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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 21, 2010 12:30am-7:00am EST

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coverage and access to care. >> finally mr. potter what is your response to people who may say well you spend 30x years in the health care industry and now you are writing negatively about them? >> i've heard that before and it is because i didn't spend that much time in industry but only during the last part of my career that i was able to see. the higher up on the corporate better i was able to climb the more i could see and became aware of the practices that they engaged in to get rid of people who were sick and to meet wall street's expectations. i would have stayed as long as it did in the industry if i'd done everything i knew before the end of my career and that the early part of my career. >> wendell potter's book, "deadly spin" and insider speaks out on how corporate is deceiving americans. booktv did a long for longform interview with mr. potter, which you can watch it up tv.org. >> and welcome to booktv's
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live coverage of the 27th annual miami book fair international. more than 350 authors take part in this eight-day festival and booktv will be live all weekend from miami-dade college with over 20 author events and collins. here is our schedule of coverage for today. now in about five minutes we will be bringing you a free year of george w. bush from this past sunday. president bush officially opened this year's miami book fair with a discussion of his new book, decision points. he has spoken in the chapman conference center at miami-dade where we will be bringing youvet live events today and tomorrow.a now in about an hour, you will have the chance to talk to autr author sebastian junger in his latest book war, mr. younger chronicle the experiences of u.s. troops fighting inthe e afghanistan and a half-hour lfter that we will be joined byl attorney kendall coffey.ll cof mr. kendall's clients have book included elian gonzalez. cou
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he has written a book aboutill trying high file cases in the court of public opinion. he too will be taking your calls . you will be able to see sebastian junger and he will be joined by a veteran and rhodes scholar who will be speaking about this novel which took 30 years to publish. after that, susan hasler wig be here on our book tv set in miami to take your calls. this summer she published a novel about the cia intelligence. after that --
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special envoy for haiti. the organization he cofounded heart is and how this worked for many years to provide health care and social services for the poor around the world. a collection of his written work has recently been published. and we will end the day with one more event. this one with author salman rushdie. his latest book is "luka and the fire of life". now, salman rushdie will be our guest on booktv send-ups on december 5, which is a sunday noon to 3:00 p.m.. and we are pleased to be joinedd now by one of the cofounders ofe the miami book fair book international, mr. kaplan. thank you for having us downow here. onen and how did the miami booki >>tartnternational get started? >> it got started a lot of years ano but for someone someone to w thank c-span for being here atnr miami book fair.. it is a major part of what we ds at the fair.ur 27th this is our 27th miami bookand t fair. a
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and it started way back when, r en a group of us got togethere i was a young bookseller at thes time our book store. the president of this campus, miami-dade college, and myself, and a number of other booksellers, got together and said, let's do a book fair. and here we are 27 book fairs later, and it's meant so much to the city and so much to the literary community here as well. >> mitchell kaplan, do authors ask to be invited or do you do the inviting? >> it goes both ways. authors do ask to come. we work with publishers directly and work with authors directly, and we're looking to get authors who might not have a new book out but who haven't been to the fair. so it's a lot of different ways. >> we're just north of downtown miami, how many people attend the festival? >> it's been sid that probably half a million people come
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during this time, that's what the estimates. we start ode --ed on sunday, and it was a remarkable evening. all the events have been full. we have 12 rooms going at one time right now with authors in them, and then the street fair as well. >> does the festival help authors sell books? >> absolutely. it certainly does. all you have to do is look in the autograph areas and you'll see that. it's been spoken we're in this crisis of reading or whatever, and we're really not. as everyone who watches book tv knows, there are audiences for a books now, and the question is, how do you match those audiences up with a distribution model we have? and i think something like a book fair, which is low tech, brings authors face-to-face with their audiences, is the best way to distribute their books.
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>> now, mitchell kaplan, you're the owner of books and books as well. how many book stores do you have? how is business? >> business is good. we have a book store in long island and one in the cayman islands and one in the airport. so we're international. the role of the independent book store has not been diminished. the role of being the guide, the person who can sort of select for their customers what might be out there and what might be good is as alive as ever. >> now, last week, the book fair kicked off with george w. bush, and you were part of that. what was that like? >> it was really interesting. it was a marvelous event. we had a full house for president bush. he was very gracious. he was funny. answered all the questions, and it was very appreciative
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audience. we sold lots of books. >> how did this book fair get the term international? >> miami is a very diverse city, so one of the things from the beginning, back 27-28 years ago, before you saw international all over the place, people didn't really understand what that diversity meant. so, we felt that what we wanted to do is create this big tent so that a lot of people who live in miami could sort of enter it. so we invited authors from the beginning from all over the world, and a good part of the fair happens solely in spanish creole, french. so we mire roar the community in south florida. >> mr. kaplan, we appreciate your time today. >> to let you know, we're just beginning our coverage of the miami book fair international in just a minute we're going to show you the president george ws
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"decision point." we'll be sending out twitter updates all day long. so go to twitter.com/booktv, and if your away from your tv, and you want to watch this, you can watch live online at booktv.org. and we're down here passing out book backs. so here's president bush from last sunday. after that, call-in. >> ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. we're going to begin. welcome to this very special opening presentation of the 27th annual miami book fair international at miami-dade college. before we continue, i kindly ask you turn off your cell phones or place them in the silent position. thank you. >> now, ladies and gentlemen, it's my pressure and honor to introduce the cofounder of the book fair and the president of miami-dade college, dr. ed a --
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dr. eduardo pedron. >> good afternoon, everyone. it's a real pleasure to welcome all of you to miami-dade college. this is the official opening for the book fair that will to for eight consecutive days, and the street fair that will take place friday, saturday, and sunday of next week. this is without question the finest and largest literary event in america. and we're very proud at the college to be able to host these every year, now for 26 years, and the community has been so responsive. visitors and members -- and residents of the community come
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together in a communion of books. the books have been labeled in many different ways, but my two favorite ones are, the american author who says miami-dade international is the literary mecca of the western world, and the other nice label, if i should call it that way, is what former first lady barbara bush said about book fair, the miami book fair. she said it's an embarrassment of riches. i love that one. between now and next sunday, we're going to have over 350 authors. some of them coming from different parts of the world, to the delight of the miami public. and during the weekend and during the street fair, we'll have hundreds of thousands of people who will be visiting the fair, as well as hundreds of
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thousands of books for people to buy. i would like to, as a point of privilege, introduce three members of congress who are here today, good friends of miami-dade college and the fair, and they are lincoln diaz. lincoln, would you stand. [applause] >> little brother, mario diaz. [applause] >> and ilana. [applause] >> a proud alumni of miami-dade college. [applause] >> now, to introduce our very special guest today, someone who
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needs no introduction, someone who is cultural icon in this community, and who has done so much as chair of to bring books alive to bring people together, and to bring the best of the world in literature to miami. please help me in welcoming, mitch kaplan. [applause] >> thank you, eduardo. it's really an honor to be introduced by one of my mentors, eduardo padron. we all know what he has done for this community with miami-dade college, and this gift to the community, which is the miami book fair -- let's get the college a huge round of applause as well. [applause] >> also, as i stand up here, i
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have to recognize as we're entering a new book fair week, the incredible work of the entire book fair team, led by a remarkable woman, a good friend of mine who has been the heart and soul of the book fair for many, many years, and that's the executive director of the center for arts. ilana. please. [applause] >> and as eduardo says, it's an amazing week. each night this week we have an author coming in led by an entire weekend, round the clock, author events so please pick up your guide, go online, found out what is happening here. this afternoon, it's an honor to welcome this program, to introduce the president who -- and also to engage the president in a discussion.
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it's my honor to bring up someone whose books i have sold in our book shop for many years, and that's michael barron, spent two years at yale while president bush was there as well, although their tracks didn't cross then. he is the senior political analyst for the "washington examiner" and a resident seller at the american enterprise institute, a fox channel contributor and co-author of the almanac of american politics. he has written for many publications, including the columnist, "the new york times," and "the sunday times of london" he is a member of the "washington post" editorial page. please give him a warm welcome. [applause]
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>> thank you very much. it's an honor to be here, and it's an honor to be able to introduce the 43rd president of the united states, george walker bush. [applause] [applause] >> thank you all. >> thank you. please be seated. >> before we begin, i want to thank you for your leadership of the miami community college. i have had the honor of giving the graduation speech here when i was the president, and i am thankful for inviting me back. and mitch i want to thank you
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for promoting literacy. at a new author, it's in my interests to promote literacy. i did recognize the fact you invited my mother, my wife, our daughter, and you finally got to me. [laughter] [applause] >> and finally, i want to thank you all for buying this book, which i personally signed, and i understand after this is over you get your copy, and i'm grateful. >> mr. president, your book is titled "decision point." not an exhaustive autobiography. tell us what you want to do with this book. >> i thought it would be strange to start off, "i was born in a log cabin." i wanted to -- michael, i wanted people to understand what it was
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like to be president at the time. i made a lot of controversial decisions. and i wanted to give the readary chance to understand the process by which i made decisions. and the environment in which i made decisions. the people i listened to, and i -- this is not an attempt to rewrite history, it's not an attempt to fashion a legacy. it is an attempt to be a part of this historical narrative, and it was a joyous thing to write. there is an autobiographical portion, and i put that in there to make the first decisions why i run for president a logical decision to reach, in which i couldn't just say i decided to run without describing the reason to run. the book starts out, can you tell me a day in which you haven't had a drink, and it's the beginning of me quitting
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drinking, and i will tell you, wouldn't be sitting here as a former president had i not quit drinking. >> who asked you that question? >> it was my dear wife, laura. she was obviously tired of me drinking, and as the reader will learn, i became tired of me drinking as well. the book is very anecdotal. the president has a lot of historical record at his resource, so there's diaries for every minute of my life as president, notes of the national security meetings, memoranda of phone call is made and it was interesting to recreate a lot of the decisionmaking process from the records. but no historical record of how i felt or the emotions i felt, and i tried to do my best to give the reader the sense of
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emotions during some of the very traumatic moments. >> your father was elected president in 1988. as the future president, you might have had a lot of opportunity for training at that point. what kind of a role did you make in your dad's campaign and his administration? >> first of all, obviously a focal point of the early part of the book is my relationship with my father, and i recognize there's a lot of psycho babel taking place during my presidency about the relationship between my father and myself. i love george bush. i adored george bush, and he was an incredible inspiration for me, and i learn a lot from him, obviously, as an observer. i learned structure in the white house. i never dreamt i was going to be president when he ran in 1988.
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very few people dreamt i was going to be president. [laughter] >> i remember interviewing -- >> including my mother. >> i remember interviewing you in the texas delegation with the governor. >> that's right. you weren't saying, i'm interviewing a future president. >> i thought the governor might be. >> you're just hoping the boy stays out of trouble. >> well -- >> but i -- [laughter] >> i learned -- i watched a gracious man be president. what's interesting is watching my dad as president was a lot harder as president. anybody would say anything bad about him, i would get angry, and frankly at times i was rude, and i say so in the book, because i was defending somebody that meant a lot to me. so when i became president it was much easier to deal with the
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slings and air rows of -- arrows of the presidency. it bothered me for my dad. it didn't bother me for me, and i made that point. >> tell us about the first time you pushed dick cheney for vice president. >> he is referring to a story in the book where i had made up my mine that dick cheney was the right person to run with me. the vice presidential selection process is really the first indication as to how a potential president will make a decision. and i had watched my dad make his decision, and it was very thoughtful process, and i asked dick cheney to be the person to lead the process. vice presidential pick also ought to state clearly to the american people that the future president or potential president understands the most important role of vice president is to succeed the president is something bad happens. after going through the list
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with dick, i decided he would be the right vice presidential pick. i liked him. i trusted his judgment. i knew he wouldn't be second-guessing decisions, and he could be president. and it would reassure the american people that it understood the nature of the vice-presidency. and so, i told my senior anymore austin about it, and karl rove strongly objected. he thought that vice president cheney would not help us with the electoral college. turn out the three electoral vote were valuable. he felt like picking someone from my father's administration would look too much like a continuation of president 41s administration. he was worried about his health. and he was worried about some of the policies dick voted on when he was in the u.s. congress. so, my management style was
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that -- to put karl and rick in the same room at the governor's mansion in austin and let karl air out why the didn't think dick should be on the tick. and it was interesting because dick agreed with him. but there was a lot of speculation about my relationship with him. i tell you this. i'm glad i picked him in 2000 and as i sit here in 2010, i'm glad i picked him in 2000. he was, in my judgment, a superb vice president. >> a couple of people that were not eagerer few to run for president were two people closely related to you, and they -- there's some connection there with what you state is your biggest mistake in the 2000 campaign, or mistake -- .
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>> your referring to my daughters. they were just graduating from high school, and their idea their father running and winning and going to college with the secret service was not appealing. michael is referring to the biggest political mistake of my life was not revealing to the people of texas i had been arrested for drunk driving. i had been in maine, and i went to a bar with another guy. and he taught me how to drink beer out of a mug with no hands. which means you bite the edge of the mug and you -- and i had too much to drink and was pulled over by a policeman in maine, paid the fine, did what i was supposed to do i had been called for jury duty in austin, as governor, and it was a drunken driving charge. was dismissed from the jury. as i was walking out, report said, have you ever been
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arrested for drunk driving? i said i did a lot of stupid things when i was young, and that's all i said. here's the reason. my daughters were about read to drive and i didn't want to -- and i was deeply concerned if i said yes, that my message to them would have been undermined. and it was a huge political mistake, because five days before the election in 2000, the sealed record were up sealed, and dropped in the public arena. that was an easy issue to handle. of course i had been arrest, but guess what. i quit drinking. the problem is that anything that changes the discourse with five days to go in a campaign is monumental, and karl and i believe that revelation of the drunkle driving probably cost two million votes. people say, wait a minute, we don't need that.
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we thought he was one way and he is another. they didn't spend time dissenioring the issues. it was just a reaction, and it was a huge political mistake. if i had to do it over again, i obviously would have revealed it at the appropriate time that i had been drinking and driving. i paid my dues. quit drinking, and should have held the event at a mothers against drunk driving seminar. >> we're here speaking in florida. did you think -- was there any point where you thought you might not get florida's electoral votes in that 2000 controversy? >> seemed like we had to win the race five different times. i wasn't sure. i think about florida, there's one thing that really does irritate me and that was the -- i put this in the book. but the networks called the election in florida before the rest of the pan handle of florida closed their polls. most of florida is on the
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eastern time zone but the pan handle is in central time zone. so when they called the election at 7:00 eastern, a lot of people said i'm not going to vote. but it was very traumatic time. i am most grateful for one of my early decisions, and that was, on election day -- a couple things. one, people wanted me to declare victory, and my brother jed said, don't do it, and he was right. and secondly, i woke up early in the morning and asked jimmy baker to come down here. my dad's dear friend, and it worked out fine. but it was an interesting period. >> as president, you met and dealt with many foreign leaders. you wrote about some of them in the book. you write, i've always been able to read people. vladimir putin, when you first met him, you said you got a
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sense of his soul -- >> i looked in his eyes and saw his soul. >> later you told him he was cold-blooded. >> yeah, i did. >> did you read him wrong? did he change? what can you tell us? >> first, let me tell you the story. condi and i are in a room in slovenia. thankfully they didn't ask me to identify where it when i was running in 2000. i know where it is and it's a fabulous country, by the way. one of the most beautiful countries on earth. i'm meeting with putin for the first time and he is talking about soviet debt saddling the federation, and after listening to him, i said, is it true your mother gave you a cross that she had blessed in jerusalem. i read about the cross and his
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mother, the cia briefed me. i needed to know the type of person i was dealing with. and he then starts describing his mom and the cross, and he tells an interesting story about how he hung the cross on the dacha. the dacha but down and he told the worker i want you to find the cross, and he talk about the cross being in the worker's hand, and his comments changed, and the atmosphere checked, and i said issue it was as if it was meant to be. and that was the story of the cross. so i was asked the question, do you trust vladimir putin, in front of a huge press conference after our meeting, my answer was, yes. i could have tried to be clever like ronald reagan, who had the great answer, trust by verify, but that would sound like
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majorrerrism, and i said yes, and the report said why, and i said, i looked into this eyes and i saw his soul. and in my memory, at the time was how he -- how the whole conversation changed when he was talking about something that was precious to his mom and her gift. and then michael was talking about the last time i met him. russia had just invaded georgia, and i was mad. i had spoken to his successor medvedev, and i made it clear the united states was objecting strongly to the russian invasion and i said to him after a nonversation- the .. y tough because we were on international tv. i finally said to him, i've been telling you for seven years, the
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president of georgia is hot blooded. he said, i'm hot blooded. i said, no, you're cold-blooded. and the classic when i introduced him to barney at camp david, barney is tiny. and i met with putin, and he kindly invited us over. said, would you like to meet my dog. i said, sure. and out bounced coney, a huge dog, and he said, bigger, faster , stronger than barney. [laughter] >> yeah, he changed. >> you have a day that changed your presidency, too. your were in florida, the morning of september 11, 2001. took you a while to get back to washington.
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can you tell us something about what it was like to be president of the united states that day? >> my role became clarified. the priority of my administration changed from "no child left behind" or dealing with the dot-com bust to protecting america. and when i was told america was under attack, i was staring at young children, and my first reaction was anger, and my role became clear, the contrast between evil of the attackers and the innocence of our citizens from the youngest children, my job was to protect. i put in there that everything after that, the decisions i made, many of which are due to the attack that day. i tried to get home, and was frankly urged not to come back. my inextinctions -- instincts
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were to get back to washington. the secret service said, don't go. but i damn sure wasn't going to give the speech to the country from a bunker in nebraska. i didn't want the enemy to see the president on the run. so for the only time in my presidency -- well, there was another time but i overruled the secret service. their job is to protect me and it's important. and i said we're going home, and i gave a speech, and we're in a bunker at a national security meeting which is four stories below the white house, and the head of the agency said this is where you're going stay. i said, show me the bed. so they showed me this thing that looked like i had been purchased by harry true. and --
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hari truman. and i said i'm not sleeping here, because it's sensual to -- because it's essential to get some sleep. and i'm in rung shorts and a t-shirt, i grab barney, and we're back down in the pr. about four stories below the white house. and the airman says, it was one of ours. an f16 that had been flying over the city, had the wrong transponder signal and was flying down the potomac, and everybody thought it was the final plane getting ready to hit the white house. >> three days after that, you spoke at the national cathedral in washington, then you went to
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visit the sight of the -- site of the attack in new york. >> it was a prayer service, trying to heal the nation and more. other religions as well. my speech was god is good, we can count on god, and we're going to find the enemy and bring it to justice. the most important speech of my presidency in some ways. afterwords we flew up to ground zero, and it was like walking into hell. the soot, still in the air, sloshing through water. i got down to the pit, and there was blood left, and these people didn't know me as president. these firefighters and rescue workers trying to pull out their friends, and i tried to console, and they didn't want to hear it. so went when i got up on top of the fire engine -- i saw the
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film the other day, we're here for you we care for you, we love you, and the message they wanted to hear is the one i finally delivered, we hear you, and those that knocked down these buildings are going to hear from us. then we drove down to -- the road was lined with new yorkers with american flags, and giuliani pointed out, not one bird for you. [laughter] >> the truth does hurt. so, i thank the rescue workers from around the country. they went to meet with families who still thought their loved one would come out of the rubble. it was an interesting position to be in. i had just come from the rubble, and it was awfully hard to believe anybody would come out. so, i did the best i could to be hopeful and reassuring, and it was 30-minute meeting, and two
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and a half hours late are i left. the last person i met was arlene howard, who gave me the badge of her son charge, which i held tip speech. >> in the months and years that followed you authorized the cia to use enhanced interrogation teak -- techniques, on some that were proposed, including on sheikh mohamed. tell us your view of this. >> my view is that we fight a battle to protect ourselves against an enemy that is different from anyone we ever fought, an enemy that doesn't believe in the geneva convention, an enemy that hides in the soft underbelly of the country, an enemy that will unmercifully kill the innocent, and that the only way to protect us is to be able to get good information, and so we captured
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sheikh mohamed. he was the chief operating officer of al qaeda. i don't know if he called himself that. he slit danny pearl's throat because danny pearl was jewish. danny pearl had one of the greatest statements of religious principle ever when he said my grandfather is jewish america -- my father is jewish, and i'm jew wish, and mohamed slits his throat. we capture him, and i'm told he has information that could lead -- that could prevent another attack. i also was told that the interrogation techniques that we were using at the time were ineffective. matter of fact, sheikh mohamed sid i -- said i will talk to you when i get my lawyer in new
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york. the cia said they would like to take over the interrogation. and they talked about techniques that were available to them that they thought would be effective in getting information from this killer that could save lives. i then went through an exhaustive legal review of their recommendations. understanding that there are laws against torture. i wasn't going to break the law to protect you. the legal opinions came back, and i approved techniques, including waterboarding, on three people. in my book, i make two points clear. one, the information we received from those who -- on whom we used enhanced interrogation techniques, saved american lives. and secondly, i could not have lived with myself had i not, under the law, used the techniques to get the information so that our folks
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could react and prevent attack, and i'm fully aware at the time i made the decision there would be a lot of controversy and a lot of blowback on this decision. but my job was to protect you within the law and within the constitution of the united states, and as i said in the book, had later on in my presidency, we had captured somebody who had information that -- if we had gotten it could have saved lives, i would have done the same thing again. and finally, just so you know, in the book, i walk you through getting this capable, this tool, passed by the united states congress so it is now available to any president to use should he or she choose to do so. [applause]
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>> okay. >> mr. president, 2002 and 2003, you contemplated the possibility of military action against iraq, and the regime of saddam hussein. it was asserted by many intelligence agencies that he had weapons of mass destruction, and programs to build them, as he had done in the past. some of that information turned out to be wrong. how did that happen and does it in retrospect would that have changed your decision on the iraq military action? >> yeah. michael, that's one of those questions that i just didn't have the luxury of answering. i could try to answer it, but it just didn't happen that way. this book lays out how history unfolded.
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i laid out a doctrine, that in order to protect the country, we had to be on the offense, hold people to account who harbor terrorist, and we lad to deal with threats before the materialized. one of the lessons of the attack on september 11th, and we would spread freedom as an alternative to the ideology of those that murder the innocent. the world saw saddam hussein as a threat. i literally mean the world. i thought it was important to deal with him because the biggest danger facing america is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of, in this case, a sir -- sirrogate. i tried to make diplomacy work, and there was an exhaustive attempt to make sure saddam knew
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-- there's a debate whether i should have gone to the united nations security council at all. some said, you don't need to give them 20 days or 40 days to disarm -- >> your position is in the book is that legally, he was in violation of previous -- >> on the other hand, what's interesting -- what will interest people near america -- i wanted there to be a coalition of freedom-loving nations who are willing to confront saddam so that he would understand that it's not just the united states that was demanding he disclose or allow the inspectors in. it was lot of nations. those nations cannot act without a u.n. security council resolution. not the case for america but a lot of nations, the leaders said, let's good to the security council. and i wanted to build a coalition, and we passed a unanimous resolution.
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then i started conducting reverse diplomacy. he had a diplomatic track and a military track, trying to show signals that if you defy the free world again there will be consequences. and in terms of the weapons of mass destruction, what i think people forget is friar my arrival in washington, congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for regime change in iraq, and after september 11th, congress overwhelm leg passed -- overwhelmingly passed a resolution allow leg to -- allowing me to use force. after the attack people started to change their mind. that happens in politics but it can't happen if you're the commander in chief. you can't play politics with the
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people of the united states and those in uniform. [applause] >> anyway, it's a painful experience. i'm certainly not equating it to pain when people's child is sent into combat and they lose their life. it's a difficult decision for a president, and no president should commit troops without serious thought about the consequences. >> mr. president, president obama spoke in his postelection press conference, in his last question about the strength he has gotten from speaking with families of military members and members that have fallen, you write about this in the book. can you tell the audience? >> i do -- i want the american people who read this book to understand the incredible strength of character of our military families. so i tell a story of a woman
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named valerie chapman who i met in afghanistan. and i go to see her and her two children, a five-year-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter, and i talk about going eye level with the children and telling them how courageous their dad was, and i fought back the tears because i didn't want them to see a weepy commander in chief and i wanted them to heard the words your fair was a heroic person. and valerie handed me a pamphlet and said, if anybody questions this, show them this. and i wrote, john did his job, now you do yours. so there's a lot of meetings like that where the strength of character of our people come out. we're a blessed nation. we have incredibly brave, courageous people who volunteer in the face of danger and their families who support them.
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applause flaws -- [applause] >> mr. president, several of my friends in london didn't think you would get along very well with british prime minister tony blair. >> i'm not a statistic, is that what you're suggesting? >> i'm just saying what my friends in london said. >> tony blair and i became fast friends. i admire him a lot. i admire him because he is a courageous person and he keeps his word, i admire his sense of humor. laura and i spent a lot of time with him and his wife. i met a lot of friends in the international arena. john howard -- don't want to start naming them, but tony and i had a very fast friendship. what's interesting is i found it to be unusual to find politicians or people in elect
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it office to be able to look beyond the horizon, and i thought tony blair could do that in a way that was very strategic, and i believe heads of state need to be strategic in their thought and have a long-term view of issues. and tony had that view. >> you did have a few debates with his wife. >> yeah, i did. one on the death penalty. probably lost. but i made it clear her -- she was objecting to my position when i was good of texas of supporting the death penalty, and when i was president. i happened to -- justice is fair and swift and the death penalty saves lives. she didn't agree. >> you were re-elected with the majority of the vote for the first anytime 16 years a presidential nominee got a majority of the popular vote. you had political capital. you went in on the social security issue first and only later in 2006 pushed for changes
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in immigration laws. those were not successful endeavors. >> i would probably run the immigration plan first. but i didn't. so i pushed those social security hard, and the truth of the matter is, congress didn't want to reform social security. and there's an issue i feel in all due respect to my friends from congress, where congress is more reactive than pro-active on the issue, and i didn't get support from either party. nevertheless i pushed hard on the issue because i think it is essential that we reform social security. it's unfair for young americans to be paying money into a broke system. and it didn't work. on the other hand i made it clear i didn't go to washington to play small ball. i went there to deal with problems and not shy away from them because there might be bad political consequences. so social security failed.
