tv PBS News Hour PBS May 23, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> sreenivasan: and i'm hari sreenivasan. gwen ifill is away this week. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight: >> it is my responsibility as commander-in-chief not to stand by, but to make sure that we send a clear signal to the taliban and others. >> woodruff: calling the action an important milestone for peace, president obama confirms a u.s. drone strike kills the afghan taliban leader. what this means for the fight against the terror group. >> sreenivasan: also ahead this monday: as candidates head west, our politics monday team breaks down the latest in the race for the white house. >> woodruff: plus, during president obama's trip to vietnam, we take a look at the generation who moved back after escaping the atrocities of war with their parents. >> my mother who i am very close
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>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> major funding for the pbs >> sreenivasan: a historic moment in hanoi today. the united states formally dropped its prohibition on selling weapons to vietnam. it highlighted the dramatic turnaround in relations between the two former enemies. john yang has our report. >> this change will ensure that vietnam has access to the equipment that it needs to defend itself and removes a lingering vestige of the cold war. >> reporter: in hanoi, president obama officially ending the more than four-decades old arms embargo. >> at this stage, both sides have established a level of
trust and cooperation, including between our militaries, that is reflective of common interests and mutual respect. >> reporter: that "mutual respect" was on full display during the first of mr. obama's three days in vietnam. he was greeted at the presidential palace by a military honor guard. at night, hundreds of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the president as he left a noodle shop. the warming extends to commerce, too: american and vietnamese companies signed deals worth $16 billion. lifting the arms embargo reflects growing u.s. concerns about china's military build-up and territorial ambitions in the south china sea. china's efforts to exert more naval control over shipping lanes in the sea is troubling to both the united states and vietnam. while acknowledging the shared concerns, mr. obama said ending the embargo was about warming relations between two former foes.
>> the decision to lift the ban was not based on china or any other considerations. it was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalization with vietnam. >> reporter: china's immediate response was muted, but human rights groups said vietnam was getting a reward it didn't deserve. they've long criticized vietnam's communist regime for repressing dissidents. even as he praised the two nation's reconciliation, president obama underscored differences over democracy and human rights. tomorrow, he meets with vietnamese dissidents. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang. >> sreenivasan: we'll focus on the phenomenon of vietnamese americans returning home, later in the program. >> woodruff: in iraq: government troops have launched a much- anticipated offensive to retake fallujah from islamic state fighters. the city-- about 40 miles west
of baghdad-- has been under the militant group's control since january of 2014. today, iraqi forces pushed their way into nearby farming areas. they were backed by u.s. coalition airstrikes and paramilitary troops. >> sreenivasan: islamic state bombings in syria killed nearly 150 people today, and wounded at least 200 more. five suicide attackers and two car bombs hit government strongholds in the coastal cities of jableh and tartous. that area is home to russian military bases. isis also claimed responsibility for twin bombings in yemen that killed at least 45 people there. the victims had gathered at army recruiting centers in aden. >> woodruff: the leader of an anti-immigrant party in austria came within a whisker today of being elected president. his support showcased rising opposition both to migrants and to the european union. james mates of "independent television news" reports. >> reporter: austria and much of europe held its breath.
