tv [untitled] May 23, 2012 2:00pm-2:30pm EDT
headlines from our team at ten pm moscow time with me kevin choosing a replacement for the ousted president mubarak and we can see the revolutions being stagnant candidates and hard lined with a tree roots break through or break down the rams nuclear programs in focus again and out of pressure again with a new round of negotiations between to rattle the west and the leaders are getting together in brussels to dine and discuss salvation for the eurozone this very hour with many believing it's time austerity came. back again to washington d.c. studios for now are in the company the tonight show is just ahead.
welcome to the ilona show where you get the real headlines with none of the mersey can live in washington d.c. now tonight we're going to take a look at perhaps one of the most important moments of the anti nato protest in chicago this past weekend we'll speak to a veteran who threw his service medal away as well as get jesse meyerson to take then while there was a lot of action on the streets the actual nato summit which concluded last night was pretty uneventful so we're going to ask if the end of this ten year long conflict finally approves of the alliance is irrelevant and police departments are
using civil asset forfeiture to confiscate bail money claiming it has traces of drugs on it maybe someone should tell them that ninety percent of u.s. currency does radley balko is going to give us all the details on this disturbing trend i will have all of that work better night including a dose of happy hour but first take a look what the mainstream media decided to miss. all right so it's another one of those days where the mainstream media is all over the place covering a million different stories that they deem to be of the utmost importance dozens of catholic institutions are now suing the obama administration forty three catholic groups across the country suing the government over the birth control insurance mandate for employers the president continues to fire away at mitt romney's record at bain capital beam me up scotty the first private space launches in the history
books making history earlier this morning wellington the first commercial rocket into space president obama personally engaged in the attack on mitt romney's time at bain capital billions of dollars gone in a trading blunder but the worst might not be over yet for j.p. morgan lawmakers are taking a closer look at j.p. morgan staggering losses and the shutter it sent through wall street the controversy over stuart where newark mayor cory booker openly criticized obama's attacks on bain capital the united states ambassador to afghanistan saying he is leaving this summer and back to ryan crocker we are awaiting a verdict in the john edwards corruption trial space-x. a private company successfully sent the thousand pound capsule called dragon into space hearers in the john edwards trial taking a second look at a couple of key pieces of evidence in that case. some of the stories very worthwhile the john edwards stuff not so much the cory booker stuff not worth continuing for days on end that's for sure and vassar ryan crocker stepping down us
just more bad news for the slow and embarrassing unraveling of the war in afghanistan and since we're playing the name game here let me just point out one name that most definitely did not make it on to your t.v. screen that name would be john brennan obama's chief counterterrorism adviser now you've heard me talk about a many times before on the show most recently where he publicly spoke out about the drone program called it moral and ethical and just and you have to wonder why suddenly he was feeling so good about talking about it in the open well now we have our answer according to reports in the associated press john brennan has now sees the lead in choosing who will be targeted for drone attacks and rates or as i like to put it he's now the man who decides who lives and who dies the judge jury and executioner or as glenn greenwald put it the unelected death sentence so far altman i think that last one really has the best ring to a but what's really happening here is that apparently they've decided to
consolidate the process of choosing who to strike decreasing the role of the pentagon and instead focusing on a small team within the white house and according to the a.p. under this new plan brennan staff compiles the potential target list runs of the names past agencies like the state department and they do this at a white house weekly meeting now the way they're trying to sell it is that it's a sign that al qaeda targets are chosen only after painstaking and exhaustive debate personally i get the exact opposite impression upon hearing this news if there are fewer people involved the decision process that means that there's less debate as in more powers plays into the hands of this one person and here's the kicker to see apparently this policy is already about a month old so because i make it a coincidence that about a month ago john brennan spoke so openly about the drone program. and defended it or that about a month ago we found out the cia had expanded their drone strike program in yemen to signature strikes i think not and i can't say that it makes me feel any better
knowing that this great power has been bestowed upon john brennan considering that he doesn't exactly have a pristine reputation for telling the truth remember this is the same guy that tried to claim that no civilians have been killed drone strikes in pakistan and the guy that fudge the osama bin laden reign story so you think that this kind of consolidation this kind of sneak peek into what is very scary a very secret government practice of targeted killing without due process and that would be interesting for the press if you remember how crazy they went over the lie of death panels and obamacare but now that we have a real death panel nobody cares oh but of course that's because this panel is killing terrorists and not grandma we haven't seen any evidence well just take john brennan's word for it personally i don't but that is the mainstream media's attitude that is just another thing that they choose to miss.
