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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  January 7, 2013 9:00am-10:00am PST

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statesman on the world stage. whether the gop gets the memo remains to be seen. dave wood, expert on all things military, what was your -- what was your reaction to the nomination of chuck hagel? this comes, of course, against the back drop of susan rice and the cratering of her nomination. >> sure. the first thing that happened was this enormous and i think pretty unjustified republican reaction against him because if you look at chuck hagel on paper, he is the perfect gop candidate. you know, combat veteran, businessman, earned millions of dollars in the private sector, very successful washington career. was an organizer for ronald reagan. as senator, supported missile defense, defense increases, don't ask don't tell. i mean, right down the line very sort of doctrine supporter of defense. i was pretty shocked to see this huge outcry against him, and i think it goes back to things other than chuck hagel.
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>> yeah. just maybe. karen, lindsey graham saying this is an in your face nomination. he would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense. sharp words, which probably p r portends something more than just policy disagreements. >> true, although at this point lindsey graham has kind of lost all if not most of his credibility because he sort of has been balking at just about everything, and he has been pretty much following john mccain's lead on most things. >> it's worse that we don't know where john mccain is on this. >> he has been such a follower on so many issues so far that i -- him saying that, you know, this is a guy who is running the atlantic council and that's out of the mainstream. i think there's a little -- a credibility check. the challenge, i think, for the administration is going to be that this nomination means they're going to have to do work on both the democratic and the republican side, and, you know, usually when you are a democratic president, it's who are the key men who have worked on these nominations. who are the key republican senators? we're going to have to go and see, and in this case they're going to have to do real work on
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both sides. the other thing that was surprising was they let this nomination hang out there so long to the point that these narratives started -- about the jewish lobby and the gay community and sort of, you know, the republicans. i mean, it's been hanging out there for several weeks, so that also means they're going to have to do a lot of work to really turn the tide of that narrative back to what they want, which we saw on those talking points this morning. >> maggie, is this a fight, though, that the republican party needs to be having right now? i mean, i guess the question is there's been a lot of -- we'll talk about this later in the show -- a lot of saber rattling around the raising of the debt limit. did they want to be seen as a party that's going to hold up a secretary of defense nomination for a republican? >> i think ultimately the answer to that is probably no. i mean, i think there's a big difference between what we're going to hear right now and they're trying to kill this before it gets to the hearings versus what gets said. as you said, we're talking about -- they don't consider him a republican. republicans don't consider him a republicans. democrats don't consider him an alternative. he is a man without a constituency in the senate. that much is true. having that been said, it is difficult for senators to deny a
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senator appointment. it's a clubby institution. it would be hard to imagine. but republicans see this as an opportunity to seem like they're in lock step after what we saw with the debt ceiling. at least in terms of verbage going into this, i think you'll hear more consensus on the r side than on the democratic side. >> i want to ask you this question because it's been thrown out there as a reason as to -- aas a reason for the republican resistance, which is that chuck hagel is a reminder of the republican position on the iraq war. >> well -- >> and that is -- that's just too much for them to deal with. >> there's a whole bunch of things behind here. there is not just the iraq war. there was what's perceived by a lot of republicans as the obama administration's failure to negotiate a status forces agreement with iraq to allow u.s. forces to stay there, and iraq has gone downhill. that's the narrative. there's also bengazy, and there's sort of a -- there's been building this sense among republicans that the obama administration is not strong enough on counterterrorism, is
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not tough enough, somehow is hiding its ineptness, and i think that's what's behind this, and it's all going to come out, again, with something we haven't talked about yet, which is the nomination of john brennan, the cia director. here's a guy who was pulled back from being nominated four years ago because of his alleged ties to torture and interrogation techniqu techniques. he was george bush's counterterrorism guy. it comes with a lot of baggage. as dave wood outlines, there are reasons for, and there are reasons why chuck hagel's potential fom nation is problematic for the white house. there's also when you sort of read the palace intrigue, read about the palace intrigue, get into the palace intrigue, there's this notion that president obama likes chuck hagel and that he is close to president obama. they've traveled overseas together. as maggie in some ways --
