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tv   Martin Bashir  MSNBC  May 1, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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intelligence about high value terrorist targets and president musharraf will not act, we will. >> we do not say those things that we intend to go in there and bring out a unilateral attack. >> i recommend everybody take a look at people's previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into pakistan and take out bin laden. >> let's not make the capture or killing of osama bin laden a politically divisive event. >> even jimmy carter would have given that order. >> i recommend that people take a look at peel's previous statements. the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden. >> we have breaking news at this very moment. we understand the president is in afghanistan. this on the first anniversary of the killing of osama bin laden. we understand that he traveled there overnight.
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there was something of a "meet the press" and media blackout but we are able to confirm the president is indeed in afghanistan. i'm joined now by kristen welker who is at the white house. please tell us what do you know? what have you heard? >> hi there. good afternoon to you. we can tell you that president obama arrived in afghanistan in kabul at 2:39 p.m. our time, which is 11:09 in afghanistan. right now, he is at the afghan presidential palace with president hamid karzai. we're just getting this information so i'll read it to you. he is there to sign the strategic partnership agreement which is essentially going to outline the relationship between the united states and afghanistan over the next decade. and will include sort of the outline for the withdrawal plan. we expect the president to address the nation and u.s.
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troops at 7:31 our time. that's a speech that will last for about 10 to 15 minutes, martin. and we will, of course, be carrying that live. president obama has arrived in afghanistan. he is meeting with afghanistan president hamid karzai. of course, this all comes on the one-year anniversary of the killing of osama bin laden. certainly this timing is not coincidental but president obama there to discuss the strategic partnership with the president of afghanistan, including the plan for withdrawal. >> and do you know anything or any detail yet about how this was carried out? because we knew absolutely nothing about it. the president clearly leaving the white house. i mean, i'm assuming that somebody must have known. what do we know about the detail of that? >> well, we know that of course, senior administration officials were aware of this plan. but the white house certainly keeping this a secret throughout the day for security reasons.
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we're all just learning it at this point in time, that the president has in fact landed. this is something we've seen in the past. remember when president bush visited, traveled overseas to a war zone back in 2003, it was also a secret. it wasn't announced until until he in fact cleared the air space. so this is something we are accustomed to not being made aware of the president's travel plans when he is traveling in a war zone. >> a final question with you for the moment. you know better than any of us that this anniversary has already become something of a contested event with mitt romney accusing the president of politicizing the president. the president saying he is not celebrating but the occasion, given the atrocities committed by that wick individual. what is your sense about how the white house says today, given that the president has travelled on this historic moment. this first anniversary.
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>> well, i think the white house certainly defending the way that they are marking this anniversary. they do see this as a key achievement by president obama. they are certainly getting some mileage out of it. he will be addressing the troops in afghanistan. 90,000 troops there. so certainly, they are marking this as something that is an achievement by this president, and as you heard president obama say yesterday, he essentially defended this saying, we are not celebrating this. however, we are going to mark the occasion. >> kristen welker, as ever, thank you so much for your up to the minute reporting. thank you. i want to bring in our panel in new york. here is military analyst colonel jack jacobs. in washington, former u.s. ambassador to morocco, mark ginsberg. and david corn, an msnbc analyst and the bureau chief of mother jones. ambassador, if i can begin with you.
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you know better than any of us how complex and vexing it is for the administration. a year after bin laden's death, senior al qaeda leader killed, and troops out of iraq and the president planning to withdraw from afghanistan by 2012. he cautions against celebration but these are, are they not, considerable achievements for this president? >> no doubt for a young president who was untested in the annals of national security. the relentless pursuit of our pursuit of al qaeda has been a singular achievement for this president. i've given him an a plus in the writings that i've written in the "huffington post" for his singular focus on not only going after osama bin laden, but the relentless drone strikes that have decimated the operational structure of al qaeda. as well as his relentless pursuit of terrorists wherever they may be.
