tv Up W Chris Hayes MSNBC February 26, 2012 8:00am-10:00am EST
vo: earn points for the things you're already buying. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. good morning from new york. i'm chris hayes. amid continued anger over the burning of korans in afghanistan, two american officers were killed there yesterday, prompting nato to pull some officials from kabul. and former south african president nelson mandela is in stable condition after a diagnostic procedure for abdominal home and is expected to go home today or tomorrow. that's some good news. joining me today, we have ann marie slaughter, professor of politics and international affairs at princeton university and former director of policy planning for the state department. the author of the book, "between
two worlds" her father served as saddam's personal pilot. elise jordan, former speech writer to condoleezza rice. and for the first time, my friend and colleague, jeremy skahill, one of the greatest reporters on national security we have. national security correspondent for "the nation." he just got back from reporting in yemen and has the cover story in the magazine's current issue. you definitely want to check that out. let's start with syria. the syrian city of homs continues to endure shelling by president bashar al assad's regime. syrian activists say close to 200 people have been killed in just the last two days. this is a satellite picture from friday of homs where the syrian military has been shelling and a pipeline has exploded. this week, the united nations issued a report saying bashar al assad must be held accountable for killing his own people. some of the stuff documented in the report is just appalling, from torturing children to mass executions.
on friday in tunisia, secretary of state hillary clinton suggested a syrian military coup could topple assad. later, president obama was asked about the situation in syria. >> we are going to continue to keep the pressure up and look for every tool available to prevent the slaughter of innocents in syria. it's important that we not be bystanders during these extraordinary events. >> still, the international community seems to be at a loss over what to do next. one of our panelists has a suggestion. ann marie slaughter wrote an op-ed in "the new york times" on thursday with the title "how to halt the butchery in syria." in it, she writes, "simply arming the opposition, in many ways the easiest option, would bring about exactly the scenario the world should fear most, a proxy war that would spill sb lebanon, turkey, iraq, and yordán and fracture syria along sectarian lines. it could also allow al qaeda and other terrorist groups to gain a foothold in syria and perhaps gain access to chemical and
biological weapons. there is an alternative. the friends of syria, some 70 countries scheduled to meet in too tunis today, should establish no-kill zones now to protect all syrians." it's essentially a very long article, it's got one by line reported by 50 other people that says, basically what a total mess. the amount of conflict and conflagration that can be unleashed here, particularly compared to, say, libya, which was less strategically vital, less proximate to the most sort of powder keg aspects of the middle eastern region. i want to ask you about what i thought was a contradiction in that op-ed. you say up top, don't -- arming the rebels, which, again, we have john mccain and lindsey graham, who, you know, if all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail. every time something happens,
they either want to bomb it or send arms to the rebels. they're saying we should send arms to the rebels. you're saying that could have a significant blowback effect. but a few paragraphs down, when you talk about creating this no-kill zone, it sounds like what you're saying is we should get arms to the rebels. so i'm confused, what is the path forward here? >> so i am saying you should get some arms to some rebels. the difference is, if you simply arm the rebels full stop, you're really turning what was a political opposition against the government into a sectarian civil war, increasingly. what i'm saying won't save homs, because i'm talking about creating no-kill zones near the borders in cities that aren't now under attack. and to do that, you would have to have some arms, but many fewer, because those aren't cities that are currently under attack. and that those zones would, a, protect those cities, but also could gradually spread, and they would be zones where there's no revenge killing. so this is --
>> a refuge, essentially. >> well, they're not a -- i doubt many people can get to them, but they're at least protecting those places that are not now under attack in many places, they are places where the opposition already controls much of the territory. but one of the key things is, within those zones, there's no killing, revenge killing, or the government's killing. so part of what you're doing is letting the minorities know, it is possible to have a majority, to have the opposition in power and not have revenge killing. >> and i read your op-ed. one of the issues i have, though, when you use the phrase, "the opposition," there's not any one single group. in fact, some of those groups are fighting each other. the painful reality, as horrifying as the images are that we're seeing come out of syria and the incredible brutality of the assad regime is that this is a civil war. and the united states getting involved in any way in a civil war, i think, returns us to a very, very dangerous precedent.
yes, you watch this and you want to do something about it, because it's horrifying to watch human suffering, but we need less u.s. military involvement in the middle east entirely. >> i didn't propose -- >> i know, i know you're not. but what you're proposing with the no-kill zones would, eventually, necessitate some military presence. no-fly zones are not just simply no-fly zones. they turn into regime change in libya. and the fact is that the u.s. is dangerously coming back to a period where regime change is the name of the game. it's a slippery lope. assist slippery slope. >> let's imagine right now, he uses chemical weapons and wipes out a city like homs. are we going to do nothing? really, nothing? >> first of all, there are all sorts of indications that that there is no intent on the part of the assad government to use chemical weapons -- >> of course not, because then we would come in. this is a gradual -- >> this is a proxy war. you have united states and britain on the other side -- >> no, that's what it's becoming. >> you're proposing putting in
qatar, which has become a proxy -- >> they're already on the ground -- >> of course, and the united arab emirates, they're both proxy forces for the u.s. at this point. >> that's ridiculous. >> they get tremendous u.s. military funding, they did it in libya -- >> can i ask this? >> you're absolutely -- this is exactly what assad wanted. you had people demonstrating for ten months, peacefully, in these cities, not sectarian, demonstrating against a regime that started when he was torturing kids, for completing. this is the same kind of protests we saw in tunis, we saw in egypt, we saw in libya. he said, these are terrorist instigat instigators, he started firing. gradually, soldiers deflected and started protecting the protesters. and of course, that's what he wants. he says, this is a sectarian civil war. you're now playing exactly into his narrative. i'm saying, there are demonstrations all over is syria -- >> you're denying there's a civil war? >> yes, i'm denying it. >> it has become a civil war. >> it is becoming a civil war.
you still have soldiers defecting to try to protect innocent protesters. that's what this is. >> so you have soldiers defecting, and at the same time, you have free syrian army shooting at the very soldiers that -- >> let me just -- >> that's a civil war. >> to lay the groundwork of how this escalation has happened, it did start with there were children, teenagers who wrote -- people demand to follow the regime, which is the iconic arab phrase that had resonated through the region. they were detained, they were tortured, that started the real kind of bout of uprising, and it did look very much like the arab spring. there was tremendous violence repression, the violence repression led to arming on the part of the dissidents and the protesters, but that has now spread into something that -- and this definitional question, i think, is at the core, right, of what american policy is going forward. zena, last time you were here,
we were talking about libya, and you're iraqi, and you've both sort of seen the arab spring unfold and the organization you work for is largely about the sort of violence and destruction visited upon women in war zones, right? so i think you're disposed to be skeptical of military solutions and i'm curious of what you make of the syrian situation from that perch? >> i would argue that it's an extension of the arab spring, it is the arab spring, it's part of it. it's more complex, just like in iraq. >> just so folks know, the alowhites are the rulining cliq around assad. >> right, associated with shias, though somehow not exclusively. it brings more complexities to this situation. it brings the civil war elements of it. but just like in iraq, i think, the idea that we are all iraqis never stopped exists.
and i would argue that the idea that everyone is a syrian and is against an oppressive regime is not -- is definitely the highlight, the banner, where everyone is demonstrating against. that's one thing. i tend to agree that america should just, just leave it alone. and i don't think that you're arguing with that. >> i don't. i'm not. >> i do think that america should leave this alone. it is very, very complex. but i do agree that turkey intervention, qatar's other own neighboring country's intervention in a way that protects the civilian population. >> let me just clarify one thing. one thing that i -- and i appreciate your passion on this, anne-marie, and i do think you're operating from a position of sincerity and concern. and i am too, in what i'm saying. and i think what there's no room for in the discourse right now is being both against the assad regime and the slaughter that's taking place there. and i've been very clear on this. that is a murderous, brutal regime. but you also can be very
concerned about the potential for blowback and instability and an increase in instability and violence caused by outside intervention. and what about -- are you opposed to the idea that the turks would enable the free syrian army on their border to establish a safe zone? >> who is the free syrian army? >> the free syrian army are soldiers that have defected because they will not -- >> not -- >> so i am proposing -- >> you're saying we should have allies arm them. >> i am saying, are you really opposed, given what's happening, the turks originally said -- >> the answer's yes. >> but if they cross the border, that's war with turkey. you're saying it's not okay if they arm people that defected from an army because they won't fire on their own people to establish a safe zone? >> i think you're over-simplifying who free syrian army are. i think we don't know. look what happened -- and you were supportive of intervention in libya. look what's happened in libya. the militia, the tyranny. >> yes, and i think it's better than gadhafi.