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they're men without countries insofar as the president is a pragmatist and stokes the fires against the left and the right, though it's more of the right these days. they see one another in each other's reflections. that's a weird alice in wonderland setup that i did. this would be good for the president not just because of who chuck hagel is but also because of the interpersonal dynamics. >> there's a characterlogically -- hagel is the republican versions of how obama would like to be seen as a democrat. americ midwesterner. straight shooter. seems to rise above part sfwlan politics. this is least the sort of idealized chuck hagel that we're being given right now. >> well, kind of, right? there's also, like, the very unidealized thing working. >> both at the same time. it's interesting to me that obama fought for this and didn't fight for susan rice, you know, and maybe that does suggest, as maggie was saying a minute ago, that the white house sort of thinks that even though we're
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having a lot of bluster right now, that this may be a nomination that has, you know, pretty good shot in the long run. >> i think ultimately you have to think about it in the context of the foreign policy team. what does the whole team look like? now you have john kerry. you have chuck hagel. you have brennan. i mean, i think that is also part of the pitch that they're going to make on the hill to -- for these nominations is that this is going -- think about this as the team not just the individual. >> one thing, though, i would add -- >> it's a lot of white men, but that's okay. >> what i would add is the reason they were -- part of why they were not willing to have the fight over rice, which is they areotology have this fight, the issue with susan rice is benghazi. that ties back to the president and hillary clinton. there is -- it's not a perfect scenario. whereas here it's you're opposing hagel and that has nothing do with me. >> susan rice went to the hill, and it did not go well. there was some sort of a dry run, and it did not go well, and there's some sense that she took herself out of the nomination as well. we can't with stand this. how much do you think hagel's
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comments about richard hormel, i believe, who was going to serve as the u.s. ambassador to lucks emberg and questioned his sexuality. that drew ayre from the left. chad griffin from the human rights campaign said the -- >> accept the apology. >> he has accepted the apology, as has hormel on his facebook page. you know, you mentioned that he is facing, you know, criticism from both the left and the right. >> yeah. >> how much do you think that stands in the way of a confirmation? >> you know, interestingly enough today you have a full page ad from log cabin republicans opposing chuck hagel for this very -- you have, again, on the right he is being attacked. the left is saying it's okay, we accept his apology. i mean, again, i just think in terms of the dynamics and the constituency groups along with, you know, the whole issues around israel, i mean, they're going to have to do their politics very well and be very smart. i certainly think we should expect to hear some pretty tough questions in the confirm's hearings about how he will handle don't ask don't tell, which is no longer in place, but
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that could be an area of vulnerability in terms of trying to check does he really mean what he said? does he really mean that apology? >> you saw barney frank kind of walking back his stark oppositi opposition. barney frank wants to be the senator from massachusetts. i took that as a bit of a sign. when the person who we have not heard from yet is chuck schumer, and i'm curious what he has to say. >> you know, there is some word that there's some, you know -- i keep using the word saber rattling because because we're talking about the military. the notion that there are some democrats on the hill who are saying -- and maybe this is a result of the statements he has made on israel and the jewish lobby. there is a campaign out there -- there are ads out. we don't have time to play them right now -- from jewish organizations or one of them headed by, you know, bill crystal that are taking -- it's an aggressive air war, if you will, trying to take down hagel's nomination because of his position on israel. period. >> the thing that i keep coming
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back to is this has got nothing to do with what the job of the fed secretary is. don't ask don't tell is gone. the -- you know, the acceptance of gays is thoroughly in place health insuranced inside the military. you can go to any combat platoon and, you know, not an issue. that's done. the big job is pairing down the size of the defense budget, which is bloated. i think almost everybody agree with that except defense contractors. that's going to have to be done. one thing that puzzles me about this nomination of chuck hagel, which is so controversial, is everything that he needs to do as defense secretary, depends on congress saying yes. you know, if he starts off, you know, battered from his confirmation hearings, it's not going to be easy. >> that's why those issues matter so much. i agree that they have nothing to do with actually doing the job. they have to do with how ugly do the republicans want to make this process. >> isn't that the question? >> always. >> pertaining to everything in washington. how ugly, guys? how ugly? we have to leave it there.