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whether it be somalia, yemen and elsewhere. there is no doubt if the american people remember and recall where we were when this president first took office and where he is today, we shall all take great pride in his achievements. >> jack, colonel jack, if ambassador ginsburg provides the military context, you know the military challenges for an event like this. do you affirm the president for what he and obviously the navy s.e.a.l. team 6 expedited on that day a year ago? >> a very difficult decision to make. i think there were member of people who thought he should be do not. that there was a great detail of risk involved. even if there was a 100% certainty that bin laden was there in that compound, there was certainly the defense side that said, listen. if this thing doesn't work, it is a catastrophe. we've been through it before during the carter
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administration. as a matter of fact, this mission came pretty close to being a close thing. one of the rotors of the assault aircraft hit the wall, lost the aircraft. they had to bring in a black-up helicopter. there was plenty of argument that said if there is a little slip-up, it is the worst possible thing that can happen. >> didn't the secretary of state for defense, robert gates, actually counsel against a on the ground attack and would have preferred something like an air attack on the compound? >> from the military standpoint, that was the best, easiest and least risky thing to do. the ceo, on the other hand, said, look. if you do that, okay, go ahead and do that and there is little risk of collateral damage but you won't get any intelligence. forget about the argument about whether or not you had the dna and all that stuff. the real argument from the cia standpoint is the enormous amount of intelligence information from which we have been operating since then. >> indeed. david corn, mitt romney said this morning that he was
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disappointed the president was using the death of bin laden for political purposes. i have to ask you then, what is mitt romney doing in new york this afternoon. eating pizza with firefighters alongside rudolph giuliani? >> this is all a game, it seems. you know, martin, that i'm partial to a certain book that's out now called "showdown." but colonel jack was right talking about the nature of the decision. i go into great details with the meetings where bob gates and vice president biden said don't go. we need more intelligence. and some wanted missile strikes. in that small circle, going ahead with the raid was not a majority position. obama had to go against the advice of most of his advisers. and so i think it was rather risky, rather gutsy. his presidency was on the line. as we think about who should be the next president, i can't think of anything more instructive than how he behaved on this very, on this test
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issue. i think this is a great case study of presidential decision making. so he is allowed to tout it. mitt romney is allowed to say whatever he wants to say but when he said this yesterday, jimmy carter would have done this, it was a no brainer, a slam-dunk. that indicated, he hadn't read chapter 10 of my book but alsoering did not really understand what was at stake in this process. >> indeed. stay with us. i want to go back if i may to kristen welk here has further breaking news on this story. >> reporter: we're getting a little more information from the pool notes. those are the reporters who are actually in afghanistan with president obama. according to the latest note, the strategic partnership agreement caps 20 months of negotiations. so this is something that was 20 months in the making. they wanted this to come before the nato summit which will be held later in may. they also wanted this to be
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signed on afghan soil. so those are two incredibly important component. it will detail how the afghan partnership will be normalized after the united states withdraws its troops. that is something that will end at the end of 2014. this plan kind of takes the relationship through 2014 through ten years in the future. and so that's sort of how they are laying all of this out. again, this is something that was 20 months in the making. they wanted this to be signed on afghan soil. and again, it really draws and outlines the relationship between the united states and afghanistan from 2014 to 2024. it will talk about how that relationship can be normalized. in other words, how the united states will withdraw without sort of leaving afghan forces in a lurch there. that is some of the latest information that we're getting. and again we're expecting president obama to address the nation at 7:30 eastern time tonight. >> so from what you were just saying, it sounds to me as
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though this is slightly more coincidental. because they wanted this agreement to be signed before the end of may. before the nato meeting. and they also wanted it to happen on afghan soil. those two things have nothing to do with the anniversary, which so happens to be today, of the killing of bin laden. >> reporter: that's absolutely right, martin. as we begin to learn more about the timing and the planning of all of this, that is certainly coming into clearer view. it seem some of the priorities were having it signed before nato on afghan soil. still, it is an important day for the united states. the president pointing that out in brief remarks when he landed. an important day for the united states and for afghanistan and the president's words. >> we're going to rely out for the rest of the hour. if you're just joining us, the president is marking the one-year anniversary of the death of osama bin laden with a