the country interior minister declared whether the far right made the biggest breakthrough since world war ii. >> by just 31,000 votes out of 4.5 million, norbert huffer of the freedom party had been kept out of the presidential palace, conceding defeat on his facebook page but promising supporters he will be back. the country's new president is the mild-mannered economics proffer alexander van der bellen backed regally by the greens but then by everybody as they tried to keep the far right out. so europe will abbreviate the sigh of relief but can't ignore the collapse of the center and the rise of extremes of both left and right. centrist politicians who face wipeout points out it's far from just an austrian problem. >> should the rest of you be worried about this? >> i think the entire europe should worry about what is going
on in the entire europe without specifically looking into one country. it's not what is going on in austria, so much different from what is going on in other european countries. ♪ >> reporter: at a party in a vienna beer garden last night. norbert was prematurely celebrating victory but 49% of the vote is hardly defeat. >> woodruff: >> woodruff: center-left parties have dominated austrian politics since world war ii, but they were eliminated in last month's first round of voting. >> sreenivasan: back in this country: the u.s. supreme court struck down the murder conviction for a death row inmate in georgia because of racial bias in picking his jury. timothy foster was convicted in 1987 of murdering an elderly white woman. the high court ruled seven to one that state prosecutors violated the constitution when they excluded blacks from his jury. foster is now eligible for a new
trial. >> woodruff: a baltimore policeman was acquitted today in the death of freddie gray-- an incident that sparked riots in the city last year. a judge found officer edward nero had little to do with gray's arrest and death in custody. nero still faces an internal police investigation. in all, six officers were charged in the case. the trial of the first ended in a hung jury. we'll examine the verdict-- and its implications-- later in the program. >> sreenivasan: a major takeover bid today in the farm chemicals industry. germany's bayer offered to buy monsanto for $62 billion. the st. louis seed giant specializes in crop seeds and the widely used weedkiller roundup. any deal would be subject to a federal regulatory review of how it affects farmers and consumers. >> woodruff: on wall street: the dow jones industrial average lost eight points today to close below 17,493. the nasdaq fell three points and
the s&p 500 slipped four. >> sreenivasan: and swarms of insects are now threatening the taj mahal in india. millions of flies are breeding in a polluted river that's nearby, and they're leaving behind green and black waste. that's forced crews to scrub the 17th century monument daily. officials warn all that scrubbing will damage the building's famed marble inlay work. >> woodruff: and still to come on the newshour: the taliban's top leader taken out in pakistan, a shift to the general election, even as bernie sanders campaigns in california, what an acquittal means for a baltimore police officer in the death of freddie gray, and much more. >> sreenivasan: the man who led the afghan taliban for the past year was killed in a u.s. operation over the weekend. the group had been gaining ground and waging a bloody war
against the afghan government-- so what's next for the taliban, and the countries who fight it? chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner begins our coverage. >> warner: smoldering wreckage on a pakistani roadside was all that remained of the taliban commander's vehicle, hours after he died in it saturday. today, in vietnam, president obama officially announced a u.s. drone strike killed mullah mohammed akhtar mansour. >> it has been confirmed that he is dead. and he as an individual who as head of the taliban was specifically targeting u.s. personnel and troops inside afghanistan. >> warner: mullah mansour took over the afghan taliban last summer, after the group finally announced that long-time leader, mullah omar, had died in 2013. the new leader faced down rivals, in part by rejecting afghan- and u.s.-backed peace talks. under his direction, taliban
forces briefly seized the northern afghan city of kunduz last september, and carried out a bloody assault in kabul itself, in april, killing 64. word of his death was welcomed by afghan chief executive abdullah abdullah: >> ( translated ): he was in charge of all terrorist attacks in afghanistan and he had direct contact with other terrorist networks. this will bring a big change in the taliban condition. his death is a blow to their abilities in carrying out terrorist attacks against the afghan people. >> warner: afghan president ashraf ghani signaled that the taliban leader's death could also open the door to renewed peace talks. the drone strike that killed mansour was the first by the u.s. inside baluchistan, in southwestern pakistan. it's long been a taliban stronghold. in london yesterday, pakistan's prime minister nawaz sharif condemned the attack, saying the u.s. gave no advance warning. >> ( translated ): we are
protesting strongly. this is a violation of the sovereignty of pakistan. >> warner: but afghanistan's government accuses the pakistanis of harboring a veritable "who's who" of most wanted terrorists: >> ( translated ): the haqqani network is in pakistan, mullah omar and osama bin laden were in pakistan, and now mullah mansour was killed in pakistan's baluchistan. it would be better if pakistan cooperated with afghanistan and did not give shelter to these people who are continuing the war in afghanistan. >> warner: pakistani authorities say a passport found near the drone strike wreckage shows mansour had just returned from iran. officials there denied the claim. meanwhile, the already-fractured taliban is scrambling to close ranks. senior leaders met today, and speculation over a successor centers on mansour's deputy, sirajuddin haqqani-- a warlord seen as even more brutal than mansour. for the pbs newshour, i'm margaret warner. >> sreenivasan: we take a closer
look at what this means for afghanistan moving forward with: riaz mohammad khan, a former pakistani diplomat who also served as that country's foreign minister, and barnette rubin, he was a senior advisor at the u.s. state department from 2009 to 2013. riaz mohammad khan, i want to start with you. who was masour? >> he was an important leader. after a long struggle, he was recognized as the leader of the taliban. and this will lead to another round of divisiveness struggling for the leadership in the taliban. but apart from that, it will go back to the process.