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then i ran on the comprehensive immigration reform plan which was widely praised. the issue got away, and the issue became, you know, the rhetoric on the issue was very difficult, and somebody was nervous about the borders, and i can understand why people are. we ought to enforce our borders. but automatically labeling any plan as amnesty made it difficult to get people to pay attention. i have no regrets of trying those issues. when you're elected office, you try to solve problems, and in both cases i was unsuccessful. >> president, in your book you have a chapter on iraq which goes into 2003 and a little bit of 2004. then you have a chapter later in the book on the surge where you talk about how in the spring of 2006, you start -- you came to believe that our strategy in
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iraq was failing, and that you needed to make changes in that. that resulted in the surge strategy, which i think is generally agreed to be -- to have been successful. how did you -- why did you change your mind? how did you turn the government around? >> first, i changed my mind because i felt we were beginning to lose, and a loss in iraq would be a major blow to the security of the united states. it would have meant that sacrifices were in victim, it would embolden our enemy, and i also believe in the universality of freedom. freedom exists in everybody's soul and if we can get the right strategy to bring security in a place, then people would be given a chance to express their desire to live in a free society. the problem is that the politics -- we push politics
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first, and we're very successful in terms of the constitution and the security situation deteriorating to where democracy couldn't take hold. so i decided it would have been catastrophic as far as i was concerned. so i asked my national security adviser, get some options. it took awhile to implement it. i walk the reader through why a president -- >> you talk about changing your mind on the strategy in the spring -- >> i needed to see options. >> the announcement comes in january '07. >> that's right. but i needed to see options before you can actually make a move. so that took awhile to develop the options. then i needed to convince people in my own administration, and then as donald rumsfeld told me, we need new eyes, and the truth of the matter is, i needed -- in
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order to make the plan work, i had to have a new secretary of defense. people would not have believed it was a new plan unless there was somebody else saying, this was a new plan. and i was introduced to bob gates as an option. and then that led to needing new generals, so we needed a -- a lot of things happened, but the 2006 campaign interceded, and i feel very strongly that the commander-in-chief should not be making key military decisions in the midst of a political campaign because it sends signals to the troops, you're being used for political purposes, and that would be a major mistake. and so one of the lessons for future presidents, if they choose to read this book, don't play politics with military strategy. [applause]
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>> we had -- mr. president. >> getting ready to put the hook on me. >> in the book you account how you had experience in handling hurricanes in florida in 2004 and 2005, where you say they had a competent governor at that time, and -- [applause] >> and -- >> what do you expect me to say? >> then comes hurricane katrina in 2005. you were accused of not caring about black people. >> i wasn't just one person. this is an opportunity for people to use the response to katrina as a way to label me a racist, and i didn't like it one bit, and i expressed significant
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displeasure. you can call me names, which they did. but being labeled a racist is something i just -- i couldn't stomach then, i can't stomach now. it was unbelievably unfair. there's some -- and katrina was a -- you know, a case of -- is a put in the book, i prided myself on making decisions. it was just a delayed decision. i did something which was not smart, which was to fly over new orleans and have my picture taken in air force one so it looked like i didn't care. looking at the deal from 20,000 feet or however high we were. i do remind people how the response started initially after the storm hit. 30,000 people's lives were saved by the united states coast guard, and when i went down to new orleans there wasn't one helicopter pilot or rescue coast
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guard who said, i'm not picking you up because you're black. they saved people of all colors and races to save lives. the question is show, have put federal troops without the capacity too protect themselves in new orleans. we don't have enough time. my advice is to read the book. i walk you through it, which basically says the president cannot put troops in for law enforcement in the united states without either declaring the situation incentury rex or being asked to do so by a governor of particular state. and i was swayed by the broadcast of the area where there was shootings and snipers and all to the things we heard about, many of which did not -- turned out not be true. but if i had to do it over again -- which don't get to
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do -- i'd just but the 82nd 82nd airborne and it would have change the psychology of the situation quickly. >> i don't recall you speaking about africa or aids issues in your 2000 campaign, but your administration did a lot of than. i think a lot of people aren't aware of that. >> well, condi early on, when i was getting to know condi, and courting her to try to become my national security adviser, and i talk a lot about africa, and you think about africa at that point in time, you have to think about the pandemic of aids. any policymaker could say, i want to do something with africa, and not immediately go to the aids issue. and i did. and i walk the reader through poignant scenes of what laura and i saw in africa. and the strategy to spend your money that ultimately saved
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millions of lives. people say, why did you do that? two reasons. national security reasons. we faced an enemy that can only recruit hopeless people, and there has to be nothing more hopeless then a child watching their parent die of aids and nobody helping. we have the capacity to help in america. the other thing is i believe it's important to live by principle, one of which is to whom much is given, much is require, and we're a better nation for it, and i devote a chapter called lazarus, because many people were talking about -- after the program that was implemented, many people were -- said people like lazarus, riding from the dead. tell a funny story dish think it's funny. josh bolton, my dear friend and second chief of staff, after my
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dear friend andy, he said, you're going to meet bono. he said, you do know who he is, don't now? , i said, yeah, famous irish rock star, and just as josh was leaving the room, and i said, and used to be married to cher. [laughter] >> and i kept my poker face as long as possible. so there's a lot of moments of humor in this book. believe it or not, my administration in the midst of trauma, was pretty light-hearted at times. we got along well, and there was a lot of joy in this grief. >> finally, mr. president, there's two older women who appear in the book. which one was more formidable, queen elizabeth or barbara bush.
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>> i put in there that -- well, i tell a lot of stories about my mom, and i used to tell people when i rap for governor of texas, i have hi daddy's eyes and my mother's mouth, which would generally get a laugh but at it true. my mother is for met -- formidable, when i told her i was running against an richards, her reaction was, you can't win. thanks, mom. she is unbelievable. and -- >> what did she say? >> after my dad lost in 92:00, i decided i'm going to let out my frustrations by training for and running the houston marathon. at mile 19, the church was there, and it just so happened i was running by the church right
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about the time the 9:30 service empties out. it was 10:30. and my dad, there's my boy, he yells, and mother goes, with people ahead of you. [laughter] ... [laughter] [applause] >> that is that what you heard from the queen? >> glor and i went to majestgham palace palace and honda majestic day. and i asked the queen if i could see her corgis. and they came in, you know, beautiful dogs, very well behaved. i am used by sout thank you very much for being
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here and thanks for your interest. there are a lot of stories in the book. [applause] >> i was giving a speech, welcoming romania to nato and just before i got up the podium and a couple hundred thousand people there. they were there to hear the american president welcoming nato which was a big deal for people who had come out from underneath communism to know that attack on what was an attack on all which is article 5 of the nato treaty. and there's a bit balcony against the drizzle and witness of the day. and as it would is that? says the balcony where he had given his last speech and was a
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memorial to freedom. and a full rainbow appears. a startling moment and i stepped back to take in this rainbow and then said got a smiling on us. the reason that it is because of the rainbow ended exactly behind the balcony where he had given his last speech. thank you for coming. [applause] [applause] [applause]
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>> thank you michael burwell and president bush. thank you all for coming as well. we hope to see you throughout the week. and if you pre-purchased about they will be available outside. i think they will be a line you can get into. if you haven't pre-purchased one, there will be some for sale, two, right outside as well. thank you all. we'll see you this week. [inaudible conversations] >> and now is former president george w. bush last sunday in miami. and we are again live from the 27th annual miami book fair international. now we're joined live by sebastian younger, author most recently of war. thank you for being with us in miami. we're going to hear from you in
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a little while. to do a presentation. wanted to ask you about your book. who is on the cover? >> i was one of the soldiers i was with was burning o'byrne. we were out at a small outpost with 15, 20 guys and i became very good friends again. he's the only kind of june who got out of the army after the deployment. and we became -- we continue to be very good friends back home. postcode you open with the book with him, to close the book with him. what was his role? >> guest: key sort of was the person -- they all thought about what they were doing. he was the one who is able to think about it and put those thoughts into words. so for me, as a journalist, he was sort of valuable. i.t., you know, task that they had, they were getting killed. they were fighting. they were killing other people. and he kind of processed at all and put it into a verbal form that i can understand.
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and so i connected with him on that level and then we became really good friends actually.d >> host: are you still in touch with a lot of the soldiers who worked with? guest go through the of facebook. i mean, most of them just finished up another deployment for when i was on. they just came back about 10 days ago in afghanistan. but i was able to keep touch with them. few brandon i speak with every few days because in the u.s.>> you e >> host: you have a map inere he your book, "war." name tese?ing your destiny in bases? >> guest: the bases are often named after soldiers who have been killed. who had been killed. so a 20 man outpost on a ridge, very remote, no phones to the up side world, the internet, no running water, no way to base and a lot of combat. that was named after the platoon medic who was killed in july of
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2007 at the beginning of deployment. i was with second platoon battle company and we were in canard province in eastern afghanistan along the pakistan border. specifically in a six mile valley. for a while when i was there, it was the scene of almost a fifth of all the combat and all of afghanistan. >> sebastian junger is our guest. his most recent book is "war". if you would like to participate in this program 2025853885. in eastern central time zone, 3886. go ahead and buy in. we only have 30 minutes with sebastian junger. salvatore just received the medal of honor. he is featured in your book. >> that was in first platoon battle company. about 150 men. he was first platoon. i met him a few times out there.
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extraordinarily nice guy. he did something very brave. everyone out there was brave. his act wouldn't have meant anything without the bravery of everyone around him but he did save a platoon mate from being dragged off, wind but alive by the enemy during a lifetime ambition. he took two rounds to his bulletproof vest while doing it but he did get his friend back. >> we just had the 2010 elections. afghanistan did not play a major does that disappoint you worse surprise you? >> elections are such weird things. i think afghanistan is on the forefront of the obama administration's minds. elections are strange creatures.
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work is a complicated and unpleasant topic. the reality is no one wants to bring it up if they don't have to. >> should the u.s. get out of afghanistan? are they ready? >> i am a journalist. i don't make policy recommendations. but i can clarify the consequences for the stakes. everything we do will have an upside and downside. the downside to being in afghanistan was we lose soldiers. the possible upside is the united states has not been attacked since 9/11. i don't know if they're connected. they may not be but they might be connected. if u.s. leaves and we are affected and there probably is a connection between those two things and the nation will have to decide, do we go to afghanistan and lose soldiers or not the and afghanistan and suffer a terrorist attack everyone's a work? i can't answer which is worse. >> we are up the miami book fair
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international with dr. sebastian junger. first call from montana. >> you are a terrific reporter and i enjoy reading you very much. when it comes to afghanistan especially in the mort tribal world areas, are we not going to have to except some sort of taliban or taliban like presence in those areas because of how we consider modern society? they really are in the tenth century and a lot of places. >> guest: the afghans let the taliban take care of the problem of violence and corruption that was plaguing afghanistan and the irony of nato's mission is essentially we are protecting a government that is very corrupt.
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the afghans heat the taliban. most afghans hate the taliban. but they also hate corruption. we are giving them this weird choice. we're here to protect you from the taliban but also giving you a corrupt government. i don't think there's any tactic in the war that will succeed until we solve that basic contradiction in our policy. >> host: "war" is published by 12 or books. next call from texas. >> you just mentioned the corruption. is this a corrupt government, we are allies with a corrupt government that doesn't give us any type of loyalty from the people outside the corruption and with all this corruption people outside the corruption getting no services it is a losing partnership with the
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corrupted government. >> i think you are right so the question is how to change the government so it is not correct. that is something the afghan people can be proud of and support with conviction. i am afraid the only way to do that is to call hamid karzai's bluffing leave afghanistan. if we do it will be a bloodbath. it will go back to the civil war of the 90s. enormous amount of suffering. that kind of threat may be the only thing that forces hamid karzai to free up his government but i'm just guessing. >> have you been following the summit taking place in portugal talking about afghanistan's strategy? >> i haven't seen the news and a couple days. but i'm curious what they're it is effective problem.
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>> did you work solely with americans or did you see international forces as well when you were there? >> for this project that was just with american soldiers. i have been going to afghanistan since 1996 and so i have been with the afghan people many times with the northern lines when they took cobble. once there were french fighter planes that came in and helped out when we were in a tight position, but that was close as i got to national forces. >> host: who is your photojournalist and what is the total on the back of the book? >> the photographer i worked with is tim feather. my partner to up the project. we shot a lot of video together and made a documentary. he took all the still photographs. that is a photo of an interim
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squad rumble. the guys were pretty physical with each other and if enough days went by without a firefight there would be constant combat. they would just get antsy and things like this would erupt. they never actually damage each other but it was pretty rough play. >> host: kentucky, please go ahead. >> caller: just wondering, surrounded by some of the best troops in the world, were you ever in fear for your life? >> of course. if you're getting shot at, you have no control over what bullets do and the one that hits near you keep still i had one hit a few inches from my head. it could have easily hit my head and wouldn't be here. anytime you are in combat you reach an understanding that you could get killed for shore. that was just a reality of being
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out there. >> host: did the troops lookout for you? >> guest: my security was set from the fact that they were protecting the unit so it wasn't like i needed any kind of particular scrutiny. i was safe. they focused on what they had to do. i have been in a lot of worse. i covered worse since 1993. i know how to handle a self. once in awhile i do something stupid that they point out but in terms of protecting the, our security lay in the group security. >> host: any restrictions on what you could write about? >> guest: any journalist in the u.s. attorney signed document that says you will not write about or portray something dangerous to u.s. security or the security of the soldiers. fortunately that information is very hard to come by.
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you can't take head shots of bases and things like that. it never came up. in all the videos that are shot in my book, the military never asked to see any footage or see my notes and never tried to direct my conclusions or my perception in anyway. i was very impressed. >> host: walnut creek, calif.. good afternoon. >> no one is pointing out the huge sums of money. you hire 100,000 people with $100,000 salary to just end war. you can't just buy these people off. seems like a non of the journalists writing books and making money.
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any of them pointing out this solution for that. had many people go to the rally and what kind of things happen. of money that is spent just doesn't -- the numbers don't make sense over here. all these people are starving. they don't have water and we're spending 10 times more money just to end at. >> host: billions of dollars are going into a project in afghanistan, reconstruction project, trying to build government and rule of law. billions of dollars are rebuilding that country after 20 years of warfare. in terms of buying off the taliban you are assuming that the taliban commanders want money but they don't. what they want is afghanistan.
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you can pay them a one hundred thousand dollars each. opium trade and all that and that is not what they're after so that won't works very well. >> host: washington d.c.. >> military families for progress. saw the film, met u.s. the mayflower when you were here. phenomenal piece of work. to show the to pocket the in which these people live and survive gives an idea of their determination. it was one of the best, accurate pictures i have seen on the subject and our applaud you and we still have to stay in because the nato meeting, these taliban folks like a fungus will stay in there if we don't remain and will go on. thank you for your work.
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>> guest: i appreciate that. i should say when the soviets invaded it was a real invasion. back to the and the turks. when the u.s. went in, when they know when to of the afghanistan when the u.s. went in and buy was literally getting hud by afghans because i was american. they were so grateful to be rid of the taliban. they saw it as a foreign occupation by pakistan. the reality now is nato is fighting an element of the past in society. it is not the afghans. it really is the element in the past in tribe pact by pakistan. it is an important distinction to make between this situation and the soviet situation. >> host: one of the real worse are in pakistan. is that real belief.
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>> guest: they are smart guys. military eavesdrops on radio communication and we get reports from those eavesdropping operation that basically translate what they overheard. constantly, they were saying we are getting more ammunition from pakistan. more fighters from pakistan. pakistan says this or that. 20 miles walk from pakistan into the valley. so the soldiers themselves were keenly aware the source of the problem was just across the border. not the pakistani government but elements. >> host: did you ever cross the border into pakistan? >> guest: no. >> host: next call is from
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arizona. >> caller: first off, i want to sincerely thank you for a great piece of work. this has been the first book. i am totally blind and this is the first book i have been able to read as an e book. i commend you and your publisher for allowing that to be published so that a blind person with an iphone can read the book. the second thing i want to commend you on is to you have any recordings of the sounds that when don? totally audio recordings or video to described the versions of the documentary? >> i have floated. the interesting thing we are doing, the e book came out a month ago and i am glad you were
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able to read it. that is great. what we just started doing a few days ago is i took the footage that my partner shot and inserted it into the be book. you might be reading a paragraph that describes a fire fight. i have footage of that fire fight and there is an image that you can click on as a frame from the video and watch one or two minutes of footage of that fire fight you are reading about or that conversation or whatever it maybe. in that, you will get the audio even if you can't see the image you will get the audio of whatever the situation is. >> new orleans, you are on booktv. get on with your question for sebastian junger. >> caller: i left a message for the congressional depart -- the defense to guard the opium trade is in the hands of the taliban. suggested why couldn't we bombed
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the poppy fields and maybe the taliban would be interested at all? >> the poppy fields are very extensive. i don't think there are enough bombs to do that. it would be like bombing a week in kansas. in addition, people who are farming the poppy are very poor people. it is the only way they can make a living. it is a very poor country. they are not making much money. the money is made at higher levels. higher levels of management levels. that is where the money is made. you would actually alienate the poppy farmers who are growing poppies just to survive that you would be touching the people who are at the root of the problem. >> next call from hartford, connecticut. >> caller: 9 name is from
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pakistan. i haven't read your book. i have been falling pakistan for while. biases and is afghanistan war is a war by proxy is within the civil war. that is my assessment. the others say is the have too much hype about corruption. it was never to fight corruption. corruption is part of the economy. thank you very much. >> guest: in many countries corruption is part of the economy. is a different thing when it is at the core of government. when it is how people in power, ministers make millions and millions of dollars illegally. that is a very different form of corruption that street level corruption and bribery that happens in many third world countries. you are right. the u.s. did not go into afghanistan to weed out corruption. the taliban had done that quite
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effectively. it is now our problem and corruption is undermining all the sacrifices of nato soldiers and afghan civilians in this work. the corruption is dealt with for all is for not. it has to be something that has to be solved. >> host: will be working on now? >> i will go to africa on assignment. for vanity fair. i don't have a book project yet. i will take a little break. this was pretty intense project. it will take awhile to gear up for another one. >> host: would be right about? >> guest: i don't have an idea yet. this project completely wiped me out. intellectually, emotionally, physically. i'm still rebidding. >> host: i you haven't tse? >> guest: a little bit.
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everyone gets it. a close relative dies. you are in a car accident. you are in combat. i had nightmares and was pretty jumpy for a while. it is not the end of the world. it went away. but it is trauma. how your mind processes something that was very upsetting. >> host: why are you going to africa and where? >> east africa. the ward of africa is an interesting area. somalia is off-limits. the whole area, it is really problematic and interesting. i have some interesting insights to understand it. >> host: there has been an increase in attention to yemen in the last several months or year or so politically. >> guest: it is obviously the
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birthplace of al qaeda. a lot is not under government control. it is an ideal place like afghanistan to base a global criminal movement or terrorist movement. the country has a lot of problems that will have to be dealt with. >> host: california, you are on with sebastian junger. >> caller: i heard one of the returning military commanders say that he thought perhaps the best way to deal with corruption was not to start at the top but to start at the field level, bottom levelland take one area at a time and try to replace one local guy at a time with a more honest alternative. they did a little bit in iraq in that particular valley. do you think's that is a viable
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way to approach getting rid of corruption? >> guest: how did you protect those people? you take a corrupt person out of the district and replace a corrupt governor with an honest governor. the forces of corruption are very powerful. there's a lot of money at stake. i think you will just be killed. that is how it works. i think as long as the message coming down from the top government level, hamid karzai, corruption is okay. as long as that message is coming down people will be bullied and killed and manipulated. you really have to start with hamid karzai and work your way down. the only way to do that is essentially to threat and to pull out of afghanistan if he does not take certain measures
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to combat corruption and the reason that might work is if nato leaves carl zeiss is dead and he knows that. i don't think he would call our bluff. i'm just guessing. it seems like a reasonable one. it is a risky poker hand for sure but it could work. >> host: conn, go ahead with your question for sebastian junger. >> i am interested in what happens to these guys when they come back if you can tell us how they adjust to life after the scene they had to deal with. thanks. >> guest: they just finished their last appointment.
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one guy, brendan, got out of the army. he had a rough time when he came back. a lot of problems. as he was in the gulf but he is doing ok now. they did have a hard time even going back to their base in italy. ironically, many of them really missed the struggle. they missed being out in combat. they have adapted to extreme reality and that eventually was the situation they were most comfortable in and the transition to their base initially was difficult. >> host: what is a half kick? >> guest: a bar in new york city the bill with some friends in 2000. we just had our tenth anniversary. we have author readings there. we have photojournalism exhibits. there is a lot of journalism,
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people publishing and books who go there. >> host: where is it located? >> guest: tenth ave. >> host: often are you there? very fair amount. >> you can read him in vanity fair and also read "war". sebastian junger's latest book. speetwo for being on booktv. in have had a car sebastian junger will be joined by the author of the vietnam war novel "matterhorn: a novel of the vietnam war". it took karl marlantes to finish writing his novel about vietnam's. he is a rhodes scholar and was a soldier in vietnam. those two will be doing an author presentation in the miami book fair international in miami. coming up next, kendall coffey bleak as the "spinning the law". he is going to talk about spending public opinion. we will be right back.
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>> you are watching booktv on kendall coffey -- c-span2. thirty hours a nonfiction books every saturday. here's our prime-time lineup for tonight. starting at 7:00 p.m. the author of the high tide of american conservatism recounts the 1924 presidential election between john davis and calvin coolidge. last time according to the author that both parties fielded conservative candidates. at 8:00 p.m. the 60 first annual national book awards from new york city. booktv talks with nonfiction nominees and presents full coverage of the evening as awards are presented in the categories of nonfiction, fiction, poetry and young people's literature. that is followed at 10:00 with 2010 national book award nominee john dower discusses his book cultures of work on afterwards.
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in the conversation at the institute for policy studies, he examines for defense in u.s. history. the attack on pearl harbor. >> we are back live in miami at the miami book fair you can see the street scene here. we will be live all day. we will be alive today and tomorrow. we have author events and call ins and right now we are pleased to be joined by kendall coffey. his book, "spinning the law". he is former u.s. attorney for the southern district of florida, was the lawyer for al gore and elie on gonzalez and others in his career. please tell us, court hears a case be personally jury hears a case. why is it important to spin
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public opinion on a case? >> any jury subjected to a high-profile case has already been subjected to waves of negative publicity usually about the senate. there is no presumption of innocence in the court of public opinion. the average person and someone accuses something we all think he or she must be guilty as sin. lawyers should do and can do within the rules is try to level the playing field and get the message across that there are two sides to of the story. the reality is lawyers are responsible not just for legal cases but also the advocates for clients's reputation, business reputation, family and we deeply care about what the community thinks about us. the most important thing is winning the court of law but it also matters to do whatever you can't protect the client's reputation in the future. >> host: tell us how you have
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manipulated or worked public opinion for case? >> guest: i can tell you what did work. when we were focusing on legal issues in the alley in case. the court and public opinion was overwhelmingly won by the administration which have very straightforward theme. we were according to that theme trying to keep him here because we were mad at fidel castro. the scene that captivated the american people was the natural rights of a father. the right of a father even a communist father to be reunited one of the lessons i learned was no matter what the legal issues are they will be forgotten and the more important thing is whether the human messages that hit our hearts and deeply held feelings. those at the end of the day will carry the court of public opinion. >> you were there when the ins agents came to take him. >> it is a night i never forgot.
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we thought we'd renegotiating resolution of the case. the first moment i realize that wasn't true was when teargas seat into some room. it was a shocking night and when you talk about the court of public opinion there was a period went public opinions weighed in favor of the family because there are was outrage about removing him at the point of machine guns. ironically enough that outrage carried over into the reality i think of the 2000 elections. there worse thousands of votes that worse which from bore to bush as reaction to that. thousands of votes in an election decided by less than 600. >> host: what was the roll of janet reno? we will put the numbers on screen if you want to talk to kendall coffey on public opinion when it comes to court cases. we will put the numbers on screen.
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>> guest: she had all the public opinion advantages. credibility, directness and a consistent message. she was just following the law and she wanted to reunite the fall there with the child. when you have those messages the public is not going to drill down on the legal issues. what -- she was a tremendous ambassador for the administration in that case, was very effective in keeping the court of public opinion on the side of the administration. >> host: what is your role in bush versus work? message but witness to a fascinating dual of standing. on the democratic side our message was simple. we just want every vote counted. pretty good message. fair enough. republicans matched every message we put out with the election is over whether there are 500 votes or five million
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and by the way these hanging chad's are just goofy. they are pregnant chad. they are really not as we would have put it the ballots representing the will of the voters to be personal something that would seem to be sacred in a democracy. they were essentially reduced to a late-night comedian's joke about the hanging chad's and in this end that helped set the stage for the decision to shut down the recount based on a widely held public few that these hitting chad's are just too goofy a phenomena and to decide who is president of the united states. >> host: would you say the florida supreme court reacted to the phrasing of hanging chad? >> guest: the florida supreme court -- i'm a democrat -- got it right. they say this is about the will of the voters. the supreme court sided differently and no matter what happens in the court of public opinion at the end of the day it is to the court of law that makes the decisions that count.