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president obama is expected to make his announcements on chuck hagel and john brennan within the next hour. we will bring you his remarks live when we get them. first, republicans of many different strikes have acknowledged that the grand old party has a problem. so far the solutions have been scant. we will try to move past step one next on "now."
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after a bruising defeat in november and a capitulation on the fiscal cliff deal, republicans are asking themselves the truly tough questions about their party's
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future. >> presidential leadership is desperately needed. now, we know he is good at campaigning, but when does he put the campaign aside and start governing and addressing the single biggest issue confronting america and its future? >> or not at all. having lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential electrics, many in the gop remain focused not on remaking the party from the inside out, but grasping at any remaining leverage for the next round of fighting. mcconnell senator john cornyn writes "it may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country rather than mrod along in the path of greece, italy, and spain." while the gop occupies itself by holding the country's credit rating hostage, it faces a dangerously off kilter regional tilt. as the l.a. times reports, in the 112th congress outside the south the gop held two more house seats than democrats, but in the new 113th outside of the
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south democrats now hold a 24 seat advantage. this bias was evident in the fiscal cliff deal which 90% of southern republicans opposed and a majority of non-southern republicans supported. the divide between mott moderates and insurgents was most visibly on display during the plan b revolt and subsequent movement to hash tag fire boehner, but yesterday michael savage, the conservative radio host who reaches ten million americans every day, took it one step further. >> there is no republican party. it's an appendage of the democrat machine, as we've all just seen. it's two-card monty as we all know. it's a game being played against the american people. yes, we need a nationalist party in the united states of america. so what do we do about it is the question. you have the rude meants of a new party in this country called the tea party. they need to restructure their party. they need a charismatic leader, which they don't have. >> and as for the gop's de facto
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charismatic leader, this is what john boehner told the "wall street journal" about being speaker of the house. "i need this job like a need a hole in the head." oh, maggie. oh -- >> leading the troops. >> yes, really. totally. sfwroo follow him underneath the banner of merlot and cigarettes. let me ask, michael savage, a nationalist party, the terrifying -- i mean, the history of nationalist parties aside, could that actually be a good idea for the gop? get rid of the tea party, let them do their own thing, and let the rest of the people who have fully functioning brains go ahead and craft legislation? >> what savage sort of said but didn't quite say -- he said it as if the tea party actually has an infrastructure, it really doesn't. it's a bunch of loose groups. there is no clear leader. it never became a party. he is right when he said it was the rudimentary beginnings of a party. to that extent, yes. i think obviously there are republicans who are in the
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legislature nationally who are facing potential primaries in 2014 who would rather not be dealing with the thought of a primary from the right. the tea party and what it stands for represents the most urgent threat to them. i don't think it is realistic. this is essentially what the party's base wants. i don't think you're iffing to expel the tea party and turn it into some other thing. i think that the republican party as a whole is going to have to come up with sort of a new rube rick, a new umbrella that includes everybody, and i don't know how they do that. >> how do do you that at a time where you have people that think the fiscal cliff deal was a bad, bad, bad cut for them and that's 90% of southern republicans and a lion's share of their base, and then you have issues like tax reform and immigration and maybe even energy on the table, issues where we're told the president is going to go out to the country and campaign on those issues. how do you great a tent big enough for moderate republicans who want to play ball on that stuff and tea partiers who are intransigent? >> it's a really hard question,
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and the early signs we've seen of what the gop is going to do, some limited talk about how it might move on immigration, you know, some stuff from bobby jindahl about how they change their economic messaging. feels limiting. we've been writing this story about the gop soul searching for a decade at least. >> yes. >> and, you know, we always think that the idealogical conservatives will have to come to a head with a tactical republican establishment and boehner has managed this really elegantly, and so my -- >> i wouldn't say really. he managed it. >> he has managed it. right. >> he still is standing. >> he has managed it, though. that is true. >> that's a decade. you know? >> it's a decade over which the country has dramatically changed, and, again, demographics, the krensus. we look at some of those numbers that you were talking about. i mean, that's part of the reality that the gop is confronting. in terms of their big tent, i don't know that they can make it big enough to encompass enough of the people that they need to