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we're in the midst of a discussion about syria. and i'm really glad that we're having this discussion. i think we played a clip about president obama that we can't just be bystanders. i think that gets to the essential core issue here. and a core argument about american foreign policy and the vision of america within, i would say, broadly the center left in the post-iraq era, and it's one that extends all the way back to the balkans, a place you've done reporting, jeremy, which is about what that phrase means on the ground, right? and the efficacy of using implements of violence, when we're talking about arms, that's what we're talking about, as a means to protecting civilians, to humanitarian intervention. and elise, you're someone who
was in the bush administration and i'm curious what you make of that as someone who's not sort of necessarily within the center left coalition about this, but how you see it. >> i'm always cautious about advocating for intervention, because we're not necessarily that great at it. and with syria, there are still a lot of diplomatic measures we can still use, such as, the opposition has to do a better job of telling the alawites, yes, you'll have a place in post-assad syria. telling the military, yes, you'll have a place if you defect. and telling the business community in syria, hey, you're going to be opened up to the world, this is going to be a positive for you, getting them behind this. >> and i want to ask you about yemen, since we're in the region anyway, and you just got back from there. yemen, there's some similarities in that it began as a nonviolent revolt against the regime, they were brutally repressed, shot down in the streets, they began to arm, they became then a
violent insurrection, in fact, the presidential palace was shelled. how has it played out after that? the point that the presidential palace was shelled, and the president came to the u.s. for medical treatment, the story kind of dropped off the map. but in some ways, it seems to bear some analogies as to what's happening in syria. i'm curious as to what's happening there now. >> none of these countries are identical in the way that the uprisings in the arab world has taken place. yemen just had a transition of power to one of the vice presidents. they had an election where only one person was on the ballot and you couldn't vote yes or no. if you say that wants to be -- i remember that the last time saddam was elected with 101% of the vote. >> name and address. >> and your children's name. >> look. i think the part of the problem, the similarity with yemen is more bahrain, where the united states has military interests in bahrain that have guided the
policy. the fifth fleet is based there and i think the u.s. took a very different position on bahrain than it did on some of these other countries. in yemen, u.s. counter terrorism officials have said for a long time that the premiere terrorist threat to the united states, externally, comes from al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, which is this group inside of yemen. and so the united states was very slow to call for the departure of ali abdullah saleh. eventually the obama administration said he did need to step down, but let's remember, saleh's military is back trained by the united states, particularly the guard forces and the counterterrorism forces. at a time the brutality was being released on nonviolent protesters, john brennan and other officials were saying, our relationship with saleh has never been better. when the counterterrorism unit started turning on their own people, the ones funded and trained by the u.s., the obama administration smartly pulled out those trainers. but the reality is that u.s.
counterterrorism obsession with yemen trumped concern for human rights. >> that's not true. >> well, it is true. >> it's not true. i mean, it is certainly true we were -- everything you say about we were training, we were working closely with saleh, but if we go back, you will see pretty soon after the demonstrations started, diplomatically, secretary clinton started changing for a change, and the united states was active ly working with othe countries to get him out of power, and in the end, we brokered with egypt to get him out. it was a case where we turned against our counterterrorism interests. >> while ali abdullah saleh is not the head, vice president is now the president, and he said, very clearly, the vice president who's now president, said very clearly, the counterterrorism relationship with the u.s. will continue. if you look at u.s. military funding of yemen -- >> that's true in egypt too. >> -- it is dramatically,
dramatically more than any civilian funding on the ground. u.s. funding is a tiny portion of the military funding that the u.s. gives to yemen. >> is this actually a debate about the left. >> no, no, it's not -- well, yes, it is -- >> are you saying -- are you saying that that's a good thing? >> no, i'm saying that the united states has become so obsessed with aqap, which is a group of maybe 700 to a thousand -- >> al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. >> and has completely showered couldn't terrorism funding on saleh's regime. that money has been taken and turned on its own people. the u.s. was complicit in the violent crackdown of saleh's violent crackdown against the protesters because they didn't cut him off after he started getting brutal. >> no, he helped get him out. >> does the administration want a cookie for that? they were supporting him at the height of his brutality. >> it's the fact that america supports it --
>> no, no. america supports to the middle east. and unless there's a shift in the engagement in the middle east, shift that money from military to development, to creating jobs. because that's what the arab spring is all about. i don't see -- i mean, i agree with you, that america always supported the middle east and we have to stop that. and the engagement in syria is a very complex one. there's sunni shia in it, hezbollah, iraq in it. america has to show support, but not in engagements. >> since we're in the thicket of this dilemma, let's make it even more complicated by bringing the most sort of intense and high-stakes issue to the table, which is iran. we'll talk about iran and what we should do about iran and how the past colors are perfect perceptions of what the path forward is in the middle east, right after this. dave, i've downloaded a virus. yeah. ♪ dave, where are we on the new laptop?