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surprise visit to u.s. forces in afghanistan. for more, we turn to nbc's reporter in kabul. thank you so much for joining us. what has been the reaction from troops and from afghans on the ground there? >> reporter: hi there. there isn't much of a reaction yet because it was a bit of a surprise that the president was coming here. the afghan did seemed to have leaked the information a few hours ago but they stopped reporting it because they did get phone calls from the u.s. embassy telling them not to report it for security reasons. it is surprising that president obama chose the one-year anniversary of osama bin laden's death to sign this strategic partnership. as mentioned in the last report, it was about a year and a half, almost two years in the making. there were negotiations going on between the u.s. and the afghan governments. primarily about prisons in afghanistan, as well as night raids. president karzai made it very clear to the americans that he
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wanted full afghan control of all detention centers and he wanted afghan special forces to go on these night raids. he did seem to win some of those battles. it will be interesting to see what is inside the strategic partnership. what we want to know is what is in it. if in fact the night raids will be completely afghan run and what the funding will be. we're hearing we won't really know about the funding and the strategic partnership. we might hear more about that next weir week had we expect president karzai as well as other nato leaders to go to chicago for the chicago nato summit, to figure out the way forward when it comes to the international community effort within afghanistan. >> from kabul, thank you so much. we are looking right at this moment at pictures just in of the president, who landed in afghanistan just about an hour ago, i believe. this image of the aircraft and the surrounding helicopters
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taking the president on. and we have our nbc's chief white house correspondent chuck todd with us. what do you have? >> reporter: i want to bull on something that atia said. two thing, one that was a request. this may have been reported. a request by president karzai that this agreement with the united states be done on afghan soil. he made that request. as for why today, i heard my partner kristen talk about the reasoning that the senior u.s. official gave for today, which is that it is a resident day for both people in afghanistan and the united states. what is happening in chicago, it will be this announcement. the nato conference in chicago that will deal with the time line of withdrawing combat troops, not just the united states but the entire nato part of this. you couldn't really expect to see what other countries were going to do as far as security
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for afghanistan, martin, until after the united states made its commitment to afghanistan. remember, in many cases, yes, nato is nato but nato isn't anything without the united states. so once that is done, that allows for the other nations then to say, okay, the bar has been set as far as what the united states is going to do. and that i think will be, we want to talk about the politics of this. there is a lot of war fatigue. a lot of people would like to see the troops out of afghanistan sooner rather than later. so this announcement that we'll have some sort of troops in afghanistan for an additional ten years beyond 2014, in what form we don't know. many of them trainers. many of them may not see combat duty. it is certainly something that will be will have test the patience of the american public. and we know that president karzai has been asking for something like $2 billion a year in financing and a commitment from america for ongoing support for the next ten years. do you know if this agreement
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contains any references to the cost of this commitment? >> reporter: no. that's what is specifically not in here. the senior officials would be brief anybody on the number of troops or the amount of money. frankly, let's get realistic on this. that is going to be up to debate inside the united states congress. this isn't something that somehow the president of the united states can guarantee a specific amount of money. it is going to end up being a little bit of a negotiation with the folks that control the purse strings. in this case is congress. that's why you don't see any numbers there. nor do you see a specific number of troops. >> indeed. and chuck, what will the president deliver tonight at 7:00 -- just after 7:30? is he going to be speaking primarily to the troops there? or do you think that he will be addressing the american nation when he speaks? >> it is my understanding there won't even be an audience. he is addressing the american
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people explaining what this mission will look like. not only are we on the one-year anniversary of the bin laden death. this is the ninth anniversary of the infamous mission accomplished speech that president obama gave after iraq. so i think that is two words you will not hear tonight from the president. that said, he is going to be about what is this end game look like in afghanistan? how to bring this to a close, and at the same time try to explain what does this ten-year agreement mean. what does this mean for u.s. troops? what does this mean to an american public that is fatigued? that is what the president is explaining, what this commitment is that he just made on behalf of the united states to afghanistan and a lot of it will have to do with security and we've been told, he will mention the bin laden anniversary tonight as well. >> chuck todd. nbc's political director, thank you so much. colonel jack jacobs, you're still with me. i have to ask you.