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actually continue to win because you cannot win when you continue to -- >> there are actual american people, a voter, presumably who -- >> their base is getting smaller and smaller and smaller, and their rhetoric. it's so interesting listening to mcconnell. they've already tried this. obama has to lead. he is not leading. you know, now boehner is saying i'm not going to negotiate directly with president obama when last year it was they wanted to stuck obama in because they thought that was going to take him down. it was like, come on, guys. what are you doing, actually? what's your strategy here? i've said this before. they're going from tactic to tactic to tactic without an actual strategy or a vision of where they're actually trying to go. >> the other thing is i would say -- i apologize for interrupting. the addendum to that in terms of getting smaller and smaller, there's a chart that was laid out pretty clearly, that a lot of this is that especially in the house, i mean, nationally there is a broader problem, but in terms of congressional republicans and congressional democrats these seats have been jerry mannedered to the extent that they are fairly safe. what is the incentive for not
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doing it? >> putting party or country before that which requires -- >> i don't think either side actually has a premium on that necessarily. >> that -- i will say, though, you know -- i mean, i think it's fair to say this. you know, you look at the studies out there, and i always go back to the study of how far the republican party has swung. disproportionately right. you cannot say the same thing is happening on the left. you may have ideologue on the left. you do not nearly have as much power as those on the right, and if you look at where the party has come on issues, it used to be bipart sflan. immigration, tax reform. we are very far right at this point. >> it is fair to say that the democrats have taken over the issue of national security, but now the gop has really got strong identifiable stand there. >> i wanted to ask you because the big fight that we're -- is looming is over the debt ceiling but also sequestration, and those defense cuts and, look, defense is part of everybody's bread and butter to a certain degree, but really that hurts republicans.
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they want to play hardball on this, and it could be damaging to their base. >> it could be very damaging. not just to their base, but to the country. especially if it's done in the way that sequestration sort of forces it to be done. no question, as i said before, that the defense budget is really bloated and needs to be taken down, and there's a huge disconnect between what the united states needs to do in the world and the defense budget, which seems to lag two or three decades behind where it should be. so there's a big job to do there. the sequestration and, again, if the republicans force that to happen, just takes a meat clever to stuff you don't want to take a meat clever to. it's against their real interest. >> bloated like the lunch budget for this show. there's a difference between how many salami sandwiches we need and how many we actually eat. >> i feel like we've been purged from that for lunch today. >> it's not a big tent. not inviting -- not inviting the tea party into that tent. we are just getting in new video of chuck hagel's arrival at the
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white house moments ago. there he is. in the next hour president obama -- there he is, yeah -- is expected to announce hagel -- zoom in -- as his defense secretary nominee and john brennan as his pick to head the cia. we will take a look at brennan and his role in the administration's controversial drone program when former assistant secretary of state p.j. crowley joins us just ahead. at optionsxpress we're all about options trading.
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president is reigned in in terms of some of the decisions we're making. >> we will talk drones and america's shadow war with p.j. crowley up next. so, we all set? i've got two tickets to paradise! pack your bags, we'll leave tonight. uhh, it's next month, actually... eddie continues singing: to tickets to... paradiiiiiise! no four. remember? whoooa whooaa whooo! you know ronny, folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. and how happy are they jimmy? happier than eddie money running a travel agency. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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>> brennan takes the hem at the cia, then will he also take charge of the controversial dwroen program, one on which he has worked closely with the president while also remaining critical. according to a washington post report last october, brennan is leading efforts to curtail the cia's primary responsibility for targeted killings. he has argued it should focus on intelligence activities and leave lethal action to its more traditional home in the military, where the law requires greater transparency. in his first term, president obama drastically increased the use of predator drones.