some of the factions in afghanistan are in pakistan. >> reporter: what about the significant of this happening in balugistan? >> this was done by a need to protect american soldiers not by a strategic decision about the war in afghanistan. it was the headquarters from the taliban was located. we've known that for a long time. the united states used drones. mostly the c.i.a. using drones against terrorists with global
reach like al quaida or closely connected to al quaida in the tribal areas of pakistan, and they had agreed with the military of pakistan, there were certain areas where they could use the drone strikes. this strike was carried out by the united states special forces in afghanistan. it's not part of the c.i.a.'s anti-terrorism campaign. it's part of the war in afghanistan. so they've extended the territory of the war of afghanistan into ballugistan which puts partly cloudy in an important position because it shows the leaders of the taliban was driving a taxi aboss baligistan without being concerned about the security and that means taliban's complaint about violating sovereignty are null and void because they vie elate sovereignty by inspiring
terrorist acts have. >> sreenivasan: is there a level of complicity? mawhat are they willing to tolerate with leempled to the taliban? >> the united states did not trust pakistan. there is no confidence. there is no transparency which is necessary for cooperation in such matters. as far as complicity is concerned, the taliban, many -- most of the taliban, they have come to -- had come to pakistan after the american intervention and many of them have got passports. it would not be prizing if he also can use the pakistani
passport. there are 500 refugees in pakistan and many have become part of the pakistani society. but there is disconnect between pakistan and the united states in terms of confidence which is necessary. secondly, i should say that a lot of blame is placed on pakistan for the troubles in afghanistan. but it ignores defect of policy and of error of judgment. like for example iraq. there is a great deal of mess over there. now there is no i.s.i. in pakistan over there. similarly here, the failure of policy goes even back to the process where the taliban should have been brought in to the fold
of the process but that did not happen. there have been other mistakes like, for example, the control of kabul was left to the northern alliance forces which were mostly nonpistoon and that helped the taliban revive themselves later on and that kind of violence continues today and that is the reason why it is not that effective in the pestoon dominated areas of afghanistan. >> sreenivasan: what about the diplomatic and i political imcas about the fact there was any sort of signal given before the launch, the level of distrust that exist wean the two countries? >> i agree with riaz mohammad khan that there were a lot of policy mistakes my by the nats in particular missing early
opportunities to include the taliban in afghanistan so they would have not fled to pakistan. now, your question was, if you can repeat it? >> sreenivasan: i was just asking what about the level of distrust between these two countries? >> yes. the united states has had experiences where, when they have given advanced notice to pakistan about a counterterrorism action, that somehow the target of that action escapes, and clearly, you know, of course, there are lots of afghans in pakistan who don't have pakistani passports, but it strains credit that they would not be aware to have the location of the leader of taliban who flew 18 times out to have the airport in karachi according to the stamps in his
passport. since he was clearly under their protection and they provided security for him to be elected and hold large dpat rings last sum tore build support for himself and as they told us they were trying to make sure he was tried to consolidate power they certainly did not give advance warning to have the attack. >> sreenivasan: thank you both. >> woodruff: and now to politics and battle for the democratic party nomination. senator bernie sanders is pushing hard in california-- the state with the most democratic delegates up for grabs. at a rally today in los angeles, he slammed both hilary clinton and donald trump for their big donors. >> secretary clinton has several super pacs, and one of her
largest super pacs had received many millions from wall street. [booing] now with regards to trump-- and this is really hysterically funny-- trump is a multi- billionaire-- or so he tells us. we don't know if it's true or not. you know, he lies every day, so he's probably broke. i dunno. >> woodruff: hillary clinton addressed the labor base of the party, speaking at the s.e.i.u. convention in detroit today. she also made a nod to campaign finance and pivoted to trump. >> we are coming to the end of the democratic primaries. i applaud senator sanders and his supporters for challenging us. we are gonna get unaccountable money out of politics. we are gonna take on the crisis of income inequality. and we are going to unify the democratic party and stop donald trump.