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status of rick santorum has forced the republican party and the conservative establishment to do what it has steadfastly refused to do for the last four years -- acknowledge and wrestle with the legacy of the previous republican president. during wednesday night's debate, santorum was hounded by questions about his record in the united states senate, a record that seems to fly in the face of current tea party orthodoxy. in 20 debates so far, the republican candidates have mentioned barack obama 533 times, ronald reagan 136 times, and george w. bush just 42 times, by our count, anyway. and while his name didn't come up so often on wednesday night, george w. bush, the nation's 43rd president, let's not forget, loomed over rick santorum. what went unsaid, of course, is all of the major betrayals of which santorum stands accused were done in support of president bush, karl rove, and tom delay's agenda. the massive deficits, the growth in government spending, the new prescription drug benefit, and the largest education funding
bill ever, no child left behind. when confronted with his vote for his last piece of legislation, santorum was reduced to giving this as a defense. >> sometimes you take one for the team for the leader and i made a mistake. you know, politics is a team sport, folks. >> you hear the boos in the middle of that? to the extent conservatives have wrestled with the bush legacy, they have come to the conclusion that the problem that george bush wasn't really a conservative. this despite the fact that bush called himself a conservative, the people around him called themselves conservatives, and his support among voter who is self-described a conservative, was for the duration of his term, higher than among other groups. in this telling, bush was a lover of big government, so his failures aren't failures of conservatism, but failure to be sufficiently conservative. like those unreconstructed marxists who will tell you that real communism has never really been tried. but to focus on bush's rise in
spending ignores the long brutal war he launched and the signature failure of his time in office, the war in iraq. the iraq war is the other absent ghost that haunts the republican party. no one ever wants to talk about it ever. and because no one in the party has ever really grappled with the bloody, expensive, horrifying crime that was iraq. you'll notice that rick santorum had to defend his vote for no child left behind and raising the debt ceiling, but not his vote to send the u.s. to war based on a lie. a war that killed 5,000 americans and an estimated 100,000 iraqis. 100,000 men, women, and child. those deaths, that horrible chapter, has been sucked down a well of amnesia on the right, and what it means is that the entire republican blestablishmes from the current crop of candidates to the wise men who sit in the senate are now going to advocate aggression towards
iran. it is surreal. >> he has, indeed, stepped up his capacity to produce and deliver biological weapons, that he has reconstituted his nuclear program to develop a nuclear weapon. >> i'm concerned about iran, not only because of what they've attempted for years to the try to do in iraq, but also because they're aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons. >> saddam hussein is part of the problem. he has weapons of mass destruction. >> containing a nuclear-armed iran is unacceptable. we must prevent them from getting nuclear capability. >> we're going to find out massive evidence of weapons of mass destruction. >> the american people need to know more about what the iranians have done. ieds have killed americans, supporting terrorist organizations, nuclear weapons. >> this is the first -- a very big step, but the first step in an ongoing effort to change the middle east. >> i prefer an unstable middle east without an iranian nuclear weapon that are unstable at least with an iranian nuclear
weapon. >> we have tried everything with peaceful measures to get saddam hussein to get rid of his weapons of mass destruction, which we know he has and the world community knows he has. >> no one is safe, no one is safe from asymmetric threats, terrorism, and that's what iran will be all about, unless we stop them from getting that nuclear weapon. >> sometimes, i think, this can't possibly be happening. after the horror of the last decade, are we really going to countenance a preemptive strike against a middle eastern country that is supposedly attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction? the lesson of iraq was not, as the conservative establishment seems to think, that we waged the wrong preemptive war, but rather, that preemptive war is wrong. it's not, whoops, it would have been better if we had better intelligence, it was that attacking a country unprovoked is criminal. it violates basic international norm and moral codes. if conservatives really want to
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so, by reducing the impact of production... and protecting our land and water... i might get a job once we graduate. all right, huhman madge is a journalist and a former entertainment industry executive. he was born in iran, came to the u.s. for college, stayed in the u.s. after the iranian revolution. when mahmoud ahmadinejad spoke at the united nations in '98, hueman spoke as his translitter. it's a pleasure to have you here. >> thank you. thanks, glad to be here. >> as someone who i think as much as anyone is living between the two worlds of the united states and iran, i just want to get your initial impressions about how you are watching this national conversation emerging, here in the united states about iran and iran's possible attempts to acquire nuclear weapons.
i want to hedge as much as possible. and the conversation actually happening in iran, which, of course, we never think about or talk about at the united states. >> well, the conversation in iran isn't very much about the nuclear issue. the nuclear issue is a popular issue in iran, still is. the conversation in iran is a conversation that people have everywhere in the world. ordinary people have everywhere in the world, which is, how do i make a living? how do i survive on a day-to-day basis when there's all this pressure. not just from the outside, but also from your own government, in iran. and so people aren't only thinking about the nuclear issue that much. in terms of getting bombed, they are thinking of it. and the potential to be bombed. particularly with all the current threats against iran. but day-to-day, life goes on. people are not happy economically, which is a thing that everywhere in the world, people want economic security first. but beyond that, they have their ordinary lives. people are -- you know, there's certain anti-government movements within iran, still, but not to the degree that we
saw in 2009, certainly, and there isn't anything like the arab spring happening in iran, or even the beginning of an arab spring. >> why is that the case? we saw the amazing uprising in the streets in 2009, and in some ways, it was a precursor. obviously, we should be clear that it has a different language and tradition. but it's in the region, and there are some obvious similarities in terms of this outpouring of civil discourse. >> in a strange way, though, the iranian government, the iranian regime has said, the precursor was our revolution of 1979. but what's happening in the arab spring is that people have come together and demanded the fall of a regime. we want this regime to go. which is exactly what happened in 1979 iran. we want the shah to go. they didn't really think about what came next. and many people were disappointed. >> the marksists who were part of that. >> and the israelis have warned
everyone and said, look, you don't know what you're going to get yet. of course, we see what's happening in egypt to some degree, and tunisia, obviously, in libya, where the islamists are gaining power and this could happen in syria as well. what happened in iran in 2009 was not about regime change. it never began as regime change. there were certain elements of society that do want -- did want, and still do want regime change. but that wasn't the call of the people. the people were really upset about what they thought was a fraudulent. they came out and demanded a recount, demanded a change, ar unable to get the government to fwree to any kind of compromise. >> i want to follow up on that right after we take this break. . but what's even more surprising is that brushing alone isn't enough to keep it clean. fortunately, you've got listerine. unlike brushing which misses 75% of your mouth, listerine cleans virtually your entire mouth. so what are you waiting for?
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>> and i think the more likely, and emory, you made a very good and important point during the break, if you would like to say -- >> well, i was pointing out that unlike with the iraq war, leon panetta, the secretary of defense, the cia, obama himself are all saying, we don't actually have evidence that iran is trying to make a nuclear weapon. and the administration is pushing against -- >> as opposed to leaning into. >> saying, we don't think you should bomb. >> it's astonishing that the republican nominees keep on talking about an iranian nuclear weapons program, as if it exists and wants to have a bomb. >> not even close. >> and we're sending people to jerusalem to say, we really don't think you should do this, sanctions may work. >> and yet at the same time, and yet at the same time, there seems to be a consensus, although not a bedrock consensus, but some consensus among the political elites of israel that some kind of military strike is imminent or necessary.
and my question to you is, you know, one of the things we've seen, and chris hedges in his great book writes about this very beautifully, at tabout the way that attacks on a country destroy dissent. he talked about being in the british war, all of a sudden all the leftists he knew were in the streets supporting the military dictatorship because they had this external faux. and i wonder what you think the consequences in iran would be? >> well, the day after 9/11, the flags on park avenue here were -- i've never seen anything like that, george bush's popularity went to, what, 99% or something like that? i think that's true. it's a cliche, but it's true. yes, if iran's attacked, in any way, militarily, by any country, iranians will -- i won't say rally around the regime, they'll rally around the nation. people will come together and fight, as they did, they fought saddam hussein in the 1980s during the iran/iraq war. no question about it.