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329 targeted strikes have taken place in pakistan since 2004, but the vast majority have taken place since 2009. although opposition to the president's use of drones has remained largely silent, that seems to be changing. two days ago in hawaii protesters paraded signs close to where the first family was vacationing, which read drones kill kids and is it really okay if obama does it? last week a federal judge ruled the administration did not need to disclose internal communications about the drone program. the "new york times" and the aclu had filed requests in 2011 for the legal justification of these targeted killings, including the drone strike that killed anwar al alaki, an american citizen living in yemen. the white house denied that request for purposes of national security. the judge approved the administration's right to keep that information classified, but still questioned the drone program, writing, "i can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the executive brarchg of our government to proclaim as
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perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret." the judge went on to write in her ruling, "the alice in wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me." let us take a look down the rabbit hole. joining us now from washington is former state department spokesman and former assistant secretary of state p.j. crowley. p.j., always great to have you on the program. >> hello, alex. >> let's talk about the use of drones, which is something that has remained largely outside of debate until recently. i wonder to what degree you think john brennan's potential appointment as head of the cia brings this topic to the fore of discussion? >> well, it should. i mean, john brennan has been arguably the closest national security advisor to the president in his first term. he has played an enormous role in the obama approach to
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counterterrorism, and obviously he is also in a position to put the drone program in this larger perspective, and there is a dichotomy here. inside the united states the use of drones are enormously popular, and one can argue there are much more effective strategy than sending 150,000 troops to afghanistan, you know, or iraq or wherever elsewhere terrorist groups are. on the other hand, you could look at a country like pakistan. 74% of pakistanis arguably the epicenter of global terrorism think the united states is the enemy. drones are having a significant and deletarious impact on public opinion, which is greatly connected -- closely connected, you know, to why people choose to blow themselves up in pursuit of violent extremism. i think john brennan will bring that perspective to the agency if confirmed. >> we talk about what is effective and what is not, and there's a sense that drone warfare is effective insofar as
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it doesn't cost as much american treasure. as p.j. points out, it's not doing wonder for us in terms of our impression as broad, and to some degree potentially radicalizing people on the ground and the sense that there's american machinery that's taking out willy nilly civilians and militants, but civilians too. they remain uncounted. what is your assessment of how much they're liable? >> the thing is that i should make clear, we're talking about targeted killings. some is by drone. some of it is by missiles and other forms. the technology has so fast outrun our own sense of how to connect this with the constitution that it's a little bit stunning, and that's why there's so much controversy. last week, for example, a shot from a drone killed six militants in a speeding car. no collateral damage that we know. it was a good clean hit. the guy they were after is a guy name malvi, a taliban commander.