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we were hearing from kristen welker just now that this was an event that was something of a surprise. but you think this must have been rehearsed in some way. >> i think this has been in the planning stages for a long time. the day was selected with care and on purpose and you can't say to the president of the united states or any other person in the national authority, you can't send them any place without a large advance party and lots and lots of rehearsals in the air space and on the ground in a place like afghanistan. and there have been rehearsals fortune some weeks. the decision was made a long time ago to go there. >> going back to the issue of an ongoing relationship with afghanistan, this agreement is set to be signed on afghan soil. but we know that something like 69% of people in america, according to the latest new york times poll, think that the u.s. should not be involved with afghanistan. should not be at war with afghanistan. 68% feel it has gone very badly or somewhat badly.
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>> i think we're going to stay there nonetheless. despite the fact that the president is likely to w accelerate the withdrawal, these will be the conventional troops. remaining behind or in afghanistan, and or in peripheral areas, there will be lots of support troops. most significantly, trainers, mobile training team, and special forces and special operations forces, i think they will be on the ground for quite some time. >> do i still have ambassador mark ginsburg with us? >> i'm right here, martin. >> i wanted to ask me. no one told me you're still there. thank you for your patience. i wanted to ask but the president's decision to unilaterally enter pakistan and to cap you are and there by kill osama bin laden. that was probably the big he was call of all. >> reporter: not only the biggest call but think of the operational call.
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had these helicopters been interdicted by pakistani air force efforts to bring them down, can you imagine the catastrophe that it would have meant for u.s./pakistani relations. number one, and number work the i think the president made it very clear early in his administration that general musharraf and the pakistani government were not going to do everything and all things necessary to rid pakistani soil of the remnants of al qaeda and the united states reserved the right to do so. this struggle for drone attacks inside pakistan. the role of the network attacking across the border into afghanistan. the challenges we face in a government controlled by a shadowy intelligence operation called the isi that is largely opposed to the united states policy on both sides of the border and is trying to make it even harder for us. this relationship with the united states has been fraught with charges, difficulties and
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just in the last few days, there had been an effort to in if he can resume normal negotiations and relations with afghanistan. >> i have read your new york time best selling book, "showdown," and you go into geet the president's decision in going in and getting bin laden, ordering as it were the navy s.e.a.l.s to go in there. i wanted to ask you about the implications of that for himself. did you get any sense when he was making that decision, there was anything other than, in his mind, than the taking out of al qaeda's, well, the world's most wanted terrorist? >> people around the table. it was so obvious them didn't have to be addressed explicitly. the example of jimmy carter who had the failed desert one mission in 1980 to rescue the hostages in tehran. >> eight personnel killed as a
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result of that. helicopters lost. >> and it was a disaster. and it was seen as a symbol of jimmy carter's feklessness. and the loss in the 1980 elections. and also, there was the example of black hawk down in somalia in the early 1990s which didn't cause bill clinton not to win an election later on but still was a traumatic event. so bob gates had lived through both of those. i think he was at the cia for both those episodes. joe biden certainly recommended. the idea of sending helicopters again with the helicopters, deep into pakistan, get past pakistani forces that were there. showed how much potential there was for disaster. and it was quite clear if this succeeded, the president would get a boost. as david axelrod and others told me, they assumed it would be a temporary boost in the polls and eventually it would come back to what the economy dictated in
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terms of approval ratings. but if it failed, that failure would probably register and linger to the end of the presidency. that might be november 2012. so he knew, as he walk away from the last meeting, before he announced his decision to the staff, he said he was thinking about black hawk down and desert one. he knew what was at stake. with the cia saying there is a 50% chance or so that the fellow in that compound is indeed bin laden. he knew he was taking a high risk gamble. but he also knew that he had resolved in his own mind up to that point that if he had a shot, if he had a chance of getting bin laden, he was going to take it. >> david corn, it's wonderful that you're with us this afternoon. let's now go to nbc's pakistan bureau chief who joins us live from pakistan where the mission unfolded one year ago. i have to ask you, what is the mood of pakistanis on this
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one-year anniversary of the killing of bin laden? >> reporter: hi, martin. i have to say the anniversary here is not marked in quite the same way as it is in the states. this from most pakistanis was probably the single most humiliating and embarrassing event in recent history. a situation of great sensitivity. the fact that the president was mentioning it, for him to come to the country just next door and talk about it again will probably be perceived here as a very serious snub. >> indeed, there is still concern. even this period of 12 months after. how it was that bin laden was able to hide in that compound for ten years with three wives, five children, and four grandchildren. do the pakistanis have any answer for that? >> reporter: the short answer is no. there are as of yet, no