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>> host: tell us the story about mr. rossstein. >> guest: i came back from new york and there was a massive ponzi scheme that has developed on the inside of a high-flying florida law firm. one lesson i took to that case is when you have got a disaster, try to get in front of the disaster which we did. we immediately went to the authorities. at the same time be as open with the press as you can consistently with ethical duties. we did something probably unprecedented. we took the media on a tour of the lawful premises to show them just how it could have an inner sanctum that no other lawyer or staff could see. we wanted to communicate the message that the other attorneys and staff were unaware of the
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fact that they have a law firm that was perpetrating massive ponzi schemes that no one knew about. if you deal with the press honestly you recognize they are doing their job like you are doing your job. you will get a message across. it doesn't mean you will win the case but it will level the playing field. >> host: kendall coffey is the author of "spinning the law". >> caller: i am wanting to ask kendall coffey about the recent case of citizens united. i am sure you have been aware of this as we all have. would you explain to me what they said in overturning the legal precedents that chief justice roberts promised he would uphold and i would like to take my answer off the air, how they justified -- >> host: kendall coffey? >> guest: it is a controversial
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case, strongly divided american people strongly divided court. but in fairness to chief justice roberts he always mayor claim he was going to fly his legal principles, his philosophy and when one side wins the presidency they get to pick a well qualified jurist to reflect their philosophy. that carried the day in that case. >> host: san antonio, texas, please go ahead. >> caller: i wonder if you heard of any recent cases discussed about any of the sovereign movements. >> host: many of the what movements? >> caller: sovereignty cases. >> host: what are you referring to? explain very briefly. >> caller: there has been a lot of discussion recently about sovereignty in regard to the corporate person as compared to the natural person and the
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supreme court did uphold the viewing of the corporations as persons and wanted an answer in that regard. >> guest: is the kind of thing that will have the court of public opinion and court of laws in debate for years. is what the supreme court is about. our founders said this place give the final answer and in this nation of laws that is the answer we have to accept. >> host: in your book "spinning the law" you include the kobe bryant case and have a picture of kobe bryant confirming with his lawyer. was his choice of a lawyer rpr statement? a small white woman? >> caller: >> guest: he had the right lawyer. tenacious and somebody who got the message across. how it could be that someone makes a false accusation, we think there must be something to. they did a masterful of bringing out all the reasons why somebody of prominence like kobe bryant
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could be falsely accused and some of the strategies that really worked better in the court of public opinion that maybe work inside a court room. they discredited the accuser, she had medication and treatment for depression, something that wouldn't be an issue in a courtroom but made a statement that maybe this person isn't all that reliable. of classic example of putting the victim on trial, raising every issue they could to discredit the accuser and in the end the criminal case went away and it was silently settled. >> host: we are joined from the southern district of florida at the miami book fair. next call from allentown, pennsylvania. >> i am calling about the bush versus court case. it was heard by the florida supreme court and i have heard
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and read that legally it should states supreme court. am i incorrect? >> guest: let me speak as someone representing al gore and joe lieberman. it should never have gone to the supreme court. one of my diaries is the issue of whether it was a constitutional equal protection issue that would belong in the u.s. supreme court. it was all florida lost off argued at the beginning of the case. we were so confident that this was not the kind of federal supreme court issued that i was allowed to participate in that argument. that piece was won by the democrats early on. how could it be at the same issue five or six weeks later is used by the u.s. supreme court to basically shut down
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everything that was being done in florida to call the election of george but w. bush. my thesis in the book "spinning the law" is that along the way, the process of recounting was discredited because hanging chad's were no longer the sacred expression of the will and democracy of the voter. they became a late-night comedian's joke for jay leno it a host of others. by discrediting the hanging chad's, a brilliant strategy in a court of public opinion they set the stage so the u.s. supreme court could intervene where i didn't think it belongs and succeed in shutting down the recount without a huge amount of out cry from the court of public opinion. the court of public opinion was willing to accept a decision to stop all recounting and goofy hanging chad and go ahead and decided the president will be. >> host: "spinning the law" is the book. 202-585-3885.
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five 885-3886 mountain and pacific time zones. we have 15 minutes left with our guest. alan dirkowwith write the introduction and calls you the created master of the law. >> guest: he is the ultimate in my profession, a compliment from him is the greatest treasure one could imagine. he is somebody who was interviewed in my book. i had the privilege of interviewing him in a number of other leading lawyers and they all made it very plain that you have got to follow the rules and ethics but in today's world you simply cannot ignore the court of public opinion. the court of public opinion is getting larger than ever because of cable news and internet and bloggers. one of the things he said that stayed with me is sometimes it can be malpractice to ignore the
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court of public opinion even though your focus is always championing your client rights inside the court of law. >> host: how do you get to be creative? >> guest: i don't take credit for being creative. what helps lawyers is have an honest appreciation of the medium. i am not saying lawyers need to spend all their time working cases with the media but understand what resonates in the court of public opinion is to engage reporters recognizing that it can be a minefield because a lot of times when lawyers try to alert the press there is more pain than gain. you can have disasters in a case of someone talks too much. we all remember gov. blogowjulieowthe thick, at someone who is not your friend doing their job. they can have an effective
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relationship and the best ways you can learn what works in the public opinion is by reading what reporters right and listening to the questions reporters have. sometimes lawyers use misconceptions. by politicians, if they are going to lower taxes and increased services at the same time. it isn't so obvious when lawyers spin. i go through examples and talk about some of the basic principles of law. this defendant is going to beat iraq by saying they are in st.? that may sound good but less than 1% of criminal cases does any defendant walk away with a plea of insanity or someone was set up. that may sound unfair but the reality is most of the time when
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a defendant is entrapped they stay in the track and the conviction rate is astronomical. i try to talk about popular seems that are more myth than reality like he said she said. is based on he said she said or cases that were only circumstantial. >> host: good afternoon. you are on with kendall coffey. >> caller: that want to ask about the supreme court's decision to allow corporations to make donations to the campaigns. any way? and what would be the circumstances? >> guest: you ask a great question and one of the most important decisions potentially in our time when you consider
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the impact on both political campaigns that choose the people are run our government. you would be surprised to hear i am not a big fan of that particular decision. to get to your question, you can't overturn the supreme court. the only thing that can happen is sometimes the supreme court will change its mind. that can happen when members are replaced by different members of the supreme court selected by a president that is not all that crazy about that decision. that is usually the remedy for the voters. there are situations where we could amend the united states constitution. there's a process for that but very difficult to amend the u.s. constitution to reverse an unpopular supreme court decision. most u.s. supreme court decisions that are changed i changed because new members don't come on don't agree with the decisions made before them.
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>> host: brooklyn, new york. >> caller: hello. >> host: go ahead. >> caller: in the simpson trial, what do you think the court of public opinion escalated the whole matter or is it -- what is with that? >> host: which case are you talking about? >> caller: simpson -- the o.j. simpson trial. >> host: something you write about. >> guest: that was a dramatic event. it changed the way the news has covered major trials. it wind from big profile cases being on the front page of the newspapers to the 24/7 cable news cycle and put those witnesses and parties under the microscope. lawyers and judges became an affect national celebrities. one of the most dramatic thing
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that case did was make judges much more careful. the final view of many experts on that case was the decision was wrong. maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. that will be debated forever, whether he got away for of murder. one of you about the case is the judge lost control. one of the enduring legacies, not only does the intensity with which cases are now covered in the court of public opinion but also every trial judge you see the high-profile case nowadays is going to take more steps to keep control of the situation. no one wants to be the second coming of lands ito. a practice that it -- litigation and election cases and a criminal and investigative practice. >> host: business litigation, are you defense lawyer or travel >> guest: mostly courtroom
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lawyer but this economy has created a huge amount of what i call bad economy cases. everything from business, they forces to foreclosures to insolvency cases. the practice as challenging as ever. the one thing about bad economy cases is there are not as many happy endings because these are times that make litigation even more painful than ever. i am always reminded and i will say to your viewers, wind and coined the phrase, even a bad settlement is better than a good lawsuit. >> host: what is your view as a former district attorney? private lawyer now of cameras in the courtroom? >> guest: i asked the d a in the o.j. case on tv segment together and he doesn't think they are a good idea anymore. most of us favor cameras and the court room. it gives the public access to it and i personally although a lot
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of people are turning against it i personally think it is great. one thing this book tries to do, "spinning the law" legal make the law as explainable as it can be to the average reader. we are in a society that covers everything 24/7. so the book tries to explain a lot of what is going on not only inside the courtroom but outside the courtroom. and do it in a way that is at hopefully readable and interesting. one thing the camera does is bring the viewer inside the courtroom so they can see with their own eyes what is going on. they don't need talking heads like me to explain it. it is a great thing for the public and although there are still concerns about it i am a big fan of as much access as possible. >> host: florida is good about
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that. >> guest: the fed's are still a little bit of a distance. one of the big things we look to in coming years is will there be cameras inside the federal court room? hasn't happened yet but that is the trend. >> host: have you changed as of trial lawyer because of cameras in the courtroom? >> i have changed because of cameras in the courtroom and let me tell you how. i am not as long winded as i used to be. i realize if you have something to say try to say it in fewer words than more words and also as a lawyer, try to speak in human terms to everyday people. we get bogged down in our -- that is something the book tries to do. talk about important cases -- sometimes sad cases -- in everyday terms. as a lawyer i need to do better
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but it is something i'm getting better at. >> host: we are at the miami book fair international with author kendall coffey. i was thinking l.a. times. next call from madison. >> caller: hello. how are you doing? >> host: please turn down your volume and go ahead. >> caller: can you hear me? >> host: go ahead. >> caller: my question is this. when president bush -- can you hear me? >> host: we are going to have to move on. if you call in you can hear everything for your phone. turn down your volume. we are going to go to the next call in maine. how are you doing? >> caller: i have a question. in the citizens united case the supreme court ruled that
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corporations were basically people and constitutionally that carries responsibilities. but the whole purpose of a corporation is to absolve the individuals of responsibility. is that not a contradiction? >> guest: i couldn't have said it better than you did. the corporate forum is used to limit liability and i think there's a big difference the tween human beings and corporations. but so far, the battle to maintain that distinction has been lost. the u.s. supreme court has said increasingly a corporation is also a person. that is the verdict we accept for now but doesn't mean the controversy does not continue. >> host: "spinning the law" published by prometheus books. missouri, you are on with kendall coffey. >> caller: your book sounds fascinating.
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i intend to get it and i have a question about your bush versus worse situation and i want to know if you had read jeffrey tobin's book about the supreme court where he pointed out the role that justice kennedy had in actually watching that procedure you described so well i am sure in florida and getting that case to the supreme court almost against all cost. that surprised me and i am interested to hear what you have to say. >> guest: he is one of the best commentators' other today. there are a lot of views. professor wrote a great book about that. to me, the good news about all that is we are in a society where under any theory there was of 500 vote difference and yet the government that was in
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power, democrats at the time accepted that transition. we have plenty of strong feelings about whether the supreme court was right. i think they were tragically wrong. we accepted that decision. we had a peaceful transition, change of government and for all my frustrations and times i have relived that case it is a reminder of how many countries could have managed something so well and makes you feel might be lucky to live in the united states of america. >> host: you write about socrates's trial. i want to read something and explain why you write about socrates's trial. juries consisted in ancient greece of 500 to 1500 citizens on both theory there was no slush fund large enough to bribe so many. trial lasted one day and jurors were paid three opals for other troubled. by current monetary standards this was close to the going rate of $15 to $50 depending on the
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state. why did you include information about socrates? >> guest: i thought socrates was fascinating for a couple reasons. the case is more interesting than i ever dreamed. you think of him as kind of a martyr, for democratic principles. but maybe not really. maybe there was a isocrates' -- didn't deserve to be condemned to death, but was as much of a troublemaker and not all that democratic according to some. the case brought out a couple things that were -- first of all socrates' conducting the trial was his own worst enemy which doesn't come across very well wind and the far gore estimate in terms of spin, i talked about the coverage if you want to think of the spin on the soccer cheese trial was incredibly 1-sided and incredibly favorable to socrates. and so i use in the book what we
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call history lessons which are little blocks of a couple sentences and in other parts i have lessons where i try to come up with a moral of the story and the socrates' trial i said whether it is plato who is basically socrates's student who wrote favorable coverage of socrates at trial or cable news you want to have to the leading commentators of the day talk about your case favorably.
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>> a lot of interest in that case. >> guest: a lot of interest in that case. the important thing about the case is that there were attempts and very major attempts to limit corporations, and so the direction that the supreme court has done is not only say that corporations are not abstract structures, they're basically people that own the corporation. and one of the callers earlier made an interesting point. he said, wait a minute, i thought we were giving corporations -- or we were giving people who own the corporations all these protections from liability. now the corporations get the benefit of being owned by people because they get the rights of the people that own them. a great point. what the u.s. supreme court has said at the end of the day, corporations are owned by people, they are people for purposes of this analysis. and then the other question
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which is certainly a fair one to ask is, isn't it the first amendment to provide whatever support you want to provide and whatever amount, in whatever way you have to political candidates? this now, i think campaign funding has gone too far. i think there's a desperate need for campaign finance reform. and, boy, didn't we see it in this last campaign with the gazillions of dollars, and it seemed like most of it was spent on negative hit ads. but the reality is the supreme court has said what they said, corporations are being accorded the first amendment rights of people in many critical respects, and we have to live with it and fight for reform in other ways. >> host: kendall coffee, what is it about florida that seems to be a lot of interesting court cases, to say the least? "the miami herald" often writes about some of the quirks in florida law. >> guest: well, we don't know if it's in the soil or if it's in the air, but there's some kind of craziness in florida. think about all the crazy cases
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that keep happening in this state. the first case i talk about this book is a case that i actually won. didn't turn out so well for my team, a voter fraud case in which highlighted, among other things, a dead voter and that led to overturning the miami mayor's election. how does that happen in miami, the biggest city in florida? this and then we go on to hanging chads? it's one thing after another in florida. all i can say is we have beautiful weather, nonstop craziness, and can it's an incredible place to live. >> host: does the rothstein law firm survive today? >> guest: no, it does not. it had a lot of good lawyers and staff, and they've gone on to good and successful careers in the vast majority of cases because they were terrific people. but the law firm itself has gone into, well, bankruptcy. so it's just creating a lot more litigation and continues to be a
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never-ending story and one that is a classic florida story. when you think about how scott rothstein comes in out of nowhere, becomes one of the most important people in the state kind of like a meteoric rise and fall, and then all of a sudden crash burns in the disaster of perhaps the biggest ponzi scheme in the history of any law firm. >> host: and you're talking over a billion dollars. >> guest: well over a billion dollars according to the authorities and ongoing battles. >> host: now, are you still involved in that case, and has mr. rothstein been caught? this. >> guest: mr. rothstein has been caught, sentenced, and i'm not involved very much in this case but learned plenty of lessons and had yet another one of those unforgettable florida experiences. >> host: is gloria allred good this. >> guest: well, gloria allred is the kind of person who provokes two reactions from lawyers. one is, gee, you've got to be
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kidding. i mean, is that self-promotion or what? and then the other reaction i think a lot of lawyers have is, gee, how do you do it? this how does she create this sort of personal industry and brand that seems to be so effective? i think she is a superb marketer, and even if some want to be skeptical, i think there are plenty of others that would like to learn how she does it. >> host: bronx, new york, thanks for holding. >> caller: how you doing, mr. cover fee? i just wanted to ask, what inspired you to make that book? >> guest: well, great question and thanks for asking. i thought that, i mean, even though there have been great books written about what happens inside the courtroom, i thought, wow, how interesting would it be to talk about this battle outside the courtroom in legal cases, and i've had the privilege of providing commentary over the years for
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some of the most fascinating cases of our time. so what i try to do is take the reader on to the inside of what's going on with these strategies for communicating to the court of public opinion. i hope i made it interesting, and wherever i could i tried to have some fun with it. and more than anything tried to explain to the reader what's really going on. >> host: just about two minutes left with our guest. los angeles, good afternoon to you. >> caller: hi. my name's keith richard ratford jr., the guy that just introduced me, peter, i used to be in woodshop with him behind a church. and the rest of these guys, they all started this thing -- see, i was chipped when i was a little kid. i had an implant in my shoulder, and then when i went to jail, they put one in my hand -- >> host: all right, thank you for calling in, los angeles. next call, st. joseph, missouri.
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hi, st. joseph. >> caller: hi, sir, how are you? >> host: good. >> caller: can you hear me okay? >> host: we're listening. please, go ahead. >> caller: okay. i have something maybe you can address for me. i am, as a conservative, i am glad that the supreme court turned over the united citizen, you know, law, and here's why. the, the unions were having undue or unchecked supply of money to the democrats, you know, pushing -- that are helping obama and the democrats. and after feingold and mccain's bill went through, george soros was allowed to the buy the democratic party out for 380 billion. so don't you agree that it's a good thing that companies are allowed to contribute money to help the conservatives stop the democrats? this.
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>> guest: well, the great thing about your call is the most important message that does need to be communicated through the court of public opinion is there's almost always two sides to the story. and we'll read from one news cycle and decide, hey, he's guilty, she's guilty, must have done it. but you bring out the great point that there is another side to the story with that supreme court decision, and i hope that readers and viewers will always consider when they're looking at stories about legal cases, when they're hearing about the spin from one lawyer that there's another side out there, even if it's not such an obvious thing that usually there are two sides to the story. >> host: kendall coffey is the author of "spinning the law." thank you for being on booktv from miami. >> guest: well, thank you. >> host: we appreciate it. and, again, we are live here at the 7th annual miami -- 27th annual miami book fair international. over the weekend we will be live for about 10 or 13 hours, we will bring you 20 author events and call-ins.
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this is an eight-day festival, it opened last sunday with president george w. bush discussing his new memoir, "decision points." now, coming up this afternoon in just a minute will be sebastian younger who we just talked to earlier and carl mar land dis, author of the vietnam war novel, matter horn. it took him about 30 years to write this book. after that you'll have a chance to talk with former cia agent susan hassler who's written a new novel called "intelligence" about the cia, based on her experience there. then another event live from miami, carlos ayer, author of "learning to die in miami," creates dangerously and "dreams in a time of war: a childhood memoir." following that you'll have a chance to talk with dr. paul farmer. partner to the poor, he is the
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co-founder of partners in health. and finally, we will close out our live coverage from miami today with salman rushdie and his newest novel. by the way, salman rushdie will be our guest on sunday, december 5th, noon to 3 p.m. on booktv's "in depth" program. now, all day long we're going to be sending out twitter updates from miami. twitter.com/booktv is our address, and if you're away from your tv, you want to watch booktv, you can do so online. booktv.org, just click on the watch button, and can you'll be able to watch our live programming. coming up now, sebastian younger and it's just beginning as we speak, they're just being introduced. >> ranked number three among amazon's editors' picks of the top 100 books of 2010. it took carl 30 years to write this book which is based on his experiences as a moo lean lieu -- marine lieutenant in
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1969. in august he told an interviewer that even, that even in a morally ambiguous war, the politics soon evaporate. on the ground he said the soldier thinks how do we get out of this alive and help our friends get out of this alive and not let them down? for the record, carl has never let anybody down. he is the recipient of the navy cross, bronze star, two navy commendation medals for valor and ten air medals. he told the interviewer that once the book was done, that he still thinks a great deal of vietnam. the completion of the book did not make him forget. i wake up every day, and i think about death and dying and things i did every day. it doesn't go away. you don't want to talk about it. it flits through your mind while
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you're doing your daily work. i was reminded the same applies to sebastian junger, author of "war" and producer of the documentary, restreppo. while embedded with the platoon of the u.s. army's 173rd airborne brigade. in sering detail he describes the realities of life for our men in combat in the valley of the most dangerous place to be in afghanistan. earlier this year phillip kaput toe reviewed war for for "the washington post". he reminds the reader of junger's disinterest in politics as well. most of what we read and hear about the politics in many afghanistan focuses on politics and strategy. he makes plain he's interested in the men we've sent away to do
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our dirty work. i say men because this book takes place among the hyper-male front line infantry where women are prohibited from serving. we have two authors. they'll each introduce their books, and than they'll be talking about their very like-minded experiences. please join me in welcoming sebastian junger and carl. [applause] >> thank you very much. really, t a pleasure to be down here with you all. i met carl a few months ago in california -- or seattle. >> seattle film festival. >> sorry. and we just had an amazing conversation sort of sharing our, the differences and
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similarities in our experiences in war. and so what we thought we would do is instead of just doing our separate things up here is sort of have that conversation again on stage with you guys. there are very, very profound similarities between his experience and mine and also some very significant differences. and then we'll open it up to questions. i mean, i'm going to sort of kick this off, i guess, just by describing my work a little pit. bit. i was with a platoon, about 30 men, at a remote outpost in afghanistan in the karingal valley. it's eastern afghanistan in the mountains, and it was the scene of a fifth of all the combat in all of afghanistan. 150 men, a battle company, were absorbing a fifth of all the combat for 70,000 nato troops. it was very, very intense. there was hardly a day without a
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fire fight. every guy i was with including myself and my partner, tim hetherington, were almost killed in very, very specific ways like a bullet hit a few inches from my head during one fire fight. every guy out there had that experience at least once. restreppo was a remote outpost, and this was what really intrigued me when i read carl's book, it was on a hilltop with no communication with the outside world, a very, very vulnerable place, and that is, essentially, what carl's book is about, a similar outpost in vietnam. we were on mars out there. there was no, no phone, no internet, no way to communicate with the outside world, there was no running water, nowhere to bathe. the guys did a month at a time up there. they just lived in their clothes until their clothes fell off, and they burned them, and when they got back to the headquarters once a month, put
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new fatigues on and wore those for the next month. there was no cooked food. it was bottles of water and mres and boxes of ammo and sandbags for a year. and it was very intense combat, three or four fire fights a day sometimes. and one of the extraordinary things that happened out there, i thought, was that the men adapted to it. and very, very quickly whatever the reason was that they might have joined the army, very quickly out there those reasons disappeared and combat became strictly a matter of keeping themselves and their brothers alive. there was a brotherhood out there that existed that can't exist in society. there's friendship in society, friendships based on how you feel about another person. out there it was a brotherhood and very little to do with their feelings. one guy said, you know, it's
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strange, there are guys in the platoon who straight up hate each other, but we would all die for each other. that's a brotherhood. and very quickly it was the brotherhood they were fighting for. i didn't know if that was unique to restreppo or to this war or not. i thought it probably wasn't, but then i read carl, carl's book, incredible book, mather horn, and i started to see some of the same things, almost the same guys, actually, in his book, so i'll hand it over to you, and maybe you can talk about that. >> yeah, i was struck as well by that similarity, and i have a feeling we could be talking about genghis khan, and it would not be too much different. a little bit about the background of matterhorn, i was a marine lieutenant, and we were with a company that was situated in the mountains in the jungle very high, about 5 or 6,000 feet
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right where the laotian border meets the demilitarized zone, and it's the same sort of a situation. it just sort of astounds me how, what -- you know, do we never seem to change things? the book is, essentially, about a fire support base which is named matterhorn which is built at extraordinary cost, and then it's abandoned and because of a mistake is occupied by the north vietnamese army without the bunkers being destroyed, and then it's reassaulted to be taken back, and then it's abandoned. and i remember just after reading sebastian's book reading in the newspaper how restreppo was bulldozed, literally, about two weeks or three weeks after i read his book. and i went, oh, my lord, this is astounding. and one of the things that is also that the books seem to have in common and sort of, you know, why you write books like this, i
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i wasn't interested in politics of the war. my politics of the war if anybody wants to ask me, i'm happy to talk about them, but this book is about kids growing up. and i even had trouble at first saying the word kids because we tend to always like to abstract it. we call them marines or troopers or our soldiers over there. we don't really refer to them as who they are, and be they're generally extraordinarily young, and there's a reason for why they're so young. they're actually our best weapons. i mean, you know, you can imagine a group of 35 or 40-year-olds sitting around like, we're going to take the hill. wait a second, lieutenant, let's talk about this. [laughter] maybe if we got the air force to come and bomb them for a couple of weeks -- so, i mean, 9-year-olds are -- 19-year-olds are extraordinary, and they just go for it. one of the reasons is their brain hasn't yet developed, that frontal cortex of about
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foresight and judgment. and that's good when we put them in situations like charging hills, but i think it doesn't work so well when we put them in situations that require police work. and in vietnam and afghanistan we're finding ourselves in the same position. so it's, it is remarkable how similar these two books are in terms of what it talk abouts about. but sebastian, one of the things that i was really interested in was you are a journalist, and you came at this from the viewpoint of writing journalism. and it's almost like we came at opposite ends. i came at it writing fiction, but it was very real in terms of the background. i'm just curious how a journalist deals with this kind of writing because this isn't sort of like, you know, what you read in "the new york times". i mean, it's real different sort
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of stuff. >> where yeah. i mean, i've never been a sort of hard news reporter. i mean, "the new york times," basically all newspapers deliver information to you. but you never have the feeling while you're reading the article about anything, rwanda, afghanistan, new york city. you never have the illusion that you're there. you're downloading information from the writer. about that topic. but there's no attempt -- the writer makes no attempts to make you imagine yourself there. but that's not what peeture magazine -- feature magazine writers, authors do. i mean, people aren't going to read your book if they can't step into that world and dwell there for a while. and that means all of a sudden these small details become important, what the, you know, what the weather is and what the trees look like and what, you know, the way someone smiles but
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you can tell they're not entirely smiling because they're very conflicted about something or whatever, all those little details of the human experience and the world we live in be. if you can create those details and, for me, you can only do that in order to call it nonfiction. you have to live up to the highest standards of journalism in terms of only reporting fact. but what you notice factually when you're out there as an author is very different from what a new york times reporter might notice. so i'm absorbing all of these things and putting it into an account that i hope my readers can kind of step into and enjoy. there's, you know, there's conversations that i recorded verbatim that had no, would never wind up in a new york times story because they had no strategic or political significance, they're just tragic or hilariously funny, or
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they give some insight into how young men react to the extreme environment of combat. like my movie restreppo, i wanted to give civilians who cannot go over there but who are paying for this war and many would argue benefiting from it in terms of security in this country, i wanted to give civilians a chance to experience what these young soldiers are doing. if we don't, if we can't understand what they went through emotionally, it'll be very, very hard to bring them back boo society. they had -- into society. they had a very emotional experience out there. they didn't have a political experience, they didn't have a strategic experience. all the levels that war gets argued on back here and must get argued on back here, they didn't have those experiences. they had an emotional one. they had the same experience that your, you know, high school kid would have if he was walking down the street with his best
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friend and a car jumped the curb and killed his best friend in front of his eyes. they had that experience. and so if you can, if you can understand it on those terms and understand what's so compelling about combat for young men, i mean, everyone i was with in that platoon after they came back to italy where they're based, they're all professional soldiers. they didn't come back home, they went back to their base. they had a month off and then they returned to duty. after they got out of afghanistan after a few weeks, they all missed it. they wanted to go back. they didn't know what to do with themselves. you have to understand what is it that young men miss about combat, what is it that's so significant and important and, frankly, gratifying at least at that age about combat that makes them feel ill at ease back in their homes? if we can't understand that, we can't do anything about it, so that was what i tried to do with
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my book. i imagine your guys you were with had some issues as well. >> oh, absolutely. i mean, like, one of the issues certainly in the vietnam war was meaning. and i talk about meaning in this novel a lot. just picking up on what sebastian said, and i know he was writing about it in the his book. it's like you get a 19-year-old who is everything he does is very, very important. if he doesn't show up when he says he's going to show up, somebody dies. then you send him back to the states and say, well, why don't you flip burgers at mcdonald's? and it's just not going to be too easy for him to come back to a sort of civilian life. it's a difficult transition. most of the guys in vietnam were drafted, and they weren't -- it wasn't the professional military. and even a lot of the marines certainly were there for two or three years, and i think that's a big difference between the two wars is that our war right now in afghanistan is being fought
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by a professional army. and the vietnam war was fought by primarily by a drafted army. and there's good and bad about that. i mean, in one sense i can always remember the first time i ever ate mexican food was i had a tamale from a guy named delgado, his mother sent him a tamale and getting drafted into the army. i wasn't drafted, i volunteered. marines are usually volunteers, but it's a great sort of integrator and leveler. i talk a lot about racism in this novel and what i notice in if sebastian's is that that issue of racism seems to be pretty well solved in the military, and i think people have made really good progress with it. i don't know, i'm just getting off on a riff here, but there's another thing that i just, that occurred to me about that come pat experience and why -- combat experience and why it's so difficult to try and understand it. if you ever think about what the great mystics write about with religious experiences, there's
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certain components. one of them is always being aware of your own death. they always talk about being present, right here right now. you don't think about the future, you don't think about the past. usually you get yourself in situations where you get to a point in your life where you put other people's lives in front of your own life, and generally they're part of this religious experience involves being a group of people larger than yourself, the church. and every one of those things is in combat. i don't quite know o what to make of it except it looks like the dark side of the same coin, and it's just things like that that when i was actually writing the novel started to occur to me, and that's one of the great things about fiction is that i wasn't, i wasn't particularly trying to convey actual facts about what was going on with the group of people, but i was actually using my own experience
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to inform a story. the reason i like the literary form is because i had this experience and i talked about it on the internet so if you've heard this story before, i'm sorry, you're going to hear it again. it was an important epiphany for me. i was quite a young man, and i was reading "delta wedding." you know, a woman friend of mine said, you've got to read this novel. yeah, right, whatever. finally i said, okay, i'll read it. and can it was about a woman in the 1920s on a plantation in the mississippi delta who was putting on her daughter's wedding. and i went, well, dear, whatever, and i started reading it. and she was very concerned because the shepherdess crooks hadn't shown up from memphis, and it was dirt road, and she wasn't sure they were going to get there on time. when i first started reading that novel, i was like, who cares? my god, woman.