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as far as i could tell, it was a perfectly legal and good thing to do, but the blowback on the ground is something that -- can be furious and last friday i was at the pentagon talking to the joint chiefs legal advisor who we talked about this at length. one of the things that they try to do as they analyze and propose strike, what's the blowback going to be. >> on the ground. >> on the ground. you can hit a guy in the house, but if all the neighbors -- if that causes them to go join the taliban, you know, you have taken a big step backwards. he was trying to persuade me that they pay attention to that when they're looking at a proposed strike, but the problem is how can do you that from washington? very, very difficult. the evidence so far is in yemen, for example, enormous blowback. you know, the analysis that i've seen is that we've caused more
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harm than good there. >> ben, i wonder, the other -- there is blowback regionally, but there has been such a lack of discussion here, and i remember the "new york times" kill list story that raised hackles in the administration. mr. obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the iraq war and torture and then insisted on improving every new name on an expanding kill list. the administration pushed back on that. the notion that here we have a constitutional scholar, someone whose moral compasses, most people acknowledge, points directly northward or we're led to believe that evaluating the moreality of things is part of his dna. this is something where dave says the constitutionalityality, the morality and the technology are often at odds with each other. >> there's two things here. one is the obama administration during that debate over the kill list pushed back really with the person of the president, and they said, you know, he takes this really seriously. he thinks really hard about this. as a legal matter with other potential administrations coming in or with the obama
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administration continuing, that seems pretty thin. the second thing here is -- p.j. alluded to this -- in some very real way the image of the american military that we're presenting to the world is no longer a g.i. as complex as that is. the aftermath of the drone strikes where it's this anonymous thing coming in from the sky, and then, you know, this village that erupts, and there's allegations of innocence being killed, and it's just -- it's not to say it's worse, but it's more complicated and complicated and n new and different ways. >> that's part of the image. in fairness, we still have troops on the ground. we do have special forces who actually embed with afghan security forces and actually where their uniform, live, eat, breathe with them. not in pakistan, but, you know, i think the political dynamic, though, here at the same time you've got this political pressure here at home, we want the wars to be over, right? we want troops coming home. we want that money back in our banks so we can do nation building here at home. if you are the president, right, but then you're saying how do
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i -- is this war on the cheap? how -- i'm not saying that's a good thing, but the tension between, you know, you don't want to send forces, actual ground troops to go and do some of these things, and i think that's part of why the drone approach, which i think also we should acknowledge is it's one tool, and to your point, by the time they've done that, there's a whole series of things that have happened in terms of intelligence to get us to the point, to make that drone strike. i do think we have to be honest with ours, and i'm not sure what the answer is. if we're going to say we need to protect our interests abroad, but we don't want to send our troops, and we want more of our guys coming home. how -- it's not an easy question. >> p.j., let me ask you. we played a little bit of sound of the president on the daily show. establishing legal architect tour to reign in any future president. as we were talking during the break, it is sort of stunning to me that they would only be kind of drawing up the legal architecture in october of this year thinking, oh, you know, maybe romney will have keys to 1600 pennsylvania avenue and be in charge of this drone program.
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i was sort of shocked that the administration hadn't done sort of more internal organization around this. >> well, a lot depends on not only what kind of strike are you talking about, but where are you talking about. any kind of strike in declared battle fields whether it's iraq before, afghanistan still, you have the authorization for the use of military forces, sound, legal basis for that. it gets a little more difficult as you move out to countries like yemen, for example. obviously a significant threat there. the basis is if you are targeting as david was talking about, a known militant, there's a good sound legal basis for that. what the agency has gotten into is something called signature strikes, which is they look at a pattern of activity which is concerning and maybe associated with terrorism but that can't necessarily pick out is it this guy, this guy, this guy. that starts to get you into a third category, and the last one is when you are fighting in a place like yemen and you are now
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targeting american sit sfwlenz where there is a legal process but not necessarily due process, so there are many of the legal issues that they have successfully worked through, but by the same token, this is obviously an evolving issue and we'll get even more complex after 2014 when the afghan war officially ends and now you're asking yourself are we still at war with the guys who are responsible for 9/11 and now are we at war with somebody else? >> we have you on the show for many reasons. your expertise is chief among them, but the fact that you just did a brilliant segue to the next flock ahead of the break is -- thank you, my friend. afghan president and white house frenemy hamid karzai as washington waives its post -- is there a winning strategy on the table? we will assess just ahead. constipated? yeah. mm. some laxatives like dulcolax can cause cramps. but phillips' caplets don't. they have magnesium.
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>> afghan president hamid karzai praised americans for their contribution over the last few years. he also blames u.s. for rising corruption and violence in his country. which karzai will show up in washington this week? we will preview his visit next on "now." [ male announcer ] rocky had no idea why dawn was gone for so long... ...but he'd wait for her forever, for any reason, and would always be there with the biggest welcome home. for a love this strong, dawn only feeds him iams. compared to other leading brands, it has 50% more animal protein. help keep rocky's body as strong as a love that never fades... if he ever lets her leave again. iams. keep love strong.