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definitive answers. no official version of events from the pakistanis. the most detail we have on how long he stayed here was probably about five or six years in that compound here. but without any kind of official version of events, there are a lot of serious questions. they have launched a formal government commission that is looking into bin laden's presence here but that commission is also looking into how the u.s. managed to breach pakistan's borders. the two issues here are intertwined. being sort of a sovereignty here in pakistan, that the u.s. launch that had unilateral raid. and then along with that, they're looking into bin laden's presence. the two issues are equally important here. >> nbc's bureau chief in pakistan, thank you so much. we'll have much more on the president's visit to afghanistan in this breaking news this hour. the president landed in afghanistan and will be speaking
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later this evening about 7:30 p.m. eastern time. stay with us. >> tonight i can report to the american people and to the world that the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda. hey dad. see how the carrots i grow make that new stouffer's steam meal so tasty. dad can see... boys! don't u think stouffer's steam perfect bag should get some credit? my carrots. my milk. [ female announcer ] new from stouffer's. farmers' harvest steam meals taste so good we'll bet the farm on it. so i test... a lot. do you test with this? freestyle lite test strips? i don't see... beep! wow! that didn't take much blood. yeah, and the unique zipwik tab targets the blood and pulls it in. so easy. yep. freestyle lite needs just a third the blood of onetouch ultra. really? so testing is one less thing i have to worry about today.
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future for afghanistan over the course of the next ten years. troop support and so on. so what do we make of the president's legacy in afghanistan? fighting terrorism and other areas of international relations. back with us, michael hastings of buzz feed. and joining us, professor michael eric dyson, and of course i'm with colonel jack jacobs, the retired u.s. army colonel. if i can start with you, you have actually reported some misgivings by the navy s.e.a.l. team six about the president talking about what happened a year ago on that raid in abbottabad. just tell us about that story you've written. >> sure, ever since the most, one of the most famous moments of president obama's presidency, there has been this slow bubbling back lash among the navy s.e.a.l.s, special forces community. part of it is an issue that they
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fell of security. that look, these are people who value their secrecy very highly. and they felt all of a sudden in the spotlight. and part of the issue, i think, among some, especially the conservative element within this special forces community was that the president was not the one on the ground. pulling the trigger. therefore, he should be more the subtle in taking credit for the accomplishment. >> colonel jack, there's a -- of course there is a chinook helicopter that was shot down killing 30 which included 22 navy s.e.a.l.s from s.e.a.l. team six and there has been a suggestion by some that that incident was provoked because the president decided to talk about what happened. do you accept there is a relationship between those two? >> there is probably no tactical relationship between the two. different missions and the helicopter went down for a number of reasons. i don't think there was any linkage between the two. but michael hastings makes a very significant point.
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people who talk about making a big deal out of any tactical operation have a very good point indeed. i think we would all be better off if the people who are in the national command authority don't talk anything at all about either tactical or strategic operations, everybody would be better off. >> yet that's almost irresistible for politicians. >> especially in an election year. you cannot help yourself. >> professor michael eric dyson, your response to the president's visit today. as you know, there has been some critique, some criticism of him using this anniversary for his own political purposes. there is an election coming. now we've heard from our white house correspondent, kristen welker, in fact the president is there because president karzai invited him to sign an agreement for the future of afghanistan on afghan soil. what is your assessment of the criticism of the president on this? >> i think he is on the right path. he can't win for losing
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association to speak. on the one hand, if he were like other presidents who could afford to fly under the radar as our two experts here suggested, he would be in good company. because he would already have accumulated a wealth of experience and a reputation for being able to, as joe biden said, speak softly and carry a big stick. the problem is that he is not like other presidents. from the very beginning, his credentials have been subjected to scurrilous scrutiny. so in one sense, he has to account for the erosion of his reputation by pointing to things that have been achieved under his own presidency. i think that's not political in the most crass sense of that word, that's political in the best sense of that word. about the distribution of resources to vulnerable populations in time of crisis i. what he's doing now of course will benefit his own campaign for the presidency. but it benefited the country first. the reason it can benefit his campaign is because it benefited the country to begin with.