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by the time i finished that novel, i had been in this woman's skin, i'd been in her body, i'd seen the world through her eyes, and i was going, where are the damn shepherdess' crooks? [laughter] .. the story, this idea of getting
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to someone else's skin, a little bit hesitant. you can tell embarrassment. she says i have to say when i was in college when the war was going on, i protested all the time. very much against this war. i didn't know you guys slept outside. [laughter] we build a small bridge here. quite ordinary people have a very difficult time crossing that bridge because it is a different world and these are two methods of trying to communicate what is generally and communicable unless you go there. >> you said something interesting to me last time i saw you. you were recollecting the guy in your platoon who said something to you like the experience of
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combat, being at the outpost for a year, i wouldn't pay a dollar for it but wouldn't sell it for a million dollars. >> i wouldn't trade it for million dollars but would pay a nickel to do again. these guys have these wonderful ways of white wood that you wish you could be like that all the time. that is a pretty apt description and i feel exactly that way. i went back to my old high school and in high school kids are wonderful because there is no filter. will assume there's a guy if i ask this? anyway, it will be questioned time soon. this one girl stands up and says would you do it again? no one had asked me at that point. i went while, i don't know. the answer to that that i gave
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her is who i am is the enormously a function of what i have done. being in the with vietnam war as a marine is a giant part of that and given that i like who i n i guess the saying is, i guess i would say i would do it again because i would end up the person i am. the difference is i would like to know ahead of time whether i get back alive or not. >> the principal character in my book, i was friends with all the guys. my trips out there, my trip number is 3. i had been so much combat and so many patrols and looked like those guys and was accepted by them. he and i developed a good friendship partly because he was good at verbalizing the stuff everyone else was thinking about. he was able to put into words all these moral dilemmas and
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questions and what we doing out here and is it good or wrong? all those a wishing questions, they were all asking themselves that. but they were not all able to ask about what a coherent way. i had long conversations with brendan. at one point he started talking -- i videotaped him doing this and put it on line. such a powerful video. he was talking about god and brandon is an atheist. he was talking about god and he had a rough childhood. he and his dad had a pretty troubled relationship and a lot of alcohol was involved and they got into a pretty good fight one night and his dad shot him twice and it precipitated a reconciliation between them. it took that to get them back
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from the brink and unfortunately his father passed away recently but they wound up being very close. so that story ended 12. he was a tough kid and what had happened to him was it gave him a philosophical bent. so he says i keep thinking about what we're doing out here. we are killing people and we are killing people who are trying to kill us. i don't even believe in god but i am worried what i am going to say to him when i meet him. is this really what god wants? if my understanding of god is correct does he really want his humans killing each other? he was thinking outside any political framework in a strategic -- thinking completely
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outside that not even of moral terms. is this ok? with everybody? he didn't even believe in god but it was a way to ask a question of himself and what really messes me up, i don't feel okay about this. i don't like the idea. combat happened at several hundred yards in ravines and no one was ever shore if they did hit anybody but you couldn't see the effect of your own gun fire usually. i don't know what i am going to say to god and i am troubled about it. i don't want to have killed anyone but what really messes me up is i do all the same things exactly the same way if i had to again. we come under fire, the and my brothers are getting shot at.
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i already lost my best friend, i will kill the people who are trying to kill us. i don't want mrs. steiner to get the phone call that her son is dead. steiner was on brandon's team and brandon was the team leader and steiner got shot in the head but the bullet glanced off his helmet and it terrified branded. i told all my guys i will get you home alive. you will go home to your families and girlfriends. he didn't care nearly as much whether he did or not. it was his men that he worried about. he got hit in the head and he realized there was a certain amount he could not control and that was when he got terrified. i never saw him show any fear at all and that is what terrified him that steiner almost got killed. i don't want steiner's mom to get that phone call. i will kill anyone who is doing that to her but that is what he couldn't figure out because he felt terrible about it and that
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created an existentialist in english in him that lasted a year or two. >> when you are talking about that, what hit me is you somehow have the idea that we are not part of that. but actually, those kids are actually just the far end of a chain of things that they could put into a situation because of people like us who are sitting in this room. to expect them that age to figure out all the moral and philosophical complications of it that is what we are supposed to be doing. that is what adults are supposed to be doing. did so and so -- he killed somebody in the war. he pulled the trigger. somebody else paid the taxes and somebody else made the ammo and
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someone else drove the car. it is 8 huge long chain that goes a long way back. when i hear him talking about a kid who is wondering what in the world -- his world is confined to that. he doesn't have any more control over what the bigger pictures are so it is important for people who read books like sebastian's and mine and other great literature that deals with this stuff is one of the differences between that and a shoot them up fiction. to understand that you are part of the same chain. we have to do what we have to do and do it the way we want. i will not get political. there are pros and cons overtime. interesting to hear you talk about that. i have another question. i volunteered to be a marine when i was 18.
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quite frankly there has been some talk -- i got a person's rating -- what do they call it? critical review calling pornography which people picked up from internet stuff. i wonder if you don't get a lot of that because you actually go out and your job is to go out and write stuff that is pretty horrific and have people read it. what do you say about that? >> it is really complicated territory intellectually, morally. lie job is to cover terrible events. not events like the tsunami in thailand that is not avoidable. people choose to go to war. sometimes there are good reasons but you're still choosing to go to war and i am covering that. i had a similar confusion to the
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soldiers. soldiers grew to like in some ways and need in some ways out there and the same thing happened to me as a journalist. what do you do with that if you find yourself drawn to something that is awful? if you are sensitive person it is very confusing situation. most of my war reporting has been in civil wars and the middle east. i was writing about the effect on the civilian population and every single one of those worse that i covered was stopped by a military intervention. that really gets confusing. you are using work to stop war. like you're using a disease to inoculate someone so they don't get smallpox. it is counterintuitive. bosnia, kosovo, macedonia and a minor way. in some ways afghanistan.
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the bloodshed in afghanistan in the 90s after the soviets pulled out, the chaos in that country in the 1990s, even rights figures, something like 400,000 civilians were killed. this society imploded. that era ended when the u.s. went in in 2001 followed by nato. in the decades since nato has been there the u.s. has been afghanistan the highest estimates of civilian casualties are 30,000. then you find yourself sort of arguing with violence to prevent violence. in the world that does happen. on an intuitive level that doesn't feel good to talk that way. that is my job as a reporter. the politics, morality of all this got really complicated when
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instead of reporting on african civil war like sierra leone which was stopped instantly by the british paratroopers, stopped and that civil war, but now we are talking american soldiers who are in the country for a decade and i could not reconcile all those different questions and issues in my mind so what i decided to do was simply write about the experience of the soldiers and that experience in some ways became my experience and i experienced fear and all those things and that is what i end up writing about. in answer to your question -- i was profoundly changed by this. i came back with a little posttraumatic stress disorder but i was tremendously open up and a lot of the guys in the
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platoon reported the same faint. they became emotional at the darndest things and i did too and they were puzzled. these are 20-year-old guys. they don't like to cry. they don't watch a movie and start tearing up. they are not used to that. is uncomfortable. what many of them said, fall trauma and the unpleasantness and they wish, they were moved by things just walking down the street. seeing a woman with her kid. things like that. i was having the same experience in my 40s. better late than never. i was changed in many ways but most of those ways were good. for me. the guy is being younger, we don't understand it. we think we are turning into girls. i had it more nuanced.
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did you have anything like that? >> i understand exactly what you are saying. i remember being surrounded and thinking this is it because we had been fighting. we were down to seven bullets each and it was looking very dicey because we had been hit three times and the next time they were going to have us it was all over and the clouds parted and we got a chopper to resupply as with ammunition. and i remember that moment in my life really being where this was it. i had maybe an hour or two and i was looking at a blade of grass and i started to cry because it was so beautiful. and i would not have appreciated a blade of grass if i hadn't realize this would be the last green thing i see before i am
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out of here and i think that is what those kids are responding to. they realize it really is beautiful to be alive. >> we have about 15 minutes. >> i talked on and on and i hope it was interesting for you guys. [applause] >> we would love to take questions if people want to go to the mike. the mike is that the sender of the aisle. >> i wonder about the change at the point that changed each of you from the experience of going from civilian which you did into a combat situation and then you are out of it. in other words, now.
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how you feel about going into such a situation again. and during the military? >>-i can answer that. >> you had a motivation to go to afghanistan to report, to enter into the military as a professional. each of you have gone through an experience and come out of it. would you re-enter that at that age? or re-enter the situation of going into the military or going into a combat situation again and if not, what from your experience would motivate you in that direction. >> i am not a pacifist.
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there are bad people in the world to have to be dissuaded from hurting people, if situation came up that looked to me like this was basically the way i see it the adults screw it up so bad that the only answer is war. it looked like it was a work being done for a just cause. sebastian davis two or three examples. i am terribly proud to have been a marine and being young and i probably would have thought i was going to be moral and alive and that is one of the great buffers of that. >> i am a journalist and war reporter and i know i will be doing it again.
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>> i have read most of your books so faq. my concern is you talk about two different worse. we call it post-traumatic stress. the impact in society is too great. in massachusetts where i am from, returning soldiers the statistics are horrible. that is one issue. our foreign policy is pretty much the same from vietnam to afghanistan and in between. i don't know how much we have learned or reflected. i know is not your job to come
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up with concrete suggestions but to express and give people a chance to be in your shoes. maybe you could come up with a suggestion particularly with post-traumatic stress because i think that is awful. it is what is and it comes, these are young people. a gathering third or more have this experience. >> it is a very real cost of sending kids to war. the society has to recognize they have to take care of these people when they come back and we have not done a good job of it. a book just came out called lethal warriors about the fort carson murders and was the same thing. you have kids from rough
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backgrounds. their brains are all ears. it is not like this is something you can -- physical and biological changes. you have heard that if you're going to get killed in a war you will get killed in the first few weeks than any other time because your brain has adapted the way the brain adapts. it doesn't lead a sound or smelter the cortex the personal maybe that is my friend coming up the road. if you do that in combat you are dead. it goes directly so the minute you hear any sensory input you shoot it. there is no more thought. you are so much faster you start to survive. it never gets changed back. so kids come back altered of that way so they have too much to drink and someone hits them
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with her elbow, there is no fog going on any more. i lost my first marriage because of a large extent i got -- i didn't know what posttraumatic stress was. i was doing weird stuff. some guy honked his horn at me at an intersection and i came to standing on the road of his costs trying to smash his windshield and one of my middle -- my middle daughter a wonder what daddy is doing. daddy was wondering what daddy was doing. luckily neither of us were on so it didn't get any worse but it really happens and we have to as a society say we will send them to war because if we ever get the war over with, we are not done with these people. these people have to get a lot of help, learning how to react. now when the s o b hawks his
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horn, 98765 -- i have been taught to try to get conscious about it. i have been fortunate. i got into the va program so i agree wholeheartedly there has to be more space to take -- pay the price. come on home tommy atkins, we are done with you. tommy is going to get in trouble. >> the guys i was with didn't come home. i haven't seen that unfold. they are professional soldiers. they went into their next deployment and came out. they reset back to afghanistan around the corner, came back ten days ago. i have seen that process. even at the base in italy, number of divorces and a lot of problems and drinking and barroom fights, much of that result of the changes that happened to them in combat.
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to be fair, they were young guys who got married very young. i am not sure all those marriages -- you have to understand brendan went into the military with the enormous problems and a terrible drinking problem. he could get into a fight with a mailbox walking down the street. one of those guys. he comes home and keep doing that it is not necessarily combat pet cause that. it was his behavior. he said to me the army saved my life. i could have died out there but i was definitely headed that way back home on the streets of new jersey. it is very complicated. next question, a quick note about u.s. foreign policy which obviously is very easy to find flaws in but there is for me a really important distinction
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between vietnam and the war we are in in afghanistan. my understanding, i wasn't born yet but my understanding was we went to vietnam -- you can correct me if you want. there was a conceptual threat in global communism. and we decided to confront it in vietnam. i am not in a position to evaluate the seriousness of that threat. that is different from thousands of civilians being killed in the world trade center. we went to afghanistan for very specific, tragic, immediate physical reasons like we lost the world trade center, part of the pentagon and a couple hundred people in a field in pennsylvania. the difference for all the flaws in our policy, i have been left wing my whole life. i am very good at picking out
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flaws in u.s. foreign policies. one of my favorite pastimes. i feel like that point is an important one to make. like the war in iraq, vietnam might have been a war of choice. i don't think afghanistan was. i think it was something we had to do. the tragedy is we did it so badly. the bush administration handled at so poorly. we may have lost the war in afghanistan by going to iraq. that is my fear that that will end up being what history tells us. >> should we still be there now ten years later? >> that is a long and complicated answer. >> thank you for serving our country. i was in the selective service but never got called up.
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there are similarities and differencess between two worse but i am concerned we are seeing an issue that happened in vietnam and cambodia. and we have temporary pakistan and we have been there 9 years. this war is winnable. the right way to go. is there a better way? i am also concerned about the war in afghanistan that only a small portion of the population in the u.s. is sacrificing contrary to vietnam where families got drafted and people were more involved. i see a lot of people, go to south beach and no one talks about afghanistan. the young people there are having fun. >> wasn't even talked about in the election. >> it is kind of concerning that
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90% of the population, work is somebody else's problem. >> i have a visceral reaction to that. i was a reading in north carolina just outside fort bragg. a young woman came up with her husband and said another baby in her arms, wanting to sign a book and starts crying and i go with is the matter? she says my husband is shipping out the day after tomorrow for afghanistan. i said is this your second deployment? it is my seventh. what is the chance of that family surviving that? we ought to be ashamed of ourselves to lay a burden like that on a small population. i went to yale when there was a big plaque at yale made of bronze that had hundreds of names of dead yalees who fought in world war ii and korea.
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we hired out. the public is in trouble to do it that way. if we go to war every class has to go to war. we are not doing it that way. you heard sebastian talk about the kids that end up in the military. that is why we are doing. i am glad they are there but i think we ought to have other people fleeing the war. i'd off -- there was that question. .. >> we're now in that sticky
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position. we are there, now what? i mean, that's where we got in vietnam. i agree with sebastian, they didn't make that war because of, you know, imperialistic designs. they were seriously worried about world communism. stalin and hitler, mussolini were trying to take over the world saw years before -- 15 years before kennedy started putting troops in there. i think they made a mistake, and the result is abandoning our allies. so now what? we're in that situation, and i don't have an easy answer for it. i wish they'd all come home tomorrow, but if we did that, it would be chaos, and vacuums are filled by really rapacious people, and i don't think we want that either. it's a pickle. we made the pickle, you know? >> this question might be a little off topic but i've been wanting to ask sebastian younger this question for years, how would afghanistan be different if maas pseudohad not been
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assassinatedsome. >> yeah. he was the leader of the alliance, former minister of defense, i think he was in the government. they were dislodged by the taliban, and ma pseudod continued fighting from northeastern afghanistan. i spent a couple of months with he and his men as they fought the taliban. he, i mean, he was kind of darling of the media at least in part because he, i mean, at least i found him to be a very principled, a very principled man. i mean, in a country where, you know, in the '90s in the sort of nihilism and violence that came out of the soviet withdrawal and that war, it was hard to find people of principle in positions of leadership. it really was. and massoud really seemed to be trying to create a just society, and the taliban were not it, and he was at war with the taliban,
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and they finally killed him. they killed him two days before 9/11. he was outnumbered three to one by the taliban, taliban backed by pakistan, al-qaeda was in there, and massoud fought them off. and he was even organizing, he convened a conference of afghan leaders from all over the world in a field in northern afghanistan while i was there. fifty plastic chairs in a circle, and he said we need to form a government for this country for when the taliban falls because they will fall. this was in the fall of 2000, and he was already convening a government in embryonic form to take care of afghanistan when the taliban eventually fell. he never lived to see it, tragically. but to answer your question, one of the great things about massoud was that he really believed in afghan dignity and independence from the meddling of foreign countries. and every neighboring country has meddled with afghanistan,
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that's why it's such a troubled country. soviet union, iran, pakistan, united states, and he was, you know, he was one of the reasons pakistan would not support him is that he refused to allow pakistani intelligence undue influence in afghan affairs, so they just sidelined him. i think had he been in the government, had he survived and led the northern alliance into kabul and found a place in government, someone with those kinds of principles would have been exactly what afghanistan needed. i mean, the reason this war is still going on is partly because of our bad decisions, but partly because pakistan has been turning up the heat, sort of strategically and funneling arms and ammunition and, you know, ideology into afghanistan since the beginning. and massoud would have taken an extremely hard line against that. and then you read the newspaper and, you know, karzai is supposedly conducting secret
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negotiations with the taliban and with pakistan. >> and iran. >> and iran. exactly. that is the difference between massoud and karzai and, of course, it's visionaries like that who get killed. i mean, it's the martin luther kings of the world who get assassinated. had he survived, i think he would have been -- it still would have been a very complicated, tragic situation, but i think it would have helped it immensely. >> that seems to be an unwritten story. are you going to write that someday perhaps? >> i proposal won't, but i appreciate -- probably won't, but i appreciate the hint. >> i believe bin laden had him assassinated by people posing as journalists. >> that's right. they packed a t camera with -- tv camera with explosives and interviewed him and pulled the trigger, pushed the button. >> thank you. >> yeah. >> carl, i want to really thank you for your book.
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i'm a vietnam veteran, and my experience was intense, but i'm grateful i didn't serve the way you did. [laughter] and it helped me get a better handle on it. i especially appreciate what you guys have been saying about the need for us, civilians, to wake up to the price that we're paying for this. i just read, maybe you guys have heard, that there are now 18 veterans a day committing suicide, and i think i also read that the latest agent orange figures are 42.6 billion on top of everything else. i think if through your work and other work like that if people got the message about what this really costs us never mind in just dollars, but in human life,
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it would, it would maybe make a difference. because you, your work really helped. i just wanted to thank you. >> thank you. [applause] >> i sort of, i think you made an interesting comment before when you questioned about what happens, why we bring people back here and we don't do anything about taking care of them and watching them for psd, posttraumatic stress syndrome and all these other things. but at the same time we don't seem to worry about oil spills until after they've happened or miners until after they've blown up at the bottom of the mine or pollution in the water until after it's done. i would like to posit for you to think about in terms of our foreign policy and our track record of interventions, if we don't seem to care about people until after we get pressed up against the wall and we have
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evidence that something happened to them, when we do it over and over and over again in our society, don't you think i our choices of going in to intervene suffer from the same syndrome of not being able to understand what's really going on? [applause] >> yeah, i, i've always loved this quote which is that, you know, you never should assume a conspiracy when just plain stupidity will suffice. [laughter] and humans are flawed. and humans occupy all the positions of power right up to the top. and every one of them is flawed, and we make mistakes all the time. and i think that this thing about being able to step outside of our own individual needs and see the needs of the greater good is, in fact, the whole, the whole course of civilization which has been very rocky and very difficult, and i'm kind of an optimist.