israel -- the israeli people or jews are not unpopular in iran. iran is not an anti-semitic nation, the way some other countries in the nation are. there is anti-semitism there, and the president you could consider anti-semite. but they're very anti-israeli government policy towards the palestinians. but if israel were to attack iran, the iranian people would become very anti-israel people. >> and here's one area where anne-marie and i absolutely agree. if you look at the approach of the obama administration versus the approach of the bsh administration, it's very interesting that the people pushing hardest for an attack on iran are the same people who have ph.ds in liying going back to the invasion of iraq. i was speaking to a very senior cia analyst, and he told me a story that right after 9/11,
wolfowitz and rumsfeld were really pushing to invade iraq. and this analyst stood up, in fact, tenant recounts this in his book, this analyst stood up and said to them, and was pretty brave to do this at that time, because it was right after 9/11, if you're going to invade iraq, it's not because they have wmd, it's because you want regime change, because there are not wmd. they went to the cia 20 times to say, give us different intelligence. there was a big piece in "the new york times" yesterday, interviewing all of these intelligence analysts on iran, former intelligence analysts, current intelligence analysts, who are saying that iran was not nearly as far along in the production of a nuclear weapon as is is being implied by the neocons and the very people that delivered us the lie-laden war against iraq. it's also important to remember, hillary clinton and joe biden both supported the invasion of iraq, and i think maybe they learned a lesson from that in the way that they're approaching iran right now. >> by the way, we shouldn't be
talking about -- in my opinion, we shouldn't be talking about whether iran is close to having a nuclear weapon or not. does it really matter? do we want to go war? does it matter if they're two years away, five years away? it's not like, oh, my god, they're going to -- even if they have a nuclear weapon, let's talk about that too. >> i'm glad you raise that point. because i think it's important to push out the sort of -- push outside of the box that we're contained in when we talk in these discussions, which tend to be these cost benefit analyses. well, if they have, then we'll bomb. it's only in this area of political life that we think, well, we have this problem and violence can solve it. there's no other area of life, i don't know, my neighbor's going to do this, and if he does, i'm going to go over to his house and smash him. the fact is, we've rejected this as a means of dealing with people. now i'm sounding like a utopian
lefty. >> but we're immune from international law in the u.s. as the world's most powerful nation, we're immune and can do whatever we want. >> but there's a shift. the shift has happened in the middle east. the shift has happened, that the people want stability, they want to have a normal life, they want to have jobs. that's everything about the arab revolution. and as you said, everything about what the iranians want. america has to make the shift. america is still engaging in the old narrative of war and military engagement and all of that. i'm not saying the american administration -- >> -- wanted to elevate development. he wanted to make development equal to diplomacy and defense. and this administration has put more emphasis on trying to engage women and young people -- >> completely. >> this is where we have to go. >> absolutely. and i'm talking about the republican -- i'm talking about america as a whole. overseas, america is not seen as democrats and republican, it has seen as america.
>> and let me make this point. one of the thing that's troubling about the iran conversation is that gratifyingly, the administration has taken a very different approach, leon panetta has been skeptical public, and leaking stories about how they're telling israelis it's a bad idea. but the conversation still seems to be infected with this basic presumption that they're trying to get a nuclear weapon, they're so and so far away from it, and how can we make a decision within that set of sort of stipulated facts about whether they should be bombed or not. >> but this narrative plays right into the hands of the iranian regime. they can say, the threats we're under, apart from being able to suppress any dissent in iran, we've always said that america is really about regime change. so all these threats and all this stuff about we're going to get bombed, the sanctions and all that, nobody in iran believes that the sanctions are going to work, that they're going to stop the iranian government from pursuing their nuclear -- >> look, in the first place,
speaking of international law, iran is a signatory to the nonproliferation treaty and it's not allowed -- >> and it's abiding by it. >> well, if you think it has a nuclear weapons program, and i do think it has a nuclear weapons program, in the sense that it's enriching uranium -- >> that's not a weapons program. it's enriching uranium because the united states refused to sell them the fuel rods for the -- >> oh, the iaea is actually further ahead on this right now than the administration. the iaea says, we think there's a lot of evidence that they have a nuclear weapons program -- >> based on? >> based on the iaea's inspections -- >> no, the iaea admits that that doubt is based on foreign intelligence -- >> no, right now -- >> not the iaea's own inspectors. >> so do we really want -- so iran has a bomb the -- >> hypothetically! >> thought experiment. >> let's say iran has a bomb, i
think we could deter it from attacking israel. but then let's assume, saudi arabia says, we need a bomb, pakistan supplies it. which is totally plausible, because the saudis have helped pakistans. and then turkey says, well, they have a bomb, we need a bomb. and then egypt says, we need a bomb. is that a good thing? >> obviously, it's not. and what we're seeing is the unraveling -- >> that's why we're concerned -- >> no, that's creating an imaginary problem and acting upon it and then -- >> why not disincentivize iran from ever taking that step to build a bomb. >> i agree with that -- >> but it seems like disincentivizing iran to take that step is exactly the policy -- >> but sanctions aren't disincentivizing -- >> well, what would? >> you're crippling the iranian people with sanctions, you're eliminating a middle class. >> but if sanctions don't work, i want to hear from you right after this what will, after the break.
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peter, this is the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. >> so saddam hussein did that? >> no, the iraqi army? >> no. >> that iraqi lady? >> no, iraq had nothing to do this, it was a bunch of saudi arabians, lebanese, and egyptians. >> so you're saying we need to invade iran? >> that's a great clip from "the family guy." >> brilliant. >> caricaturing the worst aspects about intervention in iran. when we left off, the question i want to ask is, and again, i think that it's not -- we should be very leer that it just is not -- it is not established that iran has a weapons program, right? >> correct. >> but let's say they are considering having one, and in fact, let's say, rationally, it's not the craziest idea in the world to want a nuclear weapons program. it tends to track pretty well with who has a nuclear bomb and
who doesn't, in the sense that libya, let's all remember, gave up, famously, their nuclear weapons program, and gadhafi went before the arab league in this amazing speech and went, oh, yeah, you all think you're friends of the americans, but they'll be coming for you next. and we know what happened to gadhafi. it's not irrational they would pursue a nuclear weapon. >> it's not irrational, that's true. >> so if we want to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon, as someone committed to nonproliferation, i am that camp, what can be done if sanctions don't work? >> threats. the way that the current atmosphere of threats against iran, that we're going to bomb you, we're going to bomb you, is much more incentivizing to build a weapon or put it on a fast track than it is to deinincentivizing. and to deincentivize is to bring them back into the world community, the kbeshl, economic community. we've had sanctions on iran for over 30 years, the united states has, and now they've intensified and we have pressure on other countries to go ahead with other sanctions. iran is capable of withstanding
sanctions. i don't know for how long. the regime is not going to crumble tomorrow because of sanctions. it's not going to happen in a short time. >> although at the top of your blog, i should mention that you said, the economic situation there is dire, there is economic discontent because of it, and there is a connection between those two things. >> sure there's a connection between the sanctions and the economic situation, but right now the iranian people are not blaming their own government for it, at this point. they may in the future, but right now they're not. they're not saying, you've got to change, you've got to give up our nuclear program in order to ease the effect of the sanctions. >> two points. one, the elephant in the room here is the fact that israel has a very vibrant nuclear weapons program, 200 plus nuclear weapons. and quite likely is behind the assassination of iranian nuclear scientists. i mean, the fact is that we talk about a nuclear-free middle east, israel's exempt from that in the say way that israel is exempt from that. >> something we've talked about before, we have photos, these are three of the five men we
have pictures for, who have been -- >> i was in iran when one of them was assassinated back in july. i was in iran when military bases started blowing up in iran as well, which everybody in iran blamed mossad back then, way before nbc had a program on it. o it was assumed this the israelis were doing it. >> and the israelis have not exactly issued stern denials of their culpability. you have the mossad saying, i won't say what we did, but i'm not losing any sleep over it. >> and the people who live in iran, they have grown up in iran, they don't travel all the time, they don't think of someone working on the nuclear program as someone who's working for the regime or working for the ayatollahs. they don't think of a bomb being an ayatollah's bomb. they think of these as ordinary people who went to universities, studied, have jobs, wives. so when they get blown up, it really affects popular opinion inside iran. and it's not a good thing. apart from the moral aspect of it, it's not even good in terms of what the iranian public