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afghan president hamid karzai is on his way to washington right now where he will meet with president obama and defense department officials later this week. the prime minister of afghanistan calls this trip one of karzai's most important visits and believes it will cast new light on the future relations with america. part of that future is what happens after 2014. the scheduled u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan. the weekend the "wall street journal" says the white house is deciding between keeping 3,000, 6,000, or 9,000 troops affect
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withdrawal. it is an apparent shift from what was recommended by general john allen who wanted between 6,000 and 15,000 remaining soldiers. this is not the first time the president and the pentagon have failed to see eye to eye. in a new book released today former commander in afghanistan stanley mcchrystal writes that he saw the emergence of an unfortunate deficit of trust between the white house and the department of defense largely arising from the decision making process on afghanistan. to me it appeared unintentional on both sides, but over time the effects were costly. meanwhile, president obama and president karzai may ob the same page about at least one thing. accelerating troop withdrawals, but for different reasons. karzai has supported a quicker drawdown and has publicly blamed -- in an interview last month he said this. >> there is for a number of years now a growing perception in afghanistan that -- that a
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significant part of -- in afghanistan is caused by the way the united states and some of its allies promoted lawlessness in afghanistan by spreading corruption in afghanistan. >> after 11 years of war 2,000 american lives lost and more than $1 trillion spent. karzai's assertion that the u.s. is part of the problem is hardly an incentive for a continuing investment of american blood and treasure. p.j., we still have you with us. let's talk a little bit about the withdrawal. i mean, at this point is there any incentive to stay there any longer than we have to and to not accelerate the timetable for withdrawal given how both sides feel about this? >> it really depends on what you want to accomplish in the future in afghanistan. i essential agree with the premise that the sooner that we can get from the war footing we're currently on to a long-term partnership however that's going to be shaped the better. it's better for afghanistan.
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it's better for the united states. that's what the leaders will talk about this week. we know that there will be a fundamental change come 2015. it's how do we get from here to there? what's the ramp in terms of the withdrawal of current forces there. now, a lot depends in 2014. john allen wants to keep more there longer, to have one more full fighting season. that has some advantages and lots of disadvantages. at the same time come 2015, as you were talking about, alex, with these various troop levels, depending on the number of troops, are you there to continue to battle insurgents in pakistan? are you there to try to continue to help afghan forces mature knowing that the cost of that is are these episodic, you know, blue on green, you know, shooting episodes that we've tragically seen, you know, in recent months and are you there in case there is, in fact, a political settlement between the
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afghan government with pakistan's help and the taliban? are you there to assure that whatever political agreement comes forward is actually enforced. it depends on what you want to try to do that will tell you what the nature of the partnership should be going forward. >> dave, in terms of the legacy -- speaking of the taliban in terms of the legacy here. the taliban released a statement on wednesday. they want to flee from afghanistan just as they turn tail and ran from vietnam. when america faced utter destruction in vietnam, they came up with the formula declare victory and run and want to utilize the formula of transfer security and run here in afghanistan. what do you make of that? >> wow. >> yeah. >> taliban has a p.r. shop. who knew? >> who knew? >> the taliban. >> where is it written that the united states in its adventures abroad has to acquire such perplexing enemies and really irritating allies, like president karzai? >> as well.