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i mean, i think we've made headway on some fronts. there's still a lot more to go, so, i mean, i agree with you, but i wish i had a good answer. >> i, i had an argument, discussion with a friend of mine recently, you know, basically is the united states a good country or not morally, good country or not, and he was sort of running through his list of, you know, bad things -- in his mind, bad things the united states has done. and, you know, i said to him, i said, look, the united states, i mean, it's no different from you. like, you have acted in your life with dignity and honor and generosity, and you've always probably been a son of a bitch and broken some hearts and lied to some people and maybe stolen some stuff when you were a kid, etc., etc. i said, the united states is a collection of people like you and like me, and there's no reason to expect it's going to
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be less flawed an all the individuals in it. and just because you broke her heart and, you know, cheated on your taxes and did this and that doesn't mean you're an evil person. it means you're a human being with all the flaws that come with that. and can the question is are you intending -- and the question is are you intending to do evil or not? if you're intending to do evil, i'm going to start to think you might be. that's the difference between being flawed. and you have to look at this country in terms of what our intentions are. you know? personally, i don't think we went to afghanistan out of some kind of imperialism. i mean, i might be wrong, i just don't think that was our motivation. we -- there are times i think our motivation wasn't good. i think our history in central america backing right-wing dictators was absolutely hideous. but that's part of, you know,
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that's part of a fabric that includes martin luther king and the first child labor laws and the world and women's suffrage and equal rights and on and on and on. you've got to put it in the fabric of americans -- you have to put the bad stuff in the great fabric of american society. i've worked all over the world, and everywhere i go people are desperate to come to this country because they feel that they will be treated in an essentially fair manner. and not arbitrarily arrested and tortured in a police station. and you do have -- while you criticize and we must criticize government to make it better, please, keep it in the context, in our historical context. it's really important. [applause] >> this will be our last question. we have about five minutes left. >> okay. [laughter]
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>> since i am the last, let me thank you. i think your decision to have this format of this dialogue has deepened the discussion for me and hopefully for us as well. >> thank you. [applause] you -- >> you play off each other beautifully, and it's been wonderful. i'm a canadian, and i come from a family with many military members, more women than men. and a lively topic for conversation many times is what is an appropriate role for women in the military. and at what point do you, quote-unphoto-- from my father -- draw the line? i'm curious, each of you, if you have an opinion on women in the military. >> you go first. [laughter] >> oh, god. okay. well, there's a few different ways of tackling this. i'll start with a simplest one. this question came up at another talk that i gave, and a military
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spouse, a woman who was married to a combat soldier -- and keep in the mind combat soldiers are different. i mean, it's a very particular thing. you can join the army, live on a big base, there's lots of women on those -- women soldiers on those bases. it really is like a small american town. combat is a very particular thing. there's very little -- there's no privacy at all. i mean, where we slept many these little plywood hooches nailed to the side of a hill, i could touch three men. if i stretched out my arm, i could touch three men from where i slept in my little bunk. there's no privacy whatsoever. so at this reading that question came up about women in combat, not in the army -- there's plenty of women in the army -- the women in combat. and this woman raised her hand and said, i'm a military wife, my husband's in a combat unit in a small outpost, and i've got to tell you, the wives would never, ever allow that. [laughter] that was really an interesting
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perspective on a very political, a very political question. i think it's a little bit of a dodge though. i mean, i think the reality is that at least where i was at restreppo with these guys, everyone kind of turned into the same thing. i mean, you could have, you know, a guy who didn't finish high school and a harvard grad, and, you know, a guy who did some time in jail and whatever, and they all turned into the thing that you had to become out there in order to survive. you became a combat soldier. and those distinctions that are so important in society kind of melted away. and i think, i mean, what they told me is the soldiers, the guys i was with said i brought up don't ask, don't tell, and they said, look, we really wouldn't care anything about if he was gay. it doesn't matter because he would have to become what we are here, and it's not a question of whether you're gay or straight, it's a question of whether
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you're a good soldier. it's not a meaningful distinction. and i think what would happen with women in those situations is that they would effectively have to be conformed to that same, that same thing. and it's not a thing that really pays a lot of attention to all those distinctions that are so important in society. so i think -- a long way of saying i think it actually could work, but effectively, those women would become men. i think that's essentially what would happen. [laughter] you dare follow that? >> yeah. no, i mean, first of all, i think that i would say that you have to think that there's a big difference between being brave under fire and being actively engaged in combat. and women have been enormously brave under fire since the beginning of time. i mean, they have, they have protected their children, they
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have, they have been in the blitz, you know? i mean, it's a very -- there's just no doubt about it. and women serving in the military today are brave under fire. they, they're delivering stuff to the front in trucks, they're serving as nurses, they're doing all this stuff, and they get hit by, you know, ieds and they get ambushed and all of the above, and they perform very well. and so i have also no doubt that as far as, you know, bell-shaped curves are concerned that there would be a class of women that could turn themselves into men and do the job. i think it's a tiny percentage compared to the number of men that could do that. i mean, where do you draw the line? 120-pound pack without food for six days? that's where you start saying, you know, things have to -- you have to just look at biology, and there's certain things that you can do. so my question is, is it worth it to take the risks that these wives are worried about, to take
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the risks of the disruptions and so on to accommodate the small percentage of women that, in fact, could do the jobs because of issues of fairness or equity? i have a feeling that, you know, i don't know where it's going to go. if it goes that way, i think i agree with sebastian that they're going to be a very different kind of human being when they get done fighting in combat. >> you did save the best for last. [laughter] i want to thank you for your service, thank the members of the audience. [applause] the gentlemen will be happy to autophotograph at the autograph area. you can continue to speak with them. thank you all, we'll be back in about 15 minutes. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> host: and booktv's live coverage from the miami book fair international continues. that was karl marlantes and sebastian younger talking about their books, "matterhorn" and "war." and they were at the chapman auditorium here at miami-decade college. as you can see, there's quite a street fair going on here at the book festival. this is an eight-day book festival. this is the final weekend with the street fair, and booktv is can -- set up on the street
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fair. the booktv bus is is here as well, and now we're pleased to be joined by another author. her book, "intelligence: a novel about the cia," susan hassler is our guest. susan hassler, what's the storyline on your book? >> guest: well, it's the next big terrorist attack. it hearkens a little bit back to 9/11 in flashbacks, but this is the next terrorist attack and what happens in the cia counterterrorist center before, during and after that attack. >> host: who is maddie? >> guest: maddie james is a counterterrorism analyst. she's been in the agency for 15 years, and she's, she's probably been there way too long. [laughter] >> host: really? why do you say that? >> guest: well, she's angry, and she -- her personal life has fallen apart, and her entire life is her job, and she really needs to probably get away from it for a while, but she won't.
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>> host: well, susan hasler, you spent 21 years working at the cia in various positions. are you maddie? glg i'm not maddie. there are a few differences. she was a tiny little ballerina, i'm not. she spent 15 years in the counterterror center, and i was only there for the last four years of my career. >> host: so why did you leave the cia in 2004? this. >> guest: there were a lot of reasons. i was tired, i had a lot of stress-related health problems, i was completely disgusted with our decision to go into iraq and what played out in the agency after and in the government after 9/11. and my husband was retiring, and so he could retire, and i would still have health coverage, so i decided it was time to live. time to leave. >> host: now, this is a novel
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about the cia. >> guest: right. >> host: if people read this, how much reality will they get in this book? >> guest: they'll get a pretty good idea of what it's like to be a counterterrorist analyst or what people do. people mainly know about the operational side of the cia, the direct rate of operations, and this is on the analytical side. and these are about people who spend their lives looking at reports and trying to figure things out. i mean, the analysts go on trips and they go abroad, but most of their time is spent in their office in front of their computers. >> host: now, you worked at the cia, but this is a novel. >> guest: uh-huh. >> host: did you have to have this approved and checked by the cia before you could release it? this. >> guest: i did. there's an agreement you sign that says if you write about the agency or any subjects that you studied at the agency, you have to have it approved, so it was approved by the publications review board. >> host: now, did they take
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anything out that you had put in there? >> guest: nothing. >> host: our guest is susan hasler. her first full-length novel is "intelligent: a novel of the cia." for 21 years she worked at the cia, but we wanted to put the numbers up on the screen so you could dial in if you had a question or comment. 202-585-3885 for the eastern and central time zone, 585-3886, mountain and pacific time zones. in your book you write about the cia. one hard lesson i've learned, ass covering trumps national security every time. >> guest: i'm afraid that's it. i mean, there are a lot of people who it's their first, their first priority is national security, but it gets caught up, for example, immediately after 9/11 the first thing i ended up
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doing was compiling a list of all of the intelligence we put out because we knew we were going to be called before congressional committees, and we knew that investigations were coming up, so while you're also trying to look out for another terrorist attack and what might be happening, you also have to, you know, you're immediately -- you immediately have to go in defensive mode. >> host: so when you hear the term flawed intelligence from inside the agency, what's your perspective on that? >> guest: well, the term flawed intelligence has also been used by people who have no idea what the stream of intelligence looks like. in retrospect, it's -- you can match up what reports foretold the attack, but often those reports are hidden in thousands and thousands of other documents that look very much the same. a lot of reports are false, a
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lot of reports come from people who have an agenda. and so it's a much harder job than i think people realize. and sometimes, frankly, the intelligence community gets used as a scapegoat for what i would call played policy. flawed policy. for example, saying that we got into the iraq war because of bad intelligence. well, we got into the iraq war because the administration would only look at certain intelligence, and they really only wanted to hear certain intelligence. and the agency, frankly, didn't stand up enough to the administration, i think, and say, no, you can't say that. but, you know, how do you stand up to the president? this it's very hard. >> host: a vice president in your novel does not come out very well. >> guest: no, that's true. >> host: you don't write very nice things about the vice president. is that based on min?? --
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anyone? >> guest: quite possibly, yes. most of the characters are based on composites. beth mead, for example, is based on three people smooshed together. we did spend an awful lot of time answering the same question over and over and over again. answers, so they asked it over and over and over again. >> host: one of the things you write about in "intelligence "is the piu. what is that, how many resources go into putting that out every day? >> guest: i call it the piu, it's the president eat daily brief. president's daily brief, the pdb, and a lot of resources go into that. that's what analysts wrote for. it's actually a rather small publication, it's one that i have rarely seen in its entirety. not many people got to see it. very closely held. i wrote for it for many years, and i have to say i haven't seen
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maybe three or four times the entire book put together. >> host: so a lot of resources go into that? >> guest: a lot of resources go into it. it's kind of -- we have all of the analysts working, and then there's a big pyramid. you've got your operators, your operatives and you've got signals, intelligence and the press and all of these forms of information which are filtered out to the analysts, and then they're filtered into, you know, an article for the president. it might be a half page long. it might be a page long. they're very short articles. you're subject -- if you're working terrorism, your subject matter might come unfairly quickly. we have what are called current accounts and accounts that are more long term. but if you're working a hot account, you might be writing the president's daily brief a lot. but everything is very condensed, and can it's a long process. you write an article for that, you're going to be there very late that night and have to come
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in very early the next day to work on it. >> susan hasler, how did you get involved in working for the cia? this where'd you go to college, how'd you get interested, and then the trajectory of your career at the cia. >> guest: well, i always wanted to be a writer, actually, and i went to college, i was -- i majored in the russian language in literature, and i went to uva and then uc berkeley, and after i got out of berkeley it was 1983, and jobs were voir very ho come by, so i had good russian language, so i answered an ad for the cia. they tested my russian, and it was quite good. they put me through a lengthy polygraph, as you can imagine coming from berkeley. [laughter] and then i ended up as a soviet analysts, and then after the coup i realized we had too many analysts. and then i moved around a few other places and landed in the
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counterterrorist center. >> host: did you, for the most part, enjoy your work at the cia? this did you feel you were making a contribution? >> guest: i did. it's kind of an addictive place. you're working with a lot of really smart people, people who really challenge you every day, and that is quite addictive. you know, you're working with the world's expert on whatever, and you can have really fascinating conversations, you know, anytime of the day, and you're at the apex of this huge flow of information, and you can direct it. you can send requirements out. so, you know, if you're academically interested in the subject, that's why a lot of people come there. that is the place to be at the forefront of whatever subject you happen to -- you know, if you're working in if foreign affairs and you're an expert on india, if you want to really be in the place where the work is being done, you go to the cia. >> host: what are the white minds? >> guest: the white minds. i came up with my own language,
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for one thing because the language in the agency changes, and for another because i wanted to make it easier to get through publication review. the white minds, that's the analytical part of the intelligence agency that i write about. >> host: susan hasler is our guest, here is the cover of the book, "intelligent: a novel of the cia." first call for her comes from albany, oregon. go ahead, albany, oregon. oregon, are you with us? in. >> caller: can you hear me? >> host: yes. where are you calling from? >> guest: albany. >> host: okay. please go ahead, sir. sorry about that. >> caller: yeah. the speaker mentioned being against the war in iraq, yes? >> guest: yes. >> caller: and the special, special operations in afghanistan like the jaw breaker teams, they did pretty good. do you think unconventional warfare in iraq would have been
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better than conventional? this. >> guest: in iraq my feeling is that we shouldn't have gone into iraq at all after 9/11 because it took the attention away from afghanistan and bin laden. and it, it was a recruitment boon for the terrorists when we went into iraq. and it also convinced a lot of people in the muslim community that we were not just anti-terrorist, we were anti-muslim because we had gone against -- we invaded a muslim country that wasn't actually, they didn't perpetrate 9/11. >> host: now, on the back of your book, former inspector general of the cia and author of "why spy" who's been on booktv, by the way, writes this: susan hasler cuts too close to the bone of real life politicalization of intelligence.
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>> guest: uh-huh. >> host: is it pretty politicized? >> guest: it has -- i feel that most of the people that i worked with have a pretty strong work ethic in that they do not want to politicize intelligence. i mean, our job, i think -- i can't remember which former directer, it might have been colby, said our job is to be the skunk at the garden party. we tell policymakers things they don't want to hear. and after 9/11 policymakers didn't want to hear things. i actually heard a senior boss say the president doesn't want to hear that when i had something i'd written for the president's daily brief. and at that point i think we were, we were moving dangerously close to politicization. if we're censoring ourselves because the president doesn't want to hear it, we're moving into politicization. it's a hard road for the agency to travel because you want to
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still have your boot in the door because your intelligence is useless if it doesn't get to the policymaker and they don't listen. but on the other hand if you give predigested intelligence, it's not useful either. >> host: published by thomas dunn division of st. martins, "intelligence" by susan hasler is the novel. san antonio, texas, you're on the air. please go ahead. this. >> host: go ahead with your question. san antonio. >> caller: oh, yes, okay. sorry. i was in the middle of cooking lunch. first of all, thank you for taking my call, and i just wanted to say about a month ago i just finished reading your book, and i found it not only entertaining, but very informative, and although it was fiction, it did seem to shed some light on what an analyst does. i guess i have a -- well, two questions.
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one, with what you just said about analysts being basically sent back to redo their essays for the administration, whatever's in power not agreeing with it and basically saying, say it this way, how is the value of an analyst to be appreciated more if every time they analyze something and it's presented, it's said, o oh, no, you're wrong? in okay? that's the first part. the second part, my russian instructor in high school was a person who actually helped me, i guess, develop a like or understanding of more world politics and look at the world in a bigger sense of the picture other than the u.s. are there any teachers in your past who, i guess, developed that analytical spirit in you that caused you to join the cia?
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>> host: thank you, san antonio. could you hear both those questions? this. >> guest: yes, i could. >> host: great. >> guest: the first one was about -- >> host: redoing your reports if you're being told to redo them. >> guest: usually analysts in the first place, we go through -- to get a report up to the president's daily brief is a very tough coordination process. you go through everybody who has any sort of connection to the subject you're working on, and you have to get it approved through all of these people and sometimes through other agencies. so we're used to fighting for, fighting for our language. and politicization is usually a rather subtle thing. it's not go back and write your report so it says this, it's more like, well, that report is kind of false as a threshold, we're not going to run it in the president's daily brief today, or it's more subtle than that. >> host: teachers in your past
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was the second question. >> guest: teachers. i was, you know -- >> host: did you want to expand that to mentors, somebody who got you to answer that ad? >> guest: yeah. i can't think of anything, i mean, what inspired me to go to the agency was really needing a job in 1983. i came to, i came to like working there and to be balad i worked there, but i didn't go there because i read a lot of spy novels and was attracted to it or because that's what i wanted for a career. i came because i needed a job. [laughter] >> host: susan hasler, where were you on 9/11 then? >> guest: i was in the front office of the analytical group of the counterterrorism center, and my office was right next to the office of the head of that group. and an analyst came running down the aisle of cubicles and said a
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plane hit the world trade center, and it looks bad. and after that all hell broke loose. of course, we were expecting something, especially since massoud had been assassinated two days earlier -- >> host: so you were not terribly surprised by that because of the assassination? >> guest: well, i mean, he was always a target, but what we were worried about was that we had indications that al-qaeda was planning a major attack, and the fact thattal maas pseudowas assassinated indicated to us that maybe something was up was he was the leader -- because he was the leader of the northern alliance, and of course after 9/11 they were expecting us to invade afghanistan it's a bone thrown to the taliban, their host saying, okay, you know, we're bringing this all in, all down on your country, but we'll get rid of massoud.
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>> host: did people aren't -- around you at that time, at that moment know it was bin laden or al-qaeda? >> guest: oh, immediately. as soon as the plane hit the towers. because that's what we spent the entire year expecting something. >> host: and your book looks at that issue too. >> guest: right. >> host: this is the book, "intelligence: a novel of the cia." corpus christi, texas, you are on with susan hasler. >> beaumont, texas? >> host: go ahead, texas. >> caller: okay. susan, i haven't read your book yet, but i have a question. the movie "fair game" is coming out, and valerie plame's position in the cia. is it, how is it similar to the position you had and that you write about in your book and how is it different? >> guest: it's completely different. i was an analyst, i was an open
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employee, i didn't have to hide my cia affiliation. i wasn't -- you know, i didn't offer it voluntarily, but i didn't hide the fact that i was cia whereas valerie plame was -- her connections to the cia were covert, and she was an operative. she went out and did the really very difficult work of trying to get information on the ground. >> host: did you know her at all? >> guest: i didn't know her because she was a covert employee. she wouldn't be hanging around headquarters. >> host: were you covert? >> guest: no, i wasn't. >> host: so if somebody asked you, where do you work, you would have said the cia? >> guest: uh-huh. >> host: not only have you written this novel, but your bio also says you wrote for cat fancy magazine. [laughter] >> guest: i entered a contest. i've always liked writing short stories, and i used to be into cat rescue, i had cats, and i
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thought, you know, this is a contest for cat fan is i, probably not a lot of professional writers are writing. so i entered it and won a year supply of kibble which lasted two months. [laughter] >> host: all right. got a few minutes left with our guest. caller, where are you calling from? please, go ahead with your question. tell us where you're calling from. caller, you're on the air. where are you? >> guest: corpus christi, texas. >> host: all right. go ahead, sir. >> caller: well, i was going to ask her about valerie plame's outing, too, but you just answered that. so does your vice president in be your novel -- >> host: one more time, sir? what about the vice president? >> guest: are you saying is, is he a character in the novel? >> caller: yeah. does he out your character in
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the novel? this. >> host: go ahead. >> guest: the vice president is mentioned briefly in the novel. he's not actually a character, and it's, it's an a vice president unnamed. [laughter] >> host: now, are you political? are you a democrat? >> guest: i'm a democrat. i wasn't terribly political before 9/11. it kind of turned me political because of the war in iraq. >> host: the war in iraq did. >> guest: the war in iraq did because up until that point i, i never had anything that challenged my ethics as an analyst. i had not run into politicization. i worked happily for the first bush. i had, you know, i voted because i always felt that was my duty, but otherwise i wasn't political at all. agency employees are under the hatch act anyway, so i really wasn't that political.
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>> host: bruceer, new york -- brewster, new york, go ahead. you're on with susan hasler. >> caller: hi, susan. i haven't read your book yet, but i was interested if you had an opinion on if the church commission had any effect on things like 9/11 and how the church commission has, you know, the cia's investigation around the world? >> guest: well, it's not just the church committee. i have seen throughout the course of my career generally there'll be congressional investigations, and generally things will shift too far in the other direction after the congressional investigation, and then it will, you know, i've seen it ping-pong back and forth. probably, you know, after the church committee hearings things went too far in one direction
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and after the, you know, various other sets of hearings you see how rules come in and they have unintended con -- consequences which cause the next problem and the next committee hearings which in turn bring a bunch of other solutions. i mean, i think it happens in a lot of areas, not just intelligence. >> host: susan hasler, what do you think about the new dni system that the u.s. has? >> guest: i think that it was another bureaucracy plopped down on top of the bureaucracy we already had and ctc, the cia counterterrorism center, had the same charter as the new bureaucracy that was put in place. and the cia had the same charter as the dni. the cia was brought in to, brought into being to pull all intelligence together,
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centralize intelligence so we didn't, things didn't fall through the cracks. and then essentially that's the dni's charter too. we're going to centralize intelligence. and it's, in my view, an unnecessary bureaucratic >> host: one more time, the storyline for "intelligence." >> guest: it is the next big terrorist attack, and it is a bunch of counterterrorism analysts warning, and the warnings the administration doesn't really want to hear the warnings because it's an election coming, and they've just been saying how much safer we are. and a terrorist cell has been rolled up, and they want to think that was it, that solved the problem. and it didn't. >> host: now, we were talking before we got started here in miami, and you said that you're working on another book. what's that about? this. >> guest: it's along the same lines. it's set in the same place, and it has a couple of the same
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characters. >> host: does maddie return? >> guest: maddie returns, but she's not the lead character. >> host: susan hasler has been our guest here at the miami book fair. her book "intelligence: a novel of the cia." now, i want to let you know that we have another call-in coming this afternoon, and you're going to have the chance to talk to paul farmer. this is an anthology of some of his columns that he's written. he is founder of, co-founder of partners in health. you can see here this is a paul farmer reader, "partner to the poor." it'll be about public health care and health care around the world, and that's coming up in about an hour or so after our next panel. we've got another panel i'm going to tell you about in a minute, but then after we talk to paul farmer, sal man rushty will be up in the chapman auditorium. he'll be the finale for today. salman rushdie will be up there at about 5 or so, 5:00 p.m. eastern time. and we will carry that live. by the way, salman rushdie will
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be our guest on booktv's "in depth" on sunday, december 5th from noon to 3 p.m., and that will be a live show. so coming up now from the chapman auditorium here at the miami book fair international is our next panel, and it's three authors. they are carlos ackier whose book is learning to die in miami, "create dangerously is her latest book, she's a haitian author, and "dreams in a time of war, a childhood memoir." he i these particular three wonderful and talented writers, has affected their lives and their writing as well. mr. carlosing carlos is riggs pf studies at yale university. he is a national book award winner in nonfiction for his book, "waiting for snow in havana," but also is part of --
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as part of his religious studies has such wonderful titles as "from madrid to purgatory: the art and craft of dying in 16th century spain," so that's a very catchy title. his latest book, as you know, is "learning to die in miami," his experiences since first arriving in miami. the spanish title has gotten a little bit of a different twist. it's called miami and my thousand deaths which is is not a literal translation, but still it has a punch which is quite true. ms. dantico, the tt because now as she just mentioned, she is a local writer because she's made her home here quite a number of years now. national book critics' award for
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"brother, i am dying." the 2009 mcarthur fellows genius grant which is not a small feat, and i'm sure it gives her a little bit of time to write many, many more wonderful stories. she's taught creative writing at new york university and the university of miami and has worked with film makers patricia benoit as well as jonathan demme in chronicling what is happening and continues to happen in haiti. gugi from kenya is distinguished professor of comparative literature and english at the university of california at irvine. and his memoir is quite a compelling story about growing up in kenya. and so you don't want to hear from me anymore, you want to
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hear from them, so, please, come. [applause] >> i think i'm first. [laughter] >> good afternoon, everyone. thanks for being here on such a hot day. [laughter] very frustrating to come all the way from connecticut and only spend 18 hours in miami. [laughter] but what i'd like to do is is just read to you a small excerpt, an excerpt from the week and then -- book and then tell you about it. and in case you don't know, i am
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one of 14,068 cuban children who were airlifted to the u.s. without their parents between 1960 and 1962. we're all stuck with the name operation pedro pan for the air lift, really stupid man i hate. [laughter] for several reasons, the chief reason being that in cuba nobody called disney's film peter pan, no one called it pedro pan, it was peter pan. but an american journalist came up with the name, and we stuck with it. what i'd like to read to you is just an excerpt of one of my first experiences at school. teach me how to swear in spanish. i can't add up how many times i've had this request already. everyone wants to learn all the bad words in spanish. even the girls.
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this puts me in a tight spot, for uttering bad words is against the first commandment. and an entry ticket the to hell. so if i teach bad words to anyone, i'm endangering not only my eternal fate, but also theirs. and that makes my sin doubly worse. and if i say nothing, they'll just keep pestering me. i tried that, and i know that silence won't work. plus, if i refuse, i'll be totally uncool, worse than a nerd. what's a boy to do? today them a bone maybe. [laughter] what's that? ooh, it's the spanish word for sex, you know, the really dirty word with the f. gimme more. [laughter] okay, how about this?
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[speaking spanish] what's that? it means, you know, another version of the big, bad f word. thanks, charles. thanks a lot. this is great. i don't tell them what i've just taught him to say is the word for the vegetable beet, beet, and kick my buttocks. [laughter] quandary. how to fit in. it's true, first thing anyone ever asked me here in miami where i lived for a year and a half, teach me how to swear in spanish. then i moved to the midwest, a small town in central illinois, and it was the same thing when people found out that i was not from if here. teach me how to swear in your language. kids have this interest in many bad words. but the book is, it's really about adjusting to a new place. it's not just because, you know,
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this is my life story and i was a child who came here on my own. the book is really about the immigrant experience. every immigrant has to go true the process of -- through the process of dying to their former self and becoming a new self, hence the title, "learning to die in miami," which the aarp took a very strong interest in, i think, because of the title. [laughter] and i hope they're not disappointed in the contents, you know, now that they've found out what it's really about. it's about learning to shed your former self and learning to become a whole other self. for us who came without our parents, it was an immediate immersion not just in another culture, but in another entirely different set of circumstances, and it required very special kind of adapting to dying because many of us were shuffled from one foster home to another
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or an orphanage or different places. many of us actually ended up being in more than two places before our parents reunited witt cue pa, and i never -- cuba, and i never got to see him again. it took our mom -- i left with my brother. the two of us left together. the minute we landed here at the miami airport, we were separated. he went to one camp, i went to a different camp, and the camps were processing centers that sent us elsewhere because miami couldn't take us in. we ended up being sent to 40 different states. invisible under the radar. you know, i bet that most of you even if you lived here in miami may not have been aware the fact that this was going on. but learning to die is something kids do very easily. prominent psychologists explained to me once that we are
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all exiles, all of us even if we never leave our hometown because we're all exiled from childhood, you know? once we leave childhood behind and we start a new life, it's almost like that. you can't go pack. you never -- back.
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>> in fact, all of us can learn from children. all of us can learn from children who make transitions such as the ones that my brother and i and the other 14,000 kids had to make. now, as to the air lift itself in case you're not aware of this, give you just a tiny, tiny, tiny history of what happened. it took place between early 1960 and october 1963. there are many in this room, i'm sure, who are part of -- we see hands. how many pedro pans are here?