well unlike the mainstream media we've been writing a lot of coverage for you of the protests to happen in chicago over the weekend to counter the nato summit and yesterday we spoke to two journalists who found themselves stopped cuffed and interrogated but today let's focus on perhaps one of the most poignant events of the weekend over forty veterans on sunday gave speeches and threw their service medals over a security fence and symbolic protest of the wars in iraq and afghanistan invoking images of the vietnam era now you'd think that for a country at war for more than ten years this visual would cause not only nationwide reflection but a serious national discussion in the media asking what it was all for joining me from our studio in new york to discuss it is she a meyerson reporter for truthout and u.s. army sergeant jacob george a three tour veteran of the. in afghanistan he's also the co-founder of a ride till the end and a member of iraq veterans against the war jim i want to thank you both for joining me tonight and so jacob i would like to start with you and just have you tell us
a little bit more about sunday why you did what you did why you chose to take your medal and throw it in partake. well i like many of the veterans involved this side to do this. one for healing for ourselves to go through that because laura says but at the same time to draw attention. to the many issues that are surrounding this whether it's veterans rights to heal or whether it's the people of afghanistan or the people of the united states we saw this as a way to kind of challenge the narrative of war and then use our voice and actions to do that but you know we see a lot of veterans that go out there in the protests but you make it very personal when you take a service medal that you received for you know the brave deeds that you did out there and then you decided to read your self other to throw it at the nato summit and so in that sense a what is that a sign of are you saying that you is that a sign of regret because shame anger well that's
a really good question and i would have to say pride and shame regret all of those things you know all of those things were involved the second i thought about doing it i felt shame and pride and up until the moment moment that i did it i was conflicted about whether or not i should do it and then went to left my hand i knew i had done something that i needed to do and i only had one chance to do it and still in the aftermath conflicted with that action but it's something that was very powerful for me and to do it with my brothers and sisters as well now j a you were there watching this right reporting on it and so being a bystander what was it like. well i could only watch it to the extent that i could see through the tears welling up in my eyes as everybody who is there at tested it was incredibly moving i mean we're always encouraged to treat our soldiers as our
heroes right support the troops but this was among the most heroic work that i'd seen people calling for solidarity with the victims of these wars and pleading for forgiveness from the children of afghanistan and iraq who are left parent listen mean that is incredibly courage it's an almost singular act of valor that i've seen up close. and it really moved everyone and it drew a very very stark contrast between the sort of reflection that these troops had had you know had practiced after committing these acts of violence and then the subsequent police activity which was very violent and didn't show any reflection at all but. i'm just curious why don't you think that this is a bigger story right the way that i opened up this interview saying that we've been at war for ten years we have millions of people that are now veterans of these wars thousands of people have lost their lives countless others you know have other traumas physical traumas p.t.s.d. psychological trauma as you think that this would be a big deal would have more of
a national conversation about why it is that our veterans are choosing to to to throw their medals again. yeah that's right well it's very difficult to begin to question the logic of these wars and the the sort of moral quality of what these troops are asked to do without questioning the sort of center of american military had germany in the world as it's been practiced at least since the end of the cold war and once you begin talking about that well the project of empire starts to really get threatened so the corporate media reliably will decline to cover things like that and it's up to us to really get that word out but if you think that you know the vietnam war right that was something that maybe was more divisive in the country in the jacob you know what do you think there's not enough people really had to be considered these wars in iraq and afghanistan well i i