opinion is going to be toward u.s. or israel. >> can i ask you this question? i know you were going to say something, but as someone who's in the state department and is intimately familiar with the internal policy-making apparatus in the u.s., as anyone, i think, at this table, can the u.s. stop israel from going ahead with a strike? >> no. no. i mean, the israel wants to do this, we can't stop them. we're doing everything we can to stop them, including tightening the sanctions. one of the reasons the sanctions are as tight as they are is that the israelis basically have said, you know, you've got to stop -- prove to us you can stop this some other way, because in the end, we're going to do it militarily. i do not support bombing iran, but i do think it's necessary to remember, the president of iran has -- denies that the holocaust exists, denies it right here, and also does say that israel should be wiped off -- >> let's not talk about the the president of iran -- >> no, i just want to point out that it's not crazy for israel to worry about a country that says it shouldn't exist, having
a -- >> let me say, it is not crazy to worry about an iranian nuclear bomb, but the conversation extends. >> but why do we -- >> no, no, sir. >> thank you. >> thanks so much for, thanks for coming on. gas prices after this. [ tom ] we invented the turbine business right here in schenectady. without the stuff that we make here, you wouldn't be able to walk in your house and flip on your lights. [ brad ] at ge we build turbines that power the world. they go into power plants which take some form of energy, harness it, and turn it into more efficient electricity. [ ron ] when i was a kid i wanted to work with my hands,
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well, from new york, i'm chris hayes. a quick update on a headline we brought you last hour, and a heartening one. nelson mandela, the former president of south africa, who was hospitalized this weekend for abdominal this pain, was released from the hospital and we wish him well. dan dickers joins us now, author of "oil's endless bid." jack with us is a zainab, elise jordan, former speech writer for
condoleezza rice, and jonathan skahill, national security correspondent for "the nation." the intense calls for iran is adding uncertainty to the world's oil markets. crude oil is up well over $100 a barrel, trading at $109.62 yesterday. according to the aaa, the average price for a tank of regular gas has spiked more than 50 cents a gallon since last february. on thursday, president obama laid out a plan to stabilize energy prices in the long-term. he called for an all of the above approach. more oil and gas production, development of alternative fuels, and new conservation technology. >> none of the steps that i've talked about today is going to be a silver bullet. it's not going to bring down gas prices tomorrow. remember, if anybody says they've got a plan for that -- what? i'm just saying. >> the president using the "just saying" hashtag there. obama may have been responding to this from one of his rivals. >> what if that big new idea meant that you personally were better off, because you were
buying gasoline for $2.50 a gallon, not for $3.89 or $4 or what some people project by the summer could be $5 or more. how's that possible? well, that's what's exciting, and it's one of the reasons i'm running for president. >> i love how explicit the pandering there is. it's almost he's like, what, do you want $1,000? do you want a new car? what do you want? $2.50 a gallon, i'll give it to you. who is right here when the president says, if a politician guarantees cheaper gas, he's lying, and newt gingrich says, i can get you $2.50. >> he can't. he can't get you $2.50 gas. and the fundamentals aren't really playi ining into the gas prices right now. we are a net exporter of gasoline for the first time in our history. we get more miles per gallon than we ever have had in our
history. our supplies are to the brim in cushing, which is exactly $20 less than what the global supply costs. so when we're getting the benefits of lower oil prices here domestically. >> let's show lower oil production. this is something, found this data, and i was surprised. i was surprised to see this. this is domestic u.s. oil production, which has actually gone up quite a bit. >> and our imports are down $5 million barrels since 2007. >> so what you're saying is, we're producing more oil, we're now -- we're getting a net export for the first time, so why is the price so high if we are achieving what everyone says is, not be reliant, quote/unquote, on foreign oil. >> two reasons, one is we're involved in a global oil market, for abort or worse. and if everyone else is using a lot more oil and driving prices higher, we are tied to that global oil market. number two is that oil has been driven not by as much by fundamentals, but by the financials. we are a bit of a victim of our
own success in terms of our recovery. the stock market is up almost 9% since the beginning of the year. oil prices now slavishly follow the prices of every other asset class that is out there. >> because of the amount of finalization of people bidding on the price. >> they want to own oil the way they want to own stocks and bonds. >> i want to turn from the markets to washington, d.c. we have, well -- well, in oregon, we have democratic senator jeff merkley of oregon. in 2010, senator merkley introduced the oil independence for a stronger america act. welcome, senator. >> great to be with you. >> senator, first of all, i want you to explain to us why you aren't, quote, lying as the audience said to president barack obama, if you are coming before us today to tell us how you, as a politician, are going to lower the cost of gas. >> well, basically, we're taking a long-term strategy to end our dependence on foreign oil.
we can do that the through a whole series of mechanisms that are readily available, reducing demand. in fact, we're already on that curve, as your guest already pointed out. but increasing the use of plug-in cars, hybrids, public transportation, switching some of our trucking routes to a natural gas, increasing the efficiency of regular conventional engines, increasing the efficiency of our freight transportation with automatic tire inflation and correct air contours for the trucks. >> wait, what did you -- i'm sorry. i'm sorry. senator, explain that last part to me. i did not understand that. >> with trucks, it's simply using air foils and tire inflation, you can get a modest increase in mileage. >> of course, we remember during the campaign in 2008, the president suggested that people inflate their tires to the proper pressure and he was lambasted by senator john mccain, the republicans.
>> well, there's nothing like a good scientific point to upset the republicans. but, you know, all this can be done. but the point here about the broader oil markets is that it's speculation that's driving it. we have an increase from about 30% of those who are trading on the ctfc who were basically speculators to an increase about 70% of the traders are speculators. the big banks that are involved, that's why we had the volcker rule that i was very involved in, and that's a substantial problem. and the cftc was supposed to establish rules to set limits on folks who are taking positions, who are in the end users. they've been very slow to do so. so this huge issue of speculation has been unaddressed and here we are again. >> let me quickly sort of summarize this point. because i think this is an important one. oils futures markets are used by two kinds, let's say, broadly, two kinds of people, right? there are end users. i am american airlines and i
cannot have the amount of price volatility that the markets have, so i go out and buy futures to smooth that volatility over time. i know whattime going to be paying in the future. i'm hedging or ensuring cost risk for myself because i'm using a lot of oils. oil's going to go up, it's going to go down. i make money on the change in price. senator and dan addidicker, i t what you're saying is if increase in the amount of people who are in the latter category, participating in the markets that you trade in, dan, is driving up the cost. how does that work? >> let's take an example that everybody can sort of understand. let's say you were looking to buy a house in a certain neighborhood. and all of a sudden that neighborhood becomes very hot. and there are all sorts of people who are now running in to try and buy the same house in a certain neighborhood. the prices inside that neighborhood are going to the rise. >> oil is the tribeca of global kmodcommodity commodities. >> i like that. can i use that?
>> please, please. and >> and that has continued to increase over time. it's gotten worse when we had our first big oil spike many '07 when we got to $150 a barrel. it looks like we're on our way to doing better than that this time around, if you can call it better. >> senator merkley, what concrete steps do you want to see that would diminish the influence that speculators, not end users, have in the oil markets that's pushing the price up? >> well, right now, we can divide the oil market into roughly thirds. you have a third who are end users, they obviously need to be in the market, to address the future demand for their industry, airlines, as you mentioned. third are the big banks, and a third are other speculators. so the big banks should be out of the business due to the volcker rule. but, unfortunately, there's a big loophole that's been carved out of the volcker rule for physical commodities. plus, the regulators haven't got it implemented yet. so the big banks are still in proprietary trading, that
they're not supposed to be in. >> i would say that the senator is 100% right. i would say i have stood at the top of any stair and screamed at the top of my lungs and it's gone nowhere. everything that the cftc has done, all the rules written under dodd/frank, just the mechanisms of this has made me convinced that the war's not on, that we've actually lost the war, and that the banks have won on this. >> i want to ask a very basic question, because i don't understand this. okay, talk me through this. every year, it seems like ground hog's day, senator, i would like you to address this as well. it's ground hog's day. we talk about the summer driving season, we get towards summer, and the price starts to go up. and we have the b-roll going on the cameras, people filling up their suvs and the cable news stories about the price of gas and it becomes a big political issue. my understanding of the reason for having a futures market is to smooth out price volatility over time and to price in expected price increases.