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look at this. and that's just a tiny, tiny representative group. our parents put i on commercial flights and sent us here because they were desperate. they were desperate because their children were already being taken away from them. in many different ways. the so-called free education in cuba is not really free. all children have to perform agricultural labor in the summer to pay their debt to the revolution, to basically pay for their education. and there's no pay involved in this labor. it's slave labor. the kids were being sent to camps in the countryside, and the parents had no say in where the kids went or what happened at these camps. so parents panicked. and there was just, it's a long and complicated story, but a school headmaster in havana, james baker, who had connections
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with the u.s. state department, and he managed to get the state department to give him and a group of people in if havana carte blanche to draw up visa waivers that would allow kids to leave about two, three or four months after they applied. parents required a much longer time, so the parents that wanted to get the kid out first, and the plan was to reunite with them. in just a matter of a few more months. but it didn't turn out that way because a little fallout from the missile crisis of october '62 that nobody noticed is that whenmy kieta kruschev took fidel castro's toys away, he got very angry, and he closed the door, and the parents of most of us were trapped and couldn't leave. for most of us it took the parents anywhere from 3-6 years or longer to finally pick it to the -- make it to the u.s. and what would drive any parent
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to do this? i'm asked over and over again, if you were in your parents' situation, would you do the samesome -- same? my answer is always the same, yes, most definitely. and there's not a day that i don't wake up and thank my parents and thank god for that flight that rescued me from a life of slavery. because most americans actually are very fortunate in this country to never experience a totalitarian regime. and for most americans freedom is is an abstraction. but believe me, it's not an abstraction. for those who are deprived of freedom and for those whose human rights are trampled, freedom becomes more important than the food you eat or the air you breathe. and our parents were willing to make that sacrifice of, perhaps, never seeing us again. just so that we could be free. something that, you know, i talk about this all the time, and i
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know my audiences generally have a hard time understanding. but believe me, not one of the parents put the kids on the planes did it knowing that they would see their kids again. there was that chance in the back of everyone's mind they may not ever see them again. so imagine that sacrifice. here at this end things were run very well, but it was well-organized chaos. basically, no one knew from one planeload to the next how many children would be showing up. so the camps here in florida were processing centers for sending us elsewhere. we ended up in many all sorts of places -- up in all sorts of places, interesting places. i was taken in by a wonderful american jewish family here in miami for a while, and then we ended up in this a group home --
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in a group home run by a cuban couple about three blocks from the orange bowl which was, well, back in those days the kids who were in that home were called juvenile delinquents. they'd already -- their families had fallen apart. these were all cuban kids. their families had already fallen apart, and they'd already gotten into trouble in all sorts of ways. but in the end we ended up with an uncle in central illinois and, boy, talk about another adjustment. this is the adjustment most of us had to make, especially if we were sent away from miami and ended up in towns where, as in my case, in seventh grade only one other child had been born outside the u.s., and he was from germany. ..
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charles again and within three weeks i am charlie and within three weeks i am chuck. [laughing] so, as soon as i got back with my mom in chicago, i became carlos again. and i am still carlos. but, it is a question of identity, and of becoming a different person and a different place and adapting and adjusting. someone asked me a wonderful question just two days ago in philadelphia. when did you first feel like an
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american? and i have never thought about it that the answer came instantly. at first i felt like a real american in bloomington, illinois, never here in miami where i was only one of hundreds of thousands of cubans, but in bloomington, illinois the bane of my existence and of every cuban mail, it everyone expects us to be good at baseball. [laughter] so i was always the first one picked for softball games and i was always a strikeout king, i was terrible at baseball. i am also supposed to be a good dancer and i stink at dancing. but i struck out in this one kid comes up to me, spit in my face and calls me a name. all the other kids in the class jumped on him and started beating him up and one of them came up to me and said, don't listen to him. he is an idiot.
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to me, that is the united states, and anyone who wants to become american, that is the beauty of american culture is that we all come from somewhere else and even if we are native american, we have the larger culture. anyone who wants to be an american can become american and will be accepted as an american, where do you change your name or not. and that is the beauty of it that "learning to die in miami", a grim title. but it is really about rebirth. it is not about dying. it is about rebirth. every time that we die in this life and we shed one of ourselves, we pick up a new self for many of us, especially for children, the new self is always an improvement on the prior self. and in a way, the improvement commons instantly when you set
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foot in the new country. but, it also, each one of those deaths and each one of those rebirths you carry through life and you carry the more -- multiple personalities. i am still charles, i'm still charlie, still chuck. i am carlos, i am professor eire and my kids, who don't speak spanish, and actually my youngest son once asked me why my mother, his grandma did not speak human. [laughter] my children too carry all of these identities with them. they pass them onto our children and that too is the beauty of this country. but, the book, like my previous memoir, this happens to be about myself because i lacked the
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imagination to write a novel and pass it off as something else. i didn't write this book to talk about myself. i wrote it to talk about the 14,000, and the reason their parents, our parents, were willing to make such a sacrifice. thank you for your attention. [applause] >> good afternoon. it is so nice to see so many of you. that is one of the ways, one of the many ways we greet each other, and it is gives us a shorthand to honor everything. ngugi. there you go. my book "create dangerously,"
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came out of a lecture that i had the honor of being asked to give two years ago at princeton university and i spent a very long time thinking, it was a second annual tony morrison lecture and tony morrison sits in the front row when you give the lecture. no pressure. [laughter] and so, i nearly had an ulcer. my husband is here and he had a witness to this, trying to think of something worthwhile to say with tony morrison in the audience. and i had always loved and worshiped and red other and especially as i was trying to understand my position, just you know as a little girl who wanted to be a writer and actually, it gets to have that happen in my life and what you do with that in terms of the work that you want to do creatively but also
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the work that you want to do in the world. camille was open to that position. the artist in his time, someone had created dangerously. someone had created that title and i just snatched it. i just loved it so much, so i wrote this book, as a way of honoring, just as we say, artists and others who created dangerously, artists like the woman writer who was the guiding spirit for me. in her book, her seminal novel was about to be published in france, and someone got ahold of it in haiti and her family had to go and buy the entire stock of the book. it was a book that was circulated secretly for so many years. and one of our pivotal
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novelists, who was killed as he was coming back in the country in the 60s, but also a contemporary artists like jamaican born, he was born in the u.s. but jamaican patronage. his whole birth was about flight and i shared with him the sort of ambivalence and fear about flight. he would cast his body, his sculptures, his own body, pierced with airplanes and how should he die but in the studio on one of the towers on 9/11. it was as if his entire work had been prophetic. i think that is the wonder of arts. it is something that i think, when we step back from the creation, which i tried to do in the book, we best understand through the work of other people. so i will read to you a brief section about a photojournalist who was one of the iconic
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photojournalist of our country. and danielle became a photojournalist as she explains to me in this piece that i will read to you. because he was as a schoolboy, forced with his class to a public execution which is the last state-sponsored public execution in haiti. he was made to witness this is a little boy. he traces his becoming a photojournalist, and anyone who knows daniel's work is this very striking and brutal even. he traces back to the very moment that he was brought to this execution as a schoolboy. the chapter in a book called -- which means not made by man divinely. on november 12, 1964 in port-au-prince, haiti, a huge crowd gathered to witness an execution. the two men to be executed
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were -- he was a tall dark scans 21-year-old. he was a family of a beautiful southern city, which we often call the city of poets. he had studied engineering at the mercenary kit academy in new york and worked for an american shipping company. louise was a 31-year-old light-skinned man who was also from there. he served in the army and studied finance before working for several banks in new york. they had been childhood friends. the man had been friends in move to new york in the 1950s after they came to power. there they joined a group called young haiti and were two of 13 haitians who left the united states in 1964 to engage in a
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guerrilla war that they hoped would eventually topple the dictatorship. the men spent three months fighting in the hills and mountain's of southern haiti and eventually most of them died in battle. he was captured by members of the army while he was shopping for food in an open market dressed as a. he was wounded in battle. after months of attempting to capture the men, and after imprisoning and murdering hundreds of their relatives, he wanted to make a spectacle of their deaths. so, november 12, 1964, two poles are erected outside the national cemetery, radio print and television journalists are summoned. they are dressed in an old black-and-white film, looks like the clothes in which they had been captured.
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the taller and thinner of the two dance a red pen perfect profile, barely leaning against the square piece of wood behind him. the other looks down into the camera that is taping his final moment. time is slightly compressed on the copy of the film i have and in some places the images skip. there is no sound. a large crowd stretches out far beyond the cement walls behind subtwelve. to the site is the balcony filled with school children. a young white priest in a long robe walks over to the crowd with the prayer book in his hand the priest says a few words to -- the slightest body in an upward pose. the priest then turns and is joined there by two uniformed policemen who lean in to listen
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to what the priest is saying. it is possible that they are offering some type of eye cover that he is refusing. dwar shakes his head as if to say let's get this over would -- over with. the firing squad stretched out their hands on either side of their bodies. they touch each other shoulders to position and space themselves, pick up their springfield rifles, load their ammunition and then placed their weapons on their shoulders. offscreen, somebody probably shouts fire, and they do. numa and dwar heads slumped sideways at the same time, showing that the shots that hit home. on november 12, 1964, after the bodies were carried away, as
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they are sent to the national palace to be personally inspected. a lanky 13-year-old boy who had been standing in the back of the crowd to avoid the thunderous sound of the executioners guns stepped forward as the spectators and soldiers scattered. he walks towards the bullet ridden polls, bent down in the lead soaked dirt and picked up the eyeglasses that dwar had been wearing. the young man, a photojournalist, only momentarily held the eyeglasses in his hands before they were snatched away by another boy. but, in a the moment that he had them, he had noticed tiny chunks of numa's brains scattered on the cracked lens is. perhaps if he had kept them he might have cleaned the lenses and raise them to his face to try to see the world the way it might have been reflected in a dead man's eyes.
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often in haiti it is said that eyes of murder but comes are gouged out by their murderers because it is believed that even after death, the last image of person sees remains imprinted in his or her cornea as clearly as a photograph. before witnessing the execution of numa and dwar danielle was not interested in dead man's eyes. he had been like any other little boy going for long walks all over port-au-prince and playing soccer with his friend. he sometimes worked and his father's bakery and tried to climb aboard haiti's commercial train, which brought sugarcane stalks from the southern hills to the sugar making plants in port-au-prince, but the execution, the execution changed everything. the next day, daniel walks by a photographer's studio near his
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father's bakery in downtown port-au-prince and as the open panel doors were enlarged photographs of numa and dwar's corpses purposefully put on display for the country's potential dissenters. these pictures -- and young daniel would walk past them and even though he had been at the execution, he saw them each day as if for the first time and was unable to look away. that is when i decided to be a photojournalist daniel recalled, more than 45 years later. photography is an alley object art, the novelist and essayist susan sontag writes and on photography. all photographs are momentary morays that is a reminder that sooner or later the subject will no longer exists.
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to take a photograph that sontag continues, is to participate in another person or thing's mortality. mortality. photography has something to do with resurrection. might we not say a photography with a byzantine set of the image of christ which impregnated saint veronica's napkin, that it was not made by the hand of man, that it was poets those. i never intended to be a photojournalist daniel tells me more than once. i became a photojournalist because that's numa and dwar's execution i felt afraid and i never wanted to feel afraid again. i take teachers so i'm never afraid of anyone or anything. when i take pictures i feel like something is shielding me, like the camera is protecting me.
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did he as a boy want to protect numa and dwar i asked? he could not protect them he said that over the years, he has felt as though he is managed to protect others with his photograph. in that moment, he makes me even more certain that to "create dangerously" is to create fearlessly, boldly embracing the public and private terrors that would silence us and bravely moving forward, even when he feels as though he is being chased by ghosts. create fearlessly, like living fearlessly across the seas, writing as though nothing will or can never stop us, writing as though we fool heartedly or a full heartedly believe. thank you.
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[applause] >> we will go to a different part of the world. by name as you were told is ngugi wa thiong'o, which simply means son of the honor. so, ngugi is really my name and my father's name and walk simply makes the connection. i was born in kenya. my name is called "dreams in a time of war." and this is because i was actually born in 1938, on the deed of the second world war.
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and when people talk about the second world war, or the third world war, they tend to think that it was purely a european phenomenon or rather that africa was not a central participant in that war, but in fact many african people thought in the war. some of my brothers were in the second world war and they fought also. that, for us at home, where i come from, where i was born, i remember the second world war because one night my half brother, who was in the war, came home in an army truck for
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the first time after many years of being away. but he came at night. there had never been a truck in our compound. he got stuck, so he and his friends spend all of the hours they had trying to get the truck out of the mud. but not before the truck had hit my mother's house, so my mother's house for a couple of months was actually like this, a leaning tower, leaning on one side and this is how i remember the second world war. [laughter] but, then yeah. but, then, after the second world war, 1945, in kenya we
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entered another war, you know because kenya was a british colonial state. meaning that some europeans settled in kenya and took away the land that was owned by the owners and so on. the second world war was being fought against the british colonial state. and not many people -- people who've read about that period -- know about the real.of the british colonial propaganda against that particular war. now, but i know differently because my own brother,
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biological brother, actually a carpenter, fog in the mountains against the british colonial state and one night i remember him coming from the mountains very late at night, very early in the morning. he could only travel in the dark and i wake up, and he is coming home to tell me about a very important exam. and good luck, to work hard. this, because of the importance that the people of kenya attacks to education, culturally that were associated with mau mau and the anti-modern progress and
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everything but my brother came from the mountains just to say good luck. so, the one i want to read actually is about my mother. she was the spirit behind the whole thing. now, we come from a polygamist household. i will tell you a little bit about that because my mother, why she would marry into a polygamist household and one time she was a woman of very few words -- but on this night, she talked a little bit about how she came to marry my father, and she said quite frankly, it was
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because of his two wives she said with light and shadows with the fire flaming on her face. we were always together. such harmony, and i often wondered how it would feel to be in their company. and your father, he would not be denied. i don't know how he knew where i worked in my fathers father's feel. well, but he would somehow appear, just smile and say a few words. what a pity, you are such a hard-working beauty that you should ever team up with a lazy man. he was teasing. those were no small words coming from a man who had so many goats and cows and he had acquired all of that wealth by his own toil.
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but, i challenged him, how do i know that you are not one of those who want to -- work their wives to death and then claimed the wealth came from his hand alone? the following day he came back, a full on his shoulder, just to prove that he did not include himself among the lazy. he started to work. it became a playful but serious competition to see who would tire first. i held my own she said, with a touch of pride in her voice. i lit a fire and roasted some potatoes. don't you think you and i should combine our -- in a home?
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i said, that is only one days day's work in the field. another day, trying to clear some bush to expand my farm. he joined in a clearing and at the end of the day we were both exhausted but knight arrived -- neither would admit to it. he went away and i thought he would never appear again, that he did come back on another day with a smile on his face. oh yes, that day the crop was in bloom in and the field was covered with flowers of a decent color. i always remember the butterflies and i was not even afraid of the bees that competed with the butterflies. he took out a bead necklace and
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said, will you wear this for me? well, i did not say yes or no, but i took it and wore it. he said, with an audible sigh, my mother would not answer the questions but what she had said was enough to tell me how she became one of my fathers for wives. but she said to me, not efficient to tell me how she came to lose her place to be the fourth wife or even how she felt about the new addition to the family. [applause]
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my mother, peasant lady, a -- about her enrollment in my education. she actually asked me, would you like to go to school? i had always wanted to go to school but i had never voiced it, so she must have sensed something about my desire, you know. so describing in the present. there were little blackboards and chalk. i bought a black slate and chalk for my writing material. we copied on our slate for what the teacher had written on the but for it. later she comes around to grade on this late, putting in x or a check against each word or
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number,. at first i didn't realize that she had graded -- i didn't realize that after she had graded it, i still had to wait for her to enter the number in her register for the record. but when i go home and my mother asks me how i had done, and i say i learned everything, she says no, don't do that. wait for the teacher to tell you what to do. the teacher also corrects me. otherwise i would continue getting zero and when later she stops writing on my slate, my mother asks me what i had done. and i say, 10 out of 10. she would ask roving questions, ending with, is that the best
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you could have done? [laughter] this is a question she would keep on asking about my schoolwork. class exercises and test. is that the best you could have done? she still asked the question in different ways until i said yes, that i had tried my best. strange, she seemed to be more in just in the process of getting there there have been a after after results. so i went through the initial classes could not quite understanding why i had been moved from suba map to set the mac to grade one and all within the same quarter, skipping classes continuing from time to time. within a year i am in grade two and still my mother continues to ask, is that the best you could have done? i don't know how the best i
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could have done. all i know is one day, one day i am able to read on my own on the language primer we used in class some sentences are simple, like the ax on the ground. as he holds his left knee with both hands, drops of blood trickling down. the picture is more interesting than the words. he has cut himself, he has cut his leg and he has cut himself with a knife. i do not have -- is a passage that i read over and over again and suddenly, one day, one day i start hearing music in the
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words. god has given water, food, therefore i i should praise the lord all of the time because he has ever been generous to him. it even when not reading it, i could hear the music. the arrangement of the words and the cadence, i can't think of one thing that is so beautiful and long lived if memory. i realize that words can carry the music i loved but it was a melody. and yet, and yet, this is not -- is descriptive. it does not carry an electrician. it is a picture in itself, and yet more than a picture and a
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description. it is music, the written word, an awesome thing. thank you. [applause] >> we have time for a few questions. [inaudible] if you would like to ask a question, we have about 15 minutes. >> i have a comment for edwidge danticat. i learned that at the jewish museum a few years ago. i came up with an idea a couple of years ago, before the
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earthquake, before the cholera and everything, when i heard about the problem that they have had because of the hurricanes and the trees getting knocked down and people chopping them down for charcoal, and it is not an original idea. it is an idea that is adapted. the jewish national son has had this idea for israel since i was a little kid. and that was like 55 for 60 years ago. maybe it was even when israel became a state in 48. what they do is, they have the kids in the sunday school, the jewish sunday school, raise money to grow trees in israel. when i was little, which was a long time ago because i am going to be 63 pretty soon, it was a diamond leaf and you had 10 dimes and it was a tree. you can buy it in honor or memory of a loved one so i would
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think that maybe the kids in the haitian diaspora could do that through their schools or their churches and then also they have these cooking instruments that are made out of 10 or aluminum foil or something. they use them in africa, where they can cook. they are made very cheaply and they are easy to put together. that way they wouldn't have to cut down the trees to use them for charcoal. if they raise trees the same way that they j. and f. david with our hebrew sunday schools, they would not only have trees for, despite the erosion, but they could raise them as cash crops and also to deep efforts. i was wondering what you thought about? >> i think it is a fabulous idea. there are some organizations and there might be someone here, and
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other musicians who are working on reforestation who have been working with the nobel laureate, from kenya -- yes, who has been working on actually modeling some of the work that she is done with reforestation with different organizations. it is certainly a high priority and that would be a good idea to propose to the children of the diaspora. their other efforts, and there are efforts with these other types of stoves, but it still has to be sustainable i think for people. it has to be feasible for people. it has to be on some level cheaper than the charcoal i think for it to be an alternative but there are quite a few organizations working on these different ideas. and i am glad that this is one
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you have proposed. and that model, the jewish model, many organizations talk about it as sort of as a model to possibly replicate what we can of its. >> okay, thank you. >> edwidge i think you are a great treasure for the world and for miami in particular and i am just wondering how you have managed to forgive for the imf treatment of your uncle? if you don't want to talk about that, i would fully understand. but i would love to hear it. >> thank you so much, and i am going to be a good local person and please share with our guests i think writing the book, my uncle was 81 years old who died
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in the u.s. immigration. i can't say i forgive because it is something that keeps happening to other families, even now, but shedding light on it by writing about it, just as in the excerpt when i talked about daniel saying he felt like he photographed to help others, in that way i feel just like having had the opportunity to write the book makes the problem more public than it has been. thank you for your nice words. >> i also have a question for ms. danticat. how -- is doing in haiti. >> thank you. i have a cousin who we call, because she is prettier than the rest of us. she is doing alright, thank you. >> yes, hello.
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when i first saw the title of your book, i read your previous book, and i've read "learning to die in miami" -- as you were talking about that and my wife said oh, but then we lived a similar experience because when i left cuba i went to chicago. maybe we cross paths somewhere. >> it is in our neighborhood. >> and now, i have been all over the world. i lived in africa for five years, went to kenya many times and to haiti. unfortunately i was there, and i visited the dictatorship then i remembered at the airport i had a photo, a little photo. it was scary actually.
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i was wondering, going back to the experience that i see now is "learning to die in miami," but for many cubans we were all over the world and become to miami, we have to learn how to live and die again because it is a full circle. speak it is. for those that come back to miami, yeah. for those that don't come back, it is a lesson in the past that carries their life no matter where you are and it could help you almost anywhere. in chicago, at one point there were over 80,000 cubans. it is down to less than 3000, because most have moved back to this area. so, thank you. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you all so very much. >> someone behind you. >> our last question of the day. come on and. >> this is a question for ngugi. your last book i think was a grain of wheat of any of your writings. can you tell us how you felt when you were nominated for the nobel prize for literature? >> well, i did not get it. [laughter] [applause] but obviously, it was very flattering to know that so many people from all over the world were rooting for me to get it. even one of my ex-students from
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new york university who is from peru, wrote me that they were rooting for me. [laughter] anyway, it is very flattering to be very frank, and obviously, you know, i was happy to be mentioned in that company. the only thing i can tell you is in kenya and everywhere, the whole nation, you know, on television everybody was waiting. they didn't sleep. they waited until 4:00, you know. and i was a professor of english
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of course the university had even set up a time for a press conference. dare we photographed and at about 4:00, when it would be announced, photographers were -- so they are knocking on the door because they wanted to take the first picture. it is very cold outside, so my wife and i had to wait even though we knew the results. actually i found myself consoling. [laughter] consoling the photographer, you know. [laughter] but anyway, when you read a time
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of four, you would appreciate my nobel. [applause] >> thank you all very much, very much. the authors will be happy to autograph their looks on the other side of the elevators in the green autograph area, and you can speak with him there. thank you all, and we will see you in about 15 minutes. [inaudible conversations]
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>> and we continue our live coverage here at the miami book fair international in, just north of downtown miami on the campus of miami-dade college. that panel you just heard was at the chapman auditorium, where all of our live panels are being held and outside of that auditorium is a street fair book fair. you can see the street scene right there, and and and c-span's booktv as well is set up here at the street fair and we are pleased to introduce you now to dr. paul farmer. there is are a paul farmer reader book just out, "partner to the poor" it is called. dr. farmer who was on the cover of this book? >> well, in addition to half of my days as a little girl from central haiti, who came to one of our clinic's. >> and what was the reason she came to the clinic? >> she had a heart murmur, which
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actually cleared up. >> what his partners in health? >> partners in health is really a network of organizations that was started with some of our haitian colleagues back in the 80's and now we are working in 12 different countries, including the united states. haiti is still in latin america, in siberia and in four countries in sub-saharan africa. we are working to provide basic health services and when we say basic, it depends on what the problems are, so if you are in a place where there are lots of cancer, we will be working on cancer. if there are lots of surgery disease, we are working on surgery. we are basically looking at the burden of disease in the health problems that people have and gaps. we are also working to build
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basic, basic health system platforms so that people have a right to health care. so, kind of a loose term. >> is it similar to doctors without borders? >> no, not very much although we often work with doctors without borders. doctors without borders is much more focused on humanitarian leif -- relief and emergencies whereas we are more of a long-term partnership. in haiti for example we have been working now for 25 years together with our haitian colleagues. >> what in your view have you accomplished in haiti? >> and haiti, because we are in a fundamentally haitian organization, we built a network of hospitals, health care centers and really human community hospitals that stretches all the way from the dominican republic to the coast on the other side of the country, and. >> how is that funded? >> mostly through private
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donations, but also through foundations, through what are called bilateral gifts, for example the united states and haiti might have a program, save for an example and eight program. we also receive a substantial amount of our funding from sources like that. as in the beginning, it is mostly a profitable entity, individual donations. >> on the front of "partner to the poor" there is a blurb in this is what it says. dr. paul farmer is one of most ordinary people i've ever known. "partner to the poor" recounts his relentless efforts to eradicate disease, humanize health care, a levee a poverty and increase opportunity and empowerment in the developing world and that is former president william j. clinton, wrote that. how did you get to know president clinton a? >> i got to know president clinton through health care work i had met him when he was -- the first lady actually sponsored
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some conferences on drug-resistant tuberculosis if you can imagine, in the white house, but then after he left office, i began working with him in rwanda, malawi and i'm happy to say in haiti, so we worked a lot together and over this last year, we have been working closely together in haiti. >> the forward is written by author tracy kidder, and obviously a friend of yours away he has written this forward, but he talks about your definition of public health. what is your definition of public health? >> i'm afraid i'm not entirely sure what he said. i forget what he said but i would imagine maybe he is talking about the notion that the public can be, a very different constructs so it may be, to most people that means a nation-state but he may be talking about a coward -- a
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county like our county or dade county. sometimes the public is a town are sometimes a village and sometimes it is a family or a small number of people. so i think, probably what kidder was saying is that this term means to be -- needs to be defined much more broadly. i think we can do to public health and clinical medicine as well as public health on the policy level. president clinton for example when he is working with us on health care issues he is focusing on a broad level of analysis, policy but he is also interested as we are in implementation, actually building health care systems in hospitals and clinics training health workers. again, the point here is really too i would say break that cycle of poverty and disease anywhere in the world. >> this paul farmer reader is basically an anthology is that? where of these articles appeared originally? >> they appeared in some pretty obscure journals and some of them appeared for the first time and not luck.
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most of them an academic literature. >> so, if a layman or to pick this book up. >> they would want to put it down very quickly. >> is a pretty technical? >> it is, parts of it are technical, but the latter third of it is really focused on basic human rights, the right to health care in the right to water. i would like to think it would be of broad interest. certainly people in colleges or universities. today i was at the miami book fair. there are 50 high school students who came to our session so i'm not sure many would find this interesting but some of them would. >> paul farmer porter your day jobs very quickly before we go to calls. the numbers are on the screen. 202 the area code if you want to talk adult -- dr. paul farmer, 585-3885. if you live in eastern central timezones, 585-3886 for those of you in the mountain big-time sons. your day job? >> i'm glad you asked.