>> woodruff: that brings us to politics monday with tamara keith of n.p.r. and amy walter of the "cook political report." and welcome to you both this monday. , so tamara -- so, tamara, this contest, we heard hillary clinton talking about trump but bernie sanders is still talking about her. where does this race stand over the weekend? he said, i don't want to be in this race because we don't want people voting for the lesser of two evils but doesn't sound like an endorsement of hillary clinton. >> she not ready to endorse hillary clinton. they don't want a choice between donald trump and hillary clinton if they could avoid it. mathematically, we could say it's almost certain unless something dramatic happens that hillary clinton will be the democratic nominee. that's why she moved on. she hired staff in something like nearly a dozen swing states. i talked to one sanders' supporter, though, who was in albuquerque at a rally.
he said if he had to choose between donald trump and satan himself, he would not vote for donald trump. >> oh. which is to say he will vote for hillary clinton but he won't be happy about it. and i heard a lot of that from sanders supporters. >> woodruff: that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement but is a move in her direction. >> but that's what we're seeing in the polls overall, which is the reason that we've seen the polls tightening is the last time we were here talking about this, i said the number i was paying much more attention to than how many endorsements donald trump was getting from republican elites and office holders was whether or not he was getting support from voters on the ground, the real people who show up and vote and right now we're seeing the polls tightening because voters are starting to come home. republican voters who late april early -- late march early airplane saying i can't vote for donald trump are saying they will vote for him. but the if you majority of
voters on both side say they're voting for their candidate not because they like their candidate but because they dislike the other candidate. it's a vote against, not for. >> woodruff: you're talking about the numbers coming together for donald trump and hillary clinton. >> right. >> woodruff: numbers at this stage in a campaign, are these enduring numbers? are they likely to stay? >> it's a moment in time. and at this moment in time, hillary clinton is fighting on two fronts. donald trump is beginning to consolidate. meanwhile, hillary clinton's unfave rabbles among bernie sanders supporters are actually rising, and so you have this time where people who are polled are going to say i don't support hillary clinton. now, i spoke to pollster peter heart earlier today. he has a new poll out, the nbc "wall street journal" poll. he said only about 10% of sanders supporters said they would eventually support a
republican or consider supporting a republican. this will shake out some. that's my question. again, where it may in the campaign, we have six months to go, with high -- we call them high unfave rabbles at this point, so high for hillary clinton and for donald trump, are these numbers, are they likely to give as people -- >> that's the real question because we've never had in the history of these polls -- peter heart has been doing the nbc poll and "wall street journal" poll, the polls have never seen two more unpopular candidates for president of the united states so we're in uncharted territory. it's not likely people will change their perception of you between now and the election. but you have two really disliked people who are eventually going to be the nominees and you will have to pick one of them. so how voters get to that place
will be interesting to watch for the next six months. a lot of people have resigned themselves to who they're voting for. like tamara pointed out, it's the lesser of two evils, but maybe they get -- or maybe they stay home. that's the thing that is going to be harder. >> i saw where someone working for trump was saying what hillary clinton is going to have to do because of her high unfave rabbles is to destroy donald trump, but it seems to me that may have to be donald trump's strategy. >> yes, there might be some mutual destruction that guess on. you have to wonder who is going to show up and vote. and may be this is an election where the negativity motivates people rather than the joy of pulling the lever. >> woodruff: let's come back to the hillary clinton-bernie sanders situation. amy, you heard hillary today, we heard the comment she had about donald trump but she was fairly positive about bernie sanders. she said i applaud senator
sanders for challenging us. she said we'll get unaccountable money out of politics and take on the income inequality crisis. he , is however, still criticizing her. >> she can't go on the attack for bernie sanders. she barely mentions him. it's all trump all the time. the super pacs bernie sanders talks about supporting her, they're not going after bernie sanders, they're going after donald trump as well. so the real question is going to be most this primary process in june, not only what does bernie sanders do, but will the biggest spokesperson for the democratic party, president obama, come out and start to try to make that unification? that i think is something you're likely to see. >> woodruff: we should point out sanders and the people around him say their main job is
defeating donald trump in the fall. they named the platforms members in the convention where they talk about what the democratic party believes in and there are a number of bernie sanders supporters on that commity. >> and i think this is an important thing. sanders campaign put out a statement saying they were happy this happened. the clinton campaign said this is great. bernie sanders in a way is figuring out how to land the plane and he is going to -- he clearly wants to make an impact on this party platform and to be able to use that to say look at what this movement has accomplished. the other thing he did in the last 48 hours is endorsed tell me canova running against debbie wasserman schultz, and it was a money bomb for ca canova. it's part at make this more than just nominating bernie sanders. >> woodruff: but that may not
earned the friendship of the chair of the d.n.c. imagine for both sides what it looks like. you have paul ryan who might have to preside over a convention that he's not supporting the frontrunner and you have the d.n.c. chairwoman in a fight with the person who's not the nominee but has a role to play in the process which goes to show this has been a roiling of the two parties, more significant on the republican side but at the end of the day the beginning of what we're seeing as major or minor breaks in the two parties and their makeups. >> woodruff: and it may be true to say the likes of which we've never seen before and that will continue. >> every week we continue to say that. >> amy walter, tamera keith, thank you both. >> you're welcome.