so if everybody knows that more people are going to drive in the summer, there's going to be an increase in demand, shouldn't it be the job of the futures market to precisely smooth out that volatility? why do we every year have to go through the exact same cycle of oil getting more expensive? >> i'm sorry, senator. >> senator, go ahead. >> well, what we see right now is simply not a response to increased demand over the summer. we've seen decreased demand, less travel, our demographics are getting over and when they retire, they travel less. the speculators are saying, look at this drum beat for war in iran, so we think that everyone else will want to jump in, so we'll jump in too and we'll ride it on the way up and hopefully get out at the crest and let other people lose money on the backside. and that is exactly what two major pieces of legislation were supposed to address, both the dodd/frank provisions regarding the ctfc's ability to keep
speculator office the market and the volcker rule within dodd/frank that has essentially addressed proprietary trading by the banks. we have a failure of regulation. neither law has been implemented effectively. and the frustration is enormous. >> senator jeff merkley, i want you to hold on, if you will. we'll be right back and talk more with this with dan dicker. and rest of the panel. that i came up with is the hot dog ez bun steamer. steam is the key to a great hot dog. i knew it was going to be a success. the invention was so simple that i knew i needed to protect it. my name is chris schutte and i got my patent, trademark and llc on legalzoom. [ shapiro ] we created legalzoom to help people start their business and launch their dreams. go to legalzoom today and make your business dream a reality. at legalzoom.com, we put the law on your side. i toog nyguil bud i'm stild stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't un-stuff your nose. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your stuffy nose. [ deep breath ] thank you!
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all right. we're talking about gas prices. and senator merkley, who we have on the line, just mentioned about the ways in which the kind of drum beat for the war with iran, which has been a discussion we've been having all morning, is playing a role. you just said something the during the break about what the oil markets are saying about some sort of military action.
>> i've been trading the oil markets daily for 25 years. so when i see these patterns, they're not unusual at least compared to what happened in libya in 2010 and the first gulf war in '93 and then the second gulf war in 2001. i mean, these things are not unusual. and what the oil marketing is saying is this. look, we have an iranian output of about 3.5 million barrels per day, and the oil market is saying that's coming out of the system. i think the obama administration's done a pretty good job of getting international agreement on these sanctions. but there's a hard limit in terms of when these go into effect. that's july 1st, when the eu will actually cut off their imports of iranian oil. and that means a lot, especially to the greeks and italians, who use a lot of that iranian oil. the saudis have pumped a little bit extra. we don't know if that shortfall is going to take care of what's going on over there. the first thing you have is a hard line in terms of when these 3.5 million barrels comes out of the entire global supply chain. now, the oil market, everybody
who's trading oil right now knows this, okay? and the oil market is sitting here, already, without any supply coming out of the market, up close to 15% on the year, already. now, if you are an oil trader, there is no reason for you to sell oil and do anything else besides buy oil. the oil market is, in fact, on a trajectory to give us $5 in the summertime, for sure. if this is not resolved diplomatically by july 1st, and if the israelis lose their patience, which in a lot of ways, you've talked about it earlier on the show, they have a likelihood of doing, you're looking at $7 gas. these are realities for the obama administration they have to deal with now. >> elise? >> what if there was more pressure for the eu to stop with iranian oil earlier, not july 1st? what would happen? >> what was happening is that was what was intended originally and what in fact happened, they put off the date until july 1st because the greeks, who were clearly under a tremendous economic pressure, and the italians, who were under equally
great economic pressure cannot afford to lose those battles so quickly. it would absolutely crater their economies. they've been given this time to look for other sources. and in fact, the saudis are trying to build it up. in fact, the saudis increased their production, we only learned about that on friday. the oil market responded not by going down due to the decreased supply, but going up because it made the reality of this 3.5 million barrels coming out so clear. yes, the saudis are starting to churn up -- >> which is an indicator -- >> which is an indicator that these barrels are coming out. >> i remember when i was in iraq, a month before so-called shock and awe began, the russians had signed a deal with saddam's government to tap two of the untapped oil fields in iraq. my understanding is that they're now flowing. i wanted to ask you a simple question a lot of americans wonder about. who won iraq's require out of the past ten years there? who's in control of iraq's oil? >> no one, yet. the infrastructure's not been
rebuilt. as much as the oil companies would like to go in there and develop what's in there, because there's a tremendous amount of opportunity there, security problems are still? >> senator, can i ask you a question? this gets to a core point here, which is, one of the problems i think about the debate about high gas prices is the fact that actually, in the future, because of -- if we want to have any chance of curtailing real catastrophic climate change is that all fossil fuels need to get more expensive. we immediate to price in that expense, the externality of carbon being admitted into the air. how do you have that conversation, when you say to people, the political conversation is all about who's going to get you cheaper gas. how do you have the conversation with people that actually fossil fuel needs to get more expensive over the long-term? >> well, i think if you start framing it that way, you always lose the argument. if you start by saying -- >> that's why i'm not a united states senator. >> well, here we are, spending $1 billion a day on foreign oil.
and when the price goes up as it is now, that goes up even higher. it's gone as high as $2 billion a day. well, think of it this way. that's money flowing out of our economy, creating jobs and wealth overseas. do we want to create jobs and wealth overseas or here in america? and if we do, that means we need to decrease our demand of foreign oil. that should be a core national mission, to end our dependence on foreign oil. >> oregon senator jeff merkley and dan dicker, contributor to thestreet.com, thanks both for joining us. >> you're welcome, chris. of course, conformity got us into the iraq war and other foreign policy disasters, can whistle-blowers save us from making that mistake again, there's an author on this topic i really want to talk to. he joins us next. [ male announcer ] drinking a smoothie with no vegetable nutrition?