really agree with jay jay was just saying. and i'll street from my own experiences i did three tours in operation enduring freedom in afghanistan and i still don't quite understand what exactly was going on over there although i've dedicated years of my life to studying the history of afghanistan and it is the single most complicated thing i've ever tried to wrap my mind around and i think there's many different reasons that this isn't discussed publicly but one of the reasons is it's incredibly complicated to understand the politics and how we got involved in this and how to get out what did you think when you first went on your very first tour to afghanistan why do you think you were going there. well my very first impression was kind of the typical narrative we were going there to liberate the women and. we were going there to. unseat the taliban from power. and to bring in
a transitional government provide security and eventually go after osama bin laden . and you know those objectives for the most part or achieved easily within three months. what happened afterwards is where it gets really complicated and that's where here we are right years later at this nato summit where you have the nato countries trying to come up with an agreement to end the war but as well as continue funding certain aspects of it for another ten years and so you know it's a big deal and so jacob i'm curious actually am curious to hear what you have to say in terms of people that think that people are mocking these protests that obviously you have certain elements right you have black bloc tactics that not everyone is going to agree with not everyone is going to like but a lot of people always just complain that they lack a clear message was there really no clear message here this weekend. there is a very clear message it's just that the message is very difficult to articulate if
you're not willing to question the sort of underlying american leadership of the world i would say to those people who would mock these protestors that the only way that rights are guaranteed the world over and this is been true throughout the history of civilization is by people really defending them with earnest dissent and dissidents and sometimes even revolt and revolution and in that sense freedom really isn't free i mean we're encouraged to. think of these foreign adventures as protecting our freedoms when you know i'm of course not the authoritative person on this you have to ask jacob but my sense is that really the closest we can get to defending our freedom. is by by coming up against the forces that are really trying to take it from us and as you know very well from from all your reporting on the government of the united states is. expand indefinitely towards authoritarianism
unless they come up against a real people power movement to declare our freedom and our rights well do you think there was a fair characterization to say that the way you saw the chicago p.d. reacting to the protests this weekend was a sure sign of a police state. police state is a difficult thing to talk about aaron brady has a wonderful new essay on this at the new in korea that i would encourage everybody to look at i would say that tendency of the united states the more and more the decisions of leadership are taking place behind closed doors away from public oversight the more and more it will acquire a sort of police state flavor a sort of authoritarian flavor it's obvious that we're not in a sort of bathurst regime here but i don't want to measure my country against about this regime i want to measure it against the ideal of freedom and justice and democracy yeah i can't argue with that what before i wrap it up to jake i just want to ask you one last question which is that you know the wars in iraq is is over technically despite a large contractor presence the war in afghanistan is winding down what would you
say to people that want to sign up to be in the armed forces now if you tell them to do it. you know that's a really complicated question because i came from a small chicken farm in arkansas in the wash a tall mountains and there's no one that was going to talk me out of it a lot of people tried but i thought it was something that i needed to do but if i could say one thing to people who are interested in doing it. don't blindly do it you know question it it is a responsibility as a democratic state as a citizen to stay well informed and police. even while you're in try to inform yourselves thirty what's going on and critique it it's in the interest of all of us for our service members to critique what they're doing and you know to have more people doing that so that there then aren't punishments and repercussions for a gentlemen thank you both for joining us so much tonight. thanks and thank you jacob for your courage and integrity are you guys it's time for
a quick break but coming up next politicians are speaking at a tenth grade zero level so are they dumbing things down for real america are they actually just getting done with themselves and that we talk a lot about the protests at the nato summit but this time we'll get into what happened on the other side of the police barricades. the issues that so much time and which of course work on a number of years if they don't get it because it's summit in chicago this military alliance is cited for many things in principle like ending the occupation of the. world. science technology innovation all the latest developments around russia we've got the huge earth covered.
