to gather that information in that area so they presume to know more than what the u.s. government knows with all its other access to information and technological capabilities about who was on the ground. i want to emphasize let's not forget that international law doesn't require no civilian casualties. it only requires that they not be excessive in trolgs the military advantage anticipated.
>> ifill: that's the a version i want to ask of mr. qadri here. how do you know when you cross the line of what is a justified strike, a justified attack on suspected terrorists and crossing the line into war rimes or extra judicial execution. >> it's a really important point. let's be quite clear here. we're talking about a grandmother who was killed in front of her grandchildren. we don't see knew's justified. international law is very clear on this situation. we've said very clearly some drone strikes might be lawful. some under the law of where, international law you can kill civilians. if it's incident toole a military objective and so forth. but in that strike, for example, chow that be justified. in our opinion this is clearly an unlawful killing. just to also respond to some of the things that our guest mentioned, we don't pretend to have all the information but on this point about us claiming to know more than the u.s., it's quite different than that. we are actually being far more
open about what we have and being very honest about it than the u.s. government. in fact, the u.s. government has not shown us anything. in terms of self-selecting the people we've spoken to, if our guest had looked at our work in the region in any detail he'd know that our same team, our same people will give a massive report last year on abuses by the taliban, abuses by the military there. they're not self-selecting anything. we deliberately made sure we talked about the local abuses last year and then talked about drone this is year. you know, we can't pretend to have all the answers, but we found one key problem, which is people have been killed unlawfully. >> ifill: mr. dunlap, is the u.s. being transparent enough about what it is and is not doing? >> i think it's being as transparent as amnesty international was in their report. if you -- again, i'm just quoting from report of the people that they said that they interviewed people who wanted to bring the light the human costs of the drone program.
evidently they didn't want to speak with anybody who want to bring to light the absence of the human drone program because we know the u.n. statistics out of afghanistan, 75% to 80% of the civilians who are killed are killed we anti-government forces like that taliban and al qaeda. as to the particular incident that my fellow guest references. on the same page that they accuse the u.s. government of a possible war crime they admit that they don't know what the rationale was. i suspect-- or one might surmise-- that it was either an error-- and errors do happen-- or the individual was not the target but someone else was the target and as international law does provide that as long as the civilian casualties-- meaning the innocent civilian casualties-- are not excessive it's not in violation of international law. fill bill that is the
alternative -- pardon me jooplt, i want to get one more question in here. what is the alternative to trying to get -- if we know there are bad guys afoot and drones are imprecise in your world view then what is the alternative? >> let's be very clear: we're not saying stop drones. we're saying use them in a lawful way. the u.s. is not using them in a lawful way. we're talking also about the very major ally of the u.s., pakistan. we said very clearly in our report that spz failing in its duty firstly to get the perpetrators of abuses in that region, real serious security threats and also enforcement rights of its own people there. there is a middle way. we don't have to worry, have a discussion about drones. in fact, there's something in the middle which is use drones, fine, lawful, but it has to be part of a wider strategy. >> and should part of that wider strategy be there should be some effort to reduce the possibility of civilian casual sneeze >> absolutely. and an enormous amount of effort has gone into that. if you look at the new american
foundations statistics you'll see the number of civilian deaths have gone down dramatically. in fact, they're reporting zero for this year, contrary to what amnesty international has reported. but in fairness to amnesty international, when you read the report, they do put a lot of caveats and limitations and "mays" and "maybes" and so forth in it. it doesn't match the headlines we see coming out. >> ifill: we'll have to leave it there. major general charles dunlap, jr., and mustafa qadri, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> let's turn back to the jobs picture and new information suggesting hiring could be slowing down. newshour economics correspondent paul solman looks at the latest labor report, part of his ongoing reporting: "making sense of financial news."