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consensus that brought about disaster in the last decade. it calls to mind how a bankrupt consensus in general can endure, even though it's been proven wrong. one way consensus endures is through forced conformity. the obama administration was supposed to repeat conformity of the bush administration, but this administration has upped the ante on many aspects of the national security state. under president obama, six public employees has been accused under the espionage act, more than all administrations since world war ii combined. jake tapper challenged jake carney about the crackdown on whistle-blowers after two western journalists were killed in syria earlier this week. >> the white house keeps appraising these journalists who have been killed. >> i don't know about "keeps." >> well, vice president biden did it in a statement. how does that square with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in
the united states by using the espionage act to take whistle-blowers to court. >> without addressing any specific case, i think that there are issues here that involve highly sensitive classified information, and i think that, you know, those are divulging or divulging that kind of information is a serious issue and always has been. >> so the truth should come out abroad, it shouldn't come out? >> well, that's not at all what i'm saying, jake, and you know it's not. >> ann-marie slaughter is back at the table. also joining us is ale press, my colleague at "the nation." he has a wonderful new book called "beautiful souls," about whistle-blowers and consenters and the price paid by those that force con tomorrowty. thanks for writing such a bustle book. it's an exceptional piece of
work. >> thank you, chris, good to be here. >> talk to me about why you undertook the project of looking at people who say no. and they span everything from people in the midst of war to someone in a financial firm. what was the impetus for the project? >> in a way, your introduction hints at it. we had a president-elected in 2008 who campaigned on transparency. and i think has some sympathy for whistle-blowers, at least, has stated it as such. then comes into office and enforces the espionage act more times than anyone before him. why is that? well, i think it's not surprising, and it's part of the reason i wrote the book, we have a much easier time admiring people who break ranks and go against the grain, in the abstract, and from a distance, and after the fact. you know, 50 years later. we look at people who resisted the nazis, and we call them the righteous. when we find people who break ranks closer to us, who challenge our own government,
who challenge our own beliefs, who get in the way of the agenda, in a politician's case, they want to pursue, it becomes a different matter entirely, and i wanted to bring out some of that tension and really get people thinking in a more complicated way about what it means to break ranks. >> i want to talk about some of the specific characters in the book. but someone who comes to mind in this conversation, we have not talked about this much on the show, and i think partly because i have very conflicted feelings, is bradley manning, of course, who i think has become a kind of icon of this. and there are lots of people who think he's a traitor, obviously. there are lots of people who think he's a hero. i want to show transcripts of an online chat he had, in which he articulates his sort of rationale for doing what he did. of course, he leaked -- we think, i should say, suspected of leaking thousands of documents. "i don't believe in good guys versus bad guys anymore. i guess i'm too idealistic. i had always questioned the things worked and investigated to find the truth, but that was
a point where i was a part of something. i was actively against something i was nevada in". >> i don't know bradley that i knew the characters i wrote about, but people who did things like manning did, they're the opposite of what you picture when you look at a room and think, who's the rebel? who is the person who's going to break ranks? all of the characters in my book are true believers. one of them even says that about themselves. they're people who took the ideals of the institutions they worked for very seriously, maybe too seriously. there was almost a kind of naivete. that if i work for a financial firm, in the case of my financial industry whistle-blower, this is the united states. there's no fraud here. there's no corruption. and if there is fraud and corruption, well, the s.e.c. will go after it, of course. the financial industry whistle-blower i profiled believed that to such a degree that she was shocked that her
act wouldn't actually, you know, change things. in the case of some of the military people i look at, these were very idealistic soldiers. >> in terms of the representation of whistle-blowers, and in leyla's case, and that's why i think it does relate to bradley manning, he was thrown into solitary. and there is no, you know, only in very -- he was kept in solitary for a very long time before charges were kept, were finally brought against him. there was a small group of people, i think, who did sort of view him heroically. but largely, the full force of the state has been brought down upon him and castigation and so forth. and that's one of the things that the amount of weight that come down on people that do break ranks is something you see in your book in very acute terms. >> well, and it will be interesting to see how things change over time. we think of daniel ellsberg. i wasn't politically aware at the time, barely alive, but went ellsberg leaks the pentagon
papers, was he a hero? certainly not to everyone. and there were equal amounts of scorn directed to him. how will bradley manning be viewed ten years down the road, 15 years down the road? it will change. i think one of the reasons why it changed, i say in the book, i think americans have a schizophrenic attitude towards whistle-blowers and actual dissenters. in a sense, we romanticize these people, they speak to something very deep. we teach the essay on civil disobedience to high school students, because there's something very romantic and very american about someone standing against the corrupted institution on his or her own, no matter what happens. ornd, if you look at surveys and polls, which i cite in the book, we are a deeply conformist country. and when you look at the surveys asking, to what extent should people follow their conscience, if it means going against their country? even if their country's in the wrong, america tends to end up last on that. europeans are far ahead in saying people should break ranks actually in those cases.
>> these are investigating people's moral norms. >> this issue embodies the hotbed of liberal hypocrisy with the obama administration, because the crackdown has been so outrageous. i mean, steven kim at the state department, a nuclear scientist who he was asked to speak to fox news, he only -- what he told them was open source information. now he's been, you know, under investigation, under house arrest for, what, a year, just because of the unprecedented crackdown. and of course, it's okay for top-level officials to talk to bob woodward to leak the strategic assessment of afghanistan to ratchet up the calls for increasing troops. they never paid any price whatsoever. it's always the low-ranking individuals. and there is such a disparate crackdown within the administration. and it also extends to the drone strikes. the level of secrecy, why that legal memo -- i mean, the way obama has seized executive power in that domain makes dick cheney blush. >> i don't quite agree with that. but i think in the case of
awlaki, there is an important point here. and that is when awlaki, who is, of course, an american citizen, who was accused of being associated with al qaeda in the arabian peninsula was killed by a drone strike and there was a lot of controversy over the legal basis by which you can kill an american in this way. you know, and after it happened, there was a story leaked to reporters showing all the top-secret documents that were the legal rationale for the strike. >> and the aclu and the center for constitutional rights are currently suing the obama administration to make public the legal rationale for killing, not only anwar al awlaki, but also his 16-year-old son, another u.s. citizen two weeks later, another u.s. citizen killed in the exact same strike as awlaki. and they have fought and fought and fought. and they don't often win in these cases. but at the risk of agreeing with one of condoleezza rice's former aides, i did want to put this
out. what i think makes the crackdown and attacks on whistle-blowers all the more, just, awful, is the position the obama administration has taken on holding torture as accountable from the bush era. when it comes to people who committed real crimes, who tortured people, who ripped fingernails off and squeezed the testic testicles, those people get to walk around free. they get to walk around as normal citizens in this country, because the president said, we'll look forward, not backward. this administration, the justice department has intervened. the obama justice department has intervened to have them removed as defendants, as the bush administration did too. this administration is letting these torturers walk away scot-free while then cracking down on whistle-blowers. >> there is more outcry about bush era detention practices than the outright killing of individuals by the obama administration. >> i want you to respond this, but first i'm going to take this quick break. freeze cake donettes rolling hot dogs bag of ice anti-freeze wash and dry diesel self-serve
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eyal, we were just talking about whistle blowing and some of these cases that have been brought under the espionage act. >> i wanted to weigh in and say if we're going to talk about hypocrisy and whistle-blowers and how they're treated, we should hardly limit the discussion to barack obama. president bush signed the sarbanes-oxley act which was supposed to guarantee protections for workers who blew the whistle on financial fraud and abuse. this was after the enron worldcom scandals, everybody applauded, everybody said, this is great. as i report in my book, i tell the story of a man who is a bush supporter, a conservative, christian man who is also the officers at a bank. he suspected fraud. he reported it. he was fired. he went for -- he went to the administration review board, an agency that was staffed by bush appointees. he lost. he was not alone. t"the wall street journal" reported between 2002 and 2008, 12 people who maybe -- maybe 17
people -- who went to that board, won their cases, of something like 1,200. another 800 simply didn't have their cases heard. >> and this was supposed to be the method by which whistle-blowers were protected under sarbanes? >> right, whistle-blower who is blew the whistle on fraud. then we get the 2008 crash. so you think, things are going to change, whistle-blowers will finally get some protections. well, dodd/frank has some protections that strengthen whistle-blower protection. offer rewards to whistle-blowers who turn in tips that lead to successful convictions. well, how has that gone over? republican michael grimm has proposed an legislation, which has been adopted by a house subcommittee, that would gut those protections. no more financial reward, workers have to go first internally to the company. if they go to the s.e.c. and the s.e.c. then does an enforcement action, they have to tip off the
company about this enforcement action. so how does that square with individual rights, individual accountable and all these things that we thought we support? >> can i zoom out for one second? because there's a story you tell in the beginning of the book that's really haunted me and stuck with me. it's something that maybe people know about and i didn't know about. there's a famous massacre you talk about during the nazi era, i believe it happened in poland, right? >> mm-hmm. >> tell that story, because it's really shaken me, actually, to hear this story. >> it's an extraordinary story of one of the most brutal massacre in a very, very brutal war. and it took place in poland. it was an italian that was taken to a village and ordered to round up every jew in the village, approximately 1,800 people, and take them into a forest and systemically murder them. >> with guns, but killing all day long, actually. >> yes. now, we hear that story and we think, okay, in such a
situation, this is war, this is a totalitarian country, there is no opportunity to exercise any kind of choice. if you do that, you're taking your own life. it turns out that before that massacre began, the major in charge gathered the men and he said, anyone in this unit, if the older men here do not want to participate, they do not have to participate. and a couple of the men stepped forward and didn't do it. i tell that story because, in a sense, this is the reason i wrote the become. i think we've lost a sense of the possibility of choice, the fact that even in situations of seemingly total conformity, you do have people who don't go along, and we need to tell their stories, not least, because otherwise, what do we say to the people who would say, well, i'm only doing what anyone many my shoes would have done. there's no way to answer that without at least capturing some of these nuances that exist. >> you go on a search for the unifying theme in the book.