>> sreenivasan: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: the children who fled vietnam return to mixed reception, a different kind of desperate journey-- special correspondent malcolm brabant's personal story of mental illness... >> reporter: i was taken to a secure locked up ward because i had gone mad. >> sreenivasan: but first, we return to baltimore and the not guilty verdict for a police officer charged in the death of freddie gray. debbie hines was in the courtroom today. she's a former baltimore prosecutor who currently practices law in washington, d.c. thanks for joining us. tell us first what was the mood in the courtroom? >> well, they made very clear before the judge even came out that there was not to be any shouting, any emotions and if you did not think you could contain your emotions inside the courtroom then you needed to leave before the judge came out. so there wasn't really any response inside a completely packed courtroom. >> sreenivasan: what about nero himself, what about the officer when he heard the verdict? >> i couldn't see his expression
because he's from the back. i'm looking at him from the back as all the spectators in the courtroom are but there still weren't any emotion there and you have to understand the judge read about 20 minutes. it's not just as it comes out in a jury verdict where it's not guilty, not guilty, not guilty. he read a long legal opinion describing each of the four counts and how he came to his conclusion. >> sreenivasan: this is also in this specific individual case, right? this isn't an automatic hall pass for all officers. we already had one end up in a hung jury and we're talking about officer number two in this situation. >> exactly. that was one of the thing judge williams made very clear when he went over methodically all the facts and evidence that had been presented, he actually said it might have been different when we get to the cases of officer miller and actually the case of the van driver who, throughout the course of both trials,
officer porter and officer nero, everybody seems to put a lot of blame on the van driver for the criminal actions. >> sreenivasan: what about the decision by officer nero to pick a bench trial versus a jury trial? >> i think that was a superb decision in this case and this case only. there is always a risk because i do some criminal defense and generally you want to have 12 people more than just one person decide your fate. but a lot of the issues surrounding officer nero, they really evolved around legal issues and his facts as they fit into the legal issues and that's where the burp comes in. so i think his attorneys felt his best shot was with having a bench trial and a judge who could look at the facts on the one hand, look at the elements of the law on the the other hand and make sure they fit together without showing any emotions as what would be likely or might be likely with a jury.