>> it is jobs tuesday. 148,000. the rate drops to 7.2. >> reporter: fewer jobs than hoped for and an employment rate that changed little as the bureau of labor statistics put it. in short, this morning's job numbers reflect another month of anemic growth. like most of its fellow economists, it seems, harvard's richard freeman was unimpressed. >> it's typical of the numbers we've been seeing over the last couple years, small improvements in jobs. not enough to bring us back to a stronger economy and the government sector keeps into slightly declining, not as much as it was. private sector balancing that out with jobs. but we're still a very weak labor market. >> reporter: unsurprisingly, jason fuhrman, the president's chief economist, sounded a more upbeat note. >> we've had 43 straight months of job growth but the unemployment rate has come down steadily. we just can't be satisfied with
where it is. >> reporter: the problem is, the three-month average of 143 3,000 new jobs since july is well below the 182,000 average of the prior three months and economist freeman sees troubling trends behind the headlines. the 21% teen unemployment rate, for instance. >> the unemployment rate is higher than it has been for a long, long time. remains high. the employment rate remains low and it looks as if among 16 to 19-year-olds they've lost about 10 percentage points of jobs. there's no evidence that we're going recovery to where we were before the wall street. if plunge and ensuing recession. >> reporter: nor is there evidence that those without jobs are getting them more quickly. the average length of unemployment remains at 37 weeks. >> and that's the longest we've
ever add in a recovery. >> reporter: of course, it was also stalled by government furloughs. so we ask what effect, if any, did it have on this month's numbers. >> it didn't affect the numbers. the numbers were gathered before the shutdown so we would look to next month's numbers and the following month's numbers for a weaker economy but the statistics won't be as good as they were normally because the shutdown affected the statistical agencies gathering the numbers so we'll have messier numbers for the next several months. >> messier numberss. predicting 120, shoushgs fewer jobs in the next report due to the shutdown. >> what we did in october was a self-inflicted wound that will subtract from jobs when we learn
the job numbers from october. >> reporter: will that influence the federal reserve's decision to continuetor taper off its so-called quantitative easing? this way of increasing the quantity of money thereby making it easier to come by. how will the federal reserve, do you think, respond top this month's numbers and next month's? >> it's likely to stick to current policies because a change was based -- would be based on believing the economy got to be more healthy and i -- it's very dubious we will see that in october or november data. >> reporter: and no change means continuing to buy bonds with money that the fed creates to stimulate the economy. >> yeah, i mean, the last thing they would want to do is if the shutdown gave to calming a negative kick-- which it almost surely did-- then change their policies and push us into another recession. >> so we slog ahead while awaiting next month's job numbers which, court zi of the shutdown, will also be delayed
by one week and are likely to be even less rousing than september's. >> ifill: online check out the "solman scale," where he reminds us that there are still more than 25 million americans who want a full-time job, but can't find one. >> woodruff: we turn now to our series examining the republican party's challenges in the wake of the recent government shutdown battle. i spoke last night with former senate majority leader trent lott, who said his party took a political hit from the fight. a new poll from "usa today" and princeton survey research found 47% think congress would work better if nearly every seat changed hands next year. and a "washington post"/abc news poll showed eight in ten people disapproved of the shutdown, with most blaming the republicans in congress more than president obama. the house returned to work today for the first time since
lawmakers voted to reopen the government. republican congressman tim heulskamp from kansas opposed the funding compromise to end the shutdown. he joins me now. welcome. >> good evening. >> woodruff: how would you describe the health of the republican party in the wake of the shutdown and the showdown over the debt kreiling? >> i presume there are a lot of polls out there, i have been not been watching those. i do look at them occasionally but the other day -- at the end of the day americans don't like what's happening in washington and they would like change and the agreement, the deal last week was basically status quo: raise the debt ceiling, don't cut spending, don't do anything about entitlements and at the end of the day the political establishment won, americans lost and they're upset about it. >> woodruff: we saw, as i just mentioned, it's not just the majority of americans, it's the majority of republicans and the majority of tea party members who say they think it was a
mistake to use a threat to not raise the debt ceiling to shut down the government and that republicans made a mistake and hurt themselves. >> well, there are folks that probably went back home trying to explain why they -- particularly if they were in the u.s. senate who did nothing for three years to roll back obamacare and i understand the difficulty explaining that but the kansans i talked to and the americans i talk to about the rest of the nation they're concerned about the future. they're not worried about the next election, they're saying what are you doing about obamacare to make sure you make it fair, if you're going to give an exemption to big business, mr. president, give it to the rest of the americans. that was part of the deal we talked about. they don't want to increase debt unless we have the plan to pay it off and this senate us the quo deal did nothing about that. to i would be hard pressed to find anyone that likes the deal that came out of the agreement last week. >> woodruff: given that, congressman huelskamp, last night as i mentioned we