and one of the things i find satisfying about the book is you're very honest about the difficulty in coming up with some sort of recipe. it speaks to the remarkable uniqueness of each human soul that chooses this. is there some kind of grand theoretical generalization to draw about the people who do make the right choice in these conditions? >> i think there are two things that i came away with. again, if you look at guantanamo and think of the military lawyers who wouldn't go along with it. again, these were not radicals who went in there cynical, jaded, thinking this whole thing is wrong. they were people who revere the constitution. many of them are conservatives, many of them are republicans, many of them never imaged they would see such a gap between what the united states is doing and what it professes to do. so this theme of true believers, i think, is a common one. it's true of whistle-blowers, it's true of a lot of the cases i've looked an the other thing is the book is really a book about the moral mmimagination.
and i actually say that in a way that i hope will inspire people. because the imagination, we know, has been turned to terrible, terrible effects in places like rwanda, in places like world war ii. when we start to imagine the other as nonhuman, as less than us, we can do terrible things. but all the characters in this book use their imagination to actually empathize with the people on the other side. they make this break, often because of direct contact. once that happened, it becomes a lot harder for them to conform. >> beautifully said, with eyal press, author of "beautiful souls: saying no, breaking ranks, and heeding the voice of caution in dark times," i can't recommend it hardly enough. what you should know for the news week ahead, coming up next. the movie. or... we make it pink ! with these 4g lte tablets, you can do business at lightning-fast speeds. we'll take all the strawberries, dave. you got it, kid. we have a winner. we're definitely gonna need another one. small businesses that want to grow use 4g lte technology from verizon.
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in just a second, i should tell you what you should know for the week ahead. but right now it's time for a preview of "melissa harris-pe y harris-perry." what's coming up this morning? >> i have no, because i've spent the last two hours glued to the television watching "up." when i should have been prepping for my own show, you gave me foreign policy inferiority complex. it was an amazing conversation. i have anita hill in the studio with me and that's going to be a pretty exciting opportunity. we're going to talk about poverty and inequality. we're also going to talk quite a bit about another oscar-nominated film this time about african-american man in birmingham, alabama, whose role as a barber is part of his role in the civil rights movement. >> wow. melissa, can i say your conversation yesterday on "the help" was absolutely fantastic, i loved it, and it was really, really great and folks should check out more of that, that's coming up next. as the rhetoric of the
threat about iran heats up this week, you should know that in 2008, iran spent $7 billion a year on defense, while israel spent $13 billion and saudi arabia spent $40 billion. you should know that israel is the only nuclear power in the region. and according to the former head of the israeli mossad, iran is at least six years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon. you should also know that public misconceptions of the threat iran poses makes violence more likely. even two years ago, before all of this drum beat for war, 71% of those americans polls said that iran had a nuclear weapon at a time when in intelligence agencies or experts were asserting that. you should know that new jersey politicians are not happy with the new york police department and mayor bloomberg that recent revelations that the nypd was running a widespread spying operation that dispatched undercover officers to spy on muslim students and neighborhoods in newark. the operation was run by the demographics unit, which set about photographing mosques and
eavesdropping on muslim businesses. governor chris christie has called the revelations disturbing while newark mayor corey booker has called the operation, quote, deeply offensive, and requested an investigation. you should know the members of the academy of motion picture arts and sciences that are the voters who will determine who will win tonight's oscars are not exactly representative of the movie-going public. the academy members are 94% caucasian and 77% male. you shall know that is only marginally better than the witnesses at darrell issa's birth control hearing. the greek plane is apparently alive and well in the commonwealth of virginia. according to virginia republican state delegate albo who sponsored virginia's now infamous ultrasound bill, he was pursuing a romantic time with his wife when the mood was ruined my colleague rachel maddow.
>> i was flipping through the channels, and all of a sudden, on my big screen tv comes this big thing and a picture of a bill that has albo on it. and i went, wow, holy smokes, there's my name as big as a wall, and the very next scene was a gentleman from alexandria's going transve bourbon. and in that bill, she didn't go far enough! she's crazy! and just goes on and on and on. and i'm like, this with my wife. and the show's over. and she looks at me and goes, i've got to go to bed. >> you should also know that if lawmakers can't even bring themselves to say the actual word "transvaginal," they probably shouldn't be ledge stating vaginas as all. and you should also know that the future is closer than you think. a futuristic unit of google
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♪ ♪ we made a little progress. people complain they go uneaten. i'll admit, i did most of the work. >> the model ends. >> memories all around. ann marie, what should folks now this week? >> you should know that jeremy scahill like and respect each other. that's a good start. you should know a major development this week that hamas changed its allegiance. it was supporting the assad regime. now it's on the side of the
syrian people. that's a big shift. hamas was there with his boa -- you should know that there is news outside the middle east as in the entire continent of africa and there are big demonstrations going on in senegal against a president trying to run for a third term illegally. that's important. that's the same kind of protest we've seen in africa. >> i knew nothing about that. the hamas news just came over the wires overnight if i'm not mistaken. >> it was yesterday. >> that strikes me as very big news. >> it is. >> syria is increasingly feeling isolated as we've seen and the last three people that will -- five people, china, russia, iran, hezbollah and hamas. that's one of the five. the question is when the other four go away. >> what should folks mow. >> we see things as they are, we do not see things are they. wake up and smell the hummus.
the middle east has changed. 60% of the population are youth. they want the latest gadgets and employments and the latest fashion. americans is engaged with the people of the middle east and that includes iran. it cannot continue to engage with only a small proportion of its government not representing the people in the right way. new narratives, new engagement if we are to really have a shock in our campaign of loving america as opposed to not liking america. that's possible. >> it seemed -- i think there was a sense, i think, a promise and dawn obviously when obama, president obama was elected and gave the very famous speech in cairo about mapping out a new middle east. it seemed like that sort of went away a little bit. but in some ways, the arab spring has meant that there is a little less direction towards the u.s. just in general and more sort of self-contained. >> there's a -- they need to do something, to recruit its own reputation back. >> elise jordan.
>> it's only been out in twitter. in egypt, the trial the first day of the american pro-democracy workers being tried by the egyptian government on trumped up charges. they have called it to a close, no decision, they'll resume on april 26th. they're dragging this out as long as they can. >> jeremy kay scahill. ann marie's followers asserted the right to protect. a little u.n. joke. >> ha ha. the somali prime minister who could be called the prime minister of mogadishu this week offered the west oil concessions in return for help fighting al shabaab which recently declared allegiance to al qaeda. watch for an increase in the covert war there. i want to remember a friend, anthony shadid and to remember that so many journalists, many of whom are never named in the media because they're arabs or
nonbrits die covering the war. they tell the story of people and everyone who doesn't know anthony shadid's work should read all of his work. the world lost a great truth teller. >> i want to thank my guests today. ann-marie slaughter, from the women or women international, elise jordan, former speech writer for condoleeza rice and jeremy scahill from the nations magazine. we'll be back next saturday and sunday at 8:00 eastern time. the guests include democratic congressman steve cohen and sara vowel. check on us at up .msnbc.com. up next is melissa harris-perry. we'll see you next week here on "up."
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