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actually i'm very lucky because i'm a medical school professor. i teach at harvard medical school and that is my day job. i also work at the hospital at harvard called the brigham women's hospital. the people i report to really believe that global health but to be global, so when i head back to haiti as i'm doing now, i'm really going as a volunteer. when i worked with president clinton at the united nations i'm working as a volunteer. it really is a great thing for me to have a job at a university >> you say you are going back to haiti. are you going back in your u.n. role? >> i kind of feel that whenever i am there, i am always going as a physician, as an american. i would like to think that i'm always going in the u.n. role. since the earthquake i have to say, a lot of us have tried to not be as disruptive in any way
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so i like to go under my own theme and then work with my colleagues in the ministry of health, the u.n., my colleagues delivering services. at his workout i think pretty well. >> is there a reason or can you help us understand why haiti seems to have so many health problems, cholera, aids? >> well, if you look at new problems, like cholera which was just introduced to haiti recently, older problems like hiv which was and haiti in the 70s and 80s, 70s probably and then their of their long-standing problems, tuberculosis for example -- i would think of dying in childbirth as a disease as well so whether you are looking at the old problems are have been to once they are all rooted in poverty. that is the problem. i think most doctors who work in haiti, the most -- of course most haitian doctors know the source of a lot of the problems we see in the clinics really are
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of social origins, economic origins. that said we have our job to do as doctors as well to take care of the person in front of us, but these problems are rooted in poverty as anybody from haiti would tell you. at haitian poverty is rooted in this rotter context as well, context of latin america and the world as well. >> dr. paul farmer is our guest. the first call for him comes from redmond, oregon. go ahead, oregon. >> caller: yes, god bless you. can you hear me, steve? >> we are listening. go ahead. >> caller: thank you. god bless dr. farmer in god bless haiti. i was stunned at first listening to officials from our government explain what is going on in haiti. then, i heard from reverend graham, saying that they are really underestimating what is going on over there. i was also stunned by some of
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the statements of preval lately. after everything we have done, in order to try to help them. i have heard that he is hoardine i.v.'s that you need, at least eight eggs per person. he is hoarding oral rents. i have never seen reverend graham as close to tears as i saw, and i am stunned. we haven't started some sort of a military airlift. what is going on, and why is preval still bear? >> thank you. dr. farmer? >> let me just say, i will take those orders, those questions in reverse order. actually, i think the united states actually have done something similar to a military military -- in a way in this happened after the earthquake as well.
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i'm sorry i didn't catch her name. i know you are from redmond, oregon. but after the earthquake, the united states sense quite a number -- certainly a lot of resources and i want to point out where they went in a second. a lot of resources including military assets and resources like the u.s. naval ship the comfort which is a refit of the oil tanker. it has 16 operating rooms on a comment when it came in after the earthquake it was the best hospital in haiti. that is the problem is that was floating in the water but we were grateful and i think anybody who received care and was airlifted from the terra firma on a helicopter was grateful especially if they had a lifesaving surgical intervention. i would like you to know, the american taxpayers to know, that a lot of good was done right after the earthquake and in conjunction with virtually every
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federal bureaucracy from the centers for disease control to the 82nd airborne. so i think we did a lot. i would ask a critical question, not a mean-spirited question. enough to look when you start talking about president preval in the public authorities, how much of that money went to haitian public sectors. almost none of it did, so it makes it hard for us to be too critical of i would say of the haitian public sector response. first of all, 20% of haitian federal -- probably died in the earthquake. 27 out of 28 federal buildings in haiti were destroyed. the ministry of the health which is what i worked with, was completely flat and so it been very difficult or the haitians public authorities to respond effectively. they have really had their hands tied. i doubt very much comment again i don't know, could be wrong, i doubt very much that there is
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any hoarding of i.v.'s going on. it is very difficult to move things through the haitian customs authorities. it is just a very hard thing to do. there are so much coming in and stuff. so what i would ask people supporting various groups in haiti to be patient and generous, as so many americans have. we really do need the public authorities to help us respond to an outbreak like colorado because there is, as you know, we need clean water, clean water system to prevent cholera. >> dr. farmer, your book published by the university of california press. where did you come up with a name? >> i didn't come up with the name. can you hear me? >> you are find. >> i didn't actually. a close friend i went to college with, the person who edited it is a professor at yale. he chose the title and actually
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did the heavy lifting of editing. some of the essays which i said are kind of dense academic pieces he edited to more reader friendly form so i'm very grateful to him as well. >> freeland, michigan you are on with dr. paul farmer. please go ahead hertko. >> caller: thank you very much gentleman. i just wanted to ask dr. farmer, how much does the problem of overpopulation and the third world or the developing world if that is what you would like to call it, how much of a role does that play in the problems he works on, and what can be done to control this problem of simply too many people and limited resources? thank you very much. ..
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rwanda in a day or two places that are extremely crowded with your site infrastructure has probably obviously more because of the earthquake. i would just say that one of the things we should do, i believe is instead of pushing too much on population control, make sure that people, especially women have access to family peeling and really having the family decide they would like. if you look at surveys of women in haiti and elsewhere, they really don't want to have eight kids. they know that's -- they can't afford that. making sure they have more of a
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chance to benefit from the fruits of science is the way i would put it. so you have the overpopulation is a big album, but i think we have to really fight to make sure we talk about this the right way. >> host: alfred, montana. good afternoon. you're on with dr. paul farmer on booktv. >> caller: thank you so much. i'm so grateful you guys are a white light and a free speech and a sometimes very dark world, especially after the bush administration. i'm so grateful you could take my phone call. thank you dr. farmer for your service work for humanity that would like to pose the same question that we need to focus on the quantity or quality of life, not on the quantity. we need to focus on making birth control as easy as a hot afternoon. i want to see my money and tax dollars put towards birth control. lots and lots of birth control.
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everywhere, not just another world, but in america, too. the next question that you have answered is instead of focusing on the safety of food supply, why do we focus on treating animals humanely. all of us fat gluttonous americans think about the safety of our food supply, but not tortured animals. if were treating animals together, could you have some more shows on animal rights and people working for animal welfare. thank you. >> dr. farmer, anything that you want to address. >> guest: i think there wasn't a question, but i come you know, birth control fits into this broader paradigm of making sure basic primary health care is available. >> host: do we spend enough in the u.s. on public health? >> guest: know we don't spend enough in the united states on public health. we spend more than most countries. we have a lot more resources,
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but if you look at the per capita expenditures, they're not nuts. one of the things that happened is we are living in what everybody says is the world of limited resources. that's true, but the less limited than ever before. the finding ways that integrate care rather than having competition with prevention care, clinic is where we need to move. >> host: next call comes to new york city. go ahead, crowded city. >> caller: hi, dr., how are you doing? today to ask a couple of fair questions. i'm concerned about -- >> host: about what? >> caller: your political point of view. >> host: please just go ahead with your questions. >> host: you want to know dr. farmer's point of view?
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>> caller: yeah, that's right. >> host: caller, do you have a follow-up question? >> host: okay, we'll get an answer to that. >> guest: i would identify myself with any of those monikers or labels. i just am a physician interested in basic rights, right to health care, but i'm also interested in the right to education, the right to clean water, the right to freedom from want and freedom of fear. so i don't really know how you qualify that. i mean, i think a lot of guys really would like to see human progress, but i don't really care that much about the label. and we can make common cause with anyone cares about these rights and dignity of every human. certainly that's how we regard ourselves as physicians working with people living in poverty. >> host: dr. farmer, after this year await your name is
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thrown around as a potential appointment to the obama administration, maybe head of usaid. did you ever get contacted about that? i did and i'm very flattered is being considered. and i'm lucky enough to have worked with some of the people, with the secretary of state. but i really do like you and the doctor and a medical school professor. i'm lucky i have a day job. i think there's lots of ways for every american to get involved. this is after all what we're supposed to do as citizens. i am very grateful and there's a great director of usaid. there's also physicians, dr. roche. disabler trying to do the right thing. >> host: dr., before we want you and i were chatting about ddt and malaria. how do you feel about her again ddt back to help get rid of
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malaria? >> guest: you know, like talking about birth control or how to label yourself as a conservative or liberal, it's almost like ddt as a litmus test. i'll tell you one thing, as a physician, if that was a struggle between the mosquito and the human when we launched a ddt and i wasn't really replaced by another, you know, another agent that would produce useful and in some ways that was a great pick tree. and now looking back, i did a science project and it wasn't anti-ddt science project. because i like a lot of young americans understood that large-scale agriculture use of ddt was damaging to the ecosystem. i remember being really upset
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about this as a kid. and i think that was good. that's a good instinct. i'm a big fan of the environmental movement. i guess i just don't understand that in the horn of africa and elsewhere in the world were trying to control mosquitoes and affective diseases that as an adult. >> host: after all these years though, no other mosquito get rid of chemical has been invented? >> guest: well, probably the answer to that is yes. i know a few of them, but the question that i didn't understand is a fifth-grader is there is no market for insecticides that protect people living in poverty, then there's no perceived market that things might not be developed and really made available widely. at the stroke over in right my line of work.
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but we need better, safer and expensive. and there and things that have been developed, but this is their malaria vaccine. you know, because there is some enough push, there's not an adequate market, which is not a development. >> host: dr. farmer, where he took her up when she decided she wanted to be a doctor? >> guest: i grew up your florida hernando county. and i decided i wanted to be a doctor when i was a kid in junior high. why i don't know, before shalala's right. >> host: what did your parents do? >> guest: my father was a public school teacher and my mother was a cashier and now she's a librarian. she went to college while i was at medical school. >> host: "partner to the poor: a paul farmer reader." next call massachusetts, go
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ahead massachusetts. >> caller: very pleased to takeo, dr. farmer. i worked for the department of entire protection for 51 years. there's some other people that i know and that you know. dr. al comments and gordon bair. and because i was in the weight water program, my interest is what kind of an effort is going in haiti to provide the citizens they could public water supply system. i know in the 50s when i started to work, a couple of the people in dep had spent considerable time in south america just doing that, providing -- building a water filtration and providing good water supplies.
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because that's way salmonella and everything else. >> host: already, thank you, caller. it's good to hear. my second hometown is boston if you can tell i have a boston accent. experience at my aunt that i hope i got the sea question right. as you point out, the real issue is water in the issue that i think we really haven't confronted well as public water supplies. and growing up in rural florida on the coast, it didn't occur to me that if i turn on the water tab that i would get typhoid or cholera because i wouldn't because we had a municipal water supply. and it really was discouraging to see how few people in the world today -- how many rather still made with cold water
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security. i'm sure that's the term use. as far as haiti specifically goes, if i'm not mistaken, out of 147 countries, number 147 in terms of water security. even though i work with the university, which you know, worked for university and a a ball ball into his nongovernmental organization, we spent a decade trying to push for basic water right through the public sector, the government. now we have succeeded clearly or we wouldn't have a cholera outbreak here but i think that's where we need to go back, even those of us with small water projects and villages in have a big water projects as we've been doing with our colleagues in haiti and elsewhere. we sought to figure out how are we going to support the public water system. and i think the cholera epidemic and its rapid spread wake-up call to all of us who are proud to be working as ngos, it's a fun enough and we have to find ways of supporting the public
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sector for municipal public water system. and that's really an ibc point at which time to get out there more and more. >> host: next call for dr. farmer cars in minneapolis. >> caller: good morning, dr. farmer. how are you? >> guest: good, thank you. i caught something you said earlier on. you were speaking about cholera, as a new disease to haiti. if that's the case, i'd like to have your opinion on they brought it to the island that had a very, very brief article article -- >> host: you know what time indianapolis, go ahead with your statement. turn your tv down, go ahead with the statement and will get an answer. >> caller: i entered the cholera came from southwest asia and possibly came to haiti from there.
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>> guest: egad, well, this is a very difficult topic. and as you can imagine, everybody was studied academic disputes over time to the there's a lot of recrimination and blaming that goes on whenever there's an epidemic. and that's what we're trying to avoid. i think everybody who was involved, public health is trying to avoid that. at the same time, there were some reasons to find out where it came from because there could be variations of the strain. there could be sources that we could clean up. and so, i'm stuck right in the middle there, both wanted to make sure there's no finger-pointing and also wanted to know where it comes from. it looks like it is a southeast asian strain. that doesn't tell you what country it's from or how it got introduced. but it does not look to be one of the strains that was prevalent or circulating and latin america. for example, when i first started -- the first time i ever
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went to peru there is a tale and other very large cholera epidemic. doesn't look so much be that strain, but rather from southeast asia. they're also circulating strains in africa, so we have what's called molecular fingerprinting or epidemiology. in the right not getting the information we need about really again, it's not in any way to point a finger, but rather to clean up sources and to be honest and straight forward and make sure the haitian public knows there is nobody trying to cover this up. i do believe we'll be able to figure out exactly where it did come from. academic interest only of intervening in a very public health manner, the real problem is people need to understand in haiti and everywhere else but this is a waterborne disease. failure of sanitation is the cause. and so, the real challenge of
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cleaning up the water supply. or the individual patient, the real challenge is to make sure they get the right treatment. and it may be an opportunity, if i can, to point out that we should have had a big stock of cholera vaccine in the world somewhere. and as far as i can tell after sunday's is snooping around, there's really not a big stock will somewhere that we can draw on. and even if the vaccine is perfect, i wish that we did have some millions of doses to get to 80. and certainly don't have that and that's a shame, public health failure on the global level. >> host: dr. farmer, on your essay, never again come reflections on human values and human rights, he quotes susan sontag. and i want to read this and get you to explain it. this is susan sontag writing. someone who is perennially by the depravity exists, who continues to feel disillusioned, even the credulous when confronted of evidence of what
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people are capable of conflict team, hands-on cruelties upon other humans has not reached moral and psychological adulthood. no one after a certain age has the right to this kind of innocence of superficiality to this degree of ignorance. it's a beautiful essay. >> guest: at titleist called regarding the pain of others. and what i've really found hopeful about that essay is and that's why read it and that's why try to use use it in writing is think about what you said we are on the same -- on the same map. you know, just as in the recent discussion of cholera, we live in a globe that's interconnected. and whether you're looking at genocide rwanda or war in bosnia, as she did, it's really no longer possible to think of ourselves as i decided in anyway from the pain and suffering of
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others. you know, if i could say something upbeat, i'm not doing this because i'm on american television. you know, is moving to me that 50% or more of all american households donate to haiti earthquake relief. it's a stunning fact. nor am cholera, we have the same challenge. had we find out our interconnectedness led to the introduction of a new passage new to haiti as the same amount we pulled together to promote water rights in haiti. these are painful topics here it is even more painful when you're talking about queues what she called depravity, and human rights of war, genocide. i think we can learn some lessons from the wisdom like that, like hers. >> host: if people want to donate to partners in health, neve? >> guest: certainly. partners in health is one of the major agencies trained to do a good job in haiti and we have a website that is www.ph.org.
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i would add in the volunteer, so yes we are very pleased when people support our work. and there's lots of other groups doing good work in haiti as well. >> host: a few minutes left with dr. farmer. next call comes from atlanta, go ahead. atlanta? >> caller: hello? >> host: please go ahead. >> caller: hi, dr. farmer, i'm a former student at harvard. i attended several of your talks about hiv/aids and the role of technology on disease. my question is specifically on hiv/aids. don't you think we would be far better off at venting or halting hiv/aids by focusing on controlling a rather changing behaviors, social structures, poverty, social aspects that
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would then cause individuals to behave in contact hiv/aids or do you think we should focus particularly on the biological characteristics of the virus rather than all the other fact is like behavior, social structure, poverty that would then have long-term implications on the individual getting hiv/aids? >> guest: that's a great question. thank you very much. i'm proud of this question, knowing that you also may have heard some of these questions posed at harvard. let me just say that if we could find the perfect intervention to reduce risk, intentional risk of poor outcome, it would probably bses xml structural. that is if we can get rid of problems that lead to labor migration and southern africa and gender and equality in all
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these big disruptions. if we could do that, that would probably give us the biggest bang for the buck. i actually think those are different from behavioral interventions. constructional interventions about changing the social environment in which people live. and the interventions are sometimes about that, but they're often about what people think and do in a very focused on personal relation and personal behaviors. and so i'm all for those things. i would say wouldn't be great if we the vaccine likely to vaccine for polio or measles. for smallpox. because regardless of individual comportment of social station and behavior, you look at all boxes gone. so you know, we don't have smallpox anymore as you know. so would be great to have a vaccine might that for hiv. i'd be all for it. and in the middle, because we don't have perfect structural interventions, we really don't have a prescription for poverty. we don't have perfect behavioral interventions. we don't have a vaccine. we also have to pay a lot of
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attention to providing acts to therapy at portably. and you know, i spent a lot of my times of course i'm not. but that doesn't mean i'm not for behavioral interventions or developing vaccines. it seems we could do all of that. it would be a great thing. we would really, you know, we might not wipe out, but we'd really triplett and reduce the burden. if we could go to treatment to perfection. >> host: dr. farmer, prior to coming down to miami, i read that dean fever has come back to miami. we have had bugs in new york. these are all diseases for the u.s. how are these coming back? >> host: >> guest: again, i take these a slightly different questions. katie is another venture borne illness, a mosquito that transmits that. and if you have dainty and one
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part of the world, you're certainly going to have it somewhere else or the mosquitoes can hang out especially of an industry that is used cars from place to place or used tires and there's a water and the tire, mosquitoes are in there and they go from asia to latin america. you'll see the spread, just like you see the spread of cholera. so the only way, you know, of course you can have a place like the united states and florida are you connected mosquito control programs there may be beyond the reach of other settings in latin america or asia, it seems to me we need a global approach to this global pandemic. for diabetics, i don't know. it'll be an interesting comment for a press briefing in the u.n. that said something like someone asked about bed bugs and other vermin. technically bedbugs are not vermin. i'm not that interested in technicalities, but i ain't that there's always going to be public-health problems until we
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have enough investment in them locally. and locally were still going to have to think globally. so as good a way of any effective thing to remind everyone the public health is both local and global at the same time. >> host: dr. paul farmer has been our guest. here is the new book, "partner to the poor: a paul farmer reader." dr. farmer, thank you for being with us. >> guest: thank you for having me. >> host: live coverage from the miami book fair international continues and i were going to take you to the final event of the day. this is author salman rushdie and the chapman auditorium. >> everybody plays video games. fortunately salman rushdie hasn't thrown in the towel. he still writes novels. his latest, "luka and the fire of life" has a harry potter like title. and like the rolling series of that in a world of magic. but mr. rushdie puts a modern
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twist to a classic archetype. he incorporates elements of video games into his attitude, take that mr. p. look at his hero spattered around. but beneath the chili or choice of this virtual reality, they are enduring values and lessons, including courage in the face of adversity. this is something mr. rushdie is well acquainted with. the persecution underwent. many of you know the details. and anyway, he is currently completed memoir about about that dark time. but christopher hitchens got it right i think when he began a chat of his memoir devoted to his long friendship with mr. rushdie, with the following quote from this category. a poet's work is to name the unnameable, to take sides, to start arguments, shake the world
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and stop it from going to sleep. as you will surely discover, mr. rushdie is incapable of putting anyone, reader or listener to say. please welcome salman rushdie. [applause] >> thank you. [applause] >> looks like there's more than 100 of you. [laughter] i should just say, since i was accused of having a harry potter-ish title, that "luka and the fire of life" was published before harry potter and the sorcerer's stone. [applause] actually, she did still one thing for me. i can point this, plagiarism of cheeky rally. the bad guys have reversed eyes.
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you know, they see in the dark and they can't cla. so instead of having lightbulbs they have dirt roads predicaments remsen switch on the dark is likely to switch on the light. and lo and behold and the last harry potter burke she switches on the darkness. so i guess she read my book. [laughter] you have to take it as a compliment i think. i wrote this book for my younger son who is now 13. he was 12 when i finished the book. i gave it to him for his 12th birthday because ever since the red homer in the story, you'd been pointing out the injustice of it being one brother with a book and one without it, to which there are two answers, by the way. first answer is good, life ain't fair. and i chose to choose b. which is write the book. his advice may be forest and writing it as good advice. he said dad, don't write novels,
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right series. and i guess that didn't work out quite well, jk rolling. but it took me 20 years to come up with volume two in the series, so i'm not doing that well really. but it reminded me of another piece of advice i'd give it long ago when i was very young, starting out as a writer around the time the midnight stone was coming out. i was at a christmas publishing party and my publishers in england, jonathan k. coolidge, there is an independent publishing house and are now roundhouse. anyway, the publisher they are, the famous public publisher and his dad curt mutchler had also been a great publisher in germany and then had to flee like many german about to flee at the rows of and ended up in england and his son took on the family business at the lake. the curt mutchler and germany had published a lot of the most highbrow imminent egghead german
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writers, but his real love is children's books, which he also published. he came up to me at this party, kind of like the ancient mariner, grabbed me by the rest. and he said he was you must do children book right. at that point my older son was only about a year in a household and i said to him, maybe when my boy grows up all think of something trade. he says no, no, write a story to tell told me the story of one of his most imminent and egghead writers called eric hester who had constantly be has to do the way. eventually it be in german. and eventually he went away for two weeks and wrote something and came back with a manuscript and dropped in on curt mutchler's desk and said there you are, now you can shut up. and this was a book called
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e-mail to type this and it became one of the greatest classics about german children's literature. as curt mutchler said to be very happily, he said it's the only book that still in print. [laughter] c. you must do children book. i thought that's good advice. and so in these two books, maybe they'll be books of mine that will remain, which would be cool by the way. i've had enormous pleasure writing them. and i thought i just shared that if of it with you. the story about a boy, luke is the younger brother, but much later, 20 years later comes a child of his experience old-age and his father is weakening. he was as fireplace and there's a point early in the novel where he falls into what's called the
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sleeve, but is clearly upset at something mollica, and these obviously slipping away gradually. in lucca knows that there's only one thing he can do enough of this book is about. the beginning of the book there's a little verse, my lifelong dedication verse, in which each line begins with one letter of my sons name and goes like this. magically him flail around, inside, outside, underground, looking glass world still a balance. all other true tales, mr. trudeau, not the glove makes magic real. it contains two themes of the book. one is that it is a kind of love story. it's not a romantic love story, but it's a story about love between parents and children, between fathers and sons, mothers and sons and about how far both the parents and the children will go in the name of that love.
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so that they think if you like the emotional root of the story. and the other thing the stories about this about this question of magic, question of the world of imagination, a dream, fantasy and what is the relationship of that world to the world we live in. how does that inform it, how does it collect, how does that in many ways change it and inspire you. and that's again the question of which the book -- the book arises. i want to just mention he is a famous storyteller and those who read and like his stories, called in the ocean of notions are people who don't like the stories collett charlebois. [laughter] and he has been telling luka all his life about this other world, this alternative reality.
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and the alternative reality has a geography, which also has a history and also has the biology, but that may not be for children's books. and this is just a bit about the geography of it. the tyrant of words by the way thunderstone from a sea of stories into the lake of wisdom, whose waters are limited by are limited by the town of days and that which flows the river of time. the lake of wisdom as islam that stands in the shadow of the mountain of knowledge and his stomach turns the fireflies. this important remission regarding the layout of the very existence of the magical world was heading for thousands of years, guarded by mysterious closed spoiled spots who called themselves the island or learned ones. however, the secret life now. if it be made available by the general public in many celebrated tales. everyone and honey was fully aware that there was a world of magic existing in parallel with
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their own non-magic wand. and from that reality can wipe magic, black magic, dreams, nightmares, stories, lies, dragons,, bluefield a genius, mechanical migrating birds, treasurer, music, fiction, hope, fear can gift of eternal life, angel of death, angel of love, interactions, jokes, good ideas, happy ending. in fact almost everything of any interest at all. the island whose idea of knowledge was a blonde and was too precious to be shared anyone probably hated brushy for letting the cat out of the bag. but it does not get because we will eventually have you speak of cat. i'm going to leave that. you had to read the book to find out what that means. well, what happens is he decides that he needs to do this weird
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he needs to go and find this thing that set the height of the mountain of knowledge, the fire place because the thing they can save his father. but of course he's being asked to do that, in fall two in three possible things. first it's got to somehow convince the magical world which are not supposed to be able to. it is in there he's got to seal the fireflies, which nobody ever had feared if he still says over and back, which is impossible. and so of course, that's what he first do. and in fact, he has companions by the way. they're more friends and pets. or animals. one is the dog called air and the other is a better called dog laughed max weber tends his dog, the bear comes. every time he says bair, the dot-coms. their circus animals that become his friends and they don't into the magic world they can talk. and at this point, he does somehow manage to stumble -- at
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least about half a step to the right, you'll find yourself in the spirit of reality. any mantises to do it and find there some and very alarming which is summative looks exactly like his father, but is not his father. this is kind of the villain of the piece. this was sheet holy father exactly like the famous charlebois. he was rainy of panama hat a civilian but shirt and when you walked in target with obvious ideas voices for shoots voice and the way he moved with an exact copy, but he could be seen through not clearly but mercilessly at that for half real and half trick of the light. as the first whispers of die moment in the sky above, the figures transparency became even more obvious as his head began to spin. had something happened to his father? was this see-through father some sort of -- as some sort of --
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are you some sort of goes, he asked in a weak voice. you're certainly something peculiar to say the very least. am i wearing a white sheet? and my clanking chains? delilah coolish do you demanded the phantom dismissively. am i scary? okay, don't answer that. the truth is that there are no such things as ghosts or specters and therefore i am not one. and matt points out the right kind just as surprised as you? bear baby hair was standing on end. and the dog was shaking his head in a puzzled way as if he had just begun to remember something. why are you so surprised he has tried to sound confident? are not the one who conceived to me after all. see-through came closer and he had to force himself not to run away. i'm not sure he said.