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and i think going to afghanistan right now, at the invitation of president karzai, is a way to mend some fences. you can to at a about what you do after the draw-down of the troops so that the civil fabric of the society won't immediately collapse. >> professor dyson, you seem to be suggesting then that the president is reacting to a republican attempt to neutralize his achievements. his foreign policy achievements. you're not saying that he is going out there and waving this. you're saying in some senses, he's been forced to do it because they've attempted to neutralize him. >> absolutely. that's what i men by he is not being treated like other presidents. the republican assault upon him suggesting that he doesn't have what it takes to be able to speak to foreign policy when time after time, he has done things to prove his mettle, his maturity, his wisdom and his balance. the republicans continue to assault president obama. he then has to respond by saying, no, you're not absolutely right at all.
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you're absolutely wrong and here's why you're wrong and this is what i did. they ask him about his resume when he shows the resume, they blame him for chest thumping and for bragging. i think that's a no win situation. but he is doing the right thing by going forward. >> michael hastings, you wanted to respond to professor dyson. >> not just respond to him but to step back and look at the broader afghanistan strategy. we're coming off a couple of months of horrible, horrible news from afghanistan. the koran burning. the sergeant who went on a rampage and killed 17 civilians. the urinating on the taliban videos. the other pictures that we just saw of the sort of disgraced corpses. so all of that. and then we saw in the most recent campaign ad the forward that the president doesn't mention afghanistan in his foreign policy accomplishments. but i think this is his third or fourth trip. i have to google that to make
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sure. but that's not -- this is one of his -- an infrequent trip there. choosing to go on this day, obviously, trying to say, look, i got bin laden. this is going to be a center piece of my campaign. i am willing to have this debate. i know some people within the white house i've spoken to had reservations about how much the campaign was pushing this. but at the end of the day, they clearly are going to double down on it and say, look, here we are. and look, romney already is sort of retreating from this. what i pointed out in my story is that romney is not necessarily the threat here. the threat is if you have sort of a swift vote veterans for the truth of navy s.e.a.l.s to come out and start attacking the president's narrative. >> colonel jack, michael hastings was just talking about the last few months in afghanistan. and they have been very, very difficult. we had the recent photographs published in the "l.a. times" of soldiers holding body parts. we had the accidental burning of religious books and the koran at the u.s.-run base in bagram. we had the shooting spree by
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robert bales who allegedly killed 16 or 17 villagers and then january, the beginning of the year, the video clip of u.s. marines urinating on dead afghan insurgents. this is a difficult relationship. isn't it? >> it isn't going to get any easier by the way. withdrawing our forces, our conventional forces, by the way, not special forces or special operations forces. we are probably going to lose what little control we do have over areas. and quite frankly, everybody in the congress certainly has decided that it is about time the afghans do what they are supposed to do and do their part. but i think they're going to be more difficult times ahead. be necessarily for american troops. but certainly for the afghans. and i think we'll have some nasty stories out of afghanistan in the next couple of years. >> and of course, we s the futu with nato in addition to whatever the president signs today in afghanistan. >> this is not a bilateral exercise. we've got lots of other people involved. we've got people in nato and
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other places where we have very close relationships who would like to see our attention drawn away from southeast asia. and put in places like the far east, for example, and europe and africa whereby the way, we have american forces chasing after some bad guys now. >> colonel jack jacobs, michael hastings and professor dyson. thank you. coming up next, mitt romney and rudolph giuliani visit a fire house where firefighters paid the ultimate house on september 11th. with the spark cash card from capital one, sven's home security gets the most rewards of any small business credit card! how does this thing work? oh, i like it! [ garth ] sven's small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! woo-hoo!!! so that's ten security gators, right? put them on my spark card!