interviewed the former senate majority leader trent lott, a conservative robe, who said he did think the strategy of the shutdown was a mistake and he said it's time for the republicans to move off the focus on the health care law and return to a more positive focus. he said it's time to talk about creating jobs, time to talk about energy, and he mentioned other issues. he said republicans should be talking about them now. >> yes and i agree with some of those things that the former senator said but one thing a lot of folks that used to be in washington are still here and have been here for years don't understand is that we have $17 trillion of debt and it's u.s. senators like you mentioned and others that helped build that debt. it wasn't a republican or democrat problem and i'm a member of the tea party and i flare kansans they don't care what the party is, give us a solution. figure out a way to reform entitlements. let's grow the economy that way. let's not raise taxes like happened in january. is they're sick of washington
and the status quo and wish washington would listen to them and that was part of the debate. we lost that battle here in washington but i don't think we lost the debate. i think at the end of the day for conservative wes lost the battle but we are going to twin war. just look at the debacle of the rollout of obamacare. that's another example of why we have to continue to talk about that law and how bad it is for the economy and how bad it will be for future budget deficits. >> woodruff: you mention those republicans who disagree with the strategy may be responsible, some of them still serving in congress. do you agree with the strategy, congressman, of running more conservative republicans against those republicans who did not support this -- the ending this this shutdown recently? >> i think that might be what occurs, that district-by-district decision, individual decision by candidates but, yeah, i think will be conservatives that have decided they're going to run against the incumbent republican because here's what happened. every republican in the house, every republican in the senate
when they ran two years ago or four years ago said hey, we're oz opposing obamacare. but often times their rhetoric is not matched by action. and so, yeah, folks will be running against him but say they say, do something about it. there are folks currently in the u.s. senate that say, hey, that wasn't a good strategy but they had no strategy other than giving the president everything they wanted and that's a losing strategy as well. but the other day we had to focus on growing and the economy had to focus on this massive debt. do you know this agreement will lock in another $700 billion worth of deficits. that's no good for any american that i talk to. >> woodruff: who do you see, congressman, as the leader of your party right now? >> i think there are a lot of leaders. i would hope it's americans, conservatives at home engaged in the party at the local and state level. there are a lot of leaders in washington and one thing that's different the republican party compared to the democrat party is that we're not run by one person at the top that controls
everything or attempts to do so like the president but that, you know, there are a lot of folks engaged, they're worried about the future and they have to listen to the people back home. republicans get in trouble when they listen to washington and insiders up here rather than the constituents i listen to. >> woodruff: but there are those republicans who say the constituents you're talking about don't represent the majority of americans, that that is yes, it's a slice of the american electorate but not the majority and the members of congress need to think more about the welfare of the whole country. >> reporter: obamacare is a great example. most americans do not like obamacare, they certainly don't like that rollout. they don't like massive deficits. they don't want tax increases and that's what they got for the last year and for those republicans and democrats to say hey, you know what? i'm going to not listen to those people concerned about it when it's an overwhelming majority of americans saying hey, we're worried about the future, too many politicians aren't listening and they're worried about tomorrow and the next election and i guess that's
important in the political realm. at the end of the day they want to say is medicare secure. can they get health insurance? can they have a job? 25 million americans want a full-time job and can't find one. the worst economic recovery since the great depression. those are the questions on their mind and they wish washington would be help informal making that happen. >> woodruff: final quick question: do you think we'll see another showdown over health care and a government shutdown potentially. >> i do not know. that is a great question. i we shall i knew the answer to that. but with the debacle of the rollout of obamacare, the only way to avoid that problem is for the administration to announce that they're going to delay the individual mandate like they did for big businesses and like they've done for members of congress. i think that would avoid the shutdown and avoid this debacle that will has occurred with if this rollout in the last few weeks. >> woodruff: congressman tim huelskamp, thank you for talking with us. >> thank you. >> ifill: now to the middle east and an emerging split between
the united states' and its long- time ally, saudi arabia. jeffrey brown reports. >> reporter: the apparent rift became public late last week following a vote in the united nations that elected saudi arabia to the security council, the seat the saudis long covet then came the stunning response on state television. >> ( translated ): the kingdom has no other option but to turn down security council membership until it is reformed and given the means to accomplish its duties and assume its responsibilities in preserving the world's peace and security. >> brown: today's "wall street journal" reported it's part of a broader message. the account said the head of saudi intelligence, prince bandar, a former saudi envoy to washington, is trying to distance the kingdom from the u.s. it cited saudi anger at a perceived lack of support for syrian rebels and the u.s. decision not to attack after the