we ever read about the perv a sieve immaturity on capitol hill and wondered if congress is just being run by a bunch of kids well if you have it turns out that you might kind of sort of be right so your recent study reveals that the sophistication of congressional speech making has been dropping since two thousand and five and this report was published by the sunlight foundation and uses a readability measure called the flesh can scale to analyze speeches in the congressional record and the report found that the average legislators rhetoric has fallen to a tenth grade level that is right average now some legislators especially tieback tea party backed candidates display the speechmaking abilities of eighth graders so republican freshman people like michael vaguely rand paul and john duffy well they shouldn't expect to win a public speaking contest anytime soon even if they went toe to toe with middle schoolers and the synopsis is less cringe worthy considering that the average legislator only spoke at an eleventh grade level in two thousand and five that's
also less shocking when you consider what kind what goes into this flushing kates course you see the index rises as a speaker uses longer sentences and words with more syllables so even some of the most storied authors and speakers out there with score pretty low on the scale for example martin luther king's i have a dream speech well that only ranked at a ninth grade level but then we started thinking what would an analysis of congress members intelligence look like if it was measured not by the color of their speech and by the content of their statements but. the whole. become. populated. and kept. shut it down shut it down it is time to shut down this terrorist organization this terrorist web site wiki leaks ever sent some mohammad left took his his rod went out there to medina there was a violent turd to this face that this call is long you cannot go to
a little work. don't think don't worship of what you do next go up stairs on the backs of the armed forces this should not be bashed by anyone unless. and i just wondered that if our founders thought jack things should work out representation was bad what would they think of representation when tactician i don't know what's going to happen. it seems like a great deal of lawmakers should be flattered by comparison a tenth graders in fact we probably could have put together entire shows worth of gaffes from louis go maryland clearly in that montage our legislators demonstrate the grasping expressing complex ideas sometimes a little bit beyond that and gal we also know that sometimes they dumb it down to try to appeal to the average american but not really sure that that's working either a lot of voters have been fed up with congress for its inability to work out complex issues all the same time calling for real americans to take the lead and so this
chronic impasse has been exacerbated by the rise of radical tea party republicans the very same people who use that clumsy rhetoric take a look at congressional approval ratings and congressional oratory complexity both of those have declined in recent years now we're not suggesting that there is cause ation here but the correlation is pretty striking of course it would take a huge giant scientific study to prove a link between the two trends one too big for louie gohmert east and let's not forget it isn't just republicans obama's state of the union this year was written in eighth grade level too but it does seem appropriate that the most unpopular congress ever would struggle to write a book report on animal farm at the same time the writing's on the side of the barn what would happen if the rest of the animals learned how to read. and while the streets of chicago may have been the scene of clashes and chaos over the past few days inside the nato summit completely sheltered from the discontent of the protesters the leaders met and aside from officially agreeing on
a deadline to end the war in afghanistan by may two thousand and thirteen hand over control to afghan forces something that's already been discussed but they're really thing and it really anything else to show for it fairly the international press didn't really think so. they planned this nato conference in his hometown goes to chicago and they have these big big big ideas big problems and the first question he's asked in this press conference by the international press corps cory booker. now what did actually happen was that pakistan got snubbed as did aspiring nato nations this was the first summit in decades with virtually no progress on enlargement and the most that president obama could say about leaving afghanistan after ten years was that it quote won't be perfect so now more than ever is the airline struggling to prove its worth calling for right here to discuss it with me as milou innocent foreign policy analyst at the cato institute really
thanks so much for joining us tonight thank you for having me on i mean overall what's your take right was that did anything really get done of his nato summit i think it was president obama trying to solicit long term funding for the afghan security forces but i think that really sort of obscures the long term problem that remains in afghanistan give recently in fact just earlier this month senator dianne feinstein who heads the senate intelligence committee so that the taliban is stronger than before the thirty thousand troop surge and that sort of jibes with the assessment of the recent nato report from january is that the taliban strength remains intact so when you look at sort of the hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign assistance that has been poured into afghanistan you know the afghan institutions still remain significantly weak they don't have the ability to stand on their own and that was the entire premise of the mission was trying to sort of teach afghans how to fish and seriously right now we see a long term sort of indefinite presence not a nexus to. and i very much contradicting what the president himself has said about our moment of what every general has said are elements of against the taliban what the president said when he was in afghanistan. on the first anniversary of the lot