>> sreenivasan: especially with a jury this this heated climate who might want to find him guilty of something. >> right. >> sreenivasan: how does the state prove the officers knew how to belt down someone under arrest? it looks like it may depend on whether somebody opened an email. >> that and i looked over the written opinion of judge williams. he went through a lot discussing the van driver, and a lot of the regulations go to actually the van driver's responsibility and his duty, and then there were the other officers that were involved, one was a lieutenant and their supervising officers. so i think a lot of his decision in this case weighed heavily on -- officer nero was only a two-year -- if you want to call ate veteran, he was a rookie. he's only been on the force two years and in this case the facts were very fact specific. there was an email that went out several days before the freddie
gray's arrest that basically that did you have to seat belt, it's a mandatory seat belting, any detainees, and he was off that day. so it's not clear if he actually read it because he's off that day. he's not there and there was no evidence that it was presented in any role call. but i think the facts are very specific and the judge wanted to point that out as to what the awareness was with respect to officer nero in his case. >case. >> sreenivasan: we have four more officers. >> five. they're going to retry porter. >> sreenivasan: what's the next step? >> the next steppics and this is really the biggest one that's going to be officer caesar goodson, the van driver, and his trial is june 6 and he is the most cullable, i think whether you're the defense or prosecution, he's the most cullable of all, and the other officers staged after that, the trials leading up to september if all are tried, but i think what happens with officer gooden who is the most cullable by even
his fellow officers, i think that that's going to make the determination of happens ultimately in the other cases. >> sreenivasan: debbie hines, thank you so much. >> thank you for having me. >> woodruff: we return now, to vietnam-- relations between the united states and its former enemy have warmed since the end of the war more than 40 years ago. now, some vietnamese who fled as children-- and became americans- - have begun to go back; and the country they find is one transformed. from ho chi minh city, special correspondent mike cerre reports. >> we got one of those calls early one morning from a friend who contacted the embassy. he said, "embassy car is coming,
pack the family into the car, only have one bag and get ready to go." >> my mother told me one story of how the vietcong were coming after us and we had to just lie down and feign death basically. she told me that she covered all of us in other people's blood. >> if i look back, that's probably one of the most dangerous parts of my life because we see death every second we're on that boat. my job was just, scoop the water out, all day long. and on the fifth day, i was passing out from not eating for five days. >> reporter: an estimated million and a half vietnamese have migrated to the united states since the end of the war- - often at great personal and professional sacrifice. but for most first generation vietnamese-americans there is little interest in coming back-- save to visit relatives. but for a younger generation of vietnamese-americans who have
little reference to either the war or the communist takeover, the draw of the new economy and the old culture is creating a reverse diaspora. >> i wouldn't say my parents were jumping for joy when they heard i was interested in spending more time in vietnam. >> reporter: after fleeing vietnam with his family when he was two, henry nguyen's parents worked multiple and often menial jobs as refugees in northern virginia in pursuit of the american dream for their children. playing in rock bands and working mcdonald's, henry's came true by going to harvard and earning his medical degree and m.b.a at northwestern. so growing up in fairfax, virginia you worked in a mcdonald's. >> yeah just part-time in summer. it's like every kid's first summer job. >> welcome to mcdonald's vietnam. >> reporter: since moving back to vietnam full-time 12 years
ago, he's now an owner of the first mcdonald's in vietnam, the local pro basketball team, and runs one of the country's largest venture capital funds as a v.c. an ironic twist on wartime shorthand for the vietcong guerrillas. which overthrew his south vietnam homeland. >> but i want to make sure people understand that means venture capitalist. and in some ways it's funny because even here you could argue that capitalism, because of socialist ideology was kind of a dirty word, but fundamentally i think we really look at the underlying culture and drive of people here, it's always been very market oriented anyway. >> reporter: henry's initial motivation for coming back was to better understand the vietnamese culture he largely ignored while growing up in america. he's now married to the daughter of a former prime minister and raising his family here.
what keeps him here are the professional challenges and opportunities in the "new" vietnam. >> there's so many ways to really make a contribution to make the life of people here in vietnam better, to make the country better in terms of accelerating its development and whether it's the economy, whether it's society, et cetera. >> i can totally see the influence from hopper. >> my mother, who i am very close to, and she actually flat- out told me that i'm no longer her daughter if i come back to vietnam. she has a different history from me and she couldn't fathom her daughter who she risked everything for. we fled this nation, and for me as this conscious adult to say, "okay, wait a minute, i'm going to go back to this country that we fled from." i was really curious, and that was the reason why i came back to vietnam. >> reporter: quynh pham left a comfortable and prestigious job at an art institute in california to start a gallery of
her own here in ho chi minh city. >> this is a developing nation and there aren't many contemporary art galleries that work at this level in the country. >> reporter: she believes the vibrant contemporary art scene is a reflection of vietnam's creative renaissance, as well as its economic emergence from nearly a century of colonialization, war and unification. >> my father was a major in the south vietnamese army and my wife's father was a colonel in the vietnamese air force. >> reporter: tuan t. ton is a colonel in the united states army. he moved back to vietnam as the american defense attache-- the u.s. military's chief representative for our new defense agreements with the vietnamese to counter china's expansion efforts in the south china sea. >> when i left vietnam, i never thought i would return here. because the image that imprint
in my head was so deep, i pretty much looking forward to what america had to offer and america definitely had offer a lot. and not until a few years ago when i started working on vietnam issue from washington d.c., i realize that it's an opportunity for me to serve here in my new capacity. >> reporter: he and his vietnamese-american wife thu ah live in this four story villa the u.s. maintains for its defense attaches. this is pretty nice living for army life. >> it's the best we've ever lived in the army. >> reporter: living better here than in the army or anywhere. >> because we host a lot of foreign guests here. >> reporter: many of them recognize the south vietnamese military insignias of their parents' former units. >> i display that proudly and my vietnamese counterparts see it and we just talk about history. >> reporter: it has taken some time for the local vietnamese to fully embrace the returning "viet kieus" as the vietnamese- americans are known here.