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it has been a day of surprise visits. while the president arrived unannounced in afghanistan, mitt romney had an unannounced pizza lunch with firefighters here in new york city just hours after saying this on cbs. >> the idea to try to politicize this and to say, oh, i president obama would have done it one way, mitt romney would have done it another is really
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disappointing. let's not make the capture or killing of osama bin laden a politically divisive event. >> absolutely, mr. romney. and yet at a choreographed campaign event moments ago, romney joined america's mayor rudolph giuliani at a new york fire house that lost 11 firefighters on september 11th. >> i think it is totally appropriate for the president to express to the american people the view that he had an important roll in taking out osama bin laden. i think politicizing it was, and try to draw a distinction between himself and myself was an inappropriate -- >> you notice we had to [ bleep ] out the protester there. i guess romney didn't consider the potential drawbacks of holding his photo ops on the day of citywide occupy protests. with me, professor dyson. political chief vogel and here,
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the correspondent for the nation. ari, it was unfortunate that mitt romney was heckled in that way. what was your reaction to him saying this morning in all seriousness, this anniversary should not be politicized and yet going to a fire house in new york and eating pizza with firefighters. >> two reactions to this. one is obviously the hypocrisy, which you just spot lighted. the republican party spent ten years politicizing the osama bin laden was missing, holding the 2004 convention in new york and making a great deal out of 9/11 for political props. that is number one. and some of that continues to this day. number two, we are going to get a substantive debate out of this and that's a good thing. for example, governor romney has said this was an easy call. this was what anyone would do, including former president carter which was meant as a slight. that would suggest that he either disgraes or is not familiar with what many intelligence experts have that,
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which was that this was a difficult call. a 50/50 or a 40/60 call. that there were very difficult assessments that had to be made about going into an ally or sometime allied nation of pakistan. an issue in the last campaign that romney had criticized obama for. so both on the issue of sovereignty and how you interpret intelligence. what we're seeing is a big difference in the approach to this. a big difference in the understanding of it. that is a good debate to have. one i think that the president obviously wins but that's the debate. >> i think it was a very difficult decision. rather invently for mitt, rudolph giuliani was actually on the opposite side in 2007 agreeing with the president in advocating a go it alone strategy to get bin laden. take a listen to this. >> there was no other way to crush al qaeda, no other way to crush the taliban, and no other way to be able to capture bin
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laden, i think pakistan has unfortunately not been making the efforts they should be making. >> i think obama is confused as to who are our friends and who are our enemies. he wants to unilaterally bomb a nation which is our friend. >> with the greatest respect to mr. romney, isn't the fact that bin laden was allowed to live in that compound for something like six, seven, maybe even ten years, undisturbed, proof that pakistan was not a friend of the american government at all in relation to bin laden. >> it certainly raises that question. and i think there is a legitimate debate about pakistani sovereignty and the sentence to which the pakistanis are aligned with us and our best interests. it is also ironic, if i could pick up on another thing that ari was talking about on, a day when romney is training this fire on obama for politicizing 9/11, he is doing it with giuliani at his side.
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a man who was criticized by both the left and the right for years for politicizing 9/11 and really making his political legacy out of it and running for president on that legacy in 2008. so that is sort of ironic. as to whether president obama is taking it a step further by not only campaigning on the death of osama bin laden and suggesting that mitt romney hasn't done the same. there is also a legitimate question to be raised there. but i don't think it is one that will resonate with the american people. there was just such a swelling of pride. to some extent, revenge over the killing of osama bin laden. and i think it is hard to turn that around and use it against president obama no matter how you try to do it. >> i should explain that we're at images on the right of the screen of the president who arrived in afghanistan at 2:39 p.m. eastern time today. and he is there to meet with president karzai of afghanistan torborg sign an agreement that plots the future of the next ten
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years for that nation. professor dyson, i want to come to you now. you said and you've said this repeatedly, in many ways, republicans have wanted to denude the president of any achievement of this event. going back to what ken vogel and ari was saying, the fact is this showed enormous strength of character. it was a unilateral action and going into foreign territory with no guarantee of success whatsoever. >> i think they are absolutely right. the reality is that this was a very risky military venture. he risked a great deal of political cap. hit gone south, his reputation would have followed. he was able to muster the courage to make the decision, the clarity of mind, the lucidity of the decision process and he acted with dispatch. he didn't sit there once having heard about 911 for four or five or six minutes in a classroom
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and then run for cover. he made an executive decision. he achieved his goal. he announced it to the american people. and he moved on to the next situation. he is cool and calm. not only in domestic situations but in international affairs as well. so i think as mr. vogel indicated, it would be awfully difficult to impugn the dignity of mr. obama in regard to the discretionary use of the osama bin laden killing against him. that was the very focal point for so long for the efforts of america and it became a symbol of how we were being trumped. now with the triumph over a certain segment of terror, president obama cannot be said to be politicizing an event that was central to the politics of american culture. >> professor dyson, ken vogel thank you so much. stay with us. much more on this historic date just ahead.