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>> here's a guy who is coming to washington to ask for certain things, and he is saying you caused all this corruption here. you know, he is something of a -- we did pour billions of dollars in there. there was probably insufficient supervision of what they were doing with our money but really he has been sort of an irritant for 11 years, and he is about to exit. things will change. >> maggie, in terms of sort of anything that might have bipartisan support, getting out of afghanistan would seem to be one of those things that nobody really wants to talk about, and that everybody is sort of -- if you are talking about right and left, that it needs to end, but what happens after that? will there be, you know -- the general consensus is it's not going to look pretty no matter what happens, no matter what our timetable from withdrawal is. does that become a liability for the president or democrats moving into the next election cycle? >> it's a real issue, and i think it's also really revved up in what we're going to see with the nomination with chuck hagel right now. it's impossible to sort of separate out these two conversations. i think that you are going to see people on both sides of the
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aisle press hagel during his nomination hearings assuming that we get to that point, and i assume we will, because i don't think this is going to get yanked for any particular reason barring anything new coming up. i think we're going to see him get pressed for specifics about exactly where he stands. he has said he is going to follow the president's policy, and so this is going to be used to try to extract as much of a bit of information about that as well. >> the fact that he is a decorated war hero, hagel is. they've said that, inasmuch as anything. i think these are decision ez will make with full heart and sound mind. >> hopefully we'll go to the exact point that p.j. was making. it's sad that 11 years later we're still having this conversation later. what are we trying to do? let's declare vikt have i and figure it out and go. that's part of what americans are feeling, and i think both sides politically would like to find an out on this one because it's getting uglier and uglier, and they're losing support from the american people. >> the president said in may of this year, but the answer is clear.
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our goal is not to build a country in america's image or to eradicate every vestage of the taliban. these would require many more years. our goal is to destroy al qaeda, and -- narrowing the definition of what constitutes a victory in afghanistan to basically show us the exit. >> it would have been great if that was the strategy from the -- five years ago. i don't envy any of these people, their position. karzai is in an awfully hard position. obama is too. this is not going to be a pretty chapter in our history, you know, at all. >> it is, indeed. former assistant secretary of state p.j. crowley, thank you, as always, for your time and expertise, my friend, and thank you to our panel here in new york. david wood, maggie haberman, karen finney, benjamin wallace wells. that is all for now. see you back here tomorrow noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when i'm joined by eric dyson, ryan rim, the nation's katrina, and bloomberg business week's josh green. until then, find us at with alex. andrea mitchell reports is coming up next. andrea, i second you my
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condolences on last night's game and rg3's knee. >> it is a hard day for redskins fans. redskins nation. thank you, alex. coming up live this hour, president obama is about to nominate chuck hagel as defense secretary and john brennan to head the cia. we'll have the announcement just a few moments from now. plus, chuck todd, tom pickering, and one of his chief opponents, senator john cornin. chris alissa, and michael lighter, susan page, look marcus. andrea mitchell reports is next on mshs. not their short-term ag. [ male announcer ] join the nearly 7 million investors who think like you do. face time and think time make a difference. at edward jones, it's how we make sense of investing.
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this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. just minutes from now president obama will fill out his national security team by naming former republican senator chuck hagel as defense secretary and his white house counterterrorism advisor john brennan to head the cia. hagel a decorated vietnam veteran and intelligence advisor to the president is already running into a buzz saw of
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opposition from his former republican colleagues. >> he has long severed his ties with the republican party. this is an in your face nomination by the president. >> he will be facing tough questions for senator hagel, but he will be treated fairly by republicans in the senate. >> coming up here we've got it all covered with hagel supporter ambassador thomas pickering, hagel creditic republican senator john cornyn and the nation's first openly gay senator wisconsin democrat tammy baldwin. back to work the state department releases the first picture of hillary clinton back on the job after being hospitalized for a blood clot in the head. upon her return the secretary received a gag gift. we'll have pictures coming up. a white football helmet with a state department seal on it. protective head gear from falling at home. good day. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington where president obama is about to complete his foreign policy team by nominating chuck hagel to head the pentagon and john brennan to take over the
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ceo. michael lighter. and nbc news chief white house correspondent and political director chuck todd. chuck, first to you. the calculus behind naming chuck hagel despite all the warnings that he got from republicans and the senate. lindsay graham and john cornyn. we'll hear from him shortly. why go ahead with this pick? >> well, by the way, it's also despite some warnings from some. >> exactly. >> democratic senators. not -- there's not a whole big constituency of supporters for chuck hagel among that crowd either. although he has some key prominent support from someone like jack reid that aren't respected rhode island senator. look, the thinking was this, andrea.


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