after nearly 40 years of tough economic times and living conditions since the war, the local vietnamese are just now enjoying the benefits of the new peace and prosperity. >> i think people deserve it. there is hard working people here. >> it's just unreal. i mean when i first came back to vietnam, "viet kieu" was a derogatory term. so viet kieu are considered people who left vietnam. but it's changed, this perception of who viet kieus are. because the government here, the people here see that we've been educated abroad. we have a more international, more global vision. we are able to bring these resources, these networks, this knowledge into this country and they see that it's contributing to economic growth and so there's much more support for what everybody is doing. >> so many people from vietnam now travel extensively. and reciprocally, so much more economic activity, so much-- many more people, whether it's
of vietnamese origin or whether- - who are not of vietnamese origin have come to vietnam and done business and this country has changed dramatically, socially, politically, economically, you name it. >> but having certain freedoms in the u.s. and then coming back here and perhaps feeling a little bit more restricted, i don't really feel we're being hindered, i'm just very aware and at times, to be honest, i'm cautious. you've got this old communist ideology, but yet we've really embraced capitalism here. ♪ >> reporter: as much as he enjoys living and working here, there's no confusion in colonel ton's mind over who he is. >> i'm an american officer. there's no such thing as vietnamese-american officer. it's only american officer. over two-thirds of my life have been grown up in the united states. i served in the united states military, it's where i belong.
>> i feel like my experience is not uncommon in the sense of i may have grown up in a time when i felt very isolated or separated from that identity, but now that i've lived here-- wow, there is something special that we can be a part of and this is still our country. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, mike cerre, ho chi minh city, vietnam. >> woodruff: over the weekend, the newshour was proud to accept the george foster peabody award- - the highest in broadcast journalism-- for our coverage of the refugee crisis in the middle east and europe, a series we've called "desperate journey." since he began covering those stories last summer, special correspondent malcolm brabant has brought us into the lives of people fleeing war and terror-- often at unimaginable personal risk-- as they sought new homes in europe.