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we have been covering breaking news throughout the hour, president obama's surprise visit to afghanistan. kristen, what should we expect to hear from the president when he addresses the nation this evening at, i believe, 7:30 p.m. eastern time? >> well, martin, president obama is going to talk about this strategic partnership agreement that he will have signed with afghan president karzai, which will map out the united states' withdrawal plan from afghanistan which is said to be in place by the end of 2014, but it will also talk about the united states' involvement in afghanistan for the next ten years, that essentially the united states will not be abandoning afghanistan after u.s. troops begin to withdraw. you can expect him to talk about that. you can also expect him to talk about the anniversary of the killing of osama bin laden. senior administration officials who are on the ground there with the president in afghanistan told reporters that there are, of course, significance of this day, that it is resident for
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folks that live in the united states and also people in afghanistan. so that's what we expect him to talk about. martin, we're not going to know the details, what exactly is in that strategic partnership agreement until the president signs it with president karzai, but you can expect them to announce that there is a bilateral commission that is established as well as a plan for long-term security within the region. so those are some of the things we're expecting to hear the president talk about this evening. >> kristen welker. thank you, kristen. we have a military analyst. good afternoon, sir. >> hi, martin. >> now that the combat has ended in iraq and we are headed toward the end in afghanistan, what is your assessment of the impact of these conflicts, first of all, in terms of america's foreign poi policy and then in terms of the impacts on the nation
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psychologically? >> that's a tough question. >> you're the man to answer it. >> in the near term, president obama is in an extremely good position going into this election. this is political theatre at its most appropriate and legitimate form. we're going to have to vote next november. one of the issues ought to be the conduct of the wars in iraq and afghanistan, foreign policy. i don't think there's much argument. the minor issue was killing osama bin laden. it was the right thing to do, so i think that's a minor point. that's an unmitigated good to the administration. the bigger question is going to be the president says we're coming out by 2014, combat troops out by 2013. will it work or not, and by the way, will the romney campaign then say, i have a better idea. what would it be? to stand there and win 77% of
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america not supporting the win. >> i have to go back to what you just said. if i know what said, you said it is political theatre in the best way. you're saying that despite the fact that many people feel the president is politicizing the death of bin laden, and you've had mitt romney attacking the president for doing so, and yet you call it political theatre in the best possible way? >> there are 317 million of us. we ought to vote for the next administration based on how the foreign policy and defense strategy in the united states are being handled. tonight we're going to hear from the commander in chief on the battlefield saying, i'm bringing us out. i think it will work. the end gain to afghanistan is not clear to me. it may end in a disaster which will not be clear until 2014 or later. but i think the policy is the
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president ought to run for office on what he thinks we should be doing, and the real interesting question to me will be what will governor romney's team say? if they're smart, there is a good argument they'll say, good idea, we're not sure you can pull it off, and they'll remain mute. >> indeed. thank you, ing to the studio ask joining nd joini afternoon. >> good to be here, martin. >> and we'll be right back. i know better nutrition when i see it: great grains. great grains cereal starts whole and stays whole. see the seam? more processed flakes look nothing like natural grains. you can't argue with nutrition you can see. great grains. search great grains and see for yourself. for multi grain flakes that are an excellent source of fiber try great grains banana nut crunch and cranberry almond crunch. high schools in six states enrolled in the national math and science initiative... ...which helped students and teachers get better results in ap courses. together, they raised ap test scores 138%.
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