assad regime's apparent use of chemical weapons. secretary of state john kerry responded in london at a meeting of nations backing the syrian opposition. >> we know that the saudis were obviously disappointed that the strike didn't take place and have questions about some of the other things that may be happening in the region. >> brown: kerry also acknowledged saudi concerns about american diplomacy with iran on the nuclear issue. plus, washington's earlier support for the now-deposed muslim brotherhood government in egypt. and the u.s. role in the arab/israeli peace process. >> i'll tell you that on egypt both of our countries want to see a successful return to an inclusive democratic government with progress on the interim government's specified road map. on the middle east peace, saudi arabia has been a critical partner.
just yesterday we reaffirmed the saudi commitment toll the arab -- saudi commitment to its own initiative. a very significant initiative. in addition, saudi arabia and the united states share with almost every other country with in the region deep concern about iran's nuclear program and its impact on the region. and we had a very frank conversation yesterday about that. i think they understand exactly what the united states is engaged in. >> brown: for their part, the saudis had no official comment on the state of the relationship. and to find out more on how the rift is playing out behind closed doors and the importance of the relationship i'm joined by our chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner and graeme bannerman, a scholar at the middle east institute and former state department analyst. margaret, first of all, how big a surprise has all of this been to u.s. officials? what have you been able to learn? >> jeff, it was as big a surprise to u.s. officials as it was to saudi officials at the
u.n.. if you've seen this photograph after the vote, voting them in, the saudi ambassador was there with the big thumbs up and the big smile. so the u.s. has -- it came as a shock to the united states officials as well. there was no advanced warning, which is unusual between two allies like this, and they have concluded that it definitely had to come from the highest levels. not just prince bandar who was sending a certain signal with that article but king abdullah himself and the foreign minister saud. >> brown: graeme bannerman, how unusual is this? especially since, as margaret said, both sides were taken by surprise. >> i think it's unusual but a demonstration of the frustrations in saudi arabia over american policies in the region and over the number of issues in which we have severe disagreements. i mean, historically we've disagreed on the arab you israeli process and we've agreed to disagree but with the
potential improving relationship in iran, the failure to act in syria and also in egypt, the secretary can say we're in agreement with them on the future, we're taking very divergent courses. when the foreign minister says they will make up for any aid loss it is egyptians suffer because of the current government's not in good order in washington. >> brown: so your sense it's not just one thing like syria but all of the above? >> all of the above, it's a cumulative problem that the historic relationship 40 years ago when i was the saudi analyst and intelligence bureau in the state department we wrote endless papers about the special relationship. the core is still there. they have the ability to increase or decrease oil capacity and we have the ability to protect the region. that said, all of these other issues are building on the outside and they're concerned about it and this is their sending a signal to washington. >> brown: is this how it's being taken? >> it's being taken by the more sober minded people in the administration that it's all the issues mr. banner man just said and really rooted in a deep division over the meaning and
future of the whole arab spring. so saudi arabia, which wants to maintain stability in the gulf and all these gulf kingdoms do see the antitrust their view eagerly embracing opposition movements, throwing long-time allies as they see it like president mubarak under the bus and when saudi arabia sent troops into bahrain to quell the uprising there or really just protests in twelve, the u.s. offered criticism. muted, yes, but criticism. and so there's really, i would say, a kind of loss of confidence in where u.s. leadership is going and whether to our allies in the region we still consider them key allies. >> brown: mr. bannerman, you were talking about your long experience there. this is a deep relationship, right? >> truly. >> explain it. put the present into that larger context. how important is this relationship? has it been? >> this relationship has been a
cornerstone of the american relations in the region for 50 years. as that has relationship with egypt since peace treaty. we have both those countries, the future of that relationship subpoena in question now from the policies we're undertaking so i think the united states is facing the potential of serious changes in the balance of forces in the region because our relationship is changeing with the two states that are most important to us. >> brown: which has potential in what kind of areas? all kinds of areas? >> across the region. because our relation sbhip saudi arabia and egypt we have been the dominant force for the last 50 years. there's been no rivals. the soviet union is gone, russia is there. no one has been able to rival us. if these relationships two change, the american role in the region would be reduced. we're still the world's most important power, we still will be important there but our position will be different. >> brown: one part of that relationship clearly is military. you were able to talk sfo u.s. military officials. >> former military officials. it's been the crucial military relationship along with the u.s.
relationship with egypt in the john since the early '50s. the u.s. is the major arms supplier to saudi arabia. it has a commitment to protect the kingdom. the kingdom has already regarded that as a bull work of their flogs. bulwark. so for saudi arabia -- the u.s. still maintains-- despite a very ostentatious withdrawal of u.s. forces after the first gulf war-- still maintains a presence there to train and equip and manage the weaponry that we stole saudi arabia. i'm told there's a two-star sdwlen that the u.s. helps train the saudi national guard, one job of which have is to protect saudi royal family. on the other hand -- there so it's hard to know where they would go for this weaponry. on the other hand, to the u.s. it's also very important. they were an important ally in the first gulf war. the role is a little murkier in the second iraq war, they publicly took a neutral stance but there have been reports that
they were help informal that. there have been reports, unconfirmed, of secret u.s. drone bases in saudi arabia more recently because the u.s. and saudi arabia still share the goal of combating jihadi terrorism. so it's hard to see how that military relationship gets extricated but if the political bonds do then, you know, who knows? >> brown: well, graeme bannerman to the extent that u.s. officials were taken by surprise by all of this, what are the options for the u.s. at this point to either right the ship or respond in some way? >> well, i think the issue is we were not paying enough attention to the feelings that were analyzed in the region. i think this is more of a statement saying see, we have a problem with you, we need to confer better, we need take -- you need to take saudi arabia more into account. i think that should be the goal. the the. >> and other u.s. allies in the region-- the egyptians have said publicly and privately as well that they all feel now they're
too dependent on the u.s., particularly militarily and politically and one middle east diplomat said to me today, you know, we now -- what if the u.s. decided for some reason not to supply spare parts for all the military hardware we buy from the u.s.? that's something that ought to be a high priority for us to consider, whether there are alternatives. >> brown: and that goes to your whole question of balance of power in the whole region. >> absolutely. this is one of those key steps of it. >> graeme bannerman and margaret warner. thanks so much. >> woodruff: next, the mounting worries and public health concerns over the rise of drug- resistant bacteria. that's the subject of tonight's episode of "frontline." to tell the story, the program examines three notable cases, including that of addie rerecich, an 11-year-old girl in tucson. after complaining of a nagging pain in her hip, she ended up fighting for her life in the
hospital in 2011. here's an excerpt, beginning with her mother's recollection. >> i thought, well, you know, she's just finishing up softball she had been to the track meet, you know, all kind of -- well, it could have been an injury. i gave her some ibuprofen. as the night wore on her pain got worse. she didn't sleep much that night. woke me up a couple times asking if she could take a hot bath or have another ibuprofen. >> the next morning tonya rarecich, a nurse for 16 years, took add dee to a local hospital where they said she had symptoms of a virus. but over the next two days, the pain spread and the fever got worse. >> i was afraid. at that point i remember being very afraid. and so i packed a bag and went to another hospital that had specialized in children's care.
i remember thinking "she looks bad. this is bad. something's really, really wrong." they put her on antibiotics, her blood pressure was dropping. they were making space in the i.c.u. for her. the next morning she needed oxygen via mask. they looked at part of her lungs and diagnosed with her pneumonia. i remember sitting there watching the sun come up and thinking "how did she get so sick? how did this happen so fast? >> i met addie in a hospital bed in the intensive care unit. she was lying there breathing quickly, she was scared. with she had little infected boils all over her body. what really looked most likely
when i saw her was a staph bacteria causing septic shock. and addie fit a pattern that i recognized with community associated m.r.s.a. >> woodruff: ray suarez picks up more of the story from there. >> suarez: journalist david hoffman investigated this for "frontline." he joins me now. we see yet more of this young girl's suffering. did any of the conventional drugs available ever answered a di's infections? >> no. this courageous girl went through that real nightmarish odyssey. and in the end she had to suffer surgery to releave the infection because the bacteria were resistant to all the antibiotics we have on the shelf. >> suarez: what does this story tell us about the race between infection and antibiotics? the drugs we've got available to fight them? >> well, i think that one thing it tells us is this could happen to any of us. we often times think about something like antibiotic
resistance as a problem that other people might have or it could happen to somebody else. but we as a society have a looming problem that some of these bacteria, some of the harmful ones, are becoming resistant to our last resort very best antibiotics. >> suarez: we're going talk more about what becoming resistant means. do they evolve? do they gradually develop a tolerance for what we've been hitting them with in human being's systems? >> evolution drives everything and it's relentless, constant, and these bacteria have had years and years of being bombarded with our antibiotics in large measure because we overused them. because we took too many of them. but as they evolve, they think of defense mechanisms to fight back and our documentary film is partially about a group of bacteria known as gram negative bacteria that can be very
dangerous if you get an infection. but one of the things that's been discovered about some of these is that they've developed kind of an armor, a hard snell which they can defend themselves against the antibiotics, even the best ones. >> suarez: how are the drug companies who, after all, produce the drugs that are becoming increasingly unable to treat these infections, responding to this? >> >> well, this is a tough time because in the golden age of antibiotic drug development these companies developed literally dozens and dozens of new ones and when one antibiotic stopped working we always had the promise of new ones. but a couple things happened. first of all, the science got harder. and also the economics changed. many of these drug companies will have to spend a billion dollars as an investment in a new drug and they look at president question of an antibiotic-- which you take briefly, that's how you're supposed to use it-- and then stop taking and compare the
return on investment to their billion dollars with, say, a drug for a chronic disease like a cholesterol drug, they've chosen to invest in the chronic disease. it's a strict choice about capitalism, about the market, and in some ways the market isn't really helping us here because the choices these companies are making are to develop the big blockbuster drugs that people have to take for life. so they've cut back on antibiotic development just at a time when resistance seems to be rising. >> brown: you mentioned drugs that are designed to only be taken for a short period of time. isn't part of the problem that too many of us take too many antibiotics too often? >> it's been a problem throughout the 70-year history of the antibiotic age. alexander flemming first came up with penicillin and warned us in his nobel prize speech in 1945 against overuse and today we're seeing some of the results of overuse. there was a study out just last week that found that large number of people that went to
doctors and emergency rooms for sore throats, a whole group, about 10% of them had a legitimate need for an antibiotic and about 50% of them actually got antibiotics. >> suarez: but do we -- are we ready to tell people "no, you can't have them, just suffer through this infection until you kick it"? >> well, there are plenty of cases-- viruses and other ailments people have-- where antibiotics won't do any good. and a lot of estimates subject that at least half of the antibiotics that we give to humans are wrongly prescribed or the doses are wrong. so, yeah, we need some better stewardship. we ought to take care of these medicines rather than use them recklessly. >> suarez: a couple peek you spoke to talked about a post-antibiotic world of medicine. and given some of the horrifying infections you show us in the course of the program, what does a post-antibiotic world look like where some of our major weapons don't work anymore? >> well, ray, all you have to do
is look at the age before antibiotics. i think we -- as our generation has forgotten what it was like in the period before world war ii when a simple infection could often times lead to someone's death and i guess the question we face is do we want to go back to that age? we only have to look at a time when infections were dealt with automatically by surgery, there were no antibiotics. and when antibiotics were invented and when they came along after world war ii, consider what they did for modern medicine. we have sophisticated surgeries today like transplants because of antibiotics. we have cancer treatments that are only successful because of antibiotics. so a post-antibiotic age will won't only mean the danger of infection but a lot of things we've innovated in medicine, a lot of the most important therapies won't be available if we don't have antibiotics. >> suarez: very quickly, are we close to that terrible world in. >> i don't think that anybody knows. but the trend is turning
negative. we need to do something about it. >> suarez: david hoffman from tonight's "front line." thanks a lot. >> thank you. >> ifill: finally tonight, a personal and political story of three generations of american radicals. that's the subject author jonathan lethem tackles in his new novel, "dissident gardens." lethem, whose previous novels include "chronic city" and "the fortress of solitude," sat down recently with jeff. here's a portion of their conversation. >> brown: the story was you wanted to write about your own grandmother? >> yes, absolutely the source for the book was contemplating all the kind of dark areas in my experience of my grandmother's life that i knew she'd had a gigantic political existence in the '30s and '40s and '50s and yet it was sealed in silence by the time i came along. >> brown: you didn't know any of
it. so you learn later. >> of course, i didn't actually ever have access to her dossier if such a thing exists. i think maybe it does. but i'm a novelist so my license is to go and make it all up. >> brown: okay, so how did it sglo how did it become -- and when did you know it was a big story? >> there are -- i may not have my grandmother's story but the lives of radicals in the 20th century, it's a giant part of the american story. a very complicated, turbulent sometimes tragic one but it involves areas of -- triumph and accomplishment as well. and i had all sorts of places to go for that-- memoirs, accounts, irving howe, vivian gohr nick, the memoirs by red diaper babies >> brown: it's almost a kind of closed somewhat paranoid group you're writing about. american communists and
sympathizers. we look back and, you know, part of it as i'm reading it almost looks quaint in a way. but then it was quite serious. >> it was more than serious. it was as -- you know, strongly influential, i think, on the shape of pre-war american life as anything could be and one of the things that i concluded-- this become isn't a his store i don't gofy, it's about the characters-- but i realized these were very american choices to make. very typical in their way that we, our country, made up of waves of different kinds of utopian ambition and aspiration and this was one of those. >> brown: so your job as a novel cyst to put flesh on the personal size of that. >> that to she always what the job is really centered is what was it like to live these lives? to feel my way in? other people can do history. i'm not qualified and i'm not really, in a way, inclined that way. i wanted to make you feel that
these lives existed and ha they consisted of. i think that it's a job that i vents itself over and over again. my job a way is to abide with my own curiosity, my own ignorance and reach out into that space as i did with my grandmother's life and as i did here with the 1930s and '40s, places i haven't been, can't go back and visit and just dream my way into other lives as well as i can. >> brown: dream your way into other lives. that's it? >> that's it. >> ifill: you can watch jeff's full conversation on the art beat page on our web site. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. amnesty international and human rights watch reported u.s. drone strikes in pakistan and yemen often kill civilians, and may amount to war crimes. the white house rejected the findings. and the labor department reported u.s. employers created
148,000 jobs last month, well below expectations. but the unemployment rate fell slightly as more people stopped looking for work. >> woodruff: online, when "demonstrating your skills" turns into "doing work for free" during the job interview process. our resident expert has advice on how to appropriately deal with employers looking to get something for nothing. that's on making sense. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> woodruff: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the afghanistan conflict. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are eight more.
>> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, president obama meets with pakistan's prime minister at the white house. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night.
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what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news america." >> against a backdrop of violence in syria, international leaders discuss future peace talks and one of the consequences. alternative to a negotiated settlement is continued if not increased killing. >> u.s. drone strikes big night fresh controversy. it is bound to be a topic when the pakistani prime minister meets with president obama tomorrow. behold