of death but i think everyone already knows that you can't really talk about the war in afghanistan in terms of a success right if you like they've given up on that a long time ago but is it really on raveling in a pretty embarrassing way we now you have the president saying things like it won't be perfect you have i mean karzai thanking the american taxpayers you have you know the french the new socialist president saying they're going to pull out early and pakistan won't open the supply of rope what have you brought up the president karzai i think the american taxpayer another person who should be thinking this is the insurgents you know u.s. taxpayers are the second largest funding source for the insurgency that's according to the commission a wartime contracting and in fact a task force commissioned by general petraeus found that u.s. tax dollars were also going to the insurgents in the subcontract in the subcontract in the contracting out to build roads to build infrastructure so really funding both sides of this conflict and i think it really sort of encapsulates the problems with the conflict and also the fact it's really difficult to impose lasting change on afghanistan let alone in eleven years or the next eighteen months or the next
twenty years for that matter so what do you think about the you know the pakistan element too because every analyst every veteran that i talk to the actually knows what's going on over there is you can't talk about afghanistan without obviously bringing and pakistan and yet here you have the president who refuses to meet with our dar you don't have this deal about the supply route and i'm just wondering if at the end of the day this actually just ends up helping the i.s.i. helping the pakistanis because now once again they're going to have more leverage if it comes to negotiations with the taliban where they do have influence where it will pakistan is extremely upset and understandably so for the killing of twenty four of their soldiers last november by a nato air strike so they're demanding an apology from the united states and even the president obama has sort of extended condolences we haven't have yet to offer an apology also we found that the pakistanis want to increase the. unit costs for trucking from two hundred fifty dollars a truck to five thousand dollars a truck so directly to your point that pakistan now has greater leverage over us they want to have that leverage over us and still in the supply lines remain extremely tenuous a good friend of mine actually says it's
a choice between dunkirk and stalin grew out in terms of oh how we're going to get our troops out we need sort of a smooth transition out of this mission but it doesn't seem to be on the horizon and terms of president obama what's going to happen even not even in this election right but legacy down the line do you think that the surge how is that going to be viewed as i can to be his biggest mistake it seems like it's going to be viewed historically as it is viewed now as a political calculation for the home front because iraq was the war the bad war and afghanistan was the good war and in order to not seem to trying to sort of protect his right flank against the republicans he had to sort of double down or triple down really on afghanistan unfortunately you know we've seen that there is no military solution to that war a lot of the problems there are to the internal politics of afghanistan as well as the sort of external actors that want to create chaos there are trying to fight other countries there and as you said you know you can't talk about afghanistan without talking about pakistan you can talk about pakistan that talked about india and pakistan is extremely india centric perceive the indian development aid that's
been going to cause as regime as essentially an attempt to sort of put pakistan in the pincer move so there are many sort of moving parts of this operation and it can't be done we can't sort of bring about stability in this region especially through drone strikes and sort of night raids and sort of this militaristic approach but so that's the interesting thing is that some people would say that that was a political calculation to even put the surge in despite the fact that the president didn't agree with his generals there now he's said this is according to the new york times when it came to this final decision of really how we're going to end this thing he did it without so much consulting the generals and now you have the right wing saying that that's a political calculation that he's going to use for the election that's putting our national security at risk i mean i don't know which way do you play it when i mean especially in an election season and. we can't trust our politicians further than we can throw them. in an election season so it's very difficult to say you know whether it was an extra total political calculation to keep the military out of the loop because we know what the military wanted to say they wanted more than the
thirty thousand troops i believe but i believe mcchrystal wanted upwards of eighty thousand troops so i think was right for the president not to not to agree with that or not to do that but it's also problematic that he tripled the number of troops and this isn't a partisan attack we also have to remember that president bush was the one who plunged into afghanistan and dwelt for years we ignored the conflict and that was what set a supreme mission creep and so this is a bipartisan failure both the republican party and the democratic party really quickly to before we go in terms of nato right since the end of the cold war and been asking if there is even a reason for the alliance to exist anymore but this is the last big thing that they've done together is this ten year long war now that it's over what's the point it's you know it's a constant attempt a desperate attempt to establish nader's relevance in fact what i found shocking was that libya didn't really come up because as we've seen on the ground it's an utter chaos you know. elements and militants filling that void militancy and instability spilling over libya's borders and so whether you're talking about libya
or afghanistan these out of area missions have really eroded nato's credibility and honestly it's a huge liability for for the united states getting into missions into conflicts that are not really vital to america's strategic interests and we keep breeding the europeans to spend more on their defense spend upwards of two percent or more of their g.d.p. on defense but of course if we keep subsidizing european defense funds they have no incentive to increase their defense so i mean so we're in a situation where we provide defense for our allies at the same time to create more birds and liabilities for us to get into more protracted conflicts as well as getting them into conflicts that may not necessarily involve them and not to mention that probably the biggest threat to the world right now is the economy a little more than other i think also got a raft and i'd like to thank so much for joining absolutely thank you. our we're taking a break but we'll be right back.