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so it is unusual for you to have crossed a very pure and perfect health. by the by, the whole thing is exceeding regular. the frontier is not supposed to be this easily ignored. what do you mean luka demanded? who are you here for? the moment he asked the last question he knew the answer editor of the other questions out of his mind. then there's my father not yet, but i am the patient type. go away, luka said. what is your name anyway? this see-through rasheed was not entirely friendly. i come he began to expand in a kindly voice, but somehow did not feel completely kind. i am your father. don't say that word luka
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shouted. the point i'm trying to make is that everyone -- don't say it, luka yelled. no two are alike. each human being is an individual, unlike all others. their lives with unique and personal beginnings and consequently at the end it follows that everyone has their own unique and personal. don't, screamed luka. i will be soon enough. and at that time you will no longer be able to see through me because then i will be the real thing and he, i'm sorry to say, will no longer be at all. nobody is going to take my father way, luka cried, mr. whatever your name is with your scary tales. nobody could see through a sheet. yes, you can call me that. that's who i am. nobody is going to take her father away. and i am the nobody in question.
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i yam your, you might say, noble daddy. luke said no, no. i'm afraid that nonsense is not involved. you will discover that i am a no-nonsense kind of guy. luka fatimah thrust of the house and put his head in his hands. noble daddy. he understand what the see-through sheet was telling him, but his father faded away and the phantom or she would grow stronger and in the end there'd be only this noble daddy and no father at all. there was very short a fun thing. he was not ready to do without father. he would never be raised in that. the certainty of this knowledge could land and them strength. there was only one thing for the told himself. this noble daddy had to be stabbed to need to think the way to to stop in. to be fair said noble daddy, i did a search of full disclosure. i should repeat that your party achieve something extraordinary
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that crossing the line, so perhaps you're capable for their extraordinary things. maybe you're even capable of reading about the things you are even now dreaming up. maybe you will succeed in bringing about my destruction and adversary, how enjoyable. how positively darling. i'm so excited. luka lucked out. what you need crossing the line, he asked. here, where you live, if not there where you were explained noble daddy carefully. thus, all of this the ec is not that which he saw before. this lane is not that lame. this house is not that house and his daddy as i explained is not that one. if your whole world took opposite to the right, it would bump into this world. if you took half a step to the left, bullets that go into that right now. don't you see how much more
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brightly covered everything is here the back home? bcc is the world of magic. luka remembered as someone would doorway of his reef but intense feeling of readiness. for that crossed a line and how do you go to the right or left. must've an array. so this must be the right-hand path, stick? but was that the best path? shouldn't he is left in the person of stumble to the left? he realized he really had no idea what he was talking about. why was he on any sort of path at all and not just in the lane out at his house? where might such a path lead and should be even think of going down a? should he be thinking about just giving away from us all in the noble daddy and finding his way back to the safety of his bedroom. all this talk of was much too much for him. he had grown up hearing about it from his father every day and he believed in it. even drawn maps any pictures of
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it, the tyrant of words wanted to the lake of wisdom in the fireplace, all that stuff. but he had believed in it in a way that he believed in dining tables or streets or stomach upsets. it hadn't been real in the way that was real or unhappiness or fear. it was only real and the way that stories were real while they were reading them. or he brushes before you got too close to them for dreams while you are jamming. this is a dream then, he wondered? the see-through rasheed who called himself noble daddy, nodded slowly in a thoughtful way. i would certainly explain the situation he said agreeably. but it might not be a dream. the thing about the magic world -- one of the things is that it does function in the introduction and does work a little bit like a video game. you can collect lives. view from behind bushes in your life.
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he collects lots of lies, which he needs because there's all kind of dangers. and also like much -- many magical worlds of the gatekeeper i'll just regio debate of this confrontation that this nasty old man. he's been collecting -- it's got 315, remembered my own book that he collected 315 lines. he is now developed a three digit counter at the top corner of the site, which tells them i realize he's not. when the old man in the river came up and was trying again, the terminator, book collector and panic leave for somewhere to hide. at the same time try desperately to remember what his father told him about the old man's who assumed was not just one of rasheed's inventions after all. or else he was here in the world
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of magic that he had made a map. luka remember the way his father told the tale. guilt and of the river has appeared like a river. it goes right down to ac. he stands on the strand with a gun in his hand, the nastiest old man you could meet. inherent date with the ethereal command but as long wonderworker. and this enormous plaster coming out onto the river bank, claiming up onto the strand doing his very best to summon back the memory of what he had thought about this benevolent river deep in. something about asking the old man questions. or she'd love loved riddles and had tormented lucca with riddles they after day, night after night, year after year until luke had become good good not to torment him back. or shoot with it each evening in his favorite armchair and buco would jump onto his lap even though he scolded him, were in the chair would be strong enough
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to take back a minute ways. luka didn't care. he went to sit there. the chair that are broken or not yet anyways and that literally was about to come in handy after all. yes, development of the river was a burglar. that is what were she'd said about them. he's addicted to prevent away gamblers are addicted to gambling. and that was how to meet him. the problem is hard to get close enough to them in to say anything when he and the terminator in his hand and looked determined to shoot on sight. luka -- from side to side, but the old man kept coming right at them. even though bear, the dog traits get in the way, a couple of blocks that keep users and obliged him to wait until their bodies regrouped. and a moment later, lucas to have been busted again had to go through the whole business of flying apart in 3 million shiny fragments and then joining up again, make in those little noises. feelingly believed and was losing a life is not the same
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thing. and that was back to my scattering -- anyway, no sooner had the old man's government to view that lucca yelled at the top of his voice, riddle me, but only read, which he knew from his events are perceived as a time-honored way challenge a federal or to a battle. feel man in the room stopped in its tracks and a big nasty smile spread across his face. who calls me, he said in a coins tackle the voice? who thinks he can outplay the rates on meister. the lord of the riddles do you know which you risk? do you understand the wagers? the stakes are high, could not be higher. look at you, you're nothing. your child. i don't even know if i want to ccu. no, i won't faze you. you are not worthy. very well if you insist. [laughter] and if you lose, child, then all
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of your lives are mine. you are to stand all of your lives are mine. the final termination here at the beginning, you will meet year-end. and this is what luka could've said in reply, but it's not preferring to remain silent. so much you don't understand, you horrible unmanned is in the first place if my father who is the riddle king and he taught me everything he knew. which you further don't understand is that our riddle battles went on for hours and days and weeks and months and years and therefore i have a supply of test brain twisters that will never allow. i want you to understand most of all is i have worked out something important, namely that this world -- this world of magic is not just annealed magical world, but the one my father created. and because this is his magic world and nobody else's, i know secrets about everything in it,
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including terrible man, about you. what he actually said aloud was this. and if you lose, old man, you'll have to terminate yourself, not just temporarily, but once and for all. how the old man laughed. he would go forward until he wept. not only to resize, but through his nose as well. he homicides in black from side to side and as long white beard crack in the air like a wet. that's a good when he said finally. if i lose. that's priceless. let's begin. but luka wasn't going to be fooled that easily. you had to nail down the deal before you begin the battle or they would try to wiggle out of it later on. if you lose, you will do as i have said, he insisted. the old man in the river made a peevish face. yes, yes, yes, she replied. if i lose i will solve
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terminate, mortal terminate. terminate your need by need will occur. hee hee he he left himself. permanently luka said firmly. once and for all the old man grew serious in his face colored and presently. farewell he barked. yes, permanent termination if i lose. in a word, termination. but as you're about to discover, child, i am not the one who is about to lose all his lies. the bear, the dog were a state of higher education and they were circling each other, staring each other down and it was the old man who spoke first and a hard greedy voice, pushing roughly through teeth that seemed hungry to eat up little luka's life. what goes around and around the world but never goes into it, the bark of the trees stands on
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one night with a threaded type. cabbage spent fuel demand, what is that you could keep after giving it to someone else? dorworth, i have a little house that has no doors or windows had to go out i must rate through the wall. what to call a fish without a night? you call it a fish. [laughter] [inaudible] by with six afraid of seven? because 789. what was there for millions of years and never more than a month old? >> alone. when you don't know what it is, then it tempting. but when you know what it is, then it's nothing. what is it, luka said out of breath, a riddle. they had been going faster and faster the riddles have been coming at greater and greater speed. this is just the beginning that
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the new. soon the riddles that start in the story riddles, the difficult steps away ahead. he wasn't sure if he could, said the thing was not to let the old man take date, payson man of the contest. it was time to play the joker in the pact. he stops are going to put on grimmest expression. what? he asked goes on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three lakes in the evening? the old man stopped circling, to appear for the first time there was a weakness in his voice and a tremble in his limbs. what are you play not, he demanded? that's the most famous riddle of the world. yes, it is a book of which are stalling for time. answer me. four legs, two legs, three lakes, said the old man at the river. everyone knows this one. it's the oldest one in the book. the sea monster rushing khalifa
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used to tell luka. outside the city of these and challenge other travelers who pass by to solve the riddle. when they failed, she told them. then one day a hero came by and knew the answer. and what did the 60 then, luke asked his father? she destroyed her salt, rashid replied. porzio said of he had to admit that no matter how many times he tried to learn the story he could never remember the solution to the riddle. the battles thinks he said not very sadly, she had beaten me up for sure. come on, luka said. but the old man in the river looked around in panic. i could just last you anyway, he said. luka shook his head. you can't do that, not now, not anymore. then luka lattice expression to become a little too neat.
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my father could never remember the answer either, he said. and this is my father's world at jake and you are his riddle man. so you can't know what he couldn't recall another ui mistakes must share the same fate. permit nation deal meant that the river said softly. yes, that is just. and without more ado and quite unsentimental economy lifted his terminator, said the dial-in maximum, pointed the weapon at itself inspired. the answer is a man, luka said to be to the empty air is the tiny shining smithereens of the old men of the river blew away to nothingness, who calls on all fours as a baby, walks upright as a grown-up and uses a stick when he sold. that's the answer. a man, everyone knows that. so he gets on with it.
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questions? or do i mean to read on a little bit? more reading? okay. yes, what happens when they get there the part of magic or they come across the very briefly and which i'm very fond of come which the landfall of all the discarded divinities that the human race. they are all the ex-gods of greece and rome. they have nowhere to go except this kind of theme park. and he has to deal with them. by the way, use on a flying carpet. he's not this lady who is kind of the of the book called assault, apart. where people are excessive and rude and over-the-top, by the way. and although she's a soul,, she so extremely rude to she's only
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known as the insults on. [laughter] and she is a fine carpet. so it's up on the flying carpet with old friends and you can see a long way. the river of time going from the distant invisible lake of wisdom at the heart of the hearts of magic which was still too far away to be seen. outside the circular seat, directly beneath a flying carpet of that moment, with a vast territories of the badly behaved dogs, gods in whom nobody believed anymore, except the stories that people once like to tell. they don't have any power and the real world anymore, for she'd used to say, three minutes favorite squash e. armchair with luka crowd up in his love. so there they all air in the hearts of magic, the ancient gods of the north, greece and rome, the gods of samaria and
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egypt long ago. they spend their time, the infinite timeless time pretending they are still divine, played all their old games, fighting the ancient wars over and over again trying to forget the nobody really cares about them these days or even remembers their names. that's pretty sad, luka said to his father. to be honest, part of magic is like an old folks home for washed up superheroes. [laughter] don't let them hear you say that, rashid replied because they all look gorgeous and youthful and luminous. being divine or even asked divine has its perks. and inside the magic world, they still have the use of the superpowers. it's in the real world that the thunderbolts and enchantments never had any effect. must be awful for them, luka said to have been worshiped and adored for so long and just discarded like last year's unfashionable clothes. particularly for the asset deities for mexico, rashid said
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putting a mysterious voice, because they were used to receiving human sacrifices, the throats of living people were cuts and their lifeblood throat into the cut stone goblins. now there's no blood for those defused scud to drink. most of them are blood thirsty, uncared aztec gods. [laughter] no wonder people software shipping. or maybe because they'll behave so badly, re-shoots at. this got luka's attention. the notions of cause even badly with upward. what they supposed to set an example to his god they were? them in the olden days, rashid said. those older guys behaved as badly as people were actually much worse because being gods they could behaved badly in a bigger scale. they were selfish, rude, mobile
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phone, vain,, violence, spiteful, lustful, gluttonous, lazy, dishonest, and. and all but exaggerated to the mass them because they have the superpowers. when they were greedy, they could swallow a city. when they were angry they could drown the world. when they battled and human lives, they brocard, stole money and started for us. for their lives if they thought for a thousand years weird when they played their little tricks, other people suffered and died. sometimes that god would even kill another god by lowering his weak spot in going forward the way wolf goes for wrote in his prey. maybe it's a good thing they faded away, luka said. but i must make the heart of magic a peculiar place. nowhere more peculiar than the universe, rashid replied. what about because people still believe in, luka asked? are they in the heart of magic as well? dear me, no said rashid.
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they are all still right with us. and i'll stop there. thank you. [applause] [applause] all right, thank you. but we started, but i've been given permission to go on as long as you've got questions. so microphones. microphone there. you're going to have to come to that microphone and ask questions. if you want to, otherwise we'll just stand here. [laughter] or go home. i could go home. but there's a lot of you. some of you must have a question. yes, all right. >> very good to see you again, mr. rushdie. very quick question, whoever he
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questions about fatherhood, what lessons have been a father did you incorporate really to this book? >> in a father? well, in general, 12, 13-year-old boys are deeply convinced that their fathers are pretty useless. [laughter] and it's in deep need of being told how to do things than be in the doctor. to that deep psychological truth is in the spoken word the boy has to save the father's life. but you know, as i said, it's about love. it's about extraordinary bond between parents and children. another is a lesson, you know, except that that's a good thing, you know and worth paying attention to. per sheet is quite -- i don't know, he's not the most serious or solemn fella. he's encouraged by his children and fanciful ways, much to the content of their mother who
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keeps pointing out to them that the world is real. .. he is interested in giving his children a sense of the world that is not that perhaps should be. thanks. >> hello, sir rushdie. i just wanted to ask you a question about your perspective on something, because in many of your works, in your stories and
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many of your works you explore the spiritual side of human expression of thinking and combined with your support of more humanistic organizations and education and your personal experiences, what place do you think religious expression has nowadays? >> i think i may be the wrong person to ask this question. [laughter] [applause] i have a sneaking feeling that you might get a better answer from somebody else. look, one of the sort of serious things behind the joke about the discarded cards is that all stories began as sacred marriages. i would say the birth of the story is religious story. that was what we first did.
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we found ways of telling stories to explain the world that we didn't understand and that tended to be you know the great questions that religion asked itself, the question of origins, how did we get here? and the question of ethics. now that we are here how should we live? religion told stories to answer those questions and that was the beginning of storytelling i think. and of course there is a point in which there was a separation, the stories became not necessarily religious stories. hugh know they were secularization if you would like. but i'm very conscious of of the fact that stories come from religious narratives and that those are rich, often rich and full of interesting truths. so, that is one part in my head. another part of my head thinks it is the worst thing in the world. you know, it gets in the way. it screws us up more than almost anything we have screwing us up, which is plenty.
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so, as i say, i am the wrong person because i actually have this problem inside of myself. on the one hand as the maker of stories i understand where stories come from. on the other hand, is a person living in the world, i don't like the activities of hopes popes and ayatollahs and priesto without them. [applause] i could be a lot router but i think i will stop there. thank you. [laughter] >> good evening. i really enjoyed reading -- he wrote this book over 20 years ago and i was wondering if you have followed the history of the country and if you have thought about or have actually gone back to nicaragua and if so, do you want to write about it? >> no, mean thank you.
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it was kind of an accidental book. i went there in the mid-80s during the contra war, and actually went when i was writing this novel called "the satanic verses" and it wasn't going very well. i was kind of stuck, so i thought let me just put it to one side and go and look at this people with real problems. and i've been interested in the subject of nicaragua. i've been involved in the nicaragua so on and was clearly an opponent of the contra war and an opponent of the u.s. government support of the contro go there and report on it. so i spent that time there, and i was just very very moved by what i saw. i came back and couldn't get it out of my head and so relies the only way i would get it out of my head was to write about it, so it out came this short repertoires book written with great speed.
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one of the things that thought is how ridiculous for the united states to be fighting a war against nicaragua when nicaragua so incredibly in love with the united states. they were obsessed for example with major league baseball. everyone in nicaragua, every single person in nicaraguan origin had played for major league baseball team and they were obsessed with american poetry. they all read ezra pound for goodness sakes and walt wittman and marianne moore. i mean a lot more than probably most of you do. and i thought this is a country which so easily could be made a friend of america. they wanted to be a friend of america and instead, because of those cold war days, you know, america's backyard, soviet union area of influence, all that you know, because they were seen as being marxist which some of them were in some of them worked. the sandinistas. they were treated as an enemy and i just thought it was a
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tragedy, this tiny little country with a population half the size of the island of manhattan was being treated as a kind of real danger and a menace thank goodness it wasn't the age where people pretended to discover weapons of mass destruction. [laughter] [applause] but, no i haven't been back. i haven't been back to do have friends that are still friends. the writers, a vice president at that time has come back to being a novelist is a friend and a great poet is still a very close friend of mine. so yeah, i think it is in worse shape than it was then unfortunately, so yeah and things don't always have a happy ending. but i loved it. i loved it as a place. i am very fond of it in happy to have been there. >> thank you. >> thanks.
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>> good evening mr. rushdie. like you, have two sons and i read each of the stories and turn. i wish they were still young enough that i could read this book to them but i wondered what did your sons, what was their reaction to the story you wrote for them? >> well i mean fortunately they like them. [laughter] otherwise it could be a bit of a problem in the family. here you are, here is this book i wrote for you. good, dead. [laughter] when i was writing the stories, there was a moment like that. i had written three or four chapters but i thought i would try it out on them to see how it was going. i gave it to my oldest son to read, and when he read it i said what do you think? he said yeah, yeah i like to dead. i said yes? some people might be bored. [laughter]
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he said, not me of course. [laughter] and i said what do you mean, board? what is wrong with it? he used this wonderful term. he said well, doesn't have enough junk in it. i said, junk? he said yeah. i knew exactly what he meant of course and i said i can do john. [laughter] i said, give me that back. [laughter] and i rewrote it and gave it to him the second time and this time through clenched teeth. what do you think of it now? and he said, now it is fine. it is fine. genuinely the best i had ever received because it was constructed. i knew exactly what he meant and i knew what to do about it are going that kind of honest response was fantastically useful. and, in this book, again, the
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passage i read about the kind of debt figure who calls himself -- i should point out that the word is not invented by me. it is actually i think first used by william blake in one of his poems and blake uses it as an image of the devil. and it was also used by choice. at again, it represents more of a devil figure than the alternative father, but anyway, so perhaps the third person to use it but it is lake's word. i should give credit. but i worried about that because because you know it is kind of scary, that idea i think and while children like to be scared, they maybe don't like to be really disturbed by an image, and i worry that might he on the wrong side of the fence. and, i gave it to him, again i gave it to my son to read the
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first couple of chapters and i told him nothing about it and just said to read that and tell me what you thing. and i was crossing my fingers because i thought if he doesn't like it i'm really screwed because this is really an important part of the plot that i have dreamed up. and fortunately, he wasn't freaked out by it. in fact without prompting he said he thought it was his favorite character. and then i thought, ah-hah this kid has got a little darkness. [laughter] and it allowed me to push that a bit further, you know. in my view a lot of it is george lucas' fault. i think the one thing that george lucas showed us all us all is that the bad guys more interesting than the good guy. there are no children out there today pretending to be luke skywalker. not a single child. i am luke skywalker, you know but there a lot of people willing to put on the helmet of
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of -- and that idea that the bad guy can actually be interesting and sympathetic and that his story can actually be the story, because of course the six star wars movie are really the story of darth vader, you know? and i think there is something about that. that the children can understand that even an evil there is interest and you can go and see how interesting that is and not be freed by it. as long as of course, as long as it is okay in the end. >> thank you. >> thank you very much for coming to miami and you are entered just now begin to segue to my question. you wrote a while back that the wizard of oz movie was your very first literary influence and i am curious whether that movie or whatever other movies you would still characterize as literary? >> what happened in the wizard
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of oz, must have been 11 or 12 and i saw it in bombay in india when i was growing up. before i had ever come to the west at all. and you know i like it very much. i went home and wrote a story called over the rainbow, my first short story which was not about those characters. it was about a boy like myself and my hometown, walking down the sidewalk and see not the end of the rainbow but the beginning of the rainbow, curving up and away from him and rather usefully the rainbow had a -- to it so that he goes on this journey over the rainbow and he meets all kinds of weird creatures, which i mercifully forget. and my dad, i wrote it all out and my dad took it to the office and got his secretary to type it up, so it became my first typescript, you know. then he said well, you are going to lose it so i'm going to look
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after it. he looked after it and then he lost it. [laughter] and you see what it mean about the uselessness of fathers? >> [laughter] and, so i don't have it anymore but that was the first story. that is what i'd meant when i said the first time i actually sat down and wrote a story. and i think one of the things about that story that is like the classic quest narrative and therefore is quite like this book is that the process of the quest is not just you know, overcoming problems. it also has to do with personal growth, but dorothy, who becomes becomes -- the dorothy that kills the which is a very different dorothy then the dorothy who is unable to protect her little dog. and, what happens to dorothy as she discovers that old grown-ups are useless. you know, auntie em and uncle henry are pathetic.
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they can't even protect her against the horrible ms. gulch, you know the tin man is rusty and the cowardly lion is cowardly and the scarecrow is made of straw. the wizard of oz is a fake. paid no attention to that man behind the curtain. they are all come all the grown-ups are pathetic, so she has to step into the grown-up position. she has to do with the grown-ups can't do. and that business of growing up as part of the quest is true if you go right to the holy grail. you don't find the holy grail and tell you are worthy of finding the holy grail. you have to become the person who is considered pure enough to go ahead for the grail to manifest itself to you. so, now the classic quest stories there is an ideal becoming better, you know, through adversary, through diversityadversity, to the overcoming of difficulties in the defeat of goblins and dragons and so on becoming better. and i think that is sort of what
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happens in this book. lucca grows up that it is about a boy growing up in becoming more able to handle the world you know by bye bye the end that he is in the beginning. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> you spoke of people being more enthralled with darth vader. what do you make of hitchens embrace of bush and cheney? [laughter] >> you are asking me to push about -- talk about christopher's politics? >> yes. >> i did not agree with him. [laughter] the thing about christopher is he is one of my dearest friends in right now he is engaged in another battle and my feelings is i don't give a what he thought about george bush.
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[applause] are we done? i think we are done. thank you, folks. [applause] >> thank you, thank you. mr. rushdie will autograph books on the other side of the elevator. and, dave barry's party is upstairs on the fifth floor terrace. we will see you back here tomorrow morning for carl hyacinth and scott thoreau. [inaudible conversations] >> had that of course was salman rushdie live from the miami book fair international here on the campus of miami-dade college in miami florida. we are just north of downtown and that is going to wrap up booktv's live coverage from the miami book fair
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international, the 27th annual for today. now, salman rushdie will be our guest on december 5 on in depth. that means he will be live on booktv from noon until 3:00 p.m. on sunday, december 5 to take your calls and tweets and talk about his areas nonfiction and his fiction books and his writing style. so that will be on december 5 for more salman rushdie. booktv will be live again tomorrow all day long, beginning at 10:30. here briefly are some of the highlights for tomorrow. we are going to kick off with of the calling program with edwidge danticat the haitian-american author. her most recent book is "create dangerously." following that another call in at 11:00 a.m. or so and then ben mezrich come his book the accidental billionaires which was made some lame made into a movie called the social network about facebook. following that ron chernow will be talking about his new biography on george washington, washington a life and then we will talk with david axe.
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david axe covered events in iraq and afghanistan for c-span and he is put out a graphic comic, and nonfiction graphic comic called war is boring. we will have a chance to talk to him and see that. simon winchester will be talking in the chapman auditorium here at lammy dade college is well about his latest book, atlantic, but the atlantic ocean. we will talk with the authors of sigal won the amazing true story of brothers to the rescue about cuba. meghan mccain will be talking about her book that came out in august, 30, sexy politics and in then a panel with john avlon, bill press, talk the talk and doug schoen that is how how the tea party movement that is bundling remaking our two-party system. that is tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. eastern time. after that we will talk with eliza griswold. we have a call-in opportunity for you. the tenth parallel and this is about the split between islam and christianity, and then
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finally, charles ruppel high has written a new book about robert morris, financier of the american revolution. then the final event of tomorrow which is due to begin at about 5:00 p.m. eastern time, jonathan friends talking about his historical novel, freedom. that is their coverage for tomorrow. if you happen to be in the miami area booktv is here and the c-span bus is here. come on down and see jen and chris and jana and get a booktv bag. we would love to see you. thanks for watching and it's all re-airs at 12:30 a.m. eastern time. by the way we are sending out twitter updates throughout the day today and tomorrow. you can borrow booktv at twitter.com/booktv and you can always watch on line all of the booktv programs
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>> it will keep our private health care system in place. some people don't like that, but it will keep the private insurance industry going, but it will also bring a lot of people into coverage who haven't had access to care. >> host: and finally, mr. poster, what's -- potter, what's your response to people who say,

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