the stories were the work of a team of correspondents and producers here, but none so important as malcolm himself, who accepted the award on the program's behalf. because he's based overseas, few of us here at the newshour had ever even met malcolm in person- - until today. so i'm particularly happy to have him join me now. it is so wonderful to have you here, malcolm. congratulations. >> thanks a lot. >> woodruff: so you first started reporting for us about a year ago. you were in europe in the beginnings of this refugee, then a problem in europe. you did reporting for greece, but you went on to cover this story in all its dimensions. malcolm, did you have any idea in the beginning just what it was going to be become? >> i had no idea it was going to be as enormous as this. when i started reporting from greece, most of the refugees were coming to a holiday island but i heard about this nearby island lesbos was starting to
receive people so i went there. i heard there was a strange englishman called eric henson looking out for the boats and helping refugees on the beaches and he was my guide to start. with we have this most extraordinary morning when we saw a boat in the distance and we had to drive like crazy, about 100 kilometers, 70 miles through concrete lanes to get to the beach in team as this rubber raft arrived. it was biblical. it was like something out of exodus seeing peas theme swarming on to the beaches not knowing what to expect. the joy on their faces was unbelievable. what was extraordinary was seeing the reaction of some of the greeks who were there. because these are the people, the greeks who have experienced what it was like to flee from war. it was very heart warming to see them carrying out what they call unconditional kindness and welcome to strangers. >> woodruff: this was in a moment when greece had been through its own terrible financial crisis. many people didn't know literally where their next meal
was coming from, yet they were welcoming these refugees. >> yes, because that's in their nature because they understand what it's like to run away from war. they have been refugees, they've had to migrate to make livings in places like new york and toronto, you have all the great greek communities, they know what it's like and they're very sympathetic. >> woodruff: you watched it, covered it in greece, across europe and you saw attitudes change. originally the europeans were welcoming, but then the fears of terroriew and you saw a shift. >> yes, and i think that people were simply overwhelmed by the numbers, and i think there are some countries in europe that resented germany and sweden for opening and saying basically everybody was welcome. i think perhaps if germany and sweden hadn't done that there may have been a better welcome for some of the refugees. but taking in a million may not seem a lot in a continu continef 500 million people, but at my
home close to denmark, it's been enormous. you have to provide schooling and housing. there are troubling in some of the centers, too. the police say they're on their knees. that's reason of the reason there has been a backlash. >> woodruff: but the fears rf terrorism are real in many instances, aren't they? >> the numbers of people who come with bad intent are probably minimum calls and i think the vetting process is in place, but in the initial waves, europe didn't really know who was coming in. so perhaps amongst these millions of people who came in, there might have been hundreds of bad guys. who can tell. but it is the fear that it's actually generating this big reaction and a fear of islam as well. in many countries, especially christian ones which are predominantly christian like poland, hungary and sloug slova, for example. >> woodruff: we're watching it unfold and don't know what's going to happen to the many
people in limbo who haven't found a home. i want to ask you about your own personal story. it wasn't so long ago you were working for the british broadcasting corporation and reporting from abroad for them, you were in the u.s. for a while. you had your own personal crisis and you wrote a book about it. but that's another extraordinary story. >> well, this is a wonderful sort of comeback for me in a way because i thought my career was finished. i thought it was completely over. exactly five years to the day we picked up -- was the day i entered an insane asylum. i had gone mad. a few days earlier, i had been given a drug that's a yellow fever vaccine, and it fried my brain. i had a really high fever for about 13 days. >> woodruff: supposed to be a yellow fever vaccine.
>> yes, and it's supposed to protect you but it devastated and fried my brain literally, affected the balance of it and sent me bad. i spent in total about a year and a half in institutions in locked-up wards because i went through various times when i thought i was christ, the devil, i even thought i was a suicide bomber, and eventually the drugs and the care and the wonderful techniques of the danish doctors managed to bring me back. eventually i purged myself of all the chemicals, basically, and finally given an all-clear about two and a half years ago and i haven't had a pill since, i haven't had to go see a psychiatrist since and perhaps i was stronger than before because it didn't kill me and it almost did kill me. >> woodruff: but you said it gave you a much better understanding of what those who are mentally ill may have to go through. >> absolutely.
i hope this acts for some sort of inspiration for those stigmatized by mental illness because that happens. i'm grateful "newshour" gave me this immense opportunity. >> woodruff: we're exceedingly grateful to you and look forward to your reporting. >> thanks. i'm grateful to you. >> sreenivasan: later tonight on pbs, "p.o.v." will air "the return." a documentary that tracks some of the highs and lows experienced by convicts returning to life on the outside after california relaxed its three-strikes sentencing guidelines. here's a look at the story of a daughter as she anticipates the approaching reunion with her father just released from a years-long prison term. >> i hadn't heard my dad's voice in years. the way he sounds, i don't know even if i remember. when i was a teenager, i used to
on most pbs >> sreenivasan: "p.o.v." airs tonight on most pbs stations. check your local listings. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now: one writer on her poetry to cope with her husband's cancer treatment. meanwhile, her husband writes poems from his own perspective. you can hear her read one of her poems on our homepage. all that and more is on our website: pbsorg.newshour. >> sreenivasan: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday: for this week's story in our "making the grade" series, we travel to vermont where declining student enrollment has forced schools to merge in order to survive. i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: lincoln financial is committed to helping you take charge